Date: November 23, 2010
A chance meeting on a bench across from an old theater results in a subject very near and dear to Yuuichi's heart being discussed between himself and "Hino Rei": War and how to solve it.
"The Evolution Agenda"
Flower Street: Seed - Kusagakure
The middle of the day finds the streets busy in Kusagakure. Given the tournament it's really no surprise that the streets are over crowded and that many of stands and shops are making more money than normal. Laughter is abundant and most seem to be in jovial spirits. Sunlight burns down, flooding the area with light and brightening the colors present, making it mostly pleasant.
Out of the masses of people walks on solitary figure, a young man wearing a hooded cape, that doesn't seem to be enjoying his surroundings all that much. In fact, his eyes never linger much of anywhere except on the ground in front of him as he walks along towards a quieter part of the village, somewhere without huge crowds, like a small park, for instance. His cape flutters in a light breeze behind him as he walks.
Finding himself at a quiet spot on one of the streets, he stops and looks around for a moment. Only a few people happen to be walking nearby, and he spots a bench which he heads towards and sits upon. Tilting his head back, he looks up towards the sky, brown eyes peering up towards the sun, watching the few clouds as they wander past. He looks mighty comfortable.
A woman in a red dress-suit, with modest, knee-length skirt, and red heels on her feet, as well as a red fedora upon her smooth, black hair is striding down the street. The area may be quiet, with only the trickling water of a nearby fountain, and the twittering of birds in the immediate vicinity, but with the number of visitors, and the near-constant sound from the Stadium, even a relatively isolated part of Kusagakure is going to have SOME sound. Thus, the sound of Kanami's high heels on the cobblestone street may be noticeable, but unlikely truly disturbing to those who seek solitude.
Pale skin contrasts greatly with crimson garments, making the Nogakujin woman easy to notice visually at least. This is the actress's 'Hino Rei' persona. A personality and appearance she takes on as the 'public front' of the Tao Shih — the Evolution Agenda. She does not know Yuuichi, nor have any particular reason to speak to him. But she does come and sit down on the same bench as him for some reason.
The sound of the heels on the street isn't terribly disturbing, although the curiosity in Yuuichi gets the better of him and he turns his head slightly just to glimpse the woman that is walking down the street in his direction. Tall, beautiful, well-dressed. He turned his head away so that he didn't find himself staring at her. That wouldn't exactly be appropriate of him, after all. Still, she'd been striking. Probably some famous person that he didn't know since he didn't care to know a lot of the goings on around him.
When the woman sat down on the same bench as him, however, he found himself sitting up straighter, no longer with his head leaned back. He was surprised that she'd chosen to sit on a bench that was already occupied by a stranger. It made him curious about her, more than he would have been if she'd just kept on walking by. He looks at her again and offers a small smile. "Hello," he says to her, careful not to seem like he's staring, even though he kind of was.
Turning her attention on Yuuichi for a moment, 'Rei' smiles politely, red-lipsticked lips curving pleasantly without being TOO friendly. "Good afternoon," she responds. Then she turns her attention forwards again. Her yellow eyes gaze across the court to a non-descript building situated on the other side. It looks like it may have once been a theater of some kind. The stage-kind, not the movie-kind.
Not much response to him saying hello. Yuuichi offered a smile and looked away at her response, however. He felt kind of odd sitting next to someone he didn't know for no real reason. Well, for no reason that he knew off the top of his head anyways. Maybe she thought he was mysterious and was actually some disguised ninja keeping tabs on him? Possible, but that didn't bother him. He wasn't out to cause trouble, after all.
He looked back to her after a moment and nodded his head to her. "Forgive me for having stared at you. I could not resist," he says before licking his lips. "Forgive me for asking, but I'm curious. Why did you choose to sit on this particular bench?"
Kanami turns her head and smiles with a slight blush at Yuuichi comment of staring. "I had not noticed, sir. Thank you for the attention, however." She bows her head briefly and turns her attention forward again. "I chose this seat due to the view." She raises a hand and points at the old building across the street. "I am waiting for a certain woman to open her shop. I have missed her for the past three days. Almost as though she were avoiding me… So I thought I would sit and wait. This is an excellent spot to watch from."
She then turns and raises a hand towards her ruby-red lips as she affects a startled expression. "Oh, my apologies! If I am intruding on you, I can certainly move. I did not mean to take this spot! If you are waiting for someone, I can certainly move…" She starts to raise herself from the bench.
Yuuichi follows her motion to the building across the way. It is older, but has a kind of charm about it that most of the surrounding buildings are really lacking. He looks at the place for a few moments and then looks back at her, nodding his head. "I guess that's a pretty good reason to want to sit here. I hope that you can catch her this time around." He smiles and then looks away, nervously, towards the ground near his feet.
She mentions moving and he turns his gaze to see her starting to rise. He moves a hand out to touch her arm rather quickly, which startles even him. "No… that's alright. You can stay. I'm not waiting for anyone," he says rather hurriedly, letting his hand come away. "I just wanted to get away from the stadium and find somewhere quiet to sit. This was the first place I found. But you're welcome to sit here. I don't mind." He taps a finger against the bench. "My name is Yuuichi, by the way."
Kanami pauses when Yuuchi's hand touches her arm, but then just smiles and seats herself again when he withdraws the appendage. "I understand completely. There is only so much noise and violence once can tolerate — even if no one is going to be permanently injured — before it becomes necessary to move elsewhere. I have heard that the denizens of Kusagakure, initially excited by the tournament, are now quite thoroughly tired of it. This is a quiet Village. It is also relatively peaceful most of the time. Few conflicts, even amongst ninja. I can imagine how they must feel… I was born and raised in a relatively quiet Village as well. But I have acclimated to the world at large. I imagine they will have to eventually as well."
She turns her eyes from the building across the way, and back onto Yuuichi. "My name is Rei. A pleasure to meet you, Yuuichi-san."
"Where I come from, my family guards and protects a village. Even that, at times, was too much for me," Yuuichi notes as he watches her for a moment. He smiles, though, and looks away eventually. His eyes drift to the buildings around them as he processes what she has said. "Fighting is a waste. Same as war. One day I would like to see everyone live in peace, without any need for fighting. Unfortunately, that sometimes requires that I fight."
He looks back to her, then, and shifts a bit on the bench to face her more. "I assure you the pleasure in our acquaintance is mine, Rei-san. I had not expected to meet anyone new when I came here. Though, admittedly, since I know no one here, I should have expected it."
Kanami nods. "Fighting may be a waste, but it is natural. It is part of our make-up. Not just as humans, but as animals. Even plants can fight and kill. But that does not mean that war is alright. Ants can go to war against other ant mounds, and against termites. But they lack any malice in doing so. They are… Almost machine-like in how they go about it. There is no self, there is no love, there is no hate. They just do what they do because it is what they do."
She shrugs. "But humans war for other reasons. Ants are monstrous creatures, really. They have no soul. They have no will. They have no reason or compassion. Humans have all these things and wage war regardless. But where humans will stop fighting out of weariness of violence, ants will continue fighting until every last enemy is dead… Or until they themselves are dead. And yet… In the end, ants are simple creatures. As horrible as they are, as utterly inhuman as they may be… They are doing what instinct tells them to. There is no single instinct that drives human beings to try to conquer, enslave, or slaughter their neighbors. There is no easy excuse or simple explanation. Or so most scholars think." She looks towards Yuuichi. "I work for a company called the Evolution Agenda. Its purpose is to solve the problem of war, and to balance the suffering of the many against the joy of the few by removing suffering from the equation entirely. Human beings are changing. After thousands of years of change, much of that change was on the societal level, rather than the physical. And yet now we have people with Kekkei Genkai. They may not be 'common', but they are becoming more and more a part of the population, and more and more they are demonstrating that they have the potential to be something more than simply 'human'. And yet they are still part of wars. The Evolution Agenda believes that our modern societies can not evolve further until we evolve physically and mentally as well. The physical evolution is already happening, in the form of Bloodline Limits. But we have to cause the mind to advance as well, or it will simply lead to more war, and greater imbalance in society."
She reaches into the left breast pocket of her dress suit, and withdraws a business card. "If that sounds like something you would be interested in, you might want to travel to the main office of my company, here in Kusagakure. They can give you more information."
The speech she gives is long and unexpected, but Yuuichi listens to every single word as if each was a drop of the most delicious substance and he couldn't bear to let it go to waste. His fingers twitch and edge at his knees as he watches her speak. Not even a blink of his eye occurs, however, until the mention of Kekkei Genkai, at which point he looks down at his fingers, but is still listening to what she says.
When she stops talking and pulls out a card, he reaches a hand over to take it from her. He inspects it for a moment, reading the words upon it before looking up at her again. "You're the first person who's ever said such things before, at least to me." He bites on his lip and looks thoughtful before tapping the card against his leg. "I agree with what you said, however. I don't like war, but I suppose it is natural, but done for the wrong reasons."
For a moment he falls silent again, looking at her before he nods. "I will go to this office you speak of because what you've said sparks my interest. And also because I have nowhere else to go. Would be nice to find somewhere to belong, yes? I can't go home. Left for a reason."
'Rei' nods and smiles. "I am glad to have made a favorable impression. Not everyone finds my speeches so interesting. I apologize for that. It is a habit of mine that I am trying to break. Still, it seems to sway all the right people. Usually, at least." Turning her attention back on the building across the way, she starts to stand up from the bench again. "Somewhere to belong is always nice. More than simply nice, for some people it is… Necessary. As necessary as air for breathing or water for drinking."
Thinking silently for a moment, Kanami watches as a lady with curly blonde hair comes walking up to the old theater, glancing over her shoulder and around the area occasionally, as though she feared being seen. Time to wrap this conversation up.
"We have free guest rooms for those who need a place to stay until they have a more permanent housing situation. We can even provide three meals a day, and a limited amount of funds if one needs financial assistance. Some consider the Evolution Agenda a 'charity organization'. But we are not. We are funded by certain independent sources for the purpose of bettering the world as a whole, not just handing out free food to people. If one is homeless, we both find one a home and teach one how to maintain and REtain that home by giving education from world-class private tutors. We help with getting a job, and train one in how to do better in that job. All we ask in exchange are two things, neither of which should be difficult by any stretch of the imagination, and neither of which would be considered a 'tangible reward'. No money is being asked for, nor anything like that. Just a couple 'favors', let us call them. The exact nature of those favors will be explained in full before you commit to anything, and one need not agree to do anything at all. Further, whether one agrees or not, the free food, free place to stay, and free funds will be provided to anyone who requests such. No questions asked."
She turns towards Yuuichi and bows formally to him. "Thank you for enduring my lengthy speeches, Yuuichi-san. I hope this will not be the last time we meet. However, I have an appointment to keep with the owner of that theater across the way." She then turns away once she has received farewells from Yuuichi in return, and starts striding swiftly and purposefully across the courtyard.
"You need not apologize," Yuuichi says to Rei when she says it. He smiles at her and then looks at the card for a moment. She continues to speak on such things and he listens, nodding his head from time to time, making sure she understands that he is indeed listening, despite the fact that he is not looking directly at her when she speaks. He's just not all that comfortable watching her because of the things he thinks when he does so. Not something he's used to at all so he finds something else to do.
Then there's a woman approaching the building that Rei was watching. He watches her for a moment and then chooses to look at Rei once again, noting the way she watches the woman. He smiles at her and nods his head. "I will go to this place, I promise you. Today, even. I have nothing better to do and I am intrigued. But don't let me keep you from your business, Rei-san. It was good to meet you and I look forward to running into you again." He smiles at her and then watches her go, unable to look away, at least for the moment.