To be Nanaya

[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: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:57 pm

Rika hid in a the tunnel's single shard of shadow, sharing it with a wiry man. She was standing behind the wiry man, pressing the crowbar into his throat. He was trying to yell and scream, but her pressure was far too tight and all that came out was a gurgle and the softest groan.

Not loud enough to attract the attention of the two men rushing down the tunnel.

Even in the dim light, Rika knew that the two were the same on the bridge. Their panic hadn't subsided since they were spotted in the ravine. They panted, skidding to a halt. One leaned against the wall while the other rested himself on his knees.

"Goddamnit, where is he?" The leaning man spat out gathering phlegm from his throat. "Why wasn't he with the rest of them?"

"Probably drunk off his ass, that's why. You know the boss gets pissed when he's been drinking. He usually slums it down in the miner's barracks to sleep it off."

"Well then why the hell have we been running around for!?"

"Cause it's down this hallway you jackass. Now come on!"

The men found new energy and pushed their way down a turn in the tunnel. When they were out of sight, Rika released her captive. He fell forward to the ground, already dead for several minutes now. She tucked the crowbar into her belt and stalked to the corner.

The two men waited at the end of the tunnel as squeaks and whirs filled the air. A rickety elevator ground to a halt and the men pulled the cage door open, stepped in and flipped a switch. Buzzing filled the air again, and it began its descent. Rika waited until the elevator was out of sight, then rushed to the edge. There was no door separating the shaft from the tunnel, only a few planks of wood to hold the structure in place. She could see the elevator squealing down.

She grabbed onto the cable and rode it for as long as it turned. When the elevator came to a stop, she waited a few moments for the occupants to exit, then rappelled the rest of the way, landing on the top of the cage. There was a gap between the tunnel ceiling and the top of the cage, just enough for her to slip through. She lay on her stomach, peering through the gap.

"Come on Taro, get the hell up you drunken bastard!"

"It's too early...leave me alone..."

The room was lined with simple wooden bunks. Only a few electric lamps buzzed in the room, while other men slept. The two men were standing by one bunk on the other end, each nudging the drunk man with their feet.

"But it's time! Things are moving ahead of schedule, we gotta do what you trained to do right now! Drunk or not! Now get your ass up! It won't work if you're not there, you know that."

And that was what Rika wanted to hear.

The drunk man knew all the important information about the mine's destruction. And he would be much easier to manage.

The two men hefted the third by his arms, dragging him out of his bunk. They were both straining under the third man's weight, concentration locked on getting him standing.

Rika rolled through the gap of the tunnel and before she hit the ground her hands snapped out twice. The blades whistled through the air, aimed at the base of each of their necks.

Except the third man lurched, spilling his guts onto the floor, sending both men stumbling back in revulsion. The blades missed their target and impacted the wooden door on the opposite side.

"Shit! One of Dai's men!"

" Go go go go!"

The two grabbed their compatriot again and dragged him on his heels to the door, swinging it open. Rika was already dashing down the length of the barracks. The three men got through the door and slammed it behind them, Rika just clearing the puddle of sick and grasping onto the handle, giving it a hard yank with one hand while the other rest on the hilt of her knife.

It didn't move.

She shook it, then pulled with both hands. They had barred it on the other side.

Rika pulled out the crowbar and jammed it in the back of the door, prying at the hinges. It took five good pulls each, but the rotting wood and rusty hinges were no match and the door fell toward her, the bar of wood resting in place. Many of the miners were rousing now, grumbling and yelling in the dark. Rika slipped under the bar and into the next room.

This chamber was much larger than the others. Minecarts and minetracks emerged from tunnels in every direciton, all leading to rows of minetracks beside a loading dock. Full-sized rail tracks awaited the carts, where two squat trains with powerful engines and large cargo car each waited to follow the tracks through the gaping hole in the side of the mountain, leading onto long bridges that connected mine to mine without having to lower themselves back to the ravine floor.

The three men were stumbling to one of the trains. They were yelling and waving, motioning at Rika.

Apparently more of Senji's men were nearby.

Rika vaulted herself onto a pyramid of crates and leapt from that onto a row of minecarts piled with dirt and coal. The bandits soon separated themselves from the miners, drawing long knives, swords, and hefting other tools. One took a swipe at her ankles, which she hopped over, sailing past the last minecart in the row and onto the track.

Another attacker jabbed a long tool with a spiked end at her, but Rika brought the crowbar down hard on the tip, sending it off-course and toward the ground. Rika used the momentum from her downstroke to bring the bar of metal up and around, bashing it into the collarbone of the attacker and shattering it. The next attacker came from her left, swiping a knife. She hefted the crowbar around again, but it was too slow and the knife took a long slice from her bicep. The attacker stepped back before the crowbar came to bash his head in.

Rika dropped the crowbar. That was not a hunting tool.

When the knife fighter struck again, Rika's hands snapped like vipers, one gripping his wrist while the other took hold of his elbow. Using his arm as a lever, Rika spun him around, smashing his stomach hard into a filled minecart, knocking the wind out of him.

Her instincts moved her body, causing her to duck before she was even aware of the sword wipping across where her neck had been. She threw herself backward immediately, stumbling until her back landed into the edge of an empty minecart. She felt the wheels turn under her pressure. The swordsman went for another decapitating blow, so Rika leaned hard into the cart, digging her heels into the track. The cart slid back, lowering her angle and letting the blade pass precariously close to her face.

She started to push, her heels clamboring for the next rung in the track every second, gaining more speed. The swordsman ran to catch up, this time raising his weapon for a vertical strike. Rika kicked upward, using the edge of the minecart as a pivot point. Her feet snapped into his descending wrists, knocking his sword backward. She continued the motion until she flipped herself into the minecart, landing inside.

The swordsman slammed his blade down again, but Rika lowered herself into the minecart, letting it catch the blade. Her hands snapped up and grasped the back end of the blade, holding it in place while the swordsman pulled. She felt his foot press against the minecart to use as a brace and he pulled.

Rika let go.

The swordsman fell onto his back and shoved the minecart away at the same time. Rika peered up. The swordsman scrambled to his feet, then jerked hard in his neck when one of her throwing knives buried itself in it.

Rika vaulted over the edge of the cart, freeing her Nanaya blade. A pickaxe attacker swung his weapon in a wide arc, aiming for her back. Rika stepped straight into him, cutting off the arc of his swing and thrust her blade once into his chest.

Another attacker leapt in with a shovel, thrusting the point at her like a spear. Rika snapped a kick into the flat end of the shovel - a very easy target - and sent the nose up. She then kicked again, this time aiming for the handle between the attacker's hands. The foot flew through the handle, snapping it in half and striking him in the stomach.

The chamber filled with a hiss.


She ran to the platform and sprung herself onto the loading dock, running for the train that was already in motion. Before she could make a jump for the back, the last of Senji's men sprung from behind a crate, a barrel in his hands. The barrel hit Rika in the shoulder hard, sending her sprawling to the ground. The attacker raised the barrel again, this time hurling it at her with all of his strength. A quick roll to one side helped her avoid it, but also delayed her return to her feet. The barrel-fighter jumped on her back, pulled back her hood and took a handful of her raven black hair, using it as a handle to drive her face into the ground.

The injector blade clicked from her wrist into the barrel-fighter's side. She let the poison flow steadily, until the vial was drained. His fingers were stiffening in her hair.

With one smooth move, she lashed her Nanaya blade through her hair, severing the shoulder-length locks and threw his paralyzed form from her back. She was on her feet.

The train was already rushing across the bridge, heading for the next mine.

She looked around. None of the other trains seemed to be ready to go, most in disrepair.


She rolled up her sleeves and looked around. She was going to need some tools.
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Re: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:03 am

Dai raised his arm to intercept a colossal swing of a steel pickaxe, the head cleaving through his heavily cracked blood blade and forcing the Jekial to concede another step or two of ground.

Of his original six assailants, only one had fallen to his initial onslaught, a brash charge that had cost him far more blood and stamina than his results were worth. Damnit, if only this place didn’t handicap him so…

As reckless a nature the young man had, even he could see just volatile the situation was. Any large explosions or large-scale shifts in gravity could trigger a chain reaction of tunnel collapses or even set off whatever devious plot the Kajima and Senji’s thugs had in store to destroy the entire place.

Dainichi prized himself on his trained swordsmanship and hand-to-hand combat skills, but normally he only had to deal with one opponent at a time. When it came to groups, he preferred a nice blood bomb or gravity blast to get the excess off of him while he focused on individual targets.

This time, it was just him and a handful of guys who wanted him dead. Shouldn’t be that much different, right?

Come on, someone drop their weapon and fight me like a man!

He jumped on the opening left by the pickaxe wielders last strike, dashing forward and slamming his metallic arm against the tool’s handle, driving the man off balance and sending him stumbling back. A sharp portion of solidified blood still protruded from Dai’s arm where the lengthy blade had broken from, and he shoved it deep into his prey’s chest with brutal force.

Dai pulled away and spun around, quickly lurching to one side and narrowly avoiding the tip of a blade piercing his chest. His slowly adjusting eyes quickly scanned the ground and honed in on the spot his fallen sword had skidded off to. He ducked and rolled under the horizontal sweep of a frighteningly large axe and crawled another yard before his fingers could close around the hilt of his beloved weapon.

His rampaging attacker didn’t waste a second, already standing above Dainichi’s kneeling figure and bringing the gleaming axe head down to split his head open. Dai thrust his left arm forward, freezing the brute in place. He rose to his feet and slammed the artificial fist into the man’s jaw, rocketing him into the stone ceiling above before his limp body dropped to the mine’s floor in a bruised heap.

Okay, so a little gravity modification shouldn’t hurt anything too much.

In his brief moment of hesitation, a third adversary struck from the darkness, his katana biting into Dai’s chest just above the abdomen, cutting through cloth and flesh alike and leaving a crimson line across his torso. Several tendrils of blood immediately erupted from the wound, a pair of them boring through the swordsman’s shoulders and pinning him against a nearby support beam.

The remainder curved around Dai’s torso and wrapped around the sneaking thug waiting to ambush him from behind. They bound his arms and legs before a quick jerk of Dai’s wrist pinned him tightly to the ground.

Releasing a deep breath, he flipped his blade around and sheathed it at his side. Blood slowly dripped from his arm and torso as he carefully decreased his circulation. He took a step towards the other tunnel entrance and froze.

Wait, four, five…

A figure scampered past him in the direction he had entered the chamber. Dai extended his left arm, a thin bolt of lightning arcing from his fingertips into the final mercenary’s back, paralyzing his limbs and dropping him into a pile with the rest of his cohorts.

God damn, fighting the entire bloody war was more enjoyable than that…

Time to keep moving and figure out what the hell was about to happen here. And prevent it before it actually did of course.
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Re: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:06 pm

Rika took the lever that allowed steam to pass into the engine and yanked it open as far as it could. Then she tore off her cloak and tied the lever across one of the safety rails.

The train shot out of the enclave and onto the bridge at full speed.

Her knife sliced a strip of cloth from the cloak's excess material and she tied it around her shallow wound. Then she reached down, hefting the bulky object she assembled onto her shoulder. She stepped onto the outer step of the train and made her way to the access ladder.

Rika ascended.

It didn't take long at full speed for the train engine to cross the bridge and make its way into the tunnel on the other side. More dim lanterns lined the ceilings. One miner stood at a lookout tower, waving his arms frantically.

Rika gave him a little wave back.

She stood low on the roof, spreading her stance to give her maximum balance, letting her contraption rest on the rooftop. The train swayed back and forth on the first curve - obviously going faster than intended. Hopefully that was all it would do.

The minutes felt like hours, but soon the first train was in sight. The two trains got onto a straightaway in the bowels of the mountain, but with her train's throttle open and not carrying any extra cargo car like her target's, it began to gain ground. Rika gripped onto a cross bar on the top of the train's roof and waited.


Her train knocked its nose into the the other. The engine strained and the cars wobbled, but they held on the track. Soon her train's momentum was joined with the other and began pushing it along.

Rika hefted her device and fired it.

The hook on the end spat out in a wriggling spiral over the lead train's cargo car and clanged hard on the engine. Rika reached up to the side of her device and turned a hand crank, dragging the hook along the surface until it snagged on the same cross bar she was holding. She then knelt down and dropped the device next to her crossbar, hooking it with a rear hook. She then tightened the crank until the cable was taut.

If things went according to plan, her train would run out of coal before the other and turn from being a pusher to dead weight, slowing it down and giving her extra time to get control of the train.

Not that she felt she needed it. This would go quickly.

With no cloak to drag her down, her nimble figure sprang across her engine onto the rear cargo car, then onto their engine, her equipment and knife in full view. Wind scraped through her mangled locks of hair.

She briefly wondered if Dai would hate it.

Grasping onto the edge of the engine's roof, Rika swung herself down through the engineer's window, feet raised. She lashed out in a strong kick, hoping to catch one of the two men, but instead hit nothing. The engine car was empty.

Were they in the cargo car?

Rika drew her knife and slid through the slim door to where the two cars were joined. There she reached across and slid the next car door open, trying to keep herself pressed to the side as much as possible.

"What the hell!?"

"This bastard doesn't give up!"

Both men were on their feet, a shovel and club their weapons. They foolishly tried to strike simultaneously, and Rika stepped back, grabbing onto the door and sliding it shut on their weapons. The club was withdrawn but the shove's head was stuck on edge. It yanked furiously, sliding forward to prepare and heave itself through the door.

Rika opened it again.

The shovel-warrior stumbled and fell leaving the club man to charge. Rika let him swipe down, sidestepping the attack and then throwing her weight against the weapon as it passed by her side. Her body weight, though comparatively light, was enough to wretch it from his hand, letting it drop on the floor.

The Nanaya blade bit once.

Rika took a step forward, pushing them to where the cars were joined, then shoved him to the left. His body tumbled over the edge, into the dark tunnel walls.

"Damnit, Kino! You'll pay for that bitch!"

He lunged. Despite his rage, the shovel-man had learned from his mistakes and struck with it like a spear, trying to drive the edge of the spade into her torso. Rika immediately dropped back into the engine room where the space was even more limited. The shovel-man rampaged forward, letting out a savage cry.

Rika darted out the window.

The shovel man hit the end of the engine hard. Rika, still holding onto the train's edge, swung back and repeated her kick-attack. This time it struck true, hurling the shovel man out the other window.

"Kinda easy."

It suddenly smelled like alcohol and bile. Rika grunted, throwing her weight against the new enemy but he was stronger. He slammed her into the controls of the engine, scraping her chest across the knobs and levers, stinging, stabbing pain flaring through her. Instinctively her hand closed around her knife, but this was the one she needed alive.

She swung her leg backward and caught his groin.

Immediately the tables were turned. She had his arm and cranked it high behind his back, slamming him into the bulkhead.

"What's the plan!? Tell me and I'll let you go."

"Go to hell!"

Rika pulled harder. He screamed as his shoulder popped.

"Tell me what they're doing! How are they gonna destroy the mine?"

"Gaaah!-...some sorta seismic thing. I dunno how it works!"

"What's your role?"

"I just use chakra! Earth chakra!"

A pit was forming in Rika's stomach.

"Where is it?" She turned the arm agian.

"At the center switch station-aaauagh!"

"If I kill you, does the machine work?"

"What!? No, you said you wouldn't kill me! Uh...yeah, it works! It doesn't need everyone, I won't go help them just let me go!"

Rika pulled her knife.

The drunk man let out a cry of surprise before her blade made contact, and Rika turned.

They were running out of track.

The end was another station, and the track was now suspended in the air. Two large platforms were on either side of the end, and workers gathered around, waiting for the cars. As the trains hurtled toward the edge, they realized something was wrong and began to run.

The drunk man hurtled forward and grabbed the brake lever.


The front car's throttle choked and the brakes came on.

Rika's car had not yet run out of coal.

With the front end stopping and the back end still chugging as fast as possible, the center car jerked and buckled, then jumped off the track. The rear car continued charging forward, slamming into the bottom of the airborn cargo car, shoving the front train forward. Rika could hear the cable she attached to the top snap.

Everything spun.

Rika found the edge of the window and hurled herself away from the train as they fell over the edge of the track. Her landed was rough and ungraceful, but it cleared the thundering crash. Rika's skeleton ached and her muscles twitched with panic.

Above her the second train, still churning on an invisible track, careened right at her.

Her legs couldn't remember how to move.
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Re: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:30 pm

Time froze for several agonizing seconds.

When faced with a scene of real terror, even the bravest warrior could succumb to the paralysis of fear.

Dai had never moved faster in his life.

In the blink of an eye, he stood between Rika’s motionless figure and the train car barreling down at them. Even a solid wall of blood would fail to slow it down, and using an explosion was far too risky for both of them. Only one logical solution remained.

He pulled his left arm back and rammed his fist directly into the front of the oncoming train, the explosive sound of the titanic clash of steel echoing through the entirety of the mine system.

Chakra pulsed from within the mechanical arm as it generated a repelling wave of gravitational energy, while Dai simultaneously used a portion of the elemental manipulation to decrease the weight of the falling heap of metal.

Neither side wavered for the briefest instant, the two clashing forces struggling to blow past the other without success. Dai’s lips curled into a satisfied smirk when he felt his fist slide forward just half an inch.

As if I’d let an inanimate object take away something that’s mine!

His fist pushed forward another several inches, following through with the initial punch and sending the car flying back as if it was suddenly weightless. It toppled over the edge of the cliff and joined its twin in a roaring crash.

Dai breathed heavily and dropped to one knee, the lengthy wounds along his arm and torso beginning to bleed profusely again when his full concentration had been elsewhere. He took a moment to regain control over his blood’s circulation and take in several deep, calming breaths.

A strange rectangular box-like object remained clutched in his right arm, which he carefully dropped to the floor before standing and turning to face Rika. He continued to grin brightly, though his limbs still shook gently as he stood, the reverberations of his recent feat affecting his entire body.

Hah, too easy! You alright, Rika? None of these idiots can even manage to put more than a scratch on me. I still dunno what the hell they’re trying to do here, so I was hoping you found something. Oh, but you’ll never believe what I did find!

Dai gestured down to the fallen device, still grinning stupidly as if anyone would know what he could possibly be referring to without any further explanation.
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Re: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Fri Aug 05, 2011 12:37 am

"As if I’d let an inanimate object take away something that’s mine!"

Rika stared at the impossible. A train balanced on the fist of a man. Then the man grit his teeth and decided that wasn't impossible enough.

And punched it through the air.

The second crash was defeaning. Steam erupted from the wreckage as the engine split, wheezing in its final death throes.

Rika looked down at herself. She was alive. And she shouldn't have been.

"“Hah, too easy! You alright, Rika? None of these idiots can even manage to put more than a scratch on me. I still dunno what the hell they’re trying to do here, so I was hoping you found something. Oh, but you’ll never believe what I did find!"

She glanced absently at the box in Dai's hand. Then she looked up at him and shook her head.

"Will you please stop acting as if impossible things are so easy for you?"

He knees buckled and his arm extended. She grabbed onto it immediately, but hated that she did. She was a Nanaya. It had been a long fall but she had landed with proper form. She couldn't lean on Dai's shoulder the whole time. There was still too much to do.

One deep breath and Rika found her footing.

"There's a machine they're going to use to destroy all of the mines at once. I don't know how it works but it seems to be be powered by earth chakra...or maybe it just focuses it, I don't know. The point is, there isn't any explosive to disarm. The machine is at the central swtiching station...quick, we need another train."

She was starting to get sick of trains, but it couldn't be avoided. The two rushed through the next level of the tunnel, finding a vacant cargo train. Dai unhooked the cargo car while Rika set to getting the engine up and running. Thinking made her head pound and focusing on the technical details was especially bad.

Soon they were churning through the mountain.

"The good news is if we can break the machine, the mines will be safe. The bad news is I'm not really sure how to do that. I'll need time to take a look at it and try to find out the functional.."

Suddenly Rika realized what Dai was carrying.

"Give me that."

It took seven minutes for the train to reach the central switch station. Just long enough for Rika to rewire the bomb.

"There's no timer...I put a deadman's switch here on the side, but that's going to be risky. I guess I could try and hit the switch at range but..."

She clenched her fists, trying to steady her hands. They had wobbled the entire time she strung the wires together. Her muscles were still trying to turn to jelly, only the force of her will keeping her standing up right.

The train skid to a halt.

The machine was ugly, but there was no mistaking it. Tall with smoke stacks and tubes of all kinds, pressure valves and scrawled with fuuinjutsu of all kinds. The largest tubes extended from the base, snaking into the ground like the roots of a tree.

In fact, it reminded Rika of some monstrous, mechanical tree.

It was oddly beautiful.

The seals on the side began to glow an icy blue. The ground began to vibrate.

"What!? No! It's too soon, I-...I don't know where to set the bomb! We need more time!"

But she knew there was no more time.

At this distance, they were safe. They wouldn't build a machine that would crush itself. But the lives of the miners were all forfeit.

Maybe even the lives of Dai's men.

"I don't...I don't know what to do..."

The bomb was heavy in her hands.
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Re: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:50 am

I do. I want to see that Kajima bitch’s face when she finds out how her scheme completely fell apart.

Dai pulled the heavy explosive from her grip and leaped from the train car. He sprinted toward the billowing monstrosity ahead of him, glancing over his shoulder for the briefest of moments.

Don’t you dare try anything! I’ve got this under control!

He knew exactly what needed to be done. To save the miners, the men serving under him, and possibly the lives of many Republic citizens if this incident really did start some type of new war.

No cost was too high to buy back the lives of innocents.

Chakra surged from his entire body, flowing through his metallic limb and being channeled by the intricate arrangement of seals concealed within. It glowed a bright blue as he ran, matching the machine he was approaching.

He held the bomb tightly in his right arm. This creation of death intended to take the lives of all those people aboard the train on that fateful day would now be used to save an even larger group. An evil power transformed into a shield of justice. It was only fitting.

With several meters to go, the shaking of the ground and walls increased heavily, nearly knocking him to the ground when he took his next running step. They were out of time, and he knew he needed to act immediately.

He reached over and flipped the switch Rika installed, tossing the rectangular contraption forward with as much strength as his human muscle could muster. With one more burst of energy, he dashed across the final stretch to the exterior of the machine, raising his burning left arm in preparation.

Dainichi Kaizoku’s fist shatters through everything, no matter the size!

Confirming his bold declaration, Dai’s blazing fist connected with the airborne bomb, pounding it into the mechanical hulk’s side the instant before it detonated with shocking force.

Metal and flame erupted in every direction, the debris from the bomb itself and the rapidly deconstructing machine spiraling outward, blown away by the force of the explosion. The massive field of gravity generated by the Jekial contained and deflected the force, shielding the entire chamber and everything outside the protective bubble.

However, one important thing could not be shielded by the defensive field. Its own source.

Along with the massive machine and everything else within, Dai’s synthetic arm was equally victimized by the powerful blast. His mind instantly flashed back to the day he lost his real, human arm. The unbearable pain as the sand worm’s merciless teeth thrashed him around before effortlessly ripping the limb off of its owner.

He collapsed on his back just as he did that day, broken and bleeding from the many wounds he could no longer keep in check. But they were nonexistent in comparison to the searing agony throbbing from where his left arm should have been.

Dai didn’t even recognize the sound of his own voice screaming out in pain.
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Re: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Fri Aug 05, 2011 3:39 am

Everything smelled like crushed herbs and horrendous poltices.

The gentle swaying of the train was almost soothing. Rika stood in front of Dai's mirror, knife in hand. She severed the last out-of-place lock of raven hair. The snippet fell onto her bare shoulder, where a soft puff of air sent it into the wash basin.

Not bad. Her shoulder length hair was not salvagable, but it was now neatly cut to the base of her neck. She still looked like...well, a girl.

She had long since freed herself from the straps of equipment on her body and the sweat-soaked clothes from before, donning a spare set from Dai's wardrobe. The pants were wide and baggy and Rika had to cinch them shut with a rope, but she did manage to find a tank top that fit close enough, even if it was a bit loose.

Satisfied she was going to look as good as she ever did, she stepped out of the small bathroom and back into Dai's quarters.

The doctor was staring at the wall.

"Something wrong?"

The doc, a young guy with unkempt blonde hair over his eyes, tipped his head in confusion at Rika's presence. Like he couldn't comprehend what she was doing there

"Ohhhh, right. You're that Rika girl."

"I was just in here three minutes ago."

"Riiiiiight, riiiiight."

He went back to staring at the wall.

Rika walked over to him and spun him around by the shoulders.

"Dai. How is Dai."

"He's fine, man. Most of the damage was to his arm-a-jig. I patched up that cut he got and put some salve on his bruises."

"Yes. I know."

"Whoah, are you a doctor too?"

"No. You told me this. Already. Three minutes ago."

"What? Oh. Riiiiight."

"You said you were going to try and figure out why he wasn't waking up.'

"Oh yeaaaaaah. It's just shock. That stuff hurts you know. He can feel his arm."

"He can?"

"Ch'yeah. Well not like we feel our arms, man, but you damage it like that it hurts. I don't know what to do about it, some old guy in the west made Dai's arm. Dai's main guy is taking us there now, but I done all I can."

Rika nodded. "Thanks...I think."


He stared at the wall.

"Are you...?"

"Huh? Oh, I'm just waiting for some chick. She said she had to go cut her hair and then she'd be back. I gotta tell her about the shock thing."


"Tell you what, I'll tell her for you. Why don't you just wander off whatever it is you do."

"Awesome. Thanks."

He left.

Alive, too. Which Rika was marking as an act of incredible self-control.

Dai lay peacefully on the bed. Stripped shirtless, his chest rose and fell evenly, sandy brown hair tussled around his pillow like some bird-nest-like halo.

It had been hard to pull him across the mine, still screaming, still in overwhelming pain from the loss of his arm. Somehow she had managed it. Somehow Dai's men had descended on them and scooped them into the train.

The men had orders for this, it seemed.

They set Dai and Rika up with the doctor and sent the train steaming back to Thickpick, where a dispatch of the men got off to go deal with the Kajima. Then the train was off again, steaming for Dai's new arm.

The arm.

It was gone from the mid-bicep down, the end charred and gnawed by the force of the explosion. The sight of his grand attack still bled in her vision when she shut her eyes.

Him standing in silhouette against the conflagration of fire and twisting steel, an entire explosion bending to his will. It had been both beautiful and terrifying.

"They walk about like gods."

It was odd for her to say the words aloud after so many years. It had been something her father had said so many times about the "unnatural" bloodline shinobi, the reason that they had to be hunted. In all the years she hunted, though, in all the battles she fought, she had never met a god. Just powerful men.

Dai, however...

Her fingers were tracing along the edges of his arm, sliding along a locking point. Out of curiosity, she took it and gave it a slight twist.


The end of the arm came clean off, leaving only the shoulder joint. It didn't seem to have any damage.

She looked at the piece of arm, where the connection had been.

Her mind twisted through the designs, unraveling them as if she were dismantling it on the workbench. It was puppet technology. Not unlike her arm.

Her arm.

She took the piece to the work bench where her prototype arm still sat. She held it next to his piece.

It might work. If she could get the connections to link into his chakra like she had done it with the seals, then it'd be mobile. Maybe not combat-ready, especially for what Dai ws used to doing with it. But he could at least... least what?
Hold her? Hug her? Cradle her head while he...kissed...

She held the thoughts in her mind. It wasn't like she had to focused now...she could dwell if she wanted. Fantasize.

Dai stirred and Rika spun around on her heels. She was beside him within a heartbeat, holding him flat against the bed.

"Don't move. Your'e okay, you're back on the train."

He grunted and groaned, trying to get his bearings. She stroked his forehead.

"You did it. You stopped the machine. And saved my were incredible. The big hero of the Republic, just like everyone said. And you didn't need any Nanaya skills after all."

She leaned forward and kissed him on the forehead.

"Here, have something to drink. The doctor said you're fine, but we're on our way to your...arm guy, I guess. I was just looking at the design right now, I think I can attach my arm in the socket. I mean, if you want. It won't be the same, but at least you could get around a little better in the meantime."

She handed him the tall glass of water.

"Er, if you trust me to do it that is."
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Re: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:40 pm

The fog clouding his mind slowly dissipated as he emptied the glass’ contents. The dull pain pulsing from the void on his left side kept him alert, as frustrating and uncomfortable as it was.

It was really gone again... Rika’s recounting of the recent events in the mine removed the possibility of it all being some twisted nightmare. Did losing an artificial arm make him more or less of a complete man anyway?

Of course I trust you, but…

He ran his fingers across the remaining portion of his shoulder, trying to shut out the painful memories associated both with losing and regaining his limb the first time. If there was anyone he could feel comfortable sharing his vulnerable side with, it had to be Rika, but at the same time she was the last one he wanted to know of its existence.

The closer someone got to him, the more chances they had to see the tiny chinks in the armor of the invincible hero of the West.

Yeah, I do want you to do it. I bet if you had the time and proper equipment, you could even make something that outclasses any of the stuff the engineers in the Wind Country have ever come up with. I’d be honored to make one of Rika Nanaya’s creations a part of me.

His infamous grin quickly turned into a wince as he tried to sit up further, and he let himself fall back against his pillow in defeat. No amount of human willpower could overcome such a devastating injury so soon.

Sorry, looks like I won’t be my normal self for a little while. After years of achieving victory against the craziest odds, I guess I had to know something like this would happen eventually. Humans can do a whole lot when they really want something, but it takes more than that to save an entire world. And even Dainichi Kaizoku is as human as anyone else.

Dai’s blinding grin returned as he gazed up at Rika, but his heart clearly wasn’t behind it. He knew how to ignore the world’s boundaries and set aside logic long enough to perform the extraordinary feats he did, but the few times reality did manage to break through his defenses, it hit him hard.
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Re: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:17 pm

"I don't mind that Dainichi Kaizoku is human. In fact I might...prefer it."

She helped him sit up.

"I think you've been superhuman enough for today."

Rika stood and took the connection piece and set it beside her own arm. She then disconnected the shoulder socket from her arm and examined the two junction points; it would take a little reworking, but it was definitely doable. She snatched two tools from the table and was about to start work.

But she stopped. She turned to look at Dai, who was still examining his missing arm.

She had thought that losing his arm was a small sacrifice to make to save the miners and keep peace in the region. In her mind it had been nothing more than a tool or a weapon, something that could be replaced. Even if it had been a sentimental weapon, like her Nanaya blade, it was still only metal. His arm could be so easily replaced, what did losing it matter?

To him, it did. She didn't understand why, but being without it was shaking him. It wasn't a weapon to him, it was a piece of him. The pain he experienced had certainly made it seem like it was a piece of him. But maybe she was underestimating the deeper meanings connected to it.

She picked up her arm and the tools and took them over to Dai, sitting down on the bed next to him on his left side. Their legs were pressed against each other, and he still smelled like sweat and crushed herbs, but it didn't matter. Her heart was racing, and this time she had no intention of stopping it.

Nimble fingers worked tools into sockets.

"Can I ask you something? If you don't mind answering it, that is. Your arm..."

She looked up from her work a moment, their eyes meeting.

"How did you lose it? The first time?"
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Re: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:23 am

Dai stared down into his palm for a silent minute, lost in a memory that he didn’t enjoy delving back into.

Rika’s warmth at his side reminded him just how comforting human contact could be. But it also reminded him how much he still despised that inexplicable, hollow sensation of another human making contact with his synthetic limb.

He no longer had two organic arms to wrap around a loved one and let them feel the heat of his life ebbing through his limbs. He would never have that complete feeling ever again.

It’s not a very interesting story, but I don’t mind telling you. It was about three years ago when I was still a Westland punk trying to survive another day and make a name for myself at the same time.

The fingers of his right hand clenched and unclenched as his mind reverted to that fateful day.

A couple of my friends went out with me to scavenge for food and water. There weren’t many people in the settlement we grew up in, but we always worked together to keep everyone alive. Many of the others were too old, young, or sickly to help, so a lot of the burden fell on us. I didn’t mind it though, cause it was just the first step on my quest to save everyone in the world who couldn’t save themselves. It was a difficult, but satisfying lifestyle.

Sometimes he almost wished his life was still that simple…

On our way back, one of those giant sandworms attacked us out of nowhere. With a little support from my buddies, I managed to slay it with my knife and a little Jekial blood manipulation. It was a long battle, but I never once thought I was in any danger. Though I guess I never do. That was probably the first time in my life that my instincts were completely wrong.

Dai wished the wall on his right side was a foot or two closer, so he could repeatedly pound his fist into it. One stupid, stupid mistake…

I turned to my friends to boast about my easy victory. And then the second sandworm emerged, bit down on my left arm, and dragged me through the air. I had no way to fight back, and that monster probably knew it. After swinging me around for a good while, it bit down and thrashed me so hard that my arm just…ripped clean off. I could hear the tearing of the flesh and the snapping of the bones so clearly as if the sound was echoing through my ears. I’m not even sure I felt any pain until I hit the ground…

He briefly glanced to his side before staring down at the bed again. For some reason making eye contact with Rika was too painful. Why did this stupid arm still torture him so much after all this time?

With all that blood in its belly, I’m sure you can guess how I killed it when it tried to finish me off. I saved my friends and continued on my path unhindered, but I still lost something irreplaceable. I… I still don’t know why it bothers me so much, but it feels like I’m not complete or something. I know it’s stupid, but I just can’t help it…
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Re: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:29 pm

It felt like there was a piece of Rika that she had never felt before. A piece that as she listened to Dai speak, became very painful inside her, then cracked and turned into dust. She was overcome with an urge to hold him, to comfort him. It was a deep urge, something primal that not even a decade and a half of Nanaya training could overtake.

But she worked on the arm. Ticking away dilligently.

"That sounds...traumatic."

Even Rika knew those words were the wrong ones, but she wasn't sure what to say. You never apologized to a Nanaya for having endured hardship.

"I don't claim to know what you're feeling, Dai. me, the greatest display of strength is turning your defeats into victories. How many times have you won with that arm? You not only refuse to let it slow you down, you've transformed it into your greatest weapon. I think that's something to be proud of."

There. Rika set her tools down, holding the arm out. It would connect a bit awkwardly - she had made her arm to match her natural one, and thus it was slimmer than Dai's. And the length would be slightly off. But, a temporary solution was, foruntately, temporary.

She took the arm in her hand and reached up to him, positioning it near his shoulder.

"Besides, to me, the measure of a man isn't about how many limbs he's about what's..."

The arm clicked softly into place, but her other hand was now on his bare chest.


There was no clattering of the train, no sway of the floor. Everything was her heart beat, pounding in her ears, drumming through her bones. It was so loud, so consuming that it felt like it was the heartbeat of the train. She wondered if it were her heartbeat, or his, her blood still running through his body, through his muscles and heart and brain.

She was so close to him now that their breath mingled.
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Re: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:06 am

A jolt ran through his body when Rika attached her arm into his shoulder, but the surreal sensation was drowned out by the thunderous pounding of their synchronized heartbeats just inches away.

She was right. He’d used his arm to accomplish so much good in the world, more than anything his biological limb could have hoped to. It had nothing to do with his masculinity or how much of a human he was. So what was the problem then?

Whatever it may be, it was the last thing on his mind at the moment.

Thank you…

He leaned forward and pressed his lips against hers, finally giving in to the urges they had both ignored since their last, brief kiss. For a moment Dai thought flames were flowing through his veins instead of blood. He pulled back soon after, suddenly fearful of being consumed by passion.

S-Sorry, Rika, I…oh right, I guess our hunt’s finally done, and you can think about this again. No need for that full Nanaya focus right now, yeah?

Dai moved his right arm and took one of her hands, leaning in for another kiss. This time he savored the moment a bit longer before finally separating again. Electricity sparked between them, the feeling starting to become something like a drug to him. A craving far deeper than his inherent Jekial desire for blood.

His amber eyes sparkled as he squeezed her fingers and grinned. A sudden realization struck him, immediately replacing his bright expression with a disgruntled frown.

When this is all finished, and my arm is complete again…are you returning to your clan right away? I guess the Nanaya probably need their leader back eventually, right?

He tried to shrug it off with a chuckle, but the obvious dissatisfaction in his tone made it fall flat.
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Re: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Mon Aug 08, 2011 4:06 am

Being kissed was like nothing she'd ever felt in her entire life.

The pleasure of it was so far and beyond anything she'd ever imagined. Even in the briefest momentso f fantasy, her visions of being with a man had always been cold and formal, like the marriage of her own family. But now, their lips locked, more pieces of her became alive. It felt as if her entire heart were beating for the first time, with all the richness of life and love.

Was she...was she already in love with Dainichi Kaizoku?

The thought melted away, just as every other thought did. Rika could barely remember their names, their identities too connected by thought and feeling and sensation now. She let herself wade in the flood of it, let herself be swallowed up and drowned in it. She felt her body glow and tingle.

When it stopped it was horrible. She wanted to never stop, to immediately kiss him again and lose herself.

He was addicting.

But his words and his questions were poignant. She did have to go back. A day or two detour was one thing, but she would never really be able to stay with Dai as long as she wanted to.

Which, at the moment, was forever.

And why was she torturing herself with this? He was a Jekial, even if she was fighting for new equality within the Nanaya it would take a long time for it to become a reality. Not only would he be mocked, but there would be those that tried to kill him. She had seen it first hand, the large hunting teams sent out to kill Toya...

Besides, what did he want with her? Her mangled hair, her body covered in muscles and a modest chest, her rough hands and warrior manners. There were stunning, beautiful women across this new Republic, and across the world. Dai could have his pick. She knew that from the moment they met. This might just be a passing fancy. His interest may only go as far as the fact that she was sitting in front of him, right now, ready to throw herself at him.

This was all moving very fast. Maybe their feelings were genuine, but they were destined to die. Meeting in the heat of battle, in the center of would they sustain that passion without the external pressures? Would they get bored? Dai would, for certain...wouldn't he?

Rika shut her eyes.

She took each of these thoughts and folded them up and tucked them away. Far, far away, deep inside the loneliest corners of her mind.

They were all good points. But she didn't want to say them. Or think about them. She didn't want to give Dai a reason to push her away, she didn't want to have a good reason to run away. She wanted to let this wave come crashing down on her no matter what, even if it meant pain and heartbreak. It was worth the risk.

"I...don't have a pressing need to go back."

She settled back on the bed, wanting to sprawl back on it and let him press his weight on her, but instead sitting up straight.

"Look Dai, I...have very strong feelings for you. And I can't stay forever but I want to see where they go. I want to see if you feel the same for me after a day without saving each other's lives and then...well, I guess we can work it out from there."

Just one more.

She leaned up and kissed him again.

"What we need now is some rest. And you need to heal so you can stop wearing that...gross herb stuff."

She stuck out her tongue a little and got up from the bed.

- - -

The giant gerbil was a bit unnerving.

The train had come to a stop at the closest point to where the man who built Dai's arm lived, but apparently there was some distance to be covered. One of Dai's men was happy to oblige with his summoning technique to give them a ride.

He didn't mention to Rika that he had a gerbil summoning contract.

They rode in a line, the eager young guy driving the thing and Dai sitting behind him. Rika rode on the back, arms wrapped around him.

"Yeah! There's nothing like riding Hozaimaru through the desert sands, is there? Isn't this great!"

Great wasn't the word Rika would've used.

The beastie lumbered down the next dune and into the red rock ravine. There, nestled in the corner, was a site that Rika could get used to.

It looked like a tortoise, made of gleaming metal from head to toe. Long spikes rose from its shell, though many were bent and weathered. The tortoise was laying on its stomach, mouth open to the ground. Sand filled the cracks and crevices of the thing. Rika wasn't sure, but she thought she saw gear housings by the legs...that meant the thing could move!

Or it could at one time. It didn't look as if it had done much moving recently.

Dai dismounted and took Rika with him, ordering the guy to wait nearby and keep the gerbil ready. Dai sauntered to the mouth of the tortoise, yelling the name "Makon" over and over again.

A door inside the mouth squealed open. A big guy with strapping muscles and a bushy, graying beard came out with a pair of welding goggles on. He slipped them up on his forehead, silvery eyes locked on Dai's arm.

"You broke it again. Damnit, Dai."

He let out a sigh, touching Rika's arm with a note of confusion.

"Well come on in. We better get to work on this. You can tell me some war stories to keep me entertained."

He lumbered back in without so much as a glance at Rika.
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Re: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:28 pm

Dai chuckled as the large mechanist passed through the jaws of the steel tortoise. He raised a pair of fingers and beckoned Rika to follow.

Sorry about that. Makon’s mind can only focus on one thing at a time, and that one is usually my arm when I’m around.

He had to duck when they reached the doorway, the entrance only fit to accommodate a maximum height that was a good two inches short of his. The other side greeted them with a spacious chamber crammed full of fantastic contraptions and not-so-fantastic piles of junk.

Wow, Makon, you’ve really…not changed the place much, actually.

The Jekial grinned and stepped alongside a metal rack, slapping his right hand against the palms of the half dozen or so puppet arms hanging over the side. Buzzing and whirring sounds bounced around the entire space as cogs turned and powered the wide variety of…device…machine…things covering every inch of the place.

Dai rapped his knuckles against the face of a fully constructed puppet standing against a shelf of tools until he finally caught the cold glare of death coming from Makon. He slowly stepped away and returned to Rika’s side, whispering into her ear.

Damn, do you actually know how all of this stuff works? I’ll never understand how you guys turn a pile of random scrap into amazing things like this.

Makon had already reached the back of his eccentric workshop and was already fiddling around with an absurd amount of tools scattered across a workbench stretching at least two meters across. Dai approached from the other side and placed his hands on the cluttered surface.

Alright buddy, how about the story of how I lost it in the first place in exchange for my new one? Believe me, this is no lame accident tale. Dainichi Kaizoku doesn’t lose an entire arm without leaving behind a trail of blood and destruction in his wake!

He waited in anticipation, but the older male did not reply just yet. He folded his arms in irritation, the unusual feeling caused by the imprecise sizing of his temporary limb reminding him of something important.

Oh, Makon, I know you are such a stubborn bastard about other people ‘interfering’ with your work, but you have to meet who I’ve brought with me.

Dai eagerly motioned Rika to stand beside him.

Her name’s Rika Nanaya. She’s from a clan of incredibly skilled…uhh, craftsmen. Inventors, if you like. Look, she’s the one who fixed me up this arm to use, and she’d never even seen your work before! I bet you guys could come up with something that surpasses anything you’ve ever created. Something worthy of being the new weapon of the great hero of the Republic!

He tilted his head as he watched the man work, wondering exactly what he’d have to say to get his old friend’s attention if this didn’t do the trick.
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Re: To be Nanaya

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:07 pm


The last a groaned away like a creaking board. Rika tensed up.

Clan of inventors...

If she was going to continue to hang around Dai, she was really going to have to help him think on his feet a little faster. What kind of cover was that?

"Never heard of 'em."

See. Horrible, horrible cover.

"We tend to keep to ourselves. Sometimes regular people aren't ready for what can be done with machinery."

Makon nodded, slowly, like he was agreeing with something that he had come to undrestand long, long ago. He then stepped away from the pair to select from rows of orderly tools hanging on the wall.

It gave Rika a chance to stare. The whole place was...well, wonderful. She had never seen so many tools and parts and chunks of contraptions stored in one place. The puppet arms, the wind up clocks, the winches, the levers, the springs and pistons, all in perfectly working order, laying quietly as if waiting to fulfill some grand purpose that Makon had yet to design.

And then there was the turtle itself! She was certain it could move, or it had moved at one time. She could see the gear housings on the inside, and the ladders that led to higher decks. Had Makon invented this?

The man pulled his welding goggles off to reveal a pair of blue eyes. He held Dai's arm, her arm, and studied the junction.


It took Rika a moment to figure out what the inventor was talking about.

"You got your arm bit off by a sandworm. Not that hard to figure out. Tell me something good. Like one of the battles you fought in the war."

The last a in war creaked off again. He suddenly looked up at Rika.

"You made this?"




"Nah, nah, how'd you figure out the connection. One of a kind this is, invented it myself. No puppet arm should be able to plug into it."

"I didn't use a puppet arm. I had already built this arm to function with a chakra-transference seal that I put on my shoulder, to be used independently. Doesn't need a chakra string, just thought."

Makon let out a low grunt. "Pretty much what I did with Dai. How'd you come up with it?"

"I...well, I saw Dai's arm and I figured that was the only way it could work so I experimented until I got something workable."

"Dai let you poke around his arm?"

"No, I just saw it."

"You telling me that you figured out my design from observation?"

"I uh...I guess so, yes."

Makon let out a long whistle.

"Shoot. You know how to pick up strays don't you Dainichi? She might have some talent after all."

He unceremoniously unhooked Dai's arm from his socket, but set it gently on a work table. He then reached up from the many hanging arms and plucked one at random, locking it in. It was Dai's shape and length, perfectly.

"Ain't got no fancy gravity manipulation in that one, but it'll keep you mobile while we work something out."

He turned to look at Rika.

"Whoah, wait, what? Me?"

Makon shrugged. "Dai's the customer. He wants you to help, you can help. 'sides maybe I can pick up a trick from that clan of yours."

He took another arm from the rack and set it on the table, opening the internal components and emptying them out.

"So Dainichi, what you have in mind for this new arm of yours? And don't think I forgot about what you owe me. If there ain't no war story, you ain't getting an arm."
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