Kyôbuku Kaze ôshi

Summary:
July 6th, 2014: While in Kyoto the mercenary Taskmaster is attacked by the Hand and given a business opportunity. (Emits by Deathstroke Warning: Language and Gore)

Kyoto, Japan

The Omen restaurant and streets to rooftops of Kyoto.


Characters

NPCs

  • The Hand
  • Hideko Tokamato
  • Leather Boy (phonecall)
  • Anaconda (phonecall)

Mood Music:
Yoshida Brothers- Kodo ( Inside the Sun ) Remix


Kyoto-style eggplant smothered in miso sauce. A dozen images come to mind flooding free of Taskmaster's memory palace at the scent and taste of it. He's killed men over this meal, well, once. Around him the mid-day hustle and bustle of the Omen, a restaurant located just down the hill from Ginkaku-ji Temple. A place well known for some of the best udon noodles this side of Japan.
The man known as Taskmaster is seated comfortably near one of the counter seats eating by himself. He's been here before, several times over, it's a favored stop of his when he is in this neck of the world (which isn't often at all), he's not so inflexible he needs to sit upstairs on the high backed chairs like many foreigners tend to do. Unless they're trying to be respectful and look foolish by contorting themselves to sit below on the traditional tatami style seating. This merc though? Nope. He's a flexible sort. Broad shoulders with short cropped hair done in a buzzcut style fashion the rather forgettable features of the warrior stand out only due to his heavy brow and that thousand yard stare in dark eyes that comes and goes. Scars riddled knuckles easily roll as chopsticks are manipulated between them. Keeping to himself he is quietly listening to the conversation in quick Japanese behind him being held by an elderly Japanese couple. Locals who don't like his smell apparently. He thought with his new Calvin Klein cologne he smelled kinda nice, personally. Can't please 'em all. Kill 'em, but not please 'em.

The conversation he was listening to trails off after a moment or two, the elderly couple either having run out of insults or food or both, get up and leave. In fact, the whole place seems to have gotten a bit… quiet. Sigh. A quick glance will tell Taskmaster that indeed, the whole place as just… emptied out in the time it took him to enjoy 3 bites.

"Well shit." Clear and perfect English. Words mumbled in to a mouthful of noodles as they just got their first bite. A casual glance over his shoulder and he goes back to slurping down his udon. He paid for it, authentic food going to waste would be sinful. Not bothering to move from his spot he stays where he is, trying his damnedest to enjoy his meal even though he's got one of them… shits gonna go down feels. It's instinct coupled with experience and good ole fashion uncommon sense.

The faintest, barest flicker of dark red is his only warning as the air is suddenly filled with a hail of throwing stars. They blow apart the fragile bamboo shutters and cut neat holes through the paper hangings in the inside of the restaurant, dozens of the lethal razor edged stars whistling his way.

One moment sitting with legs folded the next the former SHIELD Agent turned criminal combat instructor and one of the highest paid mercs in the world is doing a one handed cartwheel while catching a throwing star on the bottom of his noodle bowl. One that would have embedded itself right between the eyes. He's not superhuman like Captain America or Deathstroke but his technique is flawless, a perfect copy of old school Bucky footage.

"Good manners are just too hard to find anywhere ya go."

It's shocking how silent they are. But then, if they were louder they wouldn't be ninjas. The small place is suddenly home to a solid dozen men in reddish garb that covers every inch of their bodies, slits in the clothes over their faces revealing shadowed eyes beneath. There's a soft whisper as wakizashis clear sheathes all around the room, two of them lift short re-curved bows while another two swiftly assemble naginata's from staff like sections that were tucked into their belts. As one, they attack, the arrows leading the way with surprising speed. The pull on the bows must be impressive.

"Someone's fuckin' with me right? Who is the funny guy? Goddamn ninjas." Taskmaster grins, a real grin, no Image Inducer worn right now. The man is simply an unarmed suit wearing mook lookin' American facing down a horde of deadly shadow assassins. The chopsticks are held up in the hand not containing the bowl the bowl is spun on his fingertips before he asks, "Who gets to die by what?" Staring at one of the ninja's holding a naginata he answers his own question, "You look like a chopstick kinda guy." Those words leave his mouth and that sliver of wood is launched with the accuracy of a professional dart slinger. Right for the eyeball. The bowl whips out and slaps an arrow causing it to shatter but to also deflect the projectile while a spin is undertaken, one that kicks up a mess of left behind food and tea, nothing more than debris and distraction meant to pelt the nearest wakizashi bladed ninja-henchies. His mind already in gear watching them move and trying to place their possible clan or instructors, also an escape route. Always need an exit strategy and route.

When the chopstick hits the ninja in the eye, apparently he was a little slow getting his weapon assembled and looked up at just the wrong time, the ninja's head snaps back and he falls to the floor. Or more accurately stated, his clothing falls to the floor in a heap as there is a flash of greenish light and a puff of dust from the now vacated facemask. Oh good. It's the Hand. And like that, a dozen ninjas descend on Taskmaster with glinting blades waving, weaving, all as one. They move to box him in, coming in from almost every angle, trying to force him into a corner, to contain him.
Not a shocker… they're good.

"Uhm, no." The Hand.
Screw the Hand.

Fun just turned to not so fun.

Nobody puts baby in a corner." When facing ninjas why not quote Patrick Swayze? At least he isn't trying to kick them yelling 'Roadhouse' every foot lash.

"Alright I do deserve to be stabbed for that one." Not that he wants to be, he also doesn't want to mess with the hand. The upper balcony gets a glance and then a leap towards, his hand latching the flooring there to begin dragging himself up. No equipment makes this a huge disadvantage.

Balanced upon the railing having gone from fight mode to flight mode upon instant recognition of who they are he tries to negotiate while determining his escape route, "Any one of you quiet son of bitches want to tell me whats up? I don't want to be part of your creepy cult. I declined y'all in the past. So… give a brother a pass here and just leave off. I don't fuck with your biz, you don't fuck with mine. Thought we had a healthy relationship." He's not so much talking with them as at them.

At them indeed. The Hand followed with almost super human agility, leaping off of support poles and even each other to land lightly on the balcony he escaped to, ducking low they begin to charge him, weapons held in low cross guards as more and more ninjas begin to leap up to the balcony. At least here he's got them in a narrower location, closing off their numbers advantage. A little.

"Not big on conversation. Got it." Taskmaster is unfortunately for them. He's almost as talkative as Spider-Man or Deadpool some days. Tucking his shoulder down he lunges forward slamming through one of them that is mid leap using the man's body to cushion a drop back down where they'll collide with the floor and he'll pick up and race right back out the front door. "Hah!" Shouted back at them as he clears the building to hit the stone walk way and street out front. Too many to fight. They'll wear him down and kill him and he knows this. A leap and a jump he bounces off a mini that is trucking by to slap to the side of an opposing building, beginning a rather fast run away from the horde of zombie shinobi.

Meanwhile fishing his cellphone out, thumb pressing contact numbers, "Hey! This is Task…" No idea who he called yet. Could be anyone! He's got a decent buddylist.

Running.

Much running and leaping.

There's no sound of 'oaf' or anything when Task's shoulder hits the ninja in the chest, driving him into the floor, just a satisfying thump and crunch. Once he's out and running, a quick glance to either side is all that's required to show Taskmaster that the roofs of the buildings to either side of him show a few red clad shadows flicking along the steeply pointed buildings like they were sprinting down a sidewalk and not ledges only four inches wide. From time to time there's the 'thunk' or 'ting' sound of a throwing star hitting something near him as he leaps an obstacle.

"Who is this?" The voice on the other line asks."Taskmaster you dipshit, who is this?"

"OH MY GOD TASKMASTER!? It's ME LEATHER BOY!"

"Oh hell nah, fuck you, I thought I deleted you." His thumb clicks another button and he evades another barrage of throwing stars, his heart beating in his ears already. "Working for the Baroness is making me lazy. I'm feeling it… balls."

A backflip to bounding jump plants him next to two red clad assailants one of them gets a kick to the throat and the other is elbow smashed in the center of the face. "Hey, who do I have on the line? I need to know why the Hand is after me."

"This is Bla… Anaconda. Why're you calling me at this godawful hour and why does it sound like you've been dancing or working out or wors…"

"Blanche, just shut up. Ask the rest of your scaley fuckbuddies why I am being attacked by the Hand!"

Another voice chimes in, "HI Anaconda! It's me Leather Boy! Taskmaster called me too. I'm just sitting here shaving my cat, what are you doing?"
"Holy fuck I thought I hung up on you. Go die you weird little shit."

"No I think you put us on conference call, dickhead. Hey Anaconda, are you guys recruiting?"

"Ugh. Taskmaster I will call you back. Don't die."

"Wait don't han-

*click*

"Fuck me." Taskmaster's come to a taller structure, one he can't scale and he is being penned in like cattle.

The first Ninja doesn't make a sound as his throat is crushed, he merely falls to his knees clutching at his neck as the clothing he wears begins to appear more and more baggy, greenish light flickering from inside the hood. The second's head snaps back from the blow, rocking him and forcing a stumble with a crunch of bone, but then he's off after Taskmaster again, ignoring pain and breathing issues that would bother a lesser ninja. You know, like the kind that actually felt pain. Or breathed.

As he comes to an end, breathing heavily, Taskmaster must realize the same thing that most of the Hand's victims realize when they flee. The Hand do not tire, and so flight of any kind that is not the literal definition only serves to weaken you before the inevitable end. That said… there are only nine now and infinite hordes of mystical zombie ninjas are not raining from the sky, so there's that. Short straight edged swords are pulled from sheathes in a single smooth motion, the whisper of the blades filling the otherwise quite street.

Well that's creepy. There should be at least traffic, right? Damn. Emptying a block of Kyoto isn't exactly /easy/…

Hand Ninjas are not exactly like other Ninjas. They're obviously scarier and not so much alive as one would prefer them to be when one is trying to kill them or even escape from them. Taskmaster's back is to a wall and he exhales deeply, one hand coming up in front of him wrist up as the other curls in like it's ready to rip out a jugular.
It is.
He is unarmed, ruined a nice suit and getting tired of running facing off against nine supernatural shadow assassins. Nothing else going for him now but to fight back and hopefully not die. Maybe this is like he initially thought and some stupid ass prank. "Alright ya freaky fucks. Class is in session and I bet not a one of you brought me an apple so that means no kid gloves." Lifeless each one of them with no sense of humor and no desire to fire back any kind of cheesy puns. That makes this even less enjoyable. Almost mimicking Bruce Lee, Taskmaster waves them on with his fingers. "C'mon."

…The squelching noise caused by Inside things finding their way to the Outside via great pressure and a small hole in one's abdominal wall is not one that anyone ever forgets. Staring into the eyes of the last of Hand as it glows a sudden sickly pale green and then desiccates to dust so close that Taskmaster's puff of heavy breath causes the cloud to move away from him, the mercenary takes a breath to look around. Nine more piles of crimson clothing, three broken swords, a trash can lid bent double, two car wind shield's spiderwebbed from impacts, countless abrasions, knicks, lacerations, bruises, what feels like one sprained wrist, owie… And of course the broken part of that sword sticking clean through the meaty portion of his thigh, juuuuuuuuuust close enough to femoral artery that Taskmaster's encyclopedic knowledge of anatomy tells him walking without removing the blade would be idiotic, and removing it without taking his time would be only slightly stupider.

While pondering this conundrum, there comes a gentle soft clapping sound and a Japanese man, older from the amount of black peppering his silver hair, eyes Taskmaster approvingly. His eyes are hard, his jaw square, there's a scar along his neck just under his ear that came from a blade, and the man moves like someone that knows how to move. Not surprising there. The hands that clap hold a single gold ring on each finger and there's just the barest hint of colored ink peeking from his tailored suit sleeve. "My name is Hideki Tokamoto and you are everything is it preported to be. I recognized four of the styles you implemented, but many were alien to me. I would like to discuss that later. For now, may I offer you medical attention, free of charge, while you and I discuss a business proposal?"

"Since I haven't learned how to fly yet that'd be a good call." Taskmaster rasps out, "You'll pardon me if I don't plan on just gettin' up 'n doing no respectful bows or nothin'. Even as grand Pokemon overlord mastery soundin' ass your name is." Nope - he is going to sound like one of /those/ Americans and just not move right now as he tries to focus on keeping all the blood in his body and the pain subdued. Because he'd really like to call for his mommy or something equally unmanly about now.

Hideki nods and claps once, this time harder as he turns his back on Taskmaster and moves away. From around the corner come the Japanese medical service members and police who's been studiously ignoring all of this violence for the last… what? Five minutes since he started running? The ninja clothing is picked up by cops, and evidence on whole is being cleaned up at a rate that's both shocking and also predictable. Cops remove weapons and weapon bits, the signs of violence are removed with a neat clean efficiency except for the windshields which are simply made better by bills of currency placed beneath windshield wipers, obviously to compensate for damages and buy silence. Meanwhile the medics get to work putting Taskmaster on a gurney carefully and then wheeling him into the back of a waiting… limo? The limos interior is more ambulance then limo, save the very comfy looking leather couch seat at the back currently occupied by Hideki.

The man watches placidly as Task's pants are cut away from his groin, IV's are run, and the short clipped chatter of medical professionals at work fills the otherwise total silence of the soundproofed limo. This guy owns a sound proofed limo with an ambulance like kit in the back complete with observers chair. One imagines it's not that often used to actually /save/ a life. "You have proved to be as advertised Mr. … I apologize, I do not know how to address you without sounding ridiculous."

"T works." Short form for Taskmaster, Tony or ContingencyT, it doesn't matter in the long run -what matters is getting stitched up and not feeling so helpless. He keeps a vigilant eye on what the medical techs do to him while still talking with Mr. Tokamato. Even being thoughtful enough to switch to fluent Japanese. "Seeing this set up? I'm listening." Things as they are it's not all bad facing off against the Hand. You always pick up some new moves.

When he swaps to Japanese, everyone in the limo seems to go still for a moment, except Hideki who only grins slightly. "Mr. T." he says, as thought that name also amused him. Someone needs to do a 'pity da fo' joke immediately. No one does. "I work for a man of means and power who is currently under challenge for a claim to something he desires. A challenge of single combat to be carried out two months from now. We will provide you with footage of this man in combat, you will then teach my employer how to defeat said man. For this training you will be paid three million dollars. Far in excess of your regular fee as we will be monopolizing your time."

"I'm going to assume medical expenses, physical therapy and my masseuse will be paid for also and /not/ part of that 3 mil." Situating himself Taskmaster gets a little more comfortable, propping up on one elbow. The Mr.T stuff wouldn't go over his head he'd just ignore it despite the fact he's a big fan of the A-Team, particularly Murdock and the Colonel. "Two months should be plenty of time. Your employer isn't some doughy chump I hope. I can mold anyone in to a killing machine just takes a bit more time if hes some sedentary spoiled lifestyle yutz who can barely lift himself off the toilet." Task knows how these Japanese elite sorts are with manners and respect but right now he feels like he just ran through a giant paper shredder and all that customary crap is currently out the window.

The medics grow still as the man speaks, and one of them, holding the broken blade in Taskmaster thigh glances over at Hideki who stares at Taskmaster with a look of stony blankness. Then he ever so slightly shakes his head and the medic in question returns to his work, slooooowly withdrawing the blade from Task's now numbed thigh, instead of simply ripping it out and to the side as punishment for his disrespect. Perhaps we be bitchy when we're not under the knife? "Mr. T, I was going to allow you some small leeway in regards to attitude for your recent difficulty. You have used that leeway up in it's entirety." Hideki informs him coldly. "Keep that in mind while my medical team continues to pump fluids into your body and inject you with various medications."

"Shee-it… that was just a question." The man's face contorts and warrior sits back. "Anymore details or can I pass out now? I'm seriously thinking it's best I just keep my trap shut until you got more for me." That and the pain has returned along with a bit of the spins. Business, always just business with these sorts. He's usually up to snuff but the delivery… Taskmaster knows when to fold and right now it's time to just go with the flow and go the opportunistic route. Something he does naturally, anyhow.

Hideki seems to relax ever so slightly, "No." he says simply, "You may rest. When you wake we will discuss what comes next with my employer, who I stress is not as tolerant of your Western etiquette as I am." he nods once to one of the medics and instantly Taskmaster's world begins to fade at the edges, narrowing down to a tunnel, a speck, and then nothingness. Once he's out the medics removed the blade and then look over at Hideki who sighs, leans forward, and lays a hand on Taskmaster's thigh with a disgusted look. His hand glows, the wound begins to close and then eventually seals shut with a scab before the Japanese man pulls his hand away. One of the medics immediately offers a wet nap that /reaks/ of rubbing alcohol and disinfectant, which the Japanese man takes and uses to thoroughly clean the hand that touched Taskmaster. He presses a button on the side of the car, "We must be in solitude for what comes next. We shall go to the Nagasaki grounds. See to it all preparations are made and let Hadara-San know we are on our way." he looks back to the slumbering American and sighs heavily, "With the foreigner." then he releases the button and sits back in his seat, letting the medics clean up the mess that was made. This is going to be a long two months.


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