Chiharu Star Fortress, Medical Center
Takeyu ran his hand through his sisters hair, she was partly asleep, with her head laying in his lap. He looked over at the nightstand and noticed a bloodied picture and a tray with the food that Layven had ate a few minutes ago, almost completely gone. The picture was of the family, with Sakura and Layven in front, Takeyu in the center, and their mother and father in the back. Behind them was the front end of their ship, with it being obvious that the picture was taken in some old, somewhat worn down station.
He reached out and snagged the picture from the stand, the blood was obviously old and there was a faint coppery smell to it. Think I'll see about getting this picture redone,
he said before placing it back on the stand and nudging the girl.
Layven's eyes slowly opened, she moaned before sitting up and stretching up into the air. He smiled at her, and then asked. "Shall we head out for some fresh air?"
"But where?" she asked and got up off the bed and walked over to the door.
"Well, we do have a park here, never been to the one on this station though. Want to?" He offered and got up off the bed and started for the door. Layven smiled happily and ran after her brother as he left the room.
The two crossed the ways over to an awaiting elevator, then got inside, Takeyu tapped the keypad for the park level and the doors closed. Chiharu Star Fortress, Park Level
The elevator chimed as it stopped, the doors parted, and Takeyu exited with Layven, his little sister. They strode into the large, expensive park hand-in-hand.
The park was very large, larger than the recreational center. It had rolling hills, long-winding rivers full of koi fish. Wooden Arches that towered over stone paths that were overgrown with grass and small plants. There were also was a large Pagoda, a tower that soared almost ten stories tall and served a shrine.
There was an observation deck located just off to the right of the elevator which the two headed toward, there was an assortment of benches and different types of asian style plants, there was even a dictionary in the center with an overview of the park, with details related to each section. Takeyu looked at it, then decided to just stay here and enjoy the sight.
Opening up his personel computer pad, he looked down at the time and saw that not that long had passed since the promotion ceremony. "I wonder if Kiko-hei will be able to make it," he muttered lowly to himself.
"Who?" Layven asked curiously when she heard him speak.
"Just a fellow crewmate," Takeyu smiled back at her and leaned on a fence that overlooked a large lake. Takeyu watched his little sister, Layven was only twelve years old, but the two years that had passed with her being a slave wouldn't have made it that apperent. She wasn't even the height of a typical twelve year old, more like that of a ten year old. Her clothing was a simple light blue dress with a dark red cowl. She also had a light red hat that she held in her left hand, and wouldn't let go.
He had to wonder who bought her the clothing, but then again, he didn't care, as she was most likely very glad to no longer be wearing the slavers outfit she had been recovered on. With a gentle smile, and a light sigh, he turned around and continued to look at the lake.
Kiko walked in from the direction of her quarters on the station, wearing a fur-collared leather jacket with a Eucharis patch and a pair of black pants. As she reached the Nayacesens, she bowed and spoke in her usual calm tone. "Hello, Nayacesen-Jôtô Heisho, Miss. I am Inoue Kiko-Sa - I mean Nitô Hei." One of her ears perked up in curiosity about why Takeyu asked her over here.
Takeyu glanced over his shoulder, then turned around fully with his back against the rails, he then pushed off. "Glad you were able to come Kiko-hei," he said with a satisfied smile and then glanced down at Layven, who was still looking out toward the lake and obviously hadn't heard her. Takeyu could only assume that after everything that had happened, her hearing may have been affected in some way or another.
As Layven continued to look, she heard Takeyu's voice and looked at him, blinked a few times in confusion, then yelped in surprise when she saw Kiko and then realized that the 'miss' comment was meant for her. "Err... I... ummm," Layven's face turned beet red with embarassment as she rubbed her hands together. "Umm, errr," she looked down.
Kiko's eyes widened a bit. "I didn't mean to startle you, miss. My appologies," she said, unable to keep a slightly distressed note out of her voice. From her, that sounded like panicked stammering. "Would you like me to leave?"
Takeyu shook his head. "That's quite alright," he said and patted Layven on the head. The girl glanced up at him, and then let out a sigh before she straightened herself up and looked at Kiko. Her composure renewed by a simple pat on the head, or maybe because she realized that she had possibly been causing Kiko some distress. "My names Layven, Layven Nayacesen, it's good to meet Inoue Kiko.... hmmmm," she tapped the edge of her chin thoughtfully, with Takeyu looking at her curious. "Can I give you a nickname?" she beamed.
Kiko bowed again. "It is good to meet you as well, Nayacesen-san." She blinked a couple of times when Layven asked her question. "You may, I suppose." She wasn't really sure why the girl would want to. Her name couldn't possibly be too long for someone named Nayacesen. Not that she'd actually say anything to that effect, of course.
Layven stood there for a moment in thought, then giggled and said. "How about Iny!" she beamed.
Takeyu blinked and then shook his head. "You can't be shortening people's last names like that," he said.
"Well, she might not mind," her finger up to her mouth with a curious expression, she looked over at Kiko.
Kiko raised an eyebrow at Layven. "I have no objection, Nayacesen-san," she said mildly. The corner of her mouth twitched slightly. She found the nickname to be ridiculous, but she could pretend that the girl had given it out of fondness instead of whatever her real reason was.
"Please, tell me Layven, my last name is a bit long," she smiled at Kiko.
"Thank you very much, Layven-san," the neko said.
Takeyu shook his head a second time, then looked over at Kiko. "My apologies Kiko-hei. Layven gives nicknames to everyone on our ship, mostly so she can rememer them more easily but in this case I think she is doing it out of a show of affection, she has been away from civilization for two years, so I can't really blame her,"
he said through telepathy and shrugged his shoulders with Layven being unable to see that.
Kiko blinked again. "No appology is necessary, sir,"
she replied through the same medium. After a few seconds, she added, "I hope I am not overstepping my station, but would it be acceptable to you if I asked to hug her?"
He blinked, and thought about it for a moment, an unusual request but he didn't find anything wrong with it. "I don't see anything wrong, in fact, that might make Layven rather happy"
he replied back and folded his arms over his chest and continued to smile.
Kiko nodded subtly and swallowed. "Ah, Layven-san... I realizet that this may be inappropriate, and you have every right to refuse, but may I hug you?" she asked, turning a slightly darker shade of pink.
"Sure!" Layven beamed happily.
Kiko knelt and embraced the smaller girl, unable to keep a small smile off her face. Layven likewise smiled, accepting the embrace and hugged Kiko tightly. Then after a few minutes, Layven released her grip. A few seconds after, Kiko released Layven and stood back up, struggling to compose her face back into a neutral expression. Though who she thought she might be fooling with it was not readily apparent.
Takeyu turned to his side and stared across the lake, he was wondering if there were any places to sit but he saw none, most taken by other station personnel. As he stared out, he felt a tug on his pants and looked down at Layven. "Something wrong?" he asked her.
Layven glanced sideways, noticing a distant group of people who were out on a terrance. "Well, I noticed that Sakura isn't around," she said though her expression betrayed something else.
He wasn't intending on asking her right away, due to the mood, he was going to ask her toward the end of the day when things had settled down. Yet he 'knew' she already knew the answer. "Layven," he said.
The girl stood there, choking back tears and staring out at the lake. "She's dead... I....." she sobbed.
Layven shook her head. "I-I know..." she turned toward the rails and gripped them with her hands. "I...." Takeyu watched her, then glanced over at Kiko, before hearing a light sobbing sound from Layven.
He walked up behind her and placed his hands on her. Kiko reached toward her, then withdrew her hand. The child's brother knew her better than she did. Layven then turned toward him, he placed a finger up against her cheek and wiped a single tear away. Then planted the palm against her skin. Layven was going to say something else, but Takeyu placed his finger upon her lips, and shook his head then very quickly changed the subject to perhaps brighten her mood. He spun her around, which caused her to yelp in surprise as he placed both of his hands on her shoulder. "Layven, did you know that Kiko-hei helped in your rescue?" he asked. She blinked and looked over at Kiko, wondering if that was true. "Sorry you had to hear that, I wasn't expecting her to suddenly bring that up. However, it is true that I do have another sister, a younger one, who was killed. However, now that I know that to be true, I can have our youngest revived"
he said telepathically and watched Layven. "I would never blame you for something like that, sir. And if I may say so, you appologize somewhat too much,"
Kiko replied, blind to the hypocrisy of the latter statement. She nodded to Layven. "I did, yes. My contribution was rather minor, but not nonexistant."
"Nonsense, I'm sure you were great out there!" she said to Kiko with a big grin on her face. Takeyu visibly rubbed the back of his neck, he never seemed to know when he was being 'to' apologetic.
Kiko smiled back a bit. "Well, if you say so, then it must be true," she said mildly. "My most sincere appologies for contradicting the all-knowing one."
Layven giggled and then spun around, her arms flailed in the air for a moment until she brought them down to her side. She looked around, before noticing a wide open field with some lines painted across it, she tapped her chin again thoughtfully. "Hey Bro, have you been practicing your swordsmenship lately?" she asked.
Kiko raised an eyebrow at Takeyu. "I wasn't aware that you were a swordsman, Nayacesen-Jôtô Heisho," she said.
"I use the sword, but not in an official capacity. Everyone in my family, including the crew of our ship, were required to learn some martial form, since you won't always have access to a gun," he said in response to Kiko's statement, and noticed Layven shivered at the word 'gun' he had forgotten that Layven didn't like guns.
"Iny interested in Swordsmanship?" Layven curiously asked.
Kiko nodded. "Hanako-sama gave us katanas for the solstice, and I've found that learning the martial arts brings me some measure of serenity..." she stared at a wall for a few seconds. "Ah, my appologies. I shouldn't have brought my own emotional state up like that." An edge of nerves crept into her voice.
"Well~" Layven looked up at Takeyu. "Takeyu could teach ya, but he's no where NEAR as good as me," she thumbed her chest and pushed it out in a superior posture and Takeyu rolled his eyes.
Kiko raised an eyebrow. "Indeed? It is rare to see such dedication. My compliments," she deadpanned.
After a moment Takeyu cleared his throat. "I could teach you if you desire, but just keep in mind that the Nayacesen style is different from that used by the Ketsurui Samurai," he said to Kiko.
Kiko nodded. "I was not planning on impersonating a Ketsurui, so that is no major drawback," she said.
Takeyu quickly went to correct what he had said. "I didn't mean to say that you were, we've just had people in the past who often times ask if our style is anything like the Ketsurui Samurai, so we've kind of gotten into the habit of telling others it isn't," he said nervously. Kiko replied with a noncommital grunt
"However, those swords if I recall are ceremonial... so we'll need practice blades instead," Takeyu tapped his lower chin, then took out a pad and ordered two Tamahagane's
along with practice blade attachments.
"Do you have any questions though about our style?" asked Takeyu.
"Nothing that isn't likely to be included in my first lesson," Kiko said. "I expect that you could use some time to prepare for that."
"Depending on how much time we have," He looked at Layven, she may be family but she wasn't military, so he didn't continue that statement. "I'll see about finding a place perhaps tonight, or maybe early tomorrow, is that alright with ya?" Kiko nodded back.
Layven beamed and turned back around, collasping her hands behind her back, she looked around before a thought came to her. "By the way bro, am I going to be staying in that hospital?" she asked.
"No you aren't," replied Takeyu. "However, are you alright with living under the roof of a former Ketsurui Samurai?" he asked.
Her eyes blinked a few times, then she collasped her hands in front of her excitedly. "R-really?!" she asked and he nodded.
Kiko raised an eyebrow at Takeyu. "Who are you referring to, if I may ask?"
"I don't know the name of the person," Takeyu started. "Only that she resides at Kage Yaichiro's mansion, you 'might' be able to find some information on them, but there's no telling since she is a former Ketsurui Samurai
Kiko shrugged. "I wouldn't want to intrude on their privacy. Besides, I already have a teacher."
"I wouldn't mind meeting her to be honest, but with the war and such, that won't be possible," Takeyu shrugged his shoulders.
Layven blinked, curious yet confused at what Takeyu just said. "War? What War?" she asked.
"The war with the NMX," Kiko said. "The ones who set the parasites on you. I believe that the slavers surrendered to us because we treat our prisoners far better than the NMX do, but I'm not certain."
"That, or the NMX just really scared the living daylights out of them," Takeyu grinned with Layven laughing nervously. "Well, part of the reason the NMX are so frightening is because of what they do to people they capture," Kiko pointed out.
"I don't know if I want to know," Layven said with a slightly concerned look on her face. "I mean... err... what does NMX stand for?" she looked at the two of them in turn.History lesson time...
, Takeyu folded his arms over his chest and smiled. Though he wasn't at all intending to do this type of thing at this time, perhaps a little lesson wasn't that bad of an idea, if it allowed Layven to understand what was going on, maybe it would help her adapt to her new life.
"An unpronounceable phrase in their language which roughly translates to 'New Mishhuvurthyar Military," Kiko said.
"New Mishe...Misha...Mishuv....ughs! Mishumisfits!" Layven blurted out when she couldn't pronounce the word right, prompting Takeyu to burst out laughing and Kiko to cover her mouth before anyone could see her grin like a normal person.
After moment, Takyeu stopped laughing, though he had tears in his eyes from it. "Maybe we should ask command to rename them to that," he snickered as he was still unable to get it out of his mind. Layven, on the other hand, looked a bit puzzled as to why he was laughing, and why Kiko had covered her mouth.
Kiko nodded sagely and forced her face to straighten up. "It would have beneficial effects on morale," she pointed out.
"True," Takeyu winked and then placed his back up against the rails. "Ok, Layven, let's go ahead and pronounce the word out little by little, that way there you don't cause everyone on the station to die from laughter," he half snickered. "Or she could just say 'Mishhu,'" Kiko pointed out.
"Then again, doesn't Mishhu sound like a sort of food?" commented Takeyu before he realized that, based on what the Mishhu do to their prisoners, maybe it made sense 'why' their name sounded like a food of sorts.
Kiko shrugged. "I would try it at some point, but I might acquire a parasitical infestation. They appear to be as painful as I have heard they are."
"Parasi---- err....." Layven sighed heavily at her inability to pronounce those big words.
Takeyu just smiled and patted her on the shoulder. Being on a slave ship for two years tends to dull you a bit,
he thought. Glad I'm enrolling her in school later,
"Don't worry about trying to understand Layven, for you will in due time," he said and she nodded.
"Still," Layven folded her arms over her chest and started thinking. "Why do the Misha... Mishe.. err...." she glared sideways. "Why do they hate us?"
"What's makes you think they hate us?" Asked Takeyu.
"Well, if I'm understanding right, they are our enemy, but why are they our enemy?" she asked, and once again, looked between the two in turn. Takeyu really did feel like he was back on his ship, teaching Layven history, only without the presence of his youngest sister.
The Neko shrugged again. "When someone asked that in training, they were mocked for being too philosophical," she said. "None of the guesses I've come up with make sense on examination, so I don't know. My appologies."
"Perhaps it's better to just not know," Takeyu nodded his head.
"Aww... but I wanna know!" Said Layven childishly as she looked up at Takeyu with pleading eyes but her brother shook his head.
"No," he said simply.
"Bah...." Layven folded her arms over her chest and glared out over the lake. As she looked over the lake, her mind wondered to the ship she had been on. She thought for a moment, but she didn't know the name of the ship, and she had already forgotten the name of it's captain. She blinked and then looked back at them. "Umm, what was the name of the ship that rescued me again?"
"You mean the-" Swiss Cheese
"-Eucharis?" Kiko asked, deciding to keep her mental nickname for her home to herself.
"Yea, I think that's the ship," Layven tapped the side of her cheek. "Umm, why were you out there though?" she asked.
Takeyu had to smile, though he was beginning to wonder why she was so curious.
"I don't believe we're allowed to tell you," Kiko said.
"Is it because I'm a kid?" asked Layven.
"No, it's more of a general policy of not telling anyone anything unless they need to know," she answered. "Otherwise someone might accidentally tell an NMX agent something important. In fact, that's probably why nobody ever told me why the NMX are fighting us."
"Worse yet," Takeyu interjected. "If we told you, they could potentially use you against us," he said, with the mere thought of someone using a child just sickened him to the core, but then again, he knew that the NMX were just as capable of doing such a thing.
Layven didn't like that and shivered all over. "I don't think I wanna know now.... but what about the captain? Who was she?" she asked.
"Hanako-sama? Her full name is Ketsurui Hanako-Taisa. She's actually quite famous. Why do you ask?"
"Ketsurui... Ketsurui.... Ah! That would mean that she's a princess, right?" Layven's eyes lit up with excitement. Kiko nodded. "Do you think I could meet her?"
At that, Takeyu blinked. "Umm, I don't think that would be possible, considering she is a very busy person," he said and looked over at Kiko. She nodded at him "it seems unlikely."
"I 'could' always ask the Taisa, but it's entirely up to her, but there is no gurrantee," he said to Layven who, relunctanlty, nodded her head. She's rather meet her right now, but she knew that just wasn't possible.
Again, she turned back to the lake and began to think about what she would say if she meet Hanako, and wanted to thank her. If she hadn't been there, where would I be?
the thought made her a little frightened, as she remembered vividly at how cold and hungry she felt on the planet. Eating warm food, and sleeping in a warm bed, was enough for her right now.
She then smiled, spun around, and grabbed the rail and boosted herself up, now clear of it she could see clearly and further, but as she was about to get down she felt something sharp slice into her hand. "Ow!" she yelped and quickly drew her hand away and looked at it. "Layven-san, are you all right?" Kiko asked, stepping closer.
Takeyu unfolded his arms, and glanced over at Kiko.
Layven stared at the blood as it flowed from her open cut, and for a moment she seemed fixated on it, then suddenly memories began to flash through her mind, people screaming, and someone shouting. As blood dripped off her hand, she suddenly moved it to her head and started screaming out in pain, with tears rolling down her face.
Takeyu quickly knelt down in front, and grabbed her wrists, but he was amazed that despite her being a child he could not pull them away from her head. "Kiko? Can you pull her hands away from her head please so that I can talk to her, I know it's harsh..."
he asked, completely forgetting to add any honorific to the name due to the situation.
Kiko immediately siezed Layven's wrists and yanked them away from her head with as little force as she could, but still far more than she'd have done without Takeyu's message. She let the lack of honorific pass without mention.
Layven struggled hard, but she couldn't get her hands free. Kiko forced the arms behind her back and held them both in the same two-handed grip. Takeyu looked into her face and said, "Layven! Calm down, you're safe and sound, calm down!" he said but then saw her eyes shout open, they were like saucers, with tears still pouring. He was takenaback, shocked even. "I.... I've never seen her this scared before, what the hell did they DO to her?"
he asked but then went back to trying to get through to her. Layven still struggled, he wasn't certain if it was her phobia of blood, or the images of her torment at the hands of the slavers that was driving her fear.
He placed his hands around her face, and this caused her eyes to twitch slightly. "Calm down...." he said softly and for that moment she stopped struggling, as if she realized where she was, before he saw her eyes close slightly, before fainting and falling backward toward Kiko. The neko caught her with ease and set her gently on the softest patch of ground she could find. "I-I didn't hurt her, did I?" she stammered. Her eyes were wider than Takeyu had ever seen them and he didn't need to make an effort to hear the horror in her voice.
Takeyu looked down at Layven, concerned not because of what Kiko had to do to restrain her, but more about what might have caused Layven to freak out. "I don't think you did, she's a pretty tough kid," he smiled reassuringly at her. Or at least, she used to be...
The young neko breathed a sigh of relief, as she couldn't hear Takeyu's doubts. She took a couple of deep breaths and rearranged her expression back into the neutral mask she usually wore. "That is good to hear. My appologies that you had to see that, sir," she droned.
He shook his head, then carefully picked Layven up and held her. "No need to apologize, I'm just sorry you had to see her, but I guess it was to happen sooner or later, just wish it wouldn't have," he looked down at Layven's face. "I better get her back to the Medical Center then, and let them know about what happened," he said and shifted his hands so he could carry the twelve year old better. Kiko didn't dare ask to carry her instead.
"I'll contact you later in regards to the training, but it might be a bit later than I had originally planned," Takeyu said with a hint of concern in his tone.
Kiko's ears drooped an inch. "I see," she said. I can't blame him for rejecting me as a student... I wish he'd be more earnest about it, though.
With that, Takeyu shifted his weight a bit then started for the elevator that would take him to the Medical Center, but stopped part way. "Thank you for coming by the way," he smiled at her and continued walking. His eyes glanced down at his pocket, which held a KS Card that was given to him by Jalen Sune, guess I'll give it to her during the dinner tonight,
he thought before sending a message to the Medical Center, letting them know what had just happened and to have a nurse there ready.
"Thank you for inviting me," she said guiltily, not realizing that his thanks were just as sincere as hers.Though I also need to figure out who I have to talk to about revivals, but I guess I'll take care of that later,
he thought and looked down at his sister as he stepped into the elevator and tapped the button that would take him back to the medical center.END