Written by: Skynetmain
Rena and Angela are walking through a bustling city. They are on foot after selling the horses they â€˜borrowedâ€™ from the thieves. Rena is trying not to appear uncomfortable being around so many people.
Rena: I hate the city.
Angela: I love being back in a city.
Rena: The countryside is so much better.
Angela: Only in a country whoâ€™s side is as pretty as this and not covered in snow and ice.
Rena: Our winters are beautiful!
Angela: I was referring to the Motherland.
Rena: Whatever. Letâ€™s just do what you came here for and bolt.
Angela: Right. Which way to the docks...
Rena: Docks? What for?
Angela: Well, uh, the ship should be waiting for me.
Rena: What ship?
Angela: The one that will take me back to Europe.
Angela: You know I am just a baka gaijin. I wasnâ€™t going to stay here forever. Iâ€™ll definitely come back some day. I swear.
Rena: But... yeah...
Angela: Donâ€™t worry. Iâ€™ll try to keep in touch. Maybe I can ask if you can stay on the ship with me until we leave.
Rena: Yeah... sure...
Rena stops where she is as Angela continues. Rena drops her head to one side.
Angela: Which way was it...
Rena: Sniffs the air. The scent of salt water is coming from this direction.
Rena starts heading off, still in her dour state. Angela follows Rena.
At the harbor. Angela is scanning the ships to find her own. Rena is slowly tagging along. Hundreds of foreigners from various countries are filing in every direction. Angela sees the ships she is after.
Angela: Ah! Look at that ship. A British Majestic-class battleship. I hear your government is very interested in them.
Rena: Itâ€™s not my government...
Angela runs over to the ship. A man sitting on the stern of the ship sees Angela running and jumps up.
Frenchman: [Madame Angela! Bonjour!]
Angela: [Bonjour, Jacques-san!]
Jacques jumps down to the dock. He bows at Angelaâ€™s arrival.
Jacques: So, you have gone native, have you?
Angela: Just a little.
Jacques: Looks over to Rena. So this is the lady you were charged with caring for?
Angela: Hai! Rena, this is Jacques. Jacques, Rena.
Jacques: It is a pleasure, Rena-chan.
Jacques takes Renaâ€™s hand and bends down to kiss it. Rena freaks out and kicks Jacques in the head. He flies back and lands off the docks near the ship.
Angela: Rena! What did you do that for!
Rena: He tried attacking me!
Angela: He was just being a gentleman! That is how all gentlemen greet ladies where we are from.
Rena: Well, he should have kept his hands to himself.
Some sailors help drag Jacques out of the water. Some of Angelaâ€™s colleagues have come down from the ship to investigate. The Californian, the nun, and Giacomo (the Italian), exit the ramp and look around. The nun goes to help Jacques.
Jacques: [Well, that was fun. Any chance of CPR?]
Nun: [Not on your life.]
Californian: [What is going on here!]
Angela: [Sorry sir. My friend misinterpreted Jacquesâ€™ intentions.]
Californian: Looks over at Rena and Angela. [What? Hey! Youâ€™re back! Great to see you, Angela. I bet you have lots of stories. I see you brought your friend.]
Angela: I did.
Greg: Oh! Where are my manners? Bows. Colonel Gregory Stevenson, United States Marine Corps.
Rena: Uh hi. Rena.
Greg: Nice to meet you, Rena-san. This is Giacomo of the Italian Army and Sister Ingrid from Virginia.
Rena: Yeah. Hi. I guess.
Ingrid: It is a pleasure.
Giacomo: Oh. So you are the demon woman.
Rena: Growls and holds out her hand. Donâ€™t you wish to greet me like a gentleman?
Giacomo: I am not that stupid.
Rena growls and bares a fang.
Angela: Sir, I was wondering if I could show Rena around the ship while we are still in port.
Greg: I see no problem in that.
Angela: Also, can she, maybe, stay with us, please? While weâ€™re here, or course!
Greg: That is where we would have a problem. You know space is limited.
Angela: She can stay in my berth!
Greg: Weâ€™ll see. To Rena. So, shall we get the tour underway?
Rena: Yeah. Sure. Sounds fun.
Greg: Ah, come on. lighten up. This will be fun.
Greg leads Rena on to the ship. The others follow, with Jacques emptying a bit of Tokyo Harbor out of his boots.
Greg has shown Rena around the lower decks and is concluding the tour with the main deck and bridge.
Greg: We have the big guns over here. Hopefully, they will never have to be fired in anger.
Rena: We can only hope.
Giacomo: Aside. [The way our German allies are heading, your hopes may not be realized.]
Englishman: [Now wait a darn minute there!]
The British liaison for The Order storms onto deck.
Greg: Ah, Rena, this is our British ally, Malcolm.
Malcolm: A pleasure. To Giacomo. [I donâ€™t like the tone of that insinuation!]
Greg: [Perhaps you would rather argue away from the tour?]
Malcolm: [Right. Sorry.] Bows to Rena. Good to meet you again.
Malcolm and Giacomo go to the other side of the ship to argue.
Greg: [Those two are going to be sad when we part and they have to stop fighting.]
Ingrid: [I bet they will travel to see each other just to argue.]
Greg: Oh! Sorry. As I was about to say...
Everyone looks to see another ship steaming into an nearby berth. At the rails, Rika is leaning over waving. Everyone on the British ship waves back.
Angela: What is she doing here?
Rika backs up from the rail and looks to aim herself.
Rena: Looks like she is about to jump.
Greg: That is crazy! She will never make it! [Ingrid, get the harbor master ready to pull her from the water.]
Rena: I wouldnâ€™t worry about it...
Rika lines up her jump and runs. She leaps, somehow keeping her legs close together to keep her kimono from flying open. She lands safely on the deck of the British ship and skids a little on her geta, all keeping her kimono closed.
Rena: Told ya.
Rika: Made it with room to spare.
Greg: [How did you...]
Rika: Quite simple. I just jumped.
Rika: Jovial. Hey! Rena! Angela! Serious. You two owe me a stagecoach.
Angela: She did it!
Rika: Did what?
Rena: It is not my fault! And you never told us anything about tengu!
Rika: You never asked. How about I just deduct the cost of a new stage from your pay?
Rena: How much would we still owe you?
Rika: Well, first you will have to finish the tour of this ship with me in tow. Then youâ€™ll have to allow me to take all of my new friends from The Order out to dinner later. Oh! And Rena, I have to take you shopping.
Rena: Iâ€™d rather you just charge me all my money...
Rika: Good! Then it is settled. Greg-san, continue if you please.
Greg: Ano... right... this way if you please...
Later. All of The Orderâ€™s representatives, Rena, and Rika are leaving a fancy restaurant. All are looking fairly stuff, except Rika who is still eating a bowl of rice.
Giacomo: I donâ€™t think I have ever seen a person eat that much in my life.
Malcolm: I donâ€™t think the entire ship eats that much... in a week!
Rika: I know. The portions are so small. Oh well. I can always go out later to get some more.
Everyone stops and stares at the still eating Rika. She walks ahead and looks back. She winks and flicks off a piece of rice from her cheek.
Greg: Anyways... I have been meaning to ask why you are in Tokyo.
Rena: Yeah. If you were coming here, why did I have to deal with those damn tengu!
Rika stops. She hics a little and looks like she is about to give a massive belch. Everyone runs for cover.
Rika: Gives a tiny burp and blushes. Excuse me. Tee-hee.
Rena: Donâ€™t scare us like that!
Rika: As I was saying, I am here on top secret business with the emperor.
Giacomo: Ah please, we all know it is the bureaucrats and military that control things here.
Rika: Yes. I wonder what the Pope would say about it...
Giacomo: What did you say!
Rika: The emperor still has a unique sway over the government, even if they are the ones trying to control him.
Greg: That is interesting. I have a meeting with him tomorrow as well to report my findings before we set sail.
Rika: Oh really! That is fascinating. Maybe we will see each other.
Greg: There is more to you then meets the eye, Lady Rika.
Rika just smiles back and gives a cute giggle.
Rika: Okay! It was great seeing everyone again! I hope the rest of your evening and tomorrow go well for you. Rena and I are off to go shopping.
Angela: Can I come too?
Rika: Sorry, but I think you should stay on your ship. Just in case.
Greg: That is true. You should start securing your quarters and preparing your report for when we reach Rome.
Angela: [But what about our deal! You said Rena could stay with us.]
Greg: [Her other friend is offering to care for her for the night. You have a lot of work to prepare.]
Rika: [Donâ€™t worry. I will make sure she is at the dock in plenty of time to see you off.]
Angela: [How did you...]
Rika: [I am quite skilled.]
Angela gives Rika a questioning look. Rika smiles and goes over to Greg.
Rika: Whispering. [Donâ€™t worry about a thing. Oh! And in case I donâ€™t get another chance, keep chasing your dream. One day I bet weâ€™ll see a Stevenson in the White House.]
Greg: [How did you...!]
Rika: Winks. [My little secret.]
Greg: Pulls away. [Come on! We are off.] Bows to Rika. We thank you for your hospitality.
Rika: It was my pleasure.
Greg bows again. The others bow or curtsy and leave. Rena watches her friend leave. Angela looks back as well. Rika puts an arm around Rena.
Rika: Donâ€™t worry about it. Thinks. You know, I think you would look great in red.
The next morning. Greg yawns as he heads down a hallway in the Kokyo. He adjusts his dress uniform a little and fixes his hair. He reaches the end of the hall just as two guards open a pair of doors for another visitor.
Rika: [Oh Greg! So good to see you again. Iâ€™ll wait here for you, okay?]
Greg: [Wait, what?]
Rika: [You donâ€™t want to keep the Emperor waiting! See you soon!]
Rika smiles and waves as aides force a very confused Greg into the chamber.
Rena is in her hotel room that she is sharing with Rika. She is trying on one of the many new dresses Rika bought her the other night. She is blushing a little at actually wearing what she is wearing. Rena tries taking a couple steps in her new geta but slips and almost falls. Angrily, she kicks the geta off. They land near a couple pairs of shoes and slippers Rika also got her. Rena finds her old robes and goes behind a screen to change. The door to the room opens, and Rika walks in with some food.
Rika: Iâ€™m back! I got some lunch. I tried not to eat yours, but it is too good.
Rena: Returns from behind the screen and dumps the dress down. Iâ€™m leaving.
Rika: First we eat. For the Jedi, it is time to eat as well.
Rena: Whatever. Iâ€™m leaving.
Rika: You canâ€™t leave yet. You have to see Angela off. She would be crushed if you didnâ€™t come. She is your friend.
Rena: I... I donâ€™t like her. She is not a friend.
Rika: Come on. She is you closest friend since we met.
Rena: I.. I donâ€™t like her. She stinks.
Rika: Fine. Be that way. Iâ€™ll help you pack.
Rena: Iâ€™m not taking this junk!
Rika: You canâ€™t last long without an extra pair of clothes or two, and you have to start wearing shoes! Your feet are all raw and bruised!
Rena: No, they are not!
Rika: That is because I healed them.
Rena glares down at Rika. Rika gives a sharp look back. Rena looks away. Rika holds up a small pack of clothes.
Rena: Takes the pack. Fine. Iâ€™ll take some extra stuff.
Rika: Good. Now go see Angela before you leave.
Rena: No! I donâ€™t... it would hurt...
Rika: You are going to see her before you leave whether you want to or not.
Rena: Slips on some slippers. Of that, you are wrong.
Rena goes out the door and slams it shut. Rika looks around the room and starts gathering clothes.
Rika: I can always store these until she needs them. Stops and thinks. I wonder if Marla would want me to pick her up something while I am here.
Rena is fighting her way through the crowded city to get to the gates. Rena forces her way to a gate but is stopped by the guard.
Guard 1: Pass please.
Guard 1: Travel pass. You need one to get out of the city. Either that or you have to pay a transit tax.
Rena: Son of a...
Rena starts getting out some money.
Guard 1: Wait a minute... I was tipped off about you.
Guard 1: Yeah. A miko with yellow hair. This is for you. Hands Rena a letter and a small stone seal. Someone wanted you to have a free pass. You can read the letter outside.
Rena heads out to read the letter. She slips the seal into her robe as she unfolds the letter. It is written in badly drawn hiragana and katakana. Rena sighs and reads.
I am writing since I get the feeling that you will not see me off. Rika promised to deliver this for me so I hope you get it shortly. I really valued our time together. You truly became one of my best and dearest friends. I hope our paths cross again sometime. I promise to try and stay in touch. I guess I can send the letters to Rika, and she will get them to you. I wish I could have told you this in person. Take care, Rena. I will miss you.
Rena is choking back tears and she refolds the letter and puts it in her robe. In one action, she leaps into the air, transforms to fox-form, gathers her pack and robes to her back and starts running across the rooftops to the harbor. She runs as fast as she can and barely touches down on each landing before leaping once more. As she nears the harbor, Rena starts crossing, looking for the British ship. She spots the large cannons and makes a beeline. The ship has pulled in all of its moorings and is leaving port. Rena makes a huge leap, transforming and dressing in one motion again, and lands on the dock. She sprints down the dock as the ship gets further and further away.
Rena: Crying. Wait! Come back! Iâ€™m sorry! Please stop!
The ship gets too far away for Rena to be heard clearly. On the stern, Jacques is watching the harbor disappear. He sees Rena and waves.
Jacques: [Au revoir, Mademoiselle Rena!]
Rena cannot hear Jacques by the time she reaches the end of the dock. She collapses, crying.
Rena: Crying. I just wanted to say â€˜goodbyeâ€™.
Rena watches the ship disappear and drags herself away. She reaches the end of the dock and starts looking for a direction to head.
Rena snaps to attention to see Angela running up. Rena runs over too, and they embrace.
Rena: Crying. I am so sorry! I should have been here.
Angela: It is okay. I got the order at the last minute, after I gave Rika the letter. Iâ€™m supposed to stay here as a liaison to some new group or something.
Rena: Wait. What?
Angela: I donâ€™t really get it either...
Rika: About time you both get here. Now we can leave for your first assignment.
Rika walks over from the direction of her ship. She is daintily spinning a parasol behind her.
Rena: What are you talking about?
Angela: Do you know what is going on?
Rika: Iâ€™m sorry. I have to answer a question with a question. Would you like a job?
Rika stops in front of the other women and gives a broad smile.
Skynetmain has just got back from modern Tokyo and did not encounter any kitsune... that he knows about!
Nessa is actually a kitsune.