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Old 05-29-2019, 08:52 AM   #21
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Tuck. Roll. Balance. Release.

Hayate had stuck the landing, with a little assistance from the chakra he had applied to his feet. Being no foreigner to momentum shifts himself due to his regular underground tunnel runs, and adept at chakra enhanced footwork he found it a new yet, unchallenging experience. Though he still lacked the foresight and ability to have shielded his clothes from the water and muck that he picked up on entry. There he stood, alongside an equally drenched slate pillar that had received a new coat of grime from the spluttering the landings had caused.

A few meters away, his flight-captain-slash-sensei was being helped up by an unknown monk. The man was free of any splash damage himself, which was remarkable enough and had seemed to be standing in anticipation of the party. Another revelation which surprised the young rain-nin as he hurried over to join the group, along the way doing his best to wipe off and wring out the residue he was covered in. The situation was perplexing to the boy, as Hayate could easily have chosen the other temple as their destination, and even his sensei had tried to interject into the conversation; but was silenced by the temple elders prophetic titles for the three of them.

‘The Forsaken Queen with the broken soul, female, Masami-sensei I guess…. The Hollow Child with the broken heart, doesn’t sound like me, must be Gen… so I am… the Would-be Hero with the broken body… ouch.’ Hayate hated being defined by his disabilities, and it was something that few people outside of his village would have been able to have picked up on due to his exceptionally well-equipped implants. ‘Hmmmm….’

‘How did they know?’ There were many questions running through his head and probably those of his teammates as well. He saw a frown of what he guessed was disapproval on Masami’s visage, which he took as confirmation and immediately acted upon.

“What right there!” Hayate burst out, before anyone else could take charge. “Welcome? You expected us, and somehow know us? I know I don’t always catch on fast, but this smells like a trap!”

It was a fair bit uncharacteristic for the benefit-of-the-doubt-giving kid, but also showed a different aspect of his inexperience. Partly it could also have been attributed to him, trying to be out of character and not showing that he was of Rain or maybe it was mental fatigue from the journey, or maybe he was just generally confused. Regardless the young chuunin was coming from a point of complete ignorance, and yet he still opened his mouth.
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Old 07-01-2019, 02:28 AM   #22
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This high in the air, velocity could only be measured by how quickly you moved past objects below, and telling one tree from the next hadn’t been a priority. But as soon as he felt the breeze begin to take chunks out of his cheeks and the temple rise up starkly before him, Gen knew he was hurtling. Towards what, he couldn’t say for sure, other than something hard and unforgiving: temple stone. He could tuck and roll with the best of them, but that was when he could control the variables. Gen on foot was a damn sight slower and lower than this!

“Trust me…”

That’s what it came down to. Did he trust her farther than she could throw him?

Yes, he decided. Also, what other choice did he have? Within seconds, he was free falling, both feet alive with burning sensations but very much able to move. A second later, those same toes impacted the ground and he couldn’t wait to be off them. He threw himself into a roll that spawned three more, skidding to a halt on his back, feet resting against a temple column as he stared up into the sky. He could see clouds and he could see rain. And the rain felt good. His legs were ok. He sighed audibly.

“Still alive,” he muttered gratefully.

He rolled over onto his hands and pushed himself to his knees. Masami was being helped up by some old dude while Hayate was cleaning himself off. Gen could do to do the same. He was thoroughly damp and now wearing a few smears of something he could only define as ‘miscellaneous temple grime’. Miscellaneous temple, miscellaneous grime. Yuck. He took a knee, wiping off the parts of him that weren’t too gross as he watched the exchange. Expected, you say? Good time?

“Great, got a towel?”

His query was largely ignored, save for a subtle eyebrow raise from the monk. He caught it. And the guy didn’t miss a beat. Gen stood slowly, frowning darkly as his title was bestowed. Or, at least, the choice of two. He spluttered.

“Hollow? Would-be?!”

Check this guy out, meting judgement. Yeah, I know what ‘mete’ means. Gen had half a mind to ask Hayate whether he’d like the privilege of punk-slapping the monk first or leaving that to the genin, but the chuunin was dealing with it in his own way. Verbal indignation. Elder’s choice? Alright, Gen could get behind that. First, he had to think of something clever to say.

“Pfft. Yeah. And, I’m like, unbroken. Unbreakable, bro. I’m the most put-together guy you’ll ever see. Pfft. This guy…”

Tight.
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Old 07-06-2019, 04:34 PM   #23
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"A trap?" The temple elder simply chuckled at the accusation Hayate threw his way. "Come now child-"

"They have names."

"Uh..." He seemed taken aback at Masami's somewhat harsh interjection, as though he wasn't used to being interrupted very often; perhaps his position as lead priest hadn't offered many chances to experience it, or perhaps more simply that due to how out of the way this place was he had not had the chance to talk to so many people in quite some time. "You're right, of course. They are...?"

"Ihara. Getsuei." She indicated each of them in turn, only giving away their family names for now, Hayate had impressed upon them all the need for some discretion after all, and this way the choice to fully give away their identities was still their own.

"So, the Hollow child is Ihara, and the unbreakable Hero Gestuei?" He double checked as he watched her gesture to the two younger shinobi in turn. "I can only apologise. Divination is an inexact art, that requires interpretation to be understood. Its not as though we are presented with a whole narrative, with names beside every character within, as it were... So we must rely on symbolism, easily recognisable events or iconography to identify those we saw to other seers. I humbly request your forgiveness, Getsuei, Ihara, and-oh?" It was at that moment he seemed to realise that he had only been given two names, "And you are?"

"Waiting for answers. You were about to explain how this isn't a trap and how you know of us- and don't just say divination. The wardens said futuresight is supposed to be all... screwy, this close to the end of the world..."

"Yes, the Calamity." He pinched the bridge of his nose, clearly being pushed to reveal more than he had planned to, or at least had planned to so soon. "I will explain as best as I can, but I would ask you follow me inside as we speak. I prepared some light refreshments, even a towel," he added with a pointed look at Gen, "And as you can tell, the weather in this region is not as pleasant as one might like"

Once inside, the temple didn't look much better; still worn and a little beaten by the ages, but cleaner at least - It was spartan, but kept presentable. As promised, a small table stood in the atrium, surrounded by what looked to be some of the prayer benches re-purposed, and with a meagre array of foods and clean water, albeit likely the best they could put together with the temples limited resources. And of course, a single towel.

"You are correct, there is a veil over most prophecy as the eclipse approaches" He began as he gestured lightly toward the assembled snacks. "But I have been blessed, or perhaps cursed if you wish to see it that way, to be one of the exceptions to prove the rule. I... am not fated to live long enough to reach the eclipse in question, and so my own threads of fate are clearer to read, as they do not become so muddled through interaction with the Calamity itself. In turn, that allows me to still read those I am fated to interact with in the time remaining as well, such as yourselves."

"As for this being some kind of a trap... I can only give you my word it is not. You chose to come here of your own accord, no one influenced your decisions - even the Wardens did not reveal this to you as one of the tasks they had planned for their champions. You defied fate, discovered and followed this option yourselves, freely chose this temple of all others in the vicinity and are the ones who came to me, dropping out of the sky on my doorstep. With all that in mind, and knowing I am fated to die by your groups hands, I feel it fairer to suggest that if anyone has been corralled into a trap, it would be myself"
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Old 07-08-2019, 02:29 AM   #24
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As the group followed the senior monk into the temple, there was an ever so slight dip in inclination. The spiraling stone passageways slowly lead them down into the bowels of the swamp, until they reach a large open area. The subterranean hall was three storeys high, yet only one could have been above ground level. It had a stained glass dome roof with depictions of a majestic central sun being engulfed by swirling black storm clouds. There was a table and benches laid out for them on the lowest level, and above them more were scattered on empty balconies.

Sniff… sniff… Chicken and mushroom soup?

The rain chuunin’s stomach betrayed him, all thoughts of deception and caution to the wind. The young rogue in disguise was the first to dig in, to be fair, they all would have been starving. They listened as the elder continued his story, as he explained how he maintained his gift of future sight within the disturbances caused by Calamity’s clouds. Honestly, Hayate had realized that he had completely missed that divination was on the down at the time. It must have been mentioned in the last temple hall meeting they were in, he thought to himself as he further filled his mouth.

“...I am fated to die by your groups hands…”

Immediately the spoon fell from Hayate’s hand and his remaining appetite dissipated. As he swallowed the last gulps. there were no words in his mouth. He had no idea of what to follow with, no idea that this was to be their vile act. How could they do it, they definitely would not - the good assassin dilemma reared its head once more. Turning to his teammates, he wondered how they felt. Was this another thing that he had missed along the way.

He hoped Masami-sensei had an answer for his troubles, as he left the floor to her.
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Old 08-04-2019, 06:57 AM   #25
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Gen wasn’t sure he liked this monk. In fact, he knew he didn’t. He was too sassy — an answer for everything — for his own good. And for Gen’s. The whole divination thing was a neat trick, but if the price was a know-it-all attitude, Gen was glad he’d never have to pay it. He just had to suffer through it. But maybe he was being too judgmental. He was a long way from home on an unsanctioned mission, practically alone save for a pair of companions who were still, really, strangers. Complete unknowns. Could he trust them? He hoped so. He was placing a lot of faith on his ability to look for the good in others. Bolstering that shred of pseudo-confidence was like clinging to a raggedy security blanket snagged on the lip of a perilous cliff, all sense diverted to terror management, self-preservation and little else.

Masami seemed to be a capable team leader. Her skills in the shinobi arts were far beyond his own, and she was being somewhat tactful in how much she revealed. First names would have been better — less specific — but Gen didn’t feel like complaining. How would that help? It wouldn’t. If Gen wanted to help (and he did), then he’d have to find his own way to contribute productively. Playing the tough guy card had been a temporary salve for his bruised ego, but that was on him. If he stood any chance of reclaiming the senses he’d surrendered to combatting his feelings of otherness, it meant putting his trust in this team to have his back. Maybe it was as easy as that: deliberately bestowing the benefit of the doubt on Masami and Hayate like some treasured keepsake; making a choice.

Alright. Done.

Now to see if it had worked. Choosing to quell his judgements and simply listen, he swallowed the indignation he’d felt and paid as much attention to the monk’s gloomy exposition as he could. However, as soon as they entered the hall, the ceiling drew his stare and his eyes widened with barely contained wonder, causing him to tilt his head back. Then it was his nostrils’ turn. Flaring like lassoes latching onto a most pleasing aroma, they led him by the nose to follow Hayate’s example and take a seat. He picked up the solitary towel left out for him and draped it wordlessly around his shoulders, then sat on the bench across the table from the other boy. Still, he listened, or tried to. Truth be told, he’d lost the plot somewhere between cursed and Wardens.

“Yo, Hayate,” he whispered. “What’s he saying?”

The chuunin didn’t respond. He was pretty engrossed in his food.

Damn, he’s really going for it!

Until he wasn’t, and his spoon clattered against the rim of the bowl.

“Damn. What I say?”
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Old 08-06-2019, 01:47 PM   #26
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Whilst the others ate, and the priest explained as much as he was either able or willing to, Masami began the arduous process of trying to pull her other selves, not to mention Takeo, back through the shadow portal she had been abusing. Thankfully the unusual architecture of the main hall made it fairly easy to find a point in the room where the light angled enough to stretch the shadows enough to make a slightly more comfortable space to drag the three of them through.

Much like Hayate's spoon though, the final of her subjects was abruptly dropped in a moment of shock as the priest dropped the bombshell of his supposed fate, leaving the poor clone to scramble wildly at the incorporeal edge of the portal in an attempt to catch itself on something solid before it fell all the way through - a close call that left all three of them with a slight nosebleed that seemed to be almost ignored as they all stood in stunned silence.

All aside from Gen, it seemed, who mercifully didn't seem to have been following along, and was looking around at them all in some confusion.

"Well," The Kiyama subject nearest Gen, the one that hadn't been summarily forced to drag itself out the ground in a panic, piped up in an attempt to be helpful and answer the question. "He said that he foresaw us killing him, probably as our thing to summon the Samurai. Which is maybe why he's being quite so sass-"

"No-, no. Hold it" She interrupted her own pseudo-clone as it spoke, "We're not, that's not what we're here to do. We're not doing anything that can't be put right after, we decided that" She had to pause a moment, not quite sure if they had decided that, or if she had decided that and just assumed everyone was on board; now looking back at each of them to see if they did indeed look like they favoured the more extreme approach the priest was implying they all did.

"We are all still good with that decision, right? None of you were thinking of..."

- I was thinking of it -

Shut up, you don't count.
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Old 08-07-2019, 09:58 AM   #27
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Hayate remained speechless, throughout most of the events. As the shadows of the background twined to form a pitch black portal and the queen’s clones haphazardly dropped into the scene, none of it seemed to phase the young chuunin. Not until the words of one of the emergent subjects made reality the dark thoughts that had been running through his head.

Masami had hinted of wanting to do the deed herself, and not wanted them to get involved or tainted by the act. Hayate wondered if she had planned something to that effect from the get go, the slaying of an elder priest . It dawned on him, that he did not really know his teammates or what they were capable of. He had trusted them fully, as he knew they were all chosen like him, and he did not for a second consider their origins or deeper nature.

Then after mere moments, the true Masami spoke, contracting her own other self entirely. She protested against the murderous idea, that well, she kinda also proposed. It was getting confusing for Hayate to compartmentalize the different ‘hers’.

“I am definitely not on board with killing him!”

The boy, whose age became clear in his childlike rage, slammed his palms to the table as he stood up.

“This is not what I had in mind. I thought we would maybe piss on some gravestones, spray paint walls, or smash a holy statue or two… not this...”

Already thinking of acting on his alternative suggestions, he surveilled the hall once again. 'It was in a bad shape already,' he thought, but he could definitely do more damage.

There are places in Rain that looked a lot worse...

Then he looked up once more, the glass dome above them stood as a diamond in the rough among the shambles that made up the temple’s structures. It’s ornate tapestry of colored mosaic shards would be the perfect act of desecration and ruin. There was an irony in it depicting the dream call of Calamity’s chosen, as it would now be the dark call to one of Calamity’s fiends.

Raising his palm to the sky, Hayate cocked his forearm and launched off a rain pebble. He then rattled of a swift string of seals that caused the pebble to burst at its apex, spreading acid across the roof's supporting beams.

...Crreeeaaakkk…. Ssszzzszzz….

The sounds that would herald the storm of falling glass that was to come.


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Old 08-19-2019, 01:59 AM   #28
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’Killing him’ said Masami’s disembodied voice, towards which Gen gave a cursory glance. Turning back to the others with a shuddering shiver, he didn’t know what had shocked him more, the suggestion of ritualistic killing or the pack of clones that had mysteriously appeared to one side like a murder brigade. Maybe the fact that the not-Masami who had spoken was independently more sadistic than her liege. He shuffled sideways on his bench, as if away from the suggestion, and piped up to mesh his rejection into Hayate’s argument.

“Totally not down for that!”

Gen hadn’t even wished that upon an enemy; he wasn’t about to jump into the shinobi assassination game by offing a holy man.

“Is that what he’s seen? Then tell him his visions are screwy because…this towel isn’t even big enough.”

He flopped the now offending item down on the table, leaving a twisted up hand imprint from where he’d been gripping it. Nobody had to know that it was exactly what Gen had needed. He doubled down.

“Yeah…tell em Hayate! Gimme some of that soup and I’ll piss on anything - just spray the word.”

He reached for the other soup bowl innocently steaming next to the older boy, but paused.

“Just- what are you doing, yo?”

Then cocked his head and followed the direction of Hayate's outstretched palm.

“Aw…crapbaskets.”

He was half-way out of his seat and wriggling under the table when the ceiling collapsed, along with his resolve. Just because they weren’t actively killing the monk themselves, didn’t mean a sharp shard of glass wouldn’t do the trick.

Aaaaargghhhh, move, man!

Wriggling back out, he struck his knee painfully on the edge of the table before barreling across the floor to tackle Captain Deathwish. There was a row of benches behind the monk that he might have time to roll the guy under.
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