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Jinmei

Burning for the Family (JinmeixJoyabe)

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Jinmei

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Joyabe

Name: Agostino Travera

Age: 25

Appearance: Light brown hair, gray-green eyes, "pretty" face, pale skin, slender body, about 5'5.

Personality: Extremely confident, enough so to not need to be noisy about it. He's very determined, always going for what he wants, and gets it. Basically, he's the type that doesn't take no for an answer. He's very serious when it comes to work, and although he looks soft and weak he can be ruthless, and is physically much stronger than he looks. People don't understand it, but Agostino is most dangerous when he looks calm and quite.

Likes: Nice things, food (and a lots of it), his family.

Dislikes: Flashy people, dogs (he's terrified of them, but uses the excuse they're messy and smells bad), dirty and cheap things.

Bio: The first and only son of a big mafia boss, Agostino grew up knowing that he was an elite- royalty even, and he acts accordingly. As the one to inherit the family business from his father one day, he's very involved in it, and although he tends to be smug and condescending he got the goods to back it up- both in looks and skills. Despite his young age, he's known and feared in the underworld, known to be extremely dangerous despite his looks which are slightly on the soft side. Although he's an only son, what he lacks in siblings his family more than makes up for in cousins, of which he has 15 only on his father's side. He's very connected to the family and the family business, and would do anything for them.

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Jinmei

Name: Nero

Age: 28

Appearance: Dark blonde hair, almost reaching shoulders. Green eyes. Tan skin as he works out in the sun allot.

Personality: Not the type to initiate a conversation with a stranger but is happy to talk to people he has gotten to know. If he sees someone needing help he won't hesitate to give a helping hand. When pushed he changes and can get quite aggressive/dominating.

Likes: Building and tinkering, is quite the inventor. Chocolate. Kids.

Dislikes: Fighting and swimming.

Powers: Can cover his body in an electric blue fire which burns hotter than the red flame users and can electrocute living beings at close range.

Weakness: Large amounts of water puts out red flame users, massive amounts of water is needed to try and put out the blue flame. Even so Nero tends to avoid large bodies of water, he can swim but its very uncomfortable for him.

Bio: Parents died when he was still young, but the islanders are like a big family so he has not suffered from being an orphan. His parents were said to be red flame users but no one knows if anyone further back in his bloodline had the blue flame. He doesn't care though as he enjoys living a simple life, helping out in the fields and gathering food. The electricity that is used on the island is supplied by Nero by him charging up a generator that shares the electricity among all the people. Usually one charge lasts for a month.

 

 

 

A loud ship horn sounded in a desperate cry to try and get attention in the harsh storm. The waves were relentlessly hitting the sides of the ship, as if trying their best to capsize it. With one last large wave, it turned over, the ocean claiming its new prize to sit on the ocean floor.

 

The following day, the weather showed no signs of it ever being bad, the sky was clear, the sun was out, but the debris scatted everywhere showed the traces of a storm. The island had been near the bad weather but far enough away to only suffer minor injuries to trees and crops. The people living on said island were now busy in cleaning upp the near area around their village. One of the villagers had been tasked to check the beach for washed upp debris, as they knew very well that ships or fishing boats might suffer losses in ocean storms. However, the man found something a bit more horrifying. At least he thought so at first when he saw the body.

 

Rushing over, he breathed a sigh of relief when he turned the body onto its back and saw it draw a breath, and the chest then steadily rising and falling. It- no he was alive. One of the village dogs had followed the blond man to the beach, it had no specific owner and followed whom ever it felt like. It did take an interest in the new person though and started liking the male all over the face. "Hey hey, leave him alone, he might be injured" Nero said as he then lifted the body up in his arms bridal style. He was surprised at how light the other was, but that just made it easier to carry the body back to his hut that was at the outskirts of the village. He would report this to the village elders later but right now the priority was making sure the still alive male didn't die for real.

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Joyabe

A dream. A very weird dream. That was all that Agostino could think about as feeling after feeling washed over him. He remembered being very cold, and the feeling of being tossed around violently, and then suddenly being very still and warm. The feeling of dirt on his skin, and then something warm and moist on his face, something that smelled terrible, changed his mind. No, it wasn't a dream- it was a nightmare.

 

Through the fog of unconsciousness he could hear someone chasing that hideous thing away. He felt thankful for it, but honestly, he was a little annoyed. He was paying the people around him more than enough to make sure it wouldn't go anywhere near him in the first place. It was when this thought went through his mind when he realized things weren't adding up. He was supposed to be dreaming, but the things around him felt too real. When he would open his eyes he should be in his loft apartment, in his own bed. 'Oh' he realized 'that's not true'. He now remembered he was on a business trip. They were sailing when suddenly the weather got bad…

 

His mind finally cleared up and started working in its usual speed. The moment it did he realized he was moving. In fact, he was doing so without his legs even touching the ground. Agostino's eyes flew open only for him to be momentarily blinded by the sun shining straight above his head. A moment later, he could make up the face of the man carrying him. He could say a lot of things about that face, but the only thing he couldn't was that he knew it. "Who the hell are you?" Agostino asked, his voice quit and hostile. While he would not panic, as it would do him no good, he wasn't an idiot. In his line of work he had enough people that were after him for one reason or another. He had to find out who was that stranger and what did he want. "Put me down" he commended "now".

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Jinmei

The sudden question and request took Nero a bit off guard as they had just reached home. He looked down at the now awake person and gave a smile, "You're awake" he stated the obvious at first but also gave an answer, "My name's Nero, and I don't think you should be standing, you might have a broken leg or such". The labrador looking dog wagged its tail, giving a bark almost in agreement to the language it didn't understand.

 

He could feel the body tense up in his arms, and took it as the male was in pain, not knowing the other was afraid of dogs. Once inside, the dog was shut outside the hut and Nero set the smaller body onto his bed, "Tell me, where does it hurt" he asked while looking through a large chest made out of wood and straw, trying to find if he had any medicinal herbs left or some cloth to use as a bandage.

 

The hut itself was very humble, there was just a bed, a work bench and a wood fire stove in the two room building. The second room only visible as a shut door however. The building itself was made out of wood, the roof made out of large dried banana and coconut palm leaves. In any other situation it would be an idyllic vacationing getaway as from the window you could see the beach almost framed perfectly between the jungle trees.

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Joyabe

Agostino was getting irritated by the other's actions. Who exactly did he think he was that he just ignored him like that? He was about to argue with Nero, who insisted on not listening, when he heard the dog bark, causing him to flinch in surprise. When he recovered his composure, he was already placed down on some bed- Nero's he assumed, and pulled himself to a sitting position immediately. "Thanks for your concern, but I'm absolutely fine" he said in a voice that didn't express any gratitude whatsoever. He really didn't feel any strong pain, or at least that was what he thought until he stood up, feeling a sharp pain in his right ankle. 'Probably just sprained' he thought, as he discovered he was able to stand despite the pain.

 

When he took a better look at the small room, it was clear he was nowhere near home. Standing in the middle of the simple hut, dressed in a three piece Italian suite, Agostino was sticking out like a sore thumb, even with his cloths all drenched and destroyed. Shit, and he really liked that suite too. "What is this place?" he asked, wrinkling his nose when he looked around. He didn't want to spend a second more than necessary there. "Give me your phone" he ordered again as he reached out his hand, expecting the item to be placed in it. He would just have to contact home and they would get him out of there in no time. He had no time to waste in a place like that.

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Jinmei

Nero gave the other a sceptic glance at the 'I'm fine' statement but accepted it and stood again. Compared to the other, he was more suitably dressed for the place, being just simple blue shorts and a white tank top and a very light purple scarf wrapped around his waist. Around his neck was a necklace with what looked like a sapphire gemstone tied to it. He was a bit taken aback at the rudeness however, as that was not a common trait on this island.

 

"You're on Shandi island" he answered before getting a hand stuck out against him, "And we do not have phones on this island", he thought for a moment before remembering, "We do have a decently equipped ship with a phone, but that one is away right now and won't return within another month".

 

Crossing his arms over his chest, Nero then realised he had forgotten to ask the other's name and made a small polite bow, "I'm sorry, but I forgot to ask, what is your name?", figuring that this must have been the reason for the other's tone of voice and behaviour. He would probably also be a bit miffed if someone didn't introduce themselves when you wake upp in a strange unfamiliar place.

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Joyabe

The name Shandi Island didn't ring any bells for Agostino, but he couldn't care less about it as soon as he heard the other's answer about the phones. "What do you mean you don't have any phones?" he asked, narrowing his eyes "do I look like an idiot to you?". It was true the place didn't seem like it was the most urban or developed, but everybody had a cellphone these days, not to mention a regular phone.

 

"Listen here" he said, starting to really loose his patience "I don't know what kind of game you think you're playing, but I don't have the time for this". In his head, Agostino cursed the people in the organization that were responsible for making arrangements of his business trip. They were the ones who insisted on going by boat and not by plane, saying it would be easier to do so without leaving a paper trail. Couldn't they even do the bare minimum of making sure that the conditions were right for sailing? He would have to fire some people as soon as he gets back- it was their fault he was stuck in this shitty place.

 

"My name is Agostino Travera. If you know the name, you should know why you shouldn't fuck with me. And if you don't, you should consider yourself lucky" he told Nero, not hiding the air of pride and arrogance in his voice "I don't know if you're not okay in the head or something, but you should find a way for me out of here- for your own good. We can do this in a way that would pay off for you, but you need to be a good boy and do as you're told" he patronized the other, despite the fact that he was clearly older and larger than him. Agostino never had a problem showing what he was and acting accordingly. For him, it was very simple- power was the key to everything, and since he had an unlimited supply of it since he was born, things would be done his way.

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Jinmei

Nero raised an eyebrow, letting the other finish ranting. Again, he was taken aback at how rude a human being could be. Then again, the elders had said the main land people could be quite the hassle. He only knew about the main land through news papers they got via delivery from said ship that was at the moment at sea. It wasn't like they were under developed either, they just enjoyed the simple life after all. Agostino clearly didn't know this.

 

He did however take offence to being called 'not ok in the head'. Still, he put on the kindest most friendly smile he could, "I'm sorry, I have not heard about that name before, Agostino" he spoke in a surprisingly calm voice for someone who was just insulted by a stranger, "I can, however, show you a way out of here" and with that, Nero opened the front door, pushing the smaller man outside and then shutting the door once more. If there was no injury and the guy was well enough to go off on a rant like that, then he could clearly take care of himself. Drawing a heavy sigh, Nero shook his head and decided he would just call it a day, he was in a way glad that the other was well, he would have felt awkward having someone stay at his place anyhow as he enjoyed his solitude. 'I could probably build a phone...' he through then, smirking slightly at the challenge as he knew the basics of the construction as he had managed to repair the ship's phone when it broke once.

 

Outside the hut, the lab had been moving about sniffing things but when it saw the new human, it started wagging its tail and barking happily.

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Joyabe

Agostino did not expect to be treated the way he was. Back home, nobody dared to even think about being rude to him- they knew they would be dead if they even tried. That actually caused him to be just the tiniest bit impressed by the other man who didn't get scared and remained calm in front of his threats. He was even more surprised when he was unceremoniously shoved out of the little hut, his injured ankle crying in protest as it had to carry his weight. That caused him to get annoyed with Nero all over again- although he had his share of physical fights, nobody have ever dared to mishandle him like he was some kind of a nuisance.

 

'Fine' he thought as the door was shut behind him 'good riddance'. He would just find someone more reasonable to talk to and get the hell out of there. When that dirty bag of fur others have called a pet started barking however, he stopped right in his tracks. Had it not been for his ankle, he would probably try and make a run for it, but in his current state he would be easily outran. When the lab decided to get closer to him, Agostino took an instinctive step back, his back hitting the door of the hut with a loud thud. This only fueled his panic further, as now he felt like he was trapped. He could try and break the door behind him, but his pride did not allow him to let the man who just treated him so rudely see him in this state.

 

Instead, he decided to try and distract the dog. Throwing a quick glance sideways, his eyes fell on a small branch that seemed to have fallen from a tree nearby. Moving sharply, he jumped to reach to it, only to fall down immedietly as his leg collapsed under him, refusing to perform such an act when it was injured. "Shit!" he cussed under his breath, turning around only to see the furry demon getting even closer, thinking the man was playing with him. Crawling backwards and feeling around, Agostino finally managed to wrap his fingers around the stick, and threw it as far as he managed. He felt immensely relieved when the dog went running after it, but found a new problem arising as he struggled staggering back onto his feet. By the time it took him to get back up, the dog have already reached the stick and was picking it up only to make a U-turn and head back in his direction. Agostino's eyes flew back and forth, desperately trying to find a way to escape, but coming up empty handed, leaving him standing frozen in place.

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Jinmei

The thud had not gone unheard, and for a couple of minutes, Nero found a new emotion in him he had not known existed. At first it was a sort of "karma's a bitch" emotion as he watched from the side window, Agostino fall to the ground, figuring it must be an injury of sorts. However something... darker stirred in him as he noticed how the male was reacting got the innocent dog coming closer. It wasn't that he wanted to see the stranger get hurt, but he wanted to watch him squirm, struggle. Nero quickly shook his head, the thoughts just confusing him now. Right NOW, someone needed help and jerk or not, he couldn't just leave the guy lying there and struggling like a fish on dry land.

 

"Go on Rover, git!" The man called, the dog stopping in its tracks, tilting its head with the stick still in it's mouth before turning and leaving for the village. Once the dog was out of sight for the two men, Nero went and opened the door again, picking Agostino upp once more. He did not place him gently on the bed this time but did drop him a bit roughly, a small passive aggressive 'revenge' of sorts. "Your ankle is hurt right? Do you want me to fix it or shall we leave it to get worse?" he asked, crossing his arms over his chest and giving the other a look you give to a child that has broken something but doesn't want to admit it even if the child wont get in trouble. "Also your clothes are still soaking wet so if you don't want chapped skin, I can lend you a clean shirt and pants till your outfit is dry again".

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Joyabe

A wave of relief washed over Agostino when the dog decided to leave him alone. God he hated those creatures. When he was picked up again against his will for the second time in minutes, he thought he might just add somebody else to the list of things he hates. Although he appreciated the help, he did not feel the same way about the way he was handled, that seemed disrespectful, even humiliating to him. "Hey, what's with you?" he protested when the man who just kicked him out carried him inside again "let me…" he started to say, but was cut off when the air was slightly knocked out of him when he was tossed on the bed.

 

He glared up at Nero for a moment when he began talking to him. He was confused by the other's actions- one moment he was throwing him out and next he offered treating his injuries. Maybe he really wasn't ok in the head, he thought, though in all fairness even he had a hard time believing himself. "Fine" he finally said, sitting so that his legs were off the bed "fix it if you want to do it so bad" he said as he lifted his sprained ankle, making it sound like he was the one doing Nero a favor, and not the other way around.

 

The offer to give him a change of clothes brought his full attention to his own outfit once again. A dark cloud crossed his face as he realized the suite was probably done for- the fabric was soaked in salt water and the jacket torn in different places and missing some buttons. He doubted they would have a dry cleaning place if they didn't even have phones, and in its current state not even his favorite tailor would be able to save the suite. He wanted desperately to deny the offer, but the feeling of the wet, dirty fabric on his skin was driving him crazy. "Are you sure it's actually clean?" he asked in his usual condescending tone, narrowing his eyes an Nero.

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Jinmei

Nero had decided that he for now would ignore the other's rude acting and set to work. First, he had Agostino change out of the wet clothes and put on dry ones, "Yes, the clothes are clean, you might think you are in some kind of slum-area but we do have soap and other commodities" he rolled his eyes as he opened the large chest at the end of the bed, placing a pair of white shorts and white shirt on the bed besides Agositno. "I will give you some privacy" he then said, opening the door to the backroom which was his workshop. While the other changed, the blond searched for the plastic splint he had made that would work for keeping the injured foot from moving too much.

 

"So are you some kind of celebrity? Its usually the girls that read those kind of magazines here. I only follow the the news" Nero asked, trying his best to start some sort of conversation. He always got a bit awkward when it came to new people, especially when you grow upp in a small community where everyone knows everyone since birth pretty much. It did happen they got new members though since they do try to prevent inbreeding an you would be surprised at the amount of people leaving their hectic city lives forever to live a simple farming life in the tropics.

 

Once Nero was sure the other was done changing he returned to the room with the splint and bandage. Kneeing down, he gently set the other's fot on his knee. Now that he had full skin to skin kontakt, he was surprised at how smooth Agostino's skin was, specially for a male. Placing the splint against the foot, he began to wrap it gently with the bandage.

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Joyabe

As soon as he was left alone, Agostino immediately began changing out of his drenched clothes. Although he didn't do it especially slow, he didn’t make a special effort to be quick either. Others would have to adjust themselves to his pace, not the other way around. Although the clothes didn't fit him in style nor in size, at least they were clean. The faint smell of soap reassured Agostino, and he had to admit he would take it over the smell of seawater at any given day.

 

"A celebrity?" he repeated the question he was asked through the closed door "I wouldn't call it that" he smirked. Well, he was a celebrity of sorts, but he wouldn't appear in any of the magazines the other was talking about "Have you ever heard of the Travera cooperation?" he asked. Understandably, he wouldn't just go ahead and say what it was that he was, and it seemed Nero had little to zero knowledge of the underworld he was a part of, that is unless he happened to come across some sort of an article about them- and there weren't a lot of those. At least not about the things they didn't want the media to know of. It was possible however that he heard about the more… legal activities of their family business.

 

"You can come in" Agostino said as soon he was dressed and seated on the bed, giving the other permission as if he owned the place. His gray eyes watched silently as he lowered himself to take care of his injury. 'That's more like it' he thought, a satisfied smile crossing his lips. It seemed the other was finally beginning to learn his place. "So what's the deal with this place?" he asked in an almost bored voice. It's not that he was especially curious about the island itself, but he still needed to find a way out of it. "If you don't have any phones I guess computers are also a no… is there at least a way out of here to a place where you can reach the rest of civilization?" he asked, looking around at the simple looking room while the other worked on his injured ankle.

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Jinmei

The name actually did ring a bell for Nero, but he couldn't quite place it where he had heard or read about it. "I don't think so, but it sounds like a big deal" he decided against bringing upp something he couldn't say for certain he knew about. When he came out again he remembered that it was actually the village elder that had told him about it once when he was younger. However all he remembered was that it was a big company and one of the reasons the elder had decided to come to the island. Nero gave a mental shrug, it wasn't in his place to relate vague stories of a passed life of someone else, specially when you could get those answered from said person.

 

"I'm not sure what you mean with 'deal', I mean this is my home" thinking a bit, he tried giving a good answer, "But the adults and families that moved here over the years have always said they came here cause its a beautiful island and there is no stress to be had. One said we had hot chicks but I mean if you come here only for that you wont last long. If you don't help out the community, you get no help in return in the end", having started his bandaging at the foot he had now moved upp the calf a bit and was soon done patching upp the other. "Again the ship has the most advanced tech, that including a computer as well. Also, that is the only way getting off this place" the bandage was tied in a firm knot before Nero stood up.

 

He walked over to a wall calendar and took it down, "It will be around 3 weeks before it returns here. Its the only contact we have with the outside world really, we do some trading and that's it". Having it put like that, it didn't sound they did it for a profit, more for a loss. If trading didn't mean they traded people for the sex industry and in turn getting large amounts of cash to keep this island protected from the government to continue their so called simple life, luring innocent teens like a cult in thinking this life will be awesome and then ending upp being sold.

Ofcourse that was a worse case scenario. In reality, the island is host to a couple of rare plants which can be used for both modern and home medicine with great effect. These ingrediens are then shipped off and sold at the main land, and the cash is used to keep the island protected by the government.

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Joyabe

"You're shitting me" Agostino said in disbelief when Nero told him their entire connection to the outside world depended on a single ship. His eyes followed the other man as he got up and went to check something on his calendar "3 weeks?!" he asked, raising his voice for the first time since he met the other. 3 weeks were like forever to him- he had so many things he had to take care of, none of which he could do without at least a working phone line of some sorts. He grunted and fell back on the bed, keeping his legs off of it, and throwing his arm across his eyes. He could feel a serious headache coming. "What the hell am I supposed to do for 3 weeks? Besides, did any of you consider the fact it might have drowned in the storm last night?" he pointed out, thinking their ship might have faced a similar fate to his "what are you going to do if it's ruined?"

 

The talk about trading automatically awakened the more professional side in Agostino. "What are you selling?" he asked, wondering what such a simple community could possibly produce "if it's interesting enough I might consider taking a look at it" he said, not moving from the position he was in as he did. He didn't dismiss it as something useless immediately- he knew some of the… goods his family dealt in were grown in pretty rural communities. Maybe, just maybe, they had some kind of a connection to someone he knew that could get him the hell out of there. Or maybe he could at least use this unfortunate incident to expand business- he had to do something while he was stuck there.

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Jinmei

"The ship is fine" Nero replied to Agostino with confidence, "They have radio contact with the village elder. And before you ask no, no other channels get through. We want to avoid pirates so its a hidden frequency channel I made" the calendar was returned to where it was perched on the wall, "You don't seem to be that worried about your crew though, you haven't once asked if anyone else survived aside from you".

 

He tilted his head a bit as the other suddenly showed interest in something the blond said for once instead of disappointment or disdain. "Its medicin, and you can speak about that and trading with the elder, I am not in authority to make any decisions. I am not into medicine anyway, all i know is its good for some very hard to cure sicknesses" he was then reminded that he should tell the others about their new guest as soon as possible. "Do you think you can walk? worse case I can carry you to the village. Otherwise you can stay here while i go inform the others" he did however want the other not to stay at his hut... "I cannot promise Rover wont return while i am gone" hopefully someone else would be more than happy to keep Agostino for three weeks.

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Joyabe

Of course even if there was a working radio in that goddamn place there would be no way he could use it, Agostino thought in frustration. He was never one to believe in chance, as he always had a way to make things work in his favor, but right now he felt like the odds were stacked against him. The note about his own ship didn't go unnoticed, and although he didn't bother to reply to that comment, it made the wheels in his head turn. Surprisingly, the crew he had on the ship only had a few people from his own organization- the people back home insisted that it would be harder to detect them this way. Furthermore, no one but him was on deck when they drowned… he tried remembering the turn of events that led him to the island. He remembered one of the crew members, someone who was insignificant to him as he didn't have an important position nor was he someone he brought with him from home, called him to the deck saying there was some kind of a problem. And when things started going south… the memory of trying to open a locked door suddenly came to his mind. It might have all been a coincidence, but once again- Agostino was never one to believe in those. The more he thought about it, the more it seemed someone planned the whole thing. All the more reason to go back as fast as he could and flash out the idiot who thought he could take him down.

 

His face didn't show any of the things that went through his mind, but when Nero started talking about telling the others, he removed the arm that covered his face and shifted his gaze to look at him. "No need, I can walk perfectly fine" he said as he got to his feet, making his point as he did "also, the next time you decide to pick me up on your own I'll hurt you" he threatened. He was already on his way to the door, limping just a little, when the other mentioned the dog. That one comment made Agostino freeze in hesitation. If it was already back, maybe he should let Nero go out first, just in case. "Well, lead the way" he told him in an annoyed voice "I don't know the place, do I?" he asked as he moved out of the way to allow him to pass him. "So you don't know about the only product you're trading in, and you don't have any kind of authority… so what exactly are you doing here?" he asked Nero, wondering just what the other man was, besides an hindrance, that is. He couldn't forgive him for making sure he won't even be able to use the radio to contact somebody.

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Jinmei

Since he didn't get a reply form Agostino about the crew, he figured it might have been traumatic for the other even if it was just a neutral emotion showing on the other's face. He could tell though Agostino was thinking as Nero had caught himself having the same expression and going silent when trying to solve difficult issues. 'Something we have in common I guess' he thought. The smile slipped away as the other's rudeness returned in a storm with the threats and demands.

 

"Because its not my department if I should put it in words you would understand" Nero replied about the trading question. "I was born here, this is the only home I ever known and have no reason to leave it. I am however, an inventor. I'm the one that build the lights, the power lines, and the generator. Also rusted upp the trade ship and made the water system for the water towers". The water system didn't sound as impressive as usually you would only need one water tower in most cases if it was a small island. He did sound passionate about what he had built though once he started talking about it and continued as he opened the door, leading the way towards the village. "I am also working on a watering filtering system so that we wont have to worry in case of a dry season, they are rare but it happens and then we can filter the seawater into drinking water. I also thought I would try my hands at making a working phone-" He looked over at Agostino, keeping a slow but steady pace so that the other could keep upp without putting too mush strain on his foot, "I can not make any promises it will be done anytime soon" he sighed a bit, rubbing the back of his head, "I will do my best though, I would also want to get home as soon as possible if I turned upp somewhere strange". Also on their way, Nero made sure to shoo any dogs away before they got too close, which would be quite a few once they reached the village.

 

Within a few minutes they reached large fields where said water tower could be seen, most likely used to water the crops, but that wasn't the only one. As they got closer to the village, more and more of the towers could be seen in varying sizes. They were built as large barrels and at the bottom there was a hole with large hoses connected, the barrel part was held upp by four legs. Some where away form the huts in the village, some were build over the houses, at first glance it looked like random placements but if you thought about it in case a fire would brake out, it made sense in their placements.

 

The elder, or chief's hut was easy to distinguish as it was the largest building and more decorated than the other huts. However that was it, there were no guards outside or anything and people seemed to come and go as they pleased from the building. Besides the building was a strange site though. At first it looked like a football field of sorts with lines drawn and colored in. Behind that field was a large pool about the same length but half the width as the field, with an arena in the middle. Lastly behind the pool was a stage where some people were busy decorating. On the field that was wall to wall with the chief hut sat a group of kids with their teacher. Around 16 kids looking to be from 6 upp to 12 years of age. They sat in 4 rows and in font of every child was a lit candle. It looked like they were meditating or doing yoga as they were doing slow hand moments and gestures.

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Joyabe

Agostino listened unusually quiet to the other's story as they walked. He did move a little slower than he would like to, but he was glad to find out walking was still not a problem, and that the pain was manageable. The fact Nero never left the island and yet managed to build so many things surprised him. If he was telling the truth, which Agostino believed he did, it meant he was much smarter than he had given him credit for. The talk about building a phone caused him to look at the taller man once again, this time with a hint of hope in his eyes. Maybe he could get out of there faster than he thought. "Listen," he said, this time his voice holding no traces of hostility. Clearly threats didn't do much with him, and so rather than the stick, Agostino decided to try and go for the carrot. "If you can build a working phone or radio fast enough I can make it worth your while" he tempted him, contemplating what it is he can offer to motivate the other man. "You said you've never been off the island. I can arrange it for you to go study those things you do seriously" he said, his voice coating the offer in honey, trying to make it sound as appealing as possible. "You'll be able see the outside world… make money… date some new girls" he added, remembering the lukewarm way in which the other talked about the women on the island. "I guarantee you that if you make me happy you won't regret it" he finished laying the bait, offering Nero a rare smile that still managed to carry some cockiness in it.

 

When they reached the village, all he could say about it is that it was… cute. He certainly couldn't see why the hell would someone decide to live there by choice. Everything seemed so… simple. And boring. However, this mundane scenery only caused the strange arena look even stranger, making it nearly impossible for Agostino to miss. The overall setup looked like they were getting ready for some kind of an event, but it was the strange class that took place outside the chief's house that alarmed him the most. "Oh god" he said, rolling his eyes as he abruptly stopped walking "are you a part of some strange cult?" he asked, sounding more exhausted than worried. It's not like he cared what these people did or chose to believe- not like he was exactly a model citizen or anything, but he really didn't have the energy do deal with someone trying to convert him. It was way too bothersome. "Look I don't care if you want to believe that the great whale in the sky will get angry if you won't provide it with a human sacrifice every leap year or some shit like that, but keep me out of it. If you're bringing me to your leader to try and get me to join I can already tell you it's not going to happen, so save up your energy".

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Jinmei

Nero was about to decline, but he hesitated. The offer was not that bad actually, it was tempting as he could learn so much more than what the worn books had thought him so far. "I will think about it, but as said, I might not be able to make a working phone" he gave a small shrug, but there was a hint of disappointment in his tone. "Non the less, I don't need money and girls don't interest me. I just want to see what else I can do and learn" he grinned back to the other as an answer.

 

He smiled as he had also seen the class and had been about to say something when the other went off about the cult thing. "I don't think anyone here believes in a sky whale, we have many different beliefs however" he started, "As I told you, allot of the people here come form different places, so some brought their believes with them, only practising in private. I don't believe in any God personally, don't see a point in that" he watched the students and then saw a flame going out in front of a younger girl. In that split second he realized he had made a horrible mistake. He remembered how first timers to the island had reacted even when being told about the special 'quirk 'the natives had. Nero felt a cold sweat run down the side of his face as he didn't know how he could explain this quick enough in a second and all he got out was "Agostino, don't panic" and hoping that the other maybe knew about this power from else where.

 

As the sentence was spoken, the girl was lit up in orange flames, the fire consuming all her body. "NO NO NO NO!" she screamed, quickly getting upp and running to the pool and dove in. What made the scene even more unsettling to an outsider was that no one really reacted aside from when the girl first had yelled. The fire was ignored and they went back to doing whatever they had been busy with and none of the kids reacted and stayed focused on their meditating. The teacher got up from his position, exposing a small tower of towels besides him and he grabbed the top one, walking over to the pool as the girl resurfaced. "Mom will be so mad..." The girl sobbed softly as she was helped upp and wrapped in the towel to dry upp, "This is the second time this month... she is getting tired of fixing my clothes" she glanced down at the burnt shirt and skirt she wore.

 

The teacher gave her a kind smile and rubbed her head, "But last month it was four, month before six, month before that seven. You are improving allot Jennie, I am sure your mother will be proud". The girl listened and then gave a nod in agreement before following her teacher back to the group to continue the lesson.

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Joyabe

The answer Nero gave him almost made Agostino laugh in exasperation. He didn't seem to understand the concept of bribing… he genuinely seemed like he wanted to help him, not expecting much in return. Of course, if he would be able to make contacting the outside world possible fast enough for his liking, Agostino would keep his word. His honor was no laughing matter, and he would never make a promise he won't keep.

 

The whole explanation about them not being a cult didn't convince him in the slightest, as it could be some kind of pretense, but a moment later he couldn't care less about it. Naturally, the words 'don't panic' immediately caused Agostino to do exactly that. Well, it wasn't a full-fledged panic per se. He have seen quite a few things in his life, and it took something serious to cause him to really panic. Spontaneous combustion, however, definitely did the trick. It took his brain a few seconds to realize just what it was he was seeing, but the moment things clicked his eyes widened and he felt adrenaline began coursing through his veins. If the whole thing wasn't shocking enough, he was even more shocked by the fact that nobody seemed shocked by it in the slightest. "What the hell?" he finally managed some words out "why isn't anybody helping her?" he yelled furiously at Nero. He might not have been the exact definition of a good person, but he wasn't a monster. Didn't those people care at all about saving the life of one of their children?

 

He was already about to run after the girl if no one else did, taking the first few steps, but stopped when he saw the teacher approaching her, handling the situation as if kids going up in flames was a daily occurrence, and the girl being pulled out of the water completely unharmed. None of this made sense- the girl bursting into flames, the calm attitude, and most importantly- the fact that nothing happened to her. He though knowing the girl is fine will make his panic go away, but now it was just fueled further. "What… how… what the fuck..?" he mumbled, not able to even form a coherent sentence, as his eyes shot back and forth frantically between Nero and the class. He just couldn't make sense of anything he just witnessed. He wasn't mentally weak enough to think his mind was playing tricks on him, but believing what he just saw was real was scarier than thinking it was an hallucination.

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Jinmei

Nero drew a sharp breath as he scratched the back of his head and looking to the side, trying to find the words to easiest explain this, "We natives have a... gift? I guess you can call it. We can control fire, or at least learn to control it. That is a focus class being held, so stuff like that happens often until the kids learn to focus their energy in the right way" He started off. This really wasn't his department either in explaining how iland things worked or how the natives were born with fire powers, that was something either the spouse or the elder did.

 

A few of the kids had turned their head at Agostino's yelling, one more catching fire but only his sleeve so he managed to pat it out fast without taking a swim. "Its a new person!" someone said exited as the rest of the class turned in curiosity as well to see the visitor. The teacher had escorted the girl back when he noticed his class paying attention to something else and gave a smile and wave to the two males.

 

"Oi, Nero, found a new friend I see!" he called, getting a nod in reply from the one he addressed. He then noticed the state Agostino was in and chuckled softly, "I am sorry if Jennie shocked you, but I assure you she is fine". The little girl pulled her towel closer to her face and shifted behind her teacher, glancing shyly at Agostino, but did make the effort to give him a small polite wave.

 

One of the older girls got upp and walked upp to Agostino, smiling at him sweetly, "Is it your first time at Shandi island? I can show you how its done properly!" she said and was about to do something but Nero stopped her.

 

"Its ok Carol, I think he has been through enough for one day"

 

The teacher nodded in agreement, "It seems so and our lesson is not over yet, come back here and lets continue" he ushered and tried getting his students to regain focus on what they were doing previously, which was a bit hard as they were too exited to know about the new comer.

 

Breathing a deep sigh, Nero shifted a bit and looked at Agostino, he was about to ask if the other was ok but that felt like a very stupid as he was obviously a bit freaked out still. "Its really rare any of us start big fires or get anyone else injured" he finally said, hoping that might be a bit calming to know.

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Joyabe

While Nero tried explaining the situation as best as he could, all Agostino could manage was blinking at him, dumbfounded. Was he being serious? Well, clearly he was, and clearly the explanation seemed to match what he was seeing. Still, Agostino felt like maybe he was under the influence of something… only he was fully conscious of everything. Therefor, either it was a really strong and bad trip, or it was completely real. He remembered he heard rumors about people that can control the elements, but he always discarded them as myths, something along the lines of monks that can levitate and people that live off of sunshine.

 

Still, this was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, real. Agostino was so engrossed in his own thoughts, he barely noticed the teacher and the students that now paid attention to him. When one of the students addressed him directly he didn't have a choice to react, but words were still beyond his ability. All he managed was a look, a quite intimidating one, that screamed 'don't you fucking dare'. It was true that as his panic began to slightly fade away, his natural curiousness began to rear its head, but it was still not strong enough for him to willingly see that again this up close. Not until he would understand it better. Luckily, he didn't have to do much, as the other man quickly dismissed the girl, saving Agostino the trouble of doing so himself.

 

When he spoke to him directly, Agostino found himself once again blinking at Nero. This time, however, he managed to find some words. Of course, him being him, they weren't the nicest kind "oh good" he said, his voice dripping sarcasm "I'm glad there's no collateral damage when you go and light yourselves on fire". This day was just getting weirder and weirder. He really needed a drink. Actually, he needed five. He rubbed his face, trying to create some order in the chaos that was controlling his mind at that moment, not sure where to begin. "What is this thing? Why are you like this? Does anybody outside this place knows of it? Are there other people like you?" he asked question after question, trying to understand just what he got himself into. "Hold on" he suddenly said, looking up at Nero suspiciously "you said 'we'… are you like that too?"

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Jinmei

Nero hadn't quite prepared for the barrage of questions and wasn't sure which one to answer first. Before he could even give one answer, a new voice cut him off. "Well, a new face this time of year? that is quite rare" an elderly man chuckled as he came upp to the two men. He looked to be in his 60ties but seemed to be in very good health aside from a bad back as he had a cane to help him walk. Nero gave a low bow and once he straightened upp he introduced Agostino.

 

"Agostino, this is our elder, Martin. Old man, this is Agostino Travera" he motioned to respective man as he said their names. He did earn a whack of the cane however once done.

 

"You punk! You do not adress me as 'Old man' in front of honored guests!" He sounded stern but the tone and smile he had showed he really didn't mind. As Nero stood and rubbed his sore head, the elder turned his attention to Agostino once more, "Now, mr. Travera, I have a fine collection of vines and brandys, I would be honored if you would join me for a drink, I can tell you need one. Nero, would you give us some privacy? You probably need to rehearse for the festival anyway, I will not have no for an answer this year that you do not want to participate in the last minute".

The blond gave a small nod, but looked over to Agostino just to make sure the other was fine being left to a new stranger for now.

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Although a little annoyed for not receiving the answers to his questions, Agostino didn't mind the interference all that much. In fact, after he was introduced he thought that maybe he just found himself a more useful source of information, as Martin was clearly the one in charge in that tiny island. Generally speaking, Agostino usually spoke to the person in charge- he was too important to waste his time on people who weren't important or interesting. He all but ignored the person that took care of him until then when he answered "sure, I have a few things I would like to discuss with you" he answered Martin calmly with a smile, after regaining his composure. A small part of him wondered what was that festival he was talking about, but he didn't give it much thought. As much as he would find it amusing watching Nero participate in some bad production- the assumption he got to based on the word 'rehearse'- he had more important things to do.

 

Martin returned his smile with one of his own "excellent, so let's go in" he said as he motioned towards the large- relatively, that is- building behind him. Agostino soon found himself sitting next to a small wooden table, on which the old man placed two small glasses and a bottle filled with a rich golden liquid moments later. Sitting down, he then proceeded to pour the liquor to the glasses and handed one to Agostino who took it from him, but didn't drink yet. It was only when he saw the man in front of him take a sip that he did the same. It was more a matter of precaution than manners, the later came into play when he actually drank the brandy. He was usually very picky with his drinks, as he was with everything else, but he was pleasantly surprised. This was actually not bad.

 

"You don't look like a Travera" was the interesting note the chief chose to open their conversation with. Agostino smiled a vague smile at him in response. Unlike Nero, it seemed Martin at least heard about his family. "I don't" he agreed with him, not letting on more and waiting to see what the other had to say. He wasn't wrong either- Agostino took very much after his mother, with hints of his father only in his eyes and features. "Well, I figured you might come one day, although I would be lying if I say I hoped you wouldn't. Guess I hoped Alonzo would show me mercy again" he said. So he knew his grandfather. Agostino didn't make any comment on this, deciding to wait until he understood the situation better "what exactly is the deal with this island? With the people living here?" he asked as he swirled the small glass, eyes looking at the chief with misleading softness.

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Jinmei

Martin gave a light chuckle as he held his own glass upp in a small 'cheers' motion before taking a sip, "I guess you could say the deal is that this island has its own way of living after years of being a... prison? I cant think of a better word" the glass made a small clink sound as it was set down on the marble top of the wooden table. "From what I understand this island was a sort of prison to keep people with the fire powers you saw out there. Government, country leaders, mafia" the last word was said with a small smirk, "Everyone kept fighting to have these special powers for themselves, mostly for power of course. This was even before my time however and over the years as it was being fought over and at the same time trying to be kept a secret, people started forgetting about it or just thought it was a silly legend. After that, Shandy island was rediscovered by a certain family and put under protection so its inhabitants could live free lives." another sip was taken after that brief history lesson.

 

"Mr. Travera" Martin then said, getting a serious look on his face, "I only have a few rules here on this island that i upkeep. The two most important ones being: If you live here, you have to pull your weight and two, if you hurt anyone here with the intention to cause harm, or kill anyone. I will make sure to show you a nice vacationing spot on the bottom of the ocean, and I assure you, the sharks down there are not as hospital as I am" If there had been any doubts, they were now gone about this man being a former mafia leader.

 

Nero sighed has he had been ditched. He felt both disappointed and relived. Relived that he didn't have to babysit anymore, but disappointment that he now had to partake in the rehearsals for the festival show that would be in 2 days. He didn't dislike the show itself but he hated the fact he was the main event of the show, he hated the thought of being in the spotlight. He would have been glad to just be an extra in the background, or just a stage worker, or the guy who put the stage together in the first place. Hell, even decorating he would be overjoyed to do!

But participating in a spectacle was better than meeting the old man's wrath, and he headed for the stage to meet the others that would be part of the traditional show. He had partaken a few times but never finished his part. Mostly due to stage fright that caused him to be too nervous to get on stage or just mess upp his parts. Usually it ended with Nero just staying backstage anyway while the others finished without him. What he hated most was that he made everyone disappointed in that the show never got to be at its peak. They wouldn't be using any powers during rehearsal anyway as there was always a risk something would go wrong and catch fire, but during the main event that would be part of the point and by then it wouldn't matter if the stage got destroyed.

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