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Akihana Akari
Akihana Akari
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Ryo : 223500

Understudy (Vaneda) Empty Understudy (Vaneda)

Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:03 pm
True to her word, Akihana had not attended any of he meetings regarding the wedding planning her fiance had told her of over two months ago when he'd set the date for the occasion. It wasn't simply that she wasn't interested though that had been the case at first. As the weeks had gone by, the blonde and the Raikage had established some kind of mutual civility that now existed between the two, one peppered with generally pleasant comments and even mutual exchange of jutsu knowledge.

No, the main reason she hadn't attended any of those meetings was because she doubted they were important in the grand scheme of things. Youka likely didn't care what flavor cake they had at the wedding and what kind of champagne was served. And her own mind was far too preoccupied with other things as well. Her visits to the first district, her visits to the local prison going through cases of innocent shinobi delimbed on suspicion of being spies and her subsequent healing and rehabilitation arrangements for the ex inmates. All these things took more of her time than anything else.

But now she had to do the one thing for the upcoming wedding that couldn't be done without her. The dress selection.

With only three days remaining, the blonde had been left a rather stern note by a village elder that she couldn't put it off any longer. And so, clad in a dark green summer dress (in hopes of tempting the sun out for a few hours) and with her new engagement ring glittering on her ring finger, Akihana made her way to the shopping area of the third district. Her boutique was easy to spot, boasting the most glamorous storefront, the kind of outlet that didn't list prices, merely hard to pronounce names and brands.

Pulling her off white cardigan close around her as a cool breeze ruffled through her loose blonde hair, the medic waited at the sidewalk, not going in yet. She had known she would need some kind of emotional support if she did this, and Hikashi was no longer an option. She wouldn't put Takeo through this either as his sarcastic, dry remarks made her homesick to the point of curling up in a corner of her room and never coming out. So instead she had requested Vaneda accompany her if he was available.

And now that's who she waited for outside the shop, golden eyes fixed towards the street ahead. He had said he would come but she wouldn't blame him for opting out. He wasn't obligated to act her as step in bridesmaid and she would never make him do that.
Vaneda the Cursed One
Vaneda the Cursed One
Citizen
Ryo : 8000

Understudy (Vaneda) Empty Re: Understudy (Vaneda)

Sun Aug 07, 2016 1:03 pm
Vaneda was already making his way down to the local clother, a shop far too fancy and expensive for the priest's taste. The moment he had received the message, he spent several moments processing. Uh... He... Vaneda the Cursed One, killer, assassin and worshiper of the god of pain and death... was going dress shopping... At this point, with all that had happened to him, he shouldn't be surprised something this far out of his element was coming his way. Of course, he readily accepted regardless of how drastically unprepared he was. Making his way through the market district, Vaneda found himself laughing. It was somewhat of an inside joke, what with all these strange things he had to do since he was here, with this on at the top. From birth, Vaneda was trained as a killer of men, a torturer of souls, a professional in his field and now... what he had agreed to... It felt so casual... Regardless of his feelings, the Jashin priest had agreed to go through this with Akihana, despite how displaced he might be.

It wasn't long until Akihana was in sight, standing on the sidewalk outside the shop with her coat pulled tightly around her, closed off. Vaneda's smile immediately dropped as he became receptive to her body-language, stopping in his tracks several yards away. It was... retrained, but there was anguish. He could feel it in his own heart. Conflictions of a sort. Something deeper was haunting this trip. A shopping trip that surely wouldn't be so simple. She looked so alone in the way she held herself, appearing to suffer under these conditions. Maybe he wasn't necessarily important to this event, but given her body language and the fact she called him here, Vaneda thought she simply wanted someone to be with. She wasn't making it easy to keep an emotional distance. Clearing his throat and putting his trademark smile on his face, Vaneda resumed his walk up to Akihana, placing his hand on her shoulder spontaneously as she stared hopelessly at the store in front of her.

"AH! We're doing THAT kind of shopping!" Vaneda noted, nodding at the incredibly expensive store in front of them. "Watch out, Aki. One false expense and we soon might find ourselves with empty wallets!" He snickered at his own joke, but only briefly before his face took on a more serious, sympathetic look. "Is something wrong? If you pull that jacket-shirt-thing any tighter to yourself, it might rip down the back and THEN our wallets will really be in trouble." His mouth grew into a smirk yet again before he grew completely serious and his grin fell into a frown of concern "No, seriously. What's up?"
Akihana Akari
Akihana Akari
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Ryo : 223500

Understudy (Vaneda) Empty Re: Understudy (Vaneda)

Sun Aug 07, 2016 1:53 pm
The blonde almost broke down when she felt the priest's hand on her shoulder, the first physically friendly gesture she had experienced in a while. Akihana had found her niche in the new kumogakure, she was pledged to doing her best for it and it's people, but she couldn't deny in moments like these that she missed having friends. Wealth and material comforts could replace a lot of things but human contact was not one of them and the last person Akihana had hugged was Ashur, a memory lost to make way for other conflicting emotions going through her mind in that instant.

Acting on impulse, the kunoichi reached out to give Vaneda a warm hug in greeting instead of a hello or a handshake. The action was more for her own benefit than anything else, the familiar act steadying her nerves. "Good afternoon," she spoke, trying to keep her voice light and pleasant. "Thank you for coming, I... I didn't know who else to call."

When he correctly guessed where they would be heading and joked about losing their wallets, the young woman let forth a small, sad smile. "I didn't bring my wallet," she confessed as she contemplated the bridal boutique they were outside of. "I was just told to come here and pick out a gown from a selection laid out. They said I could request any lacerations if I liked but..." What could she say? That the idea had made her want to be sick to her stomach. She had agreed to this, she was supposed to be brave. Akihana should view this step as a victory for her and the people of this village. Yet all she felt was deep sadness permeating her soul. In a few days, she would be married, permanently, legally married.

To someone who couldn't care less of the institution of marriage, much less of the one he was marrying. Though perhaps she was being unfair to the Raikage in her own personal grief. She was almost sure if he knew how she felt, he would do something about it.

Almost.

"I'm not very good at the whole dress shopping thing," she admitted, lowering her gaze in embarrassment as she continued. "I used to wear my sister's hand me downs as a child, then other's hand me downs as an adult. Then just whatever my son couldn't destroy so easily. So i could use a critic. I don't want to embarrass our village walking down the aisle." Yes, it was better to admit that than to confess how utterly terrified she was.

"Should we?" she ushered an if he agreed, they would walk into the store, being greeted immediately upon entering. Apparently the staff had been told to expect her as they were all smiles and complimentary glasses of sparkling cider. Akihana thanked the seamstress's assistant but left her drink untouched, unsure if she would be able to keep anything down given her current constitution.
Vaneda the Cursed One
Vaneda the Cursed One
Citizen
Ryo : 8000

Understudy (Vaneda) Empty Re: Understudy (Vaneda)

Sun Aug 07, 2016 5:07 pm
Instead of meeting his friendly gesture with something equal, Akihana instead wrapped her arms around him and pulled him into a hug. He almost froze when he was confronted with such a gesture, one he had never experienced personally. Not knowing what else to do, he returned her gesture, awkwardly hugging her back when she pulled away. She could clearly see the shock on his stitched face, one that said this was territory so unfamiliar to him, he might as well had been dancing on the moon. When she thanked him for coming and that she had no one else to turn too, Vaneda, against his own will, began to laugh nervously, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand. Her surprise gesture and the apparent stock she invested in him was just a bit too much for his personal integrity. He found himself feeling a tad.... unstable inside. Fluttery. It was strange... Something he hadn't felt with such intensity before and he liked it.

"Heh... uh... You know me... Always willing to help out..." Vaneda spoke almost nervously, the lack of confidence frustrating him. In response to his little jokes, Akihana gave him a smile that made his heart sink a tad. She admitted that she, in fact, didn't bring her wallet and, that someone that went by the name of "they" told her to simply go to the boutique and pick out something that interested her. The sadness in her eyes, the way it dripped from her voice like molasses, the lack of effort in even trying to hide it... It broke Vaneda's heart to hear how much emotional turmoil she was in... He could practically feel it within himself as the tendrils of sorrow coagulated and shifted all around her. Jashin's sake, it sounded as if she was on her way to the gallows to marry death, which, in fact, was what was happening unbeknownst to him. He kept asking himself who "they" was and what "They" wanted from such a kind and sweet soul, but considering the state his friend was in, it was best not to ask these questions out loud. Who knew if "they" were watching. Instead, he wrapped an arm around Akihana, pulling her into a side-hug as she explained how she was never very good at clothes shopping and that she mostly wore tough clothes or hand-me-downs. He laughed when she said she needed a critic so that she didn't embarrass herself walking down the isle.

"Well, I hate to break it to you, but we priests....." Vaneda stopped dead, processing what 'walking down the isle' meant. He stared at the store, then at her fingers, attempting to find some kind of engagement ring. He then stared at her and his jaw dropped. "Y-you're getting married???" Vaneda proclaimed, wide-eyed. Before he could ask anymore questions, however, Akihana ushered them both inside only to be met with a ridiculous amount of hospitality. People of all kinds buzzed around the blonde, offering her trinkets and drinks among other things. They offered none to the Jashin priest, but they did smile at him with a smile caked in fake plastic. He could see their eyes trace his face, riding the roads of his scars. He gave them the same kind of smile back, the one that said "Go away. NOW." Eventually, they all dispersed back to their little jobs, leaving Vaneda and Akihana relatively alone in the store, surrounded by all the over-the-top styles within. Once again, his ocean-blue eyes locked onto the blonde, but he said nothing. Instead, he took notice of how uncomfortable she was, how terrified and sickly she seemed. That wasn't the look of a lady going off to be married. That was the look of someone who was counting the days until their execution. The priest took a step closer to her now, so that he was right beside her, an unsure expression reflecting his attitude. What was he going to say? What could he say? From her body language, he could only assume she was being forced into this marriage. A simple "I'm sorry" stupid and useless, but what else could he say?

"Aki..." Vaneda whispered, still aware that there were still people around. "I'm so sorry." The mutual pain in his voice was almost as saturated as her own, showing how much he cared. He wanted to give her another hug, but he was afraid to touch her for fear of it call coming out. Vaneda didn't like seeing her hurting so bad. Nothing so sweet and loving of life should be in so much misery.
Akihana Akari
Akihana Akari
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Ryo : 223500

Understudy (Vaneda) Empty Re: Understudy (Vaneda)

Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:26 am
The blonde took several calming breaths as Vaneda wrapped a secure arm around her, steadying her before she could completely crumble. It surprised her however when he asked if she was getting married. There were very few people in Kumo who weren't aware of her relationship with its leader - mostly because Youka and the elders had gone out of their way to make it a spectacle. Picnics, public walks, the extravagantly planned dinner last night. All of it pointed towards a happy couple legally uniting in the eyes of men and gods. Though she supposed her friend would hardly hear the village gossip being a man of the cloth.

"Yes," she confirmed, nodding as they entered the boutique. "To the Lord Raikage," she added before they were accosted by the staff with offers of drink and trinkets. Through it all, the medic noticed Vaneda being greeted less warmly than herself, something that didn't sit well with her despite her grief. Why should he be treated any different if he was with her in a clear show of friendship?

"Miss, we've reserved our best dressing rooms for you," an eager sales representative informed her, only to be shoo-ed away by a seamstress who looked entirely too pleased with herself.

"Don't mind her, Miss. If you'll follow me while we seat your.. friend here... I have all the gowns ready for you to try on."

The blonde looked confused for a moment, golden eyes turning to the lady and then Vaneda before flicking back to the seamstress. So unused was she to cold behavior that it took her a moment to even comprehend it. But when she did understand the implication, her voice came out firm. "Actually I'd like him to accompany me. This is my best friend here and I value his advice to the extent that I wouldn't dream of purchasing anything he doesn't approve of." Her statement was neither cold nor brittle. Her smile was still warm and gentle but her tone was firm, making it clear that the seamstress would not be making any more progress unless on Akihana's terms.

"Of course," the woman replied, ushering then both towards the back as someone ran to fetch Vaneda a drink as well. Together, the duo was led into a spacious area, decorated in and almost the entire circular wall covered in a long running mirror. Soft bulbs lit the room for maximum viewing effect and a rack occupied the far corner, half a dozen gowns in opaque covers hanging off the rail.

"These are the gowns that were finalized," the seamstress spoke, motioning towards the dresses. "All have been custom made with your size specifications but if you'd like any alterations, we would love to accommodate you."

"Thank you," the medic replied. The seamstress had probably worked hard on them given they had never met before. "I will try them on and let you know our final choice." With that, the other woman walked out of the room, leaving Akihana and the priest on their own once more. Ignoring the changing rooms for the moment, the blonde made for the soft white couch, sinking into the plush material as though exhausted from the ordeal of such a short walk.
Vaneda the Cursed One
Vaneda the Cursed One
Citizen
Ryo : 8000

Understudy (Vaneda) Empty Re: Understudy (Vaneda)

Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:04 am
Apparently, his apology was not heard amongst all the hustle and bustle the staff of the shop were making around Akihana and now he knew why. She was being married off to the Raikage. If Vaneda's jaw could naturally fall off it's hinges, it probably would be on the floor right now. Someone as kind and loving of life as Aki was being married to her antithesis? Opposites attract never seemed to have a stronger meaning. But then, aki's face suggested that she wasn't happy at all to have any of this happening to her. She wasn't looking forward to any of this... Almost as if she was being extorted into marriage. For all the priest knew, this was all part of some grand plot and Akihana was simply being used as some kind of stepping stone and she really didn't matter to the... "man" of honor himself. Although Akihana honored him by calling the stitched priest a her best friend, whatever honor he could squeeze out of that was quickly overshadowed by concern. Both he and Aki were directed into a large room and given a variety of styles and gowns before the seamstress disappeared again almost as quickly as she came. Once he was sure they were totally and completely alone, Vaneda turned his ocean-blue eyes on his troubled friend again, witnessing her flopping down on the white couch across from the dressing room. He had never seen anyone so destroyed, even in his own  up-close-and-personal experiences. He sat down next to her and patted her back gently, silently, before giving her something of a hopeful smile, praying to Jashin that it would stick to her as well.

"Hey..." He said soothingly, trying to purge her anguish with his own peace. "It's all going to be alright, okay?" Despite trying hard to make it sound like be believed what he was saying, it was as much of a clear lie as saying Akihana's hair was black and her personality was equivalent to sandpaper. Anyone who knew the raikage knew that whatever this was leading up too, it wasn't going to fit the average definition of "okay." Vaneda fell silent for a moment, eyes on the floor as he attempted to conjure up some other platitudes that weren't so obviously fake. He couldn't think of any. All he could do is simply sit there with her and share in her pain. The person he was when he was working would love this, drink it in like the finest wine and comment on it's exquisite nature. When he was the vessel for Jashin's will, he'd laugh and joke about moment's like these like they were an act at the world's greatest circus. He wasn't laughing now. Vaneda felt miserable, horrible, acting more of a focus for her pain and feeling it as it ate her hollow. He wanted it to stop. He wanted her to be free. He hated that look on her face, that look of despair. He wanted to see her smile and have that light shine across the room instead of this darkness radiating off her. He wanted the power to hug Akihana and tell her it would be alright and it would be. He wanted to tell her that she WILL be happy and that it WOULD be okay and know it wouldn't be a lie. So intense was her pain, he wanted to hold her hand and apologize with her knowing what it meant. But he couldn't do any of those things. All he could do is sit there with her and try to make her pain seem less excruciating. He let out a big sigh and tried to put on a reassuring smile. It came out sad and distorted. It felt even more hollow than it looked.

"Shall we have some fun? I may be a priest, but I like to think I have some sense in fashion..." His eyes lit up as he picked out one thing from every style when, combined together, would look like a circus clown. He picked all these things up and handed them to his distraught friend, a genuine playful grin on his face as if he knew something she didn't. "Go put those on. I think you'll like what you'll find in the mirror..." He hoped that she'd come out laughing and their days would lighten up together. He hoped.
Akihana Akari
Akihana Akari
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Ryo : 223500

Understudy (Vaneda) Empty Re: Understudy (Vaneda)

Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:41 am
Technically, Akihana wasn't supposed to tell anyone that this was against her will. In part due to keeping up the illusion of happiness and in part due to the fact that no matter what else, she had agreed to it. She had been given a choice after all, and even if the choice had been nothing but a singular one that would only end in the way preferred by the kage, it was still a choice and she had made it. At least that's how how she had lived with it thus far.

Now though, it was harder to pretend surrounded by all these wedding gowns and the inevitability they implied. True she hadn't told Vaneda anything, but he could infer the truth just as well. As he sat beside her, she could feel the waves of sorrow and sympathy radiating off him. He truly wanted to help and that was something she appreciated more than she could put into words. Instead she simply raised her eyes to his and said "Thank you for being here, I don't think i could have done this alone."

When he suggested they have some fun, the blonde looked skeptically at the priest, then realized what he was up to. Ignoring the rack of gowns custom made made for her, the priest went on to pick random items from different gowns, a veil here, gloves there, a hat and finally a lump of white that seemed to look more in place at a wake than a wedding. As he handed the combination to her, urging her to try them on, Akihana rose to her feet.

"You're not doing my looks any favors," she warned, the hint of amusement now present in her voice as she entered the dressing room, closing the door behind her. As she took off her coat and dress, hanging them neatly on a convenient hook, she couldn't help but wonder if this was the right thing. Sure she had agreed to it, sure it was the only option, but here she was, the champion of honesty about to do something most fundamentally dishonest... Did it count as a lie if the only person you lied to was yourself?

Pulling the gown over her body, Akihana immediately knew it was the wrong fit, the starched front  hung loose over her shoulders making one sleeve rode down her arm. The hat he had picked was also starkly at odds with the veil, a mosquito net more than the sheer of a wedding gown. Finally the gloves he had chosen were more woolen mittens than stylish accessory.

Spoiler:

But the ensemble had the desired effect. The kunoichi let out a soft laugh at her own appearance in the mirror before stepping ou to show of to her friend what he'd put together. "What do you think, First Lady material?" Golden yes shone slightly with mirth at her question, the air of sadness lessened for a moment as she took the time to laugh at herself.
Vaneda the Cursed One
Vaneda the Cursed One
Citizen
Ryo : 8000

Understudy (Vaneda) Empty Re: Understudy (Vaneda)

Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:40 pm
When Akihana warned the priest that he wasn't doing her looks any favors, Vaneda's smile only widened, gesturing at the changing room with his head. Akihana entered the changing room, leaving Vaneda alone, pleased with himself. He had detected that little hint of amusement in her voice as he proposed the idea. Any positive change in her behavior was worth it to him. If he could make her smile and laugh today, it was worth his time. The scarred, white haired priest remained sitting in the chair, picking through the remaining dresses seriously, attempting to find an actual option or two when she stepped out. Of course, being who he was, Vaneda's marital fashion sense was crippled twofold. He didn't know what dress matched what shoes, what head-dress matched which gloves... Heck, sometimes in the morning, he doesn't notice his shirt is on backwards until he's out the door. Regardless, his eagerness to serve drove him on, eventually settling on one of the more... average dresses that he hadn't taken a piece off of. Just as he had chosen, his friend stepped out of the changing room, a smile on her face with the whole outfit on. He snickered lightly, but his snicker quickly grew into a full blown laugh as Akihana asked if she was "first-lady material." In truth, Vaneda knew not, only that whatever he'd picked out DEFINITELY wasn't what the youngsters were wearing these days.

"That's one word for it!" Vaneda chuckled, leaning back against the chair as he tried to catch his breath. "I'll tell you something, Aki. If you walk down the isle in that, lord Raikage will definitely say something." He shook his head, smiling, before turning his ocean-blue gaze back on his friend. "I like your smile, you know." Vaneda confessed. "You should do it more often. All that sadness and closed off language... It doesn't suit you. Just like that dress!" He started laughing again, but it died a bit faster than before. Vaneda said this with a smile, but his tone was completely serious. She had the look of someone who smiled, someone who grinned pure radiance at all light beneath. Whatever sadness and darkness she was experiencing, it felt unnatural to see and probably to feel. He was happy to give her this moment of normality, of safety and calm. He wanted to be her friend after all. "Ah...." He sighed, holding his belly, cramped from his laughter. "But seriously. I'm happy you're smiling and laughing. It makes me happy to see that you are as well. NOW!" Vaneda clapped his hands, rubbing them together before pausing for a moment and going through the dresses again.

"While you were in there changing, I found a simplistic little dress you might like."  He held up the clothing in front of him for her to observe. "Or..." Vaneda smile turned impish before he set the dress down again. "No dress! Just go casual! Who needs ceremony and tradition? Just walk down that Isle wearing what you were when we entered this place and.... boom! A night to remember right there! I guarantee NO ONE will forget that night." He could see it now. Everyone just staring... how everyone was dressed up EXCEPT the bride! Ah... that's rich... Of course it was just a joke. He wasn't COMPLETELY serious. Just... a good 30%... Anyway, his tone made it clear he was just playing around and he dearly hoped she'd pick up on it and keep it going. The banter could go back and forth for hours if they let it. He felt it had that much potential.
Akihana Akari
Akihana Akari
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Missing-Nin (S-rank)
Ryo : 223500

Understudy (Vaneda) Empty Re: Understudy (Vaneda)

Mon Aug 08, 2016 6:31 pm
As the young woman emerged, only to have her own laugh reflected back at her, the kunoichi couldn't help but relax slightly. She could do this. She had put on a dress without being sick all over it. It would get easier from here, or so she hoped. "Actually," she corrected, golden eyes taking in her own funny attire in the mirror that ran the length of the walls. "He would probably be the one person who wouldn't say a thing. I don't think he cares what I wear." The smile slid off her face however when she realized the truth she'd spoken.

"I don't think he looks at me at all," she murmured, more to herself than to her friend. "Well, not that there's much too look at, but he seems more focused on the tasks at hand." Marriage was just one of those tasks. She probably could show up in her summer dress and white cardigan and she doubted it would make a difference to him. The show was on for the masses, not for the bride and groom.

As the priest correctly guessed she used to smile a lot, the blonde merely nodded. "I did, once upon a time. I try to do it now too, it's just... it feels like lying sometimes. I don't like lies." There was little reason for her to smile in Kumo other than in politeness. Still she tried. When Vaneda handed her the next dress, one that definitely looked like it had come from the selection laid out for her, she nodded again. "Alright, lets hope this one at least fits," she commented, trying to inject humor back into her tone.

Entering the changing room once more, she called out to the young priest waiting outside. "Vaneda, what does your faith make of marriage. I apologize if I sound ignorant but Ik now some sects allow it while others frown upon the institution." Her question was genuine, she was interested to learn more about him. It was the least she could do for someone who was keeping ehr sane throughout this process.

The next dress came with a conveniently located zip, one that made it easy for Akihana to step into, and if fitting had been her concern, it wasn't any longer. The dress was made as though the seamstress knew every intimate detail of her figure. From the tight cinch of the waist to the soft flow of the train. Even the half sleeves that trailed down her arms spoke of intricate designs and exquisite bead work. The top left her shoulders bare, making Akihana shiver slightly. Pulling her blonde hair in front and dividing them to lay equally on both sides, the young woman did her best to hide the small amount of exposed skin even if she would not get the chance at the actual ceremony.

Once finished, she stepped out of the small changing room once more, the flowing hem held up carefully so she wouldn't trip over the soft white material. "Any better?" She asked, unsure of what to make of the reflection in the mirror.

Spoiler:
Vaneda the Cursed One
Vaneda the Cursed One
Citizen
Ryo : 8000

Understudy (Vaneda) Empty Re: Understudy (Vaneda)

Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:32 pm
Was it something he said? Instead of his joke about the raikage bringing a smile to her face, it seemed to make her current one fall dead, withered up and died right there on her face. She almost whispered that the man never seemed to look at her, no REALLY look at her like the person she was and, instead, seemed to focus on the matter at hand. Yeah... that sounded like him. Lord Raikage, couldn't care less about other people! Only tools for a goal. At his comment about the smiles, Akihana's retort made Vaneda's lightheartedness fall in his chest like a rock tied to an anvil. She was drawing into herself again and, before she could grab at the dress he had offered, The stitched-man would place a hand on her shoulder, as a friend would and offer her a serious expression.

"Then let me help you smile for real. Lets not focus on what's coming. Not the marriage, not any of that. Here, I'll take you to dinner after all this. I know a nice little place around here that serves wonderful grilled vegetables and meats." As soon as he made his offer he handed her the dress and she disappeared into the changing room. He hoped she would take him up on his offer once this was all over. Aki's stay here had been nothing short of miserable and dark. She deserved a light in this darkness, some life in all this garbage. Although right now he was the closest thing she had to a good friend in this hole, she deserved more. If she was going to stay here for a while, she deserved to know all the good spots here, especially now. Once inside the changing room, Aki asked what his own faith said about marriage. The question caught the priest by surprise, throwing him into a stunned silence. He was quiet for a moment, getting his thoughts together, wracking his brain on his knowledge of the Jashin group.

"We don't really have a set of rules or protocol when it comes to such things. The group I belong to lives a very... simple existence, not placing rules on how one lives or how they govern themselves. So long as we all remember our faith, we are free to do as we wish." True enough in the code of Jashin, so long as he got the deaths he deserved. "You see, our god is one that doesn't ask for much. He doesn't require us to be good, or pure, or bad or evil. He doesn't care if we hate him or love him. So long as we remember he's there, we are simply left alone." Discounting the ritualistic murder of innocents and nons, he basically recounted how the Jashin faith goes about the daily grind. Jashin couldn't care less if you loved him, hated him, licked his boots or whatever. So long as he got his kills, you were one of his clan and he blessed you. More gracious than some of those monotheistic religions out there. Not long after he responded, Akihana stepped out of the dressing room again, this time looking radiant in her dress. it didn't take a smart man or one versed in fashion to see that Aki wore it well and did the outfit justice. In short, she looked fantastic. Despite how he felt, Aki looked... torn. She appeared almost like she quietly resented the outfit. Vaneda wanted to say something that would reassure her, something that would make her smile again, but he didn't know what more to say beyond complimenting her outfit.

"You look great." He said, his voice surprisingly flat. It frustrated him that nothing he could say would lighten her day. He hated the fact that this marriage was causing her so much strife. He felt she was cheated out of a far better life... and he felt somewhat responsible. In fact, to some degree, he was and that made him feel even worse. "It definitely looks better than the last one. What do you think, Aki? Do you like it?"
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