Description: Following the lead given by Kenshi, the shade of Glen seeks help from an unusual corner.
Baiken is a somewhat enigmatic figure in this tournament of Mortal Kombat.
She's never been especially communicative, even on Earth. She has a driving goal, and her plans for her life do not involve making friends. She hasn't gone out of her way to do it here, either - though at least she has made some allies in her few matches. Or 'allies'. It's hard to tell.
But that doesn't mean she's impossible to find. And she has not gone out of her way to attack random people; whatever bloodlust drives her is focused. It's probably safe to find her.
Baiken tends to linger around places of violence. The arena is one, but not on the arena floor itself nor on the stone stands. She is behind the walls, near where some of the monks would be if there was Kombat going on right this moment. It would be about five steps for her to get to the gong to signal its beginning.
She has actually acquired sake from somewhere, possibly from some of said monks. It isn't anything Shang Tsung would want in his castle; it's low quality, somewhat acidic, and has a slightly unpleasant aftertaste. But it is alcoholic. (Or was: now it's mostly gone.)
It has put her in a slightly less foul mood than usual, though. Baiken isn't drunk by a long shot, but on Earth she drinks most nights. Not having had any for a month was wearing on her.
A man, of a height with Baiken, makes his way into the arena carefully. He looks around, as if looking for something or someone. He moves with a brisk step; he's on a job to be certain. It'd help if he had known what Baiken actually looked like. The thing that anyone watching might notice is that he's... somewhat transparent. Not completely, but one could make out objects on the far side of him if they squinted. There's nothing unusual about his clothes, but he /does/ carry a sheathed wakazashi at his hip.
He spots the swordswoman and heads over toward her.
There aren't very many one-eyed, one-armed fighters around the place, which at least makes even a vague description of Baiken good enough to identify her. Throw in the pink hair, the sword, and the constant scowl, and you've pretty much got everything you need.
Baiken does not bother to turn around until Zach is within about thirty feet of her, as she's just finished what's left of the sake. She sets the empty container down as she turns around, eye narrowing with suspicion. Yes, she sees the man.
More importantly, she sees that she can see through him. Which is immediate suspicion, and - if this had happened on Earth - would have resulted in her attempting to investigate the man to see if he needed to be killed, sealed, or some combination thereof. On Shang Tsung's island...
...well, she still wants to find out, but she's more likely to believe it's someone trapped by evil magic rather than someone meddling with it.
"What," she says, her voice slightly rough. There is nobody else around, and the man is clearly moving toward her, so it's her he wants; why beat around the bush and pretend she doesn't know that?
It doesn't help the shade when all he has to go on is a name given to him. Baiken literally did not exist in the world he came from. He stops well short of what /seems/ to be her range to step and strike at him, and he shows open palms.
"I'm looking for the warrior called Baiken," Glen says carefully. "Kenshi Takahashi told me should could help me with a problem I have." He poses no visible threat, his bdy language shows no intention of fighting. But he /does/ seem a bit nervous about something.
Baiken's reach with that sword she has, if she's willing to lunge, is good but not spectacular. This puts Zach at a convenient conversation distance, and one Baiken seems comfortable enough with. (Of course, there's the /other/ arm... but that one's not visible right now.)
"You found her," Baiken says. "Good for you. Now tell me who is asking - and why a dead man is looking for me. I deal with problems - but you're more like a problem I deal with than anything else." She's put ghosts down before; she's perfectly willing to do it again if it becomes necessary.
But then Zach invokes a name.
It takes Baiken only a half second to place it, and only because she wasn't in much of a condition to remember very much about the last half of that night; she was battered, about to pass out. Ordinarily Baiken's instinct would be to tell Zach what he wanted, and if she didn't like it, she'd tell him to buzz off.
But she owes Kenshi. He is, quite literally, why she is not dead: because of his intervention, skirting the rules of Kombat, for reasons she still doesn't know.
"Shit," she groans, more to herself than Zach, putting a bit of a sigh in it.
Glen watches Baiken wrestle with things for a moment. He allows her the time to work through the thought process. There is a man, who looks like me only taller, who was a champion in this tournament. He ran afoul of something that was stalking the forest, and he was left in bad shape. The..." Glen pulls a face, trying to figure out which term he should use. "Person who attacked him, Daniel Little, wants use the man to track and attack another of Earthrealm's champions. The man I am trying to help, his name is Zach. Kenshi healed him, and then ordered some bedrest. I need help finding a place to hide Zach, and help getting him there." His posture screams impatience, not out of any need for deception so much as concern for the person he is trying to help.
Baiken looks at Glen for several long seconds. She doesn't blink. She seems to be judging him, inasmuch as she shows any expression at all; she's good at keeping it neutral.
And then she snorts. "Bad shape," she says. "As opposed to you, of course." Baiken bends down, picking up the bottle of sake she'd been drinking from. There's nothing left in it but drops, but she tosses it towards Glen so he can catch it - if he /can/ catch it. She wouldn't be surprised if it went through him.
"Who is it? I thought Little was some kind of government officer." She, apparently, listens to all of Shang Tsung's proclamations - including the early fights. "Why would he attack Earthrealm's champions? To switch sides? Or because they're not up for it?" Baiken did that. She took out Julia to try to keep her safe. It may or may not have worked.
Glen stands fast. He moves his hands as if to catch the bottle; his charge was stretching his talents why couldn't he? The bottle seems to slow, but still ends up hitting the ground, slowly enough that it doesn't break. Cool. Something to work on, maybe?
"His name is Zach Glenn," the shade answers. "It's a long story, but the short of it is that Zach's not a champion anymore. He's outside of the edicts that run this tournament." He scowls bitterly as he shifts the subject to Daniel Little. "Little probably won't be an agent if he survives the tournament. As I understand it, the governments of your world do not officially believe in monsters, Darkstalkers, or other things that go bump in the night. He was experimented on by Darkstalker called Fio Tessitore, nominally to save his life. He's become something very like one such Darkstalker Zach referred to as 'The Butcher,' and his apparent hunger for souls controls him instead of the other way around."
Baiken didn't even know you could get out of it. How? By telling both sides to screw off? By breaking the gem? (Baiken's is a disc so dark it looks almost black on her sword's hilt. It's not easy to see because it's on the side closer to her body.) Or just by losing?
"You'd be surprised what they'd believe," Baiken says, scowling, "or what some people would do just because they could, for power. I know of the Butcher. We've fought. I tried to seal him. Kill him. Nearly managed it, but he had more power backing him." She rests her hand on her blade's hilt again, tilting the scabbard up slightly as she rests weight on it.
Baiken scratches her thumbnail against her kashira. "I don't know you. You still haven't given me /your/ name. But I'll fight the Butcher, or something like it. Something like that should not exist. Tell Kenshi this: we're even. He saved me, and I'll keep your 'friend' safe. If Little shows up, or whatever monster he's been turned into, I assure you he won't enjoy the experience."
She smiles. It really isn't a terribly pleasant smile.
"You get out of the tournament by losing," Glen supplies in the face of Baiken's apparent ignorance. "But since you can't leave the island until the tournament's done, you become fair game for anyone looking for a fight or a little more power." He nods once.
"As for my name, it is /also/ Zach Glen," the shade supplies as he turns to lead Baiken towards where his charge is hiding. "He spells his last name with two 'n's, mine only has the one," he says to stave off the obvious question. "But I'll answer questions if you have them."
Baiken hasn't lost for long enough for it to be relevant. "So much for the 'generosity' of our host," Baiken says, then spits. She grinds the spit into the dirt as she walks past it.
Baiken keeps up. For someone who looks crippled - one eye, one arm, and who knows what injuries under her robe - she moves easily and actually tends to walk quickly, threatening to outpace Glen unless he moves at a good clip. And she absolutely knows how to fight. She's alert, keeping her eye out for ambush. Maybe picking her wasn't a bad idea.
"Looks like you and has your name," Baiken says. "Are you his fetch? Doppelganger? Or something else? I don't like walking into a situation where I don't know what to expect."
"Like me. He has about half a foot on me," Glen says with a grin as he leads on. He isn't surprised by Baiken's apparent ability to move; she's still in the tournament after all. Her apparent disabilities clearly are not holding her back, and he knows a bit about fighting a limb down. "Definitely something else. Know anything about multiverse theory?"
"I know about other worlds. As should anyone here, given we're fighting the champions of Outworld." That may be the first time Baiken has directly stated she's with Earthrealm, though it is really not a surprise.
But that's all she knows. Baiken is experienced at monster-hunting, but typically she does not go outside Earth to do it - or Majigen, when that was intruding on the world. She does not follow obscure science in the same way she studies magical beasts or even more direct manipulations of science, like what Ultratech was up to.
That she says nothing else on the matter may answer Zach's question.
"Well," he says with a nod, "The idea is kind of like that. That there is more than just the universe you live in. That there is more than one Earth, specifically. I come from one of such Earth." He leads on in silence. "It ended." He is quiet for another moment as he leads Baiken down one hallway, then another. "Now I'm like this, helping Earthrealm's champions where and how I can. Among other things."
It's not a concept Baiken is completely unfamiliar with when it's put that way. It's been a thought experiment amongst some people longer than she has been alive: how can you know whether there is another world, almost like the one you live in? Or, depending on your point of view, that history is not a cycle, and once there was a time almost like this one?
Baiken doesn't really care about philosophy and never thinks about it, though.
She gives Zack a rather distinct Look once he's finished his explanation. Does he expect her to believe that? Baiken tends toward the suspicious side and that hasn't changed. There may indeed be another realm out there, some echo of Earth, but she finds it difficult to believe that its inhabitants would choose to act.
But Baiken has also decided that it matters less than it could. He's a ghost; fine. She can work with that. Whether he is what he claims and is a ghost of a dead world - or not - matters less than the rest of it. She's being asked to battle something like the Butcher, and she'd do that regardless of precisely what land Glen came from. "Fine," she says, by way of conversation. "And Kenshi sent you to me."
"You don't have to believe me," Glen says with an almost resigned shrug before leading Baiken into a storage room. There are a lot of tapestries, but the room stinks of blood, among other things. "But yes, Kenshi sent me to you," the shade says as he gestures towards a man curled up on the floor. He would, were he in good shape, look like a taller version of the shade, save for the white hair. "We need to find a place where he can rest for about a week, according to him."
Zach looks up at Baiken weakly. He needs a bath, and a change of clothes. The rags he wears are in tatters, and have blood and vomit on them. "Miss Baiken," the shade says, "Meet Zach Glenn."
"Please forgive me," Zach rasps before coughing, "If I don't get up right away." The psion does, however, at least make the effort to sit up.
A week, Baiken thinks. That's not too bad, except for one thing.
"I'm still in the tournament," Baiken points out. "And I'm not going to give it up." She needs to stay in it so she can meet some of her goals. "If nothing else, I'm no good to you if I'm dead. So you'll have to find someone else, when I'm called. I can think of a place that might do."
She looks down at Zach. Quite a bit down, as she does not immediately make any move to help him up, perhaps thinking it would be better if he didn't try. She stares at him in a rather uncomfortable way for about five seconds.
"I'm charmed," she says, somewhat dryly. "And this is /after/ you were healed?"
"Yeah," Zach croaks as he leans against the wall to help him stand up. He clearly plans on walking out of this room. "Improperly channelled energy. Almost tore myself apart in the aftermath. Kenshi said something about malignant souls." He wobbles slightly.
"Neither of us expect you to, or /want/ you to, sidestep the tournament," Glen volunteers. "Earthrealm's victory is why we are all here. He just needs a safe place for that time, since he's not supposed to use his talents in anyway while he is resting."
Baiken respects his guts, if nothing else. Even if it looks like she might be about to see them sometime soon. She gives Zach a slight nod, and does in fact offer her single hand in assistance. It's better than the wall.
"He'd know," she says, somewhat cryptically. Where to go...
"It's not a good place for the entire time," Baiken says, "but there's the shore. It's close. There are cliffs to cover an approach. There is an arena, but it's to one side, and if we go the other way - it's rarely occupied when I've been there. But you /will/ be spotted, eventually. It's just a question if anyone cares enough to bother you with me there, or if you've recovered since then."
From Baiken, that's a long speech - most of the night has been. But this is an unusual situation, and when it's tactics, sometimes she breaks her reticence.
Zach takes the offered hand with a weak nod. "Let's go then," he says softly. Then his stomach gurgles a bit. "...good sign I guess," he mutters. He smiles weakly at Baiken. "Thank you."
Log created on 17:55:56 11/13/2016 by Zach Glenn, and last modified on 09:19:23 11/14/2016.