Nyotengu - A Tengu Floats By

Description: Ayane has her first encounter with a tengu. The creature proves uncooperative... though it does leave our heroine with a few essential pieces of information.

It has been some time since the tengu came down the mountain -- and a little less since she managed to find someone to shepherd her through what the clothes and sights of the modern world mean. She's been a quick study, though; when one is as old as a tengu, one can often fill in the pieces. Humans only behave in so many distinct manners, after all -- it's just the way they dress it up that changes.

She's thrown her hat in the proverbial ring for this weekend's apparently-customary round of massive brawls... but she wants to see the world first. How can she fight in this place -- even for sport -- without experiencing it for herself? How will she understand the sort of foe this era could create if she doesn't partake of its sights and sounds?

Accordingly, the tengu strides through the business district of Southtown, clad in sharp businesswear that belies her true nature entirely. Indeed, even the customary wings of the tengu aren't visible; to a casual observer, she looks like any other office lady. A keen eye, though -- and a sense for the true nature of things -- tells an entirely different story, however. For while her wings aren't visible...

... their /shadows/ are. Like all tengu, Nyotengu can do nothing to hide what her true shape would cast; her shadow /literally/ overshadows others with its wingspan.

Her wandering seems mostly aimless, and takes her through bustling streets and alleyways alike; there's no pattern to be discerned.

And like all ninja, Ayane not only strikes /from/ the shadows -- but at them, when it suits her.

Thirty seconds ago, she was out on a shopping run (because even ninja have to eat). Twenty seconds ago, her bag of groceries was hidden in nearby shrubbery, a melon rolling out of the top to slowly, agonizingly tip it over. She doesn't care. All she cares about is the instruction of her master, her father, Genra: finding and stopping the tengu invasion before it brings about the end of the world.

The idea that a tengu might be walking the world for the first time in an age with other purposes in mind is irrelevant to her. At the very least, she can try to learn something by engagng. That might come at a painful price, given the legendary reputation of a tengu's prowess -- but hopefully not a fatal one. Ninja are also highly skilled at running away.

But, back to the shadows:

Tight, tight zoom-in on one of Ayane's red eyes, pulling out to reveal a flash of purple over one shoulder. The purple of petals, attached to a kunai held between two fingers. The camera follows its trajectory as it flies directly towards not the tengu herself, but her shadow. It comes at a moment that she's passing a narrow, dark alley -- and by the time the kunai lands, hit or miss, the ninja is waiting at the other end. Her ice cold expression promises a fight ten times more loudly than the actual, literal weapon.

COMBATSYS: Nyotengu has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Nyotengu         0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Ayane has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Ayane            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0         Nyotengu

COMBATSYS: Nyotengu dodges Ayane's Small Thrown Object.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Ayane            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0         Nyotengu

As Ayane draws that kunai, Nyotengu immediately whirls to look down the alley; her wings beat fiercely -- and while those passing by on the street might dismiss it as a gust of wind, the truth of the matter is, of course, another story. It's a conscious, defensive maneuver -- and one that sends the little blade spinning out of control and ultimately leads to it landing short of the mark.

The tengu rolls her neck to either side in a slow, ponderous motion, striding down the alleyway toward the kunoichi. She sweeps her gaze over her, purple eyes tightly assessing the kunoichi. That throwing form, that stance -- all of it's familiar... so, the Mugen Tenshin are here, too. It seems she can go nowhere in this world without encountering ninja...

"So -- another fledgeling kunoichi, so eager to be toyed with...?" comes the question of the tengu, no longer bothering to hide her wings; she knows when the game is up. Those dark wings flare out for a moment before coming back in, seeming to blot out what little light enters the side street.

"Why are you so insistent on opposing us?" she asks, her tone betraying some genuine curiosity as she rushes up to Ayane, aiming two quick fists for her face, then dropping low for a spinning kick. For her, this is relatively mundane offense, intent on probing Ayane's defenses -- but for a centuries-old member of a race that kicks over full-grown trees for fun, 'mundane' is relative.

COMBATSYS: Nyotengu knocks away Ayane with Hana Kagura.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Ayane            0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0         Nyotengu

'Another' -- what a distracting word. Ayane blinks, a crucial hesitation that she cannot afford when up against an opponent of such skill and scope, and pays dearly for it a moment later, when her face is impacted twice, and her chest once. Since she was already at the end of the alley, she goes flying through the window across the street at that end, and lands, hard, amid the many washers and dryers of a laundromat.

There's not much to learn about her defenses, other than that apparently she doesn't have any.

Shedding sheets, pillowcases and T-shirts like sakura petals, she erupts from the stinky bin of a Southtown denizen with impressive speed; alighting on the rim of the now-jagged window, balanced so perfectly that no (more) blood is drawn, she stares at the tengu with equally impressive stillness.

Secrecy is not really required, here.

"For the sake of this world," she says simply, before committing to just that, spinning like a top across the space between them, hair-ribbon tracing a spiral through the air, to try to smash into the tengu double-palm-strike-to-face-first in a similar series of initial, feeling-out blows.

COMBATSYS: Nyotengu endures Ayane's Zanei.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Ayane            0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1         Nyotengu

Nyotengu has the measure of these kunoichi, now -- and she acts it. Ayane's too fast for her to really maneuver around, though -- that knowledge doesn't actually buy Nyotengu any /safety/. With only enough time to meet those palm-strikes head-on, the tengu lets each blow smash squarely into her face while keeping her feet rooted. Standing firm as Ayane's second palm strike snaps her head back, the tengu clenches one of her fists tight.

"Nngh... for the sake of this world?" Nyotengu asks, as she brings her head back down, her unclenched hand clutching at her face. The other, meanwhile, reaches out for Ayane's neck in a simple, quick maneuver. "This world..." She steps in toward Ayane, trying to trip up her defenses by putting a knee in between her legs. It's not an attack -- just something to ruin her footwork.

The /actual/ attack, meanwhile, comes from that clenched fist -- a pair of direct, forceful punches. "... is my practical joke!" she declares, as she finishes the maneuver with a quick shove-and-toss. She opens her mouth as if to speak again -- but she thinks better of it, not wanting to distract herself from the task at hand just yet. Even if she has Ayane's measure, she absolutely must take her seriously.

COMBATSYS: Ayane fails to counter Combo Grapple from Nyotengu with Aya Tsumuji EX.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Ayane            1/------=/=======|=======\=------\1         Nyotengu

Ayane is mid-spin, winding up for the final blow that her initial strikes set up so nicely, when she's tripped directly into a pair of punches. Once again she goes flying back, this time not through the broken window but the adjacent brick wall. Dust explodes, catching in her lungs, where she was already choking on her own blood.

She staggers back to her feet and stumbles out of the cloud of debris, back into Nyotengu's range. Whether or not she meant to is an open question, especially since her back is turned the wrong direction.

"Very funny," she mutters, dry ice.

It'd be remiss of Nyotengu not to press her advantage, and she knows it; accordingly, when she sees the sheer agony Ayane is in, she's emboldened. Moving to the pile of rubble as Ayane steps out of it, the tengu says, "You understand, then!" with a good, hearty laugh. Her expression doesn't stay that pleased for long, though; even though she's having quite the time of it against the kunoichi, she recognizes her tenacity as something to worry about. The other was the same way -- and now that she gets a closer look at the purple-haired kunoichi, the similarities run deep indeed...

"... Tell me, though. Why would one of your number sleep in a ruined temple, amid a storm?" she asks of the fallen Ayane as she moves in closer, glancing around the alleyway. A dumpster, a trash can -- such filth left right on the street, in this era... how strange, Nyotengu thinks.

Without waiting for an answer, she grabs at Ayane, hoping to hurl her rather unceremoniously into the side of one of those receptacles, concluding, "The Mugen Tenshin must have fallen far indeed, to leave one of their own in such a state... She opposed me, too."

COMBATSYS: Ayane fails to counter Quick Throw from Nyotengu with Kamiyoi EX.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Ayane            0/-------/----===|=======\======-\1         Nyotengu

"You speak of the nukenin," Ayane grits out as her attempt to catch the tengu off guard fails in a spectacular pile of 'ninja through the air, impact the dumpster, slide down'. At least this time it doesn't break. She may have instead, because she doesn't get up right away.

She looks up, however, and meets Nyotengu dead in the eye.

"She betrayed the clan, and is one of us no longer. It is not we who have fallen." The faintest hint of gallows humor touches the girl's lips -- her first smile of the evening. "She made her bed. Now she must lie in it, no matter where... or how wet."

Finding her feet, she balances less lightly than usual on the balls of her feet, feeling every bruise, every tear. "Tell me -- did you allow her to live?"

It's hard to tell which way the girl wants this answer to go, but it's easy to tell, from the intensity rolling off of her in waves, that she cares very much about it.

The tengu princess meets Ayane's look with a dead-on gaze of her own; when she hears the word 'nukenin,' all becomes clear. It is then that the smile on her face changes from one of the joy of battle -- boisterous and broad -- to a small, sharp thing, like a razor's edge. "I see! A compelling story -- and one whose mirror image is no doubt its equal... Hm hm hm." Nyotengu paces around Ayane, eyes narrowed slightly; she wants to have that sense of what Ayane really wants to hear, but there's nothing for it; the girl manages unreadability well indeed.

In such a situation... what else can the tengu offer but the truth? For while tengu are masters of deception... there are some deceptions that are simply no fun. "She indeed still lives," Nyotengu answers, her posture starting to drop from aggression. There's something familiar about this girl, the more she looks at her -- not just relative to the nukenin, but also...

... yes, that would be it, wouldn't it?

"... You and she have some unfinished business," she notes -- as much for herself as for Ayane. That unfinished business could prove interesting... "Such an encounter could prove... diverting." Her smile still sharp like a knife, she allows her wings to hide themselves again; it seems she's lost the taste for blood, at the moment. "There is an inn, in the old style, to the far south of this town... that is where I last knew her to be." She offers her information freely -- and there's not even a hint of guile in her voice.

COMBATSYS: Nyotengu takes no action.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Ayane            0/-------/----===|=======\======-\1         Nyotengu

"There's no mirror, no other side, no fair and balanced," Ayane spits back (and blood), scornfully. "There is willfully violating the laws of the clan because you care more about doing whatever you want than your duty, and then there are consequences."

Nyotengu gets to enjoy the subtle release of tension in the girl's slender shoulders -- she's so small, so much smaller -- at the news that her former clanmate is still alive.

Her reaction to the rest of the news, maybe not so much. "Whatever," she replies coolly, proving that you can be ten pounds of attitude-filled teenager in a five-pound bag of ninja. Then she drops the smoke bomb. When it clears, she's gone, to nurse her wounds, try to figure out how on earth she's supposed to defeat something that powerful, and assume that the tengu is trying to trick her, because that's what tengu do.

'Fun' doesn't really enter into the equations of logic in her mind.

COMBATSYS: Ayane has left the fight here.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Nyotengu         1/-======/=======|

Log created on 03:13:22 12/14/2014 by Nyotengu, and last modified on 02:11:08 12/19/2014.