Description: After his successful investigation, our stalwart Daniel "Jack" Little, master investigator of Interpol, goes out into the Mountains of Fuji in order to seek out insight from a Japanese Hermit. After encountering the ancient ninja Ryu Hayabusa at his dojo, the old hermit chooses that, before he grants our ace detective the infinite knowledge of Great Nippon's wisdom, he must complete the ten tests of courage to prove his worth. Thus our master detective is set on a journey of danger, discovery, and daring. With Ryu's twin sister Kasumi conflicted by her duty to the trials and her budding feelings for the handsome detective, this truly is an adventure of love and lusts. With enemies and allies around every corner, will our brave detective be able to overcome... The Trials of The Dragon? (The cover art shows Daniel Jack dressed in a loin cloth and barbarian mail, a great horned helmet on his head and a claymore in his hands. He is surrounded by several mirrors in some kind of dungeon. In each mirror is an image of a long-nailed yellow-skinned ninja, who clearly must be Ryu Hayabusa. Clinging to his leg desperately is Kasumi the ninja, clad in a strapless red gown and looking in horror at the mirrors. Daniel stares intently on one of the reflections, a face of pure courage upon him) (45 cents)
Mt. Fuji is one of the most iconic and beautiful sights in Japan, and countless are the pieces of artwork that have depicted the volcano.
Along one of the many paths that dart between the lakes to the north of the peak sits a building that appears to have slipped right out of the Edo period, trapped in a time long past. Swept tile covers the roofs extending from the building at each of its two levels and simple, paneled walls sit coated in white paint that could have been added in a fresh coat just yesterday.
Were it not for the twin banners raised before the building, it would be easy to assume it some simple landmark, or a familial home kept for generations. One banner is written in precise kanji lettering while the other, accomodating the heavy traffic of tourists in this part of Japan, reads "Hayabusa Genuine Mt. Fuji Curios." The door into the shop has been left welcomingly open, as well as allowing the pleasant spring breeze to flow through the ancient building.
Daniel Jack was not a tourist, proper.
He had a long mission to be sure. He had already brought down the hammer on the criminal scum across Southtown, and Japan itself. He had being brought through the human meat grinder that was Sergei. And now, mostly recovered, the Agent of Interpol passes through the opening of the door, clad in his Interpol greys. The detective was dressed for a case, not for simply browsing Mt. Fuji for trinkets to give his boss.
Well, not -entirely- for that reason.
No, the dark-skinned detective moves past the banners, into the cluttered chaos of the curios presented. Stepping forward with his black shoes, he brings his hands behind his back, keeping an expression of cautious inspection. His eyes drifts among the shelves of the brick a brac that scattered through it. Some of it was droll; the one-eyed daruma doll here, a dessicated carcass of some ancient fish thing here. It was an utterly bizarre collection, to be sure. But as Daniel peers through the items, he has to take pause.
Something had caught his eye.
In fact, what has caught his eye the most was a rather bizarre pelt.
It looks like a simple foxskin pelt, the kind that would be used for making a muff or a shawl. And yet, as the detective inspects it carefully, he noticed that there was... something wrong with it. It had an extra tail on it. Gingerly, Daniel Jack reaches out to the pelt, reaching out to touch it. Daniel Jack kept his eyes focused on it. He didn't know if he could touch it.
But he would try.
"Welcome, can I help you find anything or were you simply looking to take a break from your sight-seeing?"
The voice seems to come out of nowhere, as does the man who provides it. Ryu Hayabusa. He carries the youthful appearance of a man in his early-twenties, but something about the utterly peaceful and collected way that he moves and speaks suggest a man many times that age. Long brown hair is drawn back into a ponytail and he is dressed clothes that suggest mastercraft in simplicity: a plain, black kimono with dark gray hakama. There are no symbols, yet any eye for material would recognize the precision of their make and the quality of their material.
"My name is Ryu Hayabusa, and I am the proprietor if this shop. If you'd like I could brew up some tea."
Daniel Jack draws back his hand from the foxtails.
Looking up at the man who came out of nowhere, it seemed, Daniel Jack straightens his back. Adjusting his tie, he clears his throat. "Ah. Right." He casts his gaze upon the man, inspecting him carefully, willfully. "Ryu Hayabusa." Daniel Jack repeats. "I... well, yes. You can help me with something." The detective speaks with a steady rhythm, trying to find the right way to approach the important subject. "Two things, in fact. The first is, well..." He pauses, gesturing with his hands.
"... I got a boss I need to impress you see..."
Continuing on with the gesturing, he drops his hands. "As for the other, yeah. Yeah scuzzy." He pauses again. "Yeah, I think we wanna to get a pot of tea on." The detective peers around the shop a moment. He wasn't gonna say it aloud. But it may be pretty obvious what he was doing.
He was seeing if anybody else was in the shop.
There is no change of expression in Hayabusa's face as the visitor stammers, however a new intensity blossoms in his eyes. Green pools that feel as though they tear through all layers, cutting to the very core. It's like standing alone on a stage with every spotlight turned on you, all for an audience of one.
And yet it lasts but a moment. Whatever drew his attention, the proprietor is apparently satisfied.
"I have a separate room for tea, if you'll come this way." His feet not making a sound, Hayabusa moves with a carefully paced precision through the overflowing shelves of the otherwise unoccupied store, leading to a traditional sliding door that opens with a whisper, leading back to a remarkably bare room, in sharp contrast with the shop. A low table rests at the center with a stove in one corner and a few, squat cabinets.
"Please, take a seat, Mr..."
The respond comes briskly, after Daniel Jack follows after the mysterious owner with careful footsteps. Daniel Jack was noticing just how silent Ryu was. The detective then comes with an equally crisp follow up as he approaches the room. "But you can call me Daniel Jack. I'm a detective from Interpol, Mr. Hayabusa. I've been handling a number of cases in the area. A side track from my main interests, however." The detective enters the room carefully, taking his place at the low table respectivefully.
"This is private, correct?"
As Little speaks, Hayabusa goes about the process of preparing tea, filling a kettle from a small hand pump before placing it atop the already burning stove to heat.
"I'm not in the habit of spreading secrets, Mr. Little," Hayabusa responds; his voice is direct and confident. Combined into one person, it would not be hard to imagine that the great many rumors that exist of the man's history must be true.
"It's unusual to have an official visit from a government agent. Whatever brings you here must be most dire."
"Not dire, no."
The detective shrugs his shoulders. "Well, right now it isn't dire." The detective looks at the kettle, and then back to Ryu. "Now that I have a moment to catch my breath, I got back on some old business, some real old business, you dig? You see, I've been researching on certain individuals, Mr. Hayabusa, after the incident in Metro City." Daniel Jack nods his head firmly, as he draws out a notepad from his suit jacket, and places it on the table. "And of many individuals, you've stood out the most, Mr. Hayabusa. Do you wanna know why? Of every single individual conducting in the fraud of monster hunting..."
"You are -not- included in that category, Mr. Hayabusa."
Despite the fact that the shop owner has his back turned as he moves through the teamaking process, Hayabusa is completely focused on the words of his visitor, weighing each with care.
Attentive is an understatement.
A teapot is filled with loose green leaves as the kettle on the stove begins to steam. "If this is about hunting fiends, you've found an expert." It's a simple statement, it offers no position on what has been said thus far. Even as the man brings over two plain tea cups, there's no hint to betray his thoughts on his face.
"Well, see, that's the thing."
"There are plenty of 'experts' on monster hunting." Daniel Jack taps on the notebook. "Then there is you. You must be a master or something, because every single monster hunter is marked down as 'frauds.' You aren't though. That says something. That says that you saved some important things. Some important people. No Ryu, I wouldn't say you are an expert. I would say that you are a master." Daniel Jack pauses a moment, unsure to continue. Finally, he commits.
"Have you ever thought about working for the UN?"
Steam puffs out of the kettle, and Hayabusa carefully lifts it off the stove, gently pouring it into the tea pot without so much as a stray droplet. While it may not fit the traditional approach to proper tea ceremonies, the proprietor simply lifts up the teapot and carries it over to the table as it steeps, placing a focus on providing his guest with his attention.
"I will be very honest with you, Mr. Little, because there is not value in deception. I find your governments too short-sighted to understand the real importance of my duties."
Finally he lifts the pot and carefully fills the cup placed in front of Daniel Jack before doing the same for his own. "I mean no offense, but you don't come across like an official recruiter. Perhaps it would help if you informed me what you already knew about me."
"Off the record, Mr. Hayabusa?"
That is the response from Daniel Jack, with the firm presence. "Interpol is -dumb-, Mr. Hayabusa. Extremely dumb. I had dumb for a while, but it took me about a year to realize just how terminally idiotic Interpol can be. Did you know they don't recognize the difference between a sufficiently powerful humans and a Darkstalker? It's like, okay, Heihachi is the exact same as the snake lady that mugged me in Southtown. It's just so stupid! And, like, okay scuzzy." He watches the kettle being put down.
"Well, let me give you a little background."
"I face some kind of horrible mummy... thing a while back. I manage to make it mad by refusing to go down. And it uh, it sent me to some kind of Egyptian afterlife? And I ended up kicking around there for... I don't know. Lets just say a day, that's what makes sense to me. Anyways, I get out, and I realized that damn! There are a whole bunch of monsters all over! And Interpol tells me after I went from hell and back? Wasting their time with a useless report. And then sends me to investigate a serial killer who, oh by the way, consumes souls because he is a monster! And he ate a good chunk of my soul! And then I get sent to Metro City just as the Majigen incident happens." Daniel was nearly in full rant at that point. But as he mentions the last one... he seemed to get calm as he talks about Majigen. "And uh." He gets a little hot faced "Aaaaaand well, I found out that these monsters are a lot more human than I thought!"
The ninja sits quietly, picking up his tea cup and taking a few contemplative sips as the detective goes through his story. His mind doesn't wander, and no conclusions are jumped to. For those aware of the difference, it's almost an eerie sensation to be truly listened to with actual undivided attention. To have every word absorbed and examined in turn as they're filed away in another's mind.
And as Daniel Jack finishes his tale, the store owner sits in silence for a few moments. "Then you've seen another Realm with your own eyes, and you've stood in the presence of Fiends." Two green-gold eyes look up from the cup of tea, craddled in both hands, and seem to stare right through Daniel. "However, you still haven't mentioned what you know of me and how it led you to your conclusions about me not being the same as these... 'frauds.'"
"The fraud thing, yeah, yeah."
Daniel Jack taps the notepad with a pencil. "Okay, so, I was trying to follow up on this whole Darkstalker thing. See, I figured there -had- to be some evidence of some kind of Darkstalker stuff. Because you know, with the Majigen thing? They acted like it wasn't a Darkstalker thing. Like, it was a terrorist attack, you dig? So I had to see if there was an explicit detail... thing. On everything."
Daniel Jack flips the notepad.
"So I found out about the Glenn Clan." He drops his voice again. "They were identified as a private security force that was committed to fraudulant 'monster hunting' activities. Bulletta 'BB' Hood. A cosplayer with terror ties invested in fradulant monster hunting activities. Baiken, a homeless disabled woman, invested in fradulant monster hunting activities. There are so many of these on record, Ryu. So many frauds. And there there is this one. Same folder, same database. Ryu Hayabusa. Ninja." Daniel Jack pauses a moment. "No mention of fraud, nothing. So every single fraud in the same database has that hanging over their head, so at any moment, we could sweep in and arrest them. Funny how that works, isn't it? We could arrest them at anytime." Daniel Jack points the pencil towards Ryu. "We couldn't arrest you."
"That means something to me, Ryu."
After a moment of contemplation, Hayabusa sets his cup back on the table and begins. "Before I go any further, I must say that while I don't know the details of your list, Baiken and I have worked together in the past, and while we don't entirely agree on methods, she is far from a fraud. Her assistance was vital to freeing Metro City from Majigen. It may also not be in your records, but the Archfiend responsible for the attack was named Jedah. While we were able to wound and drive him off, he still lives."
Slowly the ninja rises up from his seated position and approaches one of the low cabinets, crouching next to it as he slides it open. "I believe the reason that I'm not listed as a fraud is because I have directly protected the world from threats that would have returned it to chaos more than a dozen times. In these acts I have protected world leaders and been assisted by government agencies of multiple countries." Despite appearing to be in his early twenties, he speaks with an absolute conviction that must raise the question of just how often these threats arise.
Finally he retrieves what he was looking for, closing the cabinet and turning back to face Daniel Jack, the Dragon Sword's hilt in his hand, the scabbard gripped tightly in the other. "I am the Dragon Ninja, heir to the Dragon Lineage that freed the world from the Chaos of the Dark Dragon and has watched over this world for tens of thousands of years." Slowly he draws the blade from the scabbard, allowing the light to glint of the ancient blade. "I alone in this world can wield the power of the Dragon Sword, the ultimate weapon against Evil."
"Oh yeah, like, trust me."
Daniel evens his hand. "I think it is an euphemism. I am pretty sure every single one of them are legit." As Ryu mentions... Jedah, Daniel Jack tenses up a bit. He was.... rubbing his neck a bit. As Ryu put down the law, explaining what Daniel was suspecting, that Ryu was a world hero. An expert at saving lives, that countless government figures owed their lives to this ninja. But as he re-emerges, the detective's eyes go wide.
He sees the sword.
"Dragon Ninja. Dragon Lienage. Chaos of the Dark Dragon for tens of thousands of years. After so much? That was not that hard to believe. As the blade comes out fully, the glint of the blade causes Daniel to lean back, inspecting it carefully. "The Dragon Sword. Ultimate weapon against evil. Okay, so you are basically the hero of the world then. That... that makes sense." Daniel Jack pauses a moment.
"So when you said Jedah, what do you know about him now?"
Hayabusa returns to the table, resheathing the blade and setting it down before him as he does. Settling back in, he takes a moment to consider his words before responding. "What you refer to as Darkstalkers, we know as Majin or Fiends. There is a great deal of history that you would probably not believe, but it is enough to say that these Fiends were first on this world. Vigoor, the Deity of Destruction, ruled this world before humanity existed. He was defeated by the 13 Divine Dragons, born of Serpent, banishing him to the Underworld. It is a possibility that this is the Realm you were banished to."
There is a pause as he lets the detective think on what he's said before he continues. "Following this defeat, life was able to bloom, watched over by the Divine Dragons until the youngest was corrupted by the touch of Vigoor and filled with envy of its more powerful elders. It betrayed the other Dragons, allowing the Fiends to return to this world to enslave humanity, spreading their essence among our bloodlines. While mortally wounded, the remaining 12 Divine Dragons were able to entrust their power to the strongest of the human warriors, my ancestors. The Dragon Sword was born of one of their fangs and imbued with their souls and essence, it can only be wielded by those of the Dragon Lineage, and only then once they have trained their body, mind, and spirit to withstand the Divine Power. Through this power, the Dragon Ninja was able to fight back against the Fiends, and to slay the Dark Dragon, freeing humanity. A peace of sorts was established, and the Dragon Ninja withdrew. Humanity would be allowed to forget their suffering under the fiends as we watched from the shadows, putting a end to any attempts to release the Fiends back into our world."
Another pause for the sake of his listener before Hayabusa finishes. "Jedah is a Greater Fiend, although he may possibly elevate to the power of an Archfiend. He seeks to return his kind to what he believes their rightfully place: ruling over humanity. As part of his process, he aims to combine Fiends and humans, creating loyal servants for his cause."
"Slow down, hang on a second."
Daniel Jack furiously takes down the notes, as Ryu explains. Majin. Fiends. Daniel Jack had been hoping for some insight on this matter, and frankly, Ryu was giving a... strong perspective. An old perspective at least. The dragon mythology is... a little off. But he writes it down. "Okay, Dragon Ninja. This... this makes sense. So you are basically the best ninja then? You wouldn't know a Nagase, would you?" Daniel Jack adds that, eyebrows raised.
He didn't understand ninja very well.
As he explains Jedah, however, Daniel Jack gets... a little sweaty again. "Greater fiend. Okay, so that's why you have big organized pushes with the Earth being so... violent and aggressive. So you have these big fiends ruling over the lesser creatures, and they are the ones that are marching these guys into attacking people and kidnapping cities and the like. Okay, I can dig that. Fio makes sense now. So she's a lieutenant, huh, okay. And you have the free agents, which are just like people, you get the crazies who love killing or worse, and you have the rest who are peaceful, and everything in between." Daniel Jack looks up, almost a look of hope on his face.
"That sounds right, right?"
"I have never met a Nagase among the clans I have dealings with," Hayabusa answers quickly and without hesitation. "While there have been many clans, there is only one other clan that mine maintains close ties with."
Then with a few words, the ninja attempts to shatter any delusions, "I never said that lesser fiends were not violent. All Fiends contain an element of Vigoor's chaos, a nature that is completely incompatible with a world fit for humanity." His tone remains firm and serious as he continues. "Aimless violence and consumption of human flesh are common among Fiends... and even the human descendants still tainted by the corruption. After killing a Greater Fiend leading other Fiends, it's not uncommon for them to continue fighting if they feel numbers are in their favor."
Looking Daniel Jack in the eyes, Hayabusa's intensity is something that could be overwhelming. "I have fought and killed thousands acting in the service of Greater Fiends. I have met fewer than 100 touched by Fiendish corruption that have made an effort to live in peace."
Daniel was crossing into dangerous territory.
While the dismissal of Nagase was brief, the sheer weight of what comes next was the raw conviction Ryu Hyabusa had brought into full bear. The detective tightens his knuckles in the face of the precise, direct words. It was very clear what Ryu stood for, what he felt about the monsters now. Daniel had seen it before in others like him. Deep down, Daniel might have hoped for something different. But Ryu was only confirming what he feared. And with such drive, such presence, such conviction, that Daniel felt like a fool to consider otherwise.
And yet, Daniel holds his ground.
"Now if there are fewer than a 100, that means there is more than none." Daniel Jack was pushing back against the resolution of the ninja, holding his own ground. ""I mean, from my experience with them, the sheer humanity of them is closer than some people! If you prick them, they can bleed! You tickle them, they can laugh! You poison them, and they can die! The ones who can feel like us are close to us; I've been to a steakhouse in Majigen for christs sake. Not a bizarre hellpit of dining flesh. An Italian Steakhouse!"
Daniel Jack's passion begins to overtake him, as he begins to sweat more.
"And you can't disagree that tyrants of men are much different than the tyrants of Dark- mon- fiends!" He gestures his hands, as if to compare the two. "If the likes of Shadaloo took control of the world, would they be no less cruel and diabolical than the fiends? If Vega had the power to seize the whole of Metro City, don't you think he would have murdered just as many people? Power does not see any difference.... any difference between man and monster." Daniel halts a moment, as if something appeared right before him. Shaking his head quickly, he gestures to the room around him. "This is a modern age, and a modern era. The world is a lot more flexible now than it has been in the past. There is not simply science and technology, but cultural advancements! The power for peace and unity is stronger now than it has ever been in the history of mankind!" Daniel Jack rises into a stand."Ryu, I believed that it was a shadowy world filled with demons and gods and monsters that only merely looked away from our world, and the moment they laid their eyes on it, they would snatch it away. I was convinced that was the case, when I was drawn into Majigen at Metro City. But the cats spoke to me, Ryu, the cats told me, and showed me. That there isn't just a spark of compassion, but a full bonfire of it... and one that we can share, that we can reach out to. I don't think these fiends can be completely incompatable with our world any longer, Ryu, no."
Daniel pauses a moment.
"There is more than just 'fewer than 100' that can join mankind in unity."
And Hayabusa stays silent, listening. There is nothing about his posture that suggests he is merely waiting for an opportunity to reiterate his opinion, or to simply poke holes in an argument that goes against his position. Every word is absorbed and considered with a patient, thoughtful mind.
And then he speaks.
"If you find those touched by Fiendish power that seek peace, I know a place they can go to be safe. There are those seeking an opportunity for unification, and I support any actions that may make my purpose irrelavant..." A pause fills the air before he continues.
"...The threats I speak of are not mere territorial disputes. The Fiends I have fought do not seek merely to conquer, they often seek to commit genocide to the entire human species. There are artifacts in this world that could revive Vigoor and destroy all life."
The ninja's eyes turn toward the sword resting before him on the table. "This sword is imperfect. In it's true form, it has the power to bring any change its wielder desires... but that power unbalances the world. When Nobunaga rose to power, he sought to wipe out the ninja clans and prevent them from rising up against him. The Hayabusa Clan remained in hiding, because it was not our place to decide who rules. Our duty is to protect the world from threats that would bring about the end."
Looking back up to the detective he finishes, "There are human threats that can destabilize our world on a grand scale, and I would step forward to deal with them, but it is by their very nature that Fiends are a threat. If you cleanse your soul, all deception shall fall from your vision and you will see things as they truly are, not merely how you wish they were."
Daniel Jack begins to fly in further anger.
"It is by their very nature, that those tyrants are a threat. What is the nature of worst of the humanity? Is it the nature of fiends, or is it the nature of men? Mere territorial disputes; you know very well how much genocide has come with human's conquests!" The righteous fury keeps hot in the face of serene restraint, as attention is directed to the sword. "Balance in the world. Feh. I haven't come to claim your sword. What your choice in your weapon is, and when to use it... is something I ultimately find faith in. But I am not talking about taking stands against those who bring the end, but those are merely different." As the reference to his soul comes, Daniel seems ready to lash out, a hot temper boiling forth from him. "And as it so happens, I had my soul cleansed by one of those monsters. Fio Tessitore. Who... Who.... ugh."
And Daniel sits down.
"Frankly, Ryu. I'll be honest." Daniel sighs, his face grim, his temper faded. "She's nuts, and she's in with that Jedah dude. She saved my life and soul, and got me back home, but like... yeah. She's insane, she's been transformed into those half-beast things, and she doesn't even tell the difference between right and wrong anymore. She's a monster. And man, she's a woman!" Daniel Jack just shakes his head at that. "But like... Zach Glenn caught her trying to kidnap people. I can't tolerate that. But I can't just... kill her. She's a link to a world where monsters are men. That's the point, that is the problem. You can help people, you can help monsters. I can't let myself be corrupted, I can't let my principled be corrupted. I know you saved the world so many times, and I believe you when you say there are monsters of the like and power that require you and your Dragon blade to stop. But in the end, those fiends are tyrants. And to hold the subjects of a tyrant to the actions of the tyrant... it would be better to liberate them, to westernize them, to make them modern societies like us.
And to kill them, it just...""
With every word, Daniel sounded weaker and weaker. "There is this girl. Ayame Ichijo. She helped me get out of the Egyptian underworld, she and Nightwolf. We had a HitBit fight, and I confronted her on the whole... monster hunting thing. And this was a girl who was a quiet and stoic as... well as you in fact. Just moody and teenage. But the way she just lit up when she talked about the hundreds of monsters she killed? I mean, I've seen some of the worst monsters can do. I've -experienced- it. But I've experience compassion, and humanity. I mean, look at me Ryu. 50 years ago I would have been lucky to have the job I had. Hearing people tell me that all monsters, or certain races, or certain groups, are all evil, when I know in my heart they aren't? That's scary. And frankly, you tell me that you only kill the bad ones?" Daniel Jack looks shakes his head. "I want to make sure that's true. That's the real reason I've come down."
"I'm trying to unify the monster hunters within the UN."
"That is... a problem that occurs in many of the other hunting clans," Hayabusa says, his words somewhat slower as a somber tone drapes over his voice. "I find no joy in killing; if it were my choice I would leave a life of peace. In order to wield the Dragon Sword, the Dragon Ninja must achieve mastery of body, mind, and soul. However, we are few, and there have always been small cracks that let forth Fiends in this world. Other groups rose to take up the cause without the history and dedication of the Hayabusa clan."
The ninja turns to look up at the detective again, certainty returning to his voice. "The problem with your ambitions is that you look to a government that struggles to find any unity. It has stood for less than a century, while my Lineage has protected this world for tens of thousands of years. Even within our closest allies there have been... failings that threatened the balance we seek to protect, and we have been allies for generations."
"The problem with my ambition is that Interpol is stupid."
Daniel speaks pretty blunty about that fact. "What has changed in only a century is worthy of merit, Ryu. You can't deny that the culture of these days is superior to the culture of 1000 years ago. This isn't a decry against the methods and skills of you and your ancestors. You said yourself that you have no joy in killing, but it isn't you who needs peace. It is the world. You are a fire fighter, Ryu. You are a man who puts out the fires that are set upon the world."
"What we need to start doing is working together to prevent those fires."
Daniel Jack looks at his notepad, tapping the pencil on it. "There has to be unity in this. Not just to protect the Earth. But protect those who seek to live on the earth... to live upon the Earth. To exist, to coexist, and not to conquer. So that those seeking peace like you, Ryu, can live without fear of a xenophibic murder tracking them down, and killing their family while they sleep. It's a fool's ambition... but who else in the world has that same ambition? If I don't step up to take a hold of this early on, then all it takes is a single act of genocide from Jedah and his minions, and there will unity alright. Unity by tyrants and demogouges, seeking to exploit the fears of the people for another 10,000 years of war. We must defend ourselves, Ryu... and defend the ideals of peace, of freedom, and of tolerance."
"Surely you can appreciate that, Ryu?"
"What has changed?" Hayabusa sits thoughtfully for a few moments before continuing. "As far as I can tell, what has changed is that the world produced a weapon of such potent fear that direct conflict between nations of peers has been replaced by subtle insults. Direct control by superior powers is exchanged for missions of 'freedom' and economic opression. The violence inward has not faded away, merely changed its stripes."
"The world has made great strides in technology, with tools that could improve the lives of all... but this era is not so different from eras past."
The ninja lifts his tea cup again, taking a gentle sip as he ponders the rest of the detective's words. "In order for me to follow through on my duty to the world, I cannot blind myself with idealism. I support your intentions, but it is not my place to lead the world when I have responsibilities to my clan, my allies, and my Lineage."
Daniel himself takes his tea.
He drinks it silently, his thoughts swimming. Ryu's cynicism... was well founded. And yet, he could not dismiss that he was sharing tea with a ninja. "Peace, Ryu, doesn't counter human nature. It only adapts within it. Frankly, I'll take the peace of today than the war and chaos of 100 years ago... or the misery of 500 years ago. I'll concede that point though." Daniel Jack takes another sip.
"But is it really better to blind yourself with cynicism instead?"
Daniel Jack shakes his head again, his conviction firm. "I don't need you to lead the world; I understand that. You have your duty. But I have my duty towards a peaceful, united world. You are an honest man, Ryu, that much is painfully honest. If you can't lead the way of a new united front against evil, specifically evil, indepedent of monster and men?" Daniel Jack pauses a moment.
"Do you know who would be interested in that?"
"I don't believe that peace is impossible," Hayabusa responds, "Humanity was given the gift of life through the Divine Dragons. While it would be delusional to say that all human ills are the effects of lingering Fiend blood, I have seen enough to know that it has left a piece of Chaos at the very core."
There is a carefully considered pause from the Dragon Ninja before he offers, "There is a group that shared your idealism, seeking to create a unification between peaceful Fiends and humans. At the time they were under the care of a deity by the name of Raiden. I gave them my word that any Fiends that did not pose a threat would be sent their way." This drifts into another considered beat before he adds, "I haven't received any word from them in some time. It may be that they have already considered their experiment a failure."
Once more those intense eyes stare at the detective, as if they could penetrate to his very core. "I am quite concerned for you, Mr. Little. You seek to accomplish great things, to achieve a tranquility in the world that you do not possess within your own soul. In the attempt to do great things, an imperfect soul has led many a champion to cause great suffering, blinded by their own tainted belief."
Daniel Jack repeats the name. "Well, at least some people have the dream. I'll try and track them down. Maybe they want to keep the light going. Maybe they won't feel bad about working for the UN." Daniel Jack sips the tea again. The ninja then turns it towards Daniel... who keeps his cool, at least this time.
Daniel Jack smacks his lips. "Scuzzy, life is suffering. You have to learn how to suffer, in order to get through it. Me? Hell, I think my job is to suffer on the behalf of others. I don't got a perfect soul, no. But if the world relied on perfect people to do perfect things, then nothing would get done. No, I can't stand by anymore and let the track the world is on go forward. If I do nothing, that will rot my soul out within. I have to act. I have to move forward. Something must be done." Daniel Jack looks at his tea.
"On a side note, this is -fantastic- tea."
The stern expression drawn across Hayabusa's face at Daniel Jack's declaration suggests he is not entirely convinced. "It is noble to feel the need to act when you recognize suffering, but acting without thought, without understanding..."
With an easy motion, the ninja hefts up the blade in front of him, grabbing it at the midsection of its scabbard as he raises it up from the table. "I've told you that this blade has the unique ability to dispatch evil. The power held within this blade is unrivalled. It has destroyed evil artifacts with a decisive blow and returned safety to this world countless times through generations."
Piercing eyes lock on to the detective's own, watching for every reaction.
"A Greater Fiend arrives, it's intent to slaughter aimlessly. Would you wield this sword against it?"
"I... I don't fight with swords."
Daniel Jack rises up. That had flustered him. Why did it fluster him? The other words kept him stable. But the moment when he showed that sword, and when he asked him... he asked him if he could wield this sword against it. The obvious answer was yes. He knew it was yes.
But he knew what his heart said.
"Th-thank you for the tea." He states firmly. "Thank you for the talk as well Ryu. Thank you. I have to... I have to go." He begins to lean the tea room, to the main room. "I have to... I mean... thank you for the advice, and... and leads." Why did it bother him. Why did he become disturbed? He could wield that blade against Jedah.
"You are welcome to my tea and my advice any time you seek it, Mr. Little," Hayabusa offers, softening his tone as he observes the way the detective reacts to his question.
The shop owner rises up from his position at the low table to escort his guest back out. "Remember what I said about acting in haste, without preparation. A simple decision can shake the very world if made at a vital instant. A decision for good can bring great evil. A decision that appears cruel can bring salvation if made with understanding. A soul brought to perfection can achieve the otherwise impossible."
Daniel hems and haws. Why couldn't he say yes? Because he was honest. Because he couldn't lie to himself. And frankly, when seeing things so squarely on, he couldn't bring himself to lie to Ryu, even if it was easy. As Ryu escorts him out, he just... nods. "Yes. Thank you. Raiden. I will find this Raiden and his companions. Or group. And I will see what I can do." Escorted to the doorway, he pauses back at the fox pelt. He stares at it.
"Actually, uh, can I buy this before I get out?"
"I think the Chief would get a kick out of it."
Log created on 20:38:17 04/04/2016 by Daniel, and last modified on 23:50:20 04/09/2016.