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vielle

iris and jade and silver [yanaihara]

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   [ WT 595 ]

 

The thing is—the girl is too young.

Lady Asora stands tall on the steps of Lord Takashi’s abode like a reed amongst the water lilies, an orchid amidst thorn and stone. She remembers being a youthful bride, once, and standing here on this very spot years and years before this moment: trembling with the unsteady rhythm of unfamiliarity in her gut, at the cusp of a new world at her fingertips.

She supposes she had been young then as well. Nevertheless, it had not swayed her away from what she has been tasked to do. Even now, despite her aging years, she is still tall and beautiful and resolute, dressed in the finest and choicest robes the Yanaihara influence has to offer: she will do what is necessary for the good of her family, and if it means asking her niece to take up the mantle of espionage and seduction and diplomacy—the mantle like that of an Ameonna—at such a young age, then so be it.

Lady Yanaihara is greeted at the door by a group of servants, led by Steward Takashi himself. Her husband’s brother greets her with all the pleasantries befitting of her higher station, and he does not try to dissuade her from her mission to his home, not once, even with all the pointed glances and steepled fingers sent her way.

She outranks him, in every sense of the word. He is in no position to deny her wishes. Asora does not think his daughter would desire to be held back from her potential as well.

The wind rustles through the bamboo stalks, a kind of melody that speaks of tranquility and peace. It’s this hushed reverence that leads her to silence as well, her footsteps muffled by the tatami mats; it’s this quiet that leads her to remain in the shadows, hovering just before the doorway to the room where Haruhi sits. The Lady leans forward, as if drawn like a moth were she a more sensitive soul, and looks at the young woman as if she can learn the curve of her mouth in one moment, the created constellations of new possibility in the new sky of her eyes.

Yes, the girl is too young. That does not mean she cannot already be made to shine, polished upon the whetstone.

“Good day, Haruhi-hime,” Lady Yanaihara greets the girl, an elegant and warm smile pulling her lips up. “May I come in and sit with you?”

 

@Witches Brew


 

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The morning was still, the wind stayed stagnant, and the bamboo chimes that rested outside her screen door overlooking the sand garden were silent. It was very unusual, mornings were usually full of life, with cranes flying over the estate trying to make it towards the pond over by the main families' residence. She stood in that opening, staring at the patterns drawn in the sand, her pallid eyes motionless underneath the curtain of dark lashes that surrounded them. Her fingers trailed gently on the wooden frame of the door, her nails catching in cracks in the soft wood, splinters catching underneath them. She yanked her hand away before they could embed themselves in her skin, and she picked them out carefully before turning towards the confines of her bedroom. 

She began to walk around the perimeter of her room, slowly making rounds, carefully evading around furniture to make sure her robes didn't snag on the edges of tables or sofas. Her hands clasped each other, her fingers entwined as she stared at her feet, watching as each toe of her silken slippers poked out from underneath her robes. She was careful not to scuff her feet on the floor, for fear she'd ruin her slippers. 

Asora-sama is coming here? She rarely visits here. What could she want? Have I done something? Is Hideyoshi-sama alright? Why hasn't Oto-san said anything? This doesn't make any sense! 

Her thoughts ravaged her mind, the uncertainty of why her Lady Aunt decided to visit her hung over her like a bucket full of water, threatening to spill on top of her. She sat on a cushion, and placed her hands on her lap with a soft thud. She let out a soft sigh as her eyes drifted back towards the open door, and she heard the soft clunking of the bamboo chimes. Her back stiffened, and she felt the soft breeze roll through her room. Just then, a voice rang in her ears. She turned her head to look towards the aging lady in her entryway, and she made a polite smile spread across her lips. 

"Good day, Asora-sama! Yes, of course, come sit with me." She patted a cushion next to her. "I was just looking out into the sand garden, it's so tranquil today." She looked back out towards the gardens. "If I may ask you this, Asora-sama, why have you come to visit me today?" As another puff of wind rolled through, her long inky black hair shifted from her shoulders, gracefully floating behind her before settling once again on her thin shoulders. 

 

@vielle

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Despite Haruhi’s position as her niece and the daughter of the Yanaihara’s military commander, Lady Asora has not had much of an opportunity to spend a lot of time with the young woman but has determined that ambition—a prime trait of the Yanaihara—shines brightly in those blue eyes. The desire for more flows strong and true in the girl’s veins, though perhaps she might not know it for herself still, not in the here and now. The Lady is not one, however, to let such unhoned potential pass her by; it is time to begin Haruhi’s enrichment, the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly.

The matriarch nods graciously at the acceptance of her invitation and takes a few steps forward to settle down on the cushion Haruhi’s designated for her to sit on. As the girl turns her gaze to the sand garden, Asora follows with her own, allowing the silence of the world around them to fall down like a thick blanket when she does not immediately reply. When she does—

“You know, Haruhi-hime, you are a fine young lady of many talents,” Lady Asora begins, not quite answering the girl’s query about her sudden appearance today. “Your father has been boasting of your prowess with the thread and needle, and your skill in the tea ceremony rivals even that of the Okā-san Hideko, even as she does not wish to admit this.” She chuckles quietly, gauging the young woman’s expression before she continues on. “However, I believe it is time to move onward to a new skill to add to your repertoire, which would greatly aid our glorious family and our endeavors in the future.”

Soft and diminutive and tender, with the voice of tinkling bells altogether uncommon and an exotic beauty far beyond the likes of her peers, Yanaihara Haruhi is on an esteemed pedestal all on her own, the true paragon of a noble lady. However, she is not only so masterful in the arts, as it goes.

“How goes your lessons in the ways of the blade, my dear?” With this shift in topic, the Lady Asora lowers her voice, wary of any straying ears coming close to hear their discussion. It is not uncommon for a Yanaihara lady to adopt the arts of war for her own, but for the refined and cultured daughter of Steward Takashi, it is a rather unthinkable notion—one Asora intends to capitalize on.

 


 

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It was true what her family said about her, she was a noble lady of high caliber. She excelled in many areas, as her father and her aunt wanted too. She worked hard for each skill she had, and one of those skills, included the art of the hidden blade. Her Aunt once mentioned to Lord Hideyoshi that what a shame it would be for her talents to only be limited to those of a lady, over a year ago, and since then her father hired a tutor to teach her how to hide, and wield a small blade called a tanto, easily hidden in her obi. She was also taught about the art of seduction, a teaching her father took a little more resistance too. 

When her Aunt asked her how her blade training was going, Haruhi turned her head back to look at her Lady Aunt, and she smiled. "My Sensei tells me I'm learning quickly, Asora-sama. Quicker than most his other students." She explained. Along side the blade training, there was marshal arts, Aikido and Kendo. Defensive training, in case something were to ever go wrong, and swordsmanship, in case her tanto wasn't enough to make the kill strike. She looked at her Aunt with a slight amount of curiosity, swallowing down her anxieties, she opened her mouth to speak once more. "Why do you ask?" 

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"That is good news indeed,” says the Lady Asora, reflecting upon this knowledge with a measured eye. It is very much a good report to hear straight from the young lady’s lips; perhaps she truly is ready for this new mantle, this burden to set upon her shoulders for the good of their Clan. The matriarch nods slowly, tilting her head to catch Haruhi’s gaze, voice low and even as she begins to lay out the beginnings of her plan.

“Have you heard of the village called Nishimeya? It is a quaint town, lovely sakura trees all lined up in rows along the edges of the clearing. Picturesque, though it is not known for its natural beauty, but rather its influence over Shiruku.” It is well-known to the Yanaihara: the main roads of the Kirishima Province pass along certain major locations from which all trade and commerce flow through, altogether known to their Clan as the Shiruku trade routes.

“To control Nishimeya is to obtain a large stake in the economic dealings of Kirishima. It is rather unfortunate, however, that the aging Lord Akimitsu resists all attempts at forming a partnership with the Yanaihara.” Asora sighs, and any listener who does not know her well would think it to be genuine. “I’d rather he follow the footsteps of his son Einosuke, who is well on his way to becoming a retainer of the Clan, with how much he praises us.”

The Lady pauses, tapping her fingers against her robes. “It would be beneficial for the Yanaihara,” she says, a watchful eye noting the girl’s reaction to her words, “to have a chieftain sympathetic to its ideals on the highest rung of Nishimeya’s hierarchy.” Her hands smoothen out the wrinkles in her kimono. “Do you understand, Haruhi-hime, what is being asked of you?”

 


 

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"I have heard of Nishimeya, I've heard it's quite beautiful, and that Lord Akimatsu's son Einosuke is looking for a bride." 

It was true. If Akimatsu's son wanted to rule of the smaller town, he'd have to cement it with a bride, and a son. However, it was not Haruhi's intention to get married, and she especially didn't want to find herself married to a minor Lord of a trade town. She thought higher of herself, and if she were to marry, she was sure her Aunt would arrange a contract with higher nobility, to raise her own station. Also, if she understood what her Aunt was telling her, she was supposed to somehow get Einosuke to announce an alliance with the Yanaihara. But for anything like that to even happen, Lord Akimatsu had to die. This was difficult, and it could in multiple directions. 

He dies on his own, and makes it easier for her to swoop in and woo Einosuke, with no bloodshed. He doesn't die on his own, and she has to kill him, but gets caught. She goes to prison, and brings shame to her Father and her clan. The last possible outcome, she kills him, woos Einosuke, and manages to cement an alliance between the clans, and brings forth a profitable alliance, without a marriage. She wanted the last one, but in life, nothing usually worked out the way you wanted. 

Haruhi didn't answer for a couple moments, and she stared down at her hands, inspecting the sleeves of her robe as she thought about what her Aunt was asking of her. There's no other reason why she would show up here, and ask her the things she has, and a young girl like her, was not the usual suspect when it came to a Lord's Murder. 

"Yes, I believe I understand what you're asking of me, Asora-sama." She lifted her head, and looked at her Lady Aunt. "When do I depart?" 

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Asora nods, smiles graciously at the girl’s reply; it is altogether refreshing, to hear of such exuberance, of such determination, of such ambition. There is no doubt in her mind that the young Haruhi will become a brilliant star amongst the faceless many of the Yanaihara. She would take it upon herself to mold the lady into one deserving of all the power the world may grant her.

“Before you take your leave, we must first visit a skilled seamstress,” the Lady Yanaihara explains, rising to her feet with nary a sound, nary a strand of hair out of place. “I rather think you would appreciate her work the most, of all people.”

 

A radiant sunrise heralds the next day’s visit to the Shirokawa household, warm rays peeking over the distant hills and kissing the earth as the world comes to awakening. Lady Asora alights from the rickshaw she had shared with Haruhi on the journey to the estate and gestures for the young woman to follow her up the stone steps and towards a small cadre of servants. They bow low to the pair as they make their approach.

“I am here to visit the Lady Tsuyu,” says Asora, even as the statement is merely a formality; she had sent word to the aspiring Trapmaker days before her arrival. “Please send for her at once.”

 


 

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Her Aunt stood, and Haruhi couldn't believe the air around this woman. She was so elegant, nothing seemed to phase her. Even her hair and her clothing seemed to stay in it's proper place, she was the picture of aging elegance. She was someone Haruhi aspired to be, now and as she grew. Haruhi stood, not with the exact grace her Aunt has, but just close enough. She clasped her hands in front of her, one hand overlapping the other. 

"Thank you, Asora-sama, I promise I will not disappoint you." 

Her aunt departed, leaving her all alone again in her room. Her mind raced, and yet she herself stood still. She stared straight ahead, unsure of how she was going to pull this off. Sure she's flirted before, sending glances, small smiles, but she's never seduced anyone. All those samurai in training, all those serving boys, they were just games she was playing, she'd never bedded any of them. 

As nighttime approached, she sat on the thin futon on her floor, now clothed in a thin white robe. Her gut was churning. She wouldn't lie if anyone asked if she was nervous, of course she was. She was expected to perform from one of the members of the main family, and if she failed... she had no idea what they would do. She lifted up the quilt on her bed, and slid under it, laying comfortably under it. She could do this, she had to do this, for the betterment of her family. 

-----------------------------------------

The next day, her Aunt arrived to pick her up. Just yesterday she had mentioned a seamstress. There was one seamstress that came to Haruhi's mind, and she was quite talented. She climbed into the rickshaw, pulled by one of the many servants the Yanihara employed. This would take the two highborn ladies to the other side of the rather large estate. The ride to the Shirokawa household was silent, not a word shared between the two ladies. Upon their arrival, she followed Asora closely, smiling softly as the servants bowed low as they approached. She stood tall, silent as her aunt called for the Lady Tsuyu, the seamstress she had suspected her Aunt would've picked. She's heard that her work is amazing, just wonderful. 

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A soft hammering could be heard behind the wooden panels of the workshop, the smell of oak and lavender filling the air as the sonorous strings of a harp could be heard as well. Ryohei, Lady Shirokawa's cousin and appointed personal bodyguard, stepped quietly towards the door and knocked a couple of times. The harp slowly faded in volume, a low murmur being heard from behind the door. A few seconds passed before the door opened.

A figure stood by the door, feminine in shape yet obviously not human. Clawed, scaled hands and talons adorned with jewelry and bracelets, a lithe body covered by a purple cloak with golden designs embroidered all over and a face obscured by a hood, the only recognizable feature being a pair of almond shaped glowing pink eyes. The figure floated a couple inches over the floor and was gazing at Ryohei attently. Yet the young man didn't flinch and instead bowed politely, the figure doing the same, her eyes seemingly "smiling".

"Momo-sama, I didn't know you were here." Ryo said to the yokai.

"Who is it Oka-san?" A young female voice came from the other side of the room.

The yokai turned to the voice and let out a few sounds, like bells and meowlings fluttering in a melodic way.

Ryo peered inside to see Tsuyu standing on a small wooden ladder, working on the top of a block of white-gray stone, already showing some rough details of a masked face and a figure locked into a sort of dance position.

"Excuse me my lady. Ladies Asora and Haruhi have arrived to the estate, they seem eager to have an audience with you." Ryo continued.

Tsuyu stepped off the ladder and wiped her hands in a small towel before signaling for a couple of servants to help her with the supplies.

"Please prepare a quick bath for me, and the silken robes..." She said to the servants before turning to Ryohei. "They are the Yanaihara, Ryo-kun, if anything, I'm the one having an audience with them... Good thing I finished those designs yesterday. They will be impressed."

The confident tones of her voice clashed very much with her small, cute figure.

"Oka-san, would you please tell the staff to entertain our guests? I'm sure they will be delighted with your tea, if you are willing." She continued, approaching the yokai and holding her arm tenderly and flashing a smile to the spirit. The ghastly figure chimed adorably and nodded, her hands clapping softly before taking her leave.

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The Shirokawa family tea room was anything but traditional. Though preserving the classic central table and seats, the room's windows were large and open, looking directly into a small yet well tended garden. The corners of the room were adorned with artsy sculptures and paintings of vast fields of flowers and other nature sights hanged from the walls, bearing the signature of Tsuyu and her mother's respectively.

In the center, Momo-san used her claws to delicately add petals and other aromatics to the tea. It was obviously not the standard tea ceremony, but the normal seemed to have given room to some eccentricities since Tsuyu had officially been announced as the next head of the household.

The tea was served, a delicious honeyed aroma mixed with hints of jasmine.

Tsuyu bowed happily and smiled at her guests, extending a hand in a gesture to enjoy the beverage.

"I am grateful to host such esteemed and beloved guests as our Ladies Asora-sama and Haruhi-sama. I beg to the kami that the tea served by my beloved spirit mother is of your delight. Without bragging, I would say it is the best tasting tea this side of the Empire." Tsuyu began to say, adding grandeur and flair to her words.
 

"Asora-sama, I can not avoid but to admire your presence blessing my home, for that I am grateful. I hope it has been of your liking so far." Tsuyu continued, focusing on Asora before turning to Haruhi, her eyes seemingly glittering. "And you Haruhi-sama. Pardon my words if they are too forward, but your beauty surpasses that of the rainbows over a sunset sky."

In a moment, Tsuyu took a sip of the hot beverage, closing her eyes to feel the smooth flavor of the tea washing over her tongue. As she opened her eyes, her pupils seemed to have sharpened, and a happy yet slightly devious smile formed on her lips.

"It will be an honor to serve the clan... In court, street or battlefield. How may I serve?"

Edited by Maverick

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There are no complaints to be found on the Lady Yanaihara’s lips on account of how they have been received by the Shirokawa household; she takes care to only associate with those who are infallible whatever scenario comes their way, and the Shirokawa family have never failed to deliver whenever there are needs to be addressed.

“I would not argue with you on the matter of the tea, Tsuyu-san,” she says, smiling down at the teacup in her hands. “It’s quite a delicious blend. Your spirit mother has a gift for it.” Asora nods her head in recognition at the yokai who had served them. At the young woman’s next words, she looks to Haruhi seated beside her, observing her reaction to the compliment.

Already, this is a test: a rather simple one, but a test nonetheless.

"It will be an honor to serve the clan... In court, street or battlefield. How may I serve?"

Moving her gaze away from her niece but keeping her face in the corner of her eye, Asora looks to Tsuyu and smiles approvingly. “I would have you serve where you are most suited for.” She takes another sip of the tea, allowing it to warm her throat before she continues. “I quite adore the way you choose your garments, Tsuyu-san,” she says, gesturing to the lady’s silken robes, “but I have heard stories that you intend to become a Trapmaker.” Asora clasps her hands together over the table, leans forward a little as she gazes upon Tsuyu. “I was wondering if perhaps you would be able to aid the Lady Haruhi by marrying these two ideas together.”

 


 

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Being welcomed by the Shirokawa household was a small delight. It was never a disappointment when they visited here. The Shirokawa were in the fold simply because of that fact; they never disappoint. Her Lady Aunt was very selective on who was allowed to play this game of theirs: who could benefit their family the most? The Skirokawa were a skilled family, and they weren't just Seamstresses, though that may be the word on everyone's lips at the moment. Tsuyu-san was extremely talented, her designs were becoming very popular in the Yanaihara household in particular. 

As they waited, a tea was prepared for them to enjoy. Haruhi carefully placed the tea cup to her lips and sipped, careful not to make a sound. She held the small cup in both hands, showing every bit of politeness and respect that tea deserved. The blend was simply delicious, the honey soothed her core, while the jasmine and ginger tingled down her throat as it slid down. It was lovely, why wasn't it served at the main estate? She carefully set the cup down, and she bowed her head slightly, smiling. "Thank you very much, Tsuyu-san, it is very kind of you to say so." She placed her hands on her lap, feeling her Aunt's eyes on her, though she did not turn her head. 

A test. Had she passed it? 

Tsuyu was eager to serve, perhaps that is why Aunt Asora chose to come here today, but there seemed to be another reason. Trapmaking? Haruhi couldn't help but be interested in the conversation was to come. She picked up her tea cup once again, taking a sip. "I'm also very impressed in the way you dress yourself, Tsuyu-san, perhaps you can help us after all." She sipped again. She wondered how Trapmaking and garments could come together. 

 

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Word spreads quick for those with more eyes among the populace than they would let know. Indeed, she was expecting the question to come out since Asora-san had entered the state with Haruhi in tow. Her family had left a legacy that was fairly untarnished, and now as heir, Tsuyu had to make sure it remained so, specially among the clans such as the Yanaihara. Tsuyu nodded politely and finished her tea, waiting for everyone to finish theirs before finally standing up. She excused herself with her yokai mother before extending her hand towards the pair of honored guests, the servants diligently fixing the dishes while the group walked back out of the gardens.

As they walked, Tsuyu calmly explained her creative process.

"You are correct Asora-sama. Since I was but a child, the intrincacies of art have interested me beyond reproach. At first it was caligraphy, paintings, drawings... The usual affair for a kid. However, as I grew, more things began to call my attention. Pattern complexity, origami, clock-making... Though I have to admit this last one still eludes me to this day. It seemed like my mind grew restless, so my mother recommended to turn my eye towards an art that combined almost all of these things into one."

Ryohei walked in front, eventually reaching a large portculis with drapes instead of a door. The trusty bodyguard moved the drapes over to allow for the women to pass, revealing the room behind them. Rolls of silk of different colors, cloths and fabrics. A needlework station, a loom, mannequins... Everything an upstanding modist would need and more could be find inside.

"This is my second workshop. My work as a seamstress is only second to my sculpting... Perhaps evenly matched, though perhaps it is wishful thinking on my part to be as skilled as I can be in the trades I love."

Ryohei quickly pulled large cushions, posing them over the soft tatami floor for the ladies to sit. Though a bit informal, the workshop still held most comforts a girl would wish for.

"Fortunately, I was prepared for something of a demonstration." She said, pulling a mannequin into the center of the room, fully in sight of the two ladies. Over the model, a simple dress was posed, unassuming and regular to a fault. The mannequin also had bracers and other jewelry on the wrists, a necklace with some prayer beads and a wig held up in a ponytail by a comb and some lace.

"A dress..." She said simply. It was no work of art at all.

"But like the feathers of an owl, what can be seen is not all there is."

Tsuyu grabbed what looked like a slightly thread in the hem of the sleeve. She pulled it, and silently, a metallic wire extended comfortably to 40 cm in length.

"Many call this piano wire. Doesn't take a lot of strength to use, just have to be careful with the grasping hand"

As she let it go, the wire quickly retracted back into the hem, like it never was there. Tsuyu then continued by inserting her hand into the sleeve, almost to the elbow, and when pulling it out, a small cube was in her hand. She opened it, revealing roll of almost transparent thread with a slightly sharp tip, the base of the cube also bearing this tip.

"A wire trap. When armed in a door frame or a narrow hall, it's almost imperceptible, but when tripped..."

Tsuyu cut the wire and a very faint but distinctive sound, like that of a wailing baby cat, could be heard.

"Useful for when you want to know if someone is coming... Now this."

She grabbed one of the bangles and pulled it out.

"This bangle is hollow, if you give a little twist and throw it with enough force..." Tsuyu said, twisting the metalic frame just a bit and throwing it outside the window. A thick cloud of smoke began to rapidly spread outside.

"Just a few easy to procure chemicals. Though it's not very stealthy, it could help on a hasty escape. Now I have a few recent developments as well. Specifically these two."

Tsuyu removed the comb and the prayer beads from the mannequin and showed them to the ladies. The final two beads of the necklace were black and white, respectively.

"First, the beads. They look like normal prayer beads, nothing out of the ordinary. But crush the white one and the powder inside can be used to spike someone's food or beverage. It's nightshade extract combined with black lotus resin. It will induce a heart attack in 30 seconds, and it is nigh-undetectable when used correctly. The black bead on the other hand hold the antidote to the poison, how you use it is up to you, but it might be a bargain chip, or a pleasant surprise."

Finally, Tsuyu showed them the comb. A beautiful jeweled comb, with shiny teeth and a sturdy body.

"This is quite simple..." She said, pressing the body. The comb's teeth lengthened a few inches and turn to a side, becoming fan like. When hit by the light, the ladies would be able to appreciate the keen edge on it. "A hidden blade, you can throw it, or use it as is to slash. Press again to turn it back into the comb."

Tsuyu smiled and returned all items to the mannequin before turning back to her guests.

"Other than those well, there are many hidden pockets on the inner parts of the dress. The underlayers are also stab-resistant, and could also probably stop a slashing as well, though obviously it is better to avoid such dangers. The sash is filtered, it will allow you to breath in the presence of airborne poisons and can be used as a convenient face mask to this purpose. And just as an emergency..."

Tsuyu finally put her hand under the skirt of the dress, a most unladylike place to be precise. With a quick pull, however, she revealed a hidden, fairly large matte-colored tanto knife.

"Let's hope no one gets to this part of the plan..." She said, putting the knife on a table before sitting in front of her guests.

"It might look... Gruesome. And dangerous for sure. But in our line of work, sometimes violence is needed. Any other modifications that you might think of, I might be able to work into your dress. Caltrops, sleep agents, stuff like that. I also have to take your measurements, and for that you would need to disrobe. But no worries, Ryohei will wait outside, and will not let anyone enter." She said rather coldly.

Ryohei nodded and calmly walked out of the workshop, standing guard outside. Tsuyu awaited Haruhi's and Asora's answer, a tad nervous that perhaps it would look like she was too much into killing, when in fact she disliked violence greatly.

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Asora smiles, nods at Haruhi’s response, the formal body language she exudes: a lily, elegant and tall and unyielding. She need not worry, then; the young woman is more than capable of fighting her own battles.

After their tea, the hostess of the house invites them to walk with her, and so they find themselves trailing after Tsuyun into the gardens and into the hidden workshop, listening to the spiel the woman presents in introduction to her chosen craft. And then—the demonstration.

As each intricate and mechanic piece of fashion is produced for their eyes to observe, Asora watches both Tsuyu’s creations and Haruhi’s face in equal measure. Equipped with the Lady Shirokawa’s work, her niece would be a force to be reckoned with both in public and behind closed doors: the peerless example of the lady spy in her natural element. She would be just perfect for the role Asora is asking her to play, and with that thought, the deal is sealed.

When the man removes himself from the premises and Tsuyu stands waiting for their reaction to her craft, Asora lifts her hands and offers a few claps of approval. “Most astounding work, Tsuyu-san.” The Lady Yanaihara’s expression is effortlessly calm, composed, a gentle smile on her face even as she praises ornaments that promise violence and perhaps death. “I am in awe of your expertise in this field; it’s quite unlike anything I’ve seen,” she pauses, the curl of her lips taking a more devious curl, “and I have seen my fair share. Now, perhaps we may see whether Haruhi-hime would fit well with your clothes here, or if she’ll need a lighter shade to match her eyes.”

The gauntlet has been thrown. Asora turns to the young lady beside her and awaits her next action.

 


 

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The garment was simply wonderful. It was plain horribly so, but the fabric itself looked lightweight, even with all the weapons and trinkets hidden within. It was a real work of art. There were weavers, and potters, but then there was Tsuyu-san, her fingers worked magick. The seamstress had a real gift for this art, and it seemed her Aunt knew this all along. 
Haruhi smiled, her head tilting to the side ever so slightly as watched the demonstration, and thoughts raced through her head. How did she manage to think of this? No one had ever thought to hide poisons in jewelry before, and all the hidden pockets on the inside gave no indication that they even existed! 
"This is all simply marvelous, Tsuyu-san, where did you get the ideas to do all of this? It's unheard of." She said, and she walked closer to the mannequin to inspect the dress further. The fabric was plain, something one of the maids would wash her clothes in probably, but it was most likely a prototype, and not the actual finished product. She turned towards her Aunt and Tsuyu-san, and she flipped her silky dark hair over her shoulder. 
"Yes, I don't think this color would compliment my eyes, or my skin tone. Do you have this in something more," She didn't know how to say this without sounding rude or spoiled, "made for my Status? I'm sorry if that sounds rude, but if this is to work, I should certainly look the part." Haruhi said, stepping away from the dress entirely. 

Edited by Witches Brew

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A silent, honored bow followed Asora's compliment on Tsuyu's handiwork, a smile of satisfaction forming on her lips as the

"It is not rude Haruhi-sama. This is merely a simple dress for testing purposes, nothing I would dare to be worn on someone of your status. As for the origin of the ideas, it all comes from fashion sense and comfort really. Dresses for ladies such as ourselves leave very little room for practicality... Most of the time. My childhood was mostly spent being paraded around by my father in many social gatherings, and I had so many toys I could not take with me due to this conundrum... So I began to improvise. My mother was adamant about the toys I could bring however, the little prankster I was back then."

She walked to the mannequin and removed the dress and accessories from it. Leaving the dummy dress on a workbench, Tsuyu moved to uncover the selection of fabrics and silks behind the curtains of her workshop. There were many to choose from, different colors and tonalities, fabrics and materials separated into hues and grades of sophistication.

"Certainly, it is my pleasure to offer you the best of my collection. Patterns and designs are no issue, I shall do them by hand for you Haruhi-sama. I promise I will use all my skill and expertise..."

Tsuyu smiled and ran her hand softly over the fabrics, making sure to show the colors and textures of them all.

"Please, do the honors... The choice is yours. I assure you no matter what you pick, I will make it shine brighter than the stars in the night sky."

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