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    Post by Genkumaru Fri May 15, 2020 12:17 pm

    The sun had poured down on the early mornings travels like a rushing waterfall, raising the ambient temperature to a very uncomfortable sweltering point. An avian cacophony of chirps and calls echoed throughout the valley that laid beside Nikkousato, the ever rushing northern river adding to the dulcet tones that filled the morning air with a vibrancy not typically seen in the scorched lands. For a moment, it seemed life life was rampant and ever present. Along the northern running rivers bank a small  beach had formed and It was here that Genkumaru's home lay. It was definitely a work of love and labor over several years, its atypical clay and wood construction lending to a very unique outward appearance as it was octagonal in shape with a steeped roof lending to a more walled gazebo like appearance then a normal sun village home. Its walls were painted a deep cerulean blue with red accents and shale colored shingles.

    A large rosewood door framed the only entrance into the home, its iron accents beautiful and functional. Two windows, one on the first level, and the other near the top of the steeple somewhere on the second levels loft. Its oriental make gave credence to a temple like feel when observing it. Inside was a very standard home design, smoothed stone flooring, an open fire pit cooking station laid dead center in the room, with a sink and cabinet system on the wall with the window, sitting pillows stacked neatly in one of the far corners, and a wooden man post laid under the loft used for training. At the rear of the home was a ladder that led up to the loft levels sleeping area, its design comfortable but very simplistic or rustic like the rest of the home.

    As the mornings light filtered in through his window, Genkumaru lifted his well built frame out of bed and vaulted downwards into his living area. Stretching to wake up he practiced some of the more basic yoga movements Kannagi had begun instructed him in. Once he was limber and alert, the large juggernaut of a man dressed himself in his usual garb, however he left his shirt and flak jacket open, as the day was getting ever hotter; decency only goes so far versus comfort. Filling his canteen with water and preparing his bag, he left his modest home and waited outside for Kannagi to meet up with him, they had received a mission to inspect the nature of gemstones that had been found in the Bloodstained mire recently, and he was excited to be off.



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    Post by Kannagi Fri May 15, 2020 1:05 pm

    Approaching from the direction of the main village, a steed with a pale coat and dark mane carried a tall woman with blue hair. The blazing sun above glinted off the beads in the horse's braided mane and tail. As Kannagi rode ever closer to the attractive home of her friend Genkumaru, more and more details would come into view. First, the shinobi was wearing her usual high neck sleeveless top and shorts but not in the color black. Today she wore white. The usual coat around her waist was replaced by a long flowing purple skirt, knotted up by her thighs, creating a high-low style that was undoubtedly for the ease of movement. Second, the horse had an elaborate black design painted onto its left hip which now could be seen as not just a pale coat but a coat of marbled gray and white. The horse had dark eyes and dark hooves, small gray tufts of hair behind the hooves.

    Lastly, as Kannagi was slowing down before the house and before her companion, he would be able to see what supplies she carried. Under the dark saddle the shinobi rode upon was a layer of woven geometric styled blankets in shades of tan, white, red, and black. Several saddlebags attached were where Kannagi stored extra water, for her and the horse, and extra food stores of jerky, nuts, and fresh fruit.

    The gray mare pawed the ground anxiously beside Genkumaru and Kannagi bent from her seat to pat the horses strong neck.
    "Easy, girl." She turned to Genkumaru and gave him a nod, "Nice to see you. I thought Cirilla would be more efficient than walking and she has been aching for a good run. You look ready. That bag isn't too heavy is it? Cirilla will get worn out if she has to carry too much."

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    Post by Genkumaru Fri May 15, 2020 5:50 pm

    As he basked in the morning sunlight and the sound of the winding river, he heard the tell tale sound of a horse coming over the bluff and down towards his home. He tried to hide the fear on his face as it got closer, because that is also when he noticed it was Kannagi riding it. Genkumaru was more then just a little afraid of horses, he didn't understand them, or trust them and so he was scared of them. Snapping his attention to Kannagi when she asked about his bag, Gen backed up a little his hands raised palms out to put distance between him and her steed, "It's a light load but... You don't expect me to get up there on the horse with you? Do you?...", his voice was uneasy and he seemed completely thrown off his game from even the inclination that could be her intent, "I have never ridden a horse! Carts are one thing, I can sit in the way back and not even worry about interacting with them.. but actually touching one?", his eyes seemed quite panicked. 



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    Post by Kannagi Fri May 15, 2020 8:37 pm

    Kannagi blinked down at him a bit confounded. The man with explosive power and great combat skills was acting like a frightened teenager. He looked uneasy and nervous and she wouldn't have been surprised if he was even sweating a little bit. She had seen this before in him, back when they had first met. Kannagi had thought he was starting to get over his nervousness around her; one of those boys and girls emotional and physical tension sort of situations. He hadn't blushed in front of her in at least a week and she had counted it as progress in being treated just like 'one of the guys'. It was one of the reasons that the blue haired female had agreed to doing this mission with Genkumaru, she had admired the way he had respected her so well. Whatever it was, he was in serious distress and Kannagi couldn't ignore that. There was no way anyone could really be afraid of a horse, especially not sweet Cirilla, and his shyness of her being a woman was the only real and logical explanation.

    "Listen, Genkumaru. We're friends now, remember. I've helped you stretch and even touched you to help you with learning some of those yoga poses,"
    the woman's blue eyes settled on his face with compassion and concern. "You have learned to start trusting me, and I you. Please, don't slander our relationship with an excuse like riding with me. It's simple, I swear. I won't objectify you for pleasure or make you uncomfortable. Okay?" Her voice was as confident and as serious as ever, so full of certainty despite that she had actually misread the man, unbeknownst to her. She reached out her right hand with a straight posture, clearly bracing her arm and legs to help him up if he wanted. "Sit behind me, place your hands on my hips, and lean when I lean or you'll throw Cirilla off balance." Kannagi commanded, shaking her head with a welcoming smile, "Now come up here, let's talk no more of these foolish things. I promise, I am as good a rider as any man." Kannagi's eyes shone with a devilish smirk, "Better even."

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    Post by Genkumaru Sat May 16, 2020 1:11 am

    He just didn't understand how she could be so comfortable on the horse! They were large muscled creatures! Listening to her though he slowly realized that she had thought he was afraid of touching her! And he realized that as an Irezumi she was probably most comfortable on horse. This situation had been horribly misread on both sides. Bursting out into laughter he couldn't help but forget about Cirilla for a moment, even though he also did become flushed in the face at the mention of her... hips.

    Recovering his composure he tried to steel himself to walk closer but just couldn't and so he decided to explain himself instead, "
    Kannagi... I am afraid of the horse! Not you, if anything its the op-", stopping himself before he could betray his inner most feelings, he shook his head briefly and continued, "I have never touched a horse ever, the terrify me. When I take wagons I sit in the far back so I can be as far as possible from them! I know absolutely nothing about them other then that they are powerful dangerous animals!", he felt shame roll over him as a man of his physical stature was scared of an animal that very much like himself was large framed and muscle bound, and that like some people were terrified of him for that reason, he was now in turn terrified of horses for it!



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    Post by Kannagi Sat May 16, 2020 4:50 pm

    Cirilla made a snuffling bray and shook her head side to side before lowering it to the ground. She sniffed around as if looking for grass to nibble; a sign enough to Kannagi that she was bored. Kannagi herself climbed down from the horse wordlessly. She pulled out a small hand sized brush and rubbed it over Cirilla's muscles with her left hand, still holding the reins with her right. "Powerful and dangerous animals," She belatedly uttered, resting her forehead against Cirilla's shoulder. The horse sensed her thoughtfulness and in confusion turned her great head to lean on Kannagi's back. It looked like an odd sort of embrace but Kannagi just laughed. She gave Cirilla a reassuring pat and straightened up, looking over her shoulder at Genkumaru. "I see," She said with understanding.

    "I have grown up my whole life with horses and the like. I took care of Cirilla when she was just a foal. I can't imagine that I have a better friend to me in this world."
    Kannagi's voice was calm and soft. "Horses are herbivores, not carnivores. Cirilla and most other horses that have been properly cared for and taught have no ill will towards man. You're not food. As long as you don't impede her freedoms, offer her disrespect, or threaten her boundaries, she would never hurt you." She said the words factually, without discrediting his fear only offering a truth that she felt in her heart. Still holding the reins, Kannagi patted Cirilla twice on the shoulder, uttering a quiet word unheard by Genkumaru. Then, the blue haired woman released the reins to the ground and stepped towards him. "You won't harm her will you?"

    Assuming he answered that he would not, Kannagi would subsequently lecture him.
    "Shinobi should not let emotions, especially fears, control them. How are you to become great if you feel frightened of an animal who in all the kingdoms of beasts is considered little more than prey or nothing at all. You have chakra, you have strong ninja fists. Do you not think that if you wanted to, you could kill Cirilla without any harm to yourself?" Her eyes were stoney in expression. "Sometimes we must learn to live with our fears even if we cannot beat them."

    She took his hand in her's and squeezed,
    "Please, will you trust me? I can help you. I cannot fix you or get rid of the fear, but I can make it more bearable." With a small secretive smile, the blue eyed woman added, "Maybe I will tell you something that I fear in return."

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    Post by Genkumaru Sat May 16, 2020 6:14 pm

    He couldn't help himself as he kept both eyes trained on the horse he now knew as Cirilla, taking in every micro movement she made so that he could stay ready to defend himself. Which as Kannagi talked and went on about the world view of horses, Genkumaru felt like his fear was stupid. She was right.. If he wanted to he could probably blast a hole right through the poor mare and it wouldn't have even taken much effort on his end, however that is not a thought that would have ever crossed his mind towards most animals. Even in his exile he only killed that which he needed and never enjoyed it, as he had robed an innocent herbivore in most cases of its life.

    Seeing her drop the reins and ask him if he would hurt Cirilla, that which she had proclaimed was her closest friend actuially wounded the man as he responded eyes closed, "
    I would never... and your right. I shouldn't fear her, especially not when she is a part of you Kannagi..", taking a small but significant step forward he exhaled deeply and raised his right arm slowly palm up towards Cirilla, his own eyes still closed.

    Taking in her words and feeling the gentle calming caress of her hand around his only cemented that this was something he needed to conquer for her sake as much as his, "
    I.. I am sorry Cirilla for treating you so... If you will be gentle with me then I will try my hardest to not fear you. Kannagi... means something to me and I know you mean probably everything to her, so I need to get over this I think...", His eyes still closed he took another step towards the horse hand outstretched with his palm upwards. He was however steadily getting more beet red in the face as he realized that he had belayed some of his feelings about his new companion so openly.



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    Post by Kannagi Sat May 16, 2020 11:51 pm

    Cirilla snickered but stayed still as Genkumaru approached, keeping her dark eyes upon his movements with wariness. Kannagi stepped forward with her hand on his hand, keeping him steady as he walked forward. She was surprise by his sudden willingness to take such a risk. She pressed his hand to the horses shoulder, standing between his body and Cirilla's broad neck. Cirilla would be warm to the touch, her gray coat dusty from the travel here. "See, she's a good girl." When Genkumaru betrayed his feelings towards Kannagi, the blue haired woman grinned. "I'm glad our friendship is so important to you. Nothing would mean more than if you were friends with Cirilla, too."

    Kannagi, oblivious to any possible other affectionate meanings, passed the horse brush from her hand into Genkumaru's.
    "Use broad strong strokes, get some of that dust off her. And then, I'll show you what she likes to eat." Kannagi paused a moment and then patted him on the shoulder and walked around behind the man to the bags beside the saddle. She delved her fingers into the leather bag looking for something to give to Cirilla and she glanced up at Genkumaru to see how he was doing and if Cirilla was taking his presence well. She joked with him from near the horse's backside, "Hmm, only human bones remain in this bag. I must inspect the other." The woman gave Genkumaru a wink as she drew her hand out and tried the second bag.

    Cirilla was calm and steady. She was well behaved and well trained. At the most, the mare might sniffle or paw the ground a couple of times. The gray pony would lean into his brushing if he dared, showing just how much she liked it and apparently putting some of her animal-trust into him. If he continued to brush her and treat her well, she would inevitably swing her head around to look at him, starting to expect a snack after doing so well for her grooming.

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    Post by Genkumaru Sun May 17, 2020 1:48 am

    He couldn't help but smile for a brief moment at Kannagi's words despite that his heart was still thumping in his chest. As she placed the brush in his hand, he knew what it was she was asking of him. With a lot of hesitation he slowly brought the brush to Cirilla's body, targeting a spot he thought looked dusty, and completed a single broad stoke. Even through the brush he could feel the powerful muscle fibers encased under Cirilla's hide. Kannagi's shoulder pat encouragement to keep going with renewed vim, he brushed again, and then a few more times, being extra careful to be strong yet gentle.


    And then Kannagi had to mess with him! his face twisted to bewilderment at the mention of bones as he shot his eyes up to look at Kannagi only to be aggravated when she winked at him. She was toying with him! This was no better then when the older Orphans used to tease him as a young child, "
    Kanna! Come on! Not cool...", he shook his head and tried to recenter himself as his heart pounded within him, a choking feeling taking over his throat. The panic starting to set in once more, he was touching the horse, even through the brush he was touching her! What if she reared, or bit, or he spooked her and she accidentally kicked Kanna? The intrusive thoughts began piling in and drowning out his senses, until he took a deep breath and tried to calm himself.

    - Gen calm yourself! How can you let them call you the Crimson Lion if you can't even face a horse! Your acting more like the Crimson Kitten at the moment! How is this anymore terrifying then when you have to hold back the all consuming rage inside you? Or keep your damned explosive chakra at bay? The horse is being kind just the same as Kanna has been... Be fearless, or at least master yourself right now! -

    His internal pep talk seemed to help some, however when Cirilla craned her neck to look at him, thats what melted the ice truly for the moment at least. In that moment, he realized just how beautiful of a creature she was, her eyes being so gentle and calming. If he hadn't known better he would start assuming the horse was casting some sort of Genjutsu on him! "
    She is so.... beautiful when I actually look at her.", his heart was still thumping like taiko drums, but the crescendo it had reached slowly began to dwindle.



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    Post by Kannagi Sun May 17, 2020 3:39 pm

    Kannagi slid her hands out of the second pouch, holding a thick orange carrot in her hand. She stood next to Cirilla and smiled. "Isn't she though? So far, she likes you." Kannagi jostled him with her elbow, "She'll appreciate you even more if you present her with that snack she's looking for." Kannagi held up the carrot to Cirilla and the horse made an excited snuffle with her lips. The gray horse followed the carrot with her broad muzzle trying to get it like an eager child. Kannagi spoke as she lifted the carrot to the pony. "Horses don't have teeth like humans do. Make sure if you feed her, you're only giving her bite size pieces. Most of the time, if the piece is too big she'll drop it anyway." The blue haired shinobi let Cirilla grasp the carrot with her teeth, the pony's soft lips rubbing over Kannagi's fingers and trying to pull it from her grasp. Instead, Kannagi bent the carrot and used the horse's teeth to snap the thick carrot in half. Contented snapping and cracking sounds filled the air as Cirilla chewed and Kannagi handed the carrot to Genkumaru.

    "It's a little wet but it'll do. You can just hand her that piece; we'll try the biting part another time. We have a mission to do, after all."
    Cirilla followed the carrot as it was passed over and opened and closed her mouth, trying to get a nibble between the shinobi. Kannagi rubbed her hand over Cirilla's face, resting on the large jaw bone. "Be good, Ciri." Cirilla swung her head a little and bonked into Kannagi's body. She moved with the pony's push and said, "Don't look at me, I don't have the carrot!" Placing his hand near the mouth of the creature he so feared would be an ultimate test of his bravery. Kannagi knew it was a stretch but if she could get him to do it, riding her would be much easier.

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    Post by Genkumaru Sun May 17, 2020 5:32 pm

    He couldn't help but be enamored by the horse still, she was beautiful not that he had given her a chance. However while Kannagi was able to feed Cirilla with ease Gen did not find it so easy. Holding what was given to him without question, a unique mental tick in most humans, his heart began thumping again as he understood what was expected of him. Slowly holding the carrot closer to the horse's mouth, he would let go of it the moment he saw her jaw almost close around it, pulling his hand back quickly while leaving her to her orange treat. He knew this probably wasn't the most courageous way of doing it but in his mind, this allowed him to keep maintaining his own safety.

    Wordlessly he handed Kannagi the brush and drifted towards the back end of Cirilla before speaking again, his voice slightly shaky with perspiration on his brow, "
    Thank you for pushing me Kanna... but I think that's enough of front end business today. Lets get going as its going to be a long ride I think.... And all that's left of my nerves is about to break if I do anything more then ride her I think....", he was sincere in his statement, but also trying to be a little stern, as he had found his limit. If Kanna would motion for him to clamber on after she had mounted Cirillia, Gen would do it in one fluid motion, using his well defined physique to aide in a quick rear mount.



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    Post by Kannagi Sun May 17, 2020 11:11 pm

    Kannagi gave a nod and let out a breath of relief. Everything a little bit at a time, she considered, friendship and missions included. The shinobi climbed atop Cirilla's back and took the reins in her left hand. She turned and gestured for Genkumaru to join her. When he did and his hold was secure, Kannagi took off towards the Bloostained Mire. Cirilla moved slowly at first, but as Genkumaru grew more used to the ride, Kannagi increased the speed. They would get there with few breaks and no more interruptions.


      Current date/time is Tue Apr 20, 2021 9:33 am