View Single Post

Thread: [Masks] San Fransapporo: After Dark

  1. - Top - End - #253
    Firbolg in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: [Masks] San Fransapporo: After Dark

    Pool: 3

    The wall comes down with a shattering crash, bits of light sparkling brightly before fading to nothing in a hail of gunfire. There's screaming, there's always screaming, as civilians dash for cover and the various Guardians move to shield them. Even Snow Fox moves to help despite his sour reception to you all. The gunfire continues though true to Hannya's word it mostly seem for show and to cover the sudden escape of the masked villain and his hostages. White Sparrow is in tow as mentioned along with several more, each shuffled between several well armed and armored soldiers and elementals. The mad dash ends when a large van screams up to the small group, the soldiers shuffling their hostages and Hannya inside. A few of the Junior Guardians are brave though any hope they might have had to get closer meets with a barrage of targeted gunfire.

    More elementals pour from the building in a coordinated fashion, eagerly rushing the biggest threat in the vacinity. That'd be you, intrepid heroes. They ignore the other Guardians and the civilians completly, homing in on Ronin and Tsunami first though a wave of them sweep Lion down the street in a protracted fight. The remaining soldiers aren't far behind, far too sophisticated gunfire aiming to hedge Sunburst in especially and keep Ground Zero grounded. In the distance the van screeches off.

    We're back folks. What do you do?

    Issue Two, much like Issue One of Yami no Yojimbo, comes with an insert. With so many flashbacks, and the gimmick of the first Issue, Yami no Yojimbo continues with a "slot and collect" style of Gaiden stories. The first covers Sunburst, a day before the present conflict.

    Spark of Inspiration

    With Moonshadow striking out on her own and the family generally looking to you as a hero for the city, you’ve found the few weeks between the Monkey Island fiasco and the utter failure at the Riverside clean up effort to be mostly yours to fill. The rest of the team seems busy with their own things so they’re out. Moonshadow is busy with her things, she’s out and the Kintsugi having ominously promised further details of your next session via letter. Never a good sign.

    Lanuola let her phone sink into her lap with a bored sigh. She’d spent the entire morning on her phone, trying to tune out the world around her and let another day slip her by. But… There was only so much mindless phone games she could take, and she didn’t dare try and read the news right now. Restlessness was starting to kick in and, with a faint groan of complaint, she pushed herself to her feet. Looking around her room didn’t give much inspiration for what to do. Rubbing at her temple with one hand, she gave another sigh. Hiding from the world wasn’t going to do anything for her.

    Pulling on a jacket, she sets out of her room and down the stairs. Hoping to be quick enough to evade her family, she pulls her trainers on at the door. Ever since Cindy pulled away from being a hero, it had felt like a lot more scrutiny had been placed onto her. And… She’d rather not face that right now.

    With familial connection successfully avoided, she steps out into the afternoon sun. Opting to avoid the riverside, she instead veers toward the park. Hopefully fresh air and open space would help.

    San Fransapporo is well known for its parks and open air attractions, the Bay District especially known for several amusement parks and tourist attractions. The largest parks are those close to the Sleeping Giant Reserve, the towering grove of ancient redwood trees home to many a meta-human who’d rather be left alone. You’re not going there though. Too open, too eager to keep tourists and locals out if they don't need to be there outside of the obvious tourist traps.

    Sakura Park is a rarity, well within sight of the Hikari Shrine, but rarely frequented even by its parishioners. A good place to go if you want all the amenities of the parks but none of the screaming children and yapping dogs. Well manicured with several flowing rivers and a world famous koi pond near its visitor center. No better place than that. A few eldery are out and about with you this fine afternoon, one even spots you sitting near the ponds. “What’s a nice young lady doing in such a boring old place.” he asks, weathered face creasing into a smile as he approaches. He’s limber still but slim, a well worn cane in hand clacking as he walks closer. You almost seem to recognize him, the name he offers as he extends a hand clicking. “Sangha, and you are?”

    None other than Sangha, the Tiger. An old hero, retired except for the recent events in the Guardians. Most famous, now, for his curio shop in the aptly named Tiger’s Pavillion, the go to shopping plaza downtown. He’s famous, or was. Much like the octogenarians out for a jog, he’s popular in an older crowd.

    Lanuola finds herself unconsciously adjusting her route through the park so that it wended down to the koi pond. She keeps very much to herself as she walks, hands in pockets and head slightly bowed. Despite her closed off demeanour, she does find that she’s beginning to relax somewhat. The open space and lack of responsibilities in the moment letting her mind drift. By the time she reaches the koi pond, there’s a soft smile playing on her face.

    Seating herself, she leans forward slightly, propping her folded arms on her knees as she does.

    "I should’ve brought something to feed the fish…"

    As Sangha approaches her, she initially pays him no mind. There were plenty of others making use of the space, after all. As she’s addressed, however, she straightens up, pulling her jacket a little closer without thinking. The elderly man’s introduction makes her blink in surprise. While he wasn’t as famous as he used to be, it still felt surreal to be approached by a celebrity. Not really knowing how to react, she simply responded on instinct, taking his hand and giving it a shake, “U-umm… Lanuola…” Feeling a touch self-conscious, she adds, “U-umm… I, uh, I don’t think the park’s, uh, boring. It’s, uh, it’s nice to come here to, uh, to get a-away from things.”

    “It’s a pleasure, Lanuola.”
    The older hero offers, moving to sit beside you with a sigh born from creaky joints and a bad back. “I hope you don’t mind if I sit here for a little while. I only get a few chances to get away from my shop. I come here every day for lunch, clear my head.” He’s quick to produce a bag, offering it to you.

    “The shop doesn’t take care of me much, usually just bread crumbs. Here, for the fish.” Most people born in the city know about Sangha’s shop. Most know well enough to stay away from it, at least. The place is, as many in your family have told you, bad news. It sits on ley lines, your Grandmother will often tell you, and has a mind of its own. Sangha doesn’t sell you what you want. The shop only offers what you need and what you need may very well be something you don’t ever want. Best to avoid it and be unprepared, you’ve been told. For now it just seems to cover the lack of things to feed the fish. Not so dangerous after all, is it? Sangha seems content to simply sit in silence, looking out over the park, for a while. Long enough to give a start when he finally speaks.

    “I came here with my daughter, when she was your age.”
    A smile creases the old man’s face, shaky hand pointing out over the pond and to the looming structure of the Hikari Shrine beyond. “Before the trees covered up that ol’eyesore. She’d come here when she needed a think, when she thought she could hide from her old man and her training. What’re you hiding from, Lanuola?”

    Lanuola shakes her head as Sangha asks about sitting down, “No, uh, that’s fine, I don’t mind. Oh, thanks...” She accepts the bag hesitantly off of him at first, then with a grateful smile as the contents are explained. “Thankyou.”

    During the resulting silence, she slowly doles out the crumbs to the fish. Her mind wanders as she does. The presence of the old hero beside her was surprisingly steadying. The stories of Sangha’s shop in particular featured in her thoughts. They’d always struck her as odd. How could getting what you need, even if it’s not what you’d be expecting to get, be a bad thing..? And then… Could it be worth her visiting the shop..? Perhaps she could solve her own problems with whatever was offered to her…

    She starts a bit when Sangha speaks again, glancing back to him, then following his gesture out toward the obscured Hikari Shrine. Her heart sinks and she shrinks into her seat a bit as she’s called on her reasons for being at the park.

    “... I…”
    She shifts uncomfortably, flickers of light starting to form on her skin, “... I-I made, uh, I-I made a-a big mistake… U-umm… I-I broke things and, uh, a-and people got hurt… I… Don’t know what to, uh, what to do to make it right...”

    Sagha gives a long, slow, sigh before reaching to take some breadcrumbs for himself before scattering them out into the water. “Life’s like that.” he starts, glancing over at you before giving a bit of a double take. It’s momentary though noticeable all the same. “Especially when you’ve got powers. No matter where you go. When my girl was your age she got into all sorts of trouble. She’d come home with bruises or villains looking to settle their scores but through it all, all that really mattered, is if she apologized to the people she hurt and tried to do better the next time.”

    Sangha’s face remains set in that stoney, far off stare. The rumors and stories didn’t seem to bare out on the man. The cranky, isolated and inflexible Sangha seemingly left at his store so this reflective and solemn figure could walk a pretty park and feed fish. “It gets easier. It’s hard at first, it hurts and it seems hopeless, but it gets easier. Working on it every day is the hard part. But fixing mistakes gets easier. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do to make it right. People are allowed to be angry, if you hurt them. But they won’t stay hurt forever and if you keep working on not making the same mistake again, things may not go back to the way they were but they’ll get better. It just takes time. Did you apologize to the people you hurt?”

    Lanuola fidgets with her hands, flinching inward a bit as attention is called to her involuntary light show, her skin brightening and flickering further as she winces. Her discomfort subsides somewhat as Sangha relates her own situation to that of his daughter, the light dancing across her skin lessening as she returns to a more muted mood. Her gaze turns pensive as he talks.

    She hugs at her own waist as Sangha continues, talking through the importance of apologies and forgiveness. At his question, she gives a remorseful shake of her head. “... N-no… I-I…” She rubs at her forehead, “I-I just felt so… So out of it when it happened, a-and then…” She hesitates and glances at Sangha, not sure she wants to share the actual scale of the damages she’d caused, “I-I don’t think apologising will solve the problem…”

    “Did you listen to the rest? Aiyaa...teenagers.”
    So maybe the grumpy Sangha isn’t quite so removed from the park. “Then you don’t apologize yet, or never. Sometimes people get angry enough they won’t ever be ready for that. You still have to keep working on it, in your own time.” The old man’s face turns to a deeper frown, eyes knit for a moment before he lets out a sigh.

    “You just get better at being better. You’re young and small, the world is so very old and so very big. You have powers.” He gives you a sideways glance, no chance of hiding it what with the lightshow for sure, before looking back over the park with another sigh. “Powers you can’t control. I don’t need the rest. You blew something up or laser lightshowed someone or whatever. You’re a monster.” His tone slips into the sort of mocking someone much older and experienced can provide. Certainly not mean spirited, probably hurtful all the same. “No one can forgive you, how can you go on.” he continues, slapping his knee with a snort. “So you come out here to this park to hide away, listen to an old man ramble and feed fish. That’s not going to make things right though, is it Lanuola? So you can’t apologize, did your feet stop working? Your hands? How will the people you’ve hurt feel if you just mope around, eh? Think that’ll make them less angry? Less hurt? You’ll get over it, in your own time, no doubt. You seem strong, like so many other young heroes. Skip ahead, what are you going to do when you’re done feeling sad? How are you going to get better? How are you not going to make the same mistake again?”

    Lanuola squirms uncomfortably through Sangha’s short rant, his words provoking the contradictory responses of wanting to refute them, whilst also feeling like he had cut through to the heart of what was bothering her. She starts and gives the old man an almost hurt look as he abruptly gives a snort of laughter.

    She glances back down to the floor, clenching her fists. This time her frustration gets the better of her as she replies, “I don’t know! If I knew I would already have stopped making those mistakes! I’d already be where I need to be.” She looks back up to Sangha, his appearance starting to fuzz as the seeds of tears form in her eyes, “Maybe I should just quit! That might work, right?!” Her voice is raised now, a part of her mind registering that she was casting light on everything nearby. As soon as she does notice, the brightness begins to fluctuate wildly as she stands, “Except it doesn’t solve anything! I still h-have to watch out and be careful in case I vaporize the people I care about!”

    She rounds on Sangha, angry tears now rolling down her face, the light beneath them casting rippling reflections and patterns onto him. “I can’t just not care, because then I’m just another Lightbringer.” The small part of her that wasn’t railing against the world was surprised at the venom she put into the senior hero’s name, “And everyone tells me I should just control it!” She gives a humourless laugh, “Like it’s just that easy! Like I can just watch my friends get hurt and not give it my all to try and help them, save them…”

    The light beneath her skin abruptly disappears, her chest clenched in guilt. Her hands fall to her side, “E-except… E-except I-I can’t even do that…” Though she’s still facing toward Sangha, her eyes are unfocused, “... Soo se taimi lava out te tau ai tagata e afaina ai*...” She stands silently for a few moments, tears leaving near-invisible tracks on her cheeks. Finally, she reaches up to wipe at her eyes with the back of her hand. “... You know… All the rest… They know how to fight… I… I just kinda lean on my powers... “ She wraps her arms around her chest, “... I… I-I think I should j-just stop doing that… F-for a while, at least…”

    *”... Every time I fight people get hurt…”

    Sangha doesn’t seem too phased by the light show, the angry words or really much of anything. The man is old, tired, you’re not the first and probably won’t be the last teen hero venting your frustrations to him though you’re in rare company considering he hasn’t stopped you. He barks a laugh at the end however, giving his knee a slap. Again, not mocking or cruel, simply a sound from one whose probably heard the same rant a dozen times or more. “That’s not how this works, Lanuola. Knowing what you want to do doesn’t stop mistakes, sure as hell makes more if you ask me. It’s a destination, it’s work and you’re going to make mistakes. True that your mistakes are hurting people but that’s what fighting does. It hurts people. Good people, bad people, they’re still just people. You’ve got a good heart, you care and that makes it hurt more. Plenty of people don’t care, and that makes it hurt even worse. For themselves and everyone around them. It makes you nothing like Lightbringer though, she wouldn’t have the wherewithal to consider any of this. So you’re doing better than her even if that’s not a good grade.”

    Sangha slowly stands, groaning sharply with bones creaking. He’s small in the afternoon light, weathered hands reaching out to pat your shoulders gently. “This city is a monster too. You should have been taken in by the Guardians, or the Monsoon at least, shown how to use your powers safely. You’ve fallen through the cracks this political hubbub has caused. Now that it’s too late, they’re all trying to pull you from different sides. Control is an illusion, Lanuola, a bitter one at that. Sometimes to be in the most control, you have to lose it. To escape the illusion and see things as they are. You can’t do that when you’re afraid though, too worried about clinging to the illusion in case someone gets hurt. Someone you care about. I’m just an old man and I’ve been out of this game for a long time, seen a lot of people hurt and lost a lot more people too. I can’t help much but if you come to my shop this weekend we’ll see what we can do about getting you started on learning how to fight. I wake up early though so don’t keep me waiting.”

    Frustration spent, Lanuola’s responses are muted as Sangha reacts to her outburst, though she does wince a little as the elderly hero comments on her comparison between herself and Lightbringer.

    She fidgets as Sangha comments on how she should’ve been taken in by one of the existing hero teams. The thought had never really occurred to her, the idea that someone should’ve taken her under their wing rather than being simply dropped into the care of Kintsugi.

    She gives Sangha a questioning look as he explains his thoughts on control. The point he was making sounded completely contradictory to everything she’d learned. And then she blinks in surprise. “W-wait… You’re, uh, you’re offering to, uh, to train me..? Just like that..?”

    “Hold on now” The old man gives a stern look, wagging a finger at you with an almost wry smile though it doesn’t reach his eyes. “I said we’d see about what we can do. The shop’ll have something for you. Hopefully. I’ve got connections, we’ll see what we’ve got in the morning. Don’t get your hopes up.”

    Lanuola hesitates, then gives a grateful nod. “I, uh, thanks. I’ll, uh, I’ll make sure I’m there. Umm… Thankyou for, uh, for listening, too. I, uh, I hope you have a good day.”

    After another moment of hesitation, she offers out her hand for a shake and, on receiving it, turns to head home.
    Last edited by Razade; 2020-03-04 at 08:40 AM.