Description: A certain hunter has a pleasant chat with a kunoichi. A kunoichi learns that idealism isn't always 'pretty'.
She would be dimly aware of the fact her worst injuries have been carefully sutured.
The location is one far and away from the forest clearings where the young kunoichi was attacked by another shinobi in a helmet and, subsequently, taken captive last evening. A dingy, filthy, unfamiliar spot, at a far enough stretch away from anything remotely resembling civilization that the telltale sound of cars and distant motors cannot be heard, only the faint cackle of crows in the rising sun.
Beams of pale blue stream through the rot-eaten wood composing the roof, leaving traces of warmth on otherwise cold skin. Though the light is bright, the air is chill, an artifact of the excesses in the wintry night following the intense battle, leaving for a bout with the chill. Illness has only barely been staved off in her case by certain liberties taken by the shinobi, such as her dressing. That is, beyond the bandaging that loops around her--a naval blue hanten has been secured about Ibuki's body, a long type of Japanese winter coat, similar to the haori the young man himself wore, but longer. This mostly prevents the slim kunoichi from catching her death of cold after the rigors of battle, but it's hardly comfortable--the coat has been left open and the sharp bite of cold, damp wood is barely blunted by the padded jacket.
Cold, damp wood. The best way to describe anything beyond the myriad dressings and fittings that have turned extreme pain and discomfort into one long dull ache is: completely immobilized. Anything even remotely resembling weaponry or lockpicks have been carefully searched out and disarmed from the kunoichi, most of the remainder of the kunai and shuriken that she carried was laid out in extreme organization on a table across the room and well out of arm's reach. He is excessively thorough--even so much as a stiff wire or cord would have been located and cut out of her clothing if necessary. If she's had any dental fillings as of recent, it's sort of a wonder she got to keep them.
What's left of Ibuki is fastly tied to a thick 8x8 wooden structural member at the center of the room. The wood is thick and irregular, the sort commonly used as railroad ties. She is stretched out to an inch or so shy of her full length, wrists secured far above her head. A thick hemp rope secures her to the beam at her waist, tightly restricting her movement, and more of the rough sailor's rope keeps her secured at the ankles and waist, and punch through the hanten's back through knife-cut slits to keep the coat from bunching up irregularly as he worked. The bindings do allow for a certain range of motion--an inch or two here or there, and it seems as if the only reason the rope is employed at all is to keep her secured to the post.
No, the /paper/ is what should be concerning.
At her wrists, ankles, and criss-crossing over her shoulders, long strips of four-inch paper have been tightly wrapped around her body. Ink trails up the lengths of the paper, describing some ancient formula or another. The colorful strips accent her bandaging linens and ropes relatively nicely, in a sort of grim way.
She is not gagged.
Across the room, the young man wearing the white-and-black helmet sits at a table, the soft click of his respirator only offset by the soft clack of tools, and the staccato click of a ratchet. The man has one of Ibuki's bloodstained bandages on the table in front of him, along with an array of assorted parts and pieces. Most of them, if you take the time to look, are sharpened in some way. He seems to be assembling something.
Beyond the tools with which he works, a highly noticeable curved knife with a blade easily longer than an American's handspan is plunged into the wood of the table at its tip, gleaming in the long-suffering light.
When one is wholly unconscious, waking only comes gradually. Each stage in which one regains it isn't necessarily distinct, sometimes they blur together. In her case it took more time than seemed appropriate. Perhaps it was that her mind hadn't been given time to recover from her battle with Empress, where her thoughts had been seared and immolated in mental fire. Never given adequate time to rest, and process and heal. Dreams blended together, as she saw a Samurai fight a ghost of Ryouhara, an Empress have tea with a fashion judge. None of it made sense.
Even once the dreams had started to blend together with reality, the next thing that came was the pain. It was an abstracted sensation at first, but suddenly it became more acute. The first sense that Seishirou might get that she's awake is a quickly muffled moan. After all, it's not when the injuries are inflicted that they hurt the most. That sharpness was gone soon after, it was once the inflammation had begun to set in, the soreness, the creeping ache, that it hurt the most.
Reality started to flood in after that, as her senses started to process where she was. The birds were what she noticed next, with their maddeningly knowing caws. Then came the sights of her surroundings, the rotten wooded roof. It was when her vision flickered upwards, then downwards, that she realized why everything hurt all the more, pain sensations becoming more distinct from one another. As she started to feel the bite of the cords, the stretch of her limbs up and down, the hardness of wood in her back. As she saw the paper strips on her wrists and ankles and sides
In these situations she was trained to stay calm. Not to panic, to evaluate her situation, as she tries to consider her escape options. Nevertheless, the situation was terrifying, and she felt it beneath the surface, no matter how tough she tried to talk to him before. No matter how ready she acted like she was to carry this out to it's conclusion. She was terrified of the thought of actually dying, especially like this, and she knew it. She squirms just a bit, trying to test her bonds just a little, and at the same time feeling out to see if he'd missed any implements that might allow her to escape, she did not.
That feeling of fear only increased as she finally caught sight of the young man, sitting at the table in front of him, with the knife plunged into the table. While her rational mind told her that she wasn't going anywhere for a while, she started to squirm, feeling again, testing the possibility that maybe she was wrong and he had in fact missed something.
The bound kunoichi finally slumps in defeat as her mind considers how best to get out of this situation. She tried to remain silent for now. There was no reason to speed up things to their logical conclusion, right? At least, what she thought was the logical conclusion here.
The ropes are held fast.
Interestingly, if one pays close attention, the ropes are merely a secondary restraint, keeping Ibuki from moving physically and securing her to the beam which suspends her roughly a foot or two off the ground. In all truth pursuant to the seemingly grim affair, the ropes over time would present little challenge to a trained ninja like Ibuki, and they are tied in a fashion that one could presumably wriggle free, if he left her alone for any period of time, or was sufficiently distracted.
Though neither of those situations are terribly likely, that is clearly not the only bar to Ibuki's escape, as her writhing has her find. The paper linking together her wrists and ankles, and crossing over her front are clearly some form of imbued seal restraints. Without knowing what they do, it would be unwise to try and break through them at once, and they are the most secured wrappings for her body right now.
The young lady's light groan reaching his ears, the shinobi's head tilts, chin straying to his left as if were thinking of looking over his shoulder. "Don't move, it will only make the pain worse," he remarks, through the ambient click and distorted audio coming from his helmet. His work is important, so he plainly returns to it for the moment, resuming rapping at an unfitted blade's length with a small uchiko, dabbing oils from it ambiently. It's part of the regular maintenance for a sword, the small silk ball being used to dab powder along the length of the weapon, but it's typically commonly used for fitted swords, not the array of naked blades aligned almost haphazardly on the table before him.
He could feel her fear, and it only gave him pause for a moment.
He raises a finger, turning in his chair, with an audible creak.
"I should tell you.. I've wrapped your body in my Bakufuuinkase. It uses the strength of sealing ninkou to bind the arms and hands. You can break the paper relatively easily if you work at it long enough. However, I've also bound you with reinforced rope. Given your ability as a physically oriented kunoichi, I expect it will take you about two hours to work your way free. However, I wouldn't, if I were you. The ropes are for your protection. The seals I've used are delicate. If you break the paper seals on your wrists, they will explode, cutting off your hands permanently. If you break the seals on your ankles, they will explode, cutting off your feet irretrievably. If you try to dislocate your shoulders and work your way free of your bindings that way, you risk breaking the seals over your shoulders, at which point the ensuing explosion will decapitate you. There is a chance for you to survive and escape your bindings without being crippled or killed by the explosions, but it is very slim, as your chakra is still weak from being decimated by my techniques. Because I've gone through great lengths to cut away your other options, you face a terrible fate at every angle. As a result, the right tactical answer is to stay here with me for now."
He outlines all of the grisly ends awaiting Ibuki for her defiance with all of the aplomb of a professor reading off a pie chart, albeit one many years younger and much less given to droning on and on. Giving his tactical assessment, he is very matter of fact, and when he's done, he is simply done, returning to assemlbling the device in front of him.
"Given the time we are going to spend together, it's important for you to know that it's my intention to wring every piece of knowledge you've ever learned from you. You said before that you didn't know anything. You should know that kunoichi lie as a matter of course. As a result, I won't believe that until it's proven. Do you understand me?"
'Don't move' he says. As if she could help it. Even if she weren't trying to escape, the human body is naturally inclined to try to find comfort no matter the circumstances. There's really none to be had here, given the pain, and the way she's bound. Still, it made her aware that he knew she was awake, the knowledge causes her to close her eyes and take a few deep breaths to try to calm herself.
Which is when he starts explaining how he's bound her, and all of those efforts to try to calm herself go to naught. While part of her would like to believe that her unique abilities in controlling her chi would allow her to protect her limbs enough to prevent that, it's not a gamble she really wants to take, given what it could cost her. He'd experienced it first hand, after all. Would he have been foolish enough to give her that escape avenue where she could simply envelop her wrists with her chi and all would be well?
That's not even mentioning her shoulders, which the chain reaction would eventually get to. Thus her anxiety just increases as he continues to explain, him laying it out like that in that tone making him appear somewhat sociopathic to the kunoichi. Eventually her neck just slumps in defeat, as the weight of the position she's in sinks in. It looked increasingly like she wasn't going to get out of this one, this time. After all, what guarantee did she have that he would even let her go if she did answer to his satisfaction. "Fine." It comes out hoarsely, as she coughs, then starts again once she's settled, murmuring, "You've sort of let me with little choice. That's the point I guess, isn't it?" Her neck creeps back up, meeting the 'eyes' of his mask as she does so. "I'll even answer any questions you might have, save one. Don't expect me to sell out the location of my clan."
Her brown eyes look terrified, but some of the same fire as before creeps into them around the edges, "They're the closest thing I've ever had to a family. So if you're going to ask that then you might as well set off your little death trap and get this over with." Part of her is pleading inwardly that he won't force that issue.
Daniel "Lady Killer" Little eague
"Fate can be unkind," the shinobi points out.
It's a bitter and poignant end to the debate that the original battle hinged on, where Ibuki espoused freedom of choice, and Seishirou held to the freedom of having no choice at all. It was a confused and brutal ideology, one that holds great enmity for tyranny and oppression, but seems almost powerless to control it's own fate. It's the sort of ideology that comes with the territory of having no idea who you are, only a strong feeling of who you should be.
He can read the terror in her eyes, and truth being, the expression on her face is reflected in the expressionless visor that shrouds his face. The shinobi no longer wears his white haori, instead having elected to change shortly before Ibuki awoke, wearing a new shozoku. His haori, along with the various trappings of battle readiness, sit neatly folded on one side of the table at which he works. Having washed up, he does not look half the mess that Ibuki does, and his no-nonsense tone shows it.
"You'll tell me whatever I will," the ghost of Ryouhara notes quickly and tersely. "The righteous wind of the new age demands nothing less than absolute sacrifice in the light of crimes committed. The downfall of the Ryouhara is not a random occurance, and will not go unanswered nor unavenged. If I even sense for a moment that you lie to me, or withhold information that I need, there won't be any leniency for you at all. If you want to do right by your family, you'll give up the people responsible for the atrocity done against mine, and let justice take its natural course."
There is a noticeable pain even in the icy calm way the shinobi inflects his mood, and it shows even through the respirator. The idea that anything would be held back from him that he needed clearly agitates him to some degree.
"Kunoichi. You'll speak quickly and truly, or I will assemble Rasenjin. And from this point forward, you'll sing for me and me alone. Tell me what you know about the Ryouhara clan. Tell me what you know about all of the clans of the world. And tell me what you know about the woman known only as 'the Empress.'"
Ibuki listens throughout, and while she's bound and obviously frightened, she has enough courage to muster up a cutting rejoinder, "I'm not blaming fate. That's a coward's crutch." A beat pause, before she adds, "You're the only one being unkind here."
The change to a new shozoku does serve to intimidate to some degree. He certainly looks less beat up than she thinks he ought to be, but the passing of time... she realizes that she has no idea how long it's been. For all she knows, he's had days to heal, days to prepare.
She does bat an eye as he lays out his ultimatum, but doesn't say anything at first, sensing perhaps... just perhaps, that he cares for his family as much as he does for his clan. However, she lets out a mental sigh as he lays out the questions. She was almost wholly ignorant on some of these topics, and she didn't know if he'd accept 'I don't know' for an excuse, yet she had no other option did she?
And so she does what he says, she speaks quickly, "Look, I'm sorry about your clan. Really. I mean if mine was wiped out I don't know what I'd do myself. So I guess I understand why you think this will do some good but I swear I've never heard of the Ryouhara clan! Not until you spoke of them in our battle."
She only takes a moment to consider where to go next, afraid of what a delay would cost her, "I know my clan is so new that it doesn't have a name and didn't exist until... well, I was too young to remember it forming. I'm an orphan." Another short pause, "I know the Geki clan is full of ruthless jerks that just won't leave me /alone/! They try to ambush me everywhere I go, and my clan supposedly has some sort of blood feud going on. Maybe we slighted them in a job once? I don't know."
Another pause, "I know the Mugen Tenshin clan is one of the larger ones. I think I fought one of their kunoichi once. She mentioned something about showing me the 'darkness of the Hajinmon' as I wasn't taking ninjitsu seriously enough." She rolls her eyes, "Then I know there's a Hayabusa clan that has some duties sealing away mythical creatures, like Tengu."
She glowers somewhat at the mention of Empress, "As far as I can tell about Empress, is that she's some sort of crime boss. I was sent on a mission to Ohsaki by my clan to protect someone she was harassing in this warehouse. Some businessman I think. We fought to a standstill, and she tried to take him out, but I stopped that. She has some sort of weird psychic mojo to how she fights. Gets inside your head and sets your thoughts on fire. I can't explain it, but a few days later some disgruntled police employee burned down all the evidence related to my fight with her so... yeah." She slumps again in her bonds, "Coincidence? I don't really think so."
'I don't know' probably wouldn't gain much meter with Ryouhara. The young man doesn't seem to believe that Ibuki can possibly know nothing of what he wants to know. But her rough accounting of the known shinobi clans paints a portrait for the boy that matches with some of the intelligence he's gotten along every other line. It is possible, he reflects, that she may not in fact know anything at all, and it is of infinite more value the words she mentions about his own compatriot, the Empress.
He knew at a glance that she was involved in some shady business, and the conjecture of her shadow war followed roughly along lines coinciding with that of a criminal empire. However, there was something that Ibuki said a moment ago that gave the young man pause.
He sits for a moment longer, head tilted as he listens to Ibuki. She had apologized for what happened to his clan, and swore she knew nothing of them. That in itself was painful for the shinobi to hear. They once carried at least a little bit of legend amongst their number, and to hear a student speak of it as if it were never known at all.. it was as if they were wiped from history itself. How long has his clan been nonexistent? He shifts, barely perceptible in the dark.
That something twisted in his mind, rolling it over and over in his head once and again.
"You know, I .. remember being accused, before. Of my way being useless, and derelict. I remember a dangerous time, where my way was scorned. Thinking on it now, maybe I was a criminal. Maybe I was a terrorist. Maybe I was insane. Or at least, all of these things I remember. The path of radicals is often judged as chaotic and disruptive because it moves against the natural flow of things. In this tyrant's world, visionaries are labelled terrorists and saviors are considered criminals. Unfortunately, 'kyuusaisha wa kyuusaisha.' A savior will be a savior, as the same as a peach will be a peach.
"No matter how strongly you object, or apply another label to it, a person can only be what they were designed to be," the faceless shinobi continues, standing from his chair. "Regardless of what anyone else says. A circumstance will shape a person exactly as strictly as the forge shapes metal. How a person chooses to be that person they are is their will, and their ability to see change in the world. That is the meaning of 'the shadow war.' In that, if I am unkind, it is because I have every power available to me, but one."
The faceless young man lifts his hands to his helmet, and unseals it. It clicks, spraying gas to either side of its venting as he lifts it free. Slowly, his jet black hair spills out in an unruly mop from the helmet, gathering unsettled at his brow and cheekbones. The ink of his bangs occuludes partially his dark eyes, which regard Ibuki with all of the sharpness and distance of the naginata. From his expression, he is fire, and he is someone crossed immeasurably.
This helmet he sets to one side of the table, leaving the head of the assassin to shine underneath the dawn's rays.
He moves across the room with precision and meaning. It's a bit of a mistruth--his stride is better characterized by a stalking predator in the dark than any simple jog or stroll. More importantly, and of more immediate interest to Ibuki, is the fact that he takes that great head-cutting knife with him as he gets close to the other ninja. "Look at me, kunoichi," Ryouhara commands, fixing her with his knife-like gaze. "Look at me in the eyes. Your family is important to you, yes? Your clan, your blood, no? Sing to me more. Tell me what else you know. I want to know who else I need to capture. Some think of me as a weapon. Is it your wish for me to destroy your enemies?"
The bittertongue of the knife's cold bite is felt on the skin. Not harmfully--Ryouhara slips it underneath the crosspoints of the seals looping in front of Ibuki. Just a little pressure from the flat of the blade lifts the seals from her, the tense paper bands growing taut at the stress. He is extremely good with a knife, so as to get that close without cutting anything at all. Even so, it's hard to forget that he toys with a potentially lethal explosion in that moment.
"You sympathize. But you say I am unkind. Tell me the truth, now. Sing to me... of your wish to go free."
Throughout it all, she listens. Acutely aware of her vulnerability here. Even though she's slept, she still feels weary. Even though she's healed, every movement, no matter how small was agony. Fortunately he hadn't struck her jaw, else he might have had far more trouble getting the answers he sought. Emotionally too. He had her in a position of terror, where she felt a single slip up beyond the boundaries he created could mean her doom. All she had to do was offend him just a little too much and it could be over.
It was tempting to be demure, to be passive in this situation to act like how many societies believe a girl ought to act, all of those unspoken rules and views being bullshit. To just let him speak, to tremble and be cowed, and let him have his way, and hope that he'd just let her live. But that wasn't her. And she had a feeling that he knew it wouldn't be her either.
When he releases his helmet, initially she looks away as gas comes uncomfortably close to her, she coughs and gags for a moment, before venturing to open a single eye. Then the other. She then takes a good long look at him, even with his visage shaded. He could be about her age, perhaps even younger. And she abides by his request for a time, looks into his eyes closely. Initially she blanches at the intensity, at the feel of the knife on her skin, but then she slowly just looks less terrified, and more...
She swallows, wondering if what she's about to say will get her killed. "I... want to empathize. It's different. I want to try to understand how you feel and the only set of experiences I have to go by are on how I'd feel if suddenly all of my clan was slaughtered." She takes a deep breath, "But you are unkind, and your methods are unkind. And I'm guessing mine would be too if I were forged in the same circumstances." She looks up at him, frowning, "You came at me with complete ignorance of who I am, of who I belong to. Whether my clan is in any way complicit in this... crime?" The word sounds strange, when it rolls off her tongue, "I'm not even sure the circumstances, so I can hardly judge myself other than 'slaughter on that scale is wrong' which seems kind of trite when you're a shinobi doesn't it?"
She leans her neck forward just a little, continuing to look him in the eyes, "But I refuse to treat you as just some weapon, even if you're an autonomous one, unlike those girls I told you about. I'm not the kind of person to manipulate anyone to go up against my clan's foes. If you want to go up against the Geki, let it be because you feel like it's something you've just gotta do, not because I'm listing off all of their crimes for you to address." A beat, "I don't know if they were involved in what happened to your family either. Sorry, I wish I did. If I knew I'd tell you."
She pauses again then finally sighs, "Your ways. Well what the hell do I even know about your ways to even judge them? You're projecting words that other people have said and think it's my opinion. I only know what you've told me on fate, and I think all of that is bullshit. All the rest, on you being a radical or a terrorist? I'm going to judge by your actions. Gotta tell you though..." She looks up at her hands, "...this seems pretty radical to me, given that you barely know who I am."
Her eyes fall again, as they settle upon his, "What I'd really /like/ is to go free, but that's not going to change anything here. So how about we do this. You cut me loose, and we'll just talk. I won't even try to go until you want me to. Maybe I'd like to /understand/. That doesn't mean I'll ultimately agree with what you're doing. But if you can't take criticism then what's the point? Doesn't that ultimately put you in the wrong if you can't stand up to scrutiny."
She takes another deep breath, "If you say someone can be shaped and forged by circumstances, then I'm guessing you also believe that someone can be /reforged/ if they make an effort. So why don't we try to reach some sort of understanding which doesn't involve some crazy near death ambush or this charming set up here." She offers a weak chuckle, "I definitely wouldn't mind some new clothes." She flushes wine red the tips of her ears to her nose as she finally brings it up, "This is a little embarrassing outside of the fact that it's terrifying."
The paper bakufuuin stresses at the leading edge of the knife, the bevel of the edge holding it in stasis. A degree or two might be enough to trigger the explosion--but at this sort of distance, an explosion would threaten him as well, especially considering he's not wearing his protective helmet anymore. Without that boon, arguably there's nothing to stop Ibuki from taking them both out by triggering the seals herself, if she were so minded. But Ryouhara is confident about the engineering of his own detonations--so confident, that he can toy with them at will, absently.
Even as she insists that he isn't to be treated as a weapon, the shinobi does not shy away from the eyes of his captive, his mouth a tapered and thin line. It was as if he'd forged the helmet to match what he forged his facial expression to be, as if one piece of armor could encapsulate his spirit--a faceless entity, best left without a name, only to serve in capacity as the legacy of the Ryouhara clan. Every time she lifts her eyes, she will find his, half-lidded and not in the slightest interested in doing anything else but holding gaze with her. It is as if he were trying to read her, trying to sense her earnestness.
"It's going to get you killed."
She doesn't know anything, he was beginning to fear. Aside from her incidental observations, she was a completely blank slate, with no knowledge of the movements of the world around her. It was an honest perspective, but it was also frustrating. She insists that she doesn't wish to use his abilities, nor that she wants to fight him, and the quandary is tellingly vexing for the shinobi. Her empathy is fake, he thinks to himself. Any captive empathizes with the captor. There is a vacuous lack of trust surrounding Ryouhara. But ultimately, the engineer shinobi seems to operate on whim and impulse, as the fire might.
"A fire is going to be radical. There is no grades of delicacy to the inferno. You are either safe or cinder. There is no middle ground," he finally notes, terse, but heat driving at his voice. Even though it is hard to imagine him truly invested, a fire exists in him plainly that did not when he wore the helmet.
But still she talks to him sweetly, and midway through, he only vaguely becomes aware that her cheeks flush a bright red as she addresses a long-held remark. He looks down, pointedly, underneath the tip of his blade, then frowns in sudden and acute consternation, as if noticing something for the first time. A long, drawn out and uncomfortable silence pervades the space between the two as Ryouhara considers it, absently. His wrist flexes, creating more tension on the bands.
"If a man can reforge himself, then I must be nothing but a ghost."
He slices through the paper seals quickly, lines of steel slicing into the papers at the wrists and ankles. The reaction is almost instantaneous. With the papers sparking as they are broken, the instant between ignition and explosion is infinitely small. An eyeblink. But.. Ryouhara's hands are the fastest, and he deals in such speeds routinely. Cancelling the lethal ninjutsu takes only a single gestural seal, and only a single moment. It's all that is neccessary to send the papers sparking and hissing to the ground as they slowly burn off their stored chakra.
However, he has only cut through the ropes binding Ibuki's middle. The vaccuum of trust, as it were--he loosens her just enough that he can take the utmost care in reaching to either side of her, and roughly tie shut her hanten jacket, knotting the obi with quick movements. The motion takes a few seconds, and is carried out in silence, as he makes sure the fit is correct. Once there is no further need for Ryouhara's discretions, he will loosen her bindings at her hands, and cut the bindings at her bare feet, effectively releasing her from the beam.
When he is done, he will leave and turn away.
"Understanding is experiencing. I'll set you free, for now. Go."
It's abrupt, it's reasonless. But it is his whim.
~Once upon a time~
An infant girl was found abandoned in the woods by one of the most ruthless, if not deadliest ninja clan to exist. It was all agreed by their mystics that the young girl had a destiny to be raised to become the perfect assassin. No impurities from the outside world were to taint her. All agreed, except one. That night, that one took the child, burned down the clan's village, and all of it's secrets. That clan has yet to recover. The infant girl never became the 'perfection' she was destined to achieve.
The now adolescent kunoichi is acutely aware of the position of the knife, how close it hovers to the seals. She bites down on the inside of her lip, gauging his reaction. The thought of taking him with her perhaps crosses her mind, but she saw... little point, except as a last resort, when and if the torture began. If it actually began, she knew that her chances of getting out of here in any capacity other than a corpse dropped to zero. 'You're naive.' She closes her eyes again, as he lays the rest out, 'It's going to get you killed.' And she thinks, 'It hasn't already?'
A veiled man carrying an infant is joined by his few conspirators. "She must never know. It is the only way to be certain that she will choose her own destiny." A bespectacled adolescent, clears his throat. "They won't just forget about this. What happens when destiny catches up with her?" The first man is silent for a while before he answers, "We'll teach her how to cut through it and make her own." Did ignorance really do her so much credit?
Her eyes open again, cheeks still flushed from heat just as his hands start to move. There's a small gasp from her throat, as each seal is cut and defused by his hand seals. And then she looks even more embarrassed by her misinterpretation of his intent there. He's tying her clothing shut. And now she's looking upwards. Her bashfulness would be almost cute to most if it weren't so naive. How could someone who wore open thighed clothing be so modest?
The bindings are cut, and the first thing she does as her feet touch the floor. She stumbles from the paresthesias which set them numb and tingling before circulation finally fully returns. Massaging her wrists, she doesn't... immediately walk away, it's unwise, perhaps. There was no mistaking the command in his voice. "What would you rather I be?" She continues to rub them in consternation. "Other than myself?"
She frowns, and turns away. She takes a few hurried steps towards the threshold of the rooting wood hut. A hand is placed upon the door, and she abruptly stops before she opens it. "'Must be'? 'A fire is going to be radical'? You don't have to be anything. And controlled infernos happen all the time. That type of talk is going to get you killed too, and you know that. You seem like a fatalist though, so do you even care?" A beat, as she looks over her shoulders, "If you do ever actually want to talk, come find me again. I imagine it won't even be an inconvenience." The door opens, and she's gone a moment later if he makes no attempt to stop her.
Standing on your own two feet is hard.
The engineer was not very invested in keeping Ibuki at bay and immobilized--being hung from a beam for a few hours would take the nerves from even the hardiest shinobi, and it is a challenge to get hands on him even when those hands are at their healthiest. Still, Ibuki makes her way out of the predicament with nothing more than numb toes and a stiff back--it would seem Ryouhara has no intention of harming her. At least, not for the moment.
Truthfully, he doesn't even show any interest in her modesty, or fault thereof. When you have the mind to pay attention to it, Ryouhara has a tailor's hands and attentions when securing her coat about her. His gaze is dagger-straight, focusing only on the task at hand. It's as if he's not even aware.
If the kunoichi takes longer than a passing moment to think on it--all of her wounds have been sutured and taped shut to prevent her from bleeding out, and most of her major injuries have been packed and wrapped expertly, while she has otherwise been completely disarmed, to the extent that even stray wires in her clothing would have been cut out. This sort of meticulous care didn't sustain itself.
There is probably not much of the kunoichi that Ryouhara's /not/ already familiar with.
An unsettling thought.
Still, she is more or less completely safe.
She had nothing to do with his clan's fate.
Maybe she doesn't even have anything to do with the system that brought things to this precipice.
Ryouhara steps away as she recovers, turning away as he intended to. A sister mark to the one on the back of his haori marks his black shozoku between the shoulderblades. It is that three-leaf emblem that has signified his clan for centuries, and it is the only terms of dismissal that the young ghost issues to the young woman--there is no smile, no polite wave farewell. With deadly silence, he returns to his worktable, folding his arms. "Don't trouble yourself with my fate," Ryouhara counters, finally, as she pushes her luck. "What care does the mouse have towards the final moments of the fire that burns down the home? If it is not your wish to use me as others might, then hate me. Scorn me. Detest that 'way' of mine .... do what you must."
"For if you tell anyone of my aims or goals, you will need every ounce of enmity against this ideal of mine. Because my leniency here does not mean for an instant that my idealism won't consume you..."
With that, he falls silent, and says nothing else.
Ryouhara is done.
The movement of the door outwards pauses half-way as he speaks. She stands there, still, with a hand upon it. Eyes closing for just a moment. It was easy enough to do exactly what he said. To hate him, to scorn him, to detect his 'way'. That would be the practical thing after all, given the unprovoked battle she'd just fought against him. The humiliation.
She takes a glance at her forearm, at one of the sutured wounds from where his blade had cut clean through her arm guard. Her body twitches as she pays attention to her flank, putting the hand of the same arm there, and realizes something. Suddenly there's another flush on her expression.
She takes a few moments to collect her thoughts, before she finally states, "I don't think I'll do any of those things. You're a frustrating, annoying, jerk..." She looks back his way, "...but I think I at least have some small idea why, even if I don't understand everything, so I don't hate you." A beat, "The offer to talk /without/ the deadly coercion is always on the table." The door closes. She's gone.
Log created on 19:20:30 12/29/2014 by Ibuki, and last modified on 20:48:47 01/02/2015.