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    Post by Ryojin on Thu Aug 06, 2020 12:12 am

    Ryojin walked through the sultry jungle path. He walked for quite some time from the gates down and into the valley of the kings. He hoped that within the confines of this ashen history he would find the answers he sought, but he knew the answers didn't lay as clear cut as the statues and buildings from ages past within the very valley the new world was built upon. His mind was lingering somewhere between a world where he had the power and means to achieve every goal he had and this one that he lived in. He had attempted to coax truth out of his father once more but had his hand smacked yet again for not simply falling in line and for once it just wasn't sitting with him.

    He had begun to slowly spiral his bo about his left and right side. He took a long deep breath of morning air. He held his breath just as long as he had breathed it in for. The whole world felt utterly still as he mulled over the pros and cons of separating himself from his father and weighed the clashing importance of honor, duty, and family in his own mind. Was this what his father had wanted? Was this where his relationship with the very man who brought him here and saved him from the never ending snow and barren frost lands? Could he just silence his own ego, his own needs, his own goals for the sake of maintaining a connection that for once in his life he was wondering if it were even real? His father had always been careful to hold his tongue, but as of late, maybe he was growing weary from Ryojin's pursuit for truth and answers.

    His bo spun about his left and right side as he thought. He shifted it hand to hand. He had grown somewhat accustomed to holding it in his left hand even despite the missing digit, though his grip was slightly weaker, his capability with the staff was beginning to make up for it. He pushed his staff hard into the ground to vault himself, but he left himself go straight up and land back down with a light thud. He did it again, and again. He was trying to physically push the very thoughts that tormented his mind from him, but they were there to stay at this point.

    Once he had managed to vault himself to exhaustion, he allowed himself to fall onto his back and look up at the sky. A soft sigh was created within his lungs and then gently breathed out through his nose. He loosely formed his hand seals with his right hand and it began to softly rain. He laid in this cool, soft rain staring up hoping that maybe the answers would come to him from the sky. He knew the fantasy of the answer just dropping from nothing and into his mind was just that, a fantasy, but he could still lay here and dream of it.

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    Post by Hyūga Ami on Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:55 pm

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    While Ryojin was thinking about his life, Ami was thinking about her relationships with people, having recently reached a point in her life filled with turmoil and conflict. The more people she met and got close to, the harder it was for her differentiate her emotions and feelings for them. At first it had been only Keiji, the man that was responsible for stealing her heart. She had thought that that was going to be the end of the affair, but when she met Sojiro, the simplicity of the matter had all but disappeared. It was hard for her to now face both of them, her heart torn and mind confused with every encounter. The girl heaved a small sigh as she made her way into the jungle, a place she had not been in a long time. Why her feet had carried her here was beyond her, but when she came to senses, she was already there, the humid and stifling air around reminded her of where she was.

    Ami had even gone so far as to change her appearance, her green hair replaced with a light pink colour, the colour of cherry blossoms and blue contacts over her lavender-white eyes. Her real reason for changing her appearance was tied to her change of heart. She wanted to start again, as she thought she had disappointed her clan. The Hyuuga clan was a reputable clan in Gekkousato, and her recent fight with the bijuu had taught her just how incompetent of a shinobi she had been. Mixed into the equation was the fact that she had let Jayy go, something that she battled with constantly. Her righteous personality blamed herself for being so soft against her friend, while the kind side had wanted to let him go. Faced with the inner conflict, she had ultimately chosen to harm herself, to throw her own safety and life away to help her friend. Yet she lived with that guilt every day, knowing that she had betrayed the village in her own little way.

    The girl stopped in her tracks, her knees giving way as she fell to the ground, tears streaming down her face. She looked like an absolute mess to anyone who would see her then, crying like a child in the middle of the jungle. The girl had fought back the tears and emotions she had been feeling for such a long time, suppressing them with every ounce of her mental and physical energy for the sake of others. To counter, she had drowned herself in alcohol, taken comfort to dark sleepless nights while appearing like a walking zombie by day. She had problems with eating, consuming little to no food for days on end, every part of normal human activity stolen fro her. Ami wanted a break, wanted an escape



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    Post by Ryojin on Thu Aug 06, 2020 10:26 pm

    Ryojin thought he felt himself lost in a trance of his own, off in another world of thought, but he could've swore that not too far from him he very possibly heard... sobbing? It was upon definitely hearing it more than once or twice that Ryojin stood from where he had laid and for the time being pushed the thoughts, worries, and weight plaguing him to the very back of his mind. He made his way around looking about until running upon Ami, though he had not seen her changed appearance and as a result was not quite aware who she was. "It's quite the place to think, isn't it? Be careful though! I can tell you many times over that I've found here in the grave of the past that it is quite easy to lose yourself in your very own! Are you alright?" Ryojin offered out his left hand, it was the hand missing the index finger. He peered at the woman before him. He wondered what suffering she had to bear to bring her to this state and he oddly felt a pang of empathy even despite not knowing her exact circumstance. He simply agonized for her because she agonized. It was the turmoil of feeling that though he could not feel himself, he knew very well when he was looking right at it.

    "Wait.. You look.. Familiar. Have we met?" Ryojin tilted his head trying to grasp at who this woman was with no idea himself. He felt as though he should know her. There was perhaps an odd sense of nostalgia about her that he didn't quite understand immediately, but perhaps it was just him imagining things. He looked over her carefully. Her height, her stature, her body, though it felt as though something had changed. Providing that she would grab hold of his hand, he would in turn use his other hand as well to help pull her up gently.

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    Post by Hyūga Ami on Thu Aug 06, 2020 11:25 pm

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    A familiar voice would interrupt her sobbing, and she quickly would try to regain a little bit of composure, even though she knew that it would be too late. She hadn't heard the voice in a long time, and for a moment she would search her mind, trying to pinpoint where and when she had heard the voice. Raising her head a little to get a good lock at his face, Ami would recognize Ryojin immediately, remembering that short hyouton lesson of sorts that he had given to her on their first encounter. He hadn't changed much although she noticed that his extended hand towards her was missing an index finger. Had he gone to the tomb as well? She would have still been missing a finger had it not been for Sojiro...she pushed the thought of the sun shinobi out of her head as once again she found her mind clouded by the countless encounters they had had now, turning her tear-stained face to face Ryojin. "Ryojin...long time no see..." she said in a hoarse whisper.

    Right, he hadn't seen her after she had drastically changed her appearance. The girl would take his extended hand, gripping his other hand as he supported her up to her original standing position. It felt so weird and embarrassing to be crying like a child in front of someone she knew, although crying in front of a stranger would probably have been worse. Taking a hand to carelessly wipe the tear stains on her face, she would attempt a smile. "I'm alright...sorry for looking like a mess..." and then adding in casually, "Hyuuga Ami, in case you've forgotten." The young girl would then smile at him genuinely this time. It had been a long time since they had met so it wouldn't surprise her if he didn't remember who she was.



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    Post by Ryojin on Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:13 am

    "Miss Ami! I'm so sorry! Please forgive me for not recognizing you! You look quite different last I saw you. It's quite alright! I'm just so sorry again for not recognizing you!" Ryojin frowned a bit not having recognized her from before. She did come to look quite a bit different since the last they met. Before the tomb and the beast. That felt like ages ago now. "What have you been up to Miss Ami?" Ryojin sat down on the ground and had his bo rested against his chest and shoulder. He pushed both his hands into his sleeves and kept his eyes on her ensuring he listened thoughtfully as she spoke.

    "Everything has been insane recently hasn't it?" Ryojin gently rubbed his chin thinking on everything that had occurred recently. He dragged his finger in the dirt a bit drawing swirls subconsciously but then after a moment, spoke up once more. "You know. I have a random question for you. I want to travel out of the village for awhile. I'm thinking about heading toward a small village by where I was born. It's a village that's known for fishing and trade. Would you care to join me for awhile?" With that, Ryojin sighed softly. Would it be a mistake to bring someone else to the north? No. It would be a help. If they ran into his brother there, Ami would perhaps see what real ice style jutsu looked like.

    What if she declined? Would it be weird for him to just ask out of the blue? No. It made sense to him because the goal was to work for awhile in solitude away from the moon village. The hard work would iron out the uncertainty of current events and at least offer a certain distraction.

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    Post by Hyūga Ami on Fri Aug 07, 2020 5:51 am

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    "What have you been up to Miss Ami?"

    Such a simple yet difficult question that the girl actually smiled. Her smile was filled with sadness, her eyes shifting from Ryojin to the ground. So much had happened in such a small amount of time that she didn't know where to start. Ami would think for a moment, looking at the other shinobi as he sat down, her eyes taking a good look at him again. Other than his missing finger, it didn't seem much of him had changed. Although she wasn't probably as observant of people as others were, she was certain that he was still somewhat the same, with the exception of sadness in his eyes that hadn't been there when they had first met. Could he have experienced something too? Realizing she was being somewhat selfish with her own issues, she decided to take him up on his offer of traveling out of the village, taking the time to catch up with a friend.

    "Of course, I'd love to accompany you." She didn't really care where they went, or how long they went for. She only cared about leaving the village, leaving her problems temporarily behind. Ami realized that she had never asked Ryojin about his life, his past. She was now curious, having been born and raised in Gekkousato herself, she was always intrigued to hear the stories of people who weren't like her. "To answer your question..." she would then turn her gaze back to him, her facial expression pained and somewhat distraught as she tried to find the right words. "I've just been training, I guess. I'm sure you've heard the rumors around the village. There's nothing the locals don't know or can't get their hands on if it's gossip..." she laughed a little bitterly, knowing that being from a reputable clan like the Hyuuga meant her every move and word would be heavily scrutinized. "What about you?" She was also intrigued to know why he had come to the jungle, but had decided to wait on the question, perhaps for when they were out of the village.

    "Ah, and please...call me Ami. We're friends, right?" This time she gave him a real smile, one that she now rarely gave to people.



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    Post by Ryojin on Fri Aug 07, 2020 10:26 am

    "Really?! You'kll join me?! Then let's pack our bags and head out sooner than later." Ryojin grinned big. He was genuinely excited that he would actually have a travel partner this time around. In truth, he had only been back to the small village once since he had been pulled to the village by his father. It was time for him to return and to work out the thoughts that were plaguing him so that he could hopefully once again move forward. He took in a deep breath as he listened to her before speaking again.

    "To be honest with you, I haven't heard anything, but if you want an ear, I am more than willing to lend that to you. I promise Ami, I'm not going to change my opinion of you okay? You are still a strong Hyuuga who deserves to be acknowledged as such even if you make mistakes. I think everyone beats themselves up too much about these things. Even I am guilty of it, but it's okay. All we can do is push to learn from our mistakes and grow from there right?" Ryojin had in turn also given her a genuine smile.

    Ryojin was not the type to not acknowledge and not respect someone just because of a few bad decisions. At the end of the day if you committed to being a shinobi, you made a choice that many others wouldn't, didn't, or couldn't and to him that was worth something all it's own. "You may want to bring some warm clothing. But if the cold doesn't bother you like it doesn't me, then we can simply go now. They will feed us, house us, and clothe us. They're just good people like that there. They always have been."

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    Post by Hyūga Ami on Fri Aug 07, 2020 6:00 pm

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    Ami smiled at him as he looked happy that she had agreed to go with him to his village. In truth, she had wanted the escape but also wanted so much to know more about Ryojin. Since their first meeting, she had been drawn to his capabilities, hoping to meet him on a mission to see for herself what he could do. And the bear attack in the Sun village was yet another chance encounter, though brief. Since then she had gained the Hyouton ability, being able to mold her chakra to use hyouton ninjutsu. The girl wondered if he would still be willing to teach her a thing or two, seeing as he was the only ice user she knew, and a good one too.

    "I let a man go, and he became a rogue shinobi. I let Gekkousato and my clan down..." This was the closest to the truth that she had ever gotten about that day when she impaled herself to let Shinigai leave the village. She had thought of the solution as a middle ground; she wanted him to leave so he could find the answers he was looking for while not being penalized by the village for letting him leave. In the end it had worked, as nobody questioned the badly injured Hyuuga. To everyone, they saw a woman who had lost a fight yet again. But to her, it was so much more. She had lost a friend, a teammate, her self-righteousness, her principles and more.

    At the mention of being cold, she would think back of the Kellen Plains. If Ryojin's village was anything like that place, she was a little skeptical. She had recently found that she was less affected by the cold though, perhaps after gaining the hyouton release. So she simply nodded her head at his words, choosing to wave off the offer of going to get something warm to wear. Ami always underdressed for the temperature so she was perfectly ready to feel the cold regardless. "I think I'll be fine. Let's get going, shall we?" Her smile was still hinted with a little sadness as she turned, heading out of the jungle. It was a pleasant surprise to get to travel with an old friend.



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    Post by Ryojin on Tue Aug 11, 2020 2:46 am

    "Oh.. I see. Hmm. I don't think you're a disappointment as long as you did what you felt was right in the moment. I think regrets are there for us to understand how we could've felt differently under different circumstances." Ryojin nodded and crossed his arms over his chest. In truth, his father had told him something akin to this long ago when he was first brought back to the village. He reflected for a moment on the word his father had given him and the circumstances he had faced to read them so much differently now than he had then. It was almost a refreshing feeling to him as though a slow calming rain washed over him.

    Hearing she was ready to go, Ryojin jumped to his feet and nodded. "We are headed to the fishing village of Craiglorn for a bit then. Consider it a vacation.. but I'll be honest with you, the old woman will put us to work. I'm going because I need to think some things through and come to conclusions on my own. The best way I know to do that is to work until the answer comes to me. It's just how I'm wired I think." With that, Ryojin began to lead the way south. It would be in the south he would find his own truth; or, at least he hoped.

    He treaded one foot after another per usual. It was going to be a long trek, but he knew well that the food, clothing, and the company were all worth it. He had chosen to only bring the bare essentials himself. When they arrived in Craiglorn, he would need to stay focused and gather his own food and furs for clothing. This was going to be the price he paid for returning after being gone for so long. For leaving the old woman without any word where he went. For leaving his brother. For leaving the past he could've grown in to and become something different besides a shinobi. These were the realities he needed to face before he could face this one.

    "It'll be hard, but the payout will be... more than worth it I'm sure."

    [exit]

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    Post by Hyūga Ami on Tue Aug 11, 2020 6:02 am

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    Ami couldn't help but agree to what Ryojin said. There was definitely a need to feel regret, although the price of feeling it had been dire, under those circumstances. She had not just let Jayy go, but had crafted the illusion or the lie that she had fought him and failed to capture him, when in truth she had only impaled herself so that he could escape unscathed. Had it been the best choice, the most sound of judgment on her part, she wasn't sure anymore, and plagued with more than just regret, the girl had continued to carry on life as though nothing had ever happened. Of course, she had struggled, she had felt conflicted, but those emotions were only natural to the situation. It didn't excuse her from having betrayed her village and her clan in her own way. If only regret could turn back time...would she have chosen differently? Would she have chosen to capture Jayy or to fight him to the death?

    The answer was probably no...

    And that was what plagued at her heart the most, the fact that regardless of how many times she would be faced with the same choices, she would have still made the same decision. Did she value her friendships and her relationships with others more than what was morally and legally correct? What did that mean for her as a shinobi, as a Gekkousato kunoichi? All these questions would be left unanswered as she turned her attention back to the man, noting that he was now standing and getting ready to go. The village of Craiglorn was an unfamiliar place to the young girl, and she was somewhat excited for the vacation that Ryojin had mentioned they would treat this travel as. A vacation had been exactly what she had longed for, although his next comment about being worked by some old woman would intrigue her. Ami chose not to ask any questions, a nod would be all she would give to him as she followed the other out of the jungle. Questions were never meant to be asked and she was more inclined to find out through observation and surprise.

    {Exit}



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