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Nao Morizakawa

Sceptre4 Strain

0 · 496 views · located in Tokyo, Japan

a character in “K Project; Fall Of The Grey King”, as played by Alle9009

Description

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Morizukawa Nao

Nickname(s)

Age
Gender
Clan
Role
Ethnicity
Birth Date
Sexuality
โ™ข| Nano, Naocchi, Nao-chan, Musclehead, Battlewhore, Grim Reaper, the Enforcer of Sceptre 4
โ™ข| 13
โ™ข| male
โ™ข| Sceptre 4
โ™ข| Blue Clan Strain
โ™ข| Japanese
โ™ข| 17 November
โ™ข| Asexual, probably. He's naive enough that not understanding what love is is possible.

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Formally known as the Grim Reaper; now as the Enforcer of Sceptre 4, Nao does not seem like a fighter with his bright and cheerful demeanor. However, a closer look reveals that behind the smile lies fanatical devotion for Sceptre 4, a disturbing lack of moral and a serious, snarky attitude. Basically, he's twofaced. He might be going by the law, but that's only because its expected of him. He's part of the reason why Sceptre 4 is hated - not only are they employing a child, said child is a level 4 Strain with a supernaturally strong body and the ability to create shockwaves with exaggerated movement - the amount of freedom Sceptre 4 provides him is part of why he respects them so much. He is not someone to be taken lightly, despite his youth causing many to make the mistake of doing so. However, despite his tendency to act like an adult, he is still very much a newborn when it comes to emotions and the world in general, even if he's doing his best to adapt so that he won't be thrown away by Sceptre 4.

POWERใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€XXAGILITYใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€XXCHARISMAใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€
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Nao is somewhat [color=red]average for his age, standing tall at a mere 154cm and weighing only 43kg. He is skinny but wiry with limbs that seem a little too lanky for him, Nao is ridiculously fit and can often move faster than he seems. With shoulderlength sky-blue hair that's scraped up into a ponytail and wide sky-blue eyes, Nao holds himself with casual grace, and can often be seen with a blank look on his face. However, he exudes an aura of strength and reliability, although at times he seems not quite all there. He holds himself in a surprisingly docile manner when around people he respects, often sitting up straight and dressing neatly, but around others he tends to be more relaxed and casual, full of energy.

He dresses in layers a lot, with dress-shirts and jackets over simple t-shirts or hoodies. He tends to look neat and well-ordered, thanks to feeling like he should live up to Sceptre4's expectations, but in normal dress is quite messy. He has a sword of his own, from his days as the Smiling Reaper. It's a broadsword around the length of his arm that can split into two, allowing him to dualwield.
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ARTใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€XXINTELLIGENCEใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€XXBEAUTYใ€Œโ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹ใ€
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Combat | "No! No I do not, a member of sceptre4 couldn't possibly like fighting just for fighting sakes even if it feels good to let loose and especially not because it feels really good to bash people's heads in sometimes 'cause idiocy.... But anyway. Who told you that?"
Sweets | "It's delicious. Shut up!" Serously, he didn't even know what sweets were until he was 12.
Sceptre4 | "They saved my life and gave me a new home and a place where I belong. They even let me go to school - although studying can be a pain. I owe them my life, and I'll do anything for them. Anything."
Quiet | "It's peaceful when nobody is yelling or trying to start something. Good for sleep."
Strength | "I need to be strong! That way, I'm useful. It's the only thing I'm good at anyway."
Games | "I love this thing!"[/list]

Hates:
    Bittergourd | "It's bitter. It isn't sweet at all and its gross. Why do people even eat this kind of stuff?"
    Weakness | "Losing means weakness, and I am not weak."
    People who diss Sceptre4 | "The organisation is good! They keep order and peace way better than the delinquents in HOMRA. People who look down on us are d-dicks! Jerkfaces!" *angry glare*
    Physical contact | "I just don't like people touching me for too long, ok?!"
    height jokes | "I am not short."
    [color=gray]Being made to feel
    | "I don't know why, but it hurts here. When I see you cry. And its weird...? How do I make it stop?
โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹
Imageโ– Two-faced
To put it simply, Nao acts like a bright and cheerful child, always with a smile on his face. He is unfailingly nice to everybody, and is quite polite and surprisingly mature, if a bit awkward when it comes to conversations. However, that's just his way of making sure that he seems unthreatening. Nao doesn't want to be seen as a threat, as it could mean getting imprisoned or thrown away by Sceptre 4. Underneath the oddly cheerful behaviour is someone who is grumpy, sarcastic and extremely prone to irritation and anger. For every nice comment he makes there's a snark at it going on in his head. However, his masks has cracks - because he doesn't know the appropriate emotions for each situation, he will sometimes smile during them, even during funerals or extreme violence, and will also snap easily thanks to his bad temper, although he is quick to revert back to his normal smiling behaviour.

โ– Determined Independence
Nao has near unbreakable willpower, and can be extremely intense. He also, as a rule, never gives up, and it would take more than the destruction of the Dresden Plates to make him die. He faces everything with the goal of doing his best to win - even if it seems impossible, he won't give up. Once he says he'll do something he'll do it, and he will continue to put his best in everything, come hell or high water. Nao refuses to curl up and die, and in fact if anyone tries to make him do so they'd be faced with an even more determined Nao who stays alive purely to spite them. The reason for this is because Nao likes to win, and as a result does his best to win - often to the point of overworking himself and trudging on through pure willpower.

While this has helped him by turning him into a hardworking child with the drive to succeed and increasing his mental fortitude, as well as allowing him to learn things extremely quickly, it also means that he is extremely stubborn, and more likely to pitch himself against unbreakable walls until he himself breaks. Nao can be quite reckless in his independence, often resulting in him not asking for help even when the situation is dire for him.


โ– Emulated morals
He's got zero morals, to put it lightly. He doesn't exactly understand why you shouldn't kill people, or why stealing is so bad. He probably wouldn't feel bad destroying someone's life either, especially if asked by Sceptre 4. You could say that Sceptre 4 is the reason why he's not beating the crap out of everyone. What they say goes, after all, and as Sceptre 4 is an orderly place Nao feels no worries about leaving things alone until excessive force is needed.

It should be noted that Nao is actually quite violent when left to his own devices. He's a bit of an adrenaline addict, and he loves the thrill that comes with fighting.


โ– Combat expert
He's been fighting for as long as he can remember. Even if he's terrible with academical studies, when it comes to physical activities he's ridiculously accomplished. Not only is he extremely fast, durable and flexible, at full strength he can punch through walls. While it is part of his powers, on his own he is also extremely capable. As he's been fighting for a ridiculously long time now his reflexes are at top notch, and he knows how to use a great many tools of the trade. He is also disturbingly knowledgeable in how to kill people and hide it, but since he no longer kills (merely beats the crap out of people), he uses said knowledge for investigations,

โ– Sceptre 4 fanatic
Words cannot describe the faith, admiration, devotion and respect he has for Sceptre 4. The best thing I can come up with is the loyalty a dog has to its master, or the feeling that a parent is absolute. He is devoted to Sceptre 4 the way a zealous high priest prays to their God. Nao is ridiculously loyal to Sceptre 4, and theyโ€™re the only ones he follows without fail. To say that they own his soul would probably be pretty accurateโ€ฆ because heโ€™ll do anything for them, even reign in his own emotions and self. Even if it means certain death, if they ask him to do something heโ€™ll do it, because they gave him meaning and a life, a debt that could never be repaid. After all, he was worthless, hated by the world. He didnโ€™t belong anywhere. But even though he was still their prisoner, they gave him compassion, kindness he had never known before, and a chance to belong and use his skills. So he would do anything for them, so that he wouldnโ€™t be locked or thrown away.

He is especially loyal to Ritsu, the man in charge of the squad who saved him, and Emi, who is the Blue King.


โ– New to Self and the World
Nao is, for many reasons, new to the world as it is now. He is no stranger to death, but merely faint acquaintances with life. He'd been raised to believe that he was merely a tool, after all. As a result, he faces things with the wonder of a newborn baby, and takes everything in with awe - like sweets and games. In a metaphors, imagine someone being unable to see in color while the rest are able to. You don't understand anything about 'red' or 'orange' or 'blue' or anything else. It's the same with Nao - he sees the world the same as other people, but he doesn't understand the meaning behind it. He doesn't know anything, and as a result feels isolated and overwhelmed. Doesn't help that he's ridiculously awkward around people, not knowing what to say or do other than giving smiles or pleasantries.

But with Sceptre 4 covering his back, Nao finally feels like he can start to see in color. Slowly but surely, he's learning more about the world and himself, and it makes the journey worthwhile.
โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹โ–‹
ImageNao's past was, to put it shortly, not a very good one. He wasn't even sure if the man who brought him up were his dad - although he wouldn't be surprised if he weren't. They travelled around a lot, and as a result Nao rarely made any friends or went to school. He was kept isolated, but learnt to put up a smile anyway, to make himself seem more approachable for his jobs.

He was treated more like a tool than a person. Nao was kept in his room for hours, not allowed to go out or talk to anyone, and he was made to train more than a human being could take, especially a child. If he disobeyed, there were beatings and torture, and all throughout there was the emotional and verbal abuse. If he failed it was the same. He was mistreated terribly, and Nao learnt not to fight back when things were thrown at him or when they yelled at him. If he wasn't locked up in his room, he was out on a job, and normally that job involved killing. Gradually, he grew to be more monster than human, thanks to his own caretakers. They taught him that feeling was dangerous but how to fake it, the best way to destroy someone, how to be absolute destruction in combat when needed and silent despair when not. He learnt to kill without remorse, did the best he could, and every time he did what his dad wanted, his dad would praise him. If he failed or tried to think for himself, his dad would scold him and punish him. And thus did Nao grow up as a thoughtless weapon.

He wore a smiling skull mask when he did his jobs, dressed in black. The last thing people saw was the smile of a skull. and anyone around him saw a cloaked black figure with bone for a face. Forever smiling, wrecking silent death wherever they went. And thus, was the legend of the Smiling Reaper born.

Things came to an end, however, when Nao came into Shimuze city. They had been tasked to kill someone, but it wasn't like the other times. Sceptre 4 - more specifically, Ritsu's squad - came to a scene of blood, with Nao as the only survivor. They recognised him as a level 4 Strain and took him into custody and gave him medical attention, but things weren't so simple. And somehow Nao helped out with the investigation and got a job there, and now he's been working at Sceptre 4 for around two, three years now.

So begins...

Nao Morizakawa's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Yukimura Hisako Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Kita Tooru
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#, as written by Elision
Image
5:45 AM | October 1st | Greater Tokyo Area

As the sun rose over Shizume city and the rest of Tokyo, the city had begun to wake up from it's slumber. It's residents, getting ready to begin their daily grind through their 9 to 5 jobs. Some already there, having stayed the night struggling to finish the heavy workload assigned to them. Others, of less orthodox professions, mucking around in the streets or on their way to school. However, for those who have managed become intertwined with the seven Kings residing in the city, the day had a more solemn meaning.

Marking exactly two weeks after the death of the former peacekeeper, a small ceremony was to be held to honor the dead King before his burial. Though few would be in attendance, too busy fighting among each other as to who the culprit of his, and other recent deaths was.

However, while they may be able to determine how their days will go, the security of their future is no longer certain. What may seem like an irrelevant decision at the moment, could very well mean whether or not more blood is spilled.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Kita Tooru
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WARNING: VERY LONG POST AHEAD.


Before the arrival of dawn, three small green stars were becoming one with Hibiki's ceiling. Their edges were rough and scraped at by the longest nail she possessed (on her right index finger, saved from her nibbling teeth by the unconscious desire to have something to scratch with), but they had been there too long to easily peel off the way they once might have. Her parody of a starry sky was as much of a spectacle as the true skies of Tokyo at midnight, a time Hibiki once thought was when the city went to sleep and the stars quietly arranged themselves into fantastic stories that you could read if you stayed in the dark. The slightest flicker of a light could send stars scattering. A light told them that children who should be sleeping were awake and watching.

But the city did not sleep then and the lights warded away the stars until the only ones that remained were the three she was glaring at on her ceiling. They weren't the brightest, having their own light pollution to battle with in the form of flashing monitors and screens, but she was too indifferent to properly remove them so they were OK by her. Now that Hibiki was older she knew when the city really slept. It slept in the earliest hours of the morning when the sun was not yet up and the stars had all gone away. This was the time that Hibiki always woke.

On that freakishly early morning, she found herself sprawled out on the floor in a position that was obvious to anyone she hadn't meant to fall asleep in, with her shirt flipped up and revealing her stomach and her legs tangled in electrical cords. Her one exposed eye looked dead, dragged down by the dark bags beneath it, and it stared lifelessly up at the stars which reflected in her brilliantly red iris. Hibiki peeled from the carpet as one would remove themselves from a cobweb: picking off things she didn't want to touch while making faces. Her long sheet of hair was the most reluctant piece of her to get off the ground before she wound it around her hand and yanked, breaking it free of its mango iced tea puddle prison. Several wispy green casualties were left behind but would not be missed. She crouched in her over sized shirt and boxers until something turned on in her brain and she stood up โ€“ or, as up as her spine allowed her to. She scanned the room once for anything on her security footage, her eyes lingering a little too long on her beckoning laptop, then navigated over the empty food packets, video games that focused on male bonding, a build-your-own-robot kit and lots and lots of unsorted laundry. She opened the door and stepped out to be swallowed by complete darkness, but the trip had been made so many times before that she didn't need the light to oh wait nevermind. As always she forgot how big she was ever since that sudden growth spurt and clipped her little toe on the dresser. A stack of letters slid sideways off the cupboard and something that was not her squeaked and buried itself in sawdust. Hibiki muttered an apology through her pain for disturbing her pet and dropped to the ground, felt around for the letters that fell, stacked them back up and carefully (or, as carefully as she could do anything) put them in the top draw of the dresser. She mentally flipped a switch as she hobbled through the corridor on her way to the kitchen and suddenly the apartment was lit up in harsh fluorescent lighting. Vision didn't make her any less of a lumbering zombie and now she could see how gross she looked by squinting at her disgruntled reflection in the kitchen window. A cup of cold water to the face and swirling around in her empty belly made her feel queasy but woke her to some extent and her first fully comprehensible thought of the day formed, Time?

4: 17

She moved quickly now. In the main room, she pulled out her exercise mat. Her long toes clasped the edge of it like a balancing act as she tied her hair up in the usual high ponytail with the lackey around her wrist. When done she couldn't help but deliver a swift and powerful roundhouse kick to the pink punching bag hanging beside her to just remind it of who was the boss. It left an indent and the bag swung back and forth and creaked in surrender. Satisfied, she curled down and touched the ground (just managing to, her knees could never seem to straighten) to begin her morning stretches.

4:38

Hibiki's purple hood hid her matted, mango-scented hair and headphones beneath it. Her shoulders and spirit sagged when she caught a glimpse at her sickly, boyish features in the mirror, which she zipped up her red turtleneck to hide. The next ten minutes were spent bustling around collecting yen like it was a scavenger hunt mini game. Before leaving the apartment she went to swipe an easy access packet of bubblegum from the top of a kitchen cabinet when she stopped. Her hand was caught in an invisible trap between the gum and a half empty packet of cigarettes. It was only for a second, a moment that she barely picked up on herself, that her hand swayed between the two options before snatching one up and stuffing it in her pocket with such vigor it was as though she never faltered. At the door she breathed. On the other side of the door she took out her keys and locked each padlock methodically. Outside the apartment complex, she pressed play on an upbeat track (I know I know I'm lame) of a band she favoured, yanked her hood down further and began to jog.

Her neck started cramping as she jogged through the inner city and it wasn't because she spent all that time craning over a computer screen, but good guess. The skyscrapers were too flashy in the way they reflected everything below and around them that it would be a crime to not look up at them as you ran by, a crime that Hibiki drew the line at. They would probably look better with the sun shining off of them but this was the only time that Hibiki could move through this area so leisurely. Any later and this place would be full of people and moving among them would not suit her... requirements. She jogged on the spot when she caught a glimpse of Mihashira Tower, the skyscraper that served as Timeless Palace HQ, staring at its top floor distractedly through her bangs until her own urgency spurred her forward. Even with the streets devoid of activity โ€“ well, apart from the lazy cars, pigeons, occasional person who looked like they didn't want to be seen just as she much as her and food businesses preparing for opening hours โ€“ the place still felt dangerous when lingered in for too long, almost as though someone was watching her. As she left Timeless Palace behind her, her long lost cat Suzu slunk away to say good morning to her true master.

Right around the corner from the HQ of Scepter 4, Hibiki inserted yen into a vending machine and crouched down to retrieve the breakfast it dropped for her. She poked the straw into the box and began slurping the weird liquid cereal stuff as she trotted backwards all the way to the tall black gates of the formal looking mansion. Finding humor in the thought that the Blue Clan were so desperately looking for her yet had no idea that she practically paid them a visit every day (buying from vending machines was so much less stressful than shops and shops weren't open when she was hungry this early, anyway), a smug, almost villainous smile formed around the straw between her lips. She turned her back on the building, wiggled her hips, stretched out her back and yawned then glanced over her shoulder with a look that said, โ€œAnd what are you going to do about it?โ€, an expression hidden from security cameras by her hood. She swiftly finished her drink and disposed of her rubbish in the bin provided then did some proper stretching to warm up again before jogging away.

Her own territory felt the most comfortable for her yet was the most miserable. It was so pitiful and small and it was obvious why her members were yearning after HOMRA's territory, with it being so alive and spacious and not too uptown like Scepter 4 and Timeless Palace. The territory looked more appealing than her own because of how the Red King took care of it and cared for it... unlike her... but while she had no attachment to her territory as such (her true territory was the internet, after all), she felt a strong duty to her people... despite being happy to go her entire life without exchanging a single word with them... her personal issues had nothing to do with her loyalty, I'm sure.

<JUNGLE> had the highest number of members out of the clans. Their members weren't restricted to their shabby territory, they were scattered throughout Tokyo Metropolis with other jobs and lives apart from the clan. Members could choose to remain anonymous, with their true identities and residences documented by the king. They would be known to others in the clan by their online names only so they could support the group without having the pressure of Scepter 4 shaking disapproving fists at their backs. While that was once the norm, these people were now not so lovingly referred to by higher ranked members as โ€œShrubsโ€. You see, once upon a time, the entire group were completely anonymous and wore helmets to cover their identities when representing themselves publicly. It was during the fifty years of peace that the security focused on identity was lessened and the higher ranked, more involved members of the clan felt comfortable letting their faces and names be known. Ryuu claimed this more relaxed attitude was a good thing, as proper trust began forming amongst their ranks and with the other clans. Maybe it was good. But now Hibiki was king, and she was everything Ryuu was not, and while she had proven herself worthy of the title she had no means to prove a shrub like herself was worthy of their respect. The more she thought about the problems she had before all of these murders started made a hidden piece of her stress what the heck Ryuu was thinking, appointing someone with as much social awareness as her king. Ugh, Ryuu was so good at hyping them up to believe their bonds were more important than their brains (something that Hibiki definitely did not believe in but knew was a thing she had to fake). She wished he would hurry up and get back from the Bahamas or whatever place she'd rather be that was pictured on the last postcard he sent her.

And oh God, she still had to tell him about Naomi.

She took a quick break to check out the nightclub she "managed" while she was passing by. The Jungle looked so unimpressive in the grey light with its flashing neon signs turned off and she could tell that new graffiti had been added to its ink collection. It definitely didn't look like the ideal place to set up HQ, that was for sure, but Ryuu felt that they needed a physical hang out to regain that social interaction that kids these days were missing out on and hey, sex and alcohol are what they're into, right? The girl could even smell urine coming from the alley that led to the back entrance. Her face darkened upon remembering that's where she had to go in the evening to meet up with her new Right Hand, Hirai Nakazo. This would mark her second meeting with the man and she couldn't say that she didn't dread it.

Not passing through HOMRA's territory to the grocery store that opened at seven thirty sharp would be a disruption to routine.

At the end of her sprint she halted so suddenly that she buckled and had to clutch her knees for support. She was unused to pushing herself so hard in that last stretch. Her clothes trapped her body heat and made her more uncomfortable than she should have been after her run but she would never remove an item of clothing in public. Her heart was beating fast and there was an awful pressure against her temples, not from the exercise but from something else. Passing by the unassuming bed and breakfast that served as HOMRA HQ had become harder for her as of late. She looked up in time to see the sign switch from closed to open.


*


*


*


She wasn't planning to be here. She didn't owe the Grey King anything. Why did she come here instead of home? She approached the funeral home so hesitantly that anyone watching might have thought she was attending hers.

But she didn't attend. She ducked around the back and when she reached a bench she lurched. The wind took the long hair that protruded from her hood hostage and whipped her face with it like a spiteful poltergeist. It was quiet here, or, much quieter now that her music was no longer assaulting her poor eardrums. She could still hear the sounds of the city, which was now very much awake. This was the time that Hibiki would be sleeping, but at least there was nobody here - not near her, just... surrounding her... and through that wall. Walls weren't as solid to her as they were to others. How she was going to wade home through that ocean of noise and humanity was beyond her, but sitting here in the shadows made the problem seem almost OK.

Almost.

She took a lighter from one of the two plastic bags she held then dropped them on her bench to leave both hands free to light a cigarette. It took a dozen tries for her slightly too large hands to flip the fiddly switch but they did, eventually. Finally, she took a long draw of her cigarette only to double over and hack up her lungs. This continued until it became a worry. When she managed to stop she grit her teeth and straightened, bringing the poison back up to her lips. She coughed again, but quieter this time. She shut her eyes and breathed.

Name: Yamauchi Naomi. Age of death: 42 Time of death: Unknown. Information has been withheld from Scepter 4's systems, most likely because they know I'll be following the case. All that's determined is it happened two weeks ago, just three days after the death of the Grey King. Cause of death: Found floating in the river with damage to the skull. The โ€œofficialโ€ story the news covered was that she hit her head and drowned. That isn't true. Her power was summoning electrical projectiles. She was not immune to her own projectiles. Taking the fight underwater was an advantage against her abilities and her killer knew that.

That's all the information I have of her death. Now, I have to decide my next move.


Hibiki reopened her eyes and gazed at her sneakers gravely, the smoke of her cigarette spiraling away in the breeze.

They expect to go to war, she surmised with her chin in her palm, Worst of all, they expect me to lead them there.

She inhaled the smoke again, held in her protesting lungs, and leaned forward.

Naomi was floating downriver. Upriver is HOMRA territory. She could have floated down, but a body bobbing down Sumida river would not have made it far without being spotted. The way I see it, we have reasons to be suspicious but not enough of them. HOMRA deny our accusations and are not inviting conflict nor have anything to gain by initiating it, though, their hostile attitude towards us suggests they're not against it. So how much can we call solid proof and how much are we grasping at prejudiced straws? I know for a fact that some in particular would say anything to start a fight with our more powerful neighbors. It's moronic, that way of thinking.

Smoke left her mouth in a little puff and she paused.

But it isn't unjustified. This isn't the first murder in these past three weeks but this is only the second that they're aware of. Four Shrubs have been targeted. If they knew, there would be hysteria. My clan is already scared and with Yoshida-kun announced missing yesterday... I should be drawing connections between all of the murders by now. She grunted and ruffled her fringe in frustration. And yet the only connection is that they were killed in regular, unoriginal ways near or in their residences, none of them showing any sign that they had been murdered by a clansman apart from the fact that nobody BUT enemy clansmen would want us dead. Or... actually... That was a lie. <JUNGLE> were a notorious hacker group, of course they had made enemies with powerful people and anyway, the identities and residences of those who chose to remain anonymous were known by only her and her Right Hand. The other clans would not know who or where they were โ€“ nobody would. Hirai was not yet trusted enough to receive the list and Naomi... she was gone. Naomi was the victim of the second murder and the first was a Shrub. The assailant could not have taken the information from her, they already knew it. Besides, there was no mention of torture wounds. None that were disclosed to the public. With her dead, the only suspects would be me and Akiyama Ryuu. Obviously I'm not a murderer, and Ryuu... โ€ฆ โ€ฆ

โ€œ... Pfft.โ€

Don't laugh. Any lead is worth something at this point, no matter how unlikely. Who had gotten that information and how? Had their faces been sold out to the highest bidder? Having so many enemies didn't help her narrow down suspects at all. I have some information on the deaths of the Shrubs, which is virtually nothing apart from the fact that the police obviously must have made the shocking discovery that the corpses were <JUNGLE> members, because each investigation dropped from their records days after they were in their system. If Scepter 4 documented information useful to all of these cases on their hard drives instead of writing it down on paper I'd have already solved this crisis, unless... they've refused to take it as a case. A dozen hackers in the underground aren't worth anything to such honest citizens.

That prospect hurt more than the original thought that Scepter 4 wanted to keep the infamous J and the Green Clan out of the loop. After all of the leads and information she had leaked them that had assisted them in so many cases, how they still hunted for her stung, but it didn't insult her like considering her clan not worth their time did. She was so troubled by this she felt ill, or perhaps that was just the cigarette.

โ€ฆ That won't do. They have to take it. Homicide is homicide. They already know <JUNGLE>'s crimes and they've overlooked them... mostly. Will an investigation of the murders of online gang members turn into an investigation into the identity of J? They're persistent enough that I've had to change my name and move three times already, having them working with us will leave me hazardously vulnerable.

She hunched up and sucked in her breath, hardening her resolve once more.

So the decision stands as this โ€“ either go to war with HOMRA; the Red Clan that has always beaten us, and punch the truth out of the Red King at the cost of what little territory we have, or ask for the help of Scepter 4; the Blue Clan that have always hunted us and can see us behind bars, make me forfeit my place as king or perhaps execu... The thought was so horrible she couldn't finish it. She took a quick draw of her cigarette and glanced around in paranoia. The funeral home felt like it was craning over her back. Even the sky was coming too close. It has been practiced before.

Then a third option โ€“ remain stumbling in the dark as we are stripped away one by one and <JUNGLE> no longer remains. And I have to make the decision before facing my Right Hand tonight.


Yeah, like that was going to happen. She tapped the ash from the end of her cigarette when the tremors in her hand became too much to keep it steady and it dropped. Hibiki swore and took out the box and lighter but her already fumbling hands were so shaky it was even harder than lighting the first.

โ€œWhat are the two most important factors of making a decision?โ€

โ€œFacts and rationality,โ€ Hibiki answered just as Naomi chuckled over the top of her, โ€œA good view and a fag.โ€ Hibiki stared at her blankly from her bed until Naomi felt nervous. "You know, like, a cigarette. I'm talking 'bout cigarettes." Hibiki just grunted and raised an eyebrow to signify she knew what the woman meant. Naomi nodded and lit one up, breathed it in and sighed blissfully. "It's the same way I've made every decision. Even the one to keep your sorry ass around."

There was comfortable silence, when

"Obviously, killing your lungs speeds up the thought process." Hibiki was concerned for her, but she had meant to insult her to hide it, but not loud enough for her to notice. She did take notice and her face brightened with pride.

"Did my lil' Mako-chan make a funny in the absence of a joke book? I'm actually so happy. We'll be having these things called conversations in no time." Makoto, the name Hibiki wore as her own at that time. Her cheeks burned as scarlet as Naomi's hair at her nearly sarcastic jesting and Hibiki hid behind her knees, waiting for the torment to be over. The carefree woman blew smoke from her nostrils and reassured her, "Don't worry 'bout it. When I die it'll be on my own terms. I won't end up a bloated body washed up on the shore three days after I was attacked and murdered on my way home from a date with that joke you think isn't worth the effort."


She hadn't really said that, but in that moment Hibiki was convinced that she did. The back of her throat hurt. She remembered that Naomi once attended the funeral for her aunt at this place and wondered if she was sitting at the same bench the woman sat while she smoked and reflected on her memories with her late loved one, the same Hibiki was now. The thought that her right hand could have been in the exact same place that Naomi's hand once clutched around made her palm feel strangely warm. It was a pleasant warmth, like the lingering ghost of someone's hand in hers, but she wouldn't know that. She never held anyone's hand. Giving up on lighting the cigarette, she brought her forearm over her face to shield it from the skies that were threatening to crush her. She shut her eyes and tried to breathe.

"Yo."

Hibiki had never stood up so fast in her entire life. She stood up so fast, a wave of nausea came over her and she sat back down. Her head twitched to her right to take in a small glance at he person sitting beside her to only get a glimpse of someone's torso dressed in funeral black. She returned her gaze to her unlit cigarette that was threatening to crumble in her fist she was clutching it so hard and slowly, painfully so, tilted up her head to look at the face of the man that towered over her.

That's Maeda Katsuo of Timeless Palace. She thought to herself as she stared in the opposite direction to him. That's Maeda Katsuo of Timeless Palace and I assumed his height was a typo. She thought as she licked her finger and tested the direction of the breeze. That's Maeda Katsuo of Timeless Palace and he is very tall and I'm on the grounds a funeral was held for a King and nobody knows who I am. There's only one person that might attend that people know that nobody knows. That is J. I'm the only person here on the premises nobody knows.

An endless stream of swears looped in her mind as she reached out and took the bags that separated herself from the enemy and placed them on her lap. The crinkling of plastic was the only sound to fill the awkward silence between them as Hibiki's mind ticked. She tried to light her cigarette again and again and again as she did the only thing she could do to save her identity in this situation.

"You -" her voice was so husky from not being used. She cleared her throat, keeping her chin tucked in tightly against her chest to hide her face. Damn, was there a childproof lock on this lighter or something? She could never get those things. "You were attending the funeral held here?" she asked, her voice kept down low. She then uttered a phrase she had memorised from these sorts of sad situations in films, "Sorry for your loss."

She had to make him believe that she was an outsider. In situations like these, it was lucky that lying came as naturally as breathing for her... but lately, she was having trouble with even that.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Kita Tooru
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ใ€ŒAlastair Payneใ€
Dialogue; b49b04
Thought; 6f1313
- - -
Papers lay all around him in a mess, his head was in his hands and he had a cigarette butt in his mouth. Thick smoke filled the room like a fog as many other scattered cigarette butts lay on his desk. He had stayed the night in his office, the top floor of Mihashira Tower, he had some work he had to complete however it had taken longer than usual and he had sent everyone else home leaving him alone with mountains of paperwork and books to balance before he could go home. Though he was argueably one of the wealthiest men in the city, he lived in a run down apartment building on the south side of town, however no one knew it was him living there, he used a different name for it and even rents a more expensive penthouse in his true name so it throws off even the hackers of <JUNGLE>. He did this on purpose for his own privacy, he really doesn't like the idea of anyone being able to find his house.

Sadly his modest home had remained empty the previous evening. As his work was more pressing, if he didn't get it done plenty of big-deal businesses would be on his back, ready to strike him down. His eyes snapped open, rimmed with red around his golden iris, dark bags clung underneath them as he groaned.
"Fuck me. . ." He grumbled rubbing his neck and slowly straightening up with several complaints from his back. He slowly stood, some papers sliding off his desk as he cursed and bent down to pick them up. I'll have Mira clean it up later. . . He thought as he dropped the papers back down. His eyes then snapped to the clock and he frowned. He was going to be late to the damned funeral! He let out a stream of angered profanity as he slid his shoes and vest on, buttoning his shirt as he sprinted down the stairwell.

He tripped over the last step and gasped slightly before scowling at it and swearing vengeance before running out. His chauffeur offered a ride but he was already far down the street lighting up a cigarette as he went. His chauffeur shook his head in awe of his hard-headed boss, but was relieved he didn't have to drive him when he was in this mood.

โ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌ

He arrived at the funeral as most people were filtering out. He folded his arms and leaned against a wall smoking, trying to conceal his labored breaths for running all the way over here. A few patrons waved to him or bowed their heads as they left and he returned the favor. He had meant to make it on time to this, he really had but the day had gotten away from him and so he had missed the proceedings. Him and the prior Gray King had been rather close, he closed his eyes under his shades and silently asked for forgiveness for missing the funeral.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Kita Tooru
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ใ€ŒNaoko Itaใ€
Dialogue; 374D82
Thought; 5C92BF
- - -
Morning filtered into her small house, however Naoko was already up and at it, she was in the small kitchen making breakfast for her father before she was going head out to the funeral. She hummed softly to herself, a happy tune that helped her start her day. The warm tones of her house seemed a bit grayer to her today, funerals were always such a sad time, even though she didn't know the woman who died all that well, it was still a big loss. She sighed softly and then smiled again, being positive is key, she told herself as she carried the scrambled eggs, bacon and hashbrowns to her father who was sitting in the chair he always occupied. A shell of the lively man he once was, his head lolled to the side a bit, it broke Naoko's heart but she still loved him no matter how bad it got she'd never abandon her father.

"Here you go daddy," she chimed as she handed him the tray, he wasn't completed inept, he just wasn't himself. He took the tray with a far off stare and she kissed his cheek softly. He grunted softly and began eating, his eyes not blinking. She sighed a bit and turned away to go change out of her pajamas into more suitable clothing for the event she was to attend. She got dressed in simple clothes and headed back out toward the door, she went over to her father and hugged him tight. "I'm heading out, please try to rest up while I'm gone. I have my phone and I will check in okay?" nothing in response. Her smile turned into a soft look of concern as she headed out, getting into her car and heading down to the funeral. The King of her organization was there so she figured she was obligated to be there as well. She hoped everyone there was doing okay, she'd have to be there for those who were hurting.

โ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌโ–ฌ

She arrived and sat through the funeral in the back, even tearing up a bit at some of the testimonies. She watched reverently and then as people began filtering out, she sniffled a bit and dabbed at her eyes. She rose slightly and went out, she spotted miss Ikeda and two people smoking together. She glanced around and spotted Mr. Payne off on his own, strange he hadn't been in the service? She supposed it wasn't any of her business. She wanted to find Miss Emi. She scanned the crowd and sighed softly not seeing her right away. So, she went over to a woman who was taking it rather hard and began to console her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nakano Yuka Character Portrait: Mira Saromi Character Portrait: Alastair Payne Character Portrait: Arata Utagawa Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Ikeda Miu Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Naoko Ita Character Portrait: Shizuka Hibiki Character Portrait: Maeda Katsuo Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Ketsuraku Kazuki Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu Character Portrait: Sora Arakida Character Portrait: Daisuke O'Connor Character Portrait: Hirai Nakazo Character Portrait: Kita Tooru
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#, as written by cl.love


DAISUKE O'CONNOR



โœ˜ โœ˜ โœ˜ I wonder if "existing" is something you can laugh about... Image


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XXXXXi Theme: Crawl by Veltpunch
X Dialogue : #EE1D24 | Thought : #959595
XXX FC: Aizawa Kouichi | Nabari no O
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Daisuke hadn't planned on attending the funeral. He knew he would be out of place - after all, he'd only met the Grey King once, and he'd been only ten at the time, having tagged along with his grandfather. It was true that his place as a member of the Monochrome Alliance would obligate him to attend, but he had only been a member for a week, and he still hardly new Ikeda at all. XX
In the end, his parents had convinced him that attending the funeral was the professional thing to do, as the Colorless King it was acceptable to attend the funeral of a fellow King, despite the state of their relationship. Daisuke agreed to attend if his parents would also attend - after all, funerals weren't the most enjoyable place to be, and he wanted an excuse to leave if he needed one. XX
As soon as he got there, Daisuke immediately felt bad for having considered staying home. While it was true that he hadn't known Ikeda for long - not in person, at least - he couldn't help but understand her grief. His own King and grandfather had died four years prior, and he'd found himself in a situation akin to Ikeda's. Suddenly becoming a clan's King was nothing if not stressful. XXX
Daisuke left his parents to find a seat and approached Ikeda, bowing politely and carefully avoiding eye contact with her brother, who looked as if he would kill him if he said anything unfavorable. "Ikeda-san, I'm very sorry for your loss. You may not believe me, but I can promise you that the pain of loss does lessen, given time." Quietly excusing himself, Daisuke returned to his seat. XXXXX
The ceremony itself was respectable, but Daisuke found himself focusing on other thoughts, most concerning the recent murders. How dire is the situation? We've already had more than five murders. I doubt this would be as large of a concern if a King hadn't been one of the victims. And who even has the confidence to murder a King, especially without leaving a trace of evidence? XX
After becoming a King, Daisuke had instantaneously pulled his clan out of everything to do with the other clans. His parents were the only other members of the Colorless Clan, and at the time the O'Connor family couldn't really have cared less about the rivalry between clans. They became invisible, really, and Daisuke had even found internet theories stating that the his clan didn't exist. XX
But with the death of the Grey King, everything was suddenly so much more complicated. Daisuke's parents had convinced him to join the Monochrome Alliance in order to help keep the other clans from slaughtering each other with blame over the murders. And thus, here he was, at the Grey King's funeral. XX
Once the ceremony was over, Daisuke's parents went to talk to Ikeda, most likely to give her their best wishes and say comforting words that wouldn't do any good. Of course, Daisuke was guilty of the same thing, with what he'd said to her earlier. I suppose I really am their son. Sighing lightly, Daisuke pushed his glasses higher up on his nose and weaved through the crowds of attendees. XX
He was none too pleased to find Alastair standing outside the venue, smoking a cigarette and looking like he'd only just woken up. Daisuke's face scrunched up in distaste at the smell of tobacco, and he frowned at the Gold King, his hand gesturing toward the 'No Smoking' sign posted half a meter away. "This venue is a 'No Smoking' area. You'd think a King would have more respect." XXX

Setting

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Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa
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Morizukawa Nao


Dialogue: blue | Thought: darkblue



Nao leant back, rocking on his feet as he waited near the entrance of Sceptre 4's carpark. The others had headed off first, but Nao had decided to stay back and wait for Riku, who had yet to arrive. Scowling, he leant back against the wall and readjusted his tie, tugging it slightly loose as he tried not to feel worried. Riku normally came on time - when he wasn't caught up in things at least - but what with all the murders going around Where is he? He's late! He'd better not be dead - and this tie really sucks.

Not for the hundredth time, he wished that he could take the tie off. Just one grip and pull and an attacker would have a makeshift noose around his neck. The boy was dressed up to the nines - a black vest buttoned over a white dress shirt hugged his trim figure, and a thin black tie was enclosed around his throat like a noose. Covering his lower limbs were trousers that were the same ebony shade as his vest, and draped over his arm was a black suit coat. His light blue hair was tied differently from its usual half ponytail - now it was higher and more towards the center, keeping all pf his bangs from falling into his eyes instead of just his left eye.

Overall, it created a very sombre image. Hopefully. Nao wasn't really sure, but hasty research into what funerals were and proper behaviour that was kept to the dead of the night inside his room, away from prying eyes, told him that this was what most people wore, and Nao needed to fit in like a normal person would.

He had to prove (to himself? To others?) that he could be normal and unthreatening. Especially today, where the other clans would be gathering at the funeral of Ikeda Akio, the recently deceased Grey King.

Nao hadn't really known the Grey King, but he knew what the man had accomplished. He had managed to keep peace in a city where people could destroy buildings with one touch or burn them down with a flick of the wrist, and were more than ready to use it on the people they disliked - which was a lot, especially considering that half the clans hated each other. Nao didn't know what it was like, having to play moderator to people who would get at each others throats at the hint of a threat or slight, but he couldn't help but feel that it was probably pretty difficult.

Like, insanely difficult. Juggling a couple of plates while balancing on a ball and catching knives with your teeth at the same time kind of difficult. But somehow he had managed, until somebody killed him. Heading to the funeral of such a strong man was worth the pain of wearing an itchy suit and a cloth noose around his neck, even the interaction with the other clans that they would inevitably have. Sceptre 4 had enough stress on their plate with dead coworkers and managing the peace, dammit.

It's the first time I've seen everyone so worried... well, except for that time Riku caught me doing that. Nao winced at the memory, but straightened up as he heard a car arriving, his face brightening as he heard the sound of rubber meeting ground at high speeds and the engine running. Ah! That must be Riku! Finally. What took him so long? He strode steadily to the carpark, Dark boots making no sound as he followed the sound of the running engine.

While it was normally filled with cars, today it was merely half full, thanks to time off or work. Picking his way forward, Nao headed straight to a familiar looking car, making sure that there was a smile on his face as he did so. A big, broad smile, so that he looked happy and cheerful and not as if he had been worried or angry at all.

Think happy thoughts. Imagine a battery with electricity flowing through you, filling you with energy. Funny shit. And exclamation marks. Like so! Exclamation marks always make things seem cheerful! Even if they're not

Forcing his steps to be faster and lighter, as if he had springs on his feet, Nao bounced up towards the parked car, leaning down to give a little wave towards its occupants from outside the driver seat with the biggest grin he could manage. It turned a little more real as he saw Ritsu fast asleep, Ken at the steering wheel. "Hi Ken!" he said brightly, remembering to keep his voice low at the last second. "How're you doing? Are you driving Ritsu to the funeral? We're late, you know!"

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Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa
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A fond smile tugged at the corner of Ken's mouth as he spotted a bright patch of candy blue hair while turning a corner slightly too fast in his small, bubble-roofed car into the parking lot. He adjusted his speed immediately to make a good example of himself and pulled up to a stop, winding the window down as the kid bounded up to greet him with a forced smile that Ken could see right through. It relieved him to see the boy relax into something more natural the closer he came, glad that he left such an impression on him. He poked his elbow out the window and flashed Nao a lazy grin in response to his greeting.

"Hey, thumbelina." he blurted without thinking then immediately compensated for the height joke by fishing in his pocket for a couple of wrapped fruit flavoured sweets which he slapped into Nao's hand, "Yeah, yeah, I'm doing great. I know it's late. How's the funeral? Depressing? Take those, I thought you'd need them after all that. Hide them quick before this idiot wakes, sometimes I swear he can smell when rules are being bro-"

"KEN!"

If Ken was scared, he sure didn't act like it. He just stared at Nao and communicated his exasperation through his eyebrows as his once beautiful sleeping prince transform revert back to his default personality - a knightmare. *ba dum tsk*

"Where are we? What's the time? I fell asleep in the car?! How unsightly!" Riku panicked and yanked at his seatbelt as though he had forgotten how they worked. "I'm disappointed, Ken. I thought I could trust you but clearly those are not the hands of justice on the wheel. Of course, now I must work on the investigation before -" his eyes flicked to the window and widened as he saw where they were, and more importantly, the people coming out of the funeral home and congregating in front of it. "THE FUNERAL IS OVER AND YOU NEVER WOKE ME?! MAY I ASK HOW YOU LET THIS FUCKING HAPPEN, KEN!? DID I NOT MAKE IT CLEAR TO YOU HOW MUCH I -"

"Hey, Ri."

"HAVE SOMETHING TO ADMIT, DEADBEAT?!"

"There's someone outside who's here to meet you."

"WH - oh." Riku stared at Nao, his eyes deadly serious when slowly, very slowly, his pale skin flushed red. Left completely speechless and unsure of what to do in this situation he remained a red, mute statue, something that Ken took advantage of when he leaned over to kiss him. He pulled away and patted Riku's steaming cheek expressionlessly then shoved him away.

"Go on, get out. I've got work. The wake is still a thing, right?" Riku got out the car stiffly. "You're forgetting something... again." He leaned in and took the comb from Ken, retracting from the vehicle while slicking his ruffled hair back into place. "Yeah, love you too. Have fun at a dead guy's party. I'll see you kids later." Ken gave Nao one last look that said, Seriously, have fun. which was really Ken's way of giving Nao permission to give his boyfriend as much shit as he felt necessary. Not that he would necessarily accept Ken's permission, given how devoted he was to the guy.

Maybe I should take a leaf out of the kid's book, Ken thought as he turned onto the main street. The image of Nao's face when he caught him after doing something... unhealthy was triggered in his mind and he reclined from the dashboard with bared teeth, hissing like he'd watched someone faceplant. Nah. A more affectionate thought crossed his mind and his violet eyes glazed over. ... He may not have appreciated it, but the rest did him good. I should probably apologise for falling asleep too, but... nah. Screw him, we haven't slept together for weeks now because of his stupid job and I deserve that much for the crap I put up with.

Meanwhile, Riku stood rigidly beside Nao, his face still burning and tongue still out of action. He drew in a big gulp of air and looked down at the boy with the seriousness and sincerity expected from a person of his integrity, the blood flushing his cheeks back to being evenly distributed around his body where it belonged. It was as though the person Nao had witnessed (on more than this occasion, this was just the first Nao had let himself be known during such... displays) never existed at all.

"Morizakawa-san, please spare me the knowledge that Emi-chan is mad at me."

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Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa
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Only ignorance (and longtime practice) kept Nao's face from twitching with irritation or his eyes from lighting up with anger at being called short, even if it was from someone he respected with all his heart. As it was he continued smiling and wondered, with all seriousness:

What's Thumbelina?

He had a vague feeling that it was an insult, but before he could think more about it Ken brought out-

The sweets. One orange flavoured, one grape flavoured, pressed into Nao's hand like smuggled drugs from the Mexican border, the colorful wrappers gleaming in his hand like sugar jewels.

Seeing Nao's reaction was like watching a kid receive his first christmas present. His smile beamed like a ray of light (or like a druggie taking another hit), eyes lighting up like the sun as he clenched his fists tightly around the goodies. Nothing fake about this expression, at least, just pure undiluted happiness at being given sugary candy. Nao actually looked his age for once.

Unfortunately, before he could give his thanks to Ken, Riku woke up.

Nao froze when Riku yelled Ken's name, eyes going wide with panic. Oh shit. Unfreezing, he quickly took a small, silent step back as Riku whirled to yell at his boyfriend, hiding the sweets inside his pocket. Ever since Riku had caught him eating a whole packet of Giant Gummy Bears, he'd promised to keep track of Nao's sugar intake, and Nao didn't want him to remember that declaration. Sorry, but you're on your own, Ken.

It was, although Nao would never admit it even on the pain of excruciating death, actually kind of funny to see Riku lose it at someone else. Yeah, it was kind of scary, but since it wasn't at him Nao found it hilarious. Keeping an extremely passive look on his face, Nao let a bit of a grin pass through his mask in response to Ken's eyeroll, the amused smirk in his eyes making his message clear - at least it ain't at me, man - before biting it back into a passive expression and watched the show, wondering when Riku would turn around and notice that he was standing there.

And... there. Pfft, Riku's reaction was priceless - he clearly hadn't expected spectators. Biting back a laugh and feeling a little bad for doing so, Nao smiled and gave a bright little wave as if they were having a normal greeting. "Good morning! Am I interrupting something?" He asked a little too innocently and cheerfully to not be on purpose, resisting the urge to smirk.

It wasn't that hard. The man had saved his life, after all.

Nao wrinkled his nose and turned his head to the side as Ken gave Riku a kiss, the expression making him look his age for a moment. Eww, gross, PDA! Did Ken even knew what that mean? Nao returned Ken's look with one of his own, a slightly hesitant look which slid slightly away from direct eyecontact that said uh, sure, yeah, totally gonna do that, yup, which was. Well. Not really going to happen at all if Nao could help it.

As Ken's car peeled out of the driveway, Nao turned to Riku, who was still tomato red - oh wait, it was going down. Slightly impressed, Nao noted how fast Riku's complexion went back to its normal pale peach. Looking up, the boy returned the look with a bright, cheerful smile befitting of a polite cheerful child, the best he could construct - which honestly wasn't that hard. The events from earlier had been funny enough to put some natural lift to Nao's cheeks.

It helped that it was, once again, the man who had saved his life. Acting was always easier around one of the people Nao had originally constructed the mask for, after all.

Of course, the fact that he probably shouldn't be smiling at a funeral didn't cross Nao's mind. "I'm not sure!" He replied, straightening up almost subconsciously. He smiled up at Riku, but it didn't make the words any easier to swallow. "She might be mad if you didn't appear, but she's been busy taking care of the white haired girl so maybe she didn't notice that you weren't here!" Turning around, Nao began to walk towards the area where the wake was held. "Want to check?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Yukimura Hisako Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu
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Riku felt like reclining into a ball and crying while he rolled down a large, rocky hill, however he bit down his urge to punish himself and remained upright, pushing up his glasses with a glint in his eye.

"So, the princess has been attending to Ikeda-san? Of course, I would not expect anything less of the face of Scepter 4. It is in our duty to serve those we have failed to protect from such unnecessary evils in every way that we are capable. However, there is absolutely not a chance that my lack of appearance was missed by her intelligent eye - we go to her, Morizakawa-san, not because we question her observational prowess, but to repent for the disgraceful way I have represented Scepter 4 on this day! Even by the chance she is unaware, it is only right that we own up to our wrongdoings!"

Riku finished his dramatic speech with his index finger held high up in the air, a foot up on the hood of a car and a hand on his hip. His expression offset the ridiculous pose by appearing completely devoid of any sort of hilarity and instead looked dead-serious. His pointing finger retracted into a tight fist and he brought it down in line with his nose, glaring at it with flaming intensity.

"And hopefully, achieve justice for the wrongs that one did against me that caused such a respected clansman like myself to end up in this sorry position on such an important, melancholy day..." he muttered loud enough for anyone listening really intently to hear, hair prickling up on his neck as his terrifying aura scared even himself. The dangerous energy that surrounded him completely drained as he got off the car and turned to Nao, bowing deeply.

"I apologise for what you have witnessed here today. It is a wonderful morning, or would be if -" he looked up, realised Nao was already walking, straightened in a hurry and fast walked his way over to assume the lead. "So eager, Morizakawa-san? Of course, it is an admired quality. To Emi-chan!"

They didn't have to walk far to find her. Probably because as while they were walking towards the funeral, she and her pupils were walking in the opposite direction - away from it. The sight of the Silver King (looking as dazed out as ever) and <JUNGLE>'s personal detective (looking as intrigued as ever) on either side of the idol immediately set off sirens in Riku's mind. It wasn't because the man particularly disliked either of them (well, Hisako was part of a hacker group run by a person they were hunting, something that he often wondered about - how his usually strict king had managed to see past that and befriend the girl was beyond him), but Nao + kids belonging to other clans were not an enjoyable mix, especially for the one acting as referee. He didn't focus on that issue for long, however, as his stare was fixated on Emi; at the way she held herself like she was about to spring into dance, her smile that hid a song and her lively, big blue eyes that were flitting over to look in his direction.

"Yukimura-san, Ozu-san, good morning to you both. I apologise for the abruptness of my intrusion. Emi-chan, I apologise for not being at your side sooner!" Riku jogged up to them and bowed his head slightly at Emi's companions, then suddenly latched onto the girl's shoulders with a strong, but not rough, grip. His tired eyes gazed into hers meaningfully, scanning for any sign of redness that could suggest she had been crying. Thankfully, there were none, and he took a step away and bowed so low his glasses nearly slid off. "I must elaborate, of course. All of the Gensai family should have all been present at this event however I, the Right Hand, gave into the sin of sloth and because of that moment of weakness I have failed to positively represent my clan. I, Gensai Riku of Scepter 4, acknowledge and accept my mistakes and will accept whatever punishment you see fit."

Not to mention he had promised his friend he'd be there in attendance, but that was a personal matter he need not delve into while in the presence of other, non-blue clansmen. Right now, the reputation of Scepter 4 was on the agenda. HOMRA not showing up to the Grey King's funeral was one thing - but the Right Hand of the respected Scepter 4? What sort of uncouth madness was that!?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Yukimura Hisako Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu
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Thought: Darkblue | Speech: Blue



"So, the princess has been attending to Ikeda-san? Of course, I would not expect anything less of the face of Scepter 4. It is in our duty to serve those we have failed to protect from such unnecessary evils in every way that we are capable. However, there is absolutely not a chance that my lack of appearance was missed by her intelligent eye - we go to her, Morizakawa-san, not because we question her observational prowess, but to repent for the disgraceful way I have represented Scepter 4 on this day! Even by the chance she is unaware, it is only right that we own up to our wrongdoings!"

No trace of the confusion Nao felt was revealed on his face as the complicated words passed over his head like water dropping over a waterfall... So... We head to Tanabata-sama first, since she'll notice that Riku is missing, and then we apologise for being late? And even if she didn't know we were late we apologise anyway.... I think. That is what he's saying, right?

... Well, he's definitely asking whether Tanabata-sama is with Ikeda-san.... She's the new Grey King now, right? I think.


"...Yes. I mean yes!" Nao smiled brightly, deciding to play it safe by answering what he definitely knew Riku had asked. "Tanabata-san is with Ikeda-san!" He said cheerfully over Riku's mutterings, subtly edging away from Riku and his dark aura. Nao had learnt from experience that it was best to stay away from people when they were angry (angry people were more likely to resort to violence and throw things), and he was not likely to go against that instinct any time soon. That urge only increased when Riku started to bow to him.

Nao froze. What the fuck.

"I apologise-"

I'M GETTING OUT OF HERE. No way was he dealing with this. Nao whirled and walked swiftly away from Riku in a way that was more like a run than a walk, his heart beating loudly in his chest with alarm. If it were an action movie, Riku would be the ticking bomb and Nao would be the guy running for the hills before the explosion began. His hero apologising to him?! Inconceivable! Normally it was the other way around. It was only a few seconds later that Nao realised that the sudden abrupt leave could have been taken as rude, but fortunately it seemed that Riku hadn't taken any offence, stopping mid speech and catching up with him. In fact, he spoke on, praising Nao's eagerness to head towards Emi.

Yes, he was eager. Eager to run like a coward for being apologised to, that is.

A few minutes later, they met up with Emi, Miu and Cyneric. Nao stood to attention behind Riku, giving a polite greeting towards Emi. "Good afternoon, Tanabata-sama! I've brought Riku-san with me, as you can see!" he smiled brightly at her, looking the picture of a child pleased with himself at accomplishing an errand. "I'm sorry we're late!"

Then he stood back and stayed as quiet and out of sight as Riku fussed over Emi. He gave a small nod and smile to Cyneric, unsure how to react - in public, Nao found it easier to act as if he didn't know the Silver King. For one thing, Riku and Emi might not approve. And for another, it was easier to just pretend that they didn't know each other, although they fought regularly - considering their odd schedules, they didn't really met that often.

However, it was the first time they were meeting each other at a funeral in front of Sceptre 4 and the clans, where positions actually mattered. Nao didn't know how much Riku and Emi and the others knew about him sparring with some of the other clan members, but he wasn't willing for them to find out that he had been sparring with the Silver King for information and fun after they had met god knows where. Riku would scold him for fighting such a powerful figurehead, Emi would scold him and look at him disapprovingly, he might get locked up for sparring with someone as high in status as a King.... the possibilities were endless and, as far as Nao was concerned, not likely to happen so long as it wasn't addressed in public. The less they knew, the better.

It was with this in mind when Nao faced them with a greeting. "Good afternoon, Ozu-san! He said brightly, injecting a little respect into his tone that normally wasn't there when he talked with Cyneric. He smiled vapidly, as if it were the first time they were meeting. "Good afternoon, Hisako-san! Nao smiled cheerfully at Hisako, giving a respectful nod to her just as he had with Emi. She was Emi's friend, and it paid to be nice to the person who was teaching him how to read.

It also bought him time to think of what to say to Cyneric. shitballs on a stick what should I say that won't tip anyone off?! Name, age, rank, uh - oh wait. They already know that I know Cyneric. Probably. Uh... Nao's mind raced for options.

Oh. Right! There's always that option. Smiling smoothly, Nao waited until the others finished their conversation before turning to them with a question.

"Would any of you like me to get a drink for you?" Nao asked politely, a courteous smile beaming on his face. Inwardly, he was screaming 'please say yes pleasepleaseplease let me get out of here before I mess up please' and praying to anyone (who had suspiciously familiar glasses and hair) that he'd be able to escape as soon as he possibly could. "Or do any of you want something to eat? I can get some if you want!" He asked eagerly. Anything to get out of here before awkward questions were asked.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Yukimura Hisako Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu
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#, as written by Elision
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ใ€ŒTanabata.Emiใ€
Dialogue โ™› #6495ED
Thoughts โ™› #FF7F50





Emi let out a quiet laugh as Hisa leaned in to tell her the cost of her notes. Her friend was a bit too curious for her own good. The idol swore that if curiosity killed people like it did cats, the girl would have died more times than anyone could count. "We are, but I can't exactly go around giving out classified information like that, you know? It's not like we have much in the way information on them anyways, it's like chasing Bigfoot." Saying no to the eager looking girl broke Emi's heart a little, feeling as if she had just kicked a puppy. "Well, I guess it wouldn't be that big a deal if you stopped by headquarters and take a look at the case file as long as you share anything you have on J with us."

They group was interrupted by the arrival of two of Scepter Four's finest. Emi had been expecting them to show up, but hadn't seen them at all during the funeral. Maybe they were sitting towards the back? The bawling Grey King had her undivided attention for most of the event, so they could have just as easily be lurking a few feet behind her and she wouldn't have noticed. Her right hand had bowled through the dissipating group of funeral goers. Judging by his expression, the King could tell something was weighing on her friend. The hands that descended on her shoulders confirmed her theory. "Riku-chi, it's fine. You're running yourself ragged, I'm sure you needed the rest." A smile made it's home on her face as she assured her right hand that it really wasn't a big deal. Emi was starting to worry about him. Riku had always been a hard worker, but things were getting out of hand. Maybe I should find him an assistant? No, I doubt he would accept them. It would just seem like I think he's not capable enough.

While the girl was busy trying to soothe the man, she had completely neglected the younger half of the duo. Was he feeling alright? He seemed a little anxious. Maybe he just wasn't feeling well? "Nao-chan, don't worry about it. We were actually just heading back to school, so we don't have much time for snacks." Wriggling away from Riku's grip, she gave the boy a pat on the head, messing up his hair a bit in the process.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Gensai Riku Character Portrait: Tanabata Emi Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa Character Portrait: Yukimura Hisako Character Portrait: Cyneric Ozu
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The second Emi touched Nao's hair, Nao froze, whole body stilling unnaturally as if he were a character on tv and someone had pressed the pause button. But it only lasted less than an instant - in a second he was pulling back, blinking in surprise and smiling as if nothing was wrong, although his eyes held a bit of irritation and confusion. That moment had happened so fast that anybody not looking would have missed it, and anybody looking wouldn't have realised it unless they were specifically looking for it. Nao fell back a couple of steps, smile hiding the torment going on in his head.

First - irritation. Emi had touched his hair. Repeat - Emi had ruffled his hair like a child (alright, he was thirteen - or fourteen, who knows - but he wasn't a child! He was a preteen! Not a child!) and his ponytail, as perfect as he could tie it as taught by Naoko during the past year, was now.... not perfect. What if Riku noticed? Riku liked perfection! And as his saviour was good at being perfect Nao was doing his best to emulate him and now it was gone.

And did Nao mention that he was being treated like a child? Which he wasn't - he had done things no kid should do, which meant he wasn't a kid like everyone thought he was! So there!

Second - it actually felt kinda... good. Like praise. Weird. Nao resisted the urge to reach a hand up to his head to check his hair- not yet.

Third...

Calm down, heart. She's the Blue King. She's not... them. Being pat on the head is ok and not a threat.

"Ok!" Nao chirped cheerfully instead. Damn, his escape path was gone.... Or maybe not. Nao took a deep breath, shoulders tensing as he steeled himself. "But you might get hungry on the way, so I'll see if i can take some for you before you go!" He said brightly, beaming his biggest sincerest smile, and with that he turned tail and walked towards the snack area as fast as he could without looking like he was running. "I'm also hungry, so I'll get some for myself too!" He said cheerfully behind his shoulder, trying not to think of whether he was going to get punished for taking the initiative for this step. It was only after he was out of sight and a good time away that Nao slowed to a normal walking pace, allowing the smile to drop from his face with a smile.

It had taken a bit long, but Nao had eventually learnt that it was ok to ask for things, ok to eat more than what he needed to survive, ok to just... y'know. Ask shit. Talk back. But this was new territory, and it was still a bit nervewracking testing the boundaries.

A lot of things were nervewracking, if Nao had the will to admit it.

Not the time, however. Bringing his hands up to his hair with a sigh, Nao neatened his ponytail the best he could with only his hands for a comb. Then he went to grab snacks - small cakes, peanuts, small finger sandwhiches. There were a few left over, and Nao wasted no time loading some into a convenient plastic bag for takeaway, stuffing a few into his cheeks too. He hadn't been kidding about wanting some himself. Chewing thoughtfully on a chocolate roll (mmmchocolate), Nao was making his way back when a man flung his arms wide, nearly smacking him in the face.

Almost instinctively, Nao dodged back, hands raising up and curling into fists as he prepared himself for a punch - but no, it was just a man gesturing expressively to his friends, letting out a hearty roar of laughter. Even as Nao watched they were already fading away into the crowd. With a frown, Nao dropped his hands - only to realise that he had accidentally knocked someone over when he had taken a flashstep back.

Whoops.

He looked down. What he saw was a small child with brown hair - a girl around a head shorter than him who looked familiar. Taking a step back, Nao's eyebrows wrinkled. "Sorry, for knocking you over," he said, sounding only a little apologetic. He had bumped into her, after all. "Watch where you're going next time, please," he added, only remembering to use 'please' at the last moment. Tucking the plastic bag of snacks into his belt as if it were a strap on pouch, Nao hesitated a bit before bringing a hand out towards her for the girl to take.

Helping people up was what Riku would have done, after all.

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Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa
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Sachiko Yano

Dialogue โ‹„ #CC9966
Thought โ‹„ #CC9999


Sachiko had been too focused on Rat and Sora behind her to notice that someone was approaching from the front and further still had managed to topple her over with a good amount of force. She actually only felt it by the time she hit the ground and got a bump to her forehead from it, before quickly after partially sitting up and supporting herself on both hands. โ€Owe,โ€ she said out of instinct and looked up when hearing a voice. It was a boy and a rather familiar one at that; she swore that she recognized the face from somewhere. โ€But you walked into me, so youโ€™re the one whoโ€™s suppose to watch where theyโ€™re going.โ€ Sachiko advised with an eyebrow raised at the kid. They talked funny, after all. Was the boy complaining or apologizing? She giggled a little because of it and found it to be quite amusing deep down, if only to her and no one else.

When he offered a hand out to her Sachiko only glanced at it briefly, exchanging stares between the hand and their face before giving a light shake of her head. โ€Oh donโ€™t worry I got it,โ€ she assured him and grinned widely. Without trying to seem rude about it the girl brought both knees in and pushed off from her hands, scrambling upright once more and brushing herself down all the same without his assistance. It was only then that it hit her apparently. A sudden gasp escaping the girl as she spun round to face him.

โ€Ooh youโ€™re that girl!โ€ She remarked suddenly and then promptly corrected with, โ€I mean boy! From Scepter 4!โ€ Honestly he looked like a girl half the time and Sachiko never put much thought into it. Who cared enough? Heck his hair was possibly even longer than hers, you know. That was something. But in a swift moment her expression quickly adjusted. โ€You oughta watch where youโ€™re going, you knocked me over! Geez.โ€ The girl protested at once to him, her own inner fiery spirit partly coming alive right there and then. It was one thing to get pushed over by some boy, but another thing entirely if it was Scepter 4. โ€Donโ€™t they teach you to be more observant and other super boring stuff? Heh,โ€ as if contemplating making a prime example in the spur of the moment, she had spied the plastic bag of snacks tucked into his belt and grinned yet again. โ€If you're not careful I'll have that too!โ€ Sachiko challenged with an amused tone. That'd sure teach him. Mr. Not-Really-Paying-Attention. Hm.

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Character Portrait: Sachiko Yano Character Portrait: Nao Morizakawa
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Morizukawa Nao
speaking: blue | thought: darkblue





Ah. "Well, if you say so." Nao responded neutrally, withdrawing his hand as the girl stood up with a smile on her face. His neutral look hid a twinge of hurt-annoyance (so what if she rejected his hand, she didn't need it anyway) that quickly faded away. She seemed pretty robust for her age, as well as cheerful. She also didn't seem hurt. Well, in that case there was no point in sticking around here. Face neutral, he turned around, ready to head back to Riku-san and the others when-

"Ooh you're that girl! I mean boy! From Sceptre 4!"

Nao froze midturn, eyes going wide as he registered the comment. Behind him, the small girl continued to chatter, words only vaguely heard and registered as the offending comment swirled in his mind like whipped cream on coffee. For a couple of seconds, nothing was felt, but then suddenly a spark of irritation was in him.

Oooh you're that girl! Girl. Girl. GIRL.

Remember what you promised. Deep breaths.


Nao whirled back around to face the brown-haired pipsqueak who called him a girly-looking kid (an exaggeration), eyebrows twitching in anger and annoyance blazing in his eyes. "Oi, kid." Raising an eyebrow that was twitching with irritation, Nao gestured to himself, pointing out his suit, shirt and pants. "Does this look like a dress to you?" he asked sarcastically. Before the HOMRA child could reply, he continued, voice extremely annoyed, "No. And that is because its not a dress. So don't make the same mistake again next time.", he said angrily, completely ignoring the fact that he had features like a girl and long hair that was tied in a ponytail, which made him look about as male as a crossdresser, which was to say only marginally.

"And oh, they do teach us all that," He said faux-casually, slipping one hand into his pocket. "They even taught us how to see small children. Unfortunately, they didn't teach us how to see microbes, which was why I bumped into you." Nao said nastily, raising his chin and looking down at the girl (wait, she was from HOMRA!) with irritated eyes, straightening hs spine to stand at his full height to further accentuate the height difference. Then, in a tone that was completely unapologetic much like gossiping ladies of the middle ages who brought about upperclass damsel's downfalls through the power of badly-placed rumors: "I do apologise! Although I guess I shouldn't have expected much, since you're just a brat from HOMRA. It'll take you forever to even think about beating me." he boasted, crossing his arms with pride.

It was completely inappropriate to respond so badly to a small comment, but years of actively drowning out his emotions had caused Nao to have the emotional maturity of a two year old and years of carefully not thinking about responses of degrading comments, an astounding lack of education in levels followed by finally having the words 'girly' meant explained to him and how it factored in as an insult had caused Nao to not quite understand whether to react lightly or heavily for the varying levels of insults and thus respond to almost everything as if he were holding a blunt hammer to smash rocks with. Also, it was normal to respond as such if one was insulted, right? And she was HOMRA! And she insulted him first! So what he was doing was normal and thus it was entirely ok to lambast the girl in front of him!

Ha! See if she insults Sceptre 4 again.