[Graded][Grass 3] The Grand Scheme of Things

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[Graded][Grass 3] The Grand Scheme of Things

Post by ShinobiTruth » Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:31 am

The day wasn't even over, and he had two more kills to his name.

In his haste rushing back to the bandit camp that he and Kozaki had disassembled, Iwamaru was kicking up quite a bit of dust on the main road as he was rushing back to his partner. This caught the attention of some overzealous scouts from what he could only assume were riding ahead of the main war band, who in their ignorance thought Maru to be an oblivious traveler. Seeming an easy target, they diverged and attacked him, suspecting he might be a messenger trying to warn other villages of their eventual assault. Maru didn't have the opportunity to give them a chance to surrender peacefully, instead riding upon their horses and charging him. They were smart to try that approach, at least. The horses were fast enough to keep up with him, generally speaking.

Now, their horses belonged to him. Maru rode one, and the other he led with its reins in its other hand.

Realizing that the possibility of an attack while in transit was now possible, Maru opted to let the horses take him to the camp. It would have been a little faster for him to arrive on foot himself, but he needed to conserve energy as much as he could. In a freak happenstance, the Elder's visions had granted him a premonition of the future. It was one of grim, ill tidings. The village they had just worked to protect now had an even greater danger coming upon it. A large band of warriors and bandits was going to attack the valley... and though he had no confirmation of this, Maru suspected that their attack of the bandit camp hadn't gone as cleanly as he had hoped.

Had someone slipped away? Had the enemy managed to get a messenger hawk away?

Riding into the camp, Iwamaru quickly called out to his partner. "Kozaki! Whatever business you have with him, finish it! We must return to the village, right now!" he called out. The camp had been left in the same state of disarray as when he'd left. The same corpses littered the ground as before. He was confident that there was no ambush he had to worry about.

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[Grass 3] The Grand Scheme of Things

Post by Ace Trainer » Mon Dec 23, 2019 2:16 pm

Kozaki was climbing from the underground staircase onto the surface right as Iwamaru was riding up. His eyes were wide, blood splattered on his clothing and face. He looked in a panic. "We have to go, NOW.", he responded to Iwamaru's shouts, having not even processed what the stone man had said. It took a second before he grabbed the horses reigns, throwing himself onto the back of the beast and pulling on them to direct it back towards the direction of the village. It seems the panicked fae he had meant he knew the same information that Iwamaru knew; "There are a far bigger group coming towards the village, now,", he kicked the horse off, riding back towards the direction of the village, assuming that Iwamaru was doing the same, he began calling out.

"They were supposed to report earlier today. Less than 30 minutes after we raided their camp. And, they did not. So, we've got a big group heading towards the town. We need to start preparing the town defensively.", Kozaki called out. "What did you learn about those people? Do they have any fighters among their townsmen? Anyone that can provide or are we handling this all by ourselves?"
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[Grass 3] The Grand Scheme of Things

Post by ShinobiTruth » Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:24 pm

Iwamaru was thankful he didn’t have to explain the situation to his compatriot, as his face made it readily apparent that Kozaki’s interrogation had uncovered the same news the Elder had divulged to him. Handing him the reins, Iwamaru turned his horse and took off at a full gallop. ”I know. These horses belonged to their advance scouts. They decided to interfere with the mission, so I appropriated their horses from them,” he explained. ”I bought us a little time, but not much. Perhaps half a day, tops.”

At Kozaki’s questions, Iwamaru simply shook his head. ”They are farmers and carpenters, Kozaki. They will be useful in setting up fortifications and excavating ditches to prevent the use of horses, but they’ve no warriors. Their village is pacifist by principle, and their faith in the strength of spirits and superstitions are strong. I wouldn’t be surprised if they thought us servants of their gods.”

Looking forward, he’d clearly been spending the time on the ride there devising a strategy. ”We have the advantage of time and the defensive position. The townspeople have already been instructed to fell sturdy trees to bring back for logs. I have an idea for how we can establish our defensive position when we get back, but it will be only the two of us against their entire force.”

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[Grass 3] The Grand Scheme of Things

Post by Ace Trainer » Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:39 pm

Kozaki frowned, Iwamaru was correct. The townspeople would be of little help. The pair of them would be handling these newcomers on their own. Which meant they'd be fighting for quite a bit, at quite a level. He sighed, clicking his teeth and booting his heel into the side of the horse, speeding it up and kicking dirt even faster as it rushed to the town. Iwamaru said he had prepared the people, that meant they'd already known, surely the people would be panicking. Thinking about the layout of the town, Kozaki turned to Iwamaru again, "We know they're coming from the East. So we need to bottleneck them into us.", he called out.

Kicking again, the horse sped even faster, "If our goal is to gain the favor of these people, we need to ensure no townspeople are hurt in this raid.", his mind raced. What would be the best method here? "As horrendous as it sounds. It may be best for only one of us to defend head on.", he pondered on this. "If we leave the northern side of the town heavily defended, and the southern side weakly defended, they'll likely attempt to flank to the south. It'll split their forces. We can hole the weakest townspeople to the North. The fewer of them in combat the better, leave their stronger to guard them. One of us takes the frontal force. The other scouts to the flank and picks them off."

This was more or less the plan that Iwamaru had used for the fortress. It had been an effective one, to say the least.
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[Grass 3] The Grand Scheme of Things

Post by ShinobiTruth » Wed Dec 25, 2019 2:46 pm

Maru nodded his head, likely surprising his compatriot. ”That seems to a wise idea, but we’ll have to take that concept further, I think. We can hash out the plan a bit more when we get back and you see the fortifications I instructed them to build,” he stated.

As they rode back toward the town, Kozaki would see several sets of forward facing logs angles upwards, and there were villagers lobbing off chunks of the wood to clearly form ridges of large spikes. They hadn’t completed enough of them for changes to be impossible, but they had made significant progress. Suddenly stopping his horse, Maru motioned for Kozaki to do the same. ”I created underground pathways using my Doton and weakened the earth above them. They’ll be fine if we walk over it, but the horses could cause them to collapse,” he explained, dismounting. ”The intent is to wall off all other areas and channel them into the area where the ground is most heavily sapped. They’re setting up wooden spikes in those tunnels as we speak, and whether I break them myself or the enemy calvary does, it will eliminate the use of horses by the enemy. I’ll further fortify our flanks with more Doton walls.”

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[Grass 3] The Grand Scheme of Things

Post by Ace Trainer » Wed Dec 25, 2019 3:15 pm

As the approached, Kozaki pulled the horse to a stop. Dismounting as Iwamaru did, smirking that Iwamaru approved of the plan. It seemed that they were on the same page for this, that was good. Great teamwork, they were developing into a good team. Listening to what Iwamaru was saying, Kozaki nodded approvingly as well. This was good, they were at a good place, and it looked like the people were acting quickly and efficiently. Even if they weren't warriors, they understood the risk of war and what was coming. Approaching forward, he took in the town.

"Where should we have the townspeople stay at?", he asked, observing the layout of the town and the defenses they were setting up. "Like I said, I think the priority should be keeping them safe. Our goal here wasn't to start a war with a bandit troupe, it was to win the favor of these people. We might be a little in over our heads so we need to prioritize our original mission.", he sighed. turning in a circle he tried to take everything in to get an understanding of whats going on.

"We have until sundown.", he said somberly. That was the information he had gathered, that was all they had.
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[Grass 3] The Grand Scheme of Things

Post by ShinobiTruth » Wed Dec 25, 2019 5:32 pm

Iwamaru shook his head. ”If we want them to be safe, they can’t stay here while the fighting is ongoing. It’s entirely possible we may be dealing with archers and fire arrows. If they choose a battle of attrition, even you and I together won’t be able to stop all of those arrows. I’ve made a tunnel below ground with my jutsu, heading west toward the high end of the valley. The people understand that this can be rebuilt, but the dead can’t be brought back. As soon as they’re done with their work, I’ve ordered their evacuation. The tunnel travels to the west and due just slightly north. We’ll be between them and the oncoming force.”

Iwamaru looked at the people working above ground. ”We’re gonna turn this village, and the entire area into a death trap. Initially, the people resisted the idea, but once I got the Elder on my side, no one questioned it further. Even now, they have people moving their food stores through that tunnel away from the village, as well as gathering seeds from all of their crops. With my Doton, any terraforming we do here can be undone. It won’t be perfect, but they will survive.”

He motioned toward the spikes being set up around the village. ”My main concern is whether my chakra stores will hold out,” he explained. ”I have rations, and the work is simple enough, but I’ll be using a lot of jutsu in quick succession to set up the area. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to recover about half of what I use before the enemy arrives through food and focused meditation.”

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[Grass 3] The Grand Scheme of Things

Post by Ace Trainer » Wed Dec 25, 2019 8:06 pm

Kozaki listened intently to Iwamaru's pondering, processing what he was saying and trying to picture the end result. Iwamaru had thought a lot about this, it was impressive honestly. Kozaki had been trained in the art of war, but not like this. Kirigakure's training was not about fortifications and holding their position. It was offensively oriented, to a degree that was almost excessive, honestly. Kozaki was realizing this now. He was taught how to assault an opponent physically, to tear them down mentally and emotionally, to torture them....as he had with the bandit leader. But Iwamaru's planning was so much more intricate than this. He was turning a simple farming village into a fortress.

He honestly didn't have much more input from there. What could he possibly offer that Iwamaru had not covered yet? "I appreciate your thoroughness. But, ultimately, traps and fortifications aren't going to win this fight.", Kozaki smirked, his mind sequencing through the battle in his head, the blood he would spill. "If it comes between setting up for the fight, and having enough chakra for the fight, the latter is going to be more important.", he frowned, crossing his arms and glancing across the fields again.

"We're the strongest weapons here. Traps might work here and there, but ultimately we're going to be doing the heavy lifting.", Kozaki's hand extended, a small black orb forming in his palm, "However, if you want help in offloading some of the work you're going to need to put out. I can use you as a conduit.", the smirk returned to Kozaki's face. Almost devilish at this point, his tongue moving across his teeth at the thought. This would be his first time using this in combat if Iwamaru was interested.
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[Grass 3] The Grand Scheme of Things

Post by ShinobiTruth » Wed Dec 25, 2019 9:17 pm

Iwamaru followed Kozaki’s reasoning to a point. It’s true that while the measures they were taking up until this point would help in culling the more foolish ranks and channeling the opponent into terrain that more suited their needs, they would have to take care of most of the forces personally. He had to hand it to his partner.

Where he stopped following him was when Kozaki talked to him about being used as a conduit. To be blunt, they had worked together in a rather mediocre manner up until this point. They had each handled their duties separately in tandem with one another. They’d never actually fought back-to-back. Maru had learned very little about Kozaki’s strange ability and what it actually did, and while not being squeamish about combat was certainly a benefit, he hadn’t ignored his partner’s sadistic tendencies. Narrowing his eyes, he looked intently at the Samsara in Kozaki’s hand before looking him back in the eyes. Kozaki would not see distrust, but rather, caution. ”I’m willing to do what is needed to contribute to the mission’s success, but I can’t follow your plan if I don’t know it inside and out like you do. I’d been meaning to ask this earlier, but now’s as good a time as any. What is this power you wield, and what adverse effects should I expect if I subject myself to it as a conduit?” he asked plainly.

His spirit was willing, but he wasn’t one to brashly make deals without knowing all of the stakes. He had to hope Kozaki was willing to be as forthright and honest as he’d been up to this point.

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[Grass 3] The Grand Scheme of Things

Post by Ace Trainer » Wed Dec 25, 2019 9:36 pm

Kozaki grinned at Iwamaru even wider, laughing at his caution. He understood it, he wasn't going to judge Iwamaru at all for it. "My abilities...? Well, we have time I guess.", he pulled out a kunai, holding it in one hand and gesturing towards Iwamaru to come closer, "When I was a baby, my family gave me to the village. Such a thing is actually quite common in our village, to be honest. The village does plenty of testing and research on children, and I was one such.", he took the kunai and ran it against his arm, black fluid leaking from the wound alongside the blood that would begin bleeding out of him. "Our village has a clan called the Fushinkou, and they have a unique space/time ability. I was being used as an attempt of modifying that ability to make it stronger. As a part of it, my body began to produce this....fluid.", he paused, to allow Iwamaru to take in what he was saying.

"They call it Samsara, and they've analyzed it plenty and they say its just some abstract element of space and time. I don't fully understand it. But, my body produce it in excess. Presumably without limit. I've been able to make as much as I want, so long as I have chakra to draw it out. Since, my master then created a pocket in my skin...basically. My whole body is coated in this stuff.", he ran the blade horizontally against his arm this time, ripping off a large chunk of flesh, revealing the black fluid under it, that seemed to harden when exposed to the air. He slapped it twice, revealing how little pain it caused him and the sound showing the rigidity and firmness of the black substance under his skin.

"Sorry, I know this is a lot.", he placed the kunai back, and flipped his hand upwards, revealing the Samsara on his hand, "One of the abilities of the Samsara is that....presumably because of its composure, distance is not a point of issue for it. Chakra can move through Samsara at point a.....and present itself at point B....at any distance. If I place Samsara into your body, then use a jutsu to spit a fireball....instead of me spitting the fireball, I can channel the jutsu through you....and allow you to spit a fireball.", he shrugged, "The Samsara allows me to link and hijack chakra systems, in short.", he paused to let Iwamaru understand, but he wasn't done.

"I don't know how familiar you are with Jikukan, the style of ninjutsu called Space/Time. But one of the skills of Jikukan is to allow the user to force open a space in space/time, something they call a Realm. In experimenting on me, a realm was created. I don't know how to access it, but my body is constantly linked to it, and overlays it to the world around us. Right now, you're here, in this world. But we're also in my realm. I exert God-like control over my realm. I can change its composition, size, and even the laws of physics within it. So, when you're a conduit, you also channel my realm. The use of my realm is limited right now, to be honest. But, tactically it can be reliable, and I have one particular realm that would be invaluable in this specific scenario....oh and one that lets you fly if that suits your fancy.", Kozaki nodded. That was it. A lot of information but, it would help Iwamaru decide.
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[Grass 3] The Grand Scheme of Things

Post by ShinobiTruth » Wed Dec 25, 2019 10:03 pm

Maru took the information in stride. The thought of experimenting on a non-consenting child did offend his sensibilities a bit, but he could not judge a village that was not his own. He had no clue what struggles would force their culture to view such a thing as necessary, and it wasn’t like Kozaki had any say in the matter. He was simply making the best of the hand life had dealt him.

He knew a little bit about Jikuukan just from his own studies, but the additional information connected to how
It related to his Samsara was the real kicker. Maru has admittedly always sought a simpler manner of strength, but was clear that the more abstract powers and abilities in this world could also be quite potent. When Kozaki has spoken of being a conduit, he’d apparently meant it in the most literal sense. He knew that Kozaki divulging his entire arsenal of techniques wasn’t practical, but he would serve almost as a drone or a specialized clone technique, even. Kozaki would be able to deploy his own techniques from Maru’s position and even modify Maru’s own abilities to a degree. He’d have to accept the costs that came with it. ”Tell me truly, Kozaki: how badly is this going to hurt? I won’t be much use to you if I can’t handle the pain,” he asked bluntly, nevertheless extending his hand toward his partner.

If this was going to be anything like the assassin’s spirit, he was in for a world of hurt.

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[Grass 3] The Grand Scheme of Things

Post by Ace Trainer » Thu Dec 26, 2019 2:07 pm

Kozaki was impressed, Iwamaru seemed to be taking this in stride. If he didn't understand fully, he at least wasn't making it obvious, a respectable ability in and of itself. His question was interesting, though, and Kozaki couldn't help but laugh a little, "Scared of a little pain?", he chuckled. Running his tongue across his teeth again, he grinned wide, "Its going to feel like the sun is burning inside of you.", he said, his eyes sparkling with glee at the thought. He took a moment to soak in Iwamaru's reaction before laughing, "Haha I'm only kidding. It will barely hurt. It goes just under the skin, it'll be like getting a shot.", he laughed again, Iwamaru was fun to mess with.

Beginning to weave the series of handsigns, he tried to reassure his partner, "Pretty highranking technique, but once its active I can recoup the chakra I use before the night fall. Its just a small stud, if you decide its hindering you, or you don't like how it works or whatever, just pull it out, and it'll come right out easy peasy, got it?", he finished the hand seals, and before Iwamaru could even answer yes or no, Kozaki rocked forward, slamming his palm into Iwamaru's sternum. The black fluid would leak for him palm and stab into Iwamaru's clothing, slipping through the small seams and then cutting into his flesh, just under the surface like Kozaki had said, forming a buldge on his chest just smaller in circumference than a tennis ball.

"Easy peasy, huh?", if Iwamaru accepted it, he'd feel largely the same, with one difference, his eyes would turn bright yellow just like Kozaki's.
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[Realm Conduit]
S-rank Ninjutsu
Kozaki will do a series of hand seals, then place his hands on his targets chest, embedding a large 3inch stud over their sternum at [Control] speed and strength. The stud is only anchored just below the skin and can be removed with relative ease. While the stud remains in the targets chest, they will be a conduit for Kozaki’s realm, effectively giving them his ability. Any jutsu Kozaki performs will effect all Dominions currently active.
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[Grass 3] The Grand Scheme of Things

Post by ShinobiTruth » Thu Dec 26, 2019 3:34 pm

Iwamaru’s eyes narrowed sharply. In a tense situation as it was, his style of aloofness was sometimes wholly unfitting. He simply exhaled deeply at his first response before he amended his answer. He braved himself regardless, just in case Kozaki’s change had been to bait him into a sense of ease.

Kozaki’s hand made contact with his sternum, and while the palm itself didn’t do much, the sensation of the black sludge was not painful, per se, but certainly uncomfortable. But he didn’t chose this life for comfort’s sake. If this gave him access to a greater range of powers, Iwamaru wasn’t going to complain or decline unless it was a liability.

A slight tingling in his eyes caused him to check his reflection in the steel on his sword. Seeing the change of color made him stare a bit harder for a second, but after a moment more, he sheathed the sword and nodded. ”I guess this brings a whole new meaning to the word ‘teamwork’,” he nodded.

There wasn’t anything else to it. Now, they had work to do. By the time they were through, this place would be a veritable fortress.

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