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  1. 5 points
    001: THINGS WE LEFT BEHIND AND THE THINGS WE DIDN'T PRT1 OOC|Omg, I'm posting! ----- ____________________ ... RYŪNOSUKE HAD not been particularly attentive of his surroundings for the majority of the four hour drive from the airport. He'd gazed out of the passenger's seat window on occasion to take in, if not but visually, the stark change in scenery that was the countryside of the Tama region, also known as Western Tokyo. Although he was not in a frame that would allow a full appreciation of the simplistic and natural beauty of the region, the 17 year old --who had until now lived exclusively in a bustling city-- saw in the wide and empty green plains visible on the roadside an indication of just how much he was leaving behind. He was hundreds of miles from Osaka, hundreds of miles from his old life, his old home. "Hundreds of miles from-" Ryūnosuke inhaled deeply as he pressed his head against the window glass and closed his eyes, hoping to banish his thoughts and clear his mind. Merely a temporary reprieve, he knew; one that worked most of the time, but the thoughts were never truly gone. The guilt and shame were always there, persistent, stubborn, and lingering in the back of his mind, pouncing out from the darkness to torment him only when he pretended he could move beyond them. Ryūnosuke sighed lowly in frustration. Who was he kidding, no amount of time or distance could ever make him forget what he'd done --the harm he'd caused-- much less could any distance change it. Tamura Mariko had thoughts and regrets of her own as she watched her son from the backseat of the silver SUV bound for their new home in Karakura. She regretted that she'd noticed too little and too late to help him, that she didn't see the signs that he was struggling and needed help. Most of all, she resented the fact that a tragedy had torn a rift between herself and her boy. Where there had once been warmth and openness now festered an expanding pit of coldness and silence. Oh, how she hated the silence and everything that came with it. The doubt and paranoia. Sleepless nights, woke with fear as she wondered if she would have to go through what that poor girl Hina's mother experienced. "Would she wake up one morning and find her boy-" Mariko shuddered, holding back the tears that had begun to swell in her eyes. "No." That was precisely why they had left Osaka. It would take time, it would be hard and painful, but she would get her family through this crisis. They would reclaim their happiness and she would see the glow in her son's eyes again. Even if that meant moving to the edge of the earth. Mariko reached over the passenger's seat and placed her hand tenderly on Ryūnosuke's left shoulder. "Are you okay, Ryūn?" she asked lowly. There was a delay in her son's response. Part of her hoped that perhaps he was considering to share everything that was bothering him. That he'd suddenly become inclined to tell her everything that happened that morning when he found Hina. That he'd shout at her, curse at her, or even blame her, just as long as he'd opened the door that would allow her back into his life. Let her be his mother again. "I'm fine." Ryūnosuke mumbled. Mariko, squeezed his shoulder, silently begging him not to shut down on her again. "Are you sure? You haven't eaten or said anything in hours. Are you hungry." "Mom, I'm fine... I'm just tired is all." "Alright, honey." Mariko conceded. She gave Ryūnosuke a final pat on his shoulder before she reclined in her seat. She wondered if she'd pressed too hard again without realizing it. If her maternal instincts had gotten the better of her again. But what else was she to do? What else did she have to trust in if not the biological imperative to protect her child? Did that make her selfish? How could it be wrong of her to want to be close to her son again? How could anyone expect her to be patient and endure the agonizing pain of knowing your child --the most important and beloved thing to you in this world-- is so close, not even an arm's length away, and yet so achingly distant from you? Ryūnosuke surely couldn't comprehend his mother's feelings. For as much as he was a selfish teenager, he had very real torments of his own as well. Perhaps fortunately, if he had nothing else going for him, Ryūnosuke was mature enough to at least recognize his own thoughts and emotions. He knew very well, that he was dealing with his own guilt, shame, and regret. He was angry, but not with the world --most certainly not with his mother. Rather he was angry with himself, for what he'd done. He'd blamed himself for ruining what little happiness his family had. For destroying that little happiness he'd always taken for granted. Add to that the fact that, for better or for worse, the troubled teen had inherited his father's pride, which dictated that there were things he simply could never say openly or admit. Mr. Nagashi was a man of many talents and responsibilities. Exactly three months from the day he'd have been under the employment of Tamura Keiji for fifteen years. He'd been President Keiji's (of Tamura Pharmaceuticals) closest friend for seven more years than that. Point was, Nagashi had known the Tamuras for a very long time. He'd, in fact, known young Ryūnosuke for the teenager's entire life. Nagashi, was practically a member of the family himself, but he was a professional and never eluded to that fact and was all the better at his job for it. At least in his own opinion. Officially, he was the Head of Security at Tamura Pharmaceuticals. Unofficially, the parameters of his job description were much less clearly defined. Put bluntly, he did whatever the Tamura's needed of him; with top priority going to whatever Tamura Keiji instructed him to do. At the moment, that task happened to be driving Keiji's wife and son to their new home. That also meant silently enduring the tense atmosphere that now loomed over the entire Tamura household like a black smog of ill-managed emotions. It was no secret that the smog followed the mother and child even now, and that it was heaviest around Ryūnosuke. Nagashi would have loved to give the teen some much needed advice but the truth was that even Nagashi, in all his life-hardened wisdom wasn't sure what he should say to Ryūnosuke. Frankly, as much as it pained him to think it, he was fine with being invisible as long as the Tamuras collectively acted as if he was. "We'll be there soon, we've got about another twenty kilometers." he said sharply before allowing himself to fade back into invisibility just as quickly as he'd spoken. "Thank you, Nagashi." Mariko replied shortly afterwards. Ryūnosuke remained silent. The teen opened his eyes again and watched as a train approached on the railway parallel to the road. He wondered where the train was going, what were the odds of it heading to Osaka. He watched closely as they passed the train, heading their opposite directions, and for a moment time seemed to slow down to a halt, just like it did in the heat of a match, when he was in the batter's box, honed in on a pitch. For just a second he caught a glimpse of a teenage girl who couldn't be any older than he was. She sat alone with a thick red scarf wrapped tightly around her neck. She wore an opened jean jacket, with a white blouse underneath, and on her lap was a small pink suitcase littered with newly applied and some aged and peeling cat stickers. However, her most defining feature was the ever obvious look of repressed sadness on her face. He recognized that expression, it was Hani's expression, the one that haunted him now. Ryūnosuke shifted upwards in his seat and looked backwards at the train as it drew away again, his brows furrowed with concern as a faint gasp escaped his pressed lips. Nagashi and Mariko took note of the teen's sudden alertness. "Ryūn?" Mariko called worriedly. Ryūnosuke responded quickly, almost too quickly, "It's nothing." he reassured; hoping his mother would leave it at that, and, against every cry of her maternal intuition, Mariko did. To Be Continued... ______________________________ WC|1,415 -----
  2. 5 points
    004: SKELETONS OOC: Spicy post ----- ___________________ ... RYŪNOSUKE SAT silently on his bed with his eyes buried attentively into the screen of his phone. He'd awaken just an hour earlier to the repeated chiming of his inbox notification, alerting him that he'd received a total of one-hundred and thirty-two new messages. The vast majority had been from a group chat comprised of members of his old high school baseball team, and of course his ex-girlfriend Akane and some of their mutual friends. Until now, he'd ignored the group --it was a rather effortless endeavor-- as the group was rarely active. If he remembered correctly, it was made by one of Akane's underlings to coordinate the baseball team's plans for the cultural festival last year. Since then the group had been used to post memes and other random trivia. In fact, the quantity of new messages was so unprecedented that, upon first looking at his phone, Ryūnosuke wondered what could have possibly provoked the unusual activity. His best guess was that Akane was planning one of her parties. Under that suspicion alone, the teenager very nearly disregarded the chatroom entirely. However, his curiosity had gotten the better of him and, without seemingly a conscious thought of it, he found himself both tapping on the icon of the CATTERY app and beginning to read the logs, starting when the actively began at 6AM. The first message was from Akane. 'I got accepted into Nagoya. Not that anyone is really surprised.', it read. Ryūnosuke couldn't help but chuckle, "Of course she got in.", he snickered. Akane had always been brilliant. While Ryūnosuke was also smart and performed very well academically as long as he asserted himself, what Akane had was something different. Something super-human. She was a genius, who excelled every subject without needing to study at all, with a particular inclination towards complex scientific materials. If she wanted to, Akane could have skipped high school entirely; and it did her teachers no favors that both she and they knew that fact. There was one thing that Akane needed from school, however, and that was social interaction with people her age. Being the only daughter of the CEO of one of Japan's largest pharmaceutical companies and the sole inheritor of the Ayanokoji Clan fortune meant there was a tremendous amount of pressure on her shoulders to exceed and mature beyond her years. Not unlike Ryūnosuke, Akane despised the never-ending bombardment of pressure and stress mercilessly cast down by a ruthless and over-bearing father. And because of it, also unlike Ryūnosuke, she rebelled. In fact, their rebellion had been one of the same. Their father's were once college buddies who entered the same field. After college, Akane's father went on to start Ferne'Care Pharmaceuticals and employed Ryūnosuke's father, Keiji, as the head of his own department. The company had somewhat of a rocky start, but things took a major turn for better when Ferne'Care made a breakthrough that caught the attention of governments around the globe. Ryūnosuke's father claimed the breakthrough happened as a direct result of to his own research and that Akane's father --and by extension Ferne'Care-- took full credit for his work. This ignited animosity between the two, the friendship and respect the two colleagues once shared was gone. Replaced by a seething bitterness and, perhaps as some believed, a deep jealousy that culminated in Keiji leaving Ferne'Care to start his own company to rival his former friend. Enter, Tamura Pharmaceuticals. At the time this was all happening Ryūnosuke and Akane were toddlers in daycare and from that day forwards it was by no coincidence that they wound up attending the same schools all throughout their elementary, middle, and high school years. It was clear to everyone, most especially to Ryūnosuke and Akane themselves, that their fathers intended to use them as pawns and props in their ongoing feud. It was also clear that neither of their fathers had accounted for the possibility that by trying to constantly force their children to butt heads with one another that the pair they might grow closer to one another. Although, Ryūnosuke couldn't say for sure what Akane thought of their relationship, there was a time when it was the most important thing to him outside of his pursuit of baseball. A time when he would have given anything to ensure her happiness. A time when he truly believed they had a future together. Their friends and peers used to refer to them as the "Power Couple of Shimizudani high school"; Ryūnosuke and Akane were dubbed "King" and "Queen" respectively. Ryūnosuke scoffed at that thought; he wondered at exactly what point had their egos inflated to the degree that they believed absolutely nothing could break their teenage romance apart. It didn't matter, they were through with each other now. Akane had been the one to end it. After what happened, Ryūnosuke didn't blame her. Heck, he'd actually found a bit of relief in the fact that they were separated, and at the very least it seemed like Akane was moving on from it all. Ryūnosuke read the next few messages. ---------- ---------- Ryūnosuke snickered under his breath. Just as he suspected, Akane was having a party and the group chat was the most convenient way to inform everyone. He wondered if she was aware that he was still in the group and, if so, did it even matter to her. As he scrolled down through the messages it was more of the same; congratulations to Akane and confirmations of attendance. "Seems like everyone is moving on." Ryūnosuke thought. That was until he saw a message that he was pinged in by ♙Wakazō #8 , who was actually a freshman named of Keita Kawashima. As Ryūnosuke recalled, Keita played the outfielder position. "Wakazō" was just the nickname they gave the all rookies on the baseball team. Keita, like countless others, idolized Ryūnosuke for his talents and popularity. He worshiped the very ground Ryūnosuke walked on and seemed to take the "King Ryūnosuke" thing more seriously than anyone else, even now. Evident by what he wrote in the chat. 'I can make it but will @♕Ryūn♕ will be attending as well? I don't think anyone has heard from him yet.' That message was from only twenty minutes ago and towards the end of the recent activity. Ryūnosuke contemplated closing the chatroom, but again could not resist the alluring pull of his own curiosity. His ego demanded that he know what the others mentioned of him, if anything at all. Damn the possible consequences. ---------- ---------- Ryūnosuke sighed and dropped his phone on his lap. There were many thoughts swarming in his head, most of all he wondered how much of what happened was actually known and what other rumors had spread about him. It was frustrating for him, he knew that dwelling over those things did not help with the "turning a new leaf" vision, the entire basis on which their move to Karakura had been predicated. His mother warned him before that it would be best to sever all the connections he had in Osaka and anyone related to what happened with Hina Enokida. That was much easier said than done. As much as he wanted to move on and as much as he should have ignored the messages, Ryūnosuke could not deny that he still cared about what his old teammates thought of him. He especially cared about Akane's perception of him. However, his mother was right, it was time to move on. He couldn't bring himself to interact in the group chatroom, but the least he could do was reach out Akane privately, wish her the best, and bid her farewell. He opened his phone again and brought up his private chat with Akane. The last received message was one of hers, from three weeks prior. 'Where are you? I drove by your mom's bookshop and its been completely closed down. Are you leaving town?', it read. Ryūnosuke grunted, realizing that he'd completely forgotten to respond. At the time it was sent, he put it off and then kept putting it off until he'd let it slip out of his mine. He thought about what he should say for a moment and then began to reply. 'Hey, Akane. Sorry I didn't reply sooner. Yeah, my parents figured it would be best to get away from Osaka and have a fresh start someplace new. I saw that you got accepted into Nagoya, that's amazing. I'm very happy for you and I know you'll do your best.', he wrote. A part of him expected that Akane would ignore his message but to his surprise Akane was already typing a response. Ryūnosuke felt his heart pounding with anticipation up until the very moment that Akane's new message bleeped onto his screen. 'So, you ran away?' Ryūnosuke heard the icy contempt in the question as if Akane was standing right there in front of him. He could picture her scornful glare clearly in his head, but there was nothing for him to argue. She was right, running away was exactly what he'd done. So, Ryūnosuke replied simply with a 'Yeah. I ran away.'. 'Hmm, that's nothing like the Tamura Ryūnosuke I know.' Akane replied, but then added 'Well, to be more precise, the Tamura Ryūnosuke I thought I knew. You've shown that you're capable of some alarming things.', before Ryūnosuke could even respond. Ryūnosuke leaned back against the wooden headboard of his bed and reread the message perplexedly. He wondered if he needed to defend himself or just let the remark slide. He understood that Akane might still be justifiably angry about what happened between them, and that ignoring her messages for so long didn't help his case either. But for her to go that far, that was unfair especially considering the role she played in what happened. 'I've shown that I'M capable of some alarming things?', he replied defensively, which provoked Akane's next response. 'Yeah, you know, like cheating on your girlfriend who has been nothing but loyal to you. That kind of alarming thing.' At that point, the back and forth argument over texts began. 'I didn't cheat on you, Akane! You know that!' 'Then please explain those pictures, the ones I found on your phone that morning.' 'Those pictures were a mistake. They meant nothing!' 'You kept them. Clearly they meant something.' 'Yeah, and you spread them all over the fucking internet!' 'So, now what happened is my fault? Somehow it's my fault that I found pictures of another girl on YOUR phone.' 'You hated Hina from the day she arrived. For some reason you couldn't stand the fact that we became friends. As smart and confident as you are, you just can't admit that you were jealous of her. You were so jealous and petty that you bullied and humiliated her.' 'Well, evidently I had every reason to be jealous, considering what happened.' 'You really think you're completely innocent in all of this?' 'This all started with you and you're to blame. That's why you ran away and now you're casting blame to deflect from having to accept responsibility for what you did. I must have really had the wrong idea about you. Hate to admit it, but maybe my dad was right. All you Tamura men are despicable.' 'Yeah, your words and actions speaks volumes of what you Ayanokoji are really like, as well.' 'I can't believe I ever dated you. You're pathetic. I thought I'd be heartbroken about leaving you after all the things we've been through together, but you've made it so much easier for me. Have a good life, Tamura Ryūnosuke.' With all the might he could muster in that instant, Ryūnosuke hurled his phone through the air and into the wall. It hit the wall with a loud thud. Ryūnosuke watched the device shatter into at least 4 pieces as shards of glass from the obliterated screen sprinkled across his room. Before he had time to fully register what he'd done in his outburst of rage, Mariko was already making her way down the hall and to his room. He heard the haste in her steps as she rushed to his door and the teenager buried his face into his cupped hands. "Ryūn! I heard a loud noise, is everything okay?!" Mariko asked worriedly as she scanned the room for any fallen objects or disturbances. She saw a crack in the wall where something had collided with the concrete and below it on the carpet were the just about unrecognizable remains of what had been her son's smartphone. "What happened?!" "Nothing, I'm fine." Ryūnosuke replied, his voice muffled by his hands. "Ryūn, you can't expect me to just believe you're fine after you've-" "I said I'm fine, mom!" Ryūnosuke spat back his temper having gotten the better of him. He recognized it immediately afterwards and realized he was in the wrong again, lashing out at his mother. "I can't do this now. I can't be here.", he thought. Ryūnosuke got out of bed and walked past his mother to the closet on the right side of the room. Mariko took a moment to calm her own nerves, but she knew that Ryūnosuke had seen the anger in her eyes. "You are not fine, Ryūnosuke. You keep telling me you are, but you haven't been fine for a long time." She watched her son undress down to his boxer shorts, leaving his pajamas in a heap on the floor that he kicked to the side as he shifted through his closet and pulled out a black tracksuit. It didn't seem like he was listening to her, but Mariko continued anyway, there were things that she couldn't allow to go unsaid for any longer. "I keep telling myself that I have to give you space and time to figure this out and yesterday, for the first time in a very long time, I thought things were getting better." She paused, hoping to give her son a chance to respond or at least acknowledge her words. Ryūnosuke had just finished adjusting the elastic waistband of his pants. He grabbed an orange shirt and put his arms through the sleeves, "Sorry I haven't gotten over driving someone to commit suicide fast enough for you, mom." Ryūnosuke said with no real intention of mocking his mother. Rather, the words seemed to just slip out. That was the final straw for Mariko, "Is that what you think? That I'm being inconsiderate of what you're going through. You're not the only one who has had to suffer from this Ryūnosuke. You're not the only one with regrets and guilt. I understand that you're angry and you feel guilty for what you did, but you can't just use that as an excuse to lash out on everyone, especially not the one person trying to help you." There was no trace of her the usual motherly tenderness in her voice. Instead, it was heavy with her frustration and sadness. "Maybe if you stopped trying to help so much, you'd be better off. I can handle this myself." Ryūnosuke retorted, casting the tracksuit jacket over his back before he pulled both arms through the sleeves starting with the right. "No Ryūnosuke. This-" Mariko pointed out the destroyed phone on the floor. "This is not 'handling' anything. This is being a selfish brat. And I raised you better than that." Ryūnosuke sighed under his breath, he'd heard that same phrase from his father more times than he cared to remember "you were raised better", and he'd grown tired of the notion that that somehow meant he should have been incapable of doing wrong. "Again with the how you raised me stuff. You ever consider that maybe you didn't raise such a great kid?" he muttered, putting a baseball cap on his head. Mariko was visibly stunned by the response and took a step back. "What does that mean? What are you implying that I am a bad mother?" Ryūnosuke did not respond immediately, though in his heart he knew his answer should have been an immediate, clear, and resounding "No". Mariko was not by any stretch of the imagination a "bad mother". Ryūnosuke was beginning to get exhausted; the conversation was weighing heavily on his already tolled mental state. It was becoming increasingly difficult for him to think straight and articulate his thoughts. He felt the greatest amount of regret about being rude to his mother and it just made him angrier that no matter how nasty and disrespectful he was she continued to be supportive of him. She really was the only person trying to help him, but Ryūnosuke didn't need Mariko's care or support at the moment. He needed her to be angry with him. To tell him directly that he was in the wrong and he deserved all the suffering that came to him. He needed her to say that she was disappointed. Because he knew Mariko had raised him better and he should have been better. Akane was right as well, he was pathetic, his mother just didn't know how much so. It suddenly became important that he made her understand her son wasn't the pure innocent young man she'd raised him to be. The truth was, he'd started down this dark path long before the tragedy with Hina. A path of lies and secrets. Ryūnosuke held his final words, he felt them choking him as if they'd taken the form of a barbed lump in his throat. Though he couldn't yet imagine the form his words would take once he'd said them. After this, there was no telling what would happen or what his mother would do. He just knew he was taking the coward's way out. Ryūnosuke picked an orange and black backpack out of a cardboard box in the corner of his room behind the door. He noticed his aluminum baseball bat was fastened into one of the external slip pockets. He wore the bag by the right shoulder strap, walked pass his mother out of his room, and into the hallway. He wanted to give himself a head start. "We're not done here. Where are you going?" Mariko asked. Ryūnosuke took a deep breath and clutched his fists. "Remember that morning two days before it happened. I came home and you asked where I'd been. I told you I spent the night at Kiriyama's place, but that wasn't the truth. The truth is that I was with Akane." Ryūnosuke paused, he still had his back to his mother so he couldn't see her expression but he had no doubt that she'd probably already begun to connect the dots. "We went to a hotel together and we-" Ryūnosuke stammered, it shocked him that even he could get this flustered. "We-" ,he grunted, struggling to get the words out. "I understand, Ryūnosuke." Mariko interjected suddenly, hoping to spare her son the embarrassment. While she herself felt no less flustered and awkward about the revelation, she figured it would help keep Ryūnosuke talking. "You two are young... you loved each other, and sometimes those things just happen." Ryūnosuke shook his head. "No, you don't get it. That night... I only went to Akane because I was angry with Hina. I'd been avoiding her that entire week all because I-" Ryūnosuke stopped himself there. This was the hardest part, coming to grips with the fact that at the end of the day this entire tragedy really did ball down to his own mistakes. How could he accept that? There was no way it was that simple. How could even begin to carry that burden and why should he have to? For now, he'd already admitted more than he should have and if he said anything else he knew his mother would have more questions. Questions he wasn't ready to answer or worse yet, didn't have the answers to. "I... I need to clear my head." The teenager said as he sprinted down the stairs without another word. "No no no no no, Ryūnosuke!" Mirako begged as she attempted to chase after her son but to no avail, Ryūnosuke was too fast. She reached the staircase before completely giving up her pursuit. "Ryūnosuke, please come back!" she shouted just before he legs gave out from under her and she collapsed to her knees. On the very brink of an emotional breakdown of her own, Mirako made one final plea to her son "Please don't shut me out again!" she sobbed as tears poured down her cheeks. Then, as if to signify his rejection of her heartfelt request, the door slammed behind her departed son. To Be Continued... ______________________________ WC|4,845 -----
  3. 4 points
    ~ You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don't try to forget the mistakes, but you don't dwell on it. You don't let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space ~ There was a serene beauty that came with such silence when drifting through absolute darkness. When all senses have been deprived; darkness consumes all of one’s vision, silence echoes violently in one’s ears, numbness traces every inch of one’s skin, flavor becomes a concept so foreign to one’s tongue, and not a single aroma would approach one’s nose. This level of disconnect from the body will allow anyone to experience something greater than the life that they experience. This would be the case, in every sense of the word, for Oriru Kusho as the world became literally nothing for him. In a rush of intensity, his eyes would be thrown open forcing him to gaze upon the expanse that was before him. There was no way to truly capture all that he was able to see before him, but the sight of darkness with specks of white shimmering lights sprinkled throughout the vast void was truly one of the most beautiful sights that he had the pleasure to lay his eyes on. Slowly his gaze would trace the details around him, seeing that throughout the blanket of speckled darkness were objects floating through the air. Each one was unique in color, size, and detail with varying features like one being a ball of pure water and another that was consumed in brown swirling gas dwarfing all the other objects. He took a deep breath, slowly, allowing the air to flow freely through his nostrils and although he could feel the force of the air entering his body there was not a sound to be made to help him identify the fact that he was breathing. The only evidence that he was able to gather was the fact that he could smell the sweet smells of sugary dough being baked, along with other hot fruit involved in the process of making a pie. The smell shifted quickly with the second breath, as a bountiful garden had to had been placed under his very nose with the strong smell of lavender and even vanilla started to overcome his sense of smell entirely. On the third full inhale, there was a smell that was different than the others but not one that he could identify. Suddenly it started to hit him hard, the sensation of breathing in too much smoke and exhaled sharply as the sensation instantly faded away leaving him in a state of confusion as the smell of the garden returned and was paired with the gentle sounds of a breeze rolling nearby. In the distance he could hear something moving at a high speed, almost like an engine was roaring, and the closer sounds of a collision of two massive forces. He turned his head in time to track the sound and see the aftermath of a collision of some of the objects that were drifting through the air. Although the scene was one of a destructive force, the combination of the other senses brought a smile to his face as he took in another deep breath, but this time focusing on using his mouth to draw more air. The moment that he did that, the taste of sweet warm bread blissfully assaulted his taste buds which started to overwhelm him quickly. He started to move his tongue around in his mouth experiencing the taste of the bread before it grew hot and had a taste more like that of meat. The taste was strong and flavorful before the sensation shifted to cold but creamy with a hint of strawberries. It was not a second later that the cold feeling in his mouth was matched by the cold that attacked his body with the breeze that carried the smell earlier, now his skin becoming reactive to the sensation as he felt the need to shiver and the hairs on his body rushed to stand at attention at the call of the wind. Luckily the air started to quietly dismiss itself allow him to feel the warmth of his own body warming up for survival. Every inch of his body was reacting to any new sensation as if he had never experienced any of it before, a beautiful process despite some of the impact coming was not so positive as the gentle smells of a garden or taste of a delicious meal. Still, he would take pride in what was being provided to him for however long that it would last until a single moment wiped almost all of it away. Almost would be the best description because although he was placed back into a void of nothingness there was a single sense that was still definitely active. “You experience much in the life that you have lived, much like you will no doubt have many more to add to your memories to recall and detail your exploits for any that may desire a tale or two but it is just as important to remember,” There was a moment where the voice pause, which was good for Kusho who was thrown between moment and moment with little preparation, “Perhaps more important that you recognize that the moments that are not easily recognizable or memorable will be the key moments that create value in what happens next.” Kusho listened attentively, but he found himself distracted and unable to recompose his focus now with the lack of his senses. “We depend so much on crafting the memories we hold dear upon the world using every vivid detail that we may recall, to the point that the mind will fill the missing sensations with what would make the most sense. A tale about warm food on a nice cold day will always explain how soothing the food was to consume and the flavor profile that made it such a perfect meal.” Kusho started to smack his lips, moving his tongue around his teeth as he pictured the exact meal that would relate most accurately to what was being told to him, “Though this happens because the moment is too perfect to admit that the food was bland in flavor and that the enjoyment came from the fact that it was at least hot because the body was suffering the cold from the hole in the roof and broken window leading into the dining room.” A sigh slid from his lips, matching the head being hung low as the rest of the details started to line up and reveal the truth and value of what was being spoken. “It is not your fault that you are unable to convince your own mind to lie to you, to convince yourself to ignore the need of survival in developing a coping mechanism just so you may acknowledge the truth; life is not always worth what we believe it will be.” A new feeling started to rise inside of Kusho, one that was a challenge to recognize and did not match a traditional sensation, “So despite our best efforts to acknowledge reality and what it entails, we are incapable of being completely rational because some irrationalities are more beneficial than the actuality of our existence. Because when we doubt the laws of reality, logic, statistical and empirical evidence, we find ourselves capable of defying each one of them.” Passion. This feeling that was boiling from the heat inside of him was one of passion that was burning every inch of his body like a flame underneath his body. It was in that moment that Kusho recognized that he was sitting down and felt the sensation of a firm ground beneath him. His left hand reached down to his side for leverage and planted his hand. Slowly he pushed his body up off the floor as the world started to come into view before his eyes. “You see before you what has been, currently is, and eventually will become.” There he stood on top of a golden orb looking back onto the infinite darkness with the shimmering lights scattered throughout the void. There he could see the details in what was obscured before, “Much of what you saw before, observe in this moment, and will view at a point later continues to persist not because of, nor despite, anything you do but completely independent of your best efforts or worst mistakes.” His gaze captured the four massive spheres that cover the front of his immediate view before a strange barrier of rocks that swirled around before his would recognize, although vaguely, five more large spheres in better detail. “So, take the time to recognize how pointless existence is and then find a reason and method to defy that fact.” He turned his head to the side to see a cloud of steam hovering in the middle of the air. “Are you ready for breakfast?” This voice spoke but was not as strange as the one before. The one before spoke from all directions and sang with the voice of angels that screamed through the pain of a final breath. “Ryūka?” This voice did not make sense the more he tried to focus on it, “I know you can hear me boy.” Finally, the voice made sense as he looked upon the steam and released a sigh. “Mother!” “I do not care that you work for the Thirteen Court Guard Squads, I am still your mother and you will not take that tone with me!” Kushō glanced at his mother as his view of the greater world dispersed with the steam to reveal a small room with minimal decoration. He saw as his mother, quite older, making her way out of the room with the trail of steam following behind and Kushō was sure he saw a hand form in the steam flipping him off. Immediately Kushō uncrossed his legs as he got off the small coffee table in the middle of the living room with a sofa against one wall and a love seat next to it at an angle. “Sorry mother, but I was trying to attune to my Zanpakutō!” As he started to get off the table and plant his bare feet on the floor, he moved the large ōdachi that was on his lap and hold it at his side with the base of the sheath planted firmly on the floor. “I don’t give a damn!” Her anger was clear with every word spoke, but the love was behind the statement and that was enough for Kushō to realize he was not going to be murdered. “I will attune my foot to your ass for talking to your mother like that.” Kushō walked into the other room that his mother had walked into to reveal a small and simple kitchen with a bowl of steaming food on the table and the guilt really settled on him. “I am sorry mother.” He immediately bowed to his mother in respect, scared for the punishment that was coming his way. “Ginga can be a bit overwhelming and intense making me a bit on edge at times.” He kept his Zanpakutō straight up at his side as he remained with his eyes on the floor. He could see his mother feet as she stood in front of him and immediately, he closed his eyes expecting a smack on the back of his head. There was a moment of silence, worse than anything that Ginga had crafted for Kushō. “You had better get a better grip on that, or we will both whip your ass.” She gave a smile as Kushō looked up at his face giving a relieving sigh, but not before the light chuckle of Ginga could be heard from the back of his mind. “Oh, you shut up.” He spoke those words out loud as his mother walked away which caused her turn around sharply. With a speed he was not aware that he could achieve, Kushō point his right hand at his Zanpakuto with a look so clear that he was trying to blame Ginga. She gave a glance that she was not so sure that she would believe his statement before heading back to her stove. “Mother.” He said, as he attempted to calm himself down and take a seat at the table. “Why don’t you just move to the Seireitei with me? My salary is a decent amount and I can afford to get you in a better place.” He took a slight glance at his bowl of noodles with a variety of meat and even a few fruits, a recipe his mother loved to make. “I have lived in the Rukongai as long as I can remember, and I appreciate that you helped me move out of the 68th district into the 27th, but honestly I could not imagine being with people who believe they are better an others and isolate themselves in a fortress to protect them from their own citizens.” There was moment of cold air as his mother continued to wash the dishes in her small sink as if what she said was not a big deal but being a member of that society now made it sting a little bit. His mother knew this was the case and they had the fights about him going on to pursue a career in the military of the Soul Society, but it was the only way that he could live a better life. “You could have easily studied a nice craft, you are so smart and so good with people that you could have managed any of the few shops in the Rukongai and made a nice living.” “Yeah, and end up like Jinko right?” That statement seemed to have stuck a cord with his mother as she stopped her activity, “Perhaps I could have made ties with the Crimson Raiders like he did and become a part of their organization to? Become a nice businessman with an affiliation of street thugs?” His frustration was starting to rise, so much so that even Ginga attempted to subdue his spiritual pressure but not with any luck. “Of course not.” She paused for a moment but before Kushō could respond, she concluded with, “But instead you decided to join a bunch of uniformed thugs and claim your actions are for the greater good.” She put the dish down on the counter and started to walk into another room, “You wanted to get out of the Rukongai so bad, I do not understand why you continue to come back.” Those were the last words before she slammed the door to her room. Kushō stared at the door for a few moments before he noticed the shadow being casted by the light going through the window letting him know that it was approaching noon. “Fuck. I am late.” With that, he ran to the other room that was a guest room but was designated as his when he was home, if that is what could call this place. He quickly started to grab his clothes from all over the floor and get dressed as fast as he could manage. He threw on his slacks and slipped his feet into some loafers quickly while tucking in his plaid design dress shirt into his pants. Once he got that far, he grabbed his glasses and threw them on his face before snatching his Zanpakuto from the wall of the kitchen leaving the steaming bowl of ramen on the table. He only had enough time to get his suspender straps over his shoulders and the tie around his neck before he started to sprint towards the Seireitei. Kushō was in a full sprint towards the Seireitei and realized that he was way too late and way to far to make it within any reasonable amount of time. He stopped sprinting but was at an aggressive strut as he started to fix his tie as best as he could manage with the disheveled appearance that he was now flaunting. Luckily there was nothing that was needed to be done to his kinky hair, the perk of looking good with the natural nappiness of his hair. That paired with the black and white coloring of his uniform contrasted well with his dark skin. The bright sun in the sky was a bit of a problem for him, both because it was a constant reminder on how late that he was for work and also because it was annoyingly bright, and his glasses were no help in this situation. “Hopefully I can invest in buying some prescription sunglasses.” He smiled at the thought of finally having glasses that would make him look cool and could still see. That became an irrelevant thought very quickly as he realized that he still had so much ground to cover. “The only damn Soul Reaper that cannot manage to perform Shunpo…” He let out a sigh as he continued to walk towards the Seireitei, feeling like it was getting further and further away. “At this point, I might need to invest in some form of transportation because this is ridiculous.” So, he continued walking on with his Zanpakuto in hand at his side, a little too large for him to handle but always by his side. Almost an hour and a half later, and after catching a ride with a merchant caravan making their way to the Seireitei to attempt and trade some goods, Kushō eventually arrived at the gates of the Court of Pure Souls on the south districts. A few merchants made their way in with a pass that they gathered from getting to know the right people and Kushō followed right behind them. “Pass?” The large individual leaned over to get a better look at Kushō. “Pass? I am Oriru Ryūka Kushō, Twentieth Seated Officer of the First Division and Administrator of the COUNT Program.” He spoke a little flustered and even intimidated by the size of the Gatekeeper and attempting to push his own authority. He tried to stare down the opposing party, but he had just rushed through more than 20 districts in the peak of the day wearing his full uniform, or most of it. “I forgot my coat!” He exclaimed more to himself. “No problem, just show your Officer Badge and you can be on your way.” The Gatekeeper stood up back to his full size, which may have been to stop seeming so daunting, but it only made things worse for Kushō to lay eyes on this man standing more than triple his own height. “Otherwise, I will have to ask you to turn around and head back to your district.” Kushō was starting to get a little irritated because he was already late, and this was only holding him up even more. “I left my Officer Badge in my coat, and I left my coat at my mother’s house. I have a meeting in the First Division Barracks and I don’t have the time,” He paused for a moment as he thought before he spoke, “nor the ability to go back to her house at this time.” He looked up at the man before him, if a man would be the right term to describe him and it was clear that Kushō had the look of defeat. “I am messing with you!” He started to laugh, but with his size it was more like the sound of a mounting collapsing on its own weight before he reached for the door. “Come on in before you panic to death!” He continued to laugh as Kushō walked by him and flipped him off behind his back. “What was that?” Kushō turned around to see the Gatekeeper close enough for Kushō to count the amount of freckles on his face in detail. His body froze and he honestly felt his heart stop for a moment. “Nah, I just like fucking with you.” Kushō turned and walked away in anger, and perhaps it was a good thing because the frustration was enough to get him moving faster. After what felt the longest day of his life, Kushō made it to the Barracks of the First Division in time to be literally the only person there. He looked all around the main barracks floor and noticed that not a single soul was around. Quickly he rushed, as best that he could manage, towards the administration offices and saw that there were only a handful of people left in their working. This was only clear because the moment that he walked in, the entire room shifted to notice him which spiked his anxiety to levels that he could not imagine. They all slowly turned back to their work except for one which stood up from his desk in the back and approached Kushō. “Well, Ork.” Kushō hated the fact that this was his nickname, especially from Arashi, who the current lead Office Administrator was. His popularity was based entirely on the fact that he was able to go on missions and dispatch hollows as well as come back and still run office duties. This man was truly the bane to Kushō’s very existence and being given a nickname because of his initials and because “You are clumsy like a baby Orc.” “Since you thought you were too good to come to the meeting like everyone else.” Kushō wanted to interrupt and explain but realized that there was no reason because would not care and the truth would be nothing more then fuel for more insults later. “You were given your assignment.” He pulled a folder from his satchel and handed it to Kushō. “I told the team I would handle deliver it.” With that, Arashi and his strong jaw and slick hair stepped out of the office, presumably for the day. Kushō looked at the folder for a moment before opening it, “Census of Officers and Unseated Needing Treatment (henceforth COUNT) Office Administrator (OA) will be assigned to assist the Eleventh Division in ensuring that their operations are up to code in terms of Human Resource Management and Division Operational Activities. Effective immediately, the COUNT OA will be on loan to the Eleventh Division as an Unseated Officer in their ranks alongside a Fourth Division Spiritual Energy Reconstruction Medic (SERM or Serum) to ensure optimal efficiency for the Thirteen Court Guard Squads.” Kushō read the initial assessment of his assignment potential a dozen times while standing in the middle of the office space. Each time that he read it, he hoped that he had read something incorrectly but that was not the case. He was to be assigned to be a part of the Eleventh Division and attempt to bring their activities to par with the standards of the Soul Society and ensure that they follow the Standard Operational Procedures of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads. “This is the death sentence.” This assignment is given almost seasonally because of the amounts of trauma that an Office Administrator will suffer trying to tame a literal beast of a Division. That is the reason that the position is paired with a Fourth Division Serum, partially to be an on-site medic always but to provide the Office Administrator with actual moral support. By the time Kushō looked up from his sheet, the room had officially emptied and the light was fading from the room, meaning that his entire day was basically over and he had to check in at his new division before the day ends or receive a Coaching and Counseling Disciplinary Notice, and that is not something that a premier Office Administrator would receive. So, without much time to waste, Kushō rushed to his room in the barracks, packed his bags, and made way to his new home for the time being; the literal belly of the beast. There wasn’t much for him to gather but a few bags of clothes and books, since he was not one to have much for himself in the barracks. Most of his stuff was in his small little place of his own that he got in the Court of Pure Souls near the perimeter but there were times that being in he barracks were ideal or even required. The one thing he knew about the barracks for the Eleventh Division is that they are meant to stay close together so that they may ‘grow close together’ which was already a massive discomfort. Just before sunset, Kushō made it to the front entranceway leading to the Eleventh Division and gave a soft sad sigh as he prepared to make his way in. As he took the first step pass the archway, a body was sent through the wall next to his left side. Slowly he turned to see the person in the new hole in the wall before looking over to his right. There he saw a large hairy man flexing his muscles, “Come on Kinkazu!” Not a moment later the man, presumably Kinkazu, jumped out of he wall and charged the hairy man with curiosity. “You must be the new Office Adminstrator.” Kushō turned his head and shifted on his right food to search for where that voice came from to see a woman with medium length red hair and green eyes looking at him with a smile, “Call me Ginger.” He looked at her for a moment to which she gave a laugh, “It is the name that they gave me, and I do not have the time to correct them.” Kushō chuckled in return as awkward silence took over the moment. “So…” She stood there looking at him giving a curious look to which he returned an awkward face and blushed, “Are you going to tell me your name?” Kushō made another face as he watched Kinkazu literally uppercut the hairy man into the air. “Oriru Ryūka Kushō, 20th Seat of the First Division, Premier Officer Administrator of the COUNT Program.” He spoke his full introduction quickly but with a clear proficiency. “Well there was no need for all of that but alright.” She walked ahead as Kushō stood there staring at her. After a few moments of walking, she looked back at him, “Are you going to follow or stand there like a broken wind up toy?” Kushō quickly gathered himself and his items and followed Ginger down the pathway. “I will first tell you; the Eleventh Division is not as bad as certain Divisions attempt to paint them. They know what they are good at and they focus on being better.” She gave a smile as she looked over at Kushō, more so to comfort his nerves. Kushō gave a shrug, “They operated better when Elevander Jecht was the Captain of the Eleventh Division.” “Yeah, but he also wasn’t one that followed he standard of their specialty. Hence why he is my current Captain.” Kushō gave an acknowledging look to Ginger before she stopped and motioned at a door. “Here are your private quarters so that you may conduct what ever work you need,” Kushō only gave a look of surprise, “Like I said, they are not that bad. They are pretty accommodating.” With a smile she pushed open the door to she a decent bed in he middle of the room, a desk in one of the corners, and a few weapons scattered throughout, “Like I also said, they are good at what they do.” With that, she turned to walk away. A few steps later she turned back towards Kushō, “Oh, be ready bright and early. The Proving is tomorrow.” “What is the Proving…” He shouted towards the door as he moved towards it to see Ginger far down the hallway. Now confused, among his other emotions, he set his stuff down near he bed and took off his uniform before climbing into the bed. “Why do I feel like this is going to be literally the worse thing ever…” A sigh slide from his mouth as he set Ginga against the bed opposite of the door, “And you have been awfully quiet this whole time.” He had expected a response but got nothing out of it. “Whatever.” With that, he made his way from this world to what ever his mind could craft up during his recovery from he exhaustion of such along and stressful day. WC | 4784 TWC | 4784 Incomplete Shikai Achieved in First Sequence
  4. 4 points
    As the sun was setting over the western horizon all that could be heard was the rhythmic pinging of a hammer clashing against metal. If one approached the building, they would see an average sized garage just large enough that if used normally two cars could fit inside. Serving as a backdrop for the building is a large woodland area behind a barbed wire fence. The tall trees cast shadows towards the building, however the passing time went unnoticed to you young man inside the building with the garage door raised. The day was cooling, but if one was near the open door they would feel heat radiating outward. At the entrance was a man who appeared around fifty years old. The man was roughly six feet tall, with brown hair, blue eyes, and a thick well taken care of beard. If one looked closer gray hairs could be frequently seen. Despite his growing age he could generally be considered physically fit due to long years of hard physical labor. The man always had a passion for building, and finally one day was able to open his own construction company. The man’s gaze was directed towards the young man in the garage who took after his father hammering away at a glowing orange piece of steel. Watching his son, he couldn’t prevent his lips from curling upward. “Connor! Do you plan to stay out here all night again?” It was only when the man spoke that Connor noticed his presence due to having been so engrossed in creating a knife. Realizing his mistake, he halted his movements and smiled apologetically towards his father before replying back. “I never plan to stay out here all night!” “Smartass! Your mother’s fixing dinner, and she wants you to eat with us tonight so wrap it up.” From the smile on his father’s face, it was obvious that this was a normal routine for them. After a bit more small talk his father headed back towards the house which could be seen a distance away from Connor’s location. He would be going back to the house soon, so he couldn’t waste too much time on his current project. His gloved hands held a hammer in his left and a pair of tongs in his right. With the tongs he was clamping onto a dulling orange piece of steel which he had just finished shaping. The way he passed his time was by creating knives. It was early in his life when his father taught him the process of making knives. From the very first time he was completely captivated by the art. It wasn’t immediately that he could actually use the forge himself, however he understood the theory behind it well. After countless attempts and pestering he was able to convince his father to guide him through each step. Once he was able to attempt it for himself it was revealed that he had a natural talent for it. Through his life afterwards whenever he would spend his free time in the very same spot performing the same actions. If there was any downside to his situation, it would be the fact that despite loving the art he didn’t have anyone to teach him more than his father did, and it has to be noted his father was and is by no means experienced. It was simply something his father also taught him, and so he passed it to his son as well. This caused Connor’s forging techniques the stagnate where they currently are for many years after rapidly surpassing his father’s skill. The knife he was currently creating was a bowie knife. It couldn’t be considered a knife as it didn’t have an edge on it, despite the shape being there. He didn’t have time to do any more work before dinner or he would. For the time being all he could do is place the piece of metal on his anvil. He removed his gloves and placed them alongside his hammer, tongs, and various other tools on a nearby table. Finally, he turned off his gas forge. Before leaving he closed the garage door, and exited from a side entrance and proceeded on his path home. __________________________________________ “It looks delicious mom!” He had just sat down at a table with a spread of various dishes in the center of the table. She had made chicken casserole, along with an assortment of vegetables, and scratch made rolls. It was a round dining table with six seats, however only three were used normally. His parents sat next to each other, while he sat opposite of them. “Of course it is, I made it punk.” His mother proudly accepted the compliment, but like usual in his family she went out of the way to tease her son. “And that’s exactly why I complimented you. It’s hard to believe.” At the moment he said that the father and son looked at each other and smile, both of them remembering the several meals which were burnt in the past. However, rather than throw it out they were forced to eat those awful meals so long as they hadn’t been reduced to charcoal. Connor’s mother easily became emotional and was hurt at the mention of throwing out the food she cooked so they could only helplessly appease her if it seemed somewhat edible. When she heard what Connor said she had looked to her husband expectantly only to see him smiling, and she immediately began to lose her temper. It was only at these moments that their son could see fear appear in the depths of his father’s eyes. *cough* “Connor, don’t tease your mother like that. She worked very hard on this meal for us.” “That’s right honey! Connor, you should appreciate how caring and loving your mother is.” Just as he was about to crack another joke he could clearly see his father pleading with his eyes to just let it go. Internally he could only sigh as he gently smiled at the two of them. Every day was like this with their little family, and each day was just as entertaining as the last. Both of the men passed some of their time annoying the only woman in the house. However, neither actually wanted to make her upset so it could be said they both walked on the very fine line between mean and playful teasing. “Thank you for dinner mom; it looks and smells delicious so how could the taste be any different?” His mother was easily appeased with a bright smile adorning her face after immediately calming down. It made him wonder if she was actually that emotional, or acting that way to manipulate the two of them. It was certainly very difficult to tell the difference most of the time. “So, when are you going to bring a girl home?” There it was, the one question that never failed to come up when he was around his mom for an extended period of time. He had just started eating, but was already facing the toughest question to answer. “If I can’t find the right girl, and I bring home the wrong one won’t you be upset?” “I just want you to bring a girl home! I’m ready for some grandbabies!” She caught him with that just as he was taking a drink of water, and at that exclamation he could only choke the water down and glare at her. It was a sore spot for him to talk about girls. There weren’t many out there that appealed to him. He didn’t trust others easily, so despite going on a few successful dates he was left with nothing to show for it. He could see right through most of the girls he met, and none so far were worth bringing home. Let alone have children with them. “Mom…” “Yes?” “I’m afraid to bring a girl home.” At this moment he was laying a trap for her due to her teasing. He took a step back before, however with her ‘attack’ he could only fight fire with fire. As he spoke his expression turned more serious, and his mother who was smiling innocently towards him stayed quiet as if she was saying “Go on.” “If she turned out to be anything like you I would suffer for the rest of my life.” As he spoke a smile crept onto his face freezing his mother’s expression. After that she sat silently while eating her food awkwardly. It appeared he had hurt her feelings, however he knew better. He simply smiled triumphantly and continued to eat. His father, on the other hand, acted oblivious to the entire conversation, clearly intending to stay out of it. “Tomorrow morning I need you with me to discuss building a home for a client on his recently purchased property.” “In other words, don’t stay up all night?” “Exactly.” The three had finished eating, and were all cleaning up from their dinner. Everything was proceeding normally, they were simply making small talk covering and putting up their leftovers or washing dishes and wiping down the counter tops and dinner table. It was approaching eight thirty, the darkness had overtaken the light outside when Connor finally had the opportunity to return to his workshop. The seasons were changing, and each night seemed cooler than the last. Around this time of year in Tennessee eighty and ninety degree days were normal. It was abnormal for the temperature to drop below sixty through the night at the end of summer, however that was currently occurring. Connor didn’t actually notice this fact. Things such as temperature fluctuation didn’t affect him. From a young age he had a sturdy constitution that protected him from the elements to some extent. It was also rare for him to actually get sick. Because of that, although he could sense changes in the temperature he never paid much attention to it. Back at his forge once again he heated the metal evenly and hammered it correcting some earlier mistakes. The blade section of this particular knife is nine inches, while the tang is five and a half. The shape is that of a traditional bowie knife, with no major deviations in design. When Connor made his first knife he remembered the things that people normally have to do, and attempted to follow those steps in the beginning. It was only after gaining a bit of experience that although he could copy others, for himself it was easier to simply do what felt right. When he heated the metal even when his father initially would advise against it, he would remove it from the forge only when his intuition advised him. It was the same for the other steps with grinding, annealing, hardening, tempering. Even the guard, handle and sheath would take shape based on instinct. It is almost as if his body is leading him through the process after he began to understand it. Thankfully, that was only a feeling he had due to using his talent. With that being said, while he moves intuitively his attention is undivided. Over the years Connor attempted several times to improve, as well as diversify his techniques. Each attempt left him feeling that it was lacking. In his frustration he could only focus entirely on the basics refining his technique there as much as he could by improving himself. More than once he found himself studying foreign techniques, lost techniques, and various other weapons. Every time he thought about those things he would feel as if a fire was burning inside of him. It only ever served to stoke the flames of passion within him only to be smothered by the cruel reality that wouldn’t allow him to pursue his passion. His father relied on him during construction as he could essentially save money by preventing most mistakes. Grinding the shape of the blade, refining a sharp edge, creating perfect symmetry in such a way was simply captivating to him. This was actually his favorite part in the entire process. Two hours had passed with him reaching the stage required for him to harden the blade. It was at this point that he drilled five holes into the tang. Three of the are for pins, while the other two are for the epoxy to bridge between the two sides. With his pin holes made he proceeded to heat his blade as evenly as possible to reach the ideal orange glow. Next to him is a vat filled with oil which he just a bit before warmed with another piece of metal in preparation. As if there was someone guiding him from within he unhurriedly removed the blade from the forge and dipped it straight down into the previously mentioned vat. After a few seconds Connor slowly removed the blade just as straight as it went in. Held by his tongs he lifted it to eye level and checked the spine of the knife that came out perfectly straight. Seeing this, he couldn’t help but grin. He knew intuitively that he would succeed, but it was always better seeing the success rather than expecting it. Finally, all that remained was to temper the knife before finalizing the cutting edges of a bowie knife. The tempering process was simple for him as it involved evenly heating the blade to a low temperature followed by allowing it to cool naturally in the air. Once it cooled enough the be handled with his bare hands he completed the blade that night in preparation for the handle which could only wait for tomorrow. ____________________________________________ Early the next morning he woke up to train his body thoroughly. When he was younger he had taken the chance to attend quite a few martial arts classes. He had developed a love for martial arts at a young age because of that. Being naturally perceptive the techniques came naturally to him, but the process of training the body is extremely slow. Even though he worked hard, it wasn’t until he went through puberty that his body really improved. Afterwards he stopped attending around the start of high school, but continued practicing various moves from several different styles himself at home on his own. It was only thanks to his interest in martial arts that he continued he trained regularly. Unfortunately, he didn’t continue furthering his skills. It was around noon that Connor and his father were at the location that their client requested for the build. Connor’s biggest part in the builds would be his ability to accurately judge the land for the best spot to build, as well as any alterations they may need to make through the process. Most of the other work is then handled by several of the workers, however, through the time working for his father he learned some of the simpler trades and could assist on many fronts. Overall, his father was on site directing the construction on the technical end while Connor focused on a more interactive role. Another advantage related to Connor’s perception was that he could give a more accurate estimate based on the difficulty of building at the location. This was the reason why his father needed him today. Knowing the difficulty beforehand helps both them and the client as it prevents any surprises from appearing later. The person they were meeting with was actually someone that they frequently did business with. He was someone bad to go to auctions and take the cheapest properties he could find in order to improve, then sell for a profit. Because of that he tended to buy before thinking, or consulting due to having too much money. This man’s name was Don. “How is it kiddo?” The hopefulness was clearly projected towards the two next to him, especially so to Connor as he asked. “It’s a dud.” In a calm collected manner he assessed the property and answered crushing Don’s hopes. “Again?!” As if unable to take the loss the man who was slightly heavyset and around his father’s age reacted with an outburst. “If you don’t believe me then you can get someone out here to check for underground sinkholes. It would cost more than it is worth to do work to a property like this, as well as become a safety hazard.” Connor easily and calmly replied to the man having long since become used to his personality. “I got it, you don’t have to rub it in that much.” Don acted as if he was defeated, however the two knew all too well that behind that was a gambler’s mentality that never stopped. “You really shouldn’t just buy whatever you can like you do.” Connor gave some friendly advice to the man twice his age knowing that it would be ignored. “You’re still young so you don’t understand, if you don’t spend money you will never make money!” Don always replied similarly to him, as if he was justified to do what he did. “That’s true, but if you waste all of your money you won’t ever have any to spend either.” The man had worked with the Father Son duo several times, and understood how reliable Connor was when it came to this. This was just his personality, and always managed to get a good laugh out of the two. Both of them had a grin on their face watching the man act dramatically. They could all be considered acquainted so they weren’t overly formal with each other. His father was a prime example of this. Connor watched him place his hand on the client’s shoulder. “How much this time?” His father asked with a serious expression, and a stern tone as if interrogating a child. “Uh….” At the question it was clear that Don was embarrassed by his mistake. “Don, How much?” Connor’s father asked again in an equally serious manner as before. “F-Forty Thousand…” Hearing the answer both of the were only able to secretly marvel at how wasteful this man was with money. While they would give anything to have that money, who actually has it only knows how to waste it. “Your wife is going to put you in the dog house.” They were both smiling as if this single fact consoled them, and they had no intention of allowing Don to ignore his mistake. Just as Don was about to reply in justification Connor chimed in. “Again, right?” Just like that Don could only lower his head in defeat. They were truly a great duo, at least when they had a mutual ‘enemy’. Both dealt decisive blows to the man when they could. In the end they were still dealing with a client, thus they stopped there and continued professionally once more. “So, what are your plans for this place now?” This was the most important question his father could ask. Both understood Don’s personality well, and knew that today most likely wouldn’t amount to anything. They still had to confirm what he wanted to do. *sigh* “I’m not doing anything here. I am just going to sell it to someone else and hope to make at least some of my money back.” Don had already given up on the location. He was only doing this for fun, and wasn’t looking to overly trouble himself with complications. His only goal was to turn a profit easily, and this project couldn’t be considered that. And then there was the liability of the sinkhole opening up during the work. It just wasn’t worth it for him, or Connor’s father. “Well, do you want to stop and get something to eat?” His father was at least somewhat sympathetic towards Don. Connor believed it was something that only married men could understand, and didn’t bother to participate in the conversation. “Yeah, I might need it. It may be my last.” Don was clearly joking when he said that, however it also seemed to express real fear. When Connor heard it he couldn’t help but to think to himself ‘Maybe I just don’t get married.’ However that thought quickly left as he knew how upset his mother would be if he actually didn’t ever marry someone. “Well, while you two go do that I am going to head back to the house. I have a project waiting on me that I still haven’t finished. I will see you when you get home dad, and don’t drink any alcohol. We both know how mom can be. Don, I wish you the best of luck with your wife. I suggest that you don’t drink anything either, or else who knows how your wife might react.” With just that he had completely dissuaded either of them from doing anything foolish. The fear they feel towards their wives fury was clearly ingrained deep within them based on how they both appear to shiver for a moment when he spoke. Connor didn’t understand what the big deal was, however he had unconsciously already developed a similar fear towards his mother that he was unaware of. _______________________________________ On his way home his gaslight happened to come on. It just so happened that at that time not far up the road on his right was a gas station. When he pulled up to the pump and got out prepared to use his card at the pump to fill up he saw on the screen that it required one to pay inside. With that he put his billfold back into his right back pocket and proceeded towards the cashier. There wasn’t anyone else in the store, only a male cashier that appeared to be in his mid-twenties. At the register he handed the cashier two twenty dollar bills. “I’m gonna fill up.” After saying that he was met with only a nod before he returned to the pump, inserted the nozzle, selected the grade of fuel, and began pumping his gas. Rather than hold it himself he used the small flip switch to lock the pump open while he waited. After a minute or two had passed the pump stopped itself just short of thirty five dollars. Like any normal human would Connor pumped a bit more until it was thirty five even, replaced the nozzle, closed up his tank, and went in for his change from the cashier. When he approached the counter again he noticed a large sign that drew his gaze to it. It was an electronic sign displaying the powerball lottery total of five hundred and sixty seven million dollars as a reward. He had never been a gambler, but he didn’t care to occasionally test his luck. If he lost then he was only out a few dollars, but if he won then it could change the lives of himself and his parents. With that in mind, he asked for a lottery ticket with the change that he would be getting back. “What numbers?” The employee asked in a deadpan manner. It was clear that he wasn’t fond of the job he has. How he felt wasn’t something for Connor to consider, so he simply just requested the be randomized. He didn’t have any numbers come to mind, thus it was best left to fate. With that he received a single ticket and his change before leaving. Back at his home he headed directly to his workshop. Today he would be completing the knife he had been working on previously. He had already decided last night to used redwood for the handle and three stainless steel pins. On this knife in particular he decided against adding a guard to it. With his holes already drilled in the tang of the blade all that was left for him to do was to drill matching holes in the redwood scales. This step wasn’t too difficult for him, and proceeded smoothly. After confirming that the holes lined up the final step before shaping was for him to use epoxy on the side of the scales that go against the tang itself, push the pins through which had been cut to size, and then let the epoxy dry clamped together. In the meantime he prepared his belt sander. Once enough time had passed he undone the clamp on the knife handle, and proceeded to shape the handle. The design he decided on could almost be compared to an egg shape being narrower in the front and slightly thicker in the back while along the length of the entire handle there were slight indentations for the fingers to rest on either side to suit either left or right handed use. Finally, with every step being completed he tidied up the knife as a whole. All that was left of the entire process was for him to actually use the knife in order to test it’s durability and strength. The first thing he did after ensuring that he was content with the knife itself was to flip the way he was gripping the knife and extend his hand straight out to the side over the concrete floor. Through the entire motion he was smiling confidently, as if the knife itself spoke to him and told him that what he was about to do next would be okay. Immediately after fully extending his arm he dropped the knife with the tip facing downward. A moment later was a clear clang as the knife met the concrete, however there wasn’t a cracking sound. Knowing that Connor could only smile broader. Had he hardened the knife too much it would have become brittle and snapped just a moment ago. As that was no longer an issue he had full confidence in the blades sharpness as well as edge retention ability. However, to ensure those facts he still intended to test them. To test the sharpness was much simpler. While there are many ways to actually test this factor, the most accessible was for him to use the blade like a razor up his arm. Again, without any hesitation he placed the blade against his arm and slid it upward. Unsurprisingly to him it cleanly shaved a two inch portion of hair from his arm. Finally, to test the edge retention ability of the blade he laid out a three quarters of an inch thick rope along a wooden table in his workshop and proceeded to repeatedly and cleanly cut through the rope in one single motion. This continued for a long while cutting through over fifty feet of rope easily. It was at that point that Connor chose to stop as he couldn’t afford to continue on. After that test he once again tested the sharpness of the blade against his arm, and again it cleanly shaved a small two inch section of hair from his arm once more. With that he was completely confident in the knife overall. There was one last thing which would be needed for a good knife, and that was an equally good sheath to store it in. He decided to have a dark brown ten ounce leather for the sheath, so he properly cleaned and dyed the leather before wrapping the knife itself in saran wrap and using a cut to shape piece of leather to shape around the blade and roughly an inch of the handle. The design involved a piece of leather with a fastener to prevent the knife from being removed accidentally as well as a belt loop. After hours of forming, trimming, and stitching the sheath together he had a proper knife and sheath just before dinner time. Because he intended to show his parents his new piece he took it along with him when he closed up his workshop and returned back to the house. To his surprise what he saw wasn’t his parents together, but rather his mother who was absolutely livid. She looked at him but was clearly upset enough not to care about greeting him. It only took a moment for him to realize that his father hadn’t returned, or even called his mother. Being in an awkward situation, and fearing that she may lose her temper Connor slowly placed his hands behind his back which were holding the knife. “Hey mom, what’s wrong?” Connor calmly spoke to his mother while being completely sure that if he hadn’t she would have blown up on him rather than his father. ‘Sorry dad, but she’s your wife.’ He thought. “What did you put behind your back?” His mother spoke to him hatefully. It seemed as if she could read his thoughts, and immediately questioned him. “Hm? Oh, you mean this? It’s the knife I have been working on the past couple of days. Would you like to see it?” He wasn’t able to hide it from her, so the next best option was to simply advertise its existence to her to prevent misunderstandings. “Oh, is that so? Bring it here and let me have a look.” Her tone lightened a bit since he wasn’t secretly covering for his father like she had assumed moments ago. For Connor it was as if a weight had been lifted off of his shoulders as he approached and handed it to her. “This is a very pretty knife, you did a good job. Your father has never made anything like this.” While praising him she also managed to be spiteful towards his father. “Thanks Mom.” He naturally understood what was going on, but choose to stay out of their arguments. At least, he wished to. Unfortunately, nothing ever works out the way one plans. It was at the moment when his mother had his knife in hand that his father chose to arrive home. ‘Oh shit.` Connor thought as cold sweat ran down his forehead. “JON! WHERE THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN?! WHY DID YOU NOT CALL ME?” His mother erupted with such fury that had something spontaneously caught fire at that moment, it would have seemed only natural. Looking closer at her he actually realized the hand that previously held the knife was now empty. It had been too sudden for him to realize she had actually thrown the knife towards his father. “Uh….” Glancing to his right at the knife which was now embedded deeply in the door frame Jon swallowed his words down and looked towards his son apologetically. “Connor, I thought I told you to tell your mother that I was going out with Don?” ‘Don’t blame this on me you bastard! Do you want to have a son after today?!’ He thought to himself. He had a bad feeling the moment his father looked towards him, and this was why. He was trying to shift the blame! “No, I think it was the other way around father. I thought I told you to call mom after I reminded you not to drink anything with Don.” ‘Two can play this game dad!’ With his mother so furious he refused to take the fall for this. Seeing that her gaze remained him his father Connor proceeded to mockingly smile towards him while receiving a glare. “Ah, that’s right. I’m sorry darling, I got caught up with Don because he lost money today.” His father changed his tune realizing the only path remaining for him was the one of honesty. He immediately became apologetic towards her, which in turn angered her more due to his attempt at lying his way out of it. “What? Do you think I don’t deserve a call because you are out with your buddy?” She wasn’t going to take a step back and make him answer for his crimes towards her. At the same time she clearly intended not to mention the fact that she nearly widowed herself moments ago. She could only cling to her anger to hide the embarrassment at this point. “I’m sorry darling!” This time his father simply apologized to his mother without making excuses which improved her mood quite a bit. Both Connor and his father were relieved to see that. It was almost as if they had a new lease on life now that she was calming down. “Just call me next time, okay?” She almost sounded pitiful when she spoke this time as if she had been hurt by the fact he didn’t call. It was a tone and appearance that would earn sympathy from most others if they happened to see her like this. However, the only two people in the world who would understand that this was the calm before the storm were both in the room with her. “So, you have to cook tonight, okay? That’s how you can make this up to me, and you also have to fix that.” She pointed at the knife she just moments ago threw at Jon as if it was normal. “Yes Caitlynn, my love!” Jon had immediately accepted her requests causing a smile to appear on her face, and send chills down Connor’s back who was only a bystander at this point. After that his knife was returned to him with praise from his father, and things proceeded normally for the next two days. For the most part work was only paperwork which was all handled by his father, with some help from his mother. It was only on Wednesday night that things took a turn towards strange. __________________________________________ “Son, I thought you bought one of these tickets!” Jon called out to Connor reminding him about the fact that he had forgotten about shortly after purchase. When he heard his father Connor took his billfold from his back pocket and removed the lottery ticket that he had put in his wallet with alongside his change from that day. That day he had let the machine choose his numbers, and didn’t have any expectations for the ticket to be ‘the one’. Despite his doubts towards the ticket he remained in the room to watch what numbers are drawn. “06, 21, 16, 17, 52, and the powerball is….” “25…” Connor spoke in sync with the announcer, which stupefied both of his parents. Both turned to look at him slightly confused, however they realized something was off from his dazed expression. Curiosity led them over to him, it was then that they saw the exact same numbers called out on the ticket in his hand. “Son, you know that your father has always loved you, right?” Jon had placed a hand on Connor’s shoulder and spoke in a serious tone immediately after seeing the ticket. This was the kind of relationship between the two of them. Even at times like this they would both joke with each other. “I know I have a loving father. A father so loving that he would never take advantage of his son, right?” Connor had no intention of keeping the money to himself, rather the moment he realized he had the winning numbers he had already decided to split the prize with his parents. It was only has father’s shameless behavior that caused him to reply the way that he did. “You wouldn’t just abandon your father now that you earned such a fortune, right? Think about your mother.” His father quickly changed approaches when he realized his first wasn’t going to go as planned. “Mom! We’re rich!” Connor ignored his father and proceeded to hug his mom. Since his father wanted a second round, he could only oblige. Jon was at a loss for words after Connor’s reply this time. Feeling a sense of victory he added on. “All three of us.” It was only then that his father also smiled happily. After they settled down at home the three proceeded to go through the process of claiming the prize. It wasn’t overly difficult, however it was tedious. In the end it was all worth it after a few days passed and everything was settled. Immediately after obtaining the cash reward he split it half for himself and half for his parents without a second thought. In the following days they adjusted to their new fortune. His father revamped their company with new equipment, and also hired more workers. This created more jobs in the area which was much appreciated by several people. His mother on the other hand decided to go on shopping sprees. When she found something she liked she would buy it in each color. Jon and Connor both knew she wouldn’t use or wear half of what she bought, but they remained quiet about this manner. After a few days her shopping craze calmed and things returned to normal for the most part. They were already living a good life before, the only difference now was that they could live freely and at ease. There were a few minor incidents in which relatives attempted to receive money from the family. Unfortunately for them, they hadn’t ever treated Connor and his family well before today and couldn’t receive anything. Connor spent the last several days helping his father settle things with his business, and his mother manage her clothes while simply crafting knives in his free time. As things were calming down he had time to think about his future, and what he wished to do. When things finally returned to normal he decided to sit down and talk to his parents. “So I want you two to know that I have made a decision after spending a long time thinking.” Connor spoke calmly and resolutely to his parents. He had already decided what he would be doing in the future, all that was left was for his parent’s to know too. “You’re leaving, right?” His mother was the first one to answer, but his father was also looking at him calmly. It seemed they both understood him well enough that he didn’t need to say anything at all. “Yes, I am. For a long time as you both know I have had this passion towards forging. However, it’s not limited to just that. I want to learn the different techniques from all over the world. I also want to learn about the various items I could create. That’s why I have decided to use what I kept of this money to travel and meet different blacksmiths willing to share their knowledge.” He was completely open with his parents about his intentions. He knew that no matter what they would support him. “Good, but you can’t come back without a woman! I still need some cute little grandbabies!” His mother never failed to bring this matter up. It was also Connor’s greatest headache when it came to his own mother. In reply to her he could only helplessly nod. In his father’s eyes was sympathy, while his mother smiled happily. After that short conversation for the next few days things proceeded normally. The only difference was that in his free time Connor was preparing everything he would need to travel. He only had a travel bag with his essentials such as clothes, a second pair of shoes, his toothbrush, and various other things one would typically need for travelling. The day he would leave for his journey was fast approaching. “I will try to come back whenever I can.” Connor said to his mother as he hugged her. Today was the day that he would finally leave home. His mother had kept finding reasons for him to stay to help her. She seemed to support him, but that was only on the surface. As a mother, she was naturally unwilling to know that her son would be travelling for an extended period of time. “You better have a girl with you the next time you come home!” His mother’s reply was expected, and to him seemed somewhat forced. It felt as if she was only saying that because it was all that she could say. If she had said anything else then it would have ended with her asking him to stay a while longer. If she did, then he would stay. They all knew that he would, and that was precisely why they avoided saying something that would prevent him from leaving at the last moment. “Do you have any idea where you are going to go first?” The way his father interacted was different from his mother. He didn’t step out to hug his son as that was unnecessary. The fact that his father cared, and was worried for his well being was conveyed clearly. Normally Jon could joke and act in a carefree manner with Connor however, today he was more serious and inquisitive. It expressed how close the two of them actually are. “I decided on China to be the first stop. From what I have read and seen about the forging techniques, as well as the weapons in general they are among the most interesting to me.” When he decided on this he actually didn’t put much thought into it. It was simple curiosity that led him to make this decision, and that was how he decided he would travel. He would drift from place to place, wherever the wind may blow. If there happened to be a specific weapon that he wanted to learn to create then he would simply go to the origin in search of someone who knows the methods. If he suddenly decides that he would like to learn the methods to create armor, then he would do that as well. He was ready to broaden his horizons and experience the world. This moment was the start of his first true adventure, as well as the moment he would later realize when his life began to rapidly change. For now however, he had no idea about the machinations of fate. “Since when could you speak Chinese?” His father didn’t understand why his son would suddenly choose China. Jon knew that his son had no knowledge of Mandarin. It made no sense to go somewhere that he couldn’t even understand what people were saying to him. “I’ll wing it.” This was Connor’s calm collected answer. He had enough money to afford a translator to accompany him while he was there, and if it was an extended stay he may just learn it himself. His parents however, they couldn’t understand where the confidence came from. This was an entirely foreign country that he wouldn’t have ever went to had their lives remained normal. Seeing his parents both confused he added. “Keep in mind how much money we actually have now. I’m sure you know that a lot of problems can be solved with it.” “A cute little Chinese girl would be okay too…” Both of his parents were smiling when his mother spoke. Among the three Connor had been the first to accept the sudden influx of money. Had he not had plans that involved it he would be like his parents, forgetting that they are actually very wealthy. Their life hadn’t been bad before, beyond updating and upgrading the money didn’t find much use. They weren’t the type of people to flaunt wealth, or rather anyone who intended to stay wealthy wouldn’t waste their money on meaningless things. If nothing else, they were frequently use it to do some charity around town. As business owners their mindset had reached that point where they simply didn’t buy needless things constantly, so they weren’t too worried. This mentality had also been passed down to Connor. While he is more willing to spend the money than his parents, that was almost entirely on something which he was passionate about and not random unnecessary things. “Mom, Dad, don’t worry. I will be okay no matter what. Look at who my parents are.” He attempted to put his parents at ease. They truly didn’t need to worry about him however, it made him happy to see for himself how worried they actually were now that he was about to leave. After he spoke he stepped forward and wrapped an arm around each of their necks. While men don’t need to hug, a father and son were naturally able to if they wanted. Both of his parents smiled and hugged him back. His Father’s hug was strong however, his Mother’s was stronger and felt as if she intended to squeeze the life out of him. He quietly endured until he simply couldn’t breathe. By that point his Father had already taken a step back while trying to separate her from Connor who was tapping her back. ‘Is she secretly a Pro Wrestler?!’ Connor thought having experienced her strength indirectly. “Darling, you’re killing him! He’s turning blue!” Jon spoke in an attempt to convince her to release their son. Knowing this would be the final time she would hug her son Caitlynn applied even more pressure. A series of popping sounds followed that which came from Connor’s back. His father winced as he watched his wife release their son. Despite being fearful of her strength Jon still stepped forward and took her hand into his, which she immediately gripped tightly. Despite looking harmless she truly was strong, so much so that cold sweat formed on his forehead imaging what his son just experienced. “I am going to miss my flight if we keep on like this. I love both of you, and I will talk to you soon.” Connor immediately took a step back with his bag in hand while also holding his back to make it seem worse than it was. He felt discomfort from his spine being forcibly popped, and he couldn’t breathe well while she hugged him. That was all there was to it. His mother is a strong woman, but not to the extent of actually being able to break someone in half with a hug. Seeing her son act that way managed to cheer Caitlynn up slightly allowing her to see him off without any tears and only a smile. It was only after he had walked into the airport that his mother lost control of her emotions and began crying. As a family the three of them were very close. Even his father seemed about ready to cry. There was something about realizing your child had suddenly grown up that makes a parent proud, but also makes them worry more than ever due to not always being able to be there for them. He wasn’t one to waste money normally, but on his first flight he chose to fly with their most expensive option. It wasn’t appealing to travel uncomfortably when he had a twelve hour trip ahead of himself. The procedures to board his flight were completed without any difficulty. By being aware of his surroundings he had proceeded through the airport effortlessly and not losing his way. There were a few stores or restaurants along the way, but he had no interest in them. He had packed relatively lightly compared to what one may expect. He would be travelling quite a bit, so he had decided to travel with only carry on luggage which included his credentials and around five hundred dollars cash to be prepared for any unexpected incidents. Before boarding the plane he had made only a single purchase to have a bottle of water prepared. Once he arrived at his seat Connor took in his surroundings, sat down, and tuned out everyone else that was around him. It was his first time travelling away from his Hometown and family. Unlike most people who would travel within their own country school and work had consistently kept them rooted in one place throughout their life. That was a blessing for his family as it meant that they were successful, and could keep food on the table. He didn’t have the desire to drive eight hours for the scenery. He preferred to explore and adventure outside of his comfort zone. In comparison to others who may want to travel to busy cities, resorts, and beaches; Connor preferred to trek up a mountain, or through forests. He would prefer to make his own path rather than follow someone else’s path. Even with forging his intention had always been to lay a foundation for the art covering a broad spectrum, then improve himself through experience afterwards. When deciding on his initial destination he was looking for a country which had variety for the types and uses of weapons. He wanted to use one country’s technique as a foundation to then study the theory of others to craft his own ideal weapons original to himself. In the end he decided on China as they had the variety, usage, and unique style that he would like to incorporate into his skill set. In particular he was drawn towards their single edged Dao (saber), their double edged Jian (straight sword), Qiang (spear), and Guandao (Glaive). The Dao and Jian were both swords, but had different uses while the Qiang and Guandao were similar in this regard. Understanding the similarities and differences of weapons, as well as the methods to create them were important for him to learn in order to improve. He understood forging, but the proper process was important for him to understand how to improve. While in a daze he thought about his past experiences, and glanced at his left arm reading the Hephaestus tattooed there. He had long since come to take a literal god of smithing as his goal. If he had a target which he couldn’t surpass, then he could only continuously improve was the mindset behind this which caused the tattoo itself to become an important focus in his life. The tattoo itself was a black band around his left wrist with the name ‘Hephaestus’ not filled in on the inner part of his wrist. When he decided to get this tattoo he chose that wrist in particular because on that arm were red burn marks wrapping upward with a vague similarity to a fire that seemed to burn from his hand towards his body. The cause for his scarring was his pure infatuation with forging while younger. When quenching a blade in oil it is common for flames to appear during the process. At the tender age of eleven when he forged weapons he entered his own little world. When he attempted to properly heat treat one of the first knives he ever worked on the result was a ball of flames rising up leaving second degree burns along his arm which never faded. At the time, he didn’t even understand what he had just experienced and didn’t even realize it immediately. It was his father at the time who jerked Connor away. His grip remained on the tongs firmly for a moment before the pain set in and his hand released. The blade at that time had fragmented into several pieces which he later used part of to craft a hammer shaped pendant for himself. Several years after that event the very same pendant still hangs from a leather rope necklace crafted by himself as a reminder of that time, and eventually also an embodiment of his goals. Lost in thoughts about the past he eventually fell asleep early on during his flight. Word Count: 8,535
  5. 4 points
    OOCl Please read previous old ass posts first? Apologies for the absence/ shifted storyline, as I haven’t the faintest clue where it was going, here goes… Wind blows ferociously under a dimly lit cloud upon the horizon, as forestry effortlessly sway in its favor under pressure of the disastrous power before it. Nary a soul to be seen in its surrounding villages, absent of all signs of life as of currently; however, it’s counterpart towers the presence of shacks and huts about one klick to its south east being the result of present conditions. It’s succulent grip effortlessly pulls shrubbery from the ground and into the seemingly endless vortex that lies within its center. The strength of which its center pulls exacerbates with time, causing the terrain to falter with increased intensity as a result. It would appear as though the village had come across an inevitably impending doom. A few moments earlier Hitsuyona Shizukesa Inadvertently approaches an oncoming storm as he comes to a sudden halt amongst the surrounding scent of familiarity. “I must be getting closer, salt water is nearby.” His captains shihakusho fluttered lightly revealing three wakizashi strapped firmly to his person. “Oh how the time has passed.” The captain’s firmly calloused fingertips reached steadily upon the sheath of a singular blade placing a light grip before pulling the sword from his waist. A moment later he let out an exaggerated sigh before continuing once more to his destination. His travels led to a nearby salt lake accompanied by rancid and rundown docks. He couldn’t help but feel nostalgic and highly disappointed at the wretched sight that lay before his very eyes. It had once been a safe haven to the child he faintly recalled a lifetime ago; regrettably so, a place that had previously hosted community events and held a special place in his heart, a memory of a time when the tides of his fate shifted to form the man he is today. Within this peripheral he caught a glimpse of yet another reminiscent location, an old willow tree that stand at such great magnitude than he last remembered. The disappointment across his face make way for a shallow grin in response. “How ironically befitting, don’t you think?” He would say whilst his eyes glance at the blade firmly gripped as he makes his way to the willow. Standing directly in front of its bark Hitsuyona takes a seat placing the zanpaktou across his lap. His eyes close for a moment while slowly moving his hand across the blade starting from the hilt. The Zanpaktou begins emitting a light blue aura slightly swaying as if it were the surface of a calm ocean. Once reaching the ends of the blade Hitsuyona lifted his hands slowly while the zanpaktou begins to levitate. . Hitsuyona slowly begins to turn his hands vertically causing the blade to maneuver accordingly. He would then open his eyes to gaze upon the vibrantly glowing sword with a solemn stare as if trying his best to hide any signs of emotion. "The path to power is often riddled with despair, and today we honor your sacrifice Ginjo Xoi, might your spirit live on as part of Narukami." Slowly did the zanpaktou float towards the tree before phasing within. "Your burdens are now mine to carry, brother." His hand reaches to the star outline etched within his arm, causing the vibrant blue to engulf around it. As the spell resides both the seal and tree would slowly fade to their original appearances, just as the approaching storm remains directly above. A single bolt of lightning comes crashing down directly onto Hitsuyona and redirects into the tree as well, instantly setting its entirety ablaze followed by heavy rainfall. The jolt surely caught the man off guard, but did hardly any real damage to himself. Instead, the Shinigami merely lowered his head and let out a scoff. "You always were one to make an appearance at the most inconvenient times." Nearby stood an inner court troop member kneeling until his presence had been acknowledged, finally reaching a standing point after his recognition. "Captain, your assistance is required immediately." He looked over to his comrade with a bleak look on his face. "I can feel it as well, you're dismissed." The man simply nodded before dispersing. His gaze once again returns to the now smoke covered tree that remain standing strongly in its place. "My friend even the heavens weep at your dismissal from this plain." Hitsuyona found himself ironically close to the recently caused disturbance that his court member had attempted to alert him of. It was a rather sad fact that holdings of such a position couldn't even permit the time to pay respects to the fallen, but a matter such as this surely had a damned good reason for someone other than himself to order his troops to come hunting. Whatever the case happened to be Hitsuyona decided it needed to be dealt with swiftly, as he wasn't too fond of the fact that his ceremony had been cut short. In an instant the Shinigami's presence would seemingly vanish in the blink of an eye. He'd headed in the general direction of the presence that was sensed becoming increasingly wary with every passing moment at how its intensity would so steadily rise. "The rifts were supposed to be closing not reappearing!" Present Time The rift had since grown in power such that trees began to uproot more than a quarter mile from its origin, and the surrounding huts would soon be swallowed by its never ending hunger. Surrounding its entirety were members of collectively three squads, being the 10th, the onmitsukido, and the kido corps. A variety of scientific inventions were firing unknown beams at its center whilst barriers attempt to withhold the violent force that consumes all. Patrol Corps and Executive militia merely stood by in preparations to flank any and all invaders that may or may not come from this portal; however, it had been doubtful that any beings would be capable of escaping from such a force. "Why isn't this working?!""We can't form barriers before they are consumed by the void!" "Were losing control of the perimeter Captain what should we do?!" The chatter was much an endless array of terrified squad members frantically attempting anything they could to disable this horrendous situation, yet sought guidance that couldn't be given. They ran rampantly about as many a weaker shinigami incapable of appropriate strength begin to lose their footing flying aimlessly towards impending doom. It would be at this moment than an instantly forming black abyss consume all within the area causing mass hysteria to those whom didn't understand what had just happened; although, how would they understand what had never been explained and/or capable of doing so. Those viciously nearing the rift find themselves grappled by a mysterious substance that would just as quickly return their footing to the ground. "ALL PERSONS WHOM ARE NOT OF VICE CAPTAIN RANK OR CAPTAIN RETREAT IMMEDIATELY." Hitsuyonas voice echoed with an intense force of such strength that could be heard from a full kilometer alerting all those that the mission had been officially abandoned for all non essential persons. As the many fled a handful of persons would soon appear at the pinpoint of the voices location all in unison. "There's no reason to hold back now." To his left were Squad 12's Vice and Captain, and the vice versa standing to his right. "Let's hope the rookie can live up to his potential, time to prove your worth Shizukesa." Says the twelfth who would follow by withdrawing his blade. It was quite alright by himself for them to think little of him though, as they knew nothing of what they did in the first place. They likely thought of his power to be little as a new captain who had never shown any of those present even a fragment of his truest potential. "Give it everything you've got." The words would then stop as they all clearly understood ever passing moment made way for greater risk of the district being compromised. "Can we really close this thing?" Hitsuyona was beginning to have doubts about the outcome of this entire scenario. He'd been present at all the other voids thus far; begrudgingly, even the very one that consumed the Captain Commander Xarius himself. One couldn't imagine watching their friend and commander consumed to never be heard from again, let alone be one to either face a similar fate or watch as many comrades before him to do so. Pressing such thoughts aside he clutched his blades tightly approaching ever closer to the rift above having now launched himself into the air. An enormous surge of spiritual pressure began to fill the air from the variety of high ranking officers as they all begin to use Zanpaktou powers and powerful Kido in attempts to close the void. The process was simple in nature if they could own up to the task, but proved thus far to be impossible. If the group could manage to engulf its entirety without their attempts failing it would consume itself with nothing else to gather in such a confined space. The squad twelves captain stood with great demeanor while holding his hands outwards. "Seeping crest of turbidity. Arrogant vessel of lunacy! Boil forth and deny! Grow numb and flicker! Disrupt sleep! Crawling queen of iron! Eternally self-destructing doll of mud! Unite! Repulse! Fill with soil and know your own powerlessness! Hado number ninety Kurohitsugi! " The blackened coffin begins to form while constantly starting to lose its composure as he attempts to cast the spell. It was barely holding form as holes start to form. His vice captain would soon follow up with Bakudo Number seventy three Tozanshō directly around his captains Black Coffin; however, the attempts seemed to be moot. As the barrier begins to crack the Kido Corps Captain and vice captain steps forth. The duo Simultaneously begin casting multiple incantationless Bakudo number eighty one, Danku, a major feat for even the kido corps. Several wall like barriers begin to form around the now multitude of kido surrounding the massive vortex. Around this time hitsuyona's tendril shoots forth from his captains cloak number nine in attempts to plug the already filling holes in their defense attempts exterior. It begins to hold for a fleeting moment, yet the rift manages to hold just long enough for a one meter hole to shoot forth from the kido. Its tremendous force nearly instantly begins drawing in the group as a whole. Hitsuyona would immediately retreat with intense speed beside his comrades allowing his shadows to dissipate, and quickly forms yet another stream of solidified tendrils that simultaneously wrap around them all excluding himself. "Hold the barrier! " "What is the meaning of this Hitsuyona?" The Onmitsukido Chief would lightly look at them all with a smile. "Today I redefine the way of the Onmitsukido friends, the Soul Society couldn't recover from the loss of both a Captain Commander , Onmitsukido commander, both being part of the 3 checks and balances, not to mention all high ranking officers from two other squads. "How dare you even begin to" Before the twelfth could finish his sentence Hitsuyona would interrupt with a single word. "Bankai." In that moment a large Barrier would engulf the entire area for 100 meters in all directions causing all but Hitsuyona to be devoid of sight sound and ability to perceive reiatsu; however, he would immediately grant them the capability of all but to speak. He couldn't risk any of them trying to unleash Bankai to stop him, and they couldn't otherwise drop their barriers lest they all be doomed. "Do me a favor would ya?" He turns back to glance at the four one last time. "After I save yalls asses the least you could do is give em mine AND your vote for him to take Commander." Hitsuyona shunpo'd at the cracking barriers with such intensity that a large crater was left its wake. At the moment that he began to be pulled close to the vortex he let out a cry and shortened the perimeter of his impenetrable 'cage' just large enough to fit the vortex. "Consume all within your grasp! Teikei Kage!" The ground beneath begins to shake violently as the Vices and Captains merely stand in watch of the barrier slow shrink in size, before viciously spinning appearing to collapse within itself to vanish instantly. Upon the vortexes disappearance a massive explosion of wind would send any remaining objects and forestry within several kilometers repelling in the opposite direction, while the four quickly raise barrier defenses to avoid said repercussions. The threat had officially been eliminated, but at the cost of yet another Captain's disappearance. The four look upon each other and their surroundings for a moment in attempts to discern what had just happened. Finally, the Kido Corps commander looks down to his Vice with a look of disappointment. "Request Shuu to meet with me at the barracks, I must seek out the company of the 46 immediately. The others can alert the rest of our remaining captains." Elsewhere Hitsuyona could slowly feel his being sucked within the vortex only to be accompanied by a pitch black space devoid of any of his senses except his connection with Teikei Kage. It was ironically something he'd grown used to over the years aside from his feeling, yet still somehow brought about a certain level of discomfort given the specific situation at hand. How could he search for Kaeru if he couldn't move, or at the least even begin to tell if he were moving to begin with. Better yet, how could he even be sure if he were moving or not? The only thing he knew for sure was the presence felt currently seemed to slowly fade. "Teikei?" There was no response as his inner thoughts began to anxiously race. Was this what it felt like to die? Where there not fleeting a plethora of memories as people so often claimed? Would he meet some maker? An unknown amount of time passes as he begins to feel as though the extent of his remaining existence would be this hopeless wish for anything more, until finally something caught his attention. The aura was faintly approaching as he could feel its familiarity come upon him. "Teikei Kage." But still nothing remained in response as the two conjoin to give his being a form of absolute clarity. The fragmented soul had finally became one, and he now understood clearly what his purpose was. Hitsuyona empty void had been filled if not but for a fleeting moment as his senses return one by one. Water.. He could feel it upon his skin followed by the desperate need to breath. Taste, it was salt water on the tip of his tongue. Opening his eyes he sees the surface some distance away launching himself with great force upwards. His ears ring with the intense depressurization as he soars out the water onto the small shore he once knew so well. Hitsuyona lets out a horrible cough as water spews before he gasps for air. Looking up he finds there to be only one tree remaining, a great willow that stood cracked and charred the exact way he remembered it to be last. Of all the things to have stood before him he would have truly expected the old barren tree to have fallen victim to the Rift. Standing up he collects his composure in wonderance of just what truly happened. A part of the soul wished to believe he had been launched into the lake while having some odd near death clarity, but his lack of connection with Teikei Kage was clearly vacant. He felt different though, complete, his lack of belonging and resentment seemed null and void. There was no longer that obsession to clear his name, and no more need to prove his worth, but most of all he felt weaker. Just what had happened to the soul? His concentration and/or trance suddenly found itself broken at an astonishing feeling of a particular person's presence, and causes the Shinigami's eyes to glare intently at the trees center whilst that dastardly blue aura flares vibrantly so. He could feel the presence of Ginjo surely as if it called to him, or rather connected with him. His arm began to unwillingly raise as if pulling himself towards the willow, before suddenly the Zanpaktou would shoot forth rapidly flying into his hands. Sparks of electricity emit from the blade causing a whirring sound to fill Hitsuyonas ears. "Even in death you never cease to amaze me, but perhaps it was destined to be so. As vicious as a burning blaze, as calm as the ocean breeze. A beast showing of both compassion and merciless wrath. The eye of the storms horizon upon us soon to be foul, those who refuse to forfeit shall fall smitten under your prowl. Disperse at once Narukame" A single bolt of lightning strikes down from above hitting the blade as it glows a significantly bright hue of teal. “Whom is it that summons me?” He stares intently into his glowing zanpaktou before closing his eyes to appear within the spiritual world of its foreign spirit so awkwardly contacted. The connection established between both Ginjo and himself had somehow unintentionally formed a connection all its own between the wielder and sword; that, and the previous establishment and binding Hitsuyona had previously place between himself and his fallen friends Zanpaktou. There was also one other matter at hand… Hitsuyona finds himself to be surrounded by an endless meadow under the dimly lit sky that is crowded with storm clouds that so happen to allow fragments of moonlight to penetrate their presence. A dense fog remains upon them while a thundering roar echoes in the distance. “You’re different from before, I marked you boy. But something has changed, in death you Shinigami become one with your zanpaktou -granted the means of death depending- forever stuck in the cycle we serve as to rejoin the cycle of life as a tool of destruction, but you, she fused with you.” The acclaimed god of thunder himself stands before Hitsuyona with a sense of pride in his voice, looking down upon the Shinigami with a sly grin on his face. “You don’t need me to complete you child, but you do want my power don’t you? A man on the path of power who has lost it all how belittling of fate.” He looks to the seal only to further confirm himself that Hitsuyona had indeed been fated to this in more than one way. “I propose a deal, I offer you my power and burden, what say you?” PS: The first part of this post was the old version of Hitsuyona, so any of his capabilities from that point aren't 100% 'gained' on the actual character, simply an introductory post.... ENOUGH/1,500 WC For Shikai TWC: 3,140
  6. 4 points
    Kushō had landed his head on the pillow and slowly felt himself drift away, feeling the anguish of the day completely wash away. That was the sensation for only a few seconds before the constant pounding on his door threw him up from the bed. He sat at the side of the bed, a little annoyed and certainly exhausted from dealing with all of the drama of the day. Still, he lifted himself from the bed and picked up his glasses from the nightstand that was next to his bed. He considered grabbing some clothes to put on, but decided that a person bothering him at this point in time will have to deal with seeing a man in his underwear. So he approached the door nonetheless and opened it to cease the constant knocking. "Yes?" He spoke up, the irritation clearly in his voice especially when he laid eyes on the individual bothering him. "Well hello there." Arashi said in his typically condescending tone as he gave a single full look of Kushō up and down with a humored gaze, "I hope you weren't expecting any funny business within the Eleventh Division, or especially nothing of the sort with me." He made an arrogant chuckle, or perhaps Kushō was just biased on the fact that he truly disliked Arashi with every fiber of his being. "Trust me, you were the last person that I wanted anywhere near my room, let alone in my bed." Kushō scoffed as he subconsciously closed the door slightly to obscure the view of his body. Arashi smirked, "Trust, most times it does not make it to the bed." Instantly Kushō got flustered at those words although Arashi maintained a straight face with his comment and even continued to speak as if he had not just said the most outlandish thing possible, "I am here because I am the acting Administration Supervisor on this current project. So, as long as the 20th seat is dispatched to help improve the efficiency of all of the Divisions, you will be reporting to me on all of your documentations." "Who put you in charge?" Kushō said sharply as the frustration could be seen by the pulsing vein in his temple, "Because this program is operated independently and then provided to the Captain for further evaluation. That is the Standard Operating Procedure for all Administrative Managers no matter what level!" Kushō was firm on his point as he spoke, because he had spent countless hours (honestly days) going over all of the Standard Operating Procedures for the First Division and even many of the other divisions in order to be prepared for anything. Granted, his preparation gave him a great resource of knowledge but his lack of focus on Hakuda, Zanjutsu, and Hoho may have proven counterproductive with his placement in the Eleventh Division. "Funny that you mention that the Captain is the one dealing with the evaluation, Sif Barkuz is the one that placed me as the Supervising Account Manager so that he can focus on other things. It was even at his suggestion that you were placed in the Eleventh Division so that, what was his words..." He started to stroke at his chin as if he was honestly think about the words that he was trying to say, "Ah, yes. Maybe a little time with real fighters that know the value of combat will make him an actual asset to the division as opposed to a desk jockey all of the time." He laughed softly with a smile that only bothered Kushō more, "Again, his words, not mine." He shrugged, "Honestly though, I couldn't have said it better myself." Kushō reacted... and threw the door open and grabbed Arashi by the collar with a fire in his eyes, and with a swift action he lifted his right hand to the face of Arashi, "Eat shit!" A massive black orb of energy formed in his hand and unleashed a wave of energy as he saw the fear in the face of Arashi. The wave consumed his rival in raw power and blew the buildings behind him into nothing but dust for several meters. When the wave stopped, people would peak over the space in the buildings with curiosity as they looked on to see Arashi with an aura of black energy and glowing bright blue eyes as he stared at the space that Arashi just stood... Sadly this was the thoughts that he dreamed of having part of his life but the reality was more of him sneering at Arashi who laughed at his face. "I expect a full breakdown tomorrow, before dusk." Those were the last words before he turned to walk away and the memory of his little day dream still rang in the mind of Kushō. All he could do is sigh, because the last time that he confront Arashi, all he could manage to do was land a rough punch that quickly turned into Kushō getting hit with a series of attacks that he could not even see before being knocked to the ground. He got up afterwards, but his bruised ego broke his confidence when being so severely humiliated in the middle of the First Division Barracks. The worst part was that Arashi used to be his best friend, he was the only person to become friends with Kushō when he got Special Accommodation to join the Academy. Kushō is not a great warrior by any accounts, but he was given a chance when he proved his knowledge of the details of the Soul Society and excellent Administrative skills. More so, he found out that he was supported by his cousin who was a member of the Crimson Raiders that had rumored to included Captain of the Fifth Division Regashi Hokori, but those rumors seem to be just that. There was no evidence that this was the case, and both the Captain and the Raiders agree that it is far from the truth. Though whispers of the Blue-Eyed Beast still make their way and some of the details match the captain, but then it becomes clear it matches a lot of people at times. That was not the important details to think about right now as he closed the door, realizing that he was standing there in the doorway in his underwear staring at the ground. He only snapped out of it because a pair of Unseated Officers walked by and saw him, and the pair of women chuckled at the man randomly in his doorway barely clothed. "Fuck you Arashi." He whispered under his breath as he closed the door completely and approached the bed once more and slowly turned to seat on the edge. "Fuck you Captain." It was clear that he was burdened by so many problems it was boiling up, "Fuck you Jinko..." So many things continued to go wrong and all he wanted was a better life, but instead he got the same problems but a different environment to experience it in. No longer surrounded by the constant gang violence fighting for territory while he attempts to survive. Now he is surrounded by the constant power struggle for better positions while he attempts to stay afloat. He turned his gaze over to Ginga, who was leaning against the bed post undisturbed, "I work hard every single day; doing other people's assignments when given to me and working insane hours with absurd duties and yet I have been stuck as a 20th Seat Office Administrator..." He leaned back to lay on his bed, "I know that I am not the most effective combatant, but that does not diminish my value to the First Division... Or the entirety of the Court of Pure Souls. I process all of the paperwork that allows this place to function despite the loss of so many Captains over the years..." He closed he eyes as he leaned back, "From the invasions, the wars in the World of the Living, and various complications that spread around I was there each and every time. I have worked with Elevander Jecht when he transferred Divisions, when Xarius Kaeru vanished... The best Captain ever..." He smiled a bit, "Mikoto Shuu had been so kind when he bumped into me and dropped my paperwork. He took the time to help me gather it and even bought me new glasses that were held together by tape." The journey through the memories seemed to have established a hidden resolve as Kushō lifted himself to a fully seated posture and reached for the nearby drawer. There he pulled out a worn out book with several sticky note tabs and turned the pages. Notes were scattered on every worn page of things that Kushō had recognized and decided to work on to perfect. Details of Kido and variations of the sorts and all of he things that could be done with them, and that was the goal at this very moment. He may not be the best fighter by any standard, but that doesn't mean that he could not supply the appropriate amount of information to excel at something. He noticed that the string of the book was set on a specific page and he decided to turn to that page, assuming it had to have been a key point to bookmark with the string. When he got there he started to read the actual text before his notes; "Falling Mountain Crystal, also known as Inverse Mountain Crystal; Bakudo Number Seventy Three; Tozanshō. A high level Bakudo that creates an inverted pyramid that can act as a barrier which allows for the defensive coordination of the caster or the capturing tactics of a target. The size of this Kido can vary allowing for a comfortable containment of a single individual and on a greater scale has been documented holding up to three individuals with moderate room to move." Kushō looked through his notes that he wrote on the page and laughed softly to himself, "When used it can create a solid barrier, once could potentially create small triangular openings to allow access in or out of the Bakudo. This could be used to create a sort of barrier in which a caster may create a bunker for protection and generate an opening for a partner to fire Hado carefully and seal when under fire with minimal exertion. If enough potency applied, one could count for both the Bunker and the Fire, if concentration is not broken. Request a partner to attempt theory; ensure associate is aware that the Hado may get trapped and harm both of them." Kushō smiled as he placed book on the desk with his glasses, "I still need to practice the capabilities of this tactic, then Soul Reapers can use it to assault Hollows from the safety of a Bunker..." He laid back and fell asleep quickly, hoping to not be disturbed this time around. Bakudō # 73: Tozanshō - 1,700 words [Achieved] Meaning: Inverse Mountain Crystal WC | 1845 TWC | 6629
  7. 4 points
    According to common sense, a remote mountain would be peaceful. In the summer months there would be the occasional rainfall, lush forestry, and signs of life all around. The birds singing and creatures of all sizes roaming around. That’s what would have been the case on any other remote mountain, however on this one in particular that was furthest from the truth. The previously dense forestry had thinned out considerably. From the sky countless craters and shattered tree stumps were visible where the canopy of leaves was the thinnest. The further up the mountain on looked, the more destruction could be seen. The previous lofty peak had essentially been flattened entirely with various sized boulders decorating the region. The bit of color present in the dreary landscape was a large pool of clear blue water that formed a small stream that slow snaked down the mountain in a continuous flow. Across the entire mountain only the sound of water flowing and leaves rustling could be heard at this particular moment. The only life remaining happened to be the plants, however if they could it was possible that even they would have uprooted themselves and fled this place. Time continued to flow, and in the next a thunderous boom shook the mountain as a whole. Following the the boom came an ear piercing grating sound that should never have existed in such a remote location. Almost like an endless cycle, a moment of silence followed by roaring thunder and singing metal. The origin of these sounds were two silhouettes constantly shifting around the area near the peak of the mountain like shadows. Each time they neared one another deafening sound spread out, at the same time one of the figures was forced into a swift retreat. That retreating figure was Connor. In his hand was a nine foot, nine inch long simple spear that had an almost imperceptible green glow which danced along it. That light was only able to be seen in the shadows and lost within the sunlight. Another five months had passed atop this mountain. In comparison to a month before, he was now shirtless and covered in countless cuts all over his body of various depths. It looked terrible with so many open wounds leaking blood, however with his current physique it wasn’t much for me to recover from within a single night. All that would remain were faint scars that given time would also fade away. A crucial factor in his ability to easily recover was the control his teacher had when striking. The cause of these wounds was the spear in the old man’s hands that looked almost identical to the one he was carrying. After he gained a decent amount of control over his strength, he was able to rapidly improve his control to a near perfect level. In hand to hand combat he would typically be forced to retreat, but could still stand firmly on his feet after an additional month had passed. A grand total of two months since his strength had awakened. It was around then that his teacher returned with these two spears and he began to learn the way of the spear. Before, his greatest interest had been in forging weapons while second to that was martial arts. After all of the fighting his interest in martial arts had soared greatly. He hadn’t given up his interest in forging, but for the time being martial arts became his singular focus. For the last two weeks he had trained in combat with his spear against his teacher. Throughout this entire period of time he had only fought. According to the old man’s philosophy, experience was the best way to learn and a particular style of Martial arts could be detrimental to his growth. What the old man pursued was the essence of each move, essence referring to the subtle actions which reduce the range of motion and maximize power. It was essentially the style of not having any style at all. Understanding the intricacies of each movement of the body, slowly perfecting the control over the body in order to always be able to maximize an attack’s potential, and slowly gaining the experience to use the essence of each move efficiently. To someone who only watched they would see similarities to countless different existing styles, however to someone who practiced those particular styles it would seem completely different from person to person. To some it may seem as though he was extremely skilled, and to others it could seem to be the exact opposite. The truth was that it was both none and all of them. The essence of each move was distilled from countless others making it something different entirely. Facing someone who had achieved an extremely high standard of this style, Connor naturally suffered like an amateur the entire time. This carried on into the spear training, the concept remained the same as before. That suffering is precisely what caused a rapid growth in his skills. The only way to walk the path that his Teacher paved was through experience. For the old man, he had to use his entire life to slowly refine each move. For Connor, he experienced each attack with his body in order to slowly adapt and progressively understand the essence of the moves for himself. The difficulty of this had soared after introducing the spear. One month passed since he took up the spear, and the results were the injuries covering him while he could only act passively. _______________________________________ Three more months flew by for Connor as he fought with a spear in hand. Constant sounds of the Teacher and Disciple clashing could be heard all across throughout the days while absolute silence ruled the nights. Whether he was eating or sleeping he had his spear in hand. It wasn’t as if this weapon had a spirit like a Zanpaktou, however by not separating from his weapon he was able to develop his habits to the extent of natural fluid movements at all times with this spear that was more than three feet longer than he was tall. The progress he showed day to day seemed minimal, however by the end of each month it accumulated into visible results. At the end of the fourth month the amount of wounds covering him had nearly decreased by half. At the end of the fifth month the amount of wounds had halved again to a quarter of the original total. It was only in the sixth month that he finally had some success in fighting back. Before this point, his attacks were parried or avoided by the old man with relative ease. Now, he was occasionally able to draw blood with his attacks while basically avoiding most if not all attacks to his vitals by parrying and dodging. He only ever finished with more wounds than his teacher and not less, however it couldn’t be forgot that Connor had only been training six months to produce such results against someone who trained his skills over a lifetime. It could be described as a monstrous feat for Connor to reach this point that only occurred due to the old man wholeheartedly passing on his skills and Connor’s naturally high perception allowing his to quickly understand. Something noteworthy was that his mental processing speed had increased several times over when his powers awakened. Whether it be the way he perceived things, or his ability to memorize and recall information, he had improved massively. It was this aspect that allowed him to grow as quickly as he did, combined with his effort towards that goal of course. The day was now the first day of the seventh month. Every day for the last six months he had fought his teacher until he was exhausted. The pain of his injuries and constant fatigue that made it difficult to go forward in such a manner, however his teacher didn’t allow him to rest for even a single day. If Connor’s injuries became too much, his teacher would heal him. If Connor’s fatigue caused him to weaken, he would simply get beaten more harshly. It was extremely strict training, however the results were undeniable. The difference between him six months before and the current him was large enough that he could kill his previous self in a single move. Even if it was comparing the him of four months ago and the current him, he could kill that past self within ten moves. It would be considered unbelievably improvement to anyone who heard about his rapid improvements. The only reason he still continued to suffer was that his Teacher was simply stronger than he was. “It looks like you’re about ready to start learning about your powers and how to control them, are you ready?” Connor stood facing the old man as the morning sun slowly rose over the horizon, completely confused by what he just heard. There was a teasing smile on his Teacher’s face that both surprised and frustrated him to hear this sentence to the point that he needed a moment to reply. “What do you mean? I thought that was what I was doing for these last several months!” “You really look down on not only your esteemed Teacher, but also yourself if you think this is the limits of your power.” Connor couldn’t prevent the surprise from growing within him and overflowing into his expression as he digested those words. He had already become monstrously strong, but this was actually only his starting point. He was both amazed and excited by this information, but even more curious. ‘How is it possible that I have more power, but I haven’t ever felt it myself?’ This was the question that lingered in the back of his mind. He was distracted for a few moments and didn’t get a chance to reply before his teacher spoke once more. “What? You don’t believe me? You have been getting stronger because your power relates to your body, by training in this way you have been instinctually using it to grow stronger. If it was possible, I would have started teaching you all of this months ago. Unfortunately, I have an untalented brat who needed a full six months to get used to his strength.” Connor had always thought that he was making good progress and believe in himself. To anyone else, these words would have sounded like a joke. Only a bit more than six months ago Connor had been at most slightly above average among normal people. It only took a short six months to go from a normal person to a strong combatant among spiritual existences. Connor didn’t understand this and could only feel slightly embarrassed thinking that he may truly lack talent, this led to him being unable to reply once more. “If it wasn’t for this great Teacher that you have, even six months wouldn’t be enough for you to reach the standard you have. But back to your powers, do you know what your power actually is?” “I don’t, until now I had thought that I just got stronger.” “That’s understandable, you haven’t had the chance to really understand your power through all of the fighting. Throughout the world there are countless names for people like us. Superheros, Psychics, and Cultivators to name a few. These are people who don’t really understand the big picture...” The old man paused for a moment to examine Connor’s reaction. It was calm and focused, completely unlike what one would expect from someone hearing about such astounding information. The old man had a high opinion of Connor’s talent, but he couldn’t help but to also appreciate his personality as well. “The main spiritual ground that exists are Shinigami, they are diametrically opposed to Hollows. All other groups and factions are minor in comparison to these two, and the formally recognized term by these groups for people such as ourselves is Fullbringer. It’s as simple as it sounds, by nature we are able to bring out the full potential of something. Some people possess the ability to fullbring more than one item, however typically it is something precious to the person. Do you have anything like that?” “I don’t.” “Nothing related to electricity in any way?” “If there was anything then it would have been related to smithing, which is unlikely considering this power wiped away the traces of that on me.” “Alright, I guess that means that we will have to slowly figure it out on our own then. It doesn’t seem to be an item since there wasn’t an apparent change. Even if it’s your body, it’s strange that there isn’t a physical manifestation of some sort.” “Why did you ask about electricity?” “That was the force destroying your body repeatedly when you awakened your power, however it was more likely lightning surging through your veins.” “My veins? I have lightning in my veins?” “...You did at the time, but since then such an occurrence hasn’t appeared.” “Does that mean that my power is dormant in me?” “Most likely, if I had to guess it’s because you weren’t aware and able to actively take control of it at the time.” “...Is it possible that my fullbring is something within me in that case?” “...Why didn’t I think of that…” Connor’s teacher couldn’t be faulted for assuming that his fullbring would manifest in an item or outwardly on his body, that was the standard for nearly everyone he was aware of including himself. Since Connor’s power had at most passively played a part throughout his training and was never actively used, it wasn’t apparent what it actually was. Going along this line of thinking it was apparent that Connor’s fullbring was actually the minute electrical signals flowing throughout his body. As the old man stood there looking at Connor’s calm countenance he shuddered with shock and spoke to himself under his breath. “...What the hell is this…” Connor’s senses could only improve during this period of time and not worsen, naturally he heard the nearly inaudible words from the old man. His calm expression gradually became inquisitive as to why the old man spoke those words. It was only because he could clearly see the shock in his Teacher’s eyes that he held back from directly asking. He didn’t have to wait long before the old man closed his eyes and took a deep breath, when they opened once more they were as steady as always. The answer to his question followed this change. “I know what your Fullbring is.” “What is it?” “I can’t tell you.” “What do you mean?” “You have to realize what it is for yourself, I can only teach you the method to search.” “That’s all?” “Yes. Most people have their fullbring for as long as they can remember, very few are like you and awaken this late in their life. The ones that do usually have unique circumstances or are unusually powerful. That’s mainly why I grabbed you while I could. In your case, if I hadn’t been there when you awakened then you were guaranteed to die due to how violent it was, so in a way, I unintentionally saved your life.” “But, there was no guarantee that I would have ever awakened my powers without your intervention, right?” “...No…” “Oh well, that’s in the past. What’s this method you were talking about?” “Do you understand your perception?” “As in the five senses?” “Yes, but there is more than that.” “What do you mean?” “There is essentially a sixth sense that exists for people such as ourselves. It slightly differs from person to person, but imagine that your senses were spreading from your body. You would see things that your eyes can’t capture and feel things that are formless. In most cases, people naturally use this sense as their powers develop.” Pausing for a moment the old man extended his empty hand towards Connor with his palm facing upward. Above his hand a small green swirl appeared mysteriously. It danced through the air causing it to swirl, a slight breeze spreading outward from it. “This light is what happens when we use this elusive sense and our powerful will to interact with the world. There are limitless possibilities with this, however it requires that you first gain an understanding of this sense for yourself. It will be important to you going forward, not only for this, but also because this will let you gradually gain control over your own personal power.” By this point Connor had become captivated by his Teacher’s skills. He had previously thought that being a Fullbringer meant that his body had become monstrous, however what he was shown today opened to door to an entirely new concept for him. He couldn’t wait to learn more about himself and the power he possessed. “Today marks the beginning of a new schedule with your training. From now on, every day will be spent reflecting on yourself. Try to understand your senses, contemplate your spearmanship, and even consider what kind of future you want for yourself. I will bring you food each day, and we will fight once a week to see if you can improve yourself. Other than those times, you will be here alone, are you ready for that?” “Once I am focused on something entirely I tend to lose myself in it, I will be fine.” “Ah, that’s right. I already collected your things a long time ago. I will bring them here one week from now when we fight. Also, it’s about time that you make somewhere to actually sleep since you won’t be exhausted like you were previously.” Before Connor had a chance to ask anymore questions, his mysterious Teacher vanished. The speed put on display far exceeded what he believed the old man could achieve. ‘He’s been holding back…’ To Connor this display of speed sent a message, one telling him that there is still a long road ahead of him and that he should work hard to improve himself. “But how do I train now? I know he said that I have to figure it out for myself, but what happened to showing me the way?” He was raring to go, however it felt like he had no direction to go in. He could at best experiment with what little bit of information he was given to find his way slowly. As for a place to sleep, even though his teacher recommended it, he couldn’t justify it when there where only rocks and trees in his surroundings. No matter what he did for himself, the comfort wouldn’t be much more than it is now. With his body having strengthened several times over wind and rain wouldn’t be able to affect him. Rather than waste his time for a useless shelter, he sat near the spring that had appeared. ‘I know that I need to somehow comprehend this sense, but it’s not easy to understand something that you know nothing about. First, I will try to understand my five senses better… Er, maybe just four of the five senses.’ Connor didn’t have any way to test his sense of taste, so he chose to avoid testing it’s limits. Even if he could test it, he likely wouldn’t as there weren’t any combat application for it. First he focused on his eyesight. After his powers awakened he noticed that it had improved significantly. Even after several months had gone by, it seemed as though he wasn’t able to fully make full use of his various senses. Sometimes it was as if the world was running in slow motion, and at other times everything seemed normal to him. Other times he would experience the jarring feeling of having his sight magnified to show the minute details of things near him and also what may be far into the distance. His hearing was a constant challenge as well. Sometimes he would hear things far in the distance as if they were close, other times the slightest sounds would sound like thunder. Connor suffered the most from his sense of smell. At times it would be normal, however at others even pleasant things would be nauseating. His sense of touch was currently the most beneficial of them. He could feel the vibrations of the ground and air with his body which actually helped him in his fight. Unfortunately, sometimes his sensitivity to pain, heat, cold, and other similar things would greatly increase. The only sense that seemed consistent was taste, however he didn’t wish to push his luck. The detrimental effects of being unaccustomed to his senses naturally affected him during his training, however complaining wouldn’t have changed anything. He had an average result from the several fights, but he had both good and bad experiences depending on how his senses fluctuated. Even if he was unable to understand his spiritual sense like this, gaining control of his other senses would improve his combat prowess. From this point onward, Connor continued finding ways to apply his various senses to understand and control them better. When the time came to spar he became progressively more consistent, eventually further improving to take roughly twice as many attacks as his teacher by the end of the eighth month. It was at this time that he finally managed to get his entire body in sync. In his quest to control his senses to their fullest he actually stumbled across a unique way to forcefully seal them. At the start of the ninth month Connor met the first roadblock in his training since he gained his powers. His spearmanship could only slowly accumulate, his strength could at most passively increase without gaining control over his powers, and he couldn’t gain control over his powers without gaining control of his spiritual sense. He constantly tried to focus on his surroundings to somehow find a clue, however he had no luck. Two weeks passed quietly on the mountain with Connor making little progress. During these two weeks there he played with a particular idea, an idea that would place him in a vulnerable state. ‘If I seal all of my other senses, then the only sense left to me will be the one I have yet to grasp. There are risks involved with doing this though. The last time I attempted to seal too many of my senses, even though seemed like only a few short moments, nearly an entire day had passed. Another time in order to confirm that result I tested it again for a short moment to end up feeling like a week. After that I didn’t test it again, but it seemed clear enough that with too many senses sealed the concept of time fades.’ That night after his teacher dropped off his meal Connor resolved himself to attempt sealing his senses entirely. It was possible for him to be harmed, or even lose himself in that feeling of nothingness. Whether it would succeed or not was unknown, however this was the only possibility left for him to attempt other than slowly waiting. Since there was an option that could expedite the process, there was no need to wait for something that may never come. It was the idea that a dangerous action could benefit him more than safely taking no action, that there would be rewards where there are risks. It was like this that he sealed his senses causing the world to turn dark. Connor sat like a stone at the peak of that mountain with progress as his goal, and only the next day would his Teacher become aware of this startling change. Word Count: 3,963 Total Word Count: 16,870
  8. 4 points
    Yamashiro continued on his path as he made his way towards the spiritual pressure that he had felt. He could already tell that this Hollows power was on par with that of the Arrancar, which made him want to meet this person even more now, he had never meet a hollow that was able to become stronger then there current form be it a adjchuas or even a vosto lorde but if there was such creature then he just had to test his power's on him. The more he distanced his self from Los notches he could tell that they was pretty far from where he was, in fact if he had to make a guess at where he was he would have to choose the menos Forrest. Ah the memory's he had of those days, of being a gillain then changing to a adjchuas was some of his best day's there but now it was nothing more then a pool of small fry just hoping to one day say they could swim with the big dogs. While he stopped for a moment he noticed that there was a hollow standing behind him looming down as a tower onto yamashiro who by height must have seemed like a ant to this beast. " Oh what a tasty meal you shall make, the reietsu i smell off you is making my mouth drool, ohhhh i can not hold it any longer." The hollow after it began to drool lunged at him but by using sonido yamashiro was able to dodge his attack and some how the hollow went and got its dead stuck into the sand. " You idiot your not the one im looking for, i guess i can help end your life." Taking his fist yamashiro punched the hollow in the back of the head that the shock wave from the attack caused the hollows mask to shatter but that was not the only thing that shattered. The ground under the hollow could not take the pressure of the attack that it suddenly cracked open and caused yamashiro to fall down. Using his spider webbing he was able to grab a hold of a near by branch swinging his self to safety. He looked around as his eyes got adjusted to the environment, once they did he noticed how doom and gloomy it was down there, but that was when he picked up that hollow's spiritual pressure and he got happy once again. He was not really sure where to look but he followed his instinct as he followed where the weaker hollows was not going, if this arrancar was truly as strong as he was hoping none of the weaker hollows besides the stronger ajuchas a vosto lorde would even wish to go in that direction. He looked around and he noticed that a lot of hollows was all going away from a curtain area so yamashiro decided to head over to see what they was all heading away from. following the path yamashiro was very close to where this being was, in fact if he had to guess he was getting very close to this hollow, yamashiro laughed like a mad man every time he thought about meeting this hollow. Wc 545 twc: 2,650
  9. 4 points
    The surroundings were pitch black, and all sound had disappeared besides a distinct ringing that didn’t seem like it would ever fade. Within that darkness was Connor who continued to try and fumble around to no avail. At this moment he wasn’t able to recall what had happened. It felt as if he had fallen into an endless nightmare ever since he arrived in China. He couldn’t even be sure how much time had passed since his arrival anymore. From the perspective of anyone else they would see that today was a clear and beautiful sunny day. The time seemed to be near noon based on the sun’s position high in the sky. In a clearing on a mountain at some unknown location in China one could see an unconscious body lying lifelessly on the ground. Or at least it seemed lifeless, but upon closer inspection an observer would see the faint movement from the body’s chest due to shallow breathing. The black clothes had several holes torn in them, but still managed to fully cover the body. Through the holes in the clothing there were several dark bruises that would make most people cringe at the sight of. That body on the ground was Connor who had been beaten unconscious. For weeks he had been in a unique situation, learning things entirely different from what he intended when he set out from home. It all started after arriving he began his search for skilled craftsman that would potentially teach him. It didn’t take long for him to realize how unrealistic his goal had been. To these people their craft was their livelihood and no one intended to easily pass on their skills to just anyone who asked. That held true all the way up until the translator he had hired recommended someone. That person was apparently eccentric and highly skilled. The chance that he would agree was equal to the chances that he would harshly refuse. Almost out of options, he saw no harm in visiting this old man to give it a try. Unfortunately, everything started going downhill from there. Before he even had the opportunity to make his request the old man had rushed up to him at an inhuman speed while producing extremely loud and boisterous laughter. Connor was naturally stunned by the sudden occurrence, even the accompanying translator who had a certain level of understanding was equally stunned speechless. It wasn’t until a few moments later that the female translator turned to look at Connor that she realized both him and the old man had disappeared without a trace. Just one line spoken in mandarin lingered in her mind as she looked around in a daze. “I finally found a decent Successor!” It was this single encounter that changed Connor’s life forever, and for a long time it would be his most hated memory. _______________________________________ For the first time in Connor’s life he encountered a situation that truly stumped him. He had been kidnapped in broad daylight in a foreign country. The most shocking aspect wasn’t that he had been taken, instead it was the fact that within just a few moments he had appeared in a completely unknown location. Through the trees and the rocks he could only see tree covered mountains and clouds in the distance. The rapid change was jarring, however Connor still couldn’t resist looking around for the old man. That was when he saw roughly ten feet to his left was the short old man dressed in a plain unassuming manner. It was hard to believe that he was able to forge weapons, let alone take him away almost instantly to some random mountain. Connor continued to inspect the man who seemed unfazed by it. Almost a minute passed in silence before Connor was able to calm himself down enough to collect his thoughts and speak. “Why’d you bring me here?” The reply he received sounded like “ching chong” jibberish. Connor was aware that the man spoke mandarin, however he couldn’t help but to mentally insult the old man who just kidnapped him in whatever way he could before replying once more. “English?” Still maintaining the smile on his face, the only man spoke “Brat, you will be my disciple from today forward.” “I refuse.” Towards such a ridiculous reason, Connor could only blunt refuse. This old man appeared so suddenly, kidnapped him, and now expected him to become his disciple. Despite the inhuman capabilities of the person in front of him, Connor still chose not to forgo his pride. “That isn’t an option, I will have you kowtow now.” “Kowtow?” “It’s a show of respect given when one accepts a master.” “Again, I refuse.” “Brat, you don’t have an option. I am taking you as a disciple whether you like it or not.” “Damn it! Old man, how many times do I have to tell you?! I refuse to be your disciple!” “Shitty brat, kneel.” Going back and forth didn’t get Connor anywhere. He didn’t bother trying to run either. He was at most athletic, but that was still within the standards of humans. The old man in front of him defied that common sense, so there wasn’t any point. At most, he could only maintain his pride and not give the old man what he wanted. Unfortunately, the old man that he refused was especially shameless. He used an unknown method to force Connor directly to his knees despite how much he struggled. “Now press your forehead to the ground and let me accept your kowtow brat.” The old man spoke in a commanding way, as if he wasn’t already forcing Connor to do exactly what he said. The only thing preventing him from doing exactly that were his arms that he placed on the ground in front of him. The pressure exerted on him was extreme, to the extent that his arms immediately felt as if they would break. Even his knees felt as if he was bearing weight far beyond his capacity. The pain of slowly reaching the limit of the bones and joints was excruciating, but even then he did everything he could to raise his head and give the man a defiant glare. He couldn’t speak anymore, it was nearly impossible to breathe at this moment. He knew that it would stop if he submitted, however he refused to do that. At least, he refused to give in like this. Naturally Connor couldn’t lift his head much, however he was able to force it upward just enough to see the old man looking at him with genuine appreciation. It was ridiculous to Connor, being looked at like a new toy. At this moment he became utterly enraged after having his pride viciously trampled. For just a moment countless tiny arcs of electricity danced around his body, and in that moment the pressure lightened. Unfortunately, it was also at that exact moment that the pressure lightened allowing him to raise his body slightly that consciousness escaped him. “This boy really isn’t bad. He’s even close to awakening, but not quite there….” The old man’s voice gradually faded. Had Connor heard what he had to say then he would have been even more confused wondering just what he was supposed to awaken. Unfortunately, this was only the beginning of Connor’s torture. It was only three days later that he would awaken due to the overwhelming sense of hunger and dehydration that were affecting him. _______________________________________ Connor had awoken moments ago and forced his aching body to turn over and lay on his back. His body hadn’t experienced any lasting damage, however he was at his absolute limit without food or water after so much time had passed. It was about that time that he heard footsteps approaching. Almost instinctively, Connor grit his teeth in anger. In these remote mountains it was likely that only the old man and connor would be walking around here. When the steps finally came to a stop Connor took the chance to look that way and speak. “For someone trying to take a disciple, you sure don’t care about their health.” “For someone dying a slow death, you sure seem to have a lot of energy for you to still be such a smartass.” “I can’t fight you with my fists, so I might as well see if I can anger you to death.” “Ha! You’re a hundred years too early to try angering you esteemed Master.” “Fuck off! I will never be your disciple!” Connor’s words echoed, and were followed by silence. That silence felt like a massive victory to Connor who was suffering due to the old man. Unfortunately, that triumphant feeling was crushed by the following words full of mockery. “You sure talk big for someone who was on his hands and knees just a few days ago.” “Wait, Days?! What do you mean days?! You let me fucking lay here for days you old bastard?!” “I’m not obligated to help someone who isn’t my disciple.” Connor was speechless at the shameless answer he received. ‘One second you claim that I am already your disciple, and the next you claim I’m not. Is my life a game to you?!’ Naturally Connor didn’t say these words. Even though he was upset, it didn’t take a genius to understand that contradicting this old man would only cause him to suffer. “Quit glaring at me like that. You’re hungry, right? I will go get you some food and water right away if you call me Master.” “I would rather die!” Connor wanted to add on a few accusations, but decided against it. Rather than continue arguing with the old man, he decided to simply silently endure. ‘I can’t hurt you and I can’t piss you off, so I will ignore you! Let’s see how you like not getting your way.’ “Fine, have it your way. It won’t be long until you’re begging me to be your master!” Connor continued to viciously glare at them old man, all the way up until the moment he vanished just like a gust of wind. *humph* ‘It won’t be that easy..’ Connor refused to give in, at the very least he wouldn’t give in without a true show of sincerity. Even if the old man truly acted sincere, it was unknown whether Connor would be able to shake the urge to hit him at least one good time. __________________________________________ A man’s stubbornness knows no bounds. Connor literally couldn’t function due to the excessive hunger and dehydration. That combined with the bone deep pain caused by that mysterious precious made the simple action of standing up seem impossible. The nausea and lightheaded feeling made it a pipe dream, however at this moment of helplessness that was exactly what his goal was. At this point, he couldn’t think clearly. He didn’t think that there was a simple way out of this situation, but he refused to pathetically lay there and wait. And so he turned back over once more and crawled his way towards the nearest tree. The ten feet between him and it felt like an endless gulf testing his willpower. He had no practical reason to go towards it. He only intended to entrust his weight to it so he could focus on the strength of his to keep himself upright. It was so simple that it was hard to use as motivation, however he refused to be looked down upon by the person who used his life as a plaything. And so, after a long hour of effort he was able to move those seemingly endless few feet. Using the tree to balance himself allowed him to perform the difficult task of sitting upright. It was just moments after he got upright that he looked around at his surroundings to see the old man mysterious appear rough five steps in front of him. Neither spoke a single word to the other. Connor glared at the person who he hated most with all the strength he could muster. The old man observed Connor’s pathetic state calmly. No fluctuations in his emotions could be detected. If a third party were looking at the two, they would get the feeling that the old man was meant to only be an observer. It was a surreal scene that needed no spoken words to express their feelings. When the old man appeared once more Connor had the urge to force himself to his feet at that moment, however, he felt too drained to physically to do that. All Connor could do was challenge the old man with his gaze, never breaking eye contact until he mysteriously disappeared once more. During the entire process Connor had his entire focus on the man, and by some miracle managed to capture the slightest of afterimages with his vision. It was only the slightest blurs, but he still managed to see something. A few more hours went by with Connor motionlessly leaning against this tree. At some unknown point he had closed his eyes to rest, but due to the suffering he was unable to sleep. It was just after the sun had set when he heard steps appear once more. As he opened his eyes he used what little strength he had remaining to quickly reach an upright position with the assistance of the tree trunk at his back. Just a couple steps away was that old man. *sigh* “Why are you so stubborn?” The old man paused for a few moments, intending to let Connor reply to no avail. “Refuse to answer? Can’t answer? Either way, it doesn’t matter. I will make a deal with you.” The old man paused to close his eyes and sigh with disappointment before continuing to speak with his eyes closed. “If you can hit—“ Just as the word hit came out of his mouth, Connor’s fist came smashing over. In that moment small golden arcs surged all over the entirety of Connor’s body. A couple of places on his clothes had holes burnt through them. At that moment Connor had the feeling as if something burst within him. At the same time strength surged throughout his entire body. Even if it was for just a moment, he felt better than he ever had before in his life. The word hit resonated with him, and without any hesitation, his left arm rose up from his side where it had been hanging before to smash towards the old man’s face. Unfortunately, midway through his swing his consciousness slipped from him. This single punch had been unleashed at the weakest point of his life, even without his consciousness his body continued instinctively due to the overwhelming desire to hit. Had Connor been awake, he would have realized that he moved with a speed that was beyond comprehension and a power that could only be described as monstrous. His fist connected almost immediately after the word hit left the old man’s mouth. The eyes of the old man that had been slowly opening widened abruptly as the fist with his face. He hadn’t had his guard up at this particular moment, and even if he had, the strength was much greater than anticipated. That fist contained enough force to cause the old man’s body to leave the ground and follow the rising direction of the punch through a couple of trees before he came to a halt. It was his turn to be stupefied by Connor. He could see the potential Connor possessed, but couldn’t accurately measure it. Never in his wildest dreams did he expect such a monsterous force to be produced by the seemingly normal boys body. Blood trickled out of his nose as he rushed back with excitement reflected in his eyes and a large grin plastered on his face. Unfortunately, all of that faded upon arrival. Connor truly had been a normal person before today. At most, he could be considered slightly above average. Even though the power was his own, his body hadn’t ever had a chance to adjust to that and suffered as a result. Almost every single muscle in his body had exerted a force far beyond what was currently possible for him. This cause his muscle tissue to be shredded, his tendons to snap, and bones to break. Several places all over his body had the skin split and blood leaking out. Upon closer inspection small streams of blood were even coming from his seven orifices. The extent of the damage was enough that Connor should have already died. If it wasn’t for the fact that at this moment that same power was helping to sustain his organs, he would have died. The thought of this, and the clear understanding of Connor’s body caused him to shudder as he rushed forward to use a secret technique to heal the countless injuries. It had to be mentioned that until this moment he had always been nearby to observe, attempting to push Connor to his limits and awaken his powers. All else could be explained after that happened, but now he truly felt regret and guilt for allowing this situation to occur. With the technique assisting his recovery Connor’s condition began to visibly improve. Unfortunately just as his body seemed to have stabilized and the old man began to relax Connor suddenly howled in pain. For a moment the old man was confused, but then he could feel rampant electricity surge everywhere throughout Connor’s body to break it for a second time. The old man tried to suppress the energy, however it seemed impossible causing him to pale in fright. With no other option he was forced to continue drawing on his energy to power the healing technique to counter the damage caused. Unfortunately, if he went faster, the energy broke Connor’s body faster. What frightened him even more was that it wasn’t just a second time. It repeated again, but seemed slightly slower. This puzzled the old man for a moment. But upon closer inspection he was shocked to realize that Connor’s power was taking advantage of the continuous healing to break everything and strengthen it in the most painful, but effective way. After understanding that, he was able to calm himself despite the constantly growing drain on his energy. Nine times, that was the number of times Connor experienced the excruciating pain of having his body shattered and repaired. The old man who supplied to healing eventually ran out of energy and was forced to use his own vitality to substitute in the process. This was an extreme that he normally wouldn’t be willing to go to, but he would be consumed with guilt if he didn’t. There was also the matter of taking Connor as his disciple that weighed on the old man’s mind. If he succeeded then it wouldn’t be wrong to say that he picked up a diamond in the rough, someone who would easily surpass him in the future. He couldn’t control the smile that crept onto his face as he looked at Connor who laid there peacefully after experiencing the last cycle of destruction and restoration. ________________________________________________ It was the morning of the seventh day since Connor had been taken that he finally regained consciousness. His clothing was tattered, but through the various holes one could see his healthy skin without any scars or blemishes. He shuddered at the cycle of refinement he went through. Even his tattoo had disappeared entirely without a single hint of it remaining. It was a miracle that he couldn’t understand that allowed his condition to change. It was today that he truly understood that everything had a price. Even a miracle didn’t come free, and this particular miracle had too high of a price to pay. He hadn’t eaten in a long time, but for some reason he didn’t feel hungry at all. He couldn’t understand it, and attributed it to the changes that he experienced. Currently he was leaning against a tree that he remembered to be several feet from his previous location, and against another tree nearby was the old man who he had hated so strongly not long ago. When he saw him now, most of that feeling had faded. There wasn’t any gratitude towards him, however Connor was aware from the moments when he stabilized and slightly regained consciousness that the old man had given his all in order to save his life. It could be said that to Connor, the good and bad had offset each other. Around the same time that Connor roused from his sleep, the Old Man’s eyes slowly opened to stare directly at Connor. There wasn’t any arrogance in that gaze, only the slightest hint of pure appreciation remained. After all that had taken place between them, the atmosphere was clearly awkward for both of them. Rather than speak up Connor decided to stand up and stretch his body after not moving for so long. The result of his action terrified him. Just pushing on the ground to stand up caused the ground to crack from the force. “What the hell?” “Kid, what’s your name?” “...Connor.” “Well Connor, are you willing to be my disciple now?” “Why would I?” “.......Because I saved your life…?” “And why do you think it had to be saved in the first place?” “I-I didn’t mean for it to come to that…” “You didn’t mean for my body to shatter, but starvation was okay?” “...I was aware of your dormant powers, and the best way to stimulate them is the fear of death… It’s not my fault that you’re too stubborn to awaken them easily that way…” “Did you consider my opinion, or perhaps what I would want to do?!” “...What kind of man would you be if you didn’t want to get stronger?” “...Fuck…” “It’s too late to go back now, so how about it? Are you willing?” “Do I even have a choice anymore? I can’t go around accidentally destroying everything can I?” “I mean, you can. I don’t recommend it though. There are people out there that will kill people who threaten the ‘balance’ and things that would see you as an easy meal if you don’t learn to control your newfound powers.” “...I refuse to kneel.” “Don’t worry, I just did that to piss you off.” “Fuck, okay. What should I call you then?” “Teacher, Master, or Sensei.” “Teacher it is. Now, can you explain what’s going on with me?” “Long Story or Short Story?” “Short.” “...Fine.Simply put, there are supernatural forces that exist in this world. Humans are honestly a minority. The majority are spirits of some sort. Some that just passed, some that passed safely and obtained power, others that passed that passed violently becoming monsters. I have also heard rumors of some vampire creatures, but never actually seen one. You are apart of the minority of humans.” “Oh, okay.” “What do you mean ‘Oh, Okay.’ like you aren’t confused by this sudden revelation?” “...A random old man kidnapped me in broad daylight at a speed that I thought was completely impossible, tortured me for several days, and finally helped me return from guaranteed death nine times. Plus, I just shatter the ground by lightly pushing. I’m not walking because I am worried about accidentally jumping high enough to kill me. Do these sound like the problems I would be having if this bullshit you dumped on me wasn’t true?” “Fair enough...” “Now, can the first lesson can you teach me how to control my strength?” “That’s easy, let’s fight!” “What?” “Fight me, Punk!” Without giving Connor a chance to reply, the old man dashed out appearing in front of Connor almost immediately. Unlike before, Connor could see the movements of the old man with relative ease. Like before, he still couldn’t react to those movements. Just his attempt to move caused the ground to crack underneath him. Without stable footing there wasn’t anything he could do besides wave his hands in an attempt to block it at the last second. In the end, it wasn’t possible for him to resist the strike. Although he couldn’t resist, he did understand the purpose of this after that short exchange. It is only by gaining control over his strength that he would be able to resist him. Unfortunately, understanding the purpose and actually gaining control were two separate concepts. He could only accept being beaten for the next few hours until he finally collapsed on the ground completely exhausted and bruised all over. “I’m hungry!” “Go catch something to eat!” “Really?” “No… We both know that the only thing you can do is hurt yourself the way you are now. I will go get something, you wait here.” Connor didn’t get a chance to reply before his new Teacher disappeared. What he didn’t expect was to faintly hear the old man’s voice after he left. “Ah, that felt so good. That was for breaking my nose!” It seemed that his Teacher was talking to himself and didn’t expect for Connor to hear it. Unfortunately for him, Connor’s various senses were greatly improved allowing him to hear what he wasn’t supposed to. It wasn’t long before the old man returned a bit awkwardly with a bag from a popular burger chain. Not being the picky type, Connor took the food offered to him and ate it swiftly as he actually hadn’t eaten in days. The old man had relaxed a bit watching him eat in such an unrestrained way. Something Connor wouldn’t come to find out for several days is that the old man was embarrassed to realize he didn’t know what Connor liked and could only get something like this. It would still take a few more days for that issue to be brought up. It was in a similar way to this day that Connor spent the next month of his life getting beaten constantly as he was forced to eat the same burger every day. After one month passed he finally began to full control his body. During that month, as his control became better he also received a more brutal beating. Word Count: 4,372 Total Word Count: 12,907 Release obtained: Incomplete Fullbring
  10. 4 points
    Having become extremely used to the new kasa he wore when out in Rukongai Kaeru was able to tip from side to side without revealing too much of his head to glance at those that Möröödögch surrounded himself with in the camp. The shinigami was outnumbered that was for sure if all of the encampment were to wake up, but if that were to happen he would just dial up his reiatsu and most of them would drop from the sheer spiritual pressure he would give off. Speaking of which the frog started to slowly increase his reiatsu as the conversation went on steadily, but nothing more than what the underlings were giving off as he did not want to spark a fight if he could help it. Not too unsurprising Möröödögch did not recognizing him, most probably did not know Xarius personally anymore as he had been gone for four years. But as soon as he took this wide brimmed straw hat off everyone in the world would know that he was from the Noble House Kaeru. The Kaeru Clan was a group of frog humaniod souls that had rose to stature over a thousand years ago within Soul Society. Since that time at least one Kaeru every generation has joined the Gotei Thirteen and reached the rank of Captain. He was a third generation shinigami. As Möröödögch offers for Kaeru to follow him into his tent the frog hesitates for only a moment. This man clearly had no idea who he was talking about or the situation that he was possibly in. This was almost humorous to the acting Captain Commander as he pushed out his arms to either side for a moment. This was to let his gray cloak flap up like a cape so that those still around the fire could see the Gotei Thirteen First Division insignia of a Chrysanthemum on the back of his shinigami outfit before it dropped down once again as he walked up to the tent doorway before walking in. "A foolish soul attacks what they do not understand out of fear," Kaeru states as he turns slightly to walk around the cluster of weapons on the ground staying close to the right side of the room. One of his zanpakutos was slung over his back with the handle hovering just behind his right shoulder, the other was concealed on his right hip. "A wise soul seeks understanding before attacking," he continued to stand a distance away from the man, but now with his head tipped back as he faced towards the door purposely looking out the crack at the fire using the full kasa to black the back of his head from the man that questioned him. "Releasing a shikai without learning the basics? That is dangerous for you and everyone around you," Kaeru stated as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other keeping his form underneath the cloak for now and not turning around. He would simply explain, "Upon learning the name of your sword spirit or spirits, your zanpaukto release manifests. Converse with your spirit and take control to reseal it away. The rest you would need some proper training to master how to control what you wield in your hands. Something that is taught in the Shino Academy and within each Gotei Thirteen Division." "A Khan within his own lands?" Kaeru mused aloud dryly before shifting his tone to a more direct and serious tone, "I am Xarius Kaeru of the noble House Kaeru and acting Captain Commander of the Gotei Thirteen's First Division." After stating the truth firmly and without hesitation he turned around slowly increasing his reiatsu up to a full non-release level. Pushing his arms out of his gray cloak to reveal their dark green skin, his frog face with the scar over his right eye. "Why have I come?" he repeats Möröödögch's question back at him before actually replying with, "To recruit a power ally or eliminate a threat to Soul Society." What happened next was entirely up to the man he was now standing across from in Möröödögch, the alleged Khan of these lands. [WC: 695] [WC total: 1527]
  11. 4 points
    Möröödögch let out a deep booming laugh that almost reverberated through the very air itself, he looked himself over in awe 'I guess I was right very much so in fact' he thought words almost leaving his mouth. He felt something quickly come and almost just as fast leave, he looked around himself in slight confusion, curious to what it was he had felt. Soon after he would be answered by the emergence of someone seemingly almost from out of nowhere. The being stood in robes before him he could not recognise, with a grey cloak surrounding, this being who's face was also covered by a large straw hat of some make he also did not recognise, spoke to him, in a man's voice, his mind checked one box whoever this was it was a he, and he was relatively tall in his own sense. Mord looked deeply at the man his eyes shooting to his subordinates around the fire, he sensed they knew something, recognised something he did not. He spoke calmly, assessing what stood before him, suspicion budding in his own mind. Before he spoke properly however he let loose one two words from his lips 'Very well' and after a short pause 'That would be me, yes I suppose, however I must accept you catch me on the backfoot here, I don't recognise you' He let loose a slight chuckle 'I suppose we should sit in my tent, lot more comfort and a man who seeks something from a Khan should probably do so by his throne.' He turned to walk back towards his throne within his large tent, his head turned to nod for the stranger to follow 'Now I must freely admit, I find your sudden entrance interesting, and I do harbor some suspicions of what you are, but if you'd indulge a Khan within his own land i'd like to hear it from you, Who are you?, What are you? Why have you come?' after a short pause he added in 'And if you do happen to be what I think you are, how the fuck do I put these things away?' He made a slight exaggerated show of maneouvering them around. As he'd reach his throne and sit pointing to a chair his eyes would lock towards where the being should arrive a serious expression entering where once was a face openly humoured, his expression would be met with a tinge of hostility which would be matched by his tone 'Now that I have shown you hospitality, I'd very much appreciate it if you'd take off the damn hat covering your face and show yourself' It had been a while since he had a visitor never mind one that appeared before his very eyes following a surging feel he could not understand, A shinigami he thought surely, his mind knew quite quickly it must mean the soul society itself must have noticed him by now and decided to check on it. It was something he had expected to happen but not quite so soon, he still had yet to properly consolidate and solidify that which had gained, he had big plans, that he supposed may somehow depend on this meeting he felt could only be more than mere chance. A zanpakuto's appearance shortly followed by this strange man felt like more than coincidence, there had to be something he was missing, and letting out a mental sigh he supposed no amounts of mental preparation, reading and/or otherwise could fully account for every possible eventuality, and deep down within the competitive heart that beats, he felt if push comes to shove he would very much enjoy the spectacle. WC:614 TWC:3809
  12. 4 points
    Alejandro continued to drift along the forest floor, a few feet from touching the ground, in flight might as Leonardo remained rested upon his back with his gaze fixed upon the few points of light the penetrate the top leading into the Desert Wasteland. Several meters were traveled when both brothers caught the same amount of pressure applied in the air. It was a thick concentration, one that seemed to pique the interest of Leonardo and even raise the curiosity of Alejandro. "Well?" Leonardo spoke up, without moving from his position but Alejandro had already made the decision and launched himself towards the direction of that source that had just arrived in the forest. The closer that they became to the source of the power, the more clear it became of the potential of such a being would hold as waves of hollow were rushing away fearful for their lives while others seemed to actually succumb from the pressure alone and become lifeless portions of the forest floor. "It appears that I was correct in assuming that something would have been drawn to this location with enough hunting," He paused his thought for a moment as he felt the presence less than a mile away, "But this was more impressive than I had originally considered." Eventually Alejandro pulled back on his speed and allowed himself to stand straight in a hover with Leonardo landing next to him walking along the forest floor. It soon became clear that the being they were searching for was a few yards away when they saw another being with a human like form but a partial mask upon their face. Leonardo immediately grew excited, "Aye!" He shouted towards the individual as Alejandro placed a hand on his brother's shoulder, "I know you find yourself excited at the chance to hunt, but this one seems more prepared for direct combat and capable to handle himself quite well." Leonardo paused as he took a half step forward, feeling the aftershocks of an impact that had to have taken place moments prior. "Oh yeah, this one has some force to him." Alejandro released a sigh. He turned his gaze towards his brother who was fixed on the new individual, "Might I suggest, or instruct, that we prepare properly for a target worth true value?" WC | 386 TWC | 1278
  13. 4 points
    002: THINGS WE LEFT BEHIND AND THE THINGS WE DIDN'T PRT2 ----- ____________________ ... IT WAS nearing sunset when Nagashi pulled the car into the driveway. The sudden shift in his equilibrium caused Ryūnosuke to stir awake and he realized that he'd dozed off at some point during the drive. He looked out the window and at the house in front of them. From the outside it was clear the house was a modern --a very modern-- take on a traditional urban Japanese home. It had a peculiar and unconventional architectural design; and its color was a dark navy blue that might as well have been black. Ryūnosuke thought the house resembled what someone would design if they given a black hexagonal prism and asked to carve cubes out of it until they had something that could pass as a home while looking as close to a plain hexagonal prism as possible. There was not a single curve to be seen in the design. Everything about the exterior was precisely and uniformly cut. White light beamed out from the large picture window on the second floor overlooking the street below. The house was built right on the corner lot of an intersection. Bold, loud, and imposing --truly like a Tamura Keiji statement. "This is exactly the kind of house dad would have built." Ryūnosuke thought. Then, as if she'd read his mind, his mother spoke. "Well... it looks very... residential..." She sighed and muttered something to herself before she reached over the passenger's seat to hold her son's shoulder again. "Listen, Ryūn. I know you're not exactly happy about the move. I know you miss your friends and you miss Akane-" Mariko felt Ryūnosuke tense when she mentioned Akane, his girlfriend. She paused to sigh as she remembered that they'd broken up after the incident. "I'm sorry, Ryūn. I-" "It's fine." Ryūnosuke cut in and pulled his shoulder away. "I know what you're trying to say. This is a new house, in a new town. It might be hard, but we came here for a fresh start and we have to make the best of it." he added, he tone was as clear and confident as always. "I'll get used it. Can we just go inside?" "Yes, sure." Mariko replied. If she had anything else to say, Ryūnosuke didn't give her the chance to say it, as he opened the passenger seat door, walked to the front door, and into the house. Mariko slumped back into her seat as an expression of hurt and defeat marred her soft expression. Nagashi glanced at Mariko through the rear-view mirror. "Everything alright back there, Ms.Tamura?" Nagashi asked with a raised brow. "I'm fine, Nagashi, thank you. I just need a moment." Mariko replied, wiping her eyes as she fumbled in her purse for a tissue. "Here, take this." Nagashi said, reached back with a gray handkerchief, and offered it to Mariko. "Thank you," Mariko, as she took the square of finely woven cotton and wiped her eyes again, and smeared her eye makeup. "I know Keiji doesn't pay me to give his family advice of how to handle their personal affairs and I understand that it's none of my business-" "Enough of that, Nagashi." Mariko interrupted sharply. "You're family and you know Ryūnosuke. For God's sake you see him more than his own fath-" she forced herself to stop there and took a deep breath to center her thoughts. "If there is anything that you can tell me that will help me get my son back, please, I'm all ears." Nagashi waited a moment before he responded. He'd recognized in Mariko's shaky voice a genuine cry for help that he simply could not ignore. It was true, he did see Ryūnosuke more than Keiji. He was the one who went to all of Ryūnosuke's games, the one who the teen called when he needed help, and once upon a time --not very long ago-- he'd been the one Ryūnosuke turned for advice. In that moment, the gravity of just how important Ryūnosuke's well-being was to him as well hit Nagashi like a sledgehammer to the chest. He felt a bead of sweat roll down his temple and wiped it with the cuff of his sleeve. "I've dealt with a lot of death and a lot of loss in my lifetime, Mariko. I've seen people go through what Ryūnosuke is going through and the short of it is, I can't tell you that he's ever going to be the same again." Mariko could feel something dark and heavy swelling in her chest, and Nagashi could see the pain in her hardened expression. "Sooner or later, you're going to have to accept that what happened has changed your boy forever. And however he turns out at the end of it all, for better or for worse you're going to have to accept him. Right now, he's hurting and he's gonna stay hurting for a very long time because he's a good kid. He feels guilty and he's beating himself up because of what he did. I know that for a fact precisely because you raised him right. You raised a good young man. Now, he made a few bad choices and now he's paying the price. But Ryūnosuke is a fighter, just like his father, and nothing keeps them down. He's gonna get through this, but you can't force him. He needs to figure it out on his own. What he needs from you is your support and your trust. You have to trust that he'll make the right decision when the time comes." "What if I can't accept that. What if I can't accept that I'm supposed to just let my baby suffer and punish himself for making a mistake." Mariko countered. "Then, ma'am, you do what you have to do, what you think is best for your child and hope for the best... but understand, in any case Ryūnosuke is not going to be your baby forever." Mariko, took a moment to let Nagashi's final words sink in. For a moment she tried to consider the possibility --a reality in which she was forced to no longer see Ryūnosuke as her her child, her baby to protect for as long as she drew breath. And then, with one sharp exhale she leveled her posture and rejected that reality in all its entirety and variations. "Thank you, Nagashi. Please inform my husband that Ryūnosuke and I arrived safely." "Yes, ma'am. Good luck to you both and have a good evening." Nagashi replied. He then whipped his phone out from the breast pocket of his suit jacket as Mariko exited the vehicle and followed her son into their new home. She took her shoes off at the door and slipped on the remaining pair of cotton tatami. The interior design of the house was not much more welcoming than the exterior. The lack of interior walls helped open up the home and enhance a sense of space, while the rich wooden floors provided some warmth to combat the coldness of the plain snow-white walls contrasted with the sets of all-black furniture. The movers had arrived at the house the day before and stacked boxes in all the appropriate rooms and quarters. Mariko, took the open-risers to the second floor and closed the motorized blinds to the picture window before turning off the lights. There were also two bedrooms on the second floor, and a third bedroom on the third floor. She could hear Ryūnosuke moving boxes on the third floor and decided to check on him. After she ascended the last flight of stairs Mariko paused at the end of the hall opposite a closed door that the noises had originated from. She sighed as she marched to the door, knocked twice , and then swung it open. Ryūnosuke was inside unpacking his cloths when he eyed his mother skeptically. "You know the rules, Ryūnosuke." she said sharply. There was agitation laced in her tone. "Mom, come on. This is supposed to be a new sta-" Ryūnosuke tried to plead, but was cut off. "No closed doors. Curfew at seven. Am I making myself clear?" Mariko stated icily. Ryūnosuke paused for a moment, and Mariko swore she saw a flicker of rebellion in his eyes but it faded just as quickly as she'd thought she'd seen it and Ryūnosuke conceded. "Yes, ma'am." Mariko nodded and then spoke again with her usual soft and caring tone, though she sounded almost disappointed that Ryūnosuke had not tried to argue further. "Thank you for respecting my boundaries." she paused and Ryūnosuke continued to unpack piles of folded clothes onto his bed. "Come downstairs when you're done, we'll order takeout." Ending there, Mariko made her way back to the second floor. She figured she'd unpack some things herself. To Be Continued... ______________________________ WC|1,470 -----
  14. 3 points
    Reminder: Your mortal bodies are created weak and frail. Your fragile forms are prone to dehydration without a sufficient intake of compound H2O. To avoid symptoms such as headaches, seizures, abdominal pain, fainting, and death, please remember to drink water regularly. With regards, from your overseer, RASH.EXE
  15. 3 points
    His heart raced from pure excitement as he made his way through the halls of the Restoration Corps main headquarters, where the offices of the Captain and Lieutenant reside. After multiple days of being locked in Mediation with Kan’Yo Na Hira, his Zanpakuto spirit and one of the goddesses of nurture, love and healing… the Shinigami now had a much deeper, natural and powerful desire to protect and nurture those around him.. those that would do the same and those that would follow him. Finally he rounds a corner and at the end of the long wooden hallway was the one sided double panel sliding door with the large black Restoration Corps symbol on one side and the large black Lieutenants symbol on the other. There was no turning back now. The Shinigami had made up his mind and had hoped the respected Lieutenant “Kimi Narakote” whom Yuroshima had a moderate deal of personal admiration and respect for being his superior and an obviously learned practitioner of the holy art Kaido. He approaches the door, the usual white cloth like panels replaced with hard black material that was clearly for both security and aesthetic of the general feel of the Gotei 13’s traditionalistic ways.. which had attracted Yuroshima from an early age. Firmly he taps his closed fist on the Lieutenants door saying nothing at first for his intentions he felt, should be spoken face to face. WC – 237 Current Uniform Description : Yuroshima,s current uniform is the standard Shinigami Shukakusho however the sleeves and collar are lined with light gray fabric. The sleeves are also much shorter than standard going just past the shinigamis elbow showing off his skin tight white sleeves which cover every visible part of his arm past the sleeve ending at the very end of the wrist. He wears a white cloth veil like head dress similar to the kido corps head dress but with the Restoration coprs symbol on the forehead above the eye slit.
  16. 3 points
    Of course the man chasing him onto the battlefield would think of himself as salvation. This did not surprise Kaeru in the slightest as each chuckle and statement from the man was so self reassuring that it was nauseating. There were a lot of souls like this in Soul Society, some of them in Rukongai, some of them in Seireitei. Coming from a noble house he was used to this sort of self affirmation, status, titles, did not matter as people always wanted to be better than the next one. As Kaeru had stated by the fire he knew where Möröödögch lived, because the Onmitsukido had given him that information. That information included how many people lived here, as he had walked through the districts he talked to all of his own subordinates to learn about each change that has occurred since this "Khan" had arrived. The thing is that this man apparently has been around for some time, just recently he had started to make his move into the Rukongai Districts. This was unacceptable, but he realized that there was a lot of work that needed to be done to weed out the corruption of laziness since he has been gone. Though, that could be a job left for someone else if he was not careful. Möröödögch was moving pretty quickly already gaining the benefits of the shikai released Kaeru could tell this was going to be very one sided if he was not careful. This fight was not about him winning, he was not a child. Going full tilt was not how he fought, he needed to keep this fight from reaching the Rukongai outer districts. Even if the Gotei Thirteen was a shell of the force he left behind when he was gone, there was still a nucleus of shinigami that did try to maintain order and make things better. Not that what they did was ever enough, people would always complain about the things untouched because being part of the solution was too much work. No matter how much the man continued to glare at him and speak about himself, Kaeru kept his eyes focused on the task at hand; to learn. Möröödögch was an intense individual, seems that the shinigami's statements had struck a cord in the way he wanted them to. This was just part of who he was, calling things as he saw them and until this man proved things otherwise he would still the biggest threat here. Dead or alive, he held more value to the state of things. His disappearance over the last four years should of proved that very point, but how would Möröödögch know that? He would not that was the issue. Both of his hands rested on the hands of each of his sheathed zanpakutos as Kaeru watched the sand slowl drop off from the zanpakuto in Möröödögch's left. This sand spread out as the self titled Khan began to leisurely move in his direction. At the same time that man started to become covered in this constantly moving sand all over his entire body. Within he noticed that there was a gleaming substance reflecting light to some extent. Almost like diamonds or glass, which made more sense as there was sand coming from the zanpakuto. As soon as Möröödögch start to move faster in his direction Kaeru immediate moved at the same pace keeping the exact same distance. While the Khan was currently seemed capable of moving faster than him which meant that Möröödögch would eventually catch him in the current cat and mouse game. The issue is that if the man was going to go all out on the frog with every attack and move at his fastest he would burn himself out way faster than the shinigami would. Each step was easily readable, he could anticipate the movements as even with the sand covered body he had to make deliberate movement. That is when the other zanpakuto in Möröödögch's right hand started to illuminate with an intense red. Kaeru immediate noticed the correlation with the land around him radiating with heat over the whole battlefield. Now that must be his other zanpakuto activating. Sand with glass makes more sense now that I know his other zanpakuto can create heat. That put him at a further disadvantage in this fight which his amphibian anatomy. This was how some battles went, the perfect opponent with all your weaknesses can show up out of nowhere. he was going to have to adapt to the change. Watching as Möröödögch started to run closer to frog even more he started to gather up some of the reiryoku around his body shifting from his sweat glands very lightly. This man was pulling his body back to attempt a slash attack from a distance, this movement with his arm was slow enough to tell the angle in which he was aiming for; right at the frog. But this was no simple slash as he was pushed the air into a massive shockwave. The sheer brute force wave of wind was making a vertical motion splitting the ground. Winds whirling and exploding forth pushing him backwards with relative ease as the amount of power in that attack was impressive.The aftermath of rumble all over the place was something to behold, such destruction for lands that he called home. The strength required to create a shockwave like that was immense, Kaeru had only saw that with captain level shinigami. Something that was a growing trend with a brutish types out here in Rukongai. The ground was cracking at the weight of the strike. He could tell the difference between this man and someone that was used to that kind of power was he was not in the shape to do too many all out attacks without a sacrifice in another department. Maybe he was wrong and he had finally found the ultimate warrior with no weaknesses. He needed to switch his strategy as this man was going to exhaust himself with attacks such as that. The next slash attack at a difference he was going to redirect that attack. he would just have to start his motion just before. Gathering up his nerves without showing any signs of stress on his face Kaeru's eyes noticed that the man was starting to move his other zanpakuto in another shockwave motion like he figured he would. Just like the vertical wave this was horizontal version of the exact same normal strike. This was a high speed wave like the last one that he had struggled to get up after, but he was prepared taking a mental note that he was going to have to test this man's reaction speed to his own attack being turned back on him later if needed. His goal here was to get it as close as possible without hitting the man. Maybe the man would move into it or maybe he would block it out right. "Over the north side of the hill, Yin. Under the south side of the hill, Yang," he lowly spoke out as his hands prepared to draw both of his zanpakutos. As the attack was about to hit the frog, Kaeru lowered himself as he rotated drawing both of his zanpakutos releasing them at the same time to create two small reiryoku waves that only reduced the blast wave of wind enough where he could jump move to the left. That was an all out attack with some heat flavored onto the attack, but now he had saw two abilities and that this man could do shockwave attacks. Gripping his hands tightly around the handles of each zanpakutos he gritted his teeth as he stood back up. There was a pure black katana from blade to handle in his right hand that he was spinning to be up right that he had drew from his hip. The other zanpakuto from his shoulder had become a pure white katana from blade to handle. Years training in the Kaeru Clan basement as he was not a prodigy or genius like his siblings, extra studying to get through the Shino Academy to prove he could be a good shinigami, working his way up through the ranks of the Eighth Division until the moment he had earned the right to become Captain Commander. Years. All of this took years, not as many as others but this man seemed to just be a walking force of nature. Releasing a shikai by force of will is one thing, Kaeru thought to himself as he jumped backwards keeping a defensive stance, But to be able to use the abilities within an hour is ridiculous. Not just one zanpakuto, but two spirits with two different abilities. The frog himself saw Möröödögch grab the asauchi and it turn into two zanpakutos in a release shikai form. Even prodigies spend at least months getting used to their initial release before the techniques come. He had spent years to learn his zanpakutos originally. The hours he spent with each one, learning their names, personalities, likes, dislikes, and all of that time in their inner world. This man new how to perfectly use the abilities in tandem, sand and heat making glass with an armor. Probably better than people that have had their shikais for centuries even. Nothing was ever fair in life, Kaeru was not going to be one to complain about that now. With his shikai released now he was going to have to be really careful to not use abilities or techniques. His reiatsu would just have to be enough as he was still not back to his former power levels. He was close to regaining his bankai and all of the power that came with that. He remembered all of the time he spent with both of his zanpakutos, but while they could manifest in this realm, they were not giving up their power just yet. Still digging himself out of the dog house with Yin, which was probably going to take a bit more time. Are you going to use us for real Xarius? the concerned voice of Yang came through the ether. He smirked at his zanpakutos image became only where he could see her hovering next to his right. Yeah right, he would rather die than allow someone like this to see either of his family's heirlooms real potential, Yin spoke with an irritation in her voice, He is just going to play keep away now. She was right, she had seen him fight enough times to know his fights were slow drawn out fights with his opponents. He was probably not going to last too long with those high speed shockwaves being launched at him. "Hado number thirty-two. Okasen," Kaeru stated as he began to raise his zanpakutō horizontally in front of himself coming to a stop for a moment. With the blade out in front a yellow orb began to generate, which widens along the length of his sword. Only a moment would pass until it was fully charged firing a wide, horizontal arc of yellow energy at Möröödögch at half power. This was the Yellow Fire Flash, a kido art that his younger brother Ank had worked with him to learn. His younger brother while a real noble snob most of the time, was also a genius when it came to reiryoku based techniques. [WC: 1886] [Total WC: 4552] Notes: Abilities used: 3/4 attacks made Stats
  17. 3 points
    Möröödögch couldn't help but let out a short chuckle at the frog man's words. 'If you're the biggest threat, I suppose that makes me salvation.' He continued to glare at the soul before him unable to help from letting out a short snarl as he found it in him to threaten everything the Khan held close 'I suppose Frog or man, foolish bandied threats all sound the same, I am Möröödögch, Warrior Kahn I live wherever I deem fit'. A burst of wind spread across the air where the frog once stood putting out the campfire as the frog quickly disappeared, reappearing in another spot. He let out a warmly toned chuckle as he replied to the man's next statement, 'I shall try not to disappoint' followed by a spitting of the words 'Captain Commander'. He followed Xarius into the nearby field his eyes burning with the radiance birthed from man who has seen death. His facial expression apart from the burning eyes remained near neutral apart from the smallest of smirks, he would enjoy this as he has enjoyed many before. Sand dripping from Tsöliin kheeriin els on his left, spreading itself outward as he began to stroll towards Xarius, sand beginning to envelop him as he did so with smaller shards of glass entering inlaid in the sand, 'Tsöliin ezegtei mini'. The sand would fully cover his body, the small shards drifting within it ever moving. He would begin to move faster towards the frog watching closely to try and match any movements the Shinigami acting captain commander might make. The zhanmadao Tsöliin narny dulaan would begin to burn bright red, the land around him would begin to radiate heat spreading over their entire battlefield as it enveloped them 'Tsöliin zuukh'. Möröödögch, would run closer to the shini, and let loose a swing of his blade from outside of melee range sending a huge shockwave of pure brute force heading straight towards his opponent in a vertical arc cleaving through the ground before it and causing small amounts of rubble to spread. He would slash his other blade in an effort to send a shockwave hurtling behind Xarius for the purpose of limiting his movement this shockwave would move in a horizontal arc . he knew he could not underestimate his opponent, a man with title and rank surely held it for a reason, and he judged he should soon find out, just as the frog man had said one should not simply attack what they do not understand. Notes: Abilities used 4/4 attacks made Stats: WC: 420(Blaze It) TWC:4826
  18. 3 points
    PART 2 Yuroshima smiles behind his Kido Crops veil and manipulates his kido energy to compose fire. A pulse of het begins growing more and more intense around his fingers until finally a stream of orange flame shoots forth like a miniature flame thrower, merely five to six inches in range he aims it inside the lamp in his opposite hand. At first nothing is happening, feeling the weight of darkness grow heavier, the corps officer tries harder, “Come on… come onn..” He mutters until finally.. a spark. The lamp lights up brilliantly,Yuro glances up from the oil based contraption to see the smiles of his comrades illuminated in orange. He follows the same process for the other lamp and approaches Ibodai and Benor whom is now sitting by the rubble, arms resting on his legs. The chrome domed Shinigami reaches an arm out to his side and turns it upside down, allowing the remainder oil in it to poor out onto the pile of wood debris amassed by Ibodai. The Gray eyed kido specialist then kneels down beside it and directs the flames to the black stained wood. A good strong camp style fire erupts seconds later and the room is soaked in soft light. “There we go.” The 10th seat calls out from his lack luster chair before standing and strolling over to his subordinates and guard to join them, Jim not far behind in doing the same. “Izo should be comin soon.” The Bandana Badass states. “He’ll be coming with food..” He continues, his voice getting coy and funny as it trails off. “And liquor.” A twisted half smile slides across his face as he glances to Benor whom returns the expression. “That’s fine.” Yasuke says, “But don’t drink to the point of being belligerent, we have to be up and ready tomorrow and nothing will be allowed to jeopardize that.” “Ahhh of course not.” Ibodai says pushing his hand out as a gesture of ‘no big deal’. “We wouldn’t risk the mission like that.” More time and jokes about the fire glinting off Benors head pass before two light knocks sound at the door. Yuro’s focus jolts to the wooden portal, hand fixated on his mock zanpakuto. “Its fine, its fine.” Jim states standing and walking to the door. He looks through the peephole and smiles seeing nothing but a jug with multiple x’s across it shoved right against it. “It’s Izo.” He says calmly not yet leaving the sight of the peephole and indeed attempting to see if he can feel any other spirit energies out there. Finally he steps back and opens the door, revealing his childhood friend whom came with a basket of food and a no doubt a jug of alcohol. “I bring gifts for you m’lords.” He says in a comical voice as he steps into the broken room, “Warm food and strong drink.” To this, Ibodai raises a fist, “And beautiful maidens?” He asks jokingly, “None of those around here.” Izo replies returning to his normal voice and taking a seat by the fire. The atmosphere of the room shifts and is now fully light hearted, even the traces amounts of seriousness had all but washed away. “We’re safe here.” Yuroshima tries to ease his own tension. But soon little clay cups are being passed around and filled with the clear alcohol. “Here you go my man.” Izo calls to Yuro, snapping him out of his thought the gray eyed shinigami observes the glistening clay cup reflecting the close fire being offered to him. For a moment the Corps operative feels he should raise his hand and deny the gesture but instead resolves that it would be fine to have one drink. For a while there are multiple conversations going on, Jimothy and Izo discussing business and family and whos been doing what in the neighborhood, Ibodai and Yuro talking about the difference in customs between the Gotei and Kido Crops. Yasuke and Benor talking about whatever the hell as they weren’t as well acquainted as the recruits who had been in the academy together but none the less enjoyed each other’s company. “You’re a spunky guy Benor/” The 10th seat commends him, getting another refill on his clay cup. “Alright, alright.” Izo says putting his hands up and fluctuating them up and down to evoke silence, “For real though.” He begins as he shuffles around in his bag and pulls out a large cigar like object. “What exactly brings you boys out this deep into Rukognai?” He begins drying the smoking product above the fire as Jim begins to answer. “Mmm!” Yasuke sounds off mid drink to stop his subordinate short. He gulps swallows down the gulp of alcohol hard. “Ehhch,” He makes a disgusted noise, “That’s top secret.” He finally finishes. Izo flashes him a dramatically deep and sarcastic smile, “Cmon man.” He says tilting his head, “Im the best and most trustable dude you got out here, what yall looking for.” Izo wasn’t an informant and met with multiple figures of influence in the neighborhood daily and as such was not someone like Jake that the squad would usually discuss things of this nature with. “But.” Yasuke thinks, “Jake wasn’t so trust worthy either, and this man wouldn’t betray Jim.” He swoons a minute allowing Yuro to see how drunk he truly was, “Fine.” He coughs out, “We are trying to find that gang that’s been forming.” Izo nods at his words, there is only shocked silence but the tension breaks as the others come to the same realization of being able to trust their host. “I figured for real.” The hotel owner states now bringing the cigar to his lips, slightly impairing his speech. “Jusht be caufull.” He says lighting the end and puffing. “What is that?” Ibodai asks, Yuro moments away from asking the same thing. “Kenken seed cigar.” Izo replies taking the cigar from his mouth a moment to say this. The Kenken seed was a highly prized and expensive seed, originally burned in the home for scent it was discovered centuries ago that inhaling the smoke allowed for a light but immersive feeling of euphoria, some local citizens believed that mashing it up and smearing it on your forehead before bed time would enable you to speak to angels or gods in your dreams. “It’s my own special blend though.” Their host continues, “I got some Mallow root in here too.” He passes it to Jim who takes a firm puff and pulls the cigar away, thoughtfully studying it a moment.”Oh ya.” He says, voice strained from holding in the smoke before he breathes out a cloud of thick white, surprising as it would usually be a misty gray. “That mallow root really makes the smoke thick and sweet. He takes another hit and hands it to Yuro. The kido corps officer lifts the custom cigar to his face but stops and realizes the problem.. he would have to lift his veil in order to take the hit. His gray eyes glance up to see his friends leaning in by the light of the fire for they had known the same thing. Suddenly Yuroshima makes a fast movement. “Sekeinton!” He shouts causing the group to jump up out of fear of being caught in the thick red smoke cloud but instead of releasing the kido the officer simply throws his upper torso downward where he sat, sliding the veil up and taking a quick but truly deep puff before returning his mask to original position. He exhales the white cloud which only escapes through the eye slit in the head dress. He looks at his fellow shinigami all clearly amused, Jims eyebrows raised and an open gaping smile visible. “Suppose I could have just done this though.” Yuroshima says lifting the long frontal cloth part of the veil and sliding the cigar up it, taking another puff which is let out through the eye slit yet again. “Pffffffft!” Benor bursts out before hysterically laughing to the point that no sound came eventually, “You tightwad!” He says in a light hearted tone catching his breath. Yasuke smiles and shakes his head. The Kido guard simply shrugs smiling behind his mask and passing the cigar to his bald ally. “So who is the masked one anyhow?” Izo asks in a friendly manner. “Come on KC Whats your name just tell us.” Benor calls out to him. “Come on now guys, enoguh of that.” Yasuke would cut him off. The group talks and makes merry , enjoying the chicken and rice brought by their host a little while longer before Izo decides he must shuffle on home and leaves the soul Reapers to rest. Jim takes his spot laying down by the closet, Yasuke leans back in his destroyed chair, Yuroshima curls up under the table, and Ibodai lays atop it. Benor staying by the fire which illuminated his head so well. Morning comes with the soft yet bright glow of orange morning sunshine forcing its way through the muck on the windows. It is an average morning. Yasuke slowly opens his eyes to find his subordinates had all gotten up first. He observes them dining on the leftover meat from last night and crackers from their rations bag. Yuroshima sits at the table relaxing and putting food up his head dress. The only thing out of place is Jim seeming agitated and trying to peer through the window. “There’s some kind of commotion outside..” He murmurs loud enough to be audible to the others. Suddenly, multiple screams burst out, Jim eyes widen and the other squad members become more aware that something is wrong. The Bandana Badass hastily rubs his sleeve on the dirtied glass before stepping back and busting out the top portion with his elbow. Golden rays of light flood in through the break and Jim forces his face as close to the broken glass as he can before looking to his commanding officer, “There’s black smoke like crazy in the air.. it’s a building fire..” He says. Yuroshimas expression turns serious as he instantly snaps his attention to Yasuke as well, the two make eye contact before the 10th seat replies, “Oh sit!” Immediately everyone gathers there things and rushes out the room, zooming down the stairs and into the ally way before making a break in the direction of the “Raging Rooster.” Saloon. Yuroshima sees a tomato laying on the ground as they run.. a voice or feeling with in him ties importance to this but the Kido officer cannot figure out why. Their running slows as they approach the blazing building.. a crowd gathering to witness the horrid spectacle, a body is seen hanging from the second story deck.. no doubt the body of Jake. “Move!” Yasuke shouts as the unit makes their way through the crowd. He observes the hanging body of Jake, the rope burning and the mangled charred corpse falling to the first story deck as the bar begins to crumble and spit out flaming debris. Yasuke’s expression turns grim and he looks at the ground a moment, “sorry Jake..” He mutters before his gaze returns to the inferno before him. “What now sir?” Ibodai asks, becoming antsy with the large crowd behind them and afraid they will be blamed. “Now nothing.” The seated officer replies, the heat and color of the sunset and flames flowing all around the group. “Now we got them on murder and possible terrorism..” He continues, murmurs begging amongst the crowd evoking Yuro to tighten his grip on his Asauchi. Yasuke continues, “We return to the Sereitei and explain to them our findings.. our mission is complete.. now they will send an actual military force to come stomp them out…” He takes one more look at the fire before turning his back to it. “Let’s go home….” Suddenly, Yuroshimas audible surroundings smear and go completely quiet, its all in slow motion as he see a man quickly walking from the crowd towards the 10th seat with great haste, the other soul reapers attention still on the fire. Yuroshimas eyes widen as the man reaches into his jacket and nears the seated officer. The Kido corps operative barely knows he’s reacted by the time he uses his max speed to glide past Yasuke’s right side and do the task he was brought to do. The Gray eyed shinigami now standing right in front of the possible blonde haired assailant throws his right hand towards the man’s hand which he was now pulling from his jacket. He grips the soul’s wrist with great strength and sees the alarmingly large dagger. Yasuke and the others look in shock. Yuro wastes no time and immediately strikes the back of the attackers knuckles with a stern open palm slap throwing the dagger from his grip in the direction of the blazing bar. He keeps his hand on the back of his adversaries and then wrenches down hard performing a wrist lock he forces the man’s bent joint down towards his waste where he put even more force into the restraint. “Ahh!” The man cries out falling to a knee, the crowd behind the shinigami sees the weapon thrown and the confrontation arising and screams out in panic, dispersing like mice. The man grimaces and grits his teeth fighting against the pain as he struggles to slowly stand up ”Rrrrrrhhhhh.” The prr like sound of pain and true determination escapes his lips. Yuroshima attempts to put more pressure on the wrist ready to snap it if he must before he sees the man reaching for his back and for a moment, Yuroshima can see the true and deep hatred in the man’s eyes. The soul pulls a smaller knife from a pocket or whatever behind him. In reaction Yuro quickly pulls the man’s arm towards him with great force causing the man’s body to fly towards the shinigami who then delivers a sound and devastating head but to the center of the assailants face. He jerks his limb towards himself once again this time releasing his grip and turning on his heels he wraps one arm around the man’s opposite shoulder which was now the arm holding the new weapon. He brings his other arm up and folds it around the man’s bicep before jumping forward and falling with the enemy focusing his weight on the shoulder he had entangle and upon landing dislocating the souls shoulder with a sickly popping sound. “Stop resisting!” Yuroshima shouts over the man’s cries of pain, hearing the clang of blades behind him signifying one of his allies were in combat now too. He looks up and can see shillouttes moving along the closed windows with haste, a third man running out towards the group. “We have to get off the street now!” The kido corps officer shouts raising his hand to launch a kido which he had not even fully learned, “Sai!” He cries out at the fresh enemy running up. The strange glowing gold rod erupts from his hand but indeed was no binding spell merely flying at the new enemy in a chaotic spinning motion it smacks the man hard in the stomach knocking the wind out of him and forcing him to drop his weapon. Benor rushes forth and delivers a hard Hakuda style strike to the man’s skull throwing him back a few feet and rendering him unconscious. Yuro glances over his shoulder to see Jim and Ibodai cut down the man that had engaged them. The Corps operative then stands grabbing a handful of his assailants’ hair before slamming his face into the ground hard thus knocking him out as well. “We only need one!” He shouts hoisting the unconscious soul up onto his shoulder seeing multiple armed rukognai souls now running from the abandoned buildings.. this was clearly a set up. “Now move!” He shouts making a break for the abandoned building across from them. The door is boarded up but the Kido specialist uses the body on his shoulder as a battering ram jumping forth and bursting through the rotted old wooden barrier. The two slam into a dusty cashiers counter, old gray stained glass erupting into shards before Yuro recollects their P.O.W. Jim follows close behind leaping over the counter, “With me! I know these alley ways!” He says bursting out the back exit and ducking right attempting to lead them around back to the hotel. They would have to play maze through the abandoned buildings, picking one which was inhabited could spell the end and get them surrounded. The other four follow their native comrade through a few dark and shift places, the sounds of the surrounding mob going in and out of the building around them. “Almost there!” Jim shouts in whisper before leading them into what seemed to be a former apartment complex now in practical ruin. They burst through the back door into a long stretched hallway that leads directly to the front door, a constant stream of water is pouring down In the front right corner but Yuroshimas focus is taken off of this as the front door is bashed in by some of the militant rukognai pursuers.. they had been cut off. It seemed to be only one man and so the five shinigami advance with no fear. The singular assailant runs towards them kicking up small bits of the shallow water collecting on the ground. He is halted in advance by Benor whom tackles him down causing a spray like splash around the two he begins striking the man’s head with power for they were ordered to avoid killing if at all possible. Two assailants rush in from the back and Yasuke, Ibodai and Jim engage immediately. Clang, tsss,! The sounds of battle erupt behind Yuroshima who is in between the two conflicts. Mere distraction! Suddenly another man whips around the corner with generally impressive speed in front of Benor who glances up too late to see the man cleaving a machete like blade towards his chest. Benor shoots his arm outward and grips the man at the elbow joint but it is no use. “Uhh!” He cries out as the blade slices half way into the left side of his chest. Yuro drops the unconscious enemy and rushes forward, Benor in panic foolishly rips the machete from his being allowing blood to flow fast and hot from the wound he falls backward, caught in the arms of the Kido corps officer who then grabs the blade with his bare hand, “Tsuzuri Raiden!” He shouts emitting enough electrical force to maniacally shock the attacker who spasms.. unable to scream and flies back a few feet instantly pushed out the way by the rushing of even more assailants. Their blades are already out. With his free hand Yuorshima yank the Asauchi free holding it by its sheathe he lifts it in front of himself, blocking the first oncoming attack, the blade smacking against the rock hard sheathe it is deflected. He moves the his arm to the left slightly, deflecting another hit but the force of this strike drives the shinigamis arm back slightly post deflection. A third strike is already coming in, Yuroshima to counter is forced to use hakuda technique and charge kido into his arm shooting it forth with blinding speed he narrowly perries the blow, however... the second attacker had timed their strike more efficiently now and had already launched his slash. The kido corps officer blinks as the blade advances in slow motion, “I can’t block this one..” he thinks to himself, “What will you do?” That thunderous voice comprised of immaterial emotion thunders across his mind. Yuroshuima thinks of the injured man clasped in his arm, “My duty..” He states preparing to spin around and take the hit, unknowing if it will kill him or not.. he braces himself and prepares to spin when their cavalry shouts out, “ Bandana Badaaaasssss!!!” as Jim flies over his two comrades bodies, unsheathing his Zanpakuto with great force and stopping the strike midway. They stay locked in that block for a moment before the Bandana donning Shinigami charges his spirit energy, wind circulating around him as he shouts out and extends his arm forth with great might, throwing the shinigami back and against the wall, yet another running in for back up. Yasuke and Ibodai rush forth to join their friend having finished their conflicts. “Go!” The curly haired Shinigami shouts. The Corps officer wastes no time picking Benor up and rushing out the back exit, certainly one of his duties would be to get an injured squad member away, such a thing was the spirit of security. He rushes out the back struggling to help the bald Shinigami hold himself upright. By instinct he heads right hoping the hotel to be in that direction. He can hear the angered shouts and howls of men all around them, the sun now just ever so slightly higher casts elongated shadows of all the buildings and Yuroshima can see their movements amongst them. “Where is the damn hotel!” He whisprs through his teeth, “Do you know Benor??”The bald man in reply merely shakes his head, “Uh uh..” He says weakly. “Ouu ah. Leeh e” He states a near incoherent slur of vowels =, “Dont talk..” The Kido officer replies panting, and looking around frantically trying to see anything familiar, Benor grips his collar tightly, “You Gotta leave me.” He says successfully this time. “I won’t.” Yuro shoots back, he runs around another corner and finally his eyes land on the tomato from earlier. “See?” He shakes his fellow soul reaper in an attempt to keep him conscious, they round one more corner and at last Yuroshima spots the hotel only two buildings down, Izo peering out the back glass window as the two soul Reapers hastily approach. “No no no no!” The hotel owner shouts storming out the back, “That is not part of the deal!” Yuro lets loose of Benor allowing him to stumble to Izo who catches him, “Get him upstairs now or i blow your cover!” He yells to the man, “Ok! Damn! Keep your voice down!” Jims friend replies in a loud panicked whisper turning around quickly and painstakingly lurching towards the door, then the employee stair case. Yuroshima jogs around the first corner holding his /asauchi by the sheathe in his left hand still to find Jim leading Ibodai, who now sported a nasty look cut down the top right of his chest down the entire length of his right arm and Yasuke, whom was carrying the unconscious uprising member from earlier, towards the hotel already. “Wheres Benor?!” The 10th seat shouts to the assigned guard, “Our friend has him” Yuro calls back being careful not to disclose identity were an enemy within ear shot range. The group quickly rushes into what they hoped would be their safe house. Jim sprints up the first flight and half of the second, books and dbris of all kind falling behind him as he shouts out lifts Benor onto his shoulders relieving his friend for his strength was greater. He jogs up the stairs as fast as he can carrying his comrade, the rest of the gang following close behind as they make their way to the room, Yasuke eventually just dragging their prisoner up the stairs. And return they did to the dusted dying atmosphere of the room they had stayed in the night prior. The remains of the makeshift campfire remain and the smell of smoke still hangs in the air. Jim stumbles towards the only standing table in the room and gently rolls his friend onto it. The Hoshiko officer is not far behind when Jim turns to him, “Can you heal him?” He asks the kido corps officer. Yuroshima frowns behind his veil, “Of course not..” He thinks, “Thats Captain class Kaido.. its a lung injury..and I don’t even know Kaido.” But he decides to at least try in order to ease what was inevitable. He walks to the table side and places his hands on the wound applying pressure and attempting to gather kido in his palms. “KC..” The injured soul reaper weakly calls to the officer attempting to heal him. “What is it?” The Kido specialist replies, attempting to compose a healing or nurturing energy with the kido hes gathered but it is no use.. that just wasn’t how Kaido worked, Ibodai, Yasuke and Jim all approach the table and watch intently. “Whats your name..” The bald Shinigami replies, “What?” Yuro responds, “You.. heard me...” Benor coughs and laughs out , “Thats right.. im pulling that card on you, come on.. dying mans wish.... what’s your name.” The Kido Corps officer looks him in the eyes, and pauses a moment, “..Yuroshima Hoshiko.” He finally admits, loud enough for the dying soul to hear. Benor smiles, and then shakily laughs.. Interrupted by a rasped cough, “Yuro..Shima?” He repeats, “What the hell does that mean.. Yuro Island or something?” To this the failed Kaido practioner replies, “It’s not real, I made it up when I was little in the orphanage.” This answer only evokes more laughter from Benor who states, “Why is that such a story that would happen to you.” Yuro continues to try and muster up some sort of kaido, closing his eyes and attempting to focus, “You’ll pull through man!” Jim shouts to him. “Im fine guys... I feel fine..” Their bald friend replies. Yuroshima can do quite literally nothing, the overflow of blood begins to seep past his firmly placed hands and suddenly.. it was as if he felt the spark leave the man.. so much so that it shocks him and causes his eyes to open. They all felt it, he had passed away in that moment. “No no no..” Ibodai mutter grasping his hair in his hands and walking off to the side. Izo doesn’t know quite what to do and simply exits the room. Yasuke, Yuro and Jim merely look on. Hours pass, they sit in the hotel silently all day until the night had come in full swing. “Its time for us move out.” Yasuke finally breaks the silence, “What about him?”Jim asks glancing to the prisoner who hadnt regained consciousness yet and most likely had a concussion of fracture of some type. “We’ll drop him off in the alley with the rest of the trash.” The 10th seat replies, face obscured by the shadow as he sits in his destroyed chair. “No.” Ibodai states, “We’ll bring him back to Soul Society for questioning”. The room is a soft blue from the lack of moonlight able to enter. The crew makes their way down the stairs for the final time, Yasuke and Ibodai carry down the prisoner together rounding a corner and making a break for the road out. The remaining Shinigami escape the Rukognai districts under the cover of night. WC -4,509
  19. 3 points
    Karakura Town The day to day of the Material world goes on like nothing has happened since the rifts. There are still some left over that the Shinigami are closing. The bigger issue is getting back to the normal jobs that a shinigami has helping souls move on and the hollows that invade the plane. Some of the presence of new Fullbringers, Bounts, and Quincies have started to pop up as well, though their interactions with one another seems to be limited. The leaders of each of the groups is actively trying to recruit new members into their ranks. Hueco Mundo The Grim Reaper Draka Acturial continues to lord over Hueco Mundo. The White Desert is full of unknown danger. . Though his realm have new forces seem to be at work and whether this is for the better or not only the future knows. The Grand Menos seemed to be gathering for some reason. Soul Society Like the Material Plane, Soul Society has only a few rifts left to close. The real issue is the disjointed and mess that was left in the wake of things. There are a lot of shinigami potential moving around in Rukongai and Seireitei. The Central 46 is continuing their 4 year long search of finding a worthy candidate to take the title of Captain Commander, which is currently held by Mikoto Shuu in a temporary fashion as he does not desire to maintain the rank. Wandenreich Emperor Haschwald has moved back into the Wandenreich realm to regain his power and recruit members once again. Those that he is able to pluck from the Material world are the chosen. Who could he recruit into the fold to protect his realm from possible invaders? Overall Everything is relatively calm in each realm at this time, but that is subject to change with each group finding new members. Who will stand out? What stories will shape this new chapter? Who will be the first to tip the balance on the scales? Was is lingering issues will mold the future? Where are all of the Vaizards? Welcome to the ORP newest reset. (lol hopefully activity will be plentiful and we can pull out some events)
  20. 3 points
    003: A TARNISHED BLOOM OOC: When can I get to the action! D: ----- ____________________ ... MUCH TO Mariko's disappointment, the change in neighborhood and home seemed to have no effect on the morning routine so far. As she prepared breakfast for herself and Ryūnosuke, she reminisced on a time, not long ago, when her son would have been on his way home from a morning jog, with fresh ingredients for the morning meal. She would greet him at the door with a smile and embrace. Sometimes she'd comment on how sweaty he was before demanding he'd shower up, with the promise that breakfast would be ready by the time he was done. For the last few months Ryūnosuke had spent the mornings alone in his room. Mariko often walked by his door to check on him out of concern. Most days he was at his desk with his back to the door, always occupied with something. Other times he'd have simply over-slept or was still in bed on his phone. On this particular morning it was the latter. Mariko sighed and chopped scallions on a wooden cutting board. She often found herself remembering the little things; sometimes she wondered if she was the only one who recognized the small changes and was affected by them. "I can't tell you that he's ever going to be the same again." Nagashi's voice resounded from the corners of her mind. "That was complete nonsense!" Things would go back to the way they were; eventually she'd find a way to reach her son again. Mariko swore it. "What did Nagashi know? He wasn't a mother. In fact, he had no children of his own to speak of at all. Nagashi was just a retired soldier, with no comprehension of the lengths she was willing to go for her only child." Mariko asserted mentally, as she pinched a serving of the chopped scallions and garnished it over a bowl of steamed rice topped with a raw egg yolk and soy sauce seasoning. She similarly prepared a second bowl of Tamago gohan for herself. Mariko carried the two bowls out of the open kitchen space and into the dining area to set the table. She took a final trip back to the kitchen and returned with the rice cooker and a kettle of mint tea. Mariko then walked to the staircase and called out to her son, "Ryūn! Breakfast is ready. Come down, please." She waited until she heard the sound of his footsteps before she returned to the dining room and took her seat in front of the breakfast table on her plush, lavender floor cushion. Ryūnosuke's orange one awaited his arrival at the opposite end of the breakfast arrangement. Ryūnosuke descended the staircase, entered the dining space just moments later, and sat down, legs crossed, as his mother smiled and beckoned. "It's just Tamago gohan, I have to run out for groceries later." Mariko explained as Ryūnosuke navigated the arrangement with his eyes before shrugging approvingly. "I can get the groceries." the teenager offered coolly as he picked up his bowl and chopsticks. "Itadakemasu", he murmured before mixing the contents of his bowl with the wooden utensils. Mariko blinked in surprise, a little stunned by her son's offer, it had been a while since he'd shown any interest in assisting her in completing menial household tasks. "Perhaps the move was already having a positive impact!", she thought. She could feel a light of hope flicker in her heart, but quickly composed herself with a short under-breath cough. "No, honey, it's fine. I need to go into town, anyway... and there is a bookstore not far from us, would be great if they looking to hire." Ryūnosuke winced and paused for a moment just as another unwelcome thought dangled itself in the foreground of his mind. "That's right, mom had to close her own bookstore when the move was decided. Not that she could have kept it open after the vandalism --Shut up-- Everything she worked so hard for, years of dedication ruined in just minutes and it's all your fault, Ryūnosuke." Ryūnosuke felt a growing tightness in chest, he clutched his clammy fingers around his chopsticks as the voice in his head continued to taunt him. "How much more do the people around you have to suffer while you sulk around? --Shut up-- How can you even look mom in the eyes --Shut up, please!-- after all the pain you've caused. Just sit by idly while mom's happiness slips further and further way. Maybe in the end --No, don't think that! Shut up, shut up, shut up!-- you could also tie mom a noo-" "I'll get a job too." Ryūnosuke blurted out; there was a panicky shortness to his breath. Mariko looked up at him in shock and searched his expression for further explanation. "I'll get a job, and I'll help around the house more." Ryūnosuke added, now leveled having successfully silenced the voice --for the moment, at least. "You don't have to do everything alone." Where she had once been pleasantly surprised, Mariko was now fearful and concerned. Her maternal instincts raged on within, warned her that something was awry. Still she remained calm and simply feinted a convincing smile. "While I appreciate you showing some initiative," she started, took a deep breath, and then set down her bowl and chopsticks. "I want you to stay focused on your studies." Mariko noticed Ryūnosuke dropped his head. "No, he's closing up on me again!", her mind panicked. "That being said," she back-tracked. "I'm not entirely opposed to the idea." Ryūnosuke's head shot up again, and she saw his features relax a bit as if he'd found some much needed relief in her approval. "It's no secret, I could use a little help around here, at least until we've settled in. And a little extra income can't hurt, either." She sighed again and smirked. "Your father might not like it, but he isn't here, so... I will allow you to get a part-time job, if you can assure me that it won't affect your grades. If you can promise that then we have a deal." "Deal. I promise." Ryūnosuke replied without a second thought. He then extended his open palm out over the dining table. Mariko chuckled, extended her hand as well, and they shook on it, sealing in agreement. They started eating again but before long, Mariko had broken the silence once more. "Since we were on the topic of your education, I suppose now would be a great time to let you know you got accepted into Karakura High School. The principal and teachers were a bit concerned about you joining halfway into the first term, but after seeing your transcripts their minds were put at ease." Ryūnosuke did not appear particularly excited. Internally he wondered if it had really been his grades that concerned the teachers initially or the fact that he'd been involved in police investigation not even two months ago. Perhaps it didn't matter now, he'd gotten in anyway in the end. Although, just like with their new home, he couldn't shake the feeling that his father was somehow involved with the school's decision. The idea that his father still had that much influence this far from Osaka was frustrating to Ryūnosuke, but it was also kind of impressive at the same time. Tamura Keiji wasn't a man of many words, but when he did speak, stuff got done. Ryūnosuke recalled the last time he'd spoken with his father, two weeks ago. It wasn't a pleasant memory. They'd butted heads in the past, but the last time had been a particularly nasty confrontation. Ryūnosuke could feel a phantom numbness on the left side of his face where Keiji struck him. A "disgraceful embarrassment" his father had called him. "Well, he wasn't wrong." Ryūnosuke thought as he emptied his bowl."But that doesn't make you any less shitty of a father." , the teenager remarked internally. He'd always found that the best mechanism of defense against his father's overbearing judgement was to simply convince himself the man's words and actions bore no discernible consequence on his life. As far as Ryūnosuke was concerned that might as well have been the reality of it. Although, he could never truthfully deny that at one point in his life he sincerely valued his father's opinion, yearned for his approval, and wanted Keiji to be proud of him. In fact, though he'd surely be far too stubborn to admit it, perhaps that was still the case, even now. Perhaps things would have been different if his father was around; and if that were the case it meant Tamura Keiji also had his part of the blame. "If you weren't such a shitty dad, I wouldn't have have done what I did. None of this would have happened. We wouldn't have had to move across the country. Mom wouldn't have had to close her bookstore. And Hina... Hina would still be-" Ryūnosuke set his bowl on the table suddenly and cleared his head of any thoughts related to his father. Dwelling on the hypothetical only made him angrier. "I'll take those.", said his mother as she stood up, reached over to Ryūnosuke's side of the table, and picked up his used dish and utensils. She then carried them back into the kitchen. By the time she reached the kitchen sink Ryūnosuke had already begun to head back to his room. "Ryūn, would you mind opening the windows on the second floor?", Mariko called out. "The weather outside is great and we could use some fresh air." Ryūnosuke never replied, but minutes later, as she was washing the dishes, Mariko caught a faint and sweet scent of cherry blossoms in the air. She smiled, closed her eyes, and inhaled deeply. She visualized herself picnicking beneath the shade of a sakura tree, in a rich green meadow. All around her pink flower pedals danced happily in the breeze. Not too far ahead she could Ryūnosuke smiling as he ran towards her, waving and dressed top to bottom in his baseball gear. The glow of joy was unmistakable on his face. Mariko opened her eyes and began to hum a tune. She could hardly remember the last time she felt this much at peace. She felt she'd finally made a little progress with Ryūnosuke, he was slowly returning to his old self. Tiny sprouts of hope budded from the black abyss of despair that had engulfed her heart and Mariko sighed in relief. Spring truly was the season of new beginnings. To Be Continued... ______________________________ WC|1,755 -----
  21. 3 points
    Stepping outside of the rundown dojo entrance through the broken doors Kaeru looked back down to the swamp land he had walked to previously. Within the group there seemed to be several different reiatsu levels shinigami rukongan people before him. They seemed to be waiting for him to make the first move and he did not blame them as he was not the most normal looking shinigami. "Would be best to let this weary travel go, I am not worth your trouble," frog stated as the first two started yell charging towards him. "Only fouls rush in," he states calm as he phases out of sight reappearing standing at the center of the swamp now leaving the two halfway up the hill now out of position. The frog took this brief moment to look over the mercenary looking men before him all human males of various shapes and sizes. Each wore a blue bandanna around their right arm. Not wanting to overkill them with his surging shikai power from Yin and Yang, he was going to try another one of his skills that he used in combat. The advanced battle technique which combines the physical techniques of Hakuda with the spell-based techniques of Kido known as Shunko. His version of this was known as the Umi no kami no okurimono or Gift of the Sea God. Something that he had spent a lot of time with a few former subordinates. This was still a powerful combination that could do a lot of damage if he could still draw upon the power and speed without losing control. Drawing in a deep slow breath Kaeru started to focus in on the raw reiryoku starting to form around his body, legs, and arms. Being so close to the swamp itself he could start to pull the moisture out of this mixing the element into the reiryoku he was forming. This one slow but powerful gathering of energy wrapped around his body. If he had done this right the kido and water would increase their physical capability to the next level. This release of pend up power explodes away from him causing waves of water to pour outward towards the shores. This act breaks down the few remaining docks and drops the buildings further into the water. The raw power was rolling off from him in such a fashion that he could not fully control the way the water wrapped around him. Some drew back while others stepped forward still pointing at Kaeru shouting, "The price on his head will buy our way a years worth of drinks and women! Don't back down!" As that statement finished the frog attempted to summon forth the Shīdoragonburesu or Sea Dragon Breath technique in which he could focus the water element around a particular part of his body to increase power or launch whirling balls of water at opponents. Hurling two to three of these spinning water balls that exploded upon impacted he was able to knockout two of the ten mercenaries in the area. With those two down Kaeru started to shape the reiatsu released from both hands into large Leviathan head shaped water shrouds, this was known as the Hageshī tsunami panchi or raging tidal wave punches technique. As the raw power was making it difficult to maintain the detailed heads he flashes forward plowing through two of them whirling through landing two punches on two different guys. These punches burst in water blasts launching both into nearby trees unconscious. Glancing over his shoulders the two he had rushed past were struggling to stand up. Pulling the whirling water around both his shins and his fists he rushes towards them kicking one in the stomach and punching the other in the face taking them down. Six down four to go as Kaeru rolled his shoulders as the three stood between him and the big one barking the same orders. Dragging some of the water from the swamp with his wild moving reiatsu wrapping it around his body in a dome before rolling that into a spring link form with a dragon-like head on top. This was his Rivu~aiasan no gōon or Roar of the Leviathan in which he would point his right arm at the group of men before him manifesting a head of a Leviathan with long sharp teeth launching it in a snaking water blast like attack. This wave strikes into the three knocking them down immediately but missing the last and largest guy. Pulling his right arm back the leviathan snakes through the air back towards the large figure striking him from behind smacking him into the ground. A momentary pause in the battle put the large figure slowly starts to rise again causing Kaeru to tilt his head slightly. "I am Grio Orbbreeze! And I shall not be so easily defeated!" the behemoth of a man shouted standing back on both feet in a strong stance. This would be a test of just how much longer he could go in this form and the durability of what he once was. "So be it then, Grio," the shinigami replied as they charged one another. Grio threw the first punch only to miss barely, but to the frog this was the slowest attack he had seen in a while. That did not matter as he was doing most of this for a good spar and to see how far he could push himself past his limits. In this Shunko form everything was moving faster and definitely an enhancement from his normal shunpo, kido, or zanjutsu styles of fighting. Shunpo was something he spent a lot of time doing in order to get around the battlefield, but he has lost of step in this department. His memories of the higher level Kido after the academy also seemed to be gone, this was something he struggled to with as reiryoku manipulation was not his strongest form of combating his opponents. Generally he preferred to take down his opponents with zanjutsu as it was the style he was more comfortable in and had the most experience doing. There was a moment in his past that he almost lost his zanpakutos and would of been left a weakened mess. Since then he has been working to expand his options when in combat. Avoiding a stomp attack from Grio the frog rolls and lunges into a water reinforced knee strike under the chin. Following that attack up with a double axe handle drop to the top of the large man's head also wrapped in whirling water. To Grio's credit he was getting up once again. This was no easy fight that he could laugh off as the man's ability to tank some of his attacks was impressive. The issue was the return on attack, something he would have to test himself. Slowing himself down he allowed the next punch to pass so he could take the damage of the attack causing him to slide backwards a few feet. The attacks that would come next were to measure his endurance against physical attacks. "Ha! Finally catching up to your frogger," Grio starts barking in a gloating fashion, "Now I'm going to get serious." This caused Kaeru's right scared eye to twitch for a moment. Stepping towards the hulking figure he takes the next four punches through sheer force of will he his body seems to go unaffected by each punch. Trying to gather each and every movement by this Grio figure he was waiting for one moment that he could counter attack with outright killing this man. "Take this! and This!" Grio shouts seemingly unaware that he was being set up. But each of his strikes had an easy tell, this was not like fighting a hollow or a trained shinigami. This was like fighting a novice boxer that was trained somewhat, but never finished the course. Slighting his right foot back Kaeru dodges the last attack barely winding up a fist full of whirling water in his right hand he rotates his left side out of the way. Grio makes a surprised expression as his arm flies over top of the frog. With his body out of the way he was prepared to leap into this uppercut. Using an explosion of jumping power and speed the fist connects with the man's chin fully effectively ending this fight by knocking out the large man crashing into the ground backwards. A perfectly timed strike after a well setup counter attack this was how he liked to fight. Prepare, study, be patient, and make a perfectly timed strike. Landing back down on the ground Kaeru stands still for a moment as he surveys the wreckage breathing heavily he slowly drops the shunko form as he was taxed. That was not anywhere near what he was capable of doing before, but he still could at least perform a few techniques. His form and control over the water element left a lot to be desired, he would have to get back to daily training sessions to perfect his shunko form once again. Otherwise all of his previous training was a waste. This was unacceptable, everything was out of whack for Kaeru. His home in shambles, his friends gone, his second home in disarray, and he was a shell of his former self. "No more gripping," he stated as he flash steps over to the dojo entrance where his kasa had landed. Lifting it up and placing it on his head he looks over the tree filled hills down towards the swamp. "My next step is to figure out what is going on in soul society," he states as he vanishes from sight into the night. [Shunko WC: 1533/1500. Learned.] [WC Total: 1627] [Exit thread]
  22. 3 points
    ooc- I rushed the ending cause I got way bored with this post and had already reached the wc I needed The Kido Corps had accepted the young eager Soul Reaper with open arms. It was shortly after that Yuroshima had learned that the corps itself was actually a separate army within the soul society which was allied with the Gotei 13 in such a way that they might as well be one force. That the Kido Corps duties mostly involved performing high kido tasks for Shinigami which did not specialize in it for example opening the senkeimon, and the corps had also in the aftermath of these dark times lent out capable troops and fighters to assist in missions of all kinds, this of course was the area in which Yuroshima was most interested. However, the corps was extremely reserved in regards to their reputation and guarded it carefully, they had explained that Yuroshima would indeed need to show an improvement in skill before they had allowed him to represent them on mission, but that they would accept him for his raw potential alone. And so, the journey of true self growth and improvement had begun. Yuroshima had now found himself with in the large, drab, catacomb like libraries of the Kido Corps. Row after row of tired dust soaked shelves housed thousands upon thousands of books all explaining every possible aspect of a Shinigami. He struggles towards a charming wooden table with both arms supporting a large stack of books that easily rose above his head. Slowly he wobbles to the edge of the table and sets them down. His energetic gray eyes scan the room around him, it is very dimly lit almost akin to the slightly darker parts inside museums. There doesn’t seem to be another person down there, save for a singular guard with the strange Kido Corps head dress at the near opposite side of the large stadium like room. Multiple floors above and below. The silence seemed to be bursting with life however, awaiting any chance to echo even the slightest of sounds. The Shinigami takes his seat before the mountain of informative content he had amassed for himself. He had resolved that morning that if his Zanpakuto would indeed not show themselves to him, and he could not figure out their riddle, then he must find his own personal strength. He begins taking books from the top of the stack and spreading them out until all the choices he had found interest in are laid out before him across the wide and thick oak table. Literature on arts such as Zanjustu, Hakuda, kido and on old book he had found on one of the upper levels tucked away labeled “The Art of Shunko”. He decides to start with Hakuda fearing that any beginner texts on the subject of Kido would merely go over what he had already realized in his training seminar with Mr.Yobidashi. Grabbing the wine read leather bound book and a few scrolls he had found in the same section of the library, he opens to the first page and begins going over the material.. relieved to find that this text was primarily about the philosophy behind Hakuda. Yuroshima had enjoyed learning the philosophical concepts behind the arts he wished to practiced, reserving the discovery of the way of performing it to be found as he goes, naturally.. as one destined for greatness should. The book keeps referencing a feeling one gets when performing Hakuda that is akin to instinct and then labels this feeling as such, instinct. Yuroshima vaguely understands but something does not feel quite right about this explanation. He attempts to cross reference this philosophical idea of “Instinct” being a factor within the use of Hakuda technique and only find other vague yet different interpretations of this nameless “Feeling” one gets when exhibiting Hakuda. Finally, written upon a more ancient and tattered scroll labeled at the top with a deep purple wax seal sign of sorts, the true explanation had fund the young shinigami. That Hakuda should be viewed in the way that the original kido corps members had viewed it, kido of the body. This explanation clicks instantly in the mind of the young Hoshiko soul who reads on in that scroll and learns of how Shinigami use the bountiful physical and spiritual energy they posses in physical combat by charging and releasing it with in structured attacks. “It’s just physical force based Kido at that point.” A rush of excitement racks the young reaper and he wishes to go and self learn techniques which he had read about in the academy now that feels he has a tight understanding on the nature of Hakuda, or as tight an understanding as one could have from learning the essence of its philosophy at least. He almost exits before realizing he had almost left all the books where they were, not wanting to be an imposition he resolved to take them back to their original resting laces first, deciding however to hold onto “The Art of Shunko” For personal study with in his quarters. And back to the field he goes. The day was certainly not as hot as his last visit here a few weeks ago with his instructor, but indeed the warmth of the afternoon sun was punishing none the less. The black haired Kido Corps inductee stands in that same grass clearing again, feeling it ritualistic to train there once again for he was a man of ritual and habit, and reads over the aged scroll a bit more before rolling it back up and tucking it safely under the root of a tree. He walks back to a section of clearing that would give him plenty of space on either side. He focuses on his inner energy, his immense strength, the inheritance which earned him the ancient title of shinigami.. the ancient capabilities of his race. He focuses on the power and manifests the intense energy coursing through his being into speed, and for hours he then stands there In the beating sun throwing punch after punch, faster and faster ignoring the burn in his muscles, ignoring the winded woozy feeling of exerting constant spiritual flow, and ignoring the presence watching him, for this was nothing more than him.. purely him and the raw power he possessed, Finally.. his arms move at a blur, he had successfully learned the ultra speed movements of Raioken and how to manipulate physical speed from spiritual energy. Last would be the technique he was least worried about, Ikkotsu, for Ikkotsu was merely destructive energy channeled into a strike, his eyes lock onto the tree he had spared last time and he approaches it. Focusing he channels energy into his limb and exhales, breathing out sharply, manifesting raw power much more easy than manifesting specific speed the throws a strike forth stopping just short of the beings trunk, the wind from the blast ripping much of the bark off and hollowing into the tree. With more focu, this too would be strong. WC- 1,162
  23. 3 points
    “Come on! Someone must be hungry out there!” Leonardo shouted out into the air, as he saw many of the creatures depart away from the scene potentially in search of their own meals if not for their own instinct to survive. “There must be some starving hollow out there, one who desires to feed on something greater than petty human souls.” It would not take long for his constant shouting to attract a hollow who was not only curious but also tempted by the desire of something more substantial than a human soul. From the many shadows that constitute the forest floor appeared a hollow with massive arms approaching with a large upper body, especially compared to the lower portion of their body. The size was casting a shadow over Leonardo from the light breaking through the opening in the forest top. The best way to describe the creature was a massive gorilla hollow and the face was one of hunger and brewing rage. “You appear pretty hungry there.” The gorilla continued to make its way to Leonardo, and with each meter the confidence in the beast grew realizing the size of his potential meal. “You puny little man.” The gorilla spoke with such a broken speech pattern, something that Alejandro shook his head at but made no other gesture as he maintained a distance in order to give Leonardo the space that he needed and provide him a comfortable vantage point to observe and study the situation as it evolves. “Strong scent. Small food.” Leonardo was clearly annoyed at the insults being thrown at his direction and launched himself forward and performed a jumping uppercut to the chin of this creature. The force was enough to lift the beast from the ground a few feet, but it was able to gain composure before hitting the ground and landed on all fours. “But I do pack quite the punch.” Leonardo held a strong level of confidence in himself as the beast stared at his prey. “Brother, might I request you not play with the subject?” Alejandro spoke as his body slowly began to elevate higher stopping close to 5 meters into the air. Leonardo turned to where his brother was originally located before finally looking up to see Alejandro in the air with his arms crossed and a fixed gaze on the current events unfolding. “I will do exactly as I damn well please-” The moment he was able to get the ‘please’ out of his mouth the force of the hollow’s pair of massive hands would come down upon his position with a tremendous amount of momentum. So much so that a large cloud of dust was thrown into the air and part of the roots of a nearby tree shatter and splintered in various directions like the shrapnel of a grenade. Alejandro had to move slightly to avoid being struck by one of the stray fragments of the tree. “That is exactly what could happen when you decide to do things your way.” He spoke to his brother who, after some of the dust cleared and settled, was standing with both hands up holding the pair of fists from the hollow over his head. “You provide others the opportunity of advantages.” “Can you,” Leonardo was clearly struggling under the force of the hollow who was continuing to apply force upon the small frame of his food. “for one fucking minute,” The hollow was starting to gain a greater advantage in this battle of strength as Leonardo fell to one knee as a sudden golden glow could be seen from the fists of the hollow, “Not be a patronizing asshole!” Suddenly a rush of energy could be seen unleashed from the point of contact between the hollow and Leonardo. A golden beam of energy was unleashed upward consuming the fists of the hollow and colliding with the forest top. The power of the Cero was enough to cause the hollow to recoil, but the Hollow was either extremely resilient or just happen to have developed stronger skin to resist having its hands obliterated from the close-range cero. Leonardo quickly launched himself directly upward from his position as the Hollow regained composure once more and turned its focus towards its retreating target. As it looked up, it could see the descending rain of rock and sand upon its location and proceeded to punch the potentially dangerous rocks that were close to making impact with it. Alejandro had to maneuver himself to avoid being struck by the rocks falling but kept his eyes and attention entirely on the Hollow with a single diversion of focus. He watches as the Hollow swung wide to break a rock that was larger than most others, obviously aware that this rock was much too dense to break with a punch. The moment that the large rock was clear Leonardo could be see by the hollow in a full nose dive towards the hollow with a rock firmly in his grasps. This rock was shaped with a jagged point, almost like a spire, and was coming at the full extension of the Hollow swinging its arm. It could not move fast enough to avoid the rock from making impact with the shoulder of its right arm, almost completely severing the limb from the rest of the body. The hollow stumbled back roaring in pain as it attempted to reach the useless right arm using its left hand. Leonardo pushed off the rock and landed on his feet with a smile on his face, making its approach towards the hollow, who had other concerns now. The hollow was pulled from shock only because Leonardo launched at the dangling limb and dug the claws of his left hand into the palm of the large fist. Fueled by rage and a massive surge of adrenaline, the hollow went to swing his remaining arm at Leonardo but was unable to connect when Leonardo unleashed a Cero at the shoulder of the hollow’s right arm completing removing the limb from its body. Leonardo released his grip on the palm of the hand and moved along the length of the severed arm before digging the claws of his left hand into the shoulder joint of the dead arm. He began to swivel on his back foot, stabbing his right hand into the other side of the shoulder and rotating with as much force as he could manage. The momentum of his rotation was enough to give him enough force to lift the arm high enough of the ground and smash the fist of the severed arm against the head of its owner. This time, it was enough force to cause the hollow to fall back and slide a few meters. The hollow was attempting to gather its bearing while on its back but was instantly stopped as it watched Leonardo descend upon him after leaping in the air with its recently removed arm in hands arcing towards his face. The hollow let out a howl of fear before complete silence. This silence was replaced by the sound of a crunching sound as Leonardo swung the arm once more upon the face of the hollow. He continued this process a few more times before exhaustion took over. He removed his claws from the touch skin of the severed arm and jumped from the chest of the now deceased hollow. As he turned to his right Leonardo saw that Alejandro had lowered himself back to ground level, still a few inches from touching the ground. Alejandro glanced closely at the hollow before looking at his brother who was covered in the blood from the severed arm. “It appears that this hollow held no major effect on your current state other than providing you with injury and exhaustion.” Alejandro placed his left hand on the right shoulder of his brother who winced in pain. “Fuck you.” Leonardo used his opposite hand to smack Alejandro’s hand off him before turning around and letting out another roar. Alejandro spoke plainly, “and a bruised ego apparently.” WC | 1355 TWC | 3306
  24. 3 points
    Do you know what I love about hunting? That I am no one in the woods, no one at all. I thought the animals might recognize me, but they didn't. They did not even ask me for any autographs. Alejandro was gliding an inch from the ground along the forest floor with Leonardo following closely behind him, both with their focus on separate things now. Alejandro had his attention in front of him, as if he was looking at something in the distance and his motion was focused on a clear intent. Leonardo, however, held little concern for where they were headed as he held both hands over his head with fingers interlocked and eyes closed. “So, what now Alejandro?” Leonardo was clearly in his own head about something, but his eagerness was always greater than his laziness. His all or nothing attitude was always active putting him in a state of wanting to do way too much, or nothing at all which lead to a high-octane individual who would rather take a nap than spend any time planning. “Well, Leo.” When he stated the name, Leonardo stopped for a moment and opened his eyes. “Leo? Oh, so casual of you Senor Escudo.” He chuckled at his own response, although Alejandro found little humor to match the enthusiasm and instead decided to continue along his path without hesitating and spoke further as Leonardo started to increase his pace to catch up. “I am sincerely concerned that there is little left for us to consider. Ever since we removed the mask and became…” He paused his movement and speech halted abruptly, “Us, I have been attempting to discern what exactly had become of our new existence. The desire to end that solitary silence disturbed by the shared thoughts finally separated, and now our passions have become acquiring knowledge of the unknown and pursuing the limits of potential.” He turned to face Leonardo who was sitting on the floor with his arms crossed and his right hand lifted in the air. “Uh, professor?” Alejandro simply stared at Leonardo with an empty expression as Leonardo lowered his hand and spoke, “What the fuck are you even talking about?” He leaned forward with a look of concern and unequalled boredom. Alejandro turned away from Leonardo, “Allow me to explain in a way that will entertain your minimal focus,” His left hand lifted with the palm facing upward as a light blue orb began to form, “We desired enough power to stop the constant battle between the both of us in a single mind, and we were successful in doing so. Although the attempt to remove the mask was to end our existence, apparently we were destined for more.” The orb continued to grow as the light became a pulsating source of power, “Now we have found ourselves aimlessly drifting like the sands of the surface but perhaps there is something worth aiming for.” Leonardo coughed loudly and clearly intentionally, “You explained nothing.” “Leo…” Alejandro lifted his arm with a full extension towards the air above him, “I believe we must search for more power in order to find purpose for the both of us.” This statement seemed to have caught the focus of Leonardo who leaned forward with curiosity, “The power that can only be achieved by taking the natural energy that comes from other hollows as opposed to the ambient air itself.” “Alejandro, are you saying what I think that you are?” Leonardo leapt to his feat with a wide grin spreading across his face. “Please tell me you are saying what I think you are.” It was clear that he was growing excited, a fire sparked in his body as the earth around him cracked slightly from the power he let out. “Yes, brother.” Alejandro launched he Cero into the air with a tremendous amount of power since he had placed so much power into the Cero. The light became a beam that tore through the forest top revealing several masked creatures all around them with only a short distance between them. The look of many were of curiosity, with a few that revealed the sight of fear. “I believe we must hunt in order to find the answers I require.” Leonardo turned his head to the right in order to crack his neck before he started to perform various stretches, “You could have started with that.” Alejandro glance around for a moment before laying eyes on his brother with the unique whip like weapon that was wrapped around his body began to glow. “Hunt until you feel satisfied and I shall see what the outcome shall reveal.” “That is all I needed to hear brother.” Leonard lowered his stance bringing both arms across his chest. There was a moment of strange silence in which not a single sound could be heard, nor could a single being be seen moving. Suddenly Leonardo threw both of his arms to either side of his body releasing a loud roar just as part of the forest top landed on the ground near him. His roar was intense, but his power being released was relatively lower than normal which piqued the curiosity of other creatures nearby. Alejandro spoke in a low voice, “Eventually something of value will be curios enough to approach.” WC | 887 TWC | 1951
  25. 3 points
    Hey everyone, while it might be a bit too soon to say that the site has been completely revived, I would still like to give a shout out to everyone involved in making BSE at least a little more active again. You guys rock! Of course, shout out to all the new and returning people as well, thanks for sticking around! Also, thank you to the staff team for keeping everything in check and helping things move along. And, finally, thank you to Isshin for keeping the site up! He could've closed the place down a long time ago, so a big thank you for keeping it around!