Date: December 13, 2011
Odo and Tessen clash to see who leads in Rain's footsteps. Naru finds a master. Ryoji securely brings Ei to Kirigakure.
"Strangers Cross Hampa's Birth"
Outside the Village hidden in the Mist
It had been a long arduous journey, and- Okay, it was really a simple task, walk from point A to point B. Point A being Konoha, and B being Kiri. It only took a day and a half, likely because Odo was all about making quick time. No time to sit and rest, hurry up, let's keep walking, etc. Odo stood at the edge of the Land of Water, looking at the enclosing mists with nothing more than his old "Alright, let's keep going, Kirigakure isn't too much further." And onward he would walk, not caring about who was with him or what blisters they may have, broken bones, or whatever else they had to whine about.
For the most part, Ei had quietly followed, though there was the occasional whine of tiredness. She knew 'Steel-kun' wouldn't listen, though, and didn't feel like bothering Ryoji with too much of it. After all, it was mostly her idea to go to Kirigakure; Odo just happened to be leading the way rather than her sensei. She had never been so happy to hear that something wasn't too much farther as she was to hear such words regarding the Hidden Mist village. "Yay," she breathed. It was meant to be excited, but it was quiet so she didn't waste her breath. Glancing over to Naru, she smiled brightly.
Ryoji was, to be frank, starting to regret his decision in following along after Odo. Just a smidgen. And yet ever the faithful mediator/broker/just plain clingy teenager, the Iga followed without so much of a groan or word of complaint. Mostly in part just for the sake youngest of the group's than his own. However, by time Odo finally spoke of theirr getting close to Kirigakure finally… Ryoji couldn't hold the mask for much longer. "Neh, neh Steel-kun. Why are you in such a rush to get to Kirigakure anyways?", He calls out ahead, waving his hand limply in the elder man's direction with a weak smile in place. "Because if its about 'ol charcoal-kun, we need not be in such a…" Ryoji trails off frowning before quickly forming the ram sign and focus both chakra most of his attention on certian few sentries left behind so long ago…
"…. Tch.. Well.. that makes sense..", Is muttered tiredly.
Tessen could be seen sitting atop a rock on the path. His dark hair hanging around his face as his head hung low. Charcoal eyes closed as if he were asleep. Leg hung limply over the edge of the rock and his back hunched. Arms crossed over his stomach and hands rested lightly on the hilts of his twin katanas. The crimson stone in his necklace revealed and glistening in the light and mist.
Only the most perceptive would notice the slight tension still held in his muscles. He was still alert in some capacity even if he was truly unconscious. Truth be told he was mostly there due to boredom and a late meeting with a source of information on his latest bounty target…Tsuyoshi. Last he knew the man was here in the Land of Water, and with his recent pardon it was the perfect time to strike.
If the man didn't show soon Tessen would either pass out or hunt him down and beat him mercilessly for wasting his time. If the others stopped by him it would be a surprise most unexpected for him.
Naru herself seemed to be right along with Ei, after all Naru seemed to catch a liking to her, and more or less for now considering to be like an older sister like figure. Quite frankly Naru was completely exhausted, her legs acheing but keeping silent since she didnt hear any protest from Ei, she didn't want to seem like she was getting any weaker. Naru was also quite irritated with Odo, keeping going without any breaks, not everyone had his stamina… the Uchiha didn't notice Tessen for right now, her eyes was stuck to the ground until hearing word that they might be getting close to Kirigakure no Sato, something she really wasn't looking forward to. She had bad blood with every Kiri-nin she met, having a strong dislike, perhaps even hatred for them since the end of the war. " Of all places to go to…" Naru whispers quietly, a hint of protest seeping through.
Odo would turn about and look down to Naru, or at least down his nose. "What was that, little girl?" He would ask, a bit loudly, like a dad kind of tone. At that time it was kinda louder than he expected, but still he wanted to get his point across of 'no complaining'.
Startled by Odo's sudden shout, the older Genin jumped slightly and then blinked before looking back to Naru sheepishly. "I'm sorry, Naru-san. It was my idea to come here. Maybe this will be a good trip and ease your discomfort," Ei offered hopefully. In truth, she had one reason and one reason only to be here… but she also did find it interesting. She'd only heard about the hardships the wars caused and hadn't gone through anything close to what most had been. Kirigakure was just another place to explore to her and she was excited to do so. As she looked ahead of them in this excitement, she noted Tessen and blinked. She had a feeling Odo wouldn't exactly appreciate her drawing attention away from Naru, but the Uchiha would. "Umm… Steel-kun?" She quickly pointed toward the resting Tessen so as not to draw Odo's apparent wrath necessarily directly upon herself.
The moment Odo spoke Ryoji snapped to attention and started to look around in confusion. Did he… just fall asleep for a second there? Not quite, but definetly at risk of it due to exhaustion..
"…. Ah.. eh… Hmmm…", He murmers as his mind slowly shuffles through all the conflicting sensory data recieved; only to have most of what he wanted to respond with settled by his student and Odo. However, as lucky as it made him to not 'have' to say anything to them, a familiar scent on the wind prompts a smile to splinter his face followed by the Iga slipping his way ahead to try and meet Tessen ahead of the others. "Charcoal-kun~ Oh how lovely it is to see again Edo~", he calls out while waving enthusiastically at Tessen. "Oh, Naru-Naru-hime~ Looky Looky! ITsa Charcoal-kun Edo. Just like a promise, neh?", He inquires brightly and winks back at the otherwise exhausted young girl. "…. oh, dear though.. A freshing up on your part may be in order before you truly face you long lost love no, Edo?", He asks, offering Naru a very cheshire grin and pausing long enough for the girl to reply.
At the sounds of Ryoji's frantic shouting Tessen's eyes shoot open and the slackness in his muscles disappears into rigid tension. His eyes were the color of blood for only an instant as his hand shot out with three feet of steel infront of it aimed for Ryoji's neck. In an instant the blade was halted and Tessen's dark charcoal eyes peereed into Ryoji.
His voice flat but edged with irritation. "Do not call me by that name Ryoji. I also take no child as my love. Why have you come here?"
As he spoke his eyes raised to fall over the group. He recognized two of the others with Ryoji. Odo…a possible threat if he so chose to be. Naru…a future student of his if she chose. The third he did not recognize, but she did not seem to be any real threat to him. All were cannon fodder if Odo was trying something.
Shifting his gaze slowly to rest on Odo his voice emerged again. "Been a long time Odo…You here to try and show me what your perversion of the Takokujin can now do? Or do you have some other reason for dragging children to this bloody place where I currently reside?"
The sudden outburst from Odo was enough to make her pipe down instantly, almost groaning as she seemed to be quite feed up with the shinobi, following along with Ryoji as lead was so much more pleasant, yet still he managed to work them hard. Finally though, Naru's eyes began to rest on the being that Ei had pointed out, this time Naru would be able to recognize him without a doubt in her mind, and Ryoji simply confirmed it, however the way he spoke caused her cheeks to flush slightly,
"I never said anything about that!" Naru complained, though her demeanor quickly changed to a serious notiation once Tessen had pulled his blades onto Ryoji, and his cool voice began to speak again, her heart raced for just a moment… What the heck was she going to say to him? Steping forward amongst the group Naru kept her eyes on Tessen, arms crossed over her chest , there were things she wanted to talk about to him, but it seemed like there was much more happening at the moment. So for now she simply offered a stern look and simply spoke. " I finally figured out your name… Uchiha, Tessen…"
Odo watches as everyone else throws in their two cents, but Tessen's words retrieve Odo's attention immediately once again. "In what way would -you- be a good judge of what we can and cannot do? You were a weapon, such as I. We have no place being leaders by ourselves, and as you can see with these… children.. we would never get anywhere fighting one another. Unless you merely wish to feign your chance of killing me right here in front of them to secure your 'ab-so-lute' power." 'Absolute' was spoken with each syllable dripping sarcasm and doubt. Odo didn't go for his weapon, or show any sign he was willing to fight at this moment, but Tessen should know he was quite ready at just about any moment.
A lot happened in the few moments since Tessen's presence had been acknowledged. The most important of which — according to Ei — was her sensei just beyond the tip of a blade. Her eyes had widened and she tensed slightly as if her readiness would prepare Ryoji, which of course it wouldn't. There was just nothing else she could do. "Don't blame Steel-kun," she snapped faintly. "He didn't /drag/ anyone anywhere. You act as if you're the only reason a group that happens to contain people that know you would travel to such a place. Naru-san was looking for you and, regardless of the reason, she accompanied Ryoji and me in the hopes we would cross paths with you. I can't imagine /why/."
She didn't like him. By the looks of things, that's the way he liked it. Resisting the urge to cross her arms indignantly, she set both hands upon the umbrella at her side to rest them there as she calmed herself. Glancing over to Naru when she said the stranger's name aloud, she sighed. This situation was horrid. The name meant little to Ei. She would prefer to call him Gnat-kun with the way he acted. A short time knowing him and already he was annoying to her; it was appropriate.
Of all the reactions Ryoji had already anticipated happening the current one was by far the most enjoyable to see. er, sense? Ryoji was no fool however to actually allow his amusement to show up on his face, nor ,albiet with less sucess due to a bead of sweat starting to form on his face, allow fear to fully shine through in regards to a blade being thrust at his neck. If anything his expression only fell from flamboyently casual to subdued nonchalance as he leaned back slightly to grant an index finger to press against the flat of the blade. He dared not to push it however since… he didn't really feel like loosing a finger again. ._.;
"If you must insist on that Tessy-kun, then I shall resolve to avoid doing just that Tessy-kun, Edo.", He replied calmly with a smirk despite knowing full well that the Uchiha's attention rested solely on Odo now. ".. And can you out of civility avoid such wild assumptions Uchiha-san without more proof than what your eyes can see… Or do you prefer behaving as a child?", He asks politely yet serious tone. His face a momentary a cold, hard mask before instantly brightening up seconds later as he turned away to briefly whisper something into Naru's ears.
"You are correct that you did never said anything about that Naru-hime… and yet your words implied that you were certianly thinking along those lines… weren't you?" He grins, then pulls away to with a dramatic spin on his heels. "And Ei-hime~", He spins practically prances over to stand behind Ei, lower himself once more to whisper, "Please do be more careful about employing my lessons in real time from now on, neh?" He pulls away. "At least without applying the first lesson more firmly ahead of time 'kay?" He emits brightly as if without a care… but the there was an edge to his voice. A subtle demand..
Tessen's eyes didn't leave Odo even as the others spoke. A soft chuckle escaped his lips at hearing Naru use his name. "Well done Naru. Why is it you seek me now that you know my name? Is it to grow stronger or to try and claim the price for your village?"
The brat whose name he didn't know wasn't worth the effort to acknowledge. She was irritating and too defensive of Ryoji for his good. He foresaw trouble ahead of Ryoji as long as the girl was with him. Defensive women always made things worse.
Ryoji's words and actions only brought a groan from Tessen. Now he remembered why he often avoided being present for Ryoji's reports in the past. The kid was useful but damn annoying at times with the nicknames. Almost as if he knew his usefulness made him just important enough that Tessen or others would not strike him down or seriously injure him for it. With a slow controled hand he brough the blade back to rest home in its scabbard.
Allowing his eyes to soften for a moment he acknowledged Odo's words. "Come now Odo…if I cared about power would I have been a bodyguard and not a ranking member of the organization? Though I do believe that not all of them would follow your commands or fight with you against me right now. Ryoji is neutral to us and would stay out of it for self preservation…a spy is not a warrior. Naru knows what I can do and wouldn't throw her life away in the middle of our fight. The other one…propbably would hold Ryoji close to be shield and save his life if one of our attacks went astray. So if we clashed it would be just the two of us getting hurt.
I said before in our last meeting however…that if you tried to carry on the Takokujin under your reign I would stop you. Neither of us is fit to take over what Rain-sama started. This is why I feel there needs to be a new organiztion. One which I already have one member and possibly more if Naru here decides to join me. I wouldn't mind you joining me Odo…a blade is a blade and only knows how to cut. You could even possibly take control from me in time with a public enough defeat. I plan to call this little organization Hampa. The remnants. We are the remains of the war that can not be quieted or laid to rest. I aim to put fear into the villages, show them that this unity through subjugation will not hold and that the peace is an illusion. See how quickly Hyuga turn on Akimichi when something happens and it is painted as the other clan's fault. I admit…not as elegent as Rain-sama would do it, but it is direct and lethal enough tto make the point and show the flaw.
So Odo…what do you say? Have yours join mine and show the world what we can do. I know you don't want to serve a weak man so if you must…attack me and we can settle this here and now. The way we know how to best."
Naru didn't know quite where to stand, with Odo and Tessen begining to bump heads Naru slipped off to the other side of Ryoji, what she saw was an inevitable fight begining to brew, though before things would take the notion Naru wanted Tessen to fully know why she was coming here… " I thought about what you said, and I wish to return strength and power to our clan… Power that ws lost after our defeat against the Senju…I need someone who can teach me to become stronger, without being bias to Konoha…" Naru states honestly, though her attention turns back to Odo… She sensed bad blood and unfinished business,… she would have to wait before she could talk to Tessen…
Tessens words drew out an eerie laugh from Odo, like the kid that found pleasure in torturing small animals and seeing that first writhe of pain as the gut-wrenching noises would start. A sick, twisted laugh. "'Mine, join you'?" He shook his head slowly as his grin faded. "I'm sorry, but you'll not be joining mine as mine would not be joining yours. It would have to be mutual for it to work out at all." A look to Naru as she spoke of clans and biases to villages. "She has a need, and something we can all agree on. Our clans have failed all of us by joining villages, no matter what we or our clanmates would think. With all of us together, and none -under- the other, or these -joining- those in some submissive gesture, we can do it." Odo moves to walk past whoever else was between him and Tessen. Odo would draw his sword, and hold it up in front of his face, blade to the side to signify as any swordsman would know, but Odo verbalizes it anyway for the younglings to hear:
"My blade faces not you, for you are not my enemy. Nor does it face myself. But off in the distance, our enemies collaborate, so shall we. We, Way Of The Sword. A Remnant of things greater than ourselves that were, and will be again."
Ei very easily understood what was asked of her and took a deep breath. "Yes, Ryoji-sensei," she answered as brightly as she could manage. Then she listened to Tessen and grit her teeth slightly. Cocky AND idiotic. Wonderful. He acted as if he knew her completely. Of course she'd flinch when a blade was drawn, but it being aimed at Ryoji made her more nervous because he was her guide. Without the Iga, she had no idea where she was nor did she have any notable protection. She wanted to say something, but she knew it was best not to say anything and simply let her gaze shift to Naru and then Odo as they both spoke. Remnants… sounded more like a bunch of people who couldn't let go of the past.
Words, Words, and more Words! Oh how his soul ached to interject his own or at least to put an end to the posturing so that both would be just blunt about their purposes. Nevertheless, Ryoji resisted the urge to speak much like his own student and would simply observe for the time being—
"I have returned Ryoji-senpai", The hollow sound of another voice instantly disrupts in further thought of Ryoji except to whip his head around to face the source.
"Shun-kohai…… You look terrible.", Ryoji deadpan before turning back to observe Tessen's counter argument.
"…." is the completely cloaked figure's only response..
"… *sighs*… In the end his dream that one's dream shall be pushed aside by blades without sheathes and loosest of bonds.. somewhat at least..", Ryoji whispered irritably before turning to walk a short distance away from the group all together.
Tessen slowly rose from the stone to stand before Odo and his blade. His hands moving to his own blade. Each was drawn in the blink of an eye and spun between his fingers before being snapped together with the spines touching. His own blades faceing parallel to Odo's. Dark eyes peered towards Odo's own. "You are not my enemy, but I will not work with one whom's merit I have not seen. Rain-sama placed you in your role, and his judgement is not my own Odo. There is unfinished business if we are supposed to work together."
Shifting his attention but not his gaze Tessen addressed the others in their pressence. "A warning to all of you: Do NOT Interfere. Some of you may have seen us fight at different levels at different times. This is different. Both of us will be fighting at our full power and ability. We can not and probably will not defend any of you from the other if you step in once this starts. Naru, consider this a demonstration of the abilities of the man you wish to train under."
With that Tessen fell silent and closed his eyes. His chakra levels rising drastically to their peeks. When they finished his eyes opened the color of blood with two tomoe framing his pupils. A seriousness about him that the others hadn't seen. One he knew Odo could mirrior. It was a warriors seriousness. One born of countless battles fought throughout one's life.
Odo would sigh heavily, like he was annoyed at something now. With a deft movement, he would take a few steps backward, reaching behind his back with his empty hand and remove his tanto from his belt, holding both weapons out, ready for something to happen. "Ready when you are," Odo says, making sure for just a moment the others were getting out of the way as necessary, but attention and gaze quickly back to Tessen.
Tessen smiled for a moment at Odo. "Relax Odo…this isn't to the death. Consider it a bit of fun and a chance to loosen your muscles and unwind." With that he let his face return to its stoic features. The blades in his hands finding their ways back to the scabbards on his hips. Then his hands were a blur. The mist around them swirling as the air shot up in a gust to push Odo off balance. Another set of seals and the air around them crackled before sparks of electricity would jump around Odo. With a final set of seals Tessen's hand would come to his lips and a series of small bullets of fire lashed out towards Odo. A simple test of abilities to start.
Odo's speed would barely put him out of the contact of all of the attacks from Tessen. First the gush of wind, then a few more steps and he's out of the way of the cloud of electric vapor, then again out of the way of the flame pellets. After a moment, Odo had a chance to put both of his blades beneath his elbows, making handseals before himself without having to sheath his blades. A wave of water would gush from behind him, careening down towards Tessen in a mass taking the form of a sphere that almost rolled towards his opponent. Then swords were taken back to his hands, and a cross slash of both at Tessen's torso was in order, putting Odo running right past him and the hopefully successfull Water Prison.
Tessen jumped back from the water that splashed up to trap him. As Odo came at him his body would flicker away from Odo's blades and leave behind it a seal on the ground. When Odo neared it the seal would activate and a column of red light would shoot into the sky and try to trap Odo so golden bands could wrap around him and take his energy away in a rather painful manner. As Tessen appeared again he would try to establish a link with Odo's mind so he could employ more subtle tactics.
Odo would see the marking on the ground in front of him, and right before that, attempt to stab his sword into the ground and divert his direction. Too little too late. The column of light engulfed him, and he was stuck there. Well, this isn't good. Odo just stayed there, using precious energy on struggling was just going to have to wait to be used to try and recover from whatever big gun Tessen had planned for him.
Tessen smirked as he looked to Odo. His hand reaching into his robe and appearing with a fistfull of tags held within. "Sorry Odo…but this is going to hurt…alot.' With that he threw the seals at Odo. The bundle dispersing as they hit the air. As they landed on the bound Odo they would start to cause muscle spasms and violently rip chakra from his system to fuel their own detonations against his flesh. It was not a technique he expected Odo to continue fghting after.
Ei was watching the entire battle, of course, from a safe distance. Having Ryoji wander off did make her nervous, but she technically had Naru beside her and that was something helpful at least. At the last flurry of tags thrown at Odo, she winced. Poor Steel-kun… Though she had to admit that both men were impressive, she now knew exactly why her sensei had mentioned being more careful. Tessen clearly had no qualms beating the hell out of anyone that came up against him.
Odo began to twitch, and convulse under the seals landing on him. He grunted, growled, and hollered when the spasms got worse. After the explosion, it was silent.
Odo knelt there with his sword in the ground, his open free hand that held his tanto next to him on the ground. His breathing was slow, but steady enough. Odo then slowly stood, his cracked ribs screaming at him. He tried to laugh through it, "Good. Very good. We'll call this one yours, Tessen." Odo started walking towards the group, slowly and cautiously sheathing his weapons, taking a deep breath but trying oh so hard not to show his pain. Might be some internal bleeding, too, underneath all his smoldering clothing. A look to the 'kids', and he jutted his chin, "Hopefully one day you, too, can take a beating like no other." His laughing turned to coughing then to holding back breathing entirely for a few moments while the pain subsided and he could stand up straight again.
And so the fight began; but what did Ryoji and Shun bothered to do? Hopefully gather Ei and Naru to farthest fringes of the makeshift battle (approx. 50 meters away) and behind the sturdiest looking group of boulders around! Without missing a beat BOTH iga cup there hands before their face and started to spew sensory organs in unison. Immediatly after three dozens of these organs and buds are tossed over the boulder without looking before the duo settled in to manipulate them in place.
"… Too fast?"
"… No, bad terrain."
"Do you think he'll—"
"Insufficient data to be certain."
"…. He's bound him now."
"….. They'll kill you if you interfer even now."
Back and forth they argued as things grew more heated beyond their the barrier until finally they both hush up at the defeaning sound of explosion. Neither as well dared to speak even once their noise died down along with the wind swept debris finally began to calm down, for on that very same wind the smell of burnt flesh was evident. "… *sigh*… Their gonna—"
"This is the Land of Water Ryoji-senpai.", Shun quickly interjected as the Iga placed a hand ontop of his 'superior's' head. "Right, right, right…… ! ..Steel-kun… surrendering?… Shun-kohai… This does not bold well for our future.", Ryoji whispered in passing after rising back to his feet to peer over their shield. Only once secure in the knowledge that the duelist really had intended to end things with a surrender does Ryoji risk meandering over to stand next to Odo. "Maybe someday Od-steel-kun.. though for the present. How shall we proceed from here… neh?", Ryoji inquired; only now daring to 'look' down in Odo's direction.
It was incredible, both of them seemed to be doing an impressive show of battle ability, even greater than naru herself had witnessed. Tessen and Odo was both fighting on levels she had never even imagined, it almost angered her a little bit, witnessing first hand that she truly had a long way to go… But would Tessen help here? and would the both of them, reconcile with one another? For now all she could see was to wait and see, witnessing the amazing array of jutsu, they seemed to have so much and different types… Masters of their own abilities, maybe Naru would become one some day…
Tessen looked to Odo and smirked as he loosened his hands. Turning to the others his smirk grew into a smile. "Not bad Odo. Close calls a few times for each of us. Surprised you took that blast as well as you did. Tougher than Kuoroke from Suna for certain." He relaxed only a fraction as his eyes still showed his Sharingan. "I think we will be able to work well together Odo. I now know you are strong enough to into battle with. Perhaps soon we can attempt to capture Tsuyoshi together. Nice 5,000,000 Ryo bounty to use as some start up funds." With that he extended a tenkou covered hand to Odo to seal the deal.
When the smile came from Tessen, Odo knew, even before he started talking about joining forces. Odo extended his own gloved hand to his (finally) co-leader(?) of a group. "Sure thing, I'll get you next time." And as his hand extended to take Tessens, Tessen might feel a little shock come from him if he didn't already see it coming with his sharingan. After that, Odo would start walking off towards Kirigakure, "Lets go find some information, I don't think you'll get anything out here about him.."
Tessen grabbed Odo's hand and as the lightning sparked between the two of them Tessen only smirked as his flesh singed. No sign of pain showed on his face. He let it drop as he turned to the others. A smirk on his face as he made no effort to hide the singed flesh or mildly twitching muscles as the electricity had its after effects work through his system.
"Well boys and girls…seems that we all work together now. Might as well get used to it and be prepared for the hard days ahead. Naru…your training will begin tomorrow. Rest well today…you will need it. Ryoji, I trust you can find out some information on our target on your own. I have some business to attend to since it seems my contact has decided to duck me this day."