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[A] Liberation

A habitable plateau where in legend Raiden slew Cronus, an ancient and evil god, setting the stage for the development of Kumogakure in its present form. In reality, every human population center has its slums, and the Cronopolis fills that role due to its association with poverty, violence and preternatural bad luck.

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[A] Liberation

Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:43 pm

[Mission Title: Liberation]
Starring: Hikari, Siu & Senju, Shizuka

Theme Song:

Location: The Cronopolis
Time: 20:37

If Hell existed upon this earth, this just might have been its dwelling. The Slums of Kumogakure: A garbage dump for the city's waste; trash and human alike.

The air of the dimly lit, eerie slums tasted unclean. Musky; polluted with an accumulation not wholly describable in words. Among the decrepit, collapsing wooden-architecture making up the district, its batter-clothed, unwashed citizens roamed; eyes filled with unhappiness and despair. Siu had witnessed that look before during her time in the Marshlands; a look she herself had also once shared. They were jaded eyes utterly fed up with and done with life; finished with contending against its hardships, and finally accepting of their ill-dealt fate.
Scantily dressed women called out from the alleyways, men opened their heavy, black coats to reveal their wares; arsenals of various drugs, weaponry, and stolen jewelry. Myriads of trash and waste decorated the streets; from cardboard boxes, to rotten food, to used drug containers.

Despite Kumogakure's reputation as the developed gem of Lightening Country, the painful reality was it also still shared many of the dark imperfections of Lightening's less prominent cities. This Hell for lower-class inhabitants struggling to survive day by day within the dangerous, impoverished environment was conversely a sanctum for its demons in human form; the crimelords of the Lightening.

Juxtaposed against the usual natives of the slums, Siu wore a far more uncommon, yet in no way unfamiliar attire. She would not be sporting her usual Marshland wear, neither her more sophisticated Susukino-native wear. Citizens wearing the later in this district drew attention, spelling two things: 'Money' and 'Naive'; Perfect prey for mugging.
Siu's wear had indeed also drawn attention, yet the lowered heads and avoided eye contact immediately afterwards would communicate a dissimilared form; Fear. Her attire spelled two things: 'Money' and 'Death'; The attire of Cronopolis criminals. Overlords of the impoverished land, any attempt to mug them, their gangmembers, or even their family members—whether knowingly or unknowingly—guaranteed death. The Underworld had eyes established everywhere; every streetcorner, every alleyway. Where they weren't established—anyone could easily be paid or 'pursuaded' to become them.

“Shizuka,” whispered the taller female, stooping to the side in order to bring her lips closer to the younger girl's ears. “It's not guaranteed we'll remain together once inside. So, if we're separated, I want you to learn what you can about the children, and how we can save them. I'll do my best to try and gather what I can from the meeting.
Remember, there are more objectives than just saving the kidnapped children here. Were looking an opportunity to permanently end this business. So, try your best to remain undetected and not do anything too rash—especially if were not together." Straightening back upright, she'd continue on towards the
indicated meeting point.


Standing at the foot of an unassuming door was a rather unique man; Tall, muscular although paunchy in build, adorned with a black t-shirt, simple jeans, and a number of emblem rings decorating his fingers. His look was topped off with a pristine, bald head. The guarded structure behind him seemed no more significant than the rest of its unsightly surroundings. Hardened features would gaze downward to inspect the two, new arrivals.

“State'chya biz, youngblood.” a husky voice requested. A concealed eyebrow arched under the undercover shinobi's cap; Wouldn't one assume the pair's purpose to be obvious? After all, a hoodlum-attired female accompanying a small child to a gang-affiliated male guarding the door of a decrepit building in the middle of Kumogakure's most dangerous of ghettos would have seemed like a dead-giveaway for her business, right? Perhaps, secrecy held priority regardless, and it was deemed far wiser to inquire the obvious than to assume wrongly and allow access to the wrong individuals.

“Gotta shipment,” the disguised kunoichi nonchalantly replied, doing her best to mimic the street-accent she'd come across here and there throughout Kumo.

“Tag?”


There was a delay as the female took a moment to contemplate; She hadn't considered being inquired her name. For the sake of her identity, and more importantly, for the sake of her family's identity, it would in no way been wise to reveal her true name. Underworld criminals were no fools, and they had enough connections to hunt down both Siu, and more fearfully, those connected to her whom were far less proficient at defending themselves—like her very own mother and father.

Therefore...

“Shing.”

A single, white paper unfolded from the man's pocket. The chilly, passing breeze caused the kunoichi to pull her jacket somewhat tighter as the distant sound of barking dogs echoed through the district. Mixed-gendered giggling traversed from a nearby alleyway—Siu didn't want to know why.

“Ain't spottin no Shing...” the guard would nonchalantly inform, still examining the list.

“Taaru's blood, filling in for him. He's on biz.”

"Taaru?" A brow quirked as the man looked over the paper to return attention back towards the female. “Ya game'in! Lips leakin the crazy-fuck tombstoned.”

“Nope—still pumpin. Be doin biz in Marsh these days.”

The guard hummed in obvious rumination.

Suddenly crouching down to match the level of the frailer, far shorter female aside Siu, he'd tilt his to the side, his features studying hers. A large thumb lifted to slightly tug down her bottom eyelid, inspecting for abnormalities, before moving to lightly grip her jaw.

“Ahhhh,” he'd casually inform the smaller girl to mimic so he could check her teeth-condition. Siu felt somewhat uncomfortable and rather guilty upon witnessing the whole scene, having been the one to allow the young Senju to suffer such circumstances for the sake of their mission strategy.

“Raw-Bones don't look to be keepin'a week—ya really hot'ta be cashin in?"

“Taaru's orders.”

'Tch," the man exhaled, seemingly amused, as he stood back upright. "Fucker ain't tombstoned now—he'll definitely be when Bigs spot this."

Stray posters and miscellaneous trash tumbled through the street as another breeze swept by.

“Aight,” the male announced, finally stepping aside from the door. “Cash 'er on in.”
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Re: [A] Liberation

Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:26 pm

The night was cold and cut into her flimsy clothes like a knife. Beneath those rags hid white skin that was so pale it could have been snow. A bit less malnourished now Shizuka was still all awkward angles and bones which caused her to look younger than she actually was. Unfortunate for her but perfect for the mission they had been assigned to. That last part was the reason why she had left behind her usual outfit and looked like a homeless child. Slightly dragged forward by Siu’s comforting hand she stumbled now and then on purpose. Had it not been for her sharpened senses due to the shinobi training she would have probably fallen a million times by now. Scattered across the city floors the garbage threatened to devour the city’s walls. From cans to used needles and more outrageous things; this place looked like the trash bin of the entire Kumogakure.

Fearfully gazing to the side when Siu spoke to her, Shizuka tensed. Her body language spoke of being threatened. Like an angry kitten she hissed but quickly pulled back. If anyone would see their interaction then surely they would assume that the older female had threatened the child just now. If you run - you die. Try something, I’ll beat you again. Should anyone care enough then they would certainly find a fitting scenario for the pair. Even the nod she gave her friend would fit that of a submissive victim rather than someone agreeing to a plan.

*

Standing unnaturally still she kept her eyes at the stubs-littered ground as Siu did the talking. Shizuka’s shoulders were trying to protect her from the cold and seemed to wrap inward like the wings of a wounded bird. Long strands of dark hair covered her face which she kept directed away from the ‘grown ups’. Her frame appeared to lean away from her kidnapper, as if she was repelled by her presence though unable to run. Bound by invisible fear for the potential consequences should she try to bolt, the shivering child almost jumped when a thumb came into view. Pouring all of her restraint into the play - she seemed to try very hard not to run, when in reality she simply tried really hard not to punch him in the face. As his uncomfortable studying turned to her jaw and teeth she bared them with a low growl before pulling back and throwing a quick look at the one forcing her into this nightmare.

The same disgust written over so many of the faces they’ve passed that night was painted across Shizuka’s delicate features. A hint of fear, anger and even a pinch of hatred accompanied that same disgust. Directing this gaze of everything she felt toward their surroundings and especially the man across of her toward her friend felt really wrong. Painful, even. That pain reflected in her eyes as well. Where they used to be jade green they now turned to a stormy gray vaguely reminiscent of the north sea. There was nothing clear about them. Green and blue had mixed into an oddity - she jerked back, seemingly ready to dart. An escape was all she had left now, so the awkward turn was followed up by a painfully slow start which was quickly brought to a rough halt by her ‘owner’.

The strong grip on her messy collar said enough - this one wasn’t going anywhere. The silence of the moment was only broken by more indecent sounds coming from around the corner. The atmosphere really helped with the acting, because Shizuka’s face contracted into confusion filled disgust. However, she didn’t try to pull away. For one she didn’t want for the man at the door to think that he had to help or she was too much trouble. By now he should be convinced she had simply tried to scurry off from a fate worse than death. Second, Siu’s image might be damaged should the thug across think of her as too soft because of the child risking her wrath by trying to defy her for a second time. The first attempt could be seen as instinct, now, with Siu’s fingers dug into Shizuka’s messy sweater, well, another attempt could be viewed as a challenge. A genuine mistake versus a calculated move. They didn’t need the extra trouble. She let the older kunoichi shake her into motion and as the man let them through she left her head hanging in defeat.

**

Inside the walls were covered with posters and signs. As they descended deeper into the devil’s pit things became deadlier and more expensive. No second-hand decorations of a night club mixed with bars. When they hit the actual part of the building where newcomers weren’t welcome, well, it was a contrast with the outside world. Fangs and weapons, thick wood and even thicker clouds of smoke. She let Siu do the business while drinking in the details of both the deal and their surroundings. The latter included everyone who was breathing.



* * *
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Re: [A] Liberation

Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:37 pm

Descending deeper into the lion's den, the previously unassuming structure's features gradually transitioned into more recent constructions; Though, it was debatable whether more 'appealing' would have been the suitable word to describe the change. The musky air of the slums became replaced with the potent smell of tobacco; its thick fog welcoming the pair. Echoed voices gradually became more distinguishable.

"Fuck 'em! On our ass for months now!" a clearly agitated scorn cried as the two neared the bottom of the dark, creaking, wooden stairwell; its only dim illumination from their destination downstairs. "Cashin ain't fresh biz—so why they fuckin with us?! They ain't got bigger biz like farm-boy rebels and Daimo mama-drama or some shit?!"

"Dogcaged Fangs last night. Our boys gettin chained and tombstoned faster 'den we can refill; Thick-Bloods, too."

"Seems we require a change in our method of operation, boys," a distinguished male from the bunch suggested, exhaling his hazelnut-colored cigar. His demeanor exuded an air of great authority and confidence as he reclined in his chair amongst the shared, long, dark-hickory table; seemingly reserved for the 'big-dogs' of the lawbreaker-filled room. "Cronopolis' waters seem to be growing too shark-infested these days—I suggest a focus on biz in Port Cirrus. There's growing opportunity there as of recent."

The pair would finally enter the large, congested room. The assembly of thugs and criminals littered about the hideout's worn sofas and wooden tables and chairs drank, smoked, played cards, and murmured amongst themselves—heedful not to disturb the meeting.

"Cashin?" one thug routinely inquired from a distance between clenched teeth, his wisping cigarette supported betwixt them. Siu's head darted towards the source. His feet were propped atop a desk, his frame leaned back in a tilted chair, hands casually pillowing his head against the wall.

“Y-yea,” the undercover kunoichi responded after some time, momentarily forgetting to feign her accent.

An arm languidly outstretched forward, lingering a few seconds before waving a hand downwards, gesturing the pair to approach its table. Footwear creaked against the coffee-colored, hardwood floor. The male pinched his cigarette from his lips as they reached proximity.

"Tag?"

"Shing; Taaru's blood,"

"Fuck?" —dropping his legs from the table, the thug leaned forward, seemingly in disbelief—"Son-of-a-bitch not tombstoned?"

"Nope...Doin biz in Marsh."

"Huh!" aired a vigorous exhale, "Fuckin no game'in! ….Bigs' gunna lose his shit when lips leak!" Reaching for a clipboard, his pen carefully added to what appeared to be list of some sort. "Aight—get 'er on da' stand," he'd routinely inform, tossing the clipboard back atop the table and gradually rising to a stand. The kunoichi took an opportunity to more thoroughly scan her surroundings; It was unbelievable how prosperous organized crime had flourished right under Kumogakure authority's very noses, shameful even.
Veterans in their trade, they possessed the cold yet perpetually-perceptive eyes of assassins, those hardened expressions of murderers, those worn and long-forgotten uniforms of previous soldierhood—those unique arsenals of rogue shinobi;

...There was no way Siu could take out everyone in this room at once—even with Shizuka's aid.

Among the multitude of underlings, there dwelled far too many hired kings of their trade.

"Daaaamn," cursed the male after balancing the scale weights. “Thirty-nine kilos? ...Ya sellin meat or dry bones?" An amused snicker exhaled.

"Stronger than she spottin," Siu cooly responded.

"Huh! three days instead'a two?" An unreserved laugh would communicate the satisfaction from his own joke. "How much ya tryna cashin for?" he'd further inquire, sniffling as he wiped his nose with a fist in recovery of his amusement.

Siu pondered a bit—the standard pricing of criminals was beyond her.

"Usual price."

"Hah! Bigs 'll cut digits if I agree ta 'dat."

"...Two thirds?"

"Shiiit, even that's strainin. Raw-Bones spottin like she'll tombstone before reachin Deep-Pockets."

Siu's eyebrows furrowed a bit under her cap; She couldn't tell if he was being sincere or if this was how criminals normally 'haggled'. Attempting to place herself into the mindset of a crook as best as she possibly could, the kunoichi considered that if she came off as too much of a pushover, her authority might become belittled and her authenticity might become challenged. Hence..

"Two-thirds or no cashin—Taaru 'll cut digits if I cut any lower."

Conversings continued in the background. Stacks of coins suddenly slid across a nearby table; it seemed someone won their round of cards.

"...Aight," the thug finally yielded with a sigh, departing from his lengthy consideration. "Bigs ain't gun' be happy 'doh....Leak Taaru to ship his ass when nested—Thick-Bloods' tired'a his shitty cashins."

"Sealed."

"Spike," called the thug to another nearby male propped against the wall with folded arms.

"Aight," Spike acknowledged, a jaded sigh departing from his lips, "Let's go, Raw-Bones."

Most of Siu's surprised features, fortunately, remained hidden underneath her cap as she witnessed Shizuka sudden grasped by the arm and tugged through another nearby door leading further underground. The now-separated kunoichi bit her lip—hard.
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Re: [A] Liberation

Mon Feb 18, 2019 9:39 pm

Perhaps the most awkward thing so far was the fact that she was actually weighted. Of course she let it happen, eyes all wide and confused when she was to step onto the stand. Meanwhile, her ears were keen to hear everything the others said. Not that she could make out a lot of it. Honestly, their dialect and the way they communicated was quite hard. She admired Siu for being able to keep up with them so effortlessly. From the looks of it Shizuka had indeed gotten the easy part of this mission. Act, infiltrate and get out as many as she could without causing too much drama. Well, the last bit might be harder than the plan she had in mind, because she had no idea how many there were and when the time would be right to act. Though, compared to what Siu would have to deal with as she hung around these thugs, it was fair to say Shizuka felt more at ease going to look for the victims. She knew how to act as a child, the act of a gang member, however, was out of her league.

Keeping her head low as if expecting a blow of sorts to the face at any given time - Shizuka watched the man called Spike move in. The shiver that ran through her body wasn’t an act. Nobody liked being touched by a stranger. His smoky breath was all in her face when he turned her into the direction he wanted her to walk. Muscles rolled beneath skin - she could see why he was sleeveless. The tattoos weren’t ugly either, but his face was all scars and blotches.

Mentally preparing for the separation she still felt oddly hollow when the door fell into place behind them. Leading her through a long badly lit corridor, he finally opened a door to his left which revealed an unexpected scene. Two couches with blankets here and there, some pillows on the floor next to the old, dirty rug. More importantly, though, were the two kids huddling together on one of the couches. Their faces were smeared with tears. They silently watched Shizuka being pushed inside but didn’t move a finger. From the sight of it both were younger than she was. Especially because she looked like she was still twelve. They were probably ten or so. A girl and a boy. Boney, but not as sickly thin as she was.

“They don’t actually close the door?” she wanted to know when the man was out again. There had been nothing aside from the click. Knowing a bit about picking locks, she knew that there wasn’t one here. That was quite odd to say the least - perhaps they wanted to test them? Or..maybe they knew everything else was closed off and the only room left to go was the one Siu was probably still in.

Turning around she planned to carefully open the door just to listen whether or not there were others anywhere nearby when the boy jerked into motion. “No!” he almost yelled, but his voice was hoarse and low. Obviously he was panicking. And from the looks of it he wasn’t the only one because the girl was shaking her head ‘no’ as well. They were terrified by what would happen should the door be opened from inside. It had her confused, but she wouldn’t be in that state for long. When another man came opening the door he was holding chains. By then the kids were two shaking balls beneath their raggy blankets. She was unsure why they had been here if they already knew what was up - unless for some reason-

“Time to go back~” he said in a singsong voice. Rotten teeth showed a sadistic grin. “No coins, no sunlight.” The grin only widened when he first wrapped one of the cuffs around Shizuka’s wrist - she let him without a struggle - then shoved her to the couch to add the other two to the line. They cried, begged, and promised that their “uncle” would pay for them to be released. Aahh, she realized with a pained grin one could mistake for a reaction to the chain’s tugging at her delicate wrist, they had tried to either lie their way out or had genuinely believed the gang would let them go even if they got paid. More likely was that whoever had brought the coins was food for rats somewhere in the city streets now. These two weren’t going anywhere but downstairs, just like Shizuka was.

Now things were getting really nasty. The smell was awful, but the sight prevailed. A dungeon of sorts had been either made or found and reused for the purpose of gathering kids before they would be shipped elsewhere. At least that’s what Shizuka assumed when the trio was added to four more. There one was obviously older, one might be her age, and two others were probably like the twin cuffed to her. Even while the light was bad here, she could get a better look at them now that they weren’t hiding beneath the blanket. Yes, they were certainly related by blood. Same eyes, same nose, something about their chins appeared similar as well. Not that it mattered.

“Hands here!” the man yelled all of a sudden before loudly slamming his fist into the bars. The whole cage seemed to shiver as the rusty iron creaked. The cuffs were gone, for now. “Be quiet!” the demand was directed toward the sniffing siblings. The other four tried to sink into the stony walls. Staying in the background was probably a smart move. This one looked like he enjoyed hurting people. The fact that he didn’t look strong or trained at all irked Shizuka even more. Unlike some of the man upstairs, this one wouldn’t handle a real fight, no, he picked those smaller than him to bully and hurt because they were the only ones he had any power over.

If things got noisy, he would be the first one she would kill.

* * *

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Re: [A] Liberation

Thu Feb 21, 2019 7:24 am

Though separation had already been considered a high possibility, it didn't make the fulfillment any less anxious for the Chuunin. She hadn't the slightest clue of the layout underneath, neither what circumstances Shizuka would find herself placed into, nor whether she would require assistance or not. Furthermore, if Shizuka had actually been successful in leading the children out, Siu didn't know if she would lead them through an alternative exit, or if this door was their only way in or out. If the latter was the case, then there was going to be a serious problem.
However, regardless of the circumstances, Siu had no other alternative but to continue working according to the strategy she'd whispered to the young Senju before their arrival. With a deep inhale and a lengthy sigh, the Chuunin worked to ease her nerves and focus back upon her current surroundings; There was still a role to play.

"Switchen turfs means switchin Deep-Pockets, and Chronopolis' got best biz." would continue discussion from afar.

"Foot-in-seas, then."

"Ain't enough Thick-Bloods to be deucin seas. We dive deep or stay dry."

"...Deep-Pockets empty if ain't no Thick-Bloods to cashin."

There was a long silence as if the entire assembly shared single rumination over the matter.

"Spike!" one of the 'big-dogs' finally called from afar.

No answer.

“Fuck is Spike?! Breakin again?!”

“Cashin downstairs,” nonchalantly answered the male from the other table.

“Tell 'em to leak downstairs—these cashins to Port Cirrus.”

"Sealed."

The disguised kunoichi's heart lept—'Port Cirrus?!' Not only would the order risk dragging the pair off farther than their intended mission plans, yet, if Spike returned downstairs a second time, Siu considered he might, tragically, witness Shizuka's attempted escape to report back upstairs. The kunoichi took another glance around the room; If these men discovered Shizuka's work too early, it would ignite a flame Siu wasn't sure she could completely extinguish. She'd need to work fast before Spike returned.
Pivoting on a heel, the Chuunin made her way back towards the cashin-table.

"Need'ta head down real swift," she'd request

"No do."

"Forgot something valuable with the cashin."

"Ya gotta nest 'till Spike back. No youngbloods. Big's orders."

.....Not good.

Turning back around, away from the male, Siu rescanned the building as if it would provide her some answer for this predicament. If she didn't act soon, there would be dire stumbling-blocks. Yet, if she acted too haphazardly, there were way too many perceptive eyes in this room; a single, performed handseal would be met with immediate opposition. However, remaining idle also wasn't an option.

The kunoichi bit her lip, folded her arms, and tapped her foot. The thick fog of tobacco continued to brood over everything. Then, her eyes somewhat widened; an idea. Rather caprice and unthorough, yet an idea nonetheless.
Her footwear creaked against hardwood again as she made her way back towards the stairs, completely disappearing from the room. Activities and the meeting continued as normal. Then, suddenly—

SMACK SMACK

THUMP THUMP


The entire room darted their heads towards the source of the commotion.

THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP

Stair by stair, Siu's body would violently come tumbling down before she rolled out the door and crashed into a table, knocking over the cards and coins with it. All eyes were on her, including the 'big-dogs' at the meeting-table.

”Son-of-a—"
"Wha—what the fuck?!" confounded and infuriated thugs demanded, their card game and drinks utterly ruined.

The disguised kunoichi groaned as she slowly recovered, reaching to comfort her head. "They came outta nowhere!" she'd exclaim in a shocked, accusative tone.

"..Fuck?!" The crowd was utterly baffled. Then, suddenly from the stairway....

"Police—you're under arrest!"

"Shiiiit! You fucking no game'in?!" The number of weapons unsheathed within an instant seemed almost asinine, the ringing of blades and other various arms traversed throughout the entire room like a perfectly harmonized orchestra.
In the veil of commotion, Siu's hand had already subtly slipped to her side, removing a small ball. This was going to be nauseous and highly unpleasant, yet she couldn't risk being witnessed throwing the object to activate it. Bracing her eyes shut, she'd make a single, forceful squeeze,

POOF

Almost immediately, the entire room became flooded with dense, obsidian smoke from the shinobi tool.

"Mother fucker!” —A myriad of irritated lungs wheezing and coughing echoed throughout the building—“It's an ambush!"

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Re: [A] Liberation

Thu Feb 21, 2019 9:37 pm

Unfortunately or perhaps the way around, she didn’t get a lot of time to consider the ways she could take him out and hurt him without him making enough noise to alarm the entire building, because the man who had brought her down here not too long ago was already back. Eyeing him cautiously she wondered what he was up to. After a couple of words toward their “guard” it was clear, though. They were about to leave this gruesome place. However, to her terror, the tunnel they took to get out of the cafe only led to more horror. With the sadist up front and the guy whose name was “Spike” closing the row, Shizuka came to a halt when their “guide” turned on some flimsy lights at the end of the road. A rusty lock was shoved aside, then the heavy door swung open with a creak to let loose a wave of stench. The smell of rotting algae mixed with human feces hit them in the faces, hard. As trained as she was, Shizuka coughed while hiding her nose behind her ripped sleeve. One of the kids in the back vomited on the floor. She heard Spike cursing before shoving the kid forward as if nothing had happened. Hopefully the child wouldn’t pass out - she wouldn’t know how to make sure they wouldn’t leave him behind without causing a scene down here.

“Wake up!” the man up front hissed. His foot met with some sort of bag. It took Shizuka a long moment to realize it was someone sleeping down here. In fact, she couldn’t believe that anyone did. Well, apparently, this man was forced to. The moment his chain came into view she knew what was up. He was sleeping on a pile of dirty rags, on the side of the dirty underground dock. A long chain led from his right foot to a boat that was tied to one of the wooden poles.

That’s how they move them..

How ingenious! Instead of taking them through the streets and risking being robbed or having them run off, the men were transporting them via water. These sorts of catacombs hadn’t been a part of Shizuka’s knowledge. Hence the confusion she felt was real. This was a good discovery but only worsened her situation. To start with she had no idea where the channels would lead to. Then there was the water.. the kids.. the lack of exit. All of this almost caused her to forget the smell. Almost.

“Take the cargo! Quickly, you worthless piece of shit.” Another kick and the man stumbled onto the boat. Soon enough they were gliding over the murky water with only a torch to guide them on their way to despair. Silently the kids shivered. She too felt uncomfortable on this journey. The shadows dances across the walls while the water gently clashed with the boats walls as the little group continued to move forward. They had left Spike behind - the sadist and the slave were the companions they now had. Taking out the ugly bastard would be child’s play now, but she couldn’t risk it. It was too early. Patience was key.

Just when she thought about how taking things slowly was the best course of action now, everything came into motion. The speed of the water went up. She watched the slave sink back into the boat. His thin and abused hands with skin too dry and too close to his bones clung tightly onto the rough wooden edges. Mimicking him, she held onto the boat as well, then they disappeared into a smaller tunnel with its start looking like the gaping mouth of death itself.

Pitch black. Silent. Then, after a couple of moments in the uncertainty of what was going on - the torch had fallen onto the bottom of the boat with one of the kids putting it out in panic - the heaviness of warm, stinky wetness was replaced with blissful cold.

Outside.
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Thin lines of silver trickled down onto Shizuka’s pale skin when the little group drifted out of ruins of the old city into the night. Disoriented and fairly paranoid, she tried to place the forest they were in onto her mental map. A hard feat to accomplish considering the city was touched by the forest from more than one side. Somehow she would have to send Siu a sign of where they were, because as it was now chances were slim that the older kunoichi would track them down.

* * *
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Re: [A] Liberation

Sun Feb 24, 2019 10:59 am

Chaos ensued as the kunoichi's police-attired clones wreaked havoc and confusion throughout the crowded room. Bodies smacked against walls and crashed into tables, shattering them along with alcohol bottles and glasses. A myriad of curses and adrenaline-fulled insults echoed about as a number of men even assaulted their own allies in the confusion. Successful a diversion as it was—however caprice the idea—the smoke wouldn't preserve forever. Once it cleared enough, Siu was well-aware her disguised clones would quickly become overwhelmed. Therefore, she would have to move quickly in order to make the most of the distraction.

The Chuunin crouched her way past the broken glass, unconscious bodies, and adrenaline-filled combat towards her destination; the previously denied door leading downstairs. Siu would sneak through the entrance away from the chaotic mess, close the door behind her, and turn only to find—

"Er....Spike?"

The male's calloused features initially seemed quite surprised, his eyes somewhat widening before his features hardened back again even more intensely. "Bigs leaked no youngbloods!" His focus drifted a moment. "...The fuck upstairs?!"

The disguised kunoichi required a few moments to regain her composure as the tumult continued on behind her. "Shark raid—I left somethin shiny with the cashin; Need to nest it."

"Ain't no nestin," the male bluntly informed, "Raw-Bones already packaged for Deep-Pockets."

The kunoichi's eyes widened underneath her cap. "Already packaged? ...Where about?"

"Port Cyrus—Now move it so I can spot upstairs." Spike asserted himself forward.

Port Cyrus?! Already?! How?! Had he received the order during her preparations outside the meeting room? Had she really taken that long?

"Any glimmer to be tailin?"

"Fuck Raw-Bones got you want so bad? ...Coins? Cashin gone; Lips don't be leakin where. Now move your ass, already!" The large, muscular male's frame continued to obstruct further passage through the narrow stairway; It appeared Spike wasn't allowing her anywhere but back out.

Hence,

"Aight.."

The female turned back around, her back facing the criminal. The large male began to further ascend, before coming to an abrupt stop—as if something had suddenly gripped his ankle from further proceeding. Spike's eyes darted downwards to witness folds of chakra-infused paper tightly enveloping his foot and ankle. "What the—

"We need to talk, Mr. Spike," the disguised kunoichi informed, her hands revealing departure from a Ram seal as she turned back the face the thug again. "But, not here. And—you're too heavy to carry." Papers continued to manifest and engulf the large male's body. Siu's head tilted to the side, as her features appeared to communicate a look of guilt. "I'm sorry..."

Suddenly, the male would experience the full weight of the kunoichi's body colliding into him, legs first, as his body fell backwards; rapidly sliding down the stairs, helplessly like a wrapped cacoon, as Siu rode atop his chest as if he'd been her own personal canoe down a rapid stream. There were a multitude of curses and derogatory insults before Spike would find himself loudly colliding into barrels, crates, and other miscellaneous supplies which were sent flying about the room located at the bottom of the stairs. There was a long groan from the man as he struggled to regain his senses. His vision slowly recovering, he'd open his eyes to find two dark pupils glancing right back at him, seemingly concerned. There was a stillness as if the female were actually closely examining whether the larger man was seriously injured or not.

"Ok, Mr. Spike," she'd eventually begin again, casually; her accent completely dropped now that it was obvious she was his enemy, "I'm going to ask you a few questions."

"Fu...fuck you, bitch!"

The kunoichi continued on as if the curse had never even been spoken. "The cashins—where are they? Who and where is Bigs, and how do you deliver children undetected by authorities?"

"Ya fuckin mad-doggin if ya think lips leakin all that!"

"Mr. Spike—"

Something fired from the male's lips and smacked the female below her eye, causing her to jerk them shut and swing her face to the side; mucus. Disgusting.

There was a long silence as Siu remained with her head turned aside, as if deeply brooding over what had just occurred. Gradually ascending from her chest to her face, she could feel something boiling. Her blood began to course more rapidly, her arms trembled as she struggled to maintain composure. An arm slowly motioned to wipe away the filth as she reopened her eyes. Gradually turning her attention back towards the male, her eyes gleamed with suppressed fire.

"...I will give you one more chance to answer, Mr. Spike, before I'm forced to resort to more extreme measures," a far more solemn tone informed, somewhat aggressive fluctuations in her speech.

"Ain't leakin shit outta me." The male gave her a challenging gaze.

There was a deep inhale, then an exhale.

"I'm sorry.."

In the darkness, there echoed a gut-wrenching crack like that of snapped bones, and then a blood-curdling scream.
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Re: [A] Liberation

Tue Feb 26, 2019 7:10 pm

Following the man up front she was trying to come up with a safe strategy. Should she attack one of them then surely the other one would try to give some sort of sign in order for back up to arrive, even though the one leading them was a slave of sorts she didn’t trust him. People tended to break after a certain amount of abuse and he might just be past that line. Therefore she could not rely on him picking her side should the situation become too dire. He could still choose to send out a message or sign of sorts for back-up to arrive. This last bit was the very reason why she hadn’t launched some sort of flashy sign for Siu to take notice of - others might see it. And while hiding in the forest shouldn’t be too hard, she had untrained children to take care of which made things way harder than they could have been.

Quietly moving across the riverside, Shizuka was pleased to witness some of the children being sort of rebellious. At least some had tried to scream and gain attention of whoever might be out there. It was a failure, of course, but the fact that their guides taunted them for their attempts by pointing out that nobody would hear them out here.. well, it had made it safe to assume that nobody would hear the men’s screams either. Aside from that it made it clear that the slave was a mess of sorts. Either he took pleasure in knowing that others would suffer from a fate not unlike his or his life had turned him into a beast. A sad sight, but one Shizuka could do nothing about. He would have to go just like the other one and now seemed like the perfect time for that. With the boat hidden in the bushes somewhere a couple of hundred meters behind them and the water hiding their tracks, she took the opportunity presenting itself in front of her.

Not that she planned becoming reckless.

First, being up front, she hit the one leading the row with “Influenza”.

While not a powerful genjutsu, it was a handy one. Subtle in ways she could use now. As the slave started to throw up the kids stopped in their tracks while the sadist laughed from the back. He pushed one of the kids out of the way as the slave collapsed into the knee-deep water. “The hell?” He moved further, Shizuka took a step to the side to let him through. With them still being chained to one another, the man didn’t appear to be worried for anyone to make a run for it. That was a mistake. “Get up you dirty bag of-” His voice trailed off when Shizuka had him with “False surroundings”.

The gaping pit in front of him looked terrifying to his eyes. It had him stumbling back. With the slave coming to his senses the man stumbled over his frame in his hurry to get away from the waterfall that only existed in his mind. Both confused and cursing, trying to get out of the water with the sadist pushing the slave back toward his “death” only to save his ass - she had them where she wanted them. They were blinded by genjutsu already so trapping them in the next one was a piece of cake.

“Betrayal” was one of the strongest genjutsu she had in her arsenal. Unlike ninjutsu the art of casting illusions on others had never come naturally to her. By now she was certain that letting it stumble in the back of her skills had been a mistake. After they would come out of this she planned to rectify that one.

Angrily the two men collided. Fists flew left and right. The slave went down, his knee damaged quite a bit by a kick coming from the teethless sadist. Of course, as the man went into the water after his “enemy”, Shizuka followed with a large stone in hand. Thankfully they were all close enough for her to move swiftly while one hand was chained.

C r a c k

The stone now wet with something else than water slipped from between Shizuka’s pale fingers. The sadist followed. His skull deformed on the side Shizuka had hit him at. The water colored red but the hue was barely noticeable beneath the silvery light of the moon.

“Y-you! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!” the abused slave snapped. Clearly he was afraid of what would happen once the gang found out about the loss of their member. In his eyes fear mixed with anger as he jumped forward. No longer under the influence of genjutsu he realized that his scuffle with the man was the reason why the latter’s body was floating away with the stream now.

She hadn’t expected him to launch the way he had, not with his knee hanging awkwardly to the side. Dislocation seemed to be entirely forgotten by him in his rage and panic of what was to come.

Moving to the side way faster than what one would expect from a fragile teenager, she used the chain to her advantage by jerking it to the side and wrap it around his neck. The child on the other side of it stumbled and fell, others were forcefully moved as well, but Shizuka had a task to complete here. Tightening the chain there was no way for him to get it off his neck. Stuck between the children attached to it, he tried to get it off by digging his fingers into the layers of steal wrapped around his skin, but failed to do much but exhaust himself even further. Shizuka kept the chain taut until his lifeless body became a burden to hold. Then, without any ceremony, she unwrapped the neck and dropped him in the water where he could follow the sadist she had promised to kill first.

Freed of their captors they now had to find a way to head back without being discovered by the wrong people.

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Re: [A] Liberation

Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:50 pm

Torture; Though morally questionable in nature, its effectiveness could in no way be dismissed. The kunoichi took no pleasure in such gruesome acts, however, such methods often became a necessity in her work; especially when time was of the essence. Every moment passed distanced Siu even farther from the freighted youths, and more importantly, Shizuka.
A putrid stench assaulted her nostrils long before her eyes could confirm the authenticity of Spike's words. The Chuunin swung her head to the side, raising a fist in a desperate attempt to shield her nose. "Holy Rai—" she cried, gagging somewhat, "Wha—what is thi—" Tears emerged in her eyes from the overwhelming stench. Children were really shipped through here? It was horrifying to imagine.
Stretching the neckline of her shirt over her nose, Siu continued the now far more demanding pursuit. Footsteps echoed through the dark passage, it was almost like walking through a horror-scene of some sort. Suddenly, the teen paused; grimacing as she detected something upon the ground.

Was that...vomit? Absolutely disgusting.

Repulsive as it was, however, it did hold useful information for the kunoichi. The vomit appeared somewhat recent, meaning, she hadn't been the only one to pass through here recently. Secondly, this discharge very likely hadn't been of the selected criminals delivering the children; For, they would have grown used to such foul conditions by now—they had to. Determining exactly how long ago the vomit had been discharged, however, was quite difficult—And Siu wasn't all that too enthusiastic to further investigate deeper into it, either.
Something dripped and gently stirred in the darkness. Inching through the entrance, doing her best to avoid adding her own vomit pile to the accumulated filth, she'd peer through the tenebrosity. The tortured criminal's testimony was further proving itself valid; No wonder their business was able to prosper so flourishingly right under authority's noses!
Spike had still been entrapped and unconscious downstairs; Perhaps, for the best. Unconsciousness was the best anesthetic, after all. Yet, Siu desperately hoped no one became curious enough concerning his lengthy absence to actually venture down and check on him. By now, her distraction had come to an end, and her clones with it. The Chuunin only could guess how the criminals upstairs had interpreted the spontaneous event. If she were lucky, perhaps they'd blame one another for betrayal. Though, that was likely nothing more than just wishful thinking on her part.
Without an available torch, or affinity towards fire-element jutsu, the female utilized the only source of illumination available to her—her cigarette lighter.

And so began the kunoichi's slow trudge....

Focusing chakra towards the soles of her feet, the water gently stirred below her as she labored to navigate through the pool's surface. Desperately as she desired to pursue with haste, the flimsy light guiding her steps could only preserve under so much movement.
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Re: [A] Liberation

Sun Mar 03, 2019 3:32 pm

Two wooden clones later and some transforming to fit the looks of those who’ve just left them, the little gang was making its way back to the cave they had come from, but this time through the grass and bushes on the side instead of the actual riverside. She knew that it was a dangerous endeavor considering any boat coming from there would be too close to them for comfort, but she couldn’t leave the children behind in the middle of the forest and couldn’t risk taking a too big of a detour either. These lands weren’t her backyard, getting lost alone was one thing, but to take care of the little ones while hunting for food and staying low, well, she would rather not challenge fate itself.

After climbing through the plants for a while she decided to take a turn to the right. Having taken a look a little bit further herself she had found a little farm over there. Though mostly a rotting shed with two broken down houses nearby, she figured it might be a nice place to stay for a very short period of time. On the top floor of the shed they could hide from the wind and potential predators. Of course this would be a bad place to stay for long considering the gang members would start looking for them once they would hear about the fact that the ‘package’ had never arrived, but they still had some time before that would happen. As long as the bodies wouldn’t come into anyone’s sight too fast, there was still time to put together a plan and a way to save these children. Too bad that she hadn’t managed to get any real information from the members.. Shizuka put that thought to the side. She had gotten the kids into safety for now, that was more important. Aside from that, they now knew about an important way of transporting children outside the city. That in itself was quite some information if you asked the young kunoichi.

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Having left two more wooden clones hidden in trees nearby the shed, Shizuka headed back toward the city walls. Getting in wouldn’t be a real problem right now, finding Siu, however, was an entirely different matter. This slowly started to remind her of Marsh. Back then Siu’s had some luck finding Shizuka - but the obsidian dragon had helped there quite a bit. In their current situation they couldn’t summon such an obvious sign. Even Shizuka had noticed that some of the people in the smoke filled room had been honed killers. No doubt getting attention of those type of people would be more trouble than it was worth. So, she stayed low while hurrying up the hill with the help of tree roots.

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Re: [A] Liberation

Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:46 pm

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Adversary Theme:

Bigs; one of the most notorious and feared names in all the Underground. Referred to as a 'Big Dog' within the crimeworld, he was an Untouchable. The very mention of his name demanded respect. He was a man of great wealth; which led to great influence; which led to great power. Despite his widespread infamy within the crimeworld, however, few could actually claim to have personally done business with Bigs, or even seen his face. Only those within his selected circle of trusted men actually interacted with him on a regular basis; to the rest of the world he was but a shadow. Great reputation attracted greater enemies—resources the Underground held no shortage of. With so many snakes in the grass, trusting the wrong individual meant an untimely end to one's career. Loyalty was a dying virtue, and the few possessing it were more precious than purloined diamonds.

Notorious assassins, mercenaries from distant lands, infamous deserters, legendary military Heroes, high-profile missing-nin, officially-enlisted shinobi; Bigs held the Underworld at his fingertips. Among the men within his trusted circle, there existed one almost as widely renowned as himself; Yet far more terrifying. The crimeworld referred to his kind as 'Thick-Bloods'; the deadliest and most fearful among the ranks. He was Bigs' Right-Hand Man; stationed in charge as his Commander. If Bigs was the Head, he was the Body of the organization. When there was business to be discussed with Bigs, it was discussed through him in his stead. When there was a message to be delivered to Bigs, it was delivered through him. And when there was a cashin to be delivered to Bigs, it was received by him—which left a very important question;

"Where the fuck are the Cashins?" The male pulled back his leather, military-coat sleeve, expresso-colored cigarette wisping smoke as he checked the time from his leather-strap watch. Impatience gradually pervaded his being.

"Blood!" cried out the returning, red-haired youngblood as he dashed from the trees, landing afront the addressed leader. "Spotted somethin' upriver—ya ain't gunna like it." The group of five proceeded through the dense-foliaged terrain, soil and leaves crushing beneath their boots as they trode.

Blood; the alias bestowed upon him by the Underworld, given that was exactly what he'd been most proficient in spilling. With an air of authority surrounding him, seemingly incognizant of fear, his well-kept, yet dated uniform from conflict long discontinued revealed previous years of military service. Yet, those bold grey eyes of his also harbored a deeper story—one which Siu and Shizuka would not be wholly unfamiliar with....

Talented, formidable, shrewd, a capable leader—defined as his distinguishing characteristics, along with his greatest vice—arrogance. 'How the accomplished Jounin has fallen from grace!' one may mourn. However, those well-acquainted enough with the male during his upbringing would have attested his current path but postponed inevitability.
It'd began with rather negligible offenses: backtalking, ignoring simple orders here and there. Eventually, however, it festered into deeds less pardonable: ignoring assigned missions, pursuing his own self-interest, enlisting in revolts; Into blatant crime: bribing, stealing, murder—a distinguished shinobi completely devolved criminal. The moment he'd been removed from Kumogakure's official shinobi-roster, Bigs wasted no time employing him into an opportunity far more fitting for his temperament; Crime.

The male's feet suddenly came to a pause, his eyes fixated upon the scene now before him.

"Holy shit...." muttered one from behind as the rest onlooked with various expressions.

Blood's boots crushed against the leaves again as he proceeded closer to the scene, crouching over the two floating bodies near the stream shore. Fingers casually pinched his cigarette away from his lips as his eyes seemed to scan the bodies for further information.

"Call in the drop-house.... These sharks swimmin in the wrong waters."

Crickets chirped as the kunoichi navigated through the onslaught of flora. The shored canoe and footprints drawing her deeper into the forest served as a definite lead; However, tracking that lead proved itself rather challenging through the thick tenebrosity and opposing foliage. An owl hooted atop a nearby branch in the silver moonlight as it inspected the encroaching kunoichi, her foot gently snapping a twig.

Click...

Something pressed against the back of Siu's head—something cold and metallic. The kunoichi slowly lifted her hands.

"Ya got five seconds to state'cha biz before I blow ya fuckin' brains out," threatened the authoritative voice.

Admittingly, the disguised kunoichi found herself both rather amazed and baffled—how had she managed to become snuck behind without even recognizing a sound or sensing the slightest presence?

"Spottin for my cashin."

"Coulda sworn no youngbloods."

"...Forgot somethin important with it."

"Forgot what?"

The kunoichi considered for a moment....

"....Cash—lots'a it."

"Check her."

Leaves rattled and descended as another male revealed himself from the foliage. An impressed whistle aired as he casually inspected the glistening kunai and perfectly-conditioned shuriken from Siu's jacket pockets, replacing them before going through her pants pockets. His search would pause, as he held up the small ball for the aggressor behind her to examine.

"What'a fuckin' coincidence!" the male uttered with bleeding sarcasm, seemingly unsurprised. "Wouldn't ya guess? drop-house had one of these babies go off just'a few hours ago! ....Don't suppose ya'd know anything about that, would'dya?"

"Spotted it, wasn't my hands, though. I'ma victi—"

WHAM!

The kunoichi suddenly dropped to her knees, arms rushing to comfort her abdomen as she doubled over in pain, desperately laboring to breathe. A pull of her ponytail forced her countenance upward as the gun touched her head again. The kunoichi eyes narrowed, burning with hostility.

"Okaay, let's try this again.... Smokebombs, lazy-ass Spike downstairs wrapped like'a baby and screamin like'a lil' bitch, two tombstoned delivery-boys.... Don't suppose ya'd know anything about that—would'dya? The inquiry was voiced with heightened aggression.
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Re: [A] Liberation

Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:32 pm

The louder ones had Shizuka follow their tails. As quietly as she could the young Senju took one step after the other with some distance between her and the last man. Around the trees, through the foliage; she held her breath whenever a twig broke whether it was her fault or not. Preparing shuriken to throw should one of the two turn around she planned to let the razor sharp edges sink into their foreheads should it become necessary. Luckily, the last men weren’t trained the way shinobi were or she would have been caught before her eyes met a very worrying scene. Paralyzed by the fear gripping her throat at the horrifying painting of shadows circling Siu like sharks she acted on instinct more than anything else when the weapon made its appearance just to be pushed against Siu’s head.

Pinpoint; the shuriken slipped from her slender fingers with quite some precision and speed. Soundlessly flying through the forest it was destined to rip right through the weapon together with its wielder’s fingers. Shizuka, however, didn’t wait for it to take place before weaving the seals for her next attack. By now everyone was aware that she was there, both a good and a bad thing. Eyes torn from Siu meant they were hers to deal with. The moment of surprise could work well for the two of them. Shizuka only hoped that there was no back-up for these men.

The sheet of folded paper sailed upwards as Shizuka channeled more of her chakra into it. Soon enough it unfolded with an ungodly speed just to rain down drop-shaped chakra fuelled paper onto the enemy forces. Tearing through the leaves, the branches and right into their flesh the origami jutsu showed to be as deadly as any other. Where paper colored blood-red Shizuka no longer had to worry about things. Shouting angrily some tried to pull out the raindrop seated in their limbs, torsos and faces. The guy closest to Shizuka looked like he’s been through a shredding machine. A dull sound met her ears when he fell onto the ground like a bag of sand. Some others followed his example mere seconds later. Too much blood was lost because of the many, deep shreds caused by her jutsu. Unfortunately she didn’t have the time to be proud about her actions. One of the men looked too clean to her liking.

His skin looked as tough as leather. His eyes were lethal. The calmness surrounding him worried her to the point where cold sweat spread across her back. Aside from all that there was the intelligence in his eyes as well. Small eyes - they reminded her of those of a sadist; bitter and collected. With his pawns down, he was already planning his next steps.

“Siu!”

This one word almost revealed the panic rushing through her body. The tips of her fingers were tickling. She wasn’t sure whether it was from stress, fear, both or the urge to attack. They had no time for strategy. All this would come down to is sense each other and have each other’s back. Going with the flow was easier said than done, though. This troublesome future expressed itself through a little drop of sweat on Shizuka’s right temple.

The silence around them thickened, the air grew hotter, then all hell broke loose with the motion of one finger.


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Re: [A] Liberation

Mon Mar 11, 2019 6:26 pm

One might've questioned whether Blood had actually predetermined the incoming projectile, given the speed at which his arm jerked upward. Flashing but inches away from its intended target, the star-shaped weapon drove into a nearby trunk with such force that but only a single point could be witnessed jutting from it. Heads immediately jerked to observe the unexpected projectile, before darting upwards. Papered tears merrily drank the blood of its enemies, transitioning from natural white to blood red. Siu watched as shredded bodies collapsed into the tall flora and hard dirt, umbrellaed beneath a barrier of her own chakra-infused paper. Searching for her unexpected savior, the kunoichi's eyes shifted to peer into the obscurity of foliage.

“Shizuka..?!” Widened eyes and unrestrained tone communicated her great surprise.

Encased in what appeared to be a blue sphere of chakra, awaited the second survivor of the downpour, but a few feet away from the Chuunin.

Jutsu....?!

Airing his departing curses, the last remaining youngblood staggered, then joined his brethren in the dirt. As if mourning over their deaths, a silence passed through the forest.

"Raiden's left nut! How much does Bigs pay for these useless piece'a shits? " grumbled the male as he rested his gun upon his shoulder, appearing sincerely perplexed.

"You're a shinobi too?!" The kunoichi seemed astonished. "Why....why would you stoop to this work? Kumogakure pays enough!"

"Why would'jya stoop to bein' Kumo's bitch? …. Bigs pay higher."

"…. Kidnapping? .... Selling children as slaves? …. Do you not hold even the slightest bit of conscience?!"

"Ain't no different from what Kumo does, now is it? They cashin for numbers—I cashin for cash. Kids hot biz nowadays," brazenly refuted the male.

The kunoichi removed her cap—a dark scowl burning across her features. Those well-acquainted with her would recognize that such an expression was rather atypical of her nature.

"Were taking him in, Shizuka," words solemnly informed.

"Excuse me...?" Counfoundment appeared sincere upon the criminal's countenance.

“Protocol for rogue-nin is arrest or assassination.... And you've got questions to answer concerning your work with Bigs.”

"Ho—ly—shit.... Ya seriously have no idea who ya fuckin' with right now, do ya?"

"An outnumbered rogue-nin with dead allies."

"Bitch," aired the single derogatory remark, "I was tombstonin' hunter-nin while ya were still doin' Academy homework. Ya outta ya league."

Without warning, Blood's arm suddenly extended to aim his firearm, eyesight unbroken from the older kunoichi.

The pipsqueak first. Then the arrogant bitch.

Attention darting towards the pistol's target, Siu immediately crouched; her heart panicking as she dug a boot into the ground, soil crushing beneath as she poised herself.

BANG

The Chuunin lunged forward; dust in her wake, kunai drawn in an instant, her image a blur.... Suddenly, the extraordinary occurred.

Ching

Wha—

Blood drew and fabric tore as the split bullet piece managed to graze Siu's upper arm, despite her maneuvering attempts—the main piece continuing course for the young Senju. Grunting from the minor injury, the Chuunin actually believed she'd avoided the worst from the mysterious projectile.... At least, for an instant.

BOOM

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Re: [A] Liberation

Sun Mar 17, 2019 3:23 pm

The conversation between Siu and the rogue shinobi, if one could call the one-way stream of insults, gave Shizuka the time to think and start her preparations for her next move. Of course the other two were probably doing the same thing while communicating, but the young kunoichi was glad to have a silent moment for herself to think things through.

While his men lay in the dirt, bleeding out if not already dead, he had taken no visible damage from her attack. A surprise attack above that! This fact was itching the back of her mind and causing a nervous smile to form across her lips. They were in danger, so much was clear. However, judged by Siu’s words, they would not back down. Not that she had expected anything less from her friend and superior. No matter their ranks, Shizuka would high likely always follow Siu even if not always enthusiastically or equally obediently.

Right now she felt no conflict regarding either taking this man in or killing him. There were various reasons for people going rogue, she’s heard. This one, well, this one could not be forgiven. Where they both killed for their reasons as he had put it, selling children was not a shinobi business and Shizuka would not accept it even if her bond with Cloud was growing as gray as her eyes had.

The next thing she knew everything was already out of control. The bang was followed up with her body dissolving in shuriken that made their way to the assaulter. However, a split of a second later all of them were blown away by the earth shattering explosion. The fire and dust rushing outward blew bits from the tree Shizuka was standing behind. She felt the heat lick at her skin and knew bits of the rags she wore had just turned to ashes. Here and there her skin ached. Too hot to the touch, pulling as if dried out. She gritted her teeth in response to the pain.

Hopefully Siu had moved away or called upon a barrier. Otherwise her burns might be worse. The thought had Shizuka’s heart skip a beat, but she pushed back the panic. Worrying about her friend would get them nowhere. They had to find the right flow to work together, rely on each other to corner this man. For that, Shizuka knew, she would have to trust that the older and more experienced Siu would know what to do. Aside from that, she had to make sure to be of use and not turn into an obstacle of sorts.

With tiny holes made in the rags from sizzling wood and bits of fire, Shizuka reappeared on the scene of torn bodies, cracked trees and black-burned plants. Her hand had been rushing through seals from the moment she felt the heat roll over the forest area and so the next jutsu was ready now. Nothing impressive, but hopefully a good foundation to build on. Should more fire come, then this would give them a small advantage. Besides, with water being one of her best elements, she trusted to be able to use it to their advantage.

The Rain Dance was far from impressive, but shaped a good arena for her to go on from. To heal, to save chakra, to be more effective at countering fire - all was good except from the potential backlash it might cause when lightning got involved. She still took the risk.

Like paper before rain fell from the sky now. Thick drops rolled over the large leaves that have survived the battle till now. Washing away the ash and blood from all the other places, it soaked the ground, the wood, their clothes. Cold, yes, but necessary. It stung the burns from the eruption - she had almost forgotten them because all of her attention was going to the enemy. Now that she knew he had exploding projectiles or wielded some explosive jutsu, the young Senju hoped to not make the same mistake twice.

For one, they had to get rid of that gun of his. The second she saw him, she was willing to risk being open, hoping Siu would cover, just to use Silly Fingers on him to weaken his aim or have him lose his weapon.

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