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Akako Akari

Hanami - Flower Festival [OPEN]

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On 5/6/2019 at 7:14 PM, Grubbistch said:
Spoiler

 

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. 

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"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."

 

 

“Ser Dorian.” Raveena nodded with a smile, “You may all rise.” Though others understood very little of the anthropomorphic species of Alethea, Raveena felt strangely at ease around them. In a world where creatures—particularly those of magical origin—were the minority, Alethea remained a pocket of land that faced quite the opposite. Those—like the emissaries before her—were the majority. A woman such as herself, was a minority, and many humans like her, had been enslaved.

“I arrived sooner than I anticipated, but I wanted to be sure you were not distracted with my presence. The port’s regent is your priority, I came with my own retinue—so please, the error is my own here. You are the face of Alethea and beyond.” She gazed at each of their faces, lingering longer on Brakka than the others before moving on, though her warm yet tiny smile remained unwavering, “I could not be prouder to see you united in our time of need. For the sake of the Carmine Dominion, do not disappoint me. My father is not as forgiving as I am for any sloppy mistakes. I will be returning to Alethea soon, we have a lot of work to do.”

United though they were—Alethea still struggled. Part of her reason for being so far north was to tend to political business of the militaristic flavor. There was much to be done and swiftly she would work to accomplish it. She folded her hands before her and straightened her back and shoulders, chin uplifting, “Be proud of your work and all that you have accomplished. Today is but another step in the right direction. Though I am certain I will see her at some point, please be sure to give our host my sincerest regards. I hope to wrap up my business and begin to enjoy the festival. There are many things I want to bring back home to--.” She faltered, as though it was strange to admit the words—to say them, to acknowledge the truth of them, “To help the King Consort’s condition.” She finished gracefully.

Rowan’s catatonic state was her top-most priority—and the main reason for her being at the festival. She wanted to purchase as many healing flowers and herbs she could to assist the King’s recovery until he was ready to awaken. He had made an ultimate sacrifice—but she wasn’t ready to give up on him just yet.

Stop drinking, you lout! Jesta’s motherly, authoritative tone shown through as she leered knowingly at Brakka. You would humiliate your queen in the Lord Father’s dominion? Sober up, lest I claw your eyes out—will you laugh then?!

Raveena soothed her grumpy companion, scratching gently behind her velvety ears, “That’s enough of that. I am Princess Raveena within the Carmine Dominion, Jesta'. Do we have a host’s gift for the regent this year? If not, I will see to the preparations of one.”

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Rising to their feet, the group took in her words seriously. It was important not only for the good of their homeland, but to show the Emperor that they were capable of being united. Raphael's justice was swift and powerful, crushing everything underneath it's grasp. 

"Each of us has brought a gift to present to the Regent, as we were unable to come to a consensus on a single gift." Dorian was frustrated that they were not able to stick with one gift, as that would have shown a more unified front in front of the Yokai, but the others were too concerned with showing their own value than what was best for Alethea as a whole. Regardless, they would present themselves as the best that Alethea has to offer, even if he had to knock some heads together to make it happen.

"Squelk has best gift. Best best best!" The rat man stammered, clapping his hands together excitedly at the prospect of impressing the local leader. 

"We will do our best to show that Alethea is a city of peace and kindness, my queen." Morningside spoke, giving a small bow after bringing her hands together in a sign of reverence. "Mograg himself would have come, but his health has not been well, and has been staying in the Crag for longer periods of time." The sadness was clear in the minotaurs voice, as it was an issue many of the people felt uncertain about. When the baron of the Mazerunner family did die, many felt the future would become very uncertain. 

An uneasy silence fell over the group, with some truly upset over the possibilities, with the others only feigning sadness to not seem insensitive. Only the Antec, extension of the enigmatic Zaross, was visibly unfazed by the information and display before him. 

"Come friends." Brakka said, putting on a smile for morale. "Let us conclude this business, so that we may enjoy this beautiful festival." 

They agreed, and bade farewell to their ruling figure before going off to find Akako together. 

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“It’s a beautiful day,” Rafael said, casting his eyes up toward the sky. The sun loomed above them, not quite yet noon, shining with impunity as not a cloud dared showed itself to filter the heat of its golden rays. A constant, steady breeze rolling in on the backs of foam-capped waves cooled the festival grounds, though its winds seemed to have difficulty weaving through the vendor-packed streets. “I’m glad we came.”

Of course, attending hadn’t been his intention originally. There were far more pressing matters that demanded his attention—the growing Datsuzoku presence in the Midlands, and the slow-forming retaliation for the Lady Akako’s untimely (and unnecessarily gruesome) demise; further nurturing of the Faith and its continued evolution; and of course, matters of State regarding the Summer Isles and its questionable infrastructure. But the High Lord’s arrival at the Orisian estate and the justified allegations of neglect at the vampyre’s hands were cause for reorganized priorities.

Rafael was dressed simply, albeit by no means shoddy. His suit was sharp and freshly pressed, fashioned from virgin wool and dyed black as night. It complimented his full beard and short, cropped hairstyle, but brought out the blue in his eyes, only tinted a slight red since his return to the mainland. Orisia’s lack of a proper—wholesome—temple to his name left him somewhat beyond the realm of his congregation’s power, though that too would soon be rectified in the coming weeks.

Locking his arm with Zenahriel’s, Rafael set them down the busiest street the port had to offer, letting his gaze dance from table to table, casually surveying all the wares offered by eager vendors. “It’s been quite some time since I last visited these streets,” he continued idly. “Last time, it was rather substandard.” Though he’d only entered the port through a medium, he hadn’t forgotten his discussion with Red and his troublesome little princess, Rou Ji. He’d expected so much from then-ruler of the Port, surprised only by her capacity to disappoint fully and completely. “This looks to be far more promising.”

Propping open the pamphlet detailing the day’s events, Rafael pursed his lips in consideration as he read. “I’d like to attend to the Sword Dancing if nothing else. Is there anything you would like to see or do?”

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Cabbage, the cabbage.

Oh what joy!  The fleshy thing with the fluffy top had understood Cabbage's inane and repeated beeping!  What a smart, good little fleshy thing, the best, a good companion.

"Behbehbeh.  Beh.  Beh."

He made a bunch of quick, soft beeps as the catgirl extended her arm.  Cabbage would waddle right over to it and quickly extend the length of his spindly little root appendages.  He draped them over the girl's arm at first, but then wrapped them under and lifted himself up.  In total his little Bok Choy body weighed about two pounds.  She scooped him up and lifted him to her shoulder, where he would sit happily.  He transferred his right spindly appendage to Alice's head, wrapping the limb around to the other side where the tip rested at the corner of her forehead opposite to Cabbage.  It wouldn't do to be falling off, but he was careful not to block the fleshy creature's vision bulbs.

He understood her questions, but he wasn't sure exactly how he was supposed to articulate his desires to her.  "Bhhhhh."  He started as though he were going to beep, but instead he just let his head split open and puffed out a wheeze of a sort.  Such deep thought did not suit his crunchy plant brain and it gave him a headache.  He started pointing at the trees, especially trees with fruit.  Then he pointed to himself, back and forth, rapidly.  "Beh!"

@Lawman

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5561096dd9f4825e93f7e4627ad21dfc.jpgyanaihara kōharu


 

The floorboards beneath her feet rock to the rhythm of the gentle waves, but Kōharu does not feel lulled at all. It’s an utter shame, is what it is.

From the deck of the Silvermere, Port Caelum is a vision to behold, nestled within a cove flanked by cold mountains. The sight of the cherry blossoms, of all things, reminds her rather forcefully of home. It’s—not as pleasant an experience as she would’ve liked it to be. Regardless, the Flower Festival promises a grandiose occasion, and who is she to resist what is ultimately a politically sound move to attend the festivities? Greeting the Regent on behalf of New Union City is the least she could do.

For this event, she’s brought along a small entourage of guards and retainers to accompany her, but it still feels lonely, isolated. She’s not quite one for small talk, but she does her best when she needs to. Words form behind the cage of her teeth, eager to fly no matter the destination, and so she moves to flank one such individual she knows most above all others on the vessel.  

“Is it strange to feel anxious over a party such as this?” Kōharu shifts her gaze to the man standing at her side, gaze considering for a moment, before she speaks lowly, as if only to herself. “The Emperor has not offered me prior opinion on whether I should attend or not. Perhaps I should’ve met with him on this decision beforehand.”

"No." Ruiser's accent has softened over time but is still noticeable. A keen ear can trace his origins to the Tellus Mater region. "When many, ah, powerful are in one place, is good to have eyes ready. Is good time though. Eat more than drink. Listen more than talk."

Despite herself, Kōharu’s lips tug up in a faint smile as she pivots to face him properly. “You seem far more seasoned than I am in this. Have you done the same in any similar events recently?” He is a mystery to her, still, this man, with his foreign bearing and his calloused hands. She knows those callouses, the shape they take on one’s skin; she has them as well, in places her fancy robes can hide. “Only if you wish to share,” she adds, softer this time.

It is just a moment of curiosity shared between them, but in that moment, Ruiser catches the object of her contemplation. He brings his eyes down to his hands to consider them along with her. "Is making sense to know I can do what you are pay me for. Very little I go with important people to their meetings. A little at home – more now, outside of home. But many, many, many times I have fought. And I am still alive."

Kōharu can commiserate with the man’s words. It becomes all too clear, then, the similarities that lay between them. She is about to reply when the horn sounds, hailing the arrival of the ship to land. Any further inquiry shall be dealt with later; for now, they have a festival to enjoy.

Studying the merry atmosphere of the city, made tangible with its palpable sense of revelry even from this distance, Kōharu allows a smile brimming with anticipation to make itself known on her face. “Shall we, then?”

 


@supernal

Edited by vielle

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There were several questions that the daiyokai turned over in her mind as Khaliq vanished through the portal leaving Akako to stand in solitude to wonder. First, the boy somehow had access to her little pocket dimension which was incredibly alarming. It was fortunate that she no longer housed her orb within her estate. She'd taken extra precautions regarding her most treasured item after that happened. Second, Khaliq appeared to be in his early teenage years, and she certainly knew that wasn't the case unless Xartia had somehow accelerated his aging which was doubtful. Something about it put her on edge. There was no telling where the source of anxiety was coming from, but Akako's instincts were clamoring at her that something was not quite right. Unfortunately, today wasn't a day to ruminate over feelings of foreboding; instead, it was a celebration of new life and a fresh start. 

The vixen closed her eyes and took a slow, steadying breath, then sighed to herself before lifting her lashes and stepping through the gateway to follow the trouble-maker. 

With a flourish of silk, the demoness stepped back into the estate that had been afforded to the Regent. Upon stepping through the portal, Akako glanced at Xartia, then to the sulking child. She huffed lightly and shook her head before lifting her hand as if it had been an afterthought, sealing the portal closed. That would be the last time she would be able to bend space to her will for the next 48 hours which was somewhat troublesome.

"Xartia," the vixen greeted coolly as she approached the duo. Her expression had evened out to its usual impassiveness making her terribly challenging to read. Xartia, having known her as long as he had, would be able to pick up on the tiniest of clues such as her gaze lingering on him more than necessary. There was still uncertainly regarding their relationship and what it would mean down the line, so she was treading carefully. In addition, she was mildly distracted by Xartia's kin who was looking forlorn. Part of her felt guilty about that. Perhaps, one day, she'd personally give him a tour of her estate beyond the veil. 

"While This One would like to discuss the boy's trespassing, it will have to wait. I am already late for my party."

With that, Akako swept around the pair and opened the doors of the Regent's estate and looked out to the courtyard. Her golden gaze swept over those that had already arrived and were preparing for some of the more entertaining activities. Pride swelled in her chest, and her lips tilted upward into the barest hints of a smile. 

Glancing back over her shoulder, Akako looked at the Cambion, her brow raised as if to ask what he was waiting for. He wasn't new. There had been numerous events where he escorted her, although, they did have an extra this time around. Her gaze shifted and looked to the boy. Tilting her head curiously, the vixen had an idea. As petite as she was, Khaliq could easily take her other side, and the pair of Pendragon's could accompany her. Ah, but Khaliq wasn't a Pendragon by name, he only carried the blood of one. Another conversation Akako would eventually have with Xartia as time allowed. 

"Child, come... you may escort This One for a time, then you may explore my port so long as you can assure me to mind your manners and to stay out of trouble. They will see you at my side and so you must uphold my reputation. Is that understood?" 

@Twitterpated

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The floorboards beneath rock with the waves.

Since his first waking moment in Terrenus, Ruiser has been exposed to a great many things. He is thankful they go now by wind and sail, a thing to which he has been exposed in his life before, but silently admits to himself he's more comfortable in the air than he is even on solid ground.

Ruiser knows little of the political ebb and flow eddying the festival. If he finds himself contracted in full by the Yanaihara Clan, it will be his duty to learn all he can of them and their enemies. For the time the best he can do is lend every ounce of fortitude, strength, loyalty, and cunning to the maiden Koharu.

". . . party such as this?"

And if that calls for his opinion, so it goes.

"No." Ruiser's accent has softened over time but is still noticeable. A keen ear can trace him to the Tellus Mater region. "When many, ah, powerful are in one place, is good to have eyes ready. Is good time though. Eat more than drink. Listen more than talk."

" . . . wish to share."

Just a moment of curiosity shared between them, but in that moment Ruiser catches the object of her contemplation. He brings his eyes down to his hands to consider them with her. "Is making sense to know I can do what you are pay me for. Very little I go with important people to their meetings. A little at home – more now, outside of home. But many, many, many times I have fought. And I am still alive."

The horn sounds; the ship docks; the maiden Koharu and her deadly retinue transition to dry land. Ruiser is dressed like her other guards – straw hat obscures his features, the loose-fitting attire providing impediment to movement, the styled and fortified blade of Minobi design in open view at his side. He stays by the maiden's side as they navigate buildings, byways, and people.

Even from the edge of the city, Ruiser can see the pink and white aesthetic of the festival and falls into step with the other guards as they orient towards it. Ruiser's first comment since entering the Port follows his first sighting of a yokai.

"Some people look very strange here."


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@vielle

Edited by supernal

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Warm but not unpleasantly hot, the sun beamed above them. Golden rays shone down upon the buildings, tents, on roads, trees, flowers, and all manner of life. Long gray shadows stretched out over colorful cobblestone paths as the sun continued its stately ascent, and with every passing moment the busy festival grounds grew ever more crowded, filled with cheer and spirited bliss. Hawkers called out their wares, brought from all over the world; exotic fruity wines of Terrenus and strange baubles from Tellus Mater to the indigenous goldwork of local cities and jewelers. It was all here, though none of these compared to the people brought from nations far and wide. Yokai and man of all species and race had come to peacefully celebrate the Flower Festival of Port Caelum.

Moving beside Rafael, Zenahriel observed the great gathering with approval. With the catastrophe Whispernight had wrought upon the land, Genesaris was in need of such gaiety. Even he had dressed for the occasion, wearing a sleek outfit of black silks and finely woven wool. Cloth of gold and silver were worked into the surface in glittering patterns down the chest and side; though it lacked a back to allow for the great expanse of his wings. Normally they were a smooth black with subtle highlights of midnight blues and royal purple, but today the ends of their long pinions had been bleached and dipped in a striking gold paint.

Zenahriel did not often allow himself to relax so completely, but he thought he could afford to be a little more lax than usual. With such creatures of mysterious powers and abilities gathered in one place, to produce any trouble here would be an act of such foolishness it would be astounding. He glanced at his partner with affection as the King of Umbra locked arms, leading him down the busiest street Port Caelum had to offer. He could hardly hear his Lord above the din of voices.

“Wine! Dark cherry and rich oak, rose petals and peach from Terrenus!”

“None of these local baubles matches the elegance of jewelry of Kadia!”

“Come get your fix with these chocolates of the Rising West!”

“Where the fuck did you go!”

Yes, it was all here.

Zenahriel cast a cursory glance at the pamphlet Rafael held. “I’d like to see the Sword Dancing as well,” he said casually. He actually hoped to get involved himself. “But surely your Highness would like to eat something exotic first?” he suggested with a nod to an array of food carts on one side of the street. He shrugged carelessly – he had not yet forgiven Rafael for his negligence, and half expected the King to run off claiming more important business. “Don’t mind me though.”

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qbpcmOX.pngRaine Rhodlyn,



It was entirely unintentional, her hair being the same shade of the petals and whatnot. Raine had never gone to the Hanami Festival before, so it was a surprise to see that she had perfectly fit in! And seeing as she'd perfectly fit in, she took the liberty of taking off her hood. It was certainly a rare gesture, but it was only considered rare because humans tend to stop and stare and ponder in harmless curiosity of how much a girl with pink hair would sell.

And alas, here surrounded by demons and alike, there was no such need to fear for her life. Hence the bold approach of wandering around with her face out in the open.

Wondrous displays of magic were thriving here in the festival, each hosted by benevolent yokai who had powerfully woven tricks and illusions for children and all to see. There was a show where a yokai had breathed fire, and another one where a beautiful woman stretched her neck out to great lengths! Ultimately, it scared.. most of the children. 

And, somewhere situated on a bench by a garden, there was a little magic show of her own.

"Again, again!" 

And again and again it spun, the marvelous illusions illustrated by the tip of her fingers. Raine grinned, materializing within two closed palms a concentration of magic. 

"Are you ready?" She asked the children: eyes full of wonder and minds full of expectation. Each child furiously nodded their head and shouted yes, to which Raine replied with by opening her hands. 

A tiny dragon shot up like fireworks, leaving trails of glitter and residual sparkle. It's hide shone reflected rainbows, it's presence ethereal. The children all responded in excitement, meaning to catch the illusions with their own hands but always found that it slipped right past them. Some tripped on the grass, one of them screamed louder in surprise when the dragon had poofed it's size larger. Raine laughed, her elbows planted on her knees as she sat there. When it had been grabbed, the dragon turned into colorful bubbles. Each bubble formed a tiny dragon. Now the children were chasing a flock of tiny dragons. Raine laughed again. 

(A pained wince. The dragons are fading in and out.)

On her shoulder, a young pixie materialized. A girl, whose skin shone like clean-cut amethyst and whose legs were those of a faun. Her wings fluttered behind her, though she hovered toward Raine as if drifting through air.

"Aren't you tired yet?" Murmur asked, staring beady eyes into baby blue ice. 

"Ha," Raine chuckled, "yes, actually, I do suppose I am quite tired." 

"Hmmm." She gave a long thoughtful thought. She fluttered higher and left a trail of pixie dust. "You want me to fill in for you, Miss? It's about time you get a snack!" 

"A snack?"

"Yeah!" She pointed a tiny digit towards the shops. "Ain't you seen the cakes yet? They're awesome." 

"Well. If they are, eh?" Raine blinked. "Awesome," she gestured, "then you won't mind replacing me for little while?"

"Not one bit."

"Oh, very good!" 

Raine bolted from her seat, swishing her black robe. "Be right back."

Murmur made an enthusiastic thumbs-up. She spun behind her and threw herself at the children. Wow! They all giggled, A fairy! 

The witch happily made her way to the food carts on the side of the street. The air blowing through her carried with it the Regent's yoki. 

 

Edited by SweetCyanide

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Traveling along the streets of the Port city held many things for the diplomats to wonder at and be amazed. Magic ran rampant, with everyone having their fun and making merry throughout. All was well in the streets, though some of the group found it difficult to stay behaved. 

Squawk!

A small group of children went running, screaming their little lungs out after being frightened by the crotchety arakkoan. The others looked upon their fellow emmisary, but he remained unapologetic in his transgression. "Children should know better than to bother their elder." Squawk! "They are lucky I did not give them a good ringing in their ears."

"You cannot just harm innocent children, Blood Talon. There are rules in place and it's simply wrong." Selesia stated, saddened that she could not have stopped the reckless act being done in time. She had been distracted by looking at some friendly dolphins in the water, hoping to catch their attention and wave to them in greeting. 

"You not my boss, fish woman." Squawk! "Don't think I won't curse you for insolence." The merwoman was shocked, as well as some of the other members of the group.

"Please. You arakkoans have no real art of the mystic practices." Barbed Huang. "All you know is to squawk and to chirp, like little annoying pests." 

"Stop it the both of you!" Dorian said sternly, squashing the qaulm before it blew up into a fight. Everyone for now was quiet, so he took that as his cue to try and get them organized. "I don't care what kind of anger you have between each other, because this is far too important to throw away like squabbling children. Now shape up, or I swear I'll boot you back to Alethea so fast your heads will spin." 

"Fair enough, if not somewhat brutish." Huang said in compliance, Blood Talon was seething quietly, and Selesia was fidgeting with her hands, feeling upset about getting yelled at even though she felt she did nothing wrong. 

"This is gonna be a long day." Brakka said with a sigh. 

"Squelk hates long days, hates hates hates. No time for naps, no no no." The skaven shook his head, surprisingly child like for someone with such an important position. 

Morningside merely shook her head, keeping pace with the Antec as they headed closer and closer to the Yokai Regent. 

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He pondered hard as to how the boy managed to enter the void, though he was also painfully aware of the many things he had done in his short life and lived to tell and tale there of; Knowing damn well he should be dead, or worse. Akako's gaze hardly had time to really settle upon the Cambion as he scrambled to her side, adjusting his jacket once more before officially offering her his arm. Both of the boys grew wide eyed when she practically ordered Khaliq to her vacant side. A grin found him at the invitation, in which he surely approached, fingering at the tie around his throat. Clearing his throat, the boy seemed to have dug deep into his Pendragon lineage, for the words to leave his mouth next sounded something like hat his father might have said when he was younger.

"As you must uphold mine. You are a Regent of the Scarlet throne, and I am the Crown Prince."

As much as Xartia would've beaten the dead horse, the Prince left his warning subtle and to the point. He was no regular child, and he had no intentions of appearing that way to their public. It was important to appear as a young man, and to stick that image in the minds of all here today; And in a believable manner! Xartia understood this, and had yet to speak to Akako about any of the situation, though he swore he was going to the first moment he got. Khaliq was aware of such a surface thought, his gifts awarding him this knowledge in which he aimed to make it as difficult as possible for him to tell her. He couldn't stall forever, though perhaps he could do so just long enough to be around when the beans were spilled.

"Perhaps we should get a move on, nobody embarrass anybody."

The boy offered the Kitsune his arm, mimicking his father's movements and posture. Looking straight ahead the way they'd be heading out, he didn't want to see the look on either of their faces from his proclamation. He had to promote some image of superiority and a lack of care. There was no telling how long Khaliq could keep up his charade of playing bigger boy, but boy if he wasn't milking it. What worried Xartia is how she was going to react, to everything. With no more time to speak of such now, he too look ahead as soon as Akako tried to give him the "Did you hear this mfer?" look. With a nod the doors opened, and the first thing the gathered crowds witnessed was the thunderous roar of the the Prince's lion, announcing their entrance before the Pendragon's ushered out the Yokai Queen herself.

@Akako Akari

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5561096dd9f4825e93f7e4627ad21dfc.jpgyanaihara kōharu


 

Perhaps it is foolish to some, but Kōharu holds a candle in her chest, a constant flame of almost childlike wonder for that which she has never encountered before. The world is a wide, wild place, and she is in constant awe of everything it has to offer her. She will, however, resist the urge to gape far too obviously at the spectacles scattered about through the streets of the port city; it would be unbecoming of her.

"Some people look very strange here."

Her gaze flickers to Ruiser, then trails towards the yokai in his line of sight. She understands where his quip must be coming from; she had been confused the first time she had encountered one of the yokai, back when she had been—well. When she had been away.

“Yes,” she smiles, her gaze catching on a young kitsune playing with a flower wand that twinkles in the sunlight. “It reminds me of the Imperial City, Jigoku. There had been many strange and wonderful creatures there as well. I, for one, would not mind seeing such variety on the streets of New Union City everyday.” It would mean that she is doing good by her position, that inclusion is something that will persist in the city under her care. She’s heard whispers of an overhaul on the laws of non-segregation by way of the extensive spy network situated throughout the city; she desires that they remain whispers in the shadows and will strive to keep them that way.

From somewhere in the crowd, a series of incessant beeping noises ring out, and Kōharu turns her head almost absentmindedly to seek out their owner. What she sees almost stops her in her tracks, so intrigued is she by the sight.

With her extra appendages that noticeably belong on a cat’s body rather than a human’s, she would have thought the girl is a cat yokai herself; perhaps a nekomata of sorts—but then no, that designation does not seem right. There’s something foreign about her, something untouched by yoki or chi. Kōharu’s eyes stray towards the peculiar creature seated on her shoulder, altogether very leafy and green: a cabbage?

She moves forward without thinking much of it, leads her entourage to trail in her footfalls as she approaches the odd pair, curiosity simmering in her eyes. “Hello,” Kōharu greets them, sudden nervousness crawling up her throat—bothering strangers?—but she pushes forward, plasters on a polite smile as she looks to the cat girl. “You have a beautiful kimono. Where did you get it?” Not the most inspiring of introductions, but it will have to do.

 


@supernal @Spooky Mittens @Lawman

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“No, I’m quite all right,” Rafael replied, giving the High Lord’s quip no more attention than it deserved. He’d come to loathe the growing of his mate’s pettiness, though he could blame none other than himself for its existence. Rou Ji’s company may have provided it with sunlight, and Gabriela’s history of capricious ways with rain, but Rafael had planted the seed with his abuse and neglect. “I’m still rather full." Leaning in, the elder vampyre brushed a light kiss along the High Lord’s neck where he’d bitten him just hours before. “But, if you’d like to try something, you’re more than welcome to.” Closing the pamphlet, Rafael slid it into Zenahriel’s unburdened hand. “The Sword Dancing doesn’t begin for another handful of hours, so whatever else you wish to do, whatever you wish to see, just lead the way. I’m here for you.”

Giving the High Lord a moment to weigh his options, Rafael studied his surroundings, letting his gaze move about the crowd without urgency. These demons are quite interesting, he mused. Nothing like the monstrosities and horrors spawned from the rage of the Maelstrom, or the daemons that tore their way into the Waking World. They seemed tame in comparison, intelligent, more than tooth and claw and hunger. But how much of it is just a mask?

Surely, there was a handful of these creatures behaving only to be spared their reagent’s wrath. The air was ripe with the scent of human, thick enough to even draw the Elder’s attention when a breeze carried the aromas just right. Rafael could only imagine how tempting it must have been to those that lacked his discipline, those that were more slave than master to their instinct and primitive desires.

All it would take was one mistake, one accident, for this festival to come crashing down around them. Akako was taking a great risk, or perhaps she simply trusted her people that greatly?

At that thought—

“Before we return to the capital, darling, make sure that we speak with the regent here. Lady Akako.” Rafael’s gaze still held the festival in its grasp, particularly fond of the merchant peddling a vast collection of ornate jewelry. “You two have yet to be introduced, and I would like for her to know you, and you, her. She is… mm… an interesting woman, to say the least. Or rather, after having met her twice before, I find her to be.”

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". . . variety on the streets of New Union City everyday."
"Is very strange for I . . . for me. From home, things that look different than self, always try eat self."

By way of explanation Ruiser patted the blade at his side. He was poised to continue to haltingly speak on the matter but on turning to address the maiden found her removed from his side, already dispersed into the nearest crowd.

Ruiser did not care much for the flowing, robe-like uniform of his current station. He preferred the shell of armor, the plating of shield, and had been trained to use them in combination with his body and his sword to lethal effect. But there was no denying his ease of movement in the hakama, and he was able to catch up to the madam just as she brought herself to a lull before a –

"You are like cat."

Stunned by the subtlety of the woman's slight variation on what he knew to be the customary human form, Ruiser blurted the words without filter; they escaped him at nearly the same moment he thought them. The woman's ability to pass for a human with little more than a hat and loose fitting robes opened a window in Ruiser's mind, and through it he glimpsed a world of staggering implication.

His hand came up, closed but for his index, which he used to point to the clearly prehensile vegetable perched on her shoulder like it was the most natural thing in the world.

"And is . . . lettuce on self?"

@Spooky Mittens @Lawman @vielle

Edited by supernal

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Well, now that the four have finished their ramen, they return to moseying up the main street towards the daiyokai's estate. Aveline stops at a place selling traditional kimono and obi, steps in, and starts browsing.

"When will you possibly ever wear a kimono again?" Thurgood asks with some annoyance.

"Okay, first, it's my fuckin' money and I can get whatever the fuck I want with it," Aveline snaps, "and second, who says I want a kimono? What if I want one of these strips?"

"They're obi; they form the belt of the kimono," Thurgood replies.

"Whatever, I love these patterns."

"So what the fuck ya gonna do with 'em?"

"Hang 'em up in my office," Aveline replies, "I wanna have some nice things in there!"

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