Lupina walked into the oriental-styled restaurant shop despite the sign on the door saying that they were closed, carefully cleaning her boots before walking over the beautiful carpets on the floor. She was amazed by such different patterns and would hate to ruin it after all the effort the restaurant's owners did to bring al belongings here.
"Konnichiwa, Lupina. Hishashiburi." the black-purple slim person with only his narrow eyes visible to her, after having popped up out of a smoke cloud. "What brings you to the Dragon's Fang today?" his low voice muttered.
"Not much, Shadowblade", she replied whilst he walked out of the shadows behind her. Lupina turned around and bowed to him to express her respect and as a way of greeting him, as was custom in his land. "Torchy forgot to get some dinner, so guess who had to go get food in his place?
Shadowblade chuckled from under his mouth mask. "He may be fast in body, but not always fast in terms of remembering things."
"That's the understatement of the year. So, am I still allowed to nick some food for the others?"
"After what you and your friends did to help us set up this restaurant and risked your freedom and health to help us, you are always welcome. Wait a minute while I get Takumi and Yoko." he said, after which he disappeared in another smoke cloud.
Shadowblade is always quite the mysterious one, Lupina thought to herself. Despite him being a friendly person, he never tells about his past, and neither do his friends that have traveled to the Village of the Seeker a few years after him.
Suddenly the floor started shaking, Lupina got startled and she nearly bumped her head against the ceiling after hearing a deep, quite long shout that couldn't have come out of another's mouth but Yokozuna, the chubby cook and flavor expert of the restaurant. Despite his big size, Yoko, as she and his friends called him for short, was surprisingly fast and agile, and always dared to put his own life in danger so that his friends would stay out of it.
Yoko came running out of the kitchen door to her and bowed to her- as far as his thick skin would allow him, that is.
"Gomennasai, Lupina. I didn't mean to startle you, but i just haven't seen you for far too long" Yoko said in his deep, foreign voice similar to Shadowblade's, and with a friendly smile on his face.
Lupina, still recovering from her scare, calmed herself and ran towards Yoko and gave him a big hug. "I've missed you, you walking skin flab." she jokingly said. She let go of Yoko and asked "How's business?"
"It could have been better, but with the way things are going now, we shouldn't complain. We got some new dishes on the menu, including some more sushi and soup dishes, and Takumi is trying to break his cutting food-record in the kitchen. His katana is still sharp as ever and always manages to cool the food down quickly."
"That's good news! But what about Black Diamond, Rocky and Tsume? Last time I saw them, they were heavily injured by the Soulfire demons that nearly destroyed the restaurant."
"The honorable warriors and child you mention have all been healed up again, thanks to Chief NubNub" another voice said from the kitchen. Lupina looked past Yoko and saw Samurai Takumi in his blue armor with an apron, his long, thin drooping mustache and a knot in his black hair.
She bowed towards Takumi, who in turned bowed back. "It was very close, though. The wacky Goblin Priest had trouble properly healing everyone and functioned a bit less after seeing his adopted son with grave injuries. But his Spirits were with him, and luckily all made it out alive, although they had to take it easy for a few months.".
"Thank the Seeker, or in this case, the Tribal Spirits for their recovery. I can't imagine how stressing it must've been for you all" she said, while looking at all of the oriental men including Shadowblade, who popped up once more.
"Soooo.... where are they now?" Lupina asked.
"Tsume has decided to try and rob unfortunate travelers once more on the crossroads in the forests, but also wants to spend some time with Rocky. In the battle of nearly half a year ago, they grew a bit closer to each other." Shadowblade replied.
"One might even say that Tsume is like an uncle to Rocky." Yoko said. "Also, Black Diamond's home was burned to a crispafter we chased the Demons away, so she had to move into our place here and got an own room. Not that we mind, and she hopefully doesn't mind too, but she's a little bit down because of a... certain keepsake that went up in the flames, along with her home. She wants to take revenge on the demons, but isn't strong enough yet, and is training harder than ever in the Dojo with some of the higher-leveled training devices. She has taken quite the beating from them already."
"Poor Black Diamond... she must've really been enraged by that, and all that training can't be healthy for her. Where is she, anyway?"
"Her feelings of rage were getting the upper hand in her spirit, so I had to... take her down with a belly flop" Yoko replied, with sadness in his voice. "She is quite alright, though, despite me being a Rogue Hunter, but even after that she wanted to go on. In the end she got exhausted, and whe had to carry her to bed where she is currently resting. Tomorrow, we will be closed and meditate with her, in hopes of getting her emotions back in control.
"However, we may have to consult Selwyn for his wisdom if it's getting out of hand." Takumi said.
Quite shocked by this sudden message, it was silent for a short, soundless moment that felt like an almost eternal crack of thunder right in her ears. It felt like time didn't exist anymore for Lupina at that very moment, for matters have to be really dire if Selwyn has to be consulted.
"But on a brighter note, how have you and the Beasts been?" Takumi asked. "We didn't really have time to visit you because of bureaucratic mess and other stuff, but we would like to hear what you all have been up to."
Lupina quickly regathered her thoughts. "Well, err, let me think for a moment... oh yes! Mangle Jaw has become even stronger in his legs and jaw and is following a course on how to take good care of his, teeth and Torchy has been setting up some free running parcours in the forest and trained himself with it. He also saw an awesome halloween costume, but he hasn't managed to get it yet. And Pignius has found a job as a trucker. This means that he won't be around that much anymore, though."
"That's a shame. That Uncle Pork of yours is a good person, albeit demonic. And he makes me hungry whenever i'm looking at him." Yoko said.
:"But what about you, Lupina?" Shadowblade suddenly asked. "You haven't said anything about yourself yet."
"Oh, right!" Well, i'm mostly hunting for food, but recently we got this new guy in town that Abigail is a big fan of. His name is Balog, and i tried to communicate with him for a bit."
"How did it go?" Takumi asked.
"Let's just say that... i might've gone partially deaf if i wasn't gone in three seconds" Lupina said with an awkward grin while scratching her back head.
Yoko stepped forward and said: "Well, I hope that you will be able to socialize a bit more with him. Is there anything you know about him that you've heard from that punk Abigail?"
"The only thing I've heard about him from Abby is that he sees fighting with honor as... Overrated."
The sound of Takumi's mind nearly snapping could be heard from a mile away.
"Now that I think about it, didn't you need to get dinner for your friends?" Yoko asked.
"Oh no YOU'RE RIGHT! I TOTALLY FORGOT! You know how the guys can be if they don't eat in time, and it will be all my fault! It will be too late if you start now!" Lupina shouted hysterically about how the other Fire Beasts would react if they got dinner too late.
Yoko chuckled a bit in himself, and said; "Don't worry Lupina, we've always got an extra supply of dishes in cases like this. Shadow, would you mind getting some bowls of noodle soup and a few one-time-use plates with rabbit meat?"
Yoko had barely turned around, or the last thing he could see was a grey smoke cloud.
"So, guess i'll just have to wait now, eh?" Lupina asked.
Takumi was interrupted by the sudden sound of shattering glass and bones hitting the floor. Lupina, Yoko, Takumi and Shadowblade, who had just returned, looked surprised at the blue and gold-clad skeleton that had crashed through the window of the restaurant, shattering it in a thousand pieces.
"Greetings, honorable eastern warriors... think you could help me out in this situation?"? King Yorick asked while facing Yoko's direction.
"Nimriel again, your majesty?" Yoko asked King Yorick.
"Indeed. She still wants to try and defeat me one on one, despite me having a boosted resistance against rogues. And honestly, I do not want to do that again any time soon."
Before Yoko could answer, the faint sound of a bow's string firing an arrow could be heard from the roof on the other side of the building.
Yoko said "This needs to dang stop, and soon at that..." while a big, grappling hook-like arrow with a rope connected to it t the end was shot through the broken window and Yorick's ribcage. Yoko grabbed the rope, pulled it back with all his force, and a scream of surprise could be heard from across the street, on one of the rooftops.
It was only a matter of seconds before the red-clad elf came tumbling in through the restaurant, rolled against a wall, and bumped against it with a loud bonk. Nimriel stood up, caressing her head, and didn't notice the giant sumo-wrestler running at her... until it was too late.
One belly flop later, only Nim's arm and leg could be seen flailing around in an attempt to free herself from under the giant body of Yoko, accompanied with muffled screams of fear and anger.
"sorry that you had to see this." Takumi said to Lupina.
Lupina herself couldn't help but release a small chuckle from her mouth because of the ridiculousness of the situation.
"Never mind that, Takumi. I'll just grab the food and be on my way" she said while taking over the bag of food from Shadowblade. For the last time this night, she bowed to almost all of the silly eastern persons to express her gratitude and to greet them, and finally said: "Pleae tell Black Diamond that I'm always there for her. She took a final look at Yokozuna and the poor Nim, still stuck under his big body, waved at King Yorick, smiled, opened the door and left.