Description: On the rampage, Saishu Kusanagi is attending to highly important business - pivotal to the tournament and, perhaps, the future of mankind - when he receives assistance from a strange and tiny source. Sometimes, the smallest packages come from the biggest hearts. This could be the start of a beautiful new future; for Saishu, for Shingo Yabuki, and for his future bride. The quest to make Shingo a man... has begun.
"Do you have anything... smaller?"
It's a gruff and grizzled voice to go with a gruff and grizzled face, though far from Saishu Kusanagi's usual boisterous bark, it's delivered with a smooth husky quality clearly designed to appeal directly to the delicate feminine flower standing before him. Fortunately for the store attendant, she's got the cash counter between her fragile body and the traditionally-garbed old master who has - so far - managed to tear apart every other part of the store in his quest for suitably sexy swimclothes.
He's currently holding up a ludicrously tiny thong in one hand, the scrap of tight, waterproof material emblazoned - using very, very fine needlework - with a Japanese Rising Sun emblem, complete with rays radiating out from the, ah, pertinent area.
The poor shop attendant is shaking and completely unable to find words, as the Lord and Master of the Crimson Flame scratches with the free hand at his scraggly, filthy bird and 'hrns' over his potential purchase once again, turning it this way and that and then glancing meaningfully down at his hairy nether regions. These, fortunately, are at least currently contained in his green sackcloth pants.
"Is there a changing room, young lady? Maybe you could give me some professional assistance? Don't worry, I don't bite..." Leaning in closer, he waggles his brows, "Not unless you want me to, that is! HA HA! Oi, Shingo-kun!"
Attention lancing to the door, he raises his voice as the poor woman reaches below the counter and hammers the alarm frantically, whispering 'ohgodohgodohgodohgod'.
"COME IN HERE! I got you a nice swimming costume AND a pretty girlfriend!!"
Saishu wasn't the only one looking for something sexier to put on -- so was Eve. It's not that Eve actually cared about the clothes she wore in general, but it seems she was the only girl around the island who wore a simple one piece swimsuit. There were other girls who had one piece suits -- though they were much different than hers.
Her swimsuit was monotone, a dark navy blue, the sort of universal swimsuit they gave her at school that everyone had to have for the gym classes. It was the only thing she had, and was lucky enough to actually have a swimsuit. It's not like she got actual money to buy one either.
Eve's time as an undercover agent with a group of cheerleader left her a bit paranoid about certain things : one being hearing chuckles in her back and the feeling of peer pressure into conformity. Everyone was going to the prom and had a date, and those who didn't were losers. Everyone's wearing flashy swimsuit and Eve just had... Well, a normal swimsuit.
So the young girl ended up in the same place than Saishu -- looking up for something else she could wear. It had been rather quiet until Saishu actually showed up.
It was easy not to notice Eve -- she was the perfect wallflower girl, and when Saishu talked with the shop clerk, Eve discreetly eavesdrop on their discussion and waits in the background. Eve's not too sure what's going on, but for some reason Saishu seems to make the shop clerk incredibly uncomfortable.
The girl walks in a bit closer to Saishu and she reaches up to him to nudge on the cloth of his outfit, as if to get some attention. Perhaps to help the lady, or just to share a bit of wisdom with him. After all, she had watched the people on the beach long enough to know what a man should wear around here, "Excuse me," Eve says.
"People will look at you funny if you wear that, nobody wears that outside," Eve explains. She smiles and beams, "All the men wear swim shorts, you should try some,"
Hours of careful watching to come to that conclusion.
Saishu is standing there incensed at the failure of his bestest ever student to respond promptly to his summons, and has begun to move from stroking his beard to scratching in bewilderment at his scruffy-furred head. "Hrn. Sometimes I wonder about that boy..." Rolling his gimlet eyes back to the woman hammering away at the alarm button, he peers at her with first annoyance, then concern, and helpfully leans over. He pushes her hand aside, and pushes the button himself. Nothing happens. He does it again.
He looks up.
"Haha, I'm afraid that's broken, miss! You're stuck with m--"
Cue a tiny child approaching him, and it's slightly disturbing how Saishu is looking around well before she's in his personal space. Can he hear that well even over the hearty bellow of his own voice? Maybe. Maybe it's magic. Maybe he's Superman. There was that one time he had to fly twice around the world to rescue Shizuka from Rugal Bernstein-- wait, who's Rugal Bernstein? Has that happened yet? The world is confusing!
"Hrm." Saishu pauses, rubbing at his beard, then his belly. He looks Eve over with a close, scrutinizing stare, and then considers her words as if she's just now offered them. He hefts the tiny thong, then sort of flies it around through the air like *it* were Superman, even beginning to make an airplane noise before he remembers he's got company. Then he breaks out a huge, obnoxious belly laugh. "A-HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!"
Suddenly, the thong is flung aside and a big, ludicrously-calloused hand covered in odd scorch marks descends upon Eve's little skull and ruffles her hair with what might well be enough good-natured vigour to stun a polar bear.
"You see?" He looks over his shoulder at the shopkeeper-- or tries to, only to realize she's bolted through the open door and will never work on the island again. "You see?" He repeats, turning back to Eve, "Some girls are clever! HA HA! Say, do you have a boyfriend or a husband to look after you? I've got a student who's about your age, and he's looking for the right woman to turn him into a real man! You'd be PERFECT!"
It's rather unsettling to say the least -- Saishu appears to be relatively old enough, yet it's the first adult Eve has ever met who actually acts like this. There was no word to describe Saishu's behaviour aside from outside the norm. If she were to act like that around her place, she certainly would get smiten for it. In a lot of way, he reminds her of her caretaker on this island, Angel, if only because he acts in such a chaotic and different way than other adults.
Eve just stares at the man's reaction, silently, assessing him. Her eyes follow the thong that swirls in his hand, almost enthralled by it and the noise he makes. Her expression was a mixture of awe and just pure confusion on her face. It distracted her enough to allow Saishu to press his rough atop her head and ruffle her hair.
Despite the roughness of the hair ruffle, a lip curls on Eve's lip and she giggles softly. It came out instinctively, without a second thought. Those kind of things have been the only marks of affection she's ever gotten from those who raised her and she genuinely craves them.
Eve beams at the compliment she's given and she answers, without a second thought, "No -- I tried to get someone to take me to the prom at school, but... It didn't quite work out.." Eve says, her smile fading away a bit at the thought as she averts her gaze. Though she doesn't let her thoughts wander too far, her eyes glancing back up at Saishu, "Huh?" She asks, "What? I don't know how to turn boys into man! I can't do that!"
There are no levels on which Saishu appears to give the slightest damn about anyone else; their opinions, their actions, the expectations they might have of a man of his age and station. He lives with utter, reckless abandon, and refuses to approach life on anything but his own terms. It would be a gross understatement to call him a free spirit, and a discredit to deem him anything less. For his part...
He's certainly impressed that this tyke is able to deal with his roughness: she has, indeed, passed the first of his unspoken and completely unexplained tests, which isn't to say she doesn't derail his onrushing train of thought a moment later.
"You... don't know how to do that?" He squints, his hand rising to ruffle at his own head again, scritchscritching at an overly dry scalp - it's been weeks since he saw Shizuka for long enough to get a good shampoo in, and Shingo just can't do it right - and then pausing to examine a couple of rogue flakes that break free. He squints at those, then back at Eve as he mercifully flicks them away instead of... eating them or something. Apparently he has SOME standards, even if they're wholly his own.
"WELL! Then you clearly need to be more of a woman, young lady! HA HA! How would you like to learn under the greatest master in the history of martial arts?" Assuming she'll be delighted, he starts to walk around her, looking steadfastly away as he rattles off a series of apparently-interconnected questions, "How old are you, girl? How long have you been that old? Can you spay a cat? Have you ever climbed the Eiffel Tower in December? Who's your favourite professional fighter?" Suddenly he's around the front again, hunkering down in a horse stance with hands clapped to his thighs, low enough to look the tiny Eve right in the eye, gimlet eyes intent.
"Who would win in a fight between Takuma Sakazaki and Mecha Godzilla?? THINK FAST!"
Eve's head is spinning for sure, but her training in NESTs has allowed her not to show too much sign of it. Beside, the rougher the head ruffling, the more affectionate it was, right? It was enough to counter for the slight unease she felt afterward.
The girl has heard that intonation in the voice of adult enough to recognize it. It sends a shiver down her spine and Eve lowers her gaze, a blush spreading on her cheeks, "I... Huh, sorry..." By his intonation, she supposes she should have known how but she obviously has no idea how to do that. Fortunately, while she keeps her eyes away from Saishu, she doesn't notice his antics with his flakes.
She lifts her gaze back up and arches a brow, skeptical when he mentions his prowess, "Greatest master?" She asks, trying to follow him with her eyes, "What martial art?" She's not sure she's even had the time to ask her question before Saishu gives her a flurry of questions to answer, not even letting her the chance to slide a word in edge wise.
"Huh, I, huh.." She stammers, too polite to interrupt him -- and then, his sudden horse stance in front of her silences her, until he asks her that last question. Eve has no idea what is a Takuma Sakazaki or a Mecha Godzilla. She ponders for half a second, but her eyes widen when his voice orders her to think fast. And that's exactly what she does, "Huh, Mecha Godzilla... As for the other questions, I'm sixteen. Less than a year. No. Yes. And..." She lets her words trail off, lifting her gaze up as she thinks about someone. A bright smile curls on her lips and she lifts a finger up, "Arcelia Maria Esperanaza Lucia Catalina Gonzalles! The third..."
She beams proudly, obviously happy with her answers, "But... Huh, I don't think you know her," Eve says, waving her hand dismissingly. She looks up at Saishu and then asks timidly, "So, hum... Does Mecha Godzilla win a fight against Takuma Sakazaki?"
The response garners a grunt of approval from the eccentric defender of the ancient Kusanagi style, his robe rumpling as he adjusts it about his shoulders and stifles a yawn as he nods long and deep. Rocking back on his dirty, sand-stained tabi socks, he attempts to smooth his poorly-maintained beard into a dignified point, still staring intently at Eve as he computes the answers to questions he quite possibly doesn't even remember asking; not because he's senile, but because it wasn't the POINT.
Or perhaps he does. Perhaps it was. It's hard to tell, with Saishu.
"I'm afraid to say," he rumbles after a few awkward moments, straightened up from his stance but now sinking back into it, listening close to Eve to throw her a brilliant, slightly garlic-scented grin, then dropping instantly to a lotus position upon the floor, his legs folded into themselves and big, rough hands resting on his outer thighs, elbows crooked outward. Like this, he's not much smaller than the girl, really, and he still has this... horrifically intimidating aura only slightly completely ruined by his unwieldy and inscrutable demeanour. "That you have NOT achieved a passing mark."
He raises one hand, a finger splayed out. Others join it as he makes his points.
"ONE, I don't believe you're sixteen years old - look at you! You're a midget! Were you born with some birth defect, girl? Don't answer that, ha, I don't need to know." Tapping at his chin with the raised finger, he flicks out another. "Good, good, you got two, but the correct answer to your favourite fighter was either Saishu Kusanagi or Shingo Yabuki; what do you think this is?! We don't honour other masters here! Let alone women! Why, I've only met two women who could fight, and I married one of them! HA HA! Hrn--" he hesitates thoughtfully, then leans forward again while maintaining his flexible position, "That wasn't sexist, was it? I do need an answer to that one!!"
Leaning back again, he folds his arms, not allowing much time for an answer.
All his fingers are out now, splayed before him like a warfan.
"FINALLY, young lady! You're right about that oaf Takuma. The only reason he won that battle was because I, Saishu Kusanagi, was there to finish the fight with an Orcanagi from the shore, driving Mecha Godzilla back to his home beneath the Todoh-Ryuu Dojo! And that-- that," he grunts again, and folds his arms behind his head, winking conpiratorially, "That's why he needs to return my lawnmower. He OWES me, HA HA!"
Frowning so hard he closes one eye, he adds, squintsquint, "Don't you agree?"
The blonde girl eyes widen when Saishu tells her she doesn't have the passing mark, "What!?" She exclaims. She flails her arms about vainly, "But.. But, you didn't say it was a test,"
Eve blinks a few times at the first mark, "Wha... But..." She looks up at her body for a moment... Was she really that small? Not that her body has ever bothered her before but now that he mentions it, she always was a few inches short of the other girls when she was in Taiyo High.
It's unsure whether or not Eve actually paid attention to the rest of his speech, though Eve narrows her eyes and she buffs her chest a bit, as if attempting to be intimidating in her own way but she lacks the actual presence or built to actually look menacing, "I know how to fight! And I'm probably better than this Shingo Yabuki... That student of yours?" Eve says. Looks like her time in school allowed her to develop some of that attitude. At least, more than she ever had.
She lifts a finger up and presses it on Saishu's chest, "I'll show you! Bring him by the beach, at noon," Eve says, narrowing her eyes into a glare. She keeps her nose high up, giving herself an haughty air and she turns on her heels and prepares to leave.
Oh yeah, that's the attitude... She thinks? At least that's how she recalls seeing other girls in Taiyo deal with rivals. Though after a few steps away, her proud air fades away into a meeker one. Hopefully she didn't screw that up.
The ways of the greatest masters are shrouded in secrecy, and the path to achieving the Kusanagi flame - without the bloodline to wield it in truth - is a long and arduous one. Saishu continues to singularly eyeball the dimunitive would-be warrior as she gathers her senses and composes her wits, sorting through the ineffable morass for her own manner of meaning. As a teacher, as the sole surviving progenitor of a sacred and nigh-unachievable form of chi manipulation perhaps unequalled in this world of men...
Saishu revels in these moments. Watching young blood rise hot and furious, feeling the aura of a budding flower blossom before his scrutinizing stare, it's a reward in itself, and when Eve finds her focused intent his scraggly-bearded maw splits in a broad, positively shit-eating grin. "Ah hah," he half-exclaims, half-grunts as if it were at once impressive and worthy of dismissal, puffing up his own scarred, muscular chest in a seeming mockery of this spirited youngster. "So, there you are."
A finger alights upon his raw physicality, and he exudes a harsh breath, nostrils flaring in what may be indignation or challenge - or, perhaps, both.
"HRN!!" His lungs rumble in response to the girl's hurled gauntlet, his face half-turning as if struck by a force that shouldn't possibly move it, open to the idea that, perhaps, this bizarre little interloper might well be worthy. Never let it be said that Saishu Kusanagi is afraid to offer an opportunity to those who knock hard enough.
"So I shall, girl. HA HA!" His barked laughter follows her retreating back, "Noon! Did you hear that, Shingo-kun?!" His gimlet eyes are wide now, staring toward the doorway where presumably he assumes his apprentice lies in wait, ready to accept as he has. Naturally, Kyo's greatest admirer is nowhere to be seen nor heard. He swiftly decides that it doesn't matter, unfolding to his full, habitually-slouching height in an effortless instant, a hand coiling inside his robe to grip at his stomach.
The other lifts to his beard, thoughtfully watching Eve's dramatic exit.
"Bring all that you have, hold nothing back! That's the secret to martial arts!!"
His final bark greets an empty room, but the fire burns still within the dishevelled confines of the shop. Saishu pauses, looks around, and settles a renewed glare upon the discarded, shockingly horrible thong he'd been considering purchasing.
Moments later, it's gone, and Saishu with it. The old man is ambling along the beachside boardwalk, the article stowed about his person and eyes roving for the next challenge. What did she say? Swimming shorts? Ah, youth! His hunt continues as surely as Eve's, as surely as Shingo's. When next they all meet...
Saishu Kusanagi will be complete, and prepared for his fighting debut upon these shores.
And Shingo Yabuki, perhaps, will finally become a man under his expert tutelage.
Log created on 15:17:16 02/05/2015 by Saishu, and last modified on 03:31:33 02/09/2015.