Date: May 31, 2015
Takeo is left momentarily dazed after Harukaze, leader of the Turtle Clan, refuses him tutelage and companionship because he doesn't believe in his own strength. At first, Takeo vehemently objects and speaks to his own strength, but he eventually realizes that Harukaze is correct. Ever since he lost Isobu, Takeo has been trapped, mourning what was rather than appreciating what still is. He pays one last visit to the Jinchuuriki's former prison, which he intends to somehow fill with something better and greater via the Turtles, and then returns to the real world to proclaim his own independence and value as a person.
"Takeo’s Turtle Quest - Takeo's Revelation"
Rocky Shores of the Land of Earth / Isobu's Former Prison
Takeo is left agape when Harukaze pronounces him unworthy, and both he and his prospective companion vanish. "There's no void? Then what's the gigantic, empty spiritual cavern I visit when I meditate?" He puts his hands to his face, draws a breath, and then exhales as he combs his fingers through the loose portion of his hair. "I don't know why Isobu sent me here, but with what fate's had out for me, I should've known I wouldn't learn it. I've overcome every attempt to stop me, only to have the answers yanked away at the very end."
What more is there to do? He can't stand there and talk to the waves all day. Takeo trudges up the shore and back to his things. Picking up his satchel of supplies, he gets himself ready to head back to the Land of Fire … Or, perhaps nowhere at all. With this last avenue to peace gone for nebulous reasons, his final clear path is gone.
Takeo reconsiders and decides that, no, he isn't going to take that island's answer as gospel. Yes, that void is real, and he thought he was sent here to find something other than a companion to fill it. However, the will to defy is still there. The young man casts his satchel back to the ground and marches down the beach, shouting out over the lapping waves.
"You are wrong!" Takeo declares it, beast lord or no. "I had a life before Isobu, and I have a life after! I've endured something which should have utterly destroyed me, and I did it on my own strength! I endured months of agonizing surgeries, but I did it on my own strength! I relearned how to use ninjutsu on my own strength, and recovered it all! The very moment they told me I could leave the hospital, I went and left to come here, even though I could've done with further rest! Isobu trusted me to come here in order to address a problem, and you have a choice as to whether you want to be a part of the solution! Me, though? I'm here today because I've survived everything fate has thrown at me and I haven't let it knock me down!"
After that, he can only wait. It was a confident, firm delivery from the heart, giving form to his true feelings. Anger, yes, but also determination to find the answers he ventured so far to search for.
Takeo slowly paces from side to side as he watches the waters, waiting for the gigantic island to reappear and answer his challenge. To an extent, the ex-Jinchuuriki was correct; he had overcome and survived what seemed like countless challenges thrown at him by fate. A life of suffering. Still, he'd found reasons to continue through it all. Takeo's name was now even on history's short list as survivors of Bijuu extraction!
"Won't you answer? What is it that you want?" Takeo had extolled all of the things he'd done alone, only to receive nothing in return. He eventually stops pacing and just stares out over the ocean for a long while. It is absolute truth in his mind that Isobu wouldn't have used his last words to send him here for tutelage without reason, but the great lord of the Turtles thinks that Takeo doesn't believe in his own strength. That, perhaps, may be the answer. It occurs to him what he may have to do, even though it's something he doesn't want to do.
Takeo finds a flat rock on the beach and settles down, legs crossed. Drawing a deep breath, he closes his eyes and does something he hasn't done for a while. His body remains in the physical world, but his mind goes to the cavern which had been Isobu's home and prison for so long.
Takeo stansd upon metaphysical ground now, a place within himself he'd visited many times. The source of pain, the void needing filled with new life. It was different than when Isobu used to be there. The bars which had bound the Three Tails were gone, as was the seal Takeo had use to capture and master the Bijuu's chakra. Even the water, which had constantly flooded the floor, was gone. It was a dry, lifeless cavern, for all intents and purposes.
"I'm where you wanted me to be. I've faced trials, and I was this close to finding some answers," Takeo says as he approaches where Isobu used to rest, pinching his fingers close together. "This close. Harukaze thinks that I'm unworthy because I don't believe in my own strength. He can't deny the fact that there is a void here - I'm standing in it - and something other than you will have to fill it. I'd assumed that would be part of the tutelage you wanted me to seek out from him."
A long pause follows. He looks at the empty darkness ahead, never to give an answer in reply, and thinks for a long while. "On the other hand, he's right. I've always had someone at my side, and now there's no one. You were closest at all, even closer than my ninken. Every since I woke up from those surgeries, I've thought of nothing but you. It /was/ valid to remember your final words and heed them, but … I do more than that." He sighs, scratching at the back of his neck with his claws. "I mourn the fact that you're not with me. I miss you. I constantly say that I could do this or that if I only had you with me still. Every time I think on how you were stolen, I wonder why we hadn't been strong enough to stop it."
Takeo thinks on his own words for a time. It was true enough. He spoke often of Isobu since his remarkable survival, and usually, it was in the context of what he'd lost and what he couldn't do. It was fair, he granted himself, to mourn the loss of someone he'd shared every second of his life with in intimate detail. Together, they'd accomplished great things. However, maybe Harukaze was also right. Maybe it was time to take Isobu's advice about tutelage, heed it now that he was with the Turtle Clan, and then …
"I have to let you go." The Inuzuka never thought he'd hear himself say that, but when he addresses the void ahead of himself, he reaches that conclusion with a calm sort of resolve. "Neither of us wanted to be parted, and it wasn't right. We shouldn't have been. Fact is, though, we were. There's a new Jinchuuriki back in Konohagakure who carries you now, and we can never reunite. That part of my life is over, but I've been walking in place because I can't let it go. Maybe this is why we hosts don't survive, I don't know."
Lifting his chin, Takeo takes on a stance of resolve. "You were important to me. I cared for you, and there's a part of me which feels like this is a betrayal. You're never coming back, though. You told me what I needed to do next and I'm trying to do it. Somehow, these turtles will teach me something to fill this space, which will never disappear until they do. I can't continue living in it, though."
And then, Takeo is back in the real world. He rises to his feet, eyes downcast as he loses himself in thought for a time. Then, he suddenly looks up, resolute. His focus is upon the sea.
"Harukaze-dono! You were wrong that there is no void, but you're right that I've denied my own strength! I've been living in loss when there's so much I can do on my own, and the possibility - with your help - to fill that void once and for all!" Takeo shouts out to the ocean from his place upon the rock, speaking in absolute truth.
He continues, "I've suffered, I've thought back, and I've live - mentally or otherwise - in that place where Isobu was ever since I returned to life. It's been like mud on this beach, sucking my feet in and holding me in place. I just paid my last visit to that void, and I told Isobu's memory that I had to let him go. For my own sake, I had to let go. The void will still be there, but he sent me to your people to fill it once and for all. To flood it with something better and greater, and to continue on with my life. I will do that, even if I have to wait on these shores for the rest of my life in search of your tutelage! Isobu is gone, but his last words were wise!"
Takeo then sticks his chest out and stands especially tall, clawe hands clenched until his claws make them bleed a bit. "I am not Isobu, and I'm no longer Jinchuuriki! My name is Inuzuka Takeo, and I am who I am! Among my people, I am a master of water, trusted to teach our young! I am a traveler of our world, a voice for peace, but also a shield against harm! Like water, when I encounter an obstacle, I find a way to flow around it. Everything that's been thrown at me in life, I've found a way. That's the answer, Harukaze-dono. In my ways, I am strong entirely on my own. By all rights, I shouldn't be standing here today but for my ability to enddure and then continue on. I am me."
That's all Takeo has to say. He waits expectantly for whatever may come, be that the turtle, be that silence. The revelation, however, is real. Now, all he needs is the teachings of the turtles to mend the last wound and close shut the prior chapter in his history forever.