Wilderness surveillance

The weather is delicious enough that one might be forgiven for forgetting that there's currently a war on. Crystal streams sparkle in the afternoon light as they wind and prattle their way through sun-warmed meadows. The trees in the nearby forests sway before a gentle breeze, leaves rustling and sending mellow patches of shadow and brightness dancing over the forest floor.

And yet, there can be little doubt as to what Robert-the-Spriggan is up to. True, his posture suggests utter relaxation, his clothing and manner generally casual. And true, he may be perched on a solid limb half-way up a tree in much the same way that any lazy farm-boy might be. But his gaze is attentive, sharp, keenly observant as it flickers over the Palace holdings and personnel in the distance.

With the seige of Shibuya by the Palace Land forces it has still seen no shortage of activity. The occupiers have put effort into solidifying their hold on the town, in a sort of ironic twist to how the New World Alliance had put their footholds down in Seeker's Landing. So far this was the only connection point they had to Yamato's lands that they controlled. That anyone knew of, at least. They had to initially get here somehow, after all, but that's a moot point as to where they may of landed.

Patrols were regular, but they seemed to be focused mostly on the ground and forests spread around them. Lurking in the branches was for the most part a way to avoid being noticed, at least easily, as long as one didn't do something to trigger someone's attention.

But eventually a more interesting figure makes her way out of Shibuya, open parasol resting against one shoulder. Daiyu watched the various scouts disappearing into the woods, and sighed softly. It was such a bother keeping a proper survellience network up around their new base of operations. But she was by far the member of the commanding Crowned adventurers most suited to overseeing it, considering the more... forwardly aggressive nature of most of her cohorts.

SpritesHero's manner is--understandably--a bit more tense as Daiyu's scouting network flows past his tree. Instinct prompts him to hold his breath, to freeze. There's not even a twitch of movement--and even those wings of his which may occasionally betray nervousness have been pressed firmly against the tree-trunk. Anything they might wish to say remains well and truly gagged.

At length they pass, and at equal length Robert allows himself to breathe once more, to properly examine their commander. Not that there's much that he can see from this distance, save for what appears to be an oriental dress and a parasol. Further scrutiny is unlikely to yield anything more.

Truth be told, Robert was never really made for this kind of activity. Curiosity wins out far, far too easily, and after not nearly enough internal conflict, he finds himself summoning up a delicate blade of air magic to neatly decapitate a nearby flower. With a flick of his hand he sends his offering gently wafting towards Daiyu at a languid, unconcerned pace, borne aloft on an unnatural gust of wind. An invitation, one supposes.

On one hand, Daiyu would wanted to be in the field herself... But on the other, it was just general patrols and nothing to really capture her interest or importance enough to do herself. It also didn't hurt for the footsoldiers to get more familiar with the terrain they will sooner or later be fighting in. So it was what it was. With a somewhat resigned sigh she pulled a book out of her inventory and opened it in one hand. But doesn't get more than a few words in before a flower floats down to land upon the pages. Eyes narrow a bit behind spectacles, then one brow arcs a bit as she notices it's been cut and not just blown free by the wind. Nor is there much wind at the moment.

There's an audible thump as she snaps the book shut, lifting her gaze to the trees around her. Brow furrows a little as she narrows her eyes again. If the patrols dispersing did not notice anyone, then obviously they're not on the ground. But no human would be able to detect him up there though, would they? Then again, she's not 'just human', and even in this form a Were Fang's senses were better than most. "Someone thinks they're playing clever games..."

The someone playing clever games is Robert. The Robert who, apparently, is being a bit of a dumbass at present. But that's what unchecked curiosity will get you.

Once it's evident that he's managed to flag Daiyu's attentions, Robert shifts atop his branch, balancing precariously, legs dangling off one side. It's only a small motion, deliberately and carefully executed. Probably not enough to catch a normal person's attentions. But Daiyu's? Well.

With his head canted inquisitively to the side and his hands interlaced in front of him, elbows firmly planted against his thighs, Robert waits to see what her next move is.

It's probably in his favor that the mystical fox in human form is the one he got the attention of. The others might of been more inclined to just open fire, or knock his tree down, or a dozen other primarily aggressive things.

The oriental woman, on the other hand, merely tilts her head a bit to the side. "You are a long way from anywhere safe for such lolligagging about." She walks towards the tree Robert has placed himself up, with a graceful yet clearly cautious stride. "You do not appear to be one of those that previously made this settlement home, however."

It would not do, after all, to continue this conversation from on high. Thus it is that Robert neatly slides off his perch, gracefully featherfalling his way to the ground. He lands, inclines his torso forward in a polite bow of greeting. He also keeps a healthy distance between himself and Daiyu of about fifteen feet.

"Lolligagging about where it is safe is unrewarding and rather defeats the purpose," he counters, beginning a careful scrutiny of her as he straightens. It's a calculated gaze, careful not to linger on any particular area. Nonetheless, there's a distinct, if exceedingly brief, pause during which his attentions rest on her crown. "No. Shibuya was never my home," he answers at last, with a faint twitch of his lips. "Congratulations on your new acquisition?"

Daiyu watchs the display with a gaze that grows a bit impassive once there's nothing more than more words so far. "Taking control of it serves a purpose. No more or less." The parasol is lowered from her shoulder and tugged closed. The tiara style crown she wears is hard to miss, especially with the cut of black jade embedded in the crest. The closed parasol is tucked to her side, interestingly almost in the same manner one might have a sheathed sword. "As you did not directly accoust the patrols as they dispersed, one can presume that you are here either to monitor the settlement, or seek ingress." She holds the other now free hand out, gesturing vagely towards the boundries of the town. "I assure you, either is harder than it may seem... if one of the others had come upon you first..."

"The settlement is not of personal interest," Robert allows, "though an acquaintence might be interested in what you've done with the astral library." For his part, Robert keeps his hands linked in front of him, generally loosely, though from time to time a flicker of tension may be seen to run through his fingers. His sword--a standard, fairly generic thing, hangs from one hip.

"But you all are here, so." A smile touches on his lips, faint, almost self-deprecating, and he spreads his arms in a shrug as though to suggest that showing up in the middle of enemy-held territory is really the only reasonable choice under the circumstances, and what's a chap to do? "I appreciate the warning. Though, if I may, why do you treat this differently than the others would?"

That gets an amused snort out of the woman. She has a pretty strong guess of who the 'aquaintence' he speaks of is. "Tell her that it has been kept in order... and that I am both annoyed with and impressed by the forethought made to remove anything that could of given us an incrimidating advantage beforehand." She tilts her head a bit as she cusps the free hand to her chin in a moment of thoughtfulness. "Still, from a literary standpoint, it is interesting to see what manner of materials were accumilated there."

Musings aside, her gaze shifts back to the man. "Everything has its place in the art of warfare, but I have little interest in the posturing and swagger going on in this stage of affairs. I observed enough from my initial moves, until time and oppritunity is right I have no need to..." she takes a moment to consider it. ".. flaunt myself more than required to make the impression I desired."

"Oh? And what -is- the impression that you desire?" Robert queries, with an interested up-lifting of his eyebrows. "And what conclusions have you reached, regarding our ways, from your initial observations? I'm always fascinated to hear about how those from other cultures view our...well, chaos. Our eccentricities. Are they not puzzling?"

"I'll be sure to pass the message along," Robert promises, humor sparking for a moment in those dark brown eyes. His hands unlink, come to rest on his waist. The smile that threatens is bitten back, though it's a visible struggle. "And who should I say has sent the message? Or will she know without further explanation? It would appear that you two have met before, yes?" His gaze drops to study the ground, one eyebrow nudging upwards in thought. "And you have four tails," he observes, tones bland, but carrying a hint of a suggestion to them.

That gets a sharp laugh in response that could almost be mistaken for a bark, somehow sounding both amused and sarcastic at the same time as well as quite fox-like "Oh, how cute! Thinking I would simply devulge because you asked. Tch. It will take more than that to glean from me." Then he notices the tails curling about her legs. And by the time he's looked back up the rest of her has shifted as well. Seems like her mythical counterpart a strong emotional reaction was enough to get her to shed the 'human disguise'. Though one almost has to wonder how those reading glasses stay in place when she changes.

"Though you are, truth be told, a curious lot. Your responses to events, to being locked in this world, have been... drastically different." It's a small concedence, and may be about all he gets at the moment.

It's followed by a bit of an eye roll. "Well, that would probably be indicator enough. But for the sake of thoroughness, yes, I am the one known as Daiyu." The 'smart one' as certain individuals put it. "I have encountered with the previous keeper of the library, yes." Both of them felt like they were looking one of those funhouse mirrors in some regards.

SpritesHero's answering shrug is a distinct 'at least I tried', helplessly self-deprecating but without even the slighest hint of shame. "I'd rather been under the impression that you -wanted- to tell," he opines. "So I thought I may as well ask straight-up. Can't hurt, and I doubt I'd be able to trick you into telling anyhow. So why bother? No worries. I'll..." Is that a fox? Wearing glasses? He leans in, squinting, then sighs. "...wait. Until such time as you care to tell."

Her observations do, however, set off a frown and a furrowing of his forehead. "I must admit surprise that our responses have been drastically different. It's my experience that human nature rarely changes. I'd suggest that culture may set an overall tone, but the underlying struggles and demons are the same. People do what they can get away with, to the extent that their actions are permitted by their personalities."

"Oh," he adds, almost as an afterthought. "Robert Lutjens. The pleasure is mine."

"If you were expecting some grand melodramatic monologue on morales and motivations, you've come at the wrong point in the story," Daiyu replies. Gives a shake of her head. "Some of it is cultural difference. Some of it is... something else. Something I have not yet determined. But there is some reason you have chosen to struggle, to strive for survival and mayhaps even escape. Rather than accept things as they are." She snorts, turning partially away as she crosses her arms. "Or engage in activities that only lead down a road of ruin and reckless indulgence."

Then she raises her gaze back to Robert, as he's now identified himself as. "We came to quell a potential restoking of those ruineous fires... but you would not bend knee. We brought overwhelming military force that would of swiftly ended any threat in our realm... but you fought back. When necessary, you withdrew to regroup and prepare. Our masters would bring order, but instead you resist, willing to struggle and suffer instead of bow down. To fight, regardless of outcome, and turn this into a protracted engagement instead of a swift succession of power."

Daiyu unfolds one arm, elbow resting in the other palm as she raises it to tap a clawed fingertip thoughtfully against her cheek. "The tenacity of Yamato's ilk is admirable, but also quite frustrating."

"And you believe whole-heartedly in this Order? Order is not necessarily a good thing," Robert points out, mildly, after considering her words in silence. "Deviation is important. Chaos is important. Originality, creativity, the ability to deal with emerging threats are all tied with chaos and unpredictability. Though I will grant you that an excess of chaos drowns us all in uncertainty and renders life unlivable."

Settling back against a nearby tree, he folds his arms over his chest and one leg over the other. "You view us as toddlers about to shove a fork into an electrical socket, and yourselves as the wiser, more experienced individuals who can see the grim future our actions lead to." There's a light rise and fall of shoulders. "You may even be right. But I've never had the case argued to me. I haven't heard a single peep about what that future is or how it is supposed to come about. Can't speak for others, but I would guess most haven't had the case argued to them either. Y'all simply showed up here with armies and expected those to talk for you. No offense intended. Tell me, Miss Daiyu. If the situations were reversed and you were in our place, would you have done any differently? As for Yamatoans being unique, I should think that even in your own home territory there must have been those who resisted. I won't ask what you've done with them. But I would imagine we're not so different from them. It's just that the surrounding context is probably different."

An ear swivels to follow as he goes to lean against a tree. One gets the impression she's got her attention on you, even if she's not immeadiately or directly looking at you. Clearly this fox-woman is not one that lets her guard down easily. "And most that it would be argued to would not listen. Many are too set in the way they've chose.. though you seem to already have some grasp of that." Followed by a soft snort. "How do we know that is not what intentions you originally came to our realm with?... Nor at this point, does it really matter."

A skillful slight-of-hand has one of her infamous warfans seem to appear in one hand, though it remains collapsed shut for the time being. "Our Adventueres," funny how she refers to them as something seperate, when technically she herself is one, and not one of those that Inspect as a Lander, "Were left to their own devices at first. Some even saw it as a new oppritunity in this world. For their own adventures. To write their own stories..." She lowers her head. "But no one regulated them. No one stopped the greed and self-destructiveness that festered, until they nearly destroyed all three Kingdoms in their unrestrained impulses!" Claw-like nails can be heard scraping against the fan as she clenches her grip around it. "Blows against the royalty of Thor. Breaking the economic stability of Kallamore. Trying to take more than they earned, than they deserved, for themselves! Rosenheim was lucky the Queen forsaw to step in before something befell her realm as well. Even then, the options to get things back under control were... limited. It was clear their likes could not be left to regulate themselves. It required... drastic measures."

And then in a abrupt resurgence of emotion she turned to point at Robert with her fan, the motion strong enough to make her tails audibly whipcrack behind her. "ANd just as we had everything under control, who comes along?! More Adventurers! More problems! More..." Then she stops, seeming to take a moment to recompose herself, and exhales. ".. Uncertainties.." Then shakes her head. "I do not know if it is right or wrong anymore, but that is irrelevant. We've been given our tasks, to see through. To the end." Pause. Eyes narrow, glasses gleaming. "To our end if need be."

Though there is just the most subtle of hints that she's not entirely sure of that last one in her voice.

"I never argued for self-regulation," Robert opines from a point to the left of his tree. Evidently he mistook that audible crack of tails-and-fan to be a potential attack. But the tree beside him is unblemished. Awkward. He at least has the grace to look a bit sheepish before he continues. "May as well have a self-investigation." he states, interlacing his fingers before him and affecting a higher, somewhat nasal voice. "After a rigorous internal review, I have found my behavior to be warranted and, indeed, beyond all approach," he proclaims. The smile that flashes afterwards is an acidic one, however, bordering on a grimace.

"People will do what is consistent with their personalities," he continues, "if they can get away with it. For better and worse. And if there is nothing to keep them in check, then they--or at least some of them--will participate in the worst acts one could possibly dream of. If one has the creativity and the required...twist."

He exhales, then, in a long sigh, as his hand lifts to rub at the back of his neck. "I am genuinely sorry for what you must have run into, whether that means anything to you or not. But you seem to have put your whole-hearted faith into whomever your master is now. And I have no doubt your master was, possibly still is, capable. Deserving. But I don't think I can agree with you on this solution of yours. The world is complicated and unforgiving. I don't believe any one person, no matter how capable, can have the answers. If you put your faith in one person, if you lose that multitude of perspectives brought by chaos and independence, then everything goes to pieces the first time that person is seriously wrong. And there is no way back out of that pit."

The response... actually get a mild look of surprise at first. Daiyu was very clearly expecting another loud arguement demanding her point of view was wrong regardless. Not an introspective counterpoint. She tilts her head, mimicing the 'curious' expression many canines posess.

"You are... more insightful than you let on." She withdraws her arm, instead flicking the tessen open and fanning herself as one would expect with such a device. Regaining her composure. "How much truth is to be found in that perspective... is yet to be seen." Then the tessen is closed and tucked away with the same slight-of-hand that drew it, making it impossible to tell if it was hid upon her person, or just dropped into 'adventurer inventory'. It's clear something in what he said has taken some of the vigor out of her debate, but it is difficult to tell what. Or maybe she's just off-put by the unanticipated response. "But... clearly I will need to pursue more than one 'perspective' to learn what it is I seek of this realm's Adventurers."

She withdraws her parasol, opening it and positioning it on her shoulder as she turns to walk back towards Shibuya. Though pauses, looking back over her open shoulder. "The scout patrols will be returning soon to report and refresh their numbers. I highly suggest you do not be present still when they do."

"I've just screwed up enough that others drop their wisdom on me. Occasionally I pretend that it's my own," Robert explains with a chuckle and a roguishly twinkling gaze. "But as you say, there's no way to tell until the future decides for us. Or until one argument or perspective slowly begins to win out." As she turns to depart he straightens, placing one hand over his heart as he inclines his torso forwards in a polite bow. "I've enjoyed your company, Miss Daiyu. If you'll excuse me, I think I'll take your advice and make myself scarce." With which farewell he steps back into the foliage and is rapidly lost to view, leaving behind only the pulsing blue window of a friend request.

Daiyu pauses for a long moment. Likely to make sure he actually left... and then to regard what he left in doing so.

Followed by a "Damned curiousity" under her breath as she swipes for accept.

Consider it part of gathering information. Sometimes you have to be willing to play with the enemy to do so.