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Name: Yanhua Sex: Female Age: Appears as a young adult Species: Yokai (Nine-Tailed Fox) Eye Color: Lavender, but is rarely seen. Coat: Off white cream Mane & tail: A lively orange red with streaks of green and some white tips. Usually wears it in a swirling style. Her tail has a bow tied to it with a curious ball attached to it. Physique: Most times takes the appearance of a lithe and sleek looking qilin mare. In her true form she is a fox about the size of an average mare i terms of height, who is seen surrounded by varying amounts of foxfire hitodama and waving nine, long, flame producing tails. Residence: Imperial Palace Occupation: Head Chef Cutie Mark: A frying pan with a hitodama in it. Unique Traits: Hoshi no Tama: As a fox yokai, Yanhua is never seen without a glowing jewel at her side. This orb at least when she is shapeshifted, contains a vast portion of her magical power. If it is separated from her then over time she will lose all of her magical capabilities and appear increasingly ill to the point the point she is no different than a common fox. If someone steals her ball, she will do just about anything to see it returned. Cooking Skill: You don't get to be as old as Yanhua is without learning a thing or two. Her appreciation for the food of Long Guo gave way to a desire to learn how to prepare some herself. Thanks to her long life she has been able to practice fairly often in her downtimes... and apparently cooking with Foxfire makes things taste quite unique. Foxfire: Having been taught from a young age how to use the wispy, magical flames of yokai by her parents, Yanhua is a talented and well disciplined user of this unusual magical flame. While the extent of what she can do with it is known only to herself and perhaps other Yokai around her age, she's been using it primarily to cook food in the imperial palace as it allows her to adjust the temperature of the flames at will and instantaneously. Shapeshifting: While Fox yokai back home are considered natural shapeshifters, Yanhua is not necessarily a master of it. She is able to maintain an equine form for long periods of time so long as it has some resemblance to her actual form. Maintaining the form of another pony, qilin, or longma is a different story as over time certain traits from her natural form will start to peek out if she loses concentration. A decent example of that being her Tails poofing out behind her when she's startled or frightened. Yokai Magic: As a yokai, Yanhua is fully capable in performing all the various forms of magic as other yokai, such as levitation, and illusion magic among other skills. Senses: Possesses an impressive sense of sense of smell, capable of even sniffing out magical signatures. As a fox she also has very sensitive hearing as well as the ability to see in the dark. History: Long ago under a sky full of fireworks, a Fox was born. Her parents named her Hanabi no Mikoto. This young Yokai proved a handful even during her early youth: A troublemaker at her core, but a curious one. Her young days were full of romps with her siblings and the theft of treats from the natives of Neighpon. All throughout her life though she had wondered what it was like to the east, especially after those interesting dragonhorses started showing up more and more often in her family's neck of the woods. In search of new things to occupy her Interest, Hanabi would travel farther to the east along with some other Yokai with motives like herself. Her journey to get there brought her in contact with more than a few other breeds of Yokai on the way until she finally reached the shore of Long Guo. Here she wandered all around the country, getting a feel for it's culture, it's citizens, and most importantly their cuisine! Using her shapeshifting, Hanabi would over time learn the language of the Long and spend more time around some the more promising young chefs of early Long Guo. Eventually though she couldn't occupy her time with only the food of this country, she began to go out and into the countryside. One day during a drought She saw smoke rising from the fields of a village, A wildfire was hardly any good for anyone, so the fox intervened and used some magic in her true form to assist calming the blaze until it died. The Villagers had an... unexpected response to this: She was named their field's guardian spirit. She might have corrected them, but the enticing offer of food, drink, and other nice things compelled her to stay. So she did. For several generations She protected the crops, and was given tribute at a small shrine that still stands in the area. Over time though, the villagers would come less and less. It turned out that they were moving on from the fields and as their land opened up to trade with the larger world, they had begun a lucrative business of Silk trading and production. Once her shrine fell into disrepair, Hanabi figured it was time she left to her next adventure. She still makes the occasional trip to that Shrine to see how it's holding up in her absence. The next part of her life was not the happiest, honestly. One day during a nap, some ambitious lord had managed to steal her Hoshi no Tama. When she woke his demands were that she protect his palace from intruders as long as he ruled it. Facing the prospect of losing her valuable orb, Hanabi agreed to the terms. This Ambitious lord proved a thorn in the side of the empire for a not insubstantial amount of time, mostly due to her protection of his base of operations. Messing with intruder’s sense of direction, bewitching and confusing h them, scaring them off with horrifying images. It was quite a bit of fun, even under these undesirable circumstances. Thankfully her time eventually ended when she was outwitted and freed by some shadowy order during a daring raid on the lord’s palace. She didn’t stick around long enough to face any consequences for her assistance of this lord and paid little mind to the watch and moved on. Now free to roam a slowly changing Long guo, Hanabi simply continued her habits of observing and following famous cooks across the land. One day, she heard such an interesting rumor. The emperor of this kingdom was hosting a remarkable banquet the likes of which had never been seen before. This was far too good to pass up! One of cooks in Long Guo she’d never heard of before was even coming. As luck would have it, the bride of the emperor’s carriage was going to be passing by her neck of the woods too. The fox hatched a devious plot. When the empress came by she caught her attention with some magical conjured lights in a forest of Bamboo. The Empress told her guards that she would be back in a moment and after going past the thick forest’s edge… she returned unharmed if a bit cheery looking. In reality Yanhua had simply magicked the empress away to the house of a lesser known nobleman. It would take at least a day for word to reach the emperor about that, so she hopped on board the carriage and made her way with the guards, all bewitched and bringing her to the dinner. When she got there, the guests and the emperor were a bit put off by her rather… aggressive eating. Hanabi was having the time of her life all throughout despite some of the looks from the guests, but it seemed that one of the dishes was a bit too spicy for her senses to handle. Her guise was dropped and in the dining hall sat a qilin sized fox with nine tails. She was immediately subdued by the emperor’s spiritual advisor of all things! Left bound she told them where she had left the empress and could only watch sadly as the final course of the feast escaped her field of vision. Seeing as the empress was unharmed, any particularly serious punishments were decided against. This slight against the emperor however couldn’t just be let go though, so the advisor and emperor settled on a sealing spell. They brought the bound Yaojing out to a forest far out in the mountains, not far from a small settlement. Through their magic they bound her to this small forest, unable to leave it’s immediate area for the foreseeable future. Days turned to weeks turned to years… Hanabi was left on her lonesome in these woods with her magic weakened and only able to talk and weave minor illusive magics. The only things she found to occupy her time was time mess with the inhabitants of the village who came by… and even then eventually they just stopped coming. Her only contact would often be the monks sent by the advisor to renew the seal on her forest every twenty years… then there was a colt. This little longma went by the name of Feng and he was something of a troublemaker in his village. That was something Hanabi could relate to. Rather than frighten the little colt off she would slowly get to know and converse with him. She learned many things about his life, and even was a sympathetic ear for him on an occasion. She looked forward to every visit, often darting to the forest edge if she even suspected he was approaching. Although soon his visit became more spaced out when he got a mark on his backside. On his last visit he said he had decided to join the ‘imperial watch’ and that this meant he’d have to stop coming by. Hanabi’s pride wouldn’t allow her to admit how sad this made her, instead she just cheered him on and wished him the best of luck! On their last goodbye, The fox was left again on her one. Time passed, and she realized something. She was alone… where was the monk? They should have been here by now. She thought maybe they’d come in and applied the seal again while she was with feng… but the seal had fallen into disrepair and with enough of her magic free to use she escaped her bounds and rejoiced! First thing to do was to find Feng. Well, that wasn’t the first thing to do. The first thing she needed to do was come up with a disguise that wouldn’t take much effort to keep up. She eventually settled on something a bit resonant with how she normally looked. She came up with a qilin form that she could interact with the rest of the village with and asked around if they knew where he might be. The imperial academy was her best bet. She snuck in and saw that Feng had grown quite a bit since she’d last saw him. He was about a teenager now and training to be part of the watch. On one of his trips out of his training camp he attended a festival. At this Festival, Hanabi re-introduced herself… in a way. She actually introduced herself to him as Yanhua (the Long Sun’s word for fireworks). Since then she wound up becoming a close friend to him all over again. In her absence Feng had fallen for none other than a prospective empress. SOmething about this news made her feel a bit… downtrodden, but again she wished him the best, but rather than saying goodbye like last time. She volunteered to help him out in his work in the watch in a small way, She made him lunches! Using her foxfire and accumulated cooking knowledge over the ages she was able to cobble together some delicious meals. When he first tried it he asked if she was a chef in her downtime and in a bout of nervousness she blurted out yes… then immediately began working to make that lie a truth. There was no rule about using magical flames to cook food… and exhaling foxfire like the longma or qilin’s dragonbreath was easy to trick others with. The world of cooking turned out to be a surprisingly cutthroat profession as she learned about it. Recipes needed to be kept secret, sometimes chefs would steal from each other. In the interest of making her word to Feng true, she pushed onwards and soon wound up running the kitchen in the imperial capital of Haungjing Around the time the old palace chef retired, something happened that left Yanhua speechless. The Long sun dynasty approached her and requester her to be the top chef for the palace for the divine empress Yu Yue and Prince Lian Mei. Hoping to get to know the mare that Feng had become so smitten with… she accepted. Up to now this is the story of Yanhua. Personality: Yanhua is a playful, mildly excitable, loyal, a dutiful if occasionally flippant cook. She can sometimes push her luck with certain etiquette being disregarded or encouraging her staff to relax and be flexible so as to prepare dishes quickly and make changes as needed. Those under her care are often treated well so long as they can mind a joke or a prank once in awhile. Among those she takes the most seriously are the empress, the prince, Feng and Qing. While her kind are notorious tricksters across long Guo, Neighpon, and parts of Polyneighsia, even Yanhua has a sense of honor: A major aspect of her personality and nature is an inability to break a promise or attempt to try it. No matter who she owes a debt to, she will work tirelessly to pay it off in any way she possibly can. This even applies to promises made under negative circumstances such as blackmail, in those circumstances she can and will take advantage of the perpetrator’s exact words or vagueness in terms in order to find a way to make it backfire upon them. Thanks to being sealed for as long as she was, Yanhua is practically terrified of the idea of ever being bound again. In order to avoid this fate, she is very skittish and wary around any powerful, knowledgeable sages of the Harmonious path… and is known for avoiding the spiritual advisor anytime he is nearby the kitchen in the palace. Around others, Yanhua is almost always smiling and tends to have her eyes constantly closed. Exceptions are made during times of celebrations and cheer, in which case she will only open one eye slightly. Despite this trait she is apparently able to see things perfectly fine and perform her cooking tasks very well. Nostalgia is a trait that comes to Yanhua easily. On her time off she’s known to often visit some old places such as a village with a booming silk trade that goes on to this day, an old, run down shrine on its outskirts, and the old mountain village where feng grew up… to throw stones at the forest edge. Now that she has been freed from her confinement again she is interested in one day visiting long guo to see if any of the old yokai she knew are still around.