The Scarlet Pimpernel: A Parody starring the FY cast

Starring...

Nuriko as Percival - the Scarlet Pimpernel
Miaka as Marguerite St. Just
Tamahome as Chauvelin
Yui as Armand St. Just
Tasuki as Osborne/Ozzy
Hotohori as the Prince of Wales
Nakago as Robespierre, leader of the French Revolution
St. Cyr and family: Tomo & Soi *snickers*
League of the Scarlet Pimpernel

-Chichiri
-Mitsukake
-Chiriko
-Amiboshi
-Suboshi
-Kouji

Prologue:

The scene opens upon a room - as do most good musicals. This room, however, is not your typical scene for a play. It is jam-packed with... well, with... ano... stuff, I suppose you could say. Books, tapes, and shoes are strewn all over the place; a beanbag chair lies crushed in a corner; the desk is overflowing with papers and such; and pictures from various and sundry anime (most noticeable Fushigi Yuugi and Sailor Moon) are taped up all over the walls. Most noticeable of all of these things, however, is the Gateway 2000 computer which occupies most of the afore mentioned desk. A young lady sits grinning and typing away at the keyboard of said computer, pausing every so often to laugh maniacally at the screen. The young lady's roommate is staring at her and looking nervous.

Finally, the girl hits one last key on her keyboard and leans back, folding her hands over her chest and smiling. At last, you get a good glimpse of her face. It is none other than Renee-chan herself! Though not in SD form at the moment. ^_^ Anyway, she looks smugly at her computer before turning around to greet the people who are now crowding her small dorm room. Her roommate takes one good stare at the same people, laughs with delight, turns SD and promptly glomps onto one of them.

The response is quick. The glompee promptly turns SD and wails, "Not another one, no da!! This isn't fair, na no da!" Renee-chan's roommate pays him no mind and continues glomping happily.

Renee-chan sweatdrops at her roommate - she hadn't known that Jess was into glomping... She shrugs and bounces up off her desk chair to address the assembled people, "Irasshai, minna-san!" They all look very wary and try to back away. Nuriko is so persistent in trying to get away from the fic authoress that he falls over the beanbag chair, landing in it with a harassed look on his face. Renee-chan immediately turns SD and rushes over to cuddle him - not surprisingly, this doesn't seem to help him much.

Nuriko whimpers slightly, "Please don't say you're gonna write another fanfic, Renee-chan! I can't take it - my therapy bills are too high as it is!"

Renee-chan smiles and Nuriko swallows nervously. Renee-chan plants a kiss on Nuriko's cheek and leans back on her heels, "Don't worry - you'll like this one, I promise." She leans in close and whispers something in Nuriko's ear.

He gives her an incredulous look and says, "Honto ni??" She nods, smiling. Nuriko throws his arms around her for a big bear hug, "Arigato gozaimasu!!!!!" Renee-chan settles into the beanbag chair, happily cuddling Nuriko and indicates that everyone else should makes themselves comfortable as well. Once they have done so, Renee-chan clears her throat and they all fall silent.

Renee-chan grins, "Arigato. Anyway, I'm sure you're all wondering why I've brought you here. I'll tell you right off the bat that this is not a self-insertion fic, no matter what it may look like at the outset. I'm only here to explain things and get the ball rolling. Basically, I decided to take a break from the angst fics and write a parody! It's finals time and I need the break... Ahem. So, what is this going to be a parody of, you ask?"

Chiriko raises his hand and Renee-chan indicates that he may speak, "Excuse me, Renee-san, but is it a fairy tale? Or a movie, perhaps?"

Renee-chan shakes her head, "Nope! Anyone else want to guess?" When no one else volunteers, Renee-chan smiles, "It's a parody of the Scarlet Pimpernel!" Renee-chan pauses in her explaining to gush for a moment, "See, I just saw the Broadway musical and I totally fell in love with it and I thought it would make a really fun parody fic!" Surprisingly, all the assembled FY chars seem to know what she's talking about - perhaps because they read her summary at an earlier date... She shrugs and returns to talking, "So - each one of you gets to have a part! That's why you're all here! Sugoi, ne?"

Skeptical looks are exchanged all around. Renee-chan takes the lull to get up and retrieve a few booklets from her desk, "I've gotten copies of the musical for all of you and highlighted your parts. So, I'll just go ahead and hand them out and let you read through them before we start the fic, OK?" Without further ado, the scripts are distributed.

It only takes a moment before the yelling and screaming starts...

"What do you mean I'm married to Nuriko?? I wanna be with Tamahome! Waaaaah!!"

"How can I be Miaka's brother? We're not related and I'm a girl!"

"What's this about me being the bad guy? I don't want to be a bad guy! Oh... wait a second - does anyone know if there's any money in revolutions?"

"How did I end up married to the painted freak?? Nakago-sama, do something!"

"What are you complaining about, you hoyden? You think I want to be married to a girl - much less one who's always sleeping with the man I love??"

Nuriko and Renee-chan look at each other and roll their eyes. Renee-chan stands up and glares at everyone. Soon there is silence again. She folds her arms over her chest, "Look - it took me, Kai Ling and Nellie a long time to figure this out. You'll just have to trust that it'll work out in the end, all right?"

Hotohori stands up and tosses back his hair, "I have but one question, Renee-chan." Renee-chan nods and he continues, "Who did you pick to play the Scarlet Pimpernel?"

The sudden silence in the room allows everyone to become aware of Nuriko's smug smile. It only takes seconds before all hell breaks loose for the second time. Renee-chan sweatdrops and crawls through the melee to get to her keyboard. She desperately hits the "Enter" key and the prologue ends. Now that the room is quiet - everyone but Nuriko having been booted back to Konan and Kutou to review their parts - Renee-chan smiles and begins the story...

Act I - Scene I

[The scene opens on a Kutou opera house. In one of the opera boxes, a young, handsome, indigo-haired young man sits watching the opera. His clothes are the height of fashion and his indigo hair is bound in a simple braid at the nape of his neck. He watches the lead actress with a dreamy smile on his face...]

Nuriko-sama smiled down at the stage, thoroughly caught up in the movements and voice of the lead actress. She may be from Kutou, but she was so beautiful... And so kind and gentle - as unlike a typical Kutou lady as could be. She had thoroughly captured his heart and his soul. Fortunately for the young Konan nobleman, the capturing had occurred both ways. The young, vibrant, chestnut-haired actress was as much his as he was hers.

The young woman caught his gaze as he stared at her and smiled dreamily at him, nearly bumping into one of the other dancers in the process. He winced, Oi... I love you, Yuuki Miaka, but you can be such a klutz...

A sudden movement from the wings of the stage caught Nuriko's attention. A stiff-backed young man stood in the wings, his eyes as caught on Miaka as were Nuriko's own. The hairs on the back of Nuriko's neck began to rise. He knew that man. It was none other than Sou Kishuku - known by members of the Kutou revolutionary forces as Tamahome. What is he doing here? I'd better go down and see... The play was over and Tamahome was approaching Miaka with a fierce look in his eyes. Nuriko quickened his pace.

The past few months had been hard ones in Kutou. The people had been oppressed under the rule of the Kutou Emperor and after years of horrid treatment and overwhelming fear a man had stepped forward to change it all. Nakago, shogun of Kutou and last surviving member of the Hin race, had challenged the Emperor's forces and rested control away from him. This event had resulted in a purging, the likes of which had never been seen anywhere in the World of the Four Gods. Anyone of Kutou's blood royal - down to the most minor noble - was brought to the capitol to be publicly guillotined. Eventually, Nakago had ordered Tamahome to have guillotines built in every town square to be more efficient in the killing. It was a time of terror for Kutou's nobles - even those who had always done their best to help the people.

Nuriko struggled with the heavy drapes, trying to get past them to the stage. His own dear friends, Lord Tomo and his wife, Lady Soi, were in hiding. Suzaku only knew when they could be safely seen out of Kutou. He shook his head to clear it of these thoughts - they would do him no good. Right now, he had to get to Miaka...


Miaka stood happily in the afterglow of her last performance on a Kutou stage. She ran a hand through her hair and took in a deep breath, her eyes immediately finding her fiancé’s opera box. A frown tugged at her lips - Nuriko-sama was nowhere to be seen. She glanced worriedly about - where could he have gotten to? Kutou was no longer safe for those of royal blood - even Konan royal blood. She was about to rush off the stage to search for him when a hand on her arm stopped her cold. The man's breath blew hot against her neck as he leaned closer. The voice was cold, hard, brutal, "A wonderful performance, Yuuki-sama. I've always thought it good to go out with a bang..."

Miaka whirled to face the speaker and his name fell from her lips, "Tamahome..." He had changed since they had last known each other - for the worse. She remembered the days of the revolution - they had been young, naive and so sure that they were doing what was right. And they had been so deeply in love... I was a different woman then.

His eyes caught hers as he ran a hand across her cheek and smiled, "Miaka. You haven't changed."

She backed away from him and shook her head, "I have, Tamahome. And so have you." It was true - she could see it just by looking at him. His clothes, for one thing - he used to wear simple tunics and pants in any color that suited him at the time. Now, it was black. A cold, hard color to fit the cold, hard style of his personality. And his eyes - that was where the greatest change lay. They used to hold compassion and a great love for humankind. Now, they held nothing but hate and condescension. They were Nakago's eyes. Miaka shuddered. The man she had loved was no more. She backed up another step - which brought her up against another person. She nearly screamed, her heart was certainly pounding hard enough. She turned... and almost melted with relief. Nuriko...

Her fiancé wrapped strong arms around her and cradled her against his chest, kissing her cheek lightly as he did so. Almost immediately, she felt stronger. She turned to face Tamahome, who had backed up a pace at Nuriko's entrance. Nuriko raised an eyebrow, "Tamahome-san. A pleasure to meet you at last - I've heard much about you." He held out his hand, "My name is Nuriko-sama, Miaka's fiancé."

Tamahome stiffened, eyes flashing. Miaka caught her breath and stepped back into Nuriko's embrace. Tamahome closed his eyes and when he opened them, he was once more under control, "Yuuki-san and I have some unfinished business, Nuriko-san. If you will excuse us." He spun on his heal and marched off the stage to Miaka's dressing room.

Nuriko moved as if to object, but Miaka turned to face him, "It's all right, Nuriko. I have an idea of what he wants. I won't be too long." She leaned over to give him a light kiss on the lips before walking off after Tamahome. She found him in her dressing room, browsing through the various things on her vanity table.

Miaka cleared her throat and Tamahome turned, a smile lighting his features. For a moment, he reminded her of the man he'd been when they first met, but only for a moment. The smile faded and he stiffened again, "I believe you know why I'm here, Miaka."

Miaka turned away, "Lord Tomo and Lady Soi."

Tamahome stepped closer, deliberately invading her private space, "That's right, Miaka. You know where they are hiding - I want you to tell me. Unless you want your fiancé to find out about what you and I did during the revolution..."

Miaka's eyes widened with fright as her mind juggled the two possible evils - if she told, Tomo and Soi could be killed. If she didn't tell, then she could lose her love... There was no way to win. She slumped into her vanity chair, "Onegai, Tamahome... Don't make me choose."

Tamahome knelt by her and reached up a hand to stroke her hair, "Miaka. If I don't give Nakago-sama some kind of information, he will be angry with me. You know what he does to those he is angry with..."

Miaka grabbed Tamahome's arms, "Promise me that you won't harm them, Tamahome! Onegai..." Her eyes filled with tears.

Tamahome bowed his head - no matter how embittered he became, Miaka's tears could still undo him, "Hai, Miaka-chan. I will do my best." Miaka nodded, taking him at his word and writing down the address of Tomo and Soi's hiding place. Tamahome took the paper, kissed her forehead, and left.

Miaka sat at her dressing table wiping tears from her eyes and trying to calm herself. If Tamahome had said that no harm would come to Lady Soi and Lord Tomo, she'd just have to believe him. Because the alternative was unthinkable. Finally getting her eyes dry, she looks up into the mirror and lets out a small shriek, "Oh, I look dreadful! I gotta clean up..."

She begins the tedious task of cleaning off her stage makeup - entirely grateful that she wouldn't have to ever put it on again. She begins to hum the tune from the end of the musical, her cheery attitude restoring itself as thoughts of her upcoming wedding took root. She only barely looked up as a knock sounded on her door. "Come in!" she called as she continued getting out of her costume. When she saw who was at the door, she let out a happy laugh, "Yui-chan!!"

Yui walked over with a smile for her sister - the girl could be flighty at times, but she was a true friend, incapable of betrayal - incapable of hurting anyone. "You were wonderful, as usual, Miaka-chan. Are you sure you don't want to stay in the acting business?"

Miaka made a face at Yui, as she slipped into her brown school uniform, "Not a chance, imouto-chan. Would you give up Nuriko for one more night in the spotlight?"

Yui laughed as she helped Miaka gather up her things, "Probably not..." The two girls left the room together, minds quickly turned to discussions of boys.

"And what about you, imouto? Now that I have Nuriko-sama isn't it time for you to start looking for yourself?" Miaka queried with a sly glint in her eye.

Familiar with the look, Yui batted at Miaka's arm, "All right, onee-san - out with it. You obviously have someone in mind already..."

Miaka giggled, "Oh, but I do! Do you remember Nuriko's friends Amiboshi and Suboshi? The twins?" As Yui's eyes took on a faraway look Miaka laughed harder, "I see that you do... Anyway, Suboshi seemed quite fond of you when you met at the engagement party..." She waggled her eyebrows in Yui's direction.

Yui's cheeks flushed a bright pink and she ducked her head, "Always thinking of me, ne? Well, I shall certainly keep him in mind if I should see him at the wedding."

Miaka looked up from where she was teasing her sister and her eyes lit up. No matter how often she saw him, Nuriko never ceased to make her heart flutter. He was so handsome - beautiful almost - and so suave and gentle. It was hard to believe that she had managed to capture his heart... She felt a brief pang over what had happened with Tamahome, but she was determined not to let it ruin the wedding. She stepped forward, arms outstretched, "Nuriko..."

He lifted his arms and pulled her into an embrace, "Miaka... What did Tamahome want? That man makes me nervous."

Miaka buried her face into Nuriko's chest and firmly told her heart to quit its frantic pounding, "It was nothing - really nothing. He just wanted to wish me luck on our wedding." Liar! Foul liar! her mind screamed at her.

Nuriko frowned and pulled back to watch her eyes, "And he couldn't have said that in front of me?" He shook his head, "Well - men from Kutou always were a little odd... No matter." He lifted his arm so that she could wrap hers around it, "Shall we go, love?"

She slipped her arm through his and nodded, happy to finally be underway - happy to finally be leaving Kutou. For all of a sudden, Miaka couldn't wait to be away...


"Oi... What's the point of getting into this fancy getup anyway? You'll just be clambering right out of it in another few hours," Tasuki complained.

Nuriko's cheeks flushed beat red, "Tasuki-sama! Don't say such things!"

"Eh? What'd I say? Aren't you looking forward to your wedding night, Nuriko?" he commented from where he was draped over a couch watching his best friend get dressed, "Ch. A little to modest, doncha think?"

Nuriko spun around from where he was buttoning up his tunic, "That's enough Tasuki! This is a wedding banquet, not a night at the local brothel!"

Tasuki peeled himself off the couch, his eyes a little too bright under his flaming red hair, "Saa, saa... Gomen ne, Nuriko. I know how much Miaka means to you. I'll quit with the comments."

Another voice wound it's way into the room, "Start your celebrating a little early, Gen-chan?"

Tasuki laughed, "Nah, Kouji - it's never too early to start celebrating!" The two men gave each other a hearty thumping on the back before turning to watch Nuriko put the finishing touches on his outfit. "Ne, Kouji, think Nuriko's gonna make it through tonight?"

Kouji laughed and winked at Tasuki, "I don't know, Genrou - he looks a little nervous already... Maybe we should offer to take his place - Miaka-chan won't mind, ne?"

Nuriko whirled angrily on his two friends, a growl already forming in his throat. Two pairs of hands grabbing his arms pulled him up short and he looked up to find the smiling faces of Mitsukake and Chichiri and stopped his advance, "Mitsukake-san! Chichiri-san! So glad you could make it! Maybe you could keep these two quiet until after the ceremony..." He glared at Tasuki, suddenly wondering what fit of insanity had prompted him to name the former bandit his best man...

Chichiri laughed and nodded, "Hai, Nuriko-san. I think we might be able to manage it, no da. But that isn't what we came in for! Are you ready? Miaka-chan and the guests are waiting for you with baited breath, na no da!"

Nuriko nodded and straightened his clothing one last time, "Hai! Lead the way!"

Chichiri smiled, as usual, and herded Tasuki and Kouji out the door. Mitsukake gave him one last reassuring pat, "Ganbatte, Nuriko- chan," and followed them out.

Alone at last, Nuriko tried to calm his mind, Piece of cake, ne? Nothing to it... Just walk up, take her hand, say "I do." Easy as pie... He swallowed hard, "Yeah right..."


Miaka smoothed her hands over the scarlet wedding dress for the twentieth time, Why so nervous, Miaka? You love Nuriko, he loves you. This should be easy... Another part of her mind chimed in, Then why is he so late? Miaka firmly told it to shut up. A commotion at the side of the temple proved to be the entrance of Tasuki-sama - Nuriko's best man. Miaka frowned at the disheveled state of the man's clothing, How did such a ruffian become so close to him? What an odd match... She watched as Kouji-sama, another of Nuriko's friends, carefully adjusted Tasuki's clothing, then gave him a firm shove towards the front of the temple.

Miaka smiled, as she saw Mitsukake-sama, Chichiri-sama, Amiboshi-san, Suboshi-san, and Chiriko-san enter the temple and sit down near Kouji-sama. If Nuriko's friends were here, then Nuriko himself couldn't be too far behind, ne? Nuriko swept into the temple of Suzaku, resplendent in his own wedding suit, indigo hair swept into one long and gorgeous plait down his back. Miaka's mouth almost dropped open, but she caught it just in time.

Yui's hand touched her arm and her imouto's voice dropped to whisper in her ear, "Come on, oneesan - it's time," and began to lead her down the aisle to where Nuriko waited...


Nuriko watched as Miaka and Yui walked down the aisle towards him, heart in his throat. Miaka was beautiful - not that she wasn't always beautiful, but tonight she seemed especially so. Her hair was down for once, causing her to look less like a schoolgirl and more like the brilliant young woman that she was. And the red wedding dress... Rokou had outdone himself.

Miaka reached the altar and held out her hand for his, eyes shining with joy as he knew his own were. His mouth broke into a smile as the ceremony began. It was finally happening... The priest's words seemed to go by in a blur, Nuriko didn't hear any of it - only Miaka's precious breaths beside him.

A sharp nudge in his back brought him back to reality and he turned to glare at Tasuki. Tasuki grinned at him and mouthed, "I do?" Nuriko's blush made Miaka laugh and he turned back to face her, embarrassed chagrin written all over his face. He swallowed hard and opened his mouth finally able to say the words he'd longed to say since he met Miaka all those months ago, "I do."

He kept his attention focused as the priest spoke his next words, "And do you, Yuuki Miaka, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?" Miaka met his eyes and said solemnly, "I do." The priest smiled as he finished the ceremony, "Then I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride."

Nuriko leaned in towards Miaka, breath quivering in his throat. He closed his eyes and whispered into her parted lips, "Ai shiteiru..." before covering them with his own. Tasuki then led the guests in a round of cheers and catcalls that left the two newlyweds as red as their apparel.


An hour later found Miaka leading the guests in a dance that had been popular in Kutou before the Revolution. She and they seemed to be enjoying it thoroughly. Nuriko had begged off, desperately needing a drink before diving back into the celebration - his throat was positively parched. Young Suboshi had wandered over to Yui's corner and was making stuttering conversation with her as his twin brother looked on. The two would make a cute couple - and nothing would please Nuriko more than to see Yui paired off with one of his dear friends.

A tug on his sleeve made Nuriko turn, "Ah Chiriko-san! Are you enjoying the party? Would you like some punch perhaps?"

Chiriko scuffed his toe on the ground and refused to meet Nuriko's eyes, "Iie, Nuriko-sama."

Nuriko put his drink down and rested his hand on Chiriko's shoulder, "Hey, Chiriko - this is me, remember? Why don't you tell me what's wrong and we'll see what can be done about it, ne?"

Chiriko wordlessly handed over a piece of paper. Puzzled, Nuriko unfolded it and began to read. He could feel his face grow paler with every word - no, this simply couldn't be. It couldn't!! He folded up the paper and held it clenched in his hands. This was too cruel.

Chiriko's soft voice penetrated his shock, "Nuriko-sama - I thought you should also know - I heard that Lady Soi and Lord Tomo..."

"...are dead. I know," his own voice sounded hollow in his ears, "Guillotined." Chiriko flinched at the emotionless tone, "And my beloved Miaka is the one who sent them to their deaths."

Chiriko went pale, "But who can you be sure, Nuriko-san?"

Nuriko stared down at the letter clenched in his hands - a letter from Tamahome to his wife, thanking her for the invaluable information she had provided and wishing her luck on her wedding. It made far too much sense - far too much. Nuriko's throat clenched and he rubbed a hand furiously over his face - what if he was wrong? What if that wasn't the case? What should I do? He turned the problem over in his mind for a few minutes before handing the note back to Chiriko, "Give this to my wife. If she makes no reaction, we shall then know that she is guilty, ne?"

Chiriko swallowed, unhappy to be involved in such a deception, but willing to go along for now. He took the note and made his way through the crowd to Miaka's side. She smiled at him and took the note with a little curtsy. She opened it and read it, her face going one shade paler. Nuriko's heart pounded in his throat, silently begging for this possible reprieve... Miaka folded the note and tucked it into her bodice with a smile, "Just an old friend wanting to wish me luck with my marriage - shall we dance?" She held out a hand towards Nuriko, but he backed away, the horror carefully concealed. Miaka looked hurt, but accepted his silence and rejection, turning quickly to Tasuki and extending the offer to him. Nuriko fled from the ball room, the sobs already hitching in his throat.

When he reached the cooler outside air he took in huge gulps of it, trying to forestall the spate of sobs that seemed to be threatening to burst from his throat. After a few minutes of struggling, he managed to swallow the lump of tears and calm down. Relatively speaking. He began to pace the small garden, anxiously wringing his hands together. What should I do? It's clear that Miaka isn't the woman I thought she was or she'd never have done this. How could I have been so blind? Oh my friends... My ignorance has cost you your very lives - how can I ever set this right again? He paused in his pacing to look inside at all of the wedding guests, giving a bitter chuckle as he did so. Why couldn't I have found this out 6 hours ago? I never would have gone through with the wedding if I'd known... K'so.

He walked down one of the garden paths desperately trying to think of some solution through the heartache. K'so! That's probably what Tamahome wanted after the performance! She's been working with him all along!

He sank down to a nearby stone bench, one hand pressed to his furiously pounding heart. He sat there, eyes glazed and staring unfocused straight ahead of him. I can't believe I was so gullible... Was I so blind that I couldn't see her deception? His hands clenched into fists as he face firmed with determination. He stood, one fist still braced over his heart, and turned to watch the glowing lights in the ball room. He spoke quietly, but with conviction, "Miaka. Tamahome. This is something I can not forgive. And I will find some way to set this aright. If I have to die to see it done, then I gladly will."

[The scene fades to black.]

Act I - Scene II

[The scene opens on a quiet study, Nuriko-sama's study. Our young, fiery-haired best man is sprawled upon one of the sofas, clothing rumpled and hair mussed. He slowly opens his eyes, blinking confusedly at the early dawn light. The small rattling sound which originally woke him sounds again and he stands, grabbing his trusty tessen and turning to face the garden door. Moments later, Nuriko walks into the study, looking just as disheveled as his best man. The two stare at each other in shock...]

Nuriko stared at Tasuki, wondering what the bandit-turned-nobleman was doing in his study. Tasuki stared at Nuriko wondering what one half of the newly wedded pair was doing coming in at this hour of the morning. He folded his arms as he settled back down on the couch, one eyebrow lifted, "Nuriko... What were you doing outside?"

Nuriko flushed a bit as he walked over to his desk and draped his coat over the chair, "And what are you doing in my study?" At Tasuki's chastising look, Nuriko sat down on the edge of the desk and answered deadpan, "I couldn't sleep."

Tasuki snorted, "Yeah, and I'm the Emperor of Kutou. It was your wedding night, man! You should have been with Miaka!" To the young bandit's surprise, Nuriko's eyes clouded over with anger at his words. Tasuki leaned forward in concern, placing a gentle hand on Nuriko's knee, "Oi... What happened? Is everything all right between you two?"

Nuriko shook his head vehemently, "No. It is most decidedly not." He ran his hands through his unbound indigo hair, a heavy sigh escaping his lips, "Tasuki... I can trust you to keep a secret, ne?"

Tasuki frowned, "Of course you can. You know that. What's so all-fired important, though?"

Nuriko took another deep breath and raised his weary eyes to meet Tasuki's alert ones, "I have every reason to suspect that my beloved Miaka is a spy for Kutou's revolutionary government."

Tasuki's eyes flared wide in disbelief, "Uso! It's a lie! It must be... Miaka wouldn't... no, she couldn't do such a thing! Nuriko she must have been framed - that's the only explanation!"

Nuriko stood and walked over to grasp Tasuki's shoulder, "Iie, my friend. It is the truth. I saw the evidence with my own eyes. Because of my wife's treacherous ways, Lady Soi and Lord Tomo are both dead." He bowed his head, "I have to do something to try to right this grievous wrong, my friend. I have a plan... Will you help me?"


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