Inky's Homepage

Unlike with the entry point to Webb's homepage, the coordinates Aya and Suzume had received wouldn't beam them directly into the studio's showroom. The coordinates, instead, beamed them to the backstage halls, which seemed highly convenient for their current purpose... Hime must be well-connected to be able to get coordinates and a key that allowed them into such a specific area of a secured, private homepage. Luckily, like the Web homepage, this one seemed to be very lightly staffed; it was possible, judging by how few doors lined the narrow hallway, that she ran the whole show by herself. Then again, that would be a lot easier for a navi to do than it would be for an average human being.

The decor was all white and black, mostly white, offering a good contrast to the setting of Webb's. Several holographic articles lined the walls in frames, displaying awards the reporter had one for some of her greatest articles and interviews. Being associated with a dream therapist who wanted to deliver false information would be bad for her reputation, but, then again, she was willing to listen to an outside party spill the beans on the shogunate's secrets. Perhaps she deserved a little retribution as well?

The door at the closest end of the hallway was unmarked. The one at the farthest read "interviews," but hopefully, that room would be empty for now, seeing as they were supposedly ahead of time for putting the brakes on this expose. Besides those, the hallway also included a door that looked to lead to a uni-gender bathroom, as well as two doors on the opposite side: one door with Inky's name and another marked "guest." The safe bet was that if Wake was here, he'd be in latter door. Of course, the two might easily come up with plans of their own that didn't involve barging right in, but that certainly seemed to be the most direct approach.
[Aya and Suzume Transfer From Webb's Homepage.]

The two twins beamed in, in full ninja garb. All skin was hidden under black wrappings. All shine was dulled. And they wore cloth masks that covered their entire head, only their eyes were visible. They stood for a moment and looked to their surroundings, taking in it all with their keen minds. Debating internally what their moves would be. And what they could use in their surroundings.

Noticing the "Inky" and "Guest" doors, they padded over silently on their covered toes. Aya placed an ear on Inky's door, while Suzume placed one on the Guest's. They listened to see if either room had an occupant. If Inky's room had someone, Aya would take out a few small iron stakes and try to slide them into the four corners of the door, bolting it close. After she was done, and Suzume heard anyone in the Guest room and indicated it to her sister through a nod, Suzume would open the Guest room door.

Aya and Suzume then produced a pair of silk scarves. If someone was in the room, the twins would rush forward on silent feet and attempt to bind their mouth and arms. Hopefully, they could get them while they were in a chair. If they got Wave, alone and bound, they would put a dagger to his neck and give him a "Shhh."

Suzume would then produce a small piece of paper and hold it up to let Wave read it.

Quote ()

To Wave,

You are to forget what you know about Neo-ShogunMan. You will also back out of this interview and never return. If you do not comply, then both you and Fancy will suffer greatly.

A concerned citizen.
The ninjas soon discovered that both rooms were occupied: the noise of movement came from the guest door, while the soft voice of a woman came from Inky's. The girls decided to nip that problem in the bud by sealing the news lady inside her room, then focus their attention on her guest. In keeping with the atmosphere so far, it seemed Inky was her only personnel: no bodyguards, make-up artists, or anyone else was with Wake inside the guest room as they rushed in. His wife wasn't with him either, which made sense, if she indeed only existed in some dream net, disconnected from the one he occupied.

The navi was just finishing pulling the bag over his head, from which bushy, purple hair extended until he finished getting it on. He was just tightening the drawstring at his neck when he noticed the two girls making a grab for him. Ironically, although the bag naturally muffled his voice, it also made it hard to find his mouth to silence him Before he was gagged, his voice squealed: "wait, it's a misunderstanding, I'm-!" He was so tall that the girls had a difficult time bringing him down and getting to his neck... his anatomy made him look like some kind of alien or cryptid.

The capture may have made more noise than the two intended, but theoretically, Inky was alone and locked in her office, so it shouldn't matter. When the girls presented him a paper, he waited dumbly for a moment, since he was, perhaps, in confusion over how to read with a bag over his head. Once he realized that playing dumb would just make things worse, he began to breathe harder and make motions with his head to show he was reading. Once he finished, however, his response came in the form of a slow, hesitant shake of his head; despite his position, his answer was apparently 'no.'"

Aya and Suzume would need to realize they only had a short period of time now before either Wake jacked out of the Net or his operator pulled him themselves... they might be able to kill him so dead he couldn't reassemble, but without special technology, there was little they could do to prevent his jack out procedure.Then again, either deleting him or making him jack out would mean he couldn't deliver his story... although only for now.
Apparently the bag over Wave's head also blocked his line of sight. A major disadvantage for someone, especially when others are trying to threaten him through words on a piece of paper he can't read. Though Aya and Suzume didn't notice this. They thought that he could see through the bag. So when he shook his head, they thought it was a refusal.

Both Suzume and Aya acted immediately after he started moving his head in a "no" response. Suzume dropped the paper, which evaporated into nothingness. And both girls reached out to wrestle the bag off his head. Attempting to tear it apart to get to what was concealed, with knives if they had to. If they could get a glimpse of Wave's true identity, they would have something to use against him.
Fortunately, Wake was not in a position to fight back, and even if he was, his weak resistance upon being caught told them he wasn't much of a fighter. The bag came off easily enough, revealing that the one under the mask was none other than... Fancy, his wife. They had been told she only existed in the dream world, and yet here she was I'm front if them, unless it was a GMO or something... but the hair matched the color and thickness that the girls had seen when the mask went on.

When they had met Fancy earlier, she had shown off the vast majority of her body, so they could confirm she did not have such long, spindly limbs. In fact, her head on top of her husband's body looked absolutely ridiculous... imagining what her body must look like under the suit was becoming a difficult task.

"Really, stop! You two have got to let me go, then I'll explain everything," she pleaded, shifting her head so that her cheek was mashed against the floor. "There's been a huge misunderstanding and you guys are making a big mistake!"

Something began moving around the bulbous, wide mass that composed Wake's upper torso, like something was about to burst out of his chest.
Aya and Suzume released their hold on Fancy-Wake and jumped back. They bore their daggers toward her and got ready to fight. This whole situation was getting weirder and weirder. Why was Fancy dressed up like Wake? Or was the Fancy they met in the "Dream World" just a facsimile of what Wake looked like without the suit. Dream World Fancy wasn't as spindly though.

However, the questions would have to wait. Something was moving beneath the skin. Whatever it was, the girls were certain they could take it. And perhaps now that they were not keeping her silent, Fancy-Wake would be able to explain what was really going on. Maybe whatever was going to rupture out of the Navi before them was controlling her. Maybe they needed to blackmail it instead of Fancy-Wake.
"Geez, just drop the daggers already!" Fancy complained, upset about the overall situation, perhaps including whatever was happening to her / her husband's body. A woman's hand slowly appeared from between the crease between the jacket and skinsuit, clawing its way out from inside. Next came the arm, as well as other appendages: another hand and two feet. Finally, it became apparent what was happening: Fancy, dressed only in her transparent nightie and lingerie, was huddled inside a suit, with her arms and legs held close to her body. The movement they'd seen was her freeing her real arms and legs from that position, to climb out of the disguise of her husband. The arms and legs of that suit now flopped uselessly onto the ground.

Of course, this new revelation was still insufficient to explain Fancy's motives. She raised her hands again, backing towards the make-up chair and mirror as she did. "I'm being blackmailed. There's this mafia guy who I gave dream therapy a while back and he learned a secret of mine... about the way I do my work. As soon as I finished that session with you all, he threatened to give the secret to World News if I didn't go to them first with something criminal I had learned about you all in your dreams... but I didn't learn anything criminal, so he settled for embarrassing. So I was going to just tell everybody that the Shogun is a girl to get this guy off my back," she explained, still walking backwards. She finally stopped once her hip collided with the chair, nearly causing her to trip.

"So... so, you know, I'm not really at fault, because I have to do this or I could lose my livelihood. You understand?" she finished, calming herself down in hopes that it would in turn calm the girls down. Of course, many questions were still up in the air: why was Fancy disguised as her husband? How was she here, when her husband had said she could only inhabit a dream world? Finally and most importantly: what should the girls do in light of this information?
The girls did not drop their daggers, but they did loosen their stances a bit. Clearly Fancy wasn't a current physical threat. Aya moved a hand up to her mask and used two fingers to pull the cloth over her mouth down a little so she could be heard clearly. "Apparently you have seen through our disguise," Aya stated, as if seeing the girls in action before wasn't enough for Fancy to know them by sight. Even if they were covered up with more clothing than before they still retained the same physical characteristics.

"Very well," Aya continued. "But you should know that we can't let you go through with this broadcast. It might be best to tell us your secret that you are being blackmailed with and the name of this Mafia guy. He has made some dangerous enemies with this stunt."

Suzume listened attentively but did not speak. Though she did glance wearily at the door they had entered from as if any minute now someone would interrupt them. Aya stepped forward as her daggers vanished and she reached out to grab Fancy's arm. "You are leaving, with us or by your own hand. You can tell us your story when we are safely away from here. Then we will see about shutting up that Mafia guy."

If Fancy looked like she was about to scream or call for help, Aya would try to clamp one hand around Fancy's mouth and attempt to restrain her. Suzume would join in moments later. Regardless of whether Fancy would try to fight them off or go along willingly, Suzume and Aya would try to push Fancy through a NET-Portal to the Neo-Shogun's main camp. Leaving the studio behind.
"We can't leave! Or, you know, I can, but I'll just jack out if I have to... But you girls have gotta be open to negotiation, cause this other guy is not," Fancy responded, crossing her arms defiantly. "I can't tell you the secret because then it's basically just as bad as if he let it out! That's my livelihood we're talking about. If the secret gets out, my business is done for good... We rely on the income we make from dream therapy. I can tell you who the guy is though... He's this big guy with a mask, who's in the Teksqp family. He dresses like a samurai in blue armor, kind of, but with a horned helmet. He's fat, reeeeally super fat, and he's a pervert too... he's strong but he's also pretty stupid. I think he probably got the idea to blackmail me from someone else, but he's definitely the one with the interest in it, cause he seemed real obsessed with learning more about the Neo-Shogun Army when I've spoken to him. He has a private homepage that's like a big bathhouse, but you can get in if you're either a member of the mafia, an entertainer, like me, or a gourmet chef. He also sometimes brings in cages that have other navis in them... I'm guessing those prevent jackout, but I have no idea where he's getting the navis from. The whole bathhouse is filled with girls that also wear masks and they look dangerous."

Suzume had her arm now, but she continued speaking. "We can probably work together on this and both be a lot happier! If you guys can threaten that Mafia guy and tell him that I'm under your protection, then he'll have to think twice about sending goons after me... I'll even, er, give you guys dream therapy services on a special discount, on demand! I can work for a while as the army's private therapist! How does that sound?" she offered, giving her most winning, starry-eyed smile and pressing her breast up against Suzume's arm, just in case that sort of thing would work. "I can give you the homepage, and you can either talk to your Shogun and see how he wants to handle it or you guys can just go there yourselves and tell him. Either way is good, you know, so long as you do whatever it is before he has time to figure out I'm not going to perform the show. And I'll stall Inky! All of that's good, right?" Of course, Fancy didn't realize that they'd already more or less stalled Inky by locking her in her room.
Suzume stopped Aya from trying to pull Fancy through a portal. The portal closing up in an instant. "Wait Aya, she's right. We can be open to other ways." Aya stopped and released Fancy so she could state her case. Apparently there was a guy who dressed like a fat, blue Neo-ShogunMan. He was also a member of the Teksqp Family. The name didn't really ring any bells. But then Aya's eyes turned white and glowed.

Aya's voice took on a robotic tone, as if two people were speaking out of her at the same time. {Administrator Override, Magistrate.EXE.} Aya turned toward Suzume, as if manipulated like a puppet. {Suzume.SP, the Teksqp Family are associated with the NET Mafia. Their goals run counter to ours. All courses of action, including termination of targets, are authorized. End transmission.}

Aya's eyes stopped glowing and her pupils resurfaced. Her body stopped the jerky movements as she regained control of her body. She placed one hand on her head and bit back a groan. She looked like she had a headache. Suzume, who all the while had a semi-worried expression on her face, calmed down a bit as Aya returned to herself. "I hate that... thing. It's creepy and it does whatever it wants without regard to our feelings." Aya waved Suzume down with her free hand as she recovered a bit more, looking up. "No need to dwell on it. It won't help anything... But at least we have some idea of what we are dealing with now."

Fancy then continued to explain about where they might find this Mafia member and his defenses. As Aya thought of what to do with this information, Fancy suggested they send the message that she is under the Shogunate's protection. In exchange Fancy would ally herself with the Neo-Shogunate. Suzume and Aya glanced at each other. It was a solid idea, and they agreed that it was the simplest solution to their problem. So they both nodded to Fancy. "That is a good idea. We'll send him the message to stay away from you."

"Or suffer the consequences," Aya said with a twirl of her dagger. "Give us the address to the homepage and we'll take care of the message. You just stall, or spin the truth. It doesn't matter to me as long as you don't betray the Shogun's true identity." Suzume nodded and waited with Aya to get the address, then left.
Fancy backed up again, nearly falling over the chair she'd bumped earlier, as Aya's eyes began glowing. She calmed down once the girls gave her a vague idea of what had just happened. "That's good! We'll both be getting the best out of it this way. So, yeah, I'll give you the address, and you can go in! The security is only just good enough to be suspicious of two unfamiliar ninjas, so I'd suggest you try to infiltrate in some other way, like with your ninja tricks or possibly a disguise. I can't drop you inside the building, so I'll just put you around back. If you want to find the guy, I think he almost never moves from the small bath in the back towards the west... I never knew him to, anyways."

She continued to nod along, cheerful now that she realized she may have found a way out of both her blackmail situation and her imminent demise. "Oh!" she piped up, slapping one hand to her cheek comically. "I just remembered... You girls probably better not fight him by yourselves. He's actually ranked in the Teksqp, you know. I'd say just deliver the message for now so he gets off my ba- eeer, so he knows you mean business, that is. After that, the rest you girls should be able to work out with your Shogun and army and so forth. Alright? So I'm done? I'll just find Inky and get myself out of this interview, if I can..." she suggested, pressing her fingers together timidly with a hopeful smile. "I know one more thing that might help! You girls can take this VIP key. That's what I used to get in and out... Of course, if the security see you, you're still going to be grilled. But this will get you through the doors, anyways."

*received coordinates and Fancy's VIP Key*

((Topic opening in NPC homepages))
"Well, just remember to not say anything about the Shogun if you can't get out of the interview. Otherwise the deal is off and there will be consequences," Suzume added as Aya took the key and noted the Webpage Address. With that, the twins teleported away in twin beams of golden light.

[Aya and Suzume Transfer To Teksqp Blackmailer's Bathhouse.]
[Aya and Suzume Transfer From Teksqp Blackmailer's Bathhouse.]

The two girls rematerialized right back in Fancy's guest room. They took off their masks and tried to look like two unassuming teenage girls hanging around backstage. If Fancy was there, they would tell her that they had delivered the message and she was now off the hook. They would try to keep it vague if there were anyone else around.

And if there were anyone else around, they would say they were friends of Fancy's and were checking up on her. Also that it was so cool that she was going to be on NETTV, assuming she hadn't already gotten out of it.

Also they were here to ask her if she was coming along to the party they were hosting. Basically, just an excuse to get her to the Neo-Shogun base camp.
Fancy was indeed still in the room; they'd completed their goal so quickly that the show hadn't even started yet. On the downside, Inky was also here... or, one would assume that was her, given her appearance. She was dressed in a simple black blazer and miniskirt with tights and gloves... In fact, it all seemed to be one single garment of slick, black, gleaming material, perhaps ink. Her hair was curled but cut short, so that the only hint of its tendency to shape was a curl at her forehead, which was mostly kept otherwise clear due to her neat comb. Her skin was sort of monotone as well, although more so gray than black, and not actually composed of shiny ink. Her eyes were, predictably, also black. Her body shape was not at all bad. Fancy's outdid it in terms of volume in the popular places, but she had a more slender waist and longer legs, which the miniskirt accented nicely.

As she spotted the two girls again, her body color began to turn pink, like she was blushing. In an instant, however, her body and all of her clothing, even her eyes and hair, changed to various hues of red. "I've heard everything! You girls have a lot of nerve, trapping me inside my own office... Or that's what I would say, if I hadn't been able to transform and slip through the vents. That aside, you still have a lot of nerve! But I recognize that you've come here on an important mission, and the last thing I want to do is get directly involved in a faction war without knowing all of the details," she addressed them, placing her hands on her hips. "Don't bother keeping quiet about the events... I already know the truth about Neo-ShogunMan. I wouldn't have brought Fancy here and taken her tip if I didn't believe her original story. Nothing she would have done during the interview could have changed that."

"Well, that's silly... There's no faction war to speak of! Right, girls? There's no war or anything, right?" Fancy asked, both trying to lighten the mood and inquiring in the hopes that the girls would say the shogun had forgiven her. Since Inky was already in on everything, there was no need to avoid telling her the outcome as well. "Great! I'm off the hook. And it sounds like all your shogun has to do is go hang out with that guy! Better her than me! Er, not that your shogun is uh... in for an unpleasant experience or anything... Tell you what, maybe if the shogun does accept, tell her to keep her armor on during the visit, alright?" She turned to Inky now, looking surprised.

"Ordinarily I'd go straight to report with this information but... it really is best if the World News Server stays out of breaking articles that could fuel a faction war. So I'll keep the information private. But, if I may ask, why does the General even pretend? It seems like you girls have gone to an awful lot of trouble to keep this secret, but in the end, even if it broke... it feels like it would just be a tabloid headline," Inky murmured, calming back down to black.

"Huh? Why did you want to cover it then?" Fancy asked, looking perplexed.

"Because even if it's just a tabloid headline, it would have been a pretty profitable one. My point is, it seems to me that the gender hardly matters in the end. If you're worried about the stereotype that your organization is filled mostly with women... well, that's the truth, regardless of your leader's gender. And if you're worried about men who are in the army sexualizing her, I would think you'd also be worried about them doing the same to the First General," she questioned. "This is just my curiosity talking..."

"Hey, your curiosity better keep quiet... You know, Inky, these girls are pretty dangerous. I think, rather than learning more about this, we ought to both just agree to be quiet about it," Fancy interjected, giving a sideways glance to the girls. "I'd probably still be in danger if I hadn't agreed to join up with their group. They won't tolerate loose ends, I bet! Or is that just an assassin cliche?"

Inky shook her head and crossed both arms at her chest. "It doesn't matter. I won't go to press with it, but I'm certainly not joining the empire. I'm a neutral reporter, first and foremost! I cannot be allied with any faction," she defended. "So if you girls need any more than my word, then I'm afraid we're at an impasse," the reporter finished, looking genuinely unafraid.
The girls dropped the act hard once it was all out in the open. Suzume continued to smile a little, but Aya put on a scowl. "We follow DragonierMan before Neo-ShogunMan. After all, we are his SPs, not hers." But then she waved the issue away. "I don't know why they are keeping the fact that she is a female secret, and I don't really care. Our job was just to keep that secret from getting out, here."

Suzume nods along. "And it looks like we succeeded. Yay for us!"

Aya sighs heavily, but continues. "We will take you at your word that you will keep these matters secret. Just don't make us have to come after you later on because you couldn't keep your mouth shut. I have enough to do without having to do the whole 'assassin' thing," Aya explained as Suzume continued to nod along. "Yeah, I almost threw up today."

With the matter seemingly closed, the girls started to leave. Suzume turned around as they exited out of the dressing room, "Oh yeah, sorry about bolting your door..." she said to Inky. "And threatening to delete you..." she said to Fancy. "And Aya's temper... Though maybe next time we meet it won't be under such negative circumstances," she concluded in a hopeful voice.

And with that, both girls left in beams of light.

[Aya and Suzume Transfer to Webb's Homepage.]