Ultimate Shinobi - A Naruto RPG
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Mission: Old Spice [Private]

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Ulkira
Nukenin
Ulkira

Age : 27
Posts : 1836

Mission: Old Spice [Private] Vide
PostSubject: Mission: Old Spice [Private] Mission: Old Spice [Private] EmptySun 18 May 2014, 8:40 am


• Old Spice •

Mission: Old Spice [Private] Perfum11

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Yes, this is the place. Undeniably so. A six-by-nine-inch sheet of paper was looked up from to the scenery ahead. The hand-drawn sketch on the paper was being compared to the present setting, and there were a satisfying number of similarities to be found. The artist’s depiction of the area and surrounding landmarks were accurate enough to paint a clear picture of the scene - pun intended. Without further thought, Masquerade folded the sheet of paper and slipped it back into his pocket. From his positioning, the cliff’s edge, the distant mountains in the background, and the encircling vegetation made it undoubtedly certain that this was the place he had been instructed to reach. Swift but quiet footsteps brought the male to the cliff’s end in a matter of seconds, and he looked downwards from the precarious edge without agitation. The covering of white moved from side to side as he scanned the land below in search of his objective. According to the given information, there was a tower somewhere in the depths of this woodland; this tower was where he would find housed a stockpile of perfume; and it was these perfumes that he had been assigned to acquire possession of.

“Ah, there it is,” he remarked happily, the smooth surface of the ivory-white mask halting its oscillation to point in the direction of the located tower. Had he not been looking for it specifically, he might have missed the lighted windows of the structure in the gloom of the night. Tall, cylindrical, and made of stone, the tower was hidden rather well in the misty mass of trees and plants. Breaking into an abrupt run, Masquerade moved along the edge of the cliff until he was directly over the tower. The tower sat upon a small landform in the middle of a large pond, with the sheer cliff face behind it, and dry woodland ahead; a sturdy, wooden bridge allowed passage over the pond, connecting the tower to the bank of the pond. Masquerade paused for a moment on the edge, examining the distance that stood between him and the flat top of the tower; a distance of hundreds of meters, in fact. Clearly, a treacherous drop. Without further hesitation, the Nukenin placed his hands into his trouser pockets, and walked off the edge of the cliff. Just as he began to plummet earthwards, his wings shimmered into existence to allow him some control over his descent. Gravity pulled him down feet-first, and his falling form cut through the still air. An upward flow of wind ruffled his clothes, causing them to billow around him. But, because he was more or less gliding with his wings, the Jinchuuriki was not falling freely, but descending at a slow, controlled speed. As it was, when he reached the top of the tower two minutes later, it was at a safe and slow speed as opposed to a deadly one.

Noiselessly, like a purple ghost of some kind, the Nukenin’s feet made contact with the stone roof of the tower. His eyes flitted instantly to the man opposite him, who was slumped back on a chair and, judging from the snoring, was fast asleep. Clearly, this was a sentry assigned to watch the area around the tower from this elevated perch. The fact that he was sleeping on the job implied at how dull and uneventful his task probably was. An opportunity worth taking advantage of. Without further ado, Masquerade quietly advanced forward. Three seconds later, the masked shinobi was calmly pulling out a kunai from the man’s forehead. He promptly wiped the bloodied weapon clean on the dead man’s clothing; the blood seeping out from the wound on the thief’s head was not treated with any care. Green eye lenses were turned away from the “sleeping” corpse and to the present setting. The most immediate potential peril having been dealt with, Masquerade was free to inspect the top of the tower without any interruptions.

It did not take long for the silent ninja to find the trapdoor that allowed access to the tower’s interior from the roof, and vice versa. Masquerade bent down and curled his fingers around the handle of the trapdoor; before he opened it, he ensured that there was no one directly beyond the door that might surprise him. Once his senses confirmed that there was indeed no chakra signature in the direct vicinity of the door, the Nukenin lifted the trapdoor open to expose a wooden ladder leading down to a dimly-lit room. Still holding onto the handle, he dropped down swiftly into the opening, releasing the door as he fell so that it snapped shut over him. The moonlight reaching through the closing doorway vanished at the same time that Masquerade landed at the base of the ladder. From there, he gave his surroundings a brief glance-over. The room was small and empty, illuminated by a few candles hanging from the walls. Aside from the ladder that led to the roof, there was only one other route of exit: a descending flight of stairs directly opposite the crouching Nukenin.

Before making any further move, the masked shinobi bowed his head a little, unseen eyes closing behind his mask as he concentrated. Several, scattered blips of chakra ignited in the darkness of his emptied mind. Twelve… No, fifteen. Fifteen chakra signatures. Fifteen living, battle-capable obstacles stood between Masquerade and the completion of this mission. He had to secure the stolen fragrances; but to do that, he first had to eliminate each and every one of the impeding threats in this tower. His client was not a shinobi, or even a combatant of any kind; for the perfumes to be accessible to his employer without any danger present, the occupants in this tower had to be subtracted from the equation. Rising to his feet, the Nukenin silently made his way toward and down the flight of stairs, his senses on full alert. No one was close enough to warrant a stealthy descent of the stairway, however. As such, Masquerade was able to step down from the wooden steps and onto the lower level without any cause for concern. Booted feet tapped against the wooden floorboards with such little noise as to be almost nonexistent. The passage he was in led only to another staircase, which the shinobi went down with the same level of reassurance as before.

Reaching the next floor, Masquerade paused at the foot of stairs, obscured face turning to his side. One decisive move later, and he had jumped up to the ceiling, clinging to the wooden surface like an insect. Not two seconds after he had glued himself to the ceiling, a door to his right opened, and a pair of chattering men stepped out into the hallway. The two did not notice the figure overhead; hardly a surprise, since the light from the candles on the walls did not reach all that well up to the roof. Additionally, the Nukenin’s silence meant the men had no reason to divert their attention upwards. How lucky for him - and how unlucky for them.

Masquerade’s hand moved: a kunai was swiftly gathered from his pouch, and promptly hurled downwards from his hiding spot. The pointed edge of the knife was embedded into the skull of the first man. The second man jerked in surprise as his partner drop to the floor lifelessly; before he could pinpoint the origin of the attack, a smoke pellet dropped to the ground at his feet and broke open to expel the gas within. The thief yelped with surprise as the cloud engulfed him. His hampered vision meant that he did not see Masquerade drop down directly in front of him with another kunai in hand; he did not see much after that, for the Nukenin maliciously swiped his weapon forward to slice through the thief’s eyes. The blinded man’s howl of pain was silenced as Masquerade immediately snapped a hand over his mouth after his initial strike. The man was then put to rest as the bloodied kunai was jabbed into his throat. The resultant spurt of blood just missed Masquerade, with only a few specks of red managing to stain his purple hood. After unkindly pulling his kunai back out of the motionless guard, the Nukenin paused to allow the figure to slump down to the floor beside his partner. Then, the Teinei bent down and extracted the kunai jammed in the head of the first guard; he then proceeded to wipe both weapons clean on the thieves’ clothes, prior to returning the knives to their storage spot.

The next step was to drag the two corpses out of the hallway and back into the room they had exited when alive. This room turned out to be a sleeping quarter: rows of bunk beds lined the walls of the room, all empty at the moment. Masquerade dragged one body at a time to a bunk and deposited a corpse onto a mattress each. With this seemingly unnecessary task completed, the Nukenin departed from the room and returned to the passageway outside. Pausing in the hallway, he glanced around thoughtfully. A moment later, he set off down the hallway, clearly having a goal in mind. It did not take the male long to reach his destination: several turns and one flight of stairs down from his starting point, he came upon yet another door. Masquerade did not pass through the rectangular entrance, however. Instead, he stopped once more to consider the situation. The hooded head tilted to the side as a pair of green, oval-shaped eye lenses pointed in the direction of the door. He could sense it. Beyond that door, gathered together, were seven people. The chakra signatures were telling him that more of the thieves were scattered throughout the tower, but for the moment, a considerable number seemed to have assembled in the room ahead.

Well, then. Best get started.


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Jutsu Used:
 

Special Characteristics Used:
 

Items Used:
 

Chakra Remaining:
 


Last edited by Ulkira on Sat 18 Oct 2014, 5:12 am; edited 2 times in total
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Ulkira
Nukenin
Ulkira

Age : 27
Posts : 1836

Mission: Old Spice [Private] Vide
PostSubject: Re: Mission: Old Spice [Private] Mission: Old Spice [Private] EmptyMon 26 May 2014, 10:56 pm

“Kuchiyose no Jutsu.” Though the words were barely audible due to the volume at which they had been voiced, the name of jutsu had been declared nonetheless. Prior to the utterance of these words, the Nukenin’s hands had gone through some practiced handseals; as he spoke the jutsu’s name, he pressed a hand over the wooden floorboard. From the ensuing cloud of smoke emerged a grinning, man-sized hyena with a spotted pelt of dark gray. Malicious grin widening with a yellow-eyed glance at the interior, the male hyena sat down on his haunches and raised a forepaw in greeting.

“Yo! Wassup, Master?” remarked Chuckles casually. The hyena was not mystified by the differing appearance of his “Master”, the simple reason being that he was already informed of Masquerade’s recent burn accident, and subsequent wardrobe change; this was not the first time he was meeting his Summoner after the latter’s accident. Granted, during the initial meet, he had been slightly suspicious of Masquerade’s identity - for a grand total of three seconds. As the hyena had explained, even though the shinobi’s appearance and voice had changed some, his scent was still the same. Also, there had been something about how Masquerade was “the only person who talks like he has a thesaurus jammed down his throat”.

“So, what brings me here, Masky?”

Hiding the mild annoyance that came from hearing his name shortened in such a way, Masquerade instead pointed a pencil-thin index at the door to his left. “Beyond that entrance is a gathering of unsuspecting individuals; they are to be eliminated promptly.” He spoke in an unhurried manner, as if his request was nothing too trying or significant. Further elaboration on the task at hand was not necessary; clarifying to the hyena the exact details of Masquerade’s mission, or why the thieves had to be “eliminated promptly” was redundant. In spite of the short time he had known Chuckles, Masquerade was accurately aware of the hyena’s quirks and habits. Should he be offered the chance to engage in a conflict of any kind, the bloodthirsty Chuckles would not hesitate in accepting the challenge. In a sharp contrast to the shinobi that commanded him, the hyena was more excited by the prospect of battle, and eagerly looked forward to any form of violence. It was this differing perspective that made Masquerade content with his decision to forge a contract with the vicious animal; and also why he had opted to call him here at this time. The Nukenin felt no thrill at the thought of laying waste to the occupants of this tower. But Chuckles? He would relish it. And if he relished it, then he would certainly exercise efficiency in its execution.

“I require your assistance in dispatching them,” Masquerade continued in the same eased fashion.

A devious grin spread across Chuckles’ features. “Brutality limits?”

“None whatsoever.”

Bitchin’.”

With a chilling snicker, Chuckles got to his feet and bounded towards the door, barging through it to burst into the space beyond. Mischievous yellow eyes swept over the room in examination, informing the hyena that he stood in a mess hall of sorts. A multitude of long, rectangular tables occupied the majority of space. Four guards sat together at one table, two at another, and the final was hovering by himself near the door. The seven men had been busy chatting loudly and rowdily, stopping momentarily to take a bite or chug down their beverages. When the hyena enthusiastically barged into the room, however, seven voices quieted and fourteen eyes turned to look over at the door. For a few seconds, none of the humans moved, probably too stunned by the appearance of something as random as a hyena in the chamber; that, or they were too drunk to figure out what to do next. A few murmured to each other, wondering what Chuckles was supposed to be. Whispered phrases such as “what the heck is that?” or “looks like some kinda dog” disturbed the silent atmosphere. These murmurs and more were silenced when the man nearest Chuckles (the one by the door) pointed angrily at the hyena, shouting over the mutters to gather his comrades’ attention.

“Who cares what it is? Somebody get that mutt out of here!”

At the very moment that the man finished his statement, Chuckles whipped his head in the former’s direction. An unpleasant grin spread across his face, and he lunged right at the human without prior warning. The mammal’s pounce proved so quick and sudden that the victim barely had time to register the mass of fur leaping at him. The guard was knocked back onto the table behind him, and his exclamations were cut short when a row of sharp teeth sunk into his throat to leave a fist-sized hole in it. Blood spurted out messily from the man’s wound, staining the face of the animal directly over him. As this brutal scene unfolded, no help came from the other thieves, even though it would have been too late to do anything. The other men all seemed too stupefied by what had just happened to act in any way. No such perturbation was visible on the animal as it slowly swept its sharp eyes over the silent thieves. The demented look on his bloodstained face was made more chilling by the mix of saliva, blood, and flesh hanging out of his grinning snout; he then whispered in a voice that no doubt sent shivers down a few of the thieves’ spines.

“Well, don’t just stand there like a bunch of pussies! Come and get me…”

With that statement delivered in a sinister tone, a high-pitched laugh erupted from Chuckles’ throat as he bounded across the room, away from the humans. Five enraged men jumped to their feet and rushed after the bloodthirsty hyena with weapons raised. The sixth one opted not to give chase, instead making a run for the door. He might have been fleeing in fear, but there was also the possibility that he had figured out what the presence of a talking animal alluded to. The exiting thief might very well have deduced that there was a shinobi in the tower, and if he had, then he would be on his way to alert the rest of his brethren. While his comrades chased after the cackling hyena, the remaining thief exited the mess hall and hurried down the hallway.

When he turned around a corner, a gloved hand clamped onto his face before pinning him against the wall. Barely any opportunity was given for a reaction or counterattack, as the assailing shinobi promptly swiped his kunai across the man’s throat. Blood erupted from the ruptured jugular, soiling Masquerade’s attire. Soon after, the masked shinobi released his victim, who dropped to the floor while clutching his neck fruitlessly. His struggling lasted only for a few more seconds before every muscle went still. Masquerade waited to ensure the thief was actually dead, before turning away and marching down the same path he had been going before sensing the thief’s approach. Both he and his latest victim had had the same idea: to find the other thieves in the tower. Of course, their motives for locating them were entirely contrasting.

“You’re not going to fight with him?” inquired the Shichibi, addressing her host as he nonchalantly walked down a flight of stairs with his hands in his trouser pockets. The sounds of battle from the mess hall were receding steadily as the Nukenin strode away from the room. Obviously, the Bijuu was referring to the hyena that had been left behind to deal with the other guards.

Obviously not, the Nukenin answered mentally, continuing along the path that was taking him further away from the skirmish between the hyena and the humans. He’s more suited for such a cumbersome task than I. Why else would I call him here, if not to have him do the dirty work for me?

While the thieves in the mess hall where busy with the hyena, Masquerade would focus on their remaining companions. As it should be obvious by now, the shinobi did not enjoy fighting against an enemy with greater numbers, and he liked it even less when he could not make use of the stealth or trickery to defeat them. Chuckles, on the other hand, preferred such a confrontation, among others. The shinobi was certain that his Summon would be able to handle the task “assigned” to him. At the very least, he would take down a considerable number of them; and if he perished in the process, then that would be doubly satisfying. Masquerade would not be particularly displeased if he lost his Summon; after all, this was the animal that had pretty much implied that he would seize the first opportunity he got to devour his Summoner. Why be reluctant to place such a potential threat in harm’s way, if there was a chance that the threat could be disposed of in the process?

Masquerade did not have to voice these thoughts verbally or mentally to the Bijuu; primarily because he was certain that she knew his way of thinking well enough to surmise what his motives might be. That, and he knew that she was only asking the question without any desire to argue or change Masquerade’s mind. If anything, the Shichibi was just as unlikely to care about the wellbeing of someone who threatened the safety of her host - especially when that someone was not even a human. If there was one thing that the Bijuu and Jinchuuriki could agree on, it was the need for a strong sense of self-preservation on the host’s part.

“Now then: let’s pick off the stragglers,” the Teinei soundlessly whispered to himself. Halting at the top of another staircase (this tower had far too many stairs, in his opinion), the masked shinobi focused his mind once more. First point of mention: he could still sense Chuckles’ chakra signature, and by the “feel” of it, the number of opponents he faced had decreased some. Good for the hyena. Now, on to the second point: it seemed that six thieves still remained in play. Five were assembled on a much lower level from Masquerade, while the sixth was only a floor below. In fact, this final one seemed to be headed for the cafeteria at a hurried pace; he had probably heard the commotion, and was on his way to investigate. Masquerade stepped back from the staircase and immersed himself in the shadows of a corner right beside the stairs, counting the seconds in his mind.

About three seconds later, the thief that hurried up the stairs abruptly tripped in mid-run, courtesy of the leg that the Nukenin had stuck out at the perfect moment. The shinobi’s victim stumbled to the floor heavily, and before he could get up, a boot pressed down onto his back to keep him down long enough for a kunai to dig into the back of his skull. After a second’s wait, Masquerade pulled the knife out of the thief’s brunette scalp, and then immediately plunged it back in for good measure. The sprawling figure remained on the wooden floor, prone and unmoving.

Masquerade moved the body into the corner he had just been hiding in, propping it up against the wall in a seated position. He stopped for a moment to look at the drooping head with its lifeless, staring eyes. Reaching forward with a gloved hand, he slid the corpse’s eyelids shut, and then rose to his feet. Swiftly turning on his heels, he descended the stairs in search of his next target. Five dispatched by my hand; only five more to go. Assuming Chuckles can dispose of his share. He paused in the middle of his stride, looking over his shoulder as he wondered if he should go assist the hyena after all. The hesitation only persisted for a second before Masquerade shrugged to himself and resumed his original course. His decision would stand.


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Jutsu Used:
 

Special Characteristics Used:
 

Items Used:
 

Chakra Remaining:
 

Summon:
 


Last edited by Ulkira on Mon 26 May 2014, 11:54 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Ulkira
Nukenin
Ulkira

Age : 27
Posts : 1836

Mission: Old Spice [Private] Vide
PostSubject: Re: Mission: Old Spice [Private] Mission: Old Spice [Private] EmptyMon 26 May 2014, 11:06 pm

“Excuse me. I believe I’m lost. I was told I could find some perfume around here…?”

As these cordially-spoken words reached the three guards, they leaped up from the chairs around the circular table and spun around to glare at the approaching figure. Two of robust frames, one with a comparatively more slender form; all at least two feet taller than the Nukenin; shoulder-length, braided black hair for the slimmer thief, cropped auburn for the tallest and brawniest, and a shiny bald scalp for the last. Masquerade neared the men with an unhurried pace and a posture devoid of any hostility, his masked head titled down slightly to accentuate the engraved smile’s curve to the others. The shinobi was making no attempt to hide himself, literally announcing his presence with his verbal statement. None of the guards graced him with an answer to his query, however; instead, in a predictable vein, the foremost man (the big, burly one with the head of auburn hair) grunted challengingly and drew his katana, prior to dashing towards the unguarded shinobi. Masquerade stood his ground as Brawny neared, and continued to do so even when the curved blade came swinging at him horizontally.

Instead of sinking into Masquerade’s waist, the katana’s blade passed right through him without injury. The thief and his fellows blinked stupidly, while Masquerade cocked his head to the side before vanishing in a burst of smoke. The basic Bunshin had only just dissipated when something large and heavy dropped from above the auburn-haired thief’s head. The real Masquerade knocked the unsuspecting thief to the ground with the force of his falling mass. No sooner was the robust male flat on his front with the Nukenin crouched on his back, when the shinobi’s chakra-encased hands shot forward and curled securely around the man’s neck.

The downed thief’s movements ceased as his spinal cord tore in half, but Masquerade did not remain motionless like him. A fractional turn of Masquerade’s head signaled his awareness of the thinnest thief approaching from behind, and with a quick push of his bent legs, the Nukenin had risen up and swerved around his assailant in an almost twirl-like manner. No sooner had he gotten out of the way, when a katana vertically sliced through the air where he had last been positioned; the bladed weapon dug into the flesh of the deceased Brawny. As this happened, the slower thief had little time to react as the nimbler shinobi came to rest behind the former, and then abruptly clapped both hands over the thief’s eyes. Chakra poured into the man’s eyeballs, slicing through their vulnerable structure. Masquerade released his hold as the screaming thief dropped his katana to clamp both hands over his bleeding, damaged eyes.

The assailing shinobi did not have time for a breather, however; following his attack, his senses alerted him to a third chakra signature coming at him from behind, with an obvious intent to attack. Baldy, obviously. Unhesitatingly, the masked man swerved out of the way of the sword thrust aimed at his back. Complete evasion was not achieved, since the cold metal of the sword sliced into the Nukenin’s left forearm as he moved. Dismemberment had been avoided, but a paining gash was now running along his lower arm - one that certainly put a damper on his mood.

God dammit! Argh, that hurts.

Bellyaching aside, though: apart from this injury, the attack had been fruitless, since the agile shinobi had managed to twist his arm out of further harm’s way during his sidestep. Momentum carried Baldy’s weapon forward and caused it to dig into the Braidy’s back. Unsurprisingly, this only added to the pain the blinded man was feeling, as was evident by the intensified cries of discomfort. The guilty party winced at his folly, but had no time to correct his mistake: taking advantage of his opponent’s error, the Nukenin slammed an opened palm against the side of the of the third attacker’s head. Without actually aiming for anything, his chakra flowed into the man’s head. A moment later, Masquerade backed away from the man he had just delivered the blow to. Whatever was damaged induced a flow of blood from the thief’s left ear and eye, along with a grunt of pain. Angered, the bald man let go of the weapon embedded in his now-kneeling comrade, and lunged with readied fists at the shinobi that had dared to wound him.

Punch after punch came flying at Masquerade, but the bald man may as well have been aiming at the air around the shinobi. The man’s vision in his left eye was probably hampered slightly, because his aim was so poor that Masquerade barely had to exert any actual effort to dodge. For several seconds, the shinobi did nothing but infuriate his assailant by twisting around his punches like an annoying, buzzing insect doing some kind of dance. Soon enough, Masquerade had ducked as a mighty blow was thrown at him, and the tightened fist smashed forcibly into the stone wall behind him. A howl of pain, and the bald man had pulled his arm back to cradle his broken hand, while the Nukenin ducked past him and towards the still-kneeling Braidy. He roughly pulled the katana out of the man’s back, then spun around and tossed it straight at the cursing cueball. Instead of the bladed end digging into the thief’s chest, the butt of the handle struck him squarely in the forehead. Thief Number Three keeled backwards onto the floor, knocked out by poorly-aimed throw. Despite how beautiful a display it had been of Masquerade’s aiming ability, the throw had yielded a satisfactory result anyway.

Turning away from the unconscious thief, Masquerade looked down at the surviving one; he was still clutching his wounded eyes, bent over and practically sobbing now. Frowning at the humiliating display, the Nukenin picked up the whimpering thief’s fallen katana, and raised it high in the air. A flash of steel, a spurt of blood, and the last thief dropped to the floor with a deep crevice in his scalp. This dirty deed accomplished, the Teinei brought his attention to the bleeding cut on his left arm. It still discomforted him, but the shallowness did not necessitate any prompt medical attention. Before he resumed his business, Masquerade momentarily glanced down at the red liquid staining the front of his clothes, his displeased frown intensifying. Proceeding to ignore the tainting of his apparel, he made his way to the unconscious bald man, and with a casual swipe of the weapon he held, sliced the man’s throat open to expel another jet of pressurized blood. Yet more red flew up to obscure the purple.

Now coated in the blood of his enemies, with hands still enveloped in chakra, Masquerade turned his attention away from his messy handiwork, and instead to the door behind the table that the three sentries had been seated at earlier. The shinobi was not done just yet; two chakra signatures still remained for him to confront, and they were positioned behind that door. There was no question as to whether or not this last pair had heard the commotion outside; it was rather odd that they had not left the room to assist their three brethren. Leaving that matter to be contemplated later, the masked shinobi stepped over the corpses and towards the door. His hand gripped the doorknob and turned it - or tried to. The handle would not turn, indicating that the door was locked.

Eyes narrowing in wonder, Masquerade released the handle and furrowed his obscured forehead in thought. The door was locked, so he could just leave the last two people inside and continue on his way. But, the client had asked that everyone in the tower be eliminated, and Masquerade was always pedantic with semantics. Thus, he could not simply let these two go. Turning away from the locked door and back to the bodies of the thieves, Masquerade began to fish through their pockets. Soon enough, he found a ring of keys on the second thief’s belt. Assuming this was what he sought, he lifted the collection of keys from its hook and returned to the door; each key was systematically tried until the correct make was found. The anticipated click having sounded, the shinobi pocketed the key ring before clasping a chakra-coated hand over the handle once more, and pushed the door open. Enemy katana still in hand, Masquerade took a cautious step forward into the dimly-lit room.

Logic was telling him that if the door had been locked, it had probably been to keep whatever was inside this room from getting out. Pessimism was telling him that it was probably because these last guards were the most dangerous and vicious of the entire group - so much so, that they were a threat to their own comrades, and had to be locked up to prevent bloodshed. This theory thus left the Nukenin on full alert as he entered the room, eyes flitting in the direction of where the chakra blips were located. He stopped in the doorway immediately after the first step, his chakra scalpels deactivating at the same instant. His immobility had been brought on by confusion; confusion born out of the unexpected sight before him. There were no destructive or monstrous men in here; in fact, there were no guards to begin with. What Masquerade was looking at perplexedly were two small, skinny figures locked in a cell. Prisoners. There was nothing unprecedented about seeing someone imprisoned in a room. The fact that Masquerade had not been expecting to find anyone in such a helpless state was the reason why he had been caught by surprise.  

At the Nukenin’s entrance, the pair of boys apprehensively backed up against the wall, the younger and smaller seeking refuge in the arms of the older; two sets of large, frightened eyes flitted from the Nukenin’s masked face to the bloodied katana in his hand. Masquerade tilted his head a fraction to the side as he considered this discovery. They were mere children, the both of them - and what a sorry state they were. The rags they wore barely managed to cover them up properly; their battered and bruised forms were noticeable even with the poor lighting. Coupled with their prepubescent age and extreme terror, pity was an emotion that was more than called for. Taking into account the physical state of the boys, it was no challenge to develop theories for why these children were here.

“Well, this is unexpected. What do you plan to do?”

Hmmm. What, indeed…

Masquerade did not move from his spot at the door, or remove his gaze from the trembling children. Whether they feared his presence because of his obscured look or because of what he might do them was uncertain. The silence, the bloodstains, and the smiling mask were probably doing little to ease the poor children’s minds. At last, the Nukenin advanced closer to the cell, pulling out the key ring from before. He went through each key once more until the cell door was unlocked. Masquerade then opened the cell door, but he did not step inside the prison. Instead, he took a step back, allowing an unobstructed path from the open cell to the room’s exit. Round eyes flitted from the man in the mask, to the door, and back. The children seemed to understand the shinobi’s wordless command, as was evident with how their faces seemed to relax after a moment. Faces alight with relief, the children shakily rose to their feet and limped out of their cell together, both assisting each other in their walk.

Neither man nor children made a sound as the katana swiped through the air, and lopped both small heads off their shoulders.


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Jutsu Used:
 

Special Characteristics Used:
 

Chakra Remaining:
 


Last edited by Ulkira on Mon 26 May 2014, 11:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ulkira
Nukenin
Ulkira

Age : 27
Posts : 1836

Mission: Old Spice [Private] Vide
PostSubject: Re: Mission: Old Spice [Private] Mission: Old Spice [Private] EmptyMon 26 May 2014, 11:16 pm

Masquerade emerged from the room composedly, embedding the bladed end of the bloodstained katana into the wooden floor as he stepped over the dead thieves. The sword was left fixed in the floor as the Nukenin continued on, pausing briefly to turn his head in the only direction he could head. With long, purposeful strides he walked, rapidly covering the distance between his point of origin and his destination. His pace lessened as he approached the door at the hallway’s end, a spidery hand daintily clasping the handle and turning it. The door was opened to expose a flight of stairs, which were fully illuminated once the overhanging light bulb was switched on with a pull of a string on Masquerade’s left. Descending the steps brought the Nukenin in front of yet another door; this one was padlocked, however, which suggested the possibility that the contents in the room beyond were of valuable worth. This was the room where the fragrances were being stored, or so it had been stated in the information that he had been given. Pulling out the key ring he had lifted from the guards, he cycled through the keys once again. To his annoyance, however, none of the keys matched the lock. Eyes narrowing, Masquerade considered the situation. Naturally, he had no idea where he could find the key to this lock, and really, he had wasted enough time in getting to this storeroom. This assignment’s completion was long overdue. Besides, there were quicker ways to open this door than with a key.

A few minutes later, Masquerade was hurrying back up the stairs, the door behind him covered in a majority of the explosive tags he had on his person. Once the Nukenin was well out of the blast range, he formed the seal for detonating the tags. The ensuing explosion created a sound that was almost deafening in the closed space, and Masquerade felt like his very bones vibrated from the force of the blast. But, he was unharmed; and when he returned to the scene of the blast, he saw that the same could not be said of the door. It had been blown off its hinges, shattered completely by the explosive force generated by the tags. Masquerade stepped down the charred, smoking steps and passed through the obliterated doorframe. Among the smell of singed wood, he could make out another strong scent in the air; one so powerfully sweet and aromatic, as to almost be nauseating. The smell confirmed to him that this was indeed the right room.

But, there was a problem. Coming to an abrupt stop, a flabbergasted Masquerade peered round the room - the empty room. There was nothing here. Absolutely nothing. The room was literally just four walls, a floor, and a ceiling. Nothing was present to occupy the room’s space, save for Masquerade. Disbelief masked by the covering of white, Masquerade took a step further into the storeroom. Beneath the mask, his expression quickly morphed into one of frustration as his teeth clenched together. The strength of the aroma in the room made it clear that the fragrances must have been in here recently, but at this moment, they were not. Where, then, were they?

“Maybe these thieves moved them to another room?”

The Shichibi’s suggestion was a valid one, but not a possibility. I already checked every room on the way down here, the Jinchuuriki snapped irritably. He pressed a hand over his masked face in exasperation, bony fingers spread and bent. He had been assured by his employer that there would be several boxes of the perfume in this room. Even so, he had taken the extra precaution of checking each room he had passed to ensure that the containers had not been moved to another spot. As he had not found any such supply in the other rooms, he had decided that his client’s information had been right. But, as it turned out, not only was his client wrong about which room the scented items would be found in, but they did not even appear to be in this very building. What to do now? How was he going to find the store of perfumes now? It was not like he could simply ask someone…

Masquerade’s hand lowered from his face as he whipped his head around, glancing over his shoulder at the ceiling. Damn it. He broke into a sudden sprint, not caring for the cramped space he was in. The shinobi barreled up staircases and down hallways, disregarding any need for stealth. There was no one that would be able to hear him anyway - and that was partially the problem. Every person who could have told him where the scents had possibly been moved to was dead, courtesy of his own actions. Every person, except one. One person’s chakra signature still remained alight, but it was flickering and faint, no doubt meaning that the person was nearing death. He had to get to the remaining thief before that happened, or before that hyena killed him. Masquerade could sense the chakra outline of the last thief battling against that of his Summon. The hyena was not as likely to be keeling over as his victim, which meant that the animal was certainly going to finish off the human at any moment.

“Chuckles! Stop!”

The brusque command was shouted out as Masquerade burst back into the mess hall, and just in the nick of time. As if the words themselves were hands grabbing hold of him, Chuckles’ bared mouth stopped inches from clamping down on the final thief’s skull. The hyena, whose fur had turned red from all the blood that had splattered on it, stepped back from his victim to look inquiringly at his Summoner. No response was given, for Masquerade had purposefully marched over to the injured thief lying before Chuckles, and grasped the front of his bloodied shirt to lift him up into a seating position. The white mask, coated in red, was held inches from that of the frantic, red-haired thief.

“Where is the perfume stock? Tell me,” Masquerade snapped in a terse, cold voice to the redhead. The trembling, injured male’s eyes flitted from the human with the smiling mask and the hyena with the crazed grin; he was probably unsure whose presence he should fear more. Whether it was fear or honor that was keeping the thief from speaking, Masquerade was determined to get an answer. Glancing over his shoulder, Masquerade addressed his Summon curtly: “Chuckles. Persuade him a little.” Chuckles obeyed without question, understanding what he was being asked to do. Without warning, the hyena had darted forward and clamped his jaws around the thief’s arm, biting down hard as he pulled at the limb forcibly - as if he was attempting to pull it out of the connected socket. Unsurprisingly, the thief did not find much physical comfort from this action. Over his pained cries, Masquerade leaned closer and hissed at him venomously to supply an answer, or the pain would intensify. Strangely enough, the redhead was more willing to speak now. Fancy that.

“It’s gone! We shipped it off half an hour ago!”

Not the answer he had been looking. “To where?”

“N-Northbound! The wagon probably hasn’t gotten that far! Not in this weather!”

Tears were dripping out of the man’s eyes now because of the pain; he was clearly at his limit. “Thank you,” Masquerade remarked politely, before nodding to the hyena. Chuckles opened his jaws and released the thief’s arm. While the whimpering redhead cradled his brutalized limb, Masquerade had briskly marched away in the exit’s direction, beckoning for the hyena to follow. There was no need to kill the man; or rather, there was no time. Masquerade’s objective was on the move, and it had a tremendously advantageous head-start; he would have to “haul ass” to catch up to this specified wagon. Wasting time on taking the thief’s life, no matter how many seconds it would take, did not appeal to the Nukenin. Besides, with the injuries that Chuckles had already inflicted, that poor soul was pretty much dead anyway. Masquerade’s interrogation had probably hastened his body’s deterioration, too. Therefore, there was no need to deliver the killing blow. At least, that was the shinobi’s justification for why he did not kill the thief. Chuckles, on the other hand, saw no reason why he could not continue what he was doing before Masquerade’s interruption. So, while Masquerade strode away, the malevolent hyena snuck up behind the injured thief, and brutally crushed in his skull with his powerful jaws. Blood and gore now covering his mouth, a pleased Chuckles literally skipped after his Summoner.

“So, what’s all this about “perfume”, Masky?” Chuckles asked slyly as he caught up with the shinobi.

“My employer wants the stock of fragrances that were supposedly being held here. I was sent to locate and secure it.”

“Oh. I thought you were finally going to do something about that unpleasant body odor of yours.”

“… Unpleasant, you say?”

“Oh yeah. Even for a human, you stink.”

“I suppose all those years as an unwashed beggar have had a lasting effect.”

Idle chitchat came to an end when the shinobi reached his destination. Lifting the trapdoor open, he climbed up onto the roof of the tower, with the hyena following suit. Standing at the edge of the tower, Masquerade surveyed the area. After spending several seconds determining where exactly North was (which consisted of recalling where the Sun would be in the sky if it was daytime, and then coupling that with his current bearing to pinpoint the exact direction), his pursuit of the wagon was ready to begin. He had a lot of ground to cover, and he best get to it. Based on his own deduction, the Nukenin guessed that the goods had been sent out less than ten minutes before his arrival. If he had been earlier to begin his siege, he might have caught his prize before it departed… But, there was no use dwelling on “ifs”. He had a wagon to catch. Darting to the edge of the tower, he leaped onto one of the ramparts, and then dived off the tower’s top. In the midst of his freefall, he summoned his wings to once again slow his descent; upon hitting solid ground, he was off. As the Nukenin bounded over the wooden bridge and into the trees ahead, Chuckles remained stationary on the tower’s roof, watching his Summoner depart. With a snicker, the hyena made his way back to the tower’s interior.


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Last edited by Ulkira on Mon 26 May 2014, 11:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ulkira
Nukenin
Ulkira

Age : 27
Posts : 1836

Mission: Old Spice [Private] Vide
PostSubject: Re: Mission: Old Spice [Private] Mission: Old Spice [Private] EmptyMon 26 May 2014, 11:48 pm

In the depths of a dark, misty forest, a trotting palomino pulled the four-wheeled cart along the rough, dirt path, its reigns held by middle-aged man whistling a meaningless tune. Behind his seat was an open bed, where at least ten wooden crates had been secured in orderly rows. On the back end of the wagon were seated three young, rugged men, each with a weapon strapped to his person. Two with swords, one with an axe, and the fourth armed with a bow and a quiver of arrows. The convoy was traveling slowly, partly because the terrain made stability and speed incompatible, and partly because the gloom and mist greatly limited the driver’s visibility; the downside of conducting business in the dead of night, and out in a remote location to boot. The low speed was the reason why the wagon had not journeyed far, despite the travel time so far. But the men did not feel the need to hasten their pace. They probably assumed that the entire trip would be safe and uneventful. They probably did not think they would run into any trouble on their way back.

Obviously, there was no point in mentioning how wrong they were. Unbeknownst to the passengers on the vehicle, a shadowy figure was following them from above, as silent as a ghost as it flitted from branch to branch. It had taken over forty minutes of nonstop travel for Masquerade to catch up, but catch up he did. Continuous physical exertion was beginning to have its toll on him, but he maintained his focus. Only this hurdle remained to be overcome - that was what he kept telling his body as it begged him for rest. Raising his hands to his chest, the elevated Nukenin set his attack into action.

Around the horse-drawn wagon, five earthen tentacles erupted from the ground to intelligently seize the vehicle. With a lurch, the wagon came to an abrupt stop; the attached horse stumbled and fell to the ground, whinnying frantically; meanwhile, the passengers held onto to their seats to avoid being thrown over. But that was not the end of their problems. Not a second after the wagon’s stop, something fell from above and landed on the driver’s back; his surprised gasp was followed by a sickening, squelching sound. The Nukenin had dropped unknowingly from the treetops and pinned the wagon driver under his feet; he had then stabbed him in the back of his head with a kunai, bringing his story to an end.

But, Masquerade’s inconspicuous actions had not gone unnoticed. Following the driver’s dying cries, the other four men had each bombarded the assailing shinobi with enraged curses. The nearest swordsman went so far as to unsheathe his weapon and scramble over the crates to attack the Nukenin. He was rudely interrupting in this act when Masquerade yanked the kunai out of the driver’s head and embedded it in the swordsman’s chest with an efficient (and lucky) throw. As the swordsman collapsed with lifeless eyes, his brothers sprang into action; Archer stayed back while Axe and Sword charged at Masquerade, and the latter responded by side-flipping off the stationary wagon.

As Masquerade landed on solid ground, his cursing opponents jumped off the vehicle and resumed their vindictive dash towards him. Without uttering a word, the crouching shinobi executed another jutsu, causing a number of stone spikes to shoot out from the ground beneath the two men. Sadly, his attack was not fully successful. The foremost guard proved quick-footed enough to dodge with only a nicked shin. His comrade was not so lucky, being pierced through a leg and an arm by the spikes; on the plus side (for him), his vitals had been missed entirely. Sword struggled against the penetrating spikes, but none of his partners came to his assistance. The man with the axe continued to charge forward without hesitation, while the archer remained by the wagon, attentively watching the scene.

Pitiful, Masquerade mentally remarked as he straightened up, scorning himself for the poor attack. That jutsu should have yielded far better results; this was simply inexcusable sloppiness on his part. No time for criticism, however: the axe-wielding man was on him. In an almost dance-like manner, Masquerade swerved out of the way of the incoming axe to relocate behind his attacker; following that, he pulled out a senbon from his weapons pouch, and jabbed it into the back of his assailant’s neck. Penetration was not deep, but enough to embed the needle securely. One of Axe’s hands went to the senbon on his neck as he spun around on his heels to face Masquerade, who was quickly backpedalling away from his opponent. A hand was raised, a seal was made, and the explosive tag on the senbon detonated. The force of the blast pushed Masquerade back several feet, and he ended up losing his footing and comically falling onto his back - as if he had slipped on a banana peel. The axe-wielding male’s closer proximity to the tag meant that he was knocked down more forcefully. Flat on his face, in fact, and in the same laughable manner as Masquerade. What was not funny was how the blast had pushed the senbon deeper into Axe’s neck, appearing to pierce something important. Much to Masquerade’s satisfaction, his opponent did not pick himself up from the ground; the Nukenin, meanwhile, managed to succeed in that action.

A whistling in the air, and something violently drilled into Masquerade’s left shoulder. An audible yell of pain issued from him as he bent forward slightly, blood expelling from his hidden mouth. Clenching his teeth, he stared at the arrow jutting out of his shoulder; the projectile had pretty much skewered him, half of it protruding out of the front of his shoulder. Trying to push the intense pain to the back of his mind, Masquerade whipped his head to the side to glare at his attacker. The offending archer was standing beside the wagon, readying another arrow on his bow. Masquerade growled and made to rush him, but had not even taken a step forward when he noticed the second swordsman coming at him from three o’clock. He seemed to have finally broken free of Masquerade’s jutsu, probably by shattering the brittle spikes with his weapon. Clicking his tongue in frustration, the Nukenin called out his wings and kicked off from the ground, rising into the air and out of Sword’s reach. One hand clasped over the bleeding wound on his shoulder, a hovering Masquerade swept his irked gaze from the swordsman to the archer, wondering what he should do next. The pain from the arrow in his shoulder made it harder to think, but he had to bear with it; there was no time to heal the injury, and pulling out the projectile would only intensify the bleeding. Better to deal with the pain of a blocked wound than worry about an open one.

Another arrow flew to the sky, and Masquerade was forced to grossly curl his spine backwards to avoid the shot. At the end of his aerial dodge, the frustrated shinobi retracted his wings and dropped to the ground, hands simultaneously forming handseals to have him sink into the earthen surface rather than make contact. Both Archer and Sword froze, shooting each other solemn glances before diligently watching their surroundings, and each other’s backs. Predictably, Masquerade popped out of the ground in the blind spot behind his target, the swordsman. The archer saw his appearance, and shouted to warn his comrade. In response to the warning, Sword spun round to confront the shinobi - just in time for the latter’s boot to smash into his crotch. Profanities flooded out of Sword’s mouth; he clasped his sore spot and dropped to his knees, despite the fact that an enemy stood right in front of him. A kunai appeared in said enemy’s hand as he prepared to plant it into the humiliated swordsman’s skull.

Masquerade’s arm had barely completed its full arc when another arrow came flying at him, and this one hit its mark like the first. Dropping his kunai, the Nukenin hissed in pain and stumbled back a few steps, his right forearm having been impaled by the arrow. Clutching the wounded limb, Masquerade glared at the archer once more, on the verge of spewing obscenities himself (ones much tamer than those being uttered by the swordsman, though). Rather than succumb to such desires, however, Masquerade gave a guttural, animalistic growl instead, before making a beeline for the archer. The one with the bow quickly prepped another arrow, automatically walking backwards as he aimed at the charging Masquerade. A fourth arrow cut through the air and shot towards Masquerade, who was too close to dodge properly. So, he twisted his body to have the arrow pierce into his abdomen rather than his chest. Close proximity meant that the Nukenin did not have ample time or room for an unscathed dodge. But, the same applied to the archer.

Before the archer could react, Masquerade abruptly slammed into him, and seemed to embrace him; but in truth, it was no mere hug. His uninjured hand had grabbed the archer by the shoulder and pulled him closer, thus allowing the pointed end of the arrow sticking out of Masquerade’s shoulder to pierce through the latter. Masquerade’s smiling mask was an inch from the archer’s pained one as he held on tightly to the archer; both were impaled on the same arrow that was sticking out of the shinobi. With another animal-like growl, Masquerade raised the forearm with the arrow stuck in it, and in one brutal motion, skewered the archer’s head from the side with it. The arrow dug into the man’s temple, killing him immediately. Grimacing behind his mask, Masquerade unkindly pulled his arm away from the man’s head, thereby pulling the bloodied arrow out as well; he then pushed the dead archer off him, causing the corpse to slide off the arrow embedded tightly in Masquerade’s shoulder.

As the dead archer dropped to the ground, a panting and bleeding Masquerade directed his focus to the kneeling swordsman. The man still had one hand over his injured area, while the other hand was shakily picking up the sword he had dropped. Wincing and grumbling in pain, the swordsman got back to his feet, but his bent legs showed that he was no longer able to fight properly. Neither was Masquerade, if the random blurring of vision and wooziness implied at anything. Frankly, he was tired of all this fighting. So, he raised an arm (the one that did not have an arrow pierced through it), and pointed it over the swordsman’s shoulder. He then addressed the man, doing his best not to make his fatigue apparent in his speech.

“Leave now, and I will not pursue. I have no obligation to kill you; only to secure this cargo.”

Sword narrowed his eyes and looked around the area at his fallen comrades, and then to Masquerade. He was clearly deliberating the situation. Masquerade waited silently and patiently, repeatedly telling himself not to yield to his exhaustion; not yet. After a pause of ten seconds, the swordsman thankfully nodded and sheathed his weapon, yielding to the shinobi. Turning around, he awkwardly hobbled away from Nukenin, the silly stance because of his still aching privates. As he walked on, the pain would soon recede, however. Though, that might have to do with the fact that an arrow was suddenly thrust into the base of his neck. He no doubt stopped feeling everything at that point.


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Ulkira
Nukenin
Ulkira

Age : 27
Posts : 1836

Mission: Old Spice [Private] Vide
PostSubject: Re: Mission: Old Spice [Private] Mission: Old Spice [Private] EmptyTue 27 May 2014, 9:33 pm

“Well, that took a while.”

Stupendous observation, Shichibi. Truly marvelous. I am astounded by your unparalleled perception skills.”

“… Alright, alright. I’ll keep quiet.”

No! Please! Keep going! Continue to grace me with your exalted opinions!”

“Just heal yourself, you crybaby.”

The Bijuu was beginning to sound frustrated by Masquerade’s attitude. Hopefully, she had realized how irritable her host was, what with his current physical state. Taking a deep breath, Masquerade stepped back from the corpse of the swordsman and dropped the arrow he had stabbed him with - an arrow he had pulled out from the quiver of the deceased archer. He then brought his attention to his injuries. Clasping a hand over the shaft of the arrow stuck in his abdomen, Masquerade pulled it out as quickly and neatly as he could. The act still hurt enough to force a gasp from his hidden mouth, but this was only the first of three. Next to be removed was the arrow that had struck his right forearm. This one came out with less effort and pain, though it was discomforting nonetheless. Lastly, the arrow in his shoulder. To Masquerade’s dismay, the projectile was wedged in more tightly than he had realized. Simply pulling it out was not going to work; he needed a stronger force to literally pop it out of his shoulder. Thus, the injured shinobi found himself a sturdy tree, and turning away from it, he rammed the back of his shoulder into the trunk. The impacting force from the trunk on the base of the arrow, combined with Masquerade pulling on the projectile at the same time, proved strong enough to let him tug the arrow out of his body. Stifling the urge to curse because of the pain, he chucked the item away and flopped down onto the ground, leaning back against the tree. In between heavy breaths, he formed the handseals for a healing jutsu, and proceeded to close any unnatural holes on his body.

Once he was done several minutes later, Masquerade leaned back and pressed a bloodied hand over his masked face - not because of distress, but from tiredness. As the Shichibi had said, this entire killing spree had taken far longer than Masquerade would have wished. At this point, he was tempted to just drop down onto the ground and sleep for a few hours. But, that was not possible at this time; he was not finished with his assignment just yet. Lowering his hand from his face (and leaving a bloody handprint to adorn the white surface), he looked wearily over at the wagon of crates. Now that his mind was no longer distracted by his injuries, Masquerade noticed the sweet scents emanating from the containers. Thankfully, this seemed to be the cargo he was looking for. Pushing himself to his full height and slowly striding closer to the vehicle, Masquerade opened one of the boxes to confirm for certain that he had not just wasted his time chasing the wrong shipment. The numerous flasks of liquid inside, as well as the strengthening of the smell, left no doubt in his mind that this was indeed the correct wagon. Glad that things were going so well, he closed the box, and prepared to move the shipment of perfumes back to the tower.

It took him well over an hour to get back to the tower, as plenty of time needed to be spent in calming down the frightened horse. The poor animal had been terrified during the entire fight, and the scent of blood on Masquerade’s clothes had no doubt done little to alleviate its fear. Eventually, though, the Nukenin was able to soothe the palomino’s anxiety, and was thus able to steer it and the wagon back to his starting point. When he reached the tower, the tedious process of carrying the boxes back into the structure had commenced. After that bit of laboring was done, the next step had been to send a message to his employer of the successful completion of his mission. That had not been so difficult, for the tower had several messenger birds to be used for such purposes. Masquerade only had to spend another hour in boredom while he waited for the client to show up, or a delegate. Sitting on one of the boxes by the entrance at the tower’s base, he let his mind wander, while doing his best not to succumb to his impending fatigue. Next to him, licking himself clean in a feline manner, was Chuckles. The hyena had been waiting for Masquerade’s return the whole time; he had not gone back to his homeland because he “didn’t want to risk missing anything fun that might happen” in his absence. That, and he had been extremely busy sating his hunger by making a meal of all the slain thieves.

Neither human nor hyena was making conversation, however, merely sitting there in awkward silence. Any attempts to indulge in mundane chatter had been short-lived thus far, so silence from both parties was eventually settled upon. Not even the Shichibi was speaking. The entire tower was soundless, with the three living souls as quiet as the multitude of corpses that lay in the edifice. This hushed atmosphere was shattered by a knock on the door, which sounded unnaturally loud in the still air. Masquerade raised his bowed head and looked over at the entrance. A trio of familiar chakra signatures stood on the other side of door. Upon sensing them, Masquerade turned to Chuckles, and ordered him to go wait in another room. When the hyena asked why, he was informed that client did not like animals; the whole meeting would go by more smoothly if Chuckles was not there to aggravate the client. Grinning despite his obvious displeasure, the spotted hyena nodded and proceeded to trot out of sight, while Masquerade got to his feet and stepped towards the door. The Nukenin calmly unlatched the lock on the entrance and opened it. He then stepped back to allow the three familiar figures to enter the structure.

In front were a pair of women of equal and average height, and black hair that was tied up in identical ponytails. In fact, everything about these women was identical, from their stance, to the dispassionate faces hidden partially behind the fabric over their mouths, to the spears they held in their bandaged hands, and to the exceptionally revealing and provocative attire they wore. Their chakra signified their standing as novice ninja, and the similar nature of the energy made it even clearer that they were twins. These twin kunoichi diligently scanned the interior of the tower as they entered, weapons poised for any sudden action. Masquerade did not say a word while the women surveyed the place carefully, calmly standing by the door as he waited for them to finish. After two pairs of dark eyes confirmed that there was no danger waiting inside, the kunoichi relaxed slightly and turned as one to nod in unison to the individual standing outside the doorway. With the coast clear, the third arriver stepped into the building at last.

Once these three had entered and the door was closed, Masquerade brought his attention to them, and gestured to the pile of boxed fragrances. He looked to the shortest of the trio as he did so, signaling this person out as his client. Said client was more half a foot smaller than Masquerade, with a similarly slender frame (though nowhere near as skeletal as the Nukenin’s). Long, stylishly-messy teal hair with white highlights cascaded down the person’s back, stopping just above the knees. An expensive, magenta furisode assaulted Masquerade’s eyes with its vibrancy and flamboyance. In a manicured hand was a peacock-themed fan, which was presently open and held in front of the grinning, lipstick-covered mouth. A round face was buried under layers of makeup, the result lying somewhere between too much and just enough. Shrewd eyes, as green as the bangs falling over them, were outlined artistically in black eyeliner. These eyes, with their long lashes, shifted from the boxes to Masquerade, the deep green orbs shining with childish delight. Snapping the fan shut and slipping it under her clothes, Hiroki Makoto eagerly rubbed her hands together as she pushed past her guards and leaned over the boxes, running a dainty hand over them with an obsessional expression.

“Fantastic! Great work, my dear! Great work! Oh, happy day!”

A silent Masquerade watched as Makoto caressed the boxes slowly, her eyes wide as she mumbled excitedly to herself. The ecstatic cry from before and the succeeding squeals were far too adolescent for someone as old as Makoto; it was like she was a teenage girl, the way she was acting right now. While he did not say it out loud, Masquerade would not deny that what he was seeing right now was slightly… awkward. The uneasiness was not alleviated when Makoto began to open the containers and lift out the bottled scents to examine them in a loving, motherly manner - even going so far as to croon to the fragrances. Granted, Masquerade had seen similar signs of fanatical behavior when he had initially met Makoto, but this reaction was more than he could have predicted. Yes, he had deduced that his client was very enthusiastic when it came to acquiring high quality fragrances - but certainly not to this extent. This was just plain disturbing. What kind of a person spoke to inanimate objects like they were alive and sentient, and in such a compassionate way to boot?

“Says the person who holds lengthy conversations with a voice in his head.”

Shut up, Shichibi, Masquerade snapped in his mind to the smug Bijuu. Composing himself, the Nukenin took a step forward and spoke directly to the woman in a level, professional voice. “As you requested, I have secured your cargo, and have ensured that no one will attempt to rob you off it. I have accomplished what was asked of me. Now, if you would cooperatively hand me my reward, I shall leave you to your acquired treasures.” He held out a skeletal hand to his employer with his palm up, and needle-like fingers splayed out expectantly. However, Makoto did not answer Masquerade, not even looking in his direction. She kept her attention solely on the bottles before her, still going through them with the same zeal as a child did when opening his presents. If Masquerade’s eyes narrowed or twitched in annoyance, the mask made it unnoticeable; the slight twitch of his fingers hinted that he was getting impatient, though. That, or he was overcome with an urge to throttle his employer. Of course, doing so would be counterproductive, since he would not get his reward in that case; not to mention, he would have to deal with the irksome guards. That, and he preferred not to lay a hand on these women, but only because his principles dissuaded him from showing such disrespect.

“Hiroki Makoto -”

He was interrupted as a flask of pink stuff was thrust at his face fervently by Makoto. “Smell it. Go on, smell it. I promise, you’re gonna love it.” The beaming woman waved the bottle in the Nukenin’s masked face. She could not see the distasteful grimace that spread over the shinobi’s face. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Masquerade was not one for personal grooming, never going anywhere beyond a simple yet efficient wash; “looking good” was not a priority when one was a criminal, especially a criminal that dressed in a style as concealing as his. That, and Masquerade was unable to stand scents as potent as that of perfumes and the like. So, it was not uncharacteristic when the shinobi tried to push the bottle away with a grumbled but polite refusal.

But, Makoto insisted that he try it anyway, annoyingly shoving it back in the Nukenin’s face each time it was pushed aside. Had it been a man that was annoying him like this, Masquerade might have snapped the wrist that was holding the flask; but since it was the delicate hand of a woman aggravating him, he quelled such violent thoughts. With a mental sigh of frustration, Masquerade acquiesced, and begrudgingly snatched the flask out of the manicured hand. Makoto watched happily as the male unscrewed the top of the glass container, and raised it closer to his face - close enough to allow the scent to pass through the white barrier over his nose. A sharply sweet, stinging aroma assaulted his nostrils, actually managing to irritate his sinuses and cause his eyes to water. The Nukenin snorted heavily in distaste, shaking his head like he was trying to get the scent out of his head.

“Ugh, that smells awf-.”

The next second, he collapsed face-first onto the ground.

Still beaming, Makoto stepped forward and picked up the flask, after which she prodded the prone figure with her sandaled toes. After determining that Masquerade was truly unconscious and not faking, she happily skipped over to her guards, and instructed them to begin moving the boxes. Hands clasped behind her back and rocking on the balls of her feet, Makoto cheerily watched her two sentries get to work lifting the containers and carrying them out of the tower. Both kunoichi took care not to tread on the knocked-out shinobi; he was in a humiliating enough state already without having to serve as a rug. Not only had he been caught off-guard and knocked out, but he had been played a fool as well. Never would Masquerade have foreseen that the boxes’ contents were more than simple perfumes, and he definitely would not have thought that he would be used as a guinea pig. As it was, the Nukenin was out cold, and probably would be for many more minutes. In fact, by the time Makoto and her guards had finished moving the boxes onto a carriage outside, the shinobi was still sawing logs. Before she left with her prize, Makoto crouched beside the unconscious shinobi, and after a gentle pat on the back of his hooded head, she deposited a woolen sack containing a generous amount of money onto his head. A chirpy word of thanks, and Makoto had skipped out of the tower whilst humming a tune.

There was silence in the room for almost a minute, before an echoing guffaw ripped through the quiet atmosphere. The hyena’s high-pitched laughter heralded his appearance from another room. Chuckles was laughing his lungs out at the sight of his unconscious Summoner, and also at the reason why said human was in this state.

“Oh, Masky! Silly, silly, Masky!” he teased while circling the human. Even Chuckles’ loud laughter had not been enough to disrupt Masquerade’s slumber. Yellow eyes were rolled at the shinobi lying face-down on the floor. “For a serious guy, you always find ways to make me laugh. Oh, the hilarity!”

Stopping, Chuckles picked up the moneybag in his mouth, and walked over to a nearby window, before tossing it into the body of water outside. He then returned to Masquerade, sitting down in front of the Nukenin and awaiting his wakening. A cheeky grin was dominating his crazed features, amongst a series of snickers. The hyena could not wait to see the Nukenin’s reaction when he woke up. Masquerade would so pissed. Especially when he found out that he hadn’t even been paid for all his efforts.


----------------------------------------

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