Date: August 10, 2013
Onimitsu begins his quest to solve the ails of his niece and his possessed blade, and it starts with an island chain known to allow few that step on it to leave. And of course, life threatening troubles do arise…
"Soul of Iron - Breaching"
The Unclaimed Isles — Edge of The Land of Water
Meruin stands in the crow's nest of the small ship that he'd hired for travel to the first in a crescent shaped chain of islands on the outer edges of the Land of Water. Kirigakure was far behind them, by now. The winds were fair, the crew was adept within their realm, the waters were stormless, and the passage was swift. Ten minutes more and they would be landing on the island that they'd set out to board just yesterday.
An island that was supposedly cursed. It was said that any who stepped foot onto it met with adversity and death, should they not have the means to escape before such a fate. But he was going because he'd been hired to escort Onimitsu to, through, and from it. What the Okumo knew was that this had the potential to be the end of the armored Kirigakure shinobi's personal journey, as well as that it was highly likely to hold levels of danger to put this at either an A or S-ranked mission. And the fact that it was just them two…
He looked from the nearby island to Onimitsu.
Regardless of any prior recommendations Onimitsu stood at the helm of the ship, fully armored with his eye solely upon the horizon. He hardly slept the night before or during the week leading up to this point. Another cost added onto a mountain's worth of debt. Still, he would not have it any other way. "Kunimitsu…" He spoke softly upon spotting the island chain in the distance. Afterwards the armored shinobi set his gaze upon the crows nest in search for the young Okumo's prescence.
Sadness — if only for a moment — is reflected in his eyes when their eyes meet before being hardened as he probed to see if Meruin was ready. A silly thing to worry about given the nature of their current mission; but still, Onimitsu worried since their time together over the years has been sparce. A perfect breeding ground for suprising change. Not all of which could necessarily be good. Case in point being the fact that he requested Meruin specifically in the first place…
He nods curtly and turns away once more, arms crossed over his chest. The wait was almost over.
The Okumo met his teammate's gaze from his high perch, able to glean nothing from the steel helmet and faceplate that the man wore. But his own face was just as open, just as shifting as Onimitsu's coverings, the planes of his features marked by the calm and the clinical. And then the nod was given and whatever thin connection they'd made broken as the swordsman turned away, leaving his escort to examine him further without scrutiny. But soon, Meruin turned his mist filled, pupiless eyes back up to the island they were nearing, it wouldn't take too long, now. The difficult part of the mission would begin just as soon as their feet touched land, if rumor were to be believed.
Rumor should never be taken as fact.
A small rumble went through the ship, the waters under and around it beginning to shiver, to act oddly. Voices of question bagan to rise from some of the crew on the ship, a couple looking over the edge of the vessel to try and discern the cause. And that was when the front of the ship began lifting. Skywards, higher, not from something under the water but by the water itself.
Much more swiftly now, suddenly, the water gathered under the ship, lifting the boat higher and higher into the air, causing the crew to shout out in fear and confusion, gripping hold of things as the ship starts to go nearly vertical. The water rises higher than the ship — far higher, climbing and climbing higher as though trying to reach the sky. It never made it there, but it did get between the ship and the sun, casting shadows upon the vessel. And perhaps that was enough. The giant star only barely visible through the veil of water, it became more than clear that they were on a sudden, random tidal wave as the top crested and began reaching towards them. It would crush the ship if not stopped.
'Not Even A Scratch'
Funny. And yet, Kind of odd how phrases like that tended to pop up in one's skull from time to time. Although then again, his medical instructor did spend a whole lot of time trying to — "Nani!?!" Onimitsu cries out as hands lash out on reflex for something to keep him stable. As a precuation he even latched on even more through the tree-walking skill, hoping it would be enough. Hope flickers then dies in his eye at the sight of the water ahead begining to rise… and kept climbing higher along with the boat.
Onimitsu has fought demons.
Aided in slaying monsters.
Survived an assault from murderous rogue shinobi with just the bare basics for a genin.
But this, a monstrous wave of liquid destruction? Now that was just too much. The fear it inspired was crippling. Not enough to lock him to the spot any further than he already done so himself, but enough nevertheless to allow idle thoughts and sensations to take precendence over acting while the scene that played out before him was still being analyzed. The panicked yells from the rest of the crew was not lost to him. Meruin's actions as well. Groaning wood, grinding metal, the thunder of a hearbeat reverbrating in his ears, Mermories — <Focus Ahodora!> A voice from within yells, snapping Onimitsu back to the present at large. A glance back is given to the men (and perhaps women?), average sea-fearing. He wished in earnest that he could save them. He would have given it his all to do so if he could.
Time and Over-specialization.
There was no saving them. Just himself in one cowardly attempt at propelling himself off the boat and out of range of the wave's crest, and then transform into his flight form mid-way. That was his intent, in anycase but…
-Hmm… Knocked unconscious from just that much huh- Akahime languidly voiced to the others before surging to the forefront to take control of Onimitsu prone body. Once in command, she righted it and started swimming for the surface; grabbing along the way whatever sailor might have fallen overboard along the way. A crimson aura, the after effect of the change over, surrounded the chunnin's form.
Meruin's eyes narrowed slightly. At such a height above the ship, any movement of the vessel is noticable because of how far what seems like gentle rocking below can make one list up above. And so he was one of those surveying the area around him, already affixing himself securely to the wood of the crow's nest as he tried to make sense of what was occuring.
And then the boat began tilting, lifting, carried aloft by waters rising higher and higher, the danger level doing just the same. By the time the wave was descending and the crew of the ship was screaming, the Okumo was crouching on a nearly horizontally planed mast, staring up at the crashing waves. 'Mission: Protect Onimitsu' He looked down at the swordsman before dashing off down the mast towards the bulk of the ship.
Reaching the base, he leapt upwards directly towards the crashing wave, a small thing against such a force. But his face still showed only the calm of more placid waters up until the moment it couldn't be seen any longer due to the speeds at which he was abruptly spinning. In a deluge dwarfed by the size of the wave but sizable in it's own right — hundreds of feet in each direction — spider silk burst from his body in whipping rotation. It met the crashing wave head on, breaking the waters that touched it and dashing it apart. Spray filled the air and the section of the wave before the boat diverted, continuing on either side of it, coincidentally endangering only those who had left the boat.
The breaking of that section of the wave cleared the path for the boat, actually allowing it to ride the wave, push through the spray and the hole to come out on the other side of the water. But what was there was no relief for the surviving crew. A creature that none of them had ever seen nor explain the existence of. It had a long, serpentine body with fan-like fins atop the surface of the choppy waters. It's body ran some 150 feet long and when it opened the maw in it's angler fished face, it revealed long serrated teeth of a steel grey and a ferocious bellow that set the waters to rippling.
And troubles, further still. Before it rose two tentacles from the water, their ascent showing their length to be longer and longer until the round ends lifted from the waters of the wave itself. And it broke it. The tidal wave burst apart as those fleshy tendrils tore upwards out of it, turning it from a forward moving wave to settling water and a downward deluge of destruction heading right for the boat. Again, it destruction was spelled for it and it's crew. But Onimitsu's earlier abandoning of the ship meant that the wave had carried him a little further past. This new development meant that he was no longer moving away from the boat and not in range of the giant force of water crashing down towards it. So he was in next to no danger just now.
Akahime swam with haste but the armor slowed her down quite a bit despite the conditioning her host body went through. When she does finally break through to the surface, a long full of air is drawn in. Followed by a few more as she pulled herself out of the water and on top of its surface with aid of a bit of water walking technique being thrown into the mix. Unwilling to put up with any physical demands further, Akahime's consciousness began to slip back into the blade. Leaving behind a soon to be water logged corps if not for Onimitsu's persona awakening during the exchange.
Groaning and moaning pitiful, Onimitsu slowly recovers to the point that his mind could be focused on other things. Like taking stock on his surroundings and — "Where's the boat?" He asks whispers as the single emerald orb in his skull searches for said target. Nothing. Not even a trace is spotted by sight, but by sound he locates the target. Fear, Guilt, and Horror threatens to overwhelm him upon bearing witness to the tragedy about to take place. The second feeling most of all leaves him paralyzed once more in place. But nowhere near as long as earlier.
The statement is not enough to make up for anything. However, it is enough to spark genuine action. But first he needed to focus on recovering fully, to heal himself, and to prepare to do the same for anyone else that might survive the amalgam's second attack.
<Hah! Not good odds unless that Okumo-geki is still on the ship!>
After ceasing his rotation and detaching the silk from his body, allowing the current of the water beside it to drag it out and away, Meruin fell towards the wave still beneath him. Luckily, the ship rode the wave through the hole, allowing him to shoot out a tether of webbing to the mast he'd been perched on before, pulling himself towards it.
He land on the boat just in time for it to finish going over the crest, taking a pair of momentum mitigating steps. Only to pause. Hesitate. The Okumo balked at the sight of the creature that awaited at the other end of the trouble they'd been in. He'd dealt with land crushing waves on many occasions, but this… was something he had never conceived of simply for the sheer fact of it's size. And, as the wave broke, shaking him from his surprised lack of action and allowing his training to take back over, the power that this thing wielded.
The Okumo's gaze slipped through the crew, searching the boat for any sign of Onimitsu. A quick narrowing of the eyes and thought back had him recalling that he hadn't seen him on the side of the ship, either. The Okumo looked back to the spray that was all that was left of the wave…. But that gaze only lasted until shadow once more overtook the ship and he looked up.
A great pillar of water, it's mass beyond his ability to estimate with any degree of accuracy. It was too much to break apart as he had last time — all of the water was centralized. This time, there was no saving the ship. All he could do was watch, breathing deep and swift, a dark chitin spreading along his form. Watch as the crew's death approached and the world turned to water.
And then it crashed down on it, on him. The air left his left his lungs and water enveloped him. Bones creaked and strained, his body was battered, but the chitinous armor made sure that he wasn't wholly obliterated as he was sure that the ship would be. Eventually, his eyes opened and he looked to the surface, confirming the fears that what his body had felt had given him. He was still sinking. The weight and momentum of that downpour was still pushing him deeper. He uncurled himself and began swimming against the current, but felt himself continuing his descent into abyssal waters.
The ship was shattered, dissolved into pieces that noone would even be able to discern as wreckage, and the sea creature didn't even seem to notice the fact. It's cold, beaded eyes turned to the side, away from where the ship had been. The gaze of the 150 ft creature locked onto Onimitsu from the distance between it and he, serrated maw parting to push forth another far reaching bellow, this one containing undertones of the screech of metal on metal. At the end of it a cone shaped jet of water pushed forth to fly towards Onimitsu. Should it land, it's tip would be enough to cause immediate damage, harming armor and doing more damage to the body beneath it. And the water that came after would push forward and send the lone swordsman flying backwards.
Onimitsu's focus had solely been on repair. Thus, he does not realizes the beast's intention until the split-second between the sea beasts ear sundering bellow and its unnerving gaze being locked onto the unfortunate swordsman. Just as he looked up sharply to face the source of the gaze, Onimitsu is forced to take a kneel and clutch at the side of his helmet from the screech. The action does little to help beyond keeping his head stable, and by extension, his focus. If only just barely.
A warrior's instinct saves him during the following moments. For if he had not propelled himself to the left, spining like a top in mid-air, the lance of water would have surely knocked the wind right back out of the cyclops. Still, evading the way he did left him a little dizzy. Too dizzy in fact to do more except try and right himself before facing down the beast.
Fight or Flight.
Onimitsu chose to abuse the meaning of the later by closing his eye and focusing. Silver to Crimson, Smooth to Sharper, Two Persona over One. His eye, a red-ish orb now, snaps open. He leaps a second later, transforming in mid-air and taking flight at a dangerously low angle with the aid of beetle-like wings now.
"So many lost this day due to arrogance and impulsiveness. Not another more." He calls out defiantly at the beast, seemingly ready to charge and impale the creature with the horn protursion on his helmet! THen he veers abruptly and claps his hands together. He slows as well, searching through chakra and sight for any signs of Meruin with the intent to drag the boys sorry tuckus for an Okumo out of the water. Strethening him as well if need be with a bit of acupuncture if need be.
Meruin's eyes narrow slightly as something gets in the way of the dimming light of the surface. He doesn't stop swimming towards it, knowing that he needed to find air. He still had some time before he was desparate, but the ocean was no place to take chances that you didn't need to, especially not when you lack the suiton that many of Kirigakure hold. So he was mentally prepared, but didn't change course, especially now that the current had finally let off.
It turned out to be the man that he had been charged with protecting, swimming into the water with heavy armor and likely his own wounds to aid him. The Okumo eventually met up with him and took his offered assistance and the energy donated, using it to make it up to the surface with him. He exited the water with only the smallest of splashes, taking in heaving but quiet breaths, expanding chest and stomach to take in the air he needed. He glanced around swiftly, searching for any other survivors and finding none. There had been some people down below but they hadn't appeared salvagable. So now that just left taking care of the sea monster and ensuring that Onimitsu would live.
He knew of only one way to see this thing dead, and it wasn't a sure thing either. He'd have to get close enough to assault it, though. But he couldn't leave Onimitsu so far behind that he couldn't protect him from the beast's far ranging attacks. "Come," spoke Meruin before starting forward, forcing his regenerative properties into effect. "And when I tell you to, I want you to branch off and run to the side." The Okumo made a beeline towards the giant monster, spider silk abruptly covering his form. He watched with four eyes as four spider limbs of webbing pushed from his back, lifting him from the water's surface and taking over his forward progress.
The beast gave a small shiver, a ripple throughout the length of it's long form, as it bellowed defiance to Onimitsu's charge. And then the small, metal animal dipped into the sea and soon reappeared with it's partner in tow. It's approximate 150 foot length compressed then, another shiver running through it… it's fins fluttering… eyes bulging. That maw parted and the second charge to come it's way was met with a large stream of extremely pressurized water, the force of it power enough to gouge holes into mountainsides should it strike. And it was heading towards the two shinobi.
Meruin gave no reaction at seeing the creature tense up the way it did or at hearing Onimitsu's agreement with his order. But the blast of water that shot towards him — not what he'd expected, having been underwater when the other, lesser one was sent towards Onimitsu — does garner his attention. The sound of wings and his partner swooping did the same, causing him to glance over towards him — the water was coming in fast — Meruin vanished, heading towards Onimitsu — a burst of water sprayed into the air from the edge of the blast — Meruin appeared tumbling across the waters of the ocean a small distance away, spinning through his clipped impact by the pressurized water, a torturous torsion holding his body.
One of the times that he hits the water sees him rising higher than the others and he manages to flip himself around, putting his feet to the 'ground' and skidding backwards. A bruise large bruise was already present on the pale skin of his right cheek and neck and doubtless went down under his clothing. His left arm looked dislocated, but a silent, practiced jerk and a wet pop saw that fixed. He looked harmed, but unshaken, and still in alright condition.
He vanished, reappearing beneath Onimitsu and leaping up at the armored man. He wrapped an arm around the armored man's torso and grabbed his helmet in a swift motion, pushing it to the side just enough to bare flesh that he could get his fangs into. Fangs flashed as they fell, entering Onimitsu and leaving him with no wound when they withdrew. Instead, the man would feel the regenerative substances that the Okumo injected him with working to further improve the state of his body, literally undoing damage that had been done.
"Retreat to a safe distance." He let go once they landed.
After pushing off that burst of pressurized water, the sea creature started forward, it's immense length moving with a very deadly grace. It let out another bellow to the world, the sound resounding before it simply slipped into the waters, no longer directly between the pair of shinobi and the island chain. But now it could be anywhere. And it could doubtless swim faster than the pair could run. Danger could be beneath every wave.
As embarassing as it was to do so, feeling something suddenly latch onto him instantly put Onimitsu on the defensive. His flying efforts to try and dislodge the 'tentacle' that latched onto him however prove ultimately futile. Thus, Meruin's bite hits it mark without too much of a hitch initially, though being bitten really makes Onimitsu's flying so erratic, that the duo are nearly plunged into the ocean. Thankfully, he manages to pull up just in time.
Thoughtlessly, Onimitsu rubbed at the new 'wound' while leering down at the Okumo since no words were forthcomming to mind. None that were not overtly negative/outright explitives, in anycase. So, despite prior concerns, Onimitsu nods faintly in understanding and prods Meruin only once with a look that says "Need a lift?" before following through with the current order alone, or with a passenger. Regardless of which, Onimitsu ascends to the point where he -hoped- the creature could not reach. During this time he used this moment to try and re-access the situation; especially in regards to whatever the heck Meruin injected him with. Now that he thought about it… Did he just move his injuried arm fluidly again…?
Meruin only looks at Onimitsu for a moment, not receiving the 'look' and the offer of a lift due to the faceplate. And the deep-throated roar of the sea creature assaulting them soon took his gaze away from the swordsman that took to the air. And then the creature went under the water. The 150 ft long creature just slipped under the waters of the ocean, evading his senses.
The creature couple probably maneuver faster than them, and it wouldn't have a problem harassing them for the long, long walk over the ocean it would take to Kirigakure. If it wanted to kill them, they wouldn't survive the trip. Better, he decided — "To the island, Onimitsu!" he called up to the swordsman above before dashing towards it, his bruises fading from view. "Be swift!"
Despite the approach of Meruin encroaching on what may be assumed to be it's territories, the sea creature doesn't, as of yet, reappear from the deep to assault the Okumo and hold him at bay. Neither does it attempt to leap from the ocean and take Onimitsu into it's bladed maw. As of this instance, it is nowhere to be found.
Onimitsu sighs in exasperation, for the 'look' was missed and appearantly made in futility. Another time perhaps. For now his focus needed to return to the sea creature itself. Its baleful(?), beady(?) eyes still upon his form. He looked right back. Not with righteous anger, sadness caused by guilt, cold, or even pity. Just a look meant to show the creature, even one seemingly without intelligence or a sense for fear, that it was only an obstacle. Another hurdle upon the journey undertaken by the swordsman that would either fall or be overcome like all the others. Nothing more, Nothing less. It might have been foolish to take the creature's retreat as a sign that the message was understood; but even so, Onimitsu decided to treat it as such. Even if the creature had decided to return there was always the option of carving the message into its mutated body.
"To the island, Onimitsu!"
<Let's end this already, Ahodora!>
-Just a little more, hun. Don't falter now.-
So much sacrifice, so many errors made, and still, they encouraged him onwards. He would not let them down. There will be no more lives wasted further so pointless. Only atonement. And perhaps, even freedom.
"…Kunimitsu." He whispered, gaze hardening a second later. Then without another moments hesitation, Onimitsu curled up, then burst forward through the air past meruin and towards island. An emboidment of swiftness, just as desired demanded.