The smell of pipe smoke lingered with the tinge of liquor, and the sickly sweet of vomit.
Behind them, the door to the barracks had closed tightly, shutting out the light from a dimly lit cooridor. Irui's nose wrinkled at the scent. This wasn't anything like a formal Hidden Cloud outpost, he immediately thought, and he followed diligently at Sasaki's side. Irui's jaw tightened, grinding teeth, committing himself to maintaining the Transformation technique. He'd felt it slipping the moment they'd crossed the threshold, and now they were being led into the belly of the beast.
Through a sliding door they went, passing into a room decorated sparingly. The boy's eyes crossed to the alcohol lining the shelf, then to the men sprawled out at the bar and seats. He wondered what his mother would say about all this later-- bringing an impressionable child into a drug den, she'd holler aloud--it brought a smile to the gloomy, and strange situation.
These guys.... Irui thought grimly, eyeing the man neatly lining up white powder. .... They're kind of lame... The Academy told us to be cool, stay in school, never accept this stuff from strangers. But here it is and.... He squinted, This is pitiful.
A thundercrack split the silence, as the wagon outside exploded, rattling the beer bottles and glassware. Not bad for a makeshift explosive, Irui grinned as the Transformation fizzled, and turned as Sasaki unsheathed his own blade. Irui signed while the swordsman moved, and outstretched a hand-- Lightning, purple and blue, uncoiled from within him, and sprang across the room with astonishing ferocity. It clawed the second guard across the chest and face, spidering across the metallic armor and puncturing where it found weakness.
The man screamed and reeled, stumbling over a chair as the attack short-circuited his nerves. He dropped to his knees, clawing at his armor, gasping and shrieking as galvanized steel seared his flesh.
Irui paused, and regarded his own hand for the briefest moment as if it were something new. The wisps of ozone and crackling discharge brought a strange smile to the boy's lips. It was electric, exhilarating. Small arcs played through his fingers, and he flexed his hand. This is what Lady Mora had spoken about-- bringing the hand of Jashin down upon the wicked, the unclean. Irui's fingers curled into claws, and he advanced across the room, pushing aside a stray table as he strode towards the man.
"No-- wait--no!" The man gasped, as he furiously backpedaled across the floor, kicking over tables, chairs and bottles. "Kid! Hey! This-- this isn't---!!" He sputtered, words slurring as his body stumbled over itself. "I-- Have a name! I'm Tot-- Totsu--!" Totsu breathed between convulsions. As he neared the far wall, Tots u finally managed to gather his feet beneath him. Totsu held a kunai knife at arm's length, his muscles visibly spasming along the limb.
"My my," A graveled voice issued from the far end of the room. "Look at the mess you've made, kid. Sloppy and hurried," He chided, and grunted as he pushed himself out of his seat. "You two come into my business, kill my men, destroy my product, all over orders from the Hidden Cloud...." He stepped forward, picking his way towards them.
"You don't even know who I am," He protested, rapping the end of his cane against the wooden floor. Decked in blue and gold robes, decorated with twisting imagery of koi fish and clouds, the man paused, and pulled the pipe from between his teeth. "Do you?" He challenged, and waved the pipe in Sasaki's direction, pointing to the man he'd just cut down. "At least you saved me a few Ryo-- won't be needing to give him that health insurance now--"
"You're Kodo Kai, I--!" Irui started tensely.
"Bravo, and you just trespassed on private property!" Kodo retorted, punctuating it with another rap from his cane. Kodo leaned on the instrument, and craned his head as another rumble issued from outside. The Kingpin peered down his hooked nose, to Irui "But I digress, where are my manners? Carry on."
Kodo straightened his back, and regarded Totsu with disdain. "A samurai who cannot protect his master must be put down, isn't that right...?" He paused, and looked to Sasaki.