[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:06 pm

The days of the rurouni were often long, filled with travel and, with any hope, entirely uneventful. Though Hijikata invariably would run into ruffians or bandits that thought him easy prey, the mild-mannered teacher preferred the long days of travel where it was him, his sandals against the dirt, the weather and land around him, and the guidance of the spirits. It was because he knew intense action, the sensation of blood rushing through his veins, the smell of blood and rainwater on steel, that he'd learned to appreciate quiet days like this. Soft clouds drifted through the sky, offering perfect contrast between cool shadows and warm sunlight. As normal, he wore his jingasa, keeping to himself as he traveled along the worlds many ignored or forgotten roads.

He'd been told that there were plenty of towns in Dragon Country that were in need of teachers of the sword. Though it saddened him to hear of so many people not knowing the blessings that knowing of the sword could bring them, it also meant that he had an opportunity to teach them how people might come to better themselves through its study. Though the village he headed toward was not his final destination, he reasoned that getting to know the people here, as it often did in other nations, would allow him insight into their countrymen as a whole. As he stepped into the town, however, he heard a distinct sound, one he normally only heard when he was offering tutelage himself:

The sound of clashing bokuto.

Hijikata, find himself pleasantly surprised, quickened his pace, from a slow stroll to a calm and inquisitive stride. As he got closer to the source, another sound punctuated the crack and whish of lacquered wood flowing through the air: a woman's voice, giving orders and instructions on drills. Nearing the sound, it didn't appear to be any sort of spectacle to the townspeople, meaning that they understood how meaningless a person's gender was in connection with their ability to train and teach. This warmed his heart, as many of the most important lessons he'd learned from his mother, yet ancient and outdated traditions and laws kept the opposite sex oppressed in other countries, even a few considering them to be lesser citizens for it.

Rounding the corner of the street, he slowed his pace as he spotted what he had been seeking: the town's dojo, which appeared to be part of a store. It was well maintained and kept in pristine order, but curiously the students were practicing outside, a large class gathered in neat rows under the sun's rays. Approaching slowly and calmly so as not to disturb the lesson, he sat on a small bench not too far away from the practicing students, just across the street as he listened to the sounds of the younglings train. It truly brought him great joy. Though he bore mostly traditional clothing, the coloring and make of the fabrics of his haori made him stand out, and it wasn't too long before one of the students brought his presence to the teacher's attention.

He would make no move. Unless he was given permission, he would not violate the sanctity of another's dojo.

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[Plotboard Part 1] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:55 am

Suzume had never anticipated her lessons becoming so popular. Certainly these markets were popular but she hadn't realized so many had a wish to know the ways of the sword. She wasn't sure if it was specifically Yoshin they had an interest in, though that was what she knew and taught, but many had started coming regularly. It had become popular enough that Suzume had begun teaching her classes outside whenever she could. As the session drew to a close and her students took up their final position, Suzume began to walk through the ranks. She was in her usual garb, hat included with its little bells. In the stillness of the formation they could be heard ringing lightly as she moved.

Inevitably there was a shift as a student was unable to hold position and their bokuto brushed the top of her hat, causing a louder ring than the rest. A snap echoed through the group as the bokuto in Suzume's own hands left a sizeable mark on the student and she emerged from the formation, turning to face them. "Understand the pain of a mistake." she called over them, the same lesson she had hated so much as a child when she learned from her Sensei, from Kotone. "Understand and know what you inflict." she added, pausing to look at everyone a moment. Finally satisfied she motioned with her hand and the group collectively went into a respectful bow before beginning to disperse.

Suzume watched, sighing as she let out a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding, and finally she turned her eyes upon the newcomer who had watched. She walked over, resting the practice weapon over a shoulder as she spoke to the man. "I am Hiraku Suzume, may I help you?" she asked rather kindly, her hand on the practice weapon shifting almost as if to show off the ring with the symbol of her father's organization, of Chishiki. After all, she had no idea if this man was here for her dojo, or for questions about herself or her organization. It never hurt to be ready for all of the above.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:12 pm

Hijikata caught the very end of the lesson, it seemed. Noticing her carefully scrutinizing her students' forms, Hiji noticed the differences in the ways they taught. Her methods were a bit more firm than his, but nonetheless, they both taught the same precepts. Do not fear pain in training. Though its lessons aren't sweet, they are vital. By accepting pain for what it is and what it means, you learn both to avoid pain yourself... and you learn why you should refrain from inflicting it upon others unless only necessary. Some might call such a lesson naive for a warrior, but Hijikata believed it to be central to a warrior's training. The best warrior was one who never had to use their blade but was always ready to do so. A true warrior appreciated life in all its forms, and they knew that taking life was only necessary when no other option was available to them.

After the students dispersed, the teacher, a woman of silent strength and striking beauty, approached him. He calmly stood and removed his jingasa, the white sweatband wrapped around his forehead as he smiled, his long hair in a low ponytail. "Good afternoon to you, Sensei," Hijikata offered with, hoping his recognition of her status with the honorific would properly communicate his respect. "I hope you can forgive my imposition. I've traveled to many lands and seen far too many dojo abandoned and unused. It greatly warmed my heart to see another teaching the sword in these lands. I couldn't help but sit and watch the lesson."

It was evident from his posture, his silently strong demeanor, and the ease with which the katana and wakizashi hung from his hip that he was a samurai. But it seemed he didn't have a lord. He was a rurouni. "My name is Toshizou Hijikata. I hail from Grass Country. It is an honor to meet a fellow teacher such as yourself, Hiraku-sensei," Hiji introduced, his spirit aglow with happiness.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Thu Nov 07, 2019 12:42 pm

Honestly Suzume blushed a bit as she was referred to as 'Sensei'. She was barely used to the students calling her that. "Honestly outside of lessons I'm not sure I'm worthy of the honorific." she admitted. "Please, just call me Suzume." she added. "I have some spare time at the moment, why don't you join me for tea, Hijikata-Sama?" she asked, motioning towards the storefront. Assuming of course that he took her up on her offer, she'd lead him into the building. Straight ahead of them upon entering was a set of stairs that led up to her small apartment, but to the left was the open space of the dojo practice floor. She walked around the stairs to a space underneath them. It was essentially a small room which had its own kitchenette and small table with two chairs. Suzume started the tea almost immediately before setting a few oddments on the table to go with it.

"I'm afraid I only teach beginner classes on Yoshin, though I really should make it a point to travel to another dojo and learn more myself. I've been trying to contact my own Sensei for that purpose but she seems to have moved on to another place and I am not sure where yet." she admitted, turning to take a seat at the table, presumably with Hijikata. "So what brings you to Dragon Country then?"

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:07 pm

Hiji's calm demeanor didn't waver, though he smiled a bit wider in embarrassment at such an honorific. Never had he been graced with the title, nor did he even remotely thing he deserved it. "You honor me with your generosity, Suzume-san. Please, call me Hiji," he replied, accepting the offer. "A cup of tea sounds wonderful, thank you."

Hijikata's piercing indigo eyes scanned around the building as they went inside, taking it all in. The practice dojo to the right brought back memories of home, as they'd had a similar type of practice room at his home when he was growing up. He had to say that he was quite impressed by the effective use of the space she had. Despite seeming small from the outside, nothing felt cramped or constricting. Carefully following his host, he sat himself down on the seat directly across from where Suzume was making her tea at the table. Even the kitchenette made good use of the limited space it had, being nestled underneath the staircase. Bowing in thanks for the tea, Hiji paid close attention to his host's explanation. "Do not sell yourself short, Suzume. Even if you only know a little, the fact you work to teach others and teach them well is worthy in its own right," he encouraged, his eyes empathetic at her search for her sensei. He had to admit that he simply didn't know what that was like. "As for my purpose here, I'm set to head to a town further in this country, where they have no one to teach them the sword. I am a student of Iaido myself, and I am working to craft my own style, but I teach the fundamentals strictly," he further explained. "I wish to allow my students the freedom to find their own path in the sword, as I have. So long as they hold the principle tenants of swordsmanship in their minds and hearts and stay true to them, I'm certain they'll find their way."

Chuckling to himself, he took a sip of the tea. "With that said, I made a slight error in judgment, and I began traveling much sooner than I needed to. It seems I have some time on my hands. I've not yet determined yet what to do while I wait," he admitted, shaking his head at his own foolishness. Even seasoned teachers weren't perfect, and he was a prime example of such.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:21 pm

Before long Suzume was pouring tea for the both of them, the young woman taking a seat and finding comfort in such a simple conversation. 'But is it really?' The thought crossed her mind as she knew her father would have seen every interaction as an opportunity. If Hijikata were an mn or showed talents in chakra he would have tried to take him under his wing. If he were as simple as he claimed and appeared to be, he would try to use him as part of his network of spies, even if the man himself didn't realize it. "Honestly I was surprised at the amount of interest I've been getting." she admitted. "Mostly we get traveling merchants and such, but their children have been taking a quick interest."

She couldn't help a frown however. "Though I fear their only goals are death as those same children grow up to be enforcers half the time... I also teach some in the hand to hand style known as Bone Breaker." Her frown deepened though it seemed her mind finally caught up with herself and what her new companion had said. "You're welcome to stay here for as long as you need." she mentioned. "If you've left too early, enjoy the markets, the foreign cuisine. Enjoy yourself." She finally lifted her tea to her lips and took a sip, leaning back in her seat as she thought things over. "Though I would also recommend caution. I have seen criminals from the major ninja villages out here on more than one occasion."

Of course, she wasn't mentioning that last warning might have been to her very presence.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:27 pm

Hijikata saw the concern in Suzume’s eyes and empathized quite well with it. It was difficult to train students and wanting them to pursue a path only to see them deviate or abuse what they have learned to bring suffering upon others. There were many that had neither the will nor the desire to subjugate their violent impulses and keep them under control. It hurt Hijikata when he saw those things as well. Though he’d not yet seen it from one of his students, he knew it was only a matter of time. ”It is difficult, I agree. It is a teacher’s wishes that their students use their teachings in the manners they were intended,” Hiji acknowledged. ”The best we can do is learn from what mistakes we might have made and invest those lessons into those students that do heed the spirit of our words and instruction. I know that, for me, it grants a level of peace, and it motivates me to continue sharing what I know with others.”

His countenance grew more serious at the mention of criminals from the shinobi villages being in the general area. Hijikata did not consider himself to be a hero, and he did not meddle in others’ affairs so long as said business did not involve hurting other people. With that said, he would not turn a blind eye to the suffering of others that happened right in front of him. Had the spirits led him to this tow ? To this dojo? To this woman? Did they have a purpose for him here?

He would only find out if he stayed. Yet, there was another problem at hand. ”You truly humble me with your generosity, Suzume... though to accept it presents a dilemma,” he confessed. ”In order for my honor to remain intact, I must offer something in return, however small. Yet, I really have nothing else to offer that you do not already possess. Thus, if I am to accept your generosity, it must be under a different arrangement.”

Bowing more deeply, much as a student would to their master, Hijikata declared his intent. ”Sensei, please, teach me the way of Yoshin,” he requested firmly. ”I would be eternally grateful.”

This was a position of relative subjection, more binding than a mere display of generosity. A student would receive gifts from their teacher which they would likely never repay, but receiving those gifts required obedience from the student to the master’s words. This was the solution Hijikata found. He would humble himself to maintain his honor while glorifying Suzume as his teacher.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:55 pm

For the briefest of moments, Suzume blushed as Hijikata mentioned 'offering something in return'. She had grown accustomed to men with unscrupulous tactics that would have tried to proposition her in turn and it took a moment for her to shove the initial thought aside as the man before her so that she could plainly understand what he was saying. His words, his mannerisms, all surprised her and for a moment the woman was frozen in place. Reaching up she took the Takegasa from her head and set it aside, standing. She reached out a hand to the man's shoulder, applying a small bit of pressure to let him know to straighten up. "A proper Student reflects their Sensei... I think I should show you who you're really wanting to make a deal with before you make that offer." she said, her voice taking on a slight shift as she spoke.

She moved away from the man and over to the front door, closing it and locking it before pulling closed the blinds on the front window of the room. "You aren't like my other students. They pay to learn a skill but they don't have the same level of honor and code as you clearly do. I have no problem taking their money to stay afloat but I cannot have you swearing to me without knowing what you're really getting into." she explained as she moved to a wall in the practice room, motioning for Hijikata to follow her. "I am Hiraku Suzume, some have taken to calling me 'The Oni's Daughter'. My father was an S-Ranked Criminal from one of the Great Five." she told him, moving a stand of practice swords aside. "My mother was only a rank under him in threat. I was raised in an orphanage and only learned of them a few years ago when my father found me and took me under his wing." She placed her hands firmly on the wall, flat, looking for something before finally finding it and pressing against the wall.

The wall shifted back and slid to the side, revealing the contents of the building beside them. It appeared to be a large room with dark hardwood floors and dark bare walls covered in various decor. In the middle was a simple desk, almost like a check in, and behind it another staircase. But Suzume only took a single step into the room, a hand on Hijikata's shoulder if he tried to go further than her to make it clear she was showing him, not taking him further in. "I inherited his organization, Chishiki, and everything with it. His criminal contacts. His spies." she looked at Hijikata a moment.

"I'm showing you all this because I know my Sensei's secrets, and if you are the honorable sort as I suspect, to hide this from you and accept a similar bond from you would be beyond a breech of trust. I have no desire to drag you into my father's legacy, but I'd rather you be aware it exists before you ask me to teach you."

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Thu Nov 07, 2019 4:40 pm

Hijikata responded to the pressure Suzume put on his shoulder. The look in her eyes was different from before. There was clearly conflict of some sort, preoccupation... concern. As she moved toward the main hallway and beckoned him forward, he became more convinced that his initial suspicions were correct. He was led here for a reason. What that purpose was remained to be seen.

In silence, Hiji followed the woman as she moved stands, locked doors, and drew curtains shut. The light that had flowed from inside shriveled to a glimmer as she continued with her explanation. He seemed unfazed as Suzume made mention of her parents being criminals of one of the shinobi villages. Hiji was wholly convinced that one was not condemned by their parentage. This was not what vexed the man.

As the hidden door opened and slid away, hiding the secrets of this place in plain sight, the dark lacquered wood of the office peeled into view from the dense shadows. Hijikata would not move forward, able to grasp all he needed from his eyes and mind. Hijikata wasn’t really sure what he was expecting to feel, but it wasn’t anger. No, there was no malice or fury. This young woman was denied the privilege of having her parents raise her. To judge her for something he couldn’t possibly understand was not just. Not to mention that she seemed with finding her Sensei than engaging in criminal enterprises. He had only one question, something that would give her insight into Suzume as a person. ”What do you use this information network for?” he asked, his eyes calm and collected.

He left the question open-ended for a reason. He was testing her honesty.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:39 pm

She couldn't help a smile as he asked. It wasn't one of her smiles to manipulate a feeling out of a person, but rather this was genuine, like a child talking about their greatest dream. "Its for everyone." she said quietly, leaning against the wall as she stared into the room. "The villages and their secrets... they hold them so tightly and then try to police everyone around them. But in reality they breed their shinobi as weapons and when they turn into criminals they destroy our lives. We don't have their advanced medicines yet we and our children are decimated by their 'chakra' and their 'jutsu'. They have strength and speed we can't conceive of nor compete with. And as much as I am bound to my blade, it isn't enough against their monsters."

Still leaning against the wall Suzume turned her head to look at Hijikata. "My network, my organization, my father started it all to gather secrets to himself, to increase his own power. I am turning it to a better purpose. I will gather their secrets and spread them as far and wide as I can. I will make sure we can fight their monsters and survive. I want to save them all." she said quiet, chuckling to herself. "Maybe it'll never happen... but I have believe I can turn my father's demons into the world's angels... I have to." With a sigh Suzume pushed off the wall and stood before him once more.

"I even learned how to access what they call chakra." she said, smiling at him briefly before the serious expression slowly returned to her face. "Am I such a person that you think you still want to learn from me?"

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:08 pm

As Suzume explained her purpose with the organization, his features softened even more. Though he was hardly a perfect judge of deception, Hijikata sensed no lies from this young woman. Despite her circumstances, she fervently longed to make the best of what she was given, both for herself and even more so for others. The natural compassion she had in her heart for her fellow man was truly admirable. After she asked her final question, he paused, choosing his next words carefully. "So what you're telling me... is that you've taken something given to you by a father who could not raise you and sought only selfish gains from this tool and your assistance to try and help people other than yourself," he summarized. "You reject the wholly proud and power-hungry origins that you seem to come from and seek to make a better life for everyone with whatever power you have. You seek to save us from a monster that alone, we have no chance to stand against..."

Hijikata knew what his answer would be, but he did have to offer one thought, an adjustment perhaps, if she would take it. "I used to hate shinobi, with all of my being. I, too, had seen their derelict members sow chaos and discord to those less fortunate than them... and the bodies they leave in their wake. Yet I recently was humbled, when my life was saved by such a person, a shinobi without a homeland. She was not perfect, but wherever she went, she would use what she learned to help others. You, through different means, seek to do the same."

Turning to face her, he once again bowed but this time even more deeply, going so far as to softly take to his knees and set himself completely prone before her, his hands pressed down on the floor above his head. "Before, it was merely a request. But now, I must insist. Please teach me the way of Yoshin, Suzume. I want someone as honorable as you to be a part of the legacy I seek to build," he declared. "I would be forever shamed if I could not have that privilege."

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:57 pm

"There are three types of followers in this world Suzume. The first are those who are loyal not to you, but to what you provide them. Money, security, information... these are useful, but are also the most fickle. The moment you are no longer useful to them, they will wash their hands of you. Do not rely too heavily on these people, and treat them in kind; wash your hands of them when they are no longer useful to you. The second are those who are loyal to you as a leader. These are people who are devoted to your goals and ambitions, and wish you to fulfill them, for their own goals are in line with yours. These people will work harder to support you, but ultimately they still care for self preservation above all else. These are people you can trust to act, provided their lives are not in jeopardy. But the last... These are people who worship you. This is why I am a god, child; there is nothing that the devout will not do when their god requests it, even if it means giving up their lives for their god's machinations. Those who worship me... they are the most trusted. The ones I would send into death itself, knowing that even in death they will serve my will."

Her father's words flooded back to her as Hijikata spoke. By her father's definition she could see him as one loyal to her as a leader. But on the same front the way he bowed was nearly akin to worship. Regardless this was an oath that carried a stronger bond than simply a follower, and Suzume smiled down at him for it. She knelt in front of him and reached out a hand to take one of his, encouraging him to stand up with her. "I will teach you Yoshin." she told him with a smile. "And even more than that, if you so wish." she added, her hands moving through a quick set of seals. Beside her, in a swirl of black chakra, appeared a clone of the girl herself. The clone walked away from the two of them and over to the desk. When it returned it carried a small box with the symbol of Chishiki on its lid.

Suzume reached over and opened the box, withdrawing a ring bearing the same symbol and offering it to Hijikata. "I know I didn't ask about recruiting you to my organization." she said quietly as the clone returned to the desk with the box. "But my desires for knowledge may require me to recruit monsters into it sometimes." she added, suddenly remembering the boy Yato with his necklace of dismembered hands and his threats to consume her in unpleasant ways. "But I need sanity beside me. I need friends... a friend like you that I know I could truly trust... could you be that for me?"

The clone was gone.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:09 pm

Hijikata was no fool. He knew that there was a possibility that he might simply be playing into a ploy set for him. After all, he had only just met Suzume, and she made it clear that her use of these chakra arts was practiced even as she spawned a mirror image of herself. He believed it was referred to as a "clone technique." He'd fought shinobi before and had seen it used. There were many uncertainties to this arrangement. The question was, however, could he live with himself if he spurned her for his suspicions if they turned out baseless? If she was telling the truth?

He found the answer quickly and nodded in affirmation. "I will not be here forever," he admitted to Suzume. "Just as you perform this work for the sake of others, I too also perform my work to help those without to become better. But should you need me, I shall come to you. In front of you, my ancestors, and the spirits, I make this pact with you. And who knows? My travels may well assist you in your search for knowledge as well."

He extended his hand, accepting the ring if she would still offer it to him.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:17 pm

Suzume smiled and breathed a sigh of relief as he spoke, not only accepting the ring but making an oath upon it it seemed. She reached out and took his hand, setting the ring in his palm before closing his hand into a fist over it, leaning forward in a slight bow of her own, before leaning down and kissing his knuckles as well. "And I make the same oath, upon the unpredictable and malevolent spirit of my father, may he do as he sees fit should I ever break my oath." she said, motioning towards the staircase on the other side.

"And as a member I have something far better than a couch to offer you to sleep upon." she said, laughing in spite of herself. "The next floor is a meeting room but the two above it are rooms specifically for members like yourself to use to sleep. There's no one here as of now so you may claim whichever one you wish and it should have all the basic comforts, plus a few extras." She held up her hand to show him her own ring and turned it so the insignia faced inward. "Your ring is your key, find the groove in the wall that matches it and press it inward and the door will open. You are welcome here any time you need or wish, even if I am not present. There is a similar lock in the front door of the dojo to ensure access."

Suzume couldn't have explained her own relief at the situation if she had tried. The last time she had successfully recruited anyone into the organization was probably Yato and she hadn't seen the boy in a long time, some part of her hoping the crazed cannibal had died. She had never been comfortable with him, or the types her father preferred to recruit. Yet here she was, with someone like Hijikata, who she could see becoming a trusted friend. 'Perhaps its time I start thinking of recruiting a second in command... but not him yet. I need to get to know him better, and how his role here might play out.'

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Thu Nov 07, 2019 8:41 pm

Hijikata admittedly wasn't expecting the kiss on his knuckles, his eyes flickering momentarily while she was not gazing upon him almost bashfully. But he quickly composed himself once she rose back up from the sealing kiss, realizing this could simply be the manner in which the citizens of this country sealed oaths. Nodding in agreement with the arrangement, Hijikata took note of the arrangement and the directions to the quarters that he would be staying in. "Again, I must thank you for your generosity. It has been some time since I've had the comforts of a bed," Hiji thanked graciously.

Making absolutely certain to not look anywhere he'd not been told to yet, Hijikata navigated his way up the stairs toward the rooms that Suzume had specified. The human side of him still reflected on the wisdom of the course of action he'd just engaged in, but his devout sense of honor stifled such thoughts quickly. He was no prisoner here. He gauged Suzume's strength when he'd first seen her, and they were evenly matched. Hijikata was certain that he could fend for himself. And even more so, he trusted his instincts. He sensed no deception from the woman. He would see how things played out on his end as well, but for now, this seemed like a mutually beneficial arrangement. The stories she had told him alone put her in danger. It's true that they could be lies, but Hijikata's honor would be stained if he didn't allow her to prove herself by action.

Quickly setting his items down, carrying only his swords and stashing his money purse away within the folds of his haori, he returned to the main area in the dojo, looking for Suzume. "We have much of the afternoon yet left to us. Would you be willing to show a traveler around this town?" he asked cheerily, jesting just a bit at his own ignorance to lighten the mood between them.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:23 am

While Hijikata went to put his things in one of the rooms, Suzume breathed a sigh of relief and went to clean up from the tea they never finished and put away the practice swords her students had left behind. By time he came back down, Suzume was just finishing up and she closed the door to the Chishiki headquarters behind him. His question brought a bit of a chuckle out of the woman, as much as he was joking about his ignorance she couldn't help thinking that ironically he was worse than he thought. "Well there's a pleasure house or two, we could always stop in there." she teased in return, chuckling as she thought about how he might react around the sort of women there. "There's a bath house too of course..." she added, grinning a bit at his expense.

"There are a few decent businesses though, and places to get a bite. Let me show you around a bit, before it gets dark and the seedier elements start wandering about." she finally said, completely serious as she grabbed her takegasa hat and put it on top of her head, the small bells ringing quietly as she led the out of the door and back to the street. The sun was still in the sky and Suzume took a moment to simply enjoy the feeling of the warm sun on her skin before she turned to Hiji. "Why don't you tell me more about yourself?" she asked. "I think I've managed to give you half my life already."

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:24 am

At the first mention of the pleasure house, Hiji froze before his face flushed comically red. "E-Eh?" he stammered abashedly. And then when she followed that proposition up with the bathhouse... Hijikata was no lecher or pervert. Matter of fact, they'd had public onsen in his home village and many villages he'd visited. Some were separated, others were mixed, and though there were many women that could be considered beautiful there, he had no such inclinations toward them. But though he didn't care to admit it, Suzume... well, Suzume was different. Though he knew they both still had much to learn about each other, Suzume was an agreeable woman to Hiji's hidden preferences, both in her spirit and in her physical form. For a split moment, he imagined the image of Suzume in a very flattering bathrobe and had to imagine himself punching the images into tiny pieces to purge it from his mind. The steam almost visible from his ears, Hiji managed to finally get out a reply. "O-Oh, th-there's really no n-n-need for us to visit e-either of those places, t-truly. I-I don't even need a b-bath, a-and besides, the one in the ap-p-partment is really more than enough. Erm..."

Putting on his jingasa, he was grateful that the hat was there. It was allowing his reddened cheeks to cool from the embarrassing thoughts. Clearing his throat, he managed a calmer response. "Y-Yes, food sounds wonderful, Suzume-san," he agreed, feeling his heart rate slow bit by bit.

As they walked, Suzume's thoughts turned to him. At her inquiry, he was vexed at first. His life, despite his traveling, had been very simple. "To be honest, most of what you've heard is what I have to say. I was born to a mother and a father in Grass Country. We lived a simple life, one of simple joys, discipline, hard work, and simplicity," Hiji explained, smiling warmly. "While most other boys took to fists in our village, I took to the sword. My father taught me, though many of the lessons I carry with me came from my mother as well. She was a fierce woman, unafraid to stand with and against the men of the village. Eventually, a man from Tea Country came to our village, and our family hosted him for the month he was there. During that time, he taught me what I know of Iaido. Shortly after he left, I was asked to teach the men of my village swordsmanship. So, I started with the fundamentals. In time, they mastered these lessons, but instead of progressing to learn Iaido, many of them developed their own styles that meshed their natural talents with what they learned... And though there was little use for me after, I found it fascinating. I heard word that there were many towns in our country that had no one to teach them the sword, so I started traveling to these villages. Eventually, that grew to traveling out of the country. I've met many people, commonfolk and shinobi alike. For some, we parted ways as friends. For others... it was less fortunate. Still, I continue my journey, hoping to spread the good that learning the sword can bring, the qualities it can instill in one's self if used wisely... And now..."

He looked down at Suzume, pure joy in his eyes. "Now, I am here with you," he completed simply.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:47 pm

Suzume couldn’t resist a giggle as Hiji reacted to her mention of a brothel and a bath house. His embarrassment wasn’t just humorous to her however, it was also a welcome relief. The girl had been rather embarrassed by it all herself at one point in time and having only recently had her first experiences with a man she preferred his response to the usual. She had grown far too accustomed to men who smirked and sneered at her, grabby hands whose fingers she would happily break for their offense. It was a relief to see someone else who wasn’t immediately comfortable in such places. Aside from the giggle she did nothing more to point out his response and instead moved along onto the next subject just as he did.

”I miss having a simple life.” she admitted quietly. “I grew up at an orphanage, part of a self sustaining commune. We had dojo’s there too. I mean, the boys would pick on me and I’d have to prove myself. But Kotone-Sensei took care of us before it all went south.”. She continued, sighing as they walked along. “That was before I finally met my father though. I met him and after he left some men came looking for him. In their search they destroyed the commune, Kotone-Sensei put me on a horse and sent me after my father for my safety... kinda ironic. If he’d never shown up, he’ll wouldn’t have come in his wake.”

She knew she was rambling now, but somehow the girl found she couldn’t help herself. “They called him The Thing That Should Not Be. He had abilities that made him a monster. But when I was hurt searching for him, he saved me. It was always weird seeing how he was to others, because in the short time I knew him he was never that way with me.”. She looked up as they walked and realized they’d come to a small place that she loved. It didn’t look the greatest on the outside but she knew inside it would be so much better. “How about here?”

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Fri Nov 08, 2019 4:37 pm

Hijikata kept his silence as Suzume opened up to him a little more. He felt deeply for how irrevocably her mostly-absent father managed to uproot her life in such a short amount of time, the consequences of his indiscretions having caused Suzume untold suffering. Because he regarded his own interests above those of others, his daughter was at first an orphan by circumstance and now an orphan by death. She was left with the insecurities that Hiji had been privileged to have. "I know that I cannot possibly understand what that was like for you. My heart feels for you and the things you've lost and had taken from you," he empathized. "...Our relationship with our past will always be a complicated one. Even those less fortunate than ourselves often have simple lives as children. Complexity comes with growth. Still, the lessons we learn from our past help shape us into who we are today. The best thing we can do is to try to make them shape us for the better... and from what I know of you now, you've worked hard to make it so, even if you haven't always succeeded like you want. You are allowed to be proud of yourself for that."

Hiji noted the restaurant that Suzume suggested. He was not one to judge something on first impressions. Despite common belief, they often told you quite little of a person's true depth. "If you are suggesting this place, Suzume-san, I am certain that it will be excellent," he agreed. He was curious to see what was inside just as much as he was curious to see what Suzume considered to be good dining in the area. He would likely be here for some time, after all.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:00 pm

The more Suzume spoke to and interacted with Hijikata the more she found him to be strangely proper in his speech patterns, almost formal, and even too apologetic at times. He was very similar to Yozei in this regard and it almost made her wonder if he had some ties to nobility like Yozei did. She didn't speak these thoughts of course, setting them aside for later as she walked with him. As he appeared to agree with her about her choice in restaurant, she really couldn't tell if he was agreeing or not honestly, she simply nodded and led the way in. Pushing over the door they were suddenly in a dark room filled with deep purple curtains. Windows were darkened, decor was black in nature, and the only light came from candle chandeliers and sconces on the walls, as well as small lanterns at each table. Suzume caught the eye of a server and gave a single wave before making her way to a table and taking a seat there.

"The sushi and the udon is particularly good here." she was telling Hijikata as they sat down at the table. "And honestly I've never seen such a wide variety of teas before, save for here. As well as a nice range of sake as well." The outside had looked like it was in terrible shape, but the inside was exquisite. "Around here the best places look horrible outside, just to hide their riches from would be thieves and miscreants." she explained to Hijikata, knowing that might be a question on his mind.

The server came and left a menu for each of them and Suzume gave it a brief glance. She found her mind going over the events of the past weeks. Her father's disappearance and death, Kintaro attacking her dojo and she and Kosuke hunting him down, her meeting Asura for the first time, and of course the letter she had sent Yozei. She found herself turning her chishiki ring on her finger over and over, after briefly touching her wrist where the wooden bead bracelet used to be.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Fri Nov 08, 2019 5:56 pm

Hijikata followed his companion inside, and he was rewarded for his open-mindedness. Looking around, though the room was dimly lit, the interior was immaculate in its construction. The atmosphere was calm, quiet, and to a degree, intimate. Hijikata's eyes shone with intrigue and wonder in the light of the candles and lanterns. For all of the places he'd traveled to, he'd never seen a place of such stark contrasts as this. Bowing slightly in thanks to their host and server, Hiji took a menu and began to scan it, taking Suzume's recommendations into account. Ordering a bowl of katsudon, he set down his menu, looking to his companion and noticing her vexation. Hiji may not have spent too much time talking with people, but he could tell when someone had something on their mind.

His observant eyes caught sight of her fiddling with her ring and reflexively touching her wrist, almost as if she were remembering something... Perhaps, even someone? "You seem to have more on your mind. I won't pry, but I am here if you need an open ear," he assured her softly. He wasn't one to intrude on where he wasn't, but perhaps if she knew she had the choice, she'd be more inclined to make the decision to share with him.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:16 pm

Suzume lifted her head and looked at Hijikata a moment, blushing lightly with a chuckle as she realized how obviously she'd been zoning out. "Sorry." she said quietly. "The last few weeks have just been quite the nightmare." she admitted, going quiet for a moment as she debated how much to tell him, and how to tell it. "I was there when my father disappeared. Rumors persist that he's dead but... I was there and even I don't know." she admitted. "It was hard to watch... he spent weeks talking about time and how to manipulate it, set up this entire ritual to do it, even asked me to lend some of my chakra to it... and then he was gone. The plan was to go back in time to get another chance with my mother, to change everything. But nothing changed, and it's... complicated, but that doesn't mean he failed it..." she shook her head as she reached up to remove her takebasa and set it aside. She fiddled with her braid of black hair with one hand as she thought it all over.

"Three years ago I met a boy from one of the villages... and I found myself loving him. We spent time together recently but honestly it just made me realize how different we are. When I told him my goals with Chishiki he was horrified, and I realized how naive he was, how little he knew about life out here and how little he wanted to know about it. I realized he was part of the problem..." she shook her head and looked at Hijikata a moment. "His father is the leader of one of the Five. I should have expected it but it still hurt to realize. I sent a letter to end things just a week or two ago."

Suzume took a deep breath, knowing she wasn't even done yet. "Then there's Kintaro... a man who has tried to kill my father and mother in the past. He's even the reason my mother betrayed my father and went insane for it... when my father returned he found her mad and killed her out of mercy. But Kintaro came after me looking for Kenji. He nearly destroyed my dojo, almost killed me, if not for a stranger I'd be dead. And that stranger helped me hunt him down."

She smiled almost sadly as she looked at Hijikata. "Like I said... all a nightmare."

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Fri Nov 08, 2019 8:19 pm

Hijikata's experience as a teacher had helped him to develop better listening skills than most. He didn't speak. Interjecting with questions and observations would only communicate that he was more interested in knowing the story than trying to help out his friend. He sat quietly and he listened. Hiji watched as she debated with herself about whether to speak and, if so, what to speak of. He listened as she spoke on about her estranged father and his disappearance. In a way, it seemed as if being reintroduced to someone that she'd never known before and probably assumed didn't care about her had rocked her understand of the world and who she was in it. She'd spent time with him, perhaps hoping that through understanding, through unity, she might come to love the father she now knew she had... only to realize that he wasn't worthy of her love. Not because he was a man that didn't love her but because he was a man who would not allow himself to be content with what he had and try to make amends for his mistakes. He had to try and bend the very laws of nature to his will... and by what Hijikata heard, his ambitions may have very well ended in failure, now once again leaving his daughter behind to sit in the ruins of his path of destruction.

Hiji listened to the story of her love just past of the young prince of one of the five shinobi villages. He noted the momentary glimmer of joy in her eyes as she mentioned his name only to watch those beautiful eyes immediately fall downcast afterward. He could see the sadness, the disappointment of sharing one's dream, a noble one at that, with someone she truly cared about, only to have them view your aspirations as abhorrent and anathema. She'd placed her trusts and hopes, however small, into his hands, and though it was unfortunate, they were hopes he wasn't willing to share with her, insisting on his own path. Her recognition of that fact and her determination to work through that heartache was noble in its own right, even though she would suffer for it as well.

Hiji listened while Suzume spoke of a mortal enemy, one so blinded by his hatred for another that he would strike down innocents to have his revenge. She described her mother's betrayal and the cost she made them both pay for it. She described her brush with death and her pursuit of revenge for the near-destruction of her dojo with the help of the same one who saved her life. And she'd done that despite all of the other burdens she'd carried in her heart, fighting with these torturous thoughts within her. All of these things, she'd endured...

Alone. She'd been alone for so long, not because she chose to, like him. She'd been alone because she was given no other choice.

Hiji contemplated what he could do or say. He wouldn't promise to fix things. That would be an insult to her and an empty promise. He was no god. He was a man, and he accepted his position as a man. She didn't need someone taking pity on her, either. She'd shouldered this all on her own. To show pity would mock her strength. He prayed momentarily to the spirits for guidance. Then, extending his hand toward hers, he'd motion to Suzume, essentially asking if he could take her hand. Perhaps this was all still a ploy, but even if it was, he would act in a way that left him at peace with himself.

"You have endured much... and you have endured it alone," Hiji acknowledged, gently placing his other hand atop hers if she'd accepted his gesture, giving a light squeeze. "There are many who would have broken from the things you suffered, yet though scarred, you still remain. I can't change what has already come to pass. I am no god; only a man. I can't say that the feelings you had before don't matter. They do. I will not say that you've been weakened by your experiences. You had to be strong to face them, and strength only grows when used wisely... All I can say is... that for whatever it's worth to you, I'm here now. You don't have to be alone anymore. You don't have to endure alone anymore. I'm here for you, Suzume-san."

His indigo eyes did not waver, even in the dim lantern light. Rather, they seemed to glow almost, like stars in the night sky.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:00 pm

Suzume was hesitant, but as he motioned for her hand she gave it. She hardly knew this man and yet in the span of an hour or so she had told him nearly every secret she held close, every detail of her life. It seemed to be all because of his oath to her. She had a feeling he was the sort that took oaths very seriously, to the grave even, and somehow that had quickly fostered a trust between them that in some ways completely terrified her. Her father had warned her about trust many times. But she also knew her father had a select few he trusted, no matter how many times he tried to convince her otherwise. His trust in them was half the reason the young woman hoped to one day run into Nehan again, or to meet Yaksha, but she feared the world may have stolen those chances away from her.

As he gave her hand a light squeeze she found herself hoping that Hijikata could be that for her, someone she could trust no matter what dark path her own goals and organization took her down, just as her revenge already had as she had hunted down Kintaro like an animal. "Thank you." she said quietly. She shifted her hand slightly to try and take hold of one of his, returning the light squeeze. "I hope..." she started quietly, staring down at the table for a moment before lifting her head to fix her yellow eyes on Hijikata once more. "I hope, whatever happens in coming days, that you'll always be someone I can trust. That I can come to. I'm not sure I've had that in my life, ever, but... I'd like to."

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Meiyo SoutaSunagakure No SatoJinches and Pals#AF1E2D -- #60C659 -- #C49977 -- #8080FF
Kenshin YasuKumogakure No SatoClass 1A#ED72AA -- #800000
Hiraku SuzumeIron CountryChishiki#5E99AA
Nakajima KyoKumogakure No SatoN/A#F2C68C
Kazuki AmayaKirigakure No SatoKazuki Twins#96AA99
Enkouten SaoriIwagakure No SatoN/A#FCAD56
HeidrunKonohagakure No SatoN/A#872B93
Hyuuga AinaKonohagakure No SatoN/A#70CE9B -- #FF4080
Fujitsuna ArataSunagakure No SatoN/A#00B2AA -- #754760

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ShinobiTruth
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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Sat Nov 09, 2019 6:25 pm

Hijikata offered a smile, accepting the thanks as his eyes glowed, indigo and golden twisting in a dance of day and night between each other. "I swear to you, I will do everything in my power to become that person for you," he vowed once again.

He would let go of her hand gently, wishing to respect his gracious host and not put her at odds. Instead, he would look around and comment on the unique aesthetic of the restaurant. "The decorum of this place nothing like I've ever seen before. It's quite amazing. Do most of the establishments in this town tend to focus more on the interior than the outside?" he asked, specifically avoiding the question about how she found this place. Right now Suzume's mind was in a dark place. Though there were certainly times to talk about those feelings and work them out, a constant focus on them would drag down on the heart. Sometimes, a distraction, such as telling a friend about the place she lived, was in order.

Besides, he had to admit that the more she allowed him to look at her eyes, the more enjoyable the dining experience was becoming. Her yellow eyes were well-suited to the warm dim glow of the lanterns in this place, and Hiji had to admit that they were somewhat mesmerizing. For the first time in a while, he was consciously making certain that he would not act in a way that was improper or force any sort of expectation from her. She needed this to be relaxing, and so it would be.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:27 pm

As Hijikata made his vow once more, Suzume couldn't help a blush this time, only able to nod rather than vocalize a thank you. She was beginning to find Hijikata's oaths to be almost overbearing. She hardly knew the man and yet he'd promised her so much. It left her wondering if this would all turn out to be some elaborate ruse. Her father still had enemies despite being gone from this world, and already it had left her in danger before. Thankfully it seemed Hijikata was ready to change subjects and the young woman nodded. "They do. Thieves love it out here but they never stay long, often appearances on the outside are enough to protect these places. But its also why my dojo has been welcomed so quickly, some of my students are part of these businesses. If they aren't family then they are hired hands, here to protect these places from such thieves."

Suzume shrugged as she spoke, she didn't mind her students that had such goals as protection was honorable enough, but there were some that bothered her. "A couple of the brothels have tried to send their goons to train but I've turned them down. I did some checking when I got here, not all of those goons are there to protect the girls, some are there to keep the girls 'in line'. It sickens me and I refuse to add my expertise to their staff."

Suzume leaned back in her chair with a sigh as the server returned, serving them their drinks and their food in one fell swoop. The sight of her Nabeyaki Udon brought a smile to her lips though she waited for the server to depart before speaking again. "I've had a couple students try to seek employment from the brothels after coming to me... I've had to instill steep consequences for such idiocy I'm afraid."

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Meiyo SoutaSunagakure No SatoJinches and Pals#AF1E2D -- #60C659 -- #C49977 -- #8080FF
Kenshin YasuKumogakure No SatoClass 1A#ED72AA -- #800000
Hiraku SuzumeIron CountryChishiki#5E99AA
Nakajima KyoKumogakure No SatoN/A#F2C68C
Kazuki AmayaKirigakure No SatoKazuki Twins#96AA99
Enkouten SaoriIwagakure No SatoN/A#FCAD56
HeidrunKonohagakure No SatoN/A#872B93
Hyuuga AinaKonohagakure No SatoN/A#70CE9B -- #FF4080
Fujitsuna ArataSunagakure No SatoN/A#00B2AA -- #754760

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ShinobiTruth
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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:46 pm

For a man so seemingly thin, it was probably a strange sight to see him look down at his pork with great anticipation. If there was one flaw that the man would readily admit to, it was his love of pork, particularly the fatty parts such as the belly. With that said, he traveled and trained so regularly that there was not an iota of body fat more than was absolutely necessary. Taking one of the pieces of pork into his chopsticks, he placed the pork into his mouth and began to chew, a smile quickly rising on his face as well. Clearly, the food at least met his expectations, if not exceeded them. "It is a good thing that you did. You give people the strength to protect what is important to them if the need arises," he commended. "The fact you choose to instill such values in your students is also admirable. There are many teachers who don't even consider the heart conditions of those who they take into their tutelage, instead looking only at raw talent or their work ethic. An evil person can work very hard for something they want, but it doesn't mean they're still not evil. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one that takes these things into account."

He wasn't afraid to admit that they differed, however. "Were it that I had a permanent dojo to call my own, I might indeed have a similar stance. Due to my work's transitory nature, I instead must simply focus on making sure that I choose students with good hearts. For me, personally, I must still allow them to choose their own path and hope they use the gifts I've worked to give them in a good way. Should they squander that gift, they will find their punishment soon enough, either in this life or in the hell that awaits them before the next," he offered, still a very spiritual man at heart. "Perhaps once I have mastered my own style, however, I would consider a stricter code of conduct upon my students. Only time will tell at this point."

Taking more of his udon into his mouth, he chuckled in joy. "Your endorsement of this place is well-earned, Suzume-san. This is excellent, especially after weeks of dried rations," Hiji complimented, thoroughly enjoying his meal.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:01 pm

Suzume couldn't help a chuckle as he spoke of individuals getting their punishment 'eventually'. "Sadly in some areas of the world, like this one, results need to be more immediate. I can't have what I teach ending the lives of young woman or damaging their souls beyond repair. If I simply let it go that stain would be on my own soul." Of course the line of thought didn't stop there for her, it was only what she stopped saying aloud. She remembered the things her father did, some of them quite horrible. And the irony of what Hijikata said struck her in the moment. She was born of evil, and sometimes she wondered if that was where her path was taking her regardless of what she felt she wanted.

With a sigh and a shake of her head she returned her attention to her food, giggling as she tried to slurp up a noodle and slapped her own nose with it instead in her eagerness. She was only like a child in that moment, laughing at the silliness of it all as she looked at Hiji. "It is one of my favorite places." she admitted, calming down her laughter. "When you leave remind me to send you with a few things, no need to have only dried rations after all."

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Meiyo SoutaSunagakure No SatoJinches and Pals#AF1E2D -- #60C659 -- #C49977 -- #8080FF
Kenshin YasuKumogakure No SatoClass 1A#ED72AA -- #800000
Hiraku SuzumeIron CountryChishiki#5E99AA
Nakajima KyoKumogakure No SatoN/A#F2C68C
Kazuki AmayaKirigakure No SatoKazuki Twins#96AA99
Enkouten SaoriIwagakure No SatoN/A#FCAD56
HeidrunKonohagakure No SatoN/A#872B93
Hyuuga AinaKonohagakure No SatoN/A#70CE9B -- #FF4080
Fujitsuna ArataSunagakure No SatoN/A#00B2AA -- #754760

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by ShinobiTruth » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:48 pm

Hijikata nodded. "Indeed, an understandable policy. I'd enforce it myself if it were possible. I simply make certain that I do not ignore those that are in need or overlook one doing another harm before me when I come across it. For now, at least, that is what is within my power," he affirmed. "I've spent many days protecting villages against bandit scourges. Your decisiveness is prudent and sound, Suzume-san."

Hiji joined in the laughter, his a much softer timbre than Suzume's. He was generally speaking more reserved in his expressions of joy, but they were still aplenty in number. "Anything you are willing to offer is greatly appreciated, but do not feel the need to exert yourself for my sake, Suzume-san," he reassured, a content smile upon his face. "What you have already one in my short time here has been more than generous. Often times, I must make do with my tent, as not all of the dojos I visit have quarters for their masters. Simply having a bed to sleep in is a great gift, I assure you."

The ronin had not had the company of someone in a long while. Though they were certainly different people, it was a privilege to enjoy Suzume's companionship, even if she didn't necessarily feel her companionship to be such.

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[Plotboard Part 1 - Closed] Dragonfruit Tea in Iron Kettles

Post by Aes Sedai » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:24 pm

Suzume smiled almost sadly as Hiji yet again told her not to exert herself on his behalf. The woman paused in her eating to reach out a hand and rest her fingers across the top of his. "You're not a burden, and I am offering nothing that others would not already." she told him, giving him a significantly look as she started to wonder if he was really so polite, or did he really just see himself as a burden. "Kotone-Sensei ran several communes that were self sustaining, helping wanderers such as yourself. My actions are exactly as I was raised to be. I'm happy to help any way I can." Her fingers, thumb in particular, seemed to caress his knuckles briefly before she pulled her hand back and went back to her food.

"No matter how long you stay or when you choose to leave, you'll always be welcome at the dojo." she couldn't help a bit of a smirk however. "And I know you'll be back, the food alone is worth it."

~~ Katya's Korner Bar ~~ My shoppe is open! Click ^^^ for details!!! ~~ How To: Coding ~~
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Active Characters
Character Name/LinkVillageOrganizationColors
Meiyo SoutaSunagakure No SatoJinches and Pals#AF1E2D -- #60C659 -- #C49977 -- #8080FF
Kenshin YasuKumogakure No SatoClass 1A#ED72AA -- #800000
Hiraku SuzumeIron CountryChishiki#5E99AA
Nakajima KyoKumogakure No SatoN/A#F2C68C
Kazuki AmayaKirigakure No SatoKazuki Twins#96AA99
Enkouten SaoriIwagakure No SatoN/A#FCAD56
HeidrunKonohagakure No SatoN/A#872B93
Hyuuga AinaKonohagakure No SatoN/A#70CE9B -- #FF4080
Fujitsuna ArataSunagakure No SatoN/A#00B2AA -- #754760

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