Boredom set in as I was left alone again after Armsmaster set out. I tried calling out to Dragon again but she was either busy or ignoring me.
I needed more information about my situation, whatever it may be. I got the basics down, though there were of course some details.
One I was in another world which while not exactly the same as my original world, was a closer parallel than the Naruto world. Two this world had super powers, and people with those were collectively known as capes. There were heroes and villains, the heroes in this case being the Protectorate, a government sponsored organization whose building I was currently being held in. I was being held because they figured out quickly I had powers and thus couldn’t risk stashing me in a normal hospital and were waiting to release me. I suppose the best I could do was heal myself then play along then they’ll release me.
But then what?
Honestly I don’t know. I remembered what happened, the panic, the room, and of course Minami. She hadn’t got sucked in, I had and somehow that led to me being in another universe instead of you know, dead. It wasn’t ideal but it wasn’t terrible yet.
But there were problems. Legally I didn’t exist, or if I did it would be an alternate me who’s life I wouldn’t exactly want to muck up. I had to find some way to pay for things as the money I had was all but useless and I had to figure out how to get home. I suppose I could just look for a super with a power specific to that but I doubt it would be that convenient.
No, I needed a long term plan, needed to break things down. First heal myself, already mostly done on that. Drained the drugs from my system with a bathroom trip too. Then I needed to be cleared by the Protectorate. Didn’t want to start on the wrong side of them. Assuming I wasn’t being flat out lied too they were the law for capes and under their purview I was one. I wasn’t about to correct them on that, well at least not unless they could somehow provide the resources to send me back home. That would be ideal.
But I had to plan, I guess that would help with the boredom at least unt….
The explosion exert enough force to spin my bed around then tilt it to the floor dumping me and the sheets onto it as pieces of the wall and floor rebounded around me. I had to send a surge of chakra out to kill the ringing in my ears as I peered over the top of the bed. The entire left side of the room was just gone. A deep flaming gorge had ripped through it leaving the smell of burnt plastic in the air as the wind blew and I could see out to the street below. It wasn’t just my room effected, There was a chunk that had simply been blasted out the side of the building leaving a section of melted charred mess.
Not just building, people too.
I saw the remains as they slipped from their place in a torched room flying down. I had to steeled my gaze as I stood and moved forward. Something was wrong, something was dangerous, information was needed.
I ran to the edge of the room where it opened up to the night air and looked over at the cityscape. I was greeted with the smell of saltwater mixing with the burning smell as well as cars turning and crashing to avoid the scene. On the ground below was a person on fire, no, a person wreathed in fire. I pushed chakra to my eyes to better examine the scene. The man, no longer like a creature, was growing larger with scales covering his frame as he threw out more fire. He was throwing fire at the people exiting the building towards him. He was attacking them, burning them alive.
I widened my eyes and moved to jump. A boy appeared a moment later, he was flying, on a board and shooting lasers at the man. They had no effect at least visibly and the man started hurling fire at him. The boy was dodging as best as he could but he made too sharp a turn and the fire clipped him, knocking him off the board. It was turning to catch him but he’d fallen too far too…
I jumped then, gathering wind under my feet and pushing off the side of the building. I turned past Lung gathering the boy in my arms and flipping with a gust of wind to redirect our moment as we landed. The boy stared at me.
The man growled at me in heavily accented English, his face turning as his hand flung fire. I dodged to the side carrying the boy before I looked at him more carefully. This close I could actually make out features and it clicked immediately.
This was Lung, he had either just attacked the building, or just escaped it. The man turned from me as a beam hit him in the back. Two more people came from the building. A small girl and a boy and they were surrounded by men. Not that Lung seemed to care because he charged them. He was faster than he looked because he smashed into the boy even as the pavement under his feet started to warp and twist to keep him away. The boy hit the wall and went flying, and the man whirled on her, throwing flames. I dropped the first boy and dashed forward a gust of wind going from my hand and diverting the flame as the girl dove away.
As I did more beams collided with Lung and in response he actually grew just a bit laughing as he lashed out with more fire. He was growing stronger, he was already strong when he hit the ground. More workers came out with big packs and canisters that were throwing out foam but Lung just pushed them away with fire, before turning and kicking rubble into them throwing them to the side. The pavement seemed to warp again, pulling up behind Lung to block his path but he just put his fist through it and it collapsed after two or three hits.
“Stop him from getting away!”
The older boy threw another beam at Lung who lashed out again. Even as the pavement moved under his feet he jumped. More people were already spreading out, more people attacking, but it didn’t matter. Lung was fighting through them, getting stronger.
This was a bad situation.
“You guys need to retreat.”
I looked at the boy but he shook his head.
“You guys can’t fight him.”
“We have to try, we just captured him. If we let him go, it’ll start a gang war.”
Yeah that was bad, but this was already past the point of no return. Dammit this is not going to get better if he only gets stronger and they can’t deal with him now then this is just a trainwreck and more people are just gonna die. I’d be surprised if they weren’t already dead but just kept coming. How could I stop this, I couldn’t fight this guy, I was unarmed and sporting a concussion. I was stuck, there were few options. I didn’t know how these guys worked, couldn’t coordinate them properly to stop him from escaping, they weren’t going to retreat…
I ran forward and the boy on the hoverboard came forward.
“I’m so sorry.”
I let out a breath in his face. He tipped over a moment later, the sedative taking hold quickly. I jumped onto his board and leaned forward tilting it up as he had been and moved it forward. The controls were simple and it helped me conserve energy as I did the signs. If I was going to do this it would exhaust me but if this fight didn’t finish Lung would finish it in the grave. I got over the top of them and did my hand signs.
“(Poison Art: Grand Tainted Cloud!)”
I blew out the poison on the street and shaped the wind so it crashed into the ground. One by one the people there dropped under the sedative. I felt a panging headache come on as I went to my knees at the sudden exertion. I had to grab the board under me for balance and direct it down heading towards the ground. As I coasted down I half stumbled half rolled off as I looked back at the cloud as it dispersed upwards with the wind. It was a low dose of a shinobi, so it shouldn’t have been lethal. As I started catching my breath I felt the warmth of a man looming over me. He was looking right at me, his figure menacing though there was a half grin.
“(I almost didn’t know who’s side you were on.)”
The voice came in Japanese.
Wait, did he think I was with him? Well I guess logically that made sense, I did just help free him. God that would be hard to explain, but just giving him an out without an excuse to fight anybody was the only thing I could think of. He had been moving to get away. I’d kind of been hoping it would have knocked him out too. No such luck though, the flames around him probably ate the gas before he inhaled it. Though that did make me wonder how he was breathing there. Still I wasn’t in any condition to fight or argue with him there.
I said with a weak smile.
I tried to stand but stumbled a little bit. A hand caught me, not covered in flames now though still scaly.
“(Come, we must go before more arrive.)”
Shit, really? Now I was going to be involved with a gang. That was going to look bad. But it’d look worse if I argued with him. I could probably slip away later once he was no longer big, scaly and intimidating.
This wouldn’t be a thing right?
Few people knew the streets of the Docks as well as Lung did, he started there after all. You had to know the streets to run a gang, know where to do pick ups, drop offs, where certain territories were and where you could and could not afford to make trouble. If it was just Lung, he could afford to do so with just about anybody. Fighting was his strength but strength alone didn’t lead his people. Cunning, planning and the ability to and knowledge of going to strike were especially important.
Which was why he carried the small girl who had cleared the path for his escape.
“(Has anyone told you your rather heavy for a little girl.)”
“(I’m a little denser than normal. Makes me physically a bit tougher than average.)”
“(I’d imagine it’d be more useful if you had the stamina to match.)”
“(I can last a good while, just depends on what I do. I didn’t have many options. Easiest way to clear the field was with something big.)”
She responded with a shrug and a smile.
He smiled as well. He was carrying her because had trouble running after the fight with the protectorate. For some of it he had thought she had sided with them over him, but in the end it was just a ploy to have them let their guard down. They didn’t see it coming until she had stolen the tinkers board but by then it was too late. She had a useful power for certain, one where she took down an entire crowd of people with little trouble.
“(What is your name miss, I don’t think you stated it.)”
“(Ume, you’re Lung right? I heard about you.)”
“(I see, my reputation does speak for itself.)”
“(It does, I know you probably could have handled that by yourself, but well the longer you were there the more time they had to get back up. That close to the HQ they probably had tons of surprises too. Wouldn’t do for the Protectorate to capture you again.)”
“(The Protectorate only took credit because the actual culprit ran away.)”
He clenched his fist off his hand.
“(But I will deal with them in time.)”
“(So where are we going, I’m new to this area.)”
“(Just a bit further, can’t leave an obvious trail.)”
The girl nodded in response as he turned a corner and went a few more blocks. He wasn’t doing it for his benefit or the chase. Honestly the Protectorate wouldn’t find him on these streets. It was for her. As much as she had helped him, as clever as she was he needed to keep things close to the vest. While he could inspire large amounts of fear she had shown herself a capable person on her own. That made things harder to gauge. He could overpower most people easily but she was a capes as well and unlike Bakuda who was reliant on tech or Oni Lee who was absolutely loyal she wouldn’t be as easily crushed.
Still she seemed at the moment cooperative and in awe. If he could test her loyalty properly she would make a great asset to his gang. Especially against the gangs in the area with a larger number of capes.
At least it seemed as capable as she to have an obvious weakness he did not. If such actions as she had taken winded her, any long fights would end in his favor.
It was an empty building like many other empty buildings. The first floor had once been a pub but had closed down the previous year. He entered it and headed up the stairs. It was only as he went up did he notice the people in there as well. Not his normal soldiers, but a mix of civilians, some in work clothes, some in school uniforms, all holding guns looking scared as he went up stairs. A quick snarl made them back up as he made his way up. There was something strange here. This was a backup space used for emergencies.
As he got to the second floor he saw Bakuda sitting on the floor cursing as she fumbled with bandages she was putting around her foot.
“(What is going on here?)”
Bakuda looked up at him.
“Well at least one thing went right today. Good to see my bomb got you out.”
Setting down the smaller girl he leaned down and grabbed Bakuda by the front of her shirt. The smaller woman shrank into herself as he picked her up by it.
“Your bomb nearly killed me!”
To punctuate it he pushed her into the wall. Enough to bruise but not break.
“No it didn’t, it was more fire than force and you’re fireproof aren’t you?”
“Not before I transform, not that it matters, I got impaled by the steel piping from the wall when it blew up the cell. Had it hit my heart I wouldn’t have transformed, it was only my transformation that stopped me from being pinned there helpless.”
He pointed at his bare chest as he did another hit against the wall harder.
Bakuda let out a squawk of pain.
“Gotta take risks, you got out didn’t you.”
“I got more help from her than you.”
He pointed at Ume before dropping Bakuda to the ground. This was more a demonstration than anything. Bakuda, as talented as she was, had too large an ego. On these streets you had to learn if and when you did something wrong to own up and apologize for it.
“The hell is she?”
Bakuda looked at Ume.
“She was being held as well. She took out three wards and an entire Protectorate force single handedly and unharmed.”
He glanced down at Bakuda with her injuries.
“Which seems to be more than you could do.”
“Hey that bitch Skitter took my toes off, you know the one who got you captured and….”
He put the pressure on fist as he held her and moved in closer, looming over her his eyes meeting hers.
“If I can assume that bug girl is still alive that’s another failing on your part I have to account for.”
“It was hardly a failing I…”
He dropped her and she slumped to the floor.
“I don’t want to hear it.”
He glanced around the room at the people staring at him. Most of them were cowering back at his presence. Only one made an effort to stand moderately close.
“But I got all these people, they have bombs in their heads so….”
The burst of flame came from his hand hitting the wall next to her head.
“I said I don’t want to hear it. I spent two days in agony, and another two in isolation. I am going to assess the damage of what you have done in my absence and I am going to make sure you haven’t completely destroyed all I’ve done to create.”
“But I got power. It’s scary, I’ve planted bombs all over the city. They’ll be crawling on their hands and knees begging us….”
“You did what!”
He rounded on her flames spreading around his entire body as he marched onto her.
“Remember, my plan. I put them everywhere. Everyone will know, they’ll know we….”
“I told you we were to take down the gangs one by one. We start with the weaker than work our way up.”
“That would have taken forever, we can take it all we can….”
He stomped forward.
“You presume they will let that happen. You showed your hand and now instead of going for a battle we will have to prepare for war.”
“But we can win, I know we can.”
He looked at her and nodded.
“Can and will are not the same. Know this from your place on the floor. I can kill you Bakuda for the failures and hardships you have brought onto the gang in my absence. But I will not. You must prove yourself useful because we are now fighting against not just the Undersiders, but every other gang in the area.”
“They hate each other there is no way they would….”
Her words were cut off by a boom. It shook the windows but not the building.
“There’s the first one, oh I love it, it’ll.”
More bombs went off, one after another. A chain reaction down a line.
“That is why they will join forces. Is there any stopping it?”
“I planted them all over the city, and I got more. So no, there isn’t. Not unless you want to get blown up. Look, we can do this, the city will be out…..”
Lung stomped his foot between Bakuda’s legs where she sat.
“Mine, there is no we and there is no ours. You work under me, Bakuda and you presume too much. I will use your bombs because they are necessary but do not think you have any leadership beyond that regard.”
He turned away from her and headed towards the stairs as he did. He paused and looked at the scene and saw the girl he brought still standing. Her back to the wall as she watched him.
“(Come with me.)”
She only paused for a moment before looking at Bakuda.
“(I could help her if…)”
“(No, she deserves pain after what she’s done. You come with me. I will show you what needs to be done.)”
He started up the stairs and the girl followed. He needed to keep an eye on her, but there was no doubt she could prove her worth. Bakuda had crossed a line that they couldn’t go back on. If he didn’t grab whomever he could he and his people won’t survive.