Date: December 1, 2014
As Atsuro and Kenta endeavor to keep Isobu down and subdued, Takeo continues the battle of wills to master the Three-Tails' chakra. In the course of events, the more boyish, timid side of the Bijuu sees through his wrath. He sees friends, and indeed, friendships offered to him in turn due to Takeo including him in his life. Although he acts in defiance one last time, the match is yielded in truth. The Jinchuuriki seals Isobu once more and stores his chakra elsewhere within his mind, at which point the three return exhausted but safe to the world of flesh and blood.
"Takeo's Mastery - Part Three"
It took everything they had, but the determined trio of Atsuro, Kenta, and Takeo had managed to succeed in flipping Isobu onto his back. No worse place for a turtle to be. Not only that, but between the shoving of Atsuro and Taizen's combined three-headed dog form and Takeo's Water Dragon Bullet, the Beast was flipped around so that his tails faced the opening at the center of the gate.
"Hold him down! It's time!" Takeo charged across the cavernous surroundings upon all fours, running for the first time in years as an Inuzuka, and grabbed hold of the central tail. At the same time, a double image of himself representative of his chakra rises from his back, reaching into that tail and pulling forth a stubborn length of blue chakra from the Bijuu.
With each struggling step backwards, the chakra is stretched further from Isobu, whose body is still disoriented from Kenta's sleeping gas and the poison Atsuro had exhaled directly into the turtle's mouth. However, it appears that his spirit is still ready to fight, carrying the promised 'spar' quite some ways. Black veins begin to crawl along the chakra being drawn out, indicating that the contest of wills has begun.
In the real world, Takeo's body is now wreathed in deep blue chakra which bubbles like water, half of it resembling the Bijuu in primitive form.
Talk about out of his depth! Kenta hasn't have the sheer strength that Takeo and Atsuro has, so he has no idea what he can do to keep the giant turtle monster down now that it's flipped over. Nevertheless, he runs after Takeo to close in on Isobu. He doesn't go all the way, stopping to one side of the row of bars that make up the giant shell, where he has a direct light of sight to Isobu's head. The young medic-nin pops another of the black pills and holds himself ready to blast the Bijuu with another cloud of soporific mist whenever the current effects start to wear off. Hopefully, Isobu isn't already forming higher levels of tolerance from repeated exposure.
The great wolf heard Takeo's command and switches positions again. Now that the turle in on its back, the objective becomes to keep it pinned down rather than flip it over again. While Takeo moves to get at the tails, the wolf jumps onto the exposed underside of the bijuu's shell. It takes a moment to decide on a course of action, then chooses to throw all of its body onto one of Isobu's limbs. Risky, maybe, but probably less so than hanging around at the head or the tails, and ensuring that one of the limbs can't do its job seems like a good way of keeping Isobu from getting up again. All three heads sink their teeth into the exposed skin, then the dog jumps down to the ground again, doing its best to lock the limb in its teeth and pull it back.
Takeo's fangs are bared, not so much in anger as with effort. This is quite the struggle, and only confidence in himself will permit him to emerge victorious. The black veins crawling up from Isobu's end of the chakra strand gets closer, only to be pushed back. It's a repetitive tug of war to now, to determine whether a new master will be forged or destroyed.
Isobu's physical body - in as much as it /can/ be physical within a mental prison - is well contained. The sleeping vapors Kenta inhales don't put him to sleep, but they do keep him slightly drowsy. Meanwhile, a fleeting bellow is unleashed as the Beast feels the great wolf's teeth bite into the leathery flesh of its limb. The allies are doing a thorough job of giving Takeo his opportunity.
Isobu resorts then to something perhaps unexpected. It may be a tactic, or perhaps the questions are genuine. "Why do you fight for him? Why do you believe in him? Why do you love him? He is a boy, only a boy, made to be the prison of something hated by mankind. That you risk yourself for him is senseless."
Isobu's words are met with firm conviction on Kenta's end. The young medic-nin looks likely into the Bijuu's single eye without flinching. "Only a boy is a misnomer. Takeo is a member of Konoha. He's a comrade in arms and a brave soul. Even if he isn't a shinobi, he's still someone important to me, because he's a person with feelings and dreams. He's someone that strives towards them without subjugating others like some dreamers do. He's a worthy individual, one that I'm product to call a friend. I don't know if you've ever had a true friend, but Takeo talks of you like one. Then, you should understand that when two people are bound together by their hearts, one can't see the other struggle towards a goal without wanting to help. And his current dream is to master the aspect of himself that is Jinchuuriki, so it must be my dream too to help him!"
In the position they're in, neither Atsuro nor Taizen can attempt to answer this question, at least to the extent that words are concerned. But as Isobu delivers that last line, the huge wolf gives a low, three-voiced growl from low in each of the three throats. It's loud and sustained, and even as the dog makes it, the three mouths clamp down even harder, sinking their teeth deeper into the flesh held by their mouths. Whatever the exact thought they intend to convey, it's clear that they've rejected the bijuu's question quite firmly.
The black veins in the strang of chakra slither all the way along to Takeo's stomach. From there, they spread over and engulf his body. It's difficult to tell whehter this is to be expected, or whether Takeo has been overwhelmed. However, the Bijuu is clearly exerting some measure of influence, as Takeo's voice can be heard rasping angry words throughout the cavern.
"Anger. Hate. I can't trust them. I should fear them. They don't care for me. They're using me. Once they know the real me, they'll leave."
It seems that one last trace of loneliness still lingers within Takeo, and the Three-Tails is taking advantage. Meanwhile, the beast tries to smack at the Inuzuka dog's central head with his other upturned claw, though the stubby nature of the limb may prevent him.
"The boy has the gall to call me his friend! Even as he imprisons me, he tells me he will treat me not as an enslaved weapon, but as a persn! Our hearts are nothing alike!"
That is, of course, a falsehood. The whispers driven from Takeo ironically reveal that much, for the timid Tailed Beast is as lonely in its existence as the Jinchuuriki had been. Only in finding each other had they approached something similar to completeness.
"I don't believe that's true!" Kenta calls out after gathering his courage to rebuke the Bijuu. He stands with his expression fierce and his gaze sharp. "I think that you want him to win this match. I think that you want to merge further with him, become stronger as partners together. I don't have proof of this, but I follow my gut when I say this! Bijuu are extremely powerful, more powerful than many Jounin put together. It's true that you're bound here and it's a battle of minds. The three of my minds may well be strong enough to give you better resistance then our bodies can, but you're still a being of greater power and incredible age. I think that you want Takeo to win in the depths of your heart, so you're holding back, even if only a little bit. Otherwise, we wouldn't have lasted this long!"
The central head is hit. It hangs below the other two for a moment, blood seeping out from a light wound on the back, but then it rises again, up past the limb, where the deep dips left by its teeth are still visible. The head lifts above the limb and listens to what Isobu says. Then what Kenta says. Once Kenta has finished speaking, there's a moment, of silence, then the head gives a loud bark. Then another, and another. A second head lets go voluntarily and joins in. Finally, the wolf climbs up on top of the limb to hold it down with just its body and the third head lets go and joins the cacaphony of barking, filling the air with woofs, yips, and whines.
"The boy is not Kaito. He has not mastered the waves, nor even water. The powers of any Bijuu elude him, save borrowing my chakra and my form. But …" Isobu pauses, and that's a good sign. Doubt. It's a feeling no doubt evoked by Kenta's passionate accusation that, all along, the Three-Tails had wanted Takeo to win their spar. "But, he has kept his word. Even when he faces terrible odds, he stands for the sake of his friends. Friends. Things I have never had before this boy insisted on including me in his flesh and blood life. Curse, blessing?"
As he questions himself, Isobu sounds uncertain and a bit timid. That childlike quality he sometimes has comes back to the surface. Had he really meant it when he said it was a sparring match, just to test whether Takeo was ready? True, the boy hadn't won alone, but the comrades he'd assembled were a kind of power. They spoke well of the Jinchuuriki and his ability to lead, to inspire. When Daisuke had tasked him to master the essential transformations, Takeo studied day and night, to say nothing of the years of tutelage he'd received from Isobu.
The black veins in the chakra and in the real world falter. Slowly, the chakra engulfing Takeo peels back, and he seems to come to his senses. The length of chakra is still connected to his stomach, where the seal would be. Without a moment wasted, Takeo grabs hold with the hands of his double and resumes pulling. "Kenta, help me out! Keep pulling me backwards!"
The strand of chakra is getting awfully long now. Isobu flails about in hopes of striking the Inuzuka dog again, as bullets and whips of water manifest aimlessly about his body. He's resisting, possibly in a way which might demand a forceful retort by Atsuro and Taizen, but there's truth in what Kenta said. It could be worse, even with the Three-Tails stuck on his back.
When Kenta sees that the three headed wolf is injured, he leaves his post at the fences starts forward with the intent to heal. His feet skip on the surface of the water as Takeo calls out for his help. He glances back and forth between his two targets, but it's clear which way he must go. Atsuro and Taizen are Jounin, two of the best. They'll be able to hold on as long as they need. Takeo is the one that needs more help, since he has the hardest job of all. "I'm coming, Takeo!" Kenta responds as he reverses his direction and sprints towards the Jinchuuriki instead. He stops behind Takeo and wraps his arms around the taller shinobi's waist. His memories of how his physical form works places a limit on his strength even here, but he's still a manifestation of his own willpower and that lends him strength he never had. "I'm here with you, Takeo! I won't let go!" With a mighty grunt of effort, Kenta starts pulling backwards as hard as he can.
However bad its injuries may be, the three-headed wolf is exceptionally tough. Even with the injured leg and head, there's enough strength and presence of mind remaining in the rest of its body to recognize the threat of the turtle's water jutsu and get out of the way. It jumps down off the limb, landing back in the water near it. Giving a final three barks to encourage Takeo and Kenta, the wolf makes a rather daring move to get /under/ the limb. The teeth sink in once again, and the wolf pulls with all its strength to bend the limb backwards. Aside from the potential for injuring Isobu, it ensures that it's at least partially protected from the water jutsu. Isobu will have to go through himself if he wants to get the dog as things are now.
Everything Takeo hears from his friends, Isobu hears from people he's also come to regard as friends through the youth. After all, Takeo has never excluded Isobu from his life. Kenta's oath to be with him, to not let go in time of need. Atsuro and Taizen's barks, which the Bijuu may or may not understand. It all begins to turn the Bijuu's attitude away from confusion and toward decisiveness. Takeo was his friend, Takeo's best friend was a friend, Takeo's mate and nin-dog were friends.
The wrathful part of him wishes to kill them all. However, it's overruled by the boyish, timid aspect. The Jinchuuriki manages to pull a few more steps back with Kenta's help, and finally, the great dog sliding under his limb and twisting it in such a way that it might break … That causes his concentration to falter, this time too far considering the other collective physical and psychological weight.
The resistance from the stream of chakra suddenly eases. Both Isobu and Takeo grow still, with Takeo's back and neck arched. Chakra which is now thin, like fog, flows in abundance from the Bijuu and into the Jinchuuriki's seal. A great, blinding burst of light ensues.
Kenta staggers and jerks his head back as the blinding flash of light fill the area. Nevertheless, he doesn't let go, just like he promised. The young medic-nin keeps his arms tightly wrapped around Takeo's waist. He also digs his heels into the water covered ground, giving himself addition traction to prevent being torn lose from his friend by outside means. As the light builds, Kenta narrow his eyes into slits and speaks through gritted teeth. "What's happening, Takeo? Is Isobu preparing another attack?!" He hadn't seen the turnaround in the battle. Takeo's taller bulk hides how the Bijuu chakra is streaming out of Isobo and into the Jinchuuriki instead.
Being on Isobu's underside, the wolf cannot see what's going on with Takeo and Isobu's chakra at all. All Atsuro and Taizen know is that they have to keep fighting until it's over, and they're not going to stop before that point. The wolf keeps pulling down on Isobu's limb, all three headed continuing long, throaty growls. They're determined not to let up on Isobu for even a moment, lest the great demon harm Takeo or Kenta.
The light slowly fades, drawing inward until it wreathes Takeo. He stands now bathed in deep blue chakra, recognizable as himself, yet something more. Strange black lines and seals cover his body, and even he seems surprised by the change. The youth takes a moment just to inspect his hands. Understanding comes.
"Atsuro, Taizen, get back toward me now!" He places a hand upon Kenta's clasped fists, reassuringly, as if to promise that it's now acceptable to let go. When his glowing hand touches flesh, the immensity of the chakra therein can be palpably felt.
Takeo makes a hand sign and pulls up his fist. Temporarily augmented in terms of power, his fist comes up, and a large globe of water rises overhead with it. However, he seems to be giving the gigantic Inuzuka dog time to escape the vicinity.
Kenta hesitates for a second before he lets go of Takeo. The amount of chakra radiating off his friend is telling, but he couldn't help being reluctant to step away when Takeo might still need him. After a few seconds, he nods firmly and releases the taller shinobi. Help jumps back several paces and starts to mold healing chakra around his hands to heal Atsuro-Taizen with whenever the three headed wolf arrives to stand next to him. "Be careful, Takeo!" he calls out. He has to at least voice his concern that way.
Takeo's warning almost can't be heard from the wolf's position, but fortunately, the wolf's three sets of ears are just as sharp as Atsuro and Taizen's. Its sore jaws release the flesh of the turtle, then dash out from under the limb, out a short ways from the turle, then it makes a sharp, 180 degree turn and jumps up onto the underside of the shell once more and runs over to Kenta and Takeo. As it spots Kenta's chakra, it lowers the center head to him, but the other two remain alert, keenly watching what's going on.
Perhaps chakra and wrath wasn't all there was to the world. Perhaps Takeo, feeble and unlearned boy that Isobu had seen, truly was his friend. His student. His own teacher in matters of trust. Here was a Jinchuuriki who, for all his failures, had honored a long ago promise never to treat him as a mindless weapon.
When Atsuro and Taizen take let go and leap away, Isosbu rolls in one direction and then more forcefully in the other, flipping himself upright again. His shelled jaws part, no doubt to form another Tailed Beast Ball, but his chakra has been diminished and Takeo was already prepared. The great globe of water is hurled through the air, smashing right on the mark into the turtle's face.
While Isobu is staggered, Takeo finishes the last of what the elders had taught him. He presses his glowing fingers to the seal on his stomach and turns them, once again like a key. A series of torii gates fall from the darkness above, one after the other dropping upon and pinning down Isobu. The gates repair themselves and slide shut, with the segmented seal at their center spiraling back into their locked state.
Takeo turns to face the opposite end of the cavern and twists his fingers along the seal once more. Four torii gates fall in a square shape, and within, a sphere of deep blue chakra appears to be contained. "Thank you, Isobu. I don't know about you, but I feel complete at last. The loneliness is gone …"
After Takeo's final words, they're suddenly back in the real world. Atsuro and Kenta have a moment to view Takeo still clothed in his strange Bijuu state before he falls back in exhaustion, the chakra dissipating into the empty air in the process. That he draws breath speaks to his survival.