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    With Talon having awakened, Grave took what time he had available before the group set off on foot to try and apologize to the man for the horrible lapse in both self-control and judgement from before. Promising to not let something like that happen again and to make up for that mess, somehow. And should he have no chance of doing so, he certainly made plans to apologize later, not willing to just ignore the matter. He had to accept his fuckups for what they were and make it clear he was going to make up for them, even if he had no idea how to do that. He'd figure something out sooner or later.

    When Atea asked him whether he could see the difference, Grave felt confused at first. Both at her words and at how human-like the inhabitants looked at felt. Given that this was supposed to be the heart of Ryu's power and, judging by the name of the place, a gathering spot for other self-proclaimed Gods of Zippangu, which clashed with his first opinion. And it didn't take him long to figure out that there had to be something hidden underneath this facade. How many of these apparent humans were actually something else? The thought was making him feel paranoid.

    Soon enough, though, Cynder would have the confirmation of his guess when the group brushed past a woman that was far more powerful than her appearance suggested. And with that chance, the half-blood realized his threads could help his "mind's eye" pierce the veil. And they did so with gusto, even without further input from him. It was as if he was adapting to the combined presence of these mamono and starting to differentiate and identify them. One by one, their true selves began to reveal themselves. It was not an entirely comforting revelation, unfortunately, as it only served to hammer it in further just how badly he was outclassed and how much catching up he had to do.

    His musings on the situation were interrupted as, unexpectedly, Club found someone she recognized in the crowd. Grave examined the racoon girl carefully, not liking the look on her face. Looks could be decieving, but he was willing to bet this one could and would be dangerous to hang around. The fruit certainly didn't escape his eye - between those, the items of power and the fact that she obviously had visited that ruined village - Waymeet - in the past, she was most likely some kind of travelling merchant. Her money-grubbing attitude was a bit more like a conman or a shady trader, though. Definitely not someone to take lightly.

    And before he could do much more than pinch the bridge of his nose in exasperation, Grave once more found himself with the burden of the situation somehow falling onto him. Atea clearly didn't seem to be planning to butt in: was this supposed to be his first test? To see how he could handle his first interactions with a superior mamono in this place? Friggin Hell, this was a pain in the ass. "Club's not a thing, nor do I hold her on a leash. And I pity anyone who'd like to try to do that." The half-blood dryly began his reply. "Normally, I wouldn't mind paying that much, but alas I'm in a bit of a bind." He added. Screw it, since he had no idea how to deal with this one then he'd just do whatever.

    "You see, I'm just a poor man who had to crawl his way out of a sinking ship and hasn't had chance to earn himself any material wealth since then." He admitted. "And unless one of my companions is willing to part with a few coppers..." He paused, glancing at the rest of the group. Truth be told, Cynder wasn't sure whether they'd support him. "I don't suppose you've got any?" He asked before turning his attention back to the racoon-girl. "Then I'm afraid I've got no money. At most I could try to offer information or a favor, worth ten coppers of course." She named the price beforehand. And if she was going to shamelessly charge them for unexpected information, then he'd shamelessly take advantage of that in turn.
    Last edited by cross_grave; 1 week ago.
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      Mentioning he was in a bind, the raccoon looked a bit fowl. "You're not another welcher, are you?" she inquired. But then he seemed keen on turning his debt into a favor. "Ah, A favor's worth far more than copper. I believe we can do business with one another~" she cooed in such a way that he felt a chill down his spine. "You seem high on life, boy, so I'll do you the honors. My name is Yakunan. If you're interested in my information and products, I happen to know how a man with an aspiring harem such as yourself can get more than the bottom of the barrel under your belt. Does this interest you? You already have so many women in your company, why not have one worth your time owe a debt to you?" she inquired. "You see, she actually came to me with a request to help her overcome her shyness. She is an Umi-Osho." she declared. Though the race obviously was one Grave wouldn't recognize. "... She's a powerful spiritual turtle." she explained. "Like sea bishops, she's capable of blessing a mamono and a human with marriage. But... She sucks at it currently. Fulfill her request and I'll give you something more than cheap information, boy. She likes to hide in the water in the middle of town and come out at night when she thinks no one's around. If the offer fancies you, go take care of her and let me know how it goes. I'll be in town for a week." She said, before leaving on her own.

      Atea chuckled after the raccoon Yakunan left. "That, Grave, was a Gyoubu Danuki. If you think she just looks evil, rest assured, she is evil. They're each rotten to their core, with seldom exceptions. They instinctively love money and deception. In your case she was willing not to ask you for money. I'd wager it's because you're a man. Do not interact with that creature further unless you feel she will be of use to you and your plan. Because the thing about such a creature is, she's just as dangerous an enemy as a friend. She's a handful, though to be honest... Likely the least of your worries in this world~" she chuckled. "I digress, I managed to get us an audience while you were chatting it up. Tomorrow morning. So, let us first go get a place to sleep then you can think about how to spend your day, boy." She declared, leading the way to a large building that was seemingly run by a shaggy looking girl with a freakishly long tongue. Atea paid in full for everyone, even Grave, before giving a simple bid farewell and going to her room to recover her power. Everyone else settled into their rooms, setting up their limited possessions while Club and Envy made themselves home in Grave's room.

      The town was vast and full of options. Everyone seemed keen on investigating, but Grave could invite some to come with him if he wished. Otherwise... He felt that, in the chaos, all he needed was to want to find something, and that he would find something similar. There seemed to be various shops and bars, all singularly owned by small time mamono, which was putting it very lightly as they too seemed legendary. It seems legends before legends just meant you were equals.

      Many species lurk the area. For a full list and vague idea what they're like, refer to the Native Species section of this article. http://mgewiki.com/w/Zipangu

      Or have Grave vaguely pursue something and the closest thing shall be delivered to him.
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        Well... This went beyond what Grave had been expecting. He was semi-joking when he replied to the racoon, but she seemed to latch onto this as an opportunity for doing business of some kind. He wasn't sure why exactly she sought to involve him in solving the request from... The local priestess, he presumed? Or the mamono equivalent thereof, at least, given that she was in charge of marriage ceremonies. Or at least was supposed to be. The vague promise of some sort of reward aside, if she was a prominent member of this community then perhaps Ryu would look favorably upon him if he managed to help. This wasn't going to be just an overnight stay after all, he suspected.

        "I can't promise anything, but I'll see what I can do." Grave nodded once Yakunan finished explaining. At least he managed to learn something new today. And thanks to Atea deciding to further that education, he managed to learn his impression of this Gyoubu Danuki was very close, if not spot-on. "So basically, a race of amoral traders? Joy." He deadpanned. And the sad thing was, his companion and soon to be mentor was likely right about her being a minor issue at most. He had so many big fish to deal with it wasn't even funny. "And that was fast. I'm guessing you must be held in considerable regard around here." He noted, suprised at how quickly Atea managed to set up an audience. This was genuinely impressive and, hopefully, a good sign.

        As the group installed themselves in the inn, his two closest lovers obviously choosing his room, Cynder pondered his next course of action. He'd rather go to sleep early enough to not be late for the audience, so he wouldn't have much time for the Umi-Oshio. He could still spend the evening waiting somewhere around the water and at least see her, if possible, but not much beyond that. In the meantime, however, he still had a whole day left to burn. Which brought him to his current idea: try and at least spend a little time with other people than the two troublemakers. He hadn't had many opportunities to talk with the rest of his group lately. "Roy? Valencia? Talon?" He asked as he left his room once he finished storing his stuff, looking for the three. "You up for a stroll?" Some sightseeing and maybe a bar visit if they had the money could help him learn about them a bit more. After some thinking, he had to admit that he may have been neglecting them a bit.
        You have the right to remain stupid, everything that you say can and will be ignored.

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          Atea just grinned at his mention of her having influence. Though when she'd usually gloat about how amazing she is, she seemed keen on giving Grave nothing in response to those words.

          The fact that he didn't hang around the trio he sought out showed when Roy's first response was one of curiosity. "Is something the matter?" Roy replied to being called out, as if there needed to be an issue for them to be called out. His question hung in the air a bit before the three seemed to let it sink in. Valencia spoke up next. "Finally got tired of smaller girls, huh? I happened to hear that in Zippangu, they call them legal lolis." she mentioned with a grin. Talen's eyes squinted. "... No... No I don't think Grave is as limited in her sexual tastes." he declared. Roy rose a brow. "Did you just say, 'her'?"

          "No." Talon replied flatly. He looked like he was sweating. "H-how about that walk? Eh? Let's go for a walk, yaaay!" he announced with fake cheer.
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            Grave wasn't sure what to think of Atea's silence. In all likelyhood, either he was merely scratching the surface by calling her influential, or misunderstood something due to ignorance. One way or another, he'd find out soon: that was the feeling he had. The audience would provide the hints he required, most likely.

            The reaction he got to his innocent question was, in Grave's opinion, a testament to the weak relationship between him and those three. As well as their collective opinion of him, me mused with exasperation while pinching the bridge of his nose as he sighed in response to their antics. "All three of you are idiots, you know that?" His voice was filled with sarcasm as he directed a flat gaze towards them. "Sure, I'll admit Club and Ziah have been monopolizing my attention as of late. Which is why I've proposed this walk. Come on already, let's do some sightseeing." The half-blood rolled his eyes.

            Even as he said all that, Grave still took notes of how all three of them had reacted. Valencia didn't suprise him at all, and neither did Roy. Talon's, on the other hand, was a little unexpected. He was reasonably certain the man would rather forget what happened. Instead, he seemed to identify Cynder with his female half, if perhaps subconsciously. The half-blood had a feeling this'd be yet another can of worms he opened through carelessness. Still, he didn't let these thoughts show. It was too early to be certain of anything, it could have been just a simple slip after all. "Anyway, let's leave the topic of my preferences aside for the time being, alright? We've got a whole new city to explore and I don't know about you, but I've never seen anything like this."
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              Valencia hummed. "I feel like you're up to something... But having a scapegoat to take the fall if something bad happens would be nice. Fine. I'll go." the purple haired woman said with her arms folded, giving a smirk.

              Roy just gave a silent nod. Talon seemed keen on simply coming along because he was asked. He didn't seem able to look Grave in the eye. "But, where are we to go first?" Roy inquired. Talon shuddered. "Surrounded by so many mamono at night, something bad is sure to happen." he spoke with Order ingrained paranoia.
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                "Thanks for the vote of confidence. If something does happen, I'll make sure you get everything that's coming for you." Grave deadpanned in response to Valencia, rolling his eyes. "And relax a little, Talon. As long as we don't go poking someone we shouldn't, things will be ok." He reassured the man. "As for places we could visit... I don't really know this place and I think the same goes for you three as well, so maybe we could do a little sight-seeing, check the nearby streets, take a look at how people live around here. I kinda want to stretch my legs a bit after that wagon ride." Cynder spoke with a shrug. Just walking around for a bit, making some small talk and taking the look at the city - or at least the part they were in - seemed fun.
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                  Valencia looked angry. "What? You say, let's go places and yet you don't know where the fuck we're going? I'm with Talon, this is a recipe for getting raped."

                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                  They went outside and walked around a bit without aim. On nothing but a whimsy, they encountered what seemed to be floating cloth. "It's... Beautiful. The cloth looks like floating women." Talon described. Roy looked less pleasant, as she saw what Grave saw likely as well. "It IS women... That cloth is heavily possessed by the curse." Roy declared. Floating through the streets, what seemed like mere cloth in a suggestive shape was revealed by the mind's eye to be ghostly figures wearing those cloths. Valencia and Talon looked oblivious to the danger as they were approached. Though they did start to back away. "Oh gods damn it, I-" Valencia started to curse, before the cloth whipped at the group, entangling Valencia and Roy in their cloth with ease. Valencia looked wrapped, as if she were now wearing the cloth, and Talon seemed to be getting embraced and assaulted by a hand at his groin. "W-what's happening!? Something's touching me!" Talon cried. "-Hate you Grave!" Valencia finished out her sentence mid struggle.

                  Roy lifted her hands, and ushered a blast of wind. It did nothing to them. Their forms were surprisingly firm. "Shit!" Roy cursed, before she was embraced as well, the cloth wearing itself on her and the ghostly figure dipping inside of her body. Meanwhile, the rest of the ghostly figures floated towards Grave in the confusion. Their faces calm and cold.

                  "A chosen of fate." they each spoke, one at a time.
                  "So it is."
                  "You will be our meal tonight."
                  "Wandering the streets at dark, you were asking to be ambushed by lonely women."
                  "We will let you go in the morning, we don't like the sun."
                  "So surrender your cock."
                  "You are in no position to argue."

                  As they said that, Roy and Valencia's bodies moved on their own their eyes wrapped in the cloth, joining the other cloth girls. "G-grave..." Roy uttered. "I can't... Control... Body..."

                  Meanwhile, Valencia's cheeks looked flush while both she and Roy stripped their clothes to wear only the cloth. "I'm so hot..." Valencia whined. "I need a dick, any dick..!"

                  Talon had the ghostly figure's arm around his neck, while two others held his arms up. The one behind him was stroking his cock, while the pair holding his arms made light pats at his balls and a fourth was kissing and lightly licking his tip. "G-grave, I'm getting touched all over! You have t-to do something. T-they look wary of you!" he added, before the one holding him behind turned his face to kiss him and silence him.
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                    Grave tried to warn the two when he saw the cloth mamono approach. Unfortunately, he had failed to realize that unlike him and Roy, Talon and Valencia seemed incapable of perceiving their real forms. Thus, by the time he opened his mouth to speak up, they had already wandered in too close. And of course, the first one was too oblivious to react properly and the second simply blamed him. Eliciting an exasperated sigh even as he stepped back, turning to face the threat properly.

                    The half-blood felt frustrated. Couldn't he even enjoy an evening walk in peace? Fuck that shit, and fuck those overgrown cum rags too. They obviously weren't so powerless as to be blown away by a gust of wind - a tactical mistake on Roy's part - but the cloth was likely vulnerable to some form of assault, and their link to existence. The medium that anchored the spirit. And given their relative wariness, he was likely strong enough to cause damage. A reassuring thought, and yet it failed to improve his mood any.

                    Grave raised both arms, magic already surging through his body. Illusions would likely be useless. Manifesting weapons would not help him win. Physical attacks were right out. But he had one more skill to utilize, one had been practicing for some time. Flames lit up around his hands as he aimed at the group approaching him and the four around Talon. "I won't argue." He snarled, focusing his anger as he stood his ground. Not lashing out blindly like last time, using it to harden his resolve to fight instead. "I'll reduce you to ashes instead!"

                    Cynder let loose, weaving his threads into flames as intense as he could make them. The first stream flew towards the group facing him. The young man aimed to avoid hitting Valencia or Roy, but all the floating ones were free game as far as he was concerned. If they intended to browbeat him with force, then he'd respond with force. A second stream of flame, fired from the other hand struck around Talon as Grave sought to either destroy or force his captors away. "Use fire if you can!" He called out to the group at large. The women were completely caught, but if he could free his male companion... "Talon, if you can't fight them, try to run and get the others!" Club would just eat anyone who tried to eat her and Ziah would probably handle herself well.

                    Still, even as he attacked, Grave kept his third eye open. There was a good chance his enemies had some kind of magic of their own. He would have to watch how they weaved to try and counter as necessary. Also... If the spirits had entered the bodies of Roy and Valencia, did that leave their cloth vulnerable to the threads of others?
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