Description: After seeing Hayley's performance in Southtown Harbor, the intrepid righter of wrongs and stealer of hearts, Malin, knows she must recruit Hayley for her own righteous ends. Upon unleashing her cunning and masterful plan of getting Hayley's attention and getting a free meal, she springs her trap!
She must be here somewhere! Malin knows it. After all, she had employed all of the best follow at a distance and casing techniques that a thief could utilize in order to keep track of the girl she saw fight at the docks. The girl with a neat accent, that took down a syndicate goon without somuch as breaking a sweat. The girl with the big butt. The next person that Malin could induct into her team of allies in the fight against crime.
Why she thinks Hayley would be willing or able to join in on her low grade crusade, Malin wasn't exactly certain. She was certain that sweating those details would just prevent her from getting this woman's attention at all. So she had to go in, and she had to go all in. She just needed a way.
The sticker wouldn't work, didn't do her much good with that superhero kid, and that stuck up snob was too full of himself and never did drift back to find a good rival at the fighting club. The giant guy, well, he was more a means to an end rather than a friend. This was all very perplexing to Malin as she ponders and plays with her yo-yo.
Up and down goes the yo-yo, thinking and wracking her brain with great plans to convince that Bretherton girl to join up and help her clean up the streets. Maybe some sort of food might help? Malin grumbles to herself, finding herself taxed for ideas both good and bad.
For how well she handled herself in the ring, Hayley does not seem to be quite as good at eluding a tail. Perhaps she isn't expecting one. Maybe she's not used to that kind of business. After the crowd died down a little, Hayley managed to slip on her sneakers and slip away. She's been walking at a fairly casual pace toward the nearest train station, her hands alternating between "in her pockets" and "playing with her phone." She seems completely unaware of Malin.
Until she isn't.
"Hoy," Hayley calls, "Uh, sorry to put you on the spot, but...did you need something? I thought you were the girl back in the ring, but I didn't want to ask. You're still here though, so..." Hayley shrugs helplessly. "...I hope you're not with Shadaloo or anything like that." Hayley bites her lip.
"Please don't be with Shadaloo," she adds the last part quickly and under her breath.
Malin feels the lights go down and spotlights crash upon her. She pictures herself, clad in prison stripes, caught and waving a white flag as the police speakers squawk and screech. She was had. All those plans she hadn't even put together yet were dust, dust in the wind.
The yo-yo stops and walks-the-dog. Malin's cheeks puff out as she thinks quickly. Wait? what did the girl say about Shadaloo? Malin ponders, she could use that. She really could. Despite her bluster and easy-to-doubt demeanor, Malin was curiously aware of the goings on of various underworld organizations.
"Why would I be with /those/ bozos?" Malin asks, huffing. She shakes her head and rolls her eyes as the yo-yo slaps back into the palm of her hand. She gives an ostentatious laugh and flicks aside her long blonde bangs. Sparkles float in the air, thrown by a secretly palmed packet Malin had in her hair-flipping hand. "I work with a crew far, far more clandestine and capable."
She smiles, satisfied, but then holds up a hand. "But we aren't evil. Totes not. We're more, Robin Hoodie." She covers that well, she thinks, and she points to Hayley, "Do you have dirt on Shadaloo?"
There's a moment shared where Hayley seems to parse that she may have put Malin in a bit of a tightspot there. She smiles awkwardly, showing her teeth in doing so.
"W-well, y'know," Hayley says, "Maybe I--no, I'll just be outright with it. I had some trouble with Shadaloo before, so, maybe I jump at shadows a little." Hayley's hand slides up into that mass of dark blue hair, ruffling it a little around her hairpiece. Is that a karate belt?
"But uh, roight. I'm glad you're not with them. The sparkles get a few confused blinks from Hayley, but she seems to recover quickly enough. Hayley's weight shifts to one hip, and her hand rests on the side.
"They're pretty capable," Hayley says, biting her lip. "Really dangerous, honestly. But -- yeah, anyway." She sucks in air.
"Robin Hoodie." She repeats. "So, you...steal things, then? From bad people? Savvy?"
Malin herself wears a stylish red bandanna as often as she can. She can recognize the kindred nature of the band Hayley sports. It's clearly a sign that the two of them are fated to bring a sense of justice to the streets of Southtown.
The yo-yo has disappeared somehow, as Malin casually bounces back and forth from one foot to the other. "I'm sure they. . ." Malin stops, "I know they are. But they're not the only ones out there." Presentation put forward, Malin takes long stepping strides toward Hayley. "Sounds like you got beef with the lightning bolts." Her words grow more conspiratorial as she gets closer.
Up close, she rests her own hands on her less substantial hips, coltish really, compared to Hayley. Not that Malin is jealous or anything. She decides to be forward about her secret society. "Yes, steal from bad people, beat up bad people, pay evil unto evil in a way that avoids ever looking into the darkness of the abyss." She doesn't entirely know what she's saying, but she's heard it before and knows enough about context clues to know it has to do with her punching jerks.
Foot tapping, Malin comes out. "So, Shadaloo. You're not here tracking them down, are you?" she asks, whipsnapping back to her original topic as quickly as her yo-yo returns to her palm.
Hayley shifts her position, moving her weight from one hip to the other. She tugs up her training pants slightly, pulling the fabric taut to make sure they're in place. "Yeah, they're bad news." It's added almost like a disclaimer. A plug she can't help but stick in there. With it said, she moves on.
"That sounds good," she says, "but it doesn't sound easy. Have you uh," Hayley rolls her tongue in her mouth. "How is that going?"
"--uh, no. Not yet." Hayley says, "I just got back from the King of Fighters and I needed some practice, to be honest." Her hand goes to her neck.
All sorts of entrypoints being offered to Malin. She's practically beside herself with anticipation of popping her plan right then and there. But she won't she's a careful one, Malin. She knows to hold onto the cards she has until just the right time.
Once in a while, the girl is genuinely quite clever and tries.
"Going? It's a never ending fight for justice and good. There are so, so many out there. Not just Shadaloo," Malin points out with a waggling finger and a slight grin. "And we could always use help. The world needs heroes."
Hands suddenly go to Malin's hips as she rolling her heel back and forth on the pavement. "Tell you what, and this is me going out of my way kind of, but what if I told you you could get everything you need and want, and, and will get my world to help you when you need it against the lightning bugs."
"Well," Hayley says, "I guess what I mean is what you've done lately," Hayley runs her fingers through her hair. "But maybe it's a little early to ask about that." She bites her lip. "Though I'm not entirely sure I'm cut out for being a hero. I mean, not that I wouldn't try but..."
Hayley steps away, pacing around a few steps. She runs a hand down her forearm. "I dunno. That sounds a little ..." Hayley chews her lip. "I'd need to think about it. You want to get something to eat, or something?"
Pitch complete. Well, almost. As good as gotten. Even if she's being challenged. But Malin has an answer to that and she grins, sniffing and lifting her chin up high. "I'll have you know that I took down a gang of syndicate thugs operating in Chinatown. With the help of a passing heroic individual like yourself, of course." Even if Potemkin probably did more of the heavy lifting than herself, it wasn't a lie.
"And anyone can be a hero. There's a kid in a helmet that runs around here doing it. I totally beat him in a fight, by the way. That's what he gets for doubting Malin-style." She brags openly, but she's rather smiley about the lot of it. "And if he can be a hero, after what I saw today, you def have what it takes."
She whirls on heel and looks away, thinking. "I, yeah, I'll join you for something to eat. Treating a stranger, that's hero stuff," she tells Hayley. "Especially if you're trying to butter a person up to help you take on Shadaloo."
Hayley smiles a bit. That sounds like progress instead of empty idealism, at least. If she even suspects that last part it doesn't show.
"A helmet, huh? Like, a superhero kind of thing or...?" She pauses at the compliment, her face reddening a little. "Thanks."
"Oh," Hayley says, "Sure, yeah. I couldn't ask you to pay anyway ..."
The reason why is made clear as Hayley and Malin are settled in a nearby restaurant. With Southtown's blend of influences, this one is a bit of an oddball. An eclectic mix of American and Japanese style dishes. Hayley has been destroying both with equal abandon. She seems to have worked up quite an appetite in her match earlier, and she's set herself to conquering this challenge just as soundly as she took her fight earlier. Perhaps it explains a few things.
"I'm Hayley, by the way. Bugger, did it take me that long to say that?"
"I heard your name in the pit," Malin says, she herself has already mentioned her name on more than one occassion: Malin, just Malin, nothing more or less and absolutely not Marin, or Marina or anything like that.
She stirs a bowl of chili that has been upended over a bed of rice. It's already half soup with the amount of Tobasco the girl has put into it. "And that guy you beat up, he wasn't just some guy, that was Syndicate. Now, you think Shadaloo is bad, here, Syndicate is worse. They're everywhere. Most people don't notice cause they don't wear neat military uniforms."
She huffs on her bowl before taking a bit and painfully, buy eagerly sucks in breath to cool the heat in her mouth. "Not all of them are pushovers like that baldie."
Hayley picks up a burger and takes a big bite out of it, holding it one hand and picking up her drink with the other. She is, at least, polite enough to wash it down before speaking. "Is that really spicy?" she asks, and then, "Yeah? I've heard a little about them, but I honestly try to stay out of trouble. Well," Hayley says, "I did, but trouble keeps finding me."
She chomps another bite of the burger, then another, before pushing the last of it into her mouth. Several chews later she's washing that down too. She sighs after finishing her swig of water.
"Yeah," Hayley says, "that figures. Hard to run something like that if you can't fight." The Aussie has picked up a rice ball, which she liberally dips in shrimp sauce. "You said something about Malin-style earlier?"
Malin nods around the hot sauce, and the secondary bottle of red rooster sauce to go with it. If it wasn't spicy before hand, it has certainly been cobbled together into something more capsaicin than flavor or nutrition value. "You probably couldn't handle it," she neatly squeaks through her gasps.
But survive she does, swallowing and sighing a hot sigh. Looking satisfied over her conquering of hot and sour foodstuffs. Relishing the aftermath tingle. Only to have an even more important interest button pressed: Malin-Style.
"Of course," she tells Hayley. "It's my own school, run by me, taught to no one. Some day it'll be as recognized as any of the others. Even if the snooty types don't give it the respect it deserves."
Malin's eyes shine when she brags, and her catlike grin is personally predatory. "But it's okay, they'll see. If I have to prove to everyone out there that you don't need to go to a fancy dojo and do all kinds of magic tricks, you can still be a master."
Hayley narrows her eyes at the dish. The second bottle of hot sauce makes her go a little pale and return to eating her rice ball steadily.
"That's neat," Hayley says, having made that rice ball disappear and starting another one. "I ... my style is kind of a blend of styles, right now," she says, "I'm going to make my own, but it's a work in progress." That last part holds Hayley's attention for a few minutes as she looks at Malin, trying to evaluate something unspoken.
"So what got you invested in fighting the Syndicate?"
The mash-like concoction that Malin powers through is just her taking care of as much food as humanly possible, without the chance to lose out on any of the food in front of her. She eats quickly, the extreme heat of the food the only thing slowing her down a little bit.
"You have your own style, too?" Malin asks, blinking, grin growing wider and wider. "Does anyone give you crap over it, too? Act like it isn't real, or is cowardly, or is somehow wrong because it's not snooty?"
Her question can only keep her attention for so long, she's already slipping onto defending herself on attacking the Syndicate. "Why not?" she offers, "They're bad people that hurt people. And I'm Malin, it wouldn't be responsible to just let them get away with what they're doing."
Hayley scoops up a chicken sandwich, speaking before she takes a big bite of that one too.
"Yeah," Hayley says, "Well, sorta. It's a hybrid style. I guess I've been putting together things since I was with my dad but..." Hayley looks away for a moment, filling the silence by stuffing her face as an excuse. Not being able to talk with her mouth full becomes an excuse for not finishing the thought.
"Fair enough," she replies. She conquers with the sandwich and moves on to another riceball, seemingly concerned with accusations of being a bottomless pit. "I mean, standing up to them is great if you're able, if you ask me."
Malin watches over her concoction, stirring the slurry together and only taking gaspingly overheated bites every so often as she thinks and ponders and puts together her sales pitch. But there are distractions in Hayley's words. Big ones. Familiar things that draw Malin like a little moth to a back porch light.
"You have to show me. I'm sure it's not quite as good as Malin-Style, but it's probably really good as well," she speaks with an off-hand casualness, overemphasizing to hide her interest.
"Then," she adds quickly, "We can take down some Syndicate operations, show off our moves, people will respect and love it. Simple as that and we can wrap it up before you have to go somewhere or another in your dramatic professional world fighter lifestyle."
Hayley keeps her steady pace against all odds, briefly flagging down a server to place an order. She doesn't skip a beat on continuing the conversation once that is settled.
Save for pausing a minute, her hand slipping to the back of her neck. Maybe it isn't as good as Malin-style? At least she's interested.
"Sure," Hayley says. "We can spare sometime." But then there's the question of the Syndicate again. Hayley bites her lip.
"I guess I'm a little shaky after my trouble with Shadaloo..." Hayley swallows. "But maybe. I mean, I don't like that they're getting away without any trouble..."
A wave of Malin's hand, dismissive and grinning and optimistic. She looks ready and self confident in her style and in how Hayley's reacting to her. She presses, palms slapping the table in front of her. "We do!" she nearly shouts in agreement.
She scratches the table, leaning back with the second admission. "What happened with you and the lightning bolts?" she asks, head tilting, finger at her lip and tapping. "And, and hear me out. No matter what it is, no matter what trouble you got, if you help me with my little project then I'll do whatever you need to get back at Shadaloo."
Hayley inhales deeply. It's a gesture that has that heaviness that implies something big is coming. The wind-up before the hard pitch. Hayley leans back in her chair, her eyes drifting to the light fixture above the table.
"I tried to help out the wrong person," Hayley says, "It was someone who I thought needed help, but I was in over my head. She had friends in Shadaloo, and she decided to have me kidnapped--"
Hayley chews her lip. The words become like a broken faucet, a slow and strained trickle. It takes her a minute.
Malin knows there are bad people. She knows she grew up as a thief. She has stolen a few things here and there to live. She's done things that a lot of people would say are wrong. But Malin maintains that she doesn't want to do the bad guy thing. She just is where she is. So that's why she fights the real bad guys. And now Hayley is making it clear just how bad a group like Shadaloo is.
"People betray people," she says, voice turning toward the bitter. She leans on the table, she tugs at one of her long forelocks. Letting it bounce back with each light tug. "It's not good," she affirms.
"But you're not still kidnapped?" she asks, looking up through her bangs to study Hayley.
"They tried--no, they did something to my head and tried to confuse me. Make me be who they wanted me to be and do what they wanted me to do." Hayley regains her composure. "...I guess I was lucky, because they didn't do it really well, I guess, and then I was rescued by some good people. Dunno if you've ever heard of the Ikari Warriors or not. They're like, mercenaries." Hayley pause. "But they take contracts to go after groups like Shadaloo and stuff. I have good friends there."
Hayley sighs again. "It's still hard, though. There are bits and pieces there that are fuzzy, and I still have trouble sometimes with sorting out what they tried to put in my head and what actually happened." She exhales. "It's frustrating."
Malin watches, drifting toward silence while she listens. Slowly, she spoons a little more of her bowl's mixture into her mouth to chew over while Hayley is letting out with the things that have happened to her. No words from the self ascribed master of Malin-Style. No response she finds can match up with what she's hearing.
She looks down. Her fingertips drum on the table. One deep breath in and one out. Then her arms cross and her head holds high. "I can't just, like, steal your memories back, but I'm ready and able to knock some heads so they can't do that to other people!"
Hayley runs a hand through her blue hair, tugging on it just a little. Wrapping it around her fingers. She looks down at her food, or what is left of it, but her mind is elsewhere.
"Thanks," Hayley says, "I want to do the same thing. I still have to get stronger. I know that, but I won't ever get there if I won't try."
She inhales. "So maybe we can do something about the Syndicate for now, huh?"
Malin nods, pleased with herself and her progress. She smirks and reaches out to pat Hayley on the head. "You're welcome. Both for listening and for helping you try."
Settling back her satisfaction, she looks up to her bangs. A quick check and straightening as they bounce forward to their position again. Giving up on doing more she flips her bangs and leans back toward Hayley with a conspiratorial eyebrow waggle. "So how often do you go to the bars around here?"
Hayley doesn't move away, but she does eyeball Malin at the headpat. She rolls with it without further comment, however.
"Uh, not often," Hayley admits quietly. "And lately I've just been traveling..."
Malin's laugh is dark and eager. "Well, I just so happen to have an in. Some information came my way about this place some of the lowlifes hang out in. Where they cool off between extorting the public."
Malin leans in close to Hayley. "I want just go shake them up a little where they think they're safe."
"Hmm," Hayley rubs her chin. "And not much chance of anyone else getting caught in the middle, right?" Hayley knows all too well about getting "stuck in the middle" at this point. It may have been "in the middle of Jezebel's craziness" but even then.
Hayley seems to be rolling some ideas around in her head. Perhaps she's thinking about how bad of a plan this may be. Maybe she's thinking about an approach angle. Her thoughts remain vague.
Malin shakes her head broadly. "Not a chance for anyone to get caught in the middle," she can kind of sort of promise that. It's at least entirely unlikely that anyone would get caught in the crossfire. And she always plans to get away with a tactical retreat if need be.
She has a pause though, at the name Jezebel. She runs it over in her mind. And she finds nothing. So she shrugs off whomever that is and goes onward. "I just want you to meet me back here, tomorrow night. Wear something that looks cool because you want them to be impressed when you knock their lights out."
"Hmm," Hayley says, "probably a good idea," She doesn't add that a disguise is probably the wisest option, but she is definitely thinking it. "I'll see what I can put together. ... just be careful in the meantime, oi?"
Malin's laugh is a proud one. Her inclined head and confident grin may come off as smug, but it is not a lie. "I'm always careful," she says with a short little laugh. "that's why I got someone like you to help me out. See?"
She kicks away from the table, her shoes and chair making a little squeak. "See you around, Hay-Hay," she says, almost teasing and taunting in her tone as she shows off her bicep before flashing a V-sign and backing her way out of the room and out of having to comp any of the bill.
Log created on 22:50:46 08/24/2019 by Malin, and last modified on 09:54:18 08/31/2019.