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Magistrate nodded as Hime let them keep the eye. Magistrate then took the eye, secured in a case, and left the room through a door that opened in the back, behind the desk. Suzume and Aya dodged out of the way quickly as the figure glided between them. They reacted like Magistrate would burn them physically if they touched. Their eyes were concerned up until Magistrate disappeared behind the closed door, then they breathed a sigh of relief. Their bodies and posture looked exhausted from stress, but finally free of some invisible burden. Whomever Magistrate was, only DragonierMan seemed unconcerned, yet everyone else seemed weary in that presence.

"You can keep the cloak," Drago said after Hime was done talking, to dispel any doubts about whether they would strip Hime further. "I will also apologize for putting you through all that earlier. At the time I couldn't think of a good way of dealing with the whole 'kidnapping the Shogun' thing. Anyways, now that we are here, not on a mission or in some studio with a live audience, perhaps we can just sit and chat a little. I don't think either of us really has really got to know the other yet. It might even make it easier to work with each other in the future."

"Of course this goes both ways," Drago continued as he sat down, and Suzume came over to sit down near him. Aya went over towards Yasu and Hime and produced her sack. From it she pulled a bucket of clean water and some strips of white cloth. "We'll answer questions about us, or whatever, if you got any. Then we can brainstorm what to do next on the positioning and finances. Perhaps you have some ideas on that? Is that why you were showing yourself off to that Oni fellow?" he asked. "Boss Oni," Suzume commented. Drago glanced over to Suzume, then looked back to Hime. "What is your relationship with Boss Oni anyways? And who are you really?" Aya meanwhile was applying a cold compress to Yasu's forehead, while toweling off excess sweat, and cleaning up the blood.

"Perhaps you could also tell us how you and Yasu met. Apparently, as the General puts it, it was after Yasu's homeland got destroyed or something. However, the details are few and far between," Aya stated as she continued to clean Yasu up. She even moved Yasu's head a little so that she could start wrapping gauze around her head to bandage over her missing eye. Her hands were pretty adept at applying first aid. It really showed the staggering amount of injuries the trio had to patch up over the course of their colorful career.

"Yeah. And then you could tell us how you got the band together in the beginning. We have accounts that you managed to raise an army and then got defeated by a measly five people. Then you went all pacifist on us," Suzume added. Apparently she had a similar ingrained sense of blood-lust that her progenitor, DragonierMan, had. "Knowing your past accomplishments and failures could help us with the future planning," she said bluntly, but with a smile.
Hime raised her eyebrows at the reaction of DragonierMan's ninjas to Magistrate's exit; she was perhaps beginning to wonder if she'd been underestimating the threat he posed when she acted standoffish earlier. She turned her head back to DragonierMan and nodded, pulling the cloak about her shoulders again to make sure it didn't wave open. Her expression was clearly still troubled, likely because she was still pulled between being humble and open, versus being suspicious over his role in the abduction. Still, she shook her head and raised one hand, indicating he ought not to worry about it. Again, her yellow eyes were a little hard to read, but bemusement at least was clear in her face as DragonierMan suggested the two of them ought to get to know one another. "Very well," she answered, recrossing her legs as she watched Aya and Suzume working.

Her eyebrows fell as DragonierMan mentioned Boss Oni; it was clearly not a subject she'd wanted to open up about, but, having promised openness, she couldn't back out of the conversation now. "The mafioso named Boss Oni... I once new him as ShogunMan. What you saw there was nothing more than my attempt to get the support of the Techari and Teksqp families, to provide us with a way to fight back against our enemies and subdue them, without allowing them to simply jack out and continue using hit and run tactics. Boss Oni is, obviously, a deviant and while he's well known for attempting to foster relationships, a bipolar array ranging from obsequious in their best case to overbearing in their worse, I felt equipped enough at least to escape if I found myself in danger. I hadn't counted on an attack from you, of course. But... as I mentioned earlier, the limit on my disguise was nearly up to begin with. I considered our relationship with Boss Oni important, so I used that as a bargaining chip, but I was also hoping he'd see me and remember who I was. Unfortunately, I believe dimentia has clouded his memory... he didn't recognize me at all."

"I should backtrack and explain who ShogunMan was. He wasn't a leader of an organization or anything of that sort... just a friend who I considered an inspiration. He had many admirers, and I was only one of many. At the time I was just Hime, not Neo-ShogunMan. A new navi getting her footing on the hostile wilderness of the net. He was my mentor and guide, but also my friend, and I'd hoped, potentially, something more than a friend. Of course, that concern seems very far off, in light of his current condition... I don't want him to fall in love with me any more, I'd just like him to recover to the type of person he was before. I believe his transformation has to do with his operator, who I'd always known as a despicable person. I say this because Oni's mannerisms seem to resemble that man's... At any rate, I first concocted the idea of becoming a new type of shogun in order to inspire him back into his old self. My objectives grew from there. I'd only wanted to do good, but the idea of a unified net became important to me- like I said, I'd had a somewhat rough start on the net myself- and that became my pursuit. I'd always hoped that along the way I'd help him recover himself, but... so far, there's been no progress on that front. At any rate, that's my own concern, and the rest of the Empire needn't bother with it. I only wish I'd managed to secure his resources like I'd gone there to do, but the price he asked was rather steep and I must admit, I let my emotions get the better of me as well. I'd really banked too much on his recognizing me."

She'd talked a while, but DragonierMan's assistants had questions too. Hime frowned, not cherishing the memory of how she and Yasu had first met. "Back then, I was just getting my start as Neo-ShogunMan... I wasn't pretending to be a shogun nor a man, that is. I'm surprised you know so much about her origins as First General, but yes, I befriended Yasu when I came to the aid of her village. That makes me sound more noble than I was; I was just a fledgeling leader, looking for those in trouble for the purpose of offering a hand, hoping that maybe they'd be sympathetic to my cause after. Yasu was the only one left, of course. But when I help drive off a vandal named Alex and get her some measure of safety, she felt indebted to me. Not just that, we were fast friends. She's prickly, but she's a good person, loyal and true. That's why you must imagine my disbelief when she announced her intent to either kidnap or attack me; I knew that, for wrong or right, Yasu has chosen to follow me wherever I go. I don't want to speak for her, but... the two of us could never betray each other. It's a bond as deep as the Empire itself." She'd gotten up to walk as she spoke, and took a moment to watch her friend's sleeping face.

"If you're wondering about Alex, she's a powerful woman who now commands a group called the Alexis. She's interested in an 'empire' of sorts as well, although her vision is simply uniting everyone under herself by force. I believe her only reason for attacking the village were that simple: she wanted them to join her, they refused, and she attacked. Yasu says that some fled... one or two actually joined Alex... and most perished. Most were unoperated, you see. Yasu has an operator now, who actually operates Yasu, Dee, Lee, and Vee all together. That's the meaning of the 'general' distinction, you see; those original officers who are all operated by that same friend of my own operator's. Perhaps you'll meet her one day, though she rarely reveals herself," Hime suggested.

She was already beginning to sound a bit put off, describing these personal details, but the further questions were clearly making her cross; her brow furrowed as she continued. "With Yasu at my side, I became Neo-ShogunMan. I hired Lee and Vee for a time, though we quickly became so close that they acted as my generals. They, like Yasu, were without operator at the time. Dee joined afterwards... her story is somewhat personal, so you'll have to learn it from her. All I'll say is that she had an operator but left them, and when she did, she brought with her considerable financial resources. We used those resources to build our army, and from there, I let the word 'Shogun' go to my head. I thought I would stake out claim in the public net, to begin building our base of operations, but I paraded my soldiers in en mass and a GNA bounty against us was quickly posted. The navis who responded were very powerful; it was quite a wake-up call. Know this, DragonierMan: when you imagine your power, or what you might take by force, think about the very concept of our empire, the idea of a unified people. There is no conquering the net; the net is full of more individuals than one could possibly try to put to heel, and who knows the limits of navis' powers and adaptability? It was that day when I was reminded of the simple truth that we must unite a net that comes with us willingly, not that we wrestle into submission. So when you talk about 'going pacifist', note that it's a change I intend to stick."

Here, her tone turned somewhat accusatory; it clearly wasn't that easy for her to forget what DragonierMan had tried to go along with. "Our accomplishments are the empire itself; we've brought many others into the fold, largely with your help, and fostered a great many useful relationships with factions inside the NP and Mafia. We've received financial aid from some sources, such as our many public appearances. The Empire's survival is no accident; it's the result of the hard work we all pour into it. That we continue to grow, while trusting one another and increasing our bonds... that is the legacy of the Empire. Think of these as our successes, when you ponder those failures." She took a seat again and watched DragonierMan warily. "And as you said you would permit me a question, I'll take you up on that. What did Yasu promise you, while she was under the control of BrainMan, that would make you kidnap and injure me? The Empire is built on trust, DragonierMan... it means we trust our allies implicitly, but it also means that one who's broken that trust is difficult to accept as 'family,' as is necessary for our ideals. Are we still on the same page, DragonierMan?" she asked, surprisingly fearless despite all she'd been shown and where she was. "Don't get me wrong... I'm glad that you came aided me in the end, but it's hard to gloss over what you've done. You don't have a mysterious eyeball controlling your actions... you chose to do what you did, as did your operator, presumably. What were all of you really after?"
DragonierMan, Suzume, and Aya sat and listened as Hime told them a ton of information. It came as a shock that Boss Oni originally was called ShogunMan, where Hime took the moniker from. Apparently Boss Oni was a 'good guy' in the past, and she had apparently served under him to some extent. Even falling in love with him. But at some point his coding degraded and he 'lost' himself. In the Real World it was called 'dementia' and usually affected older people, robbing them of their memories and sense of self. It seemed to them that Hime, due to her attempts at reminding Boss Oni of his more noble past self, branded herself ShogunMan for that purpose. Word association.

Aya finished up with bandaging Yasu's head and backed up a few feet to give Hime and Yasu some space. Drago pondered to himself how he was going to talk to Boss Oni when they meet later on at their scheduled meeting. He would probably wait until he brought up either Hime or the Shogun, and then weave some story about how he got her back from their kidnappers, and then ask to get the armor she left back. He could probably let slip that it was a plot by their, potentially, mutual enemy the ROT (Right of Operation Templars) organization. That could, again potentially, push Boss Oni to make a deal with the NS (Neo-Shogunate) in revenge for the slight against himself. Securing the Mafia's help.

With the first question answered satisfactorily, they moved onto the second. This one concerned the relationship between Hime and Yasu. Hime talked about Yasu's village of unoperated navis and how Alexis attacked it probably because they didn't join her. From what little Drago knew of Alexis, even after battling her once, it seemed to fit her M.O. (modus operandi). As Hime got up to move around, Aya backed up a little more to give her space. "That sounds about right from what we've seen. We, and by that I mean primarily DragonierMan, even helped Yasu fight Alex on one occasion on Mt. Alexander of Nefrica in the past. She was pretty strong, but was ultimately put to flight by their combined might," Aya added.

"How do four Navis have one Operator?" Suzume chimed in with a question. "I thought that there was some system in place to prevent that?" Everyone turned to her, and she waved her hands in front of her in backtracking. "N-not that I-I am complaining, really! I like all of them. It... It just seems odd you know?" she added. Seemingly satisfied with the question asked, everyone turned back to Hime.

Hime continued with the story of the founding of the NS, the subsequent fall, and the efforts to rebuild. As Hime talked, Drago made a mental note to go talk to Dee/Myst for more details about her past. He smirked as he also thought of other things they could do together. It was auspicious that he was wearing baggy pants under his armor. As Hime got to the whole defeat part, and the lesson she learned, Suzume became sheepish. Clearly force wasn't the first and only way to do things. The trio of navis each briefly thought of times in which they were brought to the brink of defeat by other members of the NET. It was definitely a lesson they had learned time and time again. Though each burned with more passion to get even stronger so they could defeat them in the future.

With all the questions answered satisfactorily, then it was time for Hime to ask the questions. Her first question was what the reward was for her capture. "The reward, besides the common baubles needed to improve my own strength, was a position as the Right Hand of the new Shogun. And perhaps even as far becoming the new Shogun," he replied. "Basically I was going to eventually take over the Shogunate... Or so I thought. Clearly what was going to happen was ROT was going to try taking over." He chuckled. "They definitely pulled one over on me." He then raised his hands in front of himself and cracked his knuckles. "I can't wait to repay them for that."

Aya then chided Hime as she talked about trust. "I think it should be clear to you by now that implicit trust is what got you into this mess in the first place," she said. "At least you can find comfort in that suspicion got you out of that mess. Otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation." Aya's tone of voice seemed to be of scolding a friend for something that seemed obvious to her. Clearly they didn't see the world as so black and white, but as gray as their eyes.

Suzume got up and tried to put a comforting hand on Hime's shoulder. "Look. You can at least know that our goals are in a similar vein to your own." She gestured to all of them with the other arm. "We were given the command to protect the denizens of the NET by making some sort of higher order to the whole thing. The idea is to create an overall bastion against the darkness, specifically in a way that protects the unoperated from any future troubles. The fact that the generals all come from unoperated backgrounds, the destruction of villages, the exploitation... All of that threat is to be stopped eventually." She stepped back before continuing. "And that is why we were planning on taking over your organization from the start. We joined to rise through the ranks and take the NS for our own eventually. As you said, it would be easier to unite everyone under us if we earned it from them."

Drago remained seated as Aya and Suzume watched Hime's reaction to the news. They basically just admitted that they had planned a takeover from the start, and they were talking about it so openly and without subtlety. That would probably be enough to shake anyone's beliefs. "For the moment it seems like our plans will have to wait on that regard. But know that I don't intend to force the issue any further, for now. As this situation demonstrated, I am not ready to assume command yet. You will continue to be our leader until the rest of the organization wants me to lead, yourself included. Until then I will continue to forge alliances for the Shogunate until we have the utopia we deserve." He placed his hands on his knees and bowed his head forward. "If there is anything else you wish of me, you may continue to ask. We will continue to answer truthfully as before. And when you and Yasu are well enough to travel, and you wish it, you may leave. We are still allies in the Shogunate, despite this setback."
Hime crossed her arms, glancing over to Yasu again as the support programs tended to her and DraognierMan described his encounter with Alex in the past. "She told me very little about that meeting. I'm glad the two of you were safe, but she and her Alexis are dangerous opponents. It would be wise not to underestimate her, even though you had the upper hand in that meeting," she warned DragonierMan. "Yasu must have trusted you to let you in on her past, and even more to count on you in that fight. She's relied on you a great deal." There seemed to be more Hime wanted to say, and again, that dark, tired expression when she held her tongue from saying it.

She gave a small smile at the surprise of Suzume, then shook her head. "It's certainly not normal. You hear of multiple operators using a single navi, but seldom the other way around. Part of that is in the difficulty of operating four at a time... It's no easy feat, requiring a great deal of effort and concentration. There typically isn't a lot of benefit to it either: it's costly, you divide your resources four ways, and so on. The only reason she does it is necessity, going back to the earlier concept of 'family', the idea was to bind together the four as closely as possible. Though, whether it's been worth it or not is up for debate... Dee and Yasu aren't exactly the closest of friends, as you may have noticed. At any rate, she's busy now removing traces of BrainMan's hacking from Yasu's PET now, as much as she can. Yasu's contact has been false for a long time now, replaced with dummy footage, so that none of the other generals knew what had happened. We believe the hacking might have been more extensive than that, even still..."

Hime came to the end of her portion of the talk, asked her question, then waited with bated breath as DragonierMan explained why he'd gone along with the brainwashed Yasu's plot. Her eyes widened as she realized the extent of what he'd been promised. "That's..." she started, nearly interrupting, but quieted down so heand Aya could finish. "Look at it from another perspective... If DragonierMan and myself had not trusted Yasu as far as we did, then we could never have known she was being controlled by an outside force. Though, I suppose the inverse is also true... if DragonierMan did not trust Yasu from all of your time together, thinking she'd place that much faith in him, BrainMan could not have manipulated all of you. It's a double-edged sword. But I'd like for all of us to continue to consider mutual trust to be the foundation of our organization. And to that end, I'll strive to be more open to your feedback, Aya."

At first, Hime was smiling and nodding calmly with Suzume, as she agreed with the words and the symbolic meaning of where each of the generals had come from. The smile left her face, however, when she heard that DragonierMan had always intended to take over the empire. "There's no easy response to that," she murmured, with a tense expression. "I suppose if we're being honest, it upsets me that you do not have more faith in me as the leader of this organization. At the same time, you have a valid point that it shouldn't matter who the symbolic leader is, as long as we are headed for the same goals. Again, being frank, I have a hard time reconciling the fact that you wished to create a peaceful world with the fact that you abducted me beaten and at swordpoint. We have to think about how we do things, not just the end goal. We're all forced to make tough decisions and live with the consequences of those decisions... I hope that next time you'll speak to me to voice those concerns." It didn't sound like she had any intentions of relinquishing her position as shogun, regardless.

"I suppose I can't stop you from trying to win the hearts of the other generals... and myself..." she murmured, raising an eyebrow as she realized how strange that sounded, "nor do I really have any reason to. And yes. You are still valuable allies." Having said that, she got up to her feet, then returned his bow. "We all have a lot to think about and much to do. I'll deliver Yasu back to the camp so that you aren't burdened with her treatment. You can hold on to BrainMan's eye... perhaps you'll manage to learn something from it. We'll continue to root out any remaining traces of his hacking, though it appears that what's left is, at least, dormant. I will also explain the situation to the other generals. And... I suppose I haven't said it... but I understand that my life was in your hands several times throughout this ordeal. It's humbling, but I do thank you for staying your hand."

It didn't really sound like they were going to be best buds from now on, but at least Hime had agreed that DragonierMan would continue to be an ally for the Shogun and didn't seem to think his goal of becoming the leader disqualified him from continuing. "Until we meet again," the shogun finished, placing a hand on Yasu's wrist before the two of them beamed out together.
It was true that DragonierMan was manipulated and fell into the trap of trust, to some extent. Also the trap of gaining peace through force. Though that was just something he was programmed to do as the 'sword' of his Lord. Suzume and Aya mentally noted what Hime said about the multiple Navis, one Operator thing. Especially the part about blocking an Operator with dummy footage. It sounded like something they might be able to use as a weapon in the future. If they could figure out how that worked. The bed slid back into the floor and the blanket disappeared. Then DragonierMan and Suzume stood up. It was time to fight until called again.
((DragonierMan gets the following FXP:
BrainMan: 3 FXP
Yasu: -2 FXP
Hime/Neo-ShogunMan: 3 FXP

MachMan gets the following FXP:
Yasu: 4 FXP
Hime/Neo-ShogunMan: 7 FXP))