Description: Himeko discovers a masked hero enacting vigilante justice on a mugger, and-- makes a deal as a reporter?
Southtown Village might be a much calmer place than Southtown City itself, but just the proximity alone is perhaps enough to draw... a certain type of people there, too. Even more so in recent times, with the rise of gang activity.
In no place does this show better than in an alleyway behind two small office buildings, where a young woman is getting tugged along by her purse by a very, very much unsavory man. And threatened with a knife by the very same man, to keep her from even screaming out for help.
Fortunately for the woman, someone already caught wind of her troubles even without her yelling out. And up above, from the edge of a rooftop, a blur of red streaks through--
And leads down to two boots slamming down from above onto the top of the thug, hard enough to send him bowling over and seperating from the woman. Unfortunately for the would-be-saviour, the... landing isn't particularly graceful for him either, and there's a distinctive *THUMP* and a groan of pain as a young man flops onto the ground a pace or so away from the thug.
It's... a bit of an odd sight, perhaps. The interloper is dressed up in black cargo pants and a tight black leather jacket with a crimson scarf coiled around his neck, along with a cloth half-face-mask of same color pulled over his lower face up to the midway of the bridge of his nose, leaving a mess of mildly-spiky, shockingly red hair on display.
"Ugh-- go!" the masked hero urges of the woman while he rolls over on the floor to one knee and further up. ANd the woman, understandably, is quick to run the hell away back to the streets proper.
Leaving the vigilante alone with the knife-wielding thug -- fortunately dizzied more so than the interloper after that hit, but still slowly pushing himself steadily upwards.
Meanwhile not too far from the alleyway, perhaps only half a block away from the bookstore specifically, is Himeko Kashiwagi carrying a new haul that she's rather eager to take home. Adorn in the uniform of Taiyo High School she has several books stuffed inside her bag and about seven or eight stacked up in her arm with an expression of absolute delight upon her bespectacled self. She nearly bumps into the woman that flees from alleyway, the sudden stop makes her wobble upon one foot and twirl around a little, but once she regains her balance she makes a clumsy bow toward the panicked woman, "Ah, excuse me..." she politely murmurs, then continues along her way with a gentle hum.
The moment she passes the alleyway, though, is when she comes to a sudden stop as she *thinks* she saw something else... Or maybe heard something else? No, she smelled something; she's certain of it! And so she takes several steps backward then leeeans back just enough to peek down the alleyway. Some sort of commotion, perhaps? Unable to sate her curiosity she decides to snoop on the situation and drops into a crouch as she shuffles into the alleyway, toward the dumpster to check things out. What could be going on, she wonders!
By the time she makes her way to getting eyes on the alley behind the dumpster, the thug has gotten back onto his feet.
Whatever words might have been exchanged in between, they clearly have not disassuaded the goon, either, for he's swiping at the masked vigilante with his knife! Getting awfully close for that, too -- enough that the be-scarfed and be-masked hero to have to shield himself with his own arm. And end up with the blade cutting through the leather sleeve and visibly drawing blood. THe instant he does, though? The vigilante's other hand thrusts out immediately, and--
A flash of blue-green light, and a blast of same-colored energy concentrated at his palm explodes to send the knife-wielding goon flying across the alleyway and slamming against the brick wall seperating the back alley from a foliage-covered lot. Promptly slumping down to the floor right after. Unconscious? Unconscious.
"Hhh..." THe 'hero' slumps a bit after that, too-- one hand going to press against his cut arm, and shoulders heaving for a moment with momentarily-quickened breathing.
Well Himeko wasn't certain what she was expecting but it certainly wasn't this! It takes only a moment for the pieces to come together- the woman fleeing, the scarfed man facing the thug and... Actually she recognizes that scarf as belonging to none other than the Blazing Panther's! While the lighting isn't exactly the best for it, she whips out her camera to snap a few pictures. The position she's in certainly isn't ideal, but maybe someone from the photography club would be able to salvage the mess she manages to pull together. The fight that takes place is, of course, much less dynamic than the Rising Stars match but what she witnesses isn't anything to sneeze at- She had no idea this man actually fights crime until now!
And once the scuffle is over, she takes in a deep, calming breath. This is the part where it gets tough; if it were Ran Hibiki she'd charge right on in and barrage the young hero with all the hard hitting questions, but can she do it?
There's only one way to find out.
Suddenly from behind Blazing Panther comes a soft voice. Not exactly meek, but it's a tone of someone who clearly doesn't yell very much. "E- Excuse me.." .. "Excuse me! I'm Himeko Kashiwagi from the Taiyo Paper?" She stands in the center of the alleyway, though the way she's slightly slouched over, she doesn't *appear* particularly capable of blocking his escape. "You're the Blazing Panther, aren't you?"
Blazing Panther doesn't notice Himeko until it's well too late to run away, for sure. It takes him a moment to return his focus from the pain of getting cut... and for that matter, the pain of focusing his own power like that.
And it's only when Himeko speaks up that he really realizes she's nearby, and turns to facing her.
The question takes him... a bit off-guard. He was not really expecting people to hold enough reputation to be recognized on the streets like this, so the young man just stares at her in silence for a few seconds with subtly widened eyes.
The realization that she is from Taiyo doesn't help. Oh *shit*. He might be exuding some subtle, subconscious psychic influence that helps keep people from recognizing him, but he still gets the sense he needs to be careful here.
"Y-...yes," he offers as he straightens up, trying to put on an imposing figure for himself, though he can't quite hide the fact that there is still a vaguely youthful hint to his voice. "Uh... How can I help you?"
'Yes', he eventually replies which then immediately cause the teens expression to light up. She didn't actually expect to get this far, so at this point she's just going to have to wing it- She has to ask herself 'What would Ran do?' and, thankfully, that causes several ideas to pop up. "I.. Would like to ask you a few questions.. Just a few! I want to write a fan piece, about your work. But I- or rather, the world, doesn't know much about you I think, other than the display of your talent at the Rising Stars tournament.."
Yes, a perfect start!
Now more emboldened, but still appearing somewhat sheepish, she raises a hand to her chin, "For example, what are your powers? Your fighting style? What is your mission? And..."
"Is there any truth to the rumor that you wear a mask because you were scarred by a Darkstalker?"
Blazing Panther actually finds himself backing up by a quarter-step or so, with the shuffle of one foot. His empathic senses are still things he isn't used to, and just the eagerness Himeko has for... interviewing him, alone, is almost enough to overwhelm him when the psychic sense conveys it to his body.
"My... work?" Well, that's kind of surprising. Not to mention the use of the word 'talent'. Getting this kind of talent was unexpected in the first place, but to say he has 'talent'...?
"...I'm afraid I can't answer the first two there." He *tries* to sound mysterious. As if there's some great secret there, rather than... well, just the fact that he actually doesn't *have* any kind of answer to give beyond 'I don't know' and 'I don't have one'.
Crossing his arms then, he tips his head slightly over to one side while watching the Intrepid Reporter. "I don't know if I would say I have a 'mission' either. I just... want to help people who can't help themselves. That's all there is. And..."
The mask hides it, but he does smile with some faint measure of amusement over the last question. Scarred from a Darkstalker attack? That would make for a pretty good story, but... "No," he answers, honestly. "No truth at all. I just wear the mask because..." Beat. Consider. "I'm not doing it for fame. Like this I can keep my normal life seperated."
Obviously oblivious to any sort of psychic stress she's putting on him, her gaze does appear to be just a slight bit more intense. Doesn't know about his powers *or* his fighting style? Is that even *possible*? "Well, I can certainly understand your motivation; but you could have at least made up an answer. Otherwise it doesn't sound particularly... Responsible. I mean, the whole 'vigilante' part aside." Himeko offers while absently waving her camera in her opposite hand. "For example, if you had a better grasp of your technique, which it sounds like you might not, it's far less likely you would have gotten cut by that knife, for example."
And, really, Blazing Panther could sound like Wolverine and it wouldn't have much effect on the student that struggles to be 'normal'. "Ah, a secret identity, I see. But that aside I understand. If I may.."
Himeko reaches into her pocket then withdraws what appears to be a business card as she steps forward. It's pink in color with a picture of a widely grinning Dan Hibiki. 'Come to the Saikyo Ryuu Dojo! Learn the Strongest Style! (Monthly Rates Negotiable)' it reads. "I'm guessing you have a lair of sorts, but I bet if you used Saikyo Ryuu as the foundation of your style, it would be an amazing start. I would keep it a secret, of course. I used to do a bit of superheroing myself, actually.." her eyes suddenly light up even brighter, and if that eagerness before was jarring, it pretty much triples. "Have you heard of Hurricane Hime? Her mission statement back in the day was to spread the values of reading. I play her you know, and I teach at the dojo as well... You couldn't ask for a better opportunity I think!"
"Mhh..." Blazing Panther casts a quick look down at his cut arm, and scarlet brows knit together briefly. "It'll heal." And the unusually bright green eyes sweep right back up again, to level his gaze back on Himeko.
"I didn't exactly start doing this for the sake of getting talked about either way, really, so..."
The curious frown returns when the business card comes up, and he steps in close enough to take it out of her hand... and promptly flinch from the intensified surge of eagerness sent over from her. Ugh. Really need to get a handle on those senses, this is getting unbearable.
"...I haven't, actually, sorry..." He admits while eyeing over the information on the card with an obviously-bemused look. "... But what do you mean, 'play'? And for that matter..." When his eyes lift up from the card to her, one brow arches upwards slowly. "You'd just have someone dressed like this in the dojo?"
'It'll heal' he says. Well, Himeko doesn't really have much reason not to believe him, and it isn't like she's medically trained anyway! That aside she gives a nod, "Of course you didn't; but I believe that the people should know that there's someone out there that's keeping the streets as safe as they can."
In fact, Malin may very well be interested in teaming up with him too! The ideas are already spinning in her mind! Once he confesses to having never heard of her, she replies with an embarrassed giggle, "That's all right; she's not as popular as she used to be anyway. And exactly what I mean- Hurricane Hime started as a mascot for children's education. I'm hoping that I can use her now to bring in new eyes to the dojo of my master-"
She notices the flinch, which she gives a show of silent concern, then her expression brightens once more, "Hmmn? Why wouldn't I? We've had plenty of unique students you know like..." she fiddles with her camera, then turns it around to show a picture of herself in a pink gi v-signing next to a green skinned beastman with wild, red hair. "Like Blanket! He graduated waaay back though- Still, pretty neat, don't you think?"
"...You say that, but I'm not exactly big on the whole marketing thing," he mumbles from behind the cloth mask with an akward kind of scratch made at the back of his neck.
The uncertainty flows through all the more with that statement. It might be considered a bit unbecoming of someone who's trying to go for the whole 'masked hero' shtick.
He clearly doesn't seem to judge Himeko for her alternate identity being primarily a mascot, either! Not that he would have any room for such a thing. And for that matter, when she turns the camera over to show the display screen, he does actually lean in to peer at the picture on show curiously.
"...'Blanket'? Is that... actually his name?" He asks, staring at the image for a few more seconds before lifting his head up enough to peek over the camera at the girl, with both scarlet brows cocked upwards. "It is pretty cool, though."
"Look, um..." His voice turns sheepish again when he straightens up from the lean, but at least he still has the decency to maintain eye contact with her now. Even if, for all he knows, that might hold the risk of an even deeper psychic read. "I appreciate the enthusiasm and... wanting to help too, I guess. But I can't really promise anything about me and your dojo. ...I'll at least think about it, though?"
"Obviously not; that's the job of the press, after all," Himeko replies as she stands just a little more straight, clearly proud of her task. Running around finding stories of people with combat prowess is something that she's almost as passionate about as books! Well, sort of almost anyway.
"Oh, ah ha ha no no, that's his nickname. His real name is.. Well, he's usually called Blanka. But I call him Blanket because he's a big softie. Isn't he though??"
She's practically sparkling at this; she never imagined that she'd be able to get this far with the hero! As for eye contact, she does less of it as he makes a stronger effort of the opposite. "Oh certainly don't worry as I won't try to push you into a decision now but, if you do accept, then in exchange I get exclusive coverage of your stories!" Though how either of them could possibly hold up that deal is anyone's guess.
And for that matter, does Himeko even look like a martial artist? Maybe his curiosity will get the better of him to take her up on her unusual offer. "All right so.. I think this is all the footage I'll need for now." she bows deeply, "It was a pleasure to meet you, Blazing Panther."
"The press being you in this instance, right?" She might not be able to see it thanks to the mask, but Blazing Panther *does* let a faint smile of amusement play over his lips underneath the cloth covering.
...Only to furrow his brows again over her 'demand' on the potential exchange. "How... Could I possibly guarantee that? Again, it's not like I have a PR department or anything..." Iron Man he is not. "Actually, what are you going to write about me now, for that matter? I'm kind of a private person, so I'm going to be a bit cross if you write something really weird, you know?"
Either way, Blazing Panther's curiousity is clearly piqued... if only because of this very much unexpected reaction he got out of Himeko in the first place. It's... almost like he has his first fan? He doesn't say anything else for a moment. Just watching her, considering her while she offers that bow to him.
And before she even has the chance to straighten up from the bow, he makes the decision to do something he would never, ever dare to do under normal circumstances (like say, if they were at school and he was just Daisuke rather than 'the hero' Blazing Panther).
"Your number," he says first in a calm tone, letting a deliberate pause linger there to give Himeko time to lift herself up from the bow and look back to him. "May I have it?"
Granted, he's hardly asking for her phone number for anywhere near the same reasons as a teenage boy normally would want a girl's number for, but still. Maybe the mask does help with his confidence a bit afterall?
...Also nevermind that he would absolutely have to dip into his inheritance funds to get a prepaid phone in the event she does agree to that.
Himeko's smile is pretty much a 'Yes!' to the answer of her being 'the press', and as for his confusion, that's brushed off with a simple, "Hehe don't worry- You're a hero so I'm sure you'll figure something out. And I wouldn't do anything like that, I promise. It's going to be a piece that tells the story of you delivering blazing justice upon wrongdoers." she makes a fist as she nods to herself. And 'almost' a fan? Oh she most certainly is now!
There isn't the slightest bit of hesitance in offering her number, she takes out another business card then takes a moment to scribble the number on the back, then hands it right back. "See? I knew you'd be able to figure out a way. Good on you." Besides, someone wanting to ask her on a date or something isn't something she's familiar with. "Well then, I.. Suppose that is that then. It'll be a pleasure working with you, thank you very much!"
Another bow is given to the hero then turns around and walks right off with a delighted hum. What a wonderful day this turned out to be!
Well, that was easier than expected either way.
Blazing Panther does manage to not let his surprise show, and instead calmly takes the offered card, turning it over to eye over the number scribbled on it, and then slips it into an outer pocket of his jacket.
"Suppose so," he offers in easy enough agreement, and finally, he does mirror her bow for himself. "Until next time. I'll send you details you can contact me by later."
And once she's turning to stroll right out of the alleyway again... he's left peering after her sheepishly for a moment. And then up towards the roof.
...Guess it's climbing time again.
Log created on 00:29:59 05/26/2021 by Daisuke, and last modified on 03:54:27 05/28/2021.