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1Fish for the moon in the water. (Ess & Di) Empty Fish for the moon in the water. (Ess & Di) on Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:07 pm



It was rare indeed in these harrowing times that the dispossessed of Suna would be offered a chance to forget their woes. However, among the tents and hastily erected shacks, there was something of a carnival atmosphere. The mysterious priests who had come to roam the streets of Suna's shanty towns had provided a veritable cornucopia of luscious dishes to the refugees in a grand gesture of benevolence.

Tables were laden high with everything from cooked geese and fowl marinaded in rice wine to towering platters of fruits lychee, mango and durians all fresh off the tree. Slow roasted pork accompanied with jellied eel gave off aromas that even the greatest epicurean gourmand from Kiri could not resist. To the gaunt and skeletal wretches of Suna, it was a slice of heaven come to earth.

Revellers shed their rags and were provided with garish costumes by the golden clergy. Whirling in the music of unseen biwa and the beat of countless taiko drum they spun as in a daze. Where a band of yokai to come crawling in from the night they would go unremarked their bizarre visage blending effortlessly with the masks that seemed to find their way onto the bacchanal celebrants.

Under the fuligin blackness of his peaked cap, the pale form of the detective stood beneath a street lamp watching the proceedings with unblinking eyes. Slate grey orbs took in the merriment and Di could not help but feel a kernel of disquiet within himself. This was such a contrast to the daily lifestyle he had witnessed in Suna. Those who remained here lived in squalor and had to accept meagre offerings of rice and grain from the other great ninja countries. Surely this food could be rationed off more efficiently to help the destitute rather than being gorged upon in a great revel.

To Di's mind this stank of Machiavellian politics. The priests wanted to create an association in the minds of the downtrodden between their order and this time of plenty. Sure Kirigakure and Konoha could give small amounts of food out at intervals but this spectacular feast would stay fresh in their minds for a long while indeed.

Di sighed arching his back and feeling the vertebra click into place. Was he becoming jaded? His experience among the humans had been fascinating, wonderful and terrible all at the same time. He had made friends and caught criminals making Kiri a safer place in the process. But for every wrong that he managed to right there seemed like three more that popped up – the heads of a titanic hydra lurking under the ground. Despite his best efforts the depraved killer Yatagarasu remained at large and the poverty and suffering his short time in Sunagakure had exposed him to could not be washed away by a few bright lights and gaudy songs. It seemed that the idealistic young wyrm who had emerged from Kiri's ocean just a few months ago was a very different person to the cynical dragon that he was today.

The humanity that he had read about in his cherished detective novels was not the same as the one he had encountered. Things didn't always wrap up nicely in the end and sometimes people were subjected to terrible anguish for no fault of their own. Nothing in his upbringing had prepared him for this turn of events. Within his palace, at the bottom of the ocean, there was poverty, no hunger sickness nor even it seemed the omnipresent spectre of death. These things were all part of the fanciful tales that he would amuse himself with. Up close they were far less amusing.

As much as Di wished to shake such maudlin musings he was in the unfortunate circumstance of being alone. His human friends Nova and Kirei were both occupied with other tasks and so he contented himself with watching these strange priests. What lurked behind their resplendent façades? Was this altruism genuine or merely a cover for some other darker purpose?

Intriguing questions but he didn't think he was going to be getting much in the way of answers tonight. Thus the detective consigned himself to gazing into the crowd watching forms and faces for any sign of something that broke the pattern of normalcy even within this harlequinade night.  

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2Fish for the moon in the water. (Ess & Di) Empty Re: Fish for the moon in the water. (Ess & Di) on Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:08 pm



Ess weaved her way between the crowds of refugees, letting their movements lead her back and forth from one end of the area to the other in a strange procession of bodies. How quaint. They seemed to be so excited over a few morsels of food and some music. It reminded the young dragon of how the koi fish in her pond all drifted towards the pellets the servants dropped for them. Occasionally, a scrap of food would fall into the water and in those moments, the fish would go mad, trampling over one another in an effort to reach at least a tiny portion.

Watching humans do the same was fascinating.

Here they were, dancing and enjoying themselves amidst the chaos that they now called their lives. Truly, they were a resilient species. Ess herself had watched the wholesale destruction of Sunagakure from her palace. She had nearly wept. More than once she had visited and had decided after the first that it was her favorite of the Shinobi villages. The fact that they managed to make a place such as the dessert hospitable was a feat that she applauded. In the middle of nowhere, Sunagakure had stood the test of time. Human ingenuity brought water and resources to the middle of nowhere, creating a hub of civilization. What a shame that it had been turned to glass, pretty as it had looked from above.

A fest like this was promising, though. If these people had decided to remain, then there was hope that they would rebuild. Ess had faith in them. They could manage and she would be there to witness it. How exciting! This was likely history in the making and she could watch it happen up close. Sure, she had been in the realm of humans a few times before, but never for more than a few weeks. This time, she was allowed to stay indefinitely.

Well... sort of. The young dragon knew she was here on a mission and would only be allowed to stay in this manner until that mission was over. It was that very task that had led her to the remains of Sunagakure no Sato. For about a month now, Ess had followed one rumor after another in search for Tianlan Se - Prince of the West Dragon Kingdom and her current betrothed. Darling she had decided she would call him, imitating a human custom that she found downright adorable. From the Moon, to Kirigakure and now here, she had followed the young man's trace, always lagging several steps behind. With the current happenings, though, it was likely that he was around.

Ess knew little about him personally. They had met in passing several times. She had seen him both in human and dragon form. They had conversed, exchanged pleasantries, but nothing more. She doubted that he would recognize her if it weren't for the fact that she was royalty - a princess of the North Dragon Kingdom. Just as she was obligated to know the names of all of his household members, he was likely obligated to know hers. Whatever else she knew of him had come from his mother.

Ass her feet glided across the sand, three large rabbits trailed behind. Their fur white as snow, they contrasted their surroundings and drew some attention to themselves. If it weren't for the fact that the humans were distracted, they would have drawn more.

"This is lit, fam," she said to the animals that served as her servants. Despite being unable to speak, they were perfectly capable of understanding her words. Ess didn't expect an answer from them, but it was nice to know that she was heard when she wanted to be. "Go get me some stuff, yeah? I wanna try some of these things. Oh, and Yi? Please don't throw yourself into the fire again. We don't want a repeat of what happened in the Rice Country. It was at least 50 years before we could go back there," she instructed. The three scattered, one looking slightly more dejected than the other ones.

Ess shook her head and sighed. Typical. They should know by now that they were incapable of dying from anything other than old age. It didn't stop them from trying to off themselves in creative ways, though. Looking around the area, the young dragon scanned the crowd, all of her attention directed to each human face. This would be so much easier if they didn't all look alike. With narrowed eyes, concentration and a drop of faith, she searched through the crowd until she found the one person she was looking for. A smile spread across her features, devilish and mischievous.

"Tian- Di!" Right, he went by Di here. It was a stretch that she would find him here, but following whispers of information had paid off. She had searched in Sunagakure for a week now and finally she had found him. In her low-cut kimono, she ran towards him, making sure to lock eyes.

"Oh, the poor boy's too innocent for his own good. I fear what will happen to him all on his own!" His mother had said.

She felt it her obligation to capitalize on that. Large as they were, her breasts bounced visibly with each step. Once she reached him, Ess would hug him tightly, as if he were a long lost friend.


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Sometimes the world let you be a miserable bastard. Other times it decided it was going to pull your head from your reveries whether you liked it or not. Di's sharp hearing picked up on what was the beginnings of his true name.... surely that couldn't be right. Mid word it transitioned to his newly chosen moniker. Who could possibly know that – he hadn't yet entrusted anyone from the human world with this most private of epithets. Even Nova and Kirei were still bereft of that knowledge.

And then he saw her. Like something from a dream she glid across the pavement towards him. Possessing the divine grace so lacking in the vast majority of human women her movements were utterly assured, confident in the knowledge that she was the most important being at the revel. And who could dispute this fact? Supple, voluptuous curves and a skin-tone that mortal beauties would kill for were only the first enticing thing this about this lunar visitor. What was more alluring still was the puckish glint of mischief that lay within her emerald eyes. A mind that was even now plotting ten thousand pranks to play upon the world at large. No wonder fate favoured such a one as it's instrument – they were kindred spirits of impish temperament.

Even were it not for her antlers proudly displayed no one could mistake Fāng Cheng'e for a normal girl. Though he had only seen her thrice in his life Di had a eidetic memory and there was no forgetting the figure who had just launched herself at the young dragon and embraced him. Di's body stiffened with the embrace. Inwardly muttering a prayer of gratitude he thanked his great ancestor Kohryu that something else did not stiffen with it. Di needed to focus on the situation at hand keeping erstwhile pieces of his anatomy under control.

A hundred questions rose within the detectives mind. Why was she here? Had someone sent her? Was this meeting merely a coincidence? Was she just happy to see a familiar face or did this greeting have something more to it? Perhaps most importantly did she know about the dangers that faced a young dragon in the human world? He wasn't going to get any answers without venturing forth some kind of inquiry so finding his voice Di spoke.

“Fā – err princess it is good to see you in such high spirits. I didn't know that you were travelling abroad in the human world. Do your parents know that you are on such a journey or is it something of an incognito voyage?  Which I may just so happen to be on myself.... I can't blame you of course the human world is a very fascinating place. Perhaps you could tell me the reason for your long journey and I might be able to provide some meagre assistance. Oh also I remember you having several largomorph retainers I'm assuming you left them back on your lunar palace?”

Oh shit. Di was already chiding himself for sounding like a rambling idiot. It had not been so difficult to talk to her in his previous meetings. Then again during these prior encounters she had been barely over 300 years old - merely  a slip of a girl. Nothing like the infatuating young woman that was currently hanging off him. Di wondered what her true form would look like now. As a descendent of Hēilóng she would doubtlessly display a sinuous grace which so many poets had likened to the perfection of a crescent moon.

Di was not the only one who had noticed Ess. While the vast majority of revellers were far too deep in their cups to give any notice to this antlered beauty the golden clergy were another matter. Impassive masks regarded this newcomer with intense scrutiny. Eerily silent as ever the figures behind them began to congregate into small groups as if conversing amongst themselves though no words were shared. Di normally so attuned to this kind of social que had failed to observe this at all focused as he was on the surprising arrival before him. Who could blame the young prince though? Such serendipitous events had a habit of drawing ones attention – doubly so when they involved the unexpected arrival of a celestial goddess.

(718 words)

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There was no mistaking it. The prince of the West Dragon Kingdom was just as his mother had said. Almost immediately after seeing her, he began getting flustered and stiffened as soon as Ess wrapped her arms around his torso. Oh how fun this would be! With her head nearly buried in his chest, she couldn't see whether or not he was blushing, but the thought alone was entertaining enough. Deciding that that was enough torture for now, the young dragon took a step back to listen to him ramble. Sleeve lifted and covering her lips, she tried to stifle a laugh. Was he always like this around women? How had she not noticed that before? It was adorable. Then again, there was always an air of respect and formality surrounding official events, almost to the point where everything was scripted.

The dragon princess had always thought of them as boring, though necessary. It was healthy to unite some or all of the ruling families under the same roof every decade or so. It fostered positive sentiments without having to explicitly worry about negotiations, alliances and broken treaties. Sure, all three of those things and more inevitably resurfaced, albeit in a more subtle way. She had never personally witnessed it, but her parents had regaled her with stories about dozens of assassination attempts at galas and dinners. Ess herself was always on her best behavior, playing the part of the regal and demure princess. Even so, she tried to break protocol in small ways. It was her own form of rebellion and one that she couldn't help.

Ess shook her head at Tianlan Se. Of course he would have questions. "Now, now! You don't have to be so formal, Darling," she said, purposely emphasizing her new nickname for the prince. "I heard you picked up a little nickname so I thought I'd do the same! You can call me Ess while we're here," she said, bowing lightly as if she were introducing herself for the first time.

Looking up, she smiled at Di. So many questions to get to, where to start? "Your mother sent a very distraught and strongly worded letter to the Lunar Palace. I'm not sure if she sent the same to the other families, but she sounded so worried. She traveled there in person a few days later and explained that you ran away from home. My parents sent me to get you on their behalf, so here I am," she explained. The Lady Long had indeed been fretting over her son and his well being, referring to his actions as a form of ludicrous teenage rebellion. What Ess neglected to tell Di was that she had also been there to negotiate a betrothal in person - Ess and Di would marry and preparations for the wedding would begin as soon as the foolish boy returned home.

"It took me a while to find you, but my servants helped along the way. Yi, Er and San are off getting me- oh, speak of these little devils!" She said. One of the aforementioned rabbits hoped her way, carrying a silver tray of food filled with samples of food. Ess picked one up and examined it. Humans sure had a strange way of preparing their food. How clever that they would figure out how to cook fish to such a consistency. She tasted the morcel and spun giddily. Such good food! "Up top, fam," she said to the rabbit, who gave her a high five with its small paw. "Where are the other two edgelords?" The rabbit pointed its free paw to a nearby palm tree. One of the rabbits held the end of a rope while the other tied a noose. Ess sighed. "Honestly, it's so hard to get good help these days," she lamented.

To anyone unused to the happenings of the Lunar Palace, the scene was nothing short of bizarre. The princess, however, had seen too many of her servants' shenanigans to be anything but miffed. She had even started a social media account dedicated entirely to the rabbits and their attempts to off each other and themselves, as was typical of all of their population on the moon. Sadly for them, they had been long since cursed with immortality - specifically the inability to kill themselves.

Ess turned her attention back to Di. "In any case, now that I've found you, my task is halfway done. To be honest, though, I'm not in much of a hurry to get back home," she added. By the sound of it, neither did Di. The Queen had failed to mention whether this was the result of a family dispute. Ess had heard rumors about Tianlan Se's older sister, who had funnily enough been engaged to one of Ess's brothers before she ran away. Maybe this was in some way related.


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This was the problem with having lived a life vicariously through novels and historical records. The detectives and crime-fighters that Di had read so much about always had some witty repartee ready when they were faced with a beautiful woman. Then again Ess didn't act like any of the ladies from the novels either – they either tended to be damsels in distress or wicked seductresses (in those cases more often than not a kitsune or demon in disguise). Di was pretty sure that Ess didn't fit into either of those roles and thus he had to resort to his own devices instead of calling upon the persona he had fashioned for himself.

It wasn't like Di was totally incompetent when it came to dealing with the fairer sex. Hell, he had been around Nova enough. But there were two important factors that set Ess apart from Nova. The first was  Nova's humanity and for all that Di found humans fascinating and even considered some friends they were fundamentally different beings. The second Ess had just called Di darling and that was giving him all manner of strange and if he was honest surprisingly pleasant feelings within himself.

Di watched Ess as she explained that she had been sent on a mission by his mother to retrieve her erstwhile scion. Dragon society was highly Confucian in nature. Strict obedience and respect for one's parents was considered to be paramount. It was one of the reasons he had left in the first place.  Di had watched his elder sister revolt against the life that had been put before her and he knew that he too would have to pursue his own path.  It was the height of rudeness to question one's ancestors but listening to Ess talk it was so clear that his mother had been so utterly blind.

Di's parents were both very much of the old school. The would doubtlessly expect Ess to be a proper young lady ready to school Di in the various social faux pars and taboos that he had broken. What a shock they would get to learn that this daughter of the moon was far more of a free spirit than he had ever dreamt of being. “Fam” “Edgelord” Di wasn't quite sure what these meant but he was pretty certain that they weren't the kind of thing that came from the mouth of an average 'well mannered young lady'

He couldn't help but smile at this and as he watched Ess's rabbit servants attempt to create some kind of deadly but somehow comical execution scene for themselves it ended up morphing into a full laugh. This more than anything helped Di to relieve some of the tension that he was feeling. Sure there was still some there – he still wasn't sure about how to think about this unexpected development and how Ess had displayed affection towards him but it was a start.

The corners of his mouth still subtly raised he realised that the golden masked priests had begun to congregate in even greater numbers. It seemed that the rabbits attempted suicide had fully captured their attention for the moment but their focus could shift at any moment. Di leaned in close and whispered into Ess's ear.

“Thank you for not selling me out and trying to drag me home Ess. Sorry if I came off as a bit formal I was just a bit shocked that you would arrive here of all places. Really it is good to see you – I think you will enjoy the human world with all its absurdities and contradictions. Heck, I think you might fit here better than I do.”

Di made a slight nod of his head towards one of the gaggles of clerics.

“There are some pretty terrible things going down here at the moment though. I suspect that these veiled cultists have something to do with it. It's probably best that we get out of here while they are still focused on your retinue. I don't know if you heard about it already but I have set myself up as a detective of sorts and the city of Kirigakure hired me to figure out what’s going on here.”

Di shot Ess a look that was meant to inspire confidence. This expression was a mask just as surely as the ones the priests wore. However, Di's resolve was real enough. He wasn't going to let his own risky business harm Ess after all he was her darling.
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The young princess smiled at Di's words. It was refreshing how candid he was and how he took to her words without much care for proper procedure. Most other dragons would have denied her request. It was common for spouses to still refer to each other by their proper titles despite centuries of marriage and multiple clutches of children. It was good to know that her fiance shared her perspective.

"Oh it's nothing! I do it for the both of us. There's too much fun to be had here to just go back to the palace," she said. Maybe spending a couple of decades among the humans would do them both some good. Besides, dragons perceived time differently. What was a lifetime to humans amounted to about an equivalent year for her. "Last time I came here was a couple hundred years ago, but their habits change to quick it's hard to keep up," she said. Plenty of times Ess had had her fun among humans before, causing small bouts of destruction and chaos, all in good fun. Interacting with humans always proved to be like that.

Ignoring the crowd revelling around them - or perhaps thriving from it - the two rabbits put on their display. Yi held the end of the rope, tied it to the branch and nodded at the other rabbit. Er slipped into the noose and jumped from the fragile branch, which barely held their combined weight. It nearly snapped from the sudden spring. It was Er's neck that snapped instead. The gathered crowd gasped, horrified. Oddly, though, the masked priests seemed completely unmoved - curious, even. Yi watched and waited patiently for the results. The body hanging from the end of the noose disappeared into a puff of smoke. Underneath crawled a new rabbit - the same Er - from underneath the ground. It burrowed out and shook its head at its fellow servant. Assuming it was some sort of magic trick, the crowd clapped and cheered the rabbits' misfortune. Once again, the priests reacted the same way as before.

"That's enough, you two!" Their mistress called. Dejectedly, they obeyed and returned to her side. It seemed that being on the moon wasn't what kept their immortality functional. It stood to reason that they wouldn't be able to die and wreak their havoc here either. Of course, Ess had known this already. As far as she knew, no matter how far away they went, their fate would remain the same. She had to congratulate her ancestors for such a well-crafted spell.

"Hm... An odd little bunch, aren't they? Those humans in gold, I mean. They look kind of tacky, too. Too much gold, too gaudy - it's in bad taste. Someone should tell them," Ess said, the last bit about their fashion choices mostly to herself.

What Di said next caught her attention, though. Strange happenings? What kind? That sounded interesting, potentially even fun. At the very least, it was a change of pace. "Cultists? So that's what they are." It made sense, now that she thought about it. From what she had seen, they all acted as one cohesive unit, as if part of a hive mind. Their mere presence had sent an odd chill up her spine when she arrived and now she understood why. Their was a raw malice in them, crowded in secrets and hidden intentions. She didn't like it. Something about what Di said washed that feeling away and almost brought on another fit of giggles.

"You were hired by humans?" She said with a smile. It sounded silly to her, much like being hired by a puppy. Still, the Shinobi did have some repute, even among dragons and Kirigakure was currently their strongest village. Now that she thought about it, lending them his services was the perfect way to blend into human society and avoid being found by his family. It would never even cross their minds that he would stoop so low. She doubted they would even bother asking humans where their precious boy might be, assuming that their son would abstain from doing something so improper as interacting with such a low form of society. After all, even the lowest of dragons was considered higher than the most important of humans. That he would be willing to help them regardless spoke of his character. Yes, whether it was because of the reasons their parents intended or not (most likely not), this man was a good match. For the time being, he was her Darling.


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Ess had mentioned the ephemeral nature of humanity. Di had of course known this on an intellectual level but it had been quite something else to see it in practice. Kirei - Di's first friend among the children of men had grown from a boy to a young man seemingly before Di's eyes. Di wondered how Ess would react when she actually came to know one of these strange transient creatures for herself. Seeing a civilisation from a distance gave one an observer a glimpse on the macro level but the personal details and the nuance of each individual life were lost.

The idea of the cult was also something that was quite a novelty albeit a dangerous and menacing one. What must it be like to venerate a distant god sending prayers and wishes from afar? The underwater palace he hailed from had occasionally had gods visit on both social and diplomatic calls. Ess probably had, even more, exposure to the various gods and immortals as her family were considered far more fashionable to call on by the celestial courts than his own. Both Ess's and his own parents were revered as deities among the humans. The idea occurred to Di that if they looked hard enough they could likely find their ancestors shrines among the religious quarters of any major city.

Looking to the viridian haired beauty that was keeping pace with him Di responded to her query.

“Yes – strangely enough it was the government of Kirigakure who hired me. Something has been preying on the humans here and since I have come to specialise in the more … unusual cases they thought I might be a useful asset for Suna to have. I don't know if this is merely a political move or a display of true altruism but it matters little so long as the crime is actually solved”

What Di didn't say was that he also wondered if this was something concocted by Kirigakure higher ups to throw him off the trail of the serial killer Yatagarasu. He had recently begun to suspect that the masked lunatic might have connections to the powers that be in that country which boded very ill for anyone involved.

“The killer appears to be something not quite animal and not quite human either. I'm wondering if it might be some kind of Yokai that has decided to capitalise on the damage done here in order to get easy meals. But that’s probably enough of that macabre business for the moment. I had something else I had wanted to ask you.”

Di would probably have said more were it not for the priests proximity and his suspcions that they were inexplicably tied into this matter in some way. For the first time ever Di heard the priests actually speak as they gazed upon Er's suicide and then miraculous rebirth.

“Blessed” “He is blessed by the great one” “The lord has marked the animal as his chosen”

Di wasn't exactly sure of the specifics regarding Ess's attendants – at his palace they tended to use aquatic creatures such as Suiko and Kojin as servants but he was pretty sure that the rabbits didn't have anything to do with what the cultists suspected. Di took this chance to steer the pair into an alley way so that they could escape the prying eyes. With a little more privacy Di asked the question that was on his mind.

“In the human world it's customary to get a job – something that one can earn an income from which in turn is exchanged for food and shelter. My taking up detective work for example allows me to rent a house and buy regular meals. What I'm trying to say is do you have any idea of what you want to do now that you are here? I suppose you could show everyone your true nature and if all goes well they will give you offerings but that might cause some problems with the authorities. They are a paranoid bunch these days and much like our parents back home don't like any percieved changes to the status quo.”
Di didn't know if Ess had given the concept any thought. He wouldn't be surprised if she just went and demanded lodgings and vittles from the kage themselves. Di certainly wouldn't be able to stop her. It was clear that Ess knew what she wanted and to hell any decorum or tradition that impaired it. Truth be told after a life of pomp and ceremony such candidness was tantalisingly refreshing.

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Ess shook her head at the mention of yokai. "Ugh, those salty ass little creeps," she said, suppressing a shudder. They were considered little more than pests in the moon, appearing every few decades as the seasons changed. "I'm not surprised they'd be going after the weak little humans around here. If you find their nest here, I'll help clear it," she offered before he changed the subject to lighter matters.

Ess giggled when she overheard the cultists speak about the rabbits. To her, it was like someone telling her her puppy was some sort of messenger from the gods. It was both funny and adorable. Humans could be so clueless sometimes. And even when one tried to set the record straight, to tell them what was really going on, they were adamant about their beliefs. So Ess wouldn't go out of her way to correct them. Let them have their silly little beliefs.

She was caught up staring at the humans and gave a little jolt when Di took her hand momentarily to guide her towards an alley. "You know, if you wanted to get me alone, you should've just asked, Darling. At the very least, I'd like to be treated to dinner first, though" she said with a wink. She knew that his intent was nowhere near sexual or romantic. From her brief interactions with Tianlan Se so far, she knew suspected thoughts didn't even cross his mind. Her implying that, though, would likely make him flustered once again. If his reaction was obvious, Ess would let out a jovial laugh.

The young princess listened to him speak, curious to know what his experience with humans had been so far. Ess had visited their world several times before, but she had never tried to blend into their society or pass as one of them like Di had. More often than not, she observed from afar and cast her mischief upon them. This time was different, though. Maybe it would be a fun change of pace to imitate what her new fiance was doing. Truth be told, she hadn't given it much thought up until now. "A job, you say?" She asked.

Ess had never had a need for such a thing before. Sure, there were her royal duties, but that was different. It wasn't something she did to provide for herself, but rather something that came with her circumstance of birth. "I suppose I could do some administrative work for one of the shinobi villages. I wouldn't be much different from what I do back home," she said, thinking out loud and weighing her options. "Then again, that sounds so boring," she said. She didn't come all the way here for an office job. Her mind filled with images of the dragons back home who toiled away filing paperwork all day long. She shuddered. "No, I'm definitely not down for that," she said.

The dragon princess tried to summon all her knowledge about human society. She knew there were craftsmen, statesmen, artists and the sort. Most of them capitalized on their natural talents. But what talents did she have that were applicable to the human world? After a few seconds of consideration, it came to her. The young woman's features brightened. Her eyes sparkled and a smile spread across her face. "I know exactly what I'll do and I'll start right now!" She said.

Immediately, she would grab Di by the hand and start rushing across the streets, dodging the crowds and headed towards one place in particular. With his skills and bright insight, their destination would become apparent soon - Ess was headed towards the direction the music was coming from. They would arrive at an improvised stage and weave their way between the crowds. With a little trickery and convincing, the young dragon managed to be the next in line to perform.

She looked back to Di and smiled. "Been working on this little number for a while, now," she said. She looked at San and Yi, still by her side. Her three servants knew the instruments to play to create the rhythm and melody that accompanied her song. While the instruments weren't exactly the same, they would make do. Unfortunately, Er was nowhere in sight. What awful timing on his part. She'd have his strapped to a chair and forced to watch old soap opera reruns for a full 12 hours for this.

Ess pursed her lips. She turned around to look at Di and considered her options. "Hm..." she said, looking at Di closely. She took one of his hands and inspected it, holding it up to her face. She was looking for callouses in certain places, any sign that he played any sort of instrument. Despite not finding anything obvious, she let go of his hand and tapped his forehead with her index finger. "Yep, this is perfect! You'll play the guitar," she said. The tone in her voice left no room for questioning. "I'm sure you can keep up with San and Yi," she said, turning around and climbing the stairs to get on the stage.

Honestly, she didn't care whether or not Di knew how to play. She didn't care if he messed up his parts at all. Ess only wanted to have fun.


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"You know, if you wanted to get me alone, you should've just asked, Darling. At the very least, I'd like to be treated to dinner first, though"

Di's normally pale cheeks flushed a bright crimson. Damn, Ess could play him like a fiddle. Intellectually he knew this was simply a playful jab to get a rise out of him but even as his higher brain functions processed it the part of him that was a young man both delighted and panicked at the thought. He needed a suave one-liner or insightful quote from poetry or literature to quip back with but for all his vast amount of reading, none came.

"You know what I meant Ess"  

He thought he had found his tempo - able to interact with her in a manner that he could remain suave but the rollercoaster ride that was Fāng Cheng'e lunar princess and delinquent firebrand wasn't over yet. His comment on finding a job surprised her – that in itself was not shocking. Di hadn't ever worked a day in his life before coming here. Working as anything less than a minister at one of the celestial courts was so far beneath a dragon as to be untenable. Entire races of being had been bred for the sole purpose of attending the needs of dragonkind as was observable in Ess's entourage.  

Ess's comment that she might take up a clerical position as part of the ninja world sounded wrong at  it's core. Sure she had probably been trained to tally the birth and death of stars, chart and direct the solar winds and oversee the formation of patterns within spiral galaxies but to all bar the most academically inclined of minds this sort of thing would be tedious as watching natto ferment at reduced speeds.

It was the romance of the detectives job as much as the desire for intellectual stimulus and drive for justice that had attracted Di. Sure both of the former were important but the latter after being cooped up beneath the waves for all his life was something that couldn't be oversold. The chance to become the hero of his own tale – the protagonist of his life instead of simply an appendage of his family dancing to the tune that they had set before him.

He couldn't believe that Ess would settle for anything less than what he had undertaken. What little time he had spent with her already made the prospect of her accepting something where she was not making waves in one way or another inconceivable.

“I know exactly what I'll do and I'll start right now!”

That was more like it. What Did hadn't accounted for however was the quick change of direction their course was taking.  Trying to get away from the golden masked clerics had been his prime goal in leading Ess away but now their flight had taken a rather drastic turn towards one of the centres of attention.

Onto the stage they ascended Ess sweeping past the other acts with the manic energy of a typhoon trapped into the body of a shapely young woman. A guitar was thrust into his hands – it was clear that there was to be no keeping low profile tonight. Di's mind reeled back thinking of his prior experience with musical instruments.

“My mother made me train on the Koto and Biwa as a child. I don't know if they are too similar to the guitar but they all use strings so I guess I could give it a shot...”

Running his fingers along the strings Di tried to get a feel for the instrument. It had to be about eighty years since he last attended music classes. Not that long he guessed but it felt like an eternity now with the crowd watching him. Taking his cue from the two largomorphs he began to strum the cords , fingers lacking the callouses of a trained player. By the standards of dragons his playing wasn't very good that of a rank armature to be frank. To the human ear however this was someone who while lacking the true spark of a great musician had placed decades of work into learning his craft and thus the waited eager to see what this pale man the emerald haired maiden and these bizarre rabbits would perform.

(723 Words)

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10Fish for the moon in the water. (Ess & Di) Empty Re: Fish for the moon in the water. (Ess & Di) on Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:03 pm



Ess looked at the young prince's slight panic and giggled. She took the microphone in one hand and smiled at the gathered crowd. From what she knew, humans were attracted to bright colors, flashy movements, and endearing charm. She was sure she could bring those three elements together to entice these refugees.

The song she was about to play was born from an experiment that she never truly intended to carry out. At the time, the dragon princess had wanted to know whether or not she could write a song that was pleasing to the modern human ear. She had little research to go on, but she had managed to borrow a looking glass from one of the palace libraries and used it to observe random humans for about a month before she began writing the song in earnest. She knew this wasn't something she could spread out over a long period of time, given how quickly humans changed their tastes. That had been about three months ago. She had practiced the song sporadically but never pictured having the opportunity to try it out.

"Ladies and gentlemen of all ages, I welcome you to this performance!" The young dragon announced. She was met with some applause and cheers but curious hesitation was still the dominant mood. "You can call me Ess, the next rising star of the musical world!" She stated boldly. She gave the crowd little time to digest her words before starting the song. Her servants knew her signals to start already and she assumed Di would follow suit.


And how would her darling know which notes to play? Well, that was simple. Since her childhood, Ess had always had a penchant for mischief. She had pulled pranks all over the palace - both on servants and noblemen alike. Hence, when it came time to choose what to study, she was immediately drawn to illusions - Genjutsu, as the shinobi called it. She had fine-tuned many of them, though few with any effective combat use. After all, why would a princess of her caliber and status ever have to see combat?

The point remained the same, though. Ess would cast a small illusion on Di, allowing him to see the notes that he needed to play in flashing colors, almost like it was a game. She waited for his part to begin as the introduction to the song. The two rabbits would accompany him soon enough, one playing the bass guitar and the other the drums. Finally, Ess's voice rang above the instruments with practiced grace. To Di, it would sound like her voice was trained more for classical music than what she was singing now, but she doubted any of the humans would notice.

While she sang, the young dragon swayed her hips to the rhythm and danced to the melody. She wove illusions into her performance to enthrall the crowd. Lights danced across the stage in harmony, forming patterns that mimicked stars - the constellations that Ess knew all too well. Much to her enjoyment, the audience was cheering euphorically. As the song drew to a close, the celestial princess projected her dragon form into the sky as the last few notes of the song rang through the air, letting it drift upwards into the night. The results of her performance were everything she had expected and more. She turned to look at Di and smiled, exiting the stage despite the cries for an encore. "Who knew working could be so much fun?" she asked her Darling, both still surrounded by the unruly crowd.


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11Fish for the moon in the water. (Ess & Di) Empty Re: Fish for the moon in the water. (Ess & Di) on Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:44 pm



It wasn't so much the fact that Ess had a wonderful singing voice that surprised Di. She more than likely went through many years of classical training too. It was after all expected of a noble scion that they meet the highest form of cultural achievement. While not quite as outlandish as the 'rap' music from Kumo this was definitely a lot more high energy than Di had ever seen music performed before. Somehow he was keeping up with the tune as if his body knew what to do.

How could that be?

Searching his mind he felt the presence of another touch his thoughts. He could feel Ess's mental manipulations permeating his essence. Moon dragons were masters of illusions practising the art of 'genjutsu' far before the distant ancestors of humanity left their treetop homes. The fact that he could sense it at all hinted that she was leaving this signal as a calling card. Honestly, Ess would fit right in with a gathering of kitsune and tanuki given her proclivity for mischief. Yet as the eyes of the crowd gazed upon her form Di began to feel a pang of …. could it be jealousy?

Ludicrous! Why should he get upset that the crowd was taking in the perfection of her form with their lecherous eyes. To make matters worse these were refugees and something like a performance from someone so unthinkably above their station. Quashing these feelings as hard as possible Di played on letting his fingers flow across the strings, coaxing out the desired rhythm. As the song wound down he let himself give a sigh of relief. He had been on high stakes chases through the streets of Kirigakure and the feeling that he had now was similar if not somewhat less intense. It was the mixture of adrenaline and the chance of anything happening at the next moment.

"Who knew working could be so much fun?"

Ess said to him her smile beaming cherubically in a manner totally belying her true nature. Di didn't wait long before replying – he had thought about this before long and hard.

“It's about doing what you really want instead of what has been chosen for you. I'm sure you would make a fine astrologer or solar magistrate but if your heart is really in singing then I say it's what you should take up. My parents wanted to make me the minister of managing evolution for this continent but it's really not where my heart is. Biology is interesting enough but I feel that if I had to do it for a couple of millennia I would grow to hate it.”

Di yawned. Things really were catching up with him he felt like he could go sleep for a week.

“Ess – I think it's time to me to retire. Please promise me that you will be careful with the golden priests. Unfortunately I feel that we have made quite an impression for better or worse. Perhaps using some of your illusions to slip away would be a good idea. I'm staying in a tent towards the south side of town so if you want to contact me it's the blue one with the golden threading.”

Di inclined his head to the princess. Would Kirei or Nova have invited her back with them? That would have been the modern human way of things. For an instant there he had been considering it. Such a thing would be scandalous in the extreme back home , but then again home seemed so far away right now. He hadn't made the offer though so perhaps some small fragment of it still remained within his heart. Well Di had no doubt that he would be seeing plenty of Ess in the near future and well they did have eternity didn't they?

639 Words (Exit Thread)

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12Fish for the moon in the water. (Ess & Di) Empty Re: Fish for the moon in the water. (Ess & Di) on Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:39 pm



Ess was still riding on the waves of her performance. A unique kind of adrenaline coursed through her - the kind that could only be achieved after a grand spectacle. The cheering and chanting had her elated, even if it did come from humans. Head swaying gently from side to side to the tune of her song, she listened to Di. Although slightly dazed, she caught on to his words and meaning. So his parents had wanted him to guide evolution on the continent? Well, such a thing had always been the Ocean Kingdom's domain. They had always concerned themselves with humans and animal life in general while the Lunar Kingdom was closer to deities.  

Ess considered for a moment. She placed an index finger to her cheek as if mimicking deep thought. "Hm..." She let out, scanning the other dragon. She nodded to herself sagely, as if reaching a deep conclusion and beamed. "After a thorough examination, I have to say detective work definitely suits you better," she said, locking eyes with him. Had her mother heard her say such a thing, she would have been taken aback, to say the least. Something as minor as detective work was beneath a dragon. The thought that a prince would sink so low would be a scandal in the courts, more so when taking account that Tianlan Se had decided to lend his services to humans of all things. Ess, on the other hand, didn't give much of a damn. If he was good at it and it made him happy, then why should she not encourage him? Besides, the grand schemes and long-term plans the dragons presided over could get old very very quickly.

"My parents each wanted something different for me. Mother wanted me to preside over cultural developments and curate the family's personal collection - A Minister for the Arts or something," she began. The job would have suited her just fine, but she couldn't picture doing it for more than a century, no matter how much she liked art. "Father wanted me to continue my apprenticeship at the repository. He wants all of us to chart and study at least a thousand constellations as part of our late education. I'm trying to plant the idea that I'd be better as an ambassador to the other kingdoms, but they don't want me to end up as a hostage if tensions run high again," she explained. Now on her shoulder, San nodded his fluffy little head in agreement. Out of the one thousand stars that she was expected to add to the wealth of knowledge the celestial dragons had, Ess had managed to get to 224. She would have likely kept doing the same for the foreseeable future if the current circumstances hadn't presented themselves. Di didn't know how grateful she was that he had run away from home.

The young princess winked at Di. "While I'm here, though, I'll keep doing what I'm doing. Like I said, I'm not in a hurry to get back and the human world has been good fun so far," she said with a smile. When Di yawned, it became contagious. Ess did the same and laughed jovially. "Looks like we're synced up already, Darling," she said. Though she was still running high on energy from the brief concert, she knew that wouldn't last much longer. She would crash in less than an hour. Fortunately, the rabbits had finished setting up their lodgings earlier in the day. From where she stood, she could see the grandiose tent hovering above the refugees' more worn down ones.

Ess nodded at the other dragon, becoming aware once again of the crowds around them, the lingering eyes and ravenous appetites. She understood his wariness, despite not sharing the same sense of paranoia. Truly, she was so far under the impression that no harm could possibly come to her in the world of humans. Concentrating for a brief moment, Ess manipulated the images and perceptions her surroundings. Soon enough, she and her darling were out of sight. "That should do it," she said. "I'll keep an eye on these priests. A shame you won't walk me to my tent, though. Here I thought you were a gentleman," she mused out loud. Of course, she was only teasing. She didn't much care either way, though spending a few more minutes with Di would have been appreciated. With a smile and a kiss on the cheek, she bid him farewell for the night.

"Well I think that was a lovely first date," Ess said to her two remaining servants, clapping both hands together. "Hm... does it still count as a first date if one of the two people isn't aware?" She wondered out loud.

Training (4841 Words Total):

(30% Discount + 10% for Jutsu)

Rickroll - Getting Old Too Fast | 利苦老る Riku Rōru - 900/900

It's a Trap - Takeoff Delay | 居つ後烈風 Itsu A Torappū - 900/900

Medical Ninjutsu from C to B - 2100/2100

Strength D to D1 - 227/227

Endurance D to D1 - 227/227

Speed D to D1 - 227/227

Left Over: 260

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