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 All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]

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Kiku Honda
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PostSubject: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:05 am

((The title is a bad play on 'All over the Eastern Seas' (Yao's dominion and a possible hint for later plot points), or as it stands ('All over the Eastern Teas'), it foreshadows the way in which Yao and Kiku will meet).

This RP takes place in the past. Kiku is a young child, only 10 years of age at this time.

WARNINGS: may contain mild violence, nudity of a non-sexual nature, and swearing))

***

Kiku strolled down the dock, tossing and catching an apple. The docks around him bustled with activity and noise, the local and Otherlander merchants attempting to compete to appeal for everyone else to buy their wares. As soon as the fruit smacked against his palm, he would toss it in the air again, spinning and ducking beneath the startled gown of a Otherlander before catching it, or flip in an almost flashy, street performer way before the apple found his palm again. The people around him who weren't annoyed with his childish antics were impressed, some calling him 'circused' while others simply spat on the ground and cursed the Rat for 'chamming' the streets with his airin'.

Kiku ignored them, ducking other Otherlanders and nobles, Rats and others he could not place alike. He had no time for them if he wanted to make it to his destination then back to the streets before the rumored Otherlanders landed at the docks. He had already been delayed long enough, and according to the rumors the Otherlanders were to land when the baker called his lowered prices for his rolls. Kiku normally paid little attention to such rumors, because the results were usually simply fishermen from nearby towns bringing in their catches to sell. But this day, supposedly a grand Otherlander and his ship were to arrive, bringing goods only the nobles could afford.

"Ha Ha, ye 'eard?" He poked his head into the alleyway, searching for the woman affectionately known as 'Ha Ha'...the closest person to a mother he had ever known in his time on the docks. "Most go'n fer ye. Rats aplenty an' 'e din 'eard the rules." He huffed, still a little sore about having to run from the other Rat boy. Rats tended to keep away from each others' finds, unless they were desperate. And this boy had been desperate enough to pull a weapon on him, so Kiku had settled for grabbing the apple and running. Once he had lost the Rat, he had continued at a more leisurely pace, trying not to look suspicious. But the stalls he had come across were too heavily guarded, even for his circusing, and so he returned with only the apple for the time being. Once he made sure she was settled, he would go out to the docks and look for the ship.

"'Et Pocker got away 'en, yeh?" The woman patted Kiku's head, making him frown and touch his hand to the greasy locks. He wasn't overly fond of people touching his hair, even if he loved them like his own mother.

"Ey, pocker 'ent sommat I'll be circused airin'. 'Sides, I bron this for ye." He held out the apple to her, a mischievous smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. He nodded as she took it, taking out a knife and cutting the thing in pieces and offering him one. He shook his head at first, insisting without words that she eat it. He could always find food for himself later anyway, after he explored the ship (or if it didn't show up, while people were waiting for it).

"Nye, 'ere." She flipped him a piece, laughing as he fumbled to catch it. "Nye etin's fan silly." She laughed harder as he frowned at her, the sound infectious enough to make him crack a smile.

Kiku shook his head, but popped the fruit into his mouth. She probably knew he had not eaten in awhile, which was the only reason she was forcing him to take the apple now. "'eard Otherlanders 'er comin' in an' I'll go and bron ye sommat." He reached down to retrieve a small pouch, slinging it around his neck. The dirty cloth held the few things he could actually call his own, and although he was wary to take it with him he wanted to be able to carry more than just one little thing back to her.

"Nye, jus' go." She ate another apple slice, shooting him a grin. He opened his mouth to protest when he noticed the look in her eyes. Something about it seemed...off, as if she didn't believe he was coming back. Kiku wasn't an overly superstitious Rat, but nothing his Ha Ha had ever said would happen had failed to occur. Still, it wasn't as though he would be gone long...just long enough to see the ship and maybe take a thing or two for the two of them. "Ye'v always lov'd t'ships, so go, yeh? I be 'ere when ye ge' back."

"Righ'. I'll be back 'en, yeh." He paused a moment, his gaze still fixed on her, before turning slowly and making his way out of the alleyway. His heart still fluttered, unsettled by the seemingly final way she had talked to him. He mused as he walked, this time careful not to draw attention to himself. Still no solution came to him, and so he pushed it to the back of his mind. She wouldn't have wanted him to worry over it anyway. He had a bit of a walk before he reached the docks, and it seemed he was not the only one interested in confirming or disproving the rumors. Many of the people around him seemed to be moving in the same direction, making his going even slower than it would have normally been.


***

((Translations will always be posted below and in the order they appear...and then added to Kiku's profile in the Rouglin Dictionary post. Keep in mind...I'm making tons of this up as I go, so feel free to PM me with questions~
Spoiler:
 


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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:10 am

Yao stood at the bow of his ship, watching the port city slowly come into focus and emerge from the sea. The White Lotus, one of the largest variations of junk ship made so far, cut through the water silently and as smoothly as scissors through silk, although if the silk in question belonged to one of Yao’s robes, the person with the scissors would not be around very long afterward. Its white sails that Yao often likened to dragon wings directed the ship into the port. It had been some time since he and crew had last visited this town, and considering the events of his last visit, Yao was surprised that things had cooled off as fast as they did. However that didn’t mean that a confrontation would not occur during their visit. A low profile would need to be held, although he could not say the same for his crew and their activities on land. As long as any of their misdoings and escapades didn’t lead back to him, Yao didn’t much care. He had other business to attend to than settling some drunken dispute between one of his crew members and some angry noble.

On the docks, a tea merchant would be waiting for them to deliver payment in exchange for two dozen barrels of black tea. However, if Yao’s informants were correct, that night when the merchant would be visiting the whore houses, he would increase his stock with a dozen barrels of Oolong tea and a dozen and a half dozen barrels of white tea. There was also a spice merchant in the area as well where Yao also planned to take stock of Cassia, Chinese Cinnamon, after that man had succumbed to his own vice of drinking.

While the Oolong and white tea would bring in enough profit on its own due to its specialty, as well as the black tea with its popularity but with the addition cassia Yao would be able to draw more profit. It was not just because of the spice itself but because both cassia and black tea were vital parts used to make chai tea. In the right parts of the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, this combination of goods would be extremely profitable for Yao and his crew.

“Captain, we’re almost to port.” Announced the quartermaster as he stood attention behind Yao. “Do you have an special orders?”

Yao snapped back from his trading plans to direct his quartermaster. “Bring us to port and dock the Lotus where we planned. Tell the crew to rest or have their fun on land while they can. Our supplier’s men are willing to load our order on board.” A smile creeped across Yao’s face as his future prospects came to mind again. “I’ll need my men to be ready later to get the rest of my stock off his ship. I’ll also need a group ready to retrieve the cassia from the spice trader once he’s passed out from his usually drinking binges.”

“What if he’s not passed out, Captain?” The Quartermaster inquired.

Yao’s eyes narrowed on the man. “Surely my crew will come up with a creative solution to that problem without killing or seriously injuring the man without my instruction.”

“Yes, Captain.” The quartermaster bowed deeply. “As you wish.”

The Quartermaster ran back and gave the orders to the rest of the crew. The White Lotus slipped gracefully to the dock, where the anchor was dropped and heavy ropes tied the ship to the dock. As soon as the gang plank dropped, connecting the ship with the dock, Yao walked off the ship and into the town. He tried to keep his attention on his business as well as the Dock Rats running about. Those sticky little fingers would rob you clean before you even knew what hit you…still the pirate captain felt a twinge of pity for the children, especially from his last visit.

Still, he couldn’t get caught up in every affair that came to him. He knew how to pick his battles. Right now he had a merchant to charm and swindle before he left town. If the rat who weighed on his mind appeared by some miracle…then he would handle it when and if that miracle ever happened.


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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:17 am

Kiku smiled a devilish smile as he hopped from rooftop to rooftop, occasionally cutting through the high balconies when the rooftop itself proved too steep for scrambling. He occasionally paused to watch the crowds below, all of the people shoving and cursing as they tried to make their way closer to the docks through the narrow streets. He silently laughed at their stupidity, or their inability to climb. If they could, they would have easily moved all of the people to the docks in no time. "Well, ent m' matter." He said under his breath as he resumed his rooftop run, waving to a few of his fellow Rats who had also taken to the housetops. "Let 'em be chammin', circusing bron us faster th'n th'Dockers 'n Otherlanders no way."

All too soon he had come to the end, and with a soft noise he leaped down into one of the alleyways. The Rats there growled low in their throats, thinking him to be a rival. He quickly formed the hand sign for neutral, gesturing out to the docks. They silently formed a pact, finally departing each other with a soft whistle. Kiku had agreed that he would not disturb their activities, so long as they left him to his own devices. He wasn't part of their gang (or any gang for that matter), but if he were to somehow fall into trouble he could call on them for help...so long as he paid them after. In turn, he would come to their aid if they were in trouble, though he doubted they would be relying on him. If anything, they would whistle if they needed someone else to face the law instead of one of their own, and there wasn't much they could pay him that would make it worth his while. Still, he was a Rat of his word, and he would answer their call.

The Rats always functioned on a dependent-independent system, passed down and told to each new Rat. A gang of Rats taught their gang members the usual signs and signals, but also included ones distinct to their gangs. Only a local Rat or a Docker might be lucky (or intelligent) enough to learn them...or an Otherlander who happened to have connections with someone on the docks who knew them. The gangs lived separately, but because they understood the symbols common to all Rats they could ask each other for help. Some were more friendly than others, but all Rats held this universal, unspoken code. Yet even the gangs helped to protect the Rats who lived outside of their spheres, so long as the independent Rats paid them in some form. A gang could also function outside of the universal sphere by simply remaining hidden, or by opting not to assist another Rat (though that made them unpopular and isolated them most times).

He crept from the alleyway onto the main road, blending in with the passing patrons and easily liberating a few coins from pouches along the way. He stuffed them into his own leather pouch, careful to place other objects between them so that they did not jingle. Ha Ha would be pleased with the coins, but coins only meant something if they turned into food or necessities. And it wasn't often a merchant would sell anything to a Rat, since the coins were dirty in their eyes. Still, coins were coins, and he could turn them into those other things and worry about it after he actually stole something of more value.

He approached the edge of the docks cautiously, trying not to draw attention. However, his caution was fairly unnecessary, since most of the nobles and Rats alike were focused on one thing, more specifically, one man. Kiku was too short to see over their heads, but he could guess from the whispers that the man was a pirate captain. He skirted the gathering, easily keeping pace with the man. If Kiku could figure out where he was going, he might be able to score some of his valuables before the man even knew what had happened.

The captain seemed to be heading for the tea shop, so Kiku ducked into the alley and ran to the back. He would never be able to take anything from the clean, well-kept front, but the back housed the better of the goods anyway. He rounded the corner and stole into the back, where the shopkeep kept his barrels. Kiku breathed in deeply, the wood mingling with the more subtle scent of tea. He would need to pick a barrel that had not already been sealed tight, or else he would have to break it in order to take any of the precious leaves. He soon spied one, closer to the front of the store but not close enough to be spied from the open doorway. Grinning, he ran silently to it, immediately standing on tiptoe in order to snatch a few leaves from the top.

Footsteps heading in his direction made him stop. He needed to hide somewhere, lest he be caught! He jumped, tipping into the barrel headfirst, coughing as the scent of the leaves went up his nose. Hastily, he burrowed down into the leaves, thankful once again for his rather small stature. He made sure to be fully covered, though the dim lighting in the back room would also help conceal him. The footsteps paused in the doorway, and he listened, trying to gauge who was heading his way...or how many there were. 'One...two...three. Mus' be the 'keep and 'is men, or 'im, 'is men 'n the cap'n.'

He was pulled from his thoughts when one of the sets of steps paused directly in front of his hiding place. He held his breath, partially to keep from being discovered and partially to avoid breathing in the tea. The man outside of his barrel grunted, then moved away for a moment. Kiku sighed silently in relief, though the feeling went away immediately when the sound of the steps returned. He dared not look, though the sound of the lid being placed atop the mouth of the barrel made him nearly jump out of his skin. Luckily, the small gasp that left his lips was covered by the man speaking and knocking the lid into place. Kiku remained perfectly still, even as the voices retreated back into the shop.

'Well...this ent good...'


***

((Translations, once more:
Spoiler:
 


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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:52 am

Yao walked down the docks into the down, his arms folded behind his back, keeping his calm composed posture. He picked up the whispers from the townsfolk he passed as he entered the city. Obviously, Yao had not been forgotten in this town. ‘Pirate’ they whispered. ‘The richest scum of the Earth.’, ‘The Tiger is prowling here again.’ Still no one sounded any alarms at his appearance or summoned guards. Although who here in the most crime infested part of town would alert the guard anyway? To rat out one criminal, you may as well rat everyone in the slums out with you. There were always methods of fixing loose lips, like the British sailors said when Yao had traveled to Arabia ‘Dead men tell no tales.’ It didn’t matter who knew though, what happened and its results would be his burden to bear… just as their indiscretions were their own to bear.

He didn’t look around at the people he passed or those who moved out of his way, although he did keep an eye out for the rats and other thieves in the area. There was one child, at least he thought there was a child, that was following him, but he wasn’t close enough for Yao to know for sure. Yao just shook his head, continuing on the cobblestone street. He couldn’t have his head slipping into fantasies and daydreams now. The tea shop appeared just ahead of him out of the corner of his eye. Yao looked around one good time, the child was nowhere to be seen and the people milled about on their own business, so he went on with his own errand.

The shop owner, a lanky man whose legs seemed un-proportional to the rest of his body, was waiting behind a counter. A few of shopkeeper’s men were taking stock of things in the store front and organizing things after the end of the busy market day. Yao smiled as he approached the counter, the smell of teas immediately filled his nose and intensified as he drew closer to the counter.
“Good afternoon, sir. I believe you have an order for me to pick up today.”

The shop keeper’s eyes narrowed. “And why exactly should I fill your order after you nearly emptied my shop, Captain?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about, sir.”

“You know exactly what I’m talking about Captain Wang!” The shop keeper growled. “I know it was you who stole nearly my entire inventory the last time you were here.”

Yao laughed. “Do you have any proof it was me? If you do, I’d love to see it.” The shop keeper was taken back, as his eyes darted from left to right as if he was desperately searching for something to prove Yao’s guilt. The workers had stopped, each of them unsure of how to help their employer. Yao chuckled and pulled out a small dagger from his belt, playing with it in his fingers as he leaned on the wooden counter. The man wasn’t wrong, Yao was indeed the thief. While Yao wasn’t exactly sorry for what he had done, he did regret taking so much, even though he didn’t get caught. It was risky taking so much from one person, but Yao didn’t care if he got caught, he needed the adrenaline rush, a way to put things back to normal, even if it was an overload. Yao continued to twirl the knife in his fingers, examining the blade. “If you don’t, I’d like to continue on with my business and get my tea on my ship.” He drove the dagger down into the counter with a loud thud, causing the shop keeper to jump and the men in the room were frozen. “Unless you have any more objections you’d like to make? I really don’t want to cause any trouble.”

The shopkeeper shook his head franticly, and waved for his men to follow him. “R-right this way, Captain.”

“Thank you.” Yao smiled, and pulled the dagger out of the counter, placing it back in his belt.
He followed the shopkeeper into the back where the barrels of tea were kept. The variety of aromas from the different types of tea overwhelmed his senses. Yet to Yao this sensory overload was welcome, as the smell of tea always seemed to calm him and fill him with a sense of happiness.

One open barrel caught his eye and nose. Yao didn’t have to see the tea leaves or the mark on the barrel to know that it was Oolong Tea. The Captain walked toward it, inspecting the precious leaves inside. They were perfectly aged, ready for brewing, and would fetch a handsome price in the market. Yao reached in and scooped up a hand full of the tea leaves, bringing them to his nose. Perhaps he would keep this barrel for himself, instead of the market.

“Captain,” The shopkeeper said, bringing Yao back to the back of the tea shop. “I would appreciate it if you would kindly not touch my goods unless you are intent on buying them. Unless you have decided to add on to your order?” He held up the letter Yao had written him a few months ago detailing his request for the black tea.

Yao chuckled, dropping the leaves back into be barrel. “Perhaps. You’re quality of teas never ceases to amaze me” As soon as the last leaf fell, one of the owner’s men came over and hammered a lid over the barrel of Oolong tea.

“These are yours, Captain. Two dozen barrels of black tea.” The shopkeeper motioned to a large block of wooden barrels, with one open one set aside for Yao to inspect. He seemed much more at ease after Yao’s complement. “I hope their quality equally impresses you.”

Yao walked over, inspecting and smelling the dark leaves as he had done with the Oolong tea. A smile swept across his face again. “Yes, these will do just fine. Can your men still take these to my ship before night fall?”

“Yes,” The owner replied. “Come with me and we will settle our price and be on our way. I have other business to attend to once I close shop this evening, Captain.”

“I’m sure you do, sir.” Yao said with a smile, knowing exactly what ‘business’ he would be attending to. “Let’s not waste either of our time then.”

~~~~~

The sun had fallen by the time Yao returned to his ship. He checked the decks bellow, making sure his goods was as he wanted them, and gave the order to his Quartermaster to send out the crew to get the rest of the tea and the cinnamon. Yao had lingered long enough in town to make sure each of his intended targets were well unguarded. All Yao had to do was wait. Normally, one would think he would go with his crew on this heist, but he knew his crew well enough to know that they would bring back the right goods. They knew not to come back if they failed. The only person on board was an older scribe, who was fast asleep at the moment. Besides if he was spotted again near the tea shop it would definitely place him at the scene of the almost crime.

Yao passed the time in his quarters, going through his journals and notes as well as his mentor’s logs. Even though he had been doing fine on his own, Yao always felt as though he needed to hear his mentor’s words to keep himself on the right track, if there was a ‘right’ track for pirates. Still it was comforting to read the familiar handwriting, and pretend to hear the old captain’s voice reading him the words on the yellowing pages. As the oil lamp burned on, Yao became lost in the worn pages as he slumped down in into his pillows and cushions.

A fist pounding at his door brought Yao back from his thoughts. He stood up and walked briskly to the door, opening it with an expression of annoyance toward the crew member on the other side.
“Captain, the goods are all on board. Everything went well.” The sailor said, straightening his posture.
“Good.” Yao pushed passed the sailor, heading toward the storage deck below. “Let’s see how you dogs did.”

In the storage deck part of the crew was putting away and organizing the barrels. Slowly the deck became filled with the same rich smell of tea as the shop. It would be a pleasant smell to have aboard for the next few months as they made their way to India and Arabia. From the corner of his eye, Yao saw the barrel of Oolong tea he had examined in the shop being rolled in. He could tell because the markings on the barrel did not match the hastily chosen lid that the tea shop worker had put on it.
Yao pointed to the barrel and ordered the sailor to stop. “Turn that barrel upright and open it. I would like to see my loot before we take off.”

The sailor obeyed, prying off the wooden lid, exposing the leaves inside. “Captain, I think something’s wrong with this barrel. It’s heavier than usual.”

“Or maybe you’re weaker than usual. Go tell the crew on deck to get us out of port and navigate us to our next stop.” Yao snapped in return, the sailor running the deck above to give the orders to the rest of the crew. Yao went over and picked up the tea leaves again, letting them fall through his fingers as he examined them. “Looks like I can touch these without buying them after all…”


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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:58 am

Kiku remained crouched in the barrel, the scent of tea practically overwhelming him in the enclosed space. Thankfully, the lid of the barrel, though sealed, let in enough air for him not to suffocate. That, the barrel's make allowed a minuscule amount of air in. Once he was sure the voices had completely faded, he shifted until he could sit more properly in the cramped enclosure, hiding himself more beneath the strong-smelling tea. He reasoned that once the shop closed for the night, he would be able to try to kick the lid off and then make his escape. If he could not remove the lid, then he would at least be able to call some of his fellow Rats for help. But moving during the daytime meant he might catch the attention of the shopkeep, and then he would be sent off to the local prison for sure, even if he put back the tea. The locals used any excuse they could to exterminate the Rats from the docks, and he was certain this shopkeep, judging by his earlier conversation, was the type to make false accusations or to blame the Rats for any misfortune of his.

The rest of the day passed uneventfully, and Kiku found himself dozing off every so often. Occasionally, a patron inspecting some nearby barrels woke him, but since the larger visit earlier that day no one else seemed to be walking away with any large sum of tea. Still, he listened to each new voice, trying to distinguish the shopkeep from a customer, or a worker from a Docker on an errand for some noble. He became rather good at his little game, though not many voices other than the shopkeep and his workers came within his hearing. When he did sleep, he had strange dreams. He guessed the tea had something to do with them, but at least they were entertaining. He passed the time until night began to fall, his only indication of time being the less and less sober voices reaching his ears.

'Sommat must be righ' about this 'liquor' they keep on abou'. Seems most take to it an' then y'don' know up from down an' they ge' louder an' it jus' seem like sommat fun t' try.' He entertained himself with thoughts of liquor, drinking with others and enjoying their raucous laughter and stories. One could learn many things from a drunkard, especially information one was not normally permitted to know. Kiku wondered how the older Rats did it, since they seemed to drink just as heavily as the nobles they extracted information from. ''Haps they go' sommat special in their drinks.' He drifted off again, this time deeper as he dreamed of dancers wildly drinking while shouting their secrets from the rooftops.

He awoke with a start as the barrel jolted violently. Groggily, he rubbed his eyes as the voice of a man reached his ears. Instantly, he was alert once more, the whispered gruffness in the voice putting him on alert. He bit back a gasp as he felt the ground beneath him disappear, then another as the barrel tilted sideways, throwing him practically against the lid. Disoriented, he tried to shift so he was on his side, as the barrel bounced lightly in the hands of the man carrying him. Desperately, he tried to find some small chink in the barrel, through which he could attempt to figure out where the man was taking him. Another grunt sounded close to him. So, the man carrying his barrel wasn't alone. After a moment of searching, he found a small space near the ill-fitting lid, and he eagerly tried to view the outside world. Unfortunately, night had fallen, and the flickering light of the random lamps did nothing to tell him where he was.

'm being nabbed, bu' they dun kno' 'm in here. I cou' holler, bu' then they'll find me 'n turn me in!' The barrel muffled the noises of the nightlife around him, and the strong scent of tea made the stench of alcohol, less-than-clean bodies, and less-than-clean activities impossible for him to smell. Though he silently thanked the Watchers for that, at least the smells would have told him about where he was in the town. Instead, all he could do was curl in on himself and wait, praying his destination was not somewhere horribly far from the town. Occasionally, the man carrying him would stop moving, though he never set the barrel down. Kiku could only guess at his reasons. Perhaps he was trying to avoid the drunks staggering home, or perhaps he was trying to avoid the night guards. Either way, he would resume lumbering to his destination, shaking up the barrel and Kiku.

The sound of voices faded as they left the more populated part of town. Kiku guessed, with growing panic, that they were headed to the docks. He considered yelling again, but the potential dangers of being found out now were even worse than when he had been in town. If the men were ruthless merchants or Otherlanders, he might become a slave aboard their ships. One less Rat on the docks wouldn't bother the nobles nearly as much as it ought to. He instead clung to the hope that the man was simply taking him to one of the many warehouses to be loaded on a ship in the morning. If that was the case, he would be able to escape once the man left. He would have to evade some guards, but at least he would be able to make it back, perhaps with extra tea now that he was practically swimming in it.

His theory became more likely as the man paused, the faint sound of the waters lapping against the docked boats floating to his ears among the grunts of the man still struggling with his barrel. Twice he had stopped to complain about the weight, though he kept on to his destination anyway. Again, he considered shouting, but as soon as he cleared enough room between the tea and the side of the barrel, the man set the barrel down abruptly, jostling him back to the bottom. He bit back a curse and a sneeze as the tea rained down to cover him once more, thankful that their journey seemed to be over. He quietly shifted until he could peek out of the top of the barrel again, then drew back in horror. The man was now leaning against the barrel, showing the trapped Rat a rather unflattering portion of his uncovered behind. Worse, he seemed in no hurry to leave, chatting idly with anyone who happened to pass him by as if he was supposed to be there.

'Aye, and he's nabbing me too! Seems all be knocked abou' in the nog! An' 'e won' stop natterin'. 'N 'e name' sommat li' me scummer!'

Soon, Kiku noticed the conversations were not moving away from them, but remaining in their general area. He wondered if he was conversing with others bringing things to the warehouse, though their rather hushed tones kept him on his guard. After what felt like several minutes of hushed conversation, a low whistle sounded from somewhere on his left. It sounded like it was coming from the waters, or perhaps another warehouse, but definitely not from the small gathering of men around his barrel. The man leaning against his barrel waited a moment before whistling long and low, as if answering the first. Shortly after, another low whistle, this time shorter and alternated with a slightly higher pitched one followed, and after another pause the man returned it as well.

'Sommat ent righ'. 'es no' jus' circusin'. Nae, minds li' a signal.'

Before he could wonder more, the barrel was placed on its side once more, but this time (to his horror) the thing began rolling. He bit his lip to keep from yelling as the loose tea and darkness became like a tumultuous storm, battering the little prisoner inside. He barely registered the incline or decline as the barrel continued its frightening journey, the man pushing it grunting all the while in a way that reminded Kiku of the way some of the nobles grunted when they thought no one was spying on them. He only felt the barrel stop abruptly, his teeth sinking into his lip and mercifully stifling a hiss of pain as he hit the wood. He checked himself as best as he could for injury, not wanting to move too much and alert the men outside his prison that there was something other than tea in their barrel.

“Turn that barrel upright and open it. I would like to see my loot before we take off.”

The voice rang familiarly in Kiku's ears, though he had little time to try to recall its owner before the barrel was once again tilted. He fell on his bottom against the floor, the tea once again raining down over him and obscuring him. The tea settled down just as the sound of the lid being pried off completely reached his ears, and he held his breath, as if afraid even the slightest inhale or exhale would reveal his presence.

'Take off? So them's pockers ye?'

“Captain, I think something’s wrong with this barrel. It’s heavier than usual.”

'Sommat's wrong with yer nog, ye' pocker.' Kiku smirked, glad to know he caused the man nabbing him at least some discomfort.

“Or maybe you’re weaker than usual. Go tell the crew on deck to get us out of port and navigate us to our next stop.”

The Captain! Kiku's heart sank as he recognized the voice of one of the men in the shop from earlier in the day. He listened to the footsteps hastily retreating from the barrel, presumably to go above and tell the crew to set sail. There was no way he could take on an entire crew, though perhaps he stood a small chance against the Captain. He reasoned that if he could catch the man off guard, then he would have just enough time to escape before the rest of the crew hurried to the captain's aid. For that though, he would need an opportunity, or something so unexpected that the Captain would be rendered speechless. A smirk played across his lips as he thought of the perfect thing, and he shifted in the barrel a little, until he could crouch.

He felt fingers brush against his hair, skimming some of the tea leaves off the top. He guessed the Captain was examining them, though he didn't dare look up lest the light catch his eyes and give his hiding place away. The other man seemed to not have heard his small movements, or see the leaves shifting with each small breath in and out he took. Good.

“Looks like I can touch these without buying them after all…”

That was it! Kiku stood upright suddenly, hands on his hips as he crushed the tea beneath his feet in order to gain his footing. He glared at the Captain, that cheeky smirk still plastered across his lips as his hands subtly gripped the fabric of his trousers. He watched as golden eyes widened in surprise, making the face they were attached to look all the more feminine.

"Airin' m' pet, 'n nae ye c'n do, mem!"

And with that, he lept from the barrel, spraying tea leaves over them both. Landing on the deck solidly (the barrel spilled behind him), he looked the Captain square in the eye before doing just as he had so boldly proclaimed only a moment before.


***
TRANSLATIONS
Spoiler:
 

((Things in bold are quotes from Yao's post, to avoid confusion with the thoughts of Kiku.))
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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:04 am

Yao’s eyes grew wide as the child sprang out of his barrel of tea, dropping his pants, and running off, spilling the rest of the contents on the floor. In all honesty, Yao wasn’t sure what he was shocked by more seeing the boy’s privates or watching his tea go to waste. Based on the boy’s speech he was definitely one of the city’s many little street urchins, and he had called Yao a woman, which only fueled Yao’s anger. In fact, it suddenly came to his attention that it was the child Yao had seen following him from the corner of his eye.

The tea leaves fell around him like leaves in autumn. There was no time for Yao to sit dumbfounded, which was probably what the child had been planning to do. He darted after the boy as he made his way up to the main deck. If the little rogue was looking for an escape route he had another thing coming. Yao stormed back up to the main deck, shoving several of his crew members out of the way as the small boy darted through and around their legs like a humming bird. He could sense the eyes of nearly all his crew stopping their work to watch the chase, which annoyed Yao even more.

“Get back to putting us out to sea, you dogs!” Yao shouted at his bewildered crew. “If you’re not doing that, then catch the child!”

Crew members scurried back to their jobs, untying them from the dock, prepping the sails, and manning the rudders. There were a few sailors though who sunk back, thinking that they were out of the Captain’s eyesight, and watched in amusement as their leader attempted to chase down the child. None of the men wanted to interrupt the comical scene unfolding before them. Yao would have to repay them for their inaction later.

Still, the ship had been untied from the dock and the gang plank removed. There was no way for the child to escape now. Rats were cleaver though…and he would find a way off the ship somehow, even if he couldn’t swim. There was no reason for Yao to care if the child drowned of his own doing, but the thought of letting a child die like that didn’t sit well with him. After watching grown men drown at the mercy of the sea, Yao knew it was not a pleasant or quick death.

Yao strayed out to the side, close to the railing, to be close if the child went over. It also put him in a better position to corral the child toward the wall of the high deck or one of the masts. Hopefully, the boy would start to run out of steam and Yao could catch him.


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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:12 am

Wasting no time after his vulgar point was made, Kiku redressed himself and darted from the room. He took the stairs two at a time, looking straight ahead and aiming for the deck. Many a Rat had been captured simply for taking the time to look over their shoulder, a mistake that he could not afford to make with the Captain surely hot on his trail. And judging by the footfalls behind him, he was certain the Captain would catch him if he made even a small mistake. He darted past a few of the crew members on his way up, the lot too stunned to actually do more than gape at him or recoil in surprise. Kiku moved past them fluidly, so used to dodging other, much faster moving people that the crew seemed to be as still as statues to him. Really, this Captain's crew would be all too easy to escape from if they all moved like that!

Some of the tea leaves clung to him, wafting the scent of the expensive tea out onto the deck as he ran. He laughed as some of the crew paused, amused more by the spectacle of him running circles around them than their work. The few that actually did try to stop him were too large and lumbering to properly grab hold of him as he slipped between their legs or through almost impossibly tight gaps. 'A well-trained pirate crew they may be, bu' they be nae pockin' me!' Soon he had made it to the middle of the rather impressively-sized vessel, with no sign of the Captain behind him. He was about to mentally congratulate himself when an all-too familiar voice carried over the laughter and grunts of the men.

“Get back to putting us out to sea, you dogs! If you’re not doing that, then catch the child!”

For a moment, Kiku feared he would be caught by one of the idling men, particularly the ones closest to him. But his fears were doused like a flame beneath water when the men simply moved away, as if trying to hide from their Captain. Others scurried off to their orders, but Kiku found he no longer needed to waste his energy dodging idling people. He felt a little sorry for the Captain; even Rats were more loyal to each other than his crew seemed to be. "Yer crew be laggers, 'er Cap'n!" He mocked as he continued to run, more now a jog than anything else. The only one really interested in his capture seemed to be the Captain, and he was running to the side of the ship. He smirked, heading in the opposite direction. He wasn't stupid enough to run in the same direction as his captor.

However, his elation at finding himself free was short-lived as he neared the opposite side of the ship. The men had removed the gangplank, and the rope tying them to the dock had just been slipped from around one of the posts. He contemplated jumping overboard on the dockside, since the distance between their ship and the docks was minimal at the moment. But he quickly dismissed the idea, the thought of jumping into the water sending shivers down his spine and his feet in the opposite direction. If he could manage to dodge the crew (not really an issue), he would have to swim the short distance to shore. And though Kiku could pickpocket a man blindfolded and three times over, he could not swim. No one he had grown up with could swim, most of them being Dockers or elderly Rats. So he had never learned himself, despite the few occasions he had contemplated even asking the Royals he saw swimming in the river. They were lesser Royals, and probably would have taught him if he had ever worked up the courage to even approach the water.

But Kiku hated the stuff, associating it with the royals, lords, and ladies, who had a habit of pouring their unwanted (or worse, used) water from the windows of their homes into the streets. Before he had met Ha Ha and before he knew where not to be, he had often woken up suddenly, soaked from head to foot in the water tossed carelessly from the balcony above. He was thankful that it was only water...most of the time. He grimaced at the thought, running now away from the water and towards one of the masts. Though he feared water, he had no issue with heights, and climbing seemed like a better way to elude the Captain. And though he wouldn't admit it, he was tired, and his muscles ached from being cramped inside of the tea barrel for hours.

'If I c'n get up the mast, I'll 'ave more time t'com' up wit' 'n idea.'


***

TRANSLATIONS
Spoiler:
 
Bold words are again quotes from Yao's post, to avoid confusion with Kiku's 'thoughts'
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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Fri Dec 07, 2012 4:28 am

A low growl came from Yao’s throat at the Rat’s taunt. Not just for the truth about his crew being “laggers” in their refusal to help him catch the child, but it also stung at Yao’s pride. Even though he was the legitimate captain of the ship, the majority of the crew knew him from when they sailed with Captain Wu. They had seen him rise to take the place of their former captain, but even after all these years sometimes they still saw him as that timid cabin boy instead of the young man he had grown into. Yao had only been in control for almost two years now, only time would be needed for the crew to completely become accustomed to his authority…he hoped.

When the Rat darted toward one of the main masts of the ship it didn’t take Yao long to know what the boy was thinking. He was sizing up the mast and preparing to climb. A sudden burst of confidence surged through Yao. Perhaps things just got a little easier.

If the Rat thought by going up the mast was going to save him, he was wrong. Yao continued after him at full speed. When the Rat started up the mast, Yao was right on his tail, climbing just as fast. Being lookout and climbing the masts was one of the first jobs Yao had on a ship, since he was the smallest and lightest in the crew at the time. The feeling of nostalgia came over Yao, climbing those tall pillars again. “Your time is running out, Rat…”


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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Fri Dec 07, 2012 10:19 am

Kiku quickened his pace up the mast as the voice of the Captain reached his ears. His arms and legs ached from the effort, but he dared not stop for even a moment. He had known Rats that had been caught for simply looking over their shoulders, and he wasn't about to make that mistake. Still, inwardly he admired the Captain's perseverance, especially when his own crew seemed to not show him any respect. The Rats he knew showed a fellow Rat respect if he earned it, regardless of age. He was certain that if any of them had seen the way the Captain's crew had treated them, they would have been more convinced than before that their way of life was far more organized and respectful than that of the 'rich'. Of course, in this case Kiku made a personal exception for the Captain, since Kiku himself had honestly just been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

'Jus' me curst luck...gettin' the one who ent 'fraid of heights.'

Above him the base of what appeared to be a crows' nest loomed, tempting him with the thought of a moment of rest. With the Captain in close pursuit, Kiku sensed he would have little time to climb into, and then out of, the space. However, he could not see another way around, and as he neared it his suspicions were confirmed. The efforts of the Captain to keep up with him still floated up to his ears, urging him upward towards the wooden nest. He was determined not to be cornered in the small space, even if the Captain decided to follow him. He considered himself more agile than the average Rat, and he was determined to prove it to this Captain who felt the need to circus by following him.

Soon enough he was grabbing the lip and climbing in, tipping in headfirst as he had into the barrel of tea. As he tumbled into the wood, the pack on his shoulder flipped, spilling its contents. The tea leaves he had stolen scattered, mercifully staying within the small space. Coins bounced and rolled, rebelliously running for the farthest side of the nest and then skittering sideways as a small wave pushed against the boat. The few possessions that were truly his own remained in the sack, pinned beneath him as he struggled to right himself while simultaneously diving for some of the fleeing coins. He managed to wrap his fingers around one, fumbling to replace the metal in his pack while scooting quickly away from the side of the wood. He had almost forgotten his pursuer in the scuffle, but a noise on the other side of the wall of the nest brought his senses back to him.

Still, he could not afford to lose anything stored away in his pack, dirty and pockered or not. Cursing to the Watchers (and unintentionally to the Captain), he crawled quickly to retrieve the fallen coins. The tea leaves crumbled beneath him, ground too deeply into the wood and broken beyond recovery. He would mourn the loss of such a valuable later, once he was certain he could be off and away from the threat of the Captain and the Otherlanders aboard the ship with the trinkets he still possessed. Relief flooded through him as his fingers closed around the last coin, swiping the round metal up quickly and stuffing it into his pack.

'Good. Now to get m'self offa this curst thing!'
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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:21 am

Keeping himself steady and his grip tight on the mast, Yao continued to follow the boy. He was fast but the boy also didn’t seem to be expecting him to climb the mast either. From the sound of the chatter below, his crew apparently didn’t expect him to be climbing so high either. Yet Yao pulled himself up one step at a time, and silently swore to himself that he wasn’t coming down without the boy.

As the boy’s body tipped over into the wooden crow’s nest with a thud, a smile came across Yao’s face. The little Rat was trapped unless he wanted to take a fall from the nest. At this point the Lotus was already surrounded by water. The shore was slowly disappearing into the fog of night. When the slightly sound of coin hitting wood reached Yao’s ears his spirit perked up. Yes, Yao had the boy right where he wanted him. He could hear the boy scramble to pick up the precious metal coins. That would cost him dearly, but again what else could the Rat do to escape at this point anyway?

When the boy had finished collecting his coins and successfully grinding down the tea leaves even more, Yao had already slipped into the crow’s nest with him. With one swift motion, Yao was able to grab the scrawny boy around the waist tightly from behind.

“Game’s over, Rat.” Yao growled, pinning the Rat to the mast that came through the crow’s nest with a single hand on his chest and another with a dragger at his throat. “You’re either extremely lucky or extremely stupid or both to have gotten on my ship.”

While he held the boy at knife point, Yao got a better look at his tea stowaway. Black hair. Large brown eyes. He was dirty, like all Rats, but he was fairly pale skinned. Small framed for a boy. Words from the past echoed themselves in Yao’s head, but he pushed them away, waiting for the boy to say something.


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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Sun Dec 09, 2012 1:33 am

Kiku let out a yelp of surprise as he felt an arm around his waist, immediately beginning to struggle. He had not even heard the Captain approach, though he had been aware of him following the entire time! Before he could even blink he was spun around and pinned to the mast, wide brown eyes meeting narrowed gold as the Captain pressed a knife to his throat. He quickly wiped the surprise from his face, replacing it with a defiant glare. He would not allow the Captain to see any weakness in him, including surprise. His glare intensified as the Captain accused him of sneaking aboard his ship, the mere thought making an irritated flush rise to his cheeks.

"Y'must be knocked abou' to think I'd want t'be on your curst ship!" He hissed, though he had ceased struggling the moment he felt the blade against his throat. "Is yer lagger of a crew tha' locked m'in th' tea, is!" He cast his gaze sideways for a moment, indicating the 'lagger' crew below. He had no respect for them, especially since they did absolutely nothing to aid their Captain. Granted, their inaction had helped him to get this far, but even Rats had more loyalty among them. And besides pinning him rather painfully to the mast and the irritating knife to his throat, Kiku had to concede inwardly that the Captain wasn't all that bad. At least he TRIED, which was a valued trait among the Rats. It was all right to fail, but laziness meant starving or getting killed by nobles or jailed...or other fates that ultimately meant nothing to Otherlanders or nobles. Scummers were Scummers to them, though Kiku honestly thought the term applied better to the laggers below who still seemed intent on doing nothing.

"Nae 'fense, Cap'n Mem." He tilted his head to regard the Captain, wincing a little as pain shot through him. He must have hit the mast harder than he thought. "Yer crew's worse 'n laggers. Mean, even Rats migh'en help' ye mor'n tha'." He almost felt sorry for the man, though his sympathy only extended so far. The Captain still had him pinned to the mast, and he needed to get off the ship as quickly as possible. He had Ha Ha to return to, and though he would not be able to sell any of the tea, he could at least use the coins to buy something and tell her of his adventure. He knew she would love that, at least.

'I need t'ge back t'her, else she'll fret 'n nothin' I say'll do nothin' t'make her pleased.'

Unconsciously, his glare had softened a bit as he thought of Ha Ha, though he caught himself and replaced the look with the glare once more. "Look, wha' 'appens 'ere 'ent m' matter, Cap'n. Nae, jus' 'appen t'be chammed in th' tea 'n nae ye came an' bron me aboard!" He wanted off the ship, and he no longer cared if the Captain thought of him as a stowaway or a thief. Just as long as he could return to Ha Ha and bring her food, he would gladly take the insulting terms along with him.
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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:59 pm

Without really thinking about it, Yao smacked the boy across the face. He didn’t want to hear about his crew’s inaction and laziness as he was already aware of it. Though Yao didn’t suspect it would take him too much longer to break them in. Still he would not have this pointed out to him by a child.

“Look you…,” Yao put away his knife, keeping the boy pinned. “That barrel of tea you ruined was worth a small fortune. Considering how filthy you are there is no way I can sell it. Also, my crew is my business. Believe me when I say that they will be dealt with.”

Tightly, Yao picked up the boy, holding him under his arm. He pointed toward the barely visible harbor. “And even without the tea, you will not be seeing that town in a long time…”

He didn’t care if he scared the boy or not. That was the truth. There would be no turn arounds or pity trips. This was a pirate ship for heavens sake. Even with one barrel unsellable, there was still a fortune to be made from what was left of his cargo and Yao wasn't going to risk loosing more money because of this Rat.

“You’re stuck with me, boy. So get used to me and my lagger crew, aru.”


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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:49 am

Kiku did not flinch as the pirate slapped him across the face, though he did wish he could reach to rub the reddening spot afterward. Unfortunately, the Captain still had him pinned to the mast, and so he could do nothing but glare at the other man. He still felt sorry for him, sorry that his crew was still down below, doing nothing to help their Captain to secure the ship. It was one thing to have the utmost confidence in the man leading you, but another entirely to simply ignore him. Even Rats weren't that stupid, and they were the ones thought of as the lowest in society. He felt the Captain's violence to him was rather unfair, but Rats were known to roughhouse with each other and so the slap stopped hurting after only a moment. Still, he did not lower his glare, since the Captain refused to see reason and stop pressing his back into the unforgiving wood of the mast.

He didn't care much about the barrel of tea. It was unfortunate that the Captain couldn't sell it, but it really wasn't his problem. Besides, he hadn't meant to ruin it, so really the man ought to be blaming his own crew for being stupid enough not to check the barrel before having it hauled aboard. Instead, he conveyed his thoughts in the form of a look, knowing the Captain would understand. He was honestly more concerned about Ha Ha, and what she would do without him. He knew she had other connections, but part of him still felt guilty for leaving her and getting himself in such a situation. Her words came back to him then, and he shivered, seeing them now as foreshadowing his fate.

He struggled when the Captain picked him up and placed him under his arm, but the man's grip was like iron as he pointed towards the horizon. Kiku couldn't help the startled gasp that fell from him as he gazed out at the horizon. The land was receding quickly, and within a few seconds of his watching, vanished entirely. With the disappearance of the land went his struggling, and he instead watched the cerulean waves impassively as the Captain spoke. He worried for Ha Ha, wondering if he would see her again. He could not imagine her waiting around for him, and the mere thought weighed his heart with sadness. A small wave of resentment washed over him, aimed mostly at the crew and perhaps a little at the Captain himself.

"Ye kno', Cap'n Mem." He still called him that, partially as one of the only real insults he could muster at the man and partially because he had no idea of the Captain's name. "I got a nam'." He was proud of his name, and he liked it far better than 'you' or 'Rat'. And though he had just met the Captain, he did have a measure of respect for him, after his stunt on the mast. He wanted to show him that while he was still a bit bitter over being locked in a barrel, he was smart enough not to blame the other man for it. To a Rat, calling another by name and being called by name in return were signs of respect, even if they were grudging or temporary. If two individuals were fighting, or from fighting families, it was a verbal sign of their trust in each other. "If ye name' me, I'll name ye, Cap'n." He hoped the Captain would not notice the lack of fire behind his words, or that he was asking primarily because he did not want to think about his current situation.
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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:42 am

Yao felt the boy stop struggling beneath him, heard his gasp when he realized his exact predicament. The young captain did not waiver though. He was going to stand strong to his plans. The grip he held on the child was still strong, even if he had stopped fighting for the moment Yao was not going to allow himself to be ran all over the ship again because he let his guard down.

So he waited for a few moments, watching the harbor disappear and be replaced by blue waves. Soon, the faint glow of the town faded as well and the only light came from the moon and the stars that littered the sky above. A few lanterns were being lit below them as the darkness settled in. Yao’s lookout swung from the masts with acrobatic expertise lighting more lanterns, that took the shape of glass orbs that hung from rope netting.


"Ye kno', Cap'n Mem." The sound of the name the boy had given him made Yao twitch in annoyance. The captain didn’t react, instead he listened. It was probably the only act of kindness he could show the child right now. "I got a nam'. If ye name' me, I'll name ye, Cap'n.”

There was a lack of intensity in the boy’s voice that was once there, perhaps lost now that the urgency to escape had left him. Yao understood what the boy was asking. He wanted respect from him, and he would return the same respect. The boy must have some luck on him, as he might pull a second act of kindness from the captain that day.

Yao fixed his golden eyes on the boy. “Alright then, what’s your name, boy?”


((Words in italics are from Kiku's post.))


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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Fri Dec 14, 2012 12:26 am

Kiku resisted the urge to call the Captain 'Mem' again after being called 'boy'. The term 'boy' was for servant folk, not for Rats, and he disliked being compared to the servants. Servants were usually loyal because they had no options, not because they followed a distinct code of conduct like the Rats. Servants were not free, and no matter how much they struggled they would never be free. A Rat might have been scum in the eyes of the royals, but at least Rats were free. Some even had aspirations to do more with their lives, like traveling to distant lands or helping others. 'Boy' meant he had no name, no dreams, or no choice in his lifestyle, and none of these held true for him.

Still, he bit back his retort, determined to at least gain some respect from the captain. If he had to be stuck on a ship with him, then he reasoned they ought to at least attempt to get along. He also found himself fascinated with the captain's eyes. No man or woman, royal or otherwise, had gold eyes. In Rouglin, he would have told the captain he had 'coin eyes', like the shine of a priceless golden coin. Kiku's own eyes were nothing special, merely the color of wood--like the blasted barrel that had served as his prison not too long ago. Cap'n mus' be an Otherlander; no royal or Rat I nam' 'ave coin eyes.'

"Name's Kiku. Tha's wha' they name' me." He gave the Captain a confident smirk, despite his rather ridiculous position underneath his arm. "I always been name' Kiku, an' it's a plant or sommat." Ha Ha had told him once that it was a flower, though the name of the flower escaped him. He had never been familiar with plant life, other than vegetables or fruits. He didn't have much use for roses, or the other brightly colored ones seen with the royals. If he couldn't eat them, or couldn't sell them off quickly, they were useless to him. Sure, they were beautiful things, with delicate and fragrant petals that made royal ladies smile and royal men spend coin, but other than that Kiku did not see their purpose.

"So 'en...Cap'n..." He resisted the urge to add 'Mem' again. "Wha' they name' yeh?" He met the golden gaze with his own wooden one, the confident smirk still fixed to his lips. He might have called a temporary truce with the man, but only because he had nowhere else to go. And a truce for a Rat didn't necessarily mean he wouldn't tease the captain anymore, especially if his crew kept up their lagging. He did pause to watch one of them, circusing along the rigging and lighting the lamps. The acrobatics fascinated him, creating an odd pause in their conversation as he watched the lamps begin to glow.

Even if he was a prisoner of sorts, he had to admit that the ship was beautiful in its own odd way. Kiku supposed the ship reflected the (still nameless) captain, and as he thought of the man his attention returned to him. The fire from the lamps made the gold in his eyes glitter, like gold coins set to be counted by a noble's fireplace. He blinked a few times, trying to clear his head. He was the captain's prisoner; he would respect him, but that didn't mean he had to admire him in any way!
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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Sat Dec 15, 2012 5:12 am

“Kiku…” Yao repeated quietly. He let the sound roll off his tongue, letting the syllables sink in. It was familiar and it wasn’t, or Yao didn’t want it to be familiar. He didn’t want it to sound like that name. He didn’t want it to sound anything like what he had heard, but it did.

He had taken his eyes off the boy for a moment, lost in his own thought on the name Kiku. When Yao looked back at the boy, his heart sunk. He felt that he had just been pulled out of the open ocean, his body heavy and light all at the same time. It was all because of that smirk on the boy’s face. That stupid carefree, confident smirk. One that said that things were under control. It was the same as his own when he was a child and the same as …his when Yao last talked to him. Then there were those dark eyes that lit up in wonder just as his ship did. It scared Yao. It sickened him. It made him happy. It made him uncomfortable. He wanted to drop the boy named Kiku and run back into his cabin. Yao didn’t care much about what would happen to the boy, just as long as he was far away from him.
Yet, Yao’s grip remained tight on Kiku’s small body. He couldn’t let go of him just yet. However, Yao could no longer look at him, not if he was still giving that smirk.

“My name is Yao.” Yao finally managed to sputter out. His voice gained more strength as he spoke again. “Wang Yao, but it is Captain to you.”

Quickly, Yao grabbed a rope that was tied around the mast, one the Lookout used to get down from the crow’s nest swiftly. Yao grasped it firmly before jumping off, slowly sliding down to the main deck. The friction between the rope and his hands burned Yao, causing him to wince, but it wasn’t as bad due to the calluses that had already developed on his hands. Yao also had the rope by his feet, and could feel the heat coming through the soles of his boots.

Once Yao’s feet touched the planks of the deck he tossed the rope aside and pushed Kiku into the arms of one of closest crew members, not wanting to hold the child anymore.

“Take him to the brig, aru.”

“Capta-.” The sailor started to retort. Yao pulled out his dagger in a flash.

The golden glare of the captain met the puzzled gaze of the other man. “Did I stutter?”
“No…Captain.” The sailor answered sheepishly.

“Then do as I ask! Put him in the brig.” He pointed to Kiku with his daggar. “Luo!” The Quartermaster appeared by Yao’s side. “Bring me Zhang Yi as soon as the old man wakes, understood?” Luo gave a short nod before stepping back. “As for the rest of you miserable louses get back to your stations! I want us in the next harbor by tomorrow to get supplies and then back out to sea! Unless the Lotus is on fire, I don’t want to hear a word from any of you scoundrels until morning!”

“Captain! We need to rest!” One of the crew piped up.

“No, you don’t.” Yao responded to the crew as a whole. “If none of you sea dogs can catch a child then you need to be toughened up, and an all night shift is a perfect way to start on that.” A collective groan and boos came from the crew as he put away the dagger. “You brought it among yourselves...good evening, men”

With that, Yao stormed off to his quarters, slamming the sliding door behind him. He dragged himself to his desk and his pile of cushions, sinking into their folds again. He finally permitted himself to take full deep breaths. He was away from that child, Kiku. He felt normal again...he wasn't drowning. Yao pulled out his captain logs and began sorting through it, looking for a particular document. It would give Yao the answers he needed, everything to either confirm or deny his suspicions. Still...there would be what Yi found out tomorrow as well. It would be this anxiety that kept Yao's mind up on until he permitted himself to fall asleep and rest as well as he could.
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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:50 am

Kiku's confident smirk remained fixed to his face, though inwardly he felt more smug as the pirate captain uttered his name. At least he knew now that the captain respected him enough to at least use his name, even if that was the extent of their respect for each other. He could safely say to Ha Ha that he had been a respectable Rat, that is, if he ever saw her again. He quickly pushed the worry aside, trying to focus on his small victory. Despite being trapped aboard the ship, he would be called by name...and he would show the captain respect (more than his crew, at least) and call him as well. He felt at ease, as if the exchange of names created an intimacy between himself and the captain.

His confident smirk faltered a little as the captain uttered his name, and he blinked in surprise at the noticeable change in the man still holding him. Yao...the Captain's eyes had gone distant, as if he was in deep thought over something, and the corners of his mouth twitched subtly from a smile to a frown. Kiku had always been observant, able to sense mood changes in the people around him. He also usually had a response at the ready, which had saved his life on more than one occasion. A Rat had to be resourceful and observant to survive, after all. Still, he found he had no ready answer for the changing emotions coming from Yao. 'Wonder wha's naggin' 'im?'


“My name is Yao. Wang Yao, but it is Captain to you.”

Before Kiku could respond, or even react, Yao had grabbed a rope and began to slide down towards the deck. Kiku flinched and grabbed the cloth of Yao's robe, but he doubted Yao noticed. He inwardly admitted that Yao had earned even more of his respect. The man had chased him when his crew lazed and watched, and now he was burning his hand while bringing them both safely and quickly to the deck of the ship. 'Capn's lagger crew could learn from 'im, tha's fer.' They touched down on the wooden surface, or more accurately, Yao did. Kiku felt a bit embarrassed to be still dangling from beneath Yao's arm, but before he could utter a protest, Yao shoved him into the arms of another crew member.

The man was the complete opposite of Yao, at least in Kiku's mind. Yao held himself almost gracefully, attributing to Kiku's earlier title of 'Mem'. The brog holding him was large, with muscles Kiku could swear were as big around as a barrel. The worst part about him was that he SMELLED...not that the crew in general didn't smell (they were on the sea), but somehow this brog's stench was arguably the worst of them all. Kiku wrinkled his nose, and contemplated protesting being shoved into the brog's hands. He kept his mouth shut, afraid that if he inhaled any of the stench, he would pass out on the deck.


“Take him to the brig, aru.”

Yao's voice brought his attention back to the coin-eyed captain, and though he felt less than confident (and a little sick thanks to the brog), he managed another confident smirk. At least in the brig, he could contemplate his escape...and not have to feel like the captain was trying to stare through him. And escaping the smelly brog was another, unspoken plus. He could plot, and perhaps the crew of the ship would forget about his presence enough to talk around him. He could gather information on Yao, or perhaps even their intended destination. Again, for a moment, Yao won his admiration. He kept his head, and made his crew fall in line when they began to protest. They did deserve it, the laggers.

“As for the rest of you miserable louses get back to your stations! I want us in the next harbor by tomorrow to get supplies and then back out to sea! Unless the Lotus is on fire, I don’t want to hear a word from any of you scoundrels until morning!”

Kiku kept his expression neutral as the man dragged him off, presumably towards the brig as Yao had ordered. However, he caught Yao's words, and a faint spark of hope jumped in his chest. Yao had mentioned docking in a port the next day, in order to obtain supplies. Though it would surely not be the same port, he reasoned it could not be that far from where he lived. Though he had never rode on a ship in his life, other Rats that had sailed as mercenaries told stories of nearby ports. And perhaps with some extra coin (either from the tea leaves, or from the ship), he could barter his way back home. He refrained from struggling as the men brought him below deck, the darkness below thicker and more ominous than above despite the lanterns lighting their way.

'If I c'n make these laggers b'lieve me intentions ent bad, m'haps them'll leave me.' He let them shove him into the brig, turning as the door slammed shut. The room was much darker, and a shiver raced up his spine. Kiku was not a fan of the dark, though as a Rat he spent much time in badly lit places. He disliked it here, on Yao's ship, because somehow it did not suit the place. Though he was loathe to admit he liked anything about Yao, his crew, or the ship now serving as his prison, he inwardly conceded that the ship was a strange but beautiful ship...reflective somehow of her captain.


***

Translation
Brog - Brute; an ugly, stupid man.

((Things in bold, color are from Yao's post. Also, wasn't sure if you wished for me to RP as Yi or if you would like to. Either way is fine with me~))
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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Wed Dec 26, 2012 5:25 am

An abrupt pounding at the cabin door awoke Yao what seemed like only a few minutes later, a glance outside the window showed that it was barely the crack of dawn based on the sliver of color on the horizon. At least his crew had not disturbed him until now. Yao just hoped that who was knocking was who he wanted to see.

He rubbed his eyes warily, rolling his shoulders to loosen his muscles and straighten his posture after sleeping over his desk. Quickly, Yao organized the papers, hiding them back into their respective journals and leather bindings.

“Enter.” Yao ordered in Chinese.

Luo opened the door slowly, tired from the night work. He also responded in Chinese. “Yi is awake, Captain”

“And…?” Yao asked expectantly. What could he do if the man was awake but not present?

“Here he is, Captain.” Luo moved aside to reveal the elderly man behind him. Good. At least someone in his crew was competent.

“You may go, Luo.” Yao stated bluntly. Luo gave a short bow and left to return to the main deck.

“Please, come in, Yi.” Yao indicated a set of cushions in front of his low desk. Again he carried on the conversation in Chinese. “Take a seat. I have something to discuss with you, aru.”

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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Thu Dec 27, 2012 4:31 pm

Zhang Yi stretched, wincing as pops and cracks accompanied the motion. Really, aging wasn't such a bad thing, but he could go it without all of the aches and pains. Still, he would not trade his life for anything. Captain Yao made sure his crew was well taken care of, despite his young status. And Yi honestly respected the young man, though he knew the entire crew did not share his sentiments. Still, regardless of a few young minds' opinions, Yao was a capable man, and he would not have stayed with the ship otherwise.

A figure in his doorway called his attention, and he turned to see Guo just entering. He stood and gave the other man a short, respectful bow and waited. Guo looked as if he had been up through the night, though Yi refrained from commenting. After Guo informed him that the Captain wished to see him, he nodded. "I will see him immediately. Thank you, Guo." He followed Guo from the room after tidying his space. Some of the men did not care so much for their possessions being neat and organized, but Yi did. He supposed it came from years of recordkeeping, though the records on their ship were all in Yao's personal quarters.

As he passed the crew, he noticed several of them looked about to pass out on the deck. Had they been up all night as well? He tried to recall the events of the day before, hoping to find his answer. Yao had ordered them to Port, in order to replenish their supplies. The crew had returned to the ship without incident, but beyond that Yi could not say. He had gone to bed rather early himself, since Yao would have wanted to check over the supplies himself (and then have Yi record things later). But the ship bore no signs of bad weather, and if she had weathered a storm Yi would have been up with the crew. He surmised that something must have happened to cause Yao to be angry with the rest of the crew, which explained their bloodshot eyes and sluggish movements through their tasks.

He paused behind Guo as they stopped in front of Yao's door. Guo introduced him quickly, and he entered, bowing low. "You wished to see me, Captain." He straightened and moved to sit in the indicated cushions, noting Yao's appearance. The young man looked rather troubled, though he hid it well beneath a face Yi could only describe as his 'Captain' face. He inclined his head again, indicating that he was prepared to listen to Yao. He hoped the news, or the discussion was of something good rather than bad. Still, he could not help but feel that something was amiss.


((As per Yao's request, I shall also be playing Yi (whose posts will probably be shorter than mine as Kiku XD). His text will remain colorless, since he is an NPC. Also, I just assume they (Yao and Yi) are speaking in Chinese to each other (thanks Yao for pointing it out ^^' *huggles*))
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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Tue Jan 08, 2013 5:06 am

“Yes, thank you for coming on such short notice. I need you to make a record of our newest acquirement.” Yao began, keeping his voice level and calm.

His brain was still trying to decide how to best explain the situation to Yi. Should he tell the man everything? Yi was one of the oldest in the crew, and had stayed with him even after Captain Wu’s passing. He had proven himself trustworthy. Or perhaps just from the night would suffice. Although what Yi asked Kiku could affect the results, and Yao needed as much evidence as he could get his hands on.

The other half of himself was screaming for Yao to get a hold of himself. He was a PIRATE CAPTAIN. Why should he care about the child in the brig? He ruined his merchandise. Why should he even care about what the child could be? He shouldn’t care about Kiku. Kiku shouldn’t even have mattered, aside from the damage he caused. Yet he did. It mattered to Yao. After all, didn’t another captain show him some kindness after he had snuck aboard that old ship?

“It seems history is repeating itself, my friend.” Yao sighed, rubbing one of the large blisters that had developed on the side of his hand. “Last night, we found a stowaway in one of our tea barrels. Ruined the tea and ran me around the ship before I caught him and had him put in the brig. He’s a street rat from the port we were just at, and not much of a threat, he’s just a child.

“Yi, I need you to document a basic profile on him, and find out anything you can about his past…anything about his parents.” Yao paused for a moment, letting his mouth catch up with his mind. “He looks as though his lineage stems from the islands of the Japanese Empire, but it looks like there is something else there as well.” Something very familiar to Yao, and was even alive in his own being.

"Will you please do this for me, my friend?"


((Thank you, Kiku!!! :3 *hugs* You are awesome. Amazing how Yi has turned into a bigger part of the story. Forgive me for all the sudden expansions I make on him. Feel free to add more yourself, as you have done in your awesome post.
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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Tue Jan 08, 2013 7:57 pm

Yi bowed, both out of respect and out of silent gratitude for Yao's trust in him. The young man worked tirelessly for his ship, and would hold Yi's respect until his dying day. He still sensed something troubling the young Captain, but refrained from voicing his thoughts. It was not his place to question Yao, but that did not mean he did not worry for him. He could sense the dilemma in the young captain, though he could not fathom a guess as to why. Perhaps it was something from his past? Or perhaps he was still upset at the crew? Either would certainly put a man in a strange mood. He resolved to be extra attentive to him that day, and he knew Yao would appreciate it.

He hid a wince as he straightened, one or two of his joints protesting silently. He would have to see about soothing salves at the next port, but his own personal needs could wait. He watched as Yao began to rub at his own palm, noticing the blisters there. He had salve for that, at least, and once his task to Yao was complete he would make it a point to send some for the captain. His eyes widened as Yao told him the events of the night before, the murmurings and haggard look of the crew beginning to make sense. So, they had taken aboard a stowaway, one that had run the poor captain around and as punishment, the captain had ordered the crew to remain up all night.

"It seems fate has an interesting way of coming to us again, Captain." He smiled, hoping to ease Yao's nerves. "I will of course find out all that I can from him and write a full report." He bowed again, though not as deeply as the first. His joints would protest too much if he tried that again, and he was certain that Yao understood this. Yi held the bow for a moment, asking silently for forgiveness and simultaneously reassuring Yao that he would find all that he could. "Rest easy, Captain Yao. I will find out what is needed. If I have missed anything, then I will return as many times as you ask, until I have truly obtained everything you wish to know." He waited a moment, to be sure that Yao had nothing else to tell him, before retreating from the room to follow his orders.

~*~

Yi returned a few hours later, clutching a small scroll in his hands. He had questioned the child at great length. It had taken longer not only because the child had been stubborn, but because he was not entirely used to the dialect the rogue was using. Still, he had recorded it, word for word, and he hoped that between himself and Yao, they could better make sense of the child's origins. The child--Kiku--was indeed of Japanese descent, but from what Yi gathered, he knew very little of anything else other than his life on the street. He found himself wondering what Yao expected to hear of the child, though no easy answer came to mind as he approached Yao's study once more.

He knocked lightly, in case Yao was sleeping or otherwise occupied. "I have returned, Captain Yao, and I have brought the information you have requested."

((Feel free to expand on him! He is there to be expanded on, and each new post/reference to him grows him more and more for the both of us, methinks <3 *huggles* Also, forgive the little bit of time skip...feel free to take longer in your own post, as I can always fill in the blank with a post from Kiku if needed/edit ^^'))
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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Mon Jan 14, 2013 4:33 am

Yao stood from the pile of pillows and thin feather mattress that filled a nook, which he happily called his bed. He had dozed off for a while, still tired from staying up most of the night himself. The book he had been absorbed in was still in his hand. Quickly, Yao composed himself and answered the door.

“Please, come in Yi.” Yao beaconed, shutting the door behind the elderly man as they made their way to his desk. “I hope our guest did not give you too much trouble. To say he’s a handful would be an understatement.”

Yao’s golden eyes studied the small roll of parchment in Yi’s hands. Anxiety sat in Yao’s stomach like a rock. He wanted to have his thoughts confirmed or denied, but even Yao knew it would take much more than that to figure out the mystery in the captain’s mind. Kiku was so young, and had other things to worry about, like when his next meal would be. Why would he try to remember the things Yao needed, unless it was extremely vague. Even then, how could one call such a memory noteworthy? He would just have to wait…at least just a little while longer.

“So what did you discover, my friend? Where you able to find anything about his lineage or parents or the people that raised him?”


((Its all good, dear. ^^ Glad you like how Yi is growing. I love watching him become more fleshed out. If you would like to include a Kiku post, it would be nice, but you don't have to. Yao will go visit him after he's done with Yi.))
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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:06 am

Yi bowed before entering the room, noting the lowered lighting. So Yao had been resting...not that he could blame the young Captain after the events of the night before. He followed Yao to his desk, taking the seat opposite the Captain. He still clutched the parchment in his hands, ready to reveal the information whenever Yao was ready to hear it. He couldn't help but notice the stiffness in Yao's shoulders, or the way his gaze rested long on the parchment. Was the Captain nervous about his findings? Yi was certainly no fool; he knew the Captain's nervousness stemmed from the boy in the brig, though what about the boy (if anything) he could not say. The most likely culprit would be something in Yao's past, possibly something Kiku shared with him. But he held his silence, his hands folded politely in his lap. It was not his place to ask such questions, only to provide answers to his Captain.

"I am sorry for disturbing your rest, Captain. Our guest did speak to me in some detail about the incident last night, but I am sure I am not here for that." At this, he could not help the small, fond smile that crossed his lips. The boy reminded him of the Captain, especially in their facial expressions. They were clearly two different people, but in his short time with the captive, he had observed a sidelong glance or the tilt of his chin that immediately brought to Yi's mind his own Captain. "Indeed, Captain...he was a bit of a handful at first, but he soon settled down.

Yi unlocked the door and stepped inside, signaling that the door should be locked behind him. Yao would be most displeased if the young boy escaped him not once, but twice. He placed the lamp on the floor, the light illuminating the small room and providing plenty for him to write with. He carried with him a small roll of parchment, ink, and a pen, and concealed in his sleeve was a small knife. He doubted he would need it, with the guards posted outside the door and the boy in chains. But Yi knew never to underestimate a prisoner, especially one that had given Yao such a difficult time.

"Eh, wha' ye wan'?"

Yi was thankful the guards had not gagged the boy. His job would be much harder if they had, and they were not always the kindest. He did not know whether Yao would be displeased with their handling of the boy if they had done so, but at that moment it was not his concern. "My name is Zhang Yi. I am here to speak with you." He watched as the boy struggled to sit up, or so it appeared. "You do not have to do anything...only answer the questions that I have for you."

"Eh...why? I ent yers an' I dun owe the Cap'n...'sides for 'e's bron me in 'ere."

Yi sighed, but kept his patience. He knew this would be difficult, but he could outlast the youth in front of him. "If you answer these questions, I will leave you in peace for the time being. They are not difficult, and none of them are tricks or tries to win you." He tried to speak plainly, in the hopes that Kiku would better understand him.

"Is it fer the Cap'n?"

The question took Yi by surprise, but he did his best not to show it. "Yes. The Captain wishes to know a little about where you're from and how you grew up." He took out his paper and ink, showing them to Kiku. "I will be writing down what you say, and then I will take it to the Captain. Even if you do not see the merit in doing this, think of it as a way to pass the time." He watched as Kiku seemed to consider this, shifting a little in his position. He seemed to want to see Yi's writing implements, but the he could not be entirely sure.

"Eh, fine. Wha' he wan' t'know?"

Yi dipped the pen in the ink and penned the date and the time, as well as a short description of his assignment. "A good place to start would be your name. Please speak a bit slower, so I can write down your words as you speak them." He spent the better part of the next hours, copying Kiku's words and doing his best to guess the spelling of some that sounded utterly foreign in his ears. He could only hope that Yao would understand them, or perhaps he would be sent back to gain translations from Kiku.


"Captain, as you guessed, he is Japanese, but he..." Here he paused, unrolling the parchment and gazing down at it for a moment before resuming his speech. "...only remembers it because 'Ha Ha' told him so. I learned too that this 'Ha Ha' raised him, but that she was not his mother according to her accounts to him. He remembers nothing of his family before, only his life on the streets." He paused a moment, letting the information pass between them. "Truthfully, Captain, I feel my translations of his words are inadequate, as I am not as familiar with the dialect of the Port as I would like. However, I have written down, word for word, what he has said to me, and have left nothing out. Kiku seems fluent in Common, at least enough to understand our conversations in that tongue, but he remembers little else but the...Rouglin, as he called it."

He held the parchment in his hands, the back facing Yao. He was unsure whether the Captain would permit him to show him the text just yet, but eventually he knew the Captain would have to examine his writings for himself. The inner conflict within the Captain would only be put to rest once he read and understood for himself where Kiku had come from, or perhaps only after he had spoken at length to the boy. Yi kept these thoughts to himself, knowing that it was not his place to share them with Yao.

((Mkay...awkwardish flashback (italics) in the middle of this post, just so we get some of Kiku's POV whilst talking to Yao. ^^))
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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:00 am

Yao listened intently to the elderly man as he talked about his meeting with their prisoner. His eyes glanced occasionally to the roll of parchment in the other’s hands. Why was he so anxious? Was this truly such a big deal to him?

In his mind, Yao was threading together all the details while Yi spoke. Everything was coming together too well. It couldn’t be true. It was too good. The gods couldn’t like a lowly pirate as himself enough to bless him with this good fortune. Yet one line struck Yao, putting the final detail into place and confirming what he had been suspecting.

“Ha Ha? A woman named after a laugh?” Yao spoke, not truly believing what he had been told. “Yi, may I see the record of your interview, please?”

Normally, Yao would have waited for Yi to hand him the record, but in his haste, Yao pulled it out of the man’s hands and into his own. His hands nimbly unrolled it to let his eyes ready its words greedily. It was true. Everything Yi said was true. Although, Yao would expect no less from one of his oldest friends. Again it didn’t feel as though this much luck could be on his side. The words on the paper felt surreal. Yao looked up to his elderly friend. Yi was no simpleton, not by a long shot, nor was he unobservant. There was no doubt that the old scribe had caught on to his fairly anxious behavior regarding the prisoner.

“Uhh…I’m sure you’ve noticed my particular interest in our stowaway.” Yao struggled to find the words that were stuck in his throat. The slight smile on Yi’s face made it feel as though he already knew. “This is because…I have information from nearly a year ago that tells me that I have a sibling, a younger brother, a half-brother. This has given me reason to believe that the boy might be the brother...my brother. Based on your report it appears that it is true. Everything you gathered from the boy matches with what I know, even down to being raised by a woman named after a laugh.” Yao took a breath to keep his speech steady. It felt so strange after all this time to say the words ‘my brother’. He had his mother and her family but they had all been so distant from him, and his father...that man could rot in hell for all Yao cared. The possibility of having a close family tie felt strange to Yao. “I’ll take that you’ve noticed some minor similarities between us as well…,” Yao sighed rubbing his temples. “I must sound like a fool right now. I’m not even sure what to think or what I’m thinking. Please…share with your thoughts with me, my friend.”

Yao looked Yi directly in the eyes, waiting for him to respond. He was the only person on board that he could trust and the only one he would seek counsel from on personal matters.
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PostSubject: Re: All Over the Eastern Teas [Closed, Rated PG]   Fri Feb 01, 2013 8:30 pm

Yi nodded, bowing his head politely as Yao took the parchment from his hands. He might have been the eldest on the ship, but by rank, Yao was highest and could do as he pleased. He also held high respect for the young captain, and so such small things did nothing but make him hide a smile and bow his head. He rested his hands in his lap, raising his eyes to observe the young Captain as he read over the report. He took note of Yao's eager gaze, glued to the parchment and drinking in every word he had penned there. He waited patiently, listening as Yao stumbled over his words. He had guessed the Captain would react this way, but dutifully remained silent until Yao asked for his advice.

"Captain Yao, if I may speak plainly, my friend." He bowed his head again, asking silent forgiveness and permission to address him so informally. "I would never take you for a fool, and your words make me sure you are not. I admit that I did notice a few similarities, though I doubt that anyone on your crew would notice them unless they have known you as well as I. For example, he worries his lip the way that you do when you are thinking, but the most striking similarity is the intensity of his gaze. I have seen none but your own that strikes me in the same way.

I am sure that this is all difficult and sudden for you, my friend. Here are my humble thoughts, with which you may do as you please. I believe that the boy...Kiku...must be told at some point. It is his right to know, as it is your right to tell him. And from there? He will likely choose to do as he pleases with the information...that is, choose to share familial ties with you or not. I am sure that he will be as surprised as you were, my friend, but he may have other reactions as well. From the sound of things...he was not necessarily favored, and his upbringing in the streets in comparison to your upbringing may strike him the wrong way. However, the opportunity and choice should be offered to him...when you are ready, my friend. We will not be docking in the next port for a time. Perhaps that is a good deadline to work with. That way, if he decides he wishes to stay, he will stay. If not, at least we would have some idea of where he might be, should we choose to find him again if he wishes to set out on his own."

Yi paused, bowing his head again. He wished he could give Yao more reassuring words, rather than an ultimatum of sorts. Unfortunately, Yao now bore the responsibility to share with Kiku their ties, and thus, whatever consequences came along with it. Yi did not know Kiku well, at least, he did not know the boy's thoughts well. He could surmise that Kiku's mind was currently preoccupied with freedom, and possibly his return to his 'Ha Ha'. The news Yao would share with him would be difficult for the boy, even painful, and was best done when they could both sit and discuss things (or at least, attempt).

"My friend, I will do all that I can to assist you." He bowed again, raising his eyes to meet Yao's own. "Give me any instruction, and I will do all in my power to fulfill it." He knew that at that moment, more than anything else, Yao needed an ally. Yi was of course, always Yao's friend and ally, but he would do his best to remain as close to the captain as he could in the coming days. He was certain the captain's emotions would be noticed by the crew, but already Yi's mind was hard at work coming up with reasons for any potential swing of mood the captain might experience. The captain did not need the hardship of the crew on top of his own personal hardships, after all.

((My apologies that it took me some time to get to this response. I wanted to dedicate my full attention to it, my friend *sends huggles and love*))
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