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.
Although our journey was moderately long, moving through numerous countries, we managed to move stealthily through and avoid any real sense of danger... thus far. Hopefully, it would remain this way. Arriving at the cusp of our goal, I glanced towards Ru and nodded. Now was the time to explore what he had come here to explore.
I listened to Ru's speech explaining the changes he expected to see, and the answer was simple: none. It was such a simple answer, but it somehow struck an intrinsic chord in my soul, and I found myself nodding my head towards his explanation. There was something that was obviously different about Ru, but that didn't mean that he didn't have the head for logic. In fact, it would appear to be quite the opposite, and I was sure that people who had attempted to take advantage of the appearing simple-mindedness of the boy had met similar fates to the one that his first sensei had. Cataloging this information inside of my mind, I intended to ensure that I did not similarly mistake Ru's eccentric nature for stupidity.
As these thoughts moved through my head, the boy would turn his body away from me, facing the Northeast where the huge pillar of light had once come from. I glanced in that direction, too, wondering where it had gone, and what had happened there. Too many unanswered questions, and in this world, those answers could get me killed. I needed to garner the information, and had no other way to do it but to go for the information myself. I had no trust in the individuals of this city yet, few that there were who had answered my call, and until I could trust them, that meant I would be forced to act on my own.
This decision ensconced within the recesses of my mind, I was about to open my mouth and ask for Ru to leave the premises and to not return. However, the boy surprised me, reaching me somehow when I was lost in thought and tugging onto my sleeve. I glanced down at the boy, about to be angry at the intrusion of my personal space, before the boy pointed into the direction I was apt to be headed and asked if I wanted to accompany him towards where the light had come from. I hesitated a moment, caught off guard by the boy's request, and somehow I found myself nodding before I could help myself.
Well, if I was going to test out the boy to see if he'd be of any use to me, this would be the best time to do it. "Aye, Ru. Let's go check it out." Without waiting for a response, I'd quickly tug my sleeve out of his grasp and proceed forward, to the Northeast, through the forgotten and temporarily chilled sands of Kaze no Kuni's deserts.
[OOC: Iizuka has missed his IIC for a 2nd time this thread. He has now been booted from the thread. Kiro, since I haven't seen you state that you're wearing a Sunagakure headband anywhere in the thread or in your bio, I will assume that you are not, in fact, wearing one, and as such will post accordingly.]
As I spoke to the boy before my presence, I could feel, rather than see, the sudden spike in his anxiety. What could be the cause of that, I wondered, as my right eyebrow lifted slightly in piqued interest. The boy seemed to hesitate for a few moments, more than likely attempting to corroborate a story in his mind that would make sense for his absence in this place up until now, but finally, in what seemed like an eternity to me, the boy responded, giving his name as well as he had been. Okita Kiro, was it? Hmph. I took a moment to glance around the boy's apparel, and to my surprise, I spotted nowhere on his persona a Sunagakure headband, and I pursed my lips.
"So, tell me, Kiro... how is it that you have come to this place? I spot not the symbols of Sunagakure no Sato upon your presence, but, perhaps, more importantly... why have you come here?"
As I waited for his response, I would continue to stare down towards the boy, allowing a slight rise in my natural killing intent to begin to rise. Should the boy answer poorly here, I decided, I would most likely have his head. However, I thought, it wouldn't do to have all of the help murdered before they could achieve my goals. Hmn. Resisting the urge to shrug my shoulders, I simply awaited Kiro's response to my questions.
As I laughed, Ru's body language shifted subtly, becoming more defensive as he crossed his arms around his torso and shaking his head in obvious defiance towards the statement. The boy twisted his head a little to the right before his pawed hand bonked against it, obviously deep in thought, while he began to hum. After the brief moment of consideration, the boy shrugged to himself before beginning to speak of the pillar. I listened intently, with a serious expression on my face, as he gave me details to which I found myself nodding.
"Northeast, southeast, it's all the same, hm," I said with a dismissive gesture. "I can concur with you, however, that it may have, in fact, been that distant. So, tell me, Ru... What made you wander back towards Sunagakure no Sato? It was clear that you had been mistreated before. What were you hoping had changed since then?" My words were soft and gentle, making my intentions of at least temporary peace known to the boy. In the end, it would be his answer that would determine whether or not I decided to ask him to go on an adventure with me.
Ranton: Byakurai no Jutsu (Storm Release: Pale Lightning Technique) Rank: C Rank Range: Close (0m ~ 5m), Mid (5m ~ 10m) Type: Ninjutsu, Offensive Handseals: 3 Chakra Consumption: Mid
An offensive technique utilizing Ranton, Byakurai no Jutsu is a mid-ranged level attack focused at dealing damage to a singular target. After performing the handseals, the user extends their dominant hand's index finger in the direction of the target. Blue energy begins to gather on the tip of the index finger, and after a moment's delay, a beam of Ranton energy fires from the finger. The radius of the beam is equivalent to the size of the user's index finger. The beam fires up to five meters, and will continue through objects struck until it encounters resistance it cannot overcome (defensive jutsu, etc).
Ranton: Kasukanakaori no Hebi (Storm Release: Dancing Laser Snake) Rank: B Rank Range: Close (0m ~ 5m), Mid (5m ~ 10m) Type: Ninjutsu, Offensive Handseals: 5 Chakra Consumption: Mid (Initial), Low (upkeep)
An offensive Ninjutsu technique utilizing Ranton, this ability creates a thin line of pure Ranton energy which can wiggle and move under the user's control. After performing the required handseals, the user's dominant hand's index finger glows with a spark of Ranton energy. Using a motion similar to drawing in the air, the user 'draws' a straight line of pulsating Ranton power that, in the end, can be no thicker than six inches and no longer than two meters. Once the technique is complete, this line of energy can be controlled by the user through hand gestures, and is capable of bending and twisting around like any string or thread, thus giving the technique its' name. The technique has a maximum range of 9 meters from the user. Should it ever exceed that distance, the entire 'snake' will dissipate.
Note: The 'snake' remains in effect for as long as the user wishes to pay the Upkeep cost. However, since the technique needs to be controlled through use of the user's hands, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to use other techniques in conjunction with it.
Ranton: Raikoho no Jutsu (Storm Release: Thunder Burst Cannon Technique) Rank: A Rank Range: Close (0m ~ 5m), Mid (5m ~ 10m), Far (10m+) Type: Ninjutsu, Offensive Handseals: 9 Chakra Consumption: High (initial), High (upkeep)
An offensive technique utilizing Ranton. After performing the required handseals, the user extends their dominant hand, which is setup in such a way as to appear as if it were ready to grab onto something. Ranton energy begins to gather within it, swirling inwards from four points around the hand. As the energy builds up, the user faces the hand in the direction that they wish to fire the technique off at. A circular halo of light energy appears in front of the hand, and the Ranton energy gathered within the hand launches through the halo. As it does, the energy expands, creating a circular beam with a diameter of one meter that fires off in the direction of the target. Upon impact, the Ranton energy detonates, covering an area of up to three meters from the area of impact with bright-white storm chakra and dealing a large amount of damage. Once fired, it is impossible for the user to change the direction of the assault, as it requires too much concentration to fire the attack and move the hand which the technique is coming from. Should the user wish it, they may continue to channel chakra into the assault, increasing the area of impact from the attack by three meters per turn.
Ranton: Enkosen no Jutsu (Storm Release: Round Lock Fan Technique) Rank: A Rank Range: Close (0m - 5m) Type: Ninjutsu, Defensive Handseals: 6 Chakra Consumption: High
One of the very few defensive techniques utilized by the Ranton nature, Enkosen no Jutsu creates a large, rapidly spinning "fan" (imagine a modern day fan) of Ranton energy that attempts to eradicate anything that strikes it. After performing the required hanseals, the user will extend their dominant hand, where four fan blades, each a meter long and six inches thick, appear in front of. The four "fan blades" begin to swirl rapidly, creating the appearance of a swirling fan that serves two purposes. With the combination of the Ranton nature and the rapid spinning of the technique, it becomes capable of repelling almost every nature of attack, whether physical or energetic, that moves against it. The user is capable of moving while the technique is active, but must keep their hand up in order to control the defense, and remains in place until: one round has passed, it has taken enough damage to break it, or the user dispels it.
Note:: This technique may only block physical or Elemental attacks.
As the boy set to task, eating at the granola bar with the speed and efficiency of a voracious animal, I could only watch with awe. I heard the words "omnomnomnomnom" repeated over and over as his teeth chipped away at the food, shoveling into... the sides of his mouth? I could only guess, but as his cheeks began to puff outwards a little bit, I began to question everything about this unlikely scenario. Man meets boy, man threatens boy, boy ignores threats, man feeds boy, boy is a chipmunk? I was about to shake my head from the ludicrous nature of what was going on, but before I could, the boy had finished snacking, and glancing back towards me, his eyes began to widen as if some sudden revelation had hit him.
“Ohhh! Ru remembers you! You’re the waterboy! Rasshu! Pointy-hat-man told you to leave for some dumb reason.” As the boy said the words and moved into action, beginning a game of charades that was him imitating the former Kazekage, a feeling of shock plunged through my body. As the boy imitated the scenario that had ended with my essential exile, I found my eyebrows raising and my mouth all but hanging open. If this boy knew the story, that meant that he had to have been in Sunagakure no Sato when the event happened. There was no other explanation.
Just as I was about to pull myself together and begin to ask some more questions, the boy, Ru, said that he would show me how he had come across his headband. Curious, I stopped myself from acting any further and allowed the scene to play out. The boy would perform a series of handseals, gathering his chakra before unleashing them upon the shadows that were, quite literally, all around him. The shadows began to stand up from the ground and take shape, becoming something akin to what I could only call shadow puppets. I listened to the entirety of his story before finally deciding that the words were true. He had been a Sunagakure no Sato shinobi before, but he was not particularly fond of the old administration.
"Well, Ru, apparently you still haven't quite gotten the hang of hiding yet, have you?" As I spoke, I began to laugh, and my entire posture would change. Moving away from the standard defensive posture that I had taken, my body would relax as the tension eased from the muscles. "I only have a few more questions. I realize I've been asking a lot, but bare with me.
"You've been out in the world recently, aye? Did you see the giant pillar of light that came from the Southeast? And do you know anything about it?"
[OOC: I was tired and misread that last post so dramatically that I didn't even realize you were backing up and not turned away from me. <_<;; Wow.]
As the wave of light filtered away the shadows, revealing the area and all within it to me completely, I laid eyes to the boy in a way that was more than just a gaze upon a silhouette in the evening. I saw the full details of his attire, from the strange teddy bear hood equipped with ears and everything, to the cute sleevies that came down like claws. At the sight of such an attire, I found that all I could do was stare in shock. Lost were the moments of malice that I held. Vanished was the need to pry information from the lips of this creature. The only thoughts that remained in my mind was shock and surprise, as well as an ever-growing layer of disbelief.
Just as quickly as it was summoned, the light which I had brought to the world began to vanish, and the shadows of the world began to slowly claw their way back into reality. I paid the shadows no mind as they continued to spread like a plague, my eyes only watching the apparent Kuma before me as he struggled to, apparently, make a decision. At long last, however, the boy/bear's lips began to purse together and pointed to himself with his right hand. "Ru is Ru! Ru made promises to nobody! They made him take this shinby thing and then started barking orders for some reason as if Ru would listen..." And then, "Who are you?"
Was this child... special? I resisted the urge to shake my head as I thought through the information that I had before me. On one hand, the boy reasoned well and understood intention. On the other, he had a way of speaking that, when coupled with his choice of attire, made him appear to be incredibly childish - a fact that was only more accentuated by the fact that we lived in a world of shinobi, where we are trained to be instruments of death and destruction as is necessary for the sake of success. It was, in fact, that line of thought that brought my questioning to a halt and made me realize that the boy had to be lying.
Nobody, not even the former Sunakage, in all of his failure, would have simply given a boy the headband. He would have had to have been in the Academy, with all of the stakes explained to him, and to have graduated in order to have received that strip of steel. Since the boy had proven the ability to reason to me, I knew that he would have been able to do so with his instructors, or else they would have never given the headband. That either meant that he had been given the headband as an actual Sunagakure no Sato shinobi and had been made properly a Genin, or else he had stolen the headband from someone else.
"Ru, is it?" My voice came through, soft and gentle, as if afraid to spook the boy. "My name is Lash. I am the new ruler of the Sunagakure Dominion, and you are both lying to me and trespassing. Answer tru-" As I got halfway through my sentence, the sound of the boy's stomach growling would cause me to cease, eliciting a large, drown out sigh from me. Why was I even still talking to him? I should just kill him and be done with it. With his level of simple mindedness, I doubted that there would even be any information that he could give me that would be worth the trouble I was putting into this conversation.
Despite that train of thought, I found my hand reaching into my kimono and pulling out a still-wrapped granola bar, which I casually tossed towards the boy, hoping that he'd catch it and eat it.
"So? Tell me truthfully: from where did you truly receive that headband, and where have you been all of this time?"
I continued to observe the boy's motions, and at my command, the arm which held the Sunagakure no Sato headband simply ceased its motions. I could sense, rather than see, that the boy was mulling over his options about how to proceed here, for I had certainly managed to catch him off guard. If he thought that he would be welcome back to this place as a Sunagakure no Sato shinobi, but then was not, that meant that he had likely been on some sort of mission beforehand, given to him by the former Kazekage... However long ago that had been.
That being said, I knew that this person potentially carried answers to the questions that I sought. As I had said, information was power, and I understood intrinsically that I could not afford to allow this boy to leave without first answering my questions. I didn't want to maim or injure him, however, as I would need him alive and well to answer the questions that I would place before him. I needed, then, to create a scenario where this figure understood me as a figure of authority. Hm.
My hands would place themselves together, moving through a complicated series of gestures most commonly known as 'handseals' within the Shinobi world. Upon completion of the final one, a great bright light would escape from my body, flooding through the area and momentarily white washing everything away. If the boy had been looking at me, he would have been blinded momentarily by the dazzling brilliance of the technique. As luck would have it, though, the boy had turned around and had begun to walk away as he had completed his statement to me. Again, I was not aiming to injure the boy, simply gather his attention.
As the light faded into a mere echo of its former radiance, I would call out once more.
"Move forward no further, or I will be forced to attack. I apologize for startling you; you startled me, too. If you have been out in the world recently, I require information. But first I must ask two questions: What is your name, and to whom do you swear allegiance to?"
It was, after all, a stupid question to ask someone who had just shown a Sunagakure headband to me moments ago, and even if he was someone who had just found or had somehow else claimed the headband, he would be bound to lie about it. I had an actual goal in mind with the question, though. I simply needed to see how he would react.
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:/b] Blindness will last one post to those who look directly at the light.
I waited patiently, somehow finding myself amused as the person wandering towards the Gates all willy and nilly suddenly came to an abrupt halt. Then, survival instinct seemed to have kicked in for the being, who took the words 'fight or flight' to a new meaning, and quickly darted behind a rock before silence once more reigned outside of Sunagakure no Sato's former gates. As the silence stretched onward, my patience began to wear thin, and with one more large puff of my pipe, I'd reach into my pocket and put the pipe out with a stopper I carried on my person while exhaling.
During that time, the being seemed to decide that its best bet for survival was to come out. Actually, I agreed with him on that point - it would not have been prudent to force me to begin chasing the fool around. It was then that I heard the sound, "FUUEEEEE" as the being jumped out from behind the rock, acting almost as if in panic. I found myself... surprised by the antics, but even in the darkness I could see the Sunagakure no Sato headband which glinted, if even only a little bit, under the light of mother who hung suspended in the night.
If the being; no, the boy, as I could easily tell now; thought that the presence of a Sunagakure headband would make me more quick to accept him, he would be wrong. At the sight of someone with the insignia of the former Sunagakure emblazoned upon their clothing, I tensed, mentally preparing myself for battle. My stance would shift, my feet squaring off and my body beginning to crouch as my hand moved towards my Wakizashi. All the while, I kept my eyes upon the boy, looking for any telltale signs of danger, before calling out into the darkness once more.
"Cease your movement and state your purpose, immediately."
So, the youth before me did, in fact, know how to speak. Although it had taken some unique prodding, he had finally given unto me his name, and I took record of it before I began my actions to wash away the sins of the fathers of this city. By the time that I had performed my actions and begun to walk away, the other man was already lost from my thoughts, but he came sliding back as I turned my head and looked over my shoulder at him. He still stood, shoulders slightly slumped and back crooked, in the spot that he had been in before, not even having moved from where I had kicked at him besides to actually stand up. I raised my eyebrows in curiosity before, after a brief pause, motioning towards him to join me in my walk.
With that done, I once more decided to ignore the blonde mystery man and spent my time focusing upon my new citizenry. Though not incredibly population dense, the city did still have a fair number of artisans and merchants still around, so perhaps it had not quite been as empty as I had originally thought. The stench of failure and decay still reached through my nose, but, perhaps, there was a soft perfume that had been layered over it that I could smell at the same time, too. It would not be long, however, through my little meet and greet mission, that I would come across an individual with a fairly unique persona.
He wore a fairly standard shinobi's attire, although perhaps someone truly interested in stealth would have foregone the hakama around the waist, yet what really drew my attention was the mask that he wore. It was only a half-faced mask which covered everything from his nose up, leaving his nostrils, mouth, and ears, with everything between them exposed. However, the mask had been refashioned to include a black veil that covered the parts the the mask had originally failed to cover. It had the shape of an animal, inu perhaps, and was composed of a sophisticated black lacquer with trimmed golden accents that was very appealing to the eye.
The man was in a crouched position, one that was universally recognized as something I called a Shinobi's Bow. In this stance, a person remained kneeling, with head slightly held downward. Although one gave up a small field of vision, they could continue to watch the majority of their surroundings, something that was much more difficult to do in a full waist bow, and from the kneeled position, one could spring quickly into action should a threat be noticed. It was this, above all else, that garnered my attention, and I moved towards the boy.
Upon arriving within about a meter and a half of him, I halted, allowing my eyes one last chance to look over the boy before my mouth widened, lips upturned, showing off white teeth in what would be termed as a smile, although no sign of any emotion that would cause someone to smile would ever be visible within my eyes. For a moment, I simply stared at the boy, allowing him the opportunity to squirm for a bit, before I spoke, my soft words leaving my lips in four syllables.
The sky before me coloured into a deep purple as I watched, the last remnants of a dying light struggling in vain against the darkness. As the purple faded deeper into the shadows, I smiled and shrugged my shoulders, simply biding my time until the moon's rise. Although the giant sky rock slowly began to climb into the stars that were beginning to shine was not completely full, it illuminated the area before my eyes well enough that I could see things almost perfectly within the vast, empty expanses of my arid world.
As such, imagine my surprise as I saw a being moving through the desert, not quite slow enough to be a crawl, in a move that could almost be described as stealthy. My right eyebrow raised in interest as I watched the object come closer, and I reached into my pocket, pulling out my pipe, before packing a small bit of tobacco into place and lighting it with the lick of a lighter. Puffing it gently in order to keep the plant lit, I then took a deep inhale, allowing the smoke to fill my lungs for a few moments, before exhaling it through a mouth newly opened. A smile slid onto my face, and I began to feel a moment's satisfaction.
My first intruder.
Sliding out of the shadows, though I had long since given my position away with the lighting of my pipe, I would position myself in the center of the gate's entrance and I would call out.