Date: September 3, 2011
The showdown between Meruin and Tsubaki has finally come at last and will be the end all of the young Okumo's trial. Yet, when Yuuka arrives, things seem to take a turn for the worst. It's up to Meruin to turn the tide without losing someone close to him, without also losing life in the process.
"The Power of Control — Solutions"
Desert of Knives, Land of Wind
Meruin stood in the room where everything had begun, looking around the room. The high domed ceiling… the archaic architecture. The dust, the stone, the spider webs adorning much of the area, all of it was familiar to him. The nine year old was prepared, already covered in a silken sheen of fur, four arachnid legs sprouted from his back. Tsubaki would come, he knew. This time it was in a place of his choosing. And as such, he'd made it how he'd wanted it to. The place was a multi-tiered maze of spider webbing and it'd be his key to surving Tsubaki's assaults. So now he simply waited.
Tsubaki actually had trouble tracking Meruin around her domain. As much as she knew the place, he managed to evade her somehow, but she caught up with him or…was it the other way around? When she returned back to their previous battleground, she saw that it was drastically changed. Her eyes widened, possibly the only visible gesture that can be registered with those ink black eyes. How did this happen? She immediately grew angered and searched around for the spider but nothing was the same anymore. She had to traverse /his/ turf. She gritted her teeth and proceeded through, claws extended as she slashed at the webbing.
She was here. Meruin looked towards where the vibrations in the webbing told him that she was as she began to hack her way through his nest. He didn't let her go far, rushing in the direction of the disturbances, his arachnid legs taking him along with their deftness and swiftness so that he would soon be on the level of silk above her. His hands buried into the webbing there and they were soon drenched with an acidic toxin… And Tsubaki would soon find the silken psuedo-roof above her head to suddenly turn into caustic lashes, whipping at her and damaging her, though it revealed Meruin's location.(RE)
Tsubaki saw the webbing as an encroachment on her territory, but she didn't take into account that it could be trapped. When the roof gave way and the strands followed, she fell on to her hands and began to evade them by scurrying around on the ground, though one managed to catch her and subsequently give her a fierce acidic burn. She growled and rose up from the ground, seemingly uppercutting at Meruin as she thrust her pincers up towards him in an attempt to stun him.
Meruin's arachnid legs pressed into the spider silk that was still below him, pushing the boy's body away from the attack in a sudden jerk, his head moving backwards to avoid the pincers. And still they hit him — just barely but just enough, the attack making his body lock up long enough for Tsubaki to capitalize.
Tsubaki took her chance to attack Meruin with all she had to give, drawing her pincers back, claws open, she slashed at him with a viciousness and a great intent to kill him. This one would not return to Kirigakure anytime soon. He was going to die here in this labyrinth, whether it was made of webs or sandstone did not matter. It would be the better insult for him to die within that which he created anyhow.
Meruin could do nothing against the attack. It seemed to him that just a breath after his head was rocked backwards by her strike, he was thrown backwards by the force of her pincers slamming into him, cutting a huge gouge across his chest and stomach, blood pouring out as he hit the far wall. A small sound left his mouth at the strike and it brought a growl that was cut off by a gasp from the young boy. His mouth curled into a snarl at the Shippodoku and spider silk lifted from his arm, sending out a pair of chitinous shuriken towards her in a sudden strike. He seemed a little stunned by the strike — too stunned to do much more, but each moment heightened the air of aggression in him.
Tsubaki continued after Meruin, racing in order to strike once more, but he had other plans. The shuriken that he threw slowed her down by a minor amount. She wasn't able to flicker past them to continue on. So, she paused and ripped both out of her chest and tossed them aside.
Considering he was at a distance, she had to cut him off, so she placed her hands together into seals to send up a spire of earth to connect with him and soon flickering forward to make up the distance between the both of them, pincer held out to stab him in the stomach.
Meruin's eyes stay on the Shippodoku, lips curling into a snarl as his bloodlust began to take over once more, brought on by the pain arcing through his form. Already the wound was a bit smaller, though, his body healing what damage had been done at a rapid speed. Enough so that he barely snarled any harder as he moved forward with swift motions of his arachnid legs… only, it seemed, to run into Tsubaki's appearing pincer. An abrupt leap backwards helped but didn't at all stop the pain from coming on. A new gash in his stomach to deal with, he sent out a flurry of strikes with poisonous strands of spider silk.
Tsubaki flickered out of the way of the strands easily enough, but something was bothering her. Her attacks looked to have no effect and it took a bit for her to notice, but she sees that he's healing his wounds as the battle goes on. Her lips lifted into a sneer as she placed her hands into seals to summon forth a dragon of earth beneath her.
When it was close enough, she planeted her feet on it and rode atop its head as its maw opened to snap its teeth shut on him, backing up the attack with two slashes of her pincers towards his face.
Yuuka is quick to follow after her Okumo guide, dashing as fast as she physically could without straining herself, blurring across the desert's sands towards what appars to be the ruins of a tomb or temple of some kind, the surface worn and half-bured by the desert itself. As her guide comes to a sudden stop, she follows suit, her deep aquamarine eyes narrowing with a slight frown from beneath the hood of her kimono, glancing quickly over the open entrance of stone, built into the wall of the temple as sand threatens to overtake it.
Glancing to the Okumo, he lowers his chin with a mere nod, confirming her suspicions. That Meruin was inside. Her hands unconsciously tighten into fists as the Kaguya kunoichi turns and passes through the stone arch, soon being engulfed by shadows. Not that it makes much of a difference to her. Yuuka allows her eyes to adjust without slowing down, using her senses to guide her forward. The tunnel angles downward, leading her deeper inside the supposed temple.
It barely takes a few minutes for her to pass through to suddenly emerge inside what she could only assume is a room big enough to hold a city. Or a maze that had been made by a giant spider, thick white spider silk clinging to surfaces with tears randomly through several webs. Yuuka is quick to scan her surroundings before her bright eyes lock onto Meruin several yards away, arachnid legs rushing him straight towards a woman. He leaps hard backwards, but he's clearly hurt.
The Kaguya's expression darkens, her hands curling tightly into fists at her sides as chakra unconsciously begins to build up inside of her.
Meruin seems to simply face the dragon head on, the nine year old standing tall on his arachnid legs. The earthen teeth meet his fur and stop there, carrying him backwards. Soon, though, the teeth dig deeper, finally piercing hidden defenses and sending a small mist of blood into the air before slamming him back into the wall and crumbling against it, leaving him open to Tsubaki's slashes to his face, cutting him open, opening deep rents on his cheeks. He falls to the ground, then, having taken too much damage in too little time. Still, though, his body continues ineffectively healing itself as his eyes lock on movement that was neither his nor Tsubaki's.
Tsubaki follows Meruin's every movement, down to his fall to the ground where, she drops and lands on the ground in a crouch before him. Though, just when she was about to make another advance towards him, she heard him utter something. Something that sounded like a name. Someone else was here now? She quickly turned around to seek out what a Yuuka might be or who, rather.
It takes her a short time to zero in on Yuuka, but her expression is unreadable from this distance. Still, her stance seems to suggest something of aggression and Tsubaki wasn't pleased with that.
She left Meruin alone on the ground breathe in the blood that was seeping from his wounds while she took the chance to take out this other intruder. Flickering from where she was, she met up with Yuuka in an attempt to strike her with one of her pincers and follow that up with a hard slash from the other.
The pincer strikes hard, drawing blood across Yuuka's forearm, though the kunoichi narrows her gaze slightly and takes a half a step to the side, the slash coming within inches of slicing flesh. Her upper lip curls with a dark growl, "That was a mistake." she murmurs, the blue green of her eyes flashing dangrously. Already fine specks of ivory dust scatters around Yuuka, unnoticable to anyone but her. She pulls her attention from that to her opponent as she raises both of her arms, another growl escaping her throat just before her hands blur, open palms striking not to do damage, but to plant a pair of tiny bone shards on Tsubaki. All she needs is one.
Meruin watched as Tsubaki vanished from in front of him, reappearing in front of Yuuka and striking, tossing blood to the air. His eyes narrowed some and his blood stirred, body healing at a faster pace as he saw her in danger.
Tsubaki attempted to block against the blur of hands that Yuuka threw up against her, but nothing came of them. She was a bit confused as to what happened as no damage came from the attack. She didn't take too much time to dwell on it, however and went on the offensive, unaware of the shards that were placed on her. She started to jump into the air, but found that she couldn't move. What just happened? She was stuck in place. Whatever she did in that time must have done something, but /how/ is what bothered her.
As much as Tsubaki tries to avoid it, Yuuka can feel the connection the moment it happens, narrowing her deep aquamarine eyes sharply as the surface of the tiny slivers suddenly erupt, vines stretching at a impossible speed to wrap around her opponent. With Tsubaki trapped, the bone of her left shoulder bulges, breaking through flesh completely for the bone from her arm to fly through the air and caught smoothly in Yuuka's hand. The end lengthens into the sharp point of a hiltless blade while it also curls into an angle. She doesn't hesitate for a moment, her arm arches and spins the blade at Tsubaki, slicing through the air.
Meruin's watches as Yuuka assails Tsubaki, a frown coming to his face. She was doing… very well, actually. But, he knew that the Shippodoku would only come back from this with an anger and a viscousness, well prepared to deal more than she's received. He would have to be there… would have to help. He felt his mind shift as he forced his body to heal faster still, to master the changes that'd come over it.
Tsubaki couldn't do anything but take the slices of the blade that came against her. Now her blood would spray from the spinning blades of bone, easily cutting into her flesh. She shouted out, both in pain and anger while she struggles to break free of the bones that held her. For every time her muscles bulged and pressed against the bone to raise it, it'd come back down seemingly tighter than before.
Hissing at Yuuka, she contines pressing against the binding bones hoping to break free and she knows she'll get to that point soon.
Yuuka sharply narrows her eyes on Tsubaki as she struggles against the vines. It wouldn't be long before she breaks through them. That doesn't give the Kaguya pause though as she presses her weight through one leg and pushes off hard in a dash, blurring with speed. The blade lifts to slash at her target again.
Meruin was feeling slightly better now. His body only getting stronger than it'd been a moment before. He lifted himself up to his knees, mind racing for new ways to feel, new ways to.. work. Unendingly hard to explain, he simply stopped trying to, instead experiencing as he forced his body to filter the substances moving through his veins that healed him so. Straining it, concentrating it, it reached a much higher potency and he let it flood into his body, regenerating the damage done to him at a faster rate.
Tsubaki huffed and her muscles seemed to expand before she was breaking out of the bindings, body drenched in her blood having sustained slices from those blades. She roared out, the blood reaching up to her skin turning her red clearly showing her anger in the situation. This one has transgressed against her long enough!
Pincers at the ready, she held them out to either side of her before seemingly flashing from her spot to behind Yuuka, her pincers now crossed having performed a cross slash against her, now seeking to see and hear her blood spray like she did to her.
Yuuka tightens her fingers around the hilt of her ivory blade as Tsubaki breaks through the binding, scowling darkly at her opponent. And as fast as she is, even the Kaguya kunoichi's senses weren't fast enough to detect Tsubaki, appearing directly behind her. Defenseless, the pincers cross slash across her back, the motion throwing her forward as blood splatters into the air. Yuuka's bright eyes widen, the world seeming to move in slow motion around her as she falls, helpless. The pain was so sudden, so incredible that darkness over comes the Kaguya, her limp body sliding across the dusty, earthen floor and shredding through several layers of web before rolling to a stop.
Things turned for the worse and Meruin watched Yuuka get struck and sent flying from the same level of speed that'd done so much damage to him not two minutes before. Immediately, his eyes narrowed and he brought himself under reign, rising stiffly to his feet, the wounds on his body still very much in the process of healing. The spiders legs attached to his back seemed to melt into his body, the dark chitin covering the whole of his form, leaving him with a sleekly dangerous appearance. He vanished from where he stood, reappearing over Yuuka and hissing at Tsubaki in defiance.
Tsubaki lifted a brow and looked behind her to see that Meruin was gone. The hiss that came from in front of her made her slowly turn her head forward to face the Okumo boy while he sulked over the body of his friend. The Shippodoku woman's expression changed, brows forrowing and lips slightly puckered and eyes winced in concern. "Ooooh…" She cooed, her tone dripping with sarcasm. "Is the itsy bitsy spider worried over his friend?" She asked and chortled gruffly as she was experiencing pain while she laughed. She was covered in her own blood having been cut by that female lying on the ground.
"It's okay…I can make her death swift so you won't have to worry for her anymore…" She raised her pincers and began to clamp the claws together menacingly. "But you'll have to step aside in order for me to do that." She finishes and proceeds to stomp the ground to send stone spikes up and around him and the Kaguya girl.
"You're speaking your own death, Shippodoku," murmured Meruin before he dipped, suddenly, lifting Yuuka into his arms and leaping away from the stone spikes that erupted from the ground. He vanished… and reappeared without her, soon, blurring across the way towards Tsubaki, his ebony form reaching hers in short order. His taloned hands flashed in a flurry of strikes, poisoned tips raking across the air even as his body continue to heal itself.
Tsubaki's smile quickly disappeared. This boy was beginning to get ahead of himself. She sneered and spat on the ground as blood began to build up in her mouth. He was faster this time around. That new form he took has given him a boost in his new abilities obviously…and a mouth to speak with as it seems he's now used his tongue to speak instead of snarling and howling. Not to mention that healing.
As he came for her, she backflipped away from him, using her legs alone and allowing her hands to go free so that when she landed, she could retaliate quickly enough by bounding off her feet and into the air where she connects her pincers and proceeds to drill her way back to the ground and grind through that new shell of his.
Meruin waited as Tsubaki made her swift retaliation, eyes locked on her, his impassive face made alien by the hard chitin covering his smooth features. As the Shippodoku came in with those deadly pincers of hers, the still healing Okumo jerked to the side, pivoting, opening up just enough space for her to pass by without touching him. His hand lashed out even as she flew, toxin strands of spider webbing shooting from beneath the chitin to strike the woman.
Tsubaki missed. 'I missed?' She thought to herself as she made contact with the ground, drilling a hole into it before she attempted to flicker away. It felt as if everything was moving in slow motion. She was now trying to match the speed of this spider boy, but her success was dwindling. At what point did the tide of battle turn so quickly?? She tries to race for an answer in her mind while she's wrapped up in acidic webs burning her flesh away, seemingly more voraciously than before.
She hissed and attempted escape, trying to raise up earth to condense around her skin to prevent the wisps from burning her any further, but even that was a failed effort. Not to mention she could feel herself weakening in the process. That bitch! She was the one responsible for this! If she hadn't have arrived here, she's certain she could have dealt with this boy on her own!
She tears herself away, awkwardly so as her body attempts to keep up with her. It's shutting down on her and she knows it. As she takes a few moments to look around at her soiled domain, it all becomes clear that she has become the prey to his predator. Genuine fear is beginning to creep up on her. This sends her into a blind assault as she fights to keep herself sustained, using what strength she has to go into this next attack, flashing past him in a cross slash to rip through that shell of his.
Meruin felt victory finding it's way towards him, though he kept it off of his face. Moments later, what he'd felt was pain, the Shippodoku's fearful assault cutting through the chitinous covering over his body, opening a large rent across his front that caused him to stagger forward, unsteady for a moment. A fierce attack…
He turned around, the motion one of a person who was shell-shocked. But something shifted in his eyes and he seemed not shocked but sure, the damage that'd been caused enough to shrug off, for now. Because things… Things had come to an end. Abruptly, Meruin vanished, reappearing over the woman's shoulder to sink his fangs into it, releasing a gush of acids into her body meant to turn it into soup for Meruin to imbibe, healing him of the damage that'd just been done to him.
Tsubaki's blind rage placed her in immenent danger. She wasn't able to think through things like she could previously and it showed as she attempted to raise a wall of earth to connect with the Okumo before he had time to reach her, but such was a mistake. The earth barely moved between her and him before he connected with her shoulder and injected the acids into her body. There was silence as she was trapped in midseal while her body began to give way to the acids flushing through her body. Before long, there was a steady flow of blood that slipped from her mouth and seeped from her eyes before she fell to the ground and collapsed under the weight of her melting body. Tsubaki the shippodoku was dead.
Meruin fell into a haze of feeding, eyes glazing over as he drank of his enemy, her liquified form passing into his body, swift enough to aid speed his regeneration by leaps and bounds, the injury gained from Tsubaki's final pass all but erased. The pulse of her heart took him under and when that faded, the pulse of his feeding kept him there. For a time, anyway.
Soon enough, his eyes widened and his gaze cleared. He kissed the dead Shippodoku's cheek in respect for her strength and rose to his feet in a single supple motion, body still healing from the wounds Tsubaki had given him. Making his way towards Yuuka, he knew that it would likely be doing that for quite a while.