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Found 7 results

  1. The night was dark, and full of secrets. Well, full of ninjas anyway, creeping along the rafters outside of the private bedchamber of the Empress of Long Guo. The masked figure was fairly sure there were other observers as well, hiding unseen in the eaves, but Sī Jīn was reasonably certain that any who could see her plying her art both deserved to and knew who she was anyway. She dropped, all but silent, onto Yu Yuè's balcony and glanced through the ornamental window, making sure the Empress was in the room before she slipped inside and closed the doors behind her. "Empress Yuè." she announced, inclining her head and removing her mask in the same motion. "It's time for my weekly report." she finished. This was, of course, true, but it was also a bit of a formality that the two had only really paid lip service to. Most weeks, the 'report' was superfluous, since the Imperial Watch would have informed the empress of any major issues that warranted her attention, aside from the odd attack, political or literal, on Lián. But this week it was even more of a pretense than usual. All but nothing had actually happened with regards to the prince, which meant that Sī Jīn's paranoia and anxiety had had no real outlets except to key her up about their favorite backup subject.
  2. Sure enough the prince slept soundly. Lian was a quiet and peaceful sleeper, picturesque some would say. Though he was also a fairly heavy sleeper and at times was as difficult to wake up as a hibernating Long. This day however was not one of those days. The soft rustling of the curtain and the faint beam of light that slipped through coupled with the curious scent of flowers stirred the qilin awake with a soft yawn and a looooong stretch. Through the curtains of his bed he saw the familiar figure of Si Jin. Likely with breakfast, but was she wearing perfume? He didn't take for for the type. Rubbing the sand from his eyes, Lian exhaled and the curtains around his bed parted. "Ahhh. Good morning!~" The hoofmaiden's head jerks up quickly. "Aiya! Oh! Good morning, my prince. S-several matters await your attention after breakfast." she says, tucking the scroll behind her back and cursing her decision not to wear a robe yet. Her mane was already in the tight bun she used before she'd gotten her armor and clothing on, but she had neither as she'd intended to get dressed while Lian did. Ancestors take the timing of it all! The one morning Lian slept lightly. "I trust you slept well?" Lian gave a little nod and a smile as he grabed a brush from his bedside stand and began to comb. "Like a babe. But something is on your mind." he replied as he glanced over at his friend. "You don't usually jump even when I surprise you." The mare blushed a little and, not for the first time, wished she could use her Pearl to store or summon things for her own benefit rather than only for another's. "Some late mail is all, my prince." She said, regaining her composure. "I was not expecting it and it caught me off guard." Not technically untrue. "Oh? Well I certainly hope it was good news! I won't pry into your private matters though." Lian sniffed at the air once more and smiled. "I take it the smell in the air has something to do with the letter as well?" "It was perfumed, yes." She answers, distracted again but more at ease now that she knew Lian wasn't in a teasing mood. She wasn't sure she could handle that just now. Nor how much of Chiyo's inner workings were safe to reveal to him. Well, the clan's inner workings anyway, her own were hardly a mystery. "My waking thought was to ask when you started wearing perfume." he said with a coy little grin. "But I figured better to hold off on that." The prince finished with his mane and rose from his bed with another hardy streeeeetch! "I usually do wear perfume, you just prefer subtle scents. It's easy to lose it in the palace, my prince, with so many lovely mares trying to get your attention." She casts a glance at him from the corner of her eyes and nodded to herself, internally. She'd chosen a poor stallion to fall for, but she'd chosen a good stallion to fall for. The qilin chuckled. "Well should you change your mind on subtle, I'd not argue with a scent like this." Lian grinned as he sat about towards the washroom to brush his teeth and continue his morning routine. Si Jin sighed and wiped the sweat off her brow. She took the opprotunity while Lian was seeing to his ablutions to get herself dressed and the letter tucked away...in...seriously, what DID this thing mean..? She understood the message, but why now? And why was she being REWARDED for breaching the contract? She sat in front of Lian's uneaten tray and stared at the letter. It wasn't long before Lian returned. He always had this bad habit of forgetting his meal, brushing his teeth then having to eat and just repeat the process. "One of these days I swear I'll get this." he said with a laugh as he bit into the toast. He was silent for a few moments as he chewed and afterwards as well. "There's something more to that letter. Isn't there?" Si Jin shook her head and sat the letter on the empty tray. "Sorry, prince Lian. It's complicated and I'm not sure I understand, but it bothers me. The letter is from...well, who is not important, but they have the authority to reassign me. Which they have. I think they found out about your sister's...manuever." The prince let his toast clatter to the plate as he looked up at Si Jin. "You're not. Ahem, that is. Your reassignment. It's not taking you far, is it?" The hoofmaid frowns and gestures at the letter, explicitly granting permission for the princec to at least attempt to decipher it. She waits until he starts reading it, then says "The code should be simpler to understand knowing that it's a code. And that the inks are different colors." The prince reads over the letter, studying it quietly. Knowing there's a code does indeed help, but it takes him a few moments to decipher the meaning in his head. When he does though he breathes a sigh of relief. "If I read this right, you've been reassigned to me?" Si Jin nods and smiles , then frowns as she takes the letter back "It...shouldn't have happened though. My...employers don't work that way. It's important to know my original contract was for ten years, not five. That bit of code is a Kachinonai...well it's like an exile, I suppose. I'm not welcome in their village, even if your business should carry you there. That is...light, compared to what others would have received for not reporting a mission's outcome." Lian frowned and stayed quiet for a few moments. Si Jin had her secrets, and the prince was polite enough to never pry deeper than he felt the need. This was one of those times it was best to not ask too much. For now though, the qilin did something he hadn't ever really done before, and embraced Si Jin in a hug. "I am truly sorry if I am the cause of your exile..." Si Jin leaned into the embrace. This was one of the many things in which she was trained that she was more than happy to do with Lian even if she hadn't been. "No, it was a difficult situation, and it was my fault. I should have immediately reported the fact that the Empress had her own bodyguards and...and allowed myself to be reassigned. However things were not so simple as that and I let m- I acted with a complete disregard for the customs of my people." "You and my sister are alike in some ways you know. She too tends to disregard that she is a pony first and a figurehead second." the prince sighed softly. "This is one of those situations where I wish I knew more, but I respect you enough to not ask. Despite really wanting to ask. Regardless though. You are your own pony first and foremost." "Lian, there may come a day when you will know everything there is to know of Clan Chiyo, I truly wish that were today. What I can't tell you would fill an entire library of burned scrolls." Si Jin mumbled to herself, forgetting her inside-the-head voice for a moment. The prince chuckled softly and pulled back from the hug slowly, gently brushing a strand of mane out from Si Jin's face. "Prehaps another day then." She'd said that out loud. Ancestors preserve, she'd said that out loud. She pulled away and scanned the room quickly, straining her ears. "I'm...I'm sorry, that was-That was wholly inappropriate, and you shouldn't have heard that." she said, straightening herself up and glancing out the window as if she expected a kunai to come back through it. "Heard what?" he asked with an innocent face as he continued eating his breakfast finally. "The last thing was said was just me saying that you are your own pony." Lian smiled and drank his juice. There was a long, pregnant pause in the air while Si Jin calmed herself down. She wasn't used to being out of sorts like this. She was a Shinobi. Kunoichi of the Chiyo clan. She'd been trained to maim and kill with the barest of efforts and nerves of steel. And here this stallion was, able to waltz through her nerve and her defenses like she was the vapid little courtier she pretended to be. Kami blast her she even thought like them more often than not! "Hitomi." This was not tradition. This was not what "Chiyo, Hitomi." was trained for. But if she was going to really do this, she had to trust him sometime...right? "The new silk screens you ordered. They will need to go back, someone will have slashed a hole in one by the time it arrives. It will have been ugly anyway. And you have a poetry reading with your half-brother." "A lovely name." he said with a nod after finishing his drink. "That's a shame, they looked so delightful in the catalogue. But I suppose pictures can't do some things justice then. I've always loved those poetry readings you know? I've never been good at writing them as he has, but it's always a good time to just...relax and unwind and forget about the world even if just for a few moments." "Just a mare from a tiny diving village." Si Jin responded, cagily. Then she shook her head, "He does it to show off you know. 'See how much more creative and cultured I am than these pretenders?' Did we ever figure out if he was behind the bees or if that was your cousin?" "I'm sure she's more than that." he said as he sat about brushing his teeth again. "He does, yes. But it's a mask to hide insecurity. As for the bees? I'm unsure. I believe it was my cousin, but there's no proof one way or the other." "If there was we'd need to keep an eye on one fewer Feng..." Ahem, not counting Yu Yue's 'secret' suitor. "Regardless, you'll be there most of the day, which is when I'll address the woefully damaged screen. A shame someone ruined the poison." Lian looked up quickly, toothbrush hanging in his mouth. "Poison?" he questioned before rinse-spitting. Si Jin waggled a hoof. "I don't know who, and I think it would have just made you sick, unless they switched the poison. My...supplier mentioned that someone had bought out all of their stock. I was able to follow it to the silk workshop who's handling the screen. If it turns out the poison was used somewhere else I'll let them go through." The stallion arched a brow and shook his head. "I'll never understand why ponies feel like trying to poison me will avail them anything." "They want to hurt Yue. I don't let them find out about failed poisoning attempts so that they think no one else has ever tried. So everyone thinks they came up with the idea first, makes thwarting it easier." "Makes sense." the prince sighed. "I sometimes wish her and I had stayed with mother...This whole...royalty thing is so much more difficult than needs be." Si Jin blushed and stared out a window. "There...are some perks." she says, thinking about the idea of never having met the two of them. She'd certainly be less conflicted, at least. "Regardless, you don't need to worry about this attempt. Or any other if I do my job." "True, I'd not have met you." Lian rubbed his chin as he looked in the mirror. "Hmm, mane up or mane down today?" "Up, you're going to need to change outfits several times." she says, pulling out the spare set of armor she hid under Lian's armoire's base and setting about equipping it. "Joy, Dress-Up Lian, everyone's favourite." he said with a chuckle, pulling up his mane as he hummed to himself. "What is it the Prench say? Noblisse Obligé?" She pulled on the last of her armor and slipped a yukata on over it, silk and steel once more. "Besides, think of it as being one area where brother dearest can't hope to keep up with you: Style." "Oooh that is so so true. And his hoofmaiden isn't nearly as beautiful and deadly." he said with a nod as he finished his mane. "I think that eats at him just as badly." "Pfft. The fewer who know I'm not just a pretty pearl on your arm the better. It makes my job easier." she replies, bringing out a simple happi coat and hachimaki headband. "Dockworkers' guild first." "Well at the same time, if everyone knew, I'm sure no one would try." Lian replied as he got dressed to impress, while still remaining appropriate for the location. "I'm not immortal, my prince." Si Jin answered, making a couple of adjustments to the set of the coat. "I must sleep, and eat, and I can't be in two places at once. Some of us didn't get THAT talent." Her tone was somber, but not rebuking or reproachful. "And there ARE shinobi more skilled than I am. There are rules that can protect you, but only while I live, and only if I'm in the good graces of my mentors, which I remind you I am not." "Fair enough. But at the very least, were someone to try and harm you, let me remind you that I'm certainly not harmless myself, and would do my best to defend you, should the need arise." "I know, I just worry." she replies offhoof. She had to admit to herself it probably didn't sound like a professional concern, but her tones were always neutral and guarded, so it might pass for that. "I likely have more knowledge of electricity than any Kirin or Ryuma ought to thanks to your training sessions. We need to restart those soon, by the way, but the Watchers seem to have discovered our previous dojo." It was an empty quarry, Hitomi, don't act like it was in Longri-La. "It's hard not to be discovered when bolts of lightning shoot out from 'nowhere'." he said shaking his head. "I don't understand why they cannot just let us train in peace..." "Well, from their perspective, you vanish for hours at a time, doing dangerous exercises. And their job is to keep you and the palace safe. They just aren't as good at it as I am." "Dangerous perhaps to them or my siblings. But I didn't spend years at the Monastary making tea cozies..." "Another thing to consider, then. Their duties also require they protect your siblings." the ninja said, picking a loose thread off the shoulder. "Well it's not as though I go out of my way to harrass my siblings. On the contrary, I try to play nice with them to the best of my ability." "No, but politics being what it is..." Si Jin sighs and shakes her head. "I don't think there's anything else I can do for now. I'll have a few spare outfits for you through the day." "It's alright, thank you for everything. I'll do my best to stay out of trouble today." The prince said with a wink...pausing on his way out to give his friend a kiss on the cheek before making his exit. Si Jin stood still for a few moments with a hoof on her cheek, then hurried after Lian, summoning a fan from somewhere on her person to cover the blush. Today was shaping up to be a good day for an unexpected change.
  3. Situated on one of the smaller islands in the Neighponese archipeligo, the village colloqually called Kakikara-mura or "Oyster shell village" has a thriving pearl-diving business, and is known for exquisite jewellery and a historically excellent finishing school for geisha worthy of the Shogun, or even foreign courts. And these things are obviously true, as they produce tangible results. Measurable by anyone who wants to. Objectively. In truth, while the fisheries and finishing schools do produce pearls and coutresans, the true purpose of both is and has always been the training of a highly specialised breed of ninja. In addition to the rigorous training all shinobi and kunoichi receive, the Kakikara village trains assassins who master the courtly arts in an effort to get closer to the most difficult targets: nobility. Historically, the Kakikara kunoichi were dispatched to dispatch Long warlords and Viking Jarls with a more militaristic bent. When the nations established more peacable relationships and the ninja arts no longer became necessary the two leading clans, Chiyo and Kaze, convened a council. The Kaze clan was the controlling family in the area, but when they proposed assasinating the then-current Shogun in order to install a Daimyo with a mind toward continuing the aggressions, the Chiyo staged a successful coup that has left them in charge since. The Chiyo clan, now head of all branches of the Kakikara shinobi, immediately put into practice a new code and approached the daimyo one by one to establish a formal relationship with certain rules: The Chiyo could be hired for their original purpose against any target who is not a daimyo (and eventually the shogun once a clearer shogunate emerged), but they would accept no lethal contracts against members of the Neighponese government. The Chiyo could also be hired as bodyguards by anyone who negotiated an appropriate contract. Lastly the Chiyo could be engaged as instructors for whatever the individual shinobi was skilled in, save for the clan secrets. In exchange, the village's true purpose and the clan were to remain secret. The clan was to be a neutral entity with regards to any specific ruler or government, and while they could be employed as spies or assassins, they would not cleave to the shogunate or any daimyo. Security for independance. The Neighponese government was safe from the village clans, and the clans were independent from the government. In the decades following unification, the Chiyo honed their arts even further, developing three signature weapons, and two combat techniques utilising them. Sticking to the shadows, they developed dreamdust, a powdered soporific capable of rendering an adult Kirin or Ryuma unconscious within minutes of exposure to a dose no larger than a breath. Next they developed the tessenjutsu, a set of martial arts utilising iron-bladed folding fans. Finally they developed a technique called mibojin no hoyo, a sharpened ridge of serrated blades hidden along the shoulders and flanks that allowed for a seemingly innocuous leaning gesture to cause severe wounds in the intended target. Some shinobi were further trained with this weapon to make acrobatic leaps and tumbles capable of disabling multiple attackers in short order. They are also inoculated against several common toxins, trained to hold their breath for extended periods, and given lessons in courtly manners and foreign languages above and beyond most shinobi. Accordingly, a Chiyo candidate is not considered ready for deployment until much later than rival clans' agents even starting younger. Currently, the Chiyo's main branch still oversees training and controls the Elder council, though two branch matriarchs maintain seats among the five. The current Elders are Chiyo Hayate, Chiyo Akane, Chiyo Fumiko, Josei Mami, and Kaze Himeko. Currently, only Chiyo Hayate and Akane and Kaze Himeko and Ichiro have foals, though exact numbers for either couple are closely guarded secrets even within the clan. Typically, contracts are handled by any of the Elders, who interview prospective clients and negotiate cost, duration, and other terms, then the Elders collectively nominate and deliberate on assignments. The clan takes contracts very seriously, and for a Chiyo shinobi to breach the contract is considered a grave offense. Rumors abound of shinobi disowned or hunted for breaking a Chiyo contract, though most happen to a friend of a cousin. Notably, the Chiyo prohibition against government officials has only been breached once, and those with the unfortunate confirmed that the officer in question had been the aggressor in the rather brief exchange.
  4. Roleplay Type: Name: Sī jīn (code name, only a very limited number know her real name) Sex: F Age: Mare Species: Qillin Eye colour: Violet Coat: Pearly pink, with opalescent scales and horns Mane/Tail: Plum blossom in colour, the mane is kept in tight buns behind each ear built around her horns to mostly conceal them. Her tail is braided, with an empty bell on the bow holding it tied at the tip. Physique: Slender, lithe, and athletic Residence: Two feet behind and three feet to the right of Lian. Occupation: Publically, she's Lian's handmaiden and majordomo, however she is duty bound to protect the prince at all costs. Cutie Mark: A pair of folding fans held together like a clam shell, with a pearl on the lower fan. Close (ahem) inspection after a bath might reveal that the fans are made of metal, not paper, and the pearl is gone... Unique Traits: Her Breath allows her to briefly become the wind. She also owns a Long Pearl granting her access to a chest of items kept back in the Imperial Palace without those items needing to traverse any of the intervening space. Font: Indigo History: Born in what was ostensibly a fishing village in Neighpon, the filly who would grow into Si Jin was trained from a young age in the family business. Assassination. For generations, the Chiyo clan had produced ninja with a talent for courtly mannerisms and appearance, often disguised as courtesans, geisha, and concubines. Following the unification of Neighpon the clan instead lent its services as clandestine bodyguards. Their daughters were highly trained in both combat and courtesy, death and diplomacy, style and subterfuge. Among her generation, Chiyo Hitomi was already near the head of her class when she manifested her Breath for the first time. The elders of the clan decided that her Breath, which allowed her to cover great distances silently, would lend itself well to the Clans purpose. And so Hitomi began an intense regimen of training to harden her resolve, tighten her reflexes, and push her to the brink of qillin endurance, agility, and accuracy. After six years, a suitable client was found, and Hitomi was given the code name Si Jin, silk scarf. The client was a potential bride for one of the Shogun's sons from Long Guo, named Yu Yue. Si Jin accompanied both the Imperial twins for quite some time, as they were nearly always together, and grew quite close to Lian, or as close as one in her position could afford to get to one in his. But Destiny has an odd sense of humor, and a taste for tragedy in Jin's estimation, as during Yu's sojourn in the monastery the days of Yue's quiet contemplations, and Si Jin watching Lian with the moon in her eyes, were cut short by an Imperial summons. Si Jin followed Yue back to the palace, as her duty required, but swiftly found herself redirected to Lian's apartments instead of the princess's. The High Censor quickly, and quietly, informed the bodyguard of the changing circumstances. She was to supplement the Prince's retinue of guards until more suitable arrangements and excuses could be made. After all, it would be inappropriate for a foreign assassin to be so close to the Empress. After several tense days, there was an Incident, and any pretense Lian might've had about Si Jin being the simple hoofmaiden from a tiny village were well and truly buried. However, the newly crowned Empress herself cast a shining ray of light into the dark days after the coronation, when she, the Chancellor, and the High Censor spoke to her in private to confide that her services were being retained out of respect for and in recognition of her skills. Not for Yu Yue herself, but for Lian. After all, it would be far too easy to cause the Empress grief through her beloved brother. Character Personality: In court, she's unobtrusively helpful, anticipating Lian's needs and seeing to it he has everything he needs on a moment's notice. In public she's demure arm candy, easy on the eyes and ears and quick to provide anything Lian desires. In private she's polite and friendly, entertaining Lian's guests with grace and poise. In secret she's a steel-nerved assassin, personally ensuring there is no threat to the beloved brother of the Empress. In truth she's a hopeless romantic with the dignity and honor of a thousand years of lineage firmly on her shoulders. Character Summary: Smooth silk over sharp steel, a cultured pearl with a deadly core, the mare called Si Jin is the ornament decorating the Prince's right hoof, its gorgeous petals concealing deadly thorns until they are needed.
  5. If a stallion searched long and hard enough, he'd never suffer from want of a job. Such was true of Tsuyo Yamabushi, a samurai excommunicated from the Neighponese Army's most elite fraternity. The archipelago nation of Neighpon was a realm of peace, with scarce opportunities for masterless ronin to practice the Way of the Warrior. And so, like countless others before him unable to utilize their talents at home, Yamabushi looked overseas to distant lands. Equestria was one such place; although blessed with a heartland full of harmony, its frontierland was great in size... and more importantly, untamed. Out there on the northern marches, one could still run into danger. For Yamabushi, that meant a fine opportunity to make a respectable living. Outlaws and other mysterious creatures prowled the Northern Equestria wilderness, making it an unwise proposition to conduct commerce along the lonely roads between towns without an escort. And who better to safeguard goods than a ryuma samurai of Ryushima Island? Yamabushi's latest job: escorting a... humble ramen cart. Or to be more precise, the chests stored inside that cart. Pulling the ramen cart along was its owner — and partner of the swordstallion — a ryuma mare going by the name Shiori Rin. The ronin wasn't too terribly acquainted with the mysterious Rin, other than that she was skilled in the martial arts and the cooking of ramen. Frankly, those qualities were more than enough to encourage Yamabushi to take on Rin as a junior partner. Only a fool would refuse the services of a noodle maker! As for the actual chests themselves, Yamabushi had no clue what lay hid inside them. All his client told them that they were rare herbal ingredients being sent to an apothecary over in some isolated town deep in the northern taiga, and that the ingredients would be ruined if the chests weren't opened in an appropriate location. Given the large chunk of bits riding on this successful delivery, Yamabushi asked no questions. He was simply glad to be one step closer toward finally paying off his dishonorable debts. Although deep in the northern marches of Equestria, the late-summer air meant that the day was not too cold. Wearing his kimono comfortably and bearing his two swords, Yamabushi took point up front as he scanned the pines surrounding them for anything that looked off. So far... nothing. And yet, the samurai remained deep in thought.....
  6. Zeig

    Fuyu Tsuki

    From the album: OC Art

    I realized the other day that I had no female characters who were competent fighters. All of the girls I have fulfilled niches that had no physical conflict involved in them whatsoever. So I decided to make a ninja character, to compliment my samurai. Tsuki is generally an agreeable sort of Ryuma, but she's got some grand ideals about getting vengeance against the Imperial Dynasty for 'destroying' her family's way of life, way back when her ancestors migrated from Long Guo after its unification. She'll be using her ninja training to try and subtly sabotage any Long Guo workings she can. ...We'll see how that goes for her.
  7. From the album: Hocotate-Gallery

    The O.c. of a friend of mine.(Not a RP character) DeviantArt

    © Hocotate-Stallion

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