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 Post subject: Oathsworn (Flashback)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 10:48 pm 
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Soft crunching leaves made plain the footsteps of the masked figure, unnaturally silent for one clad in metal armor. He moved as silently as he might, though only the shinobi of Kirigakure had learned to move without sound altogether. Masamune knew this terrain, however, and could recall every hill and stream of the landscape as if it were the back of his hand. It gave him the advantage, even over those who once used to lvie here, those who had left it years ago. With time came age, and even details once so familiar could begin to fade, let alone those minor things that one almost might not remember even just after seeing it. He knew the path that his quarry might take, and so used his knowledge to intercept them, near a river crossing, where the forest gave way to small embankments on either side, a wooden bridge spanning the length of them. It was a place where the rains fell heavily, a place no trees to offer solace or protection from the wet and the cold.

He dropped behind the two of them, both women, shorter than he. He landed on one knee, crouched, nearly silent, though he could not muffle the sound of his form hitting the ground. He wasn't, in particular, trying to surprise them, anyway, as it was not his goal to kill them, even if they were the two highest ranking officials from Kemurigakure, even if others in their position might very well have been considered to be trespassers. For the Watari twins, however, this was not the case. They were natives to this land, part of the vast majority that had willingly aligned themselves with the Uchiha legacy that had established hegemony over the Kanaduchi's ancestral home. For his own part, Masamune could never have submitted to such a thing.

However, for all the legacy that the two daimyo might have left, it was the Watari twins that ruled now. Two people that he had come now to assess and to inspect. How had they changed? He knew that they, too, were like him, once. They had been freedom fighters that fought for the independence of the Land of Rain, but they had left that past behind long ago. What affection for this land lay in their hearts? He did not know, but he was of a mind to determine such; he could decide the better course of action then after knowing. Whether that be combat, submission, or something else he did not know, but he had come prepared for any possibility, the hollow echo of rain inside his helmet reminding him keenly of that fact.

Glowing red eyes, unnatural, certainly fake, though no one else knew that, bore into the backs of the two women. If their reputation was deserved, which he was more-or-less sure that it was, they would be well aware of his arrival, even through the loud rainfall here, exposed in the gaps between the trees. Masamune was not sure how they might receive him, anyway. They were leaders of a foreign village now, one that he had been openly hostile to for many years, and spilled no small amount of blood fighting against. Masamune had gained a large deal of fame in the country of his birth, though not as Morimoto Masamune, but as the Hollow One, a nationalistic rebel and assassin who seemed more ghost - or machine - than man. His voice was heavy, almost mechanical through the heavy mask on his face. "Watari Tane, Watari Rumi," their names heavy in his mouth, foreign, yet familiar.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:45 pm 
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In truth, these times were some of Tane and Rumi's favorites. Underneath the constantly falling rain the twins walked back along the path towards their homeland. It wasn't often that they found opportunities to make this trip. The lives of Kage were time-consuming, their attention almost constantly required within Kemurigakure. This was especially true in recent years due to the looming presence of the war. Because of all of that tension, all of that stress, the twins found chances to go back to the Land of Rain to be calming. There was official business behind it, of course-- Tane and Rumi were in the process of a routine inspection of the organization and efficiency of the established Amegakure administration. While there, there would be some papers that they needed to look at, things to approve or deny, etc. However, those tasks were relatively light. Tane and Rumi were afforded the peaceful time to enjoy the fresh scent of their home.

Of course, they weren't careless. Being the successors to a man who found himself assassinated along the road mid-transit (a man that they had attempted the very same thing on much longer ago), they did not expect to be safe. That's why the ever-present pitter-patter of droplets against the muddy dirt road was not purely natural, but instead one of their own creation. It was only fitting that they returned home with the most renown technique from their homeland providing them comfort and protection. With the rainfall active, any presence that entered their vicinity was known before they even drew near. That's why they were already on guard long before the masked figure approached.

With their senses alert, Tane and Rumi's figures immediately broke into a blur, spinning at the slightest provocation when the sound of something hitting the ground behind them reached their ears. With fists at the ready, the twin Kage were ready to rush forward in a coordinated attack. This advanced was halted by a strange realization. Here was a man, one that certainly didn't serve them, kneeling beneath them. He was shrouded in mystery, armor protecting his figure while a mask hid his identity. Yet, the twins knew the persona well enough. "You're ..." Tane started, surprised that the infamous man had now come to kneel in front of them. "The Hollow One." Rumi finished the statement, her eyes narrowing on him in suspicion. "I would have thought your goal would be to kill us, but you're already on your knee. What's the deal?" It wasn't what she expected, that was for sure.

The man before them was known throughout the Land of Rain for his acts of rebellion against the Land of Rice Field's conquest. Rumor said that he had been battling for a long time, but as time went on, his infamy only continued to rise as the number of freedom fighters dwindled. Down to the dozens, down to handfuls, down to just a couple; the man before them stood as one of the last fighters for Amegakure's freedom. It was that fact that made him so dangerous to Kemurigakure.

And yet ... The twins couldn't help but feel a connection to him. At one point in life, they weren't much different.

_________________
Fighting Styles:
Taijutsu Specialist
Fuinjutsu Novice
Ijutsu Expert
Ninjutsu Expert
Kuchiyose Adept

Stats:
Strength: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Constitution: Masterful
Stamina: Epic (200 SP, 60 SP Ninjutsu, 60 SP Taijutsu, 60 SP Ijutsu, 50 SP SoaHS)
Reflex: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Coordination: Legendary with a Major Advantage
Wisdom: Masterful

Elements:
Lightning Release
Wind Release


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:19 am 
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The glowing red eyes were unblinking, even as Masamune himself did take a single, slow blink from behind his mask as he observed the twins. They had turned quickly, assuming combat stances. The Hollow One's position, crouched close to the ground from where he had landed form the nearby tree, did not change immediately, as Tane began to speak and Rumi quickly finished the summation of their thoughts. Then, Masamune's posture did change. It was slight, likely imperceptible to most, as his body somewhat relaxed from its tense state. Whereas before he had been coiled, ready to pounce, he was now simply crouched low on the ground. Slowly, he stood, armor clinking softly as he did so. It seemed, at least, that the twins were willing to talk. That suited Masamune well, he had come with the intention to ask questions before anything else, at least. "I came to talk," the echoing voice spoke, ringing out against the heavy rainfall. "What comes after depends on your answers."

His words were, in a way, a threat, though he didn't have any immediate, intended hostility behind them. It was more like a warning, a bit of honesty, as the armored man's unblinking eyes shifted from examining one twin to the other. He had not much imagined what they might have looked like when he was in the process of tracking them down, and he wasn't sure what exactly he had expected, but they were different. They did not wear the trappings of their office, nor, perhaps worst of all, that accursed hat. That boded well, at least, lest it might have broached the bit of civility that the three of them were engaged in.

Masamune did not flatter them, for he had no desire to. He did not respect them, for he had no current cause to. His voice, cold, as if it were disembodied and coming from someplace other than his form, remained impartial, however. His lack of courtesies did not come, at least immediately, from a place of hatred, but simply from lack of sufficient cause or reason. His entire purpose in coming here, after all, was rooted in curiosity. There was no reason to hope for a favorable outcome if he were outright hostile. Instead, he was simply cold, distant.
"Why have you come here? Last I can recall, you abandoned this place to the wolves."
His voice was not accusatory, he did not blame her for leaving, for surrendering. Most others did the same. He had chosen not to, and now he was but a ghost, one who had yet to determine the culpability of the two before him in the murder of a nation.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:31 pm 
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Though the claim highlighted talking as the primary objective, it wasn't enough to fully put the twins at ease. Cautious of letting their guard down, they kept their body posed to attack or defend at a moment's notice. While their fists uncurled slightly and their arms grew less tensed, they still remained prepared were things to go south. At the very least, Tane's face lightened up in appreciation of the man's honesty regarding his intentions. Rumi, on the other hand, only showed irritation at it, perceiving the message less as an admittance of honest intention and more as a threat. There was a lot to be said about a man willing to admit such. It showed that he did not doubt his ability to take them on, even while outnumbered. In fact, he even forfeited the element of surprise. Proud as she was, Rumi took it as underestimating her ability, a conclusion that was always able to tick her off.

What came next was a loaded question-- why had they returned here, to the place that they supposedly abandoned? Immediately, Rumi's mouth opened. "Who are you to say that we abandoned our home?" She shot back, a subtle growl rolling in the back of her tone. "Is it so wrong for us to want to visit our home and our family?" Tane answered the question with one of her own. There was the official business aspect of why they were here, but the woman chose to leave that out; in truth, it wasn't mandatory that they make the trip here. They could have just as easily arranged for another to make the journey for them and bring back anything that Tane and Rumi needed to handle personally. They took on the journey because they wanted to see their birthplace once more.

"Never has this place left our hearts. There's more than one way to fight for the things you love, you know." Tane spoke much more softly in comparison to her sister, the small hint of anger Rumi demonstrated nonexistent in Tane's own voice. That was how negotiations seemed to often go: always the calmer one, it typically fell on Tane's shoulders to take control of seeking a more peaceful resolution. For the time being, the two twins stood their ground firmly, looking up slightly towards the taller, masked man.

_________________
Fighting Styles:
Taijutsu Specialist
Fuinjutsu Novice
Ijutsu Expert
Ninjutsu Expert
Kuchiyose Adept

Stats:
Strength: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Constitution: Masterful
Stamina: Epic (200 SP, 60 SP Ninjutsu, 60 SP Taijutsu, 60 SP Ijutsu, 50 SP SoaHS)
Reflex: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Coordination: Legendary with a Major Advantage
Wisdom: Masterful

Elements:
Lightning Release
Wind Release


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:50 am 
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The Hollow One listened keenly, unsure until when they said it what the twins' answer to his question might be. He almost laughed in that moment, finding her answer not exactly displeasing, but not entirely satisfying, either. In truth, it probably would have been difficult for them to give any answer that Masamune might have found satisfying or acceptable. After all, they had left this place many years ago, even if they considered it their home or not, even if they visited like they were said to be doing now. For them, this place was a place to be visited, a bit of land at the edge of the world to come back to every now and then whilst feeling nostalgic. Masamune wasn't sure how much they might have meant what they said, but even if what they said was true, it left him feeling somehow antsy. He was a ghost, a soul left behind when everyone else had moved on. The last of his kind, in a strange way. It was because Amegakure was his home that he never left. He didn't simply pay his respects by returning, he had paid them in blood by never leaving at all.

"I am the ghost that was left behind," he charged in reply to Rumi's angry retort. "I am not one that returns home when it suits them, when they feel nostalgic. I am the one that has been here the whole time. No, not left behind, but one who instead chose to stay behind, and remain behind." His words were sharper than he might have meant them; he really didn't hold them ill will for submitting, exactly, especially given that the twins had been freedom fighters as well for a time, which is more than could be said for most of the Amegakure shinobi that surrendered after the war. However, there was a certain pride that he felt for the fact that he had remained true for so long, something that he certainly take kindly to being insulted. If there was anyone who could judge them, then it was most likely he.

Calming himself after a moment, even somewhat surprised by his own unusually passionate retort, he eventually collected himself enough that he was able to speak again, his unblinking red eyes shifting from Rumi to Tane, to address the more diplomatic of the twins' question. "I do not think it is wrong of you to return," Masamune admitted behind the mask. "I simply wonder if there is truth to what you say. The two of you left this place freedom fighters years ago, and return as its would-be masters. How could you bring yourselves to lead the people who conquered our village?"


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 17, 2019 3:51 pm 
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A ghost that was left behind. Hmph, it's almost sad, isn't it? Rumi thought to her sister. All this time, he remained stuck in his ways. It wasn't something that the twins could exactly fault him for. There was a strong sense of nationalism carried behind those words that could only respected. Instead, it seemed more like an unfortunate circumstance that he could not find other ways to serve the home that he cherished. The man eventually calmed his senses, returning to his neutral tone that only held curiosity behind it. He begged the question: how could they come to lead the village that had conquered their people?

"It's ... Not at black and white as that." Tane started, her voice still gentle as she reminisced about the day she truly swore allegiance to Otogakure. It was one of her fondest memories-- the start of her descent into love with her husband-to-be. "The world is constantly changing, you can't let yourself be stuck on the past. Of course we couldn't support Hayate's thirst for conquest. He did it for selfish reasons. But ... Saizo? He was different." It was then a light smile touched her soft lips, remembering the man for all of the good in him. "He was different than his father. Empathetic, loving. When we got to know him, I could tell that he was a man who wanted the best for both of our people." To rule alongside his own people, not rule over them-- that was how he had put it when he told them of his dreams. It was a goal that had been put into action throughout his years at the helm of Kemurigakure. Starting with the bridge between cultures that was the new village, the man had worked tirelessly to create the best lives for both the lands' citizens. Standing by his side, Tane and Rumi made sure of that.

"We've done what we've done in order to take care of the Land of Rain. Saizo showed us that the people of the Land of Rice Fields cared for us just as much as themselves. By taking over as the Kemurikages, we're able to continue that." Rumi explained, cutting more quickly to the point than her sister. "It makes sense, doesn't it? I would think that you'd be happy having this place under the protection of others who call it home." The women looked up towards the man's cold eyes. With a mask covering the majority of his face, it was nearly impossible to gleam much of an emotional reaction from him. His eyes were the main source of intel that they could use to see the impact of their words.

_________________
Fighting Styles:
Taijutsu Specialist
Fuinjutsu Novice
Ijutsu Expert
Ninjutsu Expert
Kuchiyose Adept

Stats:
Strength: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Constitution: Masterful
Stamina: Epic (200 SP, 60 SP Ninjutsu, 60 SP Taijutsu, 60 SP Ijutsu, 50 SP SoaHS)
Reflex: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Coordination: Legendary with a Major Advantage
Wisdom: Masterful

Elements:
Lightning Release
Wind Release


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:03 am 
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His red eyes flared with rage as Rumi finished speaking, the smoldering orbs switching over to focus on the more impulsive of the two twins. He had been listening keenly once more, his decorum recovered in the wake of his previous outburst, only to be so quickly followed by another. "Amegakure does not need the protection of another village," the metallic voice hissed. The thought that Otogakure provided a service, especially such a critical one, to what was once a fully independent village, was more than offensive to the Ame-nin. "Our village," he began, emphasizing the fact that it was something that they shared, "was once as great and powerful as any of the Five Great Nations. We could be, again," he insisted, voice filled with the same metallic, fierce tone, though he almost felt as if that final comment was as much to convince himself as it was to convince the two twins.

The harsh cry of the wind sent scattered leaves blowing between the three figures, the splattering of the rain against his helmet and his armor creating a little pitter-patter that was drowned out by the sound of the rain smacking against the ground, the bridge, and the river. Others might have grown cold in the rain, but Masamune had grown quite accustomed to its cold embrace, even as the outer layer of metal he wore offered only a superficial bit of protection against the elements. "I am not in the business of trading my freedom for security," he charged in reply. In was a somewhat hypocritical answer, really. Any ninja was in the business of following orders, and often by their nature they represented the encroachment of security over freedom. Shinobi operated in the shadows; they spied, stole, and assassinated for money. But nationalistic pride ran deeper in his blood than the trappings of his profession.

"The presence of your village," he said, emphasizing her village, the things she represented in her capacity as opposite of his own, "is unwelcome here."


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:38 pm 
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Nationalistic pride stood in the way of the Hollow One truly understanding the risks associated with his risks. A look of annoyance struck across Rumi's face, her upper half of her body leaning in slightly to impose herself further towards him. Despite the height difference between the two, she didn't let that diminish the ferocity of her stance. "Why don't you think about the rest of the citizens here? About the dangers you want to put them in?" Her voice rose in anger to match the fire in the man's red gaze. It wasn't just his stubbornness that bothered Rumi now, it was the risk that his ideals would cast upon her people. Her mother, her friends ... She perceived Amegakure breaking away from Kemurigakure to be an act that would rain danger on those that she wanted to protect.

"Do you really think that Amegakure, as they are now, is strong enough to fend off the other villages? Do you think that they can survive this war?" It was a dangerous situation, no matter what Amegakure did. If they broke away from Kemurigakure, they would undeniably be pulled into the continent-wide war, forced to choose a side. Would they join Konohagakure and Sunagakure, their neighboring villages? That would place them into the wrath Kemurigakure, Kumogakure, and Kirigakure. As a location, the Land of Rain was necessary to get through to Sunagakure, meaning that they would undeniably become a war zone. If they stayed on the same side, but without the protection of Kemurigakure, they would be pincered between Konohagakure and Sunagakure, unable to withstand a proper joint-attack. It was a foolish endeavor to think that they could afford to break away. "You'd be dooming everyone you're trying to protect." Rumi's words were brutally honest, almost condescending towards the idea.

Knowing that Rumi and the Hollow One only seemed to be creating more and more tension between the two parties, Tane opted to step in, hoping to rein the conversation in back to a higher level of diplomacy. "You're not trading freedom for security. We aren't exerting any sort of strict rules on the Land of Rain. There's little difference in the freedom of Amegakure shinobi now than there would be if Amegakure stood independently. A shinobi village would still be at the helm, giving orders to those that followed it. You would be giving away the security that lets the citizens sleep soundly at night away, and for what?" Tane appealed to the sense of duty that she hoped the man had towards the normal, non-shinobi populace. Unfortunate as it might be, they were reliant on the shinobi villages for protection against threats. There was more to consider than the Hollow One's vague idea of superficial freedom.

_________________
Fighting Styles:
Taijutsu Specialist
Fuinjutsu Novice
Ijutsu Expert
Ninjutsu Expert
Kuchiyose Adept

Stats:
Strength: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Constitution: Masterful
Stamina: Epic (200 SP, 60 SP Ninjutsu, 60 SP Taijutsu, 60 SP Ijutsu, 50 SP SoaHS)
Reflex: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Coordination: Legendary with a Major Advantage
Wisdom: Masterful

Elements:
Lightning Release
Wind Release


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:25 pm 
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The twins' retort bit harsh and sharp, and Masamune's eyes narrowed slightly in reply. The sting came from the fact that their words had some truth to them; the Hollow One stood in defiance of Kemurigakure, but he stood in defiance of them on behalf of a people who happily integrated themselves with Kemurigakure. It was undeniable, least of all because of the fact that he knew his popular support had certainly been dwindling. Years ago, fighting for the resistance, there was no shortage of civilians who would offer food, shelter, or aid. Now he was a specter, and the citizens of Amegakure seemed to fear him as much as those from Kemurigakure might have. In truth, he had been well and truly alone for quite some time. His voice felt hoarse from speaking, after so much time in silence.

The silence bled over into the present, and he offered no reply for a long moment, the scrape of his armor filling the air as he backed down first, breaking eye contact and turning his gaze to look at the ground. After what was several moments where he felt he lost his voice, he eventually found it again, clinging on to some sense of anger or frustration to give him strength. "You," he said, red-eyed gaze flashing towards Tane. "I understand. You fell in love with him," the assassin didn't speak the man's name, "But you," he almost hissed, fueled by some kind of burning, angry feeling in his chest, wheeled to face Rumi. "Why did you do it?"


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 5:12 pm 
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For a time, it seemed as though the words of the two twins had gotten through to the man before them. Silence overtook the man's form, the sound of anger-fueled words giving way to the mellow, soothing sound of rain droplets tapping against their surroundings. Tane and Rumi remained quiet, giving the Hollow One time to think about all that they had said. He was thinking about their words, it would do them no good to rush him past that process. As his eyes darted away, breaking contact to tear his attention away from the resolve in their faces, the twin Kemurikages thought that his next words would perhaps be a bit more agreeable.

Instead, he found anger once more to add power behind his words. He threw out an accusatory statement, questioning Rumi on how why she could have done it. For the first time in the conversation, the man had succeeded in crawling underneath Tane's skin. The way that he referred to Saizo, unable to speak his name yet with an implication that harbored such disgust ... It was insulting. He didn't know Saizo the way that Tane did, a fact that she had to remind herself of in order to resist snapping at him. It was difficult, but she managed to keep her composure, leaving the space open for Rumi to answer. She looked over to Tane as she opened her mouth.

"Sometimes, you realize that you can't do everything on your own, or that you don't know the answer. I was lost." Rumi explained, her voice having lost some of its ferocity in favor of a kinder voice for her lesson. "My quest for revenge led to failure, and almost got Tane killed for trying to follow me into it. At that point, I didn't know what to do." Her gaze shifted back towards the Hollow One, hoping that he would find the answer to be satisfactory. "She believed in Saizo's vision for a better life between our two lands. I hated him, sure, but Tane thought that following him would be the best way to help our people. I decided to put my trust in her, hoping that it would lead somewhere good. And, well ... It did." It brought a smile to Tane's face to hear Rumi admit it aloud. It was something that she already knew, of course, but hearing her sister say it gave the thought so much more strength.

"I put my trust in her, hoping that she could pull me back from the lost path I was on." Perhaps in those words the Hollow One would find something to relate to. Tane and Rumi did not think him in so different a situation than Rumi was all those years ago. He was lost, alone, unsure how best to work towards his goals. It was that kind of situation where someone to trust was needed.

_________________
Fighting Styles:
Taijutsu Specialist
Fuinjutsu Novice
Ijutsu Expert
Ninjutsu Expert
Kuchiyose Adept

Stats:
Strength: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Constitution: Masterful
Stamina: Epic (200 SP, 60 SP Ninjutsu, 60 SP Taijutsu, 60 SP Ijutsu, 50 SP SoaHS)
Reflex: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Coordination: Legendary with a Major Advantage
Wisdom: Masterful

Elements:
Lightning Release
Wind Release


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 21, 2019 3:00 pm 
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There was a compelling logic behind Rumi's explanation and her story. If Masamune had been asked beforehand how she might have answered his question, that was an answer similar to what he might have expected or guessed, but it was still something else altogether to hear it aloud. The metal-clad man shifted his posture, relaxing more visibly as the hostility seemed to leak out of his form, either because he had found their answers to his questions to be reasonable, or he had otherwise lost the resolve to fight that he had previously held, and then clung to. The answer was nuanced, but the Hollow One could sense the truth in her words, still. If there was something that Masamune didn't doubt about the twins, as untrustworthy as he might have thought them to be, it was that they cared deeply for one another. That behavior was observable and verifiable, both here and abroad.

Perhaps, Masamune felt, he was partially jealous of the two of them. Of the twins, Rumi certainly seemed the one that was the most similar to himself. Were it not for her sister, would Rumi have been in the same position that Masamune was in now? If the Hollow One had someone like Tane through it all, would he be where he was now? It was a difficult question, and it left him wondering exactly why he might have felt that way; was it a more nuanced reflection on his current actions? Certainly, the feeling had a kind of implication that what he was doing now was somehow wrong, and he knew that he didn't want to feel that way, though that did little to suppress or erase what he was currently feeling in that moment.

Slowly, the unblinking suit of armor turned its gaze from the ground back up towards the twins, his gaze focused moreso now on Rumi than it was her twin. In fact, his gaze was less focused on her because of the fact she had just been speaking, but more so because it was judging, probing, thinking. Eventually, the voice behind the mask let out a sigh, the unblinking red orbs closing, casting the mask into darkness. "I fear I lost the ability to trust long ago."


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 22, 2019 11:35 pm 
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This time, the twins were sure that their words were heard. The shifts in his posture were small, but present nonetheless: the tension in his muscles diminished, his arms loose, his shoulders relaxed. She chose not to acknowledge it with a visible smirk, but Rumi was truthfully proud of herself. It was a rare occasion that her words were the calming ones. Typically, that was left to Tane. It was the rare moments such as these that she felt a sense of pride in her work. Since becoming the Kemurikage, she had put in an honest effort to work towards being more compassionate and crafty with her words. While it did not always succeed in showing, it came through when it counted.

As his body language softened, Tane and Rumi's readiness for combat dropped slightly as well. It wasn't enough to leave them defenseless (none reached their level of shinobi ability without learning to keep themselves ready to protect themselves, after all), but it alleviated the suspicion from their body language. The twins left it to the Hollow One to make the next move, waiting patiently until his gaze met Rumi's once more. Tane took notice of his fixation on her. It was a sign that, whatever words were to be spoken next, letting Rumi be the one to answer was likely the right call. With that, she opted to remain silent.

Upon hearing the man's dilemma, Rumi took a short pause to consider her words. Compared to the normal swiftness of her usually brash answers, it felt much longer. "You've only lost it if you choose to keep giving up on the good in people." She spoke firmly of that belief. "There might only be so much you can do alone, but if you choose to try again with others ... There are a lot of people counting on shinobi like us, you know? Shinobi willing to risk it all in the face of overwhelming odds." Rumi wasn't much known for smiles. Her sister was often the more joyous of the two. While Rumi looked at the positives it was always Rumi that brought up the negatives. However, a smile was born across her cheeks, a genuine expression of warmth as she encouraged the lost man before her.

_________________
Fighting Styles:
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Ijutsu Expert
Ninjutsu Expert
Kuchiyose Adept

Stats:
Strength: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Constitution: Masterful
Stamina: Epic (200 SP, 60 SP Ninjutsu, 60 SP Taijutsu, 60 SP Ijutsu, 50 SP SoaHS)
Reflex: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Coordination: Legendary with a Major Advantage
Wisdom: Masterful

Elements:
Lightning Release
Wind Release


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 4:02 am 
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With the sound of the rain echoing his ears, Masamune had to almost straight to hear Rumi over the water, but what he did not struggle to make out was her smile. It was strange. How long had it been since he had seen such a thing? Longer still, how long had it been since one had been directed towards him? It left him feeling confused and uncertain. Was that what she wanted? Was she trying to disorient him? Perhaps she was about to attack, now that she had caught him off-balance. He tensed for a moment, more reflex than anything else, and certainly appeared more akin to a startled cat than anything else, before slowly relaxing when the attack did not seem to come. Did that mean, then, that her smile was earnest?

Masamune let her words settle in his head for a moment, as he thought. "Am I supposed to count on you?" He asked. His voice was not hostile this time, it was passive, neutral, though if one focused on it they perhaps could discern a certain earnestness to his query. That neutral tone of voice was the one that he assumed when he wasn't sure what else to do, wasn't sure how else to react. When his armor failed, it was a neutral passivity that served as the last of his defenses. "Am I supposed to trust you?"


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 2:07 am 
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With the core of his beliefs shaken, the Hollow One seemed to be at a lost. When he answered, he begged the question: what was he supposed to do, put his trust in those that he thought to have betrayed his people? It was a tricky question to answer, one that gave Rumi another moment of hesitation. "Well ..." Despite the difficulty of the question, she kept her gaze on his, unwilling to turn away. She didn't want her movements to be perceived as weak or uncertain. As quickly as her witty mind could find the words, she continued her response. "That's not something that we can really say. You have the freedom to choose whoever you want to trust. If you don't trust us, I wouldn't blame you." A short chuckle came to the surface as Rumi reminisced in her mind about the past. A brief glance shot over in Tane's direction. "I spent years poisoning Saizo's breakfast before he ever earned my trust." At that, Tane also shared a cute giggle, fondly remembering the moments. At times it had given her laughter, and other times it was a source of anger. Now that Saizo was gone ... Those were situations that she would give anything to relive one more time.

"But ... Being alone will only do you harm. Find someone genuine that you feel like you can connect to. Someone worth fighting alongside." Rumi advised with a glancing smile towards her sister. "It's those bonds that give you the strength to push through those challenges that lie ahead." Although she didn't openly advocate for it, Rumi knew in the back of her mind that she was secretly hoping for the Hollow One to find it in himself to trust them. If he stayed against them, pitting himself against Kemurigakure, it was only a matter of time before he was brought down. As someone that Rumi could relate to, someone so passionate about their homeland that had gone through such similar experiences, it only felt right to do what she could to save him from his path.

_________________
Fighting Styles:
Taijutsu Specialist
Fuinjutsu Novice
Ijutsu Expert
Ninjutsu Expert
Kuchiyose Adept

Stats:
Strength: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Constitution: Masterful
Stamina: Epic (200 SP, 60 SP Ninjutsu, 60 SP Taijutsu, 60 SP Ijutsu, 50 SP SoaHS)
Reflex: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Coordination: Legendary with a Major Advantage
Wisdom: Masterful

Elements:
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:50 am 
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The thought of Rumi trying to poison Saizo was certainly amusing, it almost made the Hollow One laugh, though he did not, only the slight sound of his breathing leaving the helmet on his head. Their words held weight, Masamune knew it, but that didn't make him want to accept it any more. He knew that he should, the rational part of his brain told him that, and yet he found it so difficult to simply leave behind all of the things that he had worked so hard for up until now. He had been on a quest, something that Masamune had considered to be his almost sacred duty. Could it end now? Under his helmet, he chewed his lip, blinding red eyes blinking once more. He did not know if he could place his trust in these two, though perhaps, at least, he could follow them. He did not need to trust them to do that. If they, Amegakure natives, were the ones that the villagers chose to follow, then that made them by all rights into the Amekage, even if they called themselves Kemurikage. Masamune did not need to trust his kage to know that it was his duty to follow their orders, regardless of his thoughts or feelings about them. In the end, his was not to question why, his was but to do and die.

Slowly, Masamune reached up towards his helmet. He grabbed it by its sides and raised it slowly, the red eyes flickering from existence, replaced by soft gray. He lifted the helmet off his head and then held it for a moment, before casting it aside on the ground, thudding into a puddle of rainwater, where the metal melted into nothingness. Strong chin, smooth dark hair, piercing eyes, a face like it was carved from marble was revealed, as Masamune exposed his face to the twins. It was more than simply a symbolic gesture. It had been many, many years since the Hollow One had showed his face to another. He eased his weight downwards, taking up position on one knee before the twins. "If the people of our village can accept you as their leader, so too can I, Masamune," he spoke over the dulcet rain and thunder, the Hollow One revealing, also for the first time, his true name and identity.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 2:28 am 
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It was difficult to decide what was more surprising: the symbolism behind the removal of the Hollow One's mask, or the face behind the mask itself. On one hand, there was a lot of power behind his decision to remove his mask. It was a gesture of acceptance, taking the twins for their words. It was the final page of a chapter in his tale, marking the turning point where a new journey of renewed purpose began. The twin Kemurikage hadn't been sure if he would find satisfaction in their answers, enough so to fully offer his allegiance to their cause. On the other hand ... Fuck, he's hot. Rumi did what she could to hide the surprise from her face. Still, the widened eyes gave it away that the handsome features had not been what she expected. Oh no ... Here we go. Tane cracked a small smile as she glanced over to her sister. Between the two, Rumi had always been the one more appreciative of looks. It was the internal aspects of a person, such as the feelings of ones heart or the creativity of ones mind that attracted Tane. Yet, even she had to admit that he was quite the looker.

"Masamune, huh? Good to properly meet you." Rumi gestured for him to rise back to his feet. She was never one for formalities, a trait that extended into her rise to the position of Kage. Even as the highest ranking shinobi of the village, over-the-top displays of loyalty like kneeling before her always felt weird to her. "I'm sure the people of the Land of Rain would be happy to know that their biggest protectors choose to stand side-by-side now." Tane's sister nodded in agreement. "Yeah, we'd be happy to have you. Your reputation speaks well enough of your skill." Now, more than ever, they could use the help. Allowing them to expend less manpower worrying about the last Amegakure freedom fighter and turn more firepower towards the war effort would be a great boon for their chances.

_________________
Fighting Styles:
Taijutsu Specialist
Fuinjutsu Novice
Ijutsu Expert
Ninjutsu Expert
Kuchiyose Adept

Stats:
Strength: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Constitution: Masterful
Stamina: Epic (200 SP, 60 SP Ninjutsu, 60 SP Taijutsu, 60 SP Ijutsu, 50 SP SoaHS)
Reflex: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Coordination: Legendary with a Major Advantage
Wisdom: Masterful

Elements:
Lightning Release
Wind Release


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:37 am 
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Standing when directed, Masamune examined the slight bit of surprised that was present on Rumi's face. What had lurked underneath his mask had surprised her, it seemed. He was unsure in that moment what she might have expected to have been hidden away underneath the helmet, but for now he did not bother to ask. The twins offered Masamune kind words, and he stood stoic in reply, unsure of exactly how he might have been best served to respond to them. Social situations such as this one were not his forte, exactly. Still, they complimented his skill, and he gave a slight nod of recognition to that; that was something that he understood.

Slowly, the armor around his form began to dissipate, retreating into nothingness, and leaving a much more inconspicuous form behind. Underneath the armor was a man, still about as tall and about as muscular, though much less jagged. He wore drab gray clothing that quickly became dampened by the falling rain, though he was so much used to such things that he hardly noticed it at all. Concentric rings rippled across his gray eyes as his armor vanished, before returning to their normal blue-gray. Masamune had pledged to serve, so he did not make a conspicuous choice to hide his power as he might usually have, instead letting them behold the Rinnegan that he possessed for what it truly was. He had heard the rumors before, that what the Hollow One did was not possible through Steel Release alone, but he wondered if anyone had truly guessed the secret to his craft?

"Your enemies shall be my enemies," he replied, head bowed in submission. "As the Amekages will it, my Rinnegan is at your command."


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:41 pm 
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Seemingly without effort, the armor that coated the man was reduced to nothing. Symbolic of him truly easing into the situation, lowering his guard around the twins, the Kemurikages responded in kind. Although they had no such armor to get rid of, they allowed their muscles to loosen more noticeably. What surprised the two the most were the lavender, ringed eyes that now bore back at them. Before they could ask to confirm what it was, a name was given: The Rinnegan. "The Rinnegan? So they do exist?" Rumi questioned what was seen, while her sister supplemented the statement with what they knew. "We've heard rumor that it was a rare doujutsu from long ago that had started to resurface somehow." The reveal provided more and more questions that the twins sought answers to. How did he get it? What could it do?

Rumi turned her body outward, away from Masamune towards the bridge that they had come to. "It's still a ways to Amegakure. We should keep going before it gets dark." A thumb pointed down the road across the bridge that they were hoping to use. "Why don't you come with? You can tell us about how you got those eyes along the way." Rumi offered. She waited a short time for a reply before she intended to resume the march. Tane was ready to continue as well, stepping in line with the rest of the group once they began to travel.

_________________
Fighting Styles:
Taijutsu Specialist
Fuinjutsu Novice
Ijutsu Expert
Ninjutsu Expert
Kuchiyose Adept

Stats:
Strength: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Constitution: Masterful
Stamina: Epic (200 SP, 60 SP Ninjutsu, 60 SP Taijutsu, 60 SP Ijutsu, 50 SP SoaHS)
Reflex: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Coordination: Legendary with a Major Advantage
Wisdom: Masterful

Elements:
Lightning Release
Wind Release


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PostPosted: Fri May 17, 2019 12:16 am 
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The question that the twins posited seemed almost strange to Masamune at first, though he recognized that was almost an unfair judgement. He had lived with the eyes for all his life, and now, to him, they were almost trivial. Even besides that fact, it was Amegakure that had induced Masamune to develop his Rinnegan, so the thought that the Amekage would not know if it seemed strange, but then again, the program had been destroyed during the conquest of the village, and Masamune was the last living remnant of it. Perhaps it was nothing but long-gone memories, the same type of ghost that he seemed to embody now. "It does," he confirmed, though he fell silent after that, keen to answer her questions but not volunteering any information other than what was asked for.

Motioning towards the bridge ahead, covered with so much rain and the river so swollen now as to almost have consumed the bridge entirely, Rumi offered for Masamune to accompany the twins towards the village. It was a strange feeling he felt then, but certainly tempting. It had been so long, many years, since he had walked through the gates of Amegakure, a friend rather than a stealthed foe. For too long, the village he had called home had been hostile to him. His breath caught slightly in his throat, and he gave a slight, silent nod. He fell into line as indicated, allowing the twins to dictate the pace, as he was their subordinate. "They're a forgery, a replica, manufactured in Amegakure to serve as a weapon I imagine. Whatever the purpose, I never learned it. The program was disrupted during the invasion, and I was quite young," he explained.


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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 10:03 pm 
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The journey resumed, Masamune stepping in line with the two twins as they stepped onto the slick bridge overheard. In the storm, the bridge rocked back and forth, a lack of truly sturdy architecture leaving it exposed to the gusts of wind going through the valley. Of course, the unsteady swing of the wooden planks wasn't enough to phase skilled shinobi, who traversed it without worry. Instead, Tane and Rumi's attention was held by Masamune's explanation, citing his Rinnegan's origin back to a secret project facilitated by Amegakure before the invasion. "They discovered a way to replicate the Rinnegan?" Tane asked, almost incredulously. While they didn't know too much about the fabled doujutsu, it was known that the Rinnegan contained incredible power. To be able to replicate such an ability ... I wonder why it was discontinued. Rumi thought grimly, imagining the worst case scenarios. "I would have pictured Hayate jumping at wanting to claim that power." She approached carefully, not wanting to spark any negative feelings born from Masamune's ill feelings towards the man. "How did it get disrupted?"

Beyond the sense of duty that they had to know about this historical event, there was a sense of fascination to be had. It was partially a gut feeling, but the twins could feel that Masamune had a wealth of knowledge regarding their homeland. Based off of looks, they judged that he was a couple of years older. He was young too, when Amegakure fell. Those couple of extra years however added many extra experiences within the village. In a way, it felt refreshing to be talking to someone who had thought so highly of Amegakure. While Tane and Rumi knew many others to be refugees from their home village, none of their close friends were from there. As such, it often felt as though they had few people to relate to on the subject.

_________________
Fighting Styles:
Taijutsu Specialist
Fuinjutsu Novice
Ijutsu Expert
Ninjutsu Expert
Kuchiyose Adept

Stats:
Strength: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Constitution: Masterful
Stamina: Epic (200 SP, 60 SP Ninjutsu, 60 SP Taijutsu, 60 SP Ijutsu, 50 SP SoaHS)
Reflex: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Coordination: Legendary with a Major Advantage
Wisdom: Masterful

Elements:
Lightning Release
Wind Release


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PostPosted: Mon May 20, 2019 10:26 pm 
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The name of Hayate spoken aloud made the ghost of a man almost want to sneer. He held his composure, at least, given the company, and continued forward to traverse the swaying bridge behind the twin kage. Masamune instead focused his thoughts on the second question that they had asked, offering only a murmur of affirmation at Tane's question. "The research and development systems were captured during the war - the lucky ones managed to destroy themselves, burn their research notes and contents, before they fell into enemy hands," he explained, voice slightly raised so he could be heard over the creaking of the bridge and the roaring of the thunder. He didn't mind crossing the bridge, in truth, as it was altogether something unnecessary to shinobi like them, who could have just walked over the surface of the water, even if the river was fierce on days like this.

"The program ran for several years, I don't know how long it ran before I was recruited as a subject. I know it produced a few other semi-successful subjects like myself; most, if not all, of them are dead by now." He was silent for a long moment then, thinking about the other children that had lived in the same facility that he had. Eventually, he spoke again, pushing the more melancholy thoughts from his mind. "The program only produced semi-successful subjects. None of the artificial Rinnegan possess the full abilities of the true eye. Most artificial creations possess only one or two abilities of the original."


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PostPosted: Thu May 23, 2019 3:05 pm 
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The answer made sense-- most of the research and development were self-sabotaged before they could be completely captured, for fear of that data falling into the hands of the enemy. "Damn, that sort of information would have been useful to have." Rumi muttered. Of course, she understood why it was discarded. How were the people of Amegakure supposed to know at the time that they would eventually become allied with their attackers? In that situation, she would have done the same thing. Masamune continued, detailing that there were several other successful subjects such as himself. Unfortunately, their lights had all faded. The Hollow One was all that was left.

In the long pause that followed, Tane sensed a bit of sorrow for their fates. "I'm sorry to hear that." She offered with sweetness and compassion in her tone. She didn't know how close he might have been with some of the others in the research project, but if they had any real connection, then being the last one standing wouldn't be easy. Loss was never easy, no matter how long they served the shinobi world. Tane and Rumi hadn't lost too many in their time, but the ones that they had were impactful. Fortunately, Masamune did not seem to dwell on those lingering thoughts for long.

Continuing on, it was explained that the experiments were only "semi-successful," able to replicate one or two powers in any given subject, but never the full ability of the eye. "That makes sense ... I'm sure the war would have gone a bit differently if Amegakure had several fully awakened Rinnegan at their disposal. What does yours allow you to do?" Unfamiliar with the abilities herself, Rumi didn't have the foggiest idea what to expect from the eye.

_________________
Fighting Styles:
Taijutsu Specialist
Fuinjutsu Novice
Ijutsu Expert
Ninjutsu Expert
Kuchiyose Adept

Stats:
Strength: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Constitution: Masterful
Stamina: Epic (200 SP, 60 SP Ninjutsu, 60 SP Taijutsu, 60 SP Ijutsu, 50 SP SoaHS)
Reflex: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Coordination: Legendary with a Major Advantage
Wisdom: Masterful

Elements:
Lightning Release
Wind Release


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PostPosted: Sun May 26, 2019 12:30 am 
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Surprising to the Hollow One, Tane offered him condolences for the people that were like him that had perished. Masamune paused for a moment, his step faltering before he quickly picked up the pace to continue. That apology had caught him off-guard, and he wasn't really sure what to say. He hadn't known all of the others that well, and he had never really thought of himself as part of some collective with them. The thought that someone might apologize to him about their passing hadn't really even crossed his mind, and he wasn't sure what to say. Masamune didn't feel like the right person to be apologizing to for it, anyway. It wasn't like he was a part of the families that had lost a member, and he wasn't particularly close to any of the others. Still, he didn't want to appear as ungrateful at least, and so he murmured an uncertain thanks towards Tane.

Rumi's question seemed a bit more practical, and Masamune was admittedly grateful for the change of pace, something that made him feel less awkward and less out of place. She asked what his eyes let him do, and that, too, gave him pause for a moment. It was the kind of question that he had never answered to another person, always hiding behind the face of his Steel Releaser kekkei genkai. Slowly, through the rain he extended his right hand, then as his eyes began to spin, revealing concentric rings. Lines grew around his wrist, expelling a burst of steam as his hand jutted forward, connected to his arm by a series of rods and wires, revealing gears and interworkings of metal. After a moment, he let his hand spin a full circle in its socket before readjusting itself, and sliding back against the wrist with a slight hiss, the line disappearing as the hand reattached itself to the arm.

"My body is as much machine as man. My eyes represent the ninja art of puppetry. At least, that's what the scientists used to say."


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 3:34 pm 
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It was difficult to hide the surprise from their faces. In that regard, they failed. Their eyes widened, jaws dropping slightly as they witnessed the rocket-arm extend from Masamune's body. It appeared that the power of the Rinnegan eye was to grant him a body that was as much machine as it was man. "The eye ... Turns your body into a machine? What a weird eye." Rumi noted, perhaps too crudely as she didn't recognize that the comment could come across as more judgmental than she intended. Fortunately, Tane was quick to cut in. "I think what she means to say is that we hadn't imagined that a Doujutsu would be capable of doing that. That's a big change. Is your body permanently like that, or does it switch back and forth between machinery and bones and blood?" As a medic, she couldn't help but be intrigued by the anatomical change that he must have gone through.

Rumi, meanwhile, considered the implications of what that power offered in terms of battle utility. She wanted to delve further into it, to ask all of what it could do, but that was a bit too deep for their first meeting. As reserved as he was, she doubted that he would feel too comfortable immediately explaining all of the details of his secret ability. There would certainly be time later to push further into that, to see what he was capable of. Waiting until later would be better, too, for she imagined it to be something best witnessed personally.

_________________
Fighting Styles:
Taijutsu Specialist
Fuinjutsu Novice
Ijutsu Expert
Ninjutsu Expert
Kuchiyose Adept

Stats:
Strength: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Constitution: Masterful
Stamina: Epic (200 SP, 60 SP Ninjutsu, 60 SP Taijutsu, 60 SP Ijutsu, 50 SP SoaHS)
Reflex: Epic (Legendary w/ Taijutsu)
Coordination: Legendary with a Major Advantage
Wisdom: Masterful

Elements:
Lightning Release
Wind Release


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 1:46 am 
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Being called weird wasn't exactly new; Masamune had never really spent any time in high society, and he tended to have lived among people who were simply likely to tell something as it was, as they saw it. He had been called weird, and worse, a number of times before. He couldn't help but let out a small chuckle at the thought, quickly stifled. "It is weird," he agreed with a slight grunt, ringed eyes turning to look at Tane as she spoke, the concentric circles slowly vanishing back into a orbs of gray, dotted with black pupils. She asked a little bit more about how his body worked, and Masamune looked down. He was silent for a moment, fighting down the odd feeling of telling what could be construed as his weaknesses to someone that was, until only a few minutes ago, his enemy. Still, he had pledged to her his service, and now they at least were obligated to know the truth from him.

"It changes back and forth, best I can tell. I've never tried cutting myself open to confirm, though. I can bleed, and that's probably proof enough; though with Steel Release, that's rare enough as-is." The Hollow One squinted against the rain as he finished speaking, turning to examine the trail ahead. Eventually, feeling somewhat obliged to continue the conversation, Masamune opted to make a query of his own. "Why did you two come through here alone? Normally a kage would travel with a retinue. You are both very attractive, I am certain there would be plenty of shinobi jumping at the chance to accompany you on such a journey, especially one where things would be quiet, intimate, and alone." However, just because Masamune had felt compelled by some kind of etiquette to continue the conversation did not mean that he had any real experience enough with it to handle it properly.


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