"So this is the Earth that Yosho is so fond of." A deep voice spoke as its owner gazed out of a large glass window at the planet.
"Yes. He, Ayeka, and Sasami do love this planet and this is where Seina and Kiriko were born and raised." A feminine voice spoke.
"Is it really necessary to ask an off-shoot to lead this project?" The male voice asked, clearly not thrilled.
"Kaede Masaki is hardly an off-shoot, but I have been informed of the many qualities she possesses that make her a capable leader. Plus, I've heard that she's cute." The female spoke slyly.
The male scoffed.
"Honestly, Lady Seto. Must you attempt to play matchmaker with everyone?"
The female, whom the male voice identified as Seto, spoke with a chuckle.
"My dear Ren. Must I remind you that your parents are also in the process of searching for a wife for you, too?"
"No, but that doesn't mean you have to help them."
The female sigh as she looked over the schematics of their ascension process. "Maybe Kaede can help smooth out that cynical side of yours."
Kaede woke to some sort of delicious smell invading her senses. As much as she wanted to protest, her stomach made it loud and clear that it wanted food. It took some doing, but Kaede managed to open her eyes and look at the old-fashioned alarm clock on her bedside table. She was surprised to find that it was 5 pm, a whole hour before she had to get up.
Curious and hungry, Kaede got out of bed and grabbed a clean uniform and headed to the shower. Once she was done and dressed, Kaede walked down the stairs as she tied her hair in its usual braid. She peered into the kitchen and saw Ryu frying bacon on the stove. He was back into his outfit that he wore when he met Kaede.
"So he's responsible." She whispered.
Quietly, she walked across the kitchen and peered over the Wau's shoulder and saw that it was bacon and eggs he was cooking. It was then that Ryu sensed her presence. With a grin, he spoke.
"Well good evening, Miss Kaede. I take it it's time for your shift?"
Kaede jumped back a bit as Ryu spoke but regained her composure.
"Not really. It'll be an hour before I begin my work. The smell of the bacon you're cooking was what woke me up."
The sound of her stomach growling confirmed her answer. The Shinobi Priestess blushed as Ryu chuckled.
"Well, at least you'll have a full meal before your shift. Have a seat and I'll get your plate ready."
Kaede obeyed confusingly as she sat down on her chair while Ryu set up a plate of bacon and eggs with a pair of toast with a honey spread.
While it was nice of Ryu to make breakfast for her, Kaede couldn't help but be suspicious of the alien. Something didn't seem right about the Wau, aside from the fact that he was an alien from outer space. But her growling stomach told her to eat first to ask questions later. So she decided to comply, knowing that either way she would still have to take him to Katsuhito in afterwards for protocol.
After breakfast, Kaede took her dishes and placed them in the sink before Ryu could do anything. Once they were taken care of, she spoke.
"The first thing I need to do is to take you to the head of the shrine. Duties, you see."
Ryu nodded and stood up. He was already dressed in the clothes he wore the night before, clean and stitched back together.
"Alright. But how are you going to explain to this shrine master about my appearance?"
Kaede gave a deadpan look that said 'you do have a point but I'm taking you in anyway.'
"Like I said. Duties."
She then turned on her heel and walked out the door, with Ryu following her.
As they walked to the lakeside home of the head priest, Ryu decided to ask her a question.
"Hey, Kaede. Don't you ever get tired of duties? What do you do for fun?"
"Train." Kaede spoke jokingly.
Ryu had to laugh at Kaede's response, knowing it was a joke.
"Ha! But seriously. What do you do to enjoy yourself?"
Kaede gave it some thought before she answered.
"Yeah. Usually fiction. Reality's too depressing to embrace. I'd rather live in a fantasy world than this dump."
That caused Ryu to smirk.
"Well do you ever picture yourself with a dashing pirate?"
Kaede couldn't help but release a laugh at Ryu's question, confirming her answer. Ryu smirked.
"Ha! You would. I knew it."
"Oh brother. You're worse than Ryoko."
The sound of the name 'Ryoko' caught the Wau's attention very sharply.
"Did…Did you say 'Ryoko'?" Kaede turned to face the Wau with a questioning look.
Then, to Kaede's surprise, Ryu went into Fan-boy mode.
"I can't believe you know the legendary space pirate, Ryoko Hakubi!"
Kaede jumped back at Ryu's sudden excitement.
"Space pirate? What the hell are you talking about?"
Ryu blinked a couple of times.
"You mean…you've never heard of Ryoko Hakubi? The pirate who took on the planet Jurai all by herself?"
Kaede continued to give her confused look.
"Jurai? What the heck are you talking about?"
It was then that Ryu realized his mistake.
"Oh! Sorry. I forgot that people on Earth don't know about life outside of the planet."
But just as Kaede was about to say something, a large shadow began to cover the area around them. Looking up, the Shinobi saw that the shadow came from a large craft with a ring around the back. It was the largest craft Kaede had ever seen.
"Oh. My. God. What the heck is that?"
Unbeknownst to Kaede, Ryu recognized the craft and narrowed his eyes.
"Damn! That's the Mikigami! And if it's here, then that means she's here too."
He immediately grabbed Kaede's wrist and began to pull her in the direction they were originally heading.
Kaede was more confused than ever. First, she tended to a dog-person from Outer Space. Now, there was a giant craft hovering overhead. What was happening to her normality? Snapping herself out of her thoughts, Kaede took the lead and ran faster, nearly causing Ryu to trip as well.
"Keep low and run faster!"
As they ran, Ryu noticed his heart rate increased as he gazed at his and Kaede's clasped hands. If he had been looking in a mirror, he would've seen as to how much he was blushing.
"What the hell's the matter with me? Why am I feeling like this for some wench from a backwater planet?"
He then shook his head as he remembered the Mikigami over their heads.
"No time to think about that. Right now, I've got to hide from that damned Devil Princess."
But just as they reached the lake where the house was, a flash of light shot down from the craft and landed right in front of the pair. Dust kicked up from the site as a deep voice caught their ears.
"Hmph! It's quite a surprise to see you here, Pirate King Ryu."
The dust cleared and Kaede was finally able to see the second intruder. He was a handsome man appearing to be in his mid-twenties. He had a black ponytail that was short enough for Kaede to figure that he had medium-length hair. He was dressed in a white and blue men's kimono, a navy cloak with leaf pins holding it in place, and black shoes on his feet although the kimono was long enough to hide most of the feet. Upon his brow was an unusual circlet with sapphires in it.
In Kaede's eyes, the man was just as handsome as the Wau with her. But his chocolate eyes were as cold as ice. Ryu immediately recognized the man and snarled.
"Well, well, well. I'm just as surprised that a pampered pretty boy like yourself would come this far out; Duke Ren of Jurai."
Kaede was struggling to piece together what was happening in front of her. A duke? And Ryu is some sort of pirate king? What in the world is this madness?
It was then that the duke's eyes settled on the Shinobi Priestess and, like Ryu, his heart rate increased.
"Is that the girl whom Seto talked about?"
He then pointed what looked like a sword's hilt at Kaede.
"You there. Are you by chance Lady Kaede Masaki?"
Kaede raised her eyebrow at the unknown duke as she answered his question, placing a hand on a hidden kunai behind her back.
"I'm no Lady, but my name is Kaede Masaki. Now my question. How do you know my name?"
The duke remained cold as he pointed to Ryu.
"Unfortunately, I cannot answer your questions yet until I deal with this piece of trash that has tactlessly blocked your path."
Ryu's fur stood on end as he reacted angrily at the duke's comment.
"For your information, Last Place Prince, Miss Kaede was helping me from an attack by pirates!"
But the duke didn't believe him.
"I recommend that you do not listen to this filth, Lady Kaede. This feeble-minded degenerate is one of the most wanted pirates in the galaxy. He has quite the bounty on his head and is marked for execution."
Just then, Ryu wrapped his arms around Kaede and gave her the 'flirty' look. This, of course, was freaking Kaede out.
"Come now. You can't seriously believe a man like that. After all, he hasn't made breakfast for you."
Kaede blinked in confusion.
"Uh… I only just met you, too. You crash landed in the forest last night."
"Yes, but at least I'm not hostile like him." Said Ryu, casting a glance at an annoyed Ren.
"That's enough! Release her at once! She's a member of the Jurai Royal Family! She is not for abominations like you!"
Now Kaede was just as confused as ever. Royal family? There was nothing royal about her.
"It's official! At least one of us is crazy!"
But just as Kaede was about to move, she froze at the sight of her kunai near her throat. Carefully, Kaede turned her head to see a Ryu different than the one she met the night before. This time, his face looked sinister. With a smirk, Ryu spoke.
"Well, well, well. Seems that my hostess is actually a princess. That's quite an interesting predicament."
"What are you doing?" Kaede asked warily.
Was this Ryu's true face? Seeing what's before him, Ren drew out what Kaede thought was a stick, only to be corrected by the appearance of a shaft of light.
"I won't say it again, pirate. Release her."
But Ryu didn't release his grip. Instead, he started to move backwards with Kaede still in his grasp.
"I don't think so. If I release her, not only would I lose such a lovely woman, but you would kill me without a second thought."
Judging by the reaction of Ren's face, Kaede could see that the duke was indeed thinking that. Despite not knowing her, the man acted chivalrous and lowered his sword. Kaede, however, wasn't going to be the damsel in distress. Anger in her eyes, she growled at Ryu.
"You expect me to just be nice and play your hostage?"
She then sharply jabbed Ryu in the solar plexus, causing the Wau pirate to release her and growl in pain.
But he couldn't finish that sentence as Kaede spun around and kicked Ryu in the cheek, the sheer force of the impact sending him about ten feet away from her.
"Think again. I didn't get to become a Shinobi Priestess just because I can memorize sutras and pray." Kaede responded.
She then looked at Ren, who seemed unfazed. This annoyed her greatly. She then turned around and started to head to the Masaki house.
"Do what you want with him. If he is a problem, he's yours now."
Ren couldn't believe at not only the woman's words, but her actions as well. Having been groomed to perfection all his life, he never met a more unladylike woman than her. And yet, something about her seemed…alluring. Shaking his head, Ren placed a hand through his hair and sighed.
"And this is the off-shoot Lady Seto said is perfect for the project."
Meanwhile, Ryu, in a dazed state, sighs as well. Only this time, it was lustful.
"Hell. I think I'm in love."
Later, at Kaede's Residence…
Kaede sighed as she entered her house. She had just given Katsuhito her report about Ryu and the mysterious Ren as well as starting her rounds afterwards. The old man was curious about the two men, but Kaede left it at that, as she said that she needed to get to work. So it was three in the morning when she returned and flopped onto her couch-bed, exhausted.
"What a day." She sighed. "I hope I don't have another one like that again."
But before she could drift to sleep, Kaede sensed an arm moving over her body and quickly flashed her kunai. She turned only to find Ryu lying next to her and gazing dreamily at her.
"What the hell!" Kaede shouted as she jumped up from the bed.
Ryu smirked, clearly amused.
"Now is that any why to treat the man who is going to make you his wife?"
The situation clearly both freaked out and pissed Kaede at the same time.
"What the hell are you doing here? Do you have a death wish or something?"
"I believe he has." Another familiar voice spoke.
Like lightning, Kaede turned around to find Ren standing at the archway that lead to the kitchen.
"What the-! How the hell did you two get in? Get out!" Kaede angrily spoke.
"While I protest the hostility you have towards me, I can understand with the trash. But my aunt seemed interested in him and had us both come with her to see you." Ren replied as he looked around the house unimpressed.
Kaede raised her eyebrow.
"I believe he meant me, my dear." A feminine voice spoke.
Kaede froze as a beautiful woman come from the kitchen. She could possibly be in her thirties, Kaede guessed, and was dressed in the most stunning kimono Kaede had ever seen. The woman's long, lime hair was tied up in a high ponytail that braided at the end, the end of the hair covered in a sort of bag to keep it from getting dirty. Hiding the woman's sharp, yet elegant, features was a fan that closed to show her face.
With a gentle smile, the woman spoke to Kaede.
"It's a pleasure to finally meet you, Kaede Masaki. I am Seto, leader and princess of the planet, Jurai."
As Kaede struggled to wrap her mind around what was going on, she did have this one thought.
"What the freaking hell is going on?!"