Date: August 20, 2016
Okumo Naoya takes the villager Kaguya Eiko to the edge of the Blood Marshes to resolve the matters plaguing the child once and for all.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"A Rice Thief becomes a Rice Farmer"
Land of Water, Edge of the Blood Marsh Barrier
Trapped and bound the young Kaguya would have to suffer not only through the humiliation of being carried like luggage for a time through the village and into the academy but to be largely ignored as a person as Chuunin and Jounin of the academy thought what would be best to 'do' with her. It would settled that no lives were to be taken though the other less reckless members of the 'Rice Gang' would be observed but not interfered with. Eiko on the other hand would be left in her 'victim's' discretion, in this case Okumo Naoya.
Not waiting for the sun to rise again, nearing the middle of the night Naoya would carry the Kaguya once again through the village, still bound and to the northern section of the village.. before moving beyond it. By the time he would come to a stop, Eiko would be able to see warning signs of the forbidden section of land, the Blood Marsh. "I think this would do.." is softly said, though oddly it wouldn't be obvious of the usual centuries were watching them or if it was in the mist of a changing of said watchers. "Young one.. do you know your crimes?"
Looking down towards Eiko, Naoya moves his free hand over to her, hooking a finger into the webbing that covered her mouth and tugging onto it gently. The process was simple as the silk yielded to him, despite managing to hold her for several hours at this point. "You have permission to speak freely. Though you should be mindful of just where you are and how helpless you still are."
It seemed forever that the Kaguya was tied up, struggling against silken binds until every muscle in her body was sore. Little Eiko had suffered a fair bit. She was not loved by her fellow Kaguya, nor did Kirigakure find any joy in the way she acted. She sought to try and strike out against her oppressors by starting her own path with people disillusioned about Kirigakure as much as she. What was she trying to accomplish, struggling so hard for something Kirigakure was not built to supply? Freedom from some sort of oppression? Kirigakure was order. Kirigakure was law. Kirigakure had no place for Eiko. Why not just hold the execution?
Perhaps that was what this was anyways. Without sight, and barely hearing, the girl had been dragged through the streets awaiting to die for unwavering ideals. After all, once set in their ways, A Kaguya usually never changes. Only when her mouth was freed would she show Naoya how much energy she had despite wearing herself out struggling. "Whatever. If you're going to kill me, just kill me. I've broken every law there is, haven't I? So, go on! I'm… I'm ready…"
Eiko looked to the forest that she had heard many students go to die. It brought fear into her, and she expected that something here was likely going to kill her. Some demon she read about in a child's story, or some monster that rumors had likely perpetuated around the city.
"Tsk.. Misguides fool.." is grumbled as Naoya slips his fingers away from her lips, not covering her mouth again luckily for her. Jerking his forearm suddenly, a kunai is quickly forced into his palm and brought to her cheek before slowly sliding it downwards. The blade cuts Eiko faintly, forging a stinging line along her cheek and down to her jaw but with the pain she would find her face fully free of silk.
"If I wished to kill you, then I would have." Moving the blade lower, he cuts along the side of her neck carefully, this time not drawing a drop of blood but Naoya nicks her collarbone as he begins to free her chest. "If I wanted to torment you, I would have begun long ago. If I wished to humiliate you I would of hung you in the air near the academy and twisted your body until you had no control, not even of your bowels. Leaving you for over a day, hungry, thirsty, gagged and rancid. Showing every student how shameful you are, and how revolting you would be to even look at, let alone to pity."
Working his way down, Eiko would soon fall to the ground, her legs bound together still as the silk still clung to her hips and waist. Tossing the kunai down onto the ground, it was clear he didn't have interest in further harming her as it narrowly missed her legs. "You call yourself a Kaguya yet it's clear your breed is only half that.. you act as if things are bright and not worth cherishing. It's clear at least half of your upbringing was spoiled, hiding you away from reality.. I almost pity you. You have potential but you are never going to matter at this rate."
The brood was on the move while the host remained bound to her home. The host was bound, but not unwillingly. Sayaka, whose last name had yet to be determined despite her clan being Okumo, was keeping within the Doihara household. What was known of her was mostly rumors of another child Akane brought in, and few have actually seen her. Yet even with the restrictive movements that she had personally set upon herself, Sayaka was curious of the surrounding area known as Kirigakure.
The young girl had, previously, lived a sheltered life, both in knowledge and in meeting others. As such, her spiders were sent out with a simple command in their minds: Explore. As they continued outwards from the market area, they would travel less as a swarm and more as small groupings, oddly working together as they moved out. A note of interest: Naoya. Smelling of spiders. Some followed him, others reported back to the girl. All of them tried to hide from the Okumo Jounin, working to be unseen as best they could. The spiders were small and could hide in even smaller areas, though, so perhaps, despite Naoya being a Jounin, he would not notice. Or perhaps they would simply be overlooked.
Even though her arms had been free, Eiko doesn't struggle anymore. Falling to the floor, with thump. Her eyebrows furrowing even more. Spoiled. Eiko spat on the ground when she heard that word come out of his mouth. "It's the opposite. Nothing is bright in this city. What little me and my friends get is cherished more than you know. That doesn't mean anything. I don't want to matter in a world like this… I want to matter in a world different than this, which will never come. That will never be this world, so I refuse to live." Eiko clutched the ground with her free hands. "You've taken me to the Blood Marsh… So let me die in there. That is my request." She has finished her short journey. "I doubt you have a single strand of kindness in you. You'll probably stop me. You'll probably toy with me more, and then go and toy with the people important to me. I'd rather die than watch that happen…"
"You don't realize how things are.. you think you know the world, and what it offers. This is where the village stop seeing you." Extending a hand out, Naoya points two fingers towards her chest, taking aim at her heart when he says. "You seem to think life is so much better away from here.. that the Shinobi here are the enemy. Kaguya Eiko was consumed by the Marsh.. You, you aren't that girl." Standing up, Naoya slowly begins to walk along side the barrier's walls, stopping three meters away from her. "Little girl with no name, follow me. You wished to be free of this hell.. I can grant that wish. I'll take you to this 'bright' land you think exists outside of these caging walls. We'll find your name along the way." Turning to look over his shoulder, bright amber eyes cut to the side, watching for the young Kaguya, "Well?"
Sayaka's spiders trail after the duo, watching. Listening, though they did not understand. They could repeat those sounds to their host if needed. They just moved out, keeping in clumps. Sayaka, meanwhile, was simply working with a slip of paper and several small rocks. …
"…" … "I…" What about Saborou, Ren, Hibiki (NPC), and Mizumi? They would be caught in this hell eternally, while she suddenly gets off scot free? It… It didn't settle right with her. "…" Silence builds, as suddenly Eiko screams, writhing as if struggling with some emotional turmoil. "Why would you even offer something like that to me!?" She asks, her legs struggling against her bindings. "Are you trying to help me? Are you trying to make me abandon everything I believe in? I… I am Eiko. I have friends that I can't leave behind! If I do… T-this wretched place will twist them into killers that I refuse to be. Yet, you're going to offer me a chance to change who I am to escape? … I CAN'T! I CAN'T LEAVE THEM BEHIND! JUST KILL ME, PLEASE! Don't make me make this decision! Don't… Don't make me choose freedom over my friends…" Eiko pulled at her hair rather roughly. "I can't… Just… Abandon them… Not a second time…"
"Killers.. Murderers.. Professional criminals.. sheafs.. Heartless fields.. Monsters.." each word is forced out and said in a almost bitter tone as Naoya turns around to look towards Eiko. "That is how the word sees us, the Shinobi. The very reasons this village is safe. The very reason this village isn't kneeling to thugs and gangs. The very reason wealth flows and the very reason even if war happens this village will stand strong, and proud."
Bringing up a hand, Naoya motions the direction they came, oddly directly towards the barracks. "Those 'friends' that offered you aid are soon to be shinobi, your enemy. They will take lives, they will spill blood. All in the name of this village. They will grow, they will become strong.. They will be part of what keeps this region thriving. -You- are trying to get in their way. -You- are what is hoping they die from trying to hold them back." Bringing his hand back and motioning to fingers, he points two fingers towards Eiko's face as his own twists into a snarl.
"This is why I pity you.. You have a twisted form of 'what is' and insist it is what is true, despite all the reasoning anyone can offer." Bringing his hand up, Naoya curls his fingers while jutting out his thumb, pointing over his shoulder as he says, "Stay weak, stay weak and leave. Grow up with your hands in the mud, half starved trying to eek out a living or selling that young body for money in the capital. Once you build up enough to show them 'another way' I will even help them find you and let them 'choose'. 'Is that life worth living?'"
A scoff escapes him before a sigh is heard while shaking his head slowly. Lowering his tone to a grumbling one he asks, "Why don't you tell me what you think now? Will they choose your 'freedom' or will they choose to be a monster? Which life is alive.. which life is the living dead?"
"I… I know… They're slowly become what I hate. They want to… So, in the end…" In the end it's her ideals or her friends. "… In the end, they'll just… Crush everyone underneath their foot too." Eiko knew the answer now. "They'll choose to become monsters… They've already chosen. They aren't my friends, are they? They chose the academy. They didn't choose me…" Eiko curled into a weak little ball. "If this is really what Kirigakure needs in order to keep peace, then who am I to argue. I tried to leave it behind and just live my life out before. I'll do it again… I'll go. I'll go, and I won't interfere with them any longer. They've chosen their path. I've chosen mine…" Eiko struggles to get back on her feet, and manages it despite her lower body being webbed.
"You, even now fail to see why they made their choice.. I was right to pity you." Closing his eyes, Naoya slowly begins to shake his head from side to side. "An idealist fool who doesn't know what it means to sacrifice.. A fool that doesn't know what it means to live for someone else." Moving his hand into his hair, the young man gently begins to scratch at the side of his scalp before starting to walk away slowly. "Follow me, you can choose you run away and stay locked into your little world. You could also choose to follow me and understand 'why' they choose to become 'monsters'. This is a choice you have, one that -I- offer you, not the village.. With the village's law, I already hold the right to hold you in stockades and whip you bloody with barbed leathers. I chose not to." It would be clear that Naoya would leave Eiko alone if she didn't manage to find a way to match his lazy pace.
Whatever. Just whatever. "I refuse… To become a shinobi." She simply said as she attempts to finally wriggled out of the binds that keep her legs trapped. It took a fair while. "I wasn't going to be a shinobi anyways…" The girl noted. "… If you want to show me the door then I'll follow." Eiko would still have silk lingering around her extremities. Well, it was better than dying… Yet, if what Naoya said is true, her friends would take her down in a moment's notice if she tried to make a stand against what she saw as an oppressive city with no escape. Though scared out of her very mind she would follow Naoya into the bloody mist that seemingly lingered in these marshes. There was a terrible amount of suspicion left in her features regardless.
"You won't become a shinobi then tell me, what will you to do make money? Think.. think seriously for me now." When Naoya could hear Eiko starting to catch up with him, he softly smiles and starts to pick up his pace. "If your clan rejects you, if all you knew hates you.. the village would still accept you, and teach you. So, if you were to be a shinobi or not would be up to your capabilities.. enough of that though." Moving a hand out, he lowers it and moves it behind his back, rubbing several fingers together suggesting currency. "How will you live? Say it now and clearly. You seek 'freedom' but do you know what freedom costs?"
"… The first thing I'm going to do… Is I'm going to work as a farmhand…" Eiko imagined herself doing menial tasks such as that. Crossing her arms she looked straight into the mists. "I'll probably just starve like I starve now until I find work. It's not hopeless. If I get out of here, it's not a hopeless cause… You know it too. You're scaring me into submission, but… I'm not like one to just run away… … … I'm not leaving the Land of Water, but I want to get away from this place as quickly as possible. Unless this is all a ruse. You're just pulling my chain and sinking your blade into my back at the quickest opportunity… In which case… Just get it over with. Bring me that mercy."
"If I wanted to kill you, I could. I could kill you by breaking your limbs one by one as you use them against me. That would break your will the most I believe.. but if I wanted that, it would have happened. Think on that.." Closing his eyes, Naoya hums a soft tone to himself but then snaps his fingers twice while staying behind himself for the most part. "If you wish to be little more than a gardener, then you could be hired as one. You will be paid for your worth.. You may even be permitted to stay within the village, though you will not be trained to fight or defend yourself. That is the job of the 'monsters', isn't it?" Moving his hand up, Naoya points towards the village, though seeing it through the mists and the forest that lay between them and the village would be nearly impossible. "The graves do not tend to themselves, nor do the rice fields. They are tended to by hand, not ninjutsu, and those that tend to those fields are in turn paid by the 'monsters' for their time and dedication."
"… That is a life worth living to me…" Eiko says confidently. "… A simple life. A life of farming, or even digging graves. I don't care. I don't want to be a shinobi. I refuse. Everyone knows what Kirigakure shinobi do. I heard the stories. The story of how Okumo Meruin was tasked with slaughtering an entire village. The story of how he did with his comrades. At the end, there was only a little girl with a crying baby. Defenseless. Harmless. Meruin's team-mate tried to stop him, and… They say he killed both his team and the girl and her child to finish his task… If that is what Kirigakure is about. If two children are really sentenced to death, even if they are innocent of any crime… I can't do the same. I would be the team-member trying to stop Meruin. I'd be dead anyways. I'd rather bury the dead then create innocent dead… That… That is why I'm not fit to be a shinobi."
"A contract.. is a contract" is answered softly, and in a almost tired tone. Naoya takes in a deeper breath and nods lightly, "You do not know what it means to be an Okumo, for your sanity, I hope that you never do." Turning his head to the side, a light smile could be seen on his lips as he glances towards Eiko. "Little one, the reason you can be revolted and question his actions, and because his actions are notorious is a reason this village is as secure as it is. Fear.. Those that live with us, that are members of this village fear each other a little. The outside world cowers, because of that fear, we are not attacked. When we are.. we make examples of those few for that very reason. Don't think your friends chose this life lightly, they will retire in time." Looking forward again, Naoya begins to guide Eiko back towards the village though the path wasn't a clear one, slowing the Okumo down as he forces the brush back and leaving the trail easier to follow. "You should know one thing, this village's army, the Shinobi, rely on those who cannot fight for themselves. The smiths, the farmers, the merchants.. the warriors cannot fight unarmed, underfed and with tattered rags only to return to homes that are rancid and falling apart."
Eiko held herself tightly. "I'm not fit to be a shinobi, so I join the smiths, farmers, and merchants. Ren and Mizumi will be fine. They'll be glorious killers. It's stupid. It's really stupid that I am still alive, but I don't think I'll ever leave Kirigakure alive. I'll never even be able to reach the strength it would take to kill you. That's why… That's why I'll dig graves and farm for a living. I want to bury you in the ground, but I'll never be able to do so. It will bring me pleasure to live longer than you, so that I will dig your grave when you die and watch you be buried…" Eiko says as she seemingly doesn't bother moving the brush with her hands. She moves through it, and resigns herself to walking the path that she had created for herself…
"Lets say.. you murder me, you murder Mizukage Meruin, Mizukage Tsiro, each of the Jounin, the Chuunin as well.." Stopping in his tracks, Naoya turns to look at Eiko, there wasn't a hint of anger or agitation in his eyes as he bends his knee some, lowering to her eye level then a little lower as he relaxes. "Why don't you tell me, what you would feel.. what you envision this village being like when the very protectors of this village, the very weapons you hate.. are all in graves." Waiting for several moments, if Eiko doesn't speak up soon he asks, "What happens when the mercenaries and thieves come to ravage the merchants, the farmers and the smiths?" Canting his head slightly to one side, clearly waiting for an answer and that he was in no rush.
"You, Meruin, Tsiro-dono… All of the Jounin whose hearts are sour, and all of the Chuunin who are filthy murderers. With them gone, there will be someone to take up the cause." She stared straight into Naoya's face. "I don't believe every shinobi acts like a mindless weapon that scares people… The man who tried to stop Meruin is an example of someone with a good heart. An example of someone with a soul." That's all. "The problem is that those shinobi aren't teaching the academy. You are. You're making students into your image. I'm not scared to speak my mind. "… I do want to ask… How do the other hidden villages work? Are their people scared? Or… Is the reason that people in Kirigakure starve on the streets because they fall on hard times is because the Okumo wish it to be? Is… That the Okumo way?"
"The village doesn't live the Okumo way.. The village is far, far 'kinder' than the Okumo." With a light smile, Naoya begins to explain himself. "To the Okumo, a 'failed experiment' is worth less than nothing, it is a cost. An Okumo deemed a 'failure' or a 'defect' is to be executed.. or was before the 'agreement' for Okumo Sei to become the Clan Head for a time and change things." Moving a hand up, Naoya shows her his hand, wiggling his fingers carefully and showing nothing was on them. "This hand shows how many lives it has taken of the students.. None. It shows how many students have been allowed to truly starve.. None. It shows how many have been permitted to starve in the streets of Kirigakure.. None."
Moving his hand back towards his temple, he taps just behind his eye, "Don't believe just the rumors.. look for the truths little one. Noone is a waste in this village. They all are given purpose, or given rations and cast out too find their own life seeing as they rejected one within this village's walls." Looking away, Naoya pushes off his knees and starts to stand at his full height once again. "Right now, I think you see and believe what you wish to.."
"Whatever." … Eiko wasn't going to change. She knew a few kids who stole to eat, and died for stealing. "… How do I get started? Where do I go to be useful to Kirigakure? Where can I make a peaceful living?" She asks… "… I want to be far enough away from Kirigakure to never hear a rumor again." Eiko looks towards where Naoya was, not seeing much but trees. The Blood Marsh had left them alone for their duration. No creatures had come to attack. "… Why are you not punishing me like you said you were? Why are you trying to change how someone who doesn't even matter views you? I don't get it! Why are you wasting your breath on me?" Eiko shakes her head, and walks in the direction that Naoya had been going originally.
"Fixing an issue.. If I beat you to a pulp, it wouldn't correct anything. As for how to being, you will be put in the hands of another, not myself." Moving his hands to his hips, Naoya hooks his thumbs into his waist sash, letting his hands fall limp at that point. "Anyways, punishment isn't always physical. You are also part of this village, a part that doesn't wish to settle with being a pickpocket and one that has standards unlike some urchins." As the pair steadily walked, they would soon breech the forest and made it back into the village's streets. "As for running away from the rumors.. would you prefer the rumors of the slavers, the rapists, the gangs, the ronin? Did you forget many of our contracts are also to slaughter those groups? This world doesn't have a true bright place, just shades of gray and ink black."
… "Hai…" Eiko finally says. "… Maybe someday when you've slaughtered them all, we can stop spilling ink on the world." Eiko looks at Naoya momentarily. "… Why did you attack Saborou?" She finally wondered. "He wasn't a part of the training exercise. He might have assisted Hibiki in a hiding place…" As she did too, "But, he didn't deserve to be a target… Did he?"
"A warning.. It would of been painful, it would not of been lasting nor fatal. A scar perhaps, but little else in time." Lifting a hand, Naoya begins to waggle a finger, "Each of you messed with a lesson. You made sure your friend would be just a failure. I will not permit a coward to risk the lives of others.." Shaking his head from side to side, the pair would make their way through the village though there wouldn't be much life.. the market was closed, most homes were also sealed. One of the few places left open was the tavern that also served as an inn which is where he paused. "You will not be staying within the Kaguya village tonight, you may rest for one night here, come morning you will be taken to your new life, is this understood?" Unless he was opposed, he would enter the tavern and arrange the room for Eiko along with laying for a breakfast though he wouldn't even move to the stairs, leaving her to rest and recover in privacy for once.