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Old 09-06-2018, 05:41 PM   #1
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Default [Keisei] Hellhound & Orchid: Tax Season

Black heels clicked against the wooden floor of the study with a steady, measured percussion that stirred up the dust in the evening sunlight. Keisei Ranko was dressed formally, in layers of blacks and purples, gothic lolita mixed with the traditional styling of her horrible heritage. She ran her hands down her backside as she sat on the leather chair that was much too large for her, and carefully placed a small wooden object on the heavy desk in front of her. At a glance, with the cute mascot character attached via a keychain, it could be mistaken for a glasses case - - but the students of the Omoikane Dai-Gakuin were well aware that this was Ranko’s killing knife, used to silence troublemakers.

The young man sitting across from the desk, in a chair suited for a kindergardener causing his legs to fold up close to his shallow chest, immediately started to talk.

“Listen, you don’t understand, I wasn’t stealing anything, and your boss girls are on the cut, anyway – it ain’t real drugs, they’re just caffeine pills. To help with studying, please – “

“We’re not here for that.” She said pointedly, as if she was annoyed he’d bring up anything else. She glanced over at one of her boss girls who closed the door of the study and turned to face the wall. The great virtue of obedience was a quick way to earn favors with the Prince of the Keisei. “This is about Guo Tong.”

Relief washed over the boy, an exhausted relaxation hung over him as his limbs all seemed to go noodley at once, before he immediately snapped back up to attention. “Y—yeah! He’s my dad’s friend. Uncle Tong.”

“He pays your tuition, too.”

“Ye—yes, ma’am. My family isn’t very well off, but uncle takes care of us.”

“Mayuko, this one is one of yours?” She turned to one of the other girls lining the edge of the room, her eyes heavy with a tiredness beyond her years. Mayuko, one of her most trusted lieutenants, gave a nod and gestured over at the boy.

“He’s paid up. Sells placebos to some underclassmen while they use the library. I’m not sure what’s going on.”

“Family business, Mayuko.” Ranko sighed and drummed her fingers on the desk, dangerously close to her killing blade. “I need to know more about this Guo Tong.”

“Wait, I don’t know anything about Uncle’s business. He’s a mayor or a duke or something. I’m just a kid.”

“Shall I handle the investigation, then?” Mayuko preemptively pulled a cigarette from the pocket of her ill-fitting school uniform.

“Keep it clean,” The Prince said, as she grabbed her blade and stood up again. “And make sure to punish him for smoking on campus.”

Mayuko lit her cigarette, a soft amber glow against her pale face. “Yes, ma’am. I take it you’ll be leaving campus?”

“Meeting one of my uncles for a little job. Make sure you get whatever you can squeeze out of this little pimple before my carriage arrives.”

“I really don’t know anything!” The boy pleaded, but the little black heels clicking against the floor was the only response the Prince gave him. “Miss! Please, I’m not cut out for all this gangster stuff--”

One of the boss girls opened the door for the prince, as an other drove her fist into the boy’s chest. Mayuko propped herself up on the desk – and the heavy wooden door closed before Ranko’s delicate sensibilities had to see anything violent.

- - -

“Uncle Ken!” Her face, plastered expertly with the best cosmetics a girl could buy in River, hid any bags or signs of exhaustion, locking her in a perpetual state of vibrant exuberance. Her black parasol blocked the sun out from her face, but she was beaming like a little light all the same. “How nice of you to ride out to meet me!”

She was flanked by a series of other ill-dressed girls, but the rest of the school’s morning parade was all at careful attention, eyes averted from the older man. “I hope the morning is treating you well.”

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Old 09-07-2018, 11:53 PM   #2
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Making the trip through Fire country was easy enough. His papers were intact, and it was only when he got to River country's borders that anyone even thought to question the name Keisei. They didn't question him too hard. He feigned ignorance about the Family, noted that he was coming in for a hunting trip, and let the border guards pet Katashi. The hound played nice, and with a little time convincing them of his innocence, he was back on the road.

Where to, was a problem bouncing around in the back of his mind. He was summoned by The Prince. One of the members of the Table. It was a kind of honor, but it also had him on edge. He was occasionally asking around about the General, and the idea of one of the other members of the Table suddenly bringing him to River was a little alarming. Then again, this was Ranko. Despite her power, she was still a little girl. She took her role seriously, he couldn't drop his guard, but she always seemed kind.

He rode up to Omoikane Dai-Gakuin, the prep school that Ranko worked out of. She had the students in lock step, which was eerie to say the least. Still, her face was cheery, and it was hard to see her as anything but a little angel.

Ken got off his horse, and gave a deep bow as was appropriate. But by the time he was standing he had an uncharacteristic smirk on his face. He pulled a little blue pouch from the back of his belt, then flattened out his all black suit, and the fur-rimmed coat above it, then held the pouch in front of him as he approached.

"Little Ranko, great to see you."

Katashi gave a soft bark, and ran forward to greet the gothic lolita and her gang.

"I brought some candy from Wave," He brought his voice low enough for just Ranko's closest to hear, "I hope The Prince likes them."

He put his free hand to his throat and coughed, his eyes bouncing between all the enforcers Ranko had around.

"You want me in Coal?" He didn't know where she wanted to have a chat about the details. But she had some plan, and he wanted to know it before he caused some screw up. He wasn't exactly the best manipulator.
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Old 09-25-2018, 07:36 PM   #3
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Dog!

Ranko closed her eyes with a smile as Juri strained against an imagined leash of her own, half-trained discipline keeping her at step with the rest of the Prince’s lieutenants. “Go ahead, dear ronin.”

The samurai’s keytool clattered to the ground as she slid to her knees to embrace Katashi on her approach, as the other girls turned to the school’s welcoming ceremony, immediately taking to dismissing the students and getting them back to their scheduled classes. With Juri distracted by the hunting dog, Ranko took her uncle’s gifts and twirled her umbrella as she beamed up at him.

“Hunting out a little rat might be an insult to your skills, Uncle, but a man in Coal is making logistics a bit of a headache.” She furrowed her brows and looked up almost pleadingly to the man. “As you know, there’s few who would hesitate to take their aggressions out on innocent girls like us, so I thought inviting you along would be a good chance for you to stretch your legs a bit.”

She offered a word of thanks as she pocketed the candy, hidden away in one of the ruffles and frills of her dress, and rested both her hands against the pole of her parasol, leaning her head to the side, towards Uncle, as she watched the young samurai girl rub the dog behind his ears.

“I’ll be cutting you in at ten percent.”

It wasn’t an insubstantial amount.

“Impress the Table, and I’ll see if we can’t make that twelve.”

She suddenly sounded very sharp, very formal. The sweetness of her voice melted back just a bit – a bored and rote attempt at dispassion. All business.

“It’s troublesome to have to crack the whip, so to speak. I hope we can resolve the problems in Coal with just a bit of...applied leverage. I’ll be taking my lieutenants and three motivated students on this little field trip. I’ll get you introduced to everyone. You’re a proper uncle, so they should know to listen to your orders. They wouldn’t embarrass me with any insurrection, even if the commands didn’t come directly from my mouth.”

She closed the parasol and called out to Juri, beckoning her over. “I look forward to see how well you impress.”

Juri, a bit flushed, came up to a quick bow as she reached the pair of Keisei. “Yes, ma’am? Shall I gather the others?”

“Yes. And pick out a trio from my special class to escort you girls.”

“Yes, ma’am!”

“Juri – “

“Ma’am?”

“None of the boys. I know how you girls get when we get off campus.”

“Aw – al’right.” Juri kicked up her katana from the ground and caught it before offering a quick half-handed salute to Ken before trotting her way up to the school building.

Ranko hooked her parasol over her thin arm before extending it up to Ken so that he might escort her properly. “Oh, you know, we have quite the hunting grounds! No horses, unfortunately, but plenty of fox and deer. You’d show me a great honor if you made a trip or two before you head back to your own affairs.”
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Old 10-04-2018, 10:12 PM   #4
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Ken couldn't help but be a little cautious when the young girl ran over to Katashi. He trusted the hound with his life, it was the 'lieutenant' that he didn't know. Just from asking around, it was obvious that the girls at this school weren't exactly, average. The girl, that Ranko decided to refer to as 'Ronin', was carrying a katana after all. But it seemed she was just excited to see a dog, and Katashi was always glad to oblige someone who would scratch behind her ears.

Ranko took her gift, and shifted into business. It made him cock an eyebrow how fast she went from the cute girl to the woman from The Table. He needed to keep step.

Ten percent, "Fair."

All that just to be a bodyguard, while she applies 'leverage' to people that didn't realize how good they had it. In Ken's experience, the rich and powerful didn't seem to realize that the family was there to protect even them. They wanted everything their way, and they thought their positions in ivory towers made them immune. With sharp enough weapons and the right attitude, no one was immune.

Ranko started back toward the building, and Ken was quick to grab his pack off the horse and tie it over his shoulder. When he caught up, it took him a second to realize what Ranko was offering. Not because he had never held a girl's arm, but because the age difference made him feel a little silly. Still, no one said no to a member of The Table... without good reason. So he took her arm and walked beside her.

"I bet Katashi would love it if you took her on a hunt."

There was business to do first though. He didn't like waiting around. Ranko had to organize her 'gang' of girls, but Ken would have been fine jumping back on his horse and riding then and there.

"If we're worried about your ladies, is it a good idea to drag them all the way to Coal?" He said, "I'll do the work, of course. No need to put you in harm's way."

Of course as he watched the girls move around at Ranko's command, the caution seemed ridiculous. But when Ken thought of 'able-bodied brothers', he didn't think of school girls from an academy.

Ken let out a sharp whistle, and Katashi stopped being entranced by every little thing in the school yard, and ran up to be beside them.

"Plus, we could get on the road quicker. Can't be simple keeping all this so... organized."

He wasn't doing a good job at hiding his amazement as they entered the school, as he looked around at the world that Ranko ran.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:59 PM   #5
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“It’s not that I don’t trust your work,” Ranko said, hanging loosely on the man’s arm, “It’s that it’s a wonderful opportunity to test out some of my prospects. New blood for the grunt work, new minds for the table. That sort of thing.”

There was a soft sigh between her lips as she furrowed her brow and looked up at Ken with the slightest hint of worry. “The logistics of keeping teenage girls orderly for a road trip isn’t entirely a welcome task, but their muscle might come in handy if this Guo Tong proves to be a problem. My trio of lieutenants all offer a variety of skill-sets that consistently prove useful. You won’t be disappointed.”

As they approached the dojo of the internal campus, the traditional paper doors slid open, two students bowing quickly and making themselves scarce as the two gangsters strolled through the entry way – on the other side, stood in the middle of the dojo, were Mayuko, Nagisa, and Juri – each standing before a much more timid girl selected from their respective classes.

“Girls! This is my uncle Ken!”

They all made a show of bowing, however disinterested they seemed in the politics of polite society, and then started chattering all at once, before settling on introducing themselves in turn – Kanbayashi Mayuko, priestess-in-training from the Fire Country; Nakano Nagisa, who had been introduced to Ken once before at a Family event; and the samurai dropout Kiku-ichimonji Juri, who was quivering with anticipation of petting Katashi again – obviously a bit less trained than the hunting hound.

Ranko smiled at Ken as she broke away from his arm and gestured at the girls. “A crude miko, the best street brawler this side of River, and a holy-sword swinging samurai punk. These are my best of the best, and they’re completely at your command for this operation. Including the ane there in the back.”

There was a murmur of discontent. “If you guys want names, you need to make one for yourself. This is a good opportunity!”

She patted down her dress as she flustered, then turned to the man. “If I could train my girls as well as you train your dog, I think I’d be a shoe-in for the head of the table, you know. I should watch out for you, once you start accumulating your own gang. If these girls are to your pleasure we can order a carriage.”
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