Date: March 30, 2012
Maikeru and an old enemy from the Moon Village team up in Maikeru's quest to find out who sent the shinobi who killed Aika and why.
Poster's note: Profanity filtered in obvious places.
"The Burden of Truth - A Unison of Rivals"
The Land of Demons
As the sun rises over the Land of Demons, fiery colors light up the sky and start to fade into blue. Few clouds litter the sky. It would yet to be the start of a perfect day, yet an eerie aura hangs in the air.
In the countryside along a beaten path, Daeshiro Maikeru sits at the counter of a restaurant inside a traveler's inn. His hair is short and black, skin tanned, and his face even a bit different from when he lived in this country. He wears his trenchcoat and keeps a glove over his right hand, which keeps people from seeing the glow of his arm and knowing who he is. A steaming glass of tea sits in front of him as he glances over a scroll, a recently finished plate of food pushed off to the side. On the top part of the scroll is a map with a few markings on it, the other notes he's made. His face is expressionless as he glances over the parchment silently, hardly bothering to glance at people, much less speak to anyone.
"Heard you were back." A dry voice belonging to Kane speaks from Maikeru's side. The young man took a seat at the counter but left a stool in between them. "Sorry that you didn't see me during the tournament. I had more important matters to attend to." Kane unveils himself after lowering the hood of his cloak. He keeps from looking over at Maikeru directly and instead busys himself by reading the menu up above before the server came to take his order.
Hearing a vaguely familiar voice from nearby, Maikeru turns his head slightly to peer over at whoever this is that actually recognizes him. As the man reveals his face, a coy smirk tugs at the Rogue's lips, a light chuckle escaping. "It's alright. There was no one there worth my joining in, anyway. I know I've gotten a lot stronger, but I didn't realize our wars had made your village so weak." That said, he picks up his glass and takes a few sips from it, starting to glance over the scroll again. "This a social call, or did the animals start shaking in their boots when they heard I came back alone? Afraid I killed your princess?"
Kane finally looks over at Maikeru and snarls. The sound that emits from the boy even sounds a little primal. "You watch your mouth. Last time i checked this land has yet to conquer ours." Seeing how the boy noticed he was getting the attention of a few patrons, he decided to calm down before his animalistic rage got the best of him. "Where /is/ she anyways? I'm still getting over the fact my grandfather trusted you being in her company."
"No, but I conquered it by walking through the gate. You should have seen the roaches scatter and lock themselves in with seals over their doors, as if that would save them from his power. I guess Mika warned them that I broke the final seal," Maikeru says, that smirk tugging a bit wider. He glances around at the people watching for a moment before looking back down at his scroll, quite amused. "She's perfectly fine, sitting her office in Sunagakure and behind in paperwork up to her eyeballs. She chose to stay behind." He takes another sip from his tea then lets out a sigh. "Despite any feelings, I suppose it's hard to co-exist with the guy who is the source of your childhood nightmares."
Kane's fists clench tightly underneath the counter top from out of view. "I only co-exist with you because I have to for my people's sake." He growls. His thoughts linger on the truth behind Maikeru's words. His counter part had left more than a few scars on his body through countless battles. It's almost as if they've become brothers after knowing each other through fighting for so long. Kane is among the few that has gone toe to toe with the Jikgoku and lived to tell about it. He often wonders why Maikeru has yet to finish him off as many times as he could have. "If it wasn't for you being born lucky with your gift of power, I would have you bowing down to me. You don't deserve the stories people tell about you. You were just given the strength, speed, and power that you have today. Where as I've worked hard day and night to become what i have. There is no honor in what you represent."
"So the Elder did send you to see what I'm up to, eh?" Maikeru asks, snickering a bit in amusement. "Maybe I'll go share a bottle of sake with the old man when I'm done here. It'll be more peaceful with two bickering women in our ears." As Kane speaks of his power, the Rogue actually seems to get even more amused, actually letting out a laugh this time. "Is that what you think? There is always a price for power, my friend. Either you have to work hard to gain it or you have to work hard to control it. My case would be the latter. Did you know that Jigoku could actually speak outloud from the arm before I cast his soul into the Void? Just imagine how many times he tried to get me to unlock the seals before I was strong enough to hold him back so he could finish what he started here. Had I not worked had or had I been too weak to hold him back, your village would have been a graveyard long ago."
Kane looks down at Maikeru's mentioned arm as he spoke, then looked back up at him. It was obvious that the Kemonoken felt that Maikeru ended up having a good point. The server lady finally came to take his order. "Just a bottle of sake." He says and was given a weird look for his request.
"At this hour of the day?" The lady huffed as if judging him.
"Is there a problem?" Kane snarls. The lady rolls her eyes and disappears to the back.
"And yes, my grandfather sent me. Does it hurt your feelings that not too many people out there can trust you?" Kane's voice mocks sincere careness for Maikeru's feelings.
Maikeru glances over his scroll again for a few moments as Kane orders his drink before rolling it up and stuffing it in his coat. The sarcastic question draws little but another light snicker as the Rogue stands up. "I got used to that as a kid when people kept wanting the Priestess to amputate my arm." That said, he picks up his backpack from beside the table and walks toward the door. "If you're going to be tagging along, I suppose you won't mind visiting a couple graves. I'll be outside."
The server lady set down the bottle of sake along with a wooden shot glass for Kane to poor it into. The Kemononken ignored the glass, and tipped the bottle up to his lips. From the corner of his eyes he watched Maikeru get up from his seat and make his way towards the door. It took him a minute, but when Kane realized that he did indeed have to follow probably the person who he hated the most around as if being his guardian his expression twisted into anger. "You've got to be kidding me." He muttered as he digged through his pockets for the change to pay for his sake. Taking the bottle with him, he left his seat and met Maikeru outside. "If this is some ambush you're leading me into, you'll pay with your life, and if you kill me im going to come back and haunt your ass."
"Oh, please," Maikeru says, shaking his head as he turns and starts to walk down the path to head to where he buried Aika and her murderer. "If I wanted to kill you, I'd simply do it here and now. I don't need an ambush or any help doing that. It'd sour my conversation with the old man if we had to discuss compensating for your death… Keep up." That said, he darts off down the path, though he keeps his pace back a bit so Kane can keep up. And so begins the attempt at co-existance for a while of two arrogant assholes with a sweet tooth for blood. The Rogue's eyes scan the path ahead as he runs. It's been some time since he was here, but he still remembers it well. He and Kane probably fought a few times in some of the places they are passing along the way.
"You act as though you actually care what the old man thinks. Even i know you're not capable of feelings such as those." Kane says before tilting the bottle of sake up to his lips. "Ahh, that's some good pixiedust. Nothing like starting out the day like this." He wipes his mouth with his arm and looks over to where Maikeru -once- was. "Huh?" Looking ahead, he realizes that his "friend" had already taken off without him. Tossing the bottle of sake into a pouch on his hip, he speeds after Maikeru. "The fairy are you in a hurry for?" He calls after Maikeru.
"Simple," Maikeru calls back to Kane. "If word spreads around that I'm back, the people I'm looking for might go into hiding before I can figure out who they are." He continues ahead for several miles, keeping his pace steady. It seems Ninjutsu is not his only strong point. Finally, he turns off into the woods and moves a couple miles through the forestry before stopping at a grave sight. Reaching into his coat, he withdraws a rose and kneels down to set it by the tombstone. The name Aika is clearly engraved on the stone, the name of the girl whose murder he is here to investigate. "You will be able to rest soon, my love. I will find them."
Maikeru was fast, but thanks to Kane's training speed wasn't a stranger to him. Of course, he had to use more energy than he wanted to keep up but that's besides the point. "So you mean to tell me, you have more enemies than just us? I couldn't imagine why." Kane's words dripping with sarcasm. Once they came to a stop at a grave, the Kemonoken decided it was a good time to grab a drink. Untwisting the cork from his bottle, he silently watches his "friend" kneel next to Aika's grave. Kane knew well enough what it felt like losing people close to him. He was not surprised to see a monster like Maikeru was even victim to the hardships of losing someone in this world. "I take it "them" is the reason why she sleeps with the earth?" He asks after a long enough silence had passed.
Giving a nod as he looks down at the grave, Maikeru replies, "Yes. A few years ago, she and I were going to meet outside the village. When I arrived, the troll had already killed her. He planned to use her death to throw me off my game. Instead, I squeezed him like a grape in Jigoku's Fist until he splattered. Unfortunately, I was too enraged at the time to find out who sent him, but whoever it was is responsible for the death of an innocent woman in their foolish quest for power… She was quite amazing. She saw past Jigoku to me, yet he was the reason she died." After a few more moments of kneeling there, he stands and dusts his pants off then gives a nod. "Time to visit the other one," he says before turning and taking off to go a few miles through the woods toward the next grave.
"That wasn't very bright of them." Kane says as he takes one last drink of his sake before twisting the cork back on it. "Let's make a monster even more enchanted off by killing his only friend. That'll get him to submit." The boy says mockingly. He places the bottle of sake back into his hip pouch and realizes Maikeru is back on the road again. "Spellit. How about a nice quiet morning? Oh wait…i forgot who i was with." He deadpans. Leaping from where he was standing, he takes route through the woods to catch up to Maikeru.
After running a few more miles, they arrive at a grave that the marker of is naught but a ragged piece of timber. Engraved on it is the katakana for 'Burn in Hell'. "Here lies the fool himself," he says before brings his hands up and moving through a few seals. A moment later, a wide shovel of blood red chakra appears and digs down into the grave. Once down, it forms and orb, digging itself around to completely encompass the casket and pull it up through the earth covering it. Once it surfaces, he kneels down and opens the lid of it. It lets out a creak as the sound of large clumps dirt hitting the ground rings out. The corpse inside is naught but bones, clothing, and personal effects. Most of the bones are broken in some way, obvious signs that he was not bluffing about crushing the man like a grape.
Kane comes to a stop once they approach this makeshift grave. The Kemonoken stands there in silence as he watches Maikeru use his chakra to dig up the casket. "I can't believe you actually took the time to bury him properly." He says after the casket surfaces. "Think you'll be comfortable after i put you in one of those some day?" He says motioning to the casket. As it opens, Kane's eyes narrow as he sees the crushed bones. "You weren't kidding. So, whats the point of even digging this scumbag up? Don't tell me you've been dabbling in jutsus dealing with the dead. I mean, it fits an immoral person like you, im just surprised you'd have enough smarts to pull it off."
"Oh, I just dug it. Someone else put him in the casket for me," Maikeru replies with a smirk as he glances over the remains. "Actually, there is one technique I'm working on, but it requires a fairly fresh corpse, not one this far gone. I'm just searching for clues." That said, he starts digging around in the man's effects. Finally, he comes across a silver medallion with a triangular symbol on it. He pulls it out and examines it for a few moments. He lifts an eyebrow in confusion then reaches into his coat a pulls out small picture of his mother. He looks closely at the picture, particularly at the necklace that holds a small medallion with the same symbol on it. "… This is my birth mother's family crest," he says, continuing to glance back and forth between the medallion and the picture.
Kane's own eyebrow lifts as he hears that the medallion he just took off of this idiot's corpse is the same as his mother's necklace. He strolls over to where Maikeru was kneeling and looks down at the picture himself. "Is your mother still alive?" He asks as he continues studying the medallion in the boy's hand and and the picture of his mother in the other.
"No, Jigoku killed her before he tossed me at the vessel he was about to be sealed in," Maikeru replies as he stands up and tucks the picture and medallion away. "I'm guessing she wasn't actually from the capital. I never bothered to find out before. I guess it's time we pay a visit to around a village or two and find out exactly where her family lives." He then reaches into his coat and retrieves the scroll with the map on it, glancing over for a few moments. "There's a town about ten miles east of here. Ready for another run?" he asks, tucking the scroll away once again.
"Another—?" Kane takes out his bottle of sake yet again. Uncorking it, he brings it up to his lips and takes two big gulps. The empty bottle of sake is tossed to the side as he lets out a long sigh. "Alright. *hic* Let's get moving. By the way, I'm not an easy first date so don't get your hopes up." He jests as he collects himself from the spinning ground.
"You're not my type anyway," Maikeru says with a smirk before turning and taking off eastward. A million thoughts race through his mind, like memories of a Aika or wondering why his mother's family would try to take Jigoku's power from him and why they would resort to killing her… Perhaps these questions will all be answered soon enough when they reach the village and hopefully get some answers about where to go…