Description: With her mysterious qualifier round match disappearing, Kasumi of the Mugen Tenshin's advancing in the ranks brings her to DOATEC's Aerial Gardens in China, where a group of informants await. The Lin Kuei clan have too heard of the destruction of the hidden village in Japan and have been deploying their cybernetic ninja to the region, and have likely nearly killed Kasumi once or twice in the past week due to her perceived involvement. However, before she can finally clear everything up, she first has to deal with her tournament fight, Chun-Li, who has more than a few pieces of information and even more questions about DOATEC's dealings from her connections to Interpol.
There was a time when just trying to survive to see a new dawn was a normal facet of Kasumi's day to day life. Pursued not only by the elite Hajinmon sect of her own clan, but also skilled hunters of other clans of the hidden villages, the Mugen Tenshin exile was used to life on the run. The intensity of the chase had cooled somewhat following her victory over Raidou and Hayate's recovery from his coma, but the young exile still knew that she was not welcome among most of the shadow world she had been raised in either and that she should never take for granted that anyone she encountered from that world was not her enemy.
But there was a new reason for her to be hunted now as rumors wove through the underground information network that the Mugen Tenshin ninja clan was attacking and destroying the hidden villages of other clans throughout the continent of Asia. The idea was preposterous - she didn't need to risk a journey to the home that rejected her to confirm that this couldn't possibly be true. Under Hayate's leadership, the idea of launching hostile, destructive invasions of other clans throughout the region was impossible.
Yet the rumors were cause enough to put others on her trail, including two close brushes with cyberneticaly enhanced warriors of the Lin Kuei. The first time she had fought, drawing her blade to defend herself and strike back at her attackers with enough ferocity to force their retreat. When they came after her again, this time with more numbers, she had managed to give them the slip, utilizing the more subtle skills of the shinobi to vanish into the mountain and continue her ascent...
The rumors had to be linked to the recent movements within DOATEC, the corporation responsible for so much of her life's misfortunes, let alone the harm to the rest of her family. But she needed solid information. Through connections, she came to be assured that the monks of the Fangjingshan mountain temples could be of assistance. Was it a coincidence that she was also given a match scheduled near the peaks of these mountains? Or are there multiple people pulling strings to control her movements? Either way, she had embarked immediately on the dangerous trek up precarious paths to finally reach this peaceful sanctum of life and water...
Here she waited through the night in the shadowed alcove of one of the sloped platform roofs. From there, she watched the light of the lanterns below dance across gentle waters, the fireflies zip through reeds to add their own small flame to the dark, and listened to the soothing sound of the waterfalls all around.
Coming for an arranged match, she was dressed in the outfit frequently seen in her public fight appearances - one noteworthy for being very noticeable rather than something she'd wear when slipping through the shadows unseen. A rich blue wrap dress wrapps around her figure, tied snug at the waist by a wide white sash. Short puffy sleeves cover her upper arms and while her back is to the flat edge of the alcove in which she perches, it is also emblazoned boldly by the golden insignia of her own name for anyone to see. With matching azure wrist and shin guards, she isn't entirely without protective gear, and given her upbringing, chances are are she had other tools out of sight as well. The slender blade sheathed at her back with its crimson tasseled grip serves as warning to anyone that she has teeth to bare too if pressed. But in opposition to her armaments, she has her long copper hair tied back into a loose high pony tail, the blue ribbon knotted into a large bow with the ribbon ends draping down the back of her head. White stockings cover her legs up to mid-thigh and a narrow simple white choker encircles her neck.
Resting in a seated position, one knee raised so she can drape her forearm across it, she leans back and watches from her rooftop alcove with a good view of the water filled area below and an angle on the last turn of stone steps anyone would need to climb in order to reach here.
Her tournament matches up until this point had proved little challenge for the previous Dead or Alive champion and while she had been uncertain of her ability to surpass Ryu Hayabusa himself, she now had a match against a renown fighter of her own accord to consider ahead. Idly, she checks the fit of her forearm guards one more time as she tries to balance her focus between the anticipation of the match and the anxieties of whoever is out to destroy the Mugen Tenshin clan forever...
"I'm not gonna fight you, Kasumi."
Chun-Li decides it's best to just rip the band-aid off. Putting on a show with Ken to pass along information quietly was for /fun/ as much as anything trade-related; also, Ken being Ken, she figured he'd take much more naturally to performing for an audience than a surreptitious conversation in the shadows.
Kasumi is not Ken.
"You can have the round, if you want it; I don't care," she states from below the kunoichi. "I don't think you've got to think that hard to work out that this whole thing is bullshit..."
Leaning in the doorway of Kasumi's perch, Chun-Li's voice would be too low -- too secretive - for conversation if it weren't set at /just/ the right volume for a person in tune enough with their body and the world around them to pick up on subtle sounds in their environment.
Because Kasumi is not Ken.
"... right? Do you want to talk and figure out what we might DO about it, instead of wasting both of our time jumping at shadows to boost some flock of assholes' portfolios...?"
There isn't an immediate answer to Chun-Li's declaration. The Mugen Tenshin exile had anticipated a number of possible ways their match could go. The track record of the World Warrior she's up against is one of the strongest in the fighting circuits. She had prepared herself with thoughts about facing an opponent who was armed with a combat form of Tai Chi - what things to watch out for, possible opportunities to find openings to attack without getting eating a kick to the face for her trouble...
But nothing in her mental anticipation prepared her for this direction instead. Wary by nature, she regards the woman from her perch with an intense, focused stare that conceals only partially the confusion within. Is this some kind of trap? Is she trying to let down her guard and take advantage of the opportunity somehow? The shinobi in blue shifts then drops a moment later, feet touching lightly against the wooden floor of the observation balcony roughly six meters in front of Chun-Li.
She stays there for a moment, waiting to see if the other woman shifted her stance or showed any signs of aggression. After a few seconds, she finally takes her eyes off her supposed opponent to cast a quick glance along the walkway before her focus returns to Chun-Li. Only then does she seem to shift a little, some of the tension bleeding out of her. She still isn't entirely sure of the woman's angle, but she's at least confident she isn't trying to pull some kind of cheap shot.
She moves forward to close the distance between them to only a few meters then, standing up straight, arms falling more relaxed against her sides. "You want to hurt them?" she finally asks, only a touch of hesitation in her voice. It isn't often she encountered others who wanted to actually put themselves out there as opposition to all-powerful megacorps like DOATEC or Ultratech... It tends to put a very large target on your back when you do so. But... in this woman, does she have a potential ally?
Sometimes it feels too good to be true.
Last time she participated in a DOATEC sponsored event, it was to finally get close enough to that beast, Raidou. But this time, being openly in the tournament may or may not be beneficial in getting closer to those pulling the strings.
"It will be dangerous..."
The truth is:
If it were any other time, any other place besides a bullshit match in a bullshit tournament run by bullshit criminals and gangsters... Chun-Li would've loved nothing more than to test herself against Kasumi, recognizing full well the potential of the woman who's made splashes in DOATEC's previous ventures. But alas:
"Lucky for me, I /love/ putting my foot up rich, criminal bastards' asses," the officer promises with a wink and a sunny smile. She hasn't budged an /inch/: she's still leaning in a doorway; still has one sneakered foot propped halfway up the other side of the jamb while the other kicks idly, an inch or two from the ground. Still wearing a blue hoodie with gold kanji for 'STRONGEST' across the back, and black slacks that cannot /help/ but hug every last shapely, densely muscled contour of the deadliest legs in the whole world.
"What about you...? You like danger, right?"
The Interpol officer's answer at last brings a smile to Kasumi's lips, the expression working its way into her features slowly as any last remnants of tension bleed away. If she takes the woman at her word, she's more than the perfect ally for her own vendetta against the megacorps who ruin lives unimpeded.
She shifts, right arm crossing her stomach so that her hand can close against her hanging left forearm, head leaning to the side a little.
"It's clear I'm not telling you anything you don't already know about the risks involved. I hope my caution did not come across as skepticism of your abilities."
Her smile fades, replaced by a somberness of one who can never quite get the stakes of confronting organizations like Ultratech or DOATEC fully out of her mind.
"I am honored that you are willing to make your fight our fight." Her right hand moves, closing in a fist as she lifts it to rest near the base of her neck, "I don't know about you, but this is personal for me. There are people within this organization that have hurt my family," she states, voice taking on a bit of an edge as her fingers tighten further.
"And me personally. You can count on me in this."
She glances up then, eyes straying toward the higher peaks of the mountains. "My purpose in this area was twofold - our match, and to meet with informants. Ultratech is spreading rumors that my family is responsible for a number of vicious attacks on other allies. I have reason to believe there are those on this mountain that can help me unravel their deceit..."
She returns her focus to Chun-Li. "Perhaps in the monastery higher up. I will of course share anything I learn with you."
Besides the bemused look and arched, brown brow, Chun-Li flashes a cheeky, pearlescent smile Kasumi's way. A push and pivot bring her away from her post so she can approach the kunoichi, arms just as casually folded across her chest /now/ as they were a moment ago.
"Gosh, I /hope/ so, because I'm coming /with/ you," she declares. As soon as she's close enough, her hand extends... so she can offer it to Kasumi for a shake. "People who hurt other people just because they have the power to do it is /always/ personal for me," she promises, low and burning.
"You can make up the skepticism by buying me a dr--"
A careful look down, then up.
"... hm, maybe we'll just stick with the violence, for now," she quietly decides once her eyes return to those of the dangerous young woman across from her.
"Just lead the way."
Log created on 14:42:36 02/21/2022 by Kasumi, and last modified on 10:15:12 05/06/2022.