DECAY: Crack: BLOSSOM

[Westlands | Coast | Greater Wind Country]
From the eastern desert plains, to the infamous Westlands and the southern coast with its neighboring islands, the Wind Country covers an array of changing landscapes and other settlements. The people who live there are as diverse and powerful as the lands they live on.

Re: DECAY: Crack: BLOSSOM

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:06 am

A dozen warriors completely surrounded the pair of Saihoushi in an instant, all raising weapons and inching forward menacingly. A trio of blades rose into the air, prepared to strike and end the skirmish once and for all.

Stand down!

The horde did just that and froze, several of them turning to glance at their approaching Commander. One of the men who remained an instant away from bringing down his weapon faced Shota, anger and frustration apparent in his tone and expression.

Sir, what do you think you-

Shota’s right fist left a large indent in the side of the man’s head, and the armored figure now lay motionless in the sand several feet away from the group.

You morons! Do you even remember the point of this entire operation?! We’ve already failed to capture a single refugee, and now you idiots are about to cut down the children of two former Kazekages?! You can loot and kill all you want, but we need at least some form of living hostages to use against the village. Especially ones as important as these.

He paced back and forth, rubbing his forehead with overplayed exasperation. Their only actual orders had been to cause trouble in the area for the shinobi and to disrupt their relief efforts. Their superiors would certainly be pleased with any important captives, but it certainly wasn’t a mandate. His men didn’t need to know that though.

You know what, I’ll just take care of this. You guys can look through the camp and take anything you want, and then I want all of you to join the other group in pursuit of those airships. It will be too late if they get much closer to Suna, so get moving.

The circle of men slowly dissipated as they herded themselves more towards the center of the camp and began their looting. Shota stepped forward and stared at the triplets with wary eyes. Moxie was certainly out of commission after his last strike, but Pantsu seemed to have plenty of fight left in him.

The Commander’s voice lowered to nearly a whisper after one final glance back to ensure their isolation from any others.

Listen…the truth is that no matter who you guys are related to, there’s probably not much anyone can extort from the village using your lives. I’ll need to wait for the right opportunity, but if you stick with me, I’m willing to let you return home safely. You won’t be able to do anything more for your friends, but…at least you’ll both live to see another day.

Shota sighed and scratched the side of his head. Life would be a lot easier in pure black and white, both on and off the battlefield. But reality was so shrouded in varying shades of gray that everyone might as well be colorblind.

Or you can take your chances on your own, and I’ll be forced to kill or capture you again. This isn’t some kind of trick. You can call it a final show of appreciation to your father and late mother if you want.
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Re: DECAY: Crack: BLOSSOM

PostPosted by Klee » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:17 pm

The moment Moxie fell, his Kyoumougan reverted to its dormant state. No longer could he see the complete scenes of destruction unfolding bloodily ahead of him. Just brief flashes.

It ought have been blissful, but flashes were all he needed to deem every possible outcome of this onslaught a failure.

With Moxie down, there was nothing more he could do. That much was certain, and he'd accepted it minutes ago. Why else would he have reached for her to aide him in his battle? He was too weak, so much so that he needed her.

His heart still ached from falling that low.
In a way, it was painful and ironic that it had to end like this. Finally, Moxie lay bleeding and on the brink of death in his arms, the curse mark he had spent half his life coveting shredded from her body. For once, she was weaker than him, and at his mercy.

He could leave her to die, destroy her himself or better yet, sacrifice himself here and now to win this battle and show her up for all eternity and never have to live another day of this accursed life.

But the Kyoumougan showed him none of those sights.
The reason was simple - none of those were his options.

He was here to protect his daughter. Nothing more, nothing less. Hurting Moxie had never been part of the equation. Never again would it be.

Nobody was going to get hurt. At least, not while he was here. His eye told him that there was no way he could fight this man in his present state, and it was never wrong.
His heart told him it wasn't his place, as much as it hurt to admit it.

There was only one option, wasn't there?

"Commander."

He set Moxie gently on the sand, and climbed to his feet. She would hate him for this, he knew she would.

But maybe that much was a good thing, after everything else he'd done. Finally.

"She's a fool, isn't she? She doesn't understand what justice truly is. I'm sorry you had to listen to that. I'm not like that."


Only his brown eye surveyed the commander's face this time. His final attempt to keep this request genuine and heartfelt, as it had to be.
Had he been presented with any other choice, he would have taken it. But since when had the world been on his side? Heh.

"Parts of me agree with the things you've said. I won't say that they're right, as I'm in no position to judge. I've lived a tainted life, and to fight you after everything I've done...it's not my position. I'll take you up on your bargain, and I will leave. I only had one reason for being here."

Stones were dropping into his stomach with every word he spoke. Maybe the bulk of the refugees had already escaped, but his choice right now would jeopardize the lives of any who remained.

He'd regret this forever. But at the same time it was all he could do.

He had an obligation to Hanae, a duty to make up for his mistake of bringing her into this world by promising her a secure life within its cruel confines.

He sank to his knees, his trousers soaking in Moxie's blood.
For the first time, there was a strain beyond mere battle worn panting in his voice.

"It's...my daughter. Hanae, she hasn't been born yet, no, I-I don't even know, my beloved is in the process of giving her life, and hence neither was capable of fleeing this camp. They're still here, somewhere. I fought simply to stall, to give them the time they needed. But there is nothing more I can do in that vein, except plead that whatever you do with those who remain here, you don't touch them. That is my only parting request."

Pantsu swallowed in a fruitless attempt to clear his tight throat.
He felt so sick. Did he have to sink to this level?

He hoisted Moxie's body up over his shoulder, but his whole body trembled as he did it. With every sentence he uttered in plea, the Kyoumougan erupted into a dozen visions. All of them scenes of failure.

How could he expect this man to keep a simple promise, just because he asked?
He had to try harder. But how? Right now, he was in no position to fight for Hanae.

The Kyoumougan blared.

'Right now'...?
N-no, not that. He couldn't.

No, it was the only way.
But would that justify it? Was this the curse of a man lusting for power, or the primal instinct of a father?

When he spoke, both eyes pierced the commander.

"You know, you said something interesting to my sister. A man will do whatever it takes to protect what they care about. You're right. I told you before - I've lived a tainted life, one where I've taken countless others for nothing but personal gain. I regret this life, but should something happen here to my daughter, I can't promise that I won't hunt you down and relive it for the sake of those I swore to protect."
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Re: DECAY: Crack: BLOSSOM

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:01 pm

Sunagakure Combat Medic Rule 4: The world is your hospital.

Never before had that statement made Kyuuen shudder more than now.

A pair of emergency lamps hung from the unrefined walls of the irrigation tunnel. The medical evacuation sled had been broken down into planks and set on the ground, then covered in every scrap of cloth the team could spare without sacrificing decency and sanitation. Even then, even with Kyuuen up to her bare arms in blood, it didn't seem like enough.

"She's dying..."

"I know! I know, just, shut up a second." Kyuuen squeezed her eyes shut. She couldn't figure out what was wrong with Chiaki and Hanae. Chiaki had lost consciousness, and the natural contractive processes to get Hanae into the world had jammed up. It was shock, maybe, or some other latent medical condition, or maybe something as simple as blood pressure spike...damnit, she didn't know!

The world is your hospital. So why the hell didn't the world have equipment!

She needed information. Data. Something. Something to work off of outside of guessing. She should be cutting her open, getting the baby out, but it might kill Chikai in the process. It was something Kyuuen was willing to do; wait too much longer and they'd both be dead anyway. But doing it now, doing it without trying felt like quitting. No, worse than quitting.

Like murder.

"We have to do something! Quick, Ichigo, give me that medical kit."

"Don't you dare." Kyuuen didn't even open her eyes.

"Ichigo, please, just hand me that kid and-"

Crack!

Kyuuen's palm found Kohana's cheek bone and hurled her off her knees. She sprawled on the ground in a heap of crimson hair and undergarments.

"You are out of line here, Kohana! I am the ranking medical officer, and you're too emotionally attached to this patient's situation. You're not thinking clearly, so you can't treat her. You know that. Now be useful and shut up."

Kohana pulled herself to her knees again and kept her head low. Kyuuen let out a satisfied sigh, then glanced at Ichigo. Poor kid was practically naked, his eyes wide with the awesome horror of medicine. He was tired and at the end of his rope. But he wasn't about to play hero.

She'd trained him well.

Kyuuen reached over to the pack and found the ink and brush. She moved quickly, striking out two seals on the ground on either end of Chiaki. She motioned for the other two to take positions inside them.

"Stability seal. Take your place and ration out your chakra as long as you can. This will keep her alive while I get the baby out." She knelt down and started painting out her own seal. Kohana studied her.

"Wait, Kyuuen, that seal...if you set it like that, the feedback-"

"Are you seriously still talking?" Kyuuen rolled her eyes to hide the fear in them. Kohana was right. But Kyuuen was out of other ideas. "On my mark, initiate. Three. Two. One. Mark."

Chakra flowed into the seals and through Chiaki's body.

Then through Kyuuen's.

Pain ravaged every inch of Kyuuen's torso, enough pain to make her scream at first, clencing her fists so tightly that fingernails opened cuts in her palm. It was a profound, natural pain that felt strangely familiar to her. A pain that she felt she'd have to master one day herself.

It was all of Chiaki's pain. Kyuuen's seal in this arrangement was meant to loop chakra as feedback to her so she could monitor any chakra-based healing. But she'd changed it. Now the chakra flowing from Chiaki carried with it all the sensations she felt. Every pain, every feeling; it was like having two nervous systems. Two bodies and only one consciousness to deal with it.

But it wasn't real. It was imaginary pain. Pain of sympathy rather than pain of reality. Pain that she could control because she was the one allowing it into her mind. Pain that could be ignored, or shoved aside, or put into a box. Pain that had to be used as a tool, not as a hindrance.

Kyuuen felt her own body. She felt her shaky breathing and the tears dripping from her chin.

Her training kicked in. Her mind analyzed all of her pain, assigning names and meaning to everything Chiaki felt. She could feel the baby's heartbeat. Feel it struggling, feel it desperate for life.

"There."

She moved on instinct. She felt the scalpel cut into Chiaki's belly. She felt the aches and strains of her organs. She felt the blood running across her skin, pooling into their clothes.

She felt the girl. She felt Hanae. But not in her womb. In her hands.

Kohana stumbled out of the seal and took Hanae, tearing off the cleanest pieces of Kyuuen's camo-cloak and wrapping her in them, taking her to the irrigation site to collect water. Kyuuen wasn't done. She set back every organ where it needed to go, gushing out threaded healing chakra to make the wounded areas strong again. When she felt whole again, Kyuuen flung herself backward, away from the seal.

She felt empty and lost before her head touched the ground. Amazing how quickly the mind accepts its new realities. It now missed its second body, its second set of sensations. She heaved dry sobs as Ichigo knelt over her.

"Sensei?"

"Fine...I'm fine...so is she. She'll recover."

He helped her sit up, then brought her fresh water from the irrigation. Hanae cooed quietly in Kohana's arms, eyes wide and alert.

Kyuuen smiled. Stupid babies. Always causing her so much trouble.

"Thank you."

"No need. It's what we do. You know that."

Kohana nodded. "She looks like mom, actually."

Kyuuen shuffled over. The tiny little life did have bright hazel eyes. Eyes that seemed to see past the world itself.

"Dark hair, though."

"Nothing wrong with dark hair." She set a hand on Kohana's shoulder. "Don't worry about Moxie and your brother. Your sister is one scary badass now, you know. A handful of extra bandits won't stop her. I'm sure they'll be right behind us."

Kohana nodded and looked down into Hanae's eyes.

"Hear that? Your Aunt Moxie and Daddy will be here soon."

[End Thread]
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