Date: June 22, 2015
Itami and Arika go out into the middle of the desert to try and help Arika get even more control of her Bijuu. Needless to say it doesn’t go well.
"The Eighth Tailed Beast: Weakening the Seal"
Land of Wind
Burning Sands - Eastern Desert [Land of Wind]
The Eastern Desert of the Land of Wind appear to be a barren, waterless, plantless, lifeless wasteland to most people. There actually IS life here, and water can be found as well if one knows where to look and how to gather it. However, the fact remains that the desert is an inhospitable place to be without protection. The Eastern Desert in particular is primarily composed of sand dunes and more sand dunes, with only occasional nomad camps and small settlements to show that the rest of humanity still exists. The dunes in this part of the Eastern Desert are well-known for the extreme heat they radiate at mid-day. To the north lies a small oasis and the town of Sukoppu Machi. To the west, towering cliffs can be seen — a natural defensive ring around the Hidden Sand Village.
Business is still business and it must be handled. As much as this wedding mess was getting out of hand, there were still duties that needed to be made towards the village. Thankfully, this particular duty takes place outside the village, isolated from a great deal of the excitement that has been surrounding the kage lately. Itami couldn't express the amount of relief she had being out here, so she largely kept it contained. Besides, training required that she have a cool head about all this and it's nice that the desert is starting to begin its cooldown as evening approaches. The sands are still hot, but that's a boon as far as she's concerned. Warmth is preferable over a terrible chill.
"I'm sure you know why we're out here, so I won't try to mince words. You still need to gain better control of your bijuu and by that, I mean that a better relationship must be obtained with it. So far, I believe you're doing exceptionally well considering your age, but we've yet to tap into the furthest reaches of your abilities. Of course, that comes with the added risk of exposing yourself further to the power the bijuu holds."
Arika takes a casual ride on Itami's back to the desert, it allowed. Otherwise she'll just zip back and forth between the spots, using wind chakra to aid in her movements. Eventually, they actually reach the spot, and she looks at Itami like she's super-serious about this! Though as the Kage drones on, she gets a bit bored and her mind begins to wander. Eventually she snaps to it, though, and peeks at Itami. "So… What'm I supposed to do?" she asks, poking at the sand with her toe. "I can't get very far on my own… Only as far as I can keep it. And then something else has to barge in."
"You have a seal helping to contain all of this. What we're going to need to do is break that seal," Itami remarks. "At least enough to release that power further. You've reached a plateau point, which is normal. Now you need a good push to get you over that point. Essentially, you need to be pushed off the cliff of that plateau, so you can ascend one that's much higher." She smirked. "So…" She lifted her hand and chakra glowed at the tips. "Come forward so I can see about unlocking your seal."
Arika tilts her head and looks down at her stomach, where they had placed the seal not that long ago. She didn't remember it very well, but her first guardian had died in that incident. She peers a bit at Itami, then asks, "Izzat a good idea, even?" Also, glowing hands are kinda creepy looking, no matter how you paint it.
"Perhaps not, but you need to be able to get used to that level of energy that will inevitably come your way sooner or later. How has your bijuu spoken to you about building your power further?" Itami inquired as she continued her approach. She proceeded to reach out to Arika so that she could grasp hold of her to keep her still. "If there haven't been any suggestions, then only my options remain."
Arika umms and thinks a bit. "He's been all quiet since Kiri. Or not quiet, but grumbly. And right now…" She pauses to consider the sensations she's feeling in the back of her mind. Excitement… Rage… "He's a bunch of things. But no words." The girl doesn't really resist the grab, focusing more intently on sorting through what's in her head now. Gyuki's emotions were hard to read…
"Then we're going to determine what he's feeling now," Itami states as she takes her hand and strikes it into the seal to release a certain amount of chakra. "As of now, your seal will leak chakra. You're going to need to be the one to control it as it continues to pour out. You'll have to engage me and I'll be here to take you. The only way to face it, sometimes, is to force it. There doesn't appear to be any other way around this."
Arika lets out a squeak, almost keeling over when Itami strikes her seal. It was kinda painful to have a seal that's been a part of you for so long weakened, though she isn't doubled over for long. The girl is enveloped by that chakra cloak, purple chakra bubbling to the surface and surrounding her slowly but surely until four tails are behind her, all waving. The two horns have formed around the girl's head as well, making Arika look sort of like an Ox on its hind legs, excepting the fact that most oxen have hooves and no tentacle-like tails.
Itami stood back and looked over Arika. "I hope you're ready. This is no time for me to try holding back against you," she admits. "Expect the worst of what I have to offer…" She generated two clones to either side of her and sent them forward to attack Arika. One went high and the other low to give her a bit of a run to defend herself. She's certain she can make it past these attacks, but there's only room to up the ante from here.
Arika is having none of those clones! The cloak she has is manipulated, though she can't tell if it's her or Gyuki that is moving the tails to grab each clone and essentially squeeze them into nonexistence. The fire they're made of poofs harmlessly against the chakra as Arika lets out a roar. One that was definitely rage-filled. The tails writhe, then shoot out at the dragon-lady, trying to trap her in its grip as well. The chakra is, of course, sort of poisonous, damaging whatever flesh happens to touch it.
Itami found herself grasped by one of the tails and crushed under the pressure, experiencing the poison leaking into her body from the cloak. She knew to be prepared for this, so isn't entirely upset that it happened. Still, the pain is enough to make anyone think twice. This isn't the time for play and she lets it be known as she breaks out of the grip of the tail assuming her reptilian form. She buckled down into the ground and proceeded to rush Arika, claws beared to rend through her cloak and flesh. This isn't the first time she's faced off against a bijuu and she's certain it won't be the last.
Arika(?) narrows her eyes a bit, unable to follow the Lizard-Itami's movements. She ends up getting a nice claw, though the cloak bubbles a bit and burns at the wound so that it seals to nothing more than a small scratch. Another roar is given, Gyuki doing his best to weaken the seal further. A fifth and sixth tail begin to bubble into existence as Arika crouches low in preparation for another strike.
Itami slid to a stop, using her claws as a means to slow herself down. It was difficult as she was skating along sand and it might as well be like ice to water, but she built up enough of a dune behind her to slow her down. With her body at a standstill, she began to pad at the sand and pack it down as she prepared for her next attack. She could only hope that she would manage to get through this. She's pushing her limits against the 8 tail and she knows it.
Arika's tails sway behind her slowly. This time, though, it's more like Gyuki is in charge. Has been for this whole fight, even. The seventh tail is beginning to bubble into existence, the purple chakra around the Ikitara suddenly shooting out to once again try and grab at Itami and crush her. Wrap and bind, then squish with the caustic chakra that makes up all Bijuu. The Hachibi is no exception.
Itami made certain to duck out of the way of the grappling hand, watching it overshoot her as she drew closer and charged forward, using her scales as cover for her attack. "Arika, get a grip! FIGHT ME!" She roared out. Having gained enough momentum to carry her own weight and roll right across the sand to crush Arika beneath the weight of her own body.
For now, Gyuki's rage has overtaken the girl, and it is that which Itami fights. The tailed beast ends up getting trampled while the eighth and final tail sprouts from its chakra, completing the visage of a tailed beast. It's not solid, though. Not yet. Just a bubbling cloak of chakra with all eight tails and two horns. Once again, the figure recovers from the injuries of an Itami-barrel, bones shifting back into place and mending. What was terrible was decent.
Arika finds herself deep within the recesses of her mind. It's the first time she's been here, actually. No, the second time. The first was so long ago, though, that it was hard to recall. Before her was the cage of Gyuki. Behind was the playroom of a child. Toys, books, and lots of easels for different artworks she wanted to work on. A happy place that contrasted so greatly with the dark cage before her. ~Kekeke… The seal is so weak now… It's so easy to loosen up. So /easy/ to take control!~ rumbles the Hachibi. 'This wasn't even part of the deal. You owe me a new one!' Arika pouts, even as the battle continues.
"ARIKA!" Itami shouted once more. She's not sure if she's getting through to her, but if she has to beat it out of her, she will. She snarled at her, if only because she knew she was facing a beast at the moment. "I think I know well enough that you can speak. I'm no fool to how these things work, now. I've experienced more than enough bijuu in my lifetime to understand that they have a functioning relationship with their host. You should relinquish yourself further to her. She's done nothing wrong to earn your ire." She inhaled, her chest puffing as she expelled a stream of flame towards the cloaked form.
The stream of flame causes a clone to disappear, part of the bijuu's chakra escaping to take on that flame as a sort of distraction while Arika slips away. There's a light rumbling as Itami speaks, as if Gyuki is actually considering the Kage's words. Then the cloak's tails shoot out once more, seeking to wrap and bind.
~Can you even handle my power? You tend to disappear the further along we go, after all. It's so easy… If you just slept for a bit… Allowed me…~ 'No! Get back in yer cage right now,' Arika grumbles. 'I'm gonna make sure you stay locked up. Yer not allowed to control me.' ~Because you're definitely stopping me now? Kekekeke….~
"I know you heard me! Answer me!" Itami commands the bijuu. "I know you're more than just a beast, but you're not convincing me that you are. You're exhausting all of your power on me when you could be giving it to someone who matters. Why are you so intent on fighting against her?" She performed handseals to draw up a glass dome around Arika, but more importantly the bijuu to keep it contained. It served another purpose as well, but, well, if she couldn't capture it, she'd have to try harder to do so.
With a flash, Gyuki is gone from where he was, the glass dome entrapping naught but sand. "And what has she done to deserve it?" growls the Eight Tails. "She hasn't proven anything to me yet." His voice is a bit strange as it comes through Arika's throat, low and guttural, yet still Arika's voice. Without much more words, Gyuki allows his chakra cloak to slash downwards, sending a pulse of wind to try and crush Itami to the ground before the tails whip out to try and grab the Kage again, flinging her away if possible.
Arika glares a bit at Gyuki within. 'I tol' her this was a bad idea…' she grumbles. 'It's too much right now… Too soon…' Gyuki grins widely, showing off his teeth. ~Glad you think that. I'll just take over from here, then.~
"She's proven everything to you. She's been nothing but a good host to you. She actively participates in missions, but more importantly, she doesn't treat you like the animal everyone thinks you are. You've transitioned from many hosts and yet she's the one that has lasted the longest of them all. What was it you were missing from other hosts that has been found with this one? If you wanted to, you could have overtaken her long ago," Itami described to the bijuu. "The fact that you haven't isn't because some seal has kept you from doing so. She's utilized your power before and at no point did you make the active choice to overtake her." She felt the wind building on her scales as it was beginning to cascade to the ground and spread sand into the air. Thankfully, she moved quickly enough to evade it and further, the grappling hand that sought her out. She decided to push her limits and assume her dragon form to continue the battle.
She began to dig into the ground much like she did before to brace herself to attack. She wasn't beyond trying to maximize on damage. "Arika is stronger than you. You just don't wish to admit to it. You don't want to admit that a child has the means to withstand you. She's not as weak as you make her appear."
Gyuki growls, baring teeth (?) at Itami. Though it doesn't really look like much because the mouth is only visible when open, shining white showing the inside of the beast's maw. "Hush! I decided not to overtake her by choice. I was waiting for the right time, and now is as good as ever with the seal weakened!" The Hachibi watches Itami charge up, but cannot go any further into his tailed state… Not now. Instead, he just tries to stop Itami from moving by sending a shadow clone at the Kage.
"You couldn't overtake her because you couldn't! She didn't allow you! The same seal has been in place aaginst you and you've had more than enough time to be familiar with it!" Itami shouted back. "She kept you in place by her own will and you can't swallow your pride enough to think that she was capable!" Itami made the charge forward and pushed herself further to deal damange to the bijuu. Certainly, she knows it takes its toll on Arika, but in many ways it had to be done to ensure that she could make it through. "Arika, you can't give up on me right now!"
Gyuki growls, trying to escape Itami once again. However, it didn't work this time. The tailed beast ends up getting bowled over, severely injured and unconscious. The cloak works a bit to mend the worst of the injuries before fading away, and both Arika and Gyuki find themselves within the dark pit that the Hachibi has been resting for so long. No longer were the torches lit, faded with the unconsciousness of the body. Not dead, though! Phew!
Itami dragged her feet along the sands of the desert, her heavy form managing to sift through the dunes with mild ease. She towered over the unconscious girl and lowered her head to observe her more closely. Damaged, but not beyond healing. She snorted, the heat of the desert mixing with the moist air of her breath as it washed over her body. "I suppose I'll have to carry you back…" She sighed a deep throated growl. Reaching down to pick her up, she made certain to take special care not to jostle her too much. She doesn't like resorting to this form much, but she finds it odd to see her body splayed out in just her palm alone. At least she has the room to do that. Hopefully, it'll be a comfortable flight home.