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  • 📅 May and June 2024 are YE 46.4 in the RP.

RP: YSS Kaiyō [OPEN RP] Aside: Tanjōbi

William chuckled to himself as Luna patted his head as she sat on his shoulders. "Got a good view now?" He asked as he turned towards the new arrival. "Also you're training to be a ninja? Who said you could go and get big on me?" He teased.

"If it isn't Miko. Long time no see indeed." He said, giving a two finger wave. It had been awhile since he'd seen man. He'd be suprised if Miko even recognized him.

It was at that point that Aiko materialized next to him. He returned the hug, replying "It has been too long, Princess. Happy early birthday." He added as the hug ended.
They had been meandering along a path with carefully tended bonsai and shrubs to either side but within some time the terrain flanking them had begun to fluidly meld. It changed from simple tended pockets of greenery lit by the lanterns and the fading sun into pockets of water. Little ponds began sprinkling themselves into the terrain almost clandestinely, tucked into the scenery thoughtfully. Then when Hoshi spoke next, she was walking on stepping stones over a little lake.

"Mind your step," the captain said, pointing out the path of square blocks that allowed them to walk on water. Overhead there were soft-sweeping willow trees whose boughs bent down as if hoping to brush against the Yamataian heroes as they journeyed into the park. "Asuka was here. Maybe she's avoiding you, chef Mikodimus."

"Maybe I was," came the chipper voice of the redhead from behind most of the group. "Oh, they've brought us cider."

At the end of the path through the water were some teahouse attendants who had brought trays of steaming mugs that they were handing out to Hoshi's party. Even the mugs had the Fuji-class ship emblazoned on them in a stylistic portrait with the words "Happy birthday YSS Kaiyō II" incorporated. Asuka had already taken a mug and hummed happily.

"Is it lovefruit?" Hoshi asked after a sip, to which the attendant nodded and passed out two mugs to Kiyo and Luna. Captain Taiyou hadn't been able to choose between warm mulled lovefruit cider or a cold, sparkling sugar plum one and had asked to be surprised.

The Princess Aiko took a drink when it was presented to her and quickly sipped it down, and then just as speedily pulled the mug away from her lips as its warm contents nipped at the tip of her tongue. It wasn't that the drink was served too hot for a dainty Nekovalkyrja mouth to handle or anything of the sort; it was actually quite perfect. But she'd witnessed enough commoners react to overly-hot cafe drinks and assumed it was all part of some deeper cultural tradition or some such useful thing. Plus, a quick first sip concentrated the flavor in a spectacular way, and now it was how Aiko preferred to drink tea in an informal setting.

"This flavor in itself must be a memorial to the Kaiyō, Hoshi-san," she said, drinking a bigger gulp before examining the birthday message that was printed on her mug. That she shared the occasion with the warship that was her home, as well as the seaon and the birth of her relationship with Rei and William and, soon after, all of the initial crew, warmed her in ways that a simple cup of lovefruit tea could not.

"At every step this park impresses," Aiko added to William in a lower and more private voice. "Did you know about this surprise? Surely the builders consulted someone who had been aboard!"
Luna grinned at the sight of Aiko and waved with her one hand. “Aunt Aiko! Hiya! been a while!” She said with a big smile on her blue face. Her attention went to William ”yup! Awesome view from way up here, uncle William!” Kiyo was all smiles as she watched her daughter Luna was so sweet and well behaved, she was proud of her accomplishment. “Yes, I agree, I think I had raised her well” Kiyo said as they walked.

Luna was soon spoken to again by Hoshi so she looked down at the currently shorter Neko. “She taught me how to defend myself, and helped me to figure out some of the best places to target if I need to. Silly Uncle William, I’m no where near being considered a ninja, but she taught me that I should always try to escape, never to continue unless that is impossible.” Luna said with Kiyo nodding, as Kiyo had been taught some things too. “Happy Birthday!” Both Kiyo and Luna said in unison to Aiko, and soon they came teahouse attendants. Kiyo and Luna both got their mugs, and they smiled liking the design. Both girls liked the Fuji class starship, it had sentimental value to them. Luna had made sure to get off William as she didn’t want the mug to drip on his head or worse.
William followed along as they all spoke. Once the teahouse attendants came out, he let Luna down so she could grab one of the cups. Taking one himself, he took a sip. He let out a contented sigh as he tasted the drink. "It's quite good." He commented.

At Aiko's question, the Nepleslian shook his head softly. "No, I had no idea they were making it. But I have to agree, this park is very impressive."

Looking over to Luna, he smiled as she explained the things she learned from her training. "That's some pretty sound advice." He was glad that she learned how to keep herself safe.
Aiko stared at William for a few moments after his reply, narrowing her eyes while she tried to decipher whether he was fibbing or not. But quickly she decided he knew nothing of Kaiko Park's origin, in no small part because she couldn't ever remember him lying to her even over some harmless surprise.

"We will have to explore sometime after this little dedication party," the princess said decidedly. "While all the paths are magnificently concocted, how wonderful it would be to break off those trails and scrap through the rough. Were it not for the comin—"

“Happy Birthday!” Both Kiyo and Luna said in unison to Aiko
The Princess bowed to the Soban girls with a warm expression gracing her face. She could talk about Kaiko Park anytime, so did not mind the capture of her attention. Now that she knew it existed, she would likely ponder its trees and landscapes in the back of her mind until she'd seen it all and was satisfied with those what-ifs until then.

"Thank you, Kiyo; Luna-chan," Aiko said. "Having you here for it — and Boss' birthday, too — is among the best gifts for the season. And that Luna is a ninja-in-training if not considered one fully just yet?" she added, wondering to herself if Kiyo's daughter had joined SAINT or some such. "Then I am glad our safety against Kuvexian assassins is guaranteed. Rei-san can not be everywhere at once."
The samurai had stiffened perceptibly at her mention, wondering self-consciously at what Aiko had meant, but she looked at the subject of the comment, Luna, with regard.

"Anno... Fine area of study," Rei acknowledged, red eyes on Luna's.

"Taiyou-san, places are set for your guests." The attendant added with a bow away.

"Mmmm arigatou. Girls, we're having dinner where they brought your luggage to. Oh, and make sure to keep your eyes on yours," Hoshi said as she tapped her own mug with their ship emblazoned on it. "I'll have you take them home with you along with some other stuff. These cups are self-heating, very convenient."

She took a sip of the drink and smiled as she meandered along the footpath. With darkness fast approaching, the warm drink was welcome in the nippish winter's evening. The captain kept meanderingly walking as she spoke to her old crew. They came upon a larger lake with golden stars on its surface at different heights, some pointy and sharp-looking while some were boxy and angular. All were lit from underneath and had fountains of water at their bases that made soft bubbling and jettisoning sounds, adding a bit of life and movement to the walk along the water's edge. The bright lights and golden fixtures contrasted with the dark of the lake and evening, only matched in brightness and and glory by the stars peeking out in the dusky sky above.

In the center was a large golden figure with arms outstretched upwards. Words projected in front of her in golden solid volumetrics that water rushed as they rose from the lakebed slowly: “Mistress Taisho Yui who led the heroes and allies of Yamatai to victory!”

"Can anyone read those?" Hoshi asked. "What's this for?"
Miko looked over towards William and gave a wave back. Miko vaguely remembered this person from his time onboard the ship. "Hello friend," Miko shouted towards them.

Miko then had his attention drawn towards Asuka who spoke up. "Please, I'd avoid me too cause you know it is hard to resist this much wholesome." He said with a smile. "Good to see you Asuka, I was just having a moment helping Hoshi pick her mouth off the floor. I do not believe she expected to see me here." He then looked to Hoshi and gave her a sly wink.
Luna nodded her head to William. She, too, was glad that she knew how to keep herself safe, something her mother and father wanted and preferred. Luna turned her attention to Aiko, and for a moment the fact she was calling a princess, a member of the royal family, Auntie, as in a member of her family was totally lost on the former youngling. Her thoughts went to what she was saying, and then her thoughts went to her father, and wondered where he was.

That’s when she realized Rei was looking at her, so she gave a pleasant smile to her. This only widened as Rei commented it was a fine area of study. Kiyo and Luna blinked at the sign Hoshi put their attention too. “Looks like it says “Mistress Taisho Yui who led the heroes and allies of Yamatai to victory!” so I think its another memorial for the Kuvexian war” Kiyo said after looking, and Luna nodded.
Kiyo glanced at Miko and Asuka a moment.
"Hmmm, it should probably read 'Battle of Glimmergold' somewhere if it's not obvious it's dedicated to that," Hoshi murmured grumpily to herself. "I'll have it added."

"She's probably just astonished the Belmont she likes more is here," Asuka said as she tilted her red head to the side, resting it on Miko's shoulder. "Don't worry, I am too."

"It's true," Hoshi said, still chewing her cheek as she looked at the words in the lake. They had raised to about her height and seemed to perplex her. "What are your memories of the Battle of Glimmergold, everyone?"
It had been awhile since he had thought about the YSS Kaiyo II, but now he was wondering if there was more than a coincidence going on regarding it. First he ran into Kiyo and her daughter the other day, then he got the invitation for a reunion of sorts at the new park. Saying no would be the wrong answer, so he decided to make his way once he was done with his work for the day.

Given his size, it would be near impossible for him to really hide in the empty park. So he decided to just walk straight up at a somewhat slow pace until someone finally noticed the giant Shosa. Given the cold temperature, the white panels of his Type 42 uniform were covered by the black Type 32 Overcoat. But his MP badge and command white cover of his officer cap could be seen.

"I see almost everyone is here." Mikael said.
"The Battle of Glimmergold?" William asked looking to Hoshi. "Well I remember Aiko and I competing to see who could get the most kills. Then she went and blew up a cannon. I still claim that I had the most kills that day." He said side eyeing Aiko with a playful smirk.

He then stepped over to Rei and gave a soft smile. "Hello Sensei. Sorry for for going dark for so long." He said standing next to the woman who had adopted him so many years ago."
"That is not fair, Wil-kun," Aiko protested in a way that might sound playful if it weren't for her serious face and balled fist. The battle had been glorious but cost Ryuketsu's first armored form, requiring a new beginning to its battle history from then on. "Three-hundred-fifty-thousand-four-hundred-sixty-nine Kuvexians all at once surely does count. Haha-sama would have given me Yui's Blood Medallion for the effort had such not already flowed through my veins! But I digress," she admitted, still wondering in the back of her mind how much more storied a life her Keiko THOUGHT armor would have been able to tell had it not been sacrificed to help defeat the Interstellar Kingdom.

"Riding into battle atop the Kaiyō II stands out in my mind," she continued in a way that more directly answered Hoshi's question. "Lending inspiration to our troops allowed them to best both William and me and bring the Star Army final victory. "And what of your memories, Hoshi? What was our great captain's experience that fateful battle?" she asked, already knowing from their personal conversations but still interested to see what the pink Nekovalkyrja leader would share.

The princess gazed out over the Glimmergold memorial from her place on the shore, watching as the shadows cast by volumetric light danced around the statue of Taisho Yui while reflections from the water cast swirling eddies over the underside of the golden stars. Then had been a good day. There were few higher honors for a Nekovalkyrja than to end a war, even if it meant languishing with little to do until the next one. She let her eyes drop focus so that the "stars" above the lake became more real, and let the voices around her conglomerate to a background murmur. She remained like that until she caught the crunching approach of Mikael stepping over Kaiko Park's packed dirt trails and then snapped out of her trance, pointing her red eyes directly at the newcomer.

"One more for the celebration," Aiko said, somewhat relieved to see it was a former crewman rather than any other MP there to deliver the bad news they had a reputation for carrying. "Welcome, Harris-san."
Taisho Yui and her entourage stepped into the park, and four of her soldiers were carrying a tremendous wreath, which they brought to the periphery of the Glimmergold memorial. The call of a bugle and drums filled the air as a pair of musicians played ancient melodies and the group started a small ceremony for laying the wreath on a display stand near the center of the memorial. After this was done, the Taisho and a few of her people headed for the celebration and to speak with the crew of the Kaiyo II about the significance of their mission.

"Aiko," Yui nodded as she joined the others.
By this time, the words commemorating Yui had floated high into the sky and were now twinkling shapes only. Hoshi had been watching them ascend and thought about the Battle of Glimmergold when Aiko asked her. In truth, she had been fighting in the trenches for years at that point and Glimmergold had felt like the rest of Yamatai taking a weight off. She wondered if she had really contributed much besides opening the PA bay doors and firing a few shots off, but didn't know how to word that in front of some of the real heroes of the battle. For a moment, she felt as small as she was short.

After turning abruptly at the bugles, the pomp, and affair, Hoshi bowed to the greatest hero of Glimmergold- the very leader of it.

"Crewmen, Mistress Taisho Yui," Hoshi thought to say, feeling weightily responsible for having called upon the Star Army's own head to this small event. "I thank you for considering my request to be here tonight. Your unavailing courage has shaped us all in countless ways. It's an honor, truly. We were just discussing our memories of Glimmergold." The captain's form had bowed again stiffly, making the glittering blue of her dress dance beneath her coat. The last sentence, though, she said as she cut her deep blue eyes from the Yui in front of her to the golden likeness of the Taisho with frothing water beneath it on the lake's surface.
William chuckled at Aiko's reply. "You had help! I get half those tally marks, meaning I still win..." it was then he looked up and saw Yui. Being the sole Nepleslian he took a few steps back from everyone else, and offered a textbook Nepleslian salute. He then returned to watching everyone from Rei's side.
Aiko froze when her clan's illustrious matriarch advanced on their party and even acknowledged the princess by name. She experienced a brief flush of embarrassment to be out of uniform in her mother's presence, but failed to show it in any typical way. Instead, Aiko stood at attention and threw a crisp salute alongside William to mask her nerves. Inwardly, she now regretted not paying mind to Hoshi's warning about having invited more Ketsurui, and felt a little naked without her Type 35 jacket just then (though that may well have been from the chilly evening air passing straight through her high-slit black dress' extremely thin fabric).

"Permit me to introduce my comrades," Aiko said after dropping her salute. "You must know of Hoshi, who has led us in all of our victories. She is a great captain and an even better friend to everyone who has served under her. This Nepleslian is William, who has known me since the day after my birth and is somewhat of a son to my honored yojimbo, Rei," she added, gesturing first to Wil and then to the samurai who had done her part to raise them both. The princess gave Rei a warm, rare smile in affection, knowing her sensei would cherish these moments in the presence of the Ketsurui Clan's chieftess.

"Kiyo is an outstanding soldier and the veteran of many sorties under Taiyou-chusa, and her daughter Luna was born aboard the Kaiyō near the end of the war," Aiko continued, making sure to direct her eyes at each of them in turn. "And then Mikodimus of the famous Belmont Clan over there was once our ship's chef, if his apron did not tell the story already. The policeman is Mikael Harris. He once followed me into battle on a mission during his time aboard, and was another fine soldier among our ship's company in his time."
After their encounter with Yui, they were ushered to a private tea house. It was located behind tall bamboo hedges and a winding, almost maze-like path that would have been hard to find without the guidance of the captain. Inside they had enjoyed a multi-course meal had over the open flames of the yakitori grill in the middle of the room. Those were moved aside so that those that wanted to stay the night had a place to sleep along with the other rooms.

At some point during the night, snow began to fall. Hoshi slipped away from the sleepover to the private onsen. Amongst the warm blue waters and dark rocks that snow built up on, she was revelling in all that had been erected. Though she had paid for it and spent a lot of time planning it, when others had arrived it had taken on a liveliness. The real heroes of Yamatai had taken up the mantle as the park’s inhabitants on top of being its inspiration. She nodded off in the warm waters as the white snowflakes dotted her hair with a smile on her face.

In the morning, the captain tip-toed past Boss’s teal hair on the tatami mats and put a hand on Aiko’s shoulder to wake her, then withdrew it.

“Get dressed,” Hoshi whispered to the princess. “I know you like being fashionable, but wear a warm kimono.” Hoshi herself had a pale fur collar over her soft blue and white kimono that matched her hair as it splayed out in low matching twintails.

“Oh, and happy birthday,” Hoshi added with a smile before she closed the partition doors.
It seemed to Aiko as if she'd just fallen asleep beside Boss a moment before, snuggled up and cozy under an ample heap covers atop a traditional futon, when Hoshi roused her with the birthday greeting. Though she felt well rested and was accustomed to waking up on command as a soldier, her heavy lids only allowed a sliver of her crimson eyes to peek through as Hoshi stood above her and gave a gentle nudge to the princess' shoulder. And so, not being one to complain but nonetheless captured by the encompassing comfort of where she was, Aiko managed to raise her right hand up through the blankets and give a thumbs-up to her captain just as she slid the room's doors closed again.

Only a few minutes later, Aiko emerged from the teahouse's front entrance with careful, silent steps as to not wake the others. Wearing a thick scarlet kimono over a thinner one spun from black linen, she had fastened both with a red obi that matched her outer layer perfectly. Following Hoshi's advice, the princess hadn't made any conscious considerations for style and wore no accessories save for the bellflowers that almost always sat above her right ear and a pair of high-toothed geta sandals that would keep her high above the snow that had coated the park in wonder through the night. Her bushy, unkempt bed hair kept her neck and face warm in the place of a scarf or furred collar like Hoshi wore, and she seemed unconcerned at its messy state so early in the day.

"Good morning, Hoshi!" Aiko said excitedly when she came down the teahouse's stairs to meet her pink friend on the path that led to it. "Happy Birthday!"
Giggling, Hoshi chimed, "Yes! Happy birthday to you! Here, follow me." She led them South, away from the teahouse and into the park at large. "Six years of the ship in its two iterations and six years of you," Hoshi said wondrously, looking about at the snow-sacked boughs of trees above her. "You were originally assigned to learn under Teien Eden, then the pleasure fell on my shoulders. I hope I did an alright enough job. I don't know if there's much from me you could have learned. Even when I set you down one path or another, you had the courage to find your own that would meet the same end. I feel lucky to have served with such a fine example of the Star Army, someone that follows her own heart.

"Despite the obstacles you faced, you kept persevering. Even when captured you escaped with dignity and gave our enemies real reason to fear us. Even so, your imprisonment was a major punch to the fighting spirit of many, including me, but your determination and will to resist gave me my courage and gave you your freedom. This park is a testament to the war, for which you played no small part. So..." Hoshi peeked around a bend in the wide trail they were going down. Evergreens lined the walk to the south they had been on and had shielded their path from the snow, but there was a small break in the trees up ahead.

"So I wanted you to see just how much you meant to the war, Ketsurui Aiko, XO of the YSS Kaiyō II, Yui's youngest, Yamatai's Red Demon as the Kuvexians called you... Our ship's Karasuhime." She had led Aiko further so that she could see the breaking morning sun shine through the treetops and perfectly land on a feminine golden statue that was lofty amongst the trees and set atop a chalky white wall. She had bellflowers behind her ears and held a sword to her chest. It was obvious to many, and hopefully to Aiko herself, that it was the princess that had been the face of the Kuvexian war.
The princess had heard before some of the praise Hoshi was now sending her way as they walked down the wooded path, examining the park's trees and foliage adorned with the sort of perfect white-capped Yule Tide dreams usually saved for crooning holiday carols as they went. Even Yui had touched upon some of her wartime exploits on the evening prior, although, of course, more generally among exaltations for the starship Kaiyō and her crew's mission. Coming all at once from her captain, though — who had been there on the frontlines and led them all through everything the Kuvexians could muster — was enough to keep Aiko's face warm and filled with enough modest emotion so it matched her bright red kimono. Hoshi reciting these devotions seemed more genuine than from any one of the countless citizens who knew her only from the news, and was more delightful for the princess to hear than the stern pride that welled up in her chest under her mother Yui's gaze.

Aiko hadn't much to say while Hoshi took her through the trees. More than still feeling a little asleep, she was a Nekovalkyrja of few words unless the moment called for it and had simply accepted her commander's compliments as a sweet birthday treat. Words were a sufficient gift for someone whose military prestige allowed them full access to Yamatai's bounty, after all, without Aiko's Imperial lineage even being taken into account. But when the pair came around and into view of that alabaster wall with its statue and the sun rising over a pond just beyond, the princess' eyes widened and snapped her out of whatever sleep was still stuck in her head.

"Is that?!" Aiko asked in a way that sounded happily demanding, leaping off the ground to zip around in the air and bring herself face-to-face with the golden visage of her likeness.

The princess stared into the statue's flat eyes and stern expression for a long dozen seconds, unaware that her mouth was locked in a big smile that surely diminished the degree to which it was an accurate effigy of her usual demeanor. She would go on to float around it slowly, her feet dangling above the wall, examining every micrometer as she went. And finally when she was done with that, Aiko ended up where she began in front of the statue.

"This is perfect, Hoshi!" she called while popping her head out beside the sculpture for a moment so Hoshi could see her. Then she took a hand and brushed the pile of snow off of the golden Aiko's cold head and blew the dusting of icy powder off of its shoulders before looking to Hoshi again. "No! Now it is perfect!"