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Old 04-17-2019, 12:17 PM   #12
Shichidaime Sunagakure GM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 1,927

He’s my father...

As the group of three split up, one of the young men accompanying the Hakkenshi chose to speak up. Unlike Yukimura, though, this man wasn’t dressed in a white coat. Rather, he sported the standard set of nursing scrubs as the rest of the people within their group. The young brown-haired man lifted a quivering finger to adjust the glasses that hung at the brim of his nose, lips curled in concern.

Manyuda-san you don’t –

–No. We were trying to escape and father was protecting us when that...that thing came for us.

Manyuda’s gaze fell upon Genpachi as they were being escorted to safety, the man placing his hands within the pockets of his scrubs as a means to hide the way his hands kept shaking from the fear. The plethora of puppets that occupied the hospital continued their routine like clockwork, ignoring the small group as they moved through the hallways while en route to the building’s exit. Manyuda shook his head, frustrated:

Maybe I should’ve became a shinobi instead...” He muttered, voice shivering as much as his hand, “...Maybe then I would’ve had the strength to protect everyone here.

Yukimura placed a reassuring hand upon Manyuda’s shoulder as they walked, the hospital exit right in sight. This was a perfect time to answer Genpachi’s last question before they took their leave:

I don’t know the whereabouts of anyone else. We got everyone out as best we could given the circumstance. Most of us took refuge in different rooms, and this building isn’t too large, so the staff here is a bit small – but we do what we can.

If there is anyone else,” Manyuda spoke, placing a hand on the exit door, “will Sunagakure send in more help – ?

–But when he pulled, the door remained closed, as if fastened shut.

- - -

The voice of an elder man screaming in pure agony cut through the silence of the stairwell. The sound itself was grim and husk, blood curdling, almost. The accent of the shriek howled floors above the two shinobi left to pressed forward, but it was a bit unsettling, to say the least. There was a helpless quality to the screech, as if the one who wailed in such a tone was proclaiming their last breath of air in life.

Time wasn’t on their side.

- - -

Yet the aroma of lavender filled the air.

We have to leave, now!

T-t-the-the door! It, it won’t…!

Frantic, Manyuda and Yukimura – alongside the cast of other members of their staff – all attempted to pull the door open, but their efforts yielded no results. There was something about that scent of lavender that they all smelled that seemed to trigger the despair that sunk their hearts even further. It was curious, though, that the life like marionettes that maneuvered through the hospital simply continued to work unobstructed, as if the delirious actions of the staff held no consequence to their routine. But, at the opposite side of the hallway, standing where Genpachi and the hostages just came from, was a man garbed in a deep black cloak fitted with the feathers of a murder of crows.

Or, was it even a man at all?

It was a stationary entity in a sea of moving parts, but hadn’t said a word. The man was of medium height, face obscured by the large, jet black kasa-straw hat fitted upon his head and disguised in a bird-like mask known to have been worn by plague doctors’ – or in Kaze no Kuni case, Dustmen – in the past. The beak of the mask looked more like the snout of a snake or dragon though, holding long whiskers lathered in crimson that dripped from the material. The man was motionless, hollowed eyes hidden behind the goggled lens of the mask. But he continued to stand there in plain sight:

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