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Inception

--The One Armed Doctor

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Heat beat off of the arid landscape, its endless, rocky hills lifting jaggedly into the sky. The Sun glared down from its position high in the air, growing hotter and hotter as the long day pressed on. Strong gusts allied with the unbearable temperature, which made the wind the enemy of all men in the area. Not a drip of water could be seen for miles around; every single ounce of it had been taken by the desert’s dry lips. Dust wildly billowed into the sky at random spots, only leaping up to freedom for a moment before it came back to the world below.

Still the figure continued walking endlessly and never stopping, a constant pace that never slowed or sped up. Obscurity marred the figure's every move and every gesture, and the sun-perched hat that sat upon his crown only increased the strangeness of the man. Perhaps it was only this spot outside of this dark city that was an incredibly...different in landscape and tempature. Regardless that was not a single thing or thought that came to the mind of [Kyoshiro]

Rather instead the figure continued walking forward without any regard of his location, but only in regards as to where he was headed. Assassination was the forte of this ninja of prime skill, he was feared for his ability to kill without remorse and without fail. Once again he planned to make his skill of incredible assassination known, through displaying it actively once more to the inhabitants of the town or rather city of people before him.

A soft chuckle was mustered from the dry vocal cords of the exhausted male that trekked on.

"Heheheh..."

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Hana had patiently been waiting in this pathetic excuse for a town for two days, she decided it would be wise to leave the day orders were given to her. Sitting on a large boulder, she had spotted Kyoshiro, her gaze locked onto the target as a hawk does to its pray. What a handsome man, she thought as he continued to come closer and closer. It had seemed that the man hadn't even noticed Hana yet, this slightly irritated the girl especially since her attire consisted that of an Akatsuki member. The sun's deadly beams radiated down on the dry and arid land, Hana was exhausted from being in this area. Reaching into her black overcoat, she would release a small brown pill. Placing the small brown tablet between her teeth, she would quickly bite and grind the pill to a fine dust consuming it.

The Food Pill would replenish the chakra that had been wasted from creating water to keep herself hydrated in the dry and arid area. Using her Chakra enjitou (Chakra Tracking) technique the girl was able to obtain the location of Kyoshiro with ease. As she stared at the cloaked man, she began to wonder the mental stability of this man; if he was just as crazed as she was or perhaps he surpassed her insanity, this thought would remain in her head as she patiently waited. After all Hana wasn't really one for fighting, only if it was needed; She was assigned this mission to be a form of 'Support' for Kyoshiro, because of her mastery in Medical Ninjutsu and the blessed Kekkei Genkai that she possessed, her presence would be needed for an assignment like this. Opening the top of her cloak so that air could reach her breast, she continued to wait for this slow paced man.

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Clank, hiss it was what defined his gait, his light limp was presented in a series of gear shifts, and plumes of steam that escaped from the bottom of his pant leg. It was however, when he stopped did the wretched wheels turn in silence, twisting his gaze over a shoulder, he’d speak through another stretched out hiss.

“Gasper, come, we must hurry ourselves back, I don’t want to leave the fickle unattended for so long.†He’d speak; cold and elongated, vowels were spoken twice and almost whispered past parting lips, a fleeting smile that remained.

It was Gasper who nodded, his visage bulky and towering, yet, concealed neatly beneath the chestnut cloak that he wore to precision. “As you wish, we only have a single stop left, a batch of scrapped metal has come in, we were able to get first claim to what we wanted.†Deep, he would speak and then take the lead, tasked with the job of keep his eyes open, his towering presence often alone kept people here at bay. Clank, hiss they would trek on.

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It was upon reaching the border of Last Chance, that [Kyoshiro] would take the time to acknowledge his partner that had come along for the ride. While he was rather glad that there was finally a woman in the group amongst so many men, the idea of working with someone irked him. He didn't need any help from anyone, he performed all his tasks perfectly and single-handedly and finding her to be of any use would prove tasking at best.

To get through the edge of town was the only interesting part of his journey. A series of jolting punches and kicks found themselves pushing back a crowd of criminals that took it upon themselves to leap into his direction. For some reason they were persuaded that they could have actually done anything to him, let alone have proved as any threat to the handsome young man. The appendages smashed into the bodies of the criminals, throwing them into a large array of directions, causing a wide grin to appear upon the amused face of [Kyoshiro].

"We're splitting up. Find the one armed doctor, but do not engage. I don't want you throwing yourself at the man, just so you can be ripped apart," his words were arrogant with little concern as to the feelings of his partner. Whether this was to change over the course of them being partners in the future, was unknown. Regardless without waiting on the response of the comrade whose name he knew not, he began trekking forward in his search for the said doctor. The hunt was beginning.

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Listening to the arrogant speak of Kyoshiro, Hana lifted a brow as though she barely understood him. She took his words in deeply, studying his body with her violet hues she would smile faintly. Nodding at the mans command, Hana nodded to him as he had passed her. Popping her neck slightly the slender girls body seemed to fade away into small sheets of paper, floating through the sky, traveling higher and higher, until they were no longer able to be seen. Within the little town of criminals, Hana's true form had remained in the city leaning against a small abandoned house, her straw hat gripped between the fingers of her right hand.

"What a prick...i guess not all men are as kind as Itazuki."

Opening her eye's, Hana would pull her graceful form off the house; she began to walk at a slow pace through the crowds of criminals. Wondering eye's glanced from head to toe, wondering why such a beautiful girl was in this town. The females black fingernail polish reflected the falling sunlight, her violet hues moved with great haste as she scanned each individual member ready for anything and searching for that had such a bounty on his head, a chill was sent down her spine at the thought of the man being murdered.

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A duo, the hiss and clank had gathered both eyes and points; they’d watch the pair as they trekked about the city of miscreants; a place they had called home. Produce in a transparent bag was sling over the mechanical man’s left shoulder, waves of plastic shifted under the light flow of steam, the towering man had a bag similar, yet the burden was of a more verdant nature.

“A bit more, we will be closing on a shop that deals in metals, perhaps we can find something of use there, though, and the pickings on everything else thus far have been slim.†A voice soft, unfitting of the mass it escaped from would be well met with a nod, the cane clicked as they drew ever closer to the store.

A scent, rusted and gas filled would be their sign, the lips curled and a final plume of steam escaped the threshold before he twisted towards the shop. It was in all the glory he had know, a shop out here in the middle of nowhere that sold what it was he needed; metal. “Find what we talked about, the whimpering boy can’t be left alone for much longer, in fear of his presence being known.â€

A nod, they hunted the heaps of metal.

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The dry heat that once broiled their skin and roasted the soles of their feet was finally beginning to let up. Ryshindu Hokkaido stood on the outside of the city limits with his Brother, and two apprentices. He was at a halt in the gust to feel the cool breeze while he spun the cap of a leather-wrapped container that was weather worn, filled with what was cold water, becoming lukewarm. The breeze and sand clashed against his face and his family like it done the surfaces of their surroundings and natural structures, such as mounds of dessert rock and high summits. Green strands whipped over tranquil eyes of chaos, a gaze that locked on the concrete forest ahead. Bringing the cool water to his lips, overflow dripped from its corners, and nonchalantly wiped away with his gloved hand that held it. Without focusing on Aduachi, his arm outstretched the water to her as he tossed the cap over head to his brother.

“So this is the destination, love?” Looking to his ghostly apprentice.

Though he didn't really need a reply, a confirmation would allow him to move forward in assurance. Taking a step fourth someone had come from underneath the earth, breaching the sand at a quick haste. The sand obscured whatever weapon the assailant, or rogue – whomever it was, wielded. But the speed of a Hokkaido is hardly overcame or matched, and within moments time. Ryshindu ducked from the lunge and allowed the assailant to tumble over him onto his or her back. Before he or she could rise from the ground, Ryshindu had already spun with his buster sword at its throat.

“Speak or die.” How could a threat leave a man's lips with no aggression, no agitation, or some form of emotion? Ryshindu repeated himself, this time more stern. Dead eyes glared behind dancing lochs. “Speak..or die.” Still nothing.

Finally Ryshindu coiled back on his buster sword like a gulf club, and their foe's hands rose to cancel his transition. It didn't. The buster sword came swinging until-

“Please!” a shout echoed in the desert, the blade flowed to an immediate stop with no additional inertia. The tip of sharpen steel split through black cloth and just nicked the skin. A glint of light sparkled from the droplet of crimson that rested upon the cold weighted weapon.

“That's more like it..lass.” It appeared her voice was female. Interesting.

With Ryshindu's foot between her breasts, pinning her to the ground, she began lashing out her questions with heavy breathing and squirming frustration. “What do the Hokkaido want with this land?! Theres nothing here! ..”

“Once again brother, our notoriety precedes us..heartwarming.” It seemed the family has been nothing short of a walking wild fire that spreads rapidly to the far corners of all lands. Ironically, they either didn't care, or ever paid mind as to why. They themselves thought they were to be pretty ordinary and kind folks.. Ryshindu shrugged at the challenging thought.

“You're all mad!” she blurted, almost as if she could hear him thinking. He only lofted a brow, as if this woman had forgotten what had just taken place.

“Says the jumping monkey woman who lives under sand, just waiting to attack unsuspecting tourist.”

“You all are nothing like tourists..!”

“Enough.. where is he? The one they call the One Armed Doctor..how does a doctor operate with one arm anyhow?

She scoffed at Ryshindu's crudeness, her hands gripped around the head of his sneaker, struggling to fight it off, but to no avail. “Why does everyone assume he only has one arm?!” she grunted and gave up on resisting with a sigh.

“He has two?”

One's mechanical.” she added with exasperation. She had to feel this was her worst assassination attempt ever. Ryshindu chuckled at the abstract thought. “Well, I think I'm beginning to understand the kind of doctor we're dealing with...So.. Where can I find him?” Ryshindu's head tilted as he came to a kneel before her, his sneaker still digging into her chest, his hands dangled from his knees at the wrist as his mouth contorted an odd smirk of curiosity.. She spat.

I'll kill you all before you even dare of entering that city!”

Ryshindu looked up to the sky, sighed, then looked back down. After wiping her spit from his face with the cloth in his jacket's chest pocket, he tucked it into her upper garments.. After ripping her shroud from concealing her face, he come to realize how gorgeous she really was. “Well I can't bring more danger than that is expected to my family. Pity..”

Aduachi..?” He said her name in question for her blind attention. “Can you handle our guest for me? I fear she's naively sealed her fate.” The assassin would see the cold eyes that quickly washed over Ryshindu once more, but at this same moment, there was almost a hint of a disappoint expressed with such deadness.

Edited by Sx.

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The sun was bright and the warmth of its rays did not escape her well clad body. She had kept the same attire as they travelled towards their appropriate destination. It was all bent on here say as to where this Doctor really was in the first place, yet for some reason this place was the most likely target of the mans aspirations at hiding himself from those who wanted to cause him extreme harm, or so the Intel would explain.

“Yes Master, this is the place.†The whisper would come as a soft and careful one.

Her face then stared down at the sand underneath her wooden sandals, her shadow that a mass of form, of which she didn’t really posses. The clothes made her seem larger than in reality, and the sedge hat just added to it. Then again it was merely a shadow, until something ahead of Ryshindu burst through the gritty surface directly aimed for him.

There was no need to engage, as she was not instructed to do so. The man was more than capable of defending himself, yet it was a comical situation enough that it was more like striking down a pesky fly, than taking down another human life. The woman, it appeared, was not very good at whatever it was she was supposed to be doing, as he dispatched her with little to no effort, and spoke to the wounded woman, whom Kaiya assume would have no trouble dealing with the weaker woman, even in her blinded state.

Casually she would lean onto her Naginata, while waiting to see how the situation before her would be played out by the blind woman. Would the sand assassin run in fear? Or actually put up some sort of stand against the Hokkaido apprentice? Silly, silly girl... Brown gossamer hues would send some bout of pity at the unfortunate womans naivety, yet would disappear as her mind wondered to more pressing matters.

While awaiting her questions to be answered, she would direct soft speech towards Ryshindu, as there were more pressing matters for her to attend to in the near future, unless Ten did not wish it any further. For now she would not know, until she went to join her tutor.

“Master, do you need me to escort you further or may I take my leave back to Ten?†Her stance would not change, her lacquered face as expressionless as the mask it was painted to be, would not flinch. Asking was a simple task, since either way she was to follow orders, Ryshindus being the tallest, which meant it came first above any other.

Nerves were settled, flesh was heated, and distraction was upon them. As she was waiting for all these answers, out of habit her eyes would slide over the sand dunes. If there was one assassin there would be more. Not that it would matter too much, as even this simple woman had recognized who they were, which meant they we waiting for anyone else to try what she so fearlessly did alone. And from wherever their rat holes were, they would witness what it was like to do such a foolish thing.

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When every footstep might become your last, Home is always where you lay your sword.

Restless as the dawning sun, the spirit of the Outlaw was seldom satisfied by his surroundings, causing him to wander far and wide whenever training or obligation did not demand his presence; travelling the roads of man like a soul that could find no peace, at least until his blade was drenched with blood. Perhaps this experience though, was why, unlike his comrades, Jin had adopted attire more suited to their journey, shielding both sight and speech from the brutal desert wind with a black veil of silk. Resembling a hermit from this far-flung outpost of Terrenus then, rather than the noble Samurai his lineage would suggest, the Ronin had remained in quiet contemplation for the majority of their flight from the Tavern; tarrying behind Adauchi and apparently forming a rear-guard for the group.

The truth, however, was far more sinister, for deep within his heart, Jin struggled with the conflicting emotions he had explored that night their flesh entwined; since he could not abide weakness, no matter how beautiful a body it dwelt in. Watching the wounded Hokkaido then, under the pretence of 'protection', he stalked her like a hunter might its prey, studying every stride incase she faltered and, in doing so, provide him with an excuse to end her existence. As callous as this may have sounded though, Jin had already given far more pause to Adauchi's fate than he would most creatures, teaching her a technique that could help her function, if she but practised its nuances like a devoted disciple would religion.

Fortunately, Ryshindu's faith in the woman did not appear to be misplaced, as they continued along their trek and she went from strength to strength; at first stumbling behind him and then, as time wore on, threatening to actually match his pace, afflicted with blindness or not. Though he was loathe to admit it, this fact actually pleased the Ronin, for despite his infamous reputation, he did not wish to visit his cruelty upon Adauchi; whether through skill beneath the sheets or genuine bond, his heart grew heavy at the prospect of slaying her. As they ventured onward, passing shanty towns and small communities of criminals then, he busied his mind by plying titbits of information from their strange guide, whose very form lay shrouded beneath excessive layers of clothing.

When their goal finally loomed ahead of them, like some glittering jewel amidst a vast tapestry of yellow and brown, Ryshindu called a halt to the expedition, deeming this moment as good as any to stop and take on water, lest they too perish like the bones that littered the trail, half buried in sand. Jin was quick to catch the animal-skin's cap, before it could spill any of its precious liquid, and raised it to his mouth with a nod of thanks to his brother; sating his thirst on what little they had left as Adauchi received the remainder of the flask. The sounds of an assassin springing an ambush, however, caused the drained cap to tumble toward the ground, as Jin's hand immediately grasped the hilt of his Ninjato and released it in a single tug; attaining a heightened sense of awareness from his Ken Ra Po technique.

Before the assailant's allies could spring from similar cubbyholes then, the Ronin had already espied the shifting ground and detected traces of their breathing; thrusting his blade in several lightning fast motions that stained the sand red and silenced any retaliation, then replied to Ryshindu.”They should have known to run, rather than test our patience”, as Number One remarked upon the notoriety of their Family.

Extracting words from his quarry with a mixture of intimidation and civility, the hallmark of the swirling storm that was Ryshindu, Jin merely listened as the two conversed, holding his tongue until Adauchi was asked to remove the fool from the face of Terrenus; at which point he added further incentive to the apprentice's orders. “ Let us see how well you have mastered my lessons little flower, split this swine in two with a single stroke. “. Although it may have seemed that Jin had forgotten about their predicament, so busy was he addressing Adauchi, the Ronin's reflexes remained poised to strike, like a cobra coiled in wait, for if any more foes emerged from the sun-baked dunes they would find not a nomad, but the one most men called Butcher, a Hokkaido who knew no mercy.

Edited by -Jin-

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My eyes, they don't hurt so much anymore. I don't feel anything and sometimes I find myself pressing fingertips against my eyelids to assure myself they're still there. It's an odd feeling, to have a part of me that's...dead. The darkness surrounds me like a thick blanket, almost choking my sanity. Or, what little of it is left. Will that, too, fade away and die? I hope so. Sanity allows regret and regret allows guilt. I have enough guilt. Oh, my darling son.

My cheeks must burn red with shame for I can feel the blood rushing into them every time I stumble. I know that they're watching me, Ryshindu and Jin, but I haven't lost my footing and I'm learning to navigate within this new world. Ryshindu. Ah, now there's a regret. His voice sounds so different now, so distant. And when he talks to me, I no longer feel the warmth of his voice. He doesn't smile when he talks to me, I think, not like he did not so many moons ago when we would spend hours training in the hot springs behind his dojo. I don't have to see him to know that I've wounded him. Perhaps he will turn his affections to our newest companion. She seems nice enough, though a little quiet. I wonder if, in the arms of a lover, she's a screamer. Rysh likes the screamers. He can make her scream.

The sun is relentless in its ascension to glory, its heat scorches the land and none of us, save Jin, has taken precautions against its wrath. We weren't meant to travel here, had it not been for my eyes. Are they still there? My fingertips brush against the lids, pressing to find the useless orbs still intact. What does it matter? They're dead anyway.

Jin's waiting to strike me down. I can feel his eyes burning holes in my back and I smell his ache for_For what? Redemption. Yes, that. I think I am his regret. He walks behind us and every time I falter, I hear his heart stammer within its chest, feel the disturbance of air around him as his muscles tighten but he struggles nearly as much as I. Don't give him reason. Reason to what? Kill me? He's Hokkaido, if he wants to kill me, he'll find his own reason. Then reason to what? To love me. Ah, yes, that.

Ryshindu's stopped, we've stopped. The sands continue to churn, though, even as he places the water-skin in my hands. Water, I never noticed its scent before. The scent of life. The cool liquid is soothing my throat, washing away the grains of sand that have managed to imbed themselves there. The sand. So many sounds. It's moving.

A newcomer. Ryshindu's drawn his blade, this I know because I felt the air part in huge waves.

“Speak or die.†Lovely options, my hand wipes across my mouth while I listen to his exchange with the woman. The sand still moves. But not as fast as Jin, his weapon sings through the air. Sharp melodies that are abbreviated as he stabs the point into the ground around him. Blood, smells like water, only more metallic. I can taste it in the water now.

“Aduachi..?â€

He wants me to kill her, I bet.

“Can you handle our guest for me? I fear she's naively sealed her fate.â€

I had to adjust my body slightly to align myself centered to his voice. The assassin is breathing heavily, but she is below me. She's on her back, I won't kill her like that.

"Let her up, Ryshindu." I can feel my eyes dancing crazily, the muscles twitching with nothing to focus on. I'm sure she can see this. The sand is shifting. He's released her and my left hand finds its way around the hilt of my beloved Shikei Shikkou. Execution of a Death Sentence.

"Let us see how well you have mastered my lessons, little flower, split this swine in two with a single stroke." My head turns towards the sound of his voice so that I may offer the water-skin to him before I turn away. Though I can't see him, knowing he stands just behind me is enough. I think he distracts me on purpose.

"Ha ha, she's blind!" The assassin's voice; it smiles at me.

She's a smart one, isn't she? Kill her. Gladly.

Shikei Shikkou is released, my hand drawing the blade from its place at my left hip to swing a single action, left to right, parallel to the ground. I can feel the pressure of the woman's body against the tip of my katana give way as Shikei Shikkou bites into her skin, chewing its way through flesh and bone. I feel her blood splash against my cheek; thick and still warm. Does she still smile at me? The flick of my wrist sends rivulets streaming from the katana's blade before I resheathe.

The sand is moving again. The assassin is fallen. No, not her. There is another. Where? The sand shifts behind me, behind Jin.

I turn to take a step, to close the distance between he and I but I've misjudged, or he's moved closer, because I feel the heat of his body much sooner than expected. My own body trembles, traces of the night before, lips that long to seek his and a tongue that yearns to taste him once more, but not now. Kanashimi no Namida has found its way into my left hand, the ninjato harmlessly slipping into that empty space between Jin's right arm and his torso to slide effortlessly between the ribs of the assassin that had risen so quietly behind Jin.

I am so close no I am so far away to Jin that I can feel the rise and fall movements of his breathing and my words are but a whisper, "Stop waiting for me to fail, Jin."

I withdraw from him.

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Ryshindu wasn't taking the time to answer Kaiya until Aduachi was in action of discarding worthless filth. As he answered he couldn't help but think how sad it was for some to ignorantly take the blade, and die at an other's for a mindless purpose. The Hokkaido. They had purpose. At least they believed so. Even within the depths of their chaos, they wanted their rights to freedom as any other, their tranquility.

It was how Aquatarians were determined really. You see, the realm itself was the friction between order and disorder, maintaining the borders of cosmic imbalance, the grayness between absolute darkness and the multiverses' light. And so its people, was birthed in adaption to these alignments, Chaos or Tranquility. Like genetics though, a wild card often came to place, where one would birth in alignment to both elements, mostly..where one element over powered the other during a beings ascension. But to be born of equal alignments created strange characters..Characters like Ryshindu, characters like the Hokkaido..

In the background the assailant made mockery of Aduachi, and Aduachi, with out Ryshindu caring to watch; made her precise cut across the torso. I smile at her strength. The thought was from a teacher's standpoint, of course. Meanwhile he adverted his attention to answer Kaiya. The blood sprayed from the torso violently as if screaming for attention, it didn't receive any, even as it blended in tattered spots onto their fabrics. "Yes, love. If its necessary, you are free to go, thank you much for your assistance, please give our brother our regards." He was awkward with partings, though he felt maybe a hug was in order, he didn't deliver. Then the next one died, behind Jin.. Was Jin so focused on Aduachi faltering that he didn't take notice of the assailant rising behind him? Ryshindu raised his lower lip in a slight confusion. Maybe it had to deal with the escapade they carried on with last night. He shook the thought from his mind, coming from the kneel to a stand. He made light effort to dust off the sand and pull his buster sword from the ground, with finesse, he flicked the wrist and twirled the blade like a fan rotor, before resting it along his shoulders.

::clink::

"We are inbound now," Ryshindu said while taking time to look out in to the horizon, "you may take the water with you, we will no longer be needing it, I'm sure we can acquire some ourselves here." His eyes slid over to the rest of his family, his expression making a brief smirk with a short moment of silence. Even the while Jin was still hunting over the sand like a vulture, taking the lives of those who feared to arise. Red geysers spreading their fountain fingers to grasp the sky.

Ryshindu's heart was dead for now, all that remained was compassion for his family. His voice would come off cold and to the point. No sign of anger, no sign of contentiousness, nothing that depicted an emotion of either side of the scale. "Let us meet this doctor, hopefully he doesn't turn you into some atrocious android." Referring to the new information gathered, stating the doctor actually had two arms, one which was made of some mechanical sort. Walking over another dune, one more rogue who apparently didn't get the memo, attempted to rise from the sand in the same fashion, but only with enough time to sit up right.

::shrck:

It was nonchalant, it was without effort, and with out configuration, a fluid action that occurred quicker than thought, a display of reflex. What was the secret, a student has yet to ever ask. The head rolled, and with the last moment of its body's life, did blood gargle from the neck, lungs working in automation to purge its air-sacs of pooling crimson. Then it fell back, as if on a delayed cued. Ryshindu re-sheathed his katana, not bothering to cleanse it of its stolen abstracts. He didn't miss a beat in his step, his pace was continuous. He just wanted to get to this doctor, and get this over with.

Edited by Sx.

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The greatest deception in life is not the harlot's gasp, nor the noble's word, simply to appear weak when you are strong.

Amidst the heat, amidst the blistering sand, there was a tranquillity to be found, a peace born of the mind where even these harsh conditions could not penetrate; this was his refuge, a meditative state that Adauchi had but scratched the surface of. Whilst foes beset them at every turn then, and the very land betrayed the travellers that sought aid, Jin appeared to falter in his hunt, his heart swayed by his companion's beauty. Silver swept across their captive, like starlight across the heavens, as Adauchi brought her weapon to bear; splitting flesh as if it were air and releasing a satisfying spray of blood that doused the woman's features, causing a single thought to resound through Jin's mind as delicate cheeks became accentuated. Exquisite.

Lingering upon Adauchi's curves, however, also had an ulterior motive, for luscious though she was, she was but bait in this encounter, a convenient ruse with which to lure out the remaining villains from their warren-like tunnels. Pretending to be prone, Jin allowed the first of their number to spring from hiding, raising their axe in anger when the Samurai himself, was as callous as a woodsman skinning a kill. There was no trepidation in his stance, no hint of their discovery, just an unwavering trust in Adauchi's skill, as she leapt into action and skewered the assassin upon the tip of her blade; performing a strike so precise it didn't so much as graze his skin as it smoothly slid betwixt his assailant's ribs and snuffed the life from their lips, as easily as one might flame from a candle's wick.

This unspoken belief in his family allowed him to focus not around his immediate person then, but the group's vicinity as a whole; discerning the faintest glimmer of steel within the shifting grains and memorizing their locations so that, once Adauchi had pressed in close and delivered her message, he was free to eliminate them before ever they could charge. Words coursed from the Outlaw, like water from a river's mouth, as he unleashed a whirlwind of destruction upon the remainder of their enemies; raining down blows that, although fatal, were actually designed to inflict the maximum amount of pain in their victims. “ Relinquish doubt my dear, for my life is not something I readily gamble with”.

Whether the woman deciphered the meaning behind his actions though, or how willingly Jin had placed his fate in her hands, he proceeded to extract a symphony of screams from the fools that dared oppose Hokkaido; until his rage was spent, and his sword sated on the veins of the misguided or the just. He didn't know if a bounty lay on their heads, or if these assassins were naught but bandits plying their trade, but to one as merciless as him it mattered little what their intentions were, as long as they wept in agony, as long as they learned to dread the very mention of his name.

Setting his sights upon the city that spread out before them, and shooting Adauchi a devilish smile, he addressed their departing guide without turning; heading on toward their destination with a bounce in his step, as he sapped his Ninjato of its labours with the point of his tongue. “ Farewell then noble pathfinder, let us hope the roads you travel are less ignorant of our reputation than the ones that lay before us”.

Onward three journeyed, onward to find a Doctor... or to dig a grave.

Edited by -Jin-

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________________________________________________************_____________________________________

Ryshindu appeared sprawled out in the office chair, one of his legs hanging over the arm, the other foot up onto the desk. Ryshindu's eyes locked into a slight trance as he dangled a scapel before his face. The gleam reflected back and fourth as he pivoted the blade in his fingure tips upside down. He was growing bored of waiting. Something Exciting needed to happen. The moan and groan of a few patients were heard from down the halls. This place looked like something out of a post Modern Silent hill. Mechanical blueprints and designs laid about the desk and pinned to the office walls, along with disturbing images of step by step bio mechanical operations. He could smell a cleanliness like most hospitals but the scent of sanitizers or bleach couldn't drown the stench. But the stench itself couldn't be placed.

Still focused on the scalpel he voiced out to Jin Idling in the room. "...Creepy, isn't it. " Surely saying this probably wouldn't reassure Aduachi. But she probably already had an idea what they would of been coming into. This was a doctor for Criminals, fugitives, someone that could hold their cover, of course this place was going to seem a little off. Ryshindu began to wonder about how many Bosses were here. You know, the heads of the criminal organizations running about in Terrenus. He smiled at the thought. The idea of walking the hallway and pulling plugs seemed appeasing. Though instead, conversing with his brother would keep him tame, unless should the idea soon cross the mind of Jin. It was a funny connect between the Hokkaido. They seemed to all run on the same track at times, though each would have their own individual way or style of carrying things out.

The green haired Hokkaido looked to Aduachi feeling the walls, he figured she was probably marking mental notes of the office. "Aduachi.. Theres a lounge chair behind you." Noting her to just relax and lay down for now. They were here to await the arrival of the doctor. How boring. Ryshindu coiled his hand back and launched the scalpel into the skeletal dummy at the other end of the office. Precisely it placed itself into the forehead of the skull.. "A dead dummy.." he smiled faintly, after taking a quick glance from it, but then he looked again. "Oh. Its real. go figured." his hand waved in dismissal.

"What was that..?" Ryshindu spun in his chair and peered out the window, not necessarily getting up, but leaning forward. His eyes squinted, then slid to the right to clarify what he heard. But at the moment there was no need to be alert. They were already in a Medical outpost filled the criminals that probably wanted them dead for ages anyhow. It wouldnt surprise him if someone tried an attack from a wheel chair. Then again, their entry was quiet, no one knew they were here except them. He spun back around in the chair and leaned back, sprawling once more.

"Who treats this man's patients when he isn't here? That's the question.."

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When I am old and weary, when my body is slumped before the warming hearth of some indistinct tavern in some nameless town as I recant my own personal legend, I would like to be able to tell those future listeners of how, at the moment of my blindness, the eloquence of my movements were instantly equated to that of a bronze-skinned nomadic dancer whose red silks flutter in her breezeless surroundings, syncopated with the tinkling of her golden bells that hang from the delicate threaded chains that decorate her body.

Alas, I am not so elegantly crafted. My skin, for all the time we have spent beneath the harsh, glaring sun, is still as porcelain white as the day I entered this world and from the moment I fell into darkness, I stumbled my way across the barren grounds like a lame horse climbing the rocky slopes of some toppled mountainside.

It wasn't until we were attacked that I found myself slinking into my own element. More precisely, not until that singular moment of life forsaken by my blade did I find my way unimpeded by the dark blanket that surrounds me now. I suppose, now, I could akin myself to that desert blossom whose sly hips sway suggestively to her own music. Life so boldly unfolds within my mind and is so easily painted in soft, gentle hues to form images in my mind. Images of my surroundings that help me to navigate my way through the here and now, much like I recalled memories when I still had my vision.

The raised imperfections of the wall's surface form pictures beneath my fingertips as my hand glides along its length. Surely, the images were unintentionally captured in the materials used by the layman who built this structure. Vivid are the yowling faces of haggardly old women shielded by hooded cloaks or the twisted death masks of long forgotten warriors whose wounds were far too deep to mend. These are the visions that come to me, now; the souls of those whose wounded bodies sought the healing practices of this One-Armed doctor but found that even he could not stitch their bodies back together. These ghosts, embedded within the walls of this place, cry out to me in voices that can only be heard by touch. A blinded touch.

"Aduachi.. Theres a lounge chair behind you."

"I know," my voice sounds cracked and my muscles are weary from the travel but I can't seem to force myself to sit in one spot.

"It smells like rotten flesh in here, Rysh," my nose stings because of the harsh disinfectants but I can still smell the distinctive aroma of maggot dinner served on harsh metallic plates, "And metal. A lot of metal. Can you smell it?"

I pace the short expanse of the room.

"Do you think this doctor can help me? From the feel of this place, I'm not too comfortable letting him poke around my eye sockets," my steps carry me closer to the exit.

I don't want to be here anymore.

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Lurking beneath coincidence, rather than born aloft on mythic wings, revelations arrive from the unlikeliest of places.

There was something unnerving about this place, something that writhed across Jin's skin and nagged at the back of his mind like a half-forgotten name on the tip of his tongue. This feeling, however, could not be attributed to the bizarre diagrams that littered the walls, nor the charnel stench that clung to the air, for the Outlaw had grown desensitised to the aroma of death from the age of nine, on the night he had slain his parents. Pacing through the house of healing, whilst Adauchi traced its terrain with eager fingers, he held one hand warily upon the hilt of his blade as he explored its many rooms; searching not for the man that would ease her plight, but instead an intangible thing, an idea that, once discovered, would shake him to his very core.

Health pamphlets were as prominent here, as wanted posters on a tavern's wall, and Jin rifled through several out-dated issues to pass the time; perusing subjects like disease and infection like a connoisseur might an inferior vintage of wine, for these were inelegant ways to die and he scorned anyone foolish enough to contract such maladies, instead of facing a true end through the acts of the Bushido. It wasn't until he came upon the operating theatre though, that he drew closer to his goal, because amidst the aroma of disinfectant and the cold surgical steel, there lay a poster depicting a woman giving birth; a crude and visceral thing that advertised an anaesthetic to placate the pain of 'your new treasure's arrival'.

Ignoring the bleeding infant entirely, the Ronin warrior reached up and quietly brushed the crumbling image of the woman's face thoughtfully, struggling with the concept of family as old memories surged to the surface, like sick coursing through an unsuspecting throat.

It was the night of his ninth birthday, and, after a day of festivities in which his father, the feudal lord of the province, had showered him with gifts and adoration, he stood alone facing the distant mountains while a chill wind washed over him and gnawed at his bones. He had known happyness in his life, and even his experiments with animals had not caused his parent's love to falter; but what had begun as a desire to peel back skin and discover why creatures could crawl, when statues could not, had been growing like weeds within his heart, until now, at a time appointed so long ago, its seed had finally taken root and bloomed a dark hunger there.

A vision of his parents arguing had been all the excuse he needed in the end, a conversation they had held in secret where wife admitted to husband that she could not bear children and the beginnings of a journey were undertaken by Lord Hirato. Although the man's intentions had been noble, and his thirst to continue his line just, the pact that he had wrought with a Kuei-Shen would ultimately be his downfall, for the demon twisted Jin's emotions and used him like a meat-puppet to take the soul of his family, and pave the path to a blood-stained future for young Hirato.

Stumbling backwards as the memory dissipated, Jin bumped into a tray of tools and sent them clattering across the ground; reeling from the realization that his succour in life, his affinity for slaughter had been orchestrated by powers beyond his comprehension, that perhaps every widow he had made was a despicable act, not an inescapable result of a killer who could not know mercy, who did not know regret. He believed he had been innocent once, believed the fate of his parents had driven him into the arms of the Hokkadio and thrust him into a destiny of destruction until he found their killers and avenged their names. The horrific reality that he, himself had brought about their deaths almost broke him in two, for his entire life, his entire reason for being had been built upon a lie and now the foundations of his psyche were tumbling like the tower of babel, which grew so high and then was felled for its impudence.

In his time of turmoil, however, the dark seed thrived, for whatever foul blood coursed through his veins refused to let him falter from the path it had made for him and so, feeling as if a gaping chasm had opened up inside him, Jin returned to the office where his comrades waited and projected a veil of silence so thick his companions could not hope to perceive it as anything but meditation. In truth the events of the day had caused him to question the fundamental principles he believed in, but the Hokkaidos were his only safe haven amidst the storm he now struggled with, and so he took comfort in their presence, knowing that in the weeks to come he would have to find himself again, or perish beneath the weight of his new guilt.

Edited by -Jin-

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