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  1. 4 points
    005: CONVICTION PRT1 ----- ___________________ ... RYŪNOSUKE RAN from home with no specific destination in mind. The seventeen year old's only certainty at the time was his need to get away; to create distance between himself and his problems. He ran for long as he two feet could possibly carry him, but Ryūnosuke noted that he was discernibly unfocused. His breathing, short and sporadic, was a clear indicator that he would not be able to keep up his run for very long. Nevertheless, Ryūnosuke couldn't stop; if he stopped running, his thoughts would catch up to him and he'd have to confront them head on. He couldn't run forever, but he intended to delay the inevitable for as long as he possibly could. Alas, came the fated hour; Ryūnosuke had ran just short of three miles from his home when his body finally rebelled against his will to press onward. The teenager stopped just seconds before he reached a bridge, over-passing Karasu river, heading into Old Town Karakura. He bent forwards and clutched his knees, panting as sweat trickled from his face; his cheeks flushed with exhaustion. Ryūnosuke swallowed hard and tensed as he felt the rush of negative emotions flood over him like a crashing tide. With his mind no longer preoccupied with controlling his continuous movement, he began to question what he'd done and said. Just what was he thinking, sharing that sensitive information with his mother, it hadn't helped in the slightest! It didn't absolve him of any of his guilt or regret. It didn't make him feel any less shitty. It didn't undo what happened to Hina or change why it happened. The only thing it did was make things extremely awkward and embarrassing. Ryūnosuke was certain he'd managed only to humiliate himself and now he could never return to that house or face his mother. "Nice going, idiot." Ryūnosuke muttered, cursing himself as he caught his breath and then walked over the bridge. He was no less emotionally distraught, but at least the teenager knew very clearly where he was headed as he followed the street signs that directed him through Old Town Karakura and to the train station. It was a relatively low traffic hour, when Ryūnosuke reached the station, the morning rush hour had ended long before the teenager arrived. The station was basically empty, which worked just fine for Ryūnosuke. It meant there were fewer prying eyes or concerned adults to potentially ask him about why he was looking to leave town alone or why he wasn't in school. Ryūnosuke sat on one of the many empty metal benches within the station building and contemplated boarding the next train leaving Karakura. He knew that he most likely couldn't return to Osaka or to the life he'd left behind. Ryūnosuke also knew there was no place he could run to fully escape the horrors that plagued him. So, then, why did he keep running, was it simply because running was easy? Ryūnosuke told himself that he was trying to find the answers ever since that morning. In reality, he'd found nothing but excuses until now and ever worse than that, he'd realized the possibility that there was no answer to be found. There was no "undo button", no reset, no way for him to bring Hina back. Ryūnosuke sunk into the bench and pulled down the brim of his cap to hide his face. There was no "fix" to what he'd done. What was the "right thing" to do now? Was it too late for that now, was he expected to just live with this unbearable guilt for the rest of his life? Who wouldn't run from a bleak reality like that? "Traveling light, are you?", said a feminine voice to the teenager's left minutes later. Ryūnosuke hadn't noticed exactly when the person arrived or sat down beside him. "Where are you heading to?", the stranger added. The voice was curious and had a softness to it that reminded Ryūnosuke of his mother's. He sat straight up again and raised his cap just enough to get a clear look at the woman addressing him from the corner of his left eye. She appeared to be in her late twenties to early thirties from what Ryūnosuke could tell. She wore a black dress suit, with a white blouse, and her brunette hair was styled neatly in a single bun. She had one large maroon suitcase on her left side and a beige duffel bag nuzzled on the bench between her and Ryūnosuke. Ryūnosuke immediately noticed the mild puffiness beneath the woman's eyes as she smiled at him, and he could tell she was tired; likely due to having her own life issues. Still, she'd gone through the trouble of talking to him, it was only polite that he responded. Even if the person was a complete stranger. Most likely, they'd never cross paths again. Besides, the woman looked like she was more in need of a conversation than she was actually concerned with wherever some random teenager was headed. "Not sure. I haven't decided if I'm leaving or not yet." "Sorry", the woman replied. "I don't mean to be nosy, it's just.", she paused and sighed. "I wasn't certain, but I when I saw you here, I thought I might know what you were going through because I've been in a similar situation.", she explained. Ryūnosuke scoffed involuntarily at the thought of the woman having experienced anything like what he was going through; but once he realized how rude it must have sounded he immediately regretted it. "Sorry, I didn't mean to-" "No, it fine." The woman interjected with a dismissive wave of her hand. "I know how it must have sounded to you. Strange lady at the train station takes one look at you and somehow thinks she knows exactly what you're going through, I get it.", she chuckled momentarily before pausing. She looked directly at Ryūnosuke before leaning her side against the back of the bench and crossed her fingers together tightly on her lap. "I guess, what I should have said is that I can recognize someone trying to run away from something, because I have been there. In fact, I'd been running away from something for too long until recently." Ryūnosuke didn't know how he should respond to the woman's words. She'd pretty much read his situation accurately, the teenager suddenly felt more self-conscious than he was before. He wondered if it was that obvious to every adult who saw him. He looked down at this sports bag on the floor between his legs. "You look like you've done alright for yourself in the end, despite the running away." He knew just how vain his comment sounded, but he needed to say anything to get the lady talking again. "Oh, this?" The woman gestured to her outwards appearance. "This is just the visage, it's nothing." She remarked passingly. "But, you're right, for a very long time I did think I was doing great for myself. Kickass job, making good money, independence, everything I needed really. At least that's what I told myself over the years... Here, I'll show you." The woman reached into her pocket and took out her phone. She pressed the power button and pointed the screen at Ryūnosuke. The teenager, curious, looked at the screen and saw the background; a photo of a young boy, probably six or seven years old. He was looking upwards and smiling as warm rays of sunlight kissed his chubby features; the child looked a little goofy on account of missing two of his front teeth. There was a small beach ball in the boys tiny hands and he sat in the middle of shiny golden sands. A small blue wave brushing up against his left side. Ryūnosuke couldn't help but break a smile when he saw the boy. "He's a darling isn't he!", said the woman. "That's my Kaito-kun. He's turning eight next month." The woman put her phone on her lap. "I've decided, I'm never going to miss another important day in his life." Ryūnosuke looked at the woman directly, he had an idea of what she meant now, but he wasn't sure. A wave of sadness hit him when the woman simply nodded, acknowledging his thought with confirmation as if she had read his mind. "I was eighteen when I had Kaito. Still a young, stupid college kid. You can imagine my absolute dread when I found out I was pregnant. When he was born, I was sick with fear and anxiety. I wouldn't be able to raise a child and focus on my education and my career." "What about his father?" Ryūnosuke asked lowly, although he suspected that he already knew the answer. The woman shook her head. "He was never in the picture. Got spooked pretty early on, as well. I don't blame him though, besides, I never thought he'd stick around to father the child anyway." Ryūnosuke wanted to comment that he could relate to that, but decided against it and instead allowed the woman to keep talking. "Anyway, I was too scared to raise Kaito on my own. I was ashamed for having a child while I was in college. Ashamed that I wasn't more careful. I tried to manage it for a while, but after just three weeks, I left Kaito with my grandparents and ran away from home. I tried my best to forget about him. I figured my grandparents could give him all the love and care he needed without me. A few years later, I finished college, got a job, worked my way up in the company. I thought I was happy, but really it was all just a distraction. No matter how hard I tried to, I couldn't forget about my child. It took seven years, but I was finally done running, I was ready to do right by Kaito but when I finally saw him I realized that time doesn't wait on anyone, and things don't just magically get better if you ignore them." The woman paused, Ryūnosuke could tell she was on the verge of tearing up and he was suddenly reminded of his mother again. "My Kaito is such a sweet boy, but it's no thanks to me. I'm no better qualified to be a good mother to him than I was eight years ago. I've missed out on so much of his life, so much of being a family that when he looks at me now I don't see any love in his eyes. As far as he knows I'm just some stranger who abandoned him." The woman wiped her eyes and smiled. "I can't take back the years I've lost with him, and as far as I know he may resent me for the rest of his life." It was at that moment that Ryūnosuke felt his own tears beginning to swell in his eyes. "That's the kind of thing that'll break any mother's heart." "Then why?" Ryūnosuke stammered, his eyes were hidden behind the brim of his cap but the woman saw the line of tears that rolled down the teenager's cheek. "I don't understand. Why would you just accept to let yourself suffer! You said it yourself, your son probably hates you and sure that's his right to do so but you're not really to blame either. You were a college student, you couldn't raise him on your own and his father wasn't in the picture. You tried, you did what you could. You've been punished enough haven't you?" "It's not about punishment." "What else is there?! You made your mistake, you paid for it with all those years you lost. Now you're choosing to live with the odds that you might not ever loved by your son! What do you call that!" Ryūnosuke exclaimed, the woman could tell the question was more for the teenager himself than it was for her, still, she answered with the best response she could give. "It's called doing the right thing.", she delivered plainly. Ryūnosuke visibly tensed up, he took a moment to hold his emotions at bay. He paused for a moment to work on a response, a counter argument, but he quickly realized that he didn't have one. In fact, it seemed like the woman had simply reaffirmed the answer he knew deep down all along. The woman noticed the teenager's shoulders drop in defeat, she reached over and gave him a soft rub on his back. "It's a tough one to accept, but at the end of the day, we do the right thing because that's what makes us moral people, even when its difficult, even when it hurts and feels like it's a punishment." As the woman stopped there, she and Ryūnosuke noticed the train arrive at the station. "Well, I think that's me... or us" she chuckled as she stood up and collected her bags. She smiled at the teenager as he wiped his eyes and looked up at her directly. "Off to see Kaito-kun, right?" "Absolutely, and permanently this time. I'm gonna be the best mother I can be from now on. Not sure what all that entails, but I'll take it all on. Anything for my Kaito-kun." "Then I guess this is goodbye." Ryūnosuke stood up and held his palm out to shake the woman's hand. "I still don't have all the answers but after speaking to you I think I know there is one issue I can't run away from. So, I won't be getting on that train." The woman nodded before giving Ryūnosuke a firm handshake. "Allow this strange lady at a train station to impart one last bit of wisdom before she goes away forever?", she asked sarcastically. Ryūnosuke chuckled and nodded back. "Shoot." The woman took a deep breath and looked Ryūnosuke directly in his eyes, "You don't have to figure it out alone, you know. If there are people around for you to ask and lean on for support there is no shame in that. And one last thing, if whatever happened has beaten you up this much already, you're most likely on the right track. I know that from experience. I just hope it doesn't take you as long as it took me to know for sure." With that the woman boarded the trained and waved bye to Ryūnosuke and the sliding doors hissed shut. Ryūnosuke waved back as the train left the station. Once it was gone, the teenager wore his backpack and exited the station building. As he walked into the Karakura Shopping District, Ryūnosuke thought about the woman and everything she said about doing the right thing as well as her own life and her relationship with her son, Kaito. It made Ryūnosuke think about his relationship with his own mother again. While he couldn't even fathom a reality in which Mariko would abandon him, he could see one in which she felt like Ryūnosuke no longer loved her. After hearing the woman speak, the ramifications of actually running away from home dawned on Ryūnosuke clearly. The fact that he'd even considered abandoning his mother after everything that had happened served only to make the teenager despise himself and his actions even more than he already did. However, the additional self-loathing aside, Ryūnosuke knew what he had to do. He might not have had the answers for the other things but, at the very least, he knew he had to do right by Mariko. She deserved nothing less and it was the right thing to do. To Be Continued... ______________________________ WC|2,600 ----- OOC|Equipment Obtained: [Kakushin (確信, Conviction) ] Ryūnosuke's alloy baseball bat.
  2. 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
  3. 3 points
    Oriru Ryuka Kusho. That was an interesting enough name. It was better than Fornow anyways. The more he talked, the more interesting he became, honestly. His glasses helped him stop smoking? And weren't even for his sight? And help his ailment? Nariko scoffed. This man was just messing with her at this point. Rolling her eyes, she shook her head playfully. "Alright, then. Keep your secrets." Glasses were for vision, she knew that. Taking another drink, she knocked it back and down the hatchet, keeping pace with Oriru for the time being, a minor competitive spark lit in her. Beyond that, she was just enjoying the company. Yuroshima began to explain that his name wasn't actually Casper, and Nariko frowned. She was still a little stuck on that thought, when he was in the middle of explaining that he didn't have a name or something like that. And his true identity was.... anyone? What did that even mean? He was about to explain the reason he wasn't publicly letting his name be known, when they were interrupted. A waitress approached their table. Awkwardness ensued. "I don't even have a stamp." Nariko laughed, raising her hand. She had snuck in here after all, so why would she have one? It was odd anyhow that the stamp would be used to say whether or not someone was allowed to drink. Oriru had been stamped, and then Yuroshima immediately after. She hadn't seen him swap stamps. She hadn't seen any identification being checked either. "Does that mean I'm not allowed to drink either?" Then again, the waitress hadn't said anything about her lack of stamp, nor her appearance out of nowhere, so it didn't seem to matter that much to them, or they were just making a deal about the Vice Captain for some reason. Anyhow, Yuroshima expounded that he was trying to make the 4th Division into a more combative role. While Nariko could see a benefit to them being able to fight more, she also realized that that could lead to a change in mentality for the healers. Instead of focusing on healing, they might be more likely to head into combat first, and then healing would be secondary, and then they die, and then healing wasn't done so the injured also die, and it would just steam roll. But she wasn't in charge of the 4th Division, so she said nothing. It wasn't her place. She also saw some benefit from it too, so it wasn't all bad. "Combative 4th Division for you," she looked to Yuroshima, "and future Captainship for you." she swapped to Oriru. "I don't really have any plans like that. I just kind of want to explore new places. Whatever helps me do that, that's what I want to do." WC: 464 TWC: 2,727
  4. 3 points
    Oriru found a great comfort in being able to relax, take a moment to be out of the office with people that he did not also work with. There is a certain level of guarded you must maintain when being out with people that you work with, especially if they happen to be your subordinates. The benefit with these two were that they were not in direct relation to his work, aside from the fact that has seen the details of their files extensively and any report that has been delivered was processed through his eyes at some point. Nariko went on to describe her affinity towards the Kido Arts, something that Oriru took note of for his own interest in the Kido arts was distinctly on his resume. She went on to explain the nature of Kyakko, a Bakudo which has been Oriru’s specialty and even his field of study during the Spiritual Arts Academy for his Soul Reaper courses. She made a note of how the person needs to be considerably stronger than the caster in order to perceive beyond the Bakudo which cause him off guard. He could only muster a chuckle as he shifted his glasses high on his face. “Well.” Luckily, she decided to continue the conversation between the three of them and Oriru, remaining a tad bit awkward since he was literally in a corner, listened to her explanation of how she came across the name Casper and sparked a light heartfelt tone with him. “I have worked with the Ninth Division several times myself, as they tend to be the only ones willing to assist the Administration Department for our travels to the World of the Living, and sometimes just throughout the Rukongai visits.” He smiled as the waitress brought over the food that was order by the Nameless One, more alcoholic beverages, and a platter of sample dishes. She left shortly after leaving the trio to their conversations, as Oriru would pour another round of drinks for them to share. “Funny thing about these glasses actually,” He had downed the first shot quite quickly and already settled on pouring another, and generously doing the same for any other that decided to keep pace with him. “The glasses actually aren’t meant to improve my ability to see anything,” With a laugh he held the next drink up to his eye level with arm extended, “They are a special prescription to help with my own ailment and helped me quit smoking.” With that, he took a drink and set the glass on the table. “Oh, I keep rambling and forgot a bit of my manners during the earlier formality. Name is Oriru Ryūka Kushō.” WC | 460 TWC | 2480 OWC | 7326
  5. 3 points
    Oriru never really answered her question, giving his title and position, but not the name, so Nariko still didn't know what to call him. 'Glasses' wasn't exactly something she could say. '1st Division, 20th seat' would also be a little bit too long to continually say. She wasn't even going to attempt to memorize that mess of a title. 'For now' he had said. 'Mister Fornow'. That would do 'For Now'. She smiled in amusement. Regardless of her own wit and humor, it was an impressive bit of titles, as well as being the 20th seat of squad 1. That meant they were somewhat on a similar level of rank. Skill was a different matter, given that different Divisions had different levels of skill among their officers, but Seated Officers weren't to be taken lightly, regardless of squad. "Captain, eh? Lofty goals." Accepting another drink, Nariko knocked it back as well. She was pretty good with her liquor. Vice Captain, Captain, these things were beyond Nariko's scope. She couldn't imagine actually having that sort of capability in battle, to be on par with someone like that. Maybe she could see if the 4th Division's Lieutenant would want to fight with her at some point. Then she could get a bit of a picture on the actual skill level of a Lieutenant. Well, one of the weaker ones, from what she'd heard. The Healing Division wasn't known for it's combat prowess, after all. Still, Vice Captain is Vice Captain, and there had to be some level of skill there for that to happen, right? "I mean, I guess it was. Kido are pretty nice, lets me go places without being spotted. It was just a basic one, Kyakko. Let's me hide myself from sight and sensing, as long as someone doesn't have an astronomically higher Reiatsu than mine. Speaking of which, kind of curious about your glasses and how they let you see through it." she replied to Yuroshima's comment about her entrance, and shifted her attention back to Oriru. Her theory was that the glasses were special and let him see things that were usually hidden, which, given the information she had was really the best guess she could make at the current point in time. "Oh, uh, well, information travels around. Shinigami have friends, those friends know people, nothing really stays secret for long. Especially a Vice Captain's challenge." Nariko explained. It was a pretty simple thing, really. Gossip was always fast to spread, especially to friends. A lot of shinobi were friends with their own squad mates, but also steady friends with people they met in the Academy, or knew before they even joined the Academy, and often those people wouldn't end up in the same Division, so it led to people knowing a lot of people from various different places. Plus, like Yuroshima, people did joint Division missions, and met people that way. "Anyhow, someone from Division 4 talked to a friend in Division 9, told us what happened, and one thing came to another. Former Lieutenant Kimi called you Casper, so I know your name. Pretty cool, huh? Knowing someone you've never met." The girl smiled across the table at the Vice Captain. WC: 537 TWC: 2,263
  6. 3 points
    Oriru smiled as the Nameless One spoke at his preparation to order the meal and drinks. “The best part about this place, is the unique design for the ordering.” Oriru pulled up his menu and placed a finger on one of the options, an order of Sake. His finger created a gentle green glow before fading away and removing his finger from the menu. “The owner used what he learned being in the Fifth Division to apply his Kido craft into the establishment, something he left the division to pursue.” A moment was given to allow both him and the Nameless One to take in the ambiance of the establishment. “A single press and a firm focus are all it takes to order, and they know which table to deliver the selection to.” After that, Oriru rose from the booth to remove his coat and fold it before hanging it on a small hook next to the booth. Once up, he reached into the breast pocket of the coat to pull out a small cloth. He took a slow deep breath before removing his glasses and taking the moment to clean them. Though he continued to clean his glasses his eyes seemed to survey the room of people. At one point he made eye contact, or as much as he could manage with his poor vision, with the waitress he was aware of serving his section and made a gesture of three fingers. Once he was happy with what he had done with his glasses, he put the cloth back and took his seat. This time, he sat all the way against the wall. Not a few moments later did the waitress come by and set a small bottle of sake on the table with three individual serving cups and an additional menu on the table. She respectfully poured into each of the three cups, “If you need anything, just let me know otherwise your orders will be right out.” With that, she made her way back to the kitchen area. “Well, might I start us off with a toast to your promotion?” He spoke with a smile as he grabbed one of the glasses in order to toast, “And you are more than welcome to grab a glass and join us.” He made a look towards off the table at nothing with a smirk and a wink before bringing his eyes back to the Nameless One. “To the new Vice Captain of the Fourth Division.” Oriru would knock glasses with those that would join in and relax for a night of enjoyment starting with his first glass for the evening. WC | 442 TWC | 1309 OWC | 6155
  7. 3 points
    Nariko was doing her usual routine, which involved going on a walk to tour the Seireitei. The 13 Court Guard Squads had a lot of space to cover, and so many nice places hidden in and around various places, so she wanted to, at least at some point, have seen ever single building and place around. Besides that, she had a decent time wandering around and people watching, seeing what the other Shinigami in the area were up to. People got into all sorts of interesting business, and it was rarely boring to eavesdrop on conversations. Besides that, it could lead to some funny interactions, or sometimes spars broke out, and Nariko was just so overwhelmingly curious and nosy about things that weren't necessarily her business. In fact, she was probably more nosy when things specifically weren't her business. Having just come back from a very intense spiritual energy and Kido training session, Nariko was more on the tired side than usual, but walks weren't particularly draining, so rather than go home, she found herself moving towards a garden that she'd heard about from some of the other members of the 9th Division. Gardens were pretty relaxing to the girl, who always seemed to connect with nature on more of a spiritual level. Something about plants just gave Nariko a serene sense, as if nature was calling out to her, telling her it was home. Flowers were beautiful, nature was beautiful, and when left unchecked, the unparalleled beauty and wildness of it could overtake anything. Nariko not only respected that, but could relate to it. She wasn't one to be restrained either, and she could grow in the most unlikely circumstances. There was some respect between her and plants, if plants could respect things. Finding the garden didn't take her too long, and boy was it a sight to behold. It was a beautiful spot, full of color and wonder. The scents from the flowers filled the air in an almost overwhelming manner. It wasn't like there was an explosion of sensation or anything, but the very air around the area seemed to be more pure than anywhere else that Nariko had been so far. More refreshing. Leaning over some Lavender, Nariko breathed in, closing her eyes. She could definitely smell the Lavender, but it mixed in with the scents from the other flowers in the area in such a pleasing manner. Scents from various flora seemed to be able to compliment each other so well. "Wonderful!" she stood back up, doing a little spin. So far, this was her new favorite spot in the Seireitei. While she went along the path, looking at the different types of flowers and taking mental snapshots, Nariko was practicing her Reiatsu control techniques, which more or less was her meditating. It was a lot easier to cycle up and down through it when her mind was relaxed like it was right now. She wasn't particularly paying attention to how much she had, since she wasn't good at sensing her own spiritual pressure, she just kept cycling between flexing it up higher and lower, until the point of strain on the high end. It never amounted to much more than about half of her actual current potential, but it was still a sizable amount. There weren't a lot of other people in the area, so she wasn't really disturbing anyone at the moment. It's not like her pressure was so massive as to be oppressive to anyone. Her tutor had told her that doing this would make it easier to push herself to her highest and being able to access all of her power. Because she was people watching during the process, lowering her pressure when people came too close so that if they didn't have a lot she wasn't affecting them at all, she noticed fairly quickly when two more Shinigami started to pass through the area. While she usually wouldn't note much about someone walking, at least one of them was worth actual notice. Not only was his face hidden behind some sort of veil, but he also had a Lieutenant's badge on his arm. Her thoughts shifted back to an earlier memory. During the patrol, there had been discussion of some rumors about a new Lieutenant of the 4th Division. Her interest sparked, a coal of mischievous intent lit into Nariko's soul. Even if this wasn't him ((but Nariko was sure it was)), eavesdropping on a Lieutenant could really only prove to be more fun. His companion wasn't really anything special, although his Zanpakutou was incredibly long, an Odachi sized blade. Going back to looking at the flowers, she switched more into an inconspicuous mode, trying to look just like some girl looking at flowers. She was used to hiding in plain sight, since people looked more suspicious when they were doing something sneaky and tried to act too normal. Nariko's experience led her to believe that acting like she belonged in a place tended to make her look more normal than just trying to act natural. It was a weird little phenomenon, but that little nuance made a huge difference. As the two Shinigami passed by, she kept them in her peripherals, but continued moving down the path as she had been before. Changing to following too soon would also draw a lot of attention. This was actually a bit of a game for her. Not getting caught was part of the thrill, even if she wasn't doing anything wrong. After they crossed out of sight, Nariko cast Bakudo #26, Kyakko. Disappearing from sight as light began to bend around her, her Reiatsu signature hidden behind the Bakudo, Nariko began to follow along behind them, speeding up a bit so that she could re-establish line of sight. It wasn't that hard, given that Yuroshima sort of stood out like a sore thumb with his head veil and badge. She tracked them to a building, that looked more like a warehouse than anything. It was interesting, there seemed to be some sort of a line, but she wasn't worried about that. She knew nobody here could see her. The girl watched as Oriru and Yuroshima got stamped and they moved towards the door, and then.... they vanished? Nariko blinked, confused. She moved silently, catching up and bypassing the line, the guard unaware of her existence. She saw the empty interior of the building, old and out of use. An illusion! Walking forward, Nariko passed the threshold, uninhibited by whatever defenses this place had, unaware that it had any beyond the illusion, and.... everything around her changed. This was interesting. Why the secrecy? Her curiosity shot even higher than it had before, a burst of dopamine rushing through her, excited by this turn of events. Maintaining her invisibility and moving around to avoid anyone walking into her, she looked around for Yuroshima and his travelling companion, finding them pretty quickly. Moving to within earshot, she would focus more on not being bumped into, and attempt to listen. After all, nobody could see her. This was an extremely useful tool to the girl. She could get into almost anywhere! WC: 1,196 TWC: 1,196 Reiatsu: (72k) 40k for story purposes. Bakudo #26, Kyakko: Turns Nariko invisible and hides her Reiatsu from anyone with less than 70k Reiatsu.
  8. 2 points
    A week had past since the fight with Möröödögch and Kaeru was still recovering within the walls of the First Division Barracks. His Captain Sif Barkuz had ordered him to bed rest for the running off on his own without back up. Sif was as by the books as the frog remembered him to be when the man was his vice-captain before the disappearance. Older, wiser, and higher status had a way of elevating some while giving others a since of false importance. The Captain did not waste a move nor did he get involved in other squad's politics, because of this alone he had been keeping the First Division operating at a serviceable level. If only my body was to the condition it was when I was the Captain Commander... Kaeru thought to himself trying to give himself a veil of self assurance that he could of survived that fight. Reality was that man was as powerful as the reports had stated he was, but there was something off and the frog could not shake it. There was no doubt within his own words at the time, even now he was convinced his words rang true. That however did not discredit the words of Möröödögch. They were worth at least worth pondering about that much was for certain within his own mind. The last words he heard from Möröödögch as Kaeru made his retreat had left a lasting impression upon his waning soul. Was he capable of making a difference? That was a loaded question for the frog to try and sort through as this could be applied to more than just Soul Society as a whole. From within the Gotei Thirteen he could definitely invoke the most change, but there was a lot of work to do before he was going to be able to get that sorted out. Being allowed to live was a luxury if he was being honest with himself as Möröödögch had him dead to rites. To fix was the aim, but not for anyone else as his drive was always to make things better for all of those around him. Since coming back to the Gotei Thirteen and regaining his memories Kaeru had been focused on the point of proving he was capable of being the shinigami he was when he disappeared. Pulled into meetings with Captains and the current acting captain commander Mikoto Shuu of the Second Division. These meetings had lead him to getting those memories, reminding him of his noble birth and rise to power. While the memories coming back were super beneficial, they served more as a reminder of what he was not, he was not strong any more. The trouble was Kaeru had not taken the time to properly prepare himself for actual combat and had pushed himself to the brink of almost death. Literal death this time had the leader of the detention unit Hitsuyona Shizukesa stepped in to say his pathetic life. There was a great need to get a grip on his former skills and get his connection with his zanpakutos back to full power. Actually all of his shinigami skills were rusty and needed technical work. This would require him to swallow his pride and ask for some help to get back on track after this major set back. The idle thoughts of Kaeru were interrupted as he caught the door to his room sliding open slowly revealing Captain Sif Barkuz. The adult pale skinned humanoid male has brown hair and light blue eyes, and numerous distinctive tattoos wearing the traditional shinigami outfit with a captain's cloak over top and wielding his dagger sized zanpakuto. "Looks like you are finally ready to get out of bed," the Captain stated sliding the door closed, but not before the frog noticed there were two other shinigami lined up outside as guards. The worst kept secret was that with the frog being back he was aiming to take his former rank back, this would result in replacing the current Captain that was now sitting down across from him. Sitting up slowly off his bed roll on the ground Kaeru winced in some pain as he looked to his right to see his shinigami outfit folded up to the right of him. Just past that lay his two zanpakutos Yin and Yang under his vice-captain badge. Drawing in a deep breath the frog weighed his mind, heart, soul, and body's current state of balance. That balance was in disarray and that was something he was going to work at getting back on track. Those insecurities would have to be pushed to side as the Captain was no doubt here to question his actions and methods, these would then be reported to the acting Captain Commander and the Central Forty-Six. "Captain Barkuz," Kaeru addressed the man properly as he was now sitting straight up preparing for the difficult conversation. "Did you lose all sense over the last four years?" Sif asked in a gravely serious tone towards the frog, "What you did was not only irrational, but quite possibly made an enemy of an Rukongai targets we have been tracking for years. As Captain Commander you were much more calculating and calm minded, the type that would not of rushed into a fight or goaded a brutish type like that into beating yourself nearly to death. Did you think dying would somehow help Soul Society in some way?" There was a pause that Kaeru took to think over each question in an attempt to answer them honestly. For him the four years was a blink of time, did not feel like four years, yet there was more than one thing different about him since he had returned. The irrational comment struck a cord as he was trying to do what he had always done, but this time he was the one that took the bait playing to the Rukongai man's terms and turf. He had always rushed into fights to help his allies not really ever fighting one on one as there were strength in numbers. Dying was never the goal, but there was a calming acceptable once he realized the man's blood lust was far too great for his current power and skill levels. "Getting beat to death was not the initial part of my plan..." Kaeru dryly spoke in response to his captain, "Scope out the area that Möröödögch had taken over within Rukongai Districts. Approach and study his closest allies and the man himself. The home base in the steppe while the size of a village was not hard to assess the defenses, completely relying on that man's power. Stepping in was an attempt at conversation or awareness, but things became clear the only way I would get any respect or information would be in I fought the man on his terms. My usual fighting style proved to be less than ideal against this man." "That much is certain," Sif replied as he crossed his left hand over top of his right hand, "Not everyone understands the reason we do what we do, that much we are aware of but since you have been gone we have been spinning our wheels. Rukongai is one of many things that we are struggling to keep from exploding. That Möröödögch and his forces are but one example of an issue we are dealing with. Taking a squad with you to investigate the area should of been the entire mission. Confront the group on our terms, not his as we always try to do. And if that was not achievable? If you truly felt approaching him was the best course, then you should of gathered back with reinforcements beforehand." This exact conversation was one he had given to others within the First Division when Kaeru was the Captain Commander, this stung in a way he had not seen coming. Often he spent time with up and coming shinigami on the importance of patience. Yet here he was acting impulsively and pushing things past his limits. There were all kinds of tools in his arsenal, such as bankai, shunko, or kido arts. Yet he used almost none of them as he felt he should be able to win with a simple shikai release and zanjutsu. The miscalculations in power and the immediate synergy of Möröödögch's dual zanpakutos with their abilities was something even he could not plan for in the middle of battle. Though, his primary fighting style relied on him being able to adapt to last minute information. "In any case," Sif starts to say as he begins to get up from the floor into a standing position, "Your time as a Vice-Captain is limited, take this time to re-familiarize yourself with the Gotei Thirteen and learn what is different from when you were the Captain Commander. I suggest that you to talk to Senior Administration Officer Oriru Ryuka Kusho, he is also the twentieth seat of our Division. He will file all the information you were able to gather from this event and be able to advise you on some areas of improvement. I let him know to keep his schedule somewhat open to get this information recorded and filed for planning purposes for the inevitable next clash with this figure. Things are different than when you were here last, try to remember that before your rush to your death again. Gotei Thirteen needs the stability of what you used to be, try to remember that as you floundering in self pity a while longer. The events going on all around us will not wait for you to get caught up again." Standing up fully he wanders over to the door placing his left hand on the sliding door pausing to add, "The next time we see one another will most likely be when you are taking the Captain's test." With that the Captain exits the door sliding it closed before walking away with the two lower seat officers leaving Kaeru in his room. Looking down at his own calloused hands the frog balled them into fists as he leaned forwarded pressing the knuckles of each hand into the bedroll feeling the hard ground underneath as he uses the leverage to stand up. Stepping over he grabs up his gear up off the ground sliding the vice-captain badge over his left bicep, yin zanpakuto into his belt over his right hip, and the yang zanpakuto strapped to his back. He needed to train in a few different areas, but that would have to wait until he found this Twentieth Seated Oriru Ryuka Kusho of the First Division. [WC: 1,777] [Exit thread]
  9. 2 points
    006: CONVICTION PRT2 ----- ___________________ ... RYŪNOSUKE FULLY intended to return home and sort things out with his mother... eventually. The truth was, even after the conversation with the woman at the train station, and even after steeling his resolve, Ryūnosuke was still far too embarrassed to go home so soon. Barely four hours had passed since he left and the words he'd told his mother before storming out the door were still seared into his conscious thoughts as if freshly branded there. Despite Mariko's attempt to make her son feel less embarrassed and awkward about it, the fact remained that it wasn't information Ryūnosuke felt he would ever be comfortable with his mother knowing. "Then why did you tell her, you dumbass!", the teenager muttered inwardly, scolding and berating himself repeatedly for his humiliating mistake, as he roamed the streets of the shopping district. Ryūnosuke's only definitive aim was to stall for time until he'd built up the courage to return home and face Mariko. "This isn't running away from my problems. This is just keeping distance until I find the right angle of approach." The teenager told himself, and continued to tell himself as the arms of the clock turned morning over to mid-day. However, walking around the shopping district got very boring snapping quick. Only an hour later, Ryūnosuke decided that allowing another minute be wasted window shopping was no longer justifiable. If he couldn't find a more productive use of his time, he'd might as well just return home. As soon as he had that thought, an image of his mother waiting for him at the door of their black box of a home had him flustered again. The only logical decision was to find something else to do, maybe fish around for a part-time job opportunity. He remembered his mother already approved of him getting a job as long as he kept his grades up. Surely there had to be at least one shop looking to hire a teenager part-time. Ryūnosuke also didn't have anything specific in mind, though he thought himself rather capable for his age. As far as physical labor went, he might have been the best suited teenager for it around. Having decided his next course of action, Ryūnosuke continued his walk through the shopping district, now on the hunt for potential employment opportunities. Time possessed the illusion of passing faster when the teenager actually had a set goal to accomplish. Two more hours flew by without him realizing it, and Ryūnosuke was, frustratingly, no closer to having a job as far as he could tell. Growing progressively tired and agitated with each passing minute and fruitless effort, Ryūnosuke decided to take a short break. He stopped by a vending machine, fed it the required amount of pocket change, and pressed buttons as prompted until the machine acknowledged the transaction and released Ryūnosuke's purchase with a loud THUNK. After claiming his cold bottled beverage, a Pokka Sportswater, Ryūnosuke twisted open the sealed cap and guzzled down all five-hundred sweet milliliters of the pale drink. The effects were almost immediate, Ryūnosuke smiled as he tossed the empty bottle into the nearby plastics recycling bin. "Yoshi" he cheered and pounded his right fist into his open left palm. He felt as if the sports drink had not only hydrated his body but also his dried up good mood. He'd just started to carry on in his quest for a job when he noticed a couple walking with their young child. They didn't stick out particularly as a family, and none of them had any special features that set them apart from the crowd. In fact, Ryūnosuke hadn't even noticed their faces when he saw them. What he did notice, however, was the baseball helmet the little boy was wearing; as well as the small baseball bat he carried in his right hand. "Is there a batting center nearby?" Ryūnosuke suddenly wondered, as all thoughts of finding a job completely evaporated from his conscious. The teenager began to follow the family, while maintaining a big enough distance from them as to not appear suspicious. The last thing he wanted was to be mistakenly perceived as a stalker or a creep. Especially not once he considered that the family could just be heading to back to their private residence for all he knew. He had enough un-pleasantries stacked on his metaphoric plate as it was. Still, the teenager preferred to think the family were headed to a batting center or at least some baseball field or sandlot somewhere in town. Much to Ryūnosuke's elation, the family had indeed led him to an indoor batting center in the heart of the shopping district. The establishment was snuggled tightly between a sportswear outlet and a game cards store. Ryūnosuke thought it fit in perfectly, as he admired the two story building from the outside. "Elites Dome. Games and Sports" the teenager read the lighted storefront sign gleefully. The name was displayed in bold all-capped letters, large enough to cover half of the front wall above the building's twin sliding doors. On the upper-half of the wall was another lighted sign dedicated to just the logo. A single baseball cradled in the palm of a leather mitt, with a pair of crossed baseball bats behind it. Ryūnosuke cracked a huge grin, he loved the place already! The glass doors slid openly seamlessly as he approached and a cold air-conditioned breeze rushed against him. The air carried the smell of rubber (from the infill crumbs of the artificial turf, no doubt!) and there was also a faint hint of alcohol-based cleaning agent, most likely used on the bats. As he stepped inside, Ryūnosuke could hear the mechanical whirling of pitching machines in the distance and occasionally he'd also hear a brief PING! as a baseball made contact with a bat. The teenager felt his shoulders quiver with joy. THIS was exactly what he needed. Ryūnosuke could hardly remember the last time he'd hit a ball or even swung his bat. He remembered the last game he played with his team, it was a open match with a neighboring high school before they went on winter break. It had only been a few months ago, but it surely felt like decades ago. Ryūnosuke faced the receptionist behind the small counter to his right as the sliding doors closed behind him. She was shorter than him, but looked to be around his age. He noticed she was wearing the striped white jersey of the Japanese national Baseball team and a matching black cap with the letter "J" embroiled on the front panel. Ryūnosuke approved immediately. The receptionist snickered at him, Ryūnosuke figured it was in reaction to how bright his expression must have been glowing. "Welcome, to Elites Dome!", said the receptionist before sliding in a quick remark. "I'm gonna assume you'd like to use a batting cage." "Yes, please. Thank you!" Ryūnosuke replied immediately, unaware of how high his voice had gotten with joy. The receptionist nodded and began to type something into the computer at the counter as Ryūnosuke inspected the wall behind her. The wall was decorated in full with signed and framed baseball accessories and equipment. There were also multiple framed photos of a tall bearded man, who Ryūnosuke assumed was the owner, standing with famous Japanese Baseball stars. The teenager noticed a few right away, like the famous, now retired, pitcher Hideo Nomo. As well as his favorite switch-hitter and infielder, Kazuo "Kaz" Matsui; the very first Japanese infielder to sign with a Major League Baseball team. Ryūnosuke's excitement grew with every player that he recognized, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Ichiri Suzuki, Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Hisashi Iwakuma, and the list went on and on. "Excuse me, is that man the owner!" Ryūnosuke blurted out as he nodded in the direction of one of the many photographs. He simply had to know who this man, who'd practically photographed himself with every Japanese Baseball legend Ryūnosuke could think of, was. The receptionist looked back at the wall and snickered, "No, that's not the owner, silly! That's Shohei Ohtani, he plays for the Los Angeles Angels." she replied sharply. Ryūnosuke scoffed, the receptionist had clear misunderstood which "guy" he was referring to. "No! I know who Shohei Ohtani is, I mean the guy-" The receptionist burst into laughter and cut him off, leaving Ryūnosuke to simply blink at her in confusion. "Sorry." She wiped her eye. "I was just messing with you." she explained before swiveling on her heels and facing the wall with Ryūnosuke. She pointed out Shohei Ohtani (Ryūnosuke's idol, though he did not mention it) in the picture again. "That guy, we obviously both know is Shohei Ohtani.", she then shifted her index finger an inch or so to the right and pointed out the tall bearded man present in all the photographs. "Now that guy is Asano Shimada, the owner, and also my dad." She spun back around and faced her entranced costumer again. "I'm Asano Nozomi, by the way, mister..." she let her breath linger, giving Ryūnosuke a chance to introduce himself. "Tamura Ryūnosuke" He replied without much thought. He worried Nozomi might recognize his name and thus know about his background and the events that led to his relocation to Karakura. However, he was relieved when Nozomi didn't appear to recognize his name at all; Ryūnosuke took a mental note of his own conceit again. Being aware of his own vanity had a habit of stinging on the inside. Nozomi nodded "Nice to meet you, Tamura-san." "Likewise, Asano-san." Ryūnosuke glanced up at the picture of the owner, Asano Shimada, again and his lips cracked open as if he wanted to ask another question, but he shut them instead, hoping not be annoy Nozomi with more inquiries while she was trying to do her job. "Well, you're in luck, we have a lot of free cages at the moment. Our pitching machines are token operated. Each token costs two-hundred-fifteen yen. One token gets you fifteen pitches. But, if you want, you can get twenty tokens for three-thousand, two-hundred, twenty-five yen.", Nozomi explained. Ryūnosuke quickly processed the math in his head, "So, that's like five free tokens and.. three-hundred pitches. I'll go with that please.", he reached into his pocket, pulled out his wallet, and gave Nozomi the money. "Thank you for your purchase, Tamura-san!" Nozomi accepted the payment and exchanged it with a small beige pouch containing Ryūnosuke's twenty tokens. Ryūnosuke happily took it off her hands. "Cage A-6 is all yours. That's on this floor. Last cage down the hall to your left." "A-6, got it." Ryūnosuke nodded as he headed down the hall. "Have fun!" Nozomi shouted out to him as he disappeared from her sight. Ryūnosuke entered an huge air-conditioned room that was much larger than he imagined anyone would have guessed based on how tightly tucked in the batting center appeared from the outside. It was almost as if the the space was contained in a pocket dimension of its own --a very awesome pocket dimension, the teenager noted. The entire floor was covered in artificial turf infilled with crumbled bits of recycled rubber, just as Ryūnosuke suspected based on the smell when he entered Elites Dome. Lined up in a single row to his right were six batting cages, each divined by a metal fence that extended all the way up to the ceiling. The first and shortest batting cage to his right was A-1, occupied currently by the family of three he'd followed to find the batting center. As Ryūnosuke walked straight ahead towards cage A-6, he noticed that A-2 and A-3 were also shorter lanes, likely designed specifically for child customers. As he approached the last --and his personally assigned-- batting cage, A-6, Ryūnosuke was pleased to see it was appropriately sized. He didn't even need to measure it physically, his experienced eye identified that there was just over a sixty feet distance between the batter's box (designated by two white rectangular boxes painted on the turf) and the pitching machine. The teenager grinned as he entered the cage and closed the gate behind him. He walked through the opening in the green mesh net that surrounded the walls of the cage and served as a secondary barrier for straying baseballs. Ryūnosuke pinched the Velcro opening of the mesh net close as well and then dropped his bag at his right foot. He knelled, unzipped the backpack and extracted a pair of black baseball gloves that he then wore with haste. Next, he pulled his aluminum bat from the side pouch. Ryūnosuke paused once he had the bat in his hands as an image of a smiling Hina flashed in his head. Ryūnosuke quickly rotated the bat in his palm and examined its surface to confirm the Kanji that Hina had inked on it for him. '確信' Kakushin, 'Conviction'; the name they had given the bat together on Ryūnosuke's seventeenth birthday --the day Hina gifted it to him. Ryūnosuke recalled mentioning to Hina that she didn't have to spend so much money on a bat for him, especially since he wouldn't be allowed to use it in any of his high school games. The bat was just too advanced, plus even if it was allowed, he'd need time to break it in. The words Hina spoke to him afterwards would stick with him forever. It shocked him that it had taken him so long to remember them. "I know, stupid. You already have plenty of bats for Baseball. This one is for something else." Ryūnosuke stood up to his full height, and got into batting position within the right-side batter's box, as Hina's voice continued to echo in his mind and heart. "This bat is special. Even if you're never able to use it in an official game, you should never let it go." Ryūnosuke tightened his fingers around the lizard skin grip of the bat and he could immediately picture Hina standing at his side, just as she had on the day she told him those words. He took a deep breath. "Whenever you're down, whenever you feel like there is something getting in your way, I want you picture all that crap as a huge dark wall in front of you." Sure as he remembered the words, Ryūnosuke imagined all the thoughts and worries that plagued him at the moment, even his inability to fully accept what happened to Hina. All the things with the move, his problems with his father, his fall out with Akane, and all his anger and frustration. He took all the negativity and piled it, pitch black brick by pitch black brick, into a massive wall, an obstacle that completely towered over him and engulfed him in the cold darkness of the shadow that it cast. "Use this bat to channel your conviction," Ryūnosuke tensed for a second preparing to back his swing with the full brunt of his strength and will. "And smash all your worries and obstacles to pieces, kay?" Ryūnosuke winced as a tear rolled down his cheeks, but he swung. He swung with all his might, just as Hina's voice told him to. The black wall trembled with the first hit, but Ryūnosuke wasn't done yet. He assumed batting position again, and again he swung with all the power he could muster. This time the wall split at the center and a warm white light could be seen pouring through it. Ryūnosuke sniffled as he readied his bat a final time and looked to the image of Hina standing at his side. She nodded with a smile and Ryūnosuke inhaled sharply once more before swinging his bat with so much intensity that he swore he saw the metal fence of the cage rattle and the mesh net bellow from a shock wave produced by the sheer force of his movement. With that swing, the black wall in his mind was obliterated completely and crumbled away as the white white flooded over him for just a second before it disappeared; the image of Hina gone with it as well. Ryūnosuke stood as if halted in time, his bat and arms still extended at the peak of his swing. Just as that light had engulfed him and passed, so had a fleeting since of peace and relief. Two emotions Ryūnosuke had not felt in so long. For just that second he felt as light as a feather, it was a feeling he couldn't communicate or liken to anything else. The teenager wasn't even sure he fully understood himself. He couldn't explain what happened or why it caused tears to pour from his eyes like a waterfall. All he knew, was that whatever it was, it effected him in a way he could never have anticipated; and, although as brief as it was, Ryūnosuke knew it had left him just a little bit better than he'd been before. Ryūnosuke lowered his bat, pulled his cap off with his left hand, and wiped his eyes with his sleeve. "Thank you, Hina.", he sobbed lowly. Ryūnosuke recomposed himself quickly afterwards. He inserted a token into the designated slot behind the batter's box. The slot was connected to a wire that ran through a white pvc pipe lined across the bottom of the cage fence, all the way to the automatic pitching machine. The pitching machine whirled to life, Ryūnosuke readied himself for the incoming pitch, and it came seconds later, just as he expected. Although the ball shot through the air at seventy miles per hour, Ryūnosuke saw it approaching as if it were floating though the air in slow-motion. It'd been this way for him for almost as long as he could remember. With no trouble at all, Ryūnosuke lined the sweet spot of the bat barrel with the center of the ball and swung. PING! Ryūnosuke grinned as he followed through with his swing and watched the ball shoot back in a perfect line drive, right into the protective L-screen guarding the pitching machine. Ryūnosuke chuckled, not surprised at all that he'd batted the ball successfully, but simply enamored of the vibrating of his bat in his hand when it impacted the ball. He'd been completely unaware of how much he missed that sensation as well. To Be Continued... [Left Thread] [Continues In: Blunt Trauma] ______________________________ WC|3,060 ----- OOC| #shockwaves
  10. 2 points
    “Am I not allowed to drink either?” Nariko asks raising her stampless hand. “I don’t think she saw.” Yuroshima says to her, “And there’s no reason she needs to, she didn’t seem very happy about my stamp situation.” He reaches to the tray and retrieves his order. “Damn it..” he mutters with his minds voice, “I forgot to order some Rice and Mukimame.” But he did not feel like waiting for more food to arrive or talking to the waitress again and so resolved to enjoy the poultry and fish anyhow. Oriru then speaks up on the Lieutenants recent comment “It is an interesting plan, to bring a more combative role.” He begins “Something that Captain Jecht has brought forth as a plan but I am unsure if he decided it was not a good idea or if he realized the amount of paperwork involved and opted to avoid the work involved.” He laughed as he continued to pour drinks before returning his gaze to the Lieutenants and summoning up a Tozansho spell the size of a cup, offering it as a replacement. Instantly Yuroshimas suspicion and curiosity are piqued, “That’s a higher level kido than I would expect from some one at his seat.” He thinks, “Unless its one of those strange deals where his seat is a representation of the position he holds in his department, at which case he could be at any strength level..” He tilts his head a moment, brow furrowed as he appears to be in deep thought, “This relaxed demeanor... perfect to put me at ease, and he sensed that womans Kyakko..” His mental dialogue continues leading him to remember the drop in guest of the night Nariko and what she had said to them, “It was just a basic one, Kyakko. Let's me hide myself from sight and sensing, as long as someone doesn't have an astronomically higher Reiatsu than mine.”…. he pauses and looks back to the Admin. “Astronomically..” He repeats in his mind a half smile forming across his face behind his head dress, “I know a veil when I see one…but you kept my secret too.. so..” His thoughts conclude. “Indeed.” He says out loud before enough time had passed to seem strange, “While the concept of a combat medic certainly isn’t new to the Thirteen Court Guard Squads, I hope to reorganize the Restoration Corps for greater efficiency. If I have my way I will divide the officers into two types, those with combat capability and those without. Those with combat capability will be trained to be a combat efficient medic to the best of their capabilities so they may go into the field and serve a more important role, and those without will hold the important role of stationary medics and in times of emergency mobile medics, which is exactly what it sounds like.. having permanent corpsman to run the hospitals in shifts will also make the care much greater..” He stops a moment, “I’m sorry.” The gray eyed Lieutenant laughs, “It seems I’m the one rambling now.” “Why did I say all that?” He wonders, looking back down at the small tozansho pyramid indicating adept understanding in kido manipulation and remembers all the sake he had drank in his multiple gulps. “Am I.. drunk?” he asks himself audibly but in a low tone. He laughs through his nose with a quick exhale once and nods before leaning back against his booth and looking back to the Head of the Administration Corps, “Perhaps I am, perhaps I just let my paranoia get to me…” Nariko then spoke up thankfully, turning the attention from the Restoration specialist. “Combative 4th Division for you,” she looked to Yuroshima, “and future Captainship for you." she swapped to Oriru. "I don't really have any plans like that. I just kind of want to explore new places. Whatever helps me do that, that's what I want to do.” She finishes. “Well,” Oriru motioned towards her, “I think the desire to explore is perhaps the best plan of all.” He chuckled as he downed yet another drink. “Next time I have to visit to visit the World of the Living, you are more than welcome to be a part of the escort team,” He raised his glass towards the both of them, “Either of you.” To this, Yuroshima smiles, “If you ever need a medic I would be more than willing.” He says before facing his palm to the Tozansho cup, “I have to pass on that though, I think I may have had enough.” He says light heartedly. WC – 764 TWC - 2752
  11. 2 points
    Oriru could not help but give a smile from the response given by Nariko regarding his own reasons about his glasses, which was like the one he gets from most people. Plenty of people have inquired about his glasses, and curious about their purpose when unique situations occur, and it has always been the same response. It truly has been used to help him resist his smoking problem which truly is better for everyone. Though his smile was a bit dismissed when the waitress and the nameless one had a little interaction regarding his stamp and it only just became apparent to Oriru that it was different between the two of them. He had not noticed that detail earlier and wondered why Haruko gave him a different stamp; being that he legitimately had a concern for the age or concern of health concerns for the Nameless one, he had an inclination against the Nameless One, or perhaps an honest mistake from being distracted. It appears that Nariko took note of the confusion and capitalized with her own humored comment of how she doesn’t have a stamp. It was clear that the waitress was prepared to deal with people with stamps that vary, like the inclusive stamp of Oriru or the restricted stamp of the Nameless One. She was not prepared to deal with an individual who did not have a stamp, or perhaps was advised that those without the stamps are not to be bothered. Luckily the Nameless One did not decide to make a scene and was respectful about the rules of the establishment and it made Oriru feel comfortable in this moment and an increased respect for the healing comrade with a friendly smile. “I’m trying to bring a more combative role to the Restoration Corps.” That was an interesting comment as Oriru allowed his mind to flow through the details of the statement and recalled that there was a select amount of the Restoration Corp that have been classified as Combat Medics which actually includes the current Captain Elevander Jecht. “It is an interesting plan, to bring a more combative role, something that Captain Jecht has brought forth as a plan but I am unsure if he decided it was not a good idea or if he realized the amount of paperwork involved and opted to avoid the work involved.” He laughed as he continued to indulge his desire for more drinks, pouring more for any of those interested in more. He even focused his attention in front of the Nameless One and whispered, “Tazansho.” Suddenly several small blue line would draw in front of the man and create an inverted pyramid with no surface the size of a small up. He motioned that he would pour into the newly formed cup if the Nameless One desired. “Well,” Oriru motioned towards Nariko, “I think the desire to explore is perhaps the best plan of all.” He chuckled as he indulged in yet another drink. “Next time I have to visit to visit the World of the Living, you are more than welcome to be a part of the escort team,” He raised his glass towards the both of them, “Either of you.” He offered another toast with that before he let another drink go down his throat. He lost count, but realized he was pretty far down but the benefit was that it was also helping prevent his desire to smoke. WC | 584 TWC | 3064 OWC | 7910
  12. 2 points
    Oriru watched as the young woman, who had cleverly found a way to obscure her appearance with the use of a Kido, one that he was all too familiar with, enter the establishment without the aid of the stamp. The details of how she was able to bypass the entrance was beyond him, but found it quite interesting that she was able to do so but found no reason to turn away the eye of the curious wanderer and thus offering a seat and a drink seemed to be the only appropriate response. The great part was that she was willing to take part in the offer and enjoy a drink with the two in comradery. “And to the behind the scenes heroes.” That statement, by the Nameless One, was nice one to hear as it was tribute to the people like Oriru who are no widely known for great acts like Elevander Jecht, Mikoto Shuu, or Xarius Kaeru but still they are know far and wide for their involvement in the basic functions of the Soul Society. Of course, he would not miss the chance to take a second drink, especially one in is honor. So with a second drink down for each of them, seeing that the young female would allow herself to indulge. “Nariko Mizushima…” First the name came to his mind, going through the dozens of files that he had been processing and recalled her acceptance forms on his desk for the new class from the Spiritual Arts Academy. The sign of her recently placed division came to mind clearly. “Ninth Division’s Nineteenth Seat…” That was a solid placement for such a newly accepted individual, but he ability in the academy was impressive. Nothing that warranted the accolades of a prodigy by any means, but still impressive all the same. “Lieutenant Casper…” Oriru was able to hold himself from a response as the name given to the Nameless One, as he had heard the name a few times during his interactions with individuals but never had he made the connection that it was too the person that he was sharing a booth with. It was a shame to have a designation, but perhaps the man would hold himself with self-satirical appreciation. Though shortly after, Nariko inquired his own identity much along the inquiry brought by the Nameless One. “Formally, I am Senior Administration Officer of the Administration Department, sub department of the First Division placing me as the ranked Twentieth Seat of the First Division…” He paused for a moment, “For now.” He smiled as he said he two words, his eyes reaching across the room at another individual closer to the main bar who wore his lieutenant badge on his left arm, ‘Thirteen Division’ was clearly visible. “I honestly am not too sure how long I have been the head of Administration,” There was a playful tone with a hint of frustration, “Since I still report to the current Director of Administrative Affairs as well as the Captain of the First Division and the Chief Administrative Officer from Central 46, I am more of the hand of Administration handling all of the actual details.” Oriru poured another drink for each of the three, giving them the chance to prepare for the shot or mix it however they would desire. The goal was not to show more over one or the other but have a nice time out. With a smile and a gesture to signal another drink with a silent toast to knock glasses, Oriru would take another drink with ease, “But once I learn to become a better fighter, I think I might go for a Captain and restructure the way that Administrative Affairs operate.” He let out a laugh at the jest in his words before he would pour another drink for himself and offer to pour more for the other’s if they would like to continue. Considering the size of the bottle, this would be the last shot of this specific drink. “The things you learn in Administration,” A smirk developed, “The challenges of keeping the worst secrets imaginable.” With that, he offered another silent toast with, or without, the rest of the group with joyous enthusiasm; despite his ominous choice of words. WC | 711 TWC | 2020 OWC | 6866
  13. 2 points
    The Lieutenant's travelling companion had been tipped off at some point as to Nariko's existence. Nariko was rather confused, but she had already been noticed, so there was no point in declining at this point. Perhaps the man's glasses gave him some sort of additional sight, allowing him to see her, but wouldn't have realized that she was invisible until he had taken them off? That would have certainly tipped him off as to her actually tailing them. He did wink right at her, but his Reiatsu wasn't higher than hers was, and certainly wasn't higher than the Vice Captain he was with, and Yuroshima couldn't see her, so that only left so many options. Grinning a sheepish grin, she dropped her illusion, popping into existence and delivering quite a shock to some of the nearby patrons. Apologizing for the fright, she moved towards the table where Yuroshima and Oriru sat, taking the seat that Oriru had left for her to sit in. Perhaps there was little reason not to. She could still satisfy her curiosity while joining them. In fact, it might actually be easier to satisfy her curiosity by actually doing so. Having some drinks, chilling out, and getting to know them. Besides, this man was more than met the eye, that much was for certain. Now she was interested in both of the Shinigami at the table with her. Yuroshima because he was a Vice Captain of the Gotei 13, and Oriru because he was able to see through her Bakudo somehow, a feat that it would usually take a high leveled Vice Captain or Captain to do, although he didn't seem to be that strong at all. There was some definite intrigue there. Taking up her shot, offered to her by her glasses wearing seat mate, Nariko toasted to the same. "To the new Vice Captain!" she said eagerly, knocking back her drink with a small shiver as the alcohol went down her throat. Most liquor was rough, and she enjoyed sweeter drinks, but Sake was fine enough. It would taste better with time, as most drinks usually did. Shaking her head as the alcohol hit her stomach, Nariko's grin appeared on her face once again, as she introduced herself to the group real quick so they weren't sitting there without knowing who she was. "Nariko Mizushima, 9th Division's 19th Seat. Pleasure to meet you Lieutenant Casper," she remembered that one of her squadmates had said that the 4th Division's new Vice Captain was called Casper, "and you, mister.....?" She couldn't even pretend to know who Oriru was at all. After introductions were done, she'd fall silent, while listening to the conversation a little bit. Head of Administration was certainly an impressive title indeed, although Nariko couldn't imagine remembering all that information that he must go through. She'd be so overwhelmed with such a task, thoughts came and went through her head with such speed, and holding her attention on boring things like that was nearly impossible. If she wasn't interested in something, there was no way she was going to dedicate her time to it, when she could be searching out something fun and exciting. WC: 530 TWC: 1,726
  14. 1 point
    ~ Administration Department Main Building, First Division Headquarters ~ Oriru had finished processing the Lieutenants paperwork, the Nameless One, who made the claim for the Fourth Division Vice Captain position and with the proper channels would officially be validate in that claim. It would not take long to get it done, and with that he would make his way towards leaving for the day, slightly before the end of normal business hours. "Hey, Kusho." One of the Administration Officers, a newer one that Oriru determined, "Can you sign off on the new officer arrivals from the Spiritual Arts Academy? Just need to verify that everything checks out on the individuals that claimed a seated position out of the Academy." Oriru would take a few minutes to read over the stack of paperwork before signing off for the clearance required to accept the positions of the new appointed officers and also establish their qualified pay for their new assignments. "Alright, Zari!" Oriru shouted a few desks down to Zari who turned to acknowledge him, "Close up tonight?" He spoke with a half smile, a symbol of their work relationship to which she gave in return and thumbs. With that established, Oriru made his way out of the building and met with the Nameless One. "It isn't too far of a walk, just a quick cut through the Ninth Division will get us to the section of the Fifth Division that we need to be at." With that established, he made his way towards the location. ~ Last Watch ~ Oriru walked through the pathway with a clear sense of direction as he carried his Zanpakuto in his left hand, the 100 centimeter long sheath with the 28 centimeter long handle, with his grip firmly in the middle of the full length of the Odachi for ease of movement. The other reason that he enjoyed taking the path through the Ninth Division is that there happens to be a small garden along the path with a diverse collection of flora and gentle scents which always helped him relax at the end of his days. Unless the Nameless One had questions, or subjects to discuss it would be a relatively quiet walk between the two of them. Oriru would, however, greet nearly every person that he came across. He knew almost every person that is employed by Central 46, the Thirteen Court Guard Squads, or the Court of Pure Souls due to his work with employment records and also the fact that he takes the time to personally try and meet every person within the ranks affiliated to his. His knowledge of people within the Kido Corp or Onmitsukido is relatively limited do to most of their reports being redacted in public records or the amount of secrecy around their activities, only knowledgeable in things that have been deemed necessary by Central 46. They would be growing close to the location of Saigo no Tokei which was a sign only known by the line of people that could be seen extending around the length of a building. To those familiar with the location, this building use to be the location of a Vault that stored valuables in the Fifth Division before it was moved to another more secure location when the construction process was completed. This building was refitted to assist in a different type of storage. As they approached the building the front door was wide open revealing the open vault door from the 'lobby' and it was unimpressive. The inside looked run down like it had not been touched since they moved out of it. When Oriru got to the front door with his companion, the Nameless One, the front guard immediately stepped in front of him, "Sorry, got to get in line." The large man with the blue Mohawk stood firm and aggressive in his focus. Oriru smiled, "Haruko." He spoke with a friendly tone as he reached out his hand, "How is the wife?" The large man gave a smile and reached for Oriru's hand, "She is doing much better Oriru, thank you so much for helping us get access to the infirmary." "Of course my friend, hopefully there should be no more delays in her benefits." With that, Haruko took a step to the side stamping the back of Oriru's hand then, after giving an extended look at the Nameless one - and a reassuring nod from Oriru - gave him a stamp as well. With that, Oriru would walk through the open doorway and the once run down building turned into a lively bar with plenty of people and beautiful decorations. "We can take a seat over here." Oriru motioned to a booth section on one side of the building, "I asked to have a booth reserved." With a smile he respectfully gave the Nameless One a chance to sit on which ever side he desired before sitting opposite of him. Menus would already be placed on the table, one for food and one for drinks, highlighting an array of options for casual drinks to spirits dark or light and plenty of food options that could pair nicely with the drink of choice. "Tonight's on me." WC | 867 TWC | 867 OWC | 4355
  15. 1 point
    Welcome to the ORP Ability Approval Thread. The moderator team fully understands the major role that characters' personal abilities play in the RP. That being said, it is also understood that sometimes it can be very hard to compete in the RP without one's abilities which cannot be used until they have been approved by a moderator. In the past, ability approvals were often a tedious task which led to the need of such ability approval threads. This thread is being added from the beginning in order to help prevent the common build up of groups of players NEEDING ability approvals at the same time. Instead requests can be made as the need of one's abilities arises but the use of this thread does come with a simple rule. Rule of Ability Approval Thread: Ability Approval requests in this thread should only be made if your character is eligible to use the abilities you wish the have approved, either by reaching the Reiatsu requirement or obtaining access to the release that includes the desired abilities. If that requirement is met you can post your request in this thread using the below format; Character Name: Race: Reiatsu: Desired Release Approval: (Shikai, Resurrección, etc.) Application Link: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The moderator team will try to get to work on requests as soon as possible. Once your abilities have been approved it will be listed here and we will move on to the next request. Please note that you only need to make 1 request per set of abilities you need approved. Spamming this thread or anywhere else -unfortunately- will not miraculously make your abilities get approved any faster. But as stated before, we will be actively reviewing this thread and try to stay vigilant. The thread is ultimately designed for everyone's convenience. Approval Requests Queue & Status: YAMASHIRO GAZAMI - ARRANCAR - Resurrección/ Segunda Etapa [DONE] XARIUS KAERU - SHINIGAMI - All Abilities/Techniques/Releases [DONE] MÖRÖÖDÖGCH - SHINIGAMI - Shikai [DONE] YUROSHIMA HOSHIKO - SHINIGAMI - Shikai / Non-Release [DONE] CONNOR KNIGHT - FULLBRINGER - Incomplete Fullbring [DONE] HITSUYONA SHIZUKESA - SHINIGAMI - Shikai/Non-Release [DONE] KUSHŌ ORIRU - SHINIGAMI - Shikai/Non-Release [DONE] TAMURA RYŪNOSUKE - FULLBRINGER - All Abilities [Pending] ??? YUROSHIMA HOSHIKO - SHINIGAMI - Non-Release [Pending] ??? NARIKO MIZUSHIMA - SHINIGAMI - Non-Release/Shikai [Pending] ??? STEIN NEVSKII - SHINIGAMI - Non-Release/Shikai [Pending] ??? Character Name - Race - Release [Queued]
  16. 1 point
    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
  17. 1 point
    Stepping down on the ground just outside of the Kaeru Noble house gates Xarius took a moment to gather his bearings. Since returning he had avoided talking to most of his family except for when he had come by to do private training in the family dungeon. Those times he was linearly focused on the path to recover who he was instead of who he was now. Living was harsh and thus provided equally harsh lessons that one's life was not something that could be so easily planned out. There were reactions to every action. Standing outside the gates was not Xarius' plan nor was sneaking in to use the training grounds, even if that was the exact reason he had decided to come back to his childhood home. Life was short and some times a near death experience provided a soul with some much needed perspective. To most the frog had been dead for four years now and his return was not something that could go unquestioned. With his return the unbalance of Soul Society was one of many things he noticed right away, that included the time before getting his memories back. The return to his family proper was the next difficult step in his attempt to get back to some semblance of normal. Rolling his head around to crack his neck a few times Xarius took a step through the two large stone pillars with tree frog statues at the top. "You got some stones thinking you are just going to walk in after what you pulled the other day," the voice of his older brother Wyatt could be heard from his right. The family prodigy was very similar to him in appearance minus the battle wounds and dual zanpakutos. "Good to see you too Wyatt," Xarius responded cordially towards his older brother as he continued to put one foot in front of the other up the steep stair steps, "I assume the old man is in?" The question was more rhetorical as he knew exactly how unbusy Xarm Kaeru the patriarch of the Kaeru Noble House was from a day to day basis. There was a time when Xarm was one of the most feared shinigami in all of Soul Society, but those days were long before Xarius was born. Myths and legends were all that remained of a time when the great noble houses could not agree. The Kaerus had to earn the title of Noble house through years of hard work and favors, but that day did come. Since then they turned out some strong shinigami officers, most notably himself as Captain Commander of the Gotei Thirteen for a short period of time. This rise was met with a lot of backlash from the family as they believed taking a title higher than Captain was beneath a noble house member. This was a form of control to get a say in how house Kaeru operated. The real issue was that he worked to keep the house Kaeru and Gotei Thirteen duties separated, something that only irritated both sides of the fence. Wyatt followed closely behind Xarius up the steps not saying another word as they moved along. Not all of his siblings were meant to do something for the Gotei Thirteen. In fact his oldest brother Daj was gifted with making and maintaining a lot of the buildings within Seireitei. Wyatt the next oldest was well educated and good at almost anything he put his mind to, hence why most view him as the prodigy of the Kaeru house along with being the heir to the family line if Xarm ever passed. His only sister, older at that, was Rin married off a noble within the Central Forty-Six and does not really spend time with the family. Finally there was the youngest child Ank the genius, who was an up and coming shinigami in the making that currently was in the Shino Academy. Each and everyone had a connection to bringing House Kaeru some level of status improvements, that included Xarius before he left even if the family did not approve of the titled position. Reaching the top of the steps Xarius looked around at the several buildings that squared in the main house in the center. Directly in front of him the walkway led into a courtyard at which he could see his father Xarm Kaeru impatiently awaiting him to approach. He could tell that Wyatt was falling back where he was parallel with the buildings on either side. His brother was not the only one in attendance as he could see each and every other Kaeru House member slowly creep out to watch the long awaited confrontation between father and son after four years. Really longer than that as his disappearance had come during a time when the two really were not talking because of a disagreement on ethics and loyalty. "Disappear for four years without a word to anyone, you return without saying a word to your family, you come in a use our facilities like nothing has happened, and then you return to talk only after you get your ass handed to you," Xarm bellows out in the direction of Xarius as the two were now within twenty yards of one another. "Everyone is a means to an end for you. How do they help you? How to they fix your problem? How do you get them to make your life easier? Yet here you are coming to ask for our help and resources again when you should already have all of that within the Gotei Thirteen. Wait... they did not hand you your title right away? Making you earn it all over again. The fact they even let you in the door is astounding," Xarm continued to shout and point out how he viewed his long lost sons recent actions. "Everything you say can be turned right back around and pointed right back at you," Xarius stated without hestitation as he continued to close the gap with his father. Out of the corners of his eyes he noticed that there were house guards surround him like they could take him, this showed just how weak they viewed him. Even those in his own house thought he was a shell of his former self, this was something that was about to change. "But what you say is true to some extent. You have access to something I need again and that that is why I am here, to properly ask for training once again." The frog lowered down to one knee a humbling experience as the murmurs in the crowd could see that a change was coming. The pride he had before was pushed to the side, the faults of yesteryear were not going to get in his way of forging a new future for himself. An explosion of raw reiryoku could be felt across the way by Xarius as his father leaped the distance knee striking him to the top of the head driving him backwards. Sliding to a stop he looked up to see Xarm in the advanced battle technique known as Skunko. This technique combined three of the core skills for Shinigami in Hakuda, Kido, and Hoho. Shunko specifically uses the physical techniques of Hakuda while pulling in the spell like techniques of Kido, often using Hoho to capitalize on the increase in power. The raw reiryoku flowing off Xarm's body was a sight to behold as he was the one that had perfected the "Gift of the Sea God" style. This version of skunko drew upon the element of water in a flowing and whirling motion. A minor flashback within his mind reminded Xarius of a time he was training with Mikoto Shuu under his father's tutelage. There were many days they both wanted to give up, because maintaining and controlling the raw kido elements were just too difficult. Even if Shuu was not of the same elemental type, all skunko styles use similar methods in how they approached combat. The Kaeru Hakuda style relied heavily on leaps and jumps to generate more force. Throw in a protective whirling water kido and the attacks were even more deadly strikes than just the standard punches thrown. "You should not of done that..." Xarius replied in an eerily calm tone as he slowly released his reiatsu in order to active his own water element skunko, "While I might have been gone for a few years, you seemed to have forgotten your honor going for that kind of an attack." There was a time when Xarius had complete mastery over his "Gift of the sea god" skunko techniques. That was why he was here to get the training to remember how to control his unstable form, yet his father had other plans. This was a show of power and forced respect something this frog was not about. The next leaping knee was easily block with a water protected arm block. Xarm followed that up with a couple punches that were also deflected by an open palm technique. Xarius used the opening to try to land a high angled heel drop kick that his father had to block with both arms cracking the ground underneath him. Gathering the water into dragon like heads he used the raging tidal wave punches to counter his father's exact same punches. Jumping backwards they both started to use similar attacks on one another trying to gain the advantage. The distance fighting started with each of them hurling ball sized whirling water that collided with each other and exploded with force. Next they both pulled the whirling water armor off their bodies in a wave like motion in order to use the Roar of the Leviathan technique on one another. These massive streams of water in snake like forms slithered through the air until they crash into the other a couple times ending in a downpour of rain as they were evenly matched so far. This was where the fight would shift as the size of Xarm was greatly different than that of his much smaller son. Going for the signature Piercing Fist of the Leviathan Xarm was telegraphing too much as he had seen this "finishing move" a time or two. Bracing himself for impact the explosive water wave after the punch impact that he just had to use his iron defenses to survive brushed him backwards. Xarm was visibly shake at this point as he was not sure how this weakened version of his son was able to withstand his strongest attack. Wasting not time in shock Xarm generated a second Piercing Fist of the Leviathan, but this time he was prepared for the attack in a different way. Waiting for the last moment he dodges his father's second attack spinning around in a lowered fashion as he brings his right leg back around using the momentum to give his father a heel kick to the face. This attack drove the larger frog back staggering for a moment before Xarm fell to his butt in exasperation. "ha ha ha," Xarm laughed to himself as he looked over at his son still standing ready to fight, "Looks like you are not as far removed as the others claimed you were. That spinning back heel kick of yours is as deadly as the last time I was hit with it. So be it, the training grounds are available to you once again Xarius." This was a conceding motion by his father and a show of new respect for one another, even if this was a small gesture in the younger frog's mind. He was not going to be picking at a time like this. "Just try to visit for more than just training. You were missed by some of the family, maybe take some time to say hi every once and a while," Xarm advised as he was helped up off the ground dusting himself off. "Thank you," Xarius kept his words short and sweet as he knew there were a lot of things he wanted to ask and say, but for now this was going to be where he would allow things to rest. With access to the training grounds properly he could go further his training in shunko and prepare his bankai in order to complete the captains test here in the coming days as the review with Shuu was nearing. Having his skunko perfected during the time of the test was going to be one of his key points to showing he was ready to get back to the status of at least captain, captain commander was another story. That much was certain as he knew there was a lot more he had to knock out on the Gotei Thirteen knowledge base before that would be be a real possibility. [Master Shunko WC: 2,148/1,500] [MASTERED][Exit thread]
  18. 1 point
    ~ A time 70 years before, but not a minute after ~ Oriru found himself slowly escaping the darkness of his own mind as what was used to keep him under was starting to wear off slowly but surely. As his eyes opened to reveal his surroundings, a moment of mild panic consumed his thoughts as he took the time to note the absence of people in thew room. Both of his hands and feet were bound to a table that kept him parallel to the ground leaving him little to no room to move around. He attempted to struggle, but as he did he could see the shimmering light from between the leather straps, "Bound by the straps infused with kido, they reinforced the straps?" He understood what was going to happen and what may be the result, but for what reason that they left him alone and enhance his binds he could not determine. There was a moment where he was curious about the potential possibility that everything was already complete and he was able to survive it but he did not feel any different and expected people to be around; or at least a single person. Once more he attempt to pull at each of the straps with all of the forced that he could manage, but it just was not enough. The amount of forced that was being applied by these straps were too great for his own strength, but then he considered. "Ye lord, mask of flesh and bone, flutter of wings, ye who bears the name of Man. Truth and temperance, upon this sinless wall of dreams unleash but slightly the wrath-" "Perhaps you shouldn't unleash a kido in this contained room with the other subject." A voice spoke from the other side of the room and caused Oriru to halt in his words and attempt to see who it was, but his position did not allow such a thing. "Especially not a destructive one such as Blue Fire Crash Down which could cause tremendous complications if it caused the subject to become stronger or, Soul King forbid, be released." Oriru resigned to his tabled with a defeated sigh as the sound of footsteps echoed throughout the room, slowly with the source growing closer to him. "I suggest you take the time to enjoy the peace and quite, because soon enough you will have the rest of your life to deal with the constant company..." The man paused when he finally got to the table and looked down at Oriru from behind his veil, the mark of the Kido Corp clearly marked on his mask. "Or you will not live long enough to have another problem." Despite the mask covering his face, Oriru was able to feel the smug face being made by the Kido Corpsman and it caused a note of irritation. He wanted to react, to respond in some manner, be he dejected to simply turn his face away from the annoying corpsman as other people started to enter the room. "Are you bothering the containment subject again?" Another voice spoke out from the other side of the room, "Because the last thing we need is for him to be all riled up before receiving the subject and then we have a volatile containment on our hands." "I was simply advising the containment subject, who was prepared to drop a Blue Fire Crash Down, how ill advised it would have been to be so destructive." The man spoke with a smooth retort, realizing that he was wrong in the interaction, but his details were solid enough to defend himself. Oriru found no reason to speak against his claim and point out his constant pestering and left himself to staring at the wall opposite of the annoyance. "I wouldn't dare cause our containment subject any discomfort... Physically." The echo of several footsteps could be heard, meaning that several people had entered the room at this time and were gathering around the space. "Well if you are done annoying me, I would like to proceed with the containment." That elderly man always seemed to be in charge as Oriru turned to see him approach a table that was shrouded in shadows from the soft light that was focused more on himself. "And it appears that subject is still in stasis." A light was generated above the location of the elderly leader and revealed something, in small detail, that was placed upon that table. It appeared to be a man of sorts, but there was definitely something wrong with him. The first sign was the bone structure on his head with horns extended up and, from the angle Oriru was at, a strange black spot near his solar plexus. "This creature has proven to be a challenge to control, and this man has already been too infected to save." It became to great of a strain to maintain his head to keep look at what was going on and Oriru allowed his head to fall back on the table and simply allow the moments to pass. "If we can understand how this injection works, we may be able to save others that have been afflicted with it." He continued on, the obvious pain in his voice, "A single hollow had the ability to breed, and spread hollowfication and if we don't figure this out, then we may be too late." "What we know for sure is that the process first tries to claim the body, and if it is too weak then the hollowfication becomes violent creating another mindless beast. If it is able to resist, then the process will attempt to corrupt the Zanpakuto and feed off of the strength of the soul until the body is unable to generate a defense to it." This one was of a woman in the distance, "If we apply this to the containment subject, and they are able to resist it he could potentially produce the antibodies to fight the virus and prevent others from being turned into mindless hollows." Suddenly a person appeared for Oriru and revealed their face with a smile with the strange of red hair poking through, "I am sorry that they continue to call you a containment subject Oriru." He had been called everything but his name by these people, and at first it bothered him, but the rude one explained that it is easier to separate themselves from the subjects to avoid being too attached and deciding not to follow through for fear of what might happen and more so to avoid a greater feeling of loss when it all fails. It was moment of genuine sincerity, and only a moment since that man had not shown a single second after. "I promise that I will be there for you to make sure that you make it through all of this." "Extracting the Virus Core." "What is going on with the core?" "The stasis wasn't stable!" "Thanks for the nap; play time." Suddenly an explosion was triggered nearby as Oriru attempted to lift up and see what was going on only to see one of the Corpsman get launched across the room with a hard smack against the wall. "Ye lord! Mask of blood and flesh, all creation, flutter of wings, ye who bears the name of Man! On the wall of blue flame, inscribe a twin lotus. In the abyss of conflagration, wait at the far heavens." The rude scientist started to chant the incantation as other members of the corps swarmed the location of the infected individual, but with so many people it became impossible to see what was actually going on. "Please let me free, I can help." Oriru spoke to the woman who had been so kind but all she could do was look at him a she slowly backed away and out of his view. "Don't leave me here!" He tried to look over as he saw the massive force of the Twin Lotus Blue Fire Crash Down surge from the rude corpsman. "Call my name." He could hear the woman speaking out to him from the darkness beyond his view, "Please just call my name Oriru!" He was confused by this, as if he just knew her name because she revealed her face to him a few times. "You know my name, I just need you to call out to me and I can be by your side." Oriru started to panic as he thrashed around watching as blood flew around and splattered on his body. "Oriru Ryuka Kusho, in the nights you spent alone you spoke out to me because your mother said I would answer back and now I just need you to say the name of that person, that person you spoke to." "What are you talking about!?" He was getting angry at this point, unable to understand why she was being so enigmatic about this with what was going on, "Mother told me to speak out to the universe and it may speak out to me. I was told to acknowledge a name for the Universe so it new me personally by name too." "Yes, Oriru. I know you by name and you know me by the name as well. Who did you acknowledge as the universe?" "Well, this was supposed to be my potential new home?" Oriru turned to see the demonic looking presence approaching him as other members of the Kido Corps, that were still live, made their best effort to stop him, "I might need to do some renovations." A smile so wide formed as smoke would flow heavily from the mouth of the beast. "Please tell me that you can hear me, Ginga." Suddenly, from the darkness, a black orb rushed through the air and collided with the creature sending it through the air. Two more orbs, one that appeared silver and another that was a light blue, appeared and create a thread between them that formed under the straps. With enough force of the orbs pulling and him trying to free his arm, it finally snapped and the process was repeated when seven more orbs appeared and assisted in releasing Oriru. He jumped from the table and planted on the floor facing the direction of the creature in the depths of the darkness. "He is too strong to hurt, but if you can contain him long enough..." From behind him, the rude corpsman appeared with a missing left arm and blood staining his clothes. "I can force the containment..." The man spoke through labored breathing. "I will contain it within me and then I need you to destroy my body entirely." Suddenly the beast rushed forward from the darkness as a few of the orbs made their approach with strings being tethered between them. Suddenly the beast hit a wall of golden energy, "Bakudo 61, do you know it containment subject?" Oriru could only manage a soft nod. "Only in theory..." Admitted he studied it, but he had not been able to use it in full practical applications. "That will be enough." The best attempted to get around the barrier, but it continued to reform with the help of other orbs to slow it down. The rude corpsman placed his hand on the back of Oriru, "We shall do it together, but I need to channel it through you because my body will not be able to sustain the amount of strain of that level." Once more Oriru gave a solemn nod. "Carriage of thunder, Bridge of a Spinning Wheel. With light, divide this into six!" Each of their bodies would give off a glow, with the rude corpsman having a gentle purple glow and Oriru a more traditionally based green. Their energy began to merge as Oriru pointed his finger at the beast approaching after passing the last barrier between it and them. "Bakudo Number 61, Rikujōkōrō - Six Rods Prison of Light!" From that moment a golden beam of energy shot forth and collided with the beast. "You can not hurt me with that trivial attack!" The demented creature made it about one more meter before his body stopped suddenly and five more beams struck him. "Damn you, I will break out of this too!" The rude corpsman approached the beast with a solemn look with Oriru closely behind. "Nature of the beast, eye of the storm. Charge forth and pull the soul, moments pass and break the cycle!" The rude Corpsman raised his hand as best he could, "Torimazeru!" Suddenly a dark green ball form from the hole of the beast and an arc of energy would make its way towards the rude Corpsman. Just as it was about to reach him, Oriru shoved him to the side as the beam connected with his body, "Oriru, no!" The moment it connected, the creature began to dissolve into dust and flow through the stream. Once it was all gone, the beam condensed upon the body of Oriru giving him a dark green glow that slowly turned purple. Immediately his body began to generate a large amount of smoke, "What is going on!?" His body started to experience a massive amount of pain, "What is happening!?" He spoke as he fell to the ground and began to vomit profusely, this white fluid burning as it ejected from his body. "Make it stop!" He could only yell in pain as his bones made the sounds of snapping and he began to contort violently, blood leaking from various parts of his body mixed with this fluid. Suddenly each of the ten orbs shattered into dust from an Odachi fell in front of Oriru. The pain stopped, but the burning remained. He laid on the floor in tears from the experience, "Oriru..." The rude corpsman made his way to Oriru as best he could and reached for him. "You are now bonded to that being... As long as you live, so does it." He let out a sigh as he attempted to comfort Oriru, "You are not allowed to bring out your power, because the more you use it the strong it will become and one day it may be enough to consume you from the inside out..." Oriru continued to cry in pain as the burning continued, "The burning sensation you have will persist, and other symptoms as long as you live until it completely bonds to you." "Kill me..." "I won't-" "Kill me." "I can't-" "Kill me!" Oriru perched up to his feet with a dark look, "I will set you free..." There was a moment as the man rose to his feet and placed his hands on Oriru's forehead, "Kyakka Suru." A lavender glow appeared at the palm of his hand, "You truth will be locked away, and may the time it takes for the truth to come back be enough to bring peace to the storm that is your soul." He watched as Oriru's eyes went blank and his body collapsed to the ground. He looked around and saw the death all around him, leaving just these two as the survivors, "I think your mother would have been vary proud Oriru..." Learned Bakudō Number 61 | Rikujōkōrō [Six Rods Prison of Light] - 1,380 words [ Achieved ] The practitioner points his/her index finger at the target, generating a spark of yellow energy in front of the user, which summons six thin, wide beams of light that shoot from the spark and towards target's midsection from six different directions to hold them in place. The target is unable to move any part of their body, including the parts which were not struck by the beams. If one beam hits, the other five lock on. WC | 2640 TWC | 7021 OWC | 10550
  19. 1 point
    Yuroshima listens in silence as Oriru explains the kido based menu concept. The Lieutenant begins ordering as the Admin across from his stands to remove his coat. He selects rotisserie chicken and a salmon filet with a side bowl of sea salt and a side bowl of butter oil. He looks up and sees his friend flag down the waitress for drinks and so hastily he requests cranberry and blue berry juice. “I wish I had some hard candies.” He thinks a moment before once again looking at the classy styling of the building. He feels slightly, a strange feeling of someone being around, almost akin to the feeling of being watched but not quite it.. but it passes and Yuroshima simply shrugs it off as his paranoia. “Relax.” He thinks taking a deep breath and slowly letting it out until he notices the waitress bringing a platter. She sets down Sake and serving glasses. “I ordered the juices.” He states as she reaches towards the cranberry juice which she then hands to the Corpsman. “Thank you very much.” He states as he sets the maroon drink down and reaches for the blueberry juice. Oriru grabs a glass and lifts it with a smile, “Well, might I start us off with a toast to your promotion?” He initiates before looking outward from the table, “And your more than welcome to grab a glass and join us.” He states to air, Yuroshimas earlier suspicion returns slightly before he grabs a serving glass and begins to poor cranberry and blue berry juice into it. “I’ve always been something of a light weight with alcohol.” He says, pouring the other half of the glass full with Sake and then raising the dark colored drink in return, “To the new Vice Captain of the fourth division.” Oriru says, “Yes.” Yuroshima replies happily, tilting his head back and lifting the front cloth flap of his veil he takes a few generous gulps before pulling his head down quickly, his facial expression turned sour but due to the mask like headdress only his eyes are seen squinting harshly for a moment. “Ulh..” He grimaces, “And to the behind the scenes heroes.” He then makes a toast of his own paying respect to the man whom had brought him out here on his expense. He raises his glass again but this time only takes one good sized gulp down the hatch. “While we wait for the food.” The lieutenant begins, “Lemme ask, how long have you been Head of Administration? You seem to know many of the Shinigami around the Sereitei very well.” WC – 436 TWC – 1,074
  20. 1 point
    Yuroshima strolls casually behind the Administrator who leads him through the ninth division grounds. The Lieutenant takes notice that Oriru has not spoken yet and so assumes him to be a man who enjoys a walk visually as opposed to conversationally. “And that’s fine,” He thinks, “I agree.” As the lack of speech enables him more concentration on his surroundings. He hadn’t been to the division 9 grounds a lot but had spent a long stretch of time there for debriefing after his rukognai mission considering that debriefing would indeed involve the death of a soul reaper and the beginning of a guerrilla war and so given the circumstances he had not noticed the wonderful and lush garden in the Divisions Courtyard before. The explosion of red, blues, purples, violets, oranges, even cyan and salmon pinks, was truly impressive to the Veiled spectator as they walked through the serene scape and he catches.. if only for just a moment.. a slight vibe similar to that that he would feel in Kan’Yo Na Hiras realm. This realization causes his gray eyes to then fixate briefly on Oriru, “Was this a man a kindred spirit to me” He wonders, understanding that what drew him to this garden is exactly that which drew he and Kan’Yo to their version of an inner world. Finally they reach a building with quite a large line which the two proceed to pass by to the front door. The inside was drab and bleak and Yuroshima looks into it but merely shrugs mentally. “No one leaves out coffees, juices, flavored waters and teas and doesn’t have the class to pick the right place, I’m sure its fine.” He pauses as they approach the front door and a rather large man with a blue Mohawk stands guards, “Besides, “ He finishes as Oriru approaches the man. “Some of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten at were family owned and not so good looking inside or out.” He stands behind the administrator as he and the bouncer carry on the conversation from which Yuroshima gathers that Oriru is indeed using his influence in the correct manor, and the two are allowed in. Oriru’s hand is stamped but the man pauses at the Veiled associate who stares back just as blankly until the Head of Administration nods to the bouncer and Yuro to is gifted the hand stamp. The Lieutenant follows his guide into the building and its atmosphere changes after turning merely one corner. What was dusty and lackluster turned into a lively red hued social establishment with many beautiful tables and cultured decorations dotting around all set to a red hue from clever lighting. “We can sit over here.” Oriru motions and the Lieutenant follows before glancing down at his hand stamp. “What the fu-“ He mutters, “It says I’m not of legal age to drink..” Irritation lacing his inner voice, “He must have grabbed the wrong one..” He pushes the thought out of his head. “I had a booth reserved for us.” His companion tonight tells him as Yuro slides into the left booth seat and eyes the assortment of menus, “Tonight’s on me.” The Admin finishes, taking his seat across from the Lieutenant. Yuroshima is about to say that that wasn’t necessary until he can feel the bullet labeled “Oh no I insist.” Being loaded up inside Oriru. “Well at least let me get the tip.” He says sweetly before skimming through the various menus, he takes great time in consideration with the beverages as this mattered greatly to him, but food was always easy with Yuro. “Im ready to order whenever.” He states placing the menus down. “Thank you for bringing us here.” He states attempting conversation, “I wouldn’t have really known where to go yet, let alone be able to gain access.” WC - 638
  21. 1 point
    The individual, deciding to remain within the realm of his anonymity, spoke of the value of being able to handle this process on his own. Oriru was able to respect such a desire, being one that took pride in the process of completing the appropriate paperwork that allows such a place to run as efficiently as his Administration Department as well as the entirety of the Soul Society. There was a moment that he decided to allow his eyes to truly absorb the man that hid behind his mask of choice. “I do find it quite interesting that you have chosen to openly claim a title of leadership all while attempting to maintain a sense of anonymity.” Oriru gave a soft, yet stern, smile based on his remark. “It becomes harder to remain hidden the closer to center stage you approach.” Oriru brought his eyes back to the paperwork as he settled in the chair closest to him and started filling out some more of the form. “I should let you know that Elevander Jecht, the Captain of the Fourth Division, as you are already aware.” He shrugged at his own statement realizing that this individual would be well acquainted with his direct superior, or soon to be at least. “He is not a fan of doing his job, but he is a phenomenal leader, fighter, and medic. Potential one of the greatest, especially since he is technically the official Kenpachi since he has not lost the title to the current Captain of the Eleventh Division.” Oriru let a chuckle slip from his lips, “Not despite the many requests from the current Kenpachi,” His words emphasized the title, “Demanding that Jecht accept his right to claim the title in battle, even so much so to resort to filing an official claim with us. He just will not accept the fact that Jecht just gave him the title.” It was at this moment that he realized that he was rambling on a bit and slid the clipboard over towards the Nameless One. “Assuming that you are prepared to take on the role of Vice Captain of the Fourth Division, in order to manage and lead the portion of the Thirteen Court Guard Squad in supporting and tending to the medical needs of all of your comrades.” He placed his pen on the document that simply listed the roles and responsibilities of the Fourth Division Lieutenant. “Understanding that your hours will be spent dealing with the field of injuries as well as the levels of documents involved with said leadership role.” The bottom of the document clearly listed two names on the sheet, Regashi Hokori; Captain of the fifth Division, and Mikoto Shuu, Captain of the Second Division and currently Acting Captain Commander. “With the validation of both of the listed Captains Shuu and Hokori, your claim will be established, and position will be honored.” Oriru gave him the chance to read over anything that he needed to, “A definite solid step in the career path to becoming captain, Soul King knows that Jecht would rather not be the Captain for much longer if he could avoid it. I know he barely even wants to focus on the Kido Study Sessions that I attempted to organize with him.” If the Nameless One decided to sign without question, Oriru would take the paperwork and motion for him to leave so that he could be on his way. “Thank you for your time.” If the Nameless One decided to pose a question or have a hesitation for signing the forms, Oriru would calmly await an explanation or something. There is little value in time wasted, and that is an expense he would rather not calculate. The clock ticking away slowly as Oriru released a small amount of Reiryoku into what appeared to be a red orb, similar to a Shakkaho, and held it in his hand slowly playing with it. WC | 666 TWC | 2807 OWC | 10586
  22. 1 point
    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
  23. 1 point
    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)
  24. 1 point
    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 -----
  25. 1 point
    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 -----