Nyotengu - Wings of Despair

Description: As a nukenin, one must be able to find any respite in a storm -- even if it's uncomfortable, run-down, or heretical. Unfortunately for Kasumi of the Mugen Tenshin, some of those old, run-down places attract the attention of older, more insidious forces... though perhaps things don't turn out so bad after all?

One would think, in an ideal world, places like this would not exist. Sacred sites, once established, should never fall out of favor, abandoned by those who once revered it, left to the elements to reclaim their own. But this ruin proves such things can happen. It is not found on any modern map but a curosry inspection of the gravestones suggests that it was still in use sometime in the early 1970's judging by the approximate dates of interment. No doubt, whoever had paid to keep this holy site maintained fell on harsh times during the economic depression of Japan prevalent throughout the seventies until the tech boom turned things around...

For an exile on the run, with no money or resources to call her own, it was as heaven-sent as any shelter could be. From heir to lead the Mugen Tenshin to being hunted by the same, Kasumi had felt herself fortunate when, stumbling through the forest in exhaustion, on the run, for too long to remember, she had come upon this dilapedated structure. That had been a couple months ago now.

Since then, she has done some cleaning up and fixing of the place. It is by no means the epitome of home comfort. But some of the walls are now reinforced with additional boards and some of the roof has been patched up. It's still drafty, dusty, crumbling, and in constant danger of additional collapse. But at least it's dry in some parts inside where she has done her best to fix things up. On nights like this, that's certainly a godsend.

A room in the back is the most comfortable, as comfort goes in a place like this. The center boards of the floor have been removed so that a small fire pit can be kindled there without risk of spreading. The flame flickering there now provides the only warmth and illumation to be felt or seen. Small, narrow gaps have been cut out of the roof near the ceiling to provide the necessary ventilation though tonight water is steadily dripping in from those slats as well, along with the gusts of wind that seep in through the floorboards or whistle through the narrow slits in the damaged walls.

Huddled in said room is the nukenin herself, leaning against the wall, blanket pulled over her, copper-brown eyes gazing into the fire contemplatively. A humble meal was already consumed a couple hours ago. She even completed her assigned reading for the classes at Taiyo she has newly enrolled in in a desperate bid to try and build a new self-sufficient life. The fights have been going well for her... if she keeps it up, maybe she can afford to move to some place a bit nicer?

There is no quiet to be had with the storm outside. The lightning flashes are largely unseen in this room except for the effect they have on the dark hall beyond the missing door toward the interior of the building. The thunder, on the other hand, is easy to hear even over the shriek of the wind and the steady rattle of falling rain. Of particular annoyance, she realizes, is the sound of the rain pounding against the fallen bell outside, creating an echoing, resonating sound that can start to drive one crazy after a while. This... is going to be a long night. But at least it's dry. As long as the steady creaking of the wood around her does not herald a pending collapse. This temple has no doubt weathered plenty of storms over the decades since its abandonment. Surely, this one will not be the one to claim it?

Everything falls into ruin; ultimately, entropy claims everything... ... with a few exceptions. The Tengu of Mitama have lived for hundreds, even thousands of years -- long enough to see such things constructed, fall into disrepair, and ultimately abandoned. For the Tengu who chooses to go simply by 'Nyotengu,' this place is nostalgic; it -- or at least a holy site on its location -- existed the last time she was in the human realm, and now that she has been allowed to make her return by the mad bid for chaos of a single ninja, she has the chance to see its end.

For that matter, though: Ah, to be /free/! To slip the bonds of the leylines, of the mountain, of their now-dead leader, and to experience the world! It's been centuries.

The Tengu's presence can be felt long before she, herself, strides into the shrine. The howling of the wind isn't natural; something about it seems to swirl and shriek in a way more in tune with a tornado... save for the sheer size of the storm. Nothing about it feels real -- though it'd take close observation to see that.

The sound of the bell, too, is joined by smaller companions; these, however, jingle gently, with the rhythm of feet. As the sound moves closer, there's a strange sound -- like geta on the ground, though instead of the usual 'click-clack' of the wood of the heel and of the toe, there's only a single hollow sound.

"Hm-hm-hm... so this is what this place is reduced to," comes a voice, striding into the abandoned temple, a gust of wind carrying it further and broader than it otherwise might be. When she finally steps in, it's hard to spot her wings amid the dark of night; accordingly, she looks like a courtesan, brought fully-formed from a wood-block painting. Her gaze sweeps over the temple... and finally to the individual huddled in the corner. Immediately, her body language changes -- where once there were the delicate, graceful movements, now there's a stiff, almost masculine cast to her walk. "And just who chooses to make this place her home?"

She steps toward the nukenin twice, each footfall like a peal of thunder from outside... or perhaps just neatly, efficiently timed.

First glance at the interior of the temple shows that it's not much better than what she probably noticed on the outside. While most of the furnature has been long since looted or destroyed, many wooden boxes, partial remnants of shelves that used to house altars to the dead or divine, and other wooden debris still line many of the walls; each of them devoid of anything useful beyond being broken into firewood as Kasumi has done gradually over time. Only the small flickering fire in the shinobi's firepit provides any steady light - just enough to see by - which leaves even her lone room mostly shrouded in shadow.

Still awake, unable to rest due to the noise of the maelstrom outside, she had started to realize that something felt very... off about this weather. Occasionally she glanced up toward the ceiling, starting to worry that, yes, maybe this WILL be the storm that tears it free. Being caught inside, should the temple collapse, would be dangerous. But she doesn't have anywhere else to go but to go stand out in the rain. And the surrounding forest wouldn't be any safer, if trees or branches begin to fall in the wind.

Thus it is that she was already on edge, feeling a little anxious, before she heard the unmistakeable step of another. The first one puts the girl on alert, eyes on the entryway. Maybe something just fell over. Certainly a night for knocking loose wood about, for certain. But then comes the second and she sucks in her breath. The one downside to her current retreat is that there isn't really a second way out from the room she's lurking in. To create another opening in the walls would have only destabilized an already precarious situation, given the state of rot in the wood. As she begins to glance furtively around the room, she's starting to regret that, however. Beneath her blanket, fingers settle over a steel kunai on the ground next to her. She never rests without them nearby.

And then her guest arrives, striding into the structure like she owns the place. A powerful current rushes through at her entry - the wrong direction, Kasumi thinks to herself, knowning that the storm outside was battering the wall behind her. The voice identifies the newcomer as female, instinct indicates that she is something more than she appears. The room entered, the girl pushes up to her feet, the blanket falling from her shoulders to clump on the floor.

All she knows, immediately, is that she is under threat. From what, she isn't even sure. Is this a wraith, a banished spirit from the temple's past angry at her intrusion? The mind can go crazy places in a fit of panic. The Exile is still wearing one of her Taiyo High uniforms. When push comes to shove, wardrobe expansion has taken a low priority compared to meals. The free uniforms for enrolling are being put to use. Her hair is kept in check tied off into a ponytail worn high.

It is with a subtle move of her arm that she sends the kunai flying with no further warning, speaking in the same gesture, "Leave me alone!"

COMBATSYS: Kasumi has started a fight here.

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Kasumi           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Nyotengu has joined the fight here.

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Kasumi           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0         Nyotengu

COMBATSYS: Nyotengu blocks Kasumi's Small Thrown Object.

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Kasumi           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0         Nyotengu

Instinct does Kasumi well -- but perhaps not /quite/ well enough for a situation like this. Those dark wings make their presence more acutely known as the kunai comes for the mysterious woman; they wrap around her, a forceful wingbeat slowing the kunai as it moves toward the creature of the night. When it hits, it barely manages to scratch one of those swept-forward wings -- but the act forces her to stagger back a little bit, and requires her to take a breath through gritted teeth. It's not particularly painful -- but even a centuries-old Tengu hates it when she slams her finger in a drawer.

And that's very much what it is; the pout on the woman's face as the kunai makes its mark is the sort of gesture one makes when minorly inconvenienced, not threatened with a deadly weapon. Her steps forward continue, slow and plodding and even, as she says, "Ah -- a kunoichi?" Her gaze sweeps over the schoolgirl, assessing her stance, her form. There's something familiar about it... not /perfectly/ so, but it nags at the corner of her thoughts. "Interesting... the Hayabusa clan? No -- that can't be it... let me toy with you, then."

Her movements, still slow and thunderous, bring her closer and closer to the kunoichi. She has no intention of truly injuring her so quickly; this is her first chance to go back out into the world in centuries! Every moment, every encounter needs to be savored. She takes her time in looking Kasumi's movements over, partially because she has to; that kunai left her with a great deal of distance to cover.

When she finally aggresses, it's with a single, forceful forward step. Her fist comes squarely for Kasumi's stomach, drilling forward with a force that no mere step-and-punch should muster. Even if it travels to Kasumi's side, the air seems to whirl around it in waves. Her /other/ hand, holding the classical feather-fan of the tengu and much more visible in-close, gives another hint as to her nature... as if the wings and tengu-geta didn't pretty much clinch it.

COMBATSYS: Kasumi blocks Nyotengu's Jab Punch.

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Kasumi           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0         Nyotengu

That the kunai proves ineffectiveis no where near as startling as the means by which it gets warded off. Dark wings of despair fold in to neatly deflect the weapon without further adieu and copper-brown eyes widen in alarm. This has not been a good year for Kasumi. Discovering her brother in a coma, facing exile in order to chase down and execute her Uncle in vengeance, being captured by DOATEC only to get a hint of what their larger machinations entail, and now this? This might be the worst thing she's seen thus far and her mind is still trying to catch up to the information overload she's dealing with in the split seconds that transpire in this crumbling shelter.

Backed against the wall with no where to go, she slips into her fighting stance quickly even if her priority is flight. All unexpected threats are usually thought to be from her clan at first, even when it makes no sense. It's pretty much anxiety-driven reflex at this point to assume anyone who wanders into her unexpectedly is out to get her. In this case, it seems that she's partially right, at least - this stranger does have it in for her, just not for reasons she can immediately process!

It's when the Hayabusa are spoken of that it starts to click. Renown for their legendary history of demon slaying and sealing... and what has joined her in this disgraced asylum most definitely possesses the presence of such a creature. Then there's the wings; the powerful steps too thunderous to belong to the feminine figure stomping toward her; the fan...

When was the last time a tengu of lore came down off of the mountain? The Hayabusa clan remains strong, last she heard. What happened to the ancient seals? The Mugnen Tenshin had, under guidance from the Hayabusa, dabbled in the areas of demon hunting and as heir to lead the clan, Kasumi had been exposed to many of the principles if not the advanced skills required. She knows enough of the lore to know that what she is seeing should not be!

"What are you doing here?" she snaps. With the right opening, she might make it around the woman closing in on her. "How did you break free?"

A moment later, her back smacks against the strained wood, right arm bruising after having narrowly managed to direct Nyotengu's fist to the side at the last instant, sparing her stomach a crushing hit. Lightning flashes, followed immediately by the crash thunder outside, as the penned in kunoichi snaps both hands out, reaching for that extended hand. Should she secure a sure grip, she might have the strength to pull the mythological menace forward and off balance, using her own weight and the creature's arm as a lever to pull her down to the dirt floor face-first -

A success would allow Kasumi to wrench up on that arm into a painful hold, trying to keep her unwelcome visitor pinned at threat of dislocating her shoulder, locking her down in a rather inelegant position!

COMBATSYS: Nyotengu counters Kasumi Kyoka from Kasumi with Tai Otoshi.

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Kasumi           0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0         Nyotengu

The raven-haired tengu takes a deep breath, eyes fluttering shut for a moment; even this close to the Mugen Tenshin ninja, she feels no grand sense of urgency, no tremendous sense of fear of the nukenin. She seems calm; Kasumi's snappish tone and aggression holds no sway over her. Her lips remain upturned in a smile -- not the exhilaration of battle, but the contentment of a warm bath. ... at least, for now. She knows, deep in her heart, that the ninja could bring something to bear against her that could totally change the dynamic of their situation.

"Such a sweet thing... I'm here because I wanted to see how the old place had changed over the years." There's a glint in her eye, as she says it; her careful study of the ninja seems to have given her a flash of insight, as she speaks. As Kasumi brings her hand out toward the lady Tengu to grab her, Nyotengu catches it in her own in short order; it's a flowing, smooth motion -- a strange counterpart to the plodding pace of her movement, of her slip into stance. She flips Kasumi over her shoulder in one smooth motion, slamming her down to the ground with great force, the floorboards shattering beneath them.

Lounging with that arm in hand for a moment, Nyotengu drops to the ground alongside her opponent, luxuriating in the success she's feeling. The shards of wood don't even register to her; they poke at her back through her oiran's outfit, but she seems perfectly comfortable. "Don't raise your hand against me." Her tone is almost chiding -- like a big sister encountering her sibling trying to sneak something from the cookie jar.

Rolling over Kasumi's back with the full force of her body weight, she says, with more force than Kasumi might have expected, "No breaking required! Not for me." There's a lot to digest in those two short, clipped statements... though Kasumi may have more pressing concerns than picking through Nyotengu's precise wording, at the moment.

It's almost as if the centuries old spirit knew exactly what the kunoichi was going to do before the girl even moved. Instead of wrenching her attacker to the ground, it's her that ends up smashing up and over forward and down through the weakened wood, a cry of pain punctuating the splintering floor. Coughing once as a cloud of decades old dust explodes up into the air, the girl tries to pry her arm free only to find herself largely held fast by grip such delicate looking hands manages to maintain on her arm. Suffice to say, she's feeling a lot less comfortable than the Winged Mistress appears to be as she sputters and spits out dirt, shaking her head, her ponytail flopping down alongside her neck.

The admonishment is heard though she doesn't waste time thinking about it, starting to twist her legs under herself in hopes that if her knees get traction, she can finally pull herself free. This works out less well when she's suddenly rolled over, flattened anew into the dirt and shattered wood. Gritting her teeth, the shinobi looks up, having landed not far from where her small fire burns, the flames flickering more wildly as the room seems to surge with currents that cannot be explained simply by the storm outside.

Steeling her resolve to fight back in spite what just happened, the girl surges forward, right hand slipping around one of the burning sticks as she rolls to her feet in one swift, graceful movement, landing already facing where the unwelcome creature ended up - as best she can recall at least, requiring an instant to verify.
"Then someone released you," she declares, lunging up to her feet in the small room, swinging the still burning board backhandedly, perhaps hoping that the woman will be less inclined to move her wings or arms into the path of the brightly burning wood. Unless otherwise prevented, she'll step forward into a second swing, this one forearm, with even more force, potentially breaking the charred wood directly over Nyotengu's head?
"As soon as the Hayabusa or Hajinmon find out, you will be dealt with - your stay will be short this time!"

COMBATSYS: Nyotengu blocks Kasumi's Random Weapon.

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Kasumi           0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0         Nyotengu

"Warmer," Nyotengu says as she pulls herself back up to her feet in a short, swift motion, using the speed of her roll to the greatest extent she can. Getting up quickly, it turns out, was a good idea; Kasumi comes at her when she only just gets time to react, her assessment of the situation slow as the storm rages on outside. When she sees the flame in Kasumi's hands, she adds, eyes wide, "/Much/ warmer!" Her wings flare back and out, as she evidently wants /no/ part of that fire...

... but she still has that fan. Quickly twirling it in her hand, she lets out a tiny gust of air; it's not enough to hurt Kasumi, but it /is/ enough to put out that flame before the stick strikes her, turning what could have been a forceful and fiery blow into something that merely hurts, hitting the head of the tengu and breaking two of her hair ornaments. /That/, more than the pain itself, seems to upset her; as they fall from her hair, leaving it to hang straight, she scowls.

"This is a joke!" she announces, with force, as she balls up her fist again. "There is no one on the other side left to enforce such banishment. Kuramasan Maouson is dead." The leader of the tengu, the god of the mountain -- slain? Or just too impossibly old? That one she thinks she can give Kasumi for free... if only to hammer home the hopelessness of her situation.

Licking her lips, she takes a moment to step forcefully into Kasumi's guard, her body spinning around once -- gracefully, like a dancer's. Her arm comes up in a vicious forearm smash, aimed directly for Kasumi's head; perhaps she's feeling a hair vengeful, after taking that hit with the board. "Accept reality!" she demands of the nukenin.

COMBATSYS: Nyotengu successfully hits Kasumi with Medium Punch.

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Kasumi           0/-------/=======|=======\===----\1         Nyotengu

The half of the broken board in her hand is released unceremoniously, its purpose having been served even if she didn't get the scorching hit she had been hoping for. It is a touch disheartening to realize that all she's managed to do is annoy the elegantly clad tengu, but she's faced severe odds before and has been trained to suppress the sense of despair in combat. It was drilled into her training as a young child that once one relinquishes a grip on hope, one has already lost the battle.

The taunting declaration of 'Warmer' is still ringing in her ears even as she slips back a step, arms raising, preparing to defend herself anew. Her mind races at the implications. Her gut tells her that the tengu is enjoying her guessing game rather than simply lying to her outright. The game is no fun if she isn't at least given the vague sense of having a chance, afterall. Another party was involved... the seals themselves were not broken... by the tengu...

And right now, she's got no further time to think as the additional revelation is delivered. Then the hierarchy of the tengu is lost, she realizes. Any of the old accords, forged generations before her birth, would no longer stand... But that would not be enough to unravel the wards of the powerful Hayabusa. What else is she missing? Eyes narrow a little, the in-step in close to her forcing her to slip back on the defensive. If she can even stagger the creature, perhaps the night will afford her at least some refuge if she can flee into it!

The attempt to slip through the swing of the arm is unsuccessful, and the penalty for failure severe. The blow is enough to knock her to the side, seeing stars for a moment as she staggers sidelong. It seems as if she might catch herself before falling but her foot catches on the floorboard that haven't already been broken and an unpreventable tumble takes her through a rotted old shelf that collapses beneath her fall, the girl landing hard on her back, already shaking her head to try and clear her vision. Blood trickles down the side of her head in front of her ear, either from the forearm blow or something she fell into on her way down, but she pays it no mind, already pushing up with her hand to snap back to her feet quickly.

Eyes flick between the winged nightmare and the exit of the temple, her mind made up that instant. "Then someone on this side..." she murmurs... "Was it on purpose?" she can't help but wonder out loud even though for right now her mind is focused on other things. Sliding one foot forward, the Banished Shinobi twists her arms and toros to the right, winding up for her next attack. When it comes to sheer speed, this is nearly the fastest thing she is capable of.

To normal eyes, the girl simply blinks forward, executing instantenous movement on a trajectory that almost makes it seem like she flew /through/ Nyotengu. But the ancient's eyes will know better. Even if she does not guard against it, she'll see and feel the grip of her arm as Kasumi blazes past, a dusty blue and white blur. The twist of the limb to expose her ribs for one dangerous microsecond. The crushingly strong elbow delivered to her side with intent to cripple or stun.

Unless stopped, Kasumi would slide out of her incredibly fast dash, arms out at her sides, body stooped into a low forward crouch as she sucks in a breath. Even if successful, however, it would take a moment before she could recover well enough to start forward, eyes on the exit of the room. She is not enjoying this game one bit!

COMBATSYS: Nyotengu endures Kasumi's Oboro Gake EX.

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Kasumi           1/-------/=======|=======\======-\1         Nyotengu

The wondering-aloud gets no response from the tengu; she's said as much as she's willing to. Any more would put her fun in danger in a substantial way -- she really shouldn't have even told her that the deity of the mountain had passed. That invites too many lines of inquiry, too many questions -- though she's sure she can rattle this mortal out of at least a few of those questions in a few short moments.

The girl's movements are fast -- faster than even Nyotengu expects. Such a human has surely trained her entire life, to be so quick at such a young age... a fact that isn't lost on the centuries-old creature. She's remarkable, among humans... and that has her progressively more intrigued. And what's the harm, truly, in letting her feel as though she's accomplished something?

Nyotengu simply stands there, letting Kasumi twist that limb around and expose her guard. She takes a deep breath in, steeling her whole midsection; when that elbow hits her, she doesn't flinch, and she /certainly/ doesn't let her by. Her wings flare out, arresting Kasumi's momentum further; the nukenin, it seems, has fallen squarely into the Tengu's trap.

The human is strong -- strong enough to wound Nyotengu in a big way... that much is apparent. Even a blow she was fully prepared to take makes her body sag, her shoulders slumping and the breath momentarily knocked out of her. ... but she's still in close; she still got exactly what she wanted out of that exchange, and as such, when she stops feeling the burn of that crippling blow, she's smiling.

"Goodnight!" she declares, with some force, as she swings her wings shut, trying to trap Kasumi such that she has only one place to be: squarely in the reach of Nyotengu's waiting arms. Her grip is crushing enough... what might happen should she manage to keep it on Kasumi could only be more punishing still.

COMBATSYS: Nyotengu knocks away Kasumi with Monomi Yagura.

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Kasumi           1/=======/=======|==-----\-------\0         Nyotengu

Pulling Kasumi into her embrace, Nyotengu leans in close -- intimately so, her breath warm against Kasumi's neck. "This'll feel good," she teases, as she shifts her body, wings flapping with force, taking the kunoichi up, up, /up/ -- all the way to the ceiling --

-- and then through it. Nyotengu holds no reverence for this holy place, especially in its current state of disrepair, no sense of respect at all. To her, it is a novelty -- something she remembers from 'before,' a charming curio she encountered while cleaning out the attic. The fact that, for Kasumi, it's shelter from the elements is immaterial.

Whirling the kunoichi around in short order -- still holding her close, but now with her head between her knees and her legs up in the air -- Nyotengu does the worst thing she could /possibly/ do, at least for Kasumi:

She stops flying.

It's right back through the hole, and into the rotting floorboards of the temple, for the both of them, Kasumi headfirst. Midway through the fall, Nyotengu pulls her legs up, letting Kasumi take the brunt of the fall -- such that she can neatly sit, and even lounge, upon impact.

None of her training accounted for wings. While not quite an extra pair of arms, the fluidity with which the capable creature is able to integrate them into her defensive and offensive tactics is a whole new variable that the young shinobi just isn't ready to cope with. The flare of feathered appendages intersect her path, forcing her to an earlier stop than intended. Alarm registers but the true source of the threat isn't realized until she hears the female hunter's voice right behind her, the shrouding wings of defeat closing in around in front of her. No path is open to her, no desperate escape possible before those unearthly powerful arms clench around her form.

Of course there is an attempt at resisting. She is not one to give up for as long as her body can move. The Messanger from Beyond discovered that in the snow-dusted glade weeks before. She'll fight to the last breath, no matter her situation. When she feels the breath at her neck, she slams her feet down, attempting to butt her head backward into the timeless one's face - such a blow might buy her a window to escape. Or it can just push her off the ground into the breathtaking ascent she's already being subjected to! "No!"

The explosion through the worn roof takes the two up into the full wrath of the storm. Even still, she'll feel her quarry twisting and squirming. The thought that even if she were to break free that she's dangerously high in the air doesn't cross her mind. Solving the most critical problem at the moment is a key to survival in her profession. But it isn't long before she's completely disoriented, the whirling about leaving her confused about which way is up, let alone how best to extricate herself from an imposible situation.

Seconds later, the explosion of wood, dust, and other debris is every bit as loud as the thundering storm as in the heart of the temple, a new crator has been formed. Unfolding among the plume of the impact, fresh rain now pouring in atop them, Kasumi lies on her back for a moment before rolling onto her side. She doesn't remember the landing, leading her to believe she might have blacked out either just before or as she crashed, bearing the burden of so much energy.

But she can figure out what happened, from the crippling pain in her back and base of her neck forcing her to arch her back as she rolls over again, mouth agape in a silent cry of pain for which she lacks any breath. Now getting drenched, her white blouse has become muddy grey, dirty splotches covering her body from head to toe, mixing with the blood from her earlier opened headwound. One more roll and she finally sets eyes on the comfortably lounging Nyotengu, panting for her breath. "I am." she manages barely. "Kasumi." Her eyes narrow as she fights back against the encroaching threat of unconsciousness. "Of the Mugen Tenshin." There is a catch to her voice as she declares her clan. Most would dismiss it as a side effect of the pain she is undoubtedly in. The sensitive ear of the tengu would know better.

"What are you called."

She seeks a name. Or does she? In the same instant she blurts out the demanding request, her right hand slams down against the dampened soil newly exposed to the heavens. Her left leg shifts, knee pressing down-

And then she's gone, a swirl of sakura blossoms scattered in the air where the shinobi had writhed a moment before. The Exile isn't done fighting yet.

She's behind Nyotengu now, a second small whirlwind of cherry petals swirling about her figure as she winds up, body tensing, legs bracing to launch, hands pressed together. "This world does not welcome you," she snaps before she surges forward again, assuming once again that incredible speed she is capable of. The intent is a leading elbow strike to stagger before she would blink away, leaving more pink blossoms and a faint scent of cherries. She'd appear from above, a diving kick aimed for the back of Nyotengu's head before sliding into a landing, winding up every bit as much as when she had first launched.

If the opening is there - if the master of Tengu Do has not already thwarted her efforts, the girl blitzes into one final strike, driving her right elbow in hard to the body of her feminine foe, left hand slamming against her right fist with precision timing to deliver a truly remarkable elbow strike of bone crushing force, possibly driving Nyotengu right through the wall!

COMBATSYS: Kasumi successfully hits Nyotengu with Oka Ranman.

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Kasumi           0/-------/----===|=====--\-------\0         Nyotengu

Nyotengu had thought that would be it; that Kasumi's neck... she hadn't intended to snap it, but a stinger, a concussion -- some sort of injury that would get Kasumi to /stop/. The wayward ninja is made of sterner stuff, indeed -- and when she sits up in her lounge and sees her still ready to go, she's caught completely off-guard. It is at this point that she realizes that she hasn't met some delightful dalliance, some charming little creature to make sport of; she's met a potential threat.

When she announces herself, though -- things shift /then/, as well, in a different direction. 'Of the Mugen Tenshin' -- but with a catch, quite literally. Nyotengu hears it, and makes a note of it in her mind; this girl is... disgraced? Alone? Of a dead clan? -- No, not the last, not unless Bankotsubo's gambit caused more of an uproar, more quickly, than even she could have imagined, in her idle imaginings. Alone. Yes.

"I choose the name 'Nyotengu,' for now." Perhaps the years have dulled the imagination; she seems to be fairly minimally invested in the thought of a name. As she draws back up to her full height, she brings her hands in -- and while her body tenses up appropriately, she doesn't turn correctly. She expects a side attack -- but it comes from behind, and the strikes rain down on her one after the other. She crumples under the force, unable to keep her defenses up against the series of strikes. There's a distinct shattering noise from within her as she goes through the wall, and when she pulls herself out of the rubble, one of her wings hangs at an awkward angle.

Her wounds lead desperation to set in, and as she forces her sagging wing to hang at something /approaching/ the height of the other, she says, "It will soon! As will you... my lone kunoichi."

Trying her best to saunter toward Kasumi with her earlier confidence, Nyotengu thrusts her fan out when she's a few feet away; a tornado starts to whirl around Kasumi where she stands, threatening to sweep her off her feet and up into the ceiling a second time, though with much less force than Nyotengu /herself/ could muster.

COMBATSYS: Kasumi full-parries Nyotengu's Nowaki!!

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Kasumi           0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0         Nyotengu

As she finishes the final blow to one of her most dangerous combinations, Kasumi staggers forward, dropping to one knee in the mud, hands pressed against the ground as she pants for breath. Drenched by the elements, she looks up to the wreckage of the wall she had knocked the Winged Intruder through. Somewhere through the catastrophic attacks she went through, her hair ribbon was lost, leaving her long, wet hair draped against her back and shoulders. Bloodied, drenched, and filthy, she glares at the wall, mouth pressed into a fine line. These are the kinds of creatures Ryu Hayabusa oft times journied far to battle, wars fought in secret for the sake of humanity. That she is now locked in battle with one such as they is a horrifying thought.

The tengu has treated this like a game. But at no point has she declared the stakes. Is the kunoichi fighting for her left? What fate befalls those who cannot save themselves from such a creature? The myths are many and varied on such matters. For now, she cannot spare one iota of thought to consider them. Will power brings her to her feet with a gasp of breath as the self-declared Nyotengu appears once again in opening of the wall. She cannot be seen writhing in the mud. She was once heir to leading the Mugen Tenshin. She will not shame that lost destiny by cowering now.

"There are many more like me," she asserts. "This land is not so easily cowed. Others will also fight you." Wind begins to whip around her, her hair staying out of her fast mostly because of how drenched it is, but for the locks that cling against her cheeks now. Sucking in her breath to bite back the agony that would bid her to surrender now, she twists her torso to the right again, her leg slipping forward, as if preparing to do another elbow charge. The tornado surges, threatening to bash her against the ruined structure once again, but in that moment where its fury is strongest, she unwinds to the left, turning on her left foot -

The signature sakura petals that accompany her teleports are lost as the entire room they were in finally explodes, wooden shrapnel flying, walls collapsing, what passed as her home for the last couple of months has been utterly devastated. Of vastly more pressing concern of the powerful tengu, however, is the kunoichi appearing behind her, leaping in an attempt to grasp hold of her back while hoping to weave between her dangerous wings, her foot kicking for Nyotengu's ankles, trying to pull her backward into the mud while staying on her back. If she succeeds, she would be perfectly perched to slam her hand down, delivering a powerful chop to the back of the winged creature's neck.

Against a normal person, such a strike could be lethal. That the lonely shinobi executes it without hesitation reveals the dangerous edge to her lifelong training.

COMBATSYS: Nyotengu blocks Kasumi's Byakko EX.

[                       \\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Kasumi           0/-------/-======|=======\-------\1         Nyotengu

A killing blow comes -- and Nyotengu is ready for it.

The mistress of Tengu-Do watches Kasumi carefully, shoulders square and tall; her once-casual approach to the fight has become infinitely more serious after that blow through the wall. There's nothing about this child that she can afford to underestimate; she needs to draw on the full extent of her centuries of experience, or she's going to fall, her first time away from the mountain deep.

Kasumi sacrifices what is left of this dilapidated place to defend herself against the Tengu; she takes a moment to laugh uproariously -- a cruel, piercing sound -- as Kasumi comes in toward her. She only gets a moment to do so, however; that teleport brings her behind her almost immediately, and this time, she knows exactly what to expect in such a moment.

Flaring out her wounded wings to the greatest extent she can, she slows the pull of the kunoichi down just enough to make the landing in the mud gentle; her arms come up, and guard her throat from that forceful blow. "This land is not so easily cowed?!" Nyotengu replies, as she beats her intact wing, pushing Kasumi just far enough away that she has time to breathe. "Truly, your naivete suits you!"

Still... as much as she knows Kasumi is a threat... as much as she knows that, were she to let her go, Kasumi would pursue... part of Nyotengu wants that, now. She doesn't really want to kill the kunoichi... but just /taking/ her holds no grand appeal, either. No, she's found a home in the lady Tengu's heart as someone who could create an interesting state in the world. This new world is a stranger place than Nyotengu imagined -- and all the moreso with people like the nukenin in it. It's truly marvelous.

It's that, then, that motivates her to take an earth-quaking step toward Kasumi and grab her by the throat. Delicate hands and manicured nails press into her neck -- gentle enough to hold no real threat of killing her, but forceful enough to cut off the flow of blood for a few precious moments while her other arm sweeps her down. All she wants Kasumi to do is... go to sleep, for a little while. Like she was planning to do anyway!

COMBATSYS: Nyotengu successfully hits Kasumi with Quick Throw.

[                           \\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Kasumi           1/------=/=======|=======\=------\1         Nyotengu

Every step the girl takes is one part skill, one part instinct, and a whole lot of desperation. She would have to be desperate to throw herself at the back of the tengu so, hoping against hope to tumble with her into the building murk as the rest last of the temple's walls finally fall over and where once was a recognizeable ruin now is a pile of unrecognizable rotting wood, mud, and memories. None of that is on Kasumi's mind as she tries to wrestle with the demon and twist her into a vulnerable state.

Moving on pure adrenaline, she barely realizes she's been buffetted back, staggering on weak legs, hardly able to see with her hair caking against her face and water pouring into her eyes from the fiercely driven rain. Lightning flashes, giving her a sense of where she stands with regards to the tengu, keeping herself facing the right way out of pure willpower.

Whether the thunder that reaches her ears is that of the lightning above or the powerful step of the tengu is not something she has the wherewithall to process as she raises her weary arms to try and fend off the next attack, whatever it might be. But simply bracing is of little effect against a vice-like grip aimed right for her neck. A startled squeak escapes trembling lips as her hands shift from turtling to trying to pry herself free from that impossible grip. How can such a limb feel like steel around her throat? How can something like this even be stopped?

Her feet kick at the mud, trying to pull away, before she slips and at last dangles. The pull of her once-strong hands ebbs as well as the seconds pass before she finally closes her eyes, the kunoichi's body becoming limp.

COMBATSYS: Kasumi takes no action.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Nyotengu         1/------=/=======|

COMBATSYS: Kasumi can no longer fight.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Nyotengu         1/------=/=======|

Once she's certain she's snagged Kasumi in just the way she wanted, the Tengu carefully sets her down on the ground of the ruined temple -- or, really, more pointedly, sets her down on a pile of rubble, because that's all that's left. She's then left with the vaguest sense of... not /guilt/, or even really responsibility, but... truthfully, as she looks at her, the feeling becomes more and more selfish. Not quite greed -- not quite /possessiveness/, either -- but something twinged with an undercurrent of desire.

Perhaps she'll come around, Nyotengu thinks, after some thought; something about her loyalty to the Mugen Tenshin clan seemed... tenuous. Fragile. Bankotsubo had /his/ ally, in that man... perhaps she could cultivate a friend too, in time. None could be counted on to accept the presence of the Tengu with such immediacy... but in time, surely she can carve a space in this world with the novel sorts of people she so desperately craves?


When Kasumi comes to, her surroundings put the lie to her earlier experience -- or at least give her cause to doubt it, initially, were it not for her aching body. No longer lying in the rubble of a ruined temple, she instead wakes up in a lavishly-appointed room at an inn, of the classical Japanese style. The bed is warm, and comfortable; the closets contain two changes of clothes -- one a low-hanging oiran's kimono in the style that the Tengu herself wore, the other simple overalls and a striped shirt.

Should Kasumi ask why she's here, she is told first that a 'Nyoko Miyama' has taken on any charges or issues associated with her stay for the next two days.

Should she insist on a more satisfying answer, she is told that 'The Nyotengu of Miyama reigns supreme' until such time as she gets frustrated, stops asking, or otherwise closes the dialogue.

Log created on 00:33:44 11/30/2014 by Nyotengu, and last modified on 07:20:25 11/30/2014.