Date: October 13, 2012
What starts off as a trip to see Amaya's father (and Jon's father-in-law) during Chirico rare "down-time" turns into a very tense and dangerous situation, during which a decades-long mystery is finally explained. However, another mystery appears at the same time.
"Eye For An Eye - Haunted History"
Nagayama Residence - Kumogakure
For a man whose entire life seems to be centered around fighting physical enemies, most wouldn't think that Nagayama Chirico would have any business with ghosts. But the Grand Master of the White Tiger-Fist Style of the Fierce Beast Kemonoken is haunted frequently despite his field of expertise. Most days this haunting is figurative. Today it's literal.
Amaya has long-since retired from ninja work, and has seemed healthier and happier at home and around the Village ever since. She has her own share of phantasms to deal with, but they aren't ruling her every waking moment anymore. She and Jon were just going to go visit the former's father at his infrequently-used house, hand in hand. It's a sunny afternoon, though Kumogakure's weather-watchers predict a storm in a day or two. For now, however, long white hair shining like sunlight-upon-snow, Amaya walks hand-in-hand with her husband, dressed in something more conservative for once than the sundresses she tends to favor which in turn tend to have a habit of not fitting her properly.
"It's been so long since we've seen oto-san, Jon-honey!" Amaya says bubbily as though he didn't already know that. "He's been out in the field for just about two months straight! I hope he gets to take a break for a bit. He's getting on in years and I don't want him to push himself too much…" Amaya's gaze becomes clouded for a moment as she looks down from the sunlit path they are treading. She didn't want to think about it, but with the rigorous life her father has been leading since as far as she can remember, he might be in even more danger than ever. What if his skill isn't enough? What if simply using the Kinjutsu 'Pain To Power' doesn't save him? What if it kills—
Amaya shakes her head fiercely and then looks back up determinedly. No. There's no reason to think like that. She should be willing to accept such things as part of this existence as shinobi, but focusing on them would just ruin what happiness there is to be had. She raises a hand and announces for seemingly no reason, "Right! Nothing unpleasant will ruin this day! Forward, Jon-honey!" she then points at the door of her parents' house dramatically!
Right as all the senses that Jon and Amaya both possess are likely to warn them of an immense and sudden build-up of Chakra right behind that door. The door flies off its hinges, taking much of the frame with it, and a man in black comes flying out with it. He lands once inbetween the doorway and the two Jounin, then he's leaping right over their heads and off down the street, seemingly in slow-motion for skilled ninja like the husband-and-wife duo.
That man isn't the source of the huge Chakra surge.
A blur of white erupts from the roof with such force that the roof and the contents of the house go flying into the air after it, swirling like they'd just been sucked into a tornado. The blur stop a few dozen feet up, and reveal itself to be an absolutely >furious< Chirico, surrounded by a glowing aura of red Fierce Ki. His teeth are bared, his features partially animalistic in a way beyond just expression. He appears to be half-way to turning >into< a white tiger! He sees his daughter and son-in-law, his cobalt-blue eyes with cat-like irises twitching around the rims, and then in that moment that seems to last an eternity while he's nearly floating in the air, he looks after the man in black. But the man is already gone, such is his speed.
Amaya had been turning to look after the man, but when she realized the source of that power was still in the house, she faced forward again, and thus saw her father's emergence. So she's looking up at him as he uses his Geki to propel himself off the air itself, seemingly, to land in a crouch nearby.
Amaya is a bit stunned by the violent eruption of her parents' house and all that has gone on so far. She hasn't stopped training while she's been retired, but she has been out of the action for long enough that she is a bit confused as to what to do. Eventually she decides her father comes first, and starts heading towards him. "Oto-san! Are you alright!?" Chirico looks up, seemingly have composed himself a little bit more, returning to his usual cool and calm demeanor and even regaining his human characteristics. The tiger-transformation seems to be reverted for now. "That man…" he offers softly, with the hints of a growl in his voice. "…Should be dead."
Jon hasn't been entirely sure about Amaya's early retirement. He supports her decision, he's not worried about his income being plenty for both of them, and he definitely enjoys having her around the house more often. What does worry him is the tendency for shinobi life to continue following those who've taken part in it. c.c Still, the fact that Amaya's kept up her training is reassuring, and she does seem a lot happier now…and if some threat does come against her, it'll have to get through Jon first.
Of course, there's also the troubles that come to Amaya from within…which don't seem to be around as often now, so retiring probably helped with that. Question is, is it helping to conquer those troubles, or just avoiding them? Avoiding them is better than nothing, but they still seem to hold some sway over her…like now. Amaya's silences often speak more to Jon than her casual talk. This one doesn't last too long, though, which is probably good. Jon smirks and squeezes Amaya's hand. "Aye-aye, Whisk — "
Just when you're starting to trust how things are going. >.<; Jon summons up his chakra in response to the massive aura and reaches out with all senses to detect anything out of place. He gets something quite obviously out of place when the door leaves its place. :P Despite the action occurring, his hand continues gripping Amaya's, knowing that they can fend with whatever happens better as a team and each having tactile knowledge of what the other is doing. As it turns out, no immediate danger happens, though Amaya's father certainly feels dangerous. o.o;
Jon loosens his grip once Chirico lowers his aura, and runs along with Amaya to meet him. When Chirico speaks, Jon narrows his eyes. "Should be dead." Not 'Should die'. A tiny grammatical distinction, maybe, but it's Jon's job to take note of such details. "What do you mean by that, Oto-sama?"
Amaya is fussing over Chirico, making sure he's uninjured, etc. But aside from fragments of tile and large splinters caught in her father's hair, he seems to be fine — physically at least. As the man rises to his feat, Amaya is picking stuff out of his hair like a chimpanzee or something while he tries to explain. "That man is one that I killed myself many years ago — or so I thought." The man then calmly goes on to describe exactly how he killed the man. Amaya stops everything. Even in a life as violent as these two Jounin have led, Amaya at least is staring wide-eyed for most of the description. It's gruesome, sickening, way-beyond-necessary levels of violence. It makes what Chirico did to his former girlfriend, that Confrontation Beast Fist woman, look like nothing in terms of violence.
When he finishes, Amaya stands with her arms at her sides, her eyes down, looking solemn. "That was the first time I used the Pain to Power Technique," Chirico finishes. "I went straight to the fourth level on my first try, and nearly died as a result. I decided to avoid using that technique, no matter what the power to be gained. I have…" Those intense blue eyes look off to the side as well, as they didn't when he was describing the atrocious murder he committed before. "…Failed to stick to that decision more than once."
Amaya doesn't know what to say. Inwardly, she knows how her dad must feel. To be so caught up in rage and violence and pain that tearing a human being apart into fist-sized chunks isn't even worth thinking about… Amaya hasn't gone >that< far… But she is by no means without guilt for other things. Still, after whatever Jon may have to say in response to the story when it's done, she asks the question that Jon probably wouldn't. Jon is probably going to want to know how Chirico knows it's the same guy, any ideas of how he can be alive, what he was doing here, and so on. Amaya, however, asks, "What did he do, oto-san?
Chirico tenses all over noticeably, his muscles coiling like a jungle cat, ready to pounce. A brief haze of red Ki rises from him again, but then he forcibly makes himself relax as he breathes out slowly. Then he answers with a growl to his voice that shows he is still fairly agitated, "He tore your mother's right eye out of her face." Amaya inhales sharply. She'd always wondered what happened to her mother's eye. She'd even asked once, when she was little. Keiko had told her she'd lost it in an accident. Amaya looks up at her father, opening her mouth to mention that, but then he quickly adds on, "He was aiming for me, but she got in the way."
Jon has already pulled out a scrap of paper and started making notes. He doesn't have his official police notebook with him, but habits are strong subconscious motivators; leaving the house without some way of doing various aspects of detective work, even if disguised with some excuse like 'grocery list', is something Jon rarely does. The killing Chirico describes does turn Jon's stomach on some level, which is a good sign for his humanity, but he staunchly writes everything down as described. Of course, at the moment, there's just one detail that's important to the matter at hand: that sucker is DEAD. :P There's gotta be some trick to what's going on here.
Which, yes, leads to the obvious queries. "Oto-sama. It's plain from your reaction that there was something very convincing about that man to identify him, could you tell us what it was? Did he give any reason for coming to see you?"
Amaya stands back and keeps quiet then. She has her own thoughts, her own inner turmoil… For example, if this is the same guy who took her mother's eye… She thinks she wants to make sure he stays dead with her own hands. Meanwhile, Chirico says, "His name is — or was — Yomogi Rondo of the Confrontation Beast Lamprey-Fist Style. He is the only person I have ever met who uses this Style, he spoke of events that I am the only living person remaining who should be aware of them, and the most compelling evidence of all is that one of his eyes was… The same eye that he…" He stops talking for several seconds as he once again seems to be trying to control himself. Chirico has a reputation that has made him legendary. A reputation for turning into a berserker that can take down an army by himself when those he cares about are hurt or killed.
One of the reasons he normally stays so calm and collected is that he doesn't want to accidentally unleash that fury on others. It takes a lot of self-control now as he says, "…It was the same in every way, as Keiko's right eye. I would wager that… He used some sort of illusion or other technique at the time I was killing him to escape, or that the fact he incorporated my late wife's eye into his own head means that may be related to how he survived. His Lamprey-Fist lets him worm his way into the bodies and minds of others. With his bare hands and his Confrontation Ki, he can tear flesh from others bodies, stick his hand right into them and pull out their internal organs, and then absorb that flesh to repair his own. It was disgusting back then, but he was significantly stronger tnow than he was as a teenager. I think he may have somehow used the flesh of others to repair himself. Ordinarily that would just be conjecture, but his body wasn't made out of one person's flesh, or even two people's. It was a patchwork of bits and pieces. He didn't move like a normal person. He had joints where he shouldn't have. I tried to snap his neck and it just bent at a weird angle."
Chirico looks up suddenly, alert and scanning for something. His blue eyes widen and he whirls around, searching frantically. "Where did she go?" he asks suddenly. Then he realizes what Jon might realize a moment later. Amaya isn't here. She must have snuck away at some point. Chirico's eyes widen further and he curses before starting to transform slightly to aid his sense of smell and hearing. His ears slide up the sides of his head as he gains fangs and feline eyes once more. The hears pivot as they search for signs of Amaya. He then snarls, "Follow me! We have to find Amaya immediately! The reason that man came to me was that he said he was going to finish what he started over 30 years ago… And he would do >anything< to accomplish it! He wouldn't hesitate for a second to use Amaya to get to me!"
Hrm. As usual, the weirdness of the ninja world manages to throw a wrench into Jon's deduction. =.= A guy who repairs himself with the flesh of others? Okay, maybe someone like that could somehow recover even after being separated into hundreds of pieces…or yeah, can't rule out illusions. Chirico might've been particularly susceptible to trickery while in an all-consuming rage and later when the after-effects were almost killing him, although presumably there were still bloody chunks around later. Whatever the case, this person is definitely tied to the events from before. His knowledge proves that much. More importantly, he's a threat regardless of who he really is.
Jon is busy trying to jot his thoughts onto his rather limited scrap of paper when Chirico points out Amaya's absence. What? o.O; Why would Amaya just take off on her own like that?! She's a team player, especially where family is involved, she wouldn't — no, wait. It's because her mother was involved. >.<; Shoot! Jon takes off after Chirico. "You weren't able to track his escape, but apparently Amaya-chan had some idea where to go," Jon reasons. "He must've left some sort of clue, something only Amaya-chan would notice. Any idea what that might be?"
Chirico rushes through the streets, not hesitating to leap over anything that gets in his way rather than trying to dodge around it. This means buildings barely slow him down. Some people might be surprised by the *thump*s on the roof tops, but the peace-of-mind of random people is hardly the white-haired man's primary concern right now. He answers Jon with few words, doing his best to identify any flashes of white that might be his daughter as he runs and leaps, "I don't know. However, Amaya-chan has ANBU training that I don't. She has a lot more experience at tracking. It might be that she rushed off after Rondo because she wanted to make sure he didn't get away, or…" *KER-THUMP* "…She may have determined she had a better chance of tracking him than either of us, and trusted we would be able to catch up somehow. The longer she waited while we stood around talking, the further away this wretch would be."
He then seems to become aware of something as he stops for a moment, landing heavily in the middle of the street in the form of a man partially transformed into a tiger. He startles various people, but he's focused on something else. A 'super-deformed' plushy of Amaya, with one arm held out, pointing down the street. Not likely to be a coincidence, right? Chirico turns his head to look to his right and then resumes his chase, following the guidance of additional dolls as they pop up. "Is this a practice or hers that you're familiar with, Jon?" Chirico asks between breaths as he turns corners, leaps obstacles, and starts to close in on the scent of his daughter.
Eventually, the sight of Amaya herself might be noticed by Jon while Chirico is looking for another plushy. She seems to be kneeling.
Jon nods thoughtfully as he strains to keep up with Chirico, taking a slightly more parkour approach to navigating the obstacles of the city, flowing around and through the structures. That's true, Amaya-chan may simply have picked up on his trail because she has the training for it…though he still would've expected her to at least say what she was doing before taking off, if she was thinking clearly. When they run across the plushie of Amaya, he smirks. "Seems a lot more like Amaya-chan than what some jerk trying to lure us into a trap would come up with." Not that he might not be using Amaya herself as bait to trap them, but Jon's pretty sure she left that marker there herself of her own volition, and it's a hopeful sign that she isn't trying to tackle this guy on her own.
Knowing that Chirico's heightened senses should be able to lock in on Amaya much more reliably than Jon could, Jon almost gives up on looking out for her, focusing more on keeping up. He does glance around to keep an eye out for ambushes or traps, though, and in doing so spots what looks like Amaya through an alley. "Otou-sama, over there!" Jon turns toward Amaya and slows his pace, going on heightened alert. The fact that Chirico didn't smell her first doesn't bode too well. Jon wells up his chakra as he approaches, ready to rely on ninjutsu in absence of his rod. "Whiskers? Are you okay?"
Amaya looks up as Jon approaches. She appears to be soaking wet. "I'm okay. I lost him here though." She seems rather calm, but then takes in a shuddering breath that betrays she may have been far less calm a short while ago. She's kneeling in front of a shallow stream that leads into the Village's aqueduct. A concrete canal flowing from further north and into some heavy-duty steel grating set in a reinforced concrete wall. "He reached the water, I tackled him, and he just…" She lifts a clenched hand, then opens it to illustrate what happened. "…Fell apart. All those pieces fell into the water and I couldn't catch them. They kept squirming around like I was trying to grab hand-fulls of gelatin. They squeezed right out and went through that grate."
Chirico has caught up by now and is alternating looking at the grate and inspecting his daughter. "That grate has many different security measures in-place to keep someone from breaking through it or passing through with Ninjutsu. The concrete wall prevents the use of Hidden Among Rocks Technique, which only works on earth and stone — not artificial materials. The fact the other side is a sheer drop means vermin can't climb up and get into the Village that way either. But I suppose this is one thing we hadn't planned for…" Chirico takes in a breath and pats Amaya on the shoulder lightly. "…An individual who can seperate himself into dozens of pieces, each the size of a rat or smaller. He probably can use Ninjutsu in each piece independently to climb up the walls and pass through the grate."
Amaya stands up suddenly, turns, and hugs her father. Barely giving him a chance to react, Amaya turns to Jon and hugs him too — though a bit longer. "I don't think this is the last we'll see of this guy, nyah? I think… We should start looking for other places he could get in, like this one. An examination of the entire structure and foundation of the Hidden Cloud should give us a better idea of how to proceed. But I think we have a bigger problem than just how he got in."
Chirico remains silent, trying to think of what else there could be. Then his blue eyes widen a bit. "You mean…?" Amaya nods. "Jon-honey, more serious than just how he got in is how he remained undetected. We have active ANBU here, the Senshi, Sensor-Nin, and all the rest. They should have picked up his presence. I think that what just escaped from me—us, may have had pieces of people who are allowed to be in Kumogakure in it. This is just a guess. I only know what Oto-san has said about his abilities. But if he can seperate himself into pieces and still survive, why should we think he needs to use the same pieces everytime he gets put back together? Investigating any reports of disappearances seems like something else that might help. If we figure out who is missing, we can set up our sensor barrier locks to notify us if one of these missing individuals shows up again — in whole or in part."
Oh, great. A guy who can willfully separate into independent pieces. -.- Well, at least that explains (sorta) how he could've survived being ripped to chunks. Jon holds Amaya firmly when she hugs him, heedless of the moisture. "Promise me you won't go after him by yourself again," he murmurs. "I have faith in you, but if he can confront your dad and get away, he's not someone to be taken lightly."
Yup, this guy sure is a problem not just for them as a family, but for Kumogakure. He's left behind a lot of questions. Why did he confront Chirico and then escape? What are the extent of these freakish abilities he has? What are his motivations? How can he be permanently damaged? The answers probably aren't going to come easy. :/