|Scene Title||Who we are….|
|Synopsis||Hikaru seems to separate from Tybalt and encounters the Caterpillar. Some hints are given.|
It has been several hours since the events have occurred you've been walking for a while and somehow.. Somehow you've gotten separated from Tybalt. There is just nothing going right today, is it.
He was JUST THERE! He was just there a few moments ago. One second he was chatting with shirtless Tybalt, and then he was gone. Maybe he took a wrong turn. Or maybe something wanted them to be split up. In any case, Hikaru is now alone and feeling more than a little vulnerable in this strange world. "Tybalt? Ano naa… where did you go? Don't tell me you've gotten lost? I didn't see any rabbit holes to fall down," he pouts. Come to think of it, he's not sure where he is now at all.
He may have just been there, but that doesn't mean he's there now.. In fact… NO ONE IS THERE.. The forest seems to grow closer and tighter around you. There is an eerie feeling of being watched. The path seems set in stone, straight ahead.
You would think that Hikaru would be used to being alone, but he really isn't. He's usually got at least someone with him. Now he's feeling rather small and alone. This is not the place to end up by yourself. Still. Tybalt can look out for himself, and doubling back would only further the confusion. The best course of action is probably to continue straight ahead and hope that Tybalt manages to catch up with him. Or maybe they're being separated for a reason. Still. Hikaru proceeds along the path, keeping a watchful and wary eye and ear out.
It lingers in the air.. "Who.. are you?" The words literally linger in the air.. The voice is a haughty voice, sort of stating the fact he feels he superior. About fifteen feet away from you is a large mushroom with a human sized centipede on sitting on it puffing from a hooka..
The Inari scion looks up at the mushroom rather curiously, tilting his head to the side. His scarlet hair flutter slightly with the curious gesture. It's rather like watching a curious puppy twisting his head at an unfamiliar sound. "Hikaru!" he replies, bowing at the waist respectfully, then brushing his hair from his eyes. "But people keep calling me Alice for some reason. Nice to meet you in any case. Ah. Who are you?" he wonders.
"Who am I?" The centipede smirks, "I am the Caterpillar, of course.." The obvious centipede states, again the words linger in the air. He takes a deep puff off his hooka causing the rainbow hued liquid to bubble two or three good times. "Why are you here, Alice?"
"You look more like a centipede to me," mentions Hikaru helpfully. "I'd think you have about one hundred legs, but caterpillars have fewer than that. Also, I'd say you're a bit bigger than most caterpillars are as well. But I didn't come here to debate that point. I actually came here simply out of curiosity at first. But now they say that this Black Alice woman is going to kill everyone. I don't like that very much. I always thought Alice was kind, if a bit curious. Also, I've lost my friend. You haven't seen him, have you? He's a cat. But also a man."
"Seen who? A cat, why heavens no.." The Centipede says, "And I am not a Centipede, I am a Caterpillar.. You have obviously not seen one before.. Have you my dear lady?" The Centipede says, "Black Alice.. The name sounds familiar. I am sure I've heard it before." He shrugs several sets of shoulders, "I believe she's the person who now rules Wonderland, quite wonderfully. And if she wishes you dead.." The Centipede takes a deep inhale off his hooka and blows out the smoke. "Then I must kill you!" The centipede lunges forward.
Once again, it pays to be inherently trusting, as Hikaru is clearly hit by the Centipede as it blurs by. But it doesn't ACTUALLY hit him and hurt him. This time, he's able to recover and has his spear out before anyone can do much of anything, the magatama beads coiling into his trusted naginata. He whirls it about, taking a step back, and the battle is joined! A bit of in combat chatter ensues: "You always do what other people tell you to? Maybe you'd be much happier on your own!"
A turn mid-air comes from the giant insect as the weapon is formed and he drops to the ground. A rather quick motion follows soon after as he sweeps up around to grapple Hikaru and is caught of guard as the fox moves faster than he thought. "Drats to you.." The centipede pulls on his hooka cord and a rather ominous cloud of purple smoke billows out. "Breath deeply young Alice.. Let the sleep come to you…"
"I don't want to have to fight you!" protests the fox. "You're being made to do this! This isn't how you really are!" — Hikaru is like one of those ninjas from that show. About the ninjas. No turning into a wood block, just vanishing in a blur and reappearing a step or so away. He sees the smoke coming, and takes a deep breath trying to avoid having to breathe as long as he can, then strikes out at the source of the contaminant itself: he uses the magical effect of his naginata to gain reach. He's too far away to strike it directly, but he can slice at the air and send a shockwave in the direction of the hookah. Maybe the centipede has been smoking entirely too much for his own good. This might be the only way to get him off the drugs. An intervention, hero style.
The hooka is hit by the shockwave, but it absorbs the energy which causes more smoke to billow out. It's now pouring out like a leaking fire hydrant. The centipede makes a strike at Hikaru and misses, but the trained eye would notice it wasn't meant to hit, but rather to cause the scion to actually move.. "Who do you serve, young Alice? Why are you here? What do you want? These are all questions I must know.. Questions you must tell me.." Another strike and another.. He's fast when he is striking.
Oh, no, he's not falling for that one. Talking means inhaling, and inhaling means breathing that purple nightmare. He looks slightly perturbed when his clever attempt can't break the hookah. Got to keep the centipede off of him — he tries to parry, and he's looking up. Maybe if he can get to higher ground? Maybe the mist will settle on the ground like fog? He's looking around for a taller mushroom, or a tree he could scale in a hurry. He's no monkey climber, but he could try!
As Hikaru moves to climb, the centipede moves to follow after him, however, the hooka tube pulls him back and he growls at Hikaru. "Come back here Alice.. COME BACK HERE." He's seething. As he's seething his form is changing.. He's becoming some sort of hybrid centipede and demon. The purple smoke starts to pour of the centipede's body. "Come to me.." He growls with a demonically echoing voice… "Come.. Give into it."
Hikaru's lungs ache with the desire to breathe — he's still human, after all — but his godlike stamina is strong. Maybe he can hold on a little longer. Maybe if he can just scale this other giant mushroom… The caterpillar can't follow? He hopes. Too addicted to the purple toxin to risk chasing after him? Oh, it would be nice.
The hooka tube has merged with the Centipede, the demonic creature is swiping newly formed clawed hands toward Hikaru, "I want to feast on your supple flesh. I want to bath in your blood for our queen.." He growls and seethes further. As he's seething Hikaru can look around and see dozens if not dozens of dozens of skeletons of various humanoids.. "Come to me dear sweet…" His mouth is caked with drool and several tendrils drop down and hiss with acidic infusion. "Dear sweet Alice.. Your flesh will calm my hunger and please my queen." He continues to strike at him, however he's held back by the hooka tube..
Hikaru climbs to the top of the mushroom, checking first to make sure he's out of the purple mist, and casually stands there once he's sure the demon can't get to him. "Come down there and let you eat me? No, I rather don't think so. I could kill you, you know. But you're already a slave anyway. What has she done? Gotten you addicted to whatever's in that pipe? I pity you more than anything else. Trapped there whilst I can just walk away."
"Addicted.. Stupid fox, Alice… I make the smoke.. It is a part of my trap." He growls at her.. "I want to eat your flesh.. I want to savor your sweet succulence." The demon continues to hop at him. "Oh you will be so sweet. So virginal. I need your flesh.." He swipes at Hikaru this time coming /way/ to close for comfort, and the acidic scent waffs upwards. As he fumes, the amount of purple smoke triples in its out pouring.
Hikaru is now in a bad situation. He's got the high ground, but he doesn't want to have to kill the caterpillar. But unfortunately, he sees no way out of this. If the caterpillar and the smoke are one and the same, there's little he can do. "I'm sorry," he says quietly. "But good girls don't talk to strange caterpillars. Since you seem so convinced that I am one." — he strikes at the caterpillar, thrusting the sharp blade of his naginata at the wicked creature. "Forgive me."
The force from the weapon slices into the demonic centipede and it just explodes in a cloud of yellow 'sweet' smelling smoke. When the smoke clears there is a card on the ground. The card is drawn to have a caterpillar and a hooka on it. The bones of the dead still linger about, however…
There is a smile appearing on the mushroom, "Ah Alice.. Good Show Good show.." The Cheshire Fox comes out. "For two cards I shall answer one question in the truthful tongue…" He fully appears.
Hikaru looks none too happy that he had to kill the creature to get that result. He lowers his sword, extricating it from the yellow mist, then hops down and leans to pick up the card. He lifts his head when the Cheshire Fox approaches, looking over his hand of cards. Still not a good hand. He looks down at the little cards. "Which ones do you want?" he asks curiously. "And I get one question afterwards. But I thought I was supposed to keep them," he mentions.
"None of them.." He says with a smile, "It has been a pleasure doing business with you." The fox prances about on the mushroom. "I did not say I wanted your cards, I only said that for two cards you get one question.. You have acquired two cards and thus your question.. It's a shame you wasted it on such an unimportant question.."
"That's not fair, and you know it," pouts Hikaru rather cutely. Lower lip goes out. "And you're also wrong. I think I'm entitled to a do-over. Because I actually have THREE cards," he points out insistently. "I think that's worth a do-over."
"A do over.." He says quietly. "If you answer my question correctly, then I will answer your question.." The Cheshire fox vanishes and appears on Hikaru's shoulder. "Who are you, truthfully?" He offers a smile as his tail wraps around Hikaru's neck playfully and non-threateningly.. The Cheshire fox gives off a familiar aura.. VERY familiar..
Hikaru actually laughs merrily as the fox takes position on his neck, bringing up his hand to ruffle his fur. "Who am I really? I… well. It's not Nakamura Hikaru. My name, I mean. That's what my adopted family called me. I don't really know, save for that I'm Inari's child. You… smell good," he says in a gently tone. "Like something out of a memory, or a dream."
"Awww." He says softly, "That is not the correct answer.." The fox says softly as he climbs down. "You are Alice.. This shell you have on currently is as a cacoon is to a butterfly." He says softly. "You are a daughter of Inari, not a son.." He shrugs a bit. "Such is the way.." The fox reaches behind him and drops three more cards.. The Dodo, The Lory and The Duck… "These are for you. I found them from the last Alice to walk this path." The fox looks around and says quietly. "Are you strong enough to follow the path to the end?"
Now, that definitely has his attention. And it's not something he expected to hear one bit. He turns his head to the side curiously. "What do you mean, I'm Inari's daughter? I… am a bit confused. If I'm Inari's daughter, why am I… uh. A boy? And Alice isn't a Japanese name. Arisu, I suppose, could be, sort of," he wonders. There's a little smile upon his face, but he looks more bemused. He's used to things being not what they seem. "Oh, wait. You said you weren't going to answer but one question. I apparently got it wrong. Thank you for the cards, though. Yes, I'm strong enough. I think I'll follow the path to the end. I have to be. I just hope Tybalt is all right."
"Worry about yourself, Daughter…" The fox smiles as he starts to fade. "Head straight until you reach the fork in the road, then turn the way you think you shouldn't go." He offers. "You will find a mirror. Pass through the mirror and into the deeper Wonderland." With that he fades completely away.
Okay, so maybe Hikaru's taken a female form a few times as a way to infiltrate. He never has thought of himself as a daughter. It's always been the Son of Inari. Granted, gender means little to Inari, as his worshipers can't really even agree what Inari is, but the idea of not being who he thought he was? Not what he expected when he awoke this morning. Nonetheless, he pulls it together. He continues onward, following the fox's instructions. He hasn't been misled so far. And that's probably what's surprised him so much about that whole discussion.
To be continued! A raw log has been retained for verification of any rolls and/or confusion.