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Old 08-26-2017, 03:41 PM   #1
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Default AppROCKximation

AppROCKximation

Another flyer had found its way under the door of Kaori’s apartment. It carried the same printed message and cheap art with big, block letters condemning Kaori. Not specifically him, but people like him. The coalition had done well to instill fear within the population, and people were starting to listen. And now, Kaori couldn’t enjoy his morning tea because he had an extra copy of some stupid pamphlet urging citizens to “wake up.”

Quote:
Originally Posted by People for Freedom
As we have all seen in recent times, those gem implanted people are a step away from murder at any given time. Children are being harmed, people are losing control, and our government won’t do anything to stop this.

It’s time we do something about it. The Force Jewelss [sic] are a blemish on our society. It’s time we fix it.

The People for Freedom won’t stop until every jeweled shinobi and citizen alike are forced to undergo procedures to remove the jewels. It’s not our place to play God. These jewels are destroying the fabric of our society. There are rumors that even animals are getting implanted. Between the effective civil war of The Jeweled and such we have to stop this. Removing the force jewel is the only way.

Meet up with us. We have big ideas and lots of targets. We can take this country back, even if the shinobi won’t help us. Won’t you join us?
More division and strife, Kaori thought, pulling his knees under him. Haru lay on the ground, curved tail delicately wrapped around her ink-spot nose. One of her back legs sprawled out a bit on the hardwood floor, the only spoke on an otherwise perfect circle of beige and orange. Haru had no concept of strife. The most exciting thing she had to deal with was running home after coming across a jaguar in the woods, and she had long forgotten that because Kaori gave her treats last night. She really liked treats.

If only people could be more like dogs.

This ordeal would need to be quelled and if he let either of his teammates know, they would encourage him by saying things like, “Don’t be brash,” and “You’ll screw it up, leave it alone,” or “It’s not your problem, Kaori. You’re not some vigilante.

And it’s true, Kaori was no vigilante, mostly because he didn’t know what the word meant and didn’t appreciate the tone.

The paper lacked an address for the meeting, which was probably shady. In a corner, it had cross-streets listed, which meant they would be meeting on the edge of the Market district. It was an agreeable area of the city, close to food and leisure. A small crowd wouldn’t stick out. Masami would say that was the point. They wanted a place where people could meet but not be noticed. And if Stone went to crack down on the dissenting voices, the People for Freedom could easily disperse.

Kaori got dressed in his button up long sleeve and cargo shorts, pulling out a pair of sandals. They didn’t match, but that wasn’t a cause for concern. What did concern him was how frosty the floor was. He pulled on thick, white socks and slipped them into his single strap sandals, checking himself in the mirror. He was missing something.

Right, mirrored sunglasses. Typical.

He walked out the door, jingling a little bit as his shell necklace clacked together. The sun beat down on him, taunting him with a tan. Kaori walked along, breathing steadily. As for a plan, he’d try to pull one together. For now he was going to investigate, to see if any of the people at the Market District struck him as Freedom people. Kaori would be lying if he didn’t think he was super cool for taking initiative like this. He was investigating things, looking for clues, on the hunt for information. He was practically Masami and Sudao combined right now and he was really feeling it.

It took him long enough that the shadows had stretched a bit more over the market area. Small children played with a ball in the corner while two older women sat on a bench with frozen treats, enjoying essentially big, frozen bowls of sugar. To Kaori’s immediate left, a group of three teenagers hung out by a fruit stall, sitting on wooden beams that fenced the shop in. All around was the sign of life and energy and happiness. It was just another day in Iwagakure.

No one stood around with a copy of his pamphlet. That would have been too easy. He checked the date on it, making certain that their first meeting would be today. Around him were plenty of opportunities, but no one seemed to say anything.

I can’t breathe.

Yeah, that’s cause you’re hiding, Kaori said silently.

You never hide me. What? Are you embarrassed of me, now?

I’m investigating people who don’t like gems. You’re a gem. They can’t see you or they won’t talk to me.

I’m not a gem! I’m a chakra manifestation of the great Thunder God! I’m Kazuisho!

You’re my bro. Now help me out and hide, all right?

Kazu made sure Kaori could feel the presence in his brain harrumph and turn around. It was like having a third eye. Kaori could see the invisible man in his head starting up a pity party. But now wasn’t the time for hurt feelings. Now was the time to investigate!

He didn’t notice he dropped the folded flyer as he tried to put it in his pocket. It floated on the wind and landed a few feet away from him, next to a middle aged woman reading a book on a large rock. She glanced at the flyer with wide eyes before looking over the nearby witnesses.

Who littered?” she said, pointing at the paper.
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Old 08-28-2017, 03:37 PM   #2
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Oh, that’s not mine,” Kaori stammered, feeling the usurping blush spread from his neck, defying gravity. In a matter of moments his cheeks would flush bright pink, showing the inability to lie, his inability that stemmed from, well, never having to actually lie about things.

See, Kaori had a good life. Even when things got tough on missions, he just had to sit still and attract attention while Masami and Sudao took care of the problem. He was a behemoth, a focal point for destruction. And he took it in stride. When it came to tactical analysis or secrecy, Kaori was abhorrent at best and transparent… at best, also.

Shame,” the woman said, unfolding her legs and refolding them, as though waiting for a theatre to draw their curtain. “If it was yours, you could help fix the problem.

Of the gems?” he replied with a heavy blush.

No. You could fix the littering problem,” she answered coolly with a neutral expression. “By picking up your trash, obviously.

Kaori said nothing, mostly because he had nothing to say. What could he? He tried to run through the possibilities but found himself turning sideways every five hypothetical seconds, losing his ability to comprehend the situation. If he picked the paper up, he could look guilty, and looking guilty could mean that he was a secret agent for some Gem agency that… or maybe if he didn’t pick the paper up he would look like a tool. And so Kaori sat in that indelicate moment of complete uncertainty, unsure if he should be a good person or not, and just pick up the paper. Technically, Kaori was pretty sure it was his. It was folded the same way. But he came here to be subversive and sneaky. He came here to be Masami!

The only way out was to be Sudao.

It, uh, it is a shame about the trash. But, also,” Kaori answered, picking the paper up. “These gems… they’re something else, aren’t they?

She stared at him, eyes unblinking and lips stretched in a complete frown. After what seemed to be a minute she nodded slightly.

Sure.

Two more figures joined the scene, sitting a few feet across from the woman on a small bench. They talked amongst themselves, making sure that the corner of a small, yellow pamphlet stuck out of the corner of their shoulder pocket. Even Kaori could tell that it wasn’t that subtle.

Friends?” Kaori said, pointing.

If Kaori could read her thoughts, he would have heard only one word in regards to the big brute's lack of tact: brazen.
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Old 08-29-2017, 02:49 PM   #3
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The meeting room was in the back of a bar that had decorations that must have survived the Great Ninja War 200 years ago. It was dusty in places dust shouldn’t have reached, glass was foggy with years of smoke residue, and lights flickered in a sinister manner. It was as seedy a dive bar could be, filled with all sorts of deplorable looking people drinking in the middle of the morning. A stool was spilling its fluff out of the side, giving the seated man what appeared to be an adorable bunny tail.

They had walked through the hazy corridors past a kitchen with only half a door and a bathroom that had a “Do Not Disturb” side on the doorknob. Past a small purple curtain was a small closet they walked into, which turned out to simply be an antechamber for a meeting room that no doubt held illegal gambling rings any other night of the week. Kaori would have to remember this place so he could bring it up to his YAMA superiors. Kazu lovingly reminded him silently that he would probably forget. Kaori would.

Six chairs spread out unevenly around a square table were waiting for the seven people trying to figure out which loser was going to stand. Kaori counted the chairs and realized the problem, so he stood back up and offered his chair to the middle-aged woman, who curtly nodded and sat back down. Soldiers had to stand at attention and stand on watch and stand up to Sudao’s avatar and stand behind everyone because he was tall. This is to say that he was used to standing. His hulking frame tried to draw no attention to itself, but by very virtue of his sheer size, he was about as out of sight as a bald patch. Everybody noticed but they didn’t want to be rude, so they simply looked around, pretending Kaori didn’t exist.

I’m glad we have some new faces,” the woman said, smiling. It was an unsettling grin, filled with deep machinations. “Let’s go around, we can introduce ourselves. Remember, this is only a neighborhood meeting of like-minded people. We have done nothing illegal. That being said, I understand if you feel it remiss to share your personal information. Consider this an investigative task force. You’re all agents of the neighborhood.

I’m Kaori!” he said, waving his hand.

You’re task force codename is a girl’s name?” A man with curly brown hair asked, chuckling lightly.

That’s my actual name, dude.” came Kaori’s straight reply.

The man swallowed and began to stare with fervent curiosity at his fingernails.

The woman introduced herself as Yuriko, the curly haired man was Asosa, a portly man with a full beard was Shinji, and there were three similarly dressed people in black shirts and jeans. Of those three, there was a raven haired woman with bloodshot eyes who introduced herself as Shirou, a thin man who looked to be her brother who called himself Kuro, and a shorter man who looked quite young, who called himself Aoi.

Kaori promptly forget all their names.

We live near the barracks, we can count how many are on their forces.” Kuro swiftly delivered, brushing a stray lock of hair from his face.

We could get a count of their numbers in a week’s time.” Shirou said, gesturing to Aoi, who perked up and nodded.

I have connections in the administrative building. I could see if we could sneak out a copy of medical records, compare that number to our reported numbers. A difference in number—

Would be quite a scandal, yes,” Yuriko said, pulling her now loose hair back and rotating it into a perfect bun. She grabbed an ice pick from somewhere Kaori could see from his angle, and stuck it neatly in her bun, like a hair ornament. “Brilliant, if a little too slow...

And you?” Kaori asked, trying to sound excited when he was actually becoming bored with all this talking.

I have a different plan,” she said, eyes twinkling. “Let me suggest that the news will have quite a bit to report tomorrow.

Kaori began to feel queasy, stomach full of bitterness. Whispers surrounded him, the Kami calling out to him, urging him about something.

W-what did you do?” he said, walking slowly to the table, eyes cast in stretched shadow from the bare bulb hanging overhead.

I made quite a little scene for detectives to find. Turns out a poor man was viciously attacked by a jeweled shinobi in our very own town. He was beaten so badly I’m afraid the authorities won’t be able to identify him for quite some time,” she said, crossing her arms. “Such a travesty. We’re living in troubled times.

Kaori’s blood sank to his feet, feeling faint. This wasn’t a group meeting, this was incitement of war.
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Last edited by Mizu; 08-30-2017 at 12:27 AM..
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Old 08-30-2017, 12:57 AM   #4
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Wait. Who is the guy? Is he dead? Did you kill him? Are you serious?” Kaori fired off, slamming his fist in the table. “Answer me!"

The men and women around the table stirred, muttering to each other. Yuriko stared up at Kaori and placed her hands on the table, palms up, still smiling slightly. Her face was a blank piece of a paper and it was causing Kaori’s muscles to flood with energy, his heart beginning to hammer out a rapid pace, thumping against his chest.

You seem oddly interested,” she said, standing up. She pulled the ice pick from her hair and backed up slowly, holding it out in front of her like an offering. With a flash, she pointed it at Kaori and smiled. “You seem to forget you picked that piece of paper off the ground. I saw your pretty, little jewel on your chest.

Kaori turned to look at the other four people around the table.

Wait.

Click.

Behind him the curly haired man had already locked the door, sealing them together in the room. “Looks like we got another one. Two days in and we already have a second friend.

Wait.

Trap.

Kaori winced. He’d been their target all along. But how wo—

I’m not one to act mighty, but don’t you think it strange we strangers would all seem to know how to meet up?” Yuriko chimed, pointing a finger at the three black haired young adults, who were now putting on gas masks and dropping cylinders of metal around the room. Green smoke began billowing out, enveloping the table in a matter of seconds. “We were just going to have a meeting, but with a jeweled-monstrosity just walking into our lair… How perfect.

Kaori cursed at himself, cycling through a million possible outcomes. He could take on all six of them, that was no problem. He could kill them all easily. They were just NSCs. He could take on a legion of non-shinobi citizens. He’d done it before. He was a wrecking ball. But by the time he got through them all, he’d still be in a locked room behind a reinforced steel door in the back of a seedy bar so far away from the people who could help him. Once again, Kaori had tried to be sneaky and it absolutely backfired in his face.

Okay,” Kaori answered, going through a half dozen handseals. Within a second, gas already up to his chest, his body burst open in a yellow flash, veins of black and gold racing around his body, circling around his eyes and spreading on his limbs like thick spider webs. “You got me. That’s shocking.

He laughed as the gas tickled his nose.

But, uh, so this is. I mean, so is this!” Damn it. He even messed up is joke.

Arcs of lightning flew from his hands, zapping the two closest to the door directly in the chest. Yuriko flew backward, hitting the wall and dropping her ice pick. The man smacked his head into a pewter sconce on the wall, and sank to the floor holding his head. His gas mask had slid off his face and while Kaori couldn’t see him clearly through the green smog that now enveloped the room, he could make out the man was now unconscious, eyes closed. Kaori turned around, readying to take out the trash only to find a small blade now lodged in his side.

He gasped and immediately regretted it, as peppery smoke filled his lungs and cut off his breath. He felt like he was breathing mud, and it burned him from the inside out.

His hands were still forming signs when the lights went out and he slipped onto the ground, holding himself up for a brief moment. He could hear shouts between a few people but couldn’t understand what they were saying. All around them was swirling smoke and he was breathing fire and his stomach was burning and his eyes were heavy.

Kaori slept.
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Last edited by Mizu; 08-30-2017 at 03:49 PM..
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Old 08-30-2017, 12:58 AM   #5
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Kaori’s eyes snapped open. Directly in front of him was a bright, circular light with a curved mirror behind it. He could make out faces of people all standing around him, perpendicular. They were walking on the walls? How was that possible?

After a second, Kaori realized he was prone on a very firm, metal surface with dozens of wrapped restraints on his body. His shirt had been removed and there was a scent of disinfectant wafting up to his nose. His chest had been cleaned. Yuriko leaned over, inches from his face, and smiled but this time, differently. It was a smile of glee, a moment of unrestrained happiness.

Don’t worry,” she said, patting his cheek with a gloved hand, scalpel dangerously close to his neck. “We’re not going to kill you. We’re just going to save you. You have a problem, and it’s all of our problems, too. So we’re going to do you a favor, and just remove that little jewel. After all, you’re strong. You’ll survive, won’t you? You’ll be luckier than the last one.

She held up a faded green jewel and rotated it in front of Kaori’s face. It still had a bit of skin connected to it, fused together. Kaori swallowed and looked around, trying to piece together where he was. He couldn’t hear anyone outside, and the air smelled different, but he was a big man. There was no easy way to carry his giant frame throughout town. They must still be in the bar. Maybe a basement?

Kazu was waking up now, whispering something about a massive hangover. Kaori urged him to quiet down, asking the voice to be silent for a moment while they try to escape what seemed like a death sentence.

The bed started to move, pulling away from the ceiling. It was lowering, bringing a table full of instruments into Kaori’s peripheral vision. Scalpels, bone saws, several syringes full of various colored fluids. This wasn’t going to end well.

Shall we begin?




... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
To be continued.
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Last edited by Mizu; 08-30-2017 at 01:01 AM..
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