Sengoku Horizon

Look towards the Horizon

The Warring States Period: Fierce warlords fought for control of Japan, and many would perish. When a warrior falls, where does the passion they once held go? Possibly into something dear such as a favorite weapon or heirloom. These heirlooms have been labeled as “relics”, and those that carry them are labeled as “Scions." Recently more and more of these special relics have been activating, signaling the start of a great change as ancient power meets the modern world!

Now For The Local News, 7/10/2017 A blood red summer has come. As the Edo Bugei students finish facing off with the ikko forces all across the nation a massive steel ship floats towards Edo Harbor. The final battle between the Ikko Ikki rebels and the Edo Bugei students is about to begin. The lingering question now, just how much of Edo will be left standing once the battle ends?

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 Center Meets West (Nobu x Shinsuke) (Closed)
Suzu
 Posted: Jan 6 2017, 01:04 PM
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Now that he'd committed himself to sparring, there was no way that Shinsuke would allow himself to back out. Sure he wasn't all that experienced in it. Some might even say that his lack of training, other interests and his fear of the clan's teacher might guarantee his defeat. None the less he would demonstrate what ability he did have for the honor of the Todo. Had his father seen him so fired up, Lord Todo would have been the proudest man in Agata.

"A favorite weapon? Er.. well, I guess I tend to use my brain more than weapons.. but... I totally know how to use weapons. Even with a little training, my father says I've got a lot of potential!" Shinsuke proclaimed proudly, not wanting to sound too lacking in things martial. He did his best impression of someone who kind of knew what they were doing with a katana, posing awkwardly as he added, "I prefer the katana myself, but I'll try anything."

At this point Suzume walked over with a half-frown on her face, "Are you certain that you two wish to spar? Would you not prefer something less.. intensive, prince Shinsuke?"

"Nonsense! I'll be fine!" Shinsuke insisted, folding his arms over his chest.

Suzume nodded gravely, "Very well. If you will both follow me to the dojo." With that she scowled and walked off toward the newest part of the castle, fully expecting the boys to follow her.

------

"THE PRETTIEST ONES!" Yuki cheered with Kaori, getting totally psyched up about flower arrangement, "Wait.. a mix? Okay.. but I'm not sure we have anything that's not super pretty.. I guess we'll see.."

Inori, a little less enthused, nodded at Kaori's instructions, "We can.. arrange that.."

She'd picked up on some of the humor their guardian secretly possessed. Not that she was at all confident anyone wanted to hear the jokes. Inori really just wanted to be liked by this other girl, so she'd do whatever she could to make it happen. If that meant really stretching her comfort zone, that was what she'd do. Yuki being there helped encourage her. The other Todo girl was simply happy to have a girl to play with; she kind of wanted to play 'Nobles' Court' with Kaori and Shinsuke, but her brother was probably going to be busy with the Azai boy.

"We have some of these new flowers too, ones that my mom really likes. She finally convinced dad to get some last month," Yuki explained as she started to lead the way toward the castle's garden.

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Nobuyumi
 Posted: Jan 12 2017, 11:22 PM
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Suzu

Nobuyori listened carefully to Shinsuke. It seemed his new found friend wasn't much for fighting but instead preferred mental puzzles. He seemed like a nice kid but it didn't really interested Nobuyori much. That was of course until Shinsuke mentioned that he also liked the katana. This made Nobu smile a bit.
"The katana is cool. A lot of samurai use them though." the naginata was still considered a weapon mostly used for women. Men used the spear instead. However Nobuyori liked the naginata. It combined the spear and katana together and let him stay safe. He wasn't that brave, and didn't want to get hurt. THough that was something he would never openly admit.

It was as they talked about weapons that the rather intimidating guard of the Todo walked over. The woman asked Shinsuke if he would rather do something else and Nobuyori made a bit of a disapointed face. Though as Shinsuke made it clear they two would duel Nobu's face returned to a smile.
"Very well. If you will both follow me to the dojo." and as her and Shinsuke went off Nobu made sure to walk behind Shinsuke. He really didn't want to stand next to such an intimidating woman. Though if Shinsuke was to look at Nobu's face he was clearly excited for the fight.

-------------------------------


Meanwhile the girls talked more about flower arrangement. Kaori listened carefully as they talked about gathering more flowers. Thinking of how to phrase it Kaori talked more like her mother.
"You need some normal flowers, plants from outside in order to make it feel like it is nature. After all, not all of nature is beautiful. So when you have normal flowers and grasses you then add three or four really beautiful flowers that everyone will focus on." she explained as she looked around castle grounds with the two princesses.

"What is your brother Shinsuke like? Is he nice?" Kaori asked curiously as she looked up at the Todo's large castle. She wondered which room belonged to these two girls and what room she would be sleeping in. Did they have a guest bedrooms or would Kaori be sleeping in the same room as these two girls she just met?

--------------------
Azai Nobuyori
The stuck up clan lord who defends the people.

Tagami Yumiko
The adorable poet girl who hates war.
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Suzu
 Posted: Jan 13 2017, 03:59 PM
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Shinsuke wasn't about to let his new friend think that he wasn't worth hanging out with. No way. Nobuyori was keenly interested in dueling, so he wasn't about to denigrate it at all. Far from it! He intended to use as much knowledge as he had about weapons and fighting to make it at least seem like he knew what he was talking about. Mentioning the katana had brought out a smile from the Azai boy so he was clearly on the right track.

Committing to the duel also made Nobu smile, so yeah this was exactly what to do. Shinsuke followed Lady Suzume but kept glancing over his shoulder at his new friend and grinning. Maybe this would be fun! Heck this was the first time he'd been able to do something together with a boy his age in a while. You had to make the most of these things when you had the chance.

"Hey Nobu, do you think a nodachi would suit me? I might try to move up in the world once I get the katana down," Shinsuke attempted to brag.

The dojo wasn't very far, and a couple of minutes later Lady Suzume opened its sliding door and bowed to the two boys. Was that a tiny bit of genuine amusement on her face? It was hard to tell. She spoke, "The appropriate gear is stored in the right hand closet. I shall prepare the weaponry for you."

-------------------------------

"Wow, you really know a lot about this, Kaori-sensei!" Yuki remarked cheerfully as she looked around for some pretty things to use in her arrangement. She really hoped they'd be good friends and be able to visit often. Even if that were a bit unrealistic she could still hope, right?

Inori meanwhile had actually started following Kaori rather than Yuki. Her attention had been piqued by Kaori's explanation of arrangements. Normal plants from outside to make it feel like nature? Now that she could do! What was it that Lady Suzume had said about beauty? That beauty came most perfectly through strength and honesty. Something like that. Strong plants, then, would be what she wanted to use in her own arrangement.

When the question about Shinsuke was asked, Yuki blinked, "Shinsuke? Well, he's actually pretty nice when you spend more time with him. If you have a problem he listens to everything and helps you solve it. He even plays games with us that other boys wouldn't, which makes him really neat! Even if he's acting all tough with your brother right now, he's actually a really nice boy, I guess. I'm really glad he's my big brother."

Inori was busy gathering 'normal' plants for her arrangement, but she looked over to Kaori to respond to the question herself. Though her voice was quiet she nodded, "Shinsuke-nii is very nice.. sometimes he reads with us.. when there's nothing else to do.."

Then she grabbed a couple more plants, then tugged on Kaori's sleeve, "Kaori.. are these okay? They're strong. I want strong plants in mine.." What she'd found were common weeds, which somehow she thought would work in an arrangement.


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Nobuyumi
 Posted: Jan 16 2017, 09:22 PM
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As the two boys and their apparently reluctant teacher went off to training Shinsuke was quick to talk about what weapon he would use. In truth thought Nobu himself still didn't know a ton about different weapons. He just knew what worked for him.
"Hey Nobu, do you think a nodachi would suit me? I might try to move up in the world once I get the katana down," Nobu looked at Shinsuke like he was crazy. The Todo already existed high up in the world. They already had more power in the government than the Azai would likely ever have.
"I guess?" he said a bit unsure. He wanted to say he preferred weapons that kept distance between enemies and himself but he wanted to make sure he didn't sound stupid or weak. Thinking he nodded at Shinsuke.
"Lets both use Nodachi then! We want to be on the same level so its fair right?" that way he sounded strong, and he sounded like he and Shinsuke would clearly on equal footing.

As they actually arrived the dojo looked very nice and like a training hall a large clan would have. It was definitely larger than the one back home in Omi Province.
"The appropriate gear is stored in the right hand closet. I shall prepare the weaponry for you." Nobu couldn't help but wonder if that meant this woman was picking their weapons for them. Clutching his hands into fists a few times he tried to remember how it felt to hold a training weapon properly. Looking at Shinsuke he wondered just how tough he was. What if he actually was way stronger than he looked and comletely beat up Nobuyori? If Shinsuke got defeated by Nobuyori would the Azai family be forced to go back home and never talk with the Todo again?
"Um, no matter who wins, you won't be mad right?" Nobuyori asked.

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"Wow, you really know a lot about this, Kaori-sensei!" Kaori jumped a bit.
"s-sensei?! Eh?! I'm not that good!" she said quickly waving her hands. She wasn't a sensei at all. She had just been bluffing the entire time but it wasn't like this girl knew that. Kaori was quickly turning extremely red faced as she bowed to say thank you for the compliment.

Completely red faced she tried to breath as the girls told her about their brother Shinsuke. He seemed quiet and polite but like Nobuyori also seemed to want to fight. As the girls explain what Shinsuke was actually like and Kaori thought for a bit. He sounded really similar to Nobuyori.
"He sounds like Nobuyori in a lot of ways. He is stubborn and looks selfish but he has a really warm heart. If someone ever makes me sad he will shout at them and say he will send the entire army of Omi Province after them. When i'm sick he brings me soup himself instead of letting the kitchen staff, and he'll stay in my room even if it means he might get sick too just to make sure i'm alright." the more she said the more she smiled. Nobuyori always had a chip on his shoulder but he had a strong heart and really did love his sister.

"Kaori.. are these okay? They're strong. I want strong plants in mine.." Inori said before showing some weeds to Kaori. Kaori blinked a bit. She wanted to protest and was about to but stopped herself. While it was true that weeds didn't get used in flower arrangement she was a guest at the house, and flower arrangement was supposed to be about individual tastes. Thinking for a bit about how to answer Kaori smiled wide.
"Well, they aren't normal flowers, I think." and she looked over at Inori's sister as a way to say sorry.
"But, i guess if you like them you can use them." she said as more of a question than anything else. She really didn't want to hurt Inori but she also thought of what would happen if Inori showed the arrangement to her parents. They might think less of her for using weeds and say it was ugly, thus hurting the girl's feelings.
"Y-Yuki-chan. Do you think they are ok?" she asked as a way of asking if it was ok for Kaori to let Inori use weeds.

--------------------
Azai Nobuyori
The stuck up clan lord who defends the people.

Tagami Yumiko
The adorable poet girl who hates war.
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Suzu
 Posted: Feb 2 2017, 06:25 PM
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Shinsuke was totally unsure what the heck he was talking about in trying to up the stakes for their duel. Here he could barely use a katana properly and he was already talking about using a nodachi. But if Nobuyori wanted to use one too, then there was no reason not to was there? It would put them on equal footing after all - neither one of them had actually used one before.

"I wouldn't have it any other way! It's only fair for us to both be on the same footing," Shinsuke agreed, hoping he hadn't said something stupid. None the less he wasn't about to back down now that they'd more or less agreed to the terms of the sparring match.

Once they were in the dojo Shinsuke tried his best to look tough and capable as a warrior as he started getting the training gear out. This was the first time in over a month that he'd even set foot in this room, let alone even touched a practice weapon. For the sake of the Todo he had to put on a good showing, he figured. Nobuyori had to be more skilled and stronger than him, but maybe guile and agility could help him turn the tide. Would his dad be upset with him if he didn't win, or at least get some hits in? Turned out his Azai guest wasn't sure of the situation either, if his words were any indication.

"Of course not," Shinsuke replied to his question, "This is a friendly sparring match, so there's nothing on the line. Let's just have fun with it!"

Once they had their gear on, the frightening Lady Suzume stepped over and offered each boy a practice katana. When Shinsuke looked quizzically at her, the woman replied, "My apologies, we do not have any practice nodachi. I hope that these will serve as a suitable alternative." In truth she just didn't want either boy to get hurt on her watch, so she'd decided against letting them use weaponry they weren't used to.

----------------------------------

"Wow, your brother sounds like a really strong boy. I don't know if Shinsuke would fight for us, but he'd probably make things really bad for anyone who made us feel bad," Yuki remarked after Kaori described her own brother. Nobuyori definitely sounded as if he were a really nice and considerate big brother. Although he was also definitely more combative than she liked to see anyone being. People who wanted to fight were strange to her - why would someone ever want to hurt another person? Thankfully people often had good sides as well - Nobuyori certainly sounded like he did.

When informed that weeds weren't normal flowers, Inori pouted a bit. Sure, she knew they weren't flowers but that didn't mean that they didn't deserve to be used in an arrangement! Then she looked over to Yuki as Kaori asked for the other Todo girl's opinion. Immediately after noticing that her sister was trying to use weeds in a floral arrangement, Yuki face palmed. Of course her sister would want to do something like that. With a sigh she stepped over and put a hand on Inori's shoulder.

"Inori, it's not really the kind of thing a princess puts in her flower arrangement, is it?" Yuki asked, trying to do this nicely. Why did Inori have to embarrass her in front of their guest?

"I guess not.. but they're strong!" Inori pouted further, grip on the weeds tightening.

Yuki glanced to Kaori, then smiled - an idea had hit her. She smirked, "Inori.. what would Miko-chan say. No.. what would Mikoto-hime say? Hmm?"

Inori blanched, "Well.. um.. something strong but refined is better?"

Yuki nodded, "Good girl. Let's find something that will be a little better than weeds."

As Inori reluctantly set down the weeds and searched for something new, Yuki sighed again (this time out of relief). She told Kaori, "Sorry about that, Inori does some weird things sometimes."

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Nobuyumi
 Posted: Feb 7 2017, 09:22 PM
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Suzu

Nobu and Shinsuke followed the scary woman into the dueling hall. They had agreed on using sword are too large for themselves as they put on the battle armor. Arm and leg guards, helmets, and thick chest gear. It all looked more like kendo than a true samurai duel. However it would have been bad if the two future lords of their clans killed each other on accident.

As Nobuyori fumbled the sword a bit he picked up the large wooden sword, holding it in front of himself and looking at Shinsuke.
This is a friendly sparring match, so there's nothing on the line. Let's just have fun with it!" Shinsuke declared. Nobuyori smiled and nodded.
"Right!" and with that he slowly moved forward, getting closer to Shinsuke and trying to keep the long sword in a steady position. He definately couldn't charge like this without tripping over himself so his feet slowly slid across the floor.

"Come at me!" Nobu declared and raised his sword, moving towards Shinsuke to see what the young Todo would do. In order to add on to the dramatic effect he swung the sword straight down, hitting the ground as it bounced off the floor and went back up, almost knocking him off balance. The gear definitely seemed harder to move in than he had predicted and he couldn't help but feel a little unstable while wearing it.

*********


Meanwhile as the boys began the not so epic clash the daughters of the two clans spoke at length about flower arrangement and having older brothers. Kaori watched the exchange between the two sisters over putting weeds in flower arrangements. Kaori was naturally the type that wanted everyone to get along so she really didn't want to hurt someone's feelings.
"I guess not.. but they're strong!" Inori had said. As Yuki apologized an idea came to mind on Kaori's part as she walked over to the two and picked up the dropped weeds.

With a smile she handed the weeds to Inori.
"Lets use them after all!" Kaori said with a heartfelt grin. No doubt it would have seemed strange to everyone who had witnessed it but the Azai girl was fairly clever in her own heartfelt way. She picked up a few full grown dandelions and handed them to Inori.
"We'll put them on the outside, and have a bunch of beautiful flowers inside! We'll say that even weeds can be pretty!" she declared as she nodded to herself. In truth Kaori was doing her best to sound confident but the young girl had no clue what she was saying or doing. She mostly just felt bad at how sad Inori had looked and so she wanted to make her feel better.

For her own arrangement Kaori had picked some people and blue flowers. Then she looked over at Yuki.
"Um, do you have three small bowls?" she asked as politely as possible.
"Also some water." after all they needed to put the flowers somewhere.

--------------------
Azai Nobuyori
The stuck up clan lord who defends the people.

Tagami Yumiko
The adorable poet girl who hates war.
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Suzu
 Posted: Apr 4 2017, 07:13 AM
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The young Todo clan heir was not about to be outdone by their guest in this duel. Though he hoped they could be friends he wasn't about to let down the honor of the Todo clan. They had agreed on a ridiculous type of duel, sure. Their officiant was giving them a highly doubtful look as they both prepared to go at each other. With a grin he slowly moved forward, almost inching his way toward the Azai boy. That sword was pretty big, no wonder he hadn't been allowed to use one before.

"For the Todo!" he declared, then raised his sword and closed the distance to Nobu. Right as the Azai had his mishap Shinsuke swung his own sword, but caught the tip on the ground. Instead of a dramatic slash it ended up being more of a comedic misstep, nearly tripping the boy up as he failed to do anything remotely cool. That would be the tone of the rest of his actions too - attempting to look really, really cool but ending up missing his opponent entirely.

*********

Yuki had really hoped that the whole issue of the weeds had been resolved. Her sister could do some really outlandish things rather spontaneously, but she was used to that. When they had guests it was really irksome for Inori to get so weird. Not that she'd even remember what she was going on about after a few minutes. This was their chance to make a friend roughly their age, and a girl at that! She didn't want to scare the girl off with Inori's odd behavior.

Yet it turned out that Kaori was pretty kind.. more so than Yuki had been prepared to be. Instead of rejecting the weeds she offered a way to incorporate them into an arrangement. It was dumbfounding enough that Yuki stood there with total disbelief playing out on her face. Inori meanwhile was giddy with the promise that her weeds could be part of the arrangement. The brunette had taken them into her hands with care, as if they might break if she weren't super careful. When she had the dandelions to add to them, she was practically dancing in place. Talk about the best day ever!

"Yeah! The weeds can be like the strong protectors of the pretty flowers on the inside. Nobody gets through them to harm the princesses!" Inori proclaimed, her imagination going into full throttle. She went on, "Just like that last time we played Noble's Court! I got to be the general and guard the princesses Yuki and Miko!"

Yuki shook her head and laughed, "I guess it's okay, then. Let me get some bowls and water for our arrangements." With that she went to the supplies the clan kept in the garden for just this sort of thing. Whenever they had a guest coming with their family, her mother liked to make arrangements for each of the visiting ladies. Though Yuki and Inori hadn't yet begun training for floral arrangement, it was likely going to begin soon. Once she was back with the small bowls she turned to get the water.. only to find that Inori had beaten her to it.

"Here we go! Water for our flowers!" she announced, carrying a small bucket of water back to the other girls.

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Nobuyumi
 Posted: Apr 22 2017, 08:13 AM
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Neither boy clearly knew what was going on. Shinsuke was using a sword far too big for him and Nobuyori, who was more use to small swords, and very light naginata, was trying to use the sword like a spear. Instead as the two kept acting cool what would happen would be that as Shinsuke slashed down and Nobuyori attempted to stab forward, both boys tripped and ended up headbutting each other in the forehead. With a decidedly non-elegant thud Nobuyori and Shinsuke both toppled to the ground on top of each other. Looking like baby turtles who didn't know how to roll over and instead had been stuck shell side down.

"Owwww." Nobuyori said simply as he rubbed his forehead a bit. The wooden sword he had been using was now quite a ways away from him and he turned his head to look at Shinsuke. Both boys had clearly been exagerating just how strong they happened to be and couldn't lie about it now.
"The swords might be too big." Nobuyori suggested. He wouldn't outright come out and admit defeat, instead obviously blaming it on having the wrong weapon so that both he and Shinsuke could save face. He also secretly prayed his parents or his sister didn't come in and see the two like this.

* * * * * *


All three girls seemed to cheer and be happy as they agreed on what to do with the weeds. A true compromise had been made and it felt good. Unlike Nobu and Shinsuke the women of the Azai and Todo families seemed to be getting along just fine. With water now brought to them the girls would put a tiny bit of water into each flower container. It wouldn't keep the flowers alive long, but it would be enough to sustain them for a few more days at least.

Carefully taking gathered flowers Kaori looked at the Todo sisters.
"Alright! Now we just place the flowers he we think they are prettiest!" obviously flower arrangement had far more rules and subtlety to it than this but a young Kaori didn't know. She wouldn't know for a few years that up until now her mother had very much humored her and said that regardless of how Kaori chose to arrange the flowers they looked lovely. So, with a large smile, Kaori began placing her flowers in her pot. She decided to put the less bright ones on the outside of the arrangement and the prettier ones on the inside.

"I hope our parents like these!" she said cheerfully.

Suzu

--------------------
Azai Nobuyori
The stuck up clan lord who defends the people.

Tagami Yumiko
The adorable poet girl who hates war.
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Suzu
 Posted: Jun 1 2017, 06:22 AM
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Total lack of training hadn't been enough to slow Shinsuke down when he decided to go ahead with things in the dojo. Not even when they actually got around to the sparring and the oversized weapons became a self fulfilling prophecy. As his visiting counterpart had done, Shinsuke had gone full on into the attempt to strike. Like Nobu he was going to have a bit of a headache after this. Lady Suzume was immediately at the boys' sides, quickly checking them over to ensure no lasting harm had been done.

"I think you're right," Shinsuke nodded, finding the compromise of blaming the weapons to be very agreeable. They both would be able to walk away with their pride intact from this slip up. Thankfully neither their sisters nor the parents entered, though Lady Suzume had a look that said 'I told you so.' All the same she didn't lecture the boys, but rather helped each get up (she insisted on helping) before going to put the gear away.

Shinsuke looked around bashfully before asking, "So how about that video game?"

* * * * * *

Flower arrangement went much better for the children. Yuki was a quick learner, and was matching Kaori's choices with rather pretty ones of her own. The large smile that lit the girl's face up showed that she was having just as much fun as Kaori was. A young Inori, meanwhile, seemed to be much more like a giant monster having a blast displacing all the plant life in a general area. Such was her arrangement that it had a few flowers hastily added to the center with weeds and non-floral plant parts surrounding them. Just like a bunch of retainers protecting their fair princesses! In her own mind, this was the best flower arrangement anyone had ever crafted.

"Oh yeah! I'm sure that they'll be very happy!" Yuki remarked in a chipper manner before glancing over at Inori's arrangement and shaking her head.

Undeterred Inori explained, "These weeds are samurai with yari! And over here these tree clippings are more samurai with naginata and stuff. The flowers are princesses." It was the most she'd said up to this point, but the excited look on her face showed how happy she was with her work.

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Nobuyumi
 Posted: Jun 7 2017, 09:18 PM
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Lady Suzume helped but Shinsuke and Nobu up before taking off the training gear for them and putting them away. The entire time Nobuyori watched her thinking that she really wasn't as scary as he had first thought. She hadn't lectured them, or demanded they keep fighting. She hadn't yelled at them or even tried to fight them himself.
"So how about that video game?"

As Shinsuke asked Nobuyori nodded a bit while still keeping an eye on the woman putting away the combat gear.
"Yeah!" he said smiling widely.
When the two started moving away from the training hall and towards Shinsuke's room Nobuyori would keep admiring the large castle. It was far larger than the one he lived in after all. It was very impressive but the people in it seemed far more interested. All of the servants seemed nice, and even the scary guard Lady Suzume ended up not being that bad. Shinsuke himself also seemed really nice. When Nobu was sure she couldn't hear he leaned over and whispered to Shinsuke.
"She doesn't seem so scary after all."

-------------------------------------------------------


Yuki and Kaori clicked for sure. The two seemed so similar and it was likely they would be friends for years to come. It was clear that they both enjoyed beautiful arrangements and seemed on similar thoughts as they made and explained their works. Kaori blinked a bit as Inori explained her art piece however. Inori seemed, of the Azai family at least, most similar to Nobuyori and Kaori's father than anything else. The girl had a clear mind for combat. Her flower arrangement didn't look so much pretty as it did fierce. It was certainly the type of arrangement a standard warrior would try and put together.

Though Kaori still couldn't bring herself to put it down. As she looked at Yuki and then back at Inori, it was clear Inori was absolutely proud of her work. Unsure of what to do Kaori did the first thing that came to mind. She started clapping.
"I can definitely see that." she said with a large smile. This would absolutely not be a lie as it was clear what Inori's piece represented and Kaori definitely could envision it since she was the Princess of a province and part of a samurai clan.
"I like it. Don't you Yuki-chan?" she asked, desperately not wanting to be alone on her very flimsy vessel of approval.

--------------------
Azai Nobuyori
The stuck up clan lord who defends the people.

Tagami Yumiko
The adorable poet girl who hates war.
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Suzu
 Posted: Jun 21 2017, 05:40 AM
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Moving away from sparring was for the best as both boys had been over ambitious. The Todo boy's thoughts were focused on the castle as well. He'd grown up in this place, so he rarely had occasion to wonder about the places others lived. Getting to make a friend on this day had given him cause to do so. Was Nobuyori's castle big like that of the Todo clan? At this point he just kind of assumed that the size of his own castle must be representative of any daimyo in the nation. Maybe he could visit the Azai some day and see for himself!

"I know.. it's weird," Shinsuke remarked once Lady Suzume was out of hearing range, "She's normally a lot more strict than this. I guess she's not so bad after all."

Once they arrived at his room Shinsuke let his visitor enter first out of diplomatic courtesy. When you had important visitors it was crucial to put their needs before your own. That's what his father had taught him - more like drilled into his head in the days before the Azai had arrived. Of course Shinsuke wasn't about to let Nobuyori win at the game. Nothing but a fair fight would do! After pulling out the game system and hooking it up, he handed a controller to Nobuyori.

"Here you go," he grinned, "It'll be nice to play against another boy. Yuki doesn't like these games, and I it's always kind of.. weird.. playing against Inori."

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"Yay! I'm happy that you like it!" Inori replied, not even waiting for Yuki's response to attempt to glomp the Azai girl.

Yuki rolled her eyes a little and then agreed, "It's definitely a unique Inori creation, that's for sure. It's.. nice."

With that she carefully attended to putting her sister's arrangement in a place where it wouldn't be disturbed. They probably shouldn't take the arrangements into the castle itself. Too much danger of disrupting the tidiness of the halls. Plus it'd be a big surprise to lead their parents out to see the arrangements! That could be really exciting, and something to look forward to once their mothers returned from their trip into the city.

"Let's set these somewhere safe and go get some tea!" Yuki suggested, which oddly enough did seem to have Inori's approval. At least if her vigorous nodding was any indication.

---------

Later, after the parents had finished their own undertakings and after official matters like dinner and talks, it was time to part ways. While the servants attended to any remaining preparations for the departure, the family itself stood before the main hall's entrance. Both the adults were dressed rather well to see off the Azai. Shinsuke was as well, though he couldn't help but grin at the memory of the very competitive battles he and his counterpart had had. The digital ones, not the duel. The latter was definitely better left unspoken of at this point.

Yuki was wearing a nice kimono, but somehow Inori had convinced her parents and Lady Suzume to let her wear something less girlish. Specifically some hand me downs from Shinsuke, including hakama and a haori. Lady Todo's expression apologized for that attire, though her husband seemed more amused than anything. Lady Suzume was there as well, since she had attended to the children most directly of any servant.

"The Todo humbly thank you for your gracious visit, Lord Azai. It is with great anticipation that I look forward to working in close coordination with your clan," the lord of the Todo spoke.

Lady Todo added, "You are welcome here anytime, of course. Our families are closely knit and we wish those bonds to become even stronger in the future."

Shinsuke bowed before speaking to Nobuyori, "It was really fun to meet you, Nobuyori-san. I'm glad I got to meet you."

Finally Yuki stepped forward and chimed in, "Thanks for teaching us all about flower arrangement, Kaori-chan! We'll practice super hard for the next time we all get together!"

And after the Azai had opportunity to say their peace, the two clans parted ways.

End Thread

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