Date: April 12, 2012
Caught in an unusual sort of love triangle, Mushi expresses her troubles to an odd Kiri nin and receives in return some useful, if strangely delivered, advice.
"Advice From a Stranger"
Namami Restaurant [Kirigakure]
Owned not by a single person but a group, the Namami Restaurant lives up to its expectations of being the place to be for Kirigakure's Ninja. No villagers dare tread into this area without an escort. The Namami Restaurant is a place of food and drink and pleasant conversation amongst the arguments and fighting. Bar fights are common and often stopped by authorities wandering in.
The place is not kept tidy, dirty floors and wars gives it its traditional feel of The Village of the Bloody Mist. The barman and the employees of this establishment are all well noted Ninja who keep control over its patrons in order to avoid unnecessary damage to property. Those who grow accustomed to this place call it the place to be for ninja meetings.
It's midday. It's a weekday. Not too many people are in the restaurant right now actually. Mushi is the exception, as she sits at the bar with several sake bottles in front of her. She's dribbling the most recent one into a tiny, shell-like bowl. It steams in the warm air, and she takes it in two gulps. Pours more. Mushi's cheeks are a little flushed, but otherwise she looks quite lucid. Though she's being watched carefully by the bartender.
Unlike most people Mushi has no work. This time in Kirigakure she hasn't bothered to be hired. Where she gets the money to simply sit around at her leisure is hard to say, since the rates she charges are very modest. Nevertheless, Mushi signals for another small — but still her fifth — bottle of sake. She sits broodingly, staring at this one. Unlike some drinkers, Mushi isn't noisy or weepy. Instead, she's completely silent.
"Hey-hup!" A new presence announces itself at the door of the restaurant. A young woman stands there, her form held stiff and straight except for her right arm, which has a stick tucked under it like a drill-master's cane. She marches up to the bar and taps the end of the stick on the top surface for attention. "A bottle of your finest if you please, sah!" the girl says, somehow managing to make her voice sound like it's coming from behind a thick mustache. She turns her head toward Mushi and pinches one side of her glasses as though adjusting a monocle. "A good morrow to you, miss! I do hope you won't mind the company of an old war-horse. Shirayuki Koseitama, if I might be so bold as to introduce meself." :3
Someone is talking and it's driving Mushi nuts. She presses a hand against her forehead as if trying to push Koseitama from the general vicinity. She takes another sip of sake. But now she says, "Water. And, uh, more food. Something hot." She's eaten some peanuts, but now the bartender goes to get Koseitama her drink and something for Mushi. After awhile, Mushi looks up to Koseitama with a rather unfriendly look. But her expression does become lighter when she notices the round spectacles the girl is wearing. That's…interesting. Especially her amiable greeting.
"Uh hi," she says. "Nikumari Mushi." Her gaze and voice are quite level. She stares back at her sake bottle. "Shouldn't be drinking," she sighs. "Ah well. Not like I care that he's gone. Or the other one too. Both of 'em can go rot, right?"
Koseitama surveys the bottles in front of Mushi. "Does seem rather a lot of nip for a young lady. Were I of a slightly more roguish nature, I might abscond with your remaining libations under pretext of saving you from further intoxication, wot!" ;) Koseitama sits down and pours herself a drink from the bottle which the bartender brings her. "I believe I detect a tale which desires to be told," she remarks, replacing the bottle on the counter with a precise hand. "One might do worse than to expend that urge upon the ears of a regimental buff with no motive to abuse any information shared."
Most people would gape at Koseitama's weird way of talking. "If you were a jerk, you'd drink my sake, that it?" she translates. She looks beadily at Koseitama as if expecting her to make a lunge for her sake bottle. When she doesn't, Mushi goes back to filling her saucer. She doesn't respond right away to Koseitama, and waits for her food. A steaming bento, chicken and rice. She starts shovelling it into her mouth, the sake forgotten for a few minutes. Once she's chowed down through some of her bento, Mushi wipes her mouth and sits back. "Nope, doesn't help," she says ruefully.
"A tale, you say? More like a tragedy. It begins with a woman and two boys. The first she loved. But he left her, and she thought him dead, since he was in all kinds of danger all his life. After a year or two that woman moved on, and she founds a boy she was extremely fond of. Her first love had struck her immediately, but the second slowly grew on her. And then…the first man came back. He was alive. In some ways, she'd betrayed him by not finding out his fate. He still loved her. Her newest boyfriend still loved her. What should the woman do? Answer me that."
Koseitama makes harumphing noises into her drink. "Roughly put, but apt. Such blunt vernacular young people use these days." She listens attentively while Mushi describes her — sorry, 'the woman's' — predicament. When she finishes, Koseitama takes a deliberately contemplative sip. "Hmmm, quite the quandary, yes. I do hope the gentlemen in question have not come to blows or anything of that unsightly nature?"
"Let's say — in the tale — the younger man doesn't even know about the older one. When the older one came back, he saw them together and left. The woman barely caught him. The woman was too cowardly to tell the other man. She loved them both. And perhaps…maybe the first one more." She grabs her sake bottle and chugs it in a few gulps. Signals for another one. But as she does she puts a hand on her stomach and closes her eyes. Koseitama would see the glow of chakra as she uses a curative technique. And then she sits back up, almost completely sober. And starts in on her sake. "I detest getting sick," Mushi says. "Where was I? Oh yeah. I — umm, the woman…So what does she do? Does she go to the man she loves more? Strangely, he's not the one good and safe for her. Not really the right choice. Or does she stay loyal to the other who she also loves?" She glances sadly at Koseitama. A deep sadness people rarely see on Mushi's usually cheerful face.
Koseitama lifts a pinky and strokes her imaginary mustache. "Ah, I see. The fact that one party is unaware does cast things into a rather different light. One imagines that is a state of affairs that should not be permitted to stand indefinitely. Even if the young lady is to choose the younger suitor, he must be informed of this complication before matrimony may be considered. But you speak of loyalty? Am I to understand, then, that the lady is already formally engaged to the second suitor? That would be a rather strong argument in his favor…unless she was also engaged to the first before his unfortunate disappearance?"
Mushi harumphs. "Yeah," she says. She glares at the sake as if it insulting her. In retaliation, she drinks it. She throws some money on the counter, too much, and asks for another. Well, money is money, and the bartender takes it and gives her another one. Mushi piles on the bento, her cheeks stuffed to bursting as she barely chews it before she swallows. She gulps it down with a bit of water. She shakes her head. "Nah, she isn't engaged to either of them," she says. "Dating the first. Dating the second. Nor has she made any promise that she'd be engaged to either of them. I suppose that her committment goes as far as…dumping one boyfriend or another? But she's been through so much with both of them. Especially the first one. They've both supported her so much. No matter what, she's hurting someone. And she has such selfish thoughts."
She glances at Koseitama. "Why the heck am I telling you this?" she wonders. Maybe because she's a safe outsider? "Ah well. What do you think?"
While Mushi was wolfing down her bento, Koseitama had taken her sake bottle and poured its contents straight down her gullet, then swung it back down to the counter with force. She gives a contented exhale, then snakes an arm around Mushi's shoulders — or maybe neck would be more accurate. "Honey, you've got it made!" Koseitama giggles, nuzzling Mushi's cheek in a buzzed-girlfriend fashion. "Two guys wanting to be your shinin' shogun? What're you complainin' about!?"
Koseitama loosens her arm-grip a little and claps her other hand against Mushi's near shoulder. "Here's whatcha do. Go tell the second guy about the first one, straight-up, no secrets. He's gotta know sooner or later, amirite? An' tell 'im he's got an even shot, just like if they'd both been livin' next door to ya their whole lives. Tell that to th'first guy too. You ain't made any promises to either of 'em, right? An' like ya said, somebody's gotta be disappointed, ain't no more fair to make it the first guy without givin' him a chance. Make 'em compete for ya! May the best man win! An' either way, you go home with a winner, amirite?" ;)
Koseitama lets go of Mushi and tips herself off of her chair. "All right honey, I gotta go, got an appointment with my stylist. Let's make the next time real soon, I don't get enough girl talk like this." Koseitama flips a payment for her drink onto the counter, then heads on out of the restaurant. "Hey cutie, got room in that cab for a girl headin' downtown?" n.n