Description: A ninja and shrinemaiden stalks the prey of the Hayabusa clan... who attempts to turn her from her path. So far, though, she doesn't seem to be biting...
The presence and activities of Tengu are matters that the Hayabusa clan takes very seriously. Tengus differ in appearance and personality, but one thing was always the same for them. Every Tengu possesses immense power and is to be viewed as extremely dangerous. And so, when a report that a Tengu was loose within Southtown, the order was quickly given out for this Tengu to be tracked down and monitored.
Momiji, a trusted member of the Hayabusa clan, was the one assigned this dangerous task along with her mentor, Ryu. But on this night, Momiji works alone. She was told to avoid direct contact with the Tengu until more was learned about it. But first, she would have to -find- the Tengu.
Barely illuminated by a Chinese lantern, the greenish-black haired Momiji stands precariously ontop a Chinatown rooftop. The young ninja is dressed in the white garb of her clan with her black facemask being pulled up over her face. The hood of her outfit is down however which allows her pony-tail to hang free. Armed visibly with an ornate bow and a quiver of arrows on her back, Momiji seems to be surveying the nearby area from her sniper's perch. Suspiciously, all seems quiet so far in this small section of Chinatown.
Multiple tengu have slipped the bonds of the Hayabusa clan, recently -- so needless to say, tracking and monitoring the lot of them is of the utmost importance. Nyotengu, having already encountered two of the Mugen Tenshin clan, knows she's a tengu of interest -- though this knowledge does not seem to have done much to change her approach to life. There have been hundreds of years since the last time she came down off the mountain -- and oh, what a novel experience it is to see this modern world!
It's become so much... smaller, she reflects, as she sits in a restaurant in Chinatown, slowly eating a bowl of noodles. When you mark time by the century, spending much of it to savor each dish becomes almost rote; it'd feel like the blink of an eye if she didn't. All these nations, represented in this tiny speck of space in Japan... it's a marvelous feeling.
Though she hides her wings with an illusory technique not unlike those of the Mugen Tenshin clan themselves, her shadow gives her away to the careful observer; Momiji has indeed found her target. She seems blissfully unaware of the presence of any ninja, luxuriating in her chair; she asks a server for yet more liquor, with a smile as sharp as a knife across her face.
Momiji crouches down and starts to get comfortable in her little perch. It might be awhile before the Tengu even appears. She's been told the stories before, but she's never actually encountered a Tengu before which was going to make this mission that much harder. But the young ninja was resolute in finishing the job no matter what.
Rising up, the bow-equipped ninja takes a running leap and gracefully sails through the air before tumbling down onto the adjacent rooftop. It is hear that she has the perfect vantage point into the restaurant that Nyotengu was currently patronizing. At first, Momiji doesn't notice anything wrong with the Tengu's appearance whatsoever. The blending of cultures in Southtown allows one to wear practically anything they want and still blend in. Nyotengu's concealing magic also helps disguise her true identity.
But there was something about that smiling black-haired woman that drew Momiji's attention. The sharp-eyed ninja focuses her attention with a measure of quiet determination. It is during this moment that Momiji notices the shadowy flutter of Nyotengu's hidden wings. Momiji's amber colored eyes go wide in realization that she had just found her target! But in her surprise, Momiji accidentally nudge a broken piece of tile which sends it over the edge of the building. The green-haired ninja immediately flattens herself against the rooftop in an attempt to hide her presence. That was such a rookie mistake of her to make!
Though her powers of observation aren't supernatural, Nyotengu has the benefit of centuries of experience; every little twitch, every movement, and sometimes even every thought registers to the supernatural being. When she hears that tile slip, she draws up to her full height immediately; tengu are a combative lot -- and indeed, she hasn't gotten this far in life by eschewing caution.
Though Momiji flattens herself against the rooftop, the tengu can see the descent of that piece of tile -- and with it, make a guess at her location. Though it could just be an errant construction worker, or someone retrieving a child's toy from the roof... Nyotengu, ever vigilant, doesn't take the chance.
Her oiran's kimono billowing slightly behind her as she walks toward the adjacent building, she brings herself into a high hop, drawing a momentary 'ooh' from some of the collected eaters, but not /too/ much attention. This is a land of fighters, after all -- nothing is truly /that/ out of the ordinary.
"Mmm... is someone atop this roof?" she asks, her tone as low and sultry as always. "Come out -- I won't bite." The layout of the roof is such that Momiji's flat posture lets her avoid direct visual detection, but... that'll only last so long.
Lying flat out on the rooftop, Momiji can only hear the brief 'oohs' and 'ahhs' from someone's action. She can't see the source of it from here, but she does have one very good guess on whom was drawing the local crowd's attention. And this is pretty much confirmed when she hears Nyotengu first land and then ask if anywhere was there.
Momiji immediately holds her breath as she silently curses her carelessness once again. It was bad enough for her to be detected, but it was even worse that she would also directly be disobeying the directive to -not- come into direct contact with the Tengu.
THe young ninja attempts to crawl away from Nyotengu, keeping herself as flat as possible while doing so. But a rogue wind starts blowing through the area and Nyotengu just might be able to notice a suspicous greenish black ponytail flailing in the wind on this very rooftop.
The sounds of crawling don't quite register, thanks to the wind -- but that green-black ponytail definitely does. The tengu begins stepping toward that whirl of hair, her footsteps even and plodding. Tengu do not move quietly -- indeed, it is a mark of pride among them for one's footfalls to herald one's arrival. That sort of strength, after all, is the same sort that fells trees for fun.
Nyotengu considers, for a moment, snagging her mystery observer by the ponytail and hoisting her up -- but no, she reflects... something about that seems like, perhaps, too much. Instead, she decides to bring the two of them together in a much more... destructive manner.
With a mighty stomp, Nyotengu brings down the house quite literally; both the tengu and her prey are caught in the resultant hole in the roof, falling directly onto a gambling table below. Needless to say, the tengu is likely much more ready for this than the kunoichi is...
Momiji starts to panic when she hears the thunderous approach of the Tengu. The very roof she was lying now seemed to be shaking and now her fight or flight reflexes were starting to kick in much of the latters favor.
But before she can come to a decision on what to do, Nyotengu brings down the house...or atleast the roof with one mighty stomp. Momiji hits the table hard with the wind getting knocked out of her from the impact.
The dust clears and Momiji rolls over onto her back to see that Nyotengu was literally -right there-. The kunoichi begins to reach for her bow, but she soon realizes that she's not exactly in the ideal positon to defend herself with that weapon. If only she would have brought her naginata with her! Momiji then brings her arms out to her sides before saying, "You found me out, but I do not mean you any harm." She says quickly in an attempt to stall for time.
The urgency of individual battles is low for one such as Nyotengu; the novelty of a meal and the novelty of a fight hold about equal sway for her, and accordingly, she decides, when Momiji stalls for time, to humour her stalling. "Mmm... the way you move, and your weaponry... it's lovely." She licks her lips as she looks Momiji over, walking around her like a cat stalking a mouse.
"I won't harm you if you don't harm me... at least today." The tengu breathes in and out, slow and even -- and her stalking brings her closer still. There's an almost childlike glee at her catch -- a sparkle in her purple eyes.
"Another of the Mugen Tenshin, then? Or -- no, your stance doesn't seem quite so... fluid." The tengu considers this for a moment, saying, "Tell me about yourself, child," smile losing none of that eagerness.
Momiji's eyes go wide when Nyotengu starts to tease her. This wasn't how Tengu were supposed to act? But then again, this was the first Tengu she had encountered. Maybe they do act exactly like this?! When Nyotengu approaches her, Momiji scrambles back up into a seated position and then pushes herself up onto her feet. That Nyotengu wasn't overtly hostile towards her was a perplexing thing. But maybe she was just awaiting the right time to strike?
The kunoichi drops her gaze briefly when Nyotengu plays along with her bluff. That -is- what she wanted her to do, but it didn't quite seem to be working exactly the way Momiji had intended. Her own breathing is much more erratic as the Tengu gets ever closer. Things have pretty gone from bad to worse and she was now acting very much like the field mouse that was looking for a hole to dart into to avoid a predator.
The talk of Mugen Tenshin causes Momiji to focus her attention on Nyotengu. Should she lie? It seemed like a rather poor decision to do such a thing for all Momiji knew, this Tengu could be omniscient. The young woman decides to hold her ground and stand up as proudly as a ninja whom had just fallen through a roof could muster. "I'm Momiji of the Hayabusa clan." There's an awkward pause as the normally polite ninja feels compelled to say something more. "And you're a Tengu, though you hide it well."
"Mmm... so observant. But I should expect that from our jailers," Nyotengu says, still smiling. "I'll spare you the explanation of my presence... I'm sure you already know." Insofar as two tengu have slipped the tengu realm and gone rogue, at least. There are so many more things to talk about -- but Nyotengu has already tipped her hand to enough of the ninja in enough ways.
"Are you really so sure that you should be pursuing me, though? I think we could accomplish so much more /together/..." the tengu breathes, stepping squarely into Momiji's personal space amid the rubble.
"Really... have you ever considered /why/ you've kept us under lock and key for generations?" She reaches up to shift her hair ornaments slightly. "Or have they sent a little clockwork kunoichi after me...?"
Momiji's expression doesn't change much when Nyotengu calls her kin 'jailers'. This is partially to be expected as per her positon and her lack of a reaction is helped by that fact that she still has her face mask up. This leaves her amber colored eyes to be her most expressive feature.
"What do you mean together? Are you proposing an alliance?" The straight-laced kunoichi asks as she shies away from Nyotengu slightly, bumping into another gambling table as she does so.
The question of why causes the green-haired Momiji to draw silent for a moment. "I'm no clockwork kunoichi. I'm a Dragon Shrine Maiden and we know all too well what dangers a Tengu can pose. You are harbringers of misfortune and possess great and terrible power." In fact, some of the artifacts that the Shrine Maidens are tasked to protect just may actually be -Tengu- artifacts.
"That's just it," Nyotengu says, with a smile... though when she hears the words 'Dragon Shrine Maiden,' her expression visibly sours. "... Though it sounds like you're not interested... yet." The temptation is strong to grip Momiji by the throat -- to squeeze until she either pleads for mercy or pops. After all -- what is one human in the world more or less, in the face of a being such as she?
... but then -- if she maintains that careful balance of aggression and defense, perhaps the Hayabusa will lose interest in her. Perhaps some more pressing threat will come -- and /then/ she can do as she will with the Hayabusa.
The raven-haired tengu says, "So full of yourself, and so eager to judge me... take care that you don't become a tengu, mm?" An old idiom for one who is too prideful -- but one that Nyotengu just might mean literally, as she takes a seat on the gaming table. Some of the patrons start to stare -- but Nyotengu doesn't seem to care in the least.
The young ninja's heart begins to race faster and faster. Momiji knew that Nyotengu was strong and that fighting her would likely be a bad idea. Without any help, she really didn't know how long she could hold out against someone like Nyotengu. But she couldn't lose hope. She was both a kunoichi and shrine maiden of the Hayabusa clan. There was a certain amount of pride there in that.
Nyotengu has just destroyed the roof of this building just to flush Momiji out of her hiding spot. There was no telling what else destructive things Nyotengu could and would do. "I owe that pride as a Shrine Maiden to my sister. It's the least that I can in her memory." Momiji replies quickly before relaxing slightly when Nyotengu backs away slightly to go sit on the gaming table.
The Tengu comment does perplex the young ninja. "But you are strong and terribly powerful. You destroyed the roof of this building without hesitation and effortlessly." Momiji is smart enough to not point out how much misfortune -that- causes to the room's inhabitants. It was a much better idea for to give half-compliments. Momiji does begin edging away from Nyotengu slightly now that the Tengu wasn't directly in her face. This may just be the opportunity that Momiji was waiting for.
"This place will be rebuilt in an eye's blink -- the important thing here is that I met you, my dear maiden, and that we've had this conversation." An infinitely selfish worldview -- one that Nyotengu has cultivated over centuries. Lounging practically across the table she's claimed as her own, Nyotengu levels her gaze at Momiji, noticing her edging away. "Leaving so soon?" she asks, no urgency or threat in her voice.
"... I just /know/ we'll meet again," she says; accordingly, she makes no move to stop the young lady from inching away from her. She does bring one arm in front of her body, though -- and while the gesture is small and nonthreatening, it does just so happen to give her a perfect defensive posture.
"Don't raise a finger against me here," she adds, waggling her own finger chidingly. "Don't ruin this fun little moment..."
Nyotengu was probably correct about that. With so much destruction in Southtown, there was a huge industry in construction. And the resident of builders of this city were becoming masters of their craft. This was simple one of the side-benefits of having so many fighters in such a small area.
Momiji freezes when Nyotengu notices that she was trying to make her escape. The young woman soon decides to change tactics with the Tengu. "You're very confident." The Tengu did seem to be in complete control of the situation. It really was a little frightening that a being could have that kind of power. "I don't understand. What do you stand to gain from all of this?" She asks as she watches Nyotengu waggle her finger. Momiji had observed Nyotengu just enjoying a drink and not doing and misfortune harbringing whatsoever.
"Freedom. The opportunity to do something more than just... lie in wait in the mountain deep, watching the world pass me by." She laughs lightly, adding, "Something you don't appreciate much in your life -- something that you squander with this fixation on your duty, on honouring these loved ones of yours..." The roll of her eyes is so forceful as to threaten to roll the whole room with it, practically.
"Surely you've fantasized about it... the ability to do what you want, to who you want." Her eyes half-lid, and again she licks her lips. "I've met others desperate for it, you know... you ninja are so much more desperate for freedom than you realize. And when you grow tired of that code of yours..."
Sighing out a contented sigh, she whispers, "I'll be there, waiting to show you the world just beyond your shrines and katas and your desperation to obey old masters. And it'll be /wonderful/." She has her doubts that she can turn Momiji against her clan in the short term, but... perhaps she can make her doubt.
There are many in the Hayabusa clan that believe there are creatures too dangerous to be left to go free. And there are also artifacts that are too dangerous to be left unguarded. Someone has to safeguard these things.
But for Momiji, she instead fights to protect the innocents of her clan. Afterall, Momiji was known as 'big sister' around the village for her care towards the remaining children. The young kunoichi resumes backing up now that Nyotengu seems to be uninterested in preventing her from fleeing. A nearby window seems to be her destination.
"I already do what I want, Tengu. And I will do whatever I must to protect those whom I love from danger." All of this talk of a life beyond her duties to the Hayabusa clan was both foreign and confusing to Momiji. For she truly did not know much a life past that as being a shrine maiden, apprentice ninja, and caretaker did preoccupy most of her time.
Momiji glances behind herself towards the much closer window now. She just might be able to make that jump. "And now I have enough information to make my report to the elders. I thank you for that," declares Momiji in what might be a total lie in an attempt to save face in front of the powerful female Tengu. Nyotengu has given Momiji a lot to think about indeed.
The young ninja will now will attempt to leap out the nearby window. And in typical ninja fashion, she will disappear before she reaches the normal trajectory of her leap and leave only a swirl of cherry blossom pedals in her wake. That is unless Nyotengu moves to stop Momiji in any way.
"Mmm... Then I'll see you another time," Nyotengu says, making no motion to stop the retreating Momiji as she disappears in a whirl of sakura petals. She lets one of them flutter past her finger, a smile on her face as she watches the kunoichi go. So, she intended to report to her elders... there would be more like her, then -- more ninja watching her from the shadows.
Kicking a leg up and sliding back off the table, the tengu in the oiran's kimono starts to stride for the exit, as if nothing had happened -- as if she /hadn't/ broken the roof. All these things would happen in time... and few of them in the short term.
/She/ has a little slice of Southtown to taste.
Log created on 21:51:15 12/21/2014 by Nyotengu, and last modified on 02:52:20 12/22/2014.