"...Mizonukuni." Haru frowned, still lost in mysterious druidy thoughts. "I am extremely grateful for the opportunity you are providing us with. Thank you." There unusual passion in his word, though it was still understated.
Ryo knows that Mizunokuni is one of the four dominant nations of the Daitoshi region of Shibayama. Historically they've not gotten along well with their neighbors (neither have the other three) and most of Daitoshi's history involves at least two of the four nations being in some form of war with each other. Three times this flared up into larger wars, involving three or all four of the nations. Mizunokuni is based on an archipelago off the coast, and devoted to the veneration of the water Kami. Has a lot of water Wu Jen and Shugenja. Run by some sort of combination of non-hereditary monarchy and gerontocratic theocracy.
He knows that six years ago there was a revolution and that it was found out, in the aftermath, that the deposed tyrant was being dominated by an Illithid, who was also killed by the revolutionaries.
Akemi is 33 years old and a water Wu Jen. While well-off, her family was not nobility. Akemi was involved with the resistance/revolution for most of her adult life and personally led the attack that killed Kanagawa (the former Daimyo) and the Illithid. She has no living family, her father having died during a war, her mother having been taken by Kanagawa's agents, and her brother - a leader of the revolution himself - having been killed during the revolution.
Due to her status as a national hero after the revolution, she ended up being chosen as the Daimyo to replace Kanagawa. She's attractive and rather wild - as Rin implied - although she does have a preference for men. Despite her amazing looks, she's rather sensitive about her age. Due to her actions in the revolution, her status as a Wu Jen, and her actions as Daimyo, she's generally well-loved by the people of Mizunokuni. Her looks probably don't hurt her in the popularity department, either.
Haru knows that Mizunokuni is a large nation in the Daitoshi region of Shibayama based on an archipelago. He knows literally nothing of it's non-legendary history.
Haru knows that according to legend Mizunokuni - along with the three other Daitoshi cities (Hinokuni, Kazenokuni, and Tsuchinokuni) were supposedly founded by the possibly mythical priest of the Way known only as the Master of the Five Paths (or similar titles). According to myth the Master had somehow mastered all five of the elements utilized by Shugenja, rather than the one or two most Shugenja master, and personally negotiated with the Kami the pacts that would allow for Southern Wu Jen to do their thing. Supposedly the four cities sprang up at the sites where these negotiations took place, founded either by the Master himself, or by his disciples. As a result, Wu Jen and Shugenja are very common in the four great Daitoshi nations, and veneration of the Kami is even more pronounced and dominant than in other parts of Southern Izumo.
All Haru knew about Akemi was that she was the leader of the recent revolution (of which he knew the general details, given that it involved an Illithid) and that she was supposedly a great water Wu Jen, surpassed in her skill only by her beauty.
"A vacation it is then, lovelies. Say hi to Akemi for me, and do let her know that I'd love to see her again." Rin laughed.
"If anything comes up with the Cao investigation, or the Yagyu situation, I'll make sure you''re informed."
She smiled. "If there's nothing else, though, and you're not going to fuck me, maybe you should just go and start packing stuff for your trip?"
Kai stood, shifting his weight from foot to foot as he spoke, "Forgive me, Rin, I thought we would get some time to ourselves?" He struggled to stop the anxiety from showing on his face, instead starting to pace up and down. "And, again forgive me, but are we truly to believe- given what we were confronted with in Yagyu- that visiting a place that until recently was controlled by a-" he hesitated, even the very name held memories stark with terror, "-Thing is truly nothing more than a vacation? Shibayama is hardly a place most would consider vacation territory even in the best of times." He looked up briefly, his smile tight, "And these are hardly the best of times."
"We're alive, Kai. As far as I'm concerned, as long as you're alive and free, it's the best of times. But that's just me." She laughed and hugged Yuan again.
"And of course it's not just a vacation. You should find out if Akemi might have any information that might be relevant to whatever is going on in Yagyu. But that's not going to take long. And I doubt she does. Even if the two incidents are related, I highly doubt Akemi herself has any pieces of the puzzle. It's better to be safe than sorry, though, and Mizunokuni's a beautiful country."
"As for personal time, don't worry, love. You'll have some time to see Mio before you leave. She's here. And she'll be here when you get back."
Rin knelt down again, playing with the foxes. "I wish I could come, but Hideki probably wants me here. And the little ones would miss me, isn't that right?" She laughed, as the tiny animals swarmed about her, yipping and licking and pawing at her happily.
There was something more going on with Rin. It should have been blatantly obvious to Shari for a long time, but her unswerving loyalty to her master had always blinded her too it in the past. Perhaps Kai had loosened the monk's addiction to the unworldly courtesan’s presence? It was difficult to tell with a head so frequently filled with either furious zeal or rampant jealousy...
At any rate, the hard-edged fighter had found herself in the strange position of a mediator.
"Mizunokuni isn't so bad. I remember the beaches there, at least..." She spoke in a husky, rather amusingly faux-enthusastic tone.
Before continuing, she took note of Kai's discomfort, then Rin's lust. Her body moved swiftly to the ninja's side and placed a soft hand on his face, followed by a short but passionate kiss on the lips; A bid to solve both problems at once, apparently. "You should go and see Mio and your kids, Mister Kai, while you still can. I don't want to ruin your time with them by forcing you to explain our little, erm... relationship-deal... just yet."
Giving him a genuine smile, Shari then glanced back to her master and judged whether it was worth putting up with Yuanjun's presence or not. Rin's presence... Well, relationship or not, the woman was lovemaking incarnate. "...I'll... stay here if you desire my company, Rin."
Haru glanced in Shari and Kai's direction. 'Relationship-deal'? So it was official? He hoped for their success but could not help thinking it would lead to complications. But what business was it of his? If they were happy with it, he would be too.
"If time and circumstances allow, I would very much like to enjoy some of their beaches. The most interesting animals live where the ocean meets the land." Nature and he needed some real alone time together.
I'M WARPING. YUAN STAYS BEHIND FOR NOW BECAUSE WINDY WHERE ARE YOU?! AGAIN.DUCK, ARE YOU ALIVE? IF DUCK ISN'T POSTING ASSUME TAT HEI STAYED BEHIND AT THE INN.
Rin laughed. "I'm flattered, Shari, but I've got my Yuanjun to keep me company." Rin hugged Yuan close. "We're in love, you know." She beamed.
"Anyway, off you go, lovelies. You've got packing to do. And I've got to make the arrangements with the boat and stuff."
The boat was nice. The ride was nice. It was nice not running into psychotic incestuous twins or horrific abominations for a change.
The capitol island of Mizunokuni was lovely, as Rin had said. Given the climate and the cultural affinity for spending time in the water, most of the people you met were both rather scantly clad and rather physically fit. You could see why Rin loved this place.
The capitol city was a lot like Kusanagi-to, but with more canals and fountains. Lots of people going about their businesses, lots of liveliness, and lots of shrines of varying sizes to Ancestors, Dragons, and the (Water) Kami.
It suddenly dawned on you. Rin had given you money to rent some space at an inn for your trip, but your lovely benefactor had kind of forgotten to tell you exactly how to go about getting an audience with Akemi. Hopefully Ryo's noble heritage might be enough. Then again, if Akemi was as wild as Rin made her out to be, your looks might be enough.
"Well... This feels decidedly closer to home turf." Shari spoke, stretching her arms above her head and taking in the air.
The carrage sprung upwards as her formidable weight left it, as ussual. Despite the fact that she'd been forced to stay out of both Kai and Rin's hair for the past few days, the emotionally cumbersome monk was actually in a good mood for once. At least here the problems with Rin, Mio, Oboro, tentacle things, twins... They were all a world away.
Hopefully, nobody from the old days would recognise her; She hopped to maintain this feeling for as long as possible.
"Anybody know how to contact this Miss Akemi, then?" She turned back to the group, her voice sounding charmed, but still not loosing it's low rasping note. "These guys seem alot more open than I remember, but high priests are high preists... Maybe you can talk to 'em, Ryo?"
"Sure, I'll just find the palace and see if I can arrange something." Ryo looked and sounded a little more lax than usual, probably the sea air and apparent laid back atmosphere. "What sort of time do you think should I aim for?" he asked, stroking his new beard.