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    Post by Genkumaru on Sun May 10, 2020 9:21 pm

    The sun had just settled over the horizon as crimson hues faded into the nights sky, constellations bursting forth into view as it got ever closer to twilight. In one of the many training areas dotting the landscape of Champions Island, flashes of bright light and an explosive cacophony of sound could be heard every now and again as a lone figure practiced into the night. Genkumaru was wearing only dark brown simple gi bottoms as he practiced his taijutsu and Gingham shots on the training dolls littering the well paved clearing. Sweat coalescing at several points of his exposed upper body as he danced and twirled around the targets that had seemingly been set up in a diamond array of twenty evenly spaced "combatants". His silhouette beginning to become highlighted just after every tenth hit on a dummy ending in a Gingham shot at another, the explosive bang resonating throughout the area. His well muscled physique tightening and releasing with each strike to great effect as even the thuds of his appendages striking the dummies could be heard perfectly in the vicinity to an almost rhythmic effect.




    Taking a brief break, Gen went over to his discarded belongings and took a swig of water from his canteen to quench his raging thirst, before splashing some on his head and shaking it through his hair. Grabbing a towel he patted his forehead and face down first before seating it over his shoulders. Reaching into his bag he grabbed a flint and steel lighter and proceeded to go along the outskirt of the training circle, lighting the six torches dotting its exterior. Placing the device back into his pile of things, he grabbed a packaged steamed bun and began eating it with a voracious hunger, "Damn... Just what I needed after all of that. In a little bit it'll be time for round two.", finishing his food he looked up towards the nights sky and then took in the area around him, seeing how the villages lights danced over the lakes water with reverence, "It really is so beautiful and vibrant here, definitely nothing like back home...", he would remain there looking off at the scenery for a moment before going to reset any of the training dummies that had fallen over or been knocked away back into the diamond formation he was using to mimic being overwhelmed/dealing with multiple enemy combatants at once. 


    Last edited by Genkumaru on Fri May 15, 2020 12:18 am; edited 1 time in total



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    Post by Kannagi on Tue May 12, 2020 8:34 pm

    Kannagi Irezumi stepped off her large paper boat onto Champions Island. She dragged it up onto the shore so it wouldn't get blown away. Having heard of the island, she wanted to check it out, to see the place where shinobi trained. If her parents could see her now, surely it would break their hearts. The young woman stiffened and tossed her blue hair in the breeze. She wouldn't let her thoughts go any farther down that path lest her goal tonight be waylaid by her grief. Kannagi could feel the cool air on her skin, wearing a tight neck-high sleeveless top, shorts, and sandals. She climbed up the island and walked slowly through the training areas. They were set up impeccably and while she had wanted to come and see, now Kannagi ached for more. Should she run? Practice her taijutsu, which always seemed lacking? Kannagi ran her hand over some of the dummies set up and wet her lips. Maybe she could try a bit of everything, but where to start?

    The flash of a fiery light grabbed her attention and she lifted her pale face to see a silhouette of a person bending and then looking out towards the waters around the island. Kannagi glanced around, not picking up on any other sounds or lights. She had thought she was alone but that was a stupid assumption clearly. Not wanting to be seen as an enemy or as a creepy stalker, Kannagi sighed and pulled her hand away from the dummy. She would have to try that obstacle course out another time. The blue haired woman made her way, approaching the man from behind. Unsure of what to say to a stranger at first, starting to question if it was a good idea at all, Kannagi let the clack of her sandals be her introduction before words.

    She could see the shine of sweat upon his skin, the glow of exercise in the light of the torches. Kannagi spoke confidently with the voice of a schoolteacher talking to a student, though she had never seen or met this man before.
    "I thought I would be alone here tonight. I prefer it that way, but I don't mind training with someone else if you're interested." The expectation of generosity and kindness ran thick in her blood, and she gave him a casual bow of greeting.

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    Post by Genkumaru on Wed May 13, 2020 1:29 am

    The night was going unexpectedly well, Gen was getting faster and faster at taking out multiple targets in a row with a flurry of blows, and explosions. It was almost as if he was masquerading as a dervish of death and destruction to imaginary foes. His fluid movements becoming sharper and more destructive with each subsequent take down showcasing his ever growing skill with Bakuton and taijutsu. It was during a lull between take down and setup of the dummies that he heard the clacking of sandals on the paved stone, and then a pleasing feminine voice pick up on the wind. 


    Turning to face the source of the voice, he was stunned for a moment as he found an alarmingly attractive woman, at least in his eyes, talking to him. Taken aback for a moment he just listened to what she had to say before responding, "Umm... Hello, we could train I guess? But uh.. just be careful please. I am still learning to control this power of mine, if I slip this happens.", pointing his right arm palm first at one of the nearby dummies he let all semblance of control go and unleashed his unique chakra in a flare of wild abandon, an explosive blast of bright energy surging outwards like a shotgun blast from his hand, fracturing the dummy in several places and causing a thunderous boom in the vicinity. 


    Tossing the dummy to the side with a handful of other broken ones, he set up another one before speaking again, "If your okay with training with someone like me then I am game for it, I always try even harder to be precise when there is something to be worried about damaging. I am Genkumaru Iwamura of the Sun Village, pleased to meet you... ms?", he let his voice trail away to add weight to the question as to who she was.



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    Post by Kannagi on Wed May 13, 2020 9:58 am

    Kannagi couldn't tell what his title was by looking at him. If she had to guess, probably a chuunin. Being a 19 year old genin herself, she had spent enough time between missions and training viewing other genin and most of them weren't old enough to be sporting facial hair that good. Still, after he demonstrated his lack of control she had to reassess her first judgement. She herself didn't have poor enough control to be a genin, like this Genkumaru here. Her issues with advancement were mostly a major lack of experience and physical obstacles to overcome. She was silent a moment longer as she considered him, although she had no intention of ignoring his acceptance of a training partner. His warning was also polite, many others she had trained with before had the frame of mind to destroy and conquer and not just improve their own skills. It was sort of an odd trait for a shinobi to be so honest about with a stranger but he was in luck given that as a Sun shinobi, Kannagi had no desire to misuse his weakness or his pseudo-trust in her.

    She inclined her head slightly, being already 5'11'' this gave her a semblance of an elegant crane no doubt.
    "Kannagi," the blue haired woman said simply. "You may call me Kannagi. I'm from Nikkousato as well. And I'm not concerned about your control, truly. I think it would be a nice match to my own weaknesses." She looked around at all the dummies and dropped the small bag she was toting around with her. She gave a nod towards the dummies and added, "But in fairness, I'll show you a bit of my own capabilities." Streams of fluttering paper slipped from somewhere beneath the light coat tied around her waist and swirled around her once before moving together like a fearsome arrow into the head of the farthest dummy. It was a clean decapitation that arrived with the sound of splintering wood and her paper floated to the ground after, appearing to rest there before starting to dissolve.

    "Do you want to just train and practice together? Or were you looking for a sparring partner?"
    Kannagi questioned, not bothering to repair or replace the dummy she had broken.

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    Post by Genkumaru on Wed May 13, 2020 11:43 am

    Gen was completely taken aback by how forward and confident this woman was, her height, demeanor and approach all adding to her overall impressive aura. She wasn't that much smaller then himself which was pretty rare for him, as most women were chest height on him. As she proceeded to engage him and not shy away, he relaxed a little, and at the mention of who she was and her willingness to work with him he fully relaxed, feeling like he was comfortable with someone of the opposite sex for once. 


    The sheer confidence behind her movements as she dropped her bag and faced the dummies was definitely moving, but not as much as when she used the somewhat  legendary Kami technique of the Irezumi to utterly decapitate one of the dummies (who were quite durable) in one strike. Almost immediately Gen became jealous of Kannagi, in Nikkousato the Irezumi are highly respected for their prowess with their paper arts, a little fear is their due to not understanding their nomadic ways, but any Sun ninja could tell you that the were definitely a good ally to have. However, it wasn't because of her ability that he was jealous, but because of the clan she belonged too. 


    Having grown up an orphan to a lost clan, he never knew what true family life was or meant, and even though the orphanage tried their hardest, he always yearned for the interactions that other children had with their parents and family. He has always found the Irezumi to be irresistible in the fact that they are so close knit and family bound, which transcended typical family dynamics, as from what he knew they considered all Irezumi to be family regardless of how strong their blood ties were. To him that was amazing. The offshoot clans of the Iwamura never even thought about helping him growing up, not that they were ever obligated to do so, "Your an Irezumi... I have always idolized your people. Your way I think I have discovered is the better way of living. I live in that small home off the north river that exits Nikkousato, your people taught me how to fish and hunt from observing them while I was in my self imposed exile. Without what I had learned from watching them I probably wouldn't have lasted long outside the village gates.", sheepishly Gen kicked at the ground for a brief moment after realizing that was probably a little awkward to say to someone he just met.


    Resetting the dummy for them with another he piped up after she spoke responding to the question she presented, "We can practice and train if you like? I don't particularly want to spar right now. Its too late for full contact anyhow, that's how you end up sore in the morning!", smiling now his blue eyes flashed a kind look towards her as he began stretching to prepare for whatever they were about to do for training.



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    Post by Kannagi on Wed May 13, 2020 12:39 pm

    Kannagi's face was cold and distant as he referenced her family. Hell, how she missed them all. As she listened to the way he idolized her people, the female had to force herself to remain calm. She pressed her lips together thinly without making eye contact as she answered him. "I'm glad that you were aided in your survival." With her brilliant blue orbs closed she recalled her family life, a single memory standing out to her. She had awoken to the sound of footsteps, chatter, and pans. As a young child, she had excitedly burst out of bed and dashed into the kitchen to help her mother. With careful hands and her tongue poking out in concentration, Kannagi had helped prepare the meal. Her mother's laughter at the face she made and the proud eyes of her father when he saw how hard she tried were taciturn praise for the young girl. Until it all went to hell. She had never thought of how she was raised as a blessing but the man before her had earned her pity. It was certainly a hard life outside of the city for survival and considering that she had doubted that she would ever meet a real Iwamura, it pulled at her heart strings; his story must have been a tragic one.

    Kannagi still had a touch of distance in her voice when she looked at Genkumaru and spoke warmly.
    "Every family is different, but by no means perfect. Try not to idolize the Irezumi too much, and try not to forget," She rose up a finger with what seemed like genuine cheerfulness, "Call me Kannagi." The pain stirred up inside of her heart and she took a deep breath, working to control her emotions. As a shinobi, she knew she could not let her emotions dictate her behavior. That was a weakness and a surefire way to get killed out on a mission. "So you're working on jutsu control? I think I can help with that if you can assist me. I came here to work on my strength and speed." She took another deep breath, and then let out a wry chuckle. "I'm a little behind you could say in the physical things. I can barely win against other genin in hand-to-hand practice. I must get much better." With her goal stated, Kannagi felt reassured. She still looked as tense as before but the far away expression in her eyes had finally faded and she was clearly focused on him and the dummies around them.

    "Show me what you can do when you control your jutsu. Strike every other dummy as precisely as you can. Don't worry about speed, I just want to see your accuracy."
    It wasn't like Kannagi was a teacher, but she spoke with confidence and a certainty for her age that gave that impression without trying. The analytical side of her hoped that if she could see what he could do, then she could assist him in growth. She was excellent with chakra control after all and had plenty ability to help if he would accept it from a stranger like herself.

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    Post by Genkumaru on Wed May 13, 2020 2:47 pm

    As he prattled on with his personal feelings about her family he could feel the shift in her demeanor ever so slightly before she responded, adverting eye contact and pursing her lips. He could tell something was not all together right with her feelings about her clan, but was not sure quite what was wrong until a small inkling formed from her second response, Every family is different, but by no means perfect. Try not to idolize the Irezumi too much. This statement left him wondering if perhaps he was wrong to assume she either enjoyed her life in the clan, or that the clan was all rainbows and butterflies. This opinion only began to further cement as she changed the topic back to them training.

    With slight relief that she had asked him to show her what he could do when he concentrated, Gen actually smiled charmingly. He was proud to show off how far he had come, even knowing that it still wasn't enough, "Alright, but it can get a little loud okay? This is called Gingham Shot". Taking a few steps backwards to better see all of the dummies before them he formed both hands into gun like shapes as bakuton infused chakra rushed to his index and pointer fingers tips, small crackles of energy radiating over his uniquely colored chakra before he released it at the two outside dummies on either side of the diamond pattern. Upon contact the chakra orbs exploded outwards rattling the nearby dummies as well. Smoke rising up off his intended targets, one foot diameter indents remained on the surface of the chest sections for each of his targets. Repeating the process as he targeted the outer ring first before moving inwards, his shots got progressively wider in impact and less single target focused much to his chagrin. 


    Stopping once only the four dummies in the center were yet unharmed directly he spoke again, "This is the problem! It starts out good but the more I do the less accurate I get. It's this weird tugging feeling inside to just let it all out and stop holding it in. Its like.... a sink that is just about to overflow but is stopped right at the edge and I so desperately need it to overflow but I also know that I can't let it.", shaking his head, he went back over to his bag and poured water out over his head and then toweled off again. The sweatier he got the less controlled bakuton was anyways, but it also made him self conscious with being around Kannagi. Speaking once more he touched on her fault,"Hand to hand combat is mostly about skill then physique, so maybe we should work on teaching you some basic counter techniques, that way you can defend yourself long enough to use your jutsu. Once you have trained enough then we can move onto offense if you like? I can show you a basic form and the motions in it. It is pretty good for counter attacking and deflecting if your interested.", He had hoped she would agree to this proposal as it would mean he would get the chance to know more about her over time, "We both live in or near Nikkousato so it would give us plenty of time and reason to help each other...", flashing an embarrassed look for a minute as he felt he was sounding desperate, he looked away from her and off towards the lake once more, afraid to make eye contact.



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    Post by Kannagi on Wed May 13, 2020 6:21 pm

    Kannagi wore a mindful expression as she watched Genkumaru. She watched his face, his stance, his aim and speed, and just as he pointed it out, she considered the bakuton craters in the dummies around the training area. After it had seemed he had broken into a sweat, enough to rinse himself off with water again, the blue eyed woman touched her chin in thought. He wasn't five seconds finished before judging his own shots and pointing out the problems, which Kannagi noted he did with some amount of frustration or stress. Genkumaru didn't seem particularly bashful, having greeted and welcomed her in a friendly way, but when it came to his jutsu there was something about him that gave her the impression of insecurity.

    Kannagi let him towel off before approaching him and reaching for his arm. She probably should have used words first, but her hands and mind worked faster in this case and sought out a pulse in his wrist while she gauged the size of his pupils with a scan of her eyes. If he allowed her to do so, she would finally speak and let him go.
    "I can tell the major problem here. Let me ask you this: do you meditate, practice acupuncture, or do mindfulness yoga? Have you read any books on the subjects?" She thought she had a clue for being able to help him but it would in no way have an immediate effect on his jutsu. It would with some practice build up his confidence and awareness with his own chakra. They were the sort of practices she had been doing with her family before she had even learned to walk.

    Kannagi nodded at his own assessment of her ability.
    "Without seeing what I can do, it will be difficult for you to know what I am capable of. I know many techniques, stances, and I know how to block and evade. The real problem is practice. I suppose watching others and reading books is not as practical or effective as world experience in this regard." She rubbed her left arm with her right hand looking at the floor as she murmured, "My hands and feet just never seem to be in the right place at the right time. I would appreciate the assistance..." She straightened her back and gestured to the dummies, "If we cooperate then we might both enhance our usual training regimens. I would be happy to make this a regular affair, or a temporary one as you see if it benefits you." She noted his embarrassment without acknowledging it aloud, thinking perhaps he wasn't as suited to talking to others as she had supposed by his affability. In this too, they might have shared common ground.

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    Post by Genkumaru on Wed May 13, 2020 8:57 pm

    Caught off guard by this intriguing women's touch and compassionate nature towards him his body reacted in a way that Gen should not have been emotionally capable of as he instinctively stepped forward and into her space, ending with his body close to hers. Looking down into her eyes their cerulean gazes meeting, all he could think about was why someone like her was giving him the time of day at all. His mind racing through how he should go about retreating from this physical misstep on his end, he noticed she was taking his pulse from how her fingers were placed on his wrist. 


    As she spoke to him he found comfort in her assessment, "I do meditate to center myself but I have never done any of those other things... I don't really do much with people except tutoring the academy students and helping out at the orphanage when I can. If you could show me how to do, yoga was it? I would be grateful. I don't know how I feel about needles though so you'll have to convince me when it comes to acupuncture.", a soft smile gracing his lips as he spoke to her, feeling comfortable around her.


    Moving to hold her hand in his, he brought them up closer to his face resting their hands between them as he looked at her palm and felt the soft and warm embrace of her hand, yet callouses and use were evident, the hand of someone who clearly put the effort into physical tasks just as well as anything else. As she slightly scolded him about being presumptuous to her ability he noticed that this woman clearly knew hardship and struggle and was more like him then he had realized, "Say no more about my baseless conclusions to your skill or knowledge and shame on me to assign gender norms to you out of misguided habit, I should know better then that. Almost all of the adults in my life were women and they would be ashamed of me for that. Your hand speaks volumes as to your character and how much you must practice to master something that you must have so desperately wanted, I understand that more then you could ever know.", pausing for a brief moment he looked away from her to stare up and into the nights sky before continuing, "I went into my self imposed exile because I blew up a room at the orphanage, damaging the only home and family I had ever known and injured others as well.", looking back down into her eyes he continued,"Believe it or not but I was an extremely skinny child and this body of mine is only due to the fact I have spent the last eight years training myself as best as I could on my own, and it hasn't been enough, so I will help you in anyway I can to master kinesthetics, but only if you help me be the shinobi I am supposed to be. I am an Iwamura that can't be the shield of the people I am meant to be, so if you will help me change that then I promise I will help you master yourself.". Relaxing his hold on her hand he would become quite red in the face from his declaration to her and forwardness of his actions completely unbecoming of him, he would attempt to take a step backwards and create space between them.



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    Post by Kannagi on Thu May 14, 2020 12:38 am

    When Genkumaru stepped closer and briefly met her eyes, Kannagi took it as permission to continue her wordless physical appraisal. She felt his quick pulse and could sense his chakra flow, powerful but inconsistent. Almost as if it was blocked up somewhere in his body, something tension and stress could easily have done. It was much harder to control chakra when your body was under duress, like water flowing from a hose, squashed in someone's grip. The water sometimes comes out in large spurts and sometimes twists aggressively out of control and in the wrong direction. "Teaching you yoga, at least the basics, I can do. I've studied it well enough. But with how tense you are, acupuncture could really be of service. I suggest-"

    Blue eyes looked back up to find Genkumaru still looking down at her, moving his hands to clasp them in a personal way. Kannagi's mouth went dry and her head was a sudden blank slate as she was lost for words. His sweetness and warmth had left her speechless, after all she had thought she was just helping him out. Was he thinking it was something more? Why was he holding her hands like that? She blinked twice and her composure started to return as Genkumaru began to apologize and examine her well worn hands. When the man looked up to the sky, Kannagi had time to gently slip her hands out of his. He continued to bewilder her as he opened up about an even more tragic past than she had previously guessed at.

    Kannagi was tempted to move backwards but she didn't want to break the fragility of the moment; the woman knew how hard it was to speak about such emotional things. Part of the creeds of her family, so well ingrained in her, commanded that she stay still and listen and do her female duty. She was supposed to be the support for the men in the clan, to be the pillar of mental and physical health. Her rebellious side made her want to firmly step away but another side of her wanted to stay still. Kannagi pushed the internal debate between the part of her that said it was her choice to remain near to Genkumaru and the other part of her which rebelled to the back of her mind and refocused. This was not about her.

    "I'm sorry that happened to you. It must have been hard to face that on your own."
    Kannagi now wore an expression of reliability, like an older sibling who wanted to be trusted and take the pain away. It wasn't pity, more parental in expression, although her next action wasn't at all parental. The blue haired woman stepped nearer, closing the distance he had created. She placed his hands on his chest and spoke slowly and with tenacious speech, "You need to do something. You spent eight years mastering your body, training advice I will absolutely accept. However, if you do not forgive yourself for what happened back then, you will never master control of your chakra." Her eyes were stern and kind, a trick she learned from her mother.

    Kannagi narrowed her blue eyes on him. Whether or not his past was her business, whether or not she should advise him, whether or not it was her duty or if it was so incredibly brazen for a stranger to do to a vulnerable man at this time of night, Kannagi gave him her likely unwanted opinion. She wasn't the best with social cues and she fell back on what she had learned in her family. If anyone were watching her, they would probably say she her words were unseemly and in bad form:
    "It won't be without effort, without pain, but if you can conquer that mountain day by day then it will be worth all the horses in the world." The horses part might have sounded strange to him too, but it was an old saying that her parents had recited to her growing up. Actually, it was what was recited to the youthful boys growing up, but Kannagi had overheard and taken it to heart.

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    Post by Genkumaru on Thu May 14, 2020 1:43 am

    His whole life he has waited for someone, or something to tell him he was not worthless. Not just orphan trash lost and forgotten to the world, kicked around and beaten down into feeling worthless and insurmountable. That he could be something more then he was taught to think he was, and led to feel that he could be. Behind every strong, calm, or kind exterior is usually a sad, hurt individual feeling more grief and anguish then anyone could understand that wasn't also going through something similar. Most like him learned early on in life that it was not going to be great or worth living every day, but that you must trudge on ever further just to prove it all wrong, that your survival, your life, your experiences were meaningful! You would not be marginalized, you matter. Life was precious and so are you regardless of your standing or origins, you deserve to be happy and live life to its fullest! However, most would find this to be a wistful lie meant to spurn you on in the mediocrity of life.

    Kannagi's touch, and gentle words had begun to melt away some of his barriers that had kept him even and able to have a modicum of enjoyment all of these years as a masquerade for his inner well of sadness and despair. He had spent so long blaming himself for everything that has gone wrong in his life, that he never once stopped to think that he could be forgiven for any of it, least of all self forgiveness! He had harmed others, and the one place that had ever shown him anything resembling love and care. He was scum and a betrayer and nothing could ever change that. But Kannagi seemed to think that wasn't true, that he needed to seek personal redemption if he truly wanted to be whole and master himself, to be able to be the man he has always wanted to be. Was that really possible though? Self doubt bubbled to the surface as he contemplated everything she was saying to him.

    Was it that simple though? Could he just try and forgive himself and move past everything that had ever happened? All the years of self doubt and suffering he had put himself through as some sort of misguided mental self flagellation repentance. Maybe if only he tried to start forgiving himself he could change the tide of his emotional wounds. Maybe it was possible... But it would take time and effort, however having Kannagi here made him feel like maybe it was worth that. She made him feel a lot more then that, but he feared that was asking to much of her and himself to even give those thoughts the light of day. This was enough for now... This was more then enough.  

    After hearing her out and looking down into her eyes one last time a truly soft, unplanned smile graced his lips as a single tear streaked down his face from his left eye. A look of hope almost forming on him as his demeanor changed from self pity and doubt to something like confidence maybe? He finally spoke with a kind and calm tone, "
    Kannagi... You are so kind. We were strangers all but mere hours ago and now... I feel as if I have been missing this my entire life. Where did you learn to be such a well of kindness and selflessness? Whenever you need me I will be there I promise that. What you have done for me tonight is more then you will ever know. I feel as if I might be able to finally take the first step in a journey towards truly finding myself... I hope that you might join me on this untraveled road?", he bowed to her with a typical martial bow, his left hand in a fist with his right hand resting on it in a straight plane placed in front of him.

    As he rose he recited what she had said, "
    It will be worth all the horses in the world... as nothing is more valuable then the freedom to be anywhere your heart takes you maybe?....", his face seemed serene and at peace for maybe the first time in his life. He still felt the vast ocean of pain that beat against the shores of his heart with unbridled rage, but for know, it was quieted if only a little, "Kannagi I truly am glad I met you on this night. It could have been anyone and fate saw to it that you were here...  I will never forget what you have started for me today.  Together we will be unstoppable in no time I think. Everyone will know that the Sun's Crimson Lion and.... Paper Valkyrie are great and respectable ninja worth their own weight in this world.".


    Last edited by Genkumaru on Thu May 14, 2020 11:16 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Colors!)



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    Post by Kannagi on Thu May 14, 2020 11:42 pm

    Kannagi made an audible gasp, so sudden because the tear upon his cheek after she spoke was not what she expected. She frowned and growled to herself softly, eyes closed. Kannagi couldn't bear looking at him in this moment. She had wanted to help, to bring hope, to encourage him to pick himself up off the floor. Instead she had brought a man to tears. She clearly didn't have her mother's touch. This was only reassurance that she was no good for her family anyway, but still the blue haired woman felt a burden of guilt at harming someone who hadn't harmed her. The shinobi dared to blink back up at Genkumaru's face and saw a confident expression there. Her shock caused her to lift her head and eyes to him fully, wondering what he might say or do next.

    He caught her so off guard she stumbled back a step, wavering in place with her blue eyes wide. Kannagi had never looked so emotionally expressive in front of a near stranger before. Genkumaru had no idea what a rarity he was getting. His words left her just as shocked and she felt light on her feet. Kind, selfless? A vow of friendship and support? His formal bow confirmed it. The Irezumi would never refuse such a vow of alliance. Her walls after these years of disownment and ostracism were too strong for such a single, albeit powerful moment, but she was not completely unaffected. She caught her breath and stood steady, returning his bow.
    "I am honored to be called your friend. You can count on me, Genkumaru."

    Kannagi heard his exclamation and title with a laugh of relief. She wasn't sure about that nickname but she wasn't going to ruin his moment either.
    "Come on then, let's get back to it ."


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