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Kazuo Kemuri
Kazuo Kemuri
Citizen
Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Ryo : 20575

The Adventures of Marauder Shields Empty The Adventures of Marauder Shields

Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:45 pm
In the end, Kazuo was helpless to resist the urges of Yomi, and now that she’d reached the pinnacle of her power, he struggled to even protest with words. It was as if his entire being was warped and rendered by the whims of dark energy that fed upon his chakra and seeped into his mind. He felt her presence always, now that she’d become so strong. Before, she’d been fleeting, but now she was ever present. She was truly a part of him now, and Kazuo wondered if she was indeed more a part of him then he was himself.

He sipped at his drink. He didn’t mind. Though she might be invading his body and mind, he still had his honor, and his pride. He tapped the ashes from his cigar into the ashtray and took a drag, sighing.

You’re worried I want to take over your life. Came Yomi’s voice. Kazuo chuckled to himself.
No, I’m not He replied in his thoughts, resting a hand comfortingly on his blade, which he’d set against the counter. It was a harmless gesture, but sometimes the feel of a blade in his hand made him feel safe.
Then what? She asked, skeptical.
I'm just worried you're better at it then I am. Replied Kazuo, a wry, pained grin on his face.

”Another.” He said to the barkeep, who nodded and refilled his glass, smiling at the growing pile of ryo coins stacking upon the table. This would be his tip, and the bartender knew it. Kazuo always tipped incredibly well. After all, these were servants of the people, they deserved the very best. The fact that it tended to get him better service helped as well.

I don’t understand Yomi said as Kazuo began to down his next drink, setting the cigar in the tray. It was funny, he had not smoked or drank in years, but after all that had happened, he felt he needed to unwind. Sighing, he took a drag from the cigar again, blowing rings with the smoke.
You don’t have to. He said simply, pressing the remainder of the cigar into the tray and putting it out safely. We just go back to doing what we do best, I suppose. Kazuo said. Yomi seemed to warm at the sentiment.

That’s the spirit She cooed.

Kazuo sighed, looking down at the bar. He’d not come here for any particular reason except to buy time. The money from his last score was good, oh yes, but it wouldn’t last him for long. He needed another gold mine, and he didn’t think he’d find any Kumogakure ninja walking around with a fortune on their person. At least, not another one he could take on alone. He’d been lucky, he supposed, that they’d proven so cowardly in his last encounter with them, as nobody cared to save the Shinobi he’d beaten unconscious. It was quite sad that nobody would come to his aid, honestly. He’d rather have slain an entire camp of Shinobi working in tandem than a single Shinobi, all alone.

That reminds me, I still need to find myself a wingman. Kazuo thought, glancing up once more, as if surveying the bar for possible candidates. Sipping his drink again, he stroked his beard, deep in thought, as he surveyed the bar discreetly. With his luck, maybe someone would just walk in and say "Hey, you're Kazuo Kemuri! Will you please accept me as your student?"
Okuyama Sorai
Okuyama Sorai
Citizen
Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Ryo : 4600

The Adventures of Marauder Shields Empty Re: The Adventures of Marauder Shields

Sun Apr 09, 2017 5:27 am
In the beginning, Sou was helpless to just about any and everything, especially since she was probably at the lowest point she'd ever be in the foreseeable future. Currently, from the corner of her mouth flowed a river of flawless drool, which was pooling where her cheek met the table. Clutched in her hand, was a half drank bottle that was currently empty. The rest of the contents were streamed from the lip of the bottle and onto the floor, mimicking her slobber. Her left arm, which had the hand which clutched the bottle, was extended to the middle of the table. Her right was limp in her lap, and she was slouched over the table, taking a little alcohol nap. 

The following day she awoke in the same bar, with a dried crust covering the spot on her cheek where the drool was. Dragging her head off of her arm, her gaze swept across the bar and her mind registered no familiar faces. It didn't register much of anything really, considering the headache.

Standing up, the bottle rolled off her lap and crashed to the floor. The sound caused her to recoil, and her right eye winced with the first throb of her head. A sour taste rose on the back of her throat, it had tinges of yeast and bile, and despite the foulness, it did at least alleviate a bit of the dryness. Swallowing the taste, she attempted once more to make her way over to the bar. "Why." The reason why was pretty simple. Her recent string of petty thievery had put a bit of cash in her pocket and her lust for drink urged her to spend it.

Just as a fellow patron was demanding another, Sou took her seat a few stools down the bar. As the tender served the other man, she ran a hand through her bangs and waited for her turn. A simple tap on the counter and the familiar bartender knew what to do.

As the woman was handed her drink, he gave her a bit of info. "That's your last one." 

As she lifted the cup to her lips she scoffed. About this time, the man that was getting his drink let out a sigh which garnered her attention. Upon closer inspection, this drunken chain smoker seemed familiar. Wiping the crust from her cheek on her black sleeve, there was an attempt made to think through the headache and find where the source of recognition was coming from. Sou had never met this man, but there was something in her mind that sparked some familiarity. Kazuo was given her gaze from the corner of her left eye that was scanning his face for specific details. Details that seemed to elude her.

Recalling the last few days, she realized that she had overheard or read of his description somewhere. For why he had earned public recognition still slipped her aching mind. Lost in thought, Sou had finished off her last cup, and dropped the glass to the counter with a thud.

As Kazuo began to look around the bar and stroke his beard, so too would Sou. Not his beard I mean, but her own chin. Y'know, where a beard would be if she were a gifted woman or a man with the ability to grow one. U-unless you want her to stroke Kaz's beard, B-BAKA.
Kazuo Kemuri
Kazuo Kemuri
Citizen
Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Ryo : 20575

The Adventures of Marauder Shields Empty Re: The Adventures of Marauder Shields

Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:06 pm
As he looked around the bar, he notice a woman that looked to be about 12-30ish. Kazuo couldn’t tell, really, maybe because he was more drunk than he thought, or maybe because the narrator wasn’t given Sou’s app to look at and so had no clue what she looked like. Wow, I’m doing a lot of fourth wall breaks as of late. I really should stay in character.

*Ahem*

The woman had been sleeping in the bar when Kazuo arrived, and he hadn’t paid her much mind. Now she’d caused something of a scene, however discreet the bartender had tried to make it, Kazuo’s hearing was sharp, and he’d have a harder time not hearing what he’d they had said to the woman. This was her last drink. He hadn’t meant to snoop, of course. Kazuo was normally one to mind his own business, but as he was currently surveying the bar, he’d be unable to help catching sight of her, seemingly doing  exactly the same thing as Kazuo, same gesture and all, even stroking her chin as if to mock him. Kazuo chuckled a bit.

”Do I know you?” He’d ask. It was a harmless question, but if the answer was yes, either he or this woman would likely be lying dead on the floor at the end of the night. No, he didn’t recognize her face, so the answer was likely to be “no.” Hopefully. Probably. His hand would fall upon the blade that was leaned up against the bar, on his side that was opposite to her, so that, in all likelihood, she wouldn’t see the gesture. He didn’t think he’d need it, but it helped him keep calm.

Better do it quick. Came Yomi’s voice, somewhat maniacal in tone. Don’t let her make the first move. Kill her now. She cooed, and he felt her will being exerted on his body. He’d shudder a bit, as if he’d just had a bad drink.
Chill the hell out, Yomi, this is probably just some drunk. He would reply in his mind, and Yomi’s influence seemed to lessen.
Fine. Was all she said. She was clearly disappointed. Yomi wanted to feed, Kazuo knew that.

Unless the girl said something profound that made him want to stay in this bar, Kazuo would slip off the stool, slipping blades to his side, one by one, until there were two on each hip. There were a few more in his bag, but he’d left that at his camp. It didn’t do to carry that shit around all the time. He was clearly getting ready to leave the bar, and the barkeep seemed disappointed that he wouldn’t be staying any longer. Tipping well definitely had its perks.
Okuyama Sorai
Okuyama Sorai
Citizen
Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Ryo : 4600

The Adventures of Marauder Shields Empty Re: The Adventures of Marauder Shields

Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:15 am
As her gaze continued to linger on the stranger, a man who she had assumed to be twelve to thirty-ish, she realized that the writer of the other and the accuser of this poster hadn't linked his character app. Doesn't matter, Sou is twenty and appears to be around that age, maybe a tad bit on the younger side. Moving on.

Her ears perked up when the man chuckled. Slightly her head turned, not to face him directly but a tiny bit more in his direction. Her stare drifted off into the distance as Kazuo asked if the two were previously acquainted, to which her reply would be, after a quick chuckle, "Depends. How long was I asleep?" Quickly, and before he could answer her jest would be followed with "No. I don't think so," there was slight pause as she looked back to Kazuo. "Mister...?" Sou lingered on the last word, drawing it out to hopefully indicate that she was inquisitive. Maybe if she could draw a name out of him it would jog her memory.

I'd like to say that she left her belongings somewhere else, but I'd be a liar and a bastard. Everything she had was currently on her person. A dull knife was hidden away under her coat, a deep black button up that cut off just at her knee. The sleeves extended over her hands and had holes cut into them for her thumbs. The buttons were off center, starting to the left of her collar and falling down to her waist. From there the coat covered everything above the knee. Below the knee she wore grey pants that fit snuggly, and a pair of light boots colored black.
Kazuo Kemuri
Kazuo Kemuri
Citizen
Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Ryo : 20575

The Adventures of Marauder Shields Empty Re: The Adventures of Marauder Shields

Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:23 pm
If Kazuo were able to hear the thoughts of Sou's narrator, he might point to the fact that his character app hadn’t been requested, and is archived, and as such, his own narrator couldn't show the app if he wanted to, and in fact, Sou’s narrator was the only one of the two of them that could access it. Still, Kazuo’s age was pretty easy to infer, him being about twenty five years old, looking a bit on the older side of his mid twenties.

Kazuo just smirked at her answer. She hadn’t the slightest clue who he was, so it seemed. That was refreshing.
”I thought so.” He said simply, having affixed his blades to his sides now. He nodded to the barkeep and took a step towards the door. That was when the girl spoke again, clearly asking for his name. He chuckled. If she were following him, it’d be better to just get this unfortunate business out of the way here, rather than risk being followed. ”Kemuri.” He would answer, nodding to the woman. ”And you? Miss…?” He would reply, quite cordial given that he was only a moment away from beheading her should she answer wrong.

She’d caught his attention now, and Kazuo sized her up, as he often did with prospective opponents. Just by looking at her, Kazuo could tell that this would be an easy fight. She was of no threat or consequence to him, so he was not horribly concerned. Still, throwing caution to the wind was never the best of plans. Assuming that she said or did nothing to stop him, Kazuo would nod politely, then continue to walk past her, towards the door.
”Well, I must be going, then. It’s a long way home, and I’d prefer to make it back before nightfall.” He said, an obvious lie to anyone that knew Kazuo. As a matter of fact, he was leaving home, not returning.
Okuyama Sorai
Okuyama Sorai
Citizen
Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Ryo : 4600

The Adventures of Marauder Shields Empty Re: The Adventures of Marauder Shields

Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:38 am
"Kemuri, desperado and roaming swordsman." This man's name definitely rang a bell. "Sou," she spoke softly and was reluctant to offer up her last name, though ultimately nothing of her expression would indicate that. Her mind, still hazy, lingered on the man before her. Finally she had realized at least where she recognized him from; he was wanted. Unless this was some other weird Kemuri of the same name and similar appearance, then that'd be a coincidence.

Before Kazuo could up and leave, Sou had to ask. "Care for a stroll?" Emphasizing her interest, the left side of her brow cocked into an arch. If his answer was something along the lines of acceptance, then she'd slowly rise to her feet and begin to walk somewhat unsteadily towards the door. If he said no, she'd lose her interest and attempt to coax the bartender into another round.
Kazuo Kemuri
Kazuo Kemuri
Citizen
Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Ryo : 20575

The Adventures of Marauder Shields Empty Re: The Adventures of Marauder Shields

Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:39 pm
Kazuo looked over the drunken woman, who called herself Sou. He actually chuckled a bit when she asked him to take a walk with her. The woman had just woken up in the bar, if memory served, and he doubted very much that she was in any condition to walk. Still, who was he to make a scene?
”If you think you can make it to the door.” He replied, turning the knob and holding the old wooden door to the bar open wide, waiting for her to exit. The shaky way she made for the door confirmed his suspicions, and he doubted very much that she’d be able to make it far. Still, he’d give her the courtesy. Maybe she just wanted an escort home, and the blades on his side were pretty conspicuous.
”You don’t strike me as the strolling type.” Kazuo would say as they took to the small street, assuming she stepped out the door. ”May I ask where we’re going?” He’d ask, waiting for her to lead him. He was almost certain the night was going to end with death, so he kept one hand rested on his blade, on the side opposite her, just as a precaution. There was money on this man’s head, after all.
Okuyama Sorai
Okuyama Sorai
Citizen
Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Ryo : 4600

The Adventures of Marauder Shields Empty Re: The Adventures of Marauder Shields

Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:32 am
To his first remark Sou smirked, waved her hand, and muttered "I'm fine." As Kazuo took the lead and held open the door, the woman stood in place for a second and leaned forward to bow. "Why thank you," and with that she stood up as straight as she could in this state and continued to walk out of the door, hopefully with her person of interest in tow. Upon exit, her head turned both ways. To their right was a small gathering of people down the street, with a few more scattered about down the way. To their left was a short distance to a dead end, but in her mind it appeared to be out of earshot of most.

She looked on as she was asked where the two were headed and remained silent but for a few seconds, lost in thought. His comment on her strolling fell on deaf ears. Having made her choice, she'd announce "This way," before walking off into the distance to their left, at a slightly unsteady pace.

By now it had started to stir in her head, that maybe this was deserving of an explanation. In an attempt to delay said explanation until the two were away from others, she let out an elongated "Sooooo. How're you today, Mister Kemuri?" Let's say for a moment that he wouldn't just cut her down, if that's okay. Before he could answer her follow up to her previous comment was "Do you prefer company on the road, Mister Kemuri?" Of course, hopefully he had followed. And of course, hopefully his answer was sufficient for enough time to have passed for them to have traveled down the road.
Kazuo Kemuri
Kazuo Kemuri
Citizen
Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Ryo : 20575

The Adventures of Marauder Shields Empty Re: The Adventures of Marauder Shields

Fri May 05, 2017 3:04 pm
Sou's dismissal of his first comment was met by a shrug from Kazuo, who was holding the door for her. 
"Lead the way, then." He said simply, nodding curtly as she thanked him and proceeded through the open door. There was something... Restrained about their interactions, something that would have been rather obvious had they not both been contributing to it. Kazuo was a man on the run, and Sou was either a bounty hunter or a common ruffian. Either way, chances were she knew who he was.

I'm telling you, kill her now. Use Yozora's technique. Came the voice of Yomi in Kazuo's mind, longing for blood. It would be so easy, Kazuo. Sing her a lullaby, tell her a story, and put her to sleep. Simple. 
Quiet. I haven't even attempted the Storyteller technique yet. You want me to try it against an unknown enemy in broad daylight?"
Nothing like a little stress testing.
I can't go killing every ruffian I meet. Maybe this one will be of use to me. At worst, she's another bounty hunter leading me into a trap. If that happens, I'll humor you. Kazuo replied, silencing the irritable Yomi. The red of Kazuo's eyes seemed to lighten for a moment as she fought for control, but she quickly gave up. She was merely playing, after all. Had their mental skirmish lasted longer, Kazuo would have been easily subdued by Yomi's will. It was a harrowing thought, but at least she was on his side, in her own way. She wasn't out to steal his life, thank God. 

When Kazuo asked her where they were going, Sou answered vaguely, as if she were not even listening to him. It seemed she was lost in thought, an amusing notion seeing as this woman had awoken not so long ago in a dead end bar and been kicked out. He played her game for now, hands resting on his blades, as they always did. Kazuo was ready, should he be walking into a trap. The notion of cutting her down where she stood weighed heavily on Kazuo's mind, likely influenced by Yomi, as the woman seemed to be stalling for time. 

"Well enough, I'd say, despite the fact that I'm being lead into the wilderness by a complete stranger." He said, his words both jovial and icy at once. Kazuo had a unique way about him when he spoke, one that could convey many different meanings at once. He'd learned it from his master, who had learned it from his master. He knew how to sound stern yet proud, brooding yet joyful, and in this case, casual but annoyed. "It depends on the company. I've lived among ruffians for many years. Criminal scum that change their loyalties at the drop of a hat. As such, I'm wary of sharing a camp with a stranger." He said, giving the first actual tip as to who he was. By now, if she hadn't worked it out, she would know that she was walking alongside Kazuo Kemuri, the samurai desperado. He was a rising star among the Black Market whelps, after all. 

He thought back to Yozora's technique once more. Shinkou Yozora had been, in many ways, a surrogate mentor to Kazuo. Finding her book had given him purpose, and learning her flashblade and singing blade styles had made him a far better swordsman indeed. He'd secured many victories using the flashblade, and the singing blade made him a terrifying opponent up close, but he'd only just begun to scratch the surface of these techniques. This technique, the Storyteller, was one that he had been practicing during his time in the village of the abyss, the pinnacle of the singing blade style, at least as far as Yozora had taken it. He, and Yomi especially, was eager to try it out, but hadn't yet been given that opportunity

"So, Sou..." Kazuo spoke, using the woman's name for the first time. "What exactly do you hope to accomplish by bringing me here?" He asked, his eyes flickering with the glowing crimson of his Meigan, flanked by a deep blue. "This is hardly the time or place for a stroll." He commented, a subtle click hinting that his left blade had just been partially released from its sheathe, readied for a fluid drawing motion. "So tell me, what exactly is your game?"
Kazuo Kemuri
Kazuo Kemuri
Citizen
Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Remove Ryo : 20575

The Adventures of Marauder Shields Empty Re: The Adventures of Marauder Shields

Tue May 23, 2017 7:28 pm
It was clear at this point that something was amiss. The ruffian who had lead Kazuo across the trail was eerily silent as they walked, as if the words were not coming to her. She remained silent throughout his answering and his carrying of the conversation, which in itself was harmless, but then, she refused to speak altogether. This, Kazuo thought, was a sure sign of a trap. She had choked, was unsure of how to respond when questioned by Kazuo. Ametuer work if he ever saw it. A simple bounty hunter, as he thought.

Kill her! Kill her now! Yomi screamed in his head, and Kazuo tried his best not to obey. He didn’t like killing, truth be told, unless it was warranted, and as Kazuo was indeed a criminal, he could not hold it against her. Still, he didn’t intend to die any time soon. For now, he’d fight her off, hopefully leaving her alive as he had with the boy from Kumogakure.
Not her. Kazuo replied. And you’ll not have me rob her, either. She’s no threat at all Kazuo commanded, his inner voice suddenly powerful and  imposing. For one who was typically so easily manipulated, Kazuo was being uncharacteristically assertive.
That code of honor of yours is going to get both of us killed some day… Yomi complained. Kazuo shook his head adamantly. Fine then, try that new technique we were talking about. At least get some practice out of the experience. Yomi moaned boredly. While you’re at it, stab her and let me have some chakra. I’m starving. Yomi added eagerly. Sighing in his mind, Kazuo once again reprimanded his inner voice.
If I feed you any more, you’ll take over again. I know you, Yomi. he said, hesitating to draw the Yuumei infused blade he carried. He didn’t want Yomi getting any ideas.
Would that really be so bad? Let me have a spin, after all, Yomi knows best! His comrade chirped. Kazuo rolled his eyes.
Your tactical advice is plenty good enough for me, thanks. Kazuo quipped. I don’t trust you with the controls anymore, Yomi. He told her, annoyed. She seemed to understand this and returned to silence for a few moments.
As you wish… Yomi pouted. Kazuo ignored her, deciding that it would be best to focus on the task at hand.

”Well, as fun as this has been…” Kazuo spoke, his opposite hand creeping across the hilt of the Darksong Edge, his most effective blade. ”I think I’ll need to take my leave.” He told Sou, who had still not yet responded to him. He expected her backup to arrive any minute now, which is why his hand crept along the blade opposite Sou. He had no desire to kill the girl, but he needed to act, and he needed to act fast if he wanted to avoid bloodshed. His blade would flash from the sheathe it rested in at blinding speed. How fast was it moving, you ask? On a scale of one to three hundred, Kazuo would estimate it to be about two hundred and ninety five. Thankfully for Sou, this blade was not headed for her. Instead, it flew above Kazuo’s head, the music of the Storyteller technique resonating through the air of the shadow country.

Like most other Singing Blade techniques, this one was also developed by the creator of the style, Yozora Shinkou. Probably the most noticeable techniques on the battlefield, this illusionary show is what gave her the title of Singing Blade, as entire squads would collapse before her when this tune was played. Same as with the other techniques, it was lost with her death, only to be discovered in a book called Bladedancer, that she had left behind. Kazuo possessed one such book, and it contained the story of Yozora Shinkou, the one who was likely the most famous member of the Shinkou clan. An ANBU of the late Tengakure, she was one of the few Shinobi that Kazuo respected. From what he knew of the book, its origins were quite strange.  Before her death Yozora invested a great deal of time into strengthening Tengakure, that included giving sword fighting training sessions. Her students expressed a wish for some reading material on the matter, so they could continue studying at home, resting. Unfortunately the young ANBU captain could not find many appropriate books at the time, so she decided to make one of her own.

What was originally intended as nothing more than a training manual, grew into somewhat of a compacted version of autobiography and explanations of the most complex and powerful of Yozora's abilities and sword fighting. Unfortunately the girl sometimes did not know something as restraint and this was one of the cases - the book was written with an experienced and talented blader as a reader in mind and most of her students would simply not understand it. So, in a sense it was a failure. A smaller and simpler version was planned but never finished due to Yozora's unexpected and early death. What the book contained currently detailed a lot about Yozora and her fighting style, the Singing Blade, as well as the Flashblade. It details her encounters with the Demon of the Mist, whom he could assume to be the current Mizukage, though he had little to go on besides the fact that they were described very similarly and said Mizukage went out of his way to rebuild Kirigakure. It also talks about the her encounter with someone known as the Fiery Star of the Sand, as well as the Second Tenkage, before he had risen to power. All in all the book was fascinating, and from it, he had drawn all of the information he needed to piece together the story of Yozora, as well as her fighting style and techniques. The two most powerful techniques that the book contained were the Flashblade, a technique Kazuo had already mastered, and the Storyteller technique, the most powerful variant of her singing blade style.

Ah, now Kazuo had gotten ahead of himself. He did so love to monologue and reminisce. It could be considered one of his greatest pleasures, and his greatest weaknesses. Good for him, then, that talking is a free action in this world, and Kazuo’s superhuman reaction time made monologues such as this easy. His reaction speed was so insane, in fact, that on a scale from one to three hundred, it was likely to be about a two hundred and forty, though he was merely eyeballing it. Really, though, it was great that he was now able to monologue like this, thanks to his newly acquired earrings. While at first he had thought them quite tacky, he couldn’t argue that they really did make him feel incredibly fast. It was like he could see things faster. As if that made any sense. That line sounded stupid coming out, but that was the best way he could explain exactly how this sensation felt to him. Yup. Seeing faster.

This was all well and good, because it gave him time to perfect his usage of the storyteller technique. While he’d been practicing this ability since his stay in the Village Hidden in the Abyss, he had only just seemed to master its airs and graces, its subtle nuances. The key to telling a good story was finesse, after all, and finesse was something Kazuo had in spades. The grooves along his purple gripped blade sang an ancient song as Kazuo swung his blade, watching it arc through the air as his blade whispered an old story into the girl’s head.

The story was an old anecdote, one similar in message to “The boy who cried wolf,” but that wasn’t really the point. The blade’s song would devour Sou, and any nearby companions that were hidden from his and Yomi’s view. Assuming that he was successful in telling his story, he would sheathe the darksong edge, returning it to its home before bowing curtly.

”It’s been a pleasure, Sou, but I simply must go. I hope I’ve managed to keep you entertained in my absence.” He sneered, the sarcasm positively ringing in his voice. ”Please reconsider trying to hunt me down again. It will not bode well for you.” He said coldly, turning and beginning to walk down the trail. He didn’t bother to hide his footsteps, his chakra, or his tracks, If she wanted to follow him, it would be nothing but her own funeral. Kazuo had shown them his power, and they were nothing against it, hardly strong enough to fight him. It would be quite difficult for her to break out of this particular genjutsu. In fact, on a scale of one to three hundred, with 100 being peak human, this jutsu’s power was likely around eighty five ish, which, compared to his speed, was rather unimpressive, but Sou was hardly a challenge for him. This would keep her out of his hair for good, with any luck. Then again, when was luck on his side?

Why don’t you kill her? Yomi whined. She would have killed you! Just touch her with that blade, let me eat away at her chakra! That way it’s not on your conscience. I know, I know, doesn’t it sound like a good deal? Just turn back and let me have it! While you’re at it, let’s find her friends and do the same! I’ll have a wonderful feast and you’ll have a few less bounty hunters on your tail. It’s a win win, isn’t it, Kazuo? Come on, what are you waiting for? Let’s go! Get back there and finish them off! Yomi raved, desperately fighting for control of Kazuo’s mind. Kazuo! Please! Let me have their chakra. Just a bit! Just a teeny, tiny, little bit. I’m getting desperate here, Kazuo! She begged. Kazuo shook his head.

You can live on my own chakra, and if I keep feeding you, you’ll be able to take over again. I’m not risking it. You’ve lost my trust, and if you want me to feed you any more, you’ll have to earn it back. Kazuo said sternly. Yomi positively pouted, and he could see the blonde girl in his mind’s eye on her knees, begging.

Pleeeeeeease, Kazuo, you don’t understand, I’m dying! I’m dying! I need chakra, I need more chakra, please, let me have more chakra! I’m starving, you haven’t fed me in weeks, and I’m about to die! She begged. Kazuo sighed.
Fine. You can have a little. ONLY a little. I don’t want this girl’s blood on my hands. He said, turning back towards Sou, who was presumably lying there in a nearly unconscious state due to the genjutsu he had placed her under. Drawing his blade, he pressed it into the flesh of her arm, drawing a modicum of blood, and allowing Yomi to siphon chakra from the girl. He didn’t take much, not enough to kill her, but enough to ensure that it would be difficult for her to chase him down once she awoke from the genjutsu. It was a safety precaution of sorts, he supposed.

Yomi positively purred with satisfaction as Kazuo indulged her, and shrieked in protest as he drew the blade away. He knew he could not feed her too much.
There. That’s all you get. Kazuo said to her, turning and beginning to walk away. From his pouch, he retrieved a book that he had been reading on his walk. While before he had read from the Bladedancer, he now carried a book about space/time ninjutsu, one he had acquired within his time in the Village hidden in the Abyss. His time there had given him enough knowledge to study an entirely new field, and the one he had decided to pursue was space and time ninjutsu. While Meiton was a useful element, and he could surely make good use of the Shinkou’s vast library of ninjutsu techniques, he already possessed all of the combat capabilities he desired by infusing his blade with Yuumei. And besides, he really didn’t want to make a habit of using his Yuumei, what with Yomi’s influence over him increasing seemingly with every ounce of Yuumei prowess he gained. The formerly nameless chakra parasite really didn’t need more influence over Kazuo. He’d be better off not needing to resort to indulging her like this.

Besides, space and time ninjutsu was quite interesting. Besides the possibility of bringing back… Of bringing back Aika and Miyamoto, as well as his own father, it offered a lot of interesting possibilities. Carrying loose items in pocket dimensions, for example, would be quite handy for someone like Kazuo who tended to carry a lot of tools for the job. It was funny, too, he’d hardly had use for his other four katana in his recent history. He’d not made use of any Sen no Ken techniques in a long time. A shame, for it was a style he was quite proud of creating, even if it did pale in comparison to the Flashblade or the Singing Blade. Perhaps making use of Space and Time ninjutsu would make him more effective at using his own style, which he had spent much of his early life perfecting. Or perhaps the style would be forgotten. Only time would tell. Regardless, Space and Time ninjutsu would also be useful for granting mobility. While Kazuo was fast, he lacked many tricks for getting around the attacks of his enemies. With Space and Time ninjutsu added to his arsenal, he could possibly master a teleportation technique or two, and using that, he would be able to traverse the world at instantaneous speeds. Not only that, he could maneuver in combat with unmatched precision, able to cross the field in an instant, or avoid attacks faster than his opponents could blink. It was a powerful capability, and one that he found infinitely interesting, as it seemed to both synergizes incredibly well with his fighting style, with Sen no Ken, with Flashblade, and even with Singing Blade, and it also seemed able to grant him whatever he desired. Particularly, it granted him the ability to pursue his desire of bringing back Aika and Miyamoto.

Ah, those names were ones he hadn’t spoken out loud in a while. In years, even. He never forgot them, and indeed, there was not a day that went by that they weren’t on his mind. Now, because of his absence, his father had been lost to him as well. He had no siblings that he knew of, only cousins in the land of the abyss, and they weren’t much for conversation, suffice it to say.

Kazuo Kemuri, son of a Samurai and a Shinkou Shinobi, was an unusual man indeed. He walked the narrow path between the honor of the samurai and the treachery of Shinobi. He’d seen the cruelty and the flaws in the blind justice of the samurai, and he’d seen the arrogance and cowardice of the common Shinobi. Despite his hatred of the two, Kazuo was proud of what he was. He was strong. This journey, this pilgrimage, seemed to be unveiling who Kazuo Kemuri truly was. He was a man of honor and power, brave enough to stand against the corrupt, and righteous enough to follow a code of honor.

There was a duality to Kazuo, not in the least bit aided by Yomi’s complete contrast to him. Where he was cold, she was jovial. Where he had honor, she had none. They really were quite a pair.

He had been a bit of a problem child, his parents had a hard time dealing with his attention-seeking ways, actually wondering if he hd Mania, a mental disorder attributed to very hyper, attention seeking people. Luckily, his disorder was simply an addiction to attention. He thought about becoming a performer so that he could be paid to indulge in his habit, until a particular song changed his mind on the subject, which he had actually heard from a performer whom he had wanted to train him. The lyrics, he still remembered, were surprisingly touching, and still haunted him to this day. That was a story for another day, however. Kazuo Kemuri’s time as a missing ninja had changed him, but his time as a samurai had shaped him, had made him the man he was today.

When he became a Samurai, he was considered the “Off brand” kid, the one nobody wanted in their group, but loved watching, because as funny as he was, as good at entertaining people he was, he was not good at the whole “Teamwork” thing. He was deemed an ineffective warrior, and discharged from the training for not being able to work with others…. Pah. Luckily, Miyamoto saw something in the kid, and took him under his wing as his apprentice. Kazuo did not now what he did to attract the man’s attention, and Miyamoto would never tell him. Now he was gone, and he would never know. He’d sell his soul to know that simple answer, but now he’d never know. What quality did he have that stuck out to the wise old man? What was special about him?

Over time, Miyamoto worked miracles on Kazuo, turning him into a man in less then a year. The man was a genius, and for every exercise of the body, there were two of the mind. That kind of training tends to rub off on your personality, though the attention-hog in Kazuo still showed itself quite a lot. Not so much that he was irritating or unable to share the spotlight, but enough to make him still interesting. He had transformed as a person. Everyone was amazed by the transformation. A girl he met at one of Miyamoto’s formal parties, which he was required to attend, basically as his squire, to do menial tasks for him when requested. Aika had been there with her parents, standing in the corner of the room, mingling with people she was clearly uncomfortable with. She noticed him, from across the room that night, as he had evolved into a young man, compared to what he was in school. It was miraculous. It was impressive. She fought through the crowd, trying all night to talk to him. He, sadly, was forced to follow Miyamoto all night, as Miyamoto was a very social person, and everyone else thought Aika SHOULD be a social person, so took it upon themselves to keep her away from Kazuo by holding long, pointless conversations with her, with no hope of escape.
She was so impressed, in fact, that she found she was quickly falling in love with him. After catching on rather quickly (Being watched training by the same girl every day will do that to you.) Kazuo soon developed the same feelings, and after a few more months, and substantial pushing on the part of Miyamoto, who turned out to be quite the love doctor, working together with the girl’s friends to put them in situations where they’d be required to acknowledge each other’s feelings, the two finally confessed to each other and began dating…

He remembered all the awkward situations Miyamoto and Aika’s friends had put them into… Miyamoto was actually quite the gossip, despite the persona he wore of a hardened, wise swordsman. Forcing them to meet alone in every place you could imagine, from clearing out and locking a tavern after inviting them to lunch there, to leaving them stranded together in the middle of the woods with nothing but a tent and some food. They were really creative…. It seemed a shame that such creativity was gone from this world now. Wait… was he any better? He slaughtered Samurai to kill the leader of the village just for revenge… No, that was different. That was for what is right. He was an anti-hero now, as Yuumei would put it.

Kazuo sighed… He had lost so much. He noticed he had reached the forests outside the black market, his new home, it seemed, as that was where people of his… lifestyle… tended to hand around that place. He couldn’t take it. He needed a vent. So suddenly, he drew his blade, slicing at the tree nearest to him without mercy, slicing through the tree, making cut after cut after cut after cut, screaming into the mountain air as he let all of his anger about the loss of his best friend, his master, and the love of his life, his everything, in less than a few days. Subsequently, he lost EVERYTHING. His honor, his rank, his life, his friends… Now he had to live like a criminal. How fitting. Good things happened to bad people, after all. He finally finished his venting, sheathing his sword, as he turned and walked back towards the Black Market.

Kazuo Kemuri was a man with a difficult past. A difficult life. Raised by an honorable Samurai and an outcast Shinobi of the Shinkou clan, he never quite fit in in his small village, where he would some day learn the way of the samurai. No, he never really did fit in. He fought differently. There was that same practicality of the Samurai, that same straight-cut attitude, but there was also something more. Kazuo fought differently. He was faster, less headstrong and more adaptable, quicker to retreat from a bad situation, less likely to let his armor protect him, but also more aggressive. That was his Shinobi training, and for all he hated to admit it, he was one of them. A Shinobi and a Samurai, Kazuo had the benefit of learning from a great many masters. His mother taught him tricks that the Samurai rarely used. She taught him the substitution technique, to save him from sticky situations, the clone technique, to mask his advances, and the way to break genjutsu. Furthermore, she taught him the Body Flicker for escaping or advancing quickly, and how to effectively control his chakra. He had learned ninjutsu from his mother. Raiton, Fuuton, Katon. None of this was ever taught to him as a Samurai.

As a Samurai, however, he learned honor, even if he never was the best of them. He learned how to use a blade, how to dominate in close quarters like no other. He learned respect, and he learned how to teach respect. This was where he developed his largest resentment of the weakest of warriors, the Shinobi. They hid in the shadows, betraying one another for power in an instant. No Samurai would break his code and strike down a friend for power, but the Shinobi of the world did so seemingly without warning. Or at least, so Kazuo had thought. Being framed for the death of his sensei, Miyamoto, and sentenced to death, Kazuo saw a side of his village that he had not seen. When he left, he thought he would start a new life with Aika.

Oh, Aika…

Kazuo looked to the scar across his hand. Not a day went by that he didn’t think of her, the woman he loved most in the world. With her passing, a great darkness fell over Kazuo, and his life would never be the same. They were supposed to live a great life together, supposed to start a family and live long, happy lives. They were supposed to grow old together. Not a day went by that Kazuo did not miss her. Not a day went by that Kazuo did not long for her to be returned to him. Not a day went by that Kazuo did not wish he would have stayed and traded his life for hers.

And, in its own roundabout way, this train of thought led him back to Space and Time ninjutsu, the art he’d been studying as he walked. Kazuo possessed an uncanny ability to read and walk, thanks in part to his extremely high reactions speeds, which made it largely unnecessary for him to bother watching out for obstacles. His body practically moved automatically. It was all really pretty damn cool, not gonna lie. Anyways, he was reading about Space and time Ninjutsu, and he thought he had a pretty good grasp on the area of this particular facet of ninjutsu specialty. It was largely used for teleportation techniques, in fact, that was one of the largest facets of the style, as the book detailed for him. Some people even referred to the area of Space and time ninjutsu as simply “Teleportation techniques.” Some still even referred to the body flicker as a similar effect, calling the high speed movement that it provided “Teleportation.” These people were largely misguided, believing the high speeds that the technique provided to be truly instantaneous. They were foolish, foolish indeed, for the body flicker was nothing but a trick in that aspect. It was a shinobi’s way of making their opponents believe they could teleport, that they could bend space and time to their will. In reality, this was a facade, a smokescreen to hide their own shortcomings. The book had quite a bit to say about Space and time ninjutsu, however, and as Kazuo walked, he continued to read up on the new specialization which he hoped to learn.

By manipulating a specific point of space, the user can warp anything targeted into a dimensional void and teleport it to another location instantaneously. All summoning-based techniques are space–time manipulation related, as they warp the targets through a dimensional void to the summoner's location, though they do not require a specialization into space and time ninjutsu to be able to use. Indeed, summoning techniques are among the easiest to learn, and many shinobi who boast no skill in space and time ninjutsu can claim at least a basic ability in summoning techniques. Space–Time Ninjutsu allows one to bypass any Barrier Ninjutsu, as barriers only extend over the dimension they are placed upon, and similarly cannot prevent Space and Time Ninjutsu users from escaping to a dimensional void and then back outside of the barrier's confines. It appears that each specific space-time technique has its own unique dimensional void that other techniques cannot normally access, however, a user can synchronise their respective dimension with the another to gain access to it. To achieve this feat, however, requires an enormous amount of chakra; directly proportional to the distance between dimensions.

The act of gaining one’s own personal dimension was interesting to Kazuo, although it was also boring at the same time. He was quite a worldly man, so the prospect of creating his own was rather boorish. Why create your own when injustice existed within the plane on which you resided? The thought brought him back and reminded him of his days in his old village. Hell, it reminded him of his early days in the Black Market. The day when he had a relapse, and the day he’d unlocked his Meigan’s mirage variant… That was also the day he nearly killed himself in shame and sorrow. Sighing, he shook the thought from his mind. His world had been dark enough without the memories of his mistakes to haunt him. He needed to focus on what was pleasent. What was present. Or, in the case of what he was learning, what was past and what was future. He continued to pore over the book as he walked. One technique in particular caught his eye. It was the art of teleportation, a powerful technique that granted its user unmatched mobility. Known simply as Vanish, it would allow Kazo to enter and leave any area in an instant as he saw fit.

As Kazuo walked, studying the technique known as Vanish, he felt his knowledge of Space and Time ninjutsu swelling as he took in the information. It really wasn’t THAT difficult. People were always daunted by it, but really, there was nothing to it once you figured out the basic principles. In the case of this technique, all that was required was to focus your chakra on one place and then allow your energy to flow towards it, dematerializing your form and, for a moment, erasing yourself from existence. In the next instant, you would reappear in the new location, reformed and once again firmly placed within existence. Easy, just complicated. It was somthing you sort of had to feel. Kazuo concentrated, allowing his energy to traverse to a point about 50 meters to his… His left? Yeah, sure. No, wait, that was stupid, just go down the road. He focused on the teleportation he was about to commence, and…

He found himself placed smack dab in the center of a bandit camp.
”Well, shit.” Kazuo sighed.
I see no problem with this situation. Yomi giggled, absolutely terrifyingly. As the bandits peeked out from the surroundings, they noticed Kazuo, who was, well, REALLY conspicuous, after all. Kazuo focused on a direction to his right, and felt his body began to dematerialize, appearing in a room nearby, within the same camp. Kazuo quickly scooped up a sleeping bandit to use as a hostage.

The men advanced in the room. He was hosed… shit. He put his sword to his target’s neck, threatening to kill him if they got close. They stopped, but this was a bad bluff. He was killing him anyway. He pulled the blade across his neck, ending his life, before charging the men down. The first rose his blade for a stab, which Kazuo deflected, pushing his own blade through his chest, and spinning around, throwing the body into another opponent, knocking him over. He clashed swords with the one remaining man, forcing his weight on the blade, before leaning back as far as he could, pulling his blade away, dropping his back to the floor, and kicking him in the chest. He jumped back up to his feet as the man crashed through the wall, unable to react in time to Kazuo, who teleported himself through a window, feeling his mastery over the technique beginning to solidify as he went. Thankfully able to avoid crashing through the glass, he made it out of the building, his feet padding across the ground. He turned hard to the right, sprinting between the small buildings, taking random turns to confuse his adversaries. He could kill them all, sure, but this was more fun. As he neared the gates to the bandit camp, he felt an arrow graze his shoulder, nearly knocking him to the ground as he attempted to dodge it. Slowly getting to his feet, he noticed he was beginning to be surrounded, and felt another arrow approaching, threatening to pierce his thigh. He deflected it with his blade, slicing the thing is two. Another arrow flew towards his back, this one with a rope attached, intended for pulling him. He caught the arrow deftly and grabbed the rope, yanking the archer off the roof. How annoying. He turned to face the army of swordsmen that had chased him down, drawing his blade quickly. From the mass of swordsmen, one man advanced ahead, as the others blocked his path.

And with that, the leader took off at him, charging at full speed towards the boy. Kazuo was taken aback by his raw speed, which was much more impressive than he had originally thought. He turned, attempting to sidestep the leader, and narrowly missing the point of a sword, which cut the skin on his bare arm slightly. As he spun, he held out a leg, sending the man flying onto his face. Kazuo finished his spin, going a whole three hundred sixty degrees, before stepping forward and sending himself into the air, coming down and using his momentum to smash him into the ground. At the last second, the man regained his orientation, rolling away from Kazuo’s sword strike. Kazuo dashed forward, pulling his sword from its sheathe, and slashing at the leader’s stomach. The man deftly jumped forward, rolling through the air so as to avoid the slice. Kazuo turned to see the man bringing his sword down at his head. He lifted his own blade to catch the strike, only to see the katana cut clean through it. In the split second he had to react, he lurched forward, rolling across the ground, and narrowly avoiding the blade, coming up just behind him. Kazuo brought his sword around, aiming a slice for his opponent’s neck. Just as the blade collided, a “Poof” sound echoing as a log took his place. Behind him, the man appeared. Kazuo spun to face him. He was sooo gonna get it… the man cocked his head, as a few swordsmen advanced from the crowd, dashing to attack him.

One of the swordsmen managed to get a strike in on Kazuo, opening a gash on his right arm, and sending him tumbling to the ground in an attempt to avoid the attack. As Kazuo recovered his footing, the men converged, now fully surrounding him. With a blade in each hand, Kazuo turned slowly, eyeing every opponent he faced. Then, he smiled.

”Tell you what… How about I tell you guys a story?” Kazuo grinned. The men looked confused and amused at once, as if this were Kazuo’s last attempt at escaping. Well, they were technically correct. Yomi practically purred at Kazuo’s killer instinct.

Ooh, ooh, let me have a go, Kazuo! She cooed. You haven’t given me the reigns in forever, and you don’t care what happens to these guys anyways, do you? She pleaded. She was like a child sometimes. Kazuo smirked.
Fine. Go ahead and have your fun. But remember this, because I won’t be making this a regular occurrence any longer. He told her, and her purrs of satisfaction resonated in his mind as he surrendered control to Yomi’s influence. His bright red eyes appeared to fade to an almost pinkish color, or, rather, a magenta. Yomi was in control now.

”Hellooooooo.” She spoke with Kazuo’s manly voice. It sounded pretty weird, to be honest, Kazuo’s gruff tone with Yomi’s cheerful optimism ”Story time!” She cooed, and like that, the men began to advance upon him. Yomi’s arms rose as the Storyteller technique activated, and each of the men felt themselves slowed or even outright paralyzed by the song of her blades. Then, Yomi would move. Teleporting directly behind two of the men, she impaled one through the spine and cut an arm off of another, allowing Darksong Edge to absorb every last ounce of chakra he had. Yomi felt herself sated by this, and purred with immense satisfaction as the energy filled her body and invigorated her. This was when she felt the most alive. The others watched in horror as Yomi drained every last ounce of his chakra, while the other stared in horror at his new deformity. He wouldn’t have long to fear, thankfully, for Yomi next impaled him, absorbing his chakra as she twisted across his impaled stomach, driving her free blade into the throat of the next opponent.

She fought off those that advanced with her free blade, pushing aside swords and parrying as the men recovered from the genjutsu, still hardly able to move due to its influence. Fighting them was almost laughably easy for Yomi. They moved like groggy babes, unable to coordinate themselves properly. As Yomi impaled each one and drained him or her of his or her chakra, Kazuo merely allowed her to move as she pleased. To be honest, he couldn’t stop her if he wanted to. It was a little bit terrifying, but… Well, these people were hardly innocent. As the genjutsu ended, the men and women began to rally themselves, but Yomi (Or Kazuo) wasn’t out of tricks yet. Yomi teleported again, appearing between four different bandits, and with a quick application of flashblade, cut them all into bits. There was nothing left of them now. As she fought the rogues, mowing through her opposition effortlessly, Yomi felt free, and when she finally finished the fight, she felt sated for the first time in a very, very, very long time. She felt alive again. When she finally turned control over to Kazuo, she was practically lulled into sleep as if she had just feasted and now needed to nap in order to recover.

”Damn.” Kazuo muttered, in awe of the sheer carnage she had inflicted. He knew he was powerful, but holy shit was that really all done with just his body? Yomi had been paying attention to his studies after all, it seemed.
”That was the most fun I’ve had in a very long time. They never even knew what hit them.” She cooed. Kazuo sighed.
”Sometimes you scare me, Yomi.” He said.
”It’s okay Kazuo, you’re the only one I wouldn’t kill.” She said reassuringly.
”That’s what worries me, Yomi.” He said, sighing. Yomi merely shrugged in his mind’s eye, returning to her slumber, sated and filled to burst after her feast of chakra. This left Kazuo alone to his thoughts. You know, as fun as carving up bandits and saving the countryside was, Kazuo felt like he needed something more than this. A purpose. A good fight. The world was a hard, cruel place, and so he needed a cause to stand under, to assist in purging this place of the evil it was filled with. Or something like that. Maybe he was just tired. Still, he was in the middle of nowhere and it was dark out. It would probably be a good idea to find some shelter for the night. Build a lean to, maybe…

Kazuo facepalmed.

”I can bend space and time to my very will. Why would I sleep in a lean to? I’m gonna find a hotel or something.” He said, spinning and disappearing in a flash of purple light. Just like that, Kazuo was gone, and the camp was filled with food for the vultures. Kazuo was on to greener pastures.

...And by greener pastures, he meant an old hotel that he stayed in a long time ago. Well, not a hotel, an inn. He booked himself a room and got a good meal, a stew and a hot pot, and, hell, why not, some wine. Tonight was special, after all. He sat at the table eating the first hot meal he had eaten in a long, long time. He ate well and drank well, enjoying himself fully for the first time in a long time. For once, he felt just as sated as Yomi did. Yup. That's all, folks.


(Exit)
(TWC: 8894)

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