Date: September 18, 2010
The siege of Sunagakure is broken, and the Storm of the Century is over. It's time to pick up the pieces of a shattered peace. But what lies in wait in the future? And how near in the future will the next disaster strike?
"Broken Memories Pt. 2 - What The Storm Took (And What It Left)"
A mighty battle took place yesterday morning. Many other battles have been fought over the past two weeks as well. One in particular managed to wipe out most of the bandit army in a single day. The remaining bandits remained to fight more due to the leadership of the experienced mercenary named Shinji than because they thought they had a chance anymore. And also, there is the fear of retribution from the mysterious 'Koro' if they flee to keep them on the battlefield. Eventually, however, not even this was sufficient. When faced with three Jounin of Sunagakure, what bandits remained ran for their lives.
The two 'bandit lords' remaining tried to salvage the situation and rally their 'troops' to take anything that was not nailed down and return to their base camps out in the desert, far away from Sunagakure, but the mercenaries didn't like that idea, and the bandits themselves were not especially interested in taking orders anymore, so the mercs were left with their supplies and weapons and the bandit lords were left with nothing. One followed his men in their retreat, the other remained. He stayed because he had nothing left. His forces were decimated and all he had left was the desperate hope that somehow, Koro would pull off a win and reward him for his loyalty.
This hope seemed to be grounded in reality, when Sunagakure forces pursued the fleeing bandits, only to fall right into a number of traps situated around the battlefield. Explosives akin to land mines, pits full of sharp and unpleasant things, sharpened stakes pointing outwards to ward off a full charge, and many other things. And then the fighting for the past two weeks took a back seat in intensity to the level of carnage wrought by the 600 mercenaries remaining. Unlike the bandits, they had come >prepared< to fight. They had >experience<. And someone -- likely Koro -- had seen fit to bestow upon them some rather exceptional weapons and other siege tools. Cannons that rained down hundreds of kunai on those below, senbon machineguns, flamethrowers, high-voltage electricity projectors, catapults that flung boulders covered in explosive tags, and more! All of it in the hands of a trained and confident foe.
Many of Sunagakure's remaining soldiers were killed, as well as some of their ninja. However, a Council Member joined in the fight, along with a Sasaki Genin of more-than-Genin capability. They, along with the remainder of the non-shinobi forces, and three Jounin, managed to stem the tide of death briefly, and drive the mercs disguised as bandits back.
A lone figure had crept through the corpse-strewn desert, claiming choice bits of meat for itself. When it was caught in the cross-fire, the undead creature known as the Ghoul of the Desert had joined the fight as well… More out of a sense of self-preservation, rather than animosity towards Sunagakure's attackers. The bandit lord that had remained behind to gather his reward from Koro was the Ghoul's first victim. An attempt was made to turn the mercenaries' own weapons against them, but ultimately both the Sunagakure forces >and< the Ghoul discovered the 'bandits' falling back was a ruse. One of the kunai cannons exploded, and killed more of Suna's fighters. The 'bandits' kept on falling back and leaving trap after trap to hamper and harm pursuers. Eventually, however, with the aid of the terror induced by the Ghoul of the Desert in those mercs who were Land of Wind natives, they were forced to leave the battlefield entirely. 100 of the 600 mercenaries were dead. All of the bandits were gone.
But Sunagakure has suffered grievously, and four cloaked figures had swept clean any trace of the mercenary retreat. There would be no easy tracking of the 500 mercenaries. Most of what they left behind was rigged to explode if tampered with as well. This was a black day for the Sand Village.
But at least the siege is over.
It is evening on the following day. There has been no further signs of attackers, or of the dreaded Ghoul. Both seem to have been swallowed up by the desert. So many dead… And for what? Well, it is time to attend to the wounded, and to honor the deceased. It is time to rebuild and regrow that which was lost. And yet, the Kazekage remains lying in the hospital, unconscious. No one has been able to figure out how to wake him up yet. How will Suna handle the rebuilding efforts and everything else without a Kage to lead it? Unbeknownst to all, Sousa is in more dire straits than previously imagined. He is, infact, close to death. He has yet to go over the edge, but something has to change or he will be lost…
Even now, he may feel lost in the darkness. Within his own mind, within his own spirit, he is floating in liquid blackness. No sense of time, no sense of direction, just a smothering, cold, and yet somehow-comforting darkness. What will become of him?
What will become of >everyone<?
Sousa's been through a lot of strange experiences before. His quest for knowledge has led him through experiments of the body, mind, and even spirit, often aided by his early training as a monk. So, the coma he now finds himself in is not totally unfamiliar territory…but even still, there's something unique about it. In his previous delvings into the world of the unconscious, there's always been some sort of lifeline, something tethering him to the waking world. Now, it's as if he's been thrust into a darkness that is fully intended as a prison for him, with no thought for a means of getting him back out. Of course, that doesn't mean such a way doesn't exist. ;) And since there seems to be little /else/ to study in this environment, Sousa has been patiently probing this internal oubliette, seeking an understanding of its workings--and yeah, having a way to get out when he feels like it would be good.
Itami got treated the day of the siege, getting bandaged up for wounds that were more than healing could manage, but for the most part she was alright. A little depressed and worn, but alright physically. She sat within the walls of Suna nearby the gate, thinking to keep on patrol after the events that happened the previous day. Things were getting tougher and the weight of the village's problems was on her shoulders as well as the rest of the council since the Kage is in his coma. She had to think things through. She couldn't go out and fight too much because then she wouldn't be much use to the village, however staying inside could be one less to aid in the effort of anymore threats that are around.
This makes the council woman quite frustrated, but she has to try to keep it together. A sigh passes from her lips. She was beginning to think everything was out of her control. "How do I…." She doesn't even finish her question when she begins to hang her head and sigh once more. How does she handle this?
And of course, Itami, was never without her student, in the form of Sasaki Imota, that aformentioned, more-than-average genin. He had indeed suffered various burns and abrasions from jutsu, as well as deep gashes and cuts from kunai launched in waves in that previous morning. It was a battle unlike that he had ever seen or even known of in his youth. The attacks and strategy mounted by the bandits, had been by no means sub-par. It was like that of an armed militia, whose guerilla warfare, though not showing the determination of trained ninja, put quite a wrench in any mounted attack Sunagakure's seem to mount. He had been sore, fatigue due to chakra use being his only other diagnosis. Nothing that balm, and a good nights rest could take care of.
Imota of course had been along with the woman he called both Boss and Master, just outside the door of the place she dwelled. He had been looking out to those forces whose traffic seemed to move in and out of Sunagakure, trying there best to start a recovery, while things were quiet. Had they trully been done? It was a continuous thought, but when Itami's words had been spoken, the boy would flicker to her side, landing on one knee, and speaking out with a soft, "Itami-no-kimi?", wondering if all had been well.
In a secluded area of the Sunagakure hospital, Takumi paces slowly around a table. Laying on the table is the mangled corpse of Goro, the man who had caused so much trouble recently. The medic-nin has been tasked with performing an autopsy in an attempt to discover the youth's secrets. In the room are two other ninja who Takumi addresses as he states his findings.
The body is missing a shoulder, and there is a large hole through the torso, both caused by acidic strikes, courtesy of Kuoroke. The arm belonging to the melted shoulder has been laid out besides the body like a very large snake. Takumi remarks that the deceased clearly underwent Soft Physique Modification surgery in the past. He calls for one of the attendants to bring over the surgical tools, and prepares to investigate more thoroughly.
The woman known as 'Yoko' to just about everyone in Sunagakure, outside of the Kazekage, has had a rough time. But there are others that have had far, far worse. Once the earthquakes stopped, she spent the rest of the night checking up on various people, doing her best as a 'citizen of Sunagakure' (onlynotreally) to keep the villagers safe. This was easier said than done. She found out that a large number of civilians had been lead out of the Village to avoid falling buildings. Good move on Takumi's part, but then the fighting started up. So she helped lead them all back into the Village, and to whatever shelters she thought were stable enough. A baby had been born during all of that, and Takumi had delivered her. Also, there was a little girl that had lost her mother, but though she initially seemed to be in shock, she had broken out of it at the sight of the newborn baby. Now she was incredibly protective of the infant, seeming to have formed a bond with the baby girl somehow.
That was interesting, but not really 'Yoko's business. Instead, she had left the family and the girl they would likely wind up adopting, and went to help out those who had not fared so well. Meimei's specialty is Ninjutsu and combat. Wilderness survival, too, but that's wasn't as useful right then. All this… 'Helping' was wearying. Still, she did what she had to to ensure as few lives were lost as possible. She was torn between wanting to blast the ones attacking the Village, and wanting to just hide somewhere until it was over. Was she scared? Sort of. Mostly she just didn't want to get involved in someone else's fight.
But she could neither fight nor hide, so she performed the duties expected of an Academy Instructor. She evacuated the children to a basement shelter -- but NOT the catacombs under the Administration Dome. She knew very little about those tunnels, but she had heard enough to know that would be a bad idea. Now, though… Two weeks later, with minimal sleep, she is ready to fall over. The siege appears to be over. The last sounds of screams, of metal clashing, of explosions, of various Ninjutsu being used, had all faded away to nothing. She had done her best to help. But had it been enough? She didn't know. But she is wandering in a half-stupor towards the Village Entrance. She is thinking of taking a walk around the cliff walls, just for a change of scenery. Then she sees all the dead still lying around, and determines maybe she is okay with the Village's interior for awhile after all. Turning to look at Imota and Itami, Meimei asks, "They ARE gone, right?"
In the hospital, next to Sousa's bed, with armed guards right outside the door, and other ninja roaming around outside the window and on the roof and so forth, there is someone there who shouldn't be. It is evening, and thus it is safe to walk around without special coverings, but even so, the emaciated figure standing over the Kazekage is wrapped thoroughly in a mix of bandages and baggy clothing. His black cloak and hood drape from his unpleasantly thin form, and a face mask covers his mouth and nose. His eyes are covered by tinted goggles.
Here in the relatively dark hospital room, the goggles aren't needed. Hone Nai lifts the coverings, revealing his eyes. The sclera are yellow, and the irises crimson. Nai watches Sousa breathing slowly, steadily, in some sort of Ninjutsu-induced slumber. Machines keep him hydrated and so forth. The wonders of modern medicine. Nai reaches one hand up and draws down the face mask, revealing a decayed maw with exposed, sharpened teeth. His lipless mouth opens slightly, and a hint of dust streams out as trapped air is released.
"So, Kazekage-sama." Nai begins in a voice that none would recognize as belonging to him. This one is a deep, rich baritone, with hints of aristocracy or somesuch. His normal voice is a raspy, dry hiss, like something crawled down his throat and died there. "Perhaps you are not quite so clever as I thought you were. You may have protected the Village, but what of your own life? A Village can be rebuilt. New ninja can be trained. But a man of vision, of education… That is something else entirely. Skilled leadership and wisdom are hard to come by. And yet you would damn the people of Sunagakure to a fate of ignorance just to save a dozen or two dozen lives?"
Nai shakes his head. "I am disappointed in you. You saved me from an existence as nothing more than a parasitic murderer. You gave me the chance to be something more. But you did not look out for yourself in the process." He pauses and then leans down, dry, withered flesh closing in on the prone Kage. "…But then again, I suppose this is to be expected. You ARE, after all, only… Mortal." Jagged teeth begin to spread apart, as Nai's mouth lowers towards Sousa's throat.
In the darkness that is Sousa's current location -- if "location" is even applicable to his environment -- there has been nothing to give him any indication of whether he is floating, or falling, or rising, or anything. Just a continuous disparity between conscious mind and apparent reality. Thoughts proceed at a normal pace. Eyes still somehow "see" the darkness, even without any light. But there is nothing to gauge the passage of time by. Nothing to actually see >in< the darkness. It's just an empty void.
And then Sousa very suddenly and violently hits the ground. It is hard, and the velocity of his descent probably should have turned him into paste. But instead, he may merely be stunned by the sudden return of tacticle sensation -- even if it is in the form of a cold, smooth, featureless black expanse of ground. No pain from the impact, per se. What is this place? It is obvious now that it is >not< just a void. Voids do not have ground to stand on. So, then what…?
From somewhere off to the side, where any previous glances would have indicated there was nothing a moment before, an impossibly deep voice speaks. "KOKOROE SOUSA," the voice begins. It sounds a lot like a funeral march's dirge, played only on the lowest end of a church organ's keys -- or maybe like the titanic, vaulted doors of a crypt slamming shut, deep beneath the earth. "YOU ARE >EARLY<." The voice continues. It is as dead and cold as the rest of this weird place, and yet there is the vaguest hint of emotion. Surprise? Annoyance? It's hard to say.
If Sousa dares to look towards the source of the voice, he would find a tall black pillar with an even taller black stool behind it, and a desk atop the pillar. Seated on the chair, behind the desk, is a figure in a black robe and black hood. A skull grins out at Sousa from within the hood, and fleshless hands are placed on either side of a rather large and thick tome that has been laid on the desk. Death somehow gives the impression that he would have sighed if he had the lungs for such, or the necessity for something as mundane as breathing. Instead, he taps one bony digit on the current line of his book, and says, "RIGHT HERE. 'KOKOROE SOUSA: TERMINATES CORPOREAL EXISTENCE DUE TO SEVERANCE OF SPIRIT FROM PHYSICAL BODY. AGE: 38.'" Death raises his sightless gaze from the page with empty sockets to look almost accusatorily at Sousa. How he can do that with no skin to make expressions with is unclear.
After a moment of contemplation, Death apparently determines a course of action. "LET US GET THIS OVER WITH, THEN." *BOOMBOOM* goes the coffin-lids-dropping voice that emanates from the Grim Reaper. He reaches for a feather pen and ink well that have appeared in the air next to him. Whatever is about to happen is probably not going to help Sousa's situation any.
Right at that moment, in the hospital, a nurse approaches Sousa's hospital room. The sound of the guards greeting her and performing the security checks and so forth that they must to protect the Kazekage are loud enough to be heard in the room itself. Enough warning, perhaps, for Nai to 'put his face on', sort of. A moment later, the door opens and the nurse emerges into the room. If Nai is still standing there when she turns to face Sousa's bed, then she'll be startled, and then upset. And probably demand to know what Nai is doing there, and yell for the guards, and so forth. If he has somehow managed to hide himself, then she just changes the various IV bags and so forth, and makes sure everything is alright. That should take maybe 5 minutes tops, and then she'd be gone again.
Meanwhile, as Takumi examines Goro's body, he'd find that it's not just his arms that have undergone the modification, but the legs as well. Without even really examining the legs, that should be apparent to a Medic-Nin, because the tendons that attach to the legs are connected to 'artificial joints' and 'artificial ligaments' and so forth that extend up into the body cavity. They are essentially extra connective tissue and connecting points to allow greater flexibility >and< easier channeling of Chakra to make the tissue soft and malleable.
Nothing else jumps out immediately. Goro is a very fit, very tall young man, who has been surgically modified. But there's something else… There are scars that look as though many small objects used to be implanted in his skin. Puncture marks? Something else?
Those at the Village Entrance would see no sign of more enemies right now. Simply lots and lots of dead people. The survivors have been trying to gather up all of the dead, regardless of which side they belong to, more so that they do not attract scavengers or potentially disease-carrying pests than because of anything as flimsy as morality. But there are a >lot< of dead people. Vultures and jackals have already arrived, as have lots of insects. At least there's no wind to carry the stench of baking rot to those standing watch…
It's been a long trip, made slightly longer due to the events that happened in Konoha a few days ago. Still, the Mednin otherwise known as Moriko volunteered and is currently making her way toward the village. The lone figure is currently dressed in a simple armored body suit, carrying a mid-sized backpack, a heavy utility belt, and is draped with a large poncho-like outfit that keeps the sand off her body. Around their mouth is a metallic mask and over that the wrappings of the poncho. Over her eyes is a pair of goggles and over her head, the her poncho's hood, this tied around the crown of her head by a simple rope it seems. Hanging out of the hood are a few whisps of silver hair that blow in the wind as the nin travels.
Soon enough she comes on bodies, large numbers of bodies it seems. The girl frowns and kneels, examining one of them and then glances up, looking to the stone walls that surround the village. She stands and begins picking her way between the fallin nin, making sure she's quite visible as she slowly approaches the town so as not to draw any undue aggression. "Jeeze, there's serious need of a body cleaning crew, this area'll turn into a plague zone!" she says out loud. Still, she closes, now possibly quite visible to anyone on lookout. As she gets closer she puts her arms in the air and calls out. "Helloo! I'm an envoy from Konoha! I've come to offer what little Aid I could?!?" She shouts out, the girl cupping her hands around her mouth to project her voice. "I've come in peace!"
Oof. Ground. Of a sort. e.e Well, at least we're finally getting somewhere, thinks Sousa. Ground gives a basis of orientation. Toward the ground is down; away from the ground is up. Now, if only there were some manner of landmark to be found, another dimension of orientation could be established. Two landmarks would be even handier, it would provide a means of creating an entire coordinate system.
Sousa blinks. Slowly, he turns around and sees the specter looming over him. Ah, that'll do. Sousa makes a mental note to treat the vector from the chair to the desk as 'North', though he'll have to be careful to note any change to the chair's position. "Typically better than being late," Sousa replies. "'The late Kokoroe Sousa'…hmm, doesn't have much appeal to me." Sousa decides to test how much ninjutsu applies to this environment by attempting to walk up the pillar's side. "Not that there isn't an obvious likely answer, but in the interest of being absolutely certain that my data is accurate, with whom am I speaking?"
Itami lifted her head to look at the one who addressed her and huffed softly. "Oh, Imota-san…" She softly regards his presence. "How are you faring in all of this? Well, I hope…" Her tone lacks any life or enthusiasm, a complete contrast to her normal self. "Have you been able to help with the relief efforts? If not, then you should speak with some of the Seishukuni wandering around. I'm sure they'll have something for you to do." She grows quiet after this, and adjusts her seat against the wall so that her legs are parallel to the ground while she sat upright against the wall. She'd then turn her eyes toward the sky, looking up in a thoughtful, or maybe hopeless manner, but Yoko's comment manages to snap her out of her thoughts and focus back on her saying, "I'm…unsure. That is why we have guards and volunteer fighters remaining vigilant to make sure that we are able to combat the enemy should they seek to return." She explains. "But for now, things are quiet, so I am only assuming that they are gone for the moment."
Itami felt the need to rise up, but her lack of motivation kept her down. Everything was so difficult. Just when times were beginning to grow tough, she's already thinking of stepping back. While this all runs through her mind, she lowers her head once more to think, but she draws a blank each time. She's combating with her own self against what to do and while the obvious answer is to 'get over it' and move on, she's held back by her fears. What if she doesn't do something right? What if she makes some kind of mistake that'll harm the village? What will happen /if/ those mercenaries manage to come back? Questioning her leadership abilities isn't the best thing to do right now and is only making matters worse for her.
Once again, she's locked herself into her thoughts, despite the people standing around and those that may be addressing her, but a warning comes in from a messenger who had been sent from watch to tell her of someone from Konoha arriving at the village. Itami, nodding in reply to the messenger and sending them off, rises up from her place on the ground and tries to straighten herself back up to greet the person properly. Dusting herself off a bit, she then begins her walk towards the gates, gesturing for Imota to come along and Yoko could follow if she wished. Upon arrival, she motions the guards aside and exits the village along with a small unit following her for the benfit of her safety as well as to be an extra pair of eyes for anything that couldn't be seen from above. "Greetings, and welcome to Sunagakure." She tries to say with some hint of happiness. "I apologize for what you see before you. We are working as diligently as we can to try and get this situation resolved. Please, come inside. We'll give you water and food as I imagine you are a bit famished from your trip. Inside is a bit more easy on the eys as well, but still can be a tad unsettling at times. Might I ask of your name?" She inquires while allowing Moriko to follow her back inside. She supposes if she's gotten this far, she might as well perk up and continue on this streak. It might lead her somewhere.
His name being said would promote a sharp nod, as he would come to a stand, and respond with, "This nin heals well, Itami-no-kimi. Your functioning state however, is that of which this nin is concer-..", his words being cut off with that of her own. He would hear the lifelessness in her voice, something that would get no real emotion reaction via facial expression. He would however, in response to her question respond with one of detail. "This nin, though suffering slight injury, has participated in the recovery of bodies from the field, but only until fatigue had set in. Otherwise, after finding your location, this nin stood by only until you had seemed within the mental state to address or brief." He would look to say more but then Yoko would seem to address them both, Imota standing aside momentarily and bowing.
He would have his own words for the woman whose actual identity was unknown. "This nin believes that retreat had been a tactic used on the battle field. While it had been made clear that this enemies tactics had been strong, it is suspected by myself, that this attack, was not as carefully planned as many others. However, in theory, this nin believes that it was not the /actual/ attack. Though this may be believed as paranoia, this nin's logic observed more waiting by many of its numbers than actual attacking." He would see Itami trying to stand, and attempt to help the woman. Her behavior, needless to say, was intense for him to observe. Imota had never seen Itami this distraught, or bothered, by anything. It had been something he wished to investigate but to do so now, seemed totally unfit. Her mannerisms, according to books he read like, "The Err of Confidence.", and "Dummies Guide to Self Esteem", had talked about how people often questioned themselves during times like this. Rough times, often brought on stress, and questioning of one's abilities when faced with adversity. He observed, and would attempt to say something to Itami, but yet another interruption would come walking in.
A masked and hooded wanderer, someone claiming to be aid from the Village Hidden in Leaves. They had been well geared for travel through the harsh sands, from what Imota could see. This suggested chuunin rank or higher. He would look to Itami's addressing of the person, and before long, he would seek to retrieve what had been the food and water, almost immediately flickering and returning with smaller rations of such, and holding them until such were reached for or needed to be given. Imota, for the most part, had been on standby, and until he were ordered otherwise, he had not wished to leave Itami at this critical moment.
Nai hears the voices out in the hallway, and stands up swiftly. So close. So close to killing the Kazekage. So close to his plan to replace Sousa and become the NEW Kazekage. So close… To making a terrible mistake. Nai replaces his cloth face mask and adjusts his goggles, not bothering to try to hide himself. He could have if he wanted to. But he is too dismayed by his own actions and thoughts to try to conceal his presence. That, and perhaps he feels guilty and wishes to be punished by being found.
Either way, as the nurse shows up and spots him, Nai turns towards her. Waiting for her outraged cries to cease and the guards to enter and begin questioning him. In his raspy voice, Nai answers their questions. "I am Hone Nai. I am the head records keeper at the Administration Dome. Kokoroe Sousa means a great deal to me, as does what happens to his life. My apologies for not coming here during normal visiting hours, but I wished to see him alone." He bows deeply, apologetically, and sincerely. His arms are kept at his sides as he remains bowing until such a time as he is told to do otherwise.
But he is not really concerned. Even with two skilled Chuunin in front of him, a civilian witness, and probably a dozen other ninja ranging from Genin to Jounin hanging around outside the hospital room's window, he feels no fear. He is fairly confident he could kill the ones in front of him and escape before anyone burst through the windows in time to see who had done it. Not because he is more powerful than the Chuunin, but because he simply has capabilities they do not. Like not needing to breathe, and being able to expel lethal gasses from his mouth. In an enclosed space like this… There is no way they'd be able to avoid it.
But he has no desire to kill them. He really just wants to be left alone right now. He wants to be forgiven and excused, and allowed to go to his basement-like home and sit there and think about what almost happened. But he doesn't know if he can be forgiven in times like this. Someone already attempted to take down Sousa once. And Nai almost did it himself. How can he be trusted? Maybe they didn't SEE him try to bite into Sousa's jugular vein, but so what? He was here without permission.
He would just have to wait and see.
After making his remarks on the various Soft Body Physique modifications in the corpse, Takumi picks up a scalpel and begins to examine the series of scars all over the body. In each location there is thick scar masses, and the underlying tissue shows signs of adapted regrowth. In many areas, the bones underneath have marks in them, as though something was once anchored within. All of this leads the medic to believe that whatever made these scars were long-term implants, removed somewhat recently on a grand timeline. In areas where the scars dont lead directly to a bone anchor, the scars and healed wound channels point directly toward major clusters on the nervous system.
Takumi now walks around to the top end of the table and picks up a straight razor to shave the top of the head in preparation for a cranial examination.
Ryoji has connected.
Meimei nods to what Itami and Imota say to her. She can understand Itami's drained feeling. More than she will dare to let on, really. She has lost a lot of friends and family herself, and all seemingly for no good reason. This may not be her 'real' home, or her 'real' people, but she lives here now. She sort of wishes she had the same connection to Sunagakure's people that Itami likely does.
"Probably. That was pretty well-organized. It was like some kind of massive hit-and-run operation that lasted for two weeks. Whoever was able to generate those earthquakes and that storm… I doubt that kind of power would have been called off just to send a bunch of ground troops in to finish us off. It would have made more sense to shake us into the ground and then hunt down the survivors, not do the job part way and then… This." She gestures at all the dead.
"Add to that the bandits seemed to be attacking in an unorganized mess, with little attention to strategy, and then the MUCH better-equipped guys showed up at the end… Yeah. I think the larger number of enemies were being treated as expendable." She hmms and looks out at the increasingly dark desert. The light of the stars and the moon above are sufficient to see by for most. For Meimei/'Yoko' they are completely unnecessary. She removes her goggles in order to look out across the desert, and her inherently light-amplifying eyes easily detect the lone figure approaching long before she gets within range of the guards. She doesn't comment, though. She is trying to make out any kind of identifying features or hitai-ite that this person might have. Before she can do anything further, a messenger comes running up, and then off they all go to greet Moriko!
Covering her eyes back up, 'Yoko' decides to stay quiet and keep at the back of the group. Just incase.
Sousa's attempt to walk up the pillar is not very successful. He makes as much progress as a completely mundane human being attempting to walk up a wall without aid of tools. Which is to say, he can put one foot on the flat surface, and then if he tries to put the other foot up, the first one slides off and he is in danger of falling on his rear. The booming voice from above, though not 'loud' per se, still gives the impression of great force behind it somehow. "YOU ARE A BIT LATE TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT BEING LATE." Was that a joke? The lack of inflection beyond what is necessary to sound like a disturbingly inhuman entity makes it hard to judge. Death dips his pen tip into the ink well and then begins to write over Sousa's information in his book. "I AM THE DEATH ASPECT. YOU MAY CALL ME 'DEATH'." In the middle of adjusting the date of demise, Death continues speaking. "THIS IS NOT THE APPEARANCE YOU WERE EXPECTING." It is not a question.
"I WILL PROVIDE A BIT OF EXPLANATION WHILE I FINISH REVISING YOUR REGISTRY INFORMATION. DEATH, AKA ME, IS AN ANTHROPOMORPHIC INCARNATION OF A UNIVERSAL FORCE. IN OTHER WORDS, I AM WHAT PEOPLE BELIEVE ME TO BE. MORE PEOPLE AT PRESENT BELIEVE IN THE 'CLASSIC' LOOK, AND SO HERE I AM. I CAN ADJUST MY APPEARANCE IF IT MAKES YOU MORE COMFORTABLE." Before Sousa has a chance to interject or agree or decline, the pillar and the one sitting at it abruptly vanish vanish to be replaced by a large, humanoid figure draped in a white kimono, with very long sleeves. A huge amount of bushy white hair grows from the head and all around. Two horns protrude from the forehead. The skin is dark purple, and the eyes are glowing purple slits. A knife rests between the fangs of the figure's mouth, and prayer beads hang from its left hand.
The Death God floats before Sousa and speaks without moving its lips. "BETTER?" The answer is most likely, 'No'.
The nurse relaxes a bit at Nai's explanation, and apparent lack of hostility. The guards are more reluctant to just take the word of this guy at face-value. But then the nurse says, "Well, in the future you really must come during scheduled visiting hours. You can be provided privacy then, without having to sneak around." The two Chuunin still seem hesitant to just let this go. One of the Chuunin says, "Come through the door next time, too… Where we can see you." That seems to be enough for the other one to relax too. Still suspicious, they all file out of the room. Except for the nurse, who has to do that IV change thing. Nai is free to go, it seems.
But if he pulls this again, he can expect the response won't be as peaceful.
One of the medical assistants in the examination room that Takumi is working at seems a bit puzzled by the discovery of the depth of those scars. The fact they are spread in various places on the body, and seem to be placed intentionally… She can't imagine what these 'implants' could have been for. Maybe some sort of physical therapy to correct impairments? She has seen such things before. But given that this young man was quite healthy when he was alive, it seems odd that he would have a disability like that… "Uhh, could it be that someone was trying to… 'Enhance' the subject somehow? Some implants can be used to 'train' muscles and the nervous system to be stronger or respond faster with mild electrical current." Pause. "I think, at least." She looks to the other assistant for confirmation, and then back to Takumi, hoping her idea may have helped somehow.
Hmm, no ninja capabilities. Not too surprising. Sousa pulls out a scroll and makes a note about this, and also about Death's introduction and explanation of his appearance. It occurs to Sousa to wonder if his body is making similar motions, or if he's actually writing onto his own memory somehow, or if this will ultimately turn out to be a pointless exercise. Well, even if there's no physical record, the act of writing it should at least help Sousa remember it later.
With the visage of the Shinigami facing him, Sousa feels tremors going through his…body? Probably not, but that's how it feels. Separating his emotions from his intellect, Sousa clears his throat. "That is quite interesting. Tell me, if your appearance is dictated by popular belief, does it follow that your behavior is similarly democratic?"
Mo unties her hood, then removes her goggles, though not the mask. "It may seem callous though, b'fore I go in, may I suggest you send nin out here with masks, and gloves, on and start a burning detail? I didn't see sign of attackers on my way in, none whatsoever. But if you don't start removing these bodies, you'll have a bigger problem on your hands. I'll help with that, if you want." She then oh's and offers a little bow as she wanders in with the two. "I'm Kirryu Moriko, Medic Jounin from Konoha. Sorry we couldn't send more right away, but we had our own issues and couldn't spare anyone till now. I was able to volunteer to come here, there is still a lot of cleanup back home." She states and then she draws a scroll from inside her poncho, holding it out toward Itami as she reaches the shade. "My papers if you require them." she says, those odd blue eyes of hers glancing over to Imota, then taking in her surroundings.
"I guess I arrived a bit too late to help much with the attack, but maybe I can help your injured and maybe with the cleanup? I'm hwere, so may as well put me to work, yus?" she says and then glances back at the field. "Wonder when this chaotic nonsense will stop." She whispers, then Moriko glances ahead, and finally back to the nin that greeted her. "Also if possible, maybe get a bit of a briefing? Something I can send back to my Hokage and see if we can't get you some medical supplies sent your way?"
Itami feels a bit of annoyance in what was said, but she knows it was only a suggestion, so she tries to treat it as such instead of taking it as an insult. "We will do that, but I think you might also understand that our forces are stretched very thin at the moment. There are many things that need tending to and while the bodies is high priority, gathering the people necessary will be a tad difficult. If anything, I believe those of the Seishukuni will handle that and some of our own who are brave enough to endure such a process." She explains. "So you'd have to forgive me if I'm unable to do things quickly enough…" Inhaling deeply she sighs and continues, thinking she came off a bit stern.
"But thank you for the suggestion and your assistance. You have mine and the village's gratitude. I know you didn't have to be here, so I apologize if I've come off a bit…stressed. I am Itami, one of the four that sits on the Sunagakure Jounin Council. I send my regards to your village and what troubles they may have faced." Lifting her hand to take the scroll in it, she opens it and examines it for a few moments before she closes it back and slips it away to go over later. Once they're within the walls and away from the graveyard that is the outter walls of Sunagakure, she turns to Moriko and says, "I…have something to ask of you." Before she completes the statement, she asks for someone to retrieve water for her and finds herself interrupted with the idea she was going to ask. "I'm making a very bold move here, but I think I'll task you with leading the round up of the bodies that lie outside and since you're eager to get to work…"
She looks around at the people gathered around her and then past them to see the victims that are limping around or other wounded that are wandering and yet being aided by what medical ninja and professionals they have on call. "I'm placing a great amount of trust in you and will try my best to gather up the people needed for the task. I'll give you a briefing as soon as I can, or perhaps I can task my…best assistant Imota to give you the briefing." She smirks softly.
Takumi looks up as the assistant states her hypothesis, but doesn't look at her. When she finishes he remarks, "That sounds plausible." He then goes about removing the hair from the scalp, adding, "I saw him in action before, and I don't doubt that he could have been enhanced in some way. The presence of Soft Body surgery in the limbs supports that idea." Takumi pauses as he looks down at the now-bare scalp, "As does this. There are more scars on the scalp here, but these are much more severe." He points a finger along as he explains, "These scars here, where the skin puckers more. These were sizable openings, as if the skin was cut open, and then sewn shut either around something, or after its removal."
The medic taps the flat of the shaving blade against the skull absently. "This man had a lot of work done, all of it seemingly elective procedures. Not to say it couldn't have been against his will. And here, along the hairline, some sort of…brand. Theres a series of symbols marked on his scalp, possibly some sort of identification system. As for what it would identify, Im not sure." The medic-nin then holds his hand out toward one of the assistants, "There's still deeper to go. Bonesaw please."
All of Itami's words so far had held truth to what had been of concern. Spoken well from a council woman of this village, Imota had been listening to her words, more as an example of diplomacy, rather than for anything of value. After all, he had been around for everything she had spoken of, from the collection of those who had forfeited their lives in the fight, to even the fight itself, his own eyes observant of the tactics and movement of the bandits in and out of the battlefield. It would seem the jounin assigned to them, had been of medical personal. Just something they would need in the field. This changed alot of variables in Imota's mind that would cause recovery to be made more efficient.
He would move to pack the rations away, seeing as how the woman seemed quite eager to move into duty, and when assigned to do the briefing, Imota would nod, and say, "This nin shall answer as needed, Lady Kirryu, of the Leaf. May this nin guide you to location in particular? The gather of bodies lies outside these gates, and personal, and civilian facilities lie with the confines of a crystal abode established by the Seishukuni. This nin would advise that any of those areas would have need of you particular expertise in the understanding of the dead, or the living."
Nai acknowledges the instructions given him, along with the warnings, and then leaves the room right behind the guards. He departs the hospital on foot. Soon enough, he is on his way to his underground home. He has a lot to think about. Not much disturbs Nai after the things he has seen and experienced. But nearly losing control like that, and making a decision to end Sousa's life on the spur of the moment like that… That is not like him.
This will require a GREAT deal of thought…
Shinigami's hair is holding a shield or reflecting pool or something similar in a stone base in front of its chest. A replacement for the 'book of the dead', perhaps? Either way, he responds to Sousa by saying, "NOT NECESSARILY. MORE SPECIFICALLY, DEATH IS ABSOLUTE. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHEN OR HOW, BUT ALL THINGS WILL EVENTUALLY DIE. I JUST KEEP TRACK FOR RECORDS PURPOSES. A LOT OF SOULS TRY TO RETURN TO THE LIVING WORLD. HAVING A RECORD OF THEIR ARRIVAL AND PROCESSING KEEPS THEM FROM SUCCEEDING. USUALLY, AT LEAST. AT ANY RATE, PERCEPTION DOES NOT DICTATE HOW THE UNIVERSE FUNCTIONS, ONLY HOW IT APPEARS. SO WHILE I MAY APPEAR TO BE ONE THING OR ANOTHER, I WILL STILL PROCESS YOUR TERMINATION THE SAME REGARDLESS. AFTER ALL, BELIEVING ONE'S LUNGS ARE STILL OPERATING WHEN THEY ARE NOT WILL NOT PREVENT SUFFOCATION." A pause as a ghostly image of Sousa rises from the mirror's surface, along with a number of katakana words that flow around the image in a circle. "THAT IS JUST AN EXAMPLE, MIND YOU. YOU DID NOT SUFFOCATE."
Another pause, and then Shinigami turns his gleaming gaze from the image before him to the real article. "…HOW >DID< YOU CEASE LIVING? YOUR REGISTRY IS NOT TURNING UP ANY INFORMATION ON THAT." Ah-hah! An opportunity! "YOU ARE HERE FOR A REASON, BUT INDICATIONS ARE THAT YOU ARE >NOT< TERMINATED YET. HMMM…" A silence hangs after that sound of contemplation. Shinigami vanishes, transforming into a perhaps much more palatable form.
The black robe and hood remain. But what the robe clings to and emphasizes is a >much< more feminine shape. The face inside of the hood is that of a human female. With light skin, wavy blonde hair, blue eyes, and a skull clasp over her collarbone. Held in hand is a scythe larger than she herself is. Death speaks, and his/her/its voice remains the same. Dark, ominous, and inhuman. Completely incongruous with her--his--its--whatever's appearance. "IT SEEMS THAT A RECENT ARRIVAL IS THE CAUSE OF YOUR PRESENCE. HERE IT IS. 'TATSUSAKI GORO: TERMINATES CORPOREAL EXISTENCE DUE TO DESTRUCTION OF VITAL ORGANS BY CORROSIVE SUBSTANCES AND BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA. AGE: 17. STATUS: TERMINATED (TRANSCORPOREAL).'"
She seems to be reading from a diary-looking book… Black with a skull on each cover. "THIS MISTER GORO HAS FORMED A LINK WITH A LIVING CONSCIOUSNESS EVEN THOUGH HE HAS ALREADY BEEN PROCESSED. MEANING, ESSENTIALLY, THAT HE IS DRAGGING YOU WITH HIM INTO DEATH EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT YOUR DUE DATE. YOU WISH TO CHALLENGE ME TO A GAME OF CHESS FOR YOUR RIGHT TO RETURN TO THE WORLD OF THE LIVING, CORRECT?" The beautiful Lady Death smiles, red lips curving pleasantly to show perfect, white teeth. "I DO NOT BELIEVE THAT WILL BE NECESSARY… YET. INSTEAD, I WILL SEVER THE TIE BETWEEN YOURSELF AND MISTER GORO. IN EXCHANGE, HOWEVER, YOU WILL AGREE TO FORFEIT YOUR RIGHT TO CHALLENGE ME WHEN IT >IS< YOUR TIME. THE ALTERNATIVE…" She extends the hand holding the scythe to point off into the distance. It looks a graveyard has popped up there somehow.
"DO WE HAVE A BARGAIN? CHOOSE WISELY."
Takumi's work on Goro's skull reveals some disturbing things. More disturbing than cutting open a corpse, that is. For one, it is fairly obvious before the skull is even cut open that both the head and its contents have been… 'altered'. The skull appears to have had been opened up in the past, >removed<, and then replaced with a larger, artificial container for the brain. It seems to be made of a similar enough material to bone that Goro could keep on operating normally without any damage. Otherwise he would have dropped dead long before he was acid-punched by Kuoroke. But the fact remains that his skull is >removable<. And inside… Horrors.
His brain is not how it should be. It's just… Wrong. Parts of it have been heavily modified with >additional brain matter<, others show so many folds and signs of age that Goro would have to be decades older than he appears to be to have this much change to his brain. This is not normal surgery, enhancement or otherwise. This is outright replacing who the young man named Goro >was< with what someone else >wished< him to be. It is unlikely that the original personality and memories of Goro still existed intact in there. But the most disturbing thing of all is not the extensive modifications, the replacing of a human being with some conglomeration of other bits and pieces from >other human beings<, or the fact that this may or may not have been voluntary. No, that's not the worst part.
The worst part is what lies right there in the middle of the brain, right on the surface. It's hard to see from close up. But the assistant that spoke before is standing far enough away to see it. She gasps and actually drops her tray of tools on the floor with a loud clattering, as a hand comes up to her mouth in shock.
She tries to pull Takumi back to a distance where he can see it too.
Nai is, of course, permitted to leave. That's what the hospital people wanted in the first place.
Meimei stands by at the back of the group of ninja, watching as they all come back into Sunagakure, refreshing themselves with food and water before the grisly task of collecting and burning the bodies begins.
And where there is an enormous pile of boulders and gravel and rocks bigger than Sunagakure itself, all once part of a mountain, there is now also a man. The same old man that was controlling the stone giant and possibly the sandstorm as well, when the siege was just beginning. He is searching for something. Something lost among the debris. He can feel its presence. "…What a bother." the old man mutters. Then he cracks in half, and each half falls to the sides. Crouched where there was once an old man, there is a much taller man in a black robe with red clouds. He has spiky brown hair on his head, and a black ceramic mask on his face with a red question mark emblazoned on its surface. He rises to his feet, cracking his neck from side to side and rolling his shoulders. The eight foot tall man turns towards a specific boulder that he had previously overlooked.
"There you are," he says to no one in particular in a deep voice. Then he starts walking. What he wants is right here. Goro may have failed, but that doesn't mean the plan itself was not mostly a success… Or that it cannot be a complete success still. The tall stranger sent Tomoyo away, along with the Onohara woman who had aided him initially. Their usefulness here is at an end. They would be better used elsewhere.
In just a moment, the Sunagakure forces trying to recover and rebuild will find that the conflict is not over yet. Inwardly, the masked man regrets having to kill so many people for just one piece of information. But he consoles himself with the knowledge that all he has done, he has done in the name of >peace<…
The ninja out on patrol and watching from Sunagakure's walls may notice the movement out by the former-mountain-giant-thing. If so, then word should quickly be delivered to Itami, and whomever else would be best to notify.
Takumi takes a step back as he looks inside the braincase of Goro's corpse. He has seen many grotesque things in his career as a battlefield medic, but those were horrors of a violent nature. What appears before him now is not a horror of violence, but of will and disrepect for the vessel of the soul. To butcher someone so without the intent to kill is beyond his comprehension and he is stunned for a moment, unable to really make anything of the situation. As he is pulled back by the nurse he is confused as to what she wants. When she points, and his mind kicks back in and he sees it.
All the strange changes to the brain have a pattern to them. A burn here, stitching there, a raised lump of extra brain forming a certain curve. From this vantage point it all sickeningly flows together to create the kanji for "Memory"
Sousa continues writing in his scroll. "Fascinating. So, despite all appearances--and apparently they are myriad--you are not a being, you are an impersonal force, or rather the lack of one, and you behave in an entirely predetermined manner." Sousa eyes the newest transformation of Death. Well, even if it's not a person with actual thoughts and desires, it does appear to have goals, and intelligence for reaching those goals. It's taken this new form because it wants--no, aspires would be a better term--to make Sousa feel more positive about accepting its proposal. It's trying to gain something here. Hmmm. "I have a better idea," Sousa remarks after a long pause. "What would you say to this…"
A couple minutes later, something even weirder happens in the hospital room where Goro is being dissected, though perhaps not as viscerally shocking. A scalpel from the operating table…floats into the air, apparently of its own volition. Slowly, it turns and moves…until the blade is resting against Goro's chest. A light incision is drawn into the skin, just enough to stain dark with what little blood still lies in the flesh. The knife lifts, then makes another cut, and another, and another. Finally, it falls back onto the table with a clatter, having spelled out in spidery letters the word, 'RESUSCITATE'.
Visible only to himself, Sousa takes a step back from the operating table. "Phew, that was remarkably difficult for such a simple task. Well, three minutes remaining. I do hope the medical staff makes good use of it." Sousa turns toward Death and pulls out his scroll again. "Meanwhile, I mustn't waste such a rare research opportunity. What could you tell me about the relationship betwixt body and spirit?"
The patrols atop the walls and various towers do see this and while some are a little baffled, others make the move to go and tell Itami right away and what other council members were in the area. Both sides, or every side rather, deserved to know at this time. This situation looked like it was turning ugly. Rushing down from above, running down the wall and jumping down to the ground in a crouch is a chuunin who gives Itami notification about the strange activity happening at the mountain of boulders that once was a large golem.
Itami's heart skips a beat and she winces in return. Why did something like this have to happen now? It seemed like just when she thought the peace was here, it was beginning to get interrupted again. Itami doesn't stay around to talk, this time, she was going to go and deal with this quickly. As she turned to run out of the village, she told the guards to warn everyone within the village as well as the surrounding area to get to safety. Wherever safety may lie. She wasn't sure if this disturbance was going to be large, but she was taking the necessary precautions before more could happen.
Whoever decided to follow could, but she'd much rather that didn't happen if it meant more lives being lost and taking away from those that needed more help.
Mo sees the guardl, and glances at Itami curiously, before looking to Imota. "Mahyaps I'll be of more service afterall…" She adds, then sighs. "Kinda hoped the fighting would be over. Can y'tell me of the defense plan?" she asks curiously, then glances around and back to the others. "And where you'd like me?"
Hearing Moriko's words, and then the commotion that seem to follow along the perimeter, Imota would dumb to not see something had been going on. Just when he had been thinking only to be a guide, looks like Imota, would have to be a fighter once again. He would not seem to be so much informed of what had gone on, until he would then began to hear what had been the surprise above him. Imota would find the nearest wall and run up it, reaching the watch towers there of, only for his eyes to widen, in what had been the large structure he had ever seen resemble anything human. His missions before this conflict, had kept him from seeing such the first time around, so this indeed, had been the first time he had ever seen the rock giant. He would go down back to where Itami had dwelled, his mouth seeming to stutter in overall disbelief. Had this been logically even possible? Even with Earth manipulation, had something like this been easy to create?
Lady Death responds to Sousa by explaining, "WITHOUT A SPIRIT, THERE IS NOTHING SUSTAINING THE BODY. WITHOUT A BODY, THERE IS NOTHING CONTAINING THE SPIRIT. THE TWO ARE INTRINSICALLY LINKED. WHEN THAT LINK IS BROKEN, TERMINATION IS IMMINENT." She watches the proceedings of the autopsy, and the reactions of those who are supposed to resuscitate Goro with an expression that shows vague interest, and cheerfulness. But how much of that is real, and how much is perception? "IF YOU WISH TO PREVENT YOUR OWN TERMINATION IN THE FUTURE, I WOULD ADVISE THAT YOU CONSIDER REMOVING THE VULNERABILITY OF THE LINK BETWEEN SPIRIT AND BODY FROM THE IMMEDIATE RANGE OF THOSE THAT MIGHT SEEK TO BREAK IT. THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO DO THIS, BUT FALSE IMMORTALS ARE A NUISANCE. I WILL NOT AID YOU IN THE EXACT METHODS. THEIR KIND NEVER KEEP APPOINTMENTS. THERE ARE INDIVIDUALS FROM 10,000 YEARS AGO THAT I AM STILL WAITING ON BEFORE I CAN CLOSE THEIR FILES. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW THAT MAKES ME LOOK? CERTAINLY, THEY WILL >EVENTUALLY< BE TERMINATED, BUT UNTIL THEN I HAVE TO RESERVE A TEMPORAL CLAUDICATION FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM. THERE IS ONLY SO MUCH TIME AVAILABLE, YOU KNOW. AND AT THE END OF THE UNIVERSE, I WOULD LIKE TO BE ABLE TO SAY TRUTHFULLY THAT I DID MY JOB, NOT BE FILLING OUT PAPERWORK FOR PEOPLE WHO SHOULD HAVE DIED TWENTY BILLION YEARS BEFORE."
Lady Death flips open a skull-shaped pocket watch she got from… Somewhere. "75 SECONDS LEFT, BY THE WAY."
Out by the former-mountain that had been shaped into the giant before it was destroyed by Sousa's Lightning Release landing right on its weak point, the tall stranger has found what he is looking for. The glowing green gemstone lies on the opposite side of a boulder bigger even than the 8 ft. tall man. It sits and glitters innocently, the stars and moon seeming to moving across its reflective surface, even though they would appear to be remaining still to anyone who looked at the sky. The last living descendant of the Eldest Son of the Sage of the Six Paths stares at the gemstone, feeling it calling to him in a chorus of seductive whispers. The voices try to convince him to take it and use it. He deserves the power. Only he can use it properly. No one else can be trusted with it. Only he can bring peace to the world.
Amuro stares at it even with no eyeholes in his mask to see through. Then he bends over, his huge right hand extending towards the stone. He grasps it, and feels he power trying to flow into him. 'You can do anything now. The Stone of Body is yours to command. Command us. Command us! COMMAND US! NOW!' With the skill that comes with many decades of practice, and the willpower of one who can keep on living after more than a hundred years of pain instead of just dropping dead, Amuro suppresses the voices, and forces the power out of his hand, and back into the Stone.
"I will use you. But on MY terms." Then he turns towards Sunagakure. He can see at least one person rushing out to meet him. He tries to gauge her Chakra and--Oh. It's her. "…How convenient." Then he holds up the Stone of Body one-handed, above his head, and it flares an amazingly vivid green, not unlike the wave of light that swept over Sunagakure when the giant was initially destroyed. This time is different, though.
No giant rises to smash the Village. Instead, the mountain's remains rise up into a pillar, that in turn becomes a snake-like structure. This structure then begins to slither across the desert at high speed. Or rather, it is moving slowly, but given it is multiple miles long, it covers a lot of ground. The snake-like head gobbles up every corpse it comes across. All those dead littering the desert, and soaking the sand with blood. It will be a little while before it gets all of them. But even now, things are becoming quite bad for Sunagakure's people and defenders.
The dead are emerging from the side of the serpent, stumbling out of the solid stone and dirt and gravel, and then remaining standing. Then they begin to walk. They walk towards the Village that, in life, they died to protect. They walk towards the Village that, in life, they died to destroy. They all walk together. Unified in death, the remains of the deceased walk forward to gather more to their cause.
And the stone serpent's coils move to cut off Itami from the Village, by piling up behind her, hundreds of feet tall.
Amuro takes no pleasure in using the power of a Sage Stone for such a gruesome task. But it is for peace, that he does it. "I am the next 'Savior of this World'!" he calls out. The Stone of Body whispers to him about how correct he is. This time…
This time, he listens.