Mar 1st, 2020
Not a member of Pastebin yet? Sign Up, it unlocks many cool features!
  1. And so, time went on.
  3. Wars were fought. Peace was made. Families began. And people argued.
  5. It was always the same, no matter when she began.
  7. The methods varied from one point to another, but it was the same old story with a fresh coat a paint.
  9. To Horada, it all seemed so tedious. The golem watched the projections before her, waiting for something to occur, something different. The apertures in her eyes clicked as they focused on a group of explorers of the 16th century making their way into uncharted territory until switching over to a view of a festival as one of the fireworks sets a nearby building aflame.
  11. The gears within her whirred as she drummed her fingers on the armrest of the blocky chair she sat upon. A man and his wife were celebrating their child’s birthday as the clockwork golem sighed.
  13. She should be thankful. Her reality was continuing on course. As it should.
  15. This was her duty, her reason for being. To watch the world go on, to ensure the future by keeping the integrity of the past intact.
  17. As the events from history continued to unfold before her, a distinct tapping noise could be heard emanating from the hall behind her. She paid it no mind as it grew in intensity, each tap becoming louder and louder until finally stopping at the entrance to her room.
  19. “You know,” a voice began, “the system should tell us if there’s an anomaly right away.”
  21. “I am aware,” Horada responded as she continued to watch the projections before her. “But I need something to keep busy and bear some semblance of productivity.”
  23. The tapping continued, echoing through the empty room as it approached the seated golem.
  25. “Come now. Surely you can find something else to do.”
  27. “And what would you suggest?”
  29. As Horada asked this question, she turned to face her associate Ana. Ana, or more accurately Anahuarque, was ocelomeh who was currently wearing nothing more than an oversized t-shirt and carrying a mug of what was likely coffee.
  31. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe take up gardening? Perhaps try your hand at painting? Or perhaps you could join for prayer this evening?”
  33. Ana was formerly one of the local priestesses of El Dorado originating from sometime around the 15th century. Horada had approached her in order to correct a mistake in the timestream, to which she agreed to assist with in exchange for a reward. Seeing this as a sign from her god, Ana requested that her reward be joining Horada in her line of work.
  35. That was over a hundred years ago… sort of.
  37. Horada turned back to the projections before responding, “I would prefer not to.”
  39. Ana simply smiled, expecting this answer from her.
  41. “Very well. If you do feel particularly inspired, I will be in the cooking quarters attempting to try my claws at making something called a cheesecake.”
  43. With that, Ana turned around and headed out of the room, the tapping of her claws against the floor gradually shrinking away until they could no longer be heard indicating that she had left.
  45. Horada glanced over her shoulder to make sure she was alone before pressing a button on her armrest in order to create a projection showing a live feed of the kitchen area as Ana made her way to it. She wouldn’t pay too much attention to it… but considering how Ana was still relatively unskilled in these matters, she wanted to ensure that another fire didn’t break out.
  47. “Hmm… maybe I should help her…”
  49. As she mulled over the idea of actually assisting her comrade, the screens turned red and the sirens set throughout the base began to blare.
  51. “Or not.”
  53. Rising from her seat, causing the gears in her legs to spin, she made her way out into the control room where Ana would surely meet up with her.
  55. Passing the kitchen and arriving to the control room, the sirens were dying down as Ana was reading the information being displayed upon one of the various projections in the room.
  57. “What seems to be the issue?”
  59. “5th century BC… China. It seems there were some peace talks going on with several warring states.”
  61. “Hmm. And it succeeded?
  63. “No, not really. Most didn’t sign it, and the ones that did ignored it. But the signing was supposed to bring in a brief moment of respite for those that did until it was broken.”
  65. “Ah. And what’s the anomaly then?”
  67. “It appears that the statesman responsible for the drafting of the peace treaty… they never made it to the meeting.”
  69. “Oh. Huh. Usually it’s someone deciding not to sign it. Well then, time for us to get to work. Get dressed.”
  71. ***
  73. 5th Century B.C.
  75. Zheng, China.
  77. The city of Xinzheng was bustling, even more so than the usual amount the merchant centric city was used to. Being at the center of nation made the state benefited greatly due to its inter-state commerce, merchants from all over would eventually cross paths here. If there was anything one needed to find, this was the most likely location to find it without having to go to the source itself and further the risk of extended travel, especially with the constant wars being fought between the neighboring states.
  79. Even so, the city was livelier than ever due to the recent news. The possibility of peace being established brought much hope to the masses, especially the merchants here. New trade routes, greater stability, and most importantly higher profits. There were many a tanuki from all around with an ear to the wall, trying to catch even the slightest whisper of the events unfolding.
  81. They were not the only visitors to the state. Centaurs from the north, Kakuen from the west, Hinezumi from the east, and all sorts of other creatures. It wasn’t uncommon to see them here in the city, but it was almost unheard of to have such a high volume visiting all at once. Inns and other establishments had every one of their rooms booked, even the local brothels ran out of space to house everyone.
  83. It was at this time that Horada and Ana made it to the city.
  85. Stepping out from an alleyway, the two stepped into the main street and began to survey the area. They wore traditional attire for the time period, semi-formal for the occasion.
  87. “I understand wanting to blend in,” Ana began, tugging at the neck of her garment, “but do we have to wear this stuff? This material makes me chafe. Couldn’t we use something else that matched their style?”
  89. “You know we can’t. Introducing foreign material to the timeline may additional complications if any gets left behind.”
  91. “Uggghhh. At least tell me there’s something I can use to keep myself from itching.”
  93. “I’m sure we can get something. But first let’s concentrate on the mission. We are looking for…” Horada pulled out a fan stored within her attire and lifted it just high enough to read the hidden display on the backside of it, “Hsiang Shu. For whatever reason he couldn’t make it to the meeting tomorrow to get that treaty signed. We have to find him and keep that from happening. I will go through the market and see if I can find out anything while you…”
  95. Lowering her fan as she turned to face her Ocelomeh companion, Horada was greeted with the sight of Ana furiously scratching the base of her neck.
  97. “Perhaps it would be better if you were to scour the market for any info you can find. You can look for a salve or something to help with that itching.”
  99. Ana nodded, “Yes, that sounds like a good idea.”
  101. “Very well, we shall regroup here at sunset.”
  103. Without wasting any time, Ana quickly made her way into the market area. It was only down the road and easy to spot from all the stands that had been set up.
  105. “She should be fine,” Horada murmured to herself, looking around to see if she could spot a good place to start.
  107. Her eyes landed upon one of the city guards who was making their rounds.
  109. “Hmm… as good a place to start as any.”
  111. ***
  113. As the sky began to become red with the light of the setting sun, Horada and Ana could be spotted just outside of a food vendor. There were no seats available, and as such there were a few others sitting on the floor alongside the two as Ana ate a bowl of pork, rice, and millet.
  115. “It seems that you were able to find something for the chaffing.”
  117. Ana nodded in response, not saying a single word as she chewed.
  119. “Well, while you finish up I will tell you what I was able to gather.”
  121. Horada looked to the sides to make sure none of the other patrons were listening to intently on the two before continuing.
  123. “It appears that Mr. Shu is currently residing in one of the brothels tonight. Most likely the Beauty in Youth Hall that is near where the official building where the treaty is to be signed tomorrow. It seems that the ladies of that establishment carry many different talents to entertain the guests, as well as provide quite the feast for anyone of importance. It would not be surprising to spot any of the other state’s representatives there as well. According to the Oni from the tavern, they serve the finest yellow wine in the region, making it one of the most popular brothels in the city. Anyone that needs to relax would for certain make their way there. Now we just have to find out which room he’s in.”
  125. “Eastern Suite.”
  127. Horada turned to Ana who managed to squeak that statement out between her chewing. She swallowed before repeating it once more.
  129. “He’s in the Eastern Suite,” she said, burping loudly to the satisfaction of the vendor as she placed the bowl to her side. “I spoke to a handful of merchants when I was getting a salve to stop the chaffing. Quite a few have been paying close attention to the events unfolding. Most don’t really have any faith in it, but are nonetheless hoping it all goes well. The tanuki I got the salve from is a regular vendor from here, and she’s been getting all sorts of info from everyone stopping at her shop. Apparently, the supposed peace officer has a thing for hairy women with prehensile tails. There’s quite a few Kakuen that work in these parts, and there’s only one at that brothel. If he’s staying there, then he’s in the Eastern Suite.”
  131. “Hmm, impressive.”
  133. “I didn’t have to try very hard. Pretty sure that Tanuki must’ve thought I was a foreign merchant trying to find a trading partner here because I was the first Ocelomeh she ever met. So, she spilled the beans on everything she knew, every brothel around, every rumor, damn near told me to come home and get to know the family hoping to get on good terms with me.”
  135. “Quite convenient.”
  137. “Yes. But now that we know where he is, how in the world are we going to get in there? Every place is booked to the brim. There’s no way we’re going to get in there, and breaking in isn’t going to be easy either.”
  139. “Hmm.”
  141. There was a brief moment of silence between the two.
  143. “That Tanuki… she said you were the first Ocelomeh she had met, correct?”
  145. “…”
  147. ***
  149. “As you can see, our ladies are quite talented in all manner of entertainment.”
  151. Within the walls of the Beauty in Youth Hall, Ana and Horada were being led by a kitsune throughout the building as she shared the rich history of the brothel and the several talents of their girls. Currently she was demonstrating the paintings that lined the walls of hallway, each one was delicately crafted by one of the ladies of the brothel.
  153. They had managed to gain entry by implying that Ana was royalty from another nation. Being a former priestess, she was able to easily act the part of being of high status and nobility, but being the only Ocelomeh they had ever seen was more than enough to gain their interest. Horada kept her gears hidden, for this was too much for the time period.
  155. “If you follow me,” the kitsune continued, “we will be entering the main hall once again. Although the feast has ended, the entertainment has just begun. We can reside here for a moment if you wish, or we can continue by showing you some of the suites.”
  157. Entering the main hall of the brothel, there were many girls, human and mamono alike, picking up the remains of the aforementioned feast. Before them was a small stage where a Large Mouse stood beside the brothel’s only Kakuen. The Kakuen, known as Lady Wuko, was playing a stringed instrument that laid flat known as the guqin whilst the Large Mouse sung about the joys of spring.
  159. In the crowd of seated guest, there was one who was paying no mind to the skilled singing of the Large Mouse. Instead, they were intently staring at the guqin player while gently rocking to the notes she plucked from her instrument.
  161. It was Shu, and it seemed that he had one too many servings of the yellow wine.
  163. Glancing over to Ana, Horada spoke to the kitsune.
  165. “I believe it would be best if we had peek at the rooms. While the guests are still enjoying the amenities, it would be rude to barge into the room if they were getting ready to sleep.”
  167. “Of course, right this way.”
  169. The kitsune led them up to the second story of the building, showcasing the several rooms that they had. Many had a view of the back gardens, others had a view of the road, and some had a few of the girls preparing the room for… the late-night entertainment.
  171. “Here we have Lady Wuko’s room, the Eastern Suite.”
  173. Within this room there was another guqin in the corner as well as several paintings with poems written on them. It appeared that Lady Wuko was quite the attraction for the brothel.
  175. And it also appeared that Mr. Shu had dropped off his things in the room, made apparent by the small mess made at the desk beside the guqin.
  177. “My apologies for the… unsightly details of the room. I assure you that we keep every room in pristine condition for our guests.”
  179. Ana simply raised a paw, showing that it was of little importance.
  181. “Perhaps the Northern Suite would be more to your liking. That one belongs to Lady Lao, the Large Mouse. She has quite the vocal range.”
  183. As the group began to make their way to the other suite, Horada spoke up.
  185. “Oh dear. It appears I have misplaced my fan. I must’ve left it in the main hall downstairs. Please, do go on, I will return shortly after retrieving it.”
  187. The kitsune nodded, continuing forward with Ana.
  189. As Horada made her way back, she looked over her shoulder before sneaking into the Eastern Suite.
  191. She went straight towards the desk of Shu’s things, hoping it might clue her in as to why he would not appear the following day.
  193. And there it was.
  195. On the desk, was a blank document, save for the title.
  197. Peace League.
  199. “He… he hasn’t written it…”
  201. The anomaly was identified. Mr. Shu wasn’t supposed to end up here, he was supposed to finish writing this failure of a peace treaty but was instead enamored by this monkey and forgot to do so.
  203. “He must’ve been too embarrassed to show his face the following morning after realizing his mistake… hmm… there’s only one thing to do.”
  205. Pulling out the fan she was supposed to be ‘searching’ for, she pulled out a copy of the treaty onto its display. Using the writing tools available, she quickly began to copy down everything she could onto the paper.
  207. Paraphrasing a few words here and there, she managed to get most of what was needed onto the paper. The ink would surely be dry by morning. She had to get out of here and get back to Ana before the kitsune got suspicious of her whereabouts.
  209. Making it out of the room with her fan in hand, Horada began to head towards the Northern Suites when she almost bumped into the kitsune along with Ana.
  211. “Ah… I found it.”
  213. “Oh good,” replied the kitsune, “I was beginning to worry that one of the other guests may have mistaken it as theirs.”
  215. “Yes, that would have been quite troublesome…”
  217. “Now, since we have reached the end of this tour, do feel free to enjoy the entertainment in the main hall. But, as was stated earlier, there are no rooms available to stay the night.”
  219. “I believe we will be taking our leave. Thank you very much for showing us around.”
  221. “Of course.”
  223. The kitsune led the two back down through the main hall and to the front door.
  225. “Please do feel free to come back any time.”
  227. The two made their way back out into the streets of the city.
  229. Turning to her Ocelomeh companion, Horada asked, “So, how was the Northern Suite?”
  231. “A bit… strong for my taste.”
  233. “Hmm?”
  235. “It seems that Lady Lao likes to burn all sorts of incense in her room. Supposedly it helps keep her throat relaxed, but it’s a bit overwhelming for my sense of smell. Did you manage to find out the issue?”
  237. “Hopefully I managed to fix the issue.”
  239. Turning on the display of her fan, Horada was able to check the reading of the timeline.
  241. “And it is stable. Seems like we did it.”
  243. “Did what though?”
  245. “Oh yes, that idiot Shu didn’t bother writing down the peace treaty.”
  247. Ana’s eyes opened wide at the revelation.
  249. “So, I wrote it down for him. He’ll probably blame the wine for not being able to remember writing it, but at least he’ll be able to take it in tomorrow to get it signed.”
  251. “Did you manage to match his handwriting? Won’t it be an issue if it doesn’t match?”
  253. “No… not according to this. Apparently after the signing, Shu will bring it to his Prime Minister and ask for a reward. Instead, the Prime Minister will tear up the treaty and throw it away since not only was it useless unless everyone signed it, but war was a tool of statecraft and impossible to abandon.”
  255. “Huh.”
  257. As Horada explained this, a loud moan escaped from the Eastern Suite.
  259. “It appears Shu made it up the stairs,” Ana joked, “and Lady Wuko is a howler monkey.”
  261. Rolling her eyes, Horada began to make her way to an alley along with Ana so that they could go back home.
  263. END
RAW Paste Data