Date: August 23, 2010
One arrives as the other causes a disturbance. After follows a slightly philosophical pick me up and an interesting confrontation
"Before the Metal Monolith"
Raiun Falls in Kumogakure
A rediculously loud clang rings out for miles, easily over the din of the waterfall. Atara steps away from the giant iron monolith, shaking her hand slightly. There is a huge indent in the steel, almost four feet deep. She whistles, impressed. The sound is easily drowned out by the sound from the vibrating wall. She digs a finger in her ear. "Loud." she mouths. She stares up at the rusty steel wall. "Must have been a Murasame."
Setsiro is suddenly here, standing an easy 100 yards from Atara, eyes stuck in her direction. She is dashing in her direction, moving to investigate the destructive sounding noise. She had halved the distance quickly before she started to slow down, recognizing the wandering monk standing in front of the monolith. She frowned slightly, and called out, "Ito Hitomi!" her voice clear.
The monk stands there quietly for a few moments, staring at Setsiro. She figures the girl must have been pretty close by to show up so quickly. Or maybe she was being followed, which would not surprise her. Atara coughs into her hand a bit before straightening up and smiling meekly. "Hello, Miss Setsiro. I am sorry, I didn't think it would make such a big noise."
Setsiro steps closer, steps becoming less smoth, less sinuous as she came out of her readiness for battle and her hand fell from the hilt of her sword to a regular swing by her side as she moved. She inclined her head, "It is quite alright. The making of the sound, I mean. People come here to create explosions at any given time regardless. I would think, however, that something so obviously a monument would be spared from blatant vandalism by a visitor. It is quite… rude, Miss Hitomi."
The monk blinks rapidly. "A monument? I somehow doubt that. It looks more like a very powefull defensive technique. Most likely a Murasame. Look at the ground. This thing must have come out of the earth at amazing speeds. I seriously doubt this is a monument, just another battle scar on the earth, that the earth is reclaiming."
Setsiro gives Atara a dubious look, "The is likely where it came from, yes. But it marks an important part of Kumogakure's history. Therefor it was left as a monument, no? Monuments are important for the symbolism, not their physical appearance or contents…" She gives a half-shrug at the comment. "In any case, it is requestion that you refrain from now on."
The monk bows her head slightly. "I apologize. All I saw was a battleground and a big rusty wall. I did not see that it would be important to your society. Again, I apologize." Atara steps away from the wall. She sighs. "I am a horrible monk. No wonder they sent me on this journey."
"Truth," said Setsiro unflinchingly, though without any measure of malic or meanness. "You do not seem to be very well in touched with your spirit and, sometimes, your mind, if this is any sort of basis. But all start out that way, and there is always a basis for improvement. At the very least, you have your physical aspects down to a high enough level that you should be free to pursue growth in other areas."
The monk laughs loudly. "So I'm just some big dumb bruiser. Yeah, that sounds a bit right. Maybe I should just stop pretending to be something I am not. It's just so hard. I try to be wise, but I think I just sound self-important when I try…" She sighs and pushes her hood off her head. She pushes her hair back and loks up into the sky. "Maybe I should just give up."
"Nonsense," said Setsiro, frowning slightly. "I had not meant to say that. I was simply stating that work, study, and meditation would be in your future. Like most all things, practice is all it takes. Simple time and effort spent. On my off times, I would not mind aiding you in this. And it is not my being pretentious. I have had no training as a monk or ever sought it, but I know that I can offer another perspective. So… I do."
Atara leans up against the wall and is quiet for a little while. "I have studied most of my life, but none of it ever sticks. All I am good at is fighting. I am the best fighter in my monestary by far. I even think I could give some of your shinobi a good run for their money. Thanks for the offer but I think this is something I need to figure out for myself…"
Setsiro nods, "…I understand. Some things need to be done for oneself." She eyes Atara's back as she leans on the monument, letting out a soundless sigh at the sight. But she puts it out of her mind. "Regardless, in life you take what you have and you use it to scratch out the best life that you can. You do your best to hurt as few people as possible, you call yourself a good person, and you be content."
Atara laughs. She has no apperant idea that she is likely ruining her robes by leaning up against rust. "You see? That is wise. I could have never been said it so perfectly. 'Be the best person you can be' is about my limit." She smiles. "Thanks. Once again you fill my life with wisdom while I stomp around and destroy things.
Setsiro sighs a little, "I am not trying to be wise, Hitomi. It's… just the way things are. I, personally, think you recognize these things. Is it not common sense that you should do the best you can? That you should be yourself when you can be no other? You know more than you think, monk. You always do."
The monk runs her fingers though her hair. "I guess your right…" Atara sighs. "I just feel so stressed being away from the monestary. I'm not able to train, hang out with my friends… But in all seriousness I do not think I am suited for the life of a monk. I love traveling and fighting, but much of the philosophical things go completely over my head. And frankly, I just don't think I am all that smart."
Setsiro srhrugs, "Knowledge comes from experience. It is my feeling that cloistered up at you must have been in your monk's training, you have not gained very much of it. And that is what traveling when you don't need to is about. The experience. As for the friends, simply make new ones as you stop. You will see the old again as you choose. The same goes with training and your partners. From what I hear, those you trained with were nothing as a challenge to you, regardless. There are methods of ameliorating your stress." She runs a hand through her hair, looking vaguely uncomfortable. "Of course, youre life decisions are your own to make."
Atara pushes off from the wall a bit. "Yeah, I guess I just need to get some more world experience before I get a bit more life experience, huh?" She smiles a little. "Yeah, but I can't really do any of the real fun ones. I mean, I punched a giant Iron Wall and before you know it, Bam! Turns out I am attacking some place of historical importance."
Setsiro shrugged again, noticing she seemed to be doing a lot of that, as of late. "I suppose you simply have to choose which experiences are important to you, and which are worth their cost." She coughed into her hand, hiding a small smile that'd finally managed to make its way out. She loved the monk's vibrance. The smile was gone with the hand. "For every fun one you should not do, there should be a fun one that you can, no?"
Atara blinks a few times. "Oh?" She then rolls her shoulder a bit. "Like what? Got any ideas?" She bounces up and down a bit on the balls of her feet. "And if involves trying to knock down giant walls, I am so in."
Setsiro arched a brow, examining Atara's sudden readiness. She spoke slowly, "I suppose… it is up to you to find them." She could not ignore the practical fighter's stance the monk had and she did say that she would help as she could. Timing was perfect, as she was off duty for the rest of the day and tomorrow. "I will train with you," she said, finally.
The grin on the monk becomes huge. "Really? You will train with me? Awesome. Don't worry, I will try to go easy on you." She reaches forwards and lightly punches Setsiro on the shoulder. She then moves back a few feet and leaves her hands loosely at her sides. "Whenever your ready. Attack me any way you wish!"
Setsiro inclined her head gravely, nodding to the monk as she retreated a few steps. The place where her fist had touched the chuunin on the shoulder still tingled slightly as she remembered not too long ago when the monk had aided her in the training of Amani. Fierce woman. "I will attempt to keep any harm done to you to a minumum." She nodded and said, "I strike." Suddenly, her blade was in hand and, if she landed, a small line of blood would appear on Atara's cheek.
The girl jerks her head back slightly and the small blade passes by harmlessly. "Whoa." As she leans back she brings her leg straight up to deliver a stomping kick to Setsiro's chest. She doesn't even take up any kind of stance, fighting from a very neutral position.
Setsiro's blade flashes up, pushing the kick up and away from her, letting it pass her on the side. Her arm continued lashing out, and the sword in her hand swept towards the monk, aiming to making a thin cut on the inside of her thigh and curve to do the same to her shoulder.
"Swift," was her mutter.
The monk pulls her leg back quickly, but not quick enough and a small thin line appears across her thigh. The quick swipe to her face leaves no mark- she must have missed by a hairs breadth. Her hands lunge out and attempt to grab the youth around her neck and wrist to stop her form moving. As she does this she leaps up with a knee to the gut, trying to hold her still to make the attact hit more solidly. She understands why the girl is using non-damaging attacks, as a sword can deal more lasting damage than a punch. She decides that she needs to teach this girl that she just can't pussy-foot around with her.
Setsiro's legs flex just the slightest bit, pushing her backwards just enough to avoid both blows, her hair teasingly sliding across the monk's hands as she grabs, the knee curving into the arc of her body but leaving it untouched. "Swift," was Setsiro's murmured reply to the attacks; the third time she had said such a thing. She decided to use the fact of the attacks being near misses to her advantage. She follows the knee in as it retracts, her blade lashing out to make three cuts, the 5'2 woman striking at Atara's cheek every time.
"And powerful," was said as she moved. She could almost feel the force of the attacks despite them missing, and she was far too in tune with her blade to not realize she had struck but caused little damage anyways. Atara was tough. And had swift reflexes. No wonder she was the best where she came from.
The monk plants her attacking foot on the ground with a powerfull stomp and throws a wild haymaker with her right hand. It is sloppy but rediculously fast and with a freakish amount of strength behind it. "Come on! Stop playing with me and hit me!" Her cheek eupts in small flecks of blood as the blade bearly breaks her skin.
Setsiro attempts to evade the haymaker with a backwards leap, but underestimates the speed of the blow due to its poor form. She pays for it, making a small grunt as the blow takes her in the shoulder, sending her downwards. She slides against the ground on her shoulder for a few feet before lashing out at the ground with her hand, flipping her up onto her feet. The slide slows to a stop with the chuunin in a crouch.
She grimaced and slowed… her slightly labored… breathing…
"I will consider it," was Setsiro's calm reply before she began to walk forward, blade brandished at her side.
The monk rolls her shoulder lightly. "Wow, it feels good to do that again, you alright?" When she sees Setsiro moving towards her she simply grins. She takes a deep breath and focuses and centers herself, getting ready to continue the fight. "You are very good. I havn't been able to fight on this level for a long, long time."
"Thank you," said Setsiro, rolling the shoulder that had been struck. Her sword arm. Always fun. "I will honor that praise by truly pondering causing more than light damage. Perhaps, before the end of this.. spar, your blood shall overflow." Her eyes flicered to the numerous lines she'd made where blood was seen but had not fallen. And then she leapt forward, lashing at Atara's collarbone, aiming to make a broad, thin line all across her torso.
The monk lets the strike hit her, bearly flinching as the strike rips across her chest between her breasts. The wound, again isn't deep and she does not try to bother defending against it. It does however, open up her cloak to show the pale skin of the inner-breast and the skin between them. From monk to scantily-clad stripper in the flash of a blade. She seems quite uncaring and tries to grab hold of Setshiro, this time moving with much more skill and form.
Setsiro lets out a soft, slightly strangled gasp as she tears the monk's robe open to immodesty, and she does nothing to cover herself. The small woman does nothing to protect herself as Atara's hands lash out, grasping her by the throat and her arm. A blush she has not met since she was seven years old flooded her face, tinting her cheeks a rosy pink and bringing color to the rest of her pale face. "Apologies," she managed to choke out, eyes flashing to the monk's.
The monk smiles a bit, glancing down at her almost completely exposed chest then back up to the blush on Setsiro's face. A small bit of understanding seems to dawn on her face. Then she smiles even more and locks eyes with the slightly younger girl. She brings Setsiro face to face with her, the grip around her neck not loosening in the slightest. She stares into Setsiro's eyes for a long moment before she leans in just a bit and plants a quick, soft kiss. It is almost just a friendly kiss one would give a sister, nothing naughty. "Not as sorry as me." The then spins and a fierce power floods into her body. She hurls the girl into an over-head throw at the giant steel monolith. Her strength is simply monsterous, and she tosses the girl as if she weighed litle more than paper.
Setsiro's eyes slowly widen at the touch of Atara's lips on hers… and then she's flying through the air, the stunned girl's body limp with lack of oxygen from the stranglehold and surprise both. Her travel came to an abrupt stop as she met the metal wall with a sound louder than the first punch Atara had thrown at it. Her shoulder made a dent in the steel and she bounced off, her body instinctuall tucking so that she flipped to her feet. She staggered as she landed, taking a few graceless, uncoordinated steps before she leaned onto the monolith, her breathing deep and even. Her eyes moved to the monk's direction, hovering about her face, not quite able to her eyes, stunned as she was. She coughed, crimson flecking her lips. "You have earned blood."
The monk actually winces as the amazingly loud sound the massive steel wall makes as it reverberates from the impact of Setsiro hitting it. Inwardly though, Atara is grinning. That was fun. Outwardly she looks a bit concerened. "Oooh, maybe that was a bit too hard… Are you okay?" At least Setsiro landed on her feet. Atara drops out of stance and moves to walk over. The fight was over in her mind.
Setsiro takes a deep breath, steadying herself. "I will be well after a night's rest, no doubt. I will require extra stretching in the morning, however, and the bruise will take a few days to fade. Training with my father later today will be difficult, but I will persevere." She loosens her grip on her swords, not having noticed that she'd been holding it in a death grip, her knuckles bone white.
She brandishes the sword at Atara, ignoring the annoyed complaints her body made at her for moving her shoulders so. They would be dealing with more than that. "You have earned bloodshed, Ito Hitomi. Stand and receive your reward." A sudden movement had her swords sheathe whipped in the monk's direction and shuriken flew from it towards her. It was replaced on her hip and the reizei began to stalk forward, movements smooth.
The first two shuriken hit her, but do not penetrate the skin. The third sinks into her belly, but it is calmly brushed out of her flesh. Her once worried look is soon replaced by a more serious frown. It seems Setsiro is willing to go further. That is fine with her. She walks forwards and right into the range of the Kumo-nin's sword. Then she is a blur of movement as she attacks with a brutal front leg sidekick to the knee before it snaps upwards towards the head. Again, each strike is not very skilled, but the strength behind them is equal to some of the strongest of ninja.
Still blurry, Atara's first blow manages to strike her thigh despite her efforts in evasion, and she had to use the momentum of the strike to pull her around, ducking under the kick to the head. She growled lightly as she put weight on the leg the monk had just kicked, but ignored it. Her blade lashed out, swinging three lightning slashes at the monk's exposed stomach. She knew most of her defending would have to be done with her blade from here on out.
Attempts to slip deep into Setsiro's guard and she pulls a knife out from under her robe. It isn't so much a combat knife but more a small pearing knife, and indeed it is a small pearing knife. She is able to get into Setsiro's guard fast enough to slam the knife deep into the girl's belly, perfectly placed to miss any important organs. As she tries to continue the assault she is pushed back by Setsiro's continued attacks and takes two large gashes, one crossing from shoulder to hip while the other slashes a gouge across her face. It is hard to see where as the woman turns with the slash, hands coming up to cover her face in pain, leaving herself wide open for any further, unlikely attacks.
Setsiro slowly brings her weapon down to her side, having seen but not truly registered the weapon in her stomach. She holds her breath, idly noting that the weapon in her stomach was… yes… placed just so. Nothing morbidly important struck. Her eyes lifted to where Atara's would be, gaze fierce. But she could not hold her breath for long, heated as the battle had been, and she took in a deep breath, her face suddenly going pale. She was shaking slightly as her tongue lathed across her bottom lip, wetting it.
She moved her hand over the handle of the knife, grasping it slowly and with distinction, placing each finger carefully. And then she wrenched the blade out, tossing it at the other woman's feet. She tried to move a stray strand of hair out of her eyes, but couldn't seem to find the energy any longer, as if all of it was pouring out of the wounds on her stomach. Her azure eyes remained fixed on her sparring partner's… and the corners of her lips twitched upwards in a gentle, tired smile. "You were correct afterall, Ito Hitomi… You are a terrible monk…" Her eyes promptly rolled into the back of her head and she fell into a faint, sword still held in a death grip.