Description: Azumi is practicing outside an abandoned shrine. Miki comes by, and seeing someone in a situation she may one day be in, bombards her with questions, learning about her past. Azumi learns of Miki's transformation, such as it is. Miki asks her to become allies and offers her help, both of which Azumi ends up accepting.
Snow had fallen all across Southtown in rather pleasant increments, enough to stick to the ground for at least a few days, but not enough to hinder traffic or otherwise become a burden. The overcast day didn't provide much sunlight for those who desired it, but the skies were still pleasant, with only the smallest of winds occasionally gusting by.
The shrine today was no exception as the snowfall had covered it's grounds entirely. Despite that, there seemed to be one very unusual person standing in the center of it's abandoned courtyard. Most immediately, one could tell she was some sort of werewolf, as the backwards knees and fuzzy stature would indicated. She also appeared to be wearing a very basic looking karate gi for comfort as she stands there, her posture being modeled into one commonly associated with martial arts. Her feet were wide apart and she had her hands out in front of her at different lengths, her hands balled into fists. She has her eyes closed but her ears open, and the tenseness of her legs suggests that she was about to move.
After a moment to gather her breath, she takes a step forward to throw a very slow and deliberate round house kick, followed by another, then series of open handed palm strikes into a rooted stance to throw out several heavy punches. She sidesteps with a small twirl does the same series of attacks in exactly the same order. After repeating this a few times she backflips, somersaulting high into the air and landing on her feet with enough grace to not disturb any more of the snow than necessary. She opens her eyes at that point and looks over the patterns in the snow she'd just made and grumbles.
"Good god-damn I've grown sloppy...Gotta do it again."
A short girl wearing geta and an elaborate kimono with overly long sleeves walks up the last few steps to the shrine, holding a black duffel bag straightarmed in front of her. Seeing a werewolf practicing there, she stops for a moment, her arm slackening somewhat, her arm, and thus the duffel bag, falling to her side - not really what she was expecting. Then she spins, hurls the duffel bag off somewhere in the trees, and then continues on towards her, not really attempting to hide her presence.
She turns back to watch the werewolf silently until she stops practicing and starts talking to herself.
Once she finishes those words, she offers the werewolf a normal sort of respectful bow.
"Good evening." She hardly moves her mouth as she speaks, but she sounds like she's just greeting another young woman - perhaps a trace of respect since this woman is probably older than her?
Azumi had sensed someone had come near, but she didn't stop until she'd hit an appropriate break point. The idea of this excercise was to make a perfect circle of attacks, practicing spatial awareness and balance. Unfortuantely, her circle was elliptical towards the left, the side she'd started at. Before she could dwell on it though a rather unusual girl approaches her. She seems almost surprised that she was approached so...casually, as most had seen apprehensive or otherwise alarmed by her appearance. She crosses her arms conservatively as she's spoken to, raising a clawed hand in greeting.
"Likewise. Is there something I can help you with? It's not too often I see people out here, this far away from the city."
Miki smiles, not showing any teeth. "I came to visit the shrine. But, meeting you here seems like fate." She's silent for a long moment, then walks up closer to Azumi, until she's just a couple feet away, and stares up at her eyes, seemingly more interested in them then Azumi's unusual body. There's just a trace of a cat smell coming from her, but it's equally everywhere, as if she is a cat, has been eating a lot of cats, or is wearing some sort of cat-based perfume. It's not hard to tell her body is rather muscular underneath that kimono.
She clasps her hands together, tilting her head a bit to one side.
"Is it okay if I ask you some kind of rude questions? I know someone who may one day be in a similar situation to you." She continues to stare. "If it's not okay, I understand. I'll just visit the shrine, and you can get back to your practice." She smiles again. No glimpse of her teeth at all so far.
Azumi's expression shifts to from being rather neutral to that of being moderately confused. One of her ears bends down against her head as her brow raises, staring back at the girl's unusual behavior. The smell was certainly noted, but without more information, she couldn't make many logical conclusions with it. She maintains her casual posture, gesturing with a hand as she shrugs slowly.
"If you want I guess. Don't be surprised if the answers aren't what you'd like to hear though."
Miki smiles again, reaches up a hand to cover her mouth, laughs. She lowers her hand after a moment, still smiling. "I'm just interested in the truth. There's no reason to ever turn your eyes away from the truth of this world." Normally people would have broken eye contact by now, but Miki keeps on staring. Her smile fades, a slightly concerned look replacing it.
"Have you always been a werewolf? I'm not sure if that's the proper term, but you know what I mean."
Azumi shakes her head a few times at that, reaching over to grab her wrist and pull at the fur there. "No. I used to have a job hunting creatures of the night and pure evil, like demons and stuff like that. We had a mission to take out a werewolf who was in hiding, but he proved to be pretty smart. My team and I caught up with him in the end and we'd nearly ended him, but he bit me and...well..this." She stops pulling at her fur and brings her arms back across her mid-section.
"It's been about two months now."
Miki listens to this intently, nods. Her eyes over to watch Azumi's gesture of discomfort briefly. She furrows her eyebrows a little, returns them to Azumi.
"Sorry, talking about this stuff probably isn't easy for you. But they are things I need to know."
"Has anything changed about your thinking since you've been bitten?"
"Do you consider yourself a creature of the night and pure evil?"
"Do you still have any friends or family from the time before you got bit?"
A short pause.
"Have you made any new ones?"
Azumi exhales deeply, biting her lip for a moment as she mentally sorts through the barrage of questions. She goes back to maintaining a fairly neutral expression as she starts speaking again. "...Thinking-wise? I mean...kind of? I don't want to like, eat people or anything like that. I still feel like me. But I do like meat alot more than I used to...and alot stuff normal people make for smelling good, like incense and stuff like that? Major overkill on the nose.
She pinches her nose for comedic effect before continuing onward. "I can't speak for all werewolves and stuff like that, but I'm still a person, you know? I can't help but wonder now, if some of those creatures I killed were just trying to live. Quite a few of them we'd assassinate in their sleep. But where I come from, I was a weapon, not to speak, but to do, and nothing more. Questioning stuff was not my job. I guess in technical terms though, I may be a creature of the night, so to speak, but I'm definitely not evil."
She then shakes her head quite a few times for the next question. "Sadly...no. Because of my failure..and my appearance that not only failed the mission but ended up costing my team their lives, I was exiled. I -should- have been killed on the spot, but I had a good service record behind my work so I guess I got kinda lucky with that. New friends...are hard. I don't even have a house or anything yet. I just live at wherever people don't bother my stuff. Most people completely freak out when they see me, so I don't go into town for anything if I can help it."
Miki nods slightly as Azumi talks about her thinking, a slight smile as she pinches her nose. Her eyes widen as Azumi tells the story of her former life and her fall from it, but she's looks more /interested/ than afraid or disgusted. She nods.
"That sounds like a very rough life, and a rough transition. If you need food or clothing or shelter or the like, I can help you out in some small way. I'm wealthy and can go in town easily, so it would be but a token repayment compared to the information you've been giving me."
A short pause. Staaare.
"I'm curious, though. You say you used to hunt evil creatures, and you yourself are not evil now. This means you have a very good idea of what 'evil' is, precisely. Thus, I must ask: what do you believe is evil?"
Azumi rubs a finger over her nose as the girl continues asking quite a few heavy handed questions, the werewolf's brow quirking upwards again. "Christ, you like to go deep, don't you? I appreciate the offer and I may end up taking you up on it at some point. The only people I've met out here so far are one really weird thunder guy, another guy who...I think might be a werewolf of sorts I guess, a weird monster...lizard..lady..thing...the less we talk about that day, the better, a chemical junkie dude I met when I was sneaking in town for food...and then mister Hayabusa. So I can't really say I've had much luck running into normal people, besides yourself."
She turns her head a little awkwardly at the constant staring and clears her throat awkwardly. "Ah...could you stop staring at me so much? It's creeping me out a little bit. And evil is...subjective I guess. It all depends on your own perception of it. When I was with the Red Cloud, I was told that we did the things we did to make the world a better place adn to better protect everyone. In reality, thinking about it, we may have taken care of some problems, but we never had instructions to talk with some of these creatures to reach a compromise. Some of them were definitely sentient, but it was always the same. We killed them. I know I felt great whenever I completed a mission, because I was doing as I was told and being good at it. But if I was one of those sentient monsters I was tasked to take care of...wouldn't I be the evil one?"
She pauses for a moment and shakes her head a little bit. "Sorry about that. All this time to myself has given me way too much time to think about all the things I've done."
Miki nods when Azumi says she likes to go deep. "Yes. I'm going to be extremely powerful one day, and thus it's important I understand everything." Said without any trace of shame, perhaps even a bit of pride.
At the awkward turn and throat clearing, she tilts her head a bit to one side slightly, then smiles a bit as she's told to stop staring, before adopting an appropriately apologetic expression and looking away. "Ah, sorry about that. I'm not exactly normal either, it's just easier for me to hide it because it's on the inside."
She glances back at Azumi. "What do you have to apologize for? I'm greatly interested in questions of morality like this. All the moreso when they take place in the real world rather than the theoretical." She looks away again. "Good and evil are just a matter of perspective. I think that's a good way to look at things. Maybe I should worry less about being good or evil, then, if there's no absolutes." She looks back to Azumi.
"Another thing I'm curious about: you're still practicing fighting out here. Are you worried you'll be attacked? Is there some new threat you're facing? Or are you just practicing because it makes you comfortable, it's the only part of your old life you don't have to leave behind?" ...She's using the appropriate amount of eye contact now, even if her questions aren't entirely appropriate.
Azumi feels a little bit better with the eye-contact, but the questions are starting to get a bit uncomfortable. She points back towards Miki after her first statement. "That might explain the cat...thing I'm picking up from you. But I'm assuming you were never asking about a friend, but you are asking about yourself, aren't you? Maybe one day you'll end up being like me? I do recall something...to do with Werecats, but they aren't really that popular, at least as far as I know. I could just eas easily be wrong I guess so...I dunno. Ignore that part."
She shifts her posture a little bit, turning to walk a few steps around to the side of the girl and stops. She holds both of her palms out towards the footsteps she'd made in the snow while practicing. With a bit of quiet concentration her hands glow a light blue and a gentle wind rolls across the snow, filling in the indentations made by her feet. Within a few seconds, the snow goes back to being undisturbed. She stands up straight again and turns to look towards Miki.
"Well, I may have been exiled, but the Red Cloud could come after me at any moment. I get the feeling the reason why they didn't is because they knew that killing me would take more effort than they would have liked to have spent. On top of that, tons of people hunt werewolves and the like. And I'd like to lead a long life, if I have anything to say about it."
Miki laughs, mouth open, showing off her teeth - as well as that her incisors have grown into straight up tiger-style fangs. "You are correct. I just said I know someone who may be one day in that situation. But, of course, I know myself very well. My body hasn't changed beyond the fangs... so far. But that could always change." A short pause. "However, that is not the part of me that's different. Even before I acquired this power, I don't think like most people seem to. Even the rich ones, who are a species apart in some ways."
She blinks, seeing Azumi build up chi, and takes a step back, focused, watches quietly for a moment. Seeing that she's merely erasing her tracks, though, the tiger-imbued girl blinks, relaxes. "Ahh. Nice trick."
"I too intend to lead a long life. But for that I'll need allies as well as personal power. Tell me. Are you willing to kill Red Cloud or other people if they come after you, to save your own life? I think there's nothing wrong with self-defense, but you may have some kind of personal attachment to them, or uncomfortableness killing humans that look 'normal'."
Azumi spots the sharpened fangs and mentally confirms her suspicions, though the laugh seems...odd, for certain. Leaving that and her following statement alone she crosses arms again, fielding the next question. "You certainly are curious for someone who literally just started asking a stranger questions. Still though, I'd reccomend you do not play psycho-analyst on people you just met. In either case...if I have to, I will. I know that they still have members that thought like I did so I do feel kind of bad, but if it comes down to me or them, I'm choosing me."
Miki shrugs. "Playing psycho-analyst is not always a good way to make a good impression, because it's considered rude and a lot of people are hiding from themselves to some extent or another. But it's a very good way to understand people. And I really /want/ to understand people. All the organizations, the creatures with power, everything - it comes down to people in the end, doesn't it? I know more about you than some people who have spoken to you a dozen times do." She takes a deep breath.
"I'm Miki Murakami. My fangs and power are a secret from the world, and I'm trusting you with that secret. It seems like we'll probably have to fight some of the same things, and when I'm fighting, I want someone who's strong and thoughtful as you are at my side." She looks into Azumi's eyes again, smiles.
"Let's be allies."
Azumi is...a little less than pleased with the initial part of that answer, but eventually she shrugs. To each their own. She listens to the rest of the minor monologue, putting mental notes on a few things before the final statement is said. She gives it a moment of thought before answering with a sly smile.
"Eh...couldn't hurt I suppose. And considering what I look like, I'm pretty sure you couldn't have found a better secret keeper. My name is Azumi. Pleased to meet you Miki."
Miki's smile widens as Azumi accepts her offer, although she doesn't show her teeth - it seems almost reflexive for her to hide those. "Pleased to meet you, Azumi."
"I'll get you a burner phone, and if someone starts trying to hunt you down or attack you, I'll come and aid you against them in some guise, or help you get out of the area." A short pause.
"Also, if you need food or clothes or weapons or a tent or anything - I can get you them pretty easy. I could get you a burqa - wearing one at night, you'll still look like an outsider in town, but no one will likely be able to tell you're a werewolf, at least." Another pause, and she meets Azumi's eyes again.
"And... to be fair, I've asked a lot of questions of you, and you've been very forthcoming. If you have any for me, I'll answer them honestly."
Azumi nods in understanding, though she still seems a little antsy about being stared at in the eyes so much. Not that she had anything to hide, but it was certainly unusual, to say the least. She taps a finger to the side of her mouth a few times, visibly thinking about something. "Ah...clothes would be nice. I have one suit...a hoodie and a set of pants...and then this training thing. It's not the best against the cold, but it's better than accidentally shredding anything else I own. Where in the world would you even get something like that fit for me? It's not like I'm a common body shape or anything."
She taps the side of her head with a finger at the question. "I don't have many questions, as I've picked up probably more than you realize. Still though, I have to ask, why are you not afraid of me? Even with a similar affliction, you had to had at least a doubt that I might have been alot less than...hospitable towards you. I'm merely curious. Also, why is it that you fixate on my eyes as much as you do? I can't pretend to know everything about everyone, but most people I've met...don't do that."
Miki raises an eyebrow at that first question. "Custom order on the internet through an anonymous account delivered to a post office box, naturally. I have a pretty good idea of what your body shape is, but we can take measurements first if you want to wait and have it be better tailored. What kind of clothing do you want?"
She nods. "I had no doubt you picked up quite a bit, but it still seemed polite to ask. Eyes are the window to the soul. Normal humans are uncomfortable with too much eye contact, and you can see discomfort, fear, and love so easily in them. So when I'm not focused on manners, I just look, and try to glean all I can. I don't have that emotion called... fear? Shame?" She shrugs slightly. "It was a good way to get a read on you, and another measurement of how close to a normal human you were. If you attacked me, we would've fought. I've fought scarier things than you. It was a calculated risk, of course - I did know there was a chance you'd kill me - but it didn't seem much more likely than with a normal human I met training out in the middle of nowhere." She shrugs. "In a few months I could be in the same situation you are, for all I know. Ignoring you and slinking away seemed like a bigger risk."
Azumi taps her finger to her chin a few times more, still thinking about possible answers to the questions presented. "Well...Just some basic stuff I guess and not a whole lot either. I have to pick up and carry everything I own every few days. I was hoping to make some money joining that battle arena thing in town. I figure I might be able to beat a few of those guys and make enough money to pay for an apartment or something like that. When I get that set away, then maybe we can expand how much stuff I own."
She listens to the second set of statements and offers a small shrug. "While I am wary, I am not paranoid. At least...not yet I guess. You seemed like you wanted to find me for some reason, so I was just interested as to how anyone just waltzes up to me like it was nothing."
Miki smiles. "The way I see it, you're just another strong person. I've met strong people that were nice, and strong people who were batshit insane. There's not any particular reason to be afraid beyond any other strong person. The reason I think some people who get labelled with 'Darkstalkers' become dangerous is because they're thrown away by society." A pause. "I'll leave the phone and some clothes in a duffel bag behind the shrine in three or four days from now - I'm not sure quite how long getting the clothes together will take."
She stares up into Azumi's eyes again. "I could get a cheap apartment rented out for you on the edge of town if you wanted, or leave you the cash to do it on your own. But if you're not comfortable with that, or feel like you should make your own way to that extent, I understand. You're choosing the path you walk through the world, after all." She looks away after a moment.
Azumi tap-taps her chin a few more times. "Well, if you were down on your luck, hungry, had no friends and were hunted, it's no wonder some turn out the way that they do. I'm just fortunate I was highly skilled when this happened. If this happened when I was a kid...well..." She stifles a small sigh and shakes her head at that thought.
"In either case...I'd need to see the place first. Scope it out and everything. If it's nice enough, I'll go ahead and take you up on it, but why are you offering me so much when I've done...just about jack nothing for it? And I'm assuming this is no-strings-attatched right? Not going to barge into the middle of the night and demand my toothbrush?"
Miki smiles, shrugs. "Like I said. I'm rich. In a couple months, I could be in your shoes. I mean, I've set aside money and so forth because I can see it coming and have the luxury of doing so, so even when... if that happens, I shouldn't need you to bail me out. But since we're allies and might need to back each other up against those who would hunt us, it's a fairly minor price to me to encourage you to settle nearby."
She looks away, and raises her hand up to play with the comb in her hair. "Plus... I've spent some time thinking about it. What it'd be like to be... even without all the mundane practicalities involved...." A slight shrug, she glances back to Azumi briefly, looks away again, as if she's slightly uncomfortable with eye contact now.
"I'll leave you some cash and the 'rooms for rent' section of the classifieds, you can pick out your own place. It's entirely yours, though. I won't visit or even know where it is unless you invite me. Sound good?"
Azumi shrugs at the reasoning, seeing no reason to push the line of questioning any further. She gestures towards the broken down shrine's primary building. "Alright, fair enough. Leave anything you wish to give me in that building. The mats in there have broken or rotted away and the snow isn't helping much. Stash it in the northwestern corner and I'll find it there straight away. I don't really live here or anything, but I do come here often enough to kind of make it a place I visit regularly. Until then though, I certainly appreciate the help and who knows, maybe I'll end up returning the favor."
Miki looks over to the building Azumi gestures at, nods. "Will do." She looks back to the werewolf and smiles. "Take care, Azumi." She pauses, smile faltering a bit as if she's considering saying something else, then just smiles again, and turns, crouches slightly, leaps up into a nearby tree to one side of the stairway to the shrine, glances back before she jumps to another one, then another one, out of sight. She still needs to go and find where she tossed that duffel bag earlier.
Azumi passes her a wave as she takes off and watches her depart before she turns from her and takes a deep breath. She exhales and closes her eyes, pulling herself into a heavily grounded martial arts pose to likely return to her practice.
Log created on 16:11:31 01/27/2015 by Miki, and last modified on 22:00:34 01/27/2015.