Utena, Revolutionary Girl Fan Fiction ❯ Arisugawa's Locket ❯ By The Sword ( Chapter 40 )

[ P - Pre-Teen ]

By the Sword

Lady Eboshi raised her glass smoothly to her lips despite only having one arm. The dark haired noblewoman did everything with that smooth sort of grace, despite showing a flash of surprise at seeing the bar when she first stepped inside.

She put the glass down before looking over at Ryouko. "So you are one of the bartenders here. Whom is the proprietor?" Lady Eboshi asked her softly.

"That would be me," Juri said as she walked up to her almost silently. She assessed the tall woman instantly, seeing the pride in her stance. But there was something else in her dark eyes, this woman had received some hard lessons in the recent past. They hadn't broken her, merely tempered the steel that was within.

"Lady Eboshi," she nodded, and visibly assessed her, "and you are?"

"Arisugawa Juri," she smiled.

"A most unusual tavern, Juri-san," the Lady noted. She fixed Juri with a piercing look, "I do wonder how it appeared in my town, as I have authorized no such ventures."

Juri thought of various evasions she could try, but decided to stick with the simplest answer. "A kind of magic," she said, "that transported you to where our bar is. That magic will return you there, once you are ready to go."

"Very well," Lady Eboshi nodded. She reached into her belt pouch to lay several large nuggets of gold onto the counter, "How much for the drinks?"

Both Ryouko and Minagi looked at the gold with wide eyes, while Juri turned to call out, "Nabiki, we could use your help."

Nabiki made her way through the crowd to examine the pieces of gold thoughtfully. She then drew aside the smallest piece, "This should cover your drinks for the entire night."

Lady Eboshi smiled at them with a gentle charm, "Then could I please have another glass of this fine sake?"

"Of course," Ryouko poured with a grin.

Over by the entrance Hitomi blinked in honest surprise at the slim dark haired figure who strode down the dim hall towards her. 'Did Bones let a man in by mistake?' was the thought that ran through her head before she got a good look.

The samurai was handsome, certainly, but there was a very feminine cast to her features. Long black hair was tied back in a ponytail, and she carried her sword with an obvious competence. Her voice was the final proof as far as Hitomi was concerned.

"Excuse me," the samurai asked Hitomi eagerly, her nose almost twitching, "but do you serve sake here?"

"Yes, we do," Hitomi beamed up at her, "actually, Arisugawa's Locket has several different varieties in stock."

A smile tugged at the samurai's lips, "I think I'll like it here."

"Uhm," Hitomi coughed nervously before saying, "you'll need to surrender your sword up at the bar."

"No problem," the samurai strode off through the crowds.

"What can I get you," Minagi looked up with a smile.

"Sake," the samurai lay her blade down on top of the counter smoothly.

"I'll treat it with great respect," Minagi lifted the sword with great respect, laying it down behind the counter. She poured the samurai her first glass of sake as she said, "I'm Minagi."

"My name isn't terribly important," the samurai tossed back the glass with a happy sigh. "My friend calls me Ran," she added simply.

"Ran-chan!" a happy voice cried. She literally sprang out of the crowd, the cheerful brown haired girl in slightly tattered Chinese garb. She noticed Minagi's gaze and puffed up proudly, "I am Lady Meow, of the Iron Cat Fist!" Turning back to Ran she exclaimed, "Where have you been? I was getting so worried about you!"

"Oh?" Ran smiled slightly, "Why?"

"Don't be like that," she punched Ran in the shoulder.

"Do you serve food here?" Ran asked Minagi mildly.

"Sasami's one of the best cooks around," Minagi said with some pride.

"Then we'll order two meals as well," Ran smiled slightly, "having her mouth full of food usually keeps her quiet."

"Hey," Lady Meow protested as she followed her towards a dining table, "you're so mean to such a fair flower as myself."

Ran just smiled slightly, and kept on walking.

Keiko smiled at the somewhat bewildered brown haired girl who was sitting at one of the dining tables, "Anything I can get you?"

Nausicaa pushed her short hair back nervously, "Some berry wine, maybe?"

"Coming right up," Keiko bustled off. She got the requested drink from Ryouko and dropped it off with a smile. "Enjoy your visit to Arisugawa's Locket."

May flagged her down smiling gently at her lover, "She looks so lonely over there."

"You may have spoke too soon," Keiko pointed discretely as a tall redhead made her way towards where Nausicaa sat.

"It's been a long time," the redhead murmured to her softly, "Princess Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind."

Nausicaa smiled up at her gently, "Yes it has, Princess Kushana."

"May I join you," Kushana asked her softly, showing a nervousness that she normally would have kept well hidden.

Nausicaa reached up, gently taking her hand, "I'd be honored to have you."

The Staff: The bar's owner is Arisugawa Juri, from Revolutionary Girl Utena. Minagi, Sasami and Ryouko are from the series Tenchi Muyo. Keiko is also from Utena. Cyberdoll May is from Hand Maid May. Bones is from www.coolcatstudio.com. Hitomi is from Escaflowne the Movie. And finally, Tendo Nabiki is from Ranma 1/2.

Our Cast This Episode: Lady Eboshi is from Princess Mononoke. Ran and Lady Meow are from Tsukage Ran. And finally, Nausicaa and Princess Kushana are from the manga version of Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind.

Author's Notes: There's no real indication that Lady Eboshi is a lesbian, but she does dislike men and her admiration seemed reserved for the ladies in her service. Tsukage Ran is a samurai comedy about a nameless female samurai and her sidekick, sort of Xena Warrior Princess in Japan. In the manga of Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind, there's an interesting sort of chemistry that develops between the two princesses, enemies who are forced to cooperate.