Date: October 13, 2014
To gather food to feed hundreds, Kiji convinces Kiyoshi to go crab hunting with her.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
Costal cliffs off Rice Paddy Road
Kiji had heard of Renai's little fund raiser at the warehouse and found it gave her an odd feeling. Her eyes turned an acid green and she suprised herself when she saw her reflection. She hated that Renai had done something while she was still doing nothing but training…. It took her a while to figure out she was jealous of the pats on the heads Renai was getting and though that should have shamed her into at least donating /something/ to the fund raiser, all it did was make her think and think and think of something else to do.
What did the refugees need? well clothing was pouring in, toys, even tea and such. But what they really needed was food. And that gave Kiji an idea. It hadn't taken long to locate Kiyoshi and she poked and proded and pleaded and gave him that bit sad eyed look that reminded people of a lost puppy until he'd given in and followed her to the coastal cliffs off Rice Paddy Road. What was in the cliffs and caves therein?
"We'll take a big cart with and bring home a bunch of the crabs for the refugees! We can make crab stew. Because.. Because you can use thier shells for big kettles!"
And here they were, looking down on the crabs below them. There were some as small as a small dog while others were larger than even Kiyoshi. Deep within the caverns were larger ones, undoubtedly, but the ones Kiji was eyeing were about 3 feet tall with shells the size of great kettles.
In a word, Kiyoshi was hesitant to heed Kiji's proposition, though not due to anything regarding the matter at hand. Well… not entirely, at least. His mind may have been occupied with the past, but his senses remained keen enough to pick up on an offness with the Shimizu. Kiyoshi never voices the feeling; but instead, chose quietly study the girl until the sad eyed look is leveled upon him.
A defeated sigh settles the matter for good.
"Mm… If you say so, Kiji." An absent-minded reply from a Kirryu whose mind was now lodged between food and logistics. Not long after, Kiyoshi finds himself pulling a cart meant for a team of horses at least. Why? For exercise and to work up an appetite of course! Albeit, that's another thing he tried to keep to himself, and if prodded, masked as making sure they were able to bring alot for a cheaper price.
"Found any that interested, ya?" Kiyoshi asked in again an absent-minded tone. His eyes meanwhile kept scanning the coastal cliffs for any signs of the really large crabs.
Kiji had perked up the second Kiyoshi agreed to come with her to the caves to hunt for the giant crabs. She had even jumped and hugged him before helping locate a good cart. She was originally considering her purse and the coin within to see if she could afford horses but then Kiyoshi had simply stepped up to do the heavy lifting so to speak. Kiji had been concerned. She didn't want him overdoing it and they might just get hurt taking down the crabs… She might be rushing into an ide with all her energy but she had the presence of mind to make sure they did it right.
So finally she'd agreed to let Kiyoshi pull the cart, though reluctantly. She had carried a bag full of supplies they might need, nets and rope and food and such. The petite girl had immediately climbed up onto a rock that overlooked the system of caves below, watching then like a crow perched on a tree. The question from Kiyoshi had her looking back at him, eyes bright blue with a hint of orange. She was getting excited.
"There's some smaller ones that will be easy to grab and at least four that are the size we need." She stood and pointed at them, the smaller ones had shells about the size of bowls the four larger crabs had shells the size of the great kettles and would be suitable for what Kiji had in mind. Looking back at Kiyoshi she raised eyebrows as if asking what he thought.
"The hard part is going to be not cracking those shells…." She gathered her chakra around her andlet out a breath, closing her eyes and reaching out to search for chakra signatures. Granted the chakra in a crab was far less than the chakra in a shinobi, but the larger the crab the larger the signature. She didn't want anyone getting hurt…
She opened her eyes and frowned. "We have to be careful.. There's a huge signature inside the caves to the left… It might be trouble. How should we do this…?" How /did/ one lure crabs anyway?
As if sensing her eyes upon him, Kiyoshi breaks off the search to look back. Simple-minded curiosity slowly gives way to a more subdued reflection of Kiji's own mood. Though, Kiyoshi's excitement died down quickly after the reminder from Kiji. 'The shells didn't have to be /that/ intact, did they?' He thought as stroked his chin worriedly.
Trouble thoughts nearly blinded him to her concerns, but thankfully they /do/ reach him. "Maybe we don't have to be so careful.." Kiyoshi murmurs before slipping away from the cart and making his way over to Kiji's side. After a few moments of studying the cliffside carefully he asks, "Do you thinking that those blood lines you used on me before will hold up in water?"
Kiji could see Kiyoshi beginning to get more excited. At least that was how she took his mood to be. Though he looked a bit frustrated by the fact that they had to be careful of the shells. She intended to use them as kettles for the stew afterall, but as Kiyoshi clearly saw that as an obstacle she wondered if it wouldn't be easier on them to just find a bunch of huge kettles anyway.
His question left her qith purple eyes and a curious look onher face. "Sure. The whips are stronger than my needles. I use chakra to keep them together. When they're coiled on my arms they don't even stain my clothes." She grinned and allowed the long tendrils to come out of her wrists, coiling about her arms like vines. "What do you have in mind?"
The Kirryu tried to ignore the scent, but it was simply impossible. So, he hesitates for a moment in saying anything, and tries his level best to keep his focus locked on the sea, and /not/ her blood. "Something… stupid." Kiyoshi admits with a half-hearted chuckle as he made his way back to the cart. Anything more is not forthcoming until the giant is done rummaging around in the back. He doesn't keep Kiji waiting for a long, thankfully. Nor is he empty-handed. A Zanbato is strapped to his back in a crude sheath, and a smirk plays at the edge of his lips.
"If you can weave those whips into some kind of net along the coasts.. hm.. The shallow end of the waters if possible, I think — I can scatter them towards them." He says confidently.
Kiji spotted the look on Kiyoshi's face when her blood crept out of her wrists. She kept them coiled about her forearms as she asked what he had in mind. But it was a few moments before Kiyoshi trusted himself to speak again. Kiyoshi had a serious reaction to the scent of her blood. It concerned her, honestly. She fought with her blood and if Kiyoshi was that distracted, could they fight alongside one another?
His comment that he had 'something stupid' in mind made her a touch nervous but she leaned toward him, listening. He picked up that huge sword of his from the wagon and once more she was suprised by the man's physical strength. She couldn't even lift that thing she was sure.
His query about whether she could form a net with her blood made her hesitate a moment.. She considered… then nodded. "I think I could. Sure. that would restrict them and we can kill them through the underbelly?"'
The hesitation is noted mentally, but otherwise given no special look. The plan was a little unorthodox, so in the end, it may be better to look at other options. Kiyoshi smiles softly in relief at the answer despite his own misgivings. Following a curt nod, the giant goes on to emit, "Mm… Though there is one other thing as well." Kiyoshi turns to Kiji fully with all traces of levity removed from his feature.
"Promise me that you'll be careful, and…. until those crabs are secured, don't interfer with whatever happens to me, alright?" He asks firmly. After a favorable answer Kiyoshi takes one last look down the cliffside to plan out his descent and prepare to leap immediatly after, only to stop and turn back to Kiji. A hand is offered, though in truth, reaching out for it would mean sparking the boy's mischevious side and being swept up into his arms like bride.
An unfaborable response, well, the same may happen…
Kiji saw that smile and smiled back. It was nice to see him do that. So many of the people she cared about didn't smile much if at all. Then he said there was one more thing and she tilted her head curiously. What came next made her hesitate again. She could fight! She wasn't weak! She looked concerned more than anything but there was a touch of frustration there. "If you're going to be hurt…" She started then saw how serious he was and she sighed softly. "Okay…" Now, whether she'd actually do that when the time came…
She blinked at his hand but took it, only to be pulled into his arms bridal style. She giggled and her eyes shone halfway between blue and purple. What was he planning to do with her? Carry her to the ground so she didn't slip? She would have to ask about why some boys wanted to protect her so much… She hung on lightly though and kissed his cheek lightly. "I'll get the net around them and then you can do your thing but be aware of that left cave… It feels soooo big…"
His grip on her may not have faltered, but his footing mostly certainly did. Luckily, his reflexes kept them both from tumbling down the incline. Albeit the close call still left the embarrassed boy blushing madly before, during, and a little while after they reach what amounted to level ground closer to the bottom of the cliff-side. Once there Kiji is set down and given all the space and time she needed to set up. During which time Kiyoshi kept himself busy studying their surroundings more closely, as well as the crab activity. Well, try to at least, but honestly his mind kept either wandering back to the cave or Kiji.
Kiji squeaked as he slipped, though thankfully they landed on even ground. The blush on his face made her chuckle a little. "Sorry." But she shouldn't be doing that to him when they were about to fight giant crabs she supposed. But it felt so natural to do….Set on her feet again she patted his arm lightly and took off through the smaler crabs to the other side of the area where the water was. She focused her chakra and extended her whips then wrapped one end around a rock and oved across the space to the other side. It took a bit of concentration to form a net rather than whips, but she managed it finally, large enough to capture the big guys with a weft tight enout to gather the little guys too. It took her several moments, but the crabs mostly ignored her. The smaller ones were busy going through the surf to care what the crazy human was doing.
On the other side of the semi-circle of caves there was still a presence but nothing seemed to be moving and even the larger crabs avoided the entrance of that large cave. There were five or six large crabs in the center of the flat area, one actively stalking one of the smaller crabs…
Seeing the crabs go about their business seemed to have had a calming effect on Kiyoshi for the most part. Mostly. At the very least his heart was no longer racing for the moment, though that did not last for long. Lazy thoughts became focused once his gaze fell upon the stalking larger crab. Rather or not the species preyed upon one another was irrelevant to him. It reminded him of their purpose. Kiyoshi glances over to Kiji to see how far work has come. Once satisfied, the Moto straightens out and moves onwards towards the caves, one hand kept at rest on the hilt of his blade in case those larger than him decided to intercept him along the way.
If, and only if he can make it as far without being hassle would Kiyo unsheathe the blade and intentionally try to attract the caver lurker with rhythmic tappings.
Kiji kept reinforcing her net to keep it strong as she thought Kiyoshi was going to rush the targets into her hold and they could kill them off easily without damaging the shells.. Wrong! What was he doing?? He was going to attract the… oh dear.
Kiji's concerns were proven valid as he tapped his sword rhythmicly along the stones. The first indication that he was successful in his 'mission' was the crabs rushing away from the cave, putting even more space between them and the entrance. The ground seemed to tremble then and Kiji had to turn away long enough to focus on capturing the first large crab that had wandered into her net. The blood split apart and wrapped around the creature tightly. She furrowed her brow and focused, pitting blood spikes up through the bottom of the creature so as not to damage the shell. Thanks to her new control over her blood, none of her blood got into the meat. She set the crab down in the water and waited for the next.
At the same time a huge crab, ten feet tall or more burst from the cave, clawing at Kiyoshi with one of it's large studded pincers while emitting a shrill sound. It was not a happy crab. In fact it was down right crabby….
The giant crabs a grimace from Kiyoshi, though more so from the shrill noise it made above anything else. He has fought bigger and worse before, after all. As the pincer comes down, Kiyoshi draws the Zanbato up, turns it about, and braces against with his other hand as if it were a shield. Aside from cracking the ground beneath the Moto slightly, neither blade or body gives under the pressure of the creature's claws. "Mm… Still a biggun, Kokuo." Kiyoshi murmurs before shifting his gaze back towards Kiji's general direction. So far, the plan has gone off without a hitch. Even so, it would seem he would have to drag the fight closer to the closer to the trap…
With a throaty growl, Kiyoshi pushes forces the claw aside before retreating from the beast. "Come on, King. Can't set a bad example to your lessers." He didn't think for a second the creature understood, but hope tapping the rocks again would prod it into attacking once more.
One of the remaining big crabs rushing to get away from the King as Kiyoshi called it, got too close to Kiji and snapped it's claw at her head. She lifted an arm and snapped a blood whip at the thing, yanking it off balance before she closed the net around it as she had the last one, binding it then spiking it through the gut. That made 2. She caught several smaller crabs with a similar move but that was small and easy compared to skewering the larger crabs. She panted lightly and dug her feet into the sand a bit more for better footing.
Meanwhile, Kiyoshi was angering the larger crab quite a bit. It hissed and screeched at him again. As Kioyshi moved out of it's great clawed range it finally stepped from the cave entirely, it's full mass visible. The tiny crabs all rushed into the net and other smaller caves to hide the larger crabs tried to scramble away as well. One actually escaped into a cave and Kiji let out a 'che' in response.
King moved forward and tried to snap Kiyoshi twice, once with each claw. Kiji winced and looked torn. He'd told her not to do anything to help him… But she didn't want him hurt! She tried to tell herself that he was safe, he was strong like Sei. He could protect himself… So she waited for the next crab to come too close to her net….
It is only for a moment; but, a moment's distraction is all it takes for the King to get back at the intruder. A practiced, if albiet desperate swinging of his blade safetly deflects the first pincer, the second is driven up along the blade, knicking his gripping hand in the process. The pain is sharp, and ignorable for the moment. Even so, Kiyoshi shifted grips as he spun in to swipe at the creatures face(?). The rest of his momentum carries him back into place, then bleeds out entirely following a leap to lure the King again closer to the net.
At some point during the manvuever, Kiyoshi chided mentally for getting distracted like so. He knew crustacean well Kiji could handle herself…
Kiji winced as she saw Kiyoshi take a hit, light though it was she hadn't meant for anyone to get hurt doing this. The other crabs, the ones who weren't dead already scuttled away and out of reach of her net. Which was because Kiyoshi had lured it too close to her for their comfort. Unfortunately it also got close enough to snap a claw at Kiji. The girl lifted an arm, trying to deflect the claw with her whips, but the creature just snapped her whip in half and caught her along the arm, opening a long gash there. Kiji stumbled backwards a pace but then lifted her hands, trying to form the net around King. It was a stretch and she pulled more blood from her new wound to form a larger net.
It took a bit of work but she managed to wrap up the thing and it's huge claws finally. Panting under the strain, she sent one final burst of chakra out to spike the creature's belly. Even the hard undershell didn't stop her spikes, but it was still alive enough to struggle. "K..Kiyoshi! Your turn, put that sword under it's shell!"
Kiyoshi's guard is up even before the crustacean has reared the claw back fully. It swings… and misses?! Confusion and surprise quickly lights up his features, but only for a few heart beats. Kiyoshi spins on his heels, meaning to out pace the claw strike. Unfortunately, the realization that Kiji was in danger dons on him too late. His world turns red at the sight of the wound, and for an extended moment there, Kiyoshi is both invigorated and paralyzed by rage.
"Ki.." Kiyoshi jolts back to the present, and shakes his head rapidly. Time had rapidly slipped him by. Nevertheless, her desire quickly pierces the fog of confusion, and spurs Kiyoshi to action. By drawing upon a sliver of the Gobi's chakra, Kiyoshi manages to dash beneath the crab within seconds, and leap, delivering what he hoped to be a fatal slice by striking near the area damaged by Kiji's spike.
Kiji watched Kiyoshi space out and it was all she could do to keep from rushing to his side to step between him and the crab. Luckily he woke up quickly enough. The King was hissing and struggling against Kiji's blood net. Finally it managed to snap one claw free. But at that point, Kiyoshi's blade was tearing into it's underbelly. The thing's chakra leaked faster than she could have imagined and knew it was dying. But that left Kiyoshi under the thing. She released most of her hold on the great crab then and reformed the net into a long version of the whip, wrapping around Kiyoshi's waist and yanking him from under the beast. Once he was free she let the blood release him and gather around her once more, coiling up her injured arm and slowly sinking into her wound.
The great thing fell moments later with a thundering crash. Kiji blinked several times then looked at Kiyoshi concerned. "Are you alright?" She bent to check him over for injuries, eyes bright gold and orange as was usual for when she was in a fight. Her cheeks were flushed, too, from the exertion of using such a complex version of her whips. She'd done it though. And they would have plenty of food for the refugees because of it.
Kiyoshi knew the creature would fall upon him, and had every intention of letting it do so. His landing had been purposeful in that the great wound in the beasts gullet would grant him prime access to its insides. He needed only wait and brace himself to leap just in time to clear some room first. But then, Kiji interceded. If not for time, force of the pull, and a moment of clarity working against him, the Kirryu might've dug in and yanked her under along with him instead! Still, he is a sore one in several ways after reaching safer ground, though mindful enough not to take out his frustration on Kiji. Mostly.
"Fine enough," He says gruffly as the last few centimeters of his wound is closed without incident. Then after a moment or so, Kiyoshi turns to her with a small but grateful smile, and pets her head gently, hoping the gesture did seem to familial.