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Samurai Champloo: Swords of Six Dragon

Kanto

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a part of Samurai Champloo: Swords of Six Dragon, by RayCaptain.

Welcome to Kanto! High-class and heavily populated. Enjoy your stay!

RolePlayGateway holds sovereignty over Kanto, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

203 readers have been here.

Setting

The most populated of all the sectors. This is where you'll spend most of your time if you're looking for more classy people and such.
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Kanto

Welcome to Kanto! High-class and heavily populated. Enjoy your stay!

Minimap

Kanto is a part of Samurai Champloo: Swords of Six Dragon.

2 Characters Here

Tsukiko [1] A beautiful assassin disguised as an Oiran, but her cover was blown, causing her to run away.
Toku Jo [0] A rather dirty looking swordsman who prefers to settle confrontations over a drink rather than the use of his sword.

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Somewhere within a park in Tokyo...

The young swordsman rested on his knees, his eyes shut lightly and the world developing slowly around him. This was one of the few public places in the city that was still green and not entirely urban. Birds sung out their hearts up in a tree that shaded him from the midday sun and bugs went quietly on their away around him. This place, although calm at first glance, was truly alive...

Suddenly, the faint sound of drums caught the young samurai's attention and he opened his eyes slowly. The drums were nearing and there was little doubt some wealthy figurehead was on his way to the park. More than likely, he would be cleared from the area, seen as a threat... Ronin were not adored by the more powerful unless they needed an extra sword.

After a few more minutes of the drums coming closer, they were upon him. Nearly twenty men. Guards, drummers, and then those carrying the large, covered platform, a shadowy figure inside. His voice came out softly and it was clear who it was, "Well hello there young samurai. I am Yoshiro Fujiyama, no doubt you have at least caught wind of me?" The daimyo made a motion and stairs were brought over so he could step down, "You are Osamu Tokushima, yes? The ronin who has been seen around this park every day for the past week..." When Osamu gave no response, it made the young boy smile, his bright green eyes looked much like a cat who was tormenting a poor mouse, "Of course you are. It is true what they say about you... About your silence,"

Osamu stood and gave a bow to the daimyo, "I mean no disrespect great daimyo Tokushima, but, if I am allowed, I will leave this place now," He turned to walk the other way but a soft laughter from behind him told the samurai this was going to be more than a 'hello and goodbye' conversation...

"Come, sit with me. We have much to discuss young swordsman," The daimyo, although small in height and younger than the samurai, looked much bigger from the bulky clothing he wore, no doubt a single piece was worth more than the samurai had ever even seen. After they had both taken a seat back on the covered platform, the daimyo spoke, "I am here to recruit you Osamu. I know you need money, I have money. I need a good swordsman, you are a good swordsman,"

Even though he knew exactly what it was about, Osamu asked, "For what? Why would you require someone with only amateur blade skills? I am sure that you could provide yourself with a small army of men, all much more talented than me," Mistrust was in the eyes of Osamu, as it should be; however, his voice showed that he was pleased to at least have company for a time.

The young leader laughed, covering his mouth like a teenage girl would, one thing he was famous for... "So modest... No Osamu, you are right. There are those more skilled than you. However, none quite as... Trustworthy," He took out a scroll, a signed letter no doubt of the 'Will of the Daimyo of Tokyo' which would allow him to travel pretty much unrestrained, and pushed it towards the samurai, "500 pieces of gold, no questions asked, if you can show me the site of Muttsu Doragon's grave,"

The samurai flinched a little... So it was about the Swords of Six Dragon... Part of him wanted to just leave now, he knew that no one would strike him down in public and he could defend himself from whatever wrath the daimyo would send his way... For a time anyway. However, his gut rumbled as the thought of how much food 500 gold pieces could buy him and the samurai closed his eyes, taking the scroll, "I accept your majesty," The samurai stood, bowed, and waited until the platform stopped again.

"I thank you for your time Osamu... I trust that you will not fail me," He gave a little wave a cheery smile before the ronin stepped down off the platform and the vale was dropped again. The platform was carried away to the beat of a drum...

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Raena walked the streets of Tokyo, hands locked behind her head. She focused on the sky as she walked, very minorly trying to avoid people. She would pass through here as she had many time before, hoping she would see some sign of someone needing a mercenary, though it was highly unlikely. Most people here didn't have trouble with anything at all. Some would have trouble with a customer not paying, or trying to steal, but nothing mercenary grade work. It was rather angering. But Raena wasn't worried. She had more that enough money saved up from her past jobs...

The red-haired woman let out a loud sigh as her stomach rumbled. She knew that it was just about time to eat anyway. She turned down another street, following the smells of food being cooked. She walked past a park, smirking at it. She would stop and admire the scenery. She particularly liked the water; she loved the water, loved to swim too. She might go in search of a lake soon too. It had been too long since she had enjoyed the waters last.

Suddenly, a boy bumped into Raena's side, almost knocking her over. He raced past her, not even looking behind him. "Hey! Little prick! Watch where you're goin', huh?!" She called to him angrily. She grumbled to herself, before taking a step, before her ears detected something. Or rather, the lack of something.

Her coinpurse.

Raena's eyes shot to her waist, where her coinpurse previously was, to find it gone, the leather string ripped right from it. Her head shot back to the boy, whom was still running off. "HEY! You filthy little pickpocket! GET BACK HERE!" She shouted, taking off after the boy. Clearly, she was faster than him, dispite being only a foot or so taller than him. She was catching up to him fast...but then she saw what the boy was waiting for: The crowds and crowds of people in the main marketplace. The boy was small enough to bob and weave through the peoples, without losing much speed...however, Raena was a little too big to try the same, so she instead ended up crashing into who knows how many people, her arms motioned for people to get out of her way, but as their path cleared, the boy would go to where the people had moved to. This kept her at bay, unable to catch him. "S-someone get that kid!" She called agressively, pointing to the child running away from her.

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Yoshiro Fujiyama...

A minute or so after the samurai left, Yoshiro felt a sensation of laughter coming over him. It was all to real! He had just acquired the skill of one a fairly talented ronin without any trouble. How grand it was that people would do his bidding for the littlest pocket change. A cat jumped out from behind his large chair and gave a long meow before staring up at him, asking to be held.

"Why hello there little one..." The daimyo plucked the cat up and began petting it, "You are a very lucky kitty aren't you?" Yoshiro smiled but the smile faded once he heard the commotion of... Well someone after a child, "Oh dear... That can't be good... What is going on guard?" He called from his shaded throne.

After a moment, one of the men, or his shadow from behind the vale that hid the daimyo, replied, "It's nothing, I assure you. Just a street rat and some wondering swordswoman, "Do you wish us to rid the streets for your passage sir?" The shadow remained bowed in the hot sun, waiting for his reply.

Yoshiro shook his head slowly and smiled, "Another sword toting warrior you say?" A toothy grin tore open his face and shadows danced across his face...




Osamu Tokushima...

The bladesman was looking over a fruit stand, the succulent and exotic choices were so grand and his pockets... So empty... The samurai heaved a sigh and turned away, hoping to forget his hunger for today. At that moment, he saw the small figure darting through people's legs, his dirty face twisted with a sort of fear but eagerness.

"S-someone get that kid!" A voice called and, instantly, Osamu's hand shot forward, catching the small child's collar. His legs shot outwards and his eyes widened. Osamu lifted the young boy by his collar and looked him squarely in the eye. What he saw reflecting in the two pools were a sort of dented innocence, fear, and...

The kid saw the man's two swords and gave a small cry as he fished out the coin purse and shoved it towards the man. Osamu shook his head with a smile, "Do not steal... It is not polite. Instead, ask when you are short on money... People aren't all mean," The boy's feet found themselves back on the ground and he took off again, Osamu smiling lightly.

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Raena waded her way through the crowds, trying to do so as gracefully as possible...before realizing that it was near impossible. She gently pushed people out of the way (or as gently as she could've while running), trying to keep up with the pickpocket. " 'Scusemesorrycomingthroughpardonme!" She almost shouted, as she dove through the various peoples that made up the streets.

Suddenly, a man in front of her picked the child up by his collar, lifting him off the ground. She would've wished the man would've slammed the child's face on the ground, but that was probably her being overagressive. The child would hand the coinpurse to the man, before he would let the child go. She would sigh, and walk to the man, panting slightly as she rubbed her shoulder. "Thank you sir." She would say, smiling. The man was garbed lightly, but had weapons by his side. Another mercenary, perhaps? Or was he a samurai? She would shake from her thought, before offering a bow. "Raena Barike." She would say, indicating her name. "Can I do anything to return the favor, Sir?" She asked kindly, wiping her hair from her sweat tinted forehead.

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Akiko walked quietly and merely listened to the wind and her foots steps as she crested over a hill. Once on the top of the hill she stopped and looked at the sight below and smiled slightly. "Tokyo, finally, I'm so tired of being on the road alone.... I hope father is okay,"she started to say as the wind blew. She tucked some of her long brown hair behind her ear as she gazed out at the large town. She started to walk down the hill towards the town and as she did she thought about the possibilities it could hold for her.

"It may be too close to Okido, I haven't been traveling very long now. I can't go back to the life...." her thoughts flooded her mind as she walked into the town. she didn't even notice people stopping to look at her, more specifically her eyes. This was something people had done all her life, so much so, she didn't even notice it anymore. She had bright blue eyes, something very uncommon in the Japanese people. She had been told a few people in her blood line had them and that it was just the luck of the draw that she had gotten them as well. Either way she didn't care, she found it quite tedious to always have new people staring at her all the time and it also made it hard for her to blend into a crowd.

She looekd around for a while at all the shops and different areas of the town after a short while though she kept noticing the same three men out of the corner of her eye. Thuggish looking fellows, the men she didn't wish to keep company of, "Why do I always get followed by thugs?" she thought as she proceeded to act normal as she thought of a way to get out of it. She kept walking at a normal pace and could tell they were slowly getting close. "Someone who looks strong, or influential in the area strong or.... there we go! A samurai! They won't attack me if they think I'm with him!" she thought as she rounded a corner to see a man with warm toned clothing and two swords ((Osamu)).

She smiled and began to speed walk up to him as if she knew he was waiting for her, something she hoped would help her followers believe she knew the man. "There you are darling, I'm so sorry I'm late I had to help my father tend to the shop a little longer than I thought," she as she walked up to the man. As she stood next to him she got a little closer and looked over her shoulder to see the thugs high tailing it out of the area. She smiled and then took a few steps away and bowed deeply to the man, "I'm so sorry to address you so informally, I needed to make some thugs believe I knew you so they would leave me alone. Thank you so very much for not questioning it before they left and I'm sorry if it was any inconvenience, I'm Akiko Tatsuhashi." she said as she stood back up straight from her bow. Then she noticed she must have just missed a slight disruption.

She noticed the woman he was with seemed to be recovering from being out of breathe and they had been talking before she walked up, she bowed to the woman as well, "I'm sorry to have interrupted anything you two were talking about, please allow me to buy you both a meal as compensation for lost time and to show my gratitude for the help you both gave me." she added as she stood up from her bow to the woman. She noticed out of the corner of her eye there was a small veiled carrying platform with the shape of a person inside, she instinctively knew someone important was in it and just now noticed all the guards around it, she bowed deeply to whom ever was in the carriage to show her respects then turned her attention back to the samurai and the swords woman in front of her while thinking, "What the hell did I walk in on?!"

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Osamu gave a small bow and handed the coin purse back to the woman, "No thank you... That will not be required Miss Barike," He chose not to ask for food seeing as how he had just met this person... The ronin examined the girl and noted the large sword attached to her. She was small framed and Osamu was unsure if the sword was overcompensation or an actual weapon... It did not really matter, did it?

The young man gave a little smile, "Not to be rude but I should be on my way I suppose. That is, unless you are in need of further assistance," The faint beating of drums and the slowly thinning crowd spurred his reaction as much as anything... However, the very moment the words slipped from his lips, another woman, this one not armed at all it seemed, came rushing up.

"There you are darling, I'm so sorry I'm late I had to help my father tend to the shop a little longer than I thought," The woman said loudly. Obviously, he was being mistaken for someone else, not something that happened often. However, he quickly found himself being apologized and explained to. Thugs. Of course... Osamu often forgot that he could be feared or respected simply by the swords at his side. His mind was not changed about leaving until the mention of a meal was made. Osamu's stomach growling loudly... Although he would not ask for a meal, he would not deny one because that was simply rude.

"That... That is the daimyo of Tokyo... A very wealthy, very disturbing man and..." The ronin motioned for the three of them to head towards a more crowded area. No doubt Yoshiro was after the woman with the large sword, Raena. "I believe we will find the best food for the cheapest price that way," Osamu did not give a second word to them as he began walking briskly.



It took only about five minutes for the daimyo's first guards to clear a path for the large platform. Yoshiro sat with a large smile. The thought of two rogue warriors working for him... It was simply-

"Master Fujiyama," A guard from outside interrupted his thoughts but that was their job wasn't it? "We have... Seemingly lost the girl... And the ronin," There was a long pause as the daimyo struggled to find the proper words to express his... Frustration.

Yoshiro shook his head with a small sigh and a laugh, "That is ok! Really it is... It's not like I wanted those swords anyway. Just a fancy is all," Even past the vale, he could see the guard trying to slink away, "Look. I will give you... Until the count of three to get out of here. Failure to retrieve the girl will result in a very stern punishment... Oh, by the way, I'm starting at two,"

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Akiko couldn't help but smile as the man's stomach growled as if to say yes to the offer for a free meal. She listened as he explained who was in the veiled platform and then glanced back over at it, with more of a curiosity in her bright blue eyes now, for a moment. When she turned her attention back to the two before her the man was walking off, she smiled at the woman and said, "Please join us," and with that she was off to follow the man. He hadn't given her his name but she decided that it wasn't deemed necessary to. A few minutes later the man entered a small restaurant. It was a quaint little tea house, common in this area of Japan, that served food along with tea. There was only one other party in the restaurant, a group of men with swords as well, "I didn't know so many people here could wield swords...." she thought as they were being lead to their seats.

"Order what ever you two would like, it's no trouble at all," she said to them as a server girl came up to them to ask them what they wanted. Akiko ordered eight steamed dumplings and some tea and waited for the others to order. Once they did and the server girl left she backed up slightly and bowed to both the man and woman again, "I didn't properly introduce myself earlier, I am Akiko Tatsuhashi, a traveler from Okido, I'm honored to meet both of you," she said with a smile. Moments later the server girl was back with their drinks and then gone again. "What brings you two to Tokyo? Or do you both live here?" she inquired hoping that it wasn't out of place for her to ask such a question.

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Raena smiled as the man seemed polite enough, yet didn't return with his name. Odd man, but it didn't matter. But suddenly, as the man started off, another woman came, and began to talk to him. Apperently, she had been trying to escape some thugs, and only really needed to throw them off. Raena understood, having herself a few interesting tricks for ridding herself of thugs. She then appologized to Raena for interrupting, before offering them a fine meal. "Heh, you're okay. I was just about to ask my friend here the same, but if you're buyin', I'm not denyin'!" She said happily. The man something about the Daimyo of something, before walking off into the crowds of people. She would follow the two closely.

Finally, they arrived at a small tea house, where they were lead to their seats, before the girl introduced herself, before ordering. "I'll have what she's having." Raena said lightly. She honestly wasn't a big fan to tea, but this place had some great dumplings. She waited untill the man ordered, before introducing herself to the girl. "Raena Barke. Nice to meet you." She said lightly, before turning to see if the man introduced himself as well, or would keep his name secret from them....

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They ended up stopping at a very nice little restaurant and it seemed he was able to order anything he wished. The menu options were many and his belly was empty... It seemed the both of them were cheerful, outgoing, and very... friendly he supposed was the word. Osamu looked up at the waitress girl, "A small glass of warm tea... I suppose..." He seemed to pause as his eyes darted over the menu quickly, "And a small bowl of rice, if that is ok?" He nodded to answer his own question and sat quietly for a time, his eyes at the table. Such a small order was not exactly on purpose, it was just seen as mannerly. Maybe he came off as seclusive to the two women, not even allowing his own name to slip past his lips...

"I guess... That I have been made rude by nature... Or at least quiet," He gave a little smile, "I am Osamu... Sorry if I do not provide a last name, it seems to slip my mind every now and again," The ronin gave a half-hearted laugh and continued to answer the unarmed female's questions. "I am here for no particular reason. I have my doubts you will see me around here again for a time," He gripped the scroll in the inner pocket of his garments. It would be nice to have some company... Along the way at least. But I am always alone on trips, why change that then? His inner thoughts and questions would soon be interrupted as a royal guard came through the entrance.

"Is there a Barike in here?" The guard called out, "The daimyo wishes to have an official word with you. Do not fear, you are not in any sort of trouble," He started to make his way through the restaurant, looking everyone over, a scroll exactly like the one Osamu received in the man's fist.

Osamu groaned and rubbed his face a little, "I suppose Yoshiro is as persistent as they say," He let his palm rest on the katana at his side as the guard made his way over, seeing Raena's blade he gave a faint smile.

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#, as written by Cynoc
Dosetsu plucked the strings to his biwa, the sound reaching any nearby ears within seconds. He was leaning back with his head against the wall of some building, his eyes closed, playing a little tune he liked to play while flashing back on things. Usually his most recent kill, as was the case with this time, and then the music began to flow.

Twang!

The ronin charged forward, a cry escaping from his lips as he hurtled towards Dosetsu, who stood still with his sword still in it's sheath.

He didn't understand why people insisted on charging head on when it was obvious you couldn't win that way. He wasn't one for backing down much, but blindly charging was just stupid, and he wasn't much for that idea either.

Twang!

The ronin raised his sword above his head, blood spiraling down his arm to drip to the ground. A look of desperation shown on his face. Dosetsu merely shook his head, the silent confirmation that the end had come for this nameless warrior.

Sometimes he could understand when it actually was over, and there no longer was any point in trying to run. In that case, he would probably just charge on in as well. It was a good death if you died fighting head on in battle.

Twang!

He wouldn't have even seen Dosetsu's blade flying in through the air behind him. Just as Dosetsu jumped back away from the ronin, Dosetsu's katana embedded through his chest from behind and came out the front, reaching where Dosetsu had been a second before. The ronin's eyes were already rolling into the back of his head for the final time when the final sound escaped his lips.

Dosetsu slapped his palm down along the strings to his biwa, silencing it. He opened his eyes, staring at it's intricacies and beauty a little before setting it aside. Sighing, he reached to his other side and pulled up a sword in a sheath. The sheath was generic, nothing special from the hilt either. Dosetsu drew the blade in one quick motion, his eyes running up and down the length of the blade. He had known this wouldn't be it, a swordsman as weak as that hadn't been strong enough to defeat his father. This blade wasn't even worth adding to his collection, he had chipped it in a few places and it was a little out of shape anyway.

With another sigh, Dosetsu stood up. He picked up his biwa and strapped it across his back, then turned towards the building he had been laying up against. He shrugged, then stood the sword up against it. Without a word, he turned and walked off back down the streets of Tokyo.

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Raena's head shot over towards a Royal Guard, one whom apperently had been looking for her. She stood up, and would offer a slight wave to him. "Yessir, that's my name." She'd say politely, not wanting to get herself INTO trouble, seeing how she wasn't in any. He said the the Daimyo had wanted audience with her, in which she couldn't deny. She thought in her mind that she'd had some explaining to do- she was fairly sure that she knew the man from her less than honorable past...but she could've been wrong. She hoped she was....

She would turn back to her friend's table, and give a bow. "I shall be back as quickly as I am able. Please excuse me." She would say, walking outside with the man, following him. They walked in silence, Raena's hands at her sides, away from her blade. She would continue to follow the man, untill he lead her to the park where the man resode earlier, as she thought. She would walk to him silently, offer a gentle bow, before praying the man hadn't been the one from her past...

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Akiko smiled over at Osamu and said, "Alright Osamu, it is then, and you can order more than just rice. It's my treat really, I have an odd talent that often gets me a fair amount of money, so I can afford it, and judging by the noises your stomach is making it's quite empty." she said as the waitress came back with their food this time. It wasn't more than a few seconds when an official of the daimyo came in looking for Raena.

Akiko took a moment to observer her surroundings then said quite clearly, "Idiot," to the guard.

"Wh what was that?" the guard asked.

"You're an idiot, there are two parties in here and of those tow only one has any females in it and of that party only on female has a sword. Announcing that you're here on official business from the daimyo and saying that he is nearby is a stupid and dangerous thing to do. There could be thugs around that would wish to do harm to you or your lord and you just let them knew useful information to use for just that purpose," she started to explain.

The other party in the tea house was a group of about seven men all with rather a rather shady look to them and all with swords that tense up as the guard had entered and started to speak. She saw the group getting ready to move out of the corner of her eye and took another sip of her tea and added, "BUT! Only stupid anarchist men like that would attack directly in the open instead of being subtle about it," she added, then Raena stood up and walked out with the guard following suit with a rather discouraged look for being made the fool.

The men at the other table all seemed to glare over at Akiko who merely sipped some more of her tea. "I fear I may have just caused myself trouble," she thought, "But at least I just stopped something rather bad from happening. They should really be smarter than to just announce things like that," she added to her thoughts and then ate one of her dumplings and then she smiled over at Osamu, "You may have some of my dumplings if you like until the servant girl comes back to see if you want something more," she said.

As she pushed the plate slightly closer to Osamu a sword came down and stabbed the table next to her wrist, causing the charm bangle on it to break. "Listen here you little bitch, don't go trying to make us look like fools. You and your little friends don't want to be on the bad side of the Okami Gang," the man said with a sneer.

"Oh that was a gift from my father, now I'll have to buy some string to retie it with," Akiko said as she picked up the charm orbs and slid them into a small pouch.

"Aren't you listening?! I demand you pay us compensation for that little outburst!" the man yelled.

Akiko looked up at him her eyes now a harsh glare intensified by the icy blue of her eyes. "Are you challenged?" she asked in a harsh but quiet tone, "I just saved your lives you would have killed that guard and charged out to face twenty more before you reached the daimyo, on top of that do you know who I am?" she got up and glared up at the man and added, "I'm Shizuki Ayami! Daughter of the shogunate's sister! I haven't even heard of your stupid little group of little boys who play with swords like they are toys, and if you don't want any trouble you'll get out of my sight now!" she said sternly but not so loud as anyone outside would hear.

The men all shot up and gave Akiko deep bows while saying their apologies and high tailed it out of the restaurant. Akiko smiled and sat back down on her floor mat and ordered some more tea. "You'd think that lie wouldn't work because of my physical features," she said referring to her eyes. "But it always does," she added and then ate another dumpling. "I wonder what business the Daimyo has with Miss Raena," she mumbled.

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Today was a lucky day for the old man Toku Jo.

Not only did he manage to find himself in a city (which he has no idea how he got to). But, he had also managed to find himself in a restaurant and a bunch of men who were too busy glaring at a girl to keep track of their sake. And since his drinking gourd was a little light and if they drink their sake he might as well relieve them of it since he did not want it to go to waste.

Jo had managed to transfer quit a bit of the sake to his gourd until one of the members of the group had started to return to the table. Unfortunately he saw what Jo was doing.

"WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING OLD MAN!" The ruffian shouted.

"I'm over there." Jo plainly said pointing to the left with his right hand.

Now for whatever reason all the men at the table looked in the direction he was pointing. Only to notice that he was in fact not over there. So it came as a surprise that when they looked back the old man Jo was making a mad dash to the door. And of course all the men started to run after him.

Apparently it was not a lucky day for Jo. For Jo was now in a foot race with a bunch of men who were decades younger than he was. Needless to say he was not going to win this race. So he just stopped.

The leader of the gang had managed to catch up with Jo with his sword all ready drawn.

"So you've all ready realized that there is no way to escape your death." The gang leader declared.

"Young man, I ask that you please reconsider this course of action for it will not end well for you." Jo replied with an ice cold voice.

"HA! I am a man of the Okami Gang and your just an old man so who is this not going to end well for?" The ruffian confidently inquired.

"Boy, I do not have this sword for no reason." Jo states as he draws his sword and also at this point many different witnesses.

"All right lets do this. DIE!" The gangster yells his war cry and rushes at Jo.

CLANG!

THUD!

And quicker than this whole ordeal began it ended with the gangster swiftly disarmed staring at Jo's sword that was pointed directly at his throat.

"I told boy. This would not end well for you." Jo says quietly.

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Osamu never lifted an eye throughout the whole ordeal. It... really was not his place to settle any sort of dispute, seeing as how Akiko was able to lie her way out of the trouble. Really he supposed anyone who could look you in the eye and give such an outlandish tale deserved to be believed. The ronin knew that the daimyo would not hold the other girl too long. Yoshiro was known for being unbelievably impatient no matter the situation...

He was about to say something when the scene with an old man went down. The thugs looked fairly foolish against the bumbling man... They'll give swords to anyone these days... Osamu thought and gave a frustrated sigh. It would not be long before he would rid himself of these two. No doubt the girl was being offered a scroll of contract this very moment but that did not mean he wanted to work with her... The ronin took a sip of tea and looked over at Akiko with a 'it's just one of those days' look.




Raena would arrive at the platform to find the daimyo laying in his seat, legs over one arm rest and head over the other, playing with a small feline. The guard coughed and waited a moment; however, the young man's attention did not sway from his little pet, "Um... Master Y-"

"What! I heard you the first time. If the little girl is here, send her in... You act like I'm death incarnate or something," Yoshiro did not move from his position in the chair for a time as Raena was ushered up the stairs and into the covered platform. Finally the young daimyo would set down the cat and set upright. It was obvious how young he was as he spoke, "You are... the Barike girl I presume. Nice to finally meet you!" He gave a little wave that could be taken as childish, "I am Yoshiro and I want to employ you! You like money right?" From his silk and fur robes, Yoshiro's hand exposed a scroll, "Of course you do..."

There was a pause as the young man thought, slowly going back to leaning on one side of the chair he sat in, "Do you know about... Any... Famous swordsmen that have supposedly died recently. You know... Maybe his weapons were seen as valuable? I'm sure you know the one," He smiled brightly, always enjoying his non-noble company. They were always so much fun to play around with, "Well... I want those swords!"




"I hope we can leave soon," Osamu muttered as he looked down in his mostly unfinished cup of tea, "I'm not too keen on larger cities. They hold no purity," He started to take another sip but decided differently and sat it back down, falling quiet again as he awaited the return of the other woman. In Osamu's mind, he was actually wondering more about Akiko. Mostly because, in the time he had known her, she had lied twice within about ten minutes. Both very convincing, very profound lies that... Made him guess at what the truth was. Not that it would really matter in another day or two.

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Akiko watched the spectacle with the old man and thugs she had scared and couldn't help but giggle. Then she saw Osamu's look and smiled back at him knowing what it meant. "Today's been a bit unusual, if Tokyo is this interesting I may decided to stay here for a while...." she paused and then sighed and went on to say. "I know what you're thinking, I'm a big fat liar.... or something along those lines. Well, truth be told, I am. There are two kinds of weapons in this world, physical... like your swords, and verbal like my words. Honestly I'm not good at fighting, since you can tell, because if I was we probably wouldn't be here right now." she said and then ate another dumpling and was quiet for a few moments before going on, "I rely on my mind and words to help me out, and the only weapon I have is a small tanto, which if I had to use, I would probably be too panicked to use efficiently. So I lie to get out of troublesome situations. Like when I made those thugs believe I knew you and these gang members think I was some form of royalty," she added.

She looked back at the door way and sighed seeing as how Raena wasn't back yet. She reached over and pulled Raena's plate in front of her, "These will be cold by the time she gets back... We need more dumplings for my friends over here please!" Akiko called out then at another dumpling and said. "I can assure you, that it does not matter but everything I have told you or Miss Raena directly has been the truth." she then started to eat in silence and a few moments later the servant girl brought out more dumplings that would be fresher for Raena when she got back.

She then smiled and changed the subject, "So, I hear the daimyo here is a real lady charmer. Do you think our new friend was seduced by him?" she said jokingly acting as if it was juicy gossip though she knew that wasn't the case and that it was just a ploy to keep the conversation rolling.

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Dosetsu waved off the beggars, he recognized the disguises. He had already given those two some money a little while ago. Not such a bad idea for that lifestyle, but to the trained eye it didn't work so well. If the trained eye had a temper, or didn't like when people tried to deceive them, it could end badly for those two. Yet, that was there life, and he held no interest in butting into it what so ever.

Rounding the corner to head into a nearby teahouse, Dosetsu heard a slight commotion. Curious, he looked down the street as a small crowd began to hover around and look at something. Even more curious now, Dosetsu made his way to the edge of the crowd, his nice height advantage allowing him to look on as an old man faced off against someone who wasn't holding his sword very well.

In one quick motion, the fight was over. Dosetsu was a little impressed. The loser had been a fool, not able to hold or swing a sword right anyway, a child could have beat him. The old man though... his form, speed, and execution had been impressive and flawless. He had wasted no movement or energy in that short time it took him to hit the perfect spot to disarm his opponent in one attack, and now he stood victorious, though he didn't appear intent on killing.

Dosetsu noticed that past the defeated guy was a small group of guys. They appeared to be friends of his, though if he was the one out fighting he had probably been the leader, the strongest. They might try to rush to his rescue to protect him, but since they appeared to be little better then thugs they would probably just cower and tremble.

Dosetsu just wanted to drink some sake and relax after that last job, but he was a little disappointed in his last opponent. He had been itching for a challenge for awhile now, and what skilled warrior could resist testing themselves against another skilled warrior when they saw one. Before he could debate on it anymore, Dosetsu pushed his way through the crowd and out into the clearing where they were. Locking his leg in place and folding his arms at his chest, he regarded the back of the old man.

"Hey you there! Old timer! Once you're done teaching the little boy there how to hold a sword properly, perhaps you'd like to try that little maneuver on me?" Dosetsu's voice was slightly mocking, but mostly challenging.

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Osamu fought off a smile as he listened to the self-proclaimed expert liar, and, for a time, he remained silent. The ronin finally swirled the cup of tea around and drank the rest of it, "There was this Chinese general that lived many many years ago," The ronin took a few moments to try and remember his name, "Sun Tzu, I believe, anyway... Lived a long time ago... He was a master tactician and was feared by all of his enemies. Not only was he feared but respected... Because, unlike most of those mainlanders, he was not a brute but a tactician. He had one heck of a mind," Osamu now smiled towards the girl, "You, much like Sun Tzu, are not much of a fighter, or so you say. However, a sharp mind beats a sharp blade any day,"

After the drawn out, story-like compliment, Osamu picked a small clump of rice from his bowl and popped it in his mouth. Along with that, he took in Akiko's thoughts about the daimyo. This little bit caught him off guard and, after choking a little, Osamu had to respond, "A 'charmer'? I have seen him... The boy is... Well, just that... A boy. He dresses like a pampered concubine and acts like a teenage girl. Hardly a charmer..." The blinked and frowned as he realized that he had been drawn out into a silly conversation, "But what do I know. I am no woman," With that he filled his mouth once more with rice

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With no sword in hand and Jo's own sword pointed at his own throat, the gangster was humiliatingly defeated. Jo brought his sword to his sheath when he heard a man yelling.

"Hey you there! Old timer! Once you're done teaching the little boy there how to hold a sword properly, perhaps you'd like to try that little maneuver on me?" The voice cam from a tall and handsome man with his arms crossed.

Jo started to slowly walk around staring at the man, no sizing him up actually.

Now, normally Jo would disregard such a thing but for some reason he still had an urge to fight. He had not felt this feeling since he was a young samurai fighting for his lord. There was something about this man who challenged him. There was something about him that made Jo want to test his steel against him, to cross swords with him.

Why though? Jo had managed to purge those types of emotions long ago. He had no reason to draw his sword against this man. But yet he still wanted to. Perhaps it was from the empty feeling from fighting that ruffian who he had defeated effortlessly. But again, he had purged those types of emotions from himself years ago. Or perhaps he had drowned them in alcohol.

That was it!

Jo just then notice. He was no longer wobbly he could walk without stumbling. He needed to get a drink before his need for battle took over.

Jo's left hand drifted to his drinking gourd which was secured to his left hip until...

"Don't you ignore me OLD MAN!"

Jo's battle instinct took over. His left hand rerouted its course to his sword. His thumb flicked the hand guard releasing the sword and making it ready to be drawn. His right foot slid back making his body turn with it. And there he saw him. The same gangster he had just defeated was running at him with his sword held above his head.

There was no more need mercy. This man had forfeited his life.

SHING

Jo's sword shot out of its sheath and found its target dead on.

The ruffian was only able to take a few more steps before he fell over dead.

"BOSS!" The rest of the gang members yelled. "Do you think that we are going to let you go now old man!"

"GET HIM!" The rest of the Okami Gang member charged at him with there weapons drawn.

"Fools." Was all Jo whispered.

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Akiko smiled as Osamu complimented her and then tried to suppress a giggle as he started to choke on his rice and then said what he thought about the daimyo. "Oh really? a little kid? What a shame I was hoping to see a handsome young man. Oh well," she said as she somewhat tease him knowing he could take it as her saying he wasn't handsome or that he wasn't young looking, even though she was just joking around. A small commotion outside caught Akiko's attention and she walked over to the door way of the tea house where the servant girl was also peering out. "What's the dealio yo?" she asked.

"Wh what?" the servant girl asked, surprised by Akiko's strange phrase then she replied, "Well I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the daimyo but then another handsome guy walked up to the area where the old man from before was. He challenged him so I thought there was gonna be a good fight, but then one of the guys from the gang attacked him and he killed the guy on the spot. I think the others are attacking him now but I can't see very well anymore the crowds getting too thick," the servant girl explained. As they both peered out passed the entrance of the tea house a little kid bumped into Akiko knocking her money pouch to the ground causing it to fling open. some beggars instantly ran to grab it but Akiko picked it up and held it out of their reach as the two of them tried to seemingly climb on her. The servant girl instantly assisted into trying to pulled them off of Akiko but this only failed and ended up in Akiko falling to the ground with the beggars on top of her, she grabbed a few coins and threw them and the beggars chased after them.

She got up and dusted herself off and looked to see that she threw a great deal more than he had thought she did but still had a fair amount of money. "Awwww and I was saving up to buy a cello to playyyy, that would've gotten me so much money," she groaned. She decided it best to pay the servant girl for the food now lest the rather rough beggars return. After which she bowed to Osamu and said, "Feel free to stay and finished your food and inform Miss Raena to do so as well, I'll just be outside looking at what's going on," she explained. "Thank you again for earlier," she added and with that she walked out and over to the crowd of people.

Even for a girl her age Akiko was short and she jumped up an down only to get small glimpses of the fight unfolding and she saw the 'handsome man' the servant girl must have been referring to as well. "He hey! C'mon let a girl see would ya?" she said as she now tried to push to the front of the crowd. "I felt that!" she added as she felt someone's hand on her butt. She reached out and grabbed an individual's sleeve of their kimono, who ever they were they were standing firmly in place because she was able to pull herself out into the front of the crowd using them as an anchor. She looked up to see the handsome samurai from before and quickly let go of the sleeve of his kimono and bowed to him, "s sorry just trying to get out of the crowd!" she apologized then looked on to watch the fight.

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The old man turned to face Dosetsu, his eyes studying Dosetsu. Dosetsu liked what he saw in those eyes, for sure this old man was a formidable warrior in his own right, and his probably years of experience would make for quite the experience for Dosetsu to learn from. He felt his excitement rise up a level, and a small smile displayed across his lips.

Suddenly the punk he had been fighting had his sword again, and he yelled at the old man just as he was reaching for something. A second later and the man fell to the ground, dead. There could be no doubts about this old man's skill now, and while initially showing mercy he wasn't one of the fools that refused to kill an enemy that kept attacking. A more worthy adversary he couldn't ask for, accept of course for

Something caught onto the arm piece of his kimono, and as Dosetsu looked down to see it was someone's hand, he thought about how they were lucky they had grabbed the outer cloth material. If they had grabbed hard enough a little closer to his arm they would have cut their hand open pretty badly. A beautiful young girl with long red hair and captivating blue eyes pulled herself out of the crowd and up next to him, though she seemed a little startled and quickly apologized. Normally he might have tried to flirt her, but now he had something else on his mind. With a sigh he turned his head back to the old man as the gang actually decided to go after him. Dosetsu had no doubt he could handle them without much of a problem, but the man was a little old. He might not have the stamina to fight them all and then fight Dosetsu as well, plus there was always the chance of them fighting extra dirty or getting lucky. He had no love for cutting down weaklings, but he didn't want his shot at the old man to be ruined.

Dosetsu cleared the distance between the old man and he in a flash, his katana already in his hand. He stood a few feet to the side of the old man and faced down the oncoming thugs. "Allow me to help end this quickly so we can get to our business." Dosetsu spoke so the old man would hear him over the roar of the charging gangsters.

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The young ronin merely sat, eating small bits of rice while the servant girl and Akiko fought off the beggars. In a way, he sympathized with them, knowing what it was like to be poor. However, he also knew that if he could go without, so could they. Oh well, a few coins lost and the dream of an instrument delayed... Not that big of a deal he supposed. As the two girls discussed in their... Girlish, giggly way, Osamu listened in with a sort of interest and a sort of intolerance. The only life a fool could cut short with a blade was his own.

At first, Osamu did as he was told, staying put and showing none of his interest in the fight. In fact, he stole the rest of the dumpling, stirring them up with his rice and eating greedily. He could do that now... Since no one was really looking and all. Osamu felt a bit vane, caring what others thought of his manners... Oh well. After finishing the bowl of dumplings and rice quickly, he stood quite slowly, showing no real hurry. However, he quickly turned and darted for the crowd, hand on his katana blade, "Aw crap," He muttered, not going even half-way before swiveling back around and running back to the table, grabbing the glasses that still had tea in them and drinking. "I am so thirsty," He mumbled with a sigh and looked back at the crowd with a groan.

You are a samurai with no master... You are not even supposed to have a blade... or even a life really... Osamu could usually feel good about his semi-proclaimed passive views on life. He would never pick a fight and, if there was no real reason, he would not even end a fight. However, this was not always his view and, even today, really was not what he wanted, but he always felt sort of... Guilty for ever unsheathing a blade... It just felt sort of wrong to him these days.

"Ok so if the elderly man and young man can handle these fools... I won't have to do a thing," He smiled and nodded... [i]The words really translated to, "If the old bastard and cocky little punk can take the thugs... Then I can avoid having to do this awful thing of fighting!" Sneered a voice in the back of his head, "That is not what I mean... I mean exactly what I say and that is it," Osamu gave a 'humph' and closed his eyes, resting and turning his nose up a little at the nagging voice. "Why are you afraid to fight? Why are you afraid to fight? Osamu simply ignored it... What if the young punk takes the girl? The ronin gave a slight sneer, "Then that is no problem of mine,"

A few moments later, Osamu was standing at the back of crowd, defeated by his own warped conscience. There will be no interference! Just... Stand here and make sure nothing happens that shouldn't... Plus it's empty in the restaurant... The ronin gave his conscience a sort of ultimatum which he got no protest to... However, after a moment, he realized that he had just argued with himself. Being alone in nature for extended periods of time did that he supposed.

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Raena was lead to the Daiymo...and to his surprise, instead of finding an older man, she found someone whom was quite a tad younger than she expected. She bowed out of respect, and kept her silence, and her stand. As the man fed her his proposition, she would nod. She liked money, but was far from needing it any time this season. Or next season even. She still had enough money saved up from her past to keep herself alive. Nonetheless, she took the scroll, and eyed it over. Apperently, the man was looking for the swords of Six Dragon. It made sense - Six Dragon was supposedly able to strike anyone down, no matter their size, strength or skill. Wanting he weapons was understandable.... And even deeper down, Raena wanted these weapons for herself.

She thought about it long and hard, keeping her composure. She finally took a deep breath, as if gathering her courage. "I appreciate the offer, Mi'Lord." She said kindly. "But I've got my own proposition to offer, which you are more than able to turn down. Instead of paying me to find the swords.... If I can find them, I get to keep ONE. You may have the rest. But all I wish is but one of these blades." She said sternly, but not rudely. "Once you have three in your possession, I will take the next I find for my own. Then the other two shall become yours - just so you know I am being honest with my deal." She said. The proposal was modest, but she knew that she had a big chance of being turned down right then and there.

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Yoshiro listened to the girl, thinking it bold to change an offer the daimyo gave you. It made him smile though because he did want just any wannabe, spineless sword wielder to go out with one of his scrolls. That could easily lead to a terrible reputation... "But I wanted aaaall of them!" He whined like a child to its mother and worked his way around in the seat, finally his head were where his feet should be and his legs up the back rest. Yoshiro waited for a moment, seemingly thinking in that position.

"Tell you what Raena..." The daimyo folded his arms and waited a moment, "I'll except your silly spin on the contract on two conditions. One is that you stop being so damn formal... You're making my head hurt with all that..." The young daimyo looked sternly at the girl from his upside-down position but broke it into a sort of smirk, "Second, is that you kill anyone who gets in your way without hesitation... and I mean anyone ok?" Yoshiro righted himself, with some effort, and sighed.

"I feel so cramped inside this stupid thing," He motioned at all the beautiful veils around the platform that hid him from the outside world, "Let's go to the park I say. So they load me up in this and carry me there... I mean really what the hell?" The cat from before had apparently been making its way up the back of the daimyo's seat and fell into his lap, "But there's not much you can do about that I suppose. So... Go on. What'll it be? Yes or no?" He stroked the cat from its head down to its tail, causing it to purr loudly.

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The old man moved in first, his abnormal movements catching Dosetsu's eyes. He was rushing them head on, with his weapon sheathed. Then Dosetsu saw why, or at least what the old man's strategy was. He was once again making the smallest compact movements, evading their every attack effortlessly. There was no way common thugs like them would be able to tell what he was doing, they would just see their blades hitting him but nothing happening from it. In fact, nobody else besides Dosetsu could probably see anything out of the ordinary.

He made it through the line with ease, the lot of them standing around confused looking and unsure of what to do about what had just happened. Then something unexpected happened. There was a loud crack and suddenly the old man went down, holding his back. Dosetsu was stunned as were the gangsters and the crowd as well. Did this mean that he wouldn't get to have a match with the old man after all? He was somehow able to make a quick recovery by drinking what was most likely sake, and he sprang back up, seemingly full of energy and ready to continue. He tried pulling some prank on them, but they weren't falling for it for a second time, it seemed. That was their mistake.

Dosetsu wasn't all for cutting down men from behind, it wasn't the most honorable move one could make. But these men... boys, held no skill or honor, they didn't deserve any less anyway. Also, anyone that would so blatantly turn their backs to an enemy with a drawn weapon was begging harshly to be attacked from behind.

Setting his eyes and his grip, Dosetsu leaned forward quite a bit and kicked off hard, dashing his way straight through the group as the old man had. He was a blur though, kimono and katana flashing and cutting through the air at barely viewable speeds until he flew out at the other end, katana held up in the air at an angle as his kimono waved back and forth and finally came to a stop. Suddenly, blood started splurting into the air from the lot of them, and one little drop dripped off the end of Dosetsu's katana. He slashed downward quick and hard, sending the rest of the blood from his katana, and stared at the old man.

"You going to be up for round 2 still, old timer?" Dosetsu asked interestedly, a hint of respect in his voice.

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"Are they really going to fight in the middle of a bunch of dead bodies where the authorities would come find them for sure?" she though and as she was about to say something she heard an order for everyone to stay where they were, probably from that large troupe of me guarding the daimyo's veiled platform.

Of course when Akiko heard don't from someone such as an authority she would normally listen but in this case she chose not to. Normally she would've sunk back into the crowd but after watching the sight of men getting cut down out of partial self defense, she decided to do something else. She ran near the swordsman and old man then turned and pointed and said "Look a naked woman!" To which everyone looked, "Wow even the women looked, what's with this place?" she thought as she reached into the sleeve of her kimono and threw down a slightly hardened ball that broke revealing it was a smoke bomb.

the whole crowd of people and near by alley ways were engulfed in smoke and Akiko shoved the man and old man into and alley mumbling for them to get moving and followed after them. "Great now I'll have to buy more smoke bombs which is gonna set my savings back even more, plus boarding for tonight, this town is gonna make me go broke!" she mumbled as she added up how much money she had thrown away in a sense today, some of it literally.

She was following after the two men, impressed still that the old man was so spry for how aged he was. "Sooooo who has ideas? Because for some reason I just helped you guys out even though you probably could have gotten out on your own," she said as she followed after them. She could hear yelling and foot steps behind them as they ran and soon they came to a dead end that was a high wall. There were buildings on the sides with lower roofs she judged the two men could probably easily use to jump onto and then over the high wall. "Go, I'm not the ones that cut down a group of lowbie gang men," she said to them wholly expecting them to leave her behind.