Date: August 26, 2010
Datura cuts her student loose to sink or swim in her search for prey, but her overseeing is soon interrupted by unannounced guests!
"The Spider Queen, Part 4 - Unexpected Arrivals"
Mayor's Residence, Kagawa, The Land of Fire
The ball was in full swing by the time the Lady Ryoko's entourage had arrived, making their fashionably late entrance after the vast majority of the other guests had arrived, thus ensuring that the entire room would notice their entrance, which was one of feigned modesty. The room in which the festivities were being held was expansive, the grand home of the local lord of Kagawa, in the Land of Fire, and many of the lesser nobility of the area were in attendance. Though it wasn't as opulent and prestigious as the events held by the upper crust of the nobility, it was also less formal, and more geared towards the enjoyment of everyone, rather than that of a select few in the room.
A few of their group had spread throughout the room, chasing people, trying to be alone, trying to mingle, or just trying to see how much food they could get their hands on. Only the actual performers, managers, and promotional overseers had arrived, the day labor was forced to find whatever enjoyments they could down in the city with the common folk tonight. The Lady Ryoko was standing with two of the other dancers, greeting gentlemen with a graceful bow of her head, paying their respects to their hosts before etiquette would permit them to find their seats. The Lady herself was wearing pale blue and white tonight, which blended with her pale skin and light yellow hair, matching eyes that were a much softer, lighter shade of blue than they usually were. The entire effect managed to make Datura look rather wraithlike, ethereal, and regal.
It also made her look cold, no matter how warm her smile and demeanor were.
The effect was calculated, of course, to deter any single gentlemen from a headlong approach towards the diva. The other dancers had all been required to wear darker clothing, completely contrasting, and only drab colors in outfits that Datura herself had picked out specificly for them, and to a woman, each of their clothes managed to clash with their skin tone, hair color, or both.
The overall effect was to make the Lady herself seem unapproachable, and the others too dismal to notice. Naturally, there was only one woman left in the group the eye could be drawn to.
"So very nice to meet you, Tenshin-san." Datura inclines her head politely as the mayor of some neighboring, smaller community introduced his son. It was the small-talk she found most excruciating, the banal matters these snobs talked about far, far from her interests. Still, the polite, kind smile remained frozen on her face as she replied to his inquiries. "Oh no, our trip was most uneventful. We have been having such a lavely time during our stay, though. …Have you met my dear Nefura-chan?" Datura glances pointedly towards the arachno-woman, holding out a hand to divert the young male's gaze away from herself and onto the red-haired woman. "She's the most promising understudy I've ever had. She may even grace us with a performance."
Naturally, as entertainers that had been invited to attend the formal function, 'may even' meant that they'd certainly be expected to put on a show or two. "Oh, my pleasure Nefura-san. Or is it Lady Nefura?" Before the man had even finished his bow of introduction, Datura was already turning away to chat with someone else, her wide-bellied promotional manager. Judging from the cold glint in her eye that did not match her smile, and the way he was dabbing his forhead nervously with a kerchief, they weren't discussing anything pleasant. "So, ah, how long have you been working with Lady Ryoko?"
Nefura has learned all that Datura has had the time and inclination to teach her in regards to human social customs, courtship, and the ever-so-interesting subject of human mating. The last subject has had quite a bit of revisiting in terms of lessons, and not all of it has been strictly necessary. Let it suffice to say that a certain stage-hand will likely be smiling for at least a couple weeks >after< Nefura has departed his life forever.
Now, however, is the night when all her lessons (alright, maybe not >all< her lessons. She has to save some things for after the wedding!) are to be put to the test. In contrast to Lady Ryoko, the dancers, and various others, Nefura is wearing an extremely flattering and color-coordinated ensemble. Her ball gown is the same fire-red as her hair, and it is tight enough to hug her body's curves in interesting ways without being difficult to move or dance in. The hemline shows off her legs but does not threaten to reveal anything higher up if she moves or sits improperly. The neckline is sufficient to provide a tantalizing hint of the flesh that fills the top of the gown, without exposing >too< much. After all, appearing 'easy' is not part of the game plan.
Red frills on the shoulders, and detached red sleeves with gold trim on her arms, along with ruby heels, and her — normally somewhat-bushy — head of thick, red hair, being combed back and styled into two intertwining braids that twist around each other independently, despite the ties that bind them — perhaps hinting at the way that two lovers might mold their bodies to each other in the throes of passion — complete her appearance for the evening.
She could have had make-up added, but she honestly does not appear to need it, outside of some red lipstick. The overall result is that she stands out — a lot and in a very good way. When the man turns his attention on the Spider Princess and bows, probably not quite paying attention except in a polite form until after Datura has turned away, the red-haired woman responds with a curtsy of her own, and replies politely after she has risen, "I will answer to either form of address, so you may choose whichever you wish, Tenshin-san." The fact that the son of this mayor had to be directed towards her by Lady Ryoko, instead of noticing her on his own, does not speak well for his intelligence or ability to pay attention. And Datura said men like that are generally not worthy of her.
Thus, she puts no special effort into attracting or maintaining his attention, other than what she might put out automatically by virtue of being a woman — and a hotty at that. She >does< remain polite, however. "I have been working with Lady Ryoko and learning from her for a little less than a month now. However, due to our exceptional rapport, and her vast experience with entertainment and the arts of music and dance, we have grown as close as sisters. It is almost as though we have known each other our entire lives… But enough about me! What of you, Tenshin-san? Have you had any great teachers of your own?"
She would like to move on and find someone she feels won't taint her future children with dirty blood, but she is willing to wait until such an individual spots her and approaches — or is lured into doing so. That means staying here and making small talk. And it's still possible that Tenshin might not be that bad after all.
As Tenshin attempts to regale Nefura with his wild tales of mediocre tutors, Datura slowly, but steadily, moves her small entourage away from the red-haired woman, abandoning her to her games in slow motion. Datura had already ensured that she would be the most stunning out of her own group, but the rest was up to Nefura, to outperform and outshine the competition and pick her 'winner', who just might be the 'loser' from his point of view after all was said and done. Two men had already taken the separation of the young redhead from the 'herd' as a sign that they were free to move in and try to claim her for themselves. From her position, the 'Lady Ryoko' could tell from a glance that the two newcomers were attempting to vie her attention away from Tenshin, likely with the usual male bravado.
Only time would tell which man proved to be the victor in the struggle, and only Nefura truly knew what criteria she would use to finally pick her chosen consort.
The young blonde, meanwhile, had to deal with yet more of the nobles, their friends, their family, the guests they'd invited only to be polite and to fill out the party quota. Mostly she had to deal with the elder generation, those who were seeing if Ryoko could live up to her budding reputation, those who wanted to hire her services, sometimes for less than pure reasons. She had to deal with the critical gazes of the men and the hateful stares of the women, their wives and mistresses.
She certainly envied Nefura, as she had the attention of the young men, who cared more about beauty and excitement, and less about station and tradition. Still, she bore most of it with a stoic smile, as she had to surrender the excitement of the night to her relatively young new friend, while she schmoozed the ones with gray hair who controlled the money. She hated it. But, though she'd check on the redhead's location periodicly, as if she could somehow divine her progress through visual acuity alone, she let Nefura work without interference.
Finally, after enduring the flirtations of a man more than thrice her age, in front of his wife, the blonde had a moment to herself, taking small sips out of the crystal glass she held, wishing she could simply down the beverage, find another, and guzzle it, as well. But etiquette would never allow such a thing by a lady of her refinement. Eventually, her promotional manager gathers his courage to lean in and touch her elbow to draw her attention, causing her clear blue eyes to snap onto him coldly, with heated irritation he could feel even through the cool, polite smile she showed the rest of the room. As he leans in, the young diva had to fight the urge to grimace at the smell of garlic lacing his breath.
"Erm, Lady, our host has expressed a bit of interest in seeing you perform tonight. Perhaps we could-"
"No." The blonde cut him off, glancing away to signal that the discussion was closed. "It would attract too much attention. If he or his lackeys inquire further, I will feign being unwell and we will retire for the evening and have one of the other girls perform in my place. Need I repeat myself again?"
"Er," Dabbing his perpetually-sweating forhead with his white kerchief, the portly male shakes his head. "No, no, of course not! I merely promised I would ask, is all."
Shortly after this small 'conversation' with Lady Ryoko's promotional manager, a sudden hush — though preceded by a number of gasps — begins to fall over the room, starting near the doors and spreading rapidly to encompass most of the people present. Even the musicians in the background halt their playing eventually, and some of them even produce horrible off-notes upon seeing who — or perhaps >what< — has just arrived.
Unobtrusively, a large number of spiders have swarmed into the room along the ceiling high above over the past hour. They have kept out of sight and thus out of mind the entire time. This they continue to do. It is not the spiders that have drawn the attention of the party-goers. Instead it is the one that the spiders are here to protect.
First, two women perhaps vaguely familiar to Datura, in odd gowns that contrast their skin tones but match their hair colors — one black-garbed but pale-skinned, the other white-garbed but dark-skinned — enter. They do not appear to be armed this time, but looks can be deceiving. They DO have the bellies of their gowns cut out to reveal a red hour-glass shaped mark on each woman.
Coming around the corner of the hall outside the ballroom doors, and into sight, appears to be a puddle of liquid blackness that gradually is recognized as black velvet cloth that seems to be >crawling< across the floor ahead of someone, via a number of spider-like cloth 'legs' at the edges of the garment. This cloth is attached to a dress, and that dress is worn by a pale woman with a long, slender neck, black hair swept up into a bun, and a head ornament that looks like a giant spider perched atop her skull. Her dress hints rather heavily at spider webs as well, and the metal 'ribs' hovering of her shoulders have a black cloak attached to them, which seems to hover about the woman rather than merely hang like a dead thing. Her hands and forearms are clothed in long, black gloves, and the irises of her eyes are a pale color, like smoked glass, or perhaps milk.
Her legs do not appear to move as she advances, instead seeming as though she is simply hovering over the floor while the hem of her dress pulls itself — and its wearer — along via those strange animated strips of cloth.
It seems the Spider Queen has arrived.
When the attendant at the door manages to get his jaw off the floor and approaches this woman and her companions, he is stopped rather swiftly by the pale-skinned companion standing in front of him. He blinks and then attempts to ask with a suddenly dry mouth, "D-do you, ahh, ladies have invitations?" The guard answers, "The Queen does not require an invitation." "…A-ah. Wh-which queen shall I announce has arrived?" Then the Brood Mother turns her head, perhaps a bit irritated by this delay, and snaps, "None. You shall make no announcement. For that matter…" She then turns her gaze on the rest of the room, and anyone who is looking at her, and says slightly louder and deeper than should be humanly possible, "…All of you will continue your party as though there were nothing out of the ordinary about myself or my guards. We were expected, and are >respected< guests, and once you leave this building you will forget we were ever here, and everything else about us."
During these orders a low, deep, powerful humming seemed to fill the air, almost like a heavy-duty electrical generator, drawing and holding the attention of everyone in the room in otherwise perfect silence. Then the humming abruptly stops, and everyone resumes what they had been doing before the Spider Queen had shown up, seeming to ignore her, or at least politely acknowledge her and then move on without stopping to chat. Only two individuals are left untouched by this neat little trick. One is Datura, because that is who the Spider Queen came to see. The second is Nefura, because she isn't really a human, and thus her brain can't be so easily controlled by reverberations in one's voice, or the emission of terrible, hungry, inhuman energies that can only loosely be compared to C
The second is Nefura, because she isn't really a human, and thus her brain can't be so easily controlled by reverberations in one's voice, or the emission of terrible, hungry, inhuman energies that can only loosely be compared to Chakra.
Nefura, for her part only glanced once towards her mother when she arrived, and then waited politely for the Spider Jutsu to be completed before resuming being 'battled over' by three young men at once, with occasional interjections by her to test to their merits on various matters.
Immediately at the hushed murmurs, the blonde-haired diva's eyes turn towards her red-haired charge, but find that she apparently isn't the cause of this disturbance. This brings a frown to her lips as she turns her eyes towards the door, along with the rest of the room, dropping her smile for the moment. After all, nobody was looking at her, but worse, nobody was looking at Nefura, and after all of her hard work to make the young spider princess the star of the show!
A few glimpses of the guards are all that she needs to add one and one and come up with two, and the realization causes Datura to seethe, gritting her teeth. "…Idiot." All the time she had invested in the red-haired princess could now be lost due to her mother's startling impatience. For such a long-lived creature, she seemed to possess startlingly little of it, and for once the diva wished her arms were stronger, that she might strangle the arachnid with her bare hands.
As the energy floods the room, causing most people to seemingly forget that there was a rather odd procession within their midst, Datura turns away with them, just in time to notice that her addle-brained manager was speaking to her again. Her voice was a low, sinister hiss as she glared at him, all but snarling, thankfully keeping her words too low for the merrymakers nearby to overhear. "Shut up and leave me be. Go bother someone else." With a nervous laugh that was so high it was practically a titter, the balding fat man bows and scurries off towards the side in order to be away from the volatile kunoichi he worked for, though most believed it was the other way around.
For the moment, the Lady Ryoko was alone in the small sea of people, her accompanying dancers having paired off a few feet away to try and catch the eyes of a few young men that hadn't the courage to pursue Nefura through the throng of competitors, and she'd just ordered her manager away. She stands, waiting patiently for the spider matron to make her purpose for coming here known, believing her to be here to speak with her daughter, one arm wrapped close to her body, tucked under her other arm which held a half-empty glass close to her lips. She was the pictures of serenity and contemplation, a woman standing and thinking alone amongst the crowd.
No one had to know that she was fantasizing about smashing her crystal glass into a thousand tiny shards, only to begin embedding those shards one by one into each of a certain creature's eight eyes.
The guards are left at the door, no longer necessary for guarding the Queen, given that she has basically made everyone decide there is nothing at all odd about her whatsoever. Once she is on the ballroom floor proper, her 'crawling skirts' suddenly begin to shrink or contract or… Something. They move inwards, and even though the cloth >should< be bunching up like nobody's business, instead it just seems to merge seamlessly into the rest of the dress, until the hemline is now about the Queens's ankles instead of the floor.
She walks over to Datura directly, not even sparing a glance for her daughter. Once she is close enough she speaks in a much more human-sounding voice than the one with which she gave her commands. "I have been informed by a certain acquaintance of yours that the lessons you have provided to my daughter have proceeded well, and that you have gone to great lengths to be thorough. Though I find your thoroughness on >certain issues< to be somewhat questionable, the 'education' does not appear to have had adverse consequences…" A smaller spider, seemingly made of diamond or crystal, crawls up onto the Queen's shoulder. Shingumo waves a foreleg at Datura in greeting.
It seems that the spider that was sent to observe Datura and Nefura has reported directly to the Queen all that she has witnessed! Perhaps she is less of a spider and more of a 'spyder'. Well, at least the reports were favorable for the human girl. But it may be a bit embarassing to realize that the tiny, crystalline arachnid was present for >all of the lessons<.
"As I told you when we first met, if you completed your task properly you would be rewarded. And if you completed your task >beyond< what was expected of you, you may receive a second reward. I am here to observe whether the lessons were adequate, but I suspect they will be. So here is the second of your two rewards…" Then the Queen reaches out to touch Datura's shoulder, and unless the blonde moves away, she is pulled forward as easily as though she were a small child. Then, if such closeness is obtained, the Queen presses her black-lipsticked lips to the human's. A kiss!? No, there's more to it than that… A kiss from a powerful, and highly dangerous monster in a pleasant form is one thing. But perhaps this is something else? A mark of favor? Some sort of ritual recognition of Datura? Who knows! It would probably be explained shortly, however.
As if surprised to see her there, the young human turns at the sound of the Spider Queen's voice with a look of pleasant surprise, every portion of her expression bespeaking that though the visit was unexpected, she found it pleasant. Holding her glass in both hands before her, she bows her head demurely. When she comes back up, her eyes find the crystal spider perched on the Queen's person, her blue orbs narrowing slightly on the tiny creature at the knowledge of the identity of the Queen's informant.
"Yes, well… The Princess has shown me great favor, as I'm sure the Queen has shown favor to others from time to time. Who am I to refuse such an honor?"
Though meek humility rankled on her tongue, felt like it was burning her vocal cords as it came out of her mouth, she bore it well, even with apparent pleasantness. Though unorthodox, the blonde doesn't shy away from the casual touch on her shoulder, though she glances off to the side quickly as if to ensure she was not being watched and would thus not have to answer questions on the elder arachnids identity. It's when she's pulled forward that her brows lower and her mouth opens to begin to object.
But nothing further comes out, because her lips are soon struck by those of the spider's! Datura's body is rigid, her eyes shocked, darting first one way, then the other at all the people around them who seemed to be perfectly at ease and not noticing the display. Even Datura, shameless and conniving as she is, could be taken off guard, even shocked or outraged, but worse than a misbegotten kiss would be the explaination for it that would have to follow. Her reputation could be ruined in a single night! The diva's fingers twitch at her sides, as if eager to push the older woman away from her face, but given her strength, typical arachnid speed, and the proximity of a very poisonous mouth to her face, she manages to still her hands by clenching them in the material of her gown.
And then there may be a tiny pinch and a brief pain on Datura's lips, as though she had just been bitten… Before a flood of warmth radiates outwards into the rest of the rogue Yamanaka's body. Has she just been envenomed!? Well, yes and no. Yes, it was venom, but it was not a harmful kind. Instead, it has no effect until it reaches Datura's pleasure centers in her brain and the rest of her body. Then, almost instantly, her entire body would begin to tingle and tense, similar to a full-body cramp, but definitely >not< painful. It takes a few seconds for this special venom to take full effect, and when it does, the entire world around Lady Ryoko would fade out to be replaced by blindging white as she feels something akin to every moment of total passionate release, by every woman who has ever had such, since the beginning of human history, exploding through her mind and body in a chain of intoxicating pleasure like no other.
It would seem to go on for hours.
And then it would fade away, probably leaving Datura feeling numbed — but in a good way. Less than a minute has passed, and the Spider Queen has already seperated herself from the human — though one hand is ready to help support her if her legs give out or something. It happens sometimes.
"That…" Jurougumo, the Spider Queen, the Brood Mother, the Mistress of all Spiders, Ruler of Fukaizan, says quietly with a smirk on her lips. "…Was the second of two rewards. To claim the first, I expect my daughter will have found her consort by the night's end. Whether success or failure is yours, I will expect you to return to Fukaizan within seven sunsets."
There's a sharp blink of blue eyes as the feel of something piercing her lower lip, the feel of something foreign coursing through her veins. The young woman was no medic, and if poison was now within her, there was very little she could do about it. Once things had progressed to physical violence, Datura considered it a failure anyway. Most failures didn't result in her death through a venomous bite, though.
Time seems to slow down as the blonde diva considers her options, most of which she didn't like, until the pain fails to wrack her body, replaced instead by a feverish feel-good sensation that was quite indescribable. Her eyes fly open as her knees go weak, her jaw dropping in a breathless gasp of startled surprise. A good thing, then, that the Spider Queen held her up throughout the ordeal, lest her head be smashed against the floor.
And then it was over, the world's sights and sounds slowly coming back into focus as the Kadomai-born kunoichi struggles to support herself on her feet, wobbling heavily at first, swaying slightly as she begins to regain her balance. And finally, through a small sheen of sweat, breathing heavily in a manner not quite fit for a highborn lady, Datura reclaims her composure, her eyes scanning the crowd immediately around them for any recognition of what had happened in the past who-knows-how-long.
At least she would have no difficulty pleading illness now.
"I admit that I… had envisioned something a bit more monetary. Though next time, perhaps in a place less crowded." The smashed crystal of her glass crunched lightly under foot as she shifts her weight, placing a hand to the base of her neck as she clears her throat, catching her breathe. "I am not accustomed to failure. Your daughter will be returned to you with time to spare."
The Spider Queen waves a hand dismissively. "If you wish for monetary reward as well, it shall be provided. I thought that I saw in you a kindred spirit. One who enjoys the pleasures of life, instead of dwelling on what one has not." A pause. "Perhaps I was incorrect when I judged your character… But that aside, I have no interest in Nefura being returned to me. She is to establish her >own< nest. It is >you< that is to return, >not< her."
She pats Datura on the cheek softly with one hand, stroking her fingers over the smooth flesh, and then smiles. "Cheer up, child. None will remember my presence or anything about me… Including my interactions with you. There shall be no complications for you to deal with. I have made >very< sure of that."
She then removes her hands from the blonde's person, and turns to look over as Nefura is escorted away by a striking, intelligent-looking young man, while two others argue and yell at each other and look as though they might start fighting physically at any moment. Such a lack of self-control! While the male escorting Nefura might be seen as a coward by some for making off with the 'prize' while the others are distracted, the red-haired woman seems quite taken with him as they discuss something in low-tones that don't carry this far, and make their way towards the balcony. The man seems equally entranced with the disguised arachnid royalty.
"Yesss… I believe all shall go well." Jurougumo says as she prepares to turn and walk away. "Oh, and you may want to find someplace private to rest. That special venom I gave you has certain 'after-effects' that you may not wish to go through somewhere so… Public." She smiles faintly and then heads away, pointing a finger behind her at Datura in an indicatory fashion. One of the guards hurries forwards to help the Lady Ryoko if needs be, and to provide her with what appears to be Shingumo. Or… Is it? It does not move or give any indications of life. Instead it appears to be a perfect diamond replica of the spider girl, with zero flaws of any kind. That… Should be worth quite a lot indeed.
"I see. Very well then, I will see you once the Princess and I have parted ways."
If the blonde-haired teenager had an objection to the overly familiar, if condescending, touch of the Spider Queen, she was wise enough to keep them to herself. Instead, she inclines her head in appreciation of the knowledge that at least there would not be any wild rumors flying around the next day about Lady Ryoko's strange friends and love life. Months of public chastity, refinement, and restraint would have been crushed otherwise!
One thin, yellow eyebrow archs up towards her hairline at the mention that there would be further 'side effects' that would come from the poisonous bite of her temporary employer. There was a mild frown on her face, trying to guess at what that vague reference might be about exactly, as she turns to find her manager and inform him to make excuses for her departure. But first she wordlessly accepts the precious stone prize, then the arm of the one who offered it, finding her legs not quite up to the task of carrying her steadily at the moment, with a small, silent smile of thanks. After locating the nearby male and quickly informing him that he was to tell any inquirers that she and Nefura had made themselves absent due to feeling 'unwell', and to use one of the backup dancers for entertaining the lords later, the outcast Yamanaka smiles at her arachnid guard once more, leaning her weight heavily on the other female.
"Can you bring me outside?" She motions mildly towards the exit onto the balcony that the princess had used but moments before. "I need to see the Princess and I do not belive my legs are quite up to the task."
The Black Widow guard stoically performs her duty, her dark, smoke-grey flesh probably something that would attract comment under other circumstances, but with the Jurougumo's hypnosis still in place, it seems the party-goers could not care less about the exact skin-tone or… Anything else concerning the guard! And as long as Datura is hanging on her arm like that, it seems they are content to leave her alone and forget they ever saw her in the disguised spider's presence too.
Out on the balcony, Nefura and her apparently chosen mate are standing far closer than perhaps she had been instructed to by her human friend during her 'lessons', but at least they are both fully dressed, and they are not yet being excessively familiar. Though as Datura and the as-yet-unnamed Royal Guard actually step out onto the balcony, the circumstances change abruptly. Nefura is definitely remembering her lessons, but she is no longer simply trying to manipulate the man standing so close to her. Or so the blonde might surmise due to subtle physical cues that the Princess is probably not even aware she is giving off.
They are facing each other, though their gazes are directed beyond the balcony's edge towards the night sky. The man is taller than Nefura (almost any adult male would be), and he has blonde hair that is >almost< the same shade as Datura's own. There are a few tinges of pale-yellow — almost white — at the tips of some strands, but that may be intentional cosmetic alteration, since he does not seem to be any older than Datura herself. Or if he >is< older, then it's not by much.
This man's hands rest lightly on Nefura, just above her hips, on either side of her waist. Nefura's hands rest gently on the forearms and elbows of her chosen consort. The hands shift positions occasionally, as she strokes over the male's appendages without seeming to be aware of it. Then they both turn their faces towards each other, eyes on both looking very dreamy. The male is smiling broadly, but when he looks at Nefura he does not look like he is lusting after her. This is a much more intimate and caring expression that is on his face. The same could be said for Nefura, but she looks even >more< smitten than the human!
They say some things to each other quietly, and then begin to move their faces closer together, along with their bodies. A first kiss? So soon!? Did Datura teach her protege >nothing<!?! The seeming futility of trying to teach a spider to act human may distract Datura from the fact that the male that is getting dangerously close to a liplock with the Princess seems somehow… Familiar. Not like she knows him, per se, but more like his features are reminiscent of someone or something…
However, this tender moment, and the need for the Lady Ryoko to step in, both seem to be pre-empted as the white-haired guard woman clears her throat loudly when she surmises what is going on. It took her a moment, because spiders generally don't kiss, but she is apparently up-to-date on human mating customs after all. Nefura and her consort startle and pull apart somewhat quickly, until they see who it is that is interrupting. Then two different reactions occur.
Nefura blushes a bit but relaxes as she takes her beau's right arm in her left, and places her hand atop his forearm. "Rigumo-san, and Ryoko-chan. How good to see you both are well! …Or are you? Ryoko-chan, has dealing with all of this fuss made you tired? You do not appear to be your usual lively self." As she continues speaking, a minor detail of her appearance becomes more obvious. Her eyes. They've shifted from green human eyes to the green rings on black background of her 'flawed' human form. Has her concentration slipped that much!? "All those demands to entertain these stuffy bureaucrats and self-important… Self-important…" She tries to think of a good descriptive term and finally decides on, "…hob-knobs must have been awful for you! Please do not feel you must remain on my account. I am sure that Kazu-kun and I will be fine."
'Kazu-kun' has a completely different reaction. At first, he appears confused. He heard some sort of noise that made him react, but despite trying to focus on these two arrivals, he can't seem to concentrate—But then Nefura speaks to them, identifying them, and somehow it all becomes clear. A puzzled frown finds its way onto his lips as he wonders why he didn't see them before. Especially that oddly-colored woman. "…Ah, the Lady Ryoko?" he manages to get out eventually, seeming to either miss or ignore Nefura's attempt to get herself and the man alone again. Or… Perhaps he would not be crass as to dismiss others who are apparently friends with this red-head just to be alone with her again? Could it be??? Could there really be a man that thinks with something other than his you-know-what!? Further, he has those blue eyes that are so very, weirdly familiar…
Wait, a sec… Blonde hair. Blue eyes. The fair skin and handsome features. It can't be. "A pleasure to meet you both, Lady Rigumo, and Lady Ryoko. I am Yamanaka Kazuhiro." But it is. If it's not one thing, it's another with this plan of Datura's.
For a moment, Datura's heart skips a beat or three, the momentary fear of them not only having discovered her years-old ruse, searching, and now FINDING her flashing before her eyes. But the outcast Yamanaka keeps her composure well, pasting a pleasant smile on her face that bore none of the nervousness she felt inside. After all, having spent the majority of her life fighting alongside her clansmen, it's not hard for the 'Lady Ryoko' to recognize one of her own extended family members. She could only hope that her long absence from Konohagakure, as well as the fact that they were looking for her sibling, and her constant changing of her eye color would keep the male from noticing anything other than her being 'vaguely familiar'. But of course she was, she was a celebrity!
Hanging onto her escort guard's arm, the young blonde saunters, as best she can on weak, wobbly legs towards the previously-embracing pair with a wane smile. Her eyes size up the lone male from head to toe for a long moment, before bowing her head briefly with as much grace as she can manage in a greeting. "Yamanaka-san, the pleasure is ours. I fear I cannot stay, forgive my abrupt departure, I beg you."
Though her eyes turn casually away from the other blonde, every fiber of her body was attuned towards detecting the slightest hostile motion. She moves to pass by Nefura and Kazuhiro, yet pauses next to the red-haired spider princess, reaching out to place a hand on her forearm. "I am feeling a bit unwell, thank you. I shall be retiring back to my room with my escort for now, but I'll miss your company. You'll see me again when you've the chance, won't you?" The delicate diva smiles softly, fondly at her soon-to-be-ex-pupil, before a casual glance flits over the other Yamanaka again. She lowers her voice to a mild whisper, one which is probably still audible to all those present if they are silent and strain to listen.
"The handsome ones are very astute at slipping away from our grasp. Hold on tightly, Nef-chan, and keep in touch."
Should she warn Nefura, the Spider Princess of the dangers of hauling off a member of a ninja village, someone who may be very skilled at snatching the bodies of the unwary? Probably, but there was no time to do so at the present without arousing suspicion if he was a spy. And she had no idea when the 'after-effects' of the Queen's venom was going to hit! She could almost feel it starting to come on again, her grip tightening on the guard-spider's arm as she teeters on her feet for a moment. "Ahem… I need to go now, Rigumo-chan."
Kazuhiro has yet to smile at Datura since seeing her, but following her attempt at a bow and the subtle indications of weakness or at least tiredness, his emotionless expression softens. He smiles and bows in return. "Of course, Lady Ryoko. My apologies for keeping you. Please take care of yourself. A star as bright as yours should burn long in the sky. This is no time for one who brings such joy to so many with her mere presence, let alone her talent at inspiring the spirits of her audiences, to fall to the earth prematurely."
Eloquent words. Poetic. Superfluous or sincere? Hard to tell. There are no signs of hostility or planned violence from him, however. He straightens up and simply waits for the diva and her escort to depart
MEANWHILE, Rigumo seems unhappy to allow a human to be in such close proximity — let alone physical contact — with the Princess, but she is a killer and a sentinel foremost and always. She is a bit late in life to suddenly change professions to 'nanny', especially when the one she would be nannying is apparently about to start a family in the near future.
Even so, she can't help but feel protective of her Queen's progeny. Nefura is the last of Jurougumo's Prime Offspring. All the others moved out into the world a long time ago. It is unlikely that there will ever be additional children born to the Queen that possess the inherent abilities and familial connection of the royalty. Many spiders of various types will cotinue to be born, of course. But even the Brood Mother has only so many of her >special< eggs that can give rise to a daughter like Nefura.
And the last of those special eggs was Nefura's own. There will be no new Spider Princesses to protect. No more young arachnid princesses skittering around the Palace of Eight-Legs. No more lessons in hand to hand combat, and in Spider Magic. No more princesses causing trouble. No more pranks being pulled via the abuse of shapeshifting techniques. No more messes to clean up — caused by that >same< unidentified princess. No more of the princess defying orders from her mother. No more sneaking into the dungeon to talk to dangerous prisoners and eat valuable hostages; no more exploring the Hidden Village of the Wasps and nearly getting eaten; no more nearly causing war with a human nation because >someone< decided to >go missing< for almost >ten years< only to turn up disguised as a human girl that had been adopted by the >General< of the >Land of Iron< (that is the ruler, by the way) — who in turn was not exactly happy to hand over the princess to a bunch of giant spiders even if she >was< actually one of them; and no more of a dozen other incidents and behaviors that had aged Rigumo beyond her already considerable years.
With a distinct >hmph< of dismissal, the Black Widow in human form turns and prepares to guide the human hanging on her arm somewhere private where she can rest of whatever it is she is going to do. "Have a good evening, Nefura-san. And you as well, Yamanaka-san." Then she strides away as quickly as she can manage to without making Datura have to strain or stumble. Yes, she is much better off without Nefura around. Princess indeed!
If complete and utter chaos were lightning, Nefura would be the time to stand on a hilltop during a thunderstorm, wearing wet copper armor, screaming, 'ALL GODS ARE BASTARDS!' Without having to play nursemaid anymore, Rigumo can finally focus on her >real< job: protecting the Queen herself. And yet…
One last look is given over her shoulder when she is halfway across the ballroom. She does not slow down or stop, but as she smiles and turns to face forward again, she can't help but feel that things will be a lot more dull in Fukaizan without the Last of the Princesses.