Date: October 3, 2016
Kiji arrives in the Land of Earth suffering terrible wounds from a previous engagement. By either chance or fate, Yoshi discovers the fallen and fellow former Kiri-nin, and after some hesitation, takes her back to Iwagakure to be properly treated. Albeit, not entirely before a discussion about the past takes place…
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Perceptions & Inklings"
Land of Earth - Outskirts of Iwagakure
Outside Iwagakure [Land of Earth]
Reaching the top of the large northern mountain, the road becomes hard and paved as it extends towards the village entrance. Large thick wooden gates stand tall and intimidating, known as the entrance way of the mighty village of Iwagakure, sitting atop the largest mountain in the Land of Earth, ever looking out over its lands. A vast wall of stone and earth surrounds each side of the gate and extends all around the great village of the Stone ninja, making the gate the only way into the village on foot. In all directions there are large matters of stones and even flora ranging from various different species and sizes of plant, some providing a lot of shade and fresh crisp air. The road to take back is well traveled and leads into the mountains.
A slight chill is in the air, the last remnants of Winter, but Spring showers fall lightly and bring life back to the sleeping flora. As much as sleep some place warm and comfortable might be preferred around this time by most, everyone awake at this late hour had their obligations or concerns. Yoshi was no different. Although he had some misgivings about his current mission assignment, the former wanderer knew better to complain about it. So, after receiving directions on the village he was to meet the rest of the team, the men set out into the night alone.
Well before he made that first step outside the gate, another issue became known to him; a scent on the wind. Its vague familiarity gave birth to feelings of trepidation and dread. Yet, knowing himself the way he did, and knowing it would not be very long before some Kamizuru on look out caught the scent, Yoshi kept such feelings to himself, and preceded on down the road. Once well out of sight of the village gates hope began to fade away. The familiar scent had not only grown closer, but seemed to be radiating further up the intended path.
Driven by fear, Yoshi attempted to find a higher perch to hide, wait, and observe the road, faintly hoping the whole matter was a matter of old paranoia reawakening…
The scent was far from a dream or half-remembered memory, though. Her hair was red, dyed for disguise purposes, though by the amount of blood, it had not helped the girl much. Her stamina was nearly completely depleted and she had apparently crash landed by the rut inthe dirt. She held her upper stomach and ribs as if in pain but found the strength to crawl. Though it only lasted several feet before she collapsed again. The woun was not simply blood set there to garner sympathy, either. The scent of deeper wounds stung the air even as she collapsed.Rolling tothe side, her eyes mostly closed, Yoshi would be able to see her face easily.
'Don't what?' Yoshi might have asked if there remained any since of coherence to his mental state. But, no such question or any other gets asked following the calm yet pointed command. Truly, the mummified ex-mercernary knew not what to think at the moment. He had heard something about a recent betrayal in Kirigakure, but had made a point of avoiding digging too deeply into the matter. Not only was it above his paygrade (technically speaking), but also may have garnered the wrong sort of attention. Besides that, he… was done with the village. So long as their hunters refrained from attacking him within Iwagakure's sturdy walls upon inevitably discovering him, the man needed not concern himself further.
Not even a little…
«She will heal soon enough, Geki. You need not-…»
Whatever else the baritone voice from within intended to say dies in its throat after sensing a change in the host. After taking one last wary look around Yoshi drew forth his main weapon for the evening — an iron club — before springing closer to the fallen girl. To Kiji. Moreso as a pathetic attempt at a test than anything else, he approached and would try to remain in her blindside, weapon held but at his side. Eventually, unless some sort of trap is sprung, the kirryu reaches her side to give her a closer look, abandoning stealth at that moment. He offers no assistance, still disbelieving his eyes and every other sense to boot. In agitation, however, a guttural growl slips out.
Kiji could sense someone nearby but did not seem fully aware. She coughed, blood slipping from the corner of her mouth. And her hair was free, not in a braid and no place for any spiders of Sei's to hide. She looked like she's gone several rounds with an elder jounin. And she had. But when he stepped forward there was no trap. No one was around but the wounded Kiji and she hadno fight to offer. Her eyes opened slowly when he got closer, pale mists with little color to speak of. Her face was covered with tears and blood, her emotions played across her face as if she had been tortured in some way or another… But as she felt his chakra… she suddenly smiled, tears flowing freely once again and her eyes shifting to green and gold. Her hands reached up, shaking, toward him.
Ignoring the deep, resounding, and frustrated sounding sigh from within, Yoshi finally knelt down. Beyond the obvious sense of wariness and grim determination set in what little can be seen of his face, guilt and fear can just be vaguely made out. But over what exactly, one could only speculate. The smile prompts Yoshi to grow rigid in form and gaze, and even physically retract a little from her. Her reaching only seems to serve to further fuel the need to pull away.
And yet, he never outright stands up, and tries to leave her to her fate. A long, silent minute on his part passes before those deep brown eyes of his draw to a close with a weary sigh. "… Why?" He murmurs softly. Without waiting for a reply from within or without, Yoshi reopens and coolly examines Kiji one last time, self-assuring that once he took up the girl, the damages to her body wouldn't be exaggerated further. Pointedly afterwards, Yoshi hardened muscles and bones, and kept his gaze off her while carrying the kunoichi back to Iwagakure.
Kiji saw him pull back but showed no loss of faith. So when he picked her up she nuzzled into his shoulder and chest, eyes closing. Even the ne inside him would sense that though she was in pain emotionally she seemed to feel happy and safe in his arms. Her wounds weren't overly annoyed by the movement but she was profoundly relieved. "I… I wanted to .. see you one… one last time… Before they kill me…"
Yoshi just barely manages to fight back a shudder. This wasn't the only internal fight. With Kiji so close at hand, Yoshi's first few steps were difficult to focus on, let alone make without nearly tripping up. Even after everything he did and has been done, the Kirryu —
Against his better judgement, Yoshi shot a look in Kiji's direction after hearing her statement. Eyes gradually widen as a new source of fear now rose up within him. 'They' knew where he was now. A moment passes before through sheer willpower, Yoshi is again able to focus on moving forward. A number of questions burned the tip of his tongue. Far too many to ask in one night alone, or expect a proper answer for at any rate. Nonetheless, at least one statement slip out before either he or the bijuu within have the mind to stop it. "… I abandoned you."
Kiji looked up, she could sense his trepidation. But when he spoke again she looked down. The memories must have weighed heavily on her, but she shook her head. "I know… But I know why you did it too…" She looked up once again, her eyes showing the greys of pain and sorrow. "I.. I gave you little choice… If you wanted to get away you had to leave me." She had always been extremely understanding. "I was still bound by Meruin's chains…" She looked at him funny then leaned her head against him again. "I…I missed you…."
Bile rose up in Yoshi's throat, but he forced it down. Though her answer was the trigger, it was not the words themselves that were the true cause. Thinking of the whole truth, Yoshi could not — would not try to comfort Kiji, or even visibly seem to have taken notice of her last few words. Instead, he strode on silently, head head just a little higher as if to make it all the more difficult for wandering eyes to take note of his passenger. His determination could last only so long, however.
The gates growing closer, and the curiosity of his newfound 'comrades' no doubt spiking, their window for speaking truly in private was rapidly diminishing. Yoshi chewed on his lips, nearly drawing blood after a time before finding some semblance of courage.
"… You know better than that… You know I could've still taken you away with me… That I could've still said… something…" He trails off from there out of morbid curiosity.
"Could you?" Kiji reached up and touched his cheek through the bandages. "You sound like you want em to blame you… But…. Beloved… Now I understand why you were chosen for me. My father wanted to anchor you to Kiri and he used me to attempt it. I…." Her eyes filled with tears and pain again and she let her hand fall as if in defeat. "I came because of how I felt… I watched Yoichi die. I watched them rip him apart. I don't want to see that happen to you… But.. I .. I thought maybe… It wasn't all a lie… I do care for you. But if you think i'm still Father's pawn just put me down. I'll leave."
Elongated canine are partially brought to bare, but beyond this, Yoshi does not voice a counter behind the questions hidden claim. Her touch — a familiar, and in the past much longed for feeling — neither elicits a nuzzle, or prompts the man to retract from it this time around. Although he listens, and even catches the scent of tears, Yoshi never looks back down at her. Yoshi gradually closed himself to the point even the news of Yoichi's death earns little more than a grimace. Granted, it was not as if was particularly close to the man. Even so…
"…. Even if I still thought such were the case… YOu know me better than that… Despite what i've done, you know-…" Yoshi cuts off abruptly there, gritting his teeth, and stop all forward momentum to fuss over conflicting thoughts. "… How did you even find me?" He asks, gaze lowering to meet Kiji's own.
Kiji watched his face, even if most of it was hidden. She tilted her head faintly at his question. "Well…. I ran into a guy from Konoha named Satonezu Eremi and he had this…" She pulled his pendants from under her shirt, the bone and the blood stained wood. "He said you headed toward Kusagakure or Iwagakure and I just.. picked one. But I ran into Ishino… halfway here.. I .. managed to fly away but…. Well, I kind of landed on a tree…. then the ground…."
Yoshi's eyes darted back and forth in their sockets at the name Satonezu, almost as if checking inwardly for a memory tied to the name. It isn't until he sets his sights back on the pendants that the recognition lights up the man's eyes. He stares blankly at the gifts, considering perhaps taking hold of one of them. Twitching fingers certainly conveyed that feeling to a degree… though ultimately, he doesn't drop her for the sake of a compulsion. Yet.
The rest said left him looking at her with more questions obviously bubbling beneath the surface than anything else. Ishino, by his recollection, had certain ties to Iwagakure, so his near-ish presence was no real surprise. The fact Kiji got away from the man at all, however, earned her narrowed eyes of rekindled suspicion. With a guttural growl and a short headshake, Yoshi forced cold legs back into motion. "… Either way… You are in no condition to go running off into the dark… I'll… keep quiet about who you are… till you recover, anyways… But after…" He trails off there in defeated sounding tone, leaving for consideration another time.
Kiji tilted her head at his narrowed eyes. "K….Kiyoshi.. I can fly and he can't." She couldn't remember if he had ever seen her fly or not but still.. She had flown here.. Woomy she'd flown half way across the ocean… "I… I guess I should have just let Tsiro kill me. You did not want me here." She then tried to twist out of his arms, though it was a weak motion, her eyes were just a misty grey, pain and depression on her face.
Although Yoshi tightened his hold on her to prevent escape, the silence in regards to her question spoke volumes. Even if the truth in mind was anything but the obvious, the ex-mercernary still refrained from an answer. Short of doing something life threatening escape would prove all but impossible. Unless stopped or slow, in time Kiji is handed off to other Iwa-nin for transportation to the nearest hospital. There were questions, of course. LOts of them, in fact. While escaping them was but a fantasy, the Kirryu knew what line to spin to put them off for a little longer. And with those out of the way, he looked towards the direction of the admin building, considering his next move with a grim look about him…