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[RP] A Jelly Filled Filler (Complete)
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Posted 3/24/13 , edited 3/24/13
Sasaki briefly wonders if Takasugi reads those letters he mentions receiving from Sakamoto or if they suffer the same fate as the cellphones. The thought passes from his mind as he listens to the rest of Takasugi's answer.

His eyes gleam at Takasugi's final proposal.

"A puzzle truly worthy of our co-operation. Perhaps that Yato friend of yours might know where the Renhou are currently engaged. As far as I have been able to ascertain, Katsura's adjutant is the only one of its kind on this planet.

But if any of your old friends have a deal with the Renhou, Takasugi~san, we would have to recalculate our position.

But don't let me distract you from finishing your coffee. Should I have Nobume-san bring us more donuts?


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Posted 3/24/13
The Renhou... that made more sense. Takasugi had never personally dealt with that particular group, but he knew their reputation all too well. That Katsura was friends with one was disconcerting, to say the least. It was likely that he was still oblivious to the Amanto's identity, but that didn't make the Amanto itself any less threatening.

If Sasaki's sources were correct, and there was only the one Renhou on the planet, it would be easily taken care of. But if its kind were nearby, this would be a huge obstruction to his plans. And there was always the risk that the Renhou, like most of the big Amanto powers, were working with the Bakufu, something Sasaki might even have reasons to keep secret...

But this was no time to be worrying about every little thing. Takasugi shook his head to clear his thoughts. He had forgotten all about his coffee, and it was going cold.

"I suppose I could go for another donut. The Renhou have apparently been rather quiet recently. You'd be more likely than me to know what they're up to. But I can say one thing for certain, my acquaintances are not the type to be making deals with them. If anything, they're being taken advantage of. Someone should keep an eye on Zura's Renhou friend, if you're not doing that already."
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Posted 3/24/13 , edited 3/24/13
Sasaki had hoped Takasugi would know something more about the mysterious Renhou, but he wasn't very surprised to hear Takasugi had no information on their current whereabouts. He and Nobume hadn't been able to discover the answer themselves, and was it likely that others should succeed where the elite had failed?

He holds up his hand to direct Nobume to bring over some more donuts.

"And if you could get our friend a new cup of coffee, Nobume-san. His has gone cold."

Nobume obeys wordlessly.

Sasaki picks up his phone to check his email and is disappointed to discover he has no new messages. He turns back to Takasugi.

"My pure-hearted colleagues in the Shinsengumi track Katsura and his companion constantly. I have every faith in their abilities.

But I wonder if your faith in your . . . acquaintances might be somewhat misplaced, Takasugi-san. You find it inconceivable that Katsura should enter into an alliance with an Amanto race that threatens the Earth. Understandable, but might not Katsura or Shiroyasha have thought the same thing of you once?"


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Posted 3/25/13
The words cut into Takasugi like a blade. He breathed in sharply through his teeth, his hands clenching into fists, unable for once to find words to counter the statement. But even if he could, there was no use. A deep wound had been reopened, one that would not be healed by any amount of bluffing, violence, or demanding that Sasaki take it back.

He held Sasaki's gaze with a defiant scowl.

The look of outrage and betrayal on his former comrades' faces flashed through his mind. Zura's anger upon discovering the deal with the Harusame. The threats to kill him the next time they met. The bonds between them would never be the same again... but no, they had always been like that, hadn't they? They were fools if they expected anything better from him, in the past and in the present.

Takasugi's frown slowly twisted into a lopsided smile. He let out a harsh laugh.

"Funny, Isaburou."

He spoke in an unnaturally flat voice, the light in his eye dimming.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say you already knew every answer I've given you, perhaps better than I did. I haven't been of much use to you at all. So, tell me..."

He leaned forward.

"What is it you really want from me?"
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Posted 3/26/13 , edited 3/26/13
Sasaki puts down his cellphone again.

"You should know better than anyone that we can never have what we want. We can only choose the manner of our own destruction."

No need to elaborate on what Takasugi desperately wants and knows he can never have back. As for Sasaki himself . . . He pushes the thought from his mind. What's done is done, and Sasaki resigned himself to these losses a long time ago.

"What we require of each other hasn't changed, Takasugi-san. Let me reassure you that I have not lost sight of that 'grand scheme' you outlined to me once. And while our alliance is only a pale shadow of the bonds which once held you to your acquaintances, you may depend on me to walk this thorny path with you to our common end."

Sasaki pauses, waiting to see if Takasugi will comment, but the man stays silent.

"I had hoped you knew more of the Renhou, but what you have told me of Katsura has been most valuable. If you will lend me your aid in dealing with this obstacle, I will notify you of it when the time comes. Does that suit you?"
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Posted 3/28/13
Takasugi sat in silence, analyzing Sasaki's words. He was relieved that the terms of their agreement hadn't changed, but he wouldn't make the mistake of letting his guard down again. Sasaki was difficult to read, but Takasugi understood more than enough about him to know to be wary: this was a man who served only himself. No matter how loyal he remained to his promises to either side, he had his own goals and would only do what could gain him an advantage. Not much different from Takasugi himself.

He glanced out of the corner of his eye at Nobume as she approached with more coffee and donuts, but his focus returned quickly to Sasaki.

When he was prompted to speak, he replied with his usual confidence.

"I'll be waiting for that notice, then. I presume we're going to take matters into our own hands rather than simply watching from a distance, right? Your Nobume isn't the only one who's tired of sitting around. Simply following a suspect around isn't going to get us anywhere useful. Perhaps we should find a way to have a... talk with Zura's Renhou friend directly. Or is there a connection somewhere higher up that gives us a reason to stay in the shadows about this?"
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Posted 3/29/13 , edited 3/29/13
"We are in agreement, Takasugi-san. We can leave all the following around to the Shinsengumi. If they do discover anything useful, it will be reported to their superiors in the Bakufu, and my associates will send the report to my desk."

He pauses, checking his phone again. There is an email from one of his Hitotsubashi contacts. Another complaint about the Mimawarigumi not sufficiently supporting their candidate. He'll answer that one later. Takasugi is looking impatient.

"I haven't detected any connection to this Renhou agent from on high. But those who sit above us guard their secrets well."

He shrugs.

"I will make further inquiries, and make sure the Tendoshu's lackies hear of them. If they are connected to this matter, they will show their hand. If not, I believe we should follow up on your suggestion of a private interview with Katsura's Renhou. With our combined resources, we should be able to neutralize any threat it poses."
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Posted 3/30/13
"Hmph. So until then, it'll just be another waiting game. I had hoped for something more entertaining, but I suppose lying low is for the better."

Despite his somewhat dejected words, there was not a single hint of disappointment in his voice. His plans were coming along quite smoothly... and because of that, so were Sasaki's plans, whether that was a good thing or not. But their alliance gave him an easier time keeping a close watch on him, which was really all he could do. He didn't doubt for a moment that this 'Triple Threat' had the ability to defeat him if it came down to it. The fact that he wasn't trying to win was rather unsettling.

He pushed those concerns from his mind and thought back to that layout of the Terminal. He thought he had seen something very peculiar about it, but he would have to take a closer look when he got home.

"Is that all, then? I cannot run the risk of being out in public for much longer..."

A quick glance at the other customers proved his suspicions of being watched correct. There was one stranger glaring suspiciously in his direction over a cup of coffee. Whether he was a Bakufu spy, a Joui patriot, or simply an innocent citizen with a personal grudge, he certainly recognized him.

Rather than feel nervous, he responded with a vicious smirk in the stranger's direction, then turned back to Sasaki.

"Well, well... it seems we've got a rat in the building."


He nodded in that general direction to alert Sasaki, but he seemed to see already.

"Not even that... more like a cockroach. He isn't with you, is he?"
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Posted 3/31/13
Sasaki's eyes narrow as he focuses on the onlooker Takasugi has indicated.

"Not one of my usual tails. The Crows have more subtlety, and he's not bland enough to be a Shinsengumi Inspector. Nobume-san had such high hopes this meeting might flush out some worthy opponents, but it seems we're up against a very common bunch of ruffians. That man came in here with a larger group, too amateur to stagger their entrances. Nothing for us to concern ourselves with."

He begins to type on his cellphone.

(。・д・)ノ゙ Nobu-chi, looks like you've got your chance to fight: ( `_)乂(_’ )

Leave one alive for me to chat with, ok?

~ Sabu-chan

P.S. Try not to kill the bystanders if they're not in your way. m(¬0¬)m

P.P.S. Remember you need commoners to bake donuts at least. °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°


Sasaki sits back.

"Here's your chance to study Nobume-san's fighting form," he tells Takasugi. "Please consider that a bonus gift on my part."

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Posted 4/4/13 , edited 4/5/13
Nobume's phone rang.

The Mr. Donut theme played.

But Nobume did not bring out her phone. There was just no need. Words? Text? It was all ridiculous.

Two demons were waiting for an answer.

The first fountain of blood made its exposition in midair. This is her reply.

Another man had sprung up for revenge.

Then came the second fountain of blood. Wait--make that two--no, three. Nobume slashed her way like a human scythe of death who reaped the souls of those who dared to go against a Shinigami like her. And as she made her sword surge against their soft flesh, she caught sight of the former Joui making a smirk as he brought out his kiseru. It was indeed a sight to behold. The man behind the series of discords that had commenced in Kabukichou meeting the elite Chief of Miwarigumi. An acquaintance meeting? No. If one could employ the colloquial term, it would seem more befitting to use the words “getting to know”—in a very, sinister way.

It was a beast getting to know another beast. The only difference was that one chose to clad himself in a pure white uniform, the color of elegance and dignity, proudly wearing them in public. The other one chose to hide in shadows. But his eyes were enough to see the demon in him, chained and waiting to be unleashed when the time comes. Rogue meets elite? Screw that. They were both demons in their own way.

Nobume let her sword dig deep inside the man's stomach as she contemplated over these thoughts, making the victim cough blood. It was a blade that had slashed the bellies, the arms, or any other body parts one could think of—but what’s the difference? The coldness of its blade was an extension of the soul of its wielder. Hers was one which did not take any second thoughts when it comes to bringing down the enemy. To kill is to kill.To betray her duty out of some ridiculous principle of free will or virtue of camaraderie was out of the question. For the members of the elite force of Miwarigumi, an order is an order. Nothing more, nothing less. It must be allowed without any need to delve into the ethics or logic. To them, it was just a matter of survival. Do it or die.

"Die.", Nobume whispered with her cold voiced as she withdrew the sword. The man fell flat to the floor, eyes wide with fear. Nobume could hear the beat of his heart. He was still struggling to leave.

"KUSOU ONNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!". Nobume heard someone scream behind her. It was the stranger the two demons had noticed earlier. And as she heard the ragged and hurried footsteps of the source of the scream, she finally brought out her phone, which, surprise, had Pon-de-Rings as its wallpaper. She searched for the message menu, found Sasaki's text.

Leave one alive for me to chat with, ok?

"Nanda."

Nobume pulled out a gun.

"Warukatta na, Taichou."

In the end, her reply ended with the harmony of a gunshot and the slash of a sword.






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Posted 4/5/13 , edited 4/7/13
Sasaki watches Nobume leap into action.

"When will you learn to answer your emails the ordinary way, Nobume?" he thinks to himself. It's a testament to both her stellar qualities and their deep partnership that Nobume could, from the sound of her phone's message notification and a glance at his face, correctly interpret his orders to kill. But would she leave anyone alive?

Fortunately, he has his ways of dealing with Nobume, so instead of intervening, he smiles reassuringly at Takasugi.

"Nobume-san is an elite of the highest calibre, able to anticipate my orders without even reading them."

He doesn't watch the entire fight. He is too busy typing out an email to that Hitotsubashi official.

Sorry for this late reply. I have been busy the last few minutes m(._.)m

Joui attack at the Kabukichou Mr. Donut. The VC and I are safe, the men you sent us as bodyguards died heroically. (;_・)


That ought to shake the Hitotsubashi to their core. He's been pretending not to know of the men they've set to follow him, ever since they'd failed to unseat the current Shogun. But it's a good time to send the Hitotsubashi a message. Sasaki Isaburou might be their tool, but he isn't their puppet.

He turns back to Takasugi.

"Perhaps we should have an exhibition match some day, Takasugi-san. Put our Nobume up against Kawakami-san? It would be most educational for our men."

A spray of blood suddenly hits his cell-phone. He sighs.

"I might as well have eaten one of those donuts after all," he says, almost to himself. "It's still ended up smeared red."

Just as it seems that he will have to intervene himself, Nobume finally pauses in mid-fight to read her message. For a second, it seems that all is well. Sasaki won't even have get up from this table.

Then Nobume says: "Warukatta na, Taichou.". A rather insincere apology, as she is evidently about to kill the last man.

Reaching for his gun, Sasaki realizes that this has turned out exactly as it usually does, but he really can't blame Nobume for that. The girl can't restrain her blood lust. It's not in her nature. That's why she has him to do it for her.



The carefully aimed shot hits Nobume's blade immediately. The next shot blows the gun out of her hand. She looks back at him, dazed, as if coming out of a trance. Her intended victim lies before him, bleeding heavily from the wounds she's already inflicted on him. But he'll live long enough for them to have that little chat.
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Posted 4/5/13
"impressive. She's more than a match for my men, I'd rather not have any type of competition."



"But you should really be keeping her on a leash."

Takasugi smiled, but he suspected the main reason Sasaki was letting Nobume do all the work was as a warning. A warning he wouldn't take lightly; as expendable as they were to him, he had no wish to see his Kiheitai as the victims the next time. But there was certainly something suspicious about Nobume's skill - where had she trained? Takasugi realized he had no information on her background whatsoever, and it bothered him...

... but when the massacre suddenly ended to leave one man still alive, his mind moved to more relevant matters.

He approached the stranger, staring down at him coldly. Though he had many questions to ask, it seemed more appropriate to allow Sasaki to do the interrogation, since he didn't seem at all surprised to see these men here. As much as he hated to admit it, Sasaki was the only one who could get useful information here, so he stepped aside for him.
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Sasaki's phone is ringing, but he doesn't answer it. Doubtless, that Hitotsubashi lackey is calling back in alarm at the email he's just received. But even if Sasaki had the time or the inclination to talk to him, the phone is dripping with the blood of Nobume's victims. Instead of answering, he carefully wraps the phone in a monogrammed handkerchief. He can clean it later.

The survivor of the massacre lies in a pool of blood at Takasugi's and Sasaki's feet. The rest of the restaurant is empty. The staff fled out the back door during the disturbance, while the customers ran out the front. Nobume has found her way behind the counter, and is standing behind the donut racks with a look of pure rapture on her face. Her ivory uniform is immaculate, not a spot of bood. As is usual. It's one of her most endearing qualities, her ability to come through a storm of blood without a single stain.

"So they sent a ronin do an elite's job," Sasaki comments, looking down at the unfortunate man. "You really should have researched this job better before taking it. But it doesn't really matter now, does it?"



He turns to Takasugi.

"I might very well have anticipated something of this nature. I have already made arrangements for us not to be disturbed in here."

He kneels down beside the ronin, careful to stay clear of the pool of blood.

"Your employers' names, if you please?"

The man stays silent.

"Let me be very plain with you. You're going to die here because I haven't the slightest use for trash like you. But I would hate to disturb my Vice-Commander again, after she's put in so much effort already, to have her come here and cut the information out of you. Slowly."

"You bastard." the man murmurs.

Sasaki raises an eyebrow.

"That is one thing I am assuredly not. Perhaps I can make this easier for you, if I tell you that I am already aware that you were hired by a go-between who works for the Hitotsubashi, and you and your companions have been following me off and on for the last three weeks."

"You knew?" The man stares in disbelief.

"I've been waiting for you to show your hand. But in such an amateur fashion. You recognized my friend here, did you?"

"You're a Joui traitor, after all."

"So your employer suggested I might be. How interesting. That's not an idea the Hitotsubashi could have thought up on their own. Those crows must have suggested it to them. Hmmm . . . I really think that is all the useful information you could give me. You may rest now."

"I killed your type in the war," the man suddenly snarled. "And I saw how easily the Amanto destroyed the Joui fighters. You'll end up the same way, both of you. Unless you run away and hide again the way you did last time, Takasugi."
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Posted 4/7/13
Takasugi watched as the man refused to give away any information, even with Sasaki's threatening. Although, it was very clear that Sasaki already knew anything he could possibly tell them, so the man was struggling in vain. That any samurai could keep up this much loyalty to the Bakufu even after they gave in to the Amanto was utterly disgusting. He looked down at him scornfully as he finally began to respond, calling them names as though it was the only thing he knew how to do.

He only half paid attention to what the victim had to say, focusing more closely on Sasaki's reaction in hopes of learning something new from the real source of information.

Until suddenly, the man looked up at him with a snarl. "You'll end up the same way, both of you. Unless you run away and hide again the way you did last time, Takasugi." The deliberately provocative words did their job well. Perhaps a little too well.

Without hesitating for even a moment, he pulled out his sword and slashed downward, opening another deep gash all the way down the man's torso. The amount of blood that sprayed from the wound was unsatisfactory; he had already lost too much in Nobume's attack. The man fell silent, likely already dead, but that didn't stop Takasugi's rage. He slashed again, this time hitting his mark. The man's head rolled across the floor, the defiant expression not leaving his face even in death.

And then the haze cleared from his mind, and he realized: this was exactly what this guy wanted. He was dying either way, but he had managed to win. In the end, it didn't take an elite to throw Takasugi off his game. And now Sasaki had seen him lose it over a mere insult to his honour...

But the words were true. He stared down at what was left of the dead man, unable to deny it. He was a coward. In the time since the war, the Bakufu almost seemed to have forgotten about him. He had been playing carefully for far too long.

"I won't be making the mistake of running away again,"
he said firmly. "No more lying low. It's time for the bastards to find out what they're up against."

He turned to Sasaki.

"Answer that phone call, and tell those higher-ups of yours that I've got a message for them." A maniac grin crept onto his face despite the anger that still burned there. "No more fooling around. The demon they thought they'd vanquished has returned."
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Posted 4/7/13 , edited 4/8/13
Sasaki sighs. No matter how well one plans, something will go awry. Takasugi's strike has splattered blood on his freshly starched jacket. As for Takasugi himself, he seems ready to throw away years of prudent planning on a fit of temper. It makes it worse to realize that if Takasugi does destroy their plans, Sasaki can only blame himself. He's been testing Takasugi's limits, and now he knows them far too well.

Plans can be rewritten. Sasaki answers the bloodied phone.

"Moshi, Moshi, Sabu-chan here."

The man on the other side of the line launches into an hysterical torrent of questions and accusations.

"I appreciate your concern, Inoue-dono. I may even answer some of those points later. At the moment, I've a message from a Joui terrorist to relay to you. A certain Takasugi Shinsuke. Is the name familiar?"

His contact is reduced to spluttering.

"Yes, your men messed up. What did you expect, I wonder, hiring common trash for this assignment? You really should have consulted with me first. They disturbed my meeting with a Joui informant and brought down a true demon upon them."

Sasaki glances over to his Vice-Commander as he speaks.

"But why are you alive?" his contact demands hysterically. "And did you say Takasugi talked to you?"

"Perhaps you have forgotten that I am an elite. I am also a realist. Once your useless ronin were disposed of, we were evenly matched. But before he withdrew, Takasugi gave me a warning, Ahh... let me repeat it. 'No more fooling around. The demon they thought they'd vanquished has returned. Should we pass that warning on to Katakuriko-ko? He'll be waiting for my report."

He can almost hear the man writhing as he answers. "Let's talk first about this matter, Sasaki-dono? We wouldn't want to be hasty."

"I'm glad to hear we're on the same page. We'll discuss this later then. Bai-bai."

He turns to Takasugi.

"I delivered your message. Is there anything else I can do for you, Takasugi-san?"
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