Yamabushi [Plot | Solo]

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Yamabushi [Plot | Solo]

Post by Ceridwen on Tue Jan 02, 2018 2:36 pm

The cold grey stones of the Hidden Mountain were humid and slippery. Algae and ferns clung to the bottom, swaying like grass under the currents of the sea. The desolate place, shrouded eternally in mist, was generally left for what it was as people either failed to find it back, or ran their ships on the uncaring, jagged rocks that surrounded it. Yet, there were one or two places that had seen attention. Broad enough for a small ship to dock, something that had to pass as a stone stair revealed the first steps leading deeper into the treacherous mountains.

An older sailor had brought the young woman here. Long wild hair dyed purple and blue covered her back, covering most of her back like a layer of fur on top of the grey cloak she was wearing. While not exactly thickly dressed, the nipping cold did her little and the mist, while covering enough sight to make most paranoid, seemed to do little. She hopped onto the stone platform, her sandals splashing as they landed on the wet stone flooring.

"Thanks, old man."
"How long do you want me to wait?"
"Not at all. You may return home. My teacher awaits me somewhere on this mountain."
"Suit yerself. 'njoy the mountain, lass."

Ceridwen could hear the sailor's grunt in between the creaking of the boat and the splashing of the water's turbulent streams as he pushed himself away from the makeshift dock. She turned her head to see the last part of the ship being swallowed by the swirling mist, and not much later, the sound of her only hope back was lost in the endless rise and fall of the water crashing against the lone mountain. There was no returning now. Ceridwen was left to either disappear with the secrets this mountain held, or overcome her training and return to Kirigakure one day.

Lifting her feet, Ceridwen started to walk upon the stone stairs in front of her. Much like the rest of the mountain, even though the waters didn't reach here, the mist had made the stones slippery to the point even this part of daily routine had been turned into an obstacle worth paying attention to. If one remained careless, they would soon find their feet losing grip upon the unequal footing the stone stairs provided, smacking down hard upon the cold, hard rock. To make matters worse, the stairs quickly abandoned their human influences as they became more and more irregular in size and spread, forcing the Yuki to almost literally climb what little remained of the stairs. Then, after a good fifteen minutes of walking, the stairs had completely given up on becoming something humane, forsaking any form in favour of remaining part of the mist engulfed stone obstackle of Kirigakure's water ways.

There was no saying to what heights this mountain rose, nor to what size it claimed within the water. The shrouding mist would not ever reveal it either, hiding every nook and cranny as well as it possibly could to avoid giving any form of stability or certitude towards those that dared to set foot upon this place. And yet, here she was, trying to follow the footsteps of a total stranger only known as 'the Yamabushi' - a mountain hermit.




She hadn't been able to tell if the man was young or old, but by his slow pace and the way his back was bent, she would have sworn the man had to be in his hundreds. While looks certainly could be deceiving, the several layers of robes he had been wearing, along with most of his face being shrouded by the large hood that he had pulled over him, had made it nigh impossible to even glimpse a hint of reality of what the man was. The only thing that was certain, was that he was a man, as she had heard his low, gruff voice when he spoke.

Ceridwen had attempted to catch a glimpse nonetheless. A wild greying beard covered his face. She hadn't seen any strands of hair, so she could only assume he had similar short hair. Only his eyes had something... they were a misty grey, but they seemed to reflect both wisdom and feral power in one brief glimpse. While the thought the shadows created by his hood had simply fooled her, she had felt the hairs upon her arm rise up. Fear, as much as desire, had welled up. That one brief moment seemingly having lured her into instinctive attraction for the wild blue yonder. Unspoken promises. Unrevealed dangers. The one moment had taken less than a second, perhaps, before it had completely been snatched away from her eyes, leaving her mind once more into the cold dark of dull shinobi training.

But the damage had been done. That one brief moment of insurmountable wisdom and power had forced her heart to skip a beat. One glimpse at that world in the wild blue yonder had almost made her forget everything around her. The man had vanished without a sound before she had even realised it. Whoever he was, he knew how to cover his tracks. And yet... She couldn't shake off the feeling he was leaving a trail behind on purpose. For her eyes only. If only. As she shadowed him from street to street, her mind attempted to grasp what little she had seen off him over and over again. Those eyes... Had they been human? Yet time and time again, she had to shake her head, telling herself what a fool she was to linger over such a dumb thing - he was just a man. An ordinary man. An ordinary man that somehow had her in his grasp.

The stranger had wandered towards the docks, taking the streets that seemingly attracted the least of crowds. He knew the streets of Kirigakure. He knew it clearly better than she did, even if she had never seen or heard about a guy like him. But as they reached the docks, he had done it again. Suddenly, all his traces were gone. The only person obviously covering his identity between all the dock workers, and yet he was nowhere to be seen. Not the slightest trace of where he had been. No scent, no sight, no sound. Bewildered, almost afraid to lose something precious, Ceridwen's eyes shot from one end to other, running over the entire picture that was formed by the docks, its people and its ships. No matter where she looked... The man had truly gone.

Her shoulders slumped, and she swore to herself. If she was to become a shinobi of worth, she'd have to do better than this. Who was she, if she couldn't even tail a simple wanderer? Sighing, and somewhat keeping a spark of hope, she wandered through the docks, trying to remember how and where he had walked before he had reached the waters. Like a mentalist, she tried to think like he did. He had sought the shadows. The areas with the least of crowd, the streets that remained uninteresting. She was fairly certain that this time as well, he was doing the same. She just couldn't say what he was looking for. A tavern? A sailor? A... ship? There! A man dressed in grey robes! The distance he had formed between them was huge. Too big for him to simply have walked that distance. As she ran off the stairs and jumped over crates and obstacles alike, he turned his head once more. Towards her. She hadn't dreamed it... Those eyes... They bore themselves straight into her soul, making her stop right on the spot. She felt like his eyes reflected the wisdom of ages... and drowned her in endless possibilities formed by secrets unknown. Her legs trembled under the pressure of his gaze, his eyes seemingly so calm, almost forlorn, yet holding back a power where his appearance did him no credit.

And then he stepped into a ship. Eye contact broken long before she realised it, by the time she had arrived where he had left, the mist had already engulfed him.





A Yamabushi. They were a rare breed. Or rather, few people knew or bothered with them just like they generally didn't bother with the people. They lived in seclusion, in search for deeper understanding, that was seemingly unable to be gained by living within the walls of Kirigakure. The lived from the land, no matter its hardships, and rarely felt the desire to wade in the throes of society. And yet... No matter how much she told herself she was fooling herself, her intuition told her he had come to seek her out. To give her a chance. She had made it this far - the place where his sailor had supposedly brought him, and where she had followed him. The Hidden Mountain. It fit him.



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Re: Yamabushi [Plot | Solo]

Post by Ceridwen on Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:25 pm

Ceridwen had been climbing the mountain for over an hour and still there was nothing to be found even though the fog seemed to have dimmed severely at this height. Where she hadn't been able to see a hand before her, now she had a few meters of sight. It still wasn't fantastic, but it was better than it used to be if one didn't take into account that so far there had been nothing else to be seen than the same grey rocks ever going upwards. The stone stairs were left behind since long, followed up only by the occasional flat area that barely hit the one square meter size-mark. There was little in terms of edible greens growing on the mountain, with a single white flower having been so much as the only differentiation in colour.

Reaching another flat area, Ceridwen plopped down as her muscles burned from the intense climb. She leaned back, resting her head against the humid stone, sighing deeply as she once more wondered why she had been such a fool to do this. She had felt the beginnings of hunger gnawing at her stomach, and now that her muscles were granted a bit of rest, fatigued reared its head. There was little room to sleep here though, and it looked like the mountains were not about to end just yet. Sitting here all by herself, Ceridwen wondered how the Yamabushi survived here if there was nothing to be had for food. Did they rely solely on fish?

An answer echoed through the mountains. The bleating of a goat, higher up still. That, at least, meant there was meat, and probably some greens to eat as well. But where had it come from? Ceridwen debated springing up and urging herself to climb some more, but the protest from her muscles won said debate. She was too tired to go on for the moment and decided to grab some rations instead. As there was little to be seen that was not stone or mist, she closed her eyes as she chewed upon a piece of jerky.

Other than the sloshing of the sea somewhere below, and the echo of a bleating goat above, it was eerily quiet in the mountains. There wasn't even a wind so to speak off. For a moment it seemed as if the swirling mist had its own peculiar sound. Then her munching disrupted the quietude. She would have considered the noise a disturbance to the solemn serenity of the place, but she was a little too hungry to bother with it at this moment. Quickly chewing through her basic meal, Ceridwen decided to linger a little longer in the solitude of the mountain. Eyes closed, she felt her mind drift away towards the deeper end. The burning sensation of her tired muscles satisfyingly coming to rest.

...

Jumping awake, Ceridwen rubbed her head. She could feel the spot where her front had pressed against the mass of stone that rose up next to her, and for a moment she looked around in a reflexive attempt to orient herself. It seemed the mist had not revealed anything yet, finding herself back still in the embrace of the fog that surrounded the Hidden Mountain. Standing back up, she decided it wasn't such a good idea to remain resting on this small spot. She'd have to continue climbing until she found something more solid, more sheltered, for the night. Like a cavern. If there was such a thing as a cavern to be found on the Hidden Mountain.

Channelling chakra in her soils as she couldn't find anything to hold a grip on, the young woman carefully walked up the mountain slope, keeping her eyes and ears open just in case she caught something worth the attention. She could certainly say that the goat had left the surroundings while she had been napping. The only sound were her feet shuffling over the rocks, ever forward, mixed with the sound of her grunts and her hands holding fast onto new grabbing spots found higher than the previous.

While climbing was an exhausting occupation, she worried about spending too much of her chakra right from the start. While she was gifted with a higher than usual amount of chakra since childhood, she knew it remained a valuable resource for every shinobi no matter the rank or the amount. Dosing its expenditure was a sage thing to do, even for someone like her who had yet to suffer from chakra exhaustion. Besides, climbing was said to be good training by its own, strengthening the muscles and enhancing one's endurance. Climbers were forced to remain calm no matter the height, dose their energy and keep a steady breathing throughout the whole ordeal. Without any decent climbing gear at her disposal, nor having the luxury of a safety net, that thought counted double for Ceridwen.

Slow yet steadily, Ceridwen continued her way upwards. As she progressed, the mountain's once seemingly endless sleek slabs slowly broke off into jagged teeth with the occasional patch of verdure. Dirty, brown earth marred the grey denture, making the climb partially harder while equally revealing the unspoken promise of land and food on higher grounds. The thought renewed the kunoichi with vigour, but the end wasn't in sight just yet. As the climb continued, the mist thinned still. Thin enough to actually be able to look around quite decently, yet thick enough to refuse revealing much else than more nothingness. The air grew colder, and though Ceridwen suffered little of the difference considering the climb kept her warm, she could feel the cold creep into her fingers. The strain her hands suffered every time she held onto an uncomfortable piece of rock only doubled now that a nipping cold attempted to lay bare the weaknesses in her fingers. Ceridwen groaned. Even though she was a Yuki, used to the cold of the air and the snow, she just hated the sensation.

Eventually, her muscles almost at the end of their strength and forcing her to rely on her chakra, she ended on an acceptable large patch of green. It was ten square meter at most before even more solid rock barred her way, but at least it would suffice to safely drop down and sleep properly. While most of the area consisted of humid earth and wildly grown patches of grass, an old trace of hooves as well as a couple of roots laid bare revealed that an inkling of life had roamed around within the last few days or so. Satisfied, Ceridwen allowed herself a faint smile before digging up what little remained of the roots to wash most of it with some suiton chakra and wrapping it in a lost piece of cloth that had been tucked within her satchel. Feeling her exhaustion, she crawled into the corner that was formed by the mountains, and almost instantly fell asleep.



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Re: Yamabushi [Plot | Solo]

Post by Ceridwen on Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:04 pm

Day II

The night had been calm despite its nipping chill, allowing Ceridwen to sleep comfortable considering the circumstances. By now, the sun had risen to herald a new day. While its rays were banished from the Hidden Mountains by the lingering mist, its warmth pricked through it nonetheless. Ceridwen woke, her entire body burning from the intense climbing the day before, but she felt there was no time to complain about the pain. There was little to be seen here, and she had yet to find any sign of the yamabushi she had been following.

Against the complaints of her body, the young woman proceeded with the arduous task to get higher up still. Much slower than before and forced to use her breathing well, she moved hands and legs little by little in search for new gripping points. Where she was lacking footing, her chakra chimed in to provide the stability. A deadening cadence had begun.

As the climb went on, perhaps for a first time, Ceridwen dreamed of setting foot on proper pasture and solid roads again. The sound of people, sharing the chatter of the day, the bicker of sailors and broken households... she missed them now. The muscle pain almost made her cry as she thought about how even the mail delivery missions, who had always felt so underwhelming, seemed like such a welcome breeze. Even the god-forsaken screech of seagulls seemed like a better terror to endure...

Eventually, the kunoichi reached yet another platform. She flopped down with a grunt, feeling her arms tremble like reeds in the wind. She could barely stretch her fingers at this point as cramps and acidification played their part. It mattered little as the only thing revealing itself at first sight was just more rock and grass, and a goat dumbly looking at her, chewing on a bit of grass without the slightest of cares in the world. "How did you get here?", she asked the goat, who replied with a dull bleating as if it truly meant to answer her question before continuing its nonchalant chewing.

Rising to her feet, the goat decided to leave her for a less crowded area. Looking around the place, she could see more of the same old, but unlike before, there seemed to be a small entrance in the mountain. She'd have to crouch a bit to get through it, but it seemed like it lead deeper into the mountain. In fact, the goat was already moving towards its direction, soon disappearing from Ceridwen's sight while its complainant bleating echoed through the rocks. Curious, and surged by hope, Ceridwen wandered the goat.

Where the cave was already a pain to get through, the tunnel was even worse. Forcing her to crawl on all fours just to get through at times, the tunnel seemingly harboured sadistic intentions as sharp edges and the beginnings of stalagmites and stalactites roughened her up, poking hard in her legs at times or simply ripping through cloth and skin alike in others. All that while the goat kept on complaining as it ever moved forward, knowing something she didn't. Crawling forward for another fifteen minutes at the speed of a snail, light eventually pierced the darkness. The end of the tunnel was in sight, and Ceridwen sighed in relief.

Having reached the end, the Yuki was all too glad to be able to stand up tall again, dusting off her hands and knees as good as possible before looking over the meadow that had formed over time. Dark green grass covered the floor, keeping the rich brown earth together. No flowers grew, but the humidity that the mist provided along with the faint sting of sunrays were enough to provide plenty of nutrition to the verdant sea where several goats grazed comfortably. Ceridwen considered it a welcome sight after the hours of climbing, even thinking about taking down one of the goats so she could replenish her rations and have something decent to eat for the day. Her muscles were of a different mind, however.

Satisfied to finally have reached something more habitable, she decided to walk around for a while. Though even walking made her muscles groan, at least it wasn't an insufferable pain to endure. It would also provide her with the lay of the land, no matter how small the area was. If there was grass this lush, there were possibly roots. Where there were goats, water couldn't be too far off as animals would never survive without these basic necessities. And what couldn't be find here, would probably be within climbing or walking distance behind a slope or tunnel. Ceridwen felt assured. She would be able to rest here for a few days.

Much like she had thought, a small stream of water ran down from the mountain, following the line where grass and rock met before it disappeared in the ground, only to reappear further down the mountain and trickle over the rocks. She crouched to scoop some of the water in her hands, refreshing her face and taking a sip while remaining alert. Suddenly, another person stepped out of the mist, his body covered by a thick grey cloak. His hair and beard were unruly, greying a little even, and hinted at a rough life in the wilds, while the eyes... The eyes were those she had been looking for all this time. The Yamabushi. She had found him again.


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Re: Yamabushi [Plot | Solo]

Post by Ceridwen on Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:24 pm

"Y-you! You were at the Village.", she exclaimed.

The man looked at her stoically for a moment, then decided to ignore her as he approached the small stream and sipped from the same water she had partaken just a few seconds ago. Unlike her, he showed no sign of vigilance, proceeding to fill up a water skin afterwards. An awkward moment passed before Ceridwen realised the man had not the slightest of intention to reply to her statements.

"Are you the yamabushi? The one who appeared in the Village?"

Once again, his eyes rested in hers, stoically. Grey eyes. They had a weary look, as if the whole world was just one tiresome place to be in. The hint of immeasurable wisdom was vaguely there, but not as strong as she had seen the first time. Had she dreamed it? Was this really the same person she had been tracking for all this time? The man averted his eyes, turning his lumbering body as he walked towards the mist again. Ceridwen followed, not about to lose sight of him again.

"Hello?"
"... You make too much noise."

It was all he had said. He didn't even acknowledge her, or her questions. He verbally shoved her to the side like some nuisance. Ceridwen frowned. She had the right to know what was going on. What was up with his eyes? Why did he come to the Village? How could a man disappear so fast when now he almost looked like an old man?

"What's your name?"
"No name."
"You don't want to share it?"
"No sharing what I don't have."

Ceridwen sighed. She didn't come up all this way to be cast aside now. The fact she had found the man back meant he wasn't an illusion. She hadn't dreamed those eyes, even if but a shadow of what she had seen at first. The only doubt she felt was that, perhaps, he hadn't been looking at her. Why then did she had the feeling he had been looking straight at her soul? Doubting herself and at a loss of words, the yamabushi considered it settled and moved on, but Ceridwen would not let go just yet. Even if she had no idea how to convince the man, she felt it was a better thought than staying out there in the unknown field. Perhaps he had a tent, or lived in a cavern accommodated for living inside. She was certain of one thing at least, the man knew how to live here and so through lessons or observation, she would be able to learn to do so just as much. There were precious few other options either way, considering she had no way to return to the main land since she had send the shipper off.

...

It was a long trek through the mountains. One that sorely made her regret the choice to follow him so blindly. They hadn't exchanged any words, yet Ceridwen was fairly certain he was leading her to wherever on purpose. Was he testing her resolve? Testing her endurance? No. He was probably just leading her away from his home. Whichever it was, at this point, even walking had exhausted her muscles to the point where she thoroughly wished for the walk to end. At this point, every time her feet hit the ground, she felt as if an earthquake shook her whole body. The fire in her muscles was excruciatingly painful. As if lava was about to erupt any moment now. Eventually, she could go on no longer and fell on her knees, panting heavily. As if noticing her for the first time, the yamabushi stopped in his tracks and turned around. He looked at the girl in front of him, his eyes betraying no emotion, no word leaving his lips. He just stood there, waiting.

"Please..."
"Why follow?"
"I... You..."

She could barely speak, too tired to go on. Her mind made no sense, seemingly having forgotten how to form proper sentences. She just sat there, looking at him with pleading eyes. The yamabushi grunted, almost as if he was snorting at her weak physique, and threw her over his shoulders with such ease she felt like a lamb chosen for the slaughter. Foolish prey that had weakened herself enough to be devoured without resistance. Yet, she could bear the waking world no longer. All turned black before her eyes.



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Re: Yamabushi [Plot | Solo]

Post by Ceridwen on Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:49 pm

Day III

With a gasp, Ceridwen awoke when the sun was about to reach its zenith. In a reflex, she jumped up, grabbing her kunai to defend herself against whatever threat her groggy mind had imagined. Seeing that there was no such thing as danger, she sighed as she stowed away her weapon, eyes taking in her immediate surroundings. She had been sleeping on the hard, cold floor, which her body confirmed with the discomfort she felt all around. The floor had been dry though, covered by the same stone she had slept on. A natural cavern, it seemed, leading a little deeper. It was large enough to easily fit a bear, but not deep enough to make a comfortable nest. The yamabushi mush have had thought otherwise, since bundles of dried herbs attached by flaxen fibre swayed gently as the wind brushed against them. A few rocks and pieces of dead tree formed the seating of the stone home, and outside laid the remnants of a small camp fire. Nearby, yet at a safe distance of the fire, a couple of solid branches formed two X's while a rope was tied in between. A few fish had been attached to the rope to dry, while a second rack similar like the first was holding lumps of smoked meat.

Amazed by the entire display of survival, Ceridwen inched closer, wondering if there was more to be seen. Stepping outside the grotto, the entire area next and in front of her was covered in waving grass. While a few strands of mist were still lingering, it wasn't thick enough to hide the area from the eyes. Moved by the soft wind, the mist danced across the verdure leisurely. The trickling of water attracted her attention to the right, revealing a small stream of water that ran down the mountain slope behind her, and as she tried to trail it towards its origins, she concluded there was no saying where the flow began. Returning her gaze towards the land, Ceridwen admitted the place was a good choice. She just wondered how she got here.

Appearing from a hidden path to the left, the yamabushi returned home. His eyes assessed her health, his expression still as stoic as when she had met him. He lumbered ever forward at his own pace, refusing to go faster or slower no matter what, and still wearing the grey cloak that covered his body despite the good weather. Seen from afar, she would have sworn he looked like a chubby bear. As he approached, Ceridwen could see that he was unusually bulkier than when she had met, only noticing later on that he was carrying several grey pelts. When he arrived, he dropped the pelts in the caverns with so much as a single word spoken.

"Hey, uhm... Thanks for not letting me alone there."
"Yes. You hunt now."
"Hunt? Don't you have plenty of food already?"
"I do. You don't."
"You'd let me starve here?"

His eyes locked with hers again, still no sign of emotion revealed, but she could feel a pressure building up between them. As if he quietly asserted his dominance over her as the sole owner of this little camp. A little bewildered at his odd behaviour and apathetic approach, she averted her eyes with a frown. It was obvious he didn't care for her well-being, but why then not leave her where she was? Ceridwen looked around as she somewhat tried to shake off the frustrating thoughts, redirecting her mind to find something worth hunting instead. She was starving, that much her stomach made her clear, but she had never hunted.

"Where can I find something to hunt?"
"Search, you'll find."

She sighed. That man was insufferable. She threw him an angry look and decided to leave the area in search of something. The kunoichi decided it wouldn't be a bad start to take the trail where he had come from since he was carrying all those furs. As she was about to disappear from sight, she threw one last glance at the camp and the man who was now occupied tending to his fish. Or rather, he grabbed one of the fish and sat down on one of the makeshift stone seats, tearing the meat off with his teeth. Taking out one of her kunai, Ceridwen dashed off, following the long-winded trail that seemd to lead between two slopes. There was little to be seen aside from the grey of rocks and bits of moss clinging to that. The mist gradually got thicker, but it was nothing like she had experienced at the foot of the mountain.

At the end of the long path, which had roughly taken half an hour to walk, she arrived at a lake. The road eventually lead into a crevice in where the water had heaped up, and was trapped on all sides by flanking mountain walls. While the bottom of the lake wasn't possible to be seen, Ceridwen could only assume that the water ran deeper than she'd suspect, possibly filling up small rooms underground yet without the ability to find a way out. All around it, the stone rose up again to form new mountains, leaving her the choice of diving in the water or running over the lake and see if there was something else to be seen once she reached the peak. The idea of bathing tempted her as her muscles were still sore and she reeked of sweat from miles away, but... was this even wise? She had no spare clothes, and bathing naked seemed like a ways to attract the wrong attention at the wrong moment. Not to forget that she had nothing to dry herself with, nor had any spare clothes to change in. Ceridwen swore softly to herself. She couldn't stand feeling dirty, but she was equally, if not more, in need of something filling.

As if on cue, bubbles rose up and movement could be seen under water. Her eyes turning into saucers, Ceridwen was suddenly driven to take the first best thing she could find to whack whatever it was, until she realised there was nothing around to begin with. Almost panicking, she reminded herself just in time she was a kunoichi with access to ninjutsu, and as such started to follow the movement of the shadow underwater as good as possible as she prepared to form the tiger hand seal. If she could place one good hit on the fish, it would be hers for the taking. Waiting quietly, more movement happened as several other deformed oblong shapes surrounded the first. Eventually, one of the fishes rose just under the surface. Close enough for her to see identify it properly, finish her seal and unleash a vicious slash with the molded chakra. The wind chakra brutally cut across the length of the fish, killing it cleanly with one strike, the body floating upwards as the others had long since dispersed to safer places.

All too happy to have found some food, Ceridwen ran to pick it up. She found the fish to be quite large for her alone, but her stomach was determined to eat that, and far more, once it would be cooked. This brought her towards the next challenge. How did she cook fish when there were no trees to make a fire with? She certainly had noticed the fire at the yamabushi's base, but that one had died and she had yet to see a single tree growing around here. Having no katon at her disposal, hungry as she was, the thought of eating raw popped into her mind, and was shoved out of her mind right away as she grimaced. Returning to the yamabushi it was. She expected to hear him say no, but it was worth trying, so she returned to the camp with the freshly caught fish in hands.

Upon arriving at the camp, the yamabushi was smoking a long pipe, eyes seemingly looking at nothing in particular. Even when Ceridwen returned, he didn't bother to look and so she took her place right before him. Raising an eyebrow, he looked up at her questioningly.

"I caught this fish. Can I use your fire to cook it?"
"Yes."
"Really?"
"Put it on."

It was a surprise he had allowed her to use the fire, but then it dawned her that the fire was dead. It would need new wood to be rekindled. And, of course, there was no wood to be seen in the vicinity. She sighed, realising that his kindness had been nothing more but a ruse.

"Let me guess... You don't have any wood?"
"No. You chop wood, you have fire."
"... Where can I find wood?"
"You search, you find."

This was getting tedious. She was still recovering from her previous exhaustion, and she was starving. If there was anything she didn't have at this moment, it was patience and endurance to suffer the man's irritating, apathetic, uncaring, ungrateful... Ceridwen sighed. Why exactly did he help her out if he was just about to let her starve now?
Perhaps a good slap in his face would do the trick. Frustrated, she dumped the fish on the floor, walked over to him and aimed to slap her hands right across his face. Instead, he dodged it like it was nothing. Perplexed and his quick movement yet even more frustrated now, she tried again. And failed once more. At that point, the man stood up, pipe still in his mouth and smirked.

"Too slow."

Now that did it. If he wanted a beating, she was not about to hold back any longer. Turning her hands into fists, she rushed over to beat him up Kiri-nin style. With power, and no remorse, just like she had always been taught at school. Her anger fuelling her actions, her fists flew through the air but as it was, every blow she tried to land simply didn't reach him as he simply moved out of her line of attack or out of her reach time and time again. The more she tried, the more the daunting realisation pushed away her anger. This man... Was he a shinobi? She had only one way to figure it out. Forming the tiger hand seal to unleash another Lacerate, he suddenly moved in faster than she could have followed, swiping her feet from under her, grabbed her by the throat and rammed her onto the ground. He held her in his grasp, eyes stoically locked into hers. Recovering from the dazzling moves, she coughed, slumped in defeat and averted her gaze in shame for even trying to attack him.

"Weak."
"I'm tired, I'm hungry, and you're an ass."
"No. You lack training."
"Can you let me go now?"

The yamabushi released his grip on her, allowing her to roll over and stand up again. As she dusted off her clothes, still mad at her defeat, he grabbed a piece of meat and offered it to her. Blinking a few times, she eyed the meat cautiously.

"Eat. Rest. Tomorrow training."

Hearing she was allowed to eat sounded like music to her ears. She grabbed the meat out of his hands and greedily started to chew on it. In a matter of minutes, she had finished the whole piece, feeling some of her strength return and the gnawing hunger finally settle down for the most part. She could feel her stomach could use more as she had barely eaten in two days, but... it would have to do for now. She still had half a day over to rest, but.. training? She looked at the yamabushi, who was seated again and smoked his pipe once more.

"Why do you decide to train me now?"
"You are weak. Pathetic. Can't stand the sight of it."
"What did you expect? I'm only a genin."
"Genin, jounin. Names no matter. Names don't give strength."

She scratched the back of her head, not sure if the man was mad. He could believe whatever he wanted, a jounin had earned his rank through skill and strength. Perhaps something he didn't quite grasp since he lived over here, even though she couldn't deny that he had to have gained some skill and strength on his own. Was this from living on the mountain? She doubted that. Fishing, hunting... they didn't seem like the sort of training that would allow her to raise in ranks.

"What will you be teaching me anyway? Taijutsu?"
"Strength. Maybe truth, if spine doesn't break."



[EXIT]


2125
Total: 6451

Training:

All stats to 20
Str: +10 x 50 wc
Spd: +10 x 50 wc
End: +10 x 60 wc (Frail, +20% wc)
Per: +10 x 50 wc
Chk: +10 x 40 wc (Chakra Ocean, -20% wc)
Stat Cost:2500 wc

Spec Training
Taijutsu to Skilled: 3000 wc
Spec Cost:3000 wc


Remaining: 6451 - 2500 - 3000
= 951
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Ceridwen

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Re: Yamabushi [Plot | Solo]

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