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 Graces of an Inferno[DONE]

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Yakate
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PostSubject: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:22 am

... Ouch.

The first rays of sunlight gleamed harshly into Yakate's half-lidded eyes; a harsh wake-up call. Almost as soon as Yakate had come to, he yelped and flailed upwards onto his feet, placing his hands gingerly on his back. It was searing with pain.

After a few minutes of stretching, he felt as fit as he had the previous day...

He was hungry all over again.

Stumbling a bit on the spot, his feet gave way to him, and he fell once more with a groan onto the desert sand. Clutching his stomach pitifully, he rolled over to face the limp form of Bookwoman, and moaned out to her.

'... Food...'
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:27 am

Bookwoman twitched at the sound of her teacher's voice.
He was again being pathetic. Was he really a Kage before?

She formed a scowl on her face, closed somewhat harder her eyes and kept on 'meditating' in her sitting form, ignoring the moans and groans that came from in front of her.
She was determinded to ignore the Idiotic Rapunzel until he actually spoke normally, on a normal tone and didn't ask for something she didn't have.

Thus, she kept silent and listened to the silent desert wind.
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:34 am

Still in a pathetic state, he appreciated the fact that his new student would be of no help at all. But he knew, however, that even she had to submit to hunger eventually, and even if she offered him none, Yakate would be an absolute glutton for it. This thought seemed to ease his body out. He no longer felt in terrible pain.

He got back up, moving cautiously since he was afraid of breaking a bone or something. When he was completely straight, he stared at the lady below her, sitting patiently in meditation. Not wishing to disturb her, he began walking, strolling past her casually. He had to find something to eat or drink or... ingest, to survive.

'Ha... choo!'

Oh dear... I've caught a cold.

As soon as he had sneezed, Yakate's body finally seemed to acknowledge the unbalance of temperatures in his body. He was freezing. The sun was scorching. He felt as if his insides were melting, quite literally. Sniffing his nose vigorously, he continued walking forward, looking back every now and then lest Bookwoman moved.
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:42 am

Bookwoman heard her tutor walk away, probably going to look for something to eat or drink. Idiot. They were in the desert; food and water were non-existant in the barren wasteland. This was ridiculous as situation. They should have crossed the darn desert in one trait and only start training, or whatever for thing they had been doing the day before, before actually stopping in the middle of nowhere.

Well, nowhere was inappropriate, since Sunagakure was at less than an hour distance from where they were. At ninja pace, of course. For a normal human, it'd take around four hours walking.

"Ha...choo!"

Idiotic Rapunzel did after all regret not having kept his shirt on, huh?
With a sigh, feeling responsible for some reason about the younger man, she stood up and followed him, while taking his shirt off, making sure not to loose the piece of paper she had tugged under her own shirt, into the bindings around her chest.
"Oi! Sunagakure shouldn't be far from here. If you are a ninja, you could reach it in less than an hour." she called after him, folding the shirt in an unnecessary gesture. "And stop wandering like an idiot in the middle of those mountains of sand, looking for something that doesn't exist in this place."
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:57 am

His ears perked up. Just like an elf.

He spun around to face her, but his momentum caused him to make a full turn once before finally seeing her. Stumbling on his own feet, he took a moment to regain his bearings, and then stared Bookwoman straight in her eye.

'Say, which direction is Sunagakure at from here? ... If a normal ninja could make it in an hour, it'd take me five minutes.'
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Fri Mar 04, 2011 12:03 pm

"...I can't believe that you were the former Kazekage. Even I, a total stranger to the desert knows-"
Bookwoman stopped in the track of her words. She knew where it was. How? She had never been to the village before. Then why did it seem all so clear?
The dune to the north-east, turning it's point to the south-west, directing them to the twin dunes at less than two miles away. And then, moving in between them, you'd arrive at the dog valley, a simple place with five dunes of sand surrounding it, which would guide you, if you too it to the south, to Sunagakure.

"...We need to travel south." she finally muttered. "To the twin dunes, then the dog valley and then ten miles south, following the demon dunes."
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:16 pm

He swerved around on his feet for a while, and caught sight of the twin dunes she was talking about. A vague memory entered his mind; he was travelling under the moonlight, between the dunes... crashing headfirst into the sand.

No wonder he didn't remember the way there.

He stretched his palm at the sand in front of him; a large cluster of sand rose up in the air, as if it were a platform to step on. His feet sank into the sand when he stepped up on it, and when it did, he forced the sand to compress itself around his feet. Firmly set now, he offered a hand to Bookwoman to let her get on it; the ship of the Desert.

'Get up!'
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Sat Mar 05, 2011 5:56 am

Bookwoman's face paled. She was quickly motionsick and everything that "flew" in the air was her archnemesis. She hesitated for a second, looking right and left, in hope another solution would appear by miracle.
But alas, miracles don't happen and thus she was forced to trust her teacher and climb on the sand platform. Somehow, she couldn't help but compare herself to a pig that was soon going to be put in an oven, ready to be cooked.
Shaking the ridiculous image out of her head, she sat down, ready to try to meditate while they moved. There was no way in hell, or heaven, that she was going to look sick in front of the Idiotic Rapunzel!

"I'm ready."
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:57 am

He smiled when Booky's feet sunk into the sand, applying the same technique as he had to his own feet to clench her firmly in position. Feeling her wobble in the spot, he patriotically swung an arm around her shoulder, pressing her close to his chest. She shouldn't resist; she was stuck unless he willed that she wasn't.

With no added sign to prepare her for the oncoming blast of wind, both of them were zooming at great speed towards the twin dunes. Yakate positioned himself to let most of the wind blast against him, keeping Bookwoman away from the majority of it. And he loved it. The feeling of the air crashing against him relentlessly, his hair flying backwards like some sort of a superhero. He actually outstretched a fist, and began yelling in ecstasy. This was one of the many feelings he had been missing ever since he left the desert.

True to his word, he made it past most of the path by 4 minutes. By the 5th minute, however, the sand platform was moving on its own momentum.

Sunagakure was... alive.

While he was stuck in his reverie, the sand platform crashed violently on the ground, sending both him and Bookwoman flying forward. He let go of her by now; both of them fell skidding onto the sand, sliding a few meters forward before coming to a stop. But he didn't get up again.

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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:08 am

Bookwoman had closed her eyes through the whole five minutes journey, barely breathing. She was finally relaxing thanks to the body heat of Yakate (she wasn't a perv, dammit!) when the sand platform suddenly vanished from under them.
Before she could even squeek a single sound from her lips, she felt herself flying forewards, loosing abruptly the nice warmth and feeing of solid sand under her. In shock, she opened her eyes and saw a thick, ugly stone wall coming close with the seconds passing.

In shock, Bookwoman let her body react on itself, bringing old instincts up again and she twisted herself in the air, moving her body so that she'd land against the wall with her two feet. Sadly, she forgot she wasn't wearing any correct shoes for such activity and her wooden heels slammed hard against her heels from the impact with the stone, pain shooting through her legs.
The young woman, in consequence, fell ungracefully in the sand, face down first, rolling a few feet away from the obstacle. And she remained like that, not even twitching anymore.
Hunger had finally won over her worn out body that hadn't gotten anything fresh in it's system for over 24 hours.
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:59 am

...

A few moments after, Yakate found the strength and mental stamina to get up from the sand. His mind could finally comprehend that fact that he had finally come back to the Hidden Village of Sand; that, or he was seeing an impressive mirage.

Could be possible. He was hungry.

Regardless, he took a few, feeble steps towards the familiar, towering walls. He hardly noticed Bookwoman when he clambered clumsily forward. Completely on purpose, he bumped his head painfully against the wall and dropped loudly onto the sand. Ouch.

... Coming to, he stared with an open mouth at the magnificently built walls. He stretched an arm out towards the limp form of the girl below him, not caring whether or not she held it, and began walking along the circumference of the walls, searching for one of the three gaps through which he could enter. His heart stopped beating with excitement.
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:44 pm

Bookwoman didn't even notice that Yakate was dragging her along with him.
Tired and exhaustion had made her drift into a deep sleep, filled with random images, memories, people and words, not making any sense or giving her any direction.
She simply wandered in her mind, passing all events like she'd pass paintings hanging in a museum. It was all very confusing and yet, it made sense, leaving the woman in a labyrinth she seemed to know and decipher without any difficulties.

The random pictures and people started to take more form; the memories becoming irregular paintings and the people becoming shadows, like people you see in the street but never take enough care to look at them to have a clear image of them. The walls became more visible, decorated with patterns that ressembled strangely chakra patterns she had seen on a picture Chomesuke had shown her and that she had read in many of the medical jutsu books she had read. And the colors, weren't colors. It were just ideas of those, vague impressions of them, fading more and more away with each step she took. In the end, she didn't see anymore. Asako didn't see, she only felt and followed chakra patterns. And yet, her eyes saw the corners of the walls, the forms of the people. Heck, she could even tell what their hair color was. But she didn't see it.

Suddenly, she stopped. The walls around her had stopped having pictures hanging irregularely around and were now of a perfect stark white, almost blinding her. She narrowed her eye and placed a hand above it to get some shadow.
A man, no a boy was standing in front of her...
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:00 am

Slowly but surely, the continuously appearing walls from the corner of his eye came to a blank spot; he entered a speedy run. Booky's weight meant nothing to him now, what with this burning stream of energy pulsing throughout his muscles.

Pretty soon, he found himself facing the open gate of Suna.

What met his eyes was a sight he believed he would remember for the rest of his life.

He couldn't recognize any of the place. His memory did not register the oddly shaped houses and the clean, sand-less streets. But it wasn't a negative memory that filled his mind. It was a gracious one. Sunagakure was alive! It was really, actually alive! There were real people walking about on the streets, greeting each other; real babies crying out loud in the arms of their mothers; real children playing around in the streets; real shop owners shouting at them.

Still dragging on the lifeless form with his strong hand, he walked straight into the village streets; a large part of him wanted everyone to gather around him, the Kazekage of the village.

But he wasn't the kage.

Speaking of which... he was now filled with a crazy desire to meet the leader of these people. Who was the new Kazekage, or rather... who was the new Sabakukage?
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:09 am

Asako held her breath in front of the man. She wasn't sure if it was a man or boy anymore. Heck, it could even be a woman. It was so...blurry. The colors twisted, moved, only leaving the eyes visible. Rich eyes, filled with experience, sadness, joy, regret, hopes.
But, suddenly, a dangerous feeling made her shiver, made her feel cold and aware of imminent murder auras coming from the walls around her.
The shadow was gone, long ago.
It were now lots of others, shadows that were of her height, her size, her age. She couldn't see their faces, but she just knew. It were the other students of the Bookman clan, those who had died and failed while learning the arduous and cruel training. All those who had refused to let their humanity slip had been killed by the hands of the other students.
How many had she killed? It didn't matter, they were there for revenge.

'Move. Move. Move.' she ordered her body silently, body that refused to follow her demands. 'MOVE!'
But a puddle of black with eyes and small hands were already pinning her to the ground, holding her hands and legs in place, letting the shadows come closer and closer, death now dancing around Asako.
'No! I didn't mean to! I didn't want to die! I wanted to see xxxxx back! And xxxxx! I couldn't die!'
But the words refused to slip past her lips and the names were nothing more than dead silence. She couldn't remember the names.
She couldn't remember the names.
And the walls went all black.
She couldn't remember the names.
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Tue Mar 08, 2011 12:44 pm

After several minutes of walking, he couldn't remain casual any more. He couldn't remain normal while everyone was staring at him dragging a girl along the floor, making him look pedophile because of Bookwoman's small size.

Conspicuously dragging her limp form into an alley, he... Walked away.

And stole some fruit. No one could see the sand sliding around the stalls and carrying off the hardly-edible cactus fruit. He just loved the feeling of being somewhere with plenty of sand to control.

He returned to the alley, holding the fruits in his hands, nomming on one at the same time. She was still lying still on the floor. Looking at the girl, a nostalgic thought came to him; the thought of waking Asako up from the village walls by sliding sand into her shirt...

Chuckling, he did the same; a trickle of sand made it's way over to the girl, and sneaked into her shirt through her collar. And (Yakate assumed0 they were tickling the hell out of the lady. Waiting for her response, he began chomping on the tough desert fruit.
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Tue Mar 08, 2011 1:38 pm

Bookwoman shifted in her sleep. Something was creeping into her shirt, tickling and irritating her. But she wasn't ready to wake. She didn't want to wake up.
Those names were so close in her mind, she could almost feel them. One of them was covered with sand, sand she couldn't move, the other one covered with scales. reaching her hand out, whe was about to wipe the obstacles away. A meter...thirty centimeters...Five...

That thing in her back kept on tickling her, making her shift and move uncomfortably. And finally, Bookwoman's limb body was hitting a wall, her head against a water pipe.
"OW!" she screamed out, holding the sore spot while rolling on the ground in spasms made by the intense pain and trying not to laugh from the sand that was tickling her sides.
Trying to glare through the tears that formed in her eyes and that she refused to shed, she barked at Yakate:
"You are the worst brother, Idiotic Rapunzel! S-stop your sand al-"
But the sentence was muffled by something that ressembled a snort and yet growled too much.
And after struggeling for a half a minute more, Bookwoman finally started to laugh.
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:33 am

He was in mid-bite when Bookwoman spoke. And his jaws just froze in place. Out of the series of odd events that had shrouded the two of them in the past 24 hours, this was the oddest and most conclusive of them all. It was quite feasible to call this 'Bookwoman' character Asako... albeit much less friendly and lazy. And much flatter.

With a motion as if he were tugging a rope, he allowed the moist sand on her skin to settle on the floor, outside of her shirt; his other hand was still clutching onto the tough fruit, while his jaw was in the very same position it had been - stuck, half-open. Gathering a large pile of sand, he projected a pillar on Booky's back and forced her to sand, and as he did, he threw the fruit in his hand at her. Without pausing to see whether or not she had managed to catch it, he swallowed the rather raw clump in his mouth and spoke;

'Rapunzel is... a brother?'
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:55 am

Bookwoman was trying to get the last rest of sand out of her shirt, still catching her breath back from laughing and refraining any other disgracious sounds slipping from her mouth, when she saw the fruit fly towards her.
Barely managing to catch it, she tripped over her own feet and hit the water pipe with her head again. The young woman innerly cursed and muttered a 'troublesome thing that shouldn't be there' while she rubbed the anew sore spot. She was so going to have a black and blue bump and since apparently it was becoming a habit of being clumsy around Yakate, she didn't even try to snide at him for his irresponsible actions.

Then she heard the younger man's words and saw his jaw muscles slacking off.
"Close your mouth, Idiotic Rapunzel. You're not a koi fish."
She made a grimace at the fruit in which he had already bitten in. But since she hadn't much of a other choice as food or liquid - the desert fruit was filled with a watery juice that didn't even taste sweet - she bit out of it and threw it back at Yakate.
"No, you're a sister, Idiotic Rapunzel." she added, sarcasm dripping from her words. "No, of course you are a brother! Really, how stupid can you be? Or did you have a gender swap without me noticing it?"
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:17 am

He caught the fruit nonchalantly, and with the same indifference took another bite out of it, making a loud 'crunch' as he did so.

'Mm... interesting choice of words though.'

So it was pure coincidence; she meant nothing by it. Then again, it was a very... odd, event. What connection did she have with his long-lost sister? In personality, they had nothing in common; Asako knew no bitter words, nor did she have a sense of duty. In appearance, they were still completely unlike. But... what were all these signs?

He got up, shaking his head to rattle out all the irrelevant thoughts circling in his head. Looking around him, he came back to reality; this was Suna, and it was alive and well. Different, yes. But perfectly well.

Taking a few steps out of the alley, he craned his neck weakly to face Bookwoman.

'We're in Sunagakure now... I suppose you want to ask people questions?'
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:44 am

Bookwoman rose an eyebrow.
"Interesting choice of words...?" she asked, slightly surprised, walking closer to Yakate.
She grabbed the fruit our of his hands before he could bite in it once again, and with a loud, satisfying crunch, she let some more of the fresh flesh enter her mouth, juice dripping down her chin.
"Questions can wait." she replied, observing the people walking in the adjacent street. Nothing much had changed in the trends of the Desert Village. But she couldn't see a single familiar face. And the streets were totally unknown. The main place was gone, replaced by a large crossroad that led to many smaller streets, which led to alleys and so on, making it resemble an irrigation system.
In the back of her mind, she wondered if the medical garden was still existant at this time.

Bookwoman ran a and through her hair, red dye sticking to her hand, revealing now a large part of ink black hair.
"Ew...And, I'm too lazy to go ask people now. As well as tired and hungry. And we need a bath." she finished, giving absentmindly the unnamed fruit back to Yakate.
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:02 am

With a final, large 'chomp', he finished the fruit, throwing away the useless crust of it. He was all excited now; half because he felt energized, half because she had mentioned a bath.

And the next second, that excitement died; his peek at her chest only served to upset him.

'I have no idea where or how we can find whatever. We have to talk to people eventually.'

With a swagger about him, he pompously approached a random passer-by and asked him where he could find a place to rest.

His reply was a hairy fist to the face.

Dazed but still well, he got up, and dizzily began walking in a random direction, mumbling unheard words under his breath.
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:15 am

Bookwoman stiffened a chuckle and stepped out of the shadows of the small alley. Walking up to a woman, who was carrying a few heavy bags, she bargained with her for a few minutes and picked two of the four bags the woman was carrying. The young woman bowed with a honest smile and walked behind her, towards an unknown place.
Yakate could follow her if he wanted to, or manage on his own. But she had already a place to sleep, take a bath, have a decent haircut and eat.

The lady, of around 40 years old, guided her to an abandoned house that was next to hers. Bookwoman recognized it as a place made with the architecture that was used in the time of Yakate Tsuno. And it was vaguely familiar with her.
"Who was the owner of this house, if I may ask? Since you are willing to let me live here under your good graces." she asked kindly.
"Ah, it's the only house in Suna that people don't dare to trade it. It's said to be haunted by a poisonous cloud that tries to kill all intruders."
Bookwoman blinked.
"Wouldn't that be simply a ridiculous belief from the inhabitants and dust that would give a psychological reaction, leading to symptoms that some kinds of poison can give."
"Well..Maybe, but, the previous owner of the house was Asako Tsuno and her brother, the previous Kage."
And on that, the lady took her bags and entered her house.
"It's clean inside and you can use the water tabs in there. For some reason the building lets me clean it without killing me." Bookwoman heard before the door of her neighbour shut.

...
For some reason, Bookwoman felt annoyance build up in her. Why did this stupid name have to cling at her everywhere she went to?!
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:46 am

... It was a very long time before Yakate could find his bearings again. And even then, he had no idea where he was going; his nose seemed to lead him through the alleys and gullies. He soon found himself in a very familiar place; the only part of Sunagakure he recognized so far.

Unsure of the powerful aura resonating around the house, he pushed open the door without knocking. Bookwoman was right there.

Now he knew where he was. They were at his old home. His and Asako's. And this was another strange event linked to his past; how did Booky and him find their way to the same home together?

Without question, he assumed that they were allowed to reside in the place. He slumped down predictably on a chair, and then immediately got up when he realized he wasn't (predictably) tired. Stretching his limbs out, he decided to make his way to the bedroom, even though he wasn't tired.

'The bathroom's in the um... well, the door to the right of me at the moment. The clothes are er... wait. No clothes.'

'... Just be naked, it's not like anyone'll notice.'
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:55 am

Bookwoman had already started taking a shower when her brother finally came 'home'. Her hair was black again and with a frown she looked at it in the mirror. She also looked at the rest of her reflection.
She was thin, pale; the training at the Bookmen clan had worn her out, making her loose all muscles and flesh she had. In fact, she was more bones than anything else. Poking a rib in disgust, she thought for a moment of asking or not her neighbour for some food or go look for a job instead. But laziness had washed over her in this place, a laziness she disliked and thus tried to shrug it off her shoulders.
She grabbed some of the clothes she had found in 'her room' and put them on, letting her old ones soak in water, on the floor of the bathroom. She'd clean them thoroughly later that day.
The picture was again in a pocket, this time under the green vest she had found hanging on a chair. It was as if the inhabitants of the house (yes, Asako Hyosuke and Yakate Tsuno) had left the place without packign anything for a long journey. Well, it wasn't as if she had planned to get kidnapped on her way to meet...who again?

Deep in her thoughts, Bookwoman left the bathroom, fully clothed and stepped inside a random room, that just happened to be the one in which a stark naked Yakate was walking around.
"What the hell?!" she shrieked, slamming the door quickly closed. "Pervert! I knew you were into incest!"
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PostSubject: Re: Graces of an Inferno[DONE]   Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:32 am

Not at all unsettled at being seen naked, he was more surprised at the vehemence of Bookwoman's reaction rather than the fact that his naked form had just been exposed. But that surprise had more to add to it. Again, there came a reference to Asako; by now, he had gotten pretty much used to it. A snake doesn't die of its own venom.

'Into incest? Since when are we related?'

He had to raise his voice a little to let his voice pass through the shut door. Shuffling around the room to find an old, ragged pair of pants (nostalgically familiar), and opened to door before she replied, staring into her pupils waiting for her to answer.

An odd sensation filled him when he saw his reflection in her iris, but it didn't disgruntle him. He shrugged it off.
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