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Old 01-10-2019, 12:43 AM   #11
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The temple was about as gaudy as Daisuke expected it to be. If anything, the ornamentation was a welcome distraction from the small army of shrine priestesses who fawned over the group of males. When Mei mentioned that they'd be given their own rooms and suggested they'd be tended to before dinner, the SHINRAI grimaced. He first shot a look at grandpa Aizawa, who was probably too old to play the game, and then to Echizen, who he supposed was far too young to be exposed to such things. He would feel guilty to leave the boy to the scheming of the she-wolves, but it seemed as though, for the moment, it could not be helped.

In another life, perhaps he'd have readily accepted the treatment. He figured that Ren was probably living the dream, which was problematic in its own way as the man had proven he was something of a blabbermouth.

When the pair of Miko approached him to escort him to his temporary quarters, he wondered just what the others planned to do. The whole situation was becoming more complicated and dangerous than he had initially anticipated. If Keiko wanted them all stress free, she made an error in Daisuke's – he was happily in a relationship, albeit a long distance one with how many weeks he'd spent out of the country in recent months – all the same, he had no plans to betray Sango's trust.

Still, in keeping appearances, he obliged and took steps in the direction his new friends guided him with the purest of intentions in his heart – he'd make small talk with the ladies, and nothing more. And if things got out of hand, well–

–could always drag this whole fucking place down to hell, eh?
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Old 01-11-2019, 12:58 AM   #12
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A cursed, real sword?

Brown eyes fluttered with surprise.

Taichou, what are you doing with a –

cursed weapon?

The young boy’s chest swelled with unseen confidence as his sentences became as clear as his thoughts. Yet, his words fell upon deaf ears. He must have spoken way too quiet, as was his nature. Adjusting the gold lined rims of his circular glasses, Hyousetsu Echizen chose to keep a subtle eye on Ren and that sword he carried. The weapon, not the innuendo – he was too young to speak on all that. But what he could speak on, all due to his curiosity as a Blacksmith, was the item he mentioned. The Odachi sheathed in Ren’s possession was one Echizen had never seen him wield in the past, but that itself was how members of The Gallant Steam operated. One day they leave the ship on a random mission, the next, they arrive back to the boat with a new shiny thing to sell – or an overall upgrade on their life. Questions of the Odachi’s functionality and how it came into Ren’s custody melded away as the collective of misfit shinobi arrived to a temple hued in gold and designed in serpents. But, as welcoming as all these Miko appeared to be:

Echizen’s hand never left his Sakabato.

Maybe he was being paranoid, or maybe he was being a bit rude, but his little arm was draped about the neck of the reverse blade sword that hung from his hip. Asagi-iro blue haori billowed with each of his hastened steps as he found himself gravitating behind the stride of Daisuke who, he felt, might have been the most mature of their group. Although conversation between the two had been minimal at best, Echizen noticed how the man would always take a moment to glance his way, as if checking up on him every now and then to make sure the boy was okay. This was something Echizen appreciated, it reminded him of his aniki Gen, or even the late Houtei Gunko. Placing pressure upon his own earlobe and releasing a short sight of relief, Echizen soothed the sudden rush of emotions that would take him to tears when thinking of both his brothers.

Maybe he should’ve waited on Getsuei Gen.

Would it be possible to meet with the lady soon, Miss...uh...” What honorific best matched Mei, he wondered, “Miss Oracle of Gold...uh...-dono?

But his question was met with a quiet smile and giggles as a pair of Miko came to escort him to his room before dinner. Although he understood the hospitality of it all, as his Sakabato was blessed by a reibai Miko of Snow Country, Echizen wasn’t ready to deal with the company of two – uh, rather beautiful, women. This was evident by how warm and bright the caramel hue of his skin became before he paced over to Daisuke, blushing cheeks fattened in a small pout. This was embarrassing.

Daisuke-sama,” That connects, he thought, this man from Sunagakure was more the ‘sama’ type, “C-could I room with you? U-unless, ya’know...you were going to keep the company of...

One of the Miko? Needed their own time and space to relax? Wow.

Communicating with people was difficult.

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Old 01-13-2019, 12:00 AM   #13
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On second thought...

Daisuke stopped in place and turned on his heels to face the genin, who asked if he might share his quarters. The Miko with him looked slightly offended that he payed them little attention.

"...I think that's a good idea."


It would have been irresponsible of him to leave the boy to the whims of the priestesses, that much was clear. He shot the kid a quick wink and half of a smile.

"Eh, ladies? One more makes for good company, right? I'm sure the little man has all sorts of stories about the time he's spent at sea -- thrilling tales, I'll bet.
"

They looked at eachother, and then to the Golden Oracle Mei, as if waiting for her approval. Of course, if they were going to make it difficult, Daisuke would find another way to keep tabs on the genin. He could prove himself quite undetectable when necessary. To avoid that altogether, he tried to soften the new deal a bit with the promise of slightly more wholesome fun and games.

"Speaking of betting -- I just so happen to have a pair of dice on me," said Daisuke, retrieving and flashing them, each held between adjacent fingers. With a trick of dexterity, he fanned them back and forth across his knuckles.

"Are you allowed to gamble, girls, or is that uh... against your religion?"
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Old 01-13-2019, 12:41 AM   #14
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Narke, that cursed Konkaji sword, reflected the flickering candlelight of the cozy little private quarters across the room, dancing around like fireflies across the golden insets and the decorative vases. Ren stood over the miko, his bare chest patchmarked with scars, his body shadowing her small face. The light of the blade danced across her tears as she bared her teeth at him in small, defiant gesture.

What did you do to me?

It’s called a massage. You weren’t complaining about me touching you before.

She looked smaller than she had when they had entered the room together, more delicate. His chest was heaving with his anger, and when he caught his angry reflection in the edge of his sword, he felt a sudden pang of regret. She wasn’t the one giving him these weird dreams - - these weird visions. She was just a common whore, pretending at being a religious figure. It wasn’t something uncommon, just a sad state of the nature of the world. He let the sword fall beside her and it clattered a few times before coming to a stop, the humming ring of the curse fading away. He sat back down on the edge of the red-blanketed bed and clicked the gauntlets bound to his flesh together. Prison manacles, as beautiful and ornate as they were. The curse of these pair had been scribed by the very soul of the man he killed to become one of the illustrious Seven Swordsmen, a mad-gambit attempt to restore some of the honor of Kirigakure while following his dream to see the return of the noble history of the “Bloody Mist”. That same bloodthirsty, mindless progress forward left him here, wrapped up in this world-saving nonsense of a nightmare, making moves on a girl he had over a decade on. It was pathetic.

He shook with the tension of it all and hung his head in his hands.

Hey, don’t worry about it, okay? Lots of guys like you come through this town. You’re all ninja, right? I studied a bit, before...” She gestured around her, uselessly, since the man wasn’t looking at her. “People carry their pasts on their hearts. They can be haunted by trauma.

Don’t ever make excuses for people that try to hurt you.” He mumbled, tapping his armored fingers against his forehead. “I’m sorry, though. I’ve been having weird nightmares.

She pressed herself up from the floor to a seated position and gingerly scooted the sword away from her before tapping her lap. She was still mostly undressed, but even still, she had a dignity to her. More so than the shaking man on the bed, anyway. “What kind of nightmares?

Ren paused and looked up at her, holding his face between those bronze gauntlets. Was she trying to suss information out of him? Or was she just trained in dealing with aggressive assholes? He had made a deal, a pact sealed in his own blood, not to talk about any of this with anyone. A simple trade for a simple gesture. As a chuunin of Kirigakure, his tongue was already sworn to so many secrets that he never made a habit of spilling the beans on anything, not even the most basic of arcana. It was one of the few reasons the Mizukage still trusted him, despite his laundry lists of insubordination and aggression. He was a hunting dog you couldn’t let in to eat at night, barely tamed. A wild man pretending at being decent.

But domesticated enough to keep his mouth shut when he was supposed to.

Gotta lot of people who’d like to see me dead, is all.

He glanced over at the sword. He hadn’t taken that deal too seriously – who would have? – but it came with more than just this cursed junk around his fingers, that sword that labeled him something of a folk hero. It came with the realization that, when the chips were down, he was willing to take the easy way out. From his origins as the bastard son of a traitor, to the gauntlet that made him a shinobi, to all the adventures and fights and struggles he faced to keep the Mizukage looking at him like he was an asset rather than a detriment to her village, he had never taken the easy way out. He wouldn’t have made the trade, the deal, if he had known it was real. And now he was stuck between following through on his honor and his word, or betraying that and trying to walk back this easy pass at vindication. Killing a Seven Swordsman was a key point of his dream of a “Bloody Mist.” Restoring balance to the honor of the kenjutsu specialists in Kirigakure, doing a solid for the Boss Lady, showing the rest of the nation of Water that he was better than his breed implied...all of that was important to him, and getting it through a trade felt cheap. On the other hand, going back on his word now might mean the end of the world.

Or something worse.

Well, you really scared me, but..” She smiled, though her face was still wet with her tears. “I’m used to guys who play rough. You’re good with that sword, you know, you didn’t even cut a hair on my head, jumping up like that.

Guilt. He wore it all over his face like an ANBU’s mask. “Listen, lady...

Nari.

Foreign name. Probably a throwaway one for moments like these.

Nari. You get beat up a lot, here?

Oh, no. Mei’s a bit of a badass, we don’t really have to worry about crazy guys. You just spooked me, is all. My fault for touching a sleeping ninja.

It’s not your fault. I promise you, lately, I’ve just been one fuck-up over an other. If all goes well, you won’t have to see me again.” He tossed her robe to her from its place on the bed, and then nodded at the sword on the floor next to her. “That sword’s Konkaji-make. They’re a shinobi blacksmith clan over in Earth Country. I heard you guys had a blacksmith here from the same stock. You ever see a sword like that?

She stood up to dress herself, but looked down at the sword in the dancing firelight. “No.

What about that blacksmith? Sengo Muramachi. You heard of him?

She hesitated a bit too long as she slid her robe over her shoulder and started to refasten her sash around her waist. “No.

This Warlord, this Golden Oracle, she strong?

More than you could know.

I heard guys don’t leave after they enter this temple. That true?

We’re going to be late for dinner. I hope I helped ease some of that tension, Ren-sama.” She started to open the heavy wooden door, but slowed down for a moment and looked back at him with a smile.

If you get a chance, there’s an other clumsy old man here.” She traced her finger down her face, from above her right eyebrow down to her cheek, before sticking her tongue out at him. “He has a cool scar, said a dog gave it to him. He’s a funny man, you might like him.

More cryptic answers from cryptic miko.

Stay safe, Ren-sama. Use your todays like you’d like to use your tomorrows.

She closed the door behind her and he fell back into the bed. Lots of confusing messages, lots of emotion twisting up in his stomach. This Golden Oracle and her temple of whores - - well, if they were anything like Nari, maybe he was a little too quick to judge. Bird's delicate structure required tyrants. He dressed quickly, but opted to leave the cursed sword behind in the room.

If all went well, it wouldn't matter if he had that thing or not.
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Old 01-13-2019, 01:41 AM   #15
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The last time he was around gamblers, he got his arm broken.

Plus his captain, The Surgeonfish of the Gallant Steam, was around when it happened, too.

Wow, so traumatic.

Placing a hand on the side of his neck to massage the worry he could feel creeping up, there was a pensive glow beneath the boy’s brown eyes as his gaze moved from Daisuke to the Miko. Thick lips curled at the side of his mouth even, caramel fingers tapping an uncomfortable rhythm in acknowledgment of how awkward this all was. Or, maybe this was all normal and he was being the awkward one? How do normal people retain their composure? By standing straight, right? Echizen decided to move his hand from his neck and puffed his chest out a little bit, to display some semblance of confidence in front of these people – but it just made him feel as if he were standing there looking weird. To make matters even worse, he lifted one of the dice from the Sunagakure shinobi’s knuckles and pointed in the direction of where he presumed their corridors would be.

Yup! Just going to go play a wholesome game of dice!” The Genin of Mist fumbled the die, but recovered it just in time, “A-and talk about those sea tales like us Mist folk do –

–Okay, this wasn’t looking good. Taking the initiative, Echizen began to walk off beat, or, just kind of wrong all together. One blundering step after the other, sort of, it looked like an unfinished walking cycle, to be honest. Taking cue to all of this, the pair of Miko, who now stood as a quartet, ushered around the kid and guided the ninja to a room as dazzling as the architecture of the temple. Light of candles hummed against walls hued in gold with fiery tapestry draped along the windows. In this particular room in question was one large bed and a small desk off to the corner. Of course, the Miko hadn’t prepared for two individuals to be in a single room, but as they left, a huge groan left Echizen. An instant after, his hand shot up to cover his mouth; he didn’t want to be rude, but, what he did was kind of rude.

S-sorry,” He offered, attempting to articulate the conundrum of anxiety that stitched his being together, “I-it’s just...uh...hard, ya’know, b-being around...

People. People were scary.

Ash hued Afro bobbed with a sudden surge of life as the little boy strode toward the tiny desk in the room. Placing the sheathed Sakabato on the desk’s surface while unfastening the sash about his waist, a secondary cloth revealed itself from the belt and draped before Echizen’s legs. Yes, with a bit of ingenuity, Hyousetsu Echizen fashioned a blacksmith’s apron within the fabric of his sash in order to kill two birds with one stone. Little pockets adorned the little apron, which held a variety of tools the boy could use while on the go. From one of the pockets, though, Echizen pulled a small pocket book and pen from its confines and sat down, cracking it open.

A cursed odachi, hm?

Echizen’s pen was diligent on a page smudged by coal and ink, outlining a rather accurate sketch of the cursed sword in question:

You didn’t happen to see anything specific about the design of Ren-taichou’s sword, did you, uh, Daisuke-sama? Like...a symbol, or, anything?

He wish he got a closer look. Usually when Blacksmiths craft swords, they leave a symbol as their calling card, such as the Sakabato he built wore the insignia of the Twilight Blacksmith lined at the neck of the steel. Echizen bit down on the end of the pen before spinning it over his thumb with a push of his middle finger.

Also, this maybe rude to ask...but...

He was curious:

Your Gunbai...is that a catalyst for you, too? Like my Sakabato?

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Old 01-13-2019, 02:02 AM   #16
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Ho?

Shipori answered Mei with just one note of dull interest. He glanced Daisuke's direction – but he and the youngest among them decided to stick together of their own volition. As far as Ren was concerned, Shipori supposed he could let him do what he wanted, for now. Maybe the miko would quietly smother him before meeting with the high oracle herself. Shipori made some quick calculations and determined that it wouldn't have too much impact on the actual plan.

Well, I wouldn't turn down a chance to rest my legs, or have a cup of tea.

The miko escorted them up to the temple, one of them taking Shipori's arm while his opposite hand lumbered the cane along. Shipori paused outside the temple to take it in. He held up two fingers in the air and traced the line of coiled serpents and edges of pillars. True to its name, the temple glittered with gold, and other metals besides. He wanted to take a moment to sketch the temple into his journal, but instead saved the image of the doors to the temple in his mind. The art could wait.

Soon after they entered the temple proper, Shipori found himself ushered away from the others to a drawing room. One of the women helped him into a seat; Shipori set his cane beside him within arm's reach. Another of the girls brought him a pot of tea and some snacks, dango on skewers all stacked together on a plate. Shipori curled his hands around a warm cup and watched the pair of miko sitting across from him. The bubbly, coquettish giggling from outside had suffocated. They spoke to each other with subtle looks until Shipori cleared his throat.

This may be an unusual request, but this is a unique opportunity.” Shipori let that hang a moment. “I'm unfamiliar with this part of Bird Country and there's quite little in the way of written records. I know the Golden Oracle has been here for quite some time, but perhaps you could teach me about some of the lesser lords.

A...a history lesson?

I appreciate that sort of thing. I'll take music, too, if either of you play an instrument.” Shipori nodded, as if to say he'd spare them the embarrassment of trying to seduce an old man.
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Old 01-13-2019, 02:53 AM   #17
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In theory, it was the safest course of action for the both of them. In practice, Daisuke might have preferred a massage from the Miko in place of an onslaught of questions from the over-eager boy. He was kind of a dweeb, and if not for the sword, Daisuke would have found it hard to believe that he was a ninja. Then again, the wayward sand-nin wondered whether or not he came across the same way when he was a genin.

Different cultures and all that.

Daisuke yawned hard, twisting and arching his back until it released an audible snapping sound.

"No worries, man. They were making me anxious, too. Shame they didn't stay to play, though."

He tucked the dice back into some hidden pocket in his vestments and sat at the edge of the room, neglecting the comforts of the beds and sitting cushions with his back against the wall, gunbai propped up beside him. He watched Echizen lay down his own weapon and pull out a little journal as if preparing for an interview.

When asked of Ren's blade, Daisuke replied.

"I'm afraid not. I don't know how you guys do it in Mist, but typically I don't go around asking other dudes to show me their swords."

He almost managed to say it with a straight face. But really, if Ren's odachi had been particularly special, he hadn't noticed. That seemed to be the trouble with cursed items -- the only way to know it was out-of-the-ordinary was to find out the hard way. It seemed strange that the kid didn't know considering he hailed from the same village. As Echizen continued his line of questioning, Daisuke perked up a bit at the mention of his sakabatou.

"A reverse blade, huh? Now that's a funny thing. I was trained in the art of the sword -- the Sokushi school -- but obviously I don't carry one anymore. Now I've got this piece."


Of shit, he wanted to say, but he held his tongue to save himself from looking too uncouth. And it would have been a lie -- the SHINRAI's gunbai was necessary for many of his Fuuton-ninjutsu. He nearly added that he was a practitioner of the Jishin style as well, which, as it happened, he'd learned from a Mist shinobi by the name of Masato, but glossed over that detail. Where was the fun in revealing all his tricks?

"But yeah, it's a handy tool to have when I want to whip up some wind. Don't let the blunt edges fool you, either -- it'll cut when I need it to."

He downplayed its abilities, if and only to avoid more questions about it. There was no point in getting distracted from the task at hand more than they already had been. If Keiko was the real deal, like the High Oracles assured them she was, they'd need to be at peak performance levels. Daisuke had lost track of time since their flight, but knew that it would be best if they could get a little sleep in before dining with the witch. That is, it would be best if Echizen caught some shut-eye; Daisuke had experienced trouble getting much himself in the past few weeks.

A moment of silence passed before he turned the tables on the genin, asking him an odd question of his own.

"Hey, Echizen... have you, uh..."

Been sleeping well, lately? He wasn't quite sure how to phrase it without sounding like the sort of creep Ren had casually accused him of being. But it was important to him that he confirmed the source of his nightmares was not entirely in the hands of Tsuriau Iemitsu. If discussions about it had already been had on Calamity, Daisuke seemed to have missed the details.

"Have you had this nightmare some of the other champions have described?"
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Old 01-13-2019, 04:24 AM   #18
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What was the opposite of a prude?

He couldn’t think of the word, but, whatever the word was – an antonym to prude – that’s what this shinobi from the wind reminded him of. Maybe it was tied to Daisuke’s mannerisms or the method of his reply, but the Genin’s disquisitive tongue was drawn back as he felt the genuine nature of his questions may have come off as a bit annoying. So, like the introvert he was, Echizen took a step away from getting too comfortable, or, at least he’d try to. Ink layered empty page like a brush to a canvas as he completed a rather detailed image of the odachi, alongside a brief synopsis baring sentences lined by dashes to denote information he’d fill in later. Echizen felt that Ren’s cursed blade could be the key to all of this, or, at the very least, a stepping stone to getting closer to solving the whole mystery residing within their quest. But that train of thought would be revisited at a later time. Although he wished Daisuke caught some subtle element of the weapon, he couldn’t fault the Jounin, he should’ve pressed the matter more himself.

The Sokushi style?

It might have been a Mist thing, but the knowledge of varying Kenjutsu was something taught in the academy, so, Echizen was sort of familiar with the school:

Ooooh, that’s the one founded by that Sakata-ryu Kenjutsu guy.

Okay, he made sure not to name any names or he’d be considered more than a dweeb than he all ready was. Echizen cracked a quiet smile and chuckled, pen spinning from finger to finger with the tenuous skill of one whose practiced the sword for a long time in their short life span, in comparison, anyway. The pen tapped the top of the page:

Kyuusoku Seiryuu Iaijutsu is uh...what I gravitated toward.

In honor of his late father, who was one of the Legendary Swordsmen of Mist. Even went as far as naming his sword after the style – the Seiryu Sakabato. But instead of divulging more information about it, such as the element of catalyst it pertained to, Echizen chose to jot down a couple quick notes about Daisuke’s Gunbai in the same fashion as he outlined Ren’s Odachi. He was always interested in the various tools shinobi used for combat, and even wondered if, someday, he would be capable of trying his hand on such a war fan. He wanted to ask more, yet, kept silent. There was a word he wanted to associate Daisuke with, but couldn’t put his finger on it.

What was the antonym he thought of?

But his next question brought things into focus.

Y-yes, that nightmare?

The image was etched in his mind.

W-with that loud sun...and...

The sound, piercing to the ears.

...and the Miko in darkness...

But he was always unable to hear the words parting from the Miko’s lips, which was the most frustrating thing about the whole experience, minus how terrifying the nightmare was. Adjusting the headwrap on his forehead, Echizen’s brows curled as he massaged the thoughts of the dream from his mind. He clicked his teeth to subdue his anxious thoughts:

You...you, too–?

He was reaching for reassurance, for this dream was at the forefront of his conscious because of how constant it was. But there was another, earlier experience that lingered so far back in his memory it was hard to pull it forward. Another question for another moment.

–Right?
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Old 01-13-2019, 08:49 PM   #19
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The pair of women with Shipori shrugged at one another, and then one left the room for a moment and grabbed a lute. It seemed at first that they had taken the option to just provide music, as one of the women watched the other tune the instrument and then begin to pluck at it. It was clear from the rather flat notes that she had little practice, but a fair bit of dedication. She continued to play, and then the other one began to hum along.

"It isn't exactly high class, mister, but there are some local songs."

The tune slowed down a bit, became more like a nursery tune. Typical, easy to guess.

"Who was first?" Said the one without the lute.

"Do Daizo."

"Okay. Old Daizo wears his rags and cloak. His men will fight until you're broke. Junji is quite a fright you see. He'll shake you from your head to knee..."

The song continued that way for some time, with occasional breaks for the two younger women to laugh when a mistake was made or there were arguments about the different warlords. It was clear that the lords in the song weren't all current, some were sung about in the past tense, and some made claims to feats that couldn't be true. Like 'Kusaten, who ruled Grass for 100 years and ten...' or 'Yoshimitsu whose very soul was black and blue, and lived through fifteen lives and hues.'

Eventually they got to Keiko in the song. As the girl started to sing it, seemingly from memory, she got quiet after the starting verse, "Keiko left her house of old..."

The girl on the lute glared at her, and stopped playing long enough to shush her.

"Right, sorry."

Then there was a knock at the door. It was Mei, who peeked in to say, "The gentleman is needed at dinner."

In fact, they all got summons. Daisuke and Echizen got a knock on their door after some time. A priestess beckoning them out to the hall to join them for dinner. Ren knew it was about time as well.

The miko were moving through the halls, some of the younger ones were whispering to each other as they went but the more experienced among them were pointing and leading them all where they needed to be. A grand dinner hall deeper in the center of the building.

There was placed a grand banquet. For a bunch of priestesses, the food laid out on the platters was heavy on meat, including a whole roasted pig on display. There were several tables off to the sides, the plating there less intense than the middle table that had four conspicuous seats left open.

Just beyond that table was a large ornate throne at the top of a few steps. Like most other areas around the temple, it was all glittering, including the woman seated in the throne itself. Easy guess, it was the Golden Oracle Keiko. She couldn't have been older than 25, with radiant brown hair and eyes framed by accessories made of her favorite metal. Her dress was yellow and brown, fur trimmed, all to accent the gold and other metals.

Her crown looked heavy, with the serpent motifs accentuated by beautiful flowers, and a small but unmissed skull charm. Around her neck was a piece that didn't quite match the others, a fan of more jagged metals that managed to be more intimidating than grandiose. Of course, she was also surrounded by statues and idols that all seemed ready to pounce at an enemy that moved against her.

She didn't move to greet them, or speak. Instead, Mei stood by their table and introduced them.

"Please, come and be seated. You are in the presence of the Golden Oracle, First Warden of the Black Mountain, Queen of the Jagged Forest, Savior of Girls and Weary Souls, The Unblemished Lady Keiko. Show your respect, and may your stay be fruitful."

Last edited by merdle; 01-13-2019 at 09:41 PM..
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Old 01-15-2019, 07:24 PM   #20
Seikon
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Before leaving their quarters, Daisuke was sure to take a few precautions. Because he could summon it into his grip across great distances, he left the Six Eyes resting against the wall. When he'd opened the door to receive the news that dinner was served, he let the young priestess know that they would need a moment to prepare. He formed a handseal and left a piece of his own shadow behind in the doorframe, creating what was known as a Dimension Door, should the need to make a swift retreat arise. With another seal, he cloaked his own chakra signature through what was known as the Spirit Diminish technique.

But he didn't place much faith in either jutsu to keep the attention off of him. Echizen had revealed that he had also experienced the same recurring dream of the coming eclipse, which meant that Iemitsu was not responsible for it, and it only validated the claims made by the Grand Oracles of Calamity even further. If this Keiko was half the witch they suspected her to be, it would take more than his quick tricks to fool her. There was also the chance that she might view his duplicity as an affront to her hospitality, but it was a risk that Daisuke was willing to take in order to ensure their -- rather, his own -- safety.

When they entered the banquet hall, Mei rattled off the Golden Oracle's numerous titles. Daisuke had to make a concious effort not to snort -- it seemed the woman had a penchant for honorifics and monikers in the same way his venerated friend and ally Renchishin Hitoko did. But Hitoko, at the very least, had a degree of honesty (if not modesty) working for him. If Keiko was indeed who she proclaimed herself to be, the First Warden, there was no way she could look as undeniably young beautiful as she did. It was a trick he'd seen other black miko pull before, and in the moment he felt all the more justified in keeping the full extent of his own identity and abilities out of view of even the most prying eyes.

Daisuke gave a short bow and shuffled forward to take to the furthest available seat at the middle table, to Keiko's far-left-hand side. He made a concious effort to avoid making eye contact with the supposed charlatan, instead letting them roll from one gilded serpent to the next, eventually fixating on the skull ornamentations on the warlord's headdress. He couldn't help his own sarcasm.

Well, that's a wonderful sign.

But he remained silent. Daisuke assumed that Aizawa would act as an ambassador on their party's behalf.
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Last edited by Seikon; 01-15-2019 at 09:45 PM..
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