DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

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

Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Thu Sep 29, 2011 1:45 pm

Kyuuen shouldered Ryou.

Hard.

In the center of his back.

She had waited for Sora to regain her own balance, of course, but she was still startled by Ryou suddenly lurching forward. Kyuuen grabbed him by the front of the combat suit.

You are a doctor.

Her other hand spat out a shuriken. The blade spun into the front of the nobleman's head, disocnnecting his brain cleanly. To think Ryou had used his knowledge for...for...

Go check all of the hostages!

She shoved him toward where one man was bleeding from the arm. One of the soldiers had tried to take a swipe at his wife during the attack and he had sarificed his arm to protect her. Moxie and Toya were good, but they had to expect some casualties. The fact that there was only a few small injuries was miracle enough.

Hi, Sora.

Oh, Kyuuen.

The girl surprised Kyuuen when she shot forward and threw her arms around her. Kyuuen put one stiff hand on her back in response.

I was starting to think that Suna wasn't going to be able to get us out of here. The attacks began and I knew that Noriyuka wouldn't yield and that he'd...

It's all right. We have a plan. And I need to get it ready, excuse me.

Kyuuen darted to the nearest soldier, picking amongst his equipment, as did Toya. Moxie rose her hand to get the hostage's attention.

Listen carefully, we are here on behalf othe Allied Forces of Sunagakure, we're here to free you. However, if you wish to remain neutral and stay in a safe location in the Seven Valleys, we will honor that by-

Moriko Saihoushi, isn't it?

The flustered discomposure Sora had been wearing was gone, and the strong leader stood in front of her peers.

Saihoushi-san, we are all here because we don't believe in the way that Noriyuka envisions the future of our country. I speak for all of us when I say that we support what you are doing and will offer you whatever power we still have left. Please, get us out of here.

Moxie nodded. “Okay. Everyone get into three rows, stand neatly. Toya and Kyuuen will hand a few of you weapons, just hold them at your side.

Obeying their commands, the hostages shuffled into an orderly line after only some confusion. One little girl seemed to be very squirmy, longing after the few remaining bubbles that glided through the air. Once they were settled, Moxie unfurled a spool of chakra conductive fabric. She slipped it into a narrow string, weaving it along each of the hostage's clothes, binding them gently together. Toya and Kyuuen finished distributing the weapons to those who were strong enough or old enough to carry them. It was far fewer than Moxie would have liked, especially since the number of hostages was larger than they anticipated.

It would have to do.

Taking a quick breath, Moxie folded her hands into signs and focused her chakra. With a burst of white smoke, the entire group, along with herself, transformed into the fallen guards around them. Many held illusionary weapons, but the few that were truly armed now had matching armor. Her charka flowed constantly through the thread, projecting the transformation.

This is how we're going to get out of here. When you move, you must move as if you were soldiers, march in formation. Do not look anywhere but straight ahead and follow my orders. And under no circumstances should any of you speak. We shouldn't get much attention, but we do need to climb a ways to the top of this palace.

We're just going to...leave? Walk through the front door?

Not exactly. Trust us, we have a much safer way out.

Kyuuen, Ryou, and Toya transformed themselves into guards, each taking a real weapon with them. Kyuuen shoved open the door and took position next to Moxie at the front of the group. Ryou and Toya took up the rear.

The halls of the palace were thankfully wide and functional, though Moxie had the distinct sense that there had once been more opulence in the hall and that it had, for some reason, been taken down. The hostages were only passably convincing soldiers – they weren't used to walking in step, or keeping the formation crisp and rigid. If they were stopped, Moxie would have to pass them off as the misfits – the worst of the army.

Maybe that was why they were there in the first place.

The next set of doors swung, and Moxie felt her heart leap into her throat. Her arm twitched, longing to free her golden justice blade and use it to lop off his head.

But she remaiend composed.

What in the hell are all of you soldiers doing here!?

Noriyuka was stretched to his limits, his face pulled nearly apart with stress. He had a fine sheen of sweat on him, and his cheeks were flushed. Unfortunately Moxie had seen him in that state too many times before – though for very different reasons.

Unsure of what the real guard sounded like, Moxie channeled her chakra through the technique to make her voice sound like one of the few male voices she had memorized.

We've been called to the front lines now, sir. Most of us were in the infirmary. Some of us were...in the brig.

Well get your worthless lives out there and attack! If you don't, I'll have every last one of you strung up by your intestines!

Noriyuka, and the five elite-looking guards beside him, turned for the stairwell and started their ascent. Moxie mentally cursed. That was the stairwell they were supposed to use.

Servant's passages. It'll take us longer but we can still get there.

Moxie nodded, then motioned to the group to follow.

She spared one last glance at Noriyuka, wishing she had the time to make him pay.
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Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:56 am

By the time the back of their little caravan reached the stairwell and prepared to follow the girls’ lead towards the labyrinth of servant tunnels, the corrupt nobleman and his cronies had already ascended the flight and disappeared from sight.

Toya froze in front of the first step as the herd steadily moved ahead without him. His fists tightened, the nails of his fingers biting into his palms with nearly enough force to break skin. That bastard imprisoned and tortured Moxie for days in this palace while he invited Suna representatives in as guests and put on his friendly facade for a nice meal.

And now here he was making their current task more difficult on top of it all. No way in hell…

Before Ryou or any of the others would notice or bother to question his brief pause, the hunter charged up the stairs with reckless abandon, eating up the distance between him and his prey with frightening speed.

Reaching the top of the staircase, he entered a large spherical space with a handful of hallways along the perimeter leading off into different sections of this floor. Near the center, Noriyuka and his entourage were on their way to one of them. But they would never reach their intended destination.

The Nanaya’s guard uniform morphed back into his Saihoushi combat suit as he closed in, the blade in his right hand shrinking by several inches into his gleaming clan knife. Not a soul in the vicinity heard his approach until it was too late.

The tip of his weapon pierced the haughty heir’s back and emerged on the other side of his torso. Toya’s hand nearly followed before he pulled it out, the lower half of his arm completely stained in deep crimson. Memories of a nearly identical kill years ago flashed through his mind, and he quickly smothered them.

You probably deserved it more than he did, you son of a bitch…

He pitched to his left an instant later, dragging the edge of his bloodied weapon across one of the bodyguard’s necks and opening up a fatal rift in the vulnerable flesh. Unfortunately, the remaining four were prepared for his sweeping assault after the deaths of their master and comrade and would not be caught so easily.

Toya abruptly halted and jumped backwards to avoid a crescent slash from a vicious looking katana and quickly raised his own blade to counter another strike he saw coming in his peripheral vision. The attack did not deflect off his weapon as he intended, the black whip instead quickly wrapping around his knife several times.

He pulled at the hilt with all his strength in vain. Seeing only one solution aside from parting with his prized possession, he raised his free hand to sever the whip’s fatelines when electricity suddenly surged through the two weapons and straight up his arm. His muscles locked up, his limb dropping limply to his side as the clanging of his blade hitting the marble floor rang through the air.

Damnit, four of them left to deal with. It seemed their choice in combat tools and styles already had him at a disadvantage, and now he was down an arm. He reached for the belt at his chest only to find that he had depleted his initial supply of projectiles during the battle in the ballroom.

The whip struck again, wrapping around Toya’s raised left arm now that he had nothing else to defend with. Another shock incapacitated this limb as well, a second guard charging forward and ramming his played shoulder straight into the boy’s chest, knocking him flat on his back into near paralysis.

He sent a flow of chakra throughout his suit as his assailants closed in on him, activating the armor-like quality of the material as a last line of defense. But it wouldn’t matter when they ran a weapon through his head or simply battered him to death with more blunt strikes.

Damnit, he would have won if he had targeted them from the beginning instead of wasting precious seconds executing the Noriyuka brat. Every Nanaya knew that the simplest lapses in judgment due to emotion could result in fatal consequences.

Now it looked like he would be a living example of how true that lesson really was.
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Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Klee » Sat Oct 01, 2011 3:20 am

Had it not been for Kyuuen's scolding just minutes earlier, Ryou may have well reacted to Noriyuka's passing with a far greater degree of force too. Instead in the echo of her perplexing tirade, Ryou failed to do more than even twitch in the presence of the man whom he'd sworn to one day get his revenge on after all his shortcomings in their last encounter.
His urge to violence was dampened by Kyuuen's reaction to his last. He might have done something wrong, again.

What had he done wrong?

Ryou's mind was barely keeping up with his feet as they marched through the servant's escape route, far too focussed on unravelling the reasoning for her brief, but striking coldness. Doctor or not, Sora or not, that man had deserved to suffer for his lewd treatment of a woman, and he was sure nothing would have made him turn back on that notion. So then why did Kyuuen disapprove? He knew that utilizing his his medical knowledge to achieve such ends went against almost every code she'd ever taught him, but she had to understand that this was one instance so vile he'd been forced to forego that. She was a girl, she had to. What was her problem, then? Why didn't she ever explain what was going through her head? Again with this sudden, irrational coldness that he could neither comprehend nor justify, not without the words from her mouth. It frustrated him to no end, almost beyond the point of concentrating on their current escort agenda.

The feat of summoning and concealing an entire airship atop a rooftop to facilitate the escape had him forget up about it for just a minute. The roof had already been prepared for a fast assembly by a small team which had previously been deployed. A flash of orange hair revealed the team's captain to be none other than Ichigo, and the boy was quick in drawing in Kyuuen's attention, and her rage.

She was always snappy when it came to the boy, but there was no denying that she seemed to be displaying even less mercy when screeching out orders to the poor kid this time. Especially when she was meant to be the one receiving them.

He waited until Kyuuen was well clear of Ichigo before hurrying up to meet the kid and offering his own assistance.

All he could give the kid was an apologetic grimace. They watched after Kyuuen's back as she stormed off.

"Bah, just leave her be. Sorry. My fault, I think."

Ichigo didn't look nearly as concerned as he ought to have all of a sudden.

"Hah. What did you do, sensei?"

Ryou sighed, an eyebrow cocked. "Never mind that. Tell me, what am I doing? Let's just get out of here."

He jerked his head back towards the domain set out for the construction. Ichigo blinked.

"Oh right - we need to clear the area, I've got Kyuuen-sensei marshaling them so nobody's hurt when we finally get this thing up, so I'll be having you help me in unsealing, how about that?"
"Sure..." Ryou's glance had hovered back to Kyuuen when Ichigo had clarified her task, watching her struggle to contain a large, fearful crowd of nobles from the smaller area marked out. Something struck him there. "...hey, Ichigo, how large's this thing going to be?"
"Mmm, I reckon we'll manage, sensei."

There was no hiding the doubt in the boy's eyes, even as he said that, and the words didn't do a thing to ease Ryou's concerns either. But there was nothing he could do about it now. "I dunno, but if you say so."

He followed Ichigo over without another word, crouching down over the first of several scrolls set out for the airship's assembly. 

"Gah, this is going to take awhile. Hey I'll get Toy-"

He cast his head around, seeking jet black and calling out for the Nanaya. For a moment, he was genuinely surprised at the silence. No expert voice called back, and no individual had already rushed ahead and had completed half the job before he'd even gotten around to figuring out how to start. Ryou froze in place, realizing why, and far too late. 

Damnit! Shit. In all his stupor back in the hall, the very trance which had kept him from lashing out at Noriyuka himself, he'd completely overlooked the stirring of the man who had carried with him even more compelling motives for vengeance.

He climbed to his feet and stumbled forward, even toppling over a small noble girl as he rushed to the position dictated for the airship's main deck, shouting for Moxie's attention.
 
"Oi, we've lost Toya. Idiot must have gone after Noriyuka, I don't know what he...haven't seen him since we bumped into that bastard way back. Still hasn't returned...so I think he's-"

He didn't finish that sentence, didn't need to. If Toya Nanaya was taking this long to catch up, then the situation's gravity spoke for itself.

Yet irrational Toya or not, the last thing he needed here was another stuff-up resultant of his own choices. Not after all the trouble he'd already caused, and all the worries this escape plan was presenting as it was. He met her glance, awaiting a better reasoned command instead.
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Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:44 am

Building a flying machine that could be stored into small scrolls was brilliant.

Putting the stupid thing back together was not.

Trying to align the scrolls in just the right formation and then release them in just the right way was infuriatingly complicated, especially with the gusting winds peeling back the corners.

The team that Ichigo had assembled was idiotic, as expected; if they were going to make an idiot like him the leader then the rest was just downhill. It took a whole three minutes for them to finally summon the first piece of the vehicle.

Kyuuen snarled. This was taking too long.

Hey, in case you haven't noticed, there's a giant, crushing invasion heading this way!” Kyuuen rammed a finger to the horizon. Fire, lightning, earth, wind and the occasional blast of water intermixed with the spinning steel and odd summoned beasts and chattering puppets; all of them waging war. The destruction was constant. The sky over the city was darkening, and lightning skipped from cloud to cloud.

Chakra-induced thunderstorm.

If one of those was happening over a city of this size, the amount of chakra being used had to be...

Oi, we've lost Toya. Idiot must have gone after Noriyuka, I don't know what he...haven't seen him since we bumped into that bastard way back. Still hasn't returned...so I think he's-

Moxie and Kyuuen flashed looks at one another, both of them then turning their attention to the gathered nobles. Sora was among them, trying to comfort them as they stared at the destruction. Agreeing with their policies or not, Seven Valleys was their home and to watch it burn had to be like...like...

Like when Kyuuen found out Suna was gone.

Kyu. Save him. Please.

Huh? What? Me?

The girls looked into each other's eyes, Kyuuen searching for answers amongst the eerie golden discs. There in the midst of all of this chaos, she was thinking about that? Really?

Now?

Kyuuen had a feeling she was never going to understand Saihoushi. Not completely.

Right. Got it. Make up for what I said.

She didn't wait for confirmation. She didn't say goodbye to Ryou or Ichigo, she didn't look twice at the assembling airships.

She just went. Went to the door, went back into the servant's passage, and rushed as fast she could.

Here in the City of Seven Valleys, Kyuuen had failed to trust Toya with the truth. She had thought him selfish and single-minded. Not a true member of Suna.

And then she thought about everything he had endured on their trip to secure the Trade Union. All of the personal and physical trauma he had endured not for Moxie, but for the future of this Republic.

The fact that he was here, at this battle.

Toya had proven himself. Not just to the casual observer, but deep down in Kyuuen's own heart she had somewhere along the line considered him a comrade.

Maybe a friend.

And now Moxie was letting her have a chance to prove that to him.

Well, making her have a chance.

Kyuuen skid across the carpeted floor of the next hallway, darting from one doorway to the other. There was the sound of steel and fists impacting against each other, and Kyuuen stole a glance around her hiding place.

Noriyuka was dead, his blood draining and soaking into the heavy blue carpet, turning it a royal purple. There were four others, pummeling Toya's fallen form, weapons drawn but not bloodied. The Saihoushi armor must still be working.

Kyuuen was ready to pounce, ready to tear their throats about but she could feel the pressure of their chakra. These men, clearly Noriyuka's bodyguards, were not like the droves of soldiers they had faced to get there. These four were trained.

They were shinobi.

If she rushed, they'd kill Toya. Simple as that. What she needed was time, just a moment, and they could turn the tide. Use some kind of confusion to break them down.

Kyuuen's hands flipped through signs.

Heh, pathetic. First you let a clone kill your leader, and now you're standing there beating him like a ragdoll.

The perfect Toya copy stood at the other end of the hall, smirking – though Kyuuen wasn't sure if she'd ever seen him smirk – with a perfect copy of the Nanaya blade in his hands.

It's just too sad to let continue, so here, have a free shot on me.” The second Toya dropped himself into a fighting stance.

Kyuuen wanted a moment stunned confusion, but got four instead.

The two more mobile attackers split off from the fallen Toya and rushed the new one, blades glinting in the light. In that moment, Toya snapped a kick into the arm of one of his assailants – the elite guard screamed louder than he should've. His skin was split open and his muscles draped and contorted, but there was nothing to hold it in place.

No bone.

Toya then set to work unraveling himself from the whip and getting back to his feet while boneless soldier squealed in the corner.

The first swordsman reached the second Toya and plunged his blade into his stomach. The second Toya let out a gulping gasp of pain, but didn't raise his fist in retaliation.

Kyuuen hopped out from behind her doorway, finishing the end of a handsign sequence.

Fire Release: Scorched Earth

The carpet turned to flame – intense flame that ate away at flesh and feet of the soldier whose sword was still buried in the second Toya. The second Toya melted, turning back into ink and crawling back to where it had come from. The second one, not stunned by surprise, hopped above her technique, and used her blade as a stand, plunging it sideways into the wall and standing on its end.

That was kinda impressive, she had to admit.

She halted the technique before it got to Toya's side. Only two of the attackers remained now, and though powerful, they were still confused. Kyuuen had to push her one advantage.

Her hands came up with handfuls of shuriken and she snapped them expertly through the air, one hand after the other. The soldier on the sword had to stay there as her spinning blades floated beneath the sword and somehow caught lift on the other side, rising. The remaining attacker on Toya had been the one wielding the whip.

Whips did not defend well against shuriken.

The guard threw himself to the ground to avoid the eight spinning blades, but Toya didn't have to move at all. In fact, he did move, rushing away from his panicking captor and bolting toward Kyuuen. The last soldier between them hopped himself down from his sword-perch and yanked the blade free, facing Toya with it. Chakra flowed around his blade.

He seemed to blink out of existence, moving so quickly that Kyuuen could hardly track him. He was on top of Toya in that moment, his heavy sword crashing down on his singular knife, looking to bash his way through his defense. Toya took one step back, trying to regain balanced and composure, but the attacker swung again.

His sword wobbled.

The bubble shield around Toya was not perfect or impervious, but it directed the heavy blade in the wrong direction, slowing it just enough so that Toya's fingertip could find the flat edge.

The blade shattered into fine dust, a glittering shower of steel.

Nanaya blade and shuriken entered the enemy at the same time, from opposite sides of his torso, and his blood also began to change the floor into royal purple. Toya finally got to Kyuuen's side, both of them looking up to see the whip-soldier back on his feet, his whip set aside, and his hands cycling through a technique.

An elephant exploded from beneath him, growing in size so quickly that his body was squished against the stone ceiling.

Kyuuen let out a satisfied sigh.

I never get tired of that maneuver.
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Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Tue Oct 04, 2011 12:53 am

Toya’s hand shook ever so slightly as he pressed it against his chest, his heart pounding against it at a frighteningly quick pace. He took a deep, calming breath and tucked his knife away before facing Kyuuen.

You’re…crazier than me sometimes, you know that?

Even after just experiencing a near-death situation, he couldn’t help but crack a smile, particularly after witnessing the less than glorious end for Noriyuka’s final guard. The Saihoushi armor had served him well, his limbs still at near full capacity after the one-sided beating he had received.

Uhh…thanks, for coming back for me. I know Moriko probably ordered it and all, but…I’m glad that we can act like real allies now, for the most part.

Damnit, why was this strong feeling of guilt tearing away at him all of a sudden ?As much as he’d rather ignore it and press on immediately, the truth was that he knew the reason perfectly well.

Um, about what I…err, I mean…the first time we came to this place together, we nearly severed any kind of bond between us permanently. You insulted my honor as a shinobi and a human being, and the only way I was going to change your mind was to prove you wrong right in front of you. I guess I did pretty much the opposite here. I’m sorry for-

Oh geez, Toto, lighten up! Can’t expect you to be a mindless soldier all the time. Now shut up and follow me, there’s an airship we need you to get moving!

He blinked as the girl stormed off along the quicker route to the roof, the course the group had originally intended to take before their little run-in. The hunter shook his head and followed with a faint smile reappearing on his face.

Right.

The pair scaled several sets of stairs in hardly a minute before reaching the rooftop where Ichigo and Ryou were still fumbling around with scrolls and large pieces of the summoned flying machine.

Toya raised his hand in a half wave to get Moxie’s attention, flashing a confident grin to indicate his well-being. There would be time for relieved reunions when they all returned home safely. He quickly turned his attention to the project at hand. Oddly enough, it seemed he had the most experience dealing with Dakara’s contraptions after the multiple times they had been forced to utilize them.

Ryou, hand me that-

Just as leaned over and reached out to take one of the remaining scrolls from his friend, an icy droplet of water splashed on the top of his neck. Followed by a dozen more. And then too many to hope to count just a second later. Lightning arced through the cloudy sky, and crashing thunder temporarily deafened the entire group.

Just the right conditions for flying a hunk of metal, wood, and cloth through…

We need to get this thing up and out of here, now.
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Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Klee » Tue Oct 04, 2011 3:32 am

The last time Toya had made a miraculous return after Ryou had presumed his fate far more grave, he'd cried. At the cost of much shame and dignity. Today he barely noticed his friend stepping onto the roof, seemingly unharmed.

His brows were constricted, hands struggling with scroll, and he was raising his voice over roaring thunder to get Ichigo's attention. Even if he already knew the answer to what he was about to ask.
There had to be a way around this.

"Oh heya, yeah, that goes over th-"

Ryou tore the boy away from handing Toya a seal of his own, splashes of lightning reflecting in his eyes. Grah, they didn't have time for this!

"Listen! You're absolutely sure there's no way to assemble this or tweak it so it's a bit w-"

The first frops of ice rain pelted him like rocks, silencing him, though nought could be heard over the rumbling, flashing sky regardless. A gale tore past and when after it had, his hair was already slick and wet.

"You are kiddin-"
We need to get this thing up and out of here, now.

Toya didn't dawdle and neither did he, both ripped through scrolls, unravelling what compartments they could, positioning and assembling. He frowned, every measurement disappointing even his predictions. Ryou was franctic, praying that a third option would surface with every seal he broke. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

"-we're stuffed, it's not going to fit them all if we set it up like this!"
"I told you, there's no other way! We don't have time."
"I know! I just..."

Ryou grit his teeth together, no longer even sure of what to suggest anymore. He whipped his head around, eyes only watching the terrified hostages as the three of them worked on unsealing the last of the seals. No, only watching Sora. Trying to comfort her fellow hostages, so many of whom were cowering, even crying with fright ransacking their features. The storm savaged the sky. Their city burned. Yet Sora didn't react to it. So perfectly collected, calm, innocent, responsible as always...
How the hell was he supposed to send her up in this tiny ship in these conditions? Alone?

Puff!

They tore the seal to the final binding open. The ship was together, bound and between them in an instant of brown smoke, and the vessel was magnificent glinted as lightning sparked the sky. When the darkness fell, it was a meager construction of steel and wood which had no hope of surviving this storm. Steam flew from piping, the outflow threatened by the rain. His eyes stung as the water and wind pierced through his sight. Somebody, Moxie, was shouting, ordering them back to make way for passengers. Ryou was cursing as he did so. Didn't she realize that it wasn't going to work?

The herd was being marshalled. An orderly line of dainty feet became an erratic stampede. He spotted Sora through the rain and the hurtling crowd, before she was lost.

Congestion on the ramp already.

"We aren't all going to fit!"

He'd long since dismissed the possibility that there was any remaining option save for the one, but he screamed it through the storm's howl anyway. Never had he wished for somebody to contradict him more.
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Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:23 pm

Kyuuen yelled at Ryou.

Ryou yelled back, trying to explain.

Toya stood between them, trying to find the truth.

Moxie stood at the edge of the roof, staring at the city.

Lightning flashed and for a moment, the entire world was bright and clear. She could see the blackened edges of the buildings, where the fire had eaten away at it. She could see the fortifications crumbling under the might of Suna. She could see the encampment outside the walls, where the fallen shinobi and Westlanders were being taken for help.

Taken to her sister to be healed.

She saw in that moment the two sides in battle. She saw swords piercing flesh, chakra tearing earth from the ground and flesh from bone. She saw the faces of fervor, of agony, of terror and rage, each one in perfect clarity. A mass of humans with the humanity stripped from them.

The details of the world faded. All she saw was this scene.

Moxie looked down and saw her golden blade resting in her hand. Lightning flashed again, and the etching glowed.

Justice is the sword of love.

The world came rushing back around her, and it was all noise. Clambroing and screaming of the hostages, the rain battering down on the world, the bone-rattling thunder, Kyuuen and Ryou yelling. Crates flew over the side of the airship and smashed on the roof. Ichigo was by Kyuuen now, trying to talk, but Kyuuen yelled over him. All four left the airship and were rushing over to Moxie's side.

-if the thing crashes having the emergency suppleis won't do any good, that's why you idiot!

Kyuuen-sensei, I just don't know if it's even enough if we get rid of all of that-...

Moxie turned around and the team stopped.

It'll be light enough if we don't go. Ichigo, take off. Now.

Huh? But Mox, I...

The blade cut through the rain, held out to Moxie's side.

Every second this battle goes on, citizens of the Republic die. Every life on every side will be a member of our new country.

She spun around, swiping the blade again in front of her, aiming it at the battlefield.

This country can not be born out of tragedy. We have to spare every life that we can. Noriyuka is dead and this battle is over. The slaughter should not go on out of pride or false hope. We have to stop the fighting.

Her blade moved from the battlefield to a large tower sitting in the west, bristling with guards and defenses.

That's the communication tower. The entire battle is being orchestrated from that building. If we ruin their communication, we ruin their defenses, and my father will have the city secured in the hour.

The blade of justice spun once and slid into its scabbard. Moxie looked into the eyes of the other Heroes, one by one: blue, green, red. She made sure to see each of them, to connect with each of them.

I won't lie to you. During the planning stages, the strategists, including my father, all thought it would be too difficult to take the communications tower. There are many men, many defenses. There's no plan, and we've used a lot of chakra to get this far, and we would be on our own. No help. No back up.

There is no reason to do this. We will win this battle without seiging the tower. The Republic is alive...but I hate the idea that even one extra life has to be taken. We would be fighting, and risking our lives, for an ideal. Maybe that doesn't make any sense.


She looked to Ryou. “Maybe that's not the safest thing to do.

She looked to Kyuuen. “Maybe it's not the most practical thing to do.

She looked to Toay. “Maybe it's not the most efficient thing to do. But it's what I want to do.

The sword of justice, sabbard and all, was lifted from Moxie's belt and pressed into the roof, hilt up. Moxie rest her hand low, leaving plenty for the others to take.

But I won't go alone. If any of you thinks that we shouldn't, then we'll escape back through the sewers. If you don't believe in this, then don't commit your hand. If you're tired and injured, don't commit your hand.

A pause. The rain sleeked between them.

I won't think any less of any of you. You're my friends before you're the Heroes of Suna, and I love all of you.

How could she say anything else while holding a sword of love?
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Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:06 pm

Toya watched the airship slowly sail off into the stormy sky for a few seconds longer before the torrential rain forced him to blink and clear his eyes of water. It felt as if nature itself was trying to futilely quench the fires of war while the battle raged on as if nothing had changed.

He looked forward to meet Moxie’s gaze, seeing the same steel determination he had grown to admire and expect in her golden eyes. The downpour had already soaked her strawberry blonde locks, somehow doing more to draw attention to her natural beauty rather than hide it. A peaceful existence where he could take time to fully enjoy such common pleasures was just within their reach.

His fingers closed around the sheathed weapon, sliding down to connect his hand to hers.

As if a little pounding by a couple amateurs would be enough to slow me down. I followed first when you created the concept of this new nation, and I’m not going to back out when we’re so close to achieving it. This war has gone on too long, and I agree that every extra life lost is unnecessary. We have the means to end this now, and our mission may as well be considered a failure if we don’t follow up on this.

Lightning streaked across the darkness above him, the thunder roaring an instant later. Thinking practically, the sudden weather conditions could actually serve to make this a bit easier to pull off…

Forget any odds that some strategists calculated. We’ve broken into the most secure prisons, fought evenly with the most trained hunters, and continued to struggle against the most impossible odds. Taking this tower will be too simple!

The same adrenaline he’d felt when they first began this operation surged through his veins again, revitalizing his worn body. Just a little more and they could all rest, finally.
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Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Klee » Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:11 am

Ryou looked up.

His eyes followed the airship as the vessel glided through the ravenous sky, vision never departing for a moment until a flash of white had enveloped the darkness and the ship was gone. Sora was gone.

And he'd let them go, praying blindly for their safety against all odds.

But standing here, listening to Moxie and then Toya speak with such defiant determination and cause, the decision didn't sound as foolish and vain as it had minutes ago. They were right.

Ryou looked down.
Down, off the roof's edge and into the stormy horizon. Maybe what remained of Suna was there. Maybe Yuki was there. He didn't know which direction he was looking in. But it didn't matter which it was, or where he'd come from or how, fact of the matter was that he was up here. He'd come this far.

So why couldn't he keep going?

He stepped forward and looked ahead, meeting his leader's fiery gaze.

"Toya's right. We've overcome the odds countless times before now, or at least, I know I have. When I got involved in this war, no, even before that, before I met Toya and you guys, there were so many things I'd thought I'd never be able to achieve, not in my wildest dreams. Fact that I'm standing here today is proof enough that I've done the impossible. And I know I owe so much of that to Suna."

His eyes flitted from Moxie and Toya as he spoke, but in the last they settled on Kyuuen. He watched her, if only for a second, before she tore away. Even in that instant, he drew in the unmasked expression on her face. The fears for her homeland indented and marred her features deeper than they did any other's.

Ryou looked at the sword of justice, taking the sheath within his right hand. He met their eyes, a small smile lighting his face just as sparks in the sky lit all of their eyes.

Of course Sunagakure wasn't the only one he had to thank for how far he'd come. Of course Sunagakure wasn't the only thing he was fighting for.

"So who's to say I can't do it again? We can't do it again? Especially when we stand here fighting for the country and every soul who lives in it; the Republic of Suna. Not even me."
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Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:51 pm

The hell are you even asking me for, you know I'm coming.

Kyuuen's hand clamped onto the top of the others, then removed it immediately. The team broke apart, the sword was replaced into its proper place.

Any ideas on how to do it?

We have to detonate it at the top of the tower, only place that makes any sense. So there's only one question we have to ask.

Outside or inside.

Short of throwing the detonation scroll from here and hoping it landed on its target, there were only two ways to scale the tower: on the exterior surface, or fight through the interior stairs. Both had disadvantages, and Kyuuen knew that, the question was which were worse. Fighting on the outside meant that every approaching enemy could try to strike them down off the wall, though they might be able to ascend fast enough to avoid getting picked off. Fighting inside limited how many enemy reinforcements could engage them at one time, but getting inside was dangerous and difficult.

A clever grin curled on Kyuuen's lips.

Inside. For once, the elements are on our side.

- - -

It was only natural for the soldiers at the base of the tower to get lax.

Their nerves were worn down. They could hear the chaos thundering in the distance, they heard the orders streaming out of the tower, and they knew the situation was grim. Their comrades were dying, and if it weren't for a simple switch in assignments, it could be them that was dead.

But they were still standing in the rain, waiting for a battle that was still a few miles away.

They were not ready.

Kyuuen's form flipped from above the roof and rushed to the first soldier within two blinks. Her knife crashed into his jaw and sent him flat on his back. The second one grabbed for his sword, but found his knee kicked in and an elbow in his nose before he could get any further.

A spear lanced for her, and Kyuuen side-stepped, pressing her back against the shaft of the spear and wrapping an arm around it. She took another pivoting step, wrenching the spear from the attackers hands and spun the butt end of it into another appraoching guard. She released the spear, lunged forward with her knife landed a glancing cut into the disarmed soldier's forearms.

Another soldier came, throwing his spear ahead of him and then drawing his sword in a smooth motion. Kyuuen ducked beneath the spear, compressing herself into a small ball. She sprang as soon as the spear cleared, jumping with enough force to crash her knee into his jaw, avoiding the sword stirke entirely.

A spear end caught her in the leg, driving her into the ground. She yelled.

Two other soldiers had regained their composure and now drove swords into her shoulders.

Kyuuen melted away in a puddle of water.

What the-

An army of Kyuuens emerged from the city, swarming over entrance of the tower. It erupted into a full-fledged skirmish, with blades slicing through chakra-formed water and guards falling under their attacks. Rainwater flowed all around them.

Plenty of water for more clones, if they needed it.

But they wouldn't.

One of the Kyuuens in the center of the grouping suddenly drew a golden blade, cutting it through a ring of soldiers. The transformation technique dissolved, revealing Moxie in the center, having cut a path clear.

Ryou!

Another Kyuuen transformed into Ryou, his hands finishing a formation of handsigns.

The world was full of rainbows, sunlight breaking apart in the thousands of water droplets. Ryou heaved the ball of sunfire as if hurling a giant weight. Moxie leapt to the side, letting the sphere of destruction pass through anyone foolish enough to still be in the way.

And the doors.

The blast melted through the entrance and exploded inside. The Kyuuens continued their onslaught. Fresh Kyuuens formed from the rain, stepping into the fray.

Toya!

One last Kyuuen burst into Toya, his figure exploding from the crowd and through the molten door like a diving bird of prey. His hands too were forming handseals, compelting their cycle as he landed inside.

Wind screached. Several soldiers flew out from the opening, hurtling into their comrades, while others were slammed hard into the walls. Moxie threw hereslf in after Toya with several Kyuuens in tow, blades flashing to neutralize anyone who wasn't taken out in the gust of wind.

Two minutes exactly, the bottom of the tower was secure. The Kyuuens quickly gathered up the weapons of the fallen soldiers, stacking some in the center of the lobby while they took others for their own. They spread out in a perimeter around the tower, fortifying themselves.

Man, that first clone was really impressive.” The real Kyuuen grinned, stretching her arms above her head, strolling into the base of the tower.

You sure you can keep this up? Defending the entire tower could be exhausting, even with all this water.

Please, compared to tattoo control basic water clones are easy. I should've started using them ages ago...er... you know, bearing water.” Kyuuen shifted her eyes slightly. “Point is, I can do this. Now stop gabbing and get the hell to the top so I don't have to do this for long.

Right. Good luck.

Same.” She shifted her look to Ryou. “Don't do anything stupid.

Toya took the point, pushing through the tower's security towers and up into the stairwell. Ryou went behind him, and Moxie took the rear.

They'd be fine.

Kyuuen let out a sigh, surveying her duplicates. All angles covered, and more than enough force to slow down any reinforcements.

Hopefully it wouldn't come to that.

The minutes passed slowly. It had to have been no more than three, but it was plenty of time for her mind to wander.

To think about Ryou with Sora.

To think about the first time she had won Ryou from Sora.

To think about...Sora...

Something pulled at her mind. Something irritated her, bothering her, something out of place. Like something she had forgotten.

Agree to marry me, and I'll make sure your mother gets all of the help she needs.

A pit formed in her stomach.

Mother, Katsumi Hazama. The kind woman who had been so supportive at the award banquet, the one who had tried to guide Kyuuen when she was suddenly thrust into giving a speech.

A supporter of Suna.

She wasn't part of the hostages.

Help. What sort of help, why wouldn't they keep her with the rest of the hostages, there had to be some sort of reason, come on Kyuuen, think! Think, damnit, this is important, this had to be related to...too...

Medicine.

Katsumi Hazama was sick.

Worse than that, they were denying her medical care. It would've turned Kyuuen's stomach if she hadn't already seen these monsters work firsthand – it was hard to forget the experience of repairing Moxie's deformed body, mangled and then intentionally repaired wrong.

Denying a sick woman her health would be easy, compared to that.

Her mind rushed through the plans, through all of the maps they had poured over in trying to design this attack. There was a hospital and a prison...no, neither of those. Somewhere humane because she was one of them, but somewhere...

She knew where.

Her hands flew into signs, and tattoos slinked off of her body. First, the vine on he arm snaked around the perimeter, putting up a wall for the Kyuuens. Then, the ink clone came, another replica of herself.

Then the Iron Knight, twice his normal size.

You'll have to hold things while I'm gone. I won't be long.

Kyuuen took a breath, rushed through the melted hole, and looked up at the tower.

Ryou was up there.

Hey, I didn't say I couldn't do anything stupid.

She vanished into the rain.
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Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:45 pm

The flawlessly controlled Nanaya blade cut through armor, flesh, and bone like paper, the first pair of guards to hinder the Suna ninjas’ path dropping in an instant.

Toya scowled at the time it took to pause and maneuver over the fallen corpses before being able to continue on his quick pace up the stairs. This wasn’t going to work. Moxie would have her hands full with any assailants from behind, and they needed to keep up a consistently quick upward pace to avoid getting caught in an inescapable pincer of soldiers.

Ryou, conserve most of your chakra and energy for now. Just stay right behind me. We’re going to take the wall all the way to the top and not stop for anything, alright? I don’t think too many will be able to follow from below with all of the bodies piling up, but keep an eye on our backs just in case, Moriko.

The hunter leaped, a thin layer of chakra coating the bottoms of his feet just before they made contact with the side of the wall. His teammates followed his lead, and they began a rapid ascent up the massive spiraling staircase. The sensation of running at such an odd angle took a moment of adjusting, but his head was perfectly clear again in seconds.

Just in time for another unaware pair of descending guards to come rushing down from above. Toya brought his arm down hard, the unique material of his sleeve hardening into a solid shell and pounding the top of the first man’s helmet, knocking him to the steps and beginning a slow clattering slide downward. The second soldier did not meet the same merciful fate, instead receiving one precise slash across his thinly armored neck from the hunter’s knife. He collapsed atop his fallen partner in a bloody heap.

Half a minute and a handful of additional victims later and the trio dropped back to solid ground and emerged at the top of the communications tower. Toya’s left hand was already halfway through a string of hand signs, completing them a second or two after stepping onto the open expanse of the roof.

Powerful gusts of air sliced outward in every direction. Guards were lifted and tossed by the howling wind, several sailing straight off the safety of the tower and plummeting down to a gruesome end. The rest were battered against the railings, each other, or simply thrown to the floor.

Toya stepped forward and ripped the scroll from his bag, ready to prepare the heavy explosive for detonation. They were so close to victory. Just one more step and they could get the hell out of here once and for all.

Ryou, stay with me and make sure none of these guys get back up. Moriko, stick with the stairs. This battle is finally going to end…
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Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Klee » Wed Oct 19, 2011 3:18 am

Ryou this. Ryou that. He was struggling to keep up, hard.

Not only was his body and physical capability hideously outclassed in a situation like this by Moxie and Toya; his mind was in too many places at once. Leaving Kyuuen behind. Being locked in such a narrow space, checking both ahead and behind. The soldiers kept coming. More than he'd anticipated. He could sense the tension in Moxie and Toya too - this was more than they'd anticipated.

Even when they reached the height of the tower, the noise cluttered from below. Damnit, how many were there?
He just needed to stay still, and not panic. Just stand guard until Toya established the seal.

When the radio sounded, it panicked him.

"Paging! This is reception 435A, class Ship - requesting urgent aid! We're under attack...solo unit, unknown how she-!CRASH..."

The signal faltered, and then it returned with a wave of fluttering propellers. Then the voice again. Grunts, rocking crashes, thunder...something...turbulent?
435A, that sounded like a vessel code...an airship! This...officer was relaying a message about an attack on a ship belonging to the city, what? How could- what agenda did Suna-

Ryou edged closer to the tower's wall. The communication control panel. He was only half poised as Toya's guard, focus almost completely directed towards listening in on the peculiar report.

"-BZZT...captive secure, but three men down, we can hold the unit but there may be backup, so please report-..."

Captive? No, they'd already rescued the captives. The city's warriors couldn't have established a signal from the airship they'd summoned, so then what? There were more hostages?
The voice grew louder and louder, into shrieking panic. Louder still, something heavy was tromping in the background.

"...captain to direct flight within your vicinity, I repeat, this is an urgent request, please-"

More crashes. The reception was fizzing in and out, and between tha-
Fizzing. Popping.

Bubbles.

Suddenly it all made sense. The tromping, the unlikely number of attackers pursuing them up the tower. Why, and how on earth did she-

"That idiot!"

Ryou didn't wait to see if signal would return. He spun in place, looking for Toya.

Damnit, they already had the seal ready too, Toya awaiting an all clear. And the call had only summoned another force to come charging up the tower. Moxie had already stirred.

So what.

"Wait! That message, you heard it right? Somebody's seized an enemy airship- it's Kyuuen, she's gone, they're the ship- we have to help before they-you can't detonate it yet, we have to get on this ship!"

His hands balled into fists, and he met his friend's eyes, almost pleading.

So what if the whole mission was compromised. He had to get her out.
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Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Tsuneo » Wed Oct 19, 2011 4:57 pm

It was frighteningly beautiful, floating above the war.

The tattoo-bubble was much stronger than anything she created from water and fire. It held Kyuuen's weight easily, but also shut out all of the sound around her. Rain splashed against the shell, rolling along in wild streams before dripping off the bottom.

Below, fire flashed, lightning split the sky and the earth tore itself from the ground. The alliance forces were pushing hard now, trying to drive themselves past the walls that held off the entrances of the valleys. Each discharge of chakra roiled the atmosphere, twisting the clouds into even-darker clusters. It soon spat out its own lightning, raking the world with blue-white branches.

Kyuuen stared up through her bubble, her focus willing it to stay on course despite the winds. Her target, the medical airship, plowed through the storm with unrelenting determination. It wouldn't be long before she was close enough to board it.

Getting down would....be...

She shook her head a little, shaking out her doubt. No, she hadn't really thought through this plan as much as she should have but there was no time. She had to get Katsumi. The best thing to do would be to take out everyone on the airship, secure her and the ship, then take it back to the tower. A built-in escape for the rest of her team.

If she could pull it off, there would be no way that Ryou would be angry at her.

Right?

Kyuuen felt the bubble lurch upward, tipping into the wake of the ship. She saw the hull whip by, and soon she could see the top deck, barely sheltered by the airship's balloon. The few crew standing there had heavy rain slickers over their armor and weapons, moving with a hasty caution from one end to the other.

It was time.

The bubble popped over the edge of the rail and the rain and sound washed around her all at once. The deck splashed beneath her foot and her body careened forward into the closest crewman. He yelled in surprise, hitting the deck hard. Kyuuen skid across the slick surface a few inches, using a small jolt of chakra to catch her momentum. There were only two left on the deck, one was rushing to and open hatch on the surface while the other withdrew a long, thin sword from his side, advancing at Kyuuen.

Tell me where Lady Hazama is!” Kyuuen lowered herself, snapping a pair of kunai from her belt. The crewman looked more terrified than angry, the blade extended too wide to one side. He took one unsteady step forward, losing any semblance of form to his fighting stance.

This was just sad.

A kunai sunk into his thigh, forcing a cry out of him and sending him kneeling to the deck. The sword dropped out of his hand and slid across as the wind shifted the ship to one side. She walked toward the hatch, readying herself to fight through the interior.

Her arm snapped backward, nearly twisting out of its socket. She slipped on the deck and grunted and scrambled her feet beneath her as she was dragged back to the rail. She turned to see a crouched figure holding the other end of the chain that was strangling her wrist and squeezing out blood from her skin. His chakra was potent.

Another traitorous bitch who has forgotten the order of things. Bite the hand that feeds you and all that, eh? Well you should've waited till you were a little stronger before trying to-

Kyuuen leapt with the momentum of his pulling chain, slackening it and pouncing in front of him before he was expecting her. Her kunai swiped hard at his chest, but rang against the other end of the chain that he stretched in front of him. The chain surged with chakra and suddenly had its own strength, tightening around her arm and throwing her backward to the deck.

Whoah, feisty thing there eh? You should wait until your elders are done scolding you-

Kyuuen's free hand clapped into the bound one and formed the required signs. The flame tattoo on her arm twisted around her fingers and followed the chain. Once near the end, the red colored ink suddenly glowed to life, bursting into true fire, punching into his chest. He screamed and fell backward, still alight in a blaze as he careened to the ground.

Three down. Not bad.

Her fingers had just started to loosen the chain around her wrist when the other end of it sprung up like a viper and struck her in the face. A wide gash opened up where her nose met her forehead, blood rushing down her cheeks and into her eyes. One hand rose with emerald chakra instinctively to close it up, but the chain strangled that one as well, pulling it to her side. Soon the chain was weaving itself through her limbs, tangling her frozen.

I apologize for the manners of my apprentice. He was...an idiot.

Kyuuen felt herself turn. Rain sprayed around the balloon and on to her face, clearing her vision for a moment. A man stood two dozen paces away from her, standing in an almost lazy stance, hands buried in his slicker pockets. He was older, in his forties, and was too calm for a warzone.

But unfortunately, you are still the enemy. I have to make an example of you.

Kyuuen realized too late how the chains were being controlled. Magentic chakra was made of lightning chakra, and that lightning rippled to life. It surged through every nerve of her body, a cold empty pain filling her. The agony amplified when the lightning stopped, her nerves blazing. Her mouth opened, a sob trying to escape but instead a dry cough escaping instead.

The chains compressed, then unraveled, hurling Kyuuen over the edge of the airship. For a moment, she was free. Her mind started to race, looking for a way to save herself, realizing that she had to create another bubble.

But a chain snaked around her ankle and pulled her sharply into the hull of the airship.

She hung dazed for several moments – maybe even a minute, she wasn't sure anymore. Rain mixed with her blood, dripping steadily at the world below.

A new pain clouded her mind – burning along her skin. She realized what it was – her tattoos had been defeated at the tower and returned to her, bringing with them all the pain and damage they had endured. She cried out, the wail drowned out in the sound of the rain and wind.

Lightning surged through the chain again, sending her body into convulsions.

Then she hung again.

Damnit...this was stupid...

She shut her eyes to stop them from burning any longer. Lightning surged into her again.

Sorry...Ryou...

- - -

The golden blade of justice snapped off the end of a protruding spear. Moxie stepped in and snapped a kick hard into the attacker's hip, sending him backward into a group of following soldiers. Once again their advance was stalled until they could right him and get him out of the way.

Defending the top of a tower was pretty easy.

She glanced one golden eye over her shoulder, watching Toya unfurl the scroll. Only a few more minutes and then they could make their way out, down the side of the tower and into the expanse of the city.

It was so close. So very close.

She could see the end of it all.

Wait! That message, you heard it right? Somebody's seized an enemy airship- it's Kyuuen, she's gone, they're the ship- we have to help before they-you can't detonate it yet, we have to get on this ship!

Moxie turned. She hadn't heard, but she could see the panic in Ryou's eyes. She swept her gaze upward, squinting past the rain. There were many airships in the sky, from both sides, but one was floating ever closer to the tower itself.

That one,” Moxie pointed, then glanced down at the stairwell. They were ready for their next push.

Toya, get the scroll ready...this is going to be tight.

Moxie sheathed her swords and leapt down into the next floor. Lightning flashed out in a circle around her, sparkling between the soldiers and sending them convulsing to the ground. Chakra threads swarmed around the fallen soldiers, gathering up every scrap of clothing they could from beneath the heavy armor. Some started to stir back to life, but Moxie had everything she needed. She rushed back up the stairs and beside the boys, gathering up the scarves from their outfits to add to the length. She cursed herself for not keeping the rope she had made earlier.

I...I don't know if this is enough.

The airship was looming closer now, but it seemed so far away. She stretched out the fabric into a cord and shot it upward. It lashed near the rail, then retreated backward.

Not long enough! Damnit! Toya quick, try to shove the airship closer with wind, it might be-

Blue-white light flashed along the side of the airship, gathering into a figure at the end of a chain. The body flickered and convulsed bright in the storm.

Kyuuen!

She turned to look at Toya, knowing the frantic fear was evident in her eyes.
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Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Uchiha Sasuke » Sun Oct 23, 2011 1:45 am

Toya raised his left hand to shield his eyes from the heavy wind and rain hindering his vision. The electrical surges, both natural and chakra-induced, lit up the sky and allowed him a clear view of the situation.

Yeah, I got it. Guess I get to return my debt right away. No way in hell I’ll let her die before that.

He extended his palm above his head and swallowed hard, a trace of anxiety creeping into his mind. All of them jumping right back into danger when they were so close to getting out of this intact…no, no time for doubts. Just perfect execution as always and no problems would have a chance to arise.

The howling winds bent to his will once again, heavy bursts of air pushing against the side of the ship and gradually moving it closer and closer to their position atop the tower. Moxie’s cloth line hadn’t missed by much the first time, so just a little more…

Now! Shoot it again!

The makeshift rope soared high into the stormy sky, this time sailing well over the side of the floating vessel and coiling around the closest section of the metal railing. The three heroes each gripped pieces of their end of the cord that Moxie had split, bracing themselves for the rapid ascent to the ship.

He wasn’t one to let any height bother him, considering how much time he had endured in flying transports already, but the sensation of flying upward through the heavy downpour, lightning occasionally flashing in the nearby distance, was not extremely pleasant. It was an incredible relief to finally vault over the rails of the ship, planting his feet firmly on the deck and immediately tracing the chain hanging Kyuuen over the side to its source.

Following the metal links to their opposite end, Toya glanced up to meet the gaze of an older male staring at him from the center of the deck, his eyes eerily calm as they thoroughly assessed the sudden intruders. Electricity still flowed through his unique choice of weapon, surely inflicting more pain and paralysis onto his incapacitated teammate.

I got this guy.

The hunter blinked ahead of his teammates, dashing directly at his target. The sooner he could take him out, the better for Kyuuen. As long as one of them could scoop her up before she plunged to a certain death, that is…

Only feet away from striking distance, Toya’s footing was swept out from under him, a slithering chain catching his ankles from behind and sending him crashing down to the deck. Now lying vulnerably on his back, his opponent immediately used the brief opportunity to step forward and slam the sole of his heavy boot into the boy’s ribcage.

With the air forcibly expelled from his lungs, the dazed Nanaya barely raised his left arm in time to intercept the next brutal strike, the material hardening around his limb and freezing the kick in place. Toya’s knife-wielding hand sprang to life and jammed the tip of the blade into the man’s leg. His victim snarled in pain and pulled back, ripping his flesh from the weapon and regaining some distance between the two warriors.

You’re a quick thinker, but now you’ll be the first of your lot to die. Your weapons are meaningless against me.

Seem to be working just fine to me!

Not wasting a second, the young man charged forward again, this time prepared to detect and evade any ensnaring movements from the chains. An embarrassingly obvious swing aimed at his torso forced him to raise his weapon, his eyes locking onto a brightly pulsing fate line running along the links that he prepared to slash right through.

He blinked and pushed harder, but his arm only shook uselessly, his blade frozen an inch away from making contact with the hovering strand of metal. It wasn’t just electricity this guy was controlling. He was blown back by the strength of the magnetic field, managing to slide backwards on his feet without being thrown to the floor a second time. He cursed under his breath, his antagonist watching with those same eerily lifeless eyes.

Still so sure, boy?

Toya wordlessly returned the stare, casually tossing his hunting knife over the ship’s rails and methodically repeating the action with every concealed weapon remaining on his person. Luckily, he had already depleted much of his original stockpile over the course of the day’s battles.

Yes. You can limit my choices, but I still only need one very important weapon to work.

He raised the index finger of his right hand and smirked. A bolt of lightning crackled across the sky just to the starboard side of the flying vessel, filling the surrounding area with a blinding flash for a brief instant. When the light slowly faded away, Toya had disappeared into the heavy rainfall, leaving his opponent guessing as to his position.

The Nanaya rapidly dropped directly atop his target, the few seconds of simulated flight granted by his burst of compressed wind chakra ending and throwing him back into gravity’s control. He planned to end this with one fatal blow to the back of the neck, severing spine from skull, but the older man displayed an unexpected level of reflex and agility that surprised even the always prepared Toya.

The master of metal spun around and took a step back, raising both arms and unleashing a swarm of chains that sprung out from his sleeves like snakes preparing to strike. Toya leaned in an attempt to use the wind to his advantage and alter his course, but the action provided minimal result. The steel bonds simply shifted their flight, one immediately snaring his ankle and instantly halting his drop, dangling him helplessly just inches above his target. Damnit.

Electricity coursed through his leg and briefly surged through his entire body, leaving a burning, numbing sensation in the initial pain’s place. Relying on pure strength and willpower, Toya slowly raised his upper body, his fingers clawing desperately for the shackle at his foot. The remaining host of remote controlled chains hovered menacingly in a maze-like pattern around his hanging figure, mocking him with their presence, reminding him that any escape attempt would be futile.

As I said, you think quickly. To repay you for the brief, but exciting display of skill, I’ll make sure your death is just as quick.

Toya’s finger finally brushed along the chain at just the right angle, severing a large cluster of links and dropping him back into a free fall. The swarm rushed to entangle his entire body in their deadly grip, but another half second of distance was all the Nanaya required.

His left hand tightened around the man’s neck as soon as he could reach him, driving him to the deck and pinning him down just as the chains above him finally caught up, but far too late to stop him now. The hunter raised his free hand, this time his dark stare remaining empty while his victim’s eyes showed their first traces of emotion since the encounter began. Pure terror.

Then to repay you for hurting my friend, I’ll make sure you feel something before you die.

He squeezed tighter, the defeated warrior’s airway now completely obstructed. The old man gasped for oxygen, his chains finally falling lifelessly to the deck around them. Toya drove his free hand into the side of his torso, just above the abdomen, his fingers effortlessly digging through flesh and bone until they reached the man’s rapidly beating heart. With one final cry of agony from its owner, the organ ruptured, killing him instantly.

Toya stood, his mouth drawn into a thin line as the unnerving calm he experienced after most kills washed through his system. Meanwhile, the rain physically cleansed his external body, mixing with blood and rolling off his combat suit. He stared down at the corpse one last time before his gaze swiveled, honing in one the motionless chains surrounding it.

Intense panic he didn’t think he would ever feel in regards to a certain individual ripped through him when he realized his one fatal mistake.

Kyuuen!

He turned and sprinted for the side of the ship, but if the magnetic field had perished along with its controller, then he had no hope of reaching her or that chain in time. They couldn’t lose someone after getting this far. Not like this. Not when it would be his fault. He still owed her.

How was he supposed to keep living on a borrowed life if he threw away his chance to return the favor so stupidly?
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Re: DECAY: Flower - Heart and Sky

PostPosted by Klee » Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:38 am

Ryou, move your feet.

She’d always told him that when they’d been training. It had always been his problem. Something he’d tried to fix while fighting this war.

Nothing that was at stake – not his desire to play the hero, longing for the public’s acclaim, the village, his life, the war – nothing had ever broken him out of it. Today had been proof of that, he’d almost been killed because he’d frozen in place, unable to move his feet.

But that wouldn’t happen again. Not now, not when they were at the end. Not when she was the one at stake.

It was over the moment the magnetic force disintegrated, the chain snaked and rattled across the deck and any moment he could have used to marvel at Toya's ability to triumph in an impossible battle was lost with the receding length. Ryou's feet moved, themselves propelled with lightning, beating the metal to the hull.

His first instinct was to lash out and grab the chain, and he barely stopped himself. That was the stupidest thing he could have done. She'd just...be released sooner. But with Kyuuen hovering so far out of his reach already, there was only one other way to reach her. There was nothing else for it.

Ryou's hands clenched the hull and he vaulted his weight over.

The moment of freefall before his feet tacked onto solid wall was like an eternty. The world exploded beneath him, the city glowed, the communication tower burned. Rain slashed past him, his hair smacked his face, and Kyuuen hung, held up with less and less snare every second. His heart beat faster than the wind and louder than the ship's engine.

He'd never once been more frightened. Chakra, his and Moxie's, poured out in rivers; that and every last thing anybody had ever taught him about chakra control the only things holding him to the ship. His own strength didn't cut it, of course. He still had to cover so much distance in so little time. How the heck was he supposed to do this?

All he had to think about was...how frightened she would have been. And everything she'd taught him.

He moved one foot. Every step was like the most tasking surgery he could ever think to perform. Reassessing every point of chakra outflow, the speed and position of the ship, with every movement of his own. So, so scary.

He reached for the rope. It'd hasten her fall, but if he were to catch her, he needed that leverage now. He was close. The metal swung out of his lurching grasp once, twice, and finally his sweaty fingers locked around it. Ryou swung his other arm lower as Kyuuen tumbled from another hold, out of his reach. He leaned over, and in a lurch of heart so tremendous his senses blurred for an instant, he'd snared her legs under his elbow. But their weight was too much as he went to steady that hold, the relief at the touch of her warm flesh, the fear - it did away with his concentration for a moment. The worst thing that could happen.

He'd lost his grip on the hull. All he had was the chain. And they were soaring through rain and wind and sky for another eternity.

"Shit, no...not here...!"

His thoughts, he supposed they were his last thoughts, were the only things he could hear over his heart. He clutched Kyuuen closer.
N-no, he'd just got her, they'd just...the tower had burnt down, they'd won it all. They couldn't just lose everything here-

The rope's weight shifted. Somebody had...

Ryou, eyes streaming with tears, both held Kyuuen and clung to the chain, himself so dazzled that until he felt wood brushing against his own head, he didn't know if he was rising or falling. Just that there was a weight at the end of the rope. And then a voice.

"Toya-!"

And then the fact that he was safe no longer mattered.

His arms locked tighter still around Kyuuen's frame as he tumbled over the railing and slipped from Toya's hold, and his knees buckled under her weight. He hit the deck hard. She didn't.
Ryou cradled Kyuuen, protecting her from the fall. She wasn't getting hurt anymore. No more. She wasn't going to-

It was so cold.

His eyes trembled as they searched her bloodied, limp, windchilled body. Emerald green chakra erupted around him, flooding her with all his knowledge of medicine and lightning damange and damn love, anything to save her and keep her here with him, mend every last wound. He pushed her head against his chest, holding her as tight as he could. His eyes shut, rain and tears clinging to the lashes as he channeled every last bit of chakra he or Moxie had into keeping her warm, and alive. Every last bit.

In all this cold, was it enough?

Something locked inside him. That was the last of it.

"Hey, Kyu! Idiot! Wake up...you can't...don't leave me here...n-no."

Ryou shook her. His quaking fingers combed through her soft, damp hair, through to the mahogany ends. Hah, so the color had almost grown out. The color she'd had put in for...
Sora.
His face shot up in a jolt, a recollection cutting straight through him. Kyu...she'd been mad at him, because of what he'd done for Sora? Was that why? No, it didn't matter why.

He wasn't going to lose her while she was angry at him. No way. Not when they were this close to winning everything, when he'd saved her, and she had less reason than ever to be angry.

He scraped chakra from their networks. Was there more he could do? There had to be more. And he'd find it. And fix it. He had to. For her.
Gently, Ryou tipped her head upwards. What nothing was left of his chakra inundated her, and he scoured that pretty face, hoping for just one sign of movement before it was too late.

It wasn't enough. The only thng he wanted...

"I fought this war...for you! So you better wake up and see our victory...sweetheart."

He pressed his lips against hers, tenderly, kissing her. At last blind to the world around them. To the conflict. To the relief. To even the rain.
The only thing Ryou wanted...he wanted her to know that more than he loved praise of others, more than he loved playing the hero, more than the village, more than winning - more than any of it, he loved her.
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