Eight [Solo|M]

Jomei

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Eight.

After a long day of tinkering in the workshop where Jomei found shelter within the Mist, Jomei had called it a night, and was fast asleep in a bed on the second floor of the factory. He slept under blankets made of thick wools and even leathers to contain his body heat. Somehow, the sufficed night after night within the shelter which would double as his tomb. There was no hope left for him here, and he was resolved to get as much good sleep as he could to pass the time until he eventually caved in to starvation. In these late hours of the night, he found his only comfort in sleeping peacefully. There was not a sound to be heard besides the restless whistling of wind sweeping over his building, and the crackle of his furnace down stairs. The only sign of life for miles was his own soft breathing, which paused as his spider senses caused the familiar twinge in his nerves. All of a sudden, Jomei’s eyes opened wide and hurriedly. And without so much as a turn of the head to see the incoming attack, he lunged himself upwards from underneath his warm blankets, and snagged the side of the wall with uncanny agility as a pool of venom splashed his bed below, and began eroding it into a sticky black puddle and bubbled, popped, and reeked a vile scent akin to death. His lightest bed sheet still clung to Jomei, draped over him like a cloak as he hung over the scene, and even that bed sheet was fired upon by venom spewed by a large arachnid at the center of the chamber. Jomei disappeared from beneath the shrouding sheet in a burst of smoke as it practically disintegrated against the wall, along with the wallpaper, which emitted streams of smoke as it burned.

Without a moment of hesitation, Jomei crashed down on top of the giant spider, which seemed much less impressive in size once Jomei mashed it’s abdomen down to the floor and slammed a sledgehammer onto it’s head; cracking it’s exoskeleton and causing green blood to spring out in a streak across the wooden floor. If only for a moment, Jomei’s spider sense became a flutter with the precision he once knew, and he could feel the heights of danger that surrounded him that moment. Without so much as a glance to his right, he flung his hammer and deflected another arachnid that was flying at him, mid-lunge. What was just one spider mere seconds ago had become a small army, which flooded his forge and swarmed every inch of the place. Writhing with fear and agony, Jomei leaped into action to the best of his abilities and violently punished his attackers, yet their vast numbers made his efforts futile. A sea of hairy black bodies plated in thick armor and jagged edges filled the room until they snuff out his candlelight, and his movements became restricted by webbing much different from his hachihashi sticky gold. The army of arachnids took Jomei by force and bound him tightly as he screamed out in vain. Of course this would be his end: by the likes of spiders. As the eight-legged soldiers carried him down to the first floor of his chamber, Jomei was able to gain a slight view of what was happening to him. Slivers of light revealed the massive tunnel these creatures had burrowed into the floor of his forge. All this time, and these creatures had been coming for him as he sat dormant and his self-made cage. New they intended on carrying him home to their lair, where they’d probably devour him until nothing but cleaned bones remained. Mere seconds later, Jomei was harshly dragged down this gaping tunnel, where a different breed of spiders covered his body, and dragged him further into the earth. Their thoraxes glowed like light-bulbs, and their exoskeletons were amber-colored, and somewhat translucent like that matter as well. As his observations collected, Jomei must have realized the course he was on, as his terror began to subside, even as they carried him down deeper into what seemed like an unending abyss.


WC698
- Jomei Entered Thread.
- The finale begins.
 

Jomei

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Once the spiders stopped dragging him along, Jomei revealed a dagger he had begun to craft using his sticky gold webbing, and proceeded to rip through the thick net of webbing the spiders created to capture him. His crude weapon tore through the course webbing, and Jomei cautiously arose to his feet, free at last. His eyes swept the scene, and discovered exactly what he suspected that he’d find: the Hachihashi Temple depicted in his father’s manual. He was somewhere deep underground within a tunnel draped in gold plating that lined the tunnel walls, and formed steps on the ground. The nature of the architecture predated even the oldest structures Jomei witnessed while exploring the Hidden Mist: a white haze of webbing covered practically every crevice, and even patched the areas where structural damage has occurred since the place was most-likely abandoned once the endless storm began. But this place was collecting dust long before the storm hit- or so Jomei surmised as he began to wander through the tunnel, and followed the path his captors set out for him. Perhaps the acid bath was misleading, or so Jomei wondered as the nature of the spiders shifted now that he was following their apparent wishes. Though Jomei hated spiders, he’d find the power to tolerate them if it meant a chance of escaping their lair in one piece.

The path he traveled seemed to go on for miles before Jomei found the inner sanctum that gave this temple it’s purpose. The air was it’s most foul here, and the ground was littered with crushed bones. Torches in sconces lit the room, which was just as draped in gold as every other chamber he saw along the way. Among the collection of bones book cases, Jomei discovered several distinct corpses that resembled nothing he’d ever seen in an anatomy book, for humans or even other species. Hollow bones bent into extraordinary mutations unlike anything he imagined from even his own kind. “Incredible” Jomei exalted a skull as he grasped it into his hand from the ground. It had been picked clean, and sat firmly in his palm. “This bone density- or lack there of… these must have been Hachihashi.” The particular specimen he observed had a mutated skull with horrific pincer mandibles grown around the cheekbones and jawline. But even these bones seemed to have been sitting there for ages; decades even. But just when the nature of his tour seemed to become a mundane trip through an abandoned killing ground, Jomei was directed towards the true reason why the spiders had stolen him away, and brought him down into the forgotten temple within the abyss. The horde of arachnids with glowing butts lined the walls and cieling, and aimed their thoraxes at a large golden cocoon at the center of the sanctum. This gold-weaved cocoon was a marvel to behold, and crafted with a uniquely hachihashi method that resembled his own molting process years ago. While this cocoon was much larger and luminescent than his own, Jomei was positive that the spiders had presented him with a live Hachihashi cocoon. The swarm of arachnids moved about eagerly as Jomei inched towards the mighty coccoon; and even worse, agitated any time Jomei showed hesitation. He could feel it… they wanted him to cut it open with that cheap dagger, and free whoever, or whatever awaited him within.

WC566
 

Jomei

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At the behest of his hissing arachnid company, Jomei climbed up to the cocoon that awaited him, and carefully dug his blade through the webbing. He made a single incision spanning from the top to bottom, if only to create openings in the surface so he could pry the cocoon open with his bare hands. This would have been a much easier task if Jomei had all six of his arms, but his willpower didn’t waiver despite his misfortune. His fingers formed grooves against the cocoon's shell as he pulled with all his might, so much that he could hear and feel the fabrics ripping apart beneath. The webs snapped, strand by stand until the glowing amber lights revealed the sleeping soul within. Golden locks shimmered even in the dim light, and a fair young face met Jomei’s eyes; a woman of all things, silent and motionless. The awaiting audience paused in hesitation like viewers on the edge of their seats at the most dramatic part of a film. She was much prettier than what Jomei expected to pop out; only moments ago, Jomei was cutting the fibers with thoughts of a homicidal spider demon filling his imagination. He was sure that a razor-sharp hand, blacker than charcoal would reach out of the hole he tore into the cocoon, and rip the heart out of his chest. “You picked one hell of a place to molt... Come on, it’s time to wake up” Jomei spoke softly as he tried to awaken the girl without startling her, or even worse, the arachnid horde. Jomei continue cutting an opening down the center of her capsule, and started a conversation with her sleeping body, given he rarely saw other people these days. “You have no idea what a relief it is to see another human right now.” He used the term loosely, even making finger quotations with a free hand as he said so. “ I just knew you were going to have me for dinner” Then he made one last tear for good measure, and removed the obstacles that prevented him from pulling out of the encasement. “You aren’t going to eat me, right?” He joked.

Finally, the blonde maiden gave a single cough, signifying life while Jomei began pulling her free from the webbing that bounded her so tightly. And as she came free, she and her saviour fell back from the cocoon, and landed on the floor of the sanctum. Jomei was finally able to see her in the clear candle light, and marveled at this woman, who was covered in a skin-tight suit made from her sticky gold armor. Something about the drop stirred her senses, and she awoke in Jomei’s arms, only to seek freedom and push herself away, to the ground. Her body crashed flatly with a thud as she rolled onto the sand and dust of grounded bones. She floundered and panicked as the oxygen slowly seemed into her lungs, and her body was challenged to resume full function. While Jomei wanted to offered her comfort and aide, he gave the strange woman space and attempted to snap her into reality via helpful language. “Whoa, take it easy. It looks like you just woke up from your molt… it’s like a coma with an alarm clock. But judging from the look of this place, I don’t think yours ever went off.”

The young woman finally awoke, only to look at Jomei trivially, and struggled to an upright, sitting position. When Jomei offered her a hand, she persisted in waving to decline. She then swiveled her upper body to the left, and swung away from Jomei before unleashing a pool of file upon the floor. Her first sound then echoed off the cavern walls; a repulsed groan and moan; one that upset the legion of followers that crowded the sanctum, and summoned a single spider which rushed towards the duo of human-kind. Hesitant to intervene, Jomei felt clueless as he watched the spider rush to aid his damsel, and she eagerly took it’s assistance as she grabbed the hairs on it’s side, and legs, to brace her as she climbed to her feet. At first she leaned against the creature, but then she sat up it as if it were her steed. “What time is it?” Her first words rolled of her tongue crudely, though she finally seemed alert, which was a plus. “I don’t know” Jomei gave a snappy answer. “I didn’t get a chance to put my watch on before your spiders kidnapped me…My best bet is It’s probably around two a.m., maybe three. Three thirtyish.”

The estranged woman continued to look about her temple, and back Jomei as if he were just one small part of the scenario. She then broke her silence again and asked “what year?” with an accent all too strange to him. Her voice slightly-resembled the accents of Mist natives Jomei knew such as Hissori, but was much more regal and old-fashioned. “You’re serious” Jomei suspected with a tired groan. “What kind of molt takes over a year? I molted a few years ago, but my transformation only took a couple weeks.” Though he criticized the stranger, he recognized the sheer quality and grade of her sticky gold, which made flat panels that fit smoothly onto her armor- an impossible feat for a novice hachihashi. “I know you just woke up, but I have a lot of questions about this place… A-And you..’” Despite exiting her transformative molt, the gold-covered mystery was missing a key component of the hachiashi brand. “Where are your arms?”

* Grunt - sniff*

“Where are your arms? You meet me and that’s the first thing you’ve gotta ask about.” She sprawled out upon the mammoth spider’s illuminated thorax, and stretched out lazily as it began to carry her away from Jomei and his questions. “Come on then, Jomei... it seems like there’s a lot I ought to explain for ya. Has your piece of shit father ever told you anything about the Web of Fate?” The horde of spiders began to drift deeper into the cavernous temple, and took their queen with them. She waved her hands freely, presumably signalling for Jomei to follow along.
Jomei followed after her, rather than facing a stampede of the enigmatic woman in gold’s arachnid drones. “You know my name” Jomei realized. “Please tell me you’re not always this on the nose. I didn’t wait all this time just for you to turn out as some blue-blooded stiff.” The gold-laced spider-woman. She rolled herself over, and turned to glare at Jomei as she rode comfortably ahead of him, and he marched behind, stepping around deposits of crystalline stones the size of tree stumps.

“Then give me something to work with. The whole abduction ergo introduction thing was an awful way to kick this off. Were you really molting, or is that just how you make an entrance? I just freed you from your thousand year slumber or something, didn't I? And now you’re going to sacrifice me on that altar back there to restore your powers… Are you going to feed me to your spider army, or is it just a soul sucking kind of thing?”

“How can you be so against something if you’ve never tried it? I mean, have you ever sucked soul before? It can be empowering. Addictive, even.” When she bothered to look directly at Jomei, she pierced through him with pristine blue eyes shaped like fine sapphires. The army of spiders began to flow into a riveting gash in the tunnel walls lined with crystalline growths, and an intense blue light that shined from within. With the crevice to her back, Jomei’s host stood upon her eight-legged steed and looking onto her underling with pride as he’d witness their kind’s greatest accomplishment: a mystical platform for mapping the connections of souls in the ether of space and time. “You probably wouldn’t be here now to make jokes, and we wouldn’t have access to the web with me sucking some soul out of someone at some point in the past. But that’s behind me.”

“Who are you?”

“I already warned you about asking direct questions like that. But I’m going to explain this one for you since we really should get the formalities out of the way.” She then jumped down from her spider-steed, and felt all readjusted to being mobile after such an extended slumber. Her height was a mere few inches below Jomei, and she came to observe him face to face; kin to kin. “I am your elder within our family cell: Koyanagi Emi.”

WC1439
 

Jomei

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“Koyanagi Emi” he repeated her name under his breath, and practiced sounding the vowels to himself as she gained some distance up the crystalline path ahead of him. He leapt onto the crystal wall and began darting up the cliffside with a unique climbing style that merged the tree-climbing technique and a spider’s crawl. It resembled incredible parkour, and with this impressive agility, he arrived behind Emi on the cliff’s edge with good time. Jomei crept by her side, and took in deep breaths of the stale cave air with a grim expression sweeping his face. Quite winded. “I would have let you ride the back of one of my spiders if you had asked” Emi said after the fact. “Sorry, but I have been carried around by spiders enough for one night” Jomei admitted before being captivated by the Web of Fate. Emi dismounted her own steed and stepped forth toward the giant blue spiderweb surrounded by eight platforms installed on the ground, cave walls and ceiling. Eight stations for eight spiders.


Emi’s swarm of light bulb spiders continued to swell around the entrance of this cavern, but didn’t crawl close to the monument of living energy that covered the center of the cavern. With a snap of her fingers, Emi commanded her horde to freeze in place, and she spoke softly in their silence: “Begone to your rooms children, Jomei and I need to talk about some grown up things.” The entire flock of them fled the their sight in a flash; disappearing into every shadow and crevice until there was only two beings left in sight, and they both walked on two feet. “I must say, I find it unacceptable that you’re a hachihashi who doesn’t like spiders” Emi admitted with a stern expression and hands on her hips. “I never said that I-” Jomei attempted a rebuttal, but she wouldn’t allow it. “Don’t even bother… I have a coalescent mental link with the horde, and I’ve seen your abduction now. My powers are slowly coming back, along with most of my memory.”
This woman was indeed the Spider Queen of lore, and had the key to Jomei’s evolution as a hachihashi. This entire expedition came down to the chance to be in her presence, and here he was, having her full attention at the pedestal of the Web of Fate. “So your spiders knew I was in Kirigakure” Jomei surmised. “Yes” Emi answered, “my spiders have been watching you since you arrived on this island with your servant.”

“She wasn’t my servant” Jomei said sharply. “Sara was studying medicine, and the medical corps assigned her to my expedition to survey the water country territory.”

“And how did that work out?”

“My study has been inconclusive.”

“My spiders may not have the jaw structure to talk like us, but they can listen and understand us very well. You have spent weeks holed up in that armory, positive that your little helper was devoured by earthbound spirits.” Her words were stirring Jomei, but she would not cease. “For all your grief and misery, your little sidekick has actually left you to die on this god forsaken ice-cube, and already set off for greener pastures; right after she acquired a contract with some Kami. You weren’t really waiting for your little friend to pop up out of the snow, were you? Determination was enough to bring you this far, but it brought you no closer to reaching my temple once you ran out of clues and the elements shut down your expedition. You couldn’t find me, so I had to come to you, or at least that is what my minions decided upon. You see, I have been within that cocoon since you left this island, Jomei. I have been told through the hive mind that I have been in stasis within my cocoon for seventeen years- that’s seven years longer what I discussed with Benjiro. So do tell me, what has become of you Koyanagi Jomei”

“Koyanagi?” The confusion Emi was causing for Jomei was stunning. “It’s Matsui” he insisted. “And I’m beginning to think you might have your hachihashi mixed up. I recall living my early childhood in a rice farming community, sowing crops in the akatsuchi marshes; not living as a Matsui heir in my father’s manor.”

As Jomei put a foot down to protect his identity, Emi began wander around him slowly during their chat, observing the boy whom she also thought to be so enigmatic. It seems as if her efforts to grant Jomei a life away from the structure imposed by her Hachihashi Society only resulted in another manipulative game by Matsui Benjiro, who deprived Jomei of his roots entirely. “I’m aware from your chat with the Iron Monk that Benjiro enabled you to make this journey to Kirigakure, and that the whole survey ordeal was a farce-- but what did you expect to happen once you found me here? What kind of lie did Benjiro tell you when he gave you his journal, and pushed you into this journey that almost costed both of our lives?”

“Does it really matter? If you’re just going to keep trashing my father and I, I might as well get back on my boat and return home… According to your spiders I’m out of reasons to stay in this place another minute.” Not even the glorious web of fate was intriguing enough for Jomei to willingly take more of Emi’s insults. He took paces aside, and began to back away from the web and Emi as well.

“You never answered me when I asked you- what happened to your arms, earlier. I simply lost my arms- along with a few of my other, juicier features during my latest molt” Emi explained in an effort to reel in their conversation, and mix more directness and honesty, as her young companion required. “But you…”

“My powers began to dwindle after I had my chakra drained during a brief exchange a few months ago... My spider sense has been reduced, so has the strength of my webbing; and then my arm mutation just kind of vanished. Then, the kunoichi who drained my chakra instantly replicated my arms. I’m actually concerned that she took them permanently.” His burst of energy that accompanied his spiking anger subsided, and Jomei began to sulk as Emi occupied a doctoring role, and listened to his story closely. “I came here hoping for a solution to my power block, and while the chances seem slim now, I also hoped to advance my studies in the process.”

“The Kunoichi who stole your powers didn’t do it permanently, or else you wouldn’t be here to tell me about her. In fact, she used one of our own jutsu to jack your powers. While she probably doesn’t have your extra arms anymore, you still lack yours because you lack the power to respawn them.” As she spoke, Emi directed her wandering over to one of the summoning platforms that surrounded the Web of Fate, and waved for Jomei to follow. “Spawning your devolved transformation isn’t one of the gifts granted to us by the blood pact that created the Hachihashi ages ago... but it can be done. If you want your arms back, you will need to learn a secret technique known by us as Kimera no Jutsu.”

Jomei’s brows perked with intrigue. “Wait, I’ve heard of that; it’s a jutsu forbidden in every known countryland, punishable by imprisonment or even death.”

“That’s the one” Emi said with an accompanying nod. “The Hachihashi have used the jutsu in secret for ages to gain the attributes needed to navigate this bad boy.” She raised her right arm and pointed at the glorious web of chakra. “The Hachihashi bloodline is capable of much more than the abilities you have amassed so far Jomei. We are all born with a few limited skills, but utilizing the web of fate calls for each participant to possess or acquire rare Hachihashi attributes abilities, impossible for any single clansman to acquire from birth.”

“That explains all the mutant bones in your sanctum.”

“Not in the slightest; no it doesn’t.” Emi loved explaining all of her nonsense history to the boy. “Kimera no Jutsu in a pretty open and closed process; much cleaner than the methods our predecessors once used to gather chakra to maintain the Web. What do you have to fear if you become a Kimera Hachihashi? You don’t have many Hachihashi left to absorb, even if you wanted to.”

After almost having a curse seal branded upon him in a drastic attempt to seal his hachihashi genes, Jomei had much to consider as this new acquaintance revealed new aspects of his own past, and offered him a new path of evolution greater than anything ever hoped for. He felt compelled by her offer, and his intrigue peaked. “Is that really an offer I hear?”

“Me giving you the Kimera no Jutsu Sealing is probably the only way to you’ll be able to restore your abilities, Jomei, that is true… But I am also taking a huge risk by sharing this ability with you, as you could just turn on me the moment I embed the seal into your body… But I do have a feeling about you.” As she spoke, Emi raised her arms at chest level, and she began preparations for the ritual by peeling away the golden armor that molded onto her hands. It was stretchy and resistant as she pulled it off, like a tight-fitting latex glove. Her hands were sleek and frail, pale and unworn, yet seal markings arose from the tops of her palms and resembled new tattoos. “That being said, I’m willing to take this risk and copy my Kimera Seal onto you if you agree to enter a pact with me, and offer your services in seeing through the remainder of my previous pact with your so-called father, Benjiro.”

He crossed his arms. “And that pact is…?”

“Seventeen years ago, I made a deal with Benjiro, where I offered to hand over the Hachihashi’s fortune to him in exchange for raising you, and keeping you safe for exactly ten years. How he did that was solely up to him, which explains your humble beginnings on the rice farm. I imagine it built some character in you, and kept you from being so entitled like the rest of his lot. Most importantly he had you carefully tucked away in a remote setting, with no one around to suspect that you were one of the last Hachihashi of the Water Country. So then he came to collect you in time, and raised you as his own… The confusing part that really fucks with my soul, is why he chose to wait an extra seven years before he sent you back to complete our transaction. This is why I appear so young, and have sealed my own transformations.” With her arms still raised, Emi laid her palms out flat and sought Jomei to come closer. “Activating your Kimera seal may be the key to regenerating both of our powers. Come. Agree to bind with my Kimera Seal and I will grant you the fortune of the Konayagi and Ebihara families, or what we have reduced to now calling the Hachihashi Fortune. You will do what you please with it, it no longer suites my interest in life. Hmph. Give Benjiro pennies if you see fit.”

“Fine,” Jomei rolled up his sleeves and stepped into the light that began to emanate from Emi. He felt such an anxious hope within the presence of Emi, the Spider Queen. “I’ll become a Kimera and keep the pennies, too” he added as he laid his hands flat upon hers, and readied himself to receive the Kimera Sealing Jutsu.

WC1977
 

Jomei

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Jomei’s pulse quickened once his open palms laid flat over Emi’s palms; and he could feel the presence of her chakra like a physical force, filling the molecules of space between their skin. Her chakra was cold, and a light that began to glow like a fire in the night came from a pattern of seals which covered Emi from her hands, up her wrist and collar to her chest, where the glowing marks formed a spider-shaped symbol at the center, covering her sternum. The light pierced the golden weave of spider silk covering her skin, and shined heavenly. Standing face to face against Emi, Jomei nearly crumbled under the pressure created by her stare, but stood firm; only letting his sweaty palms and nervous blinking through his calm, cool, and collected act. Their clasped hands then split apart, and stretchy webbing expanded in the distance between them. Chakra took form within the webbing, and it glowed as well under the spell of Emi’s control, like chakra wiring used for manipulating kugutsu. “I’m taking control of your body now” Emi warned Jomei, “Try not to resist me, unless you want to ruin the sealing.”

Her eyes glowed like red hot with the passion of flames as her first Kimera ability allowed her to tap into Jomei’s consciousness with an indomitable gaze. She began weaving unique hand seals at an impressive pace, and Jomei’s body jerked into motion, copying her perfectly, to his own surprise. At the end of her complicated seal algorithm, both the kunoichi and her mirroring ninja counterpart made and held the ram seal. On cue, Jomei felt a rush of pain and pressure to his ribcage and obliques. His upper-body nearly doubled in width as his additional arms formed under the constriction of the heavy coat he wore. The jacket’s zipper ripped open, and it split open to reveal four incredible mutant arms, grown with his reawakened hachihashi genes. Each arm was beet red from their shoulders to his fingertips, but it wasn’t gore from the transformation- infact that occurred cleanly without a mess. The four appendages throbbed with freshly formed muscle fibers and swollen blood vessels. The top side of his forearms sprouted several barbs made from incredibly dense, hardened skin and exo-skeletal growth. These arms were unlike the four he had months ago, the last four were a plain sort that matched his body human pair. These freakish pairs had flavor to them; though Jomei didn’t seem so excited when he laid eyes on what had become of them. “You could have warned me about the scales and barbs bit.”

“This isn’t the first time I have seen a set of red arms like those--” Emi revealed with a curious energy to her words. “But don’t be worried, these arms aren’t permanent like your first set, I think I managed to pull some of your Awakening out of you.”

“Awakening?”

“Ughh. Basically, every Hachihashi has a special set of abilities they are capable of manifesting on a limited basis. Utilizing a few jutsu our clan has created over the ages will allow you to awaken them at will, but just how weird they are mostly depends on your own genes and a little luck. Using my Gaze of Enslavement I forced you to awaken your dormant Hands of Tsuchigumo.” She then peeled away the webbing that linked them together. Emi brought herself closer to Jomei again, and took a hold of one of his left hands to feel his coarse skin, and protruding arm barbs. “They are magnificent, and I tried to replicate them, but it looks like you’re the only one meant to have them for the time being. Six-handed seals are the only way to perform the Hachihashi rendition of the Kimera no Jutsu; without my own, I will have to use my Gaze of Enslavement to sync up with you again and combine our efforts to perform the sealing. Now let’s get on with this... remove your jacket.”

Jomei backed out of her grasp and proceeded to undo his winter coat as she demanded, and ignored the biting cold air the circulated the cave. He revealed his bare chest, and placed his trust in the capable hands of Emi; an apparent sage in the Hachihashi arts. “I’m not about to grow extra eyes or pincers around my mouth, am I?” Though he spoke with sarcasm, Emi gave him a smug “maybe” in reply before her eyes began to glow sinisterly once again. “Ok, I really should warn you this time around, though.” Her words gave Jomei a sinking feeling the churned in his gut. And she continued. “Attempting to pass the Kimera Seal onto you this way is going to drain me of my powers temporarily. Once the sealing is complete, the Spider Horde won’t recognize me any longer, and you will have to use my Gaze of Enslavement to establish the hive mind."

“Wait” Jomei protested, “what if I can’t figure out how to do it? This is a terrible idea--” His eyes turned pale in the pupils and gained a red glow as the gaze of enslavement took control of him once again. He turned quiet and motionless, and Emi took his hands once more to initiate the Kimera Sealing. “I’m not wasting another minute down in this rotten cave. Jomei: use the Gaze of Enslavement to take control of the Light Spider Horde.” Using her Kinjutsu she delivered a precise command, and all the meanwhile, her spider shaped seal began to glow once more like a beacon of light.
Kumoshīruāto: Kimera no Jutsu</COLOR><COLOR color="#8000FF">
Spider Sealing Art: Chimera Technique

Utilizing Jomei’s hands of Tsuchigumo through her controlling gaze, Emi completed the necessary hand seals to perform the sealing jutsu and mashed her flat palm onto his bare skin. “Seal Inscribe” she called out to her motion, and took her hand away to reveal a black mark tattooed into Jomei’s skin, and linked to him down to his spiritual center. It was the Spider Seal; a symbol of the new limitless power granted to him. Unable to feel the power flowing through him at the moment, Jomei was still deep under the control of Emi’s previous enslavement command as the seal upon his chest wasted no time to activate for itself.

“It worked… and he’s still under my control” Emi realized as she stumbled away from Jomei, and tried to fall gracefully as she collapsed from exhaustion. Emi was momentarily void and watched from a ground view as Jomei still over her, and the Kimera Seal’s activation awakened a mighty swell of chakra within him. He then whipped his head in the direction of the cliff and a familiar sound that crackled and popped from afar. His spider sense had become impeccable for the moment, and he felt the imminent danger that approached. Through the many nooks and crevices that led down the tunnels below Kirigakure, army of spiders began to barrel down towards the hall where their false idol could be found. He did not know whether they were coming because their master had disappeared, or because they were desperate to eradicate the witch who controlled them for what seemed like an eternity. “Here they come!” Emi’s shrieking was the first sign of fear she’d shown, and the last thing Jomei would ever expect to see out of such a demanding personality such as her; but with her powers diminished after sealing was completed, she didn’t even have spider sense to feel them approach before they began to crawl up the walls, and repel from the ceiling towards them. “Jomei: use the Gaze of Enslavement to take control of the Light Spider Horde” Emi repeated her command in hopes that Jomei would snap into action and calm the horde, yet he remained motionless, and the spider drew closer; hissing and rearing their fangs all the meanwhile. “Move it Jomei” she urged him, all the meanwhile struggling to recuperate from the sudden exhaustion she was dealt. “Everything depends on you!”

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Jomei

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The horde of eight-legged soldiers rushed the web of fate’s chamber, and formed a converging swarm around Jomei and their fallen spider queen. The arachnid army formed a living wall of pulsating thoraxes, which fired bursts of flickering light. Thier numbers were beyond the tens of thousands, and drove into the chamber like water into a sinking ship. Each specimen was the size of a great dane or larger, and a second species of larger, stronger spiders crept through the walls by burrowing their own paths into the chamber. The had the potential to eat the humans whole, and crawled into the room with gigantic black bodies, and long, needle-skinned appendages. They were particularly terrifying, so much that I couldn’t dare depict more of the grotesque features.
Kumo no Jutsu: Dorei Jōtai no Shisen
Spider Jutsu: Gaze of Enslavement

As he made his command, Jomei propelled himself upwards to the center of the space, creating a trail of red light from the glow still covering his eyes. However it was no longer the entrapment of Emi’s genjutsu- to carry out her command he revealed his own mass genjutsu, and unleashed it upon the horde from on-top of a high-wire of webbing he created with ease. The entire horde froze in place as thousands of small red lights swept across the chamber.

“Nice Job, Jo-Jo. I don’t think Jorōgumo could have done better herself.” Emi cheered for her sudden predecessor, and admired him as he balanced on the highwire with the entire legion yielding to him. Slowly on the retreat, the mighty horde began to return to the shadows from which they came, and Jomei jumped down from his perch. Emi was managing to sit upright at this point, and Jomei came to help her to her feet. His many hands helped Emi to find balance as she made it to her feet, and she felt the deepest gratitude. But then there was an unexpected turn of events, as Jomei grasped her tightly by the arms, and spun Emi to see him eye to eye. He turned her Gaze of Enslavement onto her, and compelled the powerless spider queen. “How could you?” she asked with bitter scorn in her voice. Her body was frigid and still in Jomei’s grasp as he took total control of everything but her free will to reply. “The spiders have shown me everything you have done since you took command of their nest, and turned them into your legion. You used them to eradicate the Hachihashi clan… That’s why it’s just you and them left behind.” Indeed, the spiders showed Jomei their fragmented memoirs; a flock of memories from the arachnid perspective.
“The people I killed died for the good of the Hachihashi Society- they were the murderers, I only brought the justice for their crimes. The Hachihashi clan was corrupt… It had to be purged.”

“Well, I don’t condone killing and calling it justice. We may have made a deal, but I’m not committing more of my time to becoming a monster like you. I have waited years now to find someone like me, but everything about you so far has been disheartening.” The red glow in their eyes both subsided with a sudden fade, and Jomei released her from his grasp, and she buckled while facing the challenge to stand alone. “But I put so much faith in you” Emi huffed. “The Kimera Seal is the key to my existence, and I shared it with you. And now you’re just going to walk away.”

Jomei had taken several paces away from the crumbling spider queen, and observed the Web of Fate that hung over them. Emi watched him from behind with the spite on the verge of boiling over. “Of course you’d turn on your own kind for Benjiro Matsui. He’s just using you too, you know.”

“He is” Jomei acknowledged. “Both of you have been manipulating me my entire life with this scheme you agreed on. And then tonight you tell me a few vague history lessons, and convinced me to acquire your enslavement spells and soul-stealing jutsu. Until now, I have been a piece on the board in your game, but I’m ready for a new perspective for the next round.” Feel his budding confidence in his new abilities, Jomei approached the Web of Fate’s platform and reached out for the first strands. “In the last hour, you’ve told me more about my own past than Benjiro has ever attempted to even discuss the matter with me. If I am really the Jomei Konayagi you say, then let me use these powers of yours to navigate the web of fate, and see our history for myself.”

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Jomei

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For a limited time only, Jomei possessed the web-walking ability, and could approach the Web of Fate to engage its ability to venture into the Hachihashi past. Nimbly and cautiously, Jomei climbed onto the first few wires of a colossal collection of bright blue strands of light, and ventured into the mass until he was practically lost among them. “This is the way” he whispered to himself with a sense of foresight guiding him into the haze that proceeded to swallow him whole. Soon the strands of webbing faded away from beneath his feet, and the many layers became a single shade of soft blue, and Jomei was suspended alone in nothingness. It was here among the silence where Jomei would be shown a vision containing much of the truth he needed.

The Story of Koyanagi Emi
Once upon a time, Emi Isa was just another child born into a small family of shinobi from the Land of Water, who pledged their loyalty to the Village Hidden in the Mist. While the Isa seemed like just another common household, one of Emi’s parents kept a spectacular secret that would endanger their lives. At the time of her youth, it was common for children to become orphaned by the tragedies committed in the name of her mother’s second life as a hachihashi. While Emi was a mere infant, Emi’s mother disappeared, and was held for three days before being put to death for violating one of the society’s cardinal rules. As to be expected, Emi’s father sought out his wife and the Hachihashi Society desperately, but was also slain at the site where . I know it may sound cruel, but such was life in those times. It would take years for her to learn the truth behind her parents’ untimely death; as it was an era of secrecy for the Hachihashi Society; their numbers were few and they only gathered in seclusion, keeping their evolutions hidden beneath heavy cloaks and jagged daggers. They met in a temple deep underground, in a place where only the Hachihashi could venture safely. that deterred nosey spies from ever spreading the information of their meetings. They did not gather into traditional family structures, and if knowledge of their clan ever leaked, those guilty would have their tongues cut, their eyes plucked, and their arms would be amputated as needed for fellow clansmen in need of a replacement. In their youths, Hachihashi were commonly implanted into prestigious families as adoptive offspring, and trained to keep their powers secret via strong influence from the ever-watchful Hachihashi Society. In the case of this Isa family unit, Emi’s mother outlived her usefulness to the clan by settling down as a mediocre ninja, and breeding with a low-status shinobi from the Hidden Mist. After a very brief deliberation period, the High Council of Eight elected to start over with Emi, and redeploy her with a new family. Once her parents were out of the picture, Emi became a special project of the society, as no Hachihashi child would be left to wander the world alone by their own kind.

Hachihashi Indoctrination:
In the wake of tragedy, Emi was planted into an orphanage, and there she remained from the time her parents died, until she was of age to receive shinobi training- just as her benefactors intended. On assignment from the high council, someone had adopted Emi, and became an medical apprentice to an accomplished field corpsman. She was promptly adopted by a new master named Ukyo Koyanagi, and like Emi, he was born from the Hachihashi. Ukyo was the adopted second-son of an affluent household with investments in the water country’s shipping industry. As was expected of every prestigious family in this era, Ukyo served as the Koyanagi family’s sole contribution to the Hidden Mist’s shinobi army; and with his Hachihashi genetics, he excelled as such. He was a field surgeon, and took pride in his ability to sew just about anything, or anyone back together. His methods were unique, and he was frighteningly quick with a scalpel. But Ukyo was also nurturing. He gave her an alternative to the mundane academy program, and provided her training that would manifest and refine her hidden potential, to reach extraordinary heights. And rather than serving in some rough-neck shinobi squad, Emi would only shadow Ukyo on special assignments that favored her training. Rather than exposing Emi to missions in the killing fields, Ukyo introduced her to espionage and assassinations in the realm of politics and global influence. It may have been something about how the world worked at that time, but Hachihashi Society intended to affect the entire balance of the Water Nation. As Emi’s hachihashi genes began to show in her appearance and capabilities, Ukyo taught her the importance of keeping her evolution a secret, and clan jutsu that enabled her to conceal the transformation. Even as a child, she was beginning to develop hachiashi traits uniquely different from the likes of Master Ukyo. By her teens, Emi styled bangs to cover the six extra arachnid eyes on her forehead, which resembled perfectly-rounded rubies.

A Scheme of Ascension:
By the time Emi reached young adulthood, the prestige of the Koyanagi had grown significantly, and their family’s affluence made them a valuable asset to the Society. Emi had become an heiress to the Koyanagi name by day, while her Master Ukyo graduated from serving as a shinobi, to owning their adoptive families freighting company. The spiders spread their webs wide across what were once the meager Konayagi family, and created a fleet of vessels that spanned as far as the sea was wide. By night, Emi had become an influential tool for the operation, and represented both her family, and the high council at elite social gatherings, like galas and ceremonies. She would attend the events as an invited guest from the Koyanagi family, often wearing exotic and daring appearances that would capture the attention of targets dictated by Master Ukyo. Her methods would range from simplistic strategies like using the party as a means to steal valuable information from an estate, to entertaining elites, and getting close enough to slyly kill a target without alerting a crowd in public. Sometimes she would be asked to take it a step further and extract info from individuals, and that was where she learned to shine the most. Emi enjoyed the game of meddling with the lives of these people who lived in their bubbles. It never felt like reality when she floated through the rooms of countless parties dripping with gold. It seemed as if she could have anything she wanted, as the power of manipulation was hers among her targets and marks, but at the end of the night, she often returned home to her master, who had evolved into a father-like role to Emi, and often awaited her return from missions.

And in the twenty-third year of her experience in life, Master Ukyo had come to Emi with an important mission that asked more of her than anything he requested in the past. It had become Emi’s time to take her place within the society’s great scheme of ascension, and she was given the task of using her nobility to wed herself into an elite family from the neighboring tea country. While the journey would prove quite a challenge for Emi, she would create incredible opportunities for the Hachihashi, and further expand the Koyanagi family’s sphere of influence in the shipping industry.
The mark chosen for their scheme was one of several heirs to the Ebihara family, which were incredibly wealthy, and numerous enough that Emi could afford to be fickle about her groom. In a matter of weeks she transitioned from moving into the country to creating a presence among the aristocracy that controlled the region. She joined them for brunches, and attended sparring matches. She made her way closer to the Ebihara, and it didn’t take long until she found a suitable mark: the third of their fortune’s seven heirs. Using her charisma and months of planning, along with the help of youthful good looks and pheremones that caused males to feel pleasure and attraction in her presence. Needless to say, Emi became a treasure to the Ebihara family, and used her talents to merge their wealth into the Hachihashi Society’s living bank; the Konayagi family. When visiting their estate to meet her mark, Emi played to their interests and acted as an emissary of her family business. She floored her company with her confidence and strength of character, and her beauty in their presence seemed awe-inspiring, if not rare to the seclusion of their estate in the fire country. By nightfall, Emi would don her kunoichi uniform and stealthily raid the family’s estate for records and useful information that would aid Ukyo once he attempted a corporate takeover with the Koyanagi Corporation.

It took several months for Emi to gain a stronghold on the Ebihara family and fortune, and it only costed her an ongoing engagement with the fourth Ebihara heir, which had fallen hopelessly in love with her. As her ferry arrived on the shore of the hidden mist, and Emi made her long-awaited return home, she was eager to tell her master Ukyo of her accomplishments in person. In her excitement, Emi arrived home a day early, and discovered the Koyanagi estate in dire straits, but not in the fashion you’d expect, like what a parent would expect when their kid has a party while they are away. Blood was spilled along the floor of the estate’s main hall and Emi followed the trail to her master’s study, where he lay on the floor, taking his last breaths. Ukyo appeared in his raw Hachihashi form, which was tough-skinned and covered with hardened spikes from his forehead to his elbows, knuckles, and et cetera. He lay mutilated, in a bloody mess with all six of his arms sloppily amputated, along with his pride as the heir of an empire that he created from a mere few fishing boats. As he lay dying, Ukyo lowered the only barrier left himself and his pupil, and told her the truth behind her true family, the Hachihashi Society, and her fate as a member of it. He pleaded for her to understand and forgive his culture, and informed her that the Society would be dealing with her directly from that point forward. Another clansmen would come to her soon, and she would have to conform with their demands, and good things would come of it if she did. The mutilation of Ukyo was merely an act of gifting his arms to another Hachihashi ninja who had been told to take Ukyo’s after losing his own as a casualty of battle. Apparently, the Society decided that Ukyo was no longer of use since Emi had grown into power of her own. They had simply pruned him. But he did not intend for Emi to see him this way, and Ukyo put up quite a fight when the recipient of his donation came to collect the appendages personally, and primitively. The thief used an advanced toxin created by so few Hachihashi, that it proved effective on the clansmen who did not possess his ability. Ukyo lost his mobility after a single dose of the assassin’s poison, and the crazed assassin had a field day with him. Using a makeshift hacksaw he molded from sticky-gold webbing, the killer sawed off Ukyo’s arms after forcing him to reveal them in combat. Emi managed to seal off his bleeding and prolonged his life using the medical techniques Ukyo taught her. Though weak and steadily withering, Ukyo maintained the resolve to tell her the truth about her past, and the order of eight spiders who controlled their lives.

In the weeks following Ukyo’s untimely demise, Emi had to cover for Ukyo’s murder and created a rumor that he was slain in battle elsewhere. The fragile Konayagi family relied upon Emi to take on Ukyo’s responsibilities, and she attained a position of power between two elite families, just as the Hachihashi Society intended. However, no emissary or messenger came for her as quickly as she expected- the order kept it’s distance, watching from the shadows as Emi became burdened by duty and mourning. She returned to the Tea Country, and committed to the wedding, which became a bitter affair in the shadow of Ukyo’s death. During the ceremony, the audience in attendance consisted of mostly Ebihara family members, with no members of the Konayagi willing to cross the sea to attend. It was this night that a stranger took a seat at the rear of the ceremony; he privately revealed himself to Emi during the reception. He was another Hachihashi parading about as a priest from a temple in her home country, and he claimed to have come to show good faith on behalf of her order, the Hachihashi Society. His name was Father Noya Daisetsu, and he began casting doubt upon Ukyo’s last words as the night went on, under their breaths amongst their aristocratic party. He explained that Ukyo was slain as a measure to prevent him from usurping the Society, just as Ukyo intended to eventually do to Emi once his Konayagi operation finished taking over her Ebihara. Father Noya insisted that Ukyo created the lie about the limb offering in order to save face with Emi, and keep her love and loyalty through to his death. The counter-claim worked on Emi long enough for her to succumb to the instructions of her new acquaintance, and Emi received her official welcome to the Hachihashi Society as a recognized member.

The Web of Fate
In time, Emi returned to the Hidden Mist, and Father Noya brought her to the inner sanctum of the Hachihashi Society; a temple hidden deep below the hot spring caverns below the village. She became a trusted member of the Society once her regional influence became a crucial power for them; and as such they risked teaching her their deepest secrets. For years she’d come to serve her order as a member of respected status, well until she reached a respectable position even greater than her Master Ukyo ever aspired for her. As an elite within the order, and the sole female with her level of status, she received the title of Brood Mother and became one of the eight High Council Seers of the order. They revealed a mystical entity to her known as the Web of Fate, an aura of immense chakra that permeated the deepest recess of the cavern with a fine, web-like residue that glowed a bright blue hue, resembling visible traces of chakra. The elders taught Emi how to read and perceive this massive flow of chakra, and to navigate it, as only Hachihashi could. For ages this Secret Order existed to oversee and maintain this giant web, as it held the key to all perceivable existence: past, present, future, and all the paradoxes in between. The elders were capable of climbing onto those fragile web strands without them snapping beneath their weight, and could foresee the outcomes of several future realities of their hachihashi kind by simply running a finger along a thread of the web. With this powerful tool at their disposal, the Order of Eight constructed an elaborate organization that existed to protect this power for generations to come; and manipulated their way into power and influence around the ninja world.

In order for Emi to amass the skills she’d need to navigate and read the Web of Fate, Emi was chosen for a ritual performed only once per generation, when a new member is chosen to join the Order of Eight they are taught a forbidden technique known as Kimera no Jutsu: a necessity for attaining the needing abilities to access the Web of Fate. A Hachihashi must use the Kimera no Jutsu to sacrifice several of the their own kind in order to manifest new abilities, and ultimately, immortality, as it took several lifetimes to attain enough skill to properly master the web. Emi chose to hasten her learning by turning on the elders who saw fit to destroy everything she loved in life. Unlike Ukyo or the other Hachihashi who came before her, Emi was not satisfied with the explanation she was given for the self-destructive design of her clan, and elected to rebuild it from within by completing the uprising Ukyo spent so many years preparing. An uprising was due for this order, and her judgement was swift as Emi wasted no time, and absorbed her first elder during the sealing ceremony. Her attack was vicious as she was being celebrated and helped off of the table where they performed the jutsu sealing as she committed the attack: the ultimate heresy. Her rage was hidden and her plans were calculated. While Emi was not the best-trained killer, her raw talent was incredible and she instantly benefited from stealing the life force of the first elder; as her body transformed irreversibly that very moment, and her hachihashi limbs shot outward from her body and pierced her foes with hardened black fingers. That night, Emi managed to murder and absorb three of the eight High Council members; but had to retreat once the remaining elders regroup and revealed their own advanced abilities which still overpowered her. She narrowly escaped the temple that night once the other clansmen within the society got wind of her betrayal. Her bones were broken, and one of her arms were even lost in the fray, yet a new regenerative ability she absorbed from the third councillor allowed her limb to regrow before the next morning came.

The Reign of Madame Web
That night would forever change the path of Emi’s fate, as she outcasted herself from the Hachihashi Society, and changed her appearance radically by absorbing so many hachihashi at once, that she would need to relearn many of her transformation jutsus to conceal her new true form. The Hachihashi blood flowing through her veins had become so dominant that her lower body evolved into a spider like thorax and anus, and her appendages relocated and extended themselves. Emi disappeared at once from Ebihara and Koyanagi fortunes, and went into hiding as her Hachihashi brethren began a bloody, and vengeful hunt that spilled blood all the way from the Hidden Mist to her Estate in the Tea Country. Expecting this kind of reaction from her clan, Emi had their assets frozen and hidden in advance to the Kimera no Jutsu ritual. She protected her master’s mighty fortune from the society, and hid them in a vault in an undisclosed location in the fire country. In the following few decades, Emi dedicated her life to taking over the Hachihashi Society, and one by one, she managed to unseat and devour the elders who currently controlled it. In the time it took to accomplish her plans and destroy the society, Emi watched as the fire of her youth began to wither, and she became an elder herself, in her 50’s as she assumed the role of Madame Web, and with it the loyal followership of the hachihashi still alive to witness their new queen, and her bloody hands. Her power became godly among the ninja of her era, and her authority became unquestionable as she learned the ways of the Web of Fate. And while Emi may have attained power in order to end the cycle of self-destruction celebrated by her ancestors, Emi was not capable of creating a new sustainable way of life for their order, and she witnessed as it crumbled in numbers and influence. Changes at the turn of the century led to a revolution on the Hachihashi people which Emi welcomed, and the decree of secrecy was finally lifted from their people, with the exception of the Web of Fate.

Under her leadership, the Hachihashi became respected members of the shinobi of the hidden mist, and spread themselves across the continent over the next several decades of Emi’s reign. The spiders finally existed as a clan of free people, but as a result, their order began to dwindle to little but the Madame and her Web; as the local clansmen disappeared from her side, and knowledge of the Web of Fate came down to Emi and a select few others, meant to maintain it in the event something ever happened to her.

As the health of her clan reached the pits of disparity, Emi resorted to the Web of Fate to uncover the future that was destined for her clan, and the village hidden in mist alike. Almost twenty years ago, Madame Web made a deal with a young adventurer who had uncovered the Sacred Temple of the Spider, and sought after the heiress of the Koyanagi family Emi once was. His name was Benjiro Matsui, and he was a bothersome curr from the Stone Country who was managing to dig up the connections between the many affluent Hachihashi who originated in the water country. Seeking the fortune of Emi Koyanagi to save his own noble family, Benjiro collected a small army of mercenaries from the middle-seas and hunted down the Spider Queen’s lair. They fought through the Madame’s own army of spiders, which she gained sentient of control of using some of the many abilities she gained using her forbidden jutsu. Countless spiders were slain as the army plunged into her temple, and nothing but Benjiro and a couple of his best men made it onto her throne room floor. They found a pristine hall covered in gold and lit torches, and an exquisite goddess of spiders who watched intensely as they stormed her palace. Attempting to take something that wasn’t there, Benjiro claimed that the Madame used her clan to steal the fortune of Emi Koyanagi using their implanted operative, her master Ukyo. Benjiro intended on confiscating the fortune on behalf of the Water Country, but Emi was quick to correct him and reveal that she was indeed Emi Koyanagi herself. She saw through his claims and intentions, and ensured him that the fortune he wanted was not there, and that she had an offer for him that would end with him being rewarded with the entire fortune if he agreed to meeting her terms. The Spider Queen foresaw Benjiro’s scheme with the Web, and chose to use him to her advantage since the village of mist would meet it’s demise to the eternal winter that would eventually doom it, and her clan. She revealed a small orphaned child from underneath her robes; a baby boy wearing a red cotton cap and garments, in a basket made of straw. His name was Jomei Koyanagi, or so she claimed urgently, upon revealing him. She made him a deal: if he would raise this hachihashi child, and send him back to her in fifteen years once his hachihashi abilities were fully revealed, she would grant Benjiro the treasure he desired, or else she’d kill him then and there; and he’d never manage to find that fortune if he managed to escape her temple with his life in tact. With no choice but to take her deal, Benjiro Matsui took the child Jomei, and left her sight at once. As Benjiro her temple left with the child of burden, Emi warned him that he should urge Jomei to manage his abilities secretively, as he would be at risk to remaining Hachihashi of the world who still believed in sacrificing weaker specimens, as being a Koyanagi would make him extra valuable. In order to protect his foster son more effectively, he resorted in branding him with his own name, Matsui.

While she did not tell Benjiro, her scheme was intended to ensure that her clan would see the next generation, and a vassal would eventually arrive to awaken her from the next phase of her plan to save the future: reincarnation. In her collected wisdom, Emi devised a new method reincarnate herself and achieve a new youthful form, so that she would regain the vitality needed to rebuild the web of fate once the hidden mist was destroyed by the unending storm. During their lifetimes, each Hachihashi is capable of molting at least once; a process where their bodies are saved from certain death by secreting sticky webbing until they are encased in a cocoon, and undergoing a healing transformative process. Most Hachihashi use this process to gain their special abilities, but Emi had yet to molt, and molting after receiving her Kimera no Jutsu sealing would result in something drastically different and uncharted. Her theory was full reincarnation, but she predicted that the full molting process would take her years to fully reincarnate. Once the diplomat left with the key to unsealing her special molting process, Emi ordered her remaining army of giant arachnids to guard her temple ferociously, allow no one but the Hachihashi to enter domain again, and began a long sleep she expected to last about a decade. She remains asleep till this day, awaiting Jomei to awaken her from her reincarnation slumber, still clinging to life despite her slumber lasting several years longer than expected.

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Jomei

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As the blue haze of the passage through space and time lifted, Jomei found himself back where the illusion began, deep within the web of fate. He could feel a difference in his ability to web-walk upon his return, and he nervously balanced himself as he made his exit from the mystical creation. “That was incredible” he admitted with excitement circulating through him, but found nothing but an empty chamber, as Emi disappeared, along with every trace of her eight-legged legion. It appeared as if a decent amount of time had passed while Jomei was within the Web of Fate, and by the time he returned, Emi chose to make her next move in the game Jomei referenced previously. After spending some time wandering the halls of the barren Hachihashi temple, Jomei discovered that the mysterious spider woman had left him high and dry, and taken her entire army with her. Jomei’s attempts to uncover valid or useful information within the various chambers also proved to be a fruitless endeavor, as he found nothing but empty cocoons and broken mutant bones. But in an hour’s time, a single someone arrived to meet Jomei within that empty temple. A giant tarantula with grizzly brown fur, and stocky long legs lowered itself from a gap in the ceiling. The creature made a whistling sound as it approached Jomei, who couldn’t sense him approaching with his spider sense, despite it being keener than ever. While the younger jomei would’ve ran for the the freezing surface realm, this new Jomei awaited the landing of his eight legged friend, and saw the tarantula’s coming as a good sign.

“Hmm” Jomei sighed curiously, and noticed the collection of his own things packaged into a sack on the giant spider’s back. Once the beast landed, Jomei approached him with a single hand reaching out to pet it’s face. It was not until now that Jomei noticed that his psychic bond with the creatures had faded away, in addition to the Hands of Tsuchigumo he had grown from his sides, hours ago. [color=cc3333]“Did Lady Emi send you to me?”[/color] He wondered. The mighty arachnid then dropped a sable scroll marked with a dollop of gold webbing, shaped into a spider, cleverly. Hardly hesitating to read it, Jomei snapped the golden seal and unfurled the scroll to it’s almost dropped to the floor. It contained a shoddily drawn map with primitive details and an X marking the spot, along with a handwritten letter to follow. Her letter left him instructions on where to go from here, and claim the fortune meant for him as the supposed heir of Benjiro Matsui, rather than the Koyanagi, and subsequently the Hachihashi they represented. While she did not tell him of her whereabouts, it was safe to assume that Jomei would find her again once he sought her fortune. In exchange for freeing her, she left him behind a single spider that would accompany him in returning to the Earth Country, given his servant abandoned him some time ago. “Oye, Juntaro” he greeted the giant spider personally, using the name Emi provided for him in her letter. She provided him the spider as a parting gift, and something like a bond between them despite how poorly their last moment together transpired. Before learning the secrets of the spider-queen, he grossly misunderstood her motives and destroyed the faith she put in him as a potential saviour for their Spider Clan. It must have been the Web of Fate who directed her to send Jomei away, as a measure to ensure the clan’s survival following once the unending storm began. In his small period of time within the Web, Jomei was shown the abstract of Emi’s origin story. Who knew what Emi learned following a lifetime of access to the web of fates depth and insight? In her letter, Emi urged Jomei to think carefully before returning to the Hidden Stone with the Koyanagi Fortune, and considering her words, he made a decision after a moment taken to deliberate on the matter.

“Alright, little Juntaro” he petted his companion beast, “thank you for gathering my things. I say it’s time we get moving… I never thought this day would come, but it’s time to head home.” The large arachnid received Jomei with a personable attitude, and seemed to be agreeable with his human friend, to say the least. Jomei was careful not to agitate Juntaro as he climbed onto his back, and took a seat in front on sack filled with Jomei’s equipment and the inventions he was developing during his stay at the foundry. Jomei donned his heavy winter equipment and clothing from within the large sack, and loaded his tools and weaponry below his thick winter cloak. The time had come to embark once again; first to his steam-engine on the sea, and then to the Village Hidden in the Stones.

WC818
- Jomei has left the Thread
- Jomei has left the Water Country
- B-Rank - 2 Hours (120 Minutes) to leave village