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surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Waking Up In Vegas - Katy Perry

Fear, a strong and all consuming fear was the only thing filling him from head to toe, blind to his surroundings, blind to everything but the Phoenix's chanting in his head urging him to run. However, nothing prepared him for suddenly slamming into a warm body, halting his mad dash through the streets. The press of warmth and soft flesh amidst an all too familiar scent was enough to knock the breath out of the man, temporarily dazing him as his hands had braced themselves upon the dirt, freeing his bloodied shoulder from the tight press of shaking thin fingers as he felt as if he couldn't breathe. Choked coughs left the man's lips as he raised his face, a mottled mess of red and a slight dampness upon his cheeks as a telltale sign of tears, his lips slightly puffy, kiss-bruised being an unusual sight for certain as the Seer grunted, raising his head quickly as the chill of fear had yet to leave his spine, peering down at the unfortunate-

Oh no. Mitsuko's words that she'd spoken, her breath fanning in his face had made the Seer's expression wrinkle immediately in disgust. Alcohol? Was she honestly serious right now? Spending money on alcohol?! His crimson eyes darted to the other two broken bottles she'd managed to get her hands on, granted they were broken, not to mention her arm was still outheld with yet another bottle that hadn't suffered the sad fate of the other two. It was a waste of precious coin, coin that he had worked hard to get and this is what she did?! As much as he desired to chew into her now for doing something so idiotic, the man sucked in a sharp breath as he looked over his shoulder, peering between the crowd as he was trying to catch any sight of his pursuer, any flash of brilliant white amidst the people milling about. Much to his great terror, he spotted her.

The woman was distant enough from the two, her dark eyes burning with an emotion he could only see as intense hatred. It seemed at the very least Mai-Jing had covered her face with the mask she had previously discarded, the kitsune mask seeming more so horrifying as with it brought the smell of death. It made him gag, feeling his mind drifting once more to the place of his countless deaths once more, bloodied ceilings, walls and an audience privy to his suffering. It made him sick, he wanted to disappear from the spot, feeling the aching pain of his shoulder and back injuries as they throbbed, reminding him once more that whatever Mai-Jing was now, she was nothing more than a monster and he needed to flee as fast as possible, unless he wanted to be devoured once more.

Swallowing past the lump in his throat, his expression pinched as he was trying to come to a conclusion. As much as he didn't want to be around the idiot underneath him, it wasn't as if he had a choice, for he had a feeling that Mai-Jing's attention was no longer on him but the drunk that he still was on top of. Split second decisions had to be made now if they were to avoid bloodshed, so the man had surged to his feet, his hand grabbing hold of Mitsuko's arm and with as much strength as he could muster, he dragged her to her feet, the crimson of his eyes not meeting her own gaze as he once more had to clean up this mess as swift as possible. Ugh, what was he thinking leaving this fool on her own? Of course the first thing she would do would disgrace herself... ah, he hated her so much.

It truly seemed as if fate was destined to throw him back into Mitsuko's company, no matter how much he would want to run from it. So for now, they needed to at least distance themselves and he needed to compose himself. So compose himself he did, in the small moment as he surged to his feet, a switch that he commonly flipped every time he needed to be responsible. Granted, it did little to held his oddly disheveled appearance, but from the expression on his face he wasn't going to answer any questions, for questions shouldn't be asked now. They didn't have the luxury of time. So, with hurried steps, the Seer dragged Mitsuko wordlessly behind him, his uneven gait more so pronounced as he was following the flow of the crowd, his grip being far more tight, sweaty palms and all as he could feel the phantom's eyes burning holes into his back, along with a sinister hiss that settled deep in his soul: "You can't run from me forever, Haru." The sweet voice he had loved so dearly seemed a mockery of what it had been, causing the Seer's jaw to clench tightly, pushing down and numbing the sensation of fear. There was no time for him to process anything, no time for him to try and make sense of the situation, safety needed to be secured first.

Little to the Seer's knowledge, it seemed as if the festival was beginning to be graced by fireworks, primarily being the case with the crowd he had followed the flow with was going to a small area outside of the village, his steps remaining hurried as he dodged between people until he could no longer feel her presence nearby, though by the time the sensation was achieved the two were upon a hill, causing the Seer to immediately release her hand as he finally turned on his heel, staring past her to the crowd behind them as if he was searching for something or rather someone. There was a tension within his limbs as he stood in silence, not addressing Mitsuko, nor going into his usual nagging or berating. No, instead it was icy and uncomfortable.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies

Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: everything will be fine (playlist)

One…two she counted the heaves of her chest to. A murmurous rise of waves that rocked the flushed face faring on top of it in gentle shudders. The lights of the lanterns hit his features in a wondrous manner, highlighting to her eye only the most trivial of things. Such as the dew of newly fallen rain on his ruddy cheeks, streaked across them in a glossy varnish on his skin. And the way his lips quivered like leaves below them in the panicked drafts of air passing by, the red corners of his mouth glaring up at her. As if the lack of words exchanged between them was because they had been suckled out through those very same budding petals. Then at last the light would hit his eyes, doe eyed in their fluttering fear that threatened to take off in a skitter under the grip of her own glazed pools of ashen emotions. Brown eyes relaxed back into indifference as the spark of surprise was extinguished under the cusp of lowered lashes.

His gaze shifted over her form, to the bottles and then back to her face in the very same expression that he had left her in. Disappointment, anger and perhaps a little bit of disdain reflected back to her. Too bad that it would go to waste. The brunette raised the bottle to her lips as if she dared him to question her actions and at the same time told him to reserve his judgment for someone that actually cared- her actions speaking louder than any words she could’ve possibly impelled herself to utter. So, what if it was his money that was now shattered on the ground in spilt liquified excuses? It was his own fault for leaving them with her in the first place, and…his second fault for leaving her. Did that make sense? Her eyes rolled back in their dents upon her puckered forehead and her head lolled with it.

Hicc. Mhmm, the sky looked like a giant…a giant sea from where she lay. If she extended her hand towards it, would her fingers then be able stir the surface of it in little ripples? The lack of proper nutrients, and her bingeing on anything but those nutrients in the form of alcohol, were quickly getting to her. If not with her fingers, she could take a boat and sail across it. Her head spun around itself as the weight on top of her body disappeared and yanked her along with it. Where would one find a boat around here? Hicc. The clammy hand gripping her arm caused little wrinkles to crease into discontent existence on her nose and she narrowed her eyes at it. Attempted to make her gaze burn holes in it like one could make the sunlight do with a magnifying glass. The Seer started walking and she stumbled forward, her heart flipping in her chest at the first unsteady footfall and the sensation of skin against skin as his cool fingers slithered in between the gaps of her own. They locked down and the brunette blinked slack-jawed at the young man who otherwise avoided her like the plague. Two things, in particular, passing through her mind as she did so:

One, his hands were small and sweaty.
Two, he looked scared.

Mitsuko couldn’t comprehend how this obvious fact had gone over her head until now. Well, hicc, she kind of did. BE THAT AS IT MAY, she would not forgive his previous transgressions against her! She tried weakly to shirk her hand away from his grip. She- any resistance posed by her feet were dragged out of her in staggering steps. WOULD- the bottle jostled back and forth where she had stuffed it in her cleavage and she squeezed it still.


Fireworks interrupted the silence between agitated breaths in a cacophony of dissonant explosions. The prettiest of rainbow hued hyphens to connect two closed hearts. Her eyes pinned themselves to his back, scowl drowned out by the explosions as they shuffled through the crowd. Leaving only a little glassy hurt and shame in the flicker that fled between uncoordinated feet.

Sand streets turned to swaying grass that tickled ankles and houses refracted into hills, stretching out in a seemingly endless escape or prison from the ghosts that chased them. Her breaths came out hot against the night air, small man-made clouds that sparked remembrance of the moist palm that had pressed itself flush against her own only seconds ago. The fireworks fell in streaks of regret behind her back as the Seer turned around to look past her and the scowl returned. “Why did you drag me out here?” She snapped and coaxed the bottle out from its shelter in between the walls of flesh of her breasts. Mitsuko brandished it against her lips in a few pronounced gulps and spun on her heel to face away from the young man before she threw herself down.

Landed on her back in the grass with a thud. Her skin shrivelled at the soft caresses of earth’s fingers and the cool breeze that undulated over the palms of the hills. “It’s cold and miserable and too quiet.” The brunette oxygenated her complaints into the ether with a loud sigh. Wanted to add: just like you, at the end of it but the words died on her tongue like the blinding lights that lit up and faded above them.

"Do you know- hicc, ugh- what?" She stammered in between her hitching breaths.
"You're annoying".

Last edited:


surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Shuddering breaths and nervous exhales had left the man as he remained vigilant, trying to catch any sign of the phantom that had chased him before. Of course, such a vigil would be interrupted by Mitsuko's all too unwanted question as he turned to finally glare at her. Did she seriously want to die? Truthfully the man was two seconds from wringing her neck, the murderous intent reflecting in rage filled rubies as his expression curdled, "Hah?!" The exclamation was bitter, irritated and quite frankly the man's fear filled mind was beginning to still, beginning to catch up with him.

What had he done? Truthfully, what in the world had gotten into him? To ignore instinct to begin with, his usual gut feeling that something was wrong, to be overwhelmed by emotion and to allow whatever that... shade, that mockery of his beloved to latch onto him. Just what was he doing? Did he long for her embrace that much? Was he truly that insane? A small voice in the back of his mind chided that he had every right to be considering all the events that steamrolled together, one after another without cease. He had little time to relax, little time to collect himself, little time to truly process the extent of his actions.

The irritating flare of fresh injuries from the monster had made Haru's expression turn to embittered amusement as Mitsuko had thrown herself down on the earthy floor, for the wounds ached and reminded him of the foolishness he permitted himself to partake in, no doubt still dripping blood, still marring sacred flesh. The pressure he still felt on his lips only made him feel shame as he drew a sleeve to his face, attempting as if to wipe it all away, discard the tainted memory, discard this unruly side of himself... but to no avail. It only made him feel much, much worse.

Six thousand years of torment still danced before his eyes, enough to make the smell of the earth around them disappear and be replaced with rot, with blood. The monster's face still lurked even behind closed eyelids and it made him wonder briefly, what had prompting him to run if he desired death so badly? That would have been an easy enough demise and yet... the sense of wrongness had been his savior in that moment within the dark alleyway. If he hadn't, perhaps the man's bloodied corpse would have remained? Devoured by the woman he loved so keenly... or perhaps would some worse fate await him? A snort left his lips then. Why did it matter? He was an idiot anyhow being roped so easily by his affection for a dead woman. An idiot indeed.

Another complaint from Mitsuko had made Haru lower his arm as he glared at her with irritation. This woman was another matter. What was she, a child? Did his words truly disturb her that much? A sharp exhale left his lips then as he gritted his teeth, fingers clenching as the uncontrollable urge to strike her was beginning to grow. As if he didn't have enough to deal with! As if he wasn't already... his eyes shifted to the bottle the woman insisted on holding onto, his teeth baring as rage sparked in his chest. Oh yes, she had spent unnecessarily too on top of everything else! How much more did he have to fix? How much more did he have to put up with and to be expected to roll over and just allow it to happen?!

Uneven, painful steps approached Mitsuko, her hiccuping breaths and sentence that followed made him snap. Slender fingers darted forward as he yanked the foul bottle out of her hand, his expression truly for the first time showing frustration, unhinged frustration as without hesitation the normally pious and level headed Seer had tipped the bottle to his lips, the burning liquid sliding down his throat until it was drained of its contents. Considering the Seer never drank, it certainly would be a first to see as the man was supposed to be akin to a holy priest. He wasn't supposed to do such a thing? But did he care anymore? Hell no.

The man then collapsed, settling on the earthy floor as he tossed the now empty bottle, his expression raw with too many conflicting emotions that it was difficult to get a read on the delicate features that were pinched, but to say the least he was still brimming with rage as he snapped, angry words slipping past, "I don't fucking... care anymore!" Haru's hands slipped with agitation to curl into green locks as his shoulders hunched, far more interested in staring at the ground than even acknowledging the brilliant colors in the skies, or even the woman at his side.

A ragged breath was inhaled as hands dropped to lightly touch at the more annoying injury upon his shoulder, a painful reminder again which made another curse fly past his lips as a fist struck the ground in frustration, "T..The feeling is... mutual! Do you have any idea how long it took for me to gather all of this coin only for you to fucking waste it on booze?! SHIT!" Another strike at the ground punctuated the anger as gritted teeth bared, though he took in a breath as he laughed, "But it doesn't matter now does it? I have to fix every little goddamn thing and what do I get in return?! Nothing but bullshit!" His voice strained at the last syllable, his head thrumming, becoming dizzy at the alcohol within his gut as he closed his eyes tight.

"I can't even experience ANYTHING normally! Not one! Why?! Who did I piss off to deserve this shit?!" He snorted, shaking his head as he then laid upon his back, his hands coming to shield his face, "...It doesn't matter anyways though. So who the hell cares? Certainly not me! Hahaha!" Normally, Haru even in his anger would never expell such selfish frustration, but perhaps the aid of alcohol was loosening his tongue, prompting the man to finally reveal what lay past the veil of usual controlled and mostly calm restraint.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies

Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: kamisama onegai - kamisama hajimemashite ost

An anticipatory shiver darted up her spine at the approaching footfalls. Each step, increasing in sound until the presence and figure hovering above were impossible to ignore in the shadow cast across her face. The brunette felt strangely like a child, awaiting a scolding at the hand of a parent for some misdemeanour that they had committed. Mitsuko glanced at the bottleneck that was fitted into her palm as if on cue. Or rather, that had been fitted into her palm before a hand snatched it away. “HEY!” Her hand shot out seconds too late, her reaction impaired by the stars that she saw between her brows during the few moments she had sat up straight. It missed as a result of this, and she had to prop herself up instead when the weight of the world seemed to bore down on her in the absence of the blood that had abruptly drained from her head. The blood would not have a chance to recirculate, however, as her breath was stolen next. The young man had put his dirty- yes, dirty- suckling lips to the opening and inhaled it in a greedy swig of the bottle. Her face flashed white, then purple, then red in horror.

“Ah-“ The brunette deflated in a whistling breath then launched forward to try and save her beloved from its kidnapper. Her beloved who had now, surely been contaminated by the same lips that expressed his grievances over her behaviour. In the meantime, she was throwing caution to the wind in the hand that shot out into thin air to chase the bottle’s mirror image. “AHHHH get your own damn bottle! Why do you have to go an take the one tha’s mine?! You’re even complaining over it while wasting it away!” Her voice rang out with pure despair as she imagined the muddled liquid sting against HIS TONGUE that was uncultured and unappreciative of the art that was contained within its ground rice grains. The drink, created through a laborious act of waiting, grinding, sifting and waiting and sifting again in a process that could be likened to life; sometimes lived in decades and at other times in seconds- without regard for the consequences on the future.

The Seer dove from her sight and her hand followed suit to press his chest down onto the ground as she climbed on top. “Gimme me that-“ Her bark resounded hot against her face, or was it his, as she leaned down and pinned his wrist above the green locks that, amusingly enough, matched the hill. Suddenly, all that shielded his face from hers was the air between the two. The heated breaths forming an invisible barrier that did little to hide her indignant expression as she baulked at his sudden outburst: “I can’t even experience ANYTHING normally! Not one! Why?! Who did I piss off to deserve this shit?!”. Mitsuko hesitated for a few seconds where she sat, looking ridiculous as she wrestled a man over a bottle of alcohol. The guilt and shame seeped in seconds later in a gut-wrenching bitterness, mimicked in a screwed up picture of crinkling eyes and downturned lips that looked down at her victim.

No one kid. You pissed off no one.

This was just their lot in life.

“Kids shouldn’t drink.” She muttered and pried the bottle out of his hand the moment after in a quick assessing look. The brunette downed the remaining liquid then arched her arm back to send it flying down across the hill to a loud pang above. Sssss. The firework sizzled impatiently against her unmoving form, numbed by the cold. A flicker of warmth- life reflected in unstirring eyes as she gazed out over the grass beds rolling over firefly-lit hills. Mitsuko turned to the Seer, emotions playing upon the corners of her visage in the speckles of light that danced over her.

Her hair was messy, loose strands freed from the bun and cascading down over her shoulders and her cinereous eyes seemed to glow in the dark. A feat that only he could otherwise accomplish as the husk of the Phoenix. The firework faded and the light was snuffed out alongside it in shadows that grew long and stale. Rigour mortis settling in its stead as she stepped off- unmoving and cold.

“I’ll pay your stupid coins back, so, don’t you dare complain anymore after you wasted half a bottle like that.” The brunette dropped to the ground with her legs crossed and exhaled.



surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
The Seer hadn't anticipated Mitsuko climbing on top of him, the careful boundary he usually would place between them being forcibly broken yet again by the unruly woman who seemed far more concerned over a damned liquor bottle than the all too rightful fury he was trying to express. But, truly what else was he expecting? There was no expectations he held anymore. The expression upon the Seer's face didnt change, a rage sparking in the depths of crimson eyes as his hands that shielded his face had been pinned upon the earth, leaving his red mottled face vulnerable as his breath tainted with alcohol mingled with her own.

it was warm, not like when Mai-Jing had been so close to his own face, she did not carry the breath of life, for no breath had stirred from her. It was only him. Bitterness soared high in his face as his eyes turned away from her, not meeting her gaze, hatred as clear as day within every muscle as he could once more feel the faded sensation of biting, of tearing. It seemed even with the numbing of liquour it couldn't soothe the madness in his mind, the utter fear that would spark at the pressure of a body above him.

He loathed the sensation of the press of her body, the feeling of a living breathing thing above him. It made him feel like prey, it made him feel as if he would be shoved back in that dreaded chamber where nothing but painful torment would await him, where a lover's lips would not press to him in affection, but tear skin and flesh from precious bone until he was picked clean. It made him nauseous, prompting the man to shift underneath Mitsuko, "...Get off." The words were scathing, tense and broken as his eyes slowly turned to look up at her, assessing the change in her expression.

She looked pathetic, that was his first thought. Messy and uncoordinated, however her eyes they were warm. It made Haru feel as if his throat was closing, jaw clenching as his tongue would be stilled. Though his heart didn't stir in his chest, it almost did... almost. His anger was still very much alive in the man's veins as Mitsuko's body had finally lifted off from his, ignoring her previous statement as he slowly sat up, his head spinning for a moment as he swallowed back bile and the sensation of terror that still coiled in the man's gut.

Her following statement had made the ill-tempered Seer growl, an inhuman sound for certain to leave from his lips, but truly at this moment Haru truly wasn't thinking straight, prompting the man to shift forward, closer to the woman... only to draw back his hand and promptly landed a punch to the side of her jaw, granted perhaps he'd never would have done so if he wasn't under the influence, but at this point the man was unhinged.

"Stop. Touching. Me." He seethed, rage making the words tremble as the crimson of his eyes seemed truthfully pissed, green hair in a messy disarray about his head, his breathing uneven as he now settled away from her, seething, his arms wrapping around himself tightly as he seemed far more interested in looking ahead, "I don't like how it makes me feel. So stop!" Perhaps it could be taken in a whole different meaning if one's head truly was in the gutter, but judging by how hostile Haru was, and the all too horrid breakdown the man had prior in the previous village, it was all too obvious then. But in truth... it was both for the man, though primarily the latter than the former.

Now more than ever, he was still reeling from his encounter with Mai-Jing, the experience digging up his trauma once more, so it wasn't as if he was in the mood to be touched. Skinship he never usually would shy from really, but ever since that accursed night that he had saved Mitsuko, the little touches here and there between them was... disturbing, at least to his mind.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies

Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: Yes to Heaven - Christi Buckley

Something was strange with her. Something was...off. Mitsuko raised her hand to rub the area underneath her collarbones in a circular motion. The weird heart palpitations, the heat waves that overtook her by surprise-made her clothes feel restrictive in their lack of ventilation- and the random bouts of dizzyness that plagued her mind. Was she sick in some way? She studied the lines of her palm, still tingling from where her skin had imprinted on his. Or maybe she was just drunk, she reasoned in a rare moment of logical clarity.

There was the sound of something like fabric rustling and shifting, then the contours of a pair of shoulder and green strands that hovered into view. The brunette arched a questioning brow at the approaching face and shrunk backwards as if on instinct when his breath fanned over it in what she could only describe as static. Little prickles of electricity that kissed her skin in butterfly touches before it abruptly ceased. The balled fist that descended in its stead only registering after it had landed.

"Hah." The bated breath she had been withholding articulated the laughter carefully. It came out slowly, devoid of the spontaniety and joy that usually characterised the expression. Just another cog in the wheel of the well-oiled machine called Mitsuko that processed the subsequent reaction in bitter familiarity. It hurt. Her jaws unlatched from each other in their state of gritted teeth, a dull ache spreading along the lower side of it. Her eyes shook as she gazed up at the Seer.

"Did you just fucking hit me?"

Her voice came out strangled, seething under the restraints of nails digging into cool earth. It rose in the falsetto of disbelief and plunged in low-pitched boiling alto rage. Made the contents of the words all the more ambigious as her hand rose to confirm that this was, in fact, reality and not some kind of masochistic nightmare. Her skin burned hot under her fingertips and she pressed them flush against it. The pulsating pain that reddistributed across her papillary ridges throbbed louder than her own heartbeats as she repeated the words more plainly this time.

"You fucking hit me."

She could kill him. A well-aimed kick to his head and a heel driving into his throat to crush his larynx and trachea was all that it would take. Or she could opt to simply stomp at his head over and over. Make porridge out of cartilage and pink brain matter for the grass and ants to feast on the next morning. Another was to open it up for the world to see, use the blade of her sword to make a circular cut round the ears and push her fingers in. Watch him squeal under the weight of her knees on top of his lungs as she stirred her digits through the minced meat soup. Strangle, slice, scrape out- all over again until nothing would remain but bare bones and skin, maybe not even skin, of the man known as Haru.

The cinereous eyes flashed underneath the curtains of lashes as if to say: "she had done it before, so, why couldn't she do it again?" The latter waiting, biding her time, to shut them and lock in her resolve to make this the final stage of this farce.

Mitsuko didn't do that, however. She could have, but she didn't. Instead buried her hand deep into the earth as if she wished to escape this place, this situation, him and perhaps even herself in barely contained trembles. Tick, tick, tick. She knew she was in the wrong for dismissing his emotions. Tick, tick. For lying and for using their money selfishly. Tick. For not being strong enough, for being a clown that danced to the melody of marionette fingers, for running away all the time when things got tough and for being a hypocrite- a thief and a murderer.

Tock. For not being someone who had her own place and stole the one of Empress.

"Do you..." The words faltered against Haru's shrivelled up form in a whisper. Tugged at the ends of a very short rope that eventually disappeared between unhinged jaws. "DO YOU THINK I WANT TO BE HERE?" Mitsuko snapped, roared out into the night in barely repressed tears that stained her eyes red. Her hand grasped around a handfull of dirt and hurled it at Haru.

Fine, violence is the language she is the most fluent in anyway.

The brunette launched in an attack, the kind of ugly one that was all about propelling knees into his midriff and clawing at his clothes while screaming at his face. No flutters to be found in her chest as she crashed closed fists into his ribs and shoulders. "DO YOU THINK I WANTED TO BE EMPRESS? TO BE THE DOG OF THOSE YAPPING MINISTERS AND SOLD OFF LIKE SOME WHORE TO FOREIGN DIPLOMATS? HE FUCKING PUT HIS HAND INSIDE MY SKIRT. HE-" Her howling broke off in loud tearless wails, then growls and back into angry grunts. Mitsuko pushed her nails down into the bite marks on his decolletage as if she wanted to rip the whole area off.

"I never wanted to be anything that I am today and I never wanted to do the things I've done, but I never fucking complained." Her hand moved to embed itself in his hair instead and she pulled his face close. Fumed wrath upon his features in little drops of seething saliva as she panted- hoarse and tired from holding back from smashing his face in. "Good for you that you're so selfless, so blameless and so righteous. Truly. But you don't know the first thing about me, so why the fuck do you think you can judge me? You're right. This is bullshit. You're bullshitting yourself if you think that you can get through this on pure altruism alone and you're bullshitting me if you think I'll just sit here and take it."

"So what if I don't want to be your ideal Empress? What if I just want to slaughter the whole court? What are you gonna do? Kill me? Tell me that I "have no shred of compassion in my heart for the downtrodden"? Damn right, I fucken don't because if I did I would be dead. I AM the downtrodden dammnit. Being thrust into this mess just because I did not want to kill one person. Because there's no place in this world for a killer."

She released his hair from her grip and pushed him harshly down onto the ground from where she straddled him.

"I never asked you to drag me up here, I said I would pay the coins back. I don't want to be here either but I am and I'm not bitching about it." A final shaky breath was drawn and she prepared to stand up again on wobbly legs "I won't touch you but don't fucking expect me to not hit back because I am not that nice".

"Grow up Haru."



surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
If Haru had been in a better state of mind, a better state of thought and his senses not corrupted by the alcohol that hummed in his veins, he would have probably never struck Mitsuko, perhaps would have allowed this incident to be like the others; where he would scold her and then proceed to allow their journey to continue without saying another word on the matter. He would have been kinder, if not more patient, would have at least not conducted himself like a brute, for the action was inappropriate if not cruel. So it was surely only right for him to reap what he had sown.

He'd ignored her first incredulous questions from his initial punch, but what he couldn't ignore was when she had begun to shout at him, and then came with it the punches fueled by rage, by pain. He was not a stranger to it, every smack and every well aimed hit by Mitsuko was endured, his body flinching and wincing, no tears springing to crimson eyes as hatred burned bright in his chest at the child that was wailing and screaming, lamenting and unloading years of her agony. Breath was driven from his lungs, pain blossoming upon sacred flesh and yet, the man didn't permit not a single tear to spring from ruby eyes that stared with intensity back at the woman above him.

Had he... ever seen her cry before? That was a distracting thought in the middle of his now unresponsive body as he was enduring a mere fraction of the pain that his mind already knew there was a greater one he'd endured. It was... sad, heart wrenching truly, and if he wasn't so utterly intoxicated on his own rage, perhaps he would have enveloped her in an embrace, to try and smooth over the agony in her soul, attempt to piece together all of the pain and splintered pieces that this child before him was screaming. But all the same, it made him pissed.

On one hand, regret chided him for his foolishness, for not trying to pry open the pain that she carried sooner. But the other reminded him just as quick that she would not have probably opened such laments to him willingly, only in the midst of violence did she- Haru's expression contorted with pain as her nails dug into the open bite open his shoulder, finally getting the man to crack out of the apathy of taking the rather one-sided beating. A sharp exhale left past his lips then, anger flaring to life in his soul once more, chasing away the sympathy, the kindness.

Who the hell did this woman think she was talking to?

Six thousand long, awful years. Six thousand years that he had to endure such suffering, such pain at these forsaken human's hands. Six thousand years he had mourned and experienced loss ever lasting, and all these memories were unlocked inside his mind, vivid that he couldn't forget. And why? Because of this ungrateful sniveling woman that he couldn't truly get himself to fully hate; because he sacrificed all sanity - all of it - for her sake. Because she wanted to  live. Because his heart couldn't ignore her, a fault of the bleeding soul within him.

He felt his head being pushed into the earth, the pain barely registering as his body ached, expression tightening as he glared up at the woman that now had the audacity to tell him to grow up. Was she honestly serious? Him? Something snapped within his soul as he filled his lungs with oxygen, finally being able to take in a proper breath as a slender hand had grabbed hold of her, rage supplying the strength in a normally weak and gentle grip, snagging in the folds of the neck of her kimono and dragging her back down immediately.

The light to his eyes weren't normal then, instead faintly glowing upon closer inspection, beautiful and sparkling like the embers of a fire as he seethed, "Grow up? You dare tell me to grow up? Like you who knows no shame, who continues to violate boundaries and lashes out in violence? Who knows no gratitude." He snorted, the heat of his breath fanning against her face, "Very well, I'll 'grow up'."

It was the fastest of movements then, his lips pressing tightly against hers. The soft press of his lips were scathing, warm, hot. The man's lips parted, bringing with it a fresh taste of alcohol but oddly enough tinged with cinnamon, vanilla, an addicting taste. It was a mere moment, a mere fraction of a taste of course, of the allure of his kiss that he would permit her to be privy to in the midst of his anger, until it was over all too quickly than when it had started.

Haru"s lips parted from hers abruptly then, and with great strength had shoved her off of him, the man breathing uneven as he got to his feet, swaying to try and reclaim his balance, "...In all six thousand years, I've never met a human as ungrateful as you." Crimson eyes burned holes into her then, searing, "...I saved your life twice now if you really wanted to know. Someone was trying to kill us both earlier. That is why you are here. I kept my promise to you, ungrateful child, because you wished to live." Turning on his heel, the man turned his back to her, stumbling nearly over his own feet as he forced himself to move a few paces off, before collapsing on the ground again, his bad leg certainly having enough of the abuse and his body certainly having suffered quite a beating, sitting within the grass as he was struggling to catch his breath, exhaustion laying heavy on him.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies

Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: Trigger - Seori

She couldn't even hit him. Not as hard or as ruthlessly as she had wanted to. Not even while the anger had precipitated from clenched fists in tremors and Mitsuko had grit her teeth until she could have sworn that she tasted calcium dust against her tongue- she had been unable to direct it towards his face. That unrelenting stare of his too...familiar. Too close to home in the lack of resistance through all but unsaid words in pursed lips. She had felt how her had mouth had dried up, the saliva knotting in the back in clumps to hold her in a waxy chokehold. How her arms had locked into place. As if hindered by an invisible form, the same invisible form that she hadn't dared to breach in the touch of faces.

Wait a second- She didn't want to touch his face in that way-.

The brunette released her fist to grasp exasperatingly at her face. The gesture and thought left unfinished as a force took advantage of her staggering reluctance. In reality it was more of a jerk, collar tugged open to reveal the skin below in a flash of ivory, vivid and unmarred by the exhaustion that haunted her pallid face in lines.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to call the form that had exercised her self-control for her when she did not desire it, threads. Weaved in moonlight and transluscent in the ghosting touch under her finger joints. She had certainly felt like a puppet, unable to exert her wishes through the extension of her flesh. Perhaps the same threads responsible now for how they had become entangled once more.

Her knees planted on either side of the Seer and alleviating her weight from his hips in stubborn steeled muscles, and hand- the frame to his face in how it buried itself into the ground next to his head. A soft breeze lulled over their dark forms, seemingly melting into each other in the shadows that now descended in the death of all festivities. It crashed against the weight of the jade locks that were splayed out before Mitsuko and stirred her own burnt umber ones to tickle his cheeks.

A similar sensation kindled upon her wrist in what she had at first suspected to be blades of grass, but that now glared back at her as strands of hair in sober afterthought. Irrelevant, really, in the grand scheme of things but all that she could focus on in her current dilemma.

It was that or her heartbeat. The one that had been a catatonic droning in the moments before but now reverberated loudly in red ears. And she heard them- the warning bells of her instincts that told her of his intentions but that she refused to believe. He wouldn't dare- the thought that rooted her to the earth in staunch childishness.

His face inched closer and she inched back. The hand on the collar more of a shackle than Mitsuko had initially thought as it pulled her back to square one.

He wouldn't- The dim crimson eyes cemented themselves opposite her own, a flicker of embers brewing within them in the gaze that threatened to devour her.

He wouldn't- Her lungs refused to deflate inside her chest, the air and the act of breathing an abnormally stifled and stuffy process. She drew a single pillar of breath that settled in goosebumps down her neck. He-

He would dare.

Their lips crashed against each other to the wide-eyed look of the brunette. One blink, then two following it as she struggled to comprehend the soft flesh that mirrored her own. "Ha..ah..." She exhaled in awkward stutters onto them and her teeth bumped awkwardly into his as they bared themselves for her.

It was as if she had forgotten how- how to both breathe and resist through the fumbling motions of her mouth. On one hand, a bit animalistic in how she wanted to chase after him and the sweet taste that grazed the tip of her tongue in quick darts. She would pull at her corners to reveal enamel then rake them in soft caresses over his lips that seemed to evade her desire to deepen it.

On the other hand, it was overly careful and gentle. As if the slightest breeze would cause the illusion to suddenly shatter as she withheld her breath. "Ah..hah.." her hungry gasps did little to stop the inevitable, however, as his hands propped themselves between their bodies and eventually pushed her harshly off.

The brunette rolled onto her side in a thud and a displeased grunt that slipped through her defenses too quickly. It was only then, that it seemed to hit her. He had kissed her. Mitsuko lit up beetred, starting from the ears and the neck. The slight buzz of excitement still there in hazy eyes as she prepared to chew the Seer out. "Why did you-?" His voice cut her down immediately in a glare and a scowl half.

"...I saved your life twice now if you really wanted to know. Someone was trying to kill us both earlier. That is why you are here. I kept my promise to you, ungrateful child, because you wished to live."

What? Who- where- when? The pieces connected slowly in her head. Back when he had stormed off? Mitsuko's breath stuttered. "Well- How was I- How was I supposed to know?" Her voice was hoarse from the previous verbal altercation and she growled out the last part "-Damn you, you- you stupid bird! I don't need your help you overgrown vegetable!".

Well, at least she was consistent on one point. Her ungratefulness, that was. The brunette collapsed against the ground in a scoff. That still didn't explain why he had kissed her. Her brows congealed into a frown and she tried to rub the blush away from her cheeks to no avail.

Why did you do that-? You will probably not even remember it by tomorrow but I..-

Mitsuko curled up in on herself where she laid, seemingly content with praying away for morning to arrive as all words would surely be lost on him. But not exclusively so, but on her as well as she was too busy clutching her chest.

Insane. I am insane.


surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Greedy - Ariana Grande

Angry rebuttals were shouted at an uncaring back, his sitting posture turning to laying on his side, the cushion of grass and dirt underneath him providing a reprieve on exhausted, strained muscles. A slow exhale left his lips, promptly responding in turn to her simple insults, "Bite me, asshole." A childish rebuttal indeed, as if his rash actions was brushed off in the words he expelled. However, his mind although still tinged with the heat of rage was instead being tainted with a different heat. It was similar, though quite different, perhaps aided further by the alcohol still within his veins. It pulsed deep within his core, flowing through his relaxed body and centered upon the tingling sensation of his lips. Perhaps it was due to Mai-Jing's prior kisses to stir such a disturbing sensation prior, but unlike then when fear had lingered after... it was different this time with her.

In all honesty, Haru didn't expect Mitsuko to react. Perhaps expecting her to strike him in response, for that would be far more normal for a barbarian such as she. It was how he viewed her, barbaric, unappealing and certainly idiotic. However, her rising to meet his lips in the brief moment he'd allowed for their lips to connect had lingered deep, burning the memory within his body, the echo of her hungry gasps ringing like bells within his ears, hot breath mingling upon the soft rose petal lips that he'd perhaps out of anger had kept stubbornly closed. The pressure of her lips upon his own, of her prodding, persistent tongue that desired access into the crevices of his mouth, though he was no stranger to the sensation, it made him almost regret not allowing her to do so, to yield to the hunger that had ignited in the fool he'd allowed to partake of a rare opportunity.

His lips tingled as his mind persisted to run over the sensation, a redness finally gracing pale cheeks as his tongue lightly flicked against his bottom lip, as if to drag the remnant of Mitsuko's lingering taste into his mouth. It tastes like alcohol. More alcohol due to her drinking earlier, of course, but with the lingering taste of her saliva as well that he could detect. Her taste. Oddly enough, he didn't hate it. No, instead it made him recall the final expression he'd spotted upon her face in the midst of his anger fueled rashness, an excitement that lingered in the depths of her gaze, the displeasure in the grunt that came from the foul woman when he'd forced their connection to end prematurely. Ah, how it ignited a burning sensation within him again. This is bad. He knew it was bad, it was horrid, but in that brief anger fueled kiss, it felt far better, far more right than it had been when Mai-Jing had cornered him; kissed him.

It felt good. It felt too good, too addicting. His lips parted as a heavy breath escaped him then, frustration surging in the fading embers of anger, fanned instead by desire that now sparked to life in half-lidded rubies. Haru craved more, although it was greatly improper of him to even think such a thought but he truly desired the press of that fool's lips on his own again, to drink deep of a cursed poison that she was, to truly feel the press upon warm skin upon his own, to trace every curve, to allow his lips to trail over places hidden to his eyes, to drown himself in her temptation. The Seer released another heavy breath, more heat flaring within his veins, coiling deep within his body as he laid his head upon his arm. Great... just fantastic truly.

"..Mnn.." A quiet, muffled, sluggish complaint slipped drunken lips as he forced his eyes to close, to try to ignore the pulsing in his body, to ignore the heat coiling lower from his core- No. Don't think, merely sleep. Allow dreams to take him away and forget everything, to forget that in this moment that he perhaps was craving the woman he was stubbornly remaining facing away from, his body curling in on itself as another heavy huff of breath left past rose petal lips. Ah, he really was quite depraved wasn't he? Allowing himself to get aroused by something so utterly minor... no! He refused to acknowledge it, this greediness, this foulness, this throbbing ache will be quickly forgotten. It must be. Haru's eyes stubbornly closed then, a tinge of control being wrestled back in his drunken foulness as he slipped into unconsciousness, aided no doubt by the alcohol he had consumed to slip into sleep so quickly.

Morning rays hit the man's eyes, the brightness of day forcing the Seer's eyes to slowly open as the first sensation he felt was pain. Pain throbbed through his slender frame, the tickling of grass upon his cheek prompting the man to release a sharp exhale as he squinted. Why did his head feel... oh god, it felt like his head was fit to split open. A foul taste was on his tongue, causing Haru's expression to twist in disgust, lips pressing together as his stomach twisted and coiled. Bile was rising in the back of his throat, forcing Haru to turn on his side as he immediately set to expelling what very little contents remained in his stomach within the earth, his pitiful retching being perhaps not the most pleasant thing to wake up to, but the man couldn't very much help it.

As his stomach soon found it acceptable for him to cease, the man slowly struggled to sit upright, his face a paler shade than the normal fairness as he groaned. What the hell happened? Where was he? Bewilderment caused the Seer's head to turn to look to and fro, attempting to regain his bearings as he realized he was on or rather nearby a hill... right, why was he there to begin with? And why did he taste something so bitter on his tongue? His stomach threatened once more to heave at the thought which caused the Seer to immediately dispel the thought from his mind before he fixated too much on it. No need to subject himself to more retching.

Pain thrummed upon his torso and shoulder, his back as well which made a bit of tears to spring to the man's eyes as he released a heavy breath to try to move but to no avail. He felt as if he had gotten pummeled, but why? What in the world was the cause for it? Just what the hell happened during the night? A sucked in breath prompted the Seer to finally turn to examine the extent of his injuries, now sitting completely straight as he peered at the bite mark upon his shoulder, now clotted and seemingly messy all the same. Eyebrows furrowed then as a faded memory surfaced which caused a shiver to run down his spine: Mai-Jing. The memory of the woman had immediately made the man feel ill as he forced himself to focus on the now colorful amount of bruises upon his torso... now this, where did this come from? More questions surged in the man's head as he wondered, Did I... did I get into a fight with something?

It seemed to be the most reasonable answer, however no matter how much he pressed against the foggy barrier within his mind, it would yield no answers which caused Haru to frown as he shifted his kimono within its proper place, concealing marred skin underneath battered and dirtied fabric, a sharp exhale leaving his lips. Well, if he couldn't remember then it must have not been very important, now could it? Yes, certainly that was the case his mind had decided.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies

Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: Seori playlist- I wanna cry, Fairy tale, really high

AHHHHHH- what had she done? No, no no no- maybe if she pretended that it hadn't happened, she would forget about it. MANIFEST. MANIFEST IT. Mitsuko pictured oblivion in between the fingers that aggressively rubbed at her temples. A white great vastness prompting into existence under the building soreness of the pressure. It enveloped it all: the hills were white, the sky was white, the town was white- her drumming heartbeat that played the part of a metronome to the crescendos and diminuendos of wheezing breaths, was white. The only really outward sign of life remaining in her petrified form being her chest. Heaving up and down in a great contest against the mind that willed it to stop.

And stopped it did. "Bite me, asshole." Breath and pulse wrangled away from under her in the forced remembrance of how, she had in fact, desired to commit his sarcastic words into reality just a few seconds ago. The sensations and pictures in her head sparked with life anew and as if on cue, the embers flared to life in great flames upon the white backdrop.

- Relished cinnamon, vanilla and the ashes of their shared heat in the tongue that pressed into the roof of her mouth. A kind of dizzying, addictive concoction that made harm the same way a bed of razor blades would. Unconscious and without comprehension of the vile damage that it inflicted in, skin, split open to reveal the arteries below.

The person left to bleed out before they had a chance to regret it- to utter the word 'stop'.

Stop- don't make me not hate you.

Stop- don't make me desire you.

Stop, don't make me a slave to the whims of which you are the beginning, centre and end destination of. Don't trigger these desires that humanise me. In the end, the person whom Mitsuko hated the most was herself. Teeth painting monochrome fences in between their lips and tongue raking along it- breaths nascent with summer's heat against sweltering skin and tasted all the same in sickeningly sweet cotton candy that melted at the tip of the exchanges.

Her thumb drove mercilessly into the red streaks on her arm to awaken the dull pain anew. A disgruntled sigh and exhausted slumping of shoulders later declaring her fears out loud into the depths of her mind- it was going to be a long night.

And a long night it was, devoid of sleep in all its synonyms. On one hand, she had been afraid that the memories would be revived into fever dreams if she slept. On the other, she didn't trust herself to not throw herself into the nearby river when the seemingly inevitable future caught up with her. And at the root of it all was the man that she now looked down upon from where she loomed over him. His sleeping form more rage-inducing than any fist he could have thrown her way.

A slew of violent mutters lapsed in between the hand that reached out for him and the blanket she let drape over his shoulders. The gentle murmur of fabric, a stark contrast to the ice-cold steel of facial muscles, pulled taut above it. Awkward indecision gnawed at her feet, unwilling to part from the ground where they rested and the brown eyes embraced the contours of his hunched form under fluttering lashes. Small and fragile in the spine and shoulder-blades that now protruded in the absence of his usual proud posture. A barely alive flame sheltered within those very same crimson eyes that, had surely imagined her demise around a hundred times behind closed lids.

A desire twitched to life inaudibly in extended fingers, softly going through the current of the unruly verdant hair. Smoothed the locks behind the curve of his ear despite the man's protests against actions like this.

It would be her selfish little secret.

One that Mitsuko buried deep inside as she set off to the village again to get the rest of their things.

The brunette had expected the village and its inhabitants to be in a state of comatose after the festivities of yesterday. The energies that had converged in song and laughter, cups tinkling in toasts and gunpowder imparting slivers of daytime's vividness to the world of night in pangs- enough to drain the energy of even the most introverted and hermitic of individuals. Instead, what had greeted her this morning was a hustle and bustle, not too distantly related to the scenes that repeated in her mind. An overlay of drunkenness and blinding lights distorting it as she wilfully skipped over some parts.

Mitsuko thoughtfully eyed the wares of the stalls that she passed, mind trying to work out how they would afford some breakfast after her stunt. Now that she saw the consequences of her actions, being starvation, she felt inclined to somewhat agree with the Seer. She still wouldn't relent, though, and admit that it was as big of a problem as he had established it as. Some commotion further away piqued her curiosity and she approached to the center of the mass until she came eye to eye with the subject of their attention.


An idea popped into her head, and she acted immediately as if struck by eureka. A few minutes later, one could find her standing on the sideline of the street. Balancing different objects on the edge of her sword. Lined up along it was an orange, a wooden doll and an apple. A few passersbys threw a couple of meager coins onto the piece of fabric she had spread out beside her. "Is that all you can do? That's not impressive at all!" Chimed a voice from the crowd, an octave or two, too high to be an adult. The brunette turned her head towards the source of the critique, looked in the general direction then dropped a few notches. The boy who met her gaze flared up at the insinuation of her action and pointed a trembling finger at her as he lashed out "You-You're just a sham! No real swordsman would be balancing fruits on their sword in the street!".

Well, while the brat wasn't wrong about real swordsmen having better things to do than street performances, it didn't stop Mitsuko from feeling offended. A deep indignation taking root in the depths of her stomach, as Mitsuko felt like he was comparing her to the shams of swordsmen that she had defeated in the previous village. The brunette dropped the fruit and planted the sword into the ground in front of her.

"Well kiddo, what do you want me to do? Even swordsmen have to eat sometimes. Besides, I'm no real swordsman- just a hungry traveller." She retorted and leaned on the top of the handle with her forearm. The boy seemed even more enraged by this, perhaps upset that his accusation was brushed off so easily as he now appeared quite petty to be picking on a seemingly random street performer.

A man joined the boy at his side in crossed arms. "The performer is right, boy." He guffawed and gave the boy's hair a roughing with his palm. The man sneered and gave her a pointed look "-Besides, everyone already knows that women can't be swordsmen".

Their altercation had amassed quite the little circle at this point, nosy onlookers waiting with bated breath for either side to lash out. Though, probably more so holding out to watch her admit defeat against the irrefutable truth of his words. Her eyebrow twitched in its arch on her forehead and she drew a deep breath as she straightened from her crooked position.

"Really now?".

The tension was almost palpable in the air around them, forming a bubble that more and more people were herded into as a fight seemed inevitable. And fights- always made for good entertainment.


surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Through the painful headache now settled within his mind, the Seer's mind was slowly picking all the pieces together as his crimson gaze settled upon the nearest object to him; a discarded blanket? It perhaps had slipped off of him while he'd been in the depths of sleep, dead to the waking world which made a frown cross his face. Now, he certainly didn't remember having a blanket of all things before, especially if he had collapsed out here... but it didn't mean he couldn't make use of it. Lifting the grass and dirt speckled material, the Seer's hands fumbled as he struggled to get a grip upon the dirtied fabric, fingers trembling and quivering, eventually resulting in the fabric to consistently slip from his hands as if it were water that he was trying to hold. A curse slipped past his lips as he attempted again; once, twice, thrice... but to no avail, despite him desiring to put strength to his now bumbling fingers, they seemed to not obey the rather simple task of attempting to tear fabric.

His hands settled then on the sides of his pounding skull, eyebrows pinching at the sensation of cold within the fingertips. It chilled him to the bone, as if blood no longer graced his hands, the aching within his head increasing as he exhaled slowly. He needed to think, to remember- ah. That was right, the little girl. The memory blossomed within his mind, of his foolish action of attempting to rob the girl of her pain. Certainly it was a success judging alone by how little Waka had reacted, and even now though his heart swelled with pleasant joy at the memory, a sensation of dread was quick to follow. He shouldn't have been so reckless. Now that his body was slowly catching up with his sluggish mind, he felt a wet sensation in the back of his throat, salty and bitter causing the man to double over again, his hands planting against the ground as he heaved, mere stomach bile no longer coming up, but the crimson of his blood splattering against verdant grass and dark earth, shaky and unresponsive fingers coiling into the ground as he struggled to breathe.

It hurts. The whisper of a complaint settled within his mind as his body served to be nothing more than a painful prison, heat settling with uncomfortable intensity upon his bitten shoulder and clawed back. Energy that seemed to try and remain was being sapped as he gazed down with disgust lining his face at the sight of crimson upon the earth before him. It didn't even smell like blood, it smelled awful. A rotting scent that made him recoil as he turned his head away, forcing his body to support itself on weak hands and knees, though this too only resulted in painful suffering as his bad leg had made itself known, causing a curse to fly from his bloodied lips, "Shit!" The Seer's body shifted awkwardly within the grass, pulling up the leg of his hakama to inspect the brutalized limb, resulting in the expression of the man's face to become annoyed. It was swollen, painfully so, the ugly scar of the leg itself being tainted with purple and red, inflamed and quivering like a leaf in the wind as he cautiously extended the leg only for spasms of pain to immediately be his reward, his teeth coming down harshly upon his bottom lip to suppress the scream that threatened to bubble up past his lips. Great, truly this was perfect.

The suppressed scream soon left him, though a painful whimper as he forced the leg to be concealed from sight, the brightened rays of the intensifying sun causing him to squint as his eyes shifted to check his surroundings, eventually settling upon a stick. It was certainly an ugly excuse for a stick, settled a few lengths away from the miserable man, and yet it would serve him well, especially in times like these. His body trembled as he slowly forced himself to crawl, determination set in the firm clenching of jaws and the furrowing of brows as his shaky hands came to grab hold of the ugly, discarded stick and firmly planted it in the ground before him, on shaky legs and with much effort had the Seer succeeded in getting himself from off the floor, his breathing uneven as his head threatened to spin, staggering as a low grunt left his lips, leaning on his good leg than the bad as he forced himself to stand still.

"Ugh.." The complaint left him as he slowly turned back toward the dejected blanket and settled upon bringing it with him, draping it over his shoulders as he suppressed a chill from running through the man's pale skin as his attention now was caught by the fact Mitsuko was nowhere to be seen. Haru's headache threatened to flare once more as his eyebrows knitted together, grumbling under his breath, "I hope that idiot didn't get herself- urk!" The Seer leaned heavily against the stick again, nausea coiling in his stomach as he tried to force the sensation down. It seemed as if he should have been focused more on himself right now, but perhaps out of stubbornness the Seer had slowly on dragging feet had made his way to the village.

By the time Haru had gotten to the village, the sun had risen higher in the sky, beating down upon the man who oddly enough wasn't sweating. Instead, he was shivering, his fingers gripping the borrowed stick tightly as his staggering and painful steps were punctuated by sharp exhales of breath from the Seer's lips. He could no longer feel sensation in his fingertips, his head was spinning as he kept to the edges of the dirt streets, although there were the occasional odd glance in his direction, there was not a soul that seemed concerned enough to approach, mostly due to how haggard the man appeared. Considering he didn't truly make sure his appearance was the best, the messy verdant locks of his usually well-kept hair was now in a disarray about his face, eyes bleary and half lidded, and the redder tinge that dyed his lips with blood certainly was doing him no favors.

Yet, despite this, the man's eyes shifted listlessly over the many people still passing him by, searching for Mitsuko's familiar shape if only to gather his companion to get them out of there. They had spent too long in one place, and they weren't even close to their goal now were they? Yes, he remembered he'd stormed off during the night, that memory becoming slowly more clear to him with him staggering about... but truly could he leave that idiot on her own? No, he'd probably suffer a guilty conscious despite the headache she sought to bring with her presence. Whether he liked it or not, he was stuck with that idiot because he had promised... yes, promised. If only he wasn't such a fool..

This line of hazy thought was interrupted as the man saw a growing crowd choking the street, prompting a frown to cross his face immediately. Great.. looks like I have to turn around- The intention to turn back and find another way through was interrupted by the sound of an all too familiar voice, causing the Seer to exhale sharply then. On one hand, he was relieved, on the other he was certainly not very pleased that she had drawn attention to herself to warrant drawing a whole crowd of people. From his hunched over position, he couldn't truly see past the throng of bright-eyed and curious onlookers, eventually making him give up from trying to look from afar and draw closer. Unsteady steps and suppressed grunts of pain brought him gradually closer until he could vaguely see between an opening, spotting Mitsuko immediately and the sword she had with her. What is that idiot- ow...

The flare of irritation and anger in the thought had prompted Haru to wince, a hand flying to the side of his head as he sucked in a sharp breath and scooted backward, just enough so that the crowd could provide some coverage as his head threatened to feel like it was splitting again, fingers clenching tightly around the stick as his crimson eyes flitted to the side, spotting a close enough alley that provided some sense of cover from the blistering sun above as well as a place he could actually rest and stay nearby just in case something truly idiotic occurred. Though, honestly the man should have more faith in his companion, but at the moment he held no such warm feelings, instead the old buzz of anger and annoyance filtering through his veins as he shuffled with much effort to his final chosen spot and promptly allowed himself to sit within the shade, peering cautiously... wait.. why cautiously?

Bewilderment filtered through him at the sudden tension in his limbs, the sucked in breath that he didn't realize he had been holding as he gazed toward her. Why did he feel the urge to hide? No, I'm not hiding. I did nothing wrong. I'm just... resting. He reassured himself of the fact, even though his mind certainly didn't remember, it seemed like his body did, prematurely putting himself in a corner away from her as he rested his weary body, the blanket draped around him being pulled tighter, closer as his trusty stick rested beside him against the wall of the house he was taking shelter near.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies

Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: The RAH Band - Messages from the Stars

Mitsuko sometimes thought that she must be cursed. Cursed to have to deal with idiots such as the man in front of her. Her hand shot out to clasp around the hilt of the wakizashi and gave it a few good rattles before unearthing it from its temporary sheathe of dirt. It weighed down heavy in her relaxed palm, cotton wraps brushing harshly against her callouses in diminished sensation as she played with her grip. The brunette tossed it carelessly in a hover above her hand a couple of times and then locked it down. Arm tensing and extending it towards the man in a carefully measured movement that saw her gaze trailing down the blade horizontally to the spot between his eyes.

The metal glimmered threateningly under the reflection of the sun's rays despite the dust that coated it. The man held his ground, crossed arms steeling themselves against his chest as his adam's apple bobbed in a swallow. His eyes darted down at her additional and sharp appendage that could have his head in a flick of her wrist, then met her gaze in a glare.

The corner of her lip tugged in a quirk at his reaction. The movement almost imperceptible and illusive in how quickly it had arrived and departed. There were probably people in the crowd that assumed that they had imagined it. How else could one explain the callous indifference that now grazed her features in such familiarity? It must have never left at all, they reasoned in disbelieving blinks. The flash in the man's eyes, however, told Mitsuko all that she needed to know- he had seen what she had intended for him.

Satisfied, she drew a deep breath, the anticipation of the crowd inhaled with it in unstirring eyes.

Good thing then, that she was used to dealing with idiots, she thought. Herself included.

Mitsuko breathed out and blew the dust on the blade right at the man's face who subsequently erupted in a fit of coughs. "You-!" The man hissed in between the gasps, hatred spilling from crinkled slits of eyes into his voice. The brunette ignored him and lobbed the dropped objects into her embrace with her foot. Speaking of idiots- she sniffed the air, much like a dog would, and gave the crowd an appraising look. She could have sworn that she had caught a waft of his smell in the midst of this stink fest.

If he was indeed here, he probably found her foolish. The notion prompted the woman to scoff as she brandished the sword's sharp edge anew and threw the objects onto it one by one. The fall cushioned by a compensating rocking motion that brought each to not split in half and wobble back into stillness. "Right, time to earn back that coin then." If bored had a sound, then this was it.

Mitsuko flipped the sword around again to its dull side, caught the objects once more and redid the process to balance them on the very end tip of the sword. Then she hurled them into the air in an arch. Slid her foot back over the dirt and braced herself with the blade at her side.

One, two- she counted the breathless seconds in her head and lunged. Hand reversed in its hold of the lower side of the hilt as she swung the sword over her head and split the orange first. Her body danced across the earth as if steered by the whistled melodies of the blade cutting through the air. Her fingers loosened and then renewed the grip horizontally in a swipe of the sword. The wooden doll dropped to the ground, sliced clean through the middle.

Mitsuko pulled her arm back and then flung the sword into the air. The apple was still left. Her fingers squeezed the dagger in her waistband between them and she spun around. The man's eyes met hers in horrified realisation. Thwing. She launched it right at the man.

Silence stole the breath away from the crowd in bated screams. Then one by one, they slowly opened their eyes as a rumbling cheer took hold in applauding bodies. The man opened his eyes last, trembling under the weight of his lids that were in disbelief that they still possessed the ability to do so. The dagger had raked along his skull in an improvised haircut and lodged itself in the wall on the other side of the street. Apple pinned through the tip of it.

The brunette dusted herself off calmly "You're lucky that I'm not a 'real' swordsman, or else I might have not missed what I was actually aiming at". She held his gaze in hers, glazed over in fear and bulging out of their sockets. Tsk. Mitsuko clicked her tongue and caught the sword that was diving right at her. A smooth sidestep and a pirouette manoeuvre of the gravitational power later, able to let it slide back into its sheathe. She wouldn't have let him go this easily in the past. Her eyes dipped to the handkerchief, or well, the edges that remained visible of it under the newly amassed pile of coins on top.

He was lucky indeed.

The young woman pushed past him to retrieve her dagger and scooped the coins up in the handkerchief. It would make for a decent weapon, she assessed as she weighed it in her hand. Mitsuko glanced thoughtfully over her shoulder at her once tormentor, now turned victim, that had collapsed to the ground. He shrieked in return and proclaimed his apologies to the ground "I'M SORRY. PLEASE SPARE ME! I HAVE A FAMILY-".

Another click of her tongue was made and she swung the makeshift sack over her shoulder to the loud chimes of rustling coins. "Performance is over! Now piss off" Perhaps the onlookers thought it wise to not irritate her further after the performance she had put on, because they dispersed quickly at her barks.

The growing pressure between her temples enough to make her grunt in displeasure and seek refuge in a nearby alley after her stunt. Away from any possible instigators of increased tension, as she dropped down on her behind, and spread out the handkerchief once more. Her fingers moved before her mind in how she singled out the amount that she thought she owed the Seer in a sigh. "This much maybe?" Mitsuko mused and sized up the little stack of coins that lay separately from the rest in front of her.

A sound of scuffling feet and a thud alerted the brunette out of her thoughts. Her hand flew to the handle in alarmed and narrowed eyes as she peered down the desolate street to see a shadow standing in the middle of it. How did she not notice it before? Was she getting dull or something? Mitsuko leaned forward as if to shield the coins from the stranger's sight: marking clearly that they were 'mine'.
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surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Shivers ran through the man now that he had relaxed himself, his numb fingers tightening around the blanket as the shade had only served to make the chill in his body much worse. These sensations would be ignored however, as Haru peered closely at Mitsuko, watching the woman now with the attentiveness of a hawk at the every motion she made, normally he would not be so fixated on her if it wasn't for the fact that she had been fixated on a man apart from her. He knew not what had occurred prior to him lumbering nearby, but he knew enough... or knew slightly enough that perhaps Mitsuko had been irked, a nerve prodded and poked which made him whisper, "...Please don't do anything stupid." It was a useless plea however, due to the fact that the recipient clearly would never receive it.

These worries seemed to have been dispelled, instead Haru found himself transfixed by the performance Mitsuko was putting on which- wait. Why was she doing such a thing? Sluggish thoughts and faded memories had briefly made him recall a faded interaction with her, he had ran into her in the street then... right, alcohol. It was as if a little light bulb had finally sparked within the Seer's head as he sucked in a breath, now being able to identify the taste of such a strange bitterness upon his tongue underneath the taste of bile and blood. Did that mean that he too...?

The memories were a block sadly, a frown crossing his lips as he shook his head. It didn't very much matter really, it seemed as if Mitsuko was being a little bit responsible which made the man finally take a breath again, not realizing once more that he had been holding it. His drifting thoughts seemed to be taking him out of reality, out of focus until he heard the crowd gasp and the distinct sound of a dagger meeting a wall, prompting the Seer's eyes to grow wide like small moons as he stared in shock at the fact that Mitsuko had hurled a dagger toward the man's head, the one that he assumed had drawn her ire for whatever reason.

The following shriek from said man had made the Seer's lips part open in the beginnings of shock. What the hell was she doing?! Did she not realize that she was drawing too much attention to herself? However... as the man's eyes drifted to the other that was currently pleading for his life, Mitsuko's response or rather the lack there of it had made the Seer's jaw clenched firmly, his lips pressing together as he felt a sensation filtering in his chest. It bubbled and rose, causing quiet snorts to leave him before it finally broke into quiet laughter.

Was it due to him being alone and unnoticed which caused such a reaction? Or had he finally gone mad himself? Nonetheless, the snickers that filtered through him was enough of a distraction to tear him away from how utterly miserable he felt. Perhaps the man on the ground deserved it? Granted, Haru would never know as he clamped a hand over his mouth to try and suppress the strange laughter escaping him. That was inappropriate, he needed to remain composed.

Facial muscles wrestled to get under control as his eyes followed Mitsuko's retreating figure. I should get up now. The resigned thought had caused the Seer to reach for his trusty companion, the stick he had found, and forced himself to be propped upward off from his current hunched over position on the ground. Nausea soared once more in his stomach, his head spinning violently and yet he stubbornly began to try to walk. Each step was agony, slow and fumbling like that of an elderly man, and he certainly appeared hunched over like one as well.

Uneven footfall had echoed closet to Mitsuko's spot, but her subsequent reaction to his approach had made the dead-eyed Seer gaze down at her blankly with little interest, or rather his mind was trying to process what in the world happened to Mitsuko's jaw? It was an ugly mark truly, as ugly as the ones that had blossomed upon his torso which made his eyebrows furrow. Did they... did they get attacked by someone? Maybe something? When his mind didn't yield the answers, the man had tossed it just as quickly and slowly shuffled with slow, staggering steps until he was apart from her, not directly across as the Seer's eyes seemed truly distant, glossy as he raised a hand to wipe at his eyes as if that would help get rid of the discomfort.

"..We have to leave soon." Those were the only words that slipped past blood speckled lips. No apology, no condemning, no shouting or screaming, no harping about her owing him money; just a low energy statement of a fact that was as clear as day. His voice seemed quieter than usual, lacking the usual spark of life, hands once more coming the wrap the blanket tighter around himself as he was struggling to think, eyes fixated instead on the street beyond Mitsuko, trying to go over what to do.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies

Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: Magic Kaito 1412 Original Soundtrack - 15. Blue Girl

The shadows shifted and lurched over the approaching form and a familiar face dispersed from it in jade locks and crimson eyes. A draining breath wrenched itself out of her lungs as the man was identified as her companion and Mitsuko relaxed. Cinereous gaze unwinding against his delicate features as she lifted her hand from the hilt and leaned back. "Yeah. I was gonna go get you right now." She mirrored back factly at his prompt, equally disinterested but with a tension discreetly seeping in. Corner of her lip pulled taut and eyes averting away as the dull pain along her jaw ached into remembrance in his presence.

Ah, she had almost forgotten about it. Mitsuko unlatched her clenched jaws and raked her tongue absentmindedly along the insides of her teeth. Mouth still dehydrated from yesterday's affliction of drunkenness but absent today as painful clarity reared its head instead. Painful because Mitsuko wished she didn't remember the events that had transpired as vividly as she did.

This was always the case when she drank and a highly undesired side-effect of it since the purpose of even doing it all was usually to forget something. To the contrary, here she was now, looking down the barrel of the consequences of her actions in brass coins and reddened ears.

He didn't remember, did he? Her pupils wavered in the line they made for his face and the brunette pursed her lips. Would he this calm if he did- the next query to cross her heart in elevated throbs. The woman appeared more like a sulking child as she rose from the ground with her head held down. The coins were gathered up in the handkerchief once more, dissonant chimes ringing out loud in the silence between them when her hand suddenly shot out for the Seer. "Take them." Her eyes refused to meet his "You keep track of our money from now on".

It was better this way, lest there would be a repeat of that disaster.

The bag weighed heavy in her hand until it didn't, Mitsuko spun around on her heels to leave. The bare minimum of acknowledgement granted in the transient glance towards the stick that the man was propped up by and in needles- prickling her guilty conscience in a back that faced away.

The pair made their way slowly through the crowd in a rather peculiar image. The man limped forward in a trudging gait that refused to fold and the woman beside him, an erect pillar of squared shoulders that shortened her steps discreetly to match his pace. Mitsuko figured that the walk to the stables was a short one anyway. Placing any more undue burdens upon his frail body was, therefore, unnecessary. It was not guilt, but logic that dictated her speed. Yes, logic. Because how else would she endure his complaints for the rest of the day? The least she could do was to lessen the reasons for them and this was one such counteraction.

The way she sneaked peeks at him from the corner of her eye, though, and quickly turned away and stiffened when threatened with contact- showed the opposite, however.

One such moment, took place when one of her feet forgot to move out of the way for the descending step. The brunette had been fixating on the man from her whites when an indication that he might turn his head spooked her out of it. Prompted her to shift it hastily ahead when she suddenly stumbled. Mitsuko recovered quickly, the clumsiness only persisting through a few bumbling steps before she straightened right up.

She looked no less dumb, though, face a burning shade of red as she settled to walk ahead instead.

One could only wonder where the capable swordmaster from earlier had disappeared.

They reached the stables and Mitsuko moved immediately to untie their stallion who had fattened up worryingly fast in their absence. The latter seemed to take notice of her abasing stare and opted to return it by snorting mucus in her face. "You're not even a little bit funny, you know that right?" Her knitted brows trembled in their grooves upon her forehead as she wiped the phlegm off her face with her sleeve. The stallion, however, disagreed with her sentiment. Looking very humanly amused over his accomplishment as the long ears pointed forward. "I guess we won't have to worry about ever starving at least." The ears flickered towards the back and fell slick against the stallion's head.

Mitsuko smirked in response and gave it a few appraising slaps to its dilated belly. The horse chomped down on her hair bun.


She hated this horse.

Half a brawl later, they were ready to depart. The man's state, however, made for a concerning sight to the prospects of their journey. Mitsuko didn't know how much the injury on his leg would worsen during the ride and she wasn't keen to find out. Her lips glued shut as fast as she tried to mention, though, leaving the two of them very awkwardly standing still beside the horse.

It was then that a familiar voice cut through the uncomfortable exchanges of mutual silence. "Lass!" Lo and behold, a familiar man caned energetically their way and stopped short in front of them. The lack of recognition on her face must have been visible because he rushed to present himself in between panting breaths. "You took down that thief yesterday that had stolen my purse." Oh- she blinked the image into projection upon the man and sure enough, it was him. "Are you heading out?" He looked at the stallion behind her and then at the Seer "I would love to offer the two of you a ride for a bit if you'd allow me. I really want to repay you in some way...".

The brunette squirmed uncomfortably on the spot, hated the respect that he addressed her with but couldn't immediately reject him either. Her gaze went off to her side to confer with Haru. Or rather, assign over the responsibility of choosing on him.

Theme: Hey who really cares - Linda Perhacs

The liveliness of the village was a distant hum, carried on the backs of trembling leaves in the wind from where he stood. A world far removed from the drab shadows that he shrouded himself in from attire to hand- resting on the hilt of his sword. The very same shadows that he had breathed, slept and ate in for the past year at the castle as the Empress' bodyguard. Perhaps even longer than that if one counted the springs of childhood.

Now, he was something entirely else- they were something entirely else- but one thing had remained the same.

She was walking ahead and he was stuck chasing her heels as he watched that ever familiar back become more and more distant. The polestar to his ship, north to his compass and Akase to his Arita. -The one who had granted him courage in the warmth of her hand, gently squeezing his as they leapt from the hayloft.

Your Mitsuko, as he recalled that she had dubbed herself that last fateful night before he had abandoned her for the first and last time.

His Mitsuko,
whose side was now occupied by another man in the form of the Seer. The latter laying claim to all that he had once cherished between calloused palms. Her smile, her gaze and even her lips- remote memories that had stirred to life under tawn skin just the other day on the hills.

The former bodyguard's grip on the handle tightened in a breathless hold. Emotions only entertained for but a few seconds in the soft caress of a wistless breeze before he let go. Let it go like so many times before, as it was a fruitless endeavour. She would never know and he would never let her know.

The trees creaked eerily in the background of his resolve. Or perhaps they whined to warn him? Old wood bearing witness to the approach of a second figure in soundless steps over roots and earth from whence they originated.

Hayate tensed in his rooted stance, shoulders rolled back and expression schooled later, ready to address the person. Or well, the husk of a person. "You're late." His voice reverberated steady through the air "They're about to leave which is no wonder, really, with that commotion you made". There was something chilly to his tone, something airy that carried over into the sharpened gales he sent her in narrowed eyes.

"I wonder what your master will say when you took the freedom to personally lay hands on his prey".
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surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
The lack of emotion in Mitsuko's voice hadn't caused Haru to look at her just yet, instead it was only when the surge of movement that came with an outheld handkerchief had caused the Seer's eyebrows to furrow, expression twisting with confusion as he took the bundle of coin. Crimson eyes flickered up to attempt to meet Mitsuko's gaze as the haze within his mind proceeded to not give him any answers for the sudden handing over of money, only to spot the redness to her ears. His lips pressed in a tight line, lowering his gaze to the jingling coins though he was soon to nod his head in silent agreement, only verbally expressing, "Very well."

Seriously, what had happened? He couldn't even recall it clearly enough in his own head, and the obvious awkward air between the two was all too noticeable in the tension that remained unbroken. Even as the two had begun to retrace their steps, Haru would have expected for Mitsuko to be going at her usual stride, paces ahead of him. But instead her steps were shortened considerably, matching his lurching, painful gait as he was struggling to hobble along, the stick being his only savior in this moment as his leg buckled and popped with every step.

It was weird, she was weird. This thought was nothing but truth as Haru's eyes continued to stray to his companion, as if staring long enough at the woman would give him the answers that he didn't have to questions that were piling up within the Seer's mind. However, her quick stumble had caused the man's eyes to grow wide as he halted his steps, seeing her clumsily regain her balance not too late afterward and the accompanying flare of unmistakable red that blazed upon her face, causing his expression to become even more so confused. Truly, was... was Mitsuko alright? Was she growing ill again?

Swallowing down the concern rising within him, the man shook his head in exasperation as he followed after her, allowing her to take the lead. His pace was slow anyways, no need to try to outpace her. Of course, all concern was slowly evaporating by the time they reached the stables, uneven breaths leaving the Seer as he now was fully bracing himself against the stick in hands, though it was only through his own sight now that he knew that he was holding onto it. His hands were completely numb, deadened nerves and all as sweat was beading the man's pale face.

Exhausted crimson eyes settled on Mitsuko's interactions with the horse, though seeing as she was struggling with the beast, that had caused Haru to snicker, breaking his role of a rather confused observer as he tried his best to suppress the laughter before it grew in volume, his body certainly would not appreciate it right now if he did, not desiring to once more devolve into pitiful vomiting when his stomach certainly had no substance left within.

This laughter was successfully repelled though as an awkward silence settled between the two, making Haru shuffle from foot to foot in discomfort, his body certainly remembering even if his mind couldn't. The most discreet of glances would come from the Seer in the midst of the silence, an innocent enough fixation upon his companion... only for his face to feel as if it were warm, causing him to turn his head away at the confusing emotion of shame to flood within his chest. Just... just what was that?

Something wrong had happened for sure. The redness that was clinging stubbornly to his cheeks was evidence enough of that fact, a thin hand came up to cover his face as he cleared his throat, almost readying himself to speak to ask what was the hold up for her obvious hesitation in speaking, only for a familiar voice to ring out, making the currently red-faced Seer to turn around as if startled, though visibly relaxing at the third party that had finally interrupted the discomfort of the situation.

The offer was unexpected however, causing Haru's reddened face to once more return to a normal coloration as the old man had offered them a ride. Granted, if it was both him and Mitsuko the offer had been given to then that meant perhaps some cart of some sort? The hopeful thought sparked in Haru's chest, though a brief frown crossed his face as he considered it. Although he would certainly prefer to not be around strangers for a prolonged period of time, the state his body was in would not be in any condition to ride upon a saddle.

The sensation of Mitsuko's gaze upon him had caused Haru to briefly meet her own, it was a fraction of a second, but it was one that he broke immediately, the suspicious tinge of pink to the Seer's cheeks followed by a cough as he covered up the brief interaction, though not understanding whatsoever why his body was reacting in such a way like he had done something horrid, "We would greatly appreciate the offer, thank you."

"Silence, servant." The cold, emotionless voice had responded in turn to the man that the phantom approached, the pitch black of what would be clay eyes had slid in eerie dismissiveness to the man known as Hayate. She had committed the man's name to memory only due to him being a shadow that she would have to deal with, so for him to speak to one such as she in a manner was enough to make her desire to extinguish the light from his eyes.

Black holes turned to fixate on the two they've been tracking, her foolish Haru and the thief that was undoing all of her hard work; Mitsuko. How hatred as black as pitch had rose in her heart as she stared with a passive expression at the woman lingering at her beloved fool's side. If only she could slaughter her now, it was possible... but would her flesh taste as good as beloved Haru?

A clay tongue reminisced at the sweet blood that filled her mouth, and the bit of skin that tasted of his sweat. She did not get the pleasure of suckling upon exposed meat, but the intoxicating taste of cinnamon and vanilla still lingered deep in her mouth, a divine taste of the Phoenix's lips that those chosen who had been lucky enough to feast had boasted about. How divine indeed it had been to drown herself in his pleasure, to hear the Phoenix gasp and moan underneath her prodding... too bad indeed that she had become too impatient, too rash.

Long dark lashes came to conceal the doll's eyes as painted red lips quirked at the mention of her dearest father, the one who summoned her from death's cold grasp. "It seems you have forgotten, it matters truly not what condition his prey returns to him in, only for it to still be alive with all limbs intact! A small bite won't be enough to gain his ire." Mai-Jing's eyes opened as the beautiful yet twisted smile crossed a clay face, "Besides, I am still his favored one, his beloved daughter. He understands my hunger for it mirrors his own! Ah.." She looked away, disappointed almost flashing upon his face, "...But you would not understand. You've not tasted the divine yet, a cruel fate indeed."

"No matter."
Her eyes once more settled upon the face of Haru as a delightful pink, a flush of blood to come forth upon his cheeks had made the vicious desire within her bloom, addiction causing her teeth to clack together, "I will do what I can to make him heel... he doesn't have a choice in the matter." Xing providence... was that the place she had bought his freedom? It felt like a lifetime ago, even if it had been only three years. He had a family... did he not? A brother and his mother, the woman who gazed tearfully at her in gratitude, her broken hands desperately grasping her own as she thanked her with a genuine honesty in such lovely brown eyes.

Yes... Honomi was her name, wasn't it? Although her eyes were not crimson and would not serve as a decent enough trophy to drag back with her.. perhaps her flesh tasted as divine as the Phoenix's? She had given birth to Haru after all, and Mai-Jing knew well that the woman had been a devout priestess that served under the Phoenix for years, her body wasn't awful either, perhaps she would serve more of a purpose for the nobles that remained under her father's beck and call... or perhaps a gift for Eizan himself. A devilish smile crossed her face then, vicious and inhuman cruelty soaring in her chest. Eizan would indulge her desire, if it resulted in breaking the Phoenix to obey. This had to work, certainly.

Turning on her heel, Mai-Jing had taken a few steps away, saying in the fake gentle voice that belonged to a different her, a fake,
"I'll return to the palace and report to Master. You may continue as you are. It matters not to me."

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies

Theme: Hey who really cares - Linda Perhacs

This woman was not normal. He had surmised that much from their brief exchanges, her master nurturing a similar temper and way of thinking. Normal. Hayate expelled his breath in a barely audible snort, the kind that spoke more of self-derision than taunts as it refracted through slumped shoulders. Who was he to speak about normalcy? If anything, he was just as abnormal, as abominable in his desires of that flesh he had once explored every corners of in nascent teeth.

Sunk them in and watched her squirm underneath his grip until the blood would drain under rail marks of fangs. Tear it off in a scream and threads of skin stretched taut under the pressure until it snapped from its anchors upon her body.

Chew it up and spit it out.

The only real difference between the pallid ghost of a woman who stood by his side was that he was just that: not a ghost. Not entirely yet, at least. Hayate turned his head to observe the relic of the past that was unable to let go if it- his own future reflected in those doe brown eyes that refused all the connotations of being prey.

Perhaps not prey to other people, but destiny itself.

The latter broke away from their picture of two silhouettes shadowing their beloveds from afar and he let the tension dissipate through clenched fists. "Understood." His hands released the grip to fall limp by his side. A graze of the wind through short chestnut strands and fluttering lashes over the irises that bloomed in reticent eyes later, he was gone.

Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: The growing wisteria flower- Demon Slayer ost

His laughter repeated ceremoniously in her head like a chant. One that was so free and pure, unfettered by adulthood's grim expectations and reality in a way that only could be described as childish. A murmurous sound of ringing bells that not even her rocky heart could resist to be tickled by in its reverberating mirth. Discreetly, softly nursed her lips to quirk into the slightest of smiles.

Perhaps it wasn't so bad to be a clown.

The Seer returned her look, albeit in a rather skittish manner that became frightened by some unknown provocation upon her face and subsequently turned away. The flicker of life that hinted in rose on pallid cheeks piqued her curiosity in arched brows but that was also the limit to it. Gaze instead trailing down to his leg in a worrisome frown. The man was clearly in a bad state, worse than his usual crippled one that did nothing to temper his foul retorts. Today, however, he had been uncharacteristically quiet. A muted hum strangled below the pain and that probably aching head of his.

It made her nervous, for she couldn't discern whether it was because of the leg or her that he acted so demure all of a sudden. Or perhaps he was just mirroring her own behaviour? Mitsuko composed herself in an awkward cough reminiscent of the Seer, trembles of her pursed lips disguised behind the fist that she raised to them. Suddenly she quite felt the part of a fool as well. So absorbed in her own ideas that she had most likely started to project them onto the Seer that could do nothing to fend it off as the victim.

For similarly to how an idea was planted as a seed in the ground, invisible until the right circumstances would cause it to flourish, was the thought of the mind. Something intagible that droned beneath the surface of it until revived in oxygenated bubbles. Pockets of air ascending to poke the boundary between subconscious and consciousness in a manner equivalent to her glances. Little nudges towards the man that unintentionally sought to prick his facade.

A fever dream was all that it had been, she concluded as she gathered the reins of their stallion. A reflection of his eyes that cast down upon the cheeks in glimmering sunlight. Or perhaps even an actual fever, the next theory to graze her contemplating gaze at the sky above as they walked with the man. The latter led them to the outskirts of the village, where they halted in their tracks before an empty hay cart. Empty as in that its other passengers, an all too familiar woman and shorter stature below, were lined up at its side.

The child broke out into a excited shriek "Mr. Magic Man!"- And Mitsuko shrunk to the rear, behind The Seer's back as if she had just laid eyes upon the most frightening of creatures. Ugh. The night's sleeplessness hit her all at once in dreary exhaustion. The opportunity to compensate for it seemingly slipping out of her hands like sand as the child initiated to launch herself at the man. To his rescue, or perhaps Mitsuko's rescue, a hand descended upon her shoulder before either of them had come very far. The child rooted to the ground by her mother and Mitsuko staving off escape in a suspicious squint over Haru's shoulder.

"Please, forgive my daughter for her rashness. She hasn't stopped talking about her mysterious saviour since yesterday, so seeing that she's now to travel with him she's understandably excited." The mother mused softly and laid a gentle hand upon the girl's head. The child gazed expectantly up at her guardian and the energy from earlier was bridled in the matter of mere seconds as the woman stroked her hair.

Mitsuko almost placated as well by the affectionate gesture that she bore witness to behind her barrier. The woman's matted mousy brown hair and ragged attire matching the girl's that still sported the Seer's ponytail from when he had comforted her. Struggling or not, they looked happy. The last word of the sentence caused her heart to pinch in her chest and any previous softness that might have glazed over her eyes disappeared in the caress of a breeze. Expression steeled once more when the mother's gaze met her own in a glowing gentle sympathy that only made her own dark circles seem all the more pronounced.

"We understand that you must be tired, travelling under days such as these. We do not mean to add onto those troubles, so please, don't mind us too much and settle in." She gestured towards the back of the cart then herded the child to the bench at the front of their ride. The way they just climbed on left little room for Mitsuko to refuse and she sighed. Defeated in her unwillingness to provide the Seer with more reasons to call her indecent, callous and whatever else denigrating perceptions he had of her.

Instead she had to settle on muttering. A low displeased sound that matched her expression as she hauled herself up onto the wooden ledge. The brunette hesitated and then tentatively extended her hand to the Seer. Eyes stubbornly turned the other way as she did.
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surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Flow (Venat's Theme) - FFXIV: Endwalker OST [for the song that Haru sings]

Stumbling steps and shallow breaths were quick to follow as Haru had followed in step behind the grateful elder and at first Mitsuko. The stick he insisted on clinging to all so tightly was beginning to slip between numb fingers, prompting the man's eyes to refocus on the wavering stick before him, swallowing thickly as a salty, iron taste was beginning to surge in the Seer's throat, causing him to stumble as the world threatened to go dark. Stay awake.. stay...

The Seer's head snapped up however at the sound of a familiar bright and young voice, and the all too noticeable withdrawal of his companion to use him like a human shield. Normally, such an action would have prompted the man to click his tongue or even shoot a scathing glare in Mitsuko's direction, however... he didn't have the spirit to, not right now. Instead, he had opted to ignore the obviously unpleasant reaction from Mitsuko, taking in a shallow breath and forcing a warm smile upon pallid features despite him wanting to collapse, a trembling in the fragile body that was slowly breaking apart.

Stay awake. Stay alert... hold yourself together.

The obvious excitement of the child had chased some of the horrid feelings going through the man, causing crimson eyes to turn upward to the little one's mother, not allowing the warmth he was trying to portray to slip, "No, no. It's not an issue really!" He was just grateful that little Waka was still very much energetic, a sheer difference from the struggling and crying soul from during the night. It gave him a sense of warmth that filled him from head to toe, reassuring him that what he had done was the right choice, even if he was to suffer the obvious repercussions for such a thing. It was worth it. It.. had to be.

His eyes lowered at the thought, lips threatened to unwind from the stress of pulling them taunt in a warm smile. It had to be, right? Responsibility? Yes, yes... he was responsible for such sad souls, so he had to do what he must. This pain, this suffering it was nothing. He could take it, if only to paint a bright smile on a crying face. And yet, he could feel the world darkening as more shivers ran through his body, reminding him of the stress of such decisions, even if they were by all means morally correct. His body couldn't keep up with his drive... could it?

Haru's smile had unknowingly dropped as his mind felt sluggish, the pounding headache serving to do little favors as he was staring at nothingness, the words of the mother within the cart seemingly passing over the Seer's head until a hand had suddenly been thrust into his vision. The muttering suddenly had surged to life to his ears, causing crimson eyes to finally look at Mitsuko as she had already settled herself into the cart, though it was obvious alone from her attitude that it wasn't a pleasant one. This caused the Seer in response to... not react?

Haru's blank eyed expression didn't change, there was no disgust or irritation where one would expect a rebuttal or a scolding for her acting so rude, instead the man had shifted his weight as he seemed to be struggling to move his limbs, using the stick as his support as his hand shakily grabbed a hold of Mitsuko's but... his skin was cold. It was as if his hands had been plunged into a snow bank on the coldest day of winter, like the warmth of life had been sapped from the pale fingers that barely mustered the strength to grab onto her own, nor could Haru feel her hand that was in his grasp.

On struggling feet, Haru tried his best to suppress the scream of agony that threatened to leave his lips as he pulled himself onto the cart, a sucked in breath being the only sign of the verbal sign of discomfort as he settled upon the cart, stubbornly holding onto his stick as he rested it upon the flooring, he didn't seem aware of the world then, his thin shoulders hunched forward as thin fingers grabbed at the grass speckled blanket, pulling it tight around him despite the hot sun burning down from above.

Closing his eyes, he sucked in a slow breath and exhaled, repeating the action a few times only for him to feel a small gaze upon him, though knowing full well who it belonged to as he saw the little girl still staring at him, though her eyes were wide and.. worried. The sight made his heart clench, innocent voice asking, "Are you okay, Mr. Magic Man?" Her excitement had been extinguished, causing Haru's gaze to lower as guilt flared to life in full. A child shouldn't be worried over him.

He had never been worth the effort. Never.

Forcing his lips to turn upward in a facade of a smile, it was one he had always used when his little brother had asked him if he was alright, one that he used to his mother, Honomi when she begged for him to take a break, to rest. A smile to mask his pain, a smile that was forced reassurance, to redirect it to something or anything else, and the lie that would aways accompany it, "I'm alright! There's no need to worry." Bright and forced, cheerful and airy was his tone, so very hollow and fake in his own ears, but to those around him it was simple enough to accept and ignore. But the little eyes that burned holes into him made him uncomfortable, the innocence within causing crimson eyes to look away as he struggled to find something to distract the little girl with, quick to hide his ailment and quick to hide everything from view.

Because he never must show signs of breaking when he had to be the responsible and capable one. Because everyone must use him as someone to lean on, support. Of course there were the rare time that he had complained before Mitsuko, but that was because the aid of alcohol had caused him to release the torrent of frustration. Otherwise.. this is what he did. Was it healthy? He never bothered to give thought to it, because he never mattered. It was everyone else before himself.

Everyone needed to be protected. Everyone needed to be happy. Everyone... everyone... needed to not pay him any mind.

Because he was useless otherwise if he spared any attention on himself.

"Would you like to hear a song?" The innocent question had caused Waka to perk up immediately, eyes brightening in eagerness as she enthusiastically nodded her head, distracted successfully from the ailing Seer as he chuckled. It was quite adorable how children got distracted, though he spotted a very much apologetic look from her mother in response, reassurance being in the meeting of gazes as Haru had slightly inclined his head to her and cleared his throat. Although he hadn't truly sung in many, many years, and the closest he had been was the lullaby he'd hummed seemingly a lifetime ago to lull both Mitsuko and him to sleep after he'd acted so immaturity and selfishly during that shameful day, his mind struggled to try to land on a song that he knew... but there was none. Aside from the lullaby his mother used to sing to lull him to sleep at the end of an exhausting day, he knew not much else other than the one he used to perform to during the sacred rites to celebrate the Phoenix, and even then he wasn't sure if he could perform that song with much accuracy.

However... something stirred within. Although his body felt already on the verge of collapsing, the memory he felt was not his own, but something far, far ancient. Before he could put much thought, his lips began to move on their own, the lightness of his soft voice shifting and changing to instinctively adapt to the ancient words springing forth from tired lips. He felt not that it was his own, but at the same time... it was. The warmth that settled in his tone unknowingly, affectionate, like that of a patient mother awaiting a child that had long since departed their side. Unconditional, unending, desiring to embrace those poor, wayward souls that that had wandered away from the warm wings of the Phoenix, wiping away tears and kissing away the harsh reality of injuries. The warmth of a gentle breeze could be felt as Haru's voice instinctively aided the loving melody of a song that had been forgotten from the loving deity that he perhaps eons ago once was. A melody he'd forgotten, but was finally allowing itself to spill free from the now serene expression of the man who was in so much agony, unknowingly allowed it to show, influenced by something that he knew not lay deep within.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: Violet's letter- Violet Evergarden

Cold. He was so terribly cold. Slender fingers more akin to ice picks that stabbed into her as she enclosed around them in a numbed squeeze. Her head had whipped around instantly at the first graze of the wintry hold. Cinereous eyes withering under it in drooping brows that spoke of more emotions than she could ever will herself to utter. Worry, sympathy and perhaps even fear in that she had, for the briefest of moments, associated the coldness with something else. Something she was far more familiar with than the emotions that now played upon her face.


The only phenomenon Mitsuko knew to be capable of hollowing someone out so. To interrupt a peal of laughter in its crescendoing climax, to extinguish the spark in eyes and to freeze lips in carvings of dimples- begging for the seconds to stop in a race against time that couldn't be won. The second hand would tip over and any prayers, memories and emotions that composed the soul's unique melody would die to stuffy silence in motionless lips. Never to sing again.

Although the man still moved, still breathed in laborious heaves against the weight of the world that bore down on his frame in exhaustion, it was too late. That brief moment- That brief touch had ingrained itself under the coarse surface of her palm. The cold diffusing into Mitsuko's own warmth as she tried to smooth the cracks over in guilty avoidance. Tried to remember if she had witnessed this condition of his before and what she had done back then.

When he had been reduced to a crawling shadow of his former self and begged her on his hands and knees to end him. Weakly but perhaps not pathetically, as Mitsuko now had come to terms with, wrapped the last of his strength into the hem of her clothes and the words that should never be uttered to then unravel. All at once and far too quickly for her to pick up it all up in sheer threads, evading her hands that knew nothing about how to tie knots over the gaping wounds of the heart.

Or the other time back when they still resided under the same roof as 'husband' and 'wife' and he had divulged it all. All the hurt, all the love and all the betrayal of that love. Mitsuko had learned a little that time, on how to tie knots, but if it had been for his sake or her own, she couldn't say. It had all been for naught anyway, as she had managed to yank them loose that night at the hill.

She watched him deny himself the vulnerability of not smiling- not being perfect and responsible- under forced crinkling of eyes and lips. Tiredness wavering at the end of the wobbly lines that struggled to enunciate the melody of his promise out loud. Then, just like how he tended to unravel all at once, the words began to flow out of him all at once. The most tender epithets to accompany his song.

Ah- her walls crumbled under the trembling falsettos. Tension blinked away in moist eyelashes that eventually settled shut over dams, threatening to spill over. It was a nice song.

The cart jostled back and forth where it travelled onward over the bumpy road and the wood creaked under every shift of the weight upon it. The stallion who lumbered alongside it listened intently just like the rest of the world as it were. Twittering birds now silent and the rustling melodies of leaves hushed under the tranquil absence of wind. Mitsuko held her wakizashi tightly against her chest, cheek coming to lean against it where it rested upon her shoulder.

She had been too rash to say that she would share his burden. She was yet too immature, too selfish to perform the heroic sacrifices that the Seer did. Perhaps she would never be. But as she now sat there and listened to him, felt his fatigue through the touch that ghosted along her palm, she thought that perhaps- it wasn't so bad to be a little selfish. And that it was okay for him to be a little more selfish, as well.

Maybe she should have let him complain a little more, and maybe she could listen a little more. It wasn't like she wanted him to become like her. For what good had her ways earned her? Her grip on the sword relaxed and her shoulders slumped. If she could go back and change what she had done, then she would've acted differently. Now, however, all she could do was try to make up for it. Coax the weight over little by little onto her own back.

"Hey kid-no, Waka was it? Do you wanna braid my hair?" Mitsuko suddenly chimed in after the final note of the song and the little applause that had echoed between the cart's passengers. The child lit up in a bright beam and wrestled over the back of the bench to sidle up alongside the brunette. The latter wordlessly reaching up to release her strands from the supporting grip of the phoenix. The curious eyes of the girl following her every move as she appeared to be fixated on the golden ornament. Mitsuko took note of it in a questioning squint, then rubbed her thumb along the carvings on the hairpin before she held it out to the girl.

"Wanna touch it?" Her palm opened to give the smaller human an eyefull of it. The girl apparently picking up on the brunette's hesitant invitation to do so, as she very carefully cupped the hairpin up in her own two chubby hands. "Be careful, it's precious to me." Her voice resounded in a gentle coo above the child's head who nodded sternly in response and Mitsuko leaned back in her seat.

Made the conscious effort to open her body up as she glanced Haru's way. Her ears lit up under the soft brushes of the girl's hand on her hair and she averted her gaze in a small frown. The mother smiled meekly at the developments in the back of the cart and turned to face forward again. The cart rocked on for a little while in silence, then the elderly man spoke up.

"It's nice to see that the youth still have their smiles after everything that this country has suffered in the past decade."

The young woman quirked a curious brow at his prompt and held his back with her gaze. "What do you mean?" Her query took the man off guard for a few breathless seconds before he continued. "Ah- perhaps you two don't know about this if you're coming from the capital-" Mitsuko froze in her seat, perspiration swift to form along the nape of her neck but the man droned on:

"You might have already picked up on this but this is my daughter and granddaughter. Our family have lived in this village for generations now but when the draught hit during the last reign of Empress Mai-Jing, we almost had to migrate." He waved his hand in what could either be interpreted as exasperation or anger "-Even while we common folks were starving out here because the harvests were so bad, the festivals in the capital never ceased. The celebrations and feasts almost ending and starting back to back while no aid was spared for the countryside".

It became clear now that his voice that was increasing in strength and intensity and that his hand motions were, in fact, out of anger. The man clenched his fist and growled "Can you imagine it? Letting us, the countryfolks and the very pillars of this kingdom, starve and die out? Those snobs in the capital wouldn't even have any feasts if it weren't for us!". His daughter laid a reassuring hand on his shoulder and he eventually composed himself again. "O-Of course, I don't blame all city folks for what we had to endure back then." He coughed awkwardly and gripped the reins again as the silence became oppressing in the anticipation for the end of his story "-But I can never forgive the Empress for neglecting us. We were her people as well but from how she acted- I dare say she didn't think the same".

Uh. Well. This was awkward. Mitsuko stiffened where she sat, clenched jaws aching in their grooves as she pursed her lips. The man couldn't possibly know that in the back of his cart was the servant of that very previous Empress that he was now criticising. A servant who had been so devoted that he had almost gotten himself killed at her very hands and yet- he still loved her. Or so she assumed. Mitsuko's eyes were inadvertently drawn towards the Seer to gauge his reaction.

The creaks of the cart echoed her unsaid complaints awkwardly out loud into the the air. She could've really used another bottle now.
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surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Like all songs, eventually it would come to an end, akin to how all lives too must reach an ending. Sweet and soft, loving and patient were his words that had long since been forgotten in a soul that would not give him the answers that he sought after the melody would die and leave Haru feeling... empty. Yes, there was an applause ot appreciation but the entrapment of the melody that he knew not had confused him, bewildered him. Ancient emotions and memories tied to those emotions were out of his reach, flitting away from mortal understanding and robbing him of the gazes or changes in his audience. Of course, these emotions must not cross his face, Haru forcing himself to change and twist to fit the atmosphere with a tired smile.

He had redirected successfully the attention from himself. Good. This was... good.

A shallow cough threatened to rip free however after the melody had stopped, prompting the Seer with numb and fumbling hands to hide the action underneath the blanket still tightly wrapped around him, little trembles going through the fragile body as a cough managed to slip free and with it the foul blood from before, serving only to stain the inside of the blanket itself as his numb fingers pressed the rough edge of fabric against his lips, pain being an echo in crimson eyes which stared ahead at his companion who... was addressing the little girl?

This was a shock to his system, a raising of eyebrows being the only indication of his surprise and suspicion in the sudden warm change. Of course, at this point he composed himself once more, suspiciously shifting the blanket around him to prevent the darkened ichor that spilled from his lips from being seen, only the remnants of his lips seeming a darker red than normal being the only indicatin of his deception. Slowly, a smile managed to settle upon the Seer's face at the interaction. Good. This was... this was... this...

His head threatened to sag as he felt the world once more growing dark before his eyes, his body threatening to slump forward though he quickly caught himself before he could lose consciousness. His jaw clenched tightly as he breathed in sharply, suffering flaring through his body as he refocused on Mitsuko, her gentle tone being enough to cause the Seer to lightly chuckle, though the sound was all too worryingly weak, barely even the same strength as it had been when he had been singing just moments before. Perhaps he would have made a snide or sarcastic comment then, teasing or otherwise, but there were no such words to leave the Seer's lips as he looked aside, the paleness to his skin slowly becoming more so worrisome as the conversation shifted with the old man's voice.

It was a topic he cared not for.

As the old man recounted his sorry tale of woe, the suffering both he and his family had endured, at first Haru's expression almost seemed shocked. However, the more the man had spoken, the more his facial expression had fallen, until the Seer's eyes fully settled upon the wooden floor of the cart, a bitterness surging in his chest as he almost desired to cover his ears to not hear it. How come he never knew? How come he had never noticed...? He could have done something, he could have... he-

His mind was all too quick to remind him of the monster he saw under the festival lights, his throat feeling as if it were closing as his injuries chastised him and burned anew, the injuries she put on his body with no hesitation. It was quick to remind him of the vision of the doomed future he avoided, the one in which Mai-Jing lived, the one which he would die at her hands after she would lie to him. It made him feel like the bottom of the cart was about to fall underneath him, a fragmenting of the reality he thought he knew. The side of Mai-Jing that she had permitted him to see... was that a lie?

You know the answer. His mind seethed, sending deep tendrils of pain to surge in his chest as the Seer's body hunched over, numb hands settling on the sides of his head as a headache thrummed persistently and painfully. He fell in love with a lie, didn't he? And the sweet words she had spoken during the night... it was all a bitter lie. She didn't love him.

She never did. But perhaps that was fitting for him? It wasn't as if he deserved anything anyways. It felt as if it were getting harder to breathe, his chest trembling with the effort as he fought down a wave of bitterness that threatened to consume him, images of his beloved flickering behind half-lidded eyes as the pedestal he placed her upon was cracking, disintegrating as a feeling of disgust for the first time had settled in his chest. How could she lie to him? She who had said she wanted him to remain honest with him a long time ago, and she would replicate the same. She who he had sacrificed everything for, she who he had devoted himself endlessly, educating himself so he could be useful to be able to not only help her, but the people she was supposed to lead and support with that same fake kindness that she shown him.

What was it all for? What were those sleepless nights, those long and horrid nights spent grieving and gnashing his teeth in his agony over her memory for?! Clearly for naught as she never had shown her true colors. He wanted to deny it, he truly did. He wanted to say it was all a lie, that the old man was lying... but he couldn't. He knew what he was saying was truth, for the emotions in his voice was raw and painful, one that spoke of the hardship that lay upon his shoulders.

And he as the Seer... hah, he knew nothing the whole time? What good was he then? He who was so righteous and self assured... what a joke. Truly what a joke. Forcing his expression to calm, Haru sucked in a breath as he slowly exhaled, his hands resting upon his lap as he spoke, his tone weak and his expression truly looking pitiful, lost, "I... see... I'm sorry that you and your family had to suffer such negligence." The words were controlled and calm, eyes avoiding looking directly at Mitsuko.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: Land of the Lustrous ost- Sunspots (at the bandit reveal)

He wasn't...angry? Mitsuko's brain stuttered for a moment, emotions stabbing a spoke in the wheel of her otherwise well-oiled repertoire. Feel and then conceal or, better yet, conceal and don't feel. She embraced her bottom lip between her teeth and scraped it clean from all the dead skin cells as her gaze darted around into nowhere specific. The rolling panorama of tree stems, the back of the cart wall that the Seer leaned against and then her own knees relieving each other in flurry pictures upon her brown iris.

Something invisible pulled at her chest, her lungs. Made the consequent breath come out a little warmer and harsher than she had expected. The tension noticeable in the shivers of electricity that darted down her spine and excessive gulping. Why did she feel...a little happy that he wasn't mad? Her focus flickered up to the Seer from her knees in dilated pupils, only to be stonewalled.

The able hand slid down the sheath of the Wakizashi to grip the limp one and she rubbed it absentmindedly. Thumb trekking over the ridges of her hardened knuckles, then along the veined back and finally into the crevice between index finger and thumb before she repeated the process. She was thinking unnecessary things, feeling unnecessary things. How could she be worried over such a menial thing as that when the grandpa had confided their troubles to them?

Her tongue darted out to wet her lips and she drew a deep breath. The Seer looked even paler than before against the earthy contrast of cart and clothes. Almost as if he was fading from existence like newly fallen snow on a warm fingertip. Mitsuko wondered for a split second, if he would also melt away if she reached out to touch him. Trace that fleshy boundary that was the only obstacle between souls- wavering under the pressure of the wind in flittering flames.

Nevertheless, they still sat there. On opposite sides of the same rope. The cart hit a rock in a bigger bump to its passengers and Mitsuko instinctively grabbed a hold of the wall behind her. Nursed the child under the same embrace as well, while the wheels rocked back and forth over the protrusion in the road. Her eyes, however, never left the Seer as his figure bobbed up and down on the waves of the cart. A breeze and a sway later, glimpsed something suspicious on the blanket that he had wrapped into a second skin over his being and that had shifted ever so slightly in the turbulence.

Red. Her brows drew into a knitted line parallel to her lips- the next destination a diagonal across the cart that was hit with a well-aimed shot of shrinking pupils. The faint discolouration on the squished-together ridges of his mouth confirmed the outline of the last puzzle piece and Mitsuko assembled them together in her head.

"Wait, stop the cart I think we need a bre-" She didn't finish the sentence.

The forest was dead quiet. Too much so for them to be the sole disturbance of the nearby animal life. The brunette rose from her seat in one breathless motion and shifted all of her weight down into the hand that clamped down on the elderly man's shoulder.

"Stop the cart." The demand was delivered in icy coolness, the same temperature that the Seer's skin appeared to possess in its corpse pallid sheen. A sharpened knife that cut through all protests in one clean slice, as the elderly man obliged without a word.

For a moment all was perfectly still, then, movement could be spotted through the woodwork. Five or six silhouettes taking form under the refuge of the forest shade and marching forward until heavy steps revealed themselves to the sun.

It was a group of ragged men; with clothes that had seen better days in holes, muddled with dirt and something brown and coppery like congealed blood. Their faces were riddled with scars, some of them even leaping down along exposed forearms and any ambiguity that might have still persisted about their intentions was quickly discarded in a single glance at their hands. Each and every one of them fitted with a weapon except one who also held something else in his other hand.

Mitsuko's hand shot back to cover the eyes of the child. "Don't look." Commanded the hand in a low disembodied growl, warmth and pulse precipitating off it against closed lids. The child nodded timidly and braced herself in a swallow. The trembles that travelled under Mitsuko's palm, however, betrayed her calm facade. Hinted that the concern had come a little too late and a little too little, as the damage had already been done.

Enveloped in his other hand was hair, long and tousled and matted with blood that belonged to the mangled body below. Dragging behind coarse sandals in a half-clothed and half-dappled blue and black state. It was too late for that woman, Mitsuko remarked silently in unmoving features, but it was not too late for any of the cart's passengers. Her gaze filtered through them one by one, the elderly man, the mother, the child and then at last- Haru.

The calmness that seeped into the brunette through invisible seams in fingernails, pressing against the girl's temple, and rooted feet with a straightened back was remarkable. An eerie morbidity to it in how she lost all colours and expressions at once and ceased to breathe normally. Chest barely moving in its position where it sat perched above hips that threatened movement but below the head that hauled it all in.

The bandits spoke up first.

"Surprised you noticed us. None of the others did." The man that was dragging the body tilted his head and lip in a lopsided sneer and hurled the corpse in front of him. No resistance to be found in the limbs that fell flat against the earth in a heavy thud. The smaller one-eyed man beside him chimed up "Ahm tellin' ya' boss. Tis one's differen'. The one a' the back- she's tha' swords performer from earlie'!".

It seemed like she would have to get used to this new nickname of hers, as her deeds were catching up to her. Not in a positive way, that was, being recounted back to her by a group of bandits probably keen on killing and pilfering them, if not worse.

Mitsuko would have grunted at the reminder of her stunt from earlier, but the newfound look of interest in the boss' eyes alarmed her enough to refrain from doing so. Instead, she followed his movements with her eyes, hand thoughtfully stroking his chin as he squinted down at the sword behind her. "Fine." He suddenly blurted out and crossed his arms over his chest in a wide grin "We were planning on taking and killing the bunt of ya but we'll settle with the swords performer. Hand he' over and the rest of ya won't get hurt".

The protests were immediate and unanimous in their message: "No! We'll never hand her over!", "Try if you dare to take her, we'll chop off your hands!" and "Big Sis ain't going nowhere! We won't let you take her!". A whole lot of yelling and snarls that were biting off bigger than they could chew in threats. Not that unexpected actually, as the proposal had her fate illustrated in the corpse on the ground in front of them.

Mitsuko inhaled through her nose and exhaled in a controlled sigh.

"Fine. I'll go with you"
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surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
N's Room - Pokemon Black & White 2 OST

Through the crimson eyes that stared not at his companion, what flickered behind his eyes was not the spark of many dizzying futures that would assault him, but instead were visions of the past, his mind with disturbing clarity filtering over the distorted memories that had been seen as inconsequential in his mind, from that first year, the first year he'd arrived within the Jade empire, where he was appointed as the youngest Seer of any prior era, something that would be one of pride. Flashes of his mother's dirtied face flared to life before half-lidded eyes, her shaking broken hands caressing the sides of his face, seeing an all too visible pain in her eyes as tears swelled within the doe brown eyes, a tearful smile flickering upon her face. What had she said? He could see the blurry movement of her lips beginning to mouth syllables, but his mind could no longer remember as in the memory another hand had grabbed his thin shoulder, rough and unyielding from the grasp of his mother whose smile dropped for the fraction of a second. The him from then had looked up through the foggy, fragmented memory toward a sagely face, familiar and... did he feel a chill back then? The eyes that slid down to him from the motion of his head looking upward was cold, two black holes amidst a frigid sea of white.

Was there a smell of blood on the breeze? Did he even remember correctly? Before his mind could linger upon it, another memory surged to the surface, the very same priest that had previously grabbed hold of him seated in the audience chamber. The golden statue seemed ominous, looming above the two souls, his garbs at the time almost drowning him in the scent of jasmine, with the incense that always usually would be burned like clockwork around the midnight hour. The man before him had placed a cup, tea -or it seemed like it had been - but due to Haru being nothing more than a slave in the memory, his head had snapped back upward and down to the offered tea as incredulous as it had been to be offered something like so. It smelled... odd, and the memory brought his mind back to how disgusting the taste of the tea was. It smelled rancid, it was foul, burning his tongue and causing a pain so peculiar within his head and chest, a pain he couldn't describe that blurred reality as his body was no longer his to control in the hands that flew to his throat and the keeling over of his body, of limbs that no longer responded, no longer reacted as the shape loomed above him of the priest.

"...May your blessings remain upon us forevermore." The voice was sinister, lacking emotion as the priest's face no longer could be seen, a small and thin hand trying to reach out to ask for help, his desperation to expel the foul liquid from his lips, his saliva dripping down past a mouth that strained to speak, panic causing breaths to become quickened, desperate as the priest had turned on his heel, stepping away from the boy he had been on the audience chamber floors, until memories would fade, until he remembered naught the faces he had once held dearest to him.

Other interactions flared with clarity in his mind, how convenient it was whenever he would be allowed to leave the palace grounds, he always was at Mai-Jing's side. The former empress's expression never would change, serene in its passivity through most interactions, the capital of the Jade empire always seeming brilliant in its splendor and yet not once did the empress leave it. Haru always would be paraded around like a trophy of some sort, a spectacle for the noblemen and women in the empire. It was all a farce, the more he searched through the memories that flooded back to him, especially regarding those who was supposed to be tending to him, there was a distance in the way they reacted to his words, conversations seeming as if they've been well practiced and rehearsed because... they were. Flashes of his previous lives that remained burned in his memory told him so, it all was like a play that had been repeated over and over again.

Except instead of it being a play, it was more like he had been submersed in his own prison and had no idea, no clue how foolish he was, how ignorant he had been to the lingering touches that settled far longer upon his flesh than normal from servants who would tend to him in regards to important dinners or events for Mai-Jing. Their fingers prodded flesh, measured how much he had been fattening up, eyes that were downcast when he would turn to look but the light of hunger still sparked in the depths of their eyes, and worse of it all... Mai-Jing had been the worst offender.

Though the former empress had always conducted herself with dignity and grace before him, there was once that they had walked the palace grounds, a few nights before Mai-Jing would be dispose of, before her death. The night sky had casted shadows upon the woman's gentle features, her steps slower which prompted Haru to try to match her stride, as she spoke carefully, a hand grasping his own in the rare point of contact, "..Haru? You would... do anything for me, wouldn't you?" He remembered her fingers slowly, trailing in the midst of his own, causing his heart to do quickened leaps within his chest, he had sucked in a breath at the strong sensation filling his chest, adoration as bewildering and disorientating as it had been blinded him to his usual words, spoken quick and breathless, that of course he would. There was a mere fraction of a second however, a twitching of her lips, a coldness to her eyes as she looked up to him, the pressure in that moment being unlike anything that she'd displayed toward him before.

The clenching of her jaw, of impatience in the few times she would express it, the deep brown of her eyes reflecting not just the moonlight but a vicious hunger deep in the depths, and a smile as chilling as a winter breeze had crossed her face before it snapped and popped back into the usual gentle facade, curving the vicious edge of true intent as she cooed, "Good. That's good. I'm so relieved to have you at my side," She would say with a tilt of her head, a forced redness coming to color darkened skin as her fingers slowly, purposefully continued to trail little patterns in his flesh, a sharp and carefully tended to nail pressing a crescent crevice into the flesh on his hand, "...You always were an existence that is so precious to me. I truly don't know what I would do without- ah!" The pain that flared into his hand came with the 'accidental' cut of her nail having been purposefully wearing into the same spot it had been, causing blood to swell against the paleness of his flesh, it caused him to flinch as the empress's eyes grew wide, staring at the inflicted wound. One second, two seconds, three... four... five... she remained as immobile as a statue as facial muscles twitched and eyes became cold. He would speak, call her name a few times as he pressed his other hand over the minor injury, the woman's eyes closing as she took in a breath, brightly speaking, "I'm sorry, I don't know what got into me!"

At the time he assumed automatically she was afraid of seeing blood, from the stillness that went through her, however when his back was turned, the carefully crafted nail would be placed to her lips, lapping at the blood she drew from her prisoner, and her whisper going unnoticed to his ears which chose to not heed them, "...I don't know how much longer I must wait..."

The memories suffocated him, causing the weak body to crumble further as his world threatened to darken, to crumble. What truly did he know? How could he be so utterly blind? A painful feeling settled in his chest, the ball of tension feeling as if it were fit to be crushed. He swallowed, trying to force down the fresh wave of nausea as more disgusting blood threatened to swell upward, the taste being just as rancid as the memory of the tea he had consumed three years ago. Half-lidded eyes barely stirred, his head pounding with intensified pain as he struggled to breathe, but the sudden stillness of the cart had caused the Seer to stir as he raised his head slow, unaware of his surroundings and more so unaware of the urgency prior of Mitsuko desiring to stop the cart. Why did we...?

The question would go answered, but never uttered out loud, for Haru's eyes landed upon the group of bandits approaching, weapons branded and more disturbingly a deceased woman's body being dragged in one of their hands, the glossiness of death having since overtaken the brutalized body. It drew... no emotion from the Seer. Instead, the man's hunched figure didn't stir, his memories surging of prior lives, prior deaths, all flickering before his eyes as the self of maddened intentions had cooed: Oblivion.

How long had it been since he'd heard that phrase uttered from the weak soul inside of himself? Yes, oblivion could await if he did something stupid, for what else had he been good for anyways? Crimson eyes followed the limp body as it was slung to the floor in a disrespectful display, a callousness and a heartlessness. Perhaps if he had been in the right mind, he would have lifted his head and spoke rashly, condemning them for their heartlessness, for their coldness. How dare they? Truly, how dare they slaughter one another? But... these were humans, weren't they?

He saw with clarity how they treated him, how they used him, preyed upon him, and how they persisted to hurt one another. Why? What was the point of it all? Why did he still try to reach out to these creatures... no these monsters? Why did he continue to give them so many chances and continue to try to save them? His eyes remained transfixed upon the body, unmoving still as his shallow breaths reflected his slow heartbeat. Truly, if he could allow himself to sink into oblivion, he would be free of this world, free of these undeserving and disgusting creatures that insisted on doing such depraved actions. He would be free to slip into nothingness, and his existence too would be purged. It wouldn't take long for those who knew him to forget his name, it would be a simple matter due to the coldness these humans continued to display. They wouldn't care for a mere brief lifetime within the Phoenix's never ending cycle, no one would.

The feeling of pain within him grew worse, prompting the man to swallow back more rancid liquid threatening to spill past his lips, causing his trance to break as his eyebrows furrowed. That... wasn't like him. What happened? What were these thoughts going through his mind? Words were beginning to make some sense to Haru's ears, causing the weak and hollowed-eyed expression to harden and become frigid as he realized in full that they were certainly in a dangerous situation. Another intake of breath was soon to follow as he glanced over to Mitsuko as their demands centered upon his companion, causing the Seer's head to spin as she had so very calmly conducted herself.

No. The thought immediately flared through his mind as his eyes dropped to her arm, the one that he knew remained unresponsive. His fingers twitched, struggling to bring himself to reach out, to stop her. What was she doing? Did she expect to be able to fight them on her own? Or was she trying to do some foolish heroic sacrifice? He couldn't allow it, no matter how confident she seemed to be in her sword skills, she still was one person against the sheer numbers before them. She needed help. He could-

Haru tried desperately to reach within, seeking the frayed, little speck of power, a single drop remaining within him. If it could help... if he could help, he just needed to reach... he couldn't fail. He couldn't. Yet as he reached deep, reached further for the single drop that remained, he could feel his body crumbling as crimson eyes dimmed, his jaw clenching as he tried harder, straining to reach for the little bit he had left, only for his body to remind him immediately why he shouldn't reach for the little mote of power. On reflex, his hand that was slowly trying to reach out to Mitsuko had withdrawn back to his body, the blanket draped around him once more being placed before his lips as rancid blood swelled and finally pooled free from his lips that now were hiding behind the blanket itself. Pain reflected in his eyes as he struggled to breathe, the warmth flowing down his chin, staining deep into thick fabric and coloring it with the dark crimson that flowed.

He... couldn't help her. Tears threatened to sting at his eyes in response, the uselessness and helplessness that settled within him making him want to cry out. But, reality was cruel, so the Seer had sagged against the side of the cart, not speaking, not moving as he was doomed to be a silent observer. He had not the strength to verbalize his refusal of this, not anymore.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Isolation - Land of Lustrous ost

Black out days - Phantogram (once Mitsuko is alone with the bandit)

None of these people was fit to help her and it was as if they had realised it themselves in the crestfallen faces that met her.

The elderly man's deep furrows harbouring a particular weight in them as lines like currents, flowed downwards into the shut gates of clenched jaws. He lowered his gaze, eyes rewinding to decades long gone and past in the look that fixated on the crinkles upon his paper-thin knuckles. Perhaps told himself something along the lines of: "if I were still young" or "If this had happened back in the day"- then he would've acted. Now, however, frail and thin and fettered to life only by the bonds he shared through his child and grandchild, he had certain responsibilities to fulfil. And the crooked back of a farmer could only afford to carry so many and those closest to him. Solidarity across the classes was after all, as the previous Empress had taught him, a sham.

Only a fool would expect a stranger to stick out their neck to be guillotined instead and only a fool would do so. It's like they say:

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice and shame on me.

Mitsuko herded the child, who had started to break down in sniffles, back to her mother with her palmed blindfold over her eyes. The latter fumbled with her hands in the air until they met soft fabric and she cried out. Clammy fingers interlocking into the folds of the kimono's waist and pressing against the boundary between cloth and warm flesh in heartbreaking wails. It was the kind that racked through her little body, unable to contain them as walls melted down in the closeness of comfort that was arms. Welding them into one in an embrace. The mother raised her head from the snivelling mess buried against her chest to give one last look to their sacrificial sheep.

And perhaps Mitsuko imagined it, but she thought that she had glimpsed regret in her eyes. A quiet and glassy apology that petered out under the summer heat in dry wells and a lid pushed in place over them. In another world, it could've been her that stood in Mitsuko's shoes. In this world as well, she had probably already tried them out. It was nary impossible, after all, for a woman to never encounter violence under a man's hand. If it was in words...or actions...or inactions it was all the same.

The brunette shifted on her feet to the last of her companions in a looming shade over him. The kind that provided no solace from the sweltering exhales of the sun but that enshrouded him all the same in his glacier state. The murmur of a stream to accompany the hand that either sought to hold her back or to send her off in tremors. It flailed short of her and then curled up in on itself like petals shrivelling up in the shunning cold of autumn. Coughs and gurgles overtaking him behind the veil of the blanket as blood presumably was propelled out of his body in clots.

Mitsuko fell to his side in a sudden crouch. "Stop." Her voice came out brittle like the first sheets of frost in autumn. She clenched her hand around the hairpin in the pocket of her hakama to resist the urge of reaching out. That didn't stop her gaze from doing so, though, softened crinkles around her eyes telling in their mental embrace of him. "Really, you needn't exert yourself so for my sake" A little huff of air was expelled in a faint curl of her lips and she added in a light-hearted reprieve and a chuckle that trembled through loose strands "I see what you're doing, Haru. A wife knows everything about her husband after all".

Ah- there was a little pinch and twist in her chest as the words passed her lips. Did she miss the elderly pair? Her head lolled to the side in a thoughtful gander at the coarse grains of the wooden floor. Maybe she did...just a little bit. It was a first for her, to miss anyone else than Hayate that was. It had always just been the two of them and she had always thought that it would continue in that way. Her eyes closed around the sentiment, was this also a new weakness of hers? The slumped appearance of the young man blotted into view once more in brown eyes and she offered the hairpin.

"Take this." Her hand shot out towards the Seer to press the metal flush against the man's chest in its lukewarm glow. Shaky confidence dangling precariously off the corners of grinning eyes as she did and cooed "I don't want it to get dirty. It's precious after all". In fact, it looked like he needed it more than her.

Mitsuko curled her fingers around the outlines of the hairpin one final time as if to say 'trust me' and then let go. Rose to her feet in a soundless exhale and snaked her foot under the sheath of the sword to lob it into her hand. "Took you long enough." The bandit leader sneered from afar as the brunette hopped off the cart with ease and strolled up to the assembly of what she deemed extras in a dramatic theatre play. Steps leading her to pass the corpse by in a cursory glance.

The young woman squared her shoulders and glowered at the man once at her destination. "Keep your promise." Her hiss did little to deter the arm that snaked around her waist to wrench her into place at his side. "Aye aye, ma'am." He conceded, not the least worried apparently about the sword that still hung by the brunette's side as they wandered off. The kind of recklessness that she had expected from men such as these and that she was planning on capitalising on when alone.

The group disappeared from the cart's sight as quickly as they had appeared. The cart now missing one of its passengers, however, in a stroke of bad luck. A stroke of bad luck that seemed to haunt the Seer and his companion in conflicts.

The man's hand trailed the distance between hip and waist in a carefree manner. Let his fingers dive into the crevices of her curves and to frame her protruding hipbone in a thumb and index over the clothes. The touch was unnerving enough to summon shivers along the tangents of contact and to trigger her instinct to squirm away. The way his arm had locked her in, however, dictated that any tries to do so would be for nought. If she was not caught by himself, then surely the chorus of footsteps of the five men lagging behind them would.

So, Mitsuko heeded. Focused on the surroundings of the panorama of foliage above in its fragmentations of sunlight between the sage; how her footfalls rebounded against the earth in the rustle of the sword suspended at her waist; and how the nonchalant bickering back and forth between the bandits mentioned something along the lines of "are we really sparing the rest?" and "ya think the boss will let us have some fun too-" occupying all room for birdsong.

The stems thinned out and the forest diluted into an open space of a glade ahead. Mitsuko didn't have much time to either think or peruse over the sight, unfortunately, as the hand on her waist lifted and plunged harshly into her back instead. Pushed her to the front of the gang in stumbling steps that she refrained from controlling. The bandit leader brandished his sword and pointed it at her. Mitsuko counted their numbers again in her head.

"Draw your weapon."

Her cinereous eyes stirred in their sockets and she swallowed dryly. The lack of reaction vexed the leader who pressed his tongue into the roof of his mouth and clicked it. He marched up to one of his goons and hurled him towards her with a jerk of his sleeve. "Attack her, Jiro." The man named Jiro blinked incredulously back in the face of the command and dithered to draw his club up to full-size overhead. His approaching figure left Mitsuko with little choice but to brandish her own.

Quivering arms settled in opposition to the spiked club that was brought down upon her and she caught it with her blade. The latter clumsily redirecting it off the side before it rose in full force in an uppercut to it. The wakizashi was struck out of her palms in a shriek and a peal of whimpers as she started backtracking. Her feet snagged on something invisible and she tripped and fell onto her back in a gasp, knocked fearfully out of her heaving chest. The man named Jiro stopped short in front of her "Boss, Taro must've been wrong about this being that performer. Look, she can barely even stand on her own two legs, much less hold the sword!".

The one-eyed man who had been baptised as Taro started scrambling to get his story straight. "Ai-Ai jus' though' she looked like he'! Nori wa' the on' who saw he' first!" The panicked accusation prompted a shout to erupt from presumably Nori and the blame was shifted around another lap before the leader raised his hand. The men froze down to the smallest components of their cells and the leader stroked his chin as he approached the trembling woman.

tw: mentions of attempted assault. tldr: he pushes her down onto the ground and she insults him for needing an audience. The bandit drags her off into the woods and he does some creepy basement dweller breathing onto her before she kicks his ass.

"Well, this was a disappointment." The dark eyes narrowed in their slits as his gaze sauntered from her pale expression down her neck and between the folds of the kimono. Disentangled from her frame to reveal the supple outline of her breasts in a tantalising display of skin. "-No matter. She can make up for it in other ways." The man suddenly dove onto her and the brief unadulterated panic that flared up in Mitsuko's eyes was evident as she struggled against the hold on her wrists and planted her feet on his thighs. "W-Wait! You're doing it here? In front of them?" Her gaze flittered over to the side where the men had lined up as an audience and she wheezed "-Can't we do it somewhere more...private?".

The man returned her suggestion with a glare. "Do you think I'm stupid?" He burst out in a howl of laughter and then struck her hands down into the earth with a low reverberating growl "Surely, you have some trick up your sleeve to off me once we're alone". The way his canines glimpsed under the curl of the upper lip reflected threateningly in her dark pupils. "No, we're doing it here. In front of them." The blood in her veins turned to ice, but Mitsuko's expression was all but cold as she suddenly launched herself at the man. Jaws snapping shut in front of his face in a heated and harsh pant.

"Why? You need to prove to your pals that you can subdue a woman?" Splutters of her saliva hit their target on his cheeks and forehead as she seethed through gritted teeth. The brunette snorted defiantly under his hovering body and relaxed back into the cool sensation of earth. "Go on then." Her chin tilted up to expose her neck for his taking but the man didn't move. Instead, he sent a glare and a scowl half towards his companions and retreated in his assault. The fingers remained cruelly pressing into her wrist like shackles as he stood back up and then yanked at said shackle. Hauled her forward and up from the ground in a sharp pain that stabbed into her twisted arm.

Mitsuko whipped around, more akin to a wild stray dog in the canines and snarl she directed his way in a flare of anger and pain. The man bridled it in an open palm, brought across her cheek in a stinging slap. "Don't complain, you bitch- you're getting what you want." His hand exchanged her wrist for her hair and wrapped it in a generous handful of the brown strands before he pulled. Mitsuko followed this time, minced her way up to him and cast a last nystagmic look over her shoulder at the men who grunted in displeasure at the development. Judging from their exchanged looks with each other, it seemed like they didn't expect her to come back whole.

The leader hauled her out of sight in jerks on her hair that had her swaying ungainly over roots and through thickets that scratched her legs open. Her hand clasped around his wrist for support through it, and a few grunts and groans later they appeared to have reached their destination. The man flung her to the ground and Mitsuko dropped down to it under the mercy of momentarily being free from his grip. The pain from her reddened cheek and socket where her arm joined torso pulsed feverishly through her crawling form. The man slammed his foot into her back and pinned her to the spot in a strangled gasp that escaped the target.

Mitsuko squirmed where she laid, the hands that descended thereafter to flip her around onto her back alarming enough as they were without the digits that had abruptly dug into her waist. Her eyes shot wide open as his fingers suddenly coiled around her dagger and snatched it off the waistband. The leader followed her fixated gaze gingerly and cocked an eyebrow and lips into a grin when he threw her last resort of escape away into the thickets. "You didn't honestly think I forgot about this one, did you?" The way her eyes shook seemed to suggest so and he let out a chortle and locked her arms down.

His breath fanned out in vaporized sewer water along the slope of her chest, then decolletage and finally, face, where he stopped to hover. His complexion now overcome with a slight flush that was elevated in a quickening pulse- the exact opposite of the woman underneath who had gone completely still. Mitsuko didn't react because she knew something that he didn't.

He had made a mistake by isolating them.

It happened in the blink of an eye. Her upper body catapulted itself forward and crashed her forehead into his in a blinding flash of stars. The visual assault was enough to momentarily make him back off. More than enough so for her to follow it up with the barrage of movements that came next. Mitsuko jabbed her fist into his throat to the immediate response of a gag and crack. The man's eyes bulged out of their sockets in asphyxiated disbelief and she crooked her legs into his. Sealed his wheezing with a hand over the throat before she flipped them around.

The rest was easy. Thighs wrapped around his throat to cut off any remaining air supply in flailing arms that slowly mitigated out into stillness. Silence arrived lukewarm and stiff in the ceased motions beneath her core and Mitsuko exhaled in a shaky breath. Not yet. She was not done yet. Her legs ached beneath the unsteady constellation of a hunched back and oscillating pupils and the hand that floundered through the thickets stung in hundreds of small tears. But eventually, she found it and the scrapes were once again relegated into nothingness as she braced herself over the man's body. Turned him onto his back in the exertion of a groan and raised her dagger. The edge of it pointed down at the middle of his posterior, traced a line from the skin to above her head before she sunk it into him.

Blood squirted from the grip of her hand onto her cheeks. Painted them a vivid red in splatters upon puppetry facials that mimicked the man's inanimate state. Once, twice more, she did it. Cast the dagger aside herself this time, as fingers plunged to replace the blade. Prodded deeply into the manmade holes to scope up the last traces of his existence in warm blood and was drenched up to her sleeves in it, when Mitsuko started smearing it over her face, neck and chest.

The brunette retrieved her dagger and sidled into position underneath the man. And then she screamed. And then she waited.
The figure that wobbled back to the cart was a dishevelled one. Coated from head to toe in blood that had entrenched itself into her hair in clots. Mitsuko halted at the brink of the forest edge, let the shade obscure her gruesome appearance from the innocent eyes of her fellow passengers as her voice rang out all the same.

"I'm back."
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surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Tree of Life: Trunk - Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon OST
My Body...Feels Heavy... - Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky OST [Part where "This world just needed to be burned away]

The shadow that loomed above the Seer had caused his eyelids to flutter open, struggling to raise his head only for it to be rendered a useless action by Mitsuko being the one to crouch down at his level. His expression pinched at her first word, commanding him to stop which made a protest begin to flare in his throat as he sucked in a breath to perhaps begin to lay into her for being ridiculous. How did she expect him to sit back and do nothing when she was going to risk her life doing something stupid? Perhaps his lack of faith in her was upsetting, but it wasn't quite that either. No, instead there was a fragility to the man's heart, tension lining his face as he wanted to utter: Do you want me to taste failure again?

Even if he were to die, if it ensured her survival it would be more than worth it. Haru wouldn't know her fate, for at the moment the future would lay unclear and unresponsive to the crimson eyes of the tired man, but if she could get one more push, just one... ah, but maybe that would do more harm than good? But, he would be kidding himself if she would mourn his loss. It wasn't as if they were close, it wasn't as if he desired to breach the gap between them either. To use him as a tool for her ascension was the most he would be good for to be useful to her. This caused the man to swallow back yet another flow of rancid blood as he stare back at her in silence, a stubborn set to his jaw as he lowered the blanket, having tried to wipe away most of it to spare the strangers accompanying them the sight. Don't do this. Please. He didn't think he would be able to take another failure on his hands, his eyes lowering slowly from her own as he shook his head at her. A silent refusal.

And then she had spoken that cursed sentence, prompting his head to jerk back up to glare at her, finally a spark of life returning to the glossy eyes of the man as he forced his voice to raise, just enough so that she could hear, "Shut up. At least I'm not doing something stupid.." He took in a breath, expression pinching as he turned his head away from her, his voice seeming to crack just enough, a rare event for certain as Haru said in a quieter tone, "..You really are a fool." Softer, whispered with such worry within the strained voice that threatened to break and wither, his shoulders relaxing as he raised his head to look at her again, crimson eyes dulling once more as the energy that possessed him had withered, leaving the empty husk behind as he released a quiet sigh, knowing full well that words would not deter her, especially since he could no longer find the words to stop her on her path. If she must walk forward without him, so be it.

However, before he could process the depths of her stubbornness, Mitsuko had thrust the hairpin that he had gifted her, causing his numb fingers to fumble with the faintly glowing pin, his eyes flashing up to her in bewilderment for a mere second only for him to release a low sigh, "Idiot." The confidence in her eyes, the assurances in her voice... what good did it do if he just was to sit back and be helpless? And yet, the silent and unspoken message was conveyed as her fingers lightly curved around the outline of the phoenix hairpin. She desired his trust... but was he to give it to her? The Seer went still as his eyes closed, lips pressing in a tense line as he felt her presence move away from him, unable to open his eyes to see the back that was vanishing from his sight. He feared that if he were to watch, he would not be able to restrain himself, the surge of ancient emotions that were piercing through the pain flowing through his body being all consuming, prying open both new and old wounds of the heart, old regrets, old lifetimes that were nothing more but useless and empty, remaining only to remind him of countless failure and agony.

He heard one of the bandits remark to her, and eventually with it her fading footsteps and the heavier footfall of the bandits would be there to leave him, causing the man's eyes to open and stare at the empty spot where Mitsuko had been seated just moments before. She was gone. Gone away from his sight, gone from his grasp that couldn't even do anything to help her, only left with the hairpin that he'd given her as a gift.. the one to protect her when he was unable to. For a moment, Haru simply wanted to scream, the anxiety that ripped holes through his insides and bit into his heart would be enough to make him so. Perhaps, he'd not felt so utterly unwell since the day he'd awakened after burning through most of the candle of his life, the day he had thought he had failed Mitsuko. It was similar to that day... it truly was.

The more he thought, the more he sunk deep, deep down into the recesses of his mind, the blackened twisted thoughts that were slowly trying to writhe and sink into a brain that was already fragmented enough. Perhaps... they wouldn't be in this predicament if he was stronger, perhaps if he could have a fraction of his old power back then she would never have to sacrifice herself on his behalf. He would never have to have her risk herself... but maybe... just.. maybe...

This world just needed to be burned away...?

Crimson eyes shifted to the other poor souls who couldn't do a damned thing, other souls who were just as useless as powerless as he. Yes... this world was so filthy wasn't it? People serving their own needs, people who were in pain, suffering and crying out to deaf ears, humans who preyed on the defenseless, who devoured them for their own pleasure..

I̴̧̢̛̗̖͖̹̗ṋ̶̢̟͇̳̤̺̣̍́̀͝s̸̨͖͕̣͈͈̈́̀͊̄̿̀̏ͅë̷̤̐̇̀̕c̶̥͓̊̒̑t̷̨̮̠̒̀́ṣ̸͖̽̽̄̂ ̸̙̾̀̏̇́͝t̵̟̱͍͙̍̉̊̀̚͘͝͝h̶̜̠̝̦̬̠͆̇̀́͌́ą̶͔̞̣̳̦̩̳̀̔̏͋̍̂̿̽t̷̡̰̖̼̲̩̭͊ͅ ̷̡̛̮͕͖͒̈́́̾̚ņ̴̳̰̯̺̥̲͂̾̈́̾̀ͅe̵͓͑̅̏̄ĕ̴̻̟̗̠͑̀̈́̈́̈́̈ḍ̶͉̣̱̞̋͆͒e̶̯̅̈́͊̒̾̃̈́d̶̡̦̥͓̲͓͇̭͒̈͐̂͆͂̅͝ ̸̱́͒̐͝ṫ̸̛̬͍̬ȯ̶̗̈́ ̴͕̓̂̔͠b̵̛͉͓̺̓̀̄͝e̴̡̹͚͓̥̗͋̋̆̽̄̄̍̇͜ ̸̩̏̿̐͐̑e̸͚̥̮̔x̴̧̣̟̯̹̮͐͑̅́̈t̶͎̺̦̜̼͋̌͜ͅe̸̦̻̣̭̣̤͎̲͂̓̒̍͂͊͝r̸̥̠͕̣̭̽̀̋ṃ̵̼̽̾͛͗i̵͇̥̫͑̾̀͆̐̈͗n̴̪̘̉́̕ḁ̸̤͙̬̯̦̎ͅt̶̥̭̺̺̻͎͐̽̄̓̏̒͠ē̶͎͇̞̗̼̥̓̈́̉͝d̵͉̖̫̙̥͓̾̀͗̒.̵̮̭̘̼̮̂̃̀̓̆͗̚

The voice within him cooed, something broken, something... wrong. The woman's voice that echoed within his ears in a rare moment of clarity that grabbed his attention, familiar due to him having heard it too many times before. The Phoenix's voice, the him that was both him and not had spoken, crazed edge whispering once more in the depths of his soul.

Ÿ̵͚͙̳̞́̐̕͠ō̵̜̮̻͉̲̇͗u̸̧̘̟̎̋ ̴̢̩̣̼̫̝̓͗ḧ̴̗͊̔͝͝͝ͅa̸͔͖̜̒̾̃͑̃v̷̘̻̬̠̣͙̱̳̾̋̀͐e̶̢͓̪̥͇̬̬̩͌̃̒̀ ̴̢̛̲̜̗͙̺̻̂̎j̸̜̬̄͝ͅữ̵̀̌̃̓̕͜͝ṡ̴͈̩t̸̗̬̱̝̯̠̰̖̆̎ ̶̜̙̄͛͘e̶̝̮̩̭̿͊̀̈̚ņ̷͍̟͔̭̘͇̄̉͌ơ̸̗̙̞̟̿̉̔̄͝u̷̡̪̪͆̆͋͒̐̌͒̈́g̷͇̮̱͖̔̔h̸̼̅̌́̐͠͝.̵͈͎̝̗̰͍̓̿͐̊͒̆̉͜.̷̻̫͋͑͗̾̅̚͝͝.̵̧̙̝̥͔̪̽̑̎͋͜ ̴͈́͝l̶̛̻͖͊̒̋̒́̑e̷̲̯͗̄͐̚͘͝t̴̫̆̄̌̄̓ ̵̢̬̗̥̮̐̂͊m̸͕̳̩͖̼̰̔e̸̡̛̖͇̒̒̐̅̾̈́͘ ̴̡͕̮̦̖͋̿͗̅̍̾̇̆͜ţ̶͇́͊a̵̯͔͉̘̙͑͂̔̌͗͝k̷̡͖̺̣͍̏̋̓̾̚͠ȩ̶̧̡̢͖̥̮̻̂̾̈̃̇͛ ̸̘͖͎̀̆͆̊̐ç̶̹̰͇̞̗̈́͊̉́͆a̴̦̪̳̩͕̩̪̤͑̍r̴̛͚̳̱̿̃̂̌ẽ̸̼̣͉̯̟ ̵̪̗̤̹͆̈́o̶̢̠̖͔͓̲̥͌̀̈̈̀̆f̶̹͔̤͗͜ ̶̺͇̺̞̜͓͂̀͐͊̂̈̔t̴̬̫̘̱̖͖̒́̈̇͝ͅḥ̵̰̀̓̇͐̓̆̑͝e̷̤̲͇͌͆͛̈́̉̒͛͝ ̸̛̝̟̤̥̣͆́̌ř̴͍͕̱͍͚̱̓̈͊̿ē̸͖̗͍͖͑̿͊̅̊͗s̷̱̭͙̮͇̯͙̗͗t̸̞̎͌.̷̝̜͔͙̜̭̝̌̽͂́̀́ ̵̤̹͙̘̳̒̎̃

No. His mind refused, trying to block out the crazed whispering, his throat feeling as if it were tightening as he forced his body to turn away, holding the hairpin tighter to his chest as the numbness threatened to spread past his hands, creeping further past his wrists as he hunched over, appearing to be praying to those who were in the cart with him, silently weathering the tense anticipation of a woman who may or may not come back. However, this was far from the truth, the ominous sensation within his soul slowly beginning to grow, flashes of the disgusting broken thing that the Phoenix had shown itself as beginning to flicker behind his now closed eyelids.

T̷̢̞̟̞̬̣̥̼͂̽̋̀͂͘h̵͔͖̯͎̭̘͆̈́̚͠e̸̺͍̣͚̭͉͉̝͑̈́̓͗̑͋̚n̷͖̖̟̦͔̝̩̙̅͋͒̇͗͘̕ ̵̢̢̤͖͚̫̇͒̄̓͜͠w̸̡̪͈̰̪̗̟͑͐̀͗̉ȩ̸͔͎̲̦́͊́̃͝ͅ,̶̭̬̖͔̲͖͖́͂̓͑͌͜ ̸̞̯̺͉͉̈̓̈́̊͐y̷̥̱̮͔͚͆o̸̠̟̎͛̄͝ǘ̴̢̨̫̲̖͖̐,̷̥̎̎͝ ̴̨̳͇͖̥͔͍͎͛́͑̀͑̊̑͝Ḭ̸̧̖̖̳͎̾̌̍̒̓̔͠-̷̖͙͉͑̈́̌͋̕


W̶̨̬̖̏̓͋́́͋̕͝e̷̩̮̘̠̜͇̘͖̍̈́̔̀͠,̷͖̤͖̱̞͆̑̎͛̅ ̵̰̬̯̩̯͖̊͝y̴͕͚̦͍̮͎̐̌͊ͅͅo̴͉̫̔͂̅͂̎u̵̡̟̺̎͋́̿͒,̶̢̢̧̋̈́͑͋̈́̋͝ ̵̤̀̐̀Ȉ̸̢̜̙̭̃ ̶͚͍̘̻̜̝͙̜̅̋̒̓̊̈́͌͠w̶̩̭̮̱̼̯̆ị̸̡͔͉̞̭̊̅͝͝͝͝ļ̴̢̘̳͍̱̫́̑̎̆̋̓̎͜͝l̵̨̢̠̺̼̟̖̀̓͌̌̃ ̴̡̻̞̦̞̖̪̃͗̇r̸͈̭̜̭̽̾͝e̸̡̡̛̹̭̘̼̼͋ş̶͇̖̬̹̔͜͜ͅt̴̲̝͔͍̬̄̿̒̂͋͘͠ ̷̧̱͍̪̘̥̞̝̽̈́̉̄͛̀͌i̶̖̣̫̭̊̀̍̏̇͋̀ǹ̵̠̞̞̅͗̑ ̷̢̭̹̫͇̠̋̽͝o̷͉̳̘̪̥̦̝̣̐͗̅̅̚͠b̶̼̹̅̌̉l̵̢̢̟̫͚̪̓̉̀̈́̍͑͒͜i̵̧̮̖̠̻̱̔́̾̅͋v̶̧̢̩̭̫͝͠i̶͈͎͙̐̄̇͊̈́͘͝o̶̧̭̘̝̪̍́͝n̸̝͙̪̞͚̄̋́̍͛̚̕͜ ̷̨̯̽̈͌̈́̅f̶̨̲͕͙͗̆̉ǒ̷̤̳̺̞̲̓̂͠r̶̟͚̥̲̣̥̯̒̌̊͆̅̈̌́e̸̝̩͒̌̔͘v̷̮̯͔̻̙̝̰͆̎͐̎̌̏ȩ̴̡̛̛̯̹̝̙͙̂̈́̂r̷͎̖̙̤̓͝ͅ.̵̨̥͈̜̈́̀̍̆͐͗̌ ̴̦̘̣͉̥̙́̏͐̄F̶̺̠͍́͊́͊́o̵͙̽̅̀r̴̪͚͔͎̥̝͋̌̾̽̄͜g̷̼̼̺̝͓̞̓́͒͂̈́̍̏̕ȩ̵̤̝͚͈͕̐ṱ̵̮̹͖̹̀́̃̀̔̃͝ͅ ̴̡͓̪͈̈́̃̀̈͗̑̑͘͜ͅt̴̨̲̀̄̃͐̄̾̒́h̷̨̜̪̹̻̩̃̉̏́i̵͔̖̥͎͆̂͋̂͜s̷̨̫͇̟̲̥̮͑̒͆͐̚ ̶̭͖͖̣͇̳͊w̴̗̪̣̤̗̲̿͋͑̿͊͊́͝ȍ̵̳̲̽̚r̶͙̦͍̦̱̗̜͑̌͛̕l̵̛͉̞̝̩͍̟͓̋̀̋̔d̶̨͕̝̯̘̻̪͆́̓͊̀͛̃ͅ.̷̜̌͋͝


T̸̟̠̟̭͙͈̱̤̈̃͛͐h̷̦̦͚̿̽͌̄́ë̶͚́̈́̽́ř̴̺͑̓̂̕͝e̶͚̱̫͇͂ ̴̨͉͍͉̲̾́̑̾i̵͕̥̺̰̳̐̐̏͒̒̓̋͗ş̷̽̚̕ ̶̧̝̻̱͖̹̭͛̿͜n̷̩̹͊̌̾̍͝͝ö̷̰̭́͋̓ ̵̝̟̮͎̟̝̟̾̐̆͆ḫ̶͋̏̔a̶̱͈̒̑͒͐̂͜͝r̵̭̈̾͋̈m̸̩̱̯̱̘̤̯͌̽ ̷̨̣̹̪̗͚͋i̸̧̭̘̾̈́̋̒̉̔̆̑ń̵̖̭̲ ̵̜̗̀̐̏̈́͊̍ͅb̸̻̮̥̬̳̀̑̏r̶͖̦͛̊͗̌̽̚í̷̲̖͓͕̀͌ͅn̸̡͙͍͓͋̈g̴̡̘̮̓̀͛̈́̆̄͛í̸̥̘̪̽͋n̷̋͜ģ̴̙͖̝̏̊̑̅̆́̓͝ ̸̠͎̹̤͓͊ͅḍ̵͆͝o̴̜̖̦̹͍͖͑̈͜w̵̧͓̺͇͇̖̮͒̒̈́̋̈́n̵̳͎̼̼̄̈́̋̇̒̒̌̕ ̴͈̈́͗̀͌̅̒́̀j̴̺͓͎̘̲̺̭͂̊ū̸̢͓̗̫̜̀̈́͝d̶̡͈̺̞̗̥̓̈́̿ͅg̵̻̫̮̫̗͑͗̋̈́̅̐͌̕e̸͓̳̘̯͓̬͆̾̇̓m̶͖̥̆ẹ̸͖̒̏͆̚n̴͖̿̃̔͆t̶͚̋̂͐͊̋̎̀̕ ̴̢͍̺̭̣̫̃̄̍̑o̴̜̮̭̝͇̰̓̑n̶͇̳̗̼̞̮̼̙̋͛̉̂̂͝ ̷͉͕͚̮̤͈̰͚̆ṫ̶̢̥̲h̶̲̰̲̀̊i̷̛͇̔͊̕͝s̵̡̡͉͕̱̰̀̄ ̸̡̡̫͙̙̜̌́̊̉w̶͙̯͕̤͗̈́̚͜ó̸̘̆̽̂̾͘͘r̵̛̤͙l̴͓̙͉̺̯̞̥̮̇̂̄͂̈̏͗̀d̷̠̺̲̓̀̾̚͝.̸̛̞̤̾̔́͋̆͆


F̴̼̱͍̮͈̾́̋̈́̿͜o̴̭͌̒͆̒́͘̚̕ŗ̴̰̦͎͎̼̭̄̾̀͌̄̈́̒͝ ̴͇̼͎͎̮̼̃̃́͜͝w̷͔̱̣͈̗͍̬̤͒̆́̃è̴̥̩̰͙̳̰̰̟͗̐̅͂͌̚ ̶̛̘̰͎̳͔̬̦̞͛͘̕h̴̻̪̜̀̂̕͜ả̷̩̫̹̮̫̍̔́̆͊͐v̴̗͕̀͜ȩ̸̘͚͔͈̫̥͚̎͌̈́̃̈́̕͠͠ ̴̩̯͍̤̥̖̏͐͐̂̊̃͒͛͜b̷̩͒̑̂̾͛́̒̚e̸̞̯͉̙͈̎̃̓͒̏͌̇͗͜e̶̹̦̓ͅn̸̩̄͝ ̷̛̙̭̉̈́̾f̶̮̠͋õ̴͕̩͓̥̻͇̠̀̌̐r̴̖̓̏̿͝͠g̷̯̯͇͋̆ǫ̵͓̲̣̹̮̤̺̆̄̉̔̽̑̚t̵̛̲̣̄̀͑t̷̺̏̚e̷̦̯̥̞͛͆̇͆̿͑̋n̴͛̈̏̓̈̆̀̌ͅ ̸̨̝͍̯͍̈̓̐́̽͛a̵̪̲͚̯̍͌͛͋̋̚ń̴͎̈́̓d̷̡̛̜̯̖́̈ ̵̦̞͉̣͇͍͠u̶̮̟̥̬͖̇̈̌̀̉s̴̤̖̞̾̓é̵̛̯̦̹̝̐̋d̶̛̥̼̺̐̒́ ̶͙̦̤͌̍̂͋̈́͠͝f̵̡̧̮̱͎̮͎̓̓̊̿o̸̰̫͓̍͋̒̆r̷̪̠̪͉͓̫̞͉̄̂͑́̾͘͘ ̴̡̡̧̨͍͓̙͕̈́̿̏̓ȃ̶̧̖̾̒̚l̶̢̛̛̟̹̎̈l̸̨͎̀͆̏̿̈̿̈́̚ ̴̞͖̪̰͕͕̠́̄̏͜ẘ̸̱̄́ë̷̬̙́̐̈́͌̆͛͝ ̸͎̻̟̣̠̤̮̐̎̆ẘ̸͇̺̝̝͔̈́̈́̎̐̉̕͝ḙ̴͎̙̙̯̞͒̿̅́͛̚ͅr̵̗̼̖̖̦̹̹̠̓͑̊̍̊̈ẹ̶̠͙̯̤̦͍̥̆̓ ̴̲̰̩͓̘̅ẁ̷̠̞͓̲̦o̷̼̹̳͉̯̎͊̀͛̒r̸̛̘͉̥̮̂̽̓̋̀̇͠t̸̯͈̟̅̿̇̈͜͝h̵͍̭̭͓͇̋̋͒.̸̧͈͔̱͈͎̘͆͑͛̓̎̈́͘̚

The hairpin clenched tighter in his hands, the soft glow emitting from the golden Phoenix doing little to soothe his own nerves. How could it anyways? For it was never meant for himself, whatever power within was useless, pointless and the closer he drew it to himself, the louder the voice gotten as if egged on by remnants of its- no, their energy within the pin. He wanted to hide, he wanted to run, but his body would not will it, for the numbness was spreading along his arms, seeking more of his flesh to devour.

L̵̰̻͕͇͚͍̭̊͗̄̈́̑̍̃̕e̴̓̔̍͂̎̈́͜t̶͙́͒͑ ̴̢̞͖͖̀̋̕̕m̶̘̦̺̲̂͐̇͋̿e̶̞̘͗̆̅̀ ̵̡͍̭͚̹̯̏̓̎̑͘͝ͅi̸͔͕̠̖̱̐̈́͆̇͘n̵͔̥͙̺̳͋-̶̩͔͎̒̆̊͗̔̓͠
"I'm back." The words caused his breath to hitch as the hairpin dropped from his fingers, clattering against the bottom of the cart and sounding absolutely obnoxious to his ears. Haru hadn't realized how much time had passed, nor had he truly been disturbed from his hunched over position, the world having passed him by as crimson eyes slowly shifted to the familiar shape. All he could do was stare, truly... even from his spot, he could see her clearly, though the smell of blood was the one thing that hit him before even her appearance was clear. There was a flash across his pallid face, eyes that now stared numbly at the woman, as if no recognition was within. There was no... fear, as one would expect, or maybe disgust. It was an iciness, a numbness that radiated outward from the husk that barely even seemed to move, nor breathe, nor blink.

He was frozen in that moment, a brief moment where the ominous voice had quieted and left him to sink. She had killed people? Certainly she had, otherwise she would not have lived this encounter, and from what he could tell, all of the blood wasn't her own. There were bodies behind weren't there? Did she dispose of them... would he have to? Flesh was wasted on those fools, perhaps their lifeblood would soothe this cracking and splitting he felt deep within him. Perhaps he could finally feel something else other than this powerlessness?

And then the Seer had blinked rapidly, the disturbing trail of thoughts fading away, as if losing steam suddenly and causing the Seer's worryingly empty face to thaw, splintering with a tension around his eyes and a downturn to his lips, punctuated by a sharp intake of breath. It was enough to say that the relief that he was displaying now was genuine, though he would not verbally express such relief in pretty words or even an embrace, for he wouldn't cross the line that the two was never to step. The blood gurgled in the back of his throat as he turned away from her, slumping down within the cart as his numb fingers hesitated and reached toward the hairpin, as if terrified of coming back into contact with it again. He didn't want to hear that voice in his mind again, and yet as a slender finger nudged the hairpin as if it were a snake ready to bite at him, barely feeling the metal underneath his prodding finger.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Inside the deku tree- ocarina of time

There are times when the exhaustion runs so deep that the soul has no choice but to dislocate itself from its shell to keep operating. To keep the lungs pumping in whistling breaths, eyes blinking against tears running dry and limbs moving from the onset of petrification. A state that equates to the mind as insanity and nothingness all at once. One day heavy in clothes and heavy in bones the next, right down to the marrow.

Mitsuko stirred herself from her droned out state in a slap. The pain and pins and needle electric pulses delayed in its flare over cheek and palm. She looked up and let the tiredness take off in the murmurous sound of wings and an inky splash of black feathers upon the canvas of the sky. Pushed it somewhere far away as reality dawned upon her in familiar crimson eyes, boring holes into her vaguely visible silhouette.

Did he look a little better? Had any of the colour of his usual stubborn state returned to the surface of round cheeks? Never dimpling for her gaze and all too plump with the accumulation of unsaid words and worries to be called a sign of youth. Mitsuko didn't know. She couldn't discern it from where she stood, focus already blurry as it was. What she did know, however, was instinctively.

One, that they had never truly partaken in any of the usual rites of youth and could hardly be called that. Two, they had aged years ahead in the matter of minutes as their gazes had crossed.

No shock, no horror and no disgust present on either side of the painted scene. An apathy that could only be attained with age and even then, had a prerequisite of a certain raggedness to settle into the cracks, mirroring across it. It was a notion that Mitsuko had embraced long ago when he had begged her to grant him relief. That was- that they were both already broken, far beyond any repair or licking of the wounds for comfort.

That in itself, was a relief in a way. For he did not scream and did not shy away from the confrontation with the wind that carried her scent- a staunch and distinctive iron that precipitated from hands stained copper. Instead he softened in the face of it and faltered back down into the cart. A reaction that Mitsuko could not expect from the others.

"Old man, can you lead the stallion over here?" The brunette cleared her throat in an attempt to regain composure. A certain itch over the tattoos that fanned out over her thigh, overtaking the hand that wielded the sword. The man fumbled to complete the request and eventually approached on tip toes. His face paled as he extended over the reins and a breathless "Oh god" spilled from parched lips.

Mitsuko sheathed the sword and took the reins from his tremor struck hands. He recoiled on the spot. She snorted.

Oh god, indeed. But which one?

The rest of their joint journey was carried out separately. Mitsuko trailing a few twenty-five paces behind the cart on the back of the stallion. Enough distance to be out of sight for the child and still not lose sight, as the man and she had agreed on in mutual concern. The cart eventually rolled to a halt at a intersection at dusk and the family bid Haru farewell while she watched from afar. She prodded the horse forward to skulk up to the figure, wary still in how she pulled at the reins to not break a bubble of five meters.

The stallion skidded into a standstill and Mitsuko shrunk in the saddle. Fiddled with the leather for a bit before she slid off into a thud and hunched posture. Not as frightful in appearance any more as she had wiped the blood off her face into a ruddy taint instead. Matched the sky above in its dwindling and smudged out daylight that spoke of poppies. Red and hopeful in its anticipation of night and ultimately...a new day. Truly, from the tangled hair to the dirt that had coagulated around hairline and under nails, she looked to be nothing more but a filthy street urchin. Small and insignificant.

A few restless crows cawed in the background of their motionless shadows cast upon the ground and her lips motioned to speak. "We should set camp for today, you're not in a state to travel any longer distances" Quiet and subdued.
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surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Within the Sadness - Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon OST

Luckily enough under prodding, hesitant fingers the cool metal didn't serve to bite the man, nor did the maddened echoes of a soul that was both his and not ring within his ears. There was a silence, a stillness within the man's head that he desperately needed, causing the Seer to close his eyes in response, a slow and heavy sigh passing through his blood tinged lips, hearing Mitsuko's voice disturb the air and with it the shuffling of the old man to obey. Even from here, he could hear the intake of breath, of shock and horror to view such a sight. Perhaps, he should have reacted the same now that he thought of it? The thought was a stray one, causing the numbness to in turn intensify, rendering the metal hairpin under his fingers further away from him than ever. His reactions... weren't normal. Ever since that accursed night, where everything had went so very wrong.

His eyelids grew heavier then, the faint glow of the Phoenix pin feeling as if it were mocking him, reminding him once more of the rotted, broken bodies he'd shed over the thousands of years. The smell of blood on the breeze reminded him further of such torment, causing him to close his eyes in response, to shut off the flow of memories before it could overtake him. Would it be alright if he simply shut off the flow of emotions that threatened to swell? Would it be appropriate for him to feel nothing for just a little moment in time? Heavy eyelids shifted over to the mother and child across from him, and his expression had pinched as he looked away just as quickly. No, doing so would make him feel much less human. It was the only thing anchoring him to reality, that he was still living, still breathing. Denying himself feeling, denying himself emotion would only serve to make him feel empty, an emptiness that made him fear that the darkness thriving inside of his heart would take advantage of to fill the gaps left behind.

So, he permitted himself to feel, to fixate instead on the relief that Mitsuko was alive and well. But, as the cart began to rock and signify movement, his eyes had once more settled on the spot where she had been and the hairpin that felt so far away under numbed fingers. Reminders that she was still here, still breathing as well, more human than he could ever achieve even if he knew perhaps that was frayed away long before their paths crossed. The blood that he saw which soaked his companion was evidence of that fact, blood that corrupted her existence and left her just out of his reach, not truly knowing the woman that he had blindly hated with such fervor. She was ever a stranger within his eyes, and despite the friction that came with their relationship, the weak partnership that bound both souls underneath a vague goal that he was certain she didn't truly want from a memory that had been forgotten... he had never tried to truly know her.

Perhaps he didn't want to give himself the vulnerability that came with knowing another soul, or thinking that he knew another soul. For all the six thousand years his soul had drifted from body to body, meeting people, forming ties only for it to be severed by betrayal... perhaps he was terrified of her turning against him if he allowed her to pry open the barely beating heart within him, to allow himself to feel sympathetic to her and try to help her more than he should. To try and ease her pain, to try and rob her of it like he had for the little girl that was still clinging to her mother... only to be rewarded with betrayal again. But, then again what other use was he then to her? She who had done too much, and he who had done so very little, at least he assumed so.

Heavy eyes slowly shifted in the direction of the stallion and the distant rider on its back, too far away and too out of reach for his fingers to even grasp. It was... better this way. Haru shouldn't allow himself to draw any closer, the boundary needed to be widened, needed to remain uncrossed. Truly, what was he thinking even entertaining the thought that his useless self could even take away the bitter bite of reality from her? That a mere creature like himself could even mimic humanity properly. He lowered his gaze again, an ancient sorrow settling in his chest and threatened to choke him. Yes... for her soul was merely mortal, broken and tattered as it was, while his would be everlasting. If he allowed himself to draw too close, enough to call her friend, she would depart soon into the next world and leave him behind.

Truly, what had he been thinking all those thousands of years ago, to become human? What had the Phoenix thought as it gazed upon humanity? What did he feel? What drove it to take such a stupid action? He... didn't know, nor could he remember the reason.

The bumps in the dirt road and rickety sound of the cart had made the barely moving body shift and stir as pain soared through his senses, his thoughts having took him far away from everything until a stillness had made the Seer finally look again to their surroundings. It seemed like this was the end of the road. Forcing his expression to twitch to life, tired eyes settled upon the family, two of the three which remained ignorant to the plight of the one who had taken the brunt of the burden and a guilt that ate away within Haru as he tried his best to hide the extent of how much his body was breaking apart. Slow movements would follow then, the hairpin having been grasped tightly within his own hand as his other had grasped hold of the ugly stick that was to be his support, the Seer slipping from the back of the cart as he gingerly placed pressure on his bad leg, which immediately caused him to wish that he hadn't.

The leg trembled far more than it normally would, forcing the Seer to immediately lean heavily against his other and the firm support of the stick, suppressing the little twitches of pain that threatened to flare to life as he turned to the retreating cart and gave a wavering smile in farewell, the cart's wheels soon fading as his smile had unwound and dropped, the heavy sound of horse's hooves being the next to grace his ears, although noticeably again there was a distance that remained between the two. This caused the crimson eyes of the man to turn and look at his companion as she slipped from the horse's back, taking note of her appearance now compared to before. She merely appeared dirty, filthy... but it was to be expected. Another painful reminder of what little use he was to her in this moment than before, his eyes lowering from her gaze in disappointment aimed at himself, not at her. Truly, what use had he really been to her all this time?

Finger clenched tighter around the stick in his hands, the hairpin locked against the rough wood as he was now focused on the ground beneath them and their long shadows. The visions flickering behind his eyes were not of any aid to them, for no matter how much he desired it, he couldn't see anything of importance, just instead muted flashes of his own suffering and pain mixed in with the distant souls of others. It echoed nonstop within his own mind, and yet... and yet...

Her voice had spoken up, pointing out an all too obvious fact. Haru couldn't travel any further. The truth stung at his pride, making the boy's eyes shift upward to Mitsuko for the fraction of a second, a stubbornness almost seeming to flare once more behind his expression, only for it to die just as quickly. There was no use for his stubbornness now when it would only serve to make everything much, much worse. He'd already done enough in his inaction, his ignorance... he didn't need to make their journey worse by not acknowledging his shortcomings now. If they continued onward, perhaps the Seer would die... or rather be pushed closer to death's door. But, didn't he want that?

The selfish thought made him close his eyes again as he shook his head, finally speaking, his voice having weakened further than before, barely even a whisper as if he had not the strength to vocalize his thoughts, "I know." He knew, he knew... at least this was the single thing he did know with clarity. Everything else, he knew not... not anymore.

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