Noting that the smaller woman’s face grew stern at the mention of what happened to Oriana meant that they were more similar in mind than she had first realized. It was nice, finding a kindred soul amongst all the people of the village, and in discovering a new friend. She hadn’t known when the line had been crossed from a simple professional relationship to true friendship, but it had, and she could honestly say she knew it was simple and pure. She was still Niko’s boss, and the professional nature of their interactions in public would remain much the same should they bump into each other at the market or something… but when they were like this, maybe she could let her guard down, just a little bit.
She gave a smile that didn’t belong on Niko’s face normally… the smile that belonged to a predator, a hunter, someone who knew how to be merciless when she had to be… someone with a dark side. “The dead can’t lead you to more.” Even now, if she ever visited the bastard in that cell, he would recoil in terror at the things she had been capable of in order to extract the information from his mind. Sure, she could have probably found someone capable of diving into his mind and getting it that way, but about this, Niko had her teachings of Phenax, the God of Deceit, was also one of the ways to find the truth. She would give him a glimmer of hope, just enough to make him do anything she asked, only to crush it brutally before him.
She was glad that the woman was alright, although she couldn’t recall anything she had ever read stating that a coma could lead to subsequent nose-bleeds… maybe she would look into it later. Something about that statement didn’t sit right with her, and if it was true, maybe she could find a solution to it and help Ryuko somehow. She wasn’t a medical ninja yet, but she sure as hell knew how to read a book, and it was something she was studying anyway. She wanted to make a comment about the woman’s attendant but decided to wait until they were outside of the servant’s earshot before speaking on the matter. Hearing the challenge be issued, she gained that predatory smile once more. “I’ll take that contest, and so long as none of them escape, be willing to put a wager on it.”
Niko, in regards to her Ninja style, was the stealthy huntress, very Spartan in how she moved, worked and acted when in combat. She wanted her shield right now, and as they left the home, glanced at the practice wooden ones on the ground just outside with a little longing before continuing their trek. She wasn’t skilled enough yet… but soon. Very soon. With Ryuko’s help, she was going to be able to advance quickly enough to never need to worry about it again. Now that they were away from the house and walking, she would explain the wager. “If I win, you have to come by for dinner at my place sometime. I love cooking… it’s… relaxing. And I’ve been told that I am a decent chef.” Granted, none of her food had the added benefits that those with knowledge in chemistry had, but she certainly could match anything they could muster via taste. She had considered Chemistry, but losing combat capabilities as a side effect was not something she wanted to risk.
But now that she was far enough away from the attendant, it seemed like a good time to ask a question. “Forgive me, I don’t mean to pry, but the only reason I let Sophie come into my home without question was that I thought she was one of your partners…” she paused, realizing that she was talking to someone who didn’t understand the teachings of Nyx, and shook her head and rolled her eyes for a moment, holding up a hand at the realization to ask for a pause to let Niko explain with a nervous smile. “And forgive me again, because I need to remember that most people don’t have multiple partners. I just… I don’t interact with people who don’t understand the teachings of Nyx often, which all of my family knows and understands.” She had made a bit of a social blunder, revealing how out of practice she was regarding talking with a peer that wasn’t related somehow.
The Blacksmith wasn’t the only one who had relationship status on their mind. Ryuko was simply happy to have made a friend professional or otherwise since her circle of acquaintances was quite small. Probably smaller still if you only counted those that were still among the living after she’d been asleep for two years.
It would be nice to be able to talk with Niko about non-work-related matters or to just hang out with her in general but if she took up the offer to join the Thundercats that would come sure enough in time. Ryuko didn’t really see her position as being much of a problem since, in the end, they were both the same rank even if one of them was from the administration department. At the end of the day, they were still just a couple of Jounin.
“They do say Dead men tell no tales... “ replied the priestess in a jovial manner even while knowing that wasn’t entirely true. As a medic, she was fully aware that even a dead body still had secrets it could reveal. Not to mention the fact there were ways to extract information even beyond the grave.
She’d even read about it being possible to bring back someone from the other side although such processes were always difficult and in many cases extremely immoral in how they were done, not that she’d done much research into the subject in particular.
She giggled when Niko invited her to dinner in roundabout fashion. Not that she even needed to make a wager to bring that about. “Sounds to me like I come up ahead either way.” remarked the priestess casual. “If I lose I get fed? If it’s even half as good at the tea you served earlier then where do I sign up? And If that’s the case what do I get if I win?” came the rapid-fire barrage of questions.
Needless to say, she was tickled pink at the prospect. She literally couldn’t remember the last time she’d eaten out because she was subconsciously blocking the events that had transpired just before falling into a coma from her memory without even realizing it.
They were up against some mafia types and it was only a b rank mission so she wasn’t expecting heavy resistance. Her equipment was still a bit on the outdated side since she hadn’t yet gotten around to forging her heavy-duty battle gear for going up against the likes of Shiori but she’d hardly need it for a bunch of thugs. Even if they had ninja of their own on the payroll Ryuko wasn’t S-rank for nothing. If worse came to worse they could simply gather intelligence for now and come back with reinforcements later since a drug lab on this scale couldn’t be moved in a day.
The priestess tilted her head wondering at first what Niko meant when she said she thought that her lady in waiting was a partner. That was a word that depending on the context could be used in many different ways. In a way, Sophie WAS Ryuko’s partner even if it wasn’t in a romantic sense. They did live together after all and the girl took care of many things for her.
You could say her teammates were another kind of partner. She was financial partners with Ayano, and being the Raikage’s attendant she was basically one of her hands which was another kind of partner still.
But while she’d lead a sheltered life for much of her existence Ryuko was no longer the naive little girl who didn’t know what sex was. Those illusions had been banished years ago when a man just a few years her senior had tried propositioning her when she’d been out hunting for a special metal egg to display at the local church. When she’d told her teammates about what had happened their reaction had been explosive, to say the least.
“Just to be clear. When you are referring to partners, tis in the intimate sense correct?” asked Ryuko, her eyes narrowed slightly as she made absolutely sure she understood the question Niko had been asking her.
It seemed that if she was correct that Niko had picked up on the fact that the priestess swung for the other team even if she wasn’t trying to broadcast it and that Niko didn’t really mind but Ryuko needed to be sure before she further broached the subject since it could be a delicate matter to deal with depending on the person she was speaking with attitude.
She still remembered how harsh Natsuru had been when she’d first come out. She’d come around quickly enough but the initial reaction had been like taking a physical slap to the face. That wasn’t an experience the priestess was eager to repeat. Plus she had questions of her own about the multiple partner thing she wanted to ask but didn’t want to end up putting her foot in her mouth if she had gotten the context wrong.