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[Inheritance] The Inn at the Edge of the World; Ch3 - Closed
Topic Started: May 14 2018, 09:31 AM (89 Views)
Chizu
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Knight Radiant
There was a presence in his dorm room that night.

Rei sensed him before he saw him, the brush of power against his senses. It made him stop by the door, one of his hands on the doorknob, the other halfway to the light switch. Outside, the moon was full, illuminating the lean figure that was curled up by his windowsill. Moonlight glinted off of a fall of long silver hair, shadows pooling and playing in the folds of ornate robes. The figure's lip curled in a sneer, exposing white fangs.

"It took you long enough to come home."

Rei hesitated for a moment before stepping into the room, closing the door behind him. He faced the figure, meeting his eyes.

"How did you get into my room, Tomoe?"

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The kitsune slid off of the windowsill, shrugging one lithe shoulder. He stepped closer to Rei. Rei resisted the urge to step back, keeping his eyes fixed on Tomoe's own. The fox stopped a few paces away from Rei, making no move to walk further.

"Someone like you really shouldn't live alone," he said. "And in a place like this, without a barrier. All manner of things could come for you, Rei."

"I appreciate your concern," Rei said, speaking the words slowly and calmly. "Now, tell me why you're here."

"So impatient," Tomoe said. "That's a good look on you. It's almost as if you aren't the one that owes me a favor."

Favor. An image flashed through his mind--shards of ice, shattering. The feeling of overwhelming cold. The stab of pain somewhere close to his heart. Rei breathed in, and tried not to let his reaction show on his face. "The last time I checked, I owe Nurarihyon a favor, not you."

Tomoe's grin widened. "I'm Nurarihyon-sama's messenger, of course," he said. "He sent me here to collect."

A flash of fear ran through Rei before he could stop it, some of the color draining from his face. His shoulders tensed, his hands curling into fists. Possibilities flashed through his mind, all of the things that Nurarihyon could take from him. All of the atrocities the Hyakki Yagyou could force him to do.

The gleam in Tomoe's eyes was almost predatory. He leaned forward, so close that Rei could smell the lingering hint of smoke on his breath. "Scared, Rei?" he asked. When Rei refused to answer, refused to even move, he backed off with a laugh. "Don't worry. This favor won't harm any of your precious humans. In fact, there won't even be any exorcists involved at all. You might even enjoy yourself."

Rei drew in a breath, trying to regain some of his composure. "What, exactly, is this favor?"

"Nurarihyon-sama has an acquaintance, the proprietor of an establishment called the Kuroyuri Onsen Ryokan. It's a hot spring resort, in the other world. He wants you to go and talk to him."

"That's it?" Rei asked. "I just have to talk to him?"

"That's all," Tomoe said. The way he was smirking suggested it couldn't possibly be as simple as that. "In exchange, we'll take care of transportation, and we'll let you and any friends you might bring stay for two nights, for free. And of course, your debt with us will be wiped away."

"That seems too good to be true," Rei said.

"Well," said Tomoe. "Nurarihyon-sama did say you were to 'follow your conscience'. But I'm sure you'll have no problem with that."



A few days later...

True to their word, the Hyakki Yagyou had sent a carriage, a flying wagon with wheels of blue fire that had taken Rei and his friends from Senki Academy one Friday at twilight and spirited them away past the boundaries between their reality and the spirit world. Unlike the last time Rei had crossed this particular boundary, they didn't appear in the Kyoto youkai ward. Instead, they flew over the landscape, settling down on the path that led up to the Kuroyuri Inn.

The scenery was breathtaking. Rei stepped outside onto a scene that could have come straight out of a woodblock painting, a sprawling, traditional-style inn drenched in all the colors of twilight, nestled in the shadow of snow-capped mountains. A river ran past it, tumbling off the edge of an impossibly high cliff, with nothing but mist and clouds at the bottom. It felt odd stepping out of the carriage with his friends, dragging his very ordinary roller bag down the path that led up to the gate. He let the others follow him as he approached the doors.

He'd invited anyone who would come along, explaining the situation to them. He didn't want to put any of his friends in danger, but like the Kyoto incident, he wasn't taking any chances.

As soon as he passed through the sliding doors that led into the main entrance, he was greeted by a group of women dressed in identical yukata, with the characters for Kuroyuri embroidered on them. Like all of the guests that Rei could see from where he was standing, they were youkai. Like some of those same guests, they were also otherworldly beautiful, with the occasional monstrous trait, such as ears, or a tail, horns or unnatural eyes, that didn't otherwise detract from their appearance. He suspected they were also powerful, and that put him on his guard. But they did bow to the assembled group.

"Welcome to the Kuroyuri Inn," one of them, a dark-haired woman with snake-like golden eyes, said. "It's a pleasure to serve you. Please, follow me, and I will show you to your rooms. One for the ladies, and one for the gentlemen, correct?"

"Yes, that's correct," said Rei, still a little overwhelmed by it all.

She smiled, showing too white teeth. "Perfect. It's so rare that we have human guests. To have two parties at once, it's quite the treat."

Rei paused. "Wait..." he said. "Two parties?"



"U-Um...Yoiko-san, are you sure this is okay?" Yukina asked, timidly looking out from the window of their shared room at the grounds of the inn.

She still had no idea how she had ended up here, only that Yoiko had insisted that Yukina come along with her, to redeem one of the perks she had earned from her...part-time job? Or something like that? She wasn't too clear on the details, but this place seemed entirely too high-class for someone like her. And also entirely too magical. Yukina could not have failed to notice that everyone here other than her and Yoiko was distinctly inhuman.

What kind of part-time job did Yoiko have anyway?

"Somewhere like this...aren't we a little out of place?"

Some housekeeping notes. Please read.
Edited by Chizu, May 14 2018, 09:43 AM.
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Nickle
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The Original Ni-san
The carriage ride had been fantastic. No more than fantastic! Marvelous! Stupendous! Out of this world! Quite literally on that last one. Hinata had slowing been adapting to her new life in Senki and her bond with Artorias since what had happened in Kyoto, where Rei had first attempted an exorcism. Since then, Hinata felt that her bond with Artorias had grown stronger. Returning to the spirit world again oddly enough did not frighten her, even more so considering they were heading out for a stay at a hot spring inn!

Hinata had left the carriage with a spring in her lime green all-stars, her backpack slung over her shoulder and a massive grin her face as she took in the new surroundings for where the group would be staying. The inn certainly was impressive, you could have so easily mistaken it for a normal inn if it was not for the presence of the various youkai. Hinata's grin remained, but had faded slightly as she started to spot the various inhuman features on the youkai that worked at the inn. She fidgeted with the edge of her yellow t-shirt as she took in their various details, but was not overly concerned by them.

Her grin came back with reknewed joy as they were lead through to the rooms. "Yay! Let's get this vacation started!"

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

Hinata had dropped her backpack off nearby one of the corners of the room and was now wandering around, maybe a little faster than normal, taking in all the little features that the room held. "Uwaahhh! These little decorations are so cute!" She said grinning at a pair of far from cute Oni decorative statuettes pummeling each other with clubs and looking fearsome.

She then plopped onto one of the matresses, laying spread eagle and letting out a tranquil and happy sigh, "Ahhhhh~ Wow, spirits know how to make a bed comfy~"
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Legacy
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I lurk because I care
So far, he'd made it this far with a straight face. Riding in a flaming carriage powered by spirits or demons or whatever, Abel had kept his mouth shut and his face level. Focusing on the mission at hand made it simpler. To say he didn't fully understand the situation was an understatement, but the gist was enough. Rei had asked for his help and they were headed, it seemed, to some sort of resort for monsters. A premise which itself begged a great many questions, but for now he quietly accepted the existence of such a place.

Moreover, he accepted that the only way to get there was by demonic carriage like Cinderella's hellish entourage.

Upon arriving, he added a distinctively queasy feeling to his list of silent complaints. The powerful demonic aura hanging over the place was stifling to say the least. Somehow, he managed to singe the hem of his jeans on a flaming wheel on his way out of their satanic transport. And before they even made it in the door the spirit of some strange old woman had become rather attached to him. A situation which seemed far too reminiscent of his first meeting with Rei. At least this elder spirit seemed far more friendly than the last one...

Maybe a little too friendly, actually...

"The atmosphere of this place is making incredibly uneasy... I don't mean to come off ungrateful, but are we sure we can trust this isn't some kind of trap?" He asked, loaded down with more luggage than any individual had any reason to be as well as the old woman hanging on to his arm.

---

It had happened the week before. Koji, some kid, had issued Yoiko a challenge not unlike the hundred before. Some kind of wolf powers or something, like she even bothered to remember.

No, this time was memorable for another reason.

'Congratulations on 1000 Battles!' the giant floating bell had said, dumping confetti and ribbons on Koji's unconscious body. Along with that, a voucher to a certain supernatural hot spring. Because why wouldn't a contract with a council of demon lords come with a rewards program?!

As if she ever read that contract to begin with...

The whole ordeal pissed her off so much she nearly ripped the voucher up then and there, but after giving it some thought, well, dammit she earned a little vacation! Better still, it allowed her to bring one other person, and she could think of no one more deserving than the girl standing next to her. Who'd stood next to her since she arrived despite Yoiko's scary appearance.

Someone she secretly admired more than she'd ever let on directly.

"Tch, don't be so damn annoying!" The blonde said, resting her arm on Yukina's head with her usual fanged look of irritated incredulity. "Anyone tries to give you grief you just point them my way and I'll give em something to really worry about." She was in fine form as usual, but despite her usual sour attitude, she actually a bit thrilled to be here. Removing her arm from her roommate's head, she wrapped it around her shoulder and smiled her vicious, but cheerful grin. When she was energetic like this it usually meant she was in a good mood, irrespective of what she was actually saying.

"Just try to relax, it's supposed to be a vacation, after all! It'll be a waste if you're mopey the whole time, right?" She was determined to make sure Yukina had a good time. If for no other reason than to make up for her behavior at their last outing together during the school exchange...

"You just leave everything to me." Yoiko added with a somewhat frightening expression. Was that supposed to be reassuring?
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bonniecanuck
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Bonnie Bushi
Edie had not taken the initial news well. She was quickly reminded of the fact that the Hyakki Yagyou had cornered her and invoked the worst feelings of human fear that she had promised herself never to reveal in the face of adversity, and yet she had completely broken down in front of her friends. She had sought redemption for herself since, but she didn't know how to get it.

She still accepted the offer out of a sense of duty to Rei, as she still felt she still owed him, more now than when she had left with him for Kyoto. But she was still incredibly wary, making sure to sit close to the rest of the group and keeping a relatively small profile as she took her seat. She did kind of need to out of necessity, given how crowded the carriage was, but moreover, she just didn't want to be seen or noticed by Tomoe, if the kitsune was around at all.

Still, as they landed, she began to relax a little. There was no reason for her to feel so suspicious or resentful. After all, it was a hot spring inn, as promised. A demonic one, to be sure, but still, the promise seemed to be genuine.

Following Rei, she couldn't help but marvel at the environment of the place around her. "Wow, this is something totally unlike anything else." Though aesthetically and architecturally similar to the ryokan that her family operated, the aura it exuded was totally unlike any onsen she had been in. She still made sure to treat the place and the staff with the utmost respect, knowing to be courteous as a reciprocal measure, as a result of her own experiences working and helping out at her family's establishment.

Edie walked with the rest of the girls accordingly to their room. As she did, she began to ponder the possibilities. They had two nights to stay, so they had plenty of possibilities around. "So," she began quietly as she tried to strike up some light conversation, "anybody have any plans or ideas for what we should do? I'm thinking of taking to the hot springs before dinner, and then maybe having a walk after, though I'm not sure what the plan for that would be."

Once inside, she set down her bag on one of the futons - which happened to be next to Hinata's - and then made for the cupboard. Opening it, she saw what she just about expected - several pairs of neatly-folded yukata, ready for the girls to put on.

There was just a slight problem though. By her own eye, they were just one short. Was that just because there weren't enough? She wasn't sure.

Either way, Edie pondered whether she should ask the staff for an extra pair. However, given the nature of their stay, and the fact that they would probably have their hands full, and also the position that their party was in compared to the youkai around them.

Luckily for them, nobody would have to be short-changed anyway, as she had come prepared. She returned to her bag and unpacked her own yukata, folded up and wrapped delicately. Having left her flip-flops by the door, she also took out a pair of handcrafted geta, and placed it next to the yukata, which she began unfolding.

"You think wearing this will make me look out of place?" she asked the others as she picked up the ornately-designed cotton garment and let the others look at it.
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HiroTsukasa
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Sorcerer Seizing Sorcerer
Hiroyuki had taken the trip in unusually reserved silence. He hailed from Makai and to boot a rather infamous and remote region within that realm itself. A little phantom carriage ride between dimensions didn't seem like so much to him. Yet, he was never too eager to talk about his past or where he had come from. So rather than boast about how it wasn't quite so impressive, Hiroyuki remained quiet and merely took in the scenery.

It reminded him more of his home than anywhere in Kaneshima or even the Tower of Fang had. That gave him a warm sense of nostalgia that he wasn't entirely sure he was happy about. What was there to miss? A world constantly at varying levels of conflict. An overbearing boisterous father that made enemies at every turn. True, he missed his mother a bit. He had friends back in that place. The discrepancy in the flow of time made it impossible to keep in touch with any meaningful level.

Unfortunately, all this pondering on such matters was bringing Hiroyuki down quite a bit. He did his best to hide the concerned contemplative look on his face. This was Rei's trip. A break that he had likely earned given the crazy events that had been surrounding him. The last thing he or anyone else along for the ride needed was Hiroyuki's moping about a bit of homesickness he didn't even want.

All that changed once they arrived at the resort.

As they were greeted by the girls on staff, Hiroyuki's eyes shot wide and a stupid grin worked across his face. "This isn't the yokai realm," Hiroyuki concluded in a sense of awe addressing Rei as they were being guided towards their rooms, "This is clearly some kind of heavenly paradise. If I didn't remember you inviting me... I'd say I finally bit off more than I could handle and bit the dust."

Whatever mood he had been in on the way there, it was gone now. He didn't seem overly troubled by the mention of a second party of guests nor of the unease Abel professed. Abel was a good guy and definitely trustworthy, but whatever respect Hiroyuki felt towards the Priest was currently outweighed by other considerations...
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