Date: December 28, 2014
Naoya tests himself once more against Yuriko's strength, and afterwards he delivers a message and a peace offering.
"Winter Solstice, Test of Strength"
Forest Glade [Land of Water]
The Land of Water is not dense with trees and plants like the Land of Fire, but it does have a significant degree of forested areas for a landmass of its proportions. The trees are those appropriate to a humid and chilly climate, with vegetation that either has a high tolerance for salinity in the water or adaptations to filter salt from the local water supply. Further inland, the trees are almost completely well-suited to fresh water.
There are few established paths through this part of the forest, with only a single route and a few signs to indicate the way to Koumorite Village. Few people come this way for fear of being accosted by marauders, bandits, or wild animals.
The sound of running water comes from the south.
12/21/11 A.F. - Tuesday - Year of the PiG
It was the end of the year, the cold winds of the season became crisp and the mists were rolled in patches, leaving thick layers of frost or at time thin layers of ice if they lingered for too long. The morning sunlight did little to chase it away or warm the air. There was for once no letter plastered on the young Kaguya's window but the message was given in person a few days prior. There wasn't a proper message given to the Maki, it annoyed him that he couldn't find her even though he had scouts looking for her scent for several days. All the message left said was <|Where the plants were found, we'll be shedding blood. You might need to drag one of us back.|>
A object, a budding tulip almost completely wrapped in silk is held in the young Okumo's hands. A light glare focuses onto the flower, until snow catches onto it and sticks, never melting. 'Some broods desire this, some don't care.. Yet she wants to give it to Yu-chan.. I don't understand girls.' Shaking his head lightly, Naoya looks around for a few moments. The boy was rather clothed compared to normal, his clothing, while it seems thin, also gives the appearance of being well padded. His hands down to his fingertips and his neck up to his jawline show silk tightly woven, protecting him from most of the chill without bundling up too greatly.
Winter had finally arrived and the few snowflakes that fall catches on the ends of her hair, glittering them with droplets as the petite Kaguya dips her chin just a bit deeper into the fur-lined collar of her hooded winter kimono. Her speed a steady pace through the forest of trees. The fog of her breath visible as she approaches Naoya's field. Lifting her bright eyes up at him, Yuriko lifts a brow curiously for a moment, but easily raises a hand to wave. "You're here early. Are you really that eager to get your butt handed to you?" she asks, smirking under her furry collar.
'Keep it safe..' was whispered before Naoya tosses the crystaline flower into the air and between a few branches, soon letting it snare into a webbing in the trees. "You say that.. but I wonder how much blood will be spilling yu-chan? Are you so sure it's just mine?" The Okumo's head jerks one violently, causing several segments in his neck to pop loudly as their alignment shifts. The silk along the boy's neck quickly begins to thicken as does the layers around his fingers. Turning around to look at Yuriko, the boy's eyes were seen to be dull, almost blind but a wide smile as on his lips. "We won't be starting slowly.. no taste for the teasing treat before the meal. We really want to know.. how far into the corner can we push you."
Hayase arrives a short time later. Although she doesn't announce her presence. She takes a seat about thirty yards away to watch the fight in secrecy. A tree with slender gray limbs and frail leaves. She wears light gray, to blend in. She's not ducking down and creeping around per se. But maybe she can learn a thing or two about her friends if they don't know she's there for a minute or so. At least, about their level of prowess. It never hurts to know. The thought makes her snicker, but she covers the sound with a hand pressed over her mouth.
The relaxed smirk lingers at her lips still, even in the face of his confidence. Already he seems eager to throw down, Yuriko can spy the webbing at his neck beginning to thicken in preparation. Sensing movement though, the young woman pauses, just enough to glance out of the corner of her eye to confirm her suspicions, but her attention just as quickly returns to Naoya.
Exhaling a longer breath, steam plumes from her mouth as she rolls her shoulders. "You know, after this I think we should make it an unspoken rule to have our little tests indoors. All of this cold weather is bothersome." Yuriko murmurs. Though as she says this she's already removing the sash around her slender waist. With a roll of her shoulders, the heavy winter kimono glides off of her arms, revealing the ivory, padded body suit.
"I'll bring some fire wood into the burrow and make you a large batch of cocoa afterwards. Does that make up for things?" A wide smirk appears on the boy's lips as he watches Yuriko, his teeth soon showing as he chuckles. When the kimono is discarded and the segmented suit comes to light, Naoya nods his head lightly and closes his eyes, his expression fading until it mutes. 'One.. two.. four.. one.. two.. three.. four.. five..' A he counts softly, true to his word, an arms would begin to rip from his arm ones, made of dense webbing but then they seem to slowly begin to coat in something, a carapace only to divide again quickly.
The process was only over the course of a moment, but Naoya opens his eyes slowly and some what lazily as if he had just woken up. Looking down at himself, he counts further, working the fingers of each of his six hands. A pair of hands, the lowest pair each slip into pouches and pulls out a pair of shruiken. Seeming to approve of his change, the grin widens, his teeth baring as he looks towards the girl, expectantly.
Hayase smiles sheepishly when Yuriko spots her. At least, she thinks that side glance meant the Kaguya had seen her. Naoya remains oblivious. Fortunately, none of the spiders crawling close belong to him. She's swinging her legs from the branch, watching with curiousity, until Naoya begins to "(…arm himself,)" she can't help but murmur. Yet she's still gaping at the display. It seems he's cutting no corners. She looks around to Yuriko, to see if she might do the same. This could get dangerous.
Yuriko lifts a skeptical brow for a longer moment, "Maaaybe." she allows, stretching out the word as if she were skeptical of the offer. It could be a trick after all. And it being Naoya, chances are it is a trick. The kimono is dropped at her side and with a breath, she exhales and lifts her arms above her head, idly stretching as she begins gathering energy in her stomach.
Exhaling another long breath through her nose, Yuriko closes her eyes, silent for several moments before suddenly several dozen razor-sharp ivory spikes appear all over. Humming, the corner of her lips tugs with a slight smirk as she opens her eyes. "You think extra arms are really going to help you?"
A wide grin begins to spread across the boy's lips as he watches the quills of bone begin to piece through Yuriko's skin. Running his tongue across his lips, Naoya doesn't speak, or possibly couldn't speak at this point. The upper most arms curl their fingers into fists while his middle arms move behind him, drawing out a short sword, and rests the flat of the blade on one of his other arms as he begins to slowly move, pacing from side to side.
After a brief moment, the boy nods to himself and kicks off, dashing forward towards Yuriko, not lingering for a taunt and slashes once strongly, aiming at a slash from her shoulder to her opposite hip before dashing back off to the side. As he moves off, the lower of his hands hurl a pair of shuriken laced with webbing before yanking on the cords, causing them to hook sharply with an unnatural angle to try and aim at the girl's stomach.
The slender ivory blade seems to appear out of nowhere, right in the young woman's hand and just in time to block Naoya's initial strike, diverting it to one side and countering it with a slash of her own. However, the shuriken catches her off guard, and Yuriko lifts her blade to try to defend herself against it out of pure reflex. Each web-slung shuriken slashing at her stomach. The Kaguya girl doesn't flinch as she draws up her blade and in a burst of speed she goes for a straight-forward attack. Chakra hums along her blade of her first strike, intending to stun before following up with two more slashes.
Widened amber eyes watch as his blade is caught with Yuriko's and pushed back though with a set of rapid but small steps the young Okumo manages to avoid the pressed strike. There wasn't much time for Naoya to lose himself in managing to cut into the girl with his tossed blades when a flurry of slashes chase after him. Testing his luck he doesn't at first hop back and away but thrusts his middle sets of arms forward, slashing his blade against the young Kaguya's, pressing her attack back at the cost her following slash cutting into his original arm before he could dance away.
Shifting his blade into a more defensive grip, Naoya hops slightly before kicking off strongly from a tree's trunk to another. After the second bound, the young Okumo uses his lowest pair of arms to palm thrust at Yuriko, their formation unraveling for a moment, letting their webs attempt to bind her movements. Soon after his upper arms grasp one at her throat, another at the padding at her chest to grip her. Pivoting his weight if his grip holds true, he would hurl the girl almost directly upwards into one of the many thick webs he had set up before the girl arrived.
Her speed picks up. Narrowed, cold eyes watching Naoya with a calculating gaze as he watches him shift gears and start to go on the offense again. His palms thrust into open air, the webbing finding nothing as she appears behind the Okumo boy. The blade glows subtly with chakra as she swiftly slashes, only to suddenly blur with sudden speed that leaves afterimages of the girl in her wake.
Striking air annoyed Naoya, grasping at where the girl once was irritated him even further. When he turns towards, her his foot work couldn't keep up with her for a moment and in intercepted by her chakra laced slash, staggering him. Her following blow almost confuses him, but it was familiar, the same technique he just tried to execute and tenses his body for the come coming blow of what was a 'small' fist sinking into his chest strongly enough to leave her knuckle's imprints through his layers of silk.
A glare levels at Yuriko as one hand moves to his chest, rubbing it faintly before dashing forward. The boy's speed increases and his movements focus on quick but strong hops shifting to one angle only to divert to a different one, coming in low with a grazing low blow aiming at the side of the Kaguya's knees before moving on. Quickly, Naoya attempts the same tactic again, coming low but at the last moment he feet catch air, attempting to plant a knee against the side of the girl's head.
The glare leveled at her elicits a small smirk, amused that she's staying a step ahead of him with speed thus far. Though inwardly Yuriko reminds herself to stay on her guard, be aware of him and her surroundings, knowing that another attack could be thrown at any time. She must stay on her toes. She narrows her blue green eyes as Naoya actually hops, the side strike catching her knees and forcing Yuriko to move and avoid the following strike to her head. Sliding back several feet, the girl smirks and shifts the grip on her sword. Accessing, healing.
With Yuriko seemingly playing a waiting game, looking for an opening, th boy's eyes watch her curiously but then a realization hits him as the tricks of blood stop flowing from Yuriko. Switching the grip of the short sword, Naoya charges for the young Kaguya, there weren't any faints or fancy movements, nor where there sword slashes. With a snarl on his face, the boy launches two strong hooks, both from different fists on his left side before shifting his weight to the other side and raises a knee, trying to burrow it into the girl's other side.
"Yes…" Yuriko murmurs softly under under her breath, seeing the snarl curl at his lip. If he wasn't ready to go all out before, he was now. He charges at her again, the first hook avoided with ease, though as she accessed the second strike and attempts to counter it, the Okumo hits her with full force. She winces, faltering for a brief instant before she pushes herself into speed again, avoiding his knee successfully.
With a short breath, Yuriko digs in her feet and takes off with another burst of speed. This time she uses the Larch bones to her advantage.
Even with seeing the technique once before, Naoya couldn't weave the mesh dense enough or quickly enough to completely protect his chest in time, but it did spare him some pain, some. When the young Kaguya flicks her blade, the boy's blood splatters onto the ground though it doesn't cause him to lose his footing but a hiss begins to escape his lips before he lunges forward, a pair of hands grasp for Yuriko's. Rather than try to hurl her, he draws her closer and slams his head forward while a pair of lower hands strike at her lower ribs.
With clean and precise speed, she moves like the wind, dancing among the snowflakes as if glided by the lightest of breezes. Yuriko avoids his hands, avoids the webbing and each of his attempted strikes. The last she blurs again with Brevity, countering his last strike. "Closer. Not quite." she murmurs.
Stepping into the blow, Naoya's eyes flicker for a moment, lightening as one hand grasps at the fist that struck his chest close to the wrist. '…nough.' A second hand moves to grasp at Yuriko's shoulder as a grin appears on his lips. 'Enough.. Th-that one.. seems to of cleared.. the swarm.. some.' Color began to fill the boy's eyes but it didn't fully return. The spare arms didn't seem fully in control, while the lower ones rest on his hips while the middle ones cross and the hand tense and relaxes anxiously, as if waiting for something.
Seeing the amber hue in his eyes seem to change and clear after her counter strike, the girl narrows her gaze with intent for a fraction of a moment before he grins and calls 'uncle'. She seems to consider it before she dips her chin with a slight nod, "Alright…" Yuriko murmurs, almost unsure. Her bright eyes flick down at his extra arms, looking them over. "By swarm… do you mean your brood? Is that why you were out of it last time you transformed?"
"I did say /we/ would be facing you last night.. did you already forget?" The least set of arms shift into his pouches , hooking a salve of some sort before thrusting his fingers into his own wounds, though his 'fingers' seem to blend with the silken weave around his body, forcing him to reform them slowly, a digit at at a time. "You cannot imagine how.. awkward.. the idea of this body is right now.. They know it better than me.. so they think they know better than me.. and try to drown me." As Yuriko looks at his spare arms, the middle sets unfurls for a moment to wave at her dismissively before folding again.
Her expression softens for a moment, a tinge of worry hinting at her eyes as Yuriko glances over what wounds she made on him, before she smiles at his dismissive arms. A small chuckle escapes her, the spindle-like bones steadily begin to retreat back into her body. Turning around, she approaches for and picks up her kimono. The young woman slips her arms through the sleeves as she turns around to face Naoya again. "So. Now that you've gone up against me again, are you satisfied?"
"I've drawn your blood.. faced you in that state.. and still stand.." Looking down at himself, one by one his spare arms begin to tense before melding back into his his body, though when his focus relents, he staggers on his feet for a moment, muttering 'You here fighting.. in this condition? Just how much were you puppeting me?' With a shake of his head, the silken layers on his begin to tense once again, acting as a body large bandage though his eyes clear completely at this point. "Did this help you not worry that I'm even like before?"
Folding the front of her kimono across her body suit, Yuriko wraps the sash around her waist as she glances up at Naoya. Seeing him staggering, if only briefly, concern flickers in her bright eyes once again. It was a rather large bandage he was weaving after all. Focusing on his amber eyes, her expression softens. "Yeah, you're getting better. Blacking out during a transformation though… that you should probably work on."
Naoya nods silently, before moving a hand to his chest, slowly massaging it causing the silk to tint but only slightly. "Yes.. though better than last time.. I need to get used to the feeling more.. I think I could use it in the field but.. not if we need to be delicate." Moving a hand up to the sides of his head, he begins to scratch near his temples before his eyes suddenly dull again. '..Oh ya.. that thing. Forgot about it.' Looking up, he tilts his head before jerks it to the side briefly before nodding and letting it lower down again. In respond, a red crystal flower began to lower down from the canopy above Yuriko's head. "I've been tasked with delivering something to you.."
Softly pressing her lips together as she watches him press a hand to the webbing on his chest, she silently moves forward, closing the distance between them. Reaching up she tentatively presses her fingertips to his chest. "You fought well. You should be proud of these wounds." Yuriko lowers her hand to her side, blinking with some surprise when he says he forgot something. Tilting her snowy head, her bangs fall into her eyes for a short moment before a red crystaline flower lowers at the end of a strand of webbing. She blinks at it before reaching out to pluck it from the air, her gaze lingering on it before she frowns up at Naoya. "Delivering it? Delivering it from who?"
"She will not come after you again, she requests that you don't seek her head.. A truce, even though we both know you didn't seek her head before that.. nor after with how things turned out." Closing his eyes, he shrugs his shoulders lightly before becoming still and nodding his head lightly, 'Yes.. bite once then move..' A slight snarl flashes across his face before returning to normal, and opens his eyes to focus onto Yuriko. "Do I really need to say a name of /who/ or do you have many who push you to that point?"
Yuriko quickly narrows her eyes, and the more he talked, the colder her expression became. Finally with one hand she holds the stem of the flower, fingers tightening to crush it into several pieces, her own blood trickling from her fist. "Coward couldn't face me herself. Her word is useless to me, and if she can't face the consequences of her challenge, then she should have known better." Yuriko drops the pieces, her hand already beginning to heal. Scoffing a breath through her nose with mild annoyance.
Extending out a hand, Naoya grasps Yuriko by the shoulder and tenses his hand. "Steady.. steady.. How does this change anything? It doesn't.." Lowering his head, he looks at her bright blue eyes before stepping closer to bump his head against her's. Moving his free hand down, he moves to the hand that hand crushed the crystal flower and turns it up right for him to look at it. "Do you think she's a liar.. even if she is one, do you think she poses a threat? She's only as strong as me if I don't focus on my silk.. let alone blend with the brood to push my limits further.. If she comes again, we will not take or halt your kill, we'll clean up after it. Understand?"
Looking up into his eyes, her expression seems to lighten some with humor to think that he was trying to keep her calm, when the most she is is put off. Yuriko allows her hand to be taken, almost idly glancing down at it as the last of the skin heals. "I think that she thinks she can just apologize and everything will be right as rain, but that isn't how Kaguyas think. We don't work like that." She breathes out slowly through her nose, as if she were suddenly tired. "Far from that, actually. I don't think she poses a threat at all. And yet she dares to think that she can best me because she feels like it." The last part gives Yuriko pause, and she hesitantly looks up at his amber orbs. It's a silent moment before she nods. "Yes, but I don't think I need you for that. She won't challenge me again, and if she does, and I kill her, then I will take full responsibility for it. Just promise to still play with me when they take away my headband." The Kaguya girl tries to smile as she teases, though it's forced. She quickly shakes her snowy head, "It doesn't matter any more. I'm fine, and there's no need for anything else."
"..Don't tempt me to take her head to keep her from causing trouble." Even though Naoya spoke while smiling his voice was soft, but flat, there wasn't a hint of humor or teasing to be found in it. Raising her hand higher and kisses her healed palm before lowering it back down again. "We'll be seeing just what happens sooner or later.. though it's a wonder if she'd be worth losing you as a active blade in times like this."
"Now.. if you think she's a threat, to your head band or anything, say so when you think such." A grin appears on the boy's lips as mischief began to twinkle in his eyes, "We've been studying for a while now how they prepare the fallen within the halls before the gardens. We haven't had much luck practicing yet you know?"
Watching as her hand is lifted, palm kissed, a gentle petal pink color rises in her cheeks. Yuriko grumbles something incoherent as she glances away, forcing herself not to fidget too much before she exhales a breath. "Waiting to see what happens is probably the best move. If she still causes trouble… We'll figure out how to handle it." Her expression softens, a smile touching her lips as she chuckles. "Now who's the one that's worrying."
"I always worry of what elders will do.. if just killing one or a few genin or even chuunin will keep it from their eyes.. I'll do just that." A light smile was on his lips as Naoya spoke softly, the thought seeming to amuse himself. Pointing off to the side, past the river but not quite towards the village. "We should be going to the burrow.. I got fresh supplies less than a week ago, just worry about the milk turning to ice.. I use the river to keep most things cool you know? I'm not sure, did I show you how everything within the lower chambers work now?"