Date: December 10, 2011
Forced to confront the beast within in order to gain mastery and prevent further problems, Daisuke and Hashiramako delve within the 'lair' of the beast.
"Mastery of Oneself - Conclusion"
Hidden Ancient Forest - Land of Fire
The night after the sealing of the remnants of the Four Tails chakra was spent huddled around a fire in discussion. Daisuke had become set on finding a way to stop having to rely on others when using the chakra, expressing this malcontent to his aunt. He felt that becoming independent was the only way he could grow as a ninja and as a person and felt that the Hokage of a village shouldn't have to be worried about her nephew's constant threat of going berserk. Eventually the red-headed Chuunin fell asleep, exhausted from the days events, leaving Hashi alone with the fire, but not before a plan was hatched.
Back in the cave passed the large Lizard they had fought was an old shrine that the Four Tails used to guard. He was tied to the place back when it was a large mountain, before there was such a large forest around it. As time passed and the forest grew up, the Ape remained protective of the shrine within the cave. This was the place of the initial contact between Hashi and the Ape in her battle prior to sealing the beast within Daisuke and it was there that they would confront the beast.
As the night turned into morning and daylight began to pour into the mouth of the cave where the two were situated, Daisuke opened his eyes and let out a yawn, waking himself up slowly. He propped himself up with his elbows and looked around, getting his bearings.
Hashiramako didn't mind the extra conversation after coming out of the caves, but she really wanted him to rest so that he could gather his energy back up. Still, the conversation was nice either way and she tried to reassure him that he hadn't anything to worry about in regard to relying on others. She was here so long as he needed her, independent or not.
Once he went to sleep, Hashi maintained the fire as she stayed awake to make sure that nothing would come against them around here. She was fairly confident nothing would happen, but she didn't want to take the risk in complacency. When the fire looked to be going out, she made sure to add fuel to the flame to keep it going to illuminate the area, but ultimately to keep warm. Inhaling deeply, she sighed and found herself lying back to stare up in the sky, allowing herself another hour or so before she decided to drift to sleep.
Morning came around and she was still resting peacefully, but her internal clock was telling her to wake up. So, she began to stretch and yawn, prompting her body to get ready for activity today.
Daisuke hops up, rummaging through his gear to get it all packed away and ready to move out. He seemed particularly energetic today as he whistled his way around the camping spot. It seems like he did indeed get a good sleep and was ready to get on with the plan. After packing his things into his backpack, he sat down on a dry log they had brought for firewood and waited for Hashi to be ready. "Do you think we can finish this today? This constant struggle to maintain control over the beast gets tiring sometimes. I'm hoping that whatever happens, I… we both do not have to worry anymore."
After the brief conversation and when Hashi was ready to go, the red-headed Chuunin would head off into the darker areas deep within the cave. They had to move passed the battle site with the giant lizard to get to their location, but with any luck the creature had long since woken up and scuttled off through the other exits of the cave deeper within.
Hashi muttered to herself for a few moments. Where did this headache come from? She lifted a hand to her head and minded it gently until the pain subsided. She supposes she slept harder than she intended to. Rising up from the ground with the aid of her arms, she eventually found herself on her feet and dusted herself free of any dirt that rested on her armor. "I don't think, I know we can." She stated to Daisuke with assurance. "You don't have to allow these problems to rest on your shoulders. They'll only serve to hold you back. I want you to release and be able to unleash all the power you can out here. That's what we're here for. In this forest, you can allow yourself freedom that wouldn't be available in the village. So, give it all you got and then more." She offered to Daisuke before getting to work on clearing up camp.
Once it was done, she moved after him into the cave, into the previous lizard lair, and further into the cave. Hashi held up a lamp so that they might know where they were going and avoid tripping over rocks or other nuisances. "It's so dark in these places. How do things ever live in here?"
"I always thought that they just preferred the lonely darkness to the bright sky and all the other predators out there. It could be a dominance thing, though, judging by the way the Ape reacted to the presence of the Lizard in 'his' cave." Daisuke says as he hops over another dry log illuminated by Hashi's lamp, not tripping over everything like he was on their previous venture out of the cave.
As they moved passed the area where they fought the lizard Daisuke breathed a sigh of relief at the beast's absence. Entering the darkness that previously housed those glowing eyes of his, the blackness around them seemed to encroach on the light as if it were protesting its presence. Like a black fog, it was hard to see more than 5 feet all around them, so Daisuke made sure the lamp stayed lit. As they walked for another 20 minutes or so, a single light piercing the darkness ahead made it's presence known. The light grew larger the closer they got to it and Daisuke seemed surprised, asking Hashi what it could be. What it was most likely was the shrine room, an impressively open area within the cave itself with its roof easily able to hold any great beast and a large crack in the side shining light in from outside the mountain itself, the crack left over from the great battle 13 years ago.
"I suppose so. Still, it just seems so different to be shrouded in darkness as opposed to light. Oh well, better to light a candle than to curse the darkness anyday." Hashi shrugged as they continued on through the cave. She supposes the darkness did have that domineering effect, it certainly helped with its fear evoking properties…
Upon entering the lizard lair, she maintained with the lamp, feeling the urge to hold it higher for a better view, but she knew that it wouldn't help much within this fog. Any light before them was lightly shrouded and dimmed enough to become a problem. She didn't like it, but would have to endure. At least Daisuke was taking steps to keep their lamps lit. "Well, look what we have here…" She remarked after 20 minutes of walking.
They were finally in the shrine room where she fought the ape years ago. Memories weren't exactly fond, but she did find herself reminiscing about it anyway. "I suppose we're here. Time to get prepared."
Daisuke's eyes widen as they enter the massive dome-like area of the shrine, the sheer size of the room and the height of the roof of the area drawing his attention. "You could fit all of Konohagakure in here…" Daisuke says in amazement as he steps over a fallen rock, looking around the area. In the middle of the room rose a small hill of steps leading to a large shrine, the focal point of the area. Daisuke figured that to be their destination and made his way towards it before stopping. He looks around slowly, turning to Hashi. "The Ape is awake. Seems the sealing suppression wore off." It was true, the Ape was awake inside and banging against the walls of his cage. Being close to the shrine seemed to piss the Ape off, though it was most likely because humans were there in his sacred place. On the outside, Daisuke smiles through a wince, "We should hurry." He makes his way towards the middle with Hashiramako, up the steps one at a time as the resistance to reaching the top grew from within. Daisuke pushed himself forward, this resistance wasn't unexpected and fell within their plan they had created.
After the internal struggle to reach the top of the stairs, Daisuke sets foot on the area housing the shrine. It was a fairly small statue housed within a wooden structure, surely nothing like the large statues guarding the gates of the Fire Temple. The statue was of an Ape that stood on two feet with a powerfully built body. The gaze of the Ape seemed to be looking up towards the roof, or even the sky beyond. Resting in its left hand was a large, plain looking staff. Upon laying eyes on the statue, Daisuke's chakra began to leak from his body as the Ape cursed him from within.
The presence of the demonic chakra rising from Daisuke seemed to have some kind of reaction with the statue housed within the wooden shrine. The statue began to glow a soft reddish hue. Daisuke became enthralled by the statue and reached out to touch it. As soon as the chakra surrounding his hands made contact, a large explosion of chakra temporarily enveloped and blinded the two ninja. Upon fading, both Daisuke and Hashiramako were left where they were standing around the shrine. But there was one more visitor joining them in this cave. Standing about 30 feet in front of the shrine area and about 50 feet high was the Four-Tailed Demon Ape. The deep red of his fur seemed to radiate heat, noticeably raising the temperature of the large area surrounding the cave by at least 5 degrees. Daisuke took a few steps backwards closer to Hashi after looking upon this massive creature that was sealed within him, briefly overwhelmed. "What happened? I can still feel him within, yet he is right here in front of us." he says to his aunt, confused at what was going on.
But there was something wrong, something different about this Ape from the one Hashi fought. This Ape was semitransparent, made obvious by the light beam from the crack in the roof shining through it. After taking a moment to look around and gain his surroundings, the Ape moved his mighty right fist forward, slamming into the ground. Transparent or not, the Ape could affect the physical world!
This place was pretty impressive. Massive as it was, it almost made Hashi question what mysteries truly lie beneath the earth's surface. This place was capable of housing not only a beast, but an entire village and perhaps even more. She may have had a prior experience here, but it still doesn't cease to amaze her what things the earth manages to hide.
Just ahead were steps that could be taken up to the shrine that was situated in this area. She made haste to keep up with Daisuke and pressed forward so that she may be close by just in case. Though, it wasn't so much for his own protection more so than her natural feeling to be a supportive figure and force should it be required. She could tell that Daisuke was struggling the further he walked, but he was holding together well and she was confident that he'd manage.
Before long, he made it to the top and was greeted with a statue resembling that of the four tail itself holding a staff. She watched quietly as he established a connection with the statue, knowing within what may come next of the situation. Once the chakra burst forth from his form and reassumed itself as an apparition, she looked up at it, feeling the heat it radiated while standing in its presence. It may be an apparition, but cannot be underestimated as anything short than an advanced poltergeist.
"This is your battle…" She answered Daisuke's question of 'what happened'. "What you're seeing is an apparition that represents what's inside you. Be forewarned, that doesn't make it any less weak. Fight it with all you have!" She called as the Ape began to lunge forward to attack Daisuke.
"My battle.." Daisuke says as he looks at the massive Ape, feeling very much like a small fly. "I guess I could buzz around him.." he says, mostly to himself as he chuckles. As the Ape begins to charge, Daisuke braces himself. He wasn't one of the quickest chuunin in the Village for nothing, he was good on both his feet and hands. As the Ape raises a fist and brings it down, Daisuke disappears, leaving an after-image behind to get swatted away. Appearing on the Ape's arm, Daisuke charges up it, his goal the head of the beast. But this wasn't something he was hunting, it wasn't something he had the urge to kill or dispose of. This beast was something that was apart of him. He had lived his whole life with this beast inside him, had struck up some pretty goof conversations with the beast, and it had even helped him out of numerous pinches. Perhaps Daisuke's resolve wasn't as strong as he thought it would be. It wasn't going to be as easy as charging forward and beating up this 50 foot Ape. And so as he moved, Daisuke opened a dialogue with the beast, adding his flavor of lightheartedness to the battle that many opponents were either pissed off at or thrown off by.
"So this is what you look like, huh? I have to say you look better inside my body, because at least I have the looks." the red-headed chuunin says as he runs up the beast's arm, his eyes locked on those of the Ape. Those massive golden eyes turned to look at Daisuke like a bug crawling up its arm and paused for a moment before letting out a chuckling sound the reverberated throughout the cave, causing a few more pieces of rock to fall from around the large crack in the roof. "So this battle will be the same as all the rest, huh?" the beast boomed as he watched Daisuke. "What do you think you can do to me, kid? I'm not one of your weak opponents that you can just hop around and make friends with." With those words the Ape swings its arm back and forth to try to fling Daisuke off. Daisuke grabs onto the massive red hairs and holds on for dear life. His hands begin to feel hot before he realizes that the fur of the beast was the true form of the cloak of chakra that constantly surrounded him. He loses one of his hands grip on the hair, dangling by one arm as he manages to hold on. The beast looks annoyed and stops the movement, and before Daisuke knows it, its other hand is there attempting to flick him off. Daisuke gets hit and goes flying towards Hashi, hitting the ground hard, crying out in pain. He suddenly poofs into thin air, revealing himself as a shadow clone. The Ape blinks and looks confused, sure he had hit Daisuke, but as Daisuke was so small compared to the beast, it was easy to hide on its body. Appearing in front of the beasts face, Daisuke is wielding his extendable staff, left for him by his father when he was a child, his only memory he had of his father. He swings the staff forward as it extends to its maximum reach of 15 feet, poking the Ape right in the eye!
The Ape howls in pain and reaches up to hold its eye, infuriated by this turn of events. Meanwhile, Daisuke moves to a safer position next to Hashiramako and stands, back on solid ground. "Tell me one thing, Ape." he says, calling out to the beast. "Why is it that we have to fight? There must be a reason you want to break free of me by taking me over. Perhaps once I know this reason we can work something out."
The Ape pauses its howl of pain and moves its hands from its face as Daisuke calls out to it, examining the boy with one closed eye. At the question the Ape snorts, a stiff gust of wind blowing by Hashi and Daisuke as he does. "You are not serious about anything and that pisses me off the most. You do not use my power in a fight, you save your comrades rather than fight your enemy, you have no … PRIDE." says the Ape, the last word echoing through the grand area and causing a few more rocks to tumble down to the ground.
There wasn't anything that couldn't keep Hashi from worrying about Daisuke as he was now beginning to return strikes against the Ape apparition that was lashing out at him. So far, it wasn't doing much in the way of harm as the boy was quick and dodged the attacks easily enough. It was at this time that she decided to take backseat to the action, so she flickered away and reappeared on a structure not to far away from where the battle was taking place.
Making humor of this situation definitely seems like something Hashi could have done. With less tension to weigh down in fighting, it makes things much more easier. She's glad he's employed this to be used as a tactic against both the Ape apparition and as a means to boost himself. This may make the battle more difficult, but it would detract away from any rational thought, including properly fighting against Daisuke. As the fight continued, the battle, as guessed, would be more difficult. The full cloaked form of the beast fighting against its vessel is an odd match to think of indeed, but it's necessary for controlling it.
The Ape opens its mouth, a large gout of blue flame comes out as it breathes. Daisuke 'tch'd and moved away from Hashi, summoning up a large earth shell as he expected a large flame attack. What came was a large gout of lava, a stickier, molten flame with the ability to burn through the earth. As it hit the shell the earth held, though it began to get really hot inside. Daisuke slide into the ground, moving through it with his technique. He appears 20 feet from the area that is now covered in a pool of lava, the room temperature beginning to heat up.
The Ape continues its critique of Daisuke by looking towards Hashiramako. "Your aunt is a great warrior, one who was able to defeat me on my home turf. She does not take combat lightly and her pride is what keeps her going. My goal in this world is infamy, my power is not meant to be kept hidden, it is meant for show, it is meant to exert dominance upon others. You waste my power and, in turn, waste the gift I have given you."
Daisuke listens to the words, finding himself agreeing with most of them. At the mention of a gift, his eyebrow raised. He had not been told much about his childhood, so the Ape's words were lost on him. And so the boy questions the Ape, calling out to it. "What is this gift that I should be thankful for? If there is something I am doing that is disrespectful to you, I can assure you I have just as many instances of you causing trouble for me." His fiery red-headed temper begins to get the better of him as he thinks back to the childhood he did remember, being ridiculed and segregated from his friends and clan mates without knowing why. "Because of you, I was never able to make friends. Because of you I was not able to have a normal childhood like everyone else." he says vehemently to the Ape, flashbacks of kids playing in the Senju village while he looked on, any attempt to join in met with failure. "Everyone hated me, most still do, my own MOTHER couldn't stand to be around me…. and I find out that the reason was you. Like I would go around flaunting your power after that!" he says accusingly, pointing a finger up at the Ape.
The Ape laughs at the boy's attempt at anger, pissing Daisuke off even more. "Kid, if it weren't for me, you wouldn't have even HAD a childhood. You would've died a long time ago. I gave you what was not humanly possible, I gave you the gift of life. Show some respect."
Daisuke blinks, taking a step back. He turns to Hashi, as if she knew, asking "Is it true?" This changed things, for he did not know about his illness, nor how he was cured by the sealing and the sacrifice that was made.
This place was beginning to heat up quickly as fire turned to molten earth and other such things. Luckily, there was a crack in the area to help vent it out, but it wouldn't be enough. Hashi, thinking that she had to act quickly, decided to place her wood skills to sue and summon up twisted roots by which to exploit the crack and pull it apart and stretch it out in order to allow more of the heat to escape the room and aid in helping it to cool. The crack began to crumble, slabs and rocks falling from the area and to the ground with occasional streams of dust following after the fallen stones as the roots tightened and twisted to reinforce their power and pry apart the crack. When she felt it was satisfactory enough, she refrained from doing any more damage.
"That should help in clearing out this oven…" She remarked to herself as her attention was returned to the battle. It appears both of them are disappointed at something, the Ape at the lack of its power being used and Daisuke at the power of the Ape ruining his childhood. She knows it was difficult growing up with something of the sort sealed within him, but the risk had to be taken. She admits that she did want the added benefit of the bijuu granting him power, but not at the expense of his own life or bringing harm to others. This is why it is crucial for him to successfully complete this task.
More flames decorated the area, but this time the heat was able to be endured. She ignored the dry flattery of the Ape to focus only on Daisuke and his ability to control and contain. There must be some means they can mutually bond to one another and it has to be found between the two of them. The balance of their energies is chaotic, but sometimes harmony can be found in the greatest of chaos. It's only befitting that after Hashi finishes such a thought that she's faced with some chaos of her own. The Ape blew the lid on the situation and she looked at Daisuke with a stoic expression in her face. She inhaled deeply, "Yes…it is." She stated. "You were ill with a sickness that could have easily claimed your life when you were young, but…we couldn't allow such young life to pass. So…I took it upon myself to seal the Four-Tailed Ape within you in order to cure you of your illness and maintain your life…." She explained. "It came with a cost, of course. A burden that should have never been placed on your shoulders. Your father sacrificed himself so that you may live. I accept full blame for whatever your childhood was for you and the relationship between you and others; kin, friends…"
The Ape had saved him from dying, and, in turn, his father had been sacrificed so that he may live. Suddenly it all made sense to Daisuke, his mother's hate, his clans disgust at him, he was the cause. He looks up at the Ape, a tear running from his eye down his cheek. "So you saved me, killing my father in the process and setting me up to live this life. A life of shadows where I cannot be myself for fear of what I may do. A life of constant vigilance and fear over what you might do if I stop." he says through gritted teeth, an expression of pure fury on his face, something not seen ever from the boy. His hands were already moving through multiple handseals, the earth in front of him beginning to crack as a massive dragon's head made of earth broke through the surface. It opened it's mouth in a mighty roar, a bright light beginning to glow from within its mouth. But Daisuke wasn't finished there. He pressed more of his chakra into the attack and, as the dragon rose, he began to move through even more hand seals. With a large BANG multiple large bullets of mud shots out from within the dragon's mouth, aiming towards the Ape. At the same time Daisuke's chest expanded as he stored up chakra before blasting it all out in a large stream of white-hot fire that ignites the mud, creating explosive projectiles. The Ape raises a hand to block the projectiles, which connect with his arm and send him stumbling back a few feet.
The Ape looks down at Daisuke, who is now breathing hard through his gritted teeth, and smiles. "Now this side I could work with. Your face shows anger, yet within is resolve. Let's see just how far this resolve will take you!" With that the Ape charges forward, spitting massive fireballs from his mouth that cause Daisuke to flicker around the area which has now become a battlefield. But the Ape was smart and those balls of lava were meant to position the speedy fly in a position he could deal with. Daisuke is forced to move away in the direction the Ape wishes and is suddenly caught by the massive fist of the Ape, who raises him high in the air in victory.
"I guess your resolve wasn't good enough. Now I will take your body and be reborn." he says as Daisuke feels the palm begin to crush him. Daisuke swears as he tries to move, tries to get out of the enclosed fist. As the hand begins to get tighter his air is cut off as the world around him becomes dark. His last thoughts are of his mother, of the pain he had put her through just by living where his father did not. Of the sacrifice his father had made for him and the fact that he would never get to know his father because he had gotten sick and forced him to die. So many regrets….
"Daisuke…Daisuke…" Surrounded by darkness, someone was calling his name. It was a familiar voice, yet it wasn't one he recognized. The sheer feeling of familiarity was odd to him because he couldn't recall anyone with that voice that he had met in his life. "Open your eyes, Daisuke…. open you eyes, my son." Those words hit home with Daisuke, banishing the darkness around him as he awakes on the ground next to Hashiramako. He stands up, looking around at what had happened. It was then that he saw the Ape, face first on the ground with a man standing ontop of him. He was an apparition, like the Ape, and taller than any man possible, standing around 20 feet tall. He held a staff, different from Daisuke's, that was suppressing the Ape by its touch, seals appearing in a circle around the Ape like chains binding it. No matter how the Ape struggled it could not break the chains.
Daisuke's attention went to the man. He wore a familiar outfit, one of his clan with the Senju symbol emblazed on the back. But Daisuke had never met his father, nor did he know what he looked like from his mother, as she had forbidden the conversation. "Father?" he says warily as he takes a step forward, The man smiled, slowly nodding his head. "But you are dead… I'm the reason you…" Daisuke says, getting a little choked up. "That is a complete lie, my son. As Mako-chan just said, it was out of love that I chose this, fully aware of what it meant. I was the one that begged my sister to do this for you. You are everything to me and your mother, Daisuke. And it's time you conquer this hurdle and move on with your life." his father says, poking the Ape with his staff. Senju Hideyoshi, Daisuke's father, turns to Hashiramako and smiles, "You look good, sister. I'm grateful for what you have done with Daisuke, he has turned out to be quite a righteous young man." He then turns to Daisuke and says, "This will be my final act as your father, Daisuke. The sacrifice I made for you will allow the chakra I infused into your seal to suppress the beast, but you must make peace with it in order to live peacefully. Goodbye, my son." With that he begins to fade, leaving Daisuke scrambling for all the words he wanted to say. In his final moment, Hideyoshi appeared before Daisuke, pulling him into an embrace as he fades away.
The chains around the Ape tighten as it howls in pain. The Ape begins to shrink in size as its chakra is suppressed. With renewed determination from his father, Daisuke approaches the beast, now around the same height, though still an apparition. "You have shown me the importance of resolve, of determination to see things through to the end instead of half-ass. For that I am thankful, and for the life you have given me as well. But if we are to continue to live together, I do not wish to have to use this suppression. You say you wanted infamy, how does being a Kage sound to you? I believe our goals align. Together we can become a powerful ally of Konoha and rise through the ranks quicker than we could when at odds. I will never disrespect your power again if you are willing to agree to allow me full access to it when I need. In turn, if you have the need, I will allow you to take the 'reigns', in moderation. We work together or not at all, what do you say?"
The Ape looks at Daisuke with his new formed resolve and scoffs, tsundere-like. "If you can promise all that then I guess it wouldn't be so bad working with you. One more condition, though. You get yourself a woman already. At your age an Ape would have 5 mates, your lack of effort is just cramping my style." Daisuke goes beat red and scrambles for words to protest. They begin to squabble amongst each other, but the tone of the argument was lighter than before. In the end Daisuke reaches out to grasp the hand of the Ape, sealing the contract with a, "You have a deal." With that, the ape disappeared back into Daisuke's body and, with an explosion of light, Daisuke was surrounded in a warm cloak of the Yonbi's chakra, resonating more power than he could ever have imagined. This was the proof of the contract, he could now use the full power of the Four Tailed Ape and work together with it to achieve their goals. The mission was complete and the two ninja could return home.