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, 04/01/2018 The Chinese delegation have now arrived at the city of Edo. They have come to learn more about the state of Japan, the Shogunate, and it's Scions. We will be having a Lunar New Year's celebration, a school dance, and a combat tournament with them!

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 You Have Zero Mutual Friends (open!)
Shoy
 Posted: Dec 26 2017, 10:41 PM
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Ripley loitered. It was what they did best, really, and their favourite strategy for making both friends and enemies. Because when it came down to it, if you made friends because you shared a class or because you walked the same route to school you could never really be sure if the people you met were actually, really, properly your friends. You could never be quite sure if they chose your company because they liked you or simply out of convenience. Ripley had learned that the hard way. So that’s why, when they came to Edo Bugei, they decided they would need to make some friends and they decided they would do it by loitering, because when you meet someone by accident and continue to be friends with them afterwards you know it is because they like you and not because it is easier to be friends than not to be.

Today they were dressed in the boy’s school uniform with the piece of blue cloth that was their relic tied as an armband on their upper arm. This wasn't always the case, as anyone who would meet them more than once would discover. Ripley hadn't bothered with makeup or anything like that today, so to the outside world they seemed to all intents and purposes a male.

Ripley leaned against the wall of the corridor with their arms crossed, trying to look all cool and suave. It was late afternoon and classes had finished for the day so there weren’t a lot of students around, but that was the point. If there were people everywhere then no-one would care that Ripley were loitering; they’d just be another student in the crowd. Well, their teachers would have cared if they were loitering instead of going to classes, but Ripley had learned over the years that, without a buddy, skipping class was very boring, and besides, this was a fancy samurai school and Ripley couldn’t know what the penalties for skipping class in such a place were. It was best not to run the risk when they were still so new. They would feel out what the school was like a bit before they considered doing something like that.

And so, Ripley stood against that wall, waiting to see whoever would come round the corner or surprise them like a jack-in-the-box by jumping out of the nearby classroom that Ripley had assumed was empty. It was quite exciting actually, trying to guess where the next person would come from. Yeah, right. Exciting for two whole minutes. No, maybe one. Two was being a bit generous.

More fun than that was trying to come up with fun lines to spring on whoever was lucky/unlucky enough to be the next person Ripley set their sights on. It would depend on the kind of person who they looked like they might be, of course, and chances were Ripley might have to invent on the spot. Insulting their hairstyle was a definite possibility, particularly if they looked like they’d put a lot of effort into it, but that didn't always get much of a reaction depending on the person. Or they could always try to start a conversation with such a random topic that it would just leave the poor idiot feeling confused. Ripley didn't see the point in trying to befriend someone with white lies and falsehoods, only for that new friend to not like the real you later. It was better to start with the real you and find someone who liked that. Much better.

Oh well. They’d just have to wait and see, wouldn’t they?

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Suzu
 Posted: Dec 31 2017, 10:48 PM
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All in all it had been a very, very uninspiring core subject class that had let out just moments before. Todo Shinsuke really did try hard to pay full attention to the content of course. Whenever the next quiz or test popped up he wanted to be ready for it, rather than have too poor a performance affect his grades. Too much of a poor performance and he'd be hearing about it not only from his parents and aunt, but his sister as well. The adults were all the way down in Kyushu, so there was enough distance to make any lecturing a bit more palatable. When it came to his little sister though, there would be no escape - she was a student at Bugei just like him. Thus he must do well in class to avoid her catching wind of the failures, in addition to the other reasons to perform well academically.

Yet it had been such a rehash of past materials and study hall type conditions that he'd begun to grow increasingly disconnected from class. That is to say his brain had checked out. Over the course of the class he'd indeed finished his work, but with a few doodles and random ideas jotted down on a separate page. Any idea that came to mind, including different things to try with his semi-long hair. There was plenty of possibility now that he'd grown it out enough! Yet it'd been so long since he'd had that length of hair that he wasn't sure what would suit him. A Todo ought to have suitably stylish hair, after all. Right now he just had it tied back in a low unisex ponytail that could pass for male or female from behind. Today he'd allowed side locks to escape the tail and frame his face, but he figured he still looked boyish enough to not attract attention.

Once class was over he remained in his seat for a little while tapping his pencil on the desktop. Who was the best person to help him with this hairstyle conundrum? He supposed it'd depend on what look he was going for really. And both his sister Inori and his friend Junko would be decent people to ask. There were other friends but neither of them had met both Shinsuke and 'Mikoto', so it'd be difficult to ask either of them. With a light sigh he packed up his notebook and left the classroom before the teacher could get too nosy either. It was at this point that the androgynous, ponytailed diplomat crossed the path of Ripley.

"..s kind of hard," he mumbled, not noticing them just yet.

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Shoy
 Posted: Jan 2 2018, 07:49 PM
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Showtime. Someone had exited the classroom. And the person they saw was... well, a little unconventional. Long hair and a boys uniform. The hair remark was out, then. Ripley wasn’t going to make fun of someone’s hair when it didn’t conform to what was expected of boys - long instead of short and neat. Ripley wasn’t going to make fun of something in a way that reinforced dumb stereotypes that hurt people in sometimes serious ways. That would just be in poor taste.

This guy (or whatever they were, Ripley wasn’t going to judge if it wasn’t) walked right past, mumbling something to himself which Ripley didn't hear, without noticing Ripley was there. Seriously? Not even a glance in their direction. Someone is loitering and watching you like a predator, sizing you up, and you’re not even a little bit curious? That seemed weird. “Oi!” Ripley said, when this new guy passed them without even looking. They gave it a couple of seconds before continuing to give the newbie a chance to look around and see who was speaking. “Are you blind or just rude?”

Ripley was genuinely interested in this newcomer, though. With the long hair and all it looked like Ripley might, just might, have encountered someone who was at least a little interested in things outside the traditional mainstream. That sort of person was exactly the kind Ripley wanted as friend, or even as an enemy if it had to be that way. But they’d have to wait to see how this kid would respond to make any kind of final judgement about that.

Suzu

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Suzu
 Posted: Jan 3 2018, 08:32 AM
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Exiting the classroom, Shinsuke's head had been in the clouds for the most part. More concerned over what sort of hairstyle he ought to try than whom might be lurking in the hallway. He wasn't quite distracted enough to run into people but attempts at conversation or just intense scrutiny might fly under the radar. Hence when someone did call out to him he didn't immediately respond. Instead he turned his head suddenly to see who it was. The way his hair whipped around with the gesture, combined with his androgynous looks, wouldn't have been out of place in a shoujo manga or TV show.

It had been kind of a rude way of greeting someone you hadn't meet before. That much was certain as he took in this student's words and realizing that he'd been watched. So someone he hadn't met, or didn't recall meeting, was essentially calling him out. There was a chance Shinsuke had said crossed paths with the student before but not realized it. Had some offense been committed at that time? Possible, but he didn't remember doing anything like that. Something about the student seemed a little different too - short hair like a boy, but facial features that could work for either male or female.

Wanting to be careful about how he handled this, he placed his hand on his chin and considered his wording. It'd been confrontational for sure but maybe something else was going on. Shinsuke was aware that his name and appearance might precede him, even if it was his old reputation driving it. Maybe best to feel this out before getting too upset.

"I can promise you that my vision is fine and I mean no offense," Shinsuke finally spoke with a light shrug, "I don't believe we've met.. can I help you?"

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Shoy
 Posted: Jan 8 2018, 04:34 PM
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Ripley’s eyebrows shot up and their mouth spread into a grin. This guy seemed pretty calm and reasoned to speak so casually after being spoken to so - admittedly, rudely, but that was part of the point. If someone could put up with your rudeness when you were total strangers then the chances were good that they’d be able to put up with whatever antics Ripley decided to get up to, and that they might even be able to tolerate the whole genderfluid thing without freaking out or complaining about it. This was good, Ripley decided.

“How polite. You got me beat in that regard.” Ripley still slouched against the wall. “And nah, we haven’t met and I dunno who you are,” Ripley said with a shrug. “I ain’t looking for you to help me with anything either. Mostly, I’m just bored. Other people are a good cure for that, y’know?”

Ripley was curious, though. There were two main things that interested Ripley about this kid right off the bat: first was the appearance, with the long, slightly girlish hair. It could easily just be an odd hairstyle choice and not signifying anything, but on the other hand it could be saying a lot about who this person was. Ripley hoped it was the latter - they would have much more common ground if it was the case and Ripley always appreciated people they could have that common ground with. The second thing they wondered about was why this guy had been so distracted when walking out the classroom. Was something on his mind? Was he just daydreaming?

Well, Ripley wanted answers, and the answers weren’t going to appear out of thin air. May as well just ask, damn it if it might seem a bit invasive and blunt to ask up front like that. “I’m a bit curious about the hairdo. Not very typical, and that's a compliment, by the by.”

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Suzu
 Posted: Jan 10 2018, 06:31 AM
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Something was indeed a little odd about the student that'd accosted Shinsuke. Even though their tone had been pretty direct and even rude at first, the situation seemed to diffuse itself. Someone who was looking for trouble or upset with you wasn't liable to relax so readily. Looking at how the posture relaxed and they leaned up against the wall, Shinsuke figured his response had been well calculated. Surely it hadn't been something that escalated the situation at all. Oddly the apparent boy just wanted someone to spend time with.. and had just figured something confrontational was the way to do that. His eyebrow raised in slight surprise at that response as it was hardly what the Todo heir had been expecting.

"When you're in the diplomatic track of study, politeness gets to be second nature," Shinsuke remarked as he stepped to the side of the hallway, allowing other students to pass by. He shrugged himself as he cautiously added, "If you're simply looking for someone to cure boredom with, you have a funny way of asking."

There was no malice or distaste in Shinsuke's tone as he spoke to Ripley, just curiosity. Since the other student didn't seem to be wanting to stir up trouble the plot had thickened. Was he really just wanting to deal with boredom or was there in fact something else going on? Had rumors gotten around about his alter-ego? Without there being some recognition of his identity by Ripley he could rule that out. It was safe to say that neither of them had met each other before this. Distracted a moment before, Shinsuke's mind became much more focused as he attempted to read between the lines here. After all it shouldn't be too hard to determine if that curiosity on Ripley's part was genuine.

Curiosity turned out to be a driving factor in what Shinsuke was asked next. Immediately the blunt question drew out a bit of a blush in the Todo heir's cheeks. Instinctively he reached up and held his ponytail for a moment while he processed that question. Maybe that was what had attracted the sudden attention from someone who said they were just bored. Most male students kept their hair short, or at least shorter than Shinsuke's was. Given that he had shoulder length hair (or very close to near that), he was doing the opposite of what most boys would do. Of course it'd attract attention at some point.

"Oh.. eh... my hair? Well, it's just.. " he was stumbling over his words uncharacteristically as he tried to find some sort of explanation. One that didn't give away his other self. Finally he settled on, "It's not much right now, but simple is best when it comes to keeping your hair out of the way during study.. um.. but I suppose I'm grateful for your compliment.. are you a first year or second year?"

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Shoy
 Posted: Jan 18 2018, 05:57 AM
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This kid was impressive. He was very good at keeping his cool even with Ripley’s bothering; he didn’t seem to have so much as flinched this whole time even though he was being approached by some random stranger, and that was something that took more balls than was often acknowledged.

Ripley chuckled. “Funny way of asking” was putting it mildly. “What can I say? I’m a funny person. No point in hiding behind courtesy and pleasantries if people might hate what lies under it. That’s just wasting time and energy and I have a monstrous lack of both.”

Ripley smirked as Shinsuke flustered at the compliment to his hair. There was some small sense of achievement that they’d managed to finally get him off guard. It seemed like his hair was a particular point of interest and Ripley was glad that they hadn’t tried making fun of it as a first introduction. It seemed likely that that might have got them off on sour footing.

They wondered if he was lying, though, about the purpose of the hairstyle: He seemed a little hesistant in the way he was saying it, though that could have just as easily been from suprise as from a fear of a lie being discovered. They debated bringing their relic power into this of telling if someone is lying, but considering that the statement wasn’t necessarily untrue and the power wouldn’t discover truths that remained hidden, only if what was spoken was true, it probably wasn’t worth even trying.

“Me? I'm a first year,” Ripley said with a yawn, “Hah, if I’d been around longer than that you would have heard about me before, I dare say. Everyone would. At least, that's the plan.”

Shinsuke's question seemed tacked on a little hastily to Ripley. Was it to distract them from the stuff about the hair? This was certainly getting more interesting. It was turning out to be a bit of a mystery, and Ripley did like a good mystery, and they’d certainly found their boredom cure for the afternoon. Whatever, they would play along with whatever this kid wanted to talk about for the moment, see where it led them. “And what about you? You a newbie too? Y’said you’re a diplomat or something, what made you choose that as a path?”

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Suzu
 Posted: Jan 22 2018, 06:53 AM
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So far, so good. While the apparent boy speaking to him was definitely an odd bird, he wasn't really doing anything confrontational now. Rather blunt compared to the sort of conversation that Shinsuke was used, though. Whatever strangeness was inherent to the student's approach, they did seem to be fairly honest about their intentions. Watching the body language and facial expressions didn't reveal any telltale signs of a liar anyway. Not to say that this first year wasn't just good at telling half-truths or something, but they seemed to be on the level At least as far as this was concerned.

They even openly tipped their hand about planning to cause a ruckus or somehow get their name known through more reckless activity. That was the insinuation anyway. He frowned a little at that since he was in the sort of field where he'd have to clean up messes others made. Or at least gloss them over. However he was thankful the topic of conversation had drifted from his hair - someone nosy like this would probably ask too many questions. Questions could cause even a practiced diplomat to slip up and reveal more information than they intended. Much better and safer to talk about stuff that was innocuous and even inconsequential than risk that.

"I'm not exactly new around here, but I haven't really been here all that long. Right now I'm a second year, so I've still got a long way to go before I'm finished up. It's quite a ways from home but the teachers and students are mostly fine. I'm sure that you'll find it a good school to develop your talents at," Shinsuke replied, calming down a bit after the hair-based inquisition, "My path is diplomacy because that's sort of the family business.. and because honestly, I think it's better if people talk out their differences than resort to the blade. There's been enough of the blade throughout our history. How about you? What are you studying?"

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Shoy
 Posted: Feb 3 2018, 05:14 PM
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((OOC: I am SO SORRY this took me so long to get around to))

So this kid had been around a bit longer than Ripley had. He seemed to have a high level of confidence in the school too; considering he had experience of being at the school Ripley hoped his assessment would be at least somewhat accurate. “Yeah, well I’d hope so. It’d be a bit of a foresight to claim that you’re the best school in the country if not the world and not employ the best teachers there are to find.”

Though Ripley was automatically skeptical of anything that began with "family business" because it could too easily lead into people getting caught up in professions they didn't really want to be in simply because their family was egging them on to, he did seem like he legitimately believed in what he was doing. “Well, whatever your reason for being a diplomat, I’m glad you believe in what you’re doing. Too many people are forced into something they don’t want to do because they think it’ll make them richer, or happier, even though it’s not what they really want.”

The question turned to what Ripley did at the school. “I’m a writer. Poetry and scripts, mind you. Literature is a bit dense in my opinion. One day though,” Ripley held up a finger. “One day I’m gonna write movies for Hollywood. You’ll see my name up in lights one day, just you wait.” They frowned. “You know what, speaking of names, I don’t think I’ve given you the pleasure of knowing mine. Akagi Ripley,” they said with a slight, informal bow. And after a brief moment they leaned forward and whispered: "C'mon, you have to hand it to me, that was smooth, right!?"

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Suzu
 Posted: Feb 5 2018, 06:40 AM
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Though Ripley was automatically skeptical of anything that began with "family business" because it could too easily lead into people getting caught up in professions they didn't really want to be in simply because their family was egging them on to, he did seem like he legitimately believed in what he was doing. “Well, whatever your reason for being a diplomat, I’m glad you believe in what you’re doing. Too many people are forced into something they don’t want to do because they think it’ll make them richer, or happier, even though it’s not what they really want.”

Shinsuke was fairly sure that his assessment of the school's reputation was fairly accurate. It was an elite school for the nation's future leaders so it ought to be. The student he was talking to him seemed to somewhat accept the assessment as well, though they did remark a bit about people being forced into profession. Maybe there was some personal experience there.. or just a perception of the sort of families that represented the leading class of the country. He was aware of a few similar cases himself, so it wasn't beyond reasoning that this student had as well.

"Some people also get strong armed into things because it's family tradition too. I'm fortunate that I enjoy diplomacy and statecraft as much as I do I guess. My sister would've been terrible at it if she'd been the eldest. Just like I'd likely be less than stellar at the Bugei path she's taking," he remarked with a shrug, which caused some of his hair to come a little loose. Noticing it was out of place Shinsuke instinctively reached up and began to mess with it, tucking it back into the ponytail holder. Looking disheveled wouldn't do when meeting a new person! Thank goodness his uniform was in order, otherwise he'd have to fuss with every little thing.

This Ripley fellow did seem to be pretty self-confident about his future, which might help in his desired field of work. Most likely you wouldn't get very far if you didn't believe fully in your own abilities. Far too many big names and prideful personalities to stand out in entertainment when you were humble. Shinsuke gave Ripley's display of revealing his name an eyeroll at first, then a light clap. Well, he did seem like he'd fit in with show business!

"I guess you could put it that way. Definitely a different way of breaking the subject than most people would use," Shinsuke smirked, showing he at least partially appreciated the other student's confident introduction. Partially anyhow. He then bowed politely, arm sweeping out to the side as if he were an actor taking curtain call. Time to return the favor. He spoke confidently, "Since you have graced me with your own name, allow me to return the gesture with my own." He looked up with the winning smile he'd used in the past when flirting with girls - it seemed appropriately over the top for this, "Todo Shinsuke, diplomat extraordinaire and future lord of Hyuga, at your service."

He stood up straight after that and winked, "Not too bad, ne? I've been a little out of practice.. now then, do you prefer Akagi-san or Ripley-kun?" As yet he hadn't noticed that the bow had knocked the hair looser than before, so that some framed the left side of his face. It was clearly cut in a much more feminine style than most boys would wear.

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Shoy
 Posted: Feb 9 2018, 01:39 AM
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Ripley raised an eyebrow. “You have a sister here? She your only sibling or?” Ripley themselves came from a moderately large family, being one of five children, and they knew from experience that siblings easily got on each other's nerves when they spent too much time together, and living and studying at the same school certainly gave the opportunity to spend a lot of time together. “You guys get along?”

Ripley noticed that Shinsuke neatened his hair up again almost as soon as it came loose. That hair really was of special consideration and now Ripley itched to find out why it was so goddamn important. Was he simply vain?

Ripley's introduction was received with a clap and they found themselves grinning at this. If someone played along that was the best reaction Ripley could ever want and Ripley was starting to quite like this stranger they had encountered. As long as he didn't flip out about Ripley's gender(s) then Ripley would certainly be interested in getting in contact with him again some other time.

And then Shinsuke bowed and introduced himself, and Ripley chuckled and gave Shinsuke his own round of applause. “I like you,” they said; it came out of the blue, but that was part of the intention, to be sudden. “You pass the test. Dunno what the test is but you pass it. You seem like a pretty cool dude.”

“And as for the name… hah! Why in hell would I want to go by Akagi when I have a name as fabulous as Ripley?" And the timing was perfect to introduce another subject: "I’d leave off the kun if I was you, though. Or at least play it by ear a little. If I’m wearing lipstick or girly clothes Ripley-chan might be better, y’know? Though I always dress how I feel so it’s hard to get wrong. Kun will do for today, if that's what you're asking.” Likely this would be quite confusing, but Ripley had found that when trying to explain gender fluidity it helped to start by sounding matter of fact; it made it harder for them to try to negate what Ripley said. But there was one other reason to start explaining like that in this case:

Vanity didn't seem to be the right answer for the hair - Shinsuke’s hair had come half undone and he hadn't fixed it. It fell across his shoulders, yet it was a style that he could easily pull back into a ponytail to hide its length and femininity. Ripley had a sneaking suspicion of what it might indicate; Ripley had once done a similar thing when they were a little younger and hadn’t yet amassed a collection of female clothing and the skills to apply makeup correctly and effectively. But they didn't dare hope that they had lucked out enough to meet somebody the same as them at total random. It would be too good to be true, especially so soon after coming to the school, and in such a place as Edo Bugei. But sometimes good things were true…

Well whatever it was, Ripley would find out. Likely Ripley’s own subtle admission of a fluid gender would reveal something, whether Shinsuke admitted anything openly or simply reacted in a particular way. Ripley would get to the bottom of it eventually no matter what Shinsuke said or did now.

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Suzu
 Posted: Feb 12 2018, 08:11 AM
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It'd been over a year since the earthquake, but the question about how many siblings he had made Shinsuke hesitate. How in the heck did he respond to that? He took a bit longer than someone normally would have to answer what was on the face of it a simple question. After going back and forth in his thoughts, and clenching a fist while fighting off the darker ones, he finally settled on a compromise. State the current situation while not alluding to what had happened before - the less that time was brought up the less upset he'd be.

"Yes, I just have my little sister and she's.. difficult at times. She's way more energetic than anyone thought she'd turn out to be. Sometimes I wonder what mess she might make that she needs help cleaning up," he remarked with a measured chuckle, "But I'd say we get along okay, as long as we're not playing a video game together. I have no idea how she gets so good so fast.."

Hopefully it could be kept to that without any further questions being tossed at him about family. The flow of their conversation was such that he was fairly certain that wouldn't be a problem. Questions would arise about many other things for certain, on both sides of the equation no less. Ripley was quite capable of matching any showmanship with his own, as that applause indicated after Shinsuke introduced himself. They were actually joking around a bit just moments after this odd student had called to him impolitely. Either that was a triumph for Shinsuke's diplomatic skills or there really wasn't any ill will here. Regardless of which he was becoming more and more curious about Ripley.

The plot really thickened when the presumed boy just went ahead and dropped a bombshell out of the blue. Specifically that he wore girly clothes and makeup sometimes, and in such a manner that made it seem like the most natural thing in the world. He really just.. said it. That one hit way closer to home than anything which Shinsuke could possibly have predicted him saying. Did Ripley know something about Todo-chan? Or even just assume things based on Shinsuke's looks? There didn't seem to be any recognition or suggestion of knowing more than the words said though. So.. totally honest dropping of surprising news in a matter of fact way. Shinsuke wasn't totally able to hide his surprise at hearing it, nor the panic in his eyes as he tried to discern how much Ripley might or might not know.

"Well then, Ripley-kun for now it is! And if I ever see you in more feminine looks then Ripley-chan," Shinsuke finally concluded, figuring it was best to play it safe and take the student at face value. Their other statements had seemed on the level, if a bit direct for what he was used to. Maybe.. maybe this was another person who might understand his own struggles? So far only Junko knew about the duality of Shinsuke and Todo Mikoto-chan. It'd take a while.. but maybe this was an opportunity.

In the meantime he smiled a little again, "Thanks for the kind words too, I'm glad I pass the test.. and I admit you're intriguing yourself. You seem very confident and daring.. and I like that. I hope that didn't come off the wrong way."

Now how to proceed? He wasn't about to tip his own hand where it came to such things, but he did assume Ripley would be accepting of his identities. A greater concern might be keeping the information secret once it became known to this student. Would they be able to keep it under wraps once the cat was out of the bag? A diplomat had to command respect in a way that meant such things were best kept quiet. Not everyone was as liable to be as openly accepting of different identities as Ripley seemed.

"So I guess you just kind of go with however you feel when you get up or something? Or is there more that goes into determining if it's Ripley-kun or Ripley-chan for the day?" he asked, hoping he could at least learn more about this younger student. Then he realized he might be the rude one and bowed a little, "Sorry if I'm getting a little too direct.. I'm just intrigued." And without realizing it he was brushing out his hair again.

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Shoy
 Posted: Feb 19 2018, 05:27 AM
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Ripley picked up that Shinsuke reacted a bit strangely to the fairly simple question about his siblings. He took awhile to respond and his fist seemed to tense up. Yet despite that a fairly casual and simple response, just that yes he only had one sister here and a bit of a description about her - and she sounded like she might be a pretty fun person. There was definitely something there that Shinsuke wasn’t being fully honest about. Ripley wanted to know what that was, but Shinsuke seemed borderline angry about it. In a normal circumstance, Ripley probably would have asked about it, but they could see how Shinsuke was already reacting and there were things about this boy that they wanted to know more desperately than this information about Shinsuke's siblings. Ripley sighed. “Certainly sounds like you two get on well enough.”

Shinsuke seemed a little surprised at Ripley’s explanation of the way they wanted to be referred to as. Though he did eventually say, “Well then, Ripley-kun for now it is! And if I ever see you in more feminine looks then Ripley-chan,” Ripley wondered why he had reacted in the way he did. In any case, Ripley was glad that Shinsuke took it so well though with Shinsuke’s shock and the way he was pretty cool with it Ripley wondered if that hope would prove to be true. Ripley knew from experience though that it was a very, very touchy subject for some people and the last thing they wanted to do was force someone to admit to something so fundamental that they might not want to share. “There are too many people out there who would reject someone out right for something like that. Thank you for understanding.” Notably, Ripley’s boisterous joviality had disappeared for a moment.

“Thanks for the kind words too, I'm glad I pass the test.. and I admit you're intriguing yourself. You seem very confident and daring.. and I like that. I hope that didn't come off the wrong way,” Shinsuke said.

Ripley raised an eyebrow. “Confident and daring, eh? I like it.”

Shinsuke asked for a bit more of an explanation, which Ripley was more than happy to give. “Oh, please.” Shinsuke was even bowing - how bloody formal was that? “No such thing as too direct and I’m glad you want to take the time to learn about this rather than assuming you know what I’m talking about. Unless you have experience with such a subject,” Ripley stretched, using it create a short pause that looked natural and casual but it was very intentional, to send a message, pose the question, even, do you have experience with this subject? “Or know someone who does you can hardly claim to have much knowledge, you know? And think of it like this: unless you’re one of the rare people who doesn’t experience this, you probably have almost this little voice in you, just this certainty that “yes, I am a boy!” or whatever. Couldn’t tell you why ‘cause I ain’t got a clue but sometimes that certainty tells me I’m a boy, sometimes it tells me I’m a girl, sometimes it tells me I fit somewhere in the middle and that I’m not quite either. It changes at random.”

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Suzu
 Posted: Feb 26 2018, 07:40 AM
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Getting to leave the discussion about his siblings at basic information was welcome by the Todo heir. It wasn't really a bad thing for someone to be asking about, but it was still a rough spot for Shinsuke emotionally. He'd much rather keep the discussion focused on other things than his sisters. Thankfully Ripley also seemed to be more interested in other topics of discussion. Granted this too was heading into dangerous territory for the Todo heir, but he'd take his chances. There was more plausible deniability where these sorts of things were involved than with family.

It wasn't lost on the diplomat from Kyushu that Ripley's tone changed a little when they thanked Shinsuke for being understanding. They were apt in saying that not everyone would've so readily accepted that explanation at face value. Without even stretching things too far he was fairly certain his parents wouldn't be so accepting without a lot more questions. Perhaps it was his own experience with identity issues that made Shinsuke able to get what Ripley meant without prodding further.

"No problem, Ripley-kun. Something that you learn when learning diplomacy is when to take someone at their word. This is a situation where that advice is quite fitting," Shinsuke remarked with a slight smile, "I would imagine the person who knows who you are the best is.. you, if that doesn't sound too odd."

As their talk went a little deeper he started to feel a bit of a knot forming in his gut. Now that they were firmly on the topic of personal identity he hoped it could remain focused on Ripley. He legitimately wanted to learn as much as he could in this moment about the person who'd called him out in the hallway. Hardly a traditional samurai-class student, other than the personal pride and confidence that Ripley possessed in spades. Off the top of his head he couldn't recall just where the Akagi were situated in the country's power structure. Not major players, but certainly with enough connections or influence to have a student sent to this prestigious academy.

Further ruminations were sidetracked when Ripley turned the question back around at him. Shinsuke slightly flinched in his surprise at the directness of that suggestion that he had some experience with this kind of situation. He hadn't expected that - this Ripley was a perceptive person. Years of hiding his personal experience with this topic kicked in as he recovered enough to chuckle and shrug a little. Not only did he have the experience himself, but he had a very close friend who also had identity issues thanks to a ridiculously tough mother. Neither of those things were something he was ready to discuss with someone he'd just met, so it was time to try and dance around the issue.

"That sounds like a bit of a chaotic situation to deal with, if you'll forgive the wording. Not everyone would be capable of handling it so adeptly as to take it in stride," Shinsuke remarked with a nod after assessing the other student's word, "When I have heard that voice, it has indeed often confirmed that I'm a boy. But the world's made up of so many different people of so many different types that I definitely can't claim expertise on such experiences. That's why we ask questions, though, isn't it? To learn more about things we lack knowledge in."

Way to state the obvious there, Shinsuke. He felt like he'd effectively responded to the inquiry without saying much of anything that suggested anything odd about himself. They ought to keep things going, though, so he tried to think of another direction to take the conversation. Yet he couldn't help but continue to be fascinated by the idea of someone who was open about the fluidity of their identity. His friend and Shinsuke himself were rather secretive about their moments. Maybe he could get some advice without directly seeking it.. he just had to ask the questions the right way.

"If you don't mind another question, how does your family feel about how you are? Hopefully they're understanding to some degree," he ventured, then followed it up with, "If you'd rather not answer that question I understand.. sometimes family can be difficult.. but I'm actually quite curious about you.. I take it you have both male and female uniforms to suit whoever you wake up as while still following school regulations?"

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Shoy
 Posted: Mar 12 2018, 08:28 PM
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((OOC: I feel like this isn't too great a post but anyway here you go))

Shinsuke took Ripley's moment of vulnerability and seriousness as what it was - serious and honest. Ripley was glad of that. There was nothing they hated more than when they tried to do or say something important and weren't taken seriously. It had happened often enough in the past when it came to Ripley’s genderfluidity and it pissed them off every time.

Shinsuke’s diplomacy seemed to have bled into everything he did, like how he was directly referencing the way that it affected his attitude and actions now. Though Ripley supposed if you were passionate about something, it was bound to happen anyway. “No, no, not odd at all. It's wise. People need to be willing to hear each other out.” Ripley grinned at the remark about Ripley knowing themselves best. “Damn right.”

“Hah. Chaotic. No, I like the wording.” Shinsuke’s comment about Ripley taking it in their stride was flattering and Ripley liked it. Though it was a bit disappointing to here Shinsuke confirm directly that he was a boy after all. Ripley should have known it would be pointless to hope. Well, Shinsuke was still a pretty cool guy regardless. Ripley didn’t let that disappointment show on their face: they moved on to answer Shinsuke’s questions. “Dude, I will always be grateful that my family are who they are. They’ve been so helpful, and so supportive.” Ripley raised their eyebrow at the curious remark. “Curious about me? I’m flattered.”

And then the question about uniforms. “Ding ding ding! Right answer. I mean, technically me wearing the “wrong” uniform isn’t exactly by regulations anyway, but most teached haven't seemed to give a shit.”

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