Description: Tiger Mask meets up with Kiyomi in the Full Moon Society's secret village. Tiger Mask attempts to befriend the kitsune, though she finds that Lady Renard doesn't make friends with humans so easily...
It's early evening when Tiger Mask, Southtown's Self-Proclaimed Greatest Tiger Mask Hero, strides into Bastion Village once again, carrying a white duffel bag. She's greeted by a few, ignored by most, but she just greets back with unbridled enthusiasm those who greet her, and aggressively greets some of those who don't.
She wears white leather boots, some sort of heavy hooded karate-uniform esque outfit with an eagle feather sticking out of it, and an ornate full-face white tiger mask. At first glance, she looks suspiciously like some sort of hunter of Darkstalkers to the more paranoid.
Any significantly developed enough sense - except perhaps sight, since she's gone to some small length to hide it, and moves completely differently - would tell one that she's probably Miki Murakami. But most people here don't even know who she is.
From her last visit, two things seemed clear:
1. Tiger Mask is genuinely heroic and has the town's best interests at heart.
2. She is, to be the most generous possible, extremely eccentric.
Some Nightstalkers with more developed intuitive or sensing abilities suspect there's also:
3. Something /seriously wrong/ with that girl...
...but it's hard to think that a hunter of Darkstalkers would be under this deep cover or be so stupidly abrasive, and Nightwolf seems to approve- well, /tolerate/ her, and he's generally a good judge of character. If he's not, they're probably screwed anyways.
Tiger Mask starts to hand out a few items people requested she picked up - she is fully playing the part of the hero, even if it is a fetch quest, all the while pestering people for new tasks that must be done 'for Justice'.
Most Darkstalkers around here were paranoid about the presence of humans. Some would grow accustomed to it and perhaps learn to appreciate some humans, learn to live with them in harmony. Though for those who have had a rougher past and constantly have to deal with humans, their presence was seen differently.
Kiyomi's one of those persons : truth be told, she hates all humans with a passion, no exception. However, she's good enough to conceal her feelings while she's within the full moon society's village. The woman sits on her heels on the porch of one of the house, enjoying some tea, watching on some younger Darkstalkers who are playing about.
She glances up at the little group of people who have gathered up around the new arrival, her eyes narrowing a bit, as if in disapproval, though nothing more. Her outfit and look definately made her stood out. The few items she got might earn her the good graces of those Darkstalkers but Kiyomi always remains wary.
"So, you're one of them..." Kiyomi calls out to her idly, once she's done with her task of distribuing the items to the other villagers, "One of the repented hunter, are you?" Kiyomi asks, lifting her tea cup to her lips to sip from it.
Tiger Mask slowly turns her head over to Kiyomi. "The only thing I've ever hunted..." raises a single finger to point at Kiyomi. "...is Justice!" She casts her hand to her side dismissively.
"Hunting down people because they because they look different... I've never approved of that. That said!" She raises a palm to stop Kiyomi, as if she knows what she'll say next. Which she doesn't. "I'm glad that the repented hunters exist, and that they turned their hearts away from Evil and towards Good! Not because they hunted, but because it shows hope for both them, and this world at large!"
She looks down at her clothes. "Perhaps I haven't chosen my outfit very well. No matter! I will figure out a more heroic design! I think the main issue is some of those who murder in the name of purity wear masks. Or so I assume. I'm not sure it can really be Tiger Mask without the Mask part?" She raises her head, looking off towards the sunset. "But even the Red Cross became the Red Crescent when they want to Islamic countries that had been terrorized by the Crusades. I should be led in my heart by their example."
She looks back to Kiyomi, walks closer to her. "Considering your words, and the fact that you're here, I begin to doubt that you are one of that kind of murderers we have just been talking about. But I'm not sure if we've truly met before now." She holds out a hand towards Kiyomi, presumably an offer of a handshake. "I... am Tiger Mask!"
The woman listens quietly to what the mysterious Tiger Mask clad girl had to say. Her tails sway behind her in an enthralling dance, constantly on the move despite the kitsune's serene posture. She moistens her lips and lifts one hand up to accept the offered hand, her lips curled into a gentle smirk. The woman bows her head back at the heroine.
"I am known around here as Lady Renard," The woman replies softly. "Who knows what lies behind those masks," She says, letting her words trail off. A chuckle escapes her throat before she adds, "Aren't we just all playing a sort of masquerade in a way?"
The woman lifts her tea cup to her lips and sips it gently, before she adds, "As for all of this, my thoughts are very simple, dear Tiger Mask," Kiyomi says with a weary sigh. She turns her gaze away and says, "A simple bedtime story... a tale which has much wisdom to it. Have you heard about the tale of the scorpion and the frog?" Kiyomi asks.
"Pleased to meet you, Lady Renard!" Tiger Mask's eyes, the single visible part of her face, are momentarily distracted by those swaying tails, but only momentarily.
"I suppose we're all playing roles in a way, but some of us are playing those roles harder than others! And nothing is going to stand between Tiger Mask and Justice!"
She nods slowly at Kiyomi's words.
"I have indeed heard the story of the Scorpion and the Frog. If I remember correctly, the Scorpion and the Frog fight side by side in the first episode, but halfway through the... episode, the Scorpion poisons the Frog and runs off with the Animal Suit."
"'Why did you do this?' Asks the Frog, tears in her eyes."
"'It's in my nature,' responds the Scorpion."
"But then later, the Scorpion is fighting against The Snake - The Snake, of course, being the real villain of the first season of the series - the Frog jumps in, and with their combined power, they defeat The Snake!"
"'Why did you do this?' Asks the Scorpion."
"'It's in my nature,' responds the Frog."
"The Scorpion just walks away, but from that moment on, bound by trust, they become allies once more! And then in the last episode, The Scorpion jumps in the way of the Armadillo's attack."
"'Why did you do this?' Asks the Frog, tears in her eyes."
"'It's... in my... nature,' responds the Scorpion."
"...And then the Scorpion dies. It was a very emotional episode!" ...her eyes are actually tearing up behind that mask.
"Oh?" The woman says, arching a brow as she listens carefully to Tiger Mask's explanation of the tale. The woman can't help but laugh gently at the girl's interpertration of the story. She lifts one of her long sleeved hand to her mouth to cover her laughter.
"Quite an unusual way to tell this story," The woman says, her lips curling into a gentle smile. She heaves a soft sigh and shakes her head at the twisted version Tiger Mask had made out of this story. "While more dramatic, I think it fails to portray the heart of the tale though," She says with a soft sigh. Obviously, Kiyomi prefers her own version, though obviously Tiger Mask knows about what she's talking about though.
The woman calmly reaches for her cup of tea and grins, "So you know what I think out of all of this," Kiyomi says, bowing her head gently. "... And what I believe about the redemption of hunters," Kiyomi says. Her lips curl into a gentle, motherly smile and she leans a bit closer, murmuring to Tiger Mask almost in a playful tone, "... But keep this to yourself," She says, her tail swaying playfully behind her back.
"One can make one story into another easily enough. There's ten thousand stories, but the stories one believes about oneself are the most important. If you go around telling it to everyone, it might come true, because everyone expects it to. But if so, it would be because of the one who told the tale, wouldn't it?" Tiger Mask's voice is closer to Miki's usual voice than the usual brash heroic confidence. She tilts her head a bit to one side, and stares up into Kiyomi's eyes.
"There's much more charming and hopeful stories that can be told, and they're no more or less true, except that believing makes them so. Tiger Mask is just a story, but by telling it, I'm making it true." She reaches out, attempting to place her hand on top of the fox woman's, and seize it in the firm but gentle grip of Justice.
"That goes for you too, Lady Renard. You don't have to follow the story you've been following. There's always another path that can be taken. Don't limit yourself to one tale."
The woman moistens her lips softly, a chuckle escaping her throat. She closes her eyes and lifts the cup of tea to her lips, "Behind this eccentric behaviour, you cleverly hide your true nature, Tiger Mask -- you swiftly move through this whole masquerade, much better than I thought,"
With her eyes closed (perhaps out of confidence), Kiyomi doesn't notice Tiger Mask's hand reaching out and grasping her hair atop her head. The grip wasn't painful, just uncomfortable. Though Kiyomi keeps her mask on, that gentle smile on her lips when she brings her face slightly closer to hers.
Kiyomi opens her eyes to meet Tiger Mask's stare and she puts her cup of tea beside. She stares back at Tiger Mask with a motherly expression on her features. She lifts one hand up to try and push away the hand that held her hair, sweeping it gently away.
"This is not my story," The woman retorts sharply. The woman shakes her head in disappointment and rests her hands on her lap, "Merely of someone who was very dear to me..." She smiles wryly at Tiger Mask and says, "... If you want to hear my story though, I suppose you should join the infant for their bedtime story. They're always so eager to see what will happen next to their beloved heroine," She adds on a mischievous note.
Tiger Mask releases Kiyomi the moment her hand moves against hers to swipe her away, and moves with the slight force, making Kiyomi's gesture effortless. She tilts her head a bit to the other side, "The question you should be asking is which mask is closest to my true nature?" She pauses, adds very softly. "It's something I often wonder myself."
"I don't know what story you tell about your own life, Lady Renard, but I know it's not a happy one - although perhaps the one you tell to children is a more pleasant version of it. Either way, I'd love to hear it."
She shakes her head, and lifts a single finger. "More than just that, however! I want to be friends with you." She sounds absolutely sincere as she stares straight into Kiyomi's eyes without any sign of guile... but then again, she sounds absolutely sincere about a lot of things.
The real question that haunts Kiyomi's mind is why Tiger Mask actually hides behind a mask. Not the sort of question you ask on the first encounter, though Kiyomi has her own theory about that... She's able to resist the curiousity of asking why, figuring all will be revealed in due time if she spends enough time around of her... Though she's uncertain she particulary wishes to spend more time than necessary.
Kiyomi hums softly and closes her eyes in reverie : she wonders what would the story of her life look like, she wonders. A gentle smile curls on her lips and the woman replies softly, "Have no fear, it's a wonderful love story..."
Tiger Mask's last question definately catches Kiyomi off guard though. The surprise on her face obvious, her mouth slightly agape. Her answer comes quickly, almost as sincere and honest than Tiger Mask's question : "Why me?"
Tiger Mask perks up at being told it's a wonderful love story. At Kiyomi's question, she blinks - no one's ever asked that before in response to one of her friend requests - but it's not hard to sum up the reasons why. "You're clever, amusing, and I think strong. Although I think we share some similarities, you definitely have a perspective on the world that I don't. I think you're capable of great loyalty, although I certainly haven't earned any yet. All excellent qualities for a friend." A slight shrug of her shoulders, as she lays out her reasons with just a trace more warmth and enthusiasm than someone laying out a business plan.
"I think that my being your friend would benefit you similarly, and I think you could really use a friend - given your behavior, I don't think you have anyone you feel you can be entirely honest with right now."
Alas, the elusive vixen had the bad habit of answering questions with other questions. Was it so hard to just give an answer to a question? Then again, it might come from her playful and teasing nature, prefering to give drops of information here and there and leave others craving for more. The woman closes her eyes and chuckles softly at Tiger Mask answer : not a mocking laughter, just a pristine and genuine chuckle. She found her answer amusing, slightly naive perhaps.
She offers Tiger Mask a warm smile, "Seems like you have a knack for assessing others," She replies with an hint of sarcasm in her voice. The woman gives a slow nod of her head and adds, "Your concerns touch me, truly..." She says.
Kiyomi reaches out for her teapot and she slowly pours down more tea into her cup. "Mayhaps one day we will be friend," The woman replies softly, "Friendship is something you have to nourish and can watch flourish with time... It requires time and patience," Kiyomi says, "You can try to sow the seeds of friendship, but in some cases, it will never grow and blossom," The woman says with a shrug of her shoulder, "Nature and life are quite complicated..." She lets her words trail, "But for now, care for some tea?" She asks.
Whether or not she wants some, Kiyomi asks, "Tell me, Tiger Mask, how would you describe your own story, hum?"
"With... all my previous friends, they said to me or I said to them something along the lines of 'wanna be friends', and then the other one's like 'yes!', and then we're friends! Usually after or before we fight or something. Or have a philosophical discussion." Tiger Mask shrugs. "But I didn't think you would trust me that quickly."
At the offer of tea, Tiger Mask bows slightly in her seat, and replies formally,
"Tea would be lovely, thank you." She straightens up, considers.
"As for the story of Tiger Mask... it goes something like this:"
She switches to a sort of narrational voice:
"A long time ago, the Tiger Clan met the tiger god Shinma, who gave them his blessing: Within each of them, the Tiger Spirit dwelled as well. The village kept apart from normal life. Until one day, a girl went crazy after taking in the tiger spirit. She left the village, and went out to cause chaos in the world, and came to be known as Black Tiger Mask. Her sister was in despair, until she turned to the one thing she could rely on: old Tokusatsu VHSes. She went after her sister, trying to find and rehabilitate her, while also fighting for Justice to balance the wrongs her sister had done... she was known as... Tiger Mask."
Back to normal voice:
"And then the themesong goes:"
A low singing voice:
"Standing up tall and proud: TIGER MASK!"
"Wearing a white tiger mask: TIGER MASK!"
"Black hair pulled back tightly for a ponytail in the breeze,
Wearing that Karate uniform..."
A slight pause.
"...also in the breeze,
Muscles, muscles, muscles, muscles, fists,
Fighting for you and me,"
"Southtown's greatest tiger mask hero: TIGER MAAAASK!"
She lowers her fist from it's dramatic reach towards the sky, seemingly not even mildly embarassed by any of this.
"Everything seems to be so simple when we're young," Kiyomi admits as she reaches for a second cup to pour some tea into it. She always had at least two cups for tea : you never know when you could share it with someone, after all... And a warm beuverage was the best thing one could hope for in this cool weather.
She holds the cup and offers it for Tiger Mask to take, "A part of me envy that simplicity, but I have learned that things are offer more complicated than they appear," The woman replies. What does being friends entail for Tiger Mask? Probably not the same things than for Kiyomi.
The woman's lips curl into a smirk and a soft laughter escape Kiyomi's throat. Tiger Mask's enthusiasm and behaviour were certain invigorating and amusing to say the least, "My," She replies, "With such an heroine, I am certain Southtown has nothing to fear," The woman says. She folds her arms in her lap and grins silently at Tiger Mask. "The children would definately love to hear your tales, I am certain," She adds on a playful note.
Kiyomi hums softly and lifts her gaze up to the sky. One hand goes out to stroke her chin, "Huuum, speaking of which... I have heard many rumors about an horrible, horrible serial killer in Southtown... Perhaps Tiger Mask should try to put an end to his evil doings.."
Tiger Mask accepts the cup of tea with a slight bow, takes a sip, and contemplates Kiyomi's words.
"I'm still very new to friendship," she admits. "But I rather like it so far. Although I do see the potential for things to get complicated, yes." She takes another sip of tea.
"Tiger Mask hasn't done anything that amazing yet." She raises an eyebrow at the woman's suggestion. Is Kiyomi trying to get her killed, or just testing her? It's not very subtle, if so.
"It's unlikely Tiger Mask would win that sort of fight. I've been looking for him. If Tiger Mask saw him attacking someone, of course, she'd run in to save them, but otherwise...." She raises her eyes to Kiyomi's with a slightly cold expression. Because, of course, Miki has no plan to be Tiger Mask when she finds him, no plan to save most people she might find The Butcher killing from being killed. Her plan, should she come across him, is to politely ask him questions without disturbing him from his current activity.
Who knows what were Kiyomi's true intentions about all of this. The harsh truth is that she could careless for the life of a human : one more or one less, it's all the same to her. If not for that, making Tiger Mask realize her own limitation might just be cold and cruel of her.
Unfortunately for Tiger Mask, Kiyomi's heart was safely kept into her shell like a treasure meant only for others like her. Could friendship truly be possible between the two? Highly doubtful, even if Kiyomi isn't necessarly outright mean to them while she stays within the society's ground. Except me now...
Her tails sway gently behind her and Kiyomi lifts her gaze up at Tiger Mask, arching a brow, "You know you can't win that sort of fight, yet you are looking for him?" Kiyomi asks, tilting her head to one side. A soft chuckle escape her throat and the woman shakes her head slowly, "My poor child... What are you expecting? That you will walk up to him, ask him to be friends, and he will stop his evil ways? Because friendship is magic?" Kiyomi asks softly.
Kiyomi closes her eyes and she lifts the cup of tea to her lips and she adds, "Have you thought what Tiger Mask will do against Black Tiger Mask when she'll find her, hum?" She takes a slow sip to give time to the other person to think about it, "How to stop their evil doings? Do you hope that they will see the light and repent? Or that a cell will prevent them from doing harm?" She asks.
"Oh, Black Tiger Mask already got bored and stopped. Turns out running around randomly attacking people for no reason isn't super fun, at least for her. Which... I guess it's good that she knows that now?" Tiger Mask shrugs slightly, takes another long sip of her tea. "It's... really not a very inspiring story, so I don't talk about it much."
"Actually, if I walked up to The Butcher, and asked him to be friends, he'd probably be surprised enough not to attack me. But, I think being his friend would mean accepting him as a serial killer, unless it seemed like another path was better for /him/. I don't know his motivation. It might just be a path to immortality for him, and, if so, I understand there are other ways. Or I could call in back-up if I decided to fight him. There's a bunch of ways to deal with any given issue other than attacking."
Kiyomi hums softly and arches a brow. She ponders this for a moment and chuckles, "Maybe you are right -- I wouldn't risk it, though," She admits with a soft sigh, "I do believe," Kiyomi says, "That the only way to stop him will be if someone kills him," She grins and glances up at Tiger Mask, before she adds, "But you shouldn't have to worry about things like that... For now,"
She turns her eyes away to stare at the other houses and says, "If you keep up like this, I am sure the other Darkstalkers here will learn to appreciate you, and that, in its own way, is a more accesible sort of heroic behaviour than going out for a nasty killer. The small acts count just as much as the big ones," She says with a grin.
Suddenly, almost seeming out of nowhere, a young child rushes up to Kiyomi, his hands going up to nudge at her kimono for some attention, "Renard, renard," He says. His skin was brown and he had spikes all over his back, like some sort of monstruous mutated hedgehog. The woman turns her gaze over to the kid and offers him a warm smile, "Calm down, what's the matter?" She asks. The boy whines a bit and says, "It's Alec, he got stuck up in a tree again when he tried to fly around,"
The Kitsune laughs softly and she puts her cup of tea aside, "Again!" She says, amused, "Alright, I'm coming," She says with a slow nod of her head. She looks up at Tiger Mask and says, "It might not be much, but know that I appreciate what you're doing to help us," Kiyomi says as she straightens herself up and rises. She smiles at her and says, "I'll be looking foward to hear more tales about the heroic Tiger Mask against Black Tiger Mask.. I am sure the next episodes will be quite promising," She admits.
Log created on 10:53:12 02/18/2015 by Kiyomi, and last modified on 21:32:06 02/18/2015.