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Old 01-09-2019, 11:32 PM   #11
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Flying wasn’t something that Sudao particularly enjoyed, but it was something that he’d tolerate, all things considered. It had been an annoying enough climb, what with his teammates not knowing wall walking techniques. Sure, Masami could form wings, but Kaori had proved to be able to grapple his way to the top out of sheer willpower, despite slowing the group in the process. He could only imagine if this new squad had to walk their way all the way to Wheat – it was a journey in and of itself. So, naturally, he’d just shut up and pretend to be grateful.

That teammate of yours better watch her mouth. Kei’s not around for her to blame it on.

She’s fine, Otohime. Like I said, she just doesn’t know how to take a joke. Everything’s a personal attack. I don’t think she realizes that I’m trying to grow her a thicker skin.

It’s not your job to do that. Focus on you, Sudao. You were chosen to defend the world for a reason, as was she. It’s not your job to protect or teach anyone.

My loyalty still lies with Stone. We were close once. Kaori’s not here to protect anyone.

Regardless, the real Masami isn’t here. She’s sent a disposable version of herself. Maybe she’s trying to protect you.

You’re giving her too much credit.


Otohime grew silent after a bit more chatting, leaving Sudao to enjoy the ride to Wheat Country in relative peace. The Leaf shinobi, rather than fly on the back of the eagle he had summoned, opted to sprout wings and fly himself. It looked like a display more than anything – Masami was right to call him out on it. Wasting energy at such a crucial time in history wasn’t a good idea, but Sudao knew little about him. Enough to keep his judgments to himself. He only cared about the survival of Stone; the rest of the world mattered not, so long as his countrymen survived. His alliance with the priest and Leaf shinobi were out of necessity, not desire.
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Old 01-12-2019, 12:20 AM   #12
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The flight definitely became tense. Especially after the Leaf shinobi stopped being a close to the conversation and instead there were left the two shinobi that seemed to have a... problematic relationship. Ryosuke had the time to use the relationship, but as shinobi they were just distant enough that he didn't want to risk the situation turning worse for him. Instead, it was easier to just be the impartial person on the giant bird flying over the countryside. That worked just fine for him.

He needed to save his energy anyway. So he tried his best to find time to meditate. Not easy on a bird soaring through the air. It was hard to center himself at all, but the occasional sensation that he was going to go flying off into some random country below didn't help. Who knew if he could even survive the fall!

There was a need to try regardless. So he wrapped himself as best he could with some small wrap he found in his cloak, and then used his staff to balance himself. From there he tried to speak out to the one power that mattered. He ignored the whistling, the small talk, the whatever, and let the power build up in him. For sure, it wasn't anything that felt 'good' to those with the power or time to observe. Thankfully, it never made it far. Ryosuke snapped awake, sweating, and had to right himself before he actually fell off.

He shook his head clear. "Sorry about that, so embarrassing."

With time, a lot of it, they were finally soaring over Wheat country. It didn't take long for them to seemingly be slowing down. The giant bird started to descend, and then there was a long well tended field before a giant mansion in the distance. As expected, this fortunate merchant lived well off. Ryosuke couldn't even see the next town.

Ryosuke didn't know why they were stopping short of the building itself, their ride stopping in the field leading up to the building, until he spotted what looked like guards surrounding a forest outside the property. There were actually quite a few guards, he didn't know what that meant about their mission.

Regardless, they were soon on land, and Ryosuke leaped down and went to his knees. It was hard to tell if he was praying or just thankful to be grabbing handfuls of dirt again. Either way, the episode was a short one before he took a deep breath and straightened out his hair. They were almost to their objective, there was no time to be pitiful.

Actually, as he looked over, there was what looked like a large group of guards heading their way. At their head was a woman carrying a large spear.

"It seems they don't want to wait for us to come say hello."
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Old 01-15-2019, 04:27 PM   #13
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"Don't worry 'bout me Sami-chan," Fist said to her concerns about his energy, "I'm a bloodline freak and proud of it, there's a method to my madness and shit. I can go for days, all night long and shit."

Er...poor phrasing...

KEEP FLAPPING YOU IDIOT!


One of the first lessons taught to young Sanada is the basis of converting ones excess cells into chakra and energy itself. It was why Fist need not worry about diet and had been sustained mostly with chicken fingers, french fries, ramen noodles and ice cream and sometimes a diabolical and disgusting mixture of all combined.

Some call it a fast metabolism, I call it Taisha, an old friend and a near constant ally.

It still took up energy but flying by eagle was not something people did, especially with no straps or saddles, Shinobi had their way and Shitou was more than experienced in terms of catering to riders...but the eagle was still a bastard wrapped in silk. He had taught The Fist to fly personally and the idea of Sanshiro not pulling his weight on the journey would be an affront to the Eagle Clan. They were not a house bound to a village, they were a house bound to deed and reputation.

If Fist wanted to fly like an eagle, he at least had to, y'know, fly like an eagle.

It makes sense if you don't think about it.

When they landed, it wasn't long before Fist also noticed the guards with the woman at the head, he looked to Shitou with a smile but also with a seriousness and a flame in his eye. In the field, Fist felt different and a confidence and bravado took over the teenage Sanada prodigy. He was going to take a back seat now, leave the diplomacy to the priests and the diplomats.

He didn't believe in prophecy or fate or magic or fortune or any of that nonsense. All made up Miko bullshit to take away the accomplishments earned by blood, sweat, tears and battle.

But if he kid himself for a moment and considered why someone like him would be chosen...

"Shitou, take to the skies, circle the perimeter until I give you the signal."

"And what was that signal again...?"

"I gotta couple dependin' on how shit goes down, you'll know it when you see it."

"Surely you jest?"

"Chest? What's that s'posed to mean? You calling me a treasure or something? What kinda insult is that and shit? Look man, I summoned you, just give me this, alright?"

The Eagle shook his head but also took to the sky and soon the three shinobi and priest were alone facing the oncoming force.

"So, uh, it's agreed by all that I do the talkin' and shit, right? Huh?", he chuckled to himself, "Nah, nah, nah, I'll let you guys handle the 'I come in peace' song and dance, I'll just sit back lookin' pretty and angelic."

At this he flapped his wings and then folded them in seeming a bit like a very arrogant and flustered human/chicken hybrid.

OOC:

Taisha used 10/11 Stage Ones left.
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Last edited by Bukowski; 03-06-2019 at 03:59 PM..
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Old 03-06-2019, 02:49 PM   #14
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Masami stifled a giggle that turned into something of a snort as she tried to hold it back at Sanshiro's unfortunate choice of words. "Oh? Good to know" She called back with a teasing grin.

Fortunately for Ryosuke's dignity, he wasn't the only one who nearly fell off the great bird as it flew. Not long after the playful exchange with Fist, she could feel them approaching the line - the limit beyond which a subject wasn't supposed to be able to operate without their King. She knew that she was supposed to be fine, that this was what the Knight's technique was designed for, but still she couldn't escape the instinctual dread in her gut, the primal feeling that as soon as she crossed that line, she should be dead. Holding her breath, and scrunching her hands against the eagles feathers to really hold on, she tried to brace herself for the inevitable.

It hit her like being dragged through a wall of glass; she lost her grip, her body went limp, and for what looked like a split second she seemed to lose consciousness or worse, only to startle back awake and quickly grab back onto the Eagle's back before she slid off completely - head and eyes darting around like someone who had just woken from a very deep sleep and wasn't entirely sure where they were or how they had gotten there. "Ok... that was way worse than I thought it would be"

Thankfully, the rest of ride looked to be much smoother, as she scooched herself back into place and lay down against the soft feathers with Curie, completing her theft of Fist's hoodie by pulling it on over her own to protect against the cold air this high up. Despite the dire reasons behind their journey, she couldn't help feeling that on the whole this situation was oddly... relaxing, comforting almost. The skies were peaceful, the feathers were ridiculously comfortable, she was travelling with her best friend and a kindred spirit from Konoha. If she closed her eyes she almost felt like she didn't have a care in the world

Well, almost no cares. Her brief back and forth with Sudao was suddenly hanging over her - it already had been in truth, but now it was bothering her in a different way. She felt... bad about it. Friends shouldn't fight like that, especially not ones who had known eachother as long as they had. Still, there was little she could do about it now, knowing Sudao apologising to him would just be opening herself up to another wave of abus- "Hey Sudao...?" Wait. This wasn't right, where were the other voices telling her to stop because it was a bad idea. "I'm sorry about before. I know you're just trying to help in your own way" Where was the crystalline voice telling her to do it anyway because it'd be funny when it blew up in her face. "Between Kei, and the nightmares, and all the kami prickling me non stop back at the mountain... I'm a little on edge, you were right"

She took a moment to look at her hands, thinking about the crystal embedded under her skin that could expand and cover her whole body when she needed it to. Jukoto aside she had some of the thickest skin in stone, in a literal sense at least; when it came to the figurative she could see now that she was sorely lacking, maybe Sudao was doing her a favour by toughening her up. She was glad to have gotten the apology out, even though she was in somewhat disbelief that she had done it, but something just felt... not wrong, but certainly different. She didn't like to dwell on her own mental state too much, it was a depressing topic, but she was self aware enough to realise that she was not supposed to be this well adjusted...

- - -

As the eagle made its descent Masami leapt off a little early, landing in a crouch, followed shortly by the soft thud of Curie landing on her shoulders, and surveying the area with her enhanced vision while she stretched as Shitou made their final touchdown. She of course spotted the approaching guards, and the woman who seemed to be their captain but resisted her instinct to get her own weapon ready, like Fist said, they came in peace after all. "Doesn't look like it," She added in response to Ryosuke's own observations, "We'll just have to be the better people and say hello first."

She took her place behind the others with Sanshiro, the scholar and the diplomat were definitely better suited to make proper introductions, she and the Fist were just the heavies in this situation. She spared a glance to the disgruntled angel-lite standing beside her, hoping he was going to be ok. She suspected that despite the brave face he was putting on, having to hold back and put his fate in the hands of people he didn't even know that well, and probably wouldn't even get along well with if he did, was probably counter to every instinct the shinobi from Leaf held dear. She wished there was some way she could reassure him, let him know that things would be ok, that the other two -Sudao especially- were more than worthy to be trusted with their lives in a situation like this... but she couldn't think of anything, especially with the guards so close. She'd barely finished the thought however, before she looked down and realised that she had at some point reached out and held his hand, in exactly the sort of gesture she had been looking for, though one she would never have been brave enough to consider.

That settled it, there was definitely something wrong with her.
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Old 03-06-2019, 04:20 PM   #15
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This Masami was unsettling. It reminded him of when they were genin, back before she had the influence of Kei plaguing her every thought and action. It was unnerving to say the least, if only because back then, the two had been friends. She was more likely apologize than respond in anger. And despite not knowing much about the Kiyama, Sudao knew well enough that being this far away from the actual Masami meant that her subject operated on her own accord. She was an operative, complete with the memories and feelings of the real Masami. It was a psychological mess, a puzzle, in a way. Just one that he couldn’t figure out without being a True Son of the Kiyama himself.

He was broken out of his trance, realizing he hadn’t yet responded to his teammate. “It’s fine.” For a moment, his face was tinged with a mixture of worry and curiosity but left moments later, his facial muscles relaxing back to a more diplomatic expression. “I shouldn’t have goaded you. We’re all tense, especially if this truly marks the end of the world.”

He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, falling into a kind of meditation. Sometimes he wished he could divine information for himself, but alas, the kami were strange and didn’t take too kindly to shinobi at times. Instead, he controlled his breathing, taking the time to ground himself for the remainder of their journey. He wouldn’t let anyone know it, but he was terrified of heights. The wind threatening to blow him off an oversized chicken didn’t help matters either.

Relieved to be on the ground, he scrambled off the massive eagle, doing his best to make his landing graceful, though in truth, he was incredibly disheveled and the sudden drop in altitude made him a bit wobbly. He patted down his track suit and ran a hand through his hair to restyle it, subsequently licking his pointer and index finger on the other hand and rubbing down his eyebrows. First impressions were important, and he was–

”Halt.”

Oh great, they already have their weapons out.

”State your names and business.”

“I am Aoyama Sudao, and these are my compatri–”

”One’s enough. What do you want?”

He shot a look towards Ryosuke, obviously still tense from the flight.
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Old 03-09-2019, 08:38 PM   #16
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The woman at the front of the party seemed fairly young, but experienced. The way the guards behind her followed, Ryosuke had no doubt that she carried a fair amount of clout. Despite the strange team of people in front of her, the men didn't stagger or delay, they were willing to come and greet the party of champions head on.

Foolish, in Ryosuke's eyes.

Seeing Sudao unsure of the situation, Ryosuke stepped up. He clasped his hands together and bowed to the group. There were many different ways to disarm a group, and Ryosuke was sure the 'diplomat' Sudao knew quite a few himself. It would be useful to have him around to assist. Especially with the Leaf-nin around, and him receiving support from the other one.

"We apologize for the intrusion, I know we don't paint the best picture on arrival, do we?" He said with a smile as he rose back up, "We are just here on behalf of a wealthy collector from Iron, his shop is called the... Silver Eye? We are here to secure a deal, and hopefully transport the item back without any trouble."

The woman looked at Sudao, at Ryosuke, at Masami and Sanshiro in the back. Her eyes narrowed, and it was clear she wasn't quite buying it. They probably weren't the first group of knuckleheads to come knocking on her master's door. Unless something tragic happened, they probably wouldn't be the last. Of course, Sanshiro's threats were almost constant.

"The only trouble here," She said with a sweep of her spear, "is you four. You look like thieves, shifty ones at that."

Ryosuke bowed again, low, to the point of near-groveling, "I promise you we are just trying to complete a job. It is for everyone's benefit. Mr. Kintobi will profit handsomely. It is a matter of fate, that we speak with him."

She seemed to stiffen at the mention of fate, and then she seemed cautious again. "Well, he does always profit. Come then! I will get you to the guest hall, and you can wait for him there. Don't do anything stupid!"

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Old 03-09-2019, 10:38 PM   #17
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I hate diplomacy..

Reminds me of my Dad.

Enough of my daddy issues though.


Fist stood in observation of Sudao and Ryosuke, content to let them work in their own methods. A silver tongue could never defeat an iron fist, such was what Sanshiro felt deep in his core--however violence, no matter how effective, had to be a last resort. He remained calm on the outside, but on the inside he was trying his best to analyze the situation.

Could he fight that whole army? Would his allies follow? Would they succeed in their own machinations? What if they failed? He spoke a big game--was he willing to back it up?

Seigyoto was a village that had defected from Leaf and in order to get them back in the fold, Konoha had orchestrated a false flag operation. Sanshiro had participated, dressed as a bandit, he murdered--men, women and children. At the time, he didn't think about it. He compartmentalized. Just another mission. Just something he had to do to get a promotion.

He was a Jounin now, near the top of his profession...

Were his threats just empty? He had lost a lot of sleep to dreams and not all of those dreams were good.

Could he handle anymore?

So the Priest decides to go the route of duplicity...

Red Momma my kinda God and shit.


His mind continued to turn and it was only when he felt someone grasp his hand did he stop. Soft skin. A warm touch. He felt a fire build in his stomach as he looked at Masami at his side...

If I do have to fight...

A beautiful, exotic, clever, foreign kunoichi at my side...could be worse.


A few days ago when she had hugged him he had froze, now he played it cool, he squeezed her hand back and winked at her. She gave him confidence, a precious commodity he spent with a loose pocket.

"Lead the way."

He gripped Masami's hand tighter...

And to the guest hall their group went.
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Old 03-13-2019, 03:04 PM   #18
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[OOC: Merd ok'd the pickpocketing]

Well that could have gone better--

That went great!

She beamed as she followed on after the others, practically dragging Sanshiro along behind her with a skip in her step as she walked behind the guards; sure there had been a moment where it seemed the guard captain was on to them, but with a little quick talking everything was going according to plan again. There was no sense dwelling on what could have been a disaster, when everything had worked out so nicely in the end, after all. She was though, a little worried about Sudao, he wasn't normally quite so easy to fluster as that; perhaps he was right, maybe she hadn't been the only one on edge, despite it being hard to tell she ever had been by looking at her now. She shrugged off the matter though, she believed in Sudao, she was sure he would find his feet again soon - and she would be there to help if he needed it. After all, looking after Sudao was one of the reasons Kaori had guilt-tripped her into joining this particular leg of the expedition.

One of the reasons. Another of them was currently squeezing her hand gently as they walked along, and the third was hidden in the Red Priest's pocket. She'd been trying to work out where it was on his person ever since she'd been forewarned about it by the vision she'd experienced during her momentary lapse in consciousness mid flight; taking quick glances his way every so often with her implant-enhanced sight - she didn't want to look like she was staring after all - and had finally found where he had stashed it. Now all she had to do was work out how to get it, but she wasn't too worried, an opportunity would come up she was sure, why stress herself out needlessly by worrying about it. Instead, she smiled back at Fist as he winked, and simply enjoyed the walk through the grounds by his side.

- - -

"Oh my Gods!" She exclaimed as they were lead into the guest hall, dropping Sanshiro's hand and bounding a little further ahead of the group to spin around and take it all in. "Its just like your house, Sudao. I wish I could have brought 'hime, she would have loved it here..." She paused a moment, giving Sudao a brief look, "The other 'hime, I mean" Though she had no doubt the Blue Avatar likely also approved of the luxurious surroundings as well.

As she amused herself taking in the splendour, she stumbled backwards into Ryosuke, having been trying to take in one of the walls all at once and backing up without looking where she was going. "Sorry, sorry, my bad..." She apologised hastily, putting her hands on him to keep them both from falling over as a result of the collision. "I don't normally get to see stuff like this... I'll just... stand quietly over here"

As she made good on her awkward apology and scuttled over to stand out of everyone's way, looking at her feet in a faux-display of contrition, she put her hands in her own pockets and flipped the trinket, that she had just lifted from the priests own clothes during the collision, between her fingers happily. She'd known a good opportunity would present itself if she was just patient and didn't worry...


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