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Ways of The Samurai: Revenge

Ways of The Samurai: Revenge

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There are many ways to live one's life, even for a Samurai

1,060 readers have visited Ways of The Samurai: Revenge since Skittle_Overlord created it.

Introduction

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Kobayashi Chinatsu-dono is a lady of great renown. Known for her power and discipline in following the lead of her husband, Kobayashi Gendo-dono. She was taken as an example for all the women of the land, and envy for the men. She was a symbol of peace, beauty, obedience, and control.

Until someone destroyed her world.

In a swift raid done by none other than Yousuke Haru-sama, a warlord looking to take control of the province that the Kobayashi household watched over, Lady Chinatsu-dono's family is slaughtered before her eyes. She manages to escape with the help of her loyal retainer, Kohaku-san, along with his daughter. Torn by rage, loss, and by the lust for blood, Chinatsu-dono has foresaken the image of peace and beauty in trade for a sea of blood. She herself is not strong enough to hold a sword, but she has plenty of means with which to find those who can. She sends Kohaku-san and his daughter to find her five of the strongest Ronin to join her cause, and the reward she offers is handsome. Along the way the Samurai will face shadow walkers known as Shinobi, hired swordsmen to take them down, and the cunning and cruel Warlord Yousuke Haru, who might not be as human as he claims. Another difficulty they face is in fact, one another. Personalities and ways of life clash, along with rivalry and pride.

Are you willing to bathe yourself in
blood?


About

ImageThis roleplay will take place in the Sengoku Period, but will not precisely match up realistically- since I intend to at some point include yokai (japanese demons) in the mix. So while I would like everyone to stick to the time period's limitations technologically and mostly culturally, the rules of reality are up for bending. As in this roleplay's reality will be slightly treated as an anime's would. Of course I would like for writers to remain as realistic as possible to a character's accurate reactions to traumatic events and be capable of emotional depth. I want these characters to be three dimensional, as if they were real people that the reader could sympathize with and care about. Much of this roleplay will be about the journey, you need to decide if your character will grow because of it or remain a steady rock. Put unique spins on your character and make them stand out to me, but keep in mind the culture of the time period. Basically I'm saying don't half-ass your character.

We will open up this roleplay a few years after Lady Chinatsu has been uprooted, she has gone half mad and grown violent, wanting to join her family in death. But she refuses to go until she is certain she has exacted revenge. Her location is in the province Edo, and the home she was booted out of is somewhere in the mountains. This means her specific home, the province her family used to lord over is down below on flat ground. She is still very rich, and if your character is motivated by money then they will certainly have quite a bit of it- if they are motivated by a challenge, well, this Warlord is rumored to be quite the demon. Or perhaps your character is motivated to join by something else? We will roleplay out everyone being recruited and go from there.


Characters

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Kohaku-san, loyal retainer to lady Chinatsu-dono Skittle_overlord
Kohaku-san's daughter Skittle_Overlord
Ronin Ion
Ronin aarondalea
Ronin Lifecharacter
Ronin PersonaU
Ronin Cheru-chu
Ronin Cheru-chu

Warlord Yousuke Haru Skittle_Overlord
Shinobi Leej10100
Kunoichi Ion
Kunoichi Robbhus
Shinobi Ahri

Hired Ronin for Warlord Yousuke Lifecharacter
Hired Ronin for Warlord Yousuke Played By
Hired Ronin for Warlord Yousuke Played By
Hired Ronin for Warlord Yousuke Played By
Hired Ronin for Warlord Yousuke Played By

Toggle Rules

This rp is rated M for Mature. Which means violence, gore, dark themes, possible implied sex etc.

This rp is also a literate one, this means that proper spelling and grammar is expected. Please try to match the appropriate length of your posts. And while quantity does not necessarily mean quality you do need some measure of quantity to measure said quality.

No godmodding, three strikes and you’re out.

No insta-ships, I understand chemistry and build up but making an insta-ship that makes no sense and has shallow chemistry isn’t conducive to the roleplay, which by the way has an actual plot. This rp is not for the sake of ships, but they are allowed.

Be creative and have fun with this! I love ideas and love to discuss. Make sure you communicate any concerns or questions.

The Story So Far... Write a Post » as written by 8 authors

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Character Portrait: Sakurai Hidemasa
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Lady Chinatsu had been eerily quiet, a crazed calm tingling under her skin, visible in her half lidded eyes. She allowed Kana to comb her hair, her head leaning this way or that with the gentle strokes. This activity kept her calmer these days. The morning was spent this way until the honorable lady spoke. "Bring me his head Kana-chan, won't you? His head." She sounded like a little girl almost, the request so simple and innocent, as though she were simply asking Kana to go to the store and get her some sweets. It almost made Kana wince.

"Of course Chinatsu-dono." came her reply, her voice strained with the force of sounding chipper, her smile offset by the worried furrow of her brow. She did not like what the Lady had become, but it was not her place to judge. "Today I am meeting a few men- Ah. My father is meeting a few men who will accompany us." Kana finished Lady Chinatsu's hair.

"Tsk tsk kana, you're doing something your father doesn't know about aren't you." It was a statement, not a question, an amused one. "You were always so very willful, but well meaning. It's going to get you into trouble... but not from me." She raised a finger to her mouth childishly, smiling at her new secret. This left Kana to smile and excuse herself, the Lady Chinatsu was laughing her out, finding something else she had thought of entirely hilarious. The laughter was loud and unabashed, unrestrained, unlike the Lady Chinatsu from three years ago.

"What mood is she in today?" Lady Chinatsu's mother asked as she passed by Kana in the hall.

"She has reverted to a little girl again I think. So she might throw a tantrum today but otherwise she won't get angry." This was one of Lady Chinatsu's better moods. Other days she would be in a rage all day, over the smallest things.

With a sigh Lady Chinatsu's mother turned away from Kana, off to see her daughter, "Do yourself a favor and find yourself a husband dear, one that will take you away from here and this nonsense. And if you'd stop playing with swords and put your hair up properly you'd find one much quicker..."

Kana silently watched her leave for a moment before continuing on her way out. She had been getting up early to come over and do Lady Chinatsu's hair every morning, to establish a pattern of behavior that her father could expect from her. He wouldn't be expecting her for another while since she was always sure to stay until a little after noon. And this particular day is when her father would be recruiting ronin for their trip. She would take this time to visit a couple of promising ronin that her various contacts had been recommending to her. She wanted to hand pick a few very strong ones to show to her father, to surprise him with her initiative. She wanted him to take her role in this seriously. Kana had her suspicions that although he would allow her to come along he wouldn't allow her to participate in any way. She knew she could prove to him otherwise, he'd have to see.

"Kana-chan!" Kana whirled around, her friend Maka had been the one to tell her about a one Sakurai Hidemasa, who was in Edo to treat the presiding Daimyo. Maka was one of the ladies of the Daimyo's wife and she heard talk of how the Daimyo had known Sakurai's family when he was a lad, and knew he had grown up to be a powerful bushi. "I'm so lucky I found you, please come quickly, he's was about to leave, but I convinced him to stay." Maka hurried Kana along. "He likes pretty women so you're in luck! You're beautiful friend was able to convince him to wait around for a bit." Kana laughed at her friend's ruthless flirtations as they hurried along, arriving slightly winded and flushed. They were just in time, the cart was about finished being loaded. "Sakurai-san, this is the girl I told you about, who wanted to meet you. Kohaku-chan." Maka brought kana over to Hidemasa.

Kana flashed a bright smile and bowed, "Sakurai-sama, I actually wonder if we could speak over tea. I am told you are a doctor now..." She gave a nod to Maka who excused herself to enter the Daimyo's house, back to her mistress. Her voice became quieter, she looked around to make sure no one was watching. "But I am interested in your other talents."

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Character Portrait: Genji the Sleeping Dragon
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The day had been successful, reasonably successful, well Kana didn't exactly have anything to compare the success or absence of success to. Never before had she dealt with having to hire a single ronin let alone many. Her father was surprised to say the least that Kana had shown up with a man to meet her father, but she was proud of her find and presented him thus. Her father had made no protest to the man himself and in fact seemed to like him.

Kana snuck off when her father's back was turned in order to go meet with a few other ronin, who really did not seem like they would be of much use, they were boastful and one of them didn't even have his katana properly secured at his side. They didn't have the presence of someone who knew how to slay. Kana was hoping to find at least one more man. She sighed to herself as she admitted defeat, the fifth and final man she had been recommended to was no use either. Finding him at the brothel probably hadn't helped her judgement either, he was heavily distracted by the women around him. Maybe she had just gotten impatient? He had been rather crude. She turned around looking back, wondering if maybe she should force him to display his skill. A small tug on her sleeve stopped her, her head turned to see a young boy. "Momo-kun, I didn't expect to see you out and about, it's getting dark." Her smile betrayed that she was happy to see him no less.

"You're one to talk Kana-nii. Come on I've got someone you're gonna want to see." He led her away, "This one is practically a legend, red eyes, six swords, and he wears a mask." Momo's rendition of the ronin Kana was to see was very... eccentric.

"Six swords?! I might believe it if you didn't say he had red eyes. Surely it's just a trick of the light Momo-kun." Kana laughed, just who was she going to meet?

"It's no trick! You'll see, he came in not too long ago and purchased a room, scared my dad too much to turn him away!" They arrived, "Over there, see?" Momo pointed him out, to which Kana promptly lowered his hand.

"It's rude to point Momo-kun, but thank you for telling me. Here, you can have this as a reward." Kana gave him a bag of candies, which he thanked her for and took a seat near the stairs leading to the rooms. Kana looked over to the mysterious ronin, smoke plumed from a pipe he smoked, he did indeed wear a mask. She glanced back at Momo, he mouthed 'told you'. Something rooted her to the spot, she had to force herself to move forward, past the tables and over to him when normally she never had any trouble approaching people at all. Her heart seemed to get heavy, was it panic? Why would she panic? Was this fear? No, not quite, but something like it. The feeling was altogether new to her. Her cheeks flushed with confusion, it showed on her face. There was a hint of familiarity in what she felt.

Wait, was she staring? She was, oh how horrid. She had already arrived in front of him and had been staring for a second too long. In which time she had gotten a good look at his eyes, Momo was right again, they were red, red and serpentine. "My apologies it's just, it feels like I know you from somewhere, but I don't think I would forget a ronin who carried six swords and wore a mask." Now that she was talking, her smile came much easier to her, "My name is Kohaku Kana." She bowed, "And I have come to inquire as to whether or not you would be interested in being hired." She needed no convincing, this man was the one, she would bring him to her father and their team would be less lacking. She had not met others of the team, but the sheer numbers told her they needed more.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Emiya Kurou Character Portrait: Koide Uchimori Character Portrait: Kurosawa Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Takeshi Masamura Character Portrait: Kinayama Maeko
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Souji had woken up to an empty house. Kana must have decided to visit the honorable lady Kobayashi early once more, she had been making a habit of it lately. It was a thoughtful thing for her to do, especially since Kana wasn't exactly her lady in waiting. But he would be lying if he said he didn't find it a bit lonely, despite the bustling of a city like Edo. He was forced to brush his own hair, eat breakfast alone, all things he would have otherwise done with Kana, it all added to the loneliness he felt. As his morning had passed quietly he had decided to get in some practice before he had to meet those who answered the ads he put out. Various signs and ads had been put up around town and at both entrances, he expected a good turn out. When it came time Souji washed up. Lady Kobayashi's parents had not only given he and Kana a house on their grounds to live in but was also allowing them the use of the dojo to hold the meeting. Without them a difficult matter could have been made much worse, he was grateful for them.

Souji arrived at the dojo, hearing quite a bit of chatter going on. He opened the door loudly and stepping inside, commanding attention to those who heard. He stepped out into the middle of the floor, which was cleared, people occupying floor space all around it. He waited until he had the attention of everyone in the room. "The task which you will be charged with is not an easy one. There is a chance we may not succeed, and if we do not, you have no way of getting paid... " Souji spoke in a clear and cold tone, focusing his eyes on no one in particular, but casually scanning the room. "This is not a body guard job I am hiring you for, nor a debt collection, nothing so trivial. I require ronin who are ready to kill in the name of the Kobayashi household's honor. If you stay you will see blood, there will be no avoiding it, if that is not something you have not bargained for you may leave now. But if you stay and we succeed, I can promise you two things. The first being riches, and the second being a position as a Samurai in service to the Kobayashi household, of you want it. That means a title as a nobleman, not something that is granted lightly these days." Souji's jaw twitched slightly as he saw many of the men leave. They had begun looking uncomfortable at the mention of the name 'Kobayashi'. It was known to some who followed that sort of information that the Kobayashi household had been all but massacred by a Warlord, their lands taken over by him. It didn't take much to figure that they were being hired to take back those lands, and exact revenge. There weren't many who were crazy enough for that task. In the end, only five ronin stayed. The weak willed ones had been weeded out, he had hoped for more, but he could make do.

"Five." He regarded them, studying each in turn. There were two very tall men, two particularly feminen looking men, and a young one with a head of hair that was too distinctive for Souji to not recognize as coming from an old colleague, perhaps this was his son. "Now that we have gotten rid of those not suited for this task, allow me to explain further." His tone now was softer, more conversational. "My name is Kohaku Souji, I am royal retainer to the honorable Lady Kobayashi." He bowed in respect, even though etiquette did not dictate that he had to bow to masterless ronin, nevertheless he formally introducing himself. "Two years ago the Kobayashi household was usurped by the Warlord Yousuke, the honorable lady Kobayashi's husband and sons were all killed, along with everyone else who served them. I managed to get the honorable lady out, along with my daughter, who should be joining us shortly. Our task is to exact vengeance and slay Yousuke, to retake the lands that once belonged to the honorable lady Kobayashi and restore them in her name. Should we succeed your monetary reward will be hefty, as I mentioned before."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Sakurai Hidemasa Character Portrait: Kohaku Kana, Daughter of a Samurai
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A childish breeze came curiously to the home of a man in the company of his own thoughts. Displaying its youthful enthusiasm it gently weaved itself in the branches of a lifeless sakura urging it into a silent dance and casting fond shadows on the face of the man who sat gazing up at it. The breeze then timidly chose to leave the swaying limbs to play with the unruly hair of the calm male; his eyes fluttered to a close. The wind moved on, taking with it the innocent zest it had brought, only a fleeting visitor to the lone samurai. In those final moments the man breathed out the smoke of his kiseru, his gaze still focused on the back of his lids.

Hidemasa’s eyes snapped open to peer at the young woman who had called out to him. She was decently attractive he supposed, at least enough to distract him from the task of loading his cart in preparation for the highly anticipated journey home. The woman was obviously a servant of the house, to which he presently was a highly esteemed guest, and suspiciously flirtatious. To say that he minded the attention, however, would be a decidedly inaccurate statement no matter how questionable her intentions. Hidemasa was, after all, infatuated with the finer specimens of the opposite sex and the unmistakable grin displayed his jovial acceptance of her company.

If he had had the good sense to listen to her request before speaking he might have been able to politely deny it rather than being left wondering why it was she was now leaving in such a flurry and he was bound to a spot by the cart. What he had gathered from his interaction with the cheery woman was that she had been easy on the eyes and that she would eventually be returning with yet another woman. Perhaps he could merely leave, no matter how dishonest it was to the girl whom had left under the impression he would remain, but the prospect of yet another female companion was enough to keep his feet firmly planted on the ground and a smile plastered to his face. Watching the woman disappear into the distance, Hidemasa leaned against the cart, brushed back any rebellious locks, and closed his eyes.

The sound of grass crunching underneath gracefully light footsteps caused the still bushi to turn his gaze from the back of his eyelids to the woman now approaching his residence. As he scrutinized his new company, he removed his pipe from his mouth and knit his brows together in a firm grimace. It was rare indeed for the presence of a woman to instill such dissatisfaction in the normally endearing man, but this particular woman never came that trouble did not follow her. The question that came from the male’s mouth was not one of identity but purpose, “Why have you come, woman?”

“That is no way to speak to your younger sister. Especially not after I’ve come all this way.”

”You have obviously come all this way with what you believe to be an important purpose, Kaede, I am merely displaying efficiency.” Hidemasa replaced the Japanese pipe and returned his gaze to the spectral tree as it began yet another quiet duet with the wind.

The young woman exhaled a sigh allowing any grievance she may hold against his words to exit with the breath before calmly voicing her response; “I have come with a direct request from an old family friend.” The samurai eyed the woman. He should have known that was the case; Kaede was as unmoving as a maple tree, only a request from a longtime friend could have brought her to his doorstep. Closing his eyes yet again the bothered man rubbed his temples as he thought through his limited options, assuming he actually had any.


Sakurai’s eyes flew open once more at the sound of the young lady’s voice. ”Sakurai-san, this is the girl I told you about, who wanted to meet you. Kohaku-chan.” The tall man peered down at the servant girl, sure enough in her company was yet another woman, who stood with an air of refinement despite being a foot shorter than him. It was quite evident to Hidemasa that she was not merely a servant girl and that she clearly was not here with the intention of simply keeping him company. It was a disappointing insight to be sure.

The bushi observed as the first woman left, leaving he and this Kohaku-chan in each other’s company. The older man turned to the younger woman as she spoke, "Sakurai-sama, I actually wonder if we could speak over tea. I am told you are a doctor now..." A friendly smile adorned Hidemasa’s face as he waited for her to elaborated on the ‘but’ that was clearly coming. When he watched her carefully observe her surroundings, obviously fearful that someone would overhear them, he felt his curiosity peak and a single eyebrow lift itself. ”But I am interested in your other talents.”

A rather loud jovial laugh rang out, its source being the extremely large physician. ”Young lady, Kohaku-san was it, for a man who is fond of the company of women, such as myself, that is a rather misleading statement.” When finally his laughter died down he turned towards his cart and placed a few stray items inside of it. After a moment he resumed speaking, ”Fortunately, I am aware of what it is you meant to refer. I do find it curious that despite being aware of my current choice of employment a respectable girl such as yourself would still seek out the samurai.”

Finishing whatever menial task he was distracting himself with, Hidemasa finally turned away from the cart to look back at the woman. A friendly grin still embellished his face as he bent down to meet the young woman's gaze at her own level, ”We will speak as you wish, if only because I am unable to deny myself the company of such a handsome lady.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Emiya Kurou Character Portrait: Koide Uchimori Character Portrait: Kurosawa Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Kohaku Souji Character Portrait: Kinayama Maeko
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The small town in which he’d been making his home for the past decade or so always rose even before the sun. Ryuunosuke, nocturnal by nature, had encountered some trouble adjusting to this at first, but with time and the application of his will to the task, he had trained himself to waken in the hours before dawn. As he couldn’t quite give up the sight of the moon high in the sky, however, he was yet glad he did not require so much sleep as the average ningen seemed to.

The bamboo pole over his shoulders bowed only slightly under the weight of the water-laden buckets dangling from either end of it, and his footsteps made little noise along the dirt road. They were about a day’s travel outside of Edo, here, and hardly ever received visitors of the well-intentioned kind. Though he had found that the blossoms were of a most remarkable shade here in spring, sadly the only folk who ever seemed to deign to visit the little place were bandits, and those soon found themselves most unceremoniously… dead. Or at least chased well away.

The ronin reached the house he was looking for, knocking politely on the door and stepping over the threshold only when bidden to enter. This humble dwelling, constructed as it was of wood and thatch, was well made, as were most of those that had been erected in the last ten years. Even so, there was only so much one person could do to alleviate the pain of poverty, as evidenced by the interior, clean but spare. The young woman within had two small children at her feet and another harnessed to her back, looking just about as overburdened as one would expect of a lady whose husband had left for the fortunes of the city and abandoned his family to get by without him. He personally found it despicable, but there was little to be done about it now, except perhaps help the woman in some small way.

“Ah, Kurosawa-san,” she greeted, dipping into a small bow as the little one on her back allowed. He smiled slightly and returned the gesture.

“Enemoto-san. You look well.” She shook her head slightly and rested a hand on the crown of her oldest son, just now four years old. The boy looked up (quite far up) at him with wide brown eyes, but then, he was usually like that. A soft-spoken, patient child. His three-year-old sister, on the other hand, at once attached herself to his hakama-clad leg, wrapping the limb in her tiny arms in a hug.

“Kuro-chan!” she said, though the ‘ro’ sounded more as a ‘wo’ in the way children sometimes had. Setting down the buckets of well-water, he crouched beside her and held out his arms, which the child interpreted correctly as permission to crawl her way onto his back. “Up!” she demanded with all the imperiousness of a queen, and he chuckled quietly, obliging the order.

“Of course, Sachiko-hime,” he replied gravely, “your loyal samurai can only obey.” Her too-thin arms wound round his neck, and Ryuunosuke’s smile disappeared entirely. He hated that, what he couldn’t do for them. He glanced back over at their mother, Enemoto Mariko, and there was something in her expression that he was instinctively wary of.

“I remember when you did that for me,” she said quietly, and he averted his eyes, choosing to survey the small interior of the home as though he had not seen it before. He really had been here too long; when he’d arrived, Enemoto-san had been a child of no more than eight or nine, and he knew that he hadn’t changed a bit in all that time. For now, it was simple enough to pass off as good health, but soon, people would begin to suspect something. Good people, who had no business knowing about such unworthy things as youkai and the burden of centuries.

“You’ve always been there for me, haven’t you, Kurosawa-san?” she asked, though it was more to the air than to himself, and he sighed. Over the many years he’d spent wandering the human world, this occasionally happened. He could understand; it was difficult for a ningen woman to make her way in the world without the support of a husband, especially if she happened to have children already. He was no wealthy daimyo, but he did have a steady income, a valuable skill, and a proclivity to look after people. He had no illusions that any of these women were in love with him—they didn’t even know who he was, not really. They simply sought security, as well they had a right to. This world was not kind to them, as a rule. But it was distressing to have this conversation over and over again.

“The past and the future are often different, Enemoto-san,” he replied, tone heavy with regret. He truly did need to leave, he decided. Sooner rather than later. Sensing the change in atmosphere, Sachiko squirmed, and he gently let her down back onto the floor, tousling her raven-colored hair with a hand before regaining his full height. "Your forgiveness, Enemoto-san, but I should not linger.” He continued. “Kaito-ojiisama needs his garden weeded.” The old man was hardly well enough to be doing so on his own, village headman or no. With a deep bow, half apology and half farewell, he exited the home through the same doorway he’d used to enter.

He would leave tonight. He had to.




A day’s leisurely walk after leaving the village he’d called home for the last ten years, Ryuunosuke came at last to Edo, his temporary destination. The leaving had been rather simple—though he grew to care deeply for the people at each new place he lived, he was simply a transient being by necessity. When one lived as long as he had, one learned not to put down too many roots, not to place too much value in the bonds one formed—never get too close to tear yourself away. It was a sad thing, and lonely, but born from need and inescapable.

The day was dawning warm and sunny, the scents of summer pungent on the light breeze. It teased gently at the ends of his hair and the edges of his dark clothing, creating a picture of serenity that was somewhat at odds with the permanent disquiet in his heart. Across his back, he carried only the barest necessities of life, plus two scrolls, sealed in waterproof containers, upon which he had painted his latest pair of works. He had been meaning to make a trip into the city to sell them, anyway, so it had seemed the most natural destination upon his departure. The ronin’s geta made only the softest of scuffling sounds on the dirt road before him, for he knew that to pass in silence was utterly suspicious, and had no wish to draw such unwelcome feelings upon himself. It was better to be thought humble and left be than to be thought mighty and constantly forced to prove it one more time.

Gradually, the road led into the city itself, the cultivated landscapes of rice paddies transitioning into the wooden buildings of residences, and then of a large marketplace. Edo was as bustling as ever, and he supposed it would never be otherwise, unless it met with some great calamity that even he could not foresee. He found himself hoping that it would not—for all their imperfections and cruelties, humans were generally worthy beings. Fragile, yes, and ephemeral, but for all that worthy.

His steps carried him eventually to his art dealer, a middle-aged man who seemed to be perpetually smoking a pipe, and after a few moments of admiring the scrolls and bargaining over the price they would fetch, Ryuunosuke left rather enriched, tucking the new purse of ryo into the space between his gi and his kosode. It was at this point that something caught his attention: affixed to the front wall of a tavern was a notice. Diverting from his arrow-straight course, the violet-eyed fellow approached it, tilting his head slightly to one side as he read the script thereupon. An open meeting for ronin? Apparently with the ultimate aim of selecting them for a dangerous job.

It was the family name of the requestor that drew his attention, however. Kobayashi. Not on the advertisement itself, but discoverable with a few additional questions to people who looked like they kept their ears to the ground. It was a name he’d heard before, on a few sparse occasions. More than that, however, he had known a Kobayashi, several centuries ago now. To suppose that this Kobayashi might be a descendant of his was a bit improbable, but he owed the name enough to check and see if the cause for which they were assembling so many men was something he could stand behind. Apparently, there were no few people who were leery of it, for reasons he had no background with which to understand, and he did not press it in conversation. He'd much rather see for himself.

Acquiring directions to the dojo from a passerby, he walked for another twenty or so minutes, finding himself at last where he sought to be. The locale was not one he knew, and he surmised it probably belonged to the Kobayashi in question, as he was aware of the family having attained the status necessary to procure such a homestead. But perhaps they were yet vassals to some noble house, and this property belonged to such as was their lord or lady.

Between twenty and twenty-five other people were assembled, and the dojo floor was filled already with the cacophony of many voices. He selected a spot somewhat out of the way and lowered himself to the floor, sitting seiza with a by now ingrained flawless posture. Casting his glance about the room, Ryuunosuke occupied himself with feeling out the ki signatures in the room with his magic. There were a few of considerable strength, which he supposed would be heartening to the assessor, but from the looks of things the majority were poorly-suited, and nothing was yet properly underway regardless.

It was then that a man perhaps approaching the latter part of his life entered, though for all that, he yet retained many of the aspects of human youth. His health was good, then. The tale he told, such as it was, was rather dire, and it did not take a prodigy to figure out what they were really being asked to do here, even for someone who did not know the full story. This was a revenge quest, and honor quest, and it would be nothing easy. Ryuunosuke did not leave when the majority of the rest did, but that did not mean he had by then decided, either. His eyes flickered over the others present, and he spent some moments in contemplation, electing rather than speaking to see what they might have to say, and what else might be revealed with it.

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Daimyo Yousuke, current holder of the Kobayashi domains, sat in much the same manner he had been sitting for days on end. His legs were folded, elbow resting on his knee, chin in his palm, other hand propped on his other knee, this was his thinking position. Anyone regarding him would think this man to be some sort of simple ronin, his clothing was plain and he had a bit of a wild demeanor to him, that of a sleeping beast. To be honest he was a simple man with simple needs, having no need for extravagance. He had full view of the courtyard from the room he chose as his office, the beautiful cherry blossom trees would be blooming soon. He had to admit the Kobayashi family were rather good at making their home pleasing to the eye, it looked so nice he even decided to have gardeners maintain it, whereas normally he wouldn't give a damn. Speaking of the Kobayashi, he was rather surprised when he learned that he did not succeed in killing all of them, one got away. To be specific, three got away, the lady of the house and her bodyguard and his daughter. He didn't see them as a threat or future problem, according to the Shinobi he had tail them to Edo, the former Daimyo's wife had gone mad with grief. He could easily have had her killed, but the Shinobi stationed in Edo was there to watch more than just her, he had bigger fish to cook. Killing her seemed of little importance and slipped out of his mind a long time ago.

He watched the men within his eyesight work, but he heard and smelled much more than what he saw around him. His small army was compromised of misfits and the desperate, of youkai he had ensnared in his employ and hanyou that had been turned away from society. There were men who had refused to obey the oppressive laws set up by the class separation in Japan, women who refused to be called weak and subservient, deformed individuals called ugly by those who looked at them. All he welcomed, so long as they were strong enough to fight or learn how, and even if they were not there was usually something to be done around the place, he'd have his commanders find something for them to do. In this way Yousuke was a generous person who many owed a great deal to. He had not abused his position as Daimyo, not terrorized anyone who lived in his lands before he took over, in fact they thrived as they ever had. Yousuke was not a terrible leader at all. He treated those under him fairly, even if a certain few were not under his employ by their own will. He had a code of conduct which stated that those under him were to treat each other with respect and kinship. They were allowed to question their commanding authority even, so long as there was good reason and they were strong enough to challenge that authority. Yousuke was not cruel and chaotically bloodthirsty, he was an opportunist with a clear goal. He wanted to rule, and so far the lands he had gained were not complaining about it.

"Sir! This letter came in. Ah, sir what are you doing sitting in the dark? I'll light some candles." Sasuke, his page, showed up with a letter.

Yousuke looked around, it had indeed gotten dark on him, he hadn't noticed. "Mmmm, you fuss around too much." Yousuke mumbled as Sasuke set about lighting candles.

"And you spend you days thinking too much, honestly, did you even eat?! You haven't have you." Sasuke handed Yousuke the letter, "I'll go get something, I think Nadeshiko made pork buns too, you like those don't you?"

"Wait you fussy hen, more importantly, bring me Hirano.... And Tsubaki... and... Akio and Kotone." Yousuke said as he read the letter through.

"How am I supposed to find those three, they specialize in hiding!?" Sasuke stressed, finding the shinobi and kunoichi under Yousuke's employ was always a difficult task for Sasuke, they liked to tease him relentlessly, and the youkai took this as a game especially. It wasn't Yousuke's fault, they just hated their captor, and usually took it out on whomever they could. Yousuke of course couldn't tell Sasuke that it wasn't his fault, the knowledge of the existence of youkai was on a need to know basis.

"Not my problem." Yousuke shot back childishly. "Try the roofs." Damn shinobu loved to lounge on the roofs for some reason. He gave an unrefined snort as Sasuke mumbled to himself, off to do what was asked of him.

The knowledge of the existence of youkai was on a need to know basis, and as soon as Hirano and the rest showed up, he was about to be included in that exclusive circle. Hirano was a classically raised noble samurai, a rare find for Yousuke to be able to snag for his growing army. He had listened to the man's misfortunes and immediately accepted him into his employ, expressing disgust for his past master and assuring him that his family would want for nothing and never be put under that sort of danger so long as he was loyal to his new home. Hirano proved to be an excellent investment, well suited for leadership. He had yet to fully adjust to the new environment Yousuke kept, not used to seeing women holding swords and common people with such confidence in questioning authority, but he like everyone else would come to find it as enjoyable as everyone else did. Yousuke was sure of it.

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Kana jumped a little, wide eyed and startled at the sudden booming laugh that came from the man twice her size. What was so funny about inquiring for a Samurai turned physician's skill? She realized her mistaken wording once he pointed it out however, and blushed heavily in response but laughed too, the point of the tessen in her hand touching her lips, "Oh that isn't what was meant at all!" This man was one of good humor, but also one who treated her with a level of respect. He could have very well cracked a crude joke and teased her. Kana decided instantly that she liked this man. He had a warm feeling about him that reminded her of her father. She stood taller as he mentioned that her inquiry was peculiar, she nodded. Kana didn't want to seem too eager, betraying her inexperience with handling important matters, so she was sure to keep her mouth shut from useless prattling, stopping herself from fidgeting, waiting patiently for him to finish tying the rope his hands were busy with. He agreed to speak with her! Now came the hard part, winning him over. She flashed her best smile.

"Thank you Sakurai-san, both for your time and the compliment. Apparently I look a lot like my mother, and my father says she was the most beautiful person in all of Japan. I'm not sure I can boast such a thing though!" Kana half laughed, leading Sakurai away to the tea shop nearest them. "But for people in love I suppose they would find each other to be the most beautiful wouldn't they? What was that phrase? Love is blind?" They arrived, Kana scanned the room quickly and picked the table furthest away from others. "But I suppose love isn't really what I have to speak with you about." They sat down, Kana ordered tea and waited for the server to be out of earshot, her tessen resting on her lap. "Rather it's love lost, taken from you. and naturally when such an atrocity is done you seek revenge." She said, her voice becoming solemn with a hint of sadness, "My father is a Samurai, royal retainer to the honorable lady Kobayashi Chinatsu-dono. It was not two years ago that her entire family was murdered and we were forced to flee. Her sons, boys I used to play with, gone. All of it, gone. She has since gone mad from grief, and she is surely to remain so unless we can set her mind at ease by exacting the revenge she so rightly deserves. But my father is just one man, he's set out to hire a sizable team to accomplish this task, and hopefully regain the lands our lady lost in the process. As much as I wish to right this wrong done to the honorable lady I can not help but fear for my father Sakurai-san. Someone like you, both a physician and a samurai, you can see why having you on this team would be advantageous." Their tea arrived. Kana poured him some, continuing. "Even though I am going in order to protect him, I would feel better knowing there was someone else looking out for him too."

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Character Portrait: Genji the Sleeping Dragon Character Portrait: Kohaku Kana, Daughter of a Samurai
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Blood, smoke, money, booze. All that life has encompassed for as long as memory serves. Well, the positive things anyway. They help. They help with everything else. The unrelenting pain that throbs deep beneath the skin, yet somehow just before the surface. That deep pulsating power that calls out in hushed and loving tones. Ever whispering....Genji....Genji......Genji. Demanding to be used in the sweetest and most intoxicating way. Everything about life had been a struggle between desire and control. It's all about temptation, far beyond the choices for a normal man. Then again, no normal man is present. Only....this.

Still......blood, smoke, money and booze. They help.....thats more than anyone else has done.


While lost in thought, Genji nearly smacked into the end of an alleyway. A deadend. Genji adjusted himself and looked around. Unaccustomed to long labors of thought, he wasn't sure how long it had lasted. Had it been days, hours, minutes?

"Aw, who gives a shit."

Genji proceeded to walk to the mouth of the alley and lok around. The streets were wide and unfamiliar. Edo was pretty new to him. "This place is too damn big. How is anyone supposed to fuck'in find anything?" He felt the wind blowing west, so he decided to follow it.

He wandered down the streets, keeping an eye out for signs that stated either food or alcohol. He noticed that he had once again cleared a good amount of the traffic in the streets. "Popular as ever." He noted with a small hidden smile. Genji found his affect on people rather amusing. It was better than other reactions he had and he was very content with being left alone.

He came upon a sign that stated "Food""Alcochol" and even "Bed". Thats all Genji needed to read.....or could. He strolled in confidently and walked right up tot he man behind the counter. He slowly turned around.

"Yes sir, how can I............help......you." The man grew visibly paler as Genji came into full view for him. He then began to tremble. Genji just stared at him with a distinctly bored gaze. Genji reached into his clothes and pulled out 2 Shu. "You're going to give me room&board for 2 Shu......got it?"[color] He then placed the money on the counter.

The innkeeper nodded, seeming a bit relieved....yet not, at the same time.

[color=#f91b23]"I'l be in the dinning room. Send over a bottle of Sake and bowl of raw beef. When I saw raw, I mean still bleeding and whining. Be quick about it, I'm fuck'in starving over here."
Genji said as he turned his back and walked over to a table. The man was frozen, but seemed to shake himself out of it. "Um...sir.....your name, please?"

He looked back and stared him right in the eyes. "Genji."



Genji had gotten his bowl and sake and began to indulge. He didn't even use any chopsticks. Jst grabbed handfuls and stuffed himself. After he had finished his meal, he took out his pipe and lit it, breathing deep of the sweet smoke that banished his pain.

After some time, he felt an odd presence. Something he hadn't felt in a long time. It was alien, yet so familiar. Could it be? After all this time? He slowly looked over to someone who he felt was staring at him. To his disappointment, it was a young girl. She seemed.....entranced, sort of. The Ronin looked up at her with crimson eyes. "Paint an Ukiyo-e, it'll last longer."

The girl then seemed to pull herslef togetehr and begin speaking. "My apologies it's just, it feels like I know you from somewhere, but I don't think I would forget a ronin who carried six swords and wore a mask." One eyebrow just slowly raised, puffing on his pipe he simply continued to stare at her. Huh, so she had felt it too. Even now, Genji felt an odd energy between them. Somehow opposing and attracting at the same time. It was kind of liek the feeling he got for Youkai....yet so very different. Who the hell was this girl?

"My name is Kohaku Kana." She bowed.

Oh...that's who.......weird. A smile began to grow about her face and her voice started sound friendlier by the moment......gag.

"And I have come to inquire as to whether or not you would be interested in being hired."

At that, Genji's other eyebrow met the first. A job, huh? Genji quickly scanned the girl over. Fine clothes, smelled of fine oils, definitely was packing money. But....something more. Something that her clothes hid. Some subtle definition of muscle. A small elegance about her, not that of a normal high-born lady...but more like a warrior. She had been trained.....interesting.

Genji breathed deep of his pipe and blew it into the air above him. The smoke formed into two dragons who began to curl around one another....then ate each others tails until there was nothing left. He looked back down at her directly in the eyes. Though she was smiling, she was nervous....determined, but nervous. But not about him. There was something else. He poured her a bowl of Sake and saluted to her, drinking straight from the bottle. He then slammed it down on the table."Money. If the job promises that, I'm interested." Genji then looked around and beckoned her closer with a finger, as if to tell her a secret. When she was close enough, he spoke. "But Blood and Smoke will make me take the job. How much Blood we talk'in 'bout girly?"

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Character Portrait: Emiya Kurou Character Portrait: Koide Uchimori Character Portrait: Kurosawa Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Takeshi Masamura Character Portrait: Kohaku Souji Character Portrait: Kinayama Maeko
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Uchimori arose that morning while the sun still slept behind the hills. She needed both the spare time and the privacy that the stillness before the dawn offered her. Today she would spend energy in preparation, a deed not usually done by the peculiar woman. However, this day was different. This day she sought employment in an occupation dominated by men, so this day she must fight to suppress what little femininity was left to struggle against her boyish nature.

A flier had been put out in the streets of Edo. Not unusual, nor was the purpose behind it. It was common for would-be employers to seek the services of a ronin in such a manner. However, there was something about this flier that caught her eye. It was unusually vague. There was no description beyond the understanding that the task at hand would be quite dangerous but highly rewarding. The employer had even carried the elusiveness into his identity, which Uchimori felt meant that, whoever he was, he would be generally accepting of her own ambiguity.

Having finished dressing in such a manner that her gender was far less apparent, Uchimori turned towards the small calligraphy set that sat in a forgotten corner of the room. While she may wish to keep her gender anonymous, her name was another matter altogether. No man or woman would hire someone they could not trust, and no decent man or woman would trust someone without an identity. Having no desire to carry around a single sheet of rice paper, Uchimori guided the brush across the skin of her palm. With every stroke an onyx trail followed and as she finished a name could be read, Koide Uchimori

Replacing the brush and standing to her feet, the female samurai equipped herself with the tools of her trade and silently stepped out of the room. It was fortunate that her hostess had yet to awake, lest the young woman that treated her with great hospitality attempted to stop her. Creeping through the halls, Uchimori carefully avoided making a sound and headed for the exit. Finally, she emerged from the building; in welcoming, the crisp morning air kissed her cheeks and nose. Breathing it in, the young woman savored the taste of freedom that it carried in its unseen arms. A small smile appeared as she stretched her arms, reaching towards the violet sky; afterwards she turned to face the sunbursts budding on the horizon.

The day was coming, carrying on its back secret promises of triumph and disaster. Perhaps, with a little luck, her promise may end with the former.

After a moment’s observation, Uchimori set off into the sleeping city. She moved slow, making sure she wouldn’t overlook her destination nor arrive at an indecently early time. It would, after all, be discourteous to arrive before the sun did. The streets were generally empty, most still slept, but there was the occasional early bird that had rousted from its nest and night owl only now returning to it.

Musical chirping from a nearby tree announced the sun’s arrival and the sky faded from dark violet to vibrant orange. The city would soon come alive and the occupants would pour into the streets. Uchimori frowned; she had not yet found her destination and had been in hopes that she would be able to avoid maneuvering through the throngs of people that the morning brought. While she welcomed the sound of nattering voices, she did not welcome the mass of colliding bodies. Consequently, her footsteps became more frequent as she increased her pace.

Fortune favored her; before the streets were teeming with people she reached her goal, the dojo described in the flier. Making her way inside, Uchimori stopped herself at its entrance and, as a sign of respect (and one of the few mannerism her unrefined teacher, Akimoto, had vehemently instilled in her), removed her shoes. Leaving them at the entrance, she gracefully stepped inside. Unsurprisingly, the dojo was empty; the female samurai was the first to have arrived. However, soon that would not be the case so quickly she took her place in a corner with a clear view of the entrance.

Gently she laid her naginata horizontally before her and sat with her legs crossed. It was both non-threatening and yet skillfully set. Laid on the floor, it presented no threat and yet it was in a position of flawless access should it be necessary (yet another polite gesture that was cogently taught to her by Akimoto).

Only minutes later other ronin began arriving. They gave her an apprehensive glance before taking their own seats in the room. Some seemed to be acquainted with one another, others, like her, sat silently in their seats. As the room filled up, Uchimori eventually stopped taking interest in the new arrivals and began occupying herself by idly tracing the ink on her palm. However, never did she stop being aware of her surroundings. No matter how relaxed she seemed, a competent eye would be keenly aware of the rigidity in her posture, the subtle shift of her body towards any nearby voices, and even the way her hands performed their frivolous motion whilst hovering directly above her weapon.

When a hush finally fell upon the room, brought on by the ostentatious sound of an opening door, she redirected her attention from her hands to the man who was now standing in the center of the room. It was quite obvious that he was to be her possible employer and he affirmed her suspicion when he began to speak.

Throughout, Uchimori kept her gaze on the man; occasionally she would give a passing glance at those that chose to left, but her attention never shifted. The more he said the more questions she had and the more she wondered whether it was foolish for her to take up this vengeful quest. The woman had heard of the warlord, there were few that hadn’t, and she would be lying if she said that this was not a reckless task to go at unprepared. However, if this Kohaku Souji had a well-conceived plan then it was different matter all together. The problem lay in her inability to express her inquiries.

A brief thought passed through the back of her mind as she sat there musing, if only she had the consideration for her own disability to have believed it wise to bring the calligraphy set that she carelessly left behind. Nevertheless, by this point, she would have to rely on the curiosity and whatever degree of sense that these people had to do the questioning for her.

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The smoke from the ronin's pipe slithered above him into shapes, serpentine dragons that ate one another until they were no more. Kana watched them, greatly impressed, how did one go about learning to do that? She had to stop herself from asking. She had been told before that she always asked too many questions about things that did not concern her, and though it had been a long day she was determined to keep up the good impression she had been giving. The ronin before her did not welcome her to sit down, nor did he introduce himself, but he poured her a cup of sake, she took this as the gesture she needed to have a seat. She didn't expect a man with such a wild presence to abide by proper etiquette. Not wanting to seem rude herself she took the sake cup and downed it in one quick gulp, which she deeply regretted. Having never tasted sake before the strength of the drink had come as a surprise to her, she covered her mouth with one hand, trying desperately not to seem so inexperienced and disgusted. She managed to keep a strained poker face with great effort, missing what he mentioned besides the word money. He needn't worry about that, there was plenty to be had if he succeeded, if.

He beckoned her closer, to which she abided, curious and forgetting about the bitter taste in her mouth for a moment. Kana's head tilted to the side, offering him her ear. The hairs on her skin prickled as he spoke, though it wasn't from his words, it was from how close they were, that feeling she couldn't place only got stronger. It was paradoxical in that it felt like a warning and familiar welcome at the same time. "There is plenty blood to be had, in fact bloodshed will be unavoidable. As I seek to hire you to for the purpose of taking on Warlord Yousuke himself." She spoke softly, her voice a little distant, she was more distracted by the electrical energy between them. She decided to break it, quickly leaning back. "And the payment for this will be rather large of course." Her tone stayed distant, businesslike, she watched him carefully, studying the micro-movements of his face with great interest. How did one acquire eyes like that? Was his face scared? It would explain the mask. His hair was cut short, unusual style for anyone.

Kana wasn't surprised that this ronin was interested in bloodshed. It was not often that you met someone good at their work who did not take pride it in. This must be one of those people. One of the people not born into a noble house sure, but all the same born with a desire to fight and make a name for themselves. In times like these so long as you had a will, you had a way.

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Character Portrait: Emiya Kurou Character Portrait: Koide Uchimori Character Portrait: Kurosawa Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Kohaku Souji Character Portrait: Kinayama Maeko
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Just as always after his missions, Takeshi made his way slowly through Edo, silently traversing the city until he reached a dark corner that hid behind many shady shops, in which rowdy laughter and grunts could be heard. His eyes roved around the area as he made sure that no one was following him- Takeshi had made his way over right after his last job, and his kimono still had small splatters of blood, not that he cared anyways. Picking up his pace a bit while pulling out a packed rice ball from his kimono, Takeshi made his way down the street he was on before finally reaching a small shack that was squeezed between numerous larger houses. The house seemed to be on fire, as smoke was constantly being let out through the numerous cracks that dotted the roof and walls.

Takeshi opened the door, casting one last look the way he had come before closing the door behind him, still munching on his rice ball. “Sai-jii-san,” he said, coughing as the smoke started rushing into his nose. Though his eyes watered from the overbearing smoke, and his nose stung from the pungent smell, Takeshi still ate his rice ball, gobbling it down within a second as he looked around the room again, with nothing but ambivalence in his watering eyes.

Suddenly, an old man waddled through the smoke to look up at Takeshi, covered in soot all over from head to toe. The old man’s hair looked grey to the smoke that permeated through ever corner of the room. “Muramasa-san,” the old man squeaked out, holding a hand to catch the daggers Takeshi already held out with a hand, tutting at the condition the daggers were in, “I would have sworn I fixed these just last month. No matter, follow me.” The old man once again disappeared in the smoke.

Covering his nose with a sleeve, Takeshi followed the old man into the inner regions of the blacksmith’s house, coughing as the smoke grew gradually thicker. Though Takeshi had been to Sai-jii-san’s store many times, he could never get used to the smoky area the old man constantly worked in. Actually, he couldn’t even pinpoint the main source of the smoke- and he knew that smith working shops usually don’t produce as much smoke as Sai-jii-san’s store did, as from the other blacksmith shops in Edo. He placed the money required for the repairs on a counter as the old man shuffled with the papers on the makeshift desk, and took the piece of paper Sai-jii-san handed to him, reading it swiftly. “Thought this might interest you, since you youngsters are so into adventure. Hmph!” The old man said contemptuously as he threw the daggers onto a bed that lay in a corner, “Now leave before I burn you with my prongs!”

Takeshi raised an eyebrow at the old man, obviously amused, but obliged to Sai-jii-chan’s demands. He bowed and stated he would be back for his daggers in a few weeks time, and left the house. I really need to talk to him about the smoke… Takeshi thought, as he patted down his kimono, while taking a deep breath of the slightly better air outside. He held up the flier to read once more, and sighed. Sai-jii-chan was his main source for jobs as a ronin- he never turned down any of the jobs the old man handed him, and really, he didn’t want to. The old man was one of the best blacksmiths in all of Edo, and it had took Takeshi a long time to actually track the rubbish-looking shack down in the large city.

Glancing at the dirty page once more, he shrugged and folded it carefully before stuffing the piece of paper in his kimono. I suppose it is…worth a shot. Without a second glance, Takeshi set off back to one of his homes in the large city, and thus started his preparation for the task that the flier briefly explained.






Takeshi had arrived rather late at the meeting, as he had been detained to buy a few pieces of dango and dried fish, eating them along the way as he figured out his way to the place described on the flyer. Looking around, he noticed that most of the seats had already been taken by other ronin, of which some he knew by name. He had made sure to leave his mask behind, and many sent dismissive- even contemptuous- looks at him as he chose a seat in a far, dark corner and sat down in a rather sloppy seiza form, while pulling his hair over his left shoulder. Pulling out kurairyuu from his belt, he laid it out in front of him as he closed his eyes, intent on catching on a bit of sleep that he hadn’t been able to replenish for a long time.

But before long, his nap was cut in half. Opening one eye, Takeshi watched as an older man walked to the middle of the room and looked at the ronin in turn. The man did not reveal all the details of the job, but did disclose some important information. This was a revenge quest as set forth by the Kobayashi family. Kobayashi…family? Takeshi thought as he gave up on sitting seiza and sat cross-legged, though now both his eyes were open as he stared at the man, not one bit of his slight interest showing through his façade. I did hear of the story that the Kobayashi family was usurped by Warlord Yousuke, but to think that after two years they would want to use the forces of ronin to regain their honor! Takeshi let out an inner snort of contempt, though he did not get up with the other ronin who left.

Takeshi himself didn’t really care about what plan was placed for the five other ronin and himself for the quest at all- the only thing he cared about were the food that would be provided and the reward of the quest itself. But he didn’t speak; he scrutinized the man called Kohaku Souji and kept his mouth shut.

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Character Portrait: Emiya Kurou Character Portrait: Koide Uchimori Character Portrait: Kurosawa Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Takeshi Masamura Character Portrait: Kohaku Souji Character Portrait: Kinayama Maeko
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Maeko was never one to leave behind a pristine room after spending her time in it, and this morning seemed like it would be no different. Several days and nights worth of dirtied clothing littered the room, discarded after receiving damage, or being soiled through food or drink or blood, or simply from being thrown amongst the other clothing and forgotten. There was a semblance of order to the mess, with how she would often pick up the discarded yukatas and kosodes with her feet and toss them in the direction of the greatest concentration, but that was a halfhearted effort. In addition to these were the damaged furniture, which had sustained their damage from her stumbling about in the dark, tripping over clothing or over the nonexistent obstacles present in a drunk mind. The worst damage though, was the one that was also the most easily preventable and done through pure carelessness. Maeko was never one to really take care of her weapons--strange amongst the Youkai of the mountains, with their concern with crafting and metalwork--and this caused her to simply drop them where she felt and leave them there. This wouldn't be an issue with a usual armament, but hers was rather heavy in nature, with her kanabo and manriki having more than enough weight to damage the floor and illicit concerned knocking from the employees with the loud thud of them dropping.

The reason why the hostesses had not done their jobs properly and cleaned out the room throughout the day, resulting in this mess, was that it was requested by the patron that no one should enter her room while they stayed. It wasn't so rare that customers would value their privacy, but Maeko took it to its extreme and for good reason. She had almost had her secret discovered several times at the beginning of her travels amongst the humans and didn't want to go through the hassle of explaining away what the employee saw. Or, if worse came to worse, she would have to change her identity again, which was inconvenient on multiple levels; she had established a name for herself (or rather, Mako of Senjo) and received a good amount of work based off of that, and transforming was always an annoying process for one not overly talented in its use.

So, when Maeko had awoken on the day she would hopefully be departing on a high-paying mission, she was very expectant of what was to come from the inn's owner. Almost the moment she had departed her room with all of her things, the employees came to check on the poor thing and discover its state. This always caused the same reaction, and one that always bothered Maeko in how it was never one of anger, always of bargaining with a possible hint of agitation in their demeanor. Maybe it was because they didn't want to upset a clearly armed ronin who had likely shown their strength and irritability sometime during their stay, or maybe she was just known to always pay for it and they didn't feel the need to get angry over a damaged room they could now renovate. Either way, she paid the owner, an older, balding man whose feet were always shuffling, a little more than she had expected after surveying the room earlier that morning, and walked off into the morning air chilled by the previous night.

Out in the streets, a few people were going about their morning business before the full swing of things could occur less than an hour or so from now, and Maeko walked amongst them in her armor and carrying a heavy, jangling set of weapons that always kept people from walking too close to her. She had eagerly awaited this day ever since seeing the flier a few nights prior when she had arrived in this city; she hadn't had an exciting job in months and was hopeful this would qualify as such. She was almost giddy in the way she moved through the streets to the dojo where she would learn more about the job. Her pace was energetic and confident, and her lips curled themselves into a smile, revealing her teeth to the cool morning breeze that greeted them. She had even skipped breakfast, though that was proving to be a poor decision as she scanned the vendors for something to eat, settling for the dumplings that whose smell started wafting its way over to her.

Maeko finished her much needed breakfast just moments before coming upon the dojo, which seemed to have gathered a good amount of people inside of it. She walked in amongst them and took a seat towards the back and set her things beside her. Her posture was one brimming with confidence and pride; she sat with one leg crossed properly and the other with its foot firmly planted on the floor and its knee high. Her arms were used for the same purpose as the left simply found its way to a comfortable position on her lap while the right gripping the hilt of her kanabo, which stood inverted next to her. She glanced around the room to determine how difficult her competition might be for this job (unless they were going to be hiring absolutely everyone who came), and noticed nothing too worrying other than the feint hint of a Youkai amongst them.

She had little time to pursue the investigation of what kind of Youkai it might be as an older men entered the dojo and walked towards the middle of the room, ending the chatter that had been going on previously. He began to relinquish the much desired details of the job when the Kobayashi name came up and many of the other potential employees began to make their leave. She had heard the name before, as well as the story of how that warlord, Yousuke Haru, had pretty much ended the family that carried it. He supposedly had monsters and demons serving in his forces, if he wasn't a demon himself, which made him and his army more challenging than anything else Maeko had really faced, bringing that giddy mile of hers back.

When the man named Kohaku Souji finished his speech and only five remained amongst all the ronin that had occupied the dojo just moments before, Maeko's giddiness overcame her as she slowly stood and, with a smile on her face and her hand now resting on the pommel of her kanabo, spoke. "And how long will it be before we depart for these lands?"

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Character Portrait: Emiya Kurou Character Portrait: Kohaku Souji Character Portrait: Kinayama Maeko
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Character Portrait: Warlord Yousuke
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#, as written by Robbhus
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Last night had been an... Interesting night. She had gotten in contact with a western merchant bringing goods from his homeland. She didn't remember the name of it, the pronunciation was too weird, but he had interesting goods, that was for sure. The jewelry was pretty, there was no questioning that, but the drinks he had... Compared to sake, sake felt like water in terms of wealth. Much sharper taste, stronger alcohol, and all kinds of fancy spices. She could care less about the fanciness of it though, it had been an interesting night for sure. He had given her a free bottle of the wine after winning over him in a western board game. Luckily, he spoke Japanese, so they could understand one another.

The game had been interesting though. Each player had 16 pieces, and the goal was to simply get rid of one specific piece the opponent had while protecting your own. Eight of the 16 pieces could only move forward and diagonally, but the rest had special features about them, which made the game a lot more interesting. He had called it 'beginners luck' when she won, not that it mattered though, and he had given her another bottle of the wine she had bought a small glass off just to try it. The victory had been well rewarding, but then again, what was a win without a reward? They had tried a couple other games as well, though most of them were too complicated to win in without planning beforehand, so the merchant naturally won, to Kotone's annoyance.

In the end however, the night had been well spent. He had told stories from the west as well, and despite that most of them sounded so dumb Kotone didn't even consider believing them, they were still very interesting to listen to, if so only for the entertainment value.

Her half-drunk self had even ended up purchasing one of the games he had, paying a ridiculous price of course, but then again, her drunk self didn't know better. She had been drinking about the same amount as she would with sake, which had left her as a giggling wreck barely managing to get back to Yousuke's garden, finding herself a nice tree to climb up into (Which took more attempts than she could count on her fingers) before she ended up falling asleep, the hexagonal wood box containing the game left by the root of the tree.





Eventually though, she did wake up. Yousuke's page, Sasuke was it, had passed the tree she had been sleeping in. Most of the alcohol had already been processed, a completely obsolete yet bloody useful ability she had somehow attained at some point. Her eyes followed him as he made his way over to the house Yousuke lived in and she used to store her things (What little she owned) before then to disappear into the villa, which made her lack something to focus on, which made her slowly drift back into sleep after taking a last small sip of the wine.

Her sleep was apparently not going to last long though. The young page had found her after a short amount of time, too short for her to fall properly to sleep, but more than enough to surprise her. She was normally not that easy to find, but then again, when one of her feet was hanging down from the side of the branch, along with a green bottle of wine was hanging between two of her fingers, she wasn't exactly invisible.

He had called her name, and she snapped out of the short sleep, almost falling off the branch, though saving herself with the foot that had been hanging down the side of the branch. She had managed to curve it, so she ended up hanging solemnly for it. She had however lost the grip of the bottle though, so when she fell, the bottle did so too. She managed to save it however, along with some of the liquid, though almost 1/4th of the wine had been poured into the young boy's hair. Kotone climbed up on the branch again and looked down at him.

"Seriously, at least attempt at drinking it, I know it might be fashionable, but still, use something cheap for your hair needs, not my wine" She mockingly said as she climbed off the branch and jumped down to the ground, holding her palm over the bottlehead to avoid more of the liquid being spilled. She could hear the boy mumbling something, though it was too low to hear it, so she dropped the topic and looked at him, leaning back on to the tree, taking another small sip of the bottle.

"Now, what is it? My time is more worth than yours, so speak up" She wasn't exactly pleasant to be around in general, at least for most people, but mocking the boy was almost too fun. She just hoped he wouldn't quit, it was by far too amusing to have him around. "Yousuke received a letter earlier, and while I didn-" Kotone didn't second guess cutting off what sounded like the start of a ten-minute monologue. "Thanks, that's enough, your voice screams in my ears, just tell me what is going on" She brushed some of her hair behind her ears while waiting for him to speak up. "Yousuke wants to see you" was the answer she received. Short, straight to the point, far better than the monologue she had been expecting. "Before you go, have you seen any of the others?" He asked. She picked up the board game and shrugged casually. "If I knew, why would I tell you? That's like telling the end of the story before the beginning, look, have fun, and don't pour more wine in your hair, or if you do, at least buy it yourself" She could see him rubbing some of his hair with two of his fingers, the hair all wet from the dark-red wine.

They left one another, she heading for the mansion while he headed for who knows where, somewhere at the very least. Not that it mattered too much to her at all. She was most likely the first one to be found, at least she thought she were. She walked up to the entrance to the villa and entered it, still wearing the slightly baggy golden yellow pants from the day before, with a kimono jacket thrown over it, despite not being closed properly, leaving the area in between exposed, revealing the bandage pressing her bust down. Along with that, a pair of simple sandals went along with it. She walked up the stairs and entered Yousuke's office, without knocking, as always. No honorable bowing or similarities either, she just entered and sat down, putting the game behind her and the wine besides her. "Good morning to you, Yousuke-Sama" While she wasn't all that grand when it came to honorifics, she had at least enough respect for the man to use the appropriate title for him.

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Character Portrait: Sakurai Hidemasa Character Portrait: Kohaku Kana, Daughter of a Samurai
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She was cute when she blushed, or so Hidemasa had decided. Of course, that was beside the point and a topic of little importance in a situation such of as this. Standing back up to his full height, albeit still a little hunched over, he listened to Kohaku-san speak of her mother. Though he would never voice such an opinion for fear of offending the young lady, he held his doubts that her mother was, in fact, the most dazzling woman in all of Japan. Perhaps to her father and even other men she was, but not to every person to have laid eyes on her. As the saying goes, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. What one deems to be beautiful may very well be considered ordinary in another’s eyes. The physician nodded in approval at the statement made by the young lady concerning blind love as he followed her into a nearby teashop; she herself possessed some degree of wisdom on the matter as well.

They took a seat in the back of the room where the seclusion from the other patrons offered them some discretion. By reflex, Hidemasa sat facing the doorway while the young woman sat across from him. Patiently and attentively, he waited for her to finish ordering their tea as well as feel comfortable enough to continue with the order of business that she had brought him here for.

When she finally opened his mouth to speak Hidemasa crossed his arms and closed his eyes, his thoughts hung on every word that rolled of her tongue. He weighed them against each other, pieced together the details that she presented into a familiar picture of grief, anger, and worry. When finally she referred back to him he opened his eyes and observed her judiciously, he did not wear the same grin as he had earlier for this was no smiling matter. He quietly appraised her as she poured him his tea, displaying the well-taught actions of a woman raised in a noble home. Once full, the samurai tastefully lifted his cup to his lips, savoring both the steam and the liquid in a deliberate and thoughtful manner.

This young woman, a samurai’s daughter as it would happen, wished him to join their quest for revenge. A questionable intention to say the least. Sakurai Hidemasa was not one that sought vengeance as he has seen it accomplish little but self-destruction. A prolonged silence fell on the pair; Hidemasa’s eyes once again closed as he sampled his drink. Kohaku-san’s thoughts were muddled with emotions, or so it seemed to Hidemasa. She desired retribution for this Kobayashi-dono, but she feared for her father as well. He found her desires understandable, but he questioned whether she was aware of the consequences that would result from her vindictive actions. Then there was the fact that she had carelessly failed to mention the identity of the one they would be taking vengeance against.

Finally, once the silence was no longer bearable, Hidemasa returned his cup to the table and met the girl’s eyes. ”Kohaku-san, grief of such burden cannot be cured by an act of rage. Perhaps it can conceal it for a time, but bloodshed will not heal a broken mind. Violence brings in its wake only more rage and madness, it is a never ending cycle, and a disease.” Leaning forward the physician’s face turned stern as he questioned her, ”Are you sure you wish to proceed down a path such as this?” Leaning back and resting his arms on his knees, Hidemasa allowed the gravity of his words to fall upon her before continuing in a far more tranquil manner, ”You also failed to mention who the target of your vengeance is, which is of particular importance and highly distrustful since I would imagine it is someone who possesses much power.”

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Character Portrait: Genji the Sleeping Dragon Character Portrait: Kohaku Kana, Daughter of a Samurai
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"There is plenty blood to be had, in fact bloodshed will be unavoidable. As I seek to hire you to for the purpose of taking on Warlord Yousuke himself."

At that, Genji stopped. His crimson eyes went wide at hearing that name. She began speaking more, but after that bombshell, he didn't give a shit what she said. He held up a hand, so she would shut her trap while he processed it. Who the fuck was this girl? With this completely unexplainable aura that made her feel like an old friend to him, yet so impossibly foreign at the same time? And she brings him a job like this?

After a few moments of silence, some noise came from Genji. It was a small at first, but it began to build. Deep at first, but it soon turned into a high pitched cackle. He was laughing....maniacally. "Heh....hehe......hehe...HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH......HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!" Genji fell down onto his back he was laughing so hard. After a bit he sat back up, wiping tears from his eyes. The masked Ronin then turned back to her, with laughter still on his lips.

"So...hehe, you are hiring me to take down THE Yousuke? The fucking Warlord who has been sweeping through the territories with a inferior sized force like it was nothing? The same warlord who is said to have fucking demons and shadows and shit in his control?" There was beat of silence.

"Why didn't you fucking say so in the first place!?" A mad grin could be seen poking through the black mesh, and his serpentine eyes were alight with fire. Genji then immediately grabbed the side of the table and threw it sideways with one hand, shattering it against the wall.

With mad elation, he stood up and proceeded to pick Kana up and stand her up. As he touched her, he felt his senses ignite with the same feeling as before, but somehow stronger and thicker, yet still not clearer. Then looking into her eyes, he spoke.

"Kohaku Kana, you are something I never thought I would ever see again.......something NEW"

The madman then walked past her towards the door....but stopped suddenly. He took his ipe from his mouth, that had somehow stayed balanced through all of his laughter, tapped it against his forearm, ashing it. He then carefully put it back into his shihakusho. Genji then turned to her with the same eyes he had when they had met, the glee somehow gone.

"What, do you have fuck'in lead in your sandals? Hurry your fuck'in ass up and show me which way this Yousuke guy is so I can kill'em. Times wast'in away. Ive already taken 38 breaths waiting for you to fucking answer me. Come on, lets go." Genji demanded very impatiently, all while looking at her with that seemed dead and gone.....with just the faintest traces of a spark.

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Character Portrait: Sakurai Hidemasa Character Portrait: Kohaku Kana, Daughter of a Samurai
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ImageAs people grew older, their faces became more interesting, or so it was in Kana's opinon. The little lines in their foreheads, near their eyes, their mouths, it painted a picture of how much they worry, how much they smile or frowned. While Sakurai's was silent and she had her say, she studied these lines. She was not aware of what these lines meant, but they did paint a picture. Kana appreciated it while she waited, anxious for what he might say. When he offered her his wisdom a small puff of air blew out of her nose in defeat, a silent 'ha'. She looked down at her hands, her smile was bitter this time, the fake one she wore when Chinatsu-dono said something disturbing. Was she sure she wanted to procede down a path like this? Didn't he understand? She had no choice.

His last inquirery as to whom the specific target of this quest was confused her, "Wait. Distrustful? Where do you live that you do not know of the fall of the Daimyo Kobayashi at the hands of Warlord Yousuke?" Her head snapped up, incredulous. She couldn't recall a time when she had ever been called distrustful. Her voice was perhaps louder than she had meant it to be, they were after all sitting secluded for a reason.


ImageHidemasa observed the girl’s face as she listened to the advice he gave her, the acrimonious smile, a façade that he was familiar with, was more than enough to answer his query. This girl did not revel in the notion of revenge. It caused her great pain. She had lost a great many things and experienced far too many hardships for one so young. He pitied her.

His eyes widened in surprise at her outburst, admittedly he hadn’t thought of how offensive his words had undoubtedly sounded when he said them. The physician had meant no harm and certainly had not meant to directly refer to her as suspicious. As she continued, however, his shocked expression was quickly dispelled and he looked away. It was true, he was ignorant of the events that had been unfolding around him in these past few years. Choosing instead to focus all his attentions on a cherry blossom tree far beyond saving, so far out of his reach he could only chase helplessly after her spectral shadow. Even now, he wished to follow after her, to take the only path that could sooth his own ire and end his own torment, but then she would never forgive him, she would never again blossom for him.

Returning his gaze to the young girl that sat in front of him, Hidemasa forced the corners his mouth to curve tenderly upwards. “I do apologize if I offended you, Kohaku-san, it was unintended. I will confess to my own ignorance, I admit I have taken little interest in my surrounding these past years, choosing instead to seclude myself; you must forgive me.” Quickly reverting the topic back to the issue, however, Hidemasa continued, “I know little of Warlord Yousuke, but what I have heard is certainly not of benefit to your quest. You are right to fear for your father. The mission he is undertaking is treacherous even with the proper precautions, and to put it bluntly, without those provisions it is suicide.”


ImageSo he had been secluding himself? She wondered why, was it disinterest in the world? Was it something more important to him than everything? It was odd to imagine this man living as a hermit, he seemed friendly. Kana had little time to wonder this. She nodded in understanding, accepting this apology and moving on, more serious matters taking her attention. "Even if it were suicide my father would still do it. You know Samurai, they are bound to serve their sworn master first and foremost. Even if their master has gone mad with grief and rage they must carry out their wishes." She looked away, slightly shameful, "Sometimes I think it a good thing that no others survived but us, had any of the others survived that were sworn to Lady Chinatsu's late husband they would have been honor bound to commit seppuku. My father was lucky in that he was sworn to Lady Chinatsu and not her husband. And..." Kana stared at her cup now, "You're right, I don't think this will make Lady Chinatsu feel any better. I don't think violence ever healed anyone, how could it?" She looked up, her eyes hard now, "But seeing as how my father has no choice but to carry this out I will do what I can to help him survive. And this Yousuke, he goes about killing people and then decides to stop in my former home? For what? He has been there doing nothing for some time now, hasn't moved, but what if he decides to again? I don't think it good for a man like that to be left with so much power, the power of a Daimyo in the hands of a Warlord. My father is no fool, he won't go about this without finding out what we're dealing with and how best to beat him. If it were anyone but my father attempting this I would say it was no better than suicide too, but if we can gather the right people I think we do have a chance. I know for certain I am willing to give it my all." Kana really did believe this, though it might sound like the speech of a dreamer. She stared Hidemasa in the eye, daring him to tell her any different.


ImageHidemasa understood; honor was the core of the samurai’s code. Though called a monster during his time as a swordsman, he knew and remembered the weight of the chains that enslaved an honor bound samurai to the one he called master. He was fortunate to have been so easily released from his service; no, fortune was not the culprit behind his release. It was his family ties and his knowledge in the art of healing that had granted him the key to his shackles. Lifting his tea to his lips once more he listened as she exposed the darker corners of her heart; she was a kind and merciful girl, not someone that would be able to take the life of another with ease. Though, he would never wish that upon her.

“I don't think violence ever healed anyone, how could it?" The large man stared at the girl that sat in front of him. He could have sworn that he had heard her voice; had she not said something like this before? Turning his attention to the cup in his hand he allowed the trembling liquid to coax him into closing his eyes.

“You’re injured! You mustn’t act so recklessly or you’re arm will never recover!” Small dainty hands struggled against the shoulders of a bear-like man as a small young woman fought to keep him lying on a futon. However, the monstrous man would not yield to the insistence of the woman and he roared in defiance.

“Damn it woman, get your fucking hands off me! I do not need your care! All I want is to beat the shit out of the asshole who di-“ The man’s statement was never completed as a firm slap echoed throughout the room. Frozen, with his beastly gaze on the girl who had just struck him, the man was at a complete loss for words. Never before had anyone, a woman no less, dared to strike his face so fearlessly. Yet here she stood, towering over his seated form, eyes narrow and defiant and mouth in a firmly set line, as she held her reddening hand.

“No amount of violence will heal that arm! It is sheer foolishness to believe it could.” Turning her back to face him she stomped towards the entrance of his room, before leaving however she turned back towards him, “You can do whatever you wish once you have left, but for as long as you are my patient you will abide by the rules I set for you, which means that you will not take part in any acts of a vehement nature. Is that understood?” Not even the monster dared challenge the steadfast glare that was set upon her features; it was all he could do to nod. The icy scowl that once adorned her face thawed instantly into the warmest grin at his acquiescence, “Alright then. Now that that’s settled I’ll go ahead and bring your dinner.”

Once the man was alone he finally managed to relax his stiffened body. How was it no warrior could ever instill any degree of fear in his soul and yet this woman healer could do so with a single look. His shoulders drooped as he sat looking much like a dejected child and he allowed a mutter to pass from his lips, “what manner of woman is she?”


Hidemasa’s eyes reopened as he looked at Kohaku. He somehow imagined that had his child survived, she would have been very much like the girl that sat before him. A compassionate idealist who loved her father and mother with so much fervor that it could be deemed a fault. Yet beneath that gentle exterior lies a hidden strength. Yes, he quite liked this girl. Setting his now empty cup of tea down on the table, Hidemasa gracefully stood up. “Well then,” he looked at Kohaku wearing a face from which no thoughts could be observed, “Since we are going to be working together in the foreseeable future, I suppose now is the time for you to introduce me to this father of yours.”

The physician grinned, he wasn’t really sure whether or not this could be considered a wise decision, nor was he sure she would approve; however, somehow Hidemasa could swear he felt two small hands on his shoulders pushing him in Kohaku-san’s direction.


ImageHer heart dropped when he stood up, panic setting in, if she couldn't sway this man who could she sway? Was the quest really too crazy? Hidemasa's words, took her a second to process. She had done it, she had swayed someone to her cause?! Kana's heart lept, she couldn't contain a victorious smile, her heart warmed considerably. "The two of you will get along very well I know it!" She popped up, something of a light skip in her step as she hurried to the front to pay for the tea. Once outside she explained further. "Right about now my father should be talking to some other ronin at the household of Lady Chinatsu's parents, the Mizuki family. It's not too far from here." Kana lead Hidemasa away, keeping a pace that was a bit quick.

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Character Portrait: Koide Uchimori Character Portrait: Sakurai Hidemasa Character Portrait: Kurosawa Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Takeshi Masamura Character Portrait: Kohaku Kana, Daughter of a Samurai Character Portrait: Kohaku Souji Character Portrait: Kinayama Maeko
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Souji was well aware that the situation was an unorthodox one, using ronin to take on a warlord and regain honor for your master's house would not be looked upon kindly unless it were a success, much like in the 47 ronin, a kabuki play he had seen many times. Only these ronin were not forbidden by the emperor to take revenge, nor were they bound to take revenge by anything other than money. Still, success would make this feat a legend. It would be no easy thing to pull off, but Souji was confident that he could find a weakness, a way in, if he could just gain access to Yousuke he would be able to behead the bastard dog. There was no getting around it, they would need an element of surprise, five could not take on an army. But that was something to think about later, for now he just wanted to secure the four before him. The fact that they stayed even when he iterated what kind of danger they would be facing meant they were no push-overs, these four where skilled, a set look in their eyes that spoke of experience with the blade. This was pleasing.

The feminine but confident looking ronin stood up and asked only one question, a question that confirmed they were in. "We leave tomorrow if everyone can be ready by then, we must make ourselves scarce quickly. I would rather take caution and keep ourselves hidden than risk Yousuke catching wind of us and deciding to stop us before we can get there. While on the journey we will only visit villages when necessary for supplies, and not all at once. We will use different names, throw any trackers off of our trail." Souji looked to the rest, "Can you all be ready by-" Souji stopped abruptly, looking to the door, hearing his daughter's familiar voice before she neared the door. She was speaking with someone, this made an eyebrow raise in suspicion.


ImageKana had continued to make light talk with Hidemasa, it came rather easily, as both parties were social creatures. They spoke of nothing and everything all at once, whatever came easiest. It was nice to speak of unimportant things after their solemn meeting. "Oh we've arrived, he's right in here." Her hand reached for the door but stopped. Eyes widening, she hesitated, her hand drawing back slightly. For a moment her heart jumped with such a strange feeling, but she passed it off as simply being excited and shook it off. How strange, but it was probably nothing. Kana slid open the door to the dojo, her method of opening the door notably much more gentle and quiet than her father's. She peaked in, zeroing in on her father and smiling warmly at him. "Guess what father! You're not the only one successful today, I have found another for our quest. Please meet Sakurai-san." Kana pushed on Sakurai's back, ushering him toward her father. When their eyes were no longer on her she gleefully flitted away like a bird, off to continue her work, pleased with her progress thus far.


Souji's stern face softened when his daughter smiled at him, but became outright surprised, or at least surprised for Souji, when she introduced a ronin she had recruited on her own. A young girl meeting with a grown man all on her own, and behind her father's back, only Kana would dare. But he took it in stride, paying Sakurai the same humble respect he payed the others. He bowed in greeting, keeping himself professional. "I apologize if my daughter troubled you Sakurai-san, she can be slightly out of touch with propriety. Which I will be discussing with her later.-" He looked past Sakurai to give Kana a stern look, no Kana to be seen. She had given him the slip. Of course. "Exactly how much did she inform you of what we will be taking on Sakurai-san? I was just informing the others here that we should hopefully leave tomorrow, as the sun rises." Souji would have to find Kana later and get to the bottom of what exactly she thought she was doing.

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Character Portrait: Genji the Sleeping Dragon Character Portrait: Kohaku Kana, Daughter of a Samurai
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Kana was not someone accustomed to rudeness, she had all her life been surrounded by well meaning and respectful people. She was a lady of noble birth, and a largely sheltered one at that, these two years had really done wonders for broadening her horizons. People still treated her respectfully however, knowing of what status she was born under. She hadn't needed to come into conflict with anyone besides the odd child, and even that was not too serious. Over the course of the day she had experienced more rudeness that she had in her entire life combined, loud brash men who did not care what anyone thought. But none were so brash as this man before her. When she tried to mention payment he held up a hand, uninterested, silencing her. It did not work but was still noted.

After this a silence fell, and then a low sound, something she couldn't identify until it got louder, and louder, and louder. The ronin was laughing, a crazed laugh that she had only ever heard from lady Chinatsu. Exactly who was this person, that the thought of bloodshed made him laugh so? It was uncomfortable to witness such madness. The ronin did not hold back an ounce, falling over and taking his time to gain control of himself. Kana kept her face a straight line as he rebounded her request, confirming using his own crude words that she was attempting to hire him to take on none other than Warlord Yousuke. She couldn't tell if he was mocking her or not. Her eyebrows furrowed in worry at this, her lips parted to speak in her defense. It was not needed however, as the ronin took the table and flung it clear to the wall, making a huge mess and damaging a few things no doubt. Kana cringed, panicking her hand gripped her tessen tightly, hoping she would not have to use it. He swept her up by the shoulders before she could make that choice however and demanded her full attention, her face a mixture of surprise and horror. He expressed his glee at her offer, he was excited, and Kana was frightened. Not only by him was she frightened, but by the reaction his touch caused, it made her want to strike him, shove him away.

When he finally released her Kana let out a puff of air she did not know she was holding in, her heart beating quickly, she watched him, still in shock as he walked right past her as if going straight to Yousuke to challenge him that very night. It was taking her time to process what just went on. The ronin decided to snap her out of it as rudely as possible, she had never heard anyone talk like that. But instead of being surprised this time, she became angry.

"You. Are by far the rudest person I have ever had the displeasure of meeting. Do you go around treating everyone like this? I wonder how far that gets you with people, probably not very far at all you dishonorable dog. How dare you treat this establishment with such little respect." Kana's tone was livid, she deliberately did not heed his question and berated him instead, walking over to the owner, who was hiding behind a corner. "I am so sorry for this man's behavior, please take this for the damages and trouble." Kana handed him some money.

"Wait miss!" The owner of the inn grabbed her hands and spoke in a hushed, hurried, whisper, stopping Kana from turning back around "Should you really go anywhere near that man? He's dangerous!"

"That's actually what I'm counting on." Kana retorted ruefully, twisting out of his grasp and turning to Genji, walking towards him purposefully with a glare, passing him up and leading him away. "If you wish to participate in this quest you will have manners, or I won't lead you anywhere near Yousuke and you can just be on your way. You aren't going to be working alone after all." Kana warned him as she lead the way, trying to put distance between them and the inn, from all the attention they had just drawn to themselves.

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Character Portrait: matou Kotone Character Portrait: Kurosawa Tsubaki Character Portrait: Warlord Yousuke
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Another day, another pointless exercise in the futility of struggle. And yet here she was, prepared to struggle all the same. She blamed him, and his seemingly perennial ability to convince her of things she knew to be false. But believe him she did, and she knew without having to ask that he would fight his fate, would fight this damnable man that held her in chains, tooth and claw… though perhaps not literally. That option was closed to her for the moment, and everyone involved was well aware of this. Her power was to be exercised at his leisure, and in the meantime, she was reduced to what this frail human-shape could do for her.

It was nothing, she was nothing, compared to what she could be in the full glory of her existence, and this rankled her. The warlord knew that too, and she suspected it amused him.

Tsubaki’s nostrils flared just slightly, the only sign of her discomfort, and a muscle in her jaw ticked. The shinobi that had taken her in, so long ago now, had advocated daily meditations as a way to begin one’s tasks with a clear mind and a solid foundation, but she had ever preferred skating by on the agility of her wit and adaptability. She was too fluid to be solid, and that was just her nature. So she abandoned the effort to be other than she was, and stood instead, crossing to the armoire standing in the corner of her room. The simple sleeping yukata she wore slid to the ground in a whisper of blue silk, and instead, she donned a kimono of deep purple, the distended sleeves exaggerated even for such a garment, paired with an embroidered gold obi, over the more practical and darker vestments of her work. To her knowledge, she wouldn’t be needing the more mobile clothes, at least not today, but she refused not to wear them.

Her present lack of assignment likely meant she would be forced to wander about as a useless ornament to this palatial estate, commanded as ever by a base creature that she despised. Tsubaki knew quite well that the warlord thought of her as his very own particularly exotic pet, and some of his hirelings were not so different. Had she her strength, she would show them all exactly who deserved to bow to whom in this relationship, but presently her soul lay tied to the damnable man’s neck, and she therefore held by the thinnest, most unbreakable of tethers, a red thread binding their fates together for as long as he willed it.

The woman pinned her hair up into a simple mage ornamented only with a pair of inlaid sticks. It was far from the most expensive ensemble she could have donned, but she was not the kind of woman that preferred nor needed excessive decoration. Also, she detested that none of the things she was granted were hers, and this was a small, subtle showing of her disapproval. Sliding open the painted shoji screen that led out into the main hallway, she wended her way down the labyrinthine corridors to the garden, which tended to be her preferred dwelling place. It was close enough that she did not feel the ache of separation from her star ball, but distant enough that she usually didn’t have to see Yosuke Harada, much less interact with him.

It was too late in the year for cherry blossoms, but the garden was lovely anyway, and she settled with as much contentment as she ever felt anymore into seiza, enjoying the fragrance and the colors. If she stayed like this long enough, her thoughts would eventually quiet, as her long-lived mind drifted back over the spans she had already occupied, and tried to avoid thinking of the millennia that yet lay before her. There were mistakes to be found there, certainly, but also happiness, and it was to this that she held most dearly. Tsubaki held no faith that she would find any in the near future, and so she found it in the past instead.

…Or at least, she would have, had she not been interrupted by Yosuke’s attendant boy. Sasuke, his name was, though she would never admit to knowing it, and she certainly would not use it. She was not oblivious to the fact that the warlord actually commanded a fair amount of loyalty from some of the others who served him, and there was a certain logic to it. The youkai excepted (many of whom she’d been forced to trick into his service), he was a relatively fair person to those that served him. She could hardly be bothered to consider this a redeeming feature when her soul rested in his hands and he showed no inclination to give it back.

Nevertheless, she was bound to answer summonses, and this one was no exception. Waving the boy off to find the next of his assigned targets, Tsubaki flowed into a stand and made her way through several side corridors before she found the room she was looking for. Even if she had not been told where he was, she would have been able to find him without anything but the call of her essence to her body. A subtle twitch to the muscle in the right side of her jaw was smoothed out, and the face she wore today was a vaguely-disdainful neutrality. She did not announce her presence—he would know of her nearness just as surely as she knew of his. Instead she entered, ignoring everyone else and simply took a seat, utterly silent.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Hirano Hiroki Character Portrait: matou Kotone Character Portrait: Kurosawa Tsubaki Character Portrait: Warlord Yousuke
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The former Kobayashi estate, for all its history as a place where an entire family and their servants were brutally slaughtered, was a rather beautiful place. New servants went about maintaining all the walls and the paper of the shoji, though the designs depicted on them made them more reminiscent of artwork than parts of a building. And then there was the gardens, several of them, all filled with beautiful trees that seemed to constantly await the spring and flowers of all colors. Hiroki had not expected his new lord to be one for the preservation of such expensive beauty--he always came across as someone with a more pragmatic worldview--but he was happy to be surprised by such a thing. He was still wary of the parts of the estate that he had yet to explore, thinking that behind this door or around that corner he might find a corridor stained with the dried blood of the previous inhabitants, but that did not stop him or his family from enjoying the gardens.

While Hiroki was certainly grateful for his new home and considered it more than a criminal in exile could ever expect, it was rather modest in comparison to his last few abodes and not currently fit for the task of spoiling his family. He had commissioned several expanses to his new estate and it was well on its way to becoming a lovely home, but it was not quite there yet. In addition a simple desire to be amongst the luxury of a daimyo's home, these visits also provided him with a twofold service. The first was that his family would grow more acquainted to the generous lord that they would loyally serve in a few years. The second, and the one that enthused his children the most, was that Yousuke-sama's home also happened to be the home to several masters of martial arts who were open to training the younger followers.

And so, Hiroki sat in his white captain's garb beside his kimono-clad wife and watched his son and daughter swing their wooden swords around to the orders of Akakawa Gendo, a disgraced samurai from southern Satsuma. Yousuke-sama was apparently deep in contemplation elsewhere on the estate, leaving training and the view the only benefit from this visit, or, at least, that was what Hiroki though before he caught sight of someone moving about at the other side of the courtyard. On closer inspection it turned out to be Sasuke the page, who was currently scanning the rooftops for those who would normally be found perched upon them. Instinctively, Hiroki did the same, growing a bit tired of the ninja's perverse pleasure of appearing out of nowhere and awing his children. Before he could examine each and every tile to his satisfaction, though, the page turned his attention to the visiting family and approached them, bowing before the guests of his lord.

Hiroki rose and gave a bow of his own before the page relayed his lord's summoning. After he received the acknowledgement that his message had been received and understood, Sasuke bowed once again to the samurai and quickly took his leave--likely to go find a shinobi up a tree or a kunoichi hanging from the ceiling somewhere. Hiroki touched his wife's hand and smiled before stepping off the veranda and interrupting his children's training. He explained to them that he was going to go meet with the esteemed Yousuke-sama, and exchanged a few departing pleasantries with his subordinate and their instructor. Gendo gave the order for Hiroko and Kouki to bow to their father and future commander and, as they did so, he, with a proud smile on his face, returned their bow before departing and leaving them under the supervision of their mother.

Navigating his way through the hallways, Hiroki sidestepped busy servants carrying food and tools and nodded towards the guards and officers he passed on his way to his lord's office. He was now away from his family, which meant that his posture became rigid and every movement was done with conscious effort; he might be amongst a bunch of misfits and demons, but lifelong habits didn't yield that easily. When he reached the paper divide between the hall and the room his lord supposedly occupied, he took a deep breath, made sure everything about him was in order, and slowly slid the door to the side.

Already inside the room were two of the kunoichi that Hiroki had seen about the estate, one Matou Kotone and Kurosawa Tsubaki. Matou seemed to be a commoner, as were most of those who fought from the shadows, but Kurosawa had a much more refined air about her and she always did. As he was not aware of any family by that name, how she came to be such was completely unknown, but she seemed to serve the daimyo well, as did Matou, though that didn't make the sight of armed women any less unusual for the traditional man. Female warriors weren't something unheard of, especially amongst samurai women or assassins, but their regularity and openness in Yousuke's territory was what made them odd.

Regardless of this, it was only a moment before Hiroki took a few steps inside the room and took his place on the floor, with his legs underneath him and perfectly parallel and his hands placed on the floor before him. He bowed sincerely before his casually-placed lord, as one was supposed to do. After a moment, he raised his head to look at his lord and returned his hands to his lap. His posture was perfect, his face was stoic and unwavering, and his voice was devoid of any intonation of emotion. "You called for me, Yousuke-sama?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Koide Uchimori Character Portrait: Sakurai Hidemasa Character Portrait: Kurosawa Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Takeshi Masamura Character Portrait: Kohaku Kana, Daughter of a Samurai Character Portrait: Kohaku Souji Character Portrait: Kinayama Maeko
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Uchimori was admittedly dumbfounded and exasperated with this group. It took all of her power to keep herself from palming her face and continue to sit there in an unmoving and dignified manner when the would-be employer finished talking and one could have heard a pin drop. How they could remain so quiet was confounding her. The only explanation that she could develop was that they all possessed a complete lack of curiosity. The young ronin furrowed her brow; narrowing eyes glanced down at the weapon in front of her as she considered the situation in the short-lived silence.

There were other explanations, but for one such as herself who would kill to be able to voice her many questions she simply couldn’t stand nor understand their silence beyond that.

Her eyes widened in disbelief when the other some-what feminine ronin finally spoke; his inquiry was shocking to say the least. Of all the imperative questions that could have been asked he chooses to ask when the task would begin. Despite her desire to remain straight-laced Uchimori’s bafflement and irritation was starting to burst through her practiced façade with the twitching of her right eye and not to subtle leering. Forcefully she looked away and closed her eyes, set her jaw firmly, and wished she could growl but chose to compromise by simply sighing silently instead.

When Kohaku-sama continued by answering the ronin’s question, Uchimori kept her eyes closed. Only when he stopped himself midway and she heard the opening of a door did she finally allow her violet windows to peer out from behind their blinds once again. Uchimori felt her eyebrow rise in curiosity as a young girl and older man entered the dojo. The girl was of little concern to Uchimori and easily ignored by the female ronin, but the man was different. He gave off an air of experience and well controlled blood lust. He was a ronin, and not one Uchimori would wish to fight. She wasn’t sure that she could escape such an encounter unscathed.

The girl pushed the man into the dojo rather unceremoniously and, though some would find that quite disagreeable, he seemed to be enjoying himself. Yet, though seemingly acting careless the way he analyzed his surroundings and company did not go unnoticed. Especially not when his eyes landed upon her own form and a look of surprise followed by amusement gleamed in his eyes. Uchimori flinched slightly but then simply frowned and averted her gaze.


Image Hidemasa found the company of the young girl quite enjoyable even as he trailed after her. The idle chatter they amused themselves with did much to ensure that the trip was not a long one. When they finally approached an estate and dojo, the older man felt a light pang of disappointment. He was enjoying the conversation with the young lady so much that he thought it an unfortunate circumstance that their discussion would soon be cut short. Kohaku-san soon escorted him into the dojo where others had been gathered. Sakurai did his best to withhold his light chuckles as the exited young lady literally pushed him up to what he assumed to be her father.

As he made the trip however, the physician was sure to analyze the company, it would make sense to do so seeing as how he likely was to spend quite a bit of time with them. His eyes glanced over the taller gentlemen first. One sat with an air of dignified restraint that seemed painfully practiced and tempted Hidemasa with the thought of patting him on the back and telling him to loosen up. Perhaps at a later date the physician would do exactly that. The other tall one sat quietly in one of the corners of the room, he seemed relaxed, like he had just woken from a short nap.

Finally his eyes moved over to the other two more feminine ronin. Hidemasa was only marginally surprised to see such petite men serving as sword wielders. With his experience in battle he had seen warriors of all shapes and sizes. No, what got him was the wave of dissatisfaction that washed over him when he observed that the very lovely and obviously proud Kanabo-wielding ronin was a man. It was a disgrace that such delicate girlishness would be wasted on a male.

Then the ronin’s eyes moved to the next indignity. Another feminine man. Sakurai’s eyes widened. Rather, he would be prone to believe that she was a he due to the way she was dressed, but somehow, Hidemasa had the sinking suspicion that were he to make an attempt at touching ‘him’ in any manner that would be deemed inappropriate if he were a woman, he would make quite the shocking discovery about this so-called man. That would be something he would most certainly have to try later.

Turning away from his observations he faced Kana’s father, Kohaku Souji. The man was quite polite in his greeting, and Sakurai was sure to return the gesture, bowing when bowed to and responding to Kohaku-sama’s words, “She was no trouble at all Kohaku-sama, contrary I enjoyed her company very much. It is clear she has been well nurtured.” Directing his words back to serious matters, Hidemasa continued, “As for what I’ve been informed of, I am aware that this is a quest for revenge against Warlord Yousuke. I know not how much you know of me but allow me to introduce myself. As your daughter said, I am Sakurai Hidemasa, I currently serve as a physician, however, I have worked the majority of my life as ronin. Your daughter sought me out so that I may offer my skills in both fields to this task.” Smiling in his normally friendly manner Hidemasa questioned Souji, “If I may ask, however, going after a warlord is no easy task, especially with so few men, how much progress have you made in your strategy and how much information have you gathered about our enemy? I do hope I have not overstepped my bounds, but I believe it is imperative that we all know where we stand.”


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Character Portrait: Kurosawa Ryuunosuke
7 sightings Kurosawa Ryuunosuke played by Ion
"There is no victory where honor cannot be found."
Character Portrait: Kurosawa Tsubaki
2 sightings Kurosawa Tsubaki played by Ion
"Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies."

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View All » Add Character » 17 Characters to follow in this universe

Character Portrait: Takeshi Masamura
Character Portrait: Yamagata Arashi
Character Portrait: matou Kotone
Character Portrait: Genji the Sleeping Dragon
Character Portrait: Sakurai Hidemasa
Character Portrait: Koide Uchimori
Character Portrait: Shimizu Akio
Character Portrait: Hirano Hiroki

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Character Portrait: Hirano Hiroki
Hirano Hiroki

"I do not hate you, warrior who stands before me, but I must stand here, between you and my home."

Character Portrait: Shimizu Akio
Shimizu Akio

"Never cage wild beasts because one day they will be free."

Character Portrait: Koide Uchimori
Koide Uchimori

"The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, some are strong at the broken places." ~Ernest Hemingway

Character Portrait: Sakurai Hidemasa
Sakurai Hidemasa

"Isn't it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do 'practice'" ~George Carlin

Character Portrait: Genji the Sleeping Dragon
Genji the Sleeping Dragon

"Remember when I said everything was fine?"*Exhales Smoke* "I lied."

Character Portrait: matou Kotone
matou Kotone

"Stupidity, blasphemy, theories, it's all the same. What matters is the person behind it"

Character Portrait: Yamagata Arashi
Yamagata Arashi

"If it isn't required, than I shall leave it be. If I am requested to take action, than I'll get it over with quickly."

Character Portrait: Takeshi Masamura
Takeshi Masamura

"For your sake, just tell me the job and then stay away."

Trending

Character Portrait: Sakurai Hidemasa
Sakurai Hidemasa

"Isn't it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do 'practice'" ~George Carlin

Character Portrait: Koide Uchimori
Koide Uchimori

"The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, some are strong at the broken places." ~Ernest Hemingway

Character Portrait: matou Kotone
matou Kotone

"Stupidity, blasphemy, theories, it's all the same. What matters is the person behind it"

Character Portrait: Takeshi Masamura
Takeshi Masamura

"For your sake, just tell me the job and then stay away."

Character Portrait: Shimizu Akio
Shimizu Akio

"Never cage wild beasts because one day they will be free."

Character Portrait: Genji the Sleeping Dragon
Genji the Sleeping Dragon

"Remember when I said everything was fine?"*Exhales Smoke* "I lied."

Character Portrait: Hirano Hiroki
Hirano Hiroki

"I do not hate you, warrior who stands before me, but I must stand here, between you and my home."

Character Portrait: Yamagata Arashi
Yamagata Arashi

"If it isn't required, than I shall leave it be. If I am requested to take action, than I'll get it over with quickly."

Most Followed

Character Portrait: matou Kotone
matou Kotone

"Stupidity, blasphemy, theories, it's all the same. What matters is the person behind it"

Character Portrait: Koide Uchimori
Koide Uchimori

"The world breaks everyone, and afterwards, some are strong at the broken places." ~Ernest Hemingway

Character Portrait: Takeshi Masamura
Takeshi Masamura

"For your sake, just tell me the job and then stay away."

Character Portrait: Genji the Sleeping Dragon
Genji the Sleeping Dragon

"Remember when I said everything was fine?"*Exhales Smoke* "I lied."

Character Portrait: Sakurai Hidemasa
Sakurai Hidemasa

"Isn't it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do 'practice'" ~George Carlin

Character Portrait: Hirano Hiroki
Hirano Hiroki

"I do not hate you, warrior who stands before me, but I must stand here, between you and my home."

Character Portrait: Shimizu Akio
Shimizu Akio

"Never cage wild beasts because one day they will be free."

Character Portrait: Yamagata Arashi
Yamagata Arashi

"If it isn't required, than I shall leave it be. If I am requested to take action, than I'll get it over with quickly."


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