DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

[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.

DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Fri May 13, 2011 4:52 pm

The sky swirled with starlight.

Kyuuen sighted carefully, marking the measurements on a scrap of paper. She let the sextant fall around her neck when she finished and tromped across the deck to the main cabin. The door took a shove to pry open, and another to slam shut. The wood wasn't framed quite properly.

The cold night vanished in the cabin. Lantern lights poured a warm glow all around the table. Kyuuen stepped down from the entrance and next to the table, setting her measurements onto the table. She picked up the pencil on the table and made a small X on the map spread across the table, then started meticulously marking dashes from the last X to the new one she made. Rika stood on the opposite end of the table, watching with fascination.

"Do all shinobi have such extensive knowledge in navigation?"

"You don't navigate by stars?"

"We do, yes, but not with this much precision. We're hunters, not sailors."

"There aren't that many landmarks in the desert. They teach us to use sextants and navigational charts in the Academy...not that we carry them on missions or anything. Wouldn't be practical. You ding up a sextant you can't use it anymore. Now that you mention it, it does seem a bit extravagant..." She finished plotting the course and then slid the fine wooden box beside the map closer to her. Kyuuen took the sextant from around her neck and set it gently in its velvet coccoon, then clasped the box shut.

The box, like everyting on this dirigible, was opulent. All of the chairs were hand carved and looked as if they belonged in the Kazekage manor. Or Ryou's house. The interior decks were covered in soft red carpet, the quarters had full-sized beds with layers upon layers of linens and piles of pillows. Even the engine looked expensive, built from glimmering brass fixtures with all sorts of pointless ornamentation.

The thing was larger than a sailing ship. There was a kitchen and a dining hall and even a room that looked as if it was meant to be a library, though no books were stored upon the empty shelves. There were a few smaller rooms used as crew quarters and a whole storehouse of supplies and coal for the engine.

They had been lucky the dirigible had been recently prepared to fly. The food was fresh and the water was plentiful.

Another one of the doors opened. Ryou and Toya stepped in from whatever last task they had been assigned to, both draped in cloaks they had found in the storeroom. The altitude and the desert night made the evenings outside bitterly cold. Kyuuen kept her eyes on the map, as if she were hard at work on something. She hadn't said a word to Toya since their departure three days ago, and her communication with Ryou had been sparse; either information about their duties on the ship or medical information regarding Moxie's condition. She had told herself that there hadn't been much time to talk other than that, but she was lying to herself.

A third door opened, this one from a stairway at the end of the room.

"Report."

Moxie sauntered down the stairs. She was clad in leather boots and loose-fitting pants, along with a ruffled tunic and a sea captain's coat that flagged gracefully down to her hips. She had been without clothes when they retrieved her and the outfit she wore now was found first. A little Saihoushi magic and Moxie looked like some sort of sky-pirate-captain-warrior-princess.

Somehow, Kyuuen could see Hana-sensei wearing something like that...

"New nav marks are here. We're right on course."

"Good. How about the sandstorm?"

"Settled. Horizon is clear for a long ways, I think we can start heading back east."

Moxie stood by the map and pored over it. Kyuuen took the moment to study her. In the three days since their escape from the City of Seven Valleys, she and Ryou had done all of the minute corrections they could to Moxie's body. She was in perfect physical condition. But there was still something off about her. Bags were settled under her eyes. Her demeanor seemed distant and she was losing muscle mass. Kyuuen had tried to investigate her sudden pain during the escape when she had started the lightning storm technique, but questions had been batted away or evaded.

Whatever it was, it was either beyond Kyuuen's expertise, or not medical at all.

"Well, that's a bit of good news isn't it?" Moxie traced her finger from the new X to Suna's location on the map. In their haste to put distance between them and Noriyuka's forces, they had traversed west over a long system of canyons, using the terrain to their advantage. Once they had put a day between them, they had intended to turn southeast and head straight back to Suna, but the sandstorm had prevented that. Kyuuen looked at the intervals between Xs, and made a guess to account for the speed of the wind. It would be another two days before they were back in Suna.

"Toya, go ahead and make the course correction now, straight for Suna. Rika, take look out, I'll stay with Toya on the bridge. Ryou, Kyuuen, you're off. Get some rest."

"You need to eat."

Green and gold eyes locked and their usual battle of wills began. Kyuuen could tell that Moxie's heart wasn't in this one, though, and she nodded softly.

"Right. I'll eat first, then join you, Toya. Rika, stay with him until I get there."

She swirled around with a flourish and headed to the joining room that would lead her to the kitchen. Toya and Rika moved wordlessly out of the room and up to the stairwell that would take them to the bridge. Ryou headed off toward the quarters. Kyuuen started behind him, waiting a half dozen steps before moving.

Damn.

She should just...say something to him. Anything. Just to feel like things were all right. Or if they weren't all right, that they could be all right again. At some point. Hell, it didn't matter what he asked her to do, she'd pay any pennance, she just couldn't tolerate the silence any longer.

What should she say? A joke? An insult? Insults had been their go-to their entire relationship, that had to be the way to go. A question? No, she was tired of exchanging information. An apology? No. Not that. She wouldn't mean an apology. And she wasn't about to consider apologizing to Toya yet. Not unless Ryou demanded it. And she wasn't going to give him the idea, that's for sure.

She fleetingly thought of trying to seduce him when the memory of her pressed against Toya flashed into her mind. Damnit, that boy was ruining everything! Her terrified stare smoldered into scowl. The anger of that memory dripped into her heart and melted away the fear that had caged in one question that had been nagging at her.

"Would you have gone?"

Ryou was just about at his door. He turned at the question, confusion across his face. Kyuuen took a deep breath. Her first statement was a bit more accusatory than she had meant it. Now was not the time to fly off the handle.

"If I had told Toya that Moxie was missing, and had told him that there were no leads and no information on how to help her, and had insisted that the mission we were on was more important than her immediate safety and he had still insisted on running off into the desert on a fool's quest-" She stopped herself. She shouldn't color the scenario with her opinon...ah screw it. "-would you have gone with him? Would you have chosen him over-"

She meant to say "Suna."

"-me?"

- - -

Rika never stopped smiling when she saw all the glittering controls. Polished brass, beautifully crafted wooden handles, instruments with shining glass and meticulously painted dials; it was definitely an exercise in function following form, but it was still beautiful. Part of her mind was busy taking the things apart, wondering how they were placed together to work like a single organism to allow them to fly.

"These things are really amazing. I remember the first one I saw, when you and Moxie ended up in that old lair...I really was marveled at the whole thing. Never seen a flying machine before. I mean, we Nanaya are pretty technologically advanced people, but flight? I guess we just never thought of it. Not exactly subtle hanging a block of wood under giant white balloons, is it?"

She walked over to the engine monitoring station, checking the pressure and heat. Everything looked good. Toya stood at the helm, making the course correction as had been instructed.

"You know, I used to sneak down to the machinists between classes. Father never wanted me to dabble in all of that, said it was lesser work that needed to be done by those that couldn't hunt. Still thought it was great...still do. When I took over the clan leader's quarters, I made them put in a workbench and get some supplies to start tinkering away in my spare time. Haven't touched it since. Just no time for any of that. No time for anything, really."

She started sauntering across the deck to another panel of instruments near the forward windows. A half moon cast rolling light on the dunes.

"I wish you had taken it, Toya. Clan leader. For compeltely selfish reasons...this isn't really me. Politics and leadership and making all of these hard decisions...all I want to do is tinker around with gears and springs. And I know, I know, there isn't anyone else that can do anything about it now and I know maybe someday I'll be able to pass it on. And to be honest...I guess it's not entirely bad. It just builds up after a while and sometimes you just have to tell someone all of your complaints, otherwise it just...sits there and grows."

She stretched.

"But at least I know I'm doing good. It's been a long few months, cousin, but I think I've finally rooted out all of the blood-purists from our ranks. I think I can comfortably say that the period of genocide is part of the Nanaya history."
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Klee » Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

"This again?"

Ryou had been looking forward to hearing something new.

They were three days into their dirigible flight and Kyuuen had barely said a word to him. It had definitely been the quietest period of their relationship to date, but somehow he disliked the feeling.

There was something wrong.

He was pretty confident that Kyuuen's demons both started and ended with Toya, given there was almost no alternate explanation. Their antics in the City of Seven Valleys had certainly brought the impeding war with Suna a step closer, but all involved had agreed that such an outcome had been an inevitability from the start. For now, the sheer prospect of their safe escape, Moxie's physical recovery and the intelligence they'd managed to secure had been enough to still at least a bit of relief on everybody's shoulders. Nah, there was something else bothering Kyuuen.

Exactly which part of her ill interaction with Toya it was had remained a mystery until now though. Had she been feeling some remorse for her actions and refrained from speaking to either of them out of guilt? Or had hearing the truth about Toya's story left her filled with humiliation and shame?

Either was uncharacteristic of her, and he didn't believe that she had to put herself through it for what may have well been an impulsive, but honest mistake. So he'd spent the day trying to concoct a conversation starter that would hopefully close off the gap between them and help her put whatever it was behind her. A million different words had gone through his head.

But now when she'd broken the silence, he didn't know what to say.

"Kyu, you're still not...wha...I don't-...Over you? What kind of question is that? What does...did any of this have to do with you?"

Or at least, which bit to get his head around first.

He wasn't being very coherent and he knew it and he didn't care.

Ryou didn't know what he'd expected when his own girlfriend had decided to confront him about her problems for the first time in three days, but it hadn't been this. Not this same, tired story.
Was she kidding? She was seriously still trying to justify what she'd done with this assumption about Toya, and now forcing him to judge it too? And then trying to influence his judgment by using herself as a hook.

Unfortunately for her, he wasn't an idiot.

"If you're still talking about the mission, then yeah, I would have."

He frowned, eyes boring into hers.

"Look, this isn't to do with me choosing Toya over you or Suna or whatever, it's about human lives. You knew full well that Moxie was already in jeopardy and if you include Toya running off then that'd be two on the line, versus what, a diplomatic meeting? We coulda postponed the mission, it wasn't like the royal city was going to escalate their war just because we failed to show. Any excuse would have worked, and they wouldn't have suspected a thing. Sure, we had no way of knowing that Moxie had been locked up in the city itself, but it was a risk I was willing to take. I don't know why you became a medic Kyuu, but I told you why I did. And it's for that reason that I'm going to put the immediate risk of good people dying before even the village."

Now that the shock of her question had worn off, his answer came naturally. He left parts out on purpose. Of course his friendship with Toya would have increased his priorities, but he wasn't going to tell her anything that she could interpret as him favoring one of then over the other. Not when the other facts of the matter remained the same.

Ryou sighed at the sight of her face, which hadn't loosened up in the slightest.
He wasn't going to get any sort of response until he gave her the answer she wanted, was he?

Girls. He was losing his patience with them, and fast.

"What does it matter? Looks like we would have ended up escaping like this either way, and what's done is done, Kyu. I don't understand why you refuse to get along with Toya, but it's not like I'm asking you to do anything past just being civil. Regardless of if you even want to do that or not though, why the hell do you keep spinning the story so I have to pit you against him? You know there's no reason for me to do that, so why? Is it just a...a girl thing, or do you some other reason for trying to get me to doubt my own best friend? I'm tired, call me when you've got a real answer. Suna isn't one."

Ryou spun around and tromped off towards to quarters, his hand curling around the doorknob. Her voice still rang through his head.

He hesitated, and turned back to face her.
Damnit. Those stupid eyes and that dumb face and the place they had in his heart. This wasn't what he wanted, not to lose her over some bout of hormonal irrationality or whatever it was that was guiding her actions. He valued his bond with Toya too, but it wasn't like he had to allow Kyuuen to draw a steel curtain between them this easily.

"Wait, I'm not mad."

He could have both.

"Running off into the desert on a fool's quest, eh? Sounds like somebody else I know, who did the same thing trying to bust her father out of prison."

Ryou released the door and stepped towards her.

"I followed you too, and I carried you out of there. I still love you, alright?"

Whichever parts of his speech or smile he'd been faking melted into the genuine the moment he caught her in embrace. A proper one this time, nothing like the last hug they'd shared before the mission. He hadn't really been feeling the cold that came with their altitude, but her touch felt like a furnace nonetheless.
Damnit, he'd missed her.

So much that he wasn't going to let her go over something like this.

"Don't take everything so personally, Bubbles."
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Sat May 14, 2011 3:25 am

Finally satisfied with their set course, Toya turned away from the controls and smiled softly as the girl prattled on about flying machines and her love of technology.

He couldn’t help but wonder how different their childhoods would have been if they had crossed. In a free shinobi village, he had still been forced into a rigorous training regimen that transformed him into the fierce warrior he was today. Yet in the very heart of the Nanaya clan, Rika managed to find passion in machinery and never fully embraced the hunter lifestyle.

More proof that even the most extreme circumstances did not define the individual. More reason for him to question whether he could ever truly be normal. Was he just born…wilder than other people? He still believed in controlling his own fate, but it sucked to think that the odds could be so stacked against him.

He felt guilt beginning to seep in when she moved on to her role in leading the clan. Perhaps there had been a better option. But he couldn’t possibly trust anyone else to take the role, certainly not yet.

I’m the selfish one, Rika, not you. You were right back then about me being the one to lead the clan, but my desire to be with Moriko and Ryou kept me from making that decision.

I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to leave you with such a heavy burden. There’s so little I can to do help, and you’re still only worrying about doing a good job for everyone. You can complain to me whenever you want as much as you want. You can always ask me when you need help or advice or just someone to listen to your venting.

We’ll always be family, cousin


He tried to hold his smile a moment longer, but his heart sunk the instant he realized what he still needed to tell her. She was so happy and optimistic, and now he had no choice but to crush all that hope with one decisive blow.

He inhaled deeply and stepped over to his cousin. An easy way to deliver this revelation simply did not exist, but he could attempt to soften the blow a bit.

Listen, Rika, there’s something else I need to tell you about what happened back in the city. Hi-Hiroshi, he…he wasn’t killed by Inachi’s guards. We took care of them all without much trouble at all, actually.

No one had questioned Toya even once about what happened on his failed hostage capture. When he returned with neither Inachi nor Hiroshi, they probably all made their own conclusions about what unfolded. None of them could have possibly come even close to guessing the true nature of that twisted event.

His cousin’s eyes revealed confusion and unease as she looked up to meet his gaze. He gently took her hands and squeezed, wishing he could erase what had happened from existence.

We had Inachi right in our hands and then…then Hiroshi turned his blade on him. He killed him in an instant before I could even register what was going on. Then he turned to me and said…he was still trying to cleanse the world of the Shiki and others like us.

I wanted to stop him. But he was quick and strong, and there was just no time. My blades were the ones to claim our brother’s life. I couldn’t save him.


His grip tightened as he fought against his eyes’ first attempts to form tears. He couldn’t expect to keep her calm and free of emotion if he broke down himself. He had to make himself believe the same words he needed her to embrace.

Don’t blame yourself, okay Rika? You’re an amazing leader with strength, intelligence, and compassion enough to back it up. Our clan has been polluted by a cruel brainwashing that cannot be cured so easily, no matter how much truth we show them. Until the new generation of Nanaya replaces the current one, there will always be a few fundamentalist holdouts who cling to the same ideals our fathers preached in the past.

Bloodshed will always be a chapter in our history, but together we’re writing a new one. One that will be better and longer and more remembered than this one will ever be. It’s the ending of a book that everyone reads anyway, right?
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Sun May 15, 2011 1:10 am

His touch was amazing. Her body was betraying her, flooding with a longing to return that touch and to release all of her pride.

"Oh, Ryou. Now that you've said such kind words and held me, I'm going to change my mind~"

Her hands clamped onto his sides.

"Is that the appropriate "girl thing" to do?"

She shoved him, hard, hard enough to slam him into the door behind him.

"Don't you dare scold me. I taught you what it means to be a medic, Ryou, don't forget that. You're letting your emotions get the better of you. If Toya chooses to run into the desert and die, that's his choice. The civilians who are dying out there don't get a choice. All they want to do is live quiet peaceful lives. They rely on us to protect them, and they relied on us to get aid from the nobility. We didn't know the nobility was going to betray us, they could have helped us and saved many more lives than Toya and Moxie. Going on that mission meant discovering their plot and now we have the information to save many more lives than Toya and Moxie. No matter what happened, that was not just a simple diplomatic mission."

She spun around and kicked her own door open.

"You don't understand. You don't understand me, and you don't understand why this upsets me."

slam!

- - -

Rika didn't move.

"I chose those two personally. I took them with me because I trusted them completely, with my life and the future of the Nanaya. How could I have been so profoundly wrong?"

She turned away and walked to the end of the bridge, staring over the expanse of desert.

"This was a mistake. Here I was rushing off to Wind Country because I was tired of the day to day. The meetings, the debates, the decisions...hunting was easier than that, if you can believe it. I wanted a break and I tricked myself into thinking things were on the right path. I tricked myself into thinking this was important enough to shirk my responsibilities. I should have stayed. There's so much work to be done yet...I'm sorry, Toya. It shouldn't have happened."

She turned to the length of the bridge and began to pace. "If Hiroshi betrayed us then you're the only Nanaya left I trust. There are too many factions. I'm...I'm sixteen, Toya, I don't know how to make these kinds of decisions. I don't know if I'm qualified to direct my life, much less the lives of so many others. And believe me, I'm not the only one who thinks that. My detractors are very loud and very blatant about why I should be removed. And my supporters...bah. Most of them were my father's advisors, who I can't trust and probably only want to keep me around so they can control me. It's bad enough I have to listen to their advice but it's worse that I spend twice as much time trying to verify everything they tell me so it doesn't end up being a trap."

Somehow she forced herself to stop pacing and smile at her cousin.

"And you know, this is a clan full of deadly hunters. There's only one of me. Who knows when someday I might find myself bleeding to death?

Well. One day at a time, I suppose. Once we're back to Suna, I need to head back home and start smoking the rest of these monsters out. I promise I'll get rid of every last one of them, Toya. One way or another.
"

- - -

An army of a thousand warriors stood against a horde of a million. They fought bravely, blades flashing in the sunlight, but they fell within minutes of the horde-...wait.

Not sunlight. Moonlight.

The blades were hidden, save for the few flashes the moon cast upon them. This time the warriors hid in the arkness, breathed in the darkness. Their comrades fell, but they did not notice in the dark. They fought on, to the very last, believing that their brothers were behind them. This time half of the million fell in battle, soaking the fields with blood.

A thousand. What if it were two thousand? Three? Only five hundred?

She curled the thoughts atop themselves and twisted her consciousness back around to the present. She was eating, automatically. She was breathing and staring and completely oblvious to her own body. She saw herself outside herself. Kyuuen was right, she was getting thin. And perhaps weak.

It took a lot of chakra to peer into the fabric of potential like she kept doing, and her chakra network was betraying her. Even at that moment, she felt it tear away from her body in long, ragged strips. Pointless expenditure, returning energy to the ether that had never served any purpose at all.

She should stop. She wasn't even looking at anything but that present moment. No purpose into splitting the probable futures of the universe.

She should stop.

Stop.

Moxie's eyes fluttered open. Her chest burned and her hand clutched it fruitlessly. Her breathing was heavy and sweat dripped from the end of her nose.

Why had she done that?
What was the point in slicing through every possibility when they all seemed so...distant. Not only distant, but improbable. In the past, she had always felt which future was the most obvious, the one that had the highest chance of coming true. But peering that far ahead, they all seemed equally possible. It wasn't until she started tracing back through all of the decisions leading up to it that they started to feel different again. And that took more energy than she currently had.

She shoved herself up from the table and ran a sleeve across her forehead and nose. Time to go meet with Toya. They hadn't had much time to talk about things since they had left, and what little time they had together Moxie had mostly used sleeping on his shoulder. Right now there was much on her mind and she wanted his view point to-

...grappling hooks.

In the last vision she had, she had seen the entirety of the ship, just for a second. She had ignored it at first, it seemed so trivial, but now she could see it without a doubt. Right there in the corner of her mind's eye, the glinting, curled steel of grappling hooks.

Moxie bounded to the hallway, grasping onto a sword mounted on the wall as she did. She tore down the stairs, reaching the end of the quarters, where she heard a door slam. She made her way down the hallway as fast as she could and found the section. Ryou was standing in the hallway, a stun look on his face.

She hurled the sword through the air. Ryou caught it automatically.

"Prepare for boarders."

Moxie turned up to the next stairwell. She should get Toya or Rika, the extra help would be useful, but the last thing they needed was the bridge. As long as they had control of the airship, then they were ahead.

In perfect synchronization, the grappling hooks sprang up from the side of the deck and bit into the rails. Moxie stood in the center of the deck and freed Raikenkire's edge from its scabbard. She lowered herself into a stance, convincing herself that the pain in her chest didn't matter in the slightest.

"Whoever's coming up here, this is your last chance to realize what a horrible idea this is. If you don't realize it now, I promise you'll realize it in a few seconds."
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Klee » Sun May 15, 2011 3:14 am

"What do you mean, I never said the mission wasn't important, we could have still...Gah, wait Kyu-I-"

Slam!

He let his words die.

Why.
Why did he bother? Why the freaking hell did he even try?

Ryou rubbed at his shoulder, the fierce impact of her shove having still not worn off. Damnit, it had taken every last shred of honor he had in him to stop himself from slapping her in the face back there. Every last shred.
Believe him, he wouldn't have done anything to try and force a sane and rational person back out of her.

But apparently, he didn't understand her enough to realize that a person like that didn't exist.

She'd said a lot of insulting things to him in their time together - they both had. Yet none of those words had ever left him as dispirited and frustrated as this. He didn't understand her? How could she flip out at him like that over a stupid question she'd brought up and then say that to him? It wasn't as though he wasn't trying. He'd probably put more effort into trying to get along with her than he'd done anything else in his whole life. He'd thought he knew her better than most, that her volatile personality was everything he needed to keep his own in check, and vice versa. Yet in reality, it seemed that he'd let his hopes soar far too high.

He knew he had every right to just give up there and walk away.
But of course his body and his heart were going to deny him that right, so he stood there. For minutes on end.

There was still a way he could work this out, another explanation. There had to be. If this wasn't a girl issue, then there really was something else he'd missed.
She couldn't just be the most selfish bitch in the history of the universe who wouldn't let him have any friends, there was more to it than that.

And even if he had to stay here until he did it, he'd find out what it was.

Yet even starting on that thought process made his head hurt. In the brief moments he'd stood there before a distraction surfaced, he'd failed to connect any string of logic to another. She just...didn't make any sense.

Wait, maybe he was just tired. It wasn't like their relationship could get any worse in a matter of hours. He could think about it after he slept. Or ate.

"Prepare for boarders."

...Turned out he didn't have to decide to go with either.

In all his surprise, he almost missed the sword.
Moxie? What on earth was she doing? She'd only just regained her stable condition, and even then he had been beginning to suspect that there was something else off about her health. What was she trying to accomplish by bounding across the ship in her state?

No, wait. Of course she wasn't just dashing about for the heck of it, there was some reason behind it.
He finally came to grasp the meaning of her words.

Moxie raced on ahead, but Ryou remained in place.
What was going on? An assault...up this high? Had the nobility covered so much ground in such a short space of time? No, that had to be impossible. Moxie had only granted them the all-clear minutes ago...

Damn, if they really had caught up without any warning, then they possessed far more stealth than he'd given them credit for. In the blink of an eye, everything was at risk.

He knocked hard against the wood guarding Kyuuen's cabin.

"Hey, Kyuuen! If you never want to talk to me again then fine, you can wait until I figure out whatever the hell it is that's bothering you. But at least come outside. We've got an intruder."

The conflict shrieked into existence above him. He didn't move until she'd answered the door.
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Mon May 16, 2011 3:02 am

The guilt amplified tenfold and made him feel sick to his stomach. He really had been selfish forcing such a burden onto his innocent cousin, who was just as much a child as he was.

She was trapped between potentially good-willed clan members demanding a stronger leader and false supporters ready to stab her in the back, perhaps literally.

Her smile seemed full of acceptant sorrow, and her final, calm declaration sent a chill down his spine.

Rika, you don’t have to do this alone. Maybe if things finally settle around here I could…

The concussive sound of explosions ripped through the air and rocked the ship. Toya gripped the helm to regain his balance and took a quick glance at the panels in front of him. What the hell just hit them?

I need to stay here and make sure we don’t drop out of the sky, so you should head up to the deck and find out what’s going on out there. If we’re under attack, they’re going to need you. Watch your back, cousin.

--

Topside, a tense silence had settled after Moxie’s commanding threat. For a moment it almost seemed that the would-be hijackers had taken her words to hear and decided to turn back.

A trio of crimson serpents soared from over the side of the ship and immediately targeted the girl’s recently drawn blade, the liquid coiling around the metal and hardening upon contact.

A tall male figure followed just a second later, vaulting over the railing and landing nimbly near the edge. The genre of his wardrobe eerily mirrored Moxie’s, the seemingly out of place boots and dark captain’s coat especially similar in style.

He lifted the heavy goggles from his eyes and rested them atop his head, revealing a gleaming amber gaze that nearly matched his golden-brown hair. An incredibly self-confident grin spread across his lips, and yet his aura gave off the feeling that he had somehow earned the right to such blatant arrogance.

Now isn’t that cute? The little noble girl is trying to play the part of a tough pirate princess. Sorry to inform you that this ain’t the friendly confines of the northeast anymore. You tread into the Westlands, and even this high altitutde won’t protect you. This is quite a nice airship though, as expected of you insatiable sons of bitches.

Blood had been steadily emptying from the male’s fingertips at an alarming rate, but he didn’t bat an eye or show any other outward sign of distress. He gripped one side of his coat and pulled it away to reveal the artificial left arm that had been hidden until now.

The metallic fingers slowly opened up as a series of strange seals placed along the arm began to glow with a faint blue tinge. Enough time and money had been poured into that damn fake limb to supply it with plenty of useful tricks.

Alright, listen up. You can all peacefully turn over this ship to me and my crew. We’ll land somewhere not too fatal and let you all off with your filthy lives intact. Or, I can forcibly put down this ship by making it and everyone aboard weigh about a hundred times more than they actually do. Most of you will still live, probably. Might depend on how much you end up pissing me off though.

Option three! I detonate every ounce of liquid explosives that I’ve thoroughly soaked most of your ship’s hull with. By the way, that would be my blood if you’re a bit confused. That definitely sucks a lot more for both sides, but my group will be the only ones coming out alive in that scenario.


After finally finishing, the young man tapped a finger against his chin just as his eyes suddenly lit up.

Oh right, last option!

He reached to his waist and drew the long silver blade from its sheathe and casually spun it around in his hand a few times.

Or you can choose any person on this ship to duel me one on one. If you win, then we’ll be on our way without any trouble. Man, am I an amazingly nice guy or what? No matter how this ends up going down, none of you will ever forget your fateful encounter with the great Dainichi Kaizoku, the man who will change the entire world someday!
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Mon May 16, 2011 3:34 am

Moxie blinked.

She had heard of the absurdity of some of the Westlanders from Izanami when she was just a Genin; about the cruelty and ferocity and barbarism that plagued the land.

She never mentioned delusional.

She turned Raikenkire in her hand and stared at the crimson crystalis surrounding her weapon. Nothing a jolt of lightning wouldn't fix, but it was certainly an...odd ability. She combed through her mind, staring at the young man as she did. He was strikingly handsome, that much she had to admit. The mechanical arm was puppetry, but nothing she had ever seen coming out of Suna. Must be one of the mysterious misplaced experts that vanished into the Westlands now and again.

"Jekial," she said with realization, "You're a Jekial. Which means your threats are valid. Or valid enough. Somehow I don't think you had enough blood to cover the whole ship. If you did, maybe I should take you up on that duel offer and let you faint the minute your take a step forward."

Moxie tried to put Raikenkire away, but the blood bits were chipping off and it was...gross. Instead she lowered it, keeping it loose in her hand.

"But you have it wrong. We're not members of the nobility, we're Suna-nin escaping the City of Seven Valleys. We're on our way back to the village right now and we're-"

The doors behind her burst open. Ryou took position on her right and Kyuuen on her left, both with weapons drawn.

"All right, who the hell is this guy?"

"He's uh, our boarder. He's threatening to blow up the ship."

"What? How?"

"The blood. He's a Jekial, they can detonate their own blood."

"Oh. Well that's easy, we just shut off his blood supply then."

Kyuuen outstretched her hadn before Moxie could say anything. A jolt of healing chakra erupted from her palm and in an emerald flash, enveloped the open wounds on Dainichi's body, sealing them shut.

"Oi! What the-"

"Great! Let's kick his ass now!"

"No, wait, Kyuuen!"

The girl exploded. A gutteral cry, one that Moxie was sure that had nothing to do with Dainichi and everything to do with Toya and Ryou, screeched through the darkness. Her fist connected into his chin before he could react. A flash of green light burst at the same time, sending Dainichi sprawling to the deck, completely unharmed.

"More where that came from, One-Armed-Gorgeous, let's go!"

"Kyuuen, cut it out! I'm trying to make us allies, not enemies!"
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Klee » Tue May 17, 2011 10:42 pm

Ryou's mind spun in circles, scrambling through every last piece of information he'd ever learned about the Westlands and its people.
Surely everybody's actions made sense when put in some sort of context?

Hm. as it was a large disadvantaged region of the Wind Country, it was a logical conclusion that the area would house at least some insurgents. He'd never counted on a self-proclaimed sky pirate of all things, but he could say he understood the Westland soldier's motivate. And his misunderstanding.
And then it only naturally followed that Moxie would move to curb the scuffle. The last thing any of them wanted was more tension rising between the Wind Country's factions.
...so of course, Kyuuen was the only one in the wrong.

How surprising.

Oh, trust her to think she was so clever. Knocking back the intruder with a dose of healing chakra to nullify his blood based techniques? Sure, it would have been a good idea if blood was the only threat the wannabe pirate possessed, but something about the smug taunts suggested that there more to it than that. And besides, why was Kyuuen making a point of fighting him at all? Whatever happened to diplomacy?

"More where that came from, One-Armed-Gorgeous, let's go!"

Ryou decided to stay rational, and ignore that comment.
Pft, as if that tool was remotely good looking! The damn girl was always going on about how stupidly bright his hair was, what the crap did she call that? And he had a metal hand for god's sake! How unappealing would that be when she got around to- Ugh, why was he even thinking about that?

Ryou suppressed the thought, and the desire to vomit.

Alright, alright! So much for being rational. Point was, Kyuuen was crossing the line here. And he wasn't the only one to think so, either!

"Kyuuen, cut it out! I'm trying to make us allies, not enemies!"
"Cut it out, will you? She's right, we're here to-"

Another crash, and Ryou found that his shouts, much like Moxie's, had been quick to fall on deaf ears.

The Jekial boy lay sprawled against the floor for a second time.

Goddamnit, what was Kyuuen doing? Nothing was getting through to her, was it?

"Idiot, Kyuuen, he's an ally, why would y-"

Again, he didn't finish that sentence.
No sooner had Dai found his feet and begun to to clamber to a stand had he been knocked right back down.

This time however, Kyuuen didn't stand above him, grinning her fool's triumph.

None of them had seen the woman's approach.

No hook this time, no vault. Ryou was sure he hadn't blinked, but he could have sworn the figure had literally glided over the railing without any form of vantage.

She rose, and fell in a roaring instant.
Her heel crushed Dai's hand deep into the deck.

When the crunch had died down, silence raided the ship. All eyes were set on the newest occupant.

The heavy boots weren't the only savage touch to her wardrobe. The tunic she wore had been stripped clean off some beast. The lining from some bird. Thick and unruly brown hair caught up from her jump, and slowly floated to the level of her knees.

Closer to forty than thirty, she still stood with a commandeering poise. In her broad but curvaceous frame, she exhibited the type of brutality a women could only possess after a life in a place like this.

Her very presence had ordered them all into a temporary still, her voice only amplifying the effect.

"Tch. My case stands, doesn't it, Dai? Running threats against the nobility when the final thing this land wants is more shit than those...in charge, can bite? I have subdued your little 'crew', by the way, Kaizoku. Nothing permanent, but now that I've proven my point, you won't be needing them."

Her eyes bore like a hawk's, but she didn't even look at Dai as she addressed him.
Almost as though she didn't feel the need to.

Instead, she surveyed the company ahead of her. Moxie first. Then Kyuuen, and finally Ryou. She lingered on the latter.

Then her expression transformed.

"Aha."

She stepped off Dai, but didn't fail to bring her foot back to the wood with another defining thump.

"Do excuse Dai over here, if I was in any position to let the blame fall on him, I would. But such a claim ain't befitting for the ears of either party, is it? Allow me to introduce myself, I am Ayasato Miki, as you may have heard."

Ryou blinked.
...As they may have heard? Blame?

Who was she, and what was going on?
From the sound of it, she was a political leader of the Westlands.

And she'd been expecting them.

"To think even your lot would send a group of children to sort this fiasco. I should have known that the nobility would intervene, that is why they've lent you their ship, is it not? Never mind that though, you remain our 'saving grace' - pardon that term, there's little they can do to oppose your village. If it's children they've sent, so be it. Let's hope I've conducted enough research for the both of us."

Ayasato stepped forward. The moment she did, Ryou could gather an intense odor of tobacco.

"Poor children, you're young. Can't be a day older than seventeen, none of you. What are doing here? Live the life, get yourselves a girlfriend, boys, why not? Being a good boy for daddy is heroic, yes," Again, she cast her eyes at Ryou on that one, "...but necessary? No. Surely your country is in a position where it can delegate at least diplomacy to those old enough to resist the blinds of heroism?"

For somebody who threw around judgment with such lightness to her voice, she gave them little time to react.
Was he just being paranoid or did she look at him more often than any of the others? Either way, it was slowly becoming clear that there was some sort of misunderstanding in the works here.
Ryou opened his mouth anyway.

"Children...? What are you on about, Suna's in no better-"

She silenced him with the wave of her finger.

"No, no. I'm not chiding you. I'm bringing to light the fact that you have a choice, so think about it, boy."

N-no. Why'd the damn women never listen to him?
That...hadn't been what he'd been getting at. Disdain of youth was one common thing, but if this was some kind of confusion regarding their identity, then it was in everyone's best interests to clarify it.
Desperate, Ryou let his glance shoot to Moxie.

In the brief seconds before Ayasato had commanded all their attention once more, all even Dakara's daughter could give him was a blank face.

"That said, not all of us have that kind of liberty - do we? - and given...circumstances, might be that your lack of years will help my comrades relate a little quicker. Believe me, I'd rather not dawdle."

There was the faintest hint of a chuckle on the end of that one, but she didn't crack a smile. Not even once, in all her speech.
That or the deep scar running from her left eye to the corner of her lip was creating the illusion that she wasn't able to.

"Now, you've evidently got a man piloting this contraption. I'd suggest you ask them to retire - not that my technique's going to harm them, but might as well. I'm capable of coordinating our landing."

Again, she didn't wait for an answer.
Ayasato moved forward, making her way past them and to the center of the deck. She raised a hand, fingers glowing with a pale red chakra.

Then with the force and agility of a hulking man ten years her junior, she slammed her palm against the wood.

Hiton

The ship rocked, and fell into the smoothest descent.
Last edited by Klee on Wed May 18, 2011 2:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Wed May 18, 2011 1:29 am

What the hell? Everything had happened far too quickly and chaotically, even for his standards.

The wannabe pirate girl had been saying something about being Suna shinobi, but had been quickly cut off by the psycho she-hulk who took a cheap jab straight into his jaw.

His fingers gently traced along his skin, yet not a trace of force remained. No breaks, bruises, or bleeding of any kind. Even the pain seemed to disappear a few seconds after his abrupt landing. What kind of weird witchcraft was this?! All he knew was that it was awesome and that one of his subordinates needed to learn it immediately.

Hey, what was th-

This time the stinging pain filled his hand and did not lessen in the slightest. He hit the ground again, his previously restrained anger starting to boil up and prep to explode. He hopped to his feet the instant his hand was released, his eyes ignited with a blazing inferno.

Oi, you think you can just waltz in here and steal my glory like this?! What the hell are you even going on about anyway? These kids are clearly not whoever you think they are. Either they are telling the truth about being fleeing Suna shinobi, or they are just some noble brats trying to talk their way out of my grasp.

Also, that freaking hurt, you crazy bitch!


Dai extended his metallic limb again, the seals once more glowing a brilliant blue. He clenched his fist and grimaced, concentrating a massive amount of chakra into the center of his palm as it constantly flowed down his arm.

I’m the only captain this ship needs, ya hear?!

The young man raised his fist into the air and immediately wrenched away control of the craft’s flight from the older woman. It ascended at a much faster rate and caused most of the deck’s occupants to stumble, if not completely lose their balance and fall.

And I’ll be the one deciding how to land it!

Dai smirked and dropped his arm a moment later. Try as she might to fight against it, his more rational Westland colleague could not hope to slow or calm their rapid and imprecise plunge.

He eased up for the final few seconds of the flight, but the ship still took a dive straight into the sand below, an event that could have been quite hazardous for everyone on the deck if he hadn’t sealed them all down with a separate gravitational field.

The seals on his arm lost their luminescence as he let out a long breath. He then proceeded to his cross his arms across his chest and put on his usual shining grin that inspired his allies and instilled terror in those who had crossed him in the past.

How’s that for a coordinated landing, old hag?! Now let’s drag these guys along and get this stupid meeting thing over with already. Oh yeah, and dibs on the ship if they really turn out to be from the capital!

From behind the group, the doors flew open with force enough to nearly free them from the steel hinges. Toya lowered his leg after the brutal kick and trudged through, rubbing the left half of his forehead that had begun to swell up from slamming into a wall during the landing. His expression did not contain a hint of pleasure.

Alright, which one of these clowns am I allowed to stab? Please tell me it’s both.
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Wed May 18, 2011 2:13 am

Rika had thought that hiding on the upper structures connecting the baloon to the hull of the airship would give her a good vantage point.

And it had, at first. When the first Westland raider made his approach, she had been prepared to drop down on him and slide steel into his torso.

When the woman showed up, floating over the rail like a fairytale, Rika had been prepared to launch simultaneous attacks to incapacitate them, or at least distract them long enough for Moxie to make her move.

When that same woman started to lurch the airship groundward, Rika decided that perhaps holding herself up precariously by a half-dozen cables and support struts was not a safe place to be. She had unhooked herself from her perch and was about to slide deckward.

And then Dai made his move.

She lost her footing completely on the initial ascent, clinging on by a cable. Her shoulders ached from the pressure and her palms burned. She quickly snapped out her Nanaya blade, risking to hold on by one hand, and severed one of the cable.

She dropped at the same moment the airship did, lurching them to the ground at tremendous speeds. Rika watched the deck as she swooped toward it. Moxie's clothing had snapped out like spiderweb, strips of her coat spearing into the deck to hold her in place. Kyuuen was making rapid handsigns, and discharged a sphere of chakra. A bubble appeared around Ryou and bathed him in a cool tuquoise light. It suspended him just above the deck, safe from the inevitible impact.

Sand gushed over the sides and splashed across the deck. Wood splintered, cables snapped, pieces of the enginge sputtered and shattered into shrapnel. Kyuuen screached in pain, holding onto her leg; she being the only one with less protection during the impact. The bubble around Ryou popped and releasd him while Moxie picked herself off the ground, her coat slithering back into palce.

Rika felt the cable in her hand grow taut. The arc of her descent was short enough that she wasn't about to break her legs. She needed to slow down and quick.

Her Nanaya reflexes kicked in, core muscles twisting her body and her angle turning toward the manly form of Dai.

He must have heard her coming.

He turned just at the last moment, raising his mechanical arm right before her impact into him. Rika released the cable and outstretched her hands, hoping to reach for his shoulders. Gravity wobbled through her, her body rapidly slowing - though not enough to prevent their collision.

The two tumbled across the deck. Rika kept her momentum as high as she could, feeling the sculpted musculature of his form even at this speed; he would be stronger than her. They slowed just a fraction and Rika used it to mount atop Dai, legs straddling over his hips.

"Goodnight, sweetheart."

She thrust her left hand at his neck, hidden wrist blade schnicking out as she did. He was too quick, however, and his mechanical hand intercepted her paralysis point. He bent it easily in his fingers, then threw her onto her back, reversing their position. Rika grit her teeth and pried her wrist blade free, reaching for her Nanaya blade. Dai tried to pin her arms down, but she was too quick and too conditioned. Her blade struck once and only once, right into the sensitive section of his arm.

The mechanical arm.
It didn't move.

Rika was about to push on, finish through her attack, but a crimson dot on his lip quivered. A hand reached out from that dot, hardened blood pushing down on her neck. His free hand reached to his mechanical one, playing with the servos and repairing her clever, pin-point strike.

Damnit. She had lost. Toya was the only one close enough to make another move.

Moxie stood on the deck, head pounding and body pulsing with pain. Raikenkire had somehow managed to stay in her possession, and she held it at the ready against Ayasato, who was comfortably floating two inches above the broken deck.

"Stab whoever you feel like, Toya."

Moxie hurled herself at the floating woman.
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Klee » Fri May 20, 2011 2:30 am

"Che - of course, insurgency without merit, that's the classic teenage dream, innit?"

She could pull off laughter without the smile.

"Rest assured, you kids can be my guests and live it out to your heart's content when my people are someplace where it's law and not these tyrants and nature to punish 'em for it."

Ayasato had no slight figure, but she could move as a feather did.
No sooner had Moxie hurtled out of momentum had the woman glided out of range. She escaped with only a thick gash to the side of one arm.

And ignored it.

She spun in mid-air, back to face Moxie.

"Now, shall we forget this young man's bouts of pubescence and cut to that chase?"

The woman had never been one to stall for answers. Next she was at Dai and his captive.

Rise

Rika floated from her straddle, and Ayasato swooped, catching her in one arm.
By the time either Dai or Rika had reacted, she'd half set, half thrown the Nanaya to the floor. Of course, the boy lurched into his flaming retaliation the second she stole from him his prey.

Ayasato ignored him.

Her eyes flitted to the foreigners.

"I'll reiterate. Dai here doesn't have a clue what he's doing, but again, who's he to blame? Regardless, you're wasting your blood answering him, if you catch my drift, and by that I mean open wounds aren't going to do you any favors in this part of the desert. You're here for the meeting, are you not? Can we proceed?"

After years of practice, her voice pierced the winds of the Westlands.
Yet Ryou had only begun to listen.

He'd been crouching beside Kyuuen, frustration aching through his entire body.

Physically however, he was completely unharmed. He'd treated any and all of the damage he'd taken in the seconds that had followed their crash landing. To be honest though, it hadn't been much to deal with. All thanks to Kyuuen and her suspension technique.

That idiot.

"Calm down for a moment, alright? Let me see what you've done."

Apparently the pain had gripped her to the point that her desire to yell specifically at him had been temporarily wiped from her mind. Good.

If she was going to do anything right, it was to let him treat her.

He'd steadied her by the shoulders, and torn the fabric of her trouser from her leg. He'd taken the limb in his own hands, studying the awkward protrusion of misaligned bone through almost flesh. He'd set it down a moment later, and begun to squeeze and pressurize her leg as to avoid any further damage.

There was no question. She'd busted it good.
A fate she could have avoided if it hadn't been for the bloody handsigns.

Part of him had wanted to punch her and make whatever she was feeling worse.

"What the hell was that for, Kyu!? Really? You felt a need to protect me after everything you said to me? Look at what you've done! I don't know if I can get this back to scratch in any less tha-"

Ryou stopped talking.
There he was, unloading all his anger at the notion of how stupid her move had been in the best way either of them knew how, and she wasn't listening.
Damn, she was really hurting, wasn't she?

He cast his head around.
There were things he could do to help her, but not now. Definitely not here, in the midst of this carnage where every second was too unpredictable for him to start on this level of treatment.

And this brought him back to Ayasato's proposal, and the original idea that had crossed him when they'd been some five thousand feet higher.

Hm.

Moxie was steadying herself from a fall. Rika had experienced her fair share of mayday at Dai's hands.
Toya was preparing for another strike.

Ryou called out to him.

"Oi, cut it out. Look, I don't know what the crap pirate boy over there's trying to pull, but we've got no reason to be fighting these guys. Sounds like the lady's talking a meeting to create some alliance with Suna, right? We might not be the people she's expecting, but it couldn't hurt Suna if we worked something out in their place, right? At the least we could get ourselves some safe ground if you told her we'll go along with, and hope Moxie and Rika'll do the same."

He continued to apply force on Kyuuen's leg, prepared to hoist her up and carry her off the moment Toya secured them a ceasefire.

"C'mon, Kyu needs help."
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Sat May 21, 2011 1:24 am

Damn that bitch, stealing his opponent like that. As if he was going to really hurt her anyway. Westlanders were known for being bloodthirsty and unmerciful, but Dai did not have the capacity to severely harm someone who didn’t deserve it.

He turned to the floating woman and extended a metallic finger.

Oi, you can shut the hell up already, hag! You can say what you want about how I might be lacking book smarts, and sure I act impulsively all the time, but I’m still the best leader the Westlands, and maybe even the whole damn world, has ever seen!

There are hundreds of people who will follow me to the ends of the earth and die by my side at a moment’s notice. And they don’t follow out of fear or blind devotion drilled into them from childhood. No, they stand with me, because they know exactly who is fit to fix this broken place we all live in!


The accusing finger curled back and morphed the artificial hand into a fist.

And why are you still going on and on about that stupid meeting? Two of these guys have openly admitted that they aren’t here for the reasons you think they are. And even if they aren’t nobility as I thought, there’s no reason to keep them here. You’re wasting all of our time, but you have the nerve to say I don’ know what Im doing?! I oughta-

Quiet. All of you.

Every eye instantly its gaze to Toya. He hardly needed raised his voice, as the mere tone was enough to force all those listening into submission.

His right hand shook slightly, still clutching one of his Nanaya blades. Damnit, it wasn’t fair.

He was always expected by Ryou and others to be the logical voice of reason in situations like this. But whenever he slipped up, he was immediately labeled as a berserking killer who couldn’t be trusted in the slightest. So maybe he had the natural qualities of being rational and commanding when he needed to, but he was just as much an emotional teenager as everyone else. These double standards were going to kill him someday.

We’re not nobility, and we’re not the proper envoys you’re waiting for. But my instincts tell me that whoever was supposed to be here either didn’t make it or never left the village at all. Suna is battling for its very existence right now, so there’s no way they could have afforded to send any decent warriors to escort any diplomats all the way out here.

But like Ryou said, we may be able to sort something out in their stead. All of us need a night to rest and recover from our escape, and we’d be in your debt if you could accommodate us. Everyone needs to take a breath and stop shouting. We can continue any further conflict when we’re not standing on a crashed ship in the middle of nowhere.


He tucked his knife away and faced the two Westlanders, awaiting their final response. At this point, he just wanted to get back to Suna and make sure everyone was medically sound, but this could turn out to be a huge turning point in the war if handled properly.

Dai scratched his chin before shrugging casually.

Well, I guess you guys really don’t look or act like nobility after getting a closer inspection. If this old hag will stop spouting her self-righteous prattle about how stupid young people are, then we can all return and figure out what the others think about all this. Let’s go!

The young man dashed over to the fallen Nanaya and offered his right, human arm to get her back on her feet.

Heh, sorry about all this. But man, not just anyone can sneak up on the great Dainichi Kaizoku and survive for that long. I could use more subtle warriors like you in my faction. Everyone around here seems to take after me and prefers to just slug it out until one guy falls over.

Dai flashed his blinding grin and glanced back at Ayasato.

Alright, since you wanted to lead us along so badly, guide us back to Llama Rock already, old hag!
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Sat May 21, 2011 2:55 am

The desert morning had a lavendar sky.

Moxie slept like she had died and waking up felt like a miracle. And yet she was still tired. Whatever was wrong with her was getting worse.

Laying restlessly in the piles of blankets in the smallest hours of the morning, Toya snoozing blissfully beside her, she had remembered a technique Supaiku-sensei had passed on to her. It had been one he had taught her to develop her plasma chakra. In her mind, she held chakra in her chest. A ball of flaming, blazing chakra, encased in a cage of lightning. She held this image in her mind, fed on its warmth and its stability.

It wasn't enough. She felt the drain, the chakra pouring out from her body. But it would keep her awake.

She rose from her seat beside the small campfire and gave Toya's hand a squeeze before heading over to a large circle of stones and logs. Llama Rock towered over them like a lazy sentinel, and tents were fanned out from it like the spokes on a wheel. She could pick out the factions by the way they kept their camps. Dai's company had set their tents up haphazardly and left their equipment laying wherever they felt like it. Young men slept in piles and some smelled of alcohol. The camp run by Ayasato was stark and survivalist, with a sort of cruel discipline to it. There were many others whose leaders Moxie was about to meet and know.

Dai and Ayasato and others waited for her, each examining her with a different look.

Kyuuen disliked that Moxie had left Toya there at the fire. Now it was just the two of them, each doing their best not to look at the other. She rubbed her cheeks. Damnit. Still swollen.

She had cried in the tent, there alone with Ryou. It had, at first, been because of her leg. Snapped in at least three places by her best guess. She didn't know for sure, the pain was excruciating. Ryou had carried her to the camp, she whimpering like a child up until the moment he treated it. He had done it splendidly, but when she didn't stop crying he started to worry something else was deeply wounded.

He administered the pain-nullifying jutsu four times before he figured out her tears had nothing to do with her body.

Even now she couldn't admit why she was crying. Couldn't form it into words or thoughts, but her heart already knew why. Even if she was too stubborn to say anything.

She swirled the thin soup around in the equally thin tin cup and stared into it like it had the secrets of the universe inside it.

"Sorry."

She kept staring.

The camp was slowly coming to life as the sun began to burn brighter. The people who lived off what scraps of kindness the desert gave them rose to resume their struggle. Moxie swept across the sand and over to the tent. She pulled the front open, revealing Ryou and Rika. He was treating the light injuries she had sustained from last night's scuffle.

"They'll allow two of us to speak at the meeting. I want you to come with me, Ryou. You have the most political experience and you have an outside viewpoint."

Rika stared past Moxie, past the stirring camp, to where Dai stood. The man seemed...idiotic, in some ways. But he exuded leadership. Not just confidence or arrogance, but purpose. She had to wonder what made him like that, and if it was something she could learn to do.

She also wondered if the people that followed him were all fools. Maybe she'd have to ask around.
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Klee » Sat May 21, 2011 9:30 pm

"Ah! Oh hey, Moxi- crap, dammit! Sorry, Rika..."

If it hadn't been for Moxie entering the tent and specifically calling for him, Ryou wouldn't have realized that he'd been overtreating Rika's wound.

Fourth time he'd done it, too. Damn.

The chakra faded from his fingertips.

"Alright, you're done. Bah, that's gonna swell for just a little longer now, my bad. Shouldn't really be a bother but let me know if something does happen, yeah?"

He grinned and helped her up and out, knowing that there was nothing to worry about, but feeling like a fool nonetheless.
Stupid Kyuuen, taking all of his focus like that.

He couldn't push the image of her tear stricken face from his mind.

He'd never seen her cry so much. Not from pain. Not when the team she had raised had turned on itself and crumbled. The worst part was, he still didn't know what had caused her sorrow, and he couldn't fix it by holding her and until last of her tears dried up. If she wouldn't even tell him the truth, he knew she wouldn't let him.

But he longed for her touch, and in doing that, he found his body denying reason once again. Again he'd spent the night trying to figure Kyuuen out. He hadn't slept much.

Now even climbing to his feet to greet his visitor seemed a laborious task.

"Heya. Sorry 'bout that, I'm so out of it right now. Just been one big farce after another..."

He pushed hair from his face and pulled his canteen from his belt, draining the last of the water in one swig. The hydration at least granted his mental processes the spark that they needed, and he could finally concentrate on Moxie's request.

"You...want me to speak at the meeting?"

It had certainly come as a surprise.
If had been him selecting somebody to accompany Moxie to the convention, he certainly wouldn't have picked himself. Toya had a nicer way with words and was more skilled at keeping a rational head, Kyuuen had the context down better. Not to mention, Moxie knew both of them better.

However, this was coming from someone who may have well been Suna's princess of diplomacy. If she wanted him to join her for one reason or another, then he wasn't in any position to stall.
That and he didn't have any desire to. The less time they spent here, the better.

"Er, alright. Somehow doubt I have anything on you, but if you insist, I'll do it. Is this right now, should we go..?"

Moxie moved to lead him out, but Ryou hesitated.
Now was the perfect time to ask her the question that had been bugging him for three days. No Kyuuen to fuss, or Toya to stress.

He caught her just before she stepped outside.

"By the way...are you alright? I'd like to think we did everything we could, but you're still not a hundred percent, are you? Does something...still hurt? Is there anything I can do?"

Somehow he highly doubted that the cause of her suffering fell within medicine's domain, but he felt that in a place like this, the one thing they could to survive was open up and try to take care of each other.

If only Kyuuen could see it the same way...
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Re: DECAY: Backstab - Learning to Delegate

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Sun May 22, 2011 2:21 am

Frustration burned in Toya’s gut, an unpleasant sensation dissimilar to the gentle warmth emanating from the campfire.

A perfect storm of varying factors was brewing within, concealed by the composed exterior he had perfected over the years. To make it all worse, he hadn’t the slightest idea as to how he might alleviate the stress.

He knew something was still bothering Moxie, either physically, mentally, or perhaps a little of each. On the other side of things, the tension between him and Kyuuen certainly wasn’t benefiting anyone, and the large rift had left Ryou on the opposite side. And then Rika was going through some kind of crisis regarding her leadership role and the state of the Nanaya.

Oh yeah, and there was still that tiny problem of an escalating war tearing apart the village and entire country. Now that he had a moment to stop and think, why the hell were the nobles doing this? Could they be so desperate for power that they would turn against the very system designed to serve and fight for them? What a stupid war.

When it rained in the shinobi world, it poured. Seeing how little he could do as an individual, no matter how powerful, to stop the flooding was disheartening.

He took a moment to stretch his arms and survey his surroundings. Moxie and Ryou seemed to be moving towards the leader gathering, preparing to begin whatever negotiations they had in mind. They probably had their work cut out for them considering how weakly unified this entire band of wanderers seemed to be.

Rika had finished receiving treatment for her wounds and had also wandered off to another area of the camp. So then that left him alone with…of course.

He mindlessly fiddled with the array of killing instruments strapped to his belt to pass the time of awkward silence. It’s not like he wanted to hate her, but she wasn’t exactly giving him much to work with.

"Sorry."

An apology? An incredibly weak one at best, but at least it was something, right? So then why did he suddenly feel even more irritated than just a second ago?

Sorry…for what exactly? Lying to my face about Moriko to use me as Suna’s tool? Slandering my honor and my abilities as a shinobi in front of everyone? I completely understand your hesitation to fully trust me. I’m a foreigner with a less than spotless record who you barely know yet. But I don’t have a damn clue as to why you’re so intent on tearing me down every chance you get.

Well, whatever the reason is, I’m done with it. I don’t need to prove anything to you. I know exactly who I am and why I do things the way I do. Moriko and Rika and Ryou know too, and they would gladly trust me with their lives at any moment. I really don’t care if you don’t. I’m done trying to make the world understand. I went to go stretch my legs if anyone asks.


Toya jumped to his feet and quickly stormed off in the opposite direction of the meeting spot, out and away from the campsite. He didn’t want to hear her response right now, if she even had one. He was too scared of it escalating into something worse, and he couldn’t do that to Ryou. She couldn’t exactly follow him on that shattered leg anyway.

Enemies were difficult enough to deal with when they were armed and clearly on the opposite side of the fighting. Something like this…he needed to figure out how to deal with it later when he had settled down a bit.
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