V є ✘

/ By Darcy [+Watch]

Replies: 51 / 3 years 19 days 6 hours 21 minutes 1 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

[center [google-font https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Questrial][pic https://i.imgur.com/Klrc90U.png][Questrial

[#317d7a ❛ ━━━━━━・❪ ❁ ❫・━━━━━━ ❜]

[b [#49a6f9 “Let her sleep. You and I can just switch. I'd rather we do this that way we don't have to wake anyone else up. Unless you'd rather sleep with her in your bed. Then, that's fine as well.”]]

Chikusa's tired eyes squinted in the darkness at the sound of the voice , his open palm slowing down at the gentle, rhythmic slaps on the Tiger's cheek before it fell to her side just as the door slid open and the God stepped in. Why were these people even awake? Weren't they tired from their individual travels before meeting up? His head still starving for proper sleep didn't want to even bother thinking of reasons why, instead pushing him to accept the Dragon's offer. He wasn't keen on spending a night with a━he caught the faint scent of alcohol from the [i still-]snoozing girl beside him, making his frown grow deeper━drunk companion during their first night

Just as he was about to crawl out of his cozy bedding, Tadashi was suddenly beside them, rolling the girl into a blanket-cocoon, stealing the warmth from Chikusa's side. He glared at Tadashi━can't he just take the girl without taking his blanket too? Before he was able to say anything, however, Tadashi spoke, his voice scolding, [b [#c44a47 “For someone that poses to be elegant, you are the most barbaric one here. How old are you again? Act.like.it. Get up or push her off. Never hit someone in this group unless it is a life or death situation.”]] Even his sleep-muddled mind could hear the venom in the man's tone, distinctly uncharacteristic of his demeanor during the earlier parts of the night.

He blinked rapidly, suddenly feeling awake due to the sting of his words, the tone of disdain foreign to his ears. [i [#317d7a How dare━]] Just as he was about to speak, the two vanished from the room, with Himeko in Tadashi's arms, leaving Chikusa [i greatly] irked and blanket-less at an ungodly hour of the night. The people he was supposed to work with were beginning to become more insufferable as he feared. His earlier slaps to the girl's cheek wouldn't even leave a visible mark; he was sure the pain would only be enough to wake up. That exaggerated response certainly wouldn't translate well in the future.

With one last glare shot to the door, he huffed, collapsing back to his bed, the frown on his face eventually disappearing as he drifted back into a dreamless sleep.

[#317d7a ❛ ━━━━━━・❪ ❁ ❫・━━━━━━ ❜]

Chikusa roused just before the sun did. He sat up, shivering a little from the cold dawn air, and rubbed his arms with his also-chilled hands. With a sudden, short intake of breath, he rapidly blinked and inched away in alarm at the sight of a nearby figure on some bedding in the room. His shoulders slowly sagging, it took him a brief moment to come to a realization. [#317d7a [i . . . Right.]] He met up with people who had also been cursed last night. It had been a while since he slept with another person in a single room.

After rubbing the sleep off his eyes, he pulled the loose piece of fabric that he used to keep his hair in place while he slept away and refastened it, long locks of silver falling over his right shoulder. He got to his feet, immediately sensing employees from another part of the inn beginning preparations for the day, and silently left the room, carefully closing the door behind him and slipping his feet into his sandals.

It didn't take much for Chikusa to find where the baths were located; it wasn't especially hard to feel the where the faint flurry of the employees' footsteps was "loudest" to his feet's ears, ask them where the bathing area was , and follow simple directions. Not long after leaving the room, he was enjoying the warmth the inn's bath area offered, more than relieved he was able to actually bathe in clean water after two days of traveling and before possibly a few days more.

He remained there until the sun revealed itself from its hiding place in the horizon, around the time, he always assumed, most people with a long, purposeful day ahead of them would have enough sleep and would wake up according to habit. He took his time rubbing the almost non-existent dirt from his body with the half-decent soap the staff gave him, pausing once or twice to absentmindedly trace the trail of snake scale marks on his skin, a frequent reminder that he had committed some sin against some god, that there were [i things] to be done if he wanted to live long. The invisible snake had shifted, he noticed, compared to the last time he checked.

After carefully squeezing out the water from his newly-washed hair and temporarily dressing in the clothing the inn provided, he walked back to the direction of their room. He suddenly paused in his steps, eyebrow twitching at the memory of their supposed leader's sharp, [i unfounded] words. The thought of dealing with probably more of that this morning brought a small frown to his face, and frowning was bad for the skin. He wasn't going to let that man indirectly damage his face; it was mostly the Tiger's fault, anyway. He let out a sigh, forcing his facial muscles to relax, and went to take a longer route, a low hum of discomfort settling in his empty stomach.

A compliment and a meaningful smile sent to a kitchen employee's way ended up somehow giving him a generously-sized piece of warm baozi that first almost burned his fingers. He held it with both of his hands once it was cool enough to be comfortingly warm, taking a small bite occasionally from the soft white bun, even as his morning hunger demanded more.

He wound up reaching the front hall on his way, and found Tadashi and Himeko already chatting, with an apple in the latter's grasp. He would much rather return to the room and continue with his morning skincare routine, but, in the eyes of outsiders who seemed convinced that they were a jolly group celebrating a new marriage, it would be suspicious if he wouldn't even spare them a greeting, especially with the desk attendant around. Heaving a sigh, he sauntered over towards the three, a small smile forced on his lips.

[#317d7a [b "My, my. The little bride is already awake. I expected you'd take your time, considering you had an [i eventful] night,"]] he said, his tone both teasing and accusing. He wondered if she even remembered getting drunk enough last night to slip into another man's bed, unguarded. Had it been an interested, filthy, no-good man, her night would've really been eventful in a far more undesirable sense for her. His gaze flicked to the desk attendant and quirked his lips in amusement. He raised both of his eyebrows when looked at Tadashi, and turned back to Himeko. [#317d7a [b "Unless... you did something else and En is more of an herbivore man? Oh, how [i endearing]."]] He chuckled lightly, before taking another bite from his meat bun.
  〘蛇〙 / shirairu / 1y 347d 14h 52m 50s
[http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=393548 [center [pic http://i.imgur.com/IoTp6qq.gif]]][size11
Wrapped in warmth, Himiko dropped her guard and allowed herself to be safe. The warmth next to her reminded her of the times when she would sneak into her brother's room late at night and snuggle into his side. Those times were very few, but they ended up being very precious to Himeko nonetheless. Slipping further into a deep sleep, Himeko’s sense of safety soon began to disintegrate as her dreams took her back in time to the first village meeting that her father had brought her along too.

[i Her chocolate colored hair hung just above her earlobe. Himeko could still feel its phantom length at her hips, even feeling the slight brush of the ends against her elbows as she moved. The elders around her had been talking in harsh tones since the first morning's light. It was well into the evening now and from what little she understood about the situation, it appeared that the villages chiefs had gotten nowhere. Her tiny legs had fallen asleep underneath her and fidgeting fingers played with the ends of her hair, trying to curl it around her finger as she had in the past only for it to slip away after the first wrap around.

A frown decorated her face after a few more attempts that also ended in failure. With a small sigh, Himeko dropped her hands into her lap and looked around at the other children that were also waiting for the meeting to end. A boy - Bai - that was a little older than her, locked eyes with her for a moment before dipping his head to the ground, face blossoming into a bright red. With a slight tilt of her head, Himeko watched him with curious eyes. Most of the boys in her village reacted two ways, smug grins or crying faces, depending on whether or not they had made the foolish attempt to challenge her reign. Bai looked up at him from under his bangs and Himeko managed to give him an awkward smile - that what one was supposed to do at this moment, wasn’t it? The boy ducked his head again and a feeling almost like butterflies emerging from their cocoons erupted in the pit of her stomach. Himeko could feel her own face beginning to turn a different shade, but she didn’t understand why.

After several more odd interactions, the day turned into night and the council of elders ended for the night. The only sound was the gravel beneath their feet as they walked towards the inn that the chief of this town had given them a room in. The council would meet again tomorrow and the whole process would start all over. Himeko didn’t understand why it took such a long time for a small number of people to agree on something. Or even disagree. The walk back to their room was filled with silence - like most of their interactions together. Instead of focusing on her father's scowl, Himeko kept her eyes on the ground. Listening to the loose rocks knock against her sandals.

It took them a handful of minutes to get into the small in and to their shared room. Since all of the rooms held the other chiefs, it didn’t surprise the young girl that they didn’t have an open room just for her. Quickly, Himeko followed her father into the room, quietly pulling the sliding door shut behind her. The tiny tiger could feel her father's eyes burning into her back.

[b “Strip.”] A command. Himeko’s throat tightened as her mind raced for any possible thing she could have done to upset him. Nothing came to mind as she wordlessly followed his command.

The dream began to blur, blocking out most of the beating that she reached. She didn’t feel the pain of it this time around. She could hear Mings voice calling out to her, saying something, but that too was a blur.

[b [#ac4970 “Father...please stop.”]] Himeko pleaded, her fingers splayed open as if pray to a god that would not likely hear her. This wasn’t new, but the reason behind it was. What had she done wrong? What was her father talking about? Despair filled her lungs alongside the air that she sobbed in. She could feel the hits against her naked body, but the pain that was supposed to have followed never came.

]Suddenly, she was wrapped in warmth once more. The dream of her past melted into darkness and all Himeko could hear was a slight snore. With a sigh, the little Tiger snuggled into her bundle of the blanket. Her throat was still dry from the dream before, but this time when her mind finally slipped into the dream realm, she dreamt of nothing; those were her favorite types of dreams.
[center -]
With a mighty yawn, Himeko awake, her head slightly throbbing while she wiggled out of her cocoon blanket. Silently, she slipped past En’s sleeping form and slipped into the hall, closing the door behind her gently. With a stop to grab her sandals from the room next to theirs, Himeko headed down the hallway until she was in the front hall. Tadashi was already at the front desk, a large smirk decorating his face as he fawned over the young desk attendant. Himeko resisted the urge to frown and walked up to join at his side.

[b [#c44a47 “Well, good morning blushing bride. How are you feeling?”]] Tadashi’s large hand landed on top of her head, messing up her hair.

[b [#ac4970 “Just f-f-fine.”]] Himeko gave a weak smile as she ducked out from under his freakishly large hand. Smoothing down her hair with slender fingers, the little Tiger almost missed the apple tossed in her direction. A single brow rose at the red fruit while her eyes flickered from its shiny skin to Tadashi’s beaming face.

[b [#c44a47 “I swear I didn’t do anything to it. Eat up because once everyone is up, we are out of here. We’ve already missed enough days at it is.”]] Something dark passed over Tadashi’s face; Himeko took a mental note of it for later before taking a small bite of the apple. Her stomach roared in triumph at the sweet taste. She took another small bite, careful not to take too much. If she had to share it with someone, she wanted to be prepared.
  Himeko Uzuki / Darcy / 2y 54d 5h 54m 42s
[center [http://rp.eliteskills.com/vc.php?c=393722 [pic http://i.imgur.com/vgOjN7N.gif]]]
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[font "Times New Roman" [size12
“Tashi, will you please be quiet. Stop babbling. I will explain. You caught me at a bad time, so I guess I don't have a choice.” Tadashi’s gaped open mouth snapped shut, his stare at En’s chest intensifying with it. “Yes, I am the first born child to [u General Ying]-” The slight buzz from the sake disappeared instantly and those dark brown eyes shot straight to En’s face, searching for some kind of sign that he was joking around. Finding nothing, Tadashi’s shoulders began to tense. Had he met his father? Would En’s father brought him to the field? Or to the capitol?

Tadashi’s mind began to race, throwing out hundreds of questions with no real answer. Each muscle in his body worked against the relaxing hot water that engulfed him. Closing his eyes, the God crossed his arms over his chest, reaching up after a moment to rub his eyelids with his thumb and index finger. Slowly, En’s voice began to reach him through the muck of his thoughts. “I practically had to run away from home to allow my father to let me leave the house. It's why I dress and act like a man. After being told that if I dressed the way they did and acted like them, then all men would do is take advantage of me, then I hope you can understand why I act the way that I do. That being said, I would really appreciate if you kept this between the two of us, Tashi. I should really... go back. This is already uncomfortable for both of us.”

Tadashi opened his eyes at the last bit, his mouth ready with protest, however, he had reacted a bit too late. Instead of having a blurry view of En’s chest, he was now greeted by a full frontal of En. [#c44a47 [b “En.”]] Tadashi’s voice came out hoarse at first, a small rose tint beginning to grow high on his cheeks. [#c44a47 [b “En.”]] Voice was loud this time, thank the gods. [#c44a47 [b “En. Sit down. I’m getting a little to..uh..acquainted with you right now.”]] Tadashi coughed in hopes of clearing the lump that was forming in his throat. [#c44a47 [b “I won’t tell anyone about this, but you should be [i much] more careful about your...bits...and...pieces.”]] Bathing with a woman wasn’t a new experience for the God, it wasn’t even something that he was ashamed about admitting. In fact, it was one of his more [ i gentler] stories. However, in this very situation, everything was rather new to him. Since En was set on being a man, he didn’t quite know if staring [i was] alright or [i wasn’t] alright. There had been quite a few times that Tadashi had found himself staring at other men in the bath out of admiration. This was more...Tadashi wasn’t sure what to do with his eyes now.

Settling on staring at En’s shoulders, the God swiftly got out of the bath and into his clothing. It wasn’t hard. The number of times he had to flee in the dead of night with nothing..himself feeling the breeze while he desperately tried to pull his clothing on and run at the same time. This time, there was no angry father chasing after him with a frying pan turned weapon. His neck burned as he escaped from the steamy bathing room and into the hallway. The slightly cooler air helped him in no way as he trudged back towards there room. Whatever sake that had been in his system was no completely gone.

[b [#49a6f9 “Let her sleep. You and I can just switch. I'd rather we do this that way we don't have to wake anyone else up. Unless you'd rather sleep with her in your bed. Then, that's fine as well”]] Qin’s voiced greeted him as he slid open the door to their room. It took him a moment of intense blinking to get his eyes used to the dark. The God squinted into the dark room, barely making out the lumps on the floor that were his companions. Adding all of them up, a little tiny one next to Chikusa was the cause of Qin’s words. The silver-haired male seemed set on slapping her awake.

[b [#ac4970 “Father...please stop.”]] Himeko quiet voice pleaded out into the silence.

With a heavy sigh, Tadashi grabbed his blanket tucking it under the side of the tiny Tiger and pulled her body backward, rolling her up in the blanket until she resembled a large caterpillar. Tadashi shot an annoyed look towards the Snake, the first real emotion to filter through his body that came close to anger. [b [#c44a47 “For someone that poses to be elegant, you are the most barbaric one here. How old are you again? Act.like.it. Get up or push her off. Never hit someone in this group unless it is a life or death situation.”]] His tone was cold and unforgiving, the warmth it normally held had vanished. Before he could hear the Snakes retort, Scooping up the little Tiger, Tadashi quietly and quickly slipped into the room that Himeko and En were to share and set her down.

Another heavy sigh left Tadashi’s lips as he rubbed his hands over his tired face. His words to Chikusa almost matched his brothers, however, Chikusa’s hand wasn’t chopped off to prove a point. Rolling his shoulders, Tadashi made his way back into the slightly crowded shared room and settled back into the corner that he had fallen asleep earlier. Crossing his legs, The God pushed back all the events of today, doing his best to forget any stress. Regardless of his forced position as a leader, the less actual leading he had to do the better. He was never suited for it, no matter what his bloodline suggested.
  Tadashi Nakagawa / Darcy / 2y 133d 17h 59m 42s
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[Abel [center [size15 「 马 」]

En settled into the warm bath with the book he'd brought with him from the room he'd shared with Himeko. Most of it was meaningless words or drawings about the places he'd been before he'd found himself needing the company of this rag-tag team. His documentation wasn't the cleanest, and he struggled with reading his handwriting at times, but he thought that it might be best to write down the names of his companions and his thoughts about them for future reference. Even though they might change later, first impressions were everything.

The door opened, and instinctively, En reached for his sword- placing the book on a nearby ledge where it wouldn't get wet. He hadn't expected anyone to follow him here, and had thought they'd all be asleep by now. His hand wrapped around the hilt, but paused when he noticed that it was Tadashi. A rather drunk Tadashi at that. There was really no threat, and so he eased up on his sword- placing it back into the resting place against the wall. “Hey, Tashi. Are you sure a bath is such a good idea being drunk and all?” Though he was fine with bathing with the god, there was a matter of... anatomy that would surely be noticed.

“I thought everyone was asleep. As for Himeko, I'm pretty sure she hates me to be honest.” En let out a soft exhaled laugh through his nose. It wouldn't come as a surprise as she'd been rather offended when he'd tried to help her earlier. She had seemed to calm down as the night went on, but she had never attempted to actually talk other than to give him simple answers. He too kept to himself for the most part- save for taking the initiative in the lie Tadashi had pushed them into.

“From the way you shot off to the room, I figured you would...be....cuddled...with….Himeko. My chest doesn’t look like that.”

The god's words brought a bright flush to En's face. Shit. He had noticed after all. Despite being fairly small chested, En had a... much less masculine figure than the clothes he'd worn before might have suggested. The last thing that he wanted or needed was for Tadashi to treat him like he treated the other women in the group. He was attracted to the god, but that didn't mean he wanted to be treated like all he could do is a beauty routine and fashion. He meant no offense to Jun and Qin, but they embodied femininity, and that was something that En feared for himself above most other things.

“You’re...a...Is your name...What the...I... Those are...That’s….Are those new?”

It was a lot to process, but it honestly felt as though he'd broken Tadashi. “Tashi, will you please be quiet. Stop babbling. I will explain. You caught me at a bad time, so I guess I don't have a choice.” Though, he could have probably just told the man to go to sleep and that he was dreaming the whole damn thing. He pushed damp hair from his face and crossed his arms over his not-so-masculine chest. “Yes, I am the first born child to General Ying and his wife. My name is En. Well, that's my courtesy name given by my father because instead of two male heirs, he was given two female children. One of which could not handle the weapons training or the stress of becoming learned. My given name isn't of much import, and so I won't be sharing it with you.” Tadashi didn't need to know everything about his life. Not that En envied his sister's life at all, but being the only able bodied child of his father hadn't necessarily been a walk in the park either.

“I have never been as feminine as Qin or Jun, but even despite all of that, I practically had to run away from home to allow my father to let me leave the house. It's why I dress and act like a man.” He hated to admit it, but the three other women in the group were far braver than he'd ever been. “After being told that if I dressed the way they did and acted like them, then all men would do is take advantage of me, then I hope you can understand why I act the way that I do. That being said, I would really appreciate if you kept this between the two of us, Tashi.” Part of him still was hoping that Tadashi was too drunk to understand or care, and that he'd just forget about it later.

“I should really... go back. This is already uncomfortable for both of us.” En stood once again- this time in an effort to get out of the bath to leave the male there by himself so that he would quit ogling him. ]]
  -Solaris- / 2y 199d 16h 14m 18s
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Qin had laid her own bedding beside Jun's. The girl was already asleep by the time that she'd finished, so she hadn't thought it prudent to ask if she minded sharing her sleeping space. The room was cramped as it was, and she'd rather intrude in Jun's space than someone less approachable like Chikusa or someone who seemed a little too familiar like Tadashi. The last thing she needed was getting felt-up in her sleep by the god. Though he was mostly polite, she'd noticed that he was quite big on physical touch.

The woman returned with a basin and a washcloth. Qin had no interest in asking the snake to do her beauty routine for her. Instead, she took a brush from her bag and ran it through light brunette hair that was still damp from the rain. She was was sure this was a far cry from her normal appearance. It was why being recognized had shaken her up so much.

“Do you want me to go beat up that old man?”

Tashi's words came in jest, but they only made her sigh. “[#3AA8C1 I do not think that to be wise. It isn't the first time someone has said unkind things about either one of us. As much as I would like there to be justice for what was said, I think it best if we brush his words off as those of a drunkard and leave it at that.]” She placed the brush in her lap as her fingers moved through her now smooth hair to tie it back into a loose hairstyle that would be comfortable for sleep.

“If you want. I could wake up early with you and we can see about getting you some new clothes. You look… too regal for a group like ours. I realize you would rather have Kitten with you, but I think it would be better for me to be there. As a pre-measure. Wouldn’t want murder on our hands as well.”

His words brought a laugh from her mouth, and a pained smile. “[#3AA8C1 Regal? I'm hardly regal in this.]” Much less with the constant threat that the scales that spread from her shoulder might grow if her curse were triggered. Where she'd run from, her attire had been akin to that of servants clothing. It was hardly regal. But then again, the clothing of her companions had not been nearly as stunning even for clothing of those of lesser rank. “[#3AA8C1 Though... I will take you up on your offer only because I am afraid of bringing harm to everyone if someone else were to recognize me.]” Despite running away from one dangerous situation, there was still a good chance that someone far more dangerous than a drunkard could recognize her. “[#3AA8C1 Himeko and I are friends, but perhaps since you're a man, you'll suggest blander outfits to help me blend in better.]” She gave him a playful nudge before she stood and made her way back to her chosen spot for her bed.

「 ❤ Time Skip 」

The woman bolted upright- her breathing heavy and labored as she woke up from a terrible dream that had replayed for the last few nights. Her hair had fallen from its loose position and now fell around her shoulders. Sleeping had become increasingly difficult as she always found herself waking up panicked and confused in the middle of the night. Even more so this night as she didn't recognize the place that she was in the darkness. As the door opened, Qin relaxed somewhat at the form of Himeko. She seemed rather out of sorts, but it was a face that she was able to easily recognize regardless of how drunk or intoxicated she was.

“[#3AA8C1 [i It was just a dream. You're among friends,]]” She reminded herself internally- letting out a shaky breath as she once more eased herself down into the blankets.

“Himeko, wake up,” The voice came from Chikusa. Qin almost snorted a laugh at the thought of Himeko crawling into bed with someone she seemed to have been afraid of since they'd met him. Not that she blamed the girl of course. “Hi.Me.Ko. Get out of my bed before I do something you'll regret.” She wondered if she should step in and help her out if only to keep him from waking everyone else up.

“[#3AA8C1 Chikusa,]” Qin whispered to him- hoping that she could get his attention. “[#3AA8C1 Let her sleep. You and I can just switch. I'd rather we do this that way we don't have to wake anyone else up. Unless you'd rather sleep with her in your bed. Then, that's fine as well.]” Plus, Himeko had seemed a bit intoxicated. The poor girl probably wouldn't be able to make heads or tails of where they were telling her to go. ]]
  -Solaris- / 2y 201d 16h 13m 46s
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[#317d7a ~ [pic http://cdn.steamcommunity.com/economy/emoticon/blueflame] ~]
The woman he asked to fetch a washbasin and a few towels returned shortly with the articles, passing by the trail of mud Chikusa didn't mean to leave with a grimace on her tired face. He tried not to wince at the look on her face. She set the bowl of water and the washcloths by his side, placing the latter on top of one of the stack of bedding. Once she completed her task, she turned to Chikusa with a smile he recognized as the kind most people use for dealing with customers. [b "Is there anything else you would need?"] she asked.

[#317d7a [b "Perhaps a rag that can be used to clear the floor with."]] He then turned to the woman with a timid look on his face, looking away to emphasize his guilt. [#317d7a [b "I sincerely apologize; I had been too enthusiastic at the idea of rest."]] His golden green eyes glistened with crocodile tears . [#317d7a [b "I am willing to clean it myself, to save you the trouble, I---"]]

[b "No, no need! It is not too much trouble!"] The woman's cheeks donned a pinkish hue, her gaze trained at his face, as he expected. [b "I completely understand. I will do it myself."]

Chikusa suppressed a smirk. He bent closer to her and grabbed her hands gently, an innocent, grateful smile now on his lips. [#317d7a [b "You are truly kind. I am sure people who stay here sincerely enjoy your service."]] The woman's cheeks reddened. Expressing her thanks, she excused herself and left the room with a smile.

He then turned to the items he requested, the fake smile on his face leaving it almost immediately. Just as he took a washcloth for himself, the God plopped down in front of him, with legs tucked underneath him. [#c44a47 [b “Alright, let's do this.”]] Chikusa raised an eyebrow. It did not show on the man's face, but did he know a bit of skin care as well...? He was about to just pass a cloth for Tadashi to use when he added, [#c44a47 [b “I’ve never had someone clean my face before...do I pray to you or...some kind of offering?...A nice compliment?”]]

[#317d7a [b "I did not---"]] he started before cutting himself off. Their supposed leader possibly misunderstood his backhanded insult, which could be Chikusa's fault at this point. A groan accompanied the sigh that left his lips. [#317d7a [b "Fine,"]] he said as he reached for his makeshift bag. He was not going to waste his products on him more than once, and Tadashi better consider this an honor. [#317d7a [b "Just sit still and do not interrupt me."]]

Once he finished taking off the bandages that wrapped his hands--he believed there wasn't a huge chance of him seeing blood at this time, at this place--he took out three containers from his bag. Folding his long sleeves, he took the washcloth that was meant for Tadashi to use and dipped it into the basin. He twisted the towel, gently held the man's face, and thoroughly wiped it.

He continued on with his most basic routine, using small amounts from each one of the containers for each step to work on Tadashi's face. Chikusa did not bother hiding his disgust upon finding how unhealthy and rough Tadashi's facial skin is. [#317d7a [b "Your skin is [i suffering]. I would not be surprised if you aren't very popular from where you lived. Horrible,"]] he commented, ignoring Tadashi's strange excuse for a compliment, before proceeding. His fingers massaged Tadashi's skin as he used an exfoliating powder, wiped the residue away with the wet cloth, applied the serum, then the moisturizer, making sure his poor, poor skin would absorb the nourishment the products offered. This could even be the only time the man's face ever received care. If he was doing charity work anyway, he might as well do it meticulously.

[b [#ac4970 “Tadashi-”]]

The God jumped in his seat, making Chikusa send him a displeased glare. [#c44a47 [b “Kitten! Meow or something, don’t just sneak up on people.”]]

He pinched the other man's cheek as a form of punishment for disobeying him. [#317d7a [b "I [i told] you to sit still. I'm finishing up."]] He spread the moisturizer on Tadashi's chin, taking his time to slide his fingers on the part. [#317d7a [b "Done. Now, shoo."]]

Himeko was then smacked on the back by Tadashi, telling him to 'make her look a little more womanly.' To which Chikusa released another sigh. The request to the innkeeper was merely an excuse for him to be able to wash his face, regardless if the others wanted to do it as well or not. But maybe it [i would] help with the act if he also helped Himeko with cleaning up, as it was the "intended" use for the items.

After checking her face for any sign of cosmetic application by making it move left and right by the chin using his fingers, he wordlessly prepared the girl's washcloth as she talked, as she apologized twice. At least she had the decency for courtesy, unlike the first one who now settled himself beside Qin. And she came with a warning about her own face. Squeezing out the water from the towel, he turned to the girl and pushed back the hair that covered parts of her face. [#317d7a [b "Stop apologizing,"]] he told her, sighing in exasperation, but his tone wasn't scolding. [#317d7a [b "You do not apologize when you accept help. You [i thank] the person."]] He started wiping her face, a little gentler than how he did with Tadashi's. If his memory served him right, a woman's skin is more sensitive than a man's. [#317d7a [b "It is not truly 'help' if it comes with a price. I assume you must be more careful now if that is your experience."]] He paused, before his lips quirked into a small lopsided smirk, cocking his head to the side. [#317d7a [b "If so, can you guess if I am truly helping you right now?"]] he asked, a mischievous glint in his eyes. He gave her a few moments to ruminate on it, before he chuckled softly. [#317d7a [b "I am jesting. I have nothing to ask of you... at the moment, anyway."]] [i That] was the price to pay for this: a little amusing reaction. He finished up and put the wet towel to the side, opening one of his containers.

[b [#ac4970 “If..If you could tell me what you are doing as you go, I would very much appreciate it. T-that way I won’t have to bother you with my face in the future.”]]

Chikusa hummed in interest at her request, looking at her whole face rather than a specific part of it. He did not meet her gaze, as she was actually looking at his hair instead. [#317d7a [b "You are supposed to do this in the morning and in the evening. Regularly,"]] he stated, raising his eyebrows, [#317d7a [b "I am not going to ever repeat this if you plan to slack off."]] He took some of the rice-based powder into the tips of his fingers from the open container. [#317d7a [b "And frankly, your skin needs a lot of catching up in terms of proper care. Now this is a skin polish,"]] he said, showing her the powder on his fingers. From there, bending closer, he narrated what needed to be done and to be used in each step as he did them to her face. His fingers moved with more tenderness than they did for Tadashi, smoothing out what he has applied on her cheek.

Two compliments came in the midst of Chikusa's process, two of which he has already heard numerous times. [#317d7a [b "So I've been told."]] He glanced at Himeko's hands on her lap as comparison, though he didn't really expect anything satisfactory, and found them fumbling with her sleeves. A small smirk of amusement was on his lips momentarily, before he turned back to her face that was damp with his products. He lightly tapped her hands. [#317d7a [b "I will prefer you calming down; this will work best if you are relaxed."]] He was not particularly sure if the statement was completely true, but if he was remembering correctly, anxiety may cause her curse into play. He didn't need any more excitement for the night.

[#317d7a ° . ° .• [pic http://cdn.steamcommunity.com/economy/emoticon/blueflame]•. ° . °]

The vibrations of stumbling in the room slightly roused the silver-haired man from his slumber, but he paid it no mind. It had been hard staying asleep when he could feel movements in the ground, especially when he had been just cursed, but he had learned how to live with it. He was not going to let some curse ruin his complexion due to sleep deprivation.

He then felt movement in his own bed, followed by a warmth that definitely belonged to a person, fingers treading through his hair, and a muttering voice. His sleep-muddled mind registered it as something that usually happened in his old residence, so he turned to the person, placing his hand on their shoulder and rubbing it slowly, reassuringly. [#317d7a [b "Can't sleep, dearest?"]] came his sugary-sweet voice that was slightly hoarse due to his drowsiness, [#317d7a [b "Should I---"]] he yawned, [#317d7a [b "sing a little lullaby---"]] [i Wait.]

He had left that place a long while ago.

His eyes snapped open and his hand drew away from the shoulder. He rubbed the sleep off his eyes using two of his fingers, before he squinted in the darkness to see who the person who strayed into his bed was.

The Tiger had her head buried into his chest, body closely attached to his. He could smell the scent of alcohol from her sleeping figure. He didn't even bother suppressing a loud guttural sigh from escaping his lips. He should've just asked something in return for his 'help' if she was going to bother him like this after all.

[#317d7a [b "Himeko, wake up,"]] he said in a hushed but stern tone, attempting to shake her sleep away. When he didn't receive a response that was close to what he wanted, he sat up, glaring at the girl who remained in his bed, and repeated a little more loudly, his husky voice dripping with annoyance, [#317d7a [b "Hi. Me. Ko."]] He started lightly slapping her cheek as he squinted in the darkness in search for Qin's place. Maybe the Dragon would be more accepting to take in a stray kitten in the middle of the night. [#317d7a [b "Get out of my bed before I do something you'll regret. "]]
  〘蛇〙 / shirairu / 2y 203d 12h 28m 57s
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A shiver started from the tip of her toes and travelled up her spine to the top of her head when En slipped his arm through hers. Instantly tense, the young Tiger bit down on her lip to keep herself calm enough not to start slipping. It wasn’t that she was against human interaction and skin against hers. It was just a sensation that she was not familiar with. Himeko cleared her throat before speaking, fearing that it might have gotten up several tones. [b [#ac4970 “No, we can share a room. I don’t mind.”]] She gave out a silent pray that her voice had remained the same. At least something about tonight had gone okay. Honestly, out of all the women here, she suspected that she was in the running for the last person they would pick to share a bed with. Not just with beauty, but because Himeko assumed that it would be much better to have someone that wouldn’t transform into a beast in the middle of the night because someone's big toe touched her inappropriately

The woman that Chikusa had asked to bring them a basin and a towel went right past them and into the room with the items in question. Another smaller woman was right on her heels, with another basin, however, she stopped right in front of Himeko. [b “For your feet, miss.”] The little woman whispered with an apologetic smile as she handed over the basin and towel. Himeko stood there for a moment, brain refusing to work properly for a brief moment until it clicked into place. Right. The mud.

A light pink hue spread over her face as she bowed deeply. [b [#ac4970 “Thank you very much.”]] Himeko didn’t move until she heard both women leave. With a sigh, the little Tiger straightened back up and stepped into the room where everyone had gathered. However, with a quick scan, it seemed that En had ducked into the other room that was meant for them. [i [#ac4970 ‘I guess it would be odd if he was in here after Chikusa’s request.’]] She thought while sitting the basin of hot warm beside her as she sat at the end of the room near everyone's sandals. Carefully, she set to work on getting the mud off of her feet. After the muck began to wash away, Himeko could see the harsh white scars the peppered the bottom of her feet. The cuts from before had healed enough that the only thing that was left was harsh angry red lines. One would only really notice both the scars and the lines if they were really looking. Her mother had started to bind her feet at a young age, so to keep her feet small. It had worked, in a way. As Himeko wiped off the last of the mud, she could hear Tadashi speaking at Chikusa and the young Tiger couldn’t help but roll her eyes. Slowly drying her feet, she stood up carefully, sauntering over to the duo as Tadashi suddenly stopped speaking.

[b [#ac4970 “Tadashi.”]] She greeted as she sat next to the God. Sitting next to him was safer than Chikusa, as the snake seemed to have a face of concertation painted across his face and the last thing she wanted to do was break it. [b [#ac4970 “Tadashi-”]] Their fearless leader jumped, reminding Himeko of an old man that had fallen asleep playing a game of go only to be suddenly awoken by the tiniest noise.
[#c44a47 [b “Kitten! Meow or something, don’t just sneak up on people.”]] Was he trying to scold her or pout?
[b [#ac4970 “I’ve been here for quite a while…”]] She commented, ignoring the rest of what left his mouth. The Tiger gave out a tiny ‘oof’ as he smacked her on the back, knocking out what air she had in her lungs. Large brown eyes watched him move across the room and settle in next to Qin before her body moved over to take the spot he had once been sitting at. Nervously, she fidgeted, her fingers tugged at the ends of her sleeves as she downcast her eyes.

[b [#ac4970 “I apologize if I seemed…If I seem ungrateful for help.”]] She started making herself look up, though she stared past the man in front of her, letting her eyes lock onto his flowing locks instead. The sickening feeling began in her stomach once again. Almost like thousands of butterflies were taking flight. Himeko was tempted to slap away his hands and move back to Qin’s side. At least there, she didn’t have to worry about her stomach caving in or worse. [b [#ac4970 “I...Help has never not come with a price for me.”]] The talk with Qin had made her uneasy with speaking as the other girl had used a backhanded comment before going on as to the way she shouldn’t be anything other than the innocent one in the group. [b [#ac4970 “Sometimes the price for that help was…too high and I took it..unknowingly.”]] Himeko cleared her throat before giving a small bow. [b [#ac4970 “I’m sorry, I will gladly accept whatever help you offer, however, I do not know much about skincare so you might find this as a challenge.”]] It was the only thing that she could think of to get at least one other person - that wasn’t Tadashi - to at least tolerate her presence. They were going to around each other for a few years after all.

[b [#ac4970 “If..If you could tell me what you are doing as you go, I would very much appreciate it. T-that way I won’t have to bother you with my face in the future.”]] Himeko sat up straight, the only thing she let really move were her fingers, the fumbled with the ends of her sleeves as she let Chikusa work. [b [#ac4970 “I could see where people could easily get lost in your beauty.”]] Himeko commented, her fingers trying to tie the end of her sleeve into a knot. [b [#ac4970 “You have very pretty fingers for a man.”]] She continued, which it wasn’t a lie. He [i did] have the prettiest fingers on a man that she had ever seen. Even her own hands looked terrible compared to his. Now that Himeko was thinking about it, it seemed that the only hands she could compare to her own and not see self-conscious was Tadashi. Maybe En, but she hadn’t given enough time to look over his hands in the short time they had together. That thought alone made her mentally groan.

[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/zHc9xxx.png]]

After everything was settled, Himeko slipped into the room that she was meant to share with En only to find that the man was still awake. Biting her bottom lips, she snuggled into the bed that they were meant to share, staring up at the ceiling in the dark. Waiting. While everyone was asleep, she had made a plan to sneak out and try to fix her sandals before morning. If she stopped to buy new ones, the money that she had gotten from selling off bits and pieces of her wedding garb and accessories wouldn’t last long. It seemed like an eternity, laying in the dark waiting for En to fall asleep. She could tell by his breathing that he wasn’t. Just when she was about to just leave herself, he stood up suddenly. Himeko pulled the blanket up over her nose leaving her eyes to look up at the Horse.

[b [#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.”]] Just like that, he was gone. Could he have known her plan? Or had she angered him in some way earlier? She tried to think back, the only thought going back to when he had offered to carry her. Had he gotten offended just as Chikusa had? Himeko wrinkled her nose at the thought. These people were very emotional things. Grabbing her sandals, the little Tiger carefully made her way through the hall, avoiding everyone until she came to rest on the porch in front. Settling down against one of the pillars, Himeko started to focus on her sandals.

The sound of a wooden door slamming shut startled her, tearing her eyes away from the pitiful scraps of cloth she was trying to work into her sandals. Tadashi walked up and dropped down next to her with a thud and a loud sigh. A bottle of sake in his clutches. Briefly, they made eye contact with one another. She found herself almost frowning at her newly gained companion, but instead forced her eyes back to her sandals.
[b [#ac4970 “Hello, Tadashi,”]] Himeko said politely anyway. Lips still with their painted smile.
[#c44a47 [b “Hey, Kitten.”]]
A chill breeze rushed over the two, tugging at her uneven locks of hair, and her breath puffed out in a white haze. It was only mid-autumn, but the wind had the cold taste of winter. Grey clouds stretched over the sky, blocking out any chance of seeing the stars beyond them. The silence between the two was surprisingly comfortable. That is until Tadashi held out the bottle of whatever he was drinking, sloshing the liquid inside as he shook it from side to side. Himeko’s eyes followed the moment, the sound from the jug blocking out the hum of voice from inside.
[b [#ac4970 “I can’t handle it well like I said-”]]
[#c44a47 [b “Well, what better time to learn, eh?”]] He moved the bottle again, her eyes glued to the jug as he made it dance.
[b [#ac4970 “A-alright.”]] Her entire being screamed out for her not to do this, but she pushed those thoughts back as she grabbed the bottle. Himeko had no idea how to drink out of a jug or even how much sake one was supposed to drink on occasions like this. So she mimicked what Tadashi had done and instantly regretted it. The sake was warm - the only redeeming quality it had - and very spicy. It burned her throat as a large gulp of it slid down her throat, tears began to pool in her eyes while her lungs desperately tried to force the liquid out of her body with a violent coughing session. This was [i clearly] the wrong choice.

The rest of their conversation blurred together, words, colors, and faces all became the same. Himeko did not know when Tadashi left her side until suddenly a wave of cold air washed over her. Giving her enough of a sober moment for her brain to register that she was alone and it was way past time for her to go back to the shared room with En. Stumbling, Himeko gently, well as gently as she could, touched the walls and doors using them as guides and crutches as she walked the inn until she found the sliding door that was theirs.

The room looked lumpier than she remembered. As carefully as she could, Himeko set her disfigured sandals down with a small thump. The little Tiger sucked in a lungful of air at the noise, but it didn’t stop her from continuing on into the room. At least that was her plan until her feet caught on someone's sandal. With a few stumbles, Himeko decided that walking in the dark was out of the question for her. So instead of walking the rest of the way, she crawled. Which was [i waaay] better than walking. At least to her drunken mind. It took her a little longer to find their bed. With a small hiccup, Himeko snuggled her way into the bed, instantly being greeted by a warmth that made a content sigh slip from her lips. She hadn’t realized that she was cold until that moment.

[b [#ac4970 “This blanket is lumpy.”]] Himeko mumbled, burying her face in the warmth, her fingers gently weaving through her hair. Was that her hair? Her hair had never felt this silky before tonight. [b [#ac4970 “...and smells...odd…”]] Though it didn’t stop her from trying to absorb the warmth it held. Was this what it was like to share a bed with someone? Even though they were gone, the bed just stayed warm in their absence? [b [#ac4970 “Maybe this..is why people get married...warm, lumpy, smelly blankets.”]]
  Himeko Uzuki / Darcy / 2y 218d 16h 24m 51s
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Slowly, his hodgepodge group followed after, the last one to join being the silver haired snake, who wasted no time asking for basin of water to ‘clean’ their kitten and seemed to be under the impression that she was going to lash out at him for it. For once, Tadashi held his tongue and let the two sort it out as his eyes flickered over towards the three quietest members in the group. Jun had not said anything since the story - if it hit upon a nerve, he couldn’t say. Maybe she was the princess in the story. Qin had yet to speak a word upon returning to the table, giving him the impression that what the drunk said had held a sliver of truth - not that he cared. She wasn’t the warmest person here, if he had no idea where animal she had been cursed with Tadashi might have guessed the snake from the way she lashed out and bared her fangs earlier. En had come up and slipped his arm through Kittens in hopes of giving the appearance that the two were actually happy together. More like very stiff together as Kitten appeared to have turned into a statue at the simple touch.

[#317d7a [b "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, but you [i do] need cleaning up, all of you.”]] With the last remark, the silver snake trotted into the room. Tadashi rose a brow at the little display but didn’t say anything. Since the one that had just commented on everyone else’s cleanliness just tracked mud and water all through their room. His dark hues gazed over the remaining members until they landed on Qin's fierce gaze.

[#c44a47 [b “Did he…just say he wanted to clean me?”]] Tadashi lifted both arms, flexing to show off the rippling muscles in his arms - something he was quite proud of. [#c44a47 [b “Who [u wouldn’t] want to clean this?”]] He asked over his shoulder as he followed after the snake. However, he slid his sandals off near the door before sauntering over to sit in front of Chikusa, his legs tucked underneath him.

[#c44a47 [b “Alright, let's do this.”]] He clapped his hands before slamming them down on his knees, dark eyes focused intensely on Chikusa. [#c44a47 [b “I’ve never had someone clean my face before...do I pray to you or...some kind of offering?...A nice compliment?”]] Tadashi rambled his thoughts out loud as he let Chikusa work, well, whatever he was working since the God was quite certain it wasn’t magical. [#c44a47 [b “You have nice...fingernails...”]] Hopefully it wasn’t... The last thing that he wanted was to wake up with a full head of long hair like the snake had. He wouldn’t even know where to begin styling such a thing. However, with the way the snake looked at everyone in the group it was safe to say he would more end up bald than with hair. He could work with bald. He had a very nice skull shape.

[b [#ac4970 “Tadashi-”]] He jumped, slightly. The smallest of their group had at some point during his facial cleansing came up and sat next to him. By the unimpressed look on her face, she had been there for a while.
[#c44a47 [b “Kitten! Meow or something, don’t just sneak up on people.”]] He scolded.
[b [#ac4970 “I’ve been here for quite a while…”]] She commented, either thinking he had been serious or just ignored him altogether - he couldn’t tell with her.
[b [#c44a47 “Alright, snake. Do your thing, make her look a little more womanly.”]] He joked, giving the small girl a smack on the back before getting out of the way. Moving over to where Qin had made a little nest for herself. For a moment, he let the silence grow between them, perfectly content to just sit there and let her make the first move. Well, at least that was what he had thought to himself. After a few minutes, his leg began to shake with impatience.

[b [#c44a47 “Do you want me to go beat up that old man?”]] Tadashi asked only slightly joking. Stretching his arms up above his head, the God let out a groan before settling down, leaning his back against the wooden wall and crossing his arms over his bare chest. [b [#c44a47 “If you want. I could wake up early with you and we can see about getting you some new clothes. You look…”]] His eyes narrowed as they roamed over the female. [b [#c44a47 “...too regal for a group like ours.”]] He nodded towards Himeko and Chikusa. En would have been included, however, the man disappeared into the second room almost instantly. [i Someone] was a little too excited for their fake wedding night. [b [#c44a47 “You aren’t the only one.”]] Tadashi rose a brow at Jun’s snoring form. The moment the group had entered the room, the woman had claimed her spot and passed out. The God was envious of her ability to sleep in a room with the not only lanterns lit but with conversations still going. [b [#c44a47 “I realize you would rather have Kitten with you, but I think it would be better for me to be there. As a pre-measure. Wouldn’t want murder on our hands as well.”]] This time he was joking. Once they had gotten out of the inn, things would get better for them. At least they wouldn’t be a large group in the public eye and they could finally get on the right path of clearing the challenges.

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Tadashi didn’t remember exactly when he fell asleep, but he did remember only barely when the lanterns were blown out. Rubbing the back of his neck with a silent curse. The God moved away from his spot against the wall, his spine screaming out in protest at the moment, his neck sending a shock of wave whenever he dared to move it. Well, fuck. As quietly as he could manage, Tadashi moved through the room to the door. The victory was in sight as he slipped through the door without a sound.

[b “Sir?”] A voice questioned from behind him. With a yep and a reflex, the sliding door was slammed shut. Shit.
[#c44a47 [b “Sorry,”]] He apologized, still rubbing the back of his neck. [#c44a47 [b “Just kind of on edge….with nerves..because of…”]]
[b “I understand, my brother was the same way.”] She giggled. [b “Just a moment.”] Without a chance to stop her, the little inn woman was gone. Scurrying down the hall and out of sight. Tadashi stayed still for a full second before he turned and started towards the entrance.

[b “Sir.”] Tadashi froze in place and looked over his shoulder. As quickly as she had left him, she returned. Vaguely he wondered if [i anyone] got past this woman. The God felt bad for her children - if she had any. In her wrinkled hands, she held a large clay jug. He didn’t need her to tell him what was in it - he was very familiar with it. [b “To help soothe your nerves.”] She held out the jug and Tadashi took it with a small head nod. Pain shot through him from the tiny movement. Mentally, he made a note to very sleep like that again. [b “Don’t worry. He seemed like a nice young man. It is hard to let go, but she will be fine.”] The little inn woman patted his arm as she passed him and disappeared behind one of the doors.

[#c44a47 [b “Thanks.”]] He whispered into the night before continuing down the hall. Once he managed the labyrinth of the inn - which it might not have taken him as long if he had held off on drinking - his dark gaze landed on the back of the tiny Tiger. With a quick look around him and down the hall, he ventured towards her side, dropping down next to her without any hesitation. She looked out at the clouded sky, searching it looked like, and then back to what looked like sandals, but even drunk Tadashi knew those things were done for.
[b [#ac4970 “Hello, Tadashi,”]] Himeko looked over at him with a smile.
[#c44a47 [b “Hey, Kitten.”]] He returned the gesture while taking a large swallow from the sake jug. Spicy. Tadashi couldn’t help his eyes from wandering over to the young Tigers side, staring openly at the sword that hung there. There wasn’t doubt in her abilities with it, but there was a lot of questions on just [i how] she had gotten her little hands on it. The owner was either dead or she was a fair better liar and thief than she was letting on. Tadashi took another drink, settling in beside her as Himeko silently tried to reweave cloth through her sandals. It was working, but it wasn’t pretty to look out. Absentmindedly, the God held out the bottle to the young girl. Her fingers froze instantly while she looked up from her sandals. Moving those large dark brown eyes from the jug to him.

[b [#ac4970 “I can’t handle it well like I said-”]]
[#c44a47 [b “Well, what better time to learn, eh?”]] He cut her off, giving the jug a little shake side to side. The liquid inside sloshed from one side to the other. The little Tigers eyes following the movement just like a cat.
[b [#ac4970 “A-alright.”]] She gingerly reached out for the jug, holding it for a long moment before copying his style of drinking. Tadashi couldn’t help the laughter that poured from his lips as she coughed and sputtered while handing the jug back.

[#c44a47 [b “That’ll put some hair on your chest.”]] He slapped her back with his free hand and took another drink himself, handing it back to her once he was done. [#c44a47 [b “So, can you really use that sword of yours?”]] Maybe with enough liquor, he would get some answers from at least one of his companions.
[b [#ac4970 “I suppose. Can you use yours?”]] She dodged the answer, coughing up another storm after taking another drink.
[#c44a47 [b “You’re looking at the best swordsman of his town.”]] Tadashi boasted proudly, another drink and he handed back to her. With her small size, it wouldn’t take long. [#c44a47 [b “Why aren’t you cuddling it up with En?”]]

[b [#ac4970 “I feel sorry for that town.”]] She snorted - actually snorted. Tadashi smirked at her retort. This time when she took a drink, there was only a single cough. [b [#ac4970 “He went to take a bath, so I came out here to fix these.”]] She held up her frightful sandals with one hand and handed back the jug with the other.

[#c44a47 [b “You should get rid of those.”]] He commented. The God would have given her his own sandals, however, she could have fit both of her tiny feet into just one of his. Maybe they could find a way to break one of his in half and fashion her some new ones out of those. [#c44a47 [b “Having that sword, you should have no problem with money.”]] It had been an unspoken contract that once one of them was finished speaking and drinking, they would hand the jug over to the other.

[b [#ac4970 “I guess I should.”]] A troubled looked flashed through her eyes as she sat the sandals back down beside her.
[#c44a47 [b “How did you get past the old woman anyway?”]]
[b [#ac4970 “I hear everything.”]] She tabbed an index finger to the lobe of her ear.
[#c44a47 [b “There is no way you hear-”]]
[b [#ac4970 “[i Everything]. Every moan, every sigh, every snore, every whisper.”]]
[#c44a47 [b “Really?!”]] He paused, scratching his chin deep in thought. [#c44a47 [b “Which rooms are doing it?”]] Tadashi couldn't stop his wide grin any more than he could stop his eyes from roaming back down to the sword at Himeko’s hip.
[b [#ac4970 “You keep staring at my sword, Tashi.”]] FINALLY, someone used his nickname. Tashi knew he was right in giving her the first nickname, just had to loosen her up a little to make sure.

[#c44a47 [b “The general that sword belongs to probably has a price on your head.”]] His eyes landed on the dark red rising phoenix that was carved up the sheath. He had only run into a handful of generals that had that symbol craved - an honor, a status symbol, given only to the emperor's most trusted.

[b [#ac4970 “The general that this sword belonged to no longer has a head.”]] Her voice was as cold as steel, her eyes held the same lack of warmth as those large brown eyes locked onto his. The smile that was always painted on her lips vanished. [b [#ac4970 “The man who flashes imperial gold everywhere shouldn’t pry into others matters so easily unless he wants his own brought to the surface.”]] With a final drink, she handed back the jug and went back to work on her sandals, ending their conversations and almost friendly drinking contest.

Without much thought, Tadashi laid his hand on top of Himeko’s head, messing up her hair a little as he stood up. [#c44a47 [b “Night, Kitten.”]] He ruffled her hair once more before setting back down the hall. Though he was larger than the little Tiger, he had started drinking before reaching her and the size of their drinks wasn't small. His mind was pleasantly numb, while common sense had long left him. If he hadn’t been so far gone, he might have been worried about the amount of alcohol he had just shared with someone that held no talent for it. However, that was a tomorrow Tadashi problem, not a right now Tadashi problem.

Maybe it was the sake whispering to his mind that a warm bath sounded good or maybe it was his bones that had been sitting in the cold with Himeko that screamed out for more warmth than the inn blankets could offer him. Either way, the God found soon found himself in the bathroom. The steam from the still hot bath clouded the room as he entered it. [#c44a47 [b “Hey En.”]] He called out, seeing the young man's hair from behind. Tadashi didn’t wait for an answer. Within seconds, those clothing was gone and he was slipping into the bath opposite of the Horse. [#c44a47 [b “You should probably be off with your wife."]] He joked loudly. [#c44a47 [b “I just had a drinking contest with her on the porch. You really missed out...I think..."]]

[#c44a47 [b “From the way you shot off to the room, I figured you would...be..”]] Tadashi narrowed his eyes towards En. At least he thought it was En. Everything looked like the young man from earlier - aside from the not so manly chest that was staring right back at him. [#c44a47 [b “..cuddled...with….Himeko.”]] He finished his sentence, while his eyes looked from En’s chest to his own. [#c44a47 [b “My chest doesn’t look like that.”]] He admitted with pursed lips, his hands reaching up to fondle his own chest, just to make sure he was right. A sigh of relief left him as he was in fact right. There was no way of knowing if the curse could have cursed something else. The God was almost tempted to see if everything was in its proper place, but a small part of his brain that was still working screamed out that that wasn’t the greatest idea right now.

[#c44a47 [b “You’re...a...Is your name...What the...I...”]] His eyes narrowed once more as he looked towards En again, drifting from his face down to his chest. [#c44a47 [b “Those are...That’s….Are those new?”]] He asked, unsure of what to do in this situation other than stare. Which he was in no way hiding where he was looking.
  Tadashi Nakagawa / Darcy / 2y 218d 17h 42m 58s
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[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- / 2y 243d 18h 2m 25s
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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 / 2y 250d 17h 54m 56s
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“[#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- / 2y 259d 20h 40m 4s
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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 / 2y 260d 43m 57s
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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 / 2y 268d 22m 57s
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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- / 2y 282d 17h 48m 41s
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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 / 2y 287d 5h 44m 46s

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