Neo-Shogunate Headquarters

The ploy of the Neo-Shogun Empire to flaunt its power and become a rival to the NetPolice and Mafia ended in a profound failure, as over 90% of the army was wiped out by a handful of navis recruited by the Global Network Administration. Most of the few of the army who remained alive abandoned ship, leaving only Neo-ShogunMan himself and his four generals to tend their wounds and think about how to progress next on their path to create a name for themselves as a dynasty.

Here in the wilderness of Sharo, a great courtyard in front of an abandoned military complex briefly held an army of 10000 new recruits. Now nearly empty besides a few men in training and the leaders themselves, it is just as desolate as its surroundings, creating no noise to combat the winds that buffet its inhabitants.

Neo-ShogunMan, a large and imposing figure clad entirely in red and gold armor with a fearsome demon mask and tall helmet, sat with both legs crossed facing his generals around a single fire. Such a gross miscalculation... if only the men had realized the destruction that the five navis they'd faced were capable of, they could have accounted for it and withdrawn earlier to come up with a new plan of attack. Now the army was reduced to practically nothing, and his trusted generals, the pride of his army, had incurred permanent injuries. "It is no important matter. Concern yourself no further with this failure, First General Yasu, and maintain your dignity,"[font=eras demi itc][/font] the figure encouraged one of the women.

The woman, a worse-for-the-wear brunette with scars cut across her muscular body, was still kneeling in shame even as her chest was bandaged. Despite wearing almost nothing but the bikini-style bottom of her armor and her bandages, she seemed little affected by the cold. Her hair hung in her eyes and her lip quivered as she tried to contain herself, but failed once again. "I do not mean to doubt you, but these words cannot be taken as true! We've entirely lost morale. I do not see how we could hope to succeed in our ambitions as stands," she explained in a literal fever. "The same recruitment drive will not work again now that men know of our failure." Her hair fell from her eyes, revealing where a green cloth patch was now tied around, covering an injury from the previous battle so that only one of her fierce eyes glared into Neo-ShogunMan's.

"There is no fault. My stance has always been that the soldiers are supplementary to the might of the generals. More soldiers will come; it is you generals who are irreplaceable. My only regret with this battle is that it has shown such a grievous immaturity on my part and has brought harm to you all,"[font=eras demi itc][/font] the shogun replied, bowing his head. Slapping his ornate fan up and down in one hand, he looked amongst the other generals for further commentary. "Please, one of you give me a full report of the injuries you four have sustained."[font=eras demi itc][/font]

Vee, the yellow-garbed ninja general from the fight earlier, answered her commander as she wrapped the bandages tighter around Yasu's injured ribs. "As you can see, Yasu incurred the worst injuries. She's lost one eye and her data has been hard to repair, leaving some marks of burning at her back. My body was scarred as well, though not so terribly. Lee has nearly recovered from her amnesia, but is still resting in the barracks. Dee is... she hasn't come back yet," the ninja sighed softly, then looked vengefully out into the wasteland. "Bitch."

"Do not insult your sister,"[font=eras demi itc][/font] the shogun scolded his general, slapping his fan down so hard in front of himself that it caused Vee to jump. "She needs time to recover just as the rest of you do."[font=eras demi itc][/font]

"Who needs her, anyways? What did she do for us besides make herself invisible to try and counter guided missiles? She's a bitch and a dumbass," Vee muttered quietly.

Yasu responded this time, jabbing her painfully with one elbow and showing that she'd lost none of her strength. Vee lost her grip on the wrap, causing it to sag momentarily, but Yasu quickly recovered it, not wanting to be disgraced any further in front of the shogun. She finished the wrap herself as she talked. "This failure lies equally upon all of our shoulders. The important part is that we figure out how to act next," she scolded Vee, looking to her shogun hopefully.

Rubbing his masked chin thoughtfully, the shogun thought how to reveal his thoughts. "We act patiently. It's become clear to me that untrained soldiers gain us nothing. We need more highly specialized generals, such as yourselves. I'm not sure what incentives we have left to offer... but there must be something that others would value,"[font=eras demi itc][/font] he mused. "If you and your sisters were moved to join me without material gain, perhaps others would be as well."[font=eras demi itc][/font]

"If only it were so simple. This world is populated, you see, by repulsive men," the green-armored general replied, spitting at the last word. "And the GNA has made sure that they're either gorged upon honor or wealth. Even if we can compete with the NP or Mafia, it is clear to me now that we have no hope of upsetting the balance that the GNA has instated."

"I've thought to myself... perhaps my approach was mistaken. All I need is enough specialized forces that we will be able to search the Mafia at our leisure. This whole idea of an army was far beyond the scope of my resources,"[font=eras demi itc][/font] he admitted, crossing his arms and lowering his head. "I wish I'd realized that before I'd gotten you girls injured. There's no way I can apologize for my mistake."[font=eras demi itc][/font]

Looking at the shogun with enamor sparkling in her eye, Yasu bowed her head in front of him once again and leaned on one fist. "There is no need to apologize. We will accept this change in tactics with the grace that is due to us. Henceforward, our goal shall be the recruitment of talented individuals."

The shogun nodded, standing up with surprising quickness in a way that made his armor seem much lighter than it probably actually felt. Crossing his arms behind his back, he turned to observe the field, patting his fan up and down in a rhythmic motion. "Thank you for your faith, Yasu. You and Vee should go out to collect more specialists as soon as you've recovered. We can't afford to lose more time... I will stay here and deploy Lee and Dee, as soon as they both come around. Just as you have your faith in me, I have faith in the women I have recruited,"[font=eras demi itc][/font] he told his general fondly, projecting a warm tone despite the muffled, deep voice that he was using.

Bowing and scolding Vee once again for her insult against their gracious shogun, Yasu retired to check on Lee's condition. Frowning beneath his mask, Neo-ShogunMan looked at his huge armored hand curiously, opening and closing the blocky fingers of his glove. "I also have faith that the one whom I trust the most will come around soon... I cannot lose that hope,"[font=eras demi itc][/font] he muttered to himself, gazing up into the blizzard that whipped across the courtyard.
((Continued from here.))

Neo-ShogunMan, clad in full red armor, sat drinking warm tea ceremoniously beneath a snowy tree, the only one standing in the humble Sharo base. Ever since the girls had left off to their patrols, making only occasional stop-ins, he'd become somewhat lonely with only the training footsoldiers to keep him company. As he pondered over the status of his army, he was suddenly interrupted by one of his footsoldiers arriving through the gate, panting and carrying a heavy bag over his shoulders. "What is...?"[font=eras demi itc][/font] the Shogun muttered in his breathy voice, bringing one hand up to his chin and rising from where he sat.

The footsoldier looked for the most part like the other generic NS soldiers, wearing a yellow headband with a brown tunic, but his black hair was spiked out ridiculously and his sideburns were completely unshaven. His fierce eyes gleamed in the dim light as he approached his shogun. "Look, my shogun! Behold what I've brought us!" he laughed, lugging forward with the heavy bag as other footsoldiers gathered to see. "Look, my shogun! Behold what I've brought us!"

"Our image is very important at the moment,"[font=eras demi itc][/font] the shogun sighed, retaking his seat with a heavy clunk. "If you have stolen, or worse, kidnapped, I ask that you return it immediately."[font=eras demi itc][/font]

The soldier was awestruck by how quickly the shogun had guessed what he'd done, but furthermore, he was infuriated that the shogun showed no respect or gratitude for what had been a tremendous undertaking for him. "I mean no disrespect, but please, reconsider! I risked a lot to get these... there's enough chips in here to outfit all of our forces! The fighting strength of us ordinary soldiers would increase so much from all of this!" he pleaded, struggling to maintain composure. "Is stealing not appropriate for so noble a cause as ours!?"

"Perhaps..."[font=eras demi itc][/font] the shogun admitted, then took another draw of his tea. The soldiers looked between each other excitedly, seeing that their representative's words seemed to have had some effect on the leader. The Shogun's yellow eyes thinned, however, and they glared straight into those of his subordinate. "But I must ask: from who did you steal?"[font=eras demi itc][/font]

"Only from the negligible... the NP and the Mafia!" the soldier announced with pride, beating one fist against his chest. "Our cause is strengthened while our enemies grow weaker!"

"Are you sure that they will be the only ones injured? You must look at the full scope of consequences,"[font=eras demi itc][/font] he muttered, already knowing that he'd hit upon the real issue. The shogun was not ignorant of the charity event and had pieced together where the chips had come from at last. As the soldier failed to respond, the armored navi gave a heavy sigh and stood back up, pointing his fan. "Think before you act!"[font=eras demi itc][/font] he demanded in an authoritative voice. "You have stolen from the poor! A leader must never draw only from the bottom to strengthen his army! You will cause only revolt and unrest!"[font=eras demi itc][/font]

The soldier looked affected, but still didn't seem to grasp what he'd done.

"You stole from a charity!"[font=eras demi itc][/font] the shogun grunted, hanging his head and shaking it woefully at the thickness of his subordinate.

"Oh... oh! OH MY GOOOOD!" the navi exclaimed, clutching his wild hair with both hands and falling to his knees. "This is anything but heroic! My precious generals would scorn me-" he started, then coughed and raised one fist to his mouth. "Er, that is, I see the cause of your disappointment, Shogun. You're right. I must return the stolen goods immediately," he affirmed.

"See to it, but be wary... They will likely not react well to your presence. If you can, avoid capturing the eye of their camera... We really don't need this kind of publicity,"[font=eras demi itc][/font] the shogun grumbled, pouring himself another cup of tea. "I commend your proactive approach to furthering the cause of my army, but not your lack of consideration as to how to do so. Please be more thoughtful in the future,"[font=eras demi itc][/font] he requested with a wave of his fan. "Hmhm... you're rather like Yasu in that regard, aren't you?"[font=eras demi itc][/font] he mused quietly.

With a nod, the soldier went off to undo the crime he'd committed.

((To be continued))