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Old 05-20-2018, 03:43 PM   #11
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Nice,” The miko cheered for Isamu as he started the assault on the ogre, but her face fell as the cuts seemed to do little to nothing to dissuade the monster from slamming his giant fists into the ground, kicking up a huge curtain of stand.

It was enough to send Natsu tumbling backwards until she crashed her back against one of the stone pillars of the outcropping, the sand itself spilling around her like water until she was about half buried in loose dust. She groaned and rubbed the back of her head, reaching for her sword – oh, right, she had to spirit it back away when she tackled Isamu earlier.

Damnation.

The spirit of her sword was thrumming, like he wanted to come out and take control. That wouldn’t do - - it was hard to explain away things like that to outsiders. She crossed her fingers in prayer and muttered to herself to calm down her bloodthirsty companion as Isamu tangled with the beast.

She’d have to hold back for a bit, or she’d lose control of herself. That wouldn’t do, because poor Isamu was fighting blind here. Speaking of fighting blind…

The beast can’t see or hear on it’s own, his face has been bound!

The caster scowled, hearing Natsu reveal the flaw of his giant beast. “If you blind the witch, you’ll blind the beast. Besides...

She pointed at the hunched man – “He’s not nearly as intimidating.
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Old 05-20-2018, 04:38 PM   #12
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The sand wave crashed down upon Isamu with undeterred force. The boy knew better than to let his breath escape him, to avoid filling his mouth with sand. As his feet found purchase a foot deep into the desert outside the hut, the felt the ogre’s arms recreate themselves as they rose back into the air.

Chest pounding, Isamu recalled words from his Sennin teacher in Sunagakure and exhaled at last, letting his inhale bring him a deeper focus. Eyeing the uncertain movements of the golem as it stepped and swung clumsily towards him, Isamu saw evidence for the claim that Natsu proposed. His forearm guards met the lumbering arm of sand and Isamu felt the blow dissipate as Thebes ogre’s arm passed through his body, temporarily returning to its elemental state before reshaping behind him. It seemed the anger of the priest had created an falter in the priest’s curse.

Half of Isamu’s right hand wiggled against itself before pointing vigorously at the priest. The boy suddenly became aware of a new sense in his hand. Was it anger? Passion? Or maybe more carnal. Bloodlust.

From his hand came four kunai, with tags fluttering from their ring end. As quickly as they appeared, they began to zip through the air, the space between boy and priest suddenly unbroken. The priest snarled. The ogre became further shapeless, faster, and defensive. Isamu felt the sand over his feet move itself away from him. But it was too late. He only needed one hand for this seal.

Detonate.
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Old 05-20-2018, 09:12 PM   #13
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The series of concussive blasts rocked the air and sand around the little miko, her hair twisting and catching the updraft and haloing around her head for a bit as she covered her face from the explosions. As the dust settled, she stepped a few steps away from her hiding place in the stone pillars and peered over for Isamu. Was there something going on with him? She wasn’t a ninja - - she couldn’t be sure what was standard shinobi behavior or not. She also lacked the tell-tale observational abilities of trained super warriors.

But he still seemed a bit off all of a sudden.

Did you get him?” She slung her hip slightly and buried her first into her side in a look of perturbation. “I get that you’re a trained killer, or how’s it, but I’d rather not kill someone just for taking the left-hand path.

The large ogre materialized from the cloud of dust, clutching her small frame in his massive fist, slamming her back against the stone pillar with enough force to make the thing crack. She coughed out from the force, slamming her fists down on his massive finger as she called out to Isamu - -

Kill him! I changed my mind! He’s a bad guy!

The priest spit to the side, portions of his flesh torn free from the explosion, but still he channeled his spell, his blood splattering away from him in twisted patterns, as if amplified by his pain and rage. His eyes were focused on the miko against the pillar, crushing sand between his own fist as he controlled the ogre remotely.

“You must not disable the shrine,” He managed, ragged from his injuries, “Only I can protect this town from the sinners and filth!”

Hubris – one of the greatest sins!
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Old 05-21-2018, 05:21 AM   #14
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"I'm not a killer!" Isamu shouted passionately at the priest, though the words were directed at Natsu. His right hand waggled in his hand, as if it were... laughing? No. Hands didn't laugh. People did. Yet the hand's feeling of lust was a worrying distraction. He frowned, focused inwardly at why he had simply let loose the explosives without thinking. It was a flashy, brash style that was particularly un-Isamu-like.

Looking behind him as Natsu shouted conflicting words, Isamu saw that he had been wasting precious time. The ogre would and did smash the priestess against the pillar again. Moving to help her would do no good. The ogre lasted only as long as the priest.

He left two thin lines of glass in his wake, as he skated on glass skates through the distance. He was powered by a passionate energy. What he had feared would come true soon if he didn't act soon. With the priest looking back at the hut, Isamu was uninterrupted in his charge.

"Nothing to fear." Isamu breathed words to himself as he pushed forward. "I am strong enough."

The priest could barely register surprise before howling across the dunes in pain. The ogre's shape grew less solid, it's body shrinking to the sands as it's form became half-mound, half-ogre. Before the scream grew quiet, there was no ogre to speak of, just a waist-high dune in front of the pillar. Isamu's kunai plunged deep and angular into the cut open hand of the priest, severing tendon and any concentration the priest had on the curse.

The pair fell to the sands in a short grapple, quickly won by the boy with flaxen locks.

"You think you're strong." The man's breath smelled of rotting lilies. "You are just a fool. My demon will reveal your fate soon. It has already shown me mi-"

The air between the two men grew heavy with the stench of blood and bad breath as Isamu's right forefingers - black-dotted and clay-red - choked down against the priest's neck. The body spasmed and half-coughed below him. Later, Isamu would feel his knees shake when he would try to recount the feeling within his right hand to Hikoboshi no Natsu.

In that moment, however, the last thing the priest saw before his death was the horrified face of a cowardly killer.
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Old 05-21-2018, 01:03 PM   #15
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Ah, drat...

Natsu pulled Isamu off of the priest – which was a surprising struggle, since she was sure she could handle the boy in matters of arm wrestling or other feats of strength. Maybe! She carried around that big hand-and-a-half sword and fought monsters all the time, anyway. When she got him off the corpse of the priest she turned to look at the body and felt something inside of her stir – a bit of disgust, a bit of fear, and a bit of whatever you wanted to call the bijuu that made her skysword functional.

He was every bit a part of her as any other negative emotion, anyway.

She fell to her knees to offer a prayer, flexing her fingers between each other in a cross fashion before squeezing them tight.

I was speaking out of fear, earlier...but he was trying to kill us.” She looked across her praying fists with one open eye before snapping them shut again, muttering her prayer. “Killing isn’t against the faith, especially not in self-defense. I know it feels wrong, but the world eats itself, Isamu-san. Hawks eat snakes eat mice eat grain eat fertilizer.

She yelped suddenly and rolled backwards, striking a half-hearted martial arts pose - - obviously inspired by Isamu’s Ganjou Taiki, although backwards and clumsy, as the priest’s body started to decay away in rapid fashion, hands crawling up out of the ground to consume him, until all that left was as a wet stain on the surface of the sand. Natsu started to hurl before finding herself, and turned to Isamu, quickly changing the subject.

Our hair’s kinda the same color,” She managed. “We could pass for siblings. Also, the hands of hell just tore that guy apart right in front of us.

She pointed at the stain, as if he had missed it. There was a sudden cold, a chill between them, and darkness swirled over the horizon – in the direction of Orikomeru, the town they were supposed to be protecting from evil spirits.
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Old 05-21-2018, 04:01 PM   #16
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The world eats itself, but I don't think I'm going to eat again for a while. Isamu wiped at the edge of his mouth, where small chunk of breakfast waited. Watching a man he had just strangled involuntarily turn into a pile of moldy bones and then a bubbling mass that dissolved into the sand was not an appetizing image. And the hands that lifted up out of nowhere to pull the body apart was frightening, and had inspired Isamu to try his best to stand all the way up, to reduce the proximity of his body to the sand.

"I swear, it's not my hand! It's acting on it's own!" Isamu stammered at the thought of his own hand being from hell. Until he saw Natsu pointing a reminder at the wet oval in the sand.

"Ah - uhh - I mean, yeah. I guess we could pass for siblings...." Isamu muttered aside before feeling the dark energy pass between them. He followed the impulse to stare back towards the town and could see the promise of spiritual endangerment. A dark cloud, one of a color that rain clouds didn't often share, swirled over Orikomeru. Isamu gulped at the fact that there would be more danger waiting for them.

"Hey, Hikoboshi-sama. I know that this isn't exactly the time, but I think my hand is cursed." At that, Isamu held his right hand out towards Hikoboshi no Natsu, revealing the mottled, clay-red scarification that covered half of his hand. The closer the hand got to Natsu, the further it's cursed fingers curled inwards, towards Isamu, as if cowering in fear. They cowed so intensely that Isamu was impressed at his hand's own dexterity. But his fingers felt like they were trying to pull themselves out of their sockets. Isamu winced.

"I swear, they strangled that guy not me."

What a guy, eh? Blaming the tools and not the mechanic.
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Old 05-22-2018, 10:08 AM   #17
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Oooh, yeah. Hmm. Yeah. Ooh. Okay.

Natsu lightly manipulated Isamu’s hand by the wrist, softly shifting his hand about so she could investigate each bit carefully. The red scarring was dramatic and wholly out of scope of this particular mission. It would take a significant effort combined with significant spiritual growth to break free of something like this. The naughty boy must have had naughty thoughts of his own lack of self-worth when he yanked off those cursed ofuda tags.

She was mumbling all this, and suddenly said allowed and at full, chipper volume – “This is completely beyond me! I can cut it off.

She made a chopping motion with her hand, as if she was mocking the martial arts of shinobi kind, before grabbing Isamu’s wrist with both hands and mimicking it attacking her, puppeteering the boy’s loose arm. “I don’t even know what kind of curse this is. Possessed hands show up a few times in folklore, but normally in the faith it’s...well, mental illness.

A quick smile followed by wide-eyed apology. “Sorry! Stay positive. If we let negative emotions linger, we might get worse than cursed. Siblings. I think it’s cute we kinda have the same hair. Yours is prettier, truth be told. Mine has some white undercoat, though. Creepy, right? I’m holding a vengeful spirit, too.

A fist against her chest as she started away from Isamu, then she turned and posed, guns threatening like the edges of swords in the air. “Ancient shard of the grand god Amaterasu. A fox with a powerful hunger for the sin of the world.

She was talking in short bursts. This area was making her anxious – more than usual. “I guess if you have to reveal being a cursed monster hand boy, I can reveal being what you shinobi call a jinchuuriki. I’m not a sacrifice, though! I’m working alongside this little god – this entity of energy you call a chakra beast – to help solve problems. Like this one, on your hand! Haha!

Honestly, she looked like she might cry again. She muttered to herself about staying positive, looking happy, and not letting your spirit get dragged down my a negative vector, then started away from the hut. There was a happy medium between the outcropping on the edge of town and getting back to town properly where everything was, blissfully, relatively normal – Isamu’s scarred hand just felt a tad bruised, Natsu’s chattering had returned to her normal, radiant tones, and the air around them was that empty sort of hotness you get in the desert – that dry warmth.

Then they pressed past the barrier of the town with the cursed shrine, and that negative wave of emotion crushed back down onto them, stronger than it ever was before. Natsu herself clutched her hand over her heart and winced openly as she pushed towards the town. Oh, oh no – maybe there was more to the priest than his violent rage. Maybe he was protecting something.

She started to say as much to Isamu, but when she turned to look at him, he was simply gone.
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Old 05-22-2018, 02:53 PM   #18
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"Oh, my friend Riri is a jinchuuriki! And I don't think Riri thinks of herself as a sacrifice really. If anything, she seems to think everyone else should be sacrificing something to her...." Hikoboshi no Natsu's infectious personality had helped a lot. Isamu found her nervousness compelling and intimately familiar. He had forgotten about his cursed fingers for a moment. He imagined that if a woman like her could host a shard of a god within her, then a boy like him could escort her to safety.

He was nearly about to laugh, ready to crack a joke about that time he had gotten into a fight on a dance floor with his friend in Sunagakure, but he found his mood spoiled instantly upon entering the gates to Orikomeru. The air felt stripped out of his lungs. He put a hand to his solar plexus and moaned, still feeling the nausea from the man's vicious disintegration in front of the hut.

"This feels worse than the hut, Hikoboshi-sama." Isamu saw the world in darker colors. He imagined this would be where an orchestra would start playing violin during a spooky Noh Theater Drama. He turned towards the priestess and found no one. On second glance, it seemed even the townspeople were gone.

"Hikoboshi-sama?!"

The shout broke out into Orikomeru and Isamu barely heard an echo. His voice was swept away by the constant breeze. Waiting for a few moments, hoping to hear a shout in return, Isamu's ears instead tuned into another familiar sound.

Bones chattering together. The patter of paws on the sand. Not a stampede, like at the hut. No, these were just a few sets of paws. Patapat, patapatapatapat, patapat, patapat.

Isamu counted four different sets of feet, coming closer. In the main street of the town, Isamu knew he would be upon them soon. But without Natsu - and Isamu felt deep within him that he was completely alone, no one would be there to help, and that he would die here - Isamu felt compelled to save himself, to hide. He had all but forgotten about having faith in his heart.

Instead he completely stopped his body, feeling his heart beat in his ears, and tried to focus his mind. He had to disappear. He had no time to jump to a rooftop. And so instead, as the first hyena demon pattered around the corner, Isamu willed himself to disappear into this strange dimension of the spirit world. A veil tugged up by his mind, a mirage covered him completely, and as the hyena demons looked down the street, he was simply gone again.

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Old 05-24-2018, 04:26 PM   #19
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The shrine, with it’s carefully placed ofuda seals, called to Hikoboshi no Natsu like a lighthouse in a storm. She was drawn to it without realizing it, wandering through the town’s streets as the townsfolk screamed around her – the demonic entities snapping at their heels as they locked themselves in doors. She felt the familiar weight of her sword in her hand but couldn’t remember summoning it up. Somewhere, in her mind – she was doing everything she could to stop her soft footfalls and her steady approach to the little building. It was flanked by a haphazard Torii gates only seven feet tall, a small offering box that was locked with chains, and the shrine itself – a small miniature house said to contain the god of the town. In rings around it were dusty little aqueducts, long since dry. When the kami was happy and the shrine was healthy, the spring underneath would have filled the aqueducts and brought water and joy to the town. Instead, it was the center of the tempest, swirling with dark energy.

Her sword, pink and gleaming, pointed directly at the shrine - - and she did everything she could to force her mouth closed, but her voice spoke plainly.

Release.

One by one the ofuda tags on the shrine started to flutter with the wind and energy swirling around the town, ripping off loudly and flying into the air as ashen motes of dust. As each tag was released, more and more energy exploded from the shrine, shrapnel made of simply force cutting the face of the little miko with tears streaming down her face. Something started to crawl out of the shrine box, like hundreds of little roaches, before coalescing on top. It took the form of a small impish creature with malformed wings – useless for flight – on its back, bald head sprouting too many eyes, with two mouths filled with sharp teeth. Red and black in color, barely visible to the naked eye, sheer chakra manipulating dust and wind and debris to give itself form.

It was a youkai – or, as the shinobi would call it – a bijuu.

Time for dinner, Natsu-chan! Let me protect you.” Her lips moved and her voice rumbled out of her, but her body felt cold and distant.
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Old 05-24-2018, 04:43 PM   #20
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He could see the demons' mouths sagging open, their noses moving through the air, and for a moment, Isamu reckoned he saw confusion in their movements. In his peripherals, he noticed what he had missed before; the townspeople hadn't disappeared. They cowered in fear behind their windows and doors. None of them hugged each other. In fact, it seemed as if everyone - even as they stared out of the same window as their family - believed themselves to be alone.

Yet why could he not find Natsu?

Isamu held himself together as the hyena demons loped down the street, towards where they had lost the scent. He held his breath, bit his tongue, and could feel the miniature vessels of demonic power as easily as he could see them come closer.

How in the Winds above am I going to make it out of here? Isamu felt his brow begin to sweat, cold. He could barely feel the desert heat in this strange version of the world. The demons drew closer.

And then, drawn against his back, an energy came in towards the town from the outside world. The hyena's chattered as their heads whipped towards the direction of the shrine. The force of the wind drawing to the shrine ripped away Isamu's veil and pulled him towards the shrine - and the demons. Looking above the rooftops, he could see purple-colored shapes falling inwards towards the shrine, other shapes erupting outwards. They were not quite clouds, but a form of energy made to look like nebulas.

"Natsu...."

And like that, Isamu knew where he had to be, and so too did the hyenas. His feet glittered with glass, and the boy raced past the yipping canine forms, who tried to nip at his heels before their race began. His heart beat furiously, not for his own safety, but for the safety of the priestess.

"I'm coming, Hikoboshi-sama!!"
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