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As the crowds cheered and the taiko drums rumbled in celebration, Mikazuki took a deep bow of respect, inspiring many of her fellow students to follow suit. Rising to stand erect once more, her eyes immediately cut back to the drama brewing between Ozu and Gin. Likewise, to the one of the New Moons that was trying to return Gin's sword to him. There was no way he left it on the ground by mistake, what was with him? Between laying his sword down and walking away from it, and his range of emotions, she was somewhere between weary of him and feeling sorry for him. Either way, this was hardly the place for either of these knuckle heads to be trying so hard to embarrass themselves. Approaching her cousin, the sharp, narrowed gaze of her eyes locked onto him.

"..."

Her gaze softened and her tongue steeled as she witness the approach of the Heika himself, and with his daughter no less! Her face flushed, burning pinkish red as she defaulted to respect. Standing stiff before hinging at the waist, she bowed as deep as he flexible body would allow her to.

"It is an honor both to be in your presence and to serve you my Lord."

greeting and remark in one, that required no response. Wait, was the Emperor's daughter calling out to Ozu? It was true then, perhaps Kenshinobu-Sama had actually referred his services directly to the Emperor after all. Ozu beat her at being captain, Ozu became one of the Akatsukizukuyo before her, and now he was also working as a direct sword of the Emperor and his family, before her. As jealousy stole her heart, she leered at her cousin briefly once more before ultimately turning sharp and her heals and walking away. Any words she wished to have with him, or fights she wished to pick would have to wait until the crowds were dispersing at the official end of the ceremony and it's extended festivities.

Edited by Twitterpated

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He smiled pleasantly, despite the deadness in his eyes. The girl should notice the difference, his arrogance now gone, if possessed of intuition and running on automatic. His calloused hands, small, but tidy, shoved the heirloom between the woven belt and uniform and tied one end of the silver chain to secure the weapon. He turned once more to the girl, his smile hollow and stretched like his eyes.

"I am Gennosuke Nara. But you can call me Gin."

The incredible roar from the crowd interrupted their conversation, ending any other words exchanged but one simple statement. "Come on!" He did not wait for the girls response and instead grabbed hold of her hand before rushing back to the designated area the students were being introduced.

@Hani

Edited by ShogiJesus
Rewrote post

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A face of pain even in rejoice over the Graduation hid well in it's rights beyond false contempt.

Yet, he had to remain in formation as Shushou of his Class only just a bit longer. Gin still refused to let up - his lack of discipline, he was clumsy, he was definitely overrated. By now the ogre's mask muttered under his breath again, realizing he was ignored the second time and carried his joys to someone across to Akira of the Hiwatori in annoyance.  Ozu was making way towards the little voice of Kaori in the boxseats. The Emperor's personal favor of him was to keep a safe eye on her, protect her, that in a time he was unable to be there to prevent harm to her; Ozu would be there in their defense as her Hogo-Sha. The girl could remember being around the Moromichi maybe on the count of her ten fingers, though the time they've spent seemed like nearly 24hrs on a consistent. She'd never forget his features even from afar; the jagged dark brown hair and bang covering his scarred right eye.

Overlooking the entire Tsukimi from the edge of the balcony she sat.

"My little sister,  it's you is it?"

Shimai was what he referred her to, which was weird considering his secret crush on her mother. Waving an gentle hand of hello in a graceful deep bow he went acknowledging the Emperor amongst several other Officials especially, Shogun Yanaihara. However, soon exiting towards the ground and further towards the People to engage did he lift Kaori onto his shoulders so playfully. How ironic did the young wolf envision himself almost in the shadows of their images. Father and Daughter, dejavu nearly; except the adolescent boy replicated the existence of it being "real" in memories that never existed between he and the bastard Yoshihide. The only feelings he could remember were hate and resentment for the man that abandoned him, his mother, their village - they would have never shared such an experience as that.   Envious maybe, that he never truly had a father. 

"Stay in formation Akira, the Emperor is amongst us remember?"

While admiring her for kindness towards Gin would have seemed next, he instead went further in his proclamation as Shushou over the New Moons. The Niwatori Clan while he knew very little of them, he would learn more of them through Akira as time went forward, that she could excel alongside the rest of his Class long as she put forth the work of course. Speaking for himself, Ozu was still in fact wet behind the ears for an Okami yokai perhaps, but he believed in the Arts and dedicated himself solely into his days of nothing but strict Katas, exercise, and small casual spars. The people of the Nation believed in Rising Sun, significantly, Kenshi Momoku their Soke … They honored him like a hero, his morals, any thing he said; it didn't matter because he had power over the people, influence and they felt highly esteemed of his accomplishments.

As every one was reforming into their designated columns or ranks within their class from the corner of his single almond eye, his female rival approached scowling down his spirit the tiny hairs on his body begin to stand - knowing that his cousin was unpredictable and vengeful towards him. He remembered, their last pair-up against each other since his slight victory over her, there wasn't a day he hadn't seen her take a break from Martial training. Since then, he’s always been weary of her being around she'd sucker punch him out of nowhere. He was never afraid to give her that Round Two if she willed a second knot to her head. Thankfully, veneering past in her flashy looks and the presence of a tough chick's persona, he remained strong and poised fixated on the Soke and his declaration as if Mikazuki hadn't passed him at all. Great?!

@Twitterpated

@Hani

@vielle

@The Rabbit Emperor

@Armada
 

@Aleksei

Edited by Etched In Stone
ahh, less choppy. More seamless.

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Some people cannot help themselves but be pricks.”

Gin mumbled. The looks from other students were loud and obvious and clear. No matter how hard they tried to conceal expressions of disdain behind blank masks, the micro expressions still revealed their true feelings towards him. He was an outsider.

He squeezed his hand that held Akira’s and smiled faintly, running to the parade grounds where students would be introduced. His friend; should fate smile gently upon him, was the first since Jin became orphaned. It was because of her kindness without expectations of receiving a reward for her deed that he regained his basic humanity and hope for the future. Now, this friend, hand-in-hand, would receive the emperor’s blessing together with him.

He acknowledged the hard work and dedication of the other students. Especially the recently promoted half-moon and captain. But, acknowledgement did not concede to their snobby attitudes nor did it stir the desire for Gin to become friends with them. In Gin’s eyes they were nothing but spoiled children who bullied those not born of social status. He did not need them. He did not wish to follow their example nor confront them for the thickness of their skulls would prove to be quite the challenge to tackle. Instead, he will prove he belong in their dojo with hard work, dedication, and skill of the sword.

OOC: Keeping the thread alive

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“ALL HAIL SOKE, ALL HAIL SOKE!"

A flock of Tsubame metallic blue feathered swallows cut through the air in silhouettes of the blue skies. Their wings beat the air as if it took no effort at all, each movement precisely on time as it should be. Their figures stood prominent in the bright blue above with only small pockets of clouds to hide them and their scarlet faces. The dojo roared intensely throughout the audience. It would be as if Mother earth heard their augmented rumbles as trees brushed and swayed in rhythm of uplifting projections. The magnificent crash of solemn reverberation struck a single decrescendo from a giant, bossed bronze gong alongside the people of the stands as the drummers called a nearing recess. In this instant, a group of servants from opposing ends of the stands began handing the audience Sakes and Teas, encouraging them that now had been the time to lift their bowls and eat. Other dishes handed out were tasteful Mochi rice cakes and chestnuts to fill their bellies and whatnot, or simply provide a ten, fifteen grace from the music and martial demonstrations. This allowed people to get up from their seats and look around more closely the dojo, souvenirs, from things of wares, to a few upclose interviews with the Soke himself? In turn, it gave the students a chance to take to come back refreshed, rejuvenated. Or take parts in acquainting oneself amongst their new Class or whatnot even that, had already been occurring. Recruits would progress to the next segment in their Examinations, should that be stated. 

Quote

"Ozu! Ozu!"

Quote

"It is an honor both to be in your presence and to serve you my Lord."

Quote

Some people cannot help themselves but be pricks.”

 

Reeds that grazed in the nudging wind did not do so on it's own will. But, when an artist paints the scenery as so, a greater award comes together in the beauty of said price. Kenshi only saw what his Blindsense afforded as he watched the unfolding events from the stone dais of his throne. Hands pressed firmly against the silk whites of his robe as he sat erect and forward in his gaze afforded under Amaterasu's bright red sun. The beauty of being blind, except unhindered by vision to view the world of what it was. It's truths, it's cosmic energies, were more appreciable to the Soke he was convinced throughout his hundreds years of living. There was no far greater beauty to life and death as their was to joy or sadness he would display through his imperfect eyes. The love and hate of man, the goodness and evil of their moral, the whites and blacks of truth versus deception. To his pupiless iridescent whites the life force of sentiments was sufficient to his own witness of the ceremony, in odd speculation. Each individual spiritual embodiment carried with them an ambience the Soke did judge, and observe nearly three, four hundred persons of the audience and ceremony. Even then, his hanyo canine smell was also an alternative when faced with limited sight. In slight elation a light applause would emit from the palm of the Sokes's hands. Staring in contempt for the majority of his Moon students with the exception from those that would later require more formal, one-on-one training; today marked the Nation's first Tsukimi Ceremony in support of the Heika and the People of Jigoku.

"I am delighted by your efforts in attending since Hanami, Lord Koji. Lady Koharu, how is she there in the stands above? We've grown into an indomitable Nation from our arrival on Genesaris. The Dojo has established itself as the foundation for our warriors in Jigoku. Grateful are your blessings."

While Kenshi was unfortunately absent for the Hanami Festival, he was pleased to know especially the Emperor returned safely. The Soke had hardly recognized the Shogun ever since her election, but even she too was just as an asset to the Nation as he. Together they shared a common interest of the Empire promoting growth and sustaining their power within the New Union Frontier and all of Genesaris. With Ozu’s acquisition and rank of Hogo-Sha over Kaori and the longevity of peace throughout the Country, the Imperial General concentrated on the Dojo and his students. Rising from the raised platform he respectfully bows to the lord and offers his gratitude for the ceremony. As he did not direct his Blindsight towards the Heika or his lovely baby girl, just yet Kenshi did turn an slightly craned gaze at the young Gin - from a single whiff from his nose the Hanyo could trace him in his smell distinctly through the crowd. When his application reached the Soke’s notice preparations were made to for certain needs of the boy and if there were a few adjustments, or accommodations specific for his duration of the stay were followed. This was also true for the other foreign students of afar territories. The Nara clanner was expected to been just as prosperous in the Arts as Mikazuki, Akira, Ozu and the others as equally as they were obnoxious. The blind wolf's gaze had yet to remove itself from the distance of the Moons down in the center of the grounds, but his attention reared back slowly for the response of the Heika reaching a playful finger, tickling the small ankle of Kaori as she watched them from above.

Edited by Etched In Stone

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PndT33U.pngKaori instantly melted into a pile of loose giggles, playfully shaking her legs away from the tickling at her ankle. All these familiar faces and voices made the little girl excited and not at all satisfied being high above the events unfolding between everyone. To avoid the tickles and the remove herself from her lofty perch, the little one shifted and instantly disappeared, leaving her father's shoulder empty.

The trick was one she had learned when a group of older children was teasing her, and in a moment of childish emotions, she just disappeared before her assailants and stayed that way for hours before her mother found her. It had taken her mother some time to calm Kaori down, so she returned to being visible; the emotional effect upon her abilities had then been noted. In time, she learned to use her skill to hide from people or play silly tricks on the adults, often landing herself in trouble. Now, she wanted to remove herself from her father's shoulder so she could reappear right in front of Ozu.

Impatiently she tugged at Ozu's leg, demanding that he kneel to her height so they could speak. Once he followed her orders, the toddler smashed his face between her small hands and held him close. Not a drop of shyness within her tiny form, the little one stared at him with wide-eyed wonder; his reflection happily embedded into her golden hues. 

"For you!"

And with all the strength of a toddler, she forces his forehead against her's, pressing the floral note on her forehead to stamp itself upon his skin. A small puff of flower petals would erupt from the content, leaving the heavy scent of a blooming garden behind as they disappeared from sight and touch. Pulling his face away, she examines the red mark on his forehead with a critical approach. Assured that he was now blessed, she kisses the mark, forcing it to disappear and once it does a trickling of warmth would flow through Ozu's veins. It was a blessing both from Kaori (unbeknownst to her) and Celine (the motivator behind this moment). 

"A gift for Ozu!"

Releasing him from his hold, she patters back to her father's side and takes his hand.

 @Twitterpated @Etched In Stone

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"It is an honor both to be in your presence and to serve you my Lord."

"It is an honor to have you in my service...Momiji, Mikazuki."

He responded plainly with a glance. The moment their eyes met, she looked down rather swiftly. Either she was embarrassed, or still stuck in the ways of the late Empress. Regardless, he pressed on with the volley of interactions rapidly approaching. 

“Some people cannot help themselves but be pricks.”

The Heika failed to look at the Gin, or any other outward indication that he'd heard him. After all, it would be nothing more than petty and awkward to pick him out over the ruckus rising around them. Not that he felt a need to reprimand him necessarily. He did however, gain a sudden interest in getting to know him a bit more intimately. All he knew about him was that he was the sole survivor of his clan. The Nara were said to be incredibly formidable, rivaling or perhaps even outclassing the Owari even. When he looked at the young warrior and saw nothing but raw potential, and unchecked, deep seeded rage. If groomed properly, he could become one of the most dangerous killing machines in Genesaris if not in all of this world.

"I am delighted by your efforts in attending since Hanami, Lord Koji. Lady Koharu, how is she there in the stands above? We've grown into an indomitable Nation from our arrival on Genesaris. The Dojo has established itself as the foundation for our warriors in Jigoku. Grateful are your blessings."

"Do not flatter us so, conflict is inevitable. We have been blessed thus far, though the blessing are a gift to me from you; From this entire Nation."

Suddenly, Kaori vanished from his shoulder without a trace. While she did leave his field of perception for a brief moment, he was able to race her easily upon her return. Curiously he watched Kenshinobu, waiting to see if or how he reacted to the event. He wished to know if the blindsense could in fact perceive the phenomena. Perhaps with the Mugen-me he could have witnessed and comprehended the happening, though he had no sure way of knowing without trying to openly view it. Maybe he'd have the chance in the future. Maybe not.

"For you!"..."A gift for Ozu!"

He watched the flourish of energy shroud Ozu as it was absorbed by his body. Though he typically refrained from showing any emotion while in the public eye, a smirk cracked his mask. Never could he say he trusted anyone with his children. Not even their respective mothers or himself. Twice he'd lost her, twice he'd gotten her back. These were choices made in his trust in Celine, though he had to be wiser than trust moving forward. Still, she needed someone by her side tasked with protecting her. Trust or not, truth was truth. The young skilled swordsman had time to grow with Kaori and form a personal bond. His hopes being that she wouldn't never grow to rebuke him, and that he would grow to personally want to protect her with his life. She wasn't his heir by any means, though she was his first born. She is his future.

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The Nara boy was...the odd one out he felt like, despite the school letting in other outsiders than himself. Surely he wasn't the only one here by himself. Oh wait, Mikazuki was. Gin felt like an outcast, so did she. While she still had her mother, her father had passed some years ago. Having been the only child born to him, it was on her to pick up the weight of his legacy and carry it until the day she might bare a son in his honor. One that may continue the Momiji legacy. He thought he had it hard; Imagine being related to the Okami bloodline by birth and still feeling like an outcast. Imagine having only you and your mother alive, and solely bearing the weight of their memory all his own. Oh wait, he was. Still, she couldn't be bothered to pay him any mind. She was far too distracted by the Emporer and his eldest Princess. Not like she ever felt the need to explain herself to anyone in the first place.

"!?"

Her almond shaped eyes widened as Kaori vanished before her very eyes, the Emperor himself seemingly unresponsive. Reappearing before her cousin, the small girl continued her shows of affection by pressing their foreheads together, sharing what looked like her make-up with him. A brief moment later, she kissed it, in which the mark vanished from his skin and a wave of energy surge throughout his entirety before vanishing mysteriously. Mikazuki was no fool, and the playful words to follow were all but confirmation to her suspicions. Ozu, a first year student, was working directly for the Imperial family. She wasn't sure what his specific job was yet, but she would certainly find out later. Even if she had to beat it out of her own cousin. 

@Etched In Stone@Hani@vielle@The Rabbit Emperor@Armada@Aleksei

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Miraculously … Yes, it was almost as a miracle appeared before his eyes - as fascinated as he appeared though at the same time, as Shushou over the New Moons Ozu had somewhat a responsibility to hold, he was entitled to maintain a grave outwardly appearance. Especially, during a time of a ceremony for the Dojo. Yet, as he no longer felt bothersome by Mikazuki's presence or the arrogant Gin he couldn't help but to glance and find that little Kaori was down at his side tugging on the robes of his wear. The fact that she somewhat teleported, or plane-walked was unbelievable for the young Okami whom had no clue the toddler possessed such a feat. He actually felt the one to be a fool, of course she had special abilities too she was indeed, the Heika's daughter why not? Strangely enough, out of all the time he spent watching over her in the domains of the Emperor's pagoda he had never witnessed once, even a sliver of magical ability from her. However, there she was, down by his legs urging his attention he simply could not refuse to give. His little Shimai. 

As her Hogo-sha he took the kneel to her level, there was no trouble he'd get in for this even though he now had many an eye staring him down that he could feel unnecessary attention boiling upon his form. Neither was there any embarrassment, she was like a little sister in one way or another that knew how to capture his attention. In fact, she was a master at doing so. Running a hand through her the top of her silky dark hair playfully messing it, she instantly forced her forehead onto his which was strange for the fact, he had no idea of what was coming next. Yet, he trusted that perhaps she had wanted a word with him or something. That was when he felt a sudden surge of energy flux through his form, it was obviously foreign because his own yoki opposed it upon entering. However, the reassurance and warmth caused by it allowed his involuntary defense to back off and allow it to take course. The scent of sakura filled the area around him, then he knew that she had somehow infused a bit of her energy into him. A kiss from her soft pink lips sealed the deal shut and momentarily he had blushed, this was the first time he had ever been kissed and strangely enough by a little girl he considered to be his sister. 

"Is that so?"

He had no idea what she meant by a little gift, though his form felt rejuvenated and almost new. Watching as she wobbled back to her father the Emperor he stood back to his full extent and remained idle for the rest of the speech before recess broke for students and audience alike. One thing was for certain, Ozu was starving. Dishes were being passed out and whatnot as the final stroke from the gong was rung, relieving himself from the party of his students with a slight bow Ozu headed off for a bowl of that red rice and some tea for a seat in the bleachers with the crowd that remained there.

@Hani

@vielle

@The Rabbit Emperor

@Twitterpated

@Armada

@Aleksei

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Kenshi's pure whites drew onto the Emperor as he spoke, his words as they were intended - wise, that a man of such considerable less age than the Daiookami had sheer enlightenment. The Blind Wolf did not help, but brand a neutral smirk upon hearing the confidence run from his lips. In some way, the young man was ahead of time for his age. It never crossed him throughout his time in service of Datsuzuko who they possibly be faced against during times of war. As the Nation grew in the Midlands however, it was but a matter of time before they had enemies trying to run down what all he forged in his hard work. For all intents and purposes he'd assume it would be those back in Avylon, Raveena of Hyperion and her ignorant son of a guard Grant who afforded himself the loss of a hand for getting too touchy upon the Dragon-Emperor. She did wish a hand of his own in return, in which the Heika refused giving her the Swordslayer's, an act he held no pride in committing. Yet of course if it came done it, though he was no longer a Hogo-Sha specifically tasked with the protection of Chijono - as the Imperial Army General his duty would been no different to his Country if they did go to war with any opposing Region.

Even though the Hanyo's Blind Vision did not directly attach on the Heika and rather was a bit lowered, off centered to the right a glimpse of Kaori's teleportation was captured in peripheral. Whatever it was, however she accomplished it, he only traced the scent of sweet blooming flowers in her wake, a smell that generously reminded him of her mother Celine. She had grown so much in so little time, atleast it seemed. However, his occupancy in the Dojo left him very little personal time to spend with any of the Imperial Ichizoku. Reappearing almost instantly by side of her Guardian Ozu, he felt relieved in knowing she did not venture off too far or that something possibly might have happened to her.

"We are but a flower rooting ourselves into deeper soils. I have slayed over several hundred men. For you my Lord, I will slay another several hundred and my men will triple that number. The fear of another Country outdoing us, however has passed me over."

His glimmering pearls stared in a trancelike state into the open air and space of the training grounds, a grazing wind pass him by caressing his spirit and voluminous tendrils of ash black that fell to the scruff of his neck  - he'd envision the day that would soon come. A grand battle of the Warriors in Datsuzoku, a glorious day of bloodshed and honor. That is why he dedicated not only himself, but the students of Rising Sun so consistently in studies as if they would train and practice solely for purposes of war. Men, women, children of age - there was no greater emphasis or importance here in Jigoku and Neo Ooxora than being capable of fighting and doing it well. This vision would soon wash over him, his mental awareness returning onto the Heika again. Yet, even in feeling the sudden surge of energy soak itself into Ozu his nephew and the familiar presence of Kaori as it fused jointly into his own spirit, for the time being he would not quite understand why or what just occurred while occupied in his temporary meditation. Whatever she meant by a gift, it seemed as so Ozu was clueless for the time just as he. Later would he grasp exactly what she had accomplished. With the students now in recess, there was no better time to acquaint himself with the Shogun or the other Clan Officials in the box office for that matter. Before gesturing a look of interest towards them he made a small acknowledgement of his great niece, Mikazuki. While she was the last of the Momiji legacy she was still his blood in fact and just as significant as the rest of the Okami clan. She was envious of her younger cousin or so it appeared, but little would she know it was Kenshinobu's promise before her parents passed that he would see to her success at any cost. Holding that secret against her would only make her strive harder as the daughter of the Momiji and she had already surpassed her younger cousin even though his rank as 1st Division was giveth to him prior. 

"I am proud of your progressions, Mika. As I'm sure your father would’ve been, as well."

@Hani

@vielle

@The Rabbit Emperor

@Twitterpated

@Armada

@Aleksei

 

 

Edited by Etched In Stone

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"Come, let us commune with our other leaders. I'm sure they grow restless as we continue to banter away from them."

"I am proud of your progressions, Mika. As I'm sure your father would’ve been, as well."

"Domo artigato, Kenshi-sama" Mikazuki stated plainly as her right fist closed before pressing its knuckles into the left palm of the open fist, a bow afforded in order to show respect in completing a traditional, martial salute. 

Leaving Kaori in the care of Ozu as arranged, Koji sought to return to the remaining clan leaders and the Shogun with Kenshi in tow. As always, the Inari clan leader was reserved of emotion, though he knew deep down inside that the Inari was just as weary and nervous of the Okami as its allies. Otomatsu, leader of the Owari clan, though veiled beyond a menacing mask harbored a thick energy of contempt with him. The two of them along with the Kaminari head were mostly only here due to formalities, out of respect for their Emperor. For none of the three contributed to the numbers of the new students entering the school of the Rising Sun. As the Emperor returned to them with Kenshinobu, he maintained his default face. Devoid of any one emotion, with half lidded indigo eyes staring lazily at the three other leaders and the Shogun; His Draconic hand lifting and signaling reassurance for Kenshinobu to stand with him directly as opposed to a step behind as all the others, save for the Empress.

"Of course you are all aware of your Imperial General; Momoku, Kenshinobu. Kenshi-dono, it is my pleasure to formally introduce you Inari Yoko, Owari Otomatsu, and Kaminari Aoi. Of course, I'm sure you remember the Lady Koharu's endearing words whilst we celebrated our Empress."

He paused, allowing the trio to suck in the envy before driving yet another nail into their respective coffins.

"It has been brought to my attention that it would please the Shogun for you to extend a branch of the school in the New Union City."

Silently, Otomatsu rose from his seat and took a silent, casual stride out and away from not only the group, but the school over all. He'd had enough of these shenanigans for the evening. It was best he left before he was forced to do something foolish, or remain to appear as a coward for allowing any man the chance to continuously and blatantly patronize him in front of an audience regardless of it's size.

"Forgive him my Emperor, perhaps his mind is beginning to fail in his old age." Yoko spoke with a spot of wisdom, regardless of his personal feelings. 

"Gomen, pardon me. Well wishes to you all, especially to you, my Emperor." Aoi left shortly after, following after Otomatsu partially to console him, and partially to confide in him perhaps. After all, the Yanaihara threatened the balance of power the Kaminari possessed simply by erecting one of their own as a Shogun of the Empire. Though they didn't have the same blight, the fact that they were both blighted perhaps gave room to relate if nothing else. Yoko on the other hand was more interested in watching the meeting play out to form more strong of an opinion about everything. After all, her duty was to her clan first; Unless compared to the likes of the Dynasty over all. 

@Etched In Stone@Hani@vielle@The Rabbit Emperor@Armada@Aleksei

Edited by Twitterpated

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PndT33U.png"You are looking satisfied, Celine."

The woman pinned the man down with her golden stare, annoyed by the fact she had been so easily read, and he was so ready to yell it to the world. Today she came as the Maharajahs companion, not a Concubine on the arm of her Emperor, the protector of the Empress, or a Sister to the harem. Her presence was unnecessary, so she allowed Desmond's general company to be an excuse to wander about in peace. 

"And still as mean as ever," he said, hand pressed against his beating and wounded heart.

"You speak far too casually for a man with a seat of power."

"And you act like a woman without passions," he tapped her on the nose, snapping the thread of tension between them in two. "Come, you brought us here, the least you can do is entertain me. Kaori is occupied with her father, so you'll just have to do."

Relaxing her shoulders, she playfully slapped the man on the arm. Desmond had appeared back into her life after some time, affixing himself to her side as if it were the most natural thing to do. She had been craving company and familiar comforts, and like a prayer answered, the gentleman came to her with a dreamy smile glued to his arrogantly handsome face. Celine disliked how he caught her off guard with his lackadaisical manner. Kaori never stood a chance, in an instant, she fell in love with the dark man and in tandem Desmond lost his heart to Kaori. Naturally, instinct took over, and he began to spoil the girl with his attention.  

"When are you going to have children, Desmond?"

The question fell from her lips before she could think about the effects they would have on him. She felt ashamed, but it did not show on her perfectly crafted face.

"Hasan and I have discussed children," he said sheepishly, "but at the moment we are just far too occupied with other things. If you hadn't run off ..."

The Concubine shoved him before he could finish his blasphemous sentence. "You are far too comfortable, Maharajah."

"You're pretty strong for a pregnant woman," he grinned while rubbing the sore spot on his shoulder. "Alas! I'm doomed to be an envious man. First Kaori, and now this child; the Emperor truly is blessed."

Celine smiled, thinking on the blessings afforded to the Emperor. Kaori, for example, is perhaps a bit more favored among the rest of her siblings. Thankfully, she hasn't become aware of that, and hopefully, such attention will wane as she gets older and becomes more acclimated to the company of the rest of her siblings. Thus far, she has attached herself to Ozu, and it comforted Celine that the two get along rather well.

So well, that when Koji excused himself to attend to other business, Kaori chose to chase after Ozu who went directly for some food. There wasn't a moments hesitance, the little one chased after him, keeping tight on his heels as she happily went with his flow. Now a person of interest, a few vendors of sweets and warm treats showered the young one with their gracious offerings. This was an opportunity to enjoy such things without father or mother restricting her sweet tooth! The first treat was a sweet bread freckled with sugar, after that she devoured a piece of chocolate that was slightly bitter but still delightfully sweet, and lastly, she dove into delicious ice that tastes like cherry. It never once occurred to her that some may want to harm her, not once did she check the treats she had been offered.

"Ozu, you like rice?" Sitting next to him, she pointed at his food with her free hand curiously. "What kind of tea?" 

@Twitterpated @Etched In Stone

 

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Hundreds of years ago …. One man an abandoned child was raised and protected by a pack of wolves. Later that boy grew into an adult and was eventually given the Cursed Ookami Okoto as a spirit and protector over the wolves that once nurtured him. That man was the Soke's Father who later passed and next in line to be the clan's heir was his oldest son, Kenshinobu. The Okami were known as the founding clan at the top of hierarchy within their existing lineage. When the clan married amongst each other to preserve the sacred knowledge of the Okami they were allowed to keep their Mother's surname to distinguish between the three bloodlines of the lineage. Unlike any other Ichizoku apart of Datsuzoku, they were the only clan that divided into three separate subgroups. Momoku, Moromichi, and the Momiji were beneath the main branch of Okami. It was in that reason and many others, often the other clans under the Imperial Family detested them. Primarily, the Owari.  

It been true the Grand Opening of the Dojo was the Hanyo's first actual acquaintanceship of the other officials. As he followed directly behind the traveling line of the Emperor after affording his niece a pat on the shoulder further for her commemorations, the Blind Wolf felt the tension between he and the one known as Otomatsu as he drew closer like a fish pulling on a line in water. Swatting down a mosquito that plunged itself into his neck with a crossed right palm in the same instant, it was no longer leeching from him. The smell of fresh foods, rice cakes, steamed and boiled fish, delighted his senses like a favorite treat perhaps - this moment was not one he could entertain himself with dining. His sightless stare lacked the care for the inconsideration of the others, though his company had been apart of the Emperor's this second … It was only in that reason did he afford them all a slight arch of his back as he bowed gesturing himself in a kind manner. Specifically, he was now standing amongst the one he had anticipated his most attention out of, the Shogun, Lady Koharu. 

"How could I ever forget such a spectacle as that day?"

He graced his benevolence upon her without sighting himself onto her directly. Today, this moment they were faced-to-face with the Nation's greatest Swordslayer that despite his reputation of being second-to-none in his Battojutsu continuously afforded those of worth with his serenity and amicable temperance. A change over time since the Yokai Wars of his era. His ash black tendrils cascaded down his back in abundance with all the shorter hairs falling across his face as bangs. His appearance stood rather smaller and slender in build up-close and even in his age of nearly 200 odd years his countenance remained very youthful and feminine in visage. As the two other leaders seemed to have more important matters to handle than their supporting roles here during the ceremony, Kenshi gently brushed down the sides of his silk white summer robe and stepped from their way into a seat besides the Shogun. With the smell of cherry blossoms in the fragrance of his garbs he proceeded in delightfulness looking into the emptiness of the arena floors.

"That is possible. Perhaps, once Moromichi returns from his summons we can arrange that. What if we added a door from Union City to Jigoku, until then?"

@Twitterpated

@vielle

Edited by Etched In Stone

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"Yes, maybe just as much as you like your namkeens. Imported Sencha from the foothills of my homeland, Hinodegakure. Good for the mentality of a young Warrior as myself."

A cloudy, almost rich golden lime liquid steamed from the ceramic betwixt his clutch of the right hand. It's aroma reminded of flowery green, or a seaweed beachiness with the hint of delicate sweetness. The young wolf gave a delighted bright smile to the little girl and nuzzled his nose lightly against the bridge of her curiosity. Together they'd seat themselves in the lowest row of the bleachers floor side, affording a leveled view of the currently empty dojo grounds. She went smashing her teeth into the treats provided to her by the bakers, stuffing her face fast as possible like a child afraid of her parent's finding their daughter, snacking away in disapproval of such sweets in the first place. Even when Ozu didn't appear to be keeping an immediate eye on Kaori in their relative closeness of each other occasionally, sipping from his tea, picking scoops from his Sekihan bowl of rice and beans with a pair of bamboo hashi between the thumb and fingers. His canine extrasensory perception was sharper than a freshly forged blade at the blacksmith. Every so often the occasional passerby was mugged by his beady sepia eyes that even in their innocent visage, still threatened to cause harm to just about any one willing to take the risk in opposing. As heavily guarded as the Dojo appeared for the Ceremony from the hundred or more service wolves, all the way to the three-hundred or so footmen from the Imperial Army; while it seemed quite sufficient enough to protect the attendees and students, etc., things like bomb threats was something that nobody not even Ozu could prepare himself to prevent from occurring. Even still, there were just too many eyes to keep track of all at once. 

"Your mother would kick-my-butt if she found you eating all this junk food, wouldn't she? Hurry it up, Shimai."

@Aleksei

@Twitterpated

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PndT33U.png"What if she can't marry?"

Celine laughed before taking a small sip of her warm tea. The idea of Kaori marrying made the woman feel a bit melancholy, as that is a significant step in someone's life that is hardly taken lightly. Thinking of her child as an adult felt awkward and unkind to a mother's gentle heart.

"I doubt she will have any problems finding a proper suitor."

Desmond chewed thoughtfully, nodding at Celine's response. "Certainly, though I hope she never marries. The last thing her father needs to do is protect his little from opportunists."

That is a common struggle among those born and given immense power. Kaori has lived a comfortable and safe life, but it will not be so the older she becomes and more the world changes. She will not have to worry about the burdens of running an Empire or fighting for her right to sit upon the throne. Her rights as a child to the Emperor has afforded her a certain kind of freedom, yet there will be certain expectations demanded of her as she comes into her own.

The Concubine places her hand against the small rise of her stomach, finding the action comforting. This child will also have struggles of their own, but also triumphs, and that gives her a small drop of ease.

"How are you feeling? Four months in and you barely look pregnant - the envy of many women!"

"Mm, tired? I could sleep for days and still feel sluggish, but that's not the terrible part. It's the smell of certain things and noises, like now all these people make me dizzy and weak."

Desmond could tell she was uncomfortable and frowned deeply, "What in the world are you doing out here then?"

"I like being outside," she said with a soft laugh.

As was the case with her child. Kaori laughed at Ozu as they enjoyed their snacks and drinks, enjoying each other's company and conversation. A curious creature that refused to stay inside the tall walls of her fortified home, Kaori is an opportunist. Any chance to go outside, to meet new people, to understand the world outside her castle, she will take it. Ozu had been the key to her adventures recently, a comfort she has come to enjoy and depend upon.
"Mère sneaks candy," the little one said, outing her mother with ease.

Kaori finishes her last little snack, feeling full and happy but sad that there was no longer any more room in her belly for other treats. Dinner isn't ruined by her snacking, enough running around and starting shenanigans will burn off all the sugar she has indulged. Most recently her mother has been playing more with her outside where they'd play chase and tackle each other. It's possibly the child's most favorite game at this point, next to playing swords and hide-and-seek.

"Ozu, do you play swords?"

The question was an innocent one. She knew he did something with a sword and was kind of an outstanding individual, but she had never paid much attention to everything that he does. This celebration was to exemplify his skills and the clan he represents, though that meant little to the child who was staring at her friend intensely.

"Can you teach?"

@Etched In Stone @Twitterpated

 

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