[s]ummary: We so often wish that the past would stay in the past. When a threat of war from the southern half of Wutai forces her into an arranged marriage, Yuffie finds herself wishing for a little more in typical Yuffie fashion: dangerously.
[n]otes: Yep, still blocked. TELL ME WHY IT SUCKS, PLEASE.
[A]dditional Note: I screwed up in chapters two and three. It's only been twenty-one years since Nao Hei died; therefore, it was the thirteenth anniversary of Nao Hei's death when Yuffie was eight years old, not the fourteenth. This mistake has been rectified in this chapter. I will edit the previous chapters the first chance I get.
Dig my head down deep so I can't hear the cars
Outside on the street, and the stars are laughing
They get a kick out of my misery.
I've tried everything short of Aristotle,
Dramamine, and the whiskey bottle,
I pray for the day when my ship comes in
And I can sleep the sleep of the just again
—Insomniac, Straight No Chaser
Late Summer, the Year of the Star that Did Not Fall
City of Wutai --- The Palace Courtyard
Chang Gang Wu stared calmly at the young men before him. They were all of them young, inexperienced, desperate to prove that they were worthy. It struck him as odd that a seventeen year old girl could inspire such awe that men her age would walk on broken glass to work for her. He knew from the records that Godo, in his years as Second, had inspired no such awe.
Whatever reason the boys had for wanting to swear fealty to the Second, their youth and desperation made them easy targets. They would believe anything he told them so long as it had something to do with Kisaragi Yuffie. Their desperation would make them careless. They would obey his commands without question for fear that disobedience would ruin their chances of serving the Second.
"The first duty of those who want to be worthy is to guard the body of The Beloved. Only six as-yet unworthy ones may take this duty. I will reward the first six to step forward."
The entire group shifted forward one step. Gang Wu sighed and picked out the six best of them.
Not one of his chosen six had stepped forward in time, but none of the group would dare argue. You did not argue with Gang Wu. Though he technically held no authority in Division Six (that dubious honour belonging to that idiot Sho Tzu), nobody argued with him.
If he had loved Kisaragi Yuffie enough to adopt her mother's family name, surely he was one of her favourites?
It wasn't true, of course. The Chang family had refused to adopt him. He had, after all, stood against the wedding of Chang Cho Lin and Kisaragi Godo. Instead, he had suggested that Cho Lin wed Shu Lao Rei, the youngest of the House of Shu. The House of Chang had been furious with him. Even after all these years, they had never forgiven him for suggesting they throw their lot in with the 'traitors'.
"The second duty of those who would become worthy is to become the shadow of the Right Hand. Three unworthy ones may accept this duty. I will reward those whom I chose."
No such duty existed. In fact, to suggest such an intrusion upon the duties of the Jonin of Division Six was treason and punishable by death. But still, every remaining trainee stood stock still.
It never occurred to them to doubt his word, just as it had never occurred to those three children to doubt that the messages he delivered from Shu Mao Li, Kisaragi Yuffie and Chang Sho Tzu were actually from those who signed them. You did not doubt Chang Gang Wu.
He picked the three stealthiest.
"The third duty of those who would become worthy is to enter the service of the Left Hand. Six unworthy ones may accept this duty. Again, I will have my pick."
The Left Hand, his unofficial title. He was merely a Chunin in Division Six, but his skill and shared last name with Sho Tzu had earned him the nickname. It was as he'd suspected— show people what they want to see, the picture of a strong third-in-command, and they will see it, regardless of the evidence against it.
He chose six. Not the six best, or the six stealthiest. He chose the six of them based on how much hero-worship he saw in their eyes.
"And the final duty of those who would become worthy is to guard that which The Beloved cherishes above all else: our city and country. The rest of you will enter this service."
All of the trainees bowed, shouting the Blessing upon Da Chao. He dismissed all but his six to their duties.
He began his usual speech. "Servants of the Left Hand—"
"AND YOU WANT TO PUT HIM IN PRISON?! FOREVER?! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
A young man clad only in a hakama passed through the thin shoji walls.
Gang Wu blinked. Yuffie hadn't literally thrown someone out of the Palace since she was thirteen, when Gorky had tried to make her attend the eighteenth anniversary of Shu Nao Hei's death. That had been Godo's last straw. He'd declared her unwelcome in the Palace unless she could prove that he'd summoned her.
The year before that, he'd declared her unwelcome in his sight unless he sent for her. Locking her out of the Palace had been Yuffie's unhinging, too. She stopped putting up with the tours of her mother's home. It was then that she'd set up the traps. Not just mostly-benign rope traps, but complicated, sadistic ones. Like the trap that only affected people shorter than four foot nine. It regularly came close to decapitating children. Or the trap that made the floor and walls gradually heat up, degree by excruciating degree, and locked the doors.
Gang Wu moved towards the man who had come to a stop lying facedown in the dirt. He rolled the man over and blinked.
It was Shu Tsen Li's battered face that stared up at him.
Yuffie leapt through the Tsen Li-shaped hole in the shoji and admired her handiwork.
"What prompted this, my Second?" Gang Wu forced himself to ask.
He knew bloody well why she'd done it. She'd done it because she viewed Tsen Li as a threat to Wutai's economic future, because she hated him, because...
Because this entire mess was his fault. Had he been a fool to think this scheme would work?
"That... bastard!" She murmured. "He wants to prevent Vincent from taking AVALANCHE their stuff. I can't allow that. I can't."
Ah, Yuffie's greatest fear. The further economic destruction of Wutai. That Tsen Li would attempt to play on that fear told him that he had been right to try to unify Wutai. Only a fool would try to threaten a Kisaragi in a face-to-face meeting.
"My Second, you should calm yourself."
"I will not calm down! He is trying to destroy Wutai, and I won't let him!"
"I said no! If it wouldn't start a civil war, I'd kill him!"
"My Second, don't even talk like that! If Lord Mao Li hears..."
"Let him hear! I don't care anymore! They're trying to destroy Wutai, and I can't let them do it!"
Gang Wu blinked. This was—
Tsen Li was such a fool. This entire thing had been a mistake. He should have seen her love for Wutai. He should have been content. He shouldn't have meddled.
This isn't your fault. How could you have seen beyond the spoilt brat?
He should have known that she would give anything for her country, that she would do anything to secure its future. He had been with her for over twelve years, he should have known.
This is my mess... I have caused all of this. But done is done, and no turning back on the long road run.
Gang Wu sighed.
Late Summer, Year of the Star that Did Not Fall
City of Wutai — Palace (Throne Room)
Vincent bowed so low his head hit the floor. The Five Mighty Gods had assembled, four of them standing behind the Throne and one of them sitting upon it. You did not settle for 'head almost touching the floor' when you had the six most powerful people in North Wutai gathered in one room.
He rose from his bow after a long period of silence. He waited for one of the others to speak as he marked locations. In his five years as a Turk, he had learned to trust that paranoia. You died when you didn't know how many opponents you would face, when you didn't know where the exits were, when you weren't prepared for what your enemies could do when things turned sour.
Yuffie sat on a floor-pillow six small paces in front of the Throne, glaring at Shu Tsen Li. Shu Mao Li and his son stood next to the east wall, the reserved place for foreign dignitaries. Well, Shu Mao Li stood. Tsen Li sat in a folding chair, heavily bandaged and sporting two black eyes.
He saw three vaguely-human-shaped shadows hidden in the ceiling-space above him, plus two dark-clad guards standing on either side of the only door into the Throne Room. He didn't doubt that at least four other ninja had hidden themselves throughout the room. Vincent could take them all if he had to, but it would be time-consuming. It would be easier to just give Godo what he wanted and leave. Quietly. Without killing the people who had stood beside and behind Yuffie for all of her young life.
Tsen Li snarled at him. "Why? Why did you return? Do you really want the Wutaian army to forcibly escort you to prison?"
Vincent said nothing. He stared at the box Yuffie had shoved into his hands earlier that morning when she'd visited him in his cell.
I thought you would escort me from the city, he thought. How quickly you my punishment change, fair Lord-to-Be.
He did not voice these thoughts, did not even consider voicing them. Despite his blood relation to Tsen Li, such insolence would bring consequences ('consequences' written with a capital Death Sentence). You did not speak that way to the Heir to a Pagoda, even outside his jurisdiction. Not if you wanted to live.
Answers swirled around in his mind, pointed ones and smug ones and hurtful ones, each answer polite but biting in its own vicious way. He had so many things to say to the boy¬— and Tsen Li was definitely a boy, because a man wouldn't act like a spoilt child, a man wouldn't throw tantrums, a man wouldn't threaten the economic safety of a nation over a woman who didn't interest him— but none of them would truly answer Tsen Li's question.
And almost all of his answers would get him killed.
"I returned because I had no choice," he said at last. "I swore a year ago that I would never do harm to any in AVALANCHE. When I had it in my power to save the Second, refusing to do so would act as harm."
"And you decided all of this in a split second, Valentine." Had the Northern Wutaian dialect not been a rapidly spoken language, Vincent would have sworn that Godo had drawled that sentence.
Vincent shrugged. "An integral part of being a Turk is the ability to make lightning-quick decisions. Shinra chose the Turks for quick-thinking as well as aim."
Godo snorted. "Say what you like, Vincent. Explain your fixation on my daughter however you want. But at least stop denying it."
"You broke the decree, Vincent. I made that decree with the full authority of the Lord of Wutai. Not even the Second herself can take that decree back." Tsen Li looked smug. "Off to prison with you, Cousin. So sorry you won't be able—"
Vincent found himself gesturing with his right arm. "—I don't recall prison being part of my punishment. I will accept the punishment you decreed, Lord-to-Be, but do not overstep your bounds."
"Am I overstepping my bounds?" The idiot boy raised an eyebrow. "I think not. And even if I were, you hold no authority here. What would you do?"
Vincent inclined his head.
Some people were just stupid. He'd been a Turk. He had lived through things that would probably slaughter Yuffie, and certainly most of Wutai's Mighty Gods. And if Yuffie was a good enough martial artist to regularly beat Tsen Li into a pulp but would not have survived a third of what Vincent had, then where did that leave Tsen Li's skill in comparison to his own?
Short answer? Nowhere good.
Yuffie gave a bark of the bitter-sounding laughter Vincent hated. "Tsen Li, you want to try and arrest him when he's pissed off? Godo's never gonna waste guards trying to make Vincent do anything he doesn't want to do. It's not going to happen."
And then she bowed, bitter laughter still sparkling in her eyes, and said in a raspy voice, "To understand the concept, my son, consider this: what do you do to a misbehaving 8-ton gorilla?"
"That's a terrible koan."
Yuffie shrugged. "Think what you want. Just try not to be a big idiot, okay?"
"Fine. But I want him out of the city. He's done more than enough damage to your reputation, and he's tried twice now to ruin my claim to you. If it happens again—"
"What claim, Tsen Li?"
Vincent's gaze snapped to Yuffie. He watched her closely. She'd sounded tired, frustrated. As if she'd had more than enough of pretending to be spunky and just wanted to sink into depression.
In her eyes, he saw a weariness that stretched into her soul. It was a visceral kind of weariness. Her skin looked paler than it had when he'd first arrived in Wutai. Her lips had stretched into a thin line. The line drooped downwards slightly, as though she were having trouble not frowning.
The expression frightened him. Pain twisted in his ribcage. His throat tightened. His stomach clenched into a knot, almost like a fist.
"What do you mean, what claim? We're betrothed!"
"Your father might want to end our betrothal. So I'd quit talking about your claim, if I was you."
"This is unbelievable. How dare you!"
Tsen Li stuttered something, but Yuffie cut him off with a wave of her hand, and an imperious wave, at that.
"Tsen Li, just shut up. I'd hate to screw up the throne room, but throwing you through the shoji walls again would be worth it."
Tsen Li's mouth clamped shut. He glared at Vincent. Why he glared at Vincent and not Yuffie, Vincent didn't want to guess.
Vincent ignored him. Instead, he stared at Godo. Godo stared back.
"Vincent Valentine, you saved my daughter's life. For this, I declare your reparation for ruining her reputation paid in full. However, you smeared her reputation further with your actions last night, and for this you must pay additional reparations."
Tsen Li straightened in his pathetic folding chair. "I demand the right, as her—"
"I deny that claim. Shu Tsen Li, you will be silent from now on."
Tsen Li's mouth clamped shut.
"As reparation, I demand you deliver the materia beading to AVALANCHE." Godo paused, licked his lips. "After a two week house-arrest period. Do you understand these terms, Vincent Valentine?"
"I understand these terms."
"Then your sentence begins now. You will serve it out in Yuffie's old home." Godo snapped the fingers of his left hand once. Twice. Three times.
The three shadows in the rafters dropped to the ground. They made only the lightest sounds when they hit the floor. The shadows, probably members of Division Eleven, Godo's own division of ninja from his time as Second, advanced on Vincent.
He stood still, allowed them to herd him to the door, and out the door, and down the hall.
Late Summer, the Year of the Star that Did Not Fall
Onboard the Highwind
Cid leaned back against his chair, his foot up on the control panel. He bit off a low curse as he listened to the radio. There was still no news about Yuffie. He'd even listened to the Wutaian-only stations, and hadn't heard the name Kisaragi spoken once.
Did Wutai not know that Yuffie had thrown herself off Da Chao? What the hell were they talking about in their damned sing-song chatter? The motherfucking weather?
His PHS began to ring. Cid swore when he realized that somebody (probably Reeve) had reset the ring at some point. It was now an idiotic little Icicle Town tune. Cid wondered if Reeve had imagined him tap dancing to the ring.
He picked the PHS up and pressed the small green button. "Cid Highwind here."
"Don't bother lowering the drawbridge, Chief. I won't be back for a fortnight."
Cid choked. "Vincent?!"
"What do you mean you won't be back for two weeks?"
"I'm under house arrest for two weeks."
"We can't just hang around here for two weeks! It's motherfucking August! We can't stick around! Wutai is motherfucking hot in August! We'll die of heat stroke!"
"That's your problem."
"....The problem has not suddenly become mine within the last four seconds. I would suggest returning to Rocket Town."
"Fuck you." He said it without any real emotion behind the words.
You didn't tell Vincent 'fuck you' in any seriousness. Not if you didn't want your brain to melt from the Death Glare he gave you. And Vincent's Death Glares could be transferred through the PHS.
"Not until you marry me," Vincent replied.
Cid blinked. Vincent had just joked. And, while, yes, Vincent had gotten better at the whole socializing thing...
Hey, let's see how long I can keep him joking!
"...Fuck you harder."
"I don't like it rough."
"That counts as rough."
"That is entirely too much information."
"...I MEANT BITE ME HARD, YOU ASSHOLE."
But Vincent had already hung up on him.
Cid, being himself, swore. Violently.
"What's wrong, Cid?" Tifa asked as she walked into the cockpit.
Cid couldn't help but notice the way she looked.
Cloud had himself— or was going to have himself, or was passing up— a damned fine-looking woman. Had Cid been five years younger, he would have jumped at the opportunity to bed Tifa. As it was, though, Tifa was entirely too young and pretty and Cid was... Well, himself. It just wasn't going to happen.
"Vampire Boy just called," Cid sighed. "Says he won't be skipping up the yellow bar road for another two weeks."
Tifa chewed on that. From the way her bottom lip stuck out slightly for a moment, Cid knew she'd given up. "I'm sorry, but I just couldn't get that one. What 'yellow bar road' are you talking about?"
"In Vincent's words, 'don't lower the drawbridge, Chief'. He means he won't be back for another two weeks."
"Some sort of Wutaian punishment?"
Cid shrugged and lit up a cigarette. "Probably. Who the hell knows?"
Reeve walked into the cockpit behind her. "Do we even want to know what he did this time?"
Tifa laughed; a short, bitter bark. "Considering what he did last time? Probably not."
City of Wutai --- Palace (Throne Room)
Yuffie stared up at the old man before her. As she had earlier, she knelt on her floor pillow in front of the Throne. You didn't sit on the Throne unless you were the Lord of Wutai. Not even the Second had that right.
He looked so frail. His face had deep lines in it. The wrinkles had wrinkles, and his eyes had no crows feet (they had canyons that looked like the ones just south of Wutai). His limbs had withered and wizened until the impression Yuffie received was a collection of dried-up sticks stuffed into a formal kimono and wearing a silly hat.
"Lord of Le Phe Tan," she said. "How fares South Heaven?"
"South Heaven blooms fragrant as jasmine at night. I see that North Heaven is beautiful as ever. Surely at night, the Flower of the North looks like the materia in Lord Leviathan's crown."
She inclined her head. This ridiculous talk, however dumb it sounded, was entirely necessary. You had to do the whole formal, paint-a-picture-with-your-words small talk thing before you got down to business. Only impatient (and therefore weak), stupid (and therefore weak), or hell, just plain weak people tried to skip the small talk.
She couldn't afford to look like any of that.
"Glitters like heaven, The cherished Lotus at night. Leviathan's love," she replied.
"Da Cha O At Night, composed by Himura Genji, yes?"
"Correct, Lord of Le Phe Tan. Himura Genji is, I must admit, one of my favourite poets. Surely you have a collection of his poems in your library?"
Mao Li smiled and bowed. "I have several, Second of Wutai. I enjoy Himura Genji's poetry myself. I am the one who ordered a translation of his Selected Haiku into Thai-Wu."
Thai-Wu, the language native to the southernmost part of the Island of Wu Tai. Yuffie blinked. Mao Li was a native Thai-Wu speaker? The House of Shu wasn't from that region— it had ruled Le Phe Tan, which wasn't anywhere near south enough to get into Thai-Wu speaking territory, for centuries.
"Ah, I fear I have confused the Second, intelligent as she is. I did not order them translated for myself, Second of Wutai. My wife is from the Thai-Wu peninsula, and has a difficult time grasping the beauty of Himura Genji's poetry when read aloud to her. Unfortunately, she prefers that poetry be read to her."
Yuffie nodded. "I see. I've read the Thai-Wu translations, Lord of Le Phe Tan, and I must say that your translator did an admirable job. So far as I could glean, nothing... got lost... in translation."
"I will impart this knowledge to my translator when I light incense at his grave this winter. But surely you have had enough of fripperies, my Second? Surely you would like to explain to me why you summoned me?"
So. Mao Li got impatient first. Lucky her.
"Lord Shu, I fear that you may not want a daughter-in-law who has the reputation I now have."
Not, of course, that her reputation was all that bad. It galled her to say it, galled her the way marrying Tsen Li would gall her. This entire situation was ridiculous. Vincent hadn't smeared her reputation.
A 'funny look in his eyes' and a simple kiss.
Oh yeah. Reaaaaal smeared reputation, there. She was still a virgin. Her reputation was fine. But none of three men who had wormed their way into the "currently most-important in Yuffie's life" position the way maggots wormed through a monster's corpse would ever let her say that. Their pride demanded that they insist Vincent had ruined her reputation.
But there. She'd said it. She'd admitted that in the eyes of the more-than-a-little-nutty, Yuffie Kisaragi now had a Bad Reputation. She tasted something metallic in her throat.
"Do not speak so ill of yourself, Second Kisaragi. Your love for your country, despite your dislike for my son, means you will make a wonderful daughter-in-law."
"I was not finished speaking, Lord Shu. As I was saying, I fear that you may not want me as your daughter in law. However, I gave my oath that I would wed your son, and am willing to abide by that oath."
That pretty little speech had taken her forever to compose. And then she'd had to memorise it.
There was a reason the speech was only two lines long.
City of Wutai --- Exact location unknown.
The man before him wore two swords and a topknot. Scars covered his face and arms the way bark covered a tree. Actually, he rather looked like a tree. There was something in the city's water supply that turned brown hair green, if you used soap containing certain oils. Gang Wu had never bothered to identify this mysterious chemical.
The not-a-stranger-(unfortunately) knelt on the wooden floors, the knuckles of his left hand brushing the floor and his right palm spread on his right knee.
This was not the appropriate gesture of submission. Not in the Heavenly City Da Cha O. This was a samurai gesture, not a ninja gesture.
Of course, the man wasn't a ninja. There was no mistaking that. Gang Wu thrust away idle wonderings at how the man could bear to kneel in all that armour.
Gang Wu sighed at the samurai before him.
"Our men are in position, sir."
The samurai was taller than he was. Gang Wu had gotten used to being the tallest man in the Pagoda. For some reason, the fact that this nonentity managed to physically dominate him irked him.
"How many have you placed near the wall?"
"A dozen, sir."
"And the Lord-to-Be's personal guard?"
"We've managed to retain the personal guard. We won't be using them."
"Good. It'd be a pity to throw a coup and have it fail because the potential leader dies in action."
"If at all possible, we are going to avoid allowing the Lord-to-Be into battle."
"That is unacceptable. If your Lord-to-Be wants to take over this city, then let him fight for it."
"We are not sacrificing—"
"You will put him in danger! I will not be made a complete traitor to this city."
The samurai regarded him with suspicion. "You aren't making any sense, Left Hand."
Gang Wu snorted. "You wouldn't understand, obviously."
He couldn't go back. There was nowhere to go but forward. He didn't want to go forward. He didn't see a way to go back.
He had to give Wutai a fighting chance. He couldn't just let some ignorant boy try and take the city by force. In eight hundred years, no-one, not even the Shinra, had managed what Tsen Li was determined to try.
The closest anyone had ever come had been when Sephiroth killed the Lady Cho. And Sephiroth hadn't managed to overthrow Godo with that.
This was a choice of lesser evils, really. How he could have been so stupid as to think that Tsen Li wouldn't be just as spoiled as Yuffie?
He issued the samurai his orders. Those orders would pass along to the other members of the samurai's unit. Eventually, the forces would need to move out.
He didn't want to do this.
But these actions were actions that, once taken, could not be undone.
There was nothing else for it. He would simply push forward.
City of Wutai --- Atop First Face's Hands
The city knelt beneath them, a young woman arranging flowers and contemplating a koan or stirring tea in the tea ceremony. The paper lanterns lit the city like stars, like materia reflected in a lake. Beautiful white, red, yellow, green all winked merrily from hundreds of feet below.
"Father," Tsen Li sighed, "Why do we insist on doing this?"
"Because it would be a shame to destroy the city, son."
In the distance, the ocean gleamed. Shining and beautiful, the lights of the stars, of the moon, reflected in it. It was dark and vast and roiling. Even from his current height, Tsen Li thought the sea seethed with something. No, not seethed. It veritably boiled. Boiled with some dark, churning energy.
He looked upon a city that dwelt by an ocean of shadow. And it was beautiful.
It really would be a shame to destroy it. But they didn't have to destroy the city.
"We wouldn't have to destroy the city. Our quarters are in the Palace. It would be a small thing to—"
"—Don't talk like that. I don't care what you plan, son, but don't talk about it to me."
"Father, we're in the Palace. Why are we going through such trouble to unify Wutai like this if we can do it so much easier?"
"Do you not understand the concept of 'no unnecessary bloodshed'? Is it so hard to grasp? Stop talking like this. Be patient."
"But it is necessary! She's never going to marry me. She hates me. Why not just get rid of her and that doddering bag of senility and—"
"—I SAID NOT TO SPEAK LIKE THAT. And you will under no circumstances speak in such a manner of Lord Godo!"
"Why not? Why speak anything other than the truth?"
"If you have to ask, there is no point in explaining. You are too eastern." The old man sighed and mumbled, "Your mother is right. I should never have sent you to Midgar."
Tsen Li sighed too. As he always did when he was angry with his father, he slipped back into formal speech.
"She really does hate me. We should follow my plan, and then I will marry Xu Lin."
"I have created a miracle. Still, dark rivers that don't run deep. You have no blood in your veins, only thin water."
"Do you call me shallow, Father?"
"Shallow is, by nature, not deep. So yes, I call my son shallow. She loathes him, and yet she is willing to set that aside for her country. He? He schemes and plots bloodshed that he might get his way. An overgrown, over-powerful spoiled child. I am ashamed to call you my son."
"To what do you refer, Father? What do you mean, 'she is willing to set aside her loathing'? She is too selfish."
But the thing was: she wasn't too selfish. She was self-centred, yes, but Tsen Li had no right to fault her for that, being selfish himself.
She had to love Wutai enough to set aside her loathing for him. She'd been willing to jump off a statue if it meant that she would become worthy to lead it. She had tried to kill him when he made her think he was a threat to Wutai. She had agreed to an arranged marriage, if that meant avoiding a civil war.
"She is still willing to marry you."
"But everything is in position. We're ready to move. I can't go back."
Mao Li merely shook his head and sighed. "Nothing I say will stop you, will it?"
It wasn't just that he couldn't go back. It was also that he didn't want to go back. He'd spent so much time planning this last-ditch effort. It was an effort of last resort, but he knew Yuffie wouldn't keep her promise. She had lied to his father.
Lied. To Mao Li. Lied. To a member of the House of Shu. Such actions were unacceptable! She and her city would pay dearly.
As he stood, fully ready to issue the order, he noted once again how beautiful the Lotus was. Oh, how dearly would the Lotus pay!
Consider my revenge taken, Kisaragi Yu Fi! How you ever thought you would get away with embarrassing me twice escapes my comprehension. But don't worry, we will rectify this mistake soon enough.
He fled from First Face's hand, his geta clicking against the stone as he moved. A river of darkness seemed to swirl around his feet as he moved.
City of Wutai --- Go no Dojo (Dojo of the Five)
Yuffie snapped out her right arm, performed a flick with her wrist.
Before her, twenty children imitated her.
She performed the now-necessary weight shift and kicked out even as she brought her other foot to step around.
The students imitated that, as well.
It was her only real pastime. Teaching wasn't really her strong suit, but that didn't matter. As the Second, it was her duty to train the candidates for the underground academy. How many students passed or failed would reflect on her, she knew.
So, with her newly-recognized majority, she had thrown her heart into training the candidates. She needed to get them past Level One in jujutsu, plus teach them the proper way to fall. Not to mention basic gymnastics.
"All right, everybody," she said, clapping her hands. "Let's separate into groups of two and spar."