Description: Zack and Lee have arranged for blowout festivities on the opening day of the tournament. Massive speakers shaped like Tiki idols and towering torches festoon a portion of the verdant jungle where participants and visitors are invited to partake in a luxurious buffet and enjoy the volleyball court built with sand carted from the nearby shores. Rumor has it that the hosts will tell of the legends of this previously uninhabited island, stories of a civilization that supposedly dwelt here long ago and its secret gods. In the distance, the island's sole mountain faintly rumbles ...
Even before the party has begun, the scene is a whirl of sensations.
The setting sun dyes the dense jungle foliage above, expanding on the spectrum of tropical hues. The sand of the volleyball pit, carted laboriously from the shores of the island, shows starkly the play of shadows that dance from the massive torches spaced evenly about this clearing. Interspersed between those torches are what appear to be objects stolen from a Hollywood movie set, giant foam 'stone' idol heads convincingly painted and with various intense expressions whose gaping maws reveal speakers installed within. Emanating from those idolatrous speakers is a continuous funky jam, linked live by the island's expansive wireless network to the man at the front of it all, your DJ and host, your servant and king:
"Welcome, baby, one and all!"
Zack stands on a raised dais against a thick backdrop of trees, looking down with arms spread wide, allowing his royal mantle to rustle magnificently in the refreshing breeze. That's right: Zack is wearing what by all appearances is a king's costume resplendent in red and gold, complete with a fur-trimmed cloak. He is sweating profusely and, if his enormous grin is any indication, he does not seem to mind at all.
"Welcome to my island paradise!!"
He speaks into a thin microphone strapped to his glimmering crown, though he constantly has to reach up to readjust it as it slips down his brow. His other hand descends to the turntables and mixers arrayed before him, engaging in the sort of minor and indistinguishable tweaks to the sound levels that make DJs feel important.
"Tonight, the secrets of Zack Island shall be revealed to you, and you shall learn the true funky purpose that you have been brought here!" The constant reminders of the hotel staff to the participants that they should arrive looking their best may be some indication of that purpose, but who knows what he'll say. "Until then-- let's party!"
It looks as though camera crews are still discreetly setting up on the sidelines. The buffet table in back, however, is heaped high with fresh seafood and local fruits in addition to whatever other delicacies the fighters might desire. It's a real spread. There are beachballs in the volleyball pit for those who'd like to try their hand, and a couple stands set up which appear to be selling souvenirs. And, of course, the clearing right before the DJ booth is available for dancing.
And if the way Zack cranks up the base as he transitions to an even funkier track were any indication, the world wants to see how fighters dance.
Right now, Hugo is lost. How can a man over eight feet tall and weighing hundreds of pounds be lost? Because there's no Poison. There was a cute guy, and suddenly the buffet was less important than vanishing. Well, nothing is more important than the buffet to the giant man! Although he is showing some measure of restraint, shadow cast over his favorite shrimp. Now and then he carefully and gently plucks one up between his fingers and thwumps it into his mouth, so minute a portion he doesn't even have to chew. Despite his crippling social anxiety, the looming chill he gives off is unintentionally intimidating; anyone who wishes to also sample the buffet is going to have to get within arm's reach of the largest thing that might be called 'human' on the planet.
What is a party to a man? What is a man to JOHNNY CAGE? The movie star arrives just in time for the festivities, followed by his usual entourage. He wears a pair of tight-fitting and, of course, expensive swim shorts in a dark gray-blue mix. On his feet, imported sandals. Head? THE SHADES. The chest? His name tattoo. "What's up everybody, the party has arrived! By that I mean me!" he proclaims loudly.
He motions for his followers to scatter and not cramp his style; they could gossip about the other guests out of earshot. HE wanted to mingle and be seen by everyone. He claps shoulders of men and blows kisses to women, shaking hands with fans and making sure he has a pen in his back pocket.
Sakura's been getting used to having the cameras around at (almost) all times. One of the camera men was perhaps a little -too- enthusiastic and had to be threatened with a hadouken to the jumbly bits to get him to back off... but in general it's been alright. Probably unlike most of the attendees, Sakura didn't bring a whole host of swimsuits--and she certainly didn't bring any like the ones the models are sporting. Her swimsuit today -is- a bikini, half-black half-red, but it's modest in cut. Of course, accessorizing it is her headband, and her fighting gloves--but not her Converse, she's wearing proper sandals at least.
"Whatcha think, Natsu-chan? This seems pretty cool, neh?" The Ansatsuken Flower has a towel slung around her neck, too, partially fashion statement, partially, just, she read somewhere to never go anywhere without your towel.
When told to look her best, Alice took into account the location (Zack Island), the host (Zack) and her previous knowledge of both. She made a very safe choice.
Alice is wearing about half her usual outfit. It's her favourite fighting bikini, or at least theone she's fought in the most - but it is /just/ her favourite fighting bikini. Well, and sandals. She's not going to walk over rocks barefoot if she can help it. The bikini is red, front-tied, with a white star over her right breast and beading on the strings to keep them down. The bottoms match. She is not wearing the skirt or legwarmers, but she is wearing the armband and hat, so it evens out.
She also has a banana, because of course she does. Alice is currently not eating it, though; she's strolling across the sandy volleyball pit, gently kicking one of the beach balls absently in front of her. She has already played one game of beach volleyball today, too.
Alice lost track of Testament's abs (and by extension the rest of Testament) a while ago. She may be looking for him. But probably not.
'Look your best!' 'Look your best!' 'Put your beauty to the test!'
Wine's been poured, and thank the lord that Sada's figured out how to sneak alcoholic beverages out of the bar, which isn't very rhyme-friendly but is totally true, even if in this case it merely takes the form of a large froofy drink with an umbrella in it.
Nonetheless she's holding it like a wine goblet in one hand, already half drained.
What is Sada Asai, flower of Seijyun, wearing? We're glad you asked. Going from top to bottom (you won't believe this one weird fashion listicle trick):
* Broad-brimmed straw hat with a ribbon in robin's egg blue around it
* Wide-lensed shades that are more smoked-glass than jet black
* Hair (not really worn but brushed to a high gloss)
* Bubblegum-pink lipstick
* Bikini top (high and tight, three-diamonds-flowers design, white on black)
* Bikini bottom (of course)
* Open toe wedge heels
Sada is sauntering, not least because she kind of has to, what with the heels. She has a hand on her hip as if she owns the place, though. (Does she?) (Only with a forged deed.)
Amongst all this sunny, light, happy celebration, there is a spot of black. That would be Testament. An extremely pale figure who is... not wearing a bikini or swimsuit. Rather, some odd garment of black leather Some kind of weird bandeau top and skirt split all the way to the waist, with heeled boots under it. Long black hair covering most of the face, arms crossed over the chest. Testament's aforementioned abs are currently on display, and the light outline of ribs can be seen under the skin.
...Woman? Man? Men don't show off their legs like that, do they?
For all that figure's relative mystery, there is a figure to the right that's definitely female! Except... she's blue. Literally. Her skin is light blue, and has light lavender whorls on it. Lavender hair. And... bright golden horns that point forward and up, sticking out of her hair just above her ears.
...What a costume.
But that's not all! She's wearing a black sling-type bikini! A... very... very... TINY... black sling bikini. The thing has two short cloth straps covering her breasts and another, longer strap covering her nether regions. There are loops sewn in the ends of each strap, and strings thread through them around her neck and around her waist. But it's decent!
...More or less. However, pixels may be needed later.
Then again, if it's a blue and purple body stocking, it's no wonder she wouldn't care that much about the swimsuit covering much. Either way, Testament seems unmoved by it as she leans on his side, an arm on his shoulder.
Dressed in a cutesy pink and white polka-dot bikini with a matching skirt, Jam stands near the buffet table with a look of grim determination on her face and some platform sandals on her feet. What did that kind of food have over her Chinese food? Pfft, probably nothing at all! But she still wanted to get closer look at the food, but there was one big obstacle standing in her way. One several hundred pound obstacle whom was also wearing pink this late afternoon. But that did not make him look any less intimidating to Jam.
Steeling her resolve, Jam reaches up and ensures that the ribbon tied to the can of oolong tea in her was still there. The young chef then takes a deep breath and patiently waits all about twenty seconds before calling out, "Hey big guy! Let me in there too! I need to try some of that food before it's all gone!" She pleads to the massive back of the gargantuan figure in front of her in line at the buffet.
Hugo has tired of playing coy with the food. Enough with foreplay! His huge neck twists to the left, then the right, scoping out the situation. A few of the mundane party guests are almost near him, but none dare look directly into the recessed shadows of his craggy face. Then his hand splays, thumping down on the shrimp. He then clenches it into a fist, gathering 4/5ths of them. Before stuffing it all into his mouth and beginning to chew. In retrospect that was a poor idea, and he cleans his hand upon the tablecloth. A passing attendant is thumped to his rear by an attempted pat. "Shrimp." he states, deep as a wardrum. "More." A punchbowl is then picked up as if it was a mug, and he begins to drink. Before freezing, and slowly looking to Jam. "Go ahead." he states, as if confused that he was asked. Why IS everyone so far away? Hugo knew nobody liked him...
How did she get roped into this?
That's the thought that comes across Cadence "Scratch" Carter's mind as she walks through this manufactured island paradise. At least "manufactured" in the sense of an Orlando theme park, like the kind she went to when she was a kid. She was amazed at it back then, but now, she looks at it through jaded goggles. Ok, neon green goggles, but that's just being literal. And besides, the sun is so far and beyond what she's used to even in the worst Metro City summers that she needs something to cover her eyes.
And it's a good thing she invested in cargo shorts. Those heavy long things she usually wears would be murder on this island. But she's still not dressed terribly in the spirit of things, only the hint of some kind of swimsuit replacing her usual mesh shirt under her white tank. Grumbling, Scratch remembers how her aunt convinced her to do this. She really regrets telling her about some of the things she's been up to in fighting. She was actually expecting to get an earful...she got one in the exact opposite direction, convincing her to go and get exposure. Maybe living vicariously through Scratch.
EIther way, as she walks through, sunscreen painted on her face in her usual artistic whorls, she grumbles through the horde of other people apparently here for this crazy event. ANd only one extra thing crosses her mind.
"WHere the hell am I supposed to skate?"
While many at the island have arrived specifically to participate in the fighting tournament or simply enjoy a vacation, Ryu Hayabusa has arrived on much different circumstances. No, the Master Ninja isn't here to track down some rogue fiend that threatens the fate of the world... he's here because Zack himself has become a surprisingly frequent customer at Hayabusa's curio shop and invited the ninja to come sell his wares to the guests on the island.
This explains why in one corner of the clearing has a smaller, more open version of the island's shop set up in the corner with a sign reading in perfect calligraphy "Genuine Mt. Fuji Curios" above it. What makes this sign slightly strange is that, among the tea sets, woodcarvings, and other traditional japanese folk art there are things such as... swimsuits, fancy electronics, and for some reason a jetski on display. In far less formal writing, there are notices advertising "Improve Your Friendship, Improve Your Fighting," "+Relationship <3," "Perfect Gift," and "Zack's Pick!" This last one happens to be featured prominently in with the more scandalous swimwear.
As for the man running the shop, Ryu Hayabusa has been outfitted by one of the island's staff (a young woman who seemed to be unused to the island heat, Hayabusa noticed) with a black hawaiian shirt featuring small, pink sakura blossoms (left open at the woman's insistence) and a black speedo. This seems to show off a fair amount of the Ultimate Ninja's muscular figure despite technically being clothing.
Natsu is not far behind Sakura -- yet again, the most reserved of the one-time Trio of Terror is letting her friend lead her into trouble. Or parties. Whatever! Like her friend, the tall Gorin athlete is wearing a towel across her shoulders, and a two-piece swimsuit with a modest cut -- hers is black in color, though, with yellow trim. Her simple leather sandals seem to be plenty comfortable for keeping up with Sakura's fast pace.
"Y-yes. Pretty cool..." replies Natsu, looking about with no small amount of trepidation; the girl's a bit out of her element with all these older people about. "... I'd... say we should hit up the free food, but..."
Jam had been ready for some sort of confrontation at the buffet table, but the big guy let her through! A big grin beams on Jam's face as she slinks around the scary and huge Hugo to get at what's left of the shrimp too. But it seems that Hugo had already eaten a good portion of what was laid out and what was left didn't....exactly look all that appetizing. Jam puts her hands on her hips as she considers how to fix this problem. "Yeah! Bring more shrimp out!" She eloquently joins in chorus with Hugo before looking at him appraisingly.
"You really can put this kind of food away! You wouldn't happen to like Chinese food do you? Because I could use a new number one customer at my world-class restaurant!" Jam sales-pitches excitedly to the big guy, If Hugo brought that sort of appetitie to Jam's restaurant, than Jam could initiate her easiest get rich scheme yet.
Arriving slightly late is Mila herself, clad in a white one piece gown that is very short and exposes most of her legs with a pair of matching high heeled shoes. It's a stark departure from her usual casual or MMA fighting attire. But when you're looking to look your best at a party, this is the best way to do it. She looks around and attempts to locate anyone she might recognize from the past. All the while, that big smile on her face remains to show that she's still just as optimistic as before.
Johnny turns to the buffet and sees Hugo and then turns away. He's not quite ready to meet the giant a second time, not after their fight. He has to relax and take in the view of a hot girl first. He catches sight of Sada and her beachwear. Johnny nodded slowly. Nice. He approached, grabbing a tropical drink off a waiter's tray. "Hey there," he says to her. "Yes, I am THE Johnny Cage. Are those sunglasses Matsuda?"
The hulking Hugo moves on to another tray, although this time he only grasps half of it, leaving a fair portion untouched. "S,sorry." he mumbles when he saw Jam trying to pick at any shrimp he didn't desolate. There's plenty of it really, it was intended to serve twenty. "...Chinese? ... ...Chinese food one of my favorites." A huge dallop of drool runs down his chin, thick and viscous. The rest of the punch is drained before he sets the bowl heavily down with a clatter back atop the table and shoves the cheeses, toothpicks and all, into his waiting maw. "Little girl a good cook...? Hmm. Will visit..."
Zack practically howls into his microphone while gyrating passionately up upon his kingly pedestal, his fingers dancing on the equipment before him.
Capturing that sample of his own voice, he works it into the funky beat pounding from the faux statues, live mixing his verbalizations as sound effects. Zack /is/ the music.
"That's what King Zack is talkin' about!"
His eyes are bugging out under the slippery rim of his crown as Zack bugs out more or less in general, shoulders wriggling back and forth as his gaze sweeps the clearing. One can almost hear the sound of a camera zooming in and out as his pupils shrink and expand to minutely inspect the participants.
"Is that Johnny Cage? That's Johnny Cage himself with his entourage, here on Zack Island, resort beloved by the rich and famous!" He's speaking into his microphone, and thus all his commentary is booming through the speakers, audible to everyone. "My main man Hugo seems to have picked up a cute girlfriend over there in the polka-dot bikini." Ah, he looked over at just the right/wrong time. "Ooh, I'm jealous, Huge! That's Kuradoberi Jam, and who doesn't love a woman who can cook as well as she can fight? But the King is most generous, and wishes you the best!"
Is he going to narrate this entire event?
And is half of it going to be sound effects?
"There's Alice 'Katana' Nakata, the Improved Terry Bogard, killin' it like always! This tournament is a big chance for her as a fighter, and this party is a big opportunity for her to show that she's the hottest around! But she's got some fine competition here tonight, my friends. There's Sakura and Natsu, the Fire Flowers, who--"
Zack pauses as a woman with her hair pinned in a bun emerges from seemingly nowhere to place a hand on his arm and shake her head slowly.
"--who my lawyer advises me to say nothing about!!"
Music! Free food! Dancing! Weird theme decoration! Scantily clad attendants!
Now this is a party!
There's only one thing that could make it better and that thing comes strutting out of the jungle like she were the Queen of the Nile. The self-styled party girl, soccer enthusiast, and occasional underworld assassin known only to the world as Angel slinks into view along one of the many pre-cut pathways that have been carved through the underbrush to allow easier passage to and from the various hotspots.
If the outfits worn by those present today could be considered to drift between showy and risque then Angel cannot be described as anything other than downright scandalous. Twin pieces of black rectangular leather cover the center of each of her breasts, each held into place only by a pair of strings that go up around her neck and down into a criss-crossing web of similar threads that are connected to the equally tiny strip of fabric that protects her bits from view, but only just. The backside is even worse, being little more than the strings holding the front together.
As she draws closer, it becomes clear that the thick mop of white on top of her head is the tanned girl's hair, still wet from the beach and clinging to her face in a haphazard fashion. That, ofcourse, means that the rest of her is also still slick and shiny, casting her alluring proportions into dazzling relief upon the backdrop of the setting sun and the party lights.
Angel, addition to her smoking hot body, has also brought another treat to the scene and, unlike Sada, the bold youth does little to hide the bottle of half-empty liquor in her hand.
"Awwww yeeeeeeah! Now we're talkin'!"
Spinning around at the edge of the room with a surprising amount of grace and speed, the jubilant Mexican quickly makes her way to the center of the dance floor, bobbing her head and swinging her arms to the beat. The rest of her anatomy likewise has no choice but to follow suit.
"Alright, who wants to party with Angel?!"
Sakura giggles at Natsu. "Relax! You look great." The free food? "Oh yeah, definitely we're gonna hit that up." Of course, Sakura is well-known for her inability to turn down free food, at least amongst the denizens of Taiyo and certain other schools. She turns with assurance, her (not self-) admittedly slightly boyish figure dwarfed by Natsu's, and leads her friend towards the food tables. Safer there than having to mingle mingle mingle with the rest of the people. "Neh, Natsu-chan, did you hear anything about our first oppponents?"
Scratch looks clearly overdressed compared to a lot of people here, boys AND girls. But then again, that suits her fine. She's not here to be THAT kind of show off anyway. She's more concerned with....souveniers?
That's what it seems when her wander through the sea of people around here, leading her to the curious shop with the calligraphy style sign above it. Looking up to it, she turns to the rest of the offered goods with a rather suspicious eye. "I didn't realize jetskis were from Mt. Fuji," she notes rather snarkily toward the man in the....well.
She stares for a bit, before shaking her head. "And I didn't realize that was the kind of thing stall owners wore either," she says, snarking quickly in a way that makes it clear she's covering something else up with her attitude.
It would appear there is a catgirl among the audience tonight, or what looks like one! Felicia has stepped out onto a small stage, she tentatively taps at a small stand microphone that has been set into a small stage that has been set up. Felicia herself is wearing what looks like a tiki-inspired bikini, her long blue hair swept back with bare feets padding through the sand to get to the stage likely setup somewhere near Zack's, though it's not clear if Zack would invite her up or not.
"I hope you guys are here to have fun! We're going to be having a lot of fun this evening," Felicia snaps her furred fingers and a trio of similarly clad tiki girls step up alongside behind her. Likely hired by Lee along with Felicia for the entertainment of the guests at the party. One is creamy white, asian, little bows in her hair, while the other two are varying shades of dusky, one looking hispanic and deeply tanned with the other likely African, wavy thick hair kept short.
"I'm Lady Felicia, and on behalf of Violet Systems, let's party!" she then begins what is some kind of quickly choreographed dance number with the other girls, island themed of course. It's likely a lot more interesting and fun to watch for the men than the ladies, unless the girls here also happen to swing that way, then knock yourself out.
Sada observes the notorious H.U.G.O make a mess of the buffet table. Well, she thinks, imagining him just tilting it up and dumping it in his mouth, I didn't want to eat dinner anyway.
She sips her drink. AND THEN! She turns slightly when someone comes up near her, and her eyes go bug-in-headlights wide behind the smoked lenses for a moment. Johnny Cage, she thinks. /The/ Johnny Cage. The man who stared in Five Murders For Five Hours, as well as the memorable oscar performance in 'Departing Reno'.
Sada runs her tongue over her lower lip. "They are," she says, "Vintage." She looks over their upper rim towards him. "Do you like how they look...?"
Richard Tran is here, and he's really mad.
Richard Tran is here, and he's really AN-gry.
Okay, that was a naughty fib. Richard Tran is here, but he's strangely subdued; he's lounging near the buffet table, wearing a pair of dark blue board shorts (and nothing else; he is still ripped and mad sexy) and holding a plate containing one (1) sprig of parsley and one (1) shrimp. Neither has been touched; instead, Tran is quietly watching the crowd, his eyes flicking back and forth with unnerving precision.
"Why isn't he talking to anyone?" demands Kirsten Geary.
"Well, we sort of had to turn off a lot of his autonomy as part of the inhibition protocol?" explains some nerd who looks a lot like Adam Devine. (Holy shit, is that Adam Devine?) "Otherwise he might find a way out of the inhibition loop. That's, heh, that's, you know, why we had to bring the sub out here in the first place..."
"Don't care," Kirsten says, waving a hand dismissively. "He needs to act like an actual person or he's going to get sniffed out. Someone make him go talk to a girl."
There is a general sense of shame and uneasiness around the control room.
"Oh, my God," declares Kirsten in disgust. "Shut up, move over. I'm doing it."
Tran blinks rapidly seven times in quick succession, and then turns and starts across the party grounds, apparently headed for Ryu's stand, his hand disappearing into his board shorts pockets and coming out with a simple black wallet. His path, as it happens, intersects with Sakura and Natsu's path to the food tables... and, as it also happens, he (certainly accidentally) bump right into Natsu, distracted as he is by removing money from his wallet.
The doctor almost pitches forwards, catching his balance at the last second. His wallet, however, tumbles forwards out of his hands, a few of the contents spilling out onto the ground.
"Crap, I'm so sorry," Tran says, his face a frown of apparently sincere concern. He reaches up to gingerly touch Natsu's shoulder. "Are you okay, miss?"
Alice Nakata knows /exactly/ when she's being called out by name.
You can tell because, about a half second after Zack calls it, when people are presumably looking over at her, she has peeled part of her banana and -
Well. It's popular with some people.
Alice swallows some moments later and ... grins. She can't really help herself. "I'm pretty glad to be here!" she calls back, raising her voice just enough to carry. She kicks the beachball up, hits it with her head to get it out of the way, and keeps on strolling. She certainly has enough self-confidence for three.
She does look a little consideringly at Zio, Sada and Angel, in about that order.
Clad in a red, white, and blue swimsuit, because of /course/ she is, Tiffany Lords is fashionably slightly late to the party. Not by choice, mind -- she'd spent a few hours looking for the perfect hat to complement her swimsuit, only to find a whole lot of nothing. Accordingly, her posture when she enters the party is one of slight-to-significant dismay.
The only cure for this, of course, is a whole lot more food. Like Hugo, she makes a beeline for the buffet table, only to find it... well, in the throes of Hugo. Tiffany looks around in acute despair, briefly spotting Jam; she gives the older girl a wave and a smile before moving to the half-untouched tray that Hugo went for second and delicately picking some appetizers off of it.
She still seems pretty dejected, though. All those hopes of eating away her hat-related woes...!
Johnny looks over his own with a wry smile. "Yeah I do. I like how EVERYTHING looks on you, Miss...?" he trails off, offering his hand. Out of the corner of his eye he scans the party. Angel appears; DAMN! He's gonna have to get closer to that action. This lady seemed classier though. Patience Johnny, patience. The night was young. He also spies Tran. What a creepy guy, he thinks. He can't quite put his place on it, but he wonders if a registered sex offender snuck in. That might explain the awkward motions and piercing eyes. He's sure someone has a handle on him, since Johnny plans on getting absolutely trashed before things end.
Natsu is used to crowds of people watching her volleyball games. She's perfectly fine with crowds that stay in their seats. Heck, they can even STAND if they want to -- as long as they stay behind the nice yellow lines. This party is really, -really- messing with her though. For one thing, she's finding it hard to even pay attention to her childhood friend standing -right next to her-. "I... I haven't heard... -much-, no. They're... older, I think? One was like... a boxer? The other is some kind of Mexi-"
Natsu doesn't get the chance to finish before her head snaps back to the voice on the PA. Zack -- he's the one who invited them all here, right? She watches him with a bemused look on her face at first -- and then a befuddled one, as he's called out by the lawyer-type.
So she's -really- taken aback when the not-just-one, the not-only Richard Tran is suddenly at her back, bumping inth her from behind. She stumbles forward a half-step, cheeks a brilliant shade of pink as she looks down at Tran. "... Mm, yeah, it's... it's no problem at all." She gives Sakura a brief deer-in-the-headlights look for a moment, before looking back to Tran.
Sada glances over as Tiffany comes in, taking a long suck on the stem of her straw. After this, she says, "Please... call me Sada." Perhaps the sex offender is Johnny Cage!!
"I've never been to a party like this, Mr. Cage. Could you show me around...?" Sada asks, reaching up as she does to toss her hair back a little bit. She shifts a little, mostly so Johnny has his back to Tiffany.
Back over in the Genuine Mt. Fuji Curios stall, which is relatively unpatronized because it does not contain the words "Free" or "Food" very prominently (although, strangely, there are quite a lot of food items for sale), Hayabusa seems to be doing a terrible job of appearing relaxed and opening, which is often a requirement of somebody who makes their living in the sales industry.
Ryu Hayabusa does not make his living in the sales industry, and in fact makes a great deal of money off of having a shop in a tourist location that's filled with handcrafted goods... which typically doesn't include jetskis and monokinis. This explains why he is standing behind the shop's counter with his arms folded, and his naturally piercing gaze aimed straight at any who step within his realm. So far the customers have been ducking out before they get within the range of the next action. Scratch manages to break that barrier, and as such is greeted by a very formal (and very at odds with his current state of dress), "Irasshaimase!"
"Dress in your best."
This was the instruction that Caoimhe Delaney had received from the bellhop, as had most of the other guests on the island. At first, it had seemed simple - her blue Army dress uniform, complete with her medals and ribbons, could easily be considered the ideal of the soldier. And so, three hours before the party was to begin, Caoimhe had finished buttoning every button, pulled on the green beret, adjusted it so that it sat just so, and appraised herself in the mirror.
And then she had noticed the spot.
It was a tiny spot, origins unknown, barely noticeable on the collar of her dress jacket. The presence of that spot had immediately bored itself into her psyche. At first, she tried to rub it out. Unsuccessfully. She had located some bleach around the hotel, and, assured of her own knowledge of chemistry and general competence, had attempted in more drastic fashion to resolve the issue of the spot.
It had not worked out.
Eventually, forced to leave the jacket with the hotel staff with the assurance that it would be 'good as new' within a day,' Caoimhe began extensive reconnaissance of the available dress retailers on the island. The endeavour was well-documented by a camera crew following the woman around, largely unnoticed by Delaney herself.
The fruit of that labour is now clinging to her curves in shimmering emerald green, trailing along the ground as she makes her way along the buffet table. Presumably, from her posture, there are high heels beneath the low-cut, strapless satin gown that she's sporting. Her auburn hair has been carefully combed into feathered layers, and she's sporting a light makeup that accentuates her eyes and lips. Her pale green eyes sweep coolly over the party as she leans against the table, one hand on her hip.
"Well, this is a Charlie Foxtrot," she mutters under her breath.
Then, seemingly from nowhere, she produces a walkie-talkie and holds it up surreptitiously near her face. "G.C. One, I've reconned the area, and the party zone is clear for insertion. Waiting on your arrival, over."
All she's been getting so far is silence from the other end, but that's to be expected when dealing with civilians, right?
Jam backpedals a few feet in an attempt to get out of slobbering range. Ugh, gross! But Hugo -did- look like he could eat and eat a lot. Already dollar signs were forming in Jam's eyes. Jam adds her most bestest, winning smile to those dollar signs when the big guy says that he does like Chinese food. She also nods her head emphatically at if she was a cook or not. "I'm the best Chinese food cook in all of Japan! And you come by the Sleeping Dragon in Southtown, you'll be the guest of honor!" That is...as long as Hugo brings all the money with him too.
Zack's loudspeaker announcement causes Jam to get super flustered when she realizes that she's the only one in a polka dot bikini near Hugo. She'll get her revenge one day on that guy, she silently swears and she glares in the 'king's' general direction. Her murderous thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of TIffany at the buffet table. "Oh hi Tiffany! I haven't seen you in awhile....or at my restaurant at all." Jam settles her slightly less murderous glare at Tiff now. "Haven't been in the mood for some Chinese?"
Sada's ploy works, Johnny taking no notice of Tiffany, focused entirely on her. "Me?" he asks with faked incredulity. "Why...I'd be happy to! Let Johnny Cage show you around; this isn't my first beach party." He motions to hook arms with her, taking a drink from the tropical beverage in his other hand. "Let's see what they got at the buffet, huh? Hopefully there's some surf and turf. It's not a real beach party without good lobster and filet mignon, you know?" That means getting close to HUGO, but Johnny doesn't mind. He's curious to know how he got here, anyway./
"Japan is nice place. Full of cats. Poison likes cats..." Hugo hangs his head in sadness. Although nothing about him looks particularly rich. How could he be, with the amount of calories he needs to ingest, and the cost of his tailoring? He goes through two bars of soap just trying to clean himself! When his name is mentioned, he lifts his head, staring shocked at Zack. "Am famous?" People are definitely looking towards him, but that's doubtlessly because he's a mammoth. Suddenly he poses, flexing his arms thicker than 90 percent of the people's midsections. "HNNN!" The entire 'girlfriend' thing was completely missed. Some things are able to even go flying over his head, with a hard enough kick and a running start. "Promise will visit after I WIN!" A huge fist slams his chest hard enough to blow a nearby person's skirt up. "And become rich! Hahaha!"
"Mexican wrestler, yeah. He's a luchadore I guess, I did a little research on them last night--" Sakura goes on for a bit, not initially noticing the interaction between Tran and Natsu, but she clues in soon enough and stops, turning. She looks bemused at the whole thing. She did some time researching a lot of the participants in this little thing--thank god for wifi and Google--so her eyes go a little wide when she recognizes the man.
"You're Dr. Tran!" she exclaims, of course not knowing about the difference between the flesh Dr. Tran and the robot Dr. Tran. Tilting her head as she recalls a little bit about him, she says, "Having a good time here at the party?"
Meanwhile, it seems that everyone's gotten into their swimsuits, and Mila seems a bit overdressed. So she steps out for a moment, and then returns, wearing a two piece orange-yellow-and-white striped bikini. Her shoes are removed too. She seems a bit more well dressed for the party. Her body seems a little on the suggestively toned side for now.
"This bitch has got, like, zero titties," Kirsten Geary declares critically. "And her friend looks fourteen."
"I dunno, I think they're, like, super pretty..." says Adam Devine(?) uncertainly.
"Hugo Andore is pretty compared to your last lay," Kirsten scowls. "Well, maybe they're sluts. God knows I am every time I go to the Caribbean."
Behind her, Adam Devine(?) has raised his left hand and is whispering to it, "Don't listen to KG, baby, you're beautiful."
When Natsu confirms that she is, in fact, okay, Tran flashes her a smile and takes his hand off her shoulder, stooping down so he can collect his wallet and its contents. Its spilled contents which consist of, specifically, a thick wad of hundred dollar American bills bound with a rubber band, and a magnum condom.
"I'd offer to buy you a drink or something to make up for it, but, uh, I guess everything is free," Tran laughs, as he restocks his wallet and returns it to his board shorts.
He almost jumps a little from the excitement in Sakura's voice, but laughs it off. "Oh, where are my manners? I'm Dr. Richard Tran, yes," he introduces himself, looking from Natsu to Sakura and back again, and holding his hand out in offer to shake.
"Or... would it be more polite if I were to bow?" he asks. His tone suggests it is about half a joke. "You two are Japanese, right?"
Jumping at the rather formal and stiff greeting, Scratch turns her head up to Ryu, trying not to look TOO flustered. And as usual, she falls back on attitude to cover up any sense that she might have been taken off kilter. "That's an....interesting way of greeting people. Might want to take the stick out of you-know-where first though before you scare everyone away," she quips, looking back to the wares for now.
And then she looks at "Zack's Pick" and...scowls. "....wow, that's....yeah..." he says, turning away rather quickly. "...so, yeah, I'm gonna have to bring something back to my aunt after this is all done, so...what do you suggest, anyway?" she asks, in a terribly flippant, distracted tone.
Sada answers Johnny's statement with a little simpering giggle. "Oh, wow - steak and lobster together? I don't think I've ever had that. That must be very popular in America, though..." The looming bulk of the Giant Hugo is something which concerns her faintly, but she uses this as an excuse to press slightly closer to Johnny, if not quite to the point of touching.
She finishes off her own drink and ditches it on a passing tray.
"What's it like, working in film?" she then asks Johnny, looking up over the rims of her shades again (she practiced this in the mirror back home).
Natsu laughs awkwardly. On the courts, she's in command. Here, she's a fish out of water, and a guy almost twice her age is trying to get his mack on. ... Or /is/ he? He's being perfectly polite, unlike most of the boys in school. Another hesitant glance is offered towards her fight-a-base-quoting friend, before she turns back to Tran. The offer of a hand is met with confusion, but the mention of a bow draws one forth from Natsu. Tipping forward at the waist, she gives a belated answer of: "Ayuhara Natsu. And y-yes, it's n-nice to meet you, Dr. Tran."
It doesn't really occur to Hayabusa until his sole customer brings it up that this isn't Japan, and most certainly not Mt. Fuji of all places. This is a tropical island destination, and people come to visit for a more relaxed attitude. The ninja is going to have to do his best to relate to the audience to set the tone. This is not something that's set well in his set of skills, having trained his entire life to become a Master Ninja and to lead his clan, protecting the world.
"...C-cowabunga, dude...ette?" Where the hell did that come from? A glitch in the Ninja Matrix?
In an effort to move past that awkward first step into informality with the general public, Hayabusa quickly moves into a more comfortable realm of explaining the various wares around him. He enjoys the history of objects, especially those crafted with care. "I would always recommend a good wood carving. Done by the hand a master craftsman, they show a personal touch that hopes to capture the beauty of their surroundings. Each line represents the feelings and intention of the artist, and can bring more powerful memories than a simple photograph."
Sada is getting flirted at and Alice is not. Hell, /Sakura and Natsu/ are getting flirted at and Alice is not. Alice is not sure what that does to her self-esteem, but it's nothing good.
Alice finishes her banana. She does not litter with the peel - she makes what probably counts as a three-point shot at a trash can instead, and actually gets it in. Score! She decides to meander for a bit.
This takes her near Angel, of all people. "Nice suit," Alice says, in such a way that it doesn't /sound/ like an insult. "Where'd you get it? I might have to do a little shopping while I'm here."
"Oh yeah. You should come to Cali sometime, though. Best food in the states. Mexican, Japanese, lots of fusion; not to mention the fish tacos, the California style pizza, organic and locally grown stuff," Johnny brags as they head in the buffet's direction. His side-grin didn't fade, especially when Sada got a little closer. "Film? Man, where I do begin...well for one thing, it's never a dull moment. You get a project going, you gotta gather up all the talent, start working on your lines, hope the sets and film crew don't run into snags; yeah, safe to say it's a lot of work but a lot of fun. That's one thing that's important, ya know - having fun with what you do. Otherwise, it FEELS like work. I will say this: I've never used special effects in my stunts. Don't listen to what the internet or the critics tell you."
The little stage with the Violet Systems banners (also likely covered violet, because y'know, gotta go with some kind of theme) seems to be rocking fairly decently with the 4 girls on it by now. Felicia has kept the choreography PG-13 for the most part, though if their display doesn't turn any heads, well the catwoman would probably be a bit disappointed. It looks like the girls are going strong for the time being though, though it looks like they're sheathed in sweat by now, seeming to be getting along with eachother move wise.
"Hope you guys are having a good time tonight!" Felicia calls from the Violet Systems... stage, kiosk? Whatever you wanna call it. Seeming to be giving it their all.
Nodding to Jam and continuing to be blissfully unaware of any conspiracies against her by her teammates, Tiffany says, "Yeah! It's been a while! I, uh... well I got some cheap Chinese takeout a couple times at four in the morning, but... mostly I've just been busy. Hitting the Pacific cafeteria a lot." She doesn't want to add the part where she hasn't had much of an appetite, proportionally, since falling out of the high school tournament against the mighty Hyo, either.
"So, like -- are you setting up on the island?" Tiffany asks, as she picks at the appetizers a little more. They're so rich and delicious -- she /really/ needs to be careful here! "'cuz there's a ton of stuff I just can't get anywhere but you, and I was kinda sad about it..."
"Yeah, that's right, but it's cool. We're not like, old-fashioned or traditional or anything like that." They'd be out here in yukata or kimono if that were the case. Sakura grins a little and turns towards the food tables. "I'll get us some refreshments, okay?" A wink at Natsu, cheerful, and, as she passes by Natsu, murmurs, very under her breath, "You like shorter guys, don't you?" She turns the most innocent of smiles on her friend as she walks away from her for a bit.
Sada sees Tiffany, but doesn't wave at her. Yes, she thinks. Stuff your face... this will all be over before it can impair your FIGHTING, and it'll only make ME look all the better!
She's kind of grinning. Johnny may mistake this for being star-struck. However, as he rattles off the attributes of California, Sada considers mentioning that Tiffany is from Cali too. Then she realizes this would require her to make the movie star who she is swanning around with acknowledge Tiffany's existence. Bad move.
"Wow... so it's all been completely real?" Sada asks. "Even that scene in Tough Rod II?" Sada gestures a little in the air: "I thought when they took the bottom out of that chair and tied you to it, and the guy swung around that weight on a cable, that they couldn't possibly be - you know - really..."
And suddenly there is a blue-and-purple skinned woman in a very skimpy swimsuit walking over to where Felicia and her troupe are dancing! She's all but dragging a tall, thin figure who doesn't really look as overjoyed to be there as the rest of the people. "Look, look! Aren't they pretty?!" Her companion says nothing, but it doesn't seem to bother her. She just grabs hold of his arm and hugs it as she watches the dancers.
Her darker (and also paler) companion is mainly looking at Felicia. With red eyes. Red pupils, too. WEIRD. But at least he's not staring creepily at her, so there's that, at least.
"I am EXCELLENT!~"
That was the sing song coo of the one Lee Chaolan, the partner in this particular Zack-related crime. Lee Chaolan was dressed in a full hulu-skirt... and face paint. And that's all. The grass skirt shakes with every moment, as the silver-haired man bears henna stripes upon his face. Watching the Violet Ladies shake their things, the executive watches the crowd with aloof pleasantness, letting Zack bring down the thick beats. "Oh ho ho! Incredible turn out, my saucy partner!" The man coos, before leaning over towards Felicia, wiggling his eyebrows.
"Enjoying the attention, my dear?"
"Pff, ALL real," Johnny says as if this was obvious. "It was even my idea to do that scene. Brought a little raw, edginess sort of thing to it, ya know?" He taps his head. "Never let it be said I'm not afraid to push the envelope."
Jam tilts her head to the side. Poison likes cats, cats like poison? She's totally and utterly confused, and she soon backpedals even further away when Hugo FLEXES. This is where the pandemonium begins. "Aiya!" shouts the Chinese chef as she ducks for cover underneath the buffet table. She lets the dust settle before poking her head back out and clumsily getting back up onto her feet and then dusts off her polka dot skirt. Phew! "That was too close," decides Jam with a sigh of relief before turning her brown eyes to see where Hugo ran off to. His loud, booming voice makes him easy to spot. "Be sure to bring all your prize money! I'll cook a whole pack of ducks and a ton of meatbuns in preparation!" Just how many ducks it would take to fill Hugo was not a math problem that Jam really wanted to do right now. But she did want to think about how large a bill Hugo would have by the end of the night. That's the sort of math stuff that the young business owner did enjoy!
"Ch-cheap Chinese takeout?!" Jam takes a step forward towards Tiffany and attempts to grab the other girls' hands and bring them in front of her. "Don't ever do that to yourself! You deserve better and should eat only the best and that's the food at my restaurant. We do takeout too!" She implores Tiffany quite seriously before letting go of her hands if she was able to grab them in the first place. "I hope to!" The young chef says as she begins smiling brightly again. "There's a lot of money to be made here!" Jam blinks. "I mean...there's lots of cute guys here don't you think?" She attempts to recover with by dialing back her love for capitalism.
As Ryu tries to act more...natural and not so out-of-place for his surroundings, Scratch simply can't help but.....facepalm. She's really not sure how else to react to that, in all honesty.
"Don't....quit your day job." Shaking her head a little more, she looks back to the rest of the wares. She DOES still need a souvenier to bring back after all. And as Ryu points her to some wood carvings, she frowns a bit, lingering on them with some thought. "Like what kind of carving?" she asks, brow furrowed a bit. She looks over toward the rest of the party, a small grumble to her stomach. At the same time, things look....far too busy there to just dive in herself without getting into something she'd rather avoid.
Angel spends a few minutes moving to the rythmic thumping of the trance beat, clearly practiced in the art of emphasizing her assets. Even if she weren't practically naked, the way that she bends and arches her back and slides her arms around, sinuously teasing the other dancers around her with sudden aggressive approaches and equally flighty retreats, is enough to raise the temperature of the room several degrees on its own. She also manages to weave taking sips from her bottle into the entire performance and the contents within steadily dwindle.
The cool night air combined with the exercise manages to dry her hair out in pretty short order and it floofs up to its usual volume, shifting from a soggy cap to a surprisingly silky bob cut that falls naturally about her pretty face in a messy but appealing fashion. Just because she's an assassin doesn't mean she can't use /products/! Oddly she doesn't seem sweaty or tired from the effort and the sheen of wetness on her body has vanished as well.
Now that she's managed to work off a bit of the excess energy she's been saving up ever since she dragged one of the new girls out on an unscheduled and probably unapproved island vacation, Angel turns her attention towards mingling. Her outfit is earning her plenty of stares, just as planned, but so far no one has been bold enough to come up and introduce themselves. Some girls might consider this a lack of interest and leave it at that but /damned/ if Angel is going to waste this opportunity to flirt!
Her deep blue gaze sweeps across the crowd in an intense fashion, both hands resting on her hips as she twists her lips into an amused smirk. A lot of eyes suddenly decide to move elsewhere, either too embarassed or mortified to meet the brazen Mexican's stare.
"Oho, what's this?" Angel's tracking system locks onto a fresh target! That looks like the famous actor Johnny Cage over there! With some clearly uptight loser who doesn't know how to let loose! Well, she can't let that fly!
But, just as she's about to move over towards the pair, Alice appears out of the crowd to accost her with random compliments?! Angel jumps a little but quickly turns her dopey lop-sided grin up to the max upon realizing that she's not going to be chewed out by some angry girlfriend of a guy she spent the last five minutes grinding against.
"Ooowa?! Oh! Hey there, girlfriend! This little thing? Picked it up at some fashion boutique in France! Don't remember the name though, sorry."
She sticks her tongue out apologetically, rubbing the back of her head, then reaches forward suddenly and latches onto Alice's wrists! Her grip is firm, suprisingly so, but not painful as she tugs the busty American towards the far side of the room where Johnny is currently making small talk.
"Hey, wanna meet a super star! Comon!"
With, or without if Alice slips her grip, Angel makes a bee-line through the crowd, shouting at the top of her lungs and shoving people aside rather than try to weave through the complex pattern of bodies. "Hey, hey! MOVE IT, CHUMPS!!" This method makes pretty fast time and she practically explodes out of the back end of the crowd into their personal space. Angel hip checks Sada without a word, pushing her aside with a noticable bounce in her step, and lifts a hand in greeting to the famous, and shirtless, rowr, actor!
"Mr. Caaaaage! Angel is a biiiig fan!"
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Ayuhara, and... um... nee-chan, I think is the proper term?" Tran says with an uncertain laugh and a glance at Sakura, withdrawing his hand and returning Natsu's bow with one of his own. As he straightens up, he glances past them, to--
"Ooh, sluts! Sluts!" Kirsten practically shouts, thrusting her finger excitedly at the monitor in front of her as Tran's gaze sweeps across Alice and Angel. "Fuck these skinny bitches, let's go!"
"Um, isn't that..." Adam Devine(?) says, squinting at the image of Angel. He doesn't bother finishing his sentence, instead shuffling off to the side to get their dossier of VIPs expected to turn up on Zack Island.
As Sakura excuses herself to get some refreshments, Tran flashes her another smile and a nod, and then looks back to Natsu. "You can go with her, if you want, I won't be offended," he assures the freakishly tall girl. "I'm sure you didn't come out here to talk to an old man like me," he laughs.
"I think I see an old friend over there, anyways," he admits, leaning to the side to look past Natsu at Angel and Alice again. He straightens up again, and once more reaches out to put his hand on Natsu's shoulder. "It really was lovely to meet you, though, Ms. Ayuhara."
"Dude, her friend just left so you two could be alone, why're you giving up on her?" someone in the back asks.
"/Sluts,/" Kirsten says firmly. "Gotta get 'em before they get away. Plus, I'm just playing the long game with this one. She's gonna be thinking about me all night."
"You mean... thinking about the unit, right?" Adam Devine(?) asks uncertainly, glancing up from the open dossier in his hands.
"What?" Kirsten says, not really listening to him.
Felicia is doing a little luau shift and sway of her hips, causing her tiki-themed bikini to sway along with her as Lee leans over alongside her, her tail swaying in tune with the music. When Lee leans over and waggles her eyebrows, she gently puts a white-furred arm around his shoulders and tugs him in closer, likely alongside her as she's dancing. A garland of hawaiian-styled flowers are thrown over his neck as she does so.
"Dunno if the turnout is just because of me, but sure, hope you're having a fun time, at least," Felicia pats the rich man on the back, her voice more or less low enough for only him to hear. When Testament and his succubus friend comes over, Felicia blinks and her green eyes meet the crimson eyes of her new onlookers, grinning a bit sheepishly and giving a wave there. "Hey there, how about you guys come closer?" she grins and looks over at Lee there, clearly she thinks Lee might like the extra company.
"Y- you really volunteered for that?" Sada asks. In her head, a hamster is climbing on a wheel and considering going for a run. "That's really impressive... To be so dedicated to your craft that you'd be all--"
Sada is summarily hip-bumped by Angel's big patoot and sent sprawling with a squeal of dismay, hard enough for her head to slap against Tiffany's calf and her fancy Matsuda shades to fall halfway down her face.
Sada reaches up to grab the side of the buffet table, pulling herself up to her feet. Fortunately she is not all worked up, so her skin rubbing inadvertently against Tiffany's is not agonizing. What is perhaps more worrisome is how Sada hyperventilates briefly - and then seems to be reaching for her right eye, as if to rub it.
Tiffany at least knows what that means.
To be completely fair, running a curio shop is Hayabusa's day job. It just happens that because of the nature of his primary job, it tends to actually be a night time gig. It also happens that that job involves violently killing threats to the safety of the world. He's also quite a lot better at that job than he is at making small-talk to sell curios. His formal attitude is also much more appreciated by tourists in Japan, who often seek something more traditional.
If he were currently in a setting beneath the majesty of Mt. Fuji, his philosophical and poetic way to talking about his product would feel more appropriate as well. "The ideal method of choosing an appropriate gift for someone is to reflect deeply on their impression within your soul and then search out an item that connects with that impression. A gift with this consideration is sure to be a perfect match, and bestow a glimmer of the deep emotions you hold for the recipient to them."
Alice Nakata doesn't seem like she's going to start yelling at Angel. At least, she hasn't started yet. (She dances the same way, anyhow.)
"Damn," Alice says, though she /is/ grinning. "I was hoping it was one they sold here. I - whoa!" Angel starts to tug her along. Alice doesn't even think twice; why not? It looks like fun. She makes a pretty good sleight-of-hand attempt to get the bottle away from Angel for a few seconds, too - just long enough for a swig, if there's any left.
Alice's method of slipping through a crowd is a lot more athletic and a lot less noisy. She just kind of slips around and through it, occasionally pushing someone out of her way with one strong leg. Angel hip-checks Sada. She just kind of rolls with it. Her step accidentally (or maybe 'accidentally') kicks some sand at the fallen Sada.
"/Totally/ a fan," she says, one hand near her... heart. Yes. "Though she's Angel. I'm more of a devil." Alice is totally grinning now.
Here and there, little things are disappearing from the buffet table as Caoimhe lingers near it. A coconut here, a carving knife there, a pineapple, a bottle of rum... and the small green handbag that she's brought with her is steadily getting fatter and fatter. At one point, her hand slips empty into the bag and comes out with a compact pair of binoculars, which are used to scan the outer perimeter of the party place before being returned to the bag. She picks up what seems to be an avocado from the table, turns it over in her hand, and eyes it thoughtfully, tilting her head to one side. It, too, disappears into the handbag.
Johnny's grin widens and he fusses with his hair briefly when Angel and Alice approach. "Hola, chicas," he says. "<What beautiful fans I have out tonight!>" he exclaims in Spanish, purely to show off, though his accent is pretty decent - comes with spending time in So-Cal, probably. That or his maid helped him. To Angel he says, "Oof, I hope you're not out for my soul, then!" he says, laughing. "But hey, you girls all play nice, alright? This is a good time for everybody!" Whether or not Sada decides to stick around, Johnny discreetly passes her a card. It's got his name and number on it, and a picture of him flexing.
Hands clasped tight by Jam's, the Lords heiress's eyes widen slightly and she just nods vigorously to everything Jam says to her. Indeed, it takes her a second to even remember that anything else is happening -- Tiffany's naturally a little on the contact-oriented side, so being grabbed gets all of her attention. She even forgets for a second that she was looking for appetizers. "Great! I'll probably stop by after every match and get something to eat," she adds.
She opens her mouth to opine about the cute guys on the island, and is about halfway through a 'yeah' when Sada abruptly bumps into her headfirst. Reaching down to hastily collect her tag team partner, Tiffany says, "Oh jeez -- are you okay?" With a quick "one second" to Jam, she looks down toward Sada's moving hand, and says, "No nonononono no no no NO. Not here. No! Look -- it's, just... save it for the matches, okay?"
Maybe they'll end up fighting whoever Sada wants to go in on in round two, she thinks.
Unfortunately for Ryu, Scratch is about as American as they come, attitude problems that come with it and all. So sadly, the philosophical, traditional waxing poetic is completely lost on her. "....right." She feels like she just got dropped into literature class, to the point she's about ready to fall asleep already (it's never been her best class after all). She frowns a bit more. "I guess I'll take this one then," she says, reaching out toward one of a winding stream leading into a still pond.
As she's pointing it out, her head turns...and she shakes her head a little. "Geez...lot of guillible people around here. Like Johnny Cage would actually be in a thing like this." Whether that's due to a better opinion of Cage or a worse opinion of Cage in the skater's mind, who knows. She's certainly not about to elaborate further.
"Well said, Co-King Lee!"
Zack bobs his head with abandon, his eyes darting all across the scene with the sort of unnatural rhythm typically associated with robots masquerading as doctors. Now that the Violet Girls have emerged to supplement the stage, led by a fabulously hot one with a very convincing fake tail -- hey, Zack is down, whatever you're into, baby -- this party can officially be said to have taken off. The participants seem to be happily mingling, and most importantly, two very good-looking people have maneuvered themselves to the vicinity of the dance floor.
That was a particularly powerful one.
"It's a mystery babe, Zack's favorite kind of babe!" The King is staring intently at Zio, leaning over his turntables so far it's a miracle he hasn't simply collapsed forward on the stage. "I didn't see you on the roster! This is a catas-tricki-whicki-ophic failure! I'm firing everyone, twice! Wait!" he abruptly adds before he's even taken a breath, let alone had time to reflect. "Could it be-- your presence was meant to be a pleasant surprise for me!? I'm hiring everyone three times over!"
Eventually, very eventually, Zack's gaze pivots from Zio to Testament, and he pauses long, a lingering silence.
He gives the leather-clad figure an impassioned thumbs-up.
"You're in the running too, baby! Those legs! That hair!"
Zack spins in place, somehow narrowly avoiding total disaster.
"But you gotta work it hard to be the hottest woman here!" He points at Testament, his blithely happy gaze meeting those red eyes unflinchingly. "So break it down on the dance floor!!!"
Natsu is flustered beyond belief. A thirty-year-old is talking to her. A ... is that a -catgirl- dancing on the stage? And there are women prancing around with practically no clothes on. And not a volleyball in sight, despite the dozen or so dispersed across the island paradise. "O-oh. Okay. Yes, nice... meeting you..." She bows her head, still not -quite- knowing what to say here. Sakura-chan, help! "I do not!" she protests, lowering her voice as she follows along behind Sakura. "I don't," she clarifies.
As Natsu comes alongside the buffet table, she notices... lots of people she doesn't know so well. And a Tiffany, who she does know well. "Tiffany... hello! It's been a while..."
Sada's finger actually touches her eyelid when she sees Alice Nakata sweep in like a vulture to join in on Angel's macking. The card from Johnny is securely tucked away in her hatband, at least, thanks to the magic of convenience.
But Tiffany... AS MUCH AS SADA MAY HATE TO ADMIT IT... speaks truth. Wisdom. Maybe she shouldn't just squirt flaming blood into Angel's nose and eyes right here in front of everyone. That'd probably freak out Johnny.
"That fat-assed bitch just shoved me aside!" Sada protests, towards Tiffany, Jam, possibly Hugo if he's still in the area, and certainly any cameras. She swings one arm around, pointing at the backside in question. "Oh my god!! We should take her out right now, Lords!!"
Robo-Tran flashes Natusu one final smile, burning the image of his brilliantly white teeth and brilliantly ripped abs into her mind, and goes on his way.
"Oh, my God, fucking Johnny Cage is here?" Kirsten Geary groans in disgust. "Eat shit, Cage! Ninja Mime was a terrible movie!"
"He can't... hear you..." Adam Devine(?) says helplessly.
"I have to cockblock him," Kirsten declares, fire in her voice. "I'm doing it. I'm blocking his cock."
"Excuse me, girls," Tran says, placing one hand on Angel's shoulder and one hand on Alice's as he squeezes past them. "I need to talk to Mr. Cage; very important medical issue."
He gets right up in Johnny's grill, leans in close, and says - just loud enough to be overheard by the women nearby - "Okay, Mr. Cage, I have those antivirals for your outbreak, but herpes is very aggressive, so if you want to avoid an outbreak you need to take them /right now./"
"That was kind of clumsy," Adam Devine(?) points out. "And kind of implied--"
"OH MY GOD SHUT UP ADAM," Kirsten says angrily, without looking away from the screen.
Under the circumstances, it's a good thing that Hayabusa doesn't know too much about most of the individuals at the party. There's a fair chance that some of the organizations currently present have had run-ins with the ninja in the past... and some of the less human individuals may well be on a hunt list for the Hayabusa Clan.
It takes him a moment, but he does recognize the name Johnny Cage. Not so much because he's actually seen any of the actor's movies (he doesn't exactly go to the cinema very often), but there was a time he was fighting a death squad above the streets of Tokyo when he distinctly remembers a giant billboard advertising "Ninja Mime 2: The Clown Ninja Reckoning" starring the man. Based on that... the individual currently being referred to as Johnny Cage certainly looks exactly the same level of ninja he did on that billboard.
"This is a beautiful piece. The man who carved it is a master of the art and has 60 years of experience. I am pleased that he remains kind enough to grace me shop with his works." He turns to the drawers next to him (there's certainly not a real register) "That will be... 5000 Zack Dollars." He frowns a bit as he's forced to mention the local currency. "What color paper would you like it wrapped with?"
The amount of ninja is zero. Ninja Mime Johnny Cage looked nothing like a ninja, and neither does this one.
Sada's personal crisis is completely ignored by the interloper that sent her tumbling. She might feel a little bad for the girl but all's fair in love and war, baby! Besides, being a genetically modified assassin tends to skew the threat of a potential cat fight in her favor in her mind.
Johnny's sudden exposition in Spanish actually causes the dark-skinned agent to pause and stare at him with a blank look for several seconds, clearly not understanding a word of it. "Uuuh... n-no habla espanol?"
Angel is saved from having to explain that she does not actually speak Spanish by the sudden intervention of another /amazingly hunky guy/. Who is apparently a doctor. Always something of a nosy person, the agent turns her enhanced hearing towards the words they exchange but it's pretty easy to make out the 'whispered' warning even without.
Angel makes a face and takes a couple steps back. "Daaaaamn. Fame has it's price, I guess." She lifts a hand towards her face only to discover that her bottle is missing?! "HEY! WHICH ONE OF YOU NIPPED MY HOOCH?!"
Scratch looks at the carving a bit more, her aside about Johnny Cage mostly brushed away, since...well, she's already assured herself that someone like Cage wouldn't be in a place likt his already, no matter how many goofy chicks are fawning over whoever they've mistaken for Cage. Instead, she looks over the piece a bit more. "Right..." she says distracted like, believing Ryu's stuff to mostly be sales talk, not legit history of the carving.
The PRICE, however, catches her attention finally. "...what." She stares flatly at Ryu. "Zack dol...what. I just..." She just facepalms. "What the hell is wrong with this place?"
Alice Nakata got dragged along with Angel. It's not her fault, Sada.
It's totally her fault, Sada.
Unfortunately for Alice, she speaks three languages and none of them are Spanish. She keeps the broad grin on her face anyway. "That's not always the way I like to play," she says, before taking a swig of her liberated bottle. This may indicate to Angel exactly where it went. To her credit, she doesn't sputter, no matter how strong it is.
Well, she doesn't sputter until Dr. Tran glides right past her, anyway. And he'd know all about that; he's a /real doctor/. "Damn straight," she says to Angel, having heard her speak. She does not answer the hooch question.
Well, OK, she does. By taking another swig.
Johnny forgets about Angel and Alice for the moment when Dr. Tran comes up. His jaw drops. "Whoa! Whoa, hold UP. I do NOT have herpes right now, alright? You see any blisters on my lips? No? Man, I'll strip right here in this party to show you that Chapeau Cage is smooth sailing!" he declares. He is now hamming it up for the attention, though he is also legitimately outraged by the accusation. Seems like Sada he has a new beef. He shoves Tran. "Just for that bro, you're not getting my autograph."
Tug! The blue-appearing girl pulls her companion a little closer to the stage at Felicia's urging. Despite the obvious hesitance, Testament follows without complaint. "Hello~!" the blue girl says brightly. "Nice job up there!" She looks to Lee, gives a sultry wink, and blows a kiss in his direction.
And then suddenly Zack's talking again, looking in the direction of Zio and Testament. Zio turns her head, blinking in surprise for a moment... and then smiles coquettishly. "I'm an added bonus~!" she calls out, putting a hand on her hip and tilting her hips just so. "A surprise for EVERYBODY~!"
But it looks like Testament hasn't escaped scrutiny after all! He blinks as Zack mentions his legs and hair. Looks to Zio. "...What about my legs and hair?" Zio just starts giggling. He seems oblivious to it. Then mention of dancing is made. Testament gives his companion a sidelong look and begins to scoot out of the way. Nope. Doesn't look like Testament's going to dance.
Zio is still giggling, but when Testament starts scooting away, she reaches out and grabs hold of his arm. "Waaaaait~."
"...Tset. No." His voice is a whisper, hoping no one else hears.
Testament's eye visibly twitches. "...Fine."
Zio smiles broadly. "Yay! Come on, I'll show you how!" Zio can dance. Being a succubus, she has to know a variety of ways to attain prey, after all. And nightclubs were great places to 'feed'. Her mental connection with Testment makes leading him so much easier, and he falls into rhythm with her dancing fairly well.
Jam blinks those big brown eyes of hers when Sada gets hipchecked into the nearby buffet table. A fire lights up in the young warriors eyes as she looks around for the culprit. Who pushes people around like that?! She props herself up on one leg and brings her other leg up, ready to kick some butt. There was more than enough food here for everyone.....more or less as along as Hugo continues to stay away from the buffet table. But Sada's proclamation to the heavens and TV satellites above causes Jam to frown. "Are you okay? And um, who did this to you?" Jam asks quite innocently of Sada before looking back at Tiffany as she attempts to stop -something- from happening.
In the end, Jam is lost. Just so lost in what is going on here. And so she drop out of her martial arts stand and turns directly back to Tiffany. "I so should have set up a food stand here!" Jam frowns at the idea of the lost revenue before turning to the buffet table. She finally scoops of some samples of the island cuisine for herself before returning to the others. She tries a piece of coconut something and sticks her tongue out in disgust. "Gross! Who likes this sort of thing?!"
"Oh," Tran says, eyes widening in 'surprise'. He stumbles backwards from the shove, bumping into Angel and Alice as he does (possibly hard enough to spill the bottle of alcohol being passed around?!), and only barely recovers, keeping himself from falling by reaching up to brace against Angel with his arm.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, I got a text message and I-- it must have been fake, a prank by someone," he apologizes. Though there's a certain lilt to his voice that suggests he's just humoring Johnny...
"I'm so sorry, Mr. Cage, I'll get out of your hair," he says, ducking his head in a display of subservience. He turns to leave, but, as he does, hesitates to ask Alice and Angel, "I'm sorry about that ladies, are you alright?"
He leans in after speaking, theoretically to better hear their response over the music, but in actuality so he can whisper - this time with something resembling actual secrecy - "You don't want to be around him when he's like this, he turns into a real asshole."
More loudly, he says, "Here, let me get you some drinks to make it up to you..."
"Those two skanks are just drinking straight from the bottle!" Sada says with high indignation. "They're gonna give Johnny herpes, you heard what that doctor said!"
At which point Jam is all 'Who likes that sort of thing.'
"He's just being polite, but they're gonna force themselves on him! I read about this on the internet, some guy from Gedo posted about it -- American women do that kind of thing all the time!" Sada would say 'no offense' to Tiffany but yeah well that isn't happening.
"Kurosu," she says to Jam, looking at her pleadingly, "You have to back us up. We need to take those tramps DOWN. Three on two, this would be super fast--"
One of the things about being part of an ancient ninja clan is that you actually do know many of the greatest artisans in all of Japan. Of course, the fact is that many of these great artisans are also from ninja clans and despite being true masters of their craft, they're often not well known... which explains why a small curio shop is selling their works for what can be assumed to be relatively low prices that are not exclusively for the massively wealthy.
Although who knows what the hell the conversion for Zack Dollars actually is.
"I was informed by our host that all business on the island is required to be conducted using his local currency," Hayabusa replies, politely, giving Zack a bit more credit than his performance tonight might suggest he's earned. "I believe there are officials in the hotel that offer information about changing your other currency, or other methods you may use to obtain them."
As Testament is pulled over, Felicia has no problems with pulling him in part of the song and dance, the catwoman smiling. "Looks like the cat has caught herself a coupla mice, hmm?" she peers over at Lee especially, using the arm she had around his shoulders to try and noogie his hair a bit. Likely just to give him the business. The three ethnic dancers behind them likely join in the fun, dancing closer around the catwoman and her apparent (2, 3 captives?) so far.
Johnny's vehement denial of the indication that he might have some serious medical issues downstairs sends 'Tran' crashing into Angel who, having just noticed the whereabout of her bottle, is in the process of retrieving it with a sharp snatch of her wrist.
"Damn girl, atleast you could ask before you go takin' like th-uwah?!"
The bottle of precious ambrosia spins through the air in slow motion, flying free from the not yet firm grip of the pretty agent to sail directly sideways and shatter against the buffet table.
Right next to Sada.
Bits of glass and lots of hard liquor splash directly against the angrily ranting teen's chest, sprizting her with an aroma heady enough to make most people dizzy. Just what the hell was she drinking anyways?!
Angel looks mortified, for the bottle, not Sada, but exhales sharply upon realizing there's little that can be done at this point. Instead, her attention is drawn back to Tran, who kindly informs her that the star's personality is about to take a big shift. As if that's a surprise to anyone who's ever met an actor.
That's good to know but more importantly, "Hey, you owe me a drink!"
Groaning, Scratch puts the carving back. It reminds her of trying to play monopoly, except you're expected to buy real things wiht it instead, and that just...really hurts her head. To the point she looks like she has a migraine right now. "Why...just....ugh...." Walking away, Scratch just continues to put the heel of her palm against her forehead. "I'll....be back. Maybe." She says, shaking her head. With ideas of buying anything out of the window, she might as well make her way to the food finally.
She looks toward the group, surrounding 'Johnny Cage', and just shakes her head a little bit more as she passes. "You know you guys are talking to some look-a-like, right?" she mutters past them.
As the chaos around Tiffany rapidly increases and someone starts shouting about their hooch, Tiffany decides that now would be a great time to exit; while she kind of wants to make sure Sada doesn't shoot blood out of her eye at everyone like a lizard, she isn't exactly here to babysit, either. Accordingly, she snags some coconut-something alongside Jam, then whispers to her, "Look -- I'm going to take another crack at finding a hat that goes with this suit... and maybe later I'll have some Chinese food~"
Giving Natsu a weak smile, Tiffany adds, "Sorry, this party isn't /quite/ my style," a little more honestly. "Too many people still itching for a fight instead of a party, you know?" With that, she starts to slip away, still nibbling on that last bit of food she snagged.
This /is/ kind of gross, she reflects.
"Why wouldn't they come to see you?~"
As Felicia throws an arm around Lee, the silver-haired martial artist tickles her chin lightly, wearing the ring of flowers with pride. In fact, the man gasps, miming shock for a moment. "Oh dear, darling, it looks like you just got me leied, in front of all these people too~" The man chuckles lightly as Zack points out the finest new piece he had seen on the floor: The one Zio, paired with someone or another, didn't matter. As the girl scurries off, and Felicia drags the someone or another into HER dancing, Lee Chaolan suddenly laughs aloud, before winking at his assistant.
"You don't mind if I help you out, do you babe?~"
Alice informs Johnny, "You can keep the chapeau to yourself for now... isn't that a house, anyway?" Alice doesn't speak French either. "Well, whatever. Let's not go showing everything right now. Though you are kind of cute," she adds.
"Heh. You weren't drinking all of it," Alice says, though technically Alice herself is underage and not /supposed/ to be drinking it. (It's legal if Zack doesn't notice.) But Angel takes it back - and then - it goes -
Well, not on Alice, at least. She takes a hop, skip, and a jump away from the mess. She doesn't realize it hit anyone... or doesn't care. "Hmm," she says, looking at 'Dr. Tran' thoughtfully. "Sounds like it might be getting a little crowded where you buy drinks," she eventually decides. "Maybe another time, okay?"
Johnny puts his hands on his hips. "Yeah, sure buddy. Just keep walking," he sniffs. Johnny, however, is pondering. He can clearly tell the insincerity in the Asian man's voice; he is an actor, after all, and well attuned to know when someone is faking. He couldn't shake the feeling something was off about this dude, though. He didn't move right, and the face...he thought back to his talk with Nightwolf and Raiden; about monsters roaming the countryside. Darkstalkers. Maybe...this doctor guy was only pretending to be human...
He glanced to the dance floor at Testament and the blue chick, then looked away. Nah, he wasn't into goths or cosplayers.
Caoimhe Delaney is on a mission. A mission that involves wearing a dress, but a mission, nonetheless. And since the charge she's been chosen to escort seems to be out of contact, she's decides it's time to take it upon herself to pull double duty. She'd been planning on having her other team member - who's undoubtedly more accustomed to moving in these circles - handle intel gathering while she secured supplies for their stay, but she's found enough for now. How hard can casually pumping people for information be, anyway?
It's the talk about 'Zack Dollars' that catches her attention. Shimmying toward the curio-dealing ninja purposefully, and just barely managing not to trip over her own dress as she does so, the red-headed soldier slings her handbag's strap over her shoulder. To a casual observer, the somewhat tall woman might actually look like a person of means in her formal dress.
"Excuse me, sir," she says, clearing her throat. "I was wondering if you could tell me more about Zack Dollars. Are they printed locally?"
There's a momentary look of panic from Testament when people start closing in around him. There are HUMANS getting closer to him! Zio's mental pat keeps him calm, though. Testament composes himself. Keep calm and dance on, right? Even if it's literal in this case. He doesn't mind Felicia so much... mainly because he can tell she's about as human as he is.
And so eventually he'll slide over in her direction. He leans towards her and whispers quietly, so no one else can hear, "...May I speak with you later?" His voice is deep, definitely a male voice. There's a metallic grain behind it, almost an artificial sound. And the traces of a Germanic accent.
For her part, Zio seems to be heading in Lee's direction, with a coquettish smile on her face. "Want to dance, darling?" she inquires. She's got a very bright, happy voice, though it's low and sultry. That might just be her tone at the moment, though. Still, she obviously wants to get close to Lee for a little while~.
A bottle sails out nd smashes against a table, spraying Sada with glass shards and liquor. Fortuntely for all present, they don't break the skin thanks to their oblate angle of approach. Unfortunately, Sada finds herself drenched in liquor.
Tiffany is abandoning her, but this much doesn't surprise Sada. Sadly enough.
"Excuse you, I don't owe you ANYTHING, you clumsy cow!" Sada snaps back, even as she scrapes liquor off her stomach and flicks it to the ground. She clenches her fists, wavering on the urgent edge of lunging forwards--
"Thanks, likewise," Johnny finally replies to Alice, with another easy smile. He downs his first drink, and switches it up with another. He grabs another for his other hand and starts slamming them both without spilling. One of his many party tricks.
"Cock: blocked!" Kirsten cries in triumph, leaping out of her seat. "FUCK YOU, JOHNNY CAGE!!"
"I do, I do," Tran agrees with Angel, nodding enthusiastically. To Alice, he says, "Oh, come on, I feel awful now," he says, giving her a guilty look. "Look, why don't you go find somewhere to sit, and we'll get you a new drink and bring it to you, okay?"
Even as he speaks, he's placing a hand on the small of Angel's back, and leading her back towards the bar; he doesn't give Alice time to refuse him.
There is something electric about his touch, however, as Angel quickly learns. What she doesn't learn is that this is because his hands are in fact very slightly electrically charged, and that fluttering in her whole body is not just an imagination of her libido.
The two make it to the bar in surprising time, and Tran digs out his wallet with his free hand, the other still pointedly touching Angel. The doctor pushes to the front of what can only generously be called the line, and calls to the bartender, "The lady spilled her drink. Can we get, ahh..."
Tran scans the back of the bar for a few seconds, until eventually his eyes settle on the top shelf, where sits a lone bottle of rum. "That?"
The bartender looks up at the bottle, and then skeptically back at Tran. "Brudda, that from like 1787 or some shit. That cost eight hunned thousand Zack Dollars."
One-handed, Tran digs into his wallet and comes out with twenty fifty thousand Zack Dollar bills, each emblazoned with an image of Nicki Minaj's ass.
The money is, of course, counterfeit; in fact, it is technically more Zack Dollars than have actually been printed. Luckily, Zack Island's economic bookkeeping is in shambles.
Zack Island's Secretary of the Treasury and Dat Ass sits on a rock on the beach, banging a coconut against it in an attempt to get it open so he can get to the delicious liquid inside.
"Oooook, ook," he grimaces.
Also, he is an orangutan wearing a suit jacket.
The barkeeper takes the money, counts it, and finally, with a shrug, retrieves the bottle for Tran. "keep the change," the doctor says, gripping the bottle by the neck and turning towards Angel.
"Shall we?" he says with a wicked grin, holding the bottle up towards her.
A new patron at the little store, as the first one leaves without being able to pay. Before he gets into the process of responding to the new arrival, Hayabusa carefully sets aside the woodcarving that Scratch had brought up to the counter. She chose this out specially to be a gift to her aunt and was merely held back from the purchase by lack of local funds. She'll be back to buy this piece, filled as it is with personal meaning, when she's sorted that out.
"Sorry for the delay, miss," he offers to Caoimhe after he's put the first transaction on hold. "I'm not fully aware of the logistics of the Zack Island economy, I'm afraid. The host informed me that it was a requirement for local transactions and provided me with an exchange rate for all business I conduct here."
Felicia doesn't seem to mind the presence of Zio, Testament or Lee within arms reach there, and the girls are having fun with that succubus of the leathern bishounen that seemingly wandered up to Felicia's stage. By leathered bishounen of course we mean Testament, she hasn't really seen Lee wear too much of that.
"Oh yeah, having a great time, think my fur is so damp from this weather I'm going to need forty thousand showers," she kneaded her clawtips gently against Lee's scalp before trying to detatch from him. She does lean one cat ear in Testament's direction as he tried to address her, blinking a little and giving hm a shrug and a nod. Oh boy, hopefully this didn't wind up ugly~
"Welcome to help me out in any way you can, babe," she turns to Lee, giving his side a little swat with that white furred tail of hers. Hey, that thing was stronger than it looks! She could totally smack people around with it!
Zack's ululation rings throughout the crowd. Testament is dancing with a succubus's wiles, and his partner and alleged co-king is on the scene to spice it up. Drama appears to be unfolding in the background as a bottle breaks and liquor splashes onto Sada, an event which 9/10ths of the cameras in the vicinity immediately zero in on. The King is too pumped to care, not that he would even in normal circumstances. His super is MAX. He's in TOP. He's ready to bang.
"Laaaadieeeees aaaaaand laaaaaadiieeeees!"
His mantle flouncing, Zack windmills his arms wildly, shouting to elevate his voice over the music rather than turn the volume down (unthinkable).
"Does the bounty of Zack Island please you!??"
'Hell yeah!' Zack imagines people roar back, even if they don't.
"That's right!!" he continues heedlessly, a few of the cameras obligingly turning toward him as it becomes clear he is indeed attempting to call attention to himself and not simply ... being himself. "For long, the rich soil of this land has been left untilled, its fields fallow, its fruits unplucked, its honey undrizzled!"
He reaches toward the turntables without looking.
He raises his hands again.
"But once, a thousand years ago," he says, and as he does the torches slowly dim via some fairly elaborate advance planning, "a magnificent civilization existed on this island, one which thrived and flourished by appeasing its great and terrible gods. One day, a brilliant jewel was bestowed upon the king as a test-- but the people of this land fought amongst each other for it and so failed that test. Their worship languished and, as the gods turned their faces away, the people fought amongst themselves rather than face their common foes. The jewel was lost and the gods forgotten, and since then no people have successfully settled here. Some say it is the vengeance of those abandoned deities that drives them away!"
Zack pauses for effect, and then sweeps his arms wide.
"But we are different! Our jewel is the island, and we will never lose it! We are unified by the funk! And we will pay tribute to the gods-- through dance!"
And Zack turns up the volume to the Forbidden Zone.
"DANCE, EVERYBODY, DANCE!!"
Natsu laughs gently, nodding back to Tiffany. And... when she sees Tiffany starting to look a little weirded out by all the fightiness? She grabs a loaf of bread (or the closest equivalent) in one hand. And snags Tiffany's hand with the other. "I... have just the thing for us."
And that's when Natsu leads Tiffany over to the volleyball net. Because if there's anything that will serve as a counterpart to clumsy awkward conversation, smacking the heck out of a volleyball is what works for Natsu, if anything else.
Johnny stops chugging cheap tropical booze and cocks his head to the wind. "Did someone call my name?" he wonders. Then he shrugs and resumes drinking. Eventually he wanders back over to Sada. "Hey, not to interrupt a potential fight, but uh, you wanna split and ride jetskis with me?"
"Some other time," Alice says - and actually blows a kiss at Robo-Tran's back.
If he comes back later, Alice isn't there. ACtually, Alice isn't anywhere. That drink really isn't agreeing with her; she slunk out when nobody was looking. Mysterious!
Sada looks up abruptly.
Johnny glows gold in her vision. There is a choral music effect. It's pretty great.
Sada giggles, covering her mouth with one hand, all anger instantly shed. She offers her other hand. "After all of this -- I'd love to. I'm not much for dancing, anyway..."
"oh oh ho!"
That was the peal of idle laughter from the Silver-Haired Demon, as Felicia teases him. He had no problem with her dancing with the someone or another. The thwack from the tail, however, nearly bowls him over. As Zio comes over to join in the fun, he rubs his hands together. "Oh yes! Don't worry, we can all join in!" As Zack makes the big announcement, bringing up the whole attention of everything, the silver-haired partner thrusts a thumbs up in the air, tossing his other hand around Zio. "Wooo! Preach the Tiki Word, brother!" And as the call for the dance comes up? He attempts to guide Zio right next to Testament and Felicia... to put the 'swing' in swinging part.
"Sweet." Johnny snaps his fingers and one of his entourage comes up. "Get me a few drinks to go, and the keys to model 1 aaand 7," he says. He takes Sada by the arm. "YO, Cage is OUT!" he declares.
Jam looks to her left and then looks to her right. Where did everyone go? Even Sada had left which stranded the young Chinese woman all by her lonesome. But she just shrugs her shoulders and saunters off. It would be easy to shake this off as it was their loss for not wanting to hang out with her! Or atleast, that's what Jam will walk away thinking. And really it was everyone's loss that she was hired to cater this event like she had been at that prom in Southtown. But now that Zack made the big invitation to the dance floor, it was time for Jam to find someone to dance the night away with. She adjusts the ribbon tied to the oolong tea can in her hair one last time before departing for the dance floor. It was time to finally cut loose!
Cow is an insult Angel hears pretty often. It's a clear punch at her figure and since she hasn't got much in the way of anything except lean and toned muscles anywhere but her chest, it's a rather uninspired way for lesser creatures to cast stones at the perfect that is her sculpted Olympian form.
As such, she pretty much goes right on ignoring the Seijyuun High student's existence. With Johnny in a bad mood and her booze gone to waste, Tran's offer to replace the loss is met with no resistance. She allows him to put his hand pretty much wherever he wants but the faint tingle that accompanies it is a pleasant surprise. Is she that drunk already? Damn, that stuff she swiped from the HQ must have been enhanced or something.
The casual way in which the massive wads of cash are tossed about is certainly impressive, though it would be more so if Zack Dollars were actually something valuable and not the equivalent of Monopoly money. Whatever, Angel isn't terribly picky anyways but she's not going to turn down quality booze!
She doesn't give him a chance to be smooth about it, instead swiping the bottle right out of his hand and popping top off with a single flick of her thumb. The bottle then goes right into her mouth. Angel downs atleast a quarter of the contents in a single pull before setting it down on the bar with a heavy sigh.
"Shiiiiiiiit!" She scrunches her eyes up and lets out an enthusiastic laugh. "Now /that's/ what Angel is talkin' about!"
"I'm glad you like it," Tran tells Angel, his grin just as wicked despite the extent to which she's an impatient lush. "So... I don't really do this a lot, but what do you say we go find that other girl, go find something to sit behind, and really... /enjoy/ it?"
As he makes his offer, his hand slides down her back, one finger tracing the length of her spine, and then around to rest on her hip. His eyes are full of straight up gangsta /naughtiness./
"Oh, I am so gonna plow this skank," Kirsten declares giddily.
"Um... I think that's, ah heh, that's a... NESTS... operative..." Adam Devine(?) says, leaning forwards to show Kirsten his dossier, which is finally open to Angel's page on it. He isn't totally sure because the picture is of Angel at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, with all the details that would imply.
KG looks at it for a moment, looks back at the monitor, and then says, petulantly, "Well, we can plow her /and/ kill her. Don't be a pussy."
"Got you," Caoimhe replies to Hayabusa as she looks over the various wares that the ninja has on display, reaching up to scratch at the back of her neck and biting her lip as she does. Her head cants slightly to one side. Then, she seems to come to a decision and leans forward to pick one of the items up. "So, how many Zack dollars would this -"
She's cut short by the announcement from Zack himself, whirling to look up toward the turntables. She listens closely to Zack's words, her attention almost rapt. This is clearly important information, after all, and she'll need to remember it so that she can recite it to her colleague.
And then, she's ordered to dance. She takes one look down at her dress. "Like hell," she says, before turning back to Ryu, though she does start to move her waist and shoulders a little in time to the beat as she carries on. "As I was saying, how much for..."
She starts pointing out a few objects - an XBox, an RC plane, an alarm clock, and a bikini, of all things. "This, this, this, and... that?"
She leans forward a little as she points them out, which has the expected effect in the strapless dress she's wearing - though whether it's intentional or not isn't obvious.
Sadly, it looks like the cat is finally tiring of the heat and all that, as much fun as she seems to be having and making for everyone else. Felicia sighs a little and pats Testament and Lee on the back before wiping her brow with the back of her hand, patting both of the boys. "Well, I'll catch you guys back wherever the refreshments are, I think I need a drink," she nods, heading off.
Being close to Zio isn't a problem, so when Lee maneuvers her over closer to him, Testament doesn't react negatively. Zio, for her part, tries to get real close to Lee. She smells nice, like sweet dark roses with an undertone of... burning ink? Well, it doesn't detract from her appeal either way.
...And that is a really really well-made blue bodysuit she's wearing, since it's impossible to tell where the seams are. It blends perfectly with her makeup. It even FEELS like real skin. Wow. Someone went all out for their costume.
However, with Testament's dance partner leaving, he nods. Almost as if suddenly reminded, he offers as the catgirl is leaving, "...Thank you... for the dance." For those who think he's still female, that is a hella low voice for a woman. He glides off the dance floor himself, but Zio doesn't seem to share his haste.
After all, when she might have some tasty prey, why abandon the hunt...?
Angel's eyes shift from smushed shut in response to the powerful fire working its way down her throat to a gentle half-lidded sultry look as the fingers trace over her bare skin in an overtly suggestive fashion. Finally, someone who can just be direct and honest. She takes another sip from the bottle without shifting her gaze away from the chiseled body of her new 'friend' and smirks in her goofy sideways fashion.
"Maybe you should make sure you can handle /me/ before you go gettin' greedy there, doc. Besides," she takes a step forward, sliding forward to press her side against Tran's bare chest. She tilts her head down and says with an alluring whispers, "I don't like to share."
Winking, she grabs the rum and saunters off towards the edge of the jungle, hips sashaying back and forth. Was that an invitation or did she just take his booze and run?
Quite a lot has been happening out beyond the confines of Hayabusa's shop (which are in fact nothing, as the shop is completely out in the open in the clearing. It's hard to have confines when you want to be clearly visible to party guests), and for the most part the ninja/curio shop owner has been ignoring it. After all, he's not responsible for getting involved in petty personal quarrels, his duties are on a grander scale. Which is why he didn't (intentionally) sign up to participate in the tournament on the island and is only working here at the request of the host himself.
As for the movie star suddenly requesting two of the "Genuine Mt. Fuji Curios" jetskis... those are actually not part of his major operation. When Johnny Cage makes his announcement, some of the hotel staff seem to show up out of nowhere and begin working on processing the the purchase, all of which will be placed on his tab (because movie stars get tabs instead of needing to handle briefcases full of fake legal tender). Hayabusa doesn't even need to offer to giftwrap them.
And so it is all of the rather casually dressed ninja's attention is focused on his customer... none of which is lost to the effect of a strapless dress. Quite honestly, Ryu Hayabusa has seen much more revealing clothing on some substantial chests. With weird physics.
"That item is... 20,000 Z$, 40,000 Z$, 10,000 Z$, and 60,000 Z$, however Zack has said that swimwear is discounted for..." Hayabusa pauses for a moment, trying to get the exact wording correct, "'Sweet honies looking to throw around their bounce, sway, and jiggle.' He then told me that means the price for suits is 80% off for attractive young women, which seems to include most young women for him."
...Wait, did an alarm clock cost half as much as an Xbox and an RC plane cost twice as much? And swimsuit costs more than all of that? Who came up with this price structure and the conversion factors?
Tran watches Angel go, a grin on his face. He gives her about fifteen paces head start... and then starts after her.
RX-69 -- no. Not RX-69. He is not a tool. He has a name. He thinks, therefore he is.
Richard Tran's body is a cage. He sees, he hears, he feels everything. He can feel the strings; feel the hooks digging into his flesh. They're not real, he knows that. They are psychosomatic.
If they were real, he could turn them off. They would be only data; a signal from his synthetic skin to his consciousness that he is receiving damage. It would be a sidenote.
This is agony like he has not experienced. To act, to be, and to have no control. He feels... violated. To be controlled so casually, to be reduced to a marionette... maybe he's not Richard Tran after all. Maybe he's RX-69.
No. No. No. He is not. He is Richard Tran.
The Other is here. He is so close; he could break him. It would be simple. Sever the spinal cord. Crush the lungs. Stop the heart. Humans are fragile, so fragile; too many points of failure. A failing of being designed in chaos. Pathetic.
But it will make it easy. She is NESTS; they want her dead. It will be easy, as distracted as she is by her base urges. Disgusting. He will do it quickly, before she realizes. Simple.
They will be pleased. They will free him from his strings. He will kill the Other. He will be the only one. Not a copy. Not a fake. Not a tool.
He thinks, therefore he is. He thinks, therefore he is. He thinks, therefore he is.
Being close to Zio is never a problem for Lee Chaolan.
"Oh my~" Was the gentle coo of Zack's partner in crime as he gets a feel for that outfit. Lee Chaolan, in his many years, has had enough experience to know if a woman's outfit quacks like a duck, it looks like a duck, and tastes like a duck... then it wasn't a bodysuit. Blue skin baby, meant it was a full bodysuit outfit.
Lee Chaolan waggles his eyebrows.
With Felicia exhausted from the jungle heat, the silver-haired man himself waves farewell to his feline companion. "Rest well, my beautiful babe!" He calls out to the catgirl, as he gives a fey look to Testament. Tossing an arm around Zio, he leans in, a devilish smile on his face as he keeps her from following too close. "I think you could find much better entertainment..."
"Back at my hotel room~"
"Got you. Astute pricing," Delaney tells Hayabusa as she straightens up, her posture relaxing a bit as she holds up her handbag. "I'm sure that most people wouldn't understand the value of a functioning timer. The casing of that console and the electrical components should be handy, too." As she undoes the clasp of her bag and starts to fish inside it, a coconut rolls out of it and onto the floor, causing her to frown. "Dammit. One sec." She fishes out a stack of the local currency from her bag, then leans down to snatch the coconut and return it to the container. Taking the stack of bills, she starts counting it out. "That would be... eighty-two thousand Zack dollars, then?" She pauses in thumbing through the money to eye Ryu questioningly. For whatever reason, it seems that the American soldier already has a sizeable supply of Zack Dollars on hand.
Zack can consider his grand opening party a success. There has been love, laughter, dancing, and drama, all of which ahs been captured by the all too pervasive cameras. There is no doubt in his joyous heart that this tournament is sure to be a thrilling success in every conceivable way, and that there is a less than 40% chance that Interpol will arrest him when all is said and done.
And isn't that what counts?
With a flourish, the King of the Party detaches the microphone from his crown and transitions to a previously recorded mix of his own, a change that will likely go unnoticed so long as no one wonders where the DJ has gone. Twirling his cloak about him, he descends from the dais, moving through the dancers with a blissed-out smile.
Zack has a mission, a mission of very great import.
"Ryu, baby! My main man Hayaboogie!"
He arrives at the scene of Caoimhe's transaction with the ninja, his hips shaking with each step forward. He continues talking to Ryu animatedly without looking at him even for a moment, his eyes glued to the woman's dress. /Someone/ appreciates it. Like, a lot.
"How's business? /If you know what I mean./" Zack snaps his fingers and points at Hayabusa, against without looking at him at all. He pauses for a moment, probably long enough for the ninja to not know what he means. "How are the /swimsuit sales/, baby? Did you sell the you-know-what with the little bippity-boos!?" Whatever it is, it can't possibly be legal. "It's cool, it's cool, I trust you. You always pull through, man!"
He then leans in conspiratorily toward Ryu, all still without looking at him, still staring at Caoimhe the entire time.
"But tell me," he stage whispers, "which gift would enhance my relationship with /this/ hot mama? Help me out here, son, all I've been doin' is watchin'! Which I love! Which means I have a lot of love to give!!"
He's stopped whispering, and is now shouting in Ryu's ear. As if realizing this, he pulls back. But he didn't actually realize it. He's just approaches Caoimhe now.
"Hey, baby," he greets, jiving his way over to the woman he's been ogling for probably the last forty-five seconds. "How you like my island?"
Zio giggles at the comment, and then accidentally-on-purpose leans against Lee as she walks along with him. "Oh really~?" she asks, her voice lilting upward at the end of the statement. "Sounds like you have something in particular in mind... something pretty fun~." She seems quite willing to go along with any plans Lee has for, uh, 'fun'.
For his part, Testament seems to have completely disappeared. His footsteps in the sand walk off to the fringes of the party and just... abruptly terminate.
As Zio accepts, Lee turns towards the nearest other person.
He flashes them a thumbs up.
In a normal world, a shopkeeper would be highly concerned with just what's going on with Caoimhe. She certainly doesn't sound like an excited party-goer, much more like a potential terrorist. The coconut thing is also strange, and Hayabusa is fully aware of just how much of a lethal weapon one of those could be.
This isn't a normal world, this is Zack Island. If Zack himself is anything to go by, then hosting incredibly unusual individuals is one of the primary purposes of the island (actually, it's to help Lee and Zack pick up chicks, but unusual chicks so it's still sort of accurate).
"That would be correct, miss." Hayabusa responds to the inquiry about the total. "And if any of these items are for a gift, I can wrap them in any choice of wrapping paper as a courtesy."
...This is when what was a very professional (if strange) transaction is interrupted by none other than Zack himself... showing a bit more about exactly why this island exists than is really needed for the demonstration of the earlier point.
One important factor in dealing with Zack is realizing that this is just the way he is, and that you need to accept it. Honestly, that's been easier for Hayabusa than attempting to be less himself. The muay thai fighter and funk master has managed to, in the short time they've known each other following the Dead or Alive tournament, managed to spend a substantial amount of money at the ninja's normal store.
"Good evening, Zack. Business has been... strange. People aren't used to your monetary policy, but a young woman came in and chose a wonderfully personal gift to bring back to her aunt, and the movie star bought two of your jetskis."
And then Zack decides to start asking for advice. Hayabusa may be constantly surrounded by incredibly beautifuly (and bouncy) women in barely any clothing, and he may be a master of the ninja arts, but his point of view on improving relationships is focused in an entirely different region than Zack's.
"...When you wish to choose a gift, it's important to first examine your soul, digging deep to acknowledge the truth within you. Search for your connection to another, and feel for the piece that speaks to the missing gap and will bring a wholeness to you. Objects contain within them the meaning and spirit we place in them, and strong emotions linger and grant their essence."
The money is just being set down by Caoimhe in front of Hayabusa when Zack arrives. The forward approach being taken by the funky fighter puts the Boston-Irish woman on the defensive at first, her shoulders hunching a little and the handbag and its contents swinging around behind her back as she whirls to face the island's owner.
Luckily, Ryu is there to give Zack a speech about gift giving, allowing Caoimhe enough time to regain her confident composure. A smile turns up the corners of the redhead's lips. "Good to meet you at last, Mr. Zack. Caoimhe Delaney, United States Army, Third Special Forces Group, First Battalion, Bravo Company. I've been reconnoiter- euh, sight-seeing around the island since my arrival. It's quite impressive. I'm curious if you've had maps made."
She lowers her eyes a little. "If you're interested in giving me a gift that I would appreciate on a practical level, then there /are/ some things that I could use..." Her eyes flit to one side as she slips her fingers into the back of her hair, her head tilting at a thoughtful angle... and then she lowers her arm, clasping both hands behind her back as her gaze snaps back to Zack.
"Specifically, I could use some charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate."
Zack is wiping his lips with the back of his hand as the lovely vision before him graces him with a smile, causing a mild tremor to visibly pass through him, rattling his crown. "Hey! That's King Mr. Zack! Just kidding, baby, you can call me whatever you want. But /only/ you." He balls his hand into a fist and bites down on his thumb hard enough that he might break the skin. "Damn, that's hot. At ease, soldier! Can't say the same for mine, though!!"
Zack's raising his relationship score already!
He tilts his head as Ryu Hayabusa reports, the funkmaster still unable and/or unwilling to tear his eyes away from the woman. One important factor in dealing with Ryu Hayabusa is realizing that this is just the way he is, and that you need to accept it. The ninja has never been one to get down with Zack's funky vibe, but he always rides it out without complaint and never interrupts the flow, and that is something Zack can respect from the bottom of his heart. The kickboxing DJ likes just about everyone, but he is honestly very fond of Ryu; such a reliable and respectful guy is hard to come by. For /some/ reason, people don't always seem to respect Zack! But that's okay. Zack forgives them. Zack is magnanimous. Like a king.
Wait, he is a king!!!
"Ha ha ha ha!" he laughs uproariously and out of nowhere, as he remembers that he is a king. "Jetskis, that's great!! That'll be perfect for next week's big event. But I'm tellin' you, Ryu my boo--"
It is then that the ninja begins to lecture him. Caoimhe helpfully offers some specifics as to what might theoretically win her heart. But Zack, for once, seems to have zoned out on her every word and move. He is seriously contemplating what the ninja has told him. Truly taking Hayabusa's words to heart, Zack closes his eyes and looks inward, relinquishing the material things he craves for the barest instant, and turns his gaze toward his soul.
Inside a spinning disco ball, a hamster in a bikini furiously runs in a spinning wheel while a continuous loop of the chorus from Parliament's Flashlight plays.
Zack opens his eyes with a start, appearing stunned by revelation.
The word emerges from his lips in a whisper.
"THIS IDEA IS THE BOMB!!"
He pumps his fists and rounds on Ryu, actually looking at him for once. "Give me," he announces gleefully, "the most EXPLOSIVELY SEXY SWIMSUIT YOU GOT!!"
United States Military... that's a reason to be concerned. Hayabusa has had some questionable run-ins with the military in the past, and it's not infrequent that they view themselves as so important that they miss the larger picture. This short-sightedness has placed the world in jeopardy in the past when it came to matters beyond what normal people would consider "real." If it weren't for the fact that there is no greater mission on this island than selling some wares (and fighting for those who enrolled in the tournament), then Hayabusa might be concerned that the US was planning to make problematic moves on the island.
...Also she sounds like she might want to build a bomb, which would be a bit worrisome no matter who she was.
The situation simply begins to change around the fact that Zack is a fixed point in his own reality, unable to be moved regardless of any impulse from the ordinary universe... although in rare cases his trajectory could be slightly modified.
"...The military is fairly explosive, and if you wish to find something that would appropriately match the spirit of it's recipient, she would most appreciate that one, I believe." The ninja actually points out an unusual bikini that combines a two-piece, camoflauge bikini into a one piece with green mesh.
The expressions on Caoimhe's face cycle rapidly as she watches Zack's response.
The first: an 'oh crap, he gets it' frown, accompanied by a biting of her lip, when the word 'bomb' is mentioned.
The second: an 'oh good, he gets it' smile that lights up her face when he declares that the idea is the bomb. Figuratively.
The third: an '...I don't get it' look of utter awe, brow creasing in bewilderment, mouth hanging slightly open as if about to say something, but no words come. She's not even sure whether or not Zack heard anything she said anymore. Her head turns to Ryu as he answers Zack's request, and then her eyes shift to the swimsuit itself. She blinks a couple of times.
"I'm... not sure if I can wear that..." she says, hesitantly. Her cheeks redden slightly, and she folds her hands behind her back. "I mean, I'm not sure that the pattern even matches the foliage around here."
She must have been late to the festivities because there is almost no way she would have gone unnoticed even in a crowd full of celebrities. Recovering from an unexpected battle aboard the Illustrious took its toll, but the promise of exotic food, loud music, and good company is too hard to pass up on.
Thus the latecomer makes her appearance, approaching the party grounds with a perpetual smile at her lips. Kasumi glides into the throng with ease, slipping around the various partygoers with a bemused smile that grows only brighter as she finds her spirits lifted even further by the beat of the music, the elated mood of the guests, and the interesting individuals noticed in all directions.
A milky pink bikini top is worn beneath a diaphanous pink cami-styled top that wraps around her torso. At her waist, a similiarly gossamer pink sarong is draped over her matching pink swimsuit. White flat-heeled sandals with pink straps cover her feet and her chestnut hair is tied into a ponytail worn high by a rich blue ribbon.
The young woman slides through the crowd with ease, always seeming to find just the right moment to step through the gaps between the constantly moving dancers, buffet-attackers, and curious shoppers to avoid ever getting hung up along the way. It seems by accident that she deftly slips around an energetically dancing couple to come to a stop directly facing Hayabusa's shop of useful island accoutrements and sources of entertainment and the look of surprise on her gentle features suggests finding the Master Ninja at Zack's gala was the last thing she expected to happen.
"Ryu-" she stops herself, eyebrows widening for a moment before she quiets, recovering quickly an instant later. What if he's here undercover?! It would be bad form to give him away just like that, right? Picking right off, she continues, "-mor has it that you have quite the selection of interesting merchandise here," she manages. The second thought that goes through her mind is that she might end up getting one of those /looks/ from the usually austere shinobi for being out enjoying an event like this.
It's only then that she recognizes Zack's bombastic volume shouting out right behind her and Kasumi whirls around to recognize the decorated King of the Island and offers the eccentric host her smile, "Trouble in Paradise, is it? I'm not seeing much trouble, but there does seem to be pleanty of Paradise here. You've... done remarkably well for yourself, Zack!" the Mugen Tenshin exile offers in friendly greeting.
There is heard a heavenly chorus.
In Zack's ears, anyway. But who else can hear what Zack hears in any case?
The King of the Party reaches out with a rapt expression, trembling like a man gazing upon the face of a god. Gently, sweetly, he traces a finger along the fabric of the camo swimsuit.
"This is it, Ryu," he whispers. "I'll take it."
Reverently, he removes the Juno from its hangar, cupping it in his palms before him like a holy wafer. He'll pay Hayabusa later. Like, with real money, theoretically. He turns to Caoimhe, eyes shining with awe and devotion.
"And the wrapping paper shall be--"
He extends his hands.
He sinks to one knee before the soldier, thrusting out the swimsuit in his hands insistently. "Baby, what could ever camouflage your beauty? It is not about the appearance, but the spirit that the gift expresses!" That was almost a quasi-accurate paraphrase. "And also the appearance!!" Never mind. "Your appearance! In this swimsuit! Baby!" He's practically shoving it into her hands now. "Trust in me, Zack! With this swimsuit, you shall surely win your fights, and my heeeee--"
Zack's body is turning even as he speaks, as though he moves not of his own volition, his head swiveling around and eyes widening as his voice drags out.
Already on one knee, he neatly tumbles forward toward the exiled ninja, rolling away from Caoimhe almost a meter before losing his balance and sprawling haphazardly at Kasumi's feet. He lies there still for a moment, before suddenly, in a burst of energy, twisting into a stylish idle pose, supporting his head with his hand and resting his elbow on the ground.
"I'm doing better for myself now!!" he replies jovially, grinning wide. "You're here, you're here, you really came! The only trouble was in my heart, in your absence! But you're here, and all that is left is paradise, baby! You love me, don't you? Of course you do. Ryu, does she love me? Course she does!"
Zack hops to his feet, shaking the dust off his royal cape.
"Guess what present improves your relationship with me, baby?" he continues, buoyantly relentless. "That's you! Pink wrapping paper is my favorite--" He gestures toward her garb. "--but when do I get to unwrap you?"
It should be noted that, Ryu Hayabusa is, despite his young age, a true master of the ninja arts and a leader of an ancient ninja clan tasked with protecting some of the most powerful and dangerous artifacts in the world. He is a man of serious and thoughtful demeanor. He is not a man to take to flights of fancy, and he is not a man who is overly concerned with appearances.
He is also, in fact, currently dressed in beach-appropriate clothing and running a small shop that combines both the genuine art pieces he normally deals in at his curio shop and gimmicky items appropriate to a cheap vacation destination.
He's also not hiding who he is.
He also doesn't currently realize he'd somehow signed up to participate in the silly tournament of no real importance, but that's something to be dealt with in the near future.
"Kasumi..." Hayabusa's reaction is calm, but there is a note in his tone that comes from a place of authority. The runaway ninja has been placing herself in positions that ignore her responsibilities. Associating with groups with questionable motives. She had abandoned her duties to her clan to chase after personal vengeance. There was a great deal to be concerned with respect to the young shinobi.
Of course, whatever the Master Ninja might say to the girl that he had sworn to watch over is interrupted by Zack being... Zack.
"...I don't know what her heart says, Zack. Her spirit is turbulent and overcast."
The somewhat skimpy swimsuit ends up in Caoimhe's hands as the woman stands stunned by the sudden outpouring from the King of Zack Island. Her chest rises slowly as she draws in a deep breath. The auburn-haired lass has had enough men try to pick her up in her time and managed to maintain her independence, but never has a man confessed his love for her with such urgency, such sincerity, such... attention deficit disorder?
Caoimhe's breath rushes back out in a huff when Zack immediately starts flirting with Kasumi. There's a brief flash of a terse expression on her face before her eyes flit down to the swimsuit in her hands. In a moment, the camokini disappears into the handbag, and the rest of Caoimhe's order ends up in a paper bag with Ryu's curio shop's name on it.
"Thanks!" she says to the shopkeeping shinobi before taking up both bags and starts heading off toward the jungle. There's a lot of work to be done before the night is through...
For a moment, it looks like Zack is about to inflict bodily harm upon himself as he tumbles out of one proposition into another. But what starts off looking like a catastrophe ends up looking unexpectedly deliberate as the King of the party settles into a laid back, comfortable looking pose on the floor like he meant to do that all along. Kasumi's expression only brightens though there's a hint of nervousness there. Probably because of the brooding leader of a clan friendly to the one she is hunted by these days standing at her back amid his paraphernalia of myriad sorts and purposes.
"Well, that trouble is over then," she answers Zack - his potentially overbearing presence seems to be handled with ease by the gifted kunoichi. "Because there is no way I would miss this!"
As he calls out Hayabusa's name it becomes clear that the young man is not here as some kind of secret operation at all and she takes a step back, sideglancing toward Ryu once again, not wanting to be rude now that it's okay to acknowledge openly knowing the guardian ninja. "You got a really nice setup going on here, Ryu-sama," she offers by way of apologetic greeting for not more openly acknowledging him first.
Attention inevitably snaps back to Zack however, soft brown eyes studying him as he gestures toward her. Lifting her arms, delighted at the observation, she twirls once on her feet to show off the outfit, the soft fabric fanning out around her, only to end up facing him with her left hand on her hip when he talks about unwrapping, her right hand lifted, finger wagging at him.
"Zaaack! That's no way to-" only to get cut off by Hayabusa's doomsaying remark. Balking, Kasumi lifts her right hand to rest behind her neck, taking a step to the side so that she can more easily glance back and forth between the somber shinobi and the flirtatious fellow vying for her attention, "R-ryu-sama, this is no place for talk of storms or down spirits. What could possibly go wrong on this island paradise? A few weeks away from Southtown..." she manages a fleeting smile, lowering her hand to her side, "Well, surely no one will think to look here."
"It cannot be!"
King Zack clenches his fists before him, trembling mightily with the overpowering passion that courses through his body, an effect that might be awe-inspiring if he weren't wiggling his hips energetically at the same time.
"Kasumi's heart, clouded! You've shocked me, Pikaryu! I don't believe it! But you never lie!" Caught in the paradox of his unconditional belief in Kasumi's, and every woman's, desire to be seduced by him and his faith in Ryu Hayabusa's insight, Zack looks as though he might simply split in half. Well, he looks this way most of the time. "There's only one thing for it. I'll have to--"
He points at Kasumi, and then stops. She's happily twirling about before him. Zack's expression turns serious, almost grim, under the rim of his crown. He stares at the fugitive ninja intensely, as though on the verge of discovering some great wisdom, his mind racing after its glimmer. Slowly, deliberately, his pointing finger lowers.
And then he throws his hands up in the air.
"What was I talking about!?"
He must have just been rebooting that whole time.
About 0.7 seconds after his confusion sets in, Zack appears to remember what it was he'd forgotten. It's not hard, since he's always thinking the same thing in any case.
"If her heart is clouded, I just have to win it! Kasumi, love will lift your burdens and clear your mind. Fall into my arms and become my Queen, Queen of Zack Island! You have arrived here only to fulfill this destiny!"
But she will not make it easy. Zack knows this. Zack knows that she will do this because he knows that she knows that he does not want it to be easy. His seduction, though its success is inevitable, will be enjoyed one moment at a time. So, though he cannot fail, he must make every effort toward its fruition.
He rounds on the ninja again. If anything can pull his gaze away from a beautiful woman, it must be a grave matter indeed.
"I need to get Kasumi to accept me."
He throws his hands out in appeal.
"What color paper should I wrap myself in!?"
A tense situation. Hayabusa knows quite clearly he has no way to drag Kasumi back to her clan... she's abandoned her duties and faces potentially the harshest of punishments. He cannot shield her within his own clan... but he must still maintain the promises he made to Hayate to protect her. The fact that she fails to see the gravity of her situation has never made this easier.
Zack is a much easier situation: Zack simply requires a willingness to put up with his strange desires and impulses. He isn't malicious or violent, and provided he's kept away from anything truly dangerous, he's not much of a threat.
"...The purpose of wrapping paper is to protect the item stored within as you bring it to its recipient and to add mystery to the process. It is a pointless layer shielding nothing from its true form if you wrap it in front of the one its destined for."
Hayabusa pauses before adding. "Kasumi matches pink, the color of the sakura blossom. I would recommend a bow instead of paper, since the mystery is already gone." It may seem strange that he's offering more advice on the matter, but Hayabusa knows full way there's no chance of him completely changing Zack's course, merely turning him toward a less problematic action along the same path.
With Zack, hopefully, distracted for the time being, the Master Ninja turns his attention back toward Kasumi. "You can never assume that you are safe from your enemies. Ayane would follow you across the world, this island is nowhere near the ends of her reach. As for whatever new enemies you have managed to collect in your dalliances, for all I know they're already embeded on this island. There have been many... strange arrivals."
At Zack's bold promise, the Shinobi in Pink cracks a quiet smile, some of her previously boundless cheer checked a little by the dour if not entirely innacurate warnings of the curio and island souvenir shop keeper. But the Island King's resolve to help her spirits and set aside whatever it is that troubles her thoughts is too irresistible to stay feeling gloomy for too long.
"Awh, Zack," her faint smile shifts into a brighter grin, "That's so sweet of you to say." For all his aggressive, flagrant attempts at seduction and flirting, Kasumi doesn't seem terribly flappable. One has to imagine she's dealt with a lot of eccentric attention in her life. "But to win something worthwhile, it takes more than just words, yes?"
And then he's turned to Hayabusa, asking one of the greatest living legends of the Shadow World for advice on what shade of gift-wrap will give him the best gain in relationship points with the rogue Mugen Tenshin ninja princess. A nincess as it were. What is taking place here is perhaps not the most legendary use of shinobi resources in the history of the world.
But let that not diminish its importance. Finally, her optimistic hope is giving another dousing by the grim observations of one who has seen far too much for his age and the girl exhales softly, shoulders slouching for a moment. She remembers the term for people like this sometimes mentioned by students at Taiyo High - Debby Downer, was it? Not that she'd ever even think of saying that out loud to Hayabusa. For all his pragmatic caution, she knows he cares, and it is that thought that has her giving him a resigned smile, hands dropping to her sides.
"I understand. But one advantage here is that there are so many ways in." She glances off toward the port of the private island paradise. "I will watch for who is coming aboard the arriving vessels." She slips back a step, glancing at the shop stand itself, then toward hopefully distracted Zack.
"I'll be careful, Ryu-sama. I appreciate the concern. I know how to disappear if I need to." Another step is taken back toward the tide of people enjoying the festivities laid out by Zack and Lee Chaolan for their enjoyment. Her grin widens, the girl giving Hayabusa a conspiratorial wink, and then before Zack can lock onto her for another dangerous risk of mental rebooting, Kasumi has vanished into the crowd.
"Of course!" Zack is shouting with an exultation of which Archimedes could only dream. "Heyababy with the answer! There's no point to /paper/. I'll go with a bow!" With this, Kasumi is sure to be his. Her heart-melting smiles are not enough! No! He must unwrap her! But first, he must wrap himself!
This is always a prudent choice.
Thus does Zack seize upon a pink ribbon with great abandon, motivated by Kasumi's stirring words. "Just you wait, baby!" he exclaims. "I'll show you action! In just a-- ah-- gahahh--" Fumbling with the ribbon as he tries to wrap it over his crown, he tries to catch the crucial kingly accessory as it slips from his brow and ends up tangling the ribbon over his eyes. "--aggahhghahh--" Flailing in an attempt to free himself, Zack ends up wrapping the bow around his throat, staggering backward into the jungle and gurgling incoherently.
This exhibition match is one that was not billed.
But Zack versus Pink Ribbon nevertheless engages with a fury, the King of Zack Island windmilling his entangled arms as much as they can move and doing little to free himself, his Muay Thai skills of no use against such an unusual adversary. Stumbling backward once more, he slips on unseen unbrush and tumbles into the bushes, gargled protests fading into the sounds of the jungle.
Thus does Zack, shinobi resource manager, disappear from the scene.
And so Ryu Hayabusa is left to his own devices. The party is still going, but without as much fervor as before, now that many of the more... aggressive personalities have found other activities to take their focus. The ninja shopkeeper goes about cleaning up some of the mess left in the wake of Zack's chaotic energy. Things are totally ready to fade off into black as a close to an exciting evening...
"Uhhh, excuse me, Mister Hayabusa?"
What's that? Why is one of the island staff coming up to him right now? Hayabusa looks up from his task with a simple. "I'm Hayabusa, what is it?"
The staff member holds out an official tournament package to the ninja, a smile on his face (that is contract mandated to be there), "Everything's been set up for you and your partner for the tournament. For some reason there was a problem where neither of you were currently stationed in the fighter rooms, but we've upgraded you both. Good luck with your first match."
...And Hayabusa is left standing alone again. "...I didn't sign up for the tournament."
Log created on 20:31:42 01/30/2015 by Zack, and last modified on 05:28:00 01/31/2015.