Description: A hung-over Kagura has to pull things together in order to meet with a Zepp representative due to a lapse of Hibiki. Tsubaki drops in for a visit in the aftermath. He will certainly make no worse decisions in the near future...
Despite the somewhat delicate atmosphere of Japan at the moment, the Novus Orbis Librarium still has business unrelated to the potential destruction of the Gears. One of countless such pieces of paperwork is the invitation to the new country of Zepp to meet; although the United Nations has the backing of many countries, NOL is also a multi-national conglomerate with ever-growing recognition across the globe. And with the United Nations suffering severe political backlash, it is not a terrible time to investigate other offers useful in establishing legitimacy.
Of course, that involves sending someone to meet with Colonel Mutsuki. As the chief of the Duodecim, the Twelve Originators who originally founded NOL long ago, he is the face of the organization in most international matters given the busy schedule of the Imperator.
Although this might not be the best time. Hibiki is off on an extended mission, and with all the stresses of the office during this time, Kagura has somewhat lapsed in his habits. Despite the enormous form of the dignitary, outside the difficulties of navigating doorways and stairs, Potemkin would have no troubles authorizing his visit and meeting with the Black Knight. His martial accomplishments are well known across the world, and his sound management of resources during the Ikaruga Civil War, even though NOL did not intervene until the final hour.
It should be an absolutely dignified and professional meeting. An aide in NOL blues would escort Potemkin up to the third-floor offices. "Colonel Kagura is the pride of this branch." the man states with genuine admiration. "You will never find a more courageous and noble soul with such care for his subordinates."
There's then muffled female yelling, punctuated by a sharp SLAP. The door to an office bursts out, as an angry woman struts away, so distraught she doesn't even notice Potemkin's bulk. The officer escort pales slightly, before slooowly beginning to head in the direction of the still-open door...
In some respects, Zepp's current position is not that different from that of the NOL. While currying the favor of the United Nations is certainly a wise move, in consideration of the current climate, strengthening its own place in the world independent of the world court and seeking alliances with like minded independent agencies is only only logical and prudent. As such when the invitation went forth, President Gabriel was more than willing to oblige.
Now Gabriel is a shrewd man, capable and more than worthy of his position. He engineered the overthrow of the old tyrannical technology worshiping regime and rose to the highest seat of power after all. His chief subordinate, Potemkin, as Zepp's mightiest fist of war, is perhaps abit more straight forward and disinterested in the matters of political dancing and the negotiations of a meeting room. Likely it was due to this that Gabriel insisted he be the one to handle such matters, for the sake of gaining experience in such arena's if nothing else.
Even so, he did not look forward to this meeting ...that is until he begins to hear tales of Kagura's exploits and hears how steadfast of a soldier he is. Mighty, loyal, true of heart and respectful to all who serve under him and come before him. Such a man is worth treating with and indeed might have much to share with Potemkin. Things the titan can glean to strengthen his own sense of purpose and will!
...Or perhaps not. As Potemkin follows behind the subordinate and then witnesses the irrate approach of the female officer, he slows to a brief stop. His expression cannot be seen due to the odd darkness created by his helmet but his bright eyes grow large and round and then narrow abit as he sighs, emitting a rumble from the depths of his mountainous chest. His suit strains under the shifting masses of his steel girder grinding physique and he just shakes his head in anticipation of a truly unique evening.
"...right this way." the officer mumbles to Potemkin, leading him over to the doorway. A somewhat sullen voice from somewhere within calls out. "Close that, will you?" Instead, a pregnant pause before, "Colonel Kagura. Your meeting with the representative from Zepp is now."
There's an even longer pause and the sound of glass clinking together. "I thought that was tomorrow?" It sounds more like a personal question than anything else. At length, a heavy form settling into some large chair. "Alright, you may enter."
The office is large and illustrious, as befits someone of Kagura's political and noble standing. Tall embroidered tapestries line the walls, housing both the symbol of Novus Orbis Librarium and the Mutsuki Clan. Even Zepp would need to acknowledge the Twelve Originators, one of the most potent groups of global families around, standing shoulder to shoulder with the likes of House Strolheim. Although the handsome black-haired man slumped in a chair past an ornate wooden desk is not quite the height of etiquette himself.
Kagura's eyes are closed, and the air smells faintly of alcohol. After saluting, the escorting soldier closes the door behind to leave Potemkin behind. Purple eyes slit open, the heel of the Black Knight's hand rubbing against his forehead. "Wow, you're big." he offers, simply. "Can you... hand me that water there...?" A few bottles are on the edge of his desk, although which -- if any -- have such within them is another matter entirely.
Potemkin may not -want- to be here as a matter of personal preference but he wouldn't be a good soldier if he went solely by what he wants to do and did not do what he was tasked to do to the best of his abilities. Thus he does indeed know of the Originators, having put his time in studying what information was available about the NOL before arriving. As he takes a look around the room, things seem pretty much as he expected and was prepared for. That is until he finally lays eyes upon Kagura.
Potemkin can be patient, however, and he waits for Kagura to pull himself together enough to acknowledge the obvious factor of the giants immensity and then to request the water. He looks over the table and then reaches forward with a single support beam sized finger to randomly push one of the bottles across the desk towards Kagura.
"..Perhaps this is not an ideal time and we should reschedule?" he rumbles, voice vibrating a profoudn basso just on the cusp of being unintelligible due to its deepness.
What comes over is not water, but the remnants of whiskey. Kagura takes a few sniffs before shrugging and downing the rest of it, setting it aside and then leaning forward with a creak of his chair. Eyes remain closed as if the glare of the lights is too much to bear at the moment. "No, no. You're already here." He pinpoints the one with water and then brings it to his lips for awkwardly long, deep chugs. Once empty, a content sigh before he sets it aside.
"My name is Kagura Mutsuki. Librarium Colonel of Asian Operations, Head of the Praetorian Guard, Chief of the Twelve Originators. It's an honor to meet you, envoy of Zepp. I hope that Lord Gabriel will bring true peace and prosperity to that area at last." It might be slightly startling, as he seems to go from utterly incompetent to genuinely respectful in the blink of an eye. One might wonder if he has a lot of experience in managing this particular... mental state.
The giant studies Kagura as he speaks, observing the switch from one mindset to the other with the ease someone changes a lane in traffic. He inclines his head slightly, listening as Kagura properly and formally finishes his introductions.
"I am Potemkin. Chief the Elite Presidential Guard for President Gabriel of Zepp." he rumbles once Kagura has finished, "I am here as an envoy on behalf of Zepp and in President Gabriel's name. To speak with me is to speak with him." Perhaps literally since Potemkin's gauntlets can serve as a direct line of communication back to the leader of that nation. As he speaks he straigtens up to his full height, towering well over eight feet with both of his huge arms resting at his sides.
"Zepp has heard your request for a meeting, Colonel Kagura, and I have come. These are challenging times. I am impressed by what I've seen of the NOL so far and...er..your own....Uh..." he struggles for a moment and then finishes with, "Adaptability."
"Presidential Guard, huh? That's one of my principal duties. I know how important it is, keeping someone alive who's very heart beats through an entire nation." Kagura says this earnestly, despite what his heart might truly ring well hidden from the discerning eyes of others. Outside the somewhat hazy mention of Potemkin's size initially, there doesn't seem to be any lingering issues with the Colonel in regards to Potemkin's unique appearance. The Black Knight slowly rolls his shoulders and sits up straight, eyes slitting all the way open with a gradual manner that seems wary of light all the same. "Pass on my thanks for taking this time. I'm sure Zepp and President Gabriel himself have already offered aide, but the United Nations and this Heihachi character are going through pains to keep others out of it. Still, this meeting has nothing to do with that. I don't need to explain why the backing of the Twelve Originators behind Zepp's claim for a new country is meaningful. Ultimately, the United Nations is a self-interested group of countries after personal agendas. Although being recognized by them is important, building a relationship with Novus Orbis Libriarium, I think, would serve your interests far better in the short term..."
"Offered and rendered aid, yes." confirms Potemkin. It's information Kagura likely has easy access to and could find out if he didn't. The huge man drags his arms upwards and then folds them as he listens to the rest of what Kagura has to say. His glowing headlight bright eyes narrow towards slits of their own as he waits, processing all that is said and carefully weighing it as he considers his words.
Finally he rumbles, "Zepp is interested in a stable secure future for itself and for the rest of the world. For our internatinonal community to sink into chaos while Zepp builds upon its own momentum in its newly gained freedom would be..preposterous. We will both atone for the past and serve as leaders in the new world."
Potemkin unfolds his gigantic arms, gesturing with a hand likely big enough to envelop Kagura's whole desk, but doing so merely for dramatic emphasis, "The UN has much to learn as well. Those who are able to serve as examples for truth and just behavior must remain steadfast and be a beacon for others. If the Novus Orbis Libriarium seeks these things then they will find an ally in Zepp. There is no reason that one must be mutually exclusive over the other." he pauses and then rumbles, "..Is there?"
"Of course." Kagura responds matter of factly. The last of his disorientation seems to have gone, even if the red handprint on his face and subtle smell of excessive spirits makes it hard to forget his first impression. Still, Potemkin can likely put a good deal together about this man. The words his men said about him were not lies, after all, and it's clear despite this manner of flaw, that belief is still unshaken. It likely says a lot about his qualities for it to be... overlooked. "That's exactly what I hoped to hear." is said with a small smile as Potemkin declares those intentions. Of course he would. It might be true, it might not, in the world of politics such gesticulations are meaningless. "Of course. We work with the United Nations, to an extent. More with the Sacred Order, honestly. Too much red tape in that agency, and we've no sovereign soil in need of recognizing like Zepp. But we want to present a united front against threats to this world. For peace, and against injustice. If Zepp was to formally agree to housing a Novus Orbis Librarium building within it and agree to the multinational aide we offer, then on paper we would recognize Zepp as an independent entity, separate from what came before. And for the rest of the world, that would go a long way towards President Gabriel's ambitions, wouldn't you say?"
An NOL branch in Zepp? Now that is intriguing. Potemkin inclines his head slightly as he hears Kagura's offer. His mind races and whirls through the possibilities here. Two outsider forces of not inconsidserable might joining forces together and if Kagura represents the caliber of the type of soldiers the NOL can bring to bear...that's even better. Unfortunately something like this isn't as simple as one two and three and Potemkin has an obligation to his country first and to hedge his bets, so to speak.
"An impressive offer. No doubt NOL would render aid and expect aid to be given back to it as circumstances called for it. Possibly a very noble effort." he pauses and then adds, " I wonder, though. You seem to be noble, Colonel, and trustworthy. But how would your peers feel about an outsider nation becoming involved in your affairs? That would seem to cause some potential friction amongst your various branches. Is that not a concern here?"
Given the presence of an NOL Branch in Southtown, it only makes sense that one Tsubaki Yayoi would at the least let the local colonel know the presence of a 0th Division member is in town and NOT targeting him, such is the life of one of the Wings of Justice. Walking into the branch, not wearing the cloak and mask of a 0th Division operative, but a white version of the standard NOL uniform. Moving towards a secretary, she's glad of the less...clandestine feel of the main branch office as opposed to the Intelligence office she had just been in to meet Captain Hazama before now. Much more to her liking, and perhaps stirring some bit of melancholy for the fact she was not stationed properly in one. Directed off towards Colonel Mutsuki's office. It had been a few years since she had seen Kagura Mutsuki, will his position have made him more responsible? Or would he be as his usual self? Not that it would be a bad thing, a friendly face would be nice.
"The degree of cooperation between NOL and Zepp is primarily up to you. We are pushing for more access to do our main duty, however... protecting the world from threats. This is the Imperator's will, and we want as many nations as possible under our umbrella. There is no international effort dedicated to the arcane, to technology, to chi. The Sacred Order primarily works against Darkstalkers, but NOL doesn't even believe all of them are evil. And we've seen, from the advent of the Gears, that the United Nations cannot be trusted."
Kagura leans forward, resting his elbows on the midst of his expansive desk. "The governments of this world want war. And they will do whatever it takes to manage it. There's countless agencies recklessly pursuing dangerous research. And how many are truly trying to stop it? None. Just vigilante bands. We think that Zepp could help us out... by offering a full, complete partnership in the near future, and hopefully be an example many others would follow."
Tsubaki would be lead towards Colonel Mutsuki's office on the third floor by a blue-suited individual, although whispers would indicate he's supposedly in some manner of important meeting. "So you must know Colonel Mutsuki, then... he's the Chief of the Duodecim! What was he like before NOL?" they ask, with a sort of eagerness from one who seems to genuinely admire Kagura. Innocent, naive admiration.
The behemoth rumbles in thought. The very sound rattling glasses, vibrating paintings, shaking the walls. Potemkin places both of his monstrous hands behind his back and his eyes squint slightly as he listens and ponders slowly, carefully and deliberately. Finally he loosens his arms and rumbles, "You speak truthfully on all fronts. Zepp is not looking to make an enemy of anyone save those who threaten our right to exist. Securing our place in the international community is paramount but more so is our own security and independence. If we must keep others at arms length in order to maintain that then we will do so and this includes the United Nations, whom we have recently aided and will continue to aid as long as it benefits the international community and our own position..." So there will be no breaking of already established treaties and partnerships over this.
" Our technology is second to none, as you are no doubt aware. Our industrial military complex is being turned towards the betterment of our citizens and those who would ally with us to secure the future. If you are a positive force towards us we will be a positive force towards you.."
Potemkin lifts an enormous hand and gestures at Kagura, "If the NOL's desire is to seek this safe and secure future and to deal with threats to it, then Zepp can provide aid where and when it is prudent for it to do so. However, I expect President Gabriel will expect no less in return where pursing Zepp's own agendas lie. That is the nature of building cooperation and trust. If The NOL can be relied upon to provide Zepp with aid in its relevant areas then I see no issue with making a recommendation to The President."
As she's lead along, Tsubaki smiles to the naive thing, "Colonel Mutsuki would be one of the few members of the Duodecim that knows how we serve not just the NOL, but the world as well." She reallizes it sounds like a pitch line. "He was always friendly to me, and we talked some while our parents were in meetings. You're all quite lucky to have him here." There's that mature professional edge that makes her a bit stuffy. With the whispers of a meeting, Tsubaki expects she'll be waiting for a little while at least. No matter, so long as no talk that would reveal she's in 0th Division happens, there should be no issue.
"Technology should be used to improve the people. Not the military. And not private hands. If you desire to change the statues quo in Zepp, then Novus Orbis Librarium is on your side. You'll have a lot of enemies, but there's no other way to change the world. And we don't have to be one of them." He then pushes back his chair and stands up, extending a hand towards the gargantuan figure, grin broadening. "I think we've got a good foundation for discussion, then. I look forward to hearing President Gabriel's response. Things in this world are going to start moving fast very, very soon."
"Colonel Mutsuki's the only person in NOL I'd work for." the man says, standing taller with resolution. "I was going to quit when I met him. Then he transferred me to his personal staff. He's a great leader..." There's a slight 'something' to that, as if there's an implication that when it comes to issues outside leadership, the compliments might be rather less glowing. "So you are from the Yayoi house? Where did they place you after you graduated?"
"We are no strangers to enemies, sacrifice, or risk." Potemkin's earthquake of a voice states this both solemnly and with the resoluteness of one who has seen the horrors of his own civil war. "The change has already been wrought within Zepp. It's where we go from here and how the world reacts that will pave how smooth or jagged the road to the future is.." His immense hand clasps around Kagura's own. His pressure suit creaking as it regulates his monstrous strength to keep it from exerting enough force to crumple a car into a ball of metal with a grasp. Even something as simple as shaking someone's hand or writing requiring the intervention of the Zeppian military pressure suit.
"I look forward to giving my report to The President. I believe we will be talking again very soon."
A smile, catching the hinted at...quiet remark. So, it seems Kagura hasn't completely changed. From when she knew him. That should make this meeting easier at least. Then drops the dreaded topic. There were few happy responses when she would say the dreaded division. The usual response was either immediate distrust and scorn, or outright demands to finish quick and get out of town. After all, the Wings of Justice were an internal affairs orgnization who were known for punishing offenders with death in the worst case, or hauling off individuals to be questioned at the Central Branch, sometimes never to be seen again, or...changed by their direct interactions with the Imperator. The only nice thing afforded was that for now she could say, "Intelligence, though at Central Branch usually, I recently had important information requested by the Imperator from Captain Hazama, and while I was here I wanted to speak with the Colonel about some other matters that he should be kept aware of." It's...a lie, and she hates it. But she does not want to cause trouble before she talks to Kagure. Best let some nosy person find out later and let the hushed whispers ruin this peaceful moment after she was gone.
"You chose a good time. With this war, international attention cannot be spared for Zepp just yet. Make sure not to waste it." Kagura says simply. Of course the grip would probably still be incredibly painful to a normal soldier, but the Black Knight is built of sterner stuff, and seems to accept it better than most. "I look forward to it." Hopefully the rather embarrassing scene Potemkin saw at the onset has been mostly forgotten... "I'll begin the process of moving this forward with Central Headquarters, so if Zepp decides to cooperate, we'll minimize downtime. Don't worry. It implies no agreement at this time." He then heavily thumps down into his chair, melting into the contoured leather as sheer will keeps his hangover at bay...
"O-oh? Intelligence?" There's a touch of disquiet there. It's a sad state of affairs when Intelligence is the lesser of two evils, to say the least. Eyes cast over Tsubaki's pure white, obviously questioning. "Those are not the normal colors for... w-well. You're a First Lieutenant of the Duodecim. It's not my place to judge." He stands up straighter, and then presses a fist to his chest in a formal show of respect. "I apologize if I spoke out of turn. Colonel Mutsuki prefers a very relaxed atmosphere when it comes to rank."
"Fear not for Zepp's present position." Potemkin lowers his hand and then snaps to a Zepp Elite Soldier salute, bringing is huge fist up infront of him and then around against his chest with his other arm behind his back. "It was not for nothing, nor a foolish decision, to choose to aid the UN in the Chi-Tek recovery. Our position is stable. You will hear from The President soon."
He bows and then turns, beginning to take heavy, ground shaking and yet still measured, steps towards the door.
A bit of a nervous laugh, "Yes, well, when one is on such tasks all manner of changes happen." she brings a hand to her mouth and clears her throat, calming and then returning the salute, "It is like the Colonel to insist on that, thank you for showing me the way and your company." Her hands moving behind her back as she readies to wait. A close one there. Waiting for the man to be out of sight before sighing in relief. Was this what she had been reduced to, just to have something resembling a normal conversation? Such thoughts are interrupted when she can hear, and FEEL the heavy footfalls, wondering what manner of guest Kagura is entertaining before her eyes move to the door and see Potemkin. She's not seen this man before, was he a Darkstalker? Or something else? Either way she will wait patiently for her to be admitted. As Potemkin Passes she nods her head offering a neutral smile, not wanting to offend someone that is obviously an important guest.
Kagura gives a salute of his own, not too different from Potemkin's own, from his chair. It's probably awkward to sidle through the doorway, all the same. His fingers are already upon his temples when he blinks, peering in the direction of the doorway. "...Eh? Is someone out there?" he calls, voice somewhat hazy and weak from the requirement of keeping things nice and professional with the gargantuan emissary. "If it's a girl, you can come in... otherwise, go away." It doesn't seem he's aware it's Tsubaki herself just yet. He's busy fiddling around with one of his desk drawers, mumbling something unpleasant underneath his breath.
Yeah, Potemkin misses all of that. Kagura did a pretty decent job of redeeming himself in regards to how put together he seems to be. Potemkin will have to be sure to mention that transformation from drunk womanizing lout to diplomat to Gabriel. Must be some sort of trained skill.
He passes by Tsubaki like an battleship slowly drifting by, but he does acknowledge her. A friendly nod given to her in response to her smile. His glowing eyes blink a few times and then look towards the escort, ready to be shown the way out.
With the trade off, she nods to her erstwhile escort, before the call from within is heard. Tsubaki gave a reserved sigh as she stepped around the corner and offered the traditional NOL salute. "Good morning Colonel Mutsuki. 1st Lieutenant Tsubaki Yayoi." she's at least going to start all business, she's not certain where things will go, and even in Kagura's current state he would no doubt reallize somethings up, as Tsubaki is shutting the door to the office behind her before waiting. Rumors will no doubt be flying on her walk out as to why the beautiful young Lieutenant from Central HQ and was a fellow member of the Duodecim is visiting Kagura.
"Oh...?" Kagura squints at the entering figure, shifting up from his immense slouch into a more proper position. "Tsubaki! It's been awhile. Drop the formalities; you can just call me Kagura, like old times." There's the clink of many bottles before he comes up with an exquisite looking bottle of wine, checking the label carefully. "I was going to drink tequila, but since you're here to visit, we can celebrate properly." He begins to wrestle the cork with a grunt, eyes slit. The lights are exceptionally dim; did he really meet an essential delegate in these conditions? Tsubaki would smell alcohol in the air, and it's not so subtle that it would be easily ignored.
A sigh, maybe Kagura was worse than she thought lately. She hadn't remembered him to be a drunk. "Alright, Kagura." she says, with some resignation, it had taken interactions of many of the Duodecim meetings while parents were in shuttered meetings to get Tsubaki to not refer to him as sir. But then, once she had been coaxed into the less formal speech the two at least were friendly. She holds a hand up, "While I'm certain it's a fine vintage Kagura, we shouldn't." here comes the moment where she learns wether Kagura will treat her with contempt, or unending distrust. She seems a bit..pensive as she says, "I don't know if you're aware, but I am here as a member of 0th Division at the request of Intelligence."
There's two sides to Kagura. That of the strong, capable leader who can inspire countless men, make rational decisions in a crisis and create a tall banner that many are proud to stand behind. And there's the womanizing lazy drinking slacker. Hibiki's life work has been in minimizing the effect of the latter, but he's not here right now, is he? Kagura had always been kind to Tsubaki, but his own escalated position and age minimized one on one discussions. He has been groomed to be the head of the Duodecim all his life, and the heir to the most influential House, present in all those closed meetings rather than being able to mingle with Jin, Tsubaki, and the other future heirs.
So this is a side of him she's probably not very familiar with. It's not at his most flattering.
"We shouldn't, but we will. You always take things too seriously. Relax a little. That's an order." Two tall wineglasses are pulled up, and with a loud POP he pours some crimson liquid in both and sets the bottle to the side. ...it's chilled. Does he have some kind of wine cooler in his drawer? Or did he make Engineering create some Ars Magus to manage such?
A slow drink follows as she says that, but he doesn't seem to react. "I heard you were assigned to the Wings of Judgement. ...Such a waste. You graduated top of your class. And you're one of the Duodecim heirs. You bear the damn Izayoi! I didn't request you since I figured you'd want to end up with Jinny... if I knew they'd squander your talents like this, I would have pulled rank instead."
Kagura then blinks, as if realizing something. "I-I mean unless you requested it. It's dirty work, but it's important, too... the greatest threats to the Imperator and Novus Orbis Librarium come from within, after all..."
If there was one complaint she expected from Kagura? It would be the one about always being so formal. Pair that with other things, she's honestly surprised that he's not immediately questioning why she's there. Maybe she will take that drink. She sighed, reaching out to lift the glass, swirling it with a practiced manner, yes, she knew how to appreciate a glass. Then comes the talk of him wishing he had known she had been shuffled off. THe talk of Jin. She tenses, and forces a smile, "I do what I must for the Duodecim and the Imperator, Kagura. It was not my request to join the unit, and it is important work. I don't know if you heard about the attack on Captain Hazama, and Lt. Vermillion?" she allows a slip of herself to sip that wine. "I've been tasked with hunting down and attempting to locate the only witness, Ragna the Bloodedge."
It's incredibly good wine. The chilling perfectly mimics being in an underground cellar. Finely aged. If Tsubaki retains her noble palette, the price of it must be astronomical. Yet the alcohol content is also incredibly high, unsurprisingly. Kagura is less delicate about drinking, sipping it a bit less reverently given the cost and quality. The best way to manage a hangover is to start another one, and he has two days at least before Hibiki comes back.
"It's important work, yeah. Someone's got to do it. And if you are on that team, it'll be competent. That eases my mind a little." It seems that, despite an apparently low opinion of the 0th Division, Kagura is not resenting Tsubaki personally for it in any manner. He had considered offering her a position in the Praetorian Guard, but... he knows Tsubaki well enough to understand she's always wanted to make her own way. The Imperator has to have put her where she is for a reason...
"Ragna the Bloodedge, huh? That SS-Class brat? If you find him, send a memo my way. I'll make sure to take him in if he's going to show his face around Southtown. I'm going to give my condolences to Second Lieutenant Vermillion personally... I think a large number of flowers would do the trick..." There's a distant look in his face that Tsubaki might not particularly care for. "You've grown up into quite a beautiful lady yourself though, Tsubaki. I bet you feel lucky to wear that mask; don't have to reject every guy who lays eyes on you, huh?" The flirtation is playful, the last of his wine drained in a last, slow swallow.
Tsubaki is surprised glancing to the bottle to confirm suspicions, the palette and certain indicators hinting at it's origin. Hmm..perhaps her palette wasn't as good as she thought, but then, wine was not her primary hobby. With another sip she set it down. "Indeed, though most visits to a branch Commander are met with...less than hospitable acceptance. Everyone thinks I'm some kind of angel of death descending on them." a slight laugh to try and ease herself. She had wanted to make her own way...with Jin. But that seemed closed to her, so she could only trust the Imperator's will. As frustrating as that was becoming. Why was she thinking that? Must be the wine, perhaps she was too much of a light weight.
"I had his trail, but lost it." as talk turned to Noel there was...another thought in her head, Noel would be fine, why would he bother to bring her flowers? Had she not gotten enough special treatment? The stress of it all, that must be what it is. "She would appreciate that." is the awkward words that come. Which is strange, given Noel and Tsubaki were best friends. At the talk of wearing the mask and the flirting, there's a slight pinkening of Tsubaki's cheeks for a moment before she clears her throat, "Yes, well, I gather you've managed to meet more than a few women here. I hope you've not broken too many hearts?" she takes a moment, and then lifts her glass, sipping again. "I just wanted you to know, Kagura, that as far as my presence is concerned, you don't have anything to worry about. As near as I can tell the Imperator is not targeting you or anyone in your command."
Reaching over, Kagura pours more into Tsubaki's glass, despite having barely dented it. Perhaps it makes the second serving for himself a bit less overt. "Is that so?" marvels the tall Black Knight, taking his time to sample the wine this time and truly appreciate all that went into making the perfect bottle. Swirling it to aerate, before doing another sip. But his eyes are open when Tsubaki talks of Noel, observing her very carefully. He has incredible insight into the subtle signs of people, a trait learned from birth and honed as a commander. Nothing is said, all the same.
He can imagine what's going through her mind. He knows that Tsubaki loves Jin; he teased her about it, when she was young and all blushes. It's also the main reason he does not hit on her like other females. Her love is somewhere else, and despite the material evidence, physical comfort is not the sole result the Black Knight aims for. ...it's just a very positive side-effect. And he has a LOT of love to give.
"Well, you know how it is. Cooped up in the Mutsuki manor, I got leashed for too long. Freedom's not always healthy when you've been in a cage as long as I have." It might end in drunken parties that make you forget gigantic Zepp representatives are coming to visit.
"...but that's the wrong mindset to have. Those with nothing to hide, have nothing to fear. For all you know, I'm meticulously planning a grand coup to take over Novus Orbis Librarium and replace the Imperator!" He then lets out a genuine laugh at that absurdity. "Still, you're always welcome here. If my men treat you poorly, let me know, and I'll teach them to respect a young lady properly. I always knew you'd achieve great things. One way or another, even if it takes some time... things always work out for the best." Relentless optimism has undoubtedly got him far in life. Almost as far as his trusted and highly competent subordinates...
Noticing the extra wine poured in her glass, Tsubaki is not sure she's going to touch it again, maybe, possibly. Things are...feeling normal. But there's the business part she didn't like.
If there was one thing she could appreciate about Kagura it was, that he seemed to have a knack for knowing people. It did make him a good leader, even if he needed help balancing that with his use of that for parties and extravagance she never did understand.
"That may be true, but it's a bit of honesty I can live with imparting to someone who's an old friend." She nodded appreciating the comment. Taking the glass, about to sip agian before holding it out, "To old friends and future endeavors Kagura?" it's a silly gesutre, but it's a bit of familiarity she had missed. She could relate to the comment on being leashed, but she was leashed to the Imperator, not her family now. It was nice to be able to break some rules now and again.
The glass is taken up with a dip of Kagura's head, leaning forward to clink it lightly against Tsubaki's. "Just remember we're friends. It's good to have friends in high places. Don't be afraid to lean on me if you're ever in a bind. Trust the Imperator, forge forward, and I'm sure the right path in your life will open before you." He then drinks a rather excessive amount of the wine, before setting it down before his desk. "Back to the business at hand... Acting Colonel Hazama took over the investigation of Ragna. Technically, it's out of my hands. But technically, I can intercept him on my own, as an SS-Class bounty. So keep that in mind. I might not be your knight in shining armor, but I'll play the part for you whenever you need it." He then offers a playful wink, before finishing off his second glass of high-proof wine...
As the glasses clink and she takes her sip she sets the glass down, listening to him talk. Acting Colonel Hazama. He'd been so...she blinked, the meeting yesterday had been so strange. She had to... Her expression becoming odd for a moment before she shook her head, "I must be out of practice with drinking." she laughs nervously, before she nodded.
"For now, I need to get back on the trail. I will let you know if I need back up." She pushed her seat back and took a breath standing.
"It was good to see you again Kagura. Take care." she offered a salute.
"Hahah. If you ever need more practice, just come visit me again." The empty glass is placed on the corner of the desk. "Good luck, Tsubaki." He gives her a crisp salute of his own, far more formal than someone of his position should offer a subordinate. "I really mean that." He then settles back, staring into the darkness amidst the mild throb of his headache. Hazama... he's always felt uneasy about him. But he's in the good graces of the Imperator, and he can't do any movements without drawing suspicion. There's more than one reason he'd like to meet Ragna now. Ms. Vermillion might have no recollection, but if the criminal does... that'll have to be his first step.
Tsubaki finds herself appreciating that gesture. A nod, a thankful smile. She then she steps back and turns, opening the door and noticing the gathering of subordinates nearby. How much had they heard? What were they assuming? She adjusts herself and begins to walk towards the exit of the branch. She clears her throat, not meeting any gazes now. She needs to get her head in the mission again.
Log created on 21:34:19 12/07/2017 by Kagura, and last modified on 00:08:52 12/19/2017.