The blades of vengeances have fallen swiftly. The shinobi are no more as 'Absolute Justice' has returned...now, it is the Samurai that rule the Five Major Nations!
But at what cost? Have they become the very thing that they despised the most...? Heroes and villains seem to change roles every day, but one thing is for certain - we yearn for our freedom, for days gone by where we flew the skies unhindered.
Fortuitously, one of the limited things that kept Rudolph’s sanity was the permission given to smoke. Granted, this seemed shockingly inconsistent to their authoritarian governing, he kept his lips impenetrably constricted; it was one of the scarce freedoms he relished. Tonight was like every other of his six-day week; manual labor. In fact, the simple aspect of his underestimated combat ability caused his interiors to seethe with his chagrin; wrath swelled from within, prepared to detonate at any impulsive happening. However, it could not be helped for he was unrehearsed to overcome an army of those who were able to burgle his very quintessence, his chakra.
Snap back to reality. Oh, there goes gravity; the cerise-struck tip of his cancerous roll decided to expel its cinders unto the topsoil beneath the very soles of his feet. A mass of heat, yet nothing comparable to his red-hot aspiration, had congested itself in the interior of his lungs. Akin to a dragon brandishing the flames of conflagration, a surge of smoke fled his segregated oral cavity; there it ascended, higher and higher until it was nothing more than a steadily dissolving smolder. His moment of independence was short-lived, as the cigarette reached its boundary known as the filter.
It was time to return to drudgery, just as his tobacco roll was unable to cross its limitation; he had been rendered unable to traverse the line of periphery drawn between Shinobi and Samurai; freedom and enslavement. However, it was kept secreted that nothing could suppress the desire to bypass such a resilient partition.
There had been an abundance of victims who partook in the same profession as his, being a slave. However, their thin shavings of liberty were reliant on what was tolerable and what they had been deprived. The feeble residents, those who could not accomplish chakra control or employ their corporeal competency, perished initially. Regardless, the Samurai were one, cruel step ahead; the next generation were already being introduced to the life as a vassal to avaricious hands; then, possibly the generation succeeding to that one, if zilch had been done to terminate their totalitarian’s reign, and so on. It was a sickening thought to dwell on, but a necessary reality check in terms of motivation.
Rudolph was neither combatant nor civilian but a bitch. In actuality, he would rather be dead yet his repentance would most likely stalk him to the grave, and even into the inferno; or whatever was anticipating his inferior soul. What they recycled him for was worse than slavery or battle fodder. A walking blood supply exploited whenever transplants for Samurai were necessary, which oftentimes left him sick and bedridden. In exchange for his involuntary services was his life, even though he was never assured to live until thirty from the get-go; at least not with the strenuous responsibilities and numerous quantities of crimson deprived of his veins.
“You’re no better than the Samurai, you're a murderer of our village’s adolescence,” had been released from some slave’s tongue, and it was a mutual occurrence. They often cursed at him, Samurai and Konohagakurans alike, upchucked saliva onto his face, and even launched stone at his physique. The abuse strengthened him, it was an obligation to abandon whatever joy he held close to his heart. The burden on his shoulders was excessive, a self-proclaimed undertaking to purge his homeland of trespassers. For he assumed that if he did so, they would all forgive him for, involuntarily, leading seven of the Hidden Leaf’s youth to their bereavements.
After the insult had been processed, Rudolph resumed his duties. The rusted end of his shovel pierced the earth, hollowing out a hole befitting the length of a cadaver. It must have been glorious to be buried, the Samurai had it tranquil. What certainly kept the silver-haired individual’s determination to live was the refusal to be fed to the hounds, quite literally.
Mamushi kept her eyes on the armor clad body that was cooling on the low table, studying the pale, wrinkled face as she had been unable to do when it was still ruddy with life. She had learned early on never to look them in the eyes - the bruises had long since faded, but the scars remained, thin, silvery reminders of her place in the world.
Eyes were windows to the soul, it was said, and hers was black with hatred.
"Sensei is dead, and this bitch still breathes?!" Ichiro's voice rolled like thunder. The samurai was a big man, and forever angry, with a bulbous nose and a petulant mouth. A lesser woman would have feared him.
"She is like a snake, Ichiro," Tanaka said. "You know that. It's why you sent her with Hidechi-sensei in the first place."
That was her, she thought. Mamushi the Viper. A snake. She looked out beyond the window - where the skyline had once been a thing of beauty, tiled roofs and eaves, wind-beaten stone and ageless wood, now it as all steel, ugly and lifeless. Smoke billowed thick and black above the refineries, blotting out the stars. It seemed to her that the sun never shined anymore, but snakes didn't need light.
They only needed blood.
"How did he die?" Ichiro asked.
Screaming, she thought.
Tanaka gave her a little shove, as if she were a disobedient child. "Tell him, woman." Tanaka and Ichiro both had been trained by Hidechi; Ichiro had gone into politics and been elected to the a high chair in the council that governed the city, Tanaka captained a Kill Squad, and old Hidechi continued to fight in the border skirmishes as he had for the last decade. Of the three, she hated Ichiro the most. Tanaka, at least, was handsome.
"It was an ambush," she began, eyes down. "Shinobi were wai-"
A steel fist came swinging towards her face and pain exploded in her jaw. The world tilted, and she fell. The force of the blow stunned her, made little lights swirl before her eyes. She almost hissed; her chakra was all but depleted, but she could feel the snakes inside her, yearning to be free, to kill and devour.
"THERE. ARE. NO. MORE. SHINOBI!" Ichiro screamed, spittle flying from his lips.
Mamushi knew better than to voice her thoughts. She tasted blood in her mouth; it was sweet, but not as sweet as Hidechi's had been. Tanaka yanked her to her feet, hands lingering to steady her. She hated him almost as much as he lusted for her. If things were different, she might've enjoyed him - he was handsome - but her loathing was too great.
"Continue," he said. "If Ichiro must hit you again he will wait until after you are finished speaking. Right, Ichiro?"
Ichiro waved him off. "Yes, yes, if I feel the urge to beat this bitch senseless, I will restrain myself until the appropriate time."
Mamushi took a breath. "Sh-insurgents were waiting just outside of Kibakawa. Dozens of them. They'd set traps; spiked pits, explosives. The whole town was a bomb. We walked right into it."
Ichiro sat at his desk and kicked his feet up on the wood. Once, it had belonged to the Hokage. Now he was dead. Mamushi's fingers itched for a blade - she could almost feel the blood spilling over her fingers...
"Some of the insurgents... they could use chakra." She chanced a glance at Ichiro and almost smiled at the horror dawning on his face. She wondered if it shown in his eyes, and only just kept herself from taking an extra moment to see.
"Impossible," he gasped.
"It is true," Tanaka said. "Hidechi's own nephew confirmed it. He said that one of the rebels summoned a glowing tiger - another spit flame from his lips."
Ichiro said nothing for the longest while, and then, "Leave us, woman. Go tell the grave-diggers to ready more plots."
She bowed deeply - pride was no use to a slave - and backed away to the door. To turn your back to a samurai was to die.
"Wait for me down below when you are finished," Tanaka said.
"As you desire, Tanaka-sama." She nodded to him, eyes down, submissive, compliant, even as she longed to kill him, to watch the light leave his eyes. For nine years she had danced this dance, hiding her feelings and desires behind a facade of servitude. One day, she vowed - as she had vowed everyday for nearly a decade - these men would beg her for their wretched lives. Her back touched the door - she pushed it open and slipped from the room.
"You would sully yourself with one of them?" she heard Ichiro ask.
Tanaka laughed. "Who, Mamushi? Cousin, I have been laying with her for years! You cannot deny that she is pretty when she is clean. And very flexible..." his voice trailed off as the door closed.
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2015 14:56:53 GMT -8 by Mamushi
Visions of the city burning danced in her mind. She saw Ichiro impaled on spikes, saw Tanaka being eaten alive by venomous snakes. Hidechi had died too simply, too easily. If she could go back and do it all over, she'd still be killing him now. Without his armor, he had been nothing - much like how without their chakra, shinobi were nothing. But times were changing.
Her thoughts carried her to the elevator, guarded by a pair of men garbed in steel that with heavy nodachis strapped to their backs. She stepped inside, pressed the button labeled "G", checked her reflection in the polished silver walls. Her lip was swelling and a bruise was already forming on her cheek. Her gold-yellow eyes were rimmed in red, and her blonde hair was cruddy with soot and blood. Everywhere ached, but she ignored her pains, still riding the high of Hidechi's death. No matter what happened tonight, or in the morning, she would hold on to this brief happiness, remember it and cherish it.
The elevator slowed to a halt, pinged, and the doors slid open. The lobby was as lifeless as the rest of the city, sleek and hi-tech and dead. She hated it. Her booted heels were loud in the echoing silence as she made her way outside.
The night was cold, colder than it should've been for this time of year. Her breath misted the air, rising to mingle with the smog. The samurai buried their dead at the heart of the city, to honor them - slaves were burned en masse in vast pits outside the city limits. The streets were quiet, almost barren. Tall buildings loomed above, reaching up into the sky. A sort of pallor gripped the city, a deep hopelessness that seemed to ooze from the very steel and stone that it was wrought from.
It would all burn, she told herself. One day.
There was only one person digging graves on this strangely chill night. Some silver-haired boy who smelled of cigarettes, pretty enough for the pleasure houses. Good for him, she thought, that he was digging graves instead.
"There'll be more work for you tonight," she said, announcing herself. "Always more work. Sorry."
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2015 14:56:27 GMT -8 by Mamushi
Oftentimes he speculated of ludicrously glorious concepts. It sounded insane to the ears, yet it was reasonable within his head. There ought to be somebody or something passed these walls that are devising the rise of an insurgency. That dream had been a failed reality for him, all due to stubborn children and sword-happy Samurai. A sweat had been worked up, granting great development was made. The cool bead of perspiration curled from his forehead and descended, joining a few similar to drip from his face or sting his eyes.
The dig with its corroded finish had been forced to sink into the dirt, deep enough so it was granted the ability to stand on its own. It was about time for another, he assumed, why not take up such a reward as soon as possible? He sneered to himself, digits wriggling into the pockets of his charcoal trousers. The grave digger procured a white container, branded with many kanji of red lettering; spelling out the words “Peace Cigarettes”. Before removing what he so desired, the miniature pack was presented before him.
“That is awfully hypocritical, don’t you think?” Rudolph oftentimes spoke of things to himself, rather than conversing with others. However, for whatever reason someone did speak to him, he was never opposed to an exchange of words. Though, that was if they were able to put up with nonsensical tendencies. An individual, unpigmented stick was detached from the container. Ample lips parted, to pinch it betwixt them. There was no need to hold the packet, thus its return to his pocket. Now, where in the world was his lighter?
With a dissatisfied sigh fleeing his being, a flurry of thumps assaulted his frame in order to pinpoint that device. After what took Rudolph a few minutes, the metal tool was discovered concealed within his sable jacket. He raised it, toying with the lighter among his fingers. The sheen had been the same as his eyes, a smoky-grey. Dead on the center had been the indented crest of what had once been one of the most prominent hidden villages in this world, prior to the Samurai incursion, the Hidden Leaf. An index finger touched the insignia, the tip of it barely able to fit in the grey dent that curled into Konohagakure’s representative character.
Rudolph had been dwelling on the past for far too long, because it was problematic to live in the contemporary. A thumb pressed upon the ridged trigger of the lighter, which was propped against the protruded, silver metal with multiple holes in it. The blaze ascended in an instant, warm if he brought his face close enough. It was devastating to look at, all because they forced him to watch. Hands bound at the wrists, to the small of his back, and eyes pried open in order to allow the view of his comrades’ incineration. In repulsive pits, the children were disposed of. For four days after, he vomited the scarce food that he managed to feed himself. Until now, he bored the condemnation of those who could not understand the pain he tolerated for what could have been their sake.
It still could, forgiveness, regardless of all the mental and physical abuse he went through. So long as this image of the dead was apparent in his cognizance until newfangled ones may substitute them, this dejection would persist.
The cigarette caught fire, blazing in the evening sun. Relief was imminent as a deep drag had been seized, more smoke than he had chakra poured into his lungs. While a cloud of smoke crept from his mouth, someone spoke to him; not of derision, yet instruction. Unanticipated, perhaps they were unaware of who he was. But a majority of the village did, she may have been a quiet one.
“I’m not complaining,” Rudolph stated, glancing over his shoulder with a cancer roll protruding from the corner of his aperture. A steady billow of smoke ascended from its vermilion-glowing tip, ceasing whenever he decided to inhale. In which he did, a more vast cloud had been expelled from him. She was not bad, undoubtedly a special toy to the armor-covered bastards.
The silver-haired boy lit another cigarette, his skin wan beneath the dim glow of the moon. The tip glowed bright orange as he inhaled. "I'm not complaining," he said, smoke billowing about his face.
No, she thought, studying him. You wouldn't. Certainly not aloud. The samurai trained us too well for that.
She folded her arms across her chest, making no attempt to disguise her scrutiny. She had seen him once or twice before, she was sure, perhaps while passing this very graveyard. He was tall - taller than herself, even - but his face belied his youth. He was too young to have fought in the war, as short as it had been. He'd have hardly been a child, five or six, maybe seven; young enough, perhaps, to have forgotten over the years how it felt to be free.
She tasted the air and smells and vibrations played over her tongue; no one was near enough to hear them.
"Have you heard the rumors? About the insurgents?" She saw Ichiro's fear-lined face in her mind's eye and smiled, sharp and wicked. "The winds are shifting, kid. A new day is coming." I've got the blood beneath my fingernails to prove it.
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2015 14:56:36 GMT -8 by Mamushi
No, he was not complaining. In fact, he was overjoyed. The shovel was quickly taken up, ripped from the earth it would soon spoil its soil with tainted corpses. Perhaps the most impure of men would be pushed into these plots, sealed away to make their farmlands more fertile. Rudolph, however, doubted that. The mere reason he grew excited was the fact that these creatures were being buried. But to bury someone means for them to be dead. With every hole he dug, there had to be a body to occupy it. The Samurai were dying and he was damn fine with making them a comfortable bed to spend time without end upon.
“Don’t get your hopes up,” he warned, unmindful of those who may have been around. However, it seemed as if they were alone. But if one wanted to count the multitude of corpses surrounding them, as one Samurai still clad in their armor was assigned to each plot. Had it something to do with honor, that these men still wore their battle garbs to the grave? Such a concept was ridiculous, and it made things difficult for Rudolph; lifting each individual and laying him to eternal rest.
“Thing may turn around or they may not.” The smoke continued its ascent, nearly visible in the coming night’s atmosphere. At his feet, something that should have been dead uttered something purely guttural. Rudolph had no sense of honor when it came to the ones who disrespected his kinsmen. “Excuse me, I have work to do,” pleaded the digger. His sable eyes stared down, her departure was his thread of hope; so he could bury this man, who was desperately clinging to life, alive.
They would not find out. They had already assumed their comrade was dead. So why would they come back for him? He’ll be still within a few breaths once the dirt hinders his means of inhalation. Mother nature is a bitch to be reckoned with.
"Don't get your hopes up," the boy said, puffing away at his cigarette. "Things may turn around or they may not."
Mamushi couldn't help the sneer that cut across her face. Speaking like that, he sounded like a coward, and she abhorred cowardice. His nonchalance rankled her so much she almost seethed. The comrades she had come up with - graduated from the academy with, served beside during the war - had died for attitudes like his? Good men and women, warriors all, sacrificed for naught because their lesser brothers and sisters, now old enough to fight, were too mired in their ways, to unfeeling to give a shit.
The rebellion would fail - as all the rebellions before it had failed - unless people stood up and fought. Nothing would change without action. And here was this boy, too jaded to care. Perhaps he had given his heart to the cause only to have it shattered by failure - perhaps he had lost loved ones in the struggle. He wasn't just enslaved in body any more; they had taken his mind as well.
Well, almost. The barely breathing samurai at his feet was testament to a spark of rebellion - of life - that still lingered in his jaded heart.
Her sneer smoothed to a half-smile.
"Excuse me, I have work to do," he said.
Mamushi followed his gaze to the body laying on the ground. A thin blanket of mist clung to the earth, shrouding the samurai's features. "Dig away" she said. "I'm not stopping you." She stepped closer and peered over into the grave. "Best get to it before Tanaka comes. If he discovers you burying that samurai alive he'll have you skinned. Thought I didn't know? I'm a Kagehebi, boy. My senses are as sharp as a snake's. Sharper, even."
He had time, she reckoned. Ichiro and Tanaka would converse for some time before they had the men brought for burial. Samurai weren't used to feeling fear; shinobi with full access to their chakra would completely shift the tide, and there would be much to discuss between the two of them, plans to make, messages to send and conversations to be had.
Yes, she thought, the boy had time.
"What's your name, kid?"
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2015 17:49:05 GMT -8 by Mamushi
What he spoke was nothing more than a lie; Rudolph just did not know the woman well enough. The steady stream of smoke continued to float, occasionally pushed away to allow for a superior cloud. His cigarette was nearing its filter, the third one tonight. A sigh had been audible, his silvery orbs shifted to observe the woman’s countenance. What he had uttered may have been displeasing to her, because she outwardly took pride in their comrades’ efforts. He did too. Would he be so blatant about it? Most likely not.
Opinions were dangerous, during these times.
He had been playing it clever, he presumed. Don’t allow your true colors to sparkle, especially to those you were not familiar with. However, this woman came off as unalike to the rest of them.
With a grunt, the male continued to hollow out the grave. More space was needed, just in case this Samurai should even attempt to dig himself up – or someone with sensory capabilities were able to distinguish what was active or lifeless beneath the topsoil. Then, the memories came to him; those of the children he monitored, taught, and lived with. Resentment amplified within him once more and what had been a great opportunity of retribution presented itself just before his feet, how opportune.
“Rudolph,” he answered.
“Whether you’ll tell them of me or not, I am doing it.” His resolve was absolute; nothing was stopping him from doing something he may come to regret. Anyhow, the thoughts were cleared from his mind and he made a descent to his knees. A hand was dropped over the Samurai’s muzzle, cutting off any notes that may desperately flee his mouth. “Suffer like I did,” mumbled the Konohagakuran, as he hovered over the man’s face. His cigarette was pinched betwixt two digits and then lowered to an unsuspecting eyeball.
What happened subsequently was only momentary; all the fluids in the Samurai’s eye bubbled and began to distort. What the man could do had been done, weak thrashing and muffled shouts were foreseeable. Rudolph oddly grinned; having gained pleasure from torturing another was fresh to him. Though, there was no time to waste. The fellow had been pushed face-down into the dirt hole. The cigarette joined him; he hadn’t a use for it any longer. Straightaway, the shovel was snatched and engaged into the dune of earth.
Numerous clusters had been released over the man, who had writhed with a great deal of torment, starting with his upper-body. ‘If this is the first step to retribution,’ the boy began to ponder, as dark clumps continued to conceal the Samurai, ‘so be it.’
His name was Rudolph. A strange name, by her standards. It sounded foreign, like a name from beyond the sea.
Rudolph expressed his resolve to bury the samurai, and then, very deliberately, knelt and pressed the burning tip of his cigarette into the man's eye, muffling the resulting grunts and screams with his free hand. A shame that, she thought: often the screaming was the best part of torture.
The smell wasn't, though. The burning eye was particular pungent, and unlike any scent she had smelled before, altogether different from the sweet, rotten musk of burning flesh. When the eye was burned all the way through, Rudolph shoved the still struggling samurai over into the hole and started filling it with dirt. Mamushi watched him work, wondering if the act was worth the risk. She'd been alone and far from the village when she murdered Hidechi - suppose someone other than her had come along, or if her senses weren't as sharp as they were?
As if summoned by the thought, she tasted scents drifting across her tongue, familiar and hated. It was Kenta, the captain of Tanaka's guard, and his men - they was cresting the rise just ahead past a cluster of shops, probably on their way to Ichiro and Tanaka at the Spire. They stank of sake and women and tobacco. Kenta was particularly brutish, and well suited to soldiering - he was a man of action as opposed to thought, more the sort to command a garrison than govern a town or city. His men were little more than animals in the guise of warriors.
She had worked with them in the past, but always with Tanaka, who commanded both their loyalty and their respect. Being the dogs that they were, they often sniffed about their master's toy, hoping for a chance to play, but Tanaka was a jealous man; sniffing was all they ever got the chance to do.
No doubt they would come sniffing now.
"You should shovel faster," she warned, speaking over the muted moans of the samurai down in the grave. "Men are coming." She tasted the air again. "Four of them."
She could hear them now, rumbling laughter and the telltale chink of metal armor, and then suddenly she could see them as they trudged passed the shops, one still with a bottle of sake clenched in his fist. Their faces were bare, helmets tucked beneath arms, faces ruddy from drink.
The group stopped when they saw her. "Who is that?" she heard one of them ask.
"Looks like Tanaka's viper," came the answer.
"And who's that with her?"
She heard Kenta laugh. "Fair game," he said.
They wandered over.
Last Edit: Nov 17, 2015 20:53:53 GMT -8 by Mamushi
The smell had indeed been gruesome, it stung his nostrils. However, nothing could slow down his motions; the body had to be buried to ensure their safety from then on. It was a bold move, holding a high risk for either of the Leaf residents. He diligently worked to rid the man of existence, furthering his everlasting burial with every pile of soil pushed into the narrow plot. Meanwhile, his eyes remained tight upon the squirming figure beneath the shaky topsoil.
‘Hurry up and drown in the earth, why won’t you? It is not like your existence would be beneficial to anyone, at all.’ Rudolph’s thoughts had been muddled, stained by malice and annexed desire to murder. This man that was destined to asphyxiate would be his first death, caused by his own craving, which opened a gateway unto additional demises. It was a never-ending journey, Rudolph had been sure of this.
To be lost in one’s thoughts during a situation such as this had been a dangerous thing. He was fortunate for the woman’s interruption, in which he rapidly carried on with entombing the individual. It was almost complete though the smell of burning flesh still lingered. It was sure enough to travel about, sting the nostrils of other citizens or Samurai and possibly lead them back to this very spot. The very thought frightened Rudolph, he was already let off the hook once.
“Four?!” He dwelled on that announcement, cursing beneath his breath meanwhile.
The man had been completely covered, perhaps he was dead already? Rudolph had no intention of checking, but instead began to pat down the dirt with his tool and turn around to face a previously dug plot. “This one, come over here,” he enjoined, hopeful that the girl would oblige.
Their voices could be heard, unfortunately.
Upon turning to face the men, they would have all noticed exactly who he was. He was reckoned beneath several aliases, routine to the Konohagakuran Samurai; though, the most prominent one had been “Blood Bag”.
Mamushi joined Rudolph at the empty grave, and not a moment to soon, for Kenta and his goons had reached them. The great brute stared at her, daring her to look him in the eye; she averted her gaze to the ground, pushing her hatred down deep. When she looked back up, eyes hovering near his chin, they softness of her face belied the intense depth of her feelings, the loathing and rage that jumbled together inside into one great roiling ball.
"Ha, it is the Viper!" one of the men said, pointing.
"And the blood bag," chimed in another. Mamushi didn't know either of their names, but she placated her anger with fantasies of them dying, slowly and painfully and by her expert hand. It was even more cathartic than she hoped, so much so that it almost brought a smile to her face. In light of her secret happiness, she decided to name them Ass and Hat.
Kenta stalked closer and peered over the edge of the empty burial plot. He was a few inches taller than Rudolph, thick bellied and barrel-chested, a true monster of a man. "Digging graves for fun, blood bag?"
"The grave is for Hidechi-san," Mamushi spoke up. Kenta snapped his beady eyes back to her; she made herself appear uncomfortable with his gaze, almost seeming to wilt beneath his scrutiny. "He was killed during the mission," she finished.
"Hn," grunted Kenta, pacing the edge of the grave. "And you weren't?"
Ichiro had expressed the same disbelief. Mamushi made herself shrink further, drooping her shoulders and awkwardly turning her knees inward. As Kenta sneered at her, Ass, younger than his captain, with a thin mustache, wandered beyond them to where Rudolph had buried his samurai friend. She could feel her heartbeat speeding up, felt an almost disorienting mix of anticipation and fear.
"There's something squirming in the dirt," he said.
Hat joined him, older and bearded with a neat scar cutting over his chin, and looked down at the freshly packed soil, testing it with the toe of his boot. "It's probably a mole or something. And what is that smell? It reeks!"
Ass loosed a cackling howl. "Maybe the blood bag shit himself," he joked.
"No," Kenta said, sniffing the air, eyes roving from Mamushi to Rudolph, his suspicion plain. "Something isn't right about this. Tanaka-sama would not have Hidechi-sensei buried in such a meaningless grave. Hidechi-sensei would be given a spot on a hill, or maybe even in the gardens; not buried in this shit with a bunch of average warriors."
"What are you saying, taichou?" asked the samurai standing to Kenta's left. His name, Mamushi knew: he was Maruyama Odaijin - son of Maruyama Gemba, the warlord of Kajinamben - and purported next in line for captain when a position opened itself. He was half Kenta's age, maybe, in his early twenties, but just as deadly with a blade in hand. His smooth, beardless face was sharp, almost hawk-like, eyes black like tar. Mamushi shifted just slightly so that she could see both Kenta and Oda to the front of her as well as Ass and Hat to the back of her. This situation was going south fast.
Kenta didn't bother to answer Oda, instead turning the entirety of his focus on Rudolph. "Tell me now, blood bag: what were you two doing out here? Don't make me beat the answer from you. I like it so much, I might go overboard." Kenta leered at the both of them, hand falling to curl around the hilt of his sword. The other samurai started to circle them, like wolves encircling their prey.
Last Edit: Nov 18, 2015 13:02:47 GMT -8 by Mamushi
Unnoticed in the obscurity of the evening sky, which was quickly approaching twilight, Rudolph had been granted the ability to inconspicuously roll his eyes. He was well aware that it had been deadly to look a Samurai in the eyes, let alone display any expression of discontent. However, at this time, he felt bold; was it confidence granted by current news of their tyrant’s arriving expiration or possibly the attendance of the sensory woman? He ran an index finger beneath his nose, sniveling during the same happening.
Viper, she was referred to as, though Rudolph had heard nothing of her. He did not see her much, in fact, he did not see anything but red after the incident. But, Tanaka was a familiar name; more so a fear-provoking title. They did know of him, what warriors had not? His ichor perchance fared throughout their veins at this very moment; the ungrateful bastards dare tread all over him? The questions contemplated were rhetorical even so; no justice existed amongst the Samurai reign.
But, his crucial concern would soon be unmistakable to them all! That dastardly, should-be-corpse had been squirming to the sounds of its comrade’s voice. Their attention would shift soon enough, and then Rudolph’s head could be rested upon their blood-shedding blades. The thought caused eruptions to reverberate in his gut, apprehension had set in and inhospitable at that. He exposed such tension by chewing the lowermost tier of his lip, mangled already by only a few moments of gnawing.
“No, not for fun. It’s my job,” Rudolph informed, dipping the shovel into the mud alongside him.
The girl appeared to be awfully submissive to the Samurai, despite her presentation prior; that demonstration of pride in the insurgency. She was either a coward or the most intelligent being he had come across. Regardless, the Shinobi sporting chalky locks acted contrarily, his pride was difficult to throw and he oftentimes clung to it. That was the misfortune he was born with, raised to be a stubborn individual with an ego loftier than most soldier’s genitals.
‘There is something in the dirt, no shit!’ Rudolph closed his eyes tightly, wary of both trepidation and fatigue; a dangerous combination. ‘Did he see something, sense it? And how stupid of them to think I’d soil my pants for their sake.’ While he attempted to draw some worth from his thoughts, his endeavor was unrewarding.
“I-,” he tried to utter out some excuse or fib while interrupted by their personal conversation his efforts failed. Why did she even speak in the first place? Knowing that the person who he had mutilated was even of importance, he would have tried to be more careful. But now that they were familiar of whom he was, Rudolph’s fate had been sealed.
However, he could fight if need be. His training beneath the blade was minuscule though his Ninjutsu capabilities were great. But, he never pulled as much chakra was he would need to overthrow all these men. Some grace needed to be bestowed upon him, in order to survive this dilemma. His odds would be even better if the woman was of any use.
“I only arrived a few moments ago. My apologies that I did not get much done, the person before me must have buried this warrior,” he lied, blatant or not. “This lady only came here to inform me that more plots were to be dug than usual.”
It was all he had to say, there had been several ninja tools hidden at his hind-side and even strapped in a pouch around his thigh. But, what made Shinobi so deadly was their ability to procure the elements from spiritual energy alone.
Could Rudolph pull it off, if violence was the only option left?
"Either you're lying or you're making excuses," Kenta spat. "Both are worth a beating. Men?"
Ass and Hat stalked closer, faces spread in leering grins. Oda, of nobler blood than Kenta, continued to circle them, content, it seemed, to observe.
Mamushi slid halfway in front of Rudolph. Kenta's impulses were predictable, and according to Tanaka, the reason why he would never be promoted to a greater position. Still looking down, she said, "The empty grave is for Hidechi-san. If you are unsatisfied with the truth, Kenta-san, then I urge you to take your suspicions to Tanaka-sama. You know that Hidechi-san was not a prideful man. It was his wish to be buried among the lesser samurai, as is documented in his will."
She paused, cleared her throat, let her voice gain some strength. Timidity was only good for so much, she had come to learn. It had to be tempered with a bit of anger and indignation now and again. No one could be utterly subservient all the time, and no matter how sincere her performance seemed, they would begin to doubt her. She had seen it happen before.
"It is your right to doubt me, as I am only a lowly slave, and your lack of knowledge is understandable. You are only Tanaka-sama's bodyguard, and Hidechi-san hardly knew you. One would not expect him to share such details with you."
The implied insult enraged Kenta, as she knew it would, but it took his attention off Rudolph, and it took the men's attention off the grave where Rudolph's victim was, she realized when she tasted the air again, finally dying. She had no fear that Kenta would assault her, even in his rage - he was a brute, but he wasn't stupid. Tanaka did not mind Ichiro beating her, given the right impetus, but he wouldn't accept the same from Kenta.
Visibly seething, face purpling, the guard captain ground out, "You're less than a lowly slave. You're a lowly slave whore."
She nodded her head, unaffected by his words. She had long since stopped caring about a number of things: her she was perceived was one of them. His insult meant less than nothing to her. He meant less than nothing, and soon, she'd kill him, just like Hidechi. "As you say, Kenta-san."
"Such insolence," Oda muttered. "My father would have you lashed for daring to speak to the captain of his guard in such a way. Whatever foul power you've used to ensnare Tanaka-sama won't last forever."
Mamushi almost laughed. Her power over Tanaka would last as long as she was a woman, and barring a cruel and unusual act of kami, that would never change.
"Of course, Oda-sama. I apologize sincerely for upsetting you. Please do not think ill of Tanaka-sama for not disciplining me as your great and honored father would." Sometimes she feared that she would get so used to spewing bullshit lines like that, that she would actually come to believe them. Her masks were so complete, sometimes they felt like more than mere facades.
She reached for the hatred she had pushed deep to savor the feeling, remind her who and what she was, then cast the feeling back into the roiling abyss of her soul.
Kenta bristled, teeth clenched and grinding. Oda was his second, lower ranking than him in the army, and yet he was the one given the respect of a lordly title, even it it was courtesy of his father. Kenta's own father had been little more than a foot soldier; just fodder, like the shinobi were now. His anger at her turned to anger at Oda for daring to be born with a greater destiny.
"We must take this disciplining upon ourselves, if Tanaka-sama will not do so," Oda went on. "We will not sully our fists beating the blood bag on this night. You will do it for us, Viper, as you seem to care for him. Beat him to death, as punishment for your insolence and his excuses. Or we will kill the both of you. And whatever other slaves we come across tonight."
Mamushi was at a loss as to how to weasel her way out of this one. She hadn't expected this. She had killed shinobi before the war and after the war, but never one from her own village. Don't panic, she told herself. "Tanaka-sama-"
"Will be upset," Oda said, cutting her off. "Annoyed too, no doubt, maybe even enough to wish me harm. But I am the son of the great Maruyama Gemba, as you said, and he won't want to deal with my father's ire. I doubt he'll care much about the blood bag. He's only a laborer. There are hundreds just like him."
Kenta laughed, and Mamushi felt her stomach drop. "A fantastic idea, Odaijin. Fucking fantastic." He tossed a small knife at her feet, and another at Rudolph's. "Go on, then. Fight to the death."
She looked at Rudolph. She wouldn't allow herself to die, but she sincerely didn't wish to kill him. Between the two of them, they could take Ass and Hat no problem, but Kenta and Oda were too strong to fight head on. She could flee back to the Spire, find Tanaka, but then Rudolph would certainly die. She could stall, wait for Ichiro and Tanaka to arrive; the odds that Rudolph would die would be less certain then, but still probable...
Rudolph held no expectations for the girl; he certainly did not expect her to throw herself into verbal crossfire for his own sake. Owing to the fact that she, prior, practically bowed to the Samurai, caused his eyes to widen. The ebony hues were dotted with disbelief, but he kept his feelings and misunderstanding bottled up indoors. Of course, he remained silent while they conversed. She spoke well, so he granted her permission, by keeping his lips airtight, to permit her to continue. However, his eyes traveled about in order to gauge the men that surrounded them.
Only two of them were capable of being called powerful, the rest that went on unnamed were nearly strong. In fact, he donated his blood so many times to them that he could conclude so. They bled easily, which was good for this particular situation. Remaining observant, Rudolph also pinpointed off-balance in their stride; were they drunk? The one had been, evident by his entrance with alcohol in hand. Once more, he found himself at the brink of anxiety. In truth, a cigarette was necessary before he could even process another thought. Had his addiction been that terrible?
He’d internally curse himself for such a thing, even more so for discovering that he became absent in his mind. The utterance of death crossed his ears, causing his forehead to crease. The Samurai were too ignorant, it seemed, since they allowed him to keep his weapons. A pouch containing ninja stars was strapped just below the small of his back, to his rear end. Another container of Kunai had been slung around his thigh. And his primary piece of equipment had been a Ninjato, petite and straight, held just overhead his derriere.
But, there was no desire to attack the girl in order to save him from incoming demise. Rudolph did not plan on allowing the drunken warriors to bully them any further, especially into death. They were out of their minds, offing the seldom source of blood that belonged to their medical staff. He grunted at the thought of his fate being held in the hands of a few hammered bastards. There was no plan on fighting, for certain; he would be incapable even if they were influenced by drink.
The knife presented at his feet caused his stomach to turn. With a grunt, his knees bent so he could retrieve the thing. However, his course of action drifted from the primary path in which the Samurai assumed. Expertly, his fingers wiggled and palms drifted together in what appeared a blur; hand seals being weaved in nearly seconds! “Close your eyes,” Rudolph warned in a feint whisper, only audible to the Viper as the men had been obnoxiously shouting around them.
A sudden flash of light swathed his body, bursting forth to blind the Samurai who so eagerly anticipated their fight to the death. The one holding the bottle of sake had been turned upon; Rudolph pounced after retrieving the knife from the barren ground. His neck should have been penetrated, and the silver-haired Shinobi left no time for the others to recover from his distraction. They’d been spoiled by drink, perhaps sent in a panic by their sudden loss of sight. Attacking them all would be foolish, but at least he left his mark. Their eyes should be tarnished for a while, leaving him enough time to flee into the darkness with his balls held dangling between his legs. Hopefully, the woman had heeded his warning and done the same as him.
Mekurumeku (Blind Flash) Rank: C Range: Close (0m ~ 5m), Mid (5m ~ 10m) Type: Supplementary Handseals: 5 Chakra Consumption: Low
A basic yet effective Raiton technique, the user focuses a bit of chakra all over their body, letting the lightning gather and then quickly exploding, effectively providing a blinding light that leaves all within the range blind. Useful for disorientation and quick get-aways.
Note: Blindness will last one post to those who look directly at the light.