Meifeng - Tracking Down Gao Tengfei

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Description: Underground fighting arenas aren't great places to go looking for friends. But they can occasionally be good places to find the enemies you've been spending weeks searching for, as well as long-lost father figures.

Quiet places make for good places to keep secrets.

While the hustle of Southtown may be a prime place for many to hide out from scrutinizing eyes, it should be known that the quieter and more out of the way locales hold their own shadows. Where an overwhelming tide of vice and an impossible number of people all looking for their own angle can mystify and obfuscate, here among the villages things are hidden by virtue of not being expected. Here a runner moves weapons in the guise of a local shop. Or the older Yakuza moves his playing pieces from a peaceful back porch just removed enough from his enemies to find a good night's sleep. The criminal element is no less present for the placid attitude, it just adopts a more civil and neighborly guise.

One such element goes by the name "Mother Hanbo". A vice peddler and restaurateur, she keeps the veneer of respectability about herself as she goes by her businesses. Most are from the same location at different times, others are brokered through younger retainers. Among her various interests is in gambling. In the interest of vertical integration, she's taken on the role of fight proprietor as well. And while she rarely oversees the matters, she provides venue and she counts the coin at the end of the day.

She is also one of the more pragmatic individuals in her neighborhood and she has seen the potential for spectacle that 'others' might have for audiences. Contacts within mysteries corners have made clear she can provide a "welcoming" environment for Darkstalkers, Gears, or Malcontents of various stripes if they're able to make use of themselves.

On nights where the moon is bright, a crowd gathers to see just what strange people desperate for thrills of cash show up to throw down. Many of the people here wear masks to protect identity, but many don't bother as their curious identities are not prone to being hidden by simple disguise. While it hardly stops most people from identifying any of the regulars, the kind of privacy theater has become a mainstay of the business of this place. Part masquerade, part late night dinner theater, part blood sport, Mother Hanbo's Moonlight Revues always draw a crowd.

It's at one of these nights that a young blonde woman finds herself attending. Wearing little more than a cropped tank top, fatigue pants and a pair of combat boots, the muscular foreigner stands out even among the eclectic crowds on nights like this. But she is here on matters of business. She is hunting for a person, and when it comes to the kinds of people she's hunting, than a place like Mother Hanbo's is one of the best to track through.

Yao Meifeng is used to her investigations being a -little- less hostile. Back in Shanghai, she knew the lay of the land, and what's more, she had the respect and familiarity of the local populace. Here, in a land ravaged not so long ago by a scourge of rampaging Darkstalkers, she has neither.

She's learned to adapt. And while some have urged her to embrace her feral side -- at times, that can make investigation a bit more difficult. So when she'd heard about a place where disguises were okay, she got to work.

Contrary to her usual look, Meifeng shows up for this 'Moonlight Revue' wearing a shiny lion mask, decorated with gold foil and trimmed out with a fancy mane of fibrous hair. It looks terrible and gaudy, but it does the job in a pinch. She wears a wide-brimmed fedora, and a short, stylish grey trenchcoat, over top of a pair of sensible slacks and boots. Her tail is wrapped about her waist, safely concealed beneath the trenchcoat. She -might- pass for a male lion, considering her height, and the fact that the disguise hides her figure by design.

Though, 'disguises are okay here' was about where her research stopped. The hat is covering her ears, making it harder to hear. The mask is difficult for her to see through, even when the smoked plastic lenses aren't fogged up. It's also a bit hot, which is keeping the lenses fogged, and it's also causing her to sniff and snort every so often.

Meifeng finds herself wandering through the crowd, craning her neck to try and get a better view of who might be on display in the ring.

And it's right about then that the sensory-deprived tigress just happens to bump shoulders with Shina. And a feminine voice chirps out from behind the masculine mask, "Oh, excuse me..."

In the ring are two figures slamming into one another. A bent-backed man with a protruding eye is being challenged by an old looking sumo who appears normal until a mouth opens and grins above the line of his mawashi. They slam against each other, rolling for position to the sudden cry of the crowd.

The bump puts the distracted Shina on the defensive. She takes a step aside, grunting more out of annoyance than anything else. And she looks up at the figure in the lion's mask. Shina is one of many people who have foregone masks. For her, it's because she has nothing to hide here. She isn't one of the ones afraid, and her status isn't anything that's going to be hurt by being seen. She also happens to like being able to hear and see and smell to her fullest.

She looks askance at the mask for a moment, eyes narrowing as if that would help her see through the disguise. She knows a lion. What she's looking for is a lion. But this is definitely not that lion. She can't hold back the chuffing laugh at the sight of the total outfit. Something about it looks funny when it's all together.

"Excuse you," she says. "Mister," she adds with more pointed amusement. But her mirth falls, the face on the tall lady hiding herself as a man is just the kind of thing she's looking for. It brings fears to the fore of her mind. And the young woman hates that.

The tigress hears the laugh -- barely. Though it's not until the followup comment that she realizes she hadn't disguised her voice. She tries to cough gruffly to make up for her indiscretion, adding, "Sorry," in a deeper voice -- but it's clearly too little, too late.

She takes a few awkward shuffle-steps away from Shina, trying not to bump into anyone else of shorter stature. Though, one thing becomes clear -- and it's that her mask is anything -but- clear.

"Ugh," she grunts, taking caution to deepen her voice this time. Meifeng did not bring gloves, either through neglect, or not wanting to deal with their uncomfortable warmth in the late-springtime weather. This becomes obvious when her hands come out of her pockets, one to lift the chin of the mask up, and another to brush the moisture away from the eyepieces of it. Damn costume rentals.

And once she gets clearer vision, she sees a number of people whose heads do not rise above the height of 5'1". One of which only reaches so because of a similarly out-of-place fedora. And the man wearing that fedora is currently shoving wads of money towards a bookie, near a window off to the side. His hands, like Meifeng's, are not hidden by gloves -- a dark charcoal grey, heavily veined. He's portly in proportion. His face is turned so that no one near Shina or Meifeng can see it.

Meifeng stares at the figure for a moment, before leaning back towards Shina. "Who is the sumo with the hungry belly?" 'he' asks. The tone may be deeper, but the north Chinese accent is pretty unmistakable.

The blonde woman half watches the struggles of the disguised one. It's a distraction, but the whole damn place is a distraction. Worse, she hasn't gotten a lead from this place and the only chance she might have it impressing the pit boss. Mother Hanbo knew information could be more valuable than cash to hand, it would seem. And Shina was short on both.

Which is why, when that hand comes a little more clearly, Shina takes notice. Disguises and masquerades were one thing, plenty of woman disguised as men around some of the more conservative of the criminal set. But the hand, that particular hand, it was either a terrible second disguise, or the real deal. And that was curious. That meant other reasons for hiding. That meant possible money.

"Fat boy?" Shina asks, she shrugs. "Gama something-or-other. I think." Her accent is European, but flattened, she's been around enough that it's been battered up from its original French lilt. But the huskier tones and register of French is more identifiable in her pronunciation. "Other guy calls himself the bellringer, or taker, or something. Don't know why he didn't just say hunchback."

She isn't here to see the short man with poor choice in headwear. He isn't her target. She's busy watching the bent man try to get into grappling position when the sumo's belly keeps baring nasty looking fangs and a nastier looking void behind them.

The disguised Meifeng tucks her hands back into her pockets. She gives a brief nod at the information. "Thanks." Though there's something to be said for Shina not communicating the names of the fighters involved. Either she's not planning to bet -- or doesn't have enough money to care. Both are interesting possibilities, as they have little draw for someone such as her placing herself into harm's way.

Meifeng passes another look towards the portly one. Still arguing with the guy at the window. Still waving his money around. She lets out a breath -- a bit more cautious to not fog her vision this time.

"You are looking for someone, yes?" She grunts slowly, shifting her focus to the fighters as they tussle with one another. "Or is it that you hope trouble finds you?" A low chuckle escapes 'his' throat.

Even while watching the fight, Lt Yao continues to keep the portly one within -one- of the eyes of her mask's allowance, which makes for an awkward tilt of the head.

Shina, Jeanne Gado by passport, isn't someone with the money to care for the fights at hand. Even if she did, she isn't the gambling type. Not for lack of drive to risk-take, more that she doesn't care for the fact she can't bet on herself. She'd rather be in the fight than watching it anyways. For a child of combat, she isn't quite the best student. As are most prodigies at their talent.

She finally looks over, catching the arguing brewing up. She knows that the pit boss here is a wily old witch and a stern schoolmarm at the best of times. So the idea of a little fat man causing trouble interests her, if just for the fun of what might happen.

Her moment distraction is taken by that question. "What?" she asks, far too incredulous sounding to be anything other than a heavily implied yes. But to which question is left up in the air. Shina decides to answer the second, in a poor attempt to smoke screen her shock at this woman's perceptiveness. "Why? You bringing trouble?"

But the look, now that Shina can see what the mask-woman keeps tilting toward, tells her things. She crosses her arms and looks still ahead. "Following that little guy?"

The disguised lieutenant grins beneath her mask. She offers a light chuckle with 'his reply: "Not if I can avoid it."

Though, when Shina points out that Meifeng's definitely trying to keep an eye on one person in particularly, her head cocks suddenly to the side in alarm. For as perceptive as she may be about Shina, the disguised tigress seems to have forgotten that she's giving off signals of her own.

Meifeng stiffens, clearing her throat. Still in that deep voice, she answers, "He knows my face." An open palm raises to indicate the crowd. "I cannot... meet him here. Or it makes life difficult for you, and everyone."

Meifeng doesn't let her eyes leave that one figure, though. She shifts her feet uncomfortably.

"Outside," she comments, "it might be a fair fight."

Shina scratches at her chin, watching the figure without much concern for standing out. She holds no real connection to the situation, and she isn't one that fears a lot of things. Her arms cross and she looks back at the disguised woman. "He looks Darkstalker," she comments in a way that leaves the fact of the matter in the air for the disguised one.

Internally, she knows she's more disguised than anyone around here.

She's cross-armed stance shifts to a thumb gesturing to the crowd gathered at the fight. "None of these people are what you can call 'good'," she says, "Difficult go be a little fun for them."

She scratches idly at the back of her neck, under her spikey brush. "So what're you saying? You're going to ambush him outside? Could be waiting a while."

Meifeng is, at least, getting better at standing still like a statue, nominally paying attention to both the brawlers on stage and the argument taking place with the bookie. Is he a darkstalker? Meifeng's tacit response is: "Yes." She could have chosen to make a big deal about it, but she's found it to hardly matter. She thinks Shina is a human, after all -- and humans of that age rarely change their minds when confronted with new information.

She has a similarly tacit response for the suggestion that the place could use a little shake-up; she makes a non-commital grunt, taking the matter under consideration.

But when her plan -- one that should have probably remained a secret -- is brought up, Meifeng simply shakes her head.

"I am patient."

She'd remain quiet a bit longer, before the feline curiosity begins to rear its head again. Her voice keeps to the low registers, though there is a glimmer of concern in her tone.

"I am concerned for you, though." A pause, as the tall tigress shifts her weight once more. If things get... difficult here, your search may not go well. Do you have no leads?"

In the ring, the pseudo-sumo hurls the hunchback to the ground with a thunderous boom that's echoed by the sudden rousing of the crowd. It's enough to jostle and shake everyone stuck in the thick of things as people wait eagerly to see if there will be any sort of comeback.

Shina grits her teeth as another of the mask wearers in attendance bumps her from behind. And she makes a fist in a threatening gesture that lands flat when it's done at the back of someone's head. She runs her hand over her hair as she turns around, getting back to the conversation and pointing out, "That's not a 'no' on the ambush."

She returns to crossing her arms, low and casual, relaxed more than defensive. She doesn't feel a threat here. "A lot of concern for a stranger," she says, skepticism coming into her tone. "And I've got suspicions, but I can't think of them as true until I see for myself. I just know that there's a lot of work for people like me in Southtown. Least since someone loosed some kind of Darkstalker army everywhere."

The tall, totally-not-a-tigress figure claps his hands when the sumo makes a potentially match-winning move. Perhaps not as much as the people around her, but she does like to try and fit in with the crowd, on the off-chance that her mark happens to turn her way.

Which: he doesn't. He's at least done arguing, and the money's traded hands. Still more paperwork for him to handle, it would seem.

It's true that Meifeng did not say 'no' on the ambush. The lion mask makes it difficult to see the smile that came with her response, though.

"And you hope to find this person by following your occupational specialty of wrestling Darkstalkers for profit." Hands slip back into pockets, as the masked figure nods slowly. "I am sorry, prying is not intended. I am glad for... company here."

"I wouldn't call what I do wrestling," flat tones and a flat look at the implications she was some kind of performer. "I like a good fight, and I can handle myself. And when people can pay of a Darkstalker's protection, well, people will pay to protect back."

She smirks now, confident in herself and her capability. Though, the not-lion is being complimentary. "Apology accepted. But, uh, that's a little sad don't you think?" She looks around at the crowd cheering on a fight that grows all the more heating and the sumo's gut delivers a cacophonic roar.

Shina waits for the sound to die down before she continues. "You're here on some kind of an ambush mission and you're telling me you're feeling lonely?" She shakes her head, but the gives a shrug. "Not an insult. Glad to be company. But you got to tell me why you're after that little fat guy."

When Shina takes umbrage at the word 'wrestling,', and then goes on to describe her profession in more precise detail, Meifeng still finds herself grasping for the right words. A lightly furred hand reaches to the chin of the mask, raising it for a brief gulp of less-stale air. "Ah, I see." Beat. "My apologies. What would you call it?"

The tigress' mark seems to be wrapping up with business, putting something back into the satchel at his side. The roar of the crowd prevents the two conversational partners from conversing -- but it's a good opportunity for Meifeng to watch more intently. And for a brief moment, as the miscreant's bag is open, a dim blue glow can be seen from within the bag.

Meifeng shifts her weight, taking two half-steps closer to her target. Her hand slips from the mask, clenching into a fist before she tucks it back into a pocket. And as Shina resumes picking apart Meifeng's reasons, the tigress snorts -- barely audible beneath her mask. "It is not sad. I think you are -good- company."

Though, right as her comment sails out, her mark puts the cellphone to his ear. His face turns towards the crowd, showing a distinct lack of mask. A notable scar is etched across his right eyebrow, continuing downward across a batlike nose to his left cheek. His ears are mostly obscured by the hat -- though the signs of batlike origin are there as well, for the moment before his free hand blocks the other ear.

So does she have to tell Shina why she's after him? "And... I do not. This is my job." She pauses a moment, turning partly toward Shina, while keeping one eye on her target. "Please excuse me."

The masked Meifang makes her way through the crowd as quickly as possible. She drops low despite her height -- the slight hunch fitting right in with the earlier fighter, but also keeping her head from poking above the height of the crowd.

And, as she prowls, her tail works its way loose from around her waist. The tail darts back and forth behind her -- a rather telling mismatch from her lionine persona.

And then, somehow... she is barely even -visible- in the crowd now. The only sign of her at all is the occasional flick of orange, black, and white fur peeking out at shoulder level, before flickering back into the depths of the excited crowd.

The bat-faced mark continues yammering away into his cellphone, oblivious.

"Soldier of fortune, hired gun, mercenary," Shina rattles off the words easily and shamelessly. "I fight for whoever needs someone to fight for them. And with Darkstalkers on the rise, there are a lot of people who want people around who can fight for them."

Her confident posture shifts as her hand puts on her hip and she can sway casually to look toward the disguise wearer's target. "Your job?" she asks. "Watching that guy? Some kind of private detective, then?"

Curiosity is on her face now, her assumptions are convenient for her and they start to make things work out in favor even if she's not fully aware of the lay of the land. And that's when she notices the little tip of a tail down below that stylish short jacket. And it is certainly not leonine. But it does make Shina laugh; she can't tell if it's genius or idiocy.

But this does mean Darkstalkers are involved, and possibly better leads than Mother Hanbo. So Shina starts back a step to watch where Meifeng walks. She hums to herself, thinking, and she decides to preempt with what she's heard and scene. This woman seemed concerned, and she wanted outside combat, and there's only so much outside. So Shina slips to set up her own ambush and to see for herself just what's going on.

Shina's words are better than the 'private security' Meifeng would have went with. Though, it might be good that the leonine mask is still firmly attached as Shina once again tosses out the "D" word. Meifeng rarely expresses her disfavor with the word itself, but it's there all the same.

"More than watching." That's all she had to say.

The crowd is still heady in the afterglow of the last thrilling bout. Jumping, throwing their hands in the air, just generally -excited- about the fight.

Waving grass makes good cover for the tiger to pounce.

In the blink of an eye, Meifeng crosses the meter-wide gap from the crowd to her target. Her right palm slams down onto the wall above his head. Her shoulders tower over the pudgy man-bat. Her tail sticks up tall, the very tip being all that moves from side to side. And her left hand hovers close the hilt of a sheathed military saber -- colored black, and -very- hard to see in the dim lighting of the criminal playground.

The man-bat stares back at her, looking up to the masked officer, at a momentary loss for words. "Yeah, Chaz, I'mma have to call you back. Some masked freak is tryin' to--"

Meifeng cuts him off with a knifehand to the throat. She's fairly positive hardly -anyone's- noticed.

"A word with you. Outside."

- - -

A few moments later, the man-bat can be seen emerging from a side gate, the lion-masked officer keeping one furred orange hand on his shoulder. The pudgy gangster is rubbing his throat, showing that -- at least for the moment -- he's not bound. Meifeng spots Shina, and gives her a brief nod as she leads the gangster to the side.

The gangster spots Shina as well, but he makes a dismissive wave in her direction. "Go on, bitch, scram, we got bidness here!" He allows himself be led to a side path -- but he keeps one hand on the top of his satchel.

Once in shadow, the gangster snaps, "A'ight, what the fuck is this about?" He starts to raise the flap of his satchel--

COMBATSYS: Gao Tengfei has started a fight here on the right meter side.

                                  >  //////////////////////////////]
                                  |-------\-------\0      Gao Tengfei

COMBATSYS: Meifeng has joined the fight here on the left meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Meifeng          0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0      Gao Tengfei

Meifeng slaps his hand away from the satchel's opening, shoves him back with her elbow. "You are a hard man to find, Gao Tengfei, but I have you now."

Gao looks down at the orange hand. He snorts -- noticing the proportions do -not- match those of the terrifying leonine face. "Oh, you and what fuckin' army?"

He doesn't wait for an answer. He just takes advantage of her trust -- slamming a suckerpunch right into her gut for the trouble.


COMBATSYS: Gao Tengfei successfully hits Meifeng with Hammerblow.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Meifeng          0/-------/----===|-------\-------\0      Gao Tengfei

Meifeng doubles over in pain -- her hat and mask starting to fall off in the process, unfurling her tiger-striped hair to the open air! The tigress snarls, but the gangster takes the opportunity to scram...

Or else he -would-, but Meifeng leans forward, aiming to trip him up with a kick to the shins!

Just as she had said, Shina notes, watching from a casual position by the village restaurant's door. She's be smoking to complete the look if she smoked. So rather than that she just puts her hands into the pockets of the capri hemmed military fatigues she wears. Watching, waiting, and then grinning and offer a weak and nonchalant peace sign when Meifeng leads the gangster outside.

Sure enough, this looks like Darkstalker business. Turf war is a possibility, or Mother Hanbo has a new hitter. But this tiger woman cared too much for avoiding disturbances. She didn't act like a hitter. She had too much honor to her. It made things interesting.

Moreso when she sees the suckerpunch. It opened the woman up and stripped her of her disguise. Shina steps off her wall lean. She takes a step forward. She's got something on her mind. Maybe this woman could be useful. But first it looks like she needs a little help.

COMBATSYS: Shina has joined the fight here on the left meter side.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Meifeng          0/-------/----===|-------\-------\0      Gao Tengfei
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Meifeng successfully hits Gao Tengfei with Medium Kick.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Meifeng          0/-------/----===|==-----\-------\0      Gao Tengfei
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            0/-------/-------|

Gao Tengfei's legs fly out from under him, courtesy of the tigress' long reaching sweep kick. The bat falls over backwards, landing hard on his keister. But he doesn't stay there long, pushing back to his feet. And as he does so, his wings unfurl from their stowed position underneath the folds of his custom jacket.

And as he raises his fists in a pugilist stance, he narrows his eyes back at Meifeng. "I remember you now. You're that broad who was tryin' to ice me back in Shanghai. Lil' bit out of your element here, ain'tcha?"

He backs away from Meifeng, keeping his fists raised -- but then he beats his wings, his feet lifting off the ground. His wings strain from the load, but he manages to get some two feet in the air. "But you had three of you with us then, didn'tcha? Or was one of those the schmuck I took down for this baby?" He pats his satchel with a sneer. "Ooh, hey, too soon?"

He could flee. But then the bat gets a gleam in his eye. "Smile for me, pretty girl!"

His hat flies off as he suddenly dives forward, swinging his fist in a wild punch for her face!

COMBATSYS: Meifeng blocks Gao Tengfei's Fierce Impact.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Meifeng          0/-------/--=====|==-----\-------\0      Gao Tengfei
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            0/-------/-------|

Meifeng grits her teeth as she slips back to her feet. She takes a brief step backwards, taking the moment to pull the small trenchcoat free from her shoulders. Beneath is a light grey dress shirt, buttoned up -- and also thoroughly -soaked- from having kept the costume on indoors for so long. She tosses the jacket to the side, raising her right forearm and keeping her left hand by her hip.

"You killed him," Meifeng clarifies, her features pulled back in a rictus of barely-suppressed anger. "And he was my -friend-," she corrects, craning her neck to keep her gaze locked upon him.

But then she realizes that he's flying -- and he -could- fly away. She snaps her right hand to the hilt of her saber, and then, in one fluid motion, draws her hand outward as if unsheathing it. She does not -- but in doing so, she draws a blue crescent of energy out from her sword's sheath.

With a squeeze of her fist, she pulls back and stomps her feet. The crescent shatters -- and from the fragments of shattered starlight, three azure orbs swirl into existence.

But before she can follow up on this summon, Gao divebombs! The tigress responds by throwing her left shoulder and forearm into the attack -- and in the process, the three orbs swing in, amplifying her guard with a triangle pattern! When Gao's fist strikes, it's not just her shoulder it hits -- but the three orbs, which shimmer with an amaranthine glow before returning to a shade of indigo.

Meifeng skids backwards, her shoes carving ruts in the ground. "I am not a child," she insists.

And then she rockets back, leading with her right shoulder and forearm. Should she connect, she'd follow by snapping a high kick into his abdomen, launching him upward! Her orbs would then sweep in, hoping to constrain his motions with a whirling vortex of wind!

Definitely old wounds. This was personal. This was honorable. Shina felt she had the right read of the situation. Moreover, she wasn't about to sit around when this guy was being so terribly obnoxious. She starts to move when he's coming down atop the tiger lady. Building up to a full tilt run.

The bat guy has wings. That's not terribly fair. Though with that follow up, the catlady looks ready to be. . .doing something. Shina doesn't have time to process the technicality of Meifeng's impressive magical creation and articulate attack, she has kicking to do! And with a solid run up, Shina hops, hits the top of a safety rail, and uses that as a springboard to take flight.

She pounces, hurtling into the air toward the bat. Off of one springboard, her next aim is to use Gao as a springboard for herself. To perch atop his shoulders and kick him down to earth and back toward Meifeng. A maneuver intended to place her on his opposite side and put the gangster in a squeeze play.

COMBATSYS: Gao Tengfei blocks Meifeng's Form Three - Rising Gale.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Meifeng          0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0      Gao Tengfei
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Shina successfully hits Gao Tengfei with Scramble Snatch.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Meifeng          0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0      Gao Tengfei
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            0/-------/------=|

Gao sneers at Meifeng's snapbacks. They aren't very snappy. He's not really impressed by those, nor is he particularly moved by the blue orbs which come snaking out. "Eh, it's fancy, but I liked the other guy's shit better. Explosions, now that's the stuff!"

And when Meifeng comes hurtling at him, he rolls his eyes, flexing his wings and thrusting his own shoulder back at her. He's knocked back in mid-air, bringing him free of the three orbs and their swirling vortex. "C'mon, girlie. Make it hurt a bit!"

But he wasn't counting on Shina. Sure, he -heard- the sound of her boots on the safety rail, but he didn't count it as a threat. Not until he finds an added weight on his shoulders. Or the stomp kick which follows.

"Yeowch!" he shouts, jarred back down to the earth against his straining wings' efforts. He makes a small crater in the earth as he lands.

Slamming his hands on the ground, he pries himself free. And then he coils his legs, aiming to leap up -- and with a mighty beat of his wings, he surges towards Shina, hoping to grab hold of her. "Ey, back off! You ain't got nothin' to do with this!" Even better if she decides to kick, as he'd be trying to lift her up by the leg and then slam her into the ground on her back!

COMBATSYS: Shina parries Gao Tengfei's Sonic Smash!

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Meifeng          0/-------/-======|=====--\-------\0      Gao Tengfei
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            0/-------/-----==|

Meifeng grimaces as her attack fails to gain any real advantage, but she seems pleased to see that her impromptu friend Shina has decided to join the fray. "Oh! Thank you! I--" She falters for a moment, wondering just how to follow that up.

The words aren't coming to her. But something else does -- as she takes a step backwards. Her arms windmill around until they trail behind her, one long leg stretching outward. The three orbs sweep back to shadow her windmilling motion, swirling around each other. Meifeng thrusts her palms forward, as the orbs blaze with a brilliant white light, the trio streaking out to slam into Gao Tengfei's abdomen!

"I appreciate the help!"
She mentions nothing about payment.

Cleared like a pommel horse. Shina's grinning to herself, feeling the wind in her face, the kick off perfect and the placement even moreso. Her boots hit the pavement and she runs out the momentum before twisting around, sure that something was about to come her way. No way did she didn't get his attention after that stunt.

And she's right. The bat comes for her. She grins and waits for him to come on in and come for her. And when he does, she's quick to get into a grapple with the fat flying rodent.

"Come on!" she grunts as she locks on, and proves that despite her earlier protestation that she quite obviously is in some form a wrestler. She's deft with maneuvering, twisting around the batman and getting to a preferred position for herself to drop down and make an anchor point as her arms go for his waist. She aims to grapple him and bring him crashing back down to the pavement with a German suplex.

But she isn't aiming to stop there, on top of that, she's got a rollthrough, pushing her momentum so that she can leap to take ahold of his head for a second wrestling staple; lifting him high for a dropping crash of his head against the solid ground.

COMBATSYS: Shina blitzes into action and acts again!

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Meifeng          0/-------/-======|=====--\-------\0      Gao Tengfei
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Meifeng successfully hits Gao Tengfei with Form Six - Blistering Torrent.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Meifeng          0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0      Gao Tengfei
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Shina successfully hits Gao Tengfei with Toughness Driver EX.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Meifeng          0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1      Gao Tengfei
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            0/-------/----===|

COMBATSYS: Gao Tengfei interrupts Brainbuster from Shina with Unshackled Dive.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Meifeng          0/-------/=======|-------\-------\0      Gao Tengfei
[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            0/-------/=======|

Gao Tengfei grimaces as Shina deftly avoids his tackle, but he doesn't just -stop- his flight -- instead he aims to try and land a kick on her in the process. But that's when Shina locks her arms about his waist, something he's not quite quick enough to avoid.

"This ain't an invite to the grand ball, honey!" he snaps, writhing about in her grip in an attempt to escape But as he does so, Meifeng has already hurled her three orbs up at him -- and though he twists his wings to defend, he's a bit too slow for that!

The orbs blast into his side, jarring his satchel -- and knocking a rather thick tome from the bag! The volume of magic formulae flaps free, its leaves glowing a bright azure as they turn in the wind -- and Gao makes a mad grab for the tome! "Oh nuh-uh!" he howls, gripping the cover tightly to him.

An instant later, Shina suplexes him into the ground. He struggles to keep his grip on the loose volume, howling with pain -- though when she rolls about for a grip on his head, he still has a good grip on the book!

"Oh, what the hell?!" Shina jerks him up into the air, but now that Gao has firm hold of the book, his entire form blazes with azure flames. A powerful beat of his wings is enough to flip himself upwards, wrenching himself free of Shina's grip and planting his bare feet on top of Shina's shoulders. So while the pair -is- going down, it's under -his- control and not hers.

And what's more -- he isn't just plowing Shina downward into the ground -- but into a void zone of negative energy, its event horizon rimmed with pulsing purple light! The pocket singularity doesn't last long, before detonating in a miniature explosion -- just long enough to leave an intense numbing sensation in the Shina as she crashes down!

"Try this on for size!"

edit -- plz to change 'exploding in a miniature explosion' to 'detonating in..'

Meifeng didn't really -know- if Shina was a wrestler per se. She'd just hazarded a guess from a quick study of her physique. Though it would seem that guess is borne out as she bears witness to Shina's blistering assault.

"Aha! I knew it," she comments with a pump of her fist. Though her enthusiasm is short-lived, as she sees the relic fly out of Tengfei's satchel, drawing a gasp from the tigress's open mouth!

"Ah! We have to get that away from him!" she shouts, rushing forward to close the gap. She seems incredulous as Tengfei uses that power for a reversal strike -- but determined to belt him all the same, as she launches into a rushing elbow strike. Upon striking him she would revolve into a snap knee, then thrust forward into a palm strike, before whirling around into an overhead spin kick! While she's dropping into a low stance, her orbs recover from their earlier blast, falling back into line with her movement and then moving to intercept Gao with an overhead strike!

Smash! Crashing into the ground as the bat goes supernova. She had that planned out. Or she hoped. Turns out she did underestimate this gangster, he was a lot harder a hit than she had though. Maybe it was that book thing, but it wasn't in her nature nor in the moment for her to pick apart the details of the moment.

And now, as a result of that lack of focus she bounces hard against the ground. A snapping upwards as she slams down. The air pushing out of her lungs when Gao lands heavily atop of her. Coughing, hacking, and winded from the blow, she wasn't expecting things to hurt quite that hard. And with the stars flashing in her eyes and the ringing in her head, she pulls herself up and shakes herself off.

Through that ringing, Shina looks out trying to see what Meifeng is shot calling. "Yeah, that's what you're hunting for?" it's a good note to make. But for now, she's feeling the hurt and she's feeling the rush of the fight. And with that feeling comes a crackling purple lightning rolls up her body up and into her hand.

With a cry of fury, she surges forward and cocks her hand back. With a crack of thunder like a gunshot, she flashes toward Gao with a stinging, crashing blow aimed to bash the bat.

COMBATSYS: Meifeng successfully hits Gao Tengfei with Form Two - Thundering Downpour.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Meifeng          1/------=/=======|===----\-------\0      Gao Tengfei
[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            0/-------/=======|

COMBATSYS: Gao Tengfei dodges Shina's Assault Blow.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Meifeng          1/------=/=======|===----\-------\0      Gao Tengfei
[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            1/-------/=======|

Gao flaps his wings, guffawing madly. "The darkstalker preens for her human masters -- it's so -adorable!-" He holds the book high, blue energy rippling through the veins of his arms!

He turns to Shina, gesturing to Meifeng with a sneer. "Instead of harnessing her -strengths- like any -real- animal!"

He notes Shina's hand cocking back, and rolls his eyes. "Ugh, seriously?" As Shina rockets towards him, he rolls onto his left side, letting his wings steer him clear of the shotgun strike. "Nice try, but--"

And that is when the beast he mocked moments later nails him with her elbow, perfectly set up by Shina's strikes. His wings falter as the tigress gives him what for, slamming him with one attack after another and battering him backwards.

But while he steps back to the ground, he leaps back -- hopping back into the air. "Oh, sorry, did I hurt yer -feelings?-" Gripping the book in his hands, he passes Shina a quick wink, before launching himself feet-first at Meifeng's shoulders. Should he grab hold, he'll haul her into the air -- and bash the tome into her head repeatedly!

COMBATSYS: Meifeng blocks Gao Tengfei's Swooping Grab.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Meifeng          1/-----==/=======|====---\-------\0      Gao Tengfei
[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            1/-------/=======|

Meifeng exults as her attacks land true, though she doesn't press her advantage, passing a brief look over to Shina. "Yes! My mission is to capture him and return the book..." Oh, sure, -now- she can talk about her "secret" mission. But she's not worried about that now that the three are outside of the den of criminal activity.

When Gao launches back at her, Meifeng thrusts her forearms up into the grasping feet. Gao's able to grab hold, but a tiger's ferocity is not to be discounted -- she shoves back at him, whipping her arms out to either side and breaking free of the grip -- and ripping her sleeves in the process!

"You can hurt me no more, Gao!" she cries out! And with a quick flick of her wrist, the three orbs begin to spin around behind Tengfei, whirling into a cyclone of kinetic force. Meifeng coils herself up, then thrusts her hip in a fierce upwards rush at Gao, before whirling into a rising hurricane of palm strikes -- hoping to trap the man-bat in between the two counter-rotating whirlwinds!

And even after that -- the orbs detonate, triggering an explosion of their own in hopes of knocking the book from Gao Tengfei's grasp!

Whiffed. The thunderous punch never lands. Shina slides past the empty air where Gao was and slams hard into the small residential walls all around the narrow village roads. Small plaster flakes drop away from the wall when Shina pulls her hand from the wall. Red blood and white dust mingle on her fist in the aftermath of the missed blow.

She looks over her shoulder, chest rising and falling with each heavy breath. "I'm just getting started, you're looking pretty beat up there, bat boy," she jabs, rolling her shoulder and opening her hand to clear out the throbbing pain.

'Get book', words pretty clear to Shina. It gives her a plan of attack. Her approach is equally direct and especially so compared to the dramatic arcane combat employed by Meifeng.

Shina rushes forward, picking up speed as she rounds toward Gao. Rather than come head on, she comes in at an angle. She leaps. Her target: Gao's arm.

If she gets ahold of her target, she will follow through with wrenching the arm while her ankles snap about Gao's neck to wrench and lock Gao's arm and head to open him up for Meifeng to reclaim her magic book.

COMBATSYS: Gao Tengfei endures Meifeng's Form Five - Howling Whirlwind EX.
> Determined Hit! <

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Meifeng          1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\0      Gao Tengfei
[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            1/-------/=======|

COMBATSYS: Gao Tengfei endures Shina's Trap Leg Through.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////                          ]
Meifeng          1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1      Gao Tengfei
[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            1/------=/=======|

Gao Tengfei roars as his grab is rebuffed. His voice is nice and deep -- quite a bit moreso than Meifeng's contralto. But there is also a shrill component to his roar, the kind that makes the ears start to hurt after a moment.

He's not ignorant of Shina's approach -- mostly because his seemingly enraged roar also boosted his echolocation capabilities quite a bit. Though he's kind of busy holding the book forward, gripping the spine with his left hand and clenching the cover shut with his right. The book is starting to glow, with a violent, rapidly surging pulse to it.

"You both underestimate my power...!" he howls -- but Shina's deathlock about his neck keeps him from boasting too much more than that. Shina pries at his right arm, but he manages to keep hold on the book...

Meifeng is another force to be reckoned with, however. The whirlwind of blows hammering against his arm is enough that, combined with Shina's forceful pull on his arm, is enough to break his grip on the book. And the orb whirlwind slamming against his wings prevents a ready escape route.

Gao Tengfei roars again, as his right hand is ripped from the book! Meifeng's last strike knocks the book from his left hand, as well! But it might be a bit late -- for a string of five black holes erupts in the space behind Shina and Meifeng!

"GNH-HH-HH-HHH!" howls a Gao -- his face and arms now covered in rapidly-darkening bruises -- as he's wrested to the ground! And as Shina refuses to let go, he grabs hold -- and thrashes violently to the right!

"YYNH!! NNHRGNT!!" He howls louder -- hoping to use Shina's weight as a downside, slamming her into the ground -- not just once, but twice! And if she still won't let go, he'll ram her right into the nearest of the five void zones, their event horizons crackling with spectral energy. She's too small to fit into one of them -- but her presence will cause a violent explosion of energy if she touches it!

Gao, on the other hand -- is a bit too weary to continue fighting! So he won't be taking flight afterward -- nor will he be doing anything much more than sagging to the ground.

COMBATSYS: Gao Tengfei can no longer fight.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Meifeng          1/-----==/=======|
[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            1/------=/=======|

Held fast, Shina rides the whirlwind and brings herself down with the bat. She turns, throwing her weight to throw Gao off balance and release herself to kick off and roll out to the side. She's off of Gao when her back skips against the ground. A thump, but not something that's going to put her off her base. She was planning to hit the ground with him in the first place.

And if she get the leverage of her neck swinging twist to work, she'll leave Gao to expend his effort of throwing her to a black hole and instead let him throw himself at it while she combat rolls her way to a safe footing.

However, she isn't thinking too much on the book, mostly on keeping herself one step ahead, one step safe, and dominant over her opponent. Staying as she is in a low slung crouch, heels raised like a runner at the gate just in case Gao has anymore tricks up his sleeve.

"Can you do anything about those!" she yells over the sound of the arcane calamity going on. For this, she is terribly out of her element. She can fight these things, but not handle the aftereffects of their power.

COMBATSYS: Gao Tengfei successfully hits Shina with Unleashed Rage.
?!? Weird Hit! ?!?

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Meifeng          1/-----==/=======|
[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            1/-======/=======|

Held fast, Shina rides the whirlwind. The two wrestle in the air. Twisting and turning to jockey for position. She releases early. She throws her weight off of the bat's planned attack. He bounces the young woman off the ground, a sharp hit that ripples through her body, but he cannot keep a solid hold of her and she rolls clear of the devastating looking black holes.

Pain and shock running her body, Shina isn't thinking too much on the book. Instead, she focuses on keeping herself one step ahead, one step safe. Staying as she is in a low slung crouch, heels raised like a runner at the gate just in case Gao has anymore tricks up his sleeve. She shivers, the shock of the hit sapping her of some of that strength and speed she had demonstrated

But she's not out of it yet. She knows she didn't get the worst of it. But as she looks up, she realizes there are bigger problems.

"Can you do anything about those!" she yells over the sound of the arcane calamity going on. For this, she is terribly out of her element. She can fight these things, but not handle the aftereffects of their power.

Meifeng feels the thump of the arcane volume's cover against her fist, and in her next half-rotation, she takes care to grab the book, pulling it close to herself -- even as the whirlwind she spawned pulls Shina and Gao away from her! "I have it!" she calls out to Shina, sticking one finger into the last viewed page, and pulling the volume close to her chest. Her striped tail flits about, a stabilizer for the aerial combatant to work her way back to the ground.

Though the damage -- as it is -- has already been wrought. Five dimensional rifts, each a meter-wide maw, sucking gravel, dirt, and loose refuse past their respective event horizons. Each an ecological nightmare waiting to happen, as craters begin to grow in size beneath each of the void zones.

"I'll... I'll -try-...!" calls out the NOL officer, as she opens up the book again to her marked page. Her eyes cross at the written words, as she holds the book up...

But the book itself seems to -glow- in response.

Meifeng takes a gulp of breath, something a little easier to accomplish as she grips the book and tugs it away from her orb-spawned cyclone. The orbs obey the yoke of their creator, the whirlwind halting.

"...There is an easy way and a hard way. And the hard way takes too long!"

She closes the book shut, tucking it under her left arm. She raises her right hand into a fist, and her orbs blend together into a singular lance of azure energy. She then thrusts her palm forward -- and the lance neatly -impales- the void zone furthest from Shina, causing it to detonate with a rather loud *THOOM!*, with an accompanying air burst of accumulated dust and detritus!

"... Er. I hope this does the trick?" she says, pulling her lance-like helpers away from the now-dissolved void zone. "Are you okay?" she shouts, maneuvering her lance so that she can start to target the remaining voids.

Gao, for his efforts... hit the ground hard in the exchange. He watches in horror as the first void zone collapses -- and then starts to crawl backwards, away from the zone nearest him. But with Meifeng's attention on the lance and her next target, it's quite likely he'll use the loud sound to get back to his feet...

COMBATSYS: Meifeng has left the fight here.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Shina            1/-======/=======|

Hunkered, gripping the ground, Shina bares her teeth against the oncoming reality storm that's raging about her. She squints, looking left and right as the ground pulls up, tears to fall away into the rifts. The limited light given by lantern and street light bending and pulling into voids to places far beyond.

All this from a damn book?

Shina snaps her attention to the Darkstalker when the air explodes and sends shrapnel flying. In front of her, she sees a piece of rock change trajectory and whip back into a wholly separate void. She shakes her head, getting back into the moment. "I'll be fine! Just do whatever the hell you're doing!" she shouts over to the other woman.

And then she sees what she can do. The bat's got the eyes of someone looking to bolt in confusion. Jokes on him, thinks Shina. She knows she can't do a thing with the magic, but she can do something about him. From her runner's posture, she blasts forward, surging toward the bat. With the first steps, her body ripples. In the flash of a moment she shifts from human to beast. Where a human ran, a humanoid leopard pounces Gao.

New, heavily clawed hands threaten alongside a set of fangs that Shina uses to snap threateningly for Gao's throat. She has no compunction against using her jaws to tear the man's throat if he tries to scramble anymore.

COMBATSYS: Shina has ended the fight here.

The powers of an Ars Magus can be quite devastating, in the wrong hands. And Gao Tengfei's panicked reaction has stirred up quite a disaster.

Meifeng raises her hand again, pivoting to the next void zone in turn. She throws her hand forward, her lance spearing neatly into the next zone with a concussive burst of air, releasing all of the matter that hadn't -quite- made it to the void zone's boundaries in a billowing cloud. *THOOM!*

The NOL lieutenant pins the book to her chest with her elbow, reaching up to cover her mouth for a light cough. As she maneuvers her lance around for the next strike -- she sees Shina get up.

And then she sees Shina do something -very- different, and -very- unexpected.

Meifeng blinks in shocked awe, as her crime-fighting partner pounces upon Gao Tengfei. She sees things which she -definitely- didn't expect from their earlier conversation. She realizes the mission would have gone a -lot- more smoothly with a disguise like... Shina's.

Gao, for his part, is absolutely petrified. "Oh -shit!-" he cries, his eyes suddenly wide open. With his body covered in bruises, and now running low on adrenaline, the gangster freezes in place, unwilling to do anything to threaten the fearsome leopard lady.

A moment later, the flying rodent's eyes roll back in his head, the chances of his escape dropping to literally nil.

*THOOM!* Meifeng draws her lance back from a third dustcloud, liberated matter raining down onto the newborn crater in similar fashion. "... Wow, you have excellent reflexes, for a..." she comments, momentarily unsure on her next word. She considers, then adds, "For a mercenary."

The fourth and fifth void zones are disposed of in quick fashion, and Meifeng pulls the lance back to her side. She spreads her fingers, and the lance returns to the shape of three spinning orbs.

"... So, yes. I am not a private detective," states Meifeng with a slight smile. Her eyes go to Shina first -- though, after a moment, she glances down to the target of her pursuit, Gao Tengfei.

"This would have gone poorly without you. Thank you for your help!"

Shina's eyes are dark, almost feral, jaws held over GAo's throat. She straddles him, claws digging into his shoulders. But as the moment of fury fades, and more of those voids begin to fall away, Shina releases her teeth from their bloody task and sits up more straight.

Impassive, her leopard's face looks at Meifeng to watch the void sounds be shattered with pointed threats from Meifeng's lance. She licks her teeth, and her bestial form melts back down into her human one. She runs her fingers through her hair to fluff up her back spikes before spitting on the ground beside Gao's head. "You taste like cheap cologne."

She doesn't get up too quickly, knowing she has at least part of the quarry beneath her lap. Instead she looks at the other disguised woman and gauges the reaction. "So what exactly are you?" she asks, but she has thoughts. The weaponry used, the whole event, it smacked of some things she had seen on the news about this Library. But she wants to test the honesty of this tiger lady.

"And you're welcome. He annoyed me," she says, finally standing up and stretching out the soreness lingering in her bones. "But I'm not free."

The last sprinkles of dust fall onto the fifth and final crater. A tigress stands up tall, three orbs twirling behind her, a fluffy tail flitting from side to side behind her. With her sleeves shredded into tatters, she might not be suitable for a boardroom meeting, but the rest of her attire is mostly presentable, aside from the thin sheen of aerosolized dust clinging on for the ride.

"Well, I am not a lion," she states. "But close." She doesn't think that the 'tiger' part of her nature was what needed clarification, however, considering the feats she'd just managed to pull off. She stands up properly, tucking the book against her hip. She clicks her heels together and draws a flattened right hand before her.

"First Lieutenant Yao Meifeng, representing the Shanghai branch of the Novus Orbis Librarium, at your service." She lowers her right hand to her hip as well, dipping into a bow at the waist. When in Japan...

She keeps silent for a moment. The tigress allows Shina to ask her questions while she walks over to inspect the prisoner. She reaches into a pants pocket, producing a pair of thick plastic ties.

"And Gao Tengfei here is a Class C bounty. Your assistance will turn a handy profit!"

Meifeng kneels down beside Shina and Gao, at the risk of getting even more dirt on the knees of her pant legs. She helps roll the fainted gangster off of Shina's lap, and onto his belly, taking heed of his long wings. The ziptie-like bindings won't do much for those, but they will keep his arms tucked behind his back.

"And you?" Meifeng smiles back at Shina with a look of wonder and appreciation. "No wonder you boast so strongly of fighting darkstalkers. It is an even playing field, mm?"

Shina tugs at her top, adjusting it post her shift back. She wears things to compensate for most of changes. Her boots, or what's left of them, take the brunt of things. But the other material is made to fit her regardless of shape. And she only gets so much more mass between forms. But some things are more stretched than others.

Moreover, the woman decides to be honest enough to confirm Shina's suspicions. She has no personal stake in their wars, and to her the money is good as anyone else's. She isn't the kind of person to bow, though. "Good to meet you, Yao," she says, not entirely thinking on name order differences. It helps for her sake that Shina is prone to using surnames in general. "Good to know this scum's going off. Carrying around a book like that."

She puts hand to hip and steps back to watch Meifeng binding the bat's wrists. She cracks a grin at the compliment. "More even than they think," she says. "Always fun when they realize it. So, don't go blowing that trick for me, I'd appreciate that."

She stops, and the thought really hits her. "Hey," she says, her tone dropping to something serious, "You might not be a private detective, but you have resources, right?"

Meifeng politely looks away from the slight adjustments Shina has to make after her return to human form. She's got a good excuse though -- she doesn't want to lose Gao on a technicality after having spent so long tracking him down. And if Gao moves, she's now close enough that she can take care of the threatening now that Shina's fangs aren't ready and willing to.

"Oh, yes. I have spent several weeks tracking him. Mostly out of fear that..." She doesn't finish her sentence immediately, jerking her head in the direction of the craters. "That he would use his powers improperly."

The book in question was placed down about five feet apart from Gao Tengfei. It is currently inert -- showing that while Meifeng may not have known how to use it, she at least knew how to deactivate it.

"Your secret is safe with me." She pauses. "Safest as I do not know your name. Though the Librarium would need it to cut a check." She smiles briefly, cinching those bindings tight around Gao's wrists.

When Shina mentions resources, she sits up straight, nodding. "Yes! I do. As a matter of fact..." She pats her pant legs down, pulling out a smallish cellphone. Not a smart phone, just a dumb feature phone. And her thumbs fly over the keys as she bangs out a quick text.

"You need help finding someone?" she asks with hopeful cheer.

Oh right, a name might be helpful in taking the cash money. 'The Fighting Marvel' might be a bit too audacious to take checks as, but as mercenaries aren't uncommonly without titles or working names, hers isn't too unknown. "You can use Shina," she decides, offering a hand in a deal making gesture. "Happy to keep this guy from wrecking up the place." And, as unspoken, happy to take the money that's due to her if this guy has a bounty on his head.

The tigress being so chipper about wanting to hunt gets a little laugh out of Shina. She nods, and she pats the large pockets of her fatigues. Finding a printed photograph of a scowling man with strong features, she holds it over to Meifeng. "I'm looking for this man. His name is Alan Gado. He's wanted by certain people."

She keeps the fact that 'certain people' means herself to herself. "He's under investigation," she adds, not wanting to admit or suggest any actual guilt on his part. She isn't sure of what her father is doing and she is deeply committed to thinking the best of him.

Meifeng is quick to grasp hold of Shina's hand, shaking liberally to close the deal. Not like it's -her- money that will be handed over. "Shina. You risked life and limb to do what was right, based upon little more than a conversation. It is very good to make your acquaintance."

She eagerly accepts the photograph, looking at it thoughtfully. The pale hair. The chops. The scar across his eye. "He definitely seems like someone who would stand out in a crowd." Meifeng's expression grows slightly more somber, as she studies the picture a little more. "Alan Gado," she repeats. "Gado. Hm. You say he is wanted by certain people. Is he a danger to others, in the same sense that Gao Tengfei is?" She gestures an open palm towards the gangster at their feet. "The Librarium pursues their bounties very tenaciously, after all."

It's worth noting that Meifeng has not pushed any more keys on her phone, since hearing that name.

Despite not being blood related to the mercenary kind, there is a distinct resemblance between Alan and Jeanne Gado. Both of them are hard eyed blondes with muscular builds. Shina pauses to look at the photograph with the kind of cold distance reserved for particular hurt and betrayal. But she has to think before she finally answers.

"No. Not like him." She gestures to the fallen Gao Teifeng. Her head shakes and she looks away when the photograph is back in the big cargo pocket of her pants. "He doesn't need to be attacked. It's suspicion only. He doesn't need a bounty for doing nothing."

Shina's posture shifts a bit, for a moment she hugs herself with an arm to stroke its opposite. "I just need to make sure of something. He hasn't committed a crime."

Meifeng studies Shina's reaction with an analytical eye. Her statements were, in a sense, subtle and not subtle at the same time, and it would appear that their darker implications was communicated properly.

The message is clear though -- the man is 'wanted' with a lowercase and not a capital 'W.' Meifeng snaps her cellphone shut, and stuffs it back into her slacks pocket. "I understand completely. This is a personal matter."

This suggests to the lieutenant that she should not use the vast majority of her resources, as that would no doubt place Alan Gado on some sort of NOL tracking list. Which is not desirable at all.

"I will keep an eye out for him. If I find him, should I let him know you are looking for him?"

The tigress' tail flicks lazily from side to side -- though, after a moment, one ear flicks in the direction of downtown. In the distance, the sound of a heavy transport vehicle can be heard moving towards the area.

"Oh. And do you want to collect your payment tonight, or would tomorrow be a better opportunity for you?"

That old phone gets shut and Shina's back to paying more close attention. For a moment, she had concern that this tigress would get the wrong idea about the situation. She may have had reason to think the worst of her absent father, but she didn't need to blow her chance at finding the truth herself. Leads were one thing, magic paramilitaries were another thing. "Yeah, it is," she confirms the nature of this particular beast.

"I have to find him and ask him a few things," she says openly. "But if you find him, don't let him know I'm looking. If he catches a sniff of me, I don't think I'd get another chance to find him."

She looks out in the direction of the incoming engine. "If you got a ride into the city, I'll take it and the cash if you got it. I don't want to stick around here when the people in there see we wrecked the street."

The dull roar of a diesel engine in the distance continues to grow louder.

Meifeng nods her head in understanding. Almost idly, she flicks her wrist at the three orbs, making a hand gesture as if to tuck them back into her sword. The orbs dutifully follow said suggestion, disappearing from sight. "I cannot promise anything, but I will watch for him. And if our paths cross I will exercise the proper discretion."

Meifeng favors the fainted man-bat with another look, before walking back around to the former battlefield. "Oh, of course," she states, surveying the battlefield. Yes -- that -would- be a mess to clean up. But she has a feeling her report will clear up the official concerns on the matter...

Though, as she crouches to pick up her mask and hat from where they'd fallen, she offers a faint laugh. "Well, yes. I suppose that -would- be a reason to flee the scene," she notes, tucking both under one arm. For all that she -should- be concerned about an angry mob, she's oddly copacetic for the moment. Maybe it helps that Shina can actually see the tiger's face instead of a stolid, expressionless mask.

Meifeng prods at her trenchcoat with a foot, tentatively -- and then kicks it into the air, draping it almost effortlessly over her arm.

An armored prisoner transport rolls around the corner, at the nearest edge of the alleyway. Moments after the wheeled transport shudders to a halt, four armored personnel file out of the vehicle, sidearms drawn and lowered. Not to start hostilities, but prepared to end them.

"I have a feeling we are now in the clear," comments the NOL lieutenant, as she makes a hand gesture indicating the fallen Gao. And as the troops move over to retrieve him for capture, Meifeng tosses her jacket over her shoulder, flashing a row of pearly-white teeth at Shina.

With an open hand gestured towards the personnel transport, she asks, "Shall we?"

Log created on 19:57:57 06/08/2021 by Meifeng, and last modified on 11:36:09 06/11/2021.