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March 18th, Saturday, 2017, 12.45AM

The Teahouse, University Hill


Music sizzled and pulsed in a steady, danceable beat, lights on the floor, walls and ceiling flashing and shifting in hues and frequencies calculated to avoid causing seizures in 98% of all epilepsy patients, casting the patrons dancing and relaxing in dizzying shades. 


Waiters and waitresses in mini versions of Edo period costumes skated through the blare, carrying trays and infectious smiles that had gone into overtime. 


Most of the patrons were students or faculty(or, in rare cases, both), forming and breaking cliques and clusters on the dizzying dance floor, laughing at each others' in-jokes as they sipped at the Teahouse's specialty teas.


As usual in places like this, there were smiling men in button-up shirts that hid extensive tattoos. These were the only people allowed to serve alcohol in the Teahouse, which made their tables some of the most attractive spots in the club, the smiling men and their stock constantly ringed by happy, raucous crowds.


Jun, Kimo's self-proclaimed best friend, was doing her darndest to get both of them into one of those crowds, pulling him along behind her by the hand. "Come on, Imo! They got the good stuff tonight! We gotta breeze if we want some!"


Pausing so abruptly Kimo almost collided with her Jun looked earnestly into the junior's eyes "This is the koro of student life, Imo! If we miss out on this, we might as well be like the qikes waiting for Archetech to give 'em a handout! These nights are for living!"


Meanwhile, a lanky Native kid slipped in through the back door, nodding and smiling at the bouncer before turning to nervously eye the floor. His backpack and tied-up long hair weren't exactly club standard, and Ishmael Redwater silently seethed at the need to physically change. But he kept resolutely calm, waving away one of the waiters who skated close with a menu and taking up an edge seat so he could watch more easily.


It was happening tonight. Swallowing hard, Ishmael drummed his fingers on the table.


Suddenly he wondered why he hadn't just waited outside and changed then. Gritting his teeth, Ishmael slumped into his chair, watching like a hawk, watching for his chance to be a hero...

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Kimo rolled his eyes and followed Jun. He had needed this break from studies and well she was fun to be around. 


"Hey just make sure you watch your drink." Kimo said as he watched the crowd. Kimo didn't much like having too much alcohol, seeing as the gods liked to appear in his mind if he got inebriated. That and well, in Hawaii you had to watch out for someone slipping you something, here in Emerald City people who got that treatment weren't showing back up. 


The two friends wove their way towards one of the tables serving alcohol. Jun even grabbing Kimo by the hand to take him. Kimo silently laughed. She would want to do more than hold my hand if she knew who I really was. Jun had a bit of a crush on a new local super hero: Kid Kamehameha, and she had told her "best friend" how much she was fangirling over him. He wished she was more holding his hand than pulling him by it. 


Jun finally got them to one of the tables and ordered for both of them, while Kimo muttered under his breath: "God of the evening hunter, Puenui god of owls lend me your vision."


The black shirt he had on under his Hawaiian print shirt kept the purple light radiating from his tattoos invisible. Kimo smiled as his sight clarified, and he watched carefully the two drinks as they were made. 

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The strategically-arranged darkness of the Teahouse swept away, the blaring lights weakening until a perfect hunter's light spanned the room.


Behind his bamboo counter the smiling man, his face tired and irritated without the darkness to hide it, took out two small bowls and a clay jug marked with a hawk's head, pouring a measure into each of the bowls followed with a pinch of cinnamon. Swirling the solution a little, he handed both teens a bowl of rice wine, hollering over the music "Enjoy! On the Teahouse!"


Sake and cinnamon normally didn't go together, but the aroma coming from the bowl was sharper and heavier than normal, the spice lending a ticklish sweetness that mixed perfectly. Of course actually tasting would be something else. Sake needed to be taken slow, in sips-


Jun grabbed her drink with a garbled "'Gato!", tipped her head back and poured the bowl straight down her throat. For a moment she staggered, eyes wide and gulping, but after those perilous seconds she gasped, let out a whoop and flung an arm around Kimo, yelling in his ear "Imo! Try it! It's like getting hit in the face with a brick!"


Behind the pair Kimo had seen two other men start to approach when Jun froze, but they'd stopped and remingled with the crowd when the threat passed. They looked like the bartender(South islands Japanese, if Kimo was any judge) and looked openly at her and Kimo, talking anxiously into each other's ears. One, a little older than the other, with a slim black mustache, made some rapid motion that got instant disapproval from his friend,


At his vantage point, Ishmael stiffened a little when he saw the enforcers start to move. 'There we go. Follow those. Hero time.' Leaving his backpack under the table, he set out for the mini-bar. Catching sight of a Chinese girl with dyed-purple hair, he changed direction to go say hi to Jun. Get a witness so his presence wouldn't be so weird.

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"Mahalo." Kimo smiled, glancing at the two who had now mingled into the crowd. Well that had been interesting. Each of the gods granted not only a power but a flaw. Pele gave her rage. Kanaloa gave his oddness. Puenui? Jealousy. Kimo turned, he didn't need his physical eyes for this. 


"You ok Jun?" He asked as he sipped his sake. His ears listened. His eyes zoomed in on the target, that coin. Puenui's sight could see past anything that wasn't gold and he intended to get a better look at whatever mystic item he had seen. "You should slow down and enjoy it." Kimo added. "Also slow down so I get to enjoy mine." He laughed. His mind though turned and aimed at the man with the moustache and begin to gaze into his mind. 

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As usual(relatively), there was the sharp snap of two minds coming mystically into sync, Kimo feeling the rush of alien sensations clashing and then mingling with his own, the stream of another's thoughts sliding through his conciousness.


But instead of the familiar sounds of English, it was a series of terse, staccato Japanese sentences. Occasional flashes of silver, a picture of a crow with three legs, a flaming motorcycle crash with something red and wailing in the wreck. But without knowing the language, there wasn't any way to tie it all together.


Oblivious to this, the bartender hollered "No bats, kid!" Turning their attention suddenly to another he barked, one arm unfolding into a muscular signpost "Fishy!"


Ishmael froze, looking momentarily like a startled deer, before turning a brilliant grin to the bartender. "Aro!" he sang out, sauntering over to the bar and leaning casually against it "What's the kaz? How's the Old Hawk? Got you juicing up kids again, you deserve better'n this."


For answer, Aro poured out a double-dose of the rice wine into a clean bowl and handed it over. "From the Silver Dragon, with compliments!" he said with a knowing wink "He's got an eye on you, Fishy, keep it up!" 


Laughing and taking the wine like it was the most natural thing in the world, Ishmael wandered back through the press of students, gulping at the clear liquid to steady his nerves. All but literally stumbling upon Jun was such a relief his smile briefly turned genuine. Until he noticed the Pacific boy she was with. A complication, a stranger. 


"Oh!" Jun tugged excitedly on Kimo's shirt, pointing at a Native guy with a ponytail who had just breached the surrounding dancers "Imo, this is Paris! We used to hang out at the college! Paris, this is my bestie Kimo, get in here and meet the Grumposaurus!" 


Believing he'd caught Kimo's eye, the other boy rolled his meaningfully as he strolled over to the Hawai'ian hero, offering his hand cordially.

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"Aloha, Kimo." Kimo said letting his mind reading fade. He met the hand and shook it. "Eh, Paris not one local name yeah?" Kimo smiled. He let his supernatural vision take in the surroundings even as he caught the eye roll from Paris. "Grumposaurus?" He asked nudging Jun. This guy seemed nice enough. 


Kimo let his vision take in the exits, what he had seen was concerning. He wanted to know exactly how quickly he could find his costume. He had to keep an eye on that guy with the coin. Great something that messed up magic. Without his magic he was pretty much nothing. 


Perhaps it was Puenui's avarice but a plan formed. "Eh one sec, need get one water or something." He smiled. As he was walking away "Goddess of the unattainable beauty, Hina goddess of the moon lend me your charm." He mumbled. He wove through the crowd until he came near to the man with the coin. "Eh brah you like try give me that?" 

Edited by Kolohehonu
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As soon as the coin hit Kimo's hand the lights vanished. The room went deafeningly silent and Kimo felt as though- well that wasn't accurate, besides the coin in his hand he felt nothing. It was like the world had vanished. 


It's probably skin contact. He had rushed in and was now totally out of his wits. He had to stay calm. He tried to stuff the coin into his pocket, except he could neither see nor feel the pocket. He did his best to get it there and then let go of the blasted thing.

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The first thing Kimo heard...was the pounding music. The clatter of the ancient coin(and Kimo knew it was old. Its edges were worn smooth and the faces felt half-obliterated themselves) as it bounced to a halt by his feet was drowned out by that and by the shouted conversation nearby.


"It's nothing, Shino!" The long-haired Native kid who'd been intro'd as 'Paris' waved his hands vigorously in the path of the younger, hungrier Yakuza soldier "S'minmaru, just a thing with the tea!". The man glared openly at Kimo and snapped something he couldn't understand but which made both Jun and Paris start.


<"Don't think I'm stupid. I know that kid's got powers! He did something to the old man and I want to know what!">


The soldier started to move towards Kimo but was instantly blocked by Jun, who met the man's cold eyes unflinchingly. "Leave my friend alone! Back off and cool down or I'll throw you out myself!"


The man stopped dead, quickly assessing this unforeseen obstruction. Whatever he saw, or thought he saw, wasn't enough to drive him off but did stop him for the moment.


The tension was thick enough to start a fight with. Some of the Teahouse's patrons were edging away from the confrontation, and some of the employees were heading over to the other, very genial-looking yakuza men. Dealing with him on their own wouldn't have been something the old Hawk would approve of, even Kimo knew the godfather of Little Osaka had a long reach and a longer memory.


Suddenly Paris was at Kimo's side, muttering anxiously "I can handle this guy, can you and Jun vanish? Meet you outside."

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"Eh brah no like for start nothin'" Kimo said with a disarming smile, "was just leavin' anyways." He said. He took Jun's hand and gave a slight bow. As he got the two of them into the crowd he let the mind control fade. "Goddess of the dance, Laka goddess of the hula lend me your agility." He mumbled before feeling his muscles become more responsive. He stepped behind Jun and laid an arm along her spine. Then he engaged his divine powers. In a blur of motion the two of them were out in the alley.


"Ku is gonna kick my ass." Kimo grumbled running his hands over his face. "Stupid secret identity." Ok kid calm down. "Sorry about that Jun."

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  • 2 weeks later...

The duo swept from the hall without anyone there any the wiser of where or how. Something that would have been impossible outside was made almost trivial with the addition of glaring lights and blaring music. Outside the air was blessedly cool, the manicured back alley a peaceful, well-lit haven away from prying eyes.


Which wasn't much use to Paris, who found hmself facing a now very angry and confused Shino and his older brother Aro, who was staring at the lanky teen like a mustached whale getting very angry in slow motion.


<"Guys! It's just a trick! Uni kids all know it, the stuff they juice the tea with makes you all fuzzy!">


Taking the split-second the two repeat murderers spared to glance at each other, Paris scooped up the coin Kim...Kiko? That cute guy, he'd got it somehow. Shoving that question aside as he shoved the troublesome bit of metal into his pocket, Paris filed a mental note to "find" it later. Having the ear of the Old Hawk wasn't much if you got in bad with his boys.


Honourable, noble gangsters got there by having less scrupulous people do the dirty work, after all. 


Taking a breath, Paris added in a conspiratorial holler <"Dragons been talking! Spreading old-country recipes!">


That did it. Aro and his brother started at this revelation, then glanced around the Teahouse and the gawping kids with knowing, narrowed eyes. The Society could always be counted on to make good scapegoats, neither the Japanese or the Russian mobs liked or trusted them. Nothing was too low, especially, for some reason, now there was a woman Dragoneye. Paris couldn't figure why, Jun would know.


<"I'll go find them, make sure they know not to try that again, 'aru?"> Their curt bows weren't a "no", so Paris raced out after the duo as fast as he could, only realizing he had lft his backpack inside as the door clanged shut behind him.


"They're after us?" Jun asked nervously, shuffling from foot to foot. She'd been uncharacteristically quiet in the moments that had passed.


Paris shook his head "No. So...?" the Chinook boy looked curiously at Kimo "The jigo was that? You some kinda psychic?"



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Before Kimo answered he turned back towards the tea house. "God of the evening hunter, Puenui god of owls lend me your vision." He whispered. His eyes gazed straight through the walls to confirm that no one was following. 


"Apparently I'm one 'mage' or so that coin like tink." Kimo said accentuating the last part with air quotes. He turned back to Jun and shrugged. "Eh Mahalo Brah for helpin' out earlier."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nobody had followed them, and while Shino and Aro had gotten into a huddle of the other mob men, they didn't look about to chase them down.


Scratching his head, Ishmael looked dubiously at the other boy "A mage, really? Thought Sha'ir was the only magic dude. Where's it come from? Your powers, I mean. I think Sha'ir gets his from the stars...?"


"I didn't do anything, Imo!" Jun looked surprised, and a little sheepish "But no problem, you ever need somebody to start yelling, I'll be there." Smiling faintly, she glanced around "Anyway, coast is clear, but we should really get going. Thanks, Paris, see you around. Sorry we never got that sake, Imo. Next time-!"


She was cut off by a frantic, blood-curdling scream coming from across the street. 


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"Gods of old Hawaii brah." He said, he wasn't sure who Sha'ir was but it seemed like someone to look into. 


When he heard the scream Kimo actually smiled. He needed a good  clear task. 


"Goddess of the dance, Laka goddess of the hula lend me your agility." He said and in a blinding burst of speed switched into his Kid Kamehameha costume. "Sorry to run out on you." He sighed before using his enhanced speed to rush to aid the screaming person.

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"Huh," Paris said with a thoughtful look at the faint stars above "never really figured the Ha-" the scream shut his mouth. Glancing at Jun, and she to him, both arrived at the same decision before Kimo was out of sight.


Jun's phone flicked open. "I'll call campus security, you get the regular cops" she said crisply, tapping out the mercifully-brief number that would alert the ECU's Brande Management detail. Location data and the phone's digital student ID tag would do the rest. Nodding, Paris tapped the speed-dial for the police, wondering momentarily, crazily, if it would look suspicious...he glanced furtively at the girl.


Jun wasn't looking at him, though. She was still tense from the nearby shriek and running from those gumi men. Not to mention absorbing the fact that her friend was a superhero powered by magic gods. Her eyes were locked on the alleyway across the street. Paris let out a small breath. His job was getting to him. He'd known it would, but looking over your shoulder when among friends-


She isn't. She wouldn't be, wouldn't want to be, if she knew you. None of them would. Even Aunt Ell would reject the real you.


Paris thought of the other, the more discreet back door. He could slip off with some excuse, put on his costume, join Kimo. This wasn't any of the Triangle's people, it'd be some rando thugs.


But for what? Kimo could handle that easily, he didn't need Salmon, nobody-


"Jun, I've gotta get clear and let my aunt know, she's gonna hear about this and she knows I'm on the Hill and of I don't she'll get mad." It came out in a rush, all breathless and apologetic and abashed. Just right. Jun smiled faintly and side-eyed at the lanky boy "I'd call you a momma's boy, Perry, but not right now. I'll wait for Imo and the cops."


"Thank you." 


The rest passed in a blur. Dodging around the corner, bribing the bemused backdoor bouncer, grabbing his bag, sliding out with some laughing graduates, changing, tossing the bag with his regular clothes behind a dumpster, racing for the alleyway, everything passed in seconds, moments dominated by one thought: I can't be useless. Not this time.




It was almost impressively mundane, the crime in progress that Kid Kamehameha, mighty right arm of the gods, stumbled upon. Ten guys with masks, animals or something on them, too faded to make out, hustling people between freight trucks parked in loading docks. One of them, bound and now re-gagged, was slumped in the arms of two of them. A young man, probably Chinese, with a bloody smear on the side of his head to warn him against doing that again. All the masked men were armed with small arms, though nothing bigger than a pistol. 


They all looked up at Kamehameha's arrival, eyes wide and jaws slack, too shocked for words. Except one: "...Daf***?"

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Kid Kamehameha grinned behind his mask. This might actually count as fun! 


"Eh get one warning brah, sit down and I won't buss you up that badly." Kimo declared. He felt the magic pulse through him as his tattoos glowed a vibrant orange. Hostage first. In the same blur of super human motion he appeared beside the man being held. "'Cept you two."  


"Goddess of the heart of the earth, Pele goddess of the volcano lend me your power!" With that his voice deepened as every muscle grew stronger. His hand reached out for one of the thugs aiming to smash his face. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Neither man had time to move before it happened. One punch and a masked man was sent flying into the side of a truck, bouncing off and rolling in a boneless heap onto their reddened face, the shattered mask falling away in bone-white shards streaked with fresh blood that smoked in the light. The other lucked out, the punch clipping their mask and tearing a shallow cut in the temple behind it, giving them time and incentive to let go of the kid and reel back into the gang's ranks.


The kid dropped to his knees, breathing shallowly and staring in muddy confusion at his glowing savior through a thin trickle of blood.


Suddenly somebody yelled "He's one of the Academy kids! Drop him, he's gone rogue!" Then several things happened at once.


The man Kid Kamehameha had drawn blood from drew out a heavy pistol, took shaky aim at Kimo and fired. The deafening CRAK and whizz of a bullet by his ear was the result.

Two men broke from the pack, racing for the doors of the trucks and vaulting inside, yelling instructions to the others, of whom four roughly grabbed wriggling piles of humanity and hauled ass to the receiving truck, throwing their burdens inside without a care and slamming the door shut.


Two others followed the bloodied man's lead, drawing pistols and firing. One of them rushed the shot, whipping the gun like he thought he could slash at Kimo with it, another CRAK and the feel of asphalt shrapnel bursting harmlessly against his legs the result of that.


The other paused, just a second, and aimed right at Kimo's chest. Unlike the others, his eyes were calm and full of misery. He squeezed the trigger.




And it was like an anvil had shrunk to a pencil-nub and slammed into Kimo's ribs.


With a soft whump, Paris stopped at the edge of the scene, quickly taking stock. At the sight of the masks his blood froze. "The Disques," the Salmon breathed, embroidered eyes swimming with realization and horror "it's the slavers." 


Then anger took over, and he forgot all his fear, charging in with a roar.

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Kimo fell to a knee as the bullet cracked a rib. The blessings of the gods made him super humanly durable, but not invulnerable. He felt the breath leave as he brought himself up and back into a fighting stance. It was gonna be one of those battles. 


"You tink you can put me down wit dat brah?" He grinned as he slowly pushed up off the ground. "Nah brah. You just made me mad!" There was a pulse as his tattoos glowed red. Yes this could be fun! He felt the power of Pele course through his mind as he readied himself to beat down on the thugs. Then he saw the trucks. Oh no that wasn't about to happen if he could do anything about it. But he did have to collect his breath first.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Though not nearly as fast as Kid Kame, Salmon's mutated musculature pushed him far beyond what was humanly possible, meaning his arrival and first action on the field proper was a blur of motion and a low roar of displaced air.


Suddenly every one of the masqued men found their clothes yanked and twisted around them, sleeves and pantlegs tearing and whirring into knots, even their light armor suddenly turning into straitjackets!


Most of them managed to fight off the super-swift hands or tear out of the garments entirely, but four of the men went crashing to the ground in a spluttering thud of muffled curses and behind-the-back bowlines. For a second Paris blurred to a halt, vibrating with exertion and panting as he quickly took stock of the situation, noting with satisfaction that one of the drivers was trussed up by his own seatbelt.


Unfortunately that moment was all it took. One of the men turned to him, the eyes and faded shape on his masque flaring to life. "Be still" he commanded.


Paris' eyes widened as he heard and understood his mistake. With desperation he summoned up all his mental strength to repel the invasion of that one, enormous thought. He fought as fiercely as he could, every synapse a battleground and every neuron a hard-won beachhead.


It was over in the blink of an eye as the young speedster froze, staring into nothing.


With a ragged cheer three of the recovering men got their guns free enough to crack off a few shots. But behind the dead eyes Paris was still very much alive and though it was an impossible strain he managed to jerk and twist out of the way of all but one of the hissing bullets. That one went through his shoulder with a red splash, missing the bone by miraculous inches.


With twin rumbles and coughs, the trucks began to start. Twisting his frozen eyes, Paris saw with a jolt of horror that the man he had tied up was struggling on the ground, another in the cabin still holding the knife that had cut him loose. On the ground two of the men who had been wrapped up managed to rip or wriggle free of their improvised restraints, hauling unsteadily to their feet and ready to rejoin the fray!

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Kid Kamehameha leapt in to help his new ally. Ku had given him some instruction in tactics. With a quick bound Kimo was in position. 


Kid Kamehameha smashed both hands together. He had closed so that the resultant blast wave would catch as many of the masked thugs as well as hitting at least one truck. There was a loud crack and the pressure wave was almost visible as it emanated from the Kid's hands.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Emerging in a red, coiling wave of power, Pele's outstretched arm swept the masked men from their feet and slammed them to the ground, guns flying from suddenly nerveless hands and masks shattering as they hit the tarmac.


The driver of the truck which had been unloading people was flung through their windshield and into the wall opposite, bouncing off in a wailing heap and rolling under the truck, where they wisely stayed. The other started to gun the engine and slam into reverse...but it took precious seconds even to begin, and before the masked slaver could react a green-black blur wrenched open the driver's door and punched them three hundred times a second.


Dragging the unconscious man out of the truck and arranging the rest in a groaning, feebly twitching pile, Salmon turned to Kid Kamehameha, shoulders slumped and panting with the exertion. He nodded shortly, embroidered eyes garish and orange and staring. "Thank you. Ichi, no chance, glad you were here."


"These are the Disque Joqueys. Go-betweens." Salmon spared a disgusted glance at their fallen enemy "Kams are new. So's the mofajo. Thought magic masks were just some Jersey thing."


"You wanna find out where they were going, I'll take care of the people they caught?"


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