Flesh Peddling Degenerates [Mission]

Michi

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Decidedly the worst place in town... Yeah, no shit Sherlock.

The streets themselves don't look particularly intimidating unless you know what to look for. The boarded up establishments and the bare streets simply suggested that the people here were just poor. There was no crime in that, however there were eyes watching from those closed in hovels. That white glint you catch as out of the corner of your own eye that is gone when you turn your gaze towards them. Then there were the degenerates and the riffraff, mostly children and teens of ill repute that had congregated in the narrow alleys. They were up to no good, but where was the proof? Without an assault or a criminal incident, just the expression on their face and their intimidating posture. It could be one's imagination but you knew better, call it intuition or call it experience, you would keep an eye on those teens and keep them at arm's length. It was one of those moments where the fact that you had a weapon, that you could afford one, meant that you had more cash than some of these kids and they wanted what you had.

So cheap places to stay had a different sort of cost, one that you did not pay with money but you did with brawn and fleet of foot. More than likely you had already been accosted, but you might have been lucky thus far. There was a reason for coming here, a reason for staying because you could have afforded better. You could have done better. You were here because there was a name whispered in these streets that had caught your attention: Nap. A singular name with no introduction, never a physical description. Just the occasional rumor that he was a powerful 'wizard' perhaps 'necromancer' or even 'dark ninjutsuist' that had allied himself with the Daimyo. It was one of Sunagakure's best kept secrets, at least among the degenerates that human life was not valued the way it should. That lives can be bought and sold and they were for cheap. His actual location never disclosed, but some of his let's call them 'suppliers' could be traced back to here. Dubbed 'flesh peddlers' by some, there was a market for flesh:
  • Children from the streets.
  • Women from the street corners.
  • Men too drunk or strung out to fight back.

Where were they taken, what was done to them? Hard to say, but it was the first semi-solid link you had to Nao. You knew of one of the places that housed this human product, a 'harem' of sorts. After the arrest several years ago of one Haku Saborou, there was a gap in the department of companionship for sale. People wanted to be loved and touched, but some were unlovable without compensation and for some they were not necessarily paid. That was the alleged case here, a den that stunk of cheap liquor and cigarettes, of sex and self-loathing. The doors were locked at night, the ladies and men and in some cases people too young to be defined as either were not allowed to leave. That a violation of human rights alone, a fact circulated to only a few but you happened to learn this one way or another be it through pummeling someone with your fists or overhearing this fact. As a hero you might feel compelled to help for that sake alone, but that was not what had drawn you to there, but rather the fact that there was a 'man' that frequented such an establishment. Not to partake in the women or the men or even the children, but rather to take one or two with him, paying absorbent sums to do so. He seemed to seek those with chakra capacity primarily, but on rare occasion he found something else that caught his eye for whatever reason. Perverse taste? Perhaps. Something else entirely? Possible as well. The profit made by taking someone, to possibly Soons or Sora, hard to say at the moment, was passed onto the criminals that had abducted these people from the street. They were encouraged to find people that had some chakra capacity that 'would not be missed.' You were likely a potential victim once or twice if they determined you were alone and that you were capable, it would not go as well for them as it would have for the others. That likely being how you learned but that is a story only you would know.

So you were there, in a narrow alley. Eyes were on you from the boarded up houses and a handful of teens down an alley to your back. They were approaching. "Hey buddy! Yeah, you!" A kid with way too much metal in his face called out. "You got some fancy pants n'shit," he added. "You don't look like you're from around these parts here pretty boy."
 

Tao

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It's been a while since Tao has set off to Sand, years, almost a decade even, maybe more. He can still clearly remember that machine that saved him in the desert and guided him to the village. He can still remember the dark skinned people walking out in the open unlike Arcadia where they were forced to live in their own town inside the mountain, underground. Not that they wanted to leave or go to the surface, but it was still... Different. Everything was different here, and yet, the same threat was looming over humanity, even here, so far away from the barbaric Stone village. These, humanoid creatures, wearing the faces of humans, often changing them for whatever reason to look like someone else entirely, with their sharp spinning knives, with their destructive magic, with their hidden blood-lust. They are simply dangerous, and yet, they live so close to humans, and the humans don't fear them, not in Stone and not in Sand, not until they start to outwardly threaten and kill. Tao still had a hard time grasping that notion. He tried to teach some of them to be different, do to different things, beneficial things, but it was useless, they didn't care, they were amused that Tao even tried to talk them into it, he even told them about Lord Terra, a deity he made up with a story that might drive some good morals into them but, it wasn't good enough either.

Yet, Tao did not forget why he came to these deserts, it took him a while to set his sight back on the target, but he didn't forget the ruins, the corpses lining up the entirety of his field of vision, the grave sight he made for them. He was the cause of all of Tao's grief, all of his trouble, he was the single bane of his existence. Nao, in Tao's eyes was a representation and embodiment of everything that is wrong with the world, and his hope is that he'd be able to correct it by disposing of Nao once and for all. That is the purpous he had in mind when coming to this village. And about a year ago, he started hearing that name again, it was never in the open, never in a public street, and never spoken directly towards Tao. He was convinced that he finally managed to get closer to his goal. After more digging, he found out that Nao is now recruiting again, though oddly enough it was through buying people, which was... New, though not unlikely, he had the funds, he had the menpower, he might even have the influence. It all made perfect sense.

But now, Tao found himself in the black bazaar again, this place was great for that sort of information, and seems like someone that has something to do with Nao appears here from time to time too, at least thats what Tao learned. Hanging out in this part of town would be troublesome while wearing his normal attier, he would normally come with a rag of sorts, but not today, today he had his old cloths on, his uniform. He might have felt sentimental, wearing the uniform of a long dead organization he was so proud of, showing off the star crest that meant nothing to no one but him and Nao anymore, maybe it was intentional, it most likely was but he didnt even realize it. And then, after a short while of silence while moving through the narrow street, he heard a voice.

"Hey buddy! Yeah, you!"

It addressed him, at least thats what he thought, he wasnt even looking in that direction, so he turned around, head first, then the body. It was a child, sort of, he was taller than the normal children but not hairy enough to be an adult. He reminded him of that machine from the desert though, he had a lot of metal in his face too, he wondered about that, was that growing out of his face like the crystals grew out of Tao's skin? Before Tao made his remark, the kid continued

"You got some fancy pants n'shit, you don't look like you're from around these parts here pretty boy."

Tao stared at him for a good bit, with a slight tilt and a confused expression, he leaned in and attempted to poke one of the metal bits on the kid's face

"Hey, whats this sticking out? Is that a machine? Are you even human?"

His curiosity got the better of him, a random moment of relief made him forget about the important task he came to accomplish.
 

Michi

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"We got ourselves a weird one here guys!" The teen declared as he attempted to slap away your hand. "Like short-bus brains and hair like a lady," he sneered. A guy like you with a face like that would sell for a fair price, well for those people that liked girly men. That was the problem with androgyny, you were a bit of everyone's flavor (OC: Oh god I am sorry T_T). There would be a convergence, the other miscreants would approach and attempt to block your route of ingress further down the alleyway as well as egress from this narrow space. That was the point of finding a victim in a narrow space, the walls on either side limited their victim's mobility and coupled with their superior numbers the outcome to them seemed obvious. The hooligan's head would snap back, away from your curious touch and from below a fist would fly upwards into an uppercut aimed at the angle of your jaw. The teen's fist bore a pair of brass knuckles with a word embossed across the face: "attitude" on the right and "adjuster" on the left. Little would the young man with far too much facial jewelry know that he, a mere street thug was outmatched. He had no idea what you were, what you were capable of. You seemed like easy-pickings in this game of odds where the thug felt that he had the advantage because he threw a sucker punch and because his friends would swarm about the fray.

There were four others, much like the first in their Max Max-like attire, the misuse of perfectly good safety pins, the metal that seemed to grow out of their pores like crystals and their colorful, unnatural hair. Hit or miss, one of the boys. No, that was just a really ugly girl with a half shaved head would rebuke your angry playmate. "Kota, don't screw with the fucking face!" She snapped, "his pretty face would fetch us some serious coin so stop the shit!" Yeah, she had priorities, not the face. She would have cared less about that had she realized that you were not only chakra sensitive but a rather 'unique creature.' Who cares about pretty faces then? There was a market for everything in places such as this, but there was a hell of a market for the unusual and weird. You Tao were all three.

One of the men, larger than you as he did not possess the same slender build would attempt to come up from behind you and attempt to grapple you into a coke hold. Likely there would be some chaos at this point, if you was fighting back. Unlike in the movies where the opponents formed a circle around the protagonist and then patiently waited for their turn to take the hero on mono y mono, they would come at you all at once. The girl, a hypocrite that would attempt to kick you in the face with her combat boots. She was not tall but she was astonishingly flexible. Too bad she had the face of a gremlin. The big guy attempting a choke hold and failing that attempting to lock your arm's behind your back. If you were fighting back, the big guy would shout "this guy is damn strong, the hell!"

Kota, the only named thug in this scenario would attempt to punch you in the solar plexus, if held by his friend or not. The other two, smart enough as to avoid getting their hands dirty through proximity would run their hands through an array of handseals. Neither of them were shinobis, that much would be obvious if one followed the array. It was sloppy, slow and could have been performed better by the average Chuunin. Still, their rough attempt would yield a benefit. One appeared to have some natural mastery over Sand, perhaps a latent Sunaku or something similar as a wave of sand would roll in your direction, attempting to disrupt your balance and knock you to the ground. Of course he was not nearly as precise as a shinobi, his big friend, the girl and the original thug would likely all take a tumble with you if you were affected at all. "You fucker!" The girl would shout irritated, presuming she face-planted into the wall. The mark it would leave would not make her much uglier, there was a reason some girls did what they did to their face -- to make the ugly look purposeful. The big guy had enough mass to simply brace himself with a palm against one of the stone buildings that marked the perimeter of this scuffle. The third would fall backwards, catching himself with an outstretched hand. It miht have been broken, there was a snap and a curse that could not quite be defined -- it sounded like the mixture of more than one expletive.

The final guy, a bit stronger and practiced than the rest would never say a word. He was not particularly intimidating at first glance, if anything he looked like the class nerd wearing a trench coat to look a bit more bad ass. His hand motions were still rough, not quite right but they were faster and they were more importantly effective. He would attempt to encase your arms and legs in ice to restrain you. He had nearly the skill of a Jounin but he did not don the regalia of a shinobi but it was obvious that at some point, somewhere he was trained semi-effectively.

As for the rest of the street, after all this was happening in the heart of the city. The city might quake but it would be silent, observers in the windows would look down at the fray but none would intervene. It was not their way. You minded your own business if you wanted to stay alive. You did not get in the way of those kids, or any hooligan, gang member or ne'er do well for that matter when they were taking someone that you did not know. Someone that you would not miss.. They were an irrelevant. You were irrelevant. As far as they were concerned you were already dead. Hell, that was really the worst case, best case because in a place a bleak as this you had to think that way, you might be ultimately of use to them tangentially. There were three schools of thought in this part of the world.
  1. Shinobis exist as a benefit for society. They keep order and protect the weak,
  2. Shinobis are out for themselves and they don't give a shit about the average civilian. They would let them rot, so why not the other way around?
  3. It is the law of the land that only the fittest survive, if they are fit to live they will get through this on their own. This being the desert's first law.

Due to the diamond maelstrom and Sunagakure's abandonment into the depths, leaving the under-prepared civilians on the surface in other cities throughout Wind Country defenseless against the storm. Many blamed Sunagakure or hated them for abandoning them, their kin, their friends... They saw those who had chakra-based capabilities as people that could take short cuts. Why seek a foreign hardwood, traveling for months at a time when a shinobi could snap their fingers and create a whole tree. Yet somehow they were without. The same went for water, this arid expanse that could be terraformed, the skies that could be called upon to rain IF shinobis were willing to share their power for the betterment of mankind. But they weren't. This could be a paradise but instead it was hell. Everyone out for themselves. Maybe if they gave a shit about someone besides themselves they would not be getting jumped in alleyways.

That is of course if they knew that you were a shinobi. If they knew you were chakra sensitive in any way. But because, people are hypocrites, they would not intervene save you even if they thought you were a victim. Why stick their neck out for someone like you -- some pretty stranger that if they had a few fresh coins they might even enjoy in a few weeks. There was no incentive for them to do anything but watch from the safety of their shuttered homes.

Counting their chickens before they are hatched, one of them would make a big mistake. "You think we will get something from the Merchant bitch or Nao?" One of them, the big guy, used THAT name.

OC: T-2 this, I kept the descriptive nature down to get you warmed up.