To Find Kida, One Must Be Blessed

January 3, 2015: Reese and Hal visit the Shinto Temple for a blessing on their travels.

Shinto Synagogue

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  • Yama-uba
  • Oni

Mood Music:

"Let's go find your friend." Were the last words he said to her. Technically, they were not, but she put him off for at least a few hours to tie something up with another. This one, she was determined to at least leave a note behind to let him know that this was wanted, and that eventually, she'll return.

She did not call Hal until she was on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, standing in front of the Shinto synagogue that looks worn down upon the outside, a serious code violation for sure.

She was set to playing with the device again, shaking it against her ear, even speaking into it as she remains upon the steps. This time, she wore a decent jacket, shoes, an actual walking stick for the blind, and a bookbag. She was ready to travel, and look like an actual person doing it.

Winters would do that to the poor.

Hal Jordan could show up and just fly her, after all, swooping her up and whisking her away in a blur of motion and energy, suddenly transporting so they could get on the case. Of course, that would require a bit of explanation, some hemming and hawing, maybe her running away from the freaky man who says he works for aliens. So, instead, he does a much more natural thing and just rents a car.

Hal pulls up in a Toyota SUV, turning off the engine and stepping out. He has on a heavy fleece jacket and a stocking hat pulled down to cover his ears. He has a bag with a supplies packed away although, frankly, he can easily just pop back to California if he needs something else.

"Road trip time. I hope you don't mind classic rock - it won't make a difference if you don't, but you'll find the ride more pleasant."

The sound of the car causes her to tense, her head lowering as she tries to become all unassuming, that was until she heard the voice, her head popping up with a slight smile. "We're driving?" She asks, she had almost forgotten about that aspect of travel. It was quicker, though not much safer than say.. flying. In an airplane.

She stands up from the steps, the walking stick held aloft as she carefully descends the steps, gesturing him closer so that she doesn't have to make the walk back. "Come here. We need to talk."

She pauses, knowing Hal thus far? "This is serious." Just to clear that up.

Hal Jordan considers for a moment "I guess we could fly, but I can't stand being in a plane flown by anybody else and using a private plane would probably be both a little show-offy and kind of unnecessary. Even I don't think we should burn about seven hundred bucks of Jet fuel just to get from one city to the other," he grins.

At the request for a serious conversation, though, he walks up, with his hands in his pockets of his jacket, although he does get in one last quip, "Serious conversation. Uh oh, I'm in trouble."

She shakes her head. "I think I may get vertigo or something. I haven't flown for a very long time." Once he steps close, she pulls the walking stick upright to fold and snap into sections, which was soon stuffed within the pockets of her borrowed jacket. She then reaches out with both hands, grasping his coat to tug him close, but she doesn't let go.

"You're not in trouble." Her smile was warm, but then her face grows serious.

"I need to go inside and do something just before I leave. And I'm going to need you to trust me."

She pauses. "I.. I don't know how much I should say. But you're going to see things on this trip with me. Things that may seem strange or even weirder than I am. And I don't want you to be afraid, okay? I'll protect you from it."

And she says this.. to the fucking Green Lantern.

Which is why it's so fucking awesome that she's blind, because that way, she can't see the look on his face as she promises to protect him. Incredulity, curiosity, a barely suppressed urge to laugh. But he can tell she's serious and he doesn't want to make her feel mocked. She doesn't know who he is, after all, not really, and he already knew there was more to her than meets the eye. Homeless blind girls didn't often go on quests or seeking out mysteries.

"I've got a pretty strong constitution, in every way imaginable. I think I can handle anything you throw at me, but I promise, if I can't, I'll hide behind you the moment I feel in danger.' he says.

Not knowing who he was? Probably was a blessing for him. But she was serious, she would protect him with her life, her long life if she needed to.

"Good." She smiles, laughing just a little as her head shakes. "We're going to go inside to pay respects. I have to, at least. I usually do whenever I leave New York City, just in case I'm late in coming back."

She slowly side-steps him, her arm looping into his so that he could lead the way. "I trust you, Hal."

Hal Jordan is made more uneasy by being trusted, perhaps, than anything. He doesn't know if he's earned that level of trust yet, but he'll do his best to live up to it. He looks up at the shrine and helps to guide her along, although she's fairly sure footed, just making sure she doesn't stumble or miss a step.

"I'm guessing there's not going to be a font of holy water for me when I go in," he says. "Let's just hope your gods don't feel the need to have a throwdown with Jesus. My soul's not worth it, I promise," he says.

With him, she walks sure, the smile fading as they near to the double doors after the courtyard was breached with their presence. She could feel it even if he couldn't, the staunch feeling in the air, the way it seemingly gotten a little bit harder to breath, the unusual warmth that without his ring, would have been present.

"It's nothing like that." She says, but leans in to press her cheek against his arm. For her comfort instead of his. "Your soul is worth it. Everyone's is. You have a lot more to give than I, right about now. You just don't know it yet."

Once the double doors were reached, she slowly lets go of his arm, her hands reaching out to push against, caving it inward with just that one motion. "This is the Shinto Temple. Presumably abandoned."
Hal Jordan finds himself checking in with his ring just to be sure. He fully charged before he packed for the trip, although the lantern, looking like little more than a regular coleman lantern, lay amidst his things in the back, as if he were loaded for a camping trip and not a journey to a major metropolitan area. He figured gods was probably just a fancy term for aliens who liked to make woo and get humans to give them stuff, if they were real at all.

Regardless, if any of them thought they were gonna mess with Hal or Reese, he'd make sure they got their ass kicked back to whatever plane of existence they called "Tuiofeiwoiutyo" (He was just guessing on the pronunciation, he didn't speak Japanese).

As the doors fully open, Reese steps inside without Hal. The hall itself was vast, pillars that reached the ceiling nearly ruined and bent, the balcony up top meant for worship dusted and webbed over. Papers scattered the oaken floor, and a few of the slats seemingly were up-risen. There were even a nest of rats in the corner, who soon skittered into the hole in the wall at the appearance of the two.

Candelabras were strewn across the way, old, dusted mats strew about, ruined pillows that probably reeked of pee were also tossed about. It was then that she reached for his hand, and it was possible that the ring would pick up on it. The supernatural way the air flowed through the room.


The ring didn't necessarily react, but he found himself putting up a shield anyway, a soft sheathe of invisible energy to encircle both of them. It would only keep out physical attacks, but that was enough to start. Hal kept his pace stead, not a bit of hesitation, "I'm always ready," he says, and it's not bragging this time or even some sort of joke. He is. That's just who Hal Jordan is.

As they move further inside, he looks around, taking in the worn and broken appearance of the temple, "I'm surprised it hasn't been kept up. Surely you can't be the only Shinto in the city," he says.

But it was. The only Shinto in the city. For as soon as the cross the third pillar, the room begins to change around them. It was like a bleed effect; the darkness of the place soon was replaced with a candelabra that shone with the fires of the candles lit. The floors, all repaired, waxed, pillows aligned in a form of worship, elaborate and decorative.

The steps ahead of them, lined with silk that blows in an unknown breeze, a lone figure within the dark who sets upon a bedding, surrounded by fire.

"WHO GOES THERE?!" The woman's voice crones. She sounded haggard, looked even so as she slowly begins to move. Her body was at a hunch, fingers long and threatening.

Reese kept moving forward with Hal in tow, her hand gripping his tighter than need be. Hopefully the ring could protect him from the pain, for she usually hates this part and felt comfort with him accompanying her.

"Takeda Seikatsu." She calls out, glancing in Hal's direction to follow her lead. "Great Grand Daughter of the Fifth Seat General under Oda Nobunaga's command. Grand Daughter of Takeda Shingen. Daughter of Takeda Ujizane. I am here to offer tribute and receive blessing."

Hal Jordan can't help but increase the shielding, the green glow around them growing stronger. He won't interrupt, as its clearly something that Reese knows, knows what she's doing, but he can't help but think the typical Westerner's thoughts when confronted with the incredible, exotic mysterious of ancient Nippon and the fabled East."

«What in the living fuck is going on here? Who's this crazy bitch? I thought she was gonna, like, throw some salt around or some shit.» he thinks.

The curtains are drawn back with a wave of her hand; a haggard old woman steps down from her bedding to stand before them both expectantly.

"And whooooo is this young man.." Could she see the glow? It was questionable. Would she acknowledge it? Possibly not. She wanted her tribute, nothing more.

"Harold Jordan." Reese speaks up, her chin lowering as she kneels, the pillows soft beneath her knees as her hand remains into his. He did not need to kneel. It was not asked.

"And does he pay tribute as well?"

Reese shakes her head slowly. "Only if he wants blessing, Yama-uba."

Hal Jordan dims the glow, at least, although he still has a sense of the eldritch, goosebumps on his arms. Probably just his being paranoid, though, or the drama of Reese's words or his own, inherent fear of little old ladies. Hey, you never met Grandma Jordan, that woman could tan your hide.

"Pay unto Caesar's what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's," he says, paraphrasing the Bible a little bit, "I'm not sure you're either one. But respect, respect I can give. Beyond that, I can't offer payment until I know the price,' he says, squeezing a bit more firmly on Reese's hand. This was clearly important to her, "I'll do whatever Reese needs me to do." he says, simply.

Reese holds her breath. She put her trust into Hal, and now it was time to put it to the test.

The old woman stares down Hal, weighing him inch by inch, his words frowned upon, glowered, and soon.. relaxed features dominate her features. "I find this acceptable." She states, respect was all she needed from one like him. There was no talks of price given, since he was a guest of Seikatsu, she would heavily pay the toll.

Reese looks up into his direction and lowers her head again, a little smile drawing upon her lips until the suddenness, and coldness of the hand touches her chin. "He is smart. Little one. Unlike the other one you brought me not too long ago." The old crone grins, teeth blackened.

"Give me my payment and blessing shall be unto you both."

The hand that held onto Hal's was slowly drawn away, hands soon clasped together in mock prayer but.. like Hal's green, her own began to enimate blue, a small film of light flowing around her hands, expanding into that of a ball near her palms which forces her hands to part ways. It wasn't large, only baseball sized, but it was enough for the old woman to greedly snatch the light from her hands to shove it down into her gullet.

Hal Jordan keeps his features still, not registering surprise, although he certainly feels it. Perhaps he shouldn't - his intuition told him that there was something different, special about Reese, but he'd thought of that special aspect to her in different terms than anything superhuman. He watches the old woman snatch and eat the light that's generated and the green glow flares again around them, this time stronger and radiating a bit.

"If that's what your blessing looks like lady, remind me to bring a barf bag for your curses."

As the woman swallows, she seems.. revitalized. Her skin ripples and peels to reveal something underneath.. no. Someone underneath that's much younger, more full of life. The hair slowly changes into a color darkened than gray, fingers shrink into something a little bit more delicate. With just that small ball of light alone, she was made young again, and the laugh from Hal's quip was merry and joyful. "You /are/ a funny one." She states, the clothing that she wore previously hung tight against her form.

Yama-uba was beautiful in her youth, lively, more spritely. And as her hands lift, small, blue flames seem to decorate the space surrounding them.

"The Hitodama grants you both safe travels."

And.. that was it. That was all that Reese came for, and to pay tribute to an old friend long forgotten. In life, Yama-uba was just like her. But in death, the life she once had was forgotten and anger took it's place. Reese's tribute was nothing save for guilt for being outlasting. For never dying when she should have.

Reese stood now, her hand seeking Hal's again as she turns towards Yama-uba. Her head tilted slightly to the side. "And is there more?" She asks, leaning a little more into Hal, because where the Hitodama were concerned? There always was.

Hal Jordan starts to walk off with Reese but, of course, she pauses, looks back towards Old Lady Creepo-Sama and asking for more. Never ask for more. Just be glad you got off easy. More was never good. More was always "And don't forget to skip every third step or thou shalt fall into the burning abyss" or something like that.

He'd watched a lot of old movie serials as a kid.

Whatever was going on, the idea that Reese and that thing were anything close to the same doesn't really click to him. He is, however, plenty intrigued by just what is going on with his new friend. She's some some splainin' to do.

Yama-uba stands aside as Hal made moves to leave. She was fine with it. The warning would come either way.

"The Hitodama have a message for you both. The path you currently walk will not take you where you need to be." And.. that was that. She only bows her head as the trail of light, the Hitodama, mark their passage outwards.

Reese's gaze falters for but a moment, her gaze drawing up towards Hal, her shoulders slumping with the need to actually rest. But she wouldn't, not there. She just wanted out. Each visit was increasingly worse than the last, and each bit of news caused her to withdraw into seclusion. But now, it wouldn't be the case.

"Hal.." Reese murmured quietly, her knees slightly wobbled as she hangs onto his arm. If he weren't here? She'd have collapsed upon the floor and left in the morning.

Hal Jordan immediately offers Reese his shoulder, dipping enough to get it under her arm and provide her with all the support she needs. He tries not to glare resentfully over his shoulder at the old lady and, of course, fails, giving her a quick narrow eyed "this is your fault" gaze. He considers pointing at his eyes and pointing at her, but it's probably not a cross-cultural signal.

"Good thing we weren't planning to walk, then," he says on the way outside. "I rented a car.

Hal probably would have had to dip a wee bit far. She was a foot shorter, but it was made to work and he assisted her as best as she allowed, her feet often times straying from the ground, her full weight (which is really, really light, someone needs a buffet) upon his shoulder.

As they clear the temple, Reese finally lets out a sigh, still holding onto him for dear life. "I'm glad. I don't think we would have left if you didn't."

In the temple, however.. something far more sinister is at play, as it had for the past two hundred years.

Each of the Hitodami present slowly begins to turn black, their flames a lot higher, more menacing. Each of them form into their respective oni, demons that stood before her now, amassed, demons that Reese herself gave to her, borne from the souls of the unworthy.

"That half-breed bitch gives me little by little, every time." Yama-abu rants, stalking off towards her makeshift bedchambers, her hand lifting to her gaze to be inspected. "I can't wait another ten years to take all of her energy. You all know what to do. Follow her. Drain her dry, and bring her corpse back to me. I suspect the Jikininki would love to have a taste. And Hal Jordan. I want him /alive/."

One by one, the black Hitodama disappear…

Hal Jordan isn't yet aware of the darkness that's begun to hunt them. If he did, that particular temple would likely get blown to smithereens, regardless of any cultural value or historical meaning it might possess. Sometimes, a man's just gotta blow up a god damn building.

To make things easier, he just scoops Reese fully up into his arms, carrying her and letting her wrap her arms around his neck, in the traditional posture, all fireman-like as he heads back towards the car.

"I'm not going to push you too hard about all of that. I've got my own stuff, that I think I'll probably have to explain to you at some point. But I would like to just point out that was some crazy shit and there's no way that the lady who just ate energy you pulled out of yourself is a nice person. Like, no way."

He opens the door to the SUV with his ring, popping and swinging it so he can set her down and he actually places a soft kiss at her temple, 'Get some sleep and I'll get us on the road. And then you can explain some things to me when you wake up…" he says, closing the door carefully and giving one last baleful glance at the temple. No. Discipline. The Lantern's might wasn't meant to be used for personal grudges - but he couldn't help but feel there was real evil there to be confronted. Getting Reese away safely, though, had to be the first priority.

"Under different circumstances, I would consider this romantic." It was her own turn to be funny, but still, she held onto him, burying her face into his neck. His words though? They were not ignored in the slightest. It was almost as if he were scolding her on her choice of friends; and just wait til he gets a load of crazy Kida. That was for sure.

"I know Hal.." She confesses, tiredly. "I know."

As he puts her into the car, she leans forward enough to slow shrug the bookbag from her back, shifting it around so that she could put it upon the floor at her feet. She did have a lot of explaining to do. She just didn't know how much, but he allowed her time and that was enough for her.

Once the door was carefully shut, she felt around for the seat belt, pulling it down to strap over herself as she leans sideways to rest her head against the window, falling asleep there after.

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