iconAll times are GMT -4. The time now is 02:07 AM. | Welcome to Forum, please register to access all of our features.
Old 03-19-2018, 03:50 AM   #1
Wess
General Moderator
 
Wess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: the belt of biblical intolerance
Posts: 1,708
Default Bug Hunting

A frantic knocking on his apartment’s door roused the jounin, who groggily grabbed the blanket he had cocooned himself in and sat up before making the transition to standing. He kept the fabric pulled tightly around him, and rather than turn on any lights in his house, he navigated through the pitch blackness with surprising dexterity, finally unlatching the front door before staring down the messenger that had disturbed him. The portly, rotund man in question had a rather bothered look about him, and the red tint to his skin made him look tomato-ish.

“What?”

His voice lacked the normal pep it usually possessed: Kazuhiko, to put it quite plainly, needed a day off.

Rather than take anytime to explain, the messenger offered him a missive. Kazuhiko took the envelope with a hand that snaked out of his blanket cocoon, eyes narrowed rather irritably. The two stared at one another before the Maeda retreated back into his apartment, fading into the blackness that covered his unlit dwelling.

*~*


The trek to Sector 4 from 2 wasn’t too terrible; the main channels of the labyrinth were well guarded, and most criminals knew better than to try and conduct business on the subterranean highways. In truth, Kazuhiko hated the walk more than anything, so when he finally stepped out of the labyrinth and into the district, he let out a sigh of relief.

Sector 4 itself was a pretty busy area: It was more or less the commercial district, with a ton of hole in the wall restaurants having cropped up over the course of a few years. A steady drove of people wove between the streets, young men and women bouncing from bar to bar while the older patrons stepped into upper class restaurants and the like. The strange array of stairs led nonshinobi up walls, zigzagging across buildings that eventually lead to the sunken portion of the Rain Pagoda. It was an odd district, but one that Kazuhiko liked going to.

The rest of his walk lead him to a bar, though rather than walk up the steps, Kazuhiko anchored his feet a building and simply began to scale it, bypassing the civilians as he approached the level of the building he was looking for. The place itself was mezzanine, decorated with animal carvings and red woods. When he pried open the door, the smell of old paper filled his nose: All around, bookshelves covered entire walls while patrons sat around bronze colored tables, reading and drinking booze. It was an odd sight, but one that Kazuhiko didn’t seem to mind as he traipsed up to a random employee.

“I’m looking for Shoukyaku Basan.”
__________________
Available for Registry Checks, just ask!
Ratings Moderator / Kaze no Kuni & Hi no Kuni Secondary / Maeda Clan GM
Itsuki Hana ~ Shinshi Junichi ~ Renchishin Ume ~ Maeda Kazuhiko ~ Aoyama Sudao ~ Honekaigi Kasumi ~ Shichou Amane


AP / Swaps

Last edited by Wess; 03-28-2018 at 12:12 AM..
Wess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2018, 06:25 PM   #2
Calibur
Elder Member
 
Calibur's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: London, England
Posts: 725
Default

Under, over, flip, shake.

“Whatever you say, Ken. Master a Hinge Cut, then we’ll talk whose tin is whose.”

Spin, slide, nod to a customer, then the waitress.

“Pops ready yet, Kiri? I’m just about done.”

Invert the elbow, twist, catch, shake finale.

“He’d better be — I’m not even on the clock. That clock hasn't been invented yet.”

Crushed ice, narrow tumblers pinched in hand, over palm, under arm, shot! Double clutch, down, fill, lift, pour, spin, sprinkle.

“Two waters for table six. Hm?”

Basan tilted his lupine jaw toward the open window, surveilling a landscape of leisure broken only by a solitary figure. Kiri fluttered past, message delivered, and lifted the order from under his fingertips, which shed their stillness at the sudden contact. He hadn’t seen the shinobi arrive. His eyes were usually quite good. Now they were staring. He remembered why and jolted free from the momentary confusion with a subtle jerk of the head.

That’s my cue. Obviously.

“Ken, catch.” The other bartender was quick for his age, despite being a solid six years Basan’s senior, and snagged the spinning tin by the rim with a good second to spare. The two exchanged their time-honoured glance, one chiding the other, then Basan was over the bar top, black zippered jacket in one hand and ATARA-brand shinobi sneakers leading the slide, followed by a pair of charcoal patchwork, drop-crotch bottoms and a double-slung equipment belt. He was already swinging his arms into the tight sleeves as he landed, softly, like a cat. The floorboards purred, then squawked.

“You can tell Pops I waited,” he said, patting the waxed rosewood counter before wrinkling his nose and shrugging. “Or tell him whatever you like. I’m out.”

Though he crossed the short distance to the jounin at pace, the chuunin’s mind shifted gears even faster until he was fully focused on the mission at a distance of three steps, where he stopped, looking down, and yet up, ever so slightly.

“You're him?" Maeda Kazuhiro. “He?"

Last edited by Calibur; 03-20-2018 at 06:28 PM..
Calibur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2018, 11:43 PM   #3
Wess
General Moderator
 
Wess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: the belt of biblical intolerance
Posts: 1,708
Default

Kazuhiko watched as the teen poured a few drinks, letting a chill creep up his spine. Alcohol had adverse effects when consumed by a Maeda: The parasites that dwelled within them made sure of that. He had heard horror stories, about teenagers blacking out and the karamushi taking over and making them do strange things and about how the parasites would try to metastasize the alcohol themselves as well, resulting in hangovers that lasted for days on end. To put it plainly, Kazuhiko steered clear of any libations, save for cheap wine.

It wasn’t long before Basan had finished and approached the jounin.

“I am he, yes.” It felt weird to say, but the jounin knew the phrase to be correct.

Regardless, Kazuhiko looked up at the chuunin, pale, ghastly blue eyes meeting the other’s hardened amber gaze. For a moment, the Maeda’s gaze seemed to bore into Basan as if trying to glimpse his soul, but in truth, the jounin was trying to piece the boy’s story together. He had read a brief dossier on him before meeting with the chuunin – he had actually done it while his clothes grew out of his body.

Clad in black chitin, it seemed that the jounin was outfitted in a body suit, but in all actuality, there were a few too many jagged pieces where bones and ligaments met to make that so. It was all sheer chitin, hard to the touch, and even harder to break or penetrate.

He took a step back, beginning to pivot toward the door.

“I trust that you read your mission briefing – they’re sending the two of us to retrieve some damsel in distress.” He stopped and took a look back as he cracked open the door. “And by damsel in distress, I mean a chuunin who tried to be a hero.” Kazuhiko rolled his eyes and stepped out of the door, back into the dimly lit sector. “Don’t be like him, it’ll keep you alive longer.”

He traipsed forward, leading his comrade across a multitude of stares, nearing the Rain Pagoda’s exit point. Getting out of Amegakure wasn’t the hard part – getting in was.

When the two finally stepped out into the deluge of rain, a black chitin began to grow out of Kazuhiko’s face. It seemed oddly butterfly-like, particularly with a proboscis curling up under the boy’s chin.

“You have the coordinates, right?”
__________________
Available for Registry Checks, just ask!
Ratings Moderator / Kaze no Kuni & Hi no Kuni Secondary / Maeda Clan GM
Itsuki Hana ~ Shinshi Junichi ~ Renchishin Ume ~ Maeda Kazuhiko ~ Aoyama Sudao ~ Honekaigi Kasumi ~ Shichou Amane


AP / Swaps
Wess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-22-2018, 03:39 AM   #4
Calibur
Elder Member
 
Calibur's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: London, England
Posts: 725
Default

“So either succeed or don't bother trying? At least I’ve got options.”

Exiting via the ‘gift shop’ — the pagoda for political gift horses — the pair emerged to a lovely grey day, silver with shades of rose quartz backlighting the lower clouds, which were fast moving. This had produced a mire of misty spray that had quickly lined the collar of Basan’s jacket with a row of minuscule marbles. He flicked them free with a final jerk of the zipper, dipping into his pockets for a pair of black fingerless gloves but leaving his hitai-ate in its concealed rear fold. As he donned the suede items, covering the pale knuckles of his left hand first, he permitted himself a slight smile at his companion, more with his eyebrows than his mouth.

The jounin didn’t waste time layering up either, although at first glance the chitin had drawn a shudder from the teenager. Something about its sharp corners and too-natural spirals made his skin crawl. He wanted to pick at them, twist them, break bits off. He curled his fingers under his elbows and hugged the desire away until the back of one of his hands hurt.

“Nikawa, North bank. I’ll take point…I guess,” he said, immediately downplaying the initiative as much as he could, even though there was no disputing that Kazuhiko had asked him, meaning the decision had already been made. Kind of a pointless question, otherwise.

He oriented himself towards the distant damsel, ignored the rising wind’s wet payload and assumed lead, quickly setting the pace. He wasn’t one for conversation while he ran, but if the jounin had questions, he wasn’t going to be a dick about it.

They travelled northwest over marshland, leaping creeks in swift bounds but using roads and flat wooden bridges when the ground grew too treacherous. Sprinting on water was one thing, but long-distance running over an ever-shifting consistency of terrain was a foolhardy way to deplete your chakra.

Closer to the city’s first outbuildings — scattered barns and squat silos — they were able to skirt the northern pine forests of the foothills, where the earth was firmer and the roads fewer, less travelled. Up to this point, they were fortunate not to detect a single soul on their journey, let alone a military patrol; it payed to be careful, but even then you couldn’t get comfortable. Always on edge, like a hand pressing hard on the back of a chopping knife, balancing it by sheer force.
Calibur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-28-2018, 12:51 AM   #5
Wess
General Moderator
 
Wess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: the belt of biblical intolerance
Posts: 1,708
Default

“Try all you want, but Ayame expects results these days. Can you imagine if she had to expend resources to come rescue you? That’d be a great mark in your dossier.”

His voice dripped with about as much sarcasm as the skies did rain, the soft rumble of thunder echoing in the distance as lightning lit up the skies. The flash reflected off the Maeda’s armor, it’s sharp edges seemingly electrified as the light continued to refract off the sheer plate and the droplets of water that had begun to coalesce over his form as if he were doused in waterproof metal.

He began to walk next to Basan, knowing exactly where the two were headed. As the prescribed leader of the mission, Kazuhiko had decided to take a laxer approach – difference in rank meant little to him, and he was more than happy to share and delegate responsibility. His genin sensei had done it for most of their campaign together, only stepping in when needed. With no team of his own to coach in the ways of war, the Maeda found himself instilling a few of his own qualities in the chuunin that he worked with.

Kazuhiko mostly made small talk on the way to their destination, nothing worthy or memorable. In truth, he hated silence – he had gotten to accustomed to it on his missions lately. Sure, he primarily dealt with assassinations, but on the off-chance that he didn’t have to conceal himself, he took the opportunity to let a little of his personality out. He was childish and sarcastic for the most part, and it showed, particularly as the two arrived at their destination.

“You seem more stressed than when the Major got his last prostate exam. Relax, no one’s trying to probe you.”

He looked out into the distance, past the barn and the silos. Nikawa was near, for he could make out the small cityscape in the distance.

“From what I understand, our target is being held in a compound somewhere along the heart of the city. I say we make a clean entrance and a clean exit. No need to alert anyone to our presence.” Underneath his helmet, the boy grumbled. “Even if that means fewer casualties than I’m usually known for.”
__________________
Available for Registry Checks, just ask!
Ratings Moderator / Kaze no Kuni & Hi no Kuni Secondary / Maeda Clan GM
Itsuki Hana ~ Shinshi Junichi ~ Renchishin Ume ~ Maeda Kazuhiko ~ Aoyama Sudao ~ Honekaigi Kasumi ~ Shichou Amane


AP / Swaps
Wess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-30-2018, 09:39 AM   #6
Calibur
Elder Member
 
Calibur's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: London, England
Posts: 725
Default

The Jounin’s lazy pace sucked the wind from Basan’s sails like cherry wine from a shot glass during happy hour. He bit back a wave of frustration. Made to look like a fool. Balls in a vice, victims of a rank pulled like a rug from under his feet.

Already a dozen metres ahead, he’d turned, spotted the faint-footed Maeda and stamped his front foot in response, twisting into a tight corkscrew. Dead halt, waiting, fists unclenching.

We travel northwest over marshland, leaping creeks in swift bounds but using roads and flat wooden bridges when the ground grows too treacherous. Sprinting on water is one thing, but long-distance running over an ever-shifting consistency of terrain is a foolhardy way to deplete your chakra….

The momentary visualisation drained from his mind as if to join the rivulets snaking tracks through his ears, down his neck and across his fidgety fingertips. No chakra depletion today.

Smiling, he fell into step with the older boy, feeling very much his unwilling junior, but getting out ahead of the embarrassment he carried before it peeked out from under his fraying edges. By the time they arrived, he was every bit the focused operative he had intended to be. But sometimes there was no pleasing some people. Like there was anything wrong with being vigilant. He rolled his eyes at the probing comment.

Except you.

“But only one of us looks even close to being able to blend in.”

He twisted, back-pedalling along the broad side of the barn to show his readiness. His eagerness to get to work. His confidence.

“So do you want me take point, or does your full body armour come with a change of clothes? Maybe something that doesn’t alert everybody and their mothers to our presence?”

He chuckled but waited for his commander at the corner of the barn, playing lookout with crossed arms and a lean grimace. He was playing a dangerous game, being so sly with the Jounin before they had even established the safety net of a working relationship, but the guy seemed to deem himself something of a comedian. And only a good comedian accepts that sometimes you have to laugh at yourself.

Still. Casualty count? Can’t say you don’t talk a good game.

Last edited by Calibur; 05-30-2018 at 09:59 AM..
Calibur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-23-2018, 02:25 AM   #7
Wess
General Moderator
 
Wess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: the belt of biblical intolerance
Posts: 1,708
Default

“I like my armor; the boys do too. But I get what you’re saying.”

In truth, Kazuhiko had no plans on shedding his armor. He was more than capable of producing a lighter equivalent that looked more in line with civilian attire, but it hardly had the stopping power that he might need. Shrugging off kunai and swords was more important to him than making people uncomfortable, but he knew that alerting the military to the two’s presence definitely wouldn’t end well. Swiveling his proboscis adorned helmet in the direction of Bakan, the jounin stared at him for a moment behind the compound eyes he’d made out of chitin.

“You’re more than welcome to take point. Call me old fashioned, but I like striking fear into our enemies’ hearts. There’s something equally riveting about watching the karamushi drain the life of their eyes, but for your sake, I’ll be quick with them. I can’t be having you telling your patrons about how gross the Maeda are, can I?”

He let out a sigh.

I’d better not scare the civilians. The last thing I need is the Major nagging me about how another Maeda’s been sighted outside of the village.

Gingerly, he leaned against one of the silos, turning his head back towards the sprawling cityscape. He’d been to Nikawa several times during his near ten year tenure as a shinobi. It was by far bigger than Sector Two, but he’d gotten used to darting through the shadows and skirting the outside of the village to wait for his mark. Now wouldn’t be any different: Like a proper predator, he’d lie in wait.

It was up to Bakan to decide on the proper moment to strike.
__________________
Available for Registry Checks, just ask!
Ratings Moderator / Kaze no Kuni & Hi no Kuni Secondary / Maeda Clan GM
Itsuki Hana ~ Shinshi Junichi ~ Renchishin Ume ~ Maeda Kazuhiko ~ Aoyama Sudao ~ Honekaigi Kasumi ~ Shichou Amane


AP / Swaps

Last edited by Wess; 11-27-2018 at 09:28 PM..
Wess is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-08-2018, 03:35 AM   #8
Calibur
Elder Member
 
Calibur's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: London, England
Posts: 725
Default

A good game, but a sinister game.

Basan had beaten men twice his size to a bloody pulp, but he’d never killed. Not yet. He imagined it was still ahead of him, the dark rite of passage in being a shinobi. Kazuhiko, on the other hand, seemed to have passed that milestone, and taken pleasure in it. The older boy’s casual comment unnerved him, if Basan was being honest with himself. He talked a good game too, but there were limits to how far he’d go with it. He said nothing — only frowned a little and nodded. The creepy feeling was back. He just had to remember that there was a human being under that swivelling helmet, even if it didn’t sound like it.

He paced to the edge of the silo, scouting the horizon and noting the thick lattice-work of criss-crossed cable and pulley systems that moved freight across the river bisecting the heart of Nikawa. Coupled with the city’s network of bridges and platforms over a communion of north and south bank industry, the place was a warren. Like a three-dimensional shogi-board made entirely out of caltrops. What was it he’d said - take point? No pressure.

“Alright. You do your thing.”

He didn’t turn around, but the unspoken line was I’ll do mine. Or figure it out on the fly. He took a moment to orient himself, reminding himself of landmarks that he would see even if none were visible presently and where to go when he located them to reach the compound’s coordinates. After that, it was better to be moving. Two dark figures standing in the lee of a grain silo on the outskirts could only remain innocuous for so long. He stepped out into a massive drip and winced as it rolled over his forehead, but pressed on, rubbing it away as he picked up speed.

He kept low where he could, following the land rather than any specific path or dirt track, until the buildings grew more numerous and clustered together. Then he was up the nearest wall without a single footstep of chakra, grabbing onto a gutter and scrambling easily onto the roof, keeping a low profile even here to remain undetected while he travelled more ground. He made sure to perform a quick handseal for a Kakuremino no Jutsu all the same, his dark clothes lightening against the grey horizon and drab architecture moments before he leapt over his first street, just another patchy cloud detached from the sky.


Calibur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-27-2018, 09:48 PM   #9
Wess
General Moderator
 
Wess's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: the belt of biblical intolerance
Posts: 1,708
Default

Kazuhiko nodded, a slightly terrifying grin hidden underneath the visage of his helmet. While Basan approached the target directly, the Maeda did so unseen. With a speed telling of a jounin, the chitin clad shinobi darted after his “point-taker,” though he swiftly veered off, following a different course. Rather than cross the latticework and bridges, Kazuhiko instead buzzed through the underbelly of city. Though disconnected from Amegakure’s labyrinth, the sewers of Nikawa were spacious enough for someone to cross through.

Slipping inside a manhole, Kazuhiko did his best to ignore the stench, almost seeming to race Basan. He turned down pathways that he’d gotten to know during his days as a chuunin – it had been a month or two since he’d been in the city, but like any assassin, he could remember where he killed his prey. Mapping his way through the city proved to be tedious the further he progressed, however, given how all of the streets sought to converge into one main line.

Eventually, he settled on his final path, following it in what he believed to be his destination. Just to make sure, he slid back a manhole on the way for good measure. It looked correct to him, though given the fact that he was using the occasional lit lantern and muted sunlight reflecting off the rainwater entering through storm drains, he couldn’t be entirely too sure.

Stopping just below another manhole, he reached for his communication unit, slightly nodding to himself. “I'm in position.” He spoke, his voice calm, albeit tinged with a bit of excitement. Kazuhiko had gotten used to dealing with karamushi monstrosities lately – the chance to stretch his legs and mingle, however briefly, with people brought no small bit to joy to the teenager.

“I’ll wait for your signal. Mind telling me when the coast is clear?”
__________________
Available for Registry Checks, just ask!
Ratings Moderator / Kaze no Kuni & Hi no Kuni Secondary / Maeda Clan GM
Itsuki Hana ~ Shinshi Junichi ~ Renchishin Ume ~ Maeda Kazuhiko ~ Aoyama Sudao ~ Honekaigi Kasumi ~ Shichou Amane


AP / Swaps
Wess is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump