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Calmly the Samurai, adjusted himself to a crossed legged position, picking up his blade and resting the hilt on his shoulder. [b "I am a Man-Slayer, nothing more, even one such as you who distances herself from the darkness can not hide from the stories, the sin I commit place me at the bottom.] His expression remaining cold and still. [b "As for the drinking, they say Sake helps them feel at ease before the go out to what could be there last night on this earth."] Seiji did not intend to give off such a grim vibe, but he also saw no point in sugar coating life, not when he himself has faced of against the abyss.
[b "My apologies Takatsukasa-sama, there is no reason to pollute your mind with such darkness."] Seiji opened his eyes once more, this time to look upon the face of the woman beside him as she stared at the sky.
The summer air was cool and the sweet smell of the Sara trees filled the air around them, the garden illuminated solely by the moon and the fireflies that made it their home. It was as she said, beautiful, if only every night Seiji experienced were like this forever, but like most things it would soon end. That was when a man approached from inside the room, a handler if you will for the Battousai. Leaning over the Samurai the man whispered a name quietly into his ear before slipping him a small note and quickly shuffling away.
The men were a bit rowdy tonight, which meant something good was happening. She never bothered asking, knowing she wouldn't understand anyways. She wasn't one for politics or military talk, so she stayed out of it. The men knew this and freely talked about it sometimes with her around. They would sometimes joke that she better not say anything to anyone, and of course, she would always promise she wouldn't.
Sayako did recall that Seiji didn't drink, which made it a bit strange for her to ask if he wanted some of the sake. Still, she was more being polite than anything. But since he did not want it, she wouldn't push it. Instead, she smiled softly and gave a soft chuckle.
[b "I still have no idea why you use -sama for my name when I am obviously of lower rank than you, Seiji-sama."] She said softly, looking up a the sky as well for a bit. [b "It's rather beautiful tonight. A shame the men don't wish to see this as well. Instead they'd rather drink at the moment. But at least that leaves some peace."]
From the commotion in the room Seiji could tell that the decisions on the night so called activities were almost complete, it would be several minutes still before he would receive his brief on the target. Until that time the Samurai would remain as a statue, resting on his knees, blade laid out horizontally before him, eyes locked into the distant twilight sky. It wasn't long before a voice, gentle in tone announced her entrance, giving the men time to cover the sensitive material from her eyes.
Like a stone to feathers the mood changed drastically. "Tsuka-Chan" the men belted, an endearing face that eased the hearts of the warriors of Ishin ShiShi like no other. Takatsukasa Sayako, a girl from nowhere, with nothing, not much different then Seiji himself in that respect. Raised herself by the current General she was raised with manners and proper grammar, adding even more to her allure to the regular grunts that took the battlefield.
Seiji felt her presence as she crossed the room to kneel beside him, much like before she had a cheerful look to her face, catching only a glimpse as his cold eyes reverted their attention back to the night sky.
[b " I have no tolerance."] speaking in reference to the Sake in the urn that was place upon the maidens tray. Not one for drinking, or partaking in any other such luxury he believed he did not deserve or need. The Samurai closed his eyes and let the wind blow across his face, ruffling his bangs slightly. [b "But thank you for your kindness Takatsukasa-Sama"]
She was beautiful, many swooned over her whenever she walked by. Many stated that if she wanted, she could even have the emperor himself and be his main wife. However, if told this, she would quickly say that wasn't true, and that she was beaten out by many women in beauty. Many couldn't even believe what she did. She was a dancer, but also a maid within the Imperialist Ishin ShiShi, serving the men their meals and retrieving messages for them. Little things, but she was still seen as important.
No one really knew who she was or where she came from. She didn't even know. From what she was told, she had hit her head as a child when her family was trying to run from their village and she was left behind. She was then found by the general Takatsukasa, and taken in as their adopted daughter. Hence why she had his last name. He and his wife named her, saying she would learn to be a maid within the group.
Sayako was her name, though many called her Tsuka, a pet name made to make fun of the general in a friendly way. She didn't mind at all and responded to both. She was just happy where she was, a simple life, but with excitement mixed in.
Announcing her arrival to the room, she slid the door open and bowed. Kneeling down to close the door, she then took her trey and went around the room, serving the men their drinks. Making her way around, she soon finished and noticed a man sitting outside, watching the night sky. She smiled, knowing who this was, and walked over to him, kneeling down beside him.
[b "Would you like a drink Seiji?"]
The year was 1864, the Tokugawa Shogunate drawing to a fierce close. War ravaged the land as the Imperialists battle the Shogunates forces, staining the land with blood. In the center of this "Hell on Earth" as the population of Japan referred to it was the city of Kyoto, Capital of Japan. Two forces met at heads the Ishin ShiShi and the Shinsengumi two groups of Japans fiercest warriors, neither side seeming to give an inch to the other, resorting to petty tactic such as starting fires under the cover of night and, using assassins to target high ranking politicians
One such assassin, hidden from light, Hitokiri Battousai.. A man-slayer feared by all who would encounter his blade, walking the line between life and death. Trained in the Hiten Mitsurugi style, he was known as the man with god-like speed, unmatched in battle, unable to be slain, even referred to as the Devil with Crimson Hair.
[center - [b [size12 KYOTO]] -]
Smoke billowed from the outskirts of town, another farm house engulfed in flames, the smell of burning flesh stained the air surrounding, a fate known to many Imperial supporters, with tensions drawing to the climax the death count grew, but this was normal, Kyoto being as large as it was, acts such as these would only be but stories in a paper or words passed by way of mouth of some drunken samurai. The city itself would move on as normal, people would move day to day, women would cook, men would gamble. Families would go home and eat, the populace had become desensitized to the bloodshed around them, fear remained, but what could they do?
Seiji, a member of the Imperialist Ishin ShiShi, sat silently outside yet another war council, the politics meant nothing to him, just his next order, the next life he must take to bring Japan one step closer to peace, a peace outside of the grasp of Tokugawa. The breeze was gentle to him this day, the sun glowing as it turned itself in for the long night, it was as if nature did not know of war, of the fires that burned her, it was almost serene. A small glimpse of the world he had hoped to be building. Hitokiri Battousai..a blade to carve the old world to ribbons, bone and all.
[b [#104BC2 "Exactly, which makes me wonder why the woman would be there. Unless she wanted a place with hardly anything noteworthy."]] Her gears were turning as she tried to think of why Hoshiko would go that way. Sadly, she couldn't think of a reason. But it wasn't surprising since they knew nothing about this woman. Just that Hoshiko thought she was a bitch.
[b [#104BC2 "Alright, meet you there then."]]
With their meeting spot picked, she made her way back out into the street. Her hood was over her head again, hiding her face from anyone just passing through. It was a habit of hers, something she was told to do at the Labs. She was never experimented on, instead she brought them their new test subjects and took out any that had attempted to escape. She regretted it now, but what was done was done.
Walking there would take too long, especially since she figured her brother would be taking the Red Night. He would be waiting around for her and precious time would escape from them. Sighing, she knew what she had to do and quickly turned into an alleyway.
[b [#104BC2 "I hate flying."]] She muttered, her wings sprouting again. It still hurt her to let them out, but at least it was starting to hurt less. She guessed Hoshiko had done it so many times that it no longer bothered her, or it was part of her never dying thing. Once she was in the air, Lost Angel was fine, it was just letting her wings out or putting them back.
Once in the air, she quickly flew towards the south side of town. On her way, she noticed quite a few birds almost keeping up with her. Normally, she would've thought nothing of it, but something was odd. All of the birds that were flying with her were white. She would have to think more about this later, she spotted the fast-food place and needed to land.
She gave a sort of shiver and hiss as her wings retracted. recovering from that, she walked out of her hiding spot and into the place, taking a seat near the back. Seemed she got here before he did, but she doubted by much.
"Don't get sassy with me." Was Sai'Len's response to Lost's sarcasm. Seriously, what was with this family? Everyone was cheeky, sassy and sarcastic at all times! Him included!
As Lost hung up so did he. With the conversation over, for now, he could change suits. Thankfully, that was easily done. The air in front of him shimmered and as he walked through the curtain he emerged on the other side, dressed in his suit. Coupled with the briefcase, he looked like a young office worker... That was walking on the top of an eight-story building. Correction, walking off the edge. His wings snapped out, startling a crow that flew too close for its safety, allowing Sai'Len to glide in the side alley and emerge in the ever-present crowd of people.
He navigated the stream of bodies, making his way towards his apartment. He could have used the Red Night, but he needed to be available for the next call from Lost... Or from Hoshiko, if he was lucky. Though he didn't put much faith on the last one. He wasn't worried about her, there was nothing he knew of that could kill his dark-winged sister. And if she was contained, well, he and Lost were going to find and break her out sooner or later.
Lost's next call came when he was already at his apartment, enough time having passed for him to even open a can of coke and down most of it.
"South edge? But there's nothing of note there." He frowned as he heard where was Hoshiko last seen. "Okay, we have a location. Meet me... Hmm..." He tried to remember any landmarks at that side of the city. "Ah. There's a fast food joint where many truckers stop." And other people as well... People from his job. "You'll find it easily." With that he hung up. It was time for him to use the Red Night for transportation...
[b [#104BC2 "Well, I would hope she had washed her clothes since then."]] Lost replied sarcastically. She always seemed to have that tone, even in this sort of situation. Hearing Sai'Len's suggestion, she had to admit, she should've thought of that before. But she wouldn't beat herself up that much about it. [b [#104BC2 "Got it, I'll call back when I get answers. I'll still be in the town until I hear from her again and I get a location."]]
Hanging up, she then called Hoshiko's boss. Of course, he wasn't the one that picked up, but once she got through who she was, the phone was handed off. The man had a deep voice that sounded friendly but had a hint of coldness too it. That was his nice tone, it meant you were in his graces. His other tones, not so much.
[b [#104BC2 "Hoshiko's gone, and I need to know if any of the other men have seen her."]] She quickly said, not bothering to waist time. Of course, he thought nothing was wrong, knowing full well that she would disappear every now and then. Lost quickly explained the situation to him. Not everything, but enough for him to know she was in trouble and Lost really needed to know some answers. He understood, thankfully, and said he would call back as soon as he had something.
It was a great thing the boss cared about his employees enough to be concerned. Then again, perhaps it was just Hoshiko because of how valuable she was to him. After all, she couldn't die, and she was practically a master with her sword. She was the perfect hitwoman. It would be horrible for him to lose her. Hoshiko probably knew this and played at it a lot.
Lost stayed in the apartment, waiting for a call. She didn't panic, keeping herself calm. She knew panic would only make things worse, and wouldn't help at all. The girl knew Hoshiko had been in some pretty bad situations before, hearing about a few, so she knew her twin would figure something out.
Her phone rang again and she quickly answered, hearing the boss on the other end. [b [#104BC2 "You sure that's what they saw? Okay, thank you. Yes, we'll find her."]] She hung up and called Sai'Len again with her answer. [b [#104BC2 "Sai, he said some of the boys spotted her on the south edge of town. She handed off the target she caught to them and then flew off out of town. They said she was a bit on edge. That must have been when she spotted the woman."]]
Doesn't remember his... Of course she doesn't, Sai'Len thought bitterly as he fished a case from behind a chimney and started to disassemble the rifle, keeping the phone lodged between his cheek and his shoulder.
"Of course... She either forgot it, or..." Or she was forced to leave it behind. No, there was no sense in that. After all, she had seen that woman, and was allowed to call Lost, and through her him... He was just being paranoid.
Though in his line of work, paranoia was just healthy thinking.
"Not unless she hasn't changed or washed her clothes since the last time we met." Was his answer to the last question. He always set up trackers in important people's clothes, but the stickers were short-lived and, while easy to miss, disappeared completely when soaked.
"But I have a suggestion." He continued as he closed the briefcase. "Call your boss, have him ask his men if they had seen her. Someone's bound to have glimpsed her."
[b [#104BC2 "I don't know where she is. She just said to call you and when I asked why she couldn't call you, she hung up on me."]] Lost blinked as she realized something, and quickly ran back inside and down the stairs. [b [#104BC2 "Wait, I just realized. She called me because she doesn't remember your number, only mine. And she wouldn't have to remember my number unless she didn't have her phone!"]]
The stairs would take too long, so she jumped over the railing and let her wings sprout out. Hissing in pain, the white feathers spread out to let her float down at a safer speed. She still wasn't used to her wings, and she rarely used them. Finding the right floor, she grabbed the guard rail and landed on the stairs again, rushing into the hall and into the apartment, her wings folding up again.
Lost opened the door to Hoshiko's room and quickly looked around for her sister's phone. [b [#104BC2 "Her phone isn't in her apartment. She had it with her then, but she somehow lost it."]]
Now there were more questions for her that she needed answers to. Where was Hoshiko? Why didn't she have her phone? And what was she trying to do now that she saw the woman again.
[b [#104BC2 "Please tell me you have a way to track her without her phone?"]]
Pissed... Pissed didn't even begin to describe Sai'Len's state of mind. The man was dangerous to the entire world. He could unleash plagues unlike anything imagined, things that would rival the Black Death in lethality, only scaled up for modern times.
"This better be good." Sai'Len snarled, partially from irritation, partially in plain as he unfolded his wings from his back and took off, using them to glide to another building. It would probably be something important, he doubted that his sisters would call him for a social call, or invite him for dinner...
The family just wasn't like that.
Sai'Len almost dropped out of the sky when he heard what had Hoshiko found. The woman! The Tengu! Sai'Len had been searching for her high and low, trying to find any trace of her. He got nothing though... Face recognition software failed to find her on any camera in the city or private grids he had hacked into , his informants never saw her, and every attempt to get her attention failed...
"What? Where is she? Wait, where are you?" He asked, pausing on the rooftop for breath Even just gliding, a sniper rifle wasn't something easy to carry one-handed...
[b [#104BC2 "Hello to you too brother"]] She replied in a smart ass tone. Lost could hear the train very clearly, and figured part of it was just so he could be heard. The rest of his tone though, she could easily tell he was pissed. She must've ruined a mission for him. He would get the guy later.
[b [#104BC2 "Listen, I hadn't seen Hoshiko since last night. Normally, that wouldn't be a cause of concern, since she disappears sometimes while doing jobs. But this time is different."]] She waved a few doves away from where she stood. Crazy city birds always getting close to people to get food when normal birds wouldn't dare. [b [#104BC2 "She just called me and said to find you. After I made a protest, seeing as though neither of us can find you when we want, she said I had to. Sai, she said she saw that woman you two met. The one that really pissed Hoshiko off and almost killed her. You know her as well as I do that if she really did spot that woman, she's going to go after her."]]
Lost really didn't like this. Even though she was still learning about the two, she had gathered quickly that once Hoshiko had a grudge, she wasn't letting it go. Hell, she still had one against their father and Lost didn't know why. All she knew was that it was from a few years ago.
[b [#104BC2 "I guess she figures you can help track her better, but why she didn't just contact you is beyond me."]]
He could hear the train coming, the sound becoming clearer and louder with each passing moment. Any second now it would come, drowning the gunshot... If Sai'Len could make it despite the crows that were enjoying messing with his still form...
The bounty hunter started counting down in his head. Ten, nine, eight... He started to squeeze on the trigger, spooling it. Seven, six, five... The train moved under him, rattling loudly. Four, three, two...
And that was when his phone vibrated in his pocket. The unexpected occurence threw off his aim just as he pulled the trigger. The shot went wide, missing its intended target and hitting the club's bartender. Glass, drinks and blood flew in the room, the screams probably loud enough to be heard even at his position if they weren't drowned by the train.
With a loud curse in Chinese Sai'Len scrambled on his feet, his hand patting at his pocket before he found the phone and answered it. "What?!" He shouted in the receiver, trying to be heard over the passing train even as he ran across the overpass' rooftop.
Lost Angel stood on the roof of a building, looking over the city in attempts to find something. She knew it would be impossible, but it was worth a shot. The building held apartments, one of them belonging to Hoshiko and her roommate. Lost had been staying there whenever she was called back into the city for a job or such. She had to admit, Hoshiko's roommate was very cool with all the Projects and such that came through. Then again, she had stated she and Hoshiko had been roommates for a while.
She had returned to the apartments shortly after the strange call with Hoshiko. Walking in, she found that Hoshiko hadn't been home since the night before. Lost had seen her walk out to go do a job, and then she got a text asking for help on another one.
[b [#104BC2 "It's normal for her to be out for an extended amount of time, but that call...It doesn't make sense..."]]
Pulling out her phone again, she went through her contacts. She made sure her siblings numbers weren't under their actual names. Sure she made sure her phone was on her at all times, but she always had to think ahead. Finding the nickname she gave Sai, she quickly selected it to call.
[b [#104BC2 "You better pick up this time..."]]
Finding a single man in a city with population over a million wasn't easy. It took a lot of skill for that to be pulled off. Knowing the target's habits, stakeouts, research, utilizing contacts... All that and more was needed to find someone who wanted to hide.
Sai'Len had everything needed in spades, and then some. You didn't operate as a bounty hunter in a city like this without making a few friends... And a lot of enemies.
Right now he was observing his next target. The man, dressed in a pristine white suit as he lounged in a club at the top floor of one of the higher buildings in the area, had his head wanted by some company that dealt with biological weapons. Apparently he was a major competitor in that area, and Sai'Len's current employers wanted him taken alive so that they could "persuade" the man to work for them.
Too bad for them that it wasn't going to happen... But Sai'Len would send them a copy of the man's research, while forwarding it to every other competitor he could find. As for the man himself...
Sai'Len shooed the crow that had dared to land on his sniper rifle. The train would pass through the raised overpass under him any moment now, and he needed to time the shot perfectly in order to mask the sound...
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