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    Within her new counterpart's grasp, Reimei took in the people in the room. Bodies jammed together to get closer to the stage, though some, like them, hung back. An energy coursed through the tight space, almost solid in it's heaviness as it passed through the crowd, as masked men quite similar to the one she'd gutted on the beach earlier stepped out onto the stage. Her hands atop Chao's dug small crescents into his skin as she noticed a second group block and seal the door they'd come through. The only door. Hooded eyes took in all the unfamiliar faces around her, and her muscles tensed as it set in that none of the faces were familiar, not even the one behind her. She felt like an animal inside an overstuffed cage. When the leader first made his grand entrance on the stage, Reimei didn't think too much of him. His build was that of an average man, his gait and words no different from watching any other fork-tongued politician in her eyes. She felt her counterpart moving and reacting as if entranced by this poorly veiled theatrical performance, though the bruising grip on her shoulder spoke a different tale only she were privy to feel. A seductive thought, if they weren't currently a part of a hot box of potatoes waiting to be mashed. She set that thought process aside; already her survival instincts were prickling at being surrounded. Her eyes widened as she took in the enraptured audience. It may not be clear how, but there was no way this room was not some kind of trap. Could they truly not see that? This was the bloody tundra! Surely they knew a trap when they saw one! When the masked man turned an unfamiliar shinobi into a withered pitiable cripple before the entire crowd, she was willing to bet Chao could feel her nervous trembling with panic, shown only in the way that her heart rate increased. The roaring of blood through her ears was deafening. So this was what old man Kasai had spoken of when he told stories. As the masked assailants charged the virtually defenseless room of civilians, Reimei's only thought was 'So this is what war looks like.' Several of the civilians revealed themselves to be shinobi. One made clones of himself and hid. Pity that one. A cat tried into a girl and began going at the assailants she could. Good girl. Then the room exploded, and there were two massive holes in opposite walls. People filtered out through them and a dark-haired man on a puppet burst in. Another girl in the back doubled herself and made a break for it out a window, while her double remained to fight. After this the room was just complete chaos, even her new counterpart lunged before her to domino the mass of people between them and the stage. Reimei took his distraction to form seals behind his back, out of view of anyone in the room except for those with particularly noticing eyes. Dragon, dog, tiger, snake, tiger, snake. Unnoticeable to anyone without some kind of chakra seeing eyes, the saliva produced within her mouth began to turn into lava. She stirred her spit around in her mouth, and as the crowd around them were distracted with being knocked over and slithering snakes, Reimei calculated her aim and fired a glob of lava the size of a gold ball from her mouth. Her first target was the main tie-beam that supported the center of the building's ceiling; her lava shot like a bullet through the wooden structure, as well as the next 4 main wall supports in the corners of the building's structure. The little golf sized holes would light with fire from the inside as the lava settled and it's heat reacted with the wooden structures as flammable things do. Hopefully most of the people in the falling crowd, if she were lucky all of the masked assailants, did not notice her little tinker with the building's structural integrity. The fire burned slow enough inside the 5 support beams that there were a few minutes to spare for this building's new fragile state followed nature and collapsed. She released her Mná Bháis as her handsome, golden panted counterpart turned back to her. He grabbed her hand and smashed out a third hole through the building- whoops, time was suddenly much more of the essence for the building now- and pulled her through with him as smoke filled the air and disguised their escape. She was not one to pass up a good exit. However on the outside of the building, her golden counterpart leaped to the roof of a building nearby, and she paused in following him for a brief moment. She turned down the left of the alley they'd exited into, and stood before the cornerstone of the building, the one closest to the doors they'd entered through earlier. forming hand seals once more, Tiger, horse, monkey; she molded earth inside her mouth and fired it from he mouth. The earth bullet would expand to the size of a head as it made a fast and forceful collision with the weak cornerstone, and shatter the cornerstone entirely. She would release her jutsu and very, very hurriedly meet up with the shiny moose. In other words, she would fucking run for it. Assuming the paired had made it safely out of the building, and she reached the cornerstone, the entire building with its structural integrity compromised, would suddenly collapse on itself and anyone left inside at the same time she retuned to Chao.
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    Finally it began. The huge man clad is almost no clothing stood silently behind the woman he had brought with him, or who had brought him with her, and watched the proceedings from behind half-lidded eyes. He nodded and moved with the crowd with such alacrity that even close friends may well think he truly believed this cause - whatever that cause was - had fully swayed him. When finally the man appeared on stage, host of arm guards in tow, he allowed a small smile to grace his handsome face and he did not so much as flinch when the doors closed behind the crowds. Clearly this was a threat, but like the crowd his attention stayed fixated on the stage and this masked mystery. Chao's hand pressed powerfully into the shoulder of Reimei, warning her of something she undoubtedly knew. After a time, the speech began in full, a drab speech which nonetheless captivated this black haired man. He, within the crowd, moved as one of the riled masses cast out by the systemic oppression of the warlords who operated from the shadows. This man spoke, however, not to their perceived oppression but to their more base desire for revolution of any sort and at any cost. People loved to overturn the system, even - or perhaps especially when - they had no idea what dark power would come to fill that void. Chaohuan, perhaps alone, appreciated this tactic. A jounin then appeared and disappeared under a wave of some kind of chakra or soul draining magic. Chaohuan knew the man, had never formally met him but had seen him around the barracks and, on a few occasions, had taken orders from him, though usually through an intermediary chunin. However, the lids of his eyes never rose even as he shouted out in glee at the man's apparent demise. The strange magic seemed not to have immediately killed him, but likely he would die of shock sooner than later. With no expertise in the area, Chao guessed that this was something more than simple draining but that, instead, he had in some way been severed from his chakra, particularly based upon this man's claim that the ninja oppressed people through their supernatural powers. If they could not match a shinobi, the next logical step would be to reduce them to the powers of a civilian. Hell began to break loose then and Chao breathed out a sigh of relief. A small part of him wished that he had smuggled some kind of weapon with him, but the black-clad lunatics had overburdened themselves with arms which could provide him an implement of death if he required it. However, judging by the impending doom and their current situation in the grander political scheme, an escape seemed the best route. Chao, in this capacity, was to serve as little more than muscle and a distraction, which suited him quite well, though he felt a worry burrow through his consciousness; he wished to slay everyone present, civilians included, but even that would never save face and, no matter what happened, the ninja of the village would be blamed for this travesty. His hands left the shoulders of the woman before him and, in but a single moment, he had ducked in front of her, chakra surging through his body as he knocked a few people out of his way. The two had their backs to a side wall and yet even so were pressed against by the sheer volume of bodies. The explosion of an outside force sounded, revealing twin exists on the fore and aft walls, though the man, already moving, did not flinch. Two people fell from him as his suddenly increased strength sent them falling, giving him a tiny pocket of room to extend his arms to their entire span. Then, he simply rushed forward three feet, arms and body scooping up four people before him and shoving them with strength of a much more powerful warrior. The room was so packed that people, especially near the front, stood shoulder to shoulder, bodies pressing into one another in an orgy of discomfort held together only by the strange awe which the speaker had engendered. The sudden attack, coupled with the sudden explosion, stunned the crowd as they watched in slow motion, the first waves of blood landing upon the faces of the front rows before anyone knew they had fallen under attack. In that gap of time, Chao's shove would send the four people he had touched forward, swept off of their feet and launched forward into another row of people who experienced the same fate, the whole mass colliding with a third row. So confined were they that, like water, this would produce a forward moving wave of bodies, stampeding forward into the welcoming blades of the enemy. Unfortunately, the enemy also possessed no area upon which to find footing, their ingress to the crowd only serving to further exacerbate the cramped quarters. Weapons longer than a knife would prove useless in such confined spaces and, as people began to find themselves helplessly pressed against the attackers and the stage, the black-clad revolutionists would find themselves pinned between the wooden front of the dais, effectively trapped. Even could they free their arms and hack at the mass of bodies, the dead corpses would still ensnare and trap them; simply, they did not have the required room to move and removing the life of the people occupying the space they needed would not reduce their mass. This, combine with the herculean shove of the shining moose would incapacitate them for more than enough time to orchestrate an escape. The distraction complete, Chao now moved to the next phase of the plan for when things inevitably went south: escape. He trusted that the others hidden within the crowd could handle the doorman, especially with the aid of the explosion, and he had liberated them from having to worry about the twenty-five which attacked from the front for at least a few precious moments. Unbeknownst to him, Rei's serpent, blessed with a thin and agile profile, would easily slip through the legs and hordes of people to reclaim the body of the drained man. And so he released his pressure, allowing some of the people he had smashed together to fall back a bit and turned toward the side wall against he and his companion still stood. The removal of such force from the bodies would, in theory, allow the assailants to push back the bodies but most had already lost full control of themselves and fallen like dominoes into one another and, as such, the full force of the entire crowd now leaned upon those men and crushed them against platform upon which their commander no longer stood. Grabbing the woman's hand, he pivoted to his right and placed a quick strike to the wooden wall, smashing out a small seven by 4 hole with his vastly increased strength which they - and any civilians smart enough to react - could use to escape into the street, thought the smoke bomb which just burst would shield their flight. From here, the added spacial freedom would allow for a great deal of attack patterns, namely that anyone with a large-scale attack could simply demolish the building. Chao wished he had brought his bow, which would allow him to simply pick off any enemies attempting to flee. For now, he leapt up onto the roof of a nearby building, though would give pause if his companion did not follow, and moved to find a rendezvous location. He did not have a radio and did not know who owned one, so he could not easily locate their external demolition man.
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    Takara put on a strong face, but her head was pounding. Half the things going on felt like they were in slow motion. But Rei's laughter ringing out was unlike something she had ever heard. It was puzzling, frightening, but it felt real. The strange genuine sound coming from Rei's lips almost had her smiling, grateful to hear something to put her at a little ease, grateful that he didn't seem to stay mad at her for very long. The green haired woman looked surprised and confused still, unsure of how his life lightened her pain, lightened her fear, and yet added to it in the same time. With death all around, how he could laugh, was appalling, and yet, it could not be helped that it made her feel better. When he got more serious, even made the strange threat of biting her, she made a face. He wasn't wrong. She opened her mouth to defend herself, "It's not my fault that I don't know my nindo yet, okay! This is only my second mission! Next time--" Takara saw a lack of amusement in her reply and she closed her mouth with a sigh. In a quick but painful motion, Rei moved towards her and grabbed her roughly. She opened her mouth again, "What are you doing? I can walk, I can-" But he paid no mind to her and with great effort lifted her up. She couldn't help but groan, relaxing bridal style in his arms, her head against his chest and neck. She felt dizzy and nauseated again. For a moment, she blacked out, unaware of time or space, unaware of anything besides the warmth emanating from his body. She heard his voice telling her to be still and instead of arguing with him, she obeyed. She knew he was injured, but she wasn't in a condition to fight him. And if she made his injuries worse, she was sure that his snakes would eat her. The cold air hit her like a punch and she gasped, curling into his chest lightly. She had her eyes closed, but she could hear his ragged breathing. Takara could hear him as he said she owed him spicy curry. She thought she owed him a lot more. She could smell a hint of blood on him, and worried about his injury. But Takara didn't dare struggle and make it worse in an attempt to help him. At the least, she would simply not move. She thought of how regardless of the details, the mission had been a success and she had saved two lives. That was worth something. Takara felt the man slow and when she peeked her head up, she saw the gates of the village. There were people running towards them and the sensation of falling. Rei was trying to still hold her and prevent her from getting hurt, but Takara didn't dare land on him and make his injuries worse. She grabbed her head with one hand and rolled as they started to fall, knowing Rei couldn't hold onto her if she squirmed. She landed besides him and reached with her free hand to try to help break his fall. She cried out to the people running towards them, "Medics! Medics!" But her own voice was like a firing squad to her brain. She felt the pain, the nausea coming again. And still she fought to stay conscious herself, watching as the medics came, lifting Rei up. "His r-ribs," Takara tried to warn, but when she tried to get to her feet, anxious to follow and stay with her partner, she nearly fell over with lack of coordination and balance. She gagged hard on the cold icy air, and felt the warm hands of medics grabbing to her as well. "You're going with him. To the hospital. Everything will be fine." The medics' words calmed her and she relaxed, letting them help her to the hospital, forgetting most of their faces by the time they got there. It would take a little time to heal, a week of taking it easy, of keeping her head rested and secure. But throughout the process of healing, she yearned for home. Her parents came in and in a panic refused to take her home, insisting that they stay by her side. And further more they brought gifts for Rei who was a few rooms away, resting and recovering as well. When Rei awoke he would find fresh flowers from her mother, and two bottles of pricey, earthy sake from her father, gifts to show her family was grateful for what he had done, despite not knowing the full story. Takara kept in her mind the whole time: she had to repay him, spicy curry was a start, but she had to find some way to strengthen herself and to prove to him that she could do this. WC total: 803 + 3939 = 4742 [exit]