Nadezhda’s seductive composure dissolved instantly. Jailbait? That tiny Witch had some nerve calling her jailbait when they both knew she wasn’t that much older. “Oh, hello Jin. You’ve been gone so long. Don’t worry, as Astoreth’s housekeeper I welcome you to our home and will do everything I can to help you become properly integrated.”
Jin laughed boldly and with excessive confidence that robbed the sound of sincerity. “You’re treating me like a new girl? Forgot who always came out on top, did you?”
Nadezhda’s face twisted as she wrestled her snarl into a smile. “No, I haven’t forgotten but you left and everyone else stands with me now. I’m Astoreth’s top bitch and there’s no way you’re just waltzing back in here with-”
The Succubus and Jin both jumped and stood attentively when the low feminine voice entered their ears. “Nadiya.” Astoreth shifted her stride so her footfalls could be heard impacting the entryway floor. “Jin is with Isaac and Isaac is my guest. Do not be rude to my guests.”
Jin’s smile became outright devilish as Nadezhda stared deeply into her eyes and fought not to scream in rage. The position of housekeeper was coveted by all of the young pokegirls living under Astoreth’s care but it came with the greatest expectations. If she failed to act with proper deference to Astoreth’s guests, all of her guests, then she wouldn’t be worthy of holding the rank and it’d be stripped from her. But treating Jin that way. No, that was untenable.
Then Jin did something completely inexplicable and yielded her advantage. “Actually, Star-neesama, I wouldn’t mind being one of your girls again, while I’m here. I missed this place, even you, Jailbait. I want to see what you think you can do to me.”
Jin suddenly withered under a smouldering glare from Astoreth. “Then you shouldn’t speak with such familiarity with me, should you? If you’re rejoining us, it’s Mistress or Lady Astoreth to you.”
“Yes Lady Astoreth.” Jin’s voice became incredibly small to match her submissive posture.
Astoreth turned, and as she did she held eye contact with Isaac just long enough for him to register her gaze and she sent her suppressed urge to shake her head across the delta bond. “Alright Nadya, see my guest to his room. Jin, carry the luggage. After Isaac is settled I’d like to introduce him to everyone who is here.”
The assembled infernal pokegirls were not enough to fully staff such a manor, by Isaac’s estimation, but it was still more individuals living in the home than he expected. He’d already encountered Nadezhda, Astoreth’s designated housekeeper. She was flanked by two Youma in similar but more discreet maid dress. They were both a bit on the monstrous side in their facial proportions but their impeccable behavior gave them an air of charm. The one on Nadezhda’s right was blue skinned, a brighter and richer blue than Astoreth, while her counterpart on the Succubus’ left was pastel violet. Their names were Nino and Sveta. Nadezhda herself was remarkably rosy colored but in a way that didn’t immediately register as inhuman until she was studied more closely. While the two Youma displayed impeccable behavior it was with obvious effort. Nadezhda was the model of polite composure. Jin stood next to them in her plain clothes, though she was uncharacteristically just as well mannered.
Also assembled were a Hellcat who seemed slightly older than the rest of the maid girls and who was dressed in a different style, and a quite wizened Demoness in the same uniform but wearing a chef’s apron rather than a maid’s. These two were Veriko and Yevfrosiniya. Yevheniya, the Cardian groundskeeper, was present as well as was a stony faced OfficerJenny with the Fiendish template. She dressed in the exact same style as Astoreth, sharp business, and she was Astoreth’s legal assistant, Honorata.
It was part of the rules of the house. You didn’t have to play well, but you did need to play along. However, for the younger girls the game had a ranking system built into the role of the housekeeper, the one girl responsible for receiving all of the tasks for the day from Astoreth and delegating the chores out to her subordinates; the rest of the maids. Yevheniya kept to herself outdoors most days and some nights. Honorata and Yevfroniniya however both monitored and reported to Astoreth, assuming the Mistress wasn’t present to exercise her uncanny awareness of everything happening in her home.
Isaac of course knew that, like Elena, Astoreth utilized her own forms of scrying magic as part of security for her property.
It meant that, where and when they were expected to behave they did so rigorously and where and when they could misbehave they did so with hellish passion. Brutal verbal sniping and knife fights were the two most frequent activities. It was all a bit mad whenever Isaac caught sight of it and to Neasa and Oleksandra the dysfunctions of their harem sister suddenly became much less inexplicable.
Jin was in her element here, immersed in cutthroat competition. She had an advantage with the name calling and shaming game since she lacked the, at least documented, criminal record. That was why Jin’s Succubus rival’s name was Jailbait, at least seemingly to the Witch.
Nadezhda had been seized from her parents after “causing a scandal” with a corrupt public servant, who then bribed the city prosecutor to go after his victim rather than himself. Nino and Sveta were effectively orphaned when their parents took the fall for a distantly related member of a criminal mob that was already using their store as a front. Veriko had been picked up as contraband crossing the border with Crescent Moon. Her family had paid to be taken to the Jade Islands League where they had relatives, but when the smugglers demanded more payment partway through the trip they caved and gave up their pokegirl daughter.
They’d all suffered more than their fair share at this point in their life, one could argue. They all were held back by their past and aware of how it denied them the status they could recognize their traits should afford them. Astoreth did not take in the unremarkable. Not one of them could easily bear further disgrace or humiliation without losing more of their fundamental selves to psychological maladaptation. None of them really understood how to move forward but they were all driven anyway.
Was it any wonder they gave rise to chaos and reacted with such yearning to expectations? To obligations? To order?
It would be impossible to keep them from misbehaving so the ritual of knife fighting was a prescription for how they were to misbehave. If the day’s chores were done and the maids felt a dispute required violence to resolve, out came the blades. Pokegirl techniques weren’t forbidden but the girls were all young and hadn’t come into their innate skills. At least, they hadn’t when Jin had been living here before.
Jin came to Isaac as a bundle of threadbare nerves and compressed emotion with four bleeding cuts. “Jin, what happened?”
Jin clenched her fists and trembled from her knuckles to her shoulders. “I lost,” she mumbled through gritted teeth. “Can you heal me?” They weren’t bad cuts. Jin could heal herself, but Jin wanted Isaac to heal them so he started to work his healing. “They’re all older now,” Jin’s words were shaky and off tempo as the first cut stitched itself together. “Their enhancements weren’t as developed, so I could beat them. I don’t, I won’t… I can’t…” Jin’s trembling finally made it up to her face. She couldn’t hold it back anymore. And once her face demonstrated how upset she was, her rational mind had no hope of denying it any longer.
Her words were fast and jumbled together like they usually were when she got emotional. The pitch was high and strained from the constriction of her throat. The sobs broke up the pace of her speech even more than when she could keep them suppressed. “I’m too weak! I can’t win! I can’t evolve! I can’t fight! All I can do is ward and blast my own fingers off! I couldn’t beat Albina and I couldn’t stop the Rhynodame and I couldn’t stop the Elf from destroying the wall and now I can’t even win a knife fight! I’m pathetic! I hate it, I hate being this way, I hate myse-” Isaac cut her off by throwing his arms around her. He wouldn’t wish that feeling on his worst enemies. If nothing else, even if he was as worthless as Jin felt she was, if he could only accomplish preventing someone else from descending into self loathing then his life would mean something to him.
Millions of people were outside of his reach but Jin wasn’t. Jin was here, Jin was his. With a blubbering whine of, “Isaac,” Jin fell into uncontrolled crying. Oleksandra opened the door to the guest room to check what the commotion inside was and was met with a baleful glare from the distraught Witch and ameliorating shooing gestures from Isaac. The Battle Battle Angel’s ears flopped backwards as she carefully backed away and pushed the door closed silently.
Jin’s emotional turmoil had been disrupted and left her with a nasty case of hiccups as her body failed to return to calm. It was enough of a break for Isaac to finish healing the three remaining cuts though, and then he just sat with the Witch in his arms. Her face was etched with a deep scowl that was refreshed with every involuntary tremor in her diaphragm. “I- want- to- evolve. Do you- you really- want me to- be-” She was cut off by a chain of three hiccups. She finally stopped and rubbed at her face before snorting down the mucus pooling in her nostrils. “You want me to be an Enchantress?” She must have read Isaac’s confusion because she added, “I found the moon stone.”
“I got that while we were shopping just in case. We decided on that or Sorceress and I thought we’d be out in the wilderness right now.” Jin kept looking at him, and with her emotional state it seemed a bit like a glare. Isaac sighed. “I do like the Enchantress just a little bit better but it’s stupid reasons that have nothing to do with you.”
“Everyone else likes the Enchantress more too. I asked Candi and Nel.” She sat straight up and smoothed out her clothes and face. One last hiccup spoiled her serious demeanor before she said, “I want you to evolve me.”
Jin’s face getting suddenly tight indicated she wasn’t but she spoke before Isaac processed the flicker of emotion fully and her words contradicted the display. “I want to be an Enchantress. Then I’m going to look up how to cast some strength and speed enchantments and show Nadezhda that I’m still Astoreth’s top bitch.”
“You’re not hers, you’re mine.” Isaac surprised himself. That wasn’t something he would normally say but it came out automatically and with more conviction than any words he put thought behind. It was such a rare experience. Jin responded by starting to tremble again.
“I’m yours.” She looked a little confused to say so. Maybe not regarding the veracity of the statement, but Isaac’s willingness to say so. “I’m your Witch.” She grinned. Her words became playful and enticing. “Now make me your Enchantress.”
Isaac separated himself from her so he could go to his pack and fetch the evolution item. Jin was right on his heels. Isaac peeled the paper packaging away slowly as a lingering reservation tried to make its reasoning known to him but as soon as he got one corner of the wrapping free Jin shot her hand out to touch the exposed stone. The moon stone became warm in his hand and then melted like an ice cube. Jin’s fingers touched his palm through the paper and she gasped. Light shot up her arm and then traveled up and down her body along the spine. Jin squeaked out a little moan. Isaac blinked from the blinding glow and arcane symbols swam in the afterimage projected on his eyelids. He squinted through his eyelashes to try to block out most of the light and could see unreadable letters flowing towards Jin’s head in a spiral vortex. Then the light died and Isaac was left blinking away the teal blue anti-light as his eyes adjusted.
Jin was almost completely unchanged, and besides the apparently universal boost to the size of her bust the changes were so subtle Isaac wasn’t sure he could articulate them. It would be like trying to describe the changes someone had undergone if you didn’t see them for a year. If he had to say, it was her eyes that had changed. They reminded him of Chandrakanta’s now in the fullness of the lashes and the bold lines they offered to define her eyelids. Of course, Jin possessed the captivating East Asian eyes with pronounced epicanthic folds and the deep and dark irises evoked the call of the void in Isaac’s heart. He wanted to fall into them.
“Everything… feels.” Isaac waited for Jin to describe how things felt but she didn’t. She pushed the paper wrapping and the receipt stapled to it out of his hand and ran her fingers along the lines of his palm. Her entire body quivered in response to the small touch. She locked eyes with him. Her voice was barely more than a breath. “Oh Isaac, I need you.” She threw herself into his arms and started to kiss him but her entire body arched from the sensation of their bodily contact and she stretched her neck back to moan deeply instead. She wasn’t steady on her feet so Isaac caught her about the waist and she gave more pleading moans as she squirmed to either get away or push herself further into the touch. The fabric of her shirt rode up and Isaac’s hand fell on smooth, bare, warm skin. A cry of pleasure escaped her lips and trailed off into more desperate whimpers.
Right. Enchantresses were really sensitive. Isaac ran his hands down Jin’s back to pull her hips closer to his. This was going to be fun.
Isaac and Jin were laying in bed, their naked bodies pressed together with Jin partially on top of and wrapped around him. She was tracing symbols onto his chest with a lazy finger while holding a handbook of temporary bodily enchantments with her other hand. She slithered up to his face and kissed his cheek, or maybe she bit it. Soft flesh pinched between her lips. “I can beat her now, want to watch me?”
“Of course.” Jin lifted herself away from him, slid off the mattress, and started to pad towards the door. “Uh, Jin, you’re going to fight her like that?”
Jin looked down at herself and gave him a naughty, open mouthed grin. “Why not? This will just rub it in Nadezhda’s face more, I’m better. I have a man.”
Isaac shook his head. The sun would rise and fall and Jin would be her hypercompetitive self. It would probably always be his job to make sure she didn’t get too carried away. He was loving how confident and sensual she was in this moment though. Still, “You sure you’re going to challenge her like that? You fight outside and it’s December.” Jin looked down at herself and made a face before letting out a short burst of laughter.
“Right, that’d be bad.” Isaac was slow to dress himself because he was watching Jin do the same. Every movement was so captivating. If Jin was a firecracker before, right now she was a dancing flame. The brilliant light in her eyes was still there though, suggesting she still possessed the same explosive potential. She put her hair up into a topknot and then pulled open the door to the hallway.
Neasa and Oleksandra were loitering outside the guest room door, not close enough to obviously be hovering but not far enough away for there to be any chance they wouldn’t notice the occupants leaving. Both of them flushed slightly as Jin strutted out into the hall, twirling Isaac’s survival knife artfully in her fingers. Their eyes swept her form and then both looked to Isaac. He could only shrug in response. They all fell into the wake cast by the newly evolved Enchantress, unwilling to miss whatever was about to transpire. Wicked confidence resonated with every effortlessly provocative step. The maids quarters were on the opposite side of the second level, so Jin’s little parade caught the attention of everyone in the house.
Nadezhda, Sveta, Nino, and Veriko all had their eyebrows try to climb up to their scalp when Jin threw the door open and shifted her pose to an almost painful looking contrapposto. “Jailbait, rematch.”
Nadezhda was overcome with fury at being challenged once again, the anger fueled by the sudden intimidation she couldn’t help but feel when facing this new and improved Jin. Turnabout was fair play though. The Succubus’ victory had come from her own natural changes and developments. She was studying the Enchantress now, her eyes frequently snapping back to her chest, the only outward sign that Jin had changed. Nadezhda was apprehensive though. There was certainly more changed than just that. She could feel it in the air.
Jin’s lips curled in a smile but her eyes were unchanged, their focus still intently on her rival. “It won’t take long.” Nadezhda rose with a suppressed growl.
There was a dry, circular fountain behind Astoreth’s home, closed down for the winter. It wasn’t representative of anything, rather being carved to resemble and complement the architecture of the buildings. It was surrounded by a ring of paving stones that were cut and fitted together to make an almost perfect sheet, just enough flaws to emphasize the fact that it was not a solid piece of mineral but masterfully cut and placed stones. This was the arena.
Since Jin’s challenge had captured the attention of everyone in the house, Honorata assumed the role of refereeing the match. The dangerously hard and sharp OfficerJenny was quick and to the point. “Jin ready?” She nodded.
“Nadezhda ready?” Nadezhda fought her face to remain still as she nodded. Something was off, something was wrong. She could just tell that there was something to Jin besides her suddenly larger boobs. Still not as big as the Succubus’, Nadezhda took some pleasure in noting. But she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was about to lose. It was something in the air around her magic type rival.
Honorata’s voice was flat but firm and loud. “Begin.”
Jin waited for Nadezhda to make the first move. Using her greater speed, the Succubus had charged straight through her defenses earlier, when she was a Witch. Jin just couldn’t close the opening in time. She was very careful not to let on what was different. The ace up her sleeve. Finally the Succubus’ patience wore out and she convinced herself Jin must be bluffing. She would have attacked by now if she had something to back up this confidence. She’d feint, look like she was going to make the same quick cut on Jin’s stomach but what Nadezhda really wanted was to land a cut on Jin’s smug face. That would teach her to play this con-game.
Nadezhda charged, rushing Jin’s left side where she was always more open. She started to swing the knife right at Jin’s navel and the Succubus felt glee at Jin’s shocked expression as she twisted away from the incoming attack. She was still too slow.Nadezhda snapped her wings to suddenly push herself off her feet and raise her strike towards her real target. She was about to crow in triumph but Jin’s surprise melted into absolute focus. Then the Enchantress smirked.
Jin stepped back to support her weight as she leaned back and underneath the incoming cut and with a flash of steel sliced a millimeter deep red line in the meat of the Succubus’ thumb. It wasn’t so fast that Nadezhda was helpless to respond but it was the surprise of Jin being able to move that fast at all that won the day.
“Jin is victorious.” Honorata stated with the barest hint she was impressed in her voice.
Nadezhda dropped her knife from the pain and grasped her wounded hand. She had to flap once more to stop herself from falling on top of Jin. Her eyes were wide and filled with confusion. “How? How did you move that fast? You don’t get faster when you evolve.” Nadezhda was fairly confident that was the truth.
“Nah, I don’t. But I enchanted myself. As long as I maintain it, I’m as fast as you are.” Jin grinned like a maniac. “Watch this,” She poked the Succubus on the forehead. Nadezhda could feel magic flowing into her and she recoiled away.
“What did you do to me?!”
“Gave you the same speed enchantment. Try it out.” Nadezhda did so, picking up her knife and making a few experimental swings. It was a blur, even to the naturally swift infernal.
Nadezhda laughed. “Why did you do that? I can beat you again now.”
Jin snapped her fingers and the Succubus felt the magic leave her. “No you can’t. Not if I don’t let you.” Nadezhda ground her teeth slightly but dragged the curl of her lips into an aggressive grin. In spite of the loss, in spite of herself, she was excited. Excited to still have a strong rival.
The knife fights really didn’t mean anything, anyway.
Evolving gave Jin new strengths to once more set herself above her contemporaries in Astoreth’s home, but it also heightened one of her weaknesses. Her jealous attachment to Isaac. And since it was such a cutthroat, competitive environment, any weakness was to be exploited. Targeting Jin indirectly by targeting Isaac was tricky though, as Veriko soon learned.
Jin wasn’t the only one in the house protecting her claim on the young man.
The Hellcat was enticingly crowding into Isaac’s personal space, maintaining half-lidded eye contact the entire time and purring. She was confident she could achieve her goal, she just needed to get close enough to rub her cheek on the tamer. She was a fully furred anthropomorphic member of her breed with layers of fur that resembled cooling lava, hot and bright down hair and dark, long guard hairs. Her tail tip flicked back and forth in the air with predatory anticipation.
Jin wasn’t here right now, Nadezhda had saddled her with dusting off all of the wood surfaces. In the mansion where every interior wall contained some engraved and polished hardwood paneling. It was only the bunny and all of Astoreth’s girls had already figured out that Oleksandra tended to freeze and watch passively when she didn’t understand the social situation. Veriko, being a member of a breed with a predisposition towards cannibalism, felt it was only proper to make some fun. “Isaac, I’m hungry and you look absolutely tast-EEEEEE!”
The blue arm shot through the wall and grabbed the Hellcat by the scruff of her neck after a bursting projection of magic forced her into phase as well. Based on the size of the hand and the finely crafted cufflinks Isaac caught a flash of, it was Astoreth. He had been walking just past her office. Veriko was dragged through the interior wall into the infernal mistress’ lair.
Oleksandra’s ears stood up quivering and Isaac was a bit stunned too. The house was often very quiet, it was much larger than required for the collection of pokegirls who lived there. So they could hear the muffled sound of Astoreth speaking, at least the low undertones layered under her contralto voice; reverberating through the timbers of the house. As they dedicated more of their focus to sound, they could also occasionally pick up meek, monosyllabic agreement from Veriko.
“The occupants of this house are very confrontational. How do they manage to coexist?” Oleksandra asked Isaac.
Isaac thought about that. “Well, they all respect Astoreth and she seems to keep things in check most of the time. I think we’re part of the problem, we’re sort of disrupting the culture and bringing out their bad manners.”
Oleksandra got that look she did. “Culture? Manners? I lack experience with these concepts.”
Oh jeeze, how the hell was Isaac going to explain this one? “Well, I guess broadly a culture is the collective behaviors of a distinct group of people, like the members of Astoreth’s house. It builds up over time through observational learning, young watching and copying the old. Cultures that have been around longer and contain a large population develop other ways to preserve and convey their culture. It gets really complex, because, well… People are complex.”
Isaac paused to think. “Manners would then be the behavioral expectations imposed by a specific culture. Like, let’s say Astoreth’s home has its culture and we, me, you, Neasa, and Jin, have our culture. To us, it’s bad manners to… swing at each other with knives. Here, it’s acceptable.” Isaac stumbled over a sudden thought he had. Neasa and Jin had swung at each other with knives while only a part of their group.
“So was Veriko making sexual advances on you bad manners?” Oleksandra asked the question but Isaac didn’t get around to answering because as they continued towards Isaac’s guest room they passed overhead of where Jin was working.
“She WHAT?!” The Enchantress sprinted up the stairs and shot angry looks in both directions. “Where is she? I’ll make a Hellcat fur coat!”
“Astoreth dragged her through the wall into her office.” Isaac said. “She’s dealing with it.”
Jin smirked. “Oh, okay.”
Jin’s outburst, which was poor manners in itself, drew even more attention. “Well, she was being quite aggressive and I don’t think she was as interested in me as she was upsetting Jin, so in that case, yes. It was probably bad manners. Astoreth thought so, that’s why she’s correcting the behavior.”
“What good are manners anyway,” Jin asked.
“Like a lot of aspects of culture, probably at some point it was just to keep people from killing each other to resolve conflicts. Back when there were way less humans, tribes were isolated from each other a lot and any time two different groups crossed paths there was a real chance things would devolve into violence. If both groups demonstrated the same manners though, it suggested they had cultural ties and therefore had a better chance to coexist. I don’t know, I’m speculating, but it sort of makes sense.” Isaac paused. He needed an example. Neasa and Nadezhda had both joined the little congregation and Isaac was impeded by an attentive pokegirl no matter which way he’d go, so he sat down on a stuffed leather bench figuring they’d be having this conversation for a while.
Neasa’s glimmering eyes were peering at him. “The practice of greeting one another with a handshake. Is that part of good manners?”
Isaac nodded. That was as good of an example as any. “Yeah. There’s a lot of different ways to shake a hand too, but way back in history it was a way to signal non-aggression. Specifically that you didn’t have a weapon in your hand, or hidden in your sleeve. Waving hello was the same way, you’re showing that your hand is empty. So if two hunters ran into each other and didn’t know one another and they didn’t want to fight, they’d offer to shake hands. It probably evolved from there, there’s a lot of different ways to shake hands now. Like, I was taught to shake another man’s hand firmly. This was probably to show that even though you weren’t holding a weapon the two men could gauge each other’s strength. Some guys get really overboard with it and every handshake with them is a stupid power struggle.
“Shaking a woman’s hand was different though. In the most extreme men would kiss the hands of women. I guess it was expected to kiss the hands of high status men too. You don’t kiss people you intend to harm. At least you’re not supposed to.” Isaac felt his flow of thoughts reduce to a trickle. “So it’s a lot of signalling intent.”
Nadezhda shrugged. “I’ve never thought about it that deeply. Si fueris Romae, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
Isaac nodded. “That’s how most people are. I’m just someone who doesn’t adapt easily so I think about stuff like this to make up for it. I probably got it from my dad’s side of the family. They were all rather insensitive towards each other. It made for a mean family culture. At least on one side they were Polish immigrants and the Polish were Slavic and Catholic so they weren’t treated very well.”
Nadezhda cocked her head. “Polish? Poland’s gone, no one can immigrate from there.”
Shit. Isaac screwed up again. “This was a long time ago, just me speculating on why they were the way they were.” Nadezhda still had a suspicious glint in her eye.
“I hate having to use manners.” Jin said petulantly. “Every time my father met with a customer I had to be a perfect little submissive Edo girl. I had to be polite even though they treated us like… like we were trash. They cheated my father constantly and looked down on him because my mother was from the Japanese islands while he was from the Korean peninsula. I was a mongrel in their eyes, even the other pokegirls. Father would always smile and bow and nod as they talked down to him in Mandarin. I hate speaking Mandarin…” That must be especially true because Isaac had never recognized her speaking in the language once. Not even to curse. He usually forgot she was fluent.
“I always found the manners of newcomers to my mother’s court to be strange. They were very submissive and anxious when presenting themselves before Queen Vershnyk for the first time. I never understood why they were so afraid of the queen until after Samodiva took over. She is vicious towards anyone she thinks isn’t showing her proper deference.” Neasa scowled. “What about when someone uses manners insincerely? Samodiva was very polite when she first arrived. Then she convinced the court to betray my mother and killed her.”
Isaac wanted to groan. There was no good answer for dishonest actors. “I don’t know. I don’t know what to do about untrustworthy people. I grew up trying to follow the golden rule. ‘Do unto others as you would have done unto you.’ When people didn’t follow that though, well… if they’re mean I’d get mean back because maybe that’s how they expected to be treated.”
“This is very complex,” Oleksandra said with a twitch of her ear. “Is it truly the presence of our competing cultures and the difference in manners that is causing the greater society of Astoreth’s house to become unstable?”
Isaac shrugged. He supposed it could be, but they’d only been here for a few days and negotiating the cultural differences between two small groups shouldn’t be too hard. Jin was a product of both cultures anyway.
Now that he was thinking about it though, his little group, himself included, could probably benefit from working on their manners.