The Burnt-Gold Hanamichi

It is often joked that the Burnt-Gold Hanamichi, these days, carries more obviously the connotation of "burnt" than it does "gold." The rivalry with other kabuki performance groups, such as the Blood-Red Hanamichi, has not been kind to this troupe, who failed to adapt beyond their old ways (and were perhaps never particularly good at those). The troupe's once prestigious theater is a combined with an inn and bathhouse, where shows are held all day but only draw a crowd at night. On top of everything, the fact that it is an all-male bathhouse, inn, and theater staff tends to draw a certain type of person, so there are a lot of others who steer clear entirely.

That said, there are handsome fellows here and there, so they do keep a fairly significant female fanbase (ratio-wise). Besides that, their classic style is often favored by eastern families, who seek out the old days when they come to Yoka. This appeal, combined with their more practical amenities, allows them to stay afloat, even with a limited talented pool, low innovation, and questionable leadership. "Staying afloat" does not mean "prospering," however. The inn and bathhouse are both a little ramshackle, saying nothing of their performing abilities. Yoshitsune finds the whole place a little inspiration-killing, as it's basically a worse version of his former dwelling, but there is no easier way for him to lay low without removing himself too far from his natural surroundings.

The scenery is nice enough surrounding the theater, rocky with sparse vegetation and weather tending towards milky skies and low-lying fog. Minor hot-springs can be found here and there nearby, but obviously, the Burnt-Gold troupe had the good sense to build upon one of the nicest to be found, hence their bathhouse component. Unfortunately, their theater is about the only thing to be found nearby, which limits their tourism potential somewhat.

Yoshitsune only works in performances, never having been asked to help with the inn or bathhouse. He works as a kuroko, or set-mover, during the performances; the young man carries out his work with enthusiasm that he won't admit to himself or others and is quite good at what he does. Little do his fellow theater workers know that, if given the limelight, he could bring true prosperity to them through his excellent talents in kabuki play-acting. Unfortunately, he has no desire to request that honor, since he's trying to escape the lifestyle. Instead, we find Yoshitsune completing his eleventh rendition of the same kuroko role, sweating but satisfied with his good work, despite the evidently dissatisfied look on his face...

On that note, Yoshitsune would ordinarily wear a veil that hid his face completely, but between the muggy heat of the day, the work, and the bolster of many men around the backstage area, he's been forced to go without his hood temporarily, revealing pretty, jet-black hair, curled into a feminine-looking bowl around his even-featured face. "Did you notice, Kabuki? I heard nary a single kakegoe tonight. This entire troupe is composed of gross failures," he whispered into his PET's, frowning and closing his eyes with a severe expression. His navi could see that the miserable performance had bothered him; after all, not only did he want to see his new, unofficial family succeed, presumably, but he also had a fierce love for kabuki theater, so anything less than the best surely failed to inspire him. "It makes my soul fall cold, to see such miserable efforts."

"Hm hm hm..." Yoshitsune's navi, Kabuki, responded with a light chuckle. She wasn't exactly moved either, thus, she held a calm, serene look, like a mother or, in Yoshitsune's case, a reliable older sister. "Then maybe you should give them a hand? After all... what is the point of your great kabuki heritage and skill if you don't utilize it?"

"..." the boy gave no reply, keeping his stern expression.

"In fact, it's almost an insult to kabuki itself, that you fail to share your gifts..."


"Are you insulting me? Is that it?"

"Nay, Sister-"

"ARE YOU INSULTING... ME? AFTER ALL, I AM... KA~BU~KIIII?" she asked, suddenly flinging her arms away from her body and striking a fearsome pose, raising both hands like claws while tilting her head at a nearly impossible angle, frowning deeply and tensing her brow. At the same time, she sang her words out with great ferocity and projection, oozing kabuki-pride (and red light) from every pore. Her dark hair was glowing red, standing on end, and her skin flashed from its ordinary dark hue into a brilliant white. While that would either baffle or scare the bejeesus out of most people, it made him feel a bit better instead. Sensing this, she swapped her expression for a big grin, although her transformation remained the same. "We're sworn brother and sister! I know you wouldn't insult me," she laughed. "That doesn't make it okay to insult kabuki theater, though!"

"Y-You're right, Sister," the young man responded, opening his eyes but keeping them cast downward. "But all the same. I love kabuki theater, but I yearn for new adventures. I want to see new things... go to new places... try new experiences! Above all, I want to meet new people... New people who don't smoke ancient tobacco pipes, smell like dinner's pickled radishes, and walk around haphazardly wearing only their fundoshi underwear. For the longest time, those are the only type of people I've met... It's like being trapped in a world of actors when all you want to do is meet the characters. You understand?" he asked, pressing his forehead to his fists and locking eyes with his navi.

Having calmed down, his navi had already reverted to her ordinary form. "I do. So... Big Sister will look for you a friend today. This is an inn after all, as well as a theater. There should be all sorts of tourists, this being peak season and all," she suggested.

"... Does such a meandering troupe ever experience a 'peak season?'" Yoshitsune sighed. "An earnest question."

"Surely they do!" Kabuki chuckled. "Now... head towards the lobby... good... now hold me aloft, ever so slightly. Be discrete. Yes... I will scan the crowd for your perfect soulmate in beginning your new, exciting adventure..."

Now sitting in the lobby, with the way to the facilities on his left and the staircase up to the inn rooms to his right, Yoshitsune crossed his arms and blushed, giving the pouting reaction that he often did when teased. "Nay, not a soulmate... But a companion," he corrected her.

"A male companion? Well... I think one would be easy to find, for a handsome young man such as yourself in this place," she taunted, causing him to go a little blue in the face. "Ha ha! An excellent kabuki mask! But blue is the color of a villain. Try to fix that while I pick out the one we are destined to meet..."
Meanwhile, at the entrance, a young woman stood at the entrance, looking a bit puzzled. Despite obviously being Electopian, her outfit looked straight out of ancient Netopia, complete with a small cape. "A kabuki theater, in the middle of nowhere...?"

A hologram appeared in front of her, one that resembled a goddess that said ancient Netopians might worship. She appeared to be hovering in midair, sitting on a levitating staff. She smiled softly as she took a look for herself. "It may look like an odd place, but it also serves as an inn, as well as a bathhouse. It's in such a strange location because it was built atop a hot spring."

"Is that so? It appears your knowledge is as boundless as your kindness, Lady Divina."

The Navi chuckled, but shook her head. "No, I simply looked up nearby places on the way to Yoka. But, I'm reasonably sure is the place I foresaw. It also matches the coordinates that suddenly appeared in my head."

"Yes...what was the message you heard, again? Once we enter this place...something good happens? What, exactly?"

"Once we enter, we will instill soul-stirring happiness onto someone. I'm afraid my vision was a bit unclear as to who that someone is, however...but that was the message relayed to me from above."

The woman gulped, and took a step back. "You mean..."

"Correct. We'll have to converse with the people inside until we find the someone."

"..." She took another step back.

"Hikari, Hikari, Hikari..." The Navi saw this, and hopped down from her staff chair. She grabbed it, and pointed it at the operator before her. "I know you're not the most sociable young lady. But, just think of the misery not going in would bring the person we're to aid. I simply cannot allow such a thing in this world. It is my charge to bring happiness to all...but I can't do that in the real world without the help of my high priestess. So please, swallow your fears, and aid me as only you can."

"Y-Yes, of course." She retook those last couple of steps, and puffed out her chest...what little of it there was. "Forgive me, Your Grace. I was acting like a child."

"Don't worry about it. It's part of what makes you, you."

This made the woman get down on her knees, and bowed her head at the hologram. "The depths of your forgiveness, even as I wavered on following your are truly the light of the heavens, shining upon all of creation..."

Oddly, this last compliment caused the Navi to frown. "You...don't need to do all of that. Just, march on in there, and we'll see who needs our help."

"Of course, my lady. As always, it will be an honor!" Her face much brighter than before, the apparent high priestess of...something, proudly entered the building, and started to look around. If Lady Divina was charged with a divine task, it was her sacred duty to assist her in any way she could, and no timidity would stand in her way of that.
Hikari and Divina had come to the bathhouse/inn/theater with the intention to help someone; Kabuki didn't know that, but if she did, she'd say the operator looked more like they she was in need of helping herself. The girl looked pretty awkward as soon as she entered and if she was at a loss just stepping into the inn, she'd probably be helpless once the staff started speaking to her in their thick, backwoods accents, pressuring her to step inside and see what the inn was like, all of them wearing either loose inn-robes, wrapped shorts, or, worst case, just their fundoshi. Flabby man-butt was the least fashionable part of the lax environment of the Burnt-Gold Hanamichi, in her estimation. "There! Her, in the glasses!" Kabuki announced, pointing dramatically without actually projecting herself from the PET, such that it was hard for Yoshitsune to make out where she was pointing. Her hair flared red, as did her inside lights. "She's the one who needs our help!"

"Aren't we the ones who need her help?" Yoshitsune asked, scanning the crowd as discretely as he could with his dark eyes held low. "Her? I thought we were trying to get away from other kabuki performers, Sister... Look at her outfit. She's clearly a performer."

Kabuki stared for a moment, settling back to her usual black hair. She made a silly smile and raised one finger with expert comedic timing. "Kabuki performers wouldn't wear glasses, silly!" she announced, crossing her arms proudly.

"... She's wearing a cape, Sister! What kind of tourist wears a cape?" he hissed, having a hard time staying covert. It was now pretty clear that he and his navi were studying Hikari, so he decided he had to make a move before that began to seem any creepier. Unfortunately, for all their thinking that she would be out of place here in the inn, he wasn't particularly much better at conversing with strangers than she was. "W-Welcome!" he announced, moving to a professional mid-length distance away from her and then bowing. "Welcome to the Burnt-Gold Hanamichi Inn and Theater. My name is Hideyoshi. Please, state your purpose," he first introduced himself, then suddenly abruptly segued into a strict command.

"Ah! What he means to say is, what brings you here?" Kabuki laughed from his PET, making the save.

"Yes, that," he huffed. "Are you here for a show or a stay? Or some other purpose?" the young man asked. Another thing that was making him act strangely: he'd met few woman much shorter than he was and she was especially short. She was one of the shortest adult women he'd ever met. Furthermore, at least from what he could see, she didn't seem to have... the makings of a woman, that he associated with Kabuki and some of the other women he'd seen. He found himself looking down on her a little in spite of himself as he crossed his arms and attempted to hold eye contact, looking rather intense.

"Do you want something to eat? Or a bath? Or perhaps... WAAAA~TAAAA~SHIIIII?" Kabuki announced, still with no video to accompany her ridiculous voice. Yoshitsune nearly jumped, then began fumbling with his audio, trying to find a way to turn it down. "W-What? I thought you were setting me up for the joke!" the navi complained.

"That's just my Sister, Kabuki... I mean, my navi! Kabuki," he grumbled, realizing that his already bizarre navi was just going to seem weirder if he went around referring to her as his sister to strangers.
"Hmm..." Well, she was inside, but Hikari couldn't see anyone that could use her help. "At a glance, I don't see anyone that would need aid..." That meant one of two things. Either the person she needed to find was elsewhere in the building, or someone was good at hiding their anguish. It definitely couldn't be because Divina was wrong. That just was not possible.

"Well, you know you can't tell by looks alone. You'll need to dig a little deeper to see who needs our assistance. Don't worry, I'm here for you if something happens."

Well, that settled which option she was going to take. But, who to check on first...hmm? "Um, Lady Divina? Is it just me, or is that guy looking me over...?"

"Well, you are pretty cute...but now that you mention it, it does seem that way...perhaps he knows who we are, and he's just too nervous to ask."

But, the goddess Navi's theory was quickly disproven as Hideyoshi walked over and treated her like a customer. A voice came from his side, and definitely seemed a bit nicer, but he definitely came across as a bit...intense. "Um, see...I'm here on a..." She was bad enough when the other person was friendly...someone this overbearing, on the other hand, made her start to feel a little faint...

Having known Hikari long enough to sense this, however, Divina knew to come in with a save of her own. "Hello there! It's a pleasure to meet you! I am the goddess Divina, charged with bringing joy and happiness to all on Earth, in both the real and virtual worlds! This young lady is Hikari Takahashi, my dutiful high priestess! Together, we shall cleanse this world of sadness and hatred, and bring forth a golden age of prosperity for all!" If anyone didn't know that she was being completely serious, they'd probably think she was a better actor than most of the troupe.

"Y-Yes! That's right! This morning, her holiness received a divine message that someone on these premises would need our assistance today. We came in search of this individual." Somehow, seeing the Navi stand up to this guy without so much as flinching gave her must be nice to be a goddess. "Um, you wouldn't, by chance, be who we're looking for, would you...?" She almost hoped he wasn't, considering how intimidating he was making himself...
Yoshitsune remained stern as Hikari attempted to explain herself, but he found himself the bewildered one as Divina took over explaining Hikari and her own grand mission to him. "This person... she's not a kabuki actor at all. I don't know what she is," he thought to himself. He'd never met a person or navi with such a lofty goal before, nor a priestess, and certainly not a goddess in the form of a navi. The fact that he didn't quite know what to make of them made him more excited; he clenched his fists in and out, while closing his eyes and contemplating. The situation only became more foreign to him as Hikari explained some sort of prophecy to him, which apparently involved needing to help someone, a goal which was in line with their earlier stated mission. His eyes shot back open with a skeptical look as the woman questioned him. "Me? I don't know how you intend to help me. Nay, I'm living a life I've chosen of my own accord; I'm free as a soaring bird, without a care in the world."

"Well, the bird flies easier knowing that someone else is taking care of all of his monetary accounts," Kabuki added, staring aside in an expression that wasn't apparent due to her strange, pink eyes.

"What was that?" the operator asked, frowning down at his PET.

"Oh, nothing at all, my birdy Brother. I think the priestess may have a point, though. I believe you may be in need of her help, if you think about it. There's something that a person like her is uniquely suited to offer you," his navi continued, crossing her arms and nodding confidently.

Yoshitsune tensed his eyebrows again, contemplating deeply. It was true, he rarely encountered women out here, especially ones seeking to help him. When he thought about what unique services a timid woman with a fervent desire to help in some unknown way might provide...

"Your nose is bleeding a bit," Kabuki pointed out, lowering her own serrated brow in an unamused expression. "I think you completely misunderstood what I was saying, Brother."

"W-What? Nay, sister, it's just this muggy environment affecting me," Yoshitsune murmured, pulling out a white kerchief to dab at his nose. "I see it clearly now, however. You've come to help alleviate the dreadful malaise and monotony that pervades my life here at the Burnt-Gold Hanamichi," he resolved, although it probably wasn't a good idea for him to badmouth his current company right in the main lobby of their inn. "You see, I, Hideyoshi, seek adventure and newness. I want a companion with which to see the world outside the kabuki actor's lifestyle. Your navi may be the vessel out of here that I've been seeking... I can live vicariously through your navi, as I have in recent days using Kabuki's experiences in the net world. There's so much to see... truly, the net is vast, infinite, and wonderful. So much more wonderful than I'd ever known! If Kabuki has shown me so much, imagine what she can find with your navi guiding our adventure?" he asked, starting to sound passionate about all of it.

His navi reacted in kind, glowing red from all of her many openings. "Oooh! I agree! Divina, you are a Goddess, and I will be your champion! Together, let us sew the seeds of legend across the fertile fields of the net!" Kabuki cheered, striking another pose with one open palm behind her head, standing on one leg. No one could really see her to appreciate that, however. "You must know the greatest way to achieve renown and become involved in intriguing adventures?" she asked. "Where shall we go?!" The navi already seemed to have taken Divina and Hikari's affirmation as a given.
Hmm, looked like this wasn't the person they were looking for. Hikari couldn't help but feel a little relieved...wait, what? His Navi was saying otherwise. Did they need her or not? She looked on, a little confused as she tried to mentally sort things out.

Divina, on the other hand, was more worried about how Kabuki was saying it, than what she was saying. Especially once Hideyoshi's nose had a certain reaction. "Er, hold on a moment..." Fortunately, it turned out to be a misunderstanding, and the newfound vision seemed much more in line with something they could assist in. "Ah, that's what you meant. You had me thinking of...something else, for a moment. But, yes, that seems like a splendid idea. Together, we shall venture into the Net, and spread the word of joyousness throughout the world!"

"Um, that might be a little much for my PET...remember, it's got that problem."

"Ah, that's right. But that doesn't mean we can't spread the word of joyousness anyway. It just...limits our options a bit."

"Of course, Lady Divina. And I believe we're familiar with just the thing to partake in adventures and spread our message..."

"Indeed, though I can't say I've had the pleasure of using it directly. However, according to some of my followers, there's a message board hosted by the GNA, in which you can request to assist people. And after easing their hearts by completing their tasks, they will spread their joy to you with material wealth. You can even request your reward beforehand. It's quite an elegant system."

"It's truly a wonderful thing. And all you need to partake in it is a caring heart. Praise be to the goddess Divina for blessing the GNA with such a beautiful idea!"

"Actually, I'm pretty sure it wasn't the GNA that first devised it. You see, way back when, this group known as the-"

"Then praise be to you for your divine inspiration for whoever created it! And to do so without a hint of gratitude, as this happened well before your incarnation into a Navi..."

"You know I can't take credit for that, even if I wanted to. After all, I remember nothing of my days before becoming a cyber entity."

"There's no doubt in my mind that it was you, your grace."

The goddess Navi scratched her head as she decided that she wasn't winning this one. "Well, it does sound like something I would do. I suppose there's a reason it's called faith. And no one has more of it than you, Hikari."

"Oh, thank you! Your praise lightens my soul!"

"...Oy vey. At least, I think that's the foreign phrase I'm looking for." Divina shrugged, and looked at the source of her earlier prophecy. "But anyway, I'd say the mission board is precisely what you're looking for to spice up your life a little. And of course, we shall join you, to ensure that everything goes well. Plus, I'm rather curious as to the whole thing, myself."

"Yes, it's a wonderful idea. Wouldn't you agree, Hideyoshi?" Hikari clasped her hands, and looked at the man eagerly. If nothing else, her faith made her more of a people person than normal.
Yoshitsune nodded along as Divina and Hikari discussed "the word of joyousness," some issue with their PET, and the process of taking a mission from the GNA mission board. It was all a bit much for him to take in, but luckily, Kabuki broke down the important point for him.

"I'm fired up just thinking about it! What greater reward is there on this earth than glory achieved helping another achieve their dreams and aspirations? There is none!" his navi agreed, causing a red glow to shine out of her operator's PET screen. "A splendid device and a splendid purpose with which the two of you carry yourselves! But for us, dear Brother, it will be a great chance to meet new people and try something beyond kabuki for a while... unless it's a kabuki theater acting mission," she digressed.

"... I certainly hope not," Yoshitsune murmured, seeming to take her seriously as he began to grow moody.

"Never you mind, Brother! If it is a kabuki mission, I will simply shine my best, my boldest, and my BRILL~I~ANCE! The mission will quickly be over and we can go fetch one in new, less familiar territory," his navi assured him. They both seemed to be vastly overestimating the likelihood that there were any kabuki-themed missions to be given by the GNA.

Not only Yoshitsune's navi, but also Hikari, were watching the young man expectantly, putting him in a position where saying no was impossible. He didn't exactly find the enthusiasm infectious... but their sparkling eyes certainly made him feel as though he needed to try harder himself. "Aye! Wonderful, doubtless!" he agreed with an awkward smile, pressing one fist over his chest as if saluting. "Venture forth onto the net, Sister, and retrieve a mission for Divina and yourself!" By now, the other people standing around the lobby were starting to stare at Yoshitsune and Hikari, given that both had fallen into fits of enthusiasm that were highly foreign to the environment of the Burnt-Gold Hanamichi. "... But perhaps we should find somewhere we can sit and be out of the way before we start. If you like, we can go to my room-"

"Brother!" Kabuki gasped, thinking that there was something distinctly perverse about beckoning a girl that one had just met into one's room.

"W-What?! Is that not good? We could go to the mixed baths instead..."

"B-Brother!" Kabuki cried in shock, pressing both hands to her chin and turning redder even than her lights ordinarily allowed. Not even she had ever been into the bath with Yoshitsune before. A wide smile crept onto her face and she pressed her fingers together timidly. "Well... If you'll allow your sister in as well, then I think that would be fine... maybe..."

Of course, Hikari probably wasn't going to agree with that, even if Kabuki had changed her mind on it. "You're so hard to please," the young man groaned; he wasn't a fan of over-exerting himself with anything and understanding the women in his life was proving to be a handful. "Fine... You come up with something, then!"

"Well, we could always go to the dining hall or the recreation room instead... Those are much more sensible places to meet," Kabuki offered, cooling down in order to make cool-headed decisions. "Honestly! There are certain places you can't take a woman you've just met..."

Yoshitsune rolled his eyes, shrugged his shoulders, then led Hikari further in, to the mild irritation of the counter-person, who'd been denied the opportunity to rent the girl a room or amenity. "The recreation room is back there. They have a lounge and ping-pong... The ping-pong is noisy, when people are playing, but... The crowd here doesn't have much energy, usually. So we'll probably see folks reading magazines or papers, if anything." It was becoming more clear why Yoshitsune needed a diversion, if the inn/theater was really as boring as he was making it sound. The lounge was, indeed, a rather drab place: full of comfortable leather seats but not much else worth writing home about. Indeed, no one was playing ping-pong when they stepped in, and furthermore, no one was even lounging around. If this was peak season, it must be a sad place to work. "If we sit near the vending machine, we can jack in there," he offered, taking a spot at a small, two-person table near a soda machine at the back of the room. The machine was old and big enough to stand taller than Yoshitsune and nearly dwarf Hikari in size. Without saying much else, he calmly took the seat by the wall and jacked in Kabuki through the vending machine, so that she could travel to the GNA board.
"I hope it's not kabuki related, myself. I'm not the greatest actress...and neither is Hikari."

"Yeah, I get stage fright easily..."

"At any rate, there are many different types of tasks they assign, so it's quite likely that if any of us objects with what they give us, for some reason, we can just ask for something else."

"So very true, Lady Divina!" Hikari's upbeat mood faded into nervousness, however, as Hideyoshi started making suggestions on where to go. "Y-Your room?! I couldn't..."

"I doubt he has any horrific plans for you. And besides..." Divina let out a soft chuckle, seeing an opportunity to tease her high priestess. "You know I don't require celibacy from any of my followers!"

"Y-Your Grace!!" The woman's face was slowly but surely turning bright red.

"Don't worry, I'm just teasing you." The next suggestion made the goddess Navi think for a bit, but shook her head. "I'm not so sure that-"

"Um...I would be okay with that."


"Yes...I...I need to get over some of my timidness. And something like that, even though just thinking about it makes me nervous, would be a good start. I'll never be able to serve you to the full extent of my ability if I remain the way I am."


"And I don't want to be the type of person I am anymore...I want to become more outgoing. Someone that can stand around and greet anyone that comes by with a warm smile, instead of a nervous one. what would make me truly happy. That's what I've come to realize from serving you, Lady Divina."

"Hoo boy..." The Navi sat on her staff, which was now floating and sideways. "I certainly can't stand in your way after that. If you think you can handle it, go right ahead."

"Thank you, my goddess. It always means a lot to have your backing." However, she immediately noticed Hideyoshi jacking in nearby. Perhaps he was taking back the suggestion? She was a little relieved...and in a strange way, a little disappointed. She walked over, and took out her PET, though she didn't jack Divina in just yet. "Would you rather do it from here? I'm fine no matter the location."
Yoshitsune nodded along, keeping a serious frown on his face but inwardly feeling smug about the acknowledgement of his own skill. "Kabuki theater is not simple. Nay, beginners should attend shows throughout the land before even considering making it a career. Forgetting mastery, even the first steps into the kabuki lifestyle are difficult. If you're Electopian... well, that helps a bit, at least. It's harder for foreigners," he spoke at length, beginning to smile with confidence in his knowledge. "Spending time here will be a good first step in your quest to understand kabuki theater, but... well, there's only so much you can learn from a theater like the Burnt-Gold Hanamichi."

"... They're not here to learn about kabuki theater, Brother," Kabuki reminded her operator. "We're going on an adventure together, to spread joy and find glory! Remember?"

"Oh, right, of course," he murmured. For a guy who was trying to escape his past in kabuki theater, Yoshitsune still appeared to be pretty attached to the art form. Of course, as Kabuki had predicted, the first suggestion for where he and Hikari ought to go had fallen on deaf ears, although he certainly didn't see what celibacy had to do with a girl visiting his room. If that was out, it was probably a pretty good thing the diner was open... but he was surprised when, after jacking Kabuki in from the rec room, he realized that his companion had agreed with the bath suggestion. He'd done some mixed bathing before, but even though it was allowed, female visitors willing to go in with the slew of stinky men who frequented the theater were rare, to the point where one would almost have to time a bath visit in order to meet them. Thinking on all of this, his heart started racing a bit... but not at all in a bad way. "That's a fine idea. It sounds as though your intentions are quite noble."

"They do! But I wonder about your own, dear Brother..." Kabuki murmured, lowering her head as though in shame.

"Dismiss such thoughts! The bath is the best thing this measly establishment has to offer, honestly. She may as well try it out, if she's come so far," he scoffed, crossing his arms defiantly. "We should applaud her decision to improve herself for her Goddess."

"A fair point. It's got me a little fired up as well! SELF-IM~PROVE~MEEENT!" Kabuki cheered, clapping her hands and ducking her shoulders while her openings began to glow. "Very well! I will jack in again from a new port! Pay the inconvenience no mind at all!"

"Excellent, Sister. Come! I will show you to the bath," Yoshitsune shouted in a voice that was embarrassingly loud, moving quickly towards the bathing area.


The bath was mixed, but mercifully, the changing areas in front were at least divided into male and female locker rooms. This would allow Hikare to change basically by her lonesome, since no other girls were around. As it happened, there was an older woman and her child in the bath already (the crowd in total was rather decently sized), but no one in the changing room.

Kabuki found herself struggling to find the right words before entering into the changing room with Yoshitsune. "You needn't be afraid, Brother. The relationship the two of us have formed is strictly platonic; I won't be bothered by anything you must show me to disrobe yourself. Your Sister won't be alarmed or judgmental! Now, let us enter together! Forward! HA~YA~KUUU!" she cheered, then stared blankly as she realized that her brother was no longer within the range of her voice. He'd handed her to Hikari, thinking it would be improper to take her through the men's changing room. "Oh... What you heard just now was a whisper of spirits. Not my voice or words at all. Please forget it," she laughed, deflating back to her black-haired form.

She'd stay with Hikari until the two emerged on the other side, after Divina's operator undressed completely (or perhaps changed into a towel).


Changing into a towel was the way Yoshitsune had decided to go to start out with. With a short, white cloth wrapped around his waist, he made his way to the outdoor bath, a splendid sauna with a well-kept natural hot spring serving as its main pool. With his body mostly uncovered, his well-trained but thin body was now apparent, which at least made it clear that he wasn't a woman.

Washbuckets, spickets, and stools were also available at the sides, for rinsing oneself before the bath, if one kept to such traditions. Yoshitsune was one such person and made his way to sit at one of the stations, filled a bucket with the spicket water, and began the ritual of dumping it over his head, scrubbing with his hands before moving on to another bucket. Out of the corners of his sharp eyes, he watched the door for Hikari to appear, wishing to be as discrete as possible.

Once inside, Hikari would also find that the bathhouse was equipped with jack-in ports at various stations around the bath, which also dispensed other essentials, such as handtowels, tea, and milk. The only issue was that they occasionally went unstocked for long periods of time, so if one really wanted tea or milk, they'd need to do some searching in some cases.
"Well, if it's all settled, let's be on our way!" Hideyoshi and Kabuki seemed on board with the bath idea (not that that was a big surprise), so there was little else to do but get Hikari over there. "Let's go, Hikari!"

"Right!" Well, after what she'd said, there was no backing down now. She was doing this.


Fortunately, there was no one in the changing room, which made it significantly easier on the priestess to disrobe. She took off her glasses; not only would they just get steamed up constantly, but her eyesight wasn't so terrible that she couldn't see without them. Everything was a little fuzzy, but it was definitely manageable. "I guess I should hurry up and do this while there's no one else here..."

Yoink! Off came her toga dress, cape attachment and all. As would probably be expected, her undergarments were more geared for comfort than being seen by others. She stopped for a moment as she heard Kabuki Either she forgot she wasn't with Hideyoshi, or she was being really mean about her...lack of feminine assets. ...Well, either way, she seemed keen on taking it back. "Whisper of spirits? ...I see. All right, then."

"That's strange. I didn't sense any spirits just then. Just the three of us." The hologram of Divina appeared once more and stretched. The big smile on her face made sure her operator knew she wasn't being serious.

"Lady Divina...!" Still, Hikari definitely hoped she wouldn't press it.

"...But perhaps I wasn't sensing hard enough." Message received.


Hikari had also chosen to go out in a towel. Thanks to her relative lack of height, she was able to cover a decent amount of herself, nearly down to the knees. Speaking of which, were they shaking a little? Yep. She was definitely nervous.

Fortunately, she had a goddess supporting her. "Go Hikari! I'll be honest, I wasn't entirely sure you'd actually go through with this. But you are, so you'll get a nice soak while Kabuki and I bring happiness to a corner of the Net!"

"Th-thanks..." She looked around, eventually seeing that only one other person was getting ready to enter. Both PETs in hand, she walked over to him. "Um, I'm here..."

"Yes, you are. And since you're should probably adhere to the pre-bath washing tradition. Even if it's not strictly required, it's still rude if you don't do it."

"Of course, your grace." Hoo boy. She looked right at Hideyoshi, her hands starting to shake as well. "Um, could you...please not look while I do this...?" She grabbed another bucket and stool, and had a seat. Fortunately, she thought to leave the PETs at one of the stations before starting. She took a deep breath, then filled the bucket with water and poured it onto herself. She repeated, until suitably cleansed for the hot spring. Of course, since she'd kept her towel on, that was now soaked with the rest of her. At least she wouldn't have to worry about keeping it dry when she got in. That made things easier, especially since that was one of things she was worried about. Maybe now she'd actually be able to relax in there.
Kabuki gasped, caught in her lie by Divina (and possibly her operator). Although she didn't want to say it out loud for fear of offending anyone, inwardly, she thought to herself: "so I have to buy into virtual goddess, but we're not going to let spirits slide?!" "W-Well, er, even if those were my words, they seemed to contain only positive, wholesome reinforcement for my brother, whom the spirits clearly thought was still alongside me," the navi laughed, defending the integrity of the unseen supernatural voices which may or may not be herself. "Regardless, we should probably accept their encouragement and continue on into the bath. I echo their sentiments!" Having made as good a recovery as she could, she decided not to watch Hikari change, so as not to ruin what decency she may have managed to salvage after her previous outburst.


When Hikari emerged from the changing room, Yoshitsune's first reaction was to turn his eyes back to his washing and pretend he hadn't seen her. That didn't work very well once she got closer, addressed him, and furthermore, stared right at him. He turned his head towards her with a slightly sullen, sour frown of his own. It was hard to tell whether he was disappointed at her bath figure, upset that he was being seen half-naked, or perhaps just didn't want to appear too excited. "Be sure to set those PETs down before you begin bathing. They don't need to be cleansed as part of the ritual, as I'm sure you know. If Divina's PET is as old or obsolete as you make it sound, it may be best if it doesn't get wet," he warned Hikari in condescending, unenthusiastic monotone.

His inward thoughts were quite a bit different than his outward expression. Despite Hikari's modest proportions, he found himself unable to stop stealing glances here and there, trying to be as discrete as he possibly could. It didn't matter to him whether she had a stimulating body or personality; he'd rarely ever sat this close to a girl before, let alone half-naked and damp as they both were. His heart was pounding, although he was trying to ignore it. Thankfully, due to his acting classes, he at least had control of his body... no quivering, no shaking, no... untoward signs of lower body arousal. Everything was kept mostly in check...

Except for another trail of blood, which had begun to creep down his upper lip as he did his best to pretend he wasn't watching Hikari pour the water over herself. "Nay, she cannot see! She took a deep breath, did she not? She is the type that will close her eyes when she starts dousing her head. There is not a chance in this world that she will catch me in the act," he encouraged himself, now staring a bit more boldly at the borders between towel and flesh.

"Ahem! Brother!" Kabuki announced. "I hope you are not doing anything that might disgrace the two of us before we even begin our quest to make our names as virtuous heroes?" Her hair and grooves had already lit up red; her face was pale and fierce.

"Wha-Nay! Nay!" he defended, pressing one palm to his chest as if swearing. "In fact, Hikari and I were just cleansing ourselves before the bath. There is nothing more virtuous!" He wiped quickly at his upper lip with his forearm, then stared critically into his PET. "...Sister?"

"Such a shameful display, Brother... I know you're past 'that age' and your eyes are now open, but you shouldn't-"

"You have a little something... just below your..." he murmured, making the same motion she had a moment ago.

"Hm?! SHIII~MA~TAAA!" Kabuki cried, covering her own mouth as she realized her own nose was bleeding. She was even worse at pretending she wasn't being perverted than her brother was, in many ways. "A-Ah! Well, you know... the atmosphere... Right, the climate! Like you said!"

"... You're still in the PET's home screen, though, not Yoka Net..." Yoshitsune accused her, crossing both arms and looking stern. He rose up to his feet, then clenched one fist authoritatively. "Enough! To the bath! And... in case you didn't know, priestess, remember this: it is not allowed to allow one's towel into the bath!" he announced, grabbing up his PET as he did. He made his way over quickly, perhaps comically so... it was fairly obvious that he didn't want to take his towel off without some steam between him and Hikari. Once he was close enough to the bath, he picked a relatively vacant spot (there were a good number, courtesy of the low customer traffic of this inn), quickly removed his towel, and submerged beneath the water before anyone could give a glance, even going so far as to cover his groin with both hands as he sank in. Once in, he regained his air of dignity, folding the towel and placing it by the side of the bath. "Now, Kabuki... KABUKI!"

"A-Ah! Sorry! I've got a b-bleeding problem, because I'm so excited for this adventure I'm about to begin with Divina!" the extremely red navi apologized, practically shooting steam out of her ears as she wiped her nose using both forearms of her robe. "Do not concern yourself, AAA~NIIII~KI!"

"... I hope for everyone's sake that you can get it together before this mission starts. Please, don't make a fool of me," he sighed, before jacking her in to one of the nearby ports. As for the situation with Hikari... he'd made up his mind to keep his eyes closed as she came in. He figured he could do that much, at least, being the gentleman of culture that he was.

((Jacking Kabuki in through Yoka Net))
"Of course..." Some of the ice in Hideyoshi's tone returned, which left Hikari feeling a little cold. After all, pretty much anyone knew enough to keep PETs away from water. But instead of pointing this out, she simply set the PETs aside before starting her own rinsing. Although there was one thing she needed to correct him on. "Actually, technically, this is my PET. But as high priestess, it's my duty to handle all aspects of her grace in regards to her being in the form of a Navi. So I'm responsible for carrying her from place to place." As she spoke, she continued to pour water on herself. Luckily for the actor, his hunch was entirely correct, as the only time her eyes were open, she was staring at the faucet so she didn't overflow the bucket.

And when he started to speak with his Navi, Divina popped up to do the same. "It appears that Kabuki and I have gotten our mission, and have been approved. We'll be starting shortly, so if there's anything you need of me before I head out, speak up."

"Um...unless you can create black boxes in the real world, I can't think of a thing in the world I would ask of you, Lady Divina."

"Alas, my powers are bound to the cyberworld, so there's not much I can do for you there. Unless..." The goddess Navi raised an arm, and focused some energy...creating a translucent black bar about an inch long a few inches in front of her. "...No good. Maybe if the hologram projector was stronger, I could do it."

"No, it's not your fault at all! If only we had the money for a better PET..."

"No hurry. Even if it can't process non-Electopian areas, it's a pretty good PET for how old it is. I like it."

"I'm glad to hear you say that...because it'll probably be a while yet before I can purchase a new one."

"Well, don't strain yourself to get one, is all I'm saying."

"Of course." Well, that was plenty of rinsing. Time to claim her reward of some quality hot spring time...after clearing the final hurdle. Just thinking about it made her too nervous to realize there was a naked man in front of her. "I...I can do this...just drop the towel, and get's that easy...b-but what if someone sees me...?"

"But what? Anyone that sees you in the buff should feel honored that they get to see such beauty in the raw! Like a timeless painting!"

Even though she didn't buy a word of what her goddess was saying, the general support did make her feel better. "Thank you...I must be a terrible high priestess, to need your help for even something like this..."

"Oh, stop it. If you were half as bad as you made yourself out to be sometimes, you'd have been fired a long time ago! You're the best high priestess I could ask for, and I doubt that's going to change! Now c'mon! Drop that towel and hop in! Though, you might want to jack me in first."

"Y-Yes, Lady Divina!" The vote of confidence made her spirit soar, and in that moment, cast aside her towel. "Oh! I almost forgot to jack you in! Let's see...I suppose that's the closest port from here." Hikari turned in the direction of it. If Hideyoshi opened his eyes now and looked over, only some steam would prevent him from having a quality view of the priestess's butt. "I'm going to jack you i-"

"Oh, come now! That's not how you send a Navi into the Net!"

"W-Well, I certainly can't just shout that...treating you like a common Navi..."

"Well, I HAVE assumed the form of a Navi, if you haven't noticed. It's okay, you have my permission to do it. Besides, you know you want to."

"Um...well, yes, I do, to be perfectly honest. I suppose if you're okay with it..."

"It'll be fun! Go on, now!"

"Okay, then." Point PET at the port, and now...the traditional shout of jacking in. "Jack in! Lady Divina, Execute!"

The Navi shrugged to herself, noticing the excess lady in the declaration. Oh well, she did it, at least. And off she went.

Meanwhile, after setting her PET on the crumpled up wet towel (positioned so the openings were nowhere near any moisture, of course), the goddess's right hand woman got in the hot spring. It hadn't really hit her that she'd just had a brief conversation while completely naked in public...which was good, as it kept her in an upbeat mood. "Ahh...this is heavenly!~ If only the temple had something like this..."

Although Yoshitsune was highly committed to being the gentleman in this situation, it was proving pretty darn difficult for him to keep his eyes closed when Hikari and Divina were talking so much about "dropping the towel" and "beauty in the raw." However, try as he might, considering himself an honorable man as he did, all of those efforts were useless; he was, unfortunately, above all things, selfish. "It's really the goddess' fault for making such a big deal over how beautiful and great her priestess is," he reasoned to himself, then opened his thin eyes in tiny slits, trying to peer into the steam to see Hikari before she could get into the bath while remaining arms-crossed, proud-looking, and discrete. Unfortunately, with all of the steam, he wasn't able to get much of anything out of it. He could make out a rough shape, but it wasn't much to look at... there was a butt there, but he couldn't get enough visual on it to get much excitement out of it. After all, he'd seen a large number of uncovered or mostly uncovered butts in his life time, 99% of them woefully male. From this distance and with only this much visual feedback, and with her not being exactly "juicy," her butt might as well have been a man's.

"Ridiculous!" he thought to himself, feeling cheated. He'd worked up the nerve to peek, but couldn't get a good look at the priestess, and furthermore figured that even if he had, she didn't have much to look at. "This is the worst. Nay, I don't want to hear the many worshiping dialogues that these two have to trade back and forth. I want exposure to the unique aspects of the fairer sex that have for so long eluded me! It... It barely counts if it's someone like her..."

If he really felt that way though... Why was his nose bleeding again? Why was a certain other part of him reacting as well? Yoshitsune failed to realize that sometimes, knowledge and imagination were a more powerful stimulant than any visual component might be. Just knowing that he was this close to a woman, whose personality was indeed the sort of cutesy, self-concerned type he'd never seen on a man and was therefore foreign to him, had aroused both his curiosity and his... arousal.

Just as his body was informing him that maybe he had more interest in Hikari than he'd admitted to himself, he received a rude, poorly-timed bit of additional stimulus: for some reason, his navi had entered into what appeared to be a brothel, like a certain rival Hanamichi that he'd rather forget altogether, seeing as it was a male specialty service. This one, however, was a mixed bag: there were some of the buff, fundoshi types walking around (with stars over their nipples?), but also, there were women. Exotic, barely clad women, baring nearly everything before his navi. "O-Oh... The net really does hold... many wonders..." he murmured too audibly, covering his bleeding nose with both hands. Realizing that would most certainly make him sound like a pervert, he covered his tracks. "Y-Your navi, I mean! It's really amazing, seeing a goddess on the net. I guess she deserves to be called a wonder, doesn't she?" he laughed awkwardly... through his hands, which were clasped hard over his face so that his nosebleed wouldn't be so obvious. It was somewhat difficult to understand what he was even saying.
It was perhaps a good thing in this instance that Divina didn't demand vows of chastity from her priests and priestesses, as it meant that Hikari was simply mortified at the sight of seeing her goddess entering a highly suspect building, instead of asking questions about it. That probably wasn't a place one wanted to see their deity of choice checking out...though, she didn't mind those fundoshi wearing male Navis...

Hideyoshi's remarks kept her from staring too hard, though, as it reminded her she wasn't alone. "Oh, yes! Lady Divina's as wondrous as they come! I'd so far as to-" She turned to look at him, but even between her eyesight, the steam, and his covering it up, she noticed a drop of red liquid on his finger. "Oh my! You're bleeding! Um, where from...move your hand, please!" Without any regard for the actor's state of arousal, she scooted over and removed his hands from his face with surprising strength. "Oh dear, a nosebleed...that's not good. Wait here, I'll get something for it!"

WHOOSH! As fast as her namesake, the high priestess raced out of the hot spring, toweled up, ran over to one of the stations, came back, detoweled, and sank back in. Even someone as astute as Hideyoshi would've had trouble catching any glimpses of what she was doing...or of her. She had kept her right hand above water when climbing in, however; in it, a small handtowel. "Here. Keep this pressed against your nostril for a few minutes, until it clots." Without thinking, she reached over, and applied it herself...though she immediately caught herself. "Eep! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to...I'm sorry! Here, take the towel, and I'll give you your space!" It was actually a small miracle that she hadn't made any direct physical contact with him the entire time. Good thing, too, or else that nose bleed may never stop...
"Ack! This woman is the caring type!" Yoshitsune thought to himself, bleeding openly from the nose as he found himself unable to stop his hands from being wrenched away from his face. It was a highly unusual situation to him, as he'd barely experienced any forceful actions directed against himself throughout his entire life, let alone from a woman. "Y-You're right, I simply find myself reacting this way in such temperatures and climates! Nay, think nothing of it!" he defended, attempting to bury the physiological reaction and any investigation as to why it was happening. It didn't work; Hikari sprung from the water with lightning speed, then returned just as quickly, leaving Yoshitsune so dumbfounded that he didn't even register a pang of disappointment. "Could it be... this girl is actually reliable? Is that why the goddess chose her as a priestess? Maybe those two are actually legitimate...?"

Finally, he accepted the towel and kept it pressed himself, his head still swimming from Hikari's whirlwind of nursing. "Worry not... I don't need space," he murmured without thinking. It was true, he was really getting to the point where his head was aching due to his desire to study Hikari more closely. Every inexplicable action she took only furthered his curiosity. With his nose now clotted due to the towel, Yoshitsune's voice took on a comical, nasally tone. "In fact, don't you worry a bit too much?" he asked; the coldness of his speech was almost laughable now, as it sounded like he was trying to be cool while keeping his bloody nose closed. "Just because you're a priestess for a goddess who wants everyone to be happy doesn't mean that you have to care about every little thing that happens to other people. Or, rather... don't you ever get sick of it? Helping people all the time and worrying about how everyone else feels?" he muttered, beginning to lower his volume. "Nay, when people levy useless expectations like that against me, I simply ignore or reject them. What good is it to serve everyone else's happiness if it costs you your own, Hikari?" he asked, slowly beginning to feel guilty as he juxtaposed his own carefree life as a runaway with hers of the devout priestess, concerned about everyone but herself. "Isn't there something else you'd rather be doing?"
One could expect any number of reactions from handling someone's nosebleed without their permission...but being barraged with questions wasn't one of them. Hikari scooted back a little, as she said she would, and looked on at him. Though, her own reaction to it probably wasn't quite what Yoshitsune thought it'd be; she smiled. "You know, you're not the first person to ask me I've thought about it before. But, there's something Lady Divina says a lot...'There is happiness in happiness'. I won't make you listen to a sermon or anything, but the gist is this: bringing happiness to others is its own reward. When I see the smiles on the faces of those that I help, I feel...validated. As though I'm doing what I was created to do. It's such a wonderful feeling, and it's one I never really felt until I began to serve her grace. For the first time in my life...I feel like I belong in the world, and not that I'm just using up space that someone else could use better. Does that make sense?"

"So, no. This isn't just where I need to be to serve my goddess. It's also where I want to be." It was subtle, but as she was speaking, the priestess's body started to a relax, to the point where she even started to sit back...though she suddenly jolted forward, nearly to the point of falling face first into the water. "Th-that wall's surprisingly cold for being in a hot spring!" Of course, the thing the actor would probably notice was that Hikari was now standing, and while her back was now to him, he now had a decent view of an adult woman's bare back...
Yoshitsune lowered his eyebrows; although Divina's priestess was speaking from the heart, he couldn't hear her words as anything but a lecture against his own self-absorbed way of living, which, understandably, he held some guilt about that he hadn't admitted to himself. "Hmph. Maybe that kind of thinking works for a priestess, but it does a servant of kabuki theater no good to think that way. In kabuki theater, praises are shouted from the audience; the name of the actor they value most highly is what they bellow. Everyone in the play wants to be the biggest star. Is that wrong, though? Mankind grows as a whole by thinking of his own self-interests first, even when those interests run contrary to the interests of another. If we all tried to make sure we weren't stealing the spotlight from the other actors, we'd never deliver great performances," he scoffed. "I'm glad that you've found a career that allows you to validate yourself through your faith and works towards others, but the world of kabuki is dog-eat-dog!" Yoshitsune was being overly dramatic, but that was his way of talking in general.

"Eat what?" Kabuki asked from the PET, overhearing her operator. Her nerves weren't in a good state, so she'd missed most of the conversation.

"Dog. Eat dog, I mean! Dog-eat-dog!" the young man repeated, crossing his arms and putting on a stern face to show his resolution. "Well, Hikari, if that's where you want to be, that's good. They say a humble man is a virtuous man... or woman is woman, you understand my meaning. But just like you, when an actor first joins a troupe, he may harbor ideals about keeping them together like a family, everyone supporting one another, and similar concepts. Eventually, however, he learns to look out for himself and himself alone, just as everyone else in the troupe does. I pity you! It must be difficult and tiresome to try to live selflessly in a world so inherently selfish," he ranted, not realizing that he was quite a source of undue selfishness himself. "Those who are taken advantage of the most often think themselves comparatively fortunate, it is said."

Of course, while he was barking out his own point of view, he found that Hikari had stood up; he didn't catch the reason why, even though she'd already said it herself. Yoshitsune took the time to study Hikari's back, not being as discrete this time as perhaps he should have. "The priestess is very slender... Well, while her image from behind is different than that of a man, it's not all that different than a child. I can't take much interest in this," he thought to himself with a stern frown, consciously rejecting the feeling in his lower body. "If only she had the curves of a real woman, it would be different... a glimpse of her bosom, perhaps, from between the subtle gap between her arm and torso... or the sloping curve from waist to buttocks. Nay, I cannot be enthusiastic when she lacks any attributes that distinguish herself from a mere child." He kept a heavy frown upon his face and at the same time pressed the cloth Hikari had given him down tighter against his nose...
As Hikari sunk and made her way back to Yoshitsune, her gaze looked more and more forlorn, until she was practically staring at him with puppy dog eyes. "That' sad...don't you ever get lonely? Surely, when the lights on the stage go out, there's someone you can hang around with." She looked at him, her gaze almost begging him to say she was wrong. "But...even if you don't, you do for today. I'm here for you." She hadn't fully recovered from before, so the smile she accompanied her remark with was a little sad...but there was still some warmth and sincerity to it. It may have helped that she literally was here for him, due to the prophecies of a Navi deity. "I don't have any interest in taking the spotlight from you, so there's no need to keep me at arm's length, right? Just relax, and enjoy the water. I know I's much better than a regular bath. Not that I often have time for those, what with my duties as high priestess..."

While the nude priestess had slowly been closing her eyes, she suddenly popped them open, as she realized something. "Oh, I'm sorry! Ever since Lady Divina and Kabuki began their mission, we've essentially only been talking about me...I want to hear about you, now. Tell me whatever about you comes to mind!" She looked at the actor hopefully, that he'd tell her all about himself. She even leaned in forward a little, though mostly to see him a bit more clearly through the steam and her own less than perfect vision. Still, she certainly looked eager to listen.
Yoshitsune was taken back by Hikari's sudden display of pity. "L-Lonely? Nay! I live a solitary life of my own choosing, as I believe I've said before," he responded quickly, crossing his arms and putting on a proud face. "Besides, I've always got my sister." When he opened his eyes again, he found that Hikari was still looking directly into his face. Awkwardly, he looked down, around, and finally, back to her face. "She's... She's cute! But she's... probably almost twice my age, isn't she? What sort of ridiculousness is this...!?" he admitted, internally, of course, while matching the priestess' look of sympathy with his own of fierce independence. "Ha! As if you or anyone else could take my spotlight! If I were to devote one-hundred percent of my effort to the theater as many begged me to, I'd have the whole of the cultural world eating from the palms of my hands. Alas, I'm too-"


"-generous for that sort of lifestyle. I want to lead a simple life: that of a common man, facing common struggles and overcoming them through my own grit as a man! If you keep babying me, how am I supposed to do that?!" he growled, splashing in the water as he nudged a bit further away from her, beginning to feel as though he was the shy one rather than other way around. "And is this really your first time experiencing one of Yoka's traditional baths? What a pity! Aside from kabuki theater, they are the finest offering of my rich heritage." Most people, at this point, would probably have decided to leave Yoshitsune alone, or at least wouldn't say that they thought he was too concerned with them and not enough with himself. After all, the young man had a strong tendency to turn into conversation towards himself, as he usually considered his own preferences among the most critical of topics. Hikari hadn't let up, though; she turned on the sparkles of curiosity and naivety to 120%, to the point that Yoshitsune found himself getting excited again.

Of course, he wasn't one to resist, whoever might ask for his story. "You really want to know? Fine... I suppose it won't hurt to tell you a little bit about my secret past. You see, while I take on the simple role of a kuroko here at the Burnt-Gold Hanamichi... that's one of the stage-setters who works throughout the show, in case you're not educated... I am actually a prodigy of the theater, a master of its act and its study, like my father before me. I am, however, superior even to him. Much pressure was levied upon my head to be his successor, but I've cast all of that aside to escape the theater and become my own man!" Despite what he'd said... he was still working in a kabuki theater. "Kabuki came with me and has been an indispensable help in acclimating to this new lifestyle. Together, we live on the run, taking it all day by day. You might even call this lifestyle 'rugged,'" he chuckled, obviously feeling very proud of himself. However, no matter how long he talked, he seemed to have nothing to discuss beyond kabuki theater... and, while he could talk anyone's ear off about the subject, it was beginning to bore him. He'd been hoping to learn new things from Hikari and her navi, after all...

... Speaking of new things, he was really getting an eyeful from the PET now. The mixture of excitement from talking to his new acquaintance and masturbatory pleasure from watching the PET screen was making him begin to feel dizzy. "Heaven! This evening is proving too much for me," he muttered, closing his eyes and sinking into the bath with his shoulders against the edge, propping his arms up on either side. "I am a seasoned veteran of hot springs and heated baths, but you understand that all of this exposure is getting to me. Exposure to aspects of this world that I've never laid eyes upon, you understand?" he idly complained. It didn't seem that he had much of an inclination to ask Hikari about her own life. "I will say this, though: your coming here was clearly divine providence, be it from your Goddess or some other God! I've seen such wonders from the net, the kind I never could have found on my own. It's thrilling, far more thrilling than my own life. Don't you sometimes feel envious of the navis, who live in that sort of world?" he asked, staring up at the ceiling now. "There couldn't be such a thing as that in our own world... A place where women fornicate with men in the open light, where men display their manhood unabashedly and women their womanly blessings. And ha! The size of those things!" he laughed, clearly not realizing what he was saying. "No mortal man could have such tremendous span or weight as the loins of those men display! It's all so bizarre to look at!" Despite the inappropriate topic and the fact that he was probably revealing more about himself than he intended, his mood appeared to be improving.
"Your...sister? Oh, your Navi. That's true, I suppose." The concept of a Navi as a simple friend and partner, while known by most, was a bit foreign to Hikari. She'd had a NormalNavi before Divina came along, but they weren't exactly buddies. She wasn't even sure he had personality data. "And yes, I've never been to a bath like this. I'm originally from End City, you see. I've actually never been to Den City until I moved here a few months ago...Lady Divina felt that setting up a temple in the biggest city in Electopia would let us spread our message more easily."

Her explanation ended, and the priestess listened to Yoshitsune do what he did best: talk about himself. "I didn't want to live in your father's shadow. I think it's wonderful you took initiative and set out on your own! Though, you still work in a kabuki theater...but I take it you're just getting work where you can find it for now. Well, even that's a big step towards shaping your own future!" Fortunately, she wasn't most people, so she was perfectly willing to take an optimistic view of his current duties, even though it probably wasn't all that likely it was actually true.

One thing was was true, however, was that her reaction to the sights on her PET screen was the inverse of the actor's. That is, she didn't seem to have one. Whereas he was excited, Hikari seemed quite unfazed by the nature of the establishment her goddess and friends had entered. For someone that cared more about others, it would probably raise an eyebrow or two.

"That sort of world? What do you mean?" An explanation later, and she actually seemed a bit amused. This time, she wasn't the naive one. "Oh, don't be silly! Brothels exist the world over! I've been to a few since I became a priestess, but people that visit them usually don't care to listen to any preaching. You'd think that for a place that advertises itself as a place of ecstasy, they'd be more willing to hear a word or two about spreading happiness..."

The last part made her squint at her PET's screen a bit harder, to get a better view of the loins Yoshitsune was elegantly talking about. "...No, I've seen something like that in the real world before. I had a boyfriend in college that was that well ended up being a problem, since part of the reason we broke up was because it was too big to really fit in me...oh!" Her hands immediately covered her mouth, and she sank a bit into the water. "I'm sorry, that's definitely TMI!"