The Mizukages Challenge

Author: Pilot

Date: April 29, 2010

"The Mizukage's Challenge"

It was around six in the morning by the time Toru had reached Kumogakure's
administration hall. The offices didn't open until seven, but there was
bound to be a few people around - At least the Raikage. As the he rushed
through the corridors, the sound of a six-string and the pounding of drums
accompanied by a powerful voice. The Yamayuki's band, 'Thunderstruck'
must've gotten back from their mission early, Toru thinks to himself.
Breezing past the boys as they sit around a desk, sleepy-eyed but
practicing, the Yotsuki archer whips into the Raikage's office to find the
backdoor to her zen garden open. Outside, Takahashi Raiko looked up at a
thirty-foot tall block of specially treated steel. Even just standing
there, Toru thought she was gorgeous and regal, like a princess in samurai
armor. Enough to stop him dead in his tracks as she moved with perfect
Grasping her katana's sheath, Raiko flicks the hilt up with her thumb. So
fast were her next movements that Toru couldn't couldn't detect for all of
his talent and skill. Her brown skin shone in early morning sun and didn't
twitch in the slightest. Her wispy, pale blue hair didn't shift from its
cloud-lit-by-lightning impression. Not even her armor rackled or made a
sound. But she moved. One instant, the large block of treated metal was
intact and the next, it was sliced in half. The cut was so fine that it
took Toru a few seconds of squinting to find it. It didn't even look like
her sword had left its scabbard in the slightest.
Turning round to the young man, Raiko bows her head in greeting before
striding up to him. "Good morning, Toru-Kun", she greets him, "If you're
here, that means Masahiro-Sempai has something to report".

"Masahiro-San's latest attack against Kirigakure's Wave-based forces was
successful. However, he encountered the Mizukage who…", the Yotsuki
began to say hesitantly, having heard of how hot-blooded his leader was.
"Who challenged you to a duel at Whale's Cape in three days.. Well, two
days now… He said to come alone", Toru finished.
Instantly, Raiko thrusts her sheathed sword into the jounin's hands and
marches through her office. "Bring that sword to the Storm Sister's Forge
and get it repaired. I want it fixed and blessed by the time I get to the
Southern Gate"

"B-but, what if it isn't ready in time? The Mizukage-"

"Will be killed with my bare hands!!"

"At least take-"

"I forbid any Cloud nin from coming along!!", she shouts with finality,
leaving Toru in the hallway. As she makes her way down the hall, the
Yamayuki boys peer out from around the doorway to their office to see what
was up. A moment later, Raiko is sent off with a song:
"As a young girl chasing dragons, with your wooden sword so mighty!
You're Jubei or you're Izanami, and you always killed the beast! But times
changed very quickly, and you had to grow up early!"

"He'll die as you live, in a flash of the blade! One woman, and her

Raiko prowled the edge of Whale's Cape like a tiger, katana in hand and
ready to fight. It had taken her an afternoon to reach the appointed
place, forcing the Raikage to wait for her challenger. Even if she had
gotten tired of waiting, it was worth it. Raiko had dreamed of such duels
of honor since she was old enough to talk. The noble samurai, living a
life filled to the brim with honor, slaying evil men and mythical beasts,
making a difference with nothing but a katana and an unquenchable spirit -
That was the life her father had taught her to aspire to. It was
unbearable to think that she was supposed to have put those dreams away
and walk a different path, one that had long ago lost all substance by
comparison. Leaving behind her old life to become Takahashi Raiko opened
the door for the Raikage to take her place among the legends her father
used to tell as she slept. Tonight was another opportunity to live like
the old tales.
Holding her sword to the darkened sky as the storm raged on, wind rushing
in from the churning sea, Raiko shouted with all her might. "Mizukage,
show some honor and come out! I tire of waiting!!", she cried above even
the thunder that clashed over head. A bolt of pale blue and white pierced
the sea just beyond the cliff, and like a beast from her childhood
fantasies, Kaguya Mitsuo appeared.

Even under the oily, black storm clouds that smothered all source of
light, Raiko could see him - Not a man, but rather, a devil poorly
disguised as one. He might have been handsome, if he hadn't overused his
bloodline inheritance to modify his body. A pair of Bone-plated fingers
clicked when he brought them together in anticipation and a triumphant
sneer twisted his face. Looking down his nose at her, Mitsuo asks her in a
soft, mocking voice "Did you get lost playing make-believe, little girl?".
Her answer was a quick swipe of her katana that would've sliced the
Mizukage's head cleanly from his shoulders had a shadow not suddenly
materializd and parried her with one of its sickles. Wearing the skull of
a wolf for a head, the shadow stared hungrily at her with its empty
eye-sockets and bayed for her blood. Leaping back, Raiko whirled her head
from side to side as shadows began to pull themselves from the blackness
all around her. One by one, they joined in the howling of their mate and
before long, Mitsuo added his laughter to the terrible chorus.

Raiko's mind raced - Were these mortal men or some nightmarish spirits
that Mitsuo had summoned? They fought like no barbarian she had expected
to face tonight. A sickle split the air toward her neck as a spear rushed
in from behind. Both were parried in the flight of a single second.
Whatever they were, they protected one another, coordinated every movement
from attack to defense, and above all they never let up.
Ducking under a flurry of kunai and rolling away from another volley, the
Raikage charges toward one of the skull-wearing shadows with her sword
ready. If she could kill this thing, it would drop the barrier they had
placed over the area to keep her here. Instantly, Mitsuo appears at the
being's side, grabs it by the scruff of its cloak, and pulls it out of
harm's way. The Hand of Death didn't even try to defend itself, knowing
that it couldn't but one of its' teammates could. Ten seconds in and
already things weren't looking good.
"You dishonorable dog!", Raiko roars at the Mizukage, "Heaven Sundering
School: Sonic Collision Sword!". Grinding her boots down and skidding to a
halt, she swung her sword so fast it broke the sound barrier, cleaving
Mitsuo in half. A great clash of thunder hammered into his airborne
remains, smashing them into water droplets. In a flash, a whip of thorned
spinal bones coiled around her sword and a Hand of Death knocked it from
her hands with a mighty, rising kick.
Leaping back, a spear tore through her right thigh, dropping her to one
knee. As a handful of assassins lunged in, Raiko broke the spear's shaft
with a chop of her hand and brought it round into an uppercut that sent
the nearest minion into the air. "Don't think I can fight without my
sword!? My soul is the only blade I need!", she shouts, swaying and
slugging amongst the group before making her move.
Flipping past the crowd, Raiko forces herself to run, cartwheeling and
ducking underneath the rest of the wraiths who tried to get in her way.
Reaching the Mizukage, the samurai woman cries with all her might, "Divine
Celerity School: Ten Thousand Punches!!". Mitsuo's ribcage explodes in a
mass of bone that snakes around his body, layer upon layer, and takes the
brutal beating that Raiko launches. Three seconds later, the warrior
woman's hands are covered in blood, the skin crushed, the knuckles busted.
As the Hands of Death surround her once more, Mitsuo terminates his jutsu,
letting the large ribs fall in a heap. "Ha! Calling me a dog when you come
running with your tail wagging at the mention of honor", the man-made
devil laughs, "It's an embarassment that you're also a kage". Before the
killing blow can be made, shouts fill the air…

"The barrier's down!"
"Cast the Five Elements: Heavenly Sealed Space technique!"
"Too late, the enemy is here!!"

As if on cue, three dozen Cloud ninja materialized from thin air around
the Mist pack.

As the Cloud ninja led by Masahiro join the battle, a certain genin named
Hoiishime picks up Raiko's lost sword and sends it spinning through the
air. Despite her broken hands, the samurai turned ninja reaches up to
grasp her beloved blade. Off to the side of the battlefield, the Yamayuki
band 'Thunderstruck' began performing a duet with their cousin, Maia. The
sound of their music tore through the rock and earth of Whale's Cape,
guided by their blood inheritance so as to target the Mizukage and his
"I thought I said that you were all forbidden from coming here!!", Raiko
barks angrily at the other Kumo nin. One among them calls out over the din
of battle, "You said we weren't allowed to help you fight Mitsuo,
Raikage-Sama! You never said anything about fighting this trash!".

"Yeah! Your duel is with the Mizukage!"
"Leave these creeps to us!"

Now facing off against both Masahiro and Raiko, Mitsuo starts to realize
just how quickly this ambush turned around on him. Sure, he had
anticipated some back-up, but not this much. Time to play his trump card
before Masahiro gets his chakra levels up there with the Raikage's, or all
the cards in the world won't save him. The two strongest shinobi in
Kumogakure were staring knives into him.
As Hoiishime begins to use healing jutsu on Raiko, the devil rips away
the fur adorning his coat. The child laying across his shoulders couldn't
be more than four years old. The little girl didn't move at all - She was
drugged into being nothing more than a drooling, glassy eyed statue.
Immediately, the Hands of Death drew back their cloaks to show off their
own pilfered children. The battlefield suddenly grew very quiet.
"Now… Here's the deal", Mitsuo calmly states with a smug expression,
"You give us your honor-bound oath to let us go and we'll drop these kids
back off in the village we got'em from". Raiko opened her mouth to
protest, but the Mizukage cuts her off sharply, "Or is protecting the
people of Lightning beneath a Cloud ninja's honor?". When her eyes
smoulder, he throws his head back and looses a laugh cruel enough to make
the Ruler of Hell jealous. There was no doubt in his mind that she would
trust him to uphold this bargain after baiting her honor. For his part, he
was going to set the captives free too - Otherwise, Kumo couldn't trust
him when he played this tactic again, and he needed that trust.
"You…", Raiko growls. Her gaze burns Mitsuo before she tilts her head
and spits on the ground. Sheathing her sword, the Raikage points a finger
at the Mizukage, "We'll follow you back to the town you stole these
children from, just to make sure you don't harm them. If you do, the Gods
themselves won't be able to save you from us".

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