An Appeal to the People

The listed coordinates would take Kabuki and Divina to one of the quieter, less visitor-oriented districts of the Yoka Net. It was clearly built up, and though much of the natural beauty was still preserved, there were several variously sized bath houses and similar establishments within eyesight of their entry point. It seemed to be this way in all directions, in fact, and there seemed to be a large number of private home-links scattered around as well, no doubt leading to the abodes of other Yoka-residing navis.

Of greatest note, were no fewer than five major houses, most of which seemed to offer hot spring and bathing facilities as only one of several relaxation and entertainment options, according to their signage and billing. There was the quiet, muted sounds of prosperity and enjoyment permeating the area, though it was impossible to pinpoint any one source; likely it came from all of the various establishments around them. Notably, though, there were almost no guests that could be counted visibly as tourists; this seemed to be a district for the local and well established crowd, more than anything else.

Not too far from where they arrived, a lone navi was waiting. She had her back turned to where they would arrive, looking towards the largest of the bath-houses. She was standing with one foot planted on a rock, raised slightly, with that hand on her hip, while the other was stretched out to the side, holding the staff of what looked like a green flag, with a thin, white anarchist symbol in the middle. The base of the staff was planted by her foot, so that it leaned outward from her, letting the flag itself drift and flutter limply in the heavy air. In truth, she was a slip of a girl; short, with a tomboyish figure, and very little of her to go around, though from what they could see of her exposed arms, there was muscle definition, and any who mistook her diminutive size for waifishness would be sorely surprised.

When she turned around to greet the pair, it was obvious that her boyish figure extended to all areas, with only the smallest of swells at her chest to even mark her as a woman at all. Even so, there was a soft comeliness to her face, and while she might never be called beautiful, hot, or cute, 'pretty' was certainly a possibility. She was dressed in green camouflage trousers, with a multitude of small pockets and pouches on them, and her t-shirt was also a deep forest green and, like the flag, bearing anarchist iconography. Green eyes matched her shirt, but a hint of red hair poked out from under a deep crimson beret, adding a splash of different colour to the look. Clearly she kept her hair cropped short, since only those few escaped locks were visible from the front, and only a short diminishing trail that stopped before it reached the nape of her neck, from the back.

Having turned to face the new arrivals, she nodded once, though her face was serious.
"I was afraid no-one would answer my call. Only two... were there no more who would help?" Her gaze dropped and she looked to the side briefly, sighing, then up again. "Jane tells me you are a goddess and an actress, though. If two is all there are, then I could not ask for two better, I suppose. My name is Uprising, and I hope you will help me stir the power of the people today, in the name of freedom from the system's shackles. Please... What are your names?" She looked between the two, seeming to recover some of her vigour, however briefly it had been lost.
Kabuki touched down onto the net in a swirl of cherry blossoms, standing on one leg with her palm-outward as they dispersed. Unfortunately, the audience she was hoping to attract wasn't exactly abundant in this part of the net, despite the rich clustering of bathhouses. Perhaps they had the same sorts of problems attracting customers that the Burnt-Gold Hanamichi suffered from? Regardless, she decided to tone it down, fading back into her black-haired form. People were around, clearly, but they were all shut up inside the buildings, which she supposed wasn't a bad thing. It didn't make the area feel dangerous, per se, but it did make it feel... a bit content, and a bit sleepy. "Perhaps that is the feeling that Uprising hopes to relieve this area of? I can't say I'd be opposed to that!" Kabuki thought, allowing herself a wide, mischievous smile that probably would have been a shark-toothed grin if she were already fired up. "Or... the perfect place for a show-down with an evil-doer! I can't say I'd oppose that either!"

Rather than mentally pump herself up any more, Kabuki decided to scope out the area some more. "Yoka sure loves its baths. Perhaps even more than it loves kabuki? Nay, that's nonsense!" she muttered to herself (it was fairly certain that the Yoka bathing tradition had remained more significant throughout the years than kabuki, but it would be downright tragic if she admitted that to herself, being named after the latter activity). Divina hadn't arrived yet, but that was okay; Kabuki had seen her earlier and, once she showed up, might get a chance to be a bit ahead on the mission knowledge, allowing her to assume a lead role in the mission. Sure, it was a bit petty, but she preferred to be the hero / big sister when possible.

After a bit more walking around, it seemed that if the navi standing before her was any indication, she could easily act as the "big sister," anyways. Whereas she was tall, their employer decidedly wasn't; she might have been closer to Hikari's height, although her muscle definition probably outdid Kabuki's own. Kabuki's body was honed from theater, but this one's was clearly honed from battle. In fact, given the whole package of the navi's demeanor and outfit, Kabuki was starting to feel embarrassingly like she was just playing a hero, while the person she was meeting had achieved the real criteria. Her personality also reminded Kabuki a bit of Yoshitsune's, which made Kabuki feel a bit more at ease. Furthermore, the fact that "actress" and "goddess" had just been placed in the same tier of the best one could ask for, her ego had been stoked a bit, which was always a nice feeling for her. "EEEX~ACT~LY! I am Kabuki, the aforementioned actress! You can feel free to think of me as your champion in whatever grand design is planned for us," she introduced herself, spreading her arms away from her body such that her coat flickered around her body like the wings of a bat. Her breasts also bounced around a bit distractingly, but she didn't appear to notice she was doing that. "However, I am also Divina's champion for today! So that we may all champion one another's cause, let us all take an oath, vowing to assist each other to the fullest in the task ahead!"

Yoshitsune appeared on a viewscreen next to her... still naked and stewing in the bath, but with only his collar and up visible. "You shouldn't swear an oath to someone you just met, especially not without hearing what they're asking you to do first.

"B-Brother! Your he-he-honorable person is showing, utterly disrobed!" Kabuki announced, laughing a bit as she shouted. It was a strange mix of perverted old lady and genuine shock. Her hair and inner hollow had started to glow red with excitement.

The young man's face turned similarly red as he scowled at his navi. "You all are going into bathhouses, aren't you?! Don't complain about something like this!" he snapped, then promptly shut off his screen, revealing that he really hadn't intended to present himself that way.

"Ah... That was just my operator, Hideyoshi. He is my splendid Brother," Kabuki chuckled, bleeding slightly from the nose as she praised her operator and putting eerie emphasis on 'splendid.' "Well, enough foolery. I will allow Divina to introduce herself, then please, Uprising, lend us the details of your mission!" It was proving pretty difficult for Divina to get a word in with her companion as she was.
Several clouds randomly appeared in the sky above the coordinates, seemingly just so they could part, and a beam of light shot from the opening. From this ray, Divina walked forward, and took a look around. Not the busiest of areas, it seemed...well, while some extra profile would be nice, so long as she could perform her sacred duty, it didn't matter too much to her.

One Navi stood out to her, and much to Kabuki's probable dismay, it wasn't her. Was anarchy symbol? She didn't show any signs of it on the outside, but that Navi made her a little nervous. Especially once she turned around and revealed herself to be Uprising herself. Hopefully her request was more mundane than her imagery.

As she neared the other Navis, it dawned on the goddess Navi that, compared to the other two, her arms were noticeably thinner. It wasn't surprising, after all; Kabuki was a trained actress, and Uprising was other things. She, however, was only experienced in more arcane arts, and that didn't bestow the user much in the way of muscle mass. Ah well, not everyone needed to have upper body strength.

...Or the ability to introduce oneself, apparently, as her latest ally all but ruined any reason to have a grand entrance. Not that she could top her at that, anyway. So instead, she settled on giving a small curtsy motion, letting her staff levitate for a moment while she did so. "Greetings, Uprising. I am Divina, goddess in charge of bringing happiness and joy to the world. And of course, this is Kabuki, who has graced me with her cooperation on this mission. So, what is it you would have us do?" That was the question of the hour. If she didn't like the answer, she wasn't above walking away right then and there.
In the face of Kabuki's rousing enthusiasm, the smaller navi seemed... well, pleased was a bit strong, perhaps, since her expression remained serious, but at the least she nodded and received it positively. If Divina's entrance and introduction was less flamboyant, it was no less acknowledged, and also received a small nod.

"Think of yourselves not as my champions today; I am just one person. Think of yourselves as the champions of all free people everywhere, for what person, human or navi, can truly feel joy or happiness, if they are not first free from harmful oppression?" She turned back towards the largest bath-house complex, still holding her banner, and cast a brief glance over her shoulder at the other two.

"I will tell you the story of events here, but it will be brief. Our time is limited. There has always been competition between these local houses. They are old and steeped long in deeply entrenched systems that give greatest power to but a few, in a cycle that begets it self the longer it endures. Such cages don't co-operate well with one another, though. One with power who uses it to oppress others rarely is content to allow anyone else to do the same, and so, the major houses all vie and bicker, and squabble amongst themselves, always seeking an edge that will let them dominate the others. Once there were seven old houses, now there are five." It was clear that the whole situation left a bad taste in a the small girl's mouth as she told it, and the hand holding the staff of her flag gripped tighter the more she went on.

"Let the snakes eat one another, if it keeps them away from the innocent, I would say, but recently something occurred that we cannot sit by and allow. A retainer to one house, a powerful navi who often worked to keep the excesses of his own family from growing to vicious, and also stymied the attempts of others to extend their own influence, was betrayed and tricked. Part of this navi's strength lay in his friends and allies; he worked with five support programs, all equal comrades in arms to him, and far from subservient. In a recent attempt to prevent a rival from inducing heavier levies on the local customers, he was first betrayed by a member of his house, and then tricked into going alone through a path that led into the very dregs of the undernet, without his allies. He fell. He knew that he would, but could not refuse." She paused for a moment, visibly trying to let her anger cool before going on. For such a diminutive navi, she was positively seething. "Walk with me..." She didn't head anywhere in particular, so much as began to roam around the nearby area, trading along the edges of some of the natural springs, though her steps were firm and measured; it was easy to get the impression that she'd rather run, but wasn't for the sake of her companions.

"Normally, a navi deleted so would have meant the end of any SPs dependant on them as well, but these five, through their own bonds to each other, managed to endure and maintain their integrity, and they survived, and they planned for vengeance. Yesterday, they struck back against the navi that had orchestrated the deletion of their leader, and against the construct that made the rules that had shackled him to his death. They succeeded, and that navi was deleted in kind, but with the factor driving them gone, they surrendered, and are now being held as criminals, all save the youngest who was sent away, and it was by that reason alone that their story even found my ears in the first place." Uprising stopped walking again and planted her flag, both hands on the staff this time. Her knuckles were white as she gripped it.

"The family head has 'ruled' that though the deletion of their navi was unfortunate, it was also a necessary part of his honouring an agreement, and that by their continued existence, they are causing him, even in death, to renege on that agreement. He has 'declared', that this, along with their own violent actions, means that they must all also be summarily deleted, and plans to have it done tomorrow morning." The worst of her story passed, the girl drew a deep breath and closed her eyes, then looked up back towards the largest bath-house.

"We cannot allow this injustice to take place. It cannot stand that they sit away in their private chambers, and systemise murder with the stroke of a pen. Too much has been lost, too much innocence sacrificed to an oppressive regime, already. Violence is not the answer here; the only way we may save these brave programs is to rally the people, and convince them to stand with us. Make them see, so that they, too, will lift their voices against a system that weighs the lives of people so lightly, and demand that it stop. Dusk will fall soon. Tonight I will go to the steps of that house, and demand their release. It is my hope that when I do, all the people of this area will be standing there with me, a chorus too loud to be ignored."

At last she turned back to look at Divina and Kabuki, spinning her flag around her fingers with one hand and planting it again with a flourish by her foot.
"There are many places to visit, and I will visit as many as I may to rally the people there, but I know I alone will not be enough for this task. I want to ask both of you to be champions of the people this night as well. Seek them out, and do whatever you can, whatever it takes, to ensure as many as possible stand with us at those steps when the time comes. The cost to ourselves is nothing compared to the cost if we fail here tonight. I would..." She paused, distracted for a moment, then nodded as though hearing a voice neither of them could. "Jane is right. Much as I ask of you both, the atmosphere in some of these places can be unsavoury, and unless a lady can defend herself well, she should not go alone. I will be alright, but I think it would be best if you both stayed with and watched out for each other as you go. That is..." she lowered her gaze, then glanced up to meet each of their eyes individually. "If you will help me, and add your voices to mine."

Kabuki turned her head to look over her shoulder as Divina arrived, sporting a big grin on her face. She'd gotten a little hint earlier, but Divina really was every bit the image of a Goddess. All three of them had a lot of visual presence, and she liked that; they would easily be the heroes in the story, if they had more visual appeal than their opponents. Of course, that depended on whether this really was going to be a story of heroes and villains, like she was used to.

Based on their employer's words, it sounded like it was indeed a story of heroes and villains they'd arrived into; in fact, it wouldn't be a bad story for a kabuki play, if one was inclined to make it into one. Thankfully, their group wasn't directly opposing the guilty ones with physical violence, as Kabuki somewhat doubted her ability to do so if asked. She felt two feelings, primarily: a blood-boiling pride at being asked to participate in the task, so heroic was it, and also a guilt at being so happy for the opportunity, given that it was a pretty dark situation if you stepped back and looked at it. She puffed out her chest and crossed her arms, nodding along with Uprising as they walked and talked. "You're right! The injustice that has already been done is too great, let alone the additional loss of life! I'll do whatever it takes to prevent that execution and stymie the flow of evil. Yours is an oath I gladly swear!" she announced; this time, she was careful not to speak for Divina, though. She wasn't really sure if Goddesses were in to organized uprisings. "But, I do feel that we should know our enemy. Can you tell me what sort of figures we ought to be wary of, so that we may be careful to steer clear of them as much as possible tonight?" she inquired.

The kabuki actor wanted to say and ask more, but understanding that the night was short and that Uprising was the key player here, not her, she decided that she'd try to keep her ego in check for the night. Hopefully, Yoshitsune would do the same. "What do you think, Brother? Are you excited for this new adventure?" she asked her operator, still beaming in a way that hopefully looked like a hero of helpfulness and not an opportunist cashing in on a bad situation... she wanted to be the former but found herself thinking she was the latter.

Her operator put one hand to his chin and contemplated. "I'm surprised that such political and class warfare exists on the net, in such public view no less. I agree. It would be dishonorable to walk away from this task, whatever we may contribute," he agreed. "I'm also... surprised that there are so many different types of women on the net. Gathered here, we have fair skin and eastern complexions, short and tall, such different distributions of body weight..."

"Are you getting excited as well, Honorable Brother!?" his navi asked, hunching forward and clenching her fists eagerly.

"I wouldn't say excited," he scoffed, putting on a cool face. "But I'm eager to help. Especially if it means seeing more of the women of the net."

"S-So forward, my Brother! Sister doesn't want you acting obsessive," his navi warned him. "Or, if you must obsess... OBSESS OVER JUSTICE!" she suggested, blasting red light out again.

"I hope stealth wasn't on the agenda for tonight," the operator murmured, sinking his shoulders into the bathwater.

"How about you, Divina? Do you think that we'd be in the right, stirring up rebellion for a cause such as this?" she asked her partner, now fading back to her black-haired form to calm herself down. She understood that staying in her fired-up mode could be seen as putting pressure on her partner and was thoughtful enough not to do so, which might be surprising given her earlier behavior. "I believe there are times when citizens must use their right to revolution."
Divina silently stood and listened to Uprising's story. As she did so, she could feel her mouth twisting into a was the type of tale that made her blood run cold, knowing there were such cruel people in the world. There were a couple of things in it that sounded off, but they were just details; if true, there was no room for fact checking. Kabuki, of course, let her feelings be known first, but the goddess had a few words to say herself. "It's truly hard to believe such cold hearted Navis exist...and yet, without a second thought, they seek to remove the greatest happiness of all: the joy of being alive. As one charged with bringing a bright present and future to all, it's also my duty to prevent the spread of misery. It would be my pleasure to assist you...on one condition. Swear that you will do everything in your power to ensure this remains non-violent. I abhor bloodshed, and if it can be avoided, that is the path I take. But if it becomes clear that the only options are battle, or the death of innocents...then I won't resist. In that instance, do as you will. Just, try to keep casualties to a minimum."

After waiting for confirmation that excess violence wouldn't be a thing, the goddess Navi let her staff float in mid-air, and hopped up to sit on it. "Of course, it would be best to avoid a confrontation at all. Now, I doubt the fiends that would do this would fight against overwhelming numbers. They would probably choose to cut their losses to maintain their status quo. Of course, our problem would be getting those kinds of numbers...but I can help with this. I do have a not-inconsiderable number of followers, some of which are capable battlers. They all have lives, of course, and I can't summon all of them on a whim...but I can send them all a message, asking for those not busy to lend their strength and passion to this cause. And they could, in turn, seek help from the locals, causing our numbers to swell further. I presume this would be acceptable?" In a way, Divina was the best ally that Uprising could have hoped for. One with a lot of similar minded friends.


A hologram emerged from the PET near the high priestess, containing two screens. The top appeared to just be some text, while the bottom was a keyboard. One of her arms was out of the water and typing on the screen with incredible speed. "I'm creating the message now, Lady Divina!"

"Excellent! Thanks for handling it!" Now, while they were waiting...something her actress friend had said struck her. "Now, as Kabuki asked, tell us what you can about the enemy. The more we know about them, the more we can do to sidestep that problem."
As much as she seemed almost impatient to get to work, the anarchist spared a small, firm nod for Divina, free hand on her hip.

"Don't worry, it's as I said; violence won't be the answer here tonight. I only ask that you stay together because in a place that's off the tourist track, like this, a woman alone, simply because she is a woman, and alone, risks as lot." Another navi might have hesitated over finding a tactful way so imply such dangers, but it seemed Uprising was more than happy to be direct about it. She did seemed to hesitate, though, thoughtful as the self-styled goddess proposed her offer. It was a moment or two before she nodded again.

"It is the local folk here, the common civilians that give these individuals their power, that we must stir and raise. Ultimately, it is their voices that must be heard, but..." She allowed herself a small smile that curled one corner of her lips enough to show a brief flash of small, white teeth. "More voices to the crowd is always good. I don't think they're going to have the time to do a face-check to make sure that everyone turning out is actually a local. If you can bring others in, I know it will help." Her attention turned back to the more pertinent question on both her allies' minds and she looked back towards the largest of the establishments.

"There isn't much to know about the house, or the family, that will really help you. It's not what we're focused on, and besides..." She sneered and looked like she wanted to spit; sadly while unbridled hope or righteous anger might give her features a pretty aspect, the momentary level of raw contempt did not. "They're all the same in the end. Ones who want to control and dominate others and take their freedom from them." The expression passed and her face softened again as she shook her head. "What you really need to focus on are the other establishments and smaller locales around here. They're all influenced by one major family or another, but it won't interfere with what we need to do, saving those places controlled by the Kōzuke house. The others houses would be more than happy to see any strike against their power, and won't interfere, and I will visit the places under Kōzuke influence myself. The rest I must leave to each of you." She gestured around the area with her flag, spun it once, then planted it again.

"Any of the bath houses, entertainment venues or production theatres here will show colours that reveal their allegiances and influence. Just avoid any of the places that sport purple banners and flags. I'll handle them; I'm not going to endanger either of you, when the two of you were the only ones to answer my call for help in time." She took a deep breath an let it out, eager to being.

"Visit as many places as you can while the light lasts. Dusk will be falling soon, but when the moon rises and the torches are lit, that is when we must meet. Wherever you go, tell the story of these courageous warriors in a way stirs the souls of all who hear. Raise their spirits and bolster their courage, in whatever way you can, whatever it takes, so that when the time comes, they will stand together, and we can tell this 'ruling house' that the people here will not be controlled." It seemed, with Uprising, there was always room for one more inspiring speech, but that done, she extended her free hand to offer a brief shake with each of her new allies in turn.

"I will see you again when the moon rises and the torches are lit. Until then we all have work to do. Good luck to you both." there was another moment long enough for farewells, but she seemed intent upon beginning as soon as possible, and turned towards one of the smaller establishments nearby, bedecked with purple banners. Spinning her flag one more time, the girl let it rest over her shoulder as she started off at a determined pace that looked a hair away from breaking into a run.

This left Divina and Kabuki on their own, more or less, to decide where to look first and how to go about their task. The area they were in was large and open, and aside the five largest establishments, there were a number of smaller public houses that were probably far less opulent watering holes and the like. A number of pathways also meandered away from the open area, leading to a less flashy network of lower class inns and baths, each trying to sell themselves well enough to eke out a passable living from the patronage of common folk who couldn't or didn't wish to go to the larger houses. Most places of commerce, from the great buildings, tot he seedier-looking dives, whether simple bath houses, small theatres, drinking establishments, or other combinations of entertainment services, all bore a particular colour theme: either red, blue, green, purple or white. It would be easy enough for the pair to avoid the Kōzuke-sympathetic establishments, if they chose to heed Uprising's warning and leave them to her. Most of the buildings, and even a number of the clearly residential home links, near the largest house that Uprising had pointed out, all bore the purple signage, but further away the flags were much more varied. Each of the major five establishments made their colours very clear. The largest, opposite them was, understandable, themed in purple. To their right, about a quarter of the way around the open area, the second greatest complex was mostly green, and much of it's advertising emphasised it being a calm and spiritual location, for best relaxation.

Only a few small buildings away, another complex, only slightly smaller than the green house, bore blue bannering, and mostly seemed to advertise that its rates and services were the best value for money. Directly behind the girls, and down a small hill from where they were standing, a major complex bore deep crimson and red banners, and though it was smaller that three of the other major houses, it seemed quite built up, with less focus on open spaces. It advertised its cosy and intimate setting, and looked like it probably offered accommodation as well as bathing and entertainment.

Lastly, to the right of the girls, a mostly open-air complex spread out over a fair amount of grounds, but didn't appear to do nearly as much with it as some of the others. There were clearly separated and divided spring and bathing areas for all preferences, though designed well enough to prevent outsiders peeking in from afar, and a large number of white-blooming cherry blossoms dotted their grounds.

Divina and Kabuki had a number of choices at this point; to stay together or split up, to inspect the major establishments, and possibly deal with larger numbers, though risk the difficulties that came with trying to pitch in a professional establishment, or to begin visiting the much smaller locales in the hope of finding many groups of smaller, but easier to inspire crowds, without the hassle of professional wait-staff, and of course, the decision of which parts of their employer's advice to heed or disregard.
"Such horrible people make up one half the legends that actors such as myself are destined to roleplay in the theaters. Would that such fiends existed only in the realm of history or fiction! But evil persists, even to this day, making my mission of heroism and glory, yours of spreading joy, and Uprising's goal of righteous revolution each indispensable!" Kabuki agreed with Divina, inadvertently putting the role of a kabuki actor on the same level as that of a revolutionary hero or a goddess again. "In the end of any proper story, evil will be banished!" the navi cheered, regaining her red glow, before fading back to black as another thought entered her head. "... Or honorable suicide will be committed. But I hope I don't need to cross that bridge today." Divina already had plans of her own to be useful, it seemed; Kabuki felt a mixture of admiration and self-pity. "Oh! I'm... I'm afraid I'm cut off from my old theater contacts at the moment, or perhaps they'd help... Ah ha ha..." she laughed, but in reality, she couldn't think of anyone dependable she could ask to help out in the first place...

She wasn't entirely happy about the fact that she wasn't going to be able to tell an enemy from a potential ally; it would be pretty embarrassing, to begin speaking of revolution to someone only to learn that they were already in evil's pocket or on evil's payroll. Hopefully, it would be easy to tell who were employees in each establishment, and furthermore, it sounded like Uprising would be taking care of the worst, most infested places. "You should be careful yourself! I don't know how much fighting experience you have, but it sounds as though you'll be majorly outnumbered. I don't want this to turn into a rescue mission for you too," Kabuki commented, punctuating the thought with a laugh... although, it didn't really make her point any more light-hearted. It really would be a losing situation if Uprising wasn't free alongside them at the end. "It's good to be courageous, but myriad tales have taught me all too well the price that foolish bravado often yields!" Kabuki accepted Uprising's hand with both of her own, gave it a firm shake, and smiled into Uprising's eyes, clearly projecting the message that she would not fail. Perhaps she was eager to serve justice, or perhaps she was just motivated by how cool all of this was making her feel. It was, after all, an entirely different experience to live out your own story, as opposed to acting out someone else's.

Once Kabuki and Divina were on their own, Kabuki settled back down, stroking her unusually straight black hair as it fell neatly over her left shoulder. "Isn't it strange, Divina? The way that these bathhouses and related establishments are all having a factional feud, similar to the theaters such as the Burnt-Gold Hanamichi and the Blood-Red Hanamichi in my homeland... It must be something in the misty air," she pointed out, smiling gently to lighten the mood. "Do you have a preference where we should start? Divine inspiration, perhaps?" Uh oh. She hoped she hadn't laughed just now. She decided to keep a straight face, so as not to reveal that she'd meant that as a joke and thereby warp it into a legitimate question. "As much as I admire the cherry blossoms, we're probably best served starting with the factional houses, as they have the most reason to side with us against the purple house and likely have higher customer density as well. Perhaps the red? The customers may occupy closer quarters there, which would make it easier to speak to all of them."

"Hmph. I think it's just your fondness for the color red," Yoshitsune remarked. Those words were the first he'd spoken in quite a while. Shamefully, he was far more invested in his current situation with Hikari than he was in the cause that Uprising served.

"Oh? You look red yourself, Brother!" Kabuki teased, squinting her pink eyes and sticking out her tongue, which alarmingly stretched past her teeth and nearly past her chin. "Red like a TOOO~MAY~TOOO?!"
While she got the go ahead to bring over some of her followers, Divina most certainly noted the part about the locals. Uprising was right, this needed to be their show, not hers. That didn't mean they couldn't provide support, though. "I understand. If so many show up that they dwarf the number of locals, I'll send some of them back. But we're happy to aid the cause in any way we can. Don't forget that." And her agreeing mood continued as Kabuki spoke up. "That's true, too. Don't bite off more than you can chew...I'm sure the SPs would like to thank the one responsible for their liberation in person."

Soon enough, the goddess and actress Navis were by themselves. The latter started talking, but the subject made her a bit sad..."Yoka seems to be pretty vicious behind the veil of steam. it truly so hard to simply focus on making your clients happy...? ...Sorry. I don't mean to get all depressed like this. But times like this remind me that my task can be quite an uphill battle at times..."

"Perhaps, but I know you can do it, Lady Divina! You've already touched the lives of many so positively...that number will only rise as time goes on, and someday the hearts of all on earth will be one in love and happiness! And at that time, one soul will be looked upon as the author of the new age...the goddess, Divina!"

"...You're right, Hikari. Thanks, I needed that! Getting mopey will do nothing...only by resisting the darkness will light emerge!" She might've continued, but Kabuki's suggestion kept the floating Navi quiet for a little longer. "Red...hmm. That's as good as a place to start as any. I'm afraid that unless I'm completely unconscious, my foresight leaves a lot to be desired, so we'll take the logical approach instead!"

Speaking of a lack of foresight, a figure walked over behind Divina, getting almost close enough to touch her...but thankfully, stopped, and bent on one knee. It was just a NormalNavi, but instead of a generic logo, he appeared to have adopted the goddess Navi's as his own. "My goddess! I've found you at last!"

This made her turn around, and let out an almost unnoticable sigh of relief. She had started to worry that no one would show up. That was one, at least. "Oh, hello there! You can rise, there's no need to be formal when we're racing against the clock."

"Of course! Even your most practical words are an inspiration to us all!" As he rose, others began to show up bearing the goddess's emblem. None were custom; all were some generic model, from HeelNavis to NormalNavis, and everything in-between. There were about two dozen in all. "The message told us of what happened...what shall you have us do?"

Divina hopped off her staff, allowed it to fall to the ground...then stood upon it, and had it float her up a few feet. She didn't want to be too far up, of course...after all, she wore a dress. Not that any of them would've looked; they were all too busy dropping to one knee, with their heads down. "First off, I'd like to thank you all for taking time from your busy lives to come here...but there's little time for gratitude. As you know, innocent SPs are currently imprisoned in that large building with the purple banner...and they are to be executed on the morrow, all for defending their Navi." Well, they weren't completely innocent, since they had taken their revenge...but she let that slide, since it was a situation that never should've happened to begin with. "By ourselves, our pleas for their release would fall upon deaf ears. But where our voices would fail, the voices of local residents can change their fates! And that brings me to your task for the day...there are various establishments around here with colored banners...I want you all to divide into pairs, and visit the small, unbannered buildings, try to convince as many as possible to join us before the sun sets, and then join up at the large, purple bannered building! It will be a non-violent protest, so the citizens need not fear harm. But beware for your own safety, for agents of those that would engage in such atrocities may attempt to stop you! But, the louder their collective voice, the harder it will be for those who seek to spread misery for their own selfish benefit to ignore them, so we must press on! Now, my dear followers! You fight not simply to spread my message fight for the lives of the wronged! With light in your hearts, we shall dispel the dark cloud of misery this evening! Now, LET'S GO!"

"All hail Divina, goddess of happiness!"

"The goddess's will shall be done!"

"We hear and obey her holiness's commands!"

"The evil shroud shall give way to the divine light!"

As the followers split into teams of two, a few praises of Divina could be heard over everything else. She let them go first, so the path to their destination was clear. "I figure that, since there's more of my followers than us, they can handle all the various miscellaneous areas, while we check out some non-purple banner places. I'm sure they'll bring in some people...but by virtue of their having more people that aren't quite as inclined to maintain the status quo, I think we've drawn the most important task of all. So let's not waste any more time! Onward!" There was a certain irony in her saying that, considering how wordy she'd just been, and that didn't escape the notice of the goddess Navi. But, since she couldn't turn back time, there wasn't much she could do about except press on.
Divina set about sending her minions, ah, that is, her devoted followers off with determination in their hearts, eager to spread he word to many of the lesser buildings, while Kabuki led the pair towards their first target, the red-decorated bath-house. It had seemed small from the top of their rise, but as they drew closer, the many stories of the main complex added up to quite an imposing structure, once they stood before its front doors.

Venturing inside would greet the pair with a wash of warmth and a slightly sweet-smelling incense that seemed immediately to give everyone a little bit more energy and perk. The interior carried the red and crimson theme to an extreme, leaving very little that bore any other colour. The foyer was a broad space with a curved front desk, staffed by two separate receptionists. They were both dressed, if it could be called that, in razor-thin string bikinis that seemed completely without purpose, given their utter failure to disguise the crimson star pasties the women wore for decency.

The signage offered clear direction, with a heavy helping of advertisement; following the hall straight forward, to the right of the desk, would lead to the lounge and bar, while a side archway, on their right, recommended the main baths, with more praise for their intimate and erotic setting. Towards the main baths, the lounge and bar. Left of the front desk, a staircase bore direction towards their private rooms, 'for those more personal encounters'. The plush red carpet underfoot ended at the arch towards the baths, but continued in abundance elsewhere and was patterned with sensuous curve designs, picked out in a darker crimson to the rest of the carpeting.

That was all there would be time to take in before one of the receptionists would spring over section of her counter nearest to the two newcomers, smiling and waving at them both brightly.

"Hi! And welcome to the pride of Koushoku house! What services can we offer for two such beautiful ladies today? If you're here to meet friends, feel free to pass through behind me to our intimate bar and lounge, where any refreshment you could want is offered, amidst a quiet and private atmosphere!" Each point was an overwhelmingly enthusiastic exclamation that made the girls whole face light up as she pitched for all she was worth. And it didn't seem to let up, either. "If you'd like to make use of our bathing facilities, feel free to head through the archway just there, to our bathing area. We have several full mixed baths for your inter-personal enjoyment, and we also offer both a separate male and female spring, for those more in the mood for company of their own persuasion! Just beyond the archway there's another reception where our helpful staff will be happy to assist in helping you pick the most enjoyable options for your desires, and you can even hire any of our friendly and well-trained men or women, or both!, to keep you company while you enjoy the springs, if you're feeling shy or didn't bring any friends of your own to have fun with! If you're looking for something more intimate and private, we also have a large number of private rooms that can be hired for a day or night, or even rented out for longer terms, and our staff will always be on hand and eager to assist you in any way you desire or need!" Mercifully, the girl paused for breath here, though she still grinned broadly at Divina and Kabuki, looking back and forth hopefully to see if they wanted or needed anything.

All other features aside, it seemed a rather distinct possibility that this particular 'bath house' also functioned in an entirely different capacity, and that that capacity might even make up a majority of their business. This impression might or might not have been cemented further for the two as a pair of tall and strong-looking male navis descended the stairs and made their way towards the baths. Like the two counter girls, they wore red star pasties over their nipples — probably as close as this establishment came to an official uniform — and also very, very small fundoshis, that looked as though they would need several more inches of fabric if they truly wished to cover the substantial assets they were meant to. There was still time for the ladies to turn tail and flee, if they wanted, and perhaps try a house whose colour was not red, but by the sound of the general background noise in the foyer, this establishment held quite a large number of patrons and guests, for its size.

"Ha ha ha! I can tell you're the idealistic type, Divina! That's just fine! History's greatest heroes were all idealists who made their ideals into reality, after all!" Kabuki laughed, attempting to lighten the mood and get a bit closer to her partner in the process. She hadn't accounted for the fact that Divina already had innumerable followers to take her time and attention, however. Divina certainly what you'd call the lonely type, like she or Yoshitsune. "How can I inspire a goddess whose job it is to inspire others? What a pinch!" she thought to herself self-consciously, crossing her arms with a serious expression as the followers of Divina continued pouring in. Hikari and Divina already formed a pretty inseparable wall of familiarity and co-dependence that made one feel like a third wheel when conversing with them, but with all of the followers around, now she suddenly felt like a hundredth wheel instead of a third. Then again, this was her ally's way of paying Kabuki back for taking all of the spotlight earlier, when they'd first met Uprising.

"I don't know if a goddess can be an idealist. After all, part of being a goddess is having the ability to will things into being, right? So I don't know if they necessarily have 'ideals' that can be achieved or failed," Yoshitsune mused. "Or... Maybe Divina is more like the Christian idea of Jesus Christ than she is God?"

"Now's not the time for Bible study, Brother! We must take our first steps into a new adventure!" Kabuki announced, posing briefly with one outstretched palm before jumping, whirling her long sleeves around herself, and landing oriented towards the house she'd pointed out. "Let's venture onward! TOOO~GETH~AAAAAR!" She swaggered heartily towards their first destination.


Very soon after entering the red establishment, Kabuki found herself regretting her decision. A super-quick glance around was enough to affirm that this was really more of an adult-entertainment business than it was either a traditional or modern bathhouse. The realization also made Kabuki wish that she hadn't yelled so loudly about pressing onward toward "her adventure," which now made it sound like she was pretty darn excited about being surrounded by sex workers. Yoshitsune was immediately fascinated, which just irritated her further. "Ah ha ha! I've goofed! Th-This isn't what I thought it would be!" the actor defended herself, both to her operator and her partner.

"As expected of my sworn sister! You know all about the lay of Yoka Net and are intimately familiar with its bath-houses. You've brought us straight to the one with the most potential for exciting recruits. Bold people like this won't be afraid to get their hands dirty," Yoshitsune praised his navi. "You've probably been here many times before!"

Ordinarily, she'd happily accept it and gloat a bit as well, except that it was entirely a misconception. "N-No, I, er, I've never been in here before, honest!" she quickly replied, waving her hands. At this point, she tried to notch down her obvious state of contempt towards having entered a modern day brothel, so as not to offend the staff. "W-Well! Um. I guess we need to make our rounds in here just like we do the other areas, don't we, my friend?" she laughed, turning to Divina. "Although... and I should have mentioned this earlier... I don't actually have any money," she whispered. "And in a place like this, I'm not really eager to work off a tab or debt!" Although it sounded like a joke, she was quite serious about that point. At this point, she was unable to put off the eager introduction by the staff any longer and they launched right into it. She was still waving her hands in a show of "I'm not ready yet." "A-Ahaha! I appreciate your enthusiasm! Give my friend here and I a moment to decide!" Kabuki chuckled nervously in response, then dragged Divina a way to put a little distance between herself and the staff so that she could think straight. Honestly, Yoshitsune was probably more used to being surrounded by naked folks of either gender than she was; the indecent exposure was starting to make her head spin.

"Those men are exceptionally well-endowed," Yoshitsune remarked, seeming to think that nobody would find it strange that he jumped straight for the conversation topic of male genitalia. Suddenly, his brow furrowed in a stern, critical look. "Sister, don't tell me you're distracted by something like that...?"

"N-No! You know that I'm not! I'm a bastion of focus and virtuous character! Besides, I prefer... Nevermind that! Unimportant!" she guffawed, dismissing the subject. "Let's talk seriously now, Divina! I say that we choose the lounge. We can probably interact with a fair number of people there, while facing a relatively low density of distractions."

Yoshitsune rubbed his chin thoughtfully, while blatantly staring at the breasts of the hostesses; nobody other than Hikari would be able to tell that, though. "If you ask me, the mixed baths make more sense. After all, Sister, you endorsed my entering one. Why wouldn't you enter yourself?" he inquired cluelessly. "For that matter, there ought to be even more people in there and they will be somewhat of a captive audience, if they're bathing."

The navi's jaw dropped into a shaky, whimpering frown in spite of herself. "B-Brother! You know... for you, there's nothing I wouldn't do... b-but this atmosphere is... a little sketchy," she coughed, trying to keep quiet so the servers wouldn't hear.

"Be brave!" Yoshitsune demanded with a harsh bark, full of the sort of unassailable leadership that only comes from ignorance of one's situation.

Kabuki looked aghast for a moment longer, then ran her long tongue over her parched lips. Finally, seeming to come up with a way to save herself, she turned to Divina and clasped the goddess' hands in her own larger, darker ones. "What do you think? You think the lounge would be better, right? I'll leave it to you!" the black-haired navi asked desperately; her uncomfortably wide, shark-toothed grin made it obvious that she wasn't as courageous as she wanted to pretend to be when it came to this sort of thing. In fact, it was quite easy to tell that she wasn't enthused about her operator's suggestion, because, if she was, she'd burst into red colors and singing speech. Kabuki would not be the one you'd want as a partner in a game of bridge.
If Divina had noticed Hideyoshi's musings, she showed no signs of it, and simply levitated herself a couple of inches off the ground, and followed Kabuki into the red bannered building. She wasn't quite sure what they'd find, but...wait, she was getting a message from the heavens...'red light district'? What did that mean?


The goddess Navi ended up being just as surprised by the development of the building's main purpose as her partner, though she seemed less nervous. Perhaps she was just used to maintaining her composure? Then again, she WAS a goddess of happiness, and this decidedly was a place that sought to bring 'pleasure' to its patrons..."Mmm. Rather red, isn't it?" ...But she wasn't going to provide any answers on that front, instead taking the opportunity to tease Kabuki by pretending to miss the point.

"Your grace? Should you really be in a place like...that?"

"And why not? No matter who I am, I'm still a Navi." Her partner in messaging addressed her before she could go on, in a near whisper, no less. Divina couldn't help but wonder if this was the first time the other Navi had actually whispered...but now wasn't the time for those thoughts. Instead, she reciprocated the hushed tone. "Neither do I, actually. While I consider myself a very wealthy's certainly not in the material sense. But it's fine, we'll just need to make sure we don't do anything that costs money. Then we won't have to worry about being in any debt."

After a moment of Kabuki stalling for time, the goddess Navi found herself being literally dragged off. Good thing she was still floating. After listening to the others' thoughts, she noticed one person hadn't spoken up. "Hikari? What do you think?"

"Um...I imagine you know the circumstances better than I, Lady Divina. Whatever you decide, I shall support you to my fullest!"

Somehow, that response was less than, it was all on her. Hmm...well, there was one factor that was more important than any other, and it was something she didn't actually know at the moment. But if the staff was there to serve, they could serve her by answering a simple question. "Sounds like quite the crowd in a place like this...say, do you mind answering something for me? Where would you say the most Navis are right now?" Hmm, that seemed an odd question on its own. Maybe she should add something. "Er, you see...I like crowds! When I'm stuck in a large mass of people, it just gives me strength! And, um, other things..." Well, now she sounded like some kind of pervert that got off when lots of others were around. It wasn't true, of course, but no one else knew that. She should probably clear it up with Kabuki before the mission was over...she didn't want her getting the wrong idea, at least.
The bright grin on the front desk navi didn't fade or falter in the slightest as the two new guests shared a flustered moment and backed away to talk in quieter tones with each other. If anything, her smile softened a little with a great deal of understanding and compassion. In retrospect, it was very unlikely that this was the first time she'd greeted potential patrons who became nervous, uncertain or shy at the prospect of procuring the 'additional services' offered by the house. Indeed, it was her task to sooth such nerves and make guests feel comfortable, so she gave them as much time as they wishes to exchange hushed words, before stepping out from behind the counter and coming over to them once her attention was sought again.

There must have been a slight step up behind the main desk, because standing close to the other two navis, it was apparent that the woman was actuality on the shorter side of average. Her grin had gone from professionally bright to naught and infections in a way that would probably have been endearing in most circumstances. The impishness was a slightly dispelled by the rest of her attire, or lack thereof; as much as the string bikini top was little more than a few threads that left all the work of decency protection to her pasties, the lower half of the garment was actually worse; rather than a bikini bottom, she wore just a simple thin belt about her hips, with all the work of important private coverage left entirely to a single, albeit slightly larger red star modesty patch. It did cover what it needed to, technically, but only just.

"Hey, don't worry if you're feeling a bit nervous or unsure, ladies. Most visitors do the first few visits, but I can promise you that we have very, very few guests who only ever visit once. We do things classy here, don't worry. We're still a bathhouse, first and foremost, and if that's all you want, maybe with some eye candy to enjoy as you relax, that's just fine, alright? You can take your time, get used to the atmosphere, and maybe get a little more adventurous next visit! It's all good, you don't have to worry about getting in over your head. People come here to enjoy themselves, and we always make sure our guests come first." She couldn't help the small eye twinkle that followed this, or resist the natural follow-up line. "Unless they want us to, of course..." the giggle that followed sounded for all the world like she was laughing out of making a naughty joke when she shouldn't, but it was unlikely that anything like that would be on the 'shouldn't do' list, here.

As the two discussed where to go, she drew back again, just slightly, to give them space, but her eyebrows jumped up slightly at Divina's question. Her teeth flashed through her grin as she put one hand to her mouth, biting a finger as she smirked. For a wonder, faint spots of pink appeared in the girl's cheeks.

"Oh! I see, Perhaps I misread. I'm very sorry, hehe. I understand completely!" She said, completely misunderstanding Divina's intentions. "If you really want to be seen by many, or you're, ah, looking for something more... all-inclusive of a large group... the open baths or the lounge may not be best for that, since it could discomfit other guests, but... Let me think..." After anther moment she brightened again and leaning in closer to the pair, with a slightly conspiratorial air.

"Well, alright. I probably shouldn't tell you this, but, our job is to make every guest as happy as we can, so I think if I can offer you what best pleases here, you're far more likely to come back again, right? So... There's a function going on up on our second floor show room. It was supposed to be invite only, of course, but let's be honest, once things get going into the swing of it, something like that really isn't going to be noticed. They're actually employing almost half of our 'service' staff as well. It's good business for Koushoku, but it's also very good for our reputation, profits aside. We're the only house that could really host a function like this, after all, and most of the groups in attendance are sypathetic to the idea that certain other, more powerful houses," She cleared her throat delicately, and may or may not have made a sound that sounded similar to 'Kōzuke'. "Ought to be more open about what they do, like we are. Sorry... I shouldn't say that. Politics and pleasure rarely mix." She glanced around again, then walked quickly back to the counter, reached behind it, and returned with two small data keys.

"It's not taking anything out of our pocket to let two more bodies in, after all, and if it lets us show that Koushoku house is open and generous when it comes to the pursuit of pleasure, then it's well worth it. If the two of you are eager to be seen by many, many eyes, or you're looking to find joy amongst the meeting of many, many bodies, that upstairs, in the second floor show room, is definitely where you will find it." She grinned again, the glow in her cheeks growing. Considering the environment she worked in, it seemed unlikely that any such discussion would get her warm, or embarrassed, unless it was a personal taste for her already, which might also explain her sudden generosity. Perhaps Divina and Kabuki had lucked out... if they choose to look at it that way.
"Just don't tell anyone I let you in, alright? If anyone asks, just say you're with the other group; a lot of navis don't want to go into much detail while they're here, so you should be safe. And, uhmm..." Now she was definitely blushing. "If you two ever do decide to come back, when I'm not on front of house, please don't hesitate to ask for 'Eve', if you'd like. That's me." She was offering the keys to Kabuki and Divina, though she did look back over her shoulder to make sure the other counter girl was talking to a pair of other clients.

Well, if nothing else, they certainly knew where to find the highest concentration of other navis in this establishment, and potentially ones easily sympathetic to their cause... but it might also be a hard environment to actually get everyone's ear directly, depending on what they found in the showroom, if they went that way. Of course, Eve had invited them to begin by taking it slow, if they wanted, so there probably wouldn't be any difficulty if they opted to go a different direction first.
Kabuki's mouth fell open into an aghast but comical frown as she realized that her last ray of hope, the goddess with whom she partnered, not only wanted to go inside, but also wanted to go to a place where she'd be seen by a lot of people. The actor's skin went white with shock. "EXHIBITIONIST? SHE'S AN EXHIBITIONIST?!" she thought to herself, only avoiding blurting out her unflattering characterization by slapping both hands over her mouth. With her cleavage constantly on display as it usually was and her habit of jumping around wildly, it was really a hypocritical thought for her to have. Kabuki was left with no choice but to hear the immodestly dressed front clerk explain their options. The girl's words relaxed her a bit, at least at first. "A bathhouse... right! Of course. A-And naked men are nothing new to me, of course! I work in a bathhouse myself! Ha... ha ha," she murmured, wiping the sweat from her forehead with her long sleeve. Of course, she had mostly seen older, family men with flabby guts and flabbier buttocks, so this was actually pretty new for her. She laughed along with the "come first" comment without even knowing why she was laughing, as the joke had simply flown under her radar.

Apparently, the hostess was now thinking of Divina as an exhibitionist, just like Kabuki was, and searched for a more appropriate atmosphere for that kind of thing. "I guess that's okay... we do need to find a place with a lot of people, after all, and one where we can make them pay attention to us is even better..." she thought to herself, crossing her arms beneath her breasts and closing her pink eyes inside their dark sockets. Listening to the counter-girl talk, she reflected that her mission of happiness and Divina's were awkwardly similar. She really didn't want to think that her partner's mentality was that close to that of a bath/sex-house worker. As she paid attention to the girl's words, she realized that the situation was seeming more and more ideal for them; they now had access to a place where they could reach a large amount of guests at once, ones that might already have some internally-held politics that made them oppose the enemy in this situation. Those sorts of people would be ideal to convert over to Uprising's mission. Someone more suspicious of human nature than Kabuki might suspect that this was all too perfect and therefore could actually be a trap set by the enemy, but Kabuki was a trusting sort and took good luck where she could find it. "Arigatou! You are quite generous!" she thanked her benefactor, accepting the data key with a wide smile.

"Aye, there are good people on the net as well," Yoshitsune nodded along with his navi. He appreciated the fact that the mission was going along smoothly, almost as much as she appreciated the fact that he was going to get to see what secrets the second-floor event held.

In the mean time, Kabuki was starting to get cold feet again, despite her big grin. "S-Seen by many, many eyes? Joy amongst the meeting of many, many bodies?!" she thought to herself, feeling like some muscle inside of her face was beginning to creak from all of the rapid fluctuation between expressing her joy and expressing her dismay. "Okay, we'll be vague about it," she agreed, nodding slowly. "E-Eve... Okay," she chuckled, trying not to allow herself the harshly stereotyping thought: "that really sounds like a stripper's name."

Once the two girls had left Eve, Yoshitsune offered input on the situation. "The heavens favor us in our endeavor, as perhaps is only natural when our endeavor involves the efforts of a goddess. I say you girls proceed boldly onward, towards the next frontier!" he announced, sounding enthusiastic in a way that a man who is worried about coming off as a pervert shouldn't.

"Y-You're right! Nothing is scary, if I'm with allies!" Kabuki agreed, trying to mimic his excitement. Although, the fact that she was with a hyper-sensitive guy with an increasingly clear penchant for learning about the female form and a goddess who may or may not be an exhibitionist, one who did not seem overly repulsed about the prospect of finding herself surrounded by sex-workers and sex-seekers... All of it was actually making her think that her allies might be the scariest part of all of this. But still, like the hero that she was, she put on her best face and proceeded upstairs to the aforementioned event room.
Divina sat on her staff once more, and listened to the options. She let out a small chuckle at the joke, though inwardly she was actually cringing a little at how obvious it was. But, hmm...a 'function'. Looked like her questioning paid off. And so, she accepted the key with a big smile. "You'd do that for us? Thank you so much!" It was good fortune...almost too good. Still, as long as she adhered to what the girl said, they should be fine. And based on what she said, they'd be anti-Kozuke...hmm, this really did seem too good to be true. But if it was, it was a chance they had to take. ...Also, she didn't buy te girl's name for a second. It didn't sound like a Navi's name at all. More like a stripper's or something. And while she certainly was one to judge, being a goddess and all, she wasn't going to hold it against her or anything.

As she and Kabuki left, the other Navi's operator chipped in with his thoughts. Somehow, those thoughts didn't surprise her. Still, he wasn't wrong. They had to check it out, and they did, beyond the shadow of a doubt, have at least one deity on their side. Her partner in...whatever this was, however, had some more interesting comments. She made sure no one else was in ear range before starting to speak, and... "You seem rather nervous, Kabuki. But don't be. Just remember, some potential embarassment is nothing if it ensures the lives of other. Oh, and before we go in there, I want to reassure you that my...implications when talking to the staff aren't my actual desires. I just said that to try and see if anything like this was happening. Despite my appearance, I'm no hedonist!" Yes, her back was basically completely exposed, with only her hair blocking it from view, and the slits on the side of her dress came up enough to reveal some of her shapely hips...but she honestly and truly wasn't a pervert. She just wanted to look the part of a goddess, and looked it she did.

But anyway, her looks made her look a bit like she belonged in a place like this, and that was fortunate in this case. Divina continued to float along, in the name of spreading the word. Not the one she was used to spreading, but the two coincided, so eh.
Whether Divna's quick reassurance that she wasn't actually eager to get her kit off and shake it, truly, honest, was received by a believing ear or a sceptical one, what was decided was that the two navis were heading upstairs and into the unknown. Two kimono-clad ladies rushed past them as they climbed the stairs, one leading the other by the hand and both giggling. One was dressed in green, the other, blue, but whether that was a house allegiance or coincidence, they were both clearly very eager to get to their private room.

By the time Kabuki and Divina reached the second floor landing, the couple that had raced pat them were long since out of sight, though by the sound of it, they'd continued up towards the third floor or above. The staircase may have continued upwards, to the other more hotel-style rooms on the upper floors, but the landing here offered only a small open space with a red velvet couch and some decorative plants, an a large pair of double doors, currently closed off with a male and female employee of the bath-house standing in front of them.

Provided the two showed their keys, the red-starred navis would greet with a smile and open the doors for them, closing them quietly behind. Inside, one of the first things to noticed was the muffled sound that was, unavoidably and unmistakably, the sound of carnality. There was simply no pretending it was anything else, though for now it was distinctly muffled.

The dampening of the sounds came from the fact that, beyond the doors, a smaller space had been partitioned off from the rest of the function room, and perhaps a half-dozen navis lingered, talking, laughing quietly and being social. Here, none of them were actually disrobed, though several wore covers that could easily be slipped out of at the barest twitch, if desired. Another staff member by the door was waiting to greet them both, and he uttered a welcome to them, bowing slightly.

"Welcome, honoured guests. Never fear; you are not late, for our gathering still has long to go, and plenty of time to enjoy its flavours." The man's voice was soft, with just a hint of depth to it and pleasant timbre that flowed smoothly from one word to the next. "This is the social area. For the comfort of all our guests, we must ask that it be kept free of any more intimate behaviour. This is a place where those freshly arrived may settle into the atmosphere slowly, or where you may come to take a respite from the more vigorous pursuits beyond. When you are ready, simply pass through the partitions beyond and into the hall, where you may find all manner of comforts that best pleases your mood." He bowed his head to them both, and when he continued his voice held a slightly more serious tone, though it was no less congenial.

"Though we cannot be responsible for the behaviours of guest parties, here at Koushoku we believe very firmly in the importance of comfort and mutual respect, and we ask that all guests remember this; behave with courtesy and respect to others while you attend, and remember that a 'no' is a 'no'. All guests may refuse the invitations of other guests, and it is expected that any guest refused will accept it gracefully, and move on. The house safety for this gathering today is 'Ronin', and we ask, too, that its use be respected at all times, if it should be uttered, whether by guest or an employee of Koushoku House." Taking a deep breath, he inclined his head once more then smiled more brightly for the two.

"With those important formalities noted, you are both free to join the gathering whenever you wish, but before you indulge, may I offer you the services of one of our house assistant support programs? They are incredibly versatile, and can add much to any encounter, regardless of your tastes or wants. Down stairs, they function as assistant masseuses, but they have much more wide-ranging capabilities than simply that, and for this function, the hire of them is on the house, so long as they do not leave the function hall. Please allow me to show you."

The navi clapped his hands twice softly, and a small bundle appeared beside him. On first inspection, it looked like a tightly wound ball of yarn, resting in a metallic cradle, but the individual cords shifted and moved slightly and below the cradle more tendrils rested, pressing against the plush carpet in a way that suggested it was fully self-mobile. The ball itself was easily the size of a smaller beach ball, and the individual cords looked to be between an inch and two in diameter. As they watched, the ball began to uncurl, raising a number of slowly waving... ah... tentacles upwards above itself. Their guide grinned.

"Koushoku SPs are all trained in the arts of massage, initially, but they are also very well versed in efficient and comfortable restraining methods, and knowledgeable in most forms and styles of binding and restriction. This also extends to full suspension and presentation, and a single SP can accommodate up to three navis in this manner, If required to." Almost unconsciously, he reached out to brush one hand over the curled tip of the nearest waving tentacle, which reached up further to curl affectionately round his fingers in return. If it were a puppy, there was no doubt it would have been nuzzling him.

"Beyond being of assistance in those manners, they are also equipped and capable of playing a much more... direct role, if that is desired of them. To that end, all Koushoku SPs are equipped with a broad variety of overrides to suit whatever your whim; observe." As he gestured, the tentacles presented shifted from smooth, textureless Koushoku red, through number of different colours, textures, and shapes. From plant vines, to leather straps, suckered sea-creature, to slimy and alien. At the same time, several of the most forward tentacles showed off an additional trick, changing the end most foot of their length into entirely new shapes compared to the rest of them; some were highly suggestive, others puzzling, and some were potentially quite intimidating to the faint of heart. After the display, they all returned to simple, plain and red.

"And of course, being massage assistants..." He gave another small clap of his hands and several of the extended appendages began to hum slightly, their visible edges blurring. Another quiet clap and they stopped, before the little SP curled away into a neat ball again. "I assure you, we have never had a customer report anything less than extreme satisfaction with their assistance. All you need do is tell it how you'd like it to look and feel, what you like it to do, and who to, and once all involved in the request have confirmed their consent, you can leave the rest to it." He grinned again and raised one eyebrow, looking between the two ladies to see if either of them were indeed interested in taking one of the peculiar little programs with them.

Whether they were intrigued, horrified, or something in between on that particular offer, the greeter was content to bow his head to them and allow the two freedom to explore on their own. Across the social space, another female employee waited to let anyone who wished to head out into the main room through the partition. Beside her was clearly a storage space for those wishing to leave any clothing behind, but a helpful sign noted that while disrobing was welcome, it was by no means required. Of course, that was a consideration only if the two decided to brave passage through the slide door and into the hall beyond; if they wished to take their time and 'settle into the atmosphere', as suggested, there were several other navis doing the same that they could try talking to.

As she continued to float along the hallway, Divina could feel a butterfly or two forming in her stomach. Just what was she and Kabuki getting into? It hadn't fully hit her until now...but it was too late to even consider backing out. And besides, this was to save lives. A little embarrassment was more than worth it. But, seeing the two ladies run ahead of them made her think of something. They were clearly off to get busy...she wondered, were others seeing her and Kabuki in that light? Because...that was definitely not happening. Nope. As they drew near to the doors, the goddess Navi dissipated her rod, and started walking. For some reason, floating didn't feel right as they walked into an area like this.

After presenting her key and wandering in, it was immediately apparent that this place was bangin'. ...No, really, she could hear people having intercourse. She couldn't actually see it, at least, as the people here were content enough to just hang around and talk. And speaking of which, one of the staff was quite eager to tell them about the services, and the all-important safe word. Hopefully there weren't any wayward samurai at the function, or that'd get awkward really quick.

As for the SPs...thanks, but no thanks. Though, if they were really that good at massaging, maybe a quick shoulder rub wouldn't hurt later..."Thanks for the offer, but we'll pass. We'll let you know if we change our minds later, though!" And the more she thought about it, the less appealing they got...who knew where some of those ends had gone before?

And with that, she pulled her partner in missioning over, away from any ears. "We'll go in when you're ready. Though, honestly, I think the longer we stand around thinking, the more apt we are to getting cold feet. Your call, though." She calmly stood as she awaited a response, showing no outward signs of nerves. She definitely felt them on the inside now, though...
Yoshitsune and his navi both found their hearts beating faster and faster as Kabuki and Divina drew ever closer to their venue for the evening, the signs of sexual activity becoming ever more present as they neared their destination. Kabuki wasn't thinking at all about whether she looked like Divina's lesbian partner or not; she was far more concerned with trying to come up with some last minute excuse to get out of her situation, but nothing came to her that had the right combination of being inventive, believable, and not making her look like a coward. Her knees were knocking beneath the hem of her robe as she presented her key at the door and proceeded to listen to the explanation. No matter how many times she heard the words "flavor" and "comfort," none of this scenario was becoming any more palatable to the actor-turned-freedom-fighter. She was mildly comforted by hearing that she had the backup options of refusing intercourse or giving a safeword to stop intercourse. "W-Wait! The safeword isn't something I need... I'm not going to be having sex at all! I-I haven't even had my first real, non-acting kiss yet!" she reminded herself, growing paler, brighter, and more luminescent as the instructor continued. So distracted was she by her thoughts that the reality of being offered a personal bondage, tentacle play, and penetration assistant hadn't really dawned on her yet. "N-N-NAAA~NI?!" she shouted, suddenly jumping backwards and landing on one foot, framing her face with her hands. She wasn't nearly as adept as Divina when it came to acting unperturbed by the offer.

"I don't get it. Why would you need any of those things?" Yoshitsune asked, squinting his eyes hard, as he was only vaguely aware of the sexual uses of any of the aforementioned tools. Having lived in a bathhouse with little exposure to women, almost no exposure to paperback pornography, and absolutely no exposure to the internet for so long, he was not terribly well versed in the world of sex toys.

"I wouldn't! That is, we don't!" Kabuki responded, in no rush to explain (or demonstrate) the use of such things to her operator, whose naivety and ignorance (not exactly innocence) she found amongst his more charming traits. This time, Kabuki was the one pulled away from the staff by Divina, rather than the other way around; she was all ears, of course, as she was constantly and desperately praying for Divina to find some way to save the two of them. "You're absolutely right! It's best to plunge in to danger boldly, rather than over-thinking the situation and letting their fire die down! True heroes don't hesitate!" she shouted, while inwardly thinking the exact opposite, as to what she'd like to do in this situation. "But... what are we going to do inside? Are we simply going to try to speak to everyone, or will we need to engage them in some o-o-oh!" she babbled, gulping hard mid-sentence before correcting herself, "other fashion? Because... if we are... I might should leave some of my clothes here, or else... I might lose them later," she mentioned. "No, nevermind! There should be nothing inside that I need to get undressed for!"

Yoshitsune raised his eyebrows. He really wasn't sure what to expect at this point. "Really? It sounded like... there probably would be?" he probed, trying to think of how to make it less than obvious that he was the most ignorant person in the group about this sort of thing. Given that he tended to fancy Kabuki himself, he also wasn't sure whether he was increasingly excited or increasingly nervous about the prospect of his navi offering herself to the other bathhouse guests.

"No, absolutely not! Right, Divina? Let's head right on inside and forget about any of that!" Kabuki laughed, springing past the staff and other guests to head straight inside the frightening gathering, which was likely to look, smell, feel, and sound (actually, it already sounded) extremely uncomfortable for her. Of course, it hadn't really crossed her mind that there was a possibility none of the guests would want to spend the evening with a morphing, jittery, sharp-toothed, long-tongued, light-up, overly tall, overly toned kabuki with a propensity for yelling loudly at inopportune moments. That really might be the easiest dismissal of all of her worries.
Professional and charming to a fault, their greeter only inclined his head, despite Kabuki's rather extreme reaction to the offered service. There was a good chance that many guests found the more unusual talents of their house SPs a little frightening or unsettling, so it clearly was no great surprise to him that these two freshly arrived women, holding to each other and patently a little on the nervous side, chose not to indulge in hiring one. It did cause him to raise his eyebrows in vague surprise, however, when those same two navis decided to dive right in and make for the sliding screen that led to the rest of the hall. He only smiled, however, then turned his attention to another guest who approached to ask a question.

Whether either of them did, indeed, decide to abandon any of their garments or not, the reaction from the girl at the screen was the same; a bright grin that managed to be both warm and reassuring, and slightly cheeky at the same time, and then a small step aside so she could open the screen and let the two plunge headlong into the darkness.

Actually, it really was kind of dim. Past the partition, the lighting in the function hall was low. It was easy enough to see, still, but it was the pleasant sort of dim that offered at least a partial veil of privacy. The general thrum of many guests wasn't quite the normal sound of a crowded room, of course; it was the hotter, more fervent murmur of couples and groups being discretely, if vigorously intimate.

The hall itself had been set up with a great number of comfortable lounge settings, most arranged in small micro settings capable of entertaining four or five, and most positioned to face towards the far end, where there was a raised stage. The chairs themselves were, predictably, Koushoku red velvet, and very luxuriously cushioned, and they matched the carpeting, and the wall colours, which were, of course, the house red. A lot of the settings did indeed contain guests, though it might surprise the girls, after all their trepidation, that for the most part, it wasn't as terribly overt or in their faces as they'd feared. True, in more than a few places it was very obvious what was going on, but equally many of the small groups of two to five or so, were being a little bit subtle about their activities.

It was easy to spot which guests, or groups of guests had chosen to accept the offer of a free SP assistant, and, if they chose to look, more than a half dozen of the peculiar many-tentacled programs were being put to quite varied levels of use.

Aside the various settings with their guests enjoying themselves a goodly number of navis moved around between the groups as well, and there was a lot of shift and flow happening at a subtle, casual rate. Some groups were more isolated, playing alone and politely refusing offers from others, but many seemed very willing to accept newcomers.

Amongst the guest navis, there were a great many navis bearing the Koushoku red, though in here they were all unclothed, and simply bore the red star large and visible on one shoulder. Several waited comfortably to the side of the room, seemingly not doing much, though their role would become clear if the girls watched for long enough to see a guest navi approach one of the women waiting so and receive 'help' getting himself ready for another round. If they looked longer still, two more of the fluffers, one male and one female, would attempt to catch their eyes, waving at them in invitation to help get 'warmed up'. Of course, it was simply an offered service, and if Kabuki and Divina ignored them completely, they wouldn't be offended, or even think about it twice.

All in all, the atmosphere of the room was actually... quite relaxed and casual; almost surreally so. Then again, this was a professional establishment, and it probably wasn't their first rodeo, so to speak.

As well as the various inter-social mixing going on amongst the many settings in the room, there was sound and activity coming from the stage, as well. It was the only well lit part of the room, and comprised a smooth, polished wood floor and a thick red velvet curtain as backdrop. On the stage at the moment two men and a woman were strutting their stuff. And by strutting, of course, we mean all three of them had probably begun the act fully clothed, but were now quite far from it.

The woman was dancing in a way which made it clear her sole aim was to show off her body and imply certain activities with it, and singing a sultry, beat-heavy number about how hard it was to juggle the affections of her 'late-night white-knight' and her 'day-time dream-machine', as well as all the things she liked to do variously, with each of them. The song itself was not particularly well crafted, but it was clear it wasn't written with people actually paying close attention to the lyrics in mind. Their actual dancing, on the other hand, while obviously sexual and designed to suggest, tease and arouse, was nevertheless very well executed and professional.

All three displayed a grace and smoothness flowing within their sensual actions, all properly punctuated by harsh, rough motions where the song demanded it, all scattered through with the gradual shedding of each of their clothes and progressively more touching, pressing, rubbing and grabbing as the song went on. To their credit, actually showing off the goods was something they were holding back on, though each movement looked more and more like it might be the one to finally reveal all. As the song moved into the girl singing about the sorts of things she wanted to do with both of her boys together, it was becoming clear that hey weren't going to remain at the point of teasing and hinting forever.

A surprising number of the groups in the audience were watching on in some manner, though their level of attention ranged from giving the dancers their full focus, and merely partaking of minor stimulation while they watched, all the way through to barely casting an eye their way every so often. It was what it was, after all; the stage entertainment, there to be enjoyed, or ignored, as individual guests pleased.

What Kabuki and Divina made of the room, the atmosphere, the guests, the show, and indeed the scene in general, was anyone's guess, but at the very least, no-one was likely to see anything odd or unusual in them unless they called attention to themselves. Though it would likely be wise to circulate a little, and get out of the doorway; hovering there would probably draw eyes, at the very least.

In the old days, a man's first exposure to pornography might be a discarded magazine with a few still photos of raunchy women. Now, in the modern era, Yoshitsune found that his (granted, it came a lot later than the average young man's) was a bathhouse party room full of couples (and strangers) engaging in consensual intercourse, as well as large groups engaging in something that he wasn't quite sure was intercourse, involving a mass of wriggling tentacles. It was also his first exposure to a strip show, his first exposure towards the professional preparation that goes into non-spontaneous sex, his first exposure to women and men walking around each other naked without intending to hop directly into the bath, and a laundry list of other stimuli. Kabuki chose the wrong time to look to her operator for morale support. Yoshitsune felt like he was nearly going to pass out, unaware of anything his navi was saying and fighting down a wholly inappropriate reaction that he didn't need to be having anywhere near Hikari. "Sorry, Sister, but you must figure this out yourself," he spoke quickly and quietly, while squinting at his screen.

Kabuki was freaking out a bit herself, but out of nervousness rather than over-excitement. Still, now that she was inside, she at least realized that things were as advertised, at least; everyone appeared to be doing just as they pleased, contenting themselves how they wanted, and not really pressuring each other into anything. That was better than the sort of pass-the-drugs-and-women-around sex den she'd been picturing in the dark corner of her mind. However, now that she'd overcome the hurdle of feeling like she was going to be forced to lose her virginity to some stranger, she faced the next challenge: figuring out how to efficiently gather up freedom-fighters for her cause. This situation called for a plan. Going around and asking everyone one-by-one would be a waste; she would need a system, not individual conversions.

The long-haired woman was a bit kooky, a bit ignorant of others perceptions of her at times, and so forth, but she was quick-witted when it came to promotion, having been both an actor and a business mascot for her whole digital life. A plan had already formulated herself, since something in the room gave her a means to communicate with the party's attendance in a way that was practiced and easy for her. "We're in luck, Divina! Super lucky! Where there's a stage, a group of strangers is quickly unified into a cohesive unit: an audience, all united to a cause! With a little bit of expression, coupled with my professional touch," she laughed, although that part sounded laughable for a reason other than good humor, "we can reach this whole audience and tell them what needs to be done!"

"E-Excellent," Kabuki's operator remarked, still looking light-headed and holding the cloth Hikari had given him tightly to his nose. "But first of all, you need to confirm that the house will actually let you use their stage for a performance."

"Of course! However, one look at my attire and bearing will make it immediately apparent that I'm an actor worthy of a stage!" she announced, chuckling with egotistic pride (hers was more light-hearted and put-on than Yoshitsune's which was 100% truly from his gut).

"I'm surprised, though. I wouldn't think you'd do a strip show like that... I'm eager to see it!" Yoshitsune announced, showing far too obviously how pumped up he was by the concept. "To see you try something new, I mean."

"W-Wha?! No, I meant kabuki theater! Not a strip show!" Kabuki clarified, looking more alarmed than offended.

"Hm? I don't think they'll let you have the stage for a traditional theater performance. After all, they have the customers' interests in minds as well. Just as you don't perform a heroic tragedy in front of a crowd seeking comedy, you shouldn't expect a high-brow, story-driven performance to connect well with this audience. You'll need to do it as well, don't you think? You'll need to strip," he repeated, being as clear as he could. His face looked stern and serious, except for the bloody towel he had desperately plastered to the lower half of it.

"ST-ST-STRIP KAAA~BUU~KIIII!?" she shouted, far too loudly. She clasped both hands over her mouth, her pink eyes darting back and forth as she surveyed the audience to make sure she hadn't disrupted the song in progress, which, she had to admit, was endearing in a saucy way. "I guess I could try it... Yes, I can do it! But only to become a true Hero of Helpfulness!" she resolved herself, her hair now glowing red and her engraved kabuki-paint markings emitting similarly colored light. "Divina, watch me! I'm going to achieve our goal here quickly, in a way befitting of a hero!" As she turned her back to her ally, she suddenly felt her knees shaking again. "O-Or don't watch me... Either way!"

The first step in enacting her plan would be to seek out a staff member and see if she'd even be able to get the strategy off the ground; if they refused her the venue, she wouldn't have any luck reaching the audience through performance. She looked for the most modestly clothed, red-star-bearing staff member she could find (if any of them were even clothed at all) and approached them, grinning ear-to-ear in a way that was natural to her, but probably looked frightening to others, showing off her sharpened teeth and wide, pink eyes, which shined out from the dark hollows in her face. "Hi! I'm Kabuki, and I'm a kabuki actor. Say, just between you and me, are all of the performers here house folks, or is there a way a party-goer could try her hand at it, some time this evening? I've got a saucy... er... STRIP IMPROV KABUKI THEEE~YAAY~TER, that I believe would provide a real talking point for your audience!" she announced, standing very still as she talked to try to keep herself from shivering. It'd be bad if the staff got a hint of how nervous she felt. If they did, they might try to talk her out of it from fear that she'd faint during the performance. Half of her hoped that the staff member would tell her it wasn't a possibility. What was she even talking about? Stripping and performing in front of horny, mostly naked party-goers? What kind of dream was she having anyways? The staffer would then slap her a few times in the face and she'd wake up back in her PET. She smiled a bit more comfortably, now earnestly having tricked herself into thinking that was the way the conversation would go.

As she underwent this phase of her plan, she turned her head to Divina and gave a wink and an indiscreet thumbs up, meaning "Don't worry, I've figured this out! We're dreaming and it's about time to wake up!" but appearing to say "Don't worry, I'm making the arrangements now and you can count on me to degrade myself until I achieve victory for both of us!"