Tea party [Open]

Toraono Michino

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Toushin heard the voice behind him and turned expecting to face a woman. The tone and command it had spoke of age, yet when he came about face to see a teenager, his face dropped a little. The urge to complain to the owner of the establishment was rising from his gullet when he heard the tea cup hit the floor. As he turned his head he watched the porcelain magically lift from its shattered form to return to Alice’s hand. Toushin blinked once, and then again to make sure he wasn’t seeing things as the stray thought of a mild concussion crossed his mind. Yet the girl before the assassin looked like a peon having been caught slacking off by their boss.

Alice wasted no time in trying to get arrangements to have them both personally seated, and once again Uzu had to wonder if his brains had been addled by the White Rabbit’s attack. Watching a feline-esq woman appear out of thin air wasn’t the weirdest thing he’d seen living in Suna; but it sure came damn close. Then, before the cat could do anything, she faded in exact reverse as if someone had decided to pause and rewind her timeline specifically. Akazukin pleaded that the old assassin follow her through a mirror, and to his credit, the killer tried to follow through. She seemed to have more charge in the place than looks alone told him. He confidentially strode forward.
Yet met solid glass.
The hit bounced him back off the mirror a little, yet no one seemed to be daring to mock him. His hands reached up without shame to touch the frame of the mirror looking for a trick switch. His stomach began to growl in complaint as it waited for Uzu to attempt and figure out the puzzle laid out before him.

Anything to get a pleasant, and safe, meal away from the hustle and bustle.
 

Haku Ren

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It seems there were already occupants in this room; two of which seem to be too busy talking to each other to even notice her. The one that did acknowledge her was one of the staff and from the look of the mark on the girls wrist it was clearly one of Hakuren’s dolls. Akazukin could hear the other man trying to enter the same way she did. It should not take him too long to realize the the mirror was not connected to the wall, but rather leaning against it. Should he move the mirror to the side he would uncover an entrance way. Akazukin could open it for him but she had other business to attend to and he seems to be smart enough to figure it out himself.

“Sousuke-sama, it has been quite some time. I do hope I’m not interrupting a story session.” The Snow White puppet was quick to inform Akazukin that she is not. Snow White even goes on to say that the story has pretty much came to a close. Akazukin gives a sinister grin, “Good.” She pulls out her pistol with lightning speeds and shoots Snow White right in the stomach. The goal to the attack was to disarm the weapon from the puppeteer and it did indeed causes the chakra strings to snap as the doll goes flying backwards. It was a wound that would not be fatal and yet Snow White would seem to be dead from it. Blood came seeping through the wound dying her clothes a crimson red, however before a pool starts to form, Akazukins Tokeigan spins backwards.

Akazukin rewinds the effects of her own attack. Blood returns from which it came and the clothes mystically become clean once more. Snow White even stands back up for a moment and the bullet returns to the pistol. The served chakra strings were also restored, but the puppeteer was caught off guard with the sudden renewal and ends up dropping the puppet. Once again Snow White falls lifeless, but this time intact. Nobu, Sousuke and possibly Uzu would likely be shocked at this display. “You’re a journeyman, how would you describe such piece of work?” Hakuren believes his work nothing but wall hangers, but Akazukin things otherwise.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

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The Lord Steward held his hands behind his back. He was not wearing a fine suit of clothes, but rather his word attire which was a thin suit of metal. It was a dull grey. He would exchange glances with Akazukin who had very much came and very much engaged with him in the social artform. "It has been a number of cycles since you've been in my presence, yes that is indeed correct."<i></i> He would seem unphased by the incident that had occurred moments ago. The complete and total rejection of the fairy tale coming to an ending, or at least an ending that Nobu had wanted. What next occured was ... a surprise for Sousuke even. The woman took out a firearm and shot Snow White. The Lord Steward was not prone to emotional reactions. He remained his calm neutral self. He did turn to look down at the body. He noticed that the body was very much dead, and for the wrong reasons.

Nobu on the other hand had broken out into a sweat, and looked very much panicked. The large noble did not piece together that a stomach wound was not something that should be fatal. "Good gracious man. We should get her to the hospital, is anyone on site a physician?"<i></i> He would call out. At this point then time would rewind itself."Didn't that just occur a moment ago?"<i></i> Nobu asks with mild confusion. The noble this time simply pats his head. He looked down at the body. No blood this time, but a very dead body. Nobu would look over to Sousuke. Usually the Lord Steward had a mind for these things. If the man was reacting calmly then... there had to be a reason.

Sousuke would say nothing at first. He would inhale, and then exhale. "Are we talking the pistol or Snow White?"<i></i> He answers the question with a question of itself. He holds up his hand gesturing the number one. "The firearm in question is finely crafted. Unfortunately I am not in a position to look at the bullets. The bullets very much need to be observed in order to make a final judgment. Gunpowder, which I have recently come to understand, when in the hands of the uninitiated is very much a liability, which has led to most Suna nin in this modern era to seek alternatives. Not to mention sand rendering most firearms useless, and so we use chakra to replace gunpowder and we make use of elemental shots."<i></i> He would nod his head at that point. He was speed talking the entire time. He made a gesture of sorts for the woman to turn her gun sideways so he could get a better look at it. The Steward would then hike his thumb over to Snow White. He would turn then to look over. "I would describe her as ... exceptional. The human quality was ... disturbingly spot on. The blood was a bit much, but the realism is there. The flaw was the movement, the blood spill for a single shot was not ... proportionate. Still though, I do not think most people would catch that."<i></i>
 

Toraono Michino

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The older gentleman, a red tone to his cheeks, finally found the entrance after testing if the mirror was moveable. With a soft grunt and a pang of fire in his shoulder, Toushin pushed aside the large framed glass enough to slip through. The assassin’s temper was starting to swirl. Already one could see that his eyes were reflective of his inner emotion, though the rest of his body language said little else.
The gunshot intterupted his building mood, briefly, as he turned to watch the host shoot someone. Toushin hadn’t personally seen something this crazy in the Underground since the last time someone tried to kill him during dinner; and quickly found out just how painful forks were too. Crossing his arms over his chest the silver-haired man strode up to the scene and paused short of seeing both Nobu and Sousuke.

Then time rewound itself again.

For just a brief three seconds paranoia began to run rampant through his head. The assassin was one of the few people who had faced Ryuu Tama and walked away with a limb short instead of dying. He had seen some crazy thing in his time both during that fight and in his lifetime as a contract killer; yet Akazukin was on another level of strange.
Once he was able to tie back down his brain and realize this wasn’t a set up, but just a strange coincidence, the assassin cleared his throat to announce his presence and calmly walked next to Nobu, but kept a fair distance from the Steward. When the question was asked, the older man kept his mouth shut not caring in what witchcraft was afoot; all he wanted was some damn food.
 

Haku Ren

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Earlier Akazukin had reround the effects of her own attack. The served chakra strings was restored, but the puppeteer was caught off guard with the sudden renewal and ended up dropping the puppet. However it did not take long for the Puppeteer to take back control and interrupts Sousuke before he could give his views on the puppet’s craftsmanship. “Mistress Akazukin, my employer…” “My son?” Akazukin corrects the puppet making sure she understands the statement correctly. It is possible that there is a third party involved and she would like to confirm things. “He has a favor to ask of you.” It was around this moment that Akazukin notices that the other man has succeeded in puzzling out how to enter the room. As he was looking mighty hungry, Akazukin tosses him one of the apple danishes. “What does Hakuren asks of me?”

Snow white takes a deep breath as she is about to explain the situation. “These two had clones that were experiencing a certain storyline that you are intimately familiar with.” If Sousuke was clever enough he might realize that the name Akazukin actually translates to red riding hood. Fate was a humorous thing as her experiences mimics the story slightly. It was as if some omnipotent being was using the tale as a reference guide to sculpt her past. “The story was interrupted due to… unforeseen events.” “And he wants me to continue where they left off?” Snow white gives a nod and Akazukin agrees to the request. “Very well. However, since there is a new person joining you two, I will start at the beginning.” Akazukin grabs a basket filling it with baked goods and a bottle of some sort of beverage.

While time traveling is something that can be done with extreme precaution, a Temporal Strider will take that risk to do such thing. The ability to break the time itself, risking themselves as they call upon consumed time into the present, their own self that has yet to experience what is to come. These versions of yourself tend to appear distorted and gray, lack of colors as they are out of their own time. This ability is normally used to summon a temporal echo of a past self from moments ago, however this time Akazukin will be doing decades.

The hands in her Tokeigan spin wild as she summons a grayed out version of her younger self. Akazukin hands the basket to her younger self. “I packed you some treats in case you get hungry. Set out before it gets dark and do not run off from the path. Darkness lurks in the forest and you will not be able to find it again if you go astray.” The present Akazukin was taking the place of her mother and did her best to give the same warning as she had received. “I will take great care, mother,” says the small Akazukin. She then puts a couple of fingers in her mouth and gives a loud whistle. She then vanishes and the basket falls to the ground. This would be the time for any questions.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

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Nobu showed some sign of surprise at the revelation that Akazukin was the mother of Hakuren. The giant made a pointing gesture of sorts. The more and more he was putting it together, the more surprise ever present in his expression. Nobu stroked his chin and was able to come to the conclusion quickly that there was a certain irony here. Nobu would place his hands together and clap repeatedly. He seemed quite pleased with this revelation. This meant all sorts of good fun was going to be in the works. After several seconds of clapping Sousuke would look at Nobu, and then to Akazukin. "Oh."<i></i> He scratched the back of his head. "So. That's what it must feel like this. To pick up on something much later. Alright then."<i></i> Sousuke would place his hands behind him as he were to observe the next scene unfolding before him.

Sousuke watched with interest as a younger version of Akazukin was summoned. Temporal Striders were a curious and dangerous sort. Sousuke was perhaps one of the few people you would not want to entrust the power of time travel to. It's not because he would not be doing 'immoral things' with it, the fact would be that he would go back in time to correct a number of perceived 'wrongs' he had done. Sousuke would very much have altered time to what some may consider terrifying amounts. This would be a man who would very much reset a reset in order to have a perfect ending unfold. Sousuke would be wringing his hands behind his back as he was watching thing. The younger Akazukin was talking and referred to the older self as mother. Most curious. Was the younger self aware that she was a construct and that really the older Akazukin was not a mother but instead an older version of herself. Once the younger one was gone, Sousuke inclined his head slightly. "Your younger self, how fully aware is she that she is part of the play? Secondly should I be ... wary of any weird continuum abnormalities or anomalies? Should .... the trip fail does that cause a rift with your present self, and thus endanger you?"<i></i> Sousuke's eyes seemed to light up at the science of this.

Nobu would put his arm on Sousuke's shoulder. He would shake his head. "My Lord-Steward, might I suggest that you ... enjoy the journey? Sometimes the journey itself is the thing, and not what makes up the journey."<i></i> Nobu would turn his head to the woman and give her a smile, a nod, and a thanks that this was indeed going to continue going forward.
 

Toraono Michino

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For the assassin standing in the group, the sight of ninjutsu witchcraft wasn’t unusual for him, however whatever was going on right now sent an unearthly chill through him; a feat said to be impossible. The man had only felt this exact sensation one other time in his life, and that was with dealings in regards to a one Hybrid, Ryuu Tama. The last time such an encounter occurred the man lost the arm that was now replaced by bio-machinery. While everyone was distracted by the witchiness on display the assassin quietly tip-toed backwards. His steps were in exact muscle memory of the steps he took to walk in, a simple feat for any trained killer really, and slipped back through the hole he walked through; being careful not to bump the mirror.

Once he was away the old gentleman pressed toes against concrete and in a burst of speed, sprinted out the front door before he too was caught up in some temporal paradox.

[Topic Left; Sorry to leave like this, I posted in the Suna OOC board for reasons why.]
 

Haku Ren

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The metal man had a few question of Akazukin and she could not say that she was surprised. The art of time manipulation is a curious thing and not even her with her vast experience understands all of it. The young noble however seems ready to look past her abilities without question and encourages the former kage to do the same. Though Nobu gave a smile, Akazukin did not return the same kindness. She had to wonder if he even really believed in her abilities. Perhaps he thought this was some sort of elaborate illusion or deception. “I’m not a magician. Explaining the tricks will not ruin the magic.”

Now the question is how should she go about explaining this. There was a difference between her pulling an echo of her past self and her physically traveling through time. She waves the idea of trying to go that far in depth. If he wants to know more he is welcome to ask. For now she will simply answer the questions given to her. “There is no need to worry as she is merely an echo and a distant one at that.” Akazukin wishes she could give some sort of scientific analogy about the influence of distance and the object being reflected, but that was not her field of expertise. “Echoes are only a reflections and thus awareness is not really a factor; for the most part they do the same action they did before.” Or at least that is her experience. “Something this far away doesn’t even have a physical presence.” Meaning the echo was non-corporeal. She had to use some puppetry on the basket to give the illusion of her past self taking it.

“I’m getting the impression that you have the wrong idea when it comes to temporal powers.” Sousuke acts like temporal striders are capable of changing previous events. What’s in the past is in the past. She can alter the present and the future all she wants but history is set in stone. “Would you like to experience time travel for yourself?” Akazukin can send jutsu into the future, both her own and others, and naturally this causes the shinobi to travel through time if the jutsu being casted is of a physical nature such as taijutsu.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

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Sometimes Sousuke understood certain concepts quickly, and other times it took him a long time to fully comprehend it. Sousuke was a master of metal, but even he had difficulties with firearms. He never quite got the science down for gun powder, but he was close to it. This understanding took the better part of six years, considering that Sousuke had many other items to contend with. Akazukin provided the Steward with an explanation that what was being created, this echo, was something that the Steward did not need to worry about. "For the most part."<i></i> He parroted. He was somewhat convinced. He was very much tempted to question the notion that an echo was a reflection, being that an echo was ... Sousuke raised his hand for a moment and he opened his mouth for a moment. He was going to question it further, but he didn't. He closed his mouth. The older woman made the claim that he probably had the wrong idea when it comes to temporal powers. "More than likely.<i></i> He would answer at first. "Probably."<i></i> He would add a moment later. There were a few moments of silence. "...Yes..."<i></i> He would finally admit. There was a strange expression that formed on the Steward's expression. It seemed like there was some form of confusion about it.

He was then asked if he wanted to experience time travel. The Steward would not answer for a moment. He thought about it. "No. I think not."<i></i> He would answer after some consideration. Given what Akazukin had said earlier in the sense that he had misunderstood temporal power, then there was certainly going to be something wrong in his understanding of time travel. Chances where that there was going to be something weird about it. "So... how do we proceed from here to continue with the narrative? If the answer is 'I use time travel', then I suppose we will need to proceed along and make use of it?"<i></i> He would next inquire. The Steward looked to Nobu who seemed to be longing to continue the adventure. The giant had this look of desire and shook his fists about as if he was awaiting for the moment to spring forth and put them back into action.
 

Haku Ren

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As Akazukin guessed the young noble was inching to get the story going again, while she herself enjoyed the reprieve. If her story was anything like the fairy tale, it should be understandable why she is so willing to go off on a tangent. This was not exactly pleasant memories. “By the gods above, no I would not force that on someone.” She would answer at first with the same amount of pause as he did before. “Well maybe in a sense.” Standing just a couple of feet in front of him she turns around, lifts her musket and points it straight at the counter. The barrel of the gun seems to glow as she focuses quite a bit of temporal energy into her weapon. The clock in her one eye was spinning backwards like crazy. Whatever she is about to do was bound to be impressive. “Here we go!” Combining the powers of her Tokeigan with her World Shatter jutsu, she does the unbelievable.

With the firing of the gun, reality itself seems to warp. They would find themselves standing in front of a forest that was far too big to fit in this small room. The wall, which the restaurant was on the other side of, was still there but it somehow appears like they were outside. It was like they weren’t even in Suna anymore. “I can do more than just an echo of myself. I can do places as well and for some reason they’re considerably more stable.” Not even Akazukin herself understood her powers completely. “I can’t bring you to the past, but I can bring the past to you.”

The forest was not the same one as they saw under the table. This forest felt sick, like a disease was set upon it. Most of the trees were dark to an almost ebony hue. The leaves of the trees nearly blocks out the very sun as if placing the inhabitants in a continuous night. They say that the very air is heavy with illusion. Gazing at such a forest would put anyone at unease, but the path seemed warm and comforting in this dark terrain. Cobblestone wandering and weaving through the trees. Trees as white as snow grew along the path with a particular aura about them. A sweet scent surrounds these trees seem attract fireflies as if to light the way.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

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One might think that the Lord Steward if put into a realm of eternal night would be very disturbed. Quite the contrary. Sousuke had been used to such a state given his time in underground Sunagakure. He would survey his surroundings. He would take in this haunting landscape with a sort of amusement in this, if one could call it that. He would look skyward to find a ceiling of tree branches and tree leaves. It almost felt like home to him. He would look over to Nobu who seemed to be quite clearly spooked by the whole setting. The gentle giant would be looking at his back here and there. "Quite charming isn't this?"<i></i> He would say in what sounded like troubled sarcasm.

Sousuke who was indeed a stranger to sarcasm answered his fellow noble with an absolute honesty. "Absolutely."<i></i> He answered. He would continue to survey the surroundings noting the darker colours. "I quite like this really. Reminds me of how things used to be before the Diamond Maelstrom was defeated."<i></i> He would added. Nobu would give Sousuke a concerned look, as if to question the mental health of the Steward. Nobu found it difficult to believe that Sousuke enjoyed this moody surrounding. Either way the two would walk. "Curious thing here. The path instead of growing cooler due to the lack of sun is... not the case here."<i></i> He would continue, "There is warmth here. I have to wonder what it is, if it is natural at all."<i></i> Sousuke drank in the illusion in a metaphorical way. Was the heat something that the illusion generated? Or was the heat generated by something else? It was not clear to the man who so very closely regarded science of the natural world. As the two progressed, the Steward would pause for a moment. "That echo of Lady Akazukin got a head start on us, but I have to wonder how much further she got?"<i></i> Sousuke ruled out loud as he continued his walk with Nobu. The two would come to another pause when the dark atmosphere was challenged by trees of a radically different colour. These trees were purest white. It was an absolute challenge and change to the darkened surroundings. The scene continued to evolve as fireflies would emerge and continue to provide a sort of light to the path. "This is certainly an interesting ... dedication to the surroundings. The path has evolved and changed moods."<i></i> Sousuke would pause to look skyward. He was half expecting there to be a boarder of sorts being that once he transverse into the land of white trees, that there would be a certain sunlight in the sky above.
 

Haku Ren

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Even the ground was changed and Sousuke and Nobu would be walking through the soft earth of mud. This particular forest they were in grew on top of a wetland. If Akazukin remembers right, the appropriate term for the type of environment would be a swamp. Akazukin was wearing her normal combat boots so it did not affect her much. Unfortunately she did not really pay any attention to the others footwear. Akazukin has found the open shoes such as sandals seem to be the popular trend here in the desert sands. Needless to say sandals would not be ideal in this environment.

As a reaction to Nobu’s sarcasm, Akazukin would respond in agreement. “I had the same reaction when I first saw this place some many years ago..” Akazukins parents lived on a mountain, while her grandmother lived in the valley below. “Trust me there is beauty here if you look for it.” Fortunately Sousuke seems to be enjoying the scenery, which makes Akazukin smile. The former kage sure takes notice of some of the most peculiar things. “There is a hot spring a little ways up the mountain. This place gets some of its water from there. Another source of water is a river that flows nearby.” Akazukin lived her for quite some time and knows her way around.

They say that the very air is heavy with illusion but that is not exactly so. These white trees; each blossom releases a cloud of toxic pollen that fills the air. Like fireflies they sparkle and drift around in the air. The flowers scent was a sweet as honey; smelling it one could taste the sweetness on their tongue. Those who inhale this poison would find themselves in a drunken state; their sense would be impaired. This is a special type of tree that likes to live in dark and damp places. The trees also thrives on decaying organic matter, pretty much dead animals. Between the luminescent particles and sweet aroma, it lures many creatures. The poison makes them stay and eventually kills them. If Sousuke was observant he might notice a skull of some animal over half way sunk into the mud.

“If I recall my grandmother’s tales correctly they are a trees created by my clan decades ago.” These trees were a mixture of different breeds of trees. One part of the trees family is of the Jubokko. Jubokku are tree yokai that feed on the blood of men and grow on battlefields. These trees are no yokai, but like some people have a demonic heritage, so does this tree. It is due to this heritage that the trees have a vampiric diet and why its leaves and flowers are such a crimson red. Each tree also had a face carved into it to represent one of the gods Akazukin mentioned before.

“As for the echo of my former self…” Akazukin resummons the temporal echo. Her younger self was kneeling on the cobblestone in front of the first white tree. The face was that of a woman and the young greyed version of Akazukin seems to be praying to it. “Blessed mother, as your bear guides us during the night I ask of you to guide me back home should I go astray.”<i></i> Akazukin belongs to a clan of Inuzuka so it is a small wonder that they believe their gods to be the same.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

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The Lord Steward for a moment froze. He watched the fireflies. He did not reach out to them or the likes. He simply stared at them. He was caught in a memory of having to deal with Shouki. It made him think of war times. He remember the structure of bodies and the insulting graves they were given. He had reduced the structure and the graves to ashes. He was sending a message. He was sending a message to Shouki that the Cabal was going to be sundered. At the time, the Steward did not know that he would be combating one of his deadlier foes. At that time, Sousuke was a younger man, he knew that the evil that the Cabal had brought had to be stopped. It had to be sliced out like a cancer. He stared at the fireflies and said or did nothing for a whole three minutes.

Nobu had raised his hand signaling Akazukin to give him a moment "Something here triggered a small lapse of trauma for the Lord Steward. He will need a moment to work through it."<i></i> Nobu had seen this before in the Lord Steward. He had seen this before. Was it public knowledge that Sousuke suffered from PTSD and would freeze up? Not entirely. It depended on the social circles, but it also depended on one's perception of him. The Steward was known for looking skyward and thinking hard about a subject, but there was something different here. His head was not raised in the traditional manner like that. Nobu would look to Akazukin, "Tell me is the water clean? There are those in this world who lack such a necessary resource. Sad thing that, and that is why we must ensure such a resource is available to all."<i></i> The Akimichi Lord spoke. He would watch as Sousuke would make his way back to the mental present, instead of being stuck in the mental past, or whatever horror lurked in his mind.

Ever observant Sousuke would blink for a moment as he began to pick up more oddities. He would indeed notice the skulls of animals in the mud. He would blink once more and he would raise an eyebrow. He would look around the trees and he would begin to note the carnivorous nature of what was around him. "I take it that things here that linger ... have a shorten life capacity, at least not experienced things?"<i></i> Sousuke would inquire. He would continue his walk making note not to go off the trail should he become yet another skull in the mud. They would stop as Akazukin would call upon the younger version of herself. Both he and Nobu would stop and observe. The echo was praying before a white tree. Indeed. Both Nobu and Sousuke exchanged looks.

"I didn't think of Red as a religious girl, but right now would be a good time for a certain someone to appear."<i></i> Nobu would add, thinking that they were still operating in the story of Little Red Riding Hood. He would look amongst the woods looking for encroaching wildlife.
 

Haku Ren

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Akazukin watches as The Lord Steward stood there frozen in place staring off in a distance. Sousuke did not look like he was lost in thought as she remembers. For a moment she might have even believe she inadvertently paused time. Thankfully Nobu cleared things up. “Lost in the past, hmm.” Has she ever done something like this after all the trauma she has been through and is currently placed in a position to relive. Nobu tries to change the subject probably to stop her from attempting to knock Sousuke out of it physically or maybe to knock her out of her own daze.

“Is it clean?”
Akazukin found the question rather odd considering it was swamp water. The water had a bit of dirt in it to say the least. she wouldn’t drink from it directly, but running it through a filter should do the trick for the most part. However the question seems more dastardly than it might appear. “What are you suggesting my good sir?” She asks in a not so pleasant tone. As he said water is rare and the demand was great. Leave it to a noble to see profit when presented with something spectacular. However Akazukin did not like the idea of this power being used for money or political power. It was fortunate for Nobu that Sousuke woke from his trance at that moment.

“Indeed” was the only thing Akazukin had to say about that statement. She then performs some hand seals for a jutsu, but when she was done nothing happened. It was because she was casting it into the future. She always found it interesting casting Ninjutsu or Genjutsu this way. How it is possible to target a person from a distance within time. This one she was casting was a genjutsu.

“Red riding hood in the story likely wasn’t, the real me was and is.”
As to his second comment she holds up an open palm. She then fold her thumb down, thus holding up four fingers. Obviously she was counting down as she takes away a finger each second. After hitting one she points to a tree and under it was a small creature. The beast was likely smaller than Nobu would expect. It’s ears were pointier than a wolf’s and muzzle more pronounced. Its fur was black except for the tip of its tail, which looked dipped in white ink. His face was also white and had the appearance of a kitsune mask within Noh theatre. Wait this was not a wolf at all, but a fox.

With his black coat and white face, he resembles an Anbu in appearance. The fox lays by one of the white trees smoking a pipe. Its three tails sway gently as he enjoys a nap. Opening his eyes he would look towards the group. Each of his eyes possess the Tokeigan just like Akazukin. The clocks in his ears were a golden yellow and hands moved with the passage of time. Akazukin waited to see in the genjutsu was successful before summoning her echo once more.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

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Nobu detects the uncertainity or the mere concept of the woman being on edge. He holds both of his hands up. The gentle giant makes a passing gesture of sorts. "I am ... merely making for space in time, but on a deeper level?"<i></i> The man's face makes a rather sad quirk of sorts. Nobu for all his wealth and power realizes his inability to ensure something for everyone. "It is our responsibility to see it to that such things as clean water is shared. It is our duty to be that man or woman in the desert who saves another's life by giving a thirsty impoverished individual or lost individual that drink of water so they do not perish. At the same time ... oh I did that didn't I? Hoho. My mistake. We need to make sure such a thing does not become ... ah... so vastly out of reach?"<i></i> Nobu was not a philosopher. He was not a man who could go about changing the norm on a whim, he could influence it, but he had to be mindful that the influence being given or provided was not the rotten sort. Nobu very much wanted to make sure that his influence was bright and positive.

Sousuke listened to Akazukin's statement. He gives her a deadpanned look for a moment, before giving her a slightly confused look. "That's a curious way to put it."<i></i> He would mull something over in his head. He would notice her counting down on her digits. Given Akazukin's mastery of time, he was surprised. The reason being that she was not in fact using a clock, she was using her digits. He waited with an intense focus as the countdown came to an end. She would then point to the trees and there indeed was a surprise. Nobu perhaps had the most noticeable expression as his eyes went wide, not with fear but with surprise. His lips formed an O shape as this was in fact a surprise of the highest form. There was a change in the story, a variant of it so to speak. The enemy, or what perhaps indeed the enemy was not a wolf. The enemy was in fact much smaller than a wolf, and did not have any humanoid appearances to it. He made an inaudible clap of the hands. A change. A difference. Something new. For this was not a wolf, but a fox! The noble was indeed delighted by this change, for this fox was designed with a certain artistic flair, and the features? Oh my, what a visual delight. Sousuke would turn his head noticing that Nobu almost seemed to fall over himself in this display. The Steward did not quite get it, but ... the story would indeed have to continue.
 

Haku Ren

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Nobu seems to be happy about the deviation from the fairy tale to the point that his eyes pretty much lit up at the sight of the fox. Personally Akazukin was a little surprised at the noble’s excitement. For some reason she figured he might be upset that it wasn’t a wolf. wait a minute. A wolf. Totoro “Shit!” She completely forgot a character in the story. Akazukin was born to a clan of Inuzuka that specialized in what they called the art of the hunt; the ability to track down and captor one’s prey. Like most kids in the clan Akazukin was given a wolf pup at a very young age. If the two remember, the echo made a loud whistle after saying goodbye to her mother. This was her younger self calling Totoro.

At this moment Akazukin looks a little panicked as she is not sure what to do to correct this error. She could not simply remove him for the story for he does play an important role later on. She would have to add him in, but how. Normally she would use a creation jutsu, but she already has one of those active playing as the fox. If she uses a creation jutsu to make Totoro, it will either fail to cast or over right the existing creation. “Umm… I’ll be back. Catch.” She reaches into a pocket and pulls out an old looking pocket watch and tosses it to the two. “If you have any questions for the fox, talk to the pocket watch.” She then runs off back from which they came and exitting out the door behind the mirror.

Though not known to the common folk the Journeymen are capable of sealing the souls of their ancestors or other potentially powerful beings into weapons and armor. So it might not be too unusual for the leader of the Journeymen to realize that there is a spirit of a being seal within this little devise. There was some sort of seal on the back of the watch that only appears when exposed to chakra. The seal was incredibly complex; so many runes covered this magic circle. The runes seems ancient and would likely take a group of Suna’s top Oracles centuries to decipher. Sousuke would not be able to properly undo the seal even if he spent the rest of his life on it. It was inconceivable that any man could make something as intricate as this.

So many questions must come to his mind looking at this chakra seal: who made this seal, where did Akazukin get this, what else does this seal do? This was no simple sealing technique like the journeyman may use. If Sousuke would try to free the captured spirit by breaking the watch, time for the watch would reverse and it would reform like nothing happened. This thing had several fail safes to protect the watch from attacks both inside and out.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

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Nobu had been taken out of the moment when the word shit was uttered. He turned his head to look at Akazukin to make sure that everything was going to be okay. He watched silently. He would simply nod his head at her when she said she would be back. A pocket watch was tossed and Sousuke caught it. He was asked if he had questions to ask either the fox or the actual pocket watch. The Lord Steward would perhaps be the worse person of the two to be given the Watch. He looked over it and was trying to put together the seal work. Indeed it was very detailed, and his brain was running through the motions trying to decipher it. He would flip the watch over to look at the rest of it. After a moment, perhaps the worst thing happened. He would have an idea.

The Steward would glow a ghastly shade of blue as he would feed chakra into the watch. Not just any chakra he would feed it plasma. He wasn't cutting into the clock so much as making a copy of the runes. The plasma crept into the carved out sections filling them in. He would then raise the plasma copy of the runes and he would study them. Sealing a soul into an object was not one of Sousuke's favourite pastimes. He had a very different reason for doing it than others, the reason he had done so was more for medical purposes. He had done it twice. A body had been too heavily damaged, and so the soul had been moved to an object for a time, the idea was to repair the body as the person was hyper sensitive to pain. The fear at the time was said individual would have killed themselves than live through the pain. Thus Sousuke and Maya the elder Crone created the first soul gem. No two soul gems were ever the same as the process to make one was always different. Maya was a longed lived creature who had seen many things that would drive others to madness and shortly after death. She oftentimes would wail out stories in a waking terror. Sousuke studied the runes and he found himself at a pause. He had an idea, an inkling of an idea of what this meant. It was a different language to him sure, but even languages had patterns or were derivatives. Sousuke toyed with the plasma copy of the runes and adjusted them about. He was seeing a pattern that he could not put into common words. There was a calculus here. He continued to re-arrange the patterns and figured out a curious thing.

The language was old, and it was a precursor, to a precursor, to a precursor. He would looked over to the watch. Talk to the pocket watch. Sometimes things had to be taken literally. Sousuke would slowly using his psionic powers dismantle the watch. Cogs, keys, and workings were floating in the air, as were the digits. He would reassemble the watch in a different order this time, reversing it. He was toying with it, and within seconds the watch again was disassembled. The pieces floated around him in reverse and then were reconstructed. "Hello, Pocket Watch. How many cycles have you been around for?"<i></i> he would finally say out loud.
 

Haku Ren

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Sousuke was likely getting annoyed with the watch as his attempts to experiment with it fails every time. He pours plasma onto the watch not to cut into the watch but to fill in the carved section. However there is one problem with that idea: there is no carved area for him to fill. The seal was not inscribed into the watch but rather applied onto it. It was like someone wrote the seal in invisible ink, but instead of heat it responds to chakra. It might be interesting to note that despite Sousuke’s chakra being a shade of blue, the chakra seal glows a blood red. It’s not surprising that Sousuke might just to this conclusion considers how it manifested. It appeared as if the watch was bleeding from a spot in the circle and the blood was filling in grooves. However feeling the watch one can easily tell there is not inditations. He can still study the runes, but he would need to try something else to make himself a copy. If he paid attention to where it started to ‘bleed’ he would see a simple and yet familiar rune. It was a circle with an upside down triangle.

Sousuke would slowly using his psionic powers dismantle the watch, but everytime he tries the watch would immediately put itself together again. It was as if time for the watch was reversing for the piece were going back together in the reverse order each time he attempts to disassemble it.

Finally he asks the watch a question, but the reply might not be what he was looking for. The voice sounded like it was being projected straight into his mind. “I have lived for 3109 moons.” A moon in this case refers to a lunar month which is how long it takes for the moon to go from a full moon to a full moon again. The question is would the form Kazekage know this? If he does he would need to do some calculations to get it into years. The reason the fox gives Sousuke a measurement of time in such an unusual unit of measurement is because is because of the location the fox is from. Both Akazukin and the fox are from the country of TIr na Nog which follows a lunar calendar rather than a solar one.
 

Takahashi Sousuke

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Was Sousuke getting annoyed? Not overly. He was more amused with it, like a child. Each time he was being denounced by the clock it only served to delight him further. The pocket watch was fighting him each and every time. He raised an eyebrow when the seal was active and it glowed a blood red. Well now. That was something, and probably something ominous. He was unable to copy the runes. He was able to see them. So the runes were not carved in. They were manifesting. As the manifestations were coming in he would notice a new rune. A circle with a triangle pointed not up but down. Like a child he would give the pocket watch a shake to see if blood would be pouring out or would be flinging onto him. He was trying to figure out. His eyes shifted skyward for a moment. He was mass processing symbols. "Water...?"<i></i> He would question out loud. There was an uncertainty in his voice, which was rare. "Why would the outliner be in blood red? Shouldn't it be blue?"<i></i>

Nobu would approach Sousuke. At this point the Steward had given upon trying to take apart the pocket watch using his mental abilities. "It's a circle. With a triangle turned on its ... head?"<i></i> Nobu would state more for himself. He would look to Sousuke. "What do you mean by water though? Shouldn't water be a wave or something of the like?"<i></i> Nobu would inquire.

"Not in alchemy no. This is the symbol for water. I could be wrong though. If the triangle was pointed upward it would be fire. The circle surrounding the triangle is the part I'm having mild difficulties with. It could be a framing device but it certainly could not be."<i></i> Sousuke ruled out loud. He was then given an answer. The answer was a projected one. It did not come out through verbal words, but it came mentally. Sousuke raised his index find and his middle finger and rubbed both against his temple. Alright. So the answer was given in a measurement that the Lord Steward was not used to. He would begin to do the calculations in his mind. He was counting but it was in a different way. "If you've been around for 3109 moons... that would equal to... two hundred and fifty... ye-- no. It would be technically two hundred and fifty years and one half of a year."<i></i> He would lower his gaze back down to the pocket watch. "Compared to normal human years, that's quite a feat."<i></i> Now for the next question or series of questions. "How did you come into the hands of Akazukin? Are you an inherited object? If you are able to reveal as such, and who or ... what forged you?"<i></i> Sousuke would next inquire. He was putting together a picture of sorts in his head, but he needed more data. "If you cannot reveal as such... that's acceptable... and was I right about the symbol?"<i></i>

(OOC: Added a question and fixed a grammar item)
 

Haku Ren

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The underworld was full of a lot of miscreants, terrible ideas, and evil organizations. A young man named Tokoro with high ambitions and the funds of an ill-gotten will had begun to rise up through the underworld was one such man. He was taken care of by a keen assassin, but he was not the only one. There are more threats in the country of Sand than the organizations with in Sunagakure. There are mob lords in the lands of Sora and Soon Haven that too would love to send a message. We live in troubling times and unnoticed to Akazukin, someone entered the area as she left with a deadly message.

But was the message to Sunagakure, The Order or to Akazukin. Not so long ago Senju Kazuki, the leader of the Rangers and sennin to Sand, gave Akazukin a certain mission: a criminal had taken refuge inside the Forest biome. He went by a curious nickname, The Rat. She was to track him down, contain him and bring him to Kazuki so he can be brought to justice. Akazukin succeeds into doing this and does so in a why that would embarrass him. Little did she know he was part of some dark organization. The Rat did not head into the forest biome for nothing. He headed there to give information he had gathered to a fellow member, The Rabbit. The organization called themselves the Zodiac and they were a gang of mercenaries for hire.

The former Kazekage and his noble friend were not alone. Unlike The Rat, whose talents were primarily focused on gathering intel, this person was an accomplished assassin. Like the other members she too went by the name of an animal of the zodiac. She was The Snake and with her she brought a blowgun and darts filled with deadly venom. “Instead of asking me questions perhaps you should be more concerned about your friend over there.” If Sousuke looks over to Nobu he would notice he was not moving. Nobu did not blink nor did he even breath. It was as if time stood still and was that a dart suspended in the air just inches away from him?

There was no time to truly act as the moment time continued it would be too late and the watch could only hold back time for so long. Sousuke would see ripples as two different timelines had equal chances of happening. In one timeline Nobu would be hit with the dart in the neck and quickly begins to foam at the mouth. In the other timeline Nobu would notice the dart just in time to narrowly dodge the attack enough to not get hit with the needle. “Choose.” The watch would speak to him. “Choose his fate before it is chosen for you.” Despite the need to make a decision quickly, the watch was not yelling at him. The watch merely whisper into his mind like a devil whispering into the ear.