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Sokui no Rei (Jigoku no Toshi)

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 Within the crowds they viewed people cheered, decorations glittered and fluttered as the air produced by the people was elevated.

"Tis the night rise and not an enemy soilder in sight, a glorious day indeed. Yet i still fear there may be assasins afoot. It only takes one to ruin a party" searching around searching for anybody who even seemed the slightest suspisous.

"Chow you getting anything?" He wispered

"I hear troubled minds but I cant seem to pin point where their coming from theres an interference coming from the crowd as a whole. Yet it doesnt seem too serious" the reassurances wouldnt last long as a few voices though crowded by the voices coming from others minds were muffleing and grand he could barely hear what it was saying

"Nope got nothing, mind reading has limits.....guess well just wait and see?"

"I would put a little trust into security"

The crowds went silent as the falling of the previous Empress was confirmed by none other the Koji himself. 

"Anyways I hear theres a war with Genearis coming soon, dont know exactly when but it'll happen soon ."

"I heard to, I bet The army will win and Genearis will fall

yet eventully all fall to entropy"

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Koji watched with a swelled hubris as his bride so easily and willingly became such without the harsh cling of marital tradition that came with his last Empress. Much less of a human experience this was, and more natural to these monsters. Katiya accepted her relics, or what would one day be just that, and remained silent a brief moment longer. Again, without a bit of awkwardness to the event. While he did not expect her to speak, he was not surprised when she decided to do just that. Instead he kept his indigo eyes trained upon her elegant beauty, his eyes dilating ever so slightly for the briefest of moments when he could tell that she was about to speak out.  As he angelic voice blessed them all, he enjoyed his up close view of her stepping into some shoes she never thought she would have been wearing but even a year or two ago. 

"An empire takes many to make it, however, takes a few to make it exceptional and worthy of being written into history. I am blessed with the honor of being your incoming Empress. I promise with everything I have that I will earn your respect, and in return, I only ask that we continue flourish, that we win any war up against us."

Her words were simple and short, yet surgically precise. Her tone was one of strength, yet it lacked the authority that Kimi once harbored among their people.What came next was something that perhaps would stand to baffle most if not all the citizens within eye shot of her. She bowed to them, a rather deep one that delivered to them the utmost respect from the woman that now stood directly underneath the Dragon Emperor, yet above all others beneath his banner. He didn't visibly react to her gesture by any means even thought it caught him a bit off guard. He merely looked back to his expanse audience, in which they responded in kind. After all, to not return her respect was disrespect to the Empress. As per the Emperor's kodo, this was an offense that was only worthy of one particular type of punishment. Ritualistic seppuku! The act of taking one's own life, while restoring their honor with their last breath. 

Like a stone cast into a still body of water, Katiya inspired a ripple effect. In response to her bow she would witness every man woman and child bow row by row in a wave, each bowing deeper than she had before they would erect themselves once more and begin clapping with jovial cheers once more. To be the most estranged among Koji's women, she seemed to be striking a chord in the people she would now stand over. Where they were already willing to give their respect, Katiya had taken the first step towards them wanting to give such to her. Whether this was her intent or not; Whether or not her selfless display however brief was genuine. Turning just enough to look over his shoulder at her sisters, Koji was making sure to keep an eye on Noi. While she seemed somewhat miserable to him, she seemed to avoid the crowds concern while retaining their blessings and hopes. He was confident that he would be able to manage wrapping up the formalities soon so that she might sneak off to rest while the after party commenced. Looking back to Katiya, he smiled, yet only with his eyes. It wasn't quite how he looked at his children, but something that was more similar than not. It certainly wasn't a way he looked at Kimi, which was a blessing as much as it was a curse. Turning his viasge back to his audience, The Emperor continued, the servant with her empty tray long gone by now.

"In kind of showing admiration to your Empress, I would like to extend the same such hospitalities to our Dynasty's first mother Datsuzoku, Celine, as well as our next mother to be, Noi.

As he mentioned them he motioned to them, albeit not separately. While part of him wished to excuse himself from blocking the crowds view, he much preferred to stay before his wives. Especially these two in particular. Each had been though much for him in such a short amount of time, their favor and devotion never wavering. Never have they failed him or turned their back on him, nor have they ever ceased to amaze him. To earn his gratitude. It would be easy to mistake this as simple superiority, though it was more of an extra layer of defense despite their obligations to defend his life first.

"Likewise I would like to recognize our Imperial Advisor, Dove, and to our Imperial General, Shihan Kenshinobu for their efforts and accomplishments. Of course you all know how thankful we are of you, and with my deepest sincerity, I hope you all hold each other in just as high regard. That being said, there is a new face that I have longed to share with you all sooner. The one responsible for facilitating our reign over the Union City as Shogun, and helping to ensure our retaining of what was once the Midlands and is now and shall forever be known as the New Union Frontier!"

From the throne room beyond them, a pair of Tengu Knights could be seen leading a feminine figure out to greet the nation, a Tatsuo in her wake.  The knight left a gap only wide enough to expose her to the crowds, and when their formation stopped with her, they remained in compliance with the Emperor's traditions by not stepping out beyond him. The Shogun delivered was given the floor to introduce themselves, and to share her own words with the citizens if she so desired to. After enough silence passed, or once she had apparently spoken her peace, Koji was prepared to continue with his minute speech before allowing the festivities to commence without interruption. 

@Dreamer @Aleksei @Chappu @Etched in Stone @Hurttoto @Eternity @vielle*

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The jewelry feels wrong against the skin of her forehead, the soft curve of her ear, like an intruding presence where there should be none. It has been far too long since she has worn such finery, but the celebration calls for a grand display, and so she shall prove herself ready to deliver on that note.

Kōharu steps out from the throne room, flanked by imperial knights, her flowing robes whispering over the tiled floors of the pagoda. She is the very image of elegance, of poise, the bearing of a noble trained right down to her very bones; despite whatever whispers unravel of her recent past actions before the sudden ascent to Shogun, no visible weakness is to be found on her person that is available for criticism or judgement.

When she speaks, the formality of her tone is discernibly awkward even to her own ears, as if she had allowed her aristocratic skills to rust in favor of—less refined activities. Nevertheless, she forges onward, her voice carrying out loud and strong to her audience; she might not be as refined as she had used to be, but speaking out to rouse the spirits of a crowd: that, she remembers quite well.

“I am Yanaihara Kōharu of the Yanaihara Clan, proclaimed Shogun of Union City at the service of the Dragon Emperor and his Empress,” Kōharu announces, the noise simmering down to muted murmurs as she beholds the sea of people before her with considering eyes. “The power I have received, granted under my authority will never be deemed misplaced. Together, we shall shape the future of our glorious empire for generations to come. May the New Union Frontier reign forever!”

The crowd roars its approval with thunderous shouts and applause, but all she hears is the sound of her own heartbeat, loud and erratic, jagged.

Kōharu smiles the practiced, measured smile of a true politician born and bred, and quietly steps back into the shadows, shifting to stand behind the Emperor before her composure fails her in the eyes of the entire city.

 


 

Edited by vielle

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Tags: Anime, Gin Tama, Hijikata Toushirou, Alternate Hairstyle, Pixiv Id 3819952

The New Moon student stepped wooden geta into the night relieved his training was finally over for the day. The boy had very distinct white eyes pure and almost divine that despite his young age, told a story of pain, struggle, and ambition. That even his own inherited blindness meant nothing, how he could finally begin anew, feel accepted and possibly even receive blessings from his unrelenting father to honor the Moromichi family. Not much after the Empress’s introduction did Ozu arrive, almost two-hundred circles later. His tired feet drug themselves through the Red District, no way he was going to miss out on the Festival, while the entire city seemed to be present in support of the Nation’s new Empress and the reveal of their appointed Shogun. His ocean blue Yukata swayed with his every inch of 5’3, upon its backside embroidered the Kamon insignia of Jigoku Wolves - a black and white lupis canis (one representing day, the other night en two different forces) conjoined by separate swirls. Equating balance, that one could not simply flow without the other. These two Wolves represented the ways of the Rising Sun and it’s fundamental teachings. 

Ozu was dumbfound by the wave of silence that struck the people as the new Empress spoke. The intensity in her voice and her confidence made him feel comforted though he knew her not from a hole in a wall, nor any of the women concubines of that matter. Whether she was actually capable of fulfilling the needs of the Dynasty as Empress, none of that mattered to him or the Country. Her words were like gold, affecting all in her richness, her confidence etched in stone. They would believe and stand by her side without question. As the Heika went on with his proceedings Ozu further tuned himself in, all the while his canine senses focused on locating Master Kenshinobu. It wasn’t until Lord Chijono called forth his name in efforts of praising and commending the Imperial Army’s General that, and the great roars and applause coming from the people of the Nation that Ozu was able to locate and trace his Master. His stern look softened, brows relaxed as they were no longer narrowed with focus. Not to mention, the scent of Cherry Blossom began to fill the air reminding him of no other than Akuja which, meant he was definitely close by. Iridescent whites scanned the skyline, he found a peculiar woman at the company of his lord and the watch of three domestic wolves. Treading forth, he bowed respectfully to the duo dipping his form much lower for Akuja than the woman counterpart.

“Master Kenshinobu, I have finished my days work.”

Edited by Etched in Stone
Will quote and edite after work

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As the crowds welcomed their neighboring city's Shogun, shouting and cheering in approval, the young Prince seemed to be growing restless. A slight bounced was delivered at what Koji found to be his son's preferred rhythm, effectively buying him perhaps a few more minutes of face time before he would end the formalities and allow the festivities to resume into the late hours of the night, if not until the rising sun of the day after. Kaori on the other hand seemed to be made for this kind of stuff, that or she just loved being in her father's company enough to deal with just about any environment. The crowds died down once more, in which Koji jumped right into the conclusion of his speech.

"Again I would like to thank you all. For joining us today in celebration, especially to those whom traveled great distance to be here today, and those whom came to join in on providing entertainment. I thank my citizen's, for your selflessness and your loyalty, and I hope that you will show our guests a wonderful time so long as they wish to stay in our company. Eat and Drink til your heart's content! I will be among you shortly!"

A slight bow was given as the crowds erupted one list time with gusto! Turning on his heels the Emperor moved with practiced haste beyond Katiya with no intended disrespect, and straight to Noi. Observing her for a moment, a smirk crept upon his face. 

"Your devotion never ceases to amaze me, Noi. Come now, let's get inside where you can relax."

If Kaori wanted down or to go to her mother, now was the perfect chance to do so before they all began to transition back into the throne room. As the Prince grew more fussy, Koji could only surmise that perhaps the boy was actually hungry. After all, he did take him from his nap straight into the commotions of the outside world. Turning to Katiya, he offered Akui up to her, in which he'd confirm allowed for her as well.

"I believe he is hungry, distract him until his food is ready will you?"

He asked out of respect, though it was ultimately rhetorical. He knew she wouldn't object either way. Perhaps he was a little curious as to how she'd receive him on a whim, curious to watch her mother him directly. Once she took him, she'd notice that his almond shaped eyes were wide and alert. With maroon sclera and pale olive green iris', his gaze was truly a site to behold. They boy was clearly just as much a monster as his parents before him. Such wouldn't only become more readily noticeable as he matured. Somewhere between her cold, alabaster skin and her mere presence, the Prince was nearly instantly quelled for the moment. As they all would return within the pagoda, escorted by the same guards that lead them out, Koji turned his attention to Koharu.

"Feel free to stick around and mingle, or to return to Union City at your leisure. If you need anything, feel free to request it from any of our available servants. Perhaps I will catch you around before you go."

His way of saying he would prefer to speak to her before she left without placing any pressure or expectation upon her verbally. For now he had his wives and children to tend to before he could walk among the public on a more personal level. Regardless, it wasn't necessary for them to speak now. He was sure he'd be visiting Union City again sooner rather than later, just to maintain presence and collect status reports if nothing else. Neither which called for him directly, and yet he was oh so willing to do it despite the lack of necessity. 

@Dreamer @Aleksei @Chappu @Etched in Stone @Hurttoto @Eternity @vielle

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There was noise and the mention of her name, however Noi was world’s away even with Celine grasping her hand. Unease stalked her every movement while people dared to draw close to her. By reaction to presence Noi pressed herself against Celine as her smile waned. The once placid eyes slowly cracked as her nerves fired on all sides. Her breathing had already increased in pace, she was fighting for control over herself in this situation. The people smiled as they reached out to touch her hands and those daring enough her belly. Yet they were all kept back by her expression of discomfort and no doubt Celine’s eyes and Koji’s presence was enough to keep people from being too excited. Minutes felt like half hours as she continued to pace herself until Koji appeared before her. He suprised her making her take a half step back in order to kneel by habit. Yet the bump in her belly and the noise brought up forward to him once more. Was it weak of her to want to rest her head on his chest? Was it inappropriate of her to want to be carried away by his strong arms? Her thick lips faintly curled at the ends as she bowed her head. “Any for you my Emperor, by your leave I would like to retire to my Quarters.” Noi looked him in the eyes as she waited for his decision to be made. Already she had moved to the side of Celine in order to let Koji pass to lead the way. Her body was more than ready to rest and lay down while the small worm of hunger began to grow for both parties. “I should eat the baby is getting hungry.” Eye kids narrowed as Noi slowly began walking back up the steps.

@Twitterpated @Aleksei @Etched in Stone @Dreamer @vielle @Hurttoto

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Kōharu waits in the shadows, head respectfully bowed as the other members of the royal family exit the balcony and return to the privacy of the pagoda, flanked by the elite guards accompanying them. She had not expected the Emperor to pause for a moment, his attention turned towards her.

"Feel free to stick around and mingle, or to return to Union City at your leisure. If you need anything, feel free to request it from any of our available servants. Perhaps I will catch you around before you go."

The words had been spoken with the air of a true politician, measured and weighted, and as the daughter of a once-politician, blue-blooded through and through, Kōharu reads between the lines. “I understand, my Lord,” she murmurs, eyes trained on the floor in deference to the man’s high rank. “Perhaps I shall stay a while, see what the celebrations have to offer tonight. I find myself in rapture over the splendor of the city.”

It is also wordlessly implied, her acquiescence to his desire to speak with her later on. Of course, there is also her own want to explore the palace, set her sights on the wild and colorful events within the urban landscape, when she had spent so long in the wilderness, atoning for the sins that had been laid at her door.

She bows low once more, awaits for the Emperor to make his leave from the balcony before she follows, trailing behind the ruler a few paces away.

What wonders could she discover tonight, Kōharu wonders.

 


 

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With quick haste, he was past her, tending to Noi who was about ready to lose her mental stability over the crowd inching toward her pregnant frame. Wordlessly she watched them for a moment, not wanting to interfere with her care. What came next seemed unorthodox of Koji. The emperor could have handed the young prince to any of the maids that usually tended to him. Yet here he was, seeing how well she would adapt again, this time with his own son. Daring if those around him should ask, Kimi hated her. The very thought of Katiya holding their son would have her clawing away at her grave. A dangerous game, she locked eyes with him and slowly smirked. 

"Of course." She reached for him, carefully transferring Akui to her arms. Though she didn't make any strange cooing sounds to get him to stop fussing. Instead for the first couple of moments she sway lightly. Ruby eyes lingered down to watch his rather curious gaze, it was something she hadn't seen before, truly marvelous colors mixing together. Both monsters, it seemed their bond was instant, though she wasn't about to let anyone know her inner thoughts.

With exception of a small smile that curled on her glossed lips.

Without so much as a gaze to the other servants she spoke, "Bring me a bottle."

They didn't need any more than that before two rushed off to procure one for her. As they waited, she continued to sway lightly, walking every couple ones, as if it was a small dance without music or song. Their energy seemed calm against each other, which left Katiya bringing her attention to Koji and the new Shogun, Koharu, who had made a speech after her own. Dare she wander that way, instead she simply watched the exchange, perhaps she would meet Koharu at some point. For now her request was met and a servant presented a warm bottle. After testing it on the back of her hand to make sure they didn't try and burn him or should it smell off, she carefully fed the fussy prince. If they had waited any more then everyone would hear the cry of the future emperor.

 

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The voice of the newly crowned empress echoed over the crowd, demanding the silence and full attention of the people. While Gwen walked side by side with the General, she would over hear the praise that was brought upon him. Smiling she would come to a stop along side him, her eyes falling on the young man that now stood before them. Nodding her head in acknowledgement of his slight bow to her, she waited for Kenshinobu to address his follower.

The silence of the crowd was amazing to her, she hadn’t spent much time in the empire that Koji ruled over since their meeting at the bath house. With their newly formed business proposal and the portal, Gwen had the luxury of being able to visit at any time.

Closer to the royal family than she thought, Gwen caught sight of them all being escorted back towards the pagoda. Turning her dark eyes to the men she was with, she gave a half bow.

“Excuse me, I am going to continue forward to meet with the Emperor and Empress.” Walking around the young man that now stood before them, she would mindlessly feel her hands smoothing down the silk of her purple and black kimono. Moving through the crowd of citizens ready to partake in the festivities, Gwen had finally made her way closer to meeting Koji in a more public scene.

Reaching into her left sleeve, Gwen produced a small silver box that was neatly tied with a cherry blossom on top. Holding the box in her left hand, she prepared to give the gift to Katiya once they met.

@Etched in Stone @Twitterpated @Dreamer

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Koji's women never ceased to amaze him. Despite never wanting a harem to begin with, His former Empress stopped at no end to provide him with what she saw as a fitting one. A treasury of women in which to ensure his legacy and lineage would continue. Noi fought through her pain, refusing to bend or break as she did with anything else in her life. Katiya taking his request a step further than expected, she chose to feed the prince herself. Once his family was safe within the halls of the pagoda that served as a palace, Koji briefly shared his affections betwixt them, delivering a full round of hugs and kisses to varying degrees as he often did. Celine was kissed at the corner of her mouth while Katiya received a kiss on the lips proper. Noi currently being afforded the majority of the mercy and sincerity he was capable of producing, his hand's took her cheeks, in which he gingerly planted a kiss upon her forehead. Of course he could never forget about little Kaori, she too received a kiss upon her forehead, though after which Koji's nuzzled the bridge of his nose against the spot he kissed.

"sjek wux re still svern poktosh, si geou confn visp wux voga story si tepoha naktada ihk wux. wux geou hefoc nomeno ir throdenilt loupon wer annyo!"

Raising to stand erect once more, he gave his family a reassuring nod before heading back out among those gathered in their honor. Upon exiting the palace, it would seem he was first graced with the approaching appearance on one of his favored acquaintances, Gwen. A silent growl rumbled in his chest, though it was nothing of malice despite his usual nature. Very few could understand his quirks, and even fewer personally experienced them. He halted his approach when she was mere feet away, in which he afforded her a smile with only his eyes, a sincere nod of his head in recognition and respect on a level fitting of him to offer without sacrificing his own image.

"Finally, something has managed to convince you to leave the Cold Mountains. I'm so glad you could make it out for the festival, I trust your travels have been kind to you?"

He was sure her travels were short lived thanks to the portals bridging her establishment with his territories, though even those could be tricky and malfunction without a moments warning. Strong and dangerous magic bridging two different points together without regard for distance between them. She might not have noticed, though Koji had managed to catch a glimpse of Gwen speaking with Kenshinobu. He could recall telling the man to spend some time at her bathhouse, though Kenshi was always rather busy between serving the Emperor by Commanding the Imperial Army as well as serving his nation and his students be teaching them the martial way. There was still plenty of work for him to do, but sooner or later, Koji would have to force the man to live a bit more for himself. Despite being blind, he was certain Kenshinobu could see the beauty of women. How long would he seclude himself from one's touch?

@Dreamer @Aleksei @Chappu @Etched in Stone @Hurttoto @Eternity @vielle

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It was the feeling that someone was watching that made the hair stand on end, something sinister and wicked lingering, but to look back would offer no answers. There would be nothing, only space and the feeling of foreboding deep in the gut of those that still traversed amongst the festival. The lights and the crowd didn't matter; there was something there that clawed at the hearts of the people that walked the streets. It moved like a phantom causing a chill of dread to everyone it passed. Despite the feeling of trepidation left in its wake, there was no true maliciousness,  perhaps a monstrous sort of playful curiosity. Though, it had a purpose even as it observed what the Emperor had built from her design and ideas. The seed was planted in his mind long ago, the confidence, and courage to grow a glorious empire.

Oh, and the harem she had so graciously built for him was fueling him to this day, the heir left behind as a stark reminder of her existence. She wasn't ever far from him, his true Empress. Her memory would forever remain even with those that served him. But every so often, her ghost would return to disturb his harem, to haunt his men, and him.

Koji was deep in conversation with a woman, and the dread would creep in during the discussion. In the woman and him both. From his peripheral, a phantom, a pale green hue moved between the crowd before flickering away again. There was a giggle at his ear, one the woman wouldn't hear, but the feeling of ice-cold fingertips at her neck, a feather-like touch could be felt — a warning. The sense of ghostly fingers would vanish as quickly as they came only for a cold breeze to circle Koji and disperse again.

Then it was gone.

People in the crowd looked around, curious, apprehensive that the feeling vanished. Then it returned, however, it was a physical thing upon its return. Children in the crowd sobbed with fright as nausea plagued everyone near the Emperor. It was as if ooze was forced down the collective throats of the thousands in attendance, choking, suffocating everyone before narrowing in on Koji and the woman in front of him. The apparition stood in the crowd, partially hidden, smiling lovingly at her mate, her husband, before being eaten up by the masses once again.

Panic was taking its hold on the people, a familiar sensation to Koji that would surely remind him of their wedding. She laughed at this, the ghost that plagued him. He would hear peels of laughter that made the blood run cold when she lived. Now, only he could listen to her.

"Svabol vi lotoc klewar," she cooed in his ear before her presence vanished again with another giggle.

She returned, ghostly fingers tracing over his biceps from behind as she pressed against his back. "Coi xurwkic Nomeno Ir naake." Those ghostly lips pressed to his neck, frigid in their temperature.

"Si tepoha vi regipre ihk wux, sia itov." She whispered, then vanished again, but she was not gone. He would know that.

Within the crowd, she moved, touching those that wandered too close. One elderly man collapsed from her touch, his heart seizing in his chest and she laughed a wild laugh as she watched people around him swarm to save him. Then her gaze would lift to Koji from across the way and like his dream not too long ago, he would see her, her corpse, beautiful and haunting.

 

@Twitterpated @Eternity

 

Edited by Akako Akari

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Katiya was not a part of that plan, in fact she was a flaw in that plan. In her eyes it was a welcoming flaw that he decided to wander back into the Halo. The empress before her provided Noi, Celine, and her other sisters to sustain such a bloodline. A vampire was a dark mark that blotted bits of black ink on a fine white sheet of paper. A ghost, however, would prove to be a steady equal in her own dark mark. Katiya accepted the kiss mechanically as she focused on finishing off the bottle Akui had been working on. Besides, she knew the emperor would be jubilant to continue the celebration with his elated city.

Something crept in the air though, it was gentle to start, like a haunting breeze you couldn't ignore. A dead creature herself, she watched as it snaked its way around the crowd. It caused them to become uneasy, mostly anything it passed by. The vampire pulled the bottle away from Akui as he finished, handing it off to a servant hovering around them. Carefully she turned him toward her shoulder and rubbing, patting him on the back, all the while her eyes wandered around the crowd. She was distracted with it, paying attention to what was going on. Koji had been caught up with Gwen, she hadn't even noticed the woman stepped in. If she hadn't been caught off guard she might be more welcoming, she hoped Gwen wouldn't take offense.

Before she could even get out a hello, the crowd seemed to be gagging, crying, and groaning at the overwhelming sense of dread that this, thing, brought with it. Those around them became ill. Katiya rubbed Akui's back, soothing him even if he didn't seem to be getting sick. There was a reason for this of course, one she wasn't totally aware of.

Shi - had no fear in death, or phantoms, zombies even. Yet it troubled her that those around her were feeling this. As Koji and Gwen stood not far off, she could see that they too looked uneasy. What was it? Ruby eyes carefully looked over at the side of Akui's head, was it familiar? The child seemed to coo instead of cry like the rest had done.

There were faint noises in the distance, people had crowded themselves around an elderly looking man. Katiya could save such a soul, yet she didn't move an inch. Had the ghost picked someone younger she might be inclined to be a beast. Yet an elderly man would have no use to the empire if she brought him back. Instead, she simply watched Koji's face, taking in every inch of the way his expression rapidly changed.

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chill ran up his spine as he heard Her giggle, and yet as he had done his whole life he gave no physical reaction to it that indicated any level of fear or surprise. The fact that Gwen didn't react to hearing it or seeing what Koji saw, he once again was unsure of if this was actually happening, or if it was all in his mind. If the cold fingers caressing her neck stirred a reaction from her, then Koji would be that much more certain of his opinion. This was all of course without him attempting to affect the spirit either way he possibly could. His dilemma in this moment was if it was her spirit, or that of another playing some sort of trick on him. Even if it was her spirit, was she being controlled in an attempt to get at him? If it really was her, that was an entirely different situation that required a complete rethink of the circumstances and his personal feelings. Two things were certain regardless; One being that the Kodo must be upheld without fail, the second being the fact that he was all but certain she had used herself to control him. But her love, her love for him was true. Was it not?

Just as he could touch the incorporeal as if they were corporeal, they too could touch him in the same manner. If she could feel him and the way his body reacted to her the same way she had when she was alive, she would notice that she was now on the receiving end of his cold, empty demeanor. She was denied the throb of his heartbeat skipping on her accord, the butterflies in his stomach she once inspire, and replaced with a nest of hornets. Flitting to and fro she paraded about the scene, damning it to her accord as she despised it. More importantly, as she despised the one it was meant for. She wreaked havoc, terrifying his crowds and even causing a bit of harm, and the unmistakable death. This would not do, this simply would not do. Lest her vengeful spirit wished to jeopardize his position as Emperor for as long as he needed to be, in the name of her wrath. Her jealousy.

"Be gone spirit! wer code ui lae wux, lae yth xurwka coi. teno! tir ti jedark ve ekess torkta coi acht wux."

The laws were absolute, and having prior status within the Dynasty was not a qualifying manner of entitlement. She was not one of their brand any longer, she was resting, even if it was far from peacefully. He would of course wish to have and to help her. Though these circumstances would not do. The fact that he tried to reason with her verbally was already a tad out of character for himself, though only to the extent of showing that perhaps the Emperor wasn't as grim and ruthless as promised. That, or those that had been around long enough could recognize her spirit would mourn for their late Empress yet again, as they prayed that their Emperor may remain for many seasons before joining her in the afterlife.

"Guards! Evacuate the square, and clear the area of our injured and fallen, see to it they get where they need to be!"

Guards hustled to move as directed, easily the crowds complied and assisted by urging their visitors back with them. Together the party could continue throughout the streets of Jigoku, but for now the square was too high risk for the spirit so affixed on her widower. Deep down inside, he loved the chaos she inspired upon her arrival. The fear struck within the hearts of all that screamed and ran. The unmistakable sight of an essence leaving a body in any of many ways such as the elderly man that collapsed. He did not like seeing the seeds sown among his people though, not so soon. There was still more to accomplish before he could even consider initiating what he still currently thought his endgame would be.

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Spirit? No, that wasn't right, was it? Was it a slip of the tongue? She was his wife, his mate. The vixen had loved him with every fiber of her being when she lived, and she loved him even now, obsessed over him - worshiped him. Her family was the reason she was unable to rest in peace. Her life was too short, her existence a blip in time that was unfair. 

The look in his eyes was cruel considering their history. No love was left in his gaze, as familiar as it was. It was cold, apathetic to her presence. It was heartbreaking. Kimi's image shimmered as the crowd moved and continued to pass through her. When she was fully visible to Koji again, the Empress looked as she had when she lived. The vixen stood across from him with long black hair, crimson eyes, and pouty red lips. Her expression was one of hurt, repressed tears shining in her eyes as the full blow of her mate's rejection hit her. Somehow she thought he would enjoy her morbid games, felt that he would remember their childhood and everything they had done together. It was momentarily forgotten that he was building the empire she inspired him to create. The people she caused panic in were once her people. 

Remember me. 

The apparition shimmered out of view again, and the panic that had made the people ill began to fade. When Koji blinked, the Empress stood before him; her gaze was hard, unforgiving as she stared up at him. To treat her like a common criminal after everything they had gone through. Did his wives, his harem, experience the excruciating pain of being locked in the Void for loving each other? 

Don't you dare forget.

Her hand reached to his face, but before she could touch him, her image vanished. Kimi's ghost trailed across the way to the woman that held her child. Kimi appeared before her, not looking at the woman, her crimson eyes on the burden in her arms. The vixen's gaze softened, and she lifted a translucent hand to touch her son. Her fingertips trailed over her son's cheek, and the tears that she couldn't truly shed fell. Finally, she lifted haunting red orbs to look at the woman that held her son. She gave the woman a meaningful look before she was gone. 

Why aren't you here? 

Everything returned to how it was, the oppressive atmosphere dissipating just as quickly as it had appeared. As the crowd was herded away, a lone woman remained blindly walking, her hands groping ahead of her as she tried to find her way. She was bumped into many times before she finally fell to her hands and knees. Her hair was a dark brown, nearly black, and she wore a simple white and grey hanfu, her long wavy locks fell around her like a curtain. She sobbed quietly, her hands trembling on the ground as she lifted her chin as if she could see. Her hair fell away from her face to reveal a white and bloodied cloth that was tied around her eyes.

Without sight, she gazed across the way to the Emperor unconsciously. 

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Gwen found herself standing face to face with Koji, his comment about her finally leaving the Cold Mountains sparked laughter from deep within. "Believe it or not, I do often find myself leaving my establishment in capable hands." Before much else could be said, the atmosphere around them seemed to change considerably. The change was so great that it was causing stress among the crowd of people who seemed to converge around them. It was like a sudden illness came over the people, many were crumpling over themselves clutching their stomachs, others appeared to be choking on the air they breathed in. 

A look of worry formed over her face as she met Koji's eyes with her own, something was definitely wrong. Chaos broke over the crowd, people running in all directions trying to leave the square. Some of the citizens were trampled by others, an elderly man lost his life not far from where she stood with the emperor. Standing before Koji, Gwen felt the cold feather touch of the spirit that caused such mayhem. The very touch against the hot skin of her neck sent a chill running down her spine, something that didn't happen much to the demoness. 

Reaching up to touch the back of her neck, she glanced behind her hoping to see what was causing the chill in her spine and the mayhem of the people. "Someone is here.." Before much else could leave her lips, she heard Koji addressing the spirit that was hell bent on making their presence known during this occasion. With the passing of time that felt like a lifetime and words from Koji, it appeared the crowd that were being evacuated by the guards started to return to normal. The feeling of sickness and unrest disappeared, and they were left with a mess to clean up. At least the guards did.  

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