Date: February 10, 2011
The final match of the tournament is underway! Bad blood exists in abundance between the two finalists. Will their vicious attacks, and their desire to make each other suffer result in disqualification or victory?
"First World Ninja Competition - Grudge Match: Kanami vs. Mune"
Peach Pit Stadium Arena 1 Ring - Kusagakure
The Daimyo of the Land of Grass was a rather important man, and thus it wasn't all that often that he was able to personally attend one of the matches being held within his own country. It was even rarer when the Precious Consort, the Lady Ryoko, would grace the stands with her presence. She was dressed in rather dark, rich earthtones today. A black kimono printed with the thin outline of green leaves covered her from neck to shins, a brown obi sash cinched tightly about her waist. In contrast, Takahiro Shuichi himself wore resplendent, muted blue of fine material and trimmed in gold thread.
Their entrance was heralded first by the samurai who escorted them, keeping a watchful, wary eye upon all around them, ensuring the safety of their lord and his seat long before he and his famous lover ever began to walk down the aisle of the stands, Shuichi holding Ryoko's hand to assist her. After all, her kimono kept her from taking more than tiny baby-steps. Very soon, they are taking their seats.
They are, naturally, the best seats in the house, ornate and gilded, befitting the seated ruler of the Land of Grass. Though not normally one for dramatic opulence, given the public spectacle, he didn't seem to uncomfortable sitting on the high-backed, soft-cushioned chair. Lady Ryoko herself sat upon a slightly smaller chair, set just a little lower than the psuedo-throne her lover occupied. Both are smiling, at each other, no less, as a murmur goes through the crowd at the appearance of the host of this tournament. It being the last match, it was small wonder he had turned up, and rumor had it that a banquet was to be hosted in the winner's honor.
After several minutes, once the general murmurs have settled, Shuichi turns his eyes away from his love and waves benignly at the crowd to hush them, then gestures for the proctor to begin the match preparations.
Yotsuki Raiga was formerly known as 'G' to the people of Kusagakure (and before he was kown as Raiga, he was known as G/Jii. This was the name given him by his parents, after all). Though he is a well-known and easily recognized figure in the Grass Village, due to having spent four years now as one of their best and most loyal Jounin, Raiga seems somehow 'different' now that he is known to be a legend in his own time, as opposed to >just< a familiar protector and friend. Is he still a friend to the people of the Land of Grass? Definitely. He is on a first-name basis with the Grass Daimyou, after all! He nearly died to protect the Village when a freak super-cyclone threatened to wipe it off the face of the planet!
Raiga is still a friend to Kusagakure. But he is viewed with a bit of awe now too. Yet… He conducts himself no differently than normal. He is still bold, imposing, and serious to most, but warm and caring to those close to him. As winter gradually dies and spring begins, the air in the Grass Country is still cold for some visitors. A chill wind blows through the stadium, necessitating warmish clothing for most. Raiga wears pants, boots, and some bandages wrapped about his torso. To him, the weather is downright >pleasant<. The sun is shining, even if the temperature is a bit low. That alone makes it warmer here than back home.
Bulky arms crossed over his broad chest, Raiga watches and waits for the Daimyou to arrive. Once everyone quiets down and Shuichi directs him to begin, Raiga bows his head briefly. That is all the respect he needs to show to even a Daimyou, let alone one he is a friend of. Scanning the crowd briefly with steel-gray eyes, Raiga calls out, "Welcome to Kusagakure, everyone! It is our pleasure to have such a variety of fine visitors such as yourselves! Before we go further, let us all thank Takahiro Shuichi, the Daimyou of the Land of Grass, for hosting this tournament! A round of applause, if you would, for our gracious benefactor!" He uncrosses his arms and claps forcefully, whether anyone else does or not. Once the applause is deemed complete by Raiga, he bellows out, "And let us now give thanks to all of you who have either participated in this tournament directly or encouraged those who did! It is truly all of you that have made this tournament the event that it was! A round of applause for >all of you<!" He claps forcefully again. It is highly likely that people will be more than happy to applaud for themselves, so there is undoubtedly a long period of clapping all over. Finally, Raiga raises the volume of his voice to even drown out the lingering applause for the audience, as he calls out, "Now let us welcome the two champions who have fought the hardest and smartest to make their ways to this, the final round of the tournament! Seishino Kanami, a child of the Land of Rivers and a lady of the theater!" Raiga indicates one side of the Ring. Then he turns his other hand on the other side of the Ring and says, "Kishi Mune the healer, scientist, and my own grand-daughter! Let us applaud for both of these women who have risked so much and come so far!"
In the space between wake and dream; in the time between memory and precognition; in the difference between belief and knowledge -- there it is that some undefined quality dwells that one can struggle to mentally grasp one's entire life and achieve not a whit. What is this quality? It is Nothingness. And Nothingness is where an eight-foot tall man is residing. He is garbed in a black robe with red clouds, wearing a black mask without eyeholes and a red question mark emblazoned upon its surface. He is simply nowhere.
And then suddenly… He is >there<. He is standing alongside the Lady Ryoko's 'mini throne', having completely bypassed all the guards and security measures. Taking a moment to gaze around, the figure that almost no one here recognizes leans back against the nearest wall, and crosses his arms.
«You will be ready to proceed when this is all over,» the tall man's mentally-transmitted words travel to three people here in the stadium. Then he goes silent. If any guards or samurai look in his direction, they abruptly forget they saw him and look away.
Kanami waits. She waits and waits. When the audience is cheering and clapping for the Daimyou, for themselves, and finally for herself and Mune, the actress continues to wait. She has no reason to do otherwise. Mune has to come out first. Then she can make her dramatic entrance. But as the seconds tick by and turn into minutes, Kanami realizes that Mune intends to come second this time.
"Interesting choice, Mune-chan," Kanami whispers. Then she comes riding into the Ring on the back of a large white serpent. The snake is not 'giant' per se… But she is definitely bigger than even in the largest 'normal' snake. Kanami is dressed in a kimono that has a pattern of flames rising from the hem, and up towards the neckline. White, followed by various hues of yellow, and blazing varieties of red, draw attention to Kanami immediately -- just incase the snake big enough for three people to ride on its back comfortable didn't do the job.
Slithering forward, head up proudly, the white snake comes to the center of the Ring, where Raiga stands. She flicks her forked, black tongue out to taste the air and fixes her pure-black eyes on the proctor. "Hyuu… Kanami-san, thisss human sssmellsss like birdsss!" a high-pitched female voice says. Did the snake just SPEAK!? Kanami climbs off of the snake's back and says, "He is not food, Cham-san." Cham turns her head to face Kanami and says in a wounded voice, "Cham did not think he wasss! She only mentioned his sssmell!" Kanami makes sure her masks are all attached to her obi and then says, "Aa, my apologies Cham-san." Cham is silent for a moment, then looks at Raiga intently. "Ssso, Cham really can't eat him?" "Correct." "Hyuuu!" Cham sulks and then vanishes in a cloud of smoke.
Kanami places a mask with stringy black hair, a mouth full of sharp teeth, and no sign of eyes behind the bangs that hang down, directly to her face. She does not activate it yet.
Once Kanami emerges and her snakey companion has vanished, Mune enters. Indeed, she wanted to be the last to arrive this time. She wears something a bit different from her normal garb. The same white longcoat, the same pants, the same boots, the same black one-piece underneath her coat that leaves a vertical strip on the middle of her torso bare and thus gives the illusion of not wearing a shirt… But the coat has a pattern of black clouds upon it. An interesting addition, though the significance may be lost upon most.
The dark-skinned woman strides confidently and purporsefully to the center of the Ring. Unlike when she faced Kanami before, she feels she can win now. The blonde-haired Medic-Nin has learned from that first fight… And she knows now that she has weapons at her disposal that can take down even this actress. Kanami and Mune are both 'geniuses' in two different ways. Kanami just seems to grow and grow in power, without any seeming effort. Mune, however, learns rapidly and masters everything she is presented with. Natural ability versus natural intelligence.
Which one will prove to be superior here? Mune stops a short distance away from Kanami, and looks towards Raiga curiously. "Why did you introduce me as your grand-daughter? Do you think you can form a familial bond with me by advertising our connection of blood? If so, you will have to try harder than THAT." Then she crosses her arms and stares into the face--mask, actually, of her opponent. The fact Mune saved Kanami's life is not going to make the latter hold back, so Mune won't either.
Itami applauded for those that were here. This occasion was a great one and she's happy to be here to see the tournament end. She didn't know that the Daimyou would be attending, but the fact that he and Lady Ryoko were here makes this even more special. She can't say she enjoys the weather all that much, but it's something she'd have to endure. Besides, once the matches start she'd have something to focus on other than how cold she is.
As the last round of the tournament was about to begin, she admits that she's eager to see how this was going to play out. Already, things have started to get interesting. She hasn't seen a snake so tamed as to be ridden. Hmm. She thinks she's going to be getting just what she anticipated. Maybe even more. This battle was going to be something.
The applause for Shuichi is generated, prompting the Daimyo to smile his head and half-rise from his seat, waving to his people and visitors alike pleasantly. As it dies down, and those in the stands begin a new round of cheering, this time for themselves, he turns at the sound of the blonde-haired woman's voice next to him. They were surrounded by their samurai in a loose ring, a few of the Lord of the Land of Grass's personal friends and closest assistants in seats of more or less equal sizes and comfort around them.
Datura, adopting the demure posture of the Lady Ryoko, gestures rather lazily towards the arena itself, her blue-eyed gaze tinged with a speck of worry. "The fighting won't reach up here, will it? I do hope it shall not become too rough. You know how I feel about such things."
Shuichi merely smiles reassuringly, with no small amount of condescension for the 'weaker sex' in his expression as he takes her hand with one of his own much larger ones, and pats the back of it with the other. "Worry not, precious. I have been assured that the barrier fields will hold whatever surprises each combatant might throw. And we have guards, seen and unseen, all with orders to die before a hair on your head is harmed all around us." Ryoko does not seem all that satisfied with his answer, but nonetheless, leans into his arm and does not question further.
A hand strays to the blonde woman's outer thigh, high on her hip. «Everything is prepared. …His touch is making my skin crawl. I want to do it now.»
And yet, despite the insidious thoughts, Datura still smiles at Shuichi as if he were the most lovely thing in her universe. Eventually, her eyes are drawn back to the ring, where she gives a shudder at the sight of Kanami riding in on a snake. When the Daimyo looks at her questioningly, she feigns a small frown and motions downward. "Serpents make me uneasy." Another condescending pat. Arrogant bastard. Soon. Soon. And then out comes that mask. The Lady Ryoko gasps, a hand coming up to her chest as if to start her heart from leaping out of it, drawing in a quick, ragged breath, eyes wide. Arrogant Bastard chuckles, placing an arm around her, assuring her that he will keep her safe. She tries to look reassured. If only he knew, then his smug little smiling mouth would drop to the floor.
"I do hope that man's grand-daughter wins. I don't think I can stand to dine near snakes!" Shuichi merely laughs.
Raiga shows some degree of interest towards the talking snake and her rider -- actually, more the snake than the rider. "A Summoned being, hm?" He arches an eyebrow and then looks away as Mune enters. She approaches slowly, but Raiga shows no sign of being irritated by the delays. When Mune is close enough to speak and focuses on him, he furrows his brow and frowns. "I was stating the facts. I do not know you well enough to attribute more to your name. I thought it fitting that I show pride in the accomplishments of my last living relative. A relationship formed will have to be formed outside of a public venue -- on that much you are correct." Then he faces forward, towards the audience. Turning to look at the packed stadium, Raiga feels almost as though he is missing something. But nothing appears to be out of place. All is ready. He yells, "This match will begin immediately! Fight your best!" Then he vanishes in a flash of light and electricity. The shimmering Barriers close over the Ring a moment later. The match has begun!
Raiga has already appeared on the Proctor's Platform, and prepares to see just what Mune is capable of first-hand…
Kanami tilts her head a bit as Raiga identifies Cham so readily. Does he have experience with Kuchiyose no Jutsu as well? Either way… Kanami does not waste any more time. She thinks to herself, 'I hope you're watching closely, my love.' A moment later a mental message is received. She can tell it was sent to more than just her, but she can only respond to the sender. Kanami finishes attaching the mask to her face just as Raiga pronounces the match has begun. She focuses Chakra into it, and her body and features shift to match the Ju-On Mask. The Mask is no longer a Mask, but her FACE. Black lips peel back from a maw full of razorblades. A terrible rictus if ever there was one. Stringy hair hangs about her head. Her kimono has gone ragged and dull, no longer the fiery blaze it was before. It hangs from her suddenly-gaunt frame, as black fingernails lengthen into claws. Kanami hunches forward so that her long hair hangs in her face, concealing it.
"Don't hate me… Too much… Mune-chan… Don't hate me… For making you… Afraid…! Don't hate me…" Then she whips her head around in a circle, causing her ebony tresses to go flying, before thrusting her face forward, grinning nightmarishly. "…Justbedefeated!" she rushes out in a single explosive exhalation. Then she remains tensed like that, grinning and chuckling darkly in the back of her throat. It's a sick sound, utterly repulsive… It sounds like… 'gur-rum' sort of. Or like someone is choking on something disgusting, over and over.
Kanami's message to the masked man that silently contacted her? «I am ready. Just make sure Datura is too. I want her rested and refreshed.»
Mune scoffs at Raiga's words, but logically she knows she's just trying to find excuses to not become attached to him. She wants to keep him seperate. After all this time of thinking she was the last member of her family alive, to suddenly have Raiga appear and identify her as his grand-daughter… It interferes with her comfortable solitarity. But is she really solitary? She has her companions and allies, including one who has recently stated she will assist in getting revenge on those who executed her family. Is that really being alone? But it doesn't matter, really. Raiga is an outsider. He doesn't get to be part of Mune's life just because he's not dead.
And then Raiga vanishes, announcing the match has begun. Mune wastes no time. As Kanami is transforming, gathering Chakra, and acting strangely, Mune prepares herself… And then lunges in at Kanami and attacks with a left hook at the transformed actress's face. She then lashes out with a roundhouse kick with her right leg at Kanami's ribs. Finally, she tries to smash a vial of acid on Kanami's right shoulder with an overhand-throw from melee range. She's not worried about getting any on herself, apparently. "Don't count on it," she quips back at the Nogakujin.
Mune does not respond to the masked man. She has the capability, but she needs to save all her energy for this match. Expending Chakra to communicate right now would be a waste.
The tall stranger acknowledges the two responses he receives seperately. It takes but a thought to send a message after all, and with a mind like his… To Datura, he sends, «Your patience and tolerance is an inspiration. I do not know if I would have been able to handle unwelcome physical contact from such a worm in my younger years…» A pause. «Though I imagine you will find that out soon enough.» What does >that< mean? To Kanami, the masked man sends, «Excellent suggestion. I shall recommend she find an excuse to >not< sleep anywhere near the Daimyou tonight.» Then he passes along Kanami's message and his own recommendation to the Lady Ryoko a moment later.
Kanami leading off with Genjutsu means something to this man. It means that Kanami has realized Mune is too much of a threat to rely solely on Ninjutsu. But this faceless figure doubts Kanami realizes >quite< how much of a threat Mune is. Mune, on the other hand, is trying to play up to Kanami's lowered expectations. 'She had best not play for too long, if she wishes to win.'
Itami has never seen such a thing before and it's pretty disturbing. A mask that changes someone physically? She finds herself leaning forward in her seat, her arms and legs closed together to defend against the cold winds that pass through every so often, to get a better view of the field. She's studying the opponents more so than their fighting trying to make sense of what she's seeing. Perhaps it's not so intriguing to others, but to her everything here is almost brand new.
It's only after she thinks she's winced and scrutinized enough to look at the fighting itself. Mune almost reminds her of someone back home, granted that individual isn't as fully developed as she is. This gives her enough to think about and take home with her.
The Lady Ryoko's hand grips the arm of Shuichi tightly as Kanami's nightmarish transformation goes over her, her eyes wide and wild, wetting her lips briefly with her tongue, heartbeat fast and irregular, as was her breathing. The Daimyo, apparently concerned for his consort, leans towards her and places an arm around her shoulders, whispering to her about how it would be all right, how there was nothing to be afraid of, though some shinobi abilities could be terrifying to behold. She wishes he would shut up and let her enjoy the horrific sights and violence as it was meant to be.
The disguised Datura receives the messages, along with Kanami's words, in Amuro's voice, which made them seem a little… weird. Her hand once again touches her upper thigh. «Cryptic as ever, I see. It doesn't matter. It's a good idea, if for no other reason than to avoid having him paw ineffectually at me.» A moment of thought-silence while the blonde considers more carefully what the masked male has conveyed to her. «…I'm not going to have to go into anyone else's head, am I? All of you traveling down my memory lane was quite bad enough.»
Outwardly, Ryoko covers her mouth with a small, startled cry as the dark-skinned woman attempts to physically strike her opponent and pour something onto her. How barbaric!
Kanami is vaguely surprised that Mune is using normal Taijutsu against her, though she does not show it. 'Smoke screen!' she thinks. She blurs aside, leaving trails of some powdery substance in her wake, to avoid the first two blows, but when the acid vial comes down towards her shoulder, it smashes on the ground instead. It passes right through Kanami. She then fades away, cackling like a banshee.
Where is she now? Behind would be the smart place to check. But it would reveal nothing. Kanami is not behind Mune. Where she IS, is ABOVE Mune! A trio of snakes come pouring out of the draping sleeve of the transformed Nogakujin, trying to bite the Medic-Nin and inject venom into her bloodstream, even as Kanami is dropping down on Mune and apparently trying to land upon the dark-skinned woman and latch onto her with her spindly arms and legs! It's almost like her limbs have no joints for a moment, as they elongate and bend in ways that are horribly unnatural.
If Kanami succeeds in getting close enough to her opponent, she also runs an inhumanly long and flexible black tongue up the back of the blonde's neck, spreading blood upon her. Kanami's own blood. She bit her lip at some point, apparently. Or she's just in the habit of keeping blood in her mouth incase she needs it? Who knows!
Mune is feeling pretty confident, though she tries not to show it. When Kanami evades all three of her attacks, she is not perturbed in the slightest. This is only to be expected. When she loses track of where Kanami IS though… That could be a problem. The attack from above is not so much detected as avoided by luck. Mune throws down a vial on the ground that causes a cloud of sparkling silver smoke to engulf her. The snakes strike the ground, but do not find Mune anywhere.
When the twisted Kanami attempts to land upon her, Mune is already out of melee range and thus the latching-onto fails. However, that long, prehensile tongue manages to tag Mune right in the… Well… The cleavage! The Medic-Nin makes a mental note to adjust her outfit to include less exposed skin after this match. She looks down at the blood that now coats her chest, and wonders what Kanami is planning. Is this an attempt at freaking her out? Psychological warfare? Taunting her? Maybe.
From what Mune knows, this 'Ju-on Mask' makes Kanami's psychological state very unstable. Anything is possible. But she has played around long enough, she feels. Kanami is confident she can win if she is risking herself in this manner. So Mune focuses her Chakra until the air within the Ring faintly crackles, and the grassy terrain ripples outwards from her. A few rocks crack, seemingly all on their own, and pebbles lift into the air as though gravity had suddenly just gotten completely drunk. Her skin glistens with moisture at the strain of this jutsu… And yet she does not seem tired in the slightest. She just seems… Energized.
"Come on, BITCH. You think you're better than me? Let's see you PROVE it!" she calls out, doing some taunting of her own.
The masked man pauses. He heard Datura's response, of course. But he… Feels something else. Opening his senses, the tall figure scans the crowd and finds almost immediately a particular Chakra source. "…Watanabe Itami," he says outloud in his deep voice. She's sitting just a few rows down from where he stands. Except for the samurai protecting the Daimyou, and the normal security measures in place for the safety of everyone, Itami is >unguarded<. He wishes he had known sooner she would be here. He could have set something up. As-is, he will need to improvise.
«Inform me if anything changes.» The man orders. Then he makes a hand seal and thinks, 'Doton: Henge no Jutsu! <Earth Release: Transformation Technique!>' The wall behind him reaches out to engulf him, and coats him in a layer of cement which then takes on the form of an Akimichi male. The wall retracts when it has finished its job, and the cement colors and texturizes itself appropriately.
Walking heavily (in more ways than one), the 'Akimichi' walks down the steps, wide enough to brush against any errant elbows on either side of the aisle as he proceeds. Eventually, the warrior stops alongside the row in which Itami sits. If she's right there on the end, then he will speak to her there. Otherwise, he makes an indication that he is going to shove his way through, which may be enough all on its own to make people vacate their seats and go elsewhere. Either way, whenever this man reaches Itami, he asks gruffly, "Are you Councilwoman Watanabe of Sunagakure?"
Itami is having some blank spots in her mind, but they're being sparked by this match. Nothing happens though other than giving her the feeling of deja vu. Just how and why aren't being answered and she doesn't expect them to be. Instead, she tries to shake these thoughts out of hr mind to focus on the match.
Then again, she think she should have kept to her thoughts. That tongue move made her stomach upset. In order to quell it, she reached into her pocket and began to chew on some tree gum to chew on. A soft smirk tugs at the corners of her lips now at hearing Mune's insult, but it fades when she finds that someone as approached her.
She cuts away from the battle to look at the Akimichi and says, "Who is asking?" Her smile returns. "Are you going to have a seat? I imagine that the spectators might be a little disappointed at their view right now." She tils her head back somewhat to look around.
"What… What is that, Shuichi!?" The blonde-haired consort appears to be near hysterics, wiggling in her seat as if unable to sit still, as if the mere sight of the thing one of the competitors had become were unsettling to her. The Daimyo, however, does his best to look in-control and reassuring, and more than a little delighted at the medieval-style entertainment going on before them.
"The shinobi call it a 'jutsu', my dear. You have seen such things before." At the diva's wide-eyed look, he amends. "Perhaps not like this, but other things. Ah, remember the fellow who could manipulate water? There, there, nothing to be afraid of. I will ensure she is kept away from you at the banquet in the even of her victory. I say… that one does have a very foul mouth on her, doesn't she?"
"Surely her parents have raised her improperly."
"Well now, love, I seem to remember your own words getting quite dirty…"
The blonde-haired songstress' face turns scarlet on cue as she clears her throat and simultaneously leans forward and away, perhaps to view the match better. Though the reality was that she wanted to pluck out the gloating misogynist's eyes. Againt, the silent messaging transpires. After all, she didn't have to worry about chakra-wasted!
«Yeah, yeah. …Tch, coulda answered the question.»
Kanami is surprised that Mune would be willing to 'activate' so much of her body's Chakra reserves all at once. But in her current state of mind, it just makes her lick her black lips, spreading more of her blood around. "Yummy, yummy, in my tummy," she recites and giggles erratically, raspily. Then she straightens up and tilts her head to the side as though listening to something. "…Alright," she answers. Whether it's to Mune's taunt or something else is uncertain, but the next thing likely to be noticed is that Kanami is NOT charging at Mune or attacking. Instead she is touching one hand to her left shoulder again. Is it sore or something? Nope. That's just where she has a certain Seal. She routes a message through the masked man -- assuming he does as requested and sends it to Datura -- asking for some input. In some ways, this Seal is useful. In others, such as the inability to talk to each other directly, it is very inconvenient. Some questions are best asked privately, after all.
«Daturaaa~, I'm doing something wicked~!» Then she cackles and the sunlight goes away. Everything just darkens abruptly. No clouds in the sky, just… Lack of light. The moon is visible in the sky. Isn't it early for the moon to be out? And it was just afternoon! It can't be night already! The sun is black like sack cloth. The moon glows red like blood. And Kanami just keeps laughing and laughing, as the entire Arena begins to crack and crumble. The sun and moon begin to move noticeably quickly across the sky. They speed up and speed up, until they are flying from horizon to horizon in a blur!
The grass on the Ring floor grows rapidly, becoming taller and taller, and then it begins to grow outwards and turns brown, and then black, and then silver, and then the glass is reflective and is made of metal, and the grass is now bifurcates BLADES that form a field of weapons. The trees grow taller and taller, twisting and changing into distorted human and animal faces, skulls, or simply green, luminescent slime-dripping towers of ROT. Dust hangs heavy in the air, and up in the sky, there is a patchworked expanse of CORPSES that all wail, and gnash their BIG, SHARP TEETH.
The moon and sun match their movements exactly now, and they stop suddenly in the middle of the sky. A gigantic eye with black sclera and with a red dot at the center looks down upon all the people in the stadium.
The walls are bleeding.
The WALLS are BLEEDING.
If this is a Genjutsu… Why is it affecting THE ENTIRE RING instead of just one person!? If this is some kind of horrible Space-Time Ninjutsu, then… What kind of madwoman is Kanami to summon such a thing into being!?
Kanami rises up, standing on the tips of one of the 'grass blades', apparently unharmed. Meanwhile, down in the forest of plant-made-steel, dozens of these blades tear up from the ground, trying to impale Mune and carry her upwards!
The Akimichi is in the middle of answering Itami when everything goes to hell. "Akimichi Rondo," he says. "I have a scroll for you from the Hokage. I know this is not an ideal time or place to deliver it, but I had trouble finding you…" He roots around inside of a chest plate he wears, and then withdraws a scroll with the seal of the Land of Fire upon it. "It should be opened somewhere private. This is top-secret correspondence." 'Rondo' turns to look towards the match suddenly, as though something had caught his attention. The massive amount of Chakra Mune is gathering maybe? Perhaps. He then bows to Itami and says, "I can not stay. My apologies." Then he turns and starts to walk off.
Datura receives two messages. One is simply relayed directly because it is 'private'. No need to restate it in the masked man's own voice. He does not even 'hear' it. The other is not-so-private, and he simply sends it normally. Once Datura has the message from Kanami, the masked man sends a message of his own. «What are you doing, Kanami?» He can feel an irregularity in Kanami's Chakra when he briefly contacts her mind. He is not a mind reader. He cannot find out what she is thinking. But he can tell that she is not herself right now.
Rondo makes his way up the steps to the Daimyou's throne, being ignored utterly by the samurai. Then he touches the wall and his earthen coating vanishes back into the stadium. When he turns around again, it's to see the entire Arena changing. Rondo is gone, and the masked man is back. Not even he can break out of a Genjutsu this strong without serious aid of some kind. And given that he is not the target of the attack… He will save his energy.
Itami nodded to Rondo and readjusted herself upon hearing about the Hokage sending a scroll to her. It's been sometime since she's spoken with her…if it is a her anymore. Things have changed in Konoha, so she's still under the assumption the Hokage is a she. Temporary, permanent or otheriwse. Whatever.
"Thank you…" her voice trailed off as she witnessed the jutsu being used. The hell was that?? At least she knows some people aren't alone in being twisted individuals. Anybody that can come up with what was happening in there was either insane or some kind of corrupted creativity. Slipping the scroll away into her clothing, she went back to watching the match while placing more gum into her mouth to chew. Upset stomach was upset, after all.
The stadium before them begins to change, everything within the protective aura of the fields morphing to Kanami's will before the eyes of thousands of startled onlookers. They had seen many unique and strange things during the process of this tournament, but no one had ever transformed the entire arena before!
The blonde-haired diva's eyes widen, partially from the pair of messages she receives, mostly from what she was seeing. She's leaning forward, her hands gripping the railing before her, her breathing uneven and ragged. Shuichi himself was torn between watching the spectacle unfold and concern for the reactions of the delicate-seeming woman next to him. Ryoko's entire body is shaking, she's gasping, shivering violently. Finally, with a small groan that was also part gasp, the diva's eyes roll back into her head and her body slumps forward and to the side, sliding out of her chair into an unconscious heap on the floor of the aisle.
The Daimyo lurches to his feet and the two closest samurai spring into action with reflexes befitting of warriors of their station, catching the young woman's head and shoulders before she can bash them upon the rough cement below. "Take her to the hospital, immediately!" The pair of men waste no time in supporting the petite woman's unconscious frame, carrying her up the stairs and towards the exit, towards a pair of startled medics. The Daimyo, looking both disappointed at missing the action and concerned for his 'beloved', quickly trails after them, the troupe of samurai falling in line behind as Datura is laid out upon a cot.
"Shuichi…" The frail Lady Ryoko murmurs quietly. "Stay. It was… too much… for me."
After tenderly stroking the woman's blonde hair and assuring himself that she will indeed be all right, the bearded male nods and turns away, making his way back to his feet. The medics depart with the diva, four samurai in tow. The 'Lady Ryoko' smiles.
«Tell her I loved it.» A mental giggle. «…But she really should concentrate on her fight.»
Mune knew Genjutsu was coming. She hadn't realized it would be so staggeringly POWERFUL though. The changes to the environment are bewildering and horrifying. They remind Mune of Level 5 and its twisted abominations. Did Kanami draw inspiration from that wretched place for this jutsu? She doesn't know, but she isn't going to sit around and let this make her lose. She begins focusing her Chakra and tries to 'flush' the foreign energies from her body.
Then, down in the dark forest of the bladed grass, rods of steel shoot up out of the earth and impale her through her limbs and torso, carrying her upwards and above the 'canopy'. Oddly, it doesn't hurt as much as one might think. It feels more like she has gone numb around all of the injuries. She is thrust high into the air, facing the nightmare sky.
She snarls at Kanami, knowing this is problem going to cost her the tournament. If only she had known this jutsu was part of Kanami's arsenal, she could have made a counter for it! "F-F-F--" she tries to get out with paralyzed lungs. It's unlikely to be very lady-like if she does manage it. In the end, however, she can only try to break free. So she does. She tries very hard.
Kanami is pleased. She is pleased with many, many things. The way the match is going, the message from Datura, and all the rest. She is happy to be causing pain at the same time as pleasure. But now her beloved is leaving the stadium apparently, so she is going to wrap things up here. But first she needs a bit more Chakra, because this is eating through her reserves like crazy to maintain changes of this magnitude via Henge no Jutsu.
So she focuses Chakra. Nothing else. She just lets Mune suffer knowing she isn't going to break free. There's no WAY to break free. Kanami is too powerful! She wonders briefly if she should do something REALLY horrible before the end… Maybe she should rape Mune in front of everyone? That sounds very enticing to her deranged mind.
But just to make sure that is a good idea, she decides to think with a clearer head. So she takes off her face. She just tears it off and her body and clothing go back to 'normal'. Before anything else can happen, she has already swapped on a different Mask… Her Mystic Noh-Men. She activates it as soon as she has the Chakra to do so. Everything else in the Ring vanishes in an immense cloud of smoke that obscures all vision as the Henge no Jutsu finishes. Mune is left impaled on illusionary spears, the world around her warped and screaming with insane sights and sounds.
When the smoke flows out through the barriers and up into the sky… Kanami and Mune are all that remain. Mune lying on her back on the arena floor, Kanami standing a distance away. She is rethinking her strategy.
Raiga stands on the Proctor's Platform and watches the proceedings with a frown. He had no idea that such a twisted mind had entered the tournament. "Seishino Kanami… Lacks balance. She is an irregularity… One that may need to be >corrected<." Watching his grand-daughter wounded in such a fashion, even if it is an illusion, does not seem to move him outwardly. But inwardly he is very unhappy. He does not even know why. He barely knows Mune. Maybe it's because she looks so much like her mother, Raiga's daughter.
"Wicked child," he mutters under his breath. "You do not need to use such means to defeat an opponent. Your relishing of torment is wrong!" His voice becomes a bit louder. But thankfully for all involved, Raiga does not stop the match to powerbomb Kanami into the ground. Because she dismisses her jutsu and seems to change demeanor completely. The ceramic features are of a woman, with floral displays seeming blooming and growing in 3-D on a 2-D surface. The sun shines upon Kanami's brow.
She is completely different.
"Hmph. We will see." He crosses his arms and watches keenly. He can not and will not judge this match based on methods… But he can certainly judge the competitors as people.
Mune is trapped in a prison of numbness and horror. It's like her ability to control her own Chakra has been cut off. She can't feel her own Chakra Network. She can't tell what's working or not. She just can't tell anything about her body! But she knows one thing for certain…
She doesn't like the way Kanami is looking at her.
"…What… You… Staring… At…" she manages to get out. That's better at least. Maybe she's regaining some control over her body after all! She can breathe a bit easier at least. When Kanami changes back to her 'normal' self, Mune watches and waits. Chakra gathering? Did that jutsu really drain Kanami THAT much? Maybe she has a chance of winning after all… She just needs to outlast her opponent!
Kanami is ready. She is tiring, but she is ready. "I am sorry for the inconvenience," she says simply and cryptically to Mune. Then she holds up both hands, and torrents of snakes come surging out of her sleeves, trying to swarm all over the dark-skinneed Medic-Nin and stab her over and over and over everywhere with swords that protrude from their mouths.
It looks, to all appearances, as though Mune has just been slain. No one that is THAT full of holes can keep living, barriers or not.
Mune sees the incoming snakes. How can she not? The hissing tidal wave of reptiles swarms over and impales her repeatedly. Unlike the illusionary blades, these ones hurt plenty. She feels internal organs rupture, flesh tear, bones crack… And yet she isn't dead. The Genjutsu used on her appears to have worn off, because she can suddenly control her body again. And control it she does! She slashes with her hands, hurling the serpents away in pieces that smoke and blacken beneath the sun, before vanishing. Blood is everywhere. Most of it is Mune's. But her wounds are already closing. Smoke rises from the holes as her flesh mends itself right before everyone's eyes.
"You shouldn't have eased off the Genjutsu. Now you're going to suffer," Mune warns. Then she blurs across the distance between them and lashes out with what appears to be a simple spear-hand blow. But her hand is shrouded in Chakra that is narrowed to a point about a foot beyond the tips of her fingers.
Kanami is unprepared for her snakes being slashed apart and hurled aside, but she is more unprepared for Mune's impressive display of healing abilities. "Intere--" she begins, only to finish with, "--sting." at about the time that Mune appears in front of her and slams her in the chest. She tries to sink into the ground to avoid the full impact of the blow, but she doesn't even get that far before pain wracks her body. She can't breathe very well. Spots flash in front of her eyes. She staggers backwards, clutching at her chest and gasping. "Wh--wha--?" she gets out before she falls to her knees. Agony tears through her! Her ribs are on fire! "Mu--Mune-ch--" she struggles to say. The taste of metal in her mouth makes takes her voice away.
Mune looks down at Kanami. "You know, I came into this fight with the knowledge I could win. I knew you weren't all-powerful. Our mutual employer is stronger than you after all, and he was almost killed by some poisonous Chakra in his arm. So it made sense that if I learned more, and improved more, I could beat you. Only your Genjutsu was a problem… And you failed to follow through with taking me down. So now I'm taking YOU down."
She then stands over Kanami and attempts to slash Kanami in half, from hip to hip, with a hand engulfed in a very focused version of Chakra Scalpel… Something like this nearly killed Mitsuomi, the opponent before Kara. Let's see what impact it has on a much FRAILER opponent.
Itami definitely got more than what she was expecting…this wasn't a battle. It left a sour taste in her mouth and while she started eager, she's now going to leave disappointed. Since she's chewed all the gum she had available in the small pouch she's since just sat and felt a uncomfortable about the whole thing.
Her disappointment wouldn't last long, though. With Mune retaliating as if she hadn't been hit with anything at all was some kind of magic. Not really, but the abilities of the medical ninja are far beyond what she expected them to be. Almost makes her envious. She isn't sure what the tide will be now. She knows she won't be predicting anymore. Takes too much effort with these two on the field.
An audible sigh leaves her lips as she began to calm down. The intensity of battle almost left. Almost. It looks like these two are trying to kill each other. Even though the barrier is raised to prevent that kind of thing from happening, the way they fight looks like they might be able to bypass the thing.
Kill each other indeed. There is some bad blood between these two, but Kanami never expected the fighting to come to THIS level. She thought she would stab Mune a bunch, she would give up like last time, and that would be that. Not so. Now she can barely breathe, and Mune is--Cutting her in half, apparently!
A bloody gash reaches from hip to hip, exposing some deeper parts of her innards, but thanks to the barriers… She's alive. Barely. The pain added to what she is already suffering from this… Heart attack? Is that what this is? Well, she isn't able to fight off the side-effects of whatever Mune did to her. And now she's laid out on Arena floor, nearly bisected. "…Y-you're right, Mu-Mune-chan…" she manages to get out as she gasps and winces. Hey eyes are watering behind her mask. "…I d-did think… That I was… B-better! But I kn-knew you… Would… Win… Because… I was going… To g-give up… Once I PROVED I was… better… And now…" She coughs wetly. She's going to need to remove this mask or she'll drown in her own blood.
"…Right NOW, you're better than me…" Kanami turns her head to the side and removes her Mask. The patterns displayed on the Mask's surface fade away. Her face is pale, along with the rest of her skin. "…I g-give up. Heal me, p-please."
Mune rocks back on her heels. She expected to have to hurt Kanami a lot more before she would be declared the victor. And yet… Kanami was going to give up all along? Could just be a bluff to save face. But then why admit that Mune is better? Whatever the case, Mune calls out, "My opponent has surrendered! This match is over!" She then kneels down next to Kanami and immediately gets to work healing her wounds, as requested. Bad blood was between them. But now it seems to have been bled out.
The barriers go down at Raiga's gesture. He leaps down from the platform and lands a short distance away from Kanami and Mune. He saw what each attempted to do. He saw the violence, the malice, and the wickedness that each bears in her heart. He could >feel< evil in them. But they weren't all bad. And now that the match is over, he can feel the beginnings of something else between them… Perhaps understanding.
"This match is indeed over! The victor is Kishi Mune! Medic-Nin to the field!" Raiga then looks back down to Mune after calling out to the crowd. He says simply, "The first step to peace is understanding." Then he moves out of the way as medics come rushing forward. Raiga looks up to the Daimyou to see his response.
The masked man can't claim for certain that he knew the outcome of this match in advance. But he knew Mune was stronger than Kanami. Genjutsu really WAS her greatest weapon. And it was a weapon that failed her. Kanami won't be satisfied with that. She'll push herself to become stronger. And that will fall in line with all the rest of his plans.
Fuu Ka fades into Nothingness. He's going to inform Datura of the results of this match personally.
Takahiro Shuichi sits still, one leg crossed over the other, an arm resting easily on his chair, the other cupping his chin with a thoughtful frown. The rest of the stadium holds it's breath as it waits for the Daimyo's reaction before being willing to burst into applause. With great solemnity, the male gets to his feet, pauses, and then slowly begins clapping. Soon, the singular applause is spread out across the amphitheatre, the entire crowd bursting into a chorus of cheers, whistles, and the thunderous noise of thousands of palms hitting palms. As Shuichi raises his arms and motions for quiet, a gradual hush falls around.
"Kishi Mune, well done, madame! Very well done! You deserve every ounce of your victory." His voice is rich, deep, and it carries far. The voice of a politician. "And to Seishino Kanami, as well," He lifts a hand to indicate the more injured of the two. "She has fought well and with ferocity that is rarely seen in our age. I invite you both to join me tonight for a banquet in honor of our champion! Another hand for our heroes!"
Once more, thunderous applause, though slightly less enthusiastic than the first round, rebounds throughout the arena.
Itami hummed as she applauded the victor of the match, but she couldn't stay for long. In the middle of Shuichi's speech and the clapping, she rose from her seat to leave the arena. She felt the only way she'd have the privacy to read the scroll she received was while people were distracted with the ending of the match.
So, after leaving the arena, she proceeded to someplace quiet and private to remove the scroll from an inner pocket and crack the seal to read its contents.
When the scroll is opened, a black spiral pattern is revealed, along with several Seal calligraphy symbols. Is this some kind of code or--
Itami is sucked into the scroll.
She's just sucked in. The scroll falls to the ground and loses its writing completely. Wherever Itami is now… It's not here.