Path of Hope - The Wall


Sanshouuo (emitter), Mushi

Date: February 18, 2011


Mushi goes to pick some herbs while Goh rests back at camp. This nearly winds up being the worst mistake of Mushi's entire life.

"Path of Hope - The Wall"

Open Plains - Land Of Wind …Or is it?

Mushi had gone to find herbs and other local materials for medicines -- and maybe for eating! That is what Goh knew of her activities last. He then encountered a salamander named Ando, his friend Hiro, and the reason for them coming to see Goh. It was a monster. There was simply no other way of describing it. It was nothing natural, nothing that should even be able to >exist<, let alone move about on its own. A 'bird-thing' was the closest thing to a description that anyone could offer.
It almost succeeded in abducting Ando before he could inform Goh of what was going on. Though Goh rescued the gila monster-patterned salamander, the bird-thing not only survived but escaped more or less intact. Goh has been transported, along with Ando, by the salamander Hiro, to the Salamander Caves -- or a section of them. And some rather grave news has been relayed regarding Mushi being unfindable, someone in Konoha identified only as 'she' being gone, and something called the 'Stone of Nature' being 'gone'.
It seems like everything bad that can happen at once is happening at once. So where is Mushi in all this? She's been out in the Open Plains of the Land of Wind, gathering herbs and food and so forth. And she has been at it for hours. And hours. And hours. It seems like days may have passed and she is still performing the same actions, over and over and over. Like some kind of infinite loop.
It seems to be perpetual sun-set. Every time Mushi looks up, the fields are untouched. The herbs she has just picked or otherwise gathered are gone. They are back where they were before. This may eventually become quite annoying or at least strike her as odd. And the more odd it strikes her as, the more it creeps up on her…
Something is wrong. Something is very, very wrong.

Mushi has always lost track of time when gathering herbs. It was especially true when she traveled by herself. Sometimes she would be out doing fieldwork by herself for days on end. But when she traveled with a companion she always made sure to try and moderate her activities to a degree. She would at least come back to use the very herbs she gathered for dinner or breakfast. She'll judge what time it is by the light, and every time she glances up it seems no time has passed at all. It's not the oddest thing… but after this goes on for some time she reaches out for her satchel and blinks. She was sure she had filled at least half of this up. No, it should have been even fuller.
Mushi glances around, suddenly ill at ease. The sun looks as if it has only moved inches in the last… how long has it been? She straightens up and dusts off her hands. "Goh-kun!" she calls, but that's silly. He's somewhere else. She chews on her lip. Then she'd snatch up her satchel and make her way back to where they had parted. She didn't have any herbs on her, but they could do without. Maybe she'd actually have to eat his pickled vegetables. Just the thought makes her wince, but she's been struck by a sudden desire to get back.

Mushi walks. And walks. And walks. And it seems like she isn't getting any closer to where Goh was left. Infact… She isn't getting any closer to >anything<. She's moving, and the ground is passing by beneath her feet. But no actual >distance< is being travelled. This is… What? What is this!? Then suddenly, Mushi walks right into something. It's a hard, golden, and when she touches it it feels as though the entire universe just shattered. Every atom in her body just exploded into broken shards and went flying in every direction faster than conceivably possible, and yet she retains her awareness in each shard! She can see pieces of herself in the form of reflective glass flying around wildly. She can look at her back via her hand which is below her feet and the eyes she is using to see with are a trillion miles away. Everything is broken!
And then everything rights itself.
She is fixed, whole, and the universe makes sense again. And she is right back in that damn field with its unpicked herbs and its perpetural sunset. No sign of any golden barrier, no sign that is anything is wrong… Just the same spring weather, warm thanks to the country's climate even though winter has not properly ended. Something is different this time, however.
Mushi is not alone.
A figure with a spiked mane of hair, and an indistinct outline, and the surface of its body seeming to be a flickering mass of black and white lines, is standing nearby Mushi. In a very distorted voice that is hard to define as male or female, this new person says, "I would not recommend trying that again, whomever you are. It gets worse each time. You can trust me on that."

At the end of her walk Mushi picks up her pace as if power walking will get her somewhere. She stares down however as everything seems to be moving wrong. Is this a genjutsu? If it is, usually a genjutsuist has to make eye contact with someone before they can trap you in an illusion. She had made eye contact with no one for some time, much less seen anyone. And to hold a genjutsu for hours would take a large amount of chakra. Besides if someone--
"AHH!" she shouts, or perhaps she didn't shout at all. Her world is flying everywhere and nothing makes sense. It's like nothing she had ever experienced before. What happened? What was going on? Was this death, was this--and then everything goes back to normal.
Mushi squeezes her eyes shut, willing herself to wake up. But instead of waking up she finds herself back in the field. And this time there is someone else. Mushi stares at the man with the strange mane. "You," she says, in a voice simmering with anger. "Is it you who cast this genjutsu? Who are you?" She'd make a seal to dispel it once and for all.

The figure -- who is not identifiable as man or woman at all -- watches Mushi's attempt at dispelling Genjutsu. He/she answers, "Iie. <No.>" He/she then turns to look in the same direction as Mushi was originally travelling when she encountered that… Barrier-thing. "If this is a Genjutsu, then it is one like nothing I have ever experienced before…" The staticky distorted voice trails off for a moment, and then returns. "I am not sure who I am anymore. I have been broken and put back together at least a dozen times so far. Each time, I think the 'real' me loses something. On top of this…" The stranger turns to face Mushi with his/her/its faceless face.
"When I started trying to escape, there were two of me, not one. Tobirama Senju, the younger brother of Hashirama Senju, the First Hokage was one of me. Tobiramako Senju, the younger sister of Hashiramako Senju, the First Hokage, was another. Now we have put been put together wrongly. And we are the same."

Mushi has not given up. Her genjutsu was never especially good, but she had one technique that was sure to break even the most powerful genjutsu. She half closes her eyes, and her mouth moves for a moment as if she's speaking to someone. Then she waits. The bijuu within her had never failed to break from her an illusion. Admittedly, it was a technique acquired only recently and put into practice only a few times, but it was powerful nevertheless. "So," she says aloud, but not to the person or even facing him/her. "Why aren't you doing it, ya bug?" Nothing seems to have changed, and after awhile her frown deepens. The useless bug says there's no illusion to break!
Perhaps it's broken already. Mushi turns to run outwards and find out again. But this time she'll be more careful. If there really is a barrier then she'll raise-- "Huh?" Mushi whips around to look at the person with new interest as they identify themselves. "Hashiramako-san's relatives?" she says in a halted, disbelieving tone. "Merged together?" While most would laugh and brush off the idea of two being merged together, Mushi has seen more of that than most people. In fact, she's a prime example. "That can't be," she says, but she's stopped for the moment. "I'm not from the village but I've met the Hokage. You're not her siblings! Or even one of them. Now, tell me how to get out of here."

The he/she Senju shrugs. "Believe what you like. I have tried everything I can think of to get out of here. I think this is some sort of space-time prison. A Jikuukan Ninjutsu. We tried breaking out by combining our jutsu, but that might be why I'm fused together like this now. This prison doesn't like escape attempts. The harder you struggle, the worse the backlash. I--we--whatever this is that I exist as now… We have the skill, but not the power to escape. Whomever put the three or us here wanted to make sure we wouldn't be escaping any time soon. Possibly forever."
The perpetual sunset continues, the seconds continue to be hours. How long has it been since this conversation started? Was it really only a few minutes, or have days passed without anything to show for it? Weeks? Months? Years?
What if no one Mushi knows is alive anymore when she gets out of here? What if it's like she just vanished, and they all had to move on with their lives? Would they really believe it was her if she showed up? Would they accuse of her being an impostor?
What if Goh found someone else to love when he realized she wasn't coming back?
"I don't suppose you have any Jikuukan Ninjutsu of your own?" the staticky voice breaks into any possible thoughts that might be going through Mushi's head. "If I was better prepared when I was imprisoned -- either of me -- we might have been able to get out. But all my scrolls, my notes, my tools and weapons… It's all gone. All I have is the new jutsu I was developing… And it's not the sort of thing that can save us." The figure composed of blurring lines holds up a scroll and examines it once it is unrolled. "I wonder if this is my punishment for tampering with the power of life and death. Maybe this is hell."

Mushi blinks as the idea of a Jikuukan is proposed. Much as she hates to admit it but, from what she felt, that was no genjutsu. Her gut tells her that. "If someone wanted to hurt me they would have done so by now," Mushi says, tapping her teeth like she does when she's especially anxious. If this is a space time jutsu, hours could be passing out there for the seconds that are in here. Everything could be gone if this were true. Clearly, if this person was who he/she claims, then this would hold them for a long time. But was she, Nikumari Mushi, going to give up after being told she couldn't get out?
"I am a medic," Mushi admits, "with no Jikuukan, but I do have a couple tricks." With that she'd make seals so that chakra would enshroud her. It'd flatten and harden into layers, and those hard panes would layer themselves on top of her one right after the other. In a second, she's surrounded by shining chakra almost as if it were armor. Well, Radiant Armor, that is. And she takes a mad run outwards at high speeds to just break through whatever barrier there may be! If nothing else, at least the armor will protect her from the rebound.

Tobirama/Tobiramako looks up from the scroll as he/she feels Mushi's Chakra. "…That is not ordinary Chakra," he/she mutters. 'Special Chakra might be just what is needed,' is thought. Then Mushi slams into the barrier. Instead of being shattered, this time she reappears some 500 feet >behind< her starting point.
And in the time between vanishing and reappearing, Mushi was in two places at once. Or was that an optical illusion? It looked like Mushi was coming out of the golden barrier way far behind, but she may have also caught a glimpse of… Herself? Someone or something ahead, running into the golden barrier. But it was just a split-second. Nothing more.
The broken Senju turns slowly to look back at Mushi's new position. "I think I know how to get out of here." A pause. "All three of us. About how much Chakra can you generate? Is that armor your limit, or is there more? The main reason I-->we< were unable to escape was a lack of energy. If we instructed you in how to perform our Jutsu…"

Mushi is expecting some shattering impact if she meets anything at all. Instead, she finds herself stumbling what seems a long way from her target. She stares at something that looks almost like a clone of herself. But she hadn't done that kind of jutsu… and… "What is going on?" she marvels. She's shaken, and that rarely happens. She'd come into losing battles where she would most likely die, she had come upon powerful genjutsu and many things, but none mystified her so much as this. And being this mystified was disconcerting.
She turns to look at Tobi and frowns. Half of the reason she so doggedly attacked the barrier was to see if he/she might attack her while her back was turned. But it seems he did not feel as if he had hostile intent.
A flicker of surprise passes over her face when Tobi ascertains her strange chakra. "How did you--that is to say…" Should she tell him? Was this what he wanted all along, to learn her secret? At last she says, "I can generate more chakra than almost any shinobi. But how I use it is not an entirely stable technique. I think I have mastered it, but who can say? Still, if you want to try, then show me this technique. I'm a fast learner. But in the meantime, besides being (so called) merged, are you injured? Do you need help?"

The Tobirama(ko) person nods slowly. "That should be enough then. And no, aside from having about half our lives seemingly vanished from our memory… I do not believe we are injured. Hopefully we can return to normal if the trick to this prison is discovered. You see…"
Tobirama(ko) turns to face the presently-invisible barrier and then starts walking towards it. "I at first feared that we had been locked somewhere >outside< of conventional space-time. If that was the case, no one but the one responsible for putting us here could get us out… No exceptions. But thankfully, you exist here. We were able to see first-hand the results of sufficient Chakra being used in an attempt to penetrate this prison's walls. We had neither the perspective nor the Chakra to witness this before. And now we have ascertained…"
Pausing after seeming to walk a few dozen feet but not actually grow any further away from Mushi, the merged pair say, "…We are still very much in the normal world. But the space-time we exist in has been 'folded' on itself. We are experiencing the exact same moment in the exact same limited physical space infinitely. I imagine this 'folding' is why there were two of us. A world where I am male and have a brother name Hashirama, and a world where I am female and have a sister named Hashiramako. Two sides of a 'mirror', essentially. I wonder if there is another version of >you< that will join us if we do not escape soon."
The Tobirama(ko) turns back to Mushi and says, "Jikuukan Ninjutsu is by no means easy to understand, learn, or perform. It takes years to learn even the most basic of concepts within this type of Ninjutsu. I am not sure we have years, despite appearances. Someone wanted us out of the way. And leaving us in a prison that is not inescapable does not seem like a long-term solution. So we are going to need to speed things up a bit, before our jailer comes to end the threat we represent."
Taking a deep breath, the Tobirama(ko) pair/individual says, "Please generate as much Chakra as you can without endangering yourself and then run back through the barrier behind you at full speed. Try to ram into me--us. Don't worry about hurting us. We need a major shock to seperate. A space-folding tackle might be just the thing. Alternately, we could try to destroy the prison and hope we do not cease to exist along with it."

Mushi listens attentively to what Tobi has to say. But all the time she is wary. She doesn't know who this person is or where she is. But his/her trust in her seems to speak of great desperation. To be revealing so much and asking her aide so freely must mean he/she had been here for some time. Mushi regards his gravely. There are other ways she can try to break the barrier, she knows. She's already pestered the bijuu over a few minutes trying to break the illusion that was not there. There are still options, and yet…
"I guess I trust you enough," she admits grudgingly, aloud. She goes quiet after that to listen to Tobi's idea of the technique. It seems that the person has had enough time to think things over. However, Mushi looks utterly aghast when Tobi asks her to ram into him/her with full force. "I… I… I… what are you saying!?" She clenches her teeth. Was there danger in this? She looks at Tobi. Is he just trying to use her as a pawn to get out? That could well be the idea.
But what other choice do they have? She begins to gather her chakra. And then she gathers more and more. A Jounin's chakra would pale in comparison, and as this happens the chakra would take shape. Rather than the usual writhing, bubbling mass of fiery chakra that a Jinchuuriki gathers this one is in poisonous, vivid shades of red, orange, yellow, green and blue. Like a dragonfly. It flares around her in sharp wings, hard angles, and thin ribbons. The force of it slices the ground around her, and generates a current of energy like a blast of wind. Then she'd run at the barrier full force.

Tobirama(ko) says, "If I die as a result of this, please take the scroll from our body and destroy it. It is a Jutsu that should not exist. I never should have started working on it… Edo Tensei <Impure World Resurrection>… We will seal it away as a Kinjutsu <Forbidden Technique> if we ever emerge from this place alive."
Then they wait. They observe Mushi's visible Chakra in all its colors and all its enormously potent manifestations… But then turn to face the barrier, hold out their limbs as though to accept divine judgement, and prepare for the possibility of death.
'My only regret is that I left at such a time, when our elder sibling is having such trouble. Hashirama… Hashiramako… I hope to see you soon.'
Then Mushi plows through the Barrier, and at the same time she is touching the rear-barrier Mushi has already emerged about three or four seconds in >advance< of her other self vanishing. She would see Tobirama(ko) standing directly in her path. She would see her own back turned as she prepares to ram into the barrier. Then she would see a bright flash of light and hear a >tearing< sound as she strikes the one in front of her fullforce, and barely even feels it. What is a human body next to her power?
The Mushi across from the one that just emerged from the barrier finally vanishes into the rear-barrier. Mushi would have a moment to see that a woman who is identical to Hashiramako's sister is lying to the right, in a half-sitting position. She is wearing a dark-blue dogi with sky-blue trim, appropriate pants, a pale-yellow belt, and wrist wraps. Bandages are wrapped around and around her legs, and sandals are on her feet.
She looks stunned. But she also looks just like the Hokage's sister. To the left is a man that is dressed exactly the same as Tobiramako, but is clearly male, not female. He has the exact same expression on his face as his female counter-part.
And that's when a second Mushi erupts from the barrier behind the first, and slams into the first Mushi with the same force as was just used against the merged Senju.
The male leaps to his feet quickly and says, "Hurry! We have to act >now<!" Tobiramako says in the higher-pitched voice of a woman -- though still clearly the same person -- "Already on it!" She forms handseals and calls out, "Space-Time Needle!" Then everything seems to stretch and warp, reaching towards the barrier which is… >Broken<!? Indeed, there is a gaping hole in it that has a myriad of colors flashing within, many of them ones that human beings are not even supposed to be able to perceive! The second Mushi is sprawled on the ground after stumbling on something. There are >two< Jinchuuriki in this prison now. And the prison is falling apart because of it…!

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