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A second funeral (S-Rank)

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Yamada Ao
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A second funeral (S-Rank)

Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:28 pm

Ao walked down one of the wider streets of Tsukigakure, his hands stuffed into one of the inner pockets of his crimson robes. The ship Ao had come to this country in had docked right as the sun began to rise over the island. When Ao finally made it off the ship the day had fully begun for the city as its residents hurried to their respective occupations. Ao nonchalantly moved to an alley between two multiple storied buildings and quickly scaled the building to his left. Once atop the building, remaining in a slightly crouched position, Ao looked over the city as a hole and tried to decide what his next move should be.

No more than two weeks ago Ao had received a strange message from one of his companions from the Fox Clan. It had told him to immediately head towards Moon Country, specifically Tsukigakure, and await further information. Although he was disappointed that he had to cut his trip to Fire Country short, Ao valued his newly formed relationship with the Fox Clan and therefor made his way to Tsukigakure.

Ao scanned the busy streets quickly looking for several things: An inn to stay at, local guard posts, the entrance to the city, and a restaurant to refuel at. As he was doing so something out of place caught his eye. Small flashes of white that would intermittently appear between the hundreds of legs of the passerby's down below. Ao focused on the strange phenomena and realized that it was a small artic fox, and it seemed to be heading further into the city. Ao took it as a sign and moved quickly to follow it as the small fox zigged and zagged through the crowded city streets.

Eventually the fox came to small and slightly dilapidated restaurant, looked upwards towards Ao, and then went inside. Ao jumped off of the roof he had moved to and made his way into the restaurant as well. Once inside Ao looked around the dimly lit dining room before him and saw a familiar face. It was Mei, the first member of the Fox Clan he had met, and the most troublesome one as well.

She looked as she had in the past, a beautiful young woman with sharp features and bright red hair, but unlike the last time they met, many of her more overtly foxlike features had clearly been hidden. Mei made eye-contact with Ao, cocked her head to the side and let a big smile cross her face. She scooted down the bench she was currently seated on, and then patted on the space beside her as a signal for Ao to join her.

Ao walked over to the table she was seated at and joined her. He chose to sit across from her instead of beside her, to which she made a pouty face.
Oh, well I see how it is Ao. I thought we had something special, but I see that I’m nothing more to you than another conquest.

Ao smirked before answering, “ Oh no Mei, you know that’s not the case. You will always hold a special place in my heart. I just don’t want to get to close to you and risk getting hurt again. ” He said with a wink.

So, ” Mei began, her face becoming more stoic and serious, “ I suppose you want to know why Lady Yuna ordered me to call you all the way over here. I’ll be honest with you Ao, we’re not 100% sure of what is really happening, but we know someone is looking for you, and I don’t think they mean well. ” Mei pulled a scroll out of a hidden pocket in her revealing robes. She handed it to Ao who opened it to read its contents. Mei continued:

Several weeks ago we received word that a strange man had showed up in Tsukigakure. He then began asking people if they knew anything about a former Hidden Mist Shinobi named Yamada Ao. Luckily for us you’re not a very popular guy, but since we… I mean Lady Yuna…., has taken an interest in you we… She… decided to send an agent to find out what exactly this character wants from you. ” The white artic fox Ao had seen originally then popped up on the bench where Mei was seated, she smiled and ran her hands through its fur. “ And that’s what the two of us have been doing here. Here’s the thing, we have seen him, well more particularly we have smelled him…

Ao’s faced flashed a look of confusion, Mei continued. “ And when I say smell him I mean his Chakra, and here’s the kicker…. He smelled like you, like the you that you hide from others. The part of you deep inside that you only draw upon when you are in trouble…

You mean Azathoth? ” Ao interrupted. Mei nodded her head in agreement.

Yes, just like the demon inside of you. But that’s really the only Chakra I sense. It’s not like how you are, where there are two individual chakras present in one body. This body only has the smell of the demon to it.

Ao looked down at the scroll Mei had given him, on it was a sketch of a man hooded in a grey cloak. “ Well that’s not much to go on Mei, did you get a look at his face at least? ” Ao asked Mei and her companion.

Mei shook her head and replied: “ No, but I can do you one better. I know where he is staying, a small hovel on the outskirts of the city. Not only that, but we can follow the scent of his chakra and take you right to him. That way we can be sure that you won’t be ambushed.

I hope it doesn’t come down to a fight, but thank you regardless. I suppose we should be on our way then? ” Mei nodded at Ao’s suggestion, and the three of them made their way out of the restaurant.

The three moved at break-neck speed towards the scent of the mysterious man. As they did Ao began to mentally probe Az for answers.

You know that the entirety of my being is not inside you, why do you act like this is a surprise? Az relayed.

I knew that, but what I didn’t know was that you are conspiring against me. What are you up to? replied Ao.

I am not up to anything Az replied, his words spiteful and voice riddled with annoyance, While it is true that part of me may be inhabiting that body, we are not the same. Each piece of my essence has a different interpretation of the best course of action for my rebirth. I think that laying low and biding my time is the best move, this other part of me must disagree. Hence why he is searching for you.

So what, am I just going to have to fight him? Ao thought back.

Probably, I highly doubt that whatever plan he has for you involves you living to see the end of it.

Well, what are you going to do? Are you going to help me with this or are you actually rooting for this other part of you? Ao began to worry about what would happen once the fight began. Would Azathoth try and undermine Ao?

While I do want to find the other pieces of myself and reabsorb them. If you lose to this version of me, my essence will undoubtedly be consumed, and I would cease to exists. For this reason, I want you to win. Because if you die, in essence, so do I. All I ask is that if you win, you allow me to preform my absorption ritual. Azathoth’s reply took Ao by surprise. He had never heard any mention of such a ritual before.

Why? So you can become stronger and overtake me? Why wouldn’t I just let this part of you fizzle out of existence?

Because that’s not how this works. If I don’t absorb this part of me, it will just find another host and come after you again. Maybe this time more directly, and maybe to the detriment of other, innocent people.

Ao didn’t like that answer, and he did not like his options. He shut out Azathoth and began thinking to himself. If he had to fight, which he felt like was bound to happen, did he really feel comfortable allowing Az to become more powerful?

Mei and the white fox came to a sudden stop. Ao followed suit and waited for Mei to respond. A moment later she turned and pointed to small hovel right outside the city. Ao did not see any movement, nor did he see any signs of life from inside the hovel, but Mei assured him that the stranger was inside. Ao told Mei and the fox to stay put, and quietly made his way towards the hovel.

The closer Ao got to the hovel, the more somersaults his stomach made. Finally, Ao had come within ten feet of the hovel, he looked back towards the location of Mei and the white fox and at that moment he heard what sounded like a very small earthquake from underneath him. Ao launched himself into the air just as several metal spikes erupted from the ground underneath him. Ao looked towards the hovel and just in time to see a large metal cube hurling towards him. Ao clapped his hands together and pulled them apart to reveal four metal birds. He released them and then followed-up with a hand sign. The birds came to life and flew directly towards the metal cube. The objects collided in an explosion that sent shrapnel in all directions, which was then followed by a second, smaller explosion at the hovel.

When Ao animated the metal birds he had one stay back to attack the hovel after the other three birds handled the cube. Ao’s attacker had anticipated this though, and stood behind a metal wall that was about 10 feet high. Ao landed to the right of the area that was now covered in metal spikes as the wall his attacker stood behind dissipated. The man looked exactly as Mei had depicted him in her drawing, and he was surrounded in a dense grey chakra that filled the air around the two men with a sour, metallic taste.
Ao called out to the man and told him that the two of them did not have to fight. The man responded by activating a cloak of the sickening grey chakra around him, which then sunk into him and enveloped his skin in a spikey metallic coat. The man now looked as if he was coated in a single piece of armor that covered his entire body. He then charged Ao.
Ao responded by activating a chakra cloak of his own and charged directly at his assailant. As the two shinobi grew closer Ao began to imbue his metal fists with the Chakra of Azathoth, and then the two of them were upon each other. The attacker’s fist had become covered in thick spikes which Ao narrowly dodged three times in a row, after the third strike Ao saw an opening and caught the right arm of the attacker by the wrist with his left hand. Ao then followed up by bringing his right hand to the inside of the assailant’s elbow and released the stored chakra. A small explosion erupted from Ao’s palm that separated a majority of the assailant’s right arm from the rest of his body. Ao jumped back to assess the situation.

The man still stood as though the loss of an arm was nothing of any importance. Ao soon saw why as the metal shards that had been flung every which way after the explosion slowly started to recombine with the stub that remained. Ao’s eyebrows raised in shock as Azathoth’s voice popped into his head.

You need to act quickly, before he can regain his arm. This part of me apparently focuses on melee skills and metal ninjutsu. Stay at a range and aim for his chest. That should incapacitate him long enough for me to use the ritual!

Ao still did not like the idea of letting Azathoth become more powerful, but he had no other option at the moment. Ao grabbed the necklace of metallic prayer beads that sat around his neck, and pulled violently at them. The cord holding the beads broke apart, but instead of falling to the ground, the beads lifted themselves slightly above Ao’s head and began to rotate in a clockwise motion.

This did not have to end this way; you can’t let this demon control you! Ao proclaimed to the stranger, but got no response except for another attack.
The man lifted his left arm high and released countless numbers of metallic shards which then accumulated like a storm cloud above Ao. Ao cursed as the shards began to rain down on him as if it were a storm of daggers. He quickly weaved some hand signs together and summoned a wall of stone to intercept the shards as they rained down upon him. Then, refocusing on his opponent, Ao began flinging the prayer beads that floated above his head at the man. As each bead raced towards his enemy they began to change shape until they resembled a dozen humming birds.

His opponent again raised his left hand from which hundreds of senbon were created and then flung them at the animated projectiles. The hummingbirds shot in different directions in order to dodge the senbon, and not one of them was shot down. Then they were upon the man. Some dove like an eagle diving upon its prey, the others swarmed around him. The man’s right arm, now complete up through his forearm, changed into a spiked mace which he used to swat at the diving animations. Taking advantage of the situation Ao ordered the metal humming birds that swarmed above to begin firing small projectiles from their beaks at the stranger.

Each small projectile fired from the beaks of the birds that hit erupted in small explosions, that while not causing major harm the assailant, did manage to catch him off-guard and throw off his balance. As the man stepped back he found that he had fallen into a trap. His left leg was snagged by several octopus like tentacles that erupted from the ground, and the right arm-mace was caught by another grouping of tentacles. Both sets of tentacles pulled him back and down simultaneously, and the humming bird animations that had previously been hurling themselves at the man then flung themselves one after another into the man’s chest. As each hit the armor-like coating on the man’s chest they splattered into a liquid substance upon impact like water balloons. After five birds had done so, Ao activated the chakra present in the bird’s remains. An explosion enveloped the area around the small hovel and the stranger; when the smoke cleared only parts of the man remained, with no sign of the house.

Ao moved over to the man’s remains, his right arm and left leg had been blown off, and in his chest was a hole about a foot and a half wide. Azathoth began chanting a ritual in a tongue Ao had no hopes of understanding. Before Ao could say anything his attention was drawn to the stranger’s face. The metal covering and robe that had once been there had been blown off, revealing a human face. A familiar human face.

It was Toshiyuki, the boy who had been kidnapped from the Hidden Mist village along with Ao. The boy who had been another test subject for the cultists. The boy who Ao had watched die with his own eyes. Ao could never forget that face, and he thought he had seen the last of it. But here he was. Dead, again.

Suddenly the metal armor on Toshiyuki and the shards of metal that surrounded him liquefied, and then began to stream towards Ao. In a movement that defied the laws of gravity themselves this ‘stream’ of liquid moved through the air towards Ao’s arms, and upon contact began to flow into him. Ao felt the surge of power that came with this collection of Azathoth’s essence.

Ah, so now we have the ability to manipulate metal, and not just craft it into explosive projectiles. This should come in handy! Azathoth proclaimed.

How did you bring Toshiyuki back to life? Ao asked.

I, well, the me that was controlling the boy. He did not bring the boy back to life. He just used his body as a vessel. By my guess, he has been dead for a while. I am assuming you knew him? Azathoth pondered.

Ao didn’t respond. He simply reached down and touched Toshiyuki’s cheek.

Rest friend, I’m so sorry you were drug back into this. ” Ao whispered. He let small particles of metal rain down on Toshiyuki’s body from his arms, and once satisfied he activated them. Toshiyuki’s body vaporized in an instant, the particles caught by the wind were blown in several different directions. Ao turned back towards his two Fox Clan allies, he body flickered to them.

Mei looked at Ao with sad eyes, almost as if she knew what had transpired below, but did not say anything. Ao put his right hand atop Mei’s head before saying: “ Mei, would you be so kind as to join me for dinner? ” Mei smiled and nodded.
An albino, Ao has milk-white skin, long white hair, and red eyes. On the right side of his face he has a red winestain scar that extends from his throat up to his right cheek. Ao is not particularly tall or muscular. He is a shade under six feet tall and very thin, gaunt, with a grim forbidding aspect and a sinister reputation. He typically wears the colors of "blood and smoke", with smoke being a dark grey that was mottled and streaked with black. Because his skin is sensitive to light, he usually goes about cloaked and hooded.The most noticeable physical attribute though are his metal arms that he occasionally disguises as normal arms with a simple transformation jutsu.

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