Moxie hopped upward, snapping a kick into another soldier, sending him staggering into the cluster behind him.
She had gained good ground in her offensive through the gate, and though Ryou was cut off she was reluctant to give it up. It might be too hard to recover if they completely disengaged now.
But Kyuuen wasn't going to budge from that door until Ryou was back in formation.
The world flashed gold for a moment, Moxie peeking through the Kyoumougan as quickly as she could. Threads of the future dangled in front of her, waiting to be tugged at and to change the fate of Ryou Yutaka forever.
She grinned mischeivously and wiggled her fingers.
Chakra threads swarmed across the bodies of the fallen, wriggling their way past armor and to the clothing beneath, stripping away long swathes. Garment after garment dissolved and melded into the ever-growing multi-colroed snake until it coiled several times around Moxie's frame. The snake became a temporary weapon, lashing out at approaching soldiers and deflecting attacks.
She stole one last scarf.
The snake leapt up, stretching to the top of the gate. Toya snagged the end of the rope and vanished from sight, pulling it along with him. Moxie had seen in her vision that Toya would know what to do with it, though why he would was still a bit of a mystery to her...
Toya vaulted himself over the other end of the gate and Moxie leapt up. The two served as the counterweights to one another, Toya's heavier frame dragging Moxie up to the top of the gate while he was lowered. He dropped himself from the side and rushed back into the fray that Moxie left behind, keeping their ground secured.
Moxie let out a breath of relief when she saw the top of the gate secured and destroyed. If this was going to work, it was going to take all of her focus.
She shut her eyes and started cycling through handsigns. Not any technique that she knew, just handsigns to keep her chakra focused. She flowed it through her body, focusing it on the seal, thinking of the pathway into her network as it had once joined her to her father. Instead of drawing out of it, she pushed through it, driving her chakra into the seal along with her mind.
Ryou's body came into focus. It was a feeling she couldn't describe, her mind split into two places at once, feeling the flood of emotions from another person and the control of their chakra. Ryou's presence was so burningly bright, so volitile and passionate that Moxie was in awe of it.
But she had to gain control of it immediately.
Her charka flared inside him, and the Saihoushi combat suit immediately stiffened around his body, creating protective armor. The last pieces of striking metal struck off the fabric and clattered harmlessly to the sides. She could feel Ryou's confusion and panic, wondering why he wasnt' dead and wondering how he could still get out of it.
Moxie pushed her chakra further through the clothes, tightening them around his limbs. Like one of the Thread Golems she had used so many times before, Ryou now moved under her will. The wall of flames rushed past him as he dove across them, the attackers scattering. Ryou's body moved in ways it had never done before, spinning around an incoming sword and slamming his forearms into the wrist to force the blade to drop. He then whriled around, striking the forearm to the back of the soldier's head, his helmet clanging against the stiffened sleeve.
Using the momentum of the strike, Ryou finished his turn and leapt, his legs kicking out one after the other to barrage an attack into the stomach of the next soldier. Stunned, the soldier bent over from the force, allowing Ryou's elbow to drive into his nose. Bone shattered and blood sprayed.
The path was clear and Moxie let the connection go, gasping out as she did. Ryou hesitated for only a moment before hurling himself headlong down the street.
"Faster you idiot, faster!"
A shadow passed over Ryou's head. The cactus defender from before landed behind Ryou, swiping his spikey hands at the soldiers to keep them back. The Iron Knight started to lean back on the doors as Ryou approached. The cactus defender flashed back into ink, Kyuuen gripped her arms around Ryou, bathing him in emerald light, and the Knight leaned back, slamming the doors shut again.
Moxie leapt back over the side of gate, dropping behind Toya. He had pushed the line back even further, keeping the perimeter wide and thin.
She glanced at Kyuuen, who gave her a quick nod. Ryou was healed.
Moxie rose her hands above her head, lightning crackling in her palms. She clapped them together hard, and the area was filled with a blinding flash of light. The soldiers blinked the light from their eyes, each hesitating.
When the light cleared, the Heroes of Suna were gone.
- - -
The key had been to push back the enemy so that Toya could reach the manhole cover in the ground.
During the flash, the Nanaya hunter could move and act completely without sight, and drew up the cover, yanked Kyuuen, Ryou, and Moxie into the opening, then closed it behind them, all within a few seconds.
Their plummet was not pleasant, each of them landing in a shallow pool of water and filth. Moxie herself let out a long 'yeaaauch' and tried to remember a time when everything didn't stink.
They crawled through the sewers, underneath the roiling war above them, following the waste of the nobility all the way to its source.
It actually smelled better when they were in the sewers directly beneath the House of Hazama. Mostly water with grates to keep people like them from slipping in or out, but nothing a little plasma couldn't handle. They even found a spot to wash themselves in clean water, removing much of the conspicuous smell.
Soon they were beneath the main ballroom, peering through a grate in the ground.
Kyuuen bit into her lip, staring at the noble captives. Supporters of Suna, those who wanted to help them, and they were all being held in a ballroom. There were more than Kyuuen had thought, more than intelligence had expected. It would make getting them out of there a lot more complicated.
There was a nobleman striding amongst the others who was too proud and too comfortable to be a prisoner. There were soldiers lining the walls, but none seemed too worried about this nobleman's safety. Not that this collection of wealthy, spoiled children had any combat ability.
"I wonder how much longer you're going to defy me like this, Sora-chan."
Kyuuen felt her heart lurch.
"The conditions are simple. Agree to marry me, and I'll make sure your mother gets all of the help she needs, and I will make sure the rest of these...rabblerousers, are let free. I have that kind of power. And, I suppose, so do you."
Sora stood in the center. Kyuuen remembered the girl, the sparkling hair and the winter-blue dress and all the poise and elegance that Kyuuen would never have. She still had poise and elegance, but it was dressed very differently.
There was no gown, no coiffed hair. She wore a simple white dress with blue markings, her hair drawn into a crude braid. But she still stood the same, her eyes still had a sapphire hardness to them, and her voice was commanding.
"In life, there are things that you have to choose to believe in that are bigger than yourself. Things that are more important than your safety or your happiness. Had you asked me to marry you a year ago, Hanto, I...I might have. But not today. I will not do one more thing that the other families demand. I will not support this war. I will defy you to the very last-"
The slap across her cheek was sickening. Her head twisted sharply, her braid whipping behind her. The nobleman, Hanto, sneered.
"You arrogant bitch, how dare you! Your childish ideologies don't have a place in the real world! You try to look past our way of life and past your station and all it will yield you is-"
There was another crack, this time Sora slapping Hanto. Kyuuen saw several guards step forward. One guard snickered. Hanto rubbed his face, as if it was the first time he had ever felt pain.
"You will regret that."
Hanto reached out and grabbed her by the shoudlers, twisting her around. One hand caught the top sleeve of her dress, tearing it downward.
"Already working on it."
Kyuuen pressed her chakra into the water surrounding them, through all the water beneath the ballroom vent.
Bubbles swarmed through in a crystaline, dazzling display. Every vent gushed them, filling the room withing seconds. There were strange noises of combined surprise and laughter from every corner of the room.
Toya would burst first, moving to strike down as many guards as he could in the initial attack. Ryou and Moxie's job was to secure the nobility and gather them together while Kyuuen monitored, preparing to support either side in each task.
Moxie would let Ryou tear Hanto from Sora.
He seemed eager to do it.