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Harry Potter & the Shipgirls

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by darthcourt10, Oct 17, 2022.

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  1. Threadmarks: Dementor Attack (very likely noncanon)
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    gaea

    This takes place at the end of third year, with the idea that the Muramasa Blade keeps returning to Harry’s side, even when he is at Hogwarts. The Hogwarts intent ward (my fanon) was never triggered by the Bloodlust that a Muramasa Blade was supposed to exude and any setups created by the Japanese were destroyed from within.

    =========================================================================

    Harry realized that they were in trouble. Well, they were in trouble when the Dementors started swarming them but he now realized that they were herding them away from the castle and safety. Hermione, being the Anti-Air Cruiser that she was, was able to keep the air clear around them at first, but aside from knocking them back the Dementors were unharmed. They apparently could also snatch Hermione’s Fairies from her rigging, reducing her. She had stopped screaming for a while now, even if her guns fired intermittently, and ineffectively.


    In between reliving his birth parent’s deaths at the hands of Voldemort and the waking nightmares involving his friends and family, Harry resigned himself to dying. His Patronus, though strong, could not be everywhere and its aura was being swamped by the Dementor’s own.


    Finally, Harry was grabbed by a Dementor. As it lowered its head towards Harry’s, Harry had one last thought. “I’m sorry everyone, that I can’t become your Admiral.” Staring his executioner in the gaping holes where it’s eyes should have been, it did not take him long to notice the Dementor’s head fall from its shoulders.


    Spoiler: Dramatic Interrupt!
    [​IMG]


    The person who saved him, wielding Juuchi Yosamu, (I just returned that to Japan Yesterday! raced across Harry’s mind) was taller then average, but shorter then the Carriers and Battleships he knew. The moon light played played across her white hair and black clothes, making her feel more ephemeral then real. In the time it took Harry to notice this and fall on the ground the woman had already dismembered the Dementors closest to them.


    “You filth dared to harm my Lord and attempted to prevent him from entering the Pure Land.

    I will not abide this.

    My Maker named me 10,000 Cold Nights and bade me to cut all without distinction. It is said that that you cannot die for you are not alive.

    Very well, may your continued existence be AGONY!
     
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  2. Threadmarks: seeing the mettle (very likely noncanon)
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    gaea

    Here is the continuation of my snippet from earlier, as our ninja Kaiju didn’t say anything was wrong with my assumptions.
    takes place after Dementor Attack

    =============================================================

    Haruna looked at the woman leaning against the wall opposite her before she shifted in her seat.

    “Haruna does not trust you.”



    The woman merely smiled at her.



    Rose, who was waiting for her turn to visit Harry turned to her wife, “Haruna, I can’t believe you! She has done nothing untoward to earn your ire.”



    “She is correct though. You should not trust me.” The woman leaning against the wall interrupted.



    “Oh? What have you done recently that should cause mistrust? The night you saved Harry from something worse than death, or the fact that this is the first time you are not at Harry’s side, leaving only once his mother and sister arrived?”



    “I am a Muramasa Blade. Arguably the greatest of the Muramasa blades. My siblings exacted a deadly toll on the now Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, and as such the legends around us, strengthened. What happened after that is not unheard of among the Supernatural. The claims of bloodlust and madness became cases of. I myself caused people to attack friends and foes without distinction.

    So no, you should not trust me.”



    “That was a pretty history lesson, where there was much spoken of but little actually said. Now, I ask you again. What harm do you pose to young master?”



    Juuchi Yosamu smiled at Rose after she finished. Unlike her previous smile, which was merely a play of muscles and flesh underneath here face, this smile held an unexpected amount of warmth.

    “Ah, there it is. That quality every Potter and their retainers possess.” Seeing that Rose was about to speak again Juuchi continued, “Perhaps I shall weave you a tale and at the end you can determine for yourself if I am a threat to our lord?”

    “This tale starts centuries ago, as all good tales do. I was, unconcerned, about what was happening as all I cared about was the fact that I had been drawn and that I had tasted flesh and drank blood once again. I later learned that a brother of a well born lady was, disappointed, and rather offended at his sister’s decision to help a foreigner. I have not, and do not care to learn more about it because it is boring. Well, I don’t care beyond the fact that this is the start of my coming in the Potter family’s care. The Potter I was eventually gifted to had come to the home of the lady who had helped a lost man find his way back to the Foreigner’s quarter to pay back the favor with gifts. He was able to stop her brother’s rampage with minimal bloodshed. The exact circumstances beyond that escape me.

    My existence after that did not change much from what it had before, namely being stored, removed from storage, and the cutting of flesh, though it was never enough. This changed when one day I was unsheathed in a barren room and sheathed with but the barest sip of blood. This set of events happened often enough that it managed to come to my attention, despite my madness.

    It was the third child of the one who brought me out of Nippon that treated me thus. At first I was furious, more so then normal. How dare this ingrate unsheathe me then do nothing? The insult! I then noticed after a time that he was the third in line of succession, after even a female. Now, I though, he wanted to commit Seppuku yet could not find the nerve. At times he had his sister in the room when I was unsheathed. Now, I thought, he was going to strike her down. So eager was I for blood that I unleashed all of my pent up madness and bloodlust. Now, I thought, I was going to slay someone again, possibly the entire family.

    I was wrong. I learned a valuable lesson about the Potter that day. Potters are always tested by Fate. Events that would crush others are a crucible to a Potter, and as such they know their own emotions, their own will. Here was a third son, a scholar, skin pale from spending time indoors perusing musty tomes over training his body; yet he knew himself enough that when my torrent of wants, needs, and madness washed over him he knew these to not be his own wants and needs and let them pass him by. He ignored me.

    This is not to say that during this time I was only used by him, that I was in fact used as all swords should be. I cut down my wielder’s foe with nary a hesitation. There was a difference in how I was handled by the Potters as compared to my previous users. Opposed to the hatred, and later terror, that was directed at me by my wielders in Japan the Potters treated me as a weapon. There was caution concerning my ability to affect the emotions of my wielder, as Potters are not fools. They are many words that can describe a Potter, but foolish is rarely one of them. In the hands of a Potter I was used to defend that which they cherished and thus I was a tool. A superbly crafted one with few peers, but a tool none the less. My legend, the terror I inspired meant nothing beyond a story to repeat. Potters do not put stock in the idea that a person, or object, has only one way to react to the world.

    I can only assume that the third son had heard of the legend of Tamamo-no-Mae and how the monk listened to her and let her repent after sitting through her storming and raging. The third son was no monk, but I, I am not Tamamo-no-Mae. He was able to reach through my madness and helped me to become more.

    That is not to say that my bloodlust is gone. That cannot be farther from the truth but I can contain it. I am content to wait because out lord is a Potter, and as a Potter he has his enemies. Don’t frown like that, this is truth. A Potter, through their words and actions, be they good or ill, through them merely living they create enemies. Enemies that will never suffer a Potter to live, and so they act. At that time I can react and satisfy myself.

    So tell me little teapot, am I a threat?”



    “I believe I understand. I am a teapot, just as you are a sword; and we are both owned by the Potter Family.”



    “Exactly.”



    “Haruna is glad to hear this, but now she must ask, is this why you kept returning to Harry’s side even after he returned you to Japan?”



    Juuchi shifted against the wall. “If my Lord demands that I be sent to Japan even now, then I as a loyal retainer shall follow his command. Even if, even…”



    “Even if you do not wish to,” Rose finished for her, “But would you not be happy to return home to Japan?”



    Juuchi scoffed at her, “Home is a place where you are accepted, where you are wanted. Japan was never that to me. I was held in too much terror and spite for that place to be every my home. With the Potters I was accepted. At times I was even taken out to be show off to the family. I remember James, hearing about how he was flirting with a firebrand before I was locked up in that chest with that prissy bitch Honjo for the last few decades. She was absolutely unbearable to deal with,” Rose and Haruna looked at each other at this.

    “I will admit that I would like to meet with some of my siblings, if they still exist. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were destroyed though, to rid the world of their ‘curse.’” Juuchi finished.



    ===========================================================================

    I hope this is coherent enough for people. I thought of most of this as I was driving around during work, and as such I wasn’t able to write down most of my ideas until later, losing the greater impact I thought up.
     
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  3. Threadmarks: JNHRO Muramasa handles
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Lord K

    Harry Leferts said:
    There's already a Muramasa tsukomogami mentioned in story as part of the J.N.H.R.O. and that she herself is not murderous in the least. To be honest, she might well like Harry and the whole blood thing is to show one's worthiness in a sense. You do not draw a weapon unless you are willing to use it for the purpose it has, basically.
    Harry Leferts said:
    Well, we had one spirit of a Muramasa sword show up as being manifested, though that was mainly because she had lived in a Buddhist temple for a long time. Though that becomes odd due to how many sword tsukumogami you got in fiction (Touken Renbu being a recent example), it could be a case here where if the soul manifests they're simply placed under that classification.​
    *-*-*-*

    Looking at Chisuheri's phone, and the group chat she was currently in, Tomokako frowns in the middle of her nosy invasion of the buddhist's privacy.

    "What the hell is with all your contact's names?"

    Looking up from where she is preparing an entirely vegetarian meal for herself at the table, the diasho sword set raises an eyebrow.

    "What do you mean? That is just my family chat."

    The kitsune practically waves the phone in the tsukumogami's face.

    "SupernaturalFandom? InitiaLotuSutra? Waterwitchy-poo? What kind of handles are those?"

    Completely missing the point, Chisuheri's face brightens.

    "Oh, we just thought we would be silly, and pick all our chat names for our LINE group based on our names."

    "Wat."

    Happily oblivious, Chisuheri takes the phone off Tomokao and begins scrolling through the conversation.

    "Those three are Ishizuki , Myoho Rengekyo, and Umitsubame, what with the whole "names meaning Thousand Slashes, Lotus-Sutra, and Waterwitch respectively" thing. And then that's me, using "Bloodlust Blade". Admittedly it's not particularly inventive, but at least it sounds more impressive than Suisei just using "Fading Comet". "Blade of Nietzsche" is Kagotsuruhe, Kyoshu went with "Alzheimer's" because of the whole "Sword of Faded Memories" angle, and of course Norimune had to use "KamoDidNothingWrong", but then what do you expect from someone who's name means "Unrepentant"?"

    The Kitsune stares at the Muramasa sword set for a long hard moment.

    "You know, sometimes I forget weird you swords can still be, underneath how normal all of you that have managed to make it this far seem on the surface."

    "Hey! We're not that bad!"

    "Remind me who went into a blood rage and tried to break every limb of a poor, unfortunate spider yokai?"

    Chisuheri raises a finger to make a counter point, only to pause. After a few moments, she then awkwardly lowers it.

    "Well.... I didn't kill him."

    "No, but then I suppose that's to be expected of the most extreme of the Demon Blades?"

    Chisuheri almost manages to look a little affronted.

    "I'm sorry, but how exactly am I, the blood rage and berserker healing inducer, more extreme than Juuchi's impossibly sharp and indiscriminate cutting ability, Kyoshu being able to doctor memories, or Kagotsuruhe leaving people feeling like they've been attacked by Dementor's with her "Aura of Hopelessness"?"

    "I don't remember any of the others welding themselves into their scabbards in order to flip off Kamo."

    The Daisho sword set looks at the katana hanging next to the wakizashi on her belt

    "That.... okay, I concede to that. But that's besides the point. We are the surviving outliers. Most of the others aren't even enchanted beyond the usual preservation and self-maintaining effects. We're allowed to be weird and have our moments. Our non-enchanted sisters aren't nearly as bad, and rarely were to begin with."

    Tomokako grins

    "Are you sure about that? What was it you were saying about Akutoku a while back? You know, the one about the thing in Edo. In the Castle Library. With Matsudaira Geki. In 1823.
    -------------------

    "Hey. Hey Geki."

    "What Akutoku? What on earth is it this time?"

    "Aren't those guys Honda Iori and his friends?"

    "Yes."

    "Are we gonna kill them today? Or are you just going to keep arguing with them?"

    "No Akutoku, we aren't going to kill them."

    "Aw, but you should! That would totally solve all your problems! You'd never have to argue with them again!"

    "I'd also be in jail."

    "Kill the jailors! Let nothing stop you! Fuel the revolution of your future with blood! Hail the new Shogun! Via la Nippon!"

    "What are you even- No! I'm not killing them Akutoku. And I'm not killing anyone else today, for that matter, and that's final."

    "Aw.... this is why I miss the Sengoku period.... well what about tomorrow then?"

    "What about tomorrow?"

    "Will you kill them tomorrow?"

    "No!"

    "What about overmorrow?"

    "The what?"

    "The day after tomorrow? Will you kill them then?"

    "No!"

    "How about the day after that?"

    "No."

    "Do you think the day after the day after overmorrow might be better?"

    "For the love of- No! Get this through your vapid little head, you death obsessed, over grown kitchen knife! NO! MEANS! NO!"

    "...oh... okay then...."

    "...."

    "...."

    "....thank the kami, she finally shut up...."

    "Hey Geki."

    "GRRRRRRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH"

    "Hey Geki. Hey. Hey. Hey Geki. Geki. Hey Geki. Hey. Hey. Hey."

    "What Akutoku? What is it?!?! And it had better not be a suggestion to kill someone, or I will personally see you turned into a cannon ball, and shot into the sea!"

    "You're disturbing the other library patrons."

    "......oh."

    "Yeah, some of them are looking at you funny."

    "Ah... okay then."

    "You're welcome~"

    "Sure."

    "....but you know that you wouldn't have to worry about disturbing anybody if we killed them all.

    "ARGGGHHHHH!!! NO! NO! I WILL NOT BE FUCKING KILLING ANYONE!!!"

    "Oh hey, look, Iori must have heard you flipping your desk. Here he comes!"

    "What the hell Matsudaira?!?! The fuck has gotten into you now?!?!"

    "Such impudence! You should totally kill should him Gek- HOLY SHIT YOU'RE ACTUALLY DRAWING ME?!?!"

    "Whoa! Whoa! Matsudaira! WHAT ARE YO-"

    "YAY!!! BLOODSHED!!!"

    "He just killed Honda Iori!"

    "Matsudaira's gone mad!"

    "Kill them Geki! Kill them all! Weeeeee!!!!"

    "Wait! Stop! Gahurk-!"

    "Oh Please NOOOO-!"

    "Double Combo! This is fun!"

    "Open the damn door!"

    "He's killing everyone!"

    "Oh hey, there's two more over there! Let's see how many you can nab before they get you!"
    -------------------

    Chisuheri shifts uncomfortably.

    "That is unfair to Akutoku. That was still almost 200 years ago."

    "True, but she writes and draws doujinshi for a living now," points out Tomokako.

    "So?" deflects the tsukumogami awkwardly as the kitsune grins. "What does that have to do with anything?"

    "Pretty fitting occupation for someone who's full name means "Sword of Corruption" don't you think."

    "At least she's channeling it productively and into something other than making people want to kill each other." defends the aforementioned blade's sister, with no small amount of embarrassment and awkwardness.

    "Yeah," says Tomokako with a pair of waggling eyebrows. "Instead she's reducing the population and corrupting people, by contributing to Japan's rising population of otaku and hikikomori instead."

    *-*-*-*-*
    NotHimAgain said:
    My dad's not as big on WWE as he'd like us to think, but he really likes Mick Foley. There were a few lines that made me think of that one Mankind fight with the Undertaker. You might know the one.​
    Yeah, I was a bit inspired, just because of how iconic and recognizable some of the commentary was
    [​IMG]


    "Dragonkind" also just seemed a bit too obvious/on the nose, so instead I went for a nod at Cactus Jack as well
    [​IMG]



    As an aside considering all the talk about sword spirits, here's an interesting tale I came across

    Thou shalt not shorten me
     
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  4. Threadmarks: Sacred hospitality
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    SoulessScotsman

    A/N: Well, hopefully this goes better than the last time and doesn't drive me into a spiraling depression that I have to claw my way out of. Again.

    ...One can hope.


    The buxom redhead dressed only in emeralds and gold jewelry bowed low, drawing both mens' eyes, "Greetings, Auror Jackson Graves, Lieutenant William Anderson. My Mistress has been expecting you."

    Anderson gripped his rifle tightly, "She's been expecting us?"

    "Your name is William?"

    His head snapped to Graves as he leveled a glare on him, "Is this relevant?"

    The wizard held up his hands, "I thought it was Crowe!"

    The Lieutenant lifted his goggles and pinched the bridge of his nose, "I tend to go by my middle name, which was also my callsign in the sandbox. Again, is this relevant?"

    The redhead giggled delicately, hand over her mouth, "Madam Connie said your reactions would be amusing! Oh, but I'm afraid the headgear must come off, and all weapons remanded into the care of Moira, here," she indicated the taller, pale-skinned, dark-haired amazon adorned in full plate, "My Mistress does not allow such things when new honored guests enter her domain."

    Anderson gave Graves a look.

    He shrugged, looking just as perplexed, "I more expected her to set us through some convoluted trial to test our mettle like she does for the vast majority of newcomers, but being invited in works, too. Though I didn't expect them to think your weapons were a threat."

    "Unlike the blind fools in the ICW," Moira spat, "We have kept abreast of the inventions of our non-magical brethren."

    She held out her hand, giving the Army Trooper an expectant look.

    Anderson glared at the shorter woman, shoving the BAR into her hands and shrugging off his vest, "Fine."

    The bejeweled woman grasped Graves by the arm, "Your wand, Auror Graves. That will stay with me," she smiled winningly, "I promise it will be safe. So I swear on my station as My Lady's personal handmaiden."

    Something pulsed at her declaration, an eldritch power giving weight to her words.

    Graves looked at her for a long moment before handing her his wand.

    She giggled demurely, taking it and her own wand and using them like oversized chopsticks to tie up her hair. Incidentally preventing her from mimicking the Lady Godiva look.

    Graves had a pained look on his face as he pointedly looked well above her neckline.

    "There! Now, shall we?" she asked as she looped her arm with the Auror's.

    Well, at least he could take a little amusement at how uncomfortable Graves looked.

    Anderson tried to take a step forward only for Moira's iron grasp to keep him firmly in place.

    "You have been allowed to keep your pistol, Lieutenant. I hope I needn't mention the consequences."

    The Lieutenant gave a sharp nod. He very pointedly did not mention the various knives on his person.

    She let go—reluctantly, Anderson noted—and he followed after the bubbly Handmaiden and beleaguered Auror.

    “It’s so nice to see you again, Auror Graves. Your last visit was so short, I barely got a chance to speak to you!”

    Her behavior so far had given Anderson the impression “speak” meant “unabashedly and aggressively flirt”.

    He gave her a deadpan look, “I was retrieving a beaten group of over-eager, green-as-grass, dumbass Auror Cadets who thought to challenge Scáthach’s gauntlet to try and become her first apprentice since the Hound of Ulster. I was a bit busy making sure none of them died.”

    Anderson snorted, “New recruits: the bane of any veteran soldier.”

    Graves chuckled.

    “Ah!” the Handmaiden chirped, “He we are. My Lady’s Solar. Lady Victory and Lady Constitution are inside. Auror Graves, if you would enter first. I would like a word with the good Lieutenant. Just a little etiquette, no need to worry.”

    Graves cast her a wary glance before turning to Anderson. A sharp nod was his response.

    “Very well. There’s some sensitive matters that need addressing.”

    As soon as Graves was through the door, the air seemed to grow colder and the Handmaiden’s smile lost any warmth. Anderson’s instincts screamed and he made to dodge but an icy hand grabbed him by the throat, slamming him into the stone wall in the same motion.

    The knife he brought down on her shoulder was stopped by a sheet of ice. The Handmaiden cast the black blade a curious look.

    “A good blade. But not Cold Iron, I think. Something hardier than our Bane, to not shatter on contact. Intriguing, but not relevant,” she squeezed, steam billowing from her mouth with each word, “Did you think I wouldn’t smell it, boy? The scent of a warm breeze, of a blooming meadow? Buried under blood and steel and gunpowder, to be sure, but one any of Winter would recognize and loathe? One of Her blood?”

    Anderson tried to draw his sidearm, but the Handmaiden almost contemptuously ripped the gun from his numb fingers before tossing it aside.

    “Ah ah ah. None of that, now,” she chastised, as if she was speaking to an unruly child and not a man she had by the throat, “I’ve never seen one of dear Tity’s ilk so ready to commit violence against their host. Then again, she usually tells us when she sends a child of her blood. Are you some sort of pitiful attempt by Summer at an assassin?”

    When Anderson gave her no response as he feebly clawed at her hand, she rolled her eyes and loosened her grip, “I forget how fragile mortals are, even ones like you.”

    He choked down a ragged breath, “What the hell are you talking about?! What the fuck are you?! Who the fuck is Summer?!”

    The Handmaiden’s face went carefully blank before she uttered a single, flat word.

    “What.”

    “I have no idea what any of that is!”

    What.”

    Anderson struggled more, clawing at the dumbfounded creature’s hand, “Let me go, dammit!”

    The Handmaiden sighed, palming her face, “Mortal rashness seems to be rubbing off on me. I never would have done this before coming here. Scota has influenced me much more than I thought. And I cannot even bring myself to be upset,” she snorted, looking to the side as she casually held a man two feet taller than herself to a wall, “Far too much influence.”

    She then seemed to notice the struggling man in her grasp, “Oh, calm down. Killing you would be more trouble than I am willing to bring down on my Mistress.”

    “I’m so glad you see it that way,” a chillingly calm voice replied.

    The Handmaiden went stock still as Connie glared murderously at her from the door, hands behind her back and wreathed in her hull.

    “But I’m sure you’ll understand if I confirm that, Leanansídhe,” Connie continued, “I ask; Do you intend harm to my crewman?”

    The Handmaiden recoiled as if struck, “No, but he broke-”

    “While ignorant of Guest Rights, because if he had known, he never would have broken them. No, he’s not anywhere close to that stupid,” Connie hissed as she stalked toward the Handmaiden, “Again, I ask; Do you intend harm to my crewman?”

    The woman held up her hands in front of herself in a placating gesture, while coincidentally letting go of Anderson, “No, Madam Connie, but he is still somehow connected to Summer-”

    “Irrelevant! He is my crewman, regardless of birth, Faery!” Connie barked, voice shaking the stonework around her, “Thrice I ask and thrice you shall answer! Do you intend harm to my crewman?!”

    The Handmaiden screamed in frustration, hands fisted in her hair, “No! Mother Winter’s Tits, no! I will not harm him! There! Are you happy?!”

    Connie stared at her for a long moment, murder still in her eyes. She glanced at Anderson, who had slumped to the ground, shivering and rubbing his throat. The air clouded with his every breath, but her doctor gave her a thumbs up and a squeaky “Aye!” from where she stood on his shoulder.

    “William,” she softly spoke.

    “Green, Ma’am,” he responded immediately, “Little cold, but I’m green.”

    She leveled him with a look, “You are decidedly Gaelic in descent. How do you not know what Faeries are?”

    “I suspect that you don’t mean Tinkerbell when you say that,” he grunted as her doctor tilted his head to the side, “Mom was more a fan of Greco-Roman Mythology and history. And Norse Mythology, too. Celtic Lore never really came up, save for Cú Chulainn, and that was after she died. I’m getting the distinct impression that that may have been intentional.”

    “I vividly remember ordering ONI to set up a crash course in the supernatural. Guest Rights first and foremost.”

    Anderson winced at her tone, then winced again when he shrugged, “First I’m hearing of this.”

    Connie regarded him coolly, “Are you lying to me, First Lieutenant Anderson?”

    “No, Commodore McLees, I swear I am not lying,” he replied as he met her gaze, “I have no recollection of any briefing on anything supernatural, barring the one on shipgirls I got when you shanghaied me.”

    She smiled softly, “I believe you.”

    Anderson slumped in on himself, head pitching forward, “Christ.”

    Connie dismissed her rigging and leaned down to Anderson, “You’re still alive. Anything else, we can fix,” she kissed his forehead, “I’m going to be asking some pointed questions when we get back, however. Someone decided they could fuck with my crew and get away with it.”

    Anderson looked up and cocked a brow, “‘Your crew’?”

    Connie looked a little sheepish as she hauled the frosty trooper to his feet, “Oh, hush. I’ve known you since you were twenty-three, what did you expect?”

    The Fairy on his shoulder let out an indignant “Aye!” at the sudden movement, making Anderson wince at the volume, “Not this. I remember being a hell of a lot greener and a hell of a lot angrier. How’d you not kick me to the curb, again?”

    Connie scoffed, brushing off some frost on his shoulder, “You have met some of my more errant children, yes?”

    Anderson snorted, “Fair.”

    Someone coughed, drawing their attention to the purple haired woman leaning against the doorway.

    “So glad you two are having a moment, truly, but can we get to the part where we all say sorry in a very formal way, agree my Handmaiden was very rash—and yes, Lea, you will be hearing about this from me later!—and get on with our poker game?” she asked in a dry voice, “Sif’s given herself a royal flush she thinks slipped my notice and I’m fairly certain Freya is trying to convince Vicky’s crew to come to her mead halls in an effort to snub Valhalla. Also, the wizard looks like he’s going to either kill someone, or piss himself. Not sure which.”

    “Fuck!”“Odindammit, Scota!”

    Connie rolled her eyes, “On that note; Graves!”

    Anderson was fairly certain Graves hadn’t teleported, but he was in front of Connie in an instant.

    “Yes, Ma’am?”

    “Since you seem to be the only wizard I can trust, you’re going to brief Crowe on everything he needs to know. Now. And I mean everything, Graves. This never happens again, and as far as I’m concerned? Didn’t happen in the first place,” she turned to regard Scáthach and her decidedly glum looking Handmaiden, “That seem fair? We pretend this never happened and avoid a diplomatic incident?”

    The Queen of Shadows shrugged, “I’m not particularly bothered about this in the first place. Forgive and forget. Lea?”

    “...Yes, My Lady,” the Faery mumbled.

    “Goody. Freya, Sif?”

    “Yeah, yeah, whatever, now get in here so we can finish this game!”[/HR]
     
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  5. Threadmarks: Meeting Juuchi
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Harry Leferts

    With most of the surprises out of the way and the swords now out of the trunk, everyone was wearing gloves and surgical masks as Daichi drew each blade one by one. Each blade was gently placed on a white cloth with the Koshirae placed below it. Once that was done, Daichi began examining them more closely with a magnifying glass while Osamu recorded the whole thing. Off to one side, Kurosawa had a sheet of paper that she was making notes on what Daichi was saying about the swords and their identifying marks. Sometimes though she took a picture of something that the tanuki pointed out to the two of them.

    Haru meanwhile was standing off to the side just watching, though she noted that Harry was going through his Great-Uncle's diary. Walking over, she sat down beside him and tilted her head in interest. "Is something wrong, Harry-Chan?"

    Glancing up at her, Harry frowned some as he furrowed his eyebrows. "He made a lot of notes about what he got in payment for the card games. That includes the swords involved, except..." Raising a finger, he continued. "There's one sword extra there."

    That made Haru blink some and she could tell that Daichi was now listening after putting away the Katana that he was examining. "An extra sword, Harry-San? Which one?"

    Slowly, the black haired boy took his raised finger and pointed at one sword in particular. A sword that the others were all avoiding so far and thus sat off by itself. "The Juuchi Yosamu. Every other blade is mentioned here and described, and yet that one isn't? I can't find a single bit about it."

    Eyebrows furrowing, Osamu set down his camera and walked over before coming to a stop. "May I have a look, Harry-San?" When he nodded, Harry handed the diary over and he frowned as he scanned the pages. Turning them one by one, he frowned some. "You're right-wait a moment." The disguised Ryuu stopped and ran a finger down the page. "Right here it mentions that one of the reasons being that he had seen a sword like them in the Potter collection. Said sword being in the family for generations and used by them?"

    Frowning, Harry nodded some and shrugged. "I figured that would be the Guntō that was in the Potter storage building. Haru-San has seen it and another member of my family picked that one up during the 1860s. He apparently used it quite often."

    However, Osamu shook his head as he frowned behind his mask. "Harry-San? There's just one issue with that. Potter-San here mentions that the sword in question was a Samurai sword and was similar to the ones he was given for the bet. A Guntō is different from such blades and more then that, he was quite detailed elsewhere. Your clan seemed to keep very good records of what they got and where. So it might be odd for them to mistake a Guntō for another sword."

    Kurosawa was looking over his shoulder and pointed at one spot in particular. "Right there is states that he was considering having the swords on display with said blade. But what is that bit about how the Potters were able to control her?"

    Also reading it, Harry frowned for several seconds before looking at the sword in question. Getting up, he walked over to where it was laying and looked down at the sheathed blade before Haru spoke up. "Harry-Chan?"

    With a look over his shoulder, Harry gave a shrug. "We need to get her examined, right? Just... let me see for a moment." Grasping the hilt, the wizard slowly pulled the blade out into the light fully for perhaps the first time in decades. The light danced along the edge of the blade and Harry held her free. For a moment, there was an urge to give it a few practice swings. Perhaps in the direction of the others while he could feel a surge of anger at the thought that they would take this blade away. It was the sort of blade that he could use, one that would allow him to hunt down all those who harmed his family and made him an orphan. Then he could-

    Said thoughts and feelings were squashed hard by Harry.

    Briefly, he could feel what he could only describe as a push back before he narrowed his eyes into a glare. "Stop that right bloody now or else I'll have you made into metal toothpicks." Oddly, Harry felt an sort of dark amusement as well as... pleasure? In either case, there was a thrum from the blade in his hands as he glanced at the others. The Yokai having stiffened and he gave a shrug. "Um, yeah, I don't think that she wants anyone else to handle her."

    Just sharing a look with Haru, Daichi cleared his throat. "I... see. Well then, bring her over here so that we can make some documentation." Once the blade was placed onto the cloth, the tanuki let out a slow breath. As with the other blades they went through the same process of basic documentation for it. But not one of them touched the blade except for Harry. For some odd reason, they all had the feeling that it would not end well. After they were done, Daichi stood back up and nodded. "You can sheath her again, Harry-San."

    Picking her up again, Harry took off the bandaid on his finger and picked the scab that was there. When there were a few drops of blood visible, be tapped the finger against the Muramasa and everyone blinked as it seemd said blood disappeared almost as soon as it touched it. But Harry then sheathed it before nodding and placing it back. Standing beside Daichi. Haru shook her head. "That is... something."

    All Daichi did was glance at her and softly snort. "That is one way of putting it, Haru-San. I assume that you felt the same thing as I did?" At her nod, he frowned. "I would swear that she seems to... like, Harry-San. Of course, depending on how long she has been in his family, I do wonder how things will turn out."

    Haru only nodded at that with thoughts of her own at what they've found out. Meanwhile, Kurosawa was frowning thoughtfully before looking at Harry who was replacing the bandaid on his finger. "Harry-San?" Getting a nod, she continued. "Would it be much trouble if I was to look through your family records? In particular any trips made to Japan to try and find how how they came into possession of Juuchi Yosamu? Perhaps I can come across some more information."

    With a blink, Harry gave a nod at that. "I don't mind, Kurosawa-San. I'll have to pick them up from Mum though as she has the various books and such. She's been looking through them after all,"

    That got him a nod from Kurosawa before they turned back to the rest of the blades to examine as well as various other items as well. Later that night, a somewhat tired and yawning Kurosawa leaned back in her chair with one of the Potter journals in front of her. Unknown to her, Osamu was watching her as she stretched and gulped a bit. The last thing he had ever expected when he come to Yokosuka was to have met someone like Kurosawa. In fact, when he had left the rest of his family behind to arrive on the mainland of Japan, he had not expected most of what had happened.

    But he had come to Japan and now in Yokosuka had met someone that interested him in the form of Kurosawa. The fact that the two of them had entered into a strange sort of psuedo-relationship had surprised him even more. Though Osamu was thankful that his older sisters were not around. He would have gotten no end to the amount of teasing from any of them for it after all. Not to mention what Kurosawa would likely go through from them.

    Osamu did not need to fake the shiver that went down his spine at that thought.

    Suddenly, he realized that Kurosawa was watching him with a raised eyebrow. "Osamu-Kun? Is something wrong...?" After a moment she scratched her cheek. "You're sort of staring..."

    Blushing, Osamu coughed some and shook his head. "S-sorry, just wondering if you were... tired! That's it."

    Amused, Kurosawa gave him a small smile. "Tired?" Humming, she looked away and turned to the old journals and the history book. "A little bit, I suppose. But at the same time this is extremely interesting. Harry-San's family has been all over the world after all. There's so much history here! It's a vertifiable gold mine of historical knowledge!"

    Only nodding as he leaned forward, Osamu tilted his head to the side as he looked at the journal in front of him. "That is true enough, right here there's enough for an entire series of books to be written." Reaching out, he tapped the journal. "And when the Statute falls, it's going to be items such as these that will be filling in a lot of the blanks for historians."

    The two of them lapsed into silence before Kurosawa gave him a look. "You know, speaking of the Statute..." Her expression changed into one of interest. "I know what you told me about yourself, but still."

    Surprised, Osamu looked around. "Now? You want that sort of thing right now?"

    Now looking away, Kurosawa blushed. "Well, I was just wondering. I mean, I used to read all the old stories as a little girl."

    For several moments, her companion was silent before he sighed and shook his head. "Just, don't tell anyone, okay? Daichi-Sensei knows, and so does Haru-San. But it's not something to be spread around." At her nod, he closed his eyes and when they opened, the pupil was slit. Blue-green scales began to appear as his face pushed forward into a muzzle with sharp teeth while at the same time his hair turned silver. From about his ears, two deer like antlers grew while a giant, snake-like tail grew and spread out. His transformation stopped and he blinked. "Well?"

    An awed look on her face, Kurosawa got up and examined him. "Oh wow... I... wow!" Leaning against the desk, she took it all in and shook her head before giving him a smile as well as a small bow. "Thank you, this means a lot."

    Lips twitching, Osamu only scratched his head. "Yeah, I would imagine that it would."

    Both of them stayed like for a little bit before the female archivest shook her head. "Right! Um, we should probably go and grab some real food instead of the donuts and pastries. There's a small cafeteria here in the tunnels nearby that I go to sometimes." Glancing at her watch, she shook her head. "There won't be anyone there, but they usually got sandwiches and such that you can put into the microwave at the vending machines."

    With a nod as he regained his human disguise, Osamu nodded. "Sounds good to me! Besides, could use a bit of walking before we start hitting the books again."

    Less then a minute later, the room was silent and empty. Until it wasn't as the sound of geta against the floor before a snort could be heard. "Finally they left, even if it was only for a short time." There was a pause as a female hand reached out and grabbed one of the donuts. "Still, I think that this Potter is going to be very interesting..."

    By the time that Osamu and Kurosawa returned to continue their reseach, there was no sign except for a few missing donuts that anyone had been there.
     
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  6. Threadmarks: Cooking with the Duckies
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Snippet 17: Harry Leferts

    Drying his hands, Harry nodded before turning to the three Akizuki sisters who were all waiting. Part of him was still amused at the aprons they were wearing. Said aprons had a rubber duck on it with the words "Just Ducky" on them. With a nod, he smiled and chuckled. "Okay, you all ready?"

    With a serious expression on her face, Akizuki gave him a salute while Teruzuki and Hatsuzuki nodded. "Hai, Harry-Chan! We're all ready!"

    Just clapping his hands, the black haired boy gave them a nod back. "Great! Glad to hear it." Harry then gestured at the countertop where various items were gathered. "Now, since it's early in the morning I thought that we might do something a bit different... hash browns!"

    Eyes a bit wider, Teruzuki took in the ingredients that were on the counter with interest. "Hash browns? Really?" At Harry's nod, she smiled some and shared a look with her sisters. "That sounds really good, Harry-Chan!"

    Beside her, Hatsuzuki nodded while her hair tufts waggled a bit. "It does sound good, Jersey-San sometimes piles our plates with them when we're in America." Head tilted to the side, she frowned a bit. "So what's first?"

    Grabbing a potato, Harry tossed it into the air and caught it in his hand. He could see the three Destroyers following the tuber with their eyes. "Well, first we need to wash these. Then we shred them."

    As she grabbed one, Teruzuki turned on the water to a hot temperature that would burn most people. Not that she really noticed much as she started to rub a potato under the stream of steaming water. Looking over her shoulder as she did so and her sisters joined her, Teruzuki frowned some. "Um, don't we need to peel them?"

    Lips twitching, Harry took the potato in question before grabbing the peeler. "That's what I'm going to do while you wash them. We'll put the peels aside for now and reuse them later today for our second lesson."

    Sternly, Akizuki gave a nod at that. "Waste not want not!"

    Harry just pointed at her. "Exactly! We can reuse the potato skins for more food instead of throwing them out. Even though we're not as heavily rationed anymore, we shouldn't waste food if we don't have to, right?" There were nods as he finished peeling the potato and placed the skins to one side and the now peeled tuber on another towel before taking another offered potato. Within a few minutes, they had a small pile of potatoes on the counter. "Right, each of us need to grab a grater and we'll start grating! But not on each other."

    Both Akizuki and Teruzuki giggled at that while Hatsuzuki merely smiled. As the grated potatoes piled up, Akizuki smiled at the boy working alongside them. Even though he was teaching them, he was still doing his own part. "Thanks for teaching us, Harry-Chan, we really appreciate it."

    All Harry did was give them a smile back. "You're very welcome, Akizuki-Chan, all of you are. I really enjoy teaching how to cook after all and you're all good students."

    Grating a potato, Hatsuzuki tilted her head to the side with a curious expression on her face. "Have you ever thought of teaching a class, Harry-Chan?" At the confused expression, she blushed some. "I mean, some for some of us shipgirls."

    For several moments Harry considered the question before shrugging. "Never really thought about it, to be honest. Might be an interesting idea to look at though, thanks." He got a nod from Hatsuzuki as he continued his own grating. 'It would be something to do...'

    Teruzuki considered the potato that she was grating with a small bit of nod. "Potatoes are so amazing, aren't they? You can make so much with them!"

    Just nodding, Akizuki looked at her. "I know! Mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, french fries, homemade potato chips..."

    Continuing, Hatsuzuki smiled a bit. "Roast potatoes and potato soup too!"

    While the three Destroyers continued to discuss potatoes, Harry's lips twitched as he tried not to chuckle. Eventually, they were all done with the grating and Harry pulled out the onions. "Okay, here comes a hard part, grating onions..."

    Grimaces met him at that as they all turned to the onions and glanced at each other. Once that was done and the tears dried, Harry placed a bowl in front of them. "Okay, now comes the part of making the mixture! We place the potatoes and the onions into each bowl." Doing so, Harry reached over for an egg. "Then we crack an egg and put it inside like so. And no, I am not egging you on."

    Unable to help herself, Akizuki giggled some. "Harry-Chan! That was really bad!"

    In return, Harry grinned back. "Ah, shell, sorry about that." More giggles came from that as he shook his head and began adding some salt and pepper. "Now, we add some salt and pepper to the mixture. Not too much, but enough for flavoring because otherwise it would be a bit bland. Make sure that it is mixed really good for the same reason!"

    Only nodding, Hatsuzuki turned to her own bowl and began to work. Part of her could already taste the hash browns alongside her breakfast and could not wait. Something that she knew she shared with her two sisters. Needless to say, it did not take long for them to mix all of it together and for Harry to pull out some heavy pans after they washed their hands. Akizuki nodded as she grabbed the offered bottle of cooking oil and put some into her pan. "Has to be hot, but not smoking, right Harry-Chan?"

    A smile on his face, Harry tilted his head toward her. "That's right! We're cooking up a good amount though as this is going in the breakfast line. But we'll have plenty for ourselves, trust me on that." With a careful eye, the wizard gave a nod. "Okay, it looks like the oil is hot enough for it. Now, each of you take a spoonful of the mix like so..."

    Several minutes later found the three sisters cleaning up the area just as Harry taught them. The boy in question having taken the hash browns they made to the line where they would be enjoyed except for what they were having themselves. Wiping the back of her hand against her forehead, Teruzuki sighed with a bright smile. "There, all done!"

    Placing the cloth into the bin, from which it would be later taken and cleaned, Akizuki gave a nod of her own while placing her hands on her hips. "Hai! All clean and dried, just like Harry-Chan taught us!"

    Sitting down, Hatsuzuki looked at the small corner of the kitchen that Harry had claimed for his own. As she did so, a small smile grew on her face. "We just need to wait for Harry-Chan to come back and we can have our own." Leaning forward, she looked at her sisters. "I am really thankful that Harry-Chan doesn't mind teaching us how to cook."

    Rapidly nodding, Akizuki also sat down. "I know, we've learned so much under him! And he knows how to make every little bit help, so we'll never need to worry about going hungry again." Gently rubbing her stomach, she smiled. "That's probably the nicest bit. And it's all so good too."

    Leaning her chin against one hand, Teruzuki became thoughtful. "You know..." She waited until the others were all looking at her to continue. "If one thinks about it, knowing how to cook is important for a wife, right? So Harry-Chan is helping us to one day be good wives and Kaa-Sans."

    Eyes widening some, Akizuki blinked and then frowned as she thought it over. "That's true enough, I mean... Look at Houshou-San. But to be a good wife..." Her cheeks lit up in a blush and she knew that the other two Destroyers had ones of their own. Shaking it off, she gave a smile. "Um, well that's good then isn't it?"

    Hatsuzuki nodded as she fought down her own blush. "Hai, it is." She then spotted movement and her expression brightened. "There's Harry-Chan and he brought some food!"

    Almost as one, the other two turned to find Harry with four plates with breakfast on it. Getting up, Teruzuki joined her sisters in grabbing a plate. "Here, let us take that Harry-Chan."

    Chuckling, Harry gave them a smile. "Thanks, Teruzuki-Chan, Akizuki-Chan, Hatsuzuki-Chan! Now then... let's get to the best part, eating what we cooked." The smiles they all gave him warmed him on the inside and he set down his own plate of eggs and bacon onto the counter while watching as the three Duckies put on some ketchup before they took a crunchy bite out of their hash browns. "Well?"

    Brightly smiling, Akizuki gave a thumbs up. "It's soo good, Harry-Chan!" Beside her, Teruzuki nodded with her mouth full of food while Hatsuzuki's hair tufts moved from her own happiness. "Thank you!"

    In return, Harry shrugged as he took a bite of his own hash brown. "You're all very welcome, I'm just glad that you enjoyed it."

    Soon, the only sound was eating as well as that of happy Destroyers.
     
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  7. Threadmarks: kaylee coywolves
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Snippet 8: S0ngD0g13

    "G'yap! Trek, Conn, Trek, Cullen! G'yap! Trek, Finn, Fergus! Pull!" shouted Kaylee, sitting on the seat of her ox-cart in Kure. Her whip snaked out and cracked like a gunshot above the team, and the oxen started forward. The cart carried cordage and fishing nets, nails and tools and timbers for repairing fishing boats, and sundry other items both needed and desired for Aso's village, including a few gallons of corn-liquor that bore the Rocking-M brand on the surface of the stoneware jugs...

    ....................................................

    After arriving at the village and dropping off the supplies, Kaylee saw several of the villagers clustered nervously around a fence and walked over. "What's wrong?" she asked them, then had her question answered by her own glance at the field on the other side of the fence.

    A ram, two lambs, and a ewe all lay dead on the grass, torn and savaged. Kaylee hopped the fence and inspected the ewe. "Her hindquarters are slashed but the fatal blow was her throat... Feral dogs?"

    "We think so, Virginia-san. They're bold, whatever they are; these are only the most-recent. We've lost a dozen sheep in the past two weeks, and a Tosa Inu we had with them as a guard-dog," replied one of the fishermen glumly. "The damned things have even gotten into the village itself; we've found tracks outside our very doors!"

    Kaylee startled then. "That's a problem and a half; if they're that bold then they don't fear people at all. Let me get some folks together to hunt them down; in the meantime, pull your stock in someplace secure, and keep a weather eye on your pets and children."

    Kaylee jogged back to her cart and turned on the radio she stored under the seat. "Aso, Aso, this is Virginia; do you read?"

    "I read you, Virginia. What's the matter?"

    "I dropped off those supplies the villagers needed, but there's a problem." She quickly explained the livestock predation and how if the dogs were bold enough to get into the village it was only a matter of time before they pulled down a child. "I'm going hunting; you in?"

    "I'm in. So are James, Zuikaku, and Aunt Shoukaku. James says he's bringing Faramir, Boromir, Charlotte, Barrier, Palisade, and Barricade, and he's borrowing a Spencer from Monitor. ETA twenty minutes."

    "I'll be waiting."

    ......................................................

    The pack lay in their dens, cracking sheep-bones and resting after gorging themselves. They'd moved down toward the coast from their old dens in the hills, following game and finding the village...

    They'd grown, expanding from the original wolves and coyotes, and their coywolf litters, to include a number of feral dogs and several more wolves from other packs.

    The pack now numbered over twenty-five strong, all adults or nearly-grown...
     
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  8. Threadmarks: Settling In
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    NotHimAgain

    Settling In

    -----

    Tatsuya and Benio stared down at the woman who lay spread-eagled on the floor of the ryokan lobby. She was dressed like a moth-eaten samurai and clutching a drinking gourd in one hand with a death grip. Benio turned to look at the unofficial tour guide that Maeda-sensei and Mamiya had enthusiastically selected for them. “Is this… normal?” she asked, allowing her concern to leak into her voice.

    “Yes, actually,” Reiko replied. It occurred to Benio that she was watching the woman from a position behind Tatsuya, something that simultaneously amused, concerned, and irked her. “She’s a local—though no one’s really sure what her deal is. She’s been here for centuries, though.”

    “She looks like it,” Tatsuya observed.

    “Do you hear me commenting on your fashion choices?” the woman said snidely, face completely unchanged.

    Benio flushed. She had been dressing in loose-fitting clothing or tank tops and shorts for so long that, after finally receiving some defense from the sun, she realized that it was more comfortable for her than anything else. Chihiro had laughed (she had complained about her health-related clothing problems in the past) and claimed that she would become more comfortable with more coverage over time—oh, wait, she was talking about Tatsuya. Why Tatsuya, though? His clothes were decidedly normal and even if they weren’t, the insult made no sense.

    “I wasn’t aware that it was such an important part of my life style,” Tatsuya confirmed. The woman cracked one eye open and smirked at him.

    “Exactly,” she said. Tatsuya huffed and rolled his eyes.

    Airu-sama!” A streak of brown rocketed through the air. Tatsuya’s arm snapped out, catching it and squeezing down. The small, yukata-clad weasel shrieked and Benio and Reiko lunged simultaneously, prying his grip open and allowing the weasel free. It scrambled up Reiko’s arm and clung to her back, shivering. Tatsuya rounded on the jorogumo, but she held out her hands.

    “No! Stop! Her—” Reiko cast about for Mamiya, and continued, her voice a low hiss. “Her family owns the ryokan!” Tatsuya stopped, right as he was beginning to reach out for the itachi again. Benio sighed, and pulled him away.

    “Real bundle of nerves, aren’t you?” the woman asked. Benio jumped upon realizing that she was standing, right beside her, actually leaning on her shoulder. The hanyou prided herself on being perceptive (especially since it often meant the difference between life and death) and the woman had not been there a split second earlier.

    “It’s been a long week,” Tatsuya replied casually.

    “Emi?” a voice called out. Reiko spun to face the door, the itachi falling to the ground beside her. As it fell, it’s form stretched and lengthened, and it was a girl of about seven years, clad in a dirty yukata, that hit the ground lightly and almost soundlessly. Tatsuya choked. It must have seemed a cruel joke to him.

    A woman with a longer bob-cut speed-walked into the lobby, followed closely by Mamiya. The itachi girl leaned to peek out from behind Reiko. The woman sighed. “Emi, what happened? I heard someone yelling, and—”

    “That’s our fault,” Benio cut in, stepping forward. “Ah… Emi-chan?” The girl looked up at her, and she took that as an affirmation of the name. “She thought it would be a good idea to sneak up on Tatsuya and surprise him, and Tatsuya… doesn’t like surprises.”

    The woman groaned, and walked over to Emi (inwardly, Benio was cheering that she got her first read of the itachi’s personality right and the situation would not become ridiculously awkward again). She leaned down, inspecting her yukata. “Dear, have you been getting into the guest yukatas again?”

    “They’re comfortable,” Emi pouted.

    “They’re not for us,” her mother (?) replied in a voice that said she had been doing this for a while. “It’s not that hard to buy or to make a yukata, you know—we can go to the store tomorrow, if you want.”

    “’don’t feel as good,” she mumbled, looking away.

    “Dear… Where have you even been today?” the woman asked. Emi stuck her lip out in a continued pout. Then her eyes widened, brightened, and she spun around, dancing an excited little hop-skip rhythm that Benio had seen her friends perform whenever they made a soccer goal around that age.

    “Airu-sama!” she squealed, grabbing the moth-eaten samurai woman’s hand. “She’s coming! She’ll be here soon!”

    The woman’s eyes widened. “Really?” she gasped. “Crap!” She flopped over backwards, eyes closed, arms spread out once more. Her mouth stretched into a small smile, and she chuckled like a perverted old man in an anime. Benio took an involuntary step back, and looking around she saw that everyone else had done so as well.

    “So,” she said brightly, turning her attention to Mamiya, “You done with your, ah, paperwork yet?”

    Mamiya sighed. “I was just talking to Tsuboi-san here,” she explained. “Thought she might want to be prepared in advance if something… unusual happens during your stay.” Benio blinked. She knew that she and Tatsuya tended to have “interesting” vacations, but it had always been her impression that his older sister was not privy to any details (then again, getting forced into a Cessna and flown to Dun Scaith, not getting back until thirty-six hours later had probably raised an eyebrow in the least).

    “I guess that makes sense,” she said out loud. Then the doors flew open.

    The miko who stepped inside was maybe two years older than Benio. She had straight black hair that was tied into a pair of braids that hung down over her shoulders and wore thick glasses that hung askew—by the way she was breathing, she had been running for a while.

    “Airu-sama!” she snapped, stomping over to the woman spread out over the floor. “What are you doing here? Are you aware of what time it is?”

    “Mmmm?” ‘Airu’ asked lazily, opening bleary eyes and giving the miko a confused stare. “Chaki? What’re you doin’ here? Wanna drink?”

    “I’m. Underaged.” She bit out. “And this is disgraceful. Just look at yourself!” Airu made a show of looking up and down her front, shrugging, and taking a pull from her gourd. “And I have been chasing you around town all day, so let me ask you this one question. Why. Are you. Pretending to be drunk?” As the miko spoke, she leaned closer and closer until she was practically nose-to-nose with Airu. The woman smirked, reached up, and pressed on her nose gently.

    “Boop” she said in a sing-song voice. Then she fell over herself snickering. The miko stared, confusion written over her features. As seconds ticked past, it faded into clarity, which was in turn replaced with outrage.

    “That’s it?” she asked, shaking like an enraged leaf, “That’s IT? I have spent my entire day running from the shrine to the park to city hall JUST SO YOU COULD PRESS ON MY NOSE? HOW IS THAT EVEN FUNNY?”

    “Chiaki-chan,” Mrs. Tsuboi interjected, resting a hand on her shoulder, “It’s not the prank that she finds funny.” Chiaki looked down at Airu, who was now almost literally rolling on the floor laughing, and growled.

    “Come on,” she grumbled, grabbing Airu’s sleeve and trying to pull her back upright, “we’re going home. It’ll be dinner time soon, anyways.” Airu’s laughter slowed, and she stumbled upright. As she walked out the door, the woman glanced back the to-be guests at the hotel.

    “Ano… Tatsuya-kun, ne?” she smiled. Benio shivered—was this what it felt for a normal human to have ice water poured down the back of their shirt? “Try to enjoy your stay. And be nice to your hosts.”

    Then she was gone.

    Benio turned to look at Emi. The itachi was standing beside her mother, glaring up at Tatsuya who—on the surface at least—simply didn’t care. It wouldn’t be until later, she knew, that he would stop by her room, look at her with breathless, guilty eyes, and she would hold onto him like a line tying a boat to a dock. His eyes caught hers, and he nodded curtly and looked away. Benio turned to look at Reiko and had to bite her tongue to avoid snickering. Her face was a comical rictus smile, trying to be thankful to Benio while at the same time whining “I want to look at him like that! Why can’t I look at him like that?” For all that she was supposed to be a delinquent and a problem child, Reiko was comically guileless.
    -----

    “Why do you find torturing me to be so amusing?” Chiaki complained. “Did you do that to mother and father as well?” Airu laughed, clasping her hands behind her head.

    “Nah,” she replied, walking with an airy step, “They were good kids. Didn’t get on my case about “appearances” and “dignity” and stuff like that.”

    “But you should be!” Chiaki protested. “You’re always acting like that one embarrassing aunt! Shouldn’t you be more aware of your status—”

    “Speaking of which,” Airu cut her off, jumping up to walk on a railing, “the mayor and I will be speaking directly with the Ono representative tomorrow—well, she’ll be speaking directly. I’ll be along in a more advisorial –is that a word? That should be a word—I’ll be there as an advisor. Have got some questions of my own, you know, like those J. N. R. kids.”

    Chiaki’s lips moved as she mouthed the letters to herself. “J N R… the J.N.H.R.O.? What do you want to know about them?”

    “Quite a bit,” Airu replied, pausing and looking up at the moon. “Things are changing, Chiaki-chan. And they’re changing faster and in a bigger way than they have since Perry steamed in. It’s gonna happen soon, very soon.” She groaned, scratching at the back of her neck. “Aw man, this October’s gonna be a pain in the ass, isn’t it.”

    She hopped down from the railing. “Let’s get going, Chiaki-chan! Airu-bachan wants dinner!”

    “Ba—You’re not my aunt!”

    Airu laughed. "That's what makes this so much fun!"
    -----

    Well what do you think, sirs?
     
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  9. Threadmarks: Omake Words that should never be said when shopping
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    RBomber Omake: "Words that should never be said when shopping..."

    Barricade said:
    Now if I can just figure out how to have Percy visit the store while visiting Yokosuka, but before Ooyodo can explain it to him/be warned he's visiting (and thus, hide). Cue the other workers immediately homing in like sharks smelling blood in the water, about those two, and then the grandmas start talking. Poor Ooyodo....
    Ah, that's simple.

    ****

    "Wait, what?"

    "...Do you have any formal suits?"

    "...What formal suits?"

    "...Have you ever visiting wedding, formal dance... or something like that? What... your people... wearing for formal occasion?"

    "Well, we usually wear our best cloak and sometimes hat, and... Oh."

    "Yes, Oh. I assume you didn't have something like tuxedo, stripped pants, bowtie, tie, formal shirt?"

    "...I... think not?"

    "...Very well. Ashigara's being busy, but I think I can help you find something simple to wear. Let's go shopping."

    "...Is this fine? I mean, I never goes on muggles shop before-"

    "Ah, relax. What's the worst could happened?"
     
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  10. Threadmarks: Coywolves 2
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Snippet 9: S0ngD0g13

    Aso watched the others get ready and pulled James aside. "Before we go anywhere, James, how did Kaylee even find out about that village?" Her expression was hard.

    James sighed. "The location was an open secret; the only thing that travels faster than light or bad news on a military base is scuttlebutt. Kaylee decided to run some supplies out to them and tell them she was delivering on your behalf."

    Aso scowled but nodded. "Fair enough; I'll take the matter up with Kaylee herself after this is over. I won't lie and say I'm not displeased about her putting her nose into business that's not strictly her own, though..."

    James nodded and fed cartridges into the Spencer he was carrying. "It's between you and her, Aso; it's none of my affair."

    .....................................................

    The group, once they'd rendezvoused with Kaylee, started tracking the pack. The three acromantula took to the trees while the minesweepers trailed from the ground. And hour's run brought them near, and Kaylee looked from the tree-line of one hill across a narrow valley to the opposite slope with a spyglass. "Fuck. A. Duck. Those aren't just feral dogs." She passed the glass to her uncle, who looked and swore before passing the spyglass to Aso.

    Aso looked at the pack. "Some of those are... Some of those are wolves, Honshu wolves... I thought they'd gone extinct in 1905..."

    Kaylee bit her lip. "Same here; see the two in the den entrance? Those aren't wolves; they're coyotes, and some of that pack look like coywolves, coyote-wolf hybrids. If what I'd read about Japanese wolves was true, they're real shy of people, so I'd bet better than even-money the dogs and coyotes are our sheep-thieves. Uncle James, what's the plan? You're the canine expert; I'm just another shooter here."

    James pondered. "Option A: Selective cull here and now, eliminate the obviously non-wolf members of the pack with rifles or arrows. Runs the risk of the pack scattering and us missing some; also risks us missing one or more of the more-lupine coywolves and leaving a breeding population to introduce coyote genes into what's obviously an Endangered Species."

    He lifted a second finger and continued. "Option B: Tranq-Capture-Relocate/Cull, move the wolves away from the village, eliminate the feral dogs, coyotes, and coywolves. Cleaner than Option A, but more time-consuming since none of us has tranqs and we'd have to go back to base, get some, along with crates to transport them all, and come back."

    A third finger lifted. "Option C: Live-traps, then Option B. Even more time-consuming, and riskier of not working; coyotes are smart, and they'll learn to recognize traps all too quickly."

    Aso scowled at the pack. "And leaving them be isn't an option at all."

    Kaylee scowled right alongside her cousin. "I feel like a Pushmipullyu; dunno whether I'm comin' or goin'..."

    Faramir piped up right then. "I wish we had Doctor Doolittle here, to talk to the pack an' fix this; or Inuzuka Kiba from Naruto."

    Everyone looked at the young acromantula, and James chuckled. "From the mouths o' babes..." He dialed a number on his sat-phone. "Miss Nagato? It's James McAmis, over in Kure; is Harry around? We've got a small somethin' going on and I hoped he could maybe lend us a hand finding the right person for the job. You recall that place Aso knows about that no one else officially knows about? They're losing stock and thought it was feral dogs..." He explained the situation and ended with, "We don't have a lot of options and hoped Harry could point us at someone who speaks Wolf. Can you help us?"

    Aso took the phone. "Nagato-san, I..." Whatever her words were to Nagato were too quiet for others to hear. "Thank you."

    ......................................................

    After the group had returned to the McAmis household, Aso gestured to Kaylee, then the backyard. "Kaylee, a word?"

    James barely looked up from his cooking. "Leave your rank in here, you two." Kaylee hung her kepi and coat up on the coat-rack by the door, and Aso gestured toward the rack as if hanging up a hat and coat.

    The pair stepped out behind the house and Aso drew in a deep breath. "You knew I was keeping the village's location secret, Kaylee."

    Kaylee nodded. "I knew you weren't advertising the location, yes, Aso."

    "You knew I'd taken on caring for that village and the people there."

    Kaylee nodded again. "I did. I suspect I know why you took it on, but your reasons are your business, unless you're of a mind to talk about them."

    Aso snarled, infuriated by Kaylee's flat, unemotional tone. "And yet you put your nose into my business, Kaylee. Mind explaining why?"

    "Because it was the right thing to do, bringing supplies to the village, and because it was better than the alternative."

    "The alternative being to stay out of it and not interfere?" snapped the Carrier.

    "The alternative being me drinking myself to death on Spider Island or making a Banzai Charge against a fleet of Abyssals above my weight-class, because I'm too damn cowardly to just eat my own piece."

    Whatever else Kaylee would have said was cut off when Aso's fist crashed into her jaw and spun her to the ground. Aso dragged Kaylee up by her shirt-front and hit her in the belly with a knee. "Why in the world would you, Kaylee Virginia 'Ironclad-Strong' McAmis, feel a need to go out like that? What could have possibly brought you so low?"

    "Iron rusts, Aso. Even the strongest iron rusts and wears away. You think you're the only one with stains on their karma? With scars on their soul? Aso, do you know how much sleep I get? Without liquor to put me under I barely sleep for nightmares; without coffee to get me going I'd be a zombie on duty during the day. Aso, I'm broken in places and ways there just ain't any fix for..." By this point Kaylee had tears in her eyes and a fierce scowl on her face. "I'm not strong; I'm not brave. I try to find things to do, to help folks where I can, and to distract myself so I don't have to think about how my luck's pure shit."

    Aso shook Kaylee by the shirt and slapped her across the face. "What the fuck would you know about shit-luck?! You've survived every battle you went into!"

    "How the fuck's it good luck to survive when I go into battle LOOKING TO DIE?! AT LEAST THEN I'D FEEL LIKE I FINALLY DID SOMETHING WORTHWHILE! SOMETHING HONORABLE! AT LEAST IF I GO DOWN FIGHTING I WON'T BE A FUCKING BURDEN!" At the end of her tirade, Kaylee swung on Aso, but the Carrier caught her arm and stopped the punch.

    "Alright, then," said Aso into the silence, as the others watched in shock from the back porch. "I'll make a deal with you, Kaylee." Her voice was quiet, level. "Not Shipgirl-to-Shipgirl, not Navy-to-Navy; a deal between you and I personally. Are you listening?"

    Kaylee nodded in silence, all the fight gone out of her. "I'm listening..."

    Aso let her go and sank to her knees as Kaylee collapsed. "Kaylee, if you swear, on the family name, that you'll do everything you can to survive this war, then I'll swear on the family name that if you survive the war and still want to end it, I'll be your kaishakunin. Agreed?"

    "Can I sleep on it, Aso?"

    "No, you really can't, Kaylee."

    "Deal... On the McAmis Name, Deal, Damn You... I won't go hunting death, my oath on the McAmis Name..."

    "My oath on the McAmis Name, if you still wish it after the war's end, I'll be your Second. But you have to live until then. Oh, and Kaylee?"

    "Yeah?"

    Aso punched her in the gut one last time. "Next time you want to help, ask first."
     
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  11. Threadmarks: gym visit
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Harry Leferts

    With a sigh, Moriko tossed a sports drink into the duffle bag she was using before looking it over. Said duffle bag was old and well used, but like many of the items they owned, it had memories attached. Her mind went back decades to just after they had escaped from the reserves. They had stayed for a time in Yamainutaira, a few years in fact. They had done their best at the school put aside there that Tsumemaru had started up there for Yokai escaping from the reserves. Mainly to give them something of a presence in official records and also to help them acclimate to the outside of the reserves.

    During those early years, Moriko and Suzume had still needed to support Sachiko. And that meant getting a job for their time there. Both of them had went for one of the only jobs that they could get and that was pulling along Yatai carts. Each morning, they would go and grab several carts before school and pull them to their destinations. Then that evening, they would return them to the places where they would rest until morning. Hard work to be sure, but it brought in the money which they needed with Sachiko.

    One of the first things that Moriko had bought was the duffle bag that she was currently using. Made of tough cloth, it had only gotten tougher when she had used some of the free funds they scrounged up for one of the local magicals to enchant it with anti-tear and wear spells. It had continued to be used by them when they left Hokkaido for Honshu. Long days working hard, physical work followed. Moriko had continued to work such jobs, such as a long stint as a rickshaw driver in the 1980s. Work that she approached as being physical training. Suzume had worked in various other places, all the while the two continued their hobbies.

    Moriko had worked at various gyms to get better at fighting while Suzume had joined archery clubs. It was by the late 1980s that Moriko finally entered the fighting scene two years Oda took over the family business. Looking away from her duffle bag, Moriko's eyes fell on an old photograph. Said picture was of the three sisters after she had won a championship in the late 90s. A grinning Sachiko could be seen with the Championship belt around her middle while a beaten, though also grinning Moriko had one hand in the air while raising Sachiko's. Suzume could be seen on Sachiko's other side also raising her hand. Her words to her younger sister came back at that moment. "This is not just my win, Sachiko-Chan, this is ours, I would have never got here without you backing me up."

    Taking the picture, Moriko looked down at it for several seconds before lightly chuckling. After a few more moments she put it back down and hefted the duffle bag easily over her shoulder and walked out of the room she shared with her sisters. Once inside the sitting room portion of the small quarters, she felt the breeze from the air purifier brush past her skin as she looked at Sachiko. Said Yokai had placed herself in a sunbeam and was looking over some DVDs that were there. "You're going to be okay by yourself, aren't you, Sachiko-Chan? Suzume-Chan is with Akagi-San practicing her Kyudo so you'll be here alone."

    All Sachiko did was give her a small smile before snorting. "I'll be fine, Onee-San. I'm not that helpless after all."

    Eyebrow raising, Moriko hummed for a moment before shaking her head. "Yes, but we just worry so humor your poor Onee-Sans." That got her a small giggle that made her lips curl up some. "Now, the JMSDF gave us all cellphones and yours should be charged already. Suzume-Chan already put in my phone number, hers, and a few others just in case you do need help. Just keep it on you at all times just in case."

    In reply, Sachiko gave a sigh and an exasperated look. "I know, Onee-San. Don't worry and enjoy yourself at the gym, okay? Besides..." She gestured at the DVDs and grinned. "I got plenty to distract me!"

    Somewhat interested as she remembered that Sachiko had gotten said DVDs from the small library in the Heavy Cruiser dormitories from Ashigara, Moriko walked over. "That reminds me, what got you so excited?" Looking them over, she blinked. "Quidditch?"

    Only nodding, Sachiko looked down at them. "Hai, apparently Nagato-San's son, Potter Harry, goes to Hogwarts. They've recorded the various Quidditch games there." Hands in her lap, she smiled brightly. "Sure, they're just school games, but still!"

    Chuckling, Moriko ruffled her hair before bending over. "Sounds good, now give me a hug." When her sister did so, she let out a fake gasp. "Ugh, you always hug so tight." Laughs escaped her as a flustered Sachiko swiped at her. Dodging, she grinned while heading for the door. "I'll see you in a few hours then."

    After the door closed, Sachiko huffed some and crossed her arms with a pout. "Baka Onee-San..." But despite her annoyance, her lips still twitched as she fought from smiling before she turned back to the DVDs. "Now, which ones should I watch first..."

    It did not take Moriko long to reach the local gym and upon entering, her sensitive nose picked up various scents like the metal of the exercise equipment, rubber, plastic, and sweat. All smells that made her grin at the familiarity as she walked to the front desk. Glancing around at what she could see of the gym, she gave a nod. At least to her it seemed well equipped. Upon reaching the front desk, the young man there looked up at her and smiled. "Hello, can I help you?"

    Digging around in her jeans pocket, Moriko pulled out her wallet and showed him the identification card. "I was told that I had access to the gym if needed? And that my first time I should bring this?"

    Just taking the card, the man nodded and rapidly typed in the information before raising an eyebrow. "It says here that you're a Natural Born?" At her nod, he typed a bit more. "Okay, not a issue..." Pulling out a drawer, he placed some papers onto a clipboard and handed it to her. "I just need to have you fill in some paperwork. Most of it is for stuff like your own locker and access at all hours."

    That bit surprised Moriko and she looked up at him while taking the paperwork. "Access at all hours? I would have thought that you only had access at certain times."

    Much to her surprise, he shook his head. "No, the only places that don't have access at all hours are the pool and sauna for obvious reasons. Some of the people on the base sometimes wake up late at night and come here because they can't sleep. You know, work out and such to tire themselves or pass the time. We always have someone at the front desk though."

    Blinking, Moriko thought it over before humming. "Huh, that's interesting. Good to know though I suppose... I am surprised though that you would have someone at the front desk though, it would have to be boring for them."

    Slowly, the man grinned. "Well, yes, but there's always a supply of people who pissed someone off and needs punishment. And as using the gym equipment might well cause more problems for them, they need to sit here all night long. And the MPs check in at random times as well so no sleeping."

    After a few seconds of thinking it over, Moriko snorted and shook her head. "Ah, I can see why they would do that." Jerking her thumb at one of the chairs, she raised an eyebrow. "Mind if I take a seat while filling these out?"

    In reply, the man just gestured at the chair. "Go ahead... Oh! And before I forget, I'll have a card made up for you for access to any gyms at any of the JSDF bases. Just pick it up when you leave."

    Just nodding, Moriko walked over to the chair and sat down while going through and filling in what she needed to for the paperwork. 'Let's see... Height, weight, eye color, hair color... Distinguishing marks? Guess some of my scars might count?' Partway through the first page, she stopped and blinked. 'Uh... Length? Beam? Draft? The fuck? And... displacement?! What in the hell...'

    Eventually she got done filling in what she had to at the moment though some of what was there made her furrow her eyebrows in confusion. Passing it in, she got a locker and key assigned which several minutes later found her closing it. Quickly tying her shoes, Moriko walked out of the changing room though not before glancing at the sauna and the shower which made her shake her head. 'Okay, I got to say that I am impressed. Very nice.' Stopping at one of the mirrors which showed her in her usual exercise combination of gym shorts and a sports bra, she glanced around. Pulling a pose, Moriko grinned. 'And that's not the only thing that's nice around here.'

    Leaving the changing room behind, the Yokai walked out into the gym before walking towards the weight section. Upon reaching the weights though, she stopped as she noticed that there were two different kinds of weights being used. One of the groups of weights had a 'Shipgirls Only' sign on them which made her interested in what was the difference. As Moriko reached for one of the dumbbells, she noted several people watching her with knowing grins. Something that made her narrow her eyes as she grabbed one that looked like a five pound weight and lifted it off the stand.

    Almost immediately, she nearly dropped it as said weight was more akin to twenty pounds instead. But at the last second she managed not to and grinned while beginning to do some curls with it. "Okay, I think that I found some of my new favorite weights."

    Chuckles made her look up to find a teenaged girl with greyish hair and glasses grinning at her. "Huh, now that's impressive. Not many could manage those weights outside of us shipgirls..." Holding out a hand, her grin widened a touch. "Name's Amagiri."

    With her free hand, Moriko grasped said hand and shook it. "Ibuki Moriko, the Natural Born Ibuki Heavy Cruiser." Eyebrows furrowing, she frowned slightly. "You're a Destroyer, right?"

    Hands on her hips, Amagiri proudly smiled. "That's right! I'm one of the Ayanami Class Destroyers, the fifth ship."

    Only nodding, the Yokai blinked as one thought went through her mind. 'The hell? When I was that age I did not have abs like that. Are all shipgirls like that?' Shaking it off, she shrugged some as she continued to lift the weight she had. "What's the big deal about these anyways? They're a lot heavier then what I expected."

    Sitting down across from her and pulling off a heavier dumbbell, Amagiri shrugged. "Us shipgirls are a lot stronger then normal humans, even when we're trying to be as... girl, as possible. So we needed something to challenge us, so they made these out of tungsten."

    Moriko paused at that and looked at the weight she was using. "... Tungsten."

    Barely paying much attention, the Destroyer continued. "Yeah, tungsten because it's so heavy. It actually gives us a workout after all when we use it..."

    For the next half hour, Moriko and Amagiri talked about various topics, though the wolf was a bit weirded out by how she liked talking about some US President. Especially how she somehow made him a great man, though how was beyond Moriko. However, Moriko eventually put the weights away and wandered off towards where training mats and such were. Going through the motions she had been taught during her MMA career though, she realized that there was a group gathered around one of the mats and walked over. "What the heck is going on here?"

    One of the crowd looked at her and shook his head. "Matsuda-San and Tatsuta-San are at it again." A shout made them both look to find that a young man had thrown the purple haired Crusier which made him wince. "Ouch..."

    Eyebrows raising at what she was seeing, Moriko watched as someone tossed bo staffs in with the two grabbing them out of the air. "Uh... isn't she a shipgirl? How the heck...?"

    All the guy in front of her did as the two clashed was shrug. "Not a clue, maybe she's making herself as little ship or whatever as possible? Or maybe Matsuda-San's like Yonehara-San and just that good. Dude does spar with his girlfriend Ashigara-San all the time after all. Or... he could be just nuts, but I heard he doesn't know that she's a shipgirl yet even though they keep ending up sparing."

    Stunned, Moriko stared at him before shaking her head. 'Not going to ask.'

    Now focused back on the fight though, she became thoughtful as she watched. Both the shipgirl and the JMSDF Officer went back and forth, neither giving an inch as they sparred with each other. Unlike her usual haircut, Tatsuta had her hair tied back and her halo was missing. After a few minutes though, Matsuda managed to knock Tatsuta's staff to the side while at the same time tripping her. Before she could do anything else though, the Light Cruiser found herself pinned with Matsuda's bo staff across her throat while he straddled her. "I..."

    There was a camera flash and everyone noticed a grinning Tenryuu lower her phone and duck back into the crowd which made Matsuda blink. "Huh... wonder what that was all about?" Turning back to Tatsuta, part of him noted the embarrassment on her face though he just assumed that it was due to losing. "Hey, no need to be like that. Maybe next time you'll beat me, Tatsu-Chan?"

    Still blushing as he got off her before helping her to stand up, Tatsuta flushed deeply. "I-it's not Tatsu, my name is-"

    Breathless, a JMSDF Sailor appeared and waved at them. "Oy! Matsuda-San! Yonehara-San has been looking for you! He needs you, ASAP!"

    Only waving at him, Matsuda sighed. "Well, duty calls I guess... I'll see you around, Tatsu-Chan."

    And then he was gone with Tatsuta internally groaning at yet another interruption. Instead, she decided to go and hunt down her "Big Sister". And maybe get rid of the camera before she uploaded the picture she took. Hopefully.
     
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  12. Threadmarks: ghostly polly
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Snippet 10: S0ngD0g13

    "So, those dogs ever get dealt with?" asked Polly the day after Kaylee's trip to the village.

    "Yeah," said Kaylee, sitting with her back to the pilothouse bulkhead. "Harry called Haru, and Haru called somebody, and the pack was thinned out and relocated. Situation Resolved."

    "I heard about the argument with Aso afterward."

    "Wasn't really an argument. I fucked up; I let her get her licks in without fighting. I'm still here."

    "You're a damned fool, is what you are, Kaylee McAmis, and both of us know it. You're back in that bad head-space like when we met, except instead of destroying others you're looking to destroy yourself. Talk to me, Kaylee; what's got your demons out and biting?"

    Kaylee snorted. "I'm hurtin', Polly, and well..." She whistled a short piece of music, a few bars from the opening-theme of M*A*S*H, with a wry, sardonic smirk.

    Polly lunged and spun Kaylee's head with an open-handed slap. "That's one damned thing that's never painless, Kaylee! Maybe for you but not for the folks that love you! Not for me!"

    Kaylee lowered her head. "I'm sorry, Polly... It's just... I'm so fuckin' tired... Tired o' fightin', tired o' killin', tired o' wrestlin' with my demons. I... Polly I just ain't got any fight left in me. I talk to the shrink here on base but it don't help any; I'm still just as broken inside as I always was. There ain't drugs they can give me to smooth me out, and even if there were I wouldn't be fit for any kinda duty. What else do I have, then?"

    "You could finish school, become a Veterinarian like you talked about. You've got options, Kaylee."

    "Some options...
    I'm a Shipgirl and a commissioned officer, Polly, and there's a Godsdamned war on; no matter what I do, there ain't any chance o' hangin' my guns up, not while I'm still in the Navy, and my commission's for the duration."

    "Wars end, Kaylee. This war will end, in time. Then you'll be a Vet and a Veteran, and I'll figure out how to manifest as more than a Shade-on-a-Ship, and I'll run your books for you; we'll open a practice, work nine-to-five through the week and half-days on Sunday, and I can pester the crotchety old farts at the VFW on Bingo Night and you can clean'em out on Poker Night."

    "You know, I almost believe you, Polly," said Kaylee looking up. "Lord knows you've been better'n a broken fool like me deserves."

    "We're both just a pair o' broken-souled bitches tryin' to patch each other up. You recall that one night out by Horse Creek, when we saw that falling star?"

    Kaylee chuckled. "You quoted Sir Duncan the Tall at me; 'A falling star brings luck to them that see it'. You called me your Queensguard Knight, an' I said I wasn't but a Hedge-Knight in rusty maille."

    "I said it then and I'll say it now, I couldn't find a truer, more-loving heart in all the world than yours. I love you, flaws and all."

    "You're an Angel, Polly, an Angel I count myself blessed to know."

    Polly smiled a bit. "Of course, just because I love you flaws and all doesn't mean I won't try to correct the flaws I can; it's why I asked Houshou and Zuikaku to go to Spider Island and scuttle your still. They should be on their way back by now."

    Kaylee's eyes widened in mock shock. "I stand corrected; you're an evil, evil woman, Polly O'Toole. You had Aunt Houshou bust up my still..."

    Polly just laughed and hugged Kaylee close...
     
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  13. Threadmarks: JNHRO radio show
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Lord K


    Suki: Annnnd welcome back to Squawkbox, your late night Wizarding Wireless talk show on Mahou Kanto Radio, 713 WM! I'm your host, the daitengu with the most, Hanataka Suki! It's a bit early for the worm, so here's the line up instead.

    We've got a whole host of goodies on the show for you tonight; The rising price of Dittany after mass orders placed in the US, and what that means for us here. Questioning the education of the modern youth, with nearly eight years passed since the loss of Mahoutokoro. And then later, our weekly recap of the political scene, one still reeling from the fallout of the Ryuusei Family scandal. But up next on the block, we have our special guest panel for tonight's talk back topic; "One Yen in Either World", a unique discussion regarding inter muggle-magical economics and business, and a less considered perspective on the issues behind a spate of business and entrepreneurial failures over the last few years.

    For those of you who are only just tuning in now, don't worry, you're not too late to owl in or email any questions you might want me to pose to the panel. Also don't forget that for those of you not able to sit down right now, you can always catch up with the podcast on our website.

    But for now, let me introduce you all to the panel. First up is a philanthropist and returning guest, he's well known for his work with the Japanese Non-Human Rights Organisation, but more importantly, he's a self-made dog who's made a fortune off of investment ventures and keeping tabs on the markets on both sides of the divide. Sitting in the studio with me this evening is Nakano Kiba. And in the second hotseat beside him, is also a fellow co-founding member of the Japanese Non-Human Rights Organisation, a political activist and recently voted one of the most eligible yokai bachelors in Japan-

    Kogamaru: Oh boy....

    Kiba: *Laughs*

    Suki: -as well as practically being our "irregular regular" on the show, please welcome back to the panel Koshaku of the Hokubu Okami, Kogamaru.

    Kiba: Thanks Suki, it's good to be back.

    Kogamaru: Indeed, I just want to say thanks, and what an honor it is inviting us on again.

    Kiba: If you have this guy on anymore, you might have to start paying him.

    Kogamaru: Hah! Really though, it's great to be on the panel again.

    Suki: If anything, it's me who should be thankful for you two agreeing to come on the show at such short notice. It's been a while since either of you were last on the show.

    Kiba: 2011, for the stocks dip right? But then, I don't even know where to begin for this guy.

    Kogamaru: Oh, I think you had me on just back before Valentines, correct?

    Suki: That's right, the panel on the place of arranged marriages in the modern world.

    Kiba: *Laughs*

    Kogamaru: Oh be quiet you.

    Suki: It's funny seeing you again so soon. I remember back when I used to see your father, and then maybe you once a year. But you were on the panel something like four times last year.

    Kogamaru: And now this is already the third for this year.

    Suki: How the times change. And speaking of the changing times, that brings us to tonight's's topic. One both of you are uniquely suited to give a multitude of differing perspectives on.

    Business in the muggle world. Or more specifically, business with predominately muggle clienteles or interactions, while still managing a largely magical workforce. With so many traditional magical communities across Japan displaced or damaged in the wake of events over the last few years, a small but growing fraction of the wizarding and onmyouji community is increasingly resorting to what has already been the unofficial standard, among a sizable portion of the youkai community for decades at this point. The settlement of not just homes and families in mostly muggle neighborhoods, but also the establishment of new livelihoods and businesses in those same areas. A response that is increasingly common, as many conventional wizarding communities struggle to deal with supply and demand bottle necks thanks to mismanaged economic incentives and population influxes in many areas, and service over-saturation issues in numerous others.

    In a recent poll it was noted that among many of the more adventurous war migrants and displaced, and especially in the younger generations, there was a marked growth in the number of those who considered themselves as working in jobs that required a large amount of both incidental, and business interaction with muggles. And while this number is still comparatively small, when measured as a percentage against that same poll only five years ago, it is a massive increase and a worrying sign of things to come. There has been a lot of uncertain feeling out of things out as they go, and while some people have met with success, there have also been more than a few failures, and even some obliviation worthy mistakes. All of this however, is something the two of you have both seen before, in the yokai community's own previously little-noted attempts at such endeavors.

    For those of you listeners out there who are unaware of these two's credentials, Mr Nakano of course co-established Nakano, Seed, Venture and Hedge Investments Incorporated back in the 70s. And more recently over the last decade, the Hokubu Okami have been a surprising shadow force behind the predominately muggle-economy based revitalization of of their historical home district of Yamainutaira. As two of the foremost yokai faces in endeavors involving magical-to-muggle business and economic turn around, what are your opinions on some of the things you've seen and heard regarding the wizarding community's own efforts?

    Kogamaru: Well, firstly I just want to point out how much the success at Yamainutaira really is a community effort. Our work is not just thanks to amazing members of the clan like Ryougamaru, who works as a part of the muggle district administration, or Kariudoko, with her dedication to the refugees we take in, but so many great people who have joined us in the last few years. People like Daishi Mori, Ieyasu Go, and innumerable others I could spend all night listing. Secondly, I believe I should probably pass the potato to Kiba, since I think he can more accurately elaborate on what lessons our work at Yamainutaira spring boarded off, and thus what anybody today stands to learn the most from first.

    Suki: That's a good point. But I can tell by that expression that you have something else you want to bring up first don't you?

    Kiba: I do actually. It's just something I want to make light of, considering I've seen and heard it stereotyped in a few new articles so far, but it's mildly hypocritical considering the kinds of people in question, putting forward this idea that so many of these business ventures are failing because of an utter lack of understanding of muggles.

    Yes there have been a few mistakes. But most such as the thing with the giant catfish, have more been innocent misunderstandings of facts, as well as a disconnect between what buyers expect vs what they want, and what we as magicals, are used to procuring to match the request. At least eighty-five to ninety percent of the failings I've seen, can instead be laid at the feet to two factors. Businesses going under for actually typical reasons is the main one, but a worryingly large amount who do so, are also a result of a lack of understanding of muggle taxation systems and workplace legal norms.

    People such as our illustrious ex-Financial Minister Omanai ought to remember that when making off-hand comments to the press, considering the vast majority of those who are failing and going under for these reasons, are in these positions because they are under-prepared and let down by government decisions the Fujiwara administration made in the first place.

    Suki: Really?

    Kiba: That's right. A lot of these people were initially part of the 2006 Emergency Business Resettlement Grant Program, pushed through by the Emergency War Cabinet. One of the stipulations of this Grant however, was that after four years, everyone on it would come up for review. However, the attitude of the Fujiwara Government for most of this period, was that the war would be something akin to the last two global conflicts, and so eventually many of those on the Grant would be allowed to return home. Their opinion was that service oversaturation and supply bottle-necking in many communities would either solve itself, or be manageable until the war was shortly over after a wholly dangerous and optimistic forecast that the war would be over in five to six years.

    Suki: But then the war obviously wasn't going to end anytime soon, when the Grant finally came up for review.

    Kiba: And that was a whole kettle of fish in itself. The original review was supposed to be two fold. A assessment of whether or not the grant was still needed for some people, and thus an extension for those who needed it. But because the Fujiwara Government only lasted for half it's term, the grant review was undertaken by the Kawazaki Government, who were themselves struggling to cut back on growing amounts of war debt as everyone finally realized this war would be a long haul. And so they fumbled the review, and completely dropped the ball on the extension. Because they were only looking at how many people were still trying to re-establish businesses, and not how many ventures were actually dangerously dependent on the Grant for solvency, where there should have been a slow roll back of the Grant, accompanied by a change in economic advise and support to these people, the Kawazaki Government just killed the Grant entirely, with a proposition that those still needing financial aid would see a different and more suitable, long-term sustainable bill pushed through the Diet.

    Suki: Which of course, never happened. The bill technically never made it to the House of Representatives floor, thanks to the 2009 Magical Diet shut down.

    Kiba: And then there was the ousting of Kawazaki as Minister, and the cabinet reshuffle by Muro. And in the middle of all that, the idea of a replacement was forgotten entirely, because nobody realized the sense of economic recovery and stability that the Emergency Business Resettlement Grant gave was false. What the advise and money the Fujiwara administration instead created, was a very dangerous, glorified dole for small businesses, that the Muro government without realizing it, pulled out from everyone's feet.

    The effect wasn't immediate because most of these people weren't loosing money hand over fist, but it was inevitable. Small businesses were predominantly the ones who suffered for the loss of this false security blanket, as they were the ones least able to up roots for a second time, and reestablish themselves once they realized the Fujiwara Administration's promises of being able to move back home weren't going to materialize anytime soon, even as far back as 2008.

    It's the people who had no choice but to hold out and wait longer in hope, who often lost homes along with their businesses for a second time. Thus, they're the ones that are predominantly among those who enter the muggle business world, and then become a part of the common muggle statistic that twenty-to-thirty percent of entrepreneurial business ventures fail within the standard nine-to-eighteen months.

    Many other magicals who do so, are actually surprisingly successful, and I have even seen the numbers to back that statement up. But for the vast majority of those that fail, the primary cause is a lack of preparedness and technical knowledge. Not culture-clash or technical ignorance, as put forward by people who probably don't even know how to use a computer themselves.

    You don't have to be an outlier, or have some sort of crazy angle, or magic based gig to capitalize on, to be successful in the muggle world. But just like you wouldn't want somebody who isn't a qualified potions master brewing for consumer consumption, or running a business for medical care when their qualifications are in banking, the muggle world has it's own maze of qualifications, legal requirements, workplace requirements, worker rights, by-laws and systems of taxation.

    Suki: So you lay the blame for these business failures on a lack of preparedness on the part of the owners, but with the note that this is largely due these people being the innocent party, at the end of a large chain of bad advise and economic mishandling over the course of two administrations. One that gave bad advise, if not willful ignorance to not just to the citizenry, but also to their successor administrations in turn?

    Kiba: ....That is correct, I'll stand by that.

    This is a situation where there have been many points of failure that have let down those involved, thanks to heads being in the sand far longer than they should have. And even when people did begin to sit up and take notice that the system was broken, most of the support for those who still needed the Grant, has been for getting them back on their feet and economically involved in pre-existing magical communities. Which is actually not the most efficient way to resolve things, and even potentially capable of backfiring, since it largely doesn't address the original issues of service oversaturation and resource-bottlenecks that caused this situation in many places in the first place. Meanwhile, efforts to establish new magical communities or build up the more rural magical centers, have largely either been ignored or fallen flat, and advise or aid for those desperate enough to try making ends meet via non-magical ventures, is almost entirely non-existent in an official capacity.

    Suki: And yet in an unofficial capacity, this sort of advise and aid is actually something that has existed and been on offer in the yokai community for decades now. Helping magical small businesses succeed is actually a part of Nakano Seed, Hedge and Venture Investment Inc's portfolio. Omoi Gosetsu is well known for training and up-skilling those involved in the property management, construction and architectural branches of Omoi Property Developers Ltd. And now more recently, the Hokubu Clan have garnered a somewhat similar repute for helping those who come to them, pick up the necessary training and credentials that are required to succeed. Tell me Kogamaru, how much of what Kiba's top-down perspective rings true, for someone very much involved with the small scale end of dealing with new magical-to-muggle business, especially in a town as small as Yamainutaira. A mixed magical-muggle community that was previously deep in the throes of an economic downturn for much of the late 20th century, and yet even before the war, was already showing signs of beginning to turn around in the early 2000s.

    Kogamaru: Oh, it's true. It's very true, and that's something that trips up a lot of people because of how daunting it starts to seem. Not so much because it's more complicated, but because it's so different, and there's so much more culpability and scrutiny than what they might be used to in the magical world, on top of the added pressure of the Statute of Secrecy. Knowing that they are magical, their workers are likely magical, and that if they slip up in front of a muggle customer or employee, the penalties are severe and hefty, can really weigh on people. Also I do have to point out just how much of Yamainutaira's success is due to solid groundwork and long term planning. You mentioned how the turn around started in the early 2000s, and I remember being on the show, with my father to talk about it back in.... I want to say 2003? 2004?

    Suki: I believe that would have been 2003? I'm pretty sure that's when we did that panel with you and your father on yokai taking the initiative in local business investments in Yamainutaira.

    Kogamaru: Which somewhat puts into perspective that this isn't something that we simply decided to do one day. In our original plan, where we are now was envisioned to be a fifteen year effort, though the influx of people from the war did speed things up. Despite being right outside Daisetsuzan, which of course the muggles only know of as a National Park and a great area for hiking and camping in the summer, and onsen and skiing in the winter, Yamainutaira is not a tourist town. Before the war, the economy was predominately centered on the lumber mill, the copper mine, fruit and vegetable cash crops in spring, summer and autumn, some artisanal juice and alcohol production, and a small amount of dairy exports. Since the war began, we've managed to establish a juice bottling plant and then a metal works to support the war effort by better exploiting the mine, but the only other really big earners are the solar park and the wind farm we stuck up on the plateau to off set the metal work's grid consumption, which also lets us sell excess power to the rest of Hokkaido in the spring and summer.

    Predominately though, the majority of yokai and magicals living in Yamaintaira still work in mostly small or family owned businesses. Roles like farmers who sell produce to muggle wholesalers. Restaurant or fast food operators who serve muggle workers from the factories during the lunch breaks. Or loggers who might be felling via magical means on their own lands, but transport and sell to the partly muggle operated mill in town.

    Each of these professions come with a surprising amount of hoops and hurdles that in most cases do exist in magical bureaucracy, but there are also some that don't. It's something that our War Migrant Support Program has found is always going to be there. You can have a doctorate in Muggle Studies, and there's still always going to be that one thing, because as Kiba said, this isn't an issue of culture or ignorance on the parts of the people we take in. This is an issue, where it's legislation and bureaucracy that often catches people out. Thanks to people like Hokubu Kariudoko and Daishi Mori though, we've generally been able to cricumvent of the issues that trip people up before they appear.

    We get people certified with their equivalent muggle credentials, tell them what else they might need, and offer advise and forewarning on anything they might not understanding of have any similar reference to in magical business. And then beyond us getting them started, we also point them in the right direction for anything else they might need. NSHVI is our go to for investment advise or financial securities guidance. While they primarily specialize in property development and construction, Omoi Property Developers can also offer advise and options regarding business locations or personal housing to purchase or rent in most prefecture capitals around Honshu. And then there are Okami, Ramuu & Oshika Law, who are great for legal advise, and actually have an office specialized in muggle-magical work, although I may be a bit biased since a good friend of mine works there.

    But that's just the options here in northern Honshu and Hokkaido. Kyoto is the yokai economic capital of southern Honshu and Central Japan, and has it's own variety of experts and advisers in various fields if you know were to find them, with Fukuoka serving the same role for Kyushu as well.

    Suki: A truly wide range of options. Which I suppose makes it all the more tragic that few people outside the yokai or muggle-born communities, or with connections to them, know to make use of these alternatives to the ones provided by the government when they run short. Yamainutaira speaks for itself. While admittedly there was two years to lay some of the groundwork, in the eight more since, there has been not a single breach of the Statute of Secrecy, and the community has still managed to do decently well for itself and experience a surprising economic and demographic turn around. All while the government's official responses and efforts have been... luckluster to say the least.

    Kiba: To be fair to the Diet, there have been a fair few number of legislation proposals and bills I've seen that aren't actually half bad. Unfortunately, well....

    Suki: They keep getting filibustered?

    Kogamaru: That or they keep getting bargained away or compromised in various political dealings, just to keep other necessities turning.

    Kiba: *sarcastically* Because apparently the economy being broken isn't the most pressing thing for certain factions to find themselves all in agreement upon right now.

    Suki: Yes, well, we'll be going into that can of worms for the Political Recap segment of the show later.

    For now though, I belive it's time for a commercial break


    Suki: Annnnd we're back with Squawkbox, on Mahou Kanto Radio, 713 WM! Your late night talk show with the daitengu who knows all the little birds, and even has two in hand! For those of you just tuning in right now I'm Hanataka Suki, and tonight on the panel with me, I have Financial Investment Manager, Nakano Kiba and Koshaku of the Hokubu Okami, Kogamaru, with tonight's topic being the trails and tribulations of muggle business interactions faced by a growing number of magicals seeking less considered realms of employment and oppotunities today. Now it's that part of the show where I hit our panelists with a random selection your questions.

    Remember, that it's still not too late owl or email in those burning queries, uncertain doubts, or curious conundrums while pondering tonight's subject. And for those of you wanting to catch up, you can always get up to speed with the podcast on our website.

    So, while we load up the list and start the randomizer, let's start the round off with one of my own to you Kiba. One that I'm sure might be of interest, and an assurance for many, that you're not just some big dog with a load of money talking down to everyone else. You actually had a number of different jobs, before founding Nakano Seed, Venture and Hedge Investments Inc, didn't you?

    Kiba: Ah, I did a whole bunch of things.

    Kogamaru: Haha, I think it's would be easier to list what you didn't do.

    Suki: What was your first job?

    Kiba: Oh boy, I suppose that depends on your definition of job really. Chopping firewood and helping sell it with my parents in the '30s? I did a small stint in a factory during the war, but that was more child labor, so I don't know if that would really count.

    Suki: Not exactly the kind of work one expects when looking at the financial tycoon they see today, huh?

    Kiba: Yeah, I didn't exactly come from money. A lot of people know that I helped start NSVHI off of money I made playing investment stocks and the markets in the '60s, and while I have a bunch of amazing people to thank for holding my hand through the '50s and teaching me the ins and outs of things, most of the money I used to buy into those first investments and shares, was saved up off of all sorts of other things I used to do on the side. Admittedly, usually because I was too used to working two jobs in tandem back home to help support everyone while my father was overseas, and I would have gone nuts otherwise. I earned a living unloading crates down in Yokohama for a bit. Had a short stint as a shelf-stacker at a grocery store until the guy went under. Part-timed at a muggle bike repairer's for a bit. For a while I had a pretty good barista gig going at a magical cafe, until the boss had to let me go because the British and American Occupation Aurors who kept turning up, were causing problems if they saw yokai servers about. Actually, I think my most successful job, and the one I'm still very fond of when looking back, was working at an automotive garage that catered to muggle clients. Funnily enough, a few years after I started earning money on the markets, I helped my old boss out with getting a new place, and that's part of what inspired one of the forerunner ideas behind what would eventually become NSVHI a few years later.

    Suki: Really? Also, that's a really dissonant mental image. You in your business suit, sleeves rolled up and covered in grease.

    Kogamaru: What's actually hilarious, is that I've actually seen him looking like that before.

    Suki: What?

    Kiba: My Mazda's engine seized, leaving me on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. It was better than standing around for four hours waiting for a pick up twiddling my thumbs, and I figured if I fixed the problem before they got there, all I'd have to pay for was the call out, rather than a tow as well.

    Suki: *Laughs* Well, that's certainly proof to never judge a book by it's cover. Anyway, seeing as that was my question to you Kiba, I believe our next one should be from a viewer to Kogamaru.

    Kogamaru: Ask away.

    Suki: Let's see.... First up, we have an owl from Akayama Amiko in Ibaraki. "What kind of sustainability is your local lumber industry aiming for in Yamainutaira? Are logging and milling primary exports for the town, and if so, do you plan to maintain the industry in it's current capacity? Just curious, as my father was a logger, and I've been considering it as a profession, but I also know that some yokai clans have issues with industries that have high environmental impacts on their traditional territory or lands, in particular ones such as forestry and mining". So Kogamaru, a bit of a wordy one, but one that should be easy to answer I think?

    Kogamaru: That's right. To answer the first of Miss Akayama's questions, logging in Yamainutaira is a bit all over the place, but the general gentlemen's agreement and understanding for some years now, has been that regardless of if you are a commercial venture or an evolution of a family business in wood cutting, everyone practices some form of Silviculture. Although granted, this unofficial self-enforcement has ironically been partly enabled by how few people were still in the business when it reached the low point in the 70s. Over the last few years though, and especially since the advent of the war, the logging industry in the area has greatly grown thanks to the presence of the lumber mill, which itself now sees high demand for wood to be used in furniture and construction, now that plastics are so much harder to import or acquire the raw materials for.

    Also, if you want to see about finding a job, you're more than welcome to inquire. Wood-cutting within reason has always been a necessity for the Hokubu to survive the winters and build homes of those who historically came to our lands in exile or for aid, so I suppose we are a bit unfazed by it, as long as it is responsible and in the name of a good cause. The mines are a bit of the same deal. There are a few holes in the ground we rather prefer were not there, but we are not so overzealous as to deny the importance that the mine, and now the metal works, have had for the town, and later the war effort. And at least now, modern muggle technology is at a point where many of the more damaging substances can be captured, reclaimed and reused, rather than being pumped out into the surrounding environment. I would definitely say that forestry and mining are among the big earners for the town, but they are carefully managed and kept sustainable, so the former more than the latter is more likely to see any further growth or expansion any time soon.

    Suki: An in depth answer to an in depth question. Speaking of which, that brings us to our next one. An email from Kekkaishi Kimiko of Hakodate to one Mr Nakano Kiba

    Kiba: Hit me.

    Suki: Kimiko writes "What exactly do muggles consider as qualifications for credit? In particular when applying for things like loans and credit cards? Previously I tried to apply for a card as somebody told me I need to build up a credit history before they will let me take out a loan, but of the last three banks I applied to, all rejected my application; the first because I had apparently had no credit history, while the second and third didn't even say why. Is this some sort of crazy closed system? Could I have missed something when acquiring my muggle credentials? Please help me?"

    Kiba: Oh boy, this is a fun dozy of a problem, that's unfortunately rather common.

    Kogamaru: Through years of similar heated discussions among the Hokubu about this exact issue, it has been determined that the credit card companies roll a d100, and you receive a credit card if it lands on an even number on Monday, an odd number on Tuesday, between 0 and 49 on Wednesday, between 50 and 99 on Thursday, and Friday is an automatic rejection regardless of what you land. On the weekend, they change tactics and flip a coin, heads on Saturday, tails on Sunday.

    Kiba: Seriously man?

    Suki: *Laughs* I'm sorry, but that just sounds painfully true.

    Kiba: Anyway, here's the meat of the issue, which is that basically our magical banking system is heavily synergized with, and mirrors the models used by many western nations due to the lingering influence of the ICW, particularly those of Britain and the US.

    So unfortunately, what that's meant is that in the sixty years since the muggle occupation ended, their banking system has diverged down a somewhat different track and culture.

    Credit "scoring" in Muggle Japan is pretty basic stuff. The only thing that gets reported back when a company checks on you with CIC or one of the other agencies, though it's usually CIC, is a; whether you have a history of not paying bills for previous credit arrangements such as loans, cards, or mobile contracts where you got a phone on credit, etcetera, and b; your history of applications and rejections or acceptances for credit. It's a pretty limited data set compared to what a credit scoring company in the US or Europe would provide for a bank such as say, Gringotts.

    Because of this, muggle loan agencies actually don't really care if you've had a card or loan before or not. The idea of "building up a credit history" doesn't work the same way.

    In muggle Japan "negative scores" are the factor if you will; you start from zero, i.e. you've never had a problem, and go downwards as you run into issues. Non-payment, rejections for card applications, etc. The companies themselves decide how much they'll lend you or whether to lend at all, based on your salary, how long you've been with your employer, whether you have a guarantor, and an assortment of other factors in a similar vein to give the lender an idea of your financial security, rather than your ability to payback; Credit scoring for muggle Japan is just checking that you're not someone who keeps failing to pay, and doesn't get higher or better, nor does it get you access to more credit, just because you've had loans and paid them off on time like it would with our more internationally aligned magical banking.

    The bright spot to all this at least, is that you don't need to "build up" any kind of credit history. You just need to not fail at paying off things you owe, have a solid job you've been in for a while, earn a decent salary, and generally not look like a credit risk.

    Unfortunately, applying for and being rejected by multiple cards or loans is probably actually "hurting" your "score". A couple of rejections isn't disastrous or actually anything to worry about though. It only starts being an issue if you're serially applying for tons of cards or loans at once, and getting turned down by them in rapid succession.

    Meanwhile, things like staying in even a small paying job for an increasing amount of time, working toward getting pay rises, and completing industry related qualifications or training, all balances out a handful of rejections. It's still not guaranteed because there IS a coin-toss element. Some companies are more relaxed on giving credit to people with backgrounds as sparse as the average magical's will be compared to others, and even within individual companies, it can be up to whichever staff member you end up dealing with. Over time though, your likelihood of being approved will rise, just through being out there and and maintaining an everyday presence, working, earning, advancing your career.

    So in summary, you don't really need just to build a credit history, as that's a primarily US concept that isn't applicable here in our muggle markets.

    Suki: And looking through this list, it looks like you've also summarized quite a few other people's questions as well.

    Kiba: Money is a scary thing sometimes. But that's why I do what I do, and why NSVHI exists. To help out people with situations like this. We're not the only ones either, just ask up and I bet you there is somebody out there who can help.

    Suki: People like Kogamaru, who's turn it is for our next letter.

    Kogamaru: Okay, who's up next?

    Suki: Well, I'll just fish around in the mail bag for a moment and OH JEEZ THAT'S A HOWLER!!!

    Kiba: Oh boy-

    Unknown: HOW DARE YOU LET THAT GRANDSPAWN OF A MURDER-

    Kogamaru: Huh, that hasn't happened in a while

    Suki: -okay, who didn't check the sack before bringing them-

    Unknown: -LINE OF TRAITORS SHOULD HAVE BEEN-

    Suki: I am soooo sorry about this everyone-

    Unknown: -IN A SACK AND DROWNED-

    Suki: -But it appears we may need to take an intermission-

    Unknown: -A POX UPON THIS EARTH IS YOUR LINE!-

    Kiba: It's too bad public howlers don't count as slander

    Unknown: -FILTHY, MANGEY CURS! LIARS, THIEVES, AND VILLAINS-

    Kogamaru: Strictly speaking, you write into a howler, so wouldn't it technically be libel?

    Unknown: -HONORLESS DISGRACED DOGS, NOT FIT TO BE CALLED OKA-

    Suki: We'll be right back after these messages


    Suki: Annnnd we're back with Squawkbox, on Mahou Kanto Radio, 713 WM! I'm Hanataka Suki, your midnight daitengu host of the Kanto coast, and with me on the panel tonight is Financial Investment Manager, Nakano Kiba and Koshaku of the Hokubu Okami, Kogamaru, picking up where we left off with listener Q and A just before we were interrupted. As always, it's never too late to owl in or email your questions, and the podcast is available for those who wish to catch up later.

    Before we restart though, I do dearly wish to apologize for that howler. To all you listeners out there, and my guests here in the studio with me.

    Kogamaru: It's fine Suki, it's not like this is the first time its happened.

    Suki: Well, at least there's some solace in that it has been a while.

    Kiba: It makes you wonder about people who go to that much effort. Putting it inside another letter and envelope to disguise it, and then charming the whole package so it wont get caught by the mail checkers.

    Kogamaru: Hah! If you think that was something, I remember the first time father came on the show, back when this was Fujimoto Hideki's time slot in '61

    Suki: Oh, I remember that! I was just an intern then, but I remember he brought you along! Oh you were so small!"

    Kiba: *Snickers* Wait, I think I remember Tsumemaru telling me this story. Didn't you cry when all the howlers started appearing because he was on the air?

    Kogamaru: I was a little kid, sue me.

    Suki: How time flies though, doesn't it. It was Gunbei's time slot when you were first actually on the show with your father, right?

    Kogamaru: How it does indeed. March, 1985 if I my memory serves me correctly. You were working the control board by then weren't you?

    Suki: I was, I can't believe you remember that.

    Kogamaru: I remember father pointing it out to me. "25 years ago that girl was an intern," he told me. "In another 25, she's going to have her own show". And would you look at that, he was right.

    Suki: He was off by a few years. I did it in 21.

    Kogamaru: *Laughs*

    Suki: Anyway, that's enough with the reminiscing. We've got a mound of letters burning a hole in this mail bag, and a slowly filling email inbox. Who wants to start us back off from where we left off.

    Kiba: You want to go, since you got interrupted?

    Kogamaru: Sure.

    Suki: Okay then, lets see. Sayado Sayako from Niigata asks "As someone who grew up with mostly urbanized yokai parents (thankfully registered), I've rarely heard of places with such large numbers of youkai forming sizable percentages of the of the local population, yet still existing side by side with muggles rather than in hidden neighborhoods or districts. On top of that, it sounds like your clan has a surprising presence in muggle spheres of influence, all without being considered potential risks to the breaking of the Statute of Secrecy. Is your hometown unique, or are there other such places across Japan". So Kogamaru, how truly unique is Yamainutaira?

    Kogamaru: I think it's.... not unique in the way Miss Sayado is asking, but at the same time, Yamainutaira is somewhat unique in ways that make Yamainutaira work the way it does, compared to elsewhere. These days really, most places outside of Kyoto are going to be rather different to each other.

    Part of our success with our level of involvement in muggle district policy and business, is actually related to the decline of the town on both sides of the magical-muggle divide. For most of the mid to late 20th century, we were hemorrhaging residents. Yokai didn't want to live under or be associated with the people and place that produced Royomaru the Maou, or Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves. Meanwhile on the muggle side of the equation, urban drift and a lack of education opportunities or higher paying prospects, resulted in an arguably even greater drain on the non-magical populace too. Thus why when many of us younger generation Hokubu decided to try our hands at stabilizing and saving the community ourselves, it was relatively easy find positions to place ourselves in, as the township yawed towards a predominately aging population and most of the youth kept on leaving for a few years yet. As Okami, most of us are barely adults, but a bunch of us are known with in the muggle community as civil servants in their thirties and forties, who have been slowly making their way up the chain for the last twenty odd years.

    So, that's what makes us unique. Population demographics and how we have a lot of hard influence over things.

    That's not to say heavily yokai communities are rare however. They just tend to have a much greater human to yokai ratio, so the majority of them are simultaneously slightly more and slightly less in plain sight than us in Yamainutaira, and thus have to take a more "soft power" to things. Most can usually be found in the vicinity of areas known to be associated with particular clans or non-magical animals they can blend in with or be passed off as. Those with more traditional links are usually better off, like a couple of different towns around Nara where the oshika aren't too bad off, and then there's the kitsune who generally have a pretty good run of certain neighborhoods in Fushimi-ku and Iwanuma.

    For less "traditional" places though, there's there's a couple random smatterings of monkey clans still toughing it out in the vicinity of Arashiyama in Kyoto, although at this point, most of them would be in Kitsune neighborhoods under the messengers' protection. There's a variety of cat yokai living among the human townships in Tashirojima. Aoshima also used to be a sizable nekomata community, but unfortunately that one has so greatly declined due to a loss of the human population over the last few decades, that at this point I'm pretty certain the only cats there these days are the non-magical ones.

    Suki: There's also Kuramahonmachi, just at the base of Mount Kurama to the north of Kyoto. It's not exactly what Sojobo's court or Kifune used to be, especially since those are on the other side of the mountain, but it's about as big as a tengu community gets these days.

    Kiba: And to break things up with somewhere more multi-racial, Yakushima used to have a couple of heavily yokai towns that sprang up in the wake of the Meiji restoration and the establishment of the Reserves. Although sadly, it's suffered pretty heavily thanks to the war. Also just as a side note about how modern pop culture can sometimes be misleading, you won't find Kappa living in Kappabashi-dori. At least, not anybody with a sense of self-respect. Trust me, I once put up a friend of mine in a hotel there as a joke once, and he was sick of the place within a couple of days.

    Suki: Hah! Well at least it's not as bad as the time trolls broke the show's poll for a special live broadcast location once, and set me to half the mountains named Tenguyama in Japan one time.

    Kogamaru: It's somewhat depressing how many of those places don't actually have tengu living there these days.

    Suki: Tell me about it. But before we start meandering to far down memory lane and recollections once again, I think that means it's time for another question from our viewers. Kiba, you're up.

    Kiba: Show me the money!

    Suki: All righty then, here's an interesting one! An avian delivery from an Anonymous Asker in Amagasaki writes "A few years back I lost my job due to damage in my home town, and have never really been able to find a new one since, due to most employers considering me either over specialized or undertrained due to how my previous workplace was set up. As much as it galls me, I have been reduced to sleeping on the couch of my squib cousin for most of the past year, and have reached the end of my tether in playing the job market. Now I face two options, either taking out a loan and pursuing further schooling or training, so that I can branch out into other careers or a find another job in my industry, or I can try my hand at a part-time muggle job to pay for my expenses. What I am somewhat torn on however, is that my cousin has recently offered me a muggle position at a local McDonalds under him, until I can get back on my feet or sort out what I can do. I was always under the assumption that working in the muggle fast food industry was a dirty, thankless job, but he tells me that he started from the bottom and rose to where he now is as some sort of local overseer of a handful of stores. Is he taking me for a ride and should I invest in getting a set of muggle credentials drawn up so I can look for muggle jobs elsewhere, or is that sort of promotable rise really a thing?"

    Kiba: Oh, that's a tricky one.

    Kogamaru: You're getting all the hard ones today

    Kiba: Hmmm.... well unfortunately for our Anonymous Asker in Amagasaki, it's not a clear cut answer.

    Firstly, even if you don't take the McDonalds job, I would advise you to get the credentials and any other comparable muggle qualifications you might have, drawn up. It could create issues if you go to a later muggle job, or your Human Resources Department at McDonalds only later finds out how over qualified you might be, or they abruptly notice new records and credentials beside your name. That's not to say they won't employ you if you're over qualified, it's just better and less a source of issues to have everything that should be above board visible before hand. It especially helps if you have a foot in the door thanks to your cousin, who sounds like he might be some sort of Regional Manager, or Regional Human Resources Manager.

    Secondly, I would say that regardless of how long you plan to stay in the job, taking it couldn't hurt, as long as you think you're up to snuff with learning how to fit in. If you're starting from the bottom, it will be very low paying at first, unless you land a night shift or something. Most of your co-workers will be teenagers or young adults. Also, fast food is at it's core, a customer service industry, so be forewarned as "the customer is always right".

    On the other hand, fast-food chain jobs, even if part time, can be a great stepping stone to other kinds of work. Tough it out for a while, and especially if you can get to manning the register for a big name brand like McDonalds, and other employers will love to see that on your CV. It'll cover you for work in a high-speed, team based environment, show that you have experience interacting with a customer base, and you can be trusted to handle a register.

    On one final note, advancement through the ranks like your cousin isn't actually impossible or even all that uncommon. McDonalds is even kind of well known for that kind of internal company promotion. One of their first non-American CEOs was an Australian guy who started flipping burgers as a part-time job after school as a kid, and then went all the way up to being one of the youngest National Managers in the company. On the flip side though, and just to give you a bit of forewarning, promotions on the work floor can happen quickly, but breaking through the different ranks of managerial positions is something that will probably take, at best, years.

    Suki: Interesting. You seem pretty well versed in this sort of thing.

    Kiba: I know a few clients of NSVHI who got their muggle careers started through part-timing in fast food joints, and a couple people who even eventually set up stores themselves.

    Suki: Really? What about your thoughts Kogamaru?

    Kogamaru: We actually have three big brand fast food chain outlets in Yamainutaira now, all of them cropping up gradually in only the last five year. Part of it is mainly just outside businesses expressing an interest in coming to us and setting up shop thanks to the economic turn around and the war-time population rise, especially with so many people from the cities who are used to the big name brands providing a ready customer base. But the other part is that it really is useful, for both the muggle magical youth of the community. Even if you aren't going into further muggle employment and don't need the job references, it builds a history of employment, creates a paper tail in the muggle world for your existence, and of course provides the income of a part time job.

    Suki: Well then, keeping the spotlight on you for the moment then, I believe it's time for our next question to you.

    Kogamaru: Ask away.

    Suki: Emailed in from one Tamachi Tomi in Hakone, he asks "Are you a-", wait....

    Kogamaru: What's the matter? Is it something offensive?

    Suki: He's asking if you consider yourself Ainu?

    Kogamaru: What?

    Kiba: *Laughs*

    Kogamaru: Why do people always ask that? I'm an Okami, a wolf. I may look like a person with a transformation up, but I am definitely not human.

    Kiba *Still Laughing*

    Kogamaru: Why do I keep getting the weird ones tonight?

    Kiba: I don't know, but I always find it hilarious when people ask you that. You're like one of the closest things you can get to a "pureblood" bloodline among yokai.

    Suki: Pure Honshu wolf going back however many generations right?

    Kogamaru: That's correct, although I suppose I should probably provide some justification to that answer before people start jumping up and down about the Hokubu being in Hokkaido for the last 500 years, or they think I'm being racist.

    Shoumaru the Little, was an Okami from Honshu who went north either for fame or in disgrace depending in the version of the story, and ended up making his own little fief after earning the alliegence of a bunch of Ezo wolves. His wife was an Okami who also came from the south, to retain his bloodline's legitimacy of being related to messengers of the kami, and to keep the Hokubu's ties to the south. Every successive generation of the main branch after him, also married a Honshu bride.

    Some of the younger generations of the branch houses descended from the Ezo bloodlines like to consider their human personas part Ainu, now that there isn't as much stigma about it. But me? My father may have been born in the north, but his bloodline, as with all the clan heads before him, was solidly southern. My mother was one of the last of the Higashiyoshino Okami from Nara. So no, I have no claim to being Ainu, even if I did have any humans somewhere in the depths of the family tree.

    Suki: It must be interesting having such a deep rooted history in the area to call upon for a muggle persona.

    Kogamaru: It's useful, yeah. There's not as many of us as there once was as the clan drifted apart or died off, but it really does help with creating identities for everyone. A lot of the muggles in the area just think that we're the remnants of some really prolific clan with a lot of branch houses that used to rule the area, so saying you're from the Hokubu family to anyone else in the district barely gets a bat of an eyelid. Although sometimes it can result in a five minute long discussion with someone in town, who's trying to figure out how they're related to you or on who's property their ancestors worked. There's a fair few muggles running around who, because they don't know about magic or realize their ancestors were servants and retainers of an okami clan, instead believe the "history" that their families probably served successive generations of the local medieval warlord and his clan.

    Which I guess lets me wrap up this rambling tangent on a somewhat related point about identity building, that could be useful regardless of whether you are a witch, wizard, or yokai building a new muggle identity or persona.

    Two simple rules; Use what you know to build your background. Don't put in anything you can't back up.

    Really, please don't.

    For one thing, it's easy to flesh out a history in casual conversation, when it's based on things, places and people you actually remember. And secondly, it's unbelievably stupid to say your from somewhere like America when you don't even speak a lick of English. Someone will ask you to read or translate something for them at some point, trust me.

    Kiba: Can you say "Kiba is awesome" in another language for us Mr Multiligual?

    Kogamaru: Киба пахнет смешно

    Kiba: You just made fun of me didn't you.

    Kogamaru: No, why would I do that? On live radio even!

    Suki: Oh, you speak French too don't you?

    Kogamaru: Yes?

    Suki: Say something about me!

    Kiba: Come on baguette boy, say something for the lovely lady

    Kogamaru: Alright, give me a second to think of something.... La belle plume fait le bel oiseau.

    Kiba: Something something, hamasters and elder berries?

    Suki: That sounded lovely

    Kogamaru: Actually, I have a terrible accent with French.

    Kiba: You know, sometimes I forget just how much of a hilarious "prince charming" stereotype you were brought up to be.

    Kogamaru: J'ai mangé ton beignet avant de quitter la maison, pas Jin.

    Kiba: Wait a minute, I recognize Jin's name in there! Do you know who really ate my donuts before we left the house!?

    Suki: Returning back to Q and A for the moment, I believe it's time for the next question.

    Kogamaru: Kiba, you're up.

    Kiba: Here we go.

    Suki: From a Esumi Ennosuke in Sendai, we have this owled in letter. "Hi, one thing I've been lately wondering about after all the conflicting information I've sometimes received from many of my friends, is what exactly are some things you don't need for muggle life in the city, rather than things people commonly think all muggles do have. Recently my business' head office moved us into a new neighborhood, to try and reach out to a less tapped customer base, but unfortunately the new store is right in the middle of an underground shopping complex. There's nowhere to put a floo connection, and currently everyone is apparating into a spare closet, because security cameras in the rest of the complex and surrounding neighborhood make it too much of a risk to drop in elsewhere. At this rate, someone is going to get splinched, and I am almost considering buying either a car or a public transport card, because I don't want it to be me. Thanks, a confused wizard who's a bit behind the times these days and who's last point of familiarity was growing up in the 60s, before moving into the wizarding world entirely after graduating from school."

    So, what should this guy do?

    Kiba: I think the public transport card is a good idea, especially for someone who is commuting to somewhere that's going to be as busy as a shopping district and will be unfamiliar with driving. Just maintaining a car can be a confusing expense to someone who is unfamiliar with automobiles, licences and vehicle registrations, and most muggles in inner city areas don't actually have them these days anyway. Public transport is decent enough in most cities you can do without one.

    Actually, that reminds me, to anybody who does wish to acquire a car, and really does need one, cheaper isn't always better. A lot of the older, normal sized vehicles you see going for the same prices as Kei cars these days, are actually going cheap because manufacturers and dealerships are trying to offload them before the muggle Diet brings out a series of new reforms over the next few years, regarding carbon taxes on older cars or vehicles that don't conform to efficiency or rationing standards. If you do want to invest in a car, buy something like a second generation Prius. I know it's not exactly the flashest looking car out there, and the "hybrid-electric" aspect might be confusing to some at first, but it's arguably one of the better choices for any inexperienced wizarding drivers looking for a vehicle for whatever reason. They're old enough to be cheaper, common enough that most mechanics will be familiar with them if they get damaged, have a decent amount of space inside to enchant without interfering with the internals if you have the qualifications for that kind of thing, and are usually offered toll lane, road user and vehicle tax breaks due to being hybrids.

    What else is a common misunderstanding people think muggles need or do....

    Kogamaru: Conventions aren't unofficial yokai and onmyouji meet ups.

    Kiba: Wait, what?

    Suki: Oh, I've heard about this. That thing with Comiket-77 back in 2009.

    Kogamaru: Apparently a few people heard that a certain Tsukumogami artist sometimes used to be there, and occasionally even had a stall, so some fans who wanted to met her started to go. Then back in 2009, somebody as a joke, suggested that a bunch of them just go undisguised. Somehow, this eventually led to the aurors getting involved, and now there's this long standing rumor that yokai and even some wizards and witches, regularly use the crowded and cosplay filled settings of things like Comiket and the Niigata Comic Market, to meet up undisguised or do subtle magic in public. Apparently they still send a pair of aurors to Comiket every year, which is utterly stupid because I know through her sister, that the Tsukumogami in question and most of her fans haven't been back since, simply to avoid trouble.

    Kiba: That's hilarious.

    Kogamaru: It's ridiculous. They think she still goes because people with her works still turn up there. Apparently it's never crossed their minds that online and fan distribution is a thing.

    Suki: What a waste of money....

    Kiba: Can you imagine the faces of the aurors they must send though.

    Suki: *Laughs*

    Kiba: I'd pay to spend a day watching the ones who have probably never even seen a muggle convention or cosplay event before, let alone a doujin one.

    Suki: Well, keeping things on track and family freindly, I think it's time for one more question before we go into a commercial break.

    Kogamaru: That means I'm up.

    Suki: Let's see, how about another email. One that just came in part way through the show too, to change things up. Here we go, from Uehashi Uka in Shizuoka, "I have been looking up Yamainutaira on the internet over the course of the show, and one of the things that intrigues me is the social media presence (I believe the term is) that many, in retrospect, obviously yokai owned businesses have. One of my friends once mentioned that an online presence is something that catches many magicals out, but those of you in Yamainutaira seem to use it beyond just blending in, but even as a method of advertising and keeping connected. Is this simply an evolution of taking advantage of something many of these businesses, civil services and public offices are already doing and find useful, or does maintaining a muggle digital footprint really entail this level of detail and activity?"

    Kogamaru: Well, that's a bit of an interesting one.

    Thankfully, I can pretty definitively say that the amount of websites you can see, looking up business in Yamainutaira, is thankfully more a result of us just trying to promote the modernized image of the place, in tandem with the influx of so many computer and social media savvy folks over the last few years. I'm sure Kariudoko with her muggle Instagram and and Twitter feed popped out somewhere around the top due to her prolific activity everyday, but thankfully she's the exception more than the rule.

    Honestly, just make a gmail account and google cat pictures or the muggle news on it every once and a while. Going to something like YouTube, and subscribe to a few channels, and sign up to a few websites to get random spam, will also usually be enough to round things out. If you want to go that little bit extra to be more convincing, get something like LINE, and put it on your phone to talk to friends. Despite the stereotype, not everyone has a facebook or an Ameba that they're glued to these days. If anybody asks, it's easier just to say you had an account but haven't used it in so long, that you forgot the password. Having people know that you literally only just made a new profile to keep in touch with them, is a lot less weird to explain than saying you're twenty something and have a page that's only a few weeks old, but they or maybe a bunch of strangers are your only friends.

    By the way, you don't really need a computer per-say these days, in order to have an online footprint. If you're willing to fork out for something decent, most of these sites or their apps can be accessed from modern muggle cellphones, which are basically more akin to handheld computers these days than what people might remember or recognize from even just 15 years ago. As a word of forewarning, muggle communication capabilities have moved leaps and bounds over the last two decades, so be prepared if you've been out of touch with the tech for even the last ten.

    Kiba: Also Skype. Don't use Skype. It used to be good, and it's not too bad now, but I have it on decent authority from a couple of seers and divination specialists that it's going to be absolutely terrible in a few years.

    Suki: Wait, really?

    Kiba: Yep.

    Suki: Well that's good to know.

    Kogamaru: As a side note on things going defunct, most modern muggles would never have even received a telegram, with how long that has been outmoded at this point. Some of you might also remember faxes, but those are swiftly going the way of the dinosaurs as well.

    If you do need to communicate with somebody, especially because of business reasons, calls via telephones and cellphones are usually fine, depending on their circumstances, and letters are still more than acceptable as long as the response isn't expected promptly. Try to stick to writing with modern pens on modern paper though. Muggle officials, business owners, prospective employers and co-workers might think you are weird, if not an outright crank, and disregard your mail if you send in anything written on parchment or scroll. If a swift written response is actually expected however, it's probably best to use an email. Text messaging is also a thing, but that tends to be seen as a more informal or personal method of communicating with people.

    Suki: You two should teach a Muggle Studies class.

    Kogamaru: Hahaha, I'm sure there's better people out there than us who could do this sort of thing.

    Kiba: Business is one thing, but culture is another. I'm not sure I could sit in front of a horde of kids if not everyone was actually interested.

    Suki: Considering the owls and emails we're still getting, I'd say you're keeping everyone pretty interested, and for late night radio, that's something.

    Kogamaru: Well who knows. Maybe if they ever reclaim and get Mahoutokoro up and running again, there will be a more specialized class for this sort of thing. Muggle Economics, alongside Muggle Studies.

    Suki: And who better to teach it than the yokai multi-millionaire and investment tycoon, the Nakano Kiba of Nakano Seed Venture and Hedge Investments.

    Kiba: Oh come off it guys. I'm technically not the only millionaire yokai, some of the clans managed to amass pretty big fortunes before the war. And besides, could you see me as a teacher?

    Kogamaru: You taught Kensuke how to drive.

    Kiba: And look at all the flak I'm always catching for that.


    Suki: Sorry to interrupt it there boys, but I believe that's our cue to line it up for a commercial break. When we come back, we'll have more Q and A with these two on the panel, so as ever, send in your questions by owl or email.

    I'm Hanataka Suki, your diatengu with the down-low! My panelists are Financial Investment Manager Nakano Kiba, and Koshaku of the Hokubu Okami, Kogamaru! And SquawkBox on Mahou Kanto Radio, 713 WM will be right back after these messages!
     
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  14. Threadmarks: group study
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Snippet 19: Harry Leferts

    Sitting next to Natsumi at the table in her home, Harry glanced around at the rest of the young Yokai there. All of them gathered together to work on their homework and study as a group. They were also all in their normal forms as well as they worked. Harry still was not sure who suggested it or pushed for it.

    Part of him figured it was Ayaka though, especially with how the group chose Haru's house.

    A tap on the shoulder though made him look up as Usagi chewed her lip. "Um, Harry-San? Mind looking over my work for a moment? It's my English homework and I'm pretty sure that its correct. But..."

    With a slow nod, Harry gave a smile. "There's still something that doesn't seem right about it?" At her nod, he held out a hand. "Sure, hand it over here and I'll have a look at it." While she did so, the black haired boy turned to Ayaka and slid over his paper. "Mind checking my math?"

    Giving Natsumi a smirk, Ayaka nodded some. "Of course, Harry-San, it would be my pleasure."

    Natsumi, meanwhile, just rolled her eyes at that and hopped off her chair. "I'll make some more tea then. Anyone want some more snacks?"

    It went without saying that hands went up from all the other teens at the table. Putting his down, Harry gave her a grin. "Mind grabbing some more of those chocolate covered biscuits that Hermione sent me? Those would be good."

    Softly snorting, Natsumi walked over to make the tea. "Agreed, that would be pretty good."

    Meanwhile, the wizard of the group was looking over the English homework when he tapped on one part. "You actually made a small mistake here. It's supposed to be 'Then' rather than 'Than'."

    Just scratching her head, Usagi squinted her eyes as her nose wiggled. "Seriously?" At the nod, she groaned and rubbed her face. "Why does English need to be so complicated to read and write?"

    As Harry was about to say something, Natsumi spoke up. "English is the bastard child of drunken Norman knights trying to woo Anglo-Saxon barmaids into their beds. It is also the language that follows other languages into dark alleys and beats them unconscious before going through their pockets for loose vocabulary."

    While everyone else looked at her with odd looks, Harry nodded. "She's right actually. That is how English has been described."

    Riko blinked and gave him a look. "I don't think that makes it much better, you know." A groan made her turn to Kenta who was banging his head on the table. "What's with you?"

    Stopping, he sighed slightly. "I just had the image of the English language being a Yokai that was one of those that jumped you and hung out in red light districts for, um... you know."

    His tone dry, Harry gave a snort as he commented on the image. "Considering things, I would not be surprised that, that would be how the English language would seem." Then he grimaced. "Which is sort of surprising, I suppose."

    For several moments they all thought about that before shaking off the images that they had. Harry then turned to Ayaka who showed him where he made some mistakes in his math work before Natsumi brought over tea for them all. Once more, the room descended into quiet sounds of them all doing schoolwork interspersed with one of them asking another to check their work. Granted, Harry was the one who they all turned to check their English homework with.

    Eventually, Ayaka glanced up from where she was checking Kenta's math homework to find Harry pointing out some items with Natsumi's English homework. "Harry-San? May I ask you a question if it is not too much trouble?"

    Glancing up at her, Harry gave a nod. "Sure, go ahead. I'll try to answer it to the best of my abilities."

    Ayaka leaned against her hands and gave him an interested look. "Well, I was wondering what you were talking about to Haru-San. It seemed to hold you up a bit." Airily waving a hand, she gave him a smile. "If there's a problem, I'm sure that I can help."

    In return, Harry only gave her a smile in return. "It wasn't really a problem to be honest. More like..." The nearly thirteen year old paused for a few moments to search for a word before nodding. "More like asking her for her opinion on a donation."

    That made Rika perk up some as she felt her curiosity ignite. Besides, this had to be more interesting then her algebra. "A donation? What sort of donation are you looking for?"

    Giving a shrug, Harry blinked as he noticed that the others were also waiting on him. "Well, I heard that the J.N.H.R.O. sometimes takes material donations. Stuff that they can sell for money in some of the auctions. I was asking Haru-San's opinion on me giving them some of the basilisk hide that I have. I got way too much to be honest and I figure that they might make use of some of it."

    Confused, Usagi scratched her head some. "Basilisk hide? What's a basilisk?"

    Eyebrows furrowing, Kenta crossed his arms for a moment in thought. "I... think that it’s some sort of giant snake? Maybe?" At their looks, he flushed. "What? It's been years since I looked at the Japanese edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them that my Ojii-San has."

    Scratching the back of his head, Harry chuckled weakly. "Well... it is a giant snake? Sort of?"

    Her expression blank, Natsumi gave him a look. "Hai, a giant snake that could be mistaken for a Uwabami in size, can kill by looking at you, petrify someone if you see it's reflection, or also kill through it's venom within just a few painful minutes. Oh, and with a hide that is nearly impervious to spells as well. I do remember as I was down in the Chamber, Harry-Chan. And I have also seen the scar you have from where it bit you."

    At the looks, Harry pulled up the sleeve of his arm to reveal the puckered scar. "Yeah, I got bit when I shoved a sword through the roof of it's mouth to kill it. Thankfully, Professor Dumbledore's phoenix, Fawkes, was there. He cried on the wound and prevented the venom from killing me. Kind of close."

    Just slapping a hand over her face, Natsumi gave a low growl before glaring at him. "It was more than kind of close, Harry-Chan!"

    Slowly, Ayaka raised one finger and looked at Harry in disbelief. "So... you killed some sort of legendary monster, a giant snake? With a sword?" When the wizard nodded, she continued. "And got bit, but another legendary creature, a phoenix, healed you?" After he nodded again, Ayaka boggled a bit before pinching her nose. "That's..."

    Harry just shrugged in return. "I know, but I’ve got proof of it happening."

    Only shaking his head, Kenta sipped his tea as he gathered his thoughts together. "So you claimed the body then? But why give the J.N.H.R.O. some of the hide then?"

    Frowning, Harry scratched his neck. "Well, part of the issue is that I'm technically too young to donate money. I mean, on the magical side of things it would raise too many red flags and on the non-magical, it might still get me some questions. But... giving them some of the material and having them sell it for funds or whatever? That's doable without too many noticing. And it also makes a statement, or that's what Mum said when I asked her. Besides, even if I was to give them a literal ton of hide, that would only be a small portion." Turning back to his homework, he frowned a bit. "It helps out though, especially people who need it, and that's all I care about."

    Beside him, Natsumi shook her head as she took a bite of her cookie. "So what did Oba-Chan say about it when you asked her?"

    With a blink, Harry chuckled. "Well, Haru-San gave me a very odd look. But then she said that she would look into it and get back to me to see if any of it was doable. And that if worse comes to worse, she knows some leatherworkers who could use it and then donate that way." Suddenly, Harry snapped his fingers. "Right! That was not all of what we were talking about as she mentioned for me to tell Mum that the trip to Nagasaki has been moved up."

    Perking up, Rika nodded at that. "Oh yeah! Okaa-San mentioned that to me as well, what about you guys?" When the others around nodded, she turned back to Harry. "I guess that the project between the JMSDF and the Clans was moved up. Don't know why though..."

    Eyebrows furrowing, Harry thought it over and looked to the side. "I think that I might know..." When they turned to him though, he kept silent. 'Especially if what Miyuki-Nee told me regarding Tatsuya... Hopefully he'll get better if this works out.' Shaking off his thoughts, the wizard turned back to the others. "I know that Mum told me that I need to wear traditional clothing when we go there."

    Softly groaning, Natsumi put her head in her hands. "Don't remind me, Harry-Chan. It's going to take forever for me to get ready. You boys got it a lot easier then us girls in this case. Hopefully it works though."

    Kaku leaned back in thought with a small frown on his face. "Well, it should? I mean, you and Harry-San obviously know a lot more then I do about summoning. From what my Tou-San said, it should work? The building it is happening in is just outside of Dejima used to be, after all, and was built for summoning. He said that the spiritual imprint there would help out a lot."

    Looking at each other, Harry and Natsumi had a silent conversation before they nodded and the kitsune turned to the others. "Well, like you said it should work. I know that there's all sorts of naval artifacts from the time being donated. One of the kitsune clans is donating a cannon that came from a Atakebune that they used to operate and use against the Inugami. After it was sunk, they salvaged the cannon and used it on land. They were just storing it and letting it gather dust. And from what Ayaka-San said, some wood from another one is being used?"

    Said Inugami shrugged some with a frown on her face. "Yeah, it was one of the ones used by my clan against the Kitsune during the war between our groups in 1590 I think? They just reused the wood and so we decided to donate some of the beams."

    A grin on her face, Rika raised her hand and nodded. "We're donating some old muskets and stuff that one of my ancestors used on his ship when he went pirate for a few years." Turning, she gave Kaku a look. "Isn't your clan also donating some stuff?"

    Rubbing the back of his neck, he gave a nod. "Yeah, some actual paperwork for the Red Seal Ship that we ran for a number of years. It has the actual seal for it and everything. So Ojii-San had it sealed into a container with some spells to protect them. The whole place looks like something from the Edo period and was constructed using the old methods." Lips twitching, he leaned forward. "I bet you it would have gotten a lot of odd looks from the locals while it was being built."

    Unable to help himself, Harry snickered. "I bet!" Shaking his head, he snorted. "It should work to summon the old ships though like the Red Seal Ships, the Atakebune, and the other warships of the time. Going to, um, help out with some issues."

    Eyes narrowed, Usagi frowned. "This would have nothing to do with that lockdown that happened a while ago, would it? I mean, the shipgirls won't be able to fight the Abyssals, but normal magicals and stuff? And they are supposed to have a 'Acclimation' building in one of the wards not too far away..."

    When everyone turned to them, the wizard and the kitsune met their looks evenly before Harry shrugged. "Can't say really." And with that, he turned back to his homework along with Natsumi while the others gave them knowing looks. Soon after though the conversation turned to other items more common to a bunch of teenagers.
     
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  15. Threadmarks: JNHRO fourth year (noncanon)
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Lord K

    SoulessScotsman said:
    The talk of basilisks (i.e. mythical/magical creatures) made me think. I don't recall this being brought up before in thread, but the "dragons" in Harry Potter, well, aren't. They're technically wyverns. Has anyone done/thought of anything that would bring that point up? Not to mention Japanese Ryu/Chinese Lung.

    (Also, side point;, ryu/lung appear pretty frequently in Eastern Mythology. And, in most reading I've found, they're intelligent.)​
    A.N./ obviously crack and non-canon, since I doubt 4th year will be anything like canon's

    Some time in Fourth Year

    "Um.... has anybody seen Jin?"

    "She said she went on holiday right?"

    "That's what worries me...."

    "Why's that?"

    "Because she took her muggle passport and went to the airport."

    -------

    And still they walked, Harry getting more and more irritated as he jogged along in their wake, checking his watch every now and then. Hagrid had some harebrained scheme in hand, which might make him miss Sirius. If they didn't get there soon, he was going to turn around, go straight back to the castle, and leave Hagrid to enjoy his moonlit stroll with Madame Maxime.

    But then - when they had walked so far around the perimeter of the forest that the castle and the lake were out of sight - Harry heard something. Men were shouting up ahead. . .then came a deafening, earsplitting roar. . . Hagrid led Madame Maxime around a clump of trees and came to a halt. Harry hurried up alongside them - for a split second, he thought he was seeing bonfires, and men darting around them - and then his mouth fell open.

    Dragons.

    Four fully grown, enormous, vicious-looking dragons were rearing onto their hind legs inside an enclosure fenced with thick planks of wood, roaring and snorting - torrents of fire were shooting into the dark sky from their open, fanged mouths, fifty feet above the ground on their outstretched necks. There was a silvery-blue one with long, pointed horns, snapping and snarling at the wizards on the ground; a smooth-scaled green one, which was writhing and stamping with all its might; a smooth-scaled white one, maned with green and which was surprisingly calmly curled in on itself like a massive snake; and a gigantic black one, more lizard-like than the others, which was nearest to them. At least thirty wizards, seven or eight to each dragon, were attempting to control them, pulling on the chains connected to heavy leather straps around their necks and legs.

    All of them except one.

    Mesmerized, Harry looked up, high above him, and saw the eyes of the white dragon, with emerald pupils like a cat's, and coated with a harsh acidic sludge the beast seemed to exude, rather than the fire of it's compatriots.

    "Keep back there, Hagrid!" yelled a wizard near the fence, straining on the chain he was holding for the more wryvern-like, and far less docile black dragon. "They can shoot fire at a range of twenty feet, you know! I've seen this Horntail do forty!"

    None of them were looking at the black dragon.
      
    "Is'n' it beautiful?" said Hagrid softly.

    The scarred white beast actually seemed to preen a little at the complement.
      
    "It's no good!" yelled another wizard as the chromatic and temperamental opposite continued to rage. "Stunning Spells, on the count of three!"

    Harry saw each of the dragon keepers pull out his wand, including those guarding the much more passive and serpentine of the four beasts in the clearing. Seeing the distraction of it's "keepers" for the moment, a stilted, snake-like eye the size of a car wheeled lazily and swiveled in the direction of the visitors. For a moment, Harry could almost swear it could sense him under the cloak, even if it's couldn't see him. Then the beast give him a less than subtle wink, and what almost could have been a thumbs up.

    Then it turned, starring downward in the direction of the black wryvern and snarling, an ominous rumble like a dam threatening to burst forth and just barely containing the violent, unstoppable waters behind it's walls. To the amazement of many of the keepers present, several tons of sinewy, scaly-black dragon flinched, quieting and slinking back down as it averted it's eyes and silenced it's roars, lest it earn the ire of something it instinctively recognized as more than capable of ending it's existence should the green-maned white serpent wish. Themselves having been seemingly stunned by the serpent's growl, the silvery-blue beast rumbles as if to start up once more, only to be silenced by a second glare that freezes it in place. The green one doesn't even need to be looked at, and automatically submits at the next rumbled growl.

    "Wan' a closer look?" Hagrid asked Madame Maxime excitedly. The pair of them moved right up to the fence, and Harry followed. The wizard who had warned Hagrid not to come any closer turned, and Harry realized who it was: Charlie Weasley.

    "All right, Hagrid?" he panted, coming over to talk, as in the background, the great serpent returned to it's coils once more, apparently satisfied with the enforced docility it had cowed into the other dragons around it "They should be okay now - we put those three out with a Sleeping Draft on the way here, thought it might be better for them to wake up in the dark and the quiet - but, like you saw, they weren't happy, not happy at all -"

    "What breeds you got here, Charlie?" said Hagrid, gazing at the closest dragon, the white one, with something chose to reverence. Poisonous green eyes starred back with almost wry intelligence and cat-like entertainment. Increasingly it was obvious that this dragon was here only by it's own condescendingly amused accord. It's lack of struggles were not because of any tameness or recognition of futility, but because it was something wholly beyond that the mere beasts around it. This was something else. Something that could leave at anytime it wished, ragardless of the keepers' efforts, and knew it too.

    "The black one that was causing all the trouble is a Hungarian Horntail," said Charlie. "There's a Common Welsh Green over there, the smaller one -- a Swedish Short-Snout, that blue-gray -- and this white one- I have no clue what it is actually, but it sure as hell isn't a Chinese Fireball."

    Scarred white lips and scaled cheeks slowly peel back to reveal a grinning maw of fang-like teeth the size of swords, as silent laughter flashes in it's acidic green eyes.
    *-**-**-*-*-*--*
    hanatoro said:
    Am I the only one who like to think that it took the entire ten minute interlude for the howler to finally run out of things to scream?
    Harry Leferts said:
    No, I'm pretty sure that we all had that sort of image.​
    The woes of being the grandson of the magical version of a Class A War Criminal, on top of being the great-grandson of the yokai equivalent of a 19th century Philippe Pétain and one of the biggest contributors to the Yokai Reserves being a thing.
     
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  16. Threadmarks: Abyssina 20 - Tainted Memories
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    K9Thefirst1

    Huzzah! The Princess arrives! Also, the French Admiral named here is from Blizzard of the Red Castle, and is in that story in a menage a trois with Richelieu and Commandant Teste. If they are in this story I leave up to you all.
    ------

    Off the Coast of Northern Ireland, Entering the Irish Sea

    The sun had just set, but the sky was still ablaze with the vibrant colors of oranges, reds and purples. The moon was full and bright, and the sea was smooth as glass. Along the coast, a few lights twinkled, hinting at the city that should have shown bright as day. But with the ravages of Blood Week and the on-going war, most settlements on the world’s coasts had enacted strict blackouts. A few miles off, a lone figure could be barely seen steaming past. As the humanoid shape was present despite all known shipgirl deployment schedules making no account of any who would be sailing in those waters at that time, it could only be an Abyssal. However, none on shore raised any alarm. The shore sentries reported the figure’s course and speed, the shore batteries trained their guns on her but did not fire, and the fighter patrols – traditional and shipgirl alike – made passes over her. Not so close as to be mistaken for attacks in the making, but just enough to announce their presence and to caution against anything hostile.

    Ocean Liner Demon turned to look at one RAF jet as it made its sweep.

    ”My, aren’t we popular this evening.” she said, apparently to no one.

    [“We should be,”] Gateway replied over the radio, a smile in her tone, [“I am royalty after all.”]

    Liner snorted at that. They both knew the real reason for all the attention.

    ”Do you really think they would be willing to attack with their own people around in such close proximity?”

    [“I would. An important figure in command of a sizable force of the enemy? Just waltzing into an area where I have supreme military dominance? If I were looking to kill off such an individual, I’d be more than happy to carpet-bomb the area, regardless of who is there. However, simply attacking after all the efforts at building a repour and extending the olive branch would be nothing short of appalling stupidity and the height of short-sightedness. It they genuinely plan to attack, it will only be if you or I attack first. And by the time the order is made to open fire, the entire delegation will be dead anyway. What we are seeing is merely a prudent precaution.”]

    Liner said nothing in reply. The pair continued on in silence for some time, the sounds of the sea in motion, the final cries of the gulls, and the distant roars of the fighters the only things filling the air. Periodically, Liner would turn her head to the great island on their right, and the city they were passing. From what little was visible in the dying light of day, much had changed from her own time… But much of the city was still the same.

    [“If you like,”] the Princess interjected, [“once we have a treaty, I can request to permit you to visit. You must be eager to see your childhood home.”]

    Demon was silent for some time, just watching the coast pass by. Finally, she turned her back to it and pressed onward.

    ”No. No I won’t ever be going back. To many memories.”

    [“Bad memories?”]

    ”…No. No not exactly. Not bad, just… Tainted.”

    They spoke no more.
    ------

    The Isle of Man, Irish Sea

    “We’re getting reports of one Abyssal entering the Irish Sea sirs.”

    Lord Fairbank and the rest of the delegation – Admirals and a handful of diplomats or politicians from the member-states of NATO and the EU, all crammed into the basement of a requisitioned house abandoned after Blood Week – ended their conversations to turn to the technician at the radio.

    “Just one?” the American Admiral, representing the US Navy, asked.

    “Yes sir,” another technician confirmed, turning dials on his sonar display to provide a clearer sound, “Passive sonar’s picking up a triple screw vessel traveling at over twenty knots. From the sound of it she’s powered by a turbine and a pair of reciprocating engines. Damn big ones too.”

    “Run an active scan,” Ferdinand Chirac, the French Admiral, asked, “see if that picks up anything.”

    The technician affirmed the order and carried it out. The years of working together had long made the Admirals of each theater familiar with each other, and so usually could anticipate what the rest would need done. Though with the importance and dangers of the meeting that was to come, it was decided that only the First Sea Lord, being the highest ranking naval officer present, could give any order that involved initiating hostilities. In this tense situation, the last thing anyone wanted was a case of too many cooks and not enough kitchen.

    The technician reading the sonar equipment hummed in thought. And that alone was enough to get the attention of all of those present with a military history.

    “Active is picking up… something, but it isn’t like anything I’ve ever seen before sirs.”

    “Is it a submerged fleet?” the American asked.

    “No sir, it’s definitely a single contact.”

    “Then that must be our visiting Princess.” Fairbank decided, “keep an eye of them my boy. I want an update on their position, course and speed every five minutes.”

    “Aye sir.”

    The rest of the group dispersed into their own groups to talk, wait, or carry out some errand. Lord Fairbank turned to the American Admiral, who seemed about ready to grab the lighter and pack of cigarettes his wife most certainly wouldn’t approve of him possessing from his pockets.

    “Nervous John?”

    John Douglass jerked to the older British man, startled by his sudden voice. But he gave a nervous laugh and took a breath.

    “Sorry. First time meeting an Abyssal that didn’t want to eat my face.”

    “You should have taken my invitation to meet Reivana the other day John. Then you could say it’s your second time.”

    The pair laughed, and the tension between them eased. The Admiral and the Sea Lord turned to the LED screen that had been bolted to the wall, showing the tactical map of the Irish Sea and the icons coming down from the north indicating the location of the Abyssal sighted earlier.

    “They should have flown Robertson over,” Douglass said quietly, “he has a lot more experience negotiating with these things than I do.”

    Fairbank merely made a non-committal wag of his head.

    “I’m sure your government felt you were up to the task. Though I suggest not referring to our guests as ‘things.’ If Reivana is any metric to go on this Ancient Atlantic Gateway Princess ought to be quite charming.”

    The two men descended into a companionable silence, watching as the rest of the room’s occupants milled about like bees. Finally, Admiral Douglass couldn’t contain his curiosity at something that had been niggling at him.

    “How did you convince her to meet us here, of all places? We’re well inside land-based missile and artillery range on either side, there are air and naval bases all over the place, and we have air superiority as dense as a brick wall.”

    “Oh, I didn’t convince her of anything. In fact, she suggested this island herself.”

    “…Seriously.”

    “Indubitably. She specifically asked for the Isle of Man as the site of these negotiations.”

    “…Why?

    Fairbank looked aside to the American, and as he spoke he raised a finger as he made each of his points.

    “I can imagine three possibilities. One: She is just that powerful, and so the weight of ordinance we have aimed at her even now won’t even phase her. Two: She is confident to the point of arrogance. And what I believe to be the most likely, Three: She is deliberately putting her throat on our sword as a show of trust and good faith.”

    “And what, by any chance, makes you think that’s the most likely?”

    “Because, my friend, it is the closest match to her behavior thus far. If she was truly impervious to our weapons, she’d have attacked us long before now. If she was that arrogant, she would have died like dozens of other Princesses over the course of this war. And given how little reason we have to trust her, she needs to do something that will display how far she is willing to trust us.”

    Douglas had nothing to counter with that. But then again, unlike his peacetime predecessors, he was a sailor at heart.
    ------

    A boat ramp, Isle of Man, Southern Coast

    Dreadnought consulted her chronometer in the bridge. Midnight. Between the late hour and the strictly enforced blackout, there was neither soul nor light to be seen that was not supposed to be there. In the sky, the stars shone with a majesty not seen by most, certainly not since the Lightbulb. Behind her at the top of the ramp was Ark Royal, her eyes vigilant and a squadron ready to fly and join the two others circling above. At the carrier’s side was Reivana the Abyssal Battleship, looking up and down the coast for any sign of her Princess, Stab looking rather bored. And behind and beside Dreadnought were two of her daughters: Warspite, and Duke of York. Both had the stern faces of ships of Her Majesty’s Navy on duty, but their mother could catch the slips that told of embarrassment and indignation indigenous to adult children chastised by their mother. The Mother of Battleships closed her eyes in irritation, but other than that showed no sign of her thoughts as she whispered to her daughters.

    “Honestly girls, stop sulking.”

    “We are not sulking.” Warspite whispered back.

    “You are sulking. We are not going over this again. Not here, not now.”

    “…Yes mother.”

    “Understood… Mother.”

    “Good,” Dreadnought said with a nod before turning back to face the sea again.

    “Squadron leader just reported in, we have an incoming ship!”

    With Ark Royal’s announcement, all concerns of private matters were shelved and all four of them went to action stations. Along the coast from the west, a figure skated across the water. She bore none of the identifying features of any known shipgirl in any navy. And bore many of the marks of those of the Abyss. But with the eyes of the shipgirls, the ghostly hull they saw around the figure erased all doubt in two of their minds as to her identity.

    Two well decks, fore and aft. Four funnels, though the aftmost one had no boiler smoke billowing up from it. Fully exposed promenade deck. Those features, plus the proportions of her lines, made the approaching Abyssal as familiar as an old acquaintance to Dreadnought and Warspite. After all, both had seen her in her first life dozens, hundreds of times. On their decks, fairies bustled about. Some with rifles, others handling munitions in the event of a battle, and others with film equipment, to not only record the event for posterity, but Warspite had a crew broadcasting directly to the Admirals and Diplomats, so that they too could watch the proceedings, and if necessary give instructions on what to say or do.

    Soon enough, Ocean Liner Demon stepped off the water and onto the cement ramp, making a few steps before coming to a stop and taking in the sight of the welcoming committee. For a pregnant pause, the Demon and the shipgirls stared each other down, taking in the sight of each other. Finally, the Abyssal spoke.

    “I am the Ocean Liner Demon. Second in Command of the Fleet of Her Royal Highness, the Ancient Atlantic Gateway Princess, Elder Princess of the Abyss. We come to this island to discuss a cessation of hostilities and an alliance of peace, trade, and war between our Fleet, and that of Mankind. If your goal is other to this, speak now. And we shall leave.”

    The four shipgirls and the Re-Class breathed at the announcement. Dreadnought took a breath and stepped forward, making a deliberate show of training her guns away from the Demon and the ramp.

    “I am Dreadnought, of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Navy. Our government welcomes you and these talks. If you can give your word to lock your weapons and come peacefully, we will escort you to meet with representatives of Great Britain and her allies.”

    Liner nodded and affirmed the request, then turned to Reivana. The battleship stood at attention, but wilted as the Demon walked up to her, and loomed over her. And her eyes glowed a bright red through her eye-slits.

    “I leave for a day. And when I return, I hear of how you nearly compromised our location after being offered a few trinkets. I ought to crush your throat for this treason.”

    The Four shipgirls look to each other nervously, not knowing what to do about this development. And in the command station, the diplomats were discussing how the Royal Navy girls ought to respond should the Demon attack the Envoy. However, the worries were rendered moot when Ocean Liner Demon cocked her head to the side as if listening to a voice only she could hear.

    ”As you wish,” she said, then gave a growl of irritation as she shoved Reivana onto her aft, ”Consider this your only warning warship. The Princess is much more forgiving than I am.” The Demon backed away from the Abyssal Battleship and turned to address the envoys, gesturing to the waters at the end of the boat ramp.

    ”Allow me to present, Her Royal Highness Ancient Atlantic Gateway Princess, of the House of the Abyss, Princess of the Azores, Pretender to the Throne of the Sargasso Sea, High Duchess of the Atlantic, Claimant of the Arctic, Claimant to the Throne of the Caribbean, et cetera, et cetera.”

    [“Greetings,”] came a voice over the radio, sweet, but also filled with palpable power, [“and fear not.”]

    Before anyone could comment, everyone felt it. It was faint, but there was a noticeable ripple in the water just a few feet off shore, and when it reached land the pulse flowed through the grass, rustling leaves, and disturbed dust. And all at once, the shipgirls presence felt something, as if some power had been released, one that filled them all with some terrible dread.

    “Wh-what is that?” Duke demanded at Ocean Liner Demon, barely able to avoid stuttering.

    “The Princess,” Stab answered bluntly, ”Who’d you think it was? Grampa George’s Cousin Willy?”

    “Bollocks!” Ark Royal cut in, though the sweat on her brow undermined her bravado, “We’ve all fought plenty of Princesses, and none of them have ever felt like… That!

    “Not true. I’ve felt a presence once. One that was very much like… This one.”

    The shipgirls all turned to Warspite, who continued to stare out at the source of the ripple, skin white as a sheet.

    “The Maltese Princess.”

    [“She should have,”] came that voice again, just as the tips of Abyssal Metal horns peaked out of the water, moving toward shore, followed soon enough by the top of a head, with hair as white as ivory, [“Middle World Ocean Princess was an Elder Princess, like me, and our sisters.”] The hair and horns gave way to a pale brow, and after that two blood red eyes and a regal nose, [“Our equal in nearly every respect.”] And then her mouth and chin, ”Save one, none of them had Our mind.”

    The Abyssal Princess was silent as she made her the rest of the way out of the water. Which was good, as the sight of her was shocking to all that witnessed her. For Dreadnought and the shipgirls, it was scandalization of her attire, if what amounted to a long loin cloth and essentially a pair of ‘breast hammocks’ for a top could count for clothing. After a moment of silence, one of the assembled fairies gave a tiny wolf’s whistle, and their rigging had a few moments of flickering lights from dozens of flashbulbs going off. “For Posterity.”

    Ocean Liner Demon had been keeping an eye on the shipgirls, but at their reactions she turned to her Princess… And after a double take she groaned. She reached into her hold and pulled out a large black cloth then marched up to the much shorter Princess. No one present or watching the footage back at the command station could hear what was being said between the two, but occasionally words such as “I told you…” “royal form,” and “damned exhibitionist” could be made out. Eventually Ocean Liner Demon pulled away to reveal that the Princess was now dressed in a black cloak, with silvery accessories along her belt. She didn’t seem at all annoyed at the actions of her underling, but one couldn’t tell with royal types.
    ------

    In the command station, the room had gone silent at the Princess’ arrival, and the monitors were crowded as every hot-blooded male in the room rushed to get a good look at what was being shown there. Lord Fairbank smiled at the groan that was felt more than heard when the Demon dressed the Princess, but other than that said nothing, save for when he turned to the only person in the room that actively avoided looking at the screens.

    “Something interesting in that coffee machine John?”

    “Oh yes,” the American Admiral said, not turning around, “it’s called ‘Damned-If-I-Know-How-But-My-Wife-My-Daughter-And-My-Mother Would-Know-If-I-Looked.’”

    Fairbank snorted good-naturedly as he and the rest of the diplomatic mission turned back to the monitors
    ------

    The nature of her attire now more acceptable, the Princess stepped forward, a diplomatic smile on her face as she reached out to the shipgirls that had come to great her. Dreadnought stepped forth to meet her.

    “The Ancient Atlantic Gateway Princess, I presume.”

    The Princess nodded.

    “Salutations, honored worthies. We are most pleased to finally take this most important step. While this may be kept quiet for now, We have every expectation that this night, and the talks that come from it, shall be help as a momentous occasion for both our peoples.”

    The Princess turned from the shipgirls and beckoned Reivana to step closer. The Re-Class did as ordered, bowing down and kneeling, and even despite that they could easily see the disparate heights between the two, with the Princess standing at the same height as the average woman, with Reivana at nearly six feet tall. Warspite found it surprising. Going by how she went on about her Princess, the battleship was expecting some sort of giantess like Wanko.

    ”Reivana, it is because of your efforts that this night has come to be. Surely, is it We that ought to bow unto thee. Well done, Our good and faithful servant,” she said, giving a… Well, less of a bow, and more of an exaggerated nod, but the meaning of the gesture was not lost to anyone, especially Reivana, judging by the shocked expression on her face.

    Ark Royal looked to Dreadnought, who nodded the cue for their next action. The carrier put away her bow and arrow and gestured up the boat ramp.

    “Your Highness, if you and your entourage would please come with us, we will take you to meet with the delegates.”

    The Princess gave a regal nod and gestured for the shipgirls to lead the way.

    It was early summer, 2013. And one of the most important changes in the Atlantic Abyssal War was at hand…
     
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  17. Threadmarks: Abyssina 21 - Canuts Stories
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    S0ngD0g13

    Canut sat at the table in the Princess' Hall, a mug at her elbow and the other Abyssals gathered around her. With Gateway and Liner Demon away to treat with the Humans, it fell on the Angband to serve as Regent and on Canut to back the Ag-Class up.

    "Canut," said Freyja the Chi-Class, "you sailed with the Northern War Demon, back-when; do you have any stories about her? I heard she once fought both the Bismarck Sisters, Hood, and Warspite to a standstill by herself."

    Canut laughed. "Skadi was tough, aye, but she wasn't that tough... It was only Hood and Warspite she fought to a draw. That was just after Shipgirls first started appearing, when we had come out of our normal haunts to raid the Hebrides."

    Canut smiled fondly and chuckled. "Skadi liked to brag that no Ship or Shipgirl had ever defeated her in battle, and that's truth, for none ever had, but I saw her withdraw from battle once, in all the years I knew her, against a Human."

    The fleet leaned in and Freyja goggled. "A Human drove the Northern War Demon off? Really?"

    "It was early in the War; the others went to raise Hell along the coast of Norway and draw their Shipgirls off while Skadi and I paid a visit to Oslo. The defenders that were there stood firm against us; no cowards were they... They fell, but even while our guns thundered and our blades drank deep, there were no wounds on those Norwegians' backs."

    Canut wet her throat with a drink before continuing. "I covered Skadi's rear as we came ashore and made our way inland, and we saw a mob of people clustered around what I found out later was the Oslo Opera House. Skadi cut a soldier down with Seeadler, and started toward the Opera House as the civilians fled in fear, other soldiers escorting them while two more soldiers tried to carry a wounded third between them. The two healthy soldiers fell, wounded themselves by a burst from one of my machine-guns, and Skadi advanced to finish them. Suddenly a shot rang out and the bullet whined off of Skadi's forehead; we both turned and saw her then."

    "Saw who?" asked a Heavy Cruiser.

    "She was a little girl, at most ten years old; she'd grabbed a fallen soldier's rifle and shot at Skadi. We both stopped, and the girl put herself between Skadi and the wounded men. "Don't come any closer!" she shouted. "Get away from my father! I won't let you kill him; you'll have to kill me first!" she yelled, and even though the AG-3 she was holding looked bigger than she was, that little girl stood her ground; it was plain to see she was terrified, but the rifle's muzzle never wavered."

    Canut closed her eyes and smiled. "Skadi looked at the girl and smiled a little bit..."

    As she told the tale, Canut remembered that day...

    ...........................................

    "Such a brave little thing, trying to shield your father from me... Girl, what is your name?" asked Skadi, her sword dripping onto the street.

    "Martha. Martha Louise Lundeng."

    "One of those men is your father? Which?" The middle man, the one who'd been wounded originally, lifted his hand shakily. Skadi nodded to him, never taking her eyes off Martha. "Soldier, I hope your Martha never loses the boldness she's shown, shooting an Abyssal Demon with a rifle in your defense. And you, Little Martha Louise Lundeng, have impressed me. See here?" Skadi pointed to the bright line where the bullet had glanced off of her head. "That's where your bullet struck." The Abyssal Demon tossed an Abyssal-Iron arm-ring at the girl's feet. "You've bought your father's life from me, Martha Shield-Maid, and when you tell about today, you can tell how you forced an Abyssal Demon to quit the field..."

    .........................................................


    Canut grinned. "Skadi and I withdrew, and there you have it; the one and only time Skadi ever withdrew from combat."

    In Oslo, Martha Louise Lundeng lay down to sleep; she was dozing and almost fully-asleep when she suddenly sneezed. As the twenty-something university student rubbed her nose, her eyes fell upon the photograph of her and her parents, taken inside the Opera House three weeks before her eleventh birthday, and on the wooden jewelry box that held an arm-ring of Abyssal metal...
     
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  18. Threadmarks: Omake: "Okami Fortress"
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Lord K Omake: "Okami Fortress"

    Record the Recording said:
    Is there any risk of Royomaru coming back as a ghost ala Dwarf Fortress?
    Harry Leferts said:
    Kogamaru: Oy, Jin, where did you get that stuff that purified the Gashadokuro again?
    jgkitarel said:
    Jin: That was Haru Ono you damn mutt, ask her! And if you get one, keep it away from me! I already got my holy nuclear tan from one once, I don't need another.
    Record the Recording said:
    "It's right next to the Raid."
    *-*-*-*-*
    Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal has risen and is haunting the fortress!
    A proud, vain wolf fond of power and without conscience

    A restless haunt, generally troubling past acquaintances and relatives. This spirit has not been properly memorialized or buried.

    Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal stuns Hokubu Sakurako, Shrine Maiden
    Hokubu Sakurako, Shrine Maiden cancels Clean Shrine : Horrified
    The Shrine Maiden, Hokubu Sakurako has organised a Harae at Yamainutaira Shrine
    Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal is throwing objects around the fortress!
    Koshaku, Hokubu Kogamaru from Tokyo has arrived
    Mayor, Hokubu Ryougamaru from Yamainutaira has arrived
    Hokubu Kariudoko from Yamainutaira has arrived
    Koshaku, Hokubu Kogamaru gives Ono Haru Purification Ofuda to Shrine Maiden, Hokubu Sakurako
    Shrine Maiden, Hokubu Sakurako has started a Harae at Yamainutaira Shrine
    Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal looks surprised by the ferocity of Shrine Maiden, Hokubu Sakurako's onslaught
    Shrine Maiden, Hokubu Sakurako uses ofuda on Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal, binding him in place
    Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal is stunned by the attack
    His connection to the physical world is weakened by the attack
    Shrine Maiden, Hokubu Sakurako paralyzes Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal
    Mayor, Hokubu Ryougamaru uses ofuda on Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal, binding him in place
    Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal is stunned by the attack
    His connection to the physical world is weakened by the attack
    Mayor, Hokubu Ryougamaru causes a spell of dizziness in Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal
    Hokubu Kariudoko uses ofuda on Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal, binding him in place
    Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal is stunned by the attack
    His connection to the physical world is weakened by the attack
    Hokubu Kariudoko inflicts excruciating pain upon Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal
    Koshaku, Hokubu Kogamaru uses ofuda on Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal, binding him in place
    Hokubu Kogamaru, Ghostly War Criminal is stunned by the attack
    His connection to the physical world is broken by the attack
    Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal can be heard howling throughout the fortress!
    Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal has been exorcised
    Hokubu Royomaru, Ghostly War Criminal has been laid to rest once more
    *-*-***-*-

    Harry Leferts said:
    Granted, one would wonder what sort of title Kogamaru will get in the future... I imagine that while his father started it, he will be the one who will get the most credit in the years to come for the clan's fortunes turning around.​
    Yeah, that's definitely going to be an interesting one. For a Hokubu who's never been in battle, there's still going to be a lot of acts and accolades to potentially draw from.
     
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  19. Threadmarks: changing times
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Harry Leferts

    With a soft sigh, Sakuya looked around the table and nodded as the other Clan heirs chatted while Haru poured some tea. Looking towards Momo, the Kitsune raised an eyebrow at the rabbit Yokai. "So from what Natsumi-Chan has passed on your niece and Imouto have been doing well for themselves here?"

    Blinking, Momo wiggled her nose a bit before nodding. "As a matter of fact, they have been doing quite well with the move here. And from what Miyu-Chan has told me Usagi-Chan has been happier then she has been for a while. It's also good for her to get out and experience the world in a small way as the international nature of the military here will only help her in the future."

    Only raising an eyebrow as she rested her chin on her hands, Sakuya hummed. "Still planning on passing the heir hood to Usagi-Chan once she is of age?"

    Softly sighing, Momo shook her head. "Usagi-Chan does have the proper attitude for it after all. And it's not like my Imouto wants to deal with it..." Chewing her lip, she leaned in a bit. "Of course, there is the fact that with the other heirs and Natsumi-Chan, she's going to be doing quite well with the alliance of our clans through friendship. And with Potter-San? Her generation will be the one that will carry us forward as a society."

    Frowning, Sakuya gave her a knowing look. "Oh? So you already decided then?"

    Lips twitching, Momo chuckled. "You know as well as I do that with everything happening, our children or younger relatives will be best suited to carry our families onward into the history. We'll have a hard enough time with the shift of society coming up while they? They will be living it. I'm two hundred years old, Haru-Chan, and I'm finding the last few years hard to cope with. Usagi-Chan though is thriving in this and adapting far better then I am. Haha-ue and Chichi-ue agree with me."

    A scoff made them look at where Akira frowned as the dog ears on her head swiveled here and there. "You're only realizing this? The Akatsuki Inugami Elders and Head already decided that Ayaka-Chan will be the next head."

    Grabbing a rice cracker, Daichi shrugged. "Same with Kenta, Shoukaku-Ojii already said that he wants to retire as Head. Granted, that won't be for a few decades yet, but still." Waving the cracker around, he gave a small smile. "Besides which, we'll still be there to advise them when needed and asked."

    Various other Clan heirs nodded at that before Ayaka turned to Haru with a frown. "Speaking of politics... I am wondering why you called this meeting. Did something happen, Haru-San?"

    Simply placing the tea down, Haru shook her head. "No, nothing happened from what I know of. But Onee-Sama asked for me to contact you all about something." At the looks of interest, she gave a half shrug. "I don't know myself."

    Nearly as one, everyone turned to Sakuya who sipped her tea and set it down. Reaching to the worn messenger bag, the Kitsune took a deep breath. "As I am sure that you all know, while we have decided to work with non-magical government and the Imperial Household in regards to the fall of the Statute here in Japan, there have been issues. Mainly in regards to distrust about committing to such an action considering the past."

    Miyuki frowned some and shook her head. "That would be putting it rather mildly, I'm afraid. Even a small bit of support has been... divisive in some ways. Most of those alive know of what happened with the Kamo government, or lived through it. So caution is warranted."

    With a sigh, Daichi nodded. "I believe that the English saying 'Once bitten, twice shy' works well here."

    That got him a snort from Momo. "Say it better, we all got burned by the government in the 1930s and 1940s. They promised us all so much, and yet simply wanted us because we could fight as muscle and shock troops. Look at what happened to those who joined up thinking that they would make things better!"

    Arms crossed, Kaito grimaced. "They do have a point, as sad as it is. Both sides here may be talking the talk, but there is still distrust. How can we be sure that the government won't simply use us for fighting for example? We may believe that they want to help, and most of the leadership of the J.N.H.R.O. does as well, but words only go so far unfortunately."

    Pulling out some folders, Sakuya smiled and placed one in front of each of the others. "Then perhaps this will help. This is one of the ideas that the government wishes for our imput on regarding what to do with the Yokai in the reserves. I will also be passing on copies of this to Kiba-San and the others."

    Silently, Kanako opened her folder and blinked at the contents. Behind her, the two flame covered tails stopped moving as she began to read. "Is this right? They're suggesting bringing in some sort of mobile schools?"

    Eyebrows raised in surprise, Minato flipped to the next page. The Kawausu boggled a bit. "I remember seeing these, or something like them, in the news after Blood Week to hold students until schools were repaired. Nothing like this though from what I remember! Look at the second page, they're talking about setting up entire schools within weeks of the Statute's fall either inside or right outside the reserves."

    Kaito rapidly turned to another page and gave a frown. "Solar panels and small wind turbines to provide power with back up generators? And batteries as well to store power for use at night?" Blinking, the Miura leaned closer. "Hot and cold running water as well? Am I reading this correctly?"

    Amused, Sakuya gave a nod. "You are reading it correctly as a matter of fact. If you turn to page four, it mentions that some of the water will be for shower units as well which will be open to anyone. Also a mobile kitchen with cooks will also be attached to provide food for the students."

    Flipping through her own folder, Haru hummed to herself in thought. "They're using the experiences from Blood Week and the Tohoku Earthquake for this." Upon reaching one page, she raised an eyebrow. "A small library will also be attached in another trailer? Internet access as well... I'm rather impressed."

    Just making a sound, Ayaka tapped a finger against the paper. "Even with this, it won't be cheap. Granted, it says that they'll be designed to last at least ten years, but still. It also mentions that after the children and teens leave, there's going to be adult classes? For the older Yokai to help them adapt to the outside world?"

    Quickly flipping back, Momo shook her head. "Assuming that they somehow get these to the reserves, which will be an issue in and of itself, how are they going to teach? The amount of teachers that they will need is staggering here. Each one of these will be holding classes right through high school."

    Gently sipping her tea, Sakuya hummed. "Page thirteen is the answer to that question as a matter of fact."

    The room was filled with the sounds of papers being shuffled before Ayaka let out a low whistle. "They're going to be announcing a increase in the amount of teachers being trained? And... it's to hide another program."

    Having flipped to that page, the older kitsune nodded. "As a matter of fact, yes. This ties into the next page which is also talking about education." She waited until they turned to that page. "One thing that they want from us is any Yokai who wish to become teachers to enter the program. As long as they complete the courses needed and work in one of the schools for the reserves for at least five years, they will see any and all debt wiped away. Any older Yokai with teaching experience will also be granted higher positions in the schools if they so wish. The same offer will be made to any humans who likewise will want to try and help."

    More then a little thoughtful, Kaito flipped back a few pages and read more carefully before moving forward in the folder. But it was Miyuki who came across one part that made her blink. "Am I reading this right? They're offering something similar to any Yokai who enters the trades and then works around the reserves?"

    Only grimacing, Sakuya nodded some. "As a matter of fact, yes." Rubbing the side of her head, she sighed. "They understand that the reserves as a whole represent a massive humanitarian crisis. While they do want to dismantle them, they can't do it all at once. But apparently when they heard of the yokai towns that sprang up around some of them, such as Yatsugatake, they had an idea. Improve the infrastructure in such places to help decrease the pressure. And for that to happen..."

    Daichi hummed as he frowned. "And for that to happen, you need a nice large pool of people with the right skills. Tradespeople who also will not be frightened by the residents and can relate." Turning a page, he gave a nod. "It also mentions here that it has the added benefit of providing work?"

    When Sakuya nodded, the Inaba of the group spoke up. "Lets be honest for a moment, there was no way that we could just let everyone stream out of the reserves, not right away. This is going to be years, probably decades of work right here. Clean water, electricity, roads and other forms of transportation... Doing it this way does make a lot of sense."

    Chuckles from Kanako made them all turn to see her with a grin. "Can you imagine Kamo's reaction to this? Definitely not something that he would have done, that is for sure." She slapped a hand down on her folder. "Look at this! This is the sort of thing that we should have been promised from the start and is as far from Kamo's policies as one could get! Yeah, it might be rough right now. But it's a damn start!"

    There were nods all around as they turned back to the folders with Minato quietly speaking up a few minutes later. "I assume that you already have informed your parents, Sakuya-San? And their thoughts?"

    Head tilted to the side, Sakuya gave a small smile. "They're quite pleased when I passed them their copies and think that this will be the sort of proof that many need. Proof that this time things are going to be different."

    Almost as one, they became thoughtful as they looked down at what they held. Something that they had all hoped for. Not to mention something that many Yokai had been working towards for so many decades...

    A true future.
     
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  20. Threadmarks: Omake: "Kiyohime plays F/GO"
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Seihai-kun Omake: "Kiyohime plays F/GO"

    AmadaShirou said:
    *Kiyohime's legend*​
    THAT is basically the version Nasu used, Barricade is very wrong saying he got her backstory wrong. Kiyohime's character on the other hand... Nasu!Kiyohime is a comedic socipath, a over-the-top yandere and a big source of black comedy. Even then, I picture HatS!Kiyohime's reaction to Nasu!Kiyohime as this:

    Kiyohime: *pouting* "I'm not like this..."
    Haku: "Hmm? What's wrong? Wait, is that my cellphone?"
    Kiyohime: "This game got my personality completely wrong! I'm a prim a proper lady, not a... not a..."
    Haku: "A crazy fire spitting yandere?"
    Kiyohime: "Yeah... that...."
    Haku: *grins* "Well, I don't know about the yandere part, but those Abyssals and Jorogumos you fought would definitively agree on the crazy fire spitting part."
    Kiyohime: "Haku-kun!"
     
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  21. Threadmarks: Omake: "That's a big kitchen knife"
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    U.N.Spacy000 Omake: "That's a big kitchen knife"

    Have some crack silliness about Harry mostly wordlessly interacting with Juuchi Yosamu going off the statement that the Potters see her as a useful tool with a sharp edge. Hopefully she won’t cut herself on her edge.

    Kitchen Calamity Canceled

    Harry Potter, adopted son of Nagamomto, probably first of his name, surveyed his demesne. Truly, he was a generous and just ruler of the kitchen. It was a fantastic domain to rule. Over the years, it had transformed and grown from a mere hit plate, tea kettle, and rice cooker to something that approached a commercial kitchen. In theory, it was a gift from Nagato for the whole family, but Harry was primarily the person who used it – though it did make it so Harry could cook more types of delicious food for the family, and that might have been the part that qualified as a gift to them.

    He had recently come across a new recipe for beef stroganoff he wished to try and already lined up some taste testers as well. It was just an excuse to feed the Duckies more, but if Harry had not come up with a viable excuse, they would have begged off and tried to get him to feed someone else.

    Again.

    However, he had a plan on how to best stuff the girls until they were making adorable, content, full stomach noises and all the necessary ingredients to get the job done.

    There was just one problem.

    All the knives were dull.

    Normally, the knives were maintained somewhat regularly by everyone in the family, but a comedy of errors had kept them from being sharpened. Nagato had emergency missions, Hoppo was swept up by friends at school to play with her puppies, Rose and Haruna won a rally car race and decided to celebrate by ‘performing their wifely duties’ or something, and Harry had been suckered into baking a literal ton of peanut butter cookies for a group of Kitsunes just to name the most recent set of distractions from the knives.

    But today, they were needed, and today, Harry was suffering from a time crunch. He needed to cut, slice, and dice the onions, mushrooms, and beef before sautéing the mushrooms, braising the beef, and letting everything simmer for forty-five minutes. He did not have the time to sharpen the knives to a sufficient and usable level to tackle four and a half kilos of beef in a timely manner, and walking to the store would take almost as long.

    Both options would unacceptably delay his feeding of the Duckies. They might wander of and find someone else for him to grace with his cooking instead.

    Harry pondered his conundrum, and his eyes fell upon the door to his room.

    He did have one other sharp object that could cut things.

    It would be awkward. He would need to do the food prep on the kitchen’s island to keep from putting the long blade through the wall. He would also need to clean and disinfect it – heavens above only knew when it was last cleaned and if it had any diseases on it.

    Unfortunately, it was the only way he had figure out how to get out of the sticky situation he found himself in. He was unsure if his heart could handle disappointed Duckies who were promised food and told to wait.

    Thus, Harry traveled to his room to collect Juuchi Yosamu from where he had safely secured her in his room and pondered the sword he was going to prepare this snack with. He knew she was a tsukumogami, but she had decided not to manifest while they were together. Harry had noticed the sword pulled out from where he had secured her earlier in the week seated at the table with Rose’s tea set and a place set for the sword and two others – all three of which had been used.

    Still, all he knew of Juuchi Yosamu was that she was sharp, had a less than stellar legend that made his Japanese friends tread carefully around her or when she was brought up, had not caused his family to be massacred, and had been somewhat bloodthirsty when he picked her up. However, if he wanted to actually get to know her, he was going to need to interact with her – and there was almost no better way to getting to know someone than by cooking with them.

    Well, there were plenty of ways, and some might be better, but he had needs that had to be fulfilled at the moment, so this was going to be the way he got to know Juuchi Yosamu today. He would make it up to her later if she objected to being useful.

    She would probably make a good conversation piece on the coffee tea table. There would need to be a glass case to keep people from touching her, though.

    Harry picked her up and headed back toward the kitchen. He felt a good amount of barely restrained glee emanating from Juuchi which caused him to chuckle before he unsheathed her and set her sheath aside. That was when Harry felt the need to go visit his neighbors and show of his antique sword to them – maybe they would reciprocate and show off an heirloom or two of their own. He could then give some demonstration swings and – Harry rolled his eyes before he shot the blade A Look. It was the same disappointed Look that Houshou would send her daughters when they were misbehaving, Taigei would give the submarines if topics strayed too close to certain subjects, and Arizona would give Shimakaze if the young destroyer was inappropriately dressed.

    “Stop that, we have more important things to do than murdering the neighbors and looting their apartment,” Harry said sternly.

    Juuchi was thoroughly amused she was being scolded like a child, and though she drew back, she was utterly unrepentant as poorly hidden anticipation built within her.

    Maybe Harry Potter would learn how to properly wield her so he could avenge his birth parents? Or chase down a foe who had been plaguing him in England? Or defend his sister’s honor from a cad?

    Harry huffed at the ideas the blade threw out as he turned on the faucet in the massive sink before collecting the dish soap and sponge. The list of suggestions coming from the blade came to an abrupt halt mid word when she was rinsed with warm water. She then began to emit confusion when the dish soap was poured on her. By the time Harry had begun to scrub at Juuchi Yosamu with the sponge, she had figured out what was going on and was terribly embarrassed. Harry was unsure how the metal blade had pulled off the trick of blushing, but it got a smirk out of him. When he was finished, Harry dried Juuchi off with a fresh, clean dishtowel that she took her revenge upon several times by nicking it and causing it to fray after slicing the edges.

    Harry just shook his head and brought the bemused blade to the kitchen island where he had set up his ingredients and cutting boards. He began by splitting the onions which did nothing to lessen his partner’s bewilderment or confusion. Harry then stripped away the dry outer layers, made some cuts, and began to dice the onions in earnest. He knew the exact moment Juuchi noticed the onions were making him cry because she began to slice through the vegetables with a vengeance. Harry did not know if this was because they had offended her for making him cry or because she wanted to see him cry more. Either way, he worked through the yellow onions faster than he had ever managed with a regular kitchen knife despite Juuchi’s awkward size.

    When he finished, he dumped the diced onions into a pot of waiting, melted butter that had been simmering on the stove. With his immediate task finished, Harry wiped off the content blade and turned his attention to the mushrooms. There was no vicious assault on the mushrooms, and Harry thought that Juuchi felt unduly smug and satisfied with her victory over the onions. Still, he made short work of his task.

    He set the mushrooms aside and moved the massive cutting board with the top round beef before him before he wiped the remaining mushrooms off Juuchi. Harry’s mouth began to water. The smell of melted butter and cooking onions, the anticipation of cutting into flesh even if it is just part of a dead cow – Harry quirked an eyebrow at Juuchi, and he got the feeling she was letting out an indignant huff before giving him the impression he should just let her savor the moment.

    Harry shrugged and trimmed the fat from the piece of meat. He set the scraps aside, and the blade seemed to be sad that her encounter with the beef was over.

    Oh how little she knew.

    Harry worked the meat over for the better part of a half hour. He cut thin slabs off the block, trimmed out more fat, sliced the slabs into strips, and parted them into thumb sized pieces. It took Harry a half hour to render the four and a half kilograms of beef into bite-sized pieces. For Juuchi, it was thirty minutes of wonder and ecstasy as she carved through flesh. By the end, Harry thought the emotions she was giving off was more akin to a USN destroyer coming home and binging on ice cream until she put herself into a coma.

    He smiled at that before he cleaned off the overly pleased blade in the sink again, and she was too blissed out to feel embarrassed this time. Once he was done, Harry nicked his finger to give Juuchi some blood so he could sheathe her.

    With the prep work completed, he began to cook. Harry set up a pan to sauté the mushrooms and a second one to sear the beef. A copious amount of olive oil was used to keep things from burning. After the contents in a pan were done cooking, they would join the onions and butter in the pot before another batch was dropped in the pan. Somewhere around the second turnover for the beef, a curious presence began to hover over Harry’s shoulder. He gave Juuchi a smile before handing her a chef hat, and the two remained in companionable silence as she watched him artfully manage the stovetop and all its contents. After the meat and mushrooms ran out, Harry cracked open the tomato paste and sour cream which he added to the pot. When everything was thoroughly mixed and stirred, he put a lid on it and started the rice cooker.

    Harry then spent the next forty-five minutes occasionally stirring the beef stroganoff and getting to know Juuchi Yosamu before the Duckies arrived and were stuffed.

    Juuchi had to admit that while it was not the kind of slaughter or massacre she was used to, she found it satisfying all the same.
     
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  22. Threadmarks: JNHRO School Time
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Lord K

    With a final contented rumble as the Kenmeri pulls into the park spot, Kiba turns off the engine and takes a moment to appreciate the building in front of them, in all it's modern, gleaming, reconstructed glory. A wane grin drifts across his face, as for a moment he no doubt remembers his own times and successes born from similar institutions in his past.

    Glancing at Asuka however, Kiba notes that the currently disguised and human appearing daitengu seems more focused on the crowds drifting around them, and flowing through the nearby gate. The okuri-inu gives a chuckle, and then attracts her attention with a comforting touch on the shoulder.

    "So, are you ready?"

    Asuka herself, shifts nervously and glances at the uniformed tide passing by outside.

    "Why do I have to start now? There's only a couple of weeks left. Can't I just start after the break when the new term begins in September?"

    Kiba just shakes his head and chuckles.

    "That's why this is the perfect time to start now. You'll have a week or two to figure out if you're behind on anything, and then the break to catch up. Besides, you never know, you might meet some friends to spend that holiday with as well."

    Asuka puts on her most beatific, innocently sweet, and hopeful smile in her arsenal.

    "But I already have you guys back home."

    The okuri-inu's response is to laugh and give the daitengu a head pat.

    "Nice try Asuka. Come on, I'll walk you to the office at least."

    "Ah, no, don't do that! Don't ruin my hair! I can't have my first day of school with messy hair!"

    --------------

    The walk to the office is a strange one.

    In retrospect, maybe Asuka should have asked Kiba to drive her to school in his GT-R34, rather than automatically gravitating to the Kenmeri that without any ABS or traction control, was always so much more fun to be a passenger in. Or better yet, something that wasn't some form of Skyline, or any other sort of rare, collector's vehicle in general. They should have borrowed somebody else's car for this, something people wouldn't have batted an eyelid, no matter how unglamorous it would have been.

    It isn't just the attention garnered by being an unknown girl, arriving at school in a muscle car, and being chaperoned by a roguishly handsome guy in a business suit that screams "banker money", that makes her feel awkward either. Entering the thankfully breezeless office of the school administration building is an embarrassingly welcome relief. For someone who can instinctively fly if she isn't paying attention, skirts are an accident waiting to happen, and it has been far too long since one has been a part of her wardrobe in any regularly worn capacity either. Especially not one with as short a length as what now seems popular among her "age group's" student body these days.

    Awkwardly playing at the edges of the recently purchased uniform, while Kiba pow-wows with her new homeroom teacher and goes through the process of doting the i's and crossing the t's of being her guardian, Asuka laments that the one thing she doesn't miss from the orphanage, is that they didn't enforce a uniform to save money.

    Finally though, they arrive at the dreaded moment. The point when Kiba can go no further (at least not without her making her look like a dork), and now it is all on her.

    For a moment she lingers, looking up up at the dog yokai, who's own proud smile can't help but muster her fledgling confidence, and cause her to produce one of her own in retrun. There's a special feeling to this goodbye, even if it is only for a few hours. After all, there is protection being escorted to one's destination by a "seeing-off wolf". Much to her consternation though, Kiba gives her one last head pat, even if she can't find it in herself to complain.

    "Go knock 'em dead Asuka. They won't know what hit them."

    Asuka just laughs, and catches the okuri-inu off guard with a final hug.

    --------------

    Standing by the doorway, Asuka fidgets anxiously. Inside the class, she can hear now homeroom teacher calling her soon to be future classmates to order.

    Nervously, she then runs her fingers over the two necklaces hanging prominently around her neck. It is an interesting feeling, alternating between the courser and raw materials of the transformation charm her parents gave her for school back home as a little kid so long ago, and then the metallic flawlessness of the three-feathered Saburo Clan kamon on the golden charm AI bequeathed to her. With the thought of those who gifted her, her most treasured marks of who she is, Asuka quells the last of the anxieties and fears in her heart.

    Mama. Papa. Ai. Kiba too thanks to his guardianship.

    She is determined to do them proud.

    "I know this is a bit sudden and rather late in the term, but I'd like to introduce a new transfer student. If you would introduce yourself please?"

    Squaring herself up, Asuka puts on her best face and enters the room. Immediately she can feel the whispers break out, not so much due to the sound being carried to her, but simply thanks to being able to detect the movements of there air among classmates who speak to each other or themselves, too quietly for their voices to reach the teacher.

    'That's the girl who arrived with the guy in the cool car this morning...'

    'Did you see how expensive it looked?'

    'So did his clothes.'

    'Do you think she's rich?'

    'That necklace of her's looks like it's made of gold and silver.'

    'Yeah, but the other one looks like it's made of twine.'

    'She looks nervous.'

    'I wonder why she's transferring in so late?'


    Walking up to take the typical place beside the teacher's desk at the front of the room for such introductions, Asuka resists the urge to wilt under the attention, and instead politely bows to her new homeroom sensei, and then to the class in turn.

    "I am Miku Asuka. It is nice to meet you all. Please take care of me."

    Raising her gaze, Asuka then almost freezes as he eyes drift over the faces of her future class mates.

    'What... the....?'

    Asuka doesn't consider herself all that proficient at transformations or illusions. While her charm is good enough that most humans will never, ever come close to suspecting her, she is by far, a person still gaining in her own proficiency and skill, rather than someone who is a natural or master of such arts. But after the last few months in the company of the J.N.H.R.O., she has become rather adept at identifying other yokai in disguise, even if she isn't as good as them, thanks to simply observing visitors coming and going from the Zuchi house for ideas in how to improve herself to similar degrees of aptitude.

    Which is why it completely throws her for a loop when she identifies the signs of yokai hidden in plain sight, among the very class she has just been dropped into. The Kitsune in particular, looks especially shocked upon the realization that she has been picked out of the crowd.

    'Do you know her?'

    'What, no!'

    'You do, don't you!'

    'I've never even seen this girl before!'

    'But you knew Ayaka!'

    'That's-'

    'You really are a shoujo manga character aren't you?! The rest of us except except you, Ayaka and now this girl, are just the faceless background characters aren't we!"

    "What are you even-'


    "Your seat will be the second from the window, on the third row."

    With a start, Asuka then realizes that her teacher is speaking once again.

    "Ah, thank you."

    "Feel free to speak up or raise your hand if you need anything. I trust those of you around Miss Miku will help her settle in as well."

    Walking down the aisle with the focus of her classmates upon her, the disguised daitengu has to resist touching at the disguise charm and kamon necklaces around her neck. Suddenly, she feels very foolish for her assumption that they would be completely meaningless to anybody who might see them at her new school. She also really hopes that they aren't related to anybody who might have a grudge against any of the Saburo clan branches, or realize that the Saburo outside of Iizuna were almost entirely made up of kotengu.

    Even as she sits down, and the attention of the class begins to die off thanks to the advent of their teacher starting roll call, Asuka can still feel the gaze of the other two upon her. Glancing out of the corner of her eye, she sees the inugami giving her an assessing look, while the kitsune looks curious. The disguised daitengu does her best to deliver a friendly smile in return, but it probably comes off as nervous more than anything else.

    "Oh jeez," she thinks to herself. 'What am I doing?'

    On the one hand, she somehow won the lottery and ended up in a class with not one, but two other yokai she can hopefully interact with and get to know. On the other hand, she probably looks like an idiot wearing a kamon for a clan most other people wouldn't think a daitengu would belong to, combined with the fact that she's naturally a spaz around people she doesn't know anyway.

    The awkward tension carries, all the way through to the end of their first class. Almost immediately, she finds her desk surrounded by curious and fascinated classmates, much to the detriment of her poor nerves.

    "Where are you from?"

    "I- I just moved here from Tokyo with my guardian."

    "You don't have a Tokyo accent."

    Asuka can't help but wilt slightly at that fact already being picked up and requiring some explanation.

    "Well, originally, I'm kind from Izu-Oshima."

    "How long have you been here?"

    "Just over a month or so-"

    "How come we haven't seen you around the neighborhood or here sooner then?"

    "We were still settling in? I dunno, we live on the other side of the hill right now."

    Unfortunately, this less than satisfactory answer, mixed with the fact the students from outside the local school zone are a rarity, only adds to the questioning.

    "Other side of the- Where are you staying?"

    "At my guardian's house in Zuchi."

    Apparently that is not the wisest of answers either, as immediately some of the other girls glance at the two yokai girls muscling into the circle around her desk with envy.

    "You live in Zuchi and your guardian drives a car like that?!? What does he do for a living?!?"

    The words "Financial Investment Management," automatically slip out before she can stop them.

    "I knew it!"

    Asuka leans back in her chair in shock at the outcry from the girl who was sitting next to the kitsune earlier "What?"

    "You're the Modern Ojou to be the polar counterpart of Natsumi being a shrine maiden, and Ayako being The Rival."

    Now completely lost, Asuka blinks in confusion. ".... but my parents were farmers?"

    Thankfully at that moment, Asuka is saved as the two yokai apparently in question, then finally make their way through the crowd.

    "Okay, stop it before you freak her out with your chuuni-ness!"

    "I won't be denied Natsumi! I want in on this show as well! Or manga, or whatever it is! I won't be written out of the plot! I'm best girl material too!"

    The kitsune facepalms, while the inugami just laughs at their very strange human classmate, and looks to the increasingly baffled daitengu.

    "Welcome to Yokosuka."

    Asuka can only nod dumbly.

    "It's been certainly been a welcoming."

    The inugami just laughs once again, while the kitsune finally removes her face from her palms and holds out a hand, accompanied by a smile in friendly greeting.

    "Well, seeing as these guys immediately jumped to asking questions, how about I be the first one to actually introduce myself? I'm Ono Natsumi."

    Even as Asuka's eyes widen in recognition gained from listening to snatches of J.N.H.R.O. conversations and planning sessions, and she accepts the handshake, it doesn't escape her notice how the inugami looks mildly annoyed at being upstaged.

    "Asuka, Miku Asuka. I mean- you probably knew that from earlier when I introduced myself, so- uh..."

    The inugami just smiles and gives a bow of her own in return to the politely nervous one Asuka gives the two.

    "And I'm Akatsuki Ayaka."

    While Asuka doesn't quite recognize the girl, she at least recognizes the name. She also has to restrain the kneejerk reaction to bow more formally.

    "Ah, well thank you Akatsuki-san. And you too Ono-san. I'm pleased to meet you both"

    Externally, Asuka is all smiles. Inside, Asuka screams.

    "Why did I have to get put in the same class as two of the most important yokai kids in the district?!?"

    Then the dreaded words slip out automatically on reflex.

    "I hope we can be friends."

    "STOP, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!? WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO INTO FORMAL!!!!!!!"
     
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  23. Threadmarks: Aso's puppy (probably Noncanon)
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Snippet 12: S0ngD0g13

    Aso paused in her morning walk when she heard a rustling noise from the alleyway nearby. The Carrier turned to look and saw a tiny furry form vanish behind a dumpster; she stepped into the alley, her curiosity drawing her to investigate.

    Aso knelt, and one of her Fairies shined a light into the space between the bin and the wall, revealing a tiny black puppy huddled there. At least, Aso thought it was black, underneath all the dirt and other things matted into the pup's fur. It blinked at the light and whimpered, cringing away. "Here now, Little One, don't fret. I won't hurt you," she said softly, reaching in and pulling the dog out. Aso stood, taking in the puppy's appearance as it tried without success to gnaw on her hand. "Let's see if we can't find who your family is..."

    .....................................................

    James was filling in at the Animal Shelter, as he often did since it was attached to the Minesweeper Kennels. He saw Aso walk in with the puppy and stood. "Good morning, Aso; who's this little guy?"

    Aso shrugged. "I hoped you might know; I found him behind a dumpster across base."

    James nodded calmly. "I don't see a collar, but he might be microchipped. First thing to do is get him cleaned up. Follow me?"

    Aso followed James into the rear of the shelter, and up to a metal sink. As her stepfather (which was as close to 'family' as Aso could bring herself to grant James McAmis, even in her own thoughts) gathered supplies, Aso started the water, adjusting the temperature until it wasn't too hot or too cold. James returned with the supplies and the pair worked in companionable silence to bathe the puppy. First was a rinse to dislodge the larger pieces of garbage, then Dawn dish-soap to clean the rest out as well as kill any fleas. After the final rinse Aso dried the puppy gently with a warm towel, and James went to fetch the scanner and check for a microchip.

    James ran the scanner over the puppy, then frowned. "No collar and no chip. He's a cutie, though; judging just by his looks I'd say he's part-Shepherd. For certain he's part-Akita; just look at how he holds his tail. He'd be adopted right-quick, with any luck."

    Aso frowned slightly. "You said 'with any luck', James; that implies a chance he wouldn't be adopted. What happens if he doesn't have any luck?" She reached down to the table and petted the puppy as she spoke.

    "Akitas and Shepherds like the German Shepherds, Belgian Shepherds, or Belgian Malinois the MPs use as working-dogs are large breeds," James said, his expression tired. "Large breeds need a lot of room to run and exercise, and room's not something most folks here toward the city have. Honest truth, Aso, the most-likely outcome for this tyke is he gets adopted as a puppy because he's cute, and when he gets bigger his owners decide they don't have room and he ends up in another shelter or back here, as an adult that's much harder to find a home for. Lord knows we'd take care of him as best we could, but..." He trailed off then, looking down and away as though his thoughts weren't something he liked admitting to.

    Aso followed his gaze. "But?"

    James sighed. "But, shelter policy is a dog can only stay here for ninety days; if they aren't adopted by then, they're put to sleep."

    Aso frowned. "You mean..."

    James nodded. "Euthanized. But chin up, Aso; that's the worst-case scenario, and he might-well find a good home and a good life."

    Aso looked down at the little black furball on the table. He was looking up at her, tongue out and tail wagging, and the eyes that the puppy was giving her had every Destroyer Aso knew beat hands-down. You survived on the streets, and now the bureaucrats say you're on borrowed time... You're barely ten weeks old, haven't even lived yet, really, but the stroke of a pen would see you dead... The puppy licked Aso's hand and looked up at her, showing a white patch on his chest like a slightly-misshapen crescent-moon. No. Just... No.

    "James, do you have a pen? I'd like to make sure everything's in order before I take Gekko here home."

    James grinned. "As a matter of fact, I do, Aso. While we're working on the paperwork, I'll have Chesterton, the Vet, get Gekko up-to-date on his vaccinations, and I'll cover the cost of getting him chipped, as a gift." As he went to get the adoption paperwork, James glanced back at his prickliest daughter, hugging the puppy and smiling as it licked her face. So that's what Aso looks like smiling... I'd hate to be whichever dumb S.O.B. tries calling her dog 'Irving', though...

    "Hey, Chesterton, I need you to vaccinate and chip a puppy real quick; bill the chip to me."
     
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  24. Threadmarks: Sacred Hospitality 2
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Snippet 13: S0ngD0g13

    Jackson Graves sat, his legs crossed, and felt the leather sling bite into his arm as he brought his rifle up. "I briefed Crowe, Constitution. I'm still looking into whose bright idea it was to whammy the officers who were supposed to get him up to speed, but I can tell you this much; it wasn't done through spells. No traces of spell-work on them at all, which makes me think it was done with potions." He slowed his breathing and relaxed, then the M1903A3 cracked and a gong on the seven-hundred-yard line rang.

    Constitution sighted on the same target with the Krag she was holding. "Anderson?" She fired and struck the gong.

    Gravedigger ran the bolt on his Springfield and took aim again. "Did not take the briefing well. He's justifiably suspicious of Wizards and Magic in general, and finding out he's got Summer-Court blood the way he did sure as Hell didn't help." He fired and rang the eight-hundred-yard gong.

    Connie sighed. "It was certainly a shock to me." Her rifle barked and the target rang. "How's Samantha?"

    Graves sighed. "Not happy with me for a slew of reasons." His rifle fired and the nine-hundred-yard gong rang.

    "Oh?" asked Connie before she fired.

    "Yeah. My Auror contract's almost up, and I'm not planning on renewing it. I'm planning on going back in the Army if they'll still have me; Sam thinks I'm a fool but I've had all I can take o' snobby-ass elitist Purebloods lookin' down on me like the fact I come from the coal-fields makes me less than them. At least in the Seventy-Fifth I knew the folks in charge had been through the same trials I had." Graves propped his Springfield butt-down against his shoulder.

    Constitution grounded her Krag. "That was one reason..."

    Graves chuckled. "She's also mad at me for another reason; the stomach bug that's had her hollerin' for Huey and Ralph this past week? Turns out it ain't a bug at all. It's morning-sickness; we're gonna have a kid, Connie."

    Constitution smiled happily. "Congratulations, Jackson," she said, clapping him on the back. "Boy or girl?"

    "Too early to tell. Was hopin' you might see your way clear to bein' Godmother?"
     
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  25. Threadmarks: Ron and Warspite: Healing (REPARO!)
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    RCNAnon

    Hello all. This chapter is one of the big ones and happens only a few weeks out of school for the most part.

    Hope you all enjoy, comments very welcome.

    Ron and Warspite: Healing

    ----------

    The end of the semester and the return home passed in the blink of an eye for Ron. Part of the reason was the sheer amount of studying he did. Exams were becoming increasingly important in his thinking and even if he’d never be quite as naturally smart as Hermione he could certainly try his hardest. Some things came more easily than others but soon enough he’d finished all his exams and they were on the Hogwarts Express for the journey back home.

    He made sure to pass the time with his friends since he wouldn’t see them very much once summer started. Harry would be back in Japan and Hermione had her time with the Royal Navy to consider. There was the wedding towards the middle to consider and he might see Hermione down at Portsmouth but it would be nothing compared to the day to day things that happened at Hogwarts. Yet there was another reason for him to keep busy with his friends.

    Two weeks. He’d been sending letters back and forth with Warspite regularly since Duke’s visit, not only did she not care about what happened she seemed rather happy about it. He’d also learned that the soonest available time for him to come visit her and spend any real length of time was two weeks away. There was a serious conference going on in London that she needed to be a part of and when he’d suggested coming to visit her immediately after arriving home, she’d shot him down and told him to remember his family.

    Ron admitted to himself that she was right, even if it was one of the things in life that tore both ways. Losing himself briefly in thought, his eyes went out the window to the passing British countryside. Out here, with the sun shining and the wind blowing from the train’s passage, it was almost as if there was no war on. Yet he knew better, everyone did. If it wasn’t for the war, what had happened to summon the shipgirls, he never would have met Warspite. He wondered what he would be like in that world… briefly, as Hermione gave him a smack on the arm and interrupted his wool gathering.

    “Ron, I know we’re almost home but it’s not like you to miss a conversation.” Hermione leaned back to her seat and gave him her patented look.

    “Sorry, I’ve got a lot on my mind.” He turned away from the window and focused on his friends again.

    “What do you have on your mind? We’re done with exams and you’ve done your part for the Royal Navy right?” Harry peered curiously at his friend.

    Ron fidgeted a little under the gaze of his friends before sighing. “It’s about Warspite. I can’t go and see her for a couple weeks is all and it’s getting to me.”

    Hermione’s eye quirked at that. “Ron, Warspite is a busy woman. I know you’re eager to see her but she does have other engagements. It’s not like you haven’t been speaking with her either, hardly a few days went by when you didn’t send her a letter or get one in return. Two weeks hardly seems like a long wait.”

    “It’s not the same this time Hermione.” He turned to Harry. “You remember when you told me about Hibiki last summer?”

    “Yeah, I mean I told you… oh. OH.” Harry’s eyes went wide. “Is she ready?”

    “She says she’s ready and I have no reason to disbelieve her. That’s why I’m so eager right now.” Ron raised his hand and ran it through his hair, shaking the shaggy red mane.

    “What are you two talking about?” Hermione looked between the two boys, the irritation she always had at knowing something clear in her eyes.

    “Warspite told Ron she’s ready to summon her hull.” Harry looked at Hermione. “So Ron wants to go see her even more than normal.”

    “She’s going to summon her hull?” Hermione’s eyes widened and she turned to look at Ron. “I can understand why you’d be eager to see something like that but still its only...”

    “I can fix her hull Hermione.” Ron turned to look her straight in the eye. “If Warspite can summon her hull I can fix her. I’ve been waiting years to do that, to have any way to help her out of her pain and when she told me she’d be ready to summon her hull by summer I was ecstatic. Then when she told me she actually was ready… I can’t even describe it. She’s done so much for me… it’s the least I can do to heal her.” Ron realized that he’d been speaking somewhat harshly and blinked. “Sorry. I didn’t mean it to come out like that. It’s just...”

    “She means a lot to you Ron.” Hermione interrupted him and shook her head. “If it was one of my sisters like that I’m sure I’d be worked up like you are. I just didn’t realize what was at stake.”

    “Thanks.” Ron gave Hermione a nod of his head.

    “So you’ll be done by the time the wedding comes around right?” Harry tilted his head. “I mean it’s more towards the middle of summer and all.”

    “If she can summon her hull I plan to keep working on it until she’s completely fixed.” The determination had returned to Ron’s eyes. “She said that she wanted to dance with me at the wedding, so I’m going to make that happen.”

    Harry and Hermione shared a look at Ron’s expense, grins spreading across both of their faces.

    “You know Ron, she’s probably going to want to look nice for the wedding.” Harry leaned back into his seat with a big smile.

    “She always looks nice though.” Ron tilted his head at Harry. “I mean yeah she’ll get dressed up and stuff since it’s a wedding. I’m sure I will too.”

    “What Harry is trying to say is that you might want to think about getting her a gift or two.” Hermione shook her head at Ron. “I don’t imagine it’d be too hard given that you’ve got that check from Resource to pay for things.”

    Ron’s mind went back to the very large number on the piece of paper he received, then to what he could possibly get Warspite with it. He’d promised to put at least half of it away for later but even then…

    “I suppose I should get her something with that. It’s not like I’d have that money without her anyway.” Ron turned the thought around in his head, focusing down on what he knew Warspite liked and didn’t like.

    “I think that might be a good idea.” Hermione rolled her eyes at Ron and then turned back to Harry. “I think she’d look good with a new set of earrings, don’t you?”

    “Mum and her friends have always been partial to necklaces, they aren’t as likely to catch on anything.”

    Ron grinned as his friends began to debate the various pros and con’s of different pieces of jewelry. Joining in and making notes, he began to plan for the next two weeks.

    /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

    Two weeks passed by like the blink of any eye for Warspite.. Despite the near constant meetings and the busywork that she lost herself in, it seemed that the clock ticked by faster every second. Nothing she tried to slow down the time seemed to work, long reports, meetings she only technically had to be at and could’ve easily avoided, and even staying up late in the night working on countless tiny items found time slipping by faster than she wanted it to.

    Now at long last the day was here… and she was more nervous than she’d ever been. She shouldn’t be nervous, she knew that. Yet she still was and she knew she was doing a terrible job at hiding it. It didn’t help that what she’d hoped would be a simple thing between her and Ron had turned… well it wasn’t quite a circus but it was still more than she had wanted.

    “You look like you’re about to vibrate out of your chair.” Duke’s voice interrupted her internal monologue with a dry observation. The two of them were waiting at the base gate for Ron to arrive.

    “...I’m not that bad am I?” She hadn’t been paying attention and she could have been…

    “No but your face looks like you’re about to meet an executioner, not someone who’s spent enough time thinking about how to fix you that he can describe any bit of your internals at a moments notice.”

    Warspite felt herself flush at that, even though she knew it was a good thing.

    “It’s… what if...” She couldn’t even properly enunciate her worries since they were so vague and nebulous.

    “The boy loves you Warspite, what else is there to talk about?” Duke’s voice softened as the discussion continued but it was still clear that she thought Warspite was being silly.

    “…I looked terrible when I went away Duke. I spent years on those rocks before they finally scrapped me. X-turret was gone and I couldn’t even make full steam. Rust everywhere… what if he doesn’t like what he sees? What if he decides he can’t do it?”

    Warspite knew her worries were spurious, that Ron would never do any such thing… but she’d lived so long with the pain and the hurt that her mind couldn’t quite grasp the idea that it might be over. There was hope, so much hope… but also worry.

    “Is that seriously what you’re worried about Warspite?” Duke’s question was frank… and mostly disbelieving.

    “Yes… no… I… I just don’t know what to think right now. It’s been so long since I felt whole, felt right… I almost don’t believe it can happen.” She paused and took a deep breath. “But since we both know I’m wrong why don’t you tell me how I’m wrong.”

    Duke laughed, a pure chuckle that lightened Warspite’s mood even before she started speaking.

    “Warspite, if you were a burnt out hulk, spread in pieces across the length and breadth of the Atlantic, in the middle of Abyssal territory, radioactive and covered in spiders, Ron would say things might be a bit difficult but he’d manage. If he had to fistfight a Re-Class to get back the last link of your anchor chain, he’d complain about learning to box but he’d do it. If he had to rebuild you from the keel up using old teabags and spit he’d do that too. I hope you’re getting the point by now.”

    Warspite felt herself grinning and then finally let out a soft laugh and wiped a tear away from the corner of her eye.

    “Yes, I think I get the point by now Duke. I don’t think he’d manage to fistfight a Re though, given he can’t walk on water like we can.”

    “He wouldn’t have to do that one, I’d do it for him.” Duke’s voice was dead serious, though still filled with a bit of humor.

    “...I know, thank you for being such a good friend to me Duke.” She hoped she put as much emotion into her voice as she thought she did.

    The feeling of Duke’s hand on her shoulder told her she had and her own hand went up to touch it.

    “You’ve been a good friend to me as well Warspite and done more than I could’ve asked you.”

    “No I haven’t I...”

    “You didn’t have to introduce me to him like you did Warspite. You really didn’t and nobody would have said anything about it.”

    Warspite didn’t have any words for that, simply squeezing her friends hand. Maybe she couldn’t be called out on not doing such a thing… but she would’ve forever felt it. The moment passed and she took her hand off of Duke’s, who gave her one last squeeze on the shoulder before removing it.

    “He should be here soon, it’s not like him to be late.” Duke leaned on Warspite’s chair, looking around at the gate.

    “He’ll be here. As much as I worried, it was never about him not being here on time.”

    Only a minute later they caught sight of a redheaded man walking down the street, then as they approached another redhead appeared beside him. As they approached Warspite smiled, as while Ron was clearly comfortable in the clothes she’d picked out for him a while ago, Mr. Weasley still tugged awkwardly at his collar every now and again, along with one of his buttons being messed up.

    As they reached the gate Warspite and Duke stepped forward, though not so close as to disrupt the guards. Ron proudly held up his badge to the guard, who took it with a bit more care than he otherwise might given Ron’s age. Handing it back he waved Ron through, the boy giving his father a quick hug before heading towards the two waiting battleships. Mr. Weasley returned the hug and then gave Warspite and Duke a nod and a wave before turning to leave.

    “Warspite, Duke!” Ron slowed only a little bit as he ran up, nearly slamming into Duke as she stepped out from behind Warspite’s wheelchair. Duke weathered the impact like the battleship she was and wrapped the boy up in a hug almost as big as the one he was giving her.

    “It’s good to see you too Ron.” Duke smiled, patting the boy on the back before she released him.

    “It’s great to see you both!” He turned and wrapped Warspite up with a much more restrained if equally as heartfelt hug.

    “It’s been too long.” Warspite hugged Ron back in turn and her worries were washed away, at least for the moment.

    “Yeah… but everything will be better after this!” Ron’s enthusiasm was hard to resist and Warspite grinned.

    “Yes, yes it will.” Warspite gave him a smile as he pulled away, the boy clearly bouncing up and down on his toes for a few seconds.

    “So, when are we going? Soon I hope. I can’t wait to get started.” Warspite’s smile disappeared, she wasn’t surprised Ron hadn’t figured out this bit.

    “Well it’s not going to be just us.”

    “I mean I figured Duke was coming too.”

    Warspite looked over at Duke and Duke just smiled at her in a manner which told her that this was her problem.

    “About that...”

    /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

    Ron looked at the docks and then down at Warspite, who gave him a wry smile.

    “I told you.” Her voice was light but it also held a bit of apprehension.

    “I know you did but this...” Ron shook his head.

    Waiting at the docks was an entire taskforce worth of ships. HMS Suffolk and Norfolk were there, along with Delhi and her sister ship Dauntless. Then there was HMS Edinburgh and Belfast along with a small gaggle of destroyers, HMS Resource and a fully sized shipgirl ambulance. Not to mention Admiral Whitcomb.

    “I’ll be in command of the girls.” Duke’s voice was much more relaxed than Ron felt. It helped that she was coming but…

    “Why am I supposedly in charge of any of this. It doesn’t even make sense.” Ron felt out of his depth and they hadn’t even gone anywhere.

    “You’re the expert. So you’re in command of that part of the operation.” Resource had come over with Admiral Whitcomb, the repair ship smoking her pipe like she apparently did anytime it was completely frowned upon.

    “I… I’m not really an expert per-say but...” Ron’s words were cut off by Admiral Whitcomb.

    “Are you saying that I’m about to let a valuable member of the Royal Navy, one of our most experienced service members and someone I consider a friend, out into the middle of the Channel to preform a procedure we’ve never seen before without an expert around?” His words were firm but not harsh, though his eyes bored into Ron.

    Ron gulped. “Yes sir… I mean no sir. I am an expert.” His heart pounded in his chest as the Admiral stared at him for a few more seconds.

    “Good, then I’ve no worries about the outcome.” The Admiral didn’t quite smile but Ron felt himself calm down.

    “I’m coming with you to make sure there’s no complications afterwards.” Resource did smile. “Not that I doubt you mate but I’m a bit more of an expert on triage.”

    “Thanks.” Ron took a breath and then looked back at the waiting girls. “Is all of this really necessary?”

    “While the channel is almost completely secured, we’re not about to let Warspite be taken by surprise while doing this. Especially if there’s any complications during the procedure.” Admiral Whitcomb was matter of fact in his statement but Ron heard Warspite sigh.

    “We are being a mite bit extra careful given the situation but it’s nothing we wouldn’t do for anyone else in the same boat.” Resource smiled at Ron from behind Whitcomb.

    “You didn’t ask for anything according to Warspite but is there anything that we can provide for you that will make what you’re about to do easier?” Whitcomb remained businesslike, though it seemed he was relatively relaxed by now.

    “No, I shouldn’t be needing anything.” Ron shook his head no. “Once Warspite summons her hull, then I should be able to Reparo any damage away.”

    “You mind me asking what the hell Reparo is? Aside from magic of course.” Resource seemed genuinely interested at the very least.

    “It’s… well it’s simultaneously one of the easiest spells to learn and one of the hardest to use properly if you want to use it to it’s full potential.” Ron started to speak, only to have Resource gesture towards the Docks.

    “Come on mate, walk and talk. With your permission of course Admiral.” Whitcomb nodded.

    “You’re all dismissed, I wish you luck with the operation.” The girls all saluted, Ron sketched a hasty one and Whitcomb returned it before heading back towards a waiting aide.

    “So, what’s this about your spell or whatever being hard to use properly?” Resource prompted as they started walking.

    “At it’s simplest Reparo lets you fix anything.” Ron began to recite with the voice of a person who had studied their craft and knew it by heart. “There’s a catch though. You have to actually know how it works. So it’s very good for simple things like a broken window or plate. You just wave your wand and then you get a whole plate again.”

    “But you’re planning on using it on Warspite’s hull. Which is just a bit more complicated than a plate.” Resource was paying close attention to Ron’s explanation, with Duke following close behind.

    “Yes, it is. So I’ve been studying a lot.” Ron didn’t notice Warspite’s blush as he pushed her.

    “You’ve studied… what exactly?” Resource was walking beside them and Warspite glanced over to see a smile on her face.

    “Warspite’s builders prints, naval construction techniques, a bit of chemistry and metallurgy… I started to look at some ballistics but I didn’t need that to actually fix her so I focused on what I did.” With each of Ron’s responses Resource looked more impressed.

    “So I suppose the real question is if Warspite trusts you know her well enough then.” Resources comment was innocent enough but Warspite still blushed.

    “I do.” Warspite’s voice was completely confident as she placed her hand on her heart, even if her face was a bit flush.

    That was when they reached the docks, the rest of the ship-girls gathering around the ambulance.

    “Well I suppose that’s it then.” Resource’s voice was matter of fact, even as she looked over at Ron and gestured to the ambulance. “You get to ride, the rest of us are going to sail.”

    “Alright.” Ron stopped at the edge and helped Warspite stand up, her usual slowness clearly evident. Looking up at her he smiled. “Next time I help you up, it won’t be because it hurts.”

    Warspite smiled at him and pulled him in for a hug. “I know.”

    With that Ron blushed and nodded, then headed for the waiting ambulance ship as Warspite summoned her rig and stepped out onto the water.

    “Everyone, lets go!” Duke’s voice was loud and clear, even over the sound of the ambulance ship starting up it’s engines. The chorus of returns carried as well and Ron waved to Warspite as she took up station by the ship. She waved back and Ron felt a hand on his shoulder. Turning around, he found Resource standing behind him.

    “I thought you were sailing?” He cocked his head to the side in confusion as the ambulance cast away and the engines picked up pitch.

    “I was. Until you told me about your Reparo. Now we’re going to have a pop quiz until we reach Warspite’s summoning zone.” Resource grinned at him in the manner of a teacher about to quiz a pupil in every manner they knew how.

    “Yeah? Well bring it on. I’ve got this one down.” Ron grinned back, the star pupil ready to match the teacher with an answer for every question.

    “Alright then, lets start with the basics...”

    /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

    For all that Warspite had been nervous about what Ron might think waiting for him to arrive, the only thoughts on her mind now were those of what might happen when she summoned her hull. Not even she knew for sure what would appear, as she hadn’t completed the summoning. She’d had it poised, right on the brink but she hadn’t wanted to summon it without him there. He deserved to see it with her for the first time, it’d been his idea after all.

    Their task force made good time, though it wasn’t like they were steaming all that far or quickly. Still it seemed like no time at all until Warspite felt that the place was right.

    “Duke, we can stop here.” Looking around Warspite felt… peace. At least enough for her to feel comfortable trying to summon here.

    Duke looked over to her and nodded before she began calling out with her voice and radio. “Group one, standard search pattern starting North, Group two, start south.” Her voice barked orders with all the experience of one of Her Majesties most experienced battleships and Warspite felt a smile appear on her face as the girls moved out without complaint. She was thankful that there were less people watching and even as her eyes opened she heard the ambulance ship rumbling behind her.

    Turning she saw that it was pointed away from her now, the ships large well dock to her if anything happened. Strangely she saw nobody on the deck… until a red mop of hair popped over the end and began to wave at her. She waved back to him and she saw him hold his hand above his head. She could only assume that he was giving her some form of thumbs up or the like. Holding her own hand up she then turned and faced the sea.

    They were far enough from shore that they could not possibly be seen and thanks to the location she’d chosen there was nobody in sight aside from those that had come with them. That helped her clear her head of everything, everything except for the redheaded boy that was her bedrock now watching her.

    Closing her eyes, she began the summoning as she’d learned it and in doing so learned more about herself. The pain came first, like it always did. This time it had always been there, as she’d left her cane behind on shore. The pain was still a building block for further items. Duty, Honor, Loyalty, Laughter, Friends, Love. Everything that came with being a human, everything that came with being a returned ship girl. When that had been built she felt it the spark that was herself in spiritual form. Unlike her first spark it was now a cable, a cable which she would have to pull up bit by bit.

    A tug and she felt something begin to rise, a mass that she recognized as herself in ship form. It appeared from nowhere and was made of nothing yet solid all the same. As she began to “haul” it upwards she sensed something she’d never felt before. There was bedrock under her, solid and immovable, making it so much easier for her to succeed than anything she’d ever felt. She instinctively knew what it was even as she tugged, her heart rising in her chest as feelings rushed through her.

    Hand over hand, loop after loop her hull rose from the depths of the channel. She’d never gotten this far before but there was no stopping it now. Soon water began to rise, bubbling from some disruption on the bottom. Then it began to roil, almost as if the sea was boiling somehow. She could not see these as her eyes were closed but she could feel it, her senses somehow expanded in the act of what she was doing.

    Finally something breached the surface and her eyes snapped open. The tip of a mast is all that is visible at first, though it’s quickly followed by the rest of her superstructure. Firing directors, conning tower, cranes and after mast all appear in a rush of waves. Then the main part of her hull began to appear. First the might turrets and here was where she felt her breath freeze in her chest.

    X turret, though she knew it was operational in her rig, looked as it had when she was hit. There was scarring, and as the rest of her hull rose out of the water she felt her spirits drop even more. Rust spots her paint and overall she can feel a sense of wear and tear. Not to mention the missing boiler room and the damnable concrete caisson. As the rest of the water rolls off the hull in front of her that also happens to be her, all she can feel is sadness, an old and beat up ship surfacing once more.

    At least until the yelling, the exultation's of sheer joy coming from behind her manage to reach her ears. Turning around, she finds herself able to see Ron leaping about on the aft end of the ambulance ship. His red hair glints in the sunlight as he bounces around and waves his hands in the air. He evidently sees nothing wrong with her and her spirits immediately buoy back to the surface. That was all that mattered to her right now.

    Glancing back at her hull, Warspite shakes her head and then turns back to Ron, sailing back to the ambulance ship.

    “That is so cool!” Ron’s voice carried far enough over the waves that Warspite could now hear him.

    “Thank you. I’m glad you approve.” Her voice carried back as she sailed up to the edge of the ambulance ship, Resource and some of the other crew members now appearing on the deck with Ron.

    “It’s perfect.” Ron’s smile was wide and his tone ecstatic.

    Warspite felt herself blush, even as there were murmurs from the rest of the assembled crew.

    “Are you ready to get started?” She was nervous even asking that but Ron grinned even wider.

    “Lets go!” He was bouncing on his feet, looking at her.

    “I think we should all go.” Resource’s voice interrupted as she stepped up next to Ron.

    “Right.” Ron looked around. “So… how are we getting there?”

    Resource looked at Warspite and smiled.

    /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

    It wasn’t exactly uncomfortable in Warspite’s arms, despite Ron’s misgivings. It actually was rather comfortable if he was honest. Just a little bit embarrassing given that she was doing what Harry always called a “Princess” carry but the sight of her smile was enough for Ron. That and the ever approaching wall of steel that was her hull.

    “So how are we getting up?” Ron had to crane his head up to see all the way to the rail of Warspite’s hull.

    In response a rope ladder clattered down the side, the wooden slats hanging just a foot above the rather calm waves.

    “Like that. You’re going first.” Warspite smiled at him again, nodding her head to the ladder.

    “Right.” Ron reached out to the ladder and began to climb, the sound of feet behind him rising after he’d climbed a good distance. Thankfully it wasn’t more than a twenty to thirty foot climb and Ron made it to the deck without issue. What was waiting for him up top caused him to blink. There were crewmen, shades of them at least in many different styles of uniform. From her commissioning to the uniforms they wore right before she was decommissioned. There was even a lieutenant of one stripe or the other. Ron felt an urge reach him and he turned towards the stern and saluted the ensign he somehow knew was there, then saluted the waiting Lieutenant, who was clearly the Officer on Deck.

    One returned salute later and Warspite climbed carefully onto the deck, smoothing her skirts down from where they’d been ruffled. As she turned every one of the shades on deck saluted her and she smiled and returned it.

    “As you were.” Her voice carried no hint of command but it didn’t need to. The shades went back to what they were doing, most of them disappearing as Ron looked to Warspite. She surveyed the deck in front of her and Ron turned an eye to examined it as well. It was scrubbed and clean enough but it looked old, the planks having stood the test of time but showing their age.

    “I hope this doesn’t disappoint.” Her voice was somewhat soft as she turned to look at Ron. “I think you knew I felt worn sometimes.”

    “Yeah, I did.” Ron nodded but put a big smile on his face. “It doesn’t matter. I’ll get you fixed up right away.” He reached into his pocket, pulling out the willow wand that he’d been practicing with for years just for this moment.

    “Ron, wait.” Warspite’s voice caused him to pause, his hand stilling.

    “What?” He looked up at her, the smile falling from his face for something more serious.

    “Can you do this from anywhere?” Warspite’s voice was serious, thoughtful.

    “Well, yeah. With you I could do this with my eyes closed.” Ron nodded. “As long as I can reach with my spell.”

    “Good, lets go to the bridge.” Warspite extended her hand.

    “Why the bridge?” He took Warspite’s hand and she led him towards the conning tower.

    “We can sit there. I want to watch… and you can help me up.” Warspite tossed him a smile over her shoulder.

    As they climbed up to the bridge they encountered a few more shades but they all stepped to the side immediately, making way for Warspite and him. Stepping into the bridge after Warspite, Ron saw a number of shades standing around the captains chair. Each of them saluted Warspite and she saluted all of them in return.

    “My Captain’s wanted to watch, if you don’t mind.” Warspite turned to look at Ron.

    “That’s fine.” He nodded to her.

    “Come then, you said I wouldn’t hurt the next time I stood up.” Warspite’s smile met Ron as she sat in the Captain’s chair, then patted her lap. “I… would like you to be with me.”

    Ron felt a flush come to his face but he nodded. He climbed up into the seat with Warspite and she wrapped her arms around him, pulling him back to her so she could whisper in his ear.

    “No matter what happens, I love you Ron.” Warspite’s voice was soft in his ear.

    “I love you too.” His voice was quiet in return but he meant every bit of it.

    There was silence for a moment and then Ron raised his wand, pointing it straight in front of him.

    “Reparo.”

    /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\

    Warspite could feel her hull as Ron raised his wand, she could feel every bolt, gear and moving part. Not to mention the shades that were the members of her crew forever with her. Captain’s stood behind them, engineers down in the boil rooms that were her heart alerted to what was going to be happening.

    “Reparo.”

    Warspite felt a thousand sets of hands all over her outer hull. Scraping, removing rust, making her hull ready and then finally repainting her in her wartime gray. It took only a few instants for even the top of her mast to have a fresh, perfect coat of paint on it. It was equal to the best painting she’d ever had, a perfect dry dock job… and every set of hands had been Ron’s.

    Every set, every stroke and every scrape had been Ron’s. She didn’t know if it was always like this if Reparo was used or not but she felt Ron’s hand in every repair. Her breath fluttered, even as she held tight to Ron.

    “Reparo.”

    The word came again and she felt Ron’s hand replacing every plank of her decking, check every bit of her topside armor. Her rigging was checked, replaced and made perfect. Her boats and planes were as pristine as if they’d come off of the factory floor. Her fire directors, her eyes, were polished, calibrated and made as perfect as they could be.

    “Reparo.”

    She felt her guns being polished, barrels replaced, breaches in pristine working order. From the smallest of her AA guns to her mighty 15’’ batteries she couldn’t have asked for a finer set of weapons. Again every hand was Ron’s, even as the damage to X turret was cut away, repaired and sanded down. By the time it was done there was no sign she’d ever been hit by the Fritz-X on her upper works. She could feel herself warming on the outside, a flush coming to her body as it went along with her hull.

    “Reparo.”

    Ron’s voice was louder now and she felt his hand pointing his wand down, towards the interior of her hull. Doors, dogs and hatches all swung easier, interior painting was redone and all the lights buzzed brightly. Her crew quarters were spotless, the kitchens free of grease for once and her fitting shops turned out until the last scraps of metal and wood were gone. She could feel the soft care of somebody who knew what they were doing in every touch as her interior was made like she’d just come out of Devonport. Except for a few spots.

    “Reparo!”

    Ron’s voice cried out as he put more effort into the spell and she felt her legs tingling. Her breath caught in her throat and she felt her muscles clench as her boilers were repaired. Lines were cleaned, brickwork repaired and superheaters checked. She could feel as the small but sure hands rebuilt her damaged boiler room, her heart pounding as it found another beat and then soared.

    “Reparo!”

    She felt each and every chip as the concrete caisson that had been her bane was taken out. Every bit of care was taken as the one person who had dreamed bigger than even she had made sure that the plates were replaced properly. She felt cuts made, welds, every technique one could think of until at long last her hull was pristine down to the keel. She felt tears coming to her eyes as pain lessened but then there was still more, there was still pain in her body.

    “Reparo!!”

    For the first time the repairs took time. Even though the hands knew what they wanted to do, even her crew had never managed to fix her issues. Dockyards, engineers and fixes of all sorts had tried. None had worked. The hands didn’t care even as they struggled. She would be fixed and that was all there was to it.

    “REPARO!!”

    The loud bellow filled her bridge as much as any order ever shouted. A raw, primal cry that demanded her structure bend to its will. Her mighty shafts, propellers and gears were taken down to the last screw, last bolt and last weld. They were straightened, polished, checked and then straightened again. Her turbo generators and hydraulics were inspected, repaired, double checked and then made as if they’d just been fabricated. Her steering gear and rudders were checked so many times that she lost count, the hands making it so that there was no chance she’d ever go wrong again. Finally, all of it was reassembled. Placed with such care that had any engineer ever doubted a ship could match its drawings exactly, they would be proven wrong.

    As the last welds were finished, the last lines checked and the last cables tightened in her hull, Warspite felt her legs twang. Her muscles spasmed, popping in some manner that she would never be able to properly describe. She gasped and her arms tightened around Ron’s waist so much she drove the breath from him in a rush.

    Then the pain dulled as it always did. The sharpness losing its edge until there was only a throb. Until, for the first time in nearly a hundred years, she didn’t hurt. There was no pain in her legs, no pain in her heart. The tears in her eyes turned to a sob of joy and then she buried her head in Ron’s shoulder and cried tears of joy for the life that he’d granted her.

    One which would forevermore include him.
     
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  26. Threadmarks: Omake: "Homaruyu Pt.1 (SemiCanon)
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    UCCMaster Omake: "Homaruyu Pt.1"

    Harry Leferts said:
    That... came across as needlessly rude...​
    Eheheheh...yeah...I guess that did...
    Sorry bout that Daeven. I was out of line. Just...annoyed how quickly our thread derails off of technical details rather than story plotline.

    How about some crack as an apology?
    *-*-*-*-*-*

    “Mogu…Harry-chan are you sure this is going to work?” Maruyu played with the shell shaped shield strapped to her arm.

    The black haired boy nodded. “Dess, we’re sure! Akashi-san, Yuubari-san, are you ready?”

    Looking over, the army submarine could see the two mechanics snickering, their grins over a thousand kilonazis. “Let’s make anime real!”

    “Starting camera.” Harry reported, pressing the red button on the camera. “This is test number one for ‘Turning Mogu-chan into Mogu-mando!’ Here we have a pocket wardrobe fused with a protective shield with spinning gears.”

    “Those don’t work by the way, we’re still trying to get through time space mechanics.” Yuubari added. “They just spin for fun!”

    “What’s important is that Mogu-chan is wearing a school uniform and wig!” Akashi finished. “Now she’s Mogu-mando!”

    “Dess!” Harry agreed, wearing a matching Madoka costume to match. “Maruyu-chan, flick your hair!”

    “Mogu…” Maruyu sighed. “Well, then test one. Start!”

    The camera followed the swimsuit clad submarine to a table with several weapons sitting on it. “First, Mogu-mando must swipe a full armory of handguns. We chose our favorites for this one (I don’t know guns so be *CREATIVE*).” Yuubari explained, “Now Mogu-mando, do your thing!”

    The poor submarine sighed, drooping her head. “Mogu mogu…” The small girl picked up and inspected the first firearm before bringing it to her shield. To her surprise though, the weapon completely vanished once it touched the shield. The camera zoomed in on the girl’s face as realization dawned upon her. Then said realization turned into a grin with TWO thousand Kilonazis.

    The next few minutes, the camera watched as the suddenly hyper submarine loaded, inspected, and stashed each weapon into the shield in under ten seconds each. Once she finished the pistols, she moved to the next table, submachine guns. Her arms blurring at the speed of three kiloShimakazes. After that, shotguns and assault rifles. Then anti-tank rifles and sniper rifles. Finally, she stashed the RPG into the small shield.

    The onlookers sweatdropped. “Well there you have it. Our Mogu-chan has become our resident Mogu-mando!”

    Yuubari stared for a brief moment. "Wait, doesn't our hulls hold things just fine?"

    The army sub froze mid loading a Halo-esque Railgun, eyes wide.

    “Ehh!? Mogu-mogu…”

    As promised...our Maruyu-chan has become a Mogu-mando.
     
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  27. Threadmarks: testing potions
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Harry Leferts

    Frowning, Harry looked at the timer he had going in his potion's workshop with a frown. "Hmm... About three minutes?" After a moment, he nodded. "Okay, should get started on the next bit." Reaching into the small fridge off to one side, the wizard brought out a container filled with berries that he began to cut into slices carefully on a clean stone cutting board. "Okay, so the recipe calls for..."

    While he was looking at the open book, there was a knock on his door and he glanced at it as a voice drifted in. "Hello? Harry-Chan? I got your text..."

    Just looking over his shoulder, Harry gave a smile. "Niiyodo-Chan! You can come in!" When she opened the door and poked her head inside, he nodded. "Thanks for coming."

    Blinking as she adjusted her glasses, Niiyodo gave a small nod. "You're welcome, Harry-Chan? Though I am a bit confused as to why you wanted me to come..."

    All Harry did was hum as he continued to cut the berries. "Actually, um..." There was a sheepish smile on his face. "I sort of needed you to help me test out some potions that I've made..."

    Eyes widening slightly, Niiyodo glanced at the bubbling cauldron and then at the door. While Harry had never done anything to harm her or any other girl, there was still that small worry. But then she took a deep breath and let it out. "What... sort of potion, Harry-Chan?"

    Humming, Harry was silent for a moment before glancing at the timer and giving a nod. "Well... some hair care potions actually."

    Of all the things that the Light Cruiser could have expected, that was most certainly not one of them. Furrowing her eyebrows, Niiyodo frowned in confusion. "Hair care potions, Harry-Chan? Why would you be working on those?"
    With a chuckle, he shrugged some. "You know Rose and Haruna-Oba's wedding is in two weeks at most?" Harry watched as she began to nod only to pause. "I thought that it would be nice if everyone could look their very best for it, hence these potions."

    Making her way until she was beside him, Niiyodo sat down on one of the stools that was there for visitors and watched as Harry began to add the berries. "So you just want to test them out on my hair? To see if it would work?"
    It was then that she noticed the grin. "Well, yours and Akashi-Oba's." At the confusion, his voice dropped a level. "I'm calling in one of the debts she owes me from cards for her to be a test subject. Don't worry, she'll be first for each stage of the testing."

    Unable to help herself, Niiyodo began to giggle madly at the thought of one of the "Mad Scientist Shipgirls" suddenly finding herself a victim of testing something out. There was something rather poetic about it if she thought about it. "She couldn't have been overjoyed to find that out, Harry-Chan."

    Tone dry, Harry's next words increased the giggles coming out from Niiyodo. "She wasn't."

    Still giggling, the shipgirl could feel her own crew snickering and such. Just the image of Akashi's face was nearly enough to set her off. "A bit of a shame that this is a one time thing."

    Face a picture perfect image of innocence, Harry blinked. "It is?" The boy then made a gesture. "But I have several dozen IOUs from Akashi-Oba! And once I have those done, I also have as many for Yuubari-Oba!" Pretending not to see Niiyodo's jaw drop, he tapped his chin as he stirred with the other hand. "It would seem that Akashi-Oba thought that I forgot about those IOUs for some odd reason..."

    Almost ten seconds passed before Niiyodo nearly fell off her stool from laughing. Once she was done, she rubbed her eyes free of tears. "Thank you for that, Harry-Chan."

    Only shrugging as he grinned, Harry shot her a wink. "You're welcome, Niiyodo-Chan." Switching the direction of the stirring, he hummed. "Anyways, it won't be too much longer before we're ready."

    Nervousness coming back, Niiyodo looked at the potion that Harry was making with a small frown. "Um, what is that by the way?"

    With a glance at her, Harry chuckled. "Shampoo actually. It's supposed to leave hair really clean and while preventing tangles. There was also something about preventing dandruff as well." The black haired boy then gestured at a small glass bottle. Said bottle was filled with a lime green concotion. "That's the conditioner that goes with it, leaves hair light and fluffy when used by itself."

    Getting up, Niiyodo walked over to the bottle and uncorked it before taking a sniff. "Cherry blossom?""

    A smile on his face, Harry turned off the burner heating the cauldron. "One of the steps is to add something of the scent you want to the bottle once it's cool. So to that one I added some sakura petals. There's others such as roses, daisies, and so on. Sort of cool to be honest."

    Niiyodo nodded as she corked the bottle and held it up. "Hai, it is cool, Harry-Chan. So you want us to test some magical shampoo?"

    Head tilting from one side to the other, the wizard frowned. "Kind of? I also want to test one of the Sleekeazy recipes that were in the potion book as well." At Niiyodo's obvious confusion, Harry gave her a small smile. "What do you know about my Grandfather?"

    Frowning, Niiyodo considered the question for several moments before she gave an answer. "Well... from what little I know? He was an expert at potions."

    Simply nodding at that, Harry chuckled a bit as the shampoo was now cool enough he was placing it into bottles, ones that Niiyodo noted had petals of different flowers in them. "That he was, Niiyodo-Chan. A bit more then that though? He was the one who invented Sleekeazy."

    Eyes widening slightly, the Light Cruiser blinked. "Sleekeazy? That hair product that Kisaragi-San loves to use when they go out?"

    Harry made a sound of acknowledgement at that. "Hai, the very same actually. My grandfather wanted to create something that could do the impossible... tame a Potter's hair. He actually succeeded at it and made a lot of money before selling the company for even more gold. According to my Dad's journal, he kept his hair messy all the time because his father was known for the hair products as a form of rebellion." At the odd look from his friend, he chuckled. "I know, but it's true."

    Bemused, Niyodo shook her head. "A bit strange to do that, Harry-Chan. But I guess that was just how your Tou-San was."

    Nodding, Harry chuckled with a far off look in his eyes. "Apparently..." Moments later he felt Niiyodo hugging him from behind and closed his eyes. "Thank you, Niiyodo-Chan."

    Just burying her nose in his hair, Niiyodo gave a nod. "You're welcome, Harry-Chan." Pulling away for a brief moment, she chewed her lip before leaning down and kissing him on the cheek with a blush on her face. When she pulled back, the Light Cruiser had a shy smile on her face. "Um, so you were talking about your Ojii-San?"

    Rapidly blinking as he felt a blush of his own, though he did enjoy the feel of Niiyodo hugging him from behind, Harry shook it off. "Well... Fleamont, my Grandfather sold the company like I said. That doesn't mean that he stopped with experimenting though. The shampoo and conditioner are one result as they work with Sleekeazy to boost it's effectiveness. He also came up with hair dyes and the like as well. But the big thing for him was improving Sleekeazy itself."

    Confused, Niiyodo tilted her head to the side. "Um, improving it? But I saw Kisaragi-San use it with Fubuki-San once as well as Yuudachi-San. They looked really, really good with it!"

    To that, Harry gave a nod. "That's true, it is pretty effective. And while they say it works with all types of hair though, it doesn't. Red hair was an issue with Sleekeazy, I mean, they say it has 'Odd effects' with red hair." At the unsaid question, he shook his head. "It animates their hair and it does all sorts of odd things. Don't know why and neither did my Grandfather. But it apparently really annoyed him so he worked hard at fixing that and managed just before he died. Never got to sell it to Sleekeazy though, but it's here in his potion's book and I already brewed it."

    For several moments, Niiyodo had a thoughtful expression on her face. Then, slowly, she turned back to Harry. "And Akashi-San has pink hair which is close enough to red hair to count."

    With a grin, Harry nodded. "Exactly! Now, just let me get everything together..."

    Roughly seven minutes later found the two of them entering Akashi's workshop to where said Repair Ship was putting away various tools as she muttered to herself. "Okay, finally done for the day! If I hurry, I'll be out of here before..." Turning, her expression dropped. "Harry is finished... Hey there, Harry-Chan! How's things going?"

    Extremely amused, Harry hummed and smiled. "Pretty great actually, I'm all done the potions by the way."

    Just weakly chuckling, Akashi looked away from him. "Hahaha, that's great, Harry-Chan. Really great, but, um... I sort of have to put it off, you know? Got an assignment from Teitoku after all..." Then she trailed off as she noticed Niiyodo typing something into her phone after Harry gave the Light Cruiser a raised eyebrow. "... What are you doing?"

    In reply, Niiyodo raised a finger with a small smile before humming. "Well, according to Onee-Sama, you don't have any such assignments. How odd..."

    Once more weakly chuckling, Akashi looked at them both before slumping her shoulders. "I'm not going to be able to get out of this, am I?" At the shakes of their heads, she groaned and began to walk off to where a small shower stall was. Much to both Niiyodo's and Harry's amusement, Akashi was acting like she was heading to her execution. "Let's... just get it over with."

    Both of them followed the Repair Ship as she put a bucket under her head and laid back on a bench. Placing the bottle of shampoo to one side, Harry nodded to himself as he tested the water. "Okay, it's at the right temperature. Time to begin."

    Within less then a minute, Harry was already rinsing her hair and Akashi closed her eyes. Once the water stopped, she sighed as she could hear Harry uncork the bottle of shampoo. "At least it won't be so bad if things go wrong."

    However, just as Harry began to work the shampoo in, he chuckled. "Yeah, at worst you'll just lose all your hair in the process. But hey! A trip to the repair baths and it should all grow back, right?"

    Akashi's eyes snapped open at that with a terror filled gaze. "What."

    Not being noticed was Niiyodo recording the whole thing. After all, Ooyodo had asked for her to do so, and she would not deny her Onee-Sama such a thing. It also helped as she was going to go next after Akashi "Tested" the potions...
    ________________________________________________________________________

    Looking at herself in the mirror, Akashi had to blink some. With an interested look, she reached up and ran her fingers through her pink hair which shone under the lights. "Okay, I take it all back. Color me majorly impressed with this, Harry." Taking some of the strands between her fingers, she examined them with a hum. "Even my split ends are gone!"

    Arms crossed, Harry gave her a smirk. "Told you that it would work. Though it was hilarious to see you so worried about it."

    Just blushing a bit, Akashi grumbled. "Yeah, yeah, laugh it up Kiddo. Enjoy it while it lasts." Letting go of the strands, she watched as they bounced back into the mass of curls that they were in. "Not exactly the sort of style I would go for though."

    Harry only shrugged. "I'm a Potioneer and future Admiral, not a hair stylist."

    The only thing that Akashi did at that was give him a look. "I would ask how long you were waiting for that. However, I know you far too well, Harry-Chan."

    Beside her, Niiyodo was blushing a bit as she looked at her own reflection. Her usual long hair and ponytail had been changed. Now, she was wearing what looked like what one's hair should in a Kimono. Head tilted to the side, Niiyodo's smile was rather bright as she took it in. "Oh wow... I look great!"

    Chuckles made her turn to find Ooyodo taking a picture. "Hmm, that you do, Niiyodo-Chan." Walking closer, the older Light Cruiser more closely examined her sister with a nod. "This is quite nice, Harry-Chan. Very nice indeed... and you have enough for the wedding party?"

    With a blink, Harry gave a nod. "Hai, I do Ooyodo-Oba."

    Leaning in towards her blushing sister, Ooyodo took a sniff before nodding. "Cherry blossoms? That suits you really well."

    Pleased, Niiyodo looked down a bit with a shy smile. "Really?" At Ooyodo's nod, her smile grew a touch. "Thank you, Onee-Sama."

    Gently, Ooyodo nodded before reaching into a pouch and pulling out a small bundle of clothing. "Now, just head over there and get changed into these."

    Confused, Niiyodo looked down and blinked. "Um, Onee-Sama? This is a Kimono..."

    All the older shipgirl of the two was nod. "Hmm? Oh yes, that's true enough. You're going to need it and you, Harry-Chan, will need these"

    She then passed him a bundle of clothes that made him recognize the better casual wear that his mother gave him. "Er, I do? Why's that, Ooyodo-Oba?"

    There was a glint in Ooyodo's eyes though she adjusted her glasses. "Why, Niiyodo-Chan here has been working very hard recently. I thought that she would like a night off to enjoy a lovely dinner paid for already. Of course, I can't go so you must accompany her for the night, I expect her home no later then twenty one hundred, Harry-Chan." Gently, she pushed the somewhat protesting Harry towards the door. "Now, you need to get ready, the reservation at Komatsu is in about an hour and it would not do to be late. Niiyodo-Chan will be ready in fifteen."

    Meanwhile, Akashi was sighing in amusement. 'Really, Ooyodo... I mean, really.' Seeing the look on Ooyodo's face made her shake her head. 'Then again...'
     
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  28. Threadmarks: law song (likely noncanon)
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Snippet 14: S0ngD0g13

    "Adieu to all Judges an' Juries,
    To Justice an' Ol' Bailey, too;
    For they've bound me t' Queen Lizzie's Navy;
    So Adieu to Ol' England, Adieu..."


    Prince of Wales listened as the Cruiser Sheffield sang quietly on patrol. The Battleship sailed closer and paused. "Say, Sheffield, I've been meaning to ask; where'd you learn to fight so dirty? That last dust-up near Singapore almost made me feel sorry for the Abyssals..."

    "Someplace I doubt you've ever been, Prince, unless you've spent Saturday-Night in the gutters."

    Prince of Wales shook her head. "Can't say that I have..."

    "I thought not. You see, I'm a Natural-Born, and let's say I had a rambunctious youth." Sheffield started to turn away.

    Prince of Wales stopped her. "I read your jacket; you were Royal Navy even before you Awakened."

    "Aye. So I was."

    "It never went into particulars about how you joined, though, Seaman Cooper. Why'd you join the Navy?"

    "I was invited to join... by a Magistrate."

    Sheffield turned away fully then and sailed ahead into the darkness, until all that betrayed her presence was her soft singing...

    "So it's over the seas now I wander,
    To stand to the Red, White, an' Blue;
    They've gave me the Ol' Queen's 'Ard-Bargain,
    So Adieu to Ol' England, Adieu..."
     
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  29. Threadmarks: JNHRO Hokubu History
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    Lord K

    A.N./ Well, this happened. Originally it was just supposed to be more Dwarf Fortress jokes involving the Hokubu, but then it kind of turned into it's own little story told through item descriptions.

    Also, for the overall list of Koshaku in case things are a bit confusing.
    Spoiler: Hokubu Koshaku/Main Family Line
    Shoumaru the Little (Not technically counted)

    1st - Daimaru the Builder

    2nd - Sanmaru of the 100 Duels

    3rd - Ryoshimaru the Hunter

    4th - Tsukuyomaru the Negotiator

    5th - Shioriko of the Metered Justice

    6th - Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves

    7th - Royomaru

    8th - Tsumemaru the Peacebound

    9th - Kogamaru

    Hokubu Fortress

    Painted on the screen panel is a finely-designed image of Shoumaru the Little, the Honshu Okami, and a Onmyouji by Hokubu Rinko. The Onmyouji is striking down Shoumaru the Little. The artwork relates to the exile of the Honshu Okami Shoumaru the Little, to the Daisetsuzan Mountains in Kamikawa in Hokkaido in the early winter of 1467 during the Onin War.

    Recorded on the Scroll is a masterfully designed image of a Honshu Okami and a pack of Ezo Wolves. The Okami is surrounded by Ezo wolves. The Ezo Wolves are prostrate. The artwork relates to the swearing of fealty by Ezo wolves of Yamainutaira to the Honshu Okami, Shomaru the Little.

    Recorded on the Scroll is a masterfully designed image of the Okami Shoumaru the Little and a group of migrants. The Okami Shoumaru the Little is surrounded by migrants. The Migrants are making a plaintive gesture. The artwork relates to the origin of Yamainutaira's long standing tradition of accepting refugees, outcasts and exiles fleeing unrest in Honshu and the rest of Japan, beginning in the reign of the Honshu Okami, Shomaru the Little.

    Shisashikon "Messenger's Tooth", an Iron Katana. "It is decorated with copper detailing and encircled with bands of sakai. This object menaces with enchantments of old. Used as a symbol of office and weapon of war by successive generations of Hokubu Clan heads."
    ----------------------------

    Recorded on the Scroll is a masterfully designed image of Daimaru the Builder. Daimaru the Builder is building a shrine. The artwork relates to Daimaru the Builder honoring his father and the recognition of the Hokubu as the new Shugo of Yamainutaira, by enshrining the remains of his father in a Honden built on the hill where Shoumaru the Little first made camp upon arriving in Yamainutaira.

    This is a pine toy castle. All craftwolfship is of the highest quality. It is studded with gold, decorated with paints, bone and deer antler, and encircled with bands of copper. On the item is an image of the okami, Daimaru the Builder. The okami is building a castle. On the item is an image of wolves talking with wolves in copper. The Wolves are celebrating the completion of Santsume Fortress in 1532.

    Ienikaeru, "Burninghome". On the wall is a stone engraving. All craftwolfship is of the highest quality. It is encircled with bands of iron and decorated with bone horns . "On the item is an image of Daimaru the Builder in granite. Daimaru the Builder is cringing. The artwork relates to the destruction of Santsume Fortress and Yamainutira town by fire in the late autumn of 1561."

    Painted on the sliding panel is is a finely-designed image of Daimaru the Builder, the Honshu Okami, and a Ezo Wolf by Hokubu Rinko. The Ezo Wolf is talking with Daimaru the Builder. The artwork relates to the reconstruction of Yamainutaira in Kamikawa in Hokkaido in the late summer of 1562.
    ----------------------------

    Painted on the sliding panel is is a finely-designed image of the Honshu Okami, Sanmaru of the 100 Duels, and a group of ronin. The ronin are making plaintive gestures. The Honshu Okami, Sanmaru of the 100 Duels, is laughing. The artwork relates to numerous trials of honor Sanmaru of the 100 Duels fought and won in his youth.

    "Sekigahara Rise". It is a painted screen. All craftwolfship is of the highest quality. On the item is an image of Sanmaru of the 100 Duels in granite and Ishida Hikaru the Onmyouji. Ishida Hikaru is making a plaintive gesture. The artwork relates to the mortal wounding of Ishida Hikaru by Sanmaru of the 100 Duels in the battle of Seikgahara in the late Autumn of 1600, during the Sengoku Period.

    "Sekigahara Fall". It is a painted screen. All craftwolfship is of the highest quality. On the item is an image of Sanmaru of the 100 Duels in granite and Miyamoto Musashi the human swordsman. Miyamoto Musashi the human swordsman is striking down Sanmaru of the 100 Duels. The artwork relates to the killing of Sanmaru of the 100 Duels by Miyamoto Musashi in the battle of Seikgahara in the late Autumn of 1600, during the Sengoku Period.
    ----------------------------

    Painted on the screen panel is a finely-designed image of Ryoshimaru the Hunter, the Honshu Okami, and Maoukuma the Demon Bear by Hokubu Rinko. Ryoshimaru the Hunter is striking down Maoukuma the Demon Bear. The artwork relates to the killing of Maoukuma the Demon Bear at Daisetsuzan in the early Spring of 1611, in revenge for attacking livestock from Yamainutira .

    Painted on the screen panel is a finely-designed image of Ryoshimaru the Hunter, the Honshu Okami, and Akugo no Shika the Corrupted Deer Spirit by Hokubu Rinko. Ryoshimaru the Hunter is striking down Akugo no Shika. The artwork relates to the killing of Akugo no Shika at Kamikawa in the late Spring of 1625, during a failed iwakte.

    Painted on the screen panel is a finely-designed image of Ryoshimaru the Hunter, the Honshu Okami, and Suzaku the Vermillion Crane by Hokubu Rinko. Ryoshimaru the Hunter is striking down Suzaku. The artwork relates to the killing of Suzaku at Daisetsuzan in the late Spring of 1647, during a expedition to slay the fiend.

    Painted on the screen panel is a finely-designed image of Ryoshimaru the Hunter, the Honshu Okami, and Jirosuke the Rabid Wolf of the North by Hokubu Rinko. Ryoshimaru the Hunter is striking down Jirosuke. The artwork relates to the killing of Jirosuke at Yamainutaira in the late Spring of 1663, during a manhunt to slay the criminal.

    This is a oak hunting bow. All craftwolfship is of the highest quality. It is studded with copper, decorated with bone, and encircled with bands of leather. On the item is an image of the okami, Ryoshimaru the Hunter. The okami is meeting Hasinaw-uk-kamuy, the Ainu godess of the hunt. On the item is an image of Ryoshimaru making a plaintive gesture in copper. Hasinaw-uk-kamuy, the Ainu goddess of the hunt, has been revealed to be Kenas-unarpe, the Ainu shapeshifting goddess who preys upon hunters, in disguise.
    ----------------------------

    Recorded on the Scroll is a masterfully designed image of Tsukuyomaru the Negotiator and Taigokumaru the Kinslayer. Tsukuyomaru the Negotiator is quarreling with Taigokumaru the Kinslayer. The artwork relates to the friction between the Clan Head and his brother.

    "Teachings of Okami". It is a three panel screen. All craftwolfship is of the highest quality. On the item is a masterfully designed image of Taigokumaru the Kinslayer and Shioriko of the Metered Justice. Taigokumaru the Kinslayer is striking his daughter. On the item is is a masterfully designed image of Tsukuyomaru the Negotiator and Shioriko of the Metered Justice. Tsukuyomaru the Negotiator is conversing with his niece.

    Recorded on the sliding panel is a masterfully designed image of Tsukuyomaru the Negotiator and Taigokumaru the Kinslayer. Taigokumaru the Kinslayer is striking down Tsukuyomaru the Negotiator. The artwork relates to the slaying of the Hokubu Clan head at Daisetsuzan in the late Spring of 1725, while on a hunting trip with his brother.

    This is a statute of a Wolf. All craftwolfship is of the highest quality. It is studded with gold, decorated with gems, and encircled with bands of silver. On the item is an image of the okami, Taigokumaru the Kinslayer. The okami is celebrating his upcoming succession in excess.

    "Justice of Traitors". On the wall is a stone engraving. All craftwolfship is of the highest quality. It is encircled with bands of plaster, and decorated with inlays of copper. "On the item is an image of Taigokumaru the Kinslayer and Hokubu Wolves. The Wolves are striking Taigokumura the Kinslayer. On the item is an image of Taigokumaru the Kinslayer and Shioriko of the Metered Justice. Taigokumaru the Kinslayer is making a plaintive gesture. On the item is an image of Taigokumaru the Kinslayer. The kanji for kinslayer and blood-traitor are branded onto his hands. The artwork relates to the overthrowing and exile of Taigokumaru by the Hokubu Clan and his daughter in the mid summer of 1725."

    Recorded on the scroll is a masterfully designed image of Shioriko of the Metered Justice and a pair of wolves. Shioriko of the Metered Justice is listening to their dispute. By her side is her young son, Ezomaru and future Marquis of the Northern Wolves. The artwork relates to Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves learning of clan rule and politics from Shioriko of the Metered Justice at one of the high points of her golden rule in the late Spring of 1750.

    Recorded on the scroll is a masterfully designed image of Shioriko of the Metered Justice and Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves. Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves is dressed for travel and accompanied by his servants. The artwork relates to Ezomaru bidding his mother farewell, before travelling to Kyoto in 1772.

    Recorded on the scroll is a masterfully designed image of Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves and a Onmyouji Samurai. The Onmyouji Samurai is making a plaintive gesture. The artwork relates to Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves, and the numerous duels he was involved in during his youth.

    Painted on the sliding panel is a finely-designed image of Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves and Shioriko of the Metered Justice. Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves is bowed in despair. The artwork relates to the death of Shioriko of the Metered Justice from an unknown western magical disease in 1801.
    ----------------------------

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed to Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves from an associate in Kyoto, commenting on the situation between Japanese and foreign magicals. The letter is related to a diplomatic incident between foreign magical dignitaries and the imperial court, due to a number of Japanese magicals being involved in the HMS Phaeton Incident in 1808.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed from Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves to an associate in Kyoto, discussing the recent end of the First Opium War. Ezomaru comments on his worrying observation that regardless of the disparity numbers and differences in magical styles between the Westerners and the Chinese, in the end, the war was decided by the technological and tactical superiority of the western muggle forces.

    Painted on the sliding panel is a finely-designed image of Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves by the painter Hokubu Fumiko. Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves is observing the arrival of western ships in Hakodate. The artwork relates to the opening of the first port in Hokkaido to foreign trade in, as agreed upon in the Kanagawa Treaty of 1854

    This is a statute of a Wolf. All craftwolfship is of the highest quality. It is made of granite. On the item is an image of the okami, Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves. Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves is dressed in accordance with his rank in war. Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves is bearing the sword Shisashikon. The okami is answering a Tokugawa aligned ally's call to arms for the Boshin War.

    Painted on the screen panel is a finely-designed image of Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves and a city by the painter Hokubu Fumiko. Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves is commanding on of the last ever mixed units of magicals and muggles under a Meiji banner at the Battle of Hakodate in Hokkaido in 1869. The artwork relates to the final defeat of the Tokugawa forces and the completion of the Meiji Restoration.

    Painted on the canvas in a western style is a finely-designed image of Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves and his family. Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves and his son Royomaru stand separate from one another, rather than in the traditional places of Clan Head and Clan Heir.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed from Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves to his wife, discussing the situation in Kyoto. Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves is despairing, and fears for the security of the clan's lands and powers lest he do something to engender the Hokubu to the new administration. The letter is related to the period that preludes the establishment of the Yokai Reserves.

    Preserved in a book is a photograph of Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves and his family. Ezomaru appears frail and worn. Royomaru is absent. The photograph is first one ever stored in the Hokubu Library and dated to 1898

    Preserved in a book is a death poem. It is shakily penned in the dying hand of Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves. Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves worries for the future of Japan if it stays it's current course, and fears the fate of the Hokubu in the hands of Royomaru.

    Preserved under glass is a newspaper. Much of the front page is covered in highly divided opinions and divisive articles on the life and death of Ezomaru the Marquis of the Northern Wolves. Some of the articles talk of the great promise and charm already being displayed by his son and successor, Royomaru. The newspaper is dated to 1899.
    ----------------------------

    A sign politely notes that much of the Royomaru Library wing has been locked away. The sign explains that this is not because of it's controversial nature or content, but due to the dangerous and unsettling aspects of many of the artifacts and works Hokubu Royomaru added to the Library during his time as Clan Head, and the protections he keyed to them. The sign requests that anybody wishing to gain access to content in the Royomaru Wing, should contact a librarian. Alternately, they are advised request the presence of the shrine maiden, or an of age Main Family member for personal safety.

    "Kokugaku Buke-Shisou" was an infamous conservative-nationalist magical book. The written portion consists of 720 pages of anti-western, anti-ICW, conservative and nationalist rhetoric, along with a scathing assessment of everything wrong with the Magical Diet in the 1920s, authored by Kamo Hiroshi.

    Preserved in a book is a photograph of Hokubu Royomaru and Kamo Hiroshi. The two okami and the human politician are shaking hands. The photograph is related to a political function from the 30s.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed from Tsumemaru the Peacebound to Hokubu Jiroumaru, warning his younger brother that he should be careful of associating with the company their father is keeping. The letter is related to a period when Hokubu Royomaru and Tsumemaru the Peacebound were increasingly at odds with one another, while his previously attention starved brother reveled in the paternal interest he believed Royomaru was showing him.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed from Hokubu Royomaru to Tsumemaru the Peacebound. In it, Hokubu Royomaru threatens to strip Tsumemaru of his status as heir if he continues to disobey and misbehave. The letter is related to Tsumemaru supposedly causing an incident of some kind at a political function Royomaru had taken him to, in order to make political in roads for his son with his allies.

    Preserved in a book is a photograph of the Wedding of Tsumemaru the Peacebound. In spite of the formal poses, there is a clear enmity between Royomaru and Tsumemaru the Peacebound. Considering the earlier context of Hokubu Royomaru's earlier threat, it can be inferred that the use of Tsumemaru as a bargaining chip in a wedding alliance, is motivated by clan elders who wish for his limited but still stabilizing influence and ability to counteract Hokubu Royomaru in clan matters at home. Others do not wish for Hokubu Jiroumaru to be heir, because he increasingly tries to supplant Tsumemaru as heir by following Hokubu Royomaru's every demand, in pursuit of his father's approval.

    Preserved under glass is a newspaper. It announces the commencement of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

    Mounted in a frame is a letter of office. It announces the official powers and duties Hokubu Royomaru and a number of other yokai are now charged with, as officials and military agents of various positions, to police yokai communities in times of war.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed from Hokubu Royomaru to Tsumemaru the Peacebound. In it, Hokubu Royomaru suggests that Tsumemaru the Peacebound and his wife should remain in Yamainutaira for the foreseeable future and turn their thoughts towards taking a sabbatical and considering family life. Between the lines, the letter is a subtle and carefully worded threat to either stay in Yamainutaira and produce and heir, or face exile if he leaves clan territory or embarrasses Hokubu Royomaru once more, regardless of the clan alliance his marriage grants the Hokubu. Some believe that the reason Kogamaru was not conceived until after the war, was because Tsumemaru feared Royomaru would exile him as soon as the line of succession was secure. A common belief is that Ryougamaru was born during this time, specifically because Hokubu Jiroumaru wanted to prove he could secure the line of succession through himself instead.

    Preserved under glass is a newspaper. It announces the commencement of the Second World War in the Pacific.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed from Tsumemaru the Peacebound to Hokubu Royomaru. From the repeatedly scratched out lines, ink drops, and tone of it's content, it can be inferred that Tsumemaru the Peacebound never actually sent this letter. This can be summarized from the fact that he wasn't exiled either.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed to Hokubu Royomaru from his wife, lamenting how disconsolate and depressed Tsumemaru the Peacebound is as the war rolls on. Considering the subsequent cut off of Tsumemaru's allowance and increased restrictions on his life in Yamainutaira, it can be summarized from his worry about the war when newspapers still had yet to announce the retreat from the Solomons, that Tsumemaru had a less than legal source of information providing a much more accurate and horrifying picture of the war.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed from Hokubu Royomaru to his wife, quelling her fears about the increasingly confusing information in the newspapers and wizarding wireless. Hokubu Royomaru affirms to his wife that while the war is not advancing any longer, Japan will soon have both the muggle and magical means to prosecute an aggressive offensive once more.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed to Tsumemaru the Peacebound from Hokubu Jiroumaru. In it, Jiroumaru boasts that their father has need of him, and that if he can complete this yet to be revealed task, Royomaru will surely have no choice but to acknowledge him as the better son and true heir, if it is as truly important as the secrecy and gravity everyone seems to hold it in.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed from Tsumemaru the Peacebound to Hokubu Jiroumaru. In it, Tsumemaru pleads with his brother one last time, to beware the monsters in the shape of men that their father has surrounded himself with.

    The binders and folders are marked with ICW stamps and seals. The dates, annotations and top secret stamps on one folder in particular detail the documents' dates of declassification. Much of it's content appears to be missing pages or documents, but most are related to a wartime magical research facility that was never located, but believed to be in the vicinity of Kure, code named Sub-Unit 942. A morbidly fitting name considering nine (ku) can share the same pronunciation as "agony" or "torture", and 42 (shini) can sound similar to "to death".

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed to Tsumemaru the Peacebound from Hokubu Jiroumaru. Much of the letter is incoherent and rambling. Portions are crossed out and stained, and rendered incomprehensible by ink. It is largely an apology from Jiroumaru to his brother, his wife, and his infant son.

    The folder is filled with a variety of pictures, diagrams and notes. Portions of it have been blacked out, and there are annotations complaining about censorship, but generally all investigators are in agreement. The head wound to Hokubu Jiroumaru was likely self-inflicted in a failed suicide attempt, although they note that without clearance to know what the okami was doing, they do not know if it is a result of something he came into contact with in the course of his work as a liaison and observer for his father, or actions taken due to a state of mind.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed from Tsumemaru the Peacebound to Hokubu Royomaru. Tsumemaru is openly defiant and scathing in these writings to his father, likely due to the knowledge that with Hokubu Jiroumaru now incapable of ever leading the clan, and his wife and Ryougamaru now under Tsumemaru's roof while he cares for his brother, Royomaru cannot exile Tsumemaru from the clan without casting out his only other infant heir, and inviting defiance, if not outright defection from the rest of the clan as well. In playing his two sons off against each other for decades, it has finally catastrophically blown up in his face by costing him his loyalest son, outright turning his still nominal heir against him, and earning the enmity of the rest of the clan. Tsumemaru and Jiroumaru have always earned sympathy from the rest of the clan, especially the younger brother who had always been desperate to please and earn the praise of those around him, to step out of the shadow of being the spare.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed from Tsumemaru the Peacebound to his mother, discussing details of recent clan meetings. For many of the elders, that Royomaru involved Jiroumaru in something so dangerous it drove him to try and kill himself, or so horrifying it also drove him to try and kill himself, is a tragedy that encapsulates their increasing perception of how the clan head has treated the clan, which has suffered grave losses over the course of the war.

    Locked in a cabinet is a pensieve. One of the many memories recorded within it's depths are a few dozen different people's recollections of the Jewel Voice Broadcast.

    A military report documents an Auror raid on the Hokubu Main Family manor and compound in Yamainutaira. The document reports that at first there was some confusion and belief that Royomaru had spirited his family away, in spite of having already been captured in Tokyo, until the majority of the Main Family are found on a different property under Tsumemaru's personal name in Yamainutaira township. The report notes the presence of six persons, all okami; 1 adult males, 1 adult male invalid, 2 adult females, 1 elderly female, 1 infant.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed from Tsumemaru the Peacebound to his mother. In it, he flatly refuses to see his father, and even admits hope for a guilty on all counts verdict.

    Preserved under glass is a newspaper. It announces a list of yokai implicated in acts against humans and fellow yokai during the war, but oddly, there is little to no mention of human war criminals while the trials are still ongoing. Astute historians might notice that the paper was one of the first ones to be propped up and leaned on by a heavy ICW presence almost as soon as the occupation began.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed to Tsumemaru the Peacebound from Royomaru, congratulating his son for finally conceiving an heir and letting him live out his last days content and satisfied that through Tsumemaru's child, the Hokubu line will be secure and shall surely in time, rise once more. The letter bears the signs of having been angrily torn apart and thrown in a fire, before being fished out and reparo'd to the best of the destroyer's ability, after which it was wept over.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed from Tsumemaru the Peacebound to his mother. Tsumemaru emphatically declares that he has no intention of going to Tokyo and being treated like a hated pariah, just to see his father one more time, when the end is so conveniently near. He also suggests not bothering to bring the body back.

    Preserved under glass is a newspaper. Much of the front page is covered in hurt, hateful, and in many cases, rightly demonizing articles on the life and death of Hokubu Royomaru. Some of the articles talk of the great failings and issues already being displayed by his son and successor, Tsumemaru, who some accuse of hiding in Yamainutaira for most of the war. The newspaper is dated to the early winter of 1946.
    ----------------------------

    Preserved in a book is the remains of a Howler. It is addressed to Tsumemaru from an anonymous sender. Though the spell ended once the message was delivered, the hate-blinded writings of the unknown sender can still be seen, declaring that it was a tragedy his newborn son was not stillborn, and will provide yet another generation of Hokubu leadership to betray, imprison, murder and torment the yokai of Japan. No one knows why Tsumemaru kept this one in particular.

    Preserved in a book is a letter. It is addressed from Tsumemaru the Peacebound to his wife. With disheartened shame, Tsumemaru admits that he is not just taking a step back from the ruined political scene, but temporarily taking leave of many of his duties as clan head. He announces that he plans to take a year of absence, officially because he is too much of a political landmine to be doing anything in public or on the political scene. Unofficially, it is because he feels that Yamainutaira has felt akin to a prison for himself for far too long. However, he write to her that the past few years have also taught him that fighting for equality is almost as much, if not more important, than freedom. And with Royomaru finally gone, Tsumemaru wants to finally learn for himself what those things mean.

    Preserved in a book is a photograph. Of the Hokubu Main Family, only seven members remain. The two infants and future heirs of the clan sit and squirm upon their mother's laps, the newborn Kogamaru with less infantile vigor than his inconsolably teething cousin. Tsumemaru stands together with Jiroumaru, providing the younger brother a surreptitious aid to stand normally and not look slack-jawed, thanks to the side counter to the one covered by an eye-patch being paralyzed. Their now dowager mother, stands to Tsumemaru's other side. There is something almost tragic in the innocent unawareness the infants have to the emotional ruin and bone-weary tiredness that hangs over the five adults. And yet with the two infants, unstained by the war, there is hope.
    ----------------------------

    A sign politely notes that the Tsumemaru Library wing is still technically incomplete. The sign explains that while the majority of the works and writings the 8th Koshaku acquired over the course of his well traveled reign are already on the shelves, a great many more of his personal items and journals are still being preserved, or in the ownership and use of living family members. The sign advises that anybody wishing to gain access to content on the catalog not yet publicly available, should contact either the 9th Koshaku of the Hokubu Okami, Kogamaru, or Hokubu Jiroumaru.
     
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  30. Threadmarks: (Hawaii) yokai under the bed 2
    darthcourt10

    darthcourt10 Versed in the lewd.

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    It_agn02

    One more for Bowfin and Tsushima Maru:

    Looking over the carnage in front of her, Bowfin grimaced as she kicked the cadaver. Just to make sure it’s actually dead. Due to the nature of the beast, she did not know if blasting its stomach open with her deck gun actually killed it. The walls of Tsushima Maru’s room would have to be thoroughly repaired after her stunt, that was for sure. And there was no telling how the little kitsune girl got hurt from the discharge, even if Tsushima Maru shielded her. Guilt racked up inside the submarine. Another child. Another child. Because she was so foolish, she harmed another innocent.

    “Don’t worry about it, Bowfin,” a petty officer remarked as he took a measuring tape to it. “The medical staff is looking over the girl as we speak. Other than the shock, Tsushima Maru shielded her just in time.” As the man unclipped a yard of rope from his belt, he tied the wings together to ensure that if the dead vampire spontaneously revives, it wouldn’t fly off. “A manananggal dies when it doesn’t rejoin with its lower half in the morning. Even if this thing isn’t dead, it ain’t happy.”

    Bowfin turned to the petty officer with a curious glance. “One thing, petty officer. How are you not worried about this? I heard of things like the ICW and MACUSA from Arizona. Yet, you’re not worried in the least about the Men in Black coming for your memories.”

    The man shrugged. “I can’t say I’m not worried, but for some reason I have a feeling it will work itself out.”


    A red-haired Polynesian woman in a Navy Security Forces uniform glared at the tied-up wizard. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t feed you to the sharks.”

    The man glared back. “Are you honestly thinking such things would be overlooked? The Statute of Security must be upheld! You’re a magical as well, aren’t you? You should be supporting me!”

    “And you would be willing to wipe the memories of everyone here that heard the gunshots last night?”

    “Of course.”

    “And you were willingly using a paralysis curse on anyone that gets in your way?”

    “They resisted! I have a duty to upkeep!”

    The sailor crossed her arms and leaned in. Slowly, the man saw the sharp teeth in the woman’s jaw emerge. A cold sweat ran down his spine as he tried to reach for his wand, yet it was kept long out of reach.

    “Listen, you,” the woman snarled. “I put up with the military base here. I will not put up with MACUSA strutting around like they own the place and mind wiping the humans in my domain! Got it?!”

    The man shrank in the woman’s presence. “Your domain? Who in God’s name do you think you are?”

    The woman pointed to her badge. “I may be low on the totem pole in the Navy Security Forces, but Pearl Harbor was mine to begin with.”

    Angrily, the wizard rocked the chair and tipped it over, crashing into the ground. Unluckily for the woman, it was just enough to knock loose an item hidden in the man’s sleeve. Said item, a small stone, fell into his palm, exposing a small rune that glowed in the fluorescent light. Instantly, the wand flew from the table and into his hand. With one flick, the ropes fell to the floor in pieces.

    “Missy, I’ve had enough of your bullshit,” the wizard stated as he pointed his wand at her. “The presence of magic in the Hawaiian Islands has gone on exposed for far too long! Sightings of magic users, mythological creatures, gods. Sightings of mythological creatures that aren’t even from these islands! Kappa! Mujina! That manananggal! It must be contained.”

    “And here I thought a chain of islands in the middle of the Pacific were beneath your notice.”

    “You were. You definitely were. But that was because magic was considered sacred! You declared it kapu!”

    The woman chuckled. “Oh, you cannot be so wrong.” She began to circle the wizard with a predatory eye. “Sorcery was practiced by the kahuna. It was said there were many types, of many practices. Here, wizards and no-majs lived side-by-side. There was no separation between the mystical and the mundane.”

    “You liar!”

    “Oh? And what did you know about it? Our magical practices were outlawed by the missionaries when they came in 1820. We went into hiding after that.”

    The man growled as he aggressively thrust his wand at the woman. “Shut up! I will not be lectured by a woman who is obviously inhuman! If you will not listen to your superior being, you will be punished! By the authority of the International Wizarding Community and the Magical Congress of the United States of America, I order you to step aside or I will use force!”

    Tapping her foot, the woman crossed her arms. “No.”

    In anger, the man flicked his wand at the woman, striking her with a spell from his wand. She staggered a bit, but ultimately rose upright in a rage.

    “You…” the Master-At-Arms snarled, baring way too many shark teeth, “…You just pissed off the only god in this room.”


    Elsewhere on base, Indianapolis shuddered. Concerned, Portland looked to her sister.

    “Indy? You okay?”

    “I don’t know…but I’m feeling the presence of a shark somewhere near here.”

    “Just a normal shark?”

    “N-No…It’s no normal shark. It might just be greater than that…but I'm pretty sure it's not a man-eater.”
     
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