Date: December 4, 2016
After two long years, Kirigakure finally catches up to a pair of its wayward children. Only of which, however, is allowed to return home alive.
"Honor & Peace"
Borders of the Land of Earth and Stone
Iwagakure had offered an escort to the border but he truth was that their Jounin could not come close to matching Kiji and Kiyoshi's speeds. Especially when they would have to cross a canyon. Kiji simply made a bridge or flew them over. So they came to the Land of …..well honestly she was not sure where they were. Iron she thought…. She had kept serious and concerned, tense and depressed most of the trip. Finally one night, curled up with Yoshi's tail providing her warmth and her her body temperature providing for him…
Kiji stirred blinking…. Quiet… Then suddenly tense. She sat up and shook Yoshi awake. "Yoshi.. Yoshi. Yo-Shi!" Her eyes were gold and ringed in orange, alert status. "I… I can sense Naoya-san. We hae to go .Now."
Even after spending so much time on the road, Yoshi had honestly felt just as lost upon reaching the border. In his defense, there was plenty enough to occupy the man's thoughts following his dismissal from Iwagakure's service. But if his thoughts were a bit more organized, the ex-Iwa shinobi would not have accepted the excuse.
Exhausted mentally more than physically, Yoshi offered little resistance when it came to the use of his tail. And when sleep inevitably began to take hold of the weathered man, his reluctance for other small comforts fade as well…
Yoshi almost ignored the warnings — wanted to, in fact, yet at a name his eyes are opened wide. After an initially hurried attempt to sit-up, he abruptly stops all further movement to stare off to the distance.
"…Go." He states calmly after a quiet moment, and without looking back at Kiji.
Side by side a pair of cloaked men moved forward though chakra only radiated strongly from the man on the left. With their cloaks drawn up high, the only distinct markings were on the arms, a metal plate showing off the sigil for Kirigakure along with a single blade resting at either of their left sides. The pair had been tracking and racing after 'something' for some time, days were blending together as through the night or the daylight the hunt continued only breathing for a short time to recover sporadically. A fair distance behind the twin forward guard was another unit, a diversity of other shinobi also loyal to Kirigakure.
Kiji would be able to sense two things, the forward paring held identical chakra signatures while the group trailing behind were varied, not only on patterns but quality. Once the forward most pair were within couple kilometers of the initial paused position, the pace would likewise come to a cautious halt if Kiyoshi remained there. Motioning between each other, the pair move in opposing arcs, making distance between themselves while searching the area in more detail, forcing the arachnids within the local region to give detailed accounts of every things positioning.
"What?! NO!" Kiji scowled… But the argument had been had several times already and she fisted her hands in his shirt. For a long moment her head dropped to his chest. When she lifted her head to face him again, tears were running down both cheeks. Leaning up she tried to turn his head back and kissed him firmly. "I'm sorry.. Y..Yoshi…. Kokuo-sama…" The closer Naoya got the more Kiji tensed… and there was a moment where her eyes registered an acid shade of green… a lookof abject fear on her face. "I..I'm sorry… K..Kiyoshi.. th..thank you…" And then she turned and bolted on foot, distressed and upset and providing the proper pheremones for Kiyoshi to pick up on that….
Her words — if there were any further — fall on deaf ears. Yoshi merely shifted about until his bottom rested beneath his legs, and tail — a white furred, and often rebellious limb — curled about him. He meant to carry on avoiding eye contact for fear of his resolve taking flight. But it was already far too late. Though not quite so sharp an Inuzuka, his nose caught the wiff of tears long before he saw them.
Again, Yoshi offered little resistance to Kiji, except… when it came to the kiss. She would find not even fleeting pressure being returned, or a change in his stoney expression after the fact. The only hint of feeling lay in how tightly cluched his pants, and his chakra.
«Geki…» Intoned a calm voice from within as Yoshi's eyes briefly followed Kiji. «There is always time to-…» It continued on, only to stop abruptly as Yoshi fished out a scroll from the inner folds of his clothes. Kokuo - the voice - retreats at that point, granting its host the focus to summon a brutish, oversized club from the scroll, and then set it calmly to the side.
With the pair divided, the pair shortened the distance steadily, leaving only a few hundred meters between them and the giant of a man before them. Only one of the pair would approach further, though it would not speak at first but lift his right hand to lightly flicks his fingers causing musical notes to be plucked, one after another. Yoshi would notice the melody, it wasn't a new sound but one they suffered through within the Land of Water, a melody that was Okumo Sei's signature and sure enough a harmony of Genjutsu would attempt to wash over him, though it wasn't as deft as that Okumo's.
The opposing man that stayed a distance further way lifts his head to speak up, though his voice was muffled. "Surrender.. Contract was not for torture, nor experimentation. Collection of the weapon, nothing more." The voice was sharply different than Okumo Sei, but it may take Yoshi a moment to identify the scent but each of the men would smell thickly of Okumo Naoya. The following team was still a distance away yet neither of the men motioned to move around to chase after Kiji yet, in time the control over the Arachnids faded, letting the Shimizu notice she was left unwatched for the time being.
Though they were hardly practiced in the art, together host and bijuu sought to disrupt the cloying sound. Even if no initial ill will was intended, neither has forgotten the price of failure in at least putting up some form of resistance to it, off though it was to a degree. Try as he might, Yoshi cannot fully hide the strain from his otherwise still features, or the flicker of anger from the word 'weapon'.
Still, he put forth the effort if only out of seeming wariness of an attack in reprisal. "Okumo… Naoya-san… You've grown quite a bit, huh?" Yoshi spoke only if given a quiet moment to study the speaker. "Or perhaps there's a better word for it when it comes to you Okumo." He adds calmly without removing his hands from his lap. "You don't mind if we sit and chat for a bit, do you?"
Lifting his left hand slightly and giving it a slight shift, Naoya motions towards the other to stop, with the order the plucked cords and the failed melody pauses as well. "We have continue to augment and experiment long since your disappearance. We will not act as if only one side is speaking for now, though we are curious.. We do not sense fear with you. Why?" Shifting his head, the speaking Okumo turns and looks for a moment towards the direction they had been traveling days from though the other kept its eyes onto Yoshi. "They hid you, lied, and seemingly gave us three false trails.. yet you stand here alone." Without much reason, Naoya snaps his head to a different angle, turning an ear towards the now silent musical one and nodding lightly. "Yes, is this a faux body, if this is one of those 'Shadowed Clones' I will work along side Mizukage Meruin, and work not towards a dignified rest, but a fatal experimentation trial."
Yoshi dared to chuckle, if albeit weakly, after Naoya spoke his piece. "No clones. Unlike you and your ilk, I don't got much of a stomach for those sorts of deceptions… Besides, what would be the use…" He adds softly, gaze finally lowering to the ground. "As for my lack fear… why should I be afraid? My life ended the moment I convinced my brothers… convinced what remains of the Moto brothers to return to Kirigakure. And… I have had enough time to accept that." He rubs the back of his head using the hand closest to the club.
Another invitation to attack, perhaps? Or a trap? Either way, if given the chance to lower that same hand, it doesn't get any closer the weapon. "Perhaps even, I can be convinced to accept surrender if…. your willing and able to do me but these last two favors."
When Yoshi looking down and not at either of them, both of the men move their left hands back and to the side, resting on their hip though their fingers held their scabbard in place. "The same use as running, of which you have for.. two years now. As for your kin, they are loyal to the village and are not threats.. and no punishment will be leveled upon them." When Yoshi moves his hand from the weapon, there wasn't much of a reaction, Naoya maintained his distance and didn't shift his posture.
At the proposition the other man flicks his right hand briefly but agitatedly, causing Naoya to pause and begin to nod lightly towards him. "My assignment was collection, not war. If collection is through agreements, then it will be permitted. If it is beyond the station of a Jounin, then I will leverage the Elders." Turning his gaze from Yoshi and towards the other man again, Naoya twists his face baring his now inhuman fangs towards his companion but not a word is offered direct to him. "If the impossible is promised, this one will not be guilted for long. I cannot offer your kin as the next host without suspicion if that was to be a possible request."
A ghost of a grin plays on Yoshi's features at the mention of running, but no explanation as to why would be forthcoming. He listened from then on with his features quickly returning to a more neutral state, offering little further insight. Following a sigh, Yoshi lifted his gaze fully and said, "Before I speak my favors, I want one thing to be made clear… I have no kin in Kirigakure. Whatever tie I had to the Moto family was severed the moment I chose to… abandon the village."
"Even so, if there's any doubt about their character, I would ask…. ask they be given a chance to raise the next host in their own way. If nothing else, I do at least owe them that much to beg a favor of one who might be able to at least try to see this done." He chuckles. "And besides… those two are far too old to become the next host." He admits, shaking his head lightly. "As for my second favor… You know well what it is." Yoshi states, staring at Naoya hard now. "And don't be coy and speak of a swift death, or seeing to it this body isn't used for experimentation."
Shaking his head slowly, the other man waves his right hand in the air signalling no as well. "No.. The Moto will not be permitted to raise the next one." Lifting his right hand, Naoya moves it to tap lightly the center of his chest as he looks towards the stoic expression held by Yoshi. "What I can do is this, the Moto brothers will be given tests and trials. Upon success, they will be granted overview of the barracks. I hold the power to leverage some weight within the Academy to have his reality become a reality. As for your other request.."
Shifting his gaze from Yoshi to the partner, Naoya nods lightly once before saying "Okumo Kiji has been part of an unstable experiment. Part of the extended experiment performed by the once wielder of the Kiba Blades caused irrational actions. The Okumo clan will 'correct' this asset and she will be kept under watch to make sure another outbreak does not shine. After two years of observation she will gain a full pardon." Turning from the other man and towards Yoshi, he nods lightly towards the giant and says, "If you were to surrender, then the death was assumed and assumed quickly. Your once abandoned mate on the other hand is another matter, or do you hold other unsilenced business in this plane?"
For but brief few seconds, the ex-mercernary's eyes were wide from surprise. Twice Yoshi opened his mouth during this time, but no words ever slip out. In almost as short a time the following or balatant hints of confusion, curiosity, and anger in his expression gives way resignation. Wordlessly, Yoshi lowers his head… then lower still so that the back of his neck was exposed. As if in anticipation of this very circumstances, the ex-mercernary had cut his hair short as to avoid days prior to this day's event.
"Whatever business I have left I either no longer deserve to see done, or… cannot see through even if I had all the time in the world." Yoshi states calmly, or at least tried to up until the end. But even he was not so in control as to keep the last note from out forced.
«There is still time, Geki.»
Outwardly, Yoshi flinched at the inner shout, but remained steadfast in his silence. After what felt like a small eternity between the two, Yoshi turns his head slightly as if straining to catch a sound.
«So… In the end, another has proven me right.»
'I kept my promise… I tried' Yoshi thought back quietly. Words that fell on deaf ears.
"Sleep.. The being known as Kiyoshi was found and his mind brought back to reason. The Moto will hear how the one raised under their gaze did not betray their village or teachings in the end." As Naoya spoke the other man moves forward slowly, his hand moving away from his left hip and into the pouch on his right. Withdrawing a delicate appearing decanter, it offered the container to Yoshi. "This solution would be fatal to those not gifted as the Shimizu, some of the Kaguya, or those like yourself. This should let you rest now, you will find council within your own mind, and with those who share that body."
Upon closer inspection of the other man, Yoshi would notice several things 'wrong' about it. It appeared as a clone of Naoya but the brood was rampant within it, and Yoshi would be able to scent the mix of fear and bloodlust within the clone. "The seal masters will arrive within one hour's time. How long you will commune within yourself is unknown. -I- will grant each of those requests as before, do not utter them should you return to this plane and speak to Mizukage Meruin." Turning his head to one side, Naoya looks in the direction of which they had been heading, "I wonder how long she will run alone.. I'll have to find her before the others do. Complications are annoying."
Noticing Yoshi focusing on sound, Naoya turns to the man and says, "Worry not. While he was the Mizukage, I've already was prepared to hilt my blade into his chest. If he interferes, I will test his experiment with his mortality. Does this ease you?"
Yoshi doesn't respond at first, but instead continued to strain a brief while longer. When at last his efforts only result in disappointment, he looks to the offer, and starts to reach out. There is not even the slightest surprise in his eyes upon getting a closer look at the clone; only a hint of amusement and mild revulsion. "Typical Okumo." He muttered after taking the decanter, and lowering his gaze. Despite popping its top soon after, the Kirryu refrained from immediately take a sip. Instead, he stared into its depths, choosing to listen and contemplate.
"Hardly. Because then, how will you fulfill your end of things." He states dryly, a small grin returning to his lips. "But if you care so much for my own comfort, then accept the fact I won't sleep through this end." He states before taking a sharp swig. Soon after, he caps it, and returns the offered decanter back. "And that if you must call me anything, then leave that ki- out of it. It was never meant to be spoken that way." Yoshi adds before settling in to wait. A form of torment he accepted knowing full well that
"Then 'Yoshi', rest deeply. Rest knowing your loyalties are clear and unquestioned." Lifting his right hand, Naoya motions towards the other man. As ordered, the other man moves to grasp onto Yoshi by the shoulder and by bicep, guiding the man down towards the ground easily. Repositioning the giant, he makes it a point to remove additional equipment and put distance between the scroll lengths and their owner, including the club. "Yes.. maintaining four kilometer link. Yes, collection of her as well. ..No," is the last answer he offered before Naoya departs.
With the Okumo gone for a time, the dispatch team arrived and explained their status to the alternate Naoya who only seemed to speak through chimed cords. Taking their time, accuracy was more important than speed along as several layers of seals began to be drawn around Yoshi's slumbering body though on top of his abdomen was a large sealed jar. The seals were removed one at a time before the lid was, revealing a empty vessel. Yoshi on the other hand likely noticed nothing for a time, locked within his own mind, the solution was meant to loosen the bonds between the host and the Bijuu within without releasing its power.
It would be a short while after the sealing team was in their final preparations that Naoya returns with a once lost Shimizu was forced to walk ahead of him. "Resist further and I will drink further.. Kiji-san, unlike you this one knew his place, and surrendered." Motioning with his right hand, Kiji wouldn't be allowed to touch Kiyoshi nor mess up the preparations in store for the soon to be ex-host.
Kiji looked tired though not wounded and sullen. Seeing Yoshi being laid down and prepared, the seals being removed slowly… She looked away, her eyes white, no signs of color or pupil. Just a vast plain of white. She would, if allowed, go to sit as close as permitted to Yoshi. Though still she would still refuse to look at him directly…Her head hung and she remained silent….
The preparations were complete and all were accounted for, as such the ritual began. Rather than performed onto the weakened beast or onto a host that lost control, the practitioners grasp onto the dormant Bijuu and attempt to draw it out. Yoshi would feel himself forcefully awoken yet largely paralyzed as Kokuo was being forcefully drawn to a location other than his body, into the rune etched jar. Shifting his gaze towards Kiji, Naoya moves a hand towards her shoulder, grasping onto it firmly before drawing her closer so he could speak more softly.
'The ritual is half way complete.. The host cannot be alive or the beast will take over. Take my blade, now.' Turning his gaze downwards, Naoya uses two fingers to draw in the air over the large man, searching for something. After a few second, both of his fingers points towards Yoshi's chest and says "There, a clean death was promised. You are his last loose end, the reason he yielded. You are the one to secure this capture, is that understood Okumo Kiji?" Shifting his gaze back to Kiji, Naoya removes his hand from her shoulder and stood off to the side, giving her access to his scabbard as well as some of his pouches which held kunai and other assorted tools.
Kiji lifted her head as Naoya pulled her closer, listening to him. Her only response to his order was to close her eyes for a long moment. She stood carefully, her eyes shadowing grey darker and darker like storm clouds gathering in her eyes… She reached for Naoya's equipment belt but rather than take his sword, she swiped his med kit instead with a glower as if to dare him to argue with her.
Slowly, she knelt beside Kiyoshi, withdrawing a nerve drug from the medkit. She touched Yoshi's face and then injected him with thedrug, deadening any sensations of pain he might be feeling except of course for those associated with mental trauma. Then she leaned up, touching her forehead to Yoshi's, staring him in the eyes as she rested a hand on his chest uder his shirt.
Yoshi might feel pressure or warmth but no pain as her blood exited her hand through a self made wound and slid into his skin and veins like an injection. She closed her eyes for just a moment before returning to looking her former mate in the eyes.
"Thank you. I will see you honored."
Then she would use her blood… carefully but precisely… Stopping his heart through her ow blood, solidifying it from within, a wound just as fast as a sword, but much less painful.
And the last thing he would see was her face before her tears fell into his eyes and blurred the image. Once it was done Kiji withdrew her hand and simply sat there, staring straight ahead as if she were dumbstruck. Her eyes were darkening (and making a few of the seal users a tad nervous).