Juri - The Lesser Evil

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Description: On a rooftop in a sleepy part of Southtown, a local hero meets an undeniable villain. One who has an unusual proposal. Will he heed it, or will he continue to walk his path on his own?

Sirens from a police car ring out through the streets, blue-and-red colored lights painting up the otherwise shadowy walls not reached by the streetlights during the late evening. In this part of town, crime thankfully isn't extremely prevalent, usually - certainly not like in the much more urban central areas of Southtown - but that hardly means there's none of it at all. An anonymous tip did just call the police over to an alleyway three two-bit thugs who had held up a convenience store roughly fifteen minutes earlier had ran through. Just... When the cops arrived, they found the thugs knocked out cold.

And as it would happen, the rooftop of a building on the opposite side of the street has someone overlooking things. A red-haired man dressed in all black, with a red scarf coild about his neck and tugged up to conceal the lower half of his face, crouched by the edge of the roof to observe the cops on the street below hauling the petty criminals away. There might be *some* murmurs of a masked 'hero' roaming around in this part of town, but... well, let's be honest, in a city like this, rumors like that tend to be drowned out by the much more public-facing fighter types who have absolutely no qualms with getting photographed and interviewed after kicking the asses of people like that.

But Daisuke? Daisuke has a lot of personal reasons for keeping his public-facing identity not associated with some kind of crime-fighter with magic powers or whatever.

"...Welp, they'll take it from there," the young redhead mutters to himself, as he takes to backing away from that side of the roof. The buildings here are... not very tall. Like three stories at most, so there's a very real risk of someone spotting him jumping across rooftops if he's not careful. So he has to wait. Wait and feel out the surroundings. Until he is either certain that everyone he is sensing is looking away, or... well, until the headache gets too much. Whichever comes first.

Thankfully it's the former that comes first this time; letting the boy actually make the running leap over and across the gap between this building, and the coffee shop non the other side of the alley. It's not just physical strength that carries him there, though! THere's a brief blast of focused psionic energy at his feet just as he jumps, more or less launching his body over like a projectile to make sure he actually makes it instead of splattering on the curb like some delusional Strider Hiryu cosplayer.

From that rooftop, he's at least much more confident in continuing to run on forward, and make the next leap, with much less waiting needed in between as he gets further and further away from all the hustle surrounding the beaten-up thugs he left to get arrested.

It's been a pretty quiet evening so far, though. He can probably head home now without any worries...


It was time to make a move.

Juri has satisfied herself that Shadaloo - whatever they are up to - either don't have the resources, the capability or the inclination to hunt her down any more efficiently than they have already tried. She's been fully healed for months. She can't keep her head down forever. She despised the amount of time she'd wasted licking her wounds. She was done feeling sorry for herself. And besides, this new tournament setup gave her the perfect opportunity to stretch her legs. She's absolutely confident that Shadaloo will be using it to scout for potential fighters suitable for their new programs, and that means she has the perfect opportunity to spoil their fun.

The woman's disguise is ... well, good enough for a casual glance. She's wearing her hair down and rather than her usual flamboyant outfit she's gone for a traditional dobok - albeit one in white and her signature purple. She's also been honing in on an interesting feeling for quite a while now. Little bursts of psychic power that struck her as ... unrefined, but potent.

Daisuke is trying to keep his senses attuned to the surroundings, though. So it might not be entirely reassuring when Juri suddenly steps out from behind a chimney, and -- oh wow, she's got an *aura* to her.

The teenager's one good eye focuses on the kid. A smirk tugs onto her lips. She stops trying to hide it entirely; let's her natural psycho power flow out of her. The energy is... intense. A predatory power that speaks to a desire for violence. A deep-seated anger. Sadism down to her very soul. All of it, though, held underneath a steely control. A tiger bound tight in a cage. But what might be more interesting than the dark emotions themselves is the fact that her power resonates with his. A dark mirror of it. And that's... rare, even in a place like Southtown.

"Well, I have to say, I wasn't expecting to meet a Tokusatsu hero!" She laughs, clapping her hands. "Hold up for a minute, kid. I'm not here to make trouble. You and I need to have a ~talk~."

Life would be so much easier for her if she didn't naturally sound sarcastic no matter what she said.

Yeah. Not reassuring at all.

The slightly older teenager's appearance catches Daisuke off-guard something *fierce*. Even when he isn't focusing his senses, at least the empathic feedback from people around him usually clues him in to at least a *vague* presence. But now with him specifically 'mapping out' his surroundings, he had absolutely no idea she was just... *there*. All that considered, the shock is enough that the be-scarfed hero actually stumbles in his dashing step before managing to skid to a stop, and just...

Well. He very much gets the urge to get back to running shortly after actually looking at Juri. His abilities might not be refined in any way or form, the power he's seeing here feels... *overwhelming*, would be the word. The realization is reflected in the stare of the bright-green eyes peering over the cover of the crimson cloth mask, too. A very primal instinct trying to take hold. Fight or flight. And his body is very much leaning towards 'flight' right now. His boot-clad foot is grinding along the cement of the rooftop too, already, body all tensed up like a coiled spring ready to launch itself off.

"...W-what do you want?" He asks then, however, instead of just outright making a run for it. Trying to put on a brave front, even if he's just *barely* managing to keep his legs from shaking underneath him.

Juri's grin takes on a more excited edge when she sees the fear in the boy. She might only have a couple years on him in theory, but in terms of life experience, and especially fighting experience? What she's been through makes her his elder several dozen times over. It brings her great pleasure to see that recognised without even needing to lift a finger. But she does her best to tamp down on it. As fun as it would be to toy with him and make him feel even worse... that's not what she's here for. Not today, anyway.

"Like I said. I'm just here to talk." She says, taking two careful paces towards the boy, spreading her arms to the side to show that she has no intention of attacking him. "I caught the end of your work there. Shows that you're not completely useless. Nice trick with the jumping, too. It's not easy to learn these things on your own. So. I have to ask."

And at this, her voice takes on a far more serious edge. "Anyone training you, kid? How much do you really KNOW about what you're doing, huh?"

The younger boy is not... precisely reassured any further by Juri's declaration, still. Even with the non-threatening gestures she is making, just her presence alone seems to be firing off every single reactionary instinct he has built into him, and his feet shuffle instinctively back when she takes those two steps forward.

"T-...thanks...?" He mutters from beneath the mask uncertainly, trying his damned best still to not just outright freak out, even if *that* too might be obvious to her. In the tense posture of his, in the way nervous sweat is beading at his brow.

But she's asking such a thing of him now. Something that he is entirely uncertain about, now. "Um..." He lets out first, fingers of the hand left hanging besides him twitching lightly. "No one. Um..." What is he supposed to answer to that, exactly? He sure as hell wouldn't know any better. So he just... tells her the truth, outright. "I'm just kinda... winging it? Aheh..."

"That's what I thought. You've gotten lucky."

Juri's playful teasing falls away completely, and with it she slams down hard on her power. All at once, it's as though that predatory menace just... disappears. Well. At least the supernatural portion of it. There's something in the woman's body language that will never truly let her seem unthreatening, but it's much easier to see how she was able to sneak up on him now. Perhaps, if Daisuke's senses are very sharp, he might still be able to sense a trace of that power lingering in her... but Juri simply wouldn't have been able to survive the past few months if she wasn't able to hide as easily as she was able to make dramatic displays of strength. And as endearing as his fear is, she doesn't want to let herself get... distracted. Business before pleasure. Ugh. What has she become?

"I'm going to give you the highlights." She says, bluntly. "The power you've got? It's special. Most people don't have it. The ones who do? Never learn to use it. That you've got as far as you have on your own shows you've got some promise... and that's a dangerous thing."

Another careful step forwards. There's really not that much distance between the pair now, and whilst Daisuke has a couple inches on her, that's an easy thing to forget now that she's talking with such... authority.

"There are monsters in these shadows far scarier than the little thugs you've been beating up. But if you keep doing that, they're going to notice. Let me ask you a simple question. What do YOU think makes the power you use special, hm?"

It might be a testament to how unused Daisuke is to dealing with something on this level, too, that he does visibly relax when that outward display of psycho power from Juri dies down. Sure, he's still wary, but he doesn't quite feel like he is about to get crushed just under the weight of that presence alone. Probably a rookie mistake. It's not like the threat isn't still there just because she's not showing it, right?

At least he's willing to listen. Evne if... he seems to twitch just subtly so when she calls what he has 'special'. It just sounds wrong to his ear. Sure, on an objective level, his power is definitely 'special'. It's not like the displays of chi that even some people in his school display, even. But still...

"...I don't feel special."

He says such an outrageous thing once she's presented that question to him. It might not be the objective truth, but it is the subjective truth of his own self, if nothing else.

And a rather damning statement about his self-image, too.

"L-look." THere's that subtle stutter again, a sign in turn pointing towards the instinctive fear not being entirely gone either. "I might not know what it is, but I just... Just..." A brief pause, to make room for a nervous swallow in his throat, as if though all the apprehension and fear had manifested itself in a physical blockage within his windpipe. "...I'm just trying to do what feels right."

Juri seems to consider this for a moment. And then she laughs.

It's, not a pleasant laugh. High-pitched, cackling, she throws her head back and clasps her hand to her forehead. She might not be showing her power, letting all that emotion just... hang out there. But she can't hide who she is, at her core level. This is as mocking and horrible a laugh as Daisuke is likely to have ever held before, and it's not really FAIR. He had told her that he hasn't had any kind of training, yet here she is, cackling at him like he's said the stupidest thing that she's ever heard.

She does, at least, calm down after a couple of seconds. Looking him back in the eye, the older teen is grinning again, and shakes her head. "Perfect. Just perfect. You really haven't given it much thought have you? Lucky, lucky, lucky. Hell. If I'd found you a year ago, I might even have been tempted to eat you all up myself, bones and all."

She begins to circle him. It doesn't seem to be an entirely conscious motion on her behalf; just restless movement. But it likely doesn't help him stay at ease. One foot carefully, deliberately placed in front of the other as she opines.

"Psycho Power is incredible stuff. You're not beating people up with any normal energy, kid. You're using your MIND. Your SOUL. The bits of you that make you, YOU. Just doing what feels right? Yeah. That tracks. Lots of us have very, strong, ideas about what feels, good." Some of that sultry purr has returned to her voice. Ah, she's really not good at this kind of pep talk...

"And as we get stronger, we become WAY better at... twisting, that, in other people. Do you see where I'm going yet?"

"...Uhm." Daisuke doesn't seem *insulted*, at least, by her laughter. THough he might seem a bit... well, confused, is perhaps the best word for it? He just stares back at her uncertainly while she's having that fit, managing to mutter out in askance, "...Is it that weird?" just before she finally calms down from it. Such a clueless and innocent little thing that he is.

He is squirming agian by the time she's come to circle him like some predator sizing up their prey, and waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Even without the outward display of her own psychic powers, he's very much starting to feel some pressure again. And feeling like running away might be a much better option by the moment.

"Psycho... power...?" He repeats after her when she utters out that term, clearly an entirely unfamiliar thing to him in spite of ostensibly having lived with it for who knows how long by now. Being able to put a name to it doesn't make him feel any more comfortable. And certainly not with the way Juri is describing it...

Especially not with that last bit.

"--Huh?" It's a horrified reaction. Not in the same way as that instinctive terror that Juri brought out when she first showed herself to him. Not in that same way that makes him instinctively scared of her. Oh, no. That single statement from her makes him fearful of something else entirely, and htat's what finally makes him move from his previously-frozen-in-place state, just enough to finally bring his eyes tracking her circling steps. "...What do you mean... 'twist'...?"

Juri chuckles softly at the question. "At last... he's starting to get it!" She says, as though addressing some invisible audience. Her slow circling of the boy takes her back around in front of him, and she darts in, uncomfortably close. But she doesn't strike. She's just smiling that infuriating smile of hers again; it really is like being sized up by some awful creature that is just trying to decide if he's delicious enough to bother eating.

"There's people in this world who can reach into your head and turn you inside-out." She says, matter of factly. "And they will. If they get the chance. They'll take you, and they'll turn you into a WEAPON, and all that lovely justice you want to hand out to the criminals plaguing your fair city? They'll turn it into hate. They'll leash you. Bind you. And they'll make you their pet murderer. Oooooh yeah. Cute guy like you? They'll do it for FUN."

There's real bitterness in her tone, and she's finally stopped moving. She's staring deep into Daisuke's eyes with her one good one, as though she can look right into his head and see whether he's taking her seriously; whether he really understands the scale of the threat she's trying to warn him about.

"Which is why." She says, her voice softening just a little bit, "Those of us who want to keep us... US, are going to need to stick together."

Daisuke actually *squeaks* when she gets htat close. It might be a very quiet squeak, but it is still a squeak nonethless. And while some force her ein the air is now keeping him from outright retreating away from her, he does at least lean back subtly, as if half expecting *something* to come, at least. Something that never comes, sure, but...

The pictures she is painting verbally aren't exactly helping matters either. At some point, his head starts spinning, between the implications of what could come after him-- and more horrifyingly, of what might be implied about what *he* is too, for that matter. What he could be. For a moment, his imagination nearly takes the wheel completely and drives too far off the road of sanity, but he manages to take control again *just* before starting to get the urge to vomit.

"Who...?" He breathes out, quietly, from beneath the mask, all whiel seemingly unable to truly break his eyes away from that singular, somehow-horrifying eye staring right into him, through every single defense he could have even thought to put up. "...Are you...?"

"Heheheh... I was wondering when you'd ask."

Juri takes another measured step - this time, backwards. And then she gives a flourishing bow, clearly a mocking exaggeration of the kind of niceties that she has no time for whatsoever. When she raises her head, that grin has an almost manic quality to it. "My name is Han Juri." She says, "Perhaps you've heard of me? Or perhaps not. You seem like a nice boy. You probably don't spend your free time researching atrocities. But go home. Do some research. I'm NOT a difficult person to find information about. Last time I checked, they're offering about half a million dollars for my head. Isn't that flattering?"

She giggles, a girlish noise which is somehow even more unsettling than the cackled laughter of earlier, and she gives a little wave of her hand. "I understand if you don't want to trust me. I'm not a trustworthy person! But think about it. If I wanted you dead or captured, you'd BE dead or captured. Like I said, we free agents... need to stick together. I'm going to be a sponsor at this tournament thing. Come find me there when you've had time to think on it. I can't promise we're going to be BEST FRIENDS, but I WILL help you get better. Stronger. I can promise that... Kubo-chan~."

It is probably growing to be increasingly difficult for Daisuke to get a good read on Juri. Not just on the level that pertains to their apparently-shared powers, but also on the more... logical level. Even if the other teenager didn't have Psycho Power contained within that body, he still couldn't say he's ever met anyone like her. How could he possibly deal with her even under better circumstances?

And the mocking front of proper manners that she puts up makes him tilt his head, too, with increasing confusion. "Uhm... It's nice to... meet you..." He offers reflexively with the introduction that she gives, even in spite of all the other circumstances involved in this particular meeting.

In spite of his own instincts pointing towards the typical good manners, he doesn't bring himself to return the introduction. He *is* still trying to hide his identity with this outfit, afterall. At least... that was supposed to be the idea.

But then she just goes and drops his family name.

"Wha--" There's damn near another squeak from his throat, and he's reflexively taking anotehr step backwards, eyes blinking rapidly a few timse over before widening out. "How did you-- wha--" Another slow, audible swallow that echoes in a *gulp* only minimally muffled by his scarf. "... You're s-saying you wouldn't... be the one to do that to me instead?" Or *eat* him instead, like she implied earlier, he thinks to himself. Perhaps best not to voice *that* suspicion for now.

Juri's smile changes at the notion that she might be the one seeking to put a leash on the boy. What had been a smirk of amusement becomes a sneer of distaste. She straightens herself completely, running both hands through her long hair and letting it drop back against her shoulders. "I suppose I can't say that's an unreasonable fear." She says, "But no. That's not who I am. That's... the last thing I want. The idea of making someone into a puppet... disgusts me."

The question of HOW she got his family name is left completely unanswered. A lady needs to keep her secrets, after all. Perhaps she reached in and plucked it out of his head. Perhaps she's been following him for a lot longer than she let on. Perhaps Shadaloo had actually been keeping an eye on him long before she ever took an interest herself and she's just remembered. Perhaps any number of things. Far more pressing, though, is demonstrating that she isn't lying about wanting nothing to do with controlling him - and there's really only one way she can think to do that.

"Tch. I hope this doesn't scare you off for good. But just SAYING I don't want to leash you isn't going to be enough, right? So. Pay attention. Close now."

And in an instant that aura from earlier returns. And then doubles. Triples. The pressure of it is a palpable force as she braces her legs and clasps her hands at her side. Dark black energy swirls up her left leg, coiling up around her body to twist over her right arm. Bright white energy mirrors the motion in the other direction. Her own Psycho Power, intense and channeled from deep within her. It's something she's only done a handful of times since she lost the original Feng Shui Engine, and as she unbinds her strength and pours it out into the open, it is impossible to ignore what she really IS, deep down, underneath all the guile and seduction and teasing manipulation.

An untamed animal that seeks to destroy and consume all that enters her sight. That was what Seth had called her. And it's true. She has SO MUCH anger. She keeps a lid on it as best she can, but the seething insecurities and hatred that Vega had instilled in her... haven't gone anywhere. They've festered, growing hotter, even. She doesn't seek to dominate others. She doesn't have any interest in the fascistic control that He seeks over His subjects.

She is a wild beast. Before she is anything else she is FREE. She answers to nobody but herself and she will NEVER bow. NEVER be tamed. If she could only share that then perhaps it might even be enough... but alas, there's more that she can't hide.

She's a killer. No, not just a killer. A murderer. One who relishes in the lives she's taken. The pain she's caused. The deadly intent that flows out of her is terrifying.

The very opposite of the innocent soul standing across the roof from her.

How ironic that she's the one trying to save him.

... it is enough to make one wonder why.

"Does this FEEL like someone interested in CONTROLLING you, HUH?!"

"What are you--" There's no chance for Daisuke to properly finish the question even if his thought processes weren't being hampered by the sheer sense of being overwhelmed.

And if that overwhelming sensation wasn't too much alreayd, it's quick to start getting much more so when Juri truly displays the force she could bring to bear. SHe might only be *showing* it right now, sure, but it's still plenty enough to rattle the redhead, clearly. He can sense it. Sense the power. It may as well be an overwhelming stench within the air, or an increased pressure of gravity pushing down at him.


The boy damn near crumbles right there. He finds himself taking a step back, and a second, a third, a fourth-- until his back bumps up against the side of the very same chimney Juri had been originally standing behind. He could step to the side to get around it, surely, but it's nearly symbolic at this point. There may as well be an impenetrable wall there halting his retreat.

"W-what am I supposed to think...?" He asks, his voice quieter than it was meant to be -- almost too quiet to be heard by the swirl of energy around Juri's limbs, but he can't bring himself to even *attempt* to raise his own presence next to hers. But... there is another question he has to ask. No matter how difficult it might feel right now.

"...Why are you doing this then...?"

At that question, there's another burst of wild laughter from Juri. Loud enough that it echoes across the rooftops. She doesn't, in this moment, seem too concerned about the subtly and stealth she has used to keep herself safe these past few months. It was time to abandon all that anyway, wasn't it? Now was the time for her to step back out and let the world know that she wasn't dead. Show Vega the mistake He had made in choosing not to finish her off. Which she was fairly sure was what had happened there, now. After so long to fester in her own inadequacies, that whole fight had taken on a new cast in her mind.

"Isn't it obvious?" She demands, her lips pulled back into a death's-head leer as the power continues to build and burn around her body.

She almost loses control completely. Almost spills it all. And then she catches herself. No. This kid hasn't earned that yet. She's given him the pieces. She's not going to spell it out for him. He's a smart kid; figured out how to use his power well enough without any guidance. He'll figure it out. She's sure.

The power dies away, and she lets out a long, shuddering breath with it. Sweat glistens on her skin; apparently that took a lot of effort from her, even if she hadn't focused it into anything. She just shakes her head, turning her back on the boy.

"Think it through, kid. I've told you where to find me. So think it through, and make the right choice."

And with that, she jumps off the roof. Three storeys or no, it's not like it's a particularly big deal to her.

Log created on 15:57:04 04/15/2023 by Juri, and last modified on 19:43:44 04/15/2023.