Date: November 16, 2013
All it takes is one bad day…
"What If? Switching Sides - Medic Gone Mad"
Desert Near Sunagakure [Land of Wind]
The deserts of the Land of Wind appear to be a barren, waterless, plantless, lifeless wasteland to most people. There actually IS life here, and water can be found as well if one knows where to look and how to gather it. However, the fact remains that the desert is an inhospitable place to be without protection. This stretch of desert lies just east of the mountains cliffs that surround the Hidden Sand Village. East from here is a lot more desert to cross before the border between the Land of Wind and Land of Rivers is reached. North also heads into the desert, but the wall of Sunagakure's natural cliff-side defenses can serve as a wall to navigate by. South is a direction that crosses desert as well, but with the promise of the ocean and the beaches to be reached eventually.
The war was a terrible one that reached every corner of the continent and even across the seas. Mercenaries were being hired in droves, coming in to support the shinobi villages who were having their final showdown for dominion. The Neutral Medical Center had its hands full not just of injured combatants, but of refugees fleeing from the war, looking for a new place to stay. Mushi herself was wandering between villages, doing the dangerous job of keeping an eye on everything. After an especially cruel bloodbath she'd dispatch a team of medics there to help. It was costing her dearly, but she kept all her medics out of the war and neutral.
However, both within her Center and from a Daimyo she was being pressured to join the active war effort. Seeing a huge group of highly skilled medics during the worst war in shinobi history was enough to make even the Kages demand she choose a side. She never did and one day it cost her. Her Center was attacked while she was out. She went back in time to find all medics who were at the Center killed and the enemy was gone. Who had done it? A village with great strength. They had used poison…was it Suna? Of the nations they seemed the ones most against war, but perhaps that was a faade.
So Mushi went down to confront Sousa. And she was nearing the village when a band of shinobi stopped her. Her dead medics…this war that the kages had chosen…it was their fault. Something in Mushi was lost, and now something else snapped. And before anyone else could arrive to try and calm the situation, Mushi had slain them all. The band of shinobi. The backup that had come. And even the people who thought they were safe watching. It made no difference. She knew the answer now…the villages had to be destroyed. As she stood there amidst blood and death she laughed. That was her answer, when her brother had told her to save the world.
Theoretical alternate realities is a fascinating concept. If alternate realities exist at all, then most likely they fill out every possible variation, which means that each reality would have very little in common with the vast majority of the rest of them, even though there would be more universes with very slight variations from it than could be counted using every bit of matter in that universe. Of course, when science fiction writers make use of this concept, they generally prefer to use universes which are relatively small variations on each other, and they tend to focus on the differences in human personality (which is actually pretty big compared to some of the other differences they could look at).
For example, suppose there was Universe A with a 'version' of Sousa who is highly intelligent, the leader of a Great Ninja Village called Sunagakure, and while not exactly an evil mastermind, willing to commit atrocities when he believes it suits his purposes. Then a writer crafting fictional Universe B might imagine a different 'version' of Sousa who is highly intelligent, the leader of a Great Ninja Village called Sunagkaure, and…not willing to commit atrocities, though not exactly a tree-hugging humanitarian either. There'd have to be some other, more subtle differences to make this viable, and if you analyzed it sufficiently it would almost certainly break down at some point, but it makes for entertaining mental exercise.
What does all this have to do with anything? Why, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OF COURSE, except that it happens to be what Universe B!Sousa was pondering in his sparse spare time. Just before he received the report that some crazed woman with unbelievable chakra had just slain a border patrol and was continuing to slaughter all in her path. c.c Naturally, this has brought Sousa out to confront the raging psychopath alone. Isn't that what any halfway-responsible leader with skills coveniently much higher than those of his subordinates would do, after all? ;)
"Nikumari Mushi-san, if I recall correctly," Sousa calls out as he approaches. "These actions do not seem fitting of your reputation. Perhaps you are an imposter, in which case I have little reason to hold back against you. Or you are being controlled by outside influences or have suffered some manner of brain damage, which is less reason for extermination…but I have little doubt that the famous healer would prefer her own death over the continued killing of random bystanders, so my practical course remains unaltered." Sousa's chakra spikes like an ignited jet flame, and the runs through some handseals. With a poof of smoke, a rubbery-skinned bear appears with a myna bird perched on his head. "Would you care to put forward any other theories which might forestall your execution?"
Mushi looks around at the scene of slaughter, and for a second she seems almost…uncomfortable? As if perhaps somewhere in her former mind, she had registered what she truly did. But then it's gone, and Mushi turns to face the new arrival. The medic blinks when she sees Sousa standing there. It seems that he didn't want to leave her to any more of his border patrols. He seems to be trying to explain her actions, or even deny that it's she who he is fighting. Mushi gives a low chuckle and shakes her head almost pityingly. It seems he'll play ignorant till the end.
"Kazekage, imagine seeing you here," Mushi says amiably, a tone that's starkly contrasted with the blood spattering her clothes. She looks at the chakra and techniques he is arraying around himself. "I remember our little exhibition match all those years ago. You conceded, but in truth neither of us really showed even a fraction of our true strength. It was a nice time. Young kids trying their hardest, nations working to substitute those matches for war. And now here we are. War. It's reached even my Center, or haven't you heard? I imagine so, since it's the Hidden Village shinobi who did it!" As she talks her voice rises till it's a hoarse shout. And then chakra flares up around her in sworls of blue and green, not the usual bubbling red of a bijuu cloak. It arrays around her in a long tail and multiple wings, as well as a horn. Mushi is still very much herself, but with the unmistakable cloak of a bijuu. Sand blasts out in torrents just in the wake of the energy.
"I am Nikumari Mushi," she says. "Shinobi. Medic. Jinchuuriki. And soon, the end of your village, you murderer!"
Sousa lifts an eyebrow at Mushi's transformation. Ah, jinchuuriki. That complicates things slightly, doesn't it. e.e "Gather the sealing team," Sousa calls out behind him. "We're going to have a second monster to deal with here." -.- Turning his attention back to Mushi, he shrugs. "I would not be surprised if such a deed were the work of a Hidden Village, although other viable theories come to mind. After all, few benefit more from the work of a large and organized healing corps than large and organized militaries. Perhaps it was a move by a smaller group, desiring to increase the attrition with which the Great Ninja Villages wear each other down." Sousa draws a scroll from his belt. "Since you've seen fit to kill a large number of my village's ninja already, however, I doubt a peaceable conclusion to this encounter can occur even if I convince you Sunagakure is not a prime suspect." Sousa whips the scroll outward, causing a line of chakra-tagged kunai to poof out and fly at Mushi.
"Shut up," Mushi mutters quietly, as if to herself. "This is not where I'll fall." She turns to Sousa and gives him a sharp, cold smile. "Do you think I'd risk accidentally destroying my loved ones and the people around me if I were killed? Throughout my life I've placed many seals on and within my body, to restrain Choumei in a seal should I ever be killed. You needn't worry about the aftermatch of defeating me, Kazekage-sama. In fact, you'll have one neatly wrapped bijuu for yourself." When he throws the weapons Mushi doesn't even move. However, the cloak around her grows hard, as if she's encased in a crystal. The kunai hit the barrier with sharp clicks and fall off harmlessly. Then Mushi reaches out. A vast limb of chakra shoots out as well to sweep Sousa off his feet, or so it seems. Rather, it would sweep straight through him. But the parts that passes through his body would drain him severely of his energy, gripping him in life-sucking chakra to the point he'd hardly be able to stand, much less move.
Sousa puts up an electric field around himself with lightning chakra, but it's apparently not enough to halt the ethereal claw. Sousa grunts as the attack swipes through him, stealing away his energy. "You are quite powerful," Sousa remarks, feeling his body go numb. "I shall have to resort to rather extreme measures." Once he can, y'know, move again. e.e
Mushi looks at Sousa coldly. "I acquired this strength to protect the people around me," she says. "When my Center was attacked I was going around the villages. I wasn't at my Center, you see, because I was worried about you murderers. But I recognized some of the poison work there. It was from that garden I visited of Tenjin Hibari! You would never think I'd suspect the man who is supposed to be the kindest of the kages! You'll die here, drained of the last drop of your life, Kazekage." As she's talking she's going through different hand seals and the ground is rising up in a huge, rolling wave to loom over Sousa and slam down on him, burying him in hardened sand.
Sousa watches the earth wave loom over him while trying to will his body to move. >.<; It doesn't work. -.- "Well, this is going to be unpleasant," Sousa mutters as the shadow darkens.
…The wind whispers by. The rubbery bear snuffles and snores. -.-
Suddenly the hardened sand splits. A rather bruised Sousa hops out from the fissure. "So, you have some measure of evidence for your beliefs. Noted," Sousa remarks, pulling out another scroll. "Regardless, I cannot allow you to continue your indiscriminate crusade." Sousa opens the scroll, and out poofs…a kunai and a length of ninja wire? A very long length of ninja wire wrapped around the handle of the kunai, but still, that's his extreme measures? c.ca
Sousa casts out the ninja wire in the air above Mushi, holding onto the kunai. "Gamma, amplify," Sousa orders. The myna bird spreads its wings and faces Sousa, projecting chakra toward him. Sousa holds the kunai up above his free hand, then drops it. Before the point can fall into his open palm, though, lightning chakra blazes in both of his hands, and the kunai is suspended by the electromagnetic field. The ninja wire also responds to the lightning, snaking in the air and forming coils around Mushi as it falls. Suddenly Sousa intensifies the lightning, causing the kunai to spin madly and the coils of wire to light up with current as they snap inward.
Once again Mushi doesn't move as the attack reaches her and wraps around the cloak of chakra. It's hardened and both the wire and electricity can't penetrate the shell. Then as Mushi stands there seemingly trapped within her own tangled barrier, she'd simply dissolve into the sand. And rising behind Sousa are two columns of sand that take her form. One would leap at the Kazekage and try to drive him into the ground, pinning him there. The other would also sprint forward but instead of tackling him it bursts apart with a defeaning roar, creating a small crater in the sand as it explodes outwards painfully in earth. The real Mushi is even further behind Sousa. It seems she's keeping her distance—and so is he, just like their last fight. "You need more proof? Like a full confession from Hibari?" Mushi sneers. "You truly are a naive fool, Kazekage. Shouldn't you be running right now?"
Sousa appears to go down quite easily to the earth clones. Maybe that electric wire trick took a lot out of him? Whatever the case, the first clone tackles and the second goes BOOM.
…When the dust settles, though, Sousa picks himself up and appears to have suffered surprisingly little damage, just a little gash on his back…which shows lightning chakra buzzing inside. IT'S THE OLD CLONE VS. CLONE MANUEVER! The lightning clone turns and wordlessly charges at Mushi. The real Sousa, meanwhile, pops up from the sand fissure he'd dove into when Mushi went underground — so thoughtful of her to create a hiding place out here in the flat landscape — and projects at her the illusion of a maze of garden hedges suddenly growing up and closing in around her. "Are the poisons from Hibari-san's garden truly that unique? Perhaps you could point out to me the plant it comes from that grows nowhere else." The lightning clone blazes through a side hedge and thrusts a crackling palm at Mushi's jaw.
Mushi can't help but smirk. She has plenty of her arsenal all around her, to harden or smother at will. However, as she continues to watch the sand her smile fades imperceptibly when he rises from the attack and begins to use genjutsu. But as the illusory chakra starts to manipulate her senses, and the maze rises up around her, Mushi makes a seal. "Kai!" she says, and the walls of the maze would be blown away like mist. She has little talent for using genjusu, but her defenses against it are fair. The lightning clones simply fizzle out on her cloak. In some ways her chakra cloak could be called the 'ultimate defense' in terms of the range of attacks it can defend against. It seems earth attacks won't cut it against a lightning user.
Mushi pops a pill in her mouth and bites down on it. A power-up drug? No. She blows out and a cloud of powder issues out, moving with almost living intent to engulf Sousa and force him to fall asleep. He'd have no respite even if he managed to evade the attack, as Mushi flits from view and appears behind Sousa, aiming to kick him in the neck. It'd be a fatal blow to some; seems she's not playing for keeps. "It doesn't matter," Mushi snarls, almost ferally. "Even if they aren't they got them from you. Even if they didn't the war will always go on with the accursed shinobi villages!"
Sousa sighs through his nose at the results of his assault. Nothing too surprising, it was a relatively low-level genjutsu since he had to control the clone at the same time…but it shows Mushi doesn't have a glaring weakness in the area. As the chakra-guided powder flies through the air at Sousa, he brings up his electric field defense again, intending to simply fry the powder as it reaches him so that its chemical properties change. When Mushi blurs in behind him for a kick, though, he diverts some of the lightning chakra into a clone to block the blow. It succeeds, but apparently used a little too much of the lightning. Sousa grunts and attempts to resist the soporific effect of the powder, but to no avail. *thud* -.-
…The rubbery bear snuffles and hums contentedly, apparently pleased to have a napping buddy. |]
Mushi glances around quickly, is there anyone coming? It seems the Kazekage is fighting alone. They had all assumed he'd be able to handle one rogue medic…no, any shinobi, really. She takes this all in within the second. Her eyes that were bright and green as grass once are dark and flat, like moss in a dark swamp. At the same time none of her former cheerfulness or sweetness is on her face. It's a cold, cruel mask as she dashes forward at speed. Chakra, hard and visible, forms around her arm in a blade. And then she'd use it like a sword to stab Sousa in the stomach. "You're evil," she says. "But you aren't afraid to die, despite your exalted position. At least you had the chance to defend everyone before I take your life. You're here, not miles off while your children die." There's corrosive, acidic hate in her voice. And anguish as well, so much pain it'd be heart wrenching to hear.
Sousa is awoken very rudely by a jabbing pain in his midriff. x.x Not that he was expecting much different under the circumstances, but it ranks pretty high up there on the scale of annoying alarm clocks, y'know? He coughs up some blood while listening to what Mushi has to say to him. When she's done, he chuckles and speaks softly in response. "Am…I? Is there…really such a thing…as good, and evil? I've often wondered…do the concepts have some objective basis, not just our personal opinions? If you have any insightful thoughts, I'd love to hear them." Of course, Sousa's not just waxing philosophical; he's trying to buy time while he gathers up his chakra again. He's not really dead yet, despite Mushi stabbing him in what probably ought to be vital organs. Like so many important characters, he's Made of Iron. And he's still got nearly half his hit points.
Mushi looks at Sousa with dull, flat eyes as he asks his question. She says, "No one is evil or good." Seems she's contradicting what she said a moment ago. "Because that'd imply an evil person is permanently evil or vice versa. But we DO good and evil. Aren't we what we do, especially when we do it over and over? That's what I told myself when I healed a bad person. I said…they are neither good or bad, so neither am I, for helping them. I was deluded." It seems she can't help but monologue like plenty of villains do, but perhaps she's proving her own point right now. But as she's talking she's not standing there idly either because the cloak of chakra around her is pushing outwards and upwards. Like a rock growing into a boulder and then far larger, a massive juggernaut towering above hills. And then her cloak would crash down on Sousa like a whale. The sparse bushes and trees, rocks, sand, would all vanish in a crafter the size of a hill.
"That's…rather avoiding the thrust of the question…" Sousa mutters. Not that Mushi probably cares. c.c; Sousa analyzes the tactical ramifications of Mushi's chakra exosuit increasing its volume to such extreme dimensions and concludes that now would be an excellent time to GET OUTTA HERE. He scrambles upright in spite of his stabbed midriff and begins blitzing away on flashes of lightning, heading out from under the falling collossus —
— Not fast enough.
Sousa clings to minimal consciousness, not to mention life, through techniques taught in the monastary where he was raised. Will it work now? Has Mushi used up enough chakra that she won't be able to escape? Well, it's now or never anyway. -.- Sousa concentrates hard, sending a chakra signal with the last of his will.
Test subject Beta, the rubbery bear, opens its eyes. o.o
Something churns within the bear's massive body. It rumbles, and shakes, and begins to expand. The rubbery hide stretches outward, blowing up like a balloon, until it can't seem to stretch anymore, and — !
…Then it starts shrinking again, but not in a deflating kind of way. More in a pulled-inward-equally-in-all-directions sort of way. Then everything ELSE starts getting pulled in too! The bear shrinks in on itself into a point too small to see, which sucks sand and air into it too. It's like a miniature black hole! Could Sousa really have been crazy enough to bring something like that into existence right outside Sunagakure!? It's gonna stop before it swallows the village, right!? Not to mention the country, or the whole world! Right Sousa!? ANSWER US YOU SACK OF SQUISHED ENTRAILS!!! X.X
Mushi can't help but let out the softest sigh of relief once her attack connects. And here she was with so little chakra left…now she must draw on more if she wants to face the team that's no doubt nearby, and just witnessed their Kage's death. The thought of Sousa's demise makes her smile. Really, the Kages are the ones who would be a threat to her. It's too bad they'd simply elect a new Kazekage after she killed one. The Mizukages have certainly proven they're quick to replace their leaders, and Suna would be no different. Therefore, every shinobi there must be destroyed. And she'll be the one to do it. She starts towards Sunagakure, and her first challenge. The seal team. How convenient they're together so she can remove them all at once and…huh?
Mushi looks around as Sousa proves he has a bit of life left in him. And more than that, he's doing a final technique even on the brink of death. It takes only a few seconds before everything is being drawn in…including her! Mushi tries to turn to run but already it is dragging her in unwillingly. So she makes a seal and creates a barrier of chakra around her, sunk deeply into the ground to brace her. And it succeeds. The barrier doesn't break or weaken against the pull, and for a moment she believes she may get out of this. But then…the sand the barrier is wedged in is being pulled in. And then, there's nothing to anchor her down. "No," she snarls, as she's drawn into the black hole. "Not here! Not by him! I won't—" But whatever Mushi won't is left unsaid as the black hole claims the battle and her life.
…And for those who may be wondering, yes, the miniature black hole does disappear after a minute, leaving a hole in the desert only a mile or so across. Which is a great relief to ghost!Sousa, if it hadn't stopped, he would've had to rethink a lot of his calculations. -.-;