Date: October 28, 2013
The story along with the physical reason behind why Eremi left Konohagakure is finally revealed to Rise.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"The Big Reveal, Burying Memories"
Land of Fire - Abandoned Village
Forest Crossroads [Land of Fire]
Strange. The pathway coming from the east seems to stretch forth and create a large circular opening of grass. There are no trees found within this circular area, it is unknown how this marvel of nature was created; Or by who. Several pathways are linked to this circular area, some pathways seem tricky whilst others seem rarely wandered. The odd one or two pathways provide an easy trip through the forest.
It's been days now if not longer since Rise had started following Eremi around. It wasn't something he was actually keeping track of as there were more important things on his mind and it wasn't as if it bothered him. The company was nice and kept him from drinking from his waterskin. Not that he didn't try to drink from it, but Rise was quick to stop him when he tried. Something that at least would bring a smile to his face..as well as frustration.
"Hey Rise?" Eremi would try to get her attention as they walked north through the Land of Fire, with what seemed no destination in mind. "I appreciate you hanging around." Gripping the single strap of his backpack that hung off his shoulder tightly. "And not asking so many questions about why I actually left Konoha. It means a lot to me. We've known each other for a while and I know I can trust you."
GAME: Save complete.
"Hm?" Rise emitted glumly. It's been days since she started following Eremi around, and thus far that hasn't been as much action as she would've liked. Which would have been fine in the long run if not for another, more private problem of hers going unresolved the whole time. Add on to the fact that she had to keep her on Eremi just to make sure he didn't drink OR run-off without her and, well, things could be better. If she were to be honest with herself, she should've just suck it up and return to Kumogakure by now. And yet…
"…. Don't mention it, Eremi-ku-…" She catches herself on the suffix, wondering for a moment before dismissing her concern. "Does that mean your gonna talk about it now though?", She asks with an impish smile. Worth a shot, right?
Eremi thought it odd that Rise practically choked when saying his name, "…?" but he doesn't say anything or put too much thought into it as he simply continues ahead. A smile would cross his face as she ends up asking him about why he left, "I can tell you, yeah." Pushing some brush out of his way with a free hand, "I'm guessing you don't have anything better to do right? If I tell you this, you're sort of no longer in the clear. You might become hunted unless we can finish this."
Rise is honestly taken aback by the reply, and as a result she literally had to stop and process the information. "You serious?" She speeds up to walk at his side again, eyes now intently focused on Eremi's own to get a better read on the truth. What she sees doesn't disappoint. "Your not joking" It's a statement, not a question. Doubts still lingered in heart despite what she gathers; but even so, Rise chose to trust whatever it is Eremi had to say at face value. At least this time. "Eremi, If its that kind of trouble it's already too late for that ain't it? Even with us sticking clear of most places with people, if whoever or whatever it is hunting you resourceful their bound to find out anywayz." She averts her gaze after and shrugs. "And besides, Ain't like I waz actually gone let you handle this on your own. Don't cha know me better by now?"
Eremi nodded while keeping his focus ahead, "I know I can trust you and you're capable of defending yourself, I just wanted to make sure." Catching Rise staring at him makes him feel a little uncomfortable, but he just shakes it off, "If you're in trouble, you can always go back to Kumo, I don't really have anywhere to turn to, so it's a little different. I know I have friends here and there, but nothing like an entire village to support me. Which is what you have when you're a shinobi for a village or at least leave on good terms." He'd continue walking ahead before stopping as they come to a clearing that opens up before a small village. "If I didn't know you, I wouldn't have brought you out here. I figured you'd want to know more and this is where it all started." The village itself looked like a ghost town, there was no one around and toward the middle there's some significant terrain damage as well as a house with a hole in the wall.
Rise pouted at the suggestion but opted to hold her tongue until Eremi finished speaking. A smart move but a somewhat costly one because of what Eremi ultimately wanted to show her. Whatever retort she had ready to throw at Eremi quickly fades from the forefront of her mind upon seeing the village. She is silent for an extensive moment. When does finally begin to speak, it is after closing her eyes and taking another albeit brief moment to gather herself. "Start talking." No slang or room to argue. Rise was dead serious now.
Taking in a deep breath, Eremi relived the moments in his head while he looked around the village and figured out where it would be best to start from, "Well, there's a man that works for Konoha. His name is Kanra Fukutsu and Council Liaison. The man stays rather hidden and out of the public eye, but has managed to keep his hands in many missions and operations since the villages formation."
Eremi would start walking into the village, glancing about, hoping there was someone still alive that would come out of the wood works, "Fukutsu had summoned myself as an ANBU member as well as a few others ANBU members for what he called a special mission. He had done so because he needed people that wouldn't question his orders and do what he asked no matter what. I thought I was that person, but as you can see…"
Sighing, he'd turn to face Rise as the story was going to get deeper, "Fukutsu gave us the background of this village, claiming they villagers have kept to themselves, but during a recent reconnaissance mission, he claimed that the villagers were actually all a part of a clan that had a deadly Kekkai Genkai that made it so their touch could instantly destroy someone elses chakra. Turning it into poison within the individual. He claimed it would be fine to let them live in solitary, but began waving around a folder that had evidence they planned to assassinate the hokage. A task they could easily achieve through a hand shake..Naturally, none of the ANBU members would hesitate at the chance to protect the Hokage, but the mission was to destroy the entire village…"
Rise follows alongside Eremi as he maneuvered the village. Quiet and watchful from the corner of her eyes of Eremi's hope fueled attempt at searching for something. The villagers, she mused inwardly. By nature Rise is an optimist herself, a determinator in fact. But even she could see wasn't going to waste any effort in searching as well. Even if there were survivors they wouldn't return here. Young ones maybe if they were foolish enough, but beyond that noone would. Not for a fear years at least, that much she could attest to.
To say that she absolutely despised Fukutsu by the end of it is an understatement. She had half a mind to rush back to Konohagakure and lay into him personally! But there were a few problems with that, such as not even knowing what he looked like. That aside, Rise cannot even look at Eremi for the longest time even after he finishes speaking. The rage that always bubbled just beneath the surface of her being, as always, made it dangerous for her to even consider doing anything else except hitting the first living thing she sees. She trembles and clenches her fist tightly. After awhile whatever frustration and anger she felt is let out in one heavy exhale before she regards Eremi; obviously still ticked, though not at him. "He lied." Another statement, not a question, though she still seemed to wait for an answer from the Satonezu.
"He did lie, but don't ask me why." Sliding the strap of the backpack from his shoulder and letting the pack slam into the ground, he'd then make his way over toward the house with the hole in the wall. "There were four ANBU members in total. Treyno the wolf, Silia the fox, Cee the raccoon, Loko the dragon and myself. The group was pretty standard and the mission started off as any other. We all knew what was expected of us and no one asked any questions. Though on our way here, we made a stop to wait for the sun to fade away before continuing on and while we waited in silence I began to question the mission. I didn't speak up about it, but learning what I know now, it wouldn't have mattered."
Reaching the door, Eremi would grasp the handle in a hand, twist the knob until it broke and push the door open. "We'd reach the village and with Treyno being in charge he split the group up. Cee and Silia to the west, Loko would guard north to south and Treyno and myself took the east side. This was the first house we started on and Treyno put me in charge of taking care of the inhabitants while he stood guard."
Eremi moved through the house, knowing where he was going, reaching a set of stairs and walking up them. "The first room I found had a couple sleeping in their beds. I went to them, withdrew a kunai and ended their lives. I regretted it, but believed it was for the better. When I started to walk out of the room my something grabbed my hand. I panicked, thinking I was dead and my chakra was going to turn against me until I died, but I didn't. I was still alive and when I turned around, I saw a young girl that couldn't sleep and grasping a teddy bear tightly. I realized instantly that Fukutsu had lied to us, but I didn't know why."
Suddenly Eremi would stop and before his feet was the body of the girl, untouched, but starting to rot. "Before I could do anything, Treyno had sent two kunai into the girl, ending her life. I was shocked, but couldn't be upset as Treyno didn't know what he was doing. Except when he appeared next to me, he said he wished I didn't find out that way. So he did know. He didn't care, he was just doing what he was told. I was so manifested, I couldn't resist so I punched him and he flew through that wall. I followed him and began punching him in the face only to find out he had replaced himself with the girls teddy bear. I was enraged, but at that point the rest of the other ANBU members started to show up."
She still follows and listening without interrupting, but she kept too a short distance just in case. As he spoke, Rise tried to imagine what it was like on that day. The feel, the tastes, the sights, the… smells. Her nose wrinkled at the stench. As much as some small part of her would have liked not to recognize the scent, she knew before they even reached the girl what it was. The anger is back. Although this time it stays simmering just beneath the surface, silently feeding on itself as well as what was picked up from the air about Eremi.
She's really only half listening by the time he gets to the part about sending one of his comrades through a wall. Correction, /former/ comrades. Rise's mind is elsewhere and splintered between her own past, the present, and what her imagination weaved from the story told by Eremi. Her body on the otherhand remains rooted to reality, acting seemingly upon its own accord when she maneuvered around to the girl's side and knelt. "What happened next?" The question is spoken softly without emotion. Hesitantly at first then more firmly, Rise would try and slip her arms beneath the child's knees and the back of her neck.
Staring down at the lifeless body of the girl, Eremi's hand would subconsciously reach for the waterskin. He was ready to take a drink of its contents, to help himself deal with what he was feeling and being able to go on with the story. He would have easily done this, had it not been for Rise bending down to pick up the girl. The reason he had come here in the first place. He thought about saying thank you, but decided against it as he turned about to walk back outside the house.
"When the rest of the ANBU members showed up, I tried to tell them what had happened, that what Kanra Fukutsu had told us was all a lie. We were killing innocent villagers, but why? They didn't care. They were exactly what Fukutsu wanted in subordinates. People that do what they're told without questioning it. They said they were going to continue with the mission no matter what as that's the job of a shinobi, but I couldn't except that and told them I was going to protect these people as best I could and then I attacked."
As he stepped outside, Eremi started to walk over toward the center of the village, "I knew I had no chance of taking on four ANBU members at once, but my plan wasn't to beat them, it was simply to cause enough of a ruckus and keep them distracted while the villagers woke up, saw what was going on and started to flee. Which is exactly what happened. I had to open up the gates to accomplish this and only barely able to escaped myself." A hand reaching up to touch his face, "I nearly lost my left eye and they managed to damage my forehead protector."
He stopped at some rough dirt, took in a deep breath and kicked his toe into the ground that sent chunks of dirt and rocks flying away, leaving a child size hole before him. "They told me that I had no chance of returning to the village now as it was my word against theirs and Fukutsu's and even if I tried, they'd kill me. So I ran and I hid, but I refused to leave the Land of Fire. I couldn't. Despite what had happened, it was still my home and I cared about many people there. Now all I can do is fight for my life and try to find out why Fukutsu would do this."
Even half-aware of her surroundings as she was, Rise catches the slight shifting of Eremi's hand to the waterskin. If he had so much as brushed against the thing she would've… she was divided between showing him no mercy in a flash by elbowing him through the wall, and letting him try and run away again; leaving her to deal with the corpse and psychological burden that was bound to come with it later. Thankfully, Eremi's resistance saves them both from having to find out.
The little girl in her arms is so light. Too light. It — This isn't real. This — Rise clenches her teeth behind her lips and carries on after Eremi, victim in hand. She latched onto her anger, letting it reinforce her spirit and shut out all the rest.
She would not think about the similarities.
She would not cry.
She would not take it out on Eremi.
He did what he could from what she heard and that's that. Her only wish was that she could've been around to help. "Past is past," She murmured softly as her companion kicked at the dirt with enough force to dig an instant grave. At any other time she would've been impressed with the feat. Now… Now she just felt a strange mix of being hollow yet filled beyond the compacity to hold anything else. Wordlessly, Rise laid the little girl to rest, lingering for a moment more to memorize every bit of the little girl. Once satisfied she rose, idly dusting off her knees along the way.
"I wish… but Goh-sama won't help us. Kenpai Kaze is out," She comments on, looking this way and that for a sizeable stone to make a grave marker out of. "… Will need help."
When the girl was placed in the makeshift grave, Eremi would circle around and begin scooping the dirt and rocks over the girls body, not being surprised if Rise was going to help as well. It was the least he could do as he couldn't change the past and with this he could hopefully get some sort of closure or pray the nightmares stop, but he wasn't going to bet on it. Once the girl was covered, he'd rise to his feet, "It's hard to gather help with a story, if you can't discover why a person would do this. Is Fukutsu simply evil? Did one of the villagers plant him off so badly he snapped? Do they know something about him? Is there something valuable here? Without answers to these questions there's only so far I…we can go." He'd walk over toward where he dropped his backpack, grab it by the strap and return to the grave. He'd then reach inside, withdraw a shaggy teddy bear and place it up on the dirt mount before standing back up.
Hearing the shifting of earth and stone, Rise only spares Eremi a brief glance as he worked before using the opportunity to expand her search for a gravestone. She remains always in eye-and-earshot though, limiting her search greatly but keeping her abreast of what Eremi wished to convey. In the end she settles for making one out of the largest chunk left over from when one of the Anbu were sent through the wall. "Are you experienced with investigations?" She hammers the headstone in. Afterwards she finally shed her own backpack to focus on what came next. "Good at tracking? Got the inside TRACK on the going-ONS in your village?" Each time her voice is raised another blow is sent down to force the headstone deep into the earth. Each one bespoke of fine control because aside from a miniscule amount off the top falling off, the headstone is buried without breaking apart in the process.
"If you are then so be it, both of us will find the answer and then do some recruiting. But.. if that ain't the case then we gotta take a leap of faith," She said breathy. Rise hated putting Eremi in this position but what else could they do. Their expertise, or at least hers anyways, had little to do with what it would take to gather the concrete information they needed. There's her dad but…
"Well," Watching Rise's actions, it was comforting to know he could depend on the girl. "You should know well enough how teams in Konoha or other villages are built up. They don't expect or require you to be skilled at multiple things and put you with others that can cover what you can't. So I was never tasked with needing to brush up on my expertise in areas that didn't involve my feet or fists. That's not to say I can't do my own investigations or track someone down, but that would probably be best for Atsuro, Taiki, Naru or someone like that. I'd ask them, but I've yet to see them since I ran away. I'd ask Etsu, but she's been in Kiri since becoming the…what ever she is, I don't agree with it and Berii, well, she was kind enough not to turn me in, but I don't know whose side she's on."
The odds of their success seemed to sink with every word that left their mouth. Rise cannot help but facepalm lightly and shake her head. She really, really, REALLY wished she hadn't burned some many bridges back in her youth. But alas, that can't be helped now. "We'll need to get contact with them then. Naru-chan maybe… though from what I heard she's busy being the head of her clan nowadays," Rise says though the last part is murmured sadly. After a moment of silence with her gaze cast towards the earth from the weight of their 'mission', Rise is reminded of something. "Mind if we take this elsewhere, Eremi-kun?" She asks as she scanned their surroundings idly. She wasn't superstitious by nature but that didn't mean she was willing to gamble her life by hanging around in a graveyard town for longer than what they needed too.
Eremi nodded, "It won't be an easy task, but none of this will be." He'd look to Rise and smile, "Sure, we've done all that we can here. There's no reason to stay anymore, let's head out." Turning about, he'd walk back the way they came and into the forests, thinking the whole time how Rise had no problem saying his name this time and not stopping herself.