Plastic Words, Genuine Actions

[[That’s all for today, dear ladies and gents.

Apologies for the absence right after a bout of activity the last time we saw each other. I went to visit family for a week and then came back here to get ill. We will be stabilizing activity from now on.

It’s wonderful to be able to happily write here again. I know I’ve taken my time in my recuperation, and I sincerely thank you all for being patient and bearing with me.

In any case, good night, enjoy the rest of the day/night, depending on your timezones.]]

Like searching for a needle in a haystack [@dreamerphoenix]

halfangelhalfhumanbutallshota:

If the phoenix really enjoyed the spectacle that Luka’s conflicting emotions were displaying, her walking close to him and suddenly appearing just a bit too close to Luka’s comfort zone surely was going to offer more of that. Even when the girl so naturally summoned a flame to light a stick which use was unknown to the boy made him tense again, the hand grasping the hilt still here, waiting for the second that his nerves would send the message and allow it to unsheathe the ugly sword that stood on his side, strangely far more silent than the normal, as if the souls inside the sword just knew how dangerous was the person in front of them.

While he tried his best to hide his fear by forcing himself to not move too much his own body or to not display it too much through his voice and face, there was something that just made Luka more unconfortable than the normal. You see, while Luka had no power or incredibly advanced tool to determine the power of the lady in front of him, he was at least able to feel the enormous burning flame that was her fighting spirit, which made him even more cautious as her ‘fire’ was…strange, different to those he felt during his travels.
When he fought a monster girl, their own battle spirit was based mostly upon their race’s instincts, something that allowed Luka to understand and predict their moves through the use of his water spirit’s power. It was hard to explain how it exactly worked, but it was simply like he could feel their burning rage tell them how to act, and then counter their moves with that advantage.
With this person, it was completely different. It wasn’t like with an angel, where there was literally a complete lack of it, no, it was quite the opposite. While tame for now, as she didn’t seem like she was planning to attack him, her fire was just burning too much, the fury of which made Luka wonder whenever or not she did want to fight, but for some reasons she refrained from doing so. He felt something similar every time he fought the heavenly knight known as Granberia, which battle spirit was always burning up, but this was…more wild, maybe even more powerful and oppressing than that, which didn’t help Luka’s anxiety at all.

But whenever or not her fire was a bomb ready to explode, she was pacific as for now. Whenever or not she would kept being so, that wasn’t something he could predict, but certainly he could try not to be the cause of said explosion, at least.

Trying to keep his ground even after the sudden movements of the girl, something he was trying to get used to given him working with someone like Sakuya, he tried to completely ignore that laugh, or at least to hide the shivers that it send straight down his spine. This, however, avoided that Luka could interrupt the Phoenix’s monologue, which probably helped a lot, given how she said that she disliked people that talked too much. Not that he could reply anyway, especially after a name he never heard was dropped so casually around, which for some reason he felt like he shouldn’t remember if he liked being safe and sound.
As she kept talking, though, he could finally hear a confirmation that something was, in fact, wrong around those parts, and he couldn’t help but wondering once again what it was, a certain idea slowly forming into his mind but with hopes that he was completely wrong about it.

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"A-Ah, yea, I know that my weapon isn’t exactly the best looking thing ever, a-ahaha…" Finally, after silently listening to the girl’s whole deal, Luka opened his mouth again. "B-But if those are the terms, I a-accept." Awkwardness aside, this deal seemed very good on Luka’s part. Having a guide in a place like that, and it being someone with that kind of ‘flame’ surely would make him feel more safe, and all he had to do was to talk about his sword. What did he had to lose?

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"I-I admittedly don’t know too much about the sword myself, but I’ve learned a bit of it’s story during my travels. This…tool is made out of six hundred, sixty-six angel souls, and was made by my mother during a war against the heavens, in order to make a weapon that could harm angels no matter of who used it, as they normally would be untouchable by other beings’ weapons or hands.
It has at least five hundred years, given that before me it was used by a legendary hero called Heinrich that lived that long ago, and then felt into my own hands when I started my own mission.” Of course, Luka wasn’t going to actually explain to the other his whole life, but just the parts that he felt relevant to answer her question about the sword. For how she spoke before, if he dragged that conversation for too long, she might very well just break the deal and send him off, for all he knew.

"More than an actual sword, it’s a sealing tool. Rather than killing, it seals living beings in smaller forms, though it mostly last until they regain enough power to break the seal, which own power it is apparently tied to who uses it. I…kind of need to use this sword, as I c-can’t really bring myself to kill anything, and in my journey I h-had to fight many monsters a-ahaha…"

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"A-As for me, I’m L-Luka, an eighteen year old boy, t-though yea, I’m apparently half angel too, as my mom was a full angel. N-Nice to meet you." And by angel he meant was could pretty much be described as the goddess’ right hand and the most powerful heavenly being past the goddess itself, but he didn’t like to brag about that.

Though making him tense was no doubt a show Mokou was enjoying, a few puffs of the cigarette and the staredown was all she pushed on the petite swordsman. The small but very audible silence between her howls and his words didn’t go unnoticed: The Heian woman understood that Luka was taking in all this information, from her proximity to her offer, but this writer would lie if he were to say Mokou wasn’t once anew enthralled by how the boy’s eyes seemed to not just analyze her. It was as if he was understanding her. Part of Mokou honestly hoped Luka would respond with a swipe, but given that he stayed his hand despite all the things she did to either solicit more fear or goad him into striking, she simply backed off a few steps, leaning against a stalk of bamboo and puffing on her cigarette, red eyes never abandoning the boy’s own. "…Interesting."

Thus Luka’s answer came. In a shaky and clearly uncomfortable voice, it did, but it came. For someone that was handling a sword-thing with as much dexterity and finesse as he was just mere minutes ago, this kid surely could use some more confidence in his words. Ah, who was she to judge? The less words, the better, in any case. Interesting or not, the kid was still an unwelcome interloper. The sooner her left to lick Remilia’s boots or whatever was this kid’s role in that Vermilion Demon Toolshed or whatever the hell that place’s name was, the better.

And then, the story of the weapon came.

"…"

As the boy elaborated on that carnival of unpleasant eyesores that he called a weapon, Mokou’s features became softer with each passing second, until her face was not one of a marauding bully that wanted to prey on the boy’s insecurities, and instead was a regal, very feminine and, more importantly, very interested expression, her pale index finger slightly pressed against her lower lip and her lithe frame resting completely against the aforementioned bamboo stalk. It didn’t take a genius to realize that she was completely interested. In particular, her eyes widened and her left hand gripped her own right cuff so as to playfully fix it when Luka mentioned the angels. "Six hundred and— Someone forged angels into that…? So it’s not just a quirky new year mumbo jumbo mace, that is a legendary weapon, like the Tombogiri or the Otegine. My, my, my~"

Mere interest and surprise became genuine shock as the boy continued to spin him the tool’s tale, however: A weapon crafted from angels by his mother to combat them, used by a legendary hero… It was following the generic formula of many great but otherwise “common” legendary and notorious weaponry that Mokou had seen or heard about. The shock came when the intruder explained that the weapon didn’t kill and that, in fact, it sealed its enemies. "Hold on, what…?"

"That’s… A sealin’ tool…? You mean it lets you— Ooooh, so that’s why that youkai was shrunk, then, it utilizes its energies to instead seal them inwardly and thus avoid havin’ to kill… That’s… That’s incredible! I myself am an Exterminator, someone who dwells in the Extermination Arts, and thus I can make seals or conjure holy energies to deal with monsters, but… Look, I consider myself a master at my trade, but not even I can make a weapon that can manipulate the flux of both the user’s and the monster’s energies well and wonderfully enough to make them sure-fire seals. That… That ain’t a weapon, that’s a masterpiece. My kudos to your mother, kiddo.”

Mokou was not one to praise, but even she had to give the Angel’s Halo some credit. Or, hell, all of it, really. The craftsmanship and spellweaving that went into that thing was beyond Mokou’s comprehension. "To think a weapon like this exists… Hold on, so if it only seals…"

"…" A certain part of what he just said also made her eyes open wide, but not in the same way as before. It was almost as if she heard something horrifying. She made no comment on it, however.

"But… If that is the case… How do you kill your enemies…? Are you tryin’ to tell me you… So when you say ya can’t bring yerself to kill enemies, you mean to tell me you use this weapon exclusively…? You don’t finish your enemies off when they are in their weaker form? That’s askin’ for them to get revenge on you! How are you still alive? Geez, kids these days… The fact that yer still alive, though… Heh…"

The fact that he was still alive spoke well of his skills, of course. Only those that can afford to be merciful fighters can actually get away with it.

"Half angel and half human… Life is a fun thing like that, huh…?" Another new acquaintance, another halfling hybrid. Mokou has a soft spot for hybrids like Keine, so learning of this instantly softened Mokou’s demeanor slightly. She still didn’t trust the boy in front of her, but this definitely won him points with the phoenix. “Well, you kept yer part of the deal. Well met, Luka. Welcome to the Bamboo Forest of the Lost, formerly known as the Tall Grass Cluster by its older inhabitants. Let’s get a move on, then. We got work to do.”

Standing upright and turning around, Mokou waved with her hand, signaling him to follow her. “Stay exactly five meters away from me. No more, no less. It’s okay to fall behind a bit every now and then, but don’t get any closer than that, got it? And…” — Mokou giggled — “Don’t let go of that hilt, kiddo.”

So he was an experienced fighter who had fought many monsters. It made sense why Remilia would employ him, then. It was reassuring to know that she wasn’t going to have to babysit him through this, at least.

And now, Mokou had time to reflect on that which shocked her before: The boy’s age. It wasn’t simply that he looked young, he is very young, and yet, showing that veteran class of fear, as if he had seen things no man or woman should ever confront, let alone a kid. Her perverse amusement quickly became horror upon realizing that this kid was actually a kid and that he had no business coming out here and risking his neck like this. "What things have you seen at your young age that have left you with reflexes and looks of fear I have only witnessed in hardened and well-scarred veterans…?". Guilt creeped up Mokou’s spine like a thorny vine. Young boys and girls were off limits for Mokou’s terror games, especially halflings. She thought he only looked young, as his fighting skills and reactions implied more experience than his age would merit. “…Sheesh, what kind of scum am I…? Scarin’ a kid and purposefully tryin’ t’goad him into a fight…? Incredible…”. Mokou’s soft spot for kids and hybrids truly showed right now.

"…The disturbances commenced some days ago. I have seen a rather… Troublin’ change in the youkai’s patterns… That spider you fought just now, for example? Those only get aggressive when they haven’t eaten in a while. That one was well-fed, so it had no excuse to attack you like that. It’s been like that for a couple of weeks now. I theorize it’s somethin’ that doesn’t belong here has taken residence and it’s breakin’ a few rules of this here bamboo dump, and let me tell ya, no one breaks the rules here except me.”

"We are going to go deep within the forest, see what’s going on. The ancient youkai dwell there. Don’t get too far away from me, as the deeper we go into the forest, the trickier it becomes. This damn thing is alive, sort of… Well, that’s another story for another time. For now, just stay close. Five meters close, anyway. If you sense somethin’, of course, tell me… And…"

"I ain’t gonna harm you or whatever."

That’s a closest to an apology that the phoenix will offer.

"Your appearance and your tool, though… Luka, you ain’t from Gensokyo, are you…? I ain’t askin’ just out of curiosity, mind you. It’s just, suddenly a kid like you, carryin’ that masterpiece, is hired into the Scarlet Devil Mansion, and this disturbance in the forest happens… Could be connected, you know? Are you yet another one of ‘em "outsiders"? What can ya tell me about yer world? Do you think… Someone or somethin’ followed you…?”

Asking advice

"Sorry to call you on such short notice, Fujiwara." 

Bloodshot blue eyes flickered over to the other figure, clad in red and white. One of the few people he could call on for her opinion and know she would respond completely and utterly honestly. Fujiwara minced no words, and right now he much preferred cold, hard, truth from a veteran in these matters to anything else.

"But… I have a question, and I need answers." Shuffling over to the whistling teapot, he tilted it to let the stream of liquid fill her cup, and set it down gently on the table. From this distance, he looked even worse - hair messy and with loose strands hanging about his face like a ripped, dusty curtain, chin dusted with stubble born of days past, black bags hanging beneath his eyes like sloths clinging to a tree branch, and generally looking a lot more weary than he had the last time they’d met.

"Answers I’d hoped that you would not mind being the first to provide."

He waited until she had taken a sip of her tea before clasping his hands before him, gazing down at his intertwined fingers.

"…For as long as I can remember, I have been engaged in a war with a rival dragon clan. A blood feud, if you will. My family was taken from me by their hands when I was a child, and I have been seeking to avenge them ever since. Already several of them have fallen to my blade, and I might have continued in this vein until they all lie dead before me… but recent events have conspired to change my mind.”

"Two roads now lie before me, each as dark as the other. One, to carry on as I always have, and bear the guilt of the extermination of an entire clan on my soul, and know that I contributed to the slow death of our race as a whole. Two, to leave this conflict be and let the embers of war flicker out and die… and dishonor the memory of my father, and my brothers, and my mother, who gave their lives to save mine, and break my oath to one day seek vengeance for their deaths. And I… I am nothing without my honor."

A haunted, helpless, tormented gaze looked up to meet hers, many nights of sleeplessness and agony over this choice showing in their depths. Whatever she said, now, would affect him for the rest of his life.

"What do you think I should do?"

Arrows of fate come from recipients most curious, don’t you think?

What was supposed to be yet another day of capricious peace and fun times with the children at the Temple School, another day of Mokou’s shriveled, damaged leaves opening up yet another centimeter, of a heart with more scars than tissue forgetting her past atop the River Styx was interrupted by a silhouette in the distance. There is a connection shared by those of similar circumstances, an understanding that takes a mere glance to produce an entire conversation. As soon as the dragon’s eyes met the phoenix’s, her heart nodded and, with quiet but fast motions, Mokou wrote a message for Keine in a piece of paper and imbued it with magic to make it a temporary shikigami in the shape of an origami bird, a parlor trick for experience exterminators. Closing up her yakitori stand and hiding it on the usual shrubbery she veils it under whenever she is not around, Mokou calmly advanced towards her destination: Akira’s abode.

That look told her everything she had to know: Things were not right, and she was needed to make them right. "…Just what in the world…?" The often proud eyes of the divine dragon looked agonizingly defeated. That alone was enough to tell her everything she needed to know.

The boiling pot did little to distract the immortal from the defeated visage that was his friend. It’s few the people that Mokou trusts enough to refer to as a “friend”, but Akira’s age, view on life and strength were a soothing oasis for Mokou’s trust among a sea of busybodies lacking uniqueness. And yet, this man she had deemed worthy of her high standards of acquaintance laid a defeated shell of himself. Uncouth clothing, a stubble tainting his normally clean face, hair that hadn’t seen discipline in days and the look of a battered and torn apart punchbag. What could possibly have happened to the normally strong and dignified dragon…?

Averting her red eyes from the battered divine, Mokou grasped the cup presented in front of her and drank the tea. Bitter and strong, just how she liked it. "…You can look like an oni had a temper tantrum on yer body, yer tea ain’t any weaker. Mighty tasty" nonchalantly praised the woman in a futile attempt to lighten the mood if even a little. Sipping once more from the cup, Mokou solemnly placed the cup down and waited for the dragon to weave his words.

And words she got.

It made sense why he would call him; they had many things in common. Pride, a sense of duty that nothing could tarnish, the willpower to walk into hell willingly and back out as if it was nothing, and the strength to take over hell, if it was necessary. It all honestly hit too close to home, startling her to hear such a tale behind his refined blade. There’s a silent agreement between warriors to not delve into other’s pasts without the gates being opened to them first. Truthfully, she could understand why: Though with key differences, Akira and Mokou’s pasts were not so different when it came to how brutal destiny had decided to raise them.

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"So you…" Dragons were not numerous, and they only dwindled with time. It wasn’t like humans, who have a healthy population, no, dragons had been in decline. As mighty and prestigious as they are, dragons also are subject to the pit of pride, and all the genocide that that brings. How many battles had Akira fought not as a person, but as a flag bearing the symbol of his clan? The mere thought brought back bittersweet memories of a flag tied to her back as she spilled blood for the illusion of a clan that was merely political interest masquerading as a noble cause. "I see…"

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"Akira, your situation… Is not an easy one. The crossroads of life are cruel and full of thorns. You wish to pick the road with less thorns, but there’s no way to tell which one of them is the option that won’t rend your heart asunder and leave you a mere shell full of regret and pity."

Her voice, her mannerisms, her body language… They were different than her usual blend of bravado and brutesque swaying. She was sitting in perfect seiza, hands in her lap, face in a perfectly smooth picture that could only belong to someone of purple blood. Her words didn’t have that rough accent and burlesque pronunciation, nor were her words unpolished rocks coming out with the grace of a shattered lower jaw. Her posture, voice and language… The facade was off: This was the real Fujiwara no Mokou, tackling this subject with the seriousness that this merited. "If someone is going to put this trust on me when it comes to their way of life and their pride, the least I can do is to be honest and open to them. Steel yourself, child of the heavens, for the words I will direct to you now will lacerate your heart!

Mokou took in the story that the man shared with her and etched it in her very mind. Now it made sense why he would come to her, of all people.

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"Akira, you and I are from a very unique caste. We find our meaning, our joy and our end in the battlefield. For us, there is no greater glory than the collapsing throats of our foes, the feeling of yet another victory, another notch on our numerous streak of wins, the feeling that once anew, your technique proves to be absolute. Well, then, Akira, let me ask you, from someone who has dived completely into the River Styx to someone who has done the same… Is this lifestyle…"

And here is where one could see genuine pain in the features of the phoenix.

"Is this lifestyle… Worth it anymore?"

There they were, the words she never thought she’d say. If it was her, she could continue to delude herself for an eternity or six. She could deal with it, or so she liked to tell herself, and just live with a denial she knew ensnared her heart like a malicious vine.

She could do that, or, for her own sake, and that of the tortured soul in front of her, she could face the eternity of misguided fists that was her past and be honest about it, for once.

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"Dragon! From whence we come, revenge is a war medal of honor, a goal worthy of devoting one’s entire existence to fulfill and accomplish, the road a true warrior is expected to take when they and theirs are wronged. Family feuds, emotionally charged assaults on age-long foes, this was the life! It was the expected life of pawns under a flag, was it not…? Was it not!? But for what reason? I can’t say it’s wrong… But… It is. It’s wrong, and it pains me to say this, but what is supposed to be the wind under our wings ends up being a shackle tied to a heavy steel ball, limiting our movement. "It’s alright", we whisper to ourselves, "it’s alright, this is alright, this is the way it’s supposed to be…" and we carry on, living on breadcrumbs and a false sense of satisfaction, akin to drinking muddy swamp water and praising it as the finest of bamboo wines! I… If you had asked me some years ago, I would have told you to discard this weakness that assails you and to complete your duty, to eradicate every last one of them, I would have said this with a smile, and I would crack a joke about me owing you a drink for when you accomplished this… But that… But that…!"

"That would be spitting in your face, Akira! That would be drinking the muddy water and claiming it is delicious! I cannot stomach that! My time here… In this Gensokyo, this land of desire and illusion… Heh, maybe, just maybe, it’s me who has softened up… I was the sharpest nodachi, and now I speak like a dull tanto, but… My time here with Keine, with the kids at the temple school, with Kaguya, Eirin, the bunnies at Eientei, with the taoists and with Satori, with my dear friend Cirno… Each day, it seemed like my life became weaker… And yet, I wordlessly clamored this? Because it is what you and I perceive as weakness that is true happiness… Not being bound by a self-made chain made of pity, regret and fear."

We are relics, Akira. We are relics from an old era that no longer exists. We believe ourselves stalwart keepers of the “good” ways, and yet, here we stand, wallowing in self pity when our only question is how to live life properly! What would you father and mine say about this!?”

"…And what good is a relic if it can’t be put to use in the era in which it exists!? As a piece of memorabilia in a museum?! Is that how we want to be seen?! Huh!? As mere mirages from Those Times, instead of people with the capability to grow!? It tears me apart to say this, but…! You know who I am. I am Fujiwara no Mokou, the last child of the Fujiwara, descendants of the Nakatomi. Our predecessors, the Nakatomi… They were at war with those of the Soga clan. I thought it was a conflict I had no connection to, and yet, one time, when I went to visit Toyosatomimi no Miko, a friend of mine, as fate would have it, I find myself face to face with one from their ranks…"

"…One Soga no Tojiko."

"I wanted nothing more than to slam my fist against her and break her apart, make her pay for her crimes, subdue her… But then, as if I didn’t have enough foes in front of me already, my own mind decides to antagonize me. "Why?" my mind asked, and I couldn’t help but wonder… Why? Slights from over one thousand and three hundred years ago… Were they worth fighting for? Would I be doing my clan justice to unleash the pyre of conflict once anew over something like this…? I admittedly… Avoid Senkai because of this. I am afraid of seeing her, because it’s akin to seeing a mirror. In this mirror, heh, I see not my current self, but my sane self, the one that knows the true, the embodiment of my denial. I see…"

"…Someone I would rather not see. Because she says the hurtful things I say to you right now."

"Akira… I am going to tell you what a very dear friend once told me: "Forgive them not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace".”

At this point, Mokou turned around, her voice staying strong, but her face, for just a second, being not unlike a pained mask.

"…Free yourself, Akira. It’s not easy, it won’t be, and at times, you will hate yourself, wondering if it’s ok to… To not live the warrior’s life, but… Four your sake, and the sake of those that will be the fruit of your loins, isn’t it better to leave our antiquated tenets behind and embrace the kinder, softer world we work our butts of not to be a part off…?"

Mokou’s white hands tightly gripped her own pants. She didn’t like it, but the words she just said, those are the words she was confident were the best. For her friend and for herself.

"…What’s more important: to not break an oath, or to not break your entire future? I… Hate to say this, but in the end, the past is the past, and our way obsolete. Embrace the future, Akira, for the world stretches endlessly before us, and we just isolate ourselves in our gilded cages."

"Our… Gilded cages… Beautiful and ornate, but restricting and suffocating… That’s what pride is, Akira. A gilded cage. Will you be a caged bird, or a soaring dragon…?"

[[Sorry, ladies and gents, not covering asks right now! I am very grateful for the interest and the asks sent my way, but they will be covered later, I was just writing up that one reply. 

I will cover asks next time. No worries, everything will be answered.

Enjoy your afternoons, see ya.]]

Like searching for a needle in a haystack [@dreamerphoenix]

halfangelhalfhumanbutallshota:

For the few seconds that Luka had to think and drink his water himself, a few questions came to mind. They were the obvious one that one can expect an outsider to have, but rather than out of fear, his own thoughts were drawn out by simple curiosity. What exactly was the creature that attacked him? And how many of them lived hidden by that forest? What else did that mysterious, treacherous place hide in itself? Those, and a load more of question came upon his mind, the debate between whenever or not to start a new encyclopedia for the monsters of that world at top of everything else. As he was already here, he might as well do something like that, right? Or maybe did someone do that already?

His own endless supply of questions suddenly came to an halt as a powerful voice invaded his ears, providing a new source of questions that he couldn’t even think to answer, both because of the surprise making him choke on his water, which made a few small coughs be all he could say, and because that voice was of something that he didn’t expect at all to find on a forest like this. Not only was the one that landed behind him an human looking person, but it was a girl.

Now, let us not get things wrong here. Luka wasn’t one of those dudebros which only dream is to have his arms thicker than a whale’s stomach and that considered girls as toys or inferiors beings, far from that. The reason of why the gender of the other mattered that much, was simply because the presence of one was enough to send shivers down his spine.
It was a stupid phobia, he would admit it to himself too, but after you live every day of your life fighting everything that looks even remotely feminine, it just grew on him. Call it Paranoia or cowardice, but he couldn’t help to quickly put back the cork onto his place and grab the hilt of his sword, force of habit remembering him that even the most weak of the Monster girls could easily assume human-like looks, and forcing him to stand up. At this point, two parts of him were once again fighting against each other. One, controlling his voice, tried his best to not sound the slightest scared or to not transpire hints of the phobia into his voice, but the other forced his body to stand in a…not unnatural, but awkward position, like a mix of a defensive stance, with one of his feet slightly behind the other to assist to a quick retreat or dodge and his right hand holding the sword tight, but with the rest of his body assuming a more “comfortable” look, his face being what could be used as an example of the contrast between these two “internal factions”.
Of course, with his words he then tried his best to hide that fact, but if the girl was a careful observer, she could easily see how much on edge that boy was. Yep, all his own security and bravery that he had while fighting that monster? That wasn’t going to be shown to the girl, not right away at least, lest she wanted to have a fistfight right here.

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"A-Ah, I’m s-sorry!" He tried to kept his stuttering to a minimum, but it was still easy to hear. Picking his things up as he was told, he then proceeded to follow the girl, albeit at a distance. The stranger-danger bells were still blaring inside his head, and it would take a while before they shut off. "I-I’m here in account of Miss Remilia, investigating on whenever certain voices about a "strange" creature are true or false. I-If it isn’t a bother, may I ask if you know something, miss?" Whenever or not Remilia Scarlet was known in that forest, Luka had no idea. In fact, while he was told the name of her Mistress and to ask questions on her behalf, he had to admit that he didn’t see her either yet. Who knows who she was, or how powerful was she? Not him, not yet.

But for now, the real mystery was what actually was roaming around that forest uninvited. If in a dangerous place as that one a monster alone could gather up enough fame for itself to be picked among the rest…what kind of abomination could have it been?

Fear. In the tip of the immortal’s tongue, there was fear belonging to the boy in front of her. It was palpable and agonizingly delicious, honey-laced panacea that was ever oh so intriguing to taste, chew and digest, and this boy… His fear was not born from something he had heard or fear of the unknown, no, this level of fear was quite the opposite, it was primal, a survivor’s instinct bellowing a forbidden siren that must only be touched when The Worst Possible Occasion is triggered. Would it be lips being bit, or perhaps a twitch on his left arm? One of the immortal’s less healthy hobbies include analyzing and studying people’s fears and their tells. From how quick the boy went from a passive position to one of pure scramble and struggle, as if a gazelle bared its teeth at a tiger, it was intoxicatingly fun. In response to the survivor grabbing the hilt of his sword, however, Mokou’s hands instantly clenched and her eyes fixated on his arm muscles first, to see if he would swing, then on his eyes, throat and solar plexus, the first vital targets that Mokou always aims for. Finnicky and twicthy as they are, luckily, Mokou’s fight instincts and reflexes remained tame, and soon the boy dropped the pose anyways.

It was about to get more interesting for all the wrong reasons for a second, but alas, that is pretty much how all of the phoenix’s fun is had. The clash of bone and sinew could wait until later, and with an opponent that merited the violence, she finally rationalized with a sigh.

As soon as the boy began talking, that was enough confirmation for Mokou that he was mostly pacific; she could tell very well from his muscles and his haphazard stance that he was tense, though it was a very interesting case of tenseness: It wasn’t simply fear of the unknown, as Mokou noted earlier, but as if this kid was deadly afraid of something horrible happening to him, worse than dead, worse than violence… What exactly did this kid go through for him to carry a cross this large and heavy upon his lithe shoulders, when he didn’t even look of age? That thought took away most of the phoenix’s inwards smile. Every person is a book, and every book has terrible parts, after all.

And as if today didn’t have enough surprises, the name of the vampire came out from the mouth he expected it less. "Hold on…"

*FWOOSH*

A flame appeared out of nowhere near Mokou’s hand, tiny, bright and playful. The flame began twirling in the air like a bee before landing harmlessly on the cigarette clenched between her lips.

"…You…" — Mokou turned to face him this time, actually looking him straight in the eyes with her almost-glowing puddles of blood she calls eyes — "…You are here in behalf of Remilia Scarlet?” Well, that seems to have caught her attention… Perhaps a bit too much. “Oh, man, you are slayin’ me here… Ahaha… Hahahaha! Oooh, ahahahaha!”

And just like that, Mokou broke into laughter. A disgusting, venomous and plastic laughter, taking 3 small steps towards Luka before suddenly appearing right next to him, as if time had stopped for a second to accommodate for Mokou’s unreal speed, standing right in front of the adventurer, tall and intimidating, erect back and puffed out chest, hands in her pocket and eyes invading the child’s own. Her face was not smiling anymore.

"And exactly what right or responsibility does that midget think she has, sendin’ a lost kid to prance about my turf, thinkin’ she can do whatever she wants, huh? Is this payback for all the times I’ve broken into her shed she calls a mansion to play with her sister? Hmph, I am doin’ her a favor by lettin’ Flandre release steam, though I doubt she’d…”

Now, at this point, were this Sakuya, or Meiling, even Flandre herself, or any operative under anyone else, Mokou would send them scampering home right about now. But this time, things would be different. That… sword, if we can call it that, it turned the spider bull youkai into a little spider. Mokou could sense abominable, outright disgusting and, most importantly, numerous presences from the item. Mokou lives to satisfy her curiosity nowadays, and this? “This” being everything about this kid? That was worth indulging, now, wasn’t it?”

"…Hmm, so it has become this notorious by now, has this not? Fair enough." — the immortal’s voice was noticeably more cordial, though not softer — "Ok, here’s the deal: Yes, somethin’ is amiss in this here bamboo dump, and I am takin’ care of it. Normally, I would send the hell away both for your safety and my nerves, ‘cause news flash: I hate people, and you are people. Ya’ll have all these voices and noises to you and yer need to talk and… I just want silence. However, this thing is not lettin’ me have my silence and, as you prove, it is callin’ attention to people outside of my realm, this forest. Tell you what, though… Your form, your weapon and your… Hah, your moves… I am interested in learnin’ about a few things. So here’s a deal f’ya: Instead of sendin’ ya empty handed back to that vampire, I let you come with me, but in return, I want to know what exactly is that.. Revoltin’ thing yer carryin’. I would call it a sword, but dear Izanami, I would be offendin’ all swords by doin’ that. You don’t feel entirely human, though you look like a kid… What are ya and how old are you?"

"Now that you know the conditions to our possible deal, if you wish to accept it, you would do well to learn and remember the name "Fujiwara no Mokou", for that is who you stand before. The pleasure is all yours."

Humble Pie is served, it seems. "Ok, ok, I give, I probably overdid it with that. I extend my pretty damn valuable apologies in your general direction, Mysty, you know I don't do this maliciously. I even come bearin' gifts" said the Heian woman as she lifted her arms in not-quite-mock surrender, a plastic bag hanging from one of them containing a bottle of high quality liquor and bamboo shoots, freshly picked from the forest.

nightblindsparrow:

"It’s just a reminder of how much I still have to go. Bet on it, I’ll drive yakitori stands out of business someday." A declaration said with the smuggest of grins.

She still accepts the gift of liquor, promptly pouring it into two cups.

Now this was the hunter she liked to hear!

"Haa? Oi, oi, I am the one that uses fire here, don’t go stealin’ my spotlight, sayin’ those inflammatory things, now, hmm!" replied Mokou in a cheerful tone. "Oh, you better give it yer darndest, ‘cause if ya don’t, it won’t count for nothin’! If I am to be drive off a business, it better be by someone that deserves laughin’ at the wreck of my stand, ya hear! Hah!"

Friendly vitriol always goes well with alcohol.

knowledge-and-shadow:

dreamerphoenix:

nightblindsparrow:

"Fight against the tyranny of yakitori vendors!" You’re alone in this fight, Mystia.

image

"Special offer! Those of you that come here right now and pledge not to get into any of this "fight against the tyranny" hogwash will receive a 40% discount on any meal! That’s 40% less money off your pocket to indulge your taste buds in delicious, seasoned grilled bird!

"I’m Austrian. ‘Fighting against tyranny’ is just something we don’t do. Furthermore, I love a great deal.”

"…60% discount for people I know personally!”

Sometimes, even a recluse from a bamboo backwater dump will jump at the chance to rustle some feathers.

nightblindsparrow:

"Fight against the tyranny of yakitori vendors!" You’re alone in this fight, Mystia.

"Special offer! Those of you that come here right now and pledge not to get into any of this "fight against the tyranny" hogwash will receive a 40% discount on any meal! That’s 40% less money off your pocket to indulge your taste buds in delicious, seasoned grilled bird!

Blog needs more yuri
Anonymous

[[How careless of me, you are absolutely right. Ok, I have reconsidered. Say goodbye to the old Dreamerphoenix, and say hello to the new, rebooted Creamerphoenix, now with 120% senseless yuri content for no good established or developed reason, here we go.]]

"Hello there, Mokou, don’t you just feel the Yuri in the air today?"

"The human brain is a Pandora’s box of electrical charges we can only begin to understand. Most brains are but receivers; however, some are advanced, sendin’ and receivin’ charges as they choose. With the endless applications of the human mind, controllin’ and eventually dissipatin’ the fears of humankind, known as "youkai", will be easily accomplished and endlessly rewardin’. I will have my revenge."

nightblindsparrow:

Stop eating birds.

image

"Oi, what about my business! I don’t yell at people to stop eatin’ eel, now, do I?!"