|Act I, Chapter III: The Spirit of Morisei/The Contract|
Chi had been staying in Sunagakure for some time. It was a struggle for survival during her first trip across the wastelands of Wind Country, but she made it in due time with just the tiniest sliver of strength left. She was saved by the Shinku sibling known as Kornacopia, then she was given medical care and shelter. It was a lot more than she could have asked for, and she didn't need to. It made her trust the Shinkus. It was rare for Chi to trust other humans, but so far she had been given nothing but reason to trust them. She would be loyal to them until such time that they decide they no longer wish to be loyal to her. In the meantime, she would use their help when necessary to achieve her goal of retrieving the Morisei and halting Ichiro's plan. At the moment, this meant leaving the village momentarily as the power she sensed from the staff was heading outward. Either he found out she was in the village and decided to flee or he was setting up a trap, and Chi was about to find out which one.
She left prepared this time since she was leaving in a hurry. She brought plenty of water and fashioned the wolf hide which had saved her before into a cloak that covered most of her bare skin. She had left Naku with the Shinkus, choosing to risk his life with her new, friendly companions rather than risk his life out in the harsh, unforgiving desert. She also knew Naku very well, and his ability to get her into trouble was astounding for such a little guy. This was one hunt she couldn't risk messing up. Chi was raised by goats in the forests of Forest Country, but she was far from being prey. She was a predator; a warrior of the Hosekimori village and the last of her kind. She was a princess, and as such she had a duty to return the staff into the rightful hands of the Shizen family. She would regain her staff that day and return home to rebuild.
Some time after leaving the village, Chi came across a giant bird that was incapable of flying but was very fast and aggressive. Through a combination of her connection to nature and sheer brute force, she managed to hop on its back and finagle a ride. She was hot on Ichiro's trail, flying through the desert and closing in on the location of the staff's power. It wasn't long into her journey that the source stopped moving, and so as she approached she proceeded with caution over the last dune. On the other side she saw Ichiro sitting in a meditative position with a rather large hammer slung over his shoulder. He was stationed next to two camcels caring no gear which seemed to have been Ichiro's lift. His eyes were closed but he knew she was there, and Chi knew he knew this.
"Ichiro!" She cried. Ichiro opened his eyes slowly without looking up at her. "Ichiro you bastard!"
"Inaccurate." He mumbled to himself. He let go a sly grin as he rose to his feet, using the large hammer to add support as he stood. The sandrunner slid down the Dune and moved a few more meters towards Ichiro before Chi hopped off. As soon as she did the sandrunner made a mad dash for anywhere but there. Chi didn't try to stop the creature, she had given Chi enough aid that day and deserved her freedom. Despite the scarring reminder of their encounter etched on the front of her right shoulder. Ichiro laughed and watched the bird scamper off into the horizon. In front of him Chi brandished her spear with the tip aimed for the poacher's neck.
"Well isn't this something. I never thought I'd see you again." He chuckled to himself as he rubbed his nose with his free hand.
"Staff! Where?" She said in a broken tongue.
"Words, words, words… She speaks!" He buckled over from laughter, holding onto his hammer to keep himself from completely falling over. Chi bent her knees and pushed off the ground, landing mere feet from her enemy. Ichiro regained his composure and blocked a stab from her spear with the base of his hammer. Chi leapt back from the encounter.
"Where is it. I can sense it." Chi looked at the camel which looked at her and they stared into each others' eyes for a moment. Chi shook her head and returned her gaze to the man in front of her. He seemed too relaxed for this encounter. He had no hint of fear, Chi couldn't smell a single drop of sweat despite their location. The warrior had enough of the nonsense at this point and decided to take matters into her own hands. If he wouldn't give the staff to her willingly, she would torture him and he would tell her against his will. She lunged once more but this time with a swing that Ichiro jumped to avoid. It was effortless for him, and this drove Chi crazy. The man laughed and swung the hammer around in his hands, as he did so the large head of the hammer shrank and out of the wooden handle came a cyrstal. The shape of the weapon changed until it was in the form of a katana. Chi shook her head once more, this time out of confusion. She had never seen such an act.
"Come at me, goat girl!" He spoke in Chi's tongue, which really set her off. She moved in but as she did trees exploded from the ground and one of them picked her up. She flew upward and when the tree stopped growing she flew a few more feet before falling back down and slipping down tons of branches. At the bottom she was bruised and cut but otherwise fine. Ichiro appeared from behind a tree and slashed at her with his sword, Chi managed to catch her spear as it fell behind her and block the attack. He threw a few more strikes and then as he brought the sword back for one last swing it transformed into a hammer once again. It came from behind him before Chi noticed it had changed and in a large sweeping motion Ichiro swung the hammer's top into Chi's side. She crashed into one of the smaller tree trunks and it shattered like glass, causing the tree itself to topple on top of the young warrior.
"Chikara, you are too weak to stop me. Why do you try? You could have had a good life back at the noble's mansion." The hammer transformed into a giant blade and rested on Ichiro's shoulder. "Guess I will have to just send you back. I hope he does not mind receiving his package in installments." He swung down and through the trunk of that tree like it was made of butter, but as it sliced through above Chi the tree gave way and Chi was able to shove it off her to make an escape. The weapon he held was strong, and the crystal blades made Chi understand better what was going on. She still wasn't certain, but could his weapon have been Morisei?
"The staff of Morisei," Chi spoke in her natural tongue. "Where… Is it?" She questioned him, staring at the large blade he once again had supported by his shoulder.
"I think you know." He said in the common tongue this time, flashing another grin. "I didn't bring you out here to kill you, Chikara. I brought you here to show you just how powerful I am. I'm stronger than I was when you last fought me and you lost that battle." Chi flinched at the mention of her last defeat by Ichiro. "You're not worthy to hold this staff." Ichiro swung the giant blade into the air and it transformed into an ornate staff very similar to the staff her father used in combat, but it was different in some of the minor details. There was no mistaking it, that was the source of the Morisei's power that chi had followed. She had just never seen it transform before.
"Your father didn't wield this weapon properly, and neither have you. Me? I have access to it's very soul." He snickered and then Chi watches as the trees began to recede back into the sand. As the branches started coming down Chi lost sight of her nemesis and used her spear to break through the falling branches to his last known whereabouts. After the last tree disappeared she stared at the single camel left behind. She sighed and positioned her spear up and down like a walking stick. She was going to leave to head back to the village but she noticed that she was still feeling the Morisei's power there, as well as far off in the distance which she assumed to be Ichiro. What was the other source, though?
"He is such a shit." A strangers voice called from behind Chi, although his voice seemed to almost echo in her head. She turned sharply and pointed her spear at the newcomer.
"Who are you?"
He does a little dance and stretches his arms out before he says, "It is me, a Morisei!" They sat there in silence as Chi tried to grapple the inanity of this situation.
"Silence." She picked herself up and brushed off the sand. "You speak my language. Who are you?"
"I am, Morisei." He used hand gestures to exaggerate "I'm a spirit, I live in the weapon. I transfered to this boring staff of yours to help you."
Chi was no amused, and had already begun to believe this was some sort of trick of Ichiro's. "Prove it."
"I… Well I can't really… Here!" He ran at Chi who moved the spear to block but as he got close he dematerialized and appeared to be sucked into the staff. Then his translucent form reemerged from the staff, but just his head and an arm at first. He waved merrily and then used his hand to push himself out of the spear like he was crawling out of a whole. Once out he dusted himself off and once again he did a little dance and presented his arms to her. "Tada!" Chi was surprised and took a step back while examining the staff.
"Morisei… But you are dead."
"Well, I'm not really Morisei. I'm a projection of him. He created that staff, using his chakra to form the base and imbuing the crystal that makes up the blade so that it can transform. Then, he put a little bitty piece of himself into it before he died. It was an act meant to help guide others and so that's what I've been doing, for each member of the Shizen family up until now."
"Ah, your father was stupendous! Honestly, I don't see a lot of him in you… But you're less annoying than that Ichiro. I wasn't sure if you were ready yet buuuttt…" Chi frowned at his mention of her not being like her father. It was something she took great offense too. She believed herself to be just as strong as him, if not stronger once she attained access to the Morisei's power. "…You have great potential. I used your fight with Ichiro as a chance to move over to your weapon but I can't sustain myself for long. I'll be swooped back to the staff eventually, you need to get it back from him."
"If you're here, that means he can't go through with his plan, right?"
"Wrong. Ichiro's plan is… Complicated. The staff has all the power and he can use it freely with or without me. Now that I'm gone, he can extract some of it from the staff itself."
"Alright. Then let us go, Morisei." She felt weird calling him that, but what else would she call him? He wasn't the archsage she heard legends of, but he was close enough. She knew with his help she could—
"Wait, wait, wait, don't go getting all impatient on me now." He reached behind his back and pulled out a large scroll that he tossed to the ground at Chi's feet. It rolled down the dune she stood on and seemed to go on forever. It looked like a long string of characters that Chi couldn't quite make out.
"What is this?"
"A contract. In order to fight for you I must first have your word that you won't use my power for evil…" He paused for a moment and Chi nodded. Then Morisei began to laugh uncontrollably. "I am just yanking your chain, I do not care what you do with my power. Just try not to be annoying or I will find someone else, okay?" He smiled a shiny sharp toothed smile and watched as Chi bit her finger with one of her canines. She used the blood to sign the contract and then it rolled up lightning fast and disappeared.
"Congratulations, kid!" The creature spoke in the common tongue this time. He rose his arms into the air as if to give a hug. "Now all you have to do is summon me and I can fight with you… Or for you. I do miss the taste of blood on my lips…"
"What?" Chi couldn't tell what he had said, it got lost in translation but it didn't sound right to her.
"I said, I miss taste of victory on my lips!" He 'repeated' in her language. Then he disappeared, his voice echoing inside her head. "Just call me if you need me."