[Ask First] The Tragic History of Doctor Minamitsu

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[Ask First] The Tragic History of Doctor Minamitsu

Postby Murasa Minamitsu » 15 Jun 2013 17:10

It wasn't a good plan, of course.

There were a few holes in it. It wasn't quite perfect. What was?

Still, it wasn't too bad. It could be worse.

The point is, when all is said and done, it just needed a little polish-

"This," Murasa mutters to herself as she walks down the winding path to the residence of one Seiga Kaku, "is one bloody stupid idea." The road to the hermit's home - wicked hermit, technically, though she herself would have chosen some harsher words - was, for all her open door policy, an incredible pain to reach. A hermit's house was, after all, always hidden away to some degree, with winding roads and paths that seemed to loop in on themselves, existing only to lead unwelcome visitors elsewhere. They were, in short, an annoying, unhelpful lot.

In the last light of the mostly-set sun, Murasa smiles to herself. A resigned smile, the smile of an utterly, completely reckless gambler, the smile of a lover of lost causes.

"Must be why I like it so much."

It was customary to bring some sort of gift for these occasions, when asking simply for an audience, let alone a boon. This was, obviously, why the captain had entirely neglected to bring one. That just might be why the journey was proving so difficult, but it was nothing a good day's persistence couldn't fix. Eventually. The house was right over there, anyway.

It would take more than a confusing trek to stop captain Minamitsu Murasa herself from doing some vitally important bothering and bargaining, and any hermit worth their salt should know that. Wicked, after all, not naive.

It's not that she was optimistic, certainly. She had met Seiga before, and knew enough to see that the reputation was well-deserved. No, this was more of a bold decision - the kind she would immediately think better of if left until morning to consider it - based on a haphazard plan, banking everything on her own dubious cunning and the hope that this Kaku character was just the right sort of unhinged to take the offer, hook, line and sinker.

There wasn't a whole lot worse than going to the locker and coming back anyway. What was the worst that could happen? The prize would be well worth it, and this... well now, this wouldn't be the first time she waltzed right out of trouble or an inconvenient deal.

"Never could resist a good bet, goes double for the bad ones." Know your demons, that was the ticket. Know your demons, your vices, and keep them both as close as you can. Never know when you might need them.

Having finally arrived at the house, she raises her hand to tap at the wooden door once, twice, three times. If there was no answer, well, she could always knock with the anchor. Still, it couldn't hurt to call, just in case she didn't hear right away. Hermits were awfully old, might be hard of hearing.

"'Scuse me, this is captain Minamitsu Murasa speakin', dread pirate of misty lake and professional sea serpent exterminator. Is the wicked hermit of the west home?" ...Probably should be east. Well, China was a little way west from Japan anyway. It would have to do.
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Murasa Minamitsu
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Re: [Ask First] The Tragic History of Doctor Minamitsu

Postby Seiga Kaku » 29 Jun 2013 17:39

She needn't use the anchor; the weathered wood began to slide inwards the moment she knocked. Ideally, under most understandings of melodrama, the motion would have been accompanied by a drawn-out groan, or at the very least the squeak of hinges, but no, the door was silent. In fact-besides possibly the scuffle of boots on dirt, and knowing ghosts, probably not even that-there hadn't been a single sound on the hermit's path since Murasa arrived. Eerie, to say the least, though the spectral visitor was probably no stranger to eerie. She was practically the definition of eerie. The doorway led into a long, narrow hallway, walled with lavishly painted and muraled red wood, almost palace-like, and lined with bonsai trees-seemingly at random intervals, if feng shui was not considered. Rather unusual trees, too-was it even possible to grow bonsai cherry blossom?

A feast for the eyes though it may have been, it was not so for the ears. The room was as quiet as any other part of the trail, pervaded by a deathly silence.

A deathly silence, how ironic. Though the hermit had to question where that thought came from, the sentiment was nonetheless appropriate. It had been quite some time since a living soul had inquired about her services, and lo and behold, her newest visitor was essentially nothing but living soul! All joking aside, though, Seiga was fairly surprised to be visited by one of the Buddhists-religious conflict notwithstanding, she would have thought a Buddhist would have been more the type to be content with their lot in life. Of course, Murasa was hardly the religious type, from what little she could tell. She honestly had pity for the sailor. Oh, sure, there was the whole "centuries spent exacting pointless 'vengeance'" business, but to her, Murasa had the misfortune of being a lapdog. The once (literally) free spirit that she was had spent the best part of the last thousand years or so in service to Byakuren. And for what reason? Gratitude? By any stretch of the imagination, that debt had been repaid long ago. Reward? Byakuren couldn't offer someone like her anything. Friendship? That flies in the face of Murasa working for the monk, not with her. By Seiga's reckoning, Murasa had essentially sold herself off, given up her own agenda willingly, turned down a life lived by her own rules for the whims of an old preacher woman. Such a loss.

The blue hermit raised her tea to her lips, gently letting the stuff trickle into her mouth. Wouldn't do to start sipping, she wouldn't want to ruin the atmosphere. Deathly silence. Heh, what a phrase for the occasion. Perhaps she would get the exact same thought. It might even help her feel at home. And if not... well, she would at least find company if she didn't find a welcome.
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Seiga Kaku
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Re: [Ask First] The Tragic History of Doctor Minamitsu

Postby Murasa Minamitsu » 01 Jul 2013 10:09

Murasa walks down the hallway, entirely at ease with her strange surroundings that would have made most visitors quite uncomfortable. The numerous bonsai trees entirely fail to catch her attention; you could make it as tiny as you pleased, but a tree was a tree, and she had more interesting things on her mind.

Make yourself at home, that was the trick, no matter where you went. Home, as they said, is where the heart is; given that her heart was almost certainly sitting at the bottom of the ocean, that certainly explained a thing or two. It follows, then, that if you took a moment to make yourself heartless enough... why, you could be perfectly comfortable and at home anywhere at all.

That last one actually explained the hermit, actually. Funny how many things you could learn from practically invading someone else's house. Surely Seiga would agree with that much.

And there she was, sitting and watching, as composed as anyone could be, a cup of green tea in her hand. The hermit herself. Dangerous as winter on the sea of Japan, if you believed the stories. Given the odds of the sea ever harming her again, there really was no better person to take a few chances with. What's the worst that could happen?

"Ah, you must be the moth I was told about! Fancy little place you've got here, bit tricky to find. If you can spare a moment, I've come to spread word of the revival of the other saint, our lady Byakuren Hijiri..." At this point, having tried to keep a straight face for all of three or four seconds, her attempt collapses into loud laughter.

"Ah, no, no, I can't do it," she says after taking a moment to catch her breath; a gesture that is, if one were to give it more than a second's thought, completely pointless and unnecessary.

"Just pulling your leg, miss, I'm not the door to door type. Best to leave that to Rings an' the barker, you get me? Tabby's not half bad at it either, just a bit of an awkward type. Now, me? I just heard you're in the favour-giving business, for all the worst prices you can dream up. That's the sort of deal I can't help but like, pers'nally. I mean, I heard you're a real ace at weaving baskets too, don't get me wrong, it's just not something I really need right now. Just don't you go thinking the wicker hermit's reputation is lost on little old me or anything."

She pulls a wooden pipe out of a small case in one of her pockets, lighting it up with a flick of blue, ghostly fire from her fingertip as she unceremoniously drops into a chair. The way she saw it, it was the passive-aggressive drowning of the modern age, the sort of thing people would happily let slide. It was all about image at the end of the day, anyway.

"Now, I get that I'm usually supposed to be drawing some manner of circles on the floor and throwing around all the stinking brimstone I can find, but I'm fresh out of chalk and the boss doesn't hold with clutter in her temple. That means paying a visit out here, proper summoning protocol or not. I understand you've got your rates, probably the soul of an innocent for the average favour? Seeing as mine doesn't much count for that sort of thing, I've had to improvise."

She offers her steel hip flask to Seiga, holding it across the table and giving it a small shake. A little something to smooth the proceedings over for business. Well, mostly. Yes, it was vinegar, but she didn't need to know that, not until she drank it.

"Long story short, I've got a deal for you. It won't be easy, but I don't know who else to ask, and I think I've got just the thing for you. Always liked my bad choices best anyway, so hey, why not another one? You hearing me out on this one, or do you have a light to fly into?"
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Murasa Minamitsu
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Re: [Ask First] The Tragic History of Doctor Minamitsu

Postby Seiga Kaku » 13 Jul 2013 16:15

Murasa wasn't the only one who had to try to keep a straight face, or the only one failing, as the wry smirk developing on the hermit's face attests to. The former sailor's reputation for... well, being Murasa preceded her, and with good reason, Seiga noted. It always seemed that these nautical types really projected their presence, put effort into filling the room. Must have something to do with having to keep about a few hundred rowdy workmen in line while they're all stuck together in something no larger than most bunkhouses for months on end. And of course, Murasa had experience with filling ships with things other than character, but to say that would be the kind of insult that Seiga would dismiss as "too easy".

"Oh, I don't know, you'd be surprised how many people come to me with problems that wouldn't even exist if they bothered to keep track of where they put things. Are you sure this isn't something that would be fixed by a simple jewelry basket?"

"Though I must say, I've never been any good at things like basket weaving," she continued, idly inspecting her smooth, pale hands. Shaped, delicate things, not the hands of a weaver. Or at least a non-metaphorical weaver. "Funny that, isn't it? Magic will teach you how to do the impossible so well that along the way you forget to learn how to do the possible. But I digress."

Gradually, almost imperceptibly, even, Seiga's bemused grin crept upwards and outwards as Murasa continued to talk about the hermit's "reputation", even baring the slightest glimpse of her teeth. Not that she was amused-quite the opposite. At this point it was obvious she was putting conscious effort into appearing entertained and unflappable. Which needless to say doesn't work, but that didn't stop her from trying.

"Why, miss Murasa, I think you may have the wrong impression of me. People come to me asking for what no-one else can do for them, and I'm hardly unreasonable about it-I mean, regardless of the price, people do get what they ask of me. I just take people at their word when they say they would give up anything for something. There are people worse than I, sailor Myouren. I, at the very least, am a helpful person."

Well, helping herself had to count, even if others did benefit along the way. Either way was fine by her, she wasn't particularly selfish or selfless; she just didn't care.

"And besides, you're the one asking me for help. Why, if I was so inclined, I could bleed you dry-metaphorically speaking-take everything you have and make you a laughing stock, and I already know that even if I threatened all that, you wouldn't even think twice about taking me up on the offer. You're desperate, Murasa. Do yourself a favour and don't think you can hide that from me.

But enough of that, if we're to talk business, then I suppose I should be acting like a proper host. I'll be offering the drinks, Murasa, don't trouble yourself about that." The hermit idly tapped her teacup on the glossy wood, once, twice, and with almost choreographed speed, a single jiang-shi dressed in a monk's plain brown robes slipped out from another unremarkable doorway, carrying a tray of fresh green tea-perhaps a little too green, in fact, but a suspicious guest would at least be reassured to know that Seiga would not put anything in her tea that she would not drink herself... though that in itself is probably a cause for concern.

"I don't believe you've been properly introduced, actually. Murasa, this is..." The hermit casts a curious, slightly confused glance at her undead servant, like a pet owner who has seen their cat offer them a dead mouse for the first time. "Actually, I don't think I ever caught his name. He looks like one of yours, St. Elmo, do you recognize him?"
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Seiga Kaku
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Re: [Ask First] The Tragic History of Doctor Minamitsu

Postby Murasa Minamitsu » 15 Jul 2013 15:24

There was so much she could have said. There always was. That she had no time to listen to a hermit's posturing, that none of those who came to Seiga could possibly anticipate how literally she would take their words, how much she would steal away. She could have said that while she was a killer once, she never made slaves of her victims.

She could have insisted that at least she knew what she had done, that she made no attempt to dress it up as generosity on her part, or a deserved end. There were no end of points she could have made, condemnations to line up, so many ways to tell herself first and the hermit second that she was better than this, that there was more of a heart to her even when her own had been buried under the waves.

It wasn't worth it, really. Maybe she could save it for a rainy day, when she was in the mood to believe it.

"Don't 'sailor Myouren' me, you hear? None of them need that on their reputation." She glances over at the monk, wincing slightly, before looking back to Seiga as quickly as she can. It wasn't right, doing this sort of thing to the dead. She might not have a great deal of rules or principles, but she stood by them. This... well, you just didn't do this. It was all just a little too familiar.

"Can't say I know him," she manages, sipping at the tea, then downing it in one gulp, steam pouring out of her mouth as she talks. "Hemlock," she states flatly. "C'rect me if I'm wrong, naturally, but that means you're willing to talk in between hating each other over a table, yeah? If you were in the mood to cut this short, I reckon I'd be tasting holy water right about now."

The captain nods slowly, satisfied with this, noticeably less energetic than her usual self, if only for a split second. "Best I can ask for." She claps her hands together, quite suddenly, and the old manic grin is back on her face. "Right," she exclaims, "to business!

She rubs her hands gleefully, with a smile that shone like a merciless midsummer sun over a beached whale, providing very little except the concrete assurance that someone, somewhere was amusing her greatly, and most likely wished this was not the case.

"You say you can make a laughingstock of me? Take everything I've got? You know what? Maybe you can. In fact, knock yourself out, I'll watch! I've seen worse. You said I'm... what was it? Desperate and tryin' to hide it? Now, miss, you're what I would broadly call polite company, and I like to tell myself I'm a nice sort of lady when you catch me in the right kinda mood, so I'm not going to laugh at you for that one. 'Cause that would be rude, as much as I'd like to try and laugh someone out of their own house, you follow me? Nah, you're just getting a quick lesson."

She places the tea back on the tray before continuing, offering a smile and sincere thanks to the jiang-shi. A little deserved respect for the dead didn't cost a thing. It was the least she could do, really, as much as she wondered if the monk could even tell.

"Let me tell you a thing or two about desperation. Desperation's when you're clinging to the boat you spent your life trying to find your way onto while it sinks into the cold black sea. Desperation's when you keep trying to cough water out of your lungs and know you're only making space for more. Desperation's when you take life after life, hoping it'll bring yours back; when you'll throw everything away for a second chance. This? This is just a price I saw coming all those years ago, and now I'm taking a look at a quick way to fix it. Simple as that."

She shrugs, shaking her head to indicate that Seiga, with all due respect - she could, in a pinch, probably muster at least a little for the hermit - did not have the slightest indication of what she as talking about. It as funny, seeing how long you could live without having a clue.

"I know you're awful fond of thinking you've caught me high and dry, between the devil and the deep blue sea, but if that was true, I would've gone straight for the sea, not you. So toss out those silly ideas of yours, and we'll get to talking; I've got a couple notions about the way you think, inside that little blue head of yours. You don't really know me, see? You don't have me figured out like you think... and wouldn't you know it, that's exactly what I've got to offer you."

She smiles again, the smile of someone who knows just a thing or two that you don't. It didn't matter what it was, or whether that was even true at all; all it took was making them see that look in the eye, enough to give them the right idea. Keep them wondering just where they stood.

"I'm going to give you something you've never seen before. I," she explains, "am going to give you an offer you can't refuse. You've never had one of those, have you? Too busy handing them out to others. Crying shame, that. Here's how it goes. I'm not picky about whose end of the deal comes first; I know you're the type to keep your word. I just want one thing from you."

Murasa leans back in her chair, bringing her shoes to rest on the table. They drift downward, stuck halfway through the table, leaving a small coating of frost creeping across the wood. She takes a second to catch her breath, and a faint wind blows through the room, a mischievous breeze that takes the opportunity to disturb every part of the room, bringing with it the faint smell of salt and the distant call of seagulls.

"Take me out of Gensokyo. Take me to the sea, just for one day, and whoever I ask to have brought along - reckon it'll be a few of the Myouren crew. It'll be a challenge, and you get to show you can do it. 'Course, I'm not cheap. I'm paying up too. You can name your price, any price, I'm not about to make you hold back. There's just one catch. You look like the bored type, and I can see you've got everything you want, so I'm going to give you the one thing you don't have. You set your price, and I'm going to do my damned best to cheat my way out of it."

A broad, triumphant and slightly mad grin - a manic, slightly unhinged look that she was more than a little proud of herself for perfecting - is all Seiga sees on the ghostly sailor's face, so exaggerated as to make it almost as hard to read as a complete poker face.

"I'm going to give you a challenge, and if you win... well, fair's fair, but that's just a bonus, isn't it? And you know what I'll do if you refuse?"

The sudden calm on her face, the look of quiet, confident indifference, is almost enough to give an onlooker a severe case of whiplash,but Murasa only looks back at the door, far behind her, leading out of the hermit's house. Why, if she was feeling particularly sensible, she might even use it, but the front door was far from the most dramatic way to make an exit.

"...I'm going to get up, turn around and walk out, and you'll never know what could have happened." She folds her arms across her chest, looking across the table at Seiga, looking for all the world as if the answer could not mean less to her.

"What's the little blue moth got to say about this, then? Still have it in you to go flying into a fire or two?"
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Murasa Minamitsu
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