The morning is heralded by the chirps of birds that rang through the forest, and carries into the Barbin Village. Anne is sprawled out over her bed of leaves, but her hat has remained in place. There were already some bodies moving. In fact most of the village were awake, as the Barbin perform their Morning Prayer to catch the first rays of the day. It was much like their other prayer the trio have seen, but the wording changes slightly to welcome the day.
All three are of course deep asleep even as it finishes and everyone dresses in their already minimal clothing to continue their daily routines. Of course with a few more additions, as the Elder has instructed supplies for their journey be gathered and stored in bags. These bags were not of their own construction, but found in their patrol of the forests.
Lulu, the female who had discovered the trio and watched over Anne and Yuzuki, brings two of the bags into the hut where they sleep and kneels before the sleeping Albert, her lips curled in a smile as she watches Albert sleep. Looking behind her, then at Anne and Yuzuki to confirm they are still sleeping, Lulu then inches closer and sniffs at Albert's neck, then his chin, getting just a hair close to his skin.
[If interested in joining our group, please PM me for detail.]
Albert's sleep had been fitful at best, punctuated by occasional wakefulness at worse. Sleeping on leaves was not something Albert particularly... took well. Not to mention his dreams were full of his old life back home, sitting comfortably in AC, being waited upon by voluptuous Asian wom- wait, no, that never happened. Such an event was purely part of his dream as the Dream Albert took a glass of champagne from the waitress, enjoying life. And then the room he was in exploded in fire, Dream Albert finding himself staring down at missing legs and intestines hanging from his body. Yuzuki's face appeared over his, her clutching him and saying something in Japanese, tears running down the woman's face. Her hair brushed across his skin, and Dream Albert found himself smiling a bit despite having been blown in half, until his brain realized that the sensation was real.
Eyes flying open, the vision of the beast woman so close to him startled Albert and caused him to scream like a little girl. Crawling away in intense fear, it took him many minutes to finally get over the fight-or-flight sensation. Even then, the man's face remained as pale as chalk, "W-w-what?! What is it? Do you need something?" His words would go completely over the head of Lulu, but Albert's rational brain wasn't entirely functional at the moment.
Night had come quickly, it seemed. Once Anne had settled down a bit, Yuzuki felt she could rest for a while. Although she knew they were well guarded within this village, she still felt on edge. She had no idea if those raiders would come back. Or what other surprises would await them. Albert and Anne had fallen asleep on the makeshift beds, but Yuzuki had chosen to rest in a different manner. For the whole of the night she would be sitting up against one of the walls, her knees drawn to her chest and her scabbard resting on her shoulder. Frankly she didn’t feel real comfortable sleeping on the leaf beds. As comfortable as they were… Yuzuki still felt they could be in danger.
Despite that, sleep did come for her. As it always was, she slept lightly. Part of her training kept her that way. Being attacked on a regular basis by your master while you slept will keep you paranoid and on edge.
Morning comes, and Yuzuki’s light sleep is not interrupted. In her dreams, she hears the gentle chirping of unfamiliar birds. She’s unaware as yet of the stir of activity as the Barbin go about their daily lives. But that changes as Albert screams. Her eyes spring open and she grasps her scabbard, staring at Albert and Lulu. She almost immediately is in a crouch, ready to spring into action. But… nothing is wrong it seems, not really.
She just stares at Albert and Lulu, and she sighs as she pushes herself to her feet slowly. “You really must scream less, Albert…” she says softly as she tucks her scabbard into her sash. He is a very jumpy man, isn’t he? She is about to address the situation further… but that’s when she spots the bag near her. A bag which wasn’t there last night. She kneels down, picking at the odd looking loops and latches of the bag, seeming fascinated by them.
"All hands! Fight or die!" Anne yells bolting to her feet, swinging her cutlass wildly. The edge of the blade narrowly slashes Lulu in the face, but her reflexes are such that the Barbin woman narrowly falls back and rolls away to avoid it. Anne looks around with wide bloodshot eyes, but settles when she sees that there is no clear and present danger. Only a jumpy man and a Barbin female who was a little too curious. And some bags?
Anne drops her cutlass with a scoff while raising a brow at Albert "Yer lucky I wasn't holdin' me pistols. Some unlucky soul would have one more hole cause of you." She mirrors Yuzuki, kneeling to inspect first the general constuction of the two similar bags, then the contents of one. One had another map like the one given to Albert yesterday, a compass, and seven booze fruits wrapped in large leaves to keep them from oozing everywhere. The other holds slabs of cooked venison, other fruits similarly wrapped.
Lulu prostrates herself before the three, putting her head to the ground as she apologizes. "I'm sorry! I only wanted to smell the male. Please tell him I am sorry!" She says specifically to Yuzuki.
Upon realizing what exactly had happened and the situation he was in, Albert quietly returned his glasses to his face from the ground and tried to hide its beet-redness, looking at the wall, "W-Well.. I'm uh... awake now... Sorry." If Albert could have stopped himself from causing Anne to almost kill the Barbin, he would have, but the man didn't have a time machine and wasn't particularly courageous in the first place. When his eyes glanced at Yuzuki, Albert's entire body shivered as the image of her looking down at him and his mangled body flashed in his mind, Jesus, let's hope that never happens...
It's then that the bags draw the man's eye, causing him to crouch and look more closely as two women inspect them as well, "These appear to be United States bags from... I'd say World War 2 most likely, though maybe World War 1 era. I'm not exactly a military history buff in terms of equipment like this so who knows... Would definitely like to know where they found them."
Standing back up, Albert readjusted his glasses and then finally noticed the Barbin prostrating herself, "Oh, is she sorry for scaring me? That's really unnecessary, I'm just a massive uh... pussy to be honest." His face contorted into a deep frown, hair moved out of the way with one of his hands.
Yuzuki’s eyes widen and she stumbles back a few steps when Anne is suddenly awake and yelling. She stares at Anne wordlessly, one of her hands instinctively reaching for her sword. But Anne calms… and she sighs softly “Both of you must do less yelling…” she truly hopes this won’t become some kind of weird westerner tradition.
She once more kneels down and inspects the bag, now looking inside of it. Provisions… a map… she reaches in and grasps the compass, pulling it closer to herself to inspect it. She turns it over, having no idea what it is. She’s never seen anything like it, and doesn’t realize it actually opens. She sets it back into the bag, kind of rummaging through it to take inventory. When Albert speaks, she looks to him with a small frown. “Eh? World War? And 2 of them? Was the whole world truly at war in your time? Was Japan?” She can’t imagine such a thing, the whole world fighting. And what could they possibly fight for? Land, probably. That’s what more wars were to her, grabs for land and therefore power.
Her attention is grabbed by Lulu, and she smiles a little to her. Her gaze moves between Lulu and Albert, and she nods a little “She said she is very sorry. She… just wanted to smell you.” That is maybe the weirdest thing she has ever said. Then to Lulu “Do not worry, please.” A little nod to her with a smile.
And then… Albert’s declaration of being a pussy. Yuzuki just stares at him… genuinely baffled. She starts to say something, but stops. After a moment she starts to say something else, but stops. She shakes her head as she looks back towards the bags “I am not discussing female anatomy with you, Albert.” She almost sounds offended.
"Ah, so another couple things from the future." Anne muses aloud, then sees Yuzuki looking at the compass, recognizes the general shape, and takes the thing to inspect it while she plays translator. Some things just don't change apparently, she thinks after opening it and testing it out. Anne is so enamored with the compass she misses the mention of World Wars, but is paying attention when Albert uses the word that offends Yuzuki, but only confuses Anne.
"I don't know what's got her knickers in a twist, or why she thinks yer talkin' about a gash. Weird woman." She says also missing the meaning of the word as Albert intended. The translation magic would cause Yuzuki to hear 'gash' as 'wound' in Japanese. Her remark as well would be very loosely translated to imply Yuzuki was having an issue with her undergarments.
Meanwhile, Lulu raises her head, her eyes widening and head cocking to the side as she also only catches Yuzuki's last remark to Albert.
"Does...the male not know how to mate?" She ask Yuzuki,
Albert's head hurt for a moment at the misunderstanding, causing him to rub his forehead, "No, not a vagina. Well, sort of, but it's slang. It's just a saying. I'm not courageous and brave, alright?" The man was a combination of awkward, embarrassed, and sorry for having apparently offended Yuzuki, the one woman who seemed halfway normal in this world. It seemed that the translator magic was not entirely foolproof, and Albert's awkward frustrated embarrassment prevented him from remembering to elaborate on the World Wars to Yuzuki. Deciding to simply turn away towards the wall, Albert waved them off, "Shouldn't we, like, uh... Get going. Maybe we can eat on the way..." It was a hopeful attempt to bring an end to the off-putting situation.
Yuzuki leans toward Anne a little as she opens the compass, letting out a soft “oohhh” sound. She didn’t even realize you could open the tiny thing. It is pretty adorable. She then looks to Anne, and then to Albert, and then to Anne as she motions to the man. “He did say…” she’s not even going to end that very weird sentence. Already there have been far too many things she’s had to deal with in regards to misunderstanding one another. If this were a play (or an RP), it would probably be a running joke.
Scooping up one of the bags, she looks towards the other bags when Lulu asks her question. She perks a brow, looking towards the Barbin, then towards Albert. She stares at him for a few moments, and then speaks as she looks back to the Barbin. “Probably not, my friend.” Hah… and of course Albert probably wouldn’t know what she was talking about, or the subtle jab she made towards him.
Slang… Albert mentions. She hefts one of the bags up, looking it over for a few moments. Instead of slinging it onto her bag, she just wraps the straps around the bag itself to carry it. Perhaps not realizing it actually is meant to be carried upon her back. Albert admitting not being brave or courageous? She shrugs a little as she looks towards him out of the corner of her eyes. “I know, Albert. But courage and bravery aren’t the only things that makes a good man.” She nods a little, and then looks in the direction of Anne. “Albert is right, we should get going. I feel we’ve wasted enough of the daylight already.”
Anne shrugs, hefting the other pack over her right shoulder as she stands, grabbing one of her booze fruits and biting it. "Well then, let's get going."
The three leave the hut, and the village erupts in praise. Barbin wave, and offer prayers of protection as they pass. Yuzuki would hear them as "May no harm come to you under the sun." and the like.
A male, one of the largest, comes up beside Albert and gives the man a peculiar dagger, saying to him "Serve your females well." then bows his head and walks off.
Just before the three leave the village, The Elder is there to meet them with Mary's pistol in hand. She bows her head, and offers it to Anne. She hesitantly reaches for it, stops momentarily, and takes it. "Thank you." She says and returns the bow of the head. As Yuzuki passes, The Elder says to Yuzuki "You will want to warn the male he is holding a Dragon Fang. Wounds inflicted by that weapon cannot be healed." She only smiles at Albert as he passes.
The three come to the river where yesterday the two had bathed, and Anne takes out the compass and her copy of the map. "I'd prefer if I could use my boat to get up this river, but it wouldn't be big enough." She sighs, and motions to them. "This way. We stick to this river to its lake, then head northeast."
Wait, what? What was that about? Albert narrowed his eyes at Yuzuki before her later words pulled his mind onward and promptly verbally dragged out of the hut. Suddenly being surrounded by Barbin cheering at them caught Albert off-guard, as did the male handing him a peculiar dagger, What the hell is this? It looks almost organic. Maybe some weird type of magic metal molding. Walking along with the group to the river, Albert could finally relax a bit without being barraged by the stares of the Barbin. Of course, the weak man now had possibly multiple days of walking to 'look forward to'. Considering Anne knew how to use the compass, Albert decided to trust in her ability to navigate, holding onto the dagger tightly as they walked.
Carrying one of the bags in her left hand, she now proceeds with the little trio of a group on their adventure. Her eyes linger upon the Barbin that gives Albert the dagger… and she has to question the judgement of giving Albert a weapon, even a dagger. She really hopes he doesn’t hurt himself. And as the Elder kind of pulls her aside, her eyes widen a little, and she looks back towards Albert discretely. She nods as she looks back to the Elder, smiling gently. “I will make sure he knows, thank you. For everything.” She steps away from the Elder, and bows to her at the waist.
Turning then, she has to jog a moment to catch up to Albert and Anne. “Albert” she says softly as she catches up to them. She motions to the dagger, and continues. “The Elder said that is a Dragon Fang… wounds made with it can’t be healed. Please… be careful with it…” please don’t stab yourself. She tears a thin piece of cloth from her already ragged kimono (which she isn’t terribly proud of), and she then takes the dagger from Albert, smiling kindly to him. “Just for a moment, please.” She then ties the cloth to the base of dagger blade, looping it as she does. She nods and hands it back to him. “Wear around your neck, like necklace. Less chance of you accidentally cutting yourself, and within reach. Until we get a sheath for it, yes?” She smiles to him, her eyes looking towards Anne as she speaks.
Now Yuzuki would go into another light sprint, moving ahead of the little pack. She keeps herself about 15 feet in front of them both, her right hand laying draped over the hilt of her katana. It’s obvious she wants to take point so she can be the first to engage danger, should they come across it. Frankly she thinks she could do better against anything unforeseen here than the round eyes could.
"Oi, navigator takes lead woman." Anne says to Yuzuki when she comes past her, her eyes narrowing and jaw clenching "Fine then. Just don't go off too far. Don blame me if ya run inta somethin' real nasty." She has one more bite of her booze fruit and tosses it into the thick brush. Returning it to nature, as it were. The three go on a ways up the river, until the beach gives way to rougher terrain covered in thick brush. Anne unsheaths her cutlass and says to Albert "Behind me lad, need to hack out our own trail. Enjoy the view if ya like." She winks and proceeds to hack through the brush. Given her voice was slurring and eyes going a little red, one might think her slashing around wasn't safe. But her cutlass seems like just an extension of her hand as it swipes away or down the thick vegetation. Her boots are also surprisingly steady on the rough yet soggy ground.
"So Albert, tell me more about this United States of America ya hail from?." Anne asks as they go through, taking this time to satisfy her curiosity, maybe get to know this man a little more. Their last little 'Get to know you' session had been ruined by her drunken outburst and the attack that happened shortly after.
Albert peers over at Yuzuki when she approaches him, his attention called by his name. Listening carefully, the man lets her have the dagger for a moment as she turns it into an impromptu necklace of sorts, setting about his neck. For the most part, he avoids eye contact, perpetually trapped by his embarassment of locking eyes with the woman. In his head are furious voices wrangling with one another, Can nearly torture a man, but now can't look a woman in the eye. Jesus. What a fucked up, sad sack I am. It was almost a relief when the Japanese woman moved up ahead of the group.
The man moved up behind Anne as ordered, blushing at her comment and looking away, She's such a... flirt, I guess. The woman's drunk anyway, she can't be taken seriously. Undoubtedly does it just to mess with me. At the last sentence of his thoughts, Albert glared at the ground that Anne trod upon, a little annoyed with her teasing before sighing, mumbling, "Damn tease." For a few moment though, while pretending to look at the ground, the young man did take a few peeks at the woman's butt, unsure what to think.
Of course, his thoughts were once more pulled elsewhere, "The USA? Declared independence from England in 1776, has been through a Civil War, two world wars, multiple smaller conflicts, basically became the planetary policeman, and its people tend to be good people if a bit loud and obnoxious at times. Things changed a lot since the era of sail. And especially since the era of samurai." Albert gazed at Yuzuki for a moment, feeling her to be more at home in this world than she would have been in his own time.
Yuzuki doesn’t respond at first to Anne’s comment about navigator. At first. She’s too focused on not falling, really. Much of the places she travels is overgrown like this, so this is no new thing to her.“The one best capable of dealing with danger takes lead.” She says in an affirmative tone, her eyes scanning the brush before them.
She can feel her feet aren’t as… steady… as she would prefer. She can feel her sandals are probably a mess. But she has to stay focused on what is ahead of them, what might be ahead of them. She wants to be the first to engage danger, if it comes. And on this world, who the heck knows what’s going to come out of that forest.
Yuzuki listens to Albert as he describes his world, every once in a while glancing over her shoulder towards them both. Perhaps to both stay in the conversation and make sure they are okay. Civil War… world wars… smaller conflicts… planetary policemen. She really doesn’t like the sound of his USA. But it’s the last few words that sink into her mind. ‘Era of the samurai’. You don’t say something like that, in that context, unless it were in the past. So in Albert’s world… Anne’s also… are the Samurai simply… not active? Did they finally become the lazy aristocrats that her father feared they would?
Anne keeps hacking away, pursing her lips and nodding as Albert answers her. Occasionally she peers back at Albert to see if she can catch him having a peek as invited. She doesn't, but assumes he has. He is a man after all. The pirate doesn't make anything of it besides a smirk.
She also keeps one eye when looking forward on Yuzuki. Why? She's not entirely sure. Obviously the woman was capable of handling herself. "Lotta war in this young country of yours. How goes the seas in your time? They got metal ships workin' somehow since it sounds like most things that move are metal? Trees must be havin' a good old time then if ya don' have to chop 'em down for ships and such anymore." She asks and simultaneously makes an assumption of the future.
In the time it took Albert to answer, the three of them come out of the high thick brush and back onto a clear stretch of the riverbank, at which point Anne sheathes her cutlass. Going further, Yuzuki would be the first to come to stand at the top of a small waterfall. There's the usual smells of a river, but also the rank stench of dead fish nearby.
"The world always has lots of wars. Most of them stopped by my time. For the most part anyway. And yes, metal ships exist in my time. Trees aren't too well off though, to be honest. For a lot of reasons." Albert's answers were fairly short and curt. The man didn't want to give too much information of the future away, lest he somehow lose an advantage over them and all the others of this world.
The existence of the bags indicated that someone else from fairly modern times was here as well though... But how much did they know of how technology worked in the future, and did they know of the existence of magic? It was an interesting question. Albert's future was also a rather interesting question. The thought made him look towards Anne one more time, sliding from the back of her head, down her back, and then resting on her ass for a moment, before looking away as he tried to decide in his mind what the hell this woman was or could be to him. Yuzuki seemed far more longer to stick around, though, she also might disappear at a moment's notice once Albert was safe in 'Gatecia'. Perhaps that fact made Anne more valuable. But Anne didn't seem like she'd be sticking with them either...
But the smell of dead fish made the man cover his nose, "Good God, what is that and why does it smell so bad here? Is pollution a thing in this world too?"
Ever once in a while the young woman would glance back towards Albert and Anne as they make their way through the thick brush. They speak of the future world Albert comes from. She is really very curious in regards to the state of her country, of her family’s lands. Little does she know clans had been all but abolished. And so would her family’s lands.
Her head tilts up a little as she hears something new in the air, in the short distance. Rushing water. And it’s with a soft smile she greets the sight of said water, as they come into that clearing. But as she gets closer to the source… the smell of fish permeates into the air.
Her brows furrow as she takes a few jogging steps forward, her right hand clutching the top of her scabbard. At the top of the waterfall she stops, staying clear of the current of course. Be ironic if she survived all this time… and then got killed slipping on wet rocks. She crouches a little, surveying the edge of the falls, and the river they fall into.
“It isn’t Barbin, I don’t think. I mean… there were no signs of this kind of smell in their village…” She shakes her head as she pushes herself to her feet slowly, her long hair swaying gently against the breeze created by the falls themselves. Towards her companions she looks. “Perhaps there is another tribe near here. I can’t see any dead fish on the shore. Either way…” she breathes in the smell of the air, not seeming particularly bothered “Both of you, please stay close to me. And one another.” And it’s not that she isn’t bothered by the smell. But it’s really not such an unusual smell for her. She’s come across many fishing villages that had this same stench. Good fish, usually. Bad smell.
The smell hits Anne about the same time as Albert, but she only scrunches her face as she's very used to this smell. "That be dead fish Future Man. Are all the fish dead by your time, or just never been near them dead?" She makes retching sound but continues on "Worse things could be carried on the wind. Must be a fishing village nearby." She shrugs "Or...a bear hoarding for winter."
The two come up beside Yuzuki as she issues her last request. Anne is similarly not bothered at even her own proposition that there might a bear nearby. She peers over the edge and whistles. "Least it'd be a pretty place to die if we fell. Let's not though." She looks further down the river, and spots puffs of smoke coming over the tree line on their side just before the river enters a pass between the mountains. Anne takes out the map and looks it over "Funny. According to the Barbin, shouldn't be a town until we get past the mountains." She rolls the map back up, and narrows her eyes. "Might be those men that ran off las night. Much as I'd like to wipe 'em out, that's just not happening with only two of us able to fight. Strong as I might be."
Anne walks a little away from the waterfall to the section of mossy rocks that aren't wet, and the incline more gradual, manageable. Not to say it was going to be very easy, but they would have to walk quite a ways off course before coming to a better way down as the cliff stretched into the deeper thicker woods.
"Let' get down, and cut through the forest to avoid whoever that might be ahead." She takes off her bag, and tosses it down to the bottom. Not that it helps her balance as she makes small leaps down from rock to rock, as her slightly drunken state finally shows itself in her unsteady legs, swaying motions, and hands waving after each jump to steady herself before the next.
In spite of this handicap, Anne makes it down and breathes a sigh of relief. There had been brief moments she thought she'd fall and crack her skull open, or break something at least. "Ha! Made it!" She proclaims, pumping her fists in the air. Then across the river past the waterfall, the brush stirs and Anne hides behind a rock just big enough to cover her. She takes out her pistol and makes sure it's ready to fire. She, and probably the others, reasonably expect either the men from last night or some other danger. Like the bear she'd insinuated was lurking nearby.
But what steps out of the brush is neither. Instead, it's a woman in a white tunic and white dress that's been ripped to be more of a skirt that hangs past her knees, showing shapely (if dirty) legs. Her long brown hair frames a face that has a distinctly Asian shape to the eyes, but on closer view her facial features are very not Asian, meaning she's of mixed ancestry. What's more curious should one come close enough to her, is her eyes themselves. They are cloudy white, blind, yet she walks seemingly without aid. Or care for that matter, as she gets near the falls and smiles. She sways, smiles, and sings in a soft high voice
"Let's swim...to the moon....let's climb through the tide....penetrate the evenin' that the city sleeps to hide..."
Albert approached Yuzuki carefully, covering his nose which resulted in his voice coming out rather nasally, "Oh, wait, so this is normal? I've never been to a fish market. I thought maybe this was unusual." The bear comment seemed unlikely to him. Why would a bear collect dead, rotting fish for winter? Wouldn't it just eat them? Not being an animal biologist, the man couldn't say for sure though.
The man with the glasses also thought Anne's 'we can't win' sentiment was nonsensical. They had earlier almost singlehandedly won against the entire assault. A few stragglers shouldn't be a problem. Making his way down the incline, however, was a problem. Numerous times Albert thought he was about to lose traction and bite the bullet. Near the bottom, the man even slipped and slightly cut his right calf on one of the rocks, "Fuck my life."
Dripping blood, Albert did the only thing he could think of at the moment and wrap his shirt around his calf, showing off his glorious, golden, scul- pale, non-existent chest muscles. The wrapping took so much of his focus and time that Albert is startled by the emergence of the woman and her singing, sending him jumping into the air, "W-what the hell? Wait, English?! She's speaking English! Hello!"
Without care or realization beyond potential danger, Albert waves to the woman and approaches her. If she could have seen, it would have been an unusual sight. A pale man from the future with a shirt wrapped around his legs and a dragon tooth dangling on his chest complete with goofball smile.