Session Report: 16 April 2021

The Great Tamahagane Heist

General Summary

In this session of Tsuwamono, the following events transpired:

Just Another Ship in Ago Harbor

1559年11月16日 01:00 (Night)

Ago

Historical Entry: Just Another Ship in Ago Harbor

  It had passed midnight when Maxim and his cohorts descended the bluff from Old Ōuchi Manor. Their return to Shimonoseki was uneventful, save for some discussion with Kitsuno. As his adviser, the frill-decked oni understandably wanted to know what had been discussed with Nagasone Kotetsu back in that underground forge. For his part, Maxim saw no reason to keep it secret. He explained to the other that it was his intent to recruit Kotetsu. To a certain degree, he'd been successful, although he still wished for someone more experienced to look over their agreement. With the patronizing way she'd taken a letter from Empress Genmei, Maxim was concerned that Kotetsu may feel like he'd be an easy target to take advantage of.   This answer satisfied Kitsuno, and also prompted the removal of at least one of the spells Maxim had been "suffering" under the whole day. He'd remain perfectly handsome and unblemished, as such could only aid in his work, but the enchantment causing citizens to actively adore him was a bit more than Kitsuno had bargained for.   Soon enough, the trio arrived back at the bottom of the cliffside road leading to Old Ōuchi Manor. The coliseum rose darkly against the starry sky not far away, but was all but deserted at this time of night. There wasn't anything left to do here, the Knight Commander noted. Makiko and Kitsuno seconded that opinion, at least until the tournament coming up after the handful of hours left before morning.   Before he called on Shigeaki Fujino to take them back, however, Maxim had one last question for his retainers: had either of them spoken to Haures much in his absence? Both Makiko and Kitsuno were able to truthfully answer that no, they hadn't. Indeed, Haures hadn't been seen around Ago Manor much in Maxim's absence. They'd both just assumed she was with him.   That didn't quell his doubts fully, so Maxim reached out with that "sixth sense" he'd recently developed. Makiko, it seemed, wasn't harboring much resentment at all. He couldn't feel any grudges within her soul. In contrast, Kitsuno's was simmering with a low-level animosity, but Maxim could tell that it wasn't directed at him in particular, so that was good enough. To be safe, he cautioned both [Maxim: Bishamonten +2, Lucifer -2]not to take any deals[/tooltip] with Haures or her kind.   About to call on their psychic transport then, Maxim paused when he saw the sour expression beneath Makiko's mask. He gave her leave to speak and received an echo of the young Tea Bucket Samurai's earlier concerns. It seemed odd to Makiko, a bit hypocritical perhaps, that Maxim would caution her against demonic deals when he'd entered into something very similar for their training together not an hour before.   That seemed to be a fair point, so Maxim asked Kitsuno if the other also bore similar concerns. With a dismissive wave of the hand, Kitsuno brushed the idea away. It would be silly to be so paranoid when one was not so far from a demon oneself, or so the white-horned oni opined.   Taking due note of that answer, Maxim returned to Makiko. He was not, he claimed, a Demon or anything close to it. He didn't have any way to definitively prove it, but to Makiko that seemed no obstacle regardless. She'd entered into the deal and wasn't about to break her word now. That being as it was, Maxim suggested that they should get back to Ago. After all, he might not need much sleep, but his two retainers likely did.   That turned out to be an incorrect assumption, but Maxim called on Fujino anyway and asked her to deliver them to the manor. Although normally as prompt as she could be, Fujino took a while this time to pick them up and make the journey. She'd been waiting for an important message, she explained. Something to do with a "heist" elsewhere in the country. Apparently looking to make small talk after that, Fujino joked that this was the fourth or fifth time she'd been in Ago that day.   When Maxim turned a suspicious eye upon the petite psychic, she blanched. That wasn't supposed to be a secret, was it? With only a little goading, Fujino let slip that Fubuki and her* entire galleon full of generals were even now sitting in Ago's port. This wasn't the worst situation, but neither was it entirely welcome news. Wasn't it customary to inform the ruler if you were going to move that large of a force into their territory? To be safe, Maxim asked Fujino to take him and anyone else who wanted to come over to the Matsumoto Black Galleon for a look. Kitsuno and Makiko both volunteered.   The night air was cooler here than in Shimonoseki but Ago Harbor's docks were just as empty. Fujino alighted on the deck of the Black Blade's Galleon with her three passengers, only to be greeted by a hulking, armored figure looming menacingly out of the shadows. A cloud passed from the moon, revealing in pale light a floppy-cheeked bulldogs face on top of a muscular warrior's form. The Kushin stared at them all for a moment, then began barking wildly.   The barrage of deep ワンワンs was only stymied when Fujino told him off in no uncertain terms. After another round of boofs and another reprimand, it seemed the dog-man was finally willing to talk it out with these suspicious intruders. He was Gamou Terukazu, and he was watching this ship while the Master was out. No, he didn't know where the boss was, or when they'd be back. It was like speaking to a particularly surly brick wall. Maxim calmed himself and reassessed his approach.   As he did so, another figure appeared from below deck to join Terukazu. This one was an oni, but a small and wild-looking girl at the same time. Something about the way her hair stuck out, the hint of fangs on her lips, gave Maxim the impression that she was as much a beast as the kushin next to her. Regardless, she and Terukazu were obviously friends, and they quickly took up growling at Maxim together.   Of all of them, Kitsuno appeared most surprised by this newcomer's appearance. That, Maxim's adviser explained to him telepathically, was Jirōuemon, an officer of the Mōri Clan. Or, at least, something close to it. It was hard to guess what the little Hayashi general was doing upon the Black Blade's ship, however.   As the two began growling more intensely, Maxim decided that he'd had enough. He put on his best dangerous expression and intoned very forcefully that he was the Lord of this land and he would be speaking to the Black Blade. His intimidation obviously had an effect, but it was no the intended one. After shrinking back for a moment, both Terukazu and Jirōuemon rumbled, then started barking and yapping at him in unison. Maxim rolled his eyes.   Mentally, he reached out to Fubuki. If these were the Black Blade's dogs, surely she* could call them off, right? Fubuki, for her* part, was quite surprised to learn that she* had a dog. That was new information. Whomever it was, Fubuki gave Maxim leave to enter the ship, and instructed him to tell the guard such. That was progress. Maxim would do so, provided he could get a word in between the frenzied barks filling the night air around him.
An End for Hideyoshi

1559年11月16日 01:00 (Night)

Ōtsu Castle

Historical Entry: An End for Hideyoshi

  The hour had grown late indeed, yet Aotsuki Tsukamoto still felt he had very much left to do. With Fubuki and her* troublesome passengers gone, that left he and Abe no Seimei alone in an empty corridor of Ōtsu Castle. Only Aotsuki's glowing golden arm lit the darkness around them. It was an unconventional location for a meeting with his adviser, but perhaps he was wise to take the opportunity before some new chaos unveiled itself.   First, Aotsuki asked about their guest from Kannonji Castle: one Rokkaku no Jakusai. According to Seimei's report, Jakusai had awoken around nightfall as they expected. She kept all memory of their interactions the previous moon, and seemed to exhibit no indication that anything was out of the ordinary. That was much as Aotsuki expected, yet was no help at all in unraveling the One-Night Castle's mystery. Seimei pointed out that perhaps the "Buddha" they'd heard mentioned was the key to all this. If they were to find whomever that was, everything else should fall into place. Aotsuki agreed that this may well be their logical next step before changing the topic.   Next, he moved on to a far less palatable guest. Seimei confirmed it: the Saika Ikki had indeed returned with Toyotomi Hideyoshi. After allowing the Ikki some time off to recuperate, Aotsuki's adviser had relocated Hideyoshi to a secure room, although he was still unconscious for now. Indeed, Aotsuki wasn't sure what he was going to do with the man. It didn't seem like Kuroda Kanbei wanted him back now. At least, not in the way she did before.   Of course, Seimei suggested that they just turn him out into the night. She showed more blatant disrespect to Hideyoshi than Aotsuki had ever seen from her. Not that the rake wasn't deserving. Even so, Aotsuki couldn't agree with that course of action. What if Hideyoshi retired to the Imperial Court in Echizen? There he would surely have allies and would waste no time in making himself a nuisance once again. As a final step, Aotsuki mentally confirmed with Kanbei that there wasn't anything else to communicate between the two.   It seemed there was nothing left to do but to confront Hideyoshi himself.   Seimei brought him to the chamber where Hideyoshi lay, unconscious, on a pallet on the floor. As he squatted by the fallen rake, Aotsuki found the other's hands bound loosely and a great angry welt on the side of his head. It took two tries to wake Hideyoshi up. Finally, the erstwhile Daimyō was up, adopting an infuriatingly relaxed pose as he took in his captors.   What followed was not so much a negotiation as a council to determine Hideyoshi's ultimate fate. Aotsuki kept a terse professionalism in the face of his prisoner's expected disrespect. News of the fallen Tokugawa Clan and Oda Nobunaga's disappearance did little to faze him. Only when told of Kanbei's news that he was still mortal did Hideyoshi sober up. He seemed confident that Aotsuki didn't have the guts to end him, however, and there was some truth to that. Although Seimei's suggestion to simply wash their hands of him was tempting, the Man with the Golden Arm still thought there might be something redeemable in this soul...   There was not. When asked what he'd do next, Hideyoshi spun a tale of the same debauchery and lecherous disregard for others which had brought him so low in the first place. He'd been nearly dead, in a toilet, and covered with tattoos when Aotsuki had found him. It was amazing that he could manage to sink even lower than that. And yet Aotsuki's insightful eyes saw no remorse in Hideyoshi's heart; only self-pity.   As was often the case, Seimei's advice proved sound. Aotsuki prepared to turn their prisoner out into the night. The only issue was where. Hideyoshi himself had a suggestion on that. Why not send him to a foreign land, just like Nobunaga had set out for. That way, he'd get a fresh start without all the baggage he'd rightfully accrued in Japan and Aotsuki would get him out of his life; probably permanently. Golden arm crooked, Aotsuki pondered for only a moment before accepting. Indeed, as the Mugen Gauntlet neared completion, they may have the means to send him far, far away.   Would any distance be far enough?
A Foothold on Oriab

1559年11月16日 01:00 (Night)

Queen's Landing

Historical Entry: A Foothold on Oriab

  With those meddlesome Cardinal Generals on their way back to Earth, Hashinara Yoshitakatomo was finally free to ponder this foothold in the Dreamlands. Her* loyal retainer, Hosokawa Gracia stood by her* right hand. On Yoshitakatomo's left, Carmilla, the madwoman she'd* found in this very land, gazed emptily into the middle distance.   There was much to do if the Hashinara Clan would establish a foothold here on the Isle of Oriab. This work Yoshitakatomo began in earnest. First, she* wove magic to speak to the ground itself, uncovering a few useful deposits of copper and ore. From the sheer rock cliffs of Mount Ngranek in the distance, it seemed stone would be no obstacle. Still, Yoshitakatomo had no desire to despoil the natural beauty of this land. Instead, she* ordered that the necessary resources would be brought through the portal. Around that gate between worlds, they would build a shrine to Omoikane to mirror Ise Grand Shrine on its other side.   To this decree, Gracia asked if Yoshitakatomo had an architect in mind. The Princess-Daimyō did not. Not yet. Instead, she* prophesied that one would surely arise from those who took on the pilgrimage to this new world. Reaching across the interminable distance between planes, Yoshitakatomo called upon Tōdaisen Nobuhara. Her* adviser was to make the people of the Hashinara Clan aware that new opportunities awaited them in the Dreamlands. Only the bravest need apply, however, as the creatures in this place were just as dangerous, if not more, than a rampaging oni. At the moment, they would note anyone who wanted to come through, and allow civilian access after the initial shrine was built.   Nobuhara noted these orders as was his duty. Before cutting the connection, he mentioned that the Silver Meteor Storm had an architect of note in reserve. Of course, the Aotsuki Clan boasted that mysterious "Master" who would have been perfect for such a task. Regrettably, the legend was already occupied with tasks for his home clan. Yoshitakatomo's original plan of awaiting the right individual would remain for now.   With such arrangements in place, Yoshitakatomo turned her* attentions to Carmilla. The pale woman in red had barely reacted except to give her opinion on a name for this new settlement: Queen's Landing. Technically, Yoshitakatomo was not a queen, but there were those who called her* such. It had stuck. Perhaps that simple suggestion, pulled from the depths of the maelstrom raging in Carmilla's soul, had some significance to her past. Yoshitakatomo intended to delve deeper.   Questions about the Dreamlands yielded not response. Nor did any mentions of Lake Yath, the Ruins of Tyrhhia, or even Baharna. Perhaps Carmilla truly was not from this realm at all. Eventually, Yoshitakatomo managed to tease a single name from the madwoman's lips: Yhtill.   Even with her* history of arcane studies, the name meant little. All that Yoshitakatomo could scrounge from her* memory was a brief mention in a treatise on the other planes. If it was another realm, perhaps it would be best to ask a summoner, an onmyōji, an expert. She* called upon the "twins" Hano Sadao and Hano Kansei. Fortunately, both were awake despite the late hour.   Taking turns speaking as was their wont, the two onmyōji mentally relayed what they knew of Yhtill. It was indeed an extraplanar city; the largest in the foreign world of Carcosa. Beyond that, there was little to say. Most onmyōji learned of other planes by conversing with the creatures summoned from thence. With Carcosa, this was not an option. The entire plane was desolate, as the most powerful of magicians had long-since confirmed. Not a single living being seemed to dwell there now, although ruins of some past civilization were greatly evident.   As a result, Carcosa was largely useless to onmyōji. What could a summoner do with a plane that boasted nothing to summon? They had largely neglected it in their training beyond a brief mention as a result. Still, Yoshitakatomo thanked them. It was a different realm of magic than that she* had studied, and their report had been invaluable in its own way. As the Princess-Daimyō stared into Carmilla's empty eyes, another piece of this strange puzzle slotted into place.
The Great Tamahagane Heist

1559年11月16日 01:00 (Night)

Odawara Castle

Historical Entry: The Great Tamahagane Heist

  It was just past midnight. Nijō Castle was quiet, save for the quiet humming of Umbriel not far away, and the moon wheeled high overhead. The perfect time for a heist. Silver General Ryūzaki Sanosuke telepathically contacted Ōtomo Sōrin to put their plan into motion.   For her part, Sōrin had certainly not been idle over the evening. The other Daimyō wielded her mastery of illusion magic with a skill that allowed her to establish a visual connection between two different places. "Tele-vision," she called it. Sanosuke was suitably impressed as he retired to a nearby empty room so as not to be interrupted.   The image on the other end of the Tele-vision spell appeared to be a view just above master thief Katō Danzō's right shoulder. It allowed Sanosuke to easily communicate with her, as well as to see largely what she could at any given time. Danzō, too, was wowed by this display of magic, but soon moved past it in the interests of planning out their heist.   When Sanosuke remotely joined them, Danzō and Sōrin had established a small temporary camp at the base of one of Odawara Castle's mighty towers. Under illusory guise of a guard, Danzō had spent some time earlier in the day scouting the castle, and was certain that this was where they were keeping the Tamahagane stash that Sanosuke wanted to liberate. A flickering light poured from a window high above them. That, Danzō asserted, was their way in.   First, they had a brief discussion of her abilities and how the phantom thief planned to use them. Danzō could become invisible at will; part of the powers afforded her by her unique artifact. She was not inaudible, however, and not well protected from supernatural methods of detection. For those reasons, it was still prudent to be cautious and avoid guards when possible. The window Danzō had chosen as her entry point fit that criteria. When she'd scouted before, the next tower over, connected by an open-air bridge, had contained a samurai guard. This tower, however, should still be empty. It was a small risk, especially since the guard likely couldn't see her anyway, but there was no avoiding some risk in this business.   With Sanosuke's approval, Danzō set the plan into motion. With one light spring after another, she climbed the air outside the tower as though ascending an invisible staircase. Surely Danzō's flamboyant outfit would have caught the attention of Hōjō Ujiyasu's famously vigilant guards, but she was invisible as soon as she left the ground. Quickly and silently, she reached the window and tumbled inside.   Just as Danzō had predicted, there was no guard here. Inside the adjoining room, across a wooden bridge, however, a sentry stood just within view. Danzō, and by proxy Sanosuke, could see a granite countenance beneath stone-carved heavy samurai armor. The guard appeared for all the evidence to be a lifeless stone statue. That is, until he shifted slightly and readjusted his weapon. A living stone statue, then. Such was not outside the realm of possibility for the wizards Sanosuke had encountered. It did prove that the Hōjō Clan took their security seriously enough to spend supernatural resources on it, however.   Alive or not, the Hōjō Stone Samurai hadn't taken any notice of Danzō. She was free to pad across the room, through a door, and down a flight of stairs into the tower's central chamber. Here, several more of the stone samurai stood at key stations around the two smaller rooms that divided the chamber. They appeared strategically placed, so as to cover every point with at least one guard's line of sight. It seemed the Hōjō were certainly prepared for intruders. What they were not prepared for was someone of Danzō's remarkable skills.   The phantom thief had paused at the chamber door. Invisible she may be, but walking right in front of a guard still wasn't a good idea. Sanosuke was able to offer an alternative. Following his suggestion, Danzō crept up another invisible stairwell until to top of her dark locks was barely brushing the chamber's high ceiling. The guards didn't seem likely to look up, so she was free to skip across the air until she neared the other wall. Before Danzō reached her destination, however, something brought her up short.   Sanosuke saw it too. Between the two enclosed rooms dividing this chamber, someone had set up some kind of makeshift shop. The little indoor bivouac consisted of a wooden counter with an array of haphazard shelves nailed into the wall behind it. Next to the dizzying collection of baubles and curiosities on display, a portable oven bubbled and steamed with something delectable, and a set of piping-hot lunchboxes was stacked next to it. The Hōjō ate well when on duty, it would seem.   All of this, however, was less curious than the shopkeep herself. From the curling ram horns on her head to the horizontal pupils and the thorny, spaded tail behind her, only one word rose in Sanosuke's mind: Demon. As the Hashinara Clan well knew at this point, denizens of Gehenna varied wildly in appearance, demeanor, and goals, but generally should not be trusted. This one, at least, appeared quite harmless in the moment. She stood with a contented smile and watched the guards around her, occasionally stooping to tend the food cooking at her side.   It was such an incongruous sight that Sanosuke had to check with Danzō that they were indeed seeing the same thing. The thief confirmed that she saw it too, but had no explanation to offer. Any further pondering was cut short, however, when the chamber's central doors flew violently open. Danzō acted on instinct and quickly dashed around the nearby corner. Her caution seemed warranted as a diminutive, golden-haired girl stormed into the chamber and looked around, and up, suspiciously. Dressed in full military uniform with a pair of shining pistols at her hip, she wore the iconic billed hat that marked her as a member of the Hōjō Clan's officer class.   Although she mercifully didn't see Danzō on her pass, the girl shouted at the stone samurai in the area that she'd sensed one more presence than was expected in this room, so they'd better get searching. That was enough to spur Danzō on. With Sanosuke's encouragement, she dipped from the ceiling and silently passed through the opposite door. Danzō's escape was none too quick, it seemed, as another yell from the officer brought the stone samurai above to life. The pounding of their heavy footfalls echoed loudly through this corridor as Danzō hurried onward.   Finally, they arrived at their target. Peering through a slightly-cracked door, Sanosuke and Danzō saw what was obviously a vault. A single stone samurai stood guard at a low table that seemed to have been made from a barrel lid, but he wasn't alone. Another woman, seemingly an officer by her billed hat, was watching the vault carefully. Following her gaze, the two onlookers beheld a dozen or more solid iron chests stored behind metal bars. Were those all filled with Absodium?   At this point, a misunderstanding between Sanosuke and his agent came to light. The Silver General had assumed that Danzō had some ability, a phantom thief trick or a power afforded by her artifact, to steal everything that was in the vault. She boasted no such ability, however. Danzō normally stole gemstones or boxes full of koku, not entire vaults full of heavy steel. She'd be able to make away with one of the solid-looking iron cases, but not more. It wasn't what Sanosuke had wanted, but at least they would be able to confirm that this was indeed Absodium, or "Tamahagane," that the Hōjō Clan was hoarding.   On his word, Danzō crept into the room and invisibly passed the watchful guards. As she bent to pick up an arbitrarily-selected case, something stopped her. Acting on an instinct honed through years of dangerous situations, Danzō leaped back. A single dart, something wet glittering wickedly on its point, zipped through the air where she had been just a moment before. From the shadows in the corner of the room, a single Kunoichi revealed herself. Then, another from the opposite end.   It seemed that Danzō's invisibility had been dispelled now, as the two guards outside the bars were moving forward as well. From far away in Nijō Castle, Sanosuke could only watch as the situation became worse and worse. Danzō was no fighter. She couldn't take on this many opponents herself. The phantom thief, however, seemed to somehow be enjoying the attention. Sanosuke caught a glimpse of a grin from the side of her face as she flourished with a bow. They had evidently received her letter of challenge, to be so ready, and she was here to make good on it.   Of course, Sanosuke hadn't known about any letter of challenge before now. That might have explained why the security up to this point was so tight. He stifled a groan, but Danzō was already in action. Sweeping her coattails to the side, she picked up the case and stamped her foot down at the same time. Something on the sole of Danzō's shoe popped and released a puff of dark smoke upward. By the time the two kunoichi had thrown another pair of darts, Danzō was gone within the shifting, opaque mass. When it cleared, she was nowhere to be seen.   Sanosuke's perspective had experienced a jarring lurch as Danzō apparently teleported a short distance. She was now in a room they hadn't seen yet, apparently a guard post. A single Guard Captain was there, already rising in shock. She managed to unhook a net from her belt and throw it at Danzō, but the nimble thief dodged it easily. With a final flamboyant farewell, she used the momentum to launch herself out of the door, down a set of stairs, and through an open window into the night air outside.   The tele-vision spell became a blur as Danzō plummeted toward the ground at the base of the tower. At the last moment, she tossed the case high above her head and somersaulted, landing lightly on her feet on the ground without any sign of discomfort. Behind her, the iron case slammed into the ground, throwing up a cloud of smoke that framed the phantom thief as she took one last bow.   Sanosuke truly didn't know what to say. That had gone to plan... hadn't it? How much of that had been the plan? Shigeaki Fujino had been standing by to extract Danzō, so he could ask her himself. As he stepped out into the Nijō gardens to meet the victorious agent, something was still bothering Sanosuke. He hadn't seen Sōrin at any point after the mission started. Had she been captured? Compromised. The Silver General reached out to her mentally and received a curt assurance that Sōrin had taken her leave some time earlier, after setting up the spell for Sanosuke.   Then it seemed their theft had been successful, at least to a point. It was not the haul Sanosuke had been hoping for, and the Hōjō Clan still had a dizzying amount of Absodium in their vaults, but now they could confirm any doubts they might have about the metal's authenticity. Deeper in the gardens, Sanosuke found Danzō standing over the open case. Several bars of black metal gleamed darkly within it, and he noted with relief that the thief was not handling any of them. It looked like Absodium to him, but Sanosuke was no expert. He would have to consult someone more knowledgeable to be certain.   That just left the matter of what Danzō would do next. She was happy to answer that for him. Until Sanosuke rendered payment for that heist, Danzō would be hanging around Nijō Castle. She'd enjoyed the opportunity, but a professional had to work for a living, friends or no. That sparked a flicker of an idea in Sanosuke's mind. Did that mean that if he didn't pay her, Danzō would just stick around? That would save him the trouble of trying to find the slippery thief again when he needed her.   With that thought in the back of his mind, Sanosuke thanked Danzō, then took Fujino's transport over to Wakigami Castle. Below, within Hashinara Yoshitakatomo's sanctum, Mary Lyn should still be working on the Mugen Gauntlet. She should be able to identify the metal for him, or one of the other experts collaborating on the project certainly could.
Shōjō's New Home

1559年11月16日 01:00 (Night)

Matsumoto Black Galleon

Historical Entry: Shōjō's New Home

  Through masterful(?) manipulation and a bit of bodily force, Matsumoto Ooawagaeri had successfully extracted Shōjō and Okājo from Ōtsu Castle. This was perhaps the greatest service she* had ever performed for Aotsuki Tsukamoto. Even so, Fubuki was left with a pair of troublesome, chaotic presences to deal with.   Fortunately, the Black Blade was itself an agent of the great forces of Chaos. In a way, they canceled each other out.   Floating out above the moonlit hills of Ōmi Province, Shōjō had not stopped talking yet. She prattled on about whether Fubuki was a god, whether she'd* like to be, and how she* could get a whole new town of worshipers for one low price or a number of payment options...   Meanwhile, Okājo seemed to be in her own reality, rubbing her golden hands together and muttering and wailing in equal parts as they drifted through the night. With a momentary flash of worry, Fubuki realized that the strange woman had never stopped accumulating magic. Okājo was preparing to cast something. It seemed to Fubuki like a Curse. That wouldn't do, especially if it was still directed at Aotsuki. Fubuki shook Okājo in her* tail to disrupt the casting, but failed to stop it before the spell was released. A glimmer of dark magic escaped from Okājo's hand, and then fizzled into the darkness. Her skill was not enough to let the spell travel even a few feet, much less all the way back to Ōtsu Castle.   There wasn't anything immediately apparent to do with these two, so Fubuki decided to just take them with her*. The Black Blade called on Shigeaki Fujino to teleport them back to the Matsumoto Black Galleon, only to realize that neither she* nor the psychic knew where they were. Somewhere... in the hills of Ōmi. Eventually they managed to figure it out and arrived on the Galleon's deck.   Most of the crew was sleeping at this hour, so Fubuki led Shōjō and Okājo straight to the door leading to the Mirror Imperial Palace. This, she* exhorted, was the door. It could control life and death, see into their minds, see into their souls! Shōjō covered herself with her crossed arms, yelling for the door not to look. Then, unceremoniously, Fubuki opened it up and ushered them through.   Upon arriving on the other side, inexplicably within the Imperial Palace's garden, Okājo immediately declared the place their new home. Shōjō, too, was excited to look around her new digs. Perhaps that should have been concerning, but Fubuki rolled with it. Hoisting each of their arms in the crook of her* elbows, the three skipped away through the empty palace grounds. Or, in Okājo's case, lurched rhythmically. Their first destination was the baths. Maybe whatever golden tinge Aotsuki had imparted upon Okājo could be washed off. Both of Fubuki's guests probably needed baths anyway.   There was only one problem, Fubuki thought as they jaunted and slithered along. She* didn't know where the bathhouse was. Changing course slightly, the Black Blade instead sought out a moth. There were a few of those around here, and one of them surely must know where the baths were. Even with their brisk pace, however, no likely lamp-lovers showed themselves. The Imperial Palace was just too big. Even if it was a copy.   Finally, Fubuki just asked Aka no Kitsunebi. Though not nearby, the attendant was able to give simple mental directions to a standalone bathhouse attached to the Imperial Palace. With a spring in her* step and a complaining Shōjō on her* arm, Fubuki set a new destination for their frolic.   As they made their way through the midnight gardens, Fubuki received a curious question from none other than Lord Maxim. Apparently her* dog was giving him trouble on the deck of the ship. That was certainly curious. Fubuki had a dog?

Report Date
22 Apr 2021
Primary Location
Secondary Location


Cover image: 深山橋梁 by とも_ロウ
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