Keep on Strumming [Intro/Travel]

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PostSubject: Keep on Strumming [Intro/Travel]   Keep on Strumming [Intro/Travel] Icon_minitimeSun Dec 22, 2019 12:45 am
5 Weeks Ago

“What kind of mission is this anyway?!” The samurai asked as he stared blankly at the paper. “Why me?! Why do I have to go, better question, why do I have to do anything?! I suck!” He exclaimed in a rather belligerent tone to his superior.<p>

Harakita Yuki was a young boy who looked as vain and demonic as humanly possible and he seemed to like it. Yuki was lanky, wearing a basic hirori, each time he passed through the shadows he seemed more angry and twisted. Though he hadn’t changed, merely his expression had.

Yuki grunted from behind his lips and pouted as much as he could as he read the mission again. Someone put their hands on his head. The hands were long and his fingers seem to slither as they moved. Yuki was like that at times, a real creep. The boy wondered how in the heck he was actually going to be able to do anything like what was described in the mission parameters. He hit the desk in front of him and the woman sauntered into his vision looking down on his features. She always did. Her body had actual form, she stood taller than most girls at seven foot two inches, Yuki’s older sister giggled. Though, whether it was out of malice or just normal patronage was unanswered.

She had a sharp bone structure, larger breasts than most girls her age, and the girl’s muscles would have made any decent body-builder cry. She was the real pride and glory of the Harakita family, Yuki was just the little brother. His eyes looked up at her from behind his bangs and he shifted his weight. Yuki had fair skin, his sister looked like she actually got sun from time to time, which happened to be few and far between in the Land of Iron. Samurai lived in the cold, and while Yuki was literally named “snow”, the fact that he looked like a demon vampire, was simply more weird than anything else.

“I hate you and everything you stand for, sis.” Yuki said with a grunt. He knew there was no way to get out of this one and to be honest, that was probably fine by him. She laughed again as Yuki went back to reading. The mission was long term and based on intelligence gathering. The reason Yuki had been chosen was also quite simple, just like the mission. Yuki was so obnoxious, they wanted to push him onto someone else. No matter how much he tried not to be. People passed over him no matter what was going on, he did everything kind of average, and he just looked average.

”Maybe, you should think about not being a moron. You will live longer. In fact, I guarantee it.” His sister pointed out with a mocking roll of her tongue, as if to accentuate the words that Yuki really did not care about at this particular moment.

Yuki’s lack of remarkable abilities meant that he was now on the proverbial chopping block with no real way to go but down. He shifted his gaze to his sister. “So what do I get to bring with me? They’re are like Ninjas out there, they stomp me faster than a stingy jackrabbit!” Yuki said to his sister who had simply been mocking him with her bored tone. He was being mocked and to be completely honest, it was probably all completely warranted for the moment.

“You are going on this deep-cover mission because I assigned it to you. End of story Yuki, on top of it you’re one of the only people in the entire land of iron that can literally walk into any city plaza and just be so annoying fifteen people will tell you anything just to get you to shut up. Now, I’ll be nice and tell mom and dad that you died valiantly, though knowing you it will be pathetic and uninteresting.” Yuki’s sister declared explicitly to her brother before reaching back to the box behind her. “Oh, and take Airgetlam.”

“You want to send me into a stupid amount of enemy territory with just my sword. Nothing else? Does this not sound stupidical?!” Yuki stared blankly as he slowly walked over to the bass guitar on the wall behind his sister and took it off its perch. Yuki sighed and then shifted the weapon to make sure he had remembered to load all its blasted forms and wanted to use thing thing to bash his sister’s face in.

“No, well get you some food, some spending money, and we’ll expect regular information on the movements of ~Withdrawn~.” She looked at her obnoxious brother and grinned, Yuki was pretty sure it was simply because she was expecting him to do little more than to have some other person respond with a note saying Yuki had unfortunately been killed and dumped in a ditch. He sighed and resigned himself to the fact that his sister was obviously not going to budge and he was pretty sure that her boss was the one that had picked his sad face out of a hat.

“Why can I not have a standard set of armor at least?” Yuki puzzled while looking at Airgetlam again. His sister waved a finger at him and pointed the obvious out.

“Cause if a ninja saw you with Iron armor, they would probably know you’re a samurai!” She gave him a nod and then mocked him by adding “-de gozaru.” Yuki wanted to ball up his fist and punch her, but he was pretty sure that was akin to breaking his fist on a wall. “Plus you got lucky and found the thing, hopefully you remember all of the activating words for it, right Yuki?” She asked condescendingly to which her brother just rolled his eyes and moved his lips up one side of his teeth like an angry child.

“Of course I remember them all!” He said, “I am the best at what I do, even if it’s being loud and annoying!” Yuki pointed out annoyed. His older sister made a face that clearly said that was true but nothing more on the subject and shrugged. After which she spent the next half hour explaining how Yuki was going to get in contact and relay information back to the Land of Iron.

Most of the different types of information trading had been taught from the basics but Yuki obviously now had to take a much more function crash course in how to do more basics that he ever wanted too. The concept of being a Samurai was directly inverting to the main idea of being a Ninja, not because they were polarizing, but because Samurai just tried to solve problems differently. There was a slight amount of elegance to Samurai chakra constructs, that ninjutsu didn’t have. Though ninja techniques could pretty much do anything given the right knowledge and application.

4 Weeks Ago

Yuki sat sipping tea as he looked out over the beautiful snow. The air was brisk but he had been working all morning with his sister and a few others going over transitional information and direct channels of information trading. The air blew across his face as his nose wiggled and he rolled his shoulders just to sip at his tea again. Most people would have thought his nose could have sunk a ship, so Yuki just had a death glare fixed on his sister and her team leader as they clashed swords in the distance. Simply because they were ruining his perfectly good morning and he wanted to beat them both up on general principles.

Eventually Kai, on of her teammates, made his way from the small training area back up to Yuki’s perch on the porch of the building first. Not because he had lost or because they were done, but because he seemed to see something Yuki would never see in himself. Kai, was a combat king, so was Yuki’s sister, Saska. The demonic-looking boy nodded politely as he poured himself some more tea and then another glass and offered it to Kai. Who, voraciously gulped it down much to Yuki’s dismay. It was like watching something to be enjoyed simply poured out. As if Kai had simply taken a shot of whiskey from a bottle that was meant to be sipped. Say what you want about Yuki being a demonic little moron, he enjoyed tea, even if he hated the rituals.

“So, ready to leave home for a few years?” He asked and Yuki nodded. “What made you say yes? She probably wouldn’t have pushed it if you decided that this wasn’t what you wanted to do, Yuki.” Kai asked politely as he saw Yuki’s eyes flash. Yuki had amazing body language for a spy because of his ability to always seem either bored, or part of the crowd, but that question had obviously caught him off-guard. Kai waited for some kind of answer, and realized after mulling it over that Yuki was probably thinking about how to answer it.

“Whatever.” Yuki said as vaguely as he could, the young man shifted his weight slightly to hold himself up by his hands rather than his knees and simply looked back up at Kai, and then out over the snow-covered hillside and thought for a moment. “If I stay here, I’ll just be stuck in her shadow and to be honest, Kai. I’m gonna be stuck in yours as well especially if you keep hanging around her.” Yuki said with a shrug.

Kai nodded, Yuki was right but that was really no reason to just up and leave because there were a ton of people who could have been decent information gathers in the world of ninja. They were a neutral country, and Kai understood the idea of having someone useless and unassuming being the leader of the group. His arm moved over to toy with Yuki’s hair like Saska had always done and he got a look of very intense disdain for a moment. Yuki was a samurai, not like him and Saska, they had been samurai much younger and were much stronger. “Don’t get yourself killed. She would probably destroy the entire world if you did.” Kai responded to Yuki.<p>

”Got it, die fast to bring down the wrath of insanity on everyone!” Kai got up slowly and walked back towards Saska, who was doing simple snap horizontal slashes and waiting for him. She had most likely heard the entire exchange but even if she had, Saska didn’t seem to mind or care. Yuki watched them for a bit longer before standing up and deciding that he didn’t need to be at this particular place for the moment. “I was born, just not yesterday.” He said under his breath and headed back to his room.

3 Weeks ago

“If I hit you really really hard can I be reprimanded into doing something that’s less repetitive?” Yuki asked his sister as he looked out at the twilight and realized he had been going over this random information for literally months, hours, days. It was boring and he had done it hundreds of times over the past two weeks. He got it, if it was drilled any harder into his brain the foundations would have cracked from tectonic damage.

Saska looked down her nose at her brother, like he wasn’t even important enough to warrant her time or effort. Which, he wasn’t but comments like that simply made it much more pertinent to the situation at hand. He sighed, extremely heavily and shifted his weight so that he could ignore whatever other stupid comment he was going to make at her. The worst part was, she didn’t even glare at him, with a simple look of vague holier-than-thou she had shut her brother up forever.

Yuki did in fact shut up at the point, groaning to himself. He spent the next ten hours going over everything he had been learning non-stop. Even with the young man’s lack of motivation he had made it to the point where he knew enough to solve all the major problems he seemed to have over time. Yuki was on his way to becoming a real spy, and he was actually, despite his best attempts to the contrary, good at it.

A few hours after that, Yuki slumped over asleep in his bed. His sister brought Kai to her side and they talked with Yuki’s parents for a good few more hours. Yuki was as ready as he was going to be. On general principles, there was always a way to sell your soul, but he would make a good distraction for what was going to come next over the following months. Time was definitely not on their side and for that reason they wanted to make sure they knew as much as they could. While Yuki wasn’t the only spy being sent into the field for fear of ninja starting more wars out of complete stupidity, they weren’t from this family.

The next morning Yuki woke up and his sister and his parents were already at work. He figured it would be that way, they had left all of his stuff, which had been packed neatly at the entrance on the table. Yuki slung Airgetlam over his shoulder and then muttered the activating words to shift it into a bass. The weapon shifted and warped before he grabbed his pack and slung it over his other shoulder, and headed out into the world.

2 Weeks ago: Border of the Land Of Iron

Yuki was sitting at the inn playing a light song on Airgetlam, the music slowly rolling off the strings as he sat with his eyes closed and just rocked his head to the music slowly. Each string was pressed and bounced with practiced rhythm, noone at the small inn had cared to shut him up, one man had even tossed him a few coins after he played a song the man was grateful for. A few of the samurai were relaxed and kept ordering drinks, possibly off-duty as Yuki continued playing. The place was relaxing just as Yuki was, he was on his way out of the country and wanted to just sit back on his last days here. A young woman made her way over to his table and looked down at the boy. [b]“Hello, is this seat taken?” She asked.

Yuki didn’t justify it with a response, he was too busy playing to care. If there wasn’t anyone sitting there then the seat probably wasn’t taken. She managed to get the hint quickly. The woman was almost as old as his mother, though much more perky, Yuki’s mother always smelled of headlight fluid and elbow grease, though that was probably the wrong set of words to describe it. Yuki’s mother was an engineer, while this woman smelled of sweet things and didn’t seem to be bothered by the weather. He got a brief glimpse of the band in a pack at her side. Obvious ninja was obvious, Yuki didn’t care. People came and went all the time around the border so he figured she was doing the same.

The older woman relaxed as Yuki’s fingers continued to twirl over the strings of the bass, she was swaying softly as she flagged down the bartender and asked for a drink. Yuki began humming softly as he kept playing before a beer came out to the woman and she finally turned her attention to the young man. “So what’s a young man like yourself doing?”

Yuki looked up at her and changed the key by shifting his hands up a bit and playing something a little faster. “I’m traveling the world, seeing new things.” He said as vaguely as he could. Though the answer was definitely not a lie, there was no useful information in anything he said. He nodded back to the older woman as if to ask the same question. She was too enticed by her drink to notice so he relaxed and said. “What about you Ma’am?” Yuki didn’t care at all about the answer and was just trying to not draw attention for the moment.

“Just visiting, I like the snow.” She said and Yuki figured that she was definitely not going to tell him anything useful. One of the samurai wandered over the table, obviously he knew the woman and they began to chat, ignoring Yuki as went back to focusing on his bass and current jazz line. Yuki relaxed into the music again and rolled his fingers along the instrument before finishing with a long hold of a G. He stood up and nodded politely at the two and then headed for the door, opening it into the winter wonderland and heading towards the border into the Land of Earth.

The guards at the border asked Yuki what he was doing there, but he got by on the “Heading to the next village to play music for.” It was easy, not one person seemed to have eyes for Yuki for longer than a few moments, hell the guards tried to talk about him after a few minutes and were trying to figure out why he had been so belligerent. They obviously didn’t know Yuki.. Once the young man had made his way far enough out of sight he pressed energy into his muscles and shot forward, running, a normal run not a stupid forward ninja crawl at a decent pace to try and make the next town by early sunset.
Border of the Land of Water,
The guards on the dock paid little to no attention to the young man with a bag slung over his shoulder, like many of the others getting off the train. Yuki was just a face in the crowd. One guard decided to ask him something that was vague about why he was coming into the land of Water but Yuki just responded that he was a traveling musician and asked the guard if he was that obnoxious to everyone. So sue him, Yuki was annoyed in the heat. The guard shrugged the answer off and Yuki was let go as the guard suddenly decided he had five other people to question. There were a lot of people at the docks, most of them carrying headbands from the Village of Mist, Yuki wondered what in the heck was going on. Though a quick listen in said something about Lightning and even more about exams. Yuki would head that way in the near future if he decided that was something to report on. He took out a piece of paper and read the numbers on it as he looked around to get his bearings. He asked a man passing by who looked like he worked nearby, symbolized by the fact he was carrying some wood from one place to another where the local tea shop was and nodded in thanks as he was given explicit instructions.

Yuki wandered down the street for a few streets, vanishing into the crowd of hustle and bustle as he wiped some sweat off his brow, it was way too humid here for him. He would have to get used to it quickly to be sure. He needed better clothing to deal with it as well but that could be brushed off for the moment as he looked up at the signs and saw he was one street away from the tea shop. He simply had to go a bit more north and hang a right. That was easy enough.

The tea shop was small, the man inside looked through his furrowed brows at Yuki. He had aged grey hair and a beard that Yuki could have sworn was sentient and required to be pet like a cat considering how carefully the man ran his hands down it and flicked at the bottom of it. “An Iron boy.” The elderly man said under his breath and sniffed loudly in Yuki’s general direction. “I might be the only one here who would know the smell of sword oils from our homeland, what can I do for you?” Yuki walked up to the counter and handed over a set of letters that had all been encoded. The man simply took them and stuffed them into his sleeves as he looked down at Yuki. “Young for a spy aren’t you?” Yuki blinked up at him.

“Old for a badass spymaster, aren’t you.” The elder held his gaze before reaching down and taking out a small vial of sword oil and placing it on the counter along with some pre-packed food and clothing. He gauged Yuki again and nodded.

“Well played my young friend. Have a good rest of your day.” He said as Yuki grabbed the supplies and traded over his bag to the man, walking out of the tea shop looking like he had just managed to find his favorite brew.
Land of Water Commercial Harbor:
“Thank you for your time.” One of the two tanned gentlemen said. He was shorter, though more muscle and walked a bit more stiff and upright because of the massive bulges at his forearms and shoulders. Most would have thought the man a weightlifter, but in reality the man had been working construction for the better part of three decades. He was talking to an old friend about the need to move materials from some of the transport ships to the construction wagons but was not having the luck in smooth talking the dockhands into lowering their prices. Which simply meant that his own construction crews were probably going to have to manually move the materials. A setback of almost two days for the current set of building he was doing. The fact that he still had to make it with most of the wagons to the project and was hoping for good weather was another cause for concern altogether.

His name was Toshi Genma, and he wasn’t exactly the brightest tool in the shed. Which,did not matter to the point as his project and business was not about being smart, it was about knowing how to work with people, and do the job right. That was all easy for the most part. He let his head hang before another man, though a bit younger clapped him on the back. The young man was slightly more portly, and was Genma’s boss and architect. They had a good relationship, which was hard to do with construction foreman and architects, as either one could just as easily make the other’s life a living nightmare. On top of it, if they did not get along, the project itself could suffer because of minor changes that may or may not lead up to the project being behind schedule.

Which brought Genma to his current predicament. They were technically ahead of schedule, which Genma had poured a lot of effort into, so that they could justify the expansive budget that they had with more employees and a better product, but the dock controllers in the Land of Water were just too serious sometimes. They also didn’t seem to be up with the idea of being on time. Though a water-locked country would eventually have issues with the massive amount of traded infrastructure and overall goods. Unfortunately, this meant that Genma would suffer just like his boss and the entire company. He sighed again and looked up to the sun as he suddenly heard the soft sound of music in the background, beyond the hustle bustle and glist and glitter of the bustling port.

Genma turned back, brushing the sound off as his focus went back to his boss, who had said something that he missed. “Genma, you alright?” The more portly chap asked as he quickly scanned the horizon for some of their other employees. He wasn’t nearly as tan, but that could have been because he had been traveling back and forth from the Land of Earth and the port here with the materials, he trusted Genma to keep the project on track, and only felt like he needed to inspect it once every few months. That was the reason he hadn’t already headed back to start making sure the next load was on its way. Genma turned his face to his boss and gave his head a soft shake.

“Yea, let’s get a move on, we need to find someone who wants to actually get some of this work done.” Genma stated to his boss and they headed back towards the small pub where most of the employees were awaiting the direction that the two men would give them, as they were all secretly hoping that they wouldn’t have to put in the extra work and time to move the materials, though as fate decreed, they had all been thoroughly screwed.
The same time: “Nozomi Shipwrights”
Shipwrights were a dime a dozen in the Land of Water, especially near the port authority and the actual drydocks. Terumi was an older woman by younger standards, aging at a ripe thirty-seven and currently screaming her lungs out at a group of individuals who were attempting to put the finishing bolts on a keel for a larger sailing ship when she rolled her shoulder in order to puff herself up to scream something that amounted to masses of profanities unfit for any children’s ears. In another life, maybe another time, Terumi would have made an excellent pirate captain, all her employees had said so. So did her former sensei, who was currently running his drydock next to hers, but was working on a much different project in a small set of travel barges. She screamed out again. “Get the damn thing in place ya scurvy skum!” One of her more obnoxious employees, a young man by the name of Kala was now glaring daggers at her as he held the halt of the keel and kept attaching each board in place.

Someone on the deck, which was currently being sectioned to the side of the dry dock was whistling a sea shanty before looking back towards the actual commuter docks hearing the soft sound of music and then shrugged to get back to work. He began singing his shanty without the whistling and a few others joined in as they continued their carpentry, feeling somewhat sorry for the poor men who had been working in the actual dock with the keel. They had received the brunt of Terumi’s screams and mental degradation over the past few weeks, but they all knew it was only a matter of time before she found something worse with their part of the project and tore them all new metaphorical holes. A few of the men made a gesture as the sun began to set and they finished with both the keel and the deck for the day.

Terumi looked at the time and sighed, she wasn’t going to get anything more out of her workers today, but at least the project was on schedule. While she wasn’t exceptionally tall, Terumi was still sizable, and had soft brown hair that feathered off naturally by her shoulders, she had a set of burns up the sides of her left arm. Relics from when she had been learning the trade, and screwing it up in every way possible. Her eyes roamed the project and her dry dock as everyone headed out and she decided she would as well. Figuring that she would need a drink, and to put a little pressure on some of her more, annoying business competitors, she headed towards the Kraken, her favorite pub, with a handful of workers, including Kala and a carpenter named Kai.
The Same time: “Lion Dock Storage and Safehouse”
Most of the employees of the storage area for high-end dock goods called the Lion Dock, had gone home already. The sun was beginning to set and there were no other orders to be delivered. Of course, if any of their more, prestigious clientele were in dire need of the things that they kept either under wraps, or protected here, they could have asked to get in. Kami was around twenty three, and was currently on guard duty with two others, a hardened older man named Kahara. Who’s beard would ruffle whenever he stumbled over his fast paced speech style, in a way that made Kami want to break out into hysterics, but he kept it to himself. He looked out towards the setting sun and locked the front door. The other employee with them was a woman, his senior at the job by a year, though Kami knew better than to ask a woman her age. She looked to be in her late twenties, and had black hair that had obvious damage from lack of care and oil damage from sweating. She had a decent figure, just a completely inappropriate attitude most of the time.

Kami sighed to himself and went back to the front desk to sit down and look over the paper. He noticed a soft song, coming from someone nearby with an instrument, he looked towards the windows, but already knew the sound was coming from the street behind the store anyway. Kahara made a few minor comments about the watch, and then took his leave to the back where he could appropriate lock up and clean up the entry room into the safe areas. Kami wasn’t sure why the old man liked making the place tidy, but he figured the answer to be something like ‘if I ever need to sleep in here, at least it will be clean.’

Kami’s first day on the job, they had said there was a chance of something happening, but he had been working for almost a year and the worst thing he had run into was some man clearly off his rocker running around naked and trying to get in. Wasn’t the finest discussion he ever had with the authorities, but it reminded him they were still working to protect something anyway. For the past few months though, it really had been quiet, and he was thankful for that. The flip side to that was Kahara, who was almost positive there was no need for their added security, but some of the more ne'er-do-well gentlemen would spend a lot of money to make things vanish for a few days from the dockhands, and they weren’t going to say no to the fees.

Kami yawned, mainly out of a sense of impending light and visibility change, and then went to reading the paper. He did so while he made small talk with Kahara for the next two hours, and unfortunately for Kami, he was about to learn that there were always grin servants of Death, just waiting for an opportunity to arise.

Two hours later, Kami was thrown from his chair at the front of the lobby as the entire building shock with a resounding thump sound.. Kami barely had time to get on his feet before Kahara came running out of the back room with a knife in hand, covered in dust. “What the heck?” Kami asked as Kahara looked at him and the woman who was staring blankly as well.

“Time we all earn our pay.” The old man said through his beard.
Twenty minutes ago: “The Kraken” local pub
“Haha, another round of shots!”[b] The woman named Nozomi Terumi said for her new friends. She had run into a rather well built chap, definitely her type, and a portly chap who were obviously working alongside some of their employees at the Kraken. The bartender poured away as she tilted another drink down seconds after it was poured, relining up her glass. Terumi was noted for her ability to chug rum with the ability to negate alcohol almost better than probably a medical ninja with a specialization on intoxicating substances. She had already made Genma take two shots, and he was unsure of how to stand up, even with his stature to someone who obviously made drinking look like a children’s card game.

The Kraken was a rather large bar, for where it was, situated nicely between the commercial area and the drydocks. It was next to the Lion’s Deck, and had little shade most of the year, but the fact that the front two doors were always open, usually let in a decent breeze off the ocean. It could get chilly at night, but the alcohol was always ready to warm you up or cool you down all at the same time. There was no other place like it, after all through the double doors, and the windows on one side, you could watch the sunset, and then observe the stars as they glistened over the water and the drydocks.

The bar had a rustic look, which was to be cared for, especially with a combination of fine wood polish and some generic lime, along with whatever the sailors and workers had spit shined into the place the previous night. It was closed for most of the day, from three in the morning until roughly four at night so the owner, whose name no one ever seemed to remember, because he called himself the captain, could get some rest. The captain, was roughly sixty, and had a handlebar mustache that could have been on reserve for a harley biker somewhere between his last two fixes of cocaine. His tattoos were legendary, one even amounting to the entire length of his back. He wore a button up, but he kept the entire front, including his minor pot belly, unbuttoned as he moved across the bar. Drink after drink was poured expertly as the patrons continued their loud carousing.
Ten Minutes Ago: The Beer Line Storage Room at the Kraken
Three men were locked down in the basement below the Kraken bar. The first,and obviously in charge was a young man around twenty seven, he currently had a cigarette lying on the outside of his lip, half smoked already as the tip of the ash fell slowly to the floor. He was looking at a number of explosive tags and he slowly put them into place. His build was rather bland, no large muscles but he definitely didn’t have much fat either, he was relatively average with iced black hair that was currently slicked back on his head. His arms made practiced movements that could have done what he was currently handling dozens of times.

The other two were a pair of brothers. The had roughly the same build, were two years apart, named Bussho and Wakui, respectively. Each brother was attaching another set of explosive tags to different parts of the walls, for later purposes. They had paid off the bar owner a few weeks ago for this specific job and now they were nearing the end. They were all going to be extremely rich in a couple of minutes. Well, they would have something that was going to make them rich. They looked up as they heard a thud from the bar, another obviously drunken lunatic misstepping as they went back to the tasks at hand.

The brothers didn’t speed up regardless of the now-sung sea shanty from the area above them, however they did wipe some of the sweat off on their gloves as they checked everything over and made sure they had done everything correctly. There were no flaws, now it was a matter of getting in and out and walking away like nothing ever happened. The three men coviened and talked about the plan one last time before standing to either side of the wall leading into the Lion’s Deck and relaxed. They looked at the current time on their watches and waited for exactly Nineteen Hundred Hours.
Five Minutes Ago: Outside Patio of the Crab Shack
A young boy’s fingers were dancing on the strings of a jazz bass. The sound rolled on the wind as it blew his hair around softly, which had been tapered up in the usual demonic spines that signified his hair. The sound of each string being plucked slowly wafted away from him and into the evening breeze and the melody flowed. The world seemed to relax and a few people even complimented the young man on his skills.

Yuki, as was the young boy’s name, nodded appreciatively at the man who had granted him the compliment but failed actually do more than acknowledge the comment. Then again not many people knew without straight up asking as he went back to rocking slowly and letting his fingers walk down the length of the strings to add a more jazzy twang to the song by changing notes. He was a samurai, but few would ever know it, and even less would ever care. He was also a long way from home. The breeze blew a little harder as he wiped away a bit of sweat after finishing his current piece of music.

Yuki took a sip of the water he had bought and munched down the crab cakes as well, stuffing his face in order to get back to his current tune, or frame of reference, really anything at all. He swallowed, though his entire display was a lot less dramatic than his overall motions and actions. When you were hungry, manners didn’t seem to matter much. He hadn’t realized how hungry he was following waking up early in the morning on the three day boat ride from the land of earth. The truth was that he was ravenous.

Yuki quickly finished the appetizer and a young woman came to get his plate. “Where’s your family, young man?” She asked Yuki like he was a lost little boy. Yuki looked back up at her and blinked.

[b]“No idea, won’t see them for a few years I'm probably working.”
He exclaimed in a voice that sounded like a young man squeaking at an oddly timed question, coupled with the generic tone of voice that was either annoyingly sarcastic or I-told-you-so. Yuki looked back down at the bass and tightened one of the strings until it was tuned correctly and then sipped at his water. “The crab cakes were amazing, thank you, Ma’am.” He said. The waitress gave her a nod and Yuki played a soft set of strings as he thought about what song he was going to play next.

Unfortunately, for Yuki, everything was screwed today. He had just started playing when he found himself staring up at the evening sky, the entire world had shook with what must have been some kind of explosion, and he heard the immediate sounds of loud screaming and shouting. “Well, that’s not good.” He said staring up at the sky wondering what had happened.
Nineteen Hundred Hours
Uesaka Kei snapped his fingers lightly. In seconds, the entire world went to hell in a handbasket. A large rumble moved the ground for the entire area as the tags blew the wall out from next to them, leading into the bottom private area of the Lion’s Deck. Him and the brothers put on masks and moved through the rubble into the building next door. Inside they entered a long hallway that lead both to their right and left. Kei had memorized where they needed to go weeks ago and him and his associates took a sharp right and walked forward quickly, realizing they had less than five minutes to do what they wanted to.

The door into the private security boxes was still open, because the guard staff didn’t close that until last, preferring the rest of the security. Kei had learned this from his from his hidden hand as well. He heard one of the brothers make a sound as he let Bussho get to the door. He makes quick work of it with another explosive tag and the two brothers stood guard as Kei walked into the room with quickened and practiced steps. He looked at his watch, a total of twenty-two, twenty-three seconds had gone by and he looked to the north wall for the safety deposit box labbed one one three eight and took out set of lockpicks and set out to work.

“Guards.” Bussho said from beneath his mask and tossed a smoke pellet and a small explosive down to the other end of the hallway. Hired security wasn’t going to deal with the smoke or play hero, unless they were stupid and had a death wish. Unfortunately, the two brothers didn’t count on some new guard who wanted to prove himself.
Kami and Kahara were up and running as soon as he had mentioned it. They each grabbed a crossbow from the housing area on their way down the stairs. Making sure to check all their corners quickly. “A ninja?” Kami asked quizzically as fear began to grip his back.

“No, a ninja would have knocked us our or killed us already.” Kahara responded as they heard their associate from behind mention something about finishing a full lock of the upper floors. They had followed protocol to the dot, but now they knew someone was in there with them. The smoke was already rising from the back of the hallway, the two rooms on either side that housed the actual storage areas had been untouched. Kahara motioned to Kami. “They know what they’re after.” He said as he waved his hands to try and get some of the expanding smoke out of the way.

The young man in his guard uniform held up a crossbow he had gotten from one of the lockers and looked down the smoky haze at his boss, he decided that if they weren’t ninja, they wouldn’t be expecting him to rush forward through the smoke. He thought he heard Kahara say something just as he ran through the smoke.
There’s a force in the universe, the kind of thing that lets everything slow down into bullet-time or whatever people like to designate it. It allows the world to be kind enough to tell you when everything, has gone wrong. One long, and very stretched out moment to realize that everything is now FUBAR. This was that moment.
On the other side of the smoke, Kami saw the two brothers, who obviously had no idea that someone would ignore all their on the job training and decide to be a hero. The bolt from the crossbow flew the moment he crossed the threshold of the smoke, and the two brother didn’t have enough time to react before Bussho felt the bolt slice into his arm and upper torso, flying just below his should by about six inches. Two large lacerations opened up on him, one on the inside of his right arm and one on his upper torso. He screamed in some form of pain, but it only took him a second to reorient himself and he threw a small bright concussive at the man with the crossbow. Who had just begun to speak. “Surrende-”] A loud pop followed by the young man getting flung back into smoke.

Kahara heard the concussion and was lucky enough to keep his vision after being slammed into the wall because of the smoke, which was now wafting back towards him. With the loss of oxygen from the shockwave he was out of breath and scrambled as limp as he could back upstairs. His other associate, the woman named Wakayo moved passed him and searched around the smoke for the young man who was now inhaling smoke and obviously knocked out by the blast.

“That friggin hurt!” Bussho said in an annoyed tone as he looked at his brother. All hell had broken loose and they yelled at Kei, who quickly ran past them and back out the exploded wall into the bar. He set off the second set of tags and the three men headed out the back of the bar as quickly as they could.
Genma and Terumi were shaken when the entire building rocked from the first explosion. People began screaming and running in a mad panic in different directions. The building shook, but it did not appear that anyone was hurt. Genma told his employees to get out of the bar and away from the building with practiced direction, while Terumi barked orders like a captain talking to his swap. They eventually headed out the back, wondering what had happened as the caught their obviously inebriated breaths, realizing the toll that the drinking had in fact done on them. Less than a minute later the wall at the other side of the back of the Kraken blew out, and three men in masks were already bolting towards the shipping docks.

Terumi and Genma headed after them, but they were dazed and drunk. Genma wasn’t usually one for heroics, but something about the woman was making him work harder. They seemed like they had a duty to stop the criminals as fast as they could. They managed to corner the three men further down the street near a small restaurant. One of the men, the man obviously in charge by the looks of it, pulled out a knife and held it up to a small boy who hadn’t managed to flee the scene in the extremely fast chaos. He had his hands up, and Terumi looked at him again. The young man, she thought with the spiny hair was looking up at the men slightly scared. “Don’t come after us or we’ll hurt him!” The leader of the criminals said and forced the young man up and dragged him along like a sack of potatoes.

In Yuki’s defense, whether it was shock, or just plain confusion, he didn’t scream. However, now he was kidnapped by these men, and Terumi and Genma were running out of steam, and did not want to endanger everyone else. They stood still and tried to sober up as they gasped for air and waited for the proper authorities.
Yuki was still on the ground when the bass shifted and he sat up to place the artifact in the back of his shirt. He pressed down on the ground with one hand and stood up slowly, shaking his head with a slight amount of confusion. People began pouring out of nearby buildings and running in both directions of the street, he tried to focus just to hear another explosion as people were screaming and the entire area be covered in dust. He didn’t understand why but no one looked hurt, from his vantage point.

Yuki, couldn’t actually quantify the next few seconds. He saw the roll of the dirt and then three men in masks, who were being chased by a buff woman and a working man of roughly his mom and dad's age, if not slightly younger. One of the men pointed a knife at him and he held his hands up. “Don’t come after us or we’ll hurt him!”

Yuki found himself being dragged and carried by one of the other associates as they made they way down to an alley and then into a backlot of the shipping area, with another man in a mask shutting the door behind them and locking it. Yuki was now a hostage. Well, that all seemed pretty horrible. One of the men looked at him from behind the one who had been dragging Yuki along. “Don’t do anything and we won’t hurt you.” He said to Yuki who looked confused back at him.

Yuki tried to get his bearings when they moved into a shipping crate and left Yuki on the side of it with the new one who had met the group at the shipping yard, watching him. Yuki simply stayed seated as he heard the men in the shipping crate. “Dam lucky crossbow hero.” One of the men said as Yuki waited patiently for whatever was going to happen.

“You scared little man?” The man who was watching Yuki asked. He blinked, at the man and nodded his head as feeble as he could. Taking care to not focus on the attackers too much for fear of death and all other kinds of bad things. “Just take it easy and follow our instructions and we’ll let you go.” He said to Yuki who simply nodded in response. The other men came out of the container in new clothes. Yuki honestly didn’t really care, he was too busy trying to get his bearings again. That and figure out a way to deal with this problem that did not end up in a bloodbath that he realistically could not justify.

“Alright Dock 6, boat in three.”[/]b The leader said before looking at Yuki from behind a scarf and a hoodie. [b]“Don’t do anything dumb and we’ll let you go in a bit. We’re not in the harming business, we’re in the acquisitions business.” He said, not expecting the young man to understand as the men headed between different shipping containers and once again having the larger man drag Yuki along by carrying him.

Yuki felt like the worst damsel in distress ever, and really hoped someone would come to his rescue but that was unlikely at this point in time. So, he did the one thing that seemed the most likely to get keep him alive, he just did what his kidnappers asked. They hadn’t shown him their face, and they obviously had no idea who he was. They were already being pursued, but the lock probably made that a problem. He took notes on the builds of all four men as they spent the next two minutes running to what Yuki could only assume was dock six. A small boat was moving along the end of the dock already, and a few minutes later all four men were on the boat, with Yuki in tow.

The boat driver was the only female in the group. She also had on a hoodie, and a scarf, which made getting any real information on their identities hard, though that was probably for the best because at this point, they could just toss Yuki into the ocean and be done with it. They headed away from the port, slightly north out of the natural harbor, eventually ditching the boat in the commuter area for another. It took the better part of an hour before they were sure they had not been followed and headed to a cove a bit further up the coast.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep on Strumming [Intro/Travel]   Keep on Strumming [Intro/Travel] Icon_minitimeSun Dec 22, 2019 12:46 am
Alter 2: Somebody, Save Me
Yuki looked up from his sitting rock, his hands had been bound and so had his legs. Interestingly he looked, bored. The sun was completely gone and the criminal elements were talking about something further down the cove. Or at least, the woman, the leader and one of the others was. He sighed and let his eyes take in all the information they could. It was not a skill that was learned easily, but Yuki had a lot of practice being the brother of the best young samurai there was.

Though, Yuki fancied himself a spy, and unfortunately for him, he had apparently been in the wrong place, at the wrong time. It was obvious they were waiting for something, but Yuki was not sure what it was or if it was going to happen anytime soon. He relaxed a bit and looked at the rock formation that he was currently sitting on, tide was gone and there was no water. But each rock still had the divots from old pools probably only applicable during the high tide of storm season. Everything had been worn down and beaten into submission by the water over the years from time and tide. He looked further down to the cove where the other three were hard at work discussing something.

“Can I have some water?” Yuki asked the man assigned to protect him, slightly annoyed. “Or use the restroom?” He said in a familiar, but obviously scared tone of voice. The man looked him over, he had bandaged up the wound that Yuki had seen soaking to side of his arm and torso. Yuki had no clue what had happened, he was not a medic, and the wound was not made by a sword. The looked over Yuki a few times before nodding.

“Hang on.” He said in a tone that was as much brute as anything else. Yuki figured he was probably not the brains, that was the one barking orders when they had grabbed him, or to them, her. He nodded to the young man and headed off to the other three, waving them down and telling them to bring some water and take Yuki to the restroom. Yuki let out a sigh, they must have still though he was a girl. Nothing new there, he made no real attempts to do anything about his bonds, as getting himself injured was not what he wanted to do at this point. However, on general principles he wanted to hack them all to pieces, but that was not going to end effectively well for anyone.

The female came over with a bottle of water, which Yuki had watched her retrieve from the cove. He guessed they had supplies stashed for a day or so until whatever it was they were waiting for was happening. The bigger issue was that someone was obviously going to follow them because Yuki was kidnapped, though they would not have any clue as to who Yuki was. Which presented a large number of other problems for the young samurai. The woman walked slowly up to him, and Yuki noticed her movements were more crisp and accentuated than most females, and without the baggy clothing she might have looked rather ravishing to most males that were a little older than the samurai. Yuki did not care, but he did care about the fact that she was probably the stinger in the group, necessary for people who steal stuff.

She handed him a bottle of water, or at least, placed it from the cap in front of him and then undid his bonds. Yuki was careful not to move very quickly and took a few sips of water before nodding.  “Thank you Miss.” He said as she looked down at him. “Mind if I use the restroom now?”

She nodded and pointed to behind the rock that they had sat Yuki in front of and he made his way back and quickly finished his business. Taking care to hide himself as much as he could before returning, a bit relaxed while rubbing his wrists to make sure the circulation was still fine and sitting back down again. “Good kid, we’ll let you go soon.” She said to Yuki before giving him a second glance. She noticed the odd bulge in the back of Yuki’s pants and he sighed before she grabbed him and lifted him up, pulling his shirt off and spinning him around to grab the broken sword at his back.

“No wait that belonged to my sister! It’s all I have left of her!” Yuki lied through his teeth and started crying. She looked at him and then searched his pockets and found little to nothing. Just the pocket money he had been given, the rest of his stuff was in the bag at the hotel he had rented. “I don’t even know how to swing it, and it’s broken, please give it back!” Yuki stated to the woman through tears. He hated forcing himself to cry, but needs must, when you get kidnapped by complete and total bad luck.

“I’ll give it back when we let you go, fair?” She asked. She was probably wary that he was a ninja, though Yuki did not know the first bleeding thing about being a ninja. He kept crying for a bit to keep the charade going as she gave him his shirt back and bound him again to the rock. “Just sit down and relax.” She said to him. Yuki looked up at her and for a split second, his face must have said something very confusing to the woman. She headed back to the group, and he relaxed back with his head against the rock.

Two Hours Later:
Yuki let out a yawn as the leader of the group walked over and sat down on the rock above where Yuki was being held. Yuki had figured it was the leader because he was the guy giving orders, and seemed to always know what they were doing. Which in and of itself was quite a feet. He looked back at the man and sighed softly.

“Sup kiddo?” He asked Yuki. “You’re taking to being a kidnapped kid pretty well.” He said in a very noble attitude that was somewhere between ‘I don’t care how you answer this’ and ‘I didn’t want you to be here.’ To be honest, Yuki did not want to be tied up to a rock at nearly twenty-one o’clock but bad timings he guessed.

“Nothing, I’m tied to a rock, your friend took the only thing I have left of my family, I’m a continent away from home, and apparently really unlucky.” Yuki responded in a rash and annoyed voice. He made sure to throw in some fear just to keep the man in charge thinking he was in charge. Which, he totally was but trying to tell Yuki that might have solicited something between insanity and idiocy. “What do you want?”

“I want to get paid, and leave, after that you are free to go, we’re thieves, not killers.” He said to Yuki as he looked down at the young man. “We barely even hurt people, usually don’t have this bad luck.” He said looking out over the water for something that Yuki was pretty sure did not yet exist. He was smaller than the other two, who looked like under their black clothing they were probably muscular, but he did not look small. Yuki was pretty sure he could have killed him in about a thousand horrible ways, so talking down to him never crossed his mind once. “So, why haven’t you flipped out yet, you a ninja kid? Gonna, jump out of here and beat us up, kill us all?” The man asked Yuki.

“Not a ninja, I happen to be a travelling musician, you broke my bass when you kidnapped me, remember?!” He said annoyed at the man.

“Then why don’t you seem to be very scared?” The leader retorted without missing a beat.

“Would it really help me right now?” Yuki asked in response.

“Good point.” The man said and pushed off the rock back into a standing position. “Shouldn’t be too much longer kid, what’s your name?” He asked. “Maybe you have a knack for being cautious under pressure.”

Yuki thought for a second and sighed. “Yuki.” He said pronouncing his name in the annoying additive he had created as a younger child. “And I doubt it, I’m just waiting for my prince to save me!” Yuki exclaimed rather sarcastically at the man who let out a laugh. It was a small laugh, almost like he did not do it when he really did not think it was funny. Too genuine for a career criminal as he then took the broken sword off his belt and set it down gently next to Yuki, but far enough out of reach that there was little he could do anyway.

“Where’d you get this?” He asked picking it back up and looking it over. “And why is the hilt so long? Was this double bladed? What kind of sword?”

Yuki sighed. “One question at a time please, and give that back it’s all I have left of my family!” He said in a haughty voice as he stared at the dark broken sword.

“Answer, and why would I do that so you can break out of those ropes and kill me?” He said probably still convinced that Yuki was a ninja or something. Yuki rolled his eyes shifted with an annoyed sense of pride.

“Fine, it was my sister’s she broke it. She was a professional bodyguard.” Yuki said in a massive amount of half truths and not entirely lies. He was being deceptive while still using real answers, so it would appear true and give the man less reason to focus on him because he was being cooperative. Though, in reality the sister of Yuki was a combat monster, and only had served a bodyguard for the generals of the Land of Iron.

“Where is she now?” The man asked running his hands along the hilt of the broken sword.

Yuki looked annoyed at the man when he finally decided to give up and just deal with it. “Continents away, I wasn’t any good at the family trade so I got kicked out of my family, so I decided to travel around doing what I’m good at playing music.” Yuki said sticking out her tongue at the sword as if it pained her to remember how much better his sister was at everything.

“Why does it have two edges?” He asked, this he seemed actually really curious about. He watched Yuki’s body language the entire time that Yuki had been and would answer questions. The most he had gotten, and he was a dam good poker player, was that Yuki was hiding something, but it definitely was not the ability to break out and kill him at any moment. He was slowly starting to be convinced that Yuki had taken it from his sister on the way out.

“Called a Zweihänder, it’s not a ninja sword, and it’s not from anywhere around here. It’s also broken as you can see.” Yuki said haughtily like he was a little girl who knew something some adults that wanted to throw his weight around did not have any clue about.

“So, why does it have two edges?” He asked again, with increasing distaste. He was now pretty sure the little man had stolen it from his sister or her family. He was also completely sure she did not have any idea how to use it effectively, after all, it was broken. Which was the odd thing to Kei.

Yuki thought for a second like he was trying to look for a good enough answer that was not completely childish. “Because you don’t wield it the same way you wield a tonto or katana. Or that’s what my sister said!” Yuki said before nodding. The man looked down, if Yuki could see more than his eyes he would have realized the man had an increasingly mocking and very amused grin on his face.

“So, you took your sister’s sword and you got it broken?” He asked Yuki, and Yuki looked confused for a moment. His mind finally put together what the man was thinking Yuki had done the entire time. Stolen the sword and broken for some reason. He decided to go along with it, if just to keep the conversation going.

“No!” He said in an indignant tone that was obviously a haughty lie to a parent, sounding as guilty as he could.

“Shouldn’t take things, you’ll end up like me.” The man chuckled at Yuki. “Definitely don’t want that do you Yuki?” He asked jokingly before tapping his fingernail to the blade and realizing it was still sharp. “Oh well, I’ll be back in a bit.” He said to Yuki as his focus moved to his fingernail and then to something on the water.

Yuki looked where the man looked and noticed a small boat heading towards the cove. It had a small blue lantern that it lit as it got closer and Yuki watched the entire group move towards where the boat was coming in to dock. He looked around himself and only saw rocks and then up at the moon. He wondered what was actually going on, and really did not want to get ditched there. That would pose severe survival problems in a rather spectacular fashion.

The four criminals met up with someone on the boat and handed something over, which was met by the person on the boat throwing a bag to them. The main man, looked into the bag with a lantern held up and nodded at the portly chap on the boat, who began promptly leaving just as quickly as he had come. However, he had snuffed out the lantern on his way out. Yuki sighed as the leader walked back over to Yuki and looked down at him. “Well sir, you’re free to go.”

Yuki looked up at him as he pulled out Yuki’s sword and leaned over the young boy to slice off his bindings. He turned the blade in his hand and offered it hilt first to Yuki as if to test something and Yuki, without batting an eye, took the blade and placed it in the sheath against his back again. He made sure to fumble around a bit so it looked like he was not entirely sure how to do so. The man laughed at Yuki.

“You really have no clue how to fight do you?” He asked the little man in front of him.

Kei was finding this young man, Yuki. What kind of a name was that, anyway?  Who names their kids after snow? He laughed again as he thought about the kid fumbling and nearly cutting him back as he got the sword back. Kei had been a ninja, a long time ago, but did not find it to be the life for him. Too many stuck up and powerful people for him. He liked biding his time and making money a lot more than duty or nonsense like that.

“Come on Yuki, we’ll drop you off at the next town. Maybe buy you dinner for your time wasted with us.” He said and started walking towards the cove and subsequent sand dune that lead back up and into the Land of Water.

Alter Three: Insert Intermission Music Here:
Yuki woke up in a bed, surprisingly enough. It was barely dawn, but Yuki didn’t sleep much anyway so, he simply sat up. He was in a completely unfamiliar room and thought back to the night before. Right, he had been kidnapped and dragged around. He stood up and got dressed, making sure to retie his hair and look out the window. The town was barely alive, must have been too early, either that or they were all gone fishing. However, Yuki would not have known that anyway. He sighed to himself and wondered how he was going to get his stuff back from the commuter Border town he had moved into. The Land of Water was water locked from other countries, so he had to think of something away.

He let out a yawn as his shirt went from being crumpled on his top to him pulling it down. He noticed that the dresser next to him had his sword on it. He grabbed it. The other bed in the room had obviously been used but he had no idea who had been in the room with him. Eventually he washed his face and headed down the lobby. The woman was there, though she had ditched the outfit for more generic Land of Water clothing. Yuki had barely recognized her, she was eating something, a bit ravenously. Yuki made sure to not give her a second glance as he walked away slowly from the lobby and looked outside the window of the inn before opening the door onto the street.

A pair of muscular twins were smoking and talking about something as they looked at the door and saw Yuki. Yuki recognized their voices from the night before and gave them a nod like he did not have a care in the world. He wondered over and looked at them as the one who had obviously been injured gave him a look back. “Awake little man?” He asked with a very low baritone, slightly groggy. Yuki guessed that they had been sleeping until just a few moments ago.

“Am I still kidnapped?” He asked in response. “And, no, not really.” Yuki added in a peckish voice.

“Not at all, boss said you can do whatever you want now, if you want to get back to the commuter terminal, take that road out of town, and it’s about a five mile walk.” The other twin said pointing to the area leading to a patch of pastures and dirt road.

Yuki thought about what to do for a good long couple of moments as he answered a couple of remedial questions from the male twins. They did not seem concerned that Yuki would tell anyone about them, probably because their boss said not to be. Apparently he thought pretty highly of his crew to trust them this much. Judging by the designer clothing, and the expensive imported cigarettes, it made sense. Yuki eventually nodded to them both, and headed off to the northern direction out of town. He needed to get his stuff back, and probably never talk about this ever again.

He had gotten a good five hundred meters out of town when the hair on the back of his neck stood up, what little hair he had anyway. Yuki was convinced he had been followed from the very start, but he was not entirely sure how or where from. Maybe from the boss of the group, maybe someone else?

Yuki was not sure and decided to keep his eyes open, prefering to stick to the side of the road as a few times over the next hour certain carts and other individuals passed him on their way into the Land of Water proper. He had gone about half the distance when he finally stopped for a short break. He heard the trees wrestle at different and varying angles above him. He thought none of it, however. He tried replaying the night before in his mind and came to a weird point. He could not actually tell anyone, because of who he was. This was a Land of Water issue, he was an agent, a spy, an intelligence operative. He could not afford to get caught up or known about. Even if anyone knew he had been taken, and a few did. He had to avoid that concept again.

“Lame.” He exclaimed as he got up and started walking slowly towards the coastal border town again. He took out the small paper he had concealed in an unmentionable place and looked it over. It had a list of locations that he was supposed to report on in the Land of Water and most of them he was pretty sure would arouse too much suspicion. He thought back to the day he arrived and decided to ask the spymaster if there was any ticks of the trade he could use to make a dent in whatever was going on. Yuki nodded at that comment and continued to move forward towards the town.

Finally, as he saw the border town in the distance, and the sounds of the city began to grow, he stepped a bit off the path and looked around. “Come out, I’m bored of you.” He said loudly while staring at the area behind him. A soft breeze moved through the humid air and nothing happened. It was almost mocking.

Kei wanted to laugh when the little girl, Yuki finally said she was bored of being followed. She was definitely odd, but not a ninja, Kei would have noticed that. It was almost like she was just good at being, lucky. He thought back to when she had been grabbed originally, they had broken her instrument and she did not struggle or make a major scene, she simply wanted whatever was happening to end. It was a good mentality for someone in a bad situation. Had leaving her family and stealing their stuff had done that much psychological damage to the young Yuki. No, he thought to himself as he appeared on another tree branch after a quick jump. It was not guilt, it was more an understanding that she was powerless. Or that was the conclusion that he drew anyway. He continued his movements along the treeline and eventually wandered into the town, set on watching the little girl for a bit longer.

Yuki stood very still for a few minutes. He even called out again, there was nothing. Not a damn thing. His nerves must have been lying to him. Time seemed to wallow in that particular instant for a longer amount of time. However it did nothing to make they young man feel any better about what was going on.

He eventually decided that enough time had been wasted waiting for something that apparently was not coming. Yuki could have sworn his instincts were better than that. The town was now getting louder with the hustle and bustle from the midday rush. It was not long until lunch time for most of the workers, as Yuki headed into the entrance of the city a few people managed to bump and push the young man out of their way. He met most of them with a polite “Excuse me,” and a few “sorry about that.” Just to keep himself as one of the nicest gentlemen in the group to be sure. Things were definitely going his way for the most part as he headed back to the inn. Yuki stopped by the inn as he went inside and up to his room, looking around at his stuff and sighing. Then he decided, much to his personal enjoyment, to go the hell back to sleep.

A few hours later Yuki pulled his face away from the pillow and realized he still needed to take a shower and potentially relax for a bit. His steps took him groggily down the stairs as he asked the lady in the lobby where the local bath house was and then looked back to ask where he could get something decent to eat. She largely thought he was asking for parents judging by how she talked down to him but he did not make any points about it as he headed out.

The night was crisp, and Yuki had woken up right around dinner time from his nap. The sun was mostly gone and he made his way to a small bath house that was a few streets down. Now that work is over for most of the people who worked on the docks the place was rather busy but Yuki did not mind much. He walked in and paid the man at the front desk before heading in and taking a quick bath. Trying to ignore all the adults before heading out of the bath house and down to another restaurant that had been recommended to him.

The night was taking full hold by now and Yuki yawned as he sat down outside and looked up at the stars whilst he waited for someone to take his order. He looked at the different people as he scratched the back of his neck again, the feeling that he was being watched still had not managed to go away and it was really starting to irritate him.   “Excuse me Ma’am, I’m ready to order.” Yuki said to the waitress as she finally wondered by. She probably thought that he was not by himself but that was no new concept for Yuki.

The waitress nodded and moved over to the young boy. She had an apron on over a summer dress that had a floral print of blue accented by a soft purple that blended well with the fading light. She was chubby, probably in her mid thirties and looked like some of the more recent years had taken their toll with the starting formation of wrinkles near her eyes.

Yuki ordered a set of fish tacos and then went back to relaxing as he people watched the population that was squandered around looking for things to do. He was wondering what he was going to do with the rest of the day as he saw someone notice him. She was an older woman, and definitely more muscular than Yuki would ever hope to be she stared at him for a second and tilted her head. Then, against reason, she decided to walk right over and sit down next to Yuki. “Yer the guy that got kidnapped!” She said in a loud and rather obnoxious tone as Yuki blinked.

“That is the rumor.” Yuki said as he nodded to her. He looked her over and wondered what she was doing there, or why she remembered that. She was probably one of the people that had seen Yuki get taken, or that was near Yuki when it happened but the issue was that the entire place had been covered in dirt and Yuki had no clue what had been going on, he also did not happen to have any acquaintances around here. The boy stared up at her and she looked him over as well.

“Are you okay?” She suddenly asked and Yuki shrugged.

“I am whatever I feel like that day, confusing enough?” He asked the older woman and she nodded in response. He noticed that she looked like she had been sweating.

“Yer a land lubber, where ye be from?” She asked and Yuki blinked up at her as he thought about what the nicest way to tell her that he hated the accent was going to be. His mantra of not being noticed and being a spy played a few times in the back of his head but it did not seem to help enough. In the end, he could not think of anything that did not make him sound like he hated her guts, so he chose to ignore it.

“Not here.” Yuki responded as he pointed towards the land of earth, and subsequently, the ocean. “From somewhere over there or something.” He responded in a vague and almost childish fashion. He needed to keep the child thing up for a while. It was working quite well but it seemed to have the opposite effect of its original intended purpose. This was partly because people had begun to believe he was a robber on one end of the spectrum and on the other he just seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The older woman looked down on him, Yuki simply shrugged as he looked back at her. She did not show anything in her face for what she had been looking for. Maybe to try and pinpoint where he was from or maybe something else. “So how did you escape those scallywags?” The older woman asked and Yuki just sighed.

He made a note of looking scared. “They dumped me on the shore when they were leaving. I didn’t know what was going on, I was so scared.” Yuki said from his small position and it was obvious that his heart was not in this lie and shrugged. “They walked away.” He said in a very normal tone after with a shrug. The older woman seemed much more sated by the second comment than Yuki’s overt attempt to be an obnoxiously scared little ten year old. What a load of nonsense. He thought to himself as he flexed his shoulders and looked back as his food arrived.

“What’s yer name boy?” The woman asked him through one cocked eyebrow as Yuki blinked again. “I be Nozomi Terumi.” She said and Yuki was really sick of whatever language this accent definitely was not.

“I be Harakita Yuki.” He said mockingly in response. Terumi did not seem very happy at his mocking of her speech.

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Keep on Strumming [Intro/Travel]

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