Date: November 17, 2013
In an alternate world where Taiki loses everything… <WARNING! Foul language and non-explicit mature themes, PG-13>
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"What If? Switching Sides - Revenge of the Inuzuka"
Inuzuka Clan compound
It's time. Four long years passed since that fateful day when Taiki once again tasted the bitter fruit of betrayal. He was poised, ready to take the fight to Hiruko, to take the title of clan Alpha… when the neutrals sided with Hiruko and half of his support turned on him. He was quickly subdued, and thrown into prison for aiding and abetting Kenichi. Kenichi died soon after, but his actions as investigator were so beyond approach that they could only sentence him to three months prison. In the meantime, Hiruko convinced the Hokage that the Recluse was taken care of, and promised to allow Taiki to return to duty at the hospital.
Things quickly went downhill after that, as things got worse and worse for those in power. His own father died just before Taiki was released, and the attacks resumed against Taiki, leaving him just fit enough to work at the hospital. He was removed from his team at the bequest of Hiruko, and forbidden to have any social contact with anyone that Hiruko didn't personally pick out.
Taiki endured, battered and beaten, looking more like an Omega than a Founder, not that the Founder's Clan existed anymore. But that was just the surface. Now, after several years of secret training and politicing, it was time. He limped along the road, with only Shinobu at his side, heading toward the meeting hall. Hiruko was finally ready to do away with him, now that the entire clan was against him. Little did they know what Taiki had planned… and it was too late to stop it.
For the moment, Rio was just sitting in a tree. She was watching the road that Taiki was limping along, peering at it from a tree along with TSheyka. When she spots him limping along with Shinobu, she hmms as she stares at the pair for a long moment before finally she hops down off the branch, landing with a thud and then smiling as TSheyka follows her before she idly starts after Taiki as he passes. She doesn't say anything for the moment.
Things have changed for Atsuro too, though more because of his own choices than any trouble made for him by the new administration. He probably could have just slinked into the background and continued on as if things were normal in the clan — they would be, in one way of thinking. But everything that happened on that fateful day made him realize that maybe he just didn't want to be a part of this clan anymore. So he took Taizen with him and moved to the main village, content to serve Konoha directly, only looking back to shake his head in disappointment. It had seemed like the clan was on its way to improvement. But it had only /seemed/.
Today, though, he's actually in the meeting hall. He never liked it here, but now it seems especially bad — like a thin layer of slime is covering everything. Including the politicians, he thinks bitterly to himself. Officially, he's here on village business, not Inuzuka business. For now, though, he's just waiting in the wings. There are a few other items on the agenda before Atsuro.
Unbeknownst to the lot of them, there was a shadow following the one known as Taiki. Scentless in only the way that an ANBU could be to the sharp senses of the Inuzuka clan, one armoed for the work of the darkest order follows slowly, carefully behind them, and only a glimpsed view of a wolf's mask in place over the face. The hair is long and black, the shoulders bared, but it seems this person was barely visible at all….as if the shadows were living things alongside them, seeking actively to disguise their presence at all.
Taiki bows deeply to Rio briefly as he notices her, then continues to limp up the road. He doesn't look for comfort or a kind word from anyone, as he is well aware he would not find it here. And to lean on Shinobu would be a sign of weekness, a sign of dependency, one that he could not show. Hiruko made that plenty clear when she executed Nozomi, that any sign of weekness would be exploited. Still, he could not appear too strong, as that would tip the watchers off that something was wrong…. Finally he made his way to the chamber, waiting to be let in. The guards give Taiki an open glare of disdain as they announce his presence. Taiki limps forward, looking down to conceal his hatred. The council are all in Hiruko's pockets now, and traitors to the core… not that he cares about that last, not after today anyway. He even noted the strangers here, and a familiar presence. At one time he would have been sad that Atsuro was here for this, but grief was one thing he could no longer feel.
"So the welp arrives. You have a lot to answer for Inuzuka Taiki." Hiruko smirks as the guards come forward and place handcuffs on Taiki, locking his hands back and apart. Taiki doesn't resist, nor does Shinobu as he is chained as well. "You stand charged of attempted murder of an Alpha Clan member. How do you plead?"
Taiki only keeps his head down, slowly rotating his shoulders. He was prepared for this, but no one knows that… "Not guilty," he meekly and hoarsely announces, his whisper-like voice carries throughout the chamber as he inwardly revels in the sheer arrogance of the group here. Yes… it was time…
Moving in after Taiki, Rio has been taught differently in this universe. She is far more animal like, far less a free spirit but far more watchful. All that she put forth in effort to play tricks was pushed aside and curbed so all she had left was her curiosity. She was a watcher, always watching and quiet. So, this she watches, too. This she peers at and she slips in behind Taiki to get a good spot with TSheyka so she can watch, too. Rio's dog moving forward a few steps away from her, ready always to pounce and attack. To guard Rio so she can do what she does best.
Now this is unexpected. Atsuro's chair rattles with him standing up so quickly as to throw it back slightly. Taizen, who is also here, stands up. They look over and watch silently as Taiki walks in. They're almost glad to see him, but that changes quickly. No matter how much bad blood there is between them, the council couldn't actually arrest Taiki, surely?
"Attempted murder…?" Atsuro mutters under his breath. If this was the Inuzuka clan of old, he might be willing to give the claim fair consideration. But with the clan the way it is these days? He doesn't believe the charge for a word. He walks over to the edge of the parapet he's been waiting in, leaning over the balustrade to get a better look at what's going on. He gives Hiruko a look — a barely concealed glare of disgust, really — before he looks back to Taiki. How did this suddenly turn into a trial? And is there some way he can help Taiki? He shares glances with Taizen. What now?
Within the room such as this, it was easy for the figure to move in, shadow to shadow, darkness to darkness. Known to very few at all, the figure scales the walls and up to the ceiling, crouching upside down as a hand reaches back to touch the back of their belt. Even with the training had, with this many Inuzuka present, the figure remains as still as stone, giving off next to nothing, and remaining hidden….for now.
Taiki and Shinobu are aware of everyone in the room, including the presence no-one else knows about. He waits calmly, portraying the vision of a defeated, broken young man awaiting his fate as he waits for Hiruko to commit, and he is not to be disappointed this day.
"We have proof, which has been shown to the council. I call for a vote, all in favor of finding Inuzuka Taiki guilty, raise your hand." The entire council raises their hands, sealing Taiki's fate. "Taiki, you are stripped from the clan and sentenced…"
That's as far as Hiruko would get before Taiki looked up, freezing Hiruko with a look of pure hatred and contempt, Gone was the meek, broken boy, now there was only the enemy, who had the Inuzuka right where he wanted them. "I said not guilty… not innocent you senile old bat. You only /think/ this is a trumpted up charge. The reality is far worse than you could possibly imagine… for you anyway." With one final roll of his shoulders the pressure in the room drops for a split second, and Taiki's cuffs drop to the floor. A quick series of hand seals fallowed by his slamming his hand down on the floor is next. "Fuinjutsu: Prison of the body." With this, every ninken in the room, except for Rio's, Taizen, and Shinobu freeze, completely unable to move. "Don't bother ordering your demons to attack, I'm afraid they're quite unable to move right now…" He grins widely as he stands up straight, assuming a solid man's stance with an insane visage as he glares at Hiruko.
"What is the meaning of this?! Hiruko demands, so angry he's forgotten to order the guards forward.
A single soft whisper is said by Rio. A whisper not heard among the noise. A single word that TSheyka listens for at any given time from Rio. TSheyka starts forward with all speed and is rushing along the walls. The ninken is heading right for the side of the council, moving with speed and silence, awaiting her moment. Rio meanwhile, twists her left hand slightly and a bolt falls into her hand. She then starts forward as she peers at the people before her, bringing up her crossbow and sliding into the shadows as well.
Atsuro isn't part of this coup… or whatever you'd call it. But he doesn't particularly feel sorry for the people it's about to ruin, and it seems Taiki knows that, since he didn't freeze Taizen. With all eyes on Taiki, nobody's really in the position to notice that Taizen can still move. Atsuro rests a hand on Taizen, right near a sword, so he can be ready to fight. They quietly edge their way to the back of this part of the crowd they're in, and move off the parapet, making their way around the back of the room.
It's about that time that the figure drops from the ceiling, the poof of a weapon coming from its seal making itself known before the figure lands 'behind' Hiruko, and the business end of a scythe's blade is pressed against said Inuzuka's throat. The stance on the person is prepared, and should the slightest provocation be given, it's apparent that the masked figure would be able to rend the throat of the 'Alpha' very easily before having to turn and deal with a threat. And throughout the entire time, the masked figure yet remains silent. A shorter blade lays across the back of the hips, the signature blade of ANBU, the hilt secured and peeking above the right hip of what is now obviously a young woman.
Taiki notices Rio slip into the shadows and knows that he's protected, though how is only just now about to be revealed. "The meaning is simple, Hiruko-teme. You should have killed me. Instead, you wanted your petty revenge, and destroyed everything I cared for in this clan. This cesspool of vulture waste isn't fit to raise mushrooms, much less anything else. So I've decided to finish what you started, and destroy this clan once and for all…"
Just then the unknown man behind Hiruko produces some kind of orb of chakra and throws it at Taiki. He just flashes a couple of hand-seals on one hand and calls out, "Fuinjutsu: Seal Wall Encampment." The orb hits the shield that now surrounds Taiki and dissipates into nothing.
Taiki chuckles low and menacingly, his eyes still focused on Hiruko. "And the best part of this is… you did it to yourself! You see… I've been funneling proof of your leanings to the Hokage, and we were waiting for just this event…" He produces some more handsigns and slams his hand down on the ground. "Kuchiyosi no jutsu: Kashirama!" The tell-tale sound of several summonings errupts around the chamber, and one /very/ loud one outside. That was the cue for the Konoha forces outside the village to invade. He grins at the masked figure even as he speaks. "I get judgment on everyone in here. So… any last words before I pronounce my sentence?"
Rio wasn't in love with this set up. She frankly hated it. She had been beaten many times for her weakness…for her odd nature to prefer range over fighting up close. Just her inability to fight up close was pushed on her as a weakness. They even took TSheyka away from her for a while just to hurt her. Later on, they made the mistake of letting her feed Taiki. Letting Taiki and her meet. She was taught what it truly meant to be a Inuzuka and…now she will prove herself and so she prepares several bolts, one for each member of the council even as she awaits her moment if the need comes. One way or the other, hell is going to come down on these people.
Well, looks like Taiki prepared well for this. Any doubts Atsuro might have had about this immediately disappear. Moving quietly around the room, he's settled in front a small crowd of chuunin, here to act as guards. He's blocking the passage to the main chamber in an almost casual manner. But when one man steps forward and tries to get by him, he uses his free arm, the one not ready to grab a sword, and reaches across the way to block the brave man. "Don't," he warns.
The masked figure remains stock still for the time being, the blade staying put. The figure doesn't even remove her gaze from the target in front of her, though she's listening for Taiki's words at this point. She hears the word Atsuro speaks, and while no one can see it, a small smirk plays across her lips.
Hiruko was about to lunge forward herself until she feels the distinct sensation of a cold steel blade against her throat. Even so, there are a few other brave souls in the crowd, mostly guards. But they fall rather quickly to the largest tigers anyone here had likely ever seen. And the tigers are not gentle, they tear the offending people to pieces right in front of everyone. "I wouldn't try anything, for you all are fools if you think I came here alone, or unguarded. Just to let you know… anyone outside resists, even so much as raises a steak knife, and the forces from Konoha have orders to kill. The Inuzuka clan is hereby ordered to disband. Its members, save for a select few, are under arrest. The Inuzuka Clan is dead, or soon will be." Taiki's grin reduces in size, and becomes, if anything more melevolant. "And given the number of Recluse in this clan's compound… I don't hold hopes of having too many survivors… out there."
One of the other council members speaks up now, his voice strained with panic. "What do you mean, "out there?" What have you done?"
Taiki simply looks at the man and is about to respond when the unknown man makes his move, activating seals below Taiki's feet. Or so he tries… only to find that Taiki and Shinobu are no longer there. Several flashes of light later the unknown man falls to the ground screaming from being skinned alive from the waist up, with Taiki and Shinobu nearby covered in blood. He then tilts his head toward the side and says, "What I mean is, out there there won't be too many survivors. In here… none of you will leave here alive… or whole for that matter. I am death, and I have come to claim my due."
Watching, Rio has been trained by some of the cruelest people here, one of which gets skinned alive and she doesn't bat an eye. One man attempts to move on Taiki and then suddenly a loud growl is accompanied by TSheyka bringing the man to a halt with a bite right through the back of his ankle and then a bolt slams into his temple and drops him to the ground. Two more bolts catch two more in the chest, one of which dies instantly, the other isn't so lucky as a Bluetick Coonhound drops him to the ground and begins to maul his face. Then Rio is moving into the shadows again.
Maybe it wasn't any coincidence that the Hokage's office sent Atsuro here on this particular day. But why not just directly make him part of the attack? There was no way they suspected he was with Recluse too. There couldn't be any question as to his loyalties. If there was, he'd be getting the same treatment as the unlucky people already dying. Another brash guard comes forward, this time brandishing a kunai. Atsuro draws his sword in a flash, using the flat side to knock the kunai away, then using the sharp side to cut the man down. A painless death, relative to everything else that's happening. But it's enough to upset a number of the other guards he's holding back. Several rush him at once, but he doesn't hesitate in fighting back, taking them down with quick, efficient slashes. Taizen, meanwhile, has drawn a sword too and he's covering Atsuro's back.
The masked woman nods as she kicks the back of Hiruko's knees to bring her down upon them, but keeping great care to leave her alive for the time being. Such as it is, the blade remains in sync with the motions of the person it holds steady, and once upon her knees, the blade once more presses to the flesh, a mere whisper away from parting it with the spray of life's blood. For now, the woman is spared that fate….but it seems, only for now.
And that is everyone else's cue. Tigers leap forward, and Taiki and Shinobu disappear in the shrill screech of lightning, only seen as flashes of light. The Inuzuka panic, turning this quickly into a rout. A few moments later, and only three Inuzuka are left standing, with most of the bodies in several pieces. Some of Taiki's prey live just long enough to see their own bodies torn assunder before hell takes them. All in all, Taiki is purposefully making this as gruesome and hellish as possible, and he appears to enjoy it that way.
"You're a monster…" Hiruko says, her voice wavering in absolute terror as Taiki deposits her two closest supporters on either side of her. He waits until the others have had their fill before ansering her by applying the same seal he used on the ninken on her. He then nods to Usagi before adding, "I am what you made me. Congratulations, you won." He then looks at the masked woman and points to the man on Hiruko's right. "He's the one that killed Nozomi on Hiruko's orders." He promised her, after all. He then looks at the other man and says, "I have an experiment… something I haven't let my medical partner know I've been doing. You wouldn't mind testing it out for me, would you?" Actually, it doesn't matter as Taiki runs through a long series of hand-sings before placing his palm on the man's head. "Fuinjutsu: Chakratic Acid."
And for this moment, Rio has finished her dark work. She isn't…wanting revenge. She didn't want to kill. Rio has just become as cold as the Inuzaka have made her and for now, she sits in a corner with TSheyka, hugging the ninken close and hidden, behind the ninken is a crying girl who is holding the dog tight.
Hm. /Everyone/ in the building? Atsuro doubts that they could have /all/ been complicit in the various crimes Hiruko had spread through the clan. Certainly, many were corrupt. But every guard, every clerk, every secretary? Atsuro shakes his head. And now Taiki's torturing the last few to death. Atsuro was right to leave this clan. There are good people out there in the village, but the Alpha and the Founders… it's not apparent right away sometimes, but they're all rotten to the core. Taiki, you pug.
Atsuro wipes his blade off on the clothes of a dead man, then put it away and starts walking out of the chambers, not acknowledging any person living in here but Taizen. He has a few people from the now non-Inuzuka clan that he'd like to make sure aren't killed in an overzealous purge.
There's a subtle change in the masked woman's stature, the tensing of muscles like coiled rope, moving like well oiled machinery. The scythe is gone from the woman's throat as Taiki sets to work on her, but the one to her right, the man in question, he is in for a quicker, though no less painful death. The short sword is drawn in a blur, and with several quick motions, the man has been run through in several places…..mostly joints and places that someone could live with missing…for a few minutes. She growls softly as the scythe blade comes around slowly under the person's neck, and the coup de grace is given in the form of a somewhat mercifucl opening of the throat. A voice, strained and angry, simply states. "you have approximately thirty seconds to live with your pain. Pray to whomever you wish, but your soul is already doomed to hell" She turns towards Taiki, the sword being swished through the air to remove the blood in an arc, and re-sheathed.
Taiki ignores both Atsuro's departure and Rio's sobbing. He has one more person, then his revenge will be complete. He leans down to look her in the eyes and says, "I'm of two minds here. First, I really want to kill you, and make it as painful as possible, much like that guy's," he says, motioning toward the man convulsing on the floor. "The other part needs you, as a warning… no, that's not quite right… a declaration of war…" He then looks up at Usagi and gives her a thin smile. "But then, you'd just come back, wanting revenge. And my Uncles may have been right chihuahuas, but they taught me one thing important… never leave an enemy alive to fight another day." He then pulls out a scalpel and holds it in front of her. "So I'll leave the message, and then kill you. Your friends out there will know who its from, and what it means, and I'll have my due…"
It takes him a half-hour to leave that message, but only a brief time to kill Hiruko. He then stands, fairly soaked, as he walks over to Rio. He stops there in front of the ninken and says, "Leave, don't look back. It's not too late for you, but it is far too late for me. Live, and learn to live fruitfully. And if you see Atsuro, tell him what I just told you, and add, "This is why I didn't include you in my plans, for you managed to escape the madness."" He then turns and looks at Usagi, leaving the choice up to her as to what she wants to do next. It's obvious though, he's about to leave, not just the compound, but the village, to go do some hunting.
The masked woman stays there as Taiki does his work, and by the end of it, she takes a slow breath and shakes her head. "I cannot follow you down this path, Taiki. And may Kami have mercy upon you" With that, she walks over to Rio to give her a gentle hug, taking a slow breath and making sure to lead her safely out of the compound. She'd have to speak with Atsuro later….she figured he'd know it was her.