They were at an impasse at this point. Sure, they had strength in numbers and a weapon, but Li was wildly unpredictable to them, sporting moves and techniques that you thought you would only see in a Bruce Lee movie. It was a sort of a psychological edge; most martial artists when they demonstrated their abilities were met with a sort of supernatural reverence, as if most people couldn't learn how to fight if they had the patience to practice. But really all it did was afford Li time; whether it was to strategize, plan her escape, or...
[i “Enough! Drop your weapon!”] Or something like that.
The men hesitated at first, but seeing the uniforms and the guns made them obey the woman's command. The man with the knife dropped it and alongside his friends they all raised their hands slightly above their heads. It was only then that Li lowered her hands from a ready position and stood more neutrally. She would rather avoid becoming a target because of a sudden or jerky movement. Plus, it seemed the situation had resolved itself now that the authorities had arrived.
The male officer quickly came over, beginning to handcuff the three men while Li watches. She quickly turns away to look at the redheaded female officer who had been the one to burst in. Originally she wanted to make sure she didn't come in to contact with the local law enforcement, but with the people she planned on dealing with, it seemed likely it would have happened sooner or later. It was probably for the best that they came in and saved her from the situation; she didn't want to get cut after all.
[b “Thank you for the assistance, Officer.”] Li says, approaching the female officer. She had an obvious Chinese accent that betrayed she wasn't from the country. [i *The Chinese woman's involvement in the situation remained ambiguous, but no matter what it was, after fighting these men who had been previously identified as local Triad members, she was [i very] involved now. The Triad wouldn't take kindly to their members being manhandled and then arrested, which might be its own problem with the officers involved.*] [b “I came in to ask some questions and these men attacked me.”] She told her. The police would no doubt want to ask her questions about the incident so she might as well answer them now... Speaking of.
[b “Do you know a man called Chen Fen Fu?”] [i *An innocent question, but a dangerous one. Chen Fen Fu AKA 'Ben Fu' was a bookie that dealt with a lot of the illegal gambling in the area. After a few stints with the police, he's now under Triad protection.*] Despite her last question, she had another one in mind that had completely fled her until now. [b “And do you happen to know a place I might be able to stay? A hotel maybe? I did not have time to look in to one before the fight.”]
[i 'Let's get take out.'] Yeah. Sure. Cool. What's the worst that could [i possibly] happen by getting take-out. That was the thought that had went through Scarlett's mind twenty minutes ago at the end of best with her partner who'd suggested it. He was always hungry it seemed, but then again they were all, always hungry. So she'd agreed. It was the end of the first week in her new sector, a small move across town that she took mostly for the fact that she knew there would be more opportunities for moving up.
As it turned out, there were quite a few things that could possibly go wrong with just going to get take-out with a co-worker right after a shift still in uniform.
Being closer to Chinatown, that was where they decided to go out to grab some food, being generally an easier option for food that just tasted good without costing an arm and a leg on a budget. That wasn’t the issue. Scar knew that there was some very off things about Chinatown, between the drugs and the human trafficking, it was another reason she’d been drawn to the transfer she’d been offered. She wanted to help it all come to an end, or at least take out a large piece of it. She wasn’t stupid-- she knew that for everything they tried, every raid, every law that they could put in place, all the people that were saved, that there would always be someone or some group of people finding another way around it all. For every life they could save, somewhere else there was someone else falling into the trap. It could get depressing sometimes when she thought on it too much. For every good deed there is bad. The world still manages to maintain balance.
[i But that doesn’t mean that doing good things is not important.]
Even a small change is a change. To even get one step ahead of the bad things is a major win-- that was why she became a police officer in the first place, though when she first joined she’d never imagined this was where she would end up. In high-school she’d been an artist, and she’d initially joined to become a sketch artist, practicing based off of descriptions her brother and sister would feed to her, some of their friends, some of book characters. And then she started seeing these people-- victims of crimes, trying to describe who they’d seen and some being utterly wrecked-- that was what had driven her to join more fully.
But that was all the past. How she got here didn’t matter anymore-- she was here now, and in the present she was getting take-out with her partner after a shift.
Until they weren’t because the bar next to them suddenly had people running out of it in fear, a pattern she recognized. She looked to Jacob and he nodded in affirmation, calling in the disturbance to their boss and headed over to see what the trouble was.
Walking in, ready to pull her gun, Scar witnessed a young woman taking on three men in the bar, and as one pulled a knife that was enough for her to pull her gun and aim it. [b “Enough!”] She yelled, going into law-enforcement mode, a harsh switch from the un-bothered conversation she’d been having barely a minute before. Her partner was doing the same, trying to keep up flanking. [b “Drop your weapon!”]
Talk about culture shock. Lanfan Song, better known as 'Li' was a woman born in Southern China, and has remained there her entire life. Until now, of course. Now she was in America. It was like a sudden bottoming out feeling when she first landed here, and she had no time to process it. The jet-lag, the people, the air, and even the way the streets were formulated here. Li was forced to take it all in stride as she quickly located herself a map and got a move on. There was no telling how much or how little time she had left.
A twelve hour flight here didn't do wonders for her, especially when she needed to be sharp and vigilant. They flew through a bunch of time zones and she slept through most of it, but now that she was here in America, it was night. Despite the slight disorientation, that suited her just fine. The people she was after liked to come out to play at night.
She flagged down a taxi and got in, noting how much colder it was here, but it was close to winter. She leans forward a little and tells the driver where she wanted to go. The driver gave her a strange look, glancing over his shoulder at her. Her delicate features turned in to a frown.
“You sure, Miss?”
[b “Yes.”] She says curtly and quickly looks out the window. Her Sifu was a very successful and famous man, and had students from all over the world. As a result, Li was quite fluent in English. His American students were also how she got the name 'Li'.
When the taxi didn't start moving, Li turns and looks back at the taxi driver and gestures towards the meter, which was still running. “Alright, Miss. Just be careful, Chinatown is dangerous this time of night.” And without any further interruptions in her journey, the taxi took to the brightly lit streets of the city. At night it almost seemed like home. It was hard to believe how quickly she came from Hong Kong to America. The few days before she left were still burned in to her memory.
[i She watched as the four men came from the old two story building on the dark Hong Kong street. They were dressed in new leather jackets and wore aviator sunglasses despite it being night. It was hard to see their faces, but she knew who they were. Who they belonged to. The Triads. And they had come for her Sifu.
Sifu Wei Jianguo was a famous Hong Kong practitioner of Nanquan, a successful actor, and teacher. Li had been fortunate enough to be his most distinguished Kung Fu student. Until then, of course.
Once the men had driven off, she rushed across the street and quickly burst through the door. The building was an old warehouse, re-purposed by Sifu Jianguo earlier in his career. The first floor was mostly bare, save for equipment and practice weapons placed in corners and specific intervals of the space. The first floor acted as his kwoon, his Kung Fu school where he taught people how to fight and defend themselves. The kwoon wasn't what Li was concerned with; it was the second story, the 'penthouse' as Sifu called it.
The door to the second floor was off its hinges, but she barely noticed as she flew up the stairs and in to the would-be apartment. When it was purchased, Sifu had replaced a lot of the floor with hardwood, and redid the walls to look more livable, decorating it in a traditional Chinese style. The walls were lined with pictures of his exploits, newspaper articles, magazine covers, medals, trophies, and an odd weapon here and there. Now everything was in shambles, the whole place disembowelled. It looked like a hurricane had came through the apartment. Sifu Wei Jianguo was who Li looked up to, and to see the monument of his success like this... Well...
She had called his name, but there was no answer, and discovered that the men had left so quickly because their target wasn't here. That would've have struck Li as odd considering the time of day if she was in the right head space, but she quickly moved about the apartment desperately searching for something. Some tangible evidence he was alive or where he might be. It was when she went in to his room she discovered he had left. Drawers were empty, some personal belongings vacant, and toiletries gone... He had known. He had known the Triads were coming for him. But why? She was furious, and in her fury she had almost missed it, no doubt the same way the Triad members missed it. Nestled in the corner beside one of the dressers was a small trashcan, and a piece of paper with scribbled writing on it. She quickly snatched it and read it. And it helped her make her decision.]
“We're here.” The driver said, bringing Li from her brooding. She blinked a few times, refocusing on reality and where she was. For a second she might've even believed she was home from all of the hanging lanterns, signs with big Chinese lettering, and the street vendors. However, with a quick shake of her head she snapped herself out of it, grounding herself in the moment.
There was a quick exchange of cash and Li exits the car on to the smokey and dark streets of the American Chinatown. Despite being fresh from Hong Kong, she didn't contrast much with the style of dress her. Li was a woman of average height and build, and she wore a dark grey long sleeve with black flexible pants, coat, and shoes. She kept her hair tied pack in a pony tail to keep out of her dark and fierce eyes. To the average passer-by she was just the usual clientele of this part of town, but judging by the looks she got from some of the locals, they weren't exactly convinced. That was fine though, she wasn't here for them.
Although warned by the taxi driver that this part of ton was dangerous, she didn't run in to any opposition or harassment as she walked down one of the many streets. Not just yet at least. Now she stood outside of a bar, the [i Mango Rose], and grimaced from all the boisterous noise and the talking that could easily be mistaken for shouting. [i 'At least it sounds like they're happy'.] She thought to herself before entering the bar. Immediately she was greeted with the tell-tale smell of alcohol and stale cigarettes. It quieted down some when she entered, but conversations quickly resumed and heads turned away. However, a few eyes remained on her, and she did her best not to meet them. She could see by how they were acting they were looking for an excuse to intercept her. That was one thing Sifu Jianguo had drilled in to her head when she first was learning Kung Fu: [i the last thing you should intercept is the attack; intercept the thought and you will be a ghost to them.] It was easy for him to say since he was so damn fast. Li was fast too, but not 'thought intercepting' fast.
She slides up to the bar and sits on one of the stools, a comfortable distance away from one of the men had been eyeing her. However, the bartender seemed to be slightly leery of her too, looking down his nose at her, inspecting her.
[b “Ni hao, wo keyi he yibei ma?”] She asks in Cantonese. She smiled in a friendly way, but found it quite hard to make it feel genuine. She wanted to get down to brass tacks, but first had to do a little bit of dancing around. Patience wasn't really a virtue she had to begin with, and after her flight and having to uproot her life to chase after her master, the tank was running a little empty.
“We speak English here.” The bartender says tautly. She frowns inwardly but keeps her outside smile from wavering. It cuts some of the tension. “What would you like?”
[b “I'm actually looking for a friend.”] She says, her impatience getting the better of her. [b “I was told Chen Fen Fu comes by some times. Could you tell me when I might find him?”] And she reacted before she even fully saw it. Movement out of the corner of her eye. Her hand came up just as the man's came down for her wrist and crashed against the bar. Reflexively she shot out an elbow, felt the impact, and she was immediately to her feet as the man dropped to the floor. A surprise elbow wasn't easy to walk away from. Unsurprisingly.
The bar immediately leapt to life, many of the occupants standing up and running for the door, but a few younger men stayed, already up and ready for a fight. She faced them, and immediately wished she shouldn't. The bartender wrapped his arms around her, one arm around her shoulders, and the other around her neck. She struggled as the other men descended upon her, the first one who reached her immediately slammed a meaty fist in to her stomach. She would've keeled over if she wasn't being held up. Despite the pain and the lack of air, she centred herself, and a fraction of a second later, the next punch came for her face. Li dropped in to a low stance, the punch connecting with the bartenders face as Li began a series of chain punches on her opponents stomach and groin, finishing off with another elbow to the thigh. The force of the blow was enough to send the man off balance and out of her way, but it gave his two friends clear access to Li.
She pivots off to the side, away from the bar and creating some distance, hands coming up at the same time, Wu Sao. They were quick to come at her again and she pivots again, the two not having any kind of equilibrium with each other and butting shoulders and hips. It was a brief second to reposition, but it was all she needed as she hooked a foot under a stool and kicked it out at them, it hitting one of the men squarely in the chin and putting him down. However, as one fell, another rose. The man she had speed-bagged earlier was back to his feet and at his friend's side, quickly checking to make sure his other downed friend was breathing. He was; Li wasn't here to kill anyone nor did she want to. [i Maim rather than kill, for all life is precious nor can any be replaced.]
But her opponents seemed to be a different story. A quick motion behind the back. A flash of steel and dexterous fingers. Held in the man's hand with deadly purpose was a butterfly knife, pointed at Li with a sneer. Although it worried her, she didn't flinch or let it show. It was about time she left, but the two were blocking her way. That was fine; she'd just have to go through them.