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Old 04-11-2014, 12:01 AM   #1
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Despite being a land full of crazy shit, Hitomi had to admit that Seirei no Shima was beautiful. She'd spent the early hours of the morning wandering around the water's edge, checking to see if there were sea monsters, yetis, or gargoyles wandering around. In this place, the teen had learned to pretty much expect anything.

The samurai from Iron were not particularly thrilled with her presence. The Nara noticed that the longer she spent wandering around, the more of them she happened to see hanging around and watching her. It was her cue to go back, get inside, and keep to her kind.

Tetsumi and Takeo were nowhere to be found when she went to seek them out. Part of her wondered where they might have gone, hoping that they weren't dumb enough to head into the jungle on their own, but they knew just as well as she did the type of bullshit that lingered just outside of Last Landing. It wasn't safe, and if they went anyway, then they probably deserved to have their bones picked clean by a giant bug made of chakra.

Hitomi shuddered.

Instead, the teen went in search of the only other person she knew on the island. The term 'person' was loose, however, as she'd come to understand that Taisuke was somehow dead. She didn't understand how it had happened or how he'd managed to remain conscious, upright, or healthy while deceased. She was bored, though, and this was as good a time as any to prod him for answers He'd had a little time to recover from their fight with the pre-bijuu bijuu, after all. Not...that... a dead guy needed to recover...

"Taisuke!" She burst into the hut where she knew he'd be hiding. "You never answered me when we first met! How you doin'?" Hitomi was rather amused with herself. She simply wanted him to talk. She wanted him to spill the beans on how one became a member of the living dead.
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Old 04-11-2014, 12:36 AM   #2
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H-Hitomi!

Taisuke sat up straight as the girl walked in. The hut, as it was, didn't seem to be much more than living quarters. A bedroll lay in one corner of the room, there was a small shrine with burnt down sticks of incense, and a wide wicker basket with a lid half-on. Taisuke himself sat on a short wooden stool – his monk garb lay on the ground beside him. Some blackened bandages lay in a heap at his feet and Taisuke had frozen in place, his hands busy winding a new set of bandages around his torso. Thin black kanji trailed over the surface of the roll of cloth, leading down to a fundoshi.

Hitomi had caught him with his pants down. Or off, rather.

The samurai-monk dropped the bandages and quickly reached over to pull part of his hakama up off the ground to cover his lower half. He didn't blush, exactly, though his face seemed a bit warmer looking than usual. Taisuke scrambled to pick the bandages back up before they could unwind, though now they hung loose around his stomach and he had to begin tightening the roll back up.

I, uh, I'm doing better now, thank you. Come in, take a seat.” He nodded, absentmindedly. Beyond the basket and the bedroll, the little room was as bare as he was. Taisuke clearly didn't need the hut for much. He looked up at her once he got his bandages under control. “What are you doing here?
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Old 04-11-2014, 12:54 AM   #3
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When the kunoichi realized what she'd just walked in on, her cheeks flushed red and she couldn't stifle her laughter. She wasn't laughing at him, but rather at the situation. She managed to get an eyeful of that sweet, undead bod before she turned away, however. It was something to be appreciated, even if she didn't like the fact that he thought she was dumb. She muttered a rushed sorry as she turned to let him put himself back together.

"Really? Why the hell do you need bandages? Do you expect to heal or something?"

She turned back around at his invitation to sit down. When she took a look around at the rather barren hut, however, there was nowhere obvious to take a seat. She elected to plop down on the floor and make herself comfortable.

"I want to know about your... condition," she explained. "Back home we're having an issue with dead people, so it would be pretty helpful to know if your issues are the same as theirs."

In all honesty, Hitomi wasn't sure if she was supposed to be talking about the problems happening in Hi no Kuni at the northern borders, but if this guy was dead, then she felt obligated to investigate if it was going to help her and her comrades defeat the opponents wandering in the snow.

"How did you get to be... like this?" Hitomi punctuated her question with a wave of her arm that emphasized his entire body. She was curious to know if it was a curse, some sort of seal, a jutsu, or simply a botched science experiment. In the world of shinobi, just about anything was possible. In the wilds of Seirei no Shima, it seemed even more insane.
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Old 04-11-2014, 01:40 AM   #4
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No, I don't, which is exactly why I need these.

Taisuke unwrapped the bandages a little bit to show Hitomi his chest. Sure enough, he still had dark burn marks where Kizetsu's laser light show had scorched him, but they seemed a little more flesh colored than they had just after the fight. Plus, whatever gunk he'd been coughing up on the way back to Last Landing didn't seem to be bothering him anymore. As he moved his arm to get back to work, the Death seal came into sight briefly. Taisuke sighed, not exasperated but tired.

It's a long story and I really shouldn't tell you everything, but I'll explain what I can. Hell, even I don't know it all.” Taisuke cinched the bandages taught around his ribs.

I died. It was a long time ago, way before you were born, I'm sure, but still, I died. But, I was brought back.” The boy pat under his arm, over the concealed seal. “This thing keeps my spirit tethered to my body and keeps my body from just rotting away, but otherwise, I'm not really alive or dead. I don't need to eat or sleep, but I also don't really heal much on my own, hence the bandages.

Taisuke glanced over at Hitomi. “I've heard that some shinobi can control the dead, but I don't think it's like that. More like someone caught my soul on its way out, then trapped it so I wouldn't quite give up the ghost, literally. Too much damage to my body though and the seal might degrade and then poof away I go again.
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Old 04-11-2014, 02:21 AM   #5
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Hitomi's eyes narrowed. What Taisuke was describing didn't seem like a pleasant experience, nor did it strike her as particularly voluntary. She supposed that if he really didn't want to be 'tethered' to his body, he would just damage it himself and set his soul free.

"What kind of weirdo would do that to someone else? Was that something you wanted?" She had no idea what it would mean to be neither dead nor alive. Her death clearly hadn't stuck as well as it had with him.

"So this really is your body..." she trailed off, looking him over. It seemed more-or-less in tact, with the exception of the injuries he'd sustained in their mission. A fancy tattoo didn't seem enough to keep nature from taking its course, particularly after a long period of time. "I wasn't sure if you just got to choose a new body every once in a while or something. You know, to keep it young and pretty."

The teen shook her head. "I guess it's not the same thing we've been dealing with at home, then. Those guys don't seem to care if they get injured. They can fix it themselves and keep fighting. They don't have to worry about bandages and crap."

Though Hitomi wanted to say something reassuring, she didn't know how to comfort someone who was trapped between life and death. As far as she could tell, there was no rest for him. No future. Nothing to look forward to. If she was in his place, she would be depressed beyond belief. Nothing seemed appropriate.

"Are the only one that's trapped like this? Was that other guy we found at the entrance of the tunnel like you, too?"
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Old 04-11-2014, 04:14 AM   #6
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Taisuke scratched the back of his head and scrunched his face. “Whether I wanted it or not didn't really factor into it...” Another heavy breath.

Kizetsu mentioned the Watchers, if you remember. Back when I was all the way alive, I worked with them. Most people don't even know who they are nowadays, but they were part of Spirit Island becoming what it is today. And, supposedly, they all died to protect their secrets.” Taisuke chuckled darkly and tilted his head towards Hitomi. “Well, for some of us, it didn't stick, and that was kind of the point. Disappear, but continue fighting the good fight. Now, though...

He shook his head. “The rest of the Kanshinin are normal. I mean, as far as normal goes for semi-clandestine groups operating on a messed up magical island.” Taisuke sputtered as he caught his blabbering. “What I mean is, if any other people with a seal like mine still exist, I don't know about it. A lot of them died in the first few years and the last ones I knew of left the island some time ago. Decided to abandon it, I guess.

Taisuke laughed a little, harder than before, then winced and held a hand to his ribs. “Now that I think about it, I haven't really told this story to someone normal in...like ever! Getting medics to make bandages is pretty easy with enough coin, they don't ask a lot of questions out here.
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Old 04-11-2014, 03:22 PM   #7
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"Huh," the kunoichi replied as she crossed her arms in front of her body. It was such an odd thing to try to wrap her mind around. The poor guy was alone, partially dead, and sort of stuck. She figured that he could leave if he wanted to, just like the others he'd spoken of.

"Why'd you decide to stay when everyone else left? Do you have some kind of job here? Keeping track of the bijuu, maybe?" Hitomi smirked. She'd just helped him activate some sort of contraption that kept track of them, after all. It seemed like a pretty fitting task for him.

The teen released her arms and dug into her pack. She retrieved a few rolls of bandages and tossed them to Taisuke. If she hadn't sustained any horrible damage this far into her travels on the island, she figured she was pretty safe to hand them off to someone who apparently needed them more than she did (which was shocking, in all honesty). Besides, if she needed any, she could probably pester Takeo or Tetsumi for some. Or Tetsumi would cover her with bugs. The very idea made the young Nara shudder.

"These won't last you long, I guess, depending on how long it takes you to heal. You do heal, right? Wait... do you age? How old are you? How long ago did you die?"

The questions were coming to Hitomi in rapid succession as she powered through lots of information all at one time. This was pretty standard for her, particularly if she was rather intrigued by something. Her experience in the past was that any unwelcome questions would be ignored and most others would be cut off at some point when the recipient couldn't deal with it anymore and walked away. It was probably only a matter of time before Taisuke told her to take a hike or ran off himself, but she wanted to get all the answers she could before he gave up.
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Old 04-12-2014, 07:10 PM   #8
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Taisuke picked up Hitomi's roll of bandages, made a small 'heh' noise, and then lightly tossed them right back. He tapped his own bandages, his fingers hitting the small kanji over them. “I appreciate it, but I get these special from the medics out here. There's this whole big ritual and all other kinds of ninja magic to force the body to heal. Yours are, well, cloth.” As he finished winding the bandages around his chest, Taisuke tucked the end of the roll under the rest of the cloth, just below his armpit. “On my own I kind of just...stay the same. So big injuries would stay forever.

So, no, I don't heal. Or age, or eat, or sleep, most of the time. I don't need to, it's just a good way to pass time.” He numbered things off on his fingers as he went. Taisuke huffed. “To tell the truth, I don't really know why I'm still here. I died a long time ago and not everything from back then is totally clear, you know? I'm an old man now.” The boy shrugged. “But I remember enough to know that I'm supposed to stay put and make sure the bijuu don't manage to get off the island.

Kind of botched that one once already.
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Old 04-12-2014, 07:29 PM   #9
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The girl scooped up the bandages and put them back in her pack with a shrug of her shoulders. She hadn't realized that there was some crazy voodoo placed on his bandages, though that probably made sense. She was just trying to help him out. Why? She had no idea. Taisuke didn't seem so bad when he was being honest about things.

Hitomi cocked her head to the side curiously as he explained his everyday existence since his untimely death. She was well aware that death was traumatizing, having gone through it herself a few months ago. Had hers been more permanent, she assumed it would have been that much worse. The fact that Taisuke's memories of it and the time since were so hazy struck her as odd, however. She would have asked a thousand questions and done more research to figure out all the pieces that had gone missing from her recollection. It was probably a moot point for him now, since theoretically everyone from that area was dead or gone.

"Well, good job keeping yourself alive-ish for this long. I can barely keep myself alive and I haven't been around for very long," she laughed and shook her head. She'd spent nearly as much time in a hospital as she had not in one. Badass as she thought she was, Hitomi was often reminded of her frailty and mortality.

"So you were held here to stop the bijuu? By whom? Another Watcher? Why would you have been chosen over anyone else? Will you ever be free of your duties here... like, without dying?"

The numerous questions swirling in the teen's mind nearly drowned out Taisuke's last statement. Her mouth snapped shut when she realized what she'd said. If he was thinking of what she'd heard of shinobi history, then that... that was something. Batshit crazy something.

"Botched? Wait... how long ago are you talking, here?"
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:21 AM   #10
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Not...held, really. Hired? It was my job, the contract just went on a lot longer than most do.” Taisuke snickered a little at that. With his bandages set, he stood up, his hakama still held in front of his waist. He glanced down at Hitomi, then up at the ceiling in thought, then carefully backed up. The samurai stopped and started a few times, not totally sure how to get dressed with the girl in the room, but he eventually settled on turning away from her and slipping his legs into his pants.

The seal preserves the body as it was at the time of death. While a lot of the Watchers were strong in their own right, they were also pretty old for the most part. And, not being able to mold chakra, the shinobi wouldn't have been any more useful than I was. So most of us ended up being younger and nonshinobi. Which is a little bit of a classist term, I think.” Taisuke fastened his pants at the waist and then went to pick up his coat off the ground. He sat again as he looped his arms through his big sleeves, then ruffled his hair a little. “I could leave if I wanted to, I suppose, I've just never really wanted to.

And don't worry too much. It was a little over a year ago, but we got it under control. He barely even made landfall.
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