Description: What happens when a lizard, a werewolf, and a thunder god meet by accident? This sounds like the start of a bad joke. It just ends up being awkward.
The night isn't really young anymore, as most that dwelled within were heading to bed...at least in the typical sense. Out here, the bright lights of the city didn't do much, as most of the area is swathed in a casual darkness. The winds of winter were a little chilly, but nothing that a coat couldn't handle. Along the outskirts of Southtown sits a treeline that currently hosts one cloaked figure, sitting in one of it's branches. The cloak's hood is drawn down to reveal the recently transformed werewolf who looked to be reading...a newspaper of some sort. Apparently the darkness didn't bother her too much.
As with any major city or metropolitan area, Southtown has an element of danger to its streets. Gangs and degenerates are always on the prowl for some unlucky person to wander down the wrong alley or stay out a little too late. Outright murder is pretty rare for Japan, possibly due to the difficulty of obtaining firearms within its borders, but there are other ways people can be made to regret stirring up the things that go bump in the night.
Surprisingly, the further one goes from the city itself the more peaceful it becomes. Despite the lack of heavy police presence on the outskirts of the suburbs, crime activity is quite minimal here in general. Too few targets and too much open space. The heavy underbrush of the forest isn't the same kind of jungle that gangsters and pickpockets are used to. The noises are different, the dangers unfamiliar, and the atmosphere all wrong.
The creature that wanders beneath the canopy of mostly bare tree branches tonight is not one of those criminals. Though it looks as if it may have once been human, no one could possibly mistake that for still being the case now. It shuffles along at a casual gait on legs with too many joints, bending at angles that are simply impossible for a human. Massive talons shred the soft dirt and dried leaves as it moves leaving bizarre and alien tracks on the ground, almost bird-like in their three-toed Y shape.
At its left, an arm that appears to be made almost entirely out of bulging mishapen muscles and long terrible claws drags in the dirt. A constant soft rustle of crinkling leaves echoes through the forest but there's nothing out here that she has to fear discovery by. Even on the odd chance that a wild bear or some other predator were to happen across her path, she's killed such things dozens of times and has no fear of their kind. No natural animal could ever hope to be at threat to the monstrosity that she has become.
In her other hand, which looks far more human at a glance, she carries something that might have once been a rabbit or a cat; now it's little more than a mangled pile of meat and fur. Fresh gore from the carcass is smeared across her face and the front of her shirt and the creature chews with an almost cheerful little bounce in her step, bones cracking between the powerful muscles of her shark-like jaws.
Tonight has been a good night for hunting. The last few evenings the Hound had been forced to dine on some rotten meat that she scavenged from the dumpster of a local restraunt. What with the breach into her room, she expected to be forced to report in at any moment, and had been nervously awaiting that order. Instead, several days had passed with no word and when she had received the next shipment of her drugs without incident, she figured that perhaps it wasn't as big of a deal as she thought.
The tiny vial of green liquid clinks softly in its metal casing at the back of her neck as she shuffles along through the forest, warm and blissful fluid flowing gently into her body. It is a comfortable feeling and one that she craves more than anything else. The fresh meat is pretty nice too though.
Azumi...couldn't help but overhead that...thing making it's way towards her. This unknown type of creature almost instantly gets her attention, the werewolf freezing absolutely solid in suspense. It takes more than a moment for her pull herself together as she folds her newspaper and silently stows it in a higher branch, Azumi's eyes locked on the direction of all of that hideous noise. The smell of the fresh kill certainly wasn't helping. She pushes herself to her feet and subconsciously extends her claws, digging into the tree branch as she went as still as all of her years of training would allow her to do.
A very quiet gulp passes through her throat as she strains her senses to remain in the shadows.
The God of Thunder is quiet. No lightning, no thunder. He sits in a clearing outside the city, head down, legs folded lotus position under him, hands balled into fists, knuckles pressed against each other. He is quiet. Meditating. After battling those strange people earlier in the evening, he needed to, ahem, 'recharge'. He had found them unusually resilient for human beings. However, that was good. It meant humans were more ready to defend themselves from Outworld.
However, the chomping, bone-cracking noises get his attention. He pauses, listens. Then stands. His approach is quieter than a normal man his size should be. However, the white-and-blue clad man with the conical hat is not normal. And the blank white eyes will probably speak to it. If one doesn't already know him...
Something catches the creature's attention as it wanders with seemingly no actual destination in mind beneath the boughs of the winter-bitten trees. A noise? Had she heard the woman above her rustling around in the branches as she sought to hide herself from view?
The Hound, too busy enjoying the simple quiet of the forest where she could be herself, away from the prying eyes of her masters and the students of the school she was infiltrating, had allowed herself to slip. Her head snaps up in a bird-like gesture, clutching the mass of red meat to her chest out of instinct as she does so. Protective of her kill, like an animal. Her eyes dart back and forth scanning the surroundings in obvious wariness, twin points of red light admist the darkness.
She remains like this for several moments, searching and waiting, but eventually it seems as if she may finally move on. The tension relaxes out of her muscles and she begins to move on, shambling forward as before. Something stops her again, however. A sniffing sounds echoes through the trees, low and rapid.
She /smells/ something.
The Hound's posture turns from cautious to upset as she tastes the air, a long slimey tongue flicking out of her mouth. There it is. Faint but growing stronger. It tastes like ozone, the sharp metallic tang that lingers in the air after lightning strikes the ground mixed with the unmistakable presence of raw power.
It is a strange gift that she possesses, something born from the bizarre experiments that created her new form. The Hound, thusly named for both her unserving loyalty and for her ability to track down anyone once she has their scent, can smell a person's spirit - their power. It's as unique to her as a scent or a finger print. This one has her nerves on edge for some reason.
Still clutching her fistfull of dead flesh, the girl takes a few steps away from the direction in which the spirit of incredible power approaches. Her back hunches up and she bares her teeth, more out of fear and reflex than some attempt at a threat.
Azumi's ears fold down as she got the subtle feeling by where the creature stopped that it had sensed her. Knowing it, it probably had some sort of ESP, so none of her normal tricks would work. Still though, it didn't seem overly aggressive as it held it's prize close. She relaxes a little bit, slowly pulling in her foot claws and turning loose the iron grip. It's about at that time when Raiden shows up and even though the smell of the thunder god was quite familiar, the creature did not seem to be a fan. After checking her immediate horizontal surroundings, she leans down and leaps into the air, backing off from the creature's position and heading for a tree a few dozen feet to the side. She lands on another branch similar to hers, rocking the mid-sized tree a bit as it suffered her less than gentle landing.
She pokes her head out of the tree and blinks towards Raiden, wordlessly pointing at the creature.
"Is...that thing a friend of yours?"
Perhaps Raiden can sense the creature's discomfiture. He pauses where he stands, though when he locates Azumi he edges around the 'creature' baring its teeth at him, moving in a circle to reach the werewolf girl's side. His energy is quiet, the electric humming in the air around him calm. He means no harm to the creature, and merely approached out of curiosity.
Once he reaches Azumi, he notes her question. "No, I have never seen such a being before. I take it that means it is not with you. Does it hunt you?" Azumi DID mention people coming after her at their first meeting. Is she in immediate danger.
The sudden crashing in the branches above almost makes the creature jump out of her skin. It whirls around to face the sound, massive claws slashing through the air out of reflex, eyes wide in a display of heightened senses. The massive talons blast into the side of the tree next to the Hound gouging chunks of bark and plant matter outward in a viscious spray of splintered wood. It's a good thing the werewolf had not tried to drop down next to her.
Hissing in annoyance, the creature yanks its claws free from the tree and turns to face the pair of people she had not expected to find in the middle of the woods in the dead of night. They certainly aren't a couple of unlucky campers who happened across her path, that much she's certain of. So what /are/ they doing out here?
One way to find out.
Dropping into a low crouch as she rocks back onto her haunches, the Hound allows her expression to shift from one of open feral outrage to a more docile look of wary uncertainty. She opens her mouth, revealing twin rows of dagger-like teeth that would be very at home on a shark or some sort of prehistoric lizard, and takes a large bite out of the bloody flesh in her hand, chewing it thoughtfully in their direction. The gesture's intent is pretty obvious - she's showing them exactly what she can do if they get any funny ideas.
After some gratitous bone-crunching chews, she swallows and peers at them again. This time when she opens her mouth a harsh hissing voice drifts out to them. "Thisss one hunts tonight, yessss. But not... that." She gestures at Azumi's furry form with her claws. "No interessst in the furry thing. Too large for a sssnack and smellsss funny."
Azumi crouches down low on her tree as she witnesses the creature quite cleanly take a chunk out of her temporary home. A few peiecs of fruit, a cloth and a couple of free magazines drop from the impact, hitting the ground next to fran in complete disarray. Now a bit more comfortable with the distance between them, she slides out of the tree and lands on the floor, letting her cloak keep her mostly concealed for the time being.
Upon hearing the monster speak, she perks up her ears significantly. "Sentient? I would not have guessed. I knew Southtown had it's secrets but you have got to be one of the more...interesting ones."
She tilts her head towards Raiden and offers a shrug towards his query. "No. It just happen to slither on in tonight. I don't think you can blame me for being just a smidge startled by it."
Smells funny? Raiden smirks slightly. "Yours must be a world of senses unknown to mankind," he remarks. It's not a disparaging remark, mind. It's observing Franziska's very probably enhanced senses. It's also partially aimed at Azumi, since... well, it applies there too. Raiden relaxes, and the lightning stops arcing over him when Franziska notes she's not about to eat Azumi.
A shake of his head is aimed at Azumi. "No, not at all." He was startled to see it-- her?-- too, truth be told. But he doesn't want to start a fight, not this soon after a previous battle. He's seen those teeth, and doesn't want to test a newly-formed body against them.
"Thisss one doesss not sssslither!"
The Hound snaps back at her with a glower. She may be little more than a trained attack dog but even she has a tiny sliver of pride to cling to. Another mouthful of bone and meat vanishes into her mouth and she munches in annoyance, staring down at the ground aimlessly as she does so.
As easy as it would be to simply turn and leave, it's not very often that the Hound gets the chance to interact with people openly. At the schools she's always wearing her disguise and the personality it projects isn't one that tends to attract a lot of friendly conversation. Infact, it's designed to do just the opposite. So she just lingers there, uncertain how to proceed.
Noting the small pile of stuff that fell out of the tree, she finally realizes that they aren't just leaves or pinecones. Her long talons reach out and she snatches one of the magazines up between them, dangling it infront of her face.
"...you... live in thisss place?"
Azumi keeps her focus on the lizard girl for now, the occaisonal stiff wind blowing through her cloak. She has her arms crossed over one another as she speaks, though that may have been less about casual preservation and more due to the fact that she was hiding her hands. The magazine Fran picks up is a copy of Southtown Metropolitan, it's cover being graced with an upper class couple sitting at a dining table looking far too interested in one another to be an actual relationship. It appears to detail the latest social goings on and has a significant portion of it's length devoted to the hottest restaurants.
She slowly raises one ear as another question is tossed at her, which earns a shrug from the werewolf.
"For the time being, yes. I hope to find some kind of under-the-table work that pays enough for me to find some crappy apartment somewhere. But since my change is...recent...and I know humans have enough problems handling people with different skin tones, let alone legitmate other species, I'm going to have to rough it out here for awhile. What about you? Do you make it a common occurance to snack on small animals out in the open like that? It's...a little grotesque, plainly speaking.
Lightning arcs over Raiden's form briefly at the shout, in case the creature should attack over the offense. When Franziska doesn't attack, though, the lightning fades again. The question is a good one, and one he doesn't know the answer to. So he looks to Azumi for the answer. The magazine doesn't hold his interest, but he does glance at it. It's nothing weird, or at least it doesn't seem to be.
The mention of Azumi living out here gets a bit of a frown. Not an angry one, a concerned one. "If you need to find shelter, I know of a place. The roof is open, but there is shelter there from the elements should you need it."
The Hound glances down at the smear of red in her hand with a faint look of surprise. Oh, right, other people tended to get a little grossed out by the whole raw meat thing. Living in the labs where they watched her feed on a pretty regular basis had made her forget about some of the things 'normal' people do.
The tip of her tongue flicks out nervously as the creature tries to think of something to do about this. It had taken her nearly an hour of tracking to find a rabbit near so much civilization. Tossing it aside feels like a waste. So instead, she turns away and just opens her maw and shoves the entire thing in there at once. Disturbing crunching noises mix with slurps and smacks for several seconds and when the Hound turns to face them again her face is coated with bits of fresh blood and viscera.
She offers a faint smile at them, teeth flashing in the faint light, and wipes her more human hand across the front of her mouth which only ends up smearing things around. "Um... better?"
Considering she could very easily hear the smashing of bone, the ripping of flesh and the overall evisceration of the poor rabbit, when Fran turns back around, the werewolf looks like she's about to be sick. Even to the point where the tip of her tongue is sticking out of her mouth, shaking her head from side to side.
"Mmmmm...maybe if I hadn't heard...that."
She turns towards Raiden a moment later and offers him a shrug.
"Well, I'll consider it, but if you know of a place where I could find work, that'd be more beneficial. I was thinking about joining this thing called...Neo...league I think? It's a fighting tournament of sorts. If they pay out well enough, I could just do that and then buy my own place pretty easily. That way I have all of my amenities set up and be done living out here.."
Raiden actually almost chuckles. The blood and viscera don't really have a serious effect on him. He understands that Franziska is at least partially an animal, and animals kill and eat smaller animals. But the confused look and then just 'omnomnomnom' is funny. He keeps silent, though, amusement kept to the level of slight half-smile. He doesn't want her to think he's laughing at HER.
Azumi's comment gets a nod. "Be careful. There are people in such trades who would use you. But I can ask... an associate of mine." He has a... well, an archaic way of speaking, it seems.
The Hound shrinks away again as her efforts go to waste. Maybe it's better if she just leaves. Both of the people here seem uncomfortable with her presence at best, disgusted at worst. Besides, neither seems particularly interested in speaking with her, which is a reaction that she understands well.
"W-well... thisss one will... um... this one ssshould go..."
Without waiting for their responses, the creature fades into the shadows as easily as a ghost and vanishes with a rustle of dried leaves that quickly grows more distant. Now that she knows this area of the woods is inhabited she'll have to find somewhere else to go hunting. Then again, that stuff she got out of the dumpster wasn't half bad... maybe there's some left!
Azumi watches as the lizard seemingly...withdraws out of social awkwardness? She starts to say something to her as she retreats, but just as quickly as she showed up, she dissappears. She looks towards Raiden and offers him a sincere shrug of confusion.
"Don't judge a book by it's cover and all of that but...what an unfortunate soul. I think I get what Nightwolf meant by my situation not being as bad as it could be."
"Take care," Raiden notes as the 'monster' disappears. She didn't seem so bad, really. And he wasn't all that uncomfortable with her presence. But his overall awkwardness with people made it difficult to interact with even normal people. And that girl... was not a normal person. Not that it was a problem.
The mention of the name Nightwolf gets his attention, and he looks to Azumi. "So you have met him." He'll ask about the meeting later. As it was, Nightwolf would probably wonder why he didn't return to the place he was at... and he probably needed to go assure the Apache that he was still alive. For the time being, though. "Speaking of which... I should locate him. Take care, Azumi."
A crackle of gentle lightning comes down around him then, and he disappears in the lightning.
Log created on 01:48:02 12/19/2014 by Franziska, and last modified on 05:35:17 12/19/2014.