Date: December 4, 2012
On his way to assist in Sakuyru's recovery, Onimitsu is distracted by the chance to steal Etsu's scroll.
"Second Promotion Exams - Beetles Don't Discriminate: Etsu vs. Onimitsu"
Blood Marsh - Among the Crimson Reeds
The thick mist gradually gives way to tall reeds a crimson in color, in thickening tangles exceeding six feet high. Ancient cypress trees rise to impressive heights from the thick algae-covered water, the canopy above overshadowing this area so light is scarce, a large moss-covered cave entrance appears omniously in the distance past an expanse of marsh and tangled reeds. Further torwards the caves large red and yellow tinted vines with what appears to be from a distance large thorns curls and surrounds many of the trees including the cave, known as cutthroat vines.
Etsu had caught a number of fish after her first one, though a few needed throwing back since they were clearly killers that didn't belong in her system, and is now well rested and fed. With new-found energy, she tries to familiarize herself with this place once more, this time with a clear head. It wasn't getting dark yet, but the further she traveled toward the caves, the canopy swallowed up anything that could pass for light and gave way to a hazy darkness. She kept a cool head about herself, but she can admit this place had her on edge.
She'd come to a rest on the branch of a tree and overlook the area. Still beautiful, but creepy. It's clear this swamp is taking its toll on her. She'd rather be out of it than in it now.
Onimitsu's body still occasionally act from the beating he received but at least he could move about without having to pause ever few minutes to catch his breath or will the pain away. A few invigorating herbs found in the swamp made it all the more bearable to move. It is however with great caution in mind that the manji decided to explore the rest of the bloody marshes. His home in more ways than one. Thus, most of the armor is kept stashed incide a 'medicine box' while he advance from tree to tree and cover to cover. Eye keenly alert for any sign of both predators or competitors. "Hah, those lines will begin to blur closer to the end." He chuckled bitterly under breath.
Taking a seat for now, Etsu lounges on the branch she was settled on and breaks out a canteen. She took a swig of water from it and sighed a small breath out before placing it away. She doesn't see any genin around and her insects haven't picked up on anything, so she thinks she's safe for now. She relaxes to try and recover energy lost from being tense so that she could continue on with some calm. Besides, the only way to get used to the environment is to endure it.
With only one eye at best to guide his path, Onimitsu's trek is slow going but at least uneventful for a while. Upon catching sight of the young aburame in the tree tops further ahead Onimitsu finally comes to a stop behind one of the few trees that offered cover a midst their branches for those shinobi preferring the high road. Seeing her so casually relaxing despite the hidden dangers of the swamps set him on edge. So, he waited for a few moments for any sign that perhaps the entire thing was some type of a trap or ambush.
Only once secure in the knowledge that nothing was amiss did he gave check over what few armaments he had left, set stash the medicine box away, then would try to sneak in closer and attempt to immobilize Etsu first with a few quick nerve taps after dropping from above.
Something was amiss…
Etsu looked up, but by then, it was too late. She'd been tapped and paralyzed. This is the second time this has happened to her and it's beginning to make her question her sanity. She sighed to herself. "Alright, so you have me." She inquired while looking at the one who attacked her. Well, he's…different. "We might as well exchange names. I'm Etsu and you are?"
Onimitsu quickly righted himself after the fall and grabbed Etsu by the shoulder to make sure she remained stable upon the branch. The sigh that left her lips elicited a raised brow, but when she began to speak afterwards the poor swordsman nearly leaped back in suprise. He could have sworn he was going for full paralysis with his strikes… but then again, it -has- been some time since he's study nerves and their weakness, so overall he was happy he didn't hit the 'kill' switch at least. :D
"… Manji… Manji Onimitsu." He replied softly as a hand is freed up to softly touch his everyday mask reverently, then remove it slowly. The instant his face is visible it is clear that the man before Etsu (barring the slight bags under his eyes) had the face of true bishounen. A quick shake is given to help displace long, raven black hair before his expansive pool of emerald fully focused upon Etsu. "This one apologizes for the rude disturbance, but this one had a few inquiries that could not be put at risk by stubborness of the free." He admitted calmly. "Now tell me, what is your full name, who have you encountered thus far in this forest, and… hmm… how many scrolls do you have?"
"Manji Onimitsu," Etsu replied. "Well, it's a pleasure, I suppose…" Her voice trailed off as she watched him remove his mask. The lighting wasn't fantastic, but she was able to make out the features of his face. Nothing detailed, though. "Apology…accepted. Full name is Aburame Etsu, I have encountered the one named Usagi, Ryo, and…some others I can't quite remember. I have two scrolls," she answered honestly.
Onimitsu sweat dropped. That… was strangely easier than expected. And yet, at the same time very much welcomed compared to all the trouble he had to endure in regards to trying to obtain Eremi's scroll right off the back. With that firmly in mind, Onimitsu tried to continue pressing his luck by grinning with his eye as he said, "Thank you for the answer Aburame-san. Now, is there anything thou can share with this one in regard to their whereabouts and… let's see now.. hmm… their abilities?… Oh! And, before it is forgotten, might thy be willing to have at least one of their scrolls removed by this one? Eto… preferably peacefully." He added, chuckling sheepishly.
"Hmm…" Etsu began. "Usagi is a Nara, Ryo is an Uchiha. I believe that should be sufficient enough for you to understand where their abilities lie," she explained. "I, unfortunately, will not part with my scrolls peacefully. As this is survival, I am ready to fight for them. Peaceful resolution may not be in your best interest or mine for that matter," she admits. (re)
"That… is unfortunate, in a manner of speaking." Onimitsu stated weakily as he lifted a hand to place upon Etsu's shoulders. By now the numbness from Onimitsu techinque was begining to wear off. Even so, he still pressed the appropriate nerves to free the Aburame more quickly before rising back onto his feet. "… Cooperation is another means of survival." He stated hesitantly, then turned to start walking towards the far end of the bracn without incidently snapping it. ".. Nevertheless, if this one must risk becoming a lowly one by fighting a young woman, foreign shinobi or not, then… so be it. However—" He turned his head just far enough to peer at Etsu. "This one must ask this final thing…. Why do you desire to become Chuunin?"
"I understand your premise, but unfortunately, cooperation would place me in a predicament that leaves me unsecure. This is not cooperation, but compromise. I would not gain anything by granting my scroll to another to advance and for what? It would not be in my stead," Etsu explained to Onimitsu. As he walked away, she stood up and began to stretch herself out to relieve the lingering 'sleep' in her muscles. "You will become no more lowly than I am for fighting others here to help myself advance in this exam. My purpose for becoming a chuunin? I have a purpose to fulfill. My efforts are wasted being a genin. I am unable to perform to the capacity I wish to for my village. That is not to say I haven't grown from being a genin, but being a chuunin means that I can teach and pass on what I learn to others to make them better and myself, as well."
"This is all for my sake and subsequently for my village. I want to be at my best so that my village will always be at its greatest."
"Ah… forgive this one for the misinformation on his part." Onimitsu stated in earnest. Afterwards he did an about face in order to measure both Etsu's form and read the conviction in her eyes before nodding solemnly in understanding. "If it is the best you wish to be, then this one shall make only one final request before the end of this meeting." He bowed partway at the waist and asked, "Please accept this humble one's challenge of thou right to keep thou scroll by way of combat." He raised his head just enough for an eye smile to be seen. "Mortal combat, if need be, neh?" Afterwards he straightened up once more and rolled his neck about to loosen it up before sliding a foot forward and let his hands hover at his side. "Do you accept?" he asked, subtly building up a small reserve of chakra.
"A challenge? I will accept," Etsu offered. "If this is what you wish. You have handled yourself admirably in this case and so I do not mind granting you this request," she states. "In honor of this, I will give you the first move."
"A-ah.. yes, this one was too slow to say the same." He muttered darkly to himself, then with a shake of his head to help refocus Onimitsu narrowed his eye open Etsu. In an instant the swordsman is upon the Aburame, raining down a barrage of blows. All with the aid of chakra had the force behind them truthfully carried beyond the flesh and into the real meat and bone. The one strike that is let loose is a risky roundhouse kick to try and knock Aburame out of the tree and possible risk taking a bit of jarring fall damage should the ground (or worse) be that which greets her bottom.
Onimitsu did not know rather or not to feel crept out by the squishy feeling of so many bugs taking his blows or somehow deeply satisfied. This derailing train of thought unfortunately cost the Manji the focus he needed to draw back out of Etsu's strike range before a detachment of her swarm managed to attach themselves to the warrior's partially extended leg. While the pain from the bites and even the removal of some of his chakra was painful, none of it compared to the muffled screeching of Yoshimitsu from within. Thankfully, compared to his own train of thought from earlier the screeching actually gave him more of an inccentive to leap further away from Etsu and land upon the water below. As cruel is it mightn't been to do so Onimitsu let his control slip far enough for the bug covered leg to take a nice dip in the water before yanking it back out. A series of hand signs are flashed through upon gaining steady ground and ended with swamp water rising up to form several balls a foot away or so in front of the former chuunin. Upon a silent command each are unleashed with the intent to once again force Etsu out of the tree.
Etsu didn't get exactly what she desired, but he was still down below, placing them at a height difference. She had time to look around…or so she thought. With the balls of water heading her way, she lifted up her column of kikaichu to defend against them. The insects were soaked and some may have even died in the process, but she was secure. 'Water and physical attacks…' She thought to herself.
She maintains some kikaichu for defensive purposes, but for now sends most of them back inside only to call out others. They were swolen with acid in their bodies. She'd walk along the branch and turn her head below to where the water bullets came from and at that gesture, the kikaichu dove down to explode in a spray of acid to burn him in two waves.
For all the speed he possessed Onimitsu was finding it difficult to avoid Etsu's parasi-er-pets(?) attacks. At the very most all he could do was minimalize the damage by leaping out the range of most of the point blank acid bath from the Kikaichu that found a purchanse upon his body; and even then, the wounds suffered by their attacks were not the kind to be considered a 'trifle' injury.
'No more of this mockery Oni.'
In mid-crouch to try and put out some of the acidic components of the acid bath Onimitsu locks up, then began to raise his hands shakily to grip his head.
'Switch with her… C'mon child, you know very well you can not—'
"shut… up… please… I must.." He mumured aloud, heedless of the compromising position he placed himself in. Of course, it is of little consequences after the next few seconds since the only thing that he had to worry about from now on is facing his inner demons. All except the one who rose casually from the crouch and placed a hand just above the hilt of the blade at 'his' side. "Hnn, so that is the one he's having trouble with." 'Oni' stated as he peered up at Etsu. Unaware or uncaring about the fact that the 'seals' placed upon his blade had burned away in a surge of chakra.
Etsu was still in the tree looking down at her opponent. He's still okay. Hmm. At this distance, she thinks she still has a slight advantage, but she isn't sure if she should go after him or stay put. He hasn't made a move, so perhaps it's not wise to attack him yet. She may just have to wait and see what he does. At the moment, she's unaware of the change that he has undergone. Perhaps that is the disadvantage to this advantage. Details are far and few between with someone so far away. "Are you still wishing to fight?" She inquires of him. "I am uncertain if we should continue on this path."
A crimson orb narrowed and nodded her ascent. "Let us do so nevertheless, ET-SU-chaan~", 'He' giggled with a more 'femine' undertone to his words. In fact, the very way he held himself seemed a little more off than before. "Ah, just a moment though." She, HE stated before placing a hand over his belly and beginning to rub it gentle. A few moments of this action eventually reaches a climax with Onimitsu spitting out a wad of purple slime. "Ugh… nasty buggers they are..", He mumured, wiping his mouth along the back of his hand.
"Eh…?" Etsu questioned to herself. What was…? She looked down and saw something hideous. Was that purple slime? "Are you—no, never mind. This must end," she stated while sending down another wave of kikaichu, only this time they wouldn't be the acidic kind. They'd only be enough to hopefully overwhelm him and send him into the water. She'd begin to make her way down to be able to watch her opponent more closely now as she isn't sure what's going on and can't wait any longer.
"You are absolutely right," Oni-hime replied heavily before bursting above the tidal wave of Kikaichu in an adrenaline fueled rush. "Mind if I help you down." 'He' stated, rising high above the Aburame before striking down with the hilt. Once at first, then twice, then a third time for the charm. Even if she should miss the very act alone was enough to grant him, her, IT into range to begin unleashing a spinning barrage of sword blows from the back of the blade.
Etsu extended her arms and before long insects were wrapping around her in such a fast rotation that they were able to deflect the attacks against her. She'd then disperse them around the field to wait for her next attack. "I don't need any help down, but thank you," she offered. "I intend to keep my scroll. I want to end this as I think that this will be beneficial to the both of us…cooperate, please. I have nothing against you. You are quite the honorable opponent and I think I have been this to you, yes? I think so." She sent her insects forward to cause him the worst kind of pain. "This pain, I believe will be incapacitating. Terrible, but effective."
Oni-hime comes out of the spin swaying almost drunkenly in place. A glance into 'her' eyes, er, eye however gives away a just how used to the after effects of her own techniques she is. Besides that, it was only like, five, six, maybe even seventeen spins anyways. e.e "Hai ahi, just.. hurk… just give me a moment to think.. about that." Okay, so PERHAPS all that spinning did have an effect. c.c; An unfortunate circumstance made all the more worse by her belated attempt to reply on technique versues outright leaping out the of Etsu's enclosing swarm of Kikaichu. All of which covered the poor, flailing swordsman from head to toe until finally she's forced onto her bottom from the sheer weight of their mass.
Surprisingly enough there still a bit of muffled yelling coming out of the mass, but perhaps it would be in Etsu's best interest NOT to command those covering her mouth away until the poison really kicked in and quieted her down.
"Please, let us end this battle. I believe that continuing will decrease our chances of survival. Here is where cooperation is key, don't you think?" Etsu inquires, though she doesn't seem to have noticed the change in Onimitsu. It should be obvious and there's some hints that something is off, but she chalks it up to battle fatigue or the poison she's placed in his body. One of the two. "I shouldn't be so pressing, but…I think I'm hungry…" She thinks. She doesn't really know if she's hungry or not.
'Onimitsu' could scarcely make out the Etsu's words at first over the mind wrecking sound of beetles filling her ears. Clicking, clawing, pinching, and stinging what felt like every possible place they could find! Thankfully, Etsu seemed to be in a merciful mood by commanding her partners to begin leaving the swordsman alone. Some however needed a bit more incentive, like for instance those that managed to wander into his mouth being spat out at the first chance he received.
After a small fit of coughing, Oni-hime's leaned back with her hands dug into the moist patches of earth inorder to stay propped up and offered a faint smile. He, -she- was relieved to be free and for once, even more so over the fact that 'Yoshimitsu' saw it fit to release its wielder to take up the reigns of his body once more. Before she completely faded away however she said non-chalantly to Etsu, "If'n your nice to him, I'm sure he'll whip ya up somethin' good", She droned out wearily and shut her eye.
"Where… uurgh.. not again…", Onimitsu murmured, opening his eye and revealing its return to vibrant emerald. After a several moments are spent gathering his wits about him once more, Onimitsu unsteadily rose back to his feet and immediately began to search the area for Etsu. He sighed in relief and eye smiled upon spotting her. "Seems this one.. *winces*.. has lost the challenge. Please accept this ones humble.. *winces and groans lightly*.. thanks.. for the duel." He stated, bowing at the waist in full while trying to resist making anymore funny faces over the pain elicited from the welts left behind by the Kikaichu.
"…I believe it would do you some good to seek some help for whatever condition you just suffered from, but I was given a warning, so I, being a sane person, will heed it. It would be foolish of me not to listen to the warnings of the insane, yes?" Etsu stated to Onimitsu or at least, who she thought was Onimitsu. He seemed to have 'come to'. "I shall tend to you and make sure that the poison that has entered your body is removed. I have an antidote. Also….it was a pleasure to do battle with you," she returned the bow. "I will also make sure that you are well enough to move as I only feel it fair to do so. Might I ask…who was it that I was speaking to?" She meant speaking of Oni-hime.
Onimitsu sweat dropped over the comment about listening to the advice of the insane and gave a non-committal shrug in reply. When she pressed on and offered to aid in the removal of the lingering poison in his system, Onimitsu reflexively took a wary step back before mentally admonishing himself for the act. And while he intended to decline the offer at first Etsu's last question elicits both a heavy sigh and equally heavy handed facepalm. The latter of which he quickly regreted since a Kikaichu had decided to sting him right on the forehead earlier.
As welcome a distraction as the pain was, the swordsman still found himself right back at square one. "This ones…. *sighs*… A far gone predecessor of this one who insisted that life and death should be in her hands… as it supposedly once was during her time." He stated wearily with a shake of his head, then peered up at Etsu to ask, "Why did you ask?"
"Hmm," Etsu thought over this momentarily, but shrugged it off mentally soon after. "I was only curious. I hadn't encountered someone who had dual personalities before. It's unusual…and unsettling. Disturbing, discomforting, troubling," she slipped her hands into her pockets. She was pretty tired and now that the adrenaline was wearing off, her breathing grew heavy and slightly labored. "But, my question has been answered. I will tend to you now." She proceeded to make her way over to Onimitsu.
Onimitsu raised a brow, wondering for the first time if it all really did come down to just dual personalities. If so, just how damaged had he become since running away from the clan, and more importantly, his responsibilities? With a shake of his head, the swordsman dispelled most of such troubling thoughts and set his eye upon focusing back upon reality once more. In seeing Etsu approached, Onimitsu raised up a hand in a halting gesture. "You need not trouble yourself young one, this one… let us say that this one is quite experienced in handling poison and leave it at that." He chuckled sheepishly. "You on the other hand do not look so good…. Hmm, perhaps it would only be honorable to extend aid as well?" He asked more of himself than of her.
Etsu stopped at the gesture Onimitsu offered. "If you say so." Guess that's less work for her to do. "My condition is fine, though. I am only tired… Some rest should do me some good and water," she explained. "For now, I'll stay around until I am certain you are stable. Then I will try to find a place to rest and possibly seek out something to eat later."
Onimitsu canted his head in disbelief then righted himself and shook it. If that was to be her wish then he could not force his services upon her. Technically. And besides that… "Because of my-… *coughs*.. what this one meant to say, if that is to be the case-…" Faster than the human eye can follow, Onimitsu disappears from view and reappears a few trees away, shouldering his medicine box once more as well as donning the mask. "Then this one must be off all the sooner, if this one is to keep thou kindness from being wasted and turned against thy." He chuckled and gave a two fingered salute. "Ja ne." Then vanished once more with the only trace of his existence being left (besides the blood, skin, etc etc.." Is a small bottle labled "Invigoration!" left in the last spot he was last scene.
An hour later in some deeper portion of the Bloody marshes, Onimitsu can be found hunched over a pond, 'de-toxicating' himself…