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    Reiatsu: 47,000
    Power: 56
    Reiyoku= 42
    Strength= 42
    Stamina: 75
    speed: 51
    perception: 48
    ND: 3,055

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  1. Character Name: Shin Masanori This Week: 4/11 Overall Word Count: 1,444
  2. Another moment within a world of dreams, another fragmented piece of Shin's self would come-to. It all started the same since he had first came into contact with Ukon and stole his weapon, where the first moment Shin went to sleep he would either end up in yet another scenario filled with living world trinkets or an endless water-world. Faceless beings and shadowy silhouettes kept the pink-haired spirit through each occurrence as well, always either attacking him, beckoning to him, or catering to him. They were an army of unknown figures that had infested his being, creatures which found a spirit that had been without dreams before then, moving in without paying rent. After the ordeal in the 52nd District, he would take to sleeping in just a little later than normal. It cut out some of the time allocated to traveling, but in-exchange it also had let him visit these dreams longer, to explore and experience them fully. His feet were lightly draped over with water, an endless abyss beneath him as he stood once more on the surface. Once again he would gaze upon those trees which would stand tall against the revealing aquatic expanse Shin inhabited. He would watch the enshrouded figure from before still emerge, reaching the edge of land where it would once again hold a hand out towards him. Shin of course these past few times would try to struggle to free himself, to run away. Even now everything in him wanted him to struggle but he would test himself a bit. He wouldn't avert his gaze from the other him, instead wanting his body to learn to not struggle against this mysterious creature. He didn't feel malice coming from it, instead he would always wish to just flee, almost as if he had somewhere else to be. This time, he wanted to meet it. Alas he would be without the chance to, as his body would immediately begin digging itself through the calm surface, disrupting it and falling in, where once more Shin would wake up. He would look around, trying to gather together his bearings before disappointment set in. 'Yet another failure.' He'd say to himself like a teacher that is about ready to give up on the efforts. As his back laid against the forest floor he looked up, only to be blinded by the intensity of the noon sun above him. Still, he closed his eyes, attempting to tough it out until he ended up feeling the world around his tired body shift and turn. It felt like a wall facing the sky with him being an object that had yet to fall, adding nausea on top of his exhaustion. To combat it, he rose up, struggling to his feet before he would dress himself. District 50 was the cutoff point between where things get better and things get worse. In some ways it would slightly better than the 52nd, and in others it was far betters. Insane cult leaders were always a downside to the latter community, which was one of the things Shin believed to be grateful to the likelihood of the 50th being left without one. With the last few Districts he had come across it had always been either a mixture of really bad things happening or nothing happening at all, and in both he had felt not only all the more worn down by them, but also all the more lonely without Akio. It was as if he was without his other half, the weakened alone Shin slowly changing with each new encounter into someone that is definitely not finding enjoyment in the afterlife. He had learned to be more open to violence, to wielding this blade of his against human opponents more often. It may have been days since he had left the 52nd District, but during those days he either practiced on his own or, during rare occasions, had the misfortune of practicing against bandits and muggers. They weren't trained opponents like The Speaker, but with each experience he would slowly but surely grow more comfortable with using the weapon, and as a result become more experience with defending himself against others in battle. He wondered how Akio would react, seeing his elder brother hurting others outright. One of the rules between them always had been to not harm others, and now out of necessity Shin not only abandoned that rule, but had cut it apart outright, trashing it for the sake of finding him. Could he be forgiven? Before he knew it, the absent-minded spirit would have already reached the 50th District entirely, already walking along the dirt path with the only indication of his senses even giving it the time of day being the change in ground texture between it and the less-managed dirt roads traveling out of it. There were always a difference between the dirt, even if they came from the same place. The many sets of feet tromping through them would always flatten the ground in districts more easily, keeping them more barren than that of outside where grass, roots, wildflowers, and the like tend to attempt to retake the paths. Since he is in town, he may as well find someone that may actually know about the possibility of seeing Akio traveling through. Just because the districts before this one hadn't seen him doesn't mean none had. After all, he could just have easily bypassed those in his escape through the wilds, attempting to find Shin in the outskirts of those towns before avoiding them outright. It wasn't uncommon for nomads to skip entire districts altogether, so Shin couldn't forgive himself if he were to cool it on asking someone. Who he should ask, however, is more tricky. By asking every last passerby he comes across he will come across as too crazy to be helped. It could scare away anyone that may possibly have seen where the younger spirit had ran off to, but by asking too little people, or someone that doesn't seem to be in the position to stand out enough to actually be able to spot out Akio, he could also waste his time on those that wouldn't have been of help in the first place. That would be when he would accidentally bump into someone ahead of him, someone bigger. The accidental collision would make Shin stop mid-thought, annoying him considerably as he would immediately lose where he was at and the conclusion he could have been reaching. He looked up at the towering back ahead of him, glaring at the furred body of whatever animal-man had stopped him in his quest. "Hey, dog, watch it." He would say before feeling yet another figure behind him place their hand on his left shoulder, spinning the confused and exhausted spirit around to come face-to-face with some thugs. "Hello, pickpocket." The head of the trio had greeted Shin, whom of which already was scanning them, observing the clothing they were wearing to be refined, too refined even for the 50th District. Their faces were shaven and hair freshly styled. Immediately Shin had to conclude they were thugs from a higher-up district, though the addressing of him as a pickpocket meant they had come from the lower districts, from someone that had a grudge against him for a while ago. Before he could even respond, he would already be grabbed by his arms and whisked away to the alley 10 feet away from the beast man, where Shin would be shoved to the ground by the three. "We're here because our boss got robbed by some loser that fits your description. You stole his kan and soul tickets and if you know what's good for you, you'll return it now before we end you." Soul tickets? Shin definitely didn't remember taking anything like that from the large man he had robbed before in the 54th. Scrambling back to his feet, he would check under his poncho for the pouch he stored the remaining kan from before within. Opening it he would open the scraps, revealing the small collection of freshly-forged soul tickets, valuable to many in the lower districts, useless for nomads like him. Looking from the inked parchments to the ones ahead of him, he would glare of them and, not thinking very intelligently in his currently-tired state, would tear up both the money and the tickets in front of the trio, chucking the shreds towards them. He could've sworn he had seen a vein pop in the thug's head from witnessing the destruction of stolen property and not being able to stop it. "You chose wrong, kid." wc 1,444
  3. "Anything to say for yourself?" Shin asked the fallen district leader. A part of him still wanted him to spare the man, even after what had happened. It didn't want him to lose the innocence he would lose from his very first murder with his own hands. He could see it still, the him he was inside that flashback, that beaten child. He could see him cling to The Speaker as he glared up at his executioner. He stared into his own eyes, seeing the terrified gaze of his younger self meet him. The one next to him, The Speaker, breathed in and our slowly. "You'd make a fine Shinigami." With that, Shin blocked up the portion of him that wanted to spare The Speaker. He flinched for but a moment as his younger self stepped in front of the fallen spirit, as if you use himself as a shield. Shin slashed upwards, cutting through his innocence, dragging his blade through the bloodied yellow robes of his enemy, ending his existence in Rukongai and freeing the 52nd District from his cult. The body of the cult leader fell into the pit, falling deeper into the abyss as Shin watched on, only to hear the yelping of what sounded like some sort of animal from below. "Yotami!" He yelled, snapping out of his trance, immediately panicking as he hurried his way down below. He had to go and rescue his friend right away, to let him know they had won and that they can all leave this place together. They can go find somewhere better to live than this district. Shin as his eagerly navigated his way down the rocks thought about living with Yotami and his brother after his brother recovers fully. They all four can live far away in peace, where they cannot be hurt anymore. They won't have to be chained to anything anymore, or suffer from anyone else. Shin could finally get his friend and actually have a shot at a happy ending! His hopes were dashed when he reached the bottom of the pit. There he would find Yotami, buried under the un-moving body of his mutilated brother, the impaled and broken body of The Speaker on top of him. Shin immediately felt the strength drain from his body as pain and fatigue took its place, tears beginning to stream down from his eyes as he gazed the grizzly sight. "No.. I wasn't fast enough." He said, collapsing to his knees. He had lost yet another person he had grown to care for, yet another Akio from evil he can't protect him from. He was a failure. "Boy.." He heard a weak voice call for him, seeing Yotami had moved his head slightly, his teeth closed and his eyes tired. Immediately Shin tried scrambling to his feet, running over to his heavily injured friend, only to fall down to all fours. He would still crawl, dragging himself foot by foot to the pile, where he would immediately begin to try to lift the two bodies off of him. To his surprise, however, Yotami's incapacitated brother immediately tried to bite as Shin, making the younger spirit fall back and scramble for his blade. "Don't worry Yotami, I'll save you!" He exclaimed, grabbing his blade and turning towards his friend. "No, I don't want to be saved. I just want to rest, to be at peace with my brother." As he spoke, three small silhouettes appeared, approaching the two dying spirits. Now Shin wasn't the only one to see them, those alley kids from across the street, with painted masks and chest plates made from stolen wooden signs. Shin could hear his friend give a gurgled chortle. "It's real, the folklore. When you see death after death, you can see three small spirits, ready to guide you into the next life. My time comes, boy. Please.. give my brother some peace." "Yotami? Yotami?!" Shin called out for his friend to no avail. There would be no response as the corpse of his friend further slumped over the still-living brother. The 3 spirits stepped closer, almost in touching distance of Yotami's brother. Shin, silently watching the 3, immediately understood. It was his turn. With considerable effort, the young spirit would get to the injured spirit, holding the whining remains of what was once a person on his lap. There would be no biting, no lashing out. It was calm and all Shin could take from that was that it understood what was coming. when he raised his blade, the beast tried lashing out, though Shin repeated the same thing Yotami did, shushing him calmly, brushing a hand along the top of his head. When he quieted down, Shin pierced his blade into the back of the creature's neck, severing his spin completely. Yotami's brother rested, un-moving, while Shin himself watched the 3 spirits return to the darkness, leaving him completely alone in a pit of dead friends and enemies. It would be a few weeks after the fight occurred. Shin had managed to climb his way out of the pit, leaving the others behind, where he was able to receive medical care back in town. Thankfully the two guards refused to speak about what had happened, instead claiming they were attacked by bandits. Shin didn't know why they would do that for him, but was thankful nonetheless. The only thing he had to do in exchange was leave the first second he was better. He held up his own end of the bargain a day after being discharged, immediately making his way out of the 52nd District. He would take one look back and silently vow to never come back to this place before making his way onward, continuing his search for his brother, and his journey to the Gotei 13. wc 972 twc 11,381 [end thread]
  4. Shin could see The Speaker's face twist with anger as he drew his own blade. The two once again began to circle each other, though now on more equal footing than before. It was obvious Shin had the stronger spiritual presence of the two, and yet was far less experienced with the blade. The blows that were meant to be lethal on the two guards only left them wounded and incapacitated, for example. The Speaker had the weaker presence, and yet was far more experienced. "You know, boy, you shouldn't get confident. Before I took over this dump and made it start to get better I was an unseated officer of the Gotei 13. That's right, I was trained to know how to fight with a sword. You don't have a chance, even if you learned how a blade works recently." "Shut up!" Shin immediately demanded, charging in and locking blades with the elder spirit. He was sick of the talk, the cruelty, the admission to desertion because he was power hungry. Shin was sick of seeing this trash further make himself irredeemable. The lock immediately went against his favor, however, as The Speaker immediately placed his weight towards Shin, using his height to his advantage, leaving the physically weaker spirit having to press up towards the leader. Shin tried narrowing the lock, attempting to lean his blade more towards his enemy. If he can even just nick the shoulder of The Speaker, the small tinge of pain should hopefully knock him off guard. Unfortunately, as Shin rotated his blade, his enemy immediately slid it along the edge, attempting to cut Shin right as his hands and fingers. Thankfully it was stopped by the guard just long enough for the younger spirit to retreat back. "When you came up by yourself, does that mean the smith died? I sure hope so." Again the two closed in, swinging and parrying the attacks of the other, only for The Speaker to lightly cut Shin on his thigh before Shin could use his greater agility to back away again. He could feel the anger within him grow from the taunt, though he was able to steel himself again. "Did he recognize his precious brother? Y'know, I went after him first because he was so ugly." The enemy taunted once more, prompting Shin to charge in again, swinging his blade sloppily overhead to attempt to strike The Speaker in the skull. Thankfully, however, at the last moment Shin stepped just before it happened, seemingly flickering in front of The Speaker, where he returned to place after his blade didn't connect, allowing Shin to land a direct blow directly on the robed torso of the con, his large belt cut away and a larger tear on the yellow robe exposing the wound underneath. "How dare you!" The enemy was driven into a frenzy, immediately responding with heavy yet fast swings from different directions, furiously striking Shin's blade with another force to cause the handle to rub against the inside of his hands. "You dare strike me! Me?! You should be jumping into that fucking pit when I tell you to. You should-" ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- "-be thanking God you're even allowed to breathe around me. You fucking little shit! I'm going to beat you with that fucking stick until you bleed!" A large faceless person in casual short-sleeved shirt and jeans would slowly approach the young boy, his faceless head peering down at Shin with fury untold. The young boy only had his stick to fend off the monster with, and as a result tried his best to, swinging it wildly at the beast of a man with fear in his eyes as he would slowly back away. Unfortunately for Shin, the game's over. Immediately the large hand would wrap around his thin neck, carrying him high up into the air and then slamming him down with full force. The child laid there, the feeling of blood in the back of his throat as he looked helplessly up towards the stranger, the stolen branch lifted over his head. He swung it down. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Immediately the pink-haired spirit rolled away from the blade driving itself into the dirt where he once was, where he immediately got to his feet, sword in hand. He was dazed, though he still kept his guard up. The Speaker once again went for a swing, only for Shin to meet his blow, locking blades once more. "I hope your brother is alive. After you're gone, when he comes looking for you, I'm going to feed him to my Hollow. I'll make sure to tell him it was you that did this to him too." With that, Shin's senses returned to normal, a roar released as he broke the lock between him and The Speaker, where he began aggressively swinging at the older spirit, closing in distance while The Speak attempted to fend off the frenzy. "No more!" He declared as after a specific block he immediately went and cut the left arm of his enemy, causing him to yelp in pain as he fought with only one hand. "No more threats! No more taunts!" He further continued his swinging, his arms burning as his lungs began begging him to breathe. Still though, he persisted, even delivering a swift kick to The Speaker's knee just like how he struck Shin's back at the home, sending his enemy to the ground before the pit. "No more tormenting Yotami!" With that, he disarmed the villain, leaving him at the mercy of a the blade belonging to Shin, that same blade that rolled from trees refused to roll from defying this monster. The Speaker has been defeated, they had won. wc 951 twc 10,409
  5. Shin looked from the creature to Yotami, confused. How can a Hollow look just like him?! It had to be a Hollow, right? Why would there be white spikes sticking out all over his body like that? Why was he feasting on other spirits? Looking back at the creature, Shin couldn't stand it any longer. With a shaky hand, he picked up the blade again, waving it in front of him towards this abomination. The creature responded with a scream; one loud enough to make Shin immediately drop his blade again, holding his hands to his ears just so he can keep some semblance of the noise out. His eyes closed and then he felt himself get pulled away before something crashed against the rocky wall behind them. Opening his eyes as the scream ended, Shin could see the spiked monster was on top of Yotami, biting into the arm of the blacksmith as he held the creature by the neck and head, looking at the younger spirit with empty eyes. "He was my brother. I would do anything for the little bald bastard just like you would for yours." He would tighten his hold on the false Hollow. "That monster came into town one day, and my brother disappeared. I learned about the Hollow a year later, was told he was forming some kind of militia to fight the Hollow, so I gave them all the weapons and scrap metal I could. I thought that thing ate him, ate the last thing I loved in this world. Instead.." His voice trailed off as his mutilated brother struggled against him, some of the painted metal poking Yotami, stabbing him and causing him to groan deeply, refusing to let go. "He showed me "The Hollow," said I would find out eventually anyway, and if I ever shared the truth, I'll be the next "Hollow."" The creature started a low growl that mixed itself with a whine, almost as if it were trying to both call for help and threaten the one that held it. Yotami brushed one hand over the top of his head, silently shushing him. "Please, boy. Kill that monster, before he does anything else. Send him to Hell." The pink-haired spirit looked solemnly at the two, his gaze un-breaking as he nodded. He could no longer spare humanity for the one that did this, that had the capacity to torture others so deeply and yet be inside the Soul Society. Shin had to move past the conflict he held inside before and be the first thief to bring justice. He had to kill The Speaker. The Speaker and his two guards waited silently around the pit, waiting for a victory call. If it was the smith and the boy, they would seal the hole, leaving them to starve or to eat one another. The survivor can always become the next Hollow after spending some time in the dark with nothing to eat but their friend. The cycle continues over again, and life goes on. The broken home can just be attributed to those weird masked kids that hang out in the alleys. They can just hunt them down and punish them for once, and The Speaker can return as if nothing even happened. Should the monster win, then the same result, same difference. A bloodcurdling scream can be heard from the pit, the same one which claim all the others sent down into that hellhole. That would be confirmation. Time to drop some spare food scraps down there and seal up the hole again. The Speaker motioned for the two guards to grab the large wooden platform that would be placed over the hole. As the two did, however, The Speaker had to do a double-take as someone was launched out of the pit, landing on the platform. The two guards immediately began pulling their weapons, only for the boy to pierce one of them in the leg, delivering a second slash directly to the chest and leaving the militia-man scrambling along the ground for a few moments before passing out from shock. The next locked blades with the boy, even traded blows, only for the blade to bury itself into the armpit of him, where the boy withdrew the blade, cutting the armpit and leaving the guard attempting to stop the bleeding before it got out of control. With that, the scarred face of the pink-haired figure pointed his blade towards The Speaker, having the audacity to raise a weapon towards him once again. "No one else is going to be killed by you. Not ever again." wc 770 twc 9458
  6. Shin faded in and out of consciousness. He would see 2 silhouettes standing over him, the net above them both as he helplessly laid there, he felt himself dragged along the dirt path of the district, carried by a pair of hands, then he saw grain after grain run into him, bending under his dragging body. He took notice of the open circular wasteland under the moonlit sky, torches lit and drawing his eyes until he fell back out of consciousness once more. Then finally, he came to, sight blurred and arms feeling bound by something behind him. His eyes adjusted to his new environment, a deep abyss before him. If he were able to he would scurry away from the ledge, but hiss captor behind him refused to let him budge even a little. Looking to his left, he would rest his eyes on the captured smith, bruised and battered, also bound and right up against the ledge. "You're both awake. I guess we moved too slowly in getting you both all the way out here." The Speaker said from across the pit, gazing upon the two spirits from a fair distance. Slowly, he would walk his way over to where Shin and the smith were bound, staying so close to the edge of the pit Shin could've sworn he saw a foot go slightly into the abyss before rising back up and planting itself onto the grass. "You don't have to do this, Speaker. Please!" Shin spoke up, pleading with the leader before being struck in the side of the head by the guard holding him down. "Shut the fuck up, heretic!" The Speaker knelt next to the smith, staring at the defeated and injured large man. "All you had to do was keep your mouth shut. Keep the outsiders from getting too curious and let me work my magic." Before Shin knew it, the large spirit would be kicked into the pit, quickly disappearing into the darkness below. "But you didn't! You just HAD to try to ruin this for me! For us! You traitor freak!" The Speaker lost his composure, screaming down into the pit, leaning towards it as if he were trying to talk down a disobedient child. Shin would immediately be horrified by what had happened, throat dry, causing his scream to come out hoarse and near-silent. Tears dripped from his eyes as he watched his friend possibly fall to his death and he would be powerless to do anything about it, just like with Akio, just like with his brother. He leaned against the hold the guard had on the back of his neck, curling his head up against the tightening hand as he tried screaming once again, only for the hand to press down as hard as possible on the sides of his neck, causing him to tense up and quiet down. Once more, The Speaker approached Shin slowly yet surely, stopping only when he was less than a foot from him. He knelt down, and met the young spirit at face-level. "Your brother never came through here from what I know of, not from that direction. Between us, I hope his last thoughts were of his brother leaving him to be Hollow food. For some reason, that actually makes me feel good to imagine." With that, Shin would be forced to fall into the pit as well, a rising feeling growing inside him as he could no longer see, hear, or feel anything other than the rushing wind hitting him. A hard thud would snap him out of his stupor, and now Shin found himself at the floor of the cave, a cushioned floor to stop sacrifices from dying upon landing. He groaned, the pain in his side throbbing from the landing along with the rest of his body. Before he could even get his senses together, something landed next to him. Looking, he would see his blade, fully unsheathed, laying ready to be used. Looking up would be the large spirit with free hands, already grabbing the blade and moving behind Shin, freeing him and allowing him to rub his wrists. Quickly after checking his wrists, the pink-haired spirit would get up, hugging the smith's round stomach. "I'm glad you're okay, mr.." "Yotami. It's Yotami." With that, the two broken, with Yotami giving Shin the blade. The color drained from the large man as he gazed into the darkness. Shin's blood would also freeze from the low-pitched growl coming from deep within. The two couldn't move from their spot as a heavy thumping noise can be heard, followed by another, and then another. The creature was slowly getting closer and closer, examining the new feast it was gifted with. Shin would immediately step in front of Yotami, bled held before him with his right hand while his left held the cauterized stab wound. Whatever Hollow was going to appear from that shadows would have to go through him before it can even get a taste of the blacksmith, he was going to make sure of that. He already nearly lost someone twice, but he would be damned if a third time were to happen! As one hand reached out from the darkness, followed by another, the appearance of the approaching Hollow would leave Shin immediately no longer thinking about combat, instead covering his mouth with his sword-wielding hand as he looked on in sheer horror. It wasn't a Hollow that hunted below the surface, but a spirit, one that looked exactly like Yotami. wc 923 twc 8688
  7. "W-Wait!" Shin coughed up as he reacted before he fully awoke, already struggling to stand up on his feet once more. Once he stood up straight, however, a sharp pain erupted from his side. Looking through the hole made through his clothes, he would see the stab wound from before had been burned shut, almost as though for some reason his enemy had refused to allow him to bleed out all over his nice wood floors. Shin wouldn't place too much thought into it, however, instead shambling to the door of the destroyed home, where he emerged back outside, immediately falling to his knees and left hand while his right lightly held onto the stab wound. He had no time to stop and cater to his wounds though. He heard what The Speaker said about sending men to the blacksmith, how eager all 3 looked when they ran off to him. Shin had to get back and try to protect the man right away before he had something terrible happen to him. Every step he took would be one of pure agony for his left side as he stammered and stumbled along the street. He tried his best to look up, to only look forward, trying his best to ignore the pain through gritted teeth. Deep, loud, hastened breathing would accompany him along his small journey back. His thoughts were split between how much pain he was feeling and the idea of him failing to save the smith as well. The man, while they knew one another for less than a day, already felt like a closer friend to the younger spirit than most that have spent far longer with him. He couldn't stand the idea of him getting hurt or taken like Akio did! No, no, no, he had to deny the possibility of that happening. The smith is a large, hardy man. There's no way those 3 could take him so easily like that. He could see the flickering soft light under the net nearby, slowly nearing the boy. He could imagine seeing it now; the smith still there, waiting for Shin to report a mission success or to even just come back alive, for that matter. He would. He was slowly making it back to safety, back to the man that had begged him to leave so much. He would come back to him and then they will make it to dawn together, alive, and leave this hellhole afterwards. The bravery and determination from Shin drained from him the more he approached the forge, tears welling up in his eyes. To think someone that has lived over a hundred years, someone with the body of a recently-made young adult, could now be driven to having tears swell in his eyes from an injury like this, to be sent back cowering like a beaten stray searching for shelter. Under any other circumstance, it would be humiliating, but for this one Shin already made it to the forge, and he was about to see the familiar face right as he turned the corner. And yet there would be no one. No large grinning soot-covered teeth that would even be able to comfort him after the hell he went through, no useless set of gills that could district Shin from his current pain, no wide-open set of eyes that can examine the treated wound. There was nothing but silence, silence and a sudden force hitting him in the back of his head, once again disabling the young spirit before he can even fight back. wc 594 twc 7765
  8. The home of The Speaker would remain quiet, almost empty from the outside, though Shin would already knew that not to be the case. He hid among the little alley-rats from before, just out of sight. He could see faint movement within the shadows of that home, he saw the occasional small flicker of candlelight within. He could feel the sinister presence of that man inside, wandering about, probably glad he sent yet another to die. He could spot that odd group of strangers talking to one another outside conveniently close to the entrance into the home. It would be more than clear that if he approached the home now, Shin would be stopped before he could even make it to the front door, let alone around to find a more convenient spot. He considered waiting until another night, one that could have less security detail. 1 enemy could be enough for him to overpower and capture, but 3? 4?! He only has a basic grasp on how to use a blade, let alone actually utilize it in combat. Thankfully fate appeared to be on his side, however, as The Speaker himself would appear from his home, now with significantly lesser jewelry one than before. Angrily he would grab one of the 3 men, turning him around and catching the attention of his cohorts. They were whispering something but unfortunately the young spirit couldn't figure out what. Thankfully it must've been some sort of order though, as their boss would point down the street, shooing them away before returning to his quarters. This would be perfect. All Shin would have to do is wait just a few more seconds, just a few more to make sure his target was deep enough into his home to not escape. He saw it! There, in the front window a candlelight flickered. Shin finally saw his opportunity! Immediately he sprinted across the street, lunging at full speed through the air, curling himself into a ball where he would land back-first against the glass, the shards flying in with the young spirit, a chorus of shattering alerting the seemingly unsuspecting district leader, causing him to turn his head, glaring in surprise at the spirit that had the audacity to invade his home. Shin landed, bare feet dragging against the smooth floorboards to a full stop. "And to think I sent my men to shake down that smith for your location. Here you are, a prodigal son coming to his father." The supposedly surprised man said, hands open and outstretched at his sides. He smiled, the surprise from before draining from him as it would be merely replaced with pleasure at what seemed like a plan succeeded. Shin froze for a few moments from this, taken off-guard by the expecting leader, someone he didn't even know figured out he would come to him. He saw something glimmer in the moonlight of the broken window, something with an edge. Immediately the younger spirit leaned back, falling backwards before he caught his footing and stumbled away. "H-How?!" "How? My friend, your spiritual presence is strong enough for anyone to feel. You know honestly when you first arrived I thought you were a Shinigami. I really honestly thought it was over right away! The way you act though, the way you sneak around so clumsily, acting like you're some sort of ninja? No, no one that stupid could go that long without realizing I could feel every moment they took a step around my district." The Speaker explained as he slowly withdrew his blade, returning it to his side. Shin froze up once more, hearing such a concept for the first time ever in the entire time he had been un-dead. "Why didn't you catch me back at your ceremony?" Shin drew his scabbard with his blade inside, hand gripping it as if he were about to draw it. "Because, you idiot. I wanted to you to see every last detail of what happens once a year. I wanted you to see what is going to happen to little sneaks." With that, the bearded spirit attacked once more, The Speaker swiftly attempting to cut Shin right across the face, though thankfully his downward strike would be stopped by the younger spirit raising his sheathed blade, deflecting the blow off of the plain wood of his scabbard before retreating further away from The Speaker. The two eyed one another, refusing to make the first strike at first. Shin himself would be trying to withdraw his blade, but every time he tried to move his arms so he can draw it he felt even more afraid than before, as if he wasn't ready to kill someone just yet. It seemed he wasn't the only one that took notice of this, however, as once more The Speaker charged, aiming for another overhead strike, which Shin blocked the same way as before, only to be followed up by another strike, aimed to bury itself right into the bottom of the wooden sheath. Before he knew it Shin found his balance before knocked off guard when his arms were forced down to the left, only for his enemy to then follow with his striking Shin's right knee with the blunt side of his katana, taking a few steps back as Shin crumbled to the floor. "Ha! You never even fought anyone with it yet?! Wow, I can't believe you thought you could take me in a fight!" Immediately the tip of The Speaker's blade would target Shin, only for the approaching deathblow to be blocked once more by the damaged wood of the scabbard. Another thrust, another block as the younger spirit began scrambling backwards while on the ground. He had no choice as he felt his back against the wall with an opening to his right. The small hallway the two were in at the moment would be too small for him to turn the tables, though the night was dark within the room, like a blanket of safety open to embrace the young spirit. With one more thrust, Shin this time swung his sheath upwards with both hands, forcing the tip of the katana to go and cut Shin's right shoulder before he immediately lunged at the elder spirit, tackling him. He would bash the leader twice in the head with the butt of the scabbard before getting up, fleeing into the shrouded room. Infuriated, the leader would follow him, only for the two to find themselves unable to see the other, yet feel their presences overflow within that room. One swing was made in the dark, only to hit some kitchenware on a nearby table. Another smashed a hole into a wall. The two began swinging wildly at one another until only one was, breaking everything around him. They slowly inched around the kitchen area until another opening appeared, one which The Speaker stepped into. He made his error which Shin emerged from the shadows next to him, slamming him into the wall with a sickening crack and throwing the aging man to the floor of the dimly-lit room. Seeing The Speaker seemingly defeated after what sounded like something in him breaking, Shin would move towards the man, finally finding it within him to withdraw his blade, ready to behead him with it. He hesitated, however. This was a life he would be prepared to take, someone that once possibly was someone that didn't deserve such a fate, someone that- Before his mind could cease hesitating, Shin felt a burning sensation in his side. Looking down, he saw that he was impaled by the now-grinning enemy. He would fall to his knees as the elder spirit got to his feet and, with one swung, knocked Shin out with the blunt edge of his blade. wc 1303 twc 7171
  9. It seemed like seconds had passed before Shin had came to his senses. He could feel the rushed hands move him around, wipe off his face, blurry figures scurrying about in the background. Everything would slowly return to normal, with Shin sitting against some sort of bench, back resting against the pole from before, the sign missing once again. He blinked madly as he looked around, remaining strings of panic and fear being plucked inside as he checked to make sure he wasn't caught by those monsters from before. No one but him and the smith in-sight. Immediately his shoulders would droop as he leaned forward, hands resting his forehead as he sighed, relief washing over him. "So, you saw it too, then. The thing those monsters do?" He heard the familiar voice ask him, causing the younger spirit to look at the worried expression on the smith's face, fear showing even on a large man like that. "You see why I can't make weapons in this hellhole anymore. You see why you have to leave." "L-Leave?" Shin questioned as he slowly rose to his feet, struggling at first though regaining his balance shortly after he grew accustomed to not barfing every five seconds. "Yeah, kid. Leave. Get the fuck out before they make you into another thing to give to that! You have to before that crazed priest comes back and kidnaps you, makes you like the others!" "No no no, I can't leave. YOU have to fix my swor-" The smith would slam his hand against the table previously knocked over, angrily smashing it, breaking it in half. "Dammit! Forget the fucking sword! This isn't worth your life!" He roared as he came from behind his forge, grabbing Shin by his poncho. "You will die, kid. I can't let another one die, not from what I helped make." Tears welled in the larger man's eyes as he kept his grip on the younger male, holding him there as he began losing his composure, his mouth remaining slightly opened as he began looking down and away from Shin. "There's no reason for you to be another one fed to what I made. There's no reason why you all have to keep reminding me.." Shin was confused by what the smith said. Could it be the weapons he gave to the militia are being used to capture newcomers? Why did he claim he made the Hollow? The more he looked at the now crying spirit, the more determined and angry he felt. With his own hands on the collar of the large man, Shin would close in, coming face-to-face with him, eye-to-eye. "My brother could be that thing, for all I know. I can't turn back from that possibility. I can't let him suffer as one of those things." The two stared at one another, sharing no words for a few moments longer before the smith would reach under the poncho, grabbing Shins blade and taking it. "Fine, I'll help you. My last blade restored forever and my final job in this place. Take a seat, it'll take at least until after midnight." With that, Shin would get himself comfortable, readying himself mentally for confronting The Speaker about this and finally getting the answers the leader promised him from before and then some. wc 553 twc 5868
  10. He trampled crops under his feet and came flying out of the edges of the field with loose wheat fluttering off of his body, a few pieces stuck in his flowing hair as he continued his flee from that scene. It seemed no matter how far he got away, he would still hear that godawful scream inside his head. He tripped over his own feet just after he entered the district once more, crashing into some crates set aside, holding his head as his body froze up, shaking. His teeth gritted as he tried his best to not scream from what he had just witnessed. Never before would he expect people to feed one another to a fucking Hollow like that. It was worse than murder, it was worse than torture, it was just downright sacrifice. He blubbered some noises as he would turn over off the small wreckage he caused, ending up on hands and knees as his stomach began turning inside. Before he knew it, he spewed all over the grass and dirt underneath him. Wave after wave came out as his stomach emptied itself right onto the entrance into an alley. Just being there made him feel absolutely sick, as if his entire existence were an illness that needed to be cured. He felt as though he was the one that pushed the guy in, that stood at the edge and heard his final moments. He wondered how anyone could savor and cheer on such a monster as it more than likely ripped that poor spirit apart. He felt hatred replace the emptiness within him as he weakly stood up, wiping some remnants off on his sleeve before continuing on to the smiths. He went and stumbled and scrambled onwards down the street, onwards to the blacksmith and to the safety of another that isn't so cruel and heartless. His head became light and the world twisted and turned around him as he heard the lighter tone of his younger brother in his head. "Shinny, don't go there! We have to go and sell our stuff!" He saw a short figure run before him as he stumbled, leaning to his left on whatever he can find. Another figure, this one with some sort of wooden sign, would also appear, stopping in front of Shin every few moments, only running a short distance ahead every time he caught up with it. "We can't live here. People are so mean here. Let's walk around together. Forever." A third silently pushed the young spirit from behind after he would stop to puke once more, one more wiping the fragments from his mouth before he finally saw the soft light underneath a netted area, illuminating it and some of the street outside. Giving himself one final bit of strength, Shin would force himself into the forge, immediately catching the attention of the blacksmith by falling against a table holding various tools, knocking it over and falling to the ground, fatigued and tired. The sounds around him would blur just like the surrounding forge, a pair of near-unrecognizable meaty hands reaching towards him. wc 521 twc 5315
  11. First, having been in similar situations just before, Shin would take advantage of this one and look through the more easily accessible window to the far side. He would see no one but an empty alley, giving him in immediate way to escape. The blacksmith wouldn't like it if he had just decided to stay inside a home the entire time waiting until after the ceremony to speak to the leader, not to mention The Speaker himself gave the young spirit vibes somewhat similar to the kind the likes of Ukon had. They were that of a liar, an individual that had far more sinister goals in-mind than he had previously displayed. He shouldn't assume the nature of someone based off of a single impression, though the fact he was heading in the direction of the Night of Devouring further peaked his interest. At least, it peaked it enough for the window to open slightly, and for a young Shin to jump out, continuing his fast-paced sprint towards the supposed field where it would take place. "When you reach just outside of the southern exit of home, go left and run. Keep running until the Great Pit is in sight.." Shin would be further confused, though would obey. Immediately he would run as fast as possible once more, feeling some light fatigue already a few minutes into the sprint. At first all he saw would be a field messily set up between the weak makeshift walls of the district and the forest ahead, though soon enough the forest began to clear, and the homes began to cease appearing. All around him would be an sea of crops as harvesting season neared, the height of some of them even reaching above Shin's. He would keep running straight, just as the pamphlet demanded, and had done so for what felt like a while. But then the crops would break, revealing a large emptied wasteland of nothing in the middle, shaped in a circle. In the far distance, right in the center, would be a large collection of torches stretched outwards along the opening. What seemed to be some sort of sinkhole would be dead in the middle, a makeshift stage crafted just before it, close enough that should one fall while on-stage they may even fall into the hole accidentally. Using his poncho to disguise his face, the young spirit would begin inching closer, spotting The Speaker standing atop the stage with two guards standing to the sides. Beneath him and around it and the hole would be a large number of spirits, all painted and covered in ceremonial decorations. He had to inch closer, even lowering himself to his knees in order to do so without being spotted. From there he could overhear the leader. "..every year we all come gathered here on this holy ground to perform our sacred ritual. We have us a chosen one, a champion to defeat the monster in the Great Below, or to be devoured and give us a years' worth of fertility and growth once more. We stand here to celebrate and honor the brave soul, a spirit that wished to become one of us fully. We have prepared him throughout the year, even making him second only to the district leader in status in power. It is time to repay the debt! To free us from the evil Hollow! Deliver us, honored one!" Shin couldn't see the chosen one from where he was, enticing him to move closer, even getting up to his feet again just to get a peak. It wouldn't be until just before the torchlight touched him would he finally be able to see it; a male like him dressed head to toe in poorly painted wooden planks, given a crude staff. There he was pushed towards the edge of the hole and, when it seemed as though he would back out, he would be pushed in, screaming a blood-curdling scream until everything suddenly went silent. Then a second, near-inhuman scream occurred. It would be one that, like the one during the attack on him and his brother, would shake Shin to his very core. He froze up, terrified as the disembodied voice continued drowning out screams of pain and terror coming from that hole, matching it and more with its own roars and shrieks. Everything would go silent, and then, after what seemed like an eternity, the disembodied voice cried its own version of victory. He couldn't take it anymore as he heard the cheers of the onlookers. Rushing to his feet so quickly everything went dizzy, the young spirit would turn and run back into the field, where he kept running and running, rushing his way back to the only safe haven in this whole insane world. wc 799 twc 4794
  12. Darkness began to envelop the 52nd District of Rukongai, sweeping in like a wave. Within its shroud would be a man, appearing around 40 in age with some wrinkles adorning his face. They were tales of past stress and age etched on his face and body, with light amounts of makeup and a long draping robe of various colors and jewelry to cover them. His hair was left to go wild, the black mane of this man enveloping his head and face, a beard making the presence of himself all the more noticeable. Beneath his robes would be a wakizashi; a short blade, ordained with various trinkets and decor. He did everything within his power to make sure he stood out even on the day of festivities where most of the district would be decorated and painted. Among men, he was a leader, and among a community, he was a prophet. The Speaker, a man that would have the ability to calm the great Hollows below the surface and keep the District safe from danger. He had to make sure the importance of this title was known once a year every year, a single night where he becomes more than just someone that leads over a collection of poor people. He wanted to feel like a God. Shin would be sprinting down the eerily deserted dirt paths. His feet didn't even register the course texture of the ground beneath him as he ran. Before he knew it building after building would fly on past, surprising even him in the midst of his huffing and puffing. He actually tried to think of how fast he was moving, of the possibility that this festival could be something extremely dark, and of how odd these streets were now. The last most of all, for the signs of there being a festival were all but gone, deserting the emptied food stands of savory meals, of door-frames and poles of string decorations combining them to one another, of the masked and painted denizens the once populated this town, talking, laughing, and playing around on what should've been a day of celebration. It almost looked as though a festival didn't happen, as if there were no Night of Devouring or festival at all. The only remaining traces of it would be the occasional discarded decoration on the ground out of the way and the lingering smell of festival food riding along the whipping breezes of air blowing itself into Shin's face and bouncing pink hair. What could be the Night of Devouring? Some sort of ceremonial feast that the community does in order to unite in solidarity? An excuse to have free food? Shin was confused by the ominous mask of a Hollow on the pamphlet. Hollows weren't something to be celebrated and it would be a while off before Halloween could even be considered. It just didn't make any sense whatsoever for spirits to be celebrating something with such an odd symbol attached to it. Before Shin could weed out what it could be, however, he would be forcefully stopped in his tracks slamming at full-force into a heavily-robed stranger, causing the young spirit to be left on the ground, temporarily disoriented. "Oh? Who may this be?" The stranger inquired as he held a hand out to Shin. He would accept it, getting aid to stand up and take in the full view of the heavily-accessorized spirit entirely. He wore a long robe of gold and white, priestly decorations littering it anywhere from a large belt with another set of brown and red fabrics draping out of it or the ribbon-like decorations draping off of his neck brace. He wore a gold and red crown in front of his wild hair, looking like an ugly flower with black petals. Those brown eyes he had which reflected the nearby torchlight would seemingly look through Shin, their near-lifeless gaze nearly not registering him until the man blinked, focusing his entire focus on the pink-haired spirit. "Are you by any chance a newcomer? I don't recall seeing you anywhere before." Shin refused to answer at first, the gaze of his newest acquaintance making the back of his neck tense as hairs stood up. He nearly lost his tongue until the man and his two guards looked closer at the young spirit. "Y-Yes. My name is Kai." He responded, offering a false name for the sake of self-preservation. Something about this man made him look important, too important to be given a true name. "Kai? Well, I am The Speaker; spiritual guide of this district. Its.. de-facto leader. A pleasure, young Kai. Is there anything I may be able to help you with?" The leader attempted to offer Shin a reassuring smile after extending his hand, offering a handshake. Cautiously, Shin took it, attempting to steel his nerves. "I-I'm actually looking for someone. He looks younger than me, is traveling alone, could be hurt. We were attacked by a Hollow and I've been trying to find him since." Suddenly, The Speaker placed both hands on Shin's shoulders, shaking the younger spirit lightly before raising a hand into the air. "See, my children! This is why we must hurry! Attacks are already beginning!" Looking back at the him, The Speaker would lightly nudge Shin to go with one of the guards, whom of which began walking towards a home down the street. "It's a good thing you came to me, my boy. I will show you where your brother may be, but only after I do something. Please, please, accompany my friend here. He will take you to my residence where we may be able to speak further." Before he knew it, Shin would be guided by the guard, guided towards the home of the district leader; a small home alongside all the others, but made of wood, where he would be allowed within. Shin was confused, yet almost reassured in that moment. He would almost forget why he was sprinting until the door slid behind him, closing with a hard thud and knocking him out of the partial trance he was in. He had a ceremony to crash. wc 1029 twc 3995
  13. Shin neglected to ignore the thieves. A thief chasing a thief for stealing would be about as ironic as a blacksmith that can't forge weapons. It could be said Shin was beginning to seriously dislike the smith for that rule as well, but he delegated to hold his tongue on saying anything about that. He still needed the mans service. After that THEN could he call him an asshole. After the two walked back underneath the net Shin would wait a while, silently letting the smith work his work while he just silently stared, waiting for what seemed like a half an hour until the large man looked over his shoulder, giving the young spirit a passing glance before returning to his duties. "I'm not changing my mind, no matter how long you stand there like a creep." The gruff voice of his said. "Can you at least tell me why you won't? I seriously need this before the day is out." Shin responded impatiently, wanting to just continue on his path. He had a limited amount of time to find Akio, and he couldn't just waste more of it trying to find another smith in the entirety of this district, not with the sun setting already! He knew some sort of festival was happening today, something unknown to him. If it were like any other festival though chances are this stubborn pile of lard is the only one in the whole district that isn't taking the day off or working on something else. He couldn't afford to go against that assumption at that point. He felt hopeful that he would at least get an answer when he heard a sigh come from the smith, one that was almost that of defeat. The flames of the forge died down slowly as the sun began to set, and the cooled metal was now attached to a wooden handle already pre-prepared. It was a sickle, a tool for farming. Setting the tool aside, the large man would move towards the young spirit, stopping next to a table where a pamphlet would lie. "It is already that day of the year, again." Shin listened to the large spirit as he would pick up the folded pamphlet, approaching the boy with it, where he would hand it to him. "If you really wish to learn why I don't work on weapons anymore, the pamphlet will give your answer. You'll see both why I no longer make or repair weapons, let alone participate in this damned festival." Shin was curious now. Could a piece of paper really explain the reason why? A piece of paper that was folded up to fit in the palm of his hand supposedly held the answer to why he would be screwed out of a weapon to defend himself. He looked at it, curiosity slowly rising within him, but there was something else tied to it. He felt something sinister, almost as though he was about to enter into a situation he wasn't ready to face. He knew however that in order to convince the smith to help him, he would have to open the pamphlet, to ignore his instincts that were demanding he leave and get the hell out of the district as soon as possible. He knew he based on his refusal to be rejected alone would have to see the contents within. When he opened it, however, he would cover his mouth with his free hand. The contents of the pamphlet would be a poorly-drawn mask of a Hollow. In large, bold letters with enough ink bled into the paper to have it appear on the other side: "Night of Devouring" with directions underneath it to where it would take place. Shin would look towards the smith, whose back was now turned towards him. "Thank you, smith. I'll go." With that, he began to run out of the forge, sprinting down the streets of the 52nd District of Rukongai towards the setting sun. Deep down he couldn't help but hope he would return. wc 676 twc 2966
  14. "W-Wait, you're a blacksmith, right?" Shin asked as he looked at the damaged blade, relief at previously discovering the forge replaced with panic at the idea that he really is about to be left with a big dull mistake in the form of an edge on the only piece of protection he has. The smith would turn around, looking down at him, the first semblance of eyelids somehow rolling over the bulging eyes, the tiny pupils gazing down and through the pink-haired spirit. "Yeah, and?" He huffed. Shin was left at a loss for words, his own mouth open in disbelief as his panic complimented the frustration slowly growing. He held the blade back up to the smith once more, this time more aggressively than before. "Then fix it!" "Nope." "Why?!" "Because." He began as he went back to work, slowly shaping some recently-heated metal. "I could go ahead and pull out the old strop, polish and straighten that roll out. I could take kan or even accept a trade for it and get to work right away! Be done really fast and everything. You didn't pay attention, though. I assumed you could read when you first walked in. Didn't you see the sign on that pole there?" He explained as if he were speaking to someone on why they can't just take whatever they want from a store. A thick meaty finger would stretch itself out, pointing towards the left corner pole facing towards the busy streets. Shin would hurry out towards the pole, circling around it. His eyes scanned the rough darkened wood up and down to no avail. There was no sign here at all. No words whatsoever were even painted right on the pole. It was as barren as any of the four propping up the shade. He'd look back at the smith, confused, with a shrug. "You STILL don't see it?!" The round man would come stomping out from his work-space with heavy feet stretching far apart from one another with each step. He emerged from beneath the shade with a shining round head from the sweat, looking at the same pole Shin did, even running his hand up and down it. The two heard stifled laughter behind them, causing them to look to the source only to see the stolen sign now made into a makeshift chest plate via a loose rope and bad paint job over the front. The masked child would begin running away, accompanied by 3 others, into the alleys. "..Dammit, that was the third one this week." He muttered as he went back to the forge. Wiping his forehead with the back of his hand, he would reach for another thin square of wood, a hammer, and a nail which he held between his exposed teeth. Once again, he trampled his way back outside, using his newly-acquired tools to once again hammer the sign into the wood. "No weapons." wc 489 twc 2290
  15. This forge would be covered by 4 wooden poles holding a net overhead, the space between rope being just small enough to provide shade, the dirt floor littered by small spots of light. This net drooped downwards in the center, but even at the lowest point would still be 2 meters above the forge itself. The forge would be surrounded by tools of all kinds from hammers to makeshift vices meant to hold a recently heat-treated blade between two thick planks so it wouldn't bend or crack. He could make out a grind-wheel, what seems to be a stone with a flat top, and accessories and tools he couldn't even recognize. His black-smithing knowledge was only basic enough to know tools that could be used in other professions, not to know every last detail down to the last nail. Stepping into the shade, he could recognize he wasn't alone immediately by the stranger in the middle of this setup. It was a large man with pale skin and almost a total lack of lips. His eyes were almost lidless in appearance and he sported a constant grin which revealed gums and all, the worn teeth he brandished so openly having a layer of soot over them, giving them an unnatural grey color. Beneath where the jaw should be would be a pair of gills, almost as if he were some sort of fish, softly pressed between neck folds. Shin didn't even know whether or not to even call this thing a human spirit, let alone anything but what is essentially a mask-less Hollow. It was downright intimidating for him as someone that has seen something this grotesque far and few between. Hell, up to this point, the most he had seen were people with small horns, not anything like that! "Eh? There something you want?" A almost gruff voice came out of the being that stood like a boulder before Shin, lidless eyes peering down at him. He lost himself in the way he had opened his teeth to speak and somehow did so without moving the lips that were open in the first place. He had no impediment or anything. It was absolutely surreal, that something like this was granted existence. As terrible it would be to say it, he absolutely dreaded what the poor guy looked like in the Living World. It definitely couldn't be someone that didn't suffer from a discussion about dropping him off somewhere and not looking back. He lost the words he had meant to say from his being taken aback, the significantly larger spirit growing more irritated by the extended period of silence between the two if the turning around and gesturing for Shin to leave was anything to go by, huffing the whole time. Still, rather than obeying the blacksmith, Shin would only be knocked out of his trance by the movement. Hastily he would withdraw his blade, holding the damaged edge up just before he was completely out of the sight of the beast. He had caught the smith's eye, the larger man turning around and taking the katana from Shin, examining it almost like a child would a captured insect. "Hmm, this is quite a roll you put in your edge.." Before he could talk, the smith handed Shin the blade back. "I hope you can find someone that can fix that for you, kid. If you excuse me, I have to get back to work." wc 576 twc 1801
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