Description: JUST KIDDING, CAT AND BIRD ARE SUPER TIGHT YOU GUYS, IGNORE LAST MESSAGE
Finding a tengu is a tricky proposition -- especially one that is so content to go about her daily business doing so much nothing, after years of being on a mountain doing ... a different, less delightful sort of nothing. If one knows how to ask, though -- focusing not on the wings, which most can't see more often than not, but on her dark hair, her unearthly purple eyes, her regal bearing -- it's easy enough to track her down.
She's taken up residence in the Southtown residential district; one day, a home that had been for sale simply... wasn't, anymore, and a 'Nyoko Miyama' took it for her own. The woman seems to keep impossibly odd hours, doing nothing of consequence.
For the moment, she has decided to just sprawl out on the couch that is now hers, watching television. When you're a thousand years old, there's really no urgency to anything.
Stories once told that the Dragon Shrine Maidens of the Hayabusa Clan possessed an artifact that allowed the ninjas of their clan to track down and trap wayward Tengus with great ease. Unfortunately for Momiji, such an artifact didn't actually exist or has been lost over the years. If she was going to track this 'Nyotengu' down, then she was going to have to do it the old fashioned way.
The restaurant and surrounding block where Momiji first encountered the Tengu didn't uncover any valuable leads. She would have to press her luck elsewhere. Thankfully, the young shrine maiden discovered a rumor of an eccentric individual that just moved into Southtown residental district. There were actually a lot of eccentric individuals that moves in and out of Southtown which meant that Momiji would just have to check them all out.
So far, they have all leaded to dead ends in her investigation. But she now approached a house belonging to a someone whom matched the description of what Momiji could remember of Nyotengu. Maybe she should have -started- here, but she had to make sure and eliminate all the other possibilites first. And so, Momiji now treads lightly upon the rooftop adjacent to the house of 'Nyoko Miyama'.
It takes her a few minutes, but Momiji eventually finds a way to enter the house proper to search for Nyotengu and she quickly hears.....some sort of heated conversation in the next room? Stepping oh-so-quietly in her ninja tabi like boots, Momiji peaks ever so carefully around the corner to see what foul business Nyotengu must be up to with her co-conspirator.
Or she was just watching TV and -that- was the conversation that Momiji overhead. Upon seeing that this was actually what the Tengu was up to, the young apprentice ninja freezes in place. She's simply dumbfounded that she spent all this time tracking down a dreaded and powerful Tengu to find her doing something so....normal and mundane.
For Nyotengu, things that seem commonplace are actually quite novel; she hasn't been off her mountain for hundreds of years! Things that humans -- with their short lifespans -- had grown up with seem new to her, and the tengu sincerely intends to wring every last drop of novelty from this world before it, or she, falls.
So it is that she's ended up watching period dramas on the television.
For a few moments, the tengu is still content to just watch... but either she's quite hungry, or she's heard something, because she immediately makes for Momiji. ... or for the kitchen, which Nyotengu will need to pass Momiji to get to.
Despite her often-plodding footsteps outside, in the real world, in her home she's like a blur; Momiji has no time, this time, to try to hide against a wall or a corner, like she'd done the last time they encountered one another. Instead, within moments, Nyotengu is right next to her...
... and just smiles, once she notices the apprentice kunoichi. "Mmm... so good to see you again," she says, evidently not at all displeased by the presence of the young lady. "And just what have you come for this time?"
No blur-like speed here, not anymore... just a slow, even pace around Momiji. Her tongue briefly darts out to slide across her lips, and she adds, with a smile, "My door is always open... you don't need to sneak in."
When Momiji first froze in place, it was as if she was caught in a Russian winter. But she graduates to being frozen at the North Pole when Nyotengu effortlessly appears beside her. Her face mask covers her mouth, but the purple eyed Tengu could easily see the shock and maybe a little fear in the ninja's amber colored eyes.
The not so stealthy kunoichi thought she had been being sneaky, but Nyotengu has hundred of years of experience on the side of her already supernatural senses. But it is the fact that she gets smiled at which causes Momiji to be the most bewildered. Nyotengu's words do seem to unthaw the frozen ninja as she drops her arms down to her sides. In contrast to last time, Momiji isn't carrying her bow and arrow or any noticeable weapons for that matter.
Momiji stands still, but she does turn her head to maintain eye-contact with Nyotengu when she starts to pace around her which causes Momiji's ponytail to swish back and forth restlessly. The young ninja finally remembers her bearing and bows belatedly, her hands coming together in front of her as she does so. "Forgive my intrustion, but I was intrigued by what you mentioned last time." Momiji's voice is polite, but there is a definitive uneasiness that exists within it. But Nyotengu just might be able to sense something else in her tone as well. "However, I did not know where to find you at first. But do you honestly seek to cooperate or, atleast, come to terms with someone like me?"
Let it be known: Momiji is more unlucky than bad. Nyotengu was hungry.
When Momiji admits to being intrigued, Nyotengu leans in close -- uncomfortably close -- to watch every last little twitch of her facial muscles, every tiny shift in her bearing. The apprentice kunoichi's nerves get her attention... but...
Leaning back away and up, Nyotengu gives the young ninja a broad smile. "Mmm... certainly. After all... if I really weren't interested in you... I could just eat you up." There's no seriousness in her tone -- but then, for one such as her... would such a threat even register as so serious?
Her guard seems totally down, her posture relaxed as she says, "So long as you don't join your fellows in trying to shove me into some tiny nook of a realm atop a mountain, I'd love to come to terms with you." She knows what she's asking -- 'betray your clan for me' -- but to her it just seems like the only sort of 'cooperation' that could happen.
"So... please, come with me," the Tengu finally says, leading Momiji toward the kitchen. It's a lavishly-appointed little number, of course. As she opens the refrigerator, she notes, "So much has changed, over the years... even your peasants have access to these. Everyone lives like the Emperor."
Between her armored head guard and her face mask, there isn't a lot left of Momiji's face that Nyotengu couldn't stare down. And one's eyes can be the most expressive part of a person and it would be easy to read a regular flurry of emotions coming out of Momiji's eyes. She's been put into awkward position before but never anything quite like this with Nyotengu being oddly respectful as much as she provacative.
The Tengu's words are not exactly comforting to the young ninja whom already feels pretty in over her head with this assignment and the worst part is that -Nyotengu- seems to be well aware of this too. In fact, she's enjoying that she knows this.
Underneath her facemask, Momiji bites her bottom lip. If she was going to succeed, then she would need to be more confident, more daring, and take more risks. There would be the only way to get Nyotengu's trust. "I've come to realize that there are certain people whom act and talk like demons incarnate. You've must have dealt with such people before and know how to...." Momiji pauses. "...not let them get to you." For the first time in the conversation, there is a certain earnest sincerity to Momiji's words as if she truly is asking Nyotengu for help.
When asked to come with her, Momiji does hesitate for a brief moment before following after the tengu. The talk about how life is these days causes Momiji to frown slightly underneath her mask. She had to distract Nyotengu was such a subject. "Were you royalty among the tengu?" Perhaps asking Nyotengu about herself might be the was to distract her.
What Nyotengu retrieves from the fridge may surprise Momiji, because... it's leftover macaroni. Something she probably never would've had previously -- but still!
Taking a few steps to the microwave, Nyotengu throws the dish in, looking back toward the facemask-clad Momiji again. "I do have much experience... though less than you'd think. For some reason, there's a several hundred year gap in my familiarity with the world..." The tengu leans into Momiji's personal space again, eyes swooping over what little of the other woman's face she can see. Her gaze is piercing -- almost scolding, as she says her piece; she knows Momiji isn't responsible... but really, until proven otherwise, aren't all Hayabusa interchangeable?
Leaning just slightly against the wall, she decides to humour the girl's questions for now. After all -- there are few things more fun to talk about than oneself. "I was -- indeed -- a princess," she says, though it's impossible to know how serious she is. "Though... the Tengu world is in shambles. Kuramasan Maouson is dead, and with no one watching... many of us have slipped from our bonds. Whether you humans appreciate it or not... we share a world now."
Stepping in toward Momiji, she reaches up slowly, cupping her chin and gently starting to pull her facemask down. It's an intimate gesture, and she treats it as such -- carefully, slowly, evenly sliding it down. "Tell me, then," she says, voice suddenly gentle. "What is it, my little ninja, that you want from me?" She leans in close, completely uncaring about the young lady's space.
Reporting back to her clan that Tengu like macaroni would not be something that Momiji gets lauded for. But if she stays the course with this, she might actually learn a thing or two from Nyotengu. Momiji cringes slightly when Nyotengu talks about her imprisonment. That was also a topic that she try to avoid bringing up so carelessly. But it seems to not have angered Nyotengu, atleast for now.
Now this new info that Nyotengu gives her is something that her Elders might be more interested in learning. "What happened to Kuramasan Maouson?" Momiji asks rather pointedly as she considers what would happen with even more Tengu start appearing all over Japan. This was something troubling indeed if it was true. These thoughts cause Momiji's expression to darken as she lowers her gaze slightly.
And when Momiji glances back up, she only then realizes that Nyotengu has closed the distance on her again. In fact, she was much closer! Once more the amber-eyed ninja tenses as she almost expects sudden hostility from Nyotengu since Momiji's guard was definitely down. But Nyotengu once again surprises her by acting in a manner that she did not anticipate.
But once more, Momiji stands her ground and lets Nyotengu lower her face mask to reveal the lower half of her face. "You're powerful. You're a Tengu princess. And you have a certain effortless grace to your every step. I feel that I could learn a lot from you." Momiji was actually hoping to accomplish the reverse here, to learn a lot -about- Nyotengu. But that is something that could be done while she learns from her. At this close interval, Momiji was sort of shying her gaze away from Nyotengu. But she does try to seek eye-contact at this point. "Can you teach me? -Will- you teach me your ways?"
With a broad smile, Nyotengu says, "... of course, my /darling/ kunoichi. Mmm... remind me of your name, again?" If she's been told, she's forgotten; keeping track of humans takes such /effort/. They have so many /names/ and /sounds/ and mouth noises to pay attention to... but now that she's made a friend -- or at least, a possible friend; she's canny enough to know that there's a chance Momiji is, indeed, trying to play her -- she'll have to actually remember.
Now that she feels she can trust, or at least lower her guard momentarily around, the shrine maiden, Nyotengu opens up even more. "Kuramasan grew... stifling. The very old so often find it hard to adapt... so he was murdered." There's no grand fondness for him in her voice, as she says this; indeed, she seems not to care. "Disruption above... so, disruption below."
She moves slightly back from Momiji at last, adding, "Feel free to avail yourself of anything in my home, should you want it." Lips slightly pursing, she glances back and gives Momiji a frown. "... Especially the wardrobe. I won't have a disciple of mine wearing the trappings of the Hayabusa... especially so boringly."
Laughing lightly, she notes, "I should introduce you to the other kunoichi I've met... you and she might enjoy one another's company, I feel." She purses her lips, thinking carefully about what she's just said. "I'm sure you can track her down on your own, if I don't have time to play matchmaker between you. Her name is Ibuki."
Momiji exhales slightly when Nyotengu agrees to her offer. The poor kunoichi hadn't even realized that she was holding her breath until that instant. But everything she said and did around this tengu seemed to make her feel as if she was on the razor's edge. It was a very dangerous position to be in, to be so close to a great and powerful enemy, but there was also an even more dangerous feeling that was filling Momiji....excitement.
Her plan to get closer to Nyotengu to get more information was working which was exciting in itself, but the ease in within everything could fall apart at any minute was exhilarating in its own right. Nyotengu just might end up being a dangerous influence on the young ninja.
"Momiji," answers the young woman after a moment's consideration. She could have given Nyotengu any sort of false name, but she also was afraid that such deceptions could be obvious to someone like Nyotengu. "So you...are free to do as you please now that Kuramasan is no more?"
The comment about her clothes causes Momiji to glance down at herself before looking back over at Nyotengu. There was a world's difference between what the two of them were wearing and Momiji's own ninja clothes were pretty plain when compared to some other kunoichis. Maybe she should try wearing something a little more daring around Nyotengu. Appearing as a Hayabusa clan ninja was probably no longer the proper path to take around her.
The news of her having dealings with another kunoichi was troubling. This could cause some severe problems down the road, but Momiji was resolute in her cause. She cannot afford to allow Hayabusa village to be vulnerable in anyway. And until she understands the full extent of the Tengu threat, then she'll just have to stay close and gather as more information as she can. With these thoughts crossing her mind, Momiji smiles for the first time this evening. "Another kunoichi? I would like to meet her. I'm sure we would have a lot to discuss." About Nyotengu, about tengus in general, and about numerous other matters.
Nyotengu's macaroni beeps.
The enthusiasm, the sheer /joy/ -- Nyotengu attributes it to herself, and really, she's not that wrong. She's had a millennium to see those feelings in people. Indeed, bringing people a little excitement was her goal, her duty, her life's work, once upon a time...
Retrieving her bowl of cheap, crappy instant food, Nyotengu gestures for Momiji to follow her into her sitting room again. "Momiji... haven't you come to me a little late?" she teases, voice calm and lilting. "Autumn's long-past, isn't it?" She then bursts out into laughter at her own joke, despite the fact that she knows it's a pretty bad joke. On some level, bad jokes are the best ones.
Circling back around to the topic of Kuramasan, she says, "That... wasn't the only event that led to the current state of things... but it's certainly a factor." With a short sigh, she says, "I suppose now I truly am the tengu of the mountain deep..."
Lazily adjusting her oiran's kimono, she adds, "Someone tampered with your former masters' barriers... I think there are humans with as much interest in our return as we have." This much, at least, was known -- or at least /probable/ -- to the Hayabusa and the Mugen Tenshin... but now it's a certainty.
Patting gently at the seat beside her with one hand, she spoons some macaroni into her mouth with the other. Licking what remains of the faux-cheese sauce from her lips, the Tengu finishes, "But yes -- those two factors have left us free to do as we will. For myself... I want to see a very interesting world. Some would call it chaos... but that's so small-minded, don't you think?"
Momiji jumps slightly at the sudden beep and she shakes her head gently at her own actions before recollecting herself. The longer she stayed there, the more confident she felt in actually succeeding. The young kunoichi watches Nyotengu busily prepare her food before following the tengu back into the sitting room. The joke was clearly absurd, but there was something endearing about a great and powerful tengu having -that- sort of sense humor.
The young woman pauses in her tracks as she further ponders that Nyotengu was the great and horrible menace that needed to be sealed away. "You're not like other tengu are you?" Momiji approaches closer now since she had lagged behind there when she froze to think. "I mean, you are royalty, but you are also nothing like what we were told you were like." Despite how Momiji truly thinks about tengus, these words are spoken in earnest.
The talk of the tengus barriers being tampered with causes Momiji to furrow her brow. Who would ever do such a thing? But that is a question that she would be loathe to ask Nyotengu directly. Momiji did not want to press her good luck.
The long pony-tailed ninja looks at the offered seat and strides foward to take it. She sits down stiffly and keeps her hands folded in her lap as she sits there. "Tell me more about this world you want to see. I've seen some great evil in this world, but would seek to change that to see this more interesting world of yours?" Momiji's tone is mostly the calmish, fact-seeking voice of a woman on a mission. But her voice now sounds a touch more inquistive than it ever had before.
If ever there was a time to stab a tengu in the back, this would be it; Momiji could certainly get a good hit in and run, with things as they stand. Leaning slightly closer to Momiji as she sits down, the Tengu seems totally at-ease... though whether that's an act or genuine might well be a question.
The raven-haired Nyotengu mulls the questions over. "We're not all the same, but I'd say I'm not so different from any other..." To her, at least, that much is really, sincerely true. After all -- what is murder to a tengu? What is betrayal? Nyotengu hasn't yet tasted of those wells since her release in the way Bankotsubo has -- but neither does she consider it out of the question.
She turns down the television a little, more eager to talk to Momiji than have a good, hearty laugh at the expense of a period drama. "I simply wish... for freedom. No shrines to guard, no mountains to be cooped up on, no secrets to keep..."
Now, she leans /into/ Momiji, body heat noticeable; indeed, her wings -- despite their current invisibility -- can be felt at the shrine maiden's shoulders. "Ambitions rewarded," she finishes, with a smile. "Like yours, for coming to me..."
Momiji lacked a sword of even her naginata. Without these weapons, her options were limited when it came to what she could stab Nyotengu with. But as any kunoichi would, she did ever numerous kunai within easy reach that could be used in a situation like this. But that's not quite the point. She's already came this far, to betray Nyotengu's trust for little information would be folly. At the moment, it was more that Momiji didn't -want- to stab Nyotengu in the back more than anything else.
The idea that all tengus were somehow like Nyotengu was somewhat more frightening to Momiji. It would be much easier for her to view this matter in white and black terminology. But Nyotengu was not burning down Southtown even though she could. Finding out why seems like part of the piece of the missing puzzle for Momiji.
The TV gets turns down and Momiji turns fully towards Nyotengu as they sit there. "Nothing more? There's nothing else that you des..." The young kunoichi trails off as she notices they were to each other. Momiji cannot help but turn a shade redder which makes her appear much closer to the leaves of her namesake. "This...is part of the first lesson?" She asks aloud before looking even more embarassed at what she just said. It seems that dealing with tengus in close quarters like this was not covered in Momiji's shrine maiden training.
The blush is cute -- enough that Nyotengu actually backs off for a moment to laugh. Among tengu, such things are rarely seen; embarrassment is uncommon even among the young. Shame, perhaps -- especially the shame of defeat -- but /embarrassment/? Not nearly so. It's a distinctly human affectation, and one that Nyotengu finds charming.
"That colour suits you," she says, resisting the urge to pat Momiji like a child. "I suppose that's just it, though... part of the first lesson. The freedom to do as we want." For an instant, a flight of fancy takes her as she watches Momiji -- it's perfectly clear on her face what she's thinking, and it's... unwholesome.
She doesn't seem to intend to act on it, though, and instead, moves right along in the conversation. "Mmm... not ready for freedom yet? I suppose the reward for today will have to be the lesson itself, then."
An arm moves around Momiji, holding her close -- uncomfortably so -- and tilting her head to look into the tengu's purple eyes. "You said, when we met, that I was powerful... and you're right, certainly... but assuming the world hasn't changed in my absence..." She gestures vaguely to her coffee table -- an airy nothing gesture, that might draw the eye were her gaze not so piercing. "I've seen the power in your bearing. You could slay a thousand, even the way you stand now, were you careful. Believe yourself nothing, and you will be nothing."
Her hand slides away -- though it plays along that dark hair for a moment as it's withdrawn. "Take pride in yourself, however, and you will become a tengu." It's a common idiom -- though it certainly takes on a different air when she says it, doesn't it?
Momiji, caught in her own blush, can do nothing but accept the chastisement and attempt not to think how closely she now resembled a red maple tree. When Nyotengu places her arm around Momiji, she goes on full alert and those brown eyes of hers are wide open when she exchanges a very close look with the Tengu and her purple eyes. And what comes next is now quite what Momiji would have guessed. But this encounter has already long left the realm of her expectations.
Did Nyotengu just give her some practical life advice? That she should believe in herself and put herself down in her own mind? And this is coupled with the casual playing with of her hair by Nyotengu and her further shared idiom. "I could be more powerful?" With more strength, there was nothing that Momiji couldn't protect the children of Hayabusa village from. But these were dangerous thoughts to have and it was getting increasingly dangerous for her to remain her in general. Momiji had a made a good run of this information gathering session or whatever this is, but she now had to abort before she falls completely into Nyotengu's clutches.
Momiji suddenly stands up and looks back over her shoulder at Nyotengu, her pony-tail swaying as she does so. Did she almost get seduced by a tengu? The poor ninja turns red again and opens her mouth to say something, anything. "I should go..." Report in. "...back to the shrine. But thanks. You've given me a lot to think about." Momiji says in complete understatement before turning to leave. If she's allowed to escape out of the tengu's sightline, Momiji will jump up to a nearby window and make a hasty retreat.
As Momiji slips away from her, the Tengu smiles; she thinks -- despite a handful of vague misgivings at the start -- that she has made another friend in this modern era, of the sort that could be valuable in the time to come. As such, when Momiji's feet turn to ice, she just lets her go.
Even if she wants to learn... she clearly has a lot that she needs to /un/learn, first. Nyotengu is nothing if not patient... outside of a battle, at least.
"Farewell, my kunoichi," she says quietly, as Momiji retreats. ... from there, she decides to return to her instant macaroni and her period piece, as if nothing had happened... but with a smile on her face that's just a /hair/ wider.
Log created on 00:32:02 01/08/2015 by Nyotengu, and last modified on 05:50:50 01/08/2015.