Date: April 13, 2014
An accidental meeting of strangers leads to a fiery demonstration of how to handle gang violence.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Burning Down the House"
Ward 9 — Fuuma Alley
Ward 9 [Fuuma Alley]
Blending seamlessly with the surrounding shantytowns, the grinding electric behemoth of Fuuma Alley welcomes you with neon light and the stink of humanity. Raised tracks carry trams, freight, and sparking power cables over the wide streets between the ordered city blocks of disordered buildings. The expense to light the city under the shadow of sick-colored smog is as staggering as the electricity is sporadic. The apparant secret of Fuuma Alley's booming industrial sector is that there -is- no industrial sector, or rather that the entire town seems to have been zoned for industry. Smokestacks of power stations, mills, and factories can be found on every block. The tramways travel right through some of them, weaving through the second stories of buildings like a bizzare second city over the first. Bars, merchants, and tenement houses catering to the factory workers operate right across the street from the workplaces, or next door, or in a converted mill building, or have been converted into mill buildings themselves. The dams dividing one class and business from another have broken and everyone and everything mingles together in easy reach.
Heavy smog trails along the airwaves… seemingly not from the industrial power plants and other factories, no it seems like the smog on street level has only one source of distrubution… Akinori that is, with a cigarette in his mouth he drags on it as a mad man as appearantly there is some sort of special… Alcohol is flowing heavily over the counter as the street vendor is having a small amount of people near him. "Ah.. you remember that one time? HAH, that was crazy man, I /TELL/ you. Did you see his eyelids?!" Loads of laughter is located from the few sitting on stools on the street, as it seems like the commerce and common riff-raff is flowing through the streets. "So like I was saying…" the talk goes on, seemingly most of these guys are loaded up with alcohol as the stench reaches out around the street aswell as their impaired speech… Few seats are left to fill as people come and go from the vendor
After taking care of some business for his home village in a nearby land, Hiei decides to spend the night in Fuuma, rather than to keep going to only camp out in the wilderness. After being gone for so many days from home, he wanted an actual bed to sleep in, so after finding an inn and getting a bed for the night, he decides to take a look around. He had been around fourteen years old the last time he had been in this place, and it hasn't changed a bit since then. There were the same neon lights and the stench of smoke from the industrial sites. Coming across an alcohol vendor, he stops in for a drink. He settles on one of the few stools left in the place and looks towards the bartender. "Beer." He orders before taking a moment to really look around the place. He rolls his shoulder to adjust the sword harness on his back.
Fuuma Alley is not for the timid; nor the weak; nor the bashful nor placid. As neon flickers like unesteemed sun, slathering light through the smoke-filled eve, the factory towers churn smog into the sky, careless of time, and of day. Fuuma Alley exists continuously, swallowing whole those who plumb its streets, who step along its alleys, who duck into its shaded doorways. Fuuma breathes with every passing stroke its charcoal breath; heaves with the vigor of a sick man, but a man still alive. Unlike the majority of the villages and towns, Fuuma Alley stutters forever with vigor.
Hae casually walks the streets, each footfall carrying him no further than he was before, as his destination is nowhere. He walks, and is soon upon the overwhelming conversation and liquor flowing from the vendor Akinori attends. The youth stops, staring into the dim lightning and veracious words. A stranger enters, sword strapped to back, and another stool becomes occupied. Only a pair remain. Hae himself enters, intrigued by the lapping conversation. He sits.
"Water, please. You got food?"
The vendor would place a bowl of nuts and a glass of water infront of Hae. " Only food I got bud, have a seat and enjoy the company. " Several guys are leaving the stools empty as they move on, seemingly a bunch of rogues who were in the city. Akinori gazes over to Hiei and Hae as they seem to be the only ones together with the bartender. A large glass of beer is placed infront of Hiei as he cleans the counter with a damp rag. "So fellas, what's the story? What you guys doing in Fuuma?" He glances towards Hiei, casting a upward nod as he takes another drag. A mixture of Sake, beer and some other drinks are released from his mouth. Aswell as the burning ash smell and the burning tobacco and smoke creates it a load of scents from his mouth… not really enjoyable nor disgusting as he speaks. "Seems like you guys had a bit of a trip 'eh?"
Hiei takes the beer and takes a long drink from it before he answers the question. "Just passing through." Hiei watches the other people at the stand, silently assessing their fighting potential by what they wear, the weapons they have displayed, and how they move. It was something his sensei taught him and it was not a habit that he did any time he met someone new. When asked if it had been a long trip, the Kumo shinobi dips his head slightly. "You could say that."
Hae stares at the cup of water, mesmerized by its opaque fluidity.
"Umm. You got any tea?"
The youth picks up a nut, slips it between the wrappings over his mouth, and chews. He doesn't pick up another. Akinori's breath dabs its fingers in the young boy's nose.
"Seems like we're gonna have another one. You always ask so many questions of strangers? Must make your journeys absurdly long."
Hae picks up another nut, chews it. His eyebrows raise as he stares at Akanori, the revelation of which intimates that he has naturally awaiting an answer.
"A traveller allways has something to tell, and I am allways intrested in someone else's story." He takes a small gulp and takes a drag as he glances towards Hae… his tone is somewhat akward for his liking, not really arrogant but not very kind either. The vendor shakes his head" No tea, either booze or water".
Hiei smirks into his glass as he sips more beer. He comments, "There is some truth to what he says." He comments while looking at Hae. "When I was a kid I used to hang out at the docks all the time to listen to stories told by the sailors and people from other lands. Sure they were drunk, and I was certain that most of the stories were embellished in some fashion, but it was entertaining." He chuckles. "You younger shinobi could learn to lighten up a little. Everything isn't always so serious."
"Says the guy with a sword strapped to his back."
Hae looks towards the bartender.
"You have water, but no tea? Humanity's greatest invention is fire."
The youth flicks his head towards a splintery door behind the bar, the thing a faded red which once before probably showed the dreams of a painter, or perhaps even this barman himself.
"You got any in the back there?"
In the background, Fuuma begins to steam with the increased traffic that comes with night, of the bar-going rabble, and the home-going rabble, and all the rabble that clogs the thin streets at such an hour. A man comes stumbling into the vendor, bumping into Akinori, and Hiei, and Hae.
"Bwear!" shouts the man, smiling a gap-toothed, red-cheeked smile at Akinori. "Yoo leik bwear?"
Akinori raises his glass. "We all do man! What a foolish question, sit down and enjoy the booze!" He takes another swig from his cup as he glances around the area. The bartender in the mean time shakes his head towards Hae." Nope, only more booze buddy." He fills another glass with ale, handing it over to the random stranger which is seemingly too drunk to stand on his feet. Akinori takes another drag, cackeling a bit as he notices the joy of the man next to him. "Now… this guy is a fanatic drunk ain't he?!" He slams his hand on his back, a hard pat delivers as he continues to drink, smoke and chuckle around him.
Hiei remarks to Hae. "Says the guy with two swords on his back." He smirks a little and drinks the rest of his beer before motioning to the bartender for a refill. When the drunk guy comes in stumbling all over the place, Hiei shakes his head before grabbing him by the back of the shirt with one hand and lifting him off his feet to place him on a stool. "Seems like this guy has had enough already." Hiei then looks at Hae and grins before turning to the bartender. "Glass of water." Once it's delivered, he takes some tea leaves from his pouch and places it in the glass. "Friend of mine is the Daimyo of the Land of Tea. I was just there so this stuff is fresh." He makes a handseal and then picks up the glass as flames form in the palm of his hand, boiling the water for a moment. He stirs it around as it boils and then sets the glass on the counter. "There's your tea if that's what you really want."
Hae plucks the glass from Hiei's palm, blowing away some of the steam. A smile - though unseen through the wrappings covering the lower half of his face - comes evident as the boy's ears and eyes pull themselves taut.
"Thank you, thank you, Mr Serious Swords."
The drunk gentleman, meanwhile, faced with the decision of beer, gladly accepts, picking up the mug from the counter and bringing it just to his lips.
Yet right as he's about to take a sip, Akinori's friendly back-slap catches him off-guard, and the beer stutters itself out of the glass and all over the face of the man. Hae ejects himself from the neighboring stool, that he miss catching any of the beer on himself, and instead has hot tea bubble over the lip of his glass and onto his fingers, and the glass drops from his hands to splatter and crash upon the floor, precisely at which time the drunken rabble-rouser stands, exaggerated fury pounding his face all smooshed and red. He glares at Akinori.
"Yoo gah a prablem, butty?"
Akinori raises a eyebrow."Sorry guys." He glances towards the rest, as he places the cigarette over his cup. He places his left hand infront of his mouth as he exhales ash into it, quickly throwing it into the angerd man his face and quickly send the fist behind it. The man falls flat onto the ground, instantly knocked out and disorientated. Akinori turns himself on his stool, glancing towards Hiei and Hae."It's nice you guys are comparing swords, I'm sad to say I can't compare much since I only got a knife in my pocket." He reveals his trench knife as his words left his mouth, wrapped in his right hand he places his hand softly onto his cigarette once more… /polluting/ the airwaves once more.
Hiei flashes a smile at Hae. "You're welcome, Mummy-Man." As the refill on his beer arrives, he leans out of the way when the drunkard is knocked out by Akinori. It's almost like the fact that a guy just got knocked out didn't even register with him as he continues sipping on his beer. He raises a brow towards the Sarutobi. "Comparing swords? Nah, nothing like that. Besides, the swords are for work, and I'm definitely off the clock for the night. After I have a few more of these, I'm going to hit the sack. And try to stay out of trouble in the meantime."
The drunkard doesn't even register the fist, as the ash does its job and distracts; and the fist too does its job and drops him like the inebriated sack of potatoes that he is. The man lies on the floor, stone-cold unconscious. Hae stares.
The youth's blue eyes find Akinori in the dimly lit bar.
"Though fun demonstration. Remind me never to get into a fist fight with you."
Hae, along with the others, regains his seat over the fallen drunkard.
"Well. I guess now is probably the best time to tell a story, since our ears seem needing. Several years ago, in the canyon of lost limbs, my father-"
But his words are lost amongst a crowd of rather large, rather bulbously fisted, rather disheveled robes, rather outfitted with swords and canes — a crowd of such gentlemen who enter the bar and draw attention like a blade.
But the man too (the one speaking, that is) loses his words as his eyes find upon the floor the man he is assumedly looking for. Much like the fellow before, this man's face bunches itself angry, his eyes glazed and glaring at all those gathered at the bar.
"Who. Did. This?"
Akinori is glancing over to the companions next to him, lowering his voice. "Hope you guys can use those swords correctly… seems like I toasted someone off." He smirks, slowly turning facefront as he continues on dragging. He takes another small sip as he glances towards Hae once more. "So, Canyon and your father. What next?" He exhales the smog, taking a small swig as he flashes his teeth. "This sounds good, hopefully we don't get interrupted by anyone." He taps some ash into a empty cup that has been standing on the counter, seemingly not caring about the group behind him.
Hiei also seems to be listening to the story that Hae has begun to tell. He sips more beer from his glass before he speaks to the men behind them without turning around. "I think your friend had a little too much to drink. He seems to have passed out. I think he hit the side of his face on the bartop when he fell. I think you should take him and put him to bed. He's probably going to have a bit of a headache in the morning." He drinks more beer and motions to Hae. "So the canyon of lost limbs. Go ahead. I like the name of the place already." He comments with a smile.
The obvious leader of this rag-tag bunch of slightly inebriated individuals steps towards Hiei, standing right behind him, staring at the besworded shinobi and Akinori.
"I don't think that happened at all, you little liar."
Rightly so, blood has streamed from the unconscious man's nose, two streams of muddy red parellel down his lips and onto the ground. The others of the group - about a dozen or so - stream in behind their leader, clumsy hands on weapons, some knuckles white, others bruised and calloused. Hae throws a nervous glance behind him (there are quite a few of these men, and they are in tight quarters, which Hae is not particularly fond of even slightly), but continues:
"Ah. Yes. Um. Canyon of the lost limbs. My father had just, uh. He had just bought a pair of oxen to help with. You know. Sorry. I can't think now. These guys are making me nervous."
A pair of the ruffins step behind Hae, grinning and knuckling their palms.
Akinori sighs, taking a slow drag from his cigarette as he steps off his stool. He taps onto Hiei's shoulder as he examinates the rascal bunch of robes and men. " Listen friend, you take those guys on the right. Our other companion will focus on the right I hope and I will give it a nice tought here. Allright?" He glances towards the so called "leader" of the group, stepping towards him slowly. He inhales a large amount of air, quickly creating a small amount of hand seals as he releases a large amount of ash towards his front…although due to the cigarette still hanging in his lips the ash became fire.. a true Sarutobi technique, only then y'know… without the cigarette and instead using ninjutsu. The people infront of him would be burning or blasted out of the bar, seemingly being the signal to start the fight. He raises his right hand in which he holds his Trench knife and commits himself fully into the fight. "HERE WE GO!"
Hiei looks over his shoulder and grins at the leader. "Whatever you say, man." When Akinori places a hand on his shoulder, Hiei nods. And there are small sparks of lightning playing over his skin even though the Kumogakure Chuunin doesn't seem to move from the bar. He continues drinking, even after the fighting starts. When someone takes a punch at him, he leans to the side to dodge it and then sends a lightning infused elbow towads the guy's face with one hand..while continuing to drink with the other. He looks at the bartender. "Hey, can I have another one?" One of the guys attempt to stab him with a sword and it goes completely through his body, as if he was a ghost. Hiei had waited until the last minute to dodge and left an afterimage in his place. The Yotsuki doesn't bother to draw his weapons. Apparently he figures these guys aren't worth it. His body blurs back into sight as he takes his seat again.
The fighting commences abruptly, beginning with a spray of ash and fire from Akinori's lips. Other men charge Hiei, but the lightning man's agility serve only to act as space for where the enemy's weapons should go. The two men standing behind Hae grab him by the shoulder, and as the boy is rather thin and light, the goons easily lift him from his chair and heave him outside, into what is now a gathering crowd. The Iwagakure-transplated-to-Kirigakure Chuunin rolls in the street, turning to stare up into two grinning maws and the fists hovering below them — and then past the goons and their idiotic smiles, past the fist that comes aimed for Hae's nose, past the fat sausage fingers curled together, past it all into the wreathing flames that now abundantly dust the walls and roof of the bar, thanks to Akinori's fire technique.
The fist lands, crunching against Hae's face, and his eyes close as his cheek slaps the ground. The fire spreads, and the fight continues. But already the booze begins to boil.
Akinori's fire technique was just a quick spark, causing the group leader to fall down on the ground. Seemingly either dead or unconscious, either seemed fine for him. His gaze flies over Hae's current state of affairs. — .. Flame, I tought this guy could fend them off.. time to help I guess. He sprints through the crowd towards Hae, placing his trench knife behind him as it suddenly pulls from behind his back towards the first male's cheek. He cuts through the flesh as he quickly spins towards the back of the second male… with a few hand seals he traps some chakra into both of his hands as he slams them right into the face of his opponent causing him to fall on the ground a good distance apart. He gazes down onto Hae's body, extending his hand to Hae. "Get up, we gotta kick some burns buddy!"
Hiei takes a moment to look around him, seeing Akinori's jutsu catching fire to the stall itself. Hiei sighs. This is why he never uses jutsu inside. His body blurs from sight again and when he's next seen, it's standing in the street with the bartender's body under his arm. He sets the guy on the ground and then turns to face the group of thugs. "And this is why I don't come to Fuuma often." He moves into a fighting stance though he still doesn't draw his swords. He wasn't in a mood to kill today, apparently. As they come in to engage him, he goes into a series of acrobatic movements, kicking here and punching there. His strikes are forceful as he's looking to KO people instead of causing significant damage. "I don't think we have to worry about Mummy-Man much. He's from Kiri. I'm sure he's just having a bit of fun." Hiei had dueled a couple of the legendary swordsman, as well as their Mizukage. He spins in a circle, delivering several lightning infused palm strikes. They cause no damage on the outside, instead he is damaging their internal organs with each hit.
The villians (as they are) come quickly undone in the face of actual combat by skilled combatants. Those who assaulted Hae are left bleeding and grounded; those foolish enough to charge Hiei became besodden with their own internal care. Hae sits up. The stall burns brighter as the alcohol catches fire, sending up flames of green in a spectacular arc. A rather large crowd has now gathered, their faces illuminated and awed by the wonder we all share when staring into a flame. The walls crackle and burn away, the ceiling collapsing, and before long the rank smell of burning fabric becomes overpowered by the burning smell of flesh. The unconscious man, the one belligerently drunk before, screams from within the fallen abode, forgotten, sobriety on like a thousand watts:
"Help me! Help me! Please, please, oh, torch! Someone!"
No one in the crowd moves but the barman, who points a shaking furious finger at Akinori.
"It's that one! He's one who started it all!"
And as the fire burns, so too does it amongst those gathered, more and more of the faces darkening; more and more murmurs come.
Akinori doesn't feel a slight remorse, but he does have his pride. He moves himself once more inside the bar as he uses some sort of wind slashes to remove several flames, he grabs the man by his collar as he slowly drags him over the ground out of the bar. He drops him in the middle of the street, together with the leader of the villains as he glances around. The combatants are running scared because of Hiei's unbelievable refined power, Akinori's gaze returns to the bar. He slashes a couple of times from the distance, emitting wind slices aimed for the origin of the flames as they quickly become nothing but ash. Luckily the bar was spread away from the other building as nothing else got caught on fire then the bar itself, which might be burnt down by now. He turns himself back to the bartender. "I'm sorry for your bar, however these two would like to compensate for it." He points down to the two villains on the ground, seemingly not really intrested in what the bartender has to say he walks over to Hae. "You allright man?"His gaze immediately switches over to Hiei, which doesn't even look like he broke a sweat."I don't have to ask you anythind do I?"
Hiei brushes a little ash from his shoulder as he walks over to Akinori and Hae. "Perhaps the fire was a little bit much. Especially inside of an establishment. But honestly, it's not like we didn't try to talk our way out of it, right?" He smiles and shakes his head at Akinori. "I'm fine. I got lucky that their movements were easy to read." He's being more than a little humble, but there was no reason why people needed to know the extent of his abilities. He stretches a little. "Well, this was kind of fun. Can't remember the last time I've been in a bar fight." He inclines his head and begins to walk through the crowd back towads his inn.
The flames die away, blown into submission by gusts (though, luckily for all those gathered, that wind doesn't simply help fan them); the crowd seethes, but the barman's anger - now centered on the two thugs - helps to dissipate the animosity, though several dark eyes linger on Akinori. Hae stands, rubs his cheek, gives a nod to Akinori.
The drunk from before - now severely burned, gasping on the ground - is helped by several others, hopefully to aim him towards a hospital. As Hiei leaves, the crowd parts warily, but the press is there, so heavy it can be felt in the bones and veins. When Akinori decides to depart, the seethe is even greater, the press too, as a hungry mob surrounding a tiger: wary, but starving. Hae is largely left alone, too.
But there, after the last of the crowd goes home, there still remains, now, nothing: a shell, burned black, a huddle of trash, and a bartender's dreams burned away. To float, like ash, away into nothing.