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Stat Page : Jupiter's Stats
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Village : Sunagakure
Ryo : 232500

Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation Empty Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation

Sun Feb 12, 2023 8:22 am
Mission Info:

"In the castle, death lay amidst the elves. But the faithful know, even in the face of loss, their faith will guide them to a brighter tomorrow, where joy and peace may dwell forevermore."

A tall, tanned man in a thick, black woollen robe formed a cross on his body as he prayed for the souls of the departed. In one hand he clutched the Glorpple, and his right hand held the Yoodle - they were the only two completed parts left behind by the rotting elves in the toy factory. On a broad oakwood table, next to the body of a pastel pink prodigy, he had found a letter. Its dark ink was still wet on the hemp sheet. It warned whoever found it of a grave danger, a dark force looming in the streets of Winter Wonderland. He was too late.

A Dying Elf wrote:
"Dear whoever may find this letter,

I fear that I may not live to see another day. The sickness that has taken hold of Santa and many of our fellow elves is spreading quickly and I fear for the worst. The presents may not be delivered on time this year, and the future of Christmas hangs in the balance.

But that is not the greatest danger that we face. There is a dark force lurking in the shadows of Winter Wonderland, threatening to destroy all that we hold dear. Ureshii, the baby new year, is in grave danger and we must act fast to protect him.

And if you are reading this, then I must also warn you about Mrs. Clause. Despite her warm smile and gentle demeanor, she is not to be trusted under any cost. Her true intentions are shrouded in secrecy, and I fear that she may have something to do with the dark forces that threaten us.

You must find Father Time. I cannot say more, as my time is running out. But please, I implore you, do what you can to save Christmas and protect Ureshii. Our world and all those who believe in the magic of the holiday season are counting on you.

Yours truly,

P.S. The very last Glorpple and Yoodle are in a box under this table. Please ensure that they find themselves affixed among a complete set."

The man clenched his teeth and threw his head back in despair, his long brown locks waving back with his neck. He clutched the letter in his fist and vowed not to let Dobby's death be in vain. Carrying the letter with him, he ascended back up the spiralling metal staircase to the surface. The factory had been carved into Nipple Hill, its warm, well lit interior embedded under the ice. Its entrance was placed on the ground, at the apex. That was when he ran into a strange crew. It was a group of four - a younger man with icy blue eyes and unkempt blonde hair accompanied by an older man with a walking stick, and two eldritch beasts whose slimy tentacles dribbled as they twisted and coiled at their sides. He watched as the blobs contorted and cracked, their bodies morphing into human figures with faces closely resembling the younger man.

"They're dead." He stuttered, bewildered by the spectacle before him. Although he was a man of calm demeanour and unshaken will, his mind struggled to comprehend what he had just seen. "And the town is in grave danger." He spoke, repeating the warning in Dobby's letter. Before he could show the piece of paper to the crew, the blonde pointed at the toy parts in his hands.

"Hand them over." He spoke assertively, confident that he had the upper hand, although he seemed to have only one attached to him.

"What do you mean they're dead? Explain yourself!" The older man stepped forward, revealing a scar across his face when the light from the full moon touched his skin. His hair was grey, and his thick scruffy beard made him look all the more intimidating.

The man in the black robe looked between the both of them and spoke to the blonde first. "I can't do that." He held his hands up, to show that he was not looking for a fight, pinching the letter between his knuckles and prying it open. "If I may..." He showed it to the blonde and his older accomplice, "This is the letter that I found. I have checked all of the rooms. There were nothing but dead elves. I came looking for toy parts just as I suspect the both of you have. I have already acquired the thirteen other parts required to assemble the Flermsh. And making sure that the Glorpple and the Yoodle find a complete set was Dobby's dying wish."

The blonde looked into the taller man's eyes, and squinted, before snatching the letter from his hands. He took one glance at it and groaned out loud. "Oh, fuck no. Not this again." He tsked and showed the letter to his doppelgangers. "How about it?" He asked one of them, and the other looked just as confused as the older man. The one being spoken to held up four fingers, remarkably accurate imitations of human limbs.

"Four each?! They cost two each for the E ranked ones." The blonde wailed. The two got into a heated argument, while the rest of the group watched on, befuddled. Eventually, they seemed to reach an agreement, and shook hands. "We're charging Genji extra then." The blonde said, and this seemed to disgruntle the older man, who grabbed him by the collar.

"Have you acquired all of the other parts as well?" The man in the black robe asked the quarrelling duo, out of pity.

"We need one more. Not accounting for the Ausculator, which is stuck inside this safe until we can figure out a way to open it." The blonde pulled out a miniature metal box from his pocket. The Ausculator would never fit in such dimensions.

"I determine that you have used a technique to shrink the safe. Please, release this technique. Allow me to help." The man placed his hand on his heart to express his sincerity. The younger man seemed unnaturally quick to trust him, almost immediately causing the box to fluff up to its original size, and fall down hard into the snow below.


The man let out a fierce athletic grunt as he chopped the safe in half, freeing the Ausculator. The old man's face lit up, but the blonde was nonchalant about it.

"Nice." The blonde nodded, only witnessing the spectacle from his peripheral vision as his pen moved on a scroll that his eldritch companion had produced. When he was done, his companion clapped its hands together and summoned two baby octopuses, small enough to fit in the blonde's one hand next to each other without letting their tentacles dangle out from his palm. "Uh, in there." The blonde said, sticking his hip out at his lookalike, pointing with his eyes to his pocket,. The doppelganger reached in, and took out a fat stack of ryo, and began to count.

"It's all there, you greedy pig." The one handed blonde scolded, but the beast would not stop until it was sure. The man then held his hand out, the two tiny animals one pastel pink like Dobby, the other navy blue like Oswald. The man in the black robe watched as the two squiggly blobs folded into themselves, each one separately, and expanded, and contorted, until they were perfect imitations of the toy parts he clutched in his hands. He gasped. He had seen a miracle. He wanted to know how it was possible, but did not dare to ask, it would be unfaithful to question the power of God. He formed a cross on his body and kissed his cross shaped necklace as he spoke out, his tongue moving on its own.

"The faithful bear witness to a miracle, as two little squids were transformed into toy parts. And they rejoiced, for they knew that the hand of the divine works in wondrous ways, beyond all understanding." He wiped a dew on his bottom eyelashes when he was done reciting.

"You can go now." The blonde told him after returning Dobby's letter, "I won't take your toy parts from you. Consider this an act of mercy. I will also find you an ally, one with whom you may save Christmas, New Year, and Winter Wonderland. I cannot stay here much longer, for I have to attend my trial."

"Very well. I will venture to the Hall of Hourglasses, deep in the heart of Time's Domain, to find Father Time." He replied, before striding off the slope of Nipple Hill on his feet, running, flying in the air.

.... But really, Jupiter Yamanaka had only managed to venture so far as the local bar in Winter Wonderland. How was he, he wondered, to find Father Time let alone the Hall of Hourglasses, or the heart of Time's Domain? "God damn it!" He cursed, slamming his fist on the counter making his glass bounce, "No, I mustn't take His name in vain. Forgive my trespasses, Lord Jashin. Guide me. Think, Jupiter. Think. Bartender, one more. Make it double." He held his glass out, letting the man in a bowtie pour him a double shot of whiskey on the rocks. He downed it immediately, wasting no time whatsoever. He wiped his lips with his sleeve, and looked down at his completed toy, the Flermsh. He had signed up to acquire it for a mother who longed to gift it to her eldest son for Christmas. Acquiring the thirteen parts required to assemble it was not easy, and it was a task that had taken him many days. He thought that it would all be for nought if Winter Wonderland were to perish in the coming days before New Year, from the doings of a dark force looming in the shadows as Dobby warned. However, his promise of assembling the finished toy for the late elf would not be completed without also upholding his promise to the mother of the young child who longed to own one on Christmas Eve. Perhaps some hope still remained in the heart of the longing child that awaited his return.

He placed some ryo on the counter and then stumbled out of the bar, struggling to walk in a straight line but making sure to look both ways before crossing the road. Although the streets seemed to flow like rivers in his drunken perception, he could find his way to the house of the woman who had offered to pay him a decent sum of ryo for acquiring the special toy for her child. He knew it was close to the park, and near the inn that had housed Musu and Kota, across from a bakery that always smelled like freshly baked bread. It was a grand and fancy mansion, much bigger than most houses in the area even though the real estate around the park was already primed with the biggest of houses in the town. He waited at the gate, rattling the lock to catch the attention of the sleeping security guard.

"Good evening, I am here to see Mrs. Fuyuko. I got the Flermsh for the little one." He waved the toy around, slurring his words.

"Be careful with that!" The guard scolded him, pointing at the exotic toy before promptly opening the gates for Jupiter. He smiled, and walked up the long walkway to the doors of the mansion, flower fields stretching out for acres on either side of him. The guard rang the bell, and stood next to him waiting patiently for his boss. She took no more than a minute, before swinging the door open with a pleasant smile. "Welcome back, Jupiter. Did you bring the toy? Very well." Mrs. Fuyuko was glad to see him, "Come in, I have a favor to ask of you." With nothing to lose, the Genin handed the toy to her and followed her into the hall.

"Please, sit." She gestured at him, pointing to the sofa, and he promptly complied.

"How may I be of help?"

"There has been a group of bandits hitting up the biggest houses in Winter Wonderland." She cut right to the chase, "The authorities have informed me that they believe this house is next."

"Oh yeah? Sure, but I-"

"And you've made it a point, Jupiter, to wave a Flermsh around in your hand all over town before waltzing in here. That makes this house an even better target for the troupe."

"Huh? Oh, I didn't realize-"

"So Jupiter - Ju better, get it? - stay back and watch the house for me. I understand that it would not be possible for you to watch over the whole house on your lonesome. It is a big house after all. I've recruited more shinobi to help. They're on rotation, so some of them may be upstairs or in the basement right now. They'll be coming in and going out, so don't hurt the wrong person and say you thought it was a bandit!" She laughed heartily,

"It sounds like you've got plenty of help already, and they should be able to-"

"Hush now Jupiter. I only trust the best of shinobi to look after my residence. You will be paid well." She was stubborn, unrelenting, unwilling to take no for an answer.

The Genin sighed, and nodded along.

"If you need any snacks, feel free to treat yourself to anything you find in the kitchen. There's wine as well, and whisky if that's your thing. Behave yourself though, alright? I've gotta get dressed up and head out to the town. Bye bye!"

Jupiter would not be allowed to get another word in before she left him in the hall. He groaned, and his bounced his knee restlessly. All he could think about was finding Father Time and saving Christmas. He didn't even get to see the look on little Fuyuko junior's face when she received the Flermsh he had worked hard to acquire for her. He sighed again, and made his way to the kitchen, heading straight for the fridge. He opened its door, and grabbed a carton of milk. Normally, it wouldn't mix well with whisky, but Jupiter's stomach was built different. It had enough damage reduction to digest it all with mostly no issues. He had to get his protein one way or another after all. He downed it in one gulp, and grabbed a bottle of aged red wine that he found on the counter.

He sat back on the lounging sofa, kicking his feet up, and started sipping on the wine straight from the bottle. He grabbed the remote to turn on the large, flat screen T.V. He never bothered to buy one for his small apartment in Sunagakure, but he was buzzed enough to give it a try.

He turned it on and tuned right into a promotion for a new anime. It started with a close up of a bold logo. It was fully colored, a shapely pink haired woman sitting on the shaft of an upside down ship, wearing a weird bubble like helmet as she signed the peace sign with her right hand with her left on her hip. She was winking. The shot panned out to reveal the very ship as on the logo, now in upright position with the woman holding the pole the hoisted the flag.

"Introducing Space Sakura, the daring and determined astronaut who dreams of making history." A male voice spoke over the scene. The camera follows Sakura as she walks on the wooden boards of her ship towards the front.

"She's determined. She's daring. She's dreamy. You could even say she's got triple D's."

Sakura grabs the steering wheel of her massive ship.

" In a world where women are still fighting for equal opportunities in space, Sakura's ready to show everyone that she's got huge - potential!"

She plants her hand on her forehead, looking far into the horizon.

"With her incredible - skills - and her gadgets that are out of this world, she's ready to make history! Join Space Sakura on her journey to become the first woman to fly a ship in orbit around a planet..."

The ship pans out to show her ship in orbit,


The planet seems to reverse its spin while the camera reveals a full body shot of Sakura from behind.

"Damn! And upside down!"

The shot rolls over to reveal that the ship is travelling upside down, making Sakura's composition adjust to gravity.

"Space Sakura, putting the ass in astronaut! Only on... Sharingan TV!"

"I thought the earth were flat...." Jupiter scratched his beard, befuddled. He clicked the remote to change the channel. He thought long and hard as the sound of the ticking hands of the grandfather clock in the corner reminded him of his greater quest with every passing second. He wondered if the contents of the letter were a metaphor. He took another gulp, and pondered on it.

"For it was written, 'Seek and ye shall find.' And so it was that those who sought the deeper meaning of the words delved into its depths, searching for the truth concealed within its sentences. And as they peered deeper, the veil was lifted and the mysteries unraveled, revealing the wisdom of the ages and the purpose for which the text was written. For the words were not just letters on a page, but a treasure trove of knowledge and understanding, waiting to be discovered by those with an opened eye and a seeking spirit. And they were filled with joy, for they had found what they sought, and they knew that the Lord had *burp* guided them every step of the way."

His eyes twitched as he fixed them on the screen once again, changing the channel. It now showed a snowy village in Winter Wonderland, children playing and laughing in the background.

"Though Santa and his elves are down
With flu on Christmas Eve,
We'll keep our spirits high and sound
For Christmas will not leave."

"Winter Wonderland, a land of joy and wonder, where the magic of Christmas comes to life. But this year, there's a problem."

Jupiter took another sip as he saw Santa on the screen looking weak and unwell.

"Santa Claus, the legendary Space-Time specialist, has fallen ill and cannot make his deliveries. But fear not, for help is on the way."

The screen cuts to an odd looking blonde haired boy with one hand. He wore a long pointy hat, and held a staff. His neck was adorned with various crystals and he clutched a glass ball in his cradling arm.

"Meet Pluto, a gifted psychic with the power to take over the bodies of others, control his axes with his mind, and read minds with a single glance. But he's not alone."

The screen cuts to another blonde boy, his eyes looking towards the extremes of his peripheral vision, his mouth drooling.

"With the help of his friend, Augustus, who can control the sun, and shoot lasers from his eyes, Pluto sets out to save Christmas."

The screen cuts to a shot of the both of them from the back, before spiralling out to the front as they are now joined by a third character - a short girl with black hair, teal tips and lilac eyes - in a sleigh, along with some six odd reindeer.

"They're joined by Zuhaira, a medic with 360 degrees of vision, who can bring the dead back to life."

She's making out with a corpse as the screen zooms out to show the rest of the crew drinking manically from glass bottles as they soar through the sky on Santa's Sleigh.

"And Kick, a very tall girl who can throw a mean punch, turn into a body of water."

We see a lake on the mountain side.

Music in the background:

"The reindeer's nose are runny,
And Rudolph's lost his shine,
But we'll still make it to every house,
Even if it takes till Valentine's."

"Join them, as they take on bandits in the sky."

Pluto grabs a man by his head and slams his skull into the side of the sleigh.

"Mrs. Clause."

Zuhaira pushes the head of the old lady into a bucket of water.

"And Zuhaira's mom."

Augustus shoots laser beams from his eyes at a slender, pale figure with horns.

"Join them, as they set out to save Christmas. And Ureshii, the Baby New Year."

Pluto picks up a walkie talkie. "Hello?"

A deep voice answers, "It's Father Time."

Pluto clicks the button on the walkie talkie to cut the call immediately and the screen fades to black.



The screen shows a golden pinata, that distorts and fizzles out into darkness.

"Join them.. Pure ones.. Join them.. Pure ones.. Join them.. Join them.. Join them.."


"We'll keep on ho-ho-ho-ing,
Though our throat is sore,
'Cause nothing's gonna stop us,
On this Christmas Eve for sure."

The voice speaking these words sounded more ominous than before, and a large eye with a five pointed star engraved within opens on the black screen as it chants deeper. The music gets louder and eerier, sounding like an orchestra.

The ad then shows an eldritch beast with massive antlers, its body more than fifty meters tall, tearing an entire forest down into shreds with one swipe of its claws as it lets out a deafening, bloodcurdling wail. The falling trees tumble towards the screen, filling up the space until all that remains is darkness.

"The Winter Wonderland Miracle. Showing in theaters now."

He took out Dobby's crumbled letter, and inspected it once again, looking ore closely. The letters within now danced in his view, somersaulting over one another, holding hands, making out and playing ring around the rosie. But with his focus, he tried to align the words in their correct places next to each other. "Sickness, great danger.. Dark forces.. Ureshii... Mrs. Clause... My God. It's all real." The contents of the letter read out as very literal, and coincided with the signs he had seen on television. It was the real deal, referencing mythical figures like they were resident townsfolk in Winter Wonderland. He was perplexed, then he felt as though he had had a grand revelation bestowed upon him.

"And so it was that the seekers of truth delved into the mysteries of the text, searching for the hidden meaning behind its words. But as they unraveled the secrets, they came to understand that the greatest truth of all was to take the text at face value. For the words were not meant to be interpreted or deciphered, but to be accepted and followed with steadfast faith. And in doing so, the seekers were filled with peace, for they had found the clarity they sought, and they knew that the Lord had been with them all along, guiding them to the greater truth that was always right in front of them."

Jupiter got up and dusted himself off, placing the empty bottle of wine on the side table. "I'm sorry, Mrs. Fuyuko. I must save Christmas." He declared, talking to himself. Two other shinobi in charge of guarding the house muttered to each other, wondering if he were alright. He could not afford to wait for the blonde he met on Nipple Hill to send him an ally. Time was fleeting. He started to run, allowing his strength to propel him forward in long strides like a horse. He ran along the long hallway towards the front door, and stopped promptly when he saw a masked man with one foot on the windowsill. He seemed to be hopping in. Jupiter looked down at his foot to see that he was wearing black airforces. "Dark forces. It must be a sign!" He gasped and grabbed him by his shoulders, "I pray you may find peace, on the other side of this window, for dark forces must not set foot inside this household. Begone!" He threw him back out with ease, and went on to exit the house through the front door.

He was going to find Mrs. Clause. He had a feeling that her workshop was to the West. Although Dobby warned him to stay away from her, she was the only lead that he had. If he could shake her hand, perhaps he could read her mind and unveil the grand scheme to undo the holiday season. His heart pounded in his chest as he ran. He maintained his weird, staggered stride as he ran across town, passing the park, several bakeries and shops, and the village center and he finally reached a large workshop. He could still hear part of the catchy hymn that he had heard on the television.

"Mrs. Claus is in charge,
And the ninjas take their cue,
They'll make sure every child's dream,
Comes true come what may what do."

"And the Lord spoke of Dobby the elf, who, with his dying breath, penned a letter on a sheet of hemp, warning of the dark intentions of Mrs. Claus. For though she appeared to be the harbinger of joy, Dobby knew the truth of her heart, that she sought to corrupt the magic of the season and bring harm to the innocent. And so he warned all to be vigilant, for Mrs. Claus was not to be trusted, and her actions were driven by a sinister force. But even as the danger loomed, the Lord whispered a promise of protection and hope. For though Mrs. Claus may have sought to spread darkness, the Lord's light would always shine, and those who trusted in him would find the strength to overcome even the greatest of challenges. May Lord Jashin save your soul, Mrs. Claus, for he saves all, in life and in death, with no clauses. Amen"

Jupiter prayed again before entering the workshop. He was surprised when the shop seemed abandoned. There were no elves in sight, no toys, no boxes. Racks and shelves were toppled over and broken. The floor smelled like kerosene. "Hello?" He called, his deep voice echoing in the empty halls. "Is anybody in here? Mrs.Clause?" His heart pounded in his chest, faster than before, as he wandered deeper into the workshop. When he walked about ten meters into the compound, he had to pinch his nose upon catching a foul, horrid stench, one that overpowered even the worrying smell of kerosene. He grunted and winced, but when he heard a moan in the distant, he courageously carried on forward.

It wasn't long before he found Mrs. Clause. There she was, on the floor, on her stomach, looking up at Jupiter as she coughed up spit from her toothless mouth. "Is that a shinobi? Thank God. Please, help me." She called out, and Jupiter hurried over, getting down on one knee to hear her. "They took it all. The presents, the sleigh. The elves. Even the ones who succumbed to their sickness."

"Stay away from the light, Mrs. Clause. Don't give up on me. I'll get you some help." Jupiter spoke out worriedly, with his hand clutching hers. Before he could get up, however, his curiosity led him to use a certain hiden technique to read her mind. What he saw was vile. His eyes twitched, looking back at the body of Mrs. Clause from their corners, his expression pale, his eyes wide open in disgust. He had seen her enacting a bizarre ritual. Six young women. Their blood drawn out using crystals of Jade. The head of a stag. It's privates cut out with mercury. The eyes of clanned children, bawled out with spoons made of Thallium. A jar of pickle juice infused with candle wax. All put together in a pit of fire while Mrs. Clause and several others pranced around the pit, chanting and incanting an ancient deity. Jupiter's hand drew closer to her cheekbone, still clutching her hand. 

"Mrs. Clause.." He stammered, his perception of her changing vividly, corrupting as he looked on. He wrapped his hand around her face. He was silent when he snapped her neck. It was over in the blink of an eye. She had to go. Death was the only thing that could save her. 

"Lord Jashin, I come to you in humility, seeking your grace and mercy for Mrs. Claus, who has now passed on from this world. Though her life on earth was marked by cruelty and wickedness, we believe in your infinite love and the power of redemption. And so we pray, Lord, that you would have mercy on her soul and bring her to a place of peace and salvation. For we know that through your boundless grace, even the greatest of sinners can find redemption and a new life, and a new death, in you. And though her actions on earth may have caused harm, we trust in your mercy and your power to bring good from even the darkest of circumstances. Amen."

Upon springing back to his feet, he headed straight for the late Mrs. Clause's cabinet. He now knew where she kept her walkie talkie, and knew her password as well. He even knew where Ureshii was held, and he knew that the only way to get there was to use Santa's Sleigh. Mrs. Clause had Father Time's number saved on her device and Jupiter would need to get in touch with him first, for he could not face Santa on his own after what he had done. Zero.. Three... One.. Five.. He entered the password to the walkie talkie, and was surprised to see that he had already received a text from Father Time, addressing him personally.

Father Time wrote:
"Timely greetings, Jupiter! 

The Hall of Hourglasses is the time spent in waiting, and the heart of Time's Domain is the present moment.

I hope you're ready for a wild ride, because things are heating up faster than the North Pole!

First off, sending a shoutout to say thanks for taking care of Mrs. Claus. But enough about the past, let's focus on the future, and by future I mean right now! Time is an illusion anyways. 

We've got bandits on our tail, and by we I mean you, because Ureshii the Baby New Year has gone missing and you're going to help me find him (the bandits are hired by an ancient deity to kill whoever searches for Ureshii). 

So here's the plan, we need Santa's sleigh to make the journey, and I have a feeling you might have some trouble convincing him to lend it to us since you may or may not have had a small altercation with Mrs. Claus just now. My advice, just give him a big hug and tell him it's for the kids. Trust me bro.

Anyways, clock's ticking.

Yours duely,
Father Time.

P.S. Don't forget to wash your hands soon"

 Jupiter sat in silent contemplation, staring at the device in disbelief. Is he serious?

WC: 5197
Stat Page : Dracoso Hehane
Remove Remove Medical Remove Fuuinjutsu Remove Remove Remove Remove Default
Wind Water Lightning Default
Clan Specialty : Ninjutsu
Village : Kirigakure
Ryo : 88570

Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation Empty Re: Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation

Sun Feb 12, 2023 8:58 pm
(starting post)
Dracoso had stepped away from the home he had been given refuge in and took in a breath of cold air. it had been a long time coming with all the missions he had run through lately that he felt like he just needed some time to collect his thoughts. With all the threats in the air, he wondered what might come next. A scream split the air signaling that the need for help was not yet finished.

Jupiter likes this post

Akaime Chinoike
Akaime Chinoike
Missing-Nin (D-rank)
Missing-Nin (D-rank)
Stat Page : Stats
Ninjutsu Default
Water Default
Clan Specialty : Genjutsu
Village : Missing Ninja
Ryo : 80000

Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation Empty Re: Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation

Sun Feb 12, 2023 9:36 pm
Freshly imprinted tracks in the snow. Akaime has followed one print after another, trying to grasp at these illusory shadows. For a time, it'd felt like chasing ghosts. Few wanted anything to do with such a cursed, foolhardy endeavor. It'd been difficult to continue tracing the lines on to the next point. But his long and taxing journey brings him here now. To this remote corner in the northern land. Through miles of woodlands and tundra beyond civilization. After venturing beyond where humans dared wander, he sees, too, as the fauna thins with enough distance. As though somewhere along the way, he has crossed the boundaries of where life is permitted to thrive.

He stands now at the foot of a crooked slope, where a jagged, meandering pathway leads him to the end of his pilgrimage. The destination ahead is the bounty of a couple hours' pursuit. His desperation pressed him on into the depths, to unearth anything that might shed light upon the fabled master who had once presided over the residents of this village. For grounds so long untouched and dilapidated by time, it doesn't appear as though even the surrounding elements of the woods themselves dare to reclaim it. He treks up the winding, craggy terrain, passing beneath each of the vermillion gates that frame the way. It's as though the curse of this place has even corrupted the only symbols of anything remotely divine present here, the painted facades of these lintels and their posts well weathered and worn. Likely by generations of neglect, if what the local tales he's been talked about are true. Forsaken by man, nature, and the gods, it would seem.

However, his journey was not based on fables of the land but in reports from scouts from the village. Strange incidents of cannibalistic attacks in the northern forest, which left less than a handful dead. Suspicion rose rampant through the streets of the north pole, whispers of the cult being active again had many speculating those were the culprits behind the attacks. Now, this is where Akaime was included. While he was asked to investigate the occurrence, he was more intrigued learning about the history of the forsaken place.

The entire structure's facade appears to tower before him once he finds himself standing at its final gate. He takes in the lengths of the perimeter walls and the height of the elegantly sloped roof—its angled corners still ornately lined by the indiscernible, votive guardian figures perched like sentries overlooking this barren passage. The marvel inspired by the majesty of these grounds makes it appear more like a temple that had once housed spirits than a domicile that quartered mere humans.

He spots remnants of scorching along these exterior walls—hardly burned down, as the words of one of his many guides had claimed. Though the evidence of deliberate abuse and vandalism inflicted here is clear. What manner of violence must have befallen such a place; he can only wonder at. As he idles upon his awe and enthrallment, the sudden, violent gust of the chilling winds tosses the ends of his hair, the hood of his woolen outer cloak, and her cloak worn beneath it. He feels the touch of winter upon his face. Its sharp breath now threatens to plunge even deeper beneath his skin, cutting through to his bones.

The snow had not fallen again for nearly a week until now, as he feels its gossamer kiss in brushes against every inch of his flesh exposed to the elements. Akaime had hoped it wouldn't come for at least several more days. But he peers down at the trail of tiny tracks left in the powdered white behind him, leading back down the pathway. Then up and towards the blurred, grey horizon just above the tree line. The clouds that had lingered at what seemed to be a safe distance there have all now caught up with him. Even among the swiftest as he'd been of all earthbound beings, this small, frail creature wouldn't outrun the very breath of the heavens.

'Perhaps, though, this served to be an omen from the gods themselves. Fool. Tread no further. Turn back, child. This place is not meant for mortals like you.' Akaime thought. They had only cast their gale winds down on him once he'd set foot upon these grounds. But as ever, even a warning from the gods proves difficult to interpret. To turn back would mean almost certain death against the tides of the coming storm at his heels. What he needs now is shelter from it. Food, as well, perhaps. If he can even manage any means of finding it in this white wilderness.

Yes—he must press on. Pass the threshold. Step forward into the shadows. Akaime passes over the few stone steps that lead beneath the crumbling wooden signboard fixed overhead at the center of the roof's edge. He can almost make out the eroded characters.

'Eternal...' is all he can recognize from its faded letters. This first set of doors are heavy and hinged. He pushes through them and shuts them behind him as he slips inside, pulling down their latch for good measure against the gaining winds. Immediately, he notes the depth of just how insanely warm this place is. Even though the tales reported no one has lived here for centuries, someone must have been keeping it warm. Especially, since it is located in such a frigid area. However, these wooden walls are so far cursed that they look like they have lost any capability of protection against the elements beyond them. The air hangs like a thick shroud. Like the unassuming passage of phantoms. Like death. He can't help the barest flutter of his heart as this stale air sinks to the very pit of his lungs and warms his body. This makes him grateful for the light of day still luminous through the glass of the stained windows, however subdued.

And it strikes him, then, how odd this is. How odd everything about this place is. A century of neglect, and its stained-glass windows remain intact. Yet the burn scars left behind by the fire of decades past are left unamended. There are no cobwebs about. No rot, no ruin. A bit of dust, though, perhaps. There aren't signs of any upkeep. But so, too, are there no signs of decay. In this first hall and the few initial alcoves he silently breezes through, there are hardly any assets to be seen. No furniture, other than perhaps a table or two. Not a single decor in sight giving any indication of human habitation. And he doubts the lack of such things is due to plunderers. Rarely do their likes leave a place so pristine in their wake.

He notes now the eccentricity of this space. It isn't that it simply feels otherworldly, but it looks just as unfamiliar. In ways that stepping through the world of one's dreams might feel. Or as one's mind envisions the fantasies projected through the words of any storybook or spoken tale. The devil lurking in the details. But there is nothing as fantastical as such here. Nothing so wondrous in its enchantment. Akaime feels the tightening grip of the air amidst the cavernous emptiness. The sheer absence of life. 
The tall, rounded beams of this main hall reach so high above as his eyes follow them upward toward the ceiling. It is too dim to discern, but he glimpses the geometric silhouette of some decorative latticing carved into the woodwork overhead. Akaime traces their crisscrosses in his sights as he paces along, forward and back down the walls to then scan the perimeter. Observing more extensive fire damage to the right, he drifts instead across the stone-tiled steps the opposite way, proceeding on through the corridor at the hall's end.

Only his footsteps faintly echo down this walkway does he note that the masonry beneath them seem to expand throughout these grounds. There is no wood flooring, no tatami panels. He rounds the corner at its end to a wider hall lined with smaller rooms. Pushing aside the apartment doors in his cursory inspection, he finds even this deep within the interior, there are only some sparsely laid carpets over more stone flooring. It isn't any wonder why this place is as warm as it is, he reasons. But he isn't sure if these are signs of just how antiquated his surroundings are, or if they are the out-of-place elements of odd, perhaps even foreign touches.

The stillness calls his eyes beyond just what lies ahead, inviting them to rove around and above as well. There is a worn grandeur to these halls. Though empty of furnishings, he sees traces of painted moldings along the decorated wooden framework all around. The doors, too, are rather strange. They are narrow and mostly wooden, folded on hinges along their tracks rather. The rows of doors and wall paneling to his left all bear intricate motifs of tessellated knotted medallions that continue, repeated along the lintel beams overhead, and mirrored again in the frames of the window screens that line the corridor to her right.

There is a beauty to this kaleidoscope of patterns woven into the architecture that might even project an illusion of tranquility. But the woodwork that separates him from the battering wind and snow of the open air beyond begins to rattle, and he is swiftly pulled back from this fleeting calm. Akaime walks this route until it reaches its end. There are two exterior doorways that appear to lead out of the wing at this corner. It's difficult to see through the translucent window panels, but those along the shorter wall in front of him are darkened by the cover of tall, enshrouding shadows—likely those cast by the obstructing walls of this place. The windows to his right that border the length of the corridor are all evenly lit by the dimming light of the day, and he concludes that there has to be an open court on the other side.

Drawing a deep breath, he places his hand on the door and braces himself for the trumpeting blast of the natural air once he slides it open. Even prepared, its sudden burst doesn't fail to knock the lesser wind from his own lungs in its merciless rush. If he recalls his knowledge, the main entrance of this mansion faced north, and he has just emerged from the eastern wing. Directly across the expansive courtyard, past the covered, labyrinthine breezeway paths, is the western wing, nearly identical in its facade to the building he has just explored. In all four cardinal directions are structures much like the main hall at the entrance. They all uniformly bear the same ornate, sloping roofs and the extravagant knotted tessellated motifs that line the halls inside and out.

What beckons his curiosity, however, even amidst the chilling outdoor veil, is the detached building at the center of this courtyard. It is noticeably different from the rest of this complex. The only part of it that resembles something even remotely familiar in aesthetic. Quite bizarre and seemingly discordant with its surrounding confines. The covered breezeway he has stepped out into allows him only a glimpse of its exterior at eye level, so he ventures off the paved path and onto the open grounds toward its broader, north-facing entrance. As he circles this pavilion, its construction reveals itself to be rather domestic in appearance. Like a private sanctum around which this entire sanctuary has been designed and built.

Akaime tugs his cloak even tighter as he ascends the paved steps to the raised porch of the pavilion. It may have appeared domestic, but it is by no means humble or plebian. Its roof stands just as high as that of the hall at the entrance, possibly even boasting an entirely separate upper level. The stone walls before him appear simpler by design, and when he tries for the entrance, the wide doors here open. He wastes no time in crossing the threshold and shutting its doors again behind him. Scraping out any shred of warmth to be had, he breathes into his hands. What he sees next in this hall brings his attention to a standstill.

The constant aura of this entire mansion has only thickened with each passing second and step he has ventured, seeming to coalesce within this very heart of these grounds. It isn't the threat of danger or the sinking dread that has become familiar enough to his senses from her years of training. No, quite different rather. More like the inscrutable enigma of what is unknown. The immutable prospect of that which remains unseen. An almost prescient intuition. One that makes it impossible to go anywhere other than forward.

The natural light only wanes with the passing hour as the sun continues to drag across the sky above the cloud cover. He wants to make haste, but he must remain diligent and circumspect as he wanders on. This pavilion hall is mostly vacant, but hardly as empty as any of the spaces he has passed through until now. The floorboards beneath her feet are deathly silent. A peculiar sign for a place so old. He follows the outlined path between the rows of long banners hanging from the rafters, too faded and worn to read anymore, toward the center of the hall. Treading within such a vast space, his ears then catch the sudden, merest, crinkling noise.


Down at the floorboards, he lifts his foot delicately away. It was not the sound of the wood, but something else beneath his boot, its feeling nearly imperceptible if not for his sensitivities.  He spots the papery shreds crumbling beneath his weight. It's hardly even recognizable anymore, so he lowers himself for a better glimpse. The thing practically dissolves to the touch as he picks up its remnants. Giving it a gentle brush between his fingers, what remains of it falls to pieces in his palm.

His hands know this feeling innately. The sensation practically memorized in them. He has handled such things countless times throughout his life. 

Dried flowers...

Akaime blows the bits of pistil and petals away as he rises back to his feet. It is then that he sees the faint dappling of silhouettes scattered across the floor of the hall. A sparse trail of them strewn about, leading ahead, where his eyes trace over what looks to be some sort of altar. At its foot are droves of them in fallen, disheveled piles. The sight invokes such purity from his sentiments. But with it, he feels as well, an inexplicable sense of terror. The dead vestiges of such things so beautiful and hallowed in essence, found at the heart of these unsanctified grounds. He might have even been moved to prayer at that moment. If there had been any gods, he truly believed in to offer them to.

The altar lies as the centerpiece of this hall, and it—the very focal point of this entire complex itself. Yet there are no votives, no vessels or relics of any kind to be seen, possibly lost or even stolen over the decades this place must have been left abandoned. He paces over for a closer look. There is a single chair at its base. Its cushion bears the neglect of a century's time. He runs his hand delicately over its silken remains, and he can still feel the brocaded pattern woven in its fibers. But upon the sudden remembrance of what this place once was, he retracts his hand as though it'd glanced over an open flame. He cannot forget what unholy manner of being has surely graced this perch in its once sumptuous past. Quickly, he moves on.

Behind this seat and its altar stands a beautiful byōbu, crafted with six wide panels. He glimpses its still polished surface, bright and untarnished—true gold leaf. Doubtless in its rarity and preciousness, it is a testament to the antiquity of his surroundings. Upon closer inspection, he sees in even greater detail its true brilliance. Painted against the gilded faces of the panels is the mural of a pond. From its placid waters are stalks of lotuses climbing high in both buds and full blooms. A vignette of divine paradise itself in all its serene grace.

The pervading, consecrated symmetry embodied in this place is only further echoed within this hall, where two paths lie before him yet again. He thinks, then, to do as he had before and begin left. More rooms line this corridor, and they appear more substantial than the humble apartments of the surrounding complex. He paces toward the nearest set of doors and pushes them open. What discovery revealed behind them only renders his in near disbelief as he lingers just beyond the threshold. A mere entryway of timber, more than a century old, entirely unobstructed, separates him and the rows of books and texts lining the walls and free-standing shelves within this chamber.

This—this is what he has been in search of.  Here lie the artifacts of the cult's existence. If there are any traces of them left remaining on this earth, they would be found here. He has resolved to uncover anything in reach, anything in sight, if it would bring him even a footfall closer to finding out the truth. Standing at the center of this room, he peers all around to see that there is hardly any trace of light trickling through. It's getting too late in the day. The roar of the wind tearing across the roofs high above remind him also of the thickening shroud of clouds casting out the sun's radiance. From the conditions he's gleaned, they will only worsen as nightfall approaches.

Perhaps...he could wait out the rest of the day until the height of the morning brings the light back. Spend the remaining time in search for fuel to ignite one of the hearths lying around throughout this complex. No, he can't wait. The sooner he delves into this reservoir, the sooner he can leave these miserable ruins. He doesn't want to spend a minute longer here than necessary. But then the matter of the light...the damned light.

He is so close. The knowledge is just within reach. He has entered it from the main hall, so his eyes steer toward the wall opposite of the entryway. The calmness of these walls indicate they must be interior walls, but just beyond them are likely those of the building's perimeter. If he can manage to open them up a bit, it might just allow more exterior light to filter through.

Brushing his hand along the wall there, he searches half-blindly for any manner of door know. His fingers trace the outline of what feels like a knob, and he proceeds to open it. Beyond it is the narrow outer corridor, and the heavier exterior siding that lines it. There is a gentle hum of pale light seeping through these windows. Drawn to it, he steps forward into the hallway, hand outstretched, ignoring the chill as he places his palm over the wooden frames. He glances over his shoulder to see that the chamber behind him remains in its darkness. Still not enough to illuminate the room. The light is too diffuse. He then peers at the dark outline of his hand against the soft, cool glow. Plucking it away from the frigid surface, he opens his palm beneath it as though to catch the fading trickle of its glimmer. A thought then—perhaps if he could bring the texts here by the windows. He smiles. This could work.

So fixated on his findings, the delicate padding of faintly approaching steps fails to register with his senses until the very last of its footfalls. His breath halts once he detects its wafting presence in the air. A groan obliterated the silence, the sudden voice jolts his body. He whips himself around with such violence, his vision nearly spins as he reels backward into the stone walls behind him.

A creature, one that seems to have gone through the stages of rigor mortis, has appeared before him like shadow.

"H-hello?" Akaime stuttered as this creature continued its footwork towards him. No response except a low groan came from it. Backing up, Akaime felt his spine press up against the cool stone of the wall. This creature was humanoid, but its gray skin and white eyes looked something out of horror story. Pieces of its face were missing and the clothes that it wore were ruined.

"Stay back!" Akaime shouted but the creature insisted on doing the opposite of what the blonde said. The Chinoiki felt sweat beads form on his forehead as the creature got arm's length away at Akaime. With a low jolt forward, the creature tried to latch onto Akaime. Ducking down and rolling to the side, Akaime effortlessly dodged the creature's grapple as he once stood behind him. Looking around to find something to defend himself, his perception paid off when he saw a silvery knife laid on one of the tables near him. Quickly grabbing it, he shouted. "Stay back or else!"

The creature had no intention of listening as to as it slowly turned around and began its movements towards the young Chinoiki once again. He felt his teeth grit as his knuckles turned white from the pressure he exuded onto the handle of the knife. Taking a stance as the creature near him, he drove the knife straight into the creature's heart. This kill strike would've floored any human, but this thing was obviously not human as it began to chomp down at Akaime's face. Using the knife as leverage, he placed his arm on the creature's shoulder and tried shoving it off him. It was struggle as the creature's strength was significant enough to continue to force itself onto Akaime.

"What the fuck!" Akaime felt the creature's bite nearing his face. It was clear that the creature felt no pain, and a wound to the heart could not kill it. Giving a quick shove, Akaime removed the knife from its chest and then immediately plunged its blade into the temple of the assailant. A mild groan, the creatures body went limp and fell to the floor. What was this thing? A crackle and a blitz, light came to Akaime in the form of electricity. This place had working lights this entire time and he didn't notice? What was this place? What is really going on? Questions began to form into his mind, not knowing the nightmare he had walked himself into.

- A Few Hours Later -

Silence was both a good and bad thing as far as Akaime grew to learn. It meant that, as far as his hearing went at least, there weren't any of those things, those creatures anywhere near him. Their unorganized and undirected shuffling usually gave them away.

But the silence also meant that he could hear every little creak of the floorboards underneath him. It meant that he could hear the fluttering of moths as they bounced against the windows outside- desperate for the light on the inside. And how Akaime wished he would've known that light didn't always mean safety. The subtle rolling of the roaring winds in the distance caused his skin to pull tight as the sound echoed down empty hallways, mimicking footsteps behind him, always making him look over his shoulder. 

Right now, it just felt like the storm was residing on his shoulders, always watching, always listening. Rolling beads of cold sweat down the back of his neck. His heart was still going hard inside of his chest as Akaime paced the tight corridor once more, the third time in the past half-hour. He stepped carefully over the bodies of the already disposed-of creatures from before, fighting the fear that one of them would spring to life again and snag his leg - fighting the fear that it would sink its teeth into him just as it had tried the first time.

For now, however, they were still and rotting. Filling the tight corridor with a putrid smell that he tried not to breathe in. It was still quiet. It would seem he had cleared at least one wing of this cursed mansion...for now anyway. Just for now. Swallowing hard, Akaime took the next corner with calculated sharpness, leading with his knife and following through with his eyes and body. Nothing but antique furniture and scratched out paintings on the wall caught his attention. As much as he wanted to lock himself into a room and hunker down for a few hours, praying maybe that some form of back-up would arrive, Akaime knew he had to be better than that. He had to be stronger than that. He had to keep moving; he had to keep fighting for a way out of here.

Breathing out slowly, Akaime finished yet another walk of the eastern stairwell and felt some bit of comfort in knowing that it was secured. In knowing that it was safe for the time being, that it was a place he could retreat to if needed be. As he had several times already. Shaking off his nerves, he reached for the formerly locked emblem door on his left and knocked twice before he pushed it open; he was already used to the heavy scent of sawdust and musk that lingered in the attic stairwell, he didn't so much as choke on it this time.

"Hello?" a quiet voice called out in question. Akaime alerted to this voice, it was refreshing and also disturbing to hear. Closing on the source, he was met with two individuals that were seated on the floor. Two scouts from the village that seemingly disappeared. Akaime would go on to learn their names, the small female was Hikari and the male was Anji. Hikari was a young medic from the village sent out to help as backup for the other scouts that were sent; apparently, both of them also got trapped in here from the bustling storm.

Hikari had moved from a kneeling position to a sitting one, which was no doubt more comfortable on her knees and hips given how long she had been rooted here. Her back was against the wall, allowing her to keep her legs stretched out in front of her, which also allowed her to support her injured teammate. Anji, looked pale and feverish, had his head resting in Hikari's lap. There was no raspy breathing or painful heaving, so the minor elevation was maybe helping the man breathe a little easier; maybe it was pooling the liquid out of his chest and lungs. He was poisoned by something, that both of them were unaware of.

The young medic looked relieved to see him and offered a tired smile at his return.

Akaime had to give the girl props for holding her own for so long and for keeping herself together despite the terrible situation they were in. They both have been here for a few days before the arrival Akaime. From the moment Akaime had walked in on her trying to tend to Anji, who had been freshly bit and was convulsing from the poison coursing through his blood, she had been and still was in control. Hikari had insisted on not leaving Anji alone and had been quick to instruct Akaime on where to go and what to look for in the medical cabinet in the western corridor. And Akaime had hauled ass through the desolate, infected mansion in order to grab the serum and get back to Anji in time.

Akaime stepped around the two scouts before he moved to kneel down in front of them. From what he could see, Anji was looking much better than he was before. His skin was still flushed red and feverish though, and there were still visible beads of sweat rolling down his brow. His injured arm had been loosely wrapped up, although the bandage was already showing signs of blood spotting through it; Anji had the arm protectively pulled over his chest, his hand just barely curled into a loose fist.

The swelling was down though. He was breathing, he wasn't convulsing. He was still alive. The sight of the man like this was painful though. There was no smiling, no laughing. Only labored breathing and the occasional cough that sparked blood across his cracked lips.

"How's he doing?" Akaime asked, keeping his voice low despite the would-be isolation they had for the moment. It was easier to keep the fear out of his voice when it was low though- easier to hide his nerves and his inability to do anything around here. It felt like the only thing he had done in this situation was run and get the serum, which was by no means just any other feat. But he wasn't the one who used it.

Hikari was just fresh medic from the village and yet she had administered the antidote without hesitation; she had managed to keep Anji calm throughout the entire process without seeming panicked and scared herself. And even when Anji had passed out from the pain and exhaustion, she kept her head straight and went to work on tending to his injuries.

Akaime had used the excuse of stepping out to check on the adjacent area to avoid admitting that he might've gotten squeamish at the scene. The puncture wound on his arm was no joke either. The infected limb had been so swollen and bruised that it hardly looked much like a human arm to begin with. Every vein was engorged and inflamed, pushing up against his skin, bulging and near popping out. The entire arm had been shaking involuntarily, convulsing so hard that the man's fingers had bloodied themselves on the wooden floorboards, cracking his fingernails up to his nail beds and snapping some of them off entirely.

Hikari ended up having to hold Anji's arm down to prevent further damage. Then...she just cut right into the snake bite, rupturing the pocket of poison that had gathered underneath the skin, which then allowed her to drain it. Of course, there was a lot of blood and pus that came out with it too. Blood and guts Akaime could deal with, the gods know how many of those creatures he had killed after all.

But that he could not handle. He had nearly scrambled to get out of the room and found himself practically dry heaving in the corridor outside.

"Better," Hikari replied as she used a small medical rag to wipe the sweat from Anji's brow. "His heart rate is normal, and his breathing is stable for now. His fever hasn't broken yet but as long as it doesn't get any higher it should be fine." There was a pause in her words before she mustered up another tired smile. "He'll be okay."

It was amazing what the sound of good news could deliver. "That's good, thank Yami finally something good is happening around here," Akaime breathed.

Hikari offered a quiet chuckle at his proclamation, no doubt just as equally relieved herself and exhausted enough to laugh about the situation for what it was. But it didn't take long before she turned serious again, a more sober expression dressing on her face. "Is everything still okay out there?"

"Yeah, yeah. It's quiet, which is either good or bad, depending," Akaime answered as he reached up and ran his fingers through his hair. For a few seconds, he stalled out with the quiet in the room; he knew what he wanted to say but he also knew that he didn't want to say it. It was something that needed to be addressed; however, something that he was certain that Hikari already knew. "We can't stay here. It's not safe."

"No, it's not," Hikari agreed, quick to prove his point but just the same there seemed to be something holding her back. "Anji is still in a compromising condition. If we make a move and something happens, he won't be able to defend himself. And with those creatures all over this place is there really anywhere safe in this compound at all?"

She had a good point. Anji was barely in any shape to move, let alone walk aimlessly somewhere, especially under the constant guise of danger. The man had just managed to start breathing on his own again. They would have to go someplace close by, some place safe, safer than here at least.

"We already almost lost him to one of these monsters, I won't run the risk of losing him again."

Akaime closed his eyes and gave a sigh, running his hand across the back of his neck now. "No, I don't...I don't want to either," he whispered. "Do you remember that room you sent me to for the serum? The one by the western stairwell?" The young woman gave a nod in answer. "It''s not exactly the best location and I haven't explored that area much but... it's got a medical compartment and it's got a bed. Two things that we don't have here. Now I can't promise how clean the sheets are, but we can keep him resting there until he's strong enough to move again."

It was a questionable move. But the few times he had been over in that area, there wasn't much hanging around. There had been a few of those creatures before but he had already eliminated them hours ago, so it should relatively still be safe. Hikari seemed to contemplate on his answer and his semi-confidence on the move. This dusty old attic wasn't the best place to stay regardless of injury, but Anji was hurting bad, and he needed to recover somewhere that didn't consist of mildew and dust. Hikari was some-form of doctor though; it was her call. She looked down at Anji for a moment, no doubt noticing the slight twitch on the corner of his lips now.

- Two Day's Later - 

One hand was painted red, one arm was carrying the weight of a sword he found in the compound, and two eyes were staring at the demon itself. There was nothing Akaime could tell his legs to convince them to move an inch. He was locked in this battle to give Hikari the chance to escape. Anji died long after they moved to the room as they were ambushed by the creatures. The duo of Akaime and Hikari found out how a man named Grinch create a sickness and was planning on using on the town, to turn them all into mindless killing creatures. However, when they found the basement, it was lined with thousands of paper bombs, which they used to destroy the compound after their escape. The Grinch was furious of the destruction of his compound and used his disease on himself and turned him into some kind of monster and hunted the duo down.

Fear locked him in place. Not by a spell, not by some trap, but by sheer and utter terror. The blonde couldn't move. "Scared?" The giant monster had a surprisingly skinny voice, and Akaime would have laughed at the weirdness of the thin voice coming out of such a burly figure if death itself wasn't trapped in his lungs, so all he could do was whimper with fright and stumble back. "Don't worry," the monster guff's. "I'll kill you really quick. I'm generous like that." He grins, and then he's moving again; knees bent in a weird running formation and fingertips touching the grass below, and he's off. Akaime barely breathed between two blinks before he was without much thinking, he threw himself under the arm that had swung at him to slice off his head and rolled back onto his feet a couple of steps away from the demon. Akaime doesn't get the chance to calm his puttering heart down as a shadow falls over him once again.

Pain blooms like burning stakes across his chest. Gasping, he stumbles back, arms circling his torn-open chest and eyes wide and swimming in tears. He was going to die. He was going to die, wasn't he? Not a moment longer, and he's again getting slammed with three times his weight across his chest; he hears something snap, and then he's flying headfirst into the nearest tree in the area. Akaime has barely any reason or logic left in his brain; at this point, the pain has washed it all away, but thankfully... Maybe it's instinct? He finds himself without thinking, swinging his tiny body around and just in time protecting his skull with the back end of his right shoulder, gagging at the momentary pulse of pain that writhes through his flesh. Akaime is up and running again, long before his mind has even caught up to his body. Survival instincts mixed with the sheer and utter fear course through his veins, and it's all the blond-haired boy can do to keep a lid on his emotions as he runs and runs and tries to stay quiet so he could eventually hide from the demon.

Akaime doesn't know how long he runs for, only that he's running toward the safety of the snow, covered trees, away from the monster that both terrifies Akaime and makes him want to run for all of eternity. Akaime doesn't stop until he can't hear the chill-inducing laughter of the demon anymore, and only then does he crumble under a tree. After he buries his head to his knees, his shoulders start to shake, and his clammed-up lips are barely holding back a sob. The young male hears a roar in the distance, and Akaime's whole body freezes. While holding his breath, eyes staring at his legs, he listens. The cry is drawing nearer and nearer, and - he – he was going to die. By the hands of some demonic creature and fuck revenge. He survived the whole ordeal in the compound and just now he is going to die by some oversized freak; how pathetic was that? How sad. Another roar. This one is much closer. He hadn't even gotten the chance to get revenge for everyone. So, with a hiccup, Akaime buries his face even further into her knees. He'd walked away too far. No one was going to find him out here. Alone and afraid and soon to be dead. No fellow survivors could help him. Tears started flowing all over again and damn it. How pathetic.

A roar. Akaime flinches. At least he was going to reunite with his mother and father and-
[NEVER GIVE UP] It was as if an electric current suddenly jolted into every nerve in his body and sent it ablaze.
[NEVER GIVE UP] How could he just - clenching his fists and gritting his teeth, Akaime tried to steady his erratic breathing. Father had said...his father had told Akaime that it was okay to run away, it was okay to fall, but – to give up? Father had never taught him that, and - raising a shaky arm to his eyes, Akaime rubbed away the wetness as best as he could and took a deep and steadying breath. It was only one demon. He would be a ninja and avenge his family and make everyone proud so, how could he lose here? This was his story. His life. What kind of hero died in the prologue? Akaime grins, teeth coated with dirt and specks of blood. "Yeah, I'll be fine. But-"

Here he rises back up to his feet, using the tree as support, knowing the shallow cuts running diagonally from his hip and up to his right shoulder make his vision blurry; he tries his hardest to blink away the dizziness sharpen his senses. The demon is still drawing near. He was close now. Too close. Finally taking the time to look over his injuries, they are painful, but his speed had allowed the wounds to be shallow at best, and with another steadying breath, he finally circles his hand around his swords hilt and drags it out. He balanced the sword between his palms, and he shifted to his feet. The only thing he hadn't let himself look at was his ear. He knew that - shaking his head, Akaime banished that thought to the back of his mind. Some of it was still there. That's all he could focus on right now, so, he could do this. Akaime's legs moved this time, and he is running. Not away from the danger, but towards it. Towards the demon who'd promised him death. Still, his diluted bravery was going to make him confront a psycho monster head-on.

"I see you've stopped running!" The demon's voice was drawing near. "Good, it's time to die!" 

"I wasn't planning to. I just needed to make sure I hadn't died a grizzly death but know I will end your miserable life." The demon snares at that as Akaime met up with the Grinch in a final standoff. "You won't be laughing when I am done with you," he hisses, chest entirely bare except for the several tiny knives strapped to a belt crisscrossing his shoulders and waist. Akaime sighs again. "If you didn't like it, you should have killed me." Tensing his shoulders, he aims his sword at the demon's neck. "Now, I'll be taking your life if you don't mind."

The Grinch didn't see it coming. No one did. Not even in Akaime's dreams. As he put away his borrowed sword, he suddenly found himself tipping over to one side. Akaime's whole body was screaming, and he couldn't for the life of him see where that demon went until his eyes flicked and he saw the monster's head dismembered from his body.

"You were supposed to be dead!" The demon screamed again, sounding maniac and crazed. "Blood seer! How are you still alive? A promise has been broken! A promise has been broken!"

"What are you talking about?" Akaime marched over to the vanishing demon. "What do you mean I should be dead?" The devil was now laughing—a maniac little thrilling sound. "Oh, I wish I could be around to see the look on your face when the master finds out. It serves you right! Serves you right!"

"Who are you talking about?" Impatience was starting to color Akaime's voice. "Mrs. Claus was supposed to have killed them all. It is what was promised in return for the master's gift." And with those final words, he died.

Akaime stood there dumbfounded. Mrs. Clause is the one that did all this. Behind all of this. Dropping the sword, he fell to his knees, then to his side. Must be from the loss of blood. He might be dying, but thankful he was able to kill the grinch. One last parting gift to the villagers. As his eyes slowly blinked close, he saw the silhouette of Hikari coming into his vision, running to him.

- Hour's Later -

His eyes flashed open as he found himself in a warm, lit room. Sitting up, he examined his surroundings. From what he could tell, he was some type of medical room. Looking over his body, he saw that his wounds were gone! Was all that a dream? It couldn't have been. With a knock and a twist of a doorknob, in walked Hikari.

"Glad to see you're awake," Hikari gleamed.

"Are we safe?" Akaime asked, immediately dismissing introductions.

"Yes, we are back in the village. You are safe, and what it looks like, all good. However, I would like to keep you a couple more hours for observation." Hikari said as she was reading his report.

"No time, I have to find Mrs. Claus," Akaime said, jumping out from his bed, throwing the sheet on the ground.

"What? Why? You need rest," Hikari calmly told him as she moved her body towards him and touched his shoulder.

"I just need to know something. Look at me," Akaime pulled Hikari in front of him and looked in her eyes. They survived days with each other in a horrible situation. "I'm okay, okay?" He said, seeing the worry in her eyes before a sigh escaped her lips, "Okay, but if you get hurt again, that's on you. I had your clothes fixed up and are in the closet, I guess I'll see you around." She said, giving him a subtle hug. The warm embrace comforted Akaime, knowing that he had a friend for life in Hikari.

Immediately changing his clothes, he headed to the factory that would locate Mrs. Claus. As his journey took him to that place, his concerns grow more accordingly as many of the townsfolk seemed sick. The symptoms almost seemingly identical to those that made those creatures in the first place. He thought when they destroyed that compound, that would be the last of it. Maybe he's thinking too much into it. But the trauma from the days leading up to this point still lingers in his mind.

Standing outside the workshop, the air here feels heavy and eerie. He knew something strange was going on but against his better judgment, he pushed inward only to be met with lifeless corpse of Mrs. Claus. What is happening? Now he'll never get his answered. Rushing forward, he studied the body and saw a light bruise form around her neck, indicating either her neck was broken, or she was strangled. He was no doctor. However, he was not the only living person in this room as there was another standing far from him, holding some device. He must be the culprit. Rushing on him, he threw a series of accusations.

"You. You did this. You killed her. Do you have any idea what I went through to get back here and get information out of her. How fucking dare you. Why would you do such a thing?" Akaime yelled as he got into this man's face. The blonde was explicitly angry. He wasn't mad at the fact she was dead; he was he didn't get any of the information brought up by the grinch out of her. Now, he may never know what was really going on. This man better have a great answer on his reason for killing Mrs. Claus.

TWC: 7,749

Last edited by Akaime Chinoike on Mon Feb 13, 2023 3:29 am; edited 1 time in total

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Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation Empty Re: Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation

Sun Feb 12, 2023 9:54 pm
Winter Wonderland, land of wonders. But mainly terrors, if the recent events were anything to go by. The wind howled as the people screamed, their voices calling for help muffled by the air around them. The crunching sound of snow could be heard underneath his feet as Ichigo continued to take heavy steps forward, not allowing the circumstances to stop him. "I've faced worse in my life" the Raikage spoke under his breath, the cold unable to affect him. If these poor conditions were the only things trying to mess with him he would be out there before he even knew. 

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Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation Empty Re: Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation

Mon Feb 13, 2023 11:53 am
Mid thread claim:

2x mission rewards with BP:

Merry Christmas!
24,000 Ryō / 120 AP / 2,500 Winter Equinox Tickets / 1x Blank Dice (d4)

I Haven’t Even Started My New Year’s Resolution Yet!
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Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation Empty Re: Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation

Tue Feb 14, 2023 2:22 pm
"And it came to pass that the faithful saw the promised one, and their heart were filled with awe and wonder. The prophet was like a shining star in the darkness, and his inquisitive demands were like fire that burned away their doubts and fears.

And the Lord spoke through the prophet, saying, "You. You did this. You killed her. Do you have any idea what I went through to get back here and get information out of her. How fucking dare you. Why would you do such a thing?"

Hearken unto my voice and be not afraid, for I have come to lead you on a path of truth and righteousness. The hour of your redemption is at hand, and I have come to prepare the way for you.

Therefore, make ready your hearts, make ready your mind, for the time has come for you to arise and shine. Put away your old ways, for the new day has dawned, and a brighter future awaits you. Be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, bearing fruit in its season and never withering.

For I tell you the truth, that he who believes in me shall never die, but shall have eternal life, eternal death. And I will be with you always unto thy life, unto thy death, and even unto the end of the world."

So let it be written, so let it be done."

Jupiter's eyes widened as Akaime got into his face. He had seen the Chinoike before, in a memory, one that he had only just acquired. He demanded answers, but it was crunch time for the ones who had the will to save Christmas, New Year, and Winter Wonderland. There was no time to explain his actions and reasoning with words, but Jupiter had a gift. He could speak with touch, transcending the timely restrictions imposed by the man who had just texted him on Mrs. Clause's walkie talkie. He placed his hand gently on Akaime Chinoike's head. "Behold, Blood Seer, the truth!"

He would see a flash of light in his mind, and hear the sound of a wailing baby. Then, it was cold.

Once upon a time, in a remote village in Winter Wonderland, a little girl was born to a family of toymakers. Her name was Stormy, but everyone called her Gerty because she looked just like her mother.

Stormy was a feisty child with a mischievous streak. She loved nothing more than causing trouble and making people laugh. Her parents were at their wits' end trying to keep up with her.

As she grew older, Stormy's love for mischief turned into a passion for cooking. She loved experimenting with different ingredients and coming up with new recipes. Her food was so good that people would travel from far and wide to taste it.

One day, Stormy's path crossed with that of a jolly, round man who called himself Santa Claus. He was in town to deliver toys to the children, and he couldn't help but be drawn to Stormy's infectious energy.

They hit it off right away and began a courtship that was filled with laughter and adventure. They went on long walks in the snow, tried new foods, and danced under the stars.

But their love was not without its challenges. Santa Claus was already a legend in his own right, and many of the other toymakers in the village were jealous of his success. They did not want him to marry Stormy, fearing that she would distract him from his duties.

Undeterred, Stormy and Santa Claus decided to elope. They ran away together and settled in a small cabin deep in the woods. It was there that they began to build their life together, with Stormy cooking up a storm and Santa Claus bringing joy to children all over the world. And they lived happily ever after.

Or, that was what Mrs. Clause wanted to believe. These images shatter like glass in the mind of the Blood Seer. Just beyond the veil, upon taking a closer glance, was a more sinister, twisted story.

Stormy's birth was far from an easy one. It happened twelve days before New Year's Eve, on a stormy night in the middle of the harshest hailstorm to ever hit Winder Wonderland during a period of utter chaos. Her mother Gerty had gone into labor earlier than expected, and the family of toymakers tried their best to bring her into the world safely. Her labor lasted twelve days, and twelve nights. In this time, the townsfolk had come to find out about Gerty's plight, and many came to visit. They tried various remedies, like Frostbloom and milk of the poppy, but baby Stormy would still not come out.

It was just past sunset on New Year's Eve, when a mysterious woman came knocking on the door of the Gerty household. She was a pale and slender finger in a flower printed kimono with white hair, lilac eyes, and horns on her head. She introduced herself as Minaguya Otsutsuki, a wandering sorceress with the power to help Ms. Gerty and her unborn child. When she arrived, however, Gerty was holding a fetus in her hands it would appear that it was too late. Minaguya urged her not to lose hope just yet, as she knew of a way to help Stormy, and that she could still be saved.

It had to be done quickly, she said, before Saint Clause took his leave when the hour hand of the clock struck twelve at midnight. Saint Clause was a famous and eccentric space time specialist whom all the women of Winter Wonderland swooned over. He was young with a good sense of fashion, he wore a thick red fur coat, made from the hide of polar bears. He always carried his smoking pipe with him, and it was most often in his mouth. Once a year, he would come down from his retreat in a wooden sleigh, piloted by two winged serpents, and hand out strange gifts to the people of Winter Wonderland.

The Teleporting Toaster was one of his more famous offerings. It was a toaster that could teleport toast to any location, even across the room or to a different dimension. He also handed out talking socks, magical pillows, and snow frogs that turned into real ones when rubbed thrice. He was a raging alcoholic, and a womanizer. This man, Minaguya claimed, was the key to saving baby Stormy's life. With the help of local midwives, and some handy teleportation, she took Gerty to peak of Nipple Hill. There, under the light of the full moon, they waited patiently, and chanted strange incantations around a pit of fire.

The midwives brought strange ingredients to the site of the ritual. At first, Minaguya's requests were reasonable, although strange. She had asked them to bring candles, and ores of jade. Then her demands grew more bizarre as the night progressed. Mercury, thallium, pickle juice. She then asked them to bring a male horse, and cut off its privates. They seemed to be in a trance, under her spell. She had them bring their young children, and took their eyes out with thallium while they chanted in unison. Then, as the familiar silhouette of Saint Clause soared through the sky between the site of the ritual and the full moon, Minaguya held up the unconscious body of the stillborn child, its forehead marked with blood. Her eyes opened, and Santa's sleigh came crashing down into the forest below.

"She will be forever bound to Saint Claus. A part of his soul has left him, and now lives in young Stormy. They are destined to be together when she comes of age." Minaguya spoke to Stormy's mother, Gerty's eyes empty as the void as the corpses of the townsfolk and their burnt carcasses lay around them on Nipple Hill. "Once every one hundred years, little Stormy must reenact this little ritual. As long as she can do that, your daughter will be blessed with eternal life. But if she fails to carry it out even once, she will die. And she will never be happy unless she's with Saint Claus." She cradled the crying baby in her arms, and handed her to her mother. "But if Saint Claus finds out about the ritual, he will kill little Stormy, and then himself."

Gerty's eyes widened with horror, and she clutched her baby tight in her shaking arms. "But we won't have to worry about that as long as you're careful. I will be erasing any trace of these bodies, and the townsfolk's memories about their lives. Only you will be spared, until it's your time. Now eat up, little Stormy. You're going to be my little pet." She took a handful of flesh from the fallen winged serpents, and fed it to baby Stormy as she began to chew hungrily with her set of fully grown adult teeth.

A hundred years would pass before Stormy would meet Minaguya again. By now, she was happily married with Saint Claus, whom she lovingly dubbed Santa. Although she was relatively young and healthy, her mother was now old and frail, and could not move about except when rolled in her wheelchair. It was with her last breath, that she revealed to her the words that were spoken to her by Minaguya on the fateful night of her birth and resurrection. Passing the burden on to her child had undone old Gerty, and seeing her mother pass before her eyes made Stormy weary of death. With less than a day to make up her mind, she decided to carry out the ritual.

She enlisted hoards of elves from Santa's factories to do her bidding. She hired elven managers, who enlisted more elves to do the dirty work. Children and women were taken from their homes at night, and pickle juice from their refrigerators. Other elves went deep into caves to mine for specific ores - mercury, jade and thallium. A horse was taken from its stable. She had to distract Santa Clause, so she slipped ground stems of Articlily in his morning coffee to make his bowels unwell. She made the hike to Nipple Hill once again. Although she was conflicted, her heart could not bare the thought of leaving Saint Claus, not even in death.

"Oh, mighty Minaguya, ancient sorcerer deity, I come to you with a heart full of gratitude and reverence. It has been a hundred years since you saved my life and I have never forgotten your kindness. You appeared before my mother when I was lost in her womb, on the brink of death. You showed me mercy and used your powerful magic to heal me, even though I was a mere mortal.

I am honored to offer this humble prayer to you. I have brought the eyes of children bawled with Thallium, and untouched women whose blood was drawn by Jade. I bring the member of a stag cut with Mercury, pickle juice and candle wax. I come before you with this pit of fire, a symbol of my devotion and a reminder of the warmth you brought to my frozen soul.

May your power and wisdom continue to guide us all, and may your blessings bring comfort and joy to all who seek your aid. I pray that you continue to watch over us and protect us, and that your infinite wisdom will guide us through the challenges of life.

Thank you, Minaguya Otsutsuki, for your grace and your kindness. May your light shine upon us all."

The slender, pale woman descended from the clouds. She looked the same as she did when she came knocking on Gerty's door one hundred years ago. "Little Stormy. You have served me well. As my thanks to you, I will once again alter the memory of the townsfolk so you do not get in trouble for this." She was pleased with the offering. Stormy's head leaned on the deity's shoulder as they watched the fire burn, with all the ingredients brought for the ritual, all the elves hired to gather them, and the corpse of the late Gerty.

As the centuries passed on, Stormy became more efficient with her rituals. She had found a trick that worked, and she refined it as much as she could. Once every one hundred years, she would spike Santa's coffee, and perform her ritual on Nipple Hill. Minaguya would erase the memories of the townsfolk at the end of the ceremony. She began to speak to Stormy more frequently, often in her sleep, often demanding bizarre altercations to her ritual.

For years, she was able to lead a double life, undisturbed by the kin of those whose lives she had taken. Santa would never be the wiser, as part of his soul resided in his wife. He was now softer than he was in his youth. He no longer drank alcohol or chased after women. Mr.s Clause worked around the clock to keep her husband and his legion of elves well fed. While Santa went aout making deliveries on his sleigh, Stormy was responsible for managing the elves that produced all the gifts from scratch. She wrapped them herself. Together they expanded their charitable conquests, soon making Christmas deliveries to children all over the globe. 

One thousand years later, she had remodelled some of Santa's toy factories to various facilities that specialized in gathering the ingredients required for her centennial ritual. She had warehouses to store Mercury and Thallium safely. She had specialized teams of elves under her command that excelled in kidnapping children from their houses and horses from their stables. To appease the greedy Minaguya, she had set up one of the factories to produce clanned foetuses, just to bawl out their eyes to gather as much as she could for her ritual. Sometimes, Minaguya would request the eyes of a certain bloodline, and Stormy's elves would be sent out to gather them. Every time, all of the elves that played a hand in helping her would be burned, and the memories of their lives would be erased by the sadistic Minaguya. As the years went on, not only did her body count rise, but her rituals got more wicked and depraved. After two thousand years, it was unspeakable.

 "Ketsuryugan." A voice spoke to Stormy in her sleep, "All of them in Winter Wonderland. Even the ones that have not yet awakened. Send them to me, in death. When you wake up, you will remember their faces. This year, we're taking Ureshii."

It was the year for another sacrifice. All of the ingredients would already be prepared, except for this year's special request. Like fruits from a tree, they only needed to be plucked from the factories that produced them. Mrs. Clause no longer felt guilty about the lives she took for her cause. In her mind, it was justified, as the alternative would be death, and death would mean separation from her beloved. She gathered a group of elven eggs, and injected them with a strange blue serum - a concentrated extract of berserk mushrooms. When they were born, she disfigured their faces with a talon. She placed her hand on their heads, one by one, engraving the image of those faces that Minaguya had helped her identify. "This pain, remember it, it was caused to you by the blood seers. Seek them. Kill them. Bring me their eyes." She then sent them to train until winter, specializing in the art of eye gouging.

 It didn't take long for Stormy to collect almost all of the Chinoike eyes in Winter Wonderland. After sending her legion out on the ninth day of Christmas, it took her three days to acquire all of them, except for the pair that belonged to one particular shinobi who had newly ventured into town. She remembered his face from her dream, and her eyes twitched with frustration. The day of the ritual was fast approaching, and she feared what would happen if she failed to appease Minaguya. She feared it even more than being suspected by the townsfolk. That was improbable however, as she maintained a good rapport. When she heard news of Grinch and his plan to infect the town, she set up a plan to blame him for the case of the missing Chinoikes. 

 Stormy had struck two birds with one stone when her loyal elf showed her a picture taken during a tense battle between Grinch and a foreigner. Upon closer inspection, she recognized the face in the polaroid as the same one implanted in her mind in her dream. She was even more pleased to hear that Grinch's last words had alluded to her involvement in his ambush. No one in the town was going to believe the foreigner. He would have to come find her himself. Perfect. A wide, wicked grin cracked on her face. It's all playing out according to plan. "All events unfold according to the grand plan, in Her perfect time. And the faithful rejoice, for they know that every moment, every choice, leads to the path of righteousness, forever guided by Her eternal will."

 Even she could not have predicted the vicious hit on her shop that took place on Christmas Eve. It was a group of bandits looking for Ureshii. "Ureshii, Hand it over!" They thrashed the factory with baseball bats, beating the working elves unconscious. "Did you think you could pull a sneaky one on our lord and savior?"

"I don't know where he is, I swear!" Stormy begged, but they beat her knees and dragged her down into the floor. They kicked her face, and yanked her hair. "She said we could do anything to make you talk."

"This is a mistake. She wouldn't allow this. Let me speak to Her." She was hit  harder on her back. Members of the group dragged the elves out one by one to take them in for questioning as well. 

"Shut up, you old hag! How dare you speak for Her?!"

It wasn't until one of them got a call on their walkie talkie, that they stopped beating her up. 

"It was Bucciaratti. He said they found Ureshii on Nipple Hill."

"Alright, let's go! What do we do about her?"

"Leave her be, we just need to take Ureshii. Take everything else. We need the sleigh to reach the apex."

They were gone as quickly as they came, and Stormy winced in pain as she writhed on the floor. She waited for no more than half an hour, before a tanned, tall shinobi wandered into her factory.

"Is that a shinobi? Thank God. Please, help me." She called out desperately, coughing up blood from her injuries. "They took it all. The presents, the sleigh. The elves. Even the ones who succumbed to their sickness."

"Stay away from the light, Mrs. Clause. Don't give up on me. I'll get you some help." 

She didn't think anything of it at first when he held her hand. When his eyes began to twitch, however, she noticed a stream of his chakra wandering in her body. She couldn't believe it, she had grown complicit in her ways and had forgotten the wicked nature of the acts she had committed. When he touched her cheek, she could see the killing intent in his eyes. She could see on his face that he knew everything.

"Santa.. Join me.." She uttered her last words as she twitched her finger, pointing it at the corner of the room right before a loud crack snapped her neck.

 Jupiter took his hand off of Akaime's forehead after showing him what he knew. "Nipple Hill? I went there earlier, I can get there without a sleigh." He was confident. The walkie talkie beeped again. It was a text message, but he clicked on the button to make the device speak the words out loud for the other shinobi to hear as well.

Father Time wrote:
"Yo Jupiter, Father Time again. Don't even think about climbing back up Nipple Hill without Santa's Sleigh. A scary blizzard will form just as you reach the base of the hill and you won't make it back down safely. (emoji of man forming a X with his arms)

You'll need the sleigh to make the deliveries anyway.

P.S. You gotta stop that elf from reporting Mrs. Clause's death to Santa. That one also knows about the rituals. (cringe emoji)"

Remembering a minute detail at the end of Mrs. Clause's life, Jupiter's eyes darted to the corner of the room, where an elf remained crouched, hugging its knees, trembling with fear. "Hey.." Jupiter called out, stepping cautiously towards the creature. "I come in peace..." He worried that the elf would deliver news of Mrs. Clause's death to Santa ahead of him, and worse still tell him about the ritual and fulfil Minaguya's prophecy. When the elf made a sprint for the window, Jupiter cussed and bolted right after the worker, reciting a prayer.

"The faithful gave chase to the elf, as the creature threatened to reveal Mrs. Clause's death and her dying wish to Santa. They acted with conviction, knowing that preserving his innocence and saving the world, Christmas and New Year from darkness was more important. They put their faith in a greater purpose, guided by the judgment of the one true God, even as they mourned the sacrifice of Mrs. Clause and her final request. Though the path ahead may be fraught with moral challenges, the faithful stand firm, and run firm, confident that their actions serve the greater good and bring hope to all the world! Amen."

 "Get back here!" He yelled, striding after the elf. Just as his right foot exited the building, a group of seven blue elves with scarred faces broke in through the windows. 

"It huuuuuuurts!!!"

"Blood Seer! Blood Seer! Blood Seer!"

"Kill! Kill! Kill!"

Their eldritch mouths opened side ways as they took after Akaime.

"Shit!" Jupiter looked back at the dire situation. "I'm sorry, Blood Seer. I must stop that elf from reaching Santa. I hope you learned what you came here for. I will be back with his sleigh. In the mean time, please don't die!"

 Jupiter finally caught up to the elf at the town center and grabbed it by the skin on the back of its neck as a cat. "What do I do with you..." He groaned, inspecting the creature. He could not allow it to escape. If it spoke to Santa, all hope would be lost. He put his hand around its neck. Curse it... What am I thinking.. He gritted his teeth before releasing the elf from his grip. He placed his hand on his face, and looked down, his fist clenched by his side. The elf scurried away, and the Genin from Sunagakure did not give chase the second time.
 When he reached Santa's house, the old man was sitting at a table, staring into the wall with a look of despair on his wrinkled face. "Saint Claus. My condolences." Jupiter spoke solemnly, breaking a sweat upon remembering the haunting prophecy spoken by Minaguya all those years ago. If Santa found out about the ritual, he would choose to die.

"Though his heart aches with the loss of his beloved, he is filled with conflicting emotions. Though she may not have always spread joy and cheer, he loved her deeply and cherished their time together. Now he must hold onto the memories, the laughter, and the love, even as he struggles with the knowledge of her wrongdoings. But in his heart, he will always carry her good spirit with him. Santa, for the kids."

"That's enough." Santa grunted out at Jupiter, harshly at first, before allowing a smile to crack on his facer although his eyes shined with glistening tears, "Thank you, Jupiter. You have freed me. Please, take the sleigh. I will be back next year. I promise."
Jupiter let out a sigh of relief, and smiled back at the old man. "I will make sure that Christmas is saved."

 Jupiter soared through Winter Wonderland on Santa's sleigh with Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, and Rudolph. He returned to Mrs. Claus' workshop to find the Blood Seer. Together, they had to go to Nipple Hill to rescue Ureshii. Before they could take off, a familiar figure would appear before them. It was a horned lady, orbs floating around her. She wouldn't speak, but only summon a clone before vanishing into thin air.

WC: 3697

Akaime Chinoike
Akaime Chinoike
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Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation Empty Re: Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation

Wed Feb 15, 2023 4:15 am
Vivid imagery of a tale from a century ago ruptured into the Chinoike's mind, making his body convulsively alert. While mere seconds passed in the real world; those seconds defiled reality as decades, upon decades, upon centuries were spent inside his own psyche as the man touched his forehead. What he could gather from that experience is that he was a target for some primitive evil. However, just his luck, he didn't have time to question anything as they were ambushed. Or better yet, just him.

This man chose to show him some sort of vision, and now, he basically left Akaime to die by these mutated elvish creatures. How unfortunate for him. Backing away, the creatures ascended on him, screaming varies things, but mostly 'die blood seer'. This was really the end for him, wasn't it? Closing his eyes as one of the creatures was about to pounce on him, but the pain never came. Slowly cracking his eyes open, he was met with the creature inches from his face with a sword positioned directly into its skull.

"Don't just stand there! Defend yourself!" Akaime didn't need another command before ripping the darkened blade from the temple of the creature as another one lunged at him. With one quick, downward slash, Akaime slit the body of the second one in half. He didn't have time to revel in his victory.

"Come! This way!" Akaime felt his arm being grabbed by a familiar voice. It wasn't long before he saw who the individual was, it was Hikari! Thankfully, it was a friendly face this time. Taking off with her, those elvish creatures were on his heels. Akaime felt like he was living one nightmare after another. The trauma he was building was at the breaking point of being severe. Maybe he should've never left home. Maybe he should've never opened that scroll. Curiosity literally killed the cat. So much death, he has seen, strangers who become friends are now just fleeting memories. He couldn't think about that. He had to survive. If not for him, for the memories of those he holds dearest. But for now, he just needed to escape.

"What are those things?" Akaime asked.

"I'm not for sure but they must be another creation from Mrs. Claus, just like the Grinch did to himself." Hikari said as they rounded another corner.

"H-how do you know that?" Akaime questioned. Thoughts raced in his mind as could Hikari be in on it.

"I had a hunch, so I followed you. So, the incident from before just made it all too true." Hikari answered. Her answer made Akaime ease up a little. He would've been completely calm, if not for the fact they were being chased by multiple creatures. As they rounded another corner, they were met with a rather long corridor this time. Basically, flying forward, they rushed towards the end where a door was for it only be opened by a female with long hair who started performing hand signs.

"Get down!" She screamed. Akaime, who was just heels behind Hikari, jumped to the ground just as she did. As they hit the ground a dragon made out of exothermic energies projectile out of her mouth as the rest of those creatures rounded the corner. The powerful blast literally left them in scorch and ruin, as their burnt bodies just piled on top of each other.

Akaime breathed a sigh of relief as he stood with Hikari.

"Thank you, so much for saving us," Hikari said. "I'm Hikari and this is Akaime."

"Yeah, this place is filled with creatures like that. Anyway, my name is Zarina." The fire-wielding woman said.

"What are you doing in this place?" Hikari asked.

"I was sent to uncover a plot to kill Ureshii, but what I found was more wicked." Zarina replied. "Mrs. Claus and her associates created viruses and genetic mutations to create various creatures. I don't why they did that, but I do know they are going to sacrifice Ureshii. I don't know what for." She added. So, now they are going to kill a baby? For what? Every minute in this frozen tundra, a new ordeal, a plot, is uncovered.

"Actually, I've seen you before." Zarina carried on.

"Me?" Akaime asked.

"Yes. Carved in the walls in a cave that one of the rooms leads into. I'll show you." Zarina said, leading them to the door that she walked through. Obviously, this peaked both their interest and they followed her. Moreso with Akaime for it had dealings with him. Everyone knew that he was a Chinoike, but how. He had still so many questions that were unanswered, maybe this would help solve them. Plus, that vision that man showed him, it was Akaime fighting the Grinch. How could he know that? How did he get that vision?

Akaime felt himself grimace as he bypassed the half-eaten corpse sprawled out on the floor to his right.

He tried to ignore the mess of organs that had been ripped and scooped out of the open stomach cavity, but he felt his gag reflex twitch at the smell of it regardless; he already knew it was there so there was no point in pretending that the carnage didn't exist. He already knew that the hair and skin had been pulled off of the victim's mutilated head, already knew that his skull had been broken and pulled apart by eager fingers. Already knew that the soft brain inside had been torn out in scooped chunks by those same deranged fingers.

Already knew that what blood had been spilled, and there was a lot of it, had already caramelized to the old wooden floorboards underneath.

The smell was rancid and yet it was still fresh.

Despite being disgusted by it, Akime found himself fighting to pull his attention away from it. He figured the girls were trying to ignore it too. Obviously, because Hikari and himself have already dealt with that but it seems Zarina has been exposed to it.

On that walk, he remembered that castle. Winding corridors, small, locked rooms, an array of puzzles, and a library that were built upward only placed more and more barriers in their way. And every new corner only revealed yet another wing of the dilapidated mansion, yet another wing for the three of them to explore, for them to potentially get lost in.

It didn't take long for them to reach the room, or should he say, cave. The cave was massive to say the least. Lit by eternal torches gave it a mysterious aura. The room's thick air felt haunting and evil. Akaime slowly walked around, and look at the walls and their detailed, carved descriptors.

"See, look at that." Zarina told Akaime as she pointed towards the front of the room. It was almost an exact replica of Akaime etched in the stones wall of the cave. His heart immediately sank. What was this place? 

"They keep calling you blood seer. Maybe this has something to do with it." Hikari stated.

It must be. The stonework looks like it was just done, but masonry like this would've taken months if not years, to complete. However, that was the only thing caught his eye. There was another person carved into the walls. Someone familiar. Someone that he just met not long ago. In the carving in front of him, it was clear that Akaime was kneeling, no, he was praying. To whom you ask? He wasn't for sure. But standing above him was that man with his arms crossed. Was Akaime connected to him? He never met him in his life, but this indicates...? What does it indicate?

Another detail also came him was there was a strange emblem marked on both their foreheads. An upside-down triangle with a circle around it. That emblem, he has seen it before but where? Akaime questioned as he walked up to the carving and placed his hand on the emblem. That's right, he remembers it from his small village. It was carved in the doors and tattooed on the civilians. However, he wasn't old enough to know what it meant.

"Fear not my child, you will learn soon enough," a booming voice echoed throughout the room.

"Did...did you guys hear that?" Akaime nervously asked, feeling the sweat beads begin to from his hairline.

"Hear what?" Zarina asked, with both the girls looking in confusion.

With a blink, Akaime found himself in darkness but with two bright red rings looking straight at him. He could feel the fear rising up in him. Where is he? Is caught in some type of genjutsu?

"No, you are not." The voice announced.

Dear god, could he read Akaime's mind?

"One day, you will have the same eyes as I do, but for now, find my puppet. Your prophecy interlocks with his. And now you will help him, or you will die just like your clansmen. Don't forget, you are one of Jashin's Chosen." With that, Akaime was brought back to reality. Now he has more questions that need answered too. He was about to go insane.

He felt a hand on his shoulder, "are you okay?" Hikari asked him. However, he couldn't answer as the cave started to collapse.

"Guys, come on!" Zarina screamed as she ran out of the room, which Hikari and Akaime followed suit. Zarina led them through corridors, but it seemed this place was falling apart faster than they might it out, but before long they finally found something.

"In here!" Zarina alerted Akaime and Hikari. In just a couple feet in front of the blood seer was some sort of platform guarded by rails and at the center was some sort of lever. Rushing forward, it seems like it was the end of the line as they had nowhere to go at this time. However, Hikari apparently had other plans.

"Hold on!" She screamed as she pulled the lever. The platform roughly jerked, shoving Akaime onto the nearby railing as it quickly rose from its stationary position with force. Akaime fell to one knee as the duo ascended to the upper levels of the workshop. The place was apparently on the way to self-detonating.

They quickly arrived at the rooftops. Now what? The place is literally falling apart. Oh yeah, he must've forgot they were all basically ninja and can jump from three stories. Or could they? It didn't matter as it was almost like plot was saving them, the man appeared on something that seemed like a massive sleigh. While he might've did leave him to die at the beginning, he was thankful he came back in the end. Jumping on with the girls, he relayed the message of what he learned inside the factory.

TWC: 9,550

Claiming: Mid Claims
Merry Christmas!
-  And A Happy New Year!
-  I Haven’t Even Started My New Year’s Resolution Yet!
+34,000 Ryo
+170 to AP
+7,500 Equinox Tickets
+2x(d4) Blank Dice
Stat Page : Fu's Fat Stats
Familiar : Archie the Bear
Remove Remove Remove Weaponry Fuuinjutsu Remove Ninjutsu Remove Remove Default
Wind Earth Water Lightning Fire Default
Village : Hoshigakure
Ryo : 176650

Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation Empty Re: Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation

Wed Feb 15, 2023 12:05 pm
Stat Page : Jupiter's Stats
Remove Taijutsu Medical Default
Remove Default
Village : Sunagakure
Ryo : 232500

Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation Empty Re: Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation

Wed Feb 15, 2023 2:34 pm
"Blood Seer! What are you doing?" Jupiter scolded him as he hovered his sleigh in front of the Chinoike and his new squad. He looked at the girls, and then formed a cross on his body as he prayed for himself and Akaime. "The faithful remain steadfast in the face of temptation, for they know that the path of righteousness leads to everlasting truth. Though the world may offer fleeting pleasures, the faithful cling strongly to their faith, guided by the divine wisdom of Jashin that illuminates their way. And as they endure the trials and tribulations of life and death, their unwavering commitment to righteousness brings them peace, purpose, and the promise of a better tomorrow. Amen. Don't lose your focus now." He let the Chinoike's friends join them on their journey to Nipple Hill, although he was worried by how quickly he seemed to be distracted by girls instead of worrying about saving Christmas.

The squad soared over Winter Wonderland, and weathered the blizzard of which Father Time had warned them on late Mrs. Clause's walkie talkie. Jupiter shielded his face with his arm, and when hailstones began to chip away at him he started punching them back into the sky with ease.

"Amidst the stormy tumult of the New Year, the faithful ride atop Santa's sleigh, bravely hurtling towards Nipple Hill. The icy winds lash against their cheeks and bosoms, and the spectre of Death looms nearby, but they refuse to yield. For they know that in life, all is fleeting - the storms of snow will pass, and a brighter tomorrow will come with the shining Sun. And so they laugh in the face of Death, spitting in its direction as they ride towards the promise of a new beginning, a new era, a new year, with their faith as their shield and Santa's sleigh as their trusty steed."

The group landed on the apex of Nipple Hill. There was a staircase carved into the ground, leading deeper into the interior of the hill. Jupiter had come here earlier. It was once a factory, where elves worked day and night. As the pieces of the puzzle came together in his mind, he deduced that it was one of Mrs. Clause's factions. The elves were killed to bury the evidence of her heinous crimes, and the knowledge of her nasty ritual. As they stood on top of the hill, they could smell the foul stench of rotting corpses even from outside the establishment. Jupiter's face twitched with resentment, not wanting to venture inside. Before he could take another step, however, the walkie talkie beeped once again.

Father Time wrote:
Yo. Watch out, to your left.

P.S. Ureshii is being held in the lowest floor of Nipple Hill Factory. Good luck!

Jupiter's eyes widened, darting to his left in the nick of time to see an archer who had just released an arrow in his direction. It was made even worse by the fact that an exploding tag was attached to its shaft. Acting quickly, he infused chakra in his fists, and yelled out the name of the technique that he was going to use, with a thick foreign accent.

"ERF: Titanic Punch!"

He punched the tip of the arrow,and sent it flying back at the archer. It seemed like the threat was neutralized, as the attacker could not possibly get away in time. However, he reacted quickly to shoot a second arrow, its tip clashing with the tip of the ricocheted projectile before it could reach the bandit. This was followed by an explosion, kicking up a cloud of smoke and snow. When the dust settled, the bandit was already loading a second arrow.

"What is your objective?" Jupiter spoke out to the assailant, calmly walking towards his direction, praying out loud.

"The faithful approach their assailant with open hearts and boundless love, unafraid of the aggression that confronts them. For they know that love conquers all, that death conquers all, and that even the most bitter hatred can be transformed by a simple act of kindness, even if that kindness, is death. And so they walk with purpose, guided by their faith and sustained by their love, ready to meet whatever challenge may come their way, even if it were death. For in their hearts, they carry the beacon of truth, and in the end, it is this that will triumph over death."

"You crazy fool. Die!" The bandit shrieked, firing three arrows in succession. Jupiter blocked the first, and caught the second. He used the second to strike the third, sending it back at the archer. He launched the second right after, making him back off and reposition himself.

"Come out, you coward. If dealing death is what you seek, you must not be afraid of your own. Let us seek salvation from this life, follower of Minaguya. Just you and me. Oh?"

He was now surrounded by a troupe of bandits, some archers, some swordsmen. He got into a battle ready stance.

"Run, Blood Seer. Save Ureshii, before it is too late!"

WC: 847
Akaime Chinoike
Akaime Chinoike
Missing-Nin (D-rank)
Missing-Nin (D-rank)
Stat Page : Stats
Ninjutsu Default
Water Default
Clan Specialty : Genjutsu
Village : Missing Ninja
Ryo : 80000

Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation Empty Re: Yuletide Unveilings: A Christmas Revelation

Wed Feb 15, 2023 4:19 pm
Of course, Akaime found himself in another fucking building filled with death traps, creatures, and puzzles.

Akaime could hear himself wheezing through gritted teeth and strained breaths as he struggled to carry himself as fast as he could down the crumbling corridor around him. His entire body ached and throbbed from their sudden assault in the factory to try and save Ureshii.

Adrenaline and shock were keeping him afloat for the time being, keeping him from focusing too much on the pain, but there was no guarantee that he could keep her body running, sliding and stumbling over the breaking ground floor beneath him. It was taking every bit of strength to force his legs to move. He could feel them shaking and burning with every new step, just barely able to take the next one in balance. The threat of them collapsing out from underneath him was constant as he felt the sharp, hot pain course through him. It felt like his muscles were straining not to tear themselves apart by the strands as it was almost like acid pouring in from the inside.

There was so much pain...

He could feel himself gagging through hard breaths, feeling the clutching pain in his stomach as his body urged itself to throw up.

But if he stopped, he was as good as dead. As was Ureshii, who finally saved from some pinata. He didn't even know where anyone else was. After the fight, him and the girls got separated when the floor gave out. Only he was lucky to have fallen on the staircase with Baby New Year.

Akaime was stumbling as he tried to navigate the narrow twisting corridor with half-blackened vision. He could barely see more than a few feet in front of him and he could only hope that there was as much space between him and the creatures he thought there was. At least enough space for him to escape with, to avoid there clinging hands and screaming voices.

But he caught sight of the black shadows to his right. Caught sight of elongated fingers reaching out from a collapsed entrance way, ripping themselves off of the crumbling brick wall.

He nearly slipped as he ducked and threw himself around the next corner, cutting his fingers on the brick wall as he used it to counter his motion, barely avoiding the long fingers that scratched the surface of his back.

Akaime stumbled in the aftermath of the risky motion, hot pain bouncing from his ankles to his knees to his hips and back down again. He managed to keep himself going, more out of fear now. He had to keep moving, no matter where this corridor would drop him off at. It could be leading him and Ureshii right into a dead end for all he knew but he didn't really have a choice right now!

Akaime had to keep trying.

He had to keep going.

He had to get out of here!

Another stumble, another shot of pain shooting around inside of his as Akaime struggled to regain his footing. He pushed himself up, pushed himself to keep going- only to feel a burning sense of coldness rush up along his left arm. He yanked it back, never looking back but knowing full and well what was there, and knowing that he had to get away from it at all costs.

As he raced forward, he saw a set of stairs leading up towards a door. Please be it. Please be the door to sanctuary. Midway up the stairs, the floor underneath him finally gave way, resulting in a tremor on the stairs. Akaime slid back and it his side against the railing. Screaming out in pain, he lunged up as the staircase collapsed and descended into darkness.

Akaime managed to grab hold of the ledge where the door was, but his body was too weak. Too weak to pull him and Ureshii up. Was this the end, was all this terror and suffering led up to this. It can't be, can it? It was almost as if the god himself heard him as the door open. A blinding white light burned his eyes. As his eyes quickly adjusted to this light, he saw a familiar figure. It was Hikari! Once again, she saved him by pulling him up and through the door.

Falling forward, he was outside. Never in a million years was he ecstatic about being in the harsh winters. Zarina was there but she too was badly wounded, the man had defeated basically a small army, and he was there with Hikari and Ureshii. It was almost a failure, but they succeeded. 

Father time came and got Ureshii. The fellowship went back to the town where the members got the medical treatment they needed. Akaime stayed around for a minute to converse with the other party members before finally returning home.

TWC: 10,370

Mission Completed:
Run The Gambit!
+10,000 Ryo
+50 AP
+2,500 Equinox Tickets
+ 1 Mythical Item: Forged Papers
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