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Susumu

"You got a moment for a few riddles?"

0 · 978 views · located in Komorebi Village

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

Description

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「What gets broken without being held? Well, a promise, of course!」
Faceclaim ✧ Kogitsunemaru { Touken Ranbu }
Speech color ✧ #c70000
Thought color ✧ #7a7676
Theme Song (instrumental) ✧ Kawanakajima - Samurai Warriors 4 OST
Theme song (vocal) ✧ Identity - Mamoru Miyano





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「What disappears the moment you say its name? ... Silence!」

Name ✧
Susumugitsune

Nicknames ✧
✦ Susu — A cute nickname the children Youkai have given him.
✦ Nazonazo no otoko / なぞなぞの男 / Riddler - "Man of Riddle," or translated to English, could be "Riddler."
✦ Susumu — A shortening of his name and the name he uses usually.


Gender ✧
Male

Age ✧
Thousands of years / Looks 20

Sexuality ✧
Homosexual

Species ✧
Youkai
Kitsune; a yako kitsune that likes to cause trouble amongst humans by stopping them for riddles. He rarely ever struggles to take on a completely human form on account of the fact that his ears could be mistaken as tufts of hair, though he does have to hide his tails with magic. He does take energy from humans by sleeping with them, but his primary targets are men as he is gay. He lures his 'victims' by telling them riddles that grows into flirtations.


Thoughts About Humans ✧
Hn? Am I really supposed to have any real opinions? They're playthings!
































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「Am I pleasing to your eyes?」

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Height & Weight ✧
6'0" / weight

Hair Color ✧
Snowy White

Eye Color ✧
Red

Appearance ✧
Susumu's hair is white as snow and long. It goes down to his hips. He usually ties it at the very end, sometimes with a bow, but other times he ties it up in a ponytail and uses the same yellow bow. His garb is not too extravagent, but still rather fancy. His eyes are pools of red that are almost hypnotizing to stare into for too long. He is exceptionally beautiful, with a sharp jaw line and narrow eyes that pull together, like a fox. The ears that poke out of his hair look almost attached to the hair itself, and his tails are big and fluffy.

Notable / Special Features ✧
Two fox ears that stick out from his hair and appear almost as though they are attached to his hair, and his 'kitsune face' features.




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Likes ✧
Riddles - He has many, many riddles, and some he
__comes up with on the spot.

Humans - This isn't to say he respects them, he simply
__loves to toy with them.

Food Offerings - Some people do bring him offerings of
__food, and he loves it.

Sex - Admittedly, he really does enjoy the sex he has when
__feeding off of energies of human souls.


Strengths ✧
Strength - Though he doesn't utilize it much, he is very
__strong.

Charm - He's extremely charming and is able to charm
__many a woman and man.


Quirks ✧
Fox Ears - A lot of times, they'll twitch when he talks.
Smooth Voice - His voice is very gentle and smooth and
__admittedly very charming.

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Dislikes ✧
Annoying Humans - A little noise like screams is fine, but
__there gets a point where it's excessive.

Gashadokuro - Ah, this one's a bit embarrassing. His old
__rival is one of these.


Weaknesses ✧
His Stomach - Like most animals, his stomach is a very
__weak point.

Animalistic Instincts - Someties, he will act on pure animal
__instincts. This means he may lash out at people
__and growl in an animalistic way.


Fears ✧
Being Overpowered - It's a terrifying thought for most, to be
__sure.

Fondness - He's a bit afraid of growing fond of humans.
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Personality ✧
❤ Charming | Elusive | Playful | Untrustworthy ❤
Susumu fits the exact description of what one would describe a fox as. He is playful to the utmost degree, spouting riddles at those who pass and agree to listen to one or two. During these moments, no matter how charming he may be, you mustn't trust him—many times he will wager with you with his riddles. Typically, the first few riddles are easy, and there's no doubt you'll guess the answer correctly, but as the game progresses, he will make them more difficult, and also wager things like fingers, teeth, or an eyeball. Despite these eccentricities, he is fun to talk to, and you might even find yourself smitten! He is very flirtatious and, on the occasion he finds company that doesn't like him as a male, he will turn into a female version of himself.

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So begins...

Susumu's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Orokawru Satogi Character Portrait: Miyako Mormeril Character Portrait: Mikado Sarubi Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Chiyoko-Danuki Character Portrait: Tutsrugi Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Shohei
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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: Susumu Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai
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ImageRunning off probably wasn't the most mature thing to do, not to mention she tripped on the way... Thankfully no one had seen her fall flat on her face, but it was still frustrating. but she never told Susumu to chase after her. She knew he had interests that were far different than her's, she could accept that, whether she approved of them or not. What she could not do was witness it, violence always triggered memories she did her best to keep buried. Just being in his presence made her wonder what her biological brothers would have been like at his age, but that wasn't enough to bring her to this moment, hidden in the alley. Feeling a slight breeze, Tsuyari takes a breath in and immediately feels a lot better.

However when she heard steps approaching, turning around to see Susumu kneeling. Her eyes fluttered for a moment, completely shocked by the prospect that he followed her. She shouldn't have been, because it wasn't exactly the first time, but the fact that he still did it was enough to bring a soft, appreciative smile to her lips. Friendship was not something she was used to, and the treatment she received from Susumu was even more rare. Part of her always feared that it would one day disappear, that he would grow tired of her and she would once again be severed from one of her kind. It was paranoid, but paranoia kept her alive this long.

❝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.❞

As his hand patted her shoulder, Tsuyari shook her head, "It's fine. I know who you are, Susumu-Sama." she replied in a quiet but direct voice. Their conversation was no one else's business, and she did not like people who pried into her personal affairs. She did not wish to have an audience. Her blue eyes softened a bit, "I do not like witnessing such things... I have my reasons." Did she wish to explain herself? Of course, keeping that big of a secret tore at one's soul, but she was unable to bring up the past so casually. Pity was the last thing she wanted, but if she spoke even a word about her hatred for violence, pity is what she would surely get. Tsuyari let out a defeated sigh. Susumu, despite his violent nature, was the only Kitsune she had a friendship with, if you could even call it that. She was fond of him, but she couldn't bring herself to trust even him with personal matters after everything she has been through.

❝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?❞

Not very fond of spiders, but Tsuyari had to give a little back, right? Tsuyari nodded, allowing herself to shift into her full Yokai form for once in a puff of light blue smoke, definitely the first time in front of Susumu despite the lengthy amount of time she had known him. Her baggy white dress was no longer baggy, but it was still decent and modest attire. Her blue ears twitched a bit in irritation, not exactly ecstatic to be in that form. but the last thing she wanted was a random Youkai nagging at Miyako or Susumu about a 'kid' being in the bar. A bar fight was not on her agenda, "Fine, fine... Let's drink." She replied with a gentle laugh, stepping out of the alley before he could say anything about her transformation.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Shohei
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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.

---

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: Susumu Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Miyako Mormeril
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As he remained seated at his corner table, it wasn't an ordinary waitress who served him but rather the Madame herself. She poured his sake and welcomed him. He couldn't help but inwardly recoil, he wasn't one for coming out and definitely wasn't one for bars, or Jorgumo either. However he kept up his manners, as envoy of the mountains he could not risk bad face in public.

"Well, to what do I owe the honor. Being served by the Madame herself." He smiled coyly, almost taunting her. He'd never admit it but he was one for demeaning others, Yokai and humans alike, if he could catch them off guard and expose something to obviously cause him to seem better by comparison he would jump at the chance. Of course he'd never let on and to most his subtle egging-on was simply his own way of teasing and making conversation.

"Thank you for your most generous offer, although I am no newcomer to the ways of drinking and the subtle implications of it's after effects." He took one of the cups and sipped it slowly with a slight sigh. True enough, the drink was good even if the company was not. As she went away he made sure to make his surroundings known to him, he spotted Mikado, flanked by Oni mercs. Sanja frowned at their appearance, so blatantly ready for conflict it was sickening. How simple minded beings of their sort were, bash and smash, devour and pillage. The only Oni Sanja had ever known to be different was Prince Ryuunosuke. Mikado's type of Youkai was also a simple one. Ignorant and violent, without cause other than wanting to destroy and devour. This one in particular though was dangerous in that he desired knowledge, to raise him above his normal cloth. Sanja smirked wryly to himself in knowing he held what that man sought, how far would Mikado go to claim it?

Once he was satisfied with his drink he rose, leaving a good sum of money to cover his visit, and waved politely as he left. Thanking Madame Mormeril for the sake.

---

Sanja strolled through the streets of the village, it was rare indeed that he chose to leave his temple. Much had changed n the last hundred-odd years since he last left his home. Yet, coming down here made him miss the quiet his mountaintop provided. He stopped by a small shop as a trinket caught his eye. It was a small rabbit, made from cloth and stuffed with rice. It was a child's doll for sale. Normally such frivolous objects would never catch the Daitengu's eye, though he saw it and thought of his precious Ki back home.Without another thought, he purchased the pink and white rabbit doll and held it in his arms much like a child, as he meandered through the city. An expression of euphoric stupor on his face as he thought of how much it was different than before. He stopped at the center of the village and sat on a bench. He looked down upon the dolls blue-beaded eyes and chuckled. Look at him, buying dolls for his child. It brought him a bittersweet happiness that he had left. Still, the animal messenger had warned him that humans were about, which was why he had come down in the first place.

He would linger a bit longer, to see if the humans did indeed arrive. If not, disciplinary matters would be in order for that Squirrel. Wasting a Divine Tengu's time was quite unwise.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Orokawru Satogi Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Tutsrugi
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Danger may be lurking along the way, but the five teens continue on their adventure. Somewhere along the way, a tear in the group occurs, and the five find themselves separated into two groups. While one group may find themselves on the right path, the others take a wrong turn and will find themselves lost within the forest eventually. The forest does not speak back, no matter how many times you ask it where you are . . .

In the Youkai Village, time passes with the threat of human intruders, though many are unaware . . .




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Satogi had said something about Youkai forcing young beauties (beautiful? me? must be a joke...) into arranged marriages, and Sanae's eyes widen. Wh-What? D'ya really think that'll happen? What would they want with a girl like me as a bride? I ain't really that special, y'know? I think they'd probably like Yukiko-chan or Nao-chan better than me. They're the pretty ones!

Onwards they trek, deeper into the forest. Komorebi isn't too far from the entrance, though it does take a bit to get to the bus stop from there, but the rumored abandoned village... that one's a bit farther in. Scary things tend to happen in the darkness in the thick of the forest. Sanae shakes the thoughts out of her head; no amount of scary stories will make her turn back. She is brave. Besides, Youkai aren't real. They're just appealing stories for parents to tell their kids at night to get them to behave. Now that that's out of the way, she can—... well, there's still the wild animals out here in the forest. Those thoughts make shivers snake their way down her spine. Aggressive, wild, feral animals, lurking out here in the forest, just waiting to attack...

She's almost grateful for the (admittedly, pretty startling) distraction of when Kyosuke claps Satogi's hoodie over his head and steals the flashlight. He runs off, after throwing something offhanded over his shoulder, and Nao runs after him. Uh... you guys! Waaaiiit! If ya go off, then we'll get lo—... aw, they're already gone.
She turns back to the remaining two and puts her hands on her hips, sighing slightly. Fine. Fine, fine, fine. We'll just... have to catch up with 'em. Shouldn't be too hard. They just went off that way... uh, somewhere...

Satogi's offer snaps her out of her disappointment in getting split up. She smiles slightly and trots over to him, grabbing onto his hand. Okay! So long as you'll protect me from the scary Youkai tryin' to kidnap me and force me to be their bride! Be my night in shinin' armor, my chivalrous samurai, or somethin' like that. She giggles and points onward, in a direction... totally opposite of where their friends had just disappeared into. She starts to tug him off in that direction, beckoning for Yukiko to follow.

Perhaps, instead of the group that ran off, they were the ones who were lost. The thought doesn't occur to Sanae yet, though, but she does think that, just in case, she knows how to get to the shrine from any part of the forest.




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If this royalty is so thirsty then he should surely be able to lower himself and go to a place of such common birth.

Ryuunosuke laughs from his throat, eyes closing one more. He recalls a time when the two of them first met. They were both young things, and Tutsurugi had a motive to please, as a servant should. At the time, Ryuunosuke was alone; friends were not quite a luxury for a royal unless they were also royalty, and one doesn't come across those very often. Tutsurugi was meant to be a servant, though he was around his age, and as a child, he did what a child does—latch onto the closest thing to a friend he could fine. Don't be so stiff, Tutsurugi. he had said, with a smile that's become so rare now, but Tutsurugi is always welcome to see. You and We are friends now. No matter what anyone else says. Okay?

A rather childish thing to say, Ryuunosuke supposes, but that's what they were—children. Though he is a prince, and servants are just servants, the prince is a loyal man, and would lay his life down for those who lay theirs for his. He snaps out of his reverie with a few startled, gentle blinks when his loyal servant continues.

But he should be well aware of his reputation, and the dangers that lurk in such places.

Ah, there's the concern. The man's duty as a servant, to protect the prince, to warn him of dangers. Ryuunosuke nods, turning back towards the entrance of the bar and stepping in. We will heed your warning, Tutsurugi. We will also expect you to protect us.

The bar isn't as bad as he expected. It was noisy, for sure, as there was a clamor as everyone's voices melted together. People laughed, shouted, and spoke drunkenly. People were merry, people were having fun. His parties, Ryuunosuke muses, are much the same, however they are full of the upper class, and aren't quite as... dirty. It isn't that the bar is unclean, and that he doesn't trust Miyako to take care of it, but public drinking places such as these always trike Ryuunosuke as rather dirty to be in. Such is the thought process of an Oni prince. Regardless, he takes a seat in the corner, just as he saw Sanja see his way out. Had they ducked in a bit earlier, perhaps they could have exchanged a few words. Ryuunosuke gestures for Tutsurugi to sit across from him.

He notices discreetly that many members of the bar, who had previously been prattling on and clapping their friends on their backs, do notice the prince. As he passes, their voices dip down, and even after he's stepped by, he can hear threats of gossip. He shakes his head and rests a hand on his palm and his elbow on the table.




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Susumu's surprise is clear on his face upon seeing the... interesting form Tsuyari had taken on. He'd never seen it before. She was certainly taller and more mature, down to how much fuller her chest seemed. Oh, how interesting. You know, I've never seen you like this before. I think you'd make quite the treat like this, Tsuyari-chan. He stops, lowering his eyelids mischievously and wagging his tail slightly. Well, if I liked girls, that is. Come on~ He beckons her with his hand, and with that, he sets off toward the bar with Tsuyari in tow. As they walk, the older kitsune's hair and tail swish behind him. One could run their fingers through his hair and it would feel like such snowy locks were spun from pure silk. He takes pride in his looks, to be sure. While Ryuunosuke is beautiful in all senses of the word, Susumu's beauty is different. It's the type of beauty that draws you in, that pulls you close and doesn't let you sneak away; the type of beauty that captivates and unsettles you all the same.

Of course, on the way to the bar, Susumu happens to see a familiar face—one he rather likes. He stops abruptly, directly in front of poor Tsuyari—and so abruptly, she might as well have slammed right into him! He makes a soft cooing sound and, with a flick of his tail and a twitch of his ears, he practically waltzes over to Sanja, sidling up next to him and draping an arm over his shoulder.

Sanja-kun, Sanja-kun... Isn't it a lovely night out tonight? Lovely enough for a game, I'd say. Tell me, do you know what you feed to let live, yet give drinks to kill? I'll give you... three guesses! He wags his tail behind him and looks over to Tsuyari, a wide grin on his face. If you know this one, don't tell him. I want him to guess on his own. He needs to get that cute little head of his working on~ his~ own~ ♥❞

His desire for games comes as no surprise; such is what one would expect from the Riddler. Many have fallen into his trap, assuming the bastard's games come as just a childish desire to play games and make small-talk. Though many may leave once he starts to wager with teeth, fingers, eyes, or limbs, some aren't so smart to refuse. What harm could such a hauntingly beautiful man really do? He must be joking when he makes bets like these, right? How hard could answering a few riddles be...?

A kitsune's nose is strong, just as a fox's nose is. The sake's scent isn't noticeable to most, though to Susumu, the aroma overtakes him. He can smell the plum sake on Sanja, and he decides he rather likes the scent on the tengu. However, doesn't that mean Sanja had went to the bar without him? Susumu pouts a bit, puffing out his cheeks childishly. Tell a guy next time, Sanja-kun. I can't take you on a date if I don't know where you are...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Orokawru Satogi Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai
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❝Wh-What? D'ya really think that'll happen? What would they want with a girl like me as a bride? I ain't really that special, y'know? I think they'd probably like Yukiko-chan or Nao-chan better than me. They're the pretty ones!❞

The new girl's cheeks immediately flushed and she waved her hands frantically, "Y-You're very pretty, Sanae-Chan! Don't say that about yourself..." Yukiko stammered, attempting to reassure Sanae that she was beautiful. However in this case wouldn't it have been better to not be? Marrying a Youkai... that didn't sound safe no matter how it was put. Though it was an interesting thought and it did spark her imagination. She couldn't help but wonder if they really would force human girls to be their brides if Youkai were real. Wouldn't female Youkai be more beautiful?

“Let’s leave this to a professional, Squirt.”

While she did not have the courage to speak up to Kyosuke for how he treated Satogi, Yukiko glared a little at the blond's back nonetheless. Seriously? A professional flashlight holder? If that's the extent of his skills... He's doomed. However, shortly after the thought crossed her mind, Yukiko shook her head banishing them. She knew what it was like to be mocked.. Even if it was only in her head, she knew that it was wrong. As her father often stated, she did not have to stoop to another's level.

“All the cautious chickens can stay back here. I’m going on ahead.”

Hmph.. I'm not scared... I just would rather be with.... Yuki thought to herself, shoving her hands into the pockets of her jean shorts. Stealing a glance at Satogi, she smiled a bit. Totally content with being deemed a 'chicken' if it meant she could walk behind with him, Yuki smiled at Sanae as well. The company she was left behind with was not that bad. Thankfully Sanae and Nao were present as well or she might have not had the confidence to stay behind with him. She would not admit it, but the fact that Kyosuke was leaving them behind honestly did not bother her all that much. Though when Nao ran ahead chasing after Kyosuke, Yuuki opened her mouth to warn her not to split up. Words did not form, as Nao disappeared in the darkness before she made a peep.

"Come on, we shouldn't let them get too far ahead. Besides, if they turn this into a romcom scene we need to be the ones who inturrept them!"

The mention of a Romcom caused Yuki to blush, but she really couldn't help thinking Nao could do better. Keeping her rude comments to herself, Yukiko nodded after a moment. She began to wonder if Satogi liked Nao. If he did, she would support that choice, she had no right to be jealous. She was only the new girl after all. She was content with just being included like this. If she ever realized that she was no longer content, she would definitely do her best to make sure that this became enough, it had to be enough, "What if someone interupts your romcom because you want to ruin theirs..? Karma is a scary thing.." She had to bring it up, a firm believer in Karma and the like. She had always been a bit superstitious after all.

❝Fine. Fine, fine, fine. We'll just... have to catch up with 'em. Shouldn't be too hard. They just went off that way... uh, somewhere...❞

While she was not scared of this whole hunt to find Youkai, Yukiko immediately stopped for a moment realizing that Sanae wasn't really sure where Nao and Kyousuke had ventured off to. Looking for Youkai was fine, but getting lost in the forest was a scary thought, one she did not wish to humor. To avoid being left behind, Yukiko sped up to catch up to the other two, just in time to almost completely crash into Satogi when he came to a halt. She managed to skid to a complete stop a few inches behind, then stepped back to give him personal space.

"You know, now that we don't have a light we could get lost from each other. Maybe we should all hold hands. For safety of course."

Was it wrong to not mention that she had a flash light in her bag? Probably. Would she miss out on the chance to hold Satogi's hand without making it obvious that she liked him? Not a chance. His hand extended out invitingly brought a faint blush to her cheeks, but in the dark she was convinced that he and Sanae wouldn't notice.

❝Okay! So long as you'll protect me from the scary Youkai tryin' to kidnap me and force me to be their bride! Be my night in shinin' armor, my chivalrous samurai, or somethin' like that.❞

When Sanae took Satogi's hand first, it took a lot of the pressure off and she nodded her head in agreement, "If it's for safety then it should be okay.... Protect us well, Orokawru-Senpai." she stated in a soft manner. However after Sanae took his hand, she began to lead Satogi off . Yuki quickly rushed to catch up, taking Satogi's other hand in her's when they were in reach. She did not want to get separated from them. If she was alone in the forest at night, she'd surely lose her nerve. She was more afraid of the possibility of wolves lurking around rather than the legends about the Youkai though..

Now that it was quiet, all that she could think about was the fact that she was holding hands with Satogi. Sure, so was Sanae, but that didn't bother her that much. The fact that she was able to hold his hand was plenty enough to make her happy. The warmth of his hand, everyone's steps snapping twigs beneathe their shoes now and then. The moonlight that barely trickled through the forest. She planned to embedd all of this within her memory permanently. This was likely going to be the only time she would be able to be close to the boy she liked, she had to enjoy it while it lasted. So close right now... I'm so glad I came... Even if we don't find Youkai, I'm holding Orokawru-Senpai's hand!

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Image❝Oh, how interesting. You know, I've never seen you like this before. I think you'd make quite the treat like this, Tsuyari-chan.❞

His compliment toward her original form brought a pout to her lips and Tsuyari closed her eyes with a sigh, "Yeah, yeah... It's a pain in the ass though..." Tsuyari responded, crossing her arms over her chest sheepishly. It wasn't comfortable being in this form. Even though there was a physical comfort to no longer using energy to hide her appearance, there was a mental discomfort that severely outweighed the perks, "Attracts too much unwanted attention." She explained, not fond of the same 'relations' that her fellow Kitsune often enjoyed partaking in. Did that mean she did not like hugs and affection? No. She simply preferred platonic relationships over anything. Besides, she had never feel attracted to anyone based on looks alone. She had to get to know them first, there had to be more than a sexy bod in front of her to stir feelings. However, Tsuyari did not want any such feelings to ever stir again. Trusting someone with that much of one's own happiness was simply a dangerous roll of dice every single day, and she absolutely hated gambling.

❝Well, if I liked girls, that is. Come on~❞

His words did elicit a brief snicker from her, "I'm flattered, I assure you." She replied with a shake of her head, knowing very well what gender attracted Susumu. The compliment was not shaken off so easily because of his preference, but since it was still Susumu, she didn't think too far into it. He was almost like family after all. Even if he did not have his affections towards males, nothing was worth jeopardizing where they stood now. Tsuyari was more than satisfied just to spend time with another Kitsune. Tsuyari glanced around as they continued on toward the bar. Tsuyari couldn't help but smile, a serene expression on her face as she followed behind the older Kitsune. While incredibly different, she couldn't imagine life without Susumu in it. Being around one of her own kind was very comforting. Susumu was also quite easy on the eyes, but what she liked most about him was that he seemed to have a plethora of challenging riddles at his disposal. While she too was a Kitsune, she mostly spent her time scaring young kids out of the forest before they could get too lost to return home or protecting Ki's host tree. Her mischief was not very harmful, and she did not know any riddles aside from the very few she got correct during her time around Susumu, and they were by far the easiest ones. After the first two, her chances of guessing right sufficiently dropped. It was extremely embarrassing, but learning the answers was well worth it.

❝Sanja-kun, Sanja-kun... ♪ Isn't it a lovely night out tonight? Lovely enough for a game, I'd say. Tell me, do you know what you feed to let live, yet give drinks to kill? I'll give you... three guesses!❞

Running into Susumu was not on her agenda, so she used her hands to keep a fair distance between them when she nearly crashed into his back. Tsuyari blinks when she realizes what caught his attention. Once they were in a respectable distance to converse with Sanja, Tsuyari's eyes landed on something very curious indeed, "Rōjin-sama.. why do you have a bunny? Is it for Karasu-san?" She asked in a very straightforward manner, though she realized it was likely for Ki, she did like to poke fun at Shohei since he was younger than her after all.

❝If you know this one, don't tell him. I want him to guess on his own. He needs to get that cute little head of his working on~ his~ own~ ♥❞

Conflicted, she simply nodded her head. If she admitted that she did not know the answer, she would look stupid, but if she lied and pretended that she knew it and Sanja by chance did not answer correctly, she would look stupid if they challenged her to answer it since she 'knew' it, "Working? Is it broken?" Tsuyari asked curiously, her ears twitching as she spat out her first thoughts without filtering them. It often made her come across as cold and rude, but honestly she was just used to speaking freely.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh
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#, as written by Emmyz
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ImageNao rubbed her cheek with her free hand, feeling a small cut where the branch had scratched her earlier. It was nothing tho, she was used to far more severe injuries due to all the sport activities she's involved with. A little blood on the cheek had never killed her before, so she just wiped it off and focused on the situation. Glancing around in despair with the flashlight- looking for the way witch she'd came from- and listening to any sound suggesting the others where close, without success. Kyo's macho words would have normally made her boil, but right now she felt kind of numb. Until 2 things woke her up from going in to "panic mode".

First a "smack" in her forehead caused by Kyos index finger. Making Nao blink a few times, not grasping what just happened. Second, the word "Nag" stabbing her in the chest, getting to her like an electric shock. Gosh, she hated when he called her that! And from what he said, he did not seem to want her as company. Thank you very much!.. Maybe she could turn back to the others? Kyo was not exactly her number one choice to spend time with.. But leaving him would probably give him the satisfaction of feeling "superior" and she would not let him have that pleasure.. Plus, as much as she hated to admit it, he was right. Sanae would take good care of the others. Going back to look for them could even result in both parties getting lost. The best option was to find the abandoned village and meet the others there.

“Uh, hey, Nao. Come check this out.” Nao froze in her action, did he just want her to join him? Something was not right. Looking over in his direction, she saw his arm making a waving gesture. Nao swallowed a bit nervous, wondering if he was about to prank her or something, but still decided to walk up beside him. Then she leaned in and stood on tip toes to sneak a peek over the branch he had moved to the side. The view made her tense up, and she opened her mouth in her custom surprised expression - looking like an idiot. The village was there alright... The rumors where true! But the lights where on... They had electricity.. and lanterns.. just like in Komorebi..

“Wasn’t this place supposed to be, y’know, abandoned?”. Nao nodded, not that she was sure he could see her - especially since she'd decided to turn off the flashlight (not finding it necessary anymore when a village filled with lights was ahead of them).

“Maybe the dorks somehow got ahead of us and lit the lamps… Let’s go check it out.” For once Nao agreed with him. Her first thought had been that Sanae and the others got there before them.. She straightened her figure, closing her first and nodded again. "For once i agree with you.. And we should not let our friends, not dorks, wait for us any longer - they are probably worried..." she said rushing after him when he started to move. Raising her chin slightly, making a puffing sound when passing him and taking the lead. "And try not to be to hard on Satogi, it's not his fault he beat you to the village... looks like you lost!" she teased him with a quiet scoff and a smile as she moved some branches and hurried up her steps, almost stumbling down a slightly downhill that was before them. The closer she came to the village - the bigger of a doubt she felt. What if it weren't the others.. It could be some teens from school that had listened in on their plan? Even if so, Nao was not scared, surprisingly. It was not dark anymore, and dark was probably the only thing she feared.

The village ahead looked quite... alive. And not much different from Komorebi. They entered over a small bridge, continued between two houses - up a few stairs before they found themselves on some sort of main "street". The houses where small and resembled smaller shrines made of wood with a color-scheme in red. Passing a fountain, Nao had started to realize that the town was not abandoned. Even if Sanae, Satogi and Yukiko had reached the village before them - there was no way possible to have accomplished all this in that small amount of time. No - this village was alive. There was glimpses of people in the windows, sound of laughter from a distant bar and someone playing a flute. There was people living in this place alright...

The first thing that popped in to Naos head was ofc from some books she read. She searched her memory for the content and started to give a summary of the things she thought to be essential to the situation. "You know... In america and im guessing even here in Japan - it's quite common with sects and cults... living separated from the society and without contact with other humans..Their existence must be a secret. Often the sect leader make them commit mass suicide in the end - as a way out from their hidden life.." she mumbled like she was lecturing him in some school subject."What if this is a sect?" She continued, a bit softer - but also widening her eyes when asking. She bit her lower lip as they continued walking. "I can't believe im saying this.. But if they attack us - i will rely on you to kick their...well.. bottoms..okey? But if they start talking with us, leave the meddling to me..Our prio 1 is to find the others, then we are out of here!" She was determined and focused, slowing down a bit to allow Kyo to come up beside her.

Her thoughts where on Sanae and the others.. Thinking that they could have found their way here, but even so - it made her worried. Her 3 friends was just too sweet and friendly for their own good- and if this was some sort of sect - they might even get tricked to join them or get taken prisoners and brainwashed with religious talking. She was hoping Satogi was protecting the girls at least... Almost stumbling on her own feet, she shook her head and focused on the surroundings instead. She had to be on the alert. The city got brighter and more lively the further in they got. Nao raised her arm to pull back her hair behind her ear, then correcting her wrinkly skirt so she would "fit it" and not look like some kind of barbarian... Even so she felt out of place. Like they where not supposed to be there.. The residents of this "abandoned village" looked elegant.. like they where rich or sacred /extremely religious or something... Well, at least they where not youkai. But she did not like the atmosphere at all. Maybe they where devil worshippers?

Entering some kind of "center" of the village, Nao caught the sight of 3 very.. unique.... people. A whitehaired man sitting on a bench... a taller man with long white hair and then a girl with blue hair... She switched side, to Kyos right side - the side closest to the wierd people. Grabbing ahold of Kyos sleave - pulling it lightly 3 times - like she was ringing a door bell or something. "Psst. Kyo. Just keep on walking.. "

And so they did. She almost " pushed" him outwards so they where walking in a curve. And they kept walking, Nao doing everything she could try to restrain herself from letting her russet brown eyes seek up the three people. But as they passed them - she could not resist but to turn her head and look. Was that a tail? And was it something wrong with their hair- or did that look like ears?.. Devil worshippers... They had to be! The sound of fountain water dripping, the flute playing, and laughter from the bar - everything stopped. It was like the time stood still for a moment when they passed. And Nao was not certain, but it felt like she meet the gace of 2 purple eyes. Despite this her legs kept walking and her grip of Kyos right sleeve hardened.

They passed, and Nao let go of his arm, increased the distance between them (when noticing how close she'd been to this very annoying troublemaker – whom she still hated for flickering her forehead and calling her Nag) and finally breathed out- now realizing she'd been holding her breath all the time. "Did you see that? Was that a tail??" she whispered between closed teeth, not wanting do draw any attention. If she could - she would have started running - but that would only make it worse. Best way to handle things right now was probably to act calm... and hoping that those weird people did not perceive them as intruders and tried to follow...

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh
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Oh how quickly his peace was stripped from him. As he sat he could feel the unwanted company approaching. Over the years Sanja had grown accustomed to his prescience, not by choice but by necessity. A shudder emitted from the smaller man's body and his eyelids lowered in wry preparation. His mind and body needed to be ready, who knew what that madman would do. He instinctively clutched the small rabbit closer as he warily saw the two Kitsune approach. Right on cue Susumu sauntered and sat right next to Sanja. Much to his chagrin the male kitsune was rather, close. His eyes drifted up to meet Susumu's.

"To what do I owe the. . .Honor Susumu?" He asked resting his hand in his chin. Then he supposed it was answered, Susumu was in rare form as he flung a riddle at him immediately. Though it took the Daitengu no time at all to decipher it. "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." Sanja slightly petted the head of the rabbit doll, a feeling of dread was setting in just from being beside the other man. Even if Sanja did find the Kitsune quite handsome, his kind wasn't meant for the companionship Sanja would desire. He shook his head a bit, this is what happened when he came down off the mountain, he became weakened to his emotions and curiosities. Yet, Susumu's natural scent was quite nice.

Then, thankfully, Tsuyari spoke up. The awful nickname she used for him caused him to scowl. However she then asked about the small rabbit doll and the scowl was replaced by a look of confusion and slight embarrassment. He looked fondly down at the doll and then up at Tsuyari, ignoring Susumu for the time being.

"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." He softly tugged it's ears and sighed. Yet, I admit I don't know if they'll even like a silly material object such as this." He then ran a hand through his hair before noticing Susumu's pouting.

"Do you pout like this because I solved your riddle so quickly? I can feign ignorance next time if you wish?" He asked trying to sound intelligent, maybe even taunting, just to hide the fact he was a bit concerned for the Kitsune's welfare.

Then only a moment later, thankfully distracting him once more, was people he had never seen before. Though they rushed away seemingly in quite the hurry. The female however made the mistake of glancing back at him. His eyes locked with hers and added a bit of his illusory magic to the gaze to make it appear as if he were glowing with divine energy. If she was truly a human like his gut was telling him, she would be stopped cold in her tracks. Even the most stubborn of nonbelievers cold not resist Sanja's meticulously crafted illusions.

Characters Present

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Orokawru Satogi Character Portrait: Miyako Mormeril Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Chiyoko-Danuki Character Portrait: Tutsrugi Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo
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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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speech: #ebd212 || thoughts: #d6c969
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: Susumu Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Shohei 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: Susumu Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Shohei
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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: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Shohei 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: Susumu Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Shohei 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: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Shohei 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."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Orokawru Satogi Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Shohei
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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.

The setting changes from komorebi-village to Youkai Street

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh
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#, as written by Emmyz
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The sounds around her started to reappear again - probably the illusions wearing off. The laughing from the pub, the soft tunes of a flute playing and the water pouring from the fountain. With other words, the sounds of a living and flourishing little village stroking her ears in a surprisingly calming way.. It was really a mystery how the rumors said the village to be abandoned. Because in her eyes - it looked very well taken care off. The streets where clean and tidy, the houses where double stories and everything was built on the height. She had to admit it, it was a really cute and unique village.

“Not in our favor? There are only three possible answers, so we couldn’t possibly get it wrong.” Nao started to blush at the sudden realization. A part of her was truly impressed with Kyo actually using his brain instead of fists for once.. and the bigger part was just embarrassed that she'd missed something so simple - she blamed it on her confused state. Even so she sticked with her words. A quid pro quo would have ment she'd gotten the chance to ask this Susumu person a question. And maybe learn what kind of place this was - and more important what kind of people lived there. Unlike Kyo, Nao actually cared for Komorebi - her home village. And having these strange people live so close, was seen as a big threat in Naos eyes - the least she could do, for the sake of her younger siblings at least, was to find out who they where...

For a short moment, she actually considered to stay and talk with these crazy strangers. But then, a flying man and tails n ears -that was just to creepy to stay around for.. At least she knew their names. Susumu and Sanja. That was something. And it was more than these wierdos knew about her and Kyo. Because she was pretty sure that nether him nor her had called out each others names.. Or mentioned anything about looking for their friends.. Nao smiled to herself. Once again she was impressed over his sharp thinking.. Well maybe it was kind of obvious.. And it was really just this Susumu who was stupid... Or was he just very sure about himself? Nao felt a shiver moved through her body, there was something sneaky with him alright... She looked at her feet and twisted a lock of hair around her finger - being quite unsure about what to do.

The reaction from Kyo made her surprised but also a bit more relaxed. He seemed unbothered by the flying man and the tails and ears? She came to the conclusion that it was probably just she who'd seen it. So there was something wrong with her eyes after all! Puuh that was a relief, for a moment there - Nao had almost considered believing in her grandmothers stories... About a village filled with youkai creatures. But naaah - that could not be! They started walking again. Nao rubbed her eyes and blinked a few times. She just had to ignore her vision right now - because clearly it was failing her. Even if she would come across a flying pig - she was not going to believe her sight anymore - but had no choice other than to rely on Kyo who thankfully did not seem to suffer from the same illusions as she did.

The girl with blue hair had joined them. Making Nao stop again, feeling quite "threatened" by the situation since they did not seem to let them leave... Why couldn't they just go away? It was not like she and Kyo where especially interesting people. He was just a troublemaker and she was just a boring school prez. "Do you even know your way back...?" the blue haired girl's voice was a bit too cheerful. Nao raised her brown eyes to get a better look of the girl, and almost lost her breath. She found herself to be incapable of answering the question - and instead she just stood in silence looking at the dreamlike girl. ears... and tails... sure.. But also eyes who made the sea pale in comparison, and long shiny hair in the same intense blue color. Flawless skin with soft and appealing curves. Maybe Nao was jealous? Her mouth turned in to a small tense line, and she turned away her gace - now following the movements of the 5 tails (which she told herself not existed). Ofc she was jealous. Nao herself could probably wear a bikini and still not have any sex appeal what so ever. She would always be the strict and boring school prez - and looking at her from another view was just comical (as in : was never going to happen) ....

“You need to work on your act dude. You sound way too annoying to hold an audience.” Kyo voice sounded.
"How about you show how it's done then? Lead by example, no?"

If the circumstances had been different, she would definitely had laughed by the "blue" girl's second comment. This one seemed smarter than the other tall man -Susumu- at least. She really nailed Kyo there, but Nao still had to speak her mind. Not that she was defending Kyo, but because she really just wanted to get away from them. Even if all the warning signals inside Nao where shouting and ringing - she found some courage in the thought / hope of Sanae and the others being safe...

"It's not we who are trying to hold an audience here - but rather you who are trying to distract us from leaving - right?" She took a step forward, really just "testing them" to see their reactions. And find out if her premonitions where correct or not.
"Why is that?" Her voice was not rude or anything, just her polite, honest and brave leader speaking - curious of their intentions.

The setting changes from youkai-street to Komorebi Village

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Orokawru Satogi Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Natsumi
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  1. Susumu attempts more riddles! He condescends and challenges Kyosuke.

    by cybernekokaito
  2. Sanae was going to go along with the group & follow the singing, but figured a crying woman was better to investigate and she... ditches her friends in the middle of the woods like a really smart person.

    by cybernekokaito

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speech: #c70000 || thoughts: #7a7676
Susumu cocks his head to the side after his riddle was answered correctly (and his performance was promptly insulted), the thought of just why these humans can see him in the first place never crossing his mind. He claps his hands together as though in praise, smile widening and eyes not quite closing, but slitting in a narrow way. The fox-faced man before the pair starts to circle around them, glancing back over to Tsuyari from now and again. These two looked absolutely delectable, and the energy off of young souls is tangible enough to make Susumu's mouth water. He stops behind them and puts his hands on their shoulders, swinging from side to side, taking them with him. He hums a little tune before he continues with his game.

Very good, very good. I hope you didn't cheat; that wouldn't be good. Not at all~ Let's see, let's see... What can travel around the world while staying in a corner? Three guesses again. The wager's still standing.

He reaches out to pinch a few locks of Kyosuke's hair, twirling it around his finger. It isn't meant to hurt him, of course, but the gesture is altogether a bit unsettling. His eyes, however, stay locked on Nao, as if waiting patiently for her answer. Such a smart girl, he muses, to have broken down my whole act like that. I should better myself from it!

He mulls over her words on not wanting them to leave, and he simply smiles, tilting his head to the side and raising a finger to his lips. He closes one eye, canines glinting along his toothy grin. 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? He inclines his head backwards, smile never leaving him, as he shifts his gaze to Kyosuke. Be a good boy and answer me, please~




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speech: #d10000 || thoughts: #f55858
Sanae shrugs, nodding with Satogi's suggestion. The singing was, admittedly, pretty weird, it could be their friends trying to play a prank on them. So, naturally, the proper response would be to prank them back, right? So Sanae, ignoring whatever weird feeling was in her gut, nudges Satogi back and grins, then links her arms with Satogi and Yukiko. C'mon, guys! Up to the shrine we go! Follow that eerie singin', 'cause it definitely can't be Nao-chan or Kyosuke-kun, riiiight?

She giggles at her own sarcasm and starts to guide them up the path to the shrine, following the singing. A few moments pass, though, and Sanae's ears are filled with a different sound entirely—crying. The shrine maiden stops and lets her arms slide out of the grips of Satogi and Yukiko's arms, head turned in the direction of the weeping. What a... sad, sad noise. She feels her shoulders slump, and she frowns a little. Before she starts to step off toward the crying, she waves back at her friends. Heard somethin' over here, guys! Come along if ya like, but if not, I'll meetcha up at the top where the shrine is!

She takes off, not bothering to look behind her for whether her friends decided to follow her or not. She has to check this out, whether alone or not, because deep inside her, she can tell it isn't a trap. First and foremost, if she really were in danger by some spiritual supernatural being, she can bless and bless and bless until the evil is gone... but she does not sense any evil here. Soon enough, she steps up onto a hill and notices... a woman. Sitting and weeping, and it's a sad and beautiful sight both at once. She steps up to the woman, holding out a hand, as if to comfort her. M...M-Miss...? Miss? Is everythin' alright? Didja fall? What's wrong?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Rinu Amaya Character Portrait: Natsumi
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"What's the matter? I.. don't see anything. But who else do you think it could be?"

When he mentioned that it had to be the other two of the group, it eased Yukiko's mind, but she couldn't let go of the possibility that they may not have been the only ones in the forest and shrine. Yukiko could have exploded from embarrassment then and there when Satogi smiled at her and gave her hand a squeeze. However, there were more pressing matters, so she shook it off, quite literally shaking her head when he wasn't looking. Get a grip! Yukiko scolded herself, reminding herself that this was not a Shōjo manga, that there was possibly real danger ahead.

"Oh man, I think I hear Izumi! We should check it out!"

Unable to keep herself composed, Yukiko cupped her free hand over her mouth to muffle her laughter. She truly hoped that they would be able to get revenge, especially if Nao and Kyosuke were attempting to scare them for being enthusiastic about the Youkai legends. She didn't think it was fair to tease or judge others based on their beliefs. Wasn't the world so much more fun with a few extra ounces of faith and hope?

"I bet they beat us there already and got bored enough to try this. But, if we hurry around Sanae's route we can beat them back and prank them instead."

With a nod, Yukiko adjusted the bag on her shoulders before taking a deep breath. The fact that Satogi was excited enough to actually bounce in place like a child waiting for their ice cream made her excited to turn the tables on the others as well. Being in Satogi's and Sanae's company was infectious. Their energy managed to brighten her mood, even in a dangerous situation like this, "I don't see how they could get bored so quickly... Did they even attempt to look for Youkai..?" Before she could say anything else, her arms were suddenly intertwined with Sanae's and Yukiko blinked in surprise, but couldn't stop her lips from curling into a smile.

❝C'mon, guys! Up to the shrine we go! Follow that eerie singin', 'cause it definitely can't be Nao-chan or Kyosuke-kun, riiiight?❞

Yukiko felt her body freeze at the sound of the crying, normally she would not have investigated such a thing, but for some reason, she felt obligated to look for the person. Sanae freed herself from Satogi and Yukiko, and as the crying continued, Yukiko could not help but feel overwhelmed with sadness. The crying was so painful to listen to, the woman sounded so overwhelmed with grief... What on Earth could make someone cry like that... Yukiko thought to herself, almost completely forgetting about their search for Nao and Kyosuke. She even felt tears slipping down her own cheeks.

❝Heard somethin' over here, guys! Come along if ya like, but if not, I'll meetcha up at the top where the shrine is!❞

"Orokawru-Senpai, go with Sanae-chan in case the woman needs help... Sanae-chan can't carry her I'm sure..." Yukiko softly stated, before looking up the steps of the shrine. She had to see what those voices were. She HAD to investigate the song that the woman was singing in case it was Nao and Kyosuke. The fact that Sanae took off brought Yukiko back to reality a little, reminding her of Nao and Kyosuke not long before. If they all three went, it would do nothing for their quest for revenge, nor would it help them meet up with the rest of the group, "I'm just going to check out the shrine... We should regroup there, especially if the woman crying is injured." She felt her words held enough logic, so with just a smile toward Satogi, Yukiko ran up the steps that led to the shrine without another word. As she grew closer to the top, Yukiko grew nervous, letting out a soft sigh before looking around. The traditional setting was beautiful, that much was certain, "Izumi-Senpai? Andoh-san? Not funny." Yukiko called out as she began to look for life. Anything really. The voices, plus the singing? Someone was certainly there.

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"It's not we who are trying to hold an audience here - but rather you who are trying to distract us from leaving - right?"

Tsuyari tightened her lips, attempting to bite back the grin that was trying to form. This girl wasn't as dumb as most, and that alone made her interesting. There was also the fact that Susumu was interested in those of the male variety, so this one was completely unclaimed, she could have all the fun she wanted with her, for a while at least. Perhaps it would teach the kids a lesson about roaming where children were not supposed to tread? "Oh? Why would we ever try to do that?" Tsuyari asked with a quirked brow, her blue tails swaying playfully as she spoke. Her tone was innocent enough, but the mischief could not be hidden from her blue eyes.

❝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?❞

Susumu turning the riddles on the male gave Tsuyari the chance that she needed to have her own fun, especially as the human girl stepped forward daringly. The smile she had been holding back finally spread across Tsuyari's pale lips. Susumu-sama to the rescue~ Tsuyari chimed mentally, thrilled that her fellow Youkai was on the same page without either of them speaking a word to each other. Perhaps as Kitsune they had a bit more in common than she thought?

"Why is that?"

At the brown haired human's question, Tsuyari giggled a bit, stepping forward as well, closing the gap between them rather quickly, almost as if her feet had never even touched the ground at all. They, of course, did not, but unless Nao chose to look down, it wasn't exceedingly obvious, "Perhaps you two are interesting? Is it wrong to strike up conversations with tourists?" Seeing as the two girls were of similar height when Tsuyari was in her adult form, Tsuyari met her gaze easily and cupped the human's cheeks within her pale hands. She had no intention of actually committing to a full blown kiss, as it could drain the poor human if Tsuyari wasn't careful. She knew that the human was unaware of that fact and her reactions would be priceless, which was enough motivation for Tsuyari.

Slowly Tsuyari leaned in towards the brunette, her lips growing dangerously close to Nao's. The blue haired girl took in the brown eyes, could sense the nervousness she felt, it was almost like Tsuyari was hunting a deer in the woods. The human's brown hair and eyes reminded her of the skittish animal, and the girl was certainly adorable like a young fawn, "Let's get to know each other better, hm?" Tsuyari practically cooed as her lips barely brushed Nao's between her words. With a soft chuckle escaping her lips, Tsuyari let her slender fingers caress the human's cheek, gazing into her innocent brown eyes. Always a fan of taking things slow, Tsuyari's right hand trailed down Nao's cheek to her neck, admiring the girl's soft skin for a moment. Her blue eyes became half lidded as her fingertips trickled down Nao's arm, then snaked around the girl's waist to keep her from escaping...

Now that she had set the mood, she decided she wanted to go in for the kiss after all, as it would definitely bring out the strongest reaction from the girl she had in her clutches. Tsuyari licked her soft pale lips, then her lips claimed Nao's without warning. The fox had to remain calm, she did not wish to harm the human, only to stir her up a little. Her brave behavior was fun, and she looked forward to how the young girl would react to being kissed by another girl. That was still less common in human society, was it not? Tsuyari withdrew before she could lose control, giving Nao's bottom lip a soft lick with the tip of her tongue. Releasing her from her grip, Tsuyari licked her own lips, as if to only savor the taste of Nao's, "I'm Tsuyari, what might your name be? I'm pleased to make your acquaintance~" The blue haired girl stated softly, gauging the reaction of both Nao and Kyosuke.

The setting changes from komorebi-village to Youkai Street

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo Character Portrait: Rinu Amaya
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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.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh
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#, as written by Emmyz
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Just after stepping forward, Nao changed her mind. Susumu looked a bit too guilty, shushing his lips with his finger while smiling. Maybe she could sense the danger that was about to come. And these people did not seem normal after all - teasing them might not be so wise. Nao swallowed and watched the two strangers with a suspicious expression. Susumu seemed to be the weirdest.. but the blue haired girl could be unpredictable as well. She could not let her guard down..

What happened next proved her hunches to be correct. It was like all the color disappeared from her face as the other girl stepped forward as well. With the speed of light and without so much as a sound. Even tho she moved quick and smooth, it seemed like the scene was playing in slow motion. Blue long hair hoovering in the air in swinging movements and her 5 tails wagging. Nao had to face the fight, flight or freeze dilemma - and it was the latest who kicked in. Every muscle in her body turned useless and there was nothing she could do to fight back. She was not very familiar with physical touching and after all, the "blue"girl was an intruder in her precious comfort zone. Even tho she was a girl, she was too close. "Perhaps you two are interesting? Is it wrong to strike up conversations with tourists?" Nao did not comprehend the words, since her brain was currently occupied with a blue enchanting fog - swallowing her from the inside. The new riddle also missed her attention. Even Kyos voice calling her "friend" was something she (sadly) missed out on. A gentle pale hand was placed on her cheek and Nao could not help but to stare into those azure blue eyes, almost like she was hypnotized or magnetized by them.

Maybe this was some sick way to make fun of her, for being a prude and stuck up school prez? A prank. Why in heavens would she do this anyway? The beautiful face of the enemy came closer and closer until her lips where basically brushing against Nao's as she spoke. "Let's get to know each other better, hm?" Nao started to wake up. How about no, she thought to herself and was just about to break free and turn her head to the side when a couple of soft fingers traveled down her arm - creating goosebumps where their touch still lingered and giving Nao a shiver. She froze once again, and before she even knew it - her lips was glued together with the strangers lips - in a kiss! If Nao's eyes had been big in surprise before, it was nothing compared to how they looked now, almost like they would pop out of her head. A very distinct blush appeared on her cheeks and her body was as tense and stiff as a statue. Even so - her lips moved along with the stranger's - against her will. Slowly, a bit distant and "spaced- out" as she was numb and almost in a zombie-like state. Luckily, the girl retreated and the kiss ended.

"I'm Tsuyari, what might your name be? I'm pleased to make your acquaintance~" Nao was shocked! She'd just kissed - a girl! A part of her was furious for having something so precious "stolen" from her without her consent. But her main feeling was confusion, and her brain did not want to process and admit what just happened. So when the girl introduced herself and asked for their names - Nao was in a spaced out "numb" auto pilot mode. Still under the "spell" of blue girls lips. After sharing something so intimate as a kiss, a name would not be so serious? Her lips almost opened by themselves to answer the question.

"Im Izu....--" she felt a hard jerk in her arm as someone dragged her away before she could finish her sentence. "What the hell was that back there?! Is that your idea of ‘handling’ it?!Why in the world would you let her do that to you?!” It was Kyo, and he seemed angry. However, this was excatly what she needed to wake up from her paralyzed state. Nao shooked her head, her strawberry blonde straight and "dead" locks tickled all over her face before she could scoop it away with her free hand, the one that was not being held captive by Kyos firm grip. As he let go, she looked up to meet his gaze. Her brown eyes was foggy and she really looked traumatized. Far from the strict and prude school prez she used to be, it was almost hilarious.

"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…"

Nao dragged her newly released arm to her, rubbing it gently as the sudden jerk and dragging still ached in her skin. Starting to get back to reality, she broke free from his blue eyes and gazed around her surroundings to notice how they where standing in front of a bar. "Rōzuu - ebu" the sign said, giving Nao a shiver. She closed her fist and raised her chin, collecting enough self control to answer her "friend" and explain her weird... actions.. She blushed just thinking about it, and how to put it in words. After a few seconds she felt ready to share.

"I have no such feelings, for your knowledge! And you don't say Sherlock... I suggest we get out of her. Tell our village council, and they will send out a search team for the others. Plus deal with these people as well. They don't seem.. normal. Cult members, circus people or just creepy. Whatever they are, maybe they will go to jail.. hopefully.. i dont feel safe having them so close to Komorebi"...

She rubbed her temples - feeling a slightly headache. This was just unreal. And even tho she should stay rational - her mind could not help but to think of her grandma's tales about the youkai village... Looking back at Kyo, she ignored those thoughts. IF they'd been youkai... He would have reacted? It was just Nao having illusions.. Simple as that.

"And i did certainly not kiss her, she kissed me!" Nao claimed while crossing her arms over her chest. "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. Don't worry Prez, your secret’s safe with me. Not that anyone would believe me." Nao twitched at his worlds giving him a sharp "warning" expression with narrow eyes, but did not bother to answer. Instead she reached down in the little pocket of her dress - pulling out her useless and very old cellphone.

"Maybe i can try calling the others... if they have their cell's with them ofc... huh?.. no signal?!" She mumbled, mainly talking to herself and bit her lip to prevent an annoyed sight from sounding.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Miyako Mormeril Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Tutsrugi Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo Character Portrait: Takumi Mizutori
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Before entering the main shrine, Yukiko made her way over to the chouzuya. She used the ladle to scoop up a generous amount of water before pouring some of the contents over her left hand, then repeated by cleansing her right. Once her hands were purified, she poured some from the ladle into her left hand and rinsed out her mouth. After that, she rinsed her left hand once more. After she was done she replaced the ladle with the mouth pointed in the air to cleanse the rest of the ladle, as was the common tradition.

After she finished the cleansing ritual, Yukiko smiled and went toward the honden. She admired the main building for a moment. Noticing the bell, she rang it, wincing a bit, not realizing it would chime that loudly. When she entered she went to the offering box and dropped in two 5 yen offerings. Just because she was looking for Kyosuke and Nao didn't mean she could disregard the proper protocol of visiting a shrine. However, when she looked up, Yukiko was very surprised. There was a beautiful pink haired woman with... Cat ears?! She had to blink several times but then noticed someone even more otherworldly. There was a tall male with Ivory hair and he was... Glowing!

Yukiko rubbed her eyes quickly, making sure that her two brown orbs were not playing tricks on her. He was incredibly handsome, and his amethyst eyes were alarming. Even his eyelashes were white!! He looks so young though... is white hair more common in today's youth than I thought? The more she thought it out, the more she began to wonder. The question was on the tip of her tongue, all she had to do was ask. However, if she was wrong, she would have felt incredibly stupid, especially after all that bullying she went through at her previous school before moving to Komorebi village.

Yukiko bowed very stiffly, before straightening back up, "Are you... Etto... I mean... how do I put this...?" She struggled, trying to not offend the rosy and ivory haired duo. She wasn't sure how she was supposed to address the two... Senpai? Sama? What was correct? Twirling a strand of her reddish brown hair around her finger nervously, Yukiko managed to finally spit out what she was trying so hard to ask, "Are you.... actual Youkai?" She asked the two Youkai timidly, but there was an undeniable amazement in her eyes. This was what she always wanted as a child, to meet Youkai, to have tangible proof that she wasn't crazy... Yet now she was kind of nervous. She had no idea what kind of Youkai she was dealing with. What if they were malicious toward humans?

"Forgive me!" Yukiko quickly bowed again, her reddish brown hair whipping to catch up with her sudden movement. She was incredibly embarrassed that she had forgotten to introduce herself, "I am Nakahara, Yukiko... I just moved with my family to Komorebi a few months ago..." she trailed off, hoping that the Youkai would overlook her nervous fumbling. All the research, all the manga, none of it prepared her for this. While she wasn't scared yet, she did feel as though she should tread carefully. The two visible Youkai were both exceedingly beautiful, and that made her feel very uncomfortable. One she was dressed in blue jean shorts, sneakers, and a pink scarf and a thin long sleeved v neck top... that alone made her feel too casual inside of the shrine. Two she was alone with two very likely to be unidentified Youkai... Three she had no idea where her classmates were. Her anxiety matched with feeling inferior, it was an odd sensation. Compared to other humans Yukiko felt she was just a little below average looking, not ugly but definitely not gorgeous... but standing near the two Youkai she immediately felt unsightly.

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The humans ran off before Tsuyari could get the girl's name, but also without answering the riddle Susumu presented to them, causing Tsuyari to pout. The girl had kissed her back, so she didn't understand what had went wrong. Normally it wasn't in Tsuyari's nature to hit on the humans, but the girl was rather adorable compared to most. What was the harm every now and then? She DID manage to not absorb the human's oxygen supply after all... so no harm was actually done...

Her blue eyes shifted to Susumu, and Tsuyari let out a soft sigh before transforming back into her preferred form. No Kitsune tails or ears, just an aqua-haired little girl wearing a white loose fitted sundress. Tsuyari stretched her arms out, her body back to its familiar figurelessness once more, "Should we follow them or continue on to the bar?" She asked curiously, tilting her head a bit. Her long blue hair shifted with her every movement and Tsuyari began to float, tired of walking even though she had only walked perhaps twenty to thirty feet that entire day, "Oh! Before I forget! What was the answer to that riddle anyway...?" Tsuyari asked in an energetic manner, always thrilled to learn more. She was inherently a Kitsune, but being on the younger side, riddles were not her strong suit. She was still learning about how to behave as a Kitsune and what was expected of her behavior wise, and Susumu's company made that a lot easier to digest. Her isolated younger years left her rather culturally shocked compared to most Kitsune her age.

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Finding himself incredibly bored in his cave. It was nicer than most; clean water whenever he wanted due to the natural spring, light illuminating through a large hole in the top at the far back end of the cave, and most of all peace. No one smart trespassed upon the lair of a venomous snake. Here Takumi could brew his famous sake in peace without others attempting to seduce the ingredients out of him. He would never share those details, as it was the cure to his own venom. Sharing his secret recipe would initially be the same as ripping his fangs out. He refused to intentionally disarm himself.

Taking another sip from his sake as he laid upon his makeshift bed made from fur, both from wolves and bears. The bedding was incredibly soft despite being nestled upon a crevice of stone. His sleeping area was more like a large coffin, with the side cut out. Five feet tall, seven feet wide, and seven feet long. It was plenty of space for himself and any company, not that he ever had any consenting company anyway. It had been over a thousand years since he had shared his bed with another... well, another willing person. There were plenty of young human men he 'played' with, not to say he didn't have to use a bit of brute force...

Heh. Though very few he 'played' with in such manners ever lived to tell the tale... not that the survivors would ever admit that a male Youkai molested them to other humans.... He never understood how humans functioned. They were so cute, so timid. They always seemed to care so much about what others thought of them... Takumi wasn't even sure why being gay was considered such a bad thing. In fact, he preferred relations with men over women any day.

Taking a sip of his sake, Takumi let out a sigh and decided it was well past time to get out and socialize. He had been cooped up for far too long. He snapped his fingers and a small white snake inside of his cave immediately grew in size until it was large enough to support his weight. Takumi got on the snake, his jar of sake in tow. He never left it alone, ever. He learned his lesson many years ago and did not wish to repeat his mistakes. As he soared through the sky on the back of the snake, he noticed that Youkai Street seemed to be more lively than usual. He hopped down, despite the fall being nearly thirty feet, landing gracefully right in front of Miyako's bar. While he knew she likely would not appreciate him bringing his own Sake, he was prepared to purchase some of her own vintages as well as compensation. He simply could not part with his most prized possession.

Takumi strolled in casually, dressed in a white and salmon colored Yukata and zori sandals. He immediately noticed someone he would have never expected to run into at such a place and a huge grin spread across the ivory haired God's lips. The Hakuja no Myojin ran over to Ryuunosuke and immediately wrapped his arms around the prince in a familiar fashion, definitely considered to be far too forward when pertaining to royalty, "Ōji-sama~!" Takumi chimed, practically nuzzling his cheek against the prince's. The serpent loosened his hold on the prince a little, but did not completely remove his arms which were draped around the Oni's shoulders, "Miyako-chan~! I'll have what our prince is having~!" The serpent chimed giddily, extremely happy to be in handsome company. The prince never once accepted his advances in the past. There was no reason that the Serpent God should have felt comfortable getting friendly with the Oni Prince, but that is exactly what kept the white serpent interested in the prince in the first place. It was only after he ordered his drink that he noticed the prince's loyal companion, "Hanyo-Kun! It's been a while." Takumi smiled very kindly, despite himself being a God and Tutsrugi being a Hanyo. He really didn't pay much attention to such details anyway unless he felt he was being severely disrespected in some way.

The setting changes from youkai-street to Komorebi Village

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Sanae Character Portrait: Izumi Nao Character Portrait: Orokawru Satogi Character Portrait: Miyako Mormeril Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Kyosuke 'Kyo' Andoh Character Portrait: Tutsrugi Character Portrait: Rinu Amaya Character Portrait: Natsumi Character Portrait: Takumi Mizutori
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speech: #ebd212 || thoughts: #d6c969
Ugh. Just his luck. While he was trying to have a nice conversation with Miyako and his much loved Servant, Takumi had just happened to wander into the bar and spot him. When Takumi tries to get too cozy with him, he attempts to slide away, but Takumi catches him just in time. He grunts softly, not bothering to look over at Takumi. 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?

The prince had come to have fun, but that seems like too much of a pipe dream now that Takumi is here. He may as well just find any happiness he can glean from this unfortunate occurrence as well as possible. He keeps still for a few moments while Takumi practically rubs himself all over the prince before he gets tired of it, and he places a hand to the snake God's chest and gives him a shove — much too rough to be considered familiar.

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

Truthfully, there's one way that the prince could rid himself of Takumi — should he pretend to reciprocate the snake's revolting feelings, surely, he would be disinterested. The thought causes Ryuunosuke to shake. He would rather die.

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




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Susumu can't hide his disappointment when the teens run away, ears flattening and tail lowering. He feels inclined to follow them, to dance after the boy with pretty eyes and the girl with marvelous teeth. He takes a step, almost in a trance-like daze, to follow after them — wild, predatory instincts are taking over him, and he feels himself growl — before Tsuyari's sweet, girlish voice brings him back to reality. He shakes his head rapidly, like a dog shaking off water, and looks down at her, eyes wide and less predatory than they were mere moments ago.

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?

Though the humans, for one reason or another, did not appreciate the riddle in the slightest, Susumu is confident that Tsuyari will like it. He watches after the humans that ran and spot a... curiously familiar old woman chatting them up, and he narrows his eyes. Ah, what an unlucky folly these humans are. Instead of taking my bait, they took Tanuki-chan's. They'd be much happier with the likes of me — little miss's teeth would be put to good use, and I would treat the boy right. I wouldn't mind taking care of a blind plaything...

Susumu looks back towards Tsuyari and gives a gentle smile. 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? He laughs afterwards, but it stops abruptly.

Susumu's prey... was taken... by another Youkai...? That doesn't sound quite right. Doesn't that mean... they can be seen? It seems that it's taken watching someone else to realize the flaw. ... Tsuyari.




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As they were attracting quite the crowd, Sanae steps backwards, closer to Satogi, and holds out her hand towards him, indicating she wants him to hold it. To say she was scared would be an understatement — two innocent teenagers, out in the woods at night, approaching a strange, crying woman and being approached by a totally different strange woman? This is like... scary movie stuff! Oh, God... me n' Satogi could die here! This could be it!

She feels a whine squeeze its way out of her throat, but she swallows her fear down bravely. The nice, crying lady wants to leave the other lady, it seems — so there's no way that she was here to set them up. Sanae looks from one woman to the other, clearly fearful and confused. Uh — have I ever prayed for the rain? Well... sometimes, I don't wanna go to school, so I pray for snow, but I dunno if I ever prayed for the rain? I do a lotta prayin', though! I'm a shrine maiden, y'see, so I pray a lot, an' I take care of the shrines, too! We were on our way up to one a second ago, actually, but this nice lady here's been cryin' up a storm since she got hurt... She pauses to remember what Amaya had said about the lady. Ya want us to get away from her? But... she don't really seem that bad? I think... if you will excuse us... we should get goin' to find our friends. We'll just take the lady along with us...

She takes another step back, hitting Satogi's chest with her back, and nudges him with her elbow to indicate for him to step back, as well.

I dunno yer name, lady, but... d'ya wanna come with us? I'll make sure ya aren't sad anymore! She gestures hurriedly to Natsumi.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ryuunosuke Character Portrait: Susumu Character Portrait: Sanjakubō Kurama Character Portrait: Miyako Mormeril Character Portrait: Yukiko Nakahara Character Portrait: Tsuyari Kazukai Character Portrait: Chiyoko-Danuki Character Portrait: Tutsrugi Character Portrait: Ki Character Portrait: Shohei Character Portrait: Hakuryuu Character Portrait: Rika Nekonyankoo Character Portrait: Takumi Mizutori
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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.