AN: I feel like this both needs and deserves addressing: I have received a review on the tensions between the respective Koreas and Japan, in all three directions, making Tsuna's occupation and peacefully hostile takeover (a) unrealistic and (b) insulting and/or cruel. My knowledge of world history is fairly sparse, true, but I am aware of past tensions lingering to present day - mainly because my brother went to a boarding school where he had three roommates that were either terribly thought-out or the most cunning ploy to ensure a lack of scholastic infighting where one was Chinese, one was Japanese, and one was from South Korea. They apparently made tape-lines down the room that lasted the vast majority of their year-round four-year tenure there, but ended up becoming fast friends somewhere around their third year. I never heard the story of how or why, though, and the curiosity yet burns.
Now, the first thing to note is that the Koreas in this story are (a) in the KHR universe, which is mostly the canon version of a crack-fic anyway and (b) do not yet know who exactly as taken them over. I am not a major student of world history, but I am something of a student of human nature: humans are, on the whole, very predictable in groups. If a situation does not largely affect their lives or only causes positive changes, regardless of who has instigated those changes, people tend to either not care or leave well enough alone. In this case, the people of the forcibly united Korea are only aware of certain things: they were invaded with no warning by armed forces that were a mix of races, predominately Chinese and Japanese with a smattering of Europeans - and this invasion ended with minimal loss of life and limb, the eviction of South Korea's American allies, a forceful country-merging, and a temporary ruling by an Italian while their many and varied criminal groups went either dormant or benevolent. This is not 'Japan ruling Korea' or 'a Japanese person ruling Korea'. This is 'Tsuna being put in charge of Korea because his minions are idiots and it would have caused a war or three otherwise'. Except that Korea's legal side doesn't actually know who Tsuna is yet. The people are equal parts worried and content - a bunch of unknowns are occupying them, but they haven't caused any harm as long as they've been left unchallenged. Ergo, no one wants to be the one to break what may be a fragile status-quo where no one's getting hurt and turn it into something more like a bloodbath. No warning successful invasions are SCARY. Even scarier when no one gets hurt or killed, because that should take overwhelming force - it's a whole lot easier to kill someone than subdue them, as a general rule, especially military-trained someones.
Now, my actual reasons for picking Korea as the first place to have Tsuna rule has more to do with location and compatible mythology than anything else. Really. It's geograpically fairly close to both China and Japan, where Tsuna's main forces are. Its mythology shares a lot of aspects with both Japan's and China's - which are likewise very similar to each other. And it has known organized crime with their own local names. Really, my reasoning was pretty straightforward and didn't at all take into account past injury to or by any of the related parties.
To be fair, though, Japan is surprisingly benign towards America, despite us doing them a greater wrong than Japan's wrongs to Korea - we literally wiped out two major civilian population centers and rendered them effectively permanently uninhabitable. Then we forced a disarmament that denies them a standing military, after they had a long history of being a militant culture. Despite that, America has been at least mostly forgiven and is considered to be something of an ally to Japan. If that can happen, the force-merged Korea in my Myths 'verse can handle a far more benevolent sort of takeover by someone who's primary loyalty doesn't seem to be Japan at all, especially since they don't even know it yet. Seriously, Tsuna is a crime lord, whether or not he wanted or intended to be. Crime lords generally aren't considered patriots. Neither are children, for that matter - and he's both.
This was not in any way intended to be insulting to, commenting on, or otherwise reflecting the real world beyond geographic local, nomenclature, and mythos - the last of which could be argued as not real-world to begin with.
Either a three-legged or three eyed dog from Korean Mythology, said to be able to discern illusions and have a strong distrust of the Korean equivalent of a Kitsune. Whether that extends to non-Korean foxes was is not specified, but a many-tailed fox is a many-tailed fox, and they may just not trust foxes in general.
The kitsune made for a wonderful messenger around the base, Chrome thought, the silky-dark creature seeming entertained with the people therein and more than willing to carry notes to and fro. She refused to actually speak with anyone but Tsuna-sama, but for the most part nothing more than notes were needed.
Everyone in the Sora had begun taking mythological creatures in stride with how often they had one or more of Tsuna's growing menagerie wandering about, which probably added to the kitsune's general amusement. It certainly added to Chrome's, and the fox would occasionally drop by her and Mukuro-nii's* office just to lounge in the corner and nap.
Of course, Tsuna-sama still wasn't quite sure how to translate her name into something actually able to be conveyed in a word or even a short phrase, but she didn't seem offended by the 'Kitsune-san' used by most of the Sora and the rotating Triads' shifts, so Chrome supposed that was fine. Akhlut-san refused to even consider another name, after all, and the tóngshī still huffed at the occasional suggestion in the drop-box.
Still, kitsune were supposed to be illusionists and if the legends were true, a five-tailed kitsune had to be to least five hundred years old. With the worst of the security issues handled and her own services no longer constantly needed in controlling the Korean underground - now being dragged up into the Korean overground, because Tsuna-sama wouldn't stand for any of his causing trouble for any others of his, and the new Korea was his all over - she had a question for her periodic visitor.
Chrome wasn't as strong as Mukuro. She couldn't make things solid, not the way he could. She wasn't as good with a weapon, either. But for Tsuna-sama, for Mukuro-nii - she would not be weak. If physical force was beyond her, then she would trick, confuse, conceal. She would be the enshrouding Mist, that hid those dear to her safely away from their enemies sight and stripped back the concealments that their enemies tried to spin.
Mukuro might be the sword of their team but she would be the shield.
"Kitsune-san? Would you be willing to help me improve my illusions?"
Dark brown eyes peered at her from midnight fur, and the kitsune raised her head to regard Chrome for a long, thoughtful moment before she blinked slowly, dipping her head once and sitting up, flicking a tail to the side in a shimmer of foxfire that drifted close for Chrome to examine.
Chrome smiled and got to work.
Tsuna loved his people. He loved them very much... and at times like this, he wondered why.
"You didn't," he sighed, covering his face with one hand for a moment - his only concession to the resigned exasperation weighing down on him. Because of course they did.
"That's right, Tsuna!" Reborn chirped, clearly reverting to his cheerful-tutor-from-hell mentality. (Tsuna had known Reborn would find some way to get back at him for landing him regency in Korea, but he felt like this was over the top, and probably mostly Kuro's fault.) "You no longer have a cult. It's an internationally recognized religion!"
"In how many countries?" he had to ask. He didn't want to know, but he probably needed to.
Tsuna covered his face with both hands at that. "Italy, too?"
"Actually, no," Reborn settled slightly, but his grin was more than a little vindictive. "America. They're the easiest to get religions pushed through. They actually have an official religion for a god they call 'The Flying Spaghetti Monster' that was made up by a bunch of students to see if they could."
"What did you do?" Tsuna didn't quite whine. The cult had been bad enough!
"Some of the Sora have family in America. It wasn't hard to get a petition signed."
"But you got it pushed through here?" Tsuna sighed.
"Shrines are being erected in your honor in Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto!"
"Not Namimori." It wasn't a question.
"You live in Namimori," Reborn dismissed. "All worship can be done in person."
He didn't want to know. (He already knew. And as over-the-top as Reborn was being about it, he was nervous. Which meant he probably thought Tsuna would be mad, and had done his best to mitigate the damage, but had been bowled over by the fervor of Tsuna's more enthusiastic minions. Reborn could compete with a lot of things, but religious zealots wasn't necessarily one of them.)
He sighed, "Kuro went behind your back and instated it as the official religion of Korea, didn't he?"
Reborn's vicious cheer dimmed to something between amusement and chagrin, "You've been declared something like a god-king, and no one but the Mafia-types even knows who you are yet."
"And since they're currently in the process of being fully subverted..." Tsuna trailed off.
"The crime rate's dropped to almost nothing," Reborn winced, then corrected himself, "Which isn't bad, but everyone's noticed. So the civilians are starting to wonder who has the organized groups turning nice, and the Geondal are occupied bringing the street gangs into their folds and keeping from doing anything that has the Sora cracking heads. You really need to meet with the leaders and sort them out properly, because continuing to send representatives will soon be taken as insulting."
"If Moeru provides transport, I can start getting that taken care of this week," Tsuna agreed. "I don't want to miss any more school than I'll already have to, and I still want to spend time with Lambo, I-pin, and Fuuta. I'll get Kuro to schedule a meeting."
Reborn huffed, but relaxed entirely at the same time. "You really have learned a lot, Tsuna," he smiled - a real smile - and Tsuna scooped him up for cuddles, making sure to swamp him in happy thoughts just so he wouldn't think to protest. Or bonk Tsuna's head; he still did that, too, if nowhere near as hard as he used to.
Reborn gave in with good grace, tolerating being used as a teddy bear until Tsuna let up on the Flames. Then he swatted the side of Tsuna's head (gently) and hopped back to the floor. "I still have to coordinate with the Vindice," he informed. "Stay out of trouble, Tsuna."
"Say 'hi' to Bermuda and Jager for me!"
Reborn growled something that sounded like commentary on Tsuna's affection for the Vindice, which Reborn seemed to view as useful allies and creepy as all getout. Which was fair, they were undead. But they were perfectly polite!
And Tsuna still needed to sit down and talk with Bermuda about why he looked like an Arcobaleno. With everything else that had been happening, he kept forgetting on those few times he did see the leader of the Vindice, and he really should find out. He had a feeling it was somehow important.
"Argh," he informed the doorway as Reborn sauntered out (which was actually kind of impressive considering the toddler body) and reached for the phone to call Kuro.
It was time to set up a few meetings in Korea.
Because this was apparently how Tsuna's life worked, now, he hadn't been in Korea for more than twenty minutes before a scraggly, three-legged mutt tackled him to the ground before spinning away on its one fore-paw and snarling at the presumably disguised kitsune.
There were roughly ten different weapons pointed at the dog in question before Tsuna even managed to sit up, unharmed and a bit dusty. He considered the scene before him for a moment and the kitsune sat, clearly entertained.
The dog barked twice, a leg shimmering into being along with a third eye on its forehead, and all three eyes blinked several times before the dog tilted its head in obvious confusion, then barked a question - apparently a 'he'.
Reborn huffed and hopped back onto Tsuna's shoulder, Leon turned back into a lizard and relocated to Reborn's hat, Gokudera blinked twice and exchanged dynamite for his notebook, and varying other weapons were lowered carefully.
"It's fine," Tsuna waved at their escort, who hesitantly stood down. "He just smelled the illusion and worried."
The dog turned his head just enough to eye Tsuna with one of his two ordinarily placed eyes, and whined.
"She's a friend," Tsuna told the dog. "She's not a field fox looking for trouble."
The dog huffed, right foreleg glowing briefly before melting into a shimmery mist that briefly covered the third eye before eye and mist both vanished, leaving the scruffy-looking animal three-legged again.
"Huh," Tsuna considered. Frankly, the dog looked like an ordinary village mutt - the kind that had been born half-feral, pups of strays and village outliers for so many generations that they were almost closer to dhole or dingos than the dog breeds they were mixed descendants of. Medium-smallish - probably no more than thirty pounds, though if his ribs weren't showing he'd be closer to forty - and a rusty brown. "Who are you?"
The dog barked twice and wagged his bony tail.
"Well, come on, then," Tsuna took Takeshi's hand and let himself be pulled upright while Reborn clung to his shoulder and hissed under his breath in a variant of Reptile.
Tsuna gave a slight, very pointed shrug. "Please don't use that kind of language where Leon or the khe-ti can hear you, Reborn."
Reborn growled wordlessly.
Takeshi snickered and Reborn pointedly switched shoulders, giving himself a handy head to thwap.
"Anyway," Tsuna said firmly, his tone ending the squabbling before it really began. "He says he's a samjokgu, and the children in town call him 'Red'. Apparently they've had a long-standing rivalry with the Korean foxes, and are sensitive to illusions. He thought Kitsune-san was someone else."
(Off to the side, one of the playing children whispered furiously to another, and both raced off in different directions. What Reborn called Tsuna's 'Hyper Intuition' seemed pleased with this development, so he didn't pay it any particular mind. He later reflected that 'good' was a matter of perspective, and just because it made him safer in a physical sense didn't mean he was going to like it.)
It took a few more minutes, but Tsuna managed to corral everyone into moving again, adjusting their loose formation to account for the three-legged dog.
Reborn considered for several long moments from where he sat on Takeshi's shoulder, then decided he should have asked this question some time ago.
The odd dog was outside of his personal range of mythological knowledge, and the last few times that had happened had ended up unnerving and bad, respectively. But no matter how much research he did, there was n way he'd be able to figure out every mythological creature in the world, and with the way things seemed to be going, Tsuna would find the ones he didn't know.
Akhlut-san, when Gokudera managed to finally track down a reference, turned out to be just as much a reputed man-eater as the one Tsuna'd turned into a statue, and one had come to Tsuna's defense while the other had tried to kill him.
So, it obviously wasn't just type. There had to be more to it.
"Tsuna, do you know why the Mardyakowr tried to kill you?"
Takeshi startled and Gokudera mouthed a silent curse, everyone else snapping to sudden attention.
"It was angry, I guess?" Tsuna offered. "It - all that snarling didn't mean anything. It just gave this impression of raging hunger." He shrugged, waving one hand in a motion that wasn't quite dismissive. "It didn't seem smart enough to talk, honestly."
Dumb, man-eating beast. Which didn't preclude intelligent ones wanting to kill them all, but at least meant that one had an individual explanation that was... oddly prosaic, considering the mythological Persian monster factor.
(Gokudera flipped back through his notebook and wrote that down. Reborn wished he could think it was foolish instead of necessary. Considering the trend, though... it was necessary.)
At least they managed to get all the way to their first meeting without any more interruptions. And the samjoku, once revealed, even managed to further Tsuna's growing reputation! (And exasperation, because Tsuna definitely didn't want to have religion, much less a Mafia religion. And while it was funny, that was still Reborn's Sky getting resignedly frustrated over there, and that made it more than mildly tempting to take pot-shots at annoyances.)
*Altered from canon forms of address intentionally, as methods of meeting - thus, first impressions and therefore everything else that followed - were very different in this particular universe.