Date: July 4, 2014
Now begins the power struggle in Fuuma Alley’s gambling strip. Reina and Nanashi go to meet a powerful business man, and decide whether his job offer is more trouble than its worth.
"Fortune and Infamy - Time to Gamble"
Reina had come to Nanashi the day before and warned it. They were about to consider a very dangerous job, and if Nanashi had anything to wrap up, or anything to prepare, now would be a good time to do it. It's early in the morning, so early it's still dim, that Reina would come to fetch Nanashi. The streets already have people moving to work, but it's not the usual thick, deafening flood that it'd be in the afternoon or evening.
Reina has cut her hair. Thick bangs and layered ends that barely touch her shoulders. She wears a long, open coat. She's not trying to disguise herself, but it's definitely a new look. "We're meeting a prospective client," Reina says quietly. "Be very ready. Also…how are you this morning?" She gives Nanashi a mockingly cheerful smile.
The look Nanashi chose for today is a touch more feminine than its normal choices, bearing pink shoulder-length hair and almost soldier-esque attire. Fun thing for this creature, it gets to change looks literally as often as it wants and to whatever it wants. Standing across from Reina, Nanashi nods at her statement then blinks a bit at her question. It pauses a moment before reaching to place a hand on her shoulder, almost like it's going to hug her, but then it starts drumming on her shoulders with its fingers. 1 2 3 4… 1 2 3 4… 1 2 3 4… That pretty much sums up how Nanashi is always doing.
Reina frowns when Nanashi drums out that beat. "It never stops…how do you sleep?" She doesn't wait for an answer, but continues down the main road, then along a branching path. They reach the entertainment district and go to a casino which has a pink and green neon sign blazing, 24/7. The windows are grimy with soot from the factories, but one can still see the personnel inside, moving around to prepare for the day. The door is locked, but they don't even have to knock before it's being opened.
"We were expecting you," a woman in a white yukata says. "Please follow me." She floats along gracefully through the establishment, which is relatively classy inside. Through the main area, the lounge, down a hall, and then a knock at a metal door. "Your morning appointment, Daichi-sama," the woman says.
On the other side, a lock is unlocked. And then something grinds as if some machine is moving. Then, the door swings open into a large bedroom. It has a bed with a canopy, and in it lays a sick, old man. He's unconscious and emaciated. It looks as if one good blow will do him in. From the richly furnished room, the man is both very sick and very rich. Beside his sickbed sits a middle aged man with straw colored hair.
The guard who opened the door looks like a gangster. A leather coat with a high collar, and an outrageous pompadour sticking almost a foot out in front of his head. He gives Reina a scrutinizing look, and doesn't even take his eyes off Nanashi. But the man by the sickbed says, "This is my father. He's close to death. And so am I soon enough?" He turns to them both. "Have you ever fought an assassin, Miira-san?"
Reina doesn't answer. She says instead, "I'm sorry about your father. My condolences." She glances at Nanashi to see what it might say.
Since Reina doesn't wait for an answer, Nanashi doesn't bother to give one. Rather, it lets small bits of sand flake off of it at seemingly random spots to use to inspect the area. It looks to the woman at the door as they walk in, inspecting her curiously for a few moments as they walk, almost enough to make the woman blush, though it's likely that Nanashi's only just found a new look it wants to try. As they enter the room, it inspects the two in the room, eyes narrowing upon the sickly man before it looks to the man speaking to them. It then looks over to the guard, lifting an eyebrow and smirking at him in an almost 'I dare you' look. Seems the creature might be a bit testy today, though it remains silent.
"Thank you," Daichi says to Reina, not sounding grateful at all. "I'm in a dangerous situation. I called you in because you're one of the best. You are…"
"Not the first person you've called here," Reina says. She looks displeased. "I know about your plight. A hit has been put out on you, and more than one person has taken up the gage. And you need someone who can assassinate the assassins, yes?"
"You put it very well," Daichi said grimly.
"Assassins who've already killed a score of your personnel, and taken a huge chunk out of the bounty hunter crowd you hired, in the past couple days," Reina says. "Days. You waited days to send for me. You don't think of us as your best shot, or even a good shot. To you we're expendable assets. You're thinking, 'May as well pay every third rate mercenary I can, since I might be dead within the day.' I should kill you just for disrespecting me."
That makes the guard tense up. Reina doesn't even glance at him. She's looking at Daichi who has now stood up. His jaw is clenched. "Tao is after me," he says. "And Shizuka. My personnel and the hunters I hired took down Akito, but they were killed by Shiri. Kill all three of them and… well, I'm inheriting five casinos soon. You can have the Lagoon. To sell or run as you please, in full rights."
That makes Reina blink. That's…a large price. Well, he had said as much. She glances over at Nanashi, and then back to Daichi. "And if we kill only one? Or two?" she says. "And then someone conveniently manages to take out the third before we can?"
Daichi says, "I'm… that's unlikely to happen. We can figure that out if it happens, though the chances are small." Sure. Small. Reina sighs, very lightly.
Nanashi is silent still as Reina speaks with Daichi, glancing between them with a smirk that makes the being seemed a touch amused. Once that part of the conversation seems to wind down, Nanashi would reach up and tap Reina on the shoulder four times, in that same beat, before stepping between her and Daichi, actually walking right up to the man. "… Stand," it requests simply, though that may sound more like an order. It doesn't even look back at Reina or the guard at this point, apparently not to worried about the gangster-esque man at the exit of the room.
Those four taps. It's almost enough to make Reina shiver, despite the fact she's never cold. But as Nanashi approaches, she grabs its arm and murmurs in its ear, "Don't make light of pompadour. There's a reason no other guards are here." Though to look at the guard, he looks more like some overgrown bully, not even a proper warrior. Except he's been doing something most would find disconcerting-literally, he's never taken his eyes off Nanashi even for a second. It's as if Reina doesn't exist, which does make her grimace in annoyance a bit.
Daichi regards Nanashi curiously. And then he looks to Reina. "Is she your subordinate?" he asks.
Reina answers, "I daresay she is." Daichi turns his attention back to Nanashi and then rises to his feet, brushing a speck of dust off his sleeve. He signals for his guard to stand at ease, as he says without looking at Reina, "Is she the strongest of your allies?"
Reina doesn't even bother to answer that. She is looking now at the old man. And then she says plainly, "The plan to try and steal your inheritance would be much more difficult if you became the owner…this very instant."
Daichi says, "Yes. But I have my reasons for keeping the old wretch alive, besides prolonging his suffering." He glances at his father with no hint of affection. More like distaste, at some food that smells a bit funny after being left in the sun.
As its arm is grabbed, Nanashi looks over its shoulder at Reina, quirking an eyebrow at her then looks back to the man whose eyes are locked on it. It only smirks at him again before looking back to Daichi and waiting until he finally stands before stepping around him a couple times to inspect his form. Once that's done, in an instant its body would shift to match Daichi's, clothes and all, right down to any visible birthmarks or scars. "Rather dull person to have to turn into," its voice rings out, matching that of Daichi perfectly, as it used the entire conversation with Reina to pick his vocal patterns apart, thus its silence for most of the conversation. "Still, as long as the price is right, I suppose it's worth it… And you really don't want to know what happens if you try to yank us around." With that, it'd turn to walk back over by Reina, folding its arms over its chest and waiting.
Reina goes over to inspect the both of them. It's actually the first time she's seen Nanashi imitate someone so exactly. It's her turn to smirk when Nanashi even gets the inflection right. Daichi looks at Nanashi critically. He nods. "That's a good technique," he says. "Although you fail to capture my sparkling charisma and deadly good looks."
Daichi doesn't react to Nanashi's warning, and Reina says, "He's not an amateur client."
"I heard you were gathering your own syndicate," Daichi says. "Is it them who helped you get rid of Enju?"
Reina looks up sharply at Daichi. Her eyes are cold as she says, "I take care of my own loose ends." She waves whoever Enju is away. "As you can see, Yuki-san is a master doppleganger. You need to go underground. Find out who is putting this hit out on you, from the shadows. We'll deal with these three assassins on one condition. Hire no one else. And by the end if they're all dead and you're alive, you /will/ give us the Lagoon. Whether it's by our blades, our fire, or they accidentally trip over their own shoelaces and break their neck."
Daichi takes the time to think on that. Then he says, "Okay. But you have only until your little ruse is discovered. If they begin to come after me once again, I will hire other men, and the price will be renegotiated."
Reina says to Nanashi, "Hear that? Be convincing. Walk like he does, speak like he does, and pick your nose like he does, Daichi-kun. Hehe. Then it's done."
"Daichi-sama doesn't pick his nose," the guard says gruffly. It's the first words he's spoken.
"Got it," Nanashi says with a smirk to Reina before turning to walk to the door, stopping and looking the guard in the eyes. "Keep looking at me like that and you're going to owe me dinner," it says flatly before looking back at Reina as it waits for her to finish whatever bit of talk she's got left to do while it leans against the wall and starts quietly tapping that rhythm out once again.
When Nanashi warns the guard, Reina gives a low chuckle. "He'd probably buy you the meal, and carry on staring," she murmurs. She turns to Daichi. "You should go now. I know one of the assassins. He prefers an early kill, before the other side has a chance to prepare themselves. I'm surprised he hasn't struck already. The sooner you leave the better."
That's when there's another knock on the door. The lady with the yukata calls out, and Daichi gives her permission to enter. She does so carrying a beautifully wrapped present. Pale green rice paper, and silk golden ribbon. "Daichi-sama," she says. "I was asked to deliver this to you."
She glides over to the man, and that's when it happens. There's a fizzle that lasts a second, and then a deafening blast. Reina only just manages to leap clear of the madness, but the others have no chance. The full bodied woman is instantly multi-bodied, and spread around the room. As the smoke clears however it's shown that the guard had actually managed to react. He'd managed to shove Daichi away a bit before he took the brunt of the blast, which is why the guard is dead, scorched and hideously mangled from the force of the explosion.
Reina says, "Daichi-kun?" too loud. She is rubbing her ear which has an annoyingly high hum in it. She staggers over to the man. Scorched, broken arm, shards of glass…but still breathing. As for the old man in the bed…he hasn't even been hurt. And he's still asleep. Reina presses her lips together and turns to Nanashi. "You're Daichi-kun. You survived the blast. It'd be best to protect him like this. Or take his casinos if he dies. I'm your bodyguard. I saved you from the blast. Go out into the lobby, wait for your guard detail, and if an assassin pops up take the chance to kill him or her." She takes out a scroll, stores Daichi like a lump of potatoes, and would follow Nanashi out with a smirk. "Guess you'll be a boring man for a bit."
Nanashi would almost appear to have been obliterated, except it merely reforms just as it was, seeming more annoyed than anything. "Oh, I work at the front desk of a wealthy man who's under attack. Let me just hand this package to him without checking it for explosives," it says sarcastically as it steps over to where Reina and the injured man are, glancing at the old man and then the fresh corpse before looking down at Daichi. "Is he really any use in that state? He's gonna have to go to the hospital now, where some nurse is going to be paid to put poison in his IV drip or some other calamity will happen."
Reina looks down at the prone figure of Daichi. Then she grabs a scroll and summons a messload of containers. Crates, boxes, a coffin, and now Reina stuffs him inside a small wheeled cart. She throws a few things from the room on top of him. "I'm taking the back way out," she says, changing quickly into something that may pass for a delivery man. And then she's wheeling the cart out. "Good luck," she tells Nanashi with the same type of overly cheerful smile she'd given it this morning. When she goes out, Nanashi may not help but notice her footsteps are going to the rhythm of four beats.
Watching Reina stuff the man in a cart, Nanashi blinks a bit then shrugs its shoulders and turns back toward the front entrance. It smirks a bit at Reina's cadence and makes the same rhythm in taps of its fingers on the wall as it starts to walk back toward the entrance. "… Let's see who wants to try and kill me today…"