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Old 05-22-2018, 04:30 PM   #1
Based Kiba
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A Thread Featuring Shoda Kagero and Ichina Etsuko
"Be careful, Etsu-chan...." Her friend popped the lollipop back in her mouth as the girls sat at a table in the boba-tea cafe. Etsuko furrowed her brow and swallowed the squid-fritter before nearly gagging out a quick snapback.

"What do you mean? What's there to be careful about? It's just a mission!" Etsuko tried to meet her companion's eyes, but even she could tell what was really being said. The Corporal decided to look away and watch the teenager behind the counter struggle over taking a complicated ten-drink order from a delivery boy.

"Don't be stupid. It's a week and a half. On a boat. With Shoda Kagero. " The lollipop was waggled in front of the turquoise-haired woman, snatching her attention back to. "I don't know what you forgot about the past ten years, or what you didn't hear from Eriko back when they were dating -"

"You can hardly call three weeks dating." Ichina Etsuko rolled her eyes. The lollipop jabbed through the air at her face.

"See! See! You're doing what Eriko did!" Etsuko's mind was strong enough to be able to ignore the truth in her best friend's words. This was going to be different. "I'm telling you, Etsuko. He's a heartbreaker."

Turquoise hair danced in the space in front of her face as she blew hot air upwards, exasperated.

"Aaah! My lollipop!"

"Your lollipop?! My hair! Ow!"
- = - - - = -

The chilly breeze was constant and invigorating. Water lapped against the upgraded commuter boat. What had once been a ferry was now a prison boat, built up and reinforced to be able to transport prisoners from the courts to the Lightning Country's most famous penitentiary - The Lighthouse Prison of Yatsu City. Some said the trip to the prison was worse than the time one spent incarcerated, but that was only because a few prisoners had died from pneumonia before. But most of those had attempted a mutiny and instead ended up thrown overboard before being rescued without any offer of a towel.

It's still cold as hell.

Etsuko's jaw chittered for a second before she hugged herself deeper into her parka. A scarf covered the bottom half of her face, a hood lined with thin black fur hid most of her turquoise hair, and her ski pants kept her long-johns and sweatpants a secret. The sailors and a few civilian passengers were hardly warm or inviting. Most had a strange taste in their mouth for shinobi and only welcomed the pair because they would rather not transport incarcerated and angry ninja-prisoners without a little help.

Shoda Kagero, however, had managed to win the hearts of some of them. Ichina Etsuko, whether because of her femininity or strange hair, had frightened each one she had tried small talk with. Save for Kagero, naturally.

His personality was a welcome warmth on the boat, yet Etsuko knew better than to take advantage of it, and so they had only had a small handful of conversations over the past three days of sailing towards Yatsu. She had done her best to keep a certain distance.

All in the pursuit of balance was what she kept telling herself. I don't want him to get sick of me when we're going to have to come back the same way.

It had absolutely nothing to do with the storm-blue eyes, the way his hair flipped about in the breeze, or the way she surmised his physical beauty even while it was covered in layers of cold-weather gear. Absolutely nothing at all.
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Old 10-06-2018, 10:51 AM   #2
Calibur
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The young corporal’s rubber-soled boots made little sound on the ladder’s metal rungs as he climbed down into the relative dark of the ship.

The term ‘bowels’, he had discovered, was entirely appropriate for the cramped, dislocated hallways with their sparse strip lighting that barely illuminated the outline of his coat’s oversized cuffs. Most of what he could see came courtesy of the passengers’ mess hall above that he had just left, from which misted daylight and vulgar humour could still be seen and heard. It was quite a shift.

Down here — thunk! — where he had landed amongst a field of water droplets, Kagero’s double hood felt stifling, so he slid it back, then pulled the coat’s scarf down under his chin for good measure. The eyes that flashed as a result were a pair of azurite marbles, glinting this way and that as the chuunin trapped his hands under his armpits to pull off their woollen mitts and resume his patrol.

The prisoners were kept in what must have been one of the larger holds when the barge had been a civilian vessel, three doors further along to the right. It was a limited set-up: a line of five cages spacious enough for someone to stand or stretch their legs, and do their business when the time came, set into the middle of the floor so that the guards could complete a full circuit of the room. A line of port holes also provided some much needed ventilation, but Kagero was wary of the hazard they presented. Too small to fit through, but one of their two detainees was a known Water Release specialist, formerly of the Hidden Mist. Even with her hands manacled apart, there was a clear risk.

Kagero crossed the remaining distance that would take him there, lurching only once and riding the motion with a little skip and a steady hand on the lintel of the doorway. The middle of the ship was generally safer, but the closer to the waterline, he had learned, the more you felt the movement.

“Any change?”

Officers Hideki and Momori sat at the circular guards’ table and looked up at the sound of his voice, Hideki turning, freezing, then sighing with finality.

“Nope. Still practically giving away my money,” he said.

Kagero crossed his arms and leant against the frame with the press of a smile. Hideki had an Ace, a four, a two, a nine and another two. The guy was plain unlucky.

“We can deal you in after the hand,” said Momori, grinning as he reordered his cards.

“Pass.” Kagero shook his head ruefully. “The stakes on this ship are high enough at the moment. Couldn’t risk another upset.”

He eyed the guards’ charges, as they were no doubt doing at regular intervals. They eyed him back. The Suiton-user, at least. The younger of the two, her Lightning counterpart, had his eyes closed. That stayed Kagero’s gaze, but a clatter broke his focus.

“Damn thing,” Momori muttered, and twisted in his seat. He picked up a stun baton, which had fallen from the rack. Hideki turned to wink at Kagero and quietly swapped a card — the nine. He received a six for his effort. Kagero stood up as Hideki grumbled, and peered over at the wooden weapons’ rack. Two back in the stand, four spaces free, out in service. Which was where he should have been.

“I’ll check back later,” he said, aware that he had left his partner up in the cold. He doubted Etsuko was the type to just stand around lollygagging, although he didn’t really know much about her, to be honest. He imagined that she was a professional by their perfunctory interactions up until now. He was nearing the middle of his musings and the end of the corridor when he heard Momori yowl.

“—Fix this damn thing!”

Back in the room, Momori was kneeling by the rack, jamming the baton into place.

“That’s the third time this morning!”

Hideki, meanwhile, was pulling at his hair and shaking his fist of cards in frustration. It was comical, if unfortunate. Kagero spared a final glance at the prisoners before heading back up the ladder. The woman was still watching him, and the young man was still sitting cross-legged with his eyes closed. Fidgeting a little, but otherwise awake and fully aware of the ruckus outside the cages. Both of them unnerved him a little. He shook the feeling but made a mental note.

Check back sooner.

Last edited by Calibur; 10-07-2018 at 02:13 AM..
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