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Shohei

Karasutengu

0 · 957 views · located in Komorebi Village

a character in “Youkai Street”, as played by Kato

Description

Shohei Oyama

"What happened to the good old days?"

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{Name} Shohei Oyama
{Age} Around 300 years old, but who's counting? Appears as a young man.
{Race} Yokai
{Type} Karasutengu


{Description} In his usual form, Shohei appears as a young man around 20 years old, with short, shaggy black hair, and dark blue-green eyes, and a pair of large black crow wings. Beneath his eyes are red markings. He dresses in a typical tengu fashion, a yamabushi outfit, but prefers his in black. He always carries an extremely well-made katana inside a simple scabbard. His tengu face then appears as a mask that he pushes to the side of back of his head. This mask is actually his real face, and when he puts it on, he appears as a crow-faced, winged, bird-taloned monstrous-looking creature – a true karasutengu.

Shohei can also shapeshift at will, turning into a large black crow, or appearing in a fully human guise. He can appear as any kind of human he wants, but usually doesn't bother to disguise his personality, so that anyone who knows him can easily pick him out.

{Abilities} Shohei is a master swordsman, though it is unclear whether this is a supernatural gift, or just a well-practised skill. He also practises substitution magic, in which he can disguise any object as one of similar size and weight. Generally limited to inanimate objects, he can make pebbles appear as gold coins, a sword as a worthless stick, etc. Shohei is always on the lookout for information, and by eating the eyeballs of a dead person or animal can see through their eyes for the last minutes, or hours of their life. It's useful for reliving his glorious moments of swordsmanship...

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{Yokai/Human Relations} Shohei thinks humans are inferior to yokai. Or at least, inferior to clever and wily yokai such as tengu, kitsune, and other fully sentient types. As such, he keeps them at arms length and can be rather rude at times. Shohei has wandered and spent a lot of time interacting with humans in the course of his “work”. Individual humans can gain his respect, as well as potentially earning treasure or gifts from him, by beating him in a “fair” sword fight or a game of Go. After a human has proven themselves his superior (or equal as he thinks it), Shohei will consider them a friend and help them with whatever they need. Although Shohei may cheat in his contests with humans, if he notices a human try to cheat him, he will become very annoyed and in such cases may unleash destruction upon the human or the surrounding area. He finds the current situation annoying, and does not wish for any closer relations between yokai and humans. Humans getting close to his hoard is not something he will tolerate at all.

{Personality} Considering himself to be both clever and talented, Shohei nevertheless sees relevance in the natural order of things and is deferential to superiors and polite and helpful to his equals. He has a sardonic sense of humour, though rarely smiles, and is not above playing tricks or setting riddles. Despite his young looks, he often comes across as a grouchy old man. Shohei has no trouble speaking his mind about things when he feels the need, and will gladly drop any pretense at tact if he feels it necessary. He loves to collect shiny and valuable objects and keeps them hoarded in a secret location. Shohei will use his martial abilities against any who threaten his fellow tengu, or any he considers his friends. He has no compunction about killing, either to defend his people, his hoard, or in order to test his swordsmanship. He has a bad habit of eating carrion, especially eyeballs, even in his human forms. So if you see someone scraping up roadkill ... it's probably Shohei.

{History} In the past, Shohei would disguise himself as a wandering ronin and seek out the best and strongest at martial arts, in order to challenge them to swordfights. In this way he roamed Japan, taking on many opponents, winning many battles and losing some – collecting agreed upon winnings, which might be weapons, valuable items or even information. Once the days of the samurai were over, and it was harder to find humans who wanted to get cut into bits, Shohei turned his wandering eye towards all the holy artefacts, valuable swords, mystical weapons and other items that humans had decided to take into their hands. Shohei decided that these would be better off being looked after by the tengu, and took it into his hands to “liberate” any he could find from temples, shrines and the houses of rich families and merchants. Substituting the items using his magic, meant that many of them have gone without being missed … but from time to time someone might come looking for them... Recently, even this line of work has got even harder as modern human security is difficult to bypass even for him. He finds the modern age confusing and difficult to understand. He has recently returned to the Shrine Village, and aims to protect the yokai living there from the humans' meddling and prying. If anyone is meddling and prying, it should be him.

So begins...

Shohei's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Miyako Mormeril Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Chiyoko-Danuki Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Orokawru Satogi Character Portrait: Mikado Sarubi Character Portrait: Tutsrugi
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Five humans gather on the outskirts of their village. They had made the plans at school, as they all seemed to have the same idea. Not all of them talk regularly, but being the only 5 teenagers in the village brought them together for this night and this night only. So they wait—for the rest to arrive, for the night to fall, for something to happen. The night, so far, is peaceful. No disturbances lie in their wake, and those who are gathered together seem to be discussing something mundane and nondescript. Occasionally, company in the form of an elderly woman neighbor appears, asking what the children might be up to. Their answers are specific and vague—they are exploring, they are adventuring, things like that. It is a Friday night, after all, so there will be no school tomorrow.

In the village over, the Youkai are bustling with energy and excitement. Karakasa twirl their paper umbrellas as they walk. Kitsune play pranks on the other unsuspecting Youkai as they pass. Things like that. It has been quite some time since the Human World and Spirit World have fused, but many Youkai have taken solace in the form of this desolate village, with a village full of idiots who believe in them nearby. Things are... mundane tonight. The lights illuminate off of the Youkai.




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The night is nice... muses Sanae to herself. She smiles as she sits on a low tree branch, swinging her legs back and forth. It's nearing 8pm, and her curfew is usually 9pm, but she had practically begged her parents with the help of Nao to let her stay out later, so her curfew was lifted for tonight. In her excitement, she happened to be the first one at the meeting place. The Miko is starting to get a little antsy, so she occupies herself with a little singing... that is, until she hears footsteps. She turns toward the approaching footsteps and recognizes friend after friend until they've all arrived. She smiles and waves, practically shouting for them to join her.

Sanae hops off of the branch, dusting herself off, and trots over to Nao and Satogi, beaming brightly. Ain't it lovely tonight? You can see the stars... and the water's awful sparkly. Sparkle, sparkle, sparkle... sparkle, sparkle sparkle... Her eyes lock onto the water, as though she's mesmerized, hypnotized by the small waves and trickling sounds. As eccentric as she may be, Sanae is friendly to almost everyone she meets, and that's the type of friend every person could use. She glances over to Kyosuke then, a frown on her face.

What 'bout you, Kyosuke-kun? Don't ya think the stars look pretty nice tonight? What ya can see through the trees, I mean. Ya can't see too much, but it's not that much of a problem, 'cause what you can see is absolutely gorgeous! Don't ya think? Small talk for the apathetic one, the one who doesn't want to be here in this village. Komorebi is a peaceful, quiet forest town, and Sanae rather likes that, but to each their own, she supposes.

We should get goin' soon... I'm practically burstin' with lots of energy! Yukiko-chan, don't ya think this could be the plot of... of a manga or somethin'? Or am I way off? Think about it, though—five teens embark on an adventure of a lifetime, to stake out an abandoned village to see who's actually livin' there. What if it really is Youkai? Then it'll really be like a manga!

She looks around and counts. There's one, two—her childhood friends Mao and Satogi—three, four—her school friend Yukiko and her... whatever he is, Kyosuke—five—herself! That should be everyone... maybe I better tell 'em we're leavin' now, just in case everyone wants to prepare...

Awwwright, everyone! Let's take off. If ya still need some time to do somethin', speak now, or forever hold your peace!




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The Oni prince steps carefully along the path, hands tucked into his sleeves. Lanterns and lights alike light up the path as he passes them, and he thinks to himself that it's a rather beautiful night, but it does little for excitement. Living for thousands of years grows a bit monotomous with each passing day. Ryuunosuke is not the sort of riff-raff to stir things up himself; such activities are reserved for the lower class, who cause trouble. Though he would never admit it, he does like watching trouble unfold, though only when he is in the mood for it. He is royalty, and for years, royalty had been entertained by the show of animals attacking each other and causing a ruckus. To Ryuunosuke, watching the commoners go at each other is much the same. He passes a bar—one he knows is owned by a jorogumo—and for a moment, he considers entering. Princes do not drink at bars, but Ryuunosuke will never pass up a chance for good sake.

Turning toward his trusted servant and advisor, he gives a soft smile, and there's a playful lilt to his voice. Imagine you were a thirsty royal with a taste for the finest of sake, Tsutsurugi. You come across a bar and, though it is a gathering for common folk, you feel yourself compelled to enter. What would you suggest to be done about it? He closes his eyes, smile never leaving him (a smile reserved for children and Tsutsurugi, one might add). His features certainly do befit a prince, with soft porcelain for skin and long eyelashes. Rarely are his expressions exaggerated; he is tasteful in how expressive he is. When he opens his eyes again, he gives Tsutsurugi a playful look. Careful with your response, though—We may just disobey you all the same, such a mischievous prince as We.




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A yako kitsune such as Susumu should not be sulking about on a Friday night. Fridays are when humans are most likely to be out and about and let their guards down, which is somehing the kitsune rather likes. Instead, he looks down alley to alley, sighing in defeat when his search comes to naught. It seems even talk of violence rubs Tsuyari the wrong way and causes her to run off. He hadn't meant anything by it (well, not to her, anyway), and she went and ran off!

Occasionally, he would ask the passing Youkai if they had seen a blue-haired kitsune girl about yay high, yay wide, et-cetra, et-cetra. None of them have happened to see her, and Susumu is about to give up when he spots the blue hair he'd been looking for. He hurries over to her, kneeling behind her. Sorry for whatever I said to offend you, Tsuyari-chan. You know I didn't mean to offend... well, I didn't mean to offend you. He reaches out a hand to place it on her shoulder, then patting it gently. Maybe I won't do any of that, for at least tonight... how about that? You and I could hang out, then. What about Miyako-san's bar? He starts to wag his tail a bit at that, thinking that a trip to the bar would do well, despite how young Tsuyari might look. He figures the Youkai of this town must be familiar with her, though, so it shouldn't be a problem.

Besides, if they keep moving, Sanja might be around somewhere. Maybe he might even be at the bar, though it may be doubtful...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama
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Soft trickling water echoed throughout the high-mountain shrine, known to the humans as Kurama Shrine, which they weren't even sure why. Yes, as in this point in the human world that could mesh with the Yokai world much easier, the white haired man who sat listening to the water echoing now took great pride in it.

He stood slowly, graceful as the air itself, he walked through his small temple. His feet landed on the bamboo mat floors with soft thuds as he made his way around the corner to exit into the courtyard. It was small and it had an archway leading down into the mountain pass, a large cherry blossom tree, a small zen garden with rocks and sand, and other various flowers. If anyone were to see this, they would surely be impressed as it was all immaculately organized, even for nature. Everything was arranged for peak relaxation and connectivity to the Divine. A soft sigh escaped the man as a small squirrel rushed up onto his shoulder and whispered a message into his ear.

"Master Sanja, the humans. . ." Then it trailed off as it sprinted back into the trees. Sanja folded his arms as he sat on the stoop of his home. Humans. He mused a moment, how wonderful. Perhaps he should venture down into the village? No, no. He had a duty to his mountain. He had only left before for short periods of time, well spaced apart. He slid a purple headband into his way hair and took a deep breath. He was nervous, he was scared. He didn't like leaving. He took a glance at his tranquil temple home, the place he had guarded for centuries was like a hefty rock upon his back, he could not simply drop it and pick it up again. Yet, maybe just for a moment. Sanja smiled a bit and flew down into the forest.

He landed near Ki's host tree and wrote a message on a small piece of parchment, pinning it near her roots.
"I have gone away for a bit. Please be careful and mind the shrine until I get back, if that's not too much trouble." For although his unease was great, he had faith that if Ki would watch in his absence that he could relieve his mind if only for a night.

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Sanja landed among the city streets, his head held high as if he were above the others near him, his eyes fiercely gazing straight ahead to his destination. Lesser Yokai who saw him murmured softly and quickly got out of his way. He heard some talking, a familiar voice echoing out into the streets from one building. It seemed to be a. . . Bar. He took a deep breath, reminding himself he might not leave the temple again, he stepped inside and immediately regretted it. It was crowded, it smelled vile and there was all manner of unpleasantness going on around him. His nose crinkled up in pure disgust as he sat at a table in the back corner.

He ordered Salmon Sashimi and Plum Sake. He perhaps should not have left, he missed his home. He made a quiet resolve, once his meal was complete, he was returning home.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Miyako Mormeril Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Chiyoko-Danuki Character Portrait: Mikado Sarubi
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Mikado had been in the bar. The spider hostesses bar for that, and was waiting for his sake to arrive. Afterall, today was a important day and hence he had to celebrate it as such. He had not bothered speaking to the head of the bar instead dropping a flirtatious comment on one of the maids. of course she knew who she was and blatantly ignored it. There's not a lot of love for him nowadays, especially from those in power. Which is why he decided to bring some lackies with him, big bruty type oni who could do anything for the right price. He placed the 4 big creatures near him and outside of him, of course no one without consent could speak to him.

Before long, he saw a person who he hadn't expected walk in, Sanjankubo certainly a suprise him coming out of his temple. Though he had thought of speaking to him later on, as one of his customers needed something the mountain lord was capable of acquaring. He would have to pay a cautious visit to him some time soon, after all he's still Tengu. He was instead waiting for a certain person. Chibayuki-dono a women with influence. And women with influence is rare to come around, even in this day and age. He had read up on her and had saw how she gained all the power, through books is what he had summed up but of course he was wrong. Nonetheless, he saw this woman as a signature of power which he so desperately wanted to obtain. If negations' went well, there would be partnership. He couldn't let anything get in the way, not even the other pesky Youkai which is precisely why he had hired the Oni

As soon as the woman had stepped through the door he had offered her a seat, sliding out a chair for her. of course it was common curtsy to respect the woman, especially those older then you. He had indeed gathered all the information he could on the rather small woman. ''I welcome you Chiyoko-dono, please enjoy the sake and don't mind the rather large characters behind us.'' He had laughed rather awkwardly, as he offered a handshake.

''So let's get straight to business, I think you already know of my intentions but i'll explain them to you anyways. I wish to growth my business and power in the Underworld which I know your very influential in. If we could come to some sort of standalone I would enjoy that rather well.'' He smiled once again, before taking another round of Sake. Mikado had raised his glass with her shortly after as a toast to their meeting and celebration.

After this he had planned to go outside, and see what was going on. It was a beautiful night after all, lighted with many lanterns and game stools. perhaps he would even go out of his way to cause some trouble on this beautiful night, a little party never killed nobody right? Exactly what he would do was not planned, maybe scare some humans or maybe go pick a fight with the Tengu cockroach Shohei. This was all ofcourse, if this meeting with Chiyoko had ended before midnight. Some negations' are known to go on for hours of course until the parties had found some common ground. Either way he was determined to have a good night with Mrs Chiyoko aswell, as he kept on calling the made to bring her and him more sake. Perhaps this night might be better then he might imagine.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Miyako Mormeril Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Chiyoko-Danuki Character Portrait: Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Mikado Sarubi
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It had been some time now, and Mikado had fallen into deep conversation with the older Chiyoko. Things had taken a unexpected turn with her, as if she had all of a sudden changed personalities in the midst of lifting her pipe. In unison Mikado had raised his and took a toke before listening to Chikyoko-dono's reply."I think you're sorely mistaken if you think I'm the one you're looking for," Mikado had raised a brow at the answer, not expecting it at all he was unsure of what to do next. Until he saw the expression she had formed, this was the expression of ''Your about to get told otherwise, now listen up good amateur.'' Was this ladie really a fragile grandma?

"No, I know what you want, what you're looking to do. What you're mistaken about is how you think the underworld is run. Yes, I am indeed one of the most influential members, and indeed, I can make things happen according to my whims, but... Well, the underworld isn't some great big organization with any true structure. No, it's a free place, run by Youkai who simply decide they're not going to go by rules arbitrarily set up by someone else." Mikado had formed a smirk of his own, she indeed did know about her underworld, she was most likely right about her statement. Mikado's knowledge had been vast of the underworld, but certainly not a shred too what this woman knew, no this was no old ladie. This was what we like to call a monster in disguise, she had taken the cover of a fragile grandma but underneath that hood was a true beast. Mikado looked at his sake for a moment, before letting out a brief sigh with a quiet giggle following it. He hadn't bothered replying, instead looking at Chiyoko signalling for her to go on. Afterall, he wanted to hear all of it.


"Indeed, my power is great, but I'm no empress. I don't put a stranglehold on others and tell them what to do. I'm simply good at meeting people interests and benefiting them, and they do favour for me in turn. It's all about mutual benefit, a force that is the strength behind all interaction, from the bar to the bedroom. Us Youkai are all interested in ourselves and only ourselves, after all. So, do as you please, because I won't stop you... unless, of course, you are in the way of my interests... And likewise, be helpful to me, and I'll support you, like the good partner that I am."

Mikado took in a deep breath, this woman was certainly no amateur. He would've been disappointed if she was, after a brief moment Mikado had finally formalised a reply in his head and placed his pipe down then looked Chiyoko in the eye. ''You see Mrs Chiyoko, i'm a man with a ambition. A man with a dream you could say to gain power over the underworld, ridiculous as it may sound to you. Indeed, it is no organisation, but what if it could be turned into one.'' He picked up his pipe once again before letting go another cloud. '' I, ofcourse am talking about taking it for my own, the most influential members of the underworld all allied. Wouldn't that just be a joy? Each of them having their own followers and admirers blend in with one another and i guess you could say it would become my very own kingdom. What do you gain in all this? You don't seem like a woman who craves power, if you don't mind me saying. You instead seem like a woman, who was a born leading power not craving power but which i could offer you of course. Enough about my rambling though, please go on.'' He placed his pipe down once again, and called for the waiters for another round of sake for the both of them.

"Although, we haven't had a chance to properly get to know each other, hmm? I mean, I know you know much about me, just as I know much about you, but as like-minded individuals, we should really understand each other better. For instance, I'm a big believer in tradition and upholding your family's values. My father before me was honest with his money-lending practices, as am I. Of course, my father was quite the mischievous sort, and I, too, like to follow in his footsteps sometimes. Of course, you've read all the storybooks so you know how it is. Of course, what I'm wondering if you have the same values. Do you find upholding your family's values to be important?" Mikado had been surprised once again, this woman most likely knew about his grave past which he so hardly had tried to dig up. Yes, this was the woman he had been looking for Chiyoko-Danuki. ''Oh whatever do you mean, Chiyoko-Dono.'' Mikado had played the innocent clueless boy, he ofcourse had to hear what she had to say maybe his suspicious were for naught.


"Yes, I make sure to give some attention to honoured names, and if this old lady's memory holds, the Sarubis were once a ruling family of some kind, even if not for very long. Still, your family's actions are quite ambitious, and as shown by the evidence, the ambitious Youkai is much more dangerous than the fickle one, willing to do whatever he can, use whoever he can, in order to get what he wants. If it's power he wants, he's going to do whatever it takes to keep it, regardless of who suffers." Mikado had sat back in his chair, relaxing his arms on the chair. He's suspicions had been confirmed, this woman had indeed known about his past. She had done her research quiet well, he believed that this information was unobtainable-but fate always seems to find away . Still, he knew she was old but this old he had not yet expected. ''That you are right in, Chiyoki-dono the ambitious Youkai is indeed much more dangerous, which is why i've grown wear of you in a matter of moments. Afterall, are we so different from each other Mrs,Chiyoko. Though i will commend you on finding out about my past, it's not everyday that my skeletons in the closet are revealed.'' He had leaned in once again, picking up the fresh batch of sake.

"So tell me,Do you have any intention to uphold your family's values? Because if it's power you seek i won't hesitate to protect my own interests.''
Mikado had lowered his remaining eye, this woman certainly did have him on the ropes he would have to find a way to gain her favour and trust because it would seem it certainly couldn't be done in a old bar like this. ''I'll be upholding values, Mrs,Chiyoki though calling it my familys i would say would be abit of a stretch as these ambitions are none other then my own. As for you intrests, if a alliance between our two parties was to form it would most likely be in your best interests i would say. And i Mikado Sarubi, am a man of my word or so i like to say.'' A wide grin had formed on the face of Mikado, this arrangement wasn't going to be sorted today it would seem it would have to be a number of days. Mikado had to gain the favour of this woman, no matter what the cost. What he had to do, was earn her trust. And what better day to build trust then today, a festival of street laterns and such. Mikado stood up and slid in his chair, then walked over to Chiyoki and extended his hand. ''Well, Mrs Chiyoki i'd like to take our conversation in to some other day as i believe the nights too old for it to be resolved right now. How about we go parade the festival and see this as a moment of enjoyment, rather then business. Well?'' He had formed a strangely friendly smile, which wasn't common on his part, but he ofcourse had to get the ladie's favour. Though he was certainly weary, he had some unwanted visitors in the bar. The oni prince and his slave, they had probaly seen him or even overheard him so he had to make his way out of the bar soon aswell. Though he was more focused on Chiyoki to say so.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Ki
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#, as written by Kato
Shohei


“Hmm....” The lives of cats were extremely mundane. Napping, hissing at other cats, chasing the odd mouse or butterfly if they could be bothered, going from house to house accepting food at every one, more napping, demanding they be stroked and petted, jealously treading their familiar routes to protect “their” territory. There wasn't usually much to gain, except for the juicy squishy taste. In his crow form, Shohei tipped up his beak and swallowed the eyeball whole, with an audible gulp. He'd been following this cat around for a while, just with the unnerring carrion eater's instinct that it was going to die. It did, on the outskirts of the forest that lay between the human village and the yokais' territory. Choked on a fishbone. Through the cat's eyes he saw a group of children gathered around. One of them showed the others a flashlight, while they took peeks about them to see if they were spotted conspiring. It didn't mean much to him, except that at that very moment he heard voices approach. He flapped up into a nearby tree, leaving the half-eaten dead cat where it lay and watched with beady eyes, as those same children happened past, on their way to the Yokai village. He caught snatches of their conversation, enough to get the gist, though a lot of it was meaningless human jibber-jabber. Well, it probably wasn't anything too important, but he should let the boss know about it, anyway.

Wishing an unspoken goodbye to the dead cat, who he hoped would stick around for later, he took off to fly up to Sanjakubo's mountain shrine and warn him of the humans' approach. He landed, transforming into his usual man-crow form, and sliding the mask to the side of his face. “Boss?” His talons clacked along the stone pathways as he walked along. “Sanja-sama?” There was no one there, but a small squirrel who skittered down a tree and twitched its nose at him. Shohei sighed and scratched his head. If the squirrel was trying to tell him something, it was utterly lost on him. It was unusual for Sanjakubo to leave this place, more unusual still to leave it in the care of a squirrel. As he looked around, he happened upon Ki, wandering by themselves around the shrine complex. “Ki-chan?” he poked his head around a doorway, “Are you here by yourself? Where's the boss?” Coming over to them, he would listen to hear if Ki knew anything, but he wasn't going to stick around in the shrine while there was something interesting going down at the village, and where the boss might get into trouble. Wise as he was, Sanja-sama was unbelievably naïve when it came to certain things. “I'm going down to the village. Want to come?” If Ki wanted to accompany him, they were welcome to sit on his back for a ride while he flew down there. He let them make the decision. If they were going to stay, Shohei would promise to return quickly.

It might have been a long way to walk, but flying took little time at all, and before long the rooftops of the yokai town were below him. Where would the boss be? That pub? Maybe, although it attracted ne'er-do-wells. He knew for a fact that that walking roadkill Sarubi frequented it, as well as a whole bunch of other lesser yokai. Not really the place for someone like the boss. Just as he was thinking of undesirable characters, who should he see but that infernal Kitsune, not only approaching Sanjakubo, but daring to place his paws all over him! He nosedived towards the little grouping, landing directly in front of them, but a second or two to late to save Sanjakubo from Susumu. He glared at the kitsune malevolently. He was looking good tonight, silver hair catching the moonlight elegantly, his tails swishing fluffily. What an absolute … he didn't have a word for what an absolute thing that Susumu was, but he was one and an obnoxious one at that. But handsome, that couldn't be denied. He bowed stiffly to Sanjakubo, then resumed his glaring. “Please remove your hand from Sanja-sama, or have it removed … from your arm,” he drawled, looking like he may or may not have been joking. The female kitsune he didn't recognise, although there was something familiar about her. Maybe it was the blue hair. “Boss,” he started to say to Sanjakubo, “there's ---” but before he could mention his info that there were humans approaching, it seemed as though Sanja's attention had been drawn to something behind him. He turned, to see the small group of humans he had spotted earlier, one of them turned back to lock eyes with Sanjakubo and by the look on her face, she had spotted something was amiss. “---humans,” he finished his sentence. He folded his arms and watched after the girl who had turned back. “Want me to get rid of them, boss?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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Kyosuke ‘Kyo’ Andoh

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“…looks like you lost!” Making their approach towards the town, Kyosuke couldn’t help but give a grunt of annoyance at Nao’s smug little statement. Gah, he hated losing. How’d that dweeb even get in front of him anyhow? They hadn’t been separated that long. Whatever, didn’t matter. It was just a dumb empty village anyway. They could probably just chill out for a few hours and head home, nothing was going to happen.

Glancing about the streets, buildings, shrines, it took him a moment but… There were clearly more people around than just him and Nao. A lot more. This place was… Bustling. Music faintly playing, a muffled symphony of voices chattering away. Heck, this place was probably more alive than that hole Komorebi village. Maybe this was like, some seedy nearby district, and that’s why everyone said it was abandoned? Man, that’d be cool. At least they’d have something to tell the other kids at school when they got back.

The shika deer was coming to her own conclusions, and began prattling out a lecture on cults and isolated groups, blah blah wait, mass suicide? Whoah, creepy. Maybe this place would be way more interesting after all. Glancing about with a bit more enthusiasm, Kyosuke began looking to see if there was anyone they could meet, though he faintly caught the next few comments Nao made. Permission from the prez to get involved in a fight? Man, this was maybe turning out to be his lucky day.

“Ass.” He clarified for Nao, eye rolling at her baby-talk. Honestly, being able to swear was more mature than not. “And yeah, fine, whatever. If we get in trouble, just go hide or something and I’ll handle it.” He added, continuing his stride as he looked over the nearby signs and got a bit more of an idea of the town’s layout. He wasn’t much for talking, so he was plenty happy with Nao handling that stuff should it come to it. Her priority was finding the others and getting out of here. He didn’t mention it, but that was probably going to be when he’d start checking out this place for himself, without those dorks getting in the way.

Either way, it was clear that Satogi and the girls hadn’t found their way here yet. He’d been overly presumptuous that those losers could do anything competently. Heh, looks like he hadn’t ‘lost’ at all. Good, he’d get to rub it in their noses later. Grinning some more as he walked, he was looking towards some of the residents when he felt his sleeve grabbed and tugged a few times, politely requesting his attention. He obliged, but probably did the opposite of what she wanted and stopped briefly. "Psst. Kyo. Just keep on walking…" Kyo frowned a bit, catching sight of what she could see before leaning in to reply. “Why are we hiding? If they’re jerks I’ve got this, and if not you’re not a total doofus when it comes to talking.” Despite his question, the fact Kyo was also keeping quiet probably made it rhetorical.

Being slightly manhandled by Nao was an odd-feeling, but Kyosuke let it slide as he was far more focused on the three individuals they passed. They had some pretty… ‘Unique’ features. Kyo entranced by… a certain pair of features more than others, and unlike Nao, wasn’t afraid to just rudely stare at the trio. So distracted was he with the ‘scenery’ he barely registered Nao’s tugs for his attention and protection, followed by her making some space. "Did you see that? Was that a tail??" She asked in hushed urgency, Kyo blissfully unaware of that aspect of things. “A wha..?” He asked, finally snapping out of it and glancing back towards the slightly distant people. “Oh yeah, kinda looks like it, huh. Weird.”

Glancing back towards Nao, he noticed that something in her expression had changed. “Uh, Yo, Nao. You okay?” Waving his hand in front of her face, it seemed like she was the one now entranced in some way. Geez, daydreaming at a time like this, tch. “Earth to Nao? Come in please.”




Rika Nekonyankoo

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“Ew, ew. How gross. How can a birdie be so gross..?” Perched in a tree, hunched over all sneaky like, was Rika Nekonyankoo. One hand was firmly holding her in place on a branch, while the other moved to stuff the remainder of the bird she’d caught in her mouth. The pot continued to watch the kettle dissect her deceased feral brethren in disdain, tails flicking side to side in impatience. Minutes she’d been following him! A whole bunch of minutes! Nearly more than the fingers on her hands! That was forever and he still hadn’t lead her to his shiny hoard! Rude birdie! She knew he had one. She’d seen him collect stuff before, but it was so hard to keep up with a birdie on foot. Rocking back and forth a bit as she continued to suffer in boredom, it seemed something startled Shosei as he moved up into the trees as well. Quick as a cat, she pivoted to the other side of the trunk, holding her breath so as not to be noticed. If he spotted her now, her purrfect plan would be ruined!

Finally, she heard the steady beat of his wings as he took off, cautiously leaping out onto another branch to take a look. Now where was he going?! He better be going to his shiny hoard, she did not plan to stick around and watch him eat another dead animal. Taking note of the approximate direction of his flight, she began leaping through the trees, doing her best to keep up and not lose sight of him. This time, nothing would go wrong…




“No, it’s all wrong!” Rika whined in disdain as she arrived at the Kurama shrine. She’d been here a whole bunch, and it definitely was not the place where the Birdie kept his shinies. Pouting as she scampered up the stairs, she was a little tired when she reached the top. That made it all the more frustrating when she noticed Shohei soar back out and towards the village! “You dumb birdie! I’ll get your treasure yet!” She wailed at the tengu, though hopefully not audible enough to hear. No way she was catching him gliding down from the top of this mountain, and besides, she was already exhausted coming all this way at full pace. Stupid birdie… He made a worthy rival indeed. Perhaps he’d spotted her and this was a carefully executed plan to lose her! Grr, she’d have to be super-duper-sneaky next time! No way was she going to give up!

For now though, she was giving up. Wandering into the shrine, she wondered if perhaps Sanja would show mercy and let her have some water or something – or at least take a nap on one of the comfy shrine pillows. ”Sanyah~! I’m tirrreeeddd! Let me stay, please?” Flopping in the doorway, Rika was surprised to find that the big birdie wasn’t in. Instead it was Ki! She loved Ki! She didn’t have anything valuable, but she was always so nice to Rika! Sitting up slightly to greet her and ask where the master of the temple was, Rika’s eyes lit up as she heard he’d gone to town and left Ki in charge. “Really?! Big Birdie’s gone to town?!” Clasping Ki’s hands enthusiastically, Rika was completely revitalised as she began scampering about the shrine, poking all the pretty things, snacking on the offerings, rubbing up on the materials. Oh, she so rarely got to be in this place! She had to make the most of it. Speaking of which...

Snapping her fingers, she materialised her burlap sack, and quickly got to work looking for valuables Sanja wouldn’t miss. Along with ones he would. The greedy kitten was working hard to pilfer what she could before he returned, brazenly doing so in front of Ki. In fact… “Ki, could you stack the tea set over there neatly in this sack? Thank you! You’re the best Ki!” Leaving Ki to the task she had been appointed, the feline began attempting to move a large gold ornament with little success. The Bakeneko was quick to calm any of Ki’s worries as she worked, insisting that she was simply ‘borrowing for an extended period’ and that she ‘promised to tell Sanja what she borrowed later’.

She may of lost one Birdie, but this was more than worth the 12 minutes of following him!

The setting changes from Komorebi Village to Youkai Street

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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Dialogue Color || #FA8EFA | Thought Color || #B6CAE0
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After having walked around for a while, Ki's eyes landed on a tea set that was laying out. They began to wonder if they should make some tea for when Sanja returned. It would keep them busy, and it might also make their caretaker happy. Yet, the more they thought about it the more it began to seem like it wasn't the best idea. For one, Ki had no idea when the older male would be back, the tea could have gone cold by the time he returned. And for two, Ki had never really made tea before. That could be a bit of a setback.

They were brought out of their thoughts by the sound of a voice calling from somewhere in the temple. Listening closely as they called out again, Ki realized that it was a voice that they happened to know quite well. Walking into the next room, Ki smiled happily as Shohei poked his head around the doorway.

To the question of if they were alone, Ki just simply nodded in response. But as he questioned where the 'boss' was, they decided to speak up. "Sanja left for the village. He told me to watch the shrine." Nodding their head once more afterwards as if to show that was all they knew, Ki looked back up at Shohei curiously. Why exactly was he looking for Sanjakubo anyways?

However, instead of answering Ki's unsaid question, Shohei then stated that he was going down to the village as well. At the offer for Ki to come with him, they merely shook their head. "Thank you... But I've been put in charge of watching over the temple. And I wouldn't want to betray Sanja's trust." Ki wasn't sure what they would do if Sanja became disappointed or angry with them.

Despite it being the choice that they believed was right, it was still sort of hard to watch Shohei fly away. Now not only would they not be able to find out what was going on down in the village until Sanjakubo got back, but now Ki was once again alone.

Ki likely would have ended up getting lost in their thoughts again if it hadn't been for a new voice that rang out through the building. 'The shrine is very busy tonight' They thought to their self as they went to see who was calling now. Catching a glimpse of pink hair, Ki instantly knew who it was.

"Rika?" They called out quietly, watching the girl's eyes widen with delight as they landed on them. And even though Ki didn't quite think that it was possible, her eyes seemed to fill with even more delight at the mention that Sanja was out at the moment. Surprise seemed to cause Ki's own eyes to widen as Rika enthusiastically clasped their hands in hers. Yet the girl was off again before Ki could give any sort of response, suddenly seemingly entranced with the various objects around the temple.

Ki watched silently as Rika made a bag materialize out of thin air, a tinge of worry striking them as they saw that she was now beginning to stuff items inside of said bag. 'Rika wouldn't do anything bad... right?' They told their self as they watched the pink ball of energy run about. They felt a bit strange when she asked if they could help her add items to the stack, but a couple of reassurances that she would tell Sanja that she borrowed them later quickly wiped any worry Ki had away. 'Of course Rika wouldn't do anything bad!'

After they had finished helping Rika put everything that she wanted to 'borrow' away, Ki smiled softly at her. "Just be careful not to damage anything before you return it to Sanja. I wouldn't want to see him get mad at you." Looking around the room now, Ki began to wonder why Rika came here in the first place. She had been calling out for Sanjakubo, so maybe that was who they were looking for.

Deciding that this was the most reasonable answer, Ki looked at Rika once more before asking, "Will you be staying here until Sanja returns?" Ki didn't mind the girl's company, plus it would be nice to have somebody to talk to. Or somebody to listen to in this case.

The setting changes from Youkai Street to Komorebi Village

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Miyako Mormeril Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Chiyoko-Danuki Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Orokawru Satogi Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo Character Portrait: Tutsrugi
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speech: #c70000 || thoughts: #7a7676
As expected, Sanja had guessed right. The kitsune wags his tail excitedly, leaning in to rub his cheek against Sanja's affectionately. Oh, oh! You guessed it right, Sanja-kun. My boy's so smart. Smart, smart~ After the words leave his mouth, it's then that they appear to be dive-bombed by some kind of bird. Though, as it lands, Susumu can see that it's just Shohei. He smiles, then, tail curling around him delicately, twitching at the end. His head cants to the side curiously, grin on his face. Oh? Tell me, is that a promise or a threat? If you take off one of my arms, can I take off one of yours? An eye for an eye, right? I'd like to bargain with eyes...~

Susumu rather dramatically releases his hold on Sanja, pouting a bit. There's still warmth from the contact, but his body feels so much colder without Sanja's side against his. He flicks his tail again and moves to step toward Shohei, likely to tease him a bit. The tengu's true feelings are written all over his face—at least, they are to the kitsune. Such a man is used to reading people, to get under their skin, to break them down. He takes a step forward—

...—and stops.

It's then when a group of two passes them (two that, Susumu notes, he does not recognize) and the kitsune's crimson eyes widen. His posture straightens, and his ears raise. Those two look awfully suspicious... they can't be from around here. He muses this just as Shohei mentions something about 'disposing of humans.' The kitsune waves a hand dismissively at him, despite not being the one addressed, and throws a wink at Shohei. Something changes visibly about Susumu; something animal, something feral overcomes him, and it shows. His eyes almost glow, and his pupils split his irises with deep slits, much like a fox. His movements are more graceful than usual (though, what is that to say about Susumu's usual grace? he has grace, but now he's practically dancing!) as he moves toward them, fast. Within an instant, he sidles up in front of them, walking backwards to match their strides. It seems he's all but forgotten the promise he made to poor Tsuyari.

Did you see it? Did you see Sanja-kun's illusion? Oh, he's wonderful, isn't he? Judging by the way you're looking at me right about now, I'd say you're confused. That's fine, that's fine! He opens his arms in a theatrical motion, flashing a sharp-toothed smile. Let Susumu-oniisan lift those clouds from your cute little heads, yes? I suppose your parents told you not to talk to strangers? If we play a game together, we won't be strangers anymore! ♥❞

Just like that. Without any preface, without any warning, he begins his game, splaying his fingers and holding up his hands. Everything, every single thing about this man is captivating—his movements, his eyes, his face, his voice, the way his body and hips move as he speaks—in the worst way. Internally, Susumu counts the charm points of the two—the boy's eyes are nice (though they pale in comparison to Sanja-kun's, of course!), and the girl's teeth are a desirable feature, as well. He tilts his head to the side, a laugh bubbling from his throat, and it sounds like all the pleasing sounds in the world—wind chimes knocking against each other in the breeze, a cat's purr, the third highest note on a flute.

A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven't eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him? I'll give you three guesses. On the third incorrect guess, you have to tell me a secret about yourselves!




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Sanae slows to a halt, sighing in defeat at Satogi's words. She didn't want to have to admit it at first but... he's right. They're lost in the middle of the forest... at night. They could be stuck here forever...! What a terrible thought, Sanae! Don't just think somethin' like that! You're sendin' negative energy! The Miko shakes her head quickly and releases Satogi's hand briefly to pat her cheeks. Lessee... you're right. Yep. We're lost. But! But, that don't mean I dunno how to get us un-lost. Y'know, I know how to get to the shrine from anywhere in the forest? Even at night. She taps her chin in thought, turning in the direction she's about to lead everyone. Would be a lil' easier if we had some kinda flashlight, but... Kyosuke-kun took Satogi-kun's. Hmm... y'know, I heard about cellphones havin' flashlights, but... I dunno how mine works. S'this way, though.

She points off in a direction—the right direction, this time—and starts to lead the other two off. They pass through threes and eventually, they come across a path, and there's a few lanterns to guide the way. Sanae smirks victoriously—she did it! Not that there was any doubt in the shrine maiden's mind, but she was sure that the other two might doubt her (Yukiko especially). She warns them to mind their steps. They say the abandoned village's hidden by some trees at the bottom of the cliff on the other side of the shrine. Me? Well, I never saw it before, but... well, that's probably 'cause it's hidden. 'Sure if we get up to the shrine, we can find a way to get down there, y'know? And—... uh, wait. Shh.

She puts a finger to her lips (albeit a bit in vain; wasn't she the only one talking?) and lowers herself slightly, squinting into the darkness. She hears something, and it's not just the crickets chirping (though those are lovely sounds, too). She looks back to her companions, eyes widening slightly. Am I the only one who hears... voices? Ya think someone else is out here? Could it be Kyosuke-kun and Nao-chan? Oh man, what if it's... what if it's the voices of Youkai? D'ya think we really found some?!




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It does take Ryuunosuke a moment to tear his gaze from whatever nondescript part of the wall he had occupied his eyes with looking to. His head turns, lids closing and opening a few times in slow, curious blinks before he realizes it's Miyako, the bar's owner. Such an honor to be greeted by the bar's owner, the Oni prince feels himself almost smile—almost. He cocks his head to the side, head still rested softly in his hand. We do not come here often, Miyako-san. What do you have that is good here?

Ryuunosuke pauses then, glancing back to Tutsurugi. Normally, he would have the servant order for him, but tonight, on his own accord, hadn't he wandered into a bar full of all sorts of common riff-raff? He shrugs his shoulders and continues. We like sake, but We have rather expensive taste. Give us your best, Miyako-san. The prince lowers his eyelids delicately, looking up at her through his eyelashes. It isn't a coqurettish stare, but a rather bored one—not with her, but such is the prince's nature. Engaging words, though not so engaging expression.

Miyako had kept an easy smile on her face as she waited for Ryuunosuke's attention and it only widened when he finally replied. His words were true, he didn't come often, and usually Tutsurugi ordered for him when he did. What really suprised her, and delighted her, was that he had not insulted her or her establishment outright, unlike Sanja. She couldn't keep the flirtatious yet slightly mocking tone out of her voice when she responded. "We have plenty that's good here though not many have high standards as you and I do. I think I have something in mind. I'll bring a few bottles over so you can choose the one best to your liking." Miyako, gave a small curtsy to Ryuunosuke and then spun and walked away, a bit of a skip in her step. The oni prince was one of her favorite customers to be honest, he had such an eloquent way of speaking and he tended to cling to old customs which made Miyako reminescent of the past. As she walked away she noticed that whoever was with Chiyoko had stood. With quick movements she slipped between his four brutes and spoke to Chiyoko who had yet to rise from her seat. "Sorry for the delay Chiyo-san. If you come back later I'll make sure to put aside a bottle of your favorite for you." With a wink at her friend she slipped away and headed towards the bar.

Ryuunosuke, having watched Miyako walk back towards the bar, looks to Tutsurugi. There's a small smile on his face, then. She walked off without asking what it was you wanted, Tutsurugi. Perhaps the pretty jorogumo was so taken by our royal presence, she lost her head for a moment? He gives Tutsurugi a wink and looks back towards the bar, amused, waiting for Miyako to return with the sake he'd be trying.

Miyako looked over the unopened bottles behind the bar, her eyes quickly landing on what she was looking for. Grabbing three bottles from the bar she set them aside before heading into the kitchen. Tutsurugi had long ago told her exactly what type of sake she should keep on hand for his highness, it changing as the companies that made it did. He also had provided special sake cups, something that had annoyed Miyako at first but upon seeing the beautiful cup set had been unable to complain. The cups were made of pure obsidian, gold being used to decorate the outside. Grabbing both the expensive sake and the cups Miyako placed them on a silver tray she kept (honestly for the tea she had with the girls) and headed out. Stopping to grab the other three bottles of sake Miyako placed them on the tray quickly while watching the girls movements, all three somewhere out in the bar. Satisfied that none of them were harassing the guests and causing mischeif Miyako headed back over to the table where Ryuunosuke and Tutsurugi were sitting. With graceful motions she placed a cup in front of them both and then opened each bottle of sake. "I made sure to bring the one that Tutsurugi requested I keep in stock. It's been kept slightly chilled as he asked. I also brough three of the most popular sakes we have here at Rōzuu~ebu. They're made locally by a small business but everyone seems to enjoy them greatly."

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Taste testing, then? Ryuunosyuke looks vaguely amused, sitting back slightly and stretching his shoulders out. He tilts his head at her, then, face mimicing an almost disturbing childlike innocence. He smiles, but it isn't the tender smile he gives children (and Tutsurugi). It's sardonic and playful. Ah, yes. She did forget one not so minor detail, and the prince cannot resist a bit of poking fun...
And... what will my companion be having?

For a moment Miyako just looked confused,, the question not making much sense. It only took a few more second for understanding to dawn, causising her eyes to widen and for the first time in centuries, maybe even millenia, her face flushed bright red. Lowing her gaze Miyako's shoulders shifted inward almost impercetably and she did her best not to embarass herself more, responding quickly. "I'm so very sorry. I assumed you would both want the same thing. Turning towards Tutsurugi Miyako bowed and spoke with as much sincerity and formality as she could muster, which suprisingly was quite a lot. "I humbly apologize for not thinking of your needs as well Tutsurugi-sama. Please forgive my rudeness."

Ryuunosuke laughs then, and it's a sound that comes from deep in his throat—a genuine laugh, full of amusement, one that shows he found humor in the situation. He covers his mouth with his head canted towards the duo leaving the bar. Did he hear Chiyoko say something, or was it just an annoying buzzing noise going in one ear and out the other? He shrugs and laughs once more at her expense, for good measure. He waves his hand toward Miyako as if to wave off her worries. Tonight, We do not join you as royal and servant. We join you to make merry, Miyako-san, though We do not blame you for not being able to look past our extravagently regal exterior. Which of these would you say is your favorite, then? We suppose Tutsurugi will have whatever We are having~

Miyako was once again taken off gaurd as Ryuunosuke laughed. Slowly rising she looked at him with a half empty, half confused expression until he had finished. Shaking herself, both mentally and her head physically, Miyako forced her 'hostess' smile on her face. Brightening right back up she forced herself to take the situation in stride. "Oh! Well personally I've never been able to pick a favorite. The Black,Red, and White Rose Sakes were the three original flavors though so I guess those ones. I brought you the Red, Pink, And White as those are the three most popular. Oh! And the expensive one that Tutsurugi requested. I believe it costs around 550 thousand yen so it must be wonderful. And I replace it each month so it's always fresh."

Ryuunosuke nods, then, taking the one he assumed to be the expensive one. He raises the bottle to his nose before he gingerly pours some out—himself, no less!—into the fancy cup Miyako had been oh so generous to take out. He takes the cup and deftly lifts it to his lips and takes a sip. Ah, so the taste is as good as the aroma. He nods to Miyako and reaches for another bottle to pour into another cup. Our compliments, Miyako-san. You have excellent taste. Savor it, for compliments from royalty are not easy to come by. Tutsurugi, try this one!




Characters Present

Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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Upon Shohei's arrival Sanja felt relieved. Finally someone with some sense, some worth, some respect for authority! Oh glorious Shohei, how he had missed some sanity. Plus a little devotion was missed and Shohei always delivered. Sanja smiled pleased at the other Tengu's spirit, plus the way he dealt with Susumu sent chills down his spine. Sanja rose slowly with the dignity that was so thick it threatened to suffocate anyone too close.

"Oh Shohei, how nice of you to arrive. However I do believe that though your offers sound quite enticing, how I'd love to watch you rend that cocky fox. . . I do think I have overstayed my welcome. My temple needs me and I have this feeling in the pit of my gut." Towards the end Sanja scowled slightly. He had a feeling something was amiss, he had to return at once or be declared a failure. He cleared his throat and patted Susumu's shoulder, his slender hand lightly touching the kitsune's shirt fabric. As he did not wish to be too familiar with the fox.

"Susumu, I am taking my leave please do not mind my passing, yet I feel as though you would like to know. Shohei, accompany me back to Kurama Shrine." He said the last bit in a commanding tone. He walked past the humans and once he had gotten just past the female he stopped and grinned like a devil would. He decided he was going to ruin the fox's game. "Curious is it not? Such an obvious answer when clearly the lions have starved and died within those three years. . . Goodluck." As he finished he laughed and flew off quickly. Assured his loyal friend would follow him, Shohei was odd but he was quite diligent.

---

After not long at all he landed in the small garden before the shrine. He smiled, finally he was home. In his perfect, undisturbed. . . He heard unwanted noises from within his home. Noises that sounded a lot like. . .

"Rika." He uttered the word as if it were a curse upon his tongue, his eyes went dark as he strode into the shrine, throwing open the doors as dark shadows accompanied him. Using his illusions he had cloaked his entry to conceal the light of day and left himself glowing amidst the dark. His eyes went to the cat, then to his darling Ki, then to her bag. He felt anger bubbling up, his precious shrine. She had shoved his belongings into a sack and was getting Ki involved. He gritted his teeth and spoke.

"Miss Nekonyankoo. . . If you do not put my belongs back exactly as you found them, I will rend your feline ears from your small, foolish, destructive head!" He boomed and strode over grabbing the cat by her scruff for the remainder of his speech.

"I have told you once, I've told you a thousand times. Do. Not. Enter. The. Shrine. You are forbidden in my home! Everytime you come here you destroy and mess up my chi!" He dropped her to the ground once more and pointed to her sack. "I will give you until the count of ten to return my belongings as you found them and vacate my temple so I can repair this mess." He said narrowing his eyes and folding his arms as the shadowy illusions roared and licked over Rika's body, they became more and more terrifying the more Sanja had spoken. The illusions now appeared as wispy monsters among the dark. With cruel fangs and glowing pupil-less eyes. Daring the cat to try anything tricky in the Daitengu's own domain, so that they would have permission to rip her apart. In reality they were harmless, though the cat did not know as much.

Sanja's eyes went a moment to Ki and he looked at her if he couldn't believe she allowed this cat to disrupt his peace! He worked years and years to get everything just so. Each time something like this happened Sanja could not contain his rage and disdain. Centuries putting his precious bobbles in their own place. Just so they could be shoved into some burlap sack by a cat. Some might say he was overreacting, however he'd say he was underreacting. His shrine was all he ever had. He knows it's the only thing he'll always have. Such treatment registered to him as disrespect of his very title. Something that no one should do, if they wish to live a happy life.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama
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#, as written by Emmyz
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Suddenly her eyes where not feeling so well. She blinked and rubbed them a couple of times as her pulse quickened. Everything was so confusing. The "not so abandoned" village just felt.. unatural.. Nao froze and stopped at the spot. Had that white haired man with purple eyes just been glowing? She could swear he had looked like some sort of angel. What was happening to her? Had she been drugged? Maybe he was the sect leader trying to play tricks on her head and make her extremely religious. “Uh, Yo, Nao. You okay? Earth to Nao? Come in please." she heard a distant voice. She shook her head and closed her fists, making her nails dig in to her palms as a try to break free from her confusion with a small amount of self inflicted pain.

"Im fine, im fine..." she lied. As she did, her fears became reality. One of the weird people had caught up with them. The tall one with long silky hair and the focused eyes of a predator. His movements made Nao's warning signals go off in her chest. The wagging, soft but alluring hips. Her eyes widened as she catched a glimpse of what was hiding behind him, a tail... who seemed to be alive and moving along in the mans softs movements... Then he opened his mouth to speak, and Nao almost got lost in this strangers hypnotizing red eyes.

"Did you see it? Did you see Sanja-kun's illusion? Oh, he's wonderful, isn't he? Judging by the way you're looking at me right about now, I'd say you're confused. That's fine, that's fine!"
As he where speaking, two sharp canine teeth where adding to his wierd.. but attractive look. Nao really tried to listen istead of just staring and getting distracted by the impossible features. Sanja? Was that the purple eyed man, the sect leader. And illusions? What was he talking about...

"Let Susumu-oniisan lift those clouds from your cute little heads, yes? I suppose your parents told you not to talk to strangers? If we play a game together, we won't be strangers anymore!"

Finally she managed to break free from his magnetizing eyes, and tilted her head to the side- making her hair fall forward from the grip of her ears, and she looked up - trying to read how Kyo was doing. Sure, this sneaky.... fox-like?...man was a big threat. Even so she felt more worried about Kyos reaction than this Susumu. Crossing her fingers he would not do anything stupid.

"A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven't eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him? I'll give you three guesses. On the third incorrect guess, you have to tell me a secret about yourselves!"

The memory of herself saying to Kyo how she would handle the talking, got played up before her eyes. Coming back from her trip to memory lane she took a deep breath and looked upon the man once more.. Luckely the riddle was childishly simple.

"The lions...would have died..." her voice was quiet and weak - very different from her usual strong and ambitious leader-voice. However, her words was drowned by the sound of another being. It was the purple eyed man who'd answered the riddle before her - thankfully ending this childish games.

"Very charming, but looks like the game is over. And the terms where quite unfair, and not in our favor, to start with. The correct thing to have done would be a quid pro quo. You tell us things, we tell you things..." sometimes she was just to much of a "know-it-all" for her own good. But her words disappeared as she saw this Sanja person FLY OFF? A flying man.. Nao's heart was beating like a rabbit chased by a fox. This was impossible... Even so - the thought of youkai had not reached her yet, she was really just dense.

"Ehhmm... regardless how nice it was to meet you.. Susumu-san.. I do think we must take our leave.." (she should probably have called him sama, but in her eyes - he'd been childish and a nuisance - so she went with san). She felt like she was going to faint, and she just wanted to wake up from this dream. Yess, that wat is was - a fantasy dream.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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#, as written by Kato
Shohei


Shohei merely gave a mirthless chuckle at Susumu's challenge regarding bargaining with eyes. “Before you say that, why not have a drink with that Sarubi-thing. He'll tell you a thing or two about eyes.” However, nothing needed to escalate, it never did between the two of them, and it probably never would, as Susumu let go of Sanja-sama almost immediately.

They all stared at the two humans. As he was waiting for the boss's word, Susumu took the opportunity to go and mess with them instead. Stealing his humans – what a low thing to do – and Susumu's tricks were pointlessly amateur compared to Shohei's contests. He ground his teeth, and turned his face away as Susumu winked at him. “Keh,” was all he said.

Apparently Sanja-sama wanted to go, and had a bad feeling about his shrine. Shohei looked back from the fox and the human children, then back up to Sanja-sama. He thought he might have an answer as to the source of his feeling. “There were five of those humans together, earlier. Where do you suppose the other three went?” he asked with narrowed eyes. It was rhetorical. If the other humans had gone to the shrine, well, then far better he and Sanja-sama were there than here. “Yes, boss,” he replied to the command, and took off after Sanja-sama as they took flight back up the mountain. He wasn't quite looking where he was going, as he was still giving evil glances to Susumu as they left, feeling mildly vindicated and amused by Sanja's spoiling of the Kitsune's riddle. “Heh, nice one, boss,” he said as they left.

They landed in the shrine's garden, and it was obvious that something was amiss. “I just left a minute ago.. Ki was here... what could have gone wrong?” he asked himself, walking in with his left hand on the hilt of his sword, in case of trouble. When he saw the source of the aggravation, he took his hand away. There was a familiar face. “Already eaten one dead cat today, got room for another,” he said by way of a friendly greeting to Rika, but it seemed Sanja-sama was already quite worked up about the situation. It was unusual to see him in such a bad mood, even using his illusions to scare and intimidate her. Shohei looked to Ki, they had said they were in charge of the shrine, so the kitty-cat getting in here and attempting to carry away all of Sanja-sama's belongings was … technically … their fault. But judging by the anger and frustration radiating from the boss … Ki did not deserve to be on the receiving end of that.

He approached warily, keeping between Sanja-sama and Ki. “Ah boss, I'm sure it's not their fault,” he said, “Ki likes to see the good in everybody, something that some unscrupulous felines like to take advantage of.” This kind of role didn't suit him and he sighed inwardly. He smoothly made his way up to Sanja-sama while the cat was distracted by the illusions or hopefully tidying up, and should he be able eto get close enough without something horrible happened, he whispered to Sanja-sama, “Don't worry about the objects she took … I replaced the most valuable ones with substitutions a while ago, just in case of something like this ... the real ones are all hidden away below the shrine.”

He hoped this didn't make the boss more annoyed, but just in case, he rushed to help with the tidying up.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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#, as written by Tanman
Kyosuke ‘Kyo’ Andoh

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Still not receiving any response from Nao, Kyo was about to jostle her a bit more roughly when another figure suddenly swept into view, cutting them both off from continuing on their way. Kyosuke ground to a halt, stopped himself, glancing to the man with a bit of a glare for barging in the way he did. “Hey, back off pal, we-“ Kyosuke didn’t get a chance to finish his warning as the silver-haired man revealed himself to be Susumu, though he was going to be no big brother of his. Instinctively, Kyosuke moved partly between Nao and the man, half expecting a fight, but instead, the man launched into a constant chatter.

Confused was one word that described how Kyosuke felt, even more so as he began noticing the odd features that Nao had pointed out earlier. Tails… Ears… Maybe he was some cosplayer like his sister? That would explain the dumb look. Waiting a moment for Nao to respond, it seemed she still wasn’t quite back to herself. Great, looks like he’d have to deal with this freakazoid. He was about to tell the weirdo to buzz off when his sing-songy voice continued straight into some sort of puzzle. Maybe this was some weird travelling circus troupe rather than a cult? Some sort of performance group deciding to toy with them for busting in on their rehearsals? He… Well, the bizarre man was strangely captivating, though for some reason, Kyo couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable and annoyed by it. This guy… Ugh, something about him was irksome.

“A murderer is condemned to death. He has to choose between three rooms. The first is full of raging fires, the second is full of assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven't eaten in 3 years. Which room is safest for him? I'll give you three guesses. On the third incorrect guess, you have to tell me a secret about yourselves!” Kyosuke listened to the riddle in full, and wasn’t entirely sure if Nao had heard at all. What was up with her? Well, whatever, he wasn’t about to just sit here in silence. Man, did he really have to do everything around here?

"Curious is it not? Such an obvious answer when clearly the lions have starved and died within those three years... Goodluck." Kyosuke glanced to the man who strode past them, another extravagant outfit and curiously strange air around him. They didn’t exactly need his help, the answer wasn’t that hard. He would have gotten it. "Very charming, but looks like the game is over. And the terms where quite unfair, and not in our favor, to start with. The correct thing to have done would be a quid pro quo. You tell us things, we tell you things..." Nao, finally seeming to regain her composure, stepped forward past Kyosuke, allowing him to slowly lower his guard. Whoever these dweebs were seemed they didn’t see them as a threat. Though, he couldn’t miss this chance to point out something that Nao had missed.

“Not in our favour? There are only three possible answers, so we couldn’t possibly get it wrong.” Kyo folded his arms, clearly unimpressed. Still, he felt kind of smart, smirking and shutting his eyes. Unfortunately, he didn’t notice the other man take flight and leave, so content was he to bask in managing to one-up Nao. "Ehhmm... regardless how nice it was to meet you.. Susumu-san.. I do think we must take our leave.." Nao took a few cautious steps back, grabbing Kyosuke once again to get them moving. Shrugging free, as he was perfectly capable of walking without her guidance, he couldn’t withhold his last snarky comment. “You need to work on your act dude. You sound way too annoying to hold an audience.”

Rika Nekonyankoo

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“Didja know that? Eating its eyes I swear! It was soooo disgusting. Little Birdie is so rude and inconsiderate like that, doing such things in Sanya’s forest, so why does he always get so mad at me?” As Rika finished her current train of thought, there was a cracking boom as the doors to the temple busted open, though little light filtered in except around the glorious silhouette standing within the frame. “S-S-San-Nya?!” Rika jumped upright. She’d been so distracted talking with Ki that she forgot to make her stealthy escape! Frozen in a position caught in the act, she watched Sanja ‘calmly’ throw his gaze around the room, starting with her, and ending on…

Scampering over to her bag, Rika made one last ditch effort to make a run for it, but it was way too heavy for her to even lift with that much contents. “Miss Nekonyankoo…” She heard the soft sound of his footsteps as he approached, and slowly turned to face him, one ear twitching slightly as she braced herself. “Ny-nyah?” In one swift motion, she was grabbed by the scruff of her neck and lifted from the ground, giving a panicked wail of fear. “If you do not put my belongs back exactly as you found them, I will rend your feline ears from your small, foolish, destructive head!"

“Sorry, Sorry, Sorry Sanya! I didn’t mean it! I just wanted to borrow them for my stor-“ She was cut off as Sanja’s rage would not be sated by such a paltry explanation. "I have told you once, I've told you a thousand times. Do. Not. Enter. The. Shrine. You are forbidden in my home! Everytime you come here you destroy and mess up my chi!" Unceremoniously dropped to the floor, Rika gave a soft yelp of pain, rubbing her rear as she fell back, temporarily distracted by the pain. As she opened her eyes again to look up to the looming figure of Sanja, she immediately began trying to scramble away on all fours. "I will give you until the count of ten to return my belongings as you found them and vacate my temple so I can repair this mess." The intimidating and indomitable shadow of Sanja seemed to grow and follow her, refusing not to be watching over the fearful feline.

Moving to try and push herself up to her feet, Rika gave a genuine scream of fright as she glanced down to where her hand was, a snake like shadow hissing at her and lunging to bite her hand. Once more jumping back onto her rear, the feline backed up by scooching her butt along the floor, eyes darting about fearfully as the shadows closed in all around her. Bumping into the wall, she found herself cornered, and gave a terrified wail of panic, holding her ears over her head and shutting her eyes as she cowered. 10 seconds?! She couldn’t do it in 10 seconds! A-and that meant all the shadow monsters were going to eat her! Nooooooo! She was too young and smart and pretty to die! “Already eaten one dead cat today, got room for another,” Rika overhead the voice of little birdie, and then her fear grew even more. No! She didn’t want her eyes plucked out and and crunched in the beak of Shohei! That was even worse than being eaten by shadow creatures!

Clutching her legs and head to her chest, clenching her eyes shut as tight as she could, she prepared herself for the inevitable, fully expecting to feel searing and rending pain as the shadows tore her limb from limb in a gruesome ceremony of mortification. Her time was almost up… "Oi. What'd you do this time eh, Rika-chan?" Rika gave another loud and panicked scream that was a drastic overreaction for the strength of the flick she received. Clearly she’d been expecting something far more painful and it just kind of… slipped out. Cautiously opening an eye a peep, she looked to who had spoken. "I knew you were thick, but I didn't think you would be this phenomenally stupid." Continued the water-dragon, Hakuryuu giving her one of his typical expressions. She wasn’t normally the fondest of Hakuryuu just simply because she hated getting wet, but at the moment, she’d take whatever help she could get. “Save me save me save meeeee!” Latching hold of him in a tackling hug, Rika practically swung around his body to hide behind him, meekly peering out to look to Sanja and the shadows still circling around them.

"Now be a good kitty and do what your Sanja-sama told you, yeah? Put them back." Giving a soft ‘Nya?’ as she was lifted to her feet, Rika shut her eyes again as he began patting and dusting her down, cleaning up the mess she’d made of herself scampering about the floor. Her poor kimono had more than a few tatters, and there was dust and dirt all over her. Weakly, her eyes started to falter, the sobbing almost beginning. She was a mess! A cute kitty like her looked like a messy muddle! It wasn’t fair! She hadn’t done anything wrong! She didn’t even get away with the stuff! Beginning to voice her complaints as the waterworks started, a prompt shove in the back by Hakuryuu forced her to snap out of it as she stumbled, rubbing her eyes slightly to wipe away the tears.

"Go on, before I dump you in the deep end of the river." Hakuryuu stated, deadpan. Rika pouted, still crying a little with some sobs. “You’re all so mean to me. No one looks after Rika, even when Rika really is sorry…” Oh dear, she was speaking in the third-person again. That normally only happened when she was particularly upset. Making some slow, tentative steps towards the bag, keeping her figure tight to avoid the still ever present shadows, she knelt towards the bag and began taking out each of the things. Shohei had already made a bit of a start, but there was plenty in there which needed to be returned. Slowly but steadily, she began taking things back… Though it didn’t exactly go the best, as she couldn’t remember where she’d taken them from, leading to Shohei having to frequently move the object she just placed somewhere else.

Finally, she was down to the last object: The ornate tea set that she’d asked Ki to first tuck away for her. Picking up the tray, she headed back over to the shelf where she’d got it from. It was pretty high up, seeing as Sanja could simply fly up to grab it, so she had to climb a little bit in order to reach. Balancing the tray precariously in one hand as she reached to the shelf and pulled, placing her entire weight on it, there was a soft creaking sound. Panic filled the feline as she swiftly and speedily placed the tea set back on the shelf, letting go and hopping down as she backed up slowly, watching in tense fear. Nothing happened though. The shelf didn’t break. The tea set was okay. She’d done it! Breathing a sigh of relief, she turned back towards Sanja and Hakuryuu, intent on showing them her best work. “See? See - lookie what I did! Aren’t you proud?! Check that out!” In a wild motion as she was just so excited, Rika raised her hand to point to the tea set. And slapped the small shelf. Instantly, one side of the shelf fell, beginning to scatter the tea set to the floor, But Rika was quicker than that. Leaping, she moved to catch the tea set, entering into a combat-roll as she deftly managed to save every single one, cupping them against her chest as she bumped against a vase to stop herself falling over. “Phew… Close one…” Her heart was beating a mile a minute at the prospect of something so unfortunate happening. Sanja would’ve really killed her if-

*CRASH!* Startled, Rika flinched and jumped, turning to the source of the sound. On the ground, shattered to pieces was the vase she’d rolled into in her attempt to catch the tea-set. The colour drained from her face. So much so was she scared that she also proceeded to drop the tea set, the tray clattering to the floor as the cups and pot also shattered on impact. “Nyaow, Meow Sanja, I-I didn’t mean it…” Rika backed up, arms in front of her defensively, easing her way to the door…

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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Sanja's fury was not sated by the cat's simple-minded answers, however the presence of Shohei and then of Hakuryuu eased off his anger. He watched the cat flounder about like a frightened pest. It was funny to him that a cat was so afraid of him, though he took pride in his power. As Shohei spoke Sanja smiled a bit and the illusions faded into nothing, leaving the shrine and the five people alone without the nightmarish visages. Haku asked him if he had to be so harsh on the girl which caused him to think a moment before responding, his regular coolheadedness returning to him with each passing word. As if a calming waterfall fell over him, quelling his inner fires.

"I suppose not. You're right. I do believe an apology is in order once she calms down. After all she is a member of my domain and should be treated with some manner of tact." He sighed a bit at his own loss of temper, placing a hand on Haku's shoulder and smiling up at the taller man as a sign of thanks. Haku went to scolding the cat and Shohei went to work cleaning up. During this Sanja went over to Ki and apologized to them for the display and he hoped he hadn't startled them too badly. Sanja as well went to cleaning things up, placing some of the bobbles and trinkets back on the shelves.

Suddenly an even louder commotion kicked up from the feline. His eyes went over to Rika as she stumbled about like someone who forgot how to maneuver their own body. He held his temples in shock as she dropped a vase, then his teaset gifted to him centuries ago by a human king in thanks. It took him a few moments to realize what had happened and once it clicked in his head his deep purple eyes went to the door Rika was trying to sneak out of. Thick vines and thorns grew to cover the door. He ran a hand through his hair, the words Shohei had spoken to him about the replicas popped into his head just as he was raising his hand to strike the cat. Instead of hitting her, as he thought of how silly it would be to beat her over fakes. He burst out laughing. He held his face and then his stomach as tears ran down his cheeks. What a day this had been! Such excitement hadn't ever happened before, not since the wars centuries prior when both sides would come consult him on strategy. Not since those Oni rebels thought they'd burn down the shrine. This, was something he truly needed in his mundane life. Normally he would've gone ballistic on the cat, but instead he sat beside her and ruffled her hair.

"You crazy cat, in your complete disregard for my home, my rules and wishes, and me personally. You have brought me some joy that I haven't felt in a long time." He then stood up and regained composure once more and snapped his fingers, causing the vines to dissipate and they instead went into the shrine, putting the rest of the items back in their rightful places, tidying up the shattered pieces of his vase and teaset. Sanja then waved his hand dismissively toward Rika.

"Rika, I shall forgive you for your crimes today. Though, mark my words, Shohei and Hakuryuu shall not be able to save you next time you think to rob me and break my belongings." Sanja sat down on a large cushion, violet like his eyes and it was large enough for him to lay sideways on. Near the back of the square chamber. He sat very properly on it as Haku came over and whispered a concern of his into Saja's ear. The Daitengu's momentary laxness instantly went away.

"Yes, I had felt it just as the suns began setting. That is why I had left my shrine, to investigate it. Though I fear it's much more than we thought. It would appear as though Humans are in our part of the village, not only that, but they can see us as well." He then held his chin in his hand slightly. "Though, I do not know if that is the feeling to which you referred." He then got lost in his own train of thought, true enough humans being able to see them was a bit of a problem. Though, at the same time he had always wanted to interact further with humans, his curiosity would most likely get the better of him. Which was something he was well aware of and would try to suppress his own desires to seek out the stray humans and question them. He looked up to Hakuryuu.

"I do wish to thank you my friend. Without your aid I fear my temper would've only escalated."

The setting changes from Komorebi Village to Youkai Street

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Rinu Amaya Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Orokawru Satogi Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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#, as written by Emmyz


.: A M A Y A :.

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The soft but moist grass felt refreshing under her extended body lying down on the bare ground. Maya stretched her arms and rolled to her side, letting her eyes rest on the action going on by the creek that ran through the woods. Even tho the sun had set, her glowing red eyes was able to clear out every detail of the late night nature. Not that she felt the need to see. Closing her eyes, she relied only on her hearing. Water pouring, making a flowing sound so familiar to her ears that one could think she'd be immune to it by now - even so she did not seized to be amazed. The miniature waterfall splashed on to the leaves of the nearest bushes - making the drops caught on the leaves fall down to the surface once again with uneven dripping noises. "drip drip drop drip".

She sighted with a smile and rolled over to her back again, looking up to the starry night sky. For the moment she was satisfied - earlier today she'd "blessed" the forest with a friendly spring shower. Giving life and energy to the plants and flowers. A part of her hoped that Sanja of the Mountain would be happy with her work (even if he was very well capable of doing it himself), maybe even give her a compliment, as she truly felt a bit proud over her tender rain for a change. To her - the rain was emotions. And sure - she could cause a monsoon if she wanted - but this peaceful smattering rain she'd created earlier was a work of art.

In her eyes, she deserved some rest and peace for a moment. Huh what was that? The calm and relaxed sensation did not stay for long. Rustling in the leaves, footsteps and unfamiliar voices echoed in the raindrops still lingering in the grass, as dew. Maya stood up and licked her hand slowly.. thinking... They where at least 2 - maybe 3. Familiar creatures whom she'd once belonged to herself. "Humans, you say.." she mumbled - and if there'd been an audience present, they'd probably believed she was crazy and talking with the raindrops... Of course that was not the case - but Maya still though of all kind of water to be precious friends of her - so she treated them no different.

She corrected her black dress and took a deep breath. Her hair was long and as straight as could be, with the traditional japanese fringe swinging once she started moving. Sadly she had this "code" saying she would not go after humans when they where in company. Amaya only played with lonely humans, a group would be hard to enchant and drown. But even so - what would be the harm in teasing them a bit. It was not like they could see her anyways. Starting to follow the sounds out of curiouslity, she began to suspect them of heading for Sanjas shrine. At this time? Very well, guess prayers where welcome any time.

She was not exactly shy - following the humans with straight posture and her chin high - but still kept her distance. That did not stop her from opening her mouth and start singing, maybe in a try to lure them to the shrine. She was being helpful right? Showing them to the right location so they could deliver their prayers. All clueless about what was going on in village and the whole "humans can see youkai-situation"...She went ahead of them and kept singing, leading them to the shrine...

"Come little children
I’ll take thee away
Into a land of enchantment
Come little children
The time’s come to play
Here in my garden of shadows"~~~


She made sure to arrive to Sanjas mountain shrine before the humans tho. Bouncing up and down as she hurried across the front yard. There she came across the "feeling" of a previous chaos- making her open her mouth in a surprised expression. Maybe it was the dew in the grass speaking to her. Or it was just her relationship with "bad luck" that told her there's been some turbulence here. Sanja himself where sitting on a large purple cushion and looked rather... happy? The familiar faces of Ki, Rita and Shohei where there as well.. And her favorite dragon, making her wink and putting on a mysterious smirk as she trotted the last bit. Greeting them all with a playful pirouette, making her black dress spin around her legs. As she stopped, she raised one eyebrow and shocked her head - automatically looking at Rita with an amused expression, almost miming "well done".

"Feels like you suffered bad luck in my absence.. how interesting" she said in a distant voice and moved her finger to her mouth. Tapping her lower lip a few times. "Oh right! There was a group of 3 humans coming this way. I presumed they where on their way to the shrine to present their prayers.. So i made sure to sing them on the right trail.. But it's rather late for a shrine visit - don't you think?.." She tilted her head to the side in a questioning but innocent expression - making her fringe fall over and almost hide one of her "glowing" red eyes..

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Rinu Amaya Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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Dialogue Color || #FA8EFA | Thought Color || #B6CAE0
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Ki sat next to Rika, listing very intently to her tangent. There were several times when Ki wondered if they should comment on something that had been said, but as it was they didn't even have enough time to open their mouth before the energetic girl would begin talking once more. Not that they minded. Nodding every once in a while to show that they were listening, Ki let the cat continue until sudden chaos broke out through the shrine.

Everything seemed to happen all at once. The sudden sound of the front doors flying open causing even Ki to jump a little. Turning, they gazed curiously at Sanja as he entered the room. It wasn't until the man began to yell that they realized just how angry he was. It would be a lie to say that Ki understood quite what the man was angry about, but it was obvious enough that the heart of his annoyance was the girl that had now jumped up from her seated position in shock.

Ki stood slowly from their seated position, watching in shock as Sanja bounded over and grabbed Rika by the back of their neck. It was even more shocking as they watched him allow her to just drop to the ground afterwards. Ki had never seen Sanjakubo so angry before. He had taken care of them their entire life. In fact, he had been protecting their host tree even before they turned into a spirit. Ki had never thought that they would ever actually feel scared of him.

Yet, as they watched the genuine terror that Rika seemed to be feeling due to Sanja's illusions, they couldn't help the small trickle of fear that appeared in their stomach.

Realizing what they were just thinking, Ki shook their head in order to rid their self of those thoughts. 'Don't let your mind get ahead of itself, Ki. Sanja would never actually hurt anybody... I just need to figure out what is going on.'

They were brought out of their thoughts by Hakuryuu and Shohei now entering the shrine. A comment made by Haku caused a bit of confusion inside Ki's head. He had called Rika stupid, but why? It was then that everything seemed to sort of fall into place, causing Ki to release a startled gasp. 'Rika hadn't been meaning to return those items?' They suddenly felt very guilty. That meant that this whole mess was their fault. If Ki had just realized what Rika was trying to do, Sanja wouldn't have got so angry. Not to mention that Rika wouldn't be getting yelled at if they had known, Ki would have to apologize to her later.

Looking up, Ki was surprised to see Shohei come stand in between them and Sanja. He seemed to be trying to get his boss to take it easy on them. It was a bit of an unusual thing for the crow to do, and it did indeed warm their heart, but it also served to make them feel even guiltier. Ki deserved to be punished just as much as Rika did.

Feeling this way, Ki began to move to help Rika and Shohei put everything back, but was stopped by Sanja coming over to apologize for startling them. This caused Ki to shake their head a bit franticly as they rushed to tell him that there was absolutely nothing for him to be sorry about. A small smile tugged at their lips as he walked away to help with putting everything back. It seemed that he had truly calmed down now.

A sudden crash echoed throughout the shrine, interrupting Ki's relief. Turning, they inwardly sighed as they saw the vase and tea set shattered on the floor, with a very nervous Rika standing in the middle of it. Peeking over in Sanja's direction, Ki wondered if he would get angry again. Yet, surprisingly, he just burst out laughing.

Staring curiously at the violet eyed man, Ki let out a confused chuckle of their own. Yet, as Sanja explained how much fun all of this had brought him, Ki couldn't help but grin happily. It was great that this whole chaotic mess had actually seemed to do something good. Although they still felt guilty, they were at least happy that Sanja was happy. He deserved to have fun every once in a while to.

Ki smiled and followed Sanjakubo, sitting next to him as he seated himself on a large cushion near the back of the room. Watching curiously as Haku came over to whisper something in his ear. They could have sworn that they heard something about humans being in the village, but they shook the thought away instantly. 'I must have misheard...'

Their attention was brought back to the matter at hand as Sanja thanked Hakuryuu for helping to calm him down. A smile once again graced their lips as Ki bowed deeply in the water dragon's direction before speaking up themselves. "I would like to thank you as well. Sanja would have surely been upset with himself is his anger had grown any larger." Turning their head to give the white haired man a small smile, they added, "Not that they would have done anything too drastic, I'm sure."

Next, they shifted their body slightly so that they could have a better view of Shohei. They then once again bowed low to the ground from their seated position. "I would also like to thank you, Shohei, for standing up for me. You are indeed a great friend. Although, in this case I am not sure if I deserved to be stood up for." Sitting up once more, they threw a wary smile at the others. It was obvious that they still felt very guilty about what had happened.

Gazing at everybody in the room now, they respectfully inclined their head as they stated, "I am very sorry for what happened here today. I did not understand what I was doing wrong at the time, but it is now clear to me. I promise that nothing like this will ever happen again. I understand if you have lost your trust for me." This last statement was obviously directed towards Sanja, as they tentatively peered at him from the corner of their eye.

It wasn't very long after this that Amaya happened to stroll into the shrine. At the mention of humans, Ki's eyes widened slightly. 'It seems that I didn't mishear earlier.' Turning to the man sitting on the cushion next to them, Ki reached out and gently tugged on one of his sleeves in order to gain his attention. Tilting their head in slight confusion, they then softly asked, "Sanja... What is all of this talk about humans?"

Were humans really on their way to the shrine at this very moment? The thought caused both feelings of nervousness and excitement to run through Ki all at once.

The setting changes from Youkai Street to Komorebi Village

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Orokawru Satogi
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"For sooth! Thou art under my care, young princesses!"

His English was a little hard for her to understand, as she was failing English. However, Yukiko understood the gist of what he was saying and could not help smiling. Looking around at the trees and the other foliage, Yukiko felt that they were getting no closer to the abandoned village. There was absolutely no light in sight.

"... Uh, Sanae-chan? I may be wrong but... I don't think this is the right way."

Those were the exact words that Yukiko did not want to hear. If they were lost, her parents would eventually wake up to her empty bed and she would be grounded for the rest of her life. Yukiko released a slow breath in an attempt to remain calm, unaware that she gently squeezed Satogi's hand in the process. It'll be okay.. We'll fix this... Sanae-chan and Orokawru-Senpai will find a way back....

❝Lessee... you're right. Yep. We're lost. But! But, that don't mean I dunno how to get us un-lost. Y'know, I know how to get to the shrine from anywhere in the forest? Even at night.❞

A bead of sweat fell from Yukiko's forehead, unable to believe how easily Sanae admitted to behing lost. However, the mention of the shrine immediately perked Yukiko's spirits back up. Visiting the shrine would be just as good as the abandoned village. Shrines were very neat after all and held lots of history, "That sounds perfect, you're a lifesaver, Sanae-chan." Yuki smiled, obviously very relieved that they would be able to get themselves out of this mess.

❝Would be a lil' easier if we had some kinda flashlight, but... Kyosuke-kun took Satogi-kun's. Hmm... y'know, I heard about cellphones havin' flashlights, but... I dunno how mine works. S'this way, though.❞

A pang of guilt overwhelmed Yukiko, but she did not speak up. If they knew she had been hiding the fact that she had a flashlight this entire time they would surely realize her ulterior motive was to hold Satogi's hand. That would be far too embarrassing to explain, so she chose to continue concealing the fact. After a while, laterns came into view and Yukiko gave the area a good look, enjoying the aesthetics. Yukiko glances down to make sure she won't fall unnecessarily, though normally she was surefooted.

❝They say the abandoned village's hidden by some trees at the bottom of the cliff on the other side of the shrine. Me? Well, I never saw it before, but... well, that's probably 'cause it's hidden. 'Sure if we get up to the shrine, we can find a way to get down there, y'know? And—... uh, wait. Shh.❞

Yukiko nodded her head, glad that they might get to visit the shrine AND the abandoned village that was rumored to house all kinds of Youkai. When Sanae put her finger to her lips, Yukiko felt her heart sink. W-We aren't alone...? Is it Andoh-san and Izumi-Senpai..? ...Or someone else...? She had to admit she was very nervous. What if it was human thieves or other degenerates? The three of them could not fight off vandals. The voice sounded like singing... At first, earlier on she thought it was her imagination, a song stuck in her head, but now that they were closer it was obvious it was unsettlingly real.

Weep not poor children,
for life is this way,
Murdering beauty and passions


❝Am I the only one who hears... voices? Ya think someone else is out here? Could it be Kyosuke-kun and Nao-chan? Oh man, what if it's... what if it's the voices of Youkai? D'ya think we really found some?!❞

No... I hear someone too...? It might be them... but what if it's not?" Yukiko asked quietly under her breath, biting her bottom lip as she attempted to make a deicision. At the mention of Youkai, actual real Youkai, she found inner courage and nodded her head in a determined manner. Youkai did not intimidate her as much as the thought of cruel humans, but she would figure out sooner or later that certain Youkai were much more frightening than any human, ".... I suppose we'll never know if we don't investigate." Yuki sighed, managing to put aside her fear of the possibility there was violent humans inside of the Shrine instead of the Youkai they were seeking.

Then she spoke in English, the only sentence she could passibly say without making a fool of herself, "All for one, and one for all...?" Yukiko quoted in a insecure manner, asking the other two if they were truly going to be in this together, no matter how horrible their discovery might turn out. She also realized she was quoting the musketeers, but their motto really struck a chord, and in this situation they would have to be united, or else things could turn out very badly, especially if they encountered delinquents instead of Youkai, "Do...Do you guys... hear singing or is it just me..?" Yuki asked in a shaken tone, unsure what kind of scene they were about to happen upon.

Hush now dear children,
It must be this way,
Too weary of life and deceptions
Rest now dear children,
For soon we'll away,
Into the calm and the quiet


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Image"Truly enough that would stump normal beings, though the answer to your simple riddle is A Fire. Now that that's out of the way, did you need something further? I must stay vigilant, humans will be intruding our village sooner rather than later I'm afraid."

Clapping her hands when Sanja guessed right, Tsuyari smiled a bit. She loved being in the Daitengu's presence, especially when Susumu was throwing out riddles. Watching Sanja get them right with ease was very entertaining. It also reminded her why it was useful to be in good standing with Sanja. His knowledge about the land aside, Sanja was incredibly intelligent and that made him an invaluable ally to have.

❝Oh, oh! You guessed it right, Sanja-kun. My boy's so smart. Smart, smart~❞

Tsuyari just shook her head at Susumu's words, completely baffled by his behavior. She began to wonder why he asked Sanja riddles in the first place when he knew that the Daitengu was going to guess them all right anyway. She didn't understand his reasoning, yet that wasn't really her fault. She had never been attracted to anyone romantically, so she was unable to point out flirting when she saw it.

"It reminded me of Ki, as they are quite dear to me, I got them a gift. They are after all tending to the shrine whilst I am here."

The embarrassment in Sanja's expression brought a grin to Tsuyari's lips. However she did not get to enjoy the fact that she had embarrassed Sanja very long, "Aw... Now I wanna get Ki something too..." Tsuyari pouted. She was incredibly broke, so the chances of her getting Ki anything worth having were slim to none. Most of the time Tsuyari stole the things she needed. She would catch fish in the river using her ability to manipulate the wind to jerk the fish out of the river. Despite her resourcefulness, Tsuyari knew that Ki would not want a stolen present. The last time she stole something for Ki was still a well-kept secret.

"Yet, I admit I don't know if they'll even like a silly material object such as this."

She blinked at the bunny as Sanja toyed around with it, smiling softly, "I think Ki will love it. Ki comes across as the type who cherishes sentiment over monetary value." She explained, but it was only her opinion in the end. Tsuyari let herself zone out, though the smell of the air had changed. She wasn't entirely sure of what was coming, but she did know that it wasn't any type of Youkai she had ever smelled.

“Please remove your hand from Sanja-sama, or have it removed … from your arm,”

"...Karasu-San too? How did I manage to obtain such violent comrades...?" Tsuyari mostly asked herself but asked her rhetorical question loud enough for all three men to hear. While she was not referring to Sanja so much, she definitely meant Susumu and Shohei. Also, she completely forgot that she was still in her Yokai form, one that Shohei had never seen before, but still called him the same pet name she always would as she was m.

❝Oh? Tell me, is that a promise or a threat? If you take off one of my arms, can I take off one of yours? An eye for an eye, right? I'd like to bargain with eyes...~❞

A shiver ran down her spine. Here we go again... The thought of eyes being removed made Tsuyari very uncomfortable. She had never seen anything that gruesome, well, except for when she had to cook fish. Fish were a totally different story, though. Humans being harmed by Youkai was not acceptable, they were more like pets that needed protecting in Tsuyari's eyes and she would gladly intervene in one's defense. Violence between Youkai was always a constant reminder of what happened to her parents and that made her antsy.

All five of Tsuyari's tails began to swish around eagerly when her eyes located what Shohei was warning Sanja about. There were two humans in the village. She wondered how they managed to be among the Youkai, but that only intrigued her more. Humans were such interesting pets. They never ceased to grow and amaze her.

"Curious is it not? Such an obvious answer when clearly the lions have starved and died within those three years. . . Goodluck."

Tsuyari couldn't help but smile when Sanja managed to ruin Susumu's game with the humans. She knew where this was coming from, Susumu was going to try and wager them out of body parts. Tsuyari made her way over to the humans, getting a better look at the two. She was always curious when it came to their species. She waved off Shohei and Sanja before returning her full attention back to the humans, ecstatic that there was something worthwhile going on. The night had been kind of quiet and dull, so this was a much-appreciated change of pace.

"Very charming, but looks like the game is over. And the terms were quite unfair, and not in our favor, to start with. The correct thing to have done would be a quid pro quo. You tell us things, we tell you things..."

A snicker escaped her lips, enjoying the human girl's spark. She could tell that the human was nervous, but Tsuyari did nothing to interfere just yet. While she was interested in protecting them, their fear and bewilderment did amuse her. They were always so surprised or frightened when they met with something they deemed 'fictional'. They were so arrogant in that sense, believing they were the dominant species... That is where Tsuyari drew the line. Humans were by no means superior.

"Ehhmm... regardless how nice it was to meet you, Susumu-san.. I do think we must take our leave.."

While she would not admit it, Tsuyari was in no rush to see the humans leave. She was in the mood to play with them a bit as well, although in her company they would return home with all of their body parts. She simply was not the grotesque type of Youkai, "Do you even know your way back...?" Tsuyari asked cheerfully as if delighted by the humans happening upon the village, but also that they were likely lost.

“You need to work on your act dude. You sound way too annoying to hold an audience.”

Tsuyari's eyes met the blond male, "How about you show how it's done then? Lead by example, no?" She tilted her head, blue hair shifting with her movement, her blue ears twitching as she spoke. She found it quite irritating, as she loved Susumu's riddles immensely. While she liked the girl, the boy simply clawed at her patience.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Rinu Amaya Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Natsumi Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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Walking slowly through the forest, allowing her hands to graze over trees as she passed them by, a matured woman with long dark magenta hair caught the tune of a familiar voice. An eerie tune floated, lilting through the trees, a song of a known enemy for the woman. She need not hurry as the tone faded, instead it appeared that two of her enemies were now in the same spot. Her eyes narrowed as she went toward the trail that her enemy left behind. Her enemy being the woman who out of her cruelty, liked to kill children, Natsumi could not even imagine such a horrible thing as that. Whenever this rain woman was about luring children Natsumi would swoop in and save the sad and lost children. Taking them into her being to save them. She knew that the rain witch was luring them to that Bird monster's shrine. The man who let her son die. Shiro, my Shiro. . . She lamented internally.

Once she arrived at the shrine she spotted quite the gathering, it wasn't to her liking so rather than try to fight them all on her own she rushed back down the mountain to intercept the children. She couldn't allow those monsters up there to get them! She knew what she must do, she would counter the rain woman's song with a lure of her own. Natsumi quickly whisked through the leaves, going right through the wood of the trees as she ran. She found a small hill and lay some scattered branches so it appeared as though she had fallen. It was then that she began weeping. Her cacophonous sound traveling on the wind and wrapping around the children, beckoning them toward her with a strong charm. An overwhelming urge to seek out Natsumi.

She would protect the children from the other Youkai's even if she had to absorb each and every one of them.

The setting changes from Komorebi Village to Youkai Street

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Rinu Amaya Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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  1. Kyosuke grows more agitated by the two Kitsune's mischievious ways. Seeing Tsuyari Kiss Nao, he takes her aside for questioning while trying to escape the youkai.

    by Tanman
  2. Rika is pleased to be let off by Sanja. Deciding to remain in the shrine after Amaya's arrival, she is excited to see the humans. As such, she attempts to pester Sanja to let her stay.

    by Tanman

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#, as written by Tanman
Kyosuke ‘Kyo’ Andoh

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Once again, Kyo found himself stopped in his tracks, this time by the azure-haired beauty as she cut into their path. If he didn’t know any better, he’d say they were being shepherded. Maybe that wasn’t the right word - More akin to vultures or sharks circling prey. Still, he much preferred this one to that odd man from before; at least she was good to look at. With her half-bobbed stance, it certainly put some features on display more than others, and he couldn’t help but have his eyes drift a little downward from her face. She had some confidence wearing an outfit like that.

"How about you show how it's done then? Lead by example, no?" The woman’s ear twitched as she cocked her head, looking to him with a mildly sceptical expression. Huh, neat. That costume was really fancy. Still, Kyo wasn’t about to take a challenge like that lying down. Narrowing his eyes to glare back at her, he wracked his brain for either a badass unsolvable riddle, or a witty retort. I’m not about to give you jokers free material? No, no, that wasn’t edgy enough…As Kyo was thinking, Susumu slipped in behind them again, clapping both of them on the shoulder to box them in before launching into another riddle. Kyo briefly showed restraint, but when the man started playing with his hair, he snapped. Swinging round, his arm went out wide and forced Susumu to step back and give some space if he didn’t want to be clubbed. “What’s your problem?!” Kyo demanded, clenching his fists and prepping for a throwdown.

"It's not we who are trying to hold an audience here - but rather you who are trying to distract us from leaving - right? Why is that?" Nao stepped in, possibly seeing that Kyo was about to do something reckless and attempting to diffuse the situation. Kyo simply glared at the two costumed weirdoes, before folding his arms to stop himself lashing out again. These two hadn’t specifically threatened them yet, but it was certainly trying his patience, and unnerving him with their shifty actions.

“Aren't you the smart one? Let me guess—you wear the pants in this relationship, then? Well, in that case, why doesn't he answer this one? Be a good boy and answer me, please~” The two foxes were dividing them, if only slightly as Susumu and Tsuyari began moving between Kyo and Nao. Kyosuke kept his arms folded as he looked at Susumu with a death stare. It took all of his restraint not to bite on the insult that Nao was in charge, or that ‘boy’ line. Bah, he shouldn’t let it piss him off, but everything about this guy was infuriating. Particularly since this riddle seemed remarkably harder than the previous one. Kyosuke wasn’t that dumb, but he certainly wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. He was blunt, but still got the job done. Most of the time at least.

“I haven’t got time for any more of your bullshit you freak. My friend and I are leaving, and unless you want to end up face first in the dirt, you’ll stop bugging us and scram.” Shoving Susumu out of the way, he looked to grab Nao and get out of there. What he saw stopped him dead in his tracks. The blue-haired woman was cupping Nao’s cheeks softly, the gentle embrace drawing the two in closer together. There were centimetres between them, so small was the gap that they’d be able to feel the warmth of the other. An arm found its way to the small of Nao’s back, tugging her in that tiny bit closer. The intensity in the air seemed to crackle briefly, time hanging on a knife’s edge, before the girl plunged forward, locking lips with Nao in a passionate kiss. Kyo watched in silent amazement, unblinking as that moment seemed to last for an age. Slowly, the azure-temptress withdrew, though not without tasting Nao’s delicate lips one last time.

"I'm Tsuyari, what might your name be? I'm pleased to make your acquaintance~" The woman finally identified herself, though that was the least of Kyo’s concerns right now. He wasn’t sure why, but for some reason, he was fuming. He’d seen more than enough. Gritting his teeth, he grabbed hold of Nao’s hand, pulling her away from Tsuyari and taking a few steps back to be clear of the two strangers. “Whatever you two creeps are after, step off! Get back under whatever rock you crawled out of!” Somewhat roughly pulling Nao by the arm, he dragged her off, briefly glancing behind him to see if they were being followed.

“What the hell was that back there?! Is that your idea of ‘handling’ it?!” He demanded once he believed they were out of earshot, releasing her from his grip as he looked at her incredulously. “Why in the world would you let her do that to you?!” Kyo asked with genuine disbelief, though he wasn’t sure why that would be important to him in any respect. As they sat in silence briefly, he caught his breath a bit and started regaining some composure. “I mean… Ugh, look. I don’t care what your feelings are, but you just met that girl! Not to mention the creep vibes those guys were giving us… I don’t know about you, but my guts tell me that this place isn’t safe…” Kyosuke glanced around again, having not really paid any attention where he’d taken Nao, other than getting some seclusion. Seemed they were still in the abandoned village, though off the main street at least.

Restless still, though unable to pick why, he shoved his hands into his pockets, looking down the street. “Whatever, I don’t even care. None of my business. Let’s just find those dweebs before they get abducted and get out of here. I’ve seen more than enough today.” Striding off, as he needed to burn off this energy and clear his head he glanced back to Nao. “Don’t worry Prez, your secret’s safe with me. Not that anyone would believe me.”

Rika Nekonyankoo

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Rika was dead. There was no way she was getting out of this one. Stepping back towards the door, she gave a soft ‘Oof’ as she felt her path obstructed, very briefly turning to look behind her to see the vines covering the doorway. Eep. Turning back to face Sanja, Rika felt her ears droop, and instinctually raised her arms above herself to brace for impact. But the feeling never came. Instead she heard… Laughter? “Mew..?” Rika opened her eyes again, hoping this wasn’t just one big sadistic trick from Sanja. As she noticed him now doubled over in humour, she slowly found herself laughing as well, hoping that this was perhaps a good omen as her tails swished about.

"You crazy cat, in your complete disregard for my home, my rules and wishes, and me personally. You have brought me some joy that I haven't felt in a long time." Sanja finally managed through his jovial mood, placing a hand atop Rika’s head and ruffling it about. She pouted slightly, as she liked to have her hair neat and pretty, but this was a small price to pay comparative to what could have happened, and she instead purred a little on instinct as he scratched her ears soothingly. “Oooo… Rika do good…?” She asked, not quite understanding how lucky she’d been, nor the fact that the items were simply replicas. She wasn’t sure Sanja heard her as he sat up, clearing the vines and instead having them clear the way, and the mess she’d just made.

"Rika, I shall forgive you for your crimes today. Though, mark my words, Shohei and Hakuryuu shall not be able to save you next time you think to rob me and break my belongings." Sanja calmly and clearly conveyed his warning, Rika eyes lighting up a little as she processed that meant she was in the clear. A quick arm went to her head in a salute. “Yes sir! I promise that next time I won’t even think about it, and you won’t even notice they’re gone! Thank you Sanya!” Perhaps a little too honest for her own good, Rika was a bit of a goofball that way as she completely misunderstood how she’d managed to avoid punishment, assuming that Sanja wanted her to simply perform her ‘job’ better next time.

As Sanja made his way back to his spot atop- Oooo, the comfy cushion! Rika so wanted to nap on the comfy cushion, it even smelled good… Shaking off her desire and slapping her cheeks a couple of times, Rika reminded herself she needed to be on best behaviour. But… Now she wasn’t sure what to do… Since Sanja was in a good mood, maybe she’d get to stay in the shrine..? Tentatively, she took a seat, wondering if the birdie would say anything to her as she spent some time fixing her hair and better appraising the damage that her kimono had undergone in her panic.

"I am very sorry for what happened here today. I did not understand what I was doing wrong at the time, but it is now clear to me. I promise that nothing like this will ever happen again. I understand if you have lost your trust for me." Rika smiled as Ki launched into her apologies to the group, flashing a big cat grin their way. As far as Rika was concerned, her friend had done nothing wrong, nor should they get in trouble for helping out the feline. After all, that was good manners! Sanja had a big soft spot for Ki, so she doubted he minded much at all. If he had, Rika would certainly not have forgiven him at all, and would have done her best to protect them. Well, if she managed to protect herself first…

“…Rest now dear children,
For soon we'll away,
Into the calm and the quiet…”


Rika’s fur instantly rippled through her body as she felt a shudder cross her whole body, pivoting around rapidly to find the source of the noise echoing amongst the temple. “Y-you know, maybe I will le-eek~!” Rika immediately changed expression as she saw Amaya actually make her way into the Shrine, meeting her eyes and reading her lips as she passed a non-audible message to the feline. "Feels like you suffered bad luck in my absence… How interesting." Rika nodded as she scampered over to Amaya’s side, wanting in no way to upset the woman that controlled the weather. She still hadn’t fixed up the hole in her tent, and did not want to end up half-drowned during the night.

“Amaya~! Such a surprise! Yes, yes, what are you doing here? Hmm?” Rika queried, having no intention to make it known that she’d planned to leave before Amaya got here. "Oh right! There was a group of 3 humans coming this way. I presumed they were on their way to the shrine to present their prayers... So I made sure to sing them on the right trail... But it's rather late for a shrine visit - don't you think..?" Rika blinked a bit at hearing Amaya’s comment. Humans? At this time? Ooo, she so liked humans! They were so interesting and cool and… “Nuuu~! Humans can’t come here, I’m a mess!” Rika still wasn’t fully sure when humans could or could not see the Youkai, but the idea that they’d see a perfect feline like her in such a poor state… Well, that would be the absolute worst luck! Scampering back over to the nearby mirror, Rika took the time to start preening herself, hoping she could at least look presentable before the human’s arrived, barely noticing the soft voice of Yukiko drifting into the temple.

"Izumi-Senpai? Andoh-san? Not funny." The voice came from the doorway, a young girl peering inside. Oh! She was cute! Ooo, and was that a bag? Rika would have to see what was in the bag. Slipping through the shrine over to Sanja, she began lightly nudging him, whispering in his ear. “Can I stay and watch the human? Please please please? If she makes an offering can I have it? Sanya, Sanya, Sanya! Puh-leaasseee?~” Rika began to tug and jostle on his arm like a child demanding attention, which is practically what she was. Of course, she had no idea that the ‘human’ could easily see and hear her.

The setting changes from Youkai Street to Komorebi Village

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Rinu Amaya Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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Once everything had settled within his shrine, the cat began prattling on about how next time he 'wouldn't eve notice' things were missing. As he opened his mouth to speak Ki instead spoke up.

"I am very sorry for what happened here today. I did not understand what I was doing wrong at the time, but it is now clear to me. I promise that nothing like this will ever happen again. I understand if you have lost your trust for me." Hearing his darling Ki's contrite within their voice, Sanja smiled at them. He knew it wasn't their fault, his Ki had always enjoyed company and didn't know better, in fact it was Ki's end of the statement. The words nothing like this would ever happen again rang like music in his ears, he had taught them well. It brought him joy just to see how they've matured, how they learn so fast. It hadn't really been till they spoke that Sanja even noticed Ki had sat down beside him. It was then that a certain song rang out, one most unpleasant, one that Sanja had grown a distaste for. Amaya, the Rain Woman.

At her mention of his luck he frowned a bit, how rude of her to come into his home and then judge his recent affairs as if she knew anything about them. She wasn't one to be trusted. Folding his arms across his chest to look more imposing in front of this weather woman. However his curiosity peaked when she mentioned humans venturing to the shrine. He smiled and clasped his hands together.

"Well, well, well. Humans? How interesting. I suppose I should thank you for leading them the right way, now be on your way." His attentions were then swept up the racket of a certain cat. As she pulled and tugged on him as if he were her father, his eyes narrowed a bit as his eyebrow raised. This cat had no boundaries, nor any sense, though he would humor her for now.

"You may stay to see the humans Rika, however if you touch the offerings they bring or the items on their backs, you will lose one finger for each thing you take." He smiled down at her, almost daring her to test if he truly would. His deep violet eyes then went to the doorway as an unfamiliar voice called out a few names, most likely searching for their comrades. It was then a girl with reddish hair was visible through the doorway. Sanja felt excitement running down his spine. A human, here at his shrine when they can see the Youkai. He fixed his hair and took a deep breath as he stood up and stepped forward a bit, allowing himself to glow from his illusions, though he hadn't consciously done it. He was becoming more and more curious to speak with a human at length, to have one look upon him and praise him face to face, rather than through prayer.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Rinu Amaya Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Orokawru Satogi Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Natsumi Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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  1. Amaya is grumpy after Sanja //chased// her away from the shrine. She notice how only one of the three humans, the ginger girl, made her way there. So she decides to go look for the other two. Bumping into Natsumi, she tries to save the 2 humans from getting absorbed.

    by Emmyz

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#, as written by Emmyz


.: A M A Y A :.

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Maya was not pleased with Sanjas reaction. "I suppose I should thank you for leading them the right way, now be on your way." Did he not want to thank her? Was she not welcomed to his shrine? Sure, she did not like shrines very much but at least she should not be chased away like pest. Amaya was bad luck (not always tho), but after that rain earlier.. Was a imsy whimsy compliment too much to ask for? Apparently. Maybe his "superior position" had gotten to his head, like with Ryuu. Uhg those people thinking they are better than others. A needle in the ass - that's what they need. She scoffed in a "humph", now tapping the cold tip of her nose in a mysterious way - while thinking about maybe creating some hail just by the mountain tomorrow. But Amaya was not the one to share her devious plans. Instead she just smiled and bowed in a ironic way - narrow eyes glowing with mischief and the wrinkles surrounding them looked evil as usual. Her face softened a bit, noticing how Rika had made her way to Mayas side. Also remembering the cat's words "Amaya~! Such a surprise!".. Surprises was a good thing, right? So at least the thief knew how to behave around this purple haired ameonna. Sure, it was mainly because of her fear for rain (getting wet) - but even so Amaya was pleased and gave the pink haired feline a few strokes between the ears.

She straightened her posture again and glanced around the group. Smiling when meeting Ki's crimson red eyes. Maya liked them. Ki treated everyone with respect and was a really good listener. Too bad they where occupied / imprisoned by Sanja most of the time. "Oh Ki, how i miss them. They should join me for a talk sometime soon" She flickered her thick eyelashes and tilted her head to the left, making her fringe fall to the side, now looking at Haku. "And my favorite dragon has neglected his nighly swims lately. Are we too lazy?" what she really was saying, was how she missed their company. But ofc, Maya was not the one to express that. Now when thinking about it, it had been kind of dull last couple of days.. Amaya had been bored.. And lonely. No one around to torture, tease or have fun with. She sighted at the realization she even missed Ryuu's stuck up face. Maybe she wished for some drama.. and some company! But for the time being, she was unwanted.

"Well well, looks like im on my way. We don't want to upset dear Sanja any further.. I'll save the teasing for Ryuu" she winked in a teasing way and held up the lower skirt of her black dress just to clear her knees when turning around. Waving happily towards the group. She was an actress indeed, inside her heart was aching and she truly felt unwanted. As always she was thinking about the worst and turned negative and gloomy. Was bad luck and rain truly that terrible? Walking away, she heard an unfamiliar voice. Finally making her mind think of something other than pain and death. "Izumi-Senpai? Andoh-san? Not funny." Passing the corner of the shrine on her way out, Maya caught a glimpse of the ginger girl from the forest earlier. The source of the unfamiliar voice was one of the 3 humans. But where were the other two??? They most have been separated? Weird.. It had only been a few hundred yards to the shrine when she left them. Maybe they'd stumbled across something.. or someone.

"I sense there's something in the wind.. That feels like tragedy's at hand..." she sang quiet as she walked...

Maybe it was because of her boredom lately, but Maya suddenly felt a strong curiosity. She had to find out what happened to the other 2... No rush tho, simply just walking with determined steps through the woods and towards where she'd seem them last time. It had grown late now and the forest was really no place for humans to be at night - which made her only more curious. Suddenly she heard the weeping. Someone crying with an enchanting and sad magnetizing power.

"Natsumi..." she mumbled and changed direction - now heading for the crying mu-onna. Because where she was, the other 2 humans where going to be. No doubt. Amaya sighted when she reached the gathering, and saw the scene clearly. Natsumi was sitting on the ground weeping and the two children standing there... The girl holding out her hand... "Don't touch her! And get away from her!" Mayas voice was not charming or compelling in any way, not like Natsumis crying echo that still lingered, tho her words were the ones of honesty and was sharp against the now cold and calm late evening air. "She is not hurt nor more depressed than usual.." Situation was quite ironic. Was Amaya helping the humans? Trying to save them from getting absorbed? She kept telling herself that Sanja would get mad if these humans "disappeared".. But then, Sanja had not been very welcoming towards her earlier... So why should she care for his precious shrine visitors... Naaah...

She sighted and meet the eyes of Natsumi. "It's a pity my power over tears only work on their kind... well well.. " she nodded towards the girl and the boy. When suddenly another thought hit her. It was the fact that the humans should not be able to see her right now.. Amaya was standing on the "right side" of the boundary. The little wall of bushes and trees at the edge of the village should go through here.. The line dividing the youkai world from the humans, keeping them hidden and safe from the eyes of the outside world. The boundry both protecting the humans as well as the youkai. This was strange, but she decided not to fixate on it. Now the question was whether she should save them, let them get absorbed or harm them herself.

"You two.. Tell me, have you ever prayed for rain?" She decided to settle her scattered mind with a question. Her actions would differ depending on what answer they gave her. Walking up to their side she brought a lock of purple hair behind her ear as she let her red eyes investigate the two strangers. What a pair of lovely faces, soft skin and emotional human eyes.. Their expressions looked so tempting. If she could just dig her nails into those juicy cheeks and watch the pain in their faces.. Naaah. Maya was going to play fair and wait for their answers. "So. Who wished for rain once? Don't be shy" She continued, now her face was softer and her pale skin was lit up by the moonlight while her plum purple hair almost melted in to the pitch black night.

The setting changes from Komorebi Village to Youkai Street

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Chiyoko-Danuki Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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#, as written by Tanman
Kyosuke ‘Kyo’ Andoh

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Folding his arms together and leaning against the wall, Kyo didn’t have much to say at Izumi’s plan to contact the others. It wasn’t like he was on either of their friends lists, so he couldn’t exactly assist in calling them. Not that it looked like it would do any good as Nao complained about her signal strength. With a brick like that it was no surprise, but he wasn’t in a joking enough mood to pick on her about it anymore. Instead, he turned towards the sound of approaching footsteps, still more than a little on edge after their last encounter.

"Ayiyi, are you having trouble with your phone, dear? Reception is really poor out in this little old place sometimes." The voice drifted in from the older woman approaching them, though at least she didn’t look to associated with the freaks from earlier. The relatively normal outfit was the best indicator Kyo could find of that. Remaining against the wall and listening to her extensive introduction, Kyosuke looked to Nao to see how she would respond, before deciding he’d had enough of that. He’d left her in charge last time and look how that turned out. "And who might you youth be?"

“I’m Kyosuke. The dork behind me is Nao.” Kyo tilted his head towards his compatriot before looking back to the woman. “So, which one are you?” He asked, likely eliciting some confusion from the old lady. He took a moment to clarify himself, though it wasn’t any less rude a question. “You said only strange people and animals are out at this time. So, which are you old lady?” Kyo remained against the wall, completely unthreatened by the woman, but making it clear with his attitude that he wasn’t in the best of moods. Nao would likely need to step in and apologise for him, as he wasn’t about to do so himself, and it wasn’t exactly the nicest way to respond to someone trying to help. Still, Kyo felt like he needed to cause Nao a bit more trouble in revenge for earlier.

Rika Nekonyankoo

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Rika was buzzing and beaming, even after Sanja’s very clear warning for her to keep her sticky fingers to herself. Bobbing slightly behind him in anticipation, as the human finally came to enter the shrine and see them, it became immediately apparent that they’d been noticed judging from her reaction. Rika would have jumped in then and there, but Sanja threw her a little off balance as he stood, glowing with that aura of his and drawing the focus of attention straight to his impressive visage. Rika pouted a little as she caught herself, watching the spectacle. Sure, Sanja was ancient and powerful and impressive, but the little feline felt she was important too, and she certainly didn’t like being overshadowed. Somewhat subtly, she tried to shift in front of Sanja, but it seemed the Tengu was quick to notice as a blinding illusion cut in front of her, ensuring that the girl’s eyes would still be directed cleanly at him.

"Are you... Etto... I mean... how do I put this...? …Are you.... actual Youkai?" Rika blinked a bit, confused by the question. Of course they were? Why did she feel the need to ask that? I mean, honestly, what else could they be? Humans could be strange, but that just added to what made them intriguing. Still, she wasn’t about to let the cute little human have any misconceptions. “Yes, yes, that’s what we are. What exactly did you think we were?” Poking her way closer to the human, Rika had finally had enough of Sanja hogging the spotlight, and unceremoniously gave him a shove and slipped past him to greet the human.

"Forgive me! I am Nakahara, Yukiko... I just moved with my family to Komorebi a few months ago..." The girl suddenly launched into a bow, apologising and seeming pretty worried about something. Oh, it was probably Sanja! She didn’t need to worry about that, he was just a big ol’ pussycat. “Don’t worry about Sanya! He acts all scary sometimes, but he’s really nice! Just don’t take his offerings, he doesn’t like that…” Rika moved up at the last comment, using a hand to block her mouth slightly and whispering to Yukiko like it was some big secret.

Jumping back slightly to be in front of Yukiko, Rika smirked, eying her up and down. It’d been a while since she’d been up this close to a human, not to mention able to converse with one! She was cute and friendly and polite! This was great! Spiralling around the girl and looking her over from all sides, she noticed the nervous expression the girl had and realised that she must have been waiting on Rika to introduce herself. How silly of her! She’d just gotten so excited!

“Oh, that’s right! You don’t know any of us!” Smirking, she grabbed Yukiko around the shoulders and began dragging her around the shrine, gesturing to each person. “See Yuki – Mind if I call you Yuki? - that there is Sanya, he’s the big birdie in charge of the shrine. And over there is Ki! They’re a tree spirit, they're really nice! Say hi Ki! Oh, and that’s Haku and Shohei, he’s a water dragon, and Shohei’s kinda icky but he’s alright for a little birdie, plus he has lots of treasure somewhere!” Rika’s tangents were a little strange, but at least she was getting the basic introductions out of the way. Spinning out of her grip of Yukiko, she stopped about a metre away from her, posing in her best cat-girl posture in an attempt to look adorable.

“And this key-yoot~ kitten is Rika Nekonyankoo, at your service! Meow~!” Batting her arms like paws a moment, she let Yukiko comment, getting ready to field any questions she had. If Sanja didn’t eviscerate her in the next few moments for her transgressions.

The setting changes from Youkai Street to Komorebi Village

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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After only a moment his moment was stolen by the cat. It was as if a second plague had befallen him, in the shape of Rika Nekonyankoo. He felt his irritation rising, in his own shrine! This was his moment, he had waited and waited to have interactions with a human. He rose from his seat and glared at the small girl, she had dared to shove him and then speak to the human and dare to introduce him without consent. He would deal with her at a later juncture.

He strode gracefully, pushing the small cat behind him as one would move their own child, not roughly but firmly. His violet eyes shone with a burning curiosity, he had always wanted this. His whole life he had wanted this. He looked directly into her eyes and smiled kindly, holding himself high, regally poised like a king before his subject.

"As miss Nekonyankoo has said, I am the host of this shrine. I am the Daitengu from the first age, king of the mountain and curator of the forest. I am Sanjakubo Kurama, welcome to my shrine. Your manners and offering have been noted and duly appreciated. Is there anyway I may help you miss Nakahara?"

He spoke with charm and yet a measure of arrogance dripping from every word as he now stood directly in front of the red-haired female. Luckily for her, he was not exactly tall enough to loom over her. His hands spread open wide in a friendly gesture as is aura shimmered around him, to human eyes he must have been quite a sight. He wanted the human to feel safe with him, he desired to speak with her at length about her culture about her family, her people! All of this was so exciting he had to hide it with a simple smile, though beneath it he felt like a child again.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Miyako Mormeril Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Takumi Mizutori Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Chiyoko-Danuki Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo Character Portrait: Tutsrugi
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❝ Had you bothered to look around you, you would have been able to discern that 'what our prince is having' is right in front of you. Would you kindly care to release us, you damned snake? ❞

"Our prince is willing to share with the likes of me? I'm honored. Would the prince wish to try some of my famous brew?" The snake smiled, little hearts and flowers practically beaming from his person. As the prince shoves him, Takumi chuckles a bit and nuzzles his face against Ryuunosuke's, taking a content breath in. He enjoyed being close to the prince because he of all Youkai refused his affections the most, "You're just so cuddly my prince!" Takumi sang out gleefully, seemingly unaffected by Ryuunosuke's harsh words and even harsher treatment. If anything, the prince shoving on him only made him want to hold on to him even more. Like it made him happy to be rejected.

❝ Should you continue to handle us as though We were yours, he may kill you. ❞ A pause. ❝ Oh, on second thought, you should continue — We shall attend your funeral if only to spit on your grave. ❞

At first, it appeared that Ryuunosuke's insult hit home with Takumi as the Serpent God paused his affectionate assault just staring at the prince in surprise, but his smile quickly returned. His playful nuzzling did as well, it seemed that the snake was only appalled by being stepped on in his true form and his advances being returned with obviously reciprocated feelings, "Just the fact you would attend my funeral makes me happy, Oni-Sama~!" Takumi wasn't exactly what one would call quiet, especially as he had been already drinking, but he wasn't entirely shouting like a drunkard yet either. Either way, if anyone was sat near them they could not help but overhear the snake. He was just too lively and bad at using an 'indoor voice'. Apparently, he was never reprimanded as a child for speaking loudly.

❝ Perhaps, though, that may take too long — if you would let us, We would like to kill you ourself. Ugh, would — you — let — go?!❞

"Killed by the prince? What a lovely and passionate ending~!" He shivered with delight, though in truth he would not so easily lay down his life, not without producing an heir at least. But that meant.... shudder. He would have to lie with a woman... The thought was almost unthinkable, but it was his duty as the current Hakuja no Myojin to continue on his bloodline... It wasn't that he disliked women, but it was not hidden knowledge that the snake preferred men. Women were great, but he couldn't see past the betrayal from his past... but those were thoughts he would rather avoid at that time. He was trying to enjoy himself, and it wasn't every day that the prince strolled into the bar. As far as Takumi was aware, this was the very first time! How exciting!

When Ryuusuke told him to let go, Takumi chuckled a bit, "Imposssssible. You're shaking mi'lord. I couldn't possibly let royalty freeze to death. Let me warm you..." Takumi chimed, his 's's in the word impossible coming out as a seductive hiss, but that wasn't any surprise to anyone who knew him. He was a serpent after all. Clinging tighter as the prince attempted to remove him, Takumi let out a whine, pretending to be offended that the prince was trying to shake him off. He wasn't sure if he would be successful in remaining glued to the prince, but it was worth a shot. In truth, he had very little body heat of his own as he was a serpent, but it was a good excuse to keep hold of the prince.

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❝ A stamp! Think of sending a letter, Tsuyari. You might send a letter all around the world — you could send one to America or Europe, or anywhere! — but the stamp always stays in the corner of the letter. Isn't that clever? ❞

Azure eyes brightened like stars when he explained the answer, and the human child form of Tsuyari clapped, "Extremely. I would never have thought of that." She chimed in a cheerful manner, his riddle having perked her up after being abandoned directly after kissing the human girl. It had been her first kiss as well, but she didn't hold things so dearly as humans often did. It was just a kiss. There would be plenty more, right? Besides, it was just a girl, one that was not tainted by the adult world just yet. There was no harm in it. When her eyes landed on Chiyoko in human form, she immediately grinned. Oh, how she wanted to tease the Tanuki as she often teased her for her preference in what form to take. However, she wouldn't ruin the old lady's fun. She had her own, so she was willing to share. It wasn't like Tsuyari had any real interest in the humans, it was just fun to play with them every now and again. However, the reaction that the brunette human girl had after the kiss, it wasn't awful. She rather liked it and would like to see it again. As long as nothing real came out of it, she wouldn't mind playing with any humans that strolled into town. At least if she played with them, they would return home in one piece. She couldn't say the same for anyone who dared to play with her companion, Susumu. What am I going to do with him....? She thought to herself with a sigh, but that only made her smile a bit. Without him, she would have been far lonelier. Not to mention, most of what she knew about being a Kitsune she had learned from the ivory haired Kitsune. She owed him a lot. Her trust was one of the things she owed him, but that was something that she could not fully grant anyone, not even to Susumu.

❝ Do you see obaa-san over there? Does she look familiar to you? She's the vile Tanuki-chan who hates us — isn't she cruel for stealing our prey... ah, pardon me, our friends away? ❞

Listening to his words, Tsuyari began to feel awkward. Chiyoko while poking fun at her had never spoke to her with malice, but she knew that there was more than enough tension between Chiyoko and Susumu. As far as Tsuyari was aware, most of the Youkai she knew were at least on neutral terms with her, but it seemed Susumu had many enemies, not that she couldn't understand why, "I think she only hates you.... Susumu-sama..." she stated quietly in an uncomfortable manner. It wasn't fun admitting that she was more accepted by the Tanuki than he was, but it was what it was. While she wouldn't brag, she couldn't lie to him either. She couldn't just lie to him after everything he had done. It wasn't right, and she couldn't stomach it. She caught the word prey, blinking a bit. She didn't see them as prey per se... but it was somewhat accurate. Even though she was comparable to a fisherman who threw the fish back, and Susumu was the kind that devoured his fish without remorse... they both were treating the humans as prey in the end. It was clear that Susumu couldn't keep his mind from cooking up different ways of harming the humans, and she shook her head, "Prey and friends don't sound anything alike... nice try, Susumu-sama." She replied, unable to hold back her amused smile. Even though she knew what he had in mind for the humans, at least a general idea, she couldn't help but find it endearing that he was attempting to censor himself for her sake, "Thanks for the effort, though... I've already accepted who you are." She added with a small smile crossing her lips. Although it was distant, it was still quite warm for someone like her.

❝ ... Tsuyari. ❞

"....I think I know.... How did they see us here...? Isn't this a safe zone?" She asked the older Kitsune, her blue brow quirking questioningly. In five hundred years she never knew of humans and Youkai interacting inside of Youkai Square. At least not like this. How were they seeing all of the Youkai as if they were not hidden from the human world at all...? The thought was quite scary, and she didn't even want to think about what that would mean for her and her fellow Youkai, "....Susumu-sama? Are we safe here anymore..?" She asked worriedly, eyeing the direction of the humans. Just thinking that they could be attacked for 'poking and prodding' made her shiver. She did not want to fight, especially humans.... It wasn't in her nature.

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“Yes, yes, that’s what we are. What exactly did you think we were?”

At the Bakeneko's question, Yukiko froze almost stiff as a board, "I...I just had to ask..." She began to fidget nervously, her eyes shifting between staring at her shoes and glancing back up at the Daitengu and the Bakeneko. Should she explain why she wasn't used to Youkai? Was meeting Youkai common here? Were the others playing some sick prank on her because she was so interested in them? Was the whole abandoned town a joke to get her out here to humiliate herself in front of actual Youkai? She didn't want to believe that, but she was very embarrassed, her cheeks heating up fast, "Y-You don't come across any Youkai where I used to live in the city...." she stammered softly, looking up to the Youkai for a moment to see their reactions. Afraid that this was all some kind of sick joke. Either the Youkai weren't real, or they were real and teaming up with the village in the attempt to freak out the newest family in the village.

When the Bakeneko shoved past the ivory haired man, Yukiko's eyes widened a bit, a hand clasping over her mouth. She wasn't sure which of them were older or stronger, as she had just met them, but his appearance and the way he held himself, she doubted what the rosy-haired Bakeneko had done would be taken with a grain of salt. I hope that at least most of them are benevolent toward humans...

“Don’t worry about Sanya! He acts all scary sometimes, but he’s really nice! Just don’t take his offerings, he doesn’t like that…”

Considering that a shrine was meant to honor a God or some other sort of Divine being, she dared not speak the name given to her so familiarly like the rosy-haired Youkai. She knew that disrespecting a divine being often meant ill fortune. She didn't want bad karma! Her luck had never been very great, to begin with! The words whispered in her ear made her very confused. Why would she make an offering and take others? She wished to keep her hands and head attached... however, those words made her realize that the Ivory haired man was indeed a Godlike being, if not an actual God. Being eyeballed, even if it was by another female caused Yukiko to shrink into herself. Her arms came securely to her chest and her legs clamped together nervously, her figure becoming extremely small. She was not frightened, she was just extremely embarrassed to be examined. Knowing any eyes were scrutinizing her made her insanely uncomfortable. Compared to them...she was so....plain. What was there to really look at? Her reddish brown hair? While that wasn't extremely common in the area, it was still nothing extraordinary. She didn't find herself particularly cute, attractive or anything like that, just average.

“Oh, that’s right! You don’t know any of us!”

A surprised squeak escaped Yukiko's lips as she was tugged along, her eyes glancing back to the ivory haired male Youkai to gauge his reaction to the cat woman dragging a human around in his domain. This was his shrine, yet the rosy-haired woman was treating it as if it were her own. She was incredibly confused, but she wasn't exactly sure what was appropriate for her to say aloud. She wouldn't question things too much until she had a better idea of what was going on, but more importantly, what type of Youkai these individuals were. That made all the difference. Different species had different beliefs, customs, and ways of handling humans and had different ideas of 'insulting behavior' from said humans.

“See Yuki – Mind if I call you Yuki? - that there is Sanya, he’s the big birdie in charge of the shrine. And over there is Ki! They’re a tree spirit, they're really nice! Say hi Ki! Oh, and that’s Haku and Shohei, he’s a water dragon, and Shohei’s kinda icky but he’s alright for a little birdie, plus he has lots of treasure somewhere!”

"Etto... I suppose you could...?" She replied shakily, her voice bleeding with uncertainty. She did not want to say no, especially as she was not certain exactly which kind of cat-based Youkai the woman was. When they finally stopped moving and the cat lady began pointing, her eyes fell on Sanja, whom the rosy-haired Youkai referred to as Sanya, "I-It's a pleasure to meet you, y-your shrine is lovely..." She was very shaken up and flustered, unsure, but she was quite certain that her 'tour guide' called the Deity of the shrine a 'big birdy'... Well, she assumed she meant a Daitengu, as this was a mountainous area, but she did not speak her assumption aloud in case she was incorrect.

This female Youkai was more energetic and grabby than even Sanae. She wasn't used to a complete stranger grabbing her so familiarly as if they were already great friends. However, her eyes landed on another in the room that the female Youkai referred to as 'Ki'. There were more here this whole time!? Did they see all of that? Her cheeks began to grow quite red, "H-Hello." She stated with a nervous smile towards Ki. The fact that they were a tree spirit was interesting. She had never read about those before, so she was quite curious. However, the pink haired Youkai ran through the introductions like lightning, so her attention was brought to the next person before she could converse with Ki any further. The third she was introduced to was a Water Dragon?! She couldn't believe her ears. He was so tall! Or maybe Yukiko was just short...? Though another male was introduced at the same time. Apparently, he was named Shohei and he was a little icky birdy? Yukiko was really having trouble wrapping her head around all of this information presented to her, "It's delightful to meet you both." She stated politely through her embarrassment and confusion towards Haku and Shohei.

When she was released Yukiko straightened out any creases that might have formed in her long sleeved shirt, trying to pull her scarf up to hide the blush on her cheeks as the rosy-haired Youkai struck a pose. It was like the magical girls in anime, so she couldn't help but find it incredibly adorable.

“And this key-yoot~ kitten is Rika Nekonyankoo, at your service! Meow~!”

"Hello, uhm are you a Bakeneko... or Nekomata...?" She asked curiously, tapping her cheek as she scrambled her years of being an Otaku. All that research, she needed to remember it now. Asking made her feel nervous, but the female was the least intimidating in the room so she felt it was best to ask her first. Start with the easy problems, then work her way up. Just like a Math test. It was only after the Youkai she suspected of being a Daitengu moved the one who introduced herself as Rika aside that she realized she was of similar height as him. Rika was the tallest of the three. From his posture to his smile, he made it clear that he was an elegant being. It almost reminded her of an otome or shoujo manga, but she absolutely refused to blurt something like that out. She would die on the spot of embarrassment.

"As miss Nekonyankoo has said, I am the host of this shrine. I am the Daitengu from the first age, king of the mountain and curator of the forest. I am Sanjakubo Kurama, welcome to my shrine. Your manners and offering have been noted and duly appreciated. Is there anyway I may help you miss Nakahara?"

"So I was right when she said big birdy.. he is a Daitengu after all...." She whispered under her breath to herself when she realized she had correctly guessed what species of Youkai that Sanja was. However, Rika had given her a good hint. When the aesthetically pleasing Daitengu asked if there was anything he could help her with, she immediately thought back to her friends, "First age..? Woah.." She began to wonder just how long the Daitengu had been around, and the sparkle of interest and curiosity in her eyes was not easily missed. Little did they know, she was a huge fan of Youkai, and she was doing everything in her power to hold in her fangirling. Yukiko clapped her hands together before beginning to ask her question, "A-Arigato... If it's not too much trouble, I'd just like to ask if you have come across a tall blond haired dimwit and a really pretty tall brunette girl by any chance...? We were separated in the forest... My other two friends are helping a woman, we heard her crying on the way up the steps to the shrine... My friend Sanae-chan is a shrine maiden..." Despite all of the questions she had for the plethora of Youkai she had stumbled across, her main concern was with her friends. All of her questions would have to wait until she was certain that they were safe. She would have bowed again, but the Daitengu was far too close for her to do such a thing. His height made him a little more approachable, and his sudden warm and sparkling presence almost completely distracted her, "G-Gomenasai... I've always wanted to meet Youkai... and I have so many questions.... but my friends... could any of them be in danger out there...?" Her expression was very worried. Now that she was certain there were Youkai, she was sure that there were plenty of malicious Youkai lurking about as well.

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