V є ✘

/ By Darcy [+Watch]

Replies: 43 / 156 days 6 hours 10 minutes 59 seconds

Allowed Users

  1. [Allowed] muta
  2. [Allowed] shirairu
  3. [Allowed] -Solaris-
  4. [Allowed] Illuminati

[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/H5NOvZ5.gif]][center [font "Times New Roman" Group - Chinese Zodiac - Curses - Drama - Edo Japan - Adventure - Romance - Adv. lit]]
[center [font "Times New Roman" [#b80202 [b On a night with no clouds and no stars,]] a young man stumbled upon a run-down shrine. In his drunken stupor, he tripped over his own feet, knocking over one of the old statues as he tried to catch himself. Lying in the rubble, smoke began to rise from the cracks on the statue, shimmering in the air. Thinking that he was just too drunk and he had begun to see air, the young man turned his back to the shrine and began to leave. In the dead silence, a dark chuckle rang out. Swiftly turning around, where the air was once shimmering, stood a man whose eyes glowed a brighter than the moon.
"You break my statue and just leave?" His voice held no malice, but his eyes held a glimmer of something else.
"Your statue?" The drunken man slurred. "That is the last thing you should be pissed about. This place is a dump." The statement made the mysterious man chuckle.
Without another word, he stepped forward, stating inches away from the drunken young man. "You live your life with no responsibility. You need something to weigh you down." Before the drunk could retort, the mysterious man held up his right hand. With horror, the young man watched as the hand turned transparent, an odd marking began to shine even with the hand transparent.
"What are you-" His question turned into a cry as the hand was plunged into his chest. It felt like talons were wrapping around his heart and his blood turned to liquid fire.
"We are now the same." The mysterious man, ripping his hand out of the drunks chest and watched with mild amusement as the drunk slunk to the ground, gasping for breath as his body began to transform. "Almost. I've given you a wonderful responsibility. Not just to yourself, but the lives of twelve others now." The drunk's eyes were no longer glassy, they held a quiet fury as he stared up at the mysterious monster man, his own skin beginning to glow unnaturally. "You must face seven of my challenges and make to the foot of the immortal mountain within six years. It will take all of you to lift this curse. If one fails, you all will." Just as quickly has he appeared, he disappeared leaving nothing but an unholy chuckle in his absence. ]]
[center [font "Times New Roman" [b [u The Gist;]] You have been cursed with one of the animals from the [u Chinese Zodiac]. Now you have to work together with the other cursed victims in order to lift the curse. You only have six years to lift the curse, however whenever you use an ability your curse has given you or your curse to triggered you will [u lose] years off your lifespan. You have to face seven challenges as you travel your way to Mt. Fuji. So how hard can this be, right? We will start off in China and journey to Japan.]]

[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/TxkQvEs.gif]]
[font "Times New Roman" [center [u »][#f98bbd Don't make a habit] of "empty posting." These are posts that are written at the correct literacy, but do not give other role-players anything to interact with or respond to.]][font "Times New Roman" [center [u »][#f98bbd Illustrated pictures.] Make sure the character looks like they are from this time.]][font "Times New Roman" [center [u »][#f98bbd Before you fill out an application,] make sure to look at the accepted characters before filling out an application so we don't get the same character x92.]][font "Times New Roman" [center [u »][#f98bbd The following are powers that] you are [u NOT] allowed to use what-so-ever; magical wish granting, cosmic powers, warping reality, invulnerability, teleportation, time control, thoughts become reality, and omnipotence.]][font "Times New Roman" [center [u »][#f98bbd Since this is a group role-play] I will have to make sure that everyone knows the rules and follows them as such. When you put in your application title the message 'Senpai DGAF'.]][font "Times New Roman" [center [u »][#f98bbd There will be a character] limit of 4000 characters. This will be a lit. group.]][font "Times New Roman" [center [u »][#f98bbd When it is your turn to post] I will be putting your character's name in the title of the thread.]][font "Times New Roman" [center [u »][#f98bbd If you get skipped/fail to post 3 times,] you will be taken out of the role-play. I understand that real life is [u way more] important than this. That is why I will give you 9 days to get a post out.]][font "Times New Roman" [center [u »][#f98bbd Romance is completely fine] however do not make it that entire point of your character. It is fine if two characters get together, I'm sure that it will happen. Do not let it take your character away from the story.]][font "Times New Roman" [center [u »][#f98bbd If you are accepted] make sure to make a character layout and send me the link. I [u WILL] be linking them in the thread.]][font "Times New Roman" [center [u »] Just follow the [http://rp.eliteskills.com/r.php?r=425 ESR]]]
[center [font "Times New Roman" [#b80202 [b The story]] will be starting off rather simply with adventuring as we slowly get sucked into the larger plot. I'd like for character-driven plots to come up as the story progresses alongside the main plot, giving each character a chance to shine, grow and influence future events. This RP will not be solely directed by myself; I'm hoping to get other creative and like-minded individuals to create something we can enjoy; an epic fantasy full of discovery, heartbreak, a little humour, and some sentimental moments. Please, if you're not willing to bring some ideas to the table and share in the burden of keeping a story going, don't apply.]]
[center [font "Times New Roman" [#b80202 [b If you have any questions, feel free to PM me or visit the OOC]]]][center [size10 [http://rp.eliteskills.com/r.php?r=148012 OOC link]]
[hr ]
[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/JHBtxm5.gif]]
[center [font "Times New Roman" [size42 [u The Cursed]]]
[center [http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=393722 [pic https://i.imgur.com/ClCR6Tw.png]][http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=393548 [pic https://i.imgur.com/Pj2G7km.png]][http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=393809 [pic https://i.imgur.com/Aisup0O.png]]
[http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=393864 [pic https://i.imgur.com/kdMB8NG.png]] [http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=393817 [pic https://i.imgur.com/8M87ROe.png]][http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=393969 [pic https://i.imgur.com/KkkrrQD.png]]
[http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=396873 [pic https://i.imgur.com/thlV7DA.png]][http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=395321 [pic https://i.imgur.com/Qfex8D3.png]]]
[center [font "Times New Roman" [size42 [u Open Roles]]]
[center [font "Times New Roman" [size18 The Rooster[tab][tab] The Ox
The Dog [tab][tab] The Boar]]]
[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/XzzbGd8.gif]
[font "Times New Roman" [center Your application needs to be in your character's point of view.]]
[center [#FFC1C1 ●][font "Times New Roman" [b What is your name?]]][center [i "Characters name {Can be Japanese or Chinese}"]][center [#b80202 ●][font "Times New Roman" [b Do you have any nicknames?]]] [center [i They don't need to have one.]][center [#FFC1C1 ●][font "Times New Roman" [b How old are you?]]][center [i Age of the character]][center [#b80202 ●][font "Times New Roman" [b What is your gender? Who attracts you?]]] [center [i Gender and sexuality]][center [#FFC1C1 ●][font "Times New Roman" [b You are cursed? With what? Why were you cursed?]]] [center [i Yes. What role your character will have. Why they were cursed to begin with.]][center [#b80202 ●][font "Times New Roman" [b What triggers your curse?]]][center [i What triggers the curse to work.]][center [#FFC1C1 ●][font "Times New Roman" [b How many years do you have left?]]] [center [i How many years do they have in their life span life. ]][center [#b80202 ●][font "Times New Roman" [b What exactly does your curse do?]]] [center [i Each curse as three abilities to the person. One of the abilities enhances something and it costs nothing. Like with the Tiger, in enhanced her hearing. The second costs months of their life. The third is the most powerful and it takes years off of their life. ]][center [#FFC1C1 ●][font "Times New Roman" [b What is your personality like?]]][center [i Your character will describe themselves here.]][center [#b80202 ●][font "Times New Roman" [b Where were you when your curse finally took hold?]]][center [i The curses don't set in the moment that it happens. It has to be triggered in order to work. Where were you when the trigger happened? How did people react?]][center [#FFC1C1 ●][font "Times New Roman" [b Anything else?]]][center [i Tidbits about your character. Likes, dislikes? Hobbies? Add whatever else you want to add in about your character here.]]
[center [font "Times New Roman" I will not need a back story. That should come out later in the story when you character feels up to telling/revealing it.]]


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Roleplay Responses

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[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/ulciHxj.png]]

[Abel [center [size15 「 马 」]

[i *Lan is En's sister. Don't remember giving her a name before until now, so this is why this is going in this is asterisked.]

Himeko returned as he passed the proverbial speaker totem to Tadashi with Qin following her a bit later at the end of the tale. He had told the tale very similarly to what he'd had in mind. He gave Qin a reassuring look- though she seemed more preoccupied with her conversation with the sheep. A small hand was placed on his arm, and he looked over to his “wife”. He placed his hand on hers- giving it a light squeeze before returning the hand to his side.

“[#319177 It's alright. I hope you both are feeling better though.]” En said this mainly out of concern rather than the fact that it was technically his obligation to do so as her fake husband. He tried not to grimace at he sound of Tadashi encouraging the hostess in continuing to think about their “marriage” further. Not only that, but it was far too late as whatever she'd done had acquired them two rooms. Not ideal, but it was by far better than sleeping on the ground.

The most talkative of them hurried off to the gods knew where. A small feeling of annoyance filled him. Their group seemed to have a hard time sticking to the story they'd laid out. For someone who wanted to avoid suspicion, they drew more to themselves than they kept off it seemed. Something for them to work on for the next time.

En stood and followed after Chikusa. He caught up with the others as they were being led down to the two large rooms at the end of the hall and slipped his arm through Himeko's- choosing instead to hold her arm rather than her hand as it was less forward. She seemed to particularly hesitant to touch him, and he didn't blame her, but he figured that it was better to do this now and pay the price later. He noted that only one bed mat had been laid out in one of the rooms.

“[#319177 Right,]” He breathed aloud to himself- somewhat embarrassed about the lie he'd found himself in. Though he was more fortunate than Himeko and Qin who had mentioned that they couldn't lie, he still didn't like to exploit others whether it was for the sake of survival or not. He was somewhat relieved by the fact that the hostess had left them to their own devices once more. “[#319177 I don't mind it either way. If we stay like this, I'll sleep on the floor unless you'd rather share a room with Qin. The two of you can just share this one.]” He only mentioned the dragon woman as the two of them were a lot closer than the rest of their group, and it might be less awkward for her to share with someone she was friendly with.

“[#319177 I'll just wait until the baths are ready to clean up.]” He said as Chikusa requested something to clean themselves with. As much as En hated to let the male know he was right, he wasn't wrong at all. They could all use something to clean themselves with. Though, with the bath to himself, he was afforded more privacy than just using a water basin.


About an hour had passed since they'd sorted out who was sleeping where. It was fairly late by now, but he still wanted to bathe before he went to sleep. He and Qin had decided not to switch to keep up their lie as they'd done a terrible job of it thus far, and so he sat with his back to Himeko on the floor- writing in a small book that he'd brought with him in the dimness of the small lamp light that somewhat filled the room. He'd remained silent since they'd gotten to their rooms so that if Himeko wanted to rest he wouldn't disturb her. “[#319177 I'll be back in a few minutes. I'm going to check to see if the baths are ready. I'd like one before we leave.]” En sat up and stood slowly. To his surprise, it was empty, and the water was still hot. They must have done so because of the size of their party. Otherwise, it'd probably have gone cold by this point- not that a cold bath would have been a bad thing either.

Placing the sword near the bath as a precaution- not that he assumed he'd use it, he took the opportunity while everyone else was asleep to clean himself from the trip there. “[#319177 Just because I look like a man doesn't mean I have to smell like one,]” En thought with a small laugh.

Taking the pink strand between his index and thumb, he wondered why it had betrayed him so much that night. It wasn't normal- or so he thought. Especially the violet. Then again, none of the people from his own village were half as attractive nor as interesting as his current traveling companions. “[#319177 I feel like I become a little more like Lan* everyday,]” The thought distracted him, and he knew he'd been in there a while, but not nearly long enough for people to come looking for him, surely.]]
  -Solaris- / 15d 16h 52m 23s
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[#317d7a ~ [pic http://cdn.steamcommunity.com/economy/emoticon/blueflame] ~]
Soon, the table's attention was on En, then on Tadashi. Once enough time had passed that people from other tables would no longer pay him mind, Chikusa reverted back to his former position, one that was less comfortable but was more habitual for him, sitting with his back straight and his elbows away from the table. His bandaged hands wrapped themselves on the spare cup of sake he had been given earlier, his reflection staring back at him. It was a bit disheveled, but Chikusa didn't feel like minding it at the moment.

Instead, he relished in the kind of story his travel companions had woven the original legend into, taking glances at their faces every once in a while. They seemed to be enjoying themselves, he noted---En who seemed hesitant at first had taken the story to a direction only someone with obvious interest in the activity could have created, and Tadashi, for someone who appeared like a total idiot, surprisingly took the story to a conclusion Chikusa wouldn't deny he's satisfied with. It reminded him of easy-going evenings with familiar company and good leftover food.

At some point, Himeko and Qin returned to their table, the former appearing a bit more fidgety, the latter a little more calmly. He wordlessly moved aside to give the Tiger some space to be with her 'groom,' silently commending her for taking the act a little more seriously. Well, he thought as he took a mouthful of food, finishing his bowl, at least the girls seemed to be feeling better now.

As Tadashi finished the story, they were told that two rooms had been prepared for their group. He followed after the ones leading the group, gingerly avoiding puddles and muddy areas on the ground on the way to the other side of the street. Exhaustion was already seeping through his body, so, as eager as he was to get his well-deserved sleep, he was not inclined to rush.

Chikusa held back his complaints when they entered the inn. It didn't seem large enough to have just two rooms that would accommodate their group sufficiently, especially with the fact that it was understood that married couples must sleep together during their first night in their own room... unless a partition would be provided? The logical part of the silver-haired man scolded him; he should be just grateful that they would have a place to spend the cold, rainy night.

[b [#317d7a "May I request a basin filled with water and a few towels?"]] he politely asked the woman who led them to the supposedly larger rooms of the inn, smiling charmingly with a tilt of his head. [b [#317d7a "While we would like to rest as soon as possible, it is still the bride's first night with her husband. We need her cleaned up a bit,"]] he explained with a meaningful look in his eyes directed to the woman. Her cheeks reddened as her eyes seemed to twinkle at the implication of Chikusa's words. He bit back a grin of triumph.

[b "O-Of course!"] The woman giggled, intertwining her hands together. [b "Please make yourselves at home in the rooms in the meantime. Everything else you might need for the night has been prepared for you,"] she took a step back and bowed her head, [b "Please excuse me."] She walked away from the group with quick steps, her excitement evident in the way she moved.

He raised his eyebrows at Himeko, just in case she intended to scold him as well for the additional lies. She didn't seem to be fond of him this evening. [b [#317d7a "Before you say anything, I am not going to force you into something you do not want to do---I have no energy for that at the moment."]] He gripped one of the doors and slid it to the side, revealing one of the hardly passably spacious rooms that they were provided. [b [#317d7a "But you [i do] need cleaning up,"]] he stepped inside, [b [#317d7a "All of you."]] An evening skin care routine is always a requirement for every person regardless of skin type, gender, and occasion; he just hoped the lot he's stuck with wasn't hopeless enough to not know that.

The room was, as expected, crammed with beddings intended to accommodate their group minus the 'couple.' A quiet sigh left his lips. At the moment, he didn't really want to fuss about it since his body desperately ached for rest, but he was certain it would get uncomfortable in the middle of the night, especially with varying sleeping habits and such. Gently setting down his furoshiki on the floor, he faced his companions. [b [#317d7a "So?"]] he addressed them, crossing his hands in front of his chest, [b [#317d7a "Shall we divide ourselves between two rooms or is this sleeping arrangement already fine with you?"]]
  〘蛇〙 / shirairu / 22d 17h 44m 54s
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[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/cN5bKX9.jpg]]

[center [size20 「 龙 」]

“[#3AA8C1 You're the furthest thing from ruined. If men are intimidated by a strong woman, they aren't really men at all in my opinion.]” The thought almost made Qin laugh, but she contained herself. Strong women somehow had a habit of scaring men away, and it was probably why the man seemed so against her carrying her sword. Himeko's view of herself was no doubt skewed by the man she was supposed to have married, and it only made her somewhat satisfied that her curse had given her an out of an otherwise terrible situation. Not that the other woman would admit as much to her friend in case she found her opinion to be unfavorable.

“[#3AA8C1 In a way, it feels like our curses have given us a second chance of sorts. A chance to actually live life. It may not feel like it with this burden of a curse, but as the saying goes 'the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step',]” Qin felt a bit more optimistic than before. She let out a sigh and regained her own composure. The honesty they'd had had made her feel at least somewhat better even though she still felt as though she should alter her appearance somehow to make herself less recognizable to keep eyes off of their group. She had to trust that she had friends in this group. Until they died or whatever fate was to befall them happened. She didn't reply, but Himeko wasn't the only one who had thought about death. “[#3AA8C1 Whatever happens to us here is a far better fate than returning to where I left. Without a doubt I'd be sent to a far worse place than the one I've escaped from. I think that can be said for more than just me though, but I can't speak for the rest of them.]” The Madam surely had had enough of her antics, and she'd cost her more money than she could ever hope to repay back in her prime years as a courtesan. “[#3AA8C1 I'll join you in a moment,]” She replied as Himeko left her.

Taking a deep breath, a calm mask returned to her doll-like features before she entered the tavern once again. She felt eyes on her as she reetered, but ignored them- returning to her spot beside Jun. Qin gave Jun a reassuring smile- choosing to ignore the ending of the tale that Tadashi weaved. Maybe she'd get him to tell her the tale another time that way she could understand it in full. “[#3AA8C1 If you keep looking like that, you'll get wrinkles,]” She nudged the other girl with her elbow gently. They took care of their appearance, and so the threat of wrinkles was best avoided- though she had meat that teasingly.

Before she could say anything else, the hostess reappeared to inform them that there were indeed rooms available. It was luck on their part even if they were forced to share two rooms between them. The story they'd weaved had made it somewhat impossible to get around. The hostess seemed kind enough, though. However Tadashi had charmed her, she'd have to ask later as it was rather impressive. Before she could do anything, Himeko and Tadashi had left them. “[#3AA8C1 I guess we should get going as well. I don't know about you guys, but I'm tired, and we only have more walking ahead of us.]” They were supposed to walk all the way to Japan to get rid of their curses, so it was without a doubt a long journey ahead of them.

Qin stood from her spot, and followed their leader as well as the fiery Tiger girl toward the inn. She caught up with them as their hostess was asking if this was everyone. “[#3AA8C1 Not quite. The others are lagging a bit behind, but I'm sure they'll catch up,]” She interjected. They should probably go find their rooms and figure out who was sleeping where. “[#3AA8C1 I don't mean to rush, but could you please show us where we'll be sleeping?]” Qin asked as the woman informed them of their rooms. It was lucky that they'd be ready so quickly.

The brunette followed quickly after the woman as she led them to the two rooms at the very end of the hallway. “These are our two biggest rooms,” There was some giddy pleasure in her voice after informing them of that fact as though she were living her youth once again precariously through the “married” couple.]]
  -Solaris- / 31d 20h 30m 2s
[http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=393548 [center [pic http://i.imgur.com/KLXFx1g.gif]]][google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Bad+Script][center [#f478a9 •][+white XXX][#ac4970 •][+white XXX][#f478a9 •][+white XXX][#ac4970 •][+white XXX][#f478a9 •][+white XXX][#ac4970 •][+white XXX][#f478a9 •][+white XXX]
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[#ac4970 [b “Innocence….”]] Himeko let the word roll off her tongue, however, the young woman found it had a bitter aftertaste. Just what did Qin define as innocence? The little tiger's mind mulled over the question until the other woman grabbed careful onto her deformed hand. [#ac4970 [b “Oh,”]] thousands of itty bitty needles raced up her arm when Qin grabbed onto her deformed hand. Himeko facial expression remained the same, though enterally she screamed. Years of getting pelted by rocks had made her a master when it came to disguising her pain. While the little tiger knew that it was a comforting gesture, one that her brother had often used, the other woman's hand had grabbed on going against the fur. Calmly, Himeko placed her other hand upon Qins and wiggled her other until it was no longer an issue. It was a new - painful - discovery that she would have to tell the others of later, but right now it held little importance the tiger as she listened to Qin’s words.

Gnawing lightly on her bottom lip, Himeko thought carefully after Qin was done speaking. The rain that was once thunderous was now quietly drizzling, soon it would stop and they would be on their way. [#ac4970 [b “I don’t know why I wouldn’t be your friend. I’m really in no position myself to expect friendship from anyone since I openly wield a sword and have a body littered with scars. By everyone's standards, I am a ruined woman...so...I think we make a pretty good pair.”]] The smile that normally decorated Himeko’s light pink lips returned. [#ac4970 [b “My opinion is that you are nice and have always been there when I needed you. So I would very much like to be your friend if you will have me as such….I... I do not judge people by their pasts, only by their actions.”]] Himeko gently took back her hands, which had reverted back to normal while Qin was speaking. The only evidence that they had transformed at all was the dark dried blood that had already begun to flake off. [#ac4970 [b “My brother taught me that. ‘The world is a hateful place that offers little forgiveness for past mistakes. Always judge a man by his actions, not his words or his past for they mean little.’]] Himeko dropped her voice down, trying to make it sound manlier when she recited the lines her brother would always say to her whenever he would return home from the capital or from battle.

Taking a step out from their dry spot, the Tiger let the light rain wash over her. Holding her hands out in front of her to let the small droplets wash away the blood that still clung heavily to her pale skin. [#ac4970 [b “I think I am going to go back in, I don’t want the others to worry - or that man to come looking for us.”]] Flexing her fingers, Himeko double checked to make sure that there was no blood on her before she stepped back under the protection of the restaurant’s roof. Himeko rolled back on her heels, stopping next to him, a troubled look passing over her features briefly. [#ac4970 [b “If it were not for the others that depend on me being here to break the curse...I won’t mind it killing me. Perhaps that is just my own outlook on it.”]] Honestly, she had come to the conclusion that she was fine giving up her life a long time ago. However, it was the first time she let the words leave her lips. Himeko thought that there would be a moment where a weight would have been lifted off her chest, but everything felt the exact same. With a soft sigh, slim fingers ran through her damp bangs, twisting carelessly around her index finger before dropping her right hand to her side. With her smile plastered back on her face, the little Tiger disappeared into the restaurant.

En’s voice reached her ears first. Which was a surprise for the young woman, since he hadn’t spoken all the much on their walk here. Clearing her throat as she stepped in, Himeko stared daggers at her feet, her cheeks burning. Talking a crowd - even as small as this one, was a challenge for the Tiger. [#ac4970 [b “I apologize. I had to make sure my s-sister was alright.”]] Her fingers twitched and fumbled with one another as her ears began to burn. Thankfully, Tadashi took charge of the situation and once more, she was glad that he had taken the role as their leader. Mentally, she made a note to thank him later. Or at least try to be friendlier when he used his odd nickname for her. Though she had a feeling that it wasn’t because he thought she was a kitten, more like he had trouble with names.

Tapping Chikusa on the shoulder as lightly as she could to get his attention, since Tadashi was quick remind her that her husband had been worried. [#ac4970 [b “Could I sit next to En? I would really prefer not to be at the end in case someone decides to come back…”]] Himeko had bent down to whisper into the older male's ear as to not interrupt the story that Tadashi had begun to spin. Carefully, Himeko tucked her legs, patting En gently on his upper arm. [#ac4970 [b “Sorry to have worried you….”]] Himeko gingerly left her hand on his upper arm, since the only married couple she had ever been around being her parents. They often times sat in long periods of silence, so the little Tiger decided that even if it was awkward, it was better than nothing and there was no way she was about to hold his hand. That was too forward - at least she thought it to be, since leaving the village she was beginning to rethink a few things.

The hand that laid on his arm soon clutched at the clothing there in excitement as Tadashi continued on with his story. Her brother often told her stories, though all of them had been of war, this one was much softer than those. Even with the abrupt end. [#ac4970 [b “Did she?”]] Himeko couldn’t help herself as she leaned ever so slightly forward, eyes a little larger as if she was hearing the story for the first time. Well, this time it was true.
[#f6b54a [b “Nope! She is still searching for him. Refusing to believe the truth.”]] Tadashi grinned as if there was some joke that she was missing out on. Before she could retort, their leader was standing and exchanging words with the hostess from earlier.

[#ac4970 [b “Um, Two rooms? Tashi-”]] Before she could protest, their leader was already gone. A heavy sigh left her lips. Himeko would be branded a liar if she said she wasn’t tired, however, two rooms for their group wasn’t ideal considering their size. Himeko stood, grabbing her discarded sandals while the thought of chasing after the older man crossing her mind.

[b “I have already spoken with them and let them know of your situation,”] the Hostess lowered her voice as she gently placed a hand on Himeko's shoulder. [b “I was nervous my first night as well. It will pass dear.”] If Himeko had been born a better liar, she would have reassured the woman, thanked her for her help, and went about their ways. However, she was not so instead a series of small coughs escaped her while her face boiled red.

[#ac4970 [b “I-I’m going ahead!”]] Himeko darted away from the Hostess touch and after Tadashi, only hearing the chime of the Hostess giggle behind her. The small drizzle of rain had disappeared in the minutes she had left it. Now the night was muggy and the sky was a faded black because of the clouds, no stars. [#ac4970 [i ‘Reminds me of our future.’]] Himeko thought grimly as she stepped out, her toes squishing into the mud as she marched across the road. She was going to have to wake early to track down a new pair of sandals or at trying to fix the ones that she had.

The inn itself was not fancy. It reminded Himeko of the larger of the homes in her village, though it held the pleasant smell of ginger. The little tiger was greeted only by Tadashi’s stock back as she entered. Puffing up her cheeks with air, she tried to make herself seem bigger as she stomped up to the side of their leader. [#ac4970 [b “Next time you do this, [i please] pick on someone else.”]] Though she said please if he used her in the future, the little tiger vaguely was toying with testing out her claws on him.

The grin still hadn’t left him as he reached down, placing his rather large hand on her head, ruffling her hair as he barked out a laugh. [#f6b54a [b “Live a little, Kitten! Besides En won’t mess with a little kid-”]]

[#ac4970 [b “-I’m not a little kid! I’m the same age as Qin!”]] Himeko left out that the other girl was a few months older than her.
[#f6b54a [b “Oh.”]] The grin left his face as he narrowed his eyes. [#f6b54a [b “Huh. You don’t look it. Bah, everyone is so tired, they’ll drop dead anyway. We can always just change rooms later.”]] Tashi rolled his shoulder, taking his hand off of her head finally. [#f6b54a [b “They are getting our rooms ready, no baths unless you want to wait up until gods know how long.”]]
[#ac4970 [b “I thought the rooms were-”]]
[b “Your rooms are ready, sorry for the delay - little ones.”] An elderly woman stepped into view in the small hallway, a little boy hiding behind her hunched form. [b “Is this everyone?”] Before either could answer, the little old woman and the boy disappeared down the hall, leaving Himeko and Tadashi to follow behind them.
[#ac4970 [b “I’ll go back and tell the others where we are, though they should be able to find us if we just wait here.”]] Himeko glanced around. The inn appeared to be much smaller than she thought, as it looked like there were only five, maybe six rooms in the whole place. Either way, Himeko just wanted to sleep, with a slight hope that this whole thing was some fevered dream.
  Himeko Uzuki / Darcy / 32d 33m 55s
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There was a silence in his soul as Chikusa started his story. Tadashi had not counted on their silver snake to spin words of love. Quietly, he leaned back against the wooden wall behind him and close his eyes. It had been a few years since he had heard this particular tale. When he was home, his mother used to tell tales of this stature, always filled with two lovers, finding one another and professing their love. When he was younger, he thought them to be sickening, as he grew older they turned sweeter until the gears in his head started to turn. As the story shifted from Chikusa to En, Tadashi faintly recalled asking his mother if she had loved his father the same way the characters in her stories loved one another;
[i [b ‘I love him for giving me you, my little prince.’] His mother had reached out a slender hand and cupped his chin gently. Her hand was cold and it had made him shiver. [b ‘But the lovers in my stories are not real, my love. Sometimes…’] His mother's eyes grew distant as she still peered down at him from under her thick lashes. [b ‘...Sometimes your heart and your mind get greedy. They fight over what will bring you happiness and things become unclear. When it comes to love, never let the two meet. For they can and will destroy you...and you forget what made you happy in the first place. My little prince, always be wary of what your heart wants and what your mind overthinks. Together they are poison.’]

[b [#008000 “The Princess was surprised but wasted no time in giving him his second task...Why don’t you tell us what happened next, Tashi.”]] En suggestion made Tashi’s brow rise up towards his hairline, snapping him out of the past. The man had barely spoken to him, so it was surprising that he wanted to hear what the God wanted to add.

[#f6b54a [b “I am quite the storyteller.”]] Tashi wolfishly grinned, taking his arm off of Jun to crack his knuckles on his knees. Before he could open his mouth to begin, their little tiger slipped back into the room. A look upon her face that brought about a question, but he wasn’t about to pry into it. Not tonight at least. Someone had ruined the chance for their small little team to become closer and now only an awkward tension lingered in the air. [#f6b54a [b “Well well well. Look what the cat dragged in.”]] That was a good one, he was going to have to use that again later. Tashi made a mental note and went on, his grin still in place. [#f6b54a [b “Welcome back! We were getting worried about you and your sister out there! No telling what kind of monsters are lurking out there! Can’t just run off like that and leave your [i husband] like that.”]] His brown eyes darted towards En, hoping that the nudge was enough for her to get the hint. She didn’t seem dull, but after the earlier events, he couldn’t hold it against her.

[#ac4970 [b “I apologize. I had to make sure my s-sister was alright.”]] Lying really wasn’t her strong suit. There was a ping of jealousy that vanished as quickly as it appeared. A large grin spread over his face.

[#f6b54a [b “All good, but that husband of yours looks a little lonely.”]] Tashi watched the red wash over their tigers face as she tucked herself in between En and Chikusa, looking like the very definition of uncomfortable. Well, at least she was trying. Tadashi made another note that in the future, to make the one in on his lie either Qin or Jun. Both seemed like they knew how to spin a tall tale.

[#f6b54a [b “We were just talking turns telling a story while we waited for you.”]] Tadashi cleared his throat, taking a drink of sake as his mind switched back and forth on what way he wanted to go with the story. [#f6b54a [b “For the second task, the princess demanded that he fetch her a comb made of the sky of a starless night. Being a simple man, he returned to his cows to mull over what to do next. Hikoboshi thought for two full days on just how he would get such an item. On the third day, a magpie came to him asking why he stood in the field for so long. Seeing no harm in talking to the bird, Hikoboshi told the tale of his lovely princess and her tasks. After the man was done talking, the magpie exclaimed that he knew how to get the comb but it could cost him. Wasting no time at all, the farmer and the magpie visited the god of death. Striking a deal with the god, the farm returned to his love, handing her the most beautiful comb that she has ever seen. Not letting the farmer take time to breathe, she set him out on the third and final task. To retrieve a necklace that would make of pure moonlight. Having completed the other two tasks, Hikoboshi set out without delay, knowing just where to do.”]] Tadashi paused, taking another drink of sake before continuing on. His mother had loved this tale, though it had gone down a different path than the one that his group was giving it. In truth, he prefers this one better. It made more sense than a flock of birds making a magic bridge.

[#f6b54a [b “It took him a month to reach the shore and another for the god of the sea granted him a visit. For weeks, the simple farmer talked and talked to the god about the love he had for his bride until the god could take it no more. A final deal was struck and Hikoboshi set off to finally have his bride in his arms….One the day of their wedding, Orihime looked like a vision of beauty and all the gods that struck a deal with the simple farmer turned green with envy! However, they also wept...but no one held more emotion than Hikoboshi himself. As he took the love of his life's hands and gazed into her eyes, he smiled. ‘I will love you with my final breath, you will be the final vision in my head before I go, I give you my heart and soul.’ As the ceremony continued, the farmer watched his wife, the smile never leaving his face….But...Once the ceremony ended, the farmer disappeared into thin air. His clothes and cows the only thing left. Orihime cried out; ‘Where is my husband?!’ The sun god stood up; ‘He promised me his eyes for your cloth’. The god of death was next; ‘He promised me all of his memories for your comb’. Finally, the god of the sea stood up; ‘For your necklace, he promised me his soul.’ Orihime cried out for her husband, not believing the gods, not believing that he would give everything away. So instead, she made a vow to roam the heavens and Earth until she found him.]]

[#ac4970 [b “Did she?”]] Himeko’s eyes were large, her hand had reached out and was gripping En’s sleeve.
[#f6b54a [b “Nope! She is still searching for him. Refusing to believe the truth.”]] Tadashi took the final drink of sake from his cup when the hostess walked in.

[b “I am sorry to interrupt, but the inn has two rooms open if you wanted to move your party there.”]
[#f6b54a [b “Thank you, dear, you have been wonderful!”]] Tadashi stood, his knees cracking as he stood. Just how long had they been there? [#f6b54a [b “Is it close by?”]]
[b “Oh yes! It is just across the street from us. Just tell them you are the wedding party - I told them your story, I hope that was okay.”]
[#f6b54a [b “Completely. You’ve saved this young couples first night.”]] Tadashi bowed his head before walking out of the room. The sooner they were out of the public eye, the better. They were too close to past to move onto their future. They would have to stick to smaller villages until they got enough distance. Though in the pit of his stomach, he felt that the past would be following them to the shores of Japan.
  Tadashi Nakagawa / Darcy / 40d 12m 55s
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[Abel [center [size15 「 马 」]

En watched as Himeko left the table to go check on Qin who still hadn’t returned after her initial outburst. He too had wanted to make sure she was alright, but agreed that going after her would only raise more suspicions. He wasn’t even sure how to go about acting like a married couple- much less act as though he were married to someone who very likely held anger toward him from his previous attempt to help her. Despite her outward forgiveness of him, he doubted that she had just let it go.

The story that was begun was the Japanese version of a legend En remembered his mother telling him and his sister when they were younger. His sister had been far more romantic in her beliefs, but he’d never found very much interest in legends like this one. He’d refilled his bowl of noodles by the time that Chikusa had finished the beginning of the story. Suddenly aware that all eyes were on him, expecting him to finish the tale that’d been started, he shook his head. “[#319177 I’m not really that great a story teller. Wouldn’t you rather finish it?]” Besides, Tadashi had asked Chikusa to tell a story, and their… leader if he could even be called that had the patience of a child.

When it was clear that he wouldn’t be getting out of the storytelling, En let out a sigh and set down the half eaten bowl of food on the table. Maybe if he told it bad enough, then the next time they had to stall for time, they wouldn't ask him to do the story telling. “[#319177When they met, Orihime was uncertain of her father’s choice for a suitor,]” he began slowly- knowingly diverging from the story only to make it a bit more interesting. “[#319177 Although she was afraid of never finding love, she was also afraid that he wasn’t worthy of her love and commitment. She humored her father in meeting with Hikoboshi, and over time, she felt herself starting to enjoy his company, but she was afraid to love him without knowing his love was genuine. After he proposed to her, Orihime concocted a set of tasks for him to prove his worth to her. If he could pass through these trials, then his love for her was true, and she could be happy.]”

He raised the teacup to his lips- pausing mostly for effect. “[#319177 And so, the princess set forth a series of seemingly impossible tasks. ‘[i I would like cloth made of the brightest sunlight- not yellow, not spun like gold, but pure sunlight- to make my wedding garb,]’ the princess requested as his first task. And the simple cowhearder set out to bring the princess’ wish a reality. Upon hearing this, her father grew furious with her for not accepting someone who seemed so willing to love her, but he was powerless against his daughter’s will, and so, he allowed her to have her fun.]

“[#319177 Of course, the man was a simple man, and had no idea where he’d find cloth made from sunlight. He had little money, and so he did what any man short on smarts or money might do: he turned to the gods to ask their help to win over the princess,]” A slender finger twirled around the pink strand of hair as he thought of where to go with his story. Perhaps he was enjoying it a little too much- more than he certainly imagined that he would enjoy telling a story. “[#319177 It took a long time, but Hikoboshi exchanged a favor with one of the nine sun gods, and he returned to his princess- sporting a cloth that illumed brighter than any light. It glowed bright like the sun, and there was no doubt that this cloth was indeed made of sunlight. The Princess was surprised, but wasted no time in giving him his second task,]”

En gazed over to Tadashi with a rather proud grin. He gestured to the other man. “[#319177 Why don’t you tell us what happened next, Tashi,]” It wasn’t a question, but more of a suggestion. En gave the other man a discrete wink as well as he passed off the tale. Though he’d like to finish the story he’d just come up with, he agreed that it might be more fun that everyone else add their input as well. ]
  |- Tea Hime -| / -Solaris- / 54d 17h 38m 39s
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[Spectral Narrowing her eyebrows, Jun's cheeks puffed up in anger as she listened to Tadashi reason with the drunk man and Chiuksa respond with [b [#7eaefc "I do not think 'teaching him a lesson' is a good idea."]] Thoughts of how to defend Qin rushed into her mind and left just as quickly as they entered. Jun knew the reality was she couldn't do much for her, the only thing she could do was use her [i curse], but was an old man telling lies, or truths, worth time off her life?

[#ADADAD [b “M-my uncle was just joking sir!”]] the boy who accompanied the drunkard stammered as Tadashi's body rose a bit, his knuckles popping under the table in a threatening way. [b “The hell I am!” ] the long haired girls narrowed eyes shifted towards the older, drunk man again as her chest released a heavy sigh of annoyance. Couldn't the old man take a queue? Although Jun didn't necessarily believe Tadashi would assault the man like his previous actions suggested, she was hoping the old man would.

[#342769 [b “Best be careful with who are you are joking with in the future though, so might not take kindly to it.”]
[b [#ADADAD “Of course, I apologize for my uncle. He has had a hard day.”]]

[#CD5C5C [i He's hard a hard day?]] rolling her eyes, the girl couldn't help but let out an irritated laugh. Having a bad day didn't warrant such behavior, it's understandable that he would act out but he is a grown man. If all men acted like this when they had a bad day Jun would have to seriously reconsider her want for a family.

[#342769 [b “Well. Perhaps you should recite us a story.”]] Tadashi's voice teased the snake boy has his lanky arm wrapped around her shoulders, his hand lying comfortably instead of holding her. [#342769 [b “My [i wife] and I would hear one and I’m sure it would make the group feel better.”]] Unwillingly letting out a nervous laugh, her cheeks pinked as her hand rose to grab a handful of his fingers, squeezing them in her grip. [#CD5C5C [b "Ah, yes dear, you know how I love stories, especially fables. "]]

Turning her head back to look at the restaurants doorway, she watched as unknown people come in and leave the restaurant. [#CD5C5C [i No Qin..]] her lips tugged into a subtle frown as she sympathized with the Dragon girl. She knew how embarrassing it was to be called out in public, she had been publicly shamed before as well. But her response to the accusations made Jun feel as if the old mans words held some truth. Turning back to the table, she began to speak softly before interrupted by Himeko. [#CD5C5C [b "Maybe we shou--"]][#e80454 [b "I'm going to check on Miss Qin." ]] Himeko beat her to the punch, but it was probably for the best. Jun had only known Qin for a few hours, plus, those two girls were the ones most spoken of by the drunk man so it was best they comforted each other.

Diverting her gaze to the white haired man across the table from her, she watched as his judging eyes followed the young girl. Remembering what he had said earlier about Himeko acting more like a new bride, Jun half heartily agreed. They would look suspicious if Himeko would act like a stranger to her husband, but it was unlikely the staff was watching over the party with a keen eye. Shrugging to her own thoughts, the woman supposed if a server came back asking about her the group would come up with some lie about why she left. [b [#342769 "Oh they're just freshening up in the bathroom, special night y'know~"]] Tadashi's voice cooed in her head as she thought of possible things that could be said.

[b [#342769 “Story, story, story, story, story, story, story.” ]]
[b [#7eaefc "Shall we go for an old love story, then, children?"]]

Upon hearing the tale was to be about a love story, Jun's frown was turned upside down. The sheep girl [i loved] love stories. She herself has never found herself in love, more like obsessed, her family told her they were the same thing but she decided on her own they were different for her. Leaning forward to rest an elbow on the table and her chin in her hand, she listened to Chikusa intensively as he told the tale about a beautiful, loveless woman. Her father taking it upon himself to help her love life. [#7eaefc [b "Why don't you continue the story however you like? You do not have to follow the real tale." ]]

Looking over to En, a boy who had been Himeko's quiet husband, she nodded at him in a reassuring way, even if he didn't know or see her do it. Embarrassingly, Jun was excited for the story to continue, it was the only thing keeping her mind off of what had just happened with Qin and Himeko.
  [羊] / Illuminati / 59d 5h 34m 44s
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[#317d7a ~ [pic http://cdn.steamcommunity.com/economy/emoticon/blueflame] ~]
A pair of narrowed eyes followed after Himeko. She was doing the exact opposite of acting like a proper bride, and she wasn't even giving her 'groom' acknowledgement even if it was just for show. While he truly believed that Qin could handle herself outside, he decided to pay Himeko's departure no mind for now. They may pass off as real sisters with the reaction, anyway.

[#c44a47 [b “Story, story, story, story, story, story, story.”]]

[i This pig,] Chikusa thought, with his mask of a smile, watching Tadashi gobble up most of the dumplings that was left. His former occupation was not very close to that of a bard's, and he did [b not] look old enough to be an uncle of anyone in the group. [i Ah, but it can't be helped.] Chikusa could at least play the part of an easy-going youngest uncle. He swore he'd get back to the loudmouth at some point for indirectly telling him he appeared old, however.

[#317d7a [b "Let's see, let's see~"]] he singsonged, closing his eyes in thought, searching his mind for a short story fitting for the "occasion." What came first were epics of majestic rulers and skilled samurai, but those did not suit the supposed mood, and he was not keen on boring his companions with stories meant to take more than three hours. He was then reminded of an old myth concerning two lovers, which he heard from a former co-worker. Stories involving gods no longer thrilled him after receiving his curse, but the longer he thought the less convincing it would be. He clapped his hands, tilting his head with an eager smile. [#317d7a [b "Shall we go for an old love story, then, [i children]?]]

[#317d7a [b "Once upon a time,"]] he started, his tone imitating that of someone telling a story to a bunch of little kids, [#317d7a [b "there lived a princess who skillfully weaved by the heavenly river. The princess, whose name is Orihime, was quite the hard-worker; she made beautiful clothes---prettier than the ones you will probably see in the city---but she was not truly happy. In fact, the princess was actually very sad."]] At the last word, he let the smile on his face fall for a moment, the tone dropping to emphasize the emotion suggested by the simple story. He shifted to the side, using his open palm on the floor as support, suggesting that he has become comfortable, fighting to turn back to his habit of maintaining his back straight and being in a proper sitting form in a public space.

[#317d7a [b "She feared that she will never find love,"]] he told them as he took a dumpling from the plate that still had more, securing it with his chopsticks. [#317d7a [b "A pretty sad thought for a maiden such as the princess, if I say so myself."]] He wagged his chopsticks, which held his dumpling, his tone suggesting nonchalance rather than sympathy, before he placed the serving into his mouth. He chewed and swallowed. [#317d7a [b "So!"]] He leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table, grinning with eyes that now shone with (faux) enthusiasm. [#317d7a [b "Her father, god of the heavens, who loved his daughter very, [i very] much, wanted to solve this... little problem of hers.]]

[#317d7a [b "He arranged her to meet a cow-herder who lived in the other side of the heavenly river. This man's name,"]] he raised a finger to provide emphasis for his next words, [#317d7a [b "is Hikoboshi. Now we are getting to the exciting part!"]] He pumped both of his fists, before resting his hands on his laps in an unsophisticated manner.

[#317d7a [b "When they met, they---"]] he paused, face scrunching up slightly in thought. They were not at an actual formal, proper wedding celebration, not with this kind of noisy place, not with the "bride" absent. While he did enjoy the spotlight, he does not mind sharing it in certain circumstances, and this may be one of them. A little fun would be fine, right? He was a [i fun] "uncle," after all.

[#317d7a [b "Why don't we do this differently? En?"]] He turned to En, who he never truly addressed until just a couple of minutes ago, and gave his shoulder a pat using his bandaged hands. [#317d7a [b "Why don't you continue the story however you like? You do not have to follow the real tale."]] He beamed at the man. [#317d7a [b "Then!"]] He gestured to the person next to En, [#317d7a [b "You can let the next person add something else to the story if you don't want to end it yet."]] He looked at the said person. [#317d7a [b "And so on, and so forth?"]] He tilted his head with the same wide smile.

Making shooing motions with his hand, he passed the story-telling task to the man with a pink streak on his hair. [#317d7a [b "Go on, go on! This uncle will accept no killjoys!"]] He brought his bowl of rice and pushed some of it into his mouth. Chewing, he asked, [#317d7a [b "What happened when the two of them met?"]] He tried not to wince at the inelegance he was displaying, as it was simply necessary.

[size11 [right [b *The story Chikusa started to tell is the Tanabata legend, or Qixi. Feel free to diverge from the story's canon.]]]
  〘蛇〙 / shirairu / 67d 20h 52m 40s
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[center [size20 「 龙 」]

Qin leaned against the side of the building- arms crossed across her slender midsection. She had contemplated leaving, but what good would that do when she knew that they had a mission to continue? Something told her leaving would do them more harm than good. Not to mention that she had nowhere else to go if she left this group of people. Going back to where she’d come from was not an option at this point. ‘[#3AA8C1 [i Maybe I should alter my appearance a bit. It would keep people from recognizing me so easily,]]’ she thought to herself. Just a change of clothes wouldn’t be enough as that had been proven by the accusatory man.

She was pulled from her thoughts as the smaller brunette girl joined her outside. The silence between them was neither awkward nor comforting, but she honestly didn’t know what to say about the outburst that had occurred. Thankfully, it was Himeko who spoke up first. She hadn’t pried into Himeko’s life even after their first meeting because she knew that everyone was entitled to their own secrets. Though, hearing this from her was a bit of a surprise, it didn’t change Qin’s mind about her friend.

“[#3AA8C1 You’re much prettier than me. Outward beauty is only superficial. What you have is much deeper than that, and I honestly envy you more than I have any other woman I’ve met,]” She admitted finally after a brief lull in their exchange. “[#3AA8C1 I’m not saying all men are this way; please don’t let my cynicism keep you from pursuing a man if you desire one, but men enjoy perverting what is innocent. They enjoy taking that away from you until the point where you’re so bitter and cynical that no one will want you. Or at least, that’s been my experience.]” All she’d experienced in her life was people taking from he. Her innocence, her name, her agency to be her own person didn’t seem to matter to other people. Even friends she viewed with the utmost skepticism in fear that they too would take from her in some way even if she did not mean to act this way. Perhaps it was why she couldn't take someone like Tadashi seriously.

She took in the sight of the girl’s hands that were slowly changing to clawed paws rather than human hands. She'd been told about the girl's curse, but it still surprised her to actually see it. Qin reached over to take a light hold of Himeko's wrist- being careful of the claws. “[#3AA8C1 Calm down, Himeko. I know what he said about us, and I’m guilty of it as well, but you shouldn’t let people get to you. People like that take enjoyment out of seeing you squirm. Though, it’s mostly my fault. I thought I wouldn’t be recognized so far away, but I guess I was wrong.]” Qin sighed- turning her whole body now to face the other girl. “[#3AA8C1 I never lied about my past either. When we met, I told you I ran away, but I never told you why. That man from before frequented the compound where I ran away from. I lived in a red light district close to the capital. Where I lived was essentially a really expensive brothel, but we’re trained to play music, dance, and other art forms. We’re ranked not only by our outward appearance, but by our talents as well. If you can’t play music, dance, or hold a conversation, you’re not likely to make much money.]”

It was sad, but there were girls who lived there their whole lives and never repaid back their debt. Qin knew her debt was massive, but did her best to do what she could- even if it made her disgusted with herself to do it. “[#3AA8C1 When I was younger, my mother died, and my father had run out of money even though he was previously in the military. To make money, he told the madam of a tea house that he would give me to her for a large sum of money, and from the age of twelve to… well, now, I lived in the compound with the other girls that held a similar past as I did. My story isn’t necessarily rare. She took my name from me and gave me another one.Yao Zhenzhu is the name I was given by her, and a name I’d rather forget.]” Qin’s voice was quiet as she explained this. Despite there not being anyone else around, the last thing she wanted was someone to overhear them. She would explain this to the others at a later time when she knew it was a good time to do so. They were already distrustful of her, and so she'd let them think what they would for the time being. “[#3AA8C1 When we come of age, we can make more money by sleeping with the customers of the tea houses. The first time I ran away was the day I came of age. I was scared. Even though I saw this every day, it’s different when it happens to you. I was punished severely, and they added the money they had to refund to my debt. I ran to a nearby shrine. I suppose I angered the deity there as now I can’t even listen to the sound of stringed instruments. It sounds distorted and sour. For someone whose livelihood was music, it’s devastating.]” She rubbed her scaled shoulder with the hand that wasn’t touching Himeko’s hands. They both had constant reminderst that they'd fucked up.

“[#3AA8C1 I’m glad to hear you don’t think of me any differently, but I honestly wouldn’t blame you if you did. You’re free to hold any opinion of me after hearing this. I just want to break our curses so we can go back to living at least semi-normal lives.]” It was obvious that Qin didn’t have high hopes. Friendship would be nice, but most people didn’t like associating with people like her. Surely the others would hold negative opinions for a long time, but that didn't matter to her; only their end goal mattered.

“[#3AA8C1 I think I should cut my hair though. Only to make myself less recognizable, and make things easier on this group. When we leave here, of course just in case that man decides to follow us. I imagine the further away we go, the less that people will recognize me.]” There were many mixed feelings in her decision to cut off her light colored locks, but if cutting it short would solve their issues, then she would do whatever made it easier.]
  |- Tea Hime -| / -Solaris- / 78d 18h 29m 56s
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[size11 Everything in the room was drowned out by the rhythmic rapid beating of her heart. Her fingers quietly snapped and bent into hideous shapes until the curse fully took hold of her hands. A lump formed in her throat, her face paled. [i [#ac4970 ‘Thank goodness I am wearing red.’]] Himeko let out a small shaking sigh. The intruder had come and gone, just as Miss Qins anger. Carefully, the little tiger tucked her bleed hands up into her baggy sleeves. She was bleeding next to the worse person. Out of the corner of her chocolate hues, Himeko would see that Tadashi was speaking, but the thunderous beating of her heart took away whatever sounds he was making. Even in her newly forming state, she still doubted that they held any importance to her. Once more she attempted to clear her throat and calm her bundling nerves.

[#317d7a [b “For starters, that means the newly-wedded 'couple' needs to act like one.”]]
Perhaps it was because the Snake was sitting close to her that his voice was able to reach her through the pounding of her heart. Himeko honestly didn’t want to waste the time to think about it. Instead, she offered Chikusa a weak half-smile as her eyes met his briefly. [#ac4970 [b “I..”]] The young woman trailed off. [#ac4970 [i ‘Need to get fresh air. Need to get out of here before Chikusa sees my hands before anyone sees my hands. Just can’t be around people?’]] Her spinning mind tried to come up with an answer that would not alarm anyone. [#ac4970 [b “I am going to go check on Miss Qin.”]] Himeko’s voice came out quiet, only cracking slightly when she spoke the other females name. All in all, she wasn’t lying, but it would be a lie to say that Miss Qin was the first thing that her mind began to worry about whenever the drunk was rambling on. A part of her wanted him to keep going. To get the information about what happened afterward out of him. Was her village still there? Had he held up his part of the bargain? She certainly did not, though if the curse had not taken hold of her, Himeko knew in the depths of her soul that she would have. Dying for the greater good was better than dying without a cause. At least that was what she had repeatedly told herself then.

Before Tadashi could object, the little Tiger was already moving. Away from the table, away from the drunk, past the much smaller crowd, to stand at Qins side. Her hands had begun to throb in their transformed state. Claws had taken the place where fingernails have once been, the human flesh turned into white and black coarse fur. Thankfully, her long sleeves covered it up nicely, the only thing that would get anyone's attention would be the small drops of blood that came from the crescent shapes bites in the palm of her hand from where she had clenched her hand during the transformation. The pair stood there in silence for a moment, the only sound around them was the pitter patter of raindrops hitting the restaurant and ground around them. Himeko took a breath in and was the first to break their silence. [#ac4970 [b “I did not keep my marriage a secret from you. Would be marriage.”]] She corrected herself. [#ac4970 [b “My brother always used to say ‘people ask more about a frown, then they do a smile.’ It may not mean much, but I took it to heart. I used to think that if I smile enough, maybe I would fool myself into thinking that nothing was wrong with things, with me. I’ve..I’ve never really had friends so I have never confided in anyone. Aside from my brother and the small animals around the village.”]] Himeko added in, brown eyes locked onto the puddle in front of them. [#ac4970 [b “I say that..but I do not think I would have told anyone if I could have avoided it. It was...a..”]] Himeko’s brain scrambled to come up with the right wording. It took a few minutes of stumbling in the dark for it to find them.[b [#ac4970 “Forced marriage. He would get me and in exchange, he would leave my village alone. He is, maybe was, a lieutenant in the emperor's army. One word and they could have easily wiped my village out. The day we met, I wasn’t allowed to talk...It was the first time I wore makeup, now that I think about it.”]] Himeko shifted her eyes slightly over to Qin, a small smile playing on her lips. [b [#ac4970 “I did not look half as pretty as you Miss Qin. So I really do not know why he demanded me.”]] The little Tiger looked back out at the rain, clenching and unclenching her fists. Her claws digging in a little bit more.

[b [#ac4970 “The night before my wedding, I was told I would no longer be allowed to carry my brother's sword. The days leading up to my wedding the words ‘not allowed’ are the only real words that I can remember people saying to me… I...I didn’t want my family to have it. They didn’t deserve it.”]] Her voice shook with a sad rage. Himeko took in another small breath before continuing on. [b [#ac4970 “So that night I tossed his sword, the sword that I have now, into the lake near our village. It...was the last place that I saw him. There had been stories passed down about an old shine being under the lake, I never paid much attention to them. I guess I should have...because after I tossed the sword in the god that cursed me appeared. The next morning, before the wedding, my soon to be husband paid me a visit in my chambers. Nothing eventful happened since we were surrounded by the women trying to get me ready. I just remember thinking that I didn’t want him to touch him, to stop touching me and then…”]] Himeko looked around to make sure that there was no living soul nearby before she let her sleeves ride up her arms, revealing her inhumanly hands to Qin. [b [#ac4970 “It did not stop at my hands...I lost control and slice his face….”]] Shaking her head, she let her sleeves fall back over her hands and claws. [b [#ac4970 “Then I ran….I’m still running. Not just from him but from a lot of things. What that old man said about me was the truth. I don’t know if what he said about you was truth or lies, but Miss Qin, you have always been nice to me and that is all I know you to be. I don’t care about your past, it is there to shape you but...in my mind, it does not define you. You are simply Miss Qin to me.”]]
  Himeko Uzuki / Darcy / 78d 19h 50m 40s
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Just when everything was going smoothly, a drunkard had to come in and run everything. How were the ladies going to love him with this guy showing up and ruining everything? Tashi let the drunkard ramble, giving away Qin's - if that was her name - secrets. The small mention of Himeko made him raise a brow at the youngest of their group, though for the first time she remained silent. The smile gone and face now an unattractive pale. Interesting. The God made a mental note to comeback to this whenever they had a free moment later. While Himeko took the silent approach, Qin met the man with anger. Where she had been calm and mostly soft spoken, now Tashi assumed was a look of quiet fury had swept her features. Just as quickly as her anger came, it washed away from her face. Her voice still held a hint of her outburst as she excused herself.

[+red [b “-Ripped his eye out!”]] The drunkard slurred, jabbing his index finger at Himeko, the cup in his hand sloshed out the liquid that splashed over Tashi’s face.
Tadashi opened his mouth to speak, ready to lash out, but stopped, pausing long enough to think about his words. He wasn’t the same man that he was a few years ago. [#c44a47 [b “Sir. If you don’t leave my little sister alone, I will carry you out of this fine establishment. These arms are only meant for carrying the ladies, so it would be pretty when you and I leave here.”]] The goofy smile never left his face and his voice held its normal chipper tone. Regardless of the words the drunkard said, Tadashi held them with little light. He had known many drunks in his day, most didn’t know their ass from their elbow when they were as far gone as this one. [#c44a47 [b “Besides my little sis has more important things to fret over right now.”]] He waggled his eyebrows at Himeko trying to strike a reaction, however, the young woman was still lost in thought, miles away from there.

[+red [b “This-”]] Tadashi rolled his knuckles against his kneecap, each one popping loudly as the God made a motion to start to stand. Whenever he said he would do something, Tadashi rarely never did it.
[b “M-my uncle was just joking sir!”] The sheepish man that had sat idly by until now moved towards the older rambling man.
[+red [b “The hell I am!”]]
[b “T-that is also a joke!”] The man was trying to corral the older man back towards their own table.
[#c44a47 [b “Oh man, you had me going there old timer!”]] Tadashi scratched the back of his neck, his smile wider than before. [#c44a47 [b “Best be careful with who are you are joking with in the future though, so might not take kindly to it.”]] For the slightest second the permanent smile that had been plastered on Tadashi’s face vanish and was replaced with something more sinister.
[b “ Of course, I apologize for my uncle. He has had a hard day.”] The statement made Tashi snort. One was going to have a hard time relating to this group if one hard day was enough to set him off.

Chikusa’s words of acting their parts made him grin. [#c44a47 [b “Well. Perhaps you should recite us a story.”]] Tashi squinted at the long haired man. [#c44a47 [b “Or am I thinking of a bard? I am fairly certain that our ‘older’ uncle can tell us stories. Since you look like you have been around awhile.”]] Tadashi slung an arm across Jun’s shoulders, his hand not touching her, but flowing over her shoulder. [#c44a47 [b “My [i wife] and I would hear one and I’m sure it would make the group feel better.”]] Jun had spoken out with anger after Qin had left. It seemed that they had already made a bridge of kinship to be able to have such strong emotions towards one another. In a lower voice, Tadashi continued. [#c44a47 [b “We will stay here for a bit longer. No use trying to travel in the rain when we can wait it out. Just ignore people like that, feed into them and you give them more fuel, ignore them and they tend to burn out pretty quickly.”]] He had watched it many times back at home. However, the fire never burned out and things had continued to get worse.

[b [#ac4970 “I am going to go check on Miss Qin.”]] Himeko spoke up for the first time, swiftly and silently moving before Tadashi could advise her otherwise. Qin’s earlier rant rang in his ears and he decided that if Qin had Himeko with her, even if their earlier [i guest] decided to follow them the young tiger could take care of them both.
[#c44a47 [b “Story, story, story, story, story, story, story.”]] Tadashi returned his attention to Chikusa. After each word, he plopped a dumpling into his mouth. Where there had earlier been a rather large pile soon there was only a single dumpling left.
  Tadashi Nakagawa / Darcy / 79d 16h 8m 23s
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[#317d7a ~ [pic http://cdn.steamcommunity.com/economy/emoticon/blueflame] ~]
[b [#ac4970 “So, you are useless in a fight or near any slight injury.”]]

The usual smile on the silver-haired man’s face twitched, and he had to consciously keep his brows from furrowing. He was well aware of the fact that he was not gifted in physical combat, but he did not like the way the girl put it.Still listening to the girl as she talked, he inspected her body language and the manner in which she spoke. While she refused to meet his gaze, he had the sense that Himeko was simply careless with her words and her word choice, and gave her the benefit of the doubt that she originally meant no harm. A part of him, though, would like to assume that she was simply a skilled actress, but he would go with the first idea for now.

[b [#317d7a “I am afraid the god who cursed me was just as unhelpful,”]] he replied plainly, shrugging off his earlier irritation. He briefly considered mentioning that while he believed his statement is true, he suddenly had the thought that the snake wrapped around his body may be a hint of some sort of “help” the biased god gave him. There were times that when his curse was triggered, the snake seemed to have a mind of its own. But since he initially thought that mentioning the snake was unnecessary, he decided against telling them about it.

The long-awaited liquor was finally poured into his small cup. [b [#317d7a "Ah, thank you,"]] he mumbled his thanks towards Jun, accompanied by a habitual smile. He took a sip from his cup and felt the liquid flowing through his being, gradually warming his body, immediately lifting his mood. He also took meager servings of each dish on the table and on top of the rice in his bowl. Taking a bite off his dumpling, Chikusa was met with the surprise that the food was actually good, despite how hassled the eatery’s employees must currently be. They’re pretty capable.

With a fill of sake and good food, Chikusa was in a pretty good mood that when he heard Himeko tell Jun that she was never taught how to handle sake correctly, he was almost willing to offer to be his mentor for handling liquor because [i nonsense, a lady your age must start learning how to handle alcohol! You have no idea how beneficial drinking parties are!] That was until she slid the cup to his side of the table and said, [b [#ac4970 “You can have this, you seem like you drink a lot.”]]

[i Did she just imply that she thinks I'm a drunkard? How dare---?]

The contented smile on Chikusa’s face froze, and it took every fiber of his being to not react. She was truly testing his patience, and he was becoming more convinced that the girl truly was an actress at some point of her life and she all along just wanted to break his perfect composure. He was not going to give her that satisfaction so he proceeded to enjoy his food and to ignore the extra cup filled with alcohol on his part of the table.

[+red [b "I'll prove it!"]]

An eyebrow rose in disbelief at the obviously drunk man who approached their table and slung his arm around Qin, telling everyone that their group lied and that he used to be… involved… with Qin when she was working at a brothel, according to him, anyway. [i Ah, this kind of men is always so troublesome.] His narrowed gaze flitted to the man’s current victim in sympathy. If the accusation was true, then the disparity between her figure and her clothes made sense. Still, this man was foolishly bold to admit in a room full of people that he had been attached enough to a courtesan to buy a jade comb for her. He looked at the other man who sat the same table where the drunk man came from. Their gazes met, and the man only bowed his head in shame, not even making an effort to restrain his companion who was making an unwelcome scene. [i Pathetic.]

Still dignified, it appeared, Qin denied the accusations, ending with a tone that welcomed no more arguments, before walking out. The man shortly retreated to his table, begrudgingly, Chikusa’s sharp gaze following the drunk. With a huff, he turned back to his companions who were caught in conversation once again.

If someone had caught on that they were lying, that could serve as a threat for the night, even if a drunk’s words were not exactly credible. [b [#317d7a "I do not think 'teaching him a lesson' is a good idea,"]] he said. [b [#317d7a "Not yet, anyway."]] The man, even if intoxicated, did seem like he really knew what he was talking about, especially with what he said tying up with what Himeko told them about her wedding day. On the off chance he gets proven to be right, they would be in trouble.

[b [#317d7a "We do need to finish up quickly, but we also need not to waste the luxury of food."]] He learned all too well during his travels alone how valuable food was. Who knows, they might not even have an eatery in the place where hunger catches them tomorrow. He leaned forward, his voice lower, [b [#317d7a "I believe we can buy ourselves and Qin,"]] he gestured to her unfinished meal, remembering that she was also cursed with a large appetite, [b [#317d7a "some time [i [#317d7a and]] disprove that man by [i actually] acting like we're celebrating a wedding."]] He side-eyed Himeko and Lin. [b [#317d7a "For starters, that means the newly-wedded 'couple' needs to act like one."]]
  〘蛇〙 / shirairu / 94d 16h 4m 55s
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[center [size15 「 马 」

He shook his head at the girl’s apology. “[#319177 I appreciate that you say that, but you really don’t need to apologize,]” He was grateful that she seemed not to hold any ill will toward him outwardly, but he still wouldn’t push his luck in offending her a second time. The last thing that He wanted was to make their traveling experience a miserable one. Even as much as she reminded En of his sister, he had to remember that she wasn’t, and she was more than capable of taking care of herself.

When alcohol was offered, En too refused it. He instead stuck to the tea in his cup. It was best to be sober in an unknown setting- especially if they’d have to leave the dry warmth of this eatery before long. As much as he wished they could stay inside, he knew that the hostess’ hospitality would only last so long, and she probably wouldn’t take too kindly to them if they loitered.

Opting for noodles rather than rice, the male was more than excited for the warm meal as he hadn’t had more than scraps for a long time. He opted for silence- listening to the others explain their own curses. He had to admit the gods had a weird sense of humor if they thought putting all of them in one place to work together was somehow a good idea. Deep down, En knew that they had been thrown together for a reason, but for now, he would focus on getting used to his rowdy companions.

“So, you are useless in a fight or near any slight injury,” Himeko’s words almost made the him laugh. He held it in, but only just. En cleared his throat, and attempted to return to a straight face- hiding his smile behind his teacup. He set his bowl down to fill it with noodles and vegetables once again as a man approached them.

“[+red I’ll prove it!]”

His eyebrow raised slightly in a questioning manner, but before he could ask exactly what the man was going to prove, he was already ranting drunkenly about the girl being someone he’d met before. She seemed to wear a face of discontent as she brushed aside his words so easily. The hair on the back of his neck prickled, and that was never a good sign. Seeing her so shaken left a bad taste in his mouth. The woman was normally so composed, and now it seemed like she was on edge. This outburst made him wonder if the rumors he’d heard about traveling around the northern part of the country had been true.

After Qin left the table, the man retreated back to his own table- glaring begrudgingly at them. He was seemingly a little defeated that he’d been unable to sway the rest of them into believing his story about having “bought her” once upon a time. It made En’s skin crawl at the thought of being paid for sex. Men like that reminded him of his youth and why his father was so adamant about teaching him and his sister how to protect themselves.

En nodded in agreement with Jun. Even if Qin was a prostitute, it wasn’t their business how she made her living. He had a lot of questions to ask the dragon girl, but he would wait until he knew her better to pry into her life. Curiosity killed the cat and all that he supposed. “[#319177 There are rumors that I’ve heard in my travels,]” He began. “[#319177 Rumors about girls being bought and sold like commodities just because their parents have run out of money. They would sell their daughters for large sums of money, and the people that buy them train them to be entertainers. Song, dance, calligraphy, and even sexual favors,]” They were technically escorts as Jun had put it, but they did more than just sex- not that he would get into technicalities with them as he was sure the history on such a subject would just bore them.

“[#319177 I wouldn’t mind if we taught him a lesson, but I think the best thing we can do for Qin is to give her a moment alone as well as the benefit of the doubt. I say we finish up here and find a place to rest for the night. We shouldn’t loiter,]” They were all in this together, and so it didn’t do well to dwell on these types of incidents.]]
  |- Tea Hime -| / -Solaris- / 96d 14h 22m 57s
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[spectral "Any living thing that my bare hands will touch will get poisoned, and meeting my glare at my triggered state may turn you to stone."

"Medusa," she mouthed to herself as her eyes slowly shifted from the individuals talking to one of the people she had been sitting beside. Glancing at the boy beside her, she looked him over multiple times before realizing she had forgot or never known his name. He was.. scary, not pretty like the other boys she had known the names of. Looking over his long, black hair, she wondered how long it took for him to grow it out and if it was a burden to him at all.

Leaning over, Jun gently nudged Raiden's shoulder with her own to get his attention. Hoping it wasn't too sudden or rude, she took the chance to introduce herself. [b [#CD5C5C "Hey stranger, how you feelin'?"]] giving him a soft smile, her hand lifted to her face, pushing back strands of hair that had fallen into her face back behind her ear. [b [#CD5C5C "I'm Jun, what should I call you?"]] —

[b [#342769 “When the liquor arrives, would you mind pouring it? I would, but I don’t think half of those here would want me near them.” ]] Tadashi spoke as he snaked a long, slender arm around her shoulders. Instantaneously turning her head away from Lin in order to look at the dark-haired man, her lips instantaneously twisted into a smile as she saw his face. Jun didn't mind Tadashi, he was rowdy, overly confident and always knew when to interrupt her but he was oddly respectable. Nodding her head in agreement to his request, she had decided to do what she could to be useful at the time being. She was very grateful to Tadashi, Himeko and even Lin, for lying to get them a place to temporarily rest.

As the hostess coyly served the bottles of alcohol, Jun tilted forward once more in habit to thank the hostess. Doing what was asked of her, Jun asked each person individually if they'd like a glass, and if they were too busy talking, she poured them one just in case. Upon hearing Tadashi speak of having to share a room with nine other people, she herself decided to pass on the liquor. It was best to stay sober.

[b [#7eaefc "Lin? Jun?"]]
[b [#342769 “What does your curse do?”]]

[b [#CD5C5C "Ah, I guess I will answer first, Lin. I am capable of mind manipulation and I also have psychokinesis. A more tame side effect of my curse is that my hair grows a considerable amount in a small time frame. "]] Letting out an awkward laugh, she brought her tea cup to her lips for another sip before being questioned again.

[b [#342769 “What province are you from? You look very familiar. Are you from the city? Maybe the country near one?”]]
[b [#CD5C5C My family traveled a lot while I was growing up but I lived in the Jiangsu province these past few years. I lived close to the city of Shaghai and visited often. ]]
[b [#342769 “You have very luxurious hair.”]]
[b [#CD5C5C "I'd hope so it, it is one of my pride and joys." ]]

Letting out a soft but awkward laugh, her body instantly relaxed as the attention was moved away from her and to Taka, another pretty boy who could easily win a spot as a model for an elegant clothing store just like Chikusa, a.k.a Medusa. Watching as Tashi continued to interrogate what felt like everyone, she was suddenly surprised by the arrival of food. Focusing on continuous conversation had made her forget she was hungry, but actually seeing and smelling the food reminded her dying stomach that she was about to pig out.

Watching the other girls delicately pick and choose their foods, Jun wondered if she should follow their lead or eat as much as she wanted at the time, after all she didn't know when or what her next meal would be. After a short consideration time, she reluctantly decided to also be ladylike. Picking out a small bowl of rice, topping it off with tofu and vegetables. It was healthy and the rice was filing, it wasn't [i that] bad of a serving.

"[b I’ll prove it,]" a drunken man slurred as he stumbled and slumped into the seat next to Qin. Watching as the disgusting man wrapped his arm around the tiny dragon girl, the hair on the back of Jun's neck stood up as he continued to spout nonsense over "buying Qin" and making accusations of Qin working at a brothel. Watching as the girl dismissed almost everything he had said with ease, Jun's eyes followed her as she stood up and left the table momentarily. "[b [#CD5C5C Even if Ms. Qin was an escort it's none of his business, real men don't have to pay for sex. What a bastard!"]] the girl whispered quite loudly to herself with a huff before beginning to stuff her face with heaps of rice in order to soothe her anger and to keep her put from chasing Ms. Qin.

"[b [#CD5C5C "Sum-own neth to teath him a lethon]]" talking to herself with her mouth full of rice, Jun began to pile more food into her bowl. As weird as it was, Jun was unapologetically an emotional eater. As long as she was angry or sad she was going to continue to eat until she puked and she didn't care who watched.
  [羊] / Illuminati / 98d 18h 19m 7s
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[center [pic http://i.imgur.com/cN5bKX9.jpg]]

[center [size20 「 龙 」]

[size15 “Oh I bet tons of women were jealous of you, Qin,”

Her words carried a hint of an implication that the Dragon woman didn’t know that she liked. She opted instead for a coy smile. She was rather distrusting of any compliment as they were more often than not backhanded and intimidating. Jun didn’t seem the type, but neither did any of the other women who’d offered her such compliments in the past. When jealousy sometimes meant sabotage of some sort from other courtesans, she’d rather not catch the envy of someone else. “[#3AA8C1 I’m sure the same could be said of you,]” Most of the women she knew would have killed for hair that long and shiny.

Qin was glad that the food had arrived so promptly. It drew her attention from her thoughts, and she decided that Jun’s compliment held no sense of malice, and that she shouldn’t be so distrustful of other women’s kind words. Whatever Tadashi had bribed the owner with had gotten them quite a feast. She had to say that she was quite impressed. It almost made her curious as to what exactly he’d paid with, but she could keep that curiosity at bay for the time being as there was no need to question this just yet.

Feeling small hands tug at her Hanfu, she gazed over at Himeko who seemed worried. A sigh fell from Qin’s mouth as she continued to speak- though this time in a lower tone so that the rest of the group didn’t hear their conversation as well. She had yet to tell the girl the details of why she’d left “home”- only that she’d run away, and they’d been fine to leave it at that. She knew that she’d have to tell Himeko eventually, and just hoped that it didn’t change the younger girl’s mind about her. “[#3AA8C1 Himeko, can we talk later about this in private? I think I owe you an explanation, but for now, yes let’s switch places.]” She agreed to switch the girl places, and quickly changed seats- seating herself in the corner where the Tiger girl had just sat.

Qin opted for a bowl of rice and a couple of the dumplings filled with meat. Even though she could eat more, she was a lady, and more so than that, she was in front of a fairly large group of people. It was best to keep her table manners rather than look like she didn’t have any.

“[#3AA8C1 Hm],” She mused- her mouth full of rice as she was addressed. She placed the bowl down and her chopsticks on top before turning slightly in her seat. “[#3AA8C1 No, I’m from a village to the north. Close to the capital, but not quite in it. My parents mostly traveled around China collecting folk songs and poetry. Despite his political training, my father enjoyed traveling more, and so we were never that well off,]” She mused- thinking back to her earlier childhood. “[#3AA8C1 When I was about seven, we moved close to the capital. I suppose I’ve picked up a few fashion tips from the girls who lived around me. I lived in a place where you either were someone beautiful and talented or you were not, so I’ve adapted to the competitive atmosphere,]” The other women were akin to sharks in the water, and she knew that if they knew they could get ahead of anyone, they wouldn’t hesitate to do it. “[#3AA8C1 I wish that I could tell you that I am more talented with music than fashion, but I’m afraid I cannot prove my words currently.]”

She listened to Tadashi speak about their living arrangements. She had no qualms with sharing one room with them as she knew it would be a tight squeeze on their monetary situation. They didn’t have time to work steady jobs to have an influx of money. As long as there was a proper place to sleep, then she wouldn't mind in the least.

Qin was halfway into a second bowl of rice topped with spicy beef when a drunken commotion came from across the eatery. A man slurring his speech was making his way across the room toward their group. Amber colored eyes refused to meet his gaze- hoping that he’d just leave them be and not cause a scene. She also hoped that it wasn’t her that he was ambling toward them for, but she already knew from Himeko’s words that he’d recognized her.

“[+red I’ll prove it,]” he slurred. “[+red Lying bunch of no good kids. Ain’t no one in this group married. And the only sisters you know is that flock of floozies, ain’t that right,]” he slung his arm around Qin’s shoulder- attempting to pull her close to him. Though she brushed his hand away. This only seemed to upset him further, but she couldn’t be bothered to care about his anger in her level of discomfort. He made her skin crawl now just as much as he did the first time that she’d seen him. She opted for silence until she found her voice.

“[#3AA8C1 Don’t you know it’s wrong to grope a lady- much less one you don’t know?]” She finally spoke- setting the now empty bowl on the table. “[#3AA8C1 Maybe you’ve confused us with people who are similar-]”

“[+red Hah! Lady, now that’s a good one,]” He laughed loudly. “[+red Last time I checked real ladies didn’t make their living in a whorehouse. It’s the young ones that are the most expensive. Think I even bought you an expensive jade comb if I remember. I think I caught her name was Zhenzhu. Isn’t that you?]” He let out a laugh as he continued to drink from the container of alcohol he’d carried with him. “[+red And your friend here, I heard she turned into a monster on her real wedding day!]” He gestured to Himeko.

There wasn’t a word to describe her embarrassment. Her fingernails bit lightly into her palms and her knuckles were white as she held herself back from stabbing him with her chopsticks- though they hardly made good weapons. “[#3AA8C1 My name is Sun Qin- not Zhenzhu,]” It wasn’t a lie technically. She was used to dealing with people like this despite her anger. “[#3AA8C1 I’m just a peasant girl; I’ve got nothing expensive in the way of combs or jewelry or clothing. Certainly not from you.]” She forced herself to meet his gaze- an ornery smile pulled at the corner of her lips. “[#3AA8C1 Now, if you don’t mind, my friends and I are eating. You can accuse me as you like, but I would greatly appreciate if you left. Them. Out.]” The last three words in her sentence were staccato- driven home to make a point in hopes that he’d just get bored of them and leave.

He refused to leave them, and continued on about how their group was lying. Qin tuned him out as she stood from her seat and left the table. The longer that she sat there, the harder it would be. She left the eatery and stood outside underneath the awning so that she wouldn’t get wet in the rain that continued to drizzle from the sky. Her shoulder itched as the scaled patch grew underneath her clothing, and her fingers moved to rub against the growing spot of scales. She’d have to wear long sleeves if she kept this up. Hopefully, everyone would simply ignore the exchange, and she could talk about this with Himeko at a later time away from everyone else. If they were curious, then she might answer their questions, but she would rather not talk about her past with virtual strangers just yet. ]]
  -Solaris- / 108d 2h 34m 16s

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