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Old 01-21-2019, 05:52 PM   #21
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All the evidence pointed towards Guo Tong being a liar - - she had seen the state of the people on his streets, and his obvious ornate wealth didn’t seem to have much to do at all with holding back any imagined bandits. If anything, he’d be the only person on the street looking over their shoulder at night. If you hire all the thugs in town, then maybe you could sleep easier at night.

Keisei Ranko could understand that methodology. There was an old anecdote about finding the biggest guy in the yard, and beating the hell out of him, to keep anyone else from messing with you. It was indeed a strategy, making up for a lack of elegance with a certain brutality that one could find admirable, in a twisted way. Just buying that guy outright was about as well as someone like Tong could hope to do.

Being too frail to be your own muscle was familiar to the Prince as well.

In truth, the only thing she needed was a discount on the taxes for certain interested parties, and everything in terms of the Family would be fine. But the state of the people in the town troubled her. It could be said she ruled her schools like a little tyrant, but damned if everyone wasn’t better for it - - soaring grades, grand opportunities after graduation, and a legion of loyalists to her cause. If you wanted to rule with an iron fist, you needed to rule in a way that didn’t have a thousand daggers aimed at your back. Maybe it would be easier to rally those outside against Tong, if she had any problems with him, rather than the original plan of feeding his fingers to the Hellhound.

So, let’s negotiate.” She smiled and gestured at Nagisa, who dropped forward a black folder, filled with carefully printed documents with decorative filigree border designs. Inside, it detailed the profits over the last year for a few of the businesses in question - - all using their legal names and the books they’d share with any inspector, of course - - as well as the majority of their plans to bypass Coal entirely. “Your overreach has gotten so...excitable...that we’re looking to move out of the area entirely. Without the Family’s influence in the area, you’ll have more than bandits to worry about. Competitive families, unsightly turf wars, I’m sure you understand.

She tapped down on one page with a gloved hand and smiled up at Tong. “Here’s an alternative taxing plan we’ve drafted. It’ll cut into your personal profits, but keeping the Family cozy to you can have benefits, as well. For instance, if we open a headquarters, hmm...

She shifted the pages until she found the one she wanted. “Here, then you can imagine the pressure from Tien’s influence on your border being immediately alleviated. And, of course! A steamed bun shop, this far north! How delicious!
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¤Nara Shikagerou, Sennin of Leaf.
¤Hyuuga Yuu, Genin of Leaf.
¤Gushiken Ren, Chuunin of Mist.
¤Hikoboshi no Natsu, Miko of Wind.
¤Sajime Sahori, Jounin of Stone.
¤Kiku-ichimonji Jun'ko, ronin samurai.
¤Hatsuyuki Shiro, renegade shinobi.
¤Keisei Ranko, The Prince of the Keisei.
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Old 01-26-2019, 01:59 PM   #22
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The more Ranko went on, the more agitated Guo Tong became. The man's fingers gripped his cup tightly, and his eyebrow was twitching with every detail of the 'new tax plan'. Then at the end of it, he slammed his head down, which made Katashi bark in response. She was there at Ken's side, and he comforted her as the negotiation unfolded.

"This isn't a negotiation," Guo Tong snapped, "This is a threat! You would cut into my margins that deep? What, with a promise of protection? You saw at the border that I'm more than able to buy my own protection."

Katashi barked again, and this time it wasn't at Guo Tong. It was hard to hear over the argument, but it was there. The sound of men moving outside. How many were there though? Ken had a feeling he was going to find out one way or another.

"You really think I'm afraid of you, don't you?" He said with a noticeable quiver in his voice, "You bring your little school yard into my city, and then throw this embarrassing business plan out?"

Katashi was barking louder now, and Ken wasn't really making an effort to stop her. Instead he straightened up, trying his best to pay attention to what came next. It seemed like one kind of confrontation or another was going to happen, it was just a matter of what.

"Will you shut up that mutt?" Guo Tong snapped at Ken.

Ken looked to Guo Tong, his brow furrowed, "You sure have a lot of men around the building for a simple business negotiation, it just has her on edge. You wouldn't be trying to surround us, would you?"

Guo Tong's fraying sense of calm broke down even further, "O-oh that? Just prepared to defend myself. Your family doesn't have the best reputation. Is it so far-fetched for a lord to keep his guards handy?"

Ken shushed Katashi, and looked to Ranko again, "We should finish up."

Guo Tong chuckled, "Why yes, how about we do. I have a counter-offer. When I see fit, I can send you a gift of appreciation. The rest of your organization need not worry about the details, your little taxes, any of that. You are a smart little girl, you seem to like fine things, and you appreciate your life. All together, that should make this an easy choice for you. Keep your nose out of Tong, pay your due, and you walk away rich in health."

The front door opened, and two armed men entered the hall. They had light armor, and spears. They didn't move to do anything, just stood at alert.
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Old 01-27-2019, 01:36 PM   #23
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Ranko leaned back in her seat and loosely crossed her arms on her lap, drumming her fingers against her elbow. She was getting agitated, but it wouldn’t do to have two people losing their cool in a situation like this. As the few men barged into the room, Mayuko found a way to place herself behind Ken and the wall, shrinking down as much as she could. She was, of the quartet, the most delicate of them all. As skilled as she was at facing down ghosts and goblins, large men seemed to put her immediately on the defensive.

Nagisa seemed the most relaxed, one arm over the back of the couch behind Ranko, while she absently cracked her knuckles one-handed on the other. She was smiling, doing her best to look pleasant, but her leg was bouncing up and down with the anxiety of the situation.

I was really hoping we could be friends, Tong.” Ranko smiled. She was starting to get a headache. Shifting around the political alliances in Coal was a large task, one that wasn’t going to be simple. At least this area was small enough it shouldn’t cause too much trouble. Ken was right - - he had been uneasy since they first got here, and it seems his nose for trouble was as sharp as the dog’s. They should have ended negotiations before tea, before Tong had time to bring up his forces. If - - or, at this point, when - - a fight broke out, that was an unfair burden on the man.

She’d have to increase his cut, just a bit, to make up for it. Maybe he’d be interesting managing this town - - she doubted it, considering it was so far away from River, but it was an option. She locked eyes with him, for a moment, and smiled.

Well, if it was easy, it wouldn’t be worth doing.

“Girls,” She said, holding up her hand. She lost the eerie inflection on her voice. “Let’s not wear out our welcome.”

The gang started to shuffle, getting into position to leave, but Ranko folded her hands politely in her lap and smiled at Tong. “Remember to put away your trash, girls.”

On that signal, there was a sudden activity. Juri, who had been waiting for the command, strolled into the room from the back service door - - behind her, some of the wait staff could be seen against the wall, tied up and gagged. She threw her scabbard on the ground as she drew her sword, and pointed it at one of the armed men. For a punk school girl, she sure had a level sword arm. Nagisa stood up, and as she did so - - something changed about her. Her hair seemed to dance on its own around her face and her pupils dilated. Mayuko, behind Ken, immediately started chanting something, cutting phrases and foul arcanry.

“Sorry about this, Ken. My girls have unique talents.” She nodded at him. “Hopefully it doesn’t get too messy.”

Now wait just a damned minu--” Tong started.

Ranko pointed with her index and middle finger towards two of the gang girls - “Flank ‘em.”

And then all Hell broke loose in the waiting room of Guo Tong.

__________________
¤Nara Shikagerou, Sennin of Leaf.
¤Hyuuga Yuu, Genin of Leaf.
¤Gushiken Ren, Chuunin of Mist.
¤Hikoboshi no Natsu, Miko of Wind.
¤Sajime Sahori, Jounin of Stone.
¤Kiku-ichimonji Jun'ko, ronin samurai.
¤Hatsuyuki Shiro, renegade shinobi.
¤Keisei Ranko, The Prince of the Keisei.
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Important NPCs: Higashi

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Old 02-04-2019, 07:14 PM   #24
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As the fighting broke out, Katashi got tense. All of the muscles in her body were ready to snap, but Ken held her fast as he reached to his belt and pulled out his hunting knives.

Ranko had the right idea. This negotiation was going nowhere as far as Ken was concerned. They would have been better off lopping Tong's head off and putting it on a pike outside as a warning to anyone else who thought it was a good idea to treat the people in their territory so poorly. The family protected, that was their job. They protected from monsters like Tong.

Some of Ranko's girls seemed dedicated to attacking the guards that had walked in. It was a smart goal, the one that the sword-girl attacked was completely outclassed. He was barely able to get his weapon up. Juri was able to slice into the man, the ane behind her giving him a second slash for his trouble. The guard stumbled back, clearly hurt. All he could do is try to hold his spear out and jab it at Juri, his spear wobbling.

His guard partner was less concerned.

Guo Tong let out a shout, "They are just children, kill them!"

The other guard at the door charged forward with his spear at the ane that had flanked with Juri. They didn't seem to realize the other two girls were cause for concern just yet.

Ken had heard enough. "Girl, get'em!"

Katashi snapped forward as Ken charged in behind her. He pulled his knives out and was ready to bring them down on the sniveling coward after Katashi cornered him. They never got the chance.

Tong backed up in alarm as he saw the charging hound. Then there was a fast movement, and the woman Miss Hori, was standing between the hound and her target. Katashi came to an abrupt stop, but Ken ran past his pet and tried to slash at the woman.

"Out of the way!" Ken snapped.

He underestimated her. Miss Hori put an arm up and managed to match with his wrist, then struck him dead in the chest before his other knife could go to work. He was knocked back into the ane that was accompanying him, and they tumbled over the edge of the table. Miss Hori stood back up straight, her face going from a brief flash of anger to being passive again.

"You're going to regret that," Ken said as he stood up, helping the ane there alongside him.

Miss Hori looked toward Tong, and pointed toward the back door. The man didn't run, instead shuffling that direction as if the moment he looked away he would end up dead from some other sudden attack.

Two men burst in through the service door, two more came in through the front. One near the front yelled back outside, "Everyone get in here!"

"Idiots, protect me!" Tong shouted.

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Old 02-20-2019, 09:23 PM   #25
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“Boss?” Nagisa’s body was quivering with excitement, like her muscles were going to explode right out of her skin. Even her voice seemed sharp, but everything about her in that moment seemed perfect, like she knew her body inside and out better than anyone ever could. The natural brilliance of a genius brawler.

Ranko took a sip from her teacup, as if she couldn’t be terribly interested in the whole affair, but a smile played over her lips. “Don’t let her beat you at your own game, Nagisa.”

“Yes, ma’am!” Her voice seemed to be left behind as she exploded into action. From Ranko’s perspective, she simply was gone, until she was on her target: A one Miss Hori.

The Prince snarled a bit at the tea and leaned over to grab a pair of sugar cubes to splash into the cup. “Mayuko, assist Mr. Tong, if you please.”

“Yes!” The left-hand miko let out a screaming bolt of energy from her hand, her body recoiling from the blast. It soared through the air on a direct path for Tong, and then a feeling of cold bounced around the room from the shock of the impact, a feeling like your guts suddenly getting nervous.

Juri,” The Prince said with the slightest agitation on her voice. One of Tong’s guards was behind the girl on the couch, preparing a sword strike. The little ronin exploded across the room and crossed swords with him, balancing on the edge of the couch with enough grace not to disturb her boss as she sipped at her tea again.

I did try to play nice.” She harrumphed to herself as she blew at her tea. “Girls, show me what you can do.”

One of the ane muttered something about a witch in their midst, but an other patted her on the back as she moved into action. “A job’s a job, you wanna be an accountant or whatever?”

“I guess, but...”

__________________
¤Nara Shikagerou, Sennin of Leaf.
¤Hyuuga Yuu, Genin of Leaf.
¤Gushiken Ren, Chuunin of Mist.
¤Hikoboshi no Natsu, Miko of Wind.
¤Sajime Sahori, Jounin of Stone.
¤Kiku-ichimonji Jun'ko, ronin samurai.
¤Hatsuyuki Shiro, renegade shinobi.
¤Keisei Ranko, The Prince of the Keisei.
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Engi Tech || Leaf & Stone Secondary GM
Important NPCs: Higashi

Maybe it's the patterns that make me that made me crazy
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Old 02-22-2019, 03:42 PM   #26
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"Now you're just pissing me off!" Ken growled as he twirled his knives. He was going to take the chance to move in to attack Hori, but then he saw the one Nagisa go charging in to fight her. Hori wasn't so lucky.

The blow from Nagisa came down on Hori, and the woman seemed flabbergasted that anything had hit her at all. It wasn't until the third strike, an uppercut, that Miss Hori mounted a proper defense, crossing her arms to block the blow and still getting knocked up against the wall of the room, and out of Ken's way.

The strange blast from the small girl gave Ken pause, but Tong's guards didn't. They leaped in the way, and one of the men was hit by the wave of darkness before being knocked to the ground.

"Come on girl," Ken said as he leaped back over the table. The second guard there in front of Tong saw Ken, and his face paled at the expression of Rage on Ken's face. The man brought up his weapon, and Ken used one knife to unbalance the spear, and the next chopped into the meat of the man's arm.

The guard let out a scream of pain, but Ken silenced him with a knee to the gut.

"Surround them you fools, there are more- AAH!" Tong started out shouting orders at his other guards, before the room echoed with Katoshi's growling and his loud screaming. She had leaped up at him, and the man put an arm up that now had a large hound hanging off of it. He was trying to shake her off, but she wasn't the smallest dog around. Instead he fell back until he fell through the service door and into the next room. The sound of screaming continued.

But some of his guards understood his command, as the two new guards to the scene came to strike Juri while she was distracted with guarding Ranko. Their spears were primed and they rushed in point first.

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Old 03-01-2019, 06:50 PM   #27
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Tsk.

Nagisa was busy keeping Miss Hori busy, tangling with her blow for blow to keep her on the ropes. She was the most obviously threatening, after the combat had started and she played her hand, so keeping that particular piece of the board was important, but there was a limit to Nagisa’s rage, and while she was still a commendable brawler afterwards, the shock and awe would wear off.

Mayuko got the hint when the sour comments spat between the lesser ane, and turned her attention to covering the Prince. She wasn’t the most threatening of the girls in a fist fight, at least at first – but she typically only needed one solid hit to send an opponent flying. With the speed of Tong’s guards, though, she was mostly looking for cover.

That left Juri, already tangling with more than she should, that old-school samurai bravado, as additional spearmen came in. It was unfortunate, but the Prince’s crew wasn’t quite strong enough to let her sit this one out entirely. She chucked her tea at the face of one of the newcomers with surprising precision for his eyes, a splash of hot tea overladen with granules of sugar. She stood with the motion, producing a small blade from somewhere and riding it along the heft of the spear of the second, slashing across the man’s fingers with a single smooth motion.

Miss Ranko--” Juri started, looking horrified that the boss was tangling in combat, herself.

“Let me have my fun.” The Prince said. She shifted her stance, hidden under the frills of her dress, and held her blade up before her. She was trained for this, but a blade against a spear was an unfair matchup. While the other guy was recovering from her tea, she just had to keep this spearman focused on her while Mayuko got herself into position. “If something happens to that dog, you’re all dead!”

__________________
¤Nara Shikagerou, Sennin of Leaf.
¤Hyuuga Yuu, Genin of Leaf.
¤Gushiken Ren, Chuunin of Mist.
¤Hikoboshi no Natsu, Miko of Wind.
¤Sajime Sahori, Jounin of Stone.
¤Kiku-ichimonji Jun'ko, ronin samurai.
¤Hatsuyuki Shiro, renegade shinobi.
¤Keisei Ranko, The Prince of the Keisei.
Available for Registry Checks
Engi Tech || Leaf & Stone Secondary GM
Important NPCs: Higashi

Maybe it's the patterns that make me that made me crazy
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Old 03-20-2019, 11:04 AM   #28
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Ken tossed the guard in front of him to the ground, the man crying out and bleeding all over the floor. Ken immediately forgot him, stepping over him and heading for the door to the next room where he saw his dog vanish with that idiot. He was already tired of this fight, the idea that Tong would try this ambush meant he was going to pay for his mistakes, dearly.

"Stop right there!" a guard swung his spear wildly, one of the ones that the 'magical' girl had hit earlier. It seemed he could barely see right in front of him, he definitely couldn't see what his spear was aimed at.

Ken ducked under another swing, pressed forward with his hands out, and then just shoved the one spear-idiot into the next one until they both tumbled over each other into the corner of the room.

Then he kicked the door to the next room open, and stepped in. It seemed some of Ranko's girls had already beat him there. Tong had at least got free of Katoshi. She wasn't hurt, and together with the two gangsters she was surrounding the man in the corner of the kitchen area. He was holding his arm, bleeding, and his eyes were wild.

"Someone... come help me!" Tong yelled. His voice was desperate, quivering. He didn't stand a chance anymore.

Ken stayed behind the ane, he wasn't sure he could get closer without taking the fool's head off. His blood was boiling, and his prey was cornered. At this point, he was worse than Katoshi.

Ken pointed a long knife at Tong, "If you don't get on your knees, you aren't going to make it out of here, Tong."

Tong nodded along with the suggestion. It was the gift, insidious. At this point he was already kind of agreeing, so he didn't need to push any harder to get the man to agree. It was the truth, and Tong knew that. He started to go down to his knees.

Meanwhile out in the main room, it was clear that Tong's troops weren't having the best day. Miss Hori was beaten and on the ropes, the woman had combos of her own, trying to throw out swing after swing, before getting countered by Nagisa's strikes.

The men near the entrance, including the one Ranko had cut, started to back up and circle up. Those that were previously on the ground were being picked up by their comrades and pulled over. They looked like an enemy surrounded on all fronts, as if a whole army was coming at them. They struck out as they retreated, their spears helping them make a pseudo-turtle formation. Without orders, and clearly overpowered, they were heading toward their own exit, the front door.

Back in the kitchen, Ken heard the click of a back door open. In walked the man from before, when they first entered the country. That scratched out headband, the pale face. Though Ken noticed there was a swollen imprint on his cheek, of a sandal. It reminded him of the ones the samurai girl wore.

Ken snapped, "No!" and leaped over a counter toward the ninja.

In a flash of movement, a loud explosion of smoke filled the room and spread through it like a tornado, taking Ken off guard. He could barely make out a face in it, a taunting cheshire grin.

"Too slow, sensei."

Ken and the ane all coughed, and Ken tried to make his way to Tong's location. By the time he got there, the man was already gone.

"DAMNIT!"

The Prince wasn't going to like this.
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