Description: Miki questions the motives of Taiyo's Fight Safety club's sensei, and seeks her out after school at her home! No hidden dragons here, folks!
It's late evening on a school night, and freezing rain is falling down, and the wind keeps on gusting around.
This is perhaps why Miki Murakami wields two umbrellas as she makes her way to the Kasagi residence, wearing an elaborate kimono as usual, constantly shifting them here and there as she tries to avoid getting soaked. One is an elaborate traditional bamboo and oil-paper umbrella, if perhaps using slightly heavier materials than usual, the other one a cheap plastic one picked up in a convenience store.
Walking closer, she switches both umbrellas to guard her from winds from the back, and presses the doorbell with one of the handle of the bamboo umbrella.
Late evening, dinner is being prepared. Perhaps this is why the klang of pots and utencils radiates from the northern end of the large home, with a curious sound.. not heard, or felt, but simply is. A rapidly more noticible 'boin, boin, boin' that ceases before the door is opened slightly.
"Welcome, guest." the young Kasagi greets. "How may I help you?" her hands are glistening with water that she quietly pats dry on her pantlegs. Luckily the bamboo awning infront of the door deflects most of the rain away.
Miki shifts the umbrellas slightly to better shield herself now that the airflow has changed via the opening door,then raises her eyes to look up at Jira.
"Miss Jira Kasagi. I had heard you taught a class on 'Fight Safety'." Despite saying a couple of words in quotes, she hardly moves her mouth as she talks.
"I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions as far as your intentions are in that matter." She doesn't look away from Jira's eyes for an instant, staring up at her intently.
An interview? During dinner prep!!?! Jira was not prepared for this! Her sense of unease and distraction towards the kitchen are notable.
"I would prefer if you came inside, guest, the rain and cold aren't very hospitable to one's health, and I am currently preparing dinner for the other guests staying at the inn. I will gladly do an interview if you'd come with me to the kitchen?" she offers politely, taking a small step back and giving a warm and inviting smile.
Miki inclines her head. "Certainly. I can even sous chef for you if you like." She closes her umbrellas, getting a little bit wetter in the process, and steps inside, then leans them against the wall.
"I wasn't aware you ran an... inn?" A pause as she steps out of her geta. "Ah, I haven't introduced myself. How very rude of me. My name is Miki Murakami. I am a student at one of Taiyo's sister schools, Seijyun." She bows to Jira, sniffs the air, then begins to walk towards the kitchen.
Jira gives a few quiet bows to her guest and closes the door behind the new arrival.
"Tonight I'm making one of my own special dishes, and I just perform chores and cooking, my parents handle the business." she replies. "I am Kasagi Jira, but I suppose you already knew this. Also, your umbrellas will be safe next to your geta, Murakami-san." she responds, and excuses herself to the kitchen, heading along the hall turning right from the entrance and going into the door at the end. She is quick to give her hands a scalding rinse and return right to juggling boiling pots and a crackling wok.
"The fight safety club is, just that, to answer your question. Teaching the untrained highschoolers how not to hurt themselves, or others unintentionally in a spar or fight. And other mindful advice. Basically a self defense class that has no intentional offensive techiques to it." she answers while seguing back into cooking time.
Miki glances over to see Jira watching her hands in scalding water, then repeats the gestures. She leans back against a counter a bit out of the way, and watches Jira at work.
She tilts her head a bit to one side. "...Intentional? Isn't training someone how /not/ to break someone's arm just the same thing as training someone in ten different ways to break someone's arm?" She's silent for a moment.
"You can teach blocking and dodging and breakfalls without teaching much offensive stuff, but the moment you teach someone how not to do something, you're also teaching them how to do something. One day one of your students is going to use those techniques to seriously hurt someone." A pause.
"...Not that I have a problem with that, Kasagi-san. I just don't understand your motives."
While she dutifully manages her stovetop domain she finds the time to grab a large serving platter behind her, hanging up over the sink and sets it on the counterspace behind her, and procuring a serving centerpiece. After quickly tossing and stirring her wok she cuts the burners on the pots and unlids them to a welcoming barrage of steam.... with the moisture in the air from the rain, it's rather humid.
"At present, I'm only instructing them on fallbreaking, blocking, and impact mitigation. I can hope that an in-depth dodging overview isn't required. I tell the clubmembers that if they want to go pro, to join a real dojo or speak with me after the club meeting." a pause and a smile. "Sofar, I haven't had anyone chase me after hours. I understand that more advaced techniques can easily be reversed, but before then I'll make sure they carry a good and sporting spirit with them.. still I don't think I'll delve into that as part of my club plan." she notes. "As for motives, I want the students to be able to keep themselves in one piece. Maybe it'll help them in sports.. I wish I knew half of what I do now back when -I- was in highschool."
Miki tilts her head slightly to one side. "So you want them to not get destroyed, presumably because you care about some random group of students or in an abstract Taiyo itself, but ultimately you want them to learn about fighting as a means of... messing around without anyone getting hurt too bad?" She stares at Jira's face for a moment, then returns her gaze to watch her food preperation. "I don't really get that, Kasagi-san. Fighting is the ultimate means of projecting power, but you prefer that insofar as it is possible, you prefer it is merely a spectacle, like on the Saturday Night Fights and so forth?"
"You're not particularly weak, are you? But instead of using that power to make a livelihood in some way, you work in an inn." She raises a hand to adjust a wisp of hair that's escaped her bun. What would you do if you knew what you knew now in highschool, exactly?"
Quietly Jira listens to the guest's questioning while she sets up the serving dishes. It looks like a large setting of rice and a selection of breaded and unbreaded french-cut fish filets, with an assortment of sauces, and a bubbling amber-brothed soup with orange and lemon rindbits foating in it. It all smells sweet and savoury on whole, with a hint of heated spice coming off of the dry-rub on the nonbreaded fish fries.
"I care about the students, and I care about Taiyo, I care about this community in southtown." she starts. "I want these youngsters that don't desire to venture into professional fighting to have an ability to defend themselves from someone who may choose to abuse their physical power." she replies. "I see martial arts as a form of art, and a way of life for those so devoted. I myself don't watch television, so what I know of the professional circuit comes from the guests, and students at Taiyo. Maybe the occasional news article." she replies. "The strength I have now, I would have shared with my friends in school when I was still attending, and maybe I would have my own martial school by now. I think my partner would appreciate that." she hefts up the serving tray carefully and bows.
"A moment, I must set dinner out." and she exits from the western door into the dining area.
Miki listens to Jira, and is about to speak up again, when she says she's about to set dinner out. She returns the bow, then waits for her hostess to return, glancing around the kitchen for other clues into Jira's psyche.
Once she returns, Miki bows to her again, smiles at her. "So for you, it's as much about the mental approach to martial arts as it is the physical." Her smile fades after a moment.
"Does your motivation have anything to do with the recent alleged attacks on Taiyo and other Southtown Students?" A short pause. "...Do you know what's up with those attacks?" Of course, it's hard to tell if she's talking about the Butcher, or the Atelier people, or even her alter-ego, Black Tiger Mask. A lot of people getting attacked in Southtown recently.
On her return, Jira towels off her hands after another hot rinse, and nods.
"The mental and spiritual approach to martial arts is just as important as the physical. Unless you plan on having people hate eachother and fight for no reason, or express themselves negatively." she replies. "And actually I've heard less than rumours about these attacks from my students, in the home-ec class and club." she replies. "From the lack of information given to me, especially from faculty at the school, I hadn't thought much of it."
Miki raises an eyebrow. "Oh. Well, if you want to protect Taiyo students and Southtown, you may wish to keep up on that. There's students being kidnapped, there's someone known as The Butcher, or some sort of copycat, running around killing people... some masked hooligan beating people up...." She shrugs, furrows her brow a little.
"I've always focused on the strictly useful aspects of martial arts, rather then the mental or abstract spiritual bits. Perhaps I missed something in there, and that's why I've had trouble developing Chi."
A short pause. "...Also, I'm not entirely sure what I'd do even if I /was/ extremely strong. That's why I came to ask you questions tonight, in hopes that your outlook would give me some insight."
Jira seems to take mental note of the girl before her, quietly giving her an appraisal as she speaks.
"I'll seee what the students may know." she murmurs. "As for chi, well. Being near people particularly versed, or areas with an abundance of it makes me nauseus. My spiritual powers are based from another medium." she replies. "The best possible use for strength is to share it with others that may lack it, and lead by example that makes everyone happier and better off. Just keep in mind that if your actions are viewed as hateful or selfish, then they will inspire others to the evils that have always haunted humanity." she glances upwards. "Only you can determine what you want out of life, if you will be active in shaping it, or letting another pull your strings."
Jira pauses at the end of that statement, and seems to be stricken by it internally.
Miki blinks at this revelation, although she doesn't move. "Another medium besides Chi? It sounds like a not particularly strong one, if it makes you become nauseous just by being around chi. Still, I'm guessing a slight aptitude with Chi is enough to render that path unavailable for me?" Her source of Chi is a giant tiger spirit inside her that she is trying to keep a secret, at least as far as 'Miki Murakami' possessing it goes, and she is thus beginning to think that she should cut this short. Still, there's something very intriguing there. She turns her head to stare at Jira.
"...You've had your strings pulled by someone."
Jira gives a smile to Miki. Now things are interesting.
"It's an energy made by humans themselves, rather than nature.. it's, different. They don't tend to play nicely with one another." she murmurs. "I suspect if you trained to suppress your chi, and focused on your mental awareness, you could talk on the path with a little push.. but it requires greater discipline to control. The human energy requires your will to exist, you must not only manifest it but also dictate its use. Chi is already present in nature, and I hear that asking for its help is.. less demanding than most believe." she shrugs.. "As for my strings, well. I can't give you that answer up front, but someone's telling me you have secrets too. You seem too interested and flighty." a smile. "I'll listen to anything, and will tell nobody unless I have express consent to do so~"
Miki blinks at that, continues to stare at Jira. "Of course I have secrets. Doesn't everyone?" A short pause. "They're hardly secrets if I go around telling everyone them, however." She still hasn't moved her mouth hardly at all this entire conversation. "Particularly since you have unknown strings still controlling you. That seems... potentially dangerous?" A short pause, then she shrugs.
"You have answered my questions, however, so I'll answer a few of yours if you like. As long as they aren't specifically about secrets."
Jira has a bit of thoughtful pause, humming to herself. Well, the girl hasn't fled yet, Jira shrugs. Dangerous? She shakes her head in answer.
"So, why is a rival school's student asking a Taiyo volunteer of her motives? And why interview me at home?" she asks. "How much do you know of me, and do you follow the professional fighting circuits?"
"Miki tilts her head a bit to one side. "I wanted to know your motivations, as I told you, and also I wanted to try to figure out if you were involved in any of the attacks, because a 'fight safety' club sounds like a very good cover. I'm concerned about what happens at Taiyo because I have some friends there. If I came to you at home, you'd be more likely to attack me if you were a danger to students, and then I'd have an opportunity to take you head on."
"All I know about you is your name, address, what you teach, and the basic information any private detective could pick up on you. I watch professional fighting videos a little, but I don't care about the people there, it's just a way to see some good techniques."
Jira listens quietly, then nods. This youngster is proving to be insightful indeed.
"A very smart move, if not risky. Though I won't tell my students on premisis and deny any evidence they provide during school hours or club time, I do have a small presense on Saturday Night Fight, and a little experience in the Neo League. Or, rather, the one working my strings has me participating. I don't think I've fought even half those fights personally." she notes. "Thanks to them, I grew into a majority of my current strength almost overnight."
As Jira talks about her 'current strength', some sort of predatory look passes across Miki's face, as if she's considering fighting her just because she's strong. Equally quickly, however, it's gone.
"...The one working your strings has you participating?" She raises an eyebrow. "...Are you possessed or mind controlled or something?" Her tone implies that she finds this mildly unlikely, but has not completely discounted the idea. "Because if you are, your alternate self /may/ be one of the dangers facing Taiyo or Southtown. Have you considered that?"
Jira gives a matching expression of preparedness, a twitch of her index finger, to meet that look of predation. She isn't prey, not at all.
"Yes, they do.. I suppose you can call it inheritance, but.. beyond the manner I acquired this partner, I don't know the extent of their influence prior to this. They seem frightened by my questioning and refuse to answer, because it is... 'wrong' and 'should never have happened' and 'a great catastrophy happened, leave it at that'. So, I will wait until they divulge more to me on their own." she answers. "And I know they wouldn't accost anyone, that defeats their purpose. Which is solely to become stronger, and test their techniques in honourable combat. That, and because I'm still aware and must grant them permission to control me."
Jira offers a warm smile. "Would you like some dinner?"
Miki smiles back, not showing her teeth, but still seemingly genuine. "Getting stronger is most of what I want in life too, although I don't really understand the point of 'honor' in combat. And certainly, dinner would be lovely." She blinks. "Perhaps I could talk to your partner? It seems like we might have a lot in common." She considers her next words for a long moment.
"Keeping in mind this is a secret: I also have a partner. I'm not going to show them to you, however, as I believe it would quite possibly make you ill, since they are quite... powerful, in the more conventional way. So exposure to them might make you nauseous."
Jira motions to the doorway to the west and starts on as the acceptance of dinner is given.
"Yes, I'll let you two talk, but first is dinner. Hopefully the guests haven't gotten it all yet. And like I said, anything you tell me goes no nobody without express consent... except the one always watching." she murmurs, as if it'll make her partner not hear it. "And don't worry, they're less.. squeamish than I am."
If followed, Jira leads into the dining area and bows to her parents, then the guests, and sits at her end of the table, offering Miki a place at her side. "My friend will be joining us tonight. She came to talk to me after her classes were over." briefly asked if Miki was from Taiyo by her father, she shakes her head. "One of the other schools." and quietly she grabs herself a serving of everything.
"Miki Murakami. I'm sorry for the intrusion." Miki bows to Jira's parents, then the other guests, with the exact proper amount of respect given a normal situation for a student of a different school - she is taught at Seijyun, after all. She sits down next to Jira, and copies her host in this aspect to, taking the same quantities of everything she does. She then eats quietly, once again being careful not to show her teeth, and keeps her eyes slightly downcast unless addressed.
A slightly upset tone, given the lack of Taiyo origin of Jira's guest, is given by her parents.. almost in unison. The pair of inkeepers are quiet enough while the guests seem to hardly be phased. A few are dressed.. fairly comfortably, and might be long-term residents. Only one of the seven guests at the table looks remotely non-japanese. Died-blue hair and a USA t-shirt is pretty blatant.
Jira smiles to Miki. "It is no trouble, really." she replies. The sweet, citrus broth of the soup is nice, the bitter and tartness of the rinds is hardly present, mulled over by honey. Actually, Jira's half using it as a dip for the fish-fries and a light drizzle on her rice. Clearly her culinary talents are innovative at the least.
Miki eats slowly and politely. To one paying attention, she seems just a little more enthusiastic about the fish-fries, particularly the non-breaded ones, but she finishes everything she's taken. She tries to remain non-obtrusive as possible, although she does listen for any interesting new information on Jira or any other relevant subjects.
The guests are talking about that island reality show goin on, and how the saturday night fight has taken a brief pause, and that the reruns are a bit boring. There's also talk about baseball going on, and the american is fumbling his japanese.. to the point that Jira's trying -not- to giggle at it. Though in the end her mother divines what the foreigner is talking about, by asking him in english, and giving him directions to the toilet. One fit of bowing, an 'ow my back' and a jittery pee-pee dance run to the bathroom later, the other guests let out laughter and chortles. Even her parents let out a quiet mote of amusement.
"Silly foreigners." she muses, quietly finishing her helpings, and looking up. "Residents, when everyone is done, could you bring the remainders and dishes into the kitchen for me?" she asks, though it's a more commanding tone. "Murakami-san, when you are finished, rejoin me in the kitchen." she murmurs as she excuses herself from the table and exits the room. The bounding 'boin, boin' sound is back and getting quieter as she leaves.
Miki perks up a bit as they talk about Saturday Night Fight. Seeing it's just about show quality and so forth, however, rather than fight strategies or techniques or anything of the kind, she loses interest. She seems entirely unmoved by the foreigner fumbling with his Japanese.
She looks up at Jira as she tells her to rejoin her in the kitchen, and nods slightly. She furrows her eyebrows slightly at that 'boin boin' noise happening again as she leaves, but then she returns to her food, and calmly and politely finishes it, then stands up, carefully stacks up the dishes with one hand while the other holds her oversized sleeve out of the way, picks up the stack, and walks back to the kitchen without stopping or hurrying, setting them next to the sink.
Back in the kitchen, Jira's stretching quietly and peeking at the kitchen exit... still rainy.
"Well, I should probably bring you into a room or something, it's kind of noticible when I let my partner out." she notes. "If you'd prefer privacy, let me know now. I wouldn't want to have them quiet up suddenly when the guests come in."
Miki looks over to watch Jira stretching, and follows her gaze out the window.
"...I was wondering about that. If you're trying to keep them a secret at all, or the fact that you're letting me know about them, for that matter, it would seem wise to go somewhere slightly more private.
Jira nods. "Well, to my room then." she notes, straightening her back and finishing her stretch, standing on her toes and arms up. Then flatfooted again. Quietly she strides out of the east door into the entrance hallway again, beckoning Miki to follow. After the hall it's then up the stairs to the first floor, with Jira's room around the bend and on the left of the master bedroom. Room 01. The door slides open quietly and Jira enters. It's small, enough that half the room's space is taken up by her bed and desk, with the remaining half being open enough to comfortably stand or sit a person or two in the space infront of the door. A built in closet is on the left hand side a couple strides away, and a hanging coat rack on the same wall as the door. A Taiyo banner hangs over her bed, a nice, pink backpack is sitting atop her desk, and the lamp on it was turned off, until Jira rectifies that and sits atop her bed. "Please, come in. Get comfortable, what-have you." she muses in a friendly and inviting tone, as usual.
Miki waits for Jira to finish stretching, then follows her to the entrance to her room. The master bedroom. Interesting.
She follows Jira into the room, and glances around the area, as if measuring up it's tactical capabilities and/or Jira's taste. She pulls the chair out from in front of the desk, moves it to face the Taiyo enthusiast, and carefully sits down on it. "How long have they been with you?"
There's a slight change in Jira once Miki enters, and the chair's occupied. Her musculature seems to be a bit more prominent, and she sits a little taller than previously. As she speaks her reply, there is a second voice coming out, saying the same words in unison to her own. A deeper, more masculine voice.
"This Jira.. I have been with for a couple months." they state. "You said you didn't understand the point of honour in combat? If you test your skills against an opponent, and wished to have another sort of encounter again, would you not express such through politeness and being their friend? Knowing someone you can expect to repeatedly train and improve with, to grow stronger with and find an ally in, is that not an ideal relationship for one looking to become better?"
Miki tilts her head to one side. "...Oh. Is that what honor in combat is? Yes, that's an ideal thing if you want to repeatedly fight with someone. So for someone you're training skills with, that's definitely a good sort of relationship to be in." She pauses. "I don't see a particular advantage to being in that sort of relationship with someone significantly weak, of course."
"Do you want to have that sort of relationship with everyone... what do you call yourself?"
Jira shrugs when weakness is mentioned. "For those significantly stronger or lesser than oneself, it is important to still maintain your honour. Otherwise, your safety may be at risk, or you may close doors for suitable partners later on." they mention. "I am called Akabara."
The room is too small to actually fight in, not if one intends to not damage property in the meantime. It is doubtful the walls or even the floor could take -too- much abuse.
"That's an interesting philosophy." Miki bows slightly in her chair. "Pleased to meet you, Akabara-san. Do you have no desires except to become stronger, and everything else is just a means to that end?" She leans forwards slightly.
"Jira told me you weren't weak against chi? I... don't think my partner is very similar to you, but it seems only fair to show it to you."
Jira chuckles quietly, both voices still prominant. "For the most part. I am alive, but never had a body of my own. I have possessed suitable, willing hosts over my lifetime to work and improve on my combat arts. I was originally made as a collection of a group's energies and love for battle, so that their legacy and memories lived forever." the reply.
"I do not like chi energy, it disrupts the concentration of my hosts. The essence that makes me up and chi energy to not share space easily, it causes unease and stress in the girl to be exposed by it. But, I can stop this sickness by having her body refuse to act in that way. That being said, she is still susceptable to it. Perhaps moreso under my direction."
Miki nods. "I see." She's quiet for a moment. "Suffice to say, there's a tiger spirit made of the energy of the world inside me. Or... it /is/ me, now. We can't talk, but I can direct it, and if it has desires, they don't seem that different from my own. It's... started to affect my physical form a little." She opens her mouth up to show that she has sharp tiger fangs inside, in addition to the normal human teeth, then closes it again.
"Do you run into similar problems with your hosts? Or is it just the combination of chi energy and your own energy interacting poorly?"
They nod. "Before I became more selective with my hosts, those that were unable to handle an increase in power became mad and sought to abuse it, be for benevolent, or unsultry needs. Suffice to say, they burned out quickly. The hardest obstacle is conditioning the host's body to contain and handle more and more energy, as it is inherantly dangerous to living things if too concentrated. But Jira has shown promise in this regard. Learning technique and to handle her power in stride." they note.
"An interesting side-effect, I would caution you to remember who -you- are, or you may become lost to your guest. Something I remind Jira of often. She doesn't have to listen to my wants or demands, nor do I hers. A healthy medium promotes growth for the both of you, with no real lack for the other. Unless, perhaps, one of you wishes for total dominance of the body."
"I don't think all it's energy poured into me, so even if it was sentient, I'm not sure if it is now." Miki considers this for a moment. "But I don't speak tiger, and it doesn't speak human, so it's something that's kind of hard to tell. Perhaps the transformation is part of a plan or instinct... or simply a side effect of the energy itself. I don't think there's a danger of my dying, but people don't treat those who don't look human very well. Which won't be an issue once I'm extremely strong, but for now...." She shrugs slightly.
"If there's anything it wants beyond transforming me, it's been very quiet about it. I suppose it's more or less entirely under my control, at least for now. I have no worries of forgetting who I am, insofar as I understand who I am."
Jira smirks. "Even if she forgets, I won't. Though, I have a need to keep my hosts alive and well, or there's the hassle of finding another one and training them. Which isn't a fun ordeal.. maybe later, we can compare ourselves against one another.. or rather, the four of us." they offer. "But, it may be getting late, and I presume you have a family or friends that would worry about a proper lady being away from home so long."
Miki blinks at the mention of family or friends that would worry about her, then smiles slightly and inclines her head. "I should be going, yes. But I would like to meet you and Kasagi-san in honorable combat one day." She stands up, bows to Akabar/Jira. "Thank you for your hospitality."
Jira stands and returns the bow, stepping ahead and opening the door, waiting for Miki to follow... once the room is vacant she'd lead the other woman to the door and hold her umbrellas until her geta are on, then hand them back.. once everything's settled and Miki's on her way home, Jira has dishes to clean, and Akabara's influence fades for now.
Log created on 22:37:19 02/03/2015 by Jira, and last modified on 04:54:40 02/04/2015.