Haruka and Kasumi walk together. It would still be a couple of hours before they reached the town. Despite this, Kasumi and Haruka would have to walk in mud most of the way due to the recent rainfall.
Kasumi: Huh it rained more than I thought it did.
Haruka: Hard and Long enough for the ground to be sufficiently soaked, yep.
Kasumi: Well its not too bad...I guess.
Haruka: So remind me, Kasumi. You suck at close fighting, but you can throw fireballs like a pitcher, right?
Kasumi: More than just that. But close enough.
Haruka: More than that?
Kasumi: Manipulating fire allows me to do a lot of crazy things with it. But doing more intense things with the fire manipulation is draining.
Haruka: Fire Manipulation? So like if there was a torch somewhere…
Kasumi: I don't even need a torch to manipulate fire. But it makes it a bit easier.
Haruka: So you don’t even have to have fire to manipulate it?
Kasumi: I create fire. So no not really.
Haruka: Makes sense.
Kasumi: So what about you? Can you manipulate ice that well?
Haruka: I can, but I can do a little more than that too.
Kasumi: (chuckles) Like freezing an entire room?
Haruka: Well, yes. But you know what ice is, don’t you? It’s essentially frozen water. So I could create a smokescreen using mist, or create a whirlpool using melted ice, you get the drift.
Kasumi: Well that is certainly interesting.
Haruka: But of course a lot of those things would cause the ice to grow inside my right foot.
Kasumi: I assumed that because it would take up too much power.
Haruka: Right, the only way to counter it though is to dip my foot in warm to hot water, and that doesn’t typically go over well.
Kasumi: Doesn’t sound like it would.
Haruka: Typically would have to be forced to do it…
Kasumi: Well you don’t want to turn into a popsicle right?
Haruka: That’s why it sucks…
Kasumi: Well at least you can kinda do something about the damage your azure causes...Its pretty hard to repair severe burns.
Haruka: I could understand why…
Kasumi: But I’ll live...I don’t really care about the burns I get.
Haruka: Maybe on our travels we can find a way to heal them...not sure who or what...but maybe someone has an idea.
Kasumi: Maybe maybe not. (shrugs) I’ve gotten used to getting them.
Haruka: As long as they aren’t an issue to you.
Kasumi: Like all burns they hurt for a while but its not that big of a deal.
Haruka: Well, let me know and we can splash some lukewarm water on them or something.
Kasumi: I can take care of them pretty well...But thanks for the offer.
Kasumi: (sighs) Hopefully we can get the supplies we need in town.
The two soon reach the center of town. People were moving, shipments being delivered. It seemed like an ordinary day. Kasumi took note that amongst the villagers, there were plenty of beastkin and human moving about.
Kasumi: Well even if you didn’t know somebody here you could have blended in pretty well.
Haruka: Its why I like this place. Generally no judgment amongst people. Beastkin and human live side by side. Only town of its kind.
Kasumi: Its refreshing to see.
Haruka: C’mon, this way.
The two approach a curio shop. The sign hanging inside the door read ‘open’. On the front of the building it reads, ‘Knick Knack’.
Kasumi: (looking at the sign) So is this the place you mentioned?
Haruka: Yeah. Should be some good stuff in it.
Kasumi: Lets go then.
The two head into the store and find stuff upon stuff around stuff behind stuff. It was cluttered to say the least.
Kasumi: Well this is just a bit cluttered.
Haruka: (Laughs) You can say its messy, he doesn’t care.
Kasumi: Its hard to say that I’ve seen worse…
???: Ah, you bring me a new grasshopper, Haruka?
An older man, dressed in jeans and a shirt, walks out from the back. He had a distinct pointed grey beard. He was bald. His green eyes look over Kasumi.
???: So you are the new grasshopper?
Kasumi: Grasshopper…? The heck are you talking about?
Wei: You may call me Weizhe, grasshopper. But I prefer Wei.
Wei: (looks at her) You are interesting...you carry a huge burden on your soul because of something you did when you were only a baby. But do not worry, Wei has something just for you.
The man goes through a drawer and pulls out a pair of fancy white gloves.
Wei: (Hopeful) How about this for the lady? These gloves used to belong to a lieutenant colonel in the NOL. He pawned them off to me. They can handle all sorts of extremes, the threads made up of high-quality material.
Kasumi: That should work.
Wei: If you want, I’ll even embroider the mark. No extra charge.
Kasumi: You don’t have to if you don't want to.
Wei: Ah, don’t worry pretty lady, I’ll take care of it. What would you like to see? A flame? An ice cube? What?
Kasumi: A flame then.
Wei pulls out his trusted sewing kit and before their very eyes embroiders a multi-colored, almost realistic, flame emblem on to the back of the white gloves. The reds, oranges, and yellows melded to show a beautiful image of a powerful flame.
Wei: How is that, grasshopper? I am quick, am I not?
Kasumi: Wow...its beautiful..Thank you.
Wei: You enjoy those, as my present to you!
Kasumi: I will thank you.
Wei: So Haruka, what have you brought me today?
Haruka pulls out a couple of trinkets she came across in her previous adventures. A rusted pendant, an idol made of gold, an engraved rock, and seemingly other trivial things. The man goes about looking over them.
Wei: Ah yes, very valuable. You do good work Haruka.
Haruka: I need some other stuff.
Wei: Ah yes, more equipment for living out in the wild. You need a sleeping bag and tent for the young lady.
Wei goes to the back to retrieve the items. Haruka looks over at Kasumi.
Haruka: So what do you think?
Kasumi: They’re very nice (puts the gloves on and clenches her fists examining the gloves) And I won’t burn them.
Haruka: I get a lot of my stuff through Wei. Instead of asking for money, I basically do treasure hunting for him as a side-gig.
Kasumi: Well I guess we will have to continue doing that.
Haruka: Oh by the way, I’m surprised you didn’t recognize the idol.
Kasumi: I didn’t really pay much attention. (shrugs) I was examining the gloves.
Haruka: Good because it was from one of your village’s shrines.
Kasumi: (shrugs) I’m not going back there because I’m supposed to be dead. So it doesn’t really bother me
Haruka: Good because that’s what paying for all your equipment.
Kasumi: Better than just sitting in a shrine gathering dust.
Wei brings out a backpack seemingly full of equipment for surviving in the wild.
Wei: You’ve got a tent, sleeping bag, hunting knife, and all sorts of other things you can find out for yourself.
The pack looked almost exactly like the blue one that Haruka had on her back. This one was completely red. The sleeping bag sat on top of the backpack.
Kasumi: Thanks for this Wei.
Haruka: By the way, Wei, there’s no way this is a fair trade.
Wei: Ah, you’re so sharp Haruka. I understand that the idol and the trinkets you supplied for me was not a fair trade. So you may grab anything else that you’d like to take with you in my store.
Haruka begins to look around and seemingly finds some good stuff that catches her eye. She heads over to the corner of the store and grabs a couple of things and heads back to the counter.
Haruka: That’ll be good Wei.
Wei looks over the items Haruka grabs.
Wei: Ah, these are things you’ve wanted too. The blue boots able to withstand harsh temperatures, an extra first-aid kit, a wool blanket, a compass, a flashlight and a pack of new batteries. All good stuff you’ll use on a daily basis. Wei allows her to put the items in her bag, and she places the blanket in between her sleeping bag and backpack.
Wei: Is that all you need from me, grasshopper and apprentice?
Haruka: That’s all for now Wei.
Wei: I look forward to seeing what new things you bring for me, apprentice.
Kasumi: We good to head out now?
Wei: Oi! Grasshopper!
Wei: You take care of my number one apprentice. She’s the best treasure hunter I have!
Kasumi: Don’t worry she’ll be fine.
Wei: One more thing! Ice and Fire can be dangerous combo.
Kasumi: I don’t doubt it.
Kasumi and Haruka head out of the store. Haruka takes a look around.
Haruka: (Thinking) ...We’ll have to be careful.
Kasumi: Worried about something?
Haruka looks to Kasumi.
Haruka: Ever heard the phrase, ‘No Honor Amongst Thieves’?
Kasumi: (shrugs) I’m not really too afraid of people.
Haruka: There are a couple we should watch out for.
Haruka leads Kasumi to the center square. On it, are a bunch of wanted posters.
Haruka: Here you’ll find pretty much every bounty that’s out there.
Kasumi: (examines the posters) Well that should make our lives easier then.
Haruka tears one down and hands it to her. On it, their names are listed. The price for their capture is two million platinum dollars.
Haruka: Seems like they’ve already updated for us.
Kasumi: Jeez that amount is enough money to make a mansion...out of smaller mansions.
Haruka: And you better believe that all these people on the wanted posters here will be gunning for us too.
Kasumi: (sighs) I know.
Haruka: (Thinking) ...and the first people that come to my mind that would be in the neighborhood would be the Azure Hunter, and the Sirens…
Kasumi: Well we just need to keep ourselves hidden then.
Haruka: (To Kasumi) We’ll try, but I can’t promise that will work. The people on these wanted posters are all...unique...in their own way, if you get my drift.
Kasumi: Well we aren’t exactly “normal” either you know.
Haruka: My point exactly. People who are ‘unique’ will get themselves easily pointed out for their bounties, even by normal people. So we have to avoid using our azure when possible.
Kasumi: Easy for you to say...I really can’t fight without using mine.
Haruka: That’s my point. Leave the fighting to me for now. That way you won’t have to tempt fate by using your azure.
Kasumi: (sighs) Fine…
The two head out, in no particular direction, however, another man heads to the center square, and pulls a bounty from the wall.
???: So...new meat, huh?