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Akako Akari

Hanami - Flower Festival [OPEN]

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Cabbage, the cabbage.

It was a funny little creature.  A walking cabbage, sporting stubby little root legs and wiggly spindly root arms.  It hobbled this way, it hobbled that, tiny black beads drating side to side.  It's glossy green leaf top swished and swashed.  Every now and again the critter would beep.

"Beh!"

It chirped as it wandered the city streets.  The realm was full of vim and vigor, with plantlife sprouting uncontrollably.  People might consider this beautiful, but to the creature Cabbage such things were a trifle.  All it wanted to know was how to get some of that sweet growth juice for himself.

Thus began; Opperation Feeding Station.

An empty flower pot, a blank patch of dirt, a soily riverbank.  Any of these would serve Cabbage well, but there were so many meat bags stomping about, and Cabbage was so very small.  He spent more time trying not to get stomped on or kicked rather than searching for some tasty dirt.

Edited by Spooky Mittens

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Thurgood, Aveline, Vivian, and Nadia stretch as they step off the boat: they've been on with no option to disembark between Casper and Port Caelum in very cramped quarters with a crew that for some odd reason did not let the passengers onto the weather deck. All they've been doing for the past week or so is reading the Imperial Edict and playing the Pathfinder campaign Ruins of Azlant.

Thurgood and Aveline are (mostly) humans in drow (blue) skin (and ears), with broad soldiers, medium-large builds, dressed in jeans and tee shirts. Aveline has one pistol and two mag pouches on her belt while Thurgood has two pistols and four mag pouches.

Vivian and Nadia are radar foxes: there a little bit larger than red foxes, but have six limbs, and a gradient brown coat that starys as almost black at their spines and lightens up to tan at their paws and hands; yes, five-digit human-like hands on their front limbs, and their ears end in long, whiplike thin antennae. Their coats are partially obscured by black nylon vests that each holster a pistol and hold two extra mags.

In case anybody is wondering, they indeed are technically major nobles of Ursa Madeum, even if they dont look or act like it. With the yokai, at least they won't stand out.

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Eight emissaries arrived at the Port city via air ship, and were ready to take part in the festivities. Jubilant celebrations would have to wait however, as first they had to try and keep from fighting one another.

They knew the importance of diplomacy, but a minotaur, a gnoll, a human, a merfolk, an Antec, an Arakkoa, a Dragonborn and a skaven had much difficulty getting along. All of them had the same goal, but had such differing views on the world, and such distrust between the other, it was difficult for them not to fight each other. Fortunately they were not commoners among their own, but trained in the art of diplomacy enough to keep the peace.

"We are here to show our support to the ruler of this city." Said Dorian, the Human emissary of Alethea, who was dressed in rich cloth that showed him as much the warrior as he was an ambassador. "Let us not tally in our efforts."

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"Can we not stop to enjoy the flowers at least?" Asked Selesia, Merfolk emissary of Alethea, who found the look of the flowers incredibly pleasing to her. It was wonderful, and she wanted so badly to stay and experience it in full. "The beauty of nature looks so incredible, it's breathtaking."

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Caw! "Laziness bad. We do job now, then smell flowers later." Caw! Squawk the Arakkoan, Blood Talon, who desired nothing more than to remove himself from this place, and return to his studies. Head twitching this way and that, the bird man looked with disdain on those who looked upon them with curiosity or disgust at their strangeness. At least in Alethea he could hide away from the onlookers in his office.

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The others discussed what was best to do, and decided it might be best to hang back and wait for the Yokai ruler to present herself. Until then, they could mingle and see what it was they could discover and learn within Port Caelum.

"Yes yes yes! This will be fun. So much food, yes yes yes!" Chattered Squelk, the Skaven ambassador of Alethea, and possibly the most tolerable smelling skaven in a thousand miles.

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"Be mindful, Squelk. We do not wish to give the wrong impression. We are guests here, and should act as such." Huang Cho, the Dragonborn diplomat of the xeno filled city spoke with grace. "This is a place of tranquility and harmony. We must respect that, as the wind respects the leaves of a tree." He nodded in agreement to his own sophistry, and continued forward with the group.

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"I agree with Huang." Said Morning Herald, the minotaur ambassador of Alethea. "We have much to experience, and much time to do so. Let us cherish this experience, soak it in as the tree soaks in the rays of the sun." Though Huang enjoyed the concurrence, he felt a pang of jealousy course through him at the superior simile his compatriot used.

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"Zaross is indifferent to these dealings. Zaross will watch and wait." As always, the Antec was the one with the least to say, always choosing rather to wait than to act.

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And so they participated in the festival, representatives of their city, world's apart and yet united in their cause.

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Xartia spent his morning in the Port City, albeit scarce. He was busy preparing for this years iteration of what he hoped would become an annual celebration. Hanami. A flower festival dedicated to ushering in the spring season of the new year. A time where all could gather regardless of their origin, and enjoy the beauty the city and one another. For the Cambion however, this was no day of merriment. This time last year, the Yokai Queen hosted this very event for the first time. It served a double purpose as her coronation. While he and her shared a petty feud, she suddenly vanished as she sometimes did when her emotions bubbled too close to the surface. Except, later he had learned that her disappearance was not of her own accord. Disappearance became Death, and Death became Resurrection. The events that followed left him without her presence for a long season. Now that she had returned to this world, and to her rightful place as Regent of the Port City, he couldn't help but feel a certain sense of PTSD and paranoia. So long as Akako was in possession of her orb, he'd make damn sure that no harm could come to her in any other application. Her precious orb, the relative history of which he was still confused of, though he dare not speculate too harshly.

Unlike the year prior with the more Yokai appropriate robes, the Cambion took it upon himself to wear a prototype of one of his suits tonight. Not simply because it looked sharp, but because should any unfortunate events arise tonight, he'd learn just how capable his product was outside of his personal capabilities. While he almost regrettably hoped something would go down, he prayed nothing would. He wore a three piece suit of white; Jacket, vest, and trousers. His tie was more of a lighter grey which popped well by the layer beneath it in the form of a cornflower blue button up. A perfect Windsor knot draping the tie neatly into his vest, concealing the black polished gemstones that had been finely shaped into the buttons of the shirt. The exposed buttons on the vest were polished gemstones as well, though they were more of a blue color. The black star sapphire and the lapis lazuli respectively. The breathable yet durable fabrics were both comfortable to wear and appealing to look at. His shoes for the evening were a rather unimpressive pair of loafers in black, featuring silver buckles upon the arches. A sleek pair of silver framed aviator shades were placed upon the bridge of his nose before he decided to actually wear his jacket.

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While all the others gathered to enjoy the night and it's festivities, Xartia headed out to keep a watchful eye upon three things tonight, above all else; the heir to the Scarlet Region, the Regent, and the lives of their citizens and guests. While his fear was mostly reserved to the Heir and the Regent, he'd be foolish not to care for the lives of their civilians and their tourists alike. Even if they weren't targeted, it was often a consolation to the aftermath of a failed attack of intent to wind up harming a bystander. So long as it was within his power to do so, nothing was going to happen here, especially not today. Not tonight. 'Come to think of it, where is the little devil?' He pondered as he realized he hadn't seen the Prince in several minutes of what was now too quiet to be good.

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The trip to Port Caelum was his first ever outside of the Keep. Being parted from his home across waters was something that would be daunting to most children his age. Not to him though, no. The blood of an adventurer ran through his veins, a gift and a curse inherited by his father. Though their time together had been so short, he's learned much about his father and about himself since Xartia had returned to Predator's Keep. While the status of his mother was still kept well from the Lady of the Void, it was hard to keep it from his father once he'd been back in the Keep for an entire day. He could tell by the look in his father's face that he wanted to do something about the entire situation, though he was terrified, too much so to act. He couldn't explain or understand why, but deep down inside, the boy felt pride over it all. He was proud of himself, and happy to know that his father at least agreed with his actions to some degree. Still, father was right. His actions taken were much like sticking a band-aid on a leaking pipe. 

Having been ready long before his pretty boy of a father, the boy dedicated himself to rummaging through his father's belongings. Though he had done so several times already, there was a particular item that he noticed was dear to his father, though he refused to wear it. A ring of sorts it was, with a red jewel in it. The jewel felt familiar to him, it felt like himself, like it was a part of the Lady of the Void. About the time he found it, he felt a sudden presence entering the room, baffled at how he hadn't felt it sooner. He stood frozen with wide eyes. He'd been caught, not by his father, though he'd been caught red handed none the less.

"Mew" ~

An orange tabby verbalized it's presence before turned much too fast for his own good. By the time he faced the culprit, a striped, orange tabby with golden eyes, his own expression featured a stern look that wreaked of disappointment. Sliding the ring onto his right, middle finger, he closed his fist and looked at it. His expression lightened as his his crimson eyes began to glimmer. A grin forming on his face as he looked down at the cat that was now purring whilst stealing affection by rubbing against his legs. 

"How many times do I have to tell you not to sneak up on me? Anyways, look what I found. It's her's, I know it is. I can feel it."

Suddenly, the jewel in the ring was teeming with life! A warmth came to it as it glowed brilliantly. Suddenly, the fabrics of reality split around him. Time and space escaped him and his companion as the two of them suddenly translocated to a place that felt familiar to him just as the ring had, though he knew for sure he'd never seen or been to this place before. Within the courtyard of the estate, the boy stood with his hand upon the cat's head. Being outside the comfort of his own privacy however, the boy expressed his psionic gift effortlessly. He manipulated the way others perceived him and he seemingly feline companion. As opposed to a boy of no more than approximately four years of age, Khaliq appeared to be a young man at the end of his teenage years. His cat now perceived as a much larger version of itself in the form of a lion. Still dressed n the rather simple black suit and tie his father selected, he simply looked bigger, older, even more so than what he already appeared to be and what he truly was. 

"C'mon Rex, let's check it out!"

A growl akin to brontide escaped the large cat as the pair of them took off towards the interior of the large structure they stood in the midst of. With nobody in sight and no idea where he really was, Khaliq was eager to see as much as he could before he had been made. Other than having the blood of an adventurer, it was easy to assume he felt safe between the feelings of the ring and the environment, and because he had already learned his father well enough to know that the more dangerous items he possessed were much more difficult to get his hands on. Like that strange rose he kept in some sort of glass display case. His eyes continued to coruscate in his curiosity, his focused mind inspiring the garnet charms on his golden earrings to glow however long it took to secure his grand illusion. 

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"They have cherry trees here? What a pleasant surprise, nya," Alice thought as she weaved through the milling throngs of Caleum; there was no mistaking the familiar sight of cherry trees in bloom, something that the cat girl thought she'd never see when she left Fusou; but turns out that cherry trees grow in Valucre after all, and here in Caleum, they too celebrate hanami. She couldn't help but wonder, if this was a result of parallel development, or perhaps people from Earth had come here at some point and specifically brought Japanese culture with them; not only did it take place at the same time, but there was no mistaking the familiar customs and aesthetics surrounding the festival.

 

Shortly upon arriving, Alice had made it a first order of business to get herself an outfit that would be more appropriate for the situation - sure, 'modesty' is something that was more of a suggestion than a hard and fast rule in the cat girl's book; but even she didn't exactly want to go browsing the various stores and partaking in games and activities in her usual jean shorts and black bra - and as such she would make a beeline to the nearest apparel store, before emerging from a fitting booth moments later sporting a spiffy pink kimono with sakura patterns. "Nya, better," the cat girl admired herself and her outfit in a full-length mirror before paying the vendor and stepping out among the crowds.

 

"Oh hello there, little fellow~" Alice purred as a creature that looked like a walking cabbage scurried past her legs, and with her curiosity piqued the cat girl would follow the cabbage, her tail wagging as she kept her eyes on the creature. "I don't know if you understand my language, but a little guy like you shouldn't be scurrying around in such a crowded place - you could get stepped on by accident you know?" she remarked. In a way, the creature reminded her of herself before she broke free of Hinode's control - a creature who's consigned to living on the fringes of civilisation, forever skulking within the shadows, and it was due to this she couldn't help but feel a tinge of sympathy towards the creature.

 

@Spooky Mittens

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Cabbage, the cabbage.

Cabbage was rarely ever spoken to directly, so it took him a few feet of waddling before he came to a stop.  This bright pink meat creature with bright pink petals had called out to Cabbage, he was sure of it.  While he did understand the language she spoke, he could not speak it, but the fact that he was now turning about to face her gave evidence to the notion that he was listening.

His tiny little root legs elongated and coiled about, allowing him to rotate without picking up what you might call his "feet".  Beady little beads of black pointed at the cat girl, but they were lidless and unmoving.  Were they eyes?  Nobody knew!  She seemed concerned though, and Cabbage responded in the only way he could.

"BEH!"

He beeped before whirling about back into his original position.  He started waddling forward with swiftness, but turned sharply to circle back.  He "ran" straight into the cat girl's shin, all one pound of his leafy body, making a funny slapping noise should his face actually connect.  You see, Cabbage would much prefer to not get stepped on.

Then he started to bounce at the girl's feet and waved his spindly little "arms" about near his leafy greens.  The then proceeded to beep repeatedly.

@Lawman

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So much had changed. Thinking back to last year's Flower Festival, everything was different from how it was then. Red was holed up in Predator's Keep, Akako and Xartia were... whatever it was they were, and the demoness was already planning on making her return known to the powers that be on this continent. It was all for the better she imagined. Still, Akako could recall the last Hanami festival and felt a familiar pang of anxiety. This time was different though, her orb was in her possession, and her small army of yokai was present and ready to ward off any attacks. Even then, Akako knew that she would be meeting many strangers today and little knowledge of their intent. 

There were leaders from every continent here today, and Akako had to do her best to play a gracious host. It wasn't something that was so out of reach for her though. Frequently she found herself in positions such as this one. It was where she excelled, truthfully. Political intrigue always warded off boredom, and for a creature as long-lived as she was, that was a blessing.

The vixen stepped out of her room dressed in an extravagant kimono with several layers of rich colored silk. The top layer was black with red and silver dragonflies stitched from the hem to her shoulders. Around her waist was a gold obi that was fit snuggly and tucked into her obi was a fan with a red tassel that swayed as she walked throughout the halls of her home. Her long white hair was pulled up into an intricate up-do with various gold and red trinkets that jingled merrily as they moved. Silver and gold drop earrings had been fastened into the tips of her fox ears. Her makeup was simple, her lips stained red, cheeks lightly rouged, and her lashes coated in black which made the golden pools of her pupiless eyes bright. 

--- --- ---

Within the daiyokai's hidden estate, an intruder appeared. The house wasn't as heavily staffed as it usually was due to a large portion of Akako's staff was brought to the other realm to cater to the festival. Therefore, there was no one on the grounds when Khaliq first appeared.  The inside of the estate was different. A variety of yokai moved about cleaning or preparing for the rest of the residents to return. 

A shoji door snapped open as the duo approached. A boy, probably not much older in appearance than Khaliq blinked rapidly, surprised to see a stranger. Atop his head were antlers, and his legs were certainly not human. Hooves stomped nervously, backing up as he eyed the beast at the blonde's side. There had been a sheet in his hands, but that had since fallen to the ground before he spun on his hooven foot and darted inside without so much as closing the door again. 

His voice could be heard from the interior as he shouted to anyone that may listen to him. 

"Call Akako-sama! There's a stranger!" 

Another curious, young yokai peeked outside. The young demon was a tall and slender thing. Her hair was bright red that faded to black. Her hair was cut incredibly short and slicked back ending just at the nape of her neck. Her neck was long and her eyes wide and entirely black as were her lips. Her head tilted this way then that way, curiously looking at the stranger. Could no one else tell how this boy had Akako's energy? He wasn't a stranger. He was family. She smiled at him.

Meanwhile, the estate was in an uproar.

--- --- ---

In Port Caelum, Akako was on her way to step outside. She could feel Xartia within the city and had known his presence upon his arrival, though she had yet to go to him. It was finally time to see the people of the port, the visitors, and the Cambion. Her lips were upturned into a hint of a smile as she moved swiftly down the halls. 

As she was reaching to the door, a voice called to her within her mind — one of her retainers that was tasked to watch over her estate called to her. 

"My lady, there is someone unknown here."

Fear stole her breath. It was happening again. Memories of the twin neko's that served her not so long ago surfaced into an ugly, morbid vision in her mind and her face contorted into an angry snarl. She wouldn't allow those that remained in her estate on her behalf to come to harm. Her yoki manifested, and her portal to the Void split the space where the door was. She barely opened the gateway to slip herself inside before it closed. She planned to return swiftly, before anyone would know that she'd left. The only one that could possibly feel her departure would be the Cambion if he was paying attention.

Within the grounds of her massive estate, Akako's yoki spread over the area to sense anyone that didn't belong. There. Though this was familiar energy, it felt like the child. There was no way he could access this place unless his power was much more frightening than she'd realized. Her gaze narrowed and she vanished into a wisp of silvery smoke before traveling at an astounding speed through her true home only to retake her form when she was before the boy. 

Akako stood before Khaliq, and she regarded him much as she had in the dreamscape. His appearance was different — a display of his power she assumed. Her lips down turned and she approached him. 

"Khaliq, how did you get in here." It was a question. However, she didn't pose it as one. She was angry with the child. 

"Nevermind. We need to return to the port right away. We will discuss this with your father." 

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This place was fascinating! The further he went, the more creatures he came across. Shortly after breaching a door, the duo ran into a strange looking boy with antlers and red skin. The boy shrieked in terror, exclaiming of his presence and urging someone to notify the Lady of the Void. Khaliq froze for the moment, afraid to move even though he considered running the opposite direction. A growl exhumed the large cat, growing into a thunderous roar before it rushed beyond the young yokai. As it passed by, the rumbling wood could be felt in the wake of his bounds, the warmth and immense muscles could be felt as it brushed past the yokai. Shortly after it began to move, Khaliq couldn't dare to let his familiar run off on his own. And so he dashed off again with him, making a break for it past the screaming yokai and down the hall.

"!"

Suddenly, a plume of inky smoke appeared in his path, the silhouette of of her figure within it. Already he could see the shape of her ears and tails, the glow of her goldenrod eyes. His chest grew tight and he became short of breath as he slammed on the breaks, a hand reaching out to touch the back of the lion, as if to warn him he should stop. Sliding to a stop before her, the two of them gazed at her in silenced awe. As sorely as he wished to explain himself, his words escaped him.

"Khaliq, how did you get in here."

"I, it's not -"

"Nevermind. We need to return to the port right away. We will discuss this with your father."

"Alright..."

He agreed begrudgingly as his hand began to smooth over his companion, a growing habit despite the only comfort he was afforded was that Akako had gotten to him before he could have really caused too much of a stir. He trusted himself to leave little to no evidence of his presence, for the sake of all involved parties. Though he was still quite young and naive, and this was wildly uncharted territory in his book. Slipping his hands into his pockets, he wiggled the ring off of his finger and into his pocket. He'd hoped she didn't notice he had been wearing jewelry on his hand in the first place. Approaching the Lady, Rex followed close behind. Stepping through the door between this plane and the next, Khaliq felt everything that was wrong begin to feel right again. 'Was I even breathing there?' A question he'd be sure to ask Akako later given the chance. 

While talking with his father sounded uncomfortable, it was still not for the reasons she may suspect. His father had no depth in relationship in which he yet felt comfortable punishing him. Not to mention, this little accidental antic was nothing in comparison to the shit storm slowly brewing back in Predator's Keep. Even Khaliq himself was unsure of whether his false reality could hold up in his physical absence. If it could, then this was a great way to begin measuring how far he could travel and for how long he could remain away without disturbing his intricate, alternate realities.

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With one distraction came another, as he began looking for Khaliq knowing the boy could be standing right before him the entire time, Akako's Yoki (Spirit Energy) suddenly vanished from the Aether (Quintessence). Suddenly Xartia's form illuminated with a burning, brilliant flash. The light that shrouded him cracked and shattered away like silent glass, the shards of light dimming out before they could ever hope to hit the ground. Not a single trance was left in the Cambion's wake. A brief moment later, a nearly exact replica of the same flash occurred within the Regent's Estate, in the proximity of Akako's last sensed location. As he arrived in somewhat of a panicking state, his confusion was worn in full as he appeared to see a lion exit a nearby doorway to the void, followed by a familiar, strapping young lad with his head hung in shame. But how, how did the boy manage to breach the void? Not only was he too young for complex magics, it wasn't in his cards as far as Xartia could predict.

"Chin up lad, why the long face?"

The fact that the door lingered beyond them meant only one thing, Akako was just through the door to the other side. Any moment now she would be stepping back through. Reassured he calmed himself as worked to smooth the fabrics of his suit before adjusting his sunglasses upon the bridge of his nose. His sparkling, emerald eyes peered on curiously as he awaited her inevitable reveal. He'd gambled that she was dressed more traditional for her own festive tradition, though he was certain her taste differed from the year prior. A woman of many styles, she was. Oh how glad he was that she chose to show her true form more often than not these days. 

"Oh boy, what did you do now?"

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A lot had changed.

Raveena, escorted by a retinue courtesy of Carmine, sat prettily by a quaint garden, its babbling brook a soothing sound. Though she sat alone (Jesta’ surely didn’t count) and quietly, her attendants and guards were never far—for she carried something precious with her.

Still, she had changed. Her fiancé had changed. Her family and legacy had changed. Their family was growing—from the existence of Rigel, to adopting Lencio at the behest of his dying father. Lencio, who would become the future of the Senarian people alongside his brother, the heir apparent. She wondered which would sit in the shadow the longest—and how deeply it would affect them—for it would, surely it would.

Rowan had been brought home, ashen and pale—but alive. Their journey remarkable, and untold. She had disappeared from her Empire and returned when they needed her most. Her son had valiantly managed the seven kingdoms alongside his regents in her stead. She had to find Rowan. She had to bring him home—and the journey that brought them back was a wild tale if any.

It had begun with a demon, which led to a sword. A sword that could change the future, perhaps. She had shirked her title as queen and empress and had become something more—invoked by a creature not of any world she had ever journeyed to. Even now, her pale golden eyes blazoned with the notion that her power—unbidden—had also become something else. What wouldn’t she do for love? Her memories had returned, and she used that knowledge to her advantage. She had joined the Four Horsemen as the embodiment of War—and war was precisely what she wanted to wage these days.

A lot had changed. There was the plain sword buckled to her waist. It lacked a glamorous appeal—for it was very sharp and useful. Its plainness was what she found quaint about the sword. Nothing save the extraordinarily powerful magic that seemed to surround it made it special. She herself was dressed in finery—sporting britches over a dress this year. She bore the traditional navy colors of the old empire with the new empire’s gold.

In her hands she was checking a list of supplies to purchase in bulk. Sprawled by her side was her feline Daemon, the black cat Jesta’. Though she had arrived for the pleasurable visit, she missed the pressure of working and had brought her work with her.

Your emissaries have arrived, young Queen. Her voice—like gentle waves cresting on a beach reverberated in her mind pleasantly and crisply. She ran her tongue along her paw vigorously before sweeping it across her velvety features. Her green eyes blinked lazily as she watched Koi swim by.

Raveena paused from glancing at her list and quirked a brow, glancing up and gazing in the distance where the majority of people enjoyed viewing the flowers and partook in the festival. “Mm,” She mumbled quietly—as that had commonly her response as of late. Alethea was drifting into a chaotic state—she observed. It’s trial would begin soon. Loyalists to the Beast King Raz-Nogore were rumored to surface and campaign against her government and reform. Separatists had joined her cause, and control for the Shadow Regency had begun. To control below was to control above as well. Alethea was not lawless, but in a state of constant conflict with itself. After centuries of traditions were broken, freedoms hard-won, sacrifices made—some were not ready for the new world order she brought. That much, she understood. Still, she owed it to those who suffered greatly to bring about change that would benefit the majority. Those few who did not yield faced the consequences of their actions.

It would only devolve from there, she knew.

“She’s having a girl.” Raveena answered absently, her thoughts detached and elsewhere. Kirena was having a daughter, she found out through letter. It was certainly more joyous than the grim excursion she had taken to find and retrieve her maverick king.

Jesta’—tiny black feline that she was—sprawled in a tuft of grass, the end of her tail gently sweeping from time to time. She peered at Raveena with knowing eyes. The Imperial Guards are far more reverent than I recall. Perhaps the Vampyres remember the Old Ways after all. I was well received and fed. The Mistress of Pleasures is treated more like a Queen. She will thrive in your father’s realm, I’ve no doubt.

“She was not wrong about my father; I did not return empty handed. He’s funny like that, but I understand him better now.” The sword, forged in the foreign realm of Khaladrum.

Jesta’ paused thoughtfully, a chuckle reverberating in Raveena’s mind, I suppose it’s true of the Queen. She can move in any direction. Rowan’s territory game is useful in the art of war, on a simplistic level. The Sun rises with you once more, young queen. It was the common saying of the Hyperian people. A testament that they were resilient, born from a legacy of slavery and liberation. They were a mighty people.

Arun’daeraa had wagered with his brother, who sought—as was his nature—to destroy her people. She couldn’t fault him for doing what was his nature—she simply could not—would not—allow it to come to fruition. Raveena was born from prophecy, chosen to take up her father’s mantle, restore the Senarian Empire to its glory and replace Arun’daeraa as a Major Deity to be worshiped. His sacrifice had moved the people, and his siblings restored the post of a Major Deity posthumously. She missed the crinkle of his eyes—how he was both young and old simultaneously. While Jesta’ had her knowing look, Arun’daeraa had a knowing smile hidden behind the salt and pepper of his beard. He knew he could not directly trump his brother, nor overpower him.

He knew his demise was inevitable. Truly, he was a Trickster in that regard.

“Come,” Raveena—with some measure of practiced grace—rose to her feet, “We should check in with the others before the guards come looking for me. I think I have enough requests to buy out every Apothecary in Caelum.” Jesta’ nimbly scaled the woman and draped along her right shoulder, a lilting purr in Raveena’s ear.

This is wise, lest I try to poach a Koi.

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"Hmm... I'll take it that you know what I'm talking about, nya," Alice broke into a grin as Cabbage beeped in response and ran into her shin making a leafy slapping sound. "Tell you what, little fellow how about you stick around with me? This way no one's gonna step on you - accidentally or otherwise," the cat girl suggested as she bent down and beckoned to the creature to come to her arms - clearly offering to pick it up.

 

"Trust me, the view up here's a lot better, nya," Alice added; should Cabbage take up the cat girl's offer she would pick up the leafy creature and allow it to rest on her shoulder - oh sure, it must've been quite the sight to see someone walking around talking to a walking cabbage on her shoulder - but Alice had been called a freak one too many times for her to really care what the others think. Besides, with all the other yokai and such walking around, they were probably considered one of the more 'normal' sights.

 

"So, what would you like, little one?" Alice asked, just wandering around randomly for now. "Some place to eat? Maybe watch a show?" perhaps it might be tough to communicate with Cabbage seeing how the creature seemed to understand her language but not speak it. Still, if the creature saw anything that caught its interest, the cat girl figured it'd probably give her a beep and some sort of nonverbal cue.

 

@Spooky Mittens

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As the group of diplomats made their way through the bustling crowd of people, they had noticed they were missing one of their own.

"Where is Brakka?" Squawk! 

"He was just with us, yes yes yes. Must have smelled booze, yes yes yes!" 

"An intoxicated gnoll is not how we make a good first impression." Huang stated drolly.

"Zaross agrees. We must recollect the Gnoll ambassador before he causes an incident."

The others agreed, and so they searched for their missing compatriot. It was not long before he was found drinking, laughing and cavorting with the locals, all around enjoying himself. 

Spoiler

56595636_346634822643954_528615938016690

"Hey look, everyone! It's my favorite political rivals!" He laughed that heinous hyena cackle his race was known for, nearly falling off his chair in the process. All eyes were on them, and with as much grace as they could, the group attempted to extract the fellow emissary. 

"Brakka." Selesia said in a calm, almost musical voice. "We have work to do. You can drink after we have met with the Regent." 

He produced a raucous belch in response, cackling once more before stopping dead in his tracks. "Uh oh..." Stumbling out of his chair, he went into an improvised Kneeling position, spilling cold sake all over himself. "My Queen!"

The others turned, discovering to their dismay that Queen Raveena had snuck up on them all. Quickly they knelt, submitting themselves to the authority of their ruler. Dorian, feeling the bravest of them, stood first, saluting to her with pride. "We were not expecting you, Your Grace. Had we known, we would have sought you out immediately. Please forgive us."

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Thurgood, Aveline, Vivian, and Nadia sit down at a table just outside a small ramen shack with a two bowls of tonkutsu and two bowls of shoyu, of course with chashu pork, a fish cake, negi, and a hatomago on each one. Aveline digs right into her shoyu bowl with her chopsticks, but struggles to even use the damn things while Thurgood tastes the tonkutsu broth with the spoon. Vivian and Nadia are also struggling with the chopsticks.

Thurgood takes his and demonstrates: "okay, support the narow end with your left hand, not at the tips though, while you take your right hand, and put the sticks in the space between your index finger and slide it to the end. Curl your right thumb over the sticks, then use your social finger to gently separate them, then slide down to about the three-quarter mark, and take away your left hand. The thumb becomes the fulcrum, and the index closes the top stick. The bottom stick does not move." Then, to punctuate his point, he grabs a chashu porc cut from the top and starts eating it.

"How the fuck do ya know all that?" Aveline asks.

"Got interested in Japanese UFO catchers, watched a bunch of those videos, and followed the trail of reccomendations to videos on Japanese culture," Thurgood says,  "you know how it goes."

((I hope I spelled those Japanese words correctly with romanji...))

Edited by notmuch_23

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