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surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
There it was. Another rare apology from Mitsuko which in turn had made yet another sigh leave his lips in return, tempering his anger until it faltered and flickered out, just as quick as it was to flare. Yes, he knew she was 'sorry', he knew she probably regretted this turn of events just as much as he did. What mattered however was that they were both safe, both still alive. They should be grateful for that much. "I expect nothing else from you, don't worry about it." A bitter and dry response, lacking much strength of force behind it as he reclined a little bit back, his hands bracing his body from tipping over as they rested upon the sides of the stool, gingerly adjusting his position yet again with some discomfort flaring from his bad leg, seeking to relieve the pressure as he didn't desire to agitate the leg again, for it only just recently had been reduced to its normal size, no longer inflamed and swollen. If it did get swollen again, he wouldn't be able to disguise his gait, something that he certainly needed to do, especially more so than ever in the presence of strangers.

Then there was silence, again an awkward silence that prompted Haru to look away once more, his crimson eyes seeming more so interested in burning holes in the ground than to look at Mitsuko's face, or even wherever her gaze rested. It was only when she had spoken had the Seer's expression changed. Minor changes at first in the little agitated twitches of his lips, whether it would settle in a fake smile or a frown, only for it to lay limb and decide for neither. There was no point, was there? Although he had been all too silent in regards to the visions that haunted him, they never were so strong... never so disorientating. It robbed his attention with each soul that passed by outside of the tent, each soul that burned bright with life within them had a future, a future that his eyes could discern even if he didn't want it to.

"..A fever? I wish it was." His voice was quiet then, somber as his eyes looked tired, a drooping to his eyelids that were heavy as he shielded the rubies from view, his lips pressing in a tight line as teeth sank deep into his bottom lip, forcing back the surge of nausea that ran through him again. As supposedly useful as such gifts were, it made him wonder what in the world had caused them to become so vivid, so volatile. Maybe was it due to the very tiny reserves of energy he had left? Or was it that disgusting nightmare of a creature that haunted him of late when he was close to death's door? The answers would elude him for some time yet, for even he didn't understand his own body, his own nature. What exactly was he, if not mortal? Then what? It didn't seem as if these "gifts" that the Phoenix had granted him did any true good aside from saving his companion and the little girl earlier, and now they were just confusing and unclear, clashing together in vivid rips and tears through his own reality, robbing his body of sensation or thought before plunging him deep into another sight that he didn't wish to witness.

Was there even a point in complaining either? It certainly wouldn't help, sure as hell didn't make him feel better anyways. There was no treatment for stopping from seeing the future, there was no treatment for preventing his mind from remembering lives he sure as hell wouldn't have known if he didn't call out for that damned deity's help. There was no help for him, because he was alone in this. So what, if he told Mitsuko she couldn't do a thing, unlike the fever that had wracked his body, there was no simple solution... at least without slaying him. The thought had caused the crimson eyes to darken, shifting upward to his companion and eyeing the blade she still insisted on carrying around with her. It was tempting, it really was. Even if he was a master at keeping his composure when it mattered most, being constantly bombarded wasn't something that was particularly pleasant either.

Releasing his bottom lip from his teeth's hold, he turned his gaze away as he lightly shook his head at himself. No, he wasn't going to even consider the thought especially after what happened the last time he even attempted to throw his life away, Byakko had been all too eager to batter his body with the violence of western winds, to chastise him for being weak. If that occurred here, no doubt the tent and all the surrounding people would be caught up in a mess that he didn't want to start. And if anything, he refused to be as thoughtless as Mitsuko, he was supposed to be responsible and capable. One of his hands had settled back upon his lap, fingernails lightly digging into the silken fabric underneath the touch as he considered his words with care.

"Visions have been... more vivid as of late." Haru's exhausted gaze now settled on the mirror again, the lovely girl looking back at him sharing the same sentiment of mental strain, exhaustion in the heavier, bright eyes that were sapped of the lively spark of anger that had graced them before. "It usually isn't this bad, I can ignore it most of the time but-" He sucked in a breath, his sentence abruptly cutting off as another one had flashed before his eyes, the sound of heavy footsteps crossing the tent outside punctuating his point only to fade away, perhaps someone putting away a prop of some sort? Regardless, the Seer's face had paled further as he exhaled the breath he'd been holding, eyes rapidly blinking as if to refocus on his surroundings, only to be followed in succession with a sigh as he closed his eyes again, jaw clenching and relaxing slowly. "...Too many people.." It was too much, too much for his brain to try and filter through the nonstop changing futures before his eyes.

The Seer swayed upon the stool, dizziness prompting the man to quickly catch himself before he slipped from the stool itself, though he shook his head again to dispel the dizzying confusion. "Ugh, it's... nothing I can't deal with." Yes, because it was something that was normal for him, even if the intensity was never to this extent. "..I'll be fine." Another empty reassurance, an empty lie that slipped past his lips as if to divert any further questions about the matter. The topic itself didn't seem to be too welcomed either, as it was just another elephant in the room that certainly lingered but was never addressed, never further explored past the Seer's nervous breakdown in the elderly couple's house. All things considered, the man was keeping it together relatively well since then, even if there were bits of pieces of cracks that occasionally slipped through, not once had he been reduced to such a worrying extent as that lowest point.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: Masiri's Light - Kenichiro Isoda

The chair creaked when he shifted his weight upon it. In the mirror shimmered the hair accessory in eternalised petals, red ever more even after the wearer would cease to wear it. In a way, it resembled the Seer. Not just through the mutual colour of his eyes and the folded paper, but also through how neither would wither. Not like the silhouette that made for the monochrome background to his suffused contours. His form warm and vivid like sunlight in how it graced her gaze.

It was as if he was light years away, even though her feet could close the distance in a few steps. Both in how the light of the lantern, dangling above in specks of jaundice, seemed to favour him in its gentle glow as well as the manner in which he closed himself off for her prodding. Perhaps the light wasn't only positive in how it amplified his beauty because it also illuminated every corner of him. Every twitch and furrow, tired line and tensed muscle laid bare under it for her perusal. But that was also where he drew the line, forbade her from interacting with it in the closing line of "I'll be fine".

A line and sentence half that they both tended to lean on when it became too personal. Too close.

Mitsuko didn't necessarily take it as a bad thing this time. There was nothing she could say, nothing there to understand for her. He saw the future, and she didn't. And it was probably best that way since she had been unable to think straight and had cradled the most worthless phrases one could say at a time like this on her parted lips.




Never to be committed to sound or the Seer's knowledge. The brunette rose from her seat to hover at the man's side in soft footfalls. One foot placed in front of the other until it loomed into the frame beside his own. Her eyelashes flitted up along with the gaze that came to hold his in the mirror. Tender, mellow- brown.

Now that Mitsuko was also in the light, it scrutinised her features as well. The pinched spot between brows expressing worry and the corner of her lip tugging downwards. An invisible weight upon it that emerged to drag her whole composure down in sagged shoulders. The weight wasn't any of her trademark emotions of bitterness or anger. No, it was something more human. Too much human, she would say for someone like her.

It was empathy.

"Sit." She reassured the man. Mitsuko reached her hand out to motion him to sit still on the stool in an incomplete gesture of squeezing his shoulder. Instead, let it hang in the air as she continued "Or better yet- lie down. We don't have our performance in like an hour or so anyway. I'll try to see to it so that the area around this tent will be calmer". The young woman left no room for protests as she compensated for the faltering hand with an assertive glance at the Seer in the mirror.

Her features softened a tad and a wistful look crept in at the corners to quirk her lips into a small simper. "Can't have you passing out on stage after all." The brunette hummed in finality and turned on her heels to make reality of her promise. She sauntered out, her figure soon out of sight and perhaps also out of mind in a sway of the blinds.

The area did really quieten down as she had promised and the woman maintained it that way through the presence of her crouched form beside the tent. Waited for the night and also for the Seer to rejoin her in their second and final play.

Had she done it right? Mitsuko wondered as she drew shapes in the earth with a stick. A stickman with a sword and another stickman with a bird forming beneath the dragging tip. Had she let him complain even just a little bit? If she had seen her future back then at the palace, back at her family home- would she have also opted for the blade like he had? What things he had seen and what he would come to see.

Mitsuko didn't envy the man on this point.


surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Another stretch of silence would follow his words, a silence that would stretch for eternity. A silence that he allowed to fall again, not quite as uncomfortable as their previous stretches of silence, however it showed enough the distance between their two souls, and a recognition of that distance deep in the loneliness that parted the Seer's chest, picking at a multitude and aching wounds that bled internally, methodically. No matter how much his own fingers tried to attempt to close the gaps, the injuries lay unending, the burdens continued piling. And yet, he couldn't express it, not to his companion, not to a single soul. Even if he tried in bumbling words to express the pain, it wasn't enough, for he remembered vaguely in the midst of his sobs that he'd called Mitsuko a liar... did that still hold true?

Crimson eyes shifted upward slightly at motion, her motion as she had moved toward him, to his side in the mirror. It was then that he beheld her gaze, her eyes still darker than his mother's, but for once seeming a bit less cold, slightly less unreadable to his own eyes. Whether it was the little changes in in Mitsuko's face, the slight creases that displayed worry, or the tenderness that now surfaced in her eyes... it scathed him. Seared through him like the hottest of flames and sank in deep, and yet so very warm, so very tender. It brought him back to the days where he would shrug off his mother's concern, and the light pools of brown would stare at him, the eyes watery in her guilt, her sorrow, and yet the smile that accompanied it would always display her worry, her pain. Brown was warm, brown was familiar... brown was lovely.

In the midst of his eyes remaining transfixed upon her face, even the more sharp edges that had gentled had caused the bleeding in his heart to feel as if it intensified, although not with an emotion he wanted to feel. It was a stirring of his heart, that threatened to leap within his chest, to skip a single beat... and then another. There were passing thoughts he had before that Mitsuko was pretty, but she had always been cold, frigid. It was a boundary that he didn't think he would pass with her, something that he thought was unavoidable as her face would always either be angry or bitter, never kind, never softer... until this moment. It was a humanizing moment for Mitsuko, but it was also a moment that he recognized more than ever that his companion was a mortal woman, still capable of expressing emotion, expressing feeling and more tender thoughts. Part of him stirred, a twitching of the fingers that lay upon his lap, residual numbness laying within but desiring to turn and reach toward the face as if he could capture it, imprint it upon his memory forever, burn the tender expression against his palms so that he could never forget it.

The fool behind him was beautiful, not merely pretty as he had said before.

His eyes closed at the thought, pain flaring to life in his chest, a stirring of breath rattling in his chest as he forced the sensation to die, to kill the skipping beats within his chest and to numb himself to the sentiment of tender, fluttering feelings in his chest. He was the Seer, and she was the Empress, even if this was not a problem for him before in his longing for Mai-Jing, he would not permit himself to fall into another trap, to be ensnared in another lie: Mitsuko's lie. It was enough he'd cross the boundary too many times, it was enough that he'd been pulled at her pace before, but their paths were not to cross, never to bind, never to embrace. Haru knew his position here, know that Mitsuko's kindness would perhaps be passing, that it wouldn't be long until the tenderness would withdraw and falter and hide away before his eyes.

It was a lonely feeling, a lonely realization and it made him... sad. Why? He didn't need her compassion, he didn't need her kindness. It was unnecessary, for he always needed to be strong and capable. He couldn't accept her help, unlike she who had accepted his outstretched arms for assistance for her need. The hand that lingered above his shoulder... he could never take.

Mitsuko's words of concern on his behalf had made the ache stir, hopeful and painful, filling the weak body that remained immobile and unmoving as he tried his best to crush the blossoming feelings underneath a cold heel, grinding it into dust before it could take root, searing the heart it dared to take root in before it could hurt him again, devour him once more and make him a lonely fool at the end of it all. She cannot help me. She cannot help me. She cannot get closer. She cannot get closer. The thought chanted, cold and logical as his expression unwound, all jagged pinching and sorrowful lines having retreated into empty apathy as she had turned away and left him alone on the stool, to which he took in another breath as if the painful sensation could possibly be released from the uneven breathing and the jagged heartbeats.

I really do hate you... you idiot. The thought rang clearly in his head as a hand came up immediately to his eye to catch a tear that threatened to slip free, taking care to not ruin the make up upon his face as he cleared his throat, shakily standing from the stool and crossing the distance to Mitsuko's vacated spot, the creaking of the wood underneath his weight ringing in his ears as he laid upon the pillows, a sigh leaving his lips as he closed his eyes. The pressure within his head was slowly ebbing away, and yet with it came a scent, but not any scent, the familiar scent of Mitsuko that had clung to the pillows stubbornly as if to remind him again that she had been there, her warmth still clinging to the pillows underneath him.

Haru breathed in deep.
He... didn't hate it.

Around nightfall, the Seer had stirred, joints popping as he grimaced, grumbles and sharp breaths leaving him as he stood from the couch, slow and careful as he stepped toward the entrance of the tent only after checking his appearance in the mirror, at least trying to make sure that it wasn't obvious he had been sleeping just moments before. Once satisfied enough, the maiden had slipped from the tent as the darkness contrasted the bright lights within, making his crimson eyes blink a few times as if to adjust. There was a buzz in the air, anticipation that he could feel crashing down upon him as his eyes shifted to spot his companion, only to see the woman not too far away, as if she were standing guard outside of it.

A smile threatened to cross his lips at the sight, the familiar warmth which he knew with all too much prior knowledge had swelled in his chest, only for him to once more slaughter the sensation before it became too much. Gratitude, he was grateful. That was all. There was no possible affection for this fool that he could possibly harbor in his chest, for it simply wasn't possible. With careful steps, Haru had approached his samurai, tilting his head down at the woman as he raised an eyebrow, "Are you coming, or what?" He would not express his gratitude just yet, instead treating her as he always had, like he'd not felt anything for her, that he never had found her beautiful prior.

The darkness served to help his stubbornness at least, obscuring her sharp features from view so that he would not turn to admire them again... but what would happen in the bright light of lanterns? This caused the slightest twitch to his lips, barely noticeable in the frown as he turned on his heel, his back facing her then, "Don't forget to put on your bald cap, I don't want to hear the director complaining." An excuse. Just to make Mitsuko look like the ridiculous child he knew she was... do not see her for what he had. For he wasn't allowed... not that way.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: the bug collector -Haley Heynderickx

The night was a black ink brush that brushed over the blunders of day, bumps and discolouration of a bleeding heart evened out to pitch-black reconciliation. The theatre camp's residents appeared to mirror the faces in the sky, little stars alit with excitement for the coming performance as they scurried around. It occurred to Mitsuko that these were all people with their own stories to tell.

There was a reason why the painter of the folding screens was hunched over in a corner of meagre supplies, clutching the brush between his toes as he flicked the soft strands into masterpieces. A reason why one of the cosmetics assistants was hopping around on one leg around her client, in an absence of two feet to stand on, as she beamed all the more. A reason why the man that directed the staging, followed it up in pats over the objects as he groped his way forward.

A reason. A breeze teased her neck hairs dejectedly in a lack of loose strands. The swaying lanterns twinkled in dark wavering pupils and caressed her stickman twin in visibility. One two, a waist shifted into the frame of the overlook of the campsite. A familiar voice resounded from it in a demand of her attention and Mitsuko stirred. Foot quick to cover her amateur daydream of becoming an artist by cutting it off from sight with her sole.

"That's my line you're saying there." The brunette snorted and dusted her costume off as she loomed from her previous stance. She clicked her tongue at his reminder "Ugh don't remind me". But her hand obliged his command regardless in the ousting of a sigh, a playful and lightly exasperated one that was supposed to demonstrate the misery of her situation. The bald cap slid into place upon her head and Mitsuko anchored it to it in a bow under her chin. The fabric scratched against the stray hairs and she felt quite frankly, ridiculous as was probably the purpose of assigning it to her.

If she didn't look like a samurai before, she now did. The bald cap created a blank landing strip through the middle of her hairline and tied the remaining locks at the back in a traditional chonmage. The light set of interlocked armour plates that hung in a contraption around her torso rustled in metal chimes as she shifted on her feet. And at last, her face had been lightly dusted white in a traditional theatre manner.

Much similar to the pale apparition that the Seer had made for in his feverish throes. Her hand patted the bald cap down appraisingly and she sneered at the Seer. His appearance was still as dazzling as before. "I sense favouritism." Her lips tugged into a coy wolfish grin and her feet began to propel her forward, away from the tent as the rehearsal was about to begin.

The script was a simple one. It was a story about a man that was infatuated with his brother's wife and sought to seduce her. Eventually, the brother becomes aware of the unfit affectation towards his wife and confronts the samurai who, in panic, cuts his brother down. Hands now stained with the blood of his sibling, he sets out to claim the wife as his own who is distraught over the news. They eventually fall in love as he hasn't revealed himself as the perpetrator but the truth comes out one day and the wife kills herself.

Needless to say, they were to portray the murderer and the wife of the brother. The task to memorise all the lines was a daunting one and she wondered if this too, was meant to emphasize the trouble that she had caused the other day. The brunette scratched her head as she repeated the words in mumbles while they flitted over the pages until she stumbled upon a letter and lost the thread completely. Mitsuko slumped onto the ground and crossed her lone arm over her chest like a petulant child. "What does even 'A f'rce equal to yond wouldst moveth the earth. Their eyes' windows droop f'r wanteth. of catch but a wink' mean?" She barked into thin air and flopped onto her back "This is impossible. Can't we just improvise?".

The plays she had attended were of simpler character, more for entertainment than to deliver a philosophical message. Besides, she had only been able to watch kabuki plays a handful of times and all of them congregated at the beginning of her career as Empress. Finer arts can suck my ass, why is it written so convoluted that no one will understand it anyway?
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surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Her familiar voice would respond back, causing the slightest of twitches to touch the edges of plump lips that refrained from allowing a smile as she was all too quick in her quip back to him. Laughter nearly rose in the Seer's chest, though he did not turn to look at Mitsuko as she grumbled, causing rubies to look in her direction for a brief moment, the bald cap certainly doing her no favors. He snorted then, turning his head away as his lips clamped tightly together to try and force himself to not devolve further in his composure. Right, this was necessary anyways, and it certainly did help him cast aside the features of Mitsuko's face! She looked absolutely ridiculous, and it made an overwhelming sense of relief fill the Seer from head to toe, moving in careful steps as to not trip over his own feet in the darkness as he was feeling all too eager to get this over with.

Nonetheless, Haru's head had turned once again as he looked to Mitsuko, raising an eyebrow at her claim of favoritism, all too quick to catch the wolfish grin that made his heart stutter within his chest, his eyebrows creasing in almost a disturbed look. "Not possible." His two word response was curt, dry as he turned his head away, not desiring to look at her anymore. She was making him feel ill, she was making him feel not himself... she was making him remember feelings that he thought would never stir again for another soul. Straightening his posture, he forced his mind to clear, frown as clear as day upon his face as he was bracing himself to whatever hell would await him for the play. Disregarding this disturbing tickling within his chest, Haru was already giving his companion the cold shoulder, striding ahead of her and not allowing for her to even so much as linger at his side. This is just temporary, it was a trick of the lighting, Haru. Yes... yes that's it. These feelings aren't real.

However, the play itself a script of bloody betrayal and deceit all through the influence of love had made Haru want to groan and rip at his hair. Why were plays always centered around romance? The Seer's embittered expression was all too obvious as he looked over the script itself, the lines all too melodramatic and ridiculous to his eyes, even if most of which made his head spin trying to decipher the wording or meaning. To say the least, the tragedy itself was enough to make him want to tear at the script and perhaps charge toward the director herself, to demand for answers, if this was a joke, something to be done on purpose... but he shouldn't be so ridiculous himself. He already felt like a fool, though the occasional lingering glance in his direction had caused the Seer to look up and glare in all too open hostility to wherever it came. Yes, he was well aware he looked far removed from his normal appearance which looked feminine enough, but no, he would not tolerate gawking in his direction.

Grumbling under his breath, the Seer turned back to the script within his hands, eyebrows furrowing to try and attempt to put to memory the flowery words and overly convoluted sentences. Although he'd studied traditional rites of prayer, verses and hymns, this was still enough to make him scratch his head over it. It wasn't as if it were easy for him either to be able to study and remember the formation of sentences or more ancient phrases, or older lettering, it took him many weeks of trying to replicate the individual sentences and then commit it to memory. But this... this was just too many flowery words, too many odd punctuations that made his head spin, this further hindered by the visions that now were spinning in nauseating clarity before his eyes as he visibly grimaced, retreating backwards a little ways away from the other people lingering nearby, unknowingly retreating back to his companion's side.

His safety blanket.

Of course, by the time he'd done so, the Seer overheard her frustrated words which prompted the man to raise an eyebrow at her. Even if now he knew enough from her conduct and her unusual skill with blades that lie, that origin of hers that had been told at the court was fake; still... she had been exposed to plays before. He was sure of it, considering Haru had adamantly refused to attend such events due to her presence and the subsequent uproars it caused due to many, many advisors coming to the temple to get him to stop being so stubborn, all of their efforts had failed. Nonetheless, the memory was quick to fade as a pleasant spark had settled within him then. He'd been not very useful as of late, instead being quite a burden instead... maybe he could help? Granted, it wasn't as if he was having much luck himself either, with the throbbing headache pressing down upon him and the dizziness, he couldn't focus all too well.

With deft hands, his voice had filtered through the air, "I'm sure they won't like it if we 'improvised' again," His hand had placed aside his copy of the script, settling for Mitsuko's and plucking the parchment in between thin fingers as he added in a slightly more grumbling tone, "...Though, this script is far too... bloated for my liking. What the hell is this supposed to mean? At least old rites got to the point a lot quicker than this..." Grumbling words would be taken then as the Seer's face was drawn into an expression of concentration, beginning to try and fit the sentences and replicate them in simpler words for both himself and Mitsuko to understand, though his soft voice was distant in doing so, mind straining from the pressure of trying his best to focus, little wrinkles appearing around his eyes and the light tapping of a finger settling upon a rosy cheek, slowly picking apart meaning and structure from the sentences and phrases. This expression of seriousness was only conveyed when the man would be trying to study, studying being everything for him in the long days and weeks spent trying to better himself for Mai-Jing.

It was something that unfortunately went to waste, until now that is. A waste of time he'd briefly thought in the depths of his misery within the cart after he ha learned of Mai-Jing's callousness, a waste of time that he thought he wouldn't even use again.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: Two birds- Regina Spektor

Mitsuko hadn't anticipated that she would get the sentence right since she had essentially just guessed. So just that caught her off guard in a slight parting of lips when her companion agreed with her complaints. The symbols that sprung over the pages in black ink were unfamiliar and too mottled with lines for her to decipher what their original form had been. Bird became 'swallowtail' and love became 'the petals to my blooming heart and the flutter of butterfly wings which drain it'. How oddly specific. The brunette traced over the engraved pictures that resided beneath the lines in taxidermic immortality.

A sentiment that was to be passed on through the generations and to stir her heart in the hand that blurred into view. Slender fingers relieved her of the papers in a plucking motion that took her gaze with it. Eyelashes fluttering as his visage blinked across her irises and blotted out into the corners of it in an averted chin. It looked like he enjoyed it, reading that was. The same seriousness that he had usually greeted her with at the Phoenix palace made a resurgence in knitted features.

She had always assumed that the strict conduct that he displayed was a byproduct of his studies and duties as the Phoenix. It had never occurred to Mitsuko that anyone could actually enjoy the act of reading. If she was to read something it was orders to kill someone or reports that she had killed someone. Anything related to her role as the Empress had been relayed orally and more often than not, not at all. Reading was a useless endeavour, an escape from the reality that ticked by in seconds while one was entangled in the sprawls of words on a sheet of paper.

Her dislike had nothing to do with the fact that literacy wasn't her strong side. Not at all. It had never served a purpose beyond giving out orders, so why should she care?

The brunette propped her head on her hand in her crossed lap and directed a glare at the curious onlookers who had exploited her lack of surveillance to sneak glances at the Seer. They dispersed and scurried along at a much faster pace. "You read it." She muttered under the mask of her palm that inched up to conceal her expression "-The text. Read it out loud".

The two finished the reading with relative ease with the Seer steering it and the first rehearsal wrapped up uneventfully. Other travellers halted their journeys momentarily to stop by for the play and the pillow seats spread out over the grass started to fill up. The curtain parted and the theatre opened for business with the first act: "Yearning".

Mitsuko bolted around the scene, bellowed, laughed and fake cried to the best of her abilities in pursuit of her unrequited love. Actions that came easier to her than she had expected. Then they shifted into act two: "Betrayal" and she leaned back into old habits. Fake sword gutting her 'brother' in cold blood in the cover of darkness. The affection required in act three: "The widow and her lover" posed the most difficulties out of them all with its physicality. Flutters of touches and lingering gazes scalding her fingertips and cheeks in reddened skin.

Then there it was. The kissing scene which they had neglected to practice earlier out of denial. Mitsuko had pulled the Seer flushed to her in a hand against his back and her heartbeats reverberated loudly in its cage of ribs. Loud enough for the sound to travel up into her ears in ringing and loud enough for her throat to dry up in fear.

Fear that it was as obvious to everyone else as it was to her.

The light of the lanterns fluttered dreadfully in shadows that emphasized his lips. A flutter. Her cinereous eyes churned in searing remembrance and her eyelashes lowered slowly in dreamy lids that intended to encapsulate the feeling. She closed in, her breath fanned back hot in the deflection upon his cheeks and nose until it was smothered completely by a wall of flesh.

The hand from his waist clasped over his lips in a discreet lock and key as her own lips plunged into knuckles. Salty and coarse and nothing like the sweet dessert that ghosted on her palm in brushes of softness. The crowd roared with applause and somewhere in the middle of it, Mitsuko tore herself off the warm body that risked welding them together.

So close and yet so far away at the conclusion of act three.

Act four went by in a blur and before she knew it they were finished and to receive the admiration of the crowd. Still reeling from act three, however, she wasn't very keen on greeting the mob and cut a path for the Seer in an outstretched arm. The brunette reined in the bodies behind her and pushed back as she loomed over him in a shield from the strangers. Almost only strangers, she corrected herself in a skim through them to glimpse a familiar figure. She blinked and the figure disappeared.

"Let's go." She prodded her companion on, an ominous feeling permeating from the shivers that darted down her spine.

They set off early the next morning and after two weeks more of horseback travel they had done it.


They arrived at West at dawn. And what a beautiful sight it was to the two souls who had met nothing but perils during their journey. The grassy plains welcomed them with open arms and no secrets to hide in the open landscape.
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surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Lycandi Foothills - Blade&Soul OST [second half of post]

The Seer would comply in Mitsuko's simple request to read the words aloud for his companion, soft voice pronouncing syllables with care and attempting to allow himself to properly do it some semblance of justice, though his tongue did get caught on some words prompting more little wrinkles to curl around his crimson eyes, attempting to solve the little puzzles printed upon paper. Of course, at this point he was very much engrossed by the paper itself, his companion being a warm and comforting presence at his side, the guard to keep all of the distracting visions at bay as he committed to memory the elegant script and words upon paper to his mind.

But this break was temporary, like all others he would eventually have to commit these words into proper action, the rehearsal, although stifled and stumbling through some words, eventually they would come with some ease, occasionally interrupted by subdued flinches and twitches in the body that remained reserved and graceful in movements, trying to not allow his uneven footfall to be obvious, nor the visions that clouded his vision and blocked his senses, drowning him deep. This however was nothing to the final performance, nothing truly.

The audience was nauseating, travelers that stopped to watch the acts as they flowed by with practiced ease, although the Seer had to admit that Mitsuko was quite dazzling upon the stage, albeit still looking ridiculous due to her costume, there was indeed a certain grace to her, a strength, a confidence that made his... heart flutter. It fluttered restlessly in his chest, crimson eyes widening ever so slightly in the moments he could be off stage, entranced by her voice, her movements. Part of him envied her, how she simply shifted through the moments with ease, how she could replicate the proper emotions with ease. It was as if she was slipping from one mask to another, but then that thought had made his expression darken as he looked aside, a bit of reality grounding him to the world again, nauseating visions prompting the man to swallow thickly as he closed his eyes and forced his face to settle into a stoic mask.

No need for him to be lingering on this woman, to allow himself to be swept up in her pull. It was all a trick of his mind again, for he felt not like himself. These thoughts rang with clarity within his head as he would once again he forced on the stage, act three and the scene that they didn't practice. Sparkling rubies would turn to Mitsuko then, forcing his features to be tender although he found such expressions weren't... forced? Although it certainly felt tense, awkward in the faint affectionate touches that they would have to display to each other. This isn't real. He reminded in cold clarity within his mind, even though his numb fingers begged to differ, relishing in the soft touches he would give in return to the samurai so close to him, affectionate desires that he'd suppressed was swelling from an ancient wellspring within, the softest of blushes that the make up graced upon soft cheeks were unnecessary in the soft glow that now embraced his skin.

Secret affection lingered in his fingertips, though his mind denied the tenderness of the action as soon it would come to the kiss, the kiss the two would have to share for an audience whose eyes now felt more scalding than ever. A nervousness flared in his eyes, sucking in a breath as panic soared in his mind. Although he certainly wouldn't mind if they were doing this alone but- no! Not even alone! This was embarrassing, he didn't want this! And yet, despite the panicked thoughts speaking sense, his heart flipped in his chest, desire raging against the panicking clarity as her head dipped closer to his own, feeling briefly her breath against his face which in turn sent anticipation in electric shocks down his spine, flowing through his arms as his body remained still.. the hand upon his waist felt heavier than normal, the all too inappropriate desire for her to sink her fingers in and rang within his heart as his eyes remained transfixed upon her reddened face...

Only for her hand to clamp over his mouth, denying him the pleasure that he knew that would come with her lips upon his own. Shock at first was the first emotion which had sank into bitter disappointment. This... this isn't what he wanted. Even though his lips tingled against the calloused hand clamped upon his face, it wasn't what he wanted pressed against his own. Frustration then was quick to bloom in worrying succession, the urge to bite the hand becoming more tempting as the seconds passed by, suppressing the urge to pout... only for him to quickly slap some sense into himself. What are you thinking, you idiot!

Her body ripped away from his own, Haru being quick to change his features from displaying the confusing ripple of emotions that ran through him, perhaps aided on by their audience's applause as he sucked in a sharp breath and exhaled, turning his head away from his companion to recollect himself. That was... wrong. What he was feeling was wrong.

Luckily, the rest of the play served to not place the two in anymore compromising situations, instead passing by with ease as they reached the inevitable conclusion. At this point, Haru was quite exhausted, evident in the pale pallor to his face as sweat trickled down his face, the visions being far more vicious than before as his vision swam, filtering between reality and mere dreams before he felt Mitsuko begin to drag him away, stumbling footsteps and clumsy movements being his response in turn as he was ignorant to the chilling figure that Mitsuko had seen, distracted mumbling leaving his lips instead as his mind would prove to be far away from this place, from his own body as she led him to safety.

And with that, they would continue their journey the following day, as if nothing had happened at all.

Two long weeks it had taken, weeks that seemed almost endless but luckily uneventful and yet the reward they were greeted with was well worth the pain. Endless rolling fields stretched before them, rustled by western breezes that ripped up long green grass and made them dance upon the breeze. Haru had sucked in a breath, eyes widening as the exhaustion that had pulled at his limbs felt like it was evaporating just as quickly, settling into amazement at the sight before him, "..It's.. beautiful." He whispered. Sacred lands that hadn't been seen in thousands of years, a serene silence to the area which caused the Seer to feel a tug at his heart, a sense of deja vu. He'd... he had been here before, granted it shouldn't be a surprise, but he knew that these lands were familiar, although at the same time not.

A somber feeling flared within his chest then, though he shook his head as he now had shifted his weight, sign enough of him preparing to slip from the saddle which was unusual for the Seer who usually expressed purely caution, but to him he knew he needed to do this. It was reckless, foolish even but soon the Seer would find himself on the ground, his bad leg protesting faintly at the weight as he stepped forward, a determination to his step as his head was tilted upward toward pure azure skies, searching for something, for anything... and then there was a roar on the wind.

The roar sent goosebumps to flare upon his skin, the each hair upon his body standing on end as the winds picked up, prompting Haru to immediately cover his face with his arm, harsh winds ripping at his skin, grass and earth being tossed in the air as the winds whipped in a frenzy, threatening to knock the man over as he braced himself. The beast roared again as Haru's now watery eyes attempted to peer from the shield of his arm, a great beast indeed had come to greet them, massive enough to block out the sun's rays, muscles rippling and pushing underneath a sleek white pelt, interrupted by raven black stripes. Byakko's massive paws touched the ground, prompting the earth underneath to rumble in each paw placement as long teeth would be bared at the Seer and his companion, rumbling as Haru lowered his arm to his side slowly, his heart pounding within his chest as he gazed back into glowing green eyes, large as moons within the tiger's skull as Byakko leaned closer to Haru, ears flicking forward as he breathed in deep.

"...Suzaku." The name rumbled on the wind, tender for a brief moment though it was a name that caused Haru to lower his gaze, pain flaring to life in his chest as his jaw clenched, "Thou hast done well to come this far. But.. thou art a fool." Byakko rose to his full height as he growled, the wind picking up as the earth threatened to make Haru lose his balance, "Thine heart is blackened, far more than before! And mortal-" Byakko's head whipped to Mitsuko, leaning close, "Mortal master of mine sister, think not that mine eyes haven't observed thine actions. Cut you down, I should." The growl rippled upon the air as Haru had immediately placed himself as the barrier between Byakko and Mitsuko, his arm stretching out as he could feel fear pounding in his veins. This situation was dangerous.

"Hey! She didn't do anything!" Haru's voice strained over the whipping winds, though this in turn caused Byakko to look at Haru, a creasing in the beast's face, "...Thou art a fool. Ye have not learned thine lesson, even after all these years, protecting those.. creatures. Thine soul is-" The pain within the ancient beast resonated in the grumbling words, halting the flow before he could not stop them, stepping aside, each paw step causing the ground to shake as the massive tiger had allowed for the two travelers to pass him by if they desired, "Very well. Both fools may pass. Come."

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko


Green. The land was a blanket of green, spun from the hands of the earth itself in threads of grass. It reflected the sunlight in glistening dew drops in its feeble embrace and undulated in sways under the caress of the wind. The wind that rippled through it like palms and swept it all up in clenched fists of dew, grass and dust to throw in the face of tousled hair.

The brunette inhaled a single long breath and her chest rose in tandem with the sun on the horizon. Scent of elderflowers, sweet and alluring, and the sharpness of untoiled soil harmonizing in a falsetto to heartstrings laid bare. She plucked the strings gently in a melody to the Seer's joy and voiced it in a breathless echo of her soul before it settled once more.

"Yeah." She breathed.

"It's beautiful".

The heaven on earth. It was nothing like Mitsuko had expected it to be, yet also everything she had expected it to be. A paradox that made her mind spiral with all the hardships they had encountered on the way there. Betrayal and coup d'etat, injuries and near-death experiences- sleepless nights and haunting memories, unlikely companions and death, delivered by her hand. It spiralled and spiralled down the rabbit hole until it surfaced on the other side in blinding light and the contours of a house on a hill.

Home. Why was she suddenly thinking of that place?

The breeze returned in renewed strength to plough through the landscape and the bobbing head below that stumbled in the grip of its forces yanked her back to reality. With a swear word and breath halfway out her mouth, Mitsuko slid out of the saddle to land on the ground below with a thud. The impact racked through her unsteady legs in trembles along numbed muscles and she clenched her jaws shut.

Urged them on despite this when the tremors flared to her soles and spread through the earth in a rumbling roar. It whipped and slashed at her along with the wind and forced the brunette to raise a shielding arm for the eyes that remained fixated on the youth. From the heavens above descended whirlwinds that solidified in paws against the earth and coiled into a body of fur that connected to them in approaching steps. The muscles billowed and buckled in waves under the pelt and the stripes sailed on top of them in revealing telltale signs of the creature's identity: Byakko.

The beast that the Seer had seen in his premonitions, the one that they were destined to meet and had pursued so long. It now stood before them, a heaping mountain of snow in the middle of summer that glared down at them in the shape of a tiger. Displeased, apparently as it exhaled gales and nursed a growl in the direction of the Seer that was already plagued by uncertain footing.

Mitsuko tensed instinctively and clutched the hilt of the sword with her hand while she inched closer when the beast unexpectedly changed course. Their faces crossed and both steeled themselves in staunch pride. "Mortal master of mine sister, think not that mine eyes haven't observed thine actions. Cut you down, I should." The sparks of hostility that flared between them were unmistakable and the pressure that the growl emitted into sound was replicated under her skin in pumping blood instead.

This bastard. Her teeth gritted invisible anger and she narrowed her eyes into daggers in response to his words. Glares of blades shifting underneath the weight of scowling brows and whips of loose strands. If the beast had expected her to be fearful of either his size or divinity, he had clearly been proven wrong. The fight that begged to happen in gazes sending lightning didn't have a chance to take off, however, as an arm suddenly cut the electricity off.

Mitsuko blinked, stunned by the blackout of both gales and tension while the Seer shielded her. Her breath fluttered in her chest until she expelled it in a huff at the sight of the tiger moving aside and the hand on the hilt faltered. She retrieved the horse to sidle up to her companion once more, promptly ignoring the fuzzy warmth that permeated from sleeves brushing past each other. "Cut me down for what? I kept his ass safe while you were too busy sniffing the catnip in these fields." She snorted and gave the supposed beast a rundown in judging eyes "-The overgrown housecat has a lot to say for someone who hasn't done shit".

The brunette turned to her companion and clutched his sleeve in her hand before she started walking.

"Let's go Haru".

Mitsuko was really getting tired of these divine beasts that always had something to say about her.


surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Mooshu: Plague Theme - Wizard101 OST

Haru knew Mitsuko was rash, knew she was reckless and knew she had a capability of being stupid. However, he didn't think she would be stupid enough to hurl insults - though justified - at a massive beast that could easily crush the two of them in a single twitch of a massive paw. Red eyes flew to her face then, his face paling as his eyes widened in shock, lips quivering the beginnings of a 'You idiot!' to perhaps try and smooth over the situation as quickly as possible, for he knew not this beast's temperament despite feeling as if he'd known the creature for a very, very long time. Would he be easy enough to distract and calm like Seiryu had? Or was this insult one too far. This, Haru didn't know and yet as he felt the winds around them stop just as she had taken hold of his sleeve, his eyes shifted in petrified horror to the tiger who had now stopped, unmoving and silent.

"Thou knowest not of mine promise to mine beloved sister..." The beast began, prompting sweat to trickle down Haru's neck, the tiger slamming a paw immediately down upon the earth with an ear-splitting roar, the beast itself turning a massive furry head to snap teeth all too close to both the Seer and his companion, prompting Haru to yank Mitsuko back in quick response as the massive maw snapped together, "If I were to cast aside that promise I made in a different era, a different age... ye in all thine foolishness would have perished weeks ago. Thou art a foul poison that chokes the life from mine sister, thou shalt understand mine words soon enough. Thou art lucky mine sister holds horrid rage at bay." The tiger took in a large breath, perhaps attempting to calm itself as the beast turned its head to Haru, the glowing green eyes of the beast showing nothing else but rage and sorrow as it raised its head, shaking itself as if something foul had rested upon its body, prompting the shivers that were running through the Seer to stop as he exhaled a breath he didn't know he was holding, his legs shaking as he whispered, "You really... you're really stupid Mitsuko." The paleness to his face was evident of the fact that the Seer felt as if his life was flashing before his eyes, struggling to catch his breath, hesitantly stepping forward after the monster who was all too far ahead of them in the brief moments that they would look away, the slow stride of the animal being more ground than the two souls could reasonable carry on their own two feet.

It seemed as if their trek would carry them seemingly past endless rolling fields, the silence that had settled upon the odd group being heavy and stifling as Haru's head whipped around to gaze at their surroundings. The feeling of deja vu was strengthening, this location teasing his mind, denying him a clear answer, for the memories seemed far too ancient for him to recall. No, instead Haru's mind could only go back as far as six thousand years, and even then it was foggy with the exception of the all too traumatic deaths he'd suffered. His lips pressed in a tight line at that, shaking his head immediately as he refocused upon the tiger, though it seemed as if the land before them was shimmering, the image changing until slowly a large orifice within the earth had opened up, dark and ominous, with the faintest glow humming from within. Byakko had stopped then, the air resonating with his words, "I hath brought thee here for a necessary conversation, for thou hast forgotten a very important lesson, Suza-... Haru." The tiger had turned, green eyes glaring down at Mitsuko's grasp on Haru's sleeve, an irritated sniff leaving the massive tiger as he lowered his head, "...Unhand." A cold command indeed, causing Haru to immediately react so that Mitsuko wouldn't do anything stupid, though the Seer was all too hesitant to leave his companion's side.

The sight made Byakko's expression soften, "Worry not, I will not harm thee." The tiger lowered himself further to the ground, a gentleness now settling within the beast as he inclined his head to Haru, prompting the Seer to do the same, then reluctantly looked to Mitsuko and prompted for her to follow the action as well, explaining further, "This is mine domain.. mine temple, the only place in the west that remains connected to the celestial realm where we divine beasts claim as our home. Here the unseen may become seen, for it is of grave importance both of thee know the gravity of this situation... what you mortals have done to my dearest sister." He added the last part in an all too irritated snap of jaws at Mitsuko, causing Haru to glare at Byakko in turn which made the tiger turn his head in a huff, the irritation fading as quick as it had surfaced.

The tiger's shape wavered for a moment, a glowing object swelling from the beast's chest, hypnotic in the light that pulsed from it mimicking heartbeats, the heart of the great beast, "Aramitama and nigimitama, our souls consist of these two states. One of pure dark, and the other light." The glowing object was beautiful in its intensity, glowing with the same brilliant green of the beast's eyes, settling and calming in brilliant vibrancy until it settled on a light that wasn't too harsh on the eyes, yet not too dark either. It smelled of the grasses that surrounded them, pleasant and soft, "In perfect harmony, our souls are as so, balanced between light and dark, allowing us to show clarity of judgement and remain true to ourselves. We do not lose reason, nor do we fall into harshness or cruelty. Aramitama is the dark, turning us into shells of ourselves, slobbering beasts who devour anything and everything in our path, in such a frenzy we are not a danger just to ourselves, but this world as well..." The green eyes of the beast settled upon Haru, the Seer's eyes transfixed on the pulsing orb only to realize the pressure of the beast's gaze upon him which made a shiver go down his spine in response.

"Little one, you must reach within so that you and your companion can see." Haru's expression twisted then, fear sparking to life within the depths of crimson eyes as he lowered his gaze to the grass beneath him. His hands clenched into fists, the chill within his fingers seeming much more colder. He... didn't want to. "Haru," The patient voice of Byakko rumbled now, though the Seer still didn't meet the tiger's gaze. Could he even do so? Reach toward that.. that thing, did he want Mitsuko to see? His lips pressed into a tight line as Byakko pushed further, "I cannot help you if you do not take this step. I know it is terrifying, but fear not, nothing will happen, not while I am in your presence. I promise."

A white muzzle and a pink nose soon came into Haru's field of vision, the warm breaths of the creature washing over him with familiarity which finally prompted Haru to look at the great beast, the kindness radiating from the tiger's eyes showed reassurance, which in turn Haru with much reluctance had reached hesitantly and tentatively to the frayed thread in his mind, the thread that connected him to ages of pain, of suffering... the feeling crashing over him nearly made the skinny body of the Seer reel back as a choked sound left his throat, his eyes burning as he struggled to take in the soft breezes around him. He felt something begin to pull at him, the cavern behind the great beast pulsing again with intensity as slowly within the Seer's chest, a glowing ball was emerging... however to anyone who was witnessing the sight, something was obviously very, very wrong.

It pulsed inky black, oozing instead of glowing a slow sickly substance that smelled intensely of rot. The orb pulsed, a remnant of a heartbeat as it hovered before the wheezing Seer, his body feeling all too uneasy without it within, as if it were exposing his ugly insides. It... hurt. A voice resounded from the orb itself in tandem with the dying gasps of heartbeats, each blackened, inky fluid that dripped from the orb settled upon the long grass in which it hovered, burning it away, choking the life within and killing it:

H̵̦̖͍̓̇́ḙ̴̟̕ḷ̴̞̭̈́͌̽p̶̡̦̣̗̂͌̅.̸̧͖̣͔̃̽́ ̴̜̋͆̚͝Ḩ̸̯̃́͝ė̶̳͇͉͛̅̚l̷̜̮͊p̷̯͍̎̍ ̵͙̠̖̟́̊̾m̵̢̞̜̂͛̊͘ͅe̴̙͑.̷̺͖͔̍̓

The cry for help was weak and distorted, the voice seeming a mockery of the Seer's soft tone, but punctuated with wet, dying gasps and the weak heartbeat that pulsed from the soul within. One would not be punished for thinking the sight cruel, a pulsing barely living thing a mere mockery of the verdant, vibrant orb of Byakko's soul far outshining the pitiful, shriveled one that was still forced to live.. still forced to suffer. The Seer's face seemed agonized as he struggled to suck in a breath, each breath mimicking the dying gasping of the reflection of whatever soul still clung to his body, agony fully contorting his features as his body threatened to double over.

Ỉ̷͈t̷̨̹̳͖̀̉̄ ̷̹͕͂̀h̸̡̫̘̆́ǘ̴̧̮̺̺r̶͖̲̈́͆ẗ̴̢̮́͂͆̕s̶̺̮̪̰̾̿.̷͇̾̇̽.̵͚͈́͠.̶͇̹̅̾͐̄ ̸̩͍̭͖̉̄̐ṡ̴̭̘̍͆o̸̮̐͑̉̽m̴̼̣͔̿̔̈e̷͕̞͓͔̓͒o̶͍̹̜͒͒̐͑n̴̟̊̚é̷̺̬̥̓ ̵̢̉͗̉́͜p̵͇̼̑͐l̵̰̞͉̋͋͠ë̸̡̜̱͍́͊̋ä̷̤̊̄s̶̱̼̽è̴̛͙̥̽.̷͔̓.̶̺̣͛̿͋̉.̴̜̝͉͗͋͝ ̶̹̼̉̈́̇̚h̸͍̼̳̻̅̇è̷̮ļ̷͈͔̈́̀̓̀p̶̯̃͠ ̸̩̀͘m̵̞̄͘͘e̴̙̼͝.̶̛̭̗͒͐

The distorted orb begged, heartbeat sluggish, gasping for more air as it oozed more of blackened, twisted ooze, the intensified scent of rot tainting the breeze:

I̴̪̊̋̀̅.̸̜̤̣̂́̅́.̸̖̹́͆̎.̸͍̲͍̤̿̋̒ ̶͔̙̓̚͜͝Ǐ̷̧̞̞̌̚͜.̷̤̖̄͂̃.̷͖͙̤̩̈́͝.̵̞͕̈͂̍̆ ̴̢̤̮͉͑͠p̵̢͍͉̻̊ḷ̵̥̬̫̆͘e̶̝̘̒̽̚ͅa̷̤̺̺͆̊͌ŝ̵͉͊̒e̴̢̪̟̎̐̂͜.̵̡̹̋́̐.̶̨̛̭̓̈́̅.̸̨͛ ̷̬̠̹̊I̷̦̐̔͝'̶͙̣̮̗͂̃͆m̴̦͎̞̓͆ ̷̠̍̔s̶͓͉̥̱͐̑͝c̴̠̠̮̓̃̋a̸͉͚̦͓̓ȑ̸̮͙̘̲́̔e̷̜̱̔́͝d̶̗͍̹̓̿͘.̶̠͖̹̺̑.̵̧̛̀̈́́

Haru couldn't take this much more, his body couldn't take it, a pale pallor finally falling upon the Seer as he parted his lips to struggle to bring breath into his lungs, though it seemed in response the great tiger had moved, the glow of the cavern subsiding and with it both orbs had vanished from sight, and with it the breath being restored to Haru's lungs as his hands had came to his throat, violent coughs leaving him as blood swelled forth, his body shaking from head to toe. There was a heavy silence as the Seer was gasping for air, swallowing and retching, a sight he would normally try his best to hide, to not show Mitsuko or anyone else as tears blurred his vision from the black ooze that spilt past trembling rosy lips, it was a sight that caused Byakko's face to echo pain and frustration.

"...This is the damage mortals has done. They have corrupted and broke my sister." His voice was soft, painful as the beast's head turned to Mitsuko, "Though, I do not fault you for ignorance. However, this situation requires immediate action. If left to continue to fester, it is only a matter of time before the soul breeds violent intent and hatred, until the one you know as Haru is no longer." The words were chilling as Byakko remained unmoving before the gasping Seer who was still struggling to recover, green eyes peering down at the husk with pain, perhaps enough to cry if the glowing green eyes could produce visible tears in its current form."With each life, my brothers and I have watched your soul grow blacker with hate, with pain... and your words persist to become more distorted in your cries for help. Although we have honored your wishes to remain outsiders, we cannot standby any longer. I cannot allow this to persist, less... I... we will lose you forever."

Haru's gasping breaths and retching was beginning to slow, his unresponsive body once more regaining feeling as shakily the Seer tried to straighten his posture, the feeling of agony having subsided as if it never had occurred to begin with as he swallowed, forcing back another wave of blood that tried to spill free as he croaked, "How... will you..?" He couldn't finish the sentence, his ragged breaths still having not calmed as he raised his head to the tiger that gazed at him with pity, although the Seer knew not why the gaze bothered him so much which caused Haru to look aside, unable to bring himself to look at Mitsuko either. This whole situation in of itself felt ridiculous and yet all the same his heart knew... knew that each word Byakko was speaking had been truth. Had his choice to become mortal all those years ago been the wrong one? Why had he done so to begin with? He couldn't even remember the reason, the desire to do so. His bloodied lips pressed together, a sleeve coming up to roughly wipe the rotting blood away as the great beast rumbled the air in his voice, "I will help purify your soul. You are weak, too weak in both body - and through no fault of yours, mind as well. Your jailors had kept you in such a state for their benefit." There was a passing, disgusted glance in Mitsuko's direction from the great tiger again, "...Jailors that desired to slaughter you forevermore, if only to keep them reaping the benefit of a domesticated pig fit for slaughter, forever feasting on divine flesh."

The sentence made Haru flinch again, his hands clenching into tight fists upon his knees, nails biting into his palms, a silence settling upon the Seer as Byakko's head had turned to look at the now silent man, "Fear not, my brothers have already agreed to help you. We will take it upon ourselves to ease the burden upon you who have forgotten so much, for now you must live and become far stronger than the weak being you are now.. otherwise you will die. Nothing your mortal master can do will save you at that point if you allow yourself to be taken by the aramitama in your soul."

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: The fruits- Paris Paloma

The beast couldn't kill her lest he would leave the Seer in the hands of the Kingdom, she reasoned. Or so she believed at least. The reality was less predictable than that, however.

The truth was that she was, in fact, afraid. Not of the possibility of dying to the low thundering voice that reverberated through the ground and, in turn, also her. The air was abuzz with electricity once more that snapped in a roar and jaws, inches away from her face as they snarled shut. The brunette reeled in the yank that had saved her, lead heavy feet stumbling to regain composure in the face of the accusation. "If I were to cast aside that promise I made in a different era, a different age... ye in all thine foolishness would have perished weeks ago. Thou art a foul poison that chokes the life from mine sister,"

-That. Mitsuko inhaled a sharp breath. She was afraid of that. Of how things always just seemed to happen "to her" and how she never had an idea of why. Always out of the loop, always at the centre of all the blame. But that was untrue, she rectified mentally to the thrumming heartbeats that bled out into stillness on the sleeve that iron fingers still clutched. The Seer's whispered condemnation of her actions pricked her lips in teeth that tore into her skin and she felt so dumb, so childish and so irrelevant.

She did have an idea of why and the knowledge stung. Was tasted in the darts of blood that she lapped from cracked lips until it tainted them irreversibly-Just like the actions of the previous Empresses had been, irreversible. The slot that she had been fitted into at the expense of cutting off everything else, the responsibility that she was now to assume in decades of wrongdoings.

Mitsuko had, somewhere along the way, started to dislike those roles that they wore on their sleeves. The same sleeve that shrugged out of her grip in rejection of her at the command of the beast and that prompted a wistful look from the brunette. The invisible boundary haunted her again and she was reduced to a background decoration in fates put to words. Another puppetry show.

She couldn't do anything, say anything as the beast explained to what extent the humans had gone wrong. Where she had gone wrong. The fur on the tiger's torso warped and unearthed from it was an orb. A glittering light show of a thing that was so far from the reality that Mitsuko had anchored herself to. What wasn't far removed was what came next.

From the depths of choked breaths, something wicked was wrung. The orb reappeared out of the Seer's chest, a wretched and slobbering black mess that pooled onto the ground in withering touches. The straight opposite of the eternalised flowers he had adorned himself with what felt like the other day. The opposite of the flames that he cradled in crimson eyes. The opposite, the opposite, the opposite-

But all too similar to what she figured her own soul resembled.

"Haru." His name had spilt from her lips before she could hinder it and her body jerked forward as if by instinct. An instinct that was denied in balled-up fists and gritted teeth as she was once again reminded of her own aching helplessness in it all. What could she do if she reached out? If she drew his crumbling body into her embrace- only to end up chasing dust in fumbling hands that shattered more and more in her touches?

On this point, Mitsuko agreed. This was mortal damage and what was she, if not mortal? Perhaps this was her atonement. She had claimed once, after all, that she desired to do the right thing. For that, she deserved the scathing look that the beast directed at her. For that, it was irrelevant if she was an impostor or not.

Her expression darkened, eyebags ever so deep as if they held the weight of the ocean in them. And maybe they did, the task of not letting it spill a perpetually precarious one that lingered on the shoulders of tired lines and thawing brown eyes that shifted over the established facts. At that moment, something seemed to have clicked for the brunette and she sallied forth.

Her dark figured hovered at the side of Seer for a glance and then she kneeled beside him on the ground on one knee. Mitsuko prostrated herself for the beast in a downcast head. "I beg your forgiveness for my previous behaviour." She baulked as the reality of her actions weighed down on her. Merciless in the assault on sagged shoulders and the self-inflicted stab in deflating lungs. She gasped for the strength to speak. "Although you have already given your word to Haru, I would like to ask you as well." The brown gaze flitted up to meet the beast's green ones in fluttering lashes and a stare that bored into the flourishing wells to fish for his soul "Please help him".

Her hand clawed for the coolness of dirt as she turned to her companion next. "You're all I have left Haru." Her voice tapered off into a humbled softness in her plea and she tucked her chin. A loneliness, a rare vulnerability permeating from half-lidded pessimism "Use me. Rely on me. Believe in yourself as I believe in you or I-I'll..I will-". Mitsuko stammered on for a second before she ripped up into a wan smile "Or I'll seriously make a mess this time and who will nag and clean it up if not you?".

It was paradoxical but if she could not be the Empress she would be his sword, if not his sword she would be his legs and if not his legs she would be his arms, eyes, ears and lips. That would be her choice in this puppet play. Her final act of rebellion that would only end in her death...and his.


surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
The heaviness within the air reeked of judgement, and with it also an intense sorrow. It was a path that had been carved as a result of actions that the Seer had unknowingly taken many centuries ago in forgotten divine lifetime, and it was also now an issue that needed to be dealt with in the present. A festering wound that needed to be healed, and warnings that needed to be heeded. Haru knew this well, and as the beast have approached him, beseech him to allow the tiger, a long lost friend to help... Mitsuko had stepped forward.

Crimson eyes followed his companion in her movements, a shock settling within the depths of his gaze as she knelt beside him on the earth and prostrate herself before both himself and Byakko, and her words had made the man unable to speak, robbing him of breath. Her apology to the beast also seemed to bring some shock in the great tiger's eyes, a subsequent softening of the expression and a quieting of the breezes that still whipped around the three souls. Never it seemed had a mortal been honest... at least this much in a rare conversation that Byakko would have with them. Never. It was then that Byakko looked to Haru, hoping to not see the reaction that he perhaps knew was to come, for he knew Suzaku well, no matter what shell she took as mortal flesh, the phoenix would always be the same.

To Haru, the man who beheld his companion, one who rarely apologized, who barely held any common sense... the words she had spoken were far heavier than he was expecting, far more serious than the recklessness that he was accustomed to her having. And then she turned to him, and her words... how they felt like a sweet salve on his soul, even if in her own way she was begging him selfishly to remain at her side, to live. His lips pressed in a tight line, the foul blood that had lingered on the rose petals serving little to stop the warmth that swelled in his chest and the urge to reach out to the little fool that both infuriated and dragged out such confusing feelings within.

Although he desired strongly to say that she was lying... there was a resolve within her eyes that he never saw before, a vulnerability and was there fear as well? Perhaps that was simply a fear of loneliness? A slender hand had reached out then, though his expression was still pinched with pain, he was reaching out slowly to his companion, to Mitsuko, the one tether keeping him to this mortal existence, the poor soul that he couldn't ignore, couldn't abandon no matter how hard he tried, "Mitsuko-"

The softly spoken word of her name on his lips was tender, but all too quick to die as Byakko had echoed in condemnation over his head, stopping his progress in the outstretched hand to the woman at his side, "You never learn, do you?" The Seer had stopped then, his hand withdrawing as he looked up to Byakko whose eyes were raging with different emotions, too many for him to comprehend, "Time and time again, at the single pull of honeyed words, you're all too quick to run back to them, forgive them again and again, over and over. Do you not realize these mortals are killing you?!" The winds whipped violently again, a growl rumbling in the beast's throat, "Answer me! Just what is your reason that you insist on killing yourself for these.. these.. parasites!"

Haru's expression hardened then, the rage of Byakko washing over him as silence met the beast's all too justified words in their own right. Crimson eyes glared back into the green that now settled on sorrow, and then he took in a breath to steady himself before responding in a gentle tone, though steadied with his anger, "...Though it would be easy to cast all of humanity into the same box, they are not all tainted or wicked, Byakko. They hold endless potential, endless possibility to change and grow, one who is considered wicked now has the potential to change to good later... and it isn't as if humans don't have their reasons, unable to have a choice, unable to crawl out of a deep hole that someone else had thrown them into. If you expect me to ignore that, to not at least try to ease the pain for these mortals that you insist on painting with the same brush.. then you as just as much of a fool as I."

Though there was a weakness in the mortal frame of Haru, the words that spilled from his lips were honest as he kept his voice steady as the winds were slowly dying, Byakko's expression becoming gentle as Haru expressed, his hand now fully reaching out to Mitsuko and grabbing hold of her hand, squeezing it, "I refuse to turn my back on these mortals. Yes, they may have hurt me, and may continue to do so, but not all have forsaken me. They are my beloved treasures, each and every one of them, and as long as they need me I refuse to turn from them."

The winds had finally fully died, the firmness in Haru's gaze all too similar to the eyes that burned through Byakko all too long ago, when his sister stood before him in her foolish decision after she had traveled the lands with the same fool who in turn broke her heart. Yet, it seemed the resolve didn't change, not a single thing had changed, although a barely living mockery of what Suzaku used to be, the one that called himself Haru burned brighter in this moment than the other husks that the phoenix had inhabited before. The ground rumbled then, a sigh leaving the beast as the tiger closed his eyes, lowering his head in defeat, "...So you have the same answer even after all of these centuries...? You are stubborn. So very foolishly stubborn that it drives me mad."

A snort left the beast then as it regained its composure, raising its head then to peer with a cold exterior to the two fools before him, "Worry not. I will aid you with everything in my disposal, but now is not the time, not yet." The great hole behind the beast had evaporated, vanished from sight and settled upon endless grasslands again, the massive tiger towering above the two as its green eyes lingered upon Haru's grasp upon Mitsuko's, a bitter light coming to the tiger's eyes as it turned its head further westward, "These grasslands are no place for mortals to live, as such you both must journey further west. Outside of my territory is a village, considering you two have been resourceful so far in your journey, I trust this will prove not to be an issue," Byakko's eyes shifted to Haru then, "...It is your homeland after all."

The sentence didn't register much in Haru's mind as he now was reeling from the stupid pressure he'd had to suffer in those few moments of him actually talking back to this creature that his hand was beginning to tremble around Mitsuko's own. Yet, the Seer blinked a few times, running over Byakko's words as he mumbled in confusion, "..Home?" Xing providence was... close to Byakko's territory? The thought had scrambled his mind certainly, having never truly noticed whatsoever. The slightly amused light to Byakko's eyes had finally made Haru stir, taking in a shallow breath as he released Mitsuko from his grip a bit too quickly, not realizing he was still holding onto her hand as he shakily got to his feet.

How long had it been since he was... home? He couldn't even remember the route that he had taken three years ago, nonetheless the Seer forced himself to follow after Byakko although in turn making sure that Mitsuko would not be left behind.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: 悲しくてやりきれない- Kotringo

The emotions swirled beneath the surface in endless turmoil. Her racing heart beats the eye of the storm that summoned waves of hot blood at its disposal to course through her. They crashed over her ears, churned between temples and cascaded over her back. Washed over her like lukewarm summer rain that ebbed out into a slow drizzle at the tip of her limbs. Gentle and hopeful to the dampened soil that was her flesh and lone wavering blossoms in budding rudbeckias; brown disks peering out from petal cradles to squint at the man.

As she beheld the man like the sunlight to her existence, she also feared the light which he emitted. Unmistakable trembles racking through her at the fluttering mention of her name that peaked in arid coarseness on the tip of her tongue. What if she had bared herself to the mercy of spring only to be scathed by a throwback to winter's cruelness? His hand lingered in the air as if to express this. A symbol of both her hesitation to accept the tepid invitation she had presented to herself to leave the coldness behind and a threat of what loomed in wait if he didn't.

The winds stirred around them in increased strength and breezes cut words short under the watchful eyes of the beast. The deafening silence that descended in its stead prompted her brows to pinch at the obvious implication of it. Byakko was surely reminding Haru, once again, of the cruelty that had befallen him at the hands of the very same one he now fumbled for. And it was all in his right to do so. Mitsuko couldn't deny him that anymore if she intended to become the Seer's tool. The thing he would punish his and the one that Byakko called his sister's tormentors with.

His fingers coiled around her own in a shock of electricity that whipped her head to face the Seer. The drizzle of warmth phased in slowly in its aftermath, a kind of meditative drone that eventually enveloped it all in a squeeze. Her bottom lip shook under the air that was forcefully sucked in to fan the revival of her facial features. Alit with a new tender twist to them as Mitsuko squeezed it back.

She was still unsteady, still learning to walk in these shoes she had been put to fill.

But she was learning.

The two composed themselves in all but appearances, clothes now muddied and covered in grass at the intersection of fabric and knees. The brunette cleared her throat awkwardly, sported a slight ruddiness on top of this in her cheeks; scalding under the exposure to the world and its elements. Jeez, what kind of cheesy ramble had she unwound in? Kneeled in front of that cat that had spared no effort in lecturing her and dedicated something like her sword to the Seer.

The thought itched at her throat and she tried to relieve it with an unsatisfying snort. It was almost as if...she was acting like someone whose sword was worth something. Like...Her attention drifted back to the theatre and her shoulders slumped in remembrance of the armour that she had once worn. Ridiculous. She was being ridiculous. The Seer released her hand and she expelled the bated breath that she didn't know she had been withholding in a fit of relief.

Her fingers curled around the reins once more and she swung herself back into the saddle in renewed stoicism as her hand reached for the Seer. The latter was pulled to the seat in front of her on the leather this time, so as to make sure that he would be the one to see his home first.

The providence of Xing, the unofficial slave capital of the kingdom.


The horse lumbered unremarked on into the outskirts of the village at first. The houses that lined the sides were a dilapidated lineup of abandoned shacks that saw no flares of life within them at first glance. As they progressed, however, Mitsuko noticed movement in the dim frames. A pair of eyes, a face and a set of small hands that pressed up against them in blurs of shadows after they moved past. Likewise were the 'streets', or rather the trampled paths that led them forward in meandering curves, haunted by a lack of activity. Ghosted as if in anticipation of their arrival.

It was, in many ways, nothing like the villages that they had travelled through before. The lifelessness even extending to the vegetation in a drab all-encompassing muddiness that monopolised the sediment. The silence had unnerved her as soon as they had set foot in it and it was nothing that Mitsuko hid from the Seer in the tense body that rubbed his back. She angled her lips to his ear. "Where are the people?" She whispered and her eyes shifted to the pair of feet that disappeared behind the corner of a house.

Her brows furrowed "Was it like this back then as well?".

The drought that appeared to plague the land wasn't that strange actually. Considering how the providence was known for being the primary salt excavation of the Kingdom. The acidity had probably corroded the fertility of the earth away long ago and more so at the hands of the people that disturbed the natural balance. The meagre living conditions were but a dot that adorned the tip of the mountain of problems that its inhabitants scaled daily.

If not the drought then they were tormented at the hands of the officials and if not the officials, they still faced the threat of each other. The colony turned penal settlement housing many dangers even within the walls of its homes. A clatter from the alleyway ahead alerted her and Mitsuko pulled the horse to a halt and slid off the saddle. Her hand clutched around the hilt of the sword as she approached it in soundless footfalls when her sleeve snagged onto the air. Or air...The brunette whipped her head around to stare down at the grimy face that peeked up from clenched fingers around her sleeve.

"Big sister...are you here to take care of the bad guys?" The boy sniffled through the mucus that glistened around his nostrils and dirty mouth and he nodded purposefully to her sword.

She froze.



surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Lillie's Encounter Theme - Pokemon Sun & Moon OST

Haru didn't know what to expect when he returned home, nor was he expecting Mitsuko to place him in front of her during their silent ride toward his homeland. However, the closer they got, the more familiar the smell was becoming, a salty smell upon the previously sweet breezes as they crossed from paradise into a bleak landscape of hopelessness. Of course, on the way there there was a nervousness in his heart, stirred from perhaps anticipation and a baited breath that he was holding as they were crossing down too familiar pathways in a village that was all but dead. It was silent, eerie, but this was normal, he knew it was normal - especially when there was movement outside of horse's hooves, or heavy footfall of metal. That was a sign to hide, to stay out of the way and hope and pray with all of one's being that there were not here to punish nor collect, just to inspect.

Bitter memories surged forth like a torrent through his mind, his expression becoming more somber as Mitsuko's voice whispered in his ear her questions. "Hiding.. they're hiding." He responded back, his tone empty, worryingly so as crimson eyes stared distractedly at lopsided buildings that were sad excuses of houses, some rotting at foundations being abandoned due to the inhabitants perhaps being sold off, others showing evidence of dried blood that had long since colored the wood and nails a rusty color, evidence of an overseers cruelty. To his eyes, he was quick to see the hushed, huddled faces that peered fearfully in the darkness in the hiding spots that he and his family would have taken, trembling and fearful of a beating or a family member being ripped away. Such had been life, a life that he'd been foolish enough to forget.

Then she asked if it had always been like this, which caused Haru to lower his gaze as he shook his head. "..No. It was far worse back then." The silence that had settled within the houses of shivering people was far more preferable to the screams that eventually all would go numb to during the long days and even longer nights, when overseers drank, when passing soldiers would pay a visit to snag anyone who they could get their hands on. It wouldn't be unheard of for deceased, ruined bodies to show up on the outskirts, disfigured and the scraps of rags being the only thing that could help to identify the poor soul. They truly had been living like animals... Haru just never realized it then until this moment after experiencing the outside world and that prison that numbed his senses, made him forget.

How could he forget this hell?

The slapping of bare feet against the ground had echoed in Haru's ears, a stirring of movement catching his eye as Mitsuko was the first to react, the Seer's expression tensing in response, "Wait-" He began, slipping with a heavy wince himself from trying to slip from the stallions saddle, though it seemed as if a boy had grabbed onto Mitsuko and his question had made Haru's heart ache, his expression twisting as he looked upon the dirty face which had resembled his own all those years ago. No child should be living like this.

A lump was beginning to form in Haru's throat, Mitsuko's awkward response and freezing doing little to perhaps aid the poor boy's unanswered question. However, before Haru could even so much as try to get out a sentence, to try and skirt around the question altogether, there was a sweet voice that rang out, "Ryuu! You know you shouldn't be out here, go back home! Your mother is worried sick!" Haru stiffened, a tension settling in his limbs as the little boy in question had turned his head, though Haru felt scared to turn his own, to look at the woman that was approaching with an unnaturally cheerful bounce in her step, her warmth familiar and washing over him before he could even so much as look.

"But Honomi! The samurai is here to help us!" The boy clearly having come to the conclusion on his own as the lovely woman he had approached had slowed her steps, her ragged clothes worn out of habit of priestess attire, white with the hakama being a deep red, albeit muddied from dirt and grass, her hair was still the same length as the day that Haru had left, her fingers trembling, unable to stop due to the nerve ending being bruised and broken with fresh burn marks on her hands as well, far more recent that the more ancient wounds of her slightly twisted fingers. She lightly ruffled the boy's head, before clicking her tongue to lightly scold him, "Shh. They're probably just passing through, you shouldn't pester strangers, it's quite rude!" With difficulty, the woman had gripped her white sleeves, coming to gently clean the face of the boy as with her warm smile came even far more gentler warmth from the deep browns that gazed down with loving compassion toward the little soul, "Now, go on home. Go!"

A playful shooing motion would follow as the boy seemed a bit disappointed to have been shooed away, yet due to knowing better than to argue, he had sped off, disappearing elsewhere between the cracks in the houses as their mysterious savior had brushed herself off, a light hum leaving her lips as she turned now to take in the two strangers, "Now! What can I do to..."

Her warm voice trailed off, a sucked in breath following it as Haru was fixated on the ground, a pinching to his expression as he could feel her eyes sinking deep within him. "..Haru..?" She called, making his heart clench, her steps echoing far loudly in his ears as he felt as if he wanted to take a step back. How could he explain his lack of action to help them all these years? How could he explain how he forgot them? These guilty thoughts rang with clarity within his head as he struggled to breathe, "Haru? Is... is that really you?"

Trembling hands had settled upon the side of his face, the gentle woman having approached him first, her eyes filling with tears, the tears streaming down her face as her lips trembled, "My.. little spring blossom.. it really is you." Haru's throat felt like it was closing again, the nickname pulling at his heart as Honomi's fingers struggled to remain against his skin, forcing a smile upon his lips despite the urge to cry beginning to surge in his chest in response to the tears of his mother, "Yes. It's been a long time, mother." He leaned against the gentle touch upon his cheeks though before he could properly react, to explain himself, Honomi's arms had wrapped around his middle as she squeezed with all of her might, knocking the breath from the startled Seer's lungs, "Oh! How I've missed you!" Her soft voice was cracking, though Haru felt as if his ribs were going to crack from the bear hug his mother was smothering him in.

A puff of breath lift him then, grimacing as he lightly patted the woman's back, "...A bit.. too tight.." He wheezed, his lips struggling to drag in air, unaccustomed to the tight hugs his mother would give when she was overwhelmed with emotion. This weak wheezing prompted the Seer some relief however as Honomi had let go, sniffling as she was trying her best to compose herself, blubbering with happiness, "I-I'm sorry, it's just been too long! I thought.. I thought I never would see you again!" Taking in a deep breath, she exhaled the same breath slowly as to catch her breath, turning her sights now on Mitsuko, a suddenly piercing look coming to the woman's eyes as she looked her over and then looked back to Haru and back again... only for a vibrant, warm and excitable smile to cross her face as she squealed with delight.

"Oh? What's this? You brought a girl back home with you, Haru? Oh, she's so beautiful!" Haru's face reddened then wildly shaking his head at his mother, "W-wait, mother it's not what you-" Honomi waved a hand dismissively at Haru then, boldly stepping close to Mitsuko, not even flinching at the sword she had at her side as the woman was all too comfortable with wrapping her arms around the stranger and giving Mitsuko a warm hug, not as tight as Haru's but just enough to betray some strength in the seemingly soft body of the older woman as she released her from her grip, beaming up at her as if all the joy couldn't possibly convey the happiness she was letting flow from her pores, "It's such a pleasure to meet you! I'm Honomi, Haru's mother- ah!"

The woman turned away then, her expression pinching with panic, "The house is a mess though!" Haru heaved a sigh, his hand coming to his reddened face with embarrassment at Honomi's words. Was that really the first thing she was worried about, in this situation? A snort finally left his lips despite himself, causing his mother to visibly pout as she gave her son a playful glare, "Don't laugh at your mother! This is important! Now come, you two, let's not stand out here. Come now, let's get to somewhere safer, okay?"

It seemed like Honomi's bright voice and antics had caused the houses around them to stir, people peering out now with curiosity and grumbles of 'Honomi at it again' and 'I guess no overseers then', filtered through the air as Haru had tried again to express, "Please, mother I can explain-" Honomi shot him another glare over her shoulder as she shook her head at him, clearly already set on her own conclusion and causing the Seer's shoulders to sag in exasperation. Obviously they had no choice but to follow the woman that sharply contrasted the bleak landscape, a bundle of warmth in a place devoid of it. Regardless, Haru's expression had visibly softened in response though he looked to Mitsuko awkwardly as he spoke, "We should probably follow."

With that, Haru in uneven steps had followed after his mother who was mumbling under her breath on how many things she needed to prepare, what still needed to be done to celebrate Haru coming home with "a beautiful girl", though it would be inevitable that the beaming woman would eventually ask Mitsuko her name, for now it seemed like she was focused too much on being a good host to the two to brighten up their stay, however brief or long it may be. Eventually, it would lead them to a distinct house that seemed to have been constantly repaired over the years, as shabby if not more so than the others, but showing that even so it had been lovingly taken care of. The distinct smell of wildflowers emanated from the inside, a result of Honomi having wandered into the nearby forests to at least chase away the smell of salt or illness that had settled over the dreary landscape.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: 初めての気持ち- Kotringo

The words echoed into existence through her head before she could stop them: "What a dreadful child". His feet were bare and chafed from the terrain and his knees bore skid marks in red irritation. The knuckles with which he held on with glared back at her in open cuts as if he had just smashed them against rocks. Her gaze trailed up the skinny arms that stuck out from the rags in an extension of his frame, barely fit as a coat hanger in the loose neckline that had shrugged to left shoulder. She stilled at the purple shadow that hinted at the hem of the sleeves.

The corner of her mouth twisted imperceptibly at the sight. The more likely culprit of the cuts was probably the same person that had inflicted the bruises. And if assumptions were to be made anyway...delicate crinkles appeared around the corners of eye sockets as she blinked the images away. They weren't there to solve the issues of the village and much less so the individual ones of its inhabitants. Although it was horrible, although it was indeed dreadful- this was the result of a generational transfer of abused power. One that had to be removed by the roots to cease its spread like weeds.

Mitsuko opened her eyes once more to take in the sight of the boy. The elbows that jutted out in pronounced joints held his entire weight in them as he leaned on the sleeve. Then a voice interrupted them and he perked up. "Ryuu! You know you shouldn't be out here, go back home! Your mother is worried sick!" A woman came striding up to them in the distance, familiarity with the boy made known in how she had addressed him by his name.

The turn of events sparked the brunette to cast a glance the Seer's way who had curiously enough fossilised on the spot. His expression was unreadable except for the agitated look that flashed in widened eyes. The boy named Ryuu yanked at her sleeve in protest and shouted back "But Honomi! The samurai is here to help us!".

Honomi. The kanji for 'sail' and 'beauty'.

Now it was Mitsuko's turn to look surprised. Her eyebrows unlatched from the frown to open the gates of her well-kept emotions as she recalled the context in which she had heard this name before. The woman waltzed up to the boy to unhand him in a light tousle of his hair. Her beige sleeves which were only white in the exception of splotches swayed gently from thin wrists and her fingers fidgetted through the strands that probably stung her wounds. The way she wrapped it up by rubbing the dirt off his face with said sleeves explained its discolouration.

To think that she was still here. The brunette softened at the image of her unlikely twin in hair colour and eyes that suddenly identified the Seer. Her gasp and exclamation were already halfway through the motions of closing the gap as she cupped his face in her palms. Squeezed down on them as if she couldn't believe it was true and then coiled around him in a tight embrace. Truly, it was quite a sight to see Haru indulge in such affection.

Mitsuko sniggered under her breath from where she served as an observer of the man's uncontrolled expressions. Looking quite his age as he grimaced much like a normal adult would do in the face of paternal overbearing love. In other words, a momma's boy, she concluded with a self-satisfied smirk that only lingered for a few seconds before the target of her affection changed.

Their eyes crossed in a sudden exchange of looks. Honomi lit up like fireworks in the night and Mitsuko blinked wordlessly while ignorant of the woman's intentions. That too, was short-lived in its moment of blankness before the woman voiced her thoughts out loud:

"Oh? What's this? You brought a girl back home with you, Haru? Oh, she's so beautiful!"

The brunette flinched visibly and her eyelashes fluttered along with her heart. None of it of any importance, however, when the woman steered her marching towards her. Mitsuko stumbled into the dilemma of what action to take- why was she approaching? Should she dodge? Her hands descended faster than the girl could stutter her first words of a protest.

"Uh, ah, oh-" Palms smoothed the choked sounds into silence over her waist and back in a trailing warmth. Her nose nestled unintentionally into the side of the woman's hair and she inhaled a shallow breath of wildflowers. Soft and fuzzy in lashes that flitted to cover flushed cheeks in a faint tremble. It smelled inexplicably like...kindness.

A strange thought that stirred her insides more than she wanted it to and that made her head spin until she was released. Mitsuko surfaced from the embrace in a gasp and a subdued whisper:

"-mhm, you too..."
The trio made for three trudging figures as they followed Honomi back to her house, a nondescript building amidst the other shacks that only differed in the smell it emitted. The same smell that the woman herself was shrouded in. Her lacerated hand pulled the door open in a creak and they stepped in. Shuffled over the whining floorboards in feet that eventually settled in a small drawing room. The woman ushered them to take a seat while she prepared the tea.

It was as if it was just a normal gathering all of a sudden. Not the reunion of mother and son after years of separation and not the dire escape from their fates. Mitsuko's chin followed her eyes as she skimmed through the room. The exposed roofbeams were covered in dried flower garlands that dangled above their heads and the paper walls were patchy from years of assembled grime and smoke that emanated from the fire pit in the middle. In the corner stood a single paper lantern and a bit further away laid a basket with stacked firewood.

The brown eyes narrowed subtly in the study of the furrows upon the stumps. Had she chopped them herself? She swept over the woman's figure, a rail-thin ordeal that poked out of the kimono in bones. The slender forearms that worked the teapot didn't appear to have much strength left over for anything more advanced than that. Her smile, however, was unfaltering despite this and perhaps having sensed the brunette's looming gaze, she spoke up. "Ah- I forgot to ask for your name earlier. Though I'm sure it must be a beautiful one to have charmed this stubborn son of mine." Honomi mused in little flickers of chuckles tugging at her eyes.

Mitsuko averted her gaze shyly. "It's Mitsuko." She mumbled, the intention to correct the woman in her assumption of their relationship dying off where Honomi's excitement took over. "Oh, so I was correct! Mitsuko...what a beautiful name! Is it spelt like light and child?" The brunette nodded in muted bashfulness "A perfect fit for my little spring blossom. Surely, you two will bring each other much joy in life".

The heat that stemmed from her cheeks muddled her thoughts more and more as she struggled to keep her composure. Luckily the woman turned to her son next: "Tell me, how did you two meet? How have you been Haru? So many years have passed- I can still hardly believe that it's really you that's here with me". Her hands shook.



surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Truly it had been years since Haru had seen his home, the place he'd returned to after long days of staying in the salt fields, day after day. The smell of wildflowers flowed over him, familiar in its gentle scent like the very same that cloaked his mother from head to toe. It was familiar, gentle and warm, as warm as the day he'd left her behind three years ago, a day that should have been the final time he would even see the woman again for both of their lifetimes. The thought was a sobering one, causing his expression to tighten ever so slightly in recognition of the many times that he certainly could have died already on this perilous journey, never being granted another chance to see his mother.

For once, the man was at least grateful for the life that still flowed through his body, enabling him to survive yet another day.

The interior of his childhood home looked as familiar as ever, lovingly modified due to some efforts on Honomi's part, primarily being the dried flower garlands and there was some semblance of repair work having been done toward the back of the home where there seemed to have been a hole that had formed as if someone had struck it. This made Haru's expression tighten up further, growing tension forming in his body as he peered at his mother's shaking hands, the twisted fingers trembling like they usually would as she was going from task to task with her usual cheer, though the burns... those weren't there before. Yes, he was certain now, they looked too recent, too fresh upon her skin which only used to hold the brokenness of fingers.

He knew the answer already, that his mother perhaps had suffered again while he was away, that it was normal. After all, Honomi still held onto her beauty even now at her age, it wouldn't be unheard of if an overseer would drag his mother away to their bed and force themselves on the woman if only to break that spirit of hers. It never worked of course, but it did little to stifle both the guilt and rage that was beginning to feel as if it were choking him. Why hadn't he done something about this? Truly how stupid could he be?

He could taste blood on his tongue again, prompting him to swallow it back before it could spill free, the man forcing himself to look aside as he suppressed a cough from leaving him. Now was not the time, nor the place. Instead, Haru had settled behind Mitsuko, lingering at her side although he had looked to Mitsuko, a tinge of shock settling upon his face for a mere fraction of a second at the shyness that the woman was displaying in front of his mother. Where was all that confidence and rashness? Though, he did recall all too well she had acted the same when Honomi had hugged her after giving her a compliment, causing a smile to eventually gentle and ease the tense lines upon Haru's face as he turned his head away, quietly laughing at his companion from the light shaking of his shoulders.

It was cute actually, seeing Mitsuko so docile, a fact that he would keep to himself unless he'd open himself up for unwanted teasing, or even complicate whatever their relationship was at this point in time, a complicated and convoluted relationship indeed... one that Mitsuko oddly enough didn't clarify herself either, Honomi's excitement perhaps robbing either of them of any say so in the matter, which made him almost raise an eyebrow at her only for his face to go a deep crimson in response to his mother's words. More like an eternal pain in the ass. The words of sarcasm nearly flowed up past his lips, but he held them back, not desiring to receive a lecture from his mother at this point in time. It seemed once again the two had been ushered into another 'husband and wife' role, or something of the sort even if Haru hadn't been the one to start it this time, his mother jumping to conclusions instead.

Yet, the Seer couldn't bring himself to crush his mother's happiness, the warmth and excitement in her eyes making a tenderness flow to Haru's reddened face, affection for the woman as clear as day in her excited words that had now turned to him and made him blink a few times as if startled. Ah shoot, was afraid of that. Considering his mother was all too perceptive, and knew her son quite well, Haru couldn't necessarily lie to her. Did news spread here of Mitsuko being overthrown? He didn't want his mother to get involved in their problems, knowing how the kind woman could get if she got the tiniest bit worried. A dilemma indeed.

Yet the longer he remained silent, the more suspicion would grow, and she would press further to get the truth from him whether he wanted to tell her or not. So, relenting the Seer had decided to throw the dice and pray that his mother hadn't heard anything of the chaos that occurred in the Jade palace, a faint and hesitant smile crossing his face, "I've been well," He started, a sentence that was a bitter lie, causing his mother's excitement to dim ever so slightly, a sharp edge to the warm brown eyes that caused Haru to quickly try and distract her from it, his tone wasn't off in any way truly! So there was no possible reason for her to push, right?

"As for Mitsuko and I, we met at the Jade palace, she's the current empress." Smooth and controlled words that were the truth... sort of. More like a current disgraced empress, but no matter it was brief, to the point and didn't reveal much more than was necessary, though this in turn had caused Honomi to look at Mitsuko closely, her brown eyes searching the woman as if attempting to decipher her character, the brief change of attitude being sparked by the word "empress", though this brief tension had passed as she nodded her head with a satisfied hum, a smile playing upon her lips as she said in a light hearted tone, "I see! Well, to me it seems like you two are rather close. It warms my heart truly!"

Huh? That sentence made him feel confused for a second, did it seem like they were close? Well, perhaps considering what they've been through but certainly not in that way... right? Forcing himself to dismiss the confusion, he instead smoothed it over to steer the conversation away from any more dangerous questions, his lips moving before he could put much thought to it, "Y-Yes well, she's certainly become someone who I treasure dearly." Ah.

A tinge of pink settled upon his ears then, immediately seeming more interested in being hyperfixated on his mother than Mitsuko, a faint clenching to his jaw as his mind was short circuiting. Why did he say that?! Why did he feel like he meant that?! The change of shyness that overcame her son had caused Honomi to blink a few times before grinning from ear to ear with joy, "Oh my, I haven't seen you so bashful in years! What was it right before you left-"

"Mother, please!" He protested, his face a vibrant shade of crimson now as Honomi was giggling, an amused and almost devilish spark coming to the woman's eyes as with trembling hands she had pinched her son's reddened cheek, "Fuhu! You're so easy to tease!" Much to Haru's growing chagrin as he appeared quite miffed with the situation as his mother was all too happy to make fun of the reddened cheeks and ears of her precious little spring blossom.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: Homage - Mild high club

This woman...was too much. Every word that came out of that mouth of hers seemed to stoke the fire of her embarrassment on and the pitiful state she was in didn't allow Mitsuko to raise a fuss about it either. Nevertheless, she wasn't all powerless, though, as the brunette had noted earlier in the village. The mere recognition from Honomi had eased the minds of the villagers and coaxed them out of their shells and that alone proved that she had a pull here. Some kind of influence over the locals that could prove either useful or disastrous.

The cinereous gaze flickered to the glowing embers of the pit and then the woman. Her attempt to scrutinize the other was thwarted by the joint gentle curl of eyes and lips and she occupied her thoughts with other things. The military presence in the area seemed low. They hadn't sighted any of the overseers yet, but they were undoubtedly in contact with the court. Two cups of steaming tea were presented to the guests and she cradled it in her palm.

Redirected her focus from the warmth of her cheeks to the scalding one in her hand that bled out over the furrows. The tangible and the physical that always provided clarity to tangled thoughts. It hurt, as it often did and as it often had done back in the day as well. But it was something to grasp, to hold onto as the stress caught on in a pinched expression. She had been sloppy before and caused them all sorts of trouble. This woman, who was Haru's mother on one hand, was no different from the others that they had deceived thus far.

The brunette put the clay cup to her mouth in ascertained intentions. The steam flared against her top lip in hot and white wisping breaths. No, she would no longer act on her own accord if it meant the risk of giving up their identities. Therefore, it was also imperative that the information that they shared was kept to a minimum. The fewer clues their enemies had to go on, the longer they could evade them. That concerned whoever they met on the way as well. To keep everyone safe, they would lie and to that end, it was justified. Her reflection stared back at her in the dark concoction, a grimmer version of the Mitsuko that sipped the tea carefully in restored composure.

"As for Mitsuko and I, we met at the Jade palace, she's the current empress."

Then she almost spat it out. Hot liquid searing the back of her throat as she choked and coughed in muffled gasps against the palm of her hand. Idiot! Her face screwed up at the taste of bitter corf and the way her eyes flared said the unsaid part out loud in a glare to the Seer. The face that met her didn't belong to the Seer, however, but the woman who had inched uncomfortably close in her distracted stae.

The brown eyes stirred in breathless fear. Awaited the judgement that churned on inside the woman's head in cogs that eventually clasped onto each other. That gleefulness that had already become synonymous with Honomi in the brunette's mind dangled routinely at the corners of her mouth and she ripped up into a coy smile that rivalled Mitsuko's own in its cryptic jeer.

"I see! Well, to me it seems like you two are rather close. It warms my heart truly!"

The swallow tickled on the back of her tongue in staunch numbness while she blinked the image away. Huh? Her hand groped for the cup once more as she feigned apathy. Grasped at those last precious threads of sanity while her body was deadset on reacting otherwise. Perhaps, it wasn't lost yet. Perhaps she could still gloss over this mishappening. Explain it away in some convoluted excuse that she was the Empress' double that had been tasked to protect the Seer. It was still salvageable, Mitsuko convinced herself and coiled the fingers into stillness upon the cup.

"Y-Yes well, she's certainly become someone who I treasure dearly."

Her face whipped around. "You!" She exclaimed in advancing redness from ears to neck and face in accelerated blood flow. "You- What are you saying now...? You're never this mushy normally..." Her voice trailed off into a hoarse whisper as her gaze haunted his body in erratic eye movements. A certain mellow look in the lips that pressed shut and twitched in pursed displeasure.

The room reeled under her feverish touch and she scrambled to her feet. "P-Please excuse me for a moment. I need to borrow the bathroom" It wasn't a lie but it wasn't the whole truth either. Honomi pointed her down the hallway, explaining that she would find an outhouse on the backside of the building. And find it she did, an unremarkable hole in the ground that called for her to bury her head in it while her heart still had the strength to impel her to do so.

Mitsuko slid down against the wall into a crouch and held her pounding head. His words echoed in taunts between her temples.

Treasure. He treasured her? Her heart soared. Why was that such a big deal to her?

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surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Zoro Battle Theme - One Piece OST [when Sorai shows up]

Haru forced himself not to flinch, the crimson to his face darkening at the verbal reaction from Mitsuko who was all too quick to fumble herself in her response, flustered beyond reasonable belief and uncharacteristically perhaps embarrassed by the words he'd spoken with little to no thought. But, that reaction in of it's own had made his heart twist as he could see her face light up just as red as his own, her hoarse whisper of an accusation that he was never this mushy before had made him cringe internally again as he couldn't bring himself to say anything else in response. For what truly could he say to explain himself? It felt like in his mother's presence, the woman was putting an all too prominent pressure down on him to speak, a looseness to his tongue that normally would not slip like so in any other's presence. It was as if all the outside world had taught him in cautious lips and callous actions were being pulled away, revealing innocent and precious insides that he'd otherwise hide with all of his might.

Feelings that he was trying his best to bury, feelings that hadn't existed weeks ago, and feelings that he must deny... but all the same perhaps useful in its authenticity to get swept into the lie and yet truth that Mitsuko hadn't followed up to try and deny to his mother, a fake relationship of lovers. Lovers they certainly were not, nor did he ever want to be with this fool at his side, or the fool he was quickly being exposed to be before his mother's kindness and the sweet air that swept him up and drowned him to make him fall in line with her pace. If he thought Mitsuko was bad in the way she forced him to match her energy and pace, Honomi was far, far worse in a much different way.

A scrambling of movements would reach the Seer's ears and the excuse that passed by Mitsuko's lips went uncommented by the now completely docile Seer who was trying not to squirm in his place that he'd taken upon the familiar floor of his childhood home, his bad leg trembling underneath his weight and a subsequent nervousness that was not the usual pins and needles that haunted him, a pounding of his heart and a roaring of heartbeat in his ears as his body felt like it was hot, uncomfortably so. He'd not felt in such a way for such a very, very long time... or so it had felt like. All the pitiful denials that he was struggling to push up in tight walls around his heart was being swept away underneath the embarrassed crash and flow of emotions that raged deep within him in raging currents that thanks to his mother's presence he would otherwise be desperately numbing with all of his might.

This affection, this feeling burned and scathed his insides with remembrance, a feeling that he was struggling to hold back and contain unless it would spiral out of his fingers, spin wildly out of his control. These feelings were dangerous, and yet... Mitsuko's features flashed to life behind rubies that now certainly matched the same coloration of his face as fingers clenched nervously around each other, the previous thoughts of him finding her beautiful and his mother's comments on the very same rash soul that normally would be so very confident had made his heart for the first time in quite a while ache as his mother's voice echoed and bounced off of reddened ears with little to no recollection or recognition from the flustered man.

Her name, her face, the expressions she would wear, it all was seared deep within him as his expression softened. A nickname that he'd not used for a very long time it seemed had swelled upward in the wellspring of ancient feeling, his little sun. This sentiment will be buried too, a moment he was grateful that his mother or Mitsuko will remain blind to for perhaps forevermore.

He could never allow such moments to flourish after this moment of springtime seemed to settle upon him, he would never allow himself to leave his guilt behind. Enjoy while he still could, while he still could be honest, for it would be buried underneath a mountain of self imposed snow, never to feel the warmth of springtime again.

Sorai was not unused to seeing weird things, after all being in the slave providence and his mother being the one single ray of energy in the little shack she called home, it wasn't unusual to see his mother trying to do old rites or doing something else that would get her in some form of trouble one way or another. Even his new family that he'd started all too recently held such oddity sometimes that he felt like he'd seen just about everything under the sun... however as the man approached Honomi's home after a day of working in the fields and subsequently fishing like he'd always done to at least bring back some to at least assist the woman before he would proceed to go home to his loving Emao, he had spotted a horse on the outside.

This made the man stop as he stared wide-eyed in horror at the stallion, swallowing back a nervous wave that sent shivers up and down his spine. Was it an overseer? The horse didn't seem to have the familiar armor or even crest upon the bridle that told of the all too dangerous men who were their jailors, and it wasn't as if there was many people who bothered to traverse through Xing, even if they were strangers. He could hear cheerful chattering from the inside of the home, the smell of wildflowers and an air of cheer as Honomi's voice carried on the breeze, happy and excitable which made tense muscles slowly relax. She was... safe, good. But, that still didn't answer his question on who Honomi was being host to, although he knew his mother would be quick to welcome just about anyone in that she took a shine to, who was the mysterious strangers that decided to show up on his mother's doorstep?

Caution made his heavier steps approach with care, the tall man intimidating in the muscular frame that could only be tempered by years of hard work and back breaking labor, slowly eyeing the stallion with a quirk of an eyebrow as he crossed the back of the house, the sound of movement sparking to life apprehension in the muscled body that now stared down at... a woman? Piercing brown eyes glowered down at the stranger, a tension locking in the jaw and peering with confusion at the woman who seemed to be clutching at her head, her attire ragged and a sword at her hip. In all honesty, the sight made the man desire to turn away and take his mother to flee back to his own home. This woman oozed unpredictability, a strangeness in her posture and until she was identified, she was a threat.

With a sharp clenching of his jaw, before he could very much think about his actions, the man's heavy footsteps rounded the corner and soon the hulking figure was standing above Mitsuko, eyeing her with undisguised distrust and slight alarm as he spoke, "Who the hell are you? What are you doing here?" From anyone else, the man named Sorai looked to be an automatic threat, though there was a slight roundness to his face due to him still being in the clutch of adolescence, the ragged brown hair and fierce glowering eyes of the man was automatically a threatening aura, the bag of fish he'd caught slung over one shoulder though from the clenching of his calloused hands, the wariness and slight fear he was holding was beginning to slip through albeit unintentionally. In all honesty, Sorai was the perfect carbon copy of Haru's and his father, a man with a scary face and constant glowering eyes, inheriting a warrior's gaze, while Haru took after their mother in softer features and less threatening aura.

Yes, it was reckless for him to be boldly approaching someone with a weapon, but he'll be damned if he was going to allow his gentle mother to be at any risk while he was around, after all she didn't have anyone else to truly take care of her, not after his brother left. The thought made the man's expression tighten more, the threatening aura oozing from his pores although he didn't take a step toward Mitsuko just yet, his eyes burning holes into the woman who he was now marking as both dangerous and completely weird in his mind.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: Remember You - Adventure Time Omnichord Cover

The ground was brown. The sky was blue. The walls of the house were murky, dappled with rain and sun stains that had either bleached or corroded away at the wood. The fibres ran in splinters, crude and jagged to the touch as if to deter possible visitors from entering it. It was a foreboding threat that told one to expect the inside to be just as dilapidated, if not worse. Not the cosy shelter one would nestle within during day's mood swings, monsoon grief one day and tear drought heatwave the next.

The wood resembled her, pillars erected to withstand the whipping wind of earth's dismay when the tranquillity had stretched out for too long. Become too complacent. Was she too complacent? She must be, Mitsuko thought. Otherwise, she wouldn't have had the time to ponder such useless things, to feel such useless things. She clenched her fists, plural. Subdued the trembles and the newfound humanity under the oscillating murmurs of the wind in petrified emotions. The fingers of her not-so-limp arm bent at the joints slowly, curled in on each other while it relearned the apathy that she practised through the motions.

And just like that, the tempest was over. But the rugged wood wouldn't deter all possible visitors and the proof of this was the footsteps that approached. Heavy and lumbering and of someone who had not learnt to walk quietly but instead relied on the force exerted in reverberated sounds to intimidate. The kind of wind that would just wash over you and sift forcefully through the gaps. The brunette braced herself in tensed muscle, the narrowed eyes their extension as she craned her neck back to examine the figure.

A man...her eyes skimmed over the features of furrowed brows and cheeks that still hadn't hollowed out in the throes of adulthood and corrected herself- a boy loomed over her. Shoulders bringing a challenge in squared posture and impudence overflowing in the daggers he skewered her with mentally. The perfect scapegoat to hone her senses with until the contours were no longer fuzzy, but a sharpened blade.

There was the rustle of fabric and the gentle clatter of the sword bumping into her hip. The brunette rose to full length in opposing scepticism and brushed her hand appraisingly against the hilt. The movement was branded upon contracted pupils and spilt out in the proximity in a scorched scowl. "You first." She demanded, the look-over and cocked brow expressing her unimpressed impression of the man out loud. The faint stench of fish wafted into her face from the bag that hung along his shoulder blades and her nose scrunched up in displeasure.

"You're the one who came yelling first, so you should also be the one to say it first." She retorted nasally in a pinched nose.

"You're the one being weird, skulking around someone's house with a sword." He growled back.

"Right- as if your appearance is any less suspicious. You could be some bully from the village for all I know. An ugly one that is."

"You!", "Get off me you parasite-", "You insulted me first!", "-Well you pulled my hair first!" "Get that fish away from me-".

The youths scuffled wildly at the back of the house. Handfuls of hair being pulled and fists swinging in between gasps for breath. Mitsuko locked his head under her arm and climbed onto his back in legs that coiled around his torso. The young man clawed at her arm in strangled curses and tottered back and forth as the air left compressed lungs.

"-You...Overseer...bastard! I won't- let you...get to mom!"

Her grip loosened in an instant and she exhaled shakily "-Mom?".

A few minutes later they stood side by side on the threshold to the drawing room. Hair ruffled and clothes dishevelled from rough handling of hands. There were still remnants of sparks of adrenaline in glittering eyes and elevated breaths descended in redness upon cheeks. The young man froze on the spot at the sight of the familiar figure beside his mother and then he burst forth. "Big brother!" His face smoothed out completely of all the frustrated crinkles in the shout and the fish fell towards the floor in abandoned arms that clenched around the Seer instead.

Mitsuko quickly launched forward to catch the bag in scrunched features that compensated for his lack thereof. "How in the world can that giant be the little brother?" She muttered under mouthy breaths that suppressed the fish smell.


surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Haru's lips and throat tingled with the sensation of the tea, still warm that was now soothing the raw insides and settling in his stomach, his mother being all too quick to chatter away excitedly about the new additions and the families that had expanded, including their own. The surprise that flickered across Haru's face in response had made his lips part as he sucked in a stunned breath, "Sorai is a father now?" The sentence alone was alien as it slipped past his lips. That Sorai? The little soul that was all too quick to start crying if Haru had to leave for the day? The same Sorai that always was his shadow when he returned home, begging for Haru to play with him? The very same little idiot that was quick to leap on his back and demand piggyback rides then proceed to cheer in giggles and innocent happiness as Haru would oblige?

Haru's mind could only settle on the image of his brother from three years ago, thirteen years old and very much still small due to lack of nutrition, the big watery eyes that poured tears down muddy cheeks and brown hair a ragged disarray as he wailed, protesting for Haru to not go, the little hands that wrapped around his middle and sobbed as if he were dying, in such pain that his big brother was leaving him behind... that poor little soul had already grown up so much. Placing the cup of tea down, he huffed as he shook his head at Honomi, "I.. I- are you sure, mother? Was it through... that?" The unspoken words, arranged from an Overseer when the population got too low and men would eventually be picked and chosen to be sold off after starting a family to produce another one elsewhere. It happened to their father after all, though the thought made Haru's heart clench in a mixture of worry and horror as Honomi's expression gentled, seeing the worry lines that had never been so deep before on her son's face had made her lips turn down slightly.

What had her eldest boy seen to cause such deep lines upon his face? What was he not telling her? These thoughts filtered through the silent woman's mind, though she too was quick to dispel the sadness, the stress as she hummed, her tone light, "Don't you worry! Sorai isn't in any danger of being relocated elsewhere. No, instead he fell in love!" Another expression of shock settled across Haru's face as he stared blank eyed at his mother. Again his mind would think: are we talking about the same Sorai? The boy was an idiot, a lovable one but still an idiot all the same. At least Haru had the sense to identify his emotions and was able to communicate them well or separate them entirely from his actions before reacting, Sorai only had two modes before; happy or rash, reckless. There was no in between for other emotions to rattle around in the seemingly empty skull of his, and he was all too quick to react on the very first emotion that-

Ah. That's probably why. Haru placed a hand over his face as Honomi was all too eager to relay him the details of who had captured his idiot brother's heart, a woman named Emao that he had been all too quick to leave Honomi's little abode and settle at her side, following her around like a lost puppy and clinging to her whenever he would get the chance. "Oh you should see it! They're so cute together!" Honomi giggled, her brown eyes bright as Haru had shook his head immediately, a snort leaving his lips, "I still can't believe it... and you say he's already had a child by her?" "Yes! Oh she's so adorable, and they're expecting another one!"

"Huh?" More shock flowed through the Seer then, his mind reeling. How the hell did his brother manage that when he was still floundering... ah, wait. No he didn't mean that thought. And it wasn't as if that life was for him anyways! Certainly not. He didn't have the luxury of his brother's more easy-going nature, nor would he permit himself to do-

"Big brother!" The smell of fish met Haru's nose, one that he'd not noticed as he was far too shell-shocked to react properly, or even truly notice the giant that had hurled himself at his unsuspecting big brother, being enveloped in muscular arms that threatened to wrap around the slender frame of the Seer who had choked as he felt the life being squeezed yet again in the tight bear hug he was receiving as his head was pressed against the giant's chest, eyes wide in a mix of both pain and surprise as Sorai's voice, far deeper than he remembered had echoed above the Seer's head, "I-I'm so happy to see you!" This was punctuated by another bone crushing squeeze as Haru wheezed, "..I.. am... -cough- happy to... ow.. too tight!"

The pained exclamation seemed enough to let Sorai let go, "Ah! I'm sorry! Are you okay?!" Too loud in his voice as clumsy hands attempted to try and smooth over his rattled elder brothers appearance, tears already swelling in the fierce brown eyes that had glowered at Mitsuko earlier, and instead were nothing but the same look of a puppy's as Haru had suppressed himself from wincing as he craned his head back and offer a big smile at his very disheveled giant brother, "I'm... okay?" The reassurance had ended in a question as he looked from his brother to Mitsuko who looked equally as disheveled, causing Haru's expression to immediately drop into the ever familiar, 'What the hell did you do?' Granted this look was not centered on her, but now to his brother too who seemed to remember the scathing glare as he withered now like a fragile leaf, seemingly more interested in the floorboards.

Both of them were clearly in trouble, though Honomi seemed to recognize the expression immediately, her voice ringing out before Haru could even open his mouth, "Haru, there's no need! I'm sure it was a misunderstanding and no one was hurt, right?" Her sunny smile however did not suppress the chill to her eyes as the sharp gaze settled on the very silent giant of a man who flinched again as Honomi spoke in her same sweet tone, "You know how Sorai is, always jumping to conclusions. Though it is very rude to be picking fights with guests." Her smiling face caused even Haru to be a bit unnerved as the Seer had looked aside from Honomi, the sweet atmosphere the woman was giving off now a threatening aura, as brown eyes burned holes into Sorai, "Now please, don't force our guests to carry your bag, okay?" Though the silent 'or else' lingered under honeyed words as Sorai was quick to turn on his heel and approach Mitsuko, gingerly taking the bag of fish that he'd dropped in his haste, a more timid and all the same awkward apology slipped from his lips as he did so, Honomi's ever observant gaze watching him like a hawk as Haru had settled back down in his spot, feeling little sparks of anger brewing underneath Honomi's kind and sweet surface despite the woman not even raising her voice once... though in its own way far more terrifying than if she had resorted to yelling, something which Honomi never had done.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: Dewdrop and Little Anne Ladybird- Chypho

The brunette's facade cracked up in a facile smile at the scene, one that grazed over it in touches of feathers upon their glowing faces. They looked happy, she noted and captured the moment with the shutter of lids. Mitsuko opened them once more to study the scene, excerpts from the past surfacing in her head as she did. -The mother that had been seized from the monastery, his enforcer that had haunted him in nagging during his wildest years, and the little brother that had been one out of many victims of Haru's roughness in the past.

It was almost unthinkable to apply the word 'rowdy' to the gentle features that now saw themselves tamed. Familial affection reining in the indignant twitches around eyes and mouth. The scolding glare he sent her way made Mitsuko reconsider, though, if the word 'bully' couldn't be used instead. She averted her gaze. He had a habit of judging others and making them feel bad about it after all.

To her nonexistent defence, however, had the bumbling fool, who was now too busy wiping his snot on the Seer, been the main aggressor of it. She had only reacted to the physical threat that he had subjected her to in hair yanking. Granted, the so-called self-defence had consisted of her replicating it on his hair instead. When she considered it like that and her recent two apologies for similar behaviour...Mitsuko cleared her throat awkwardly to dispel the thoughts.

Honomi subdued her sons with frightening ease and soon they were seated around the fire pit once more with an additional guest amidst them. The woman had shifted in her seat to rearrange Mitsuko's hair back into place. Delicate fingers making short work of the strands in an uncharacteristic braid that the brunette hadn't asked for. Nevertheless, she didn't oppose it, as was becoming a commonplace affair now. Merely listened to the murmured coos that were added onto smoothing caresses and suppressed whatever goosebumps that spawned aftewards in its place.

At the end of the day, Mitsuko didn't want to risk attracting her anger after the previous display of it.

The 'younger brother' shuffled where he had begun to prepare two of the fishes that comprised the result of the day's efforts. He raked the knife along the gut to carefully hollow out its insides of organs and scraped the scales clean off the tender flesh. What was left after that were four white filets that he slapped in a bowl of salt generously. He lined them up on the metal grid that had been installed over the firepit and paid a close eye to the sizzling so they wouldn't burn before he flipped them.

"So you're Haru's wife then?" He absentmindedly commented in the middle of the routine that flowed through him like water in a pipe. Whether it was the callouses or the toned muscles that played under the tanned skin like strings being tugged, it was evident that much of his growth stemmed from physical hardship. The wide horizontal line across shoulders that was made for balancing water buckets was in direct contrast to the vertical pulsing of his biceps. Prompted images of an axe being brought down in a swing overhead to flicker by her trailing gaze over his arms before she faced away.

"Nice catch, big bro!" His lips curled up to reveal twinkling canines as he studied her and Mitsuko suddenly felt quite the kinship with the fish that was shrivelling up on the grid. She sipped her tea in what was an exasperated expression, facial muscles too tired to pull another stunt as she had done before. The liquid trickled down her sore throat in soothing warmth. "Not yet." She corrected and was interrupted by joint gasps from either side of her.

"Oh dear-" Honomi raised her hand to mask her expression and Sorai, as the man had been introduced, shot out to clutch his brother's leg. His eyes flashed open in brief remembrance and he quickly withdrew his hands in a skittering look. "Ah- Sorry. I was just- Why have you not proposed yet?" His hand rubbed the nape of his neck nervously and he nursed an oafish tremble in his bottom lip.

Honomi probably knew that the spouse of an Empress wasn't something she could choose herself. Neither did Mitsuko think that the Seer was vying for that spot. She had, in truth, received many proposals back in the day. Though it had nothing to do with personal fondness most of the time. It was always a part of a bigger plot, a bigger game of political factions, trade offers and alliances that she had evaded for as long as she could. Actions that had generated many opinions among her ministers who, needless to say, saw it fit to take it into their own hands as they had that fateful night.

Her brown eyes dimmed a little under the curtain of lashes. It had been another thread to control her with, another chain to anchor her with. What was her life, if not a comedic sketch? Performed by the girl who had cried wolf one time too much.
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surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Haru had found himself settled in silence after the all too rowdy occurrence of his younger brother appearing on the scene, a huff of breath leaving him as he resisted the urge to nurse his ribs of which had suffered quite a bit of damage from both his brother and his mother. Mute in the warmth that would settle upon himself as he sipped from the cup of tea before him, his composure regained and settled upon gentle features as his mind was fit to drift. Although he was overjoyed certainly, he had forgotten how... energetic and excitable both his family members were, information about how they were living now had filtered around his head as well as the Seer taking the time to lock down on any unnecessary emotions. After all, even if he had spoken genuinely before, he needed to be more careful.

The smell of fish permeated his senses along with the salt that also had filtered around him. It was familiar, and the thought had caused a bit more of his body to relax. That was until Sorai, in all of his thoughtlessness had spoken, nearly causing Haru to choke, a sharp sucking in of breath as the tea scalded his throat, liquid trapped unexpectedly within at the unnecessary comments from his idiot of a brother, though he forced his expression to not reveal much, as the question was directed to Mitsuko instead of him; followed up by a swift compliment from his younger brother. Whatever, it's not a big deal-

At least it hadn't been a big deal. They had certainly faked being a married couple before, it would be a matter of just returning to that lie and performing accordingly. But, then Mitsuko simply had to say 'not yet' which made tension flare down the Seer's back as he was bracing himself for the inevitable, and sure enough the gasps had made him want to dig a hole and hide. Did she do that on purpose in return for him not thinking earlier? A petty action in response to the thoughtless honesty he'd expressed earlier? If it was, he certainly didn't appreciate it... though this was his own fault for not insisting on clarifying their relationship from the start. But even then, he didn't know what the hell to label themselves normally aside from allies.

A headache blossomed to life within the man's expression and a hiss of pain flared past his lips, expression twisting before he could even stop the flare of agony that sparked from his already battered leg, Sorai's grip being far too tight yet again underneath the large calloused hand that had clutched his bad leg, the poor leg in having flared to life in trembling as his hand gingerly tried to suppress it, his breathing having sparked to be uneven due to the pain that had sparked anew, "No, I'm fine." He assured firmly to his brother in the stumbling apology as he pressed for an answer, an answer that Haru honestly could not give immediately.

Crimson eyes shifted briefly to Mitsuko's face then, a furrowing of eyebrows settling upon his face as he spotted the subdued light to her eyes, though perhaps it was a trick of the light? The lovely dark browns that he was beginning to find that he could drown in were holding an emotion; something unpleasant. Though Haru had never allowed himself to be concerned in whatever affairs she'd wrapped herself in when she had become Empress, he was well aware of the pressure that would inevitably be placed on one's shoulders due to his interactions with Mai-Jing. The spouse of the Empress or Emperor were usually never chosen due to love, it was always political gain or personal benefit for those within the court, another tool to keep power or become enslaved to another power, so the choice would always have to be taken with care.

One always would cast aside a heart in such endeavors, for it mattered not. It was a bitter truth, and perhaps even more so heavier on Mitsuko, one who had been thrown into a place that was willing to chew her up and rip her to pieces if she did not fit in the mold, a place that would have resulted in her death if he hadn't intervened.

She was unhappy, drowning under the weight, he could see that much. A poor, precious fool that could not escape, that desired to live and whose light he would not permit to flicker, to wane. The shadows that graced her eyes made an ancient feeling of weeping in his heart to surge, if only he could chase away those shadows in her eyes, to free her from her burden and allow her to be free, to be happy. Kindness settled upon the gentle features of the Seer then, the heartfelt desire that had kindled in his heart for the poor fool at his side prompting tender words, honest words to be expressed, for both the fool at his side and to ease the tension that had settled within his silence as he faced his family, parted his lips and responded.

"...Until I am able to make her happy, until I can give her everything she desires in this world, then I am unworthy to try and shackle her to me." Honesty rang in those words, no shadow of a lie upon his face that remained gentle, and shockingly genuine, though he added in a quick quip to his brother, promptly elbowing the man in the ribs, "Though, I'd rather you not ask those sort of questions! You really don't think before you talk, do you?!" A laugh was quick to follow at the stunned expression on Sorai's face, the fumbling apology that followed as the Seer grinned, disguising the embarrassment he felt at that moment. Ugh, that was far too much for him.

In the playful jabbing from the Seer, crimson eyes flashed briefly to Mitsuko's face, almost as if to see the reaction that would bring forth from her, but it only lasted a second as he dismissed the desire just as quickly to not look after all. Even in the faint lighting, he was beginning to hate how he found her so lovely, his lips twitching slightly in his plastered grin as he was bantering back and forth with his flustered brother. However, he didn't regret what he said, he was... unworthy of her. Not a single time had he done something beneficial for her outside of preserving her life, he was still very much weak and with how Byakko had expressed, a danger toward to not just Mitsuko alone, but the world as well.

To the woman that held so much, that he'd hugged so tightly and she had shed tears, tears that he didn't view out of her request for him to not look, the very same that wanted him to live, to not leave her alone and stated that he was all she had... she truly deserved happiness and everything in the world if that would chase away such sorrow in her eyes. When did he even start to care whether she was sad or not? Perhaps he'd been swayed by the fool within the grasslands, or was it during the play? He didn't know, but nonetheless his worthiness of Mitsuko was in his mind quite low, but he sincerely wished for her happiness though he was almost too positive that it lay not with him; for if she desired to become Empress once again, if that road would lead her to what she desired, he would have to stand aside and force these warm feelings that fluttered about in his chest to die.

These emotions must die, if only for her sake, for he already knew them well, already identified them and already was trying his best to suppress them. He mustn't allow himself to continue this path... he already knew where it led. He would be alone at the end of it all, rotting and desiring a hand that would never reach back to him, unworthy time and time again of the humans he loved so dearly.

Besides, it wasn't possible for her to feel the same way as he. It wasn't possible for her to desire him in such a way, for the path would just lead to a severing of the bond between them at the end of the road. This useless sentiment would also die with him too; and this journey would perhaps fade into a dream like it had never happened as he was certain he as he existed now would fade from her memory until he didn't exist. Typical, but not unexpected.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: how to never stop being sad (instrumental) - dandelion hands

She watched him. She watched him even if she didn't want to. The gentle sunlight that had finally found its home on the horizon. All dancing rays in the sparkles of smiles and chimes of laughter that ricocheted back on the stars that were his family. Speckles of light, million years away from the human who watched it from the edge of the world. She could count them, trace lines between uplifted corners of lips and paint a picture of a constellation- but she could never join them. Never reach them in the eyes that wavered under the suspended wind inside the four walls of the room. Four walls that seemed so small yet loomed all the more in their threat of caving in on her.

Their eyes met and Mitsuko looked away. Fled to the murky junction between wall and floor as she nestled her thoughts into the cracks. Hid them away so as to forget about them because out of sight, out of mind. It was a funny little quip, her sudden willingness to go along with the lies they had been assigned. But that was also all it was, a quip. Something to pike the Seer with in order to distract herself. His voice was carried through the air disembodied.

"...Until I am able to make her happy, until I can give her everything she desires in this world, then I am unworthy to try and shackle her to me."

Oh, Haru. Mitsuko snorted and the trembles of the sound transformed into tugging at her lips. Somewhere in the middle of vapid falters and the peaks of euphoria were her heart. A wry thing that cried out wearily against the glimpses of pearly teeth as it twisted in her chest. That's so like you. The brunette embraced his familiar figure in smiling eyes, crow's feet more sombre than jubilant.

Don't you get it? The unworthy one is me and the one who is holding the shackles is also me.

Evening came fast and in a blur and the whole world appeared to blot out in differing shades of red to a face that wasn't there. Merely existed under its glares as fingers counted furrows in the porch beneath her. Ridges against ridges and uneven nails latching onto the indents. The floor creaked beside her and the warmth that radiated off the slender figure eased her lids in relaxation over tired eyes that didn't look.

"Is he asleep?" She inhaled.

Even breathing was a difficult task to do when the world was burning down in front of her.


surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
Ul'dah Night Theme 1.0 [Twilight over Thanalan] - FFXIV: A Realm Reborn OST

Soft steps of the woman approached the younger, afternoon skies a pink-reddish hue painted by the light of the dying sun as Honomi gazed upon the face with eyes that remained shut to the world, a face that was so young but to her gaze held so much heaviness. However, considering her son had let it slip that this woman was the empress, it was no surprise to her to see the heaviness underneath her eyes, a tenseness to her facial features and a somberness when her elder son had spoken such heartfelt words out loud to the prodding of her younger. She was troubled, and these troubles although unknown to the former priestess was weighing down on her shoulders. A sadness reflected then in deep brown pools as she turned her head to the skies, pity flaring to life in her heart before she could even put a voice to the thoughts she was gathering one by one, thoughts that lingered in her mind in a frenzied state and comparing this soul to the one that had spirited her son away three years prior.

There were questions indeed that she wished to ask, questions that she had every intention of knowing the answers to, but more importantly she wished to know the soul that lingered at her son's side, to understand if just a little bit more who he had entangled his fate with. Wrinkles formed concerned creases upon the woman's face, gazing upon the reddened clouds above as she had asked if Haru was asleep, prompting a gentle smile to briefly flicker upon Honomi's face, "Yes, he is. I think all that talking with Sorai tired him out." She chuckled a bit, remembering how reluctant Sorai was to leave for that evening, excusing himself as he would withdraw home to Emao, evidently clear in the attachment he still had to Haru.

Silence settled again as the smile would fade, her expression finally betraying the years that she'd suffered, though her features were still soft, it was one time where she allowed herself to stop smiling. The seriousness that settled over the woman permeated and chased away all the laughter, all the cheer as she now spoke, tone still gentle but now cautious, "Forgive me if I may be rude... but knowing that you are the empress makes me... nervous. Though, not a fault of your own." Honomi's eyes lowered to her twisted fingers, the digits trembling restlessly, as her lips pursed, "Though, this nervousness centers around my son. Perhaps I am being overprotective, or overreacting but... the one that had taken him away, the one named Mai-Jing, there was something dark. Something... foul about her, and yet in my hopes to try and give him a better life.. I-I had overlooked it. Seeing Haru today... I regret the decision I made."

Her hands clasped together then, digits still trembling and no longer fitting perfectly, the stinging of her burns flaring to life and causing frown lines to deepen on the kind face that still hadn't looked at the younger woman beside her, "All the life in his eyes... is gone." The words were spoken so quietly, painfully as she closed her eyes and shook her head, "I know not what they did to him, but if you intend to hurt him further then I have no intentions of allowing him to go with you. Not this time." The words were spoken a bit firmly as she looked to Mitsuko, her expression a mask, holding back the waves of kindness that would otherwise be reaching out to the woman, attempting to probe and observe her reaction for herself before she could make any true judgement on her character. From the little bits and pieces she had seen, the soul beside her was certainly ragged and weighed down with sorrow, one that she couldn't understand just yet, but didn't reek particularly of malice.

But, she wanted to make sure this time. She wanted to make sure that this wasn't going to be a mistake.

"...What are your intentions with him? Why do you want him to be at your side?" And the unspoken and more silent question 'Will you hurt him again?'. Questions that were unrelenting and were digging deep, going to the root of the issue and pulling to reveal what lay hidden. The deep brown pools remained unreadable for this duration, her posture firm and the slight furrowing of worried brows gazing at the younger woman beside her, trying to unearth the character that she was hiding in the brief exchanges. There was something more there, Honomi knew that much, and although she never would be so rough in her questions, this was all necessary.

To keep her little spring blossom safe, and to understand the new soul that was trying to spirit him away again. She didn't want to feel as if she was casting him off to a monster, not knowing the depths of the pain she had unintentionally inflicted upon Haru by allowing Mai-Jing to take him three years prior.

Sei Shonagon

lord of the flies
Kanamori no Mitsuko

Theme: Merry christmas mr Lawrence- Ryuichi Sakamoto

The house was quiet. Devoid of the earlier cheerfulness that had resounded through it in laughter and reminiscing voices. If silence had an echo it was this, the absolute nothingness that was more deafening than denial itself. The brunette slowed her breaths to a gentle murmur, one that matched the gentle smile upon the elder's face in lukewarm engagement.

For even if they motioned to curl along with eyes in bliss it was preceded by something else entirely. Anxiety the antecedent to wrinkles and pain the foundation that eventually surfaced when she shed it all in unravelling shoulders. Suddenly, all that remained was a woman. Withering away in shell first in wound-riddled skin that minced its way through the flesh to bones and left scars in irreversible places.

Like the fingers which shook ceaselessly under the grip of memories recalled to the surface.

How could she still smile? Still will such empathy and emotion to take place when such marks should have dampened them? Did she not lose hope? Did she not despair? Her breath stumbled over her lips in a shudder in its journey to the lungs and the brunette hastened to cover it up in retracted knees. The movement faulty in its logic as the tensed muscles and curved spine only served to squeeze her chest further. Mitsuko averted her gaze. Was she the only one that was faulty?

Or was she the only one that was a coward?

As if to mirror the woman's honesty her mind stirred up unwanted emotions as well. Unwanted pictures that were dusted off from the ashes in which she had buried them deep. The Seer's face- Haru's face the recurring theme through them all that she was drawn towards. In trails over his face, precious gem eyes that were socketed in crown jewels upon marble cheeks and lips carved smooth by the tides of time.

What were her intentions? The woman asked. Oh, oh. Mitsuko wanted to weigh those cheeks in her palms, rub his skin to life in sparks of red and watch it flare up in flames under the imprints of her fingertips. She wanted to chase the sparks in firefly-lit paths upon the slope of his nose, under fluttering eyelashes and eyebags that curdled frustration in agitated swells. Ghost along the cheekbones in hot lapping kisses and descend the contour of his jaw to suckle at the edge of the entrance that was his mouth.

The images rewinded until the canvas was threadbare, just a bunch of frazzled thoughts that tangled into fluttering lashes blinking them away. Her intentions...what were they again? Her heartbeats mellowed out once more as Honomi declared that she wouldn't relinquish him if it meant that he would suffer. Smart woman.

At least, she had learnt from her mistakes- Mitsuko, on the other hand, had not.

She saw him in the swirls of the floorboards, the dirt that stretched out underneath it, the hay-stacked roof above and in the shadows of her bangs. Loose strands that provided cover for downcast brown eyes in a veil. "You're right in regretting it." Mitsuko confirmed for the woman in a monotone timbre "You shouldn't let him go this time". The girl peered up through her soft veil to hold Honomi's gaze in hardened truth.

"I can't guarantee anything." A breeze swept through the landscape to playfully tug at their figures. The strands undulated onto her cheeks in tickles and a glimpse of the red rims that adorned the corners of her eyes.

The wind ceased and the hair fell back into place over scorched skin. "...You should give me up as well if anyone asks." Her gaze dipped to the contorted fingers and she looked away. The brunette breathed in.

"Don't apologise for being rude. You can be rude, I haven't done anything worthy of the name Empress anyway." When she thought back to the village and its people, the land that was starved by its master and the scars that plagued the woman beside her it did, indeed, appear that way. "-I am but a sword Honomi. I will protect him with my life if that makes you feel any better, it is the least that I can do. I just...wish to be his sword" Her eyes stirred in glassy bittersweet defeat as her voice trailed off to a whisper

"I wish I had the power to make him stay".


surviving on coffee
Roleplay Type(s)
The Faerie Ring [Il Mheg Theme #2] - FFXIV: Shadowbringers OST

Honomi waited patiently for an answer, an answer that seemed to brew underneath the younger woman beside her, answers that soon flowed past her lips in honesty that she had been hoping to hear, hoping to see. Her answer had made the firm brown of the woman's eyes gentle once more, thawing the previous anxiety and worries that spun from the immediate response. A response that resonated with truth, that told her to not let him go this time, to keep him within a safe embrace and to shield him from harm. Raw in the honesty that expressed that the young woman with a sword at her hip could not guarantee her anything, that there was no possible way that Haru would perhaps be perfectly safe with her. A pessimistic attitude, perhaps made such a way due to the harshness of reality, tempering a soul to become hardened and yet... this very same soul was expressing that Honomi should keep him safe, no true faith in the self that lingered at her side.

Ah, how it reminded her of the man she had fallen for all those years ago, just as bitter and cold to the world, a realist to the extreme and one that tried his best to wear armor around his heart and his mind. A man whose stubbornness even reflected in both of her children's souls, a man who was a ronin, disgraced and wandering with not a single place to call his home. One that she pitied and loved wholeheartedly, and one she still missed dearly even if she would not express the desire verbally to see him again, if not in this life... then surely they would meet in the next.

Misty-eyed, the gentle woman had closed her eyes as a smile finally filtered across her face, a soft hum leaving her lips in response to Mitsuko saying that she should give her up if anyone came looking for her. Again. There it was again, that ring of selflessness, though perhaps due to guilt or was it genuine in of itself? A voice that was heavy, condemning herself by saying she was not worthy of being Empress, self-loathing perhaps? It was a heavy burden indeed, familiar in its pain that resonated within the woman as she had finally settled on desiring to be her precious son's sword. The finality of it, the resignation to be merely used as a tool was worrisome, but all the same it showed more of the woman's character than what she could have possibly observed in the brief interactions and the searching of expressions as she had watched the woman light up in brilliant fire underneath the gentleness of words that her son expressed.

Oh dear, what another troublesome soul indeed had crossed her door. What a troublesome soul that her son seemed so fond of. Perhaps Haru took after Honomi more than she had previously thought?

They couldn't leave such battered souls well enough alone, now could they?

They couldn't help but love them... now could they?

Then there was the soft whisper, a whisper that shared with her how strong that feeling betrayed her, the intent that truly lay underneath her claim of desiring to be a sword. She didn't want to let Haru go, and yet she would if Honomi deemed it so, would allow herself to be handed over - an implication that rang of darkness, and there was a longing that she could detect. She'd seen it time and time again in stubborn people, people who couldn't be honest to themselves like her beloved, it made a sigh leave her lips then as misty eyes had finally opened and looked in renewed warmth at the woman at her side. She certainly was far different from the blackened soul that leaked evil, whose face had been painted falsely as an angel who exceeded false warmth. This was a soul that had been treated harshly and now was clinging to a warmth, a spark that perhaps chased the darkness away, bathing in its warm light to at long last feel a bit a peace. How could she hate the child at her side?

Shaky hands had raised then and lightly pressed against the woman's cheek, a trembling thumb gentle only in the way a loving mother's touch would be, no judgement within the warm brown eyes that now gazed affectionately at Mitsuko as if she were looking at a long lost daughter, "Thank you for being honest with me." The gratitude rang true within the warm voice, and the warmth of the shaking burned hands that now dropped to her lap once more, "You're a good girl, Mitsuko, perhaps a bit rough around the edges... but your heart is still good." She chuckled a bit as her head now turned to the burning skies above, the sunset washing over features that now had eased away all of the worry and stress, as if a weight had been lifted from Honomi's shoulders, "You remind me too much of the man who fathered my children, both of you are very similar, always willing to become a weapon to protect, trying to reduce yourself to nothing more than a tool... but you must remember, you are still human. Do you really think that becoming a sword and nothing more will keep you happy? Will you deny yourself out of fear?"

A hum left her lips again as she shook her head, "That is not a way to live, Mitsuko... that will not make him, or you happy. Nor will it make me happy. Life is to be enjoyed, every passing moment, every high and every low, it is to be savored, enjoyed. Feel every emotion, cry, laugh, be angry if you wish to; there is no shame in that, and there is no shame in being a little bit selfish now and then. I have a feeling that the joys of life had been denied from you to make you like this, right?" Warm brown eyes turned once more to Mitsuko, her gaze settling on the sword still at her hip, her eyes reflecting pain, a genuine pain though not for herself but for the young woman at her side, tears swelling to life and cascading down the cheeks of Honomi as she whispered softly, "It is a shame.. truly a grave sin that you've had to suffer so."

Trembling hands had raised to wipe away the tears of sympathy that were flowing free as a soft smile remained upon her lips, "I trust you with him, I can tell that you make him truly happy. He wouldn't have been so honest earlier if you didn't. If anything he takes a bit too much after me!" A lighthearted joke as Honomi had allowed herself to laugh, warm and soft as she reached over and gently pinched her cheek, "And I'll take none of that 'I should give you up if anyone asks', who do you take me for? Hmm?" The warmth that radiated from Honomi had settled, kindness ringing in her tone as she said softly, affectionately, "I refuse to give up a precious, beautiful daughter."
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