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 Walking through the woods

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DualThrone

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PostSubject: Re: Walking through the woods   Thu Sep 15, 2016 1:50 pm

Rosie smiles at her. "Yes, we should keep walking now," she says to her. "Enjoy the forest, the trees, the fact that we only have to fear trained attack toads..."
"Oh my..."
"What?"
"Was that a funny?"
"A what?"
"Rose, did you just make a funny?"
"Make a what now?"
"Make a funny. A quip, a joke, gentle ribbing, a poke in the ribs, playful trolling... a funny."
"Alright, first... trolling?"
"Yeah," Kitty says. "It's the fine art of provoking a reaction by being outrageous and offensive."
"So, you."
"I'm generally the queen troll of the universe, even if I only have one overly rigid human to troll." Kitty winks. "We need to work on that, you, taking my act on the road and into reality so all can know the rapier wit that is Kitty the Kitsune."
"Rapier?"
"Stop changing the subject." Kitty boops her with a tail. "I'm not letting that funny you made go just yet."
"There was always the hope." Rosie's cheeks briefly color. "Was it... really bad?"
"Really bad? Are you kidding me little sis? That was a great foray into your first shaking steps towards being a real girl." Kitty does a handstand and starts walking on her hands on the trail ahead of them, letting gravity happen this time. "Mommy Kitty is so proud!"
Rosie colors slightly and briefly again. "Could you not do that?"
"Why? Jealous?"
"Oh yes," Rosie says, her mental voice vibrant with sarcasm. "My primary aspiration in life is to have nine tails and a fuzzy ass. But seriously, I want to enjoy the forest and the company of the irredeemably sweet Serasena, not a face full of plush even if it's totally in my head."
"Fine, fine." Kitty rights herself and hops up to seat herself on Sera's head. "Let us go forth, my adorable mount of itty bitty cute!"
Rosie grins a little at this, having to struggle not to start laughing. "Would you like to lead on then, Sera?"

{Word Count: 333 | 9460}
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PostSubject: Re: Walking through the woods   Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:06 am

"Sure," Seresana replied all to happy to get even farther away from the toad. Soon enough she was leading them down ever deeper into the forest paths, shifting between islands of sunlight in an otherwise sea of tree canopy cast shadow. Their course took them away from the little stream, it's sight and then sound gradually disappearing as they went ever deeper into the forest. That isn't to say though that they were surrounded by silence. Quite to the contrary, birds sung loudly overhead and their tunes carried well on the gentle winds that rustled the tree branches. Insects joined in this growing symphony showing just how very alive this forest actually was, and Seresana was happily walking through it all with a pleasant smile on her face, the thoughts of the invasive toad far from her mind.

Whether by luck, habit, or chance though, Seresana looked over and quite suddenly realized where they were. Off to the side of the path was a clearing and within that clearing were several suspended logs, a great many of which had multiple arrows still sticking out of them. Seresana's expression lit up as she looked back towards Rosie and announced, "oh hey, we're close to Tokamin Sensei's home. He was my first sensei and taught me how to use the bow so well, he also taught me a few of those first jutsu I learned. Do you want to meet him Rosie?"

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PostSubject: Re: Walking through the woods   Wed Oct 12, 2016 12:06 pm

Rosie smiles as they walk through the forest, her posture and expression becoming more relaxed by degrees as they go. "You know, I don't think we spend enough time outside of the village, Kit," she says in her head as she watches Kitty riding on top of Sera's head in a meditative lotus position. "Also, you look uncommonly silly doing that. Plus it seems sort of rude and disrespectful to just ride around on top of someone's head like that, even if you're an illusion in my own mind and aren't actually sitting on her head."
"Then why is it a problem?" Kitty looks back at her with a grin. "I only exist in your head, sis, so anything I do to anyone else doesn't mean anything. I can't hurt anyone, can't insult them in a way that they'd know about, and any obscene gestures or..."
"Now you stop right there." Rosie takes a moment to check that Sera isn't looking at her before giving Kitty a stern look. "The silly, I can take. The overly sexual and slutty makes me blush and roll my eyes, but I can take that too. But I draw the line at obscene gestures and no I don't mean the kind you make with just your hands."
"I'm hurt that you think I'd do that."
"As you like to remind me all the time, Kit, you're an aspect of me although I think we can safely assume that you're not strictly a manifestation of one half of my personality. I know your mind pretty well, and I have no doubt that you would indeed do something like that if you felt the desire."
"Well, certainly not to Sera..."
"Doesn't change anything. Whenever you decide to do it, I'm going to be the only person who has to witness it so ultimately, any and all obscene gestures and pretty much all your other antics are directed at me, and me alone."
Kitty considers this for a moment and then looks suddenly crestfallen. "Oh." She sighs and floats off of her perch to start walking normally beside Sera, who looks smaller than usual next to a kitsune a full head taller than Rosie when her ears are included. "I'm sorry Rose, I never even thought about that."
"I'm sure you didn't," Rosie 'said' to her kindly. "Based on the timing of you becoming increasingly distinct from me, I'm pretty sure that the entire thinking independently thing would be kind of new. Just keep it all in mind, OK?"
"Message received and understood, little sister," Kitty responded, giving Rosie a grin and a jaunty mocking salute.
Rosie sighs audibly before returning to smiling and enjoying the peacefulness of the forest as they leave the stream and head deeper inside. "A fair day indeed," she comments quietly to Serasena. "The sunlight is falling, the birds are singing, I'm walking along a peaceful forest with a friend, and we've even had a minor triumph over the scourge of the sudden appearance of toads. What could be better?"
"Should I tell you?"
"Should I devise a way to smack you?"
"OK, ixnay on the listay."

When they break out of the forest into the clearing, Rosie stops and looks around with faint interest and genuine surprise. "Oh, the home of your first sensei?" She looks at the arrow-riddled logs with increased interest.
"A master of the bow, perhaps?"
"I think it's a bit more than 'perhaps'. Targets that naturally sway in the breeze and when you hit them seems like it'd be a hallmark of a teacher who focuses on bow work."
At the same time, both blink and both look at one another. "You know, it occurs to me...
"...that this would be the perfect kind of setup to...
"...practice and perfect the combination..."
"...use of shuriken kage bunshin no jutsu and a covering genjutsu."
Although Sera wouldn't be able to see Kitty, both her and Rosie turn towards their diminuitive friend at the same time, smile identical smiles, and say "I'd love to meet this Tokamin Sensei, Sera. Do you think he'd mind us just dropping by like this?"
"OK, that was strange."
"Not really. We're kind of similar to one another, Kit.
"Still... same smile, same gesture, exact same words, exact same tone?"
"Synchronization of the mind."
"Good point."

{Word Count: 722 | 10182}
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PostSubject: Re: Walking through the woods   Sat Oct 15, 2016 2:24 pm

Seresana was completely oblivious to the curiosity that befell Rosie from syncing up with her other half, simply taking the reply at face value and turning about as soon as it came to her. "He might have minded if it was just you, but since I'm with ya, it'll be just fine," she said before stepping into the clearing and casting a reminiscent glance over towards the arrow stricken targets. "I remember when I first met him, it was on a camping trip into the woods out here I did on my own back before I graduated," Seresana stated as she began to delve into a little backstory to inform Rosie a little about her former sensei. "A large boar smelled my campfire and the food I was cooking and it attacked me. At the time, all I had on me was a little toy bow and some practice stick arrows, I bet you can guess how effective those were. I shot all the arrows I had at that boar and not one of the few that actually did hit managed to puncture it's hide. Then it chased me up a tree and I thought I was going to be stuck there all night long, and possibly longer."

Seresana paused in both her stride and story to look at one of the targets, her eyes lighting up a bit with familiarity as she already started mentally marking where and how she'd have to aim to hit her mark. "Luckily, Tokamin sensei was close by and I think he was actually hunting the boar. With a single shot he brought it down and then proceeded to clean and dress it without so much as looking at me as I climbed down the tree. When I tried to ask him about anything really, he cut me off and began to ask if I was just trying to die with such a pathetic toy that was my prior bow. After talking with him a bit more, he eventually let me follow him back to his shack to stay the night. The following day I asked him if he could teach me to shoot like he did, and Tokamin sensei said he'd consider it if I made myself a bow worth being used," Seresana went on as she started walking some more to the far side of the clearing and then into the woods beyond. "It's actually the same bow I'm using now, though I've upgraded it a little since then," she added with a gesture to the wooden weapon as they walked onward.

It wasn't too long until Seresana and Rosie would come cross a small hut that blended fairly well into the surrounding woods. It was squat and seemed to be earthen make, with walls of dried mud braced internally and then with additional foliage draped on top to make it stand out less. There was also a small hole at the top, presumably for smoke to billow out of when an inside fire was made, though no such smoke drifted out of the hole today. In front of the hut was another fireplace, as well as what looked like a crude anvil and workbench with some scattered tools, materials, and a quiver of partially finished arrows hanging off it. The fire pit out front was lit and burning lightly as an old man cooked a couple fish over the small flames. He was obviously old, with dozens of weathered wrinkles along his tanned face and arms and with a long grey and white beard and hair. He also seemed to be wearing a lot of handmade wear, primarily leather gear that while having a durable look to it, seemed well worn over years of use. As the two approached, the old man looked up with one bright blue eye and one whited out blind eye. At first his expression was cautious and almost scowling, but then recognition dawned upon his features and they lessened... some.

"Well if aint the little brat," he said in a rough and almost harsh voice. "I see you haven't completely forgot about my old self out here, but it's been some time. You still practicing?" He asked as his one good eye switched back and forth between Seresana and Rosie.

Seresana however wasn't put off by any of this and happily nodded as she slid her bow from her back. "Of course Tokamin sensei, I've gotten even better since the last time you saw me, and I've made my bow better too," Seresana replied as she slid the weapon from her back.

"Well good to hear you aren't completely wasting my efforts, but now who's this accompanying the little brat?"

"This is Ro-"

"She can introduce herself runt," Ranzaki announced while cutting Seresana off almost harshly, though the younger girl only winced slightly while smiling. "So what's your name?"

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PostSubject: Re: Walking through the woods   Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:30 am

Rosie and Kitty both listen to Sera's story of her first meeting with her sensei attentively, Kitty's sea of plush flicking and swaying with more obvious interest than Rosie's expression betrays. And this is considering that Rosie looks genuinely fascinated as she listens, albeit in the way that someone might look while hearing some great and terrible disaster being described in excruciating and bloody detail.
"The phrase 'tough love' comes to mind," Kitty comments as Sera finishes her story, revealing that her initial training was what led to her creating the bow that she presently used, which was of obvious craftsmanship. "Very tough love, with a sour, mean old man twist."
"Worse is that I'm pretty sure that with her extremely sunny disposition, Sera's probably understanding just how sour and mean this 'Tokamin-sensei' of hers is." Rosie mentally agrees. "Although he wouldn't be the worst we've met by far. The worse would be..."
"...the kind of sensei who believes that the burned hand teaches best, in a terribly abusively literal fashion." Kitty finishes grimly. "You know, Rose, I keep harping on this just to make sure that the point never fades but the more we walk around through life, the more examples we seem to run across of why it's kind of important to let me in the driver's seat in a wise and selective fashion."
Rosie silently sighs as they approach the hut. "And what new example teaches this lesson? A grouchy sensei who believes in tough love?"
"No. A grouchy and mean sensei who believes in tough love and lives in a hut in the forest, far apart from anyone else, hunting by himself, hoarding his wisdom away from the village when each year brings a new crop of shinobi who'd benefit from the touch of the master's hand." Kitty looks very seriously at her. "Entirely alone, with broken only by the occasional person who wanders by or comes to visit, with no company but thoughts and memories. The old bear in the woods."
Rosie was silent, both mentally and physically as they came within sight of Tokamin frying fish over a fire. "What's your point, Kit?"
"The wolf is not meant to hunt alone, sister," Kitty gives her a hug as the elderly man looks up and recognizes Sera. "However strong she is, it's her pack that makes her lethal, dangerous, and an excellent hunter. And you hardly need me to remind you that at the end of the path we're on lies a hunt for the most dangerous game of all."
Rosie's expression becomes somewhat remote. "Yes, yes it does."
When Tokamin asks who she is, Rosie gives him a respectful little bow. "Rosemarius Blytraviin, ojiisan-shi," she replies, straightening afterwards.
"I'm pretty sure that the proper way to refer to him would be 'Tokamin-sensei'."
"When in doubt, be overly respectful," Rosie says. "As Father has always said, you must always be polite. It costs you nothing but breath, and can buy you as much as your life."
"When you think about it, that's kind of a grim statement. As if you'll run into a situation where all that stands between you and death is good manners."
"As we both know, Kit, not all the monsters who walk around out there are sadistic brutes who'll murder  a child in front of a village and cackle about it before he escapes." Rosie does her best to keep her expression from tightening and mostly succeeds, confining her visible reaction to a very slight pressing of her lips together as she stands where quietly, waiting to see what Tokamin does next. "Even monsters can have a form of honor, and some of them may have a peculiar fixation on the forms and rituals of excellent manners. Most of our fanciful stories speak of the clever child, for some reason always the youngest child, who has the good sense to bow and be flawlessly well-mannered in front of the terrible apparition that's been killing and eating babies, and buys his life long enough to defeat the foe. Such stories are just as good of lessons as meeting what is, according to you, my future self."
"I don't think you're going to turn into an old man, Rosie."
"I really, really hope not. That would be... awkward."

{Word Count: 715 | 10897}
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PostSubject: Re: Walking through the woods   Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:24 pm

The old man looked at Rosie critically as she gave the formal introduction, and seemed to consider the words before speaking. "Better manners that I was expecting, and than this place requires. Either way I'm Ranzaki Tokamin as the munchkin made mention," he finally replied while turning his attention back to the cooking meal. "Seresana" he called bluntly to get her attention, "why don't you go and setup the practice field. I want to make sure my former student isn't getting sloppy just cause she's got one of those headbands now. Yeah, don't think I didn't notice that new piece of attire."

Seresana nodded simply with her small grin, "sure thing Tokamin sensei." Soon as it was said, Seresana spun about on her heals and jogged back the way she and Rosie had come, smiling brightly as she passed Rosie.

Once Seresana was beyond the treeline and out of sight, Ranzaki spoke up once again, this time at Rosie. "I found that little munchkin in the woods almost a year ago now, yet you're still the first person she's ever brought out this way. She's also walking a bit taller, more confidence in her voice and that sort of thing with you around. You must be a pretty good friend of hers," Ranzaki said as one hand idly shifted the cooking fish to make sure all sides got cooked while both his good eye and the milky one were fixed on Rosie. "That's good, she'll need friends if she sticks to the techniques our practices went over, but something you need to be aware of if you're going to watch. No matter how it looks, don't interfere once the session starts," Ranzaki said in the similar blunt fashion he'd been speaking in so far.

Ranzaki seemed to be awaiting a reply from Rosie, and whether he got one or not, Seresana's voice traveled back through the woods announcing she was ready in a few moments. "Huh, didn't take as long as I thought it would. Well let's not keep her waiting," Ranzaki said as he got up, taking the fish off the fire and proceeding into his hut with them. He came back out without the fish, but now with a large and powerful looking bow clutched in his hands and a full quiver of arrows resting across his back. Without any explanation to Rosie, even if she asked for one, the older man lead the way back to the designated training clearing where Seresana was already standing in the middle of, her own bow already in hand and her own quiver of arrows refilled to full. The changes to the field were few but still prominent. The suspended log targets on ropes were arrow free and setup on branches behind trees so that another rope that was attached to the bottom of the targets could be pulled to set the targets loose and swinging. There were also numerous small stacks of log slices in various spots around the edge of the clearing.

"I'm ready when you are Tokamin sensei," Seresana said from the center of the clearing while flashing both him and Rosie a wide smile and a thumbs up. Though as Ranzaki reached his free hand up to the quiver and grasped the end of an arrow, Seresana brought her outstretched arm back and began making signs with the lone hand.

"I swear, I will never know where that girl get's all her positivity," Ranzaki grumbled just loud enough for himself and Rosie to hear as he drew out the arrow and set it to the string of his bow.

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PostSubject: Re: Walking through the woods   Mon Nov 07, 2016 5:53 pm

"I like to think that I've been a good friend to her, and if I'm the first person she's brought with her, I'm..."
"Honored, humbled, um... flabbergasted..."
"...honored by that." Rosie says with a light smile before her expression becomes more solemn. "She has a lot to carry on her shoulders and she's been a good influence on me. I'm a better person around someone who smiles, and hugs, and cares than I would be if left to my own devices. I can't say for certain that I'm a better shinobi by being around Serasena but a better person... very much so."
"I'd say you're a better shinobi as well," Kitty says as she kneels beside the cooking food, lightly lifting and examining a phantom version of the fish in a mirror of what Ranzaki had done. "Being a shinobi is about balance as well as all those other more flashy things, and she balances out your inhuman side."
"I thought that was your job, and I wouldn't call my rational side 'inhuman'."
"What is it to be human if you don't feel? Indulging in pure rationality just ends with you making decisions coldly, like you're some kind of a abacus adding up lives and costs and benefits to decide what to do next. It makes you more of a tool than a person. Kitty stands up from her examination of the fish and looks at Rosie, crossing her arms and looking stern. "You might as well be the sword or the kunai if you're just going to be all about pure thought and reason and rationality. So I call that side 'inhuman' and I won't apologize for it."
"You don't apologize for much anyway."
"Doesn't matter, I stand by what I said."
In the time it takes Rosie to finish the mental dispute with Kitty over whether her rational half was inhuman or not, Ranzaki has finished admonishing her to not interfere if she's going to watch. With a very slight hesitation as she brings her awareness completely back to the sensei, she gives him a single nod and a very slight bow. "I have no intention of being chastised by my friend's sensei for talking or acting out of turn," Rosie tells him. "You intend to teach her, not harm her, so why would I do anything?" Ranzaki would hear the tiniest hint of extra emphasis on the phrase 'not harm her' but otherwise, Rosie keeps her voice disinterested and even in response to what he says.
Rosie watches him take the fish off the fire and disappear into the hut, a tiny smile of pride in her friend dancing over her face at his mild surprise at how quickly Sera had finished her task, and she looks genuinely interested and impressed by the well-crafted bow he emerges with, although she says nothing about it.
"I think you should know, Rose, that's quite a well-crafted bow," Kitty says in a tone of admiration. "Just in case you missed it."
"I'd have to be pretty blind to miss something like that," Rosie mentally replies as she follows Ranzaki out to the training clearing and looks around at the changes made to it since they'd passed through. She makes sure to flash Sera the same broad smile and thumbs-up in response before disciplining her expression to one of calm remote thoughtfulness.
"Necessity," she says back to Ranzaki at his grumbled comment, shading her tone and the volume of her voice such that it's just loud enough for him to hear.
"One friend in a coma. Another ripped to pieces by a monster as she watched." Kitty sighs and shakes her head. "I don't know how she does it either."
"It's how she defends herself, I think. There's more out there that can attack you than enemy shinobi." She takes in a quiet breath and blows it out, sighing in her mind. "Fear, doubt, and pain can cut just as deeply as a sword slashes or an arrow pierces."
Kitty is silent for an actual second as the pair watch. "Do you think she'll be up for it, eventually?"
"I think that however gentle and warm and kind Serasena is, I think she's the right kind of good to be part of dealing with the monster that murdered her friend in front of her."
"The right kind of good?"
"The kind of good that isn't just good, but wants to spread that good and won't let bad people or things get in the way." Rosie smiles within. "The kind of good that will revenge."
"You mean, will get justice."
"I mean that as well. The two can be very similar. The thing that matters is whether you burn the good with the bad. I might; she won't. That's why I say she makes me a better person."

{Word Count: 806 | 11703}
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PostSubject: Re: Walking through the woods   Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:38 pm

Even if Ranzaki had managed to hear Rosie's replied comment about Seresana's positive nature, he showed no response to it. Instead the old man pulled back on the knocked arrow and fired it right at Seresana with a single fluid motion, at a speed that would be difficult to follow. Seresana however had obviously been expecting the shot and jumped high into air with a flip alongside a powerful gust of wind to dodge the arrow. As Seresana came out of the flip, she drew out an arrow and fired it at the first of the suspended targets that'd been tugged loose by Ranzaki. Rather than fall back down then though, Seresana's form stayed in the air, hovering in place albeit a little shakily because of the unsteadiness of the levitation jutsu. Not even giving her a moment to catch her breath, Ranzaki was already drawing out his next arrow and firing it at the mid-air girl who dodged to the left with a spin, and then the old man threw the top most log of one of the small piles into the air. The piece of wood reached the apex of it's arch before an arrow smacked into the side of it, knocking it's descent askew.

Before the log had a chance to reach the ground though, Ranzaki was already on the other side of the clearing, showing again a level of speed deserving of an experienced shinobi, drawing his next couple of arrows and firing them, then another arrow, and a another arrow before seizing two more of the logs from two other piles and tossing them into the air while his boot stomped down onto a rope and the other kicked at the rope to pull loose the next suspended target log. Seresana responded in kind, dodging the first two arrow by simply dropping a few feet in the air, the following two sequential shots were dodged with another gust of wind spawned by another few handsigns and another jutsu.  As she was dodging to the right of these shots, Seresana drew out three arrows at once, knocking them to the string and drawing it back as the three targets drew closer to lining up, and only when she was sure did Seresana release the shots, each arrow smacking into it's log target.

In a fashion that almost seemed akin to punishment for taking the delay in her prior shot, Ranzaki already had another arrow loosed and sailing towards Seresana when she released her mutlishot technique. The arrow seemingly traveled faster than some of it's brethren, and Seresana barely managed to dodge that worst of that shot which still scored her pants and mid thigh with a thin cut. The training showed no sign of stopping though as Ranzaki had already pulled the next couple suspended log targets loose, one on each end of the clearing. Seresana drew one arrow, knocked and fired it and then the drawing hand shot down to her belt to retrieve a shuriken that ended up planted in the other target after a fast throw. Ranzaki's next projectile was once again already in the air before the shuriken had landed, but this time instead of it being an arrow, it was one of the logs that had ended up thrown at Seresana. To dodge this one, Seresana completely canceled her levitation jutsu and dropped down beneath the logs path, drawing out an arrow and shooting it into the log as it passed overhead.

No sooner had Seresana's feet hit the ground than Ranzaki already had another series of arrows being launched at Seresana. The first two she dodged, one with a little hop to the side and the second with a dodge roll to the same side, the last though had been aimed at where Seresana would come out of the roll and her dodge came just late enough that it earned her another thin cut from where the arrow clipped her side. Luckily, Seresana was wearing her newer leather vest and it appeared to be the only thing hit by the arrow. The next few minutes would proceed in a similar manner, with Ranzaki presenting either the rope suspended log targets or the loose logs that ended up thrown while shooting at her with arrows. Every once in a while, Seresana would cut a dodge a little close or have to use a jutsu to make sure she wasn't actually shot, and while she was managing to hit every target, few managed to strike the center of the target. Gradually though, the number of targets would diminish, most if not all the suspended targets had at least one arrow in them and most of the log piles were down to their last log if not completely empty. Likewise, Seresana's quiver was nearly empty as well as Ranzaki's.

After Seresana landed after her latest dodge, she looked about quickly for the next attack, but it hadn't come yet and when her eyes found Ranzaki, she saw he didn't even have an arrow drawn but was instead making a series of handsigns. Her eyes widened some as she recognized the pattern and a slight cringe formed on her face as she prepared to face a new trick in the usual old training pattern. Then Seresana blinked and by the time she opened her eyes, Ranzaki was gone much to her surprise. Her only warning came seconds later in the form of the several loud thuds of something heavy running up behind her. She dove forward as the large earthen fist of a summoned clay golem slammed into the ground where she'd been standing, leaving a decent crater complete with holes where spikes stuck out of the stone limb. As Seresana got up and turned about to face her new opponent, she instinctively reached back to get her next arrow, but her hand lingered there while her eyes widened briefly in shock as her fingers only found two arrows. She wasn't left to contemplate long before the golem ran up with another attack that. This one Seresana dodged with a forward roll that carried her under the swing and left her nearly behind the golem, which she continued on past trying to get to one of the targets to retrieve an additional arrow. One of Ranzaki's shots however was already waiting for her and Seresana was forced to dodge backwards before her hand could reach the target. Seeing as she was cut off from being able to resupply her arrows, Seresana turned back once again to face her opponent, the clay golem.

As the golem let out something akin to a grunting roar and charged forward, Seresana began making some more handsigns. When the golem swung it's maul like hands down at her, Seresana held her ground as water made directly from her chakra pooled on her back. Just before the crushing blow from the golem could land, the fist was stopped by eight tentacles made from water that sprouted from her back. "Suiton, Hachi Shokushu," she said with a grin as the tentacles threw the fist back, offsetting the golem as Seresana drew back one of her last arrows and fired the projectile at point blank range, forcing the golem to double over slightly. Taking the initiative, Seresana sprung forward and into a slide to place her nearly under the doubled over golem where she drew and fired her second arrow while making a few more handsigns that made the arrow rocket forward from the bow at a noticeably more powerful and intense speed as was trademark of the projectile push jutsu. The impact was followed up by a series of eight uppercuts from the eight tentacles that proved enough to not only crack the golem's chest but knock it into the air. Wasting no time, Seresana was above the golem in an instant bow string drawn back despite no arrow being in her hands, yet her back hand was finishing up her latest in a series of handsigns. As she finished the series, the air where an arrow would have normally been began to shimmer and glitter and seemed to condense into a line in the shape of an arrow. In mere milliseconds, an arrow made of ice suddenly appeared ready to be shot from her bow. "Triple shot barrage!" Seresana called out as she released the arrow while also making a new series of handsigns with her bow holding hand for one final projectile push to make the ice arrow slam into the golem just that much harder. The impact slammed into the golem and subsequently into the ground, shattering it's stone body with a small explosion of dust and pieces of rock.

Seresana landed a second later just outside of the dust cloud from the destroyed golem, dismissing her water tentacle jutsu and panting hard from the sweat she'd just worked up. At some point between the golem being summoned and it being destroyed, Ranzaki had worked his way back over near Rosie and was standing there with his arms crossed and a critical expression watching her. "Heh, ho-how was tha- *thunk*" Seresana was cut off as an arrow that had been fired nearly straight up by Ranzaki during the golem fight finally came down and found its mark right on top of Seresana's head. The little girl who hadn't been expecting the blow simply fell forward before her hands clutched her head and she began rolling on the ground exclaiming about the pain.

"Oh quit your whining. It was one of the safe arrows," Ranzaki said with almost a grumble as he pointed to the arrow. The projectile in question was indeed "safe", at least when compared to the normal arrows that practically littered the clearing. This arrow had a large tip that seemed to be made of cloth or some kind of soft leather that was likely filled with some other kind of soft material to make sure that arrow wouldn't actually pierce the skin, though it'd still probably hurt and leave a bruise when shot from a bow like the one Ranzaki wielded. In fact, several of the arrows that Ranzaki seemed to have shot would also feature this abnormal tip, showing that the level of danger was significantly less than one might have assumed at the start.

Word Count: 1,723
Total: 8,879
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PostSubject: Re: Walking through the woods   Tue Dec 20, 2016 4:14 am

As Rosie turns to watch Ranzaki and Serasena begin to work, she has to smother a snort and a grin at the sight of Kitty reaching back into the fluffy bottlebrush of her tails and producing an impossibly large bag of crisps and a flawlessly elegant tea set which floats in the air at her side as if it's set on a solid surface. "The kitsune in the room wishes to inform our audience  that this is going to be good," she comments as she slices the crisps bag open with a claw and eats one of them, chasing it down with a sip of tea from a cup. "Mmm, peppermint cinnamon..."
"How would you even know what that tastes like?" Rosie asks as Ranzaki fires the arrow at Sera. "It's not like either of us have... She pauses in her thinking to do a little golf clap in appreciation of Sera's speed and agility in dodging the first arrow. "...ever tasted peppermint cinnamon tea."
"We've smelled it, and that's all I need," Kitty informed her airily. "Now hush and let me do the play-by-play for the audience."
"What audience? There's just you and..."
"Ssh, Rose, just let it happen."
"But..."
"Let it happen. The audience is real."
Rosie contents herself with a blink in Kitty's direction before she turns her attention fully back to Sera and Ranzaki doing their demonstration.
"And we're back, invisible fans of whatever this is that only I can see and hear!" Kitty declares enthusiastically. "Mean old man just finished his first arrow being leaped by a cute little ninja I and my little sister are uncommonly fond of, and now he's trying to... yes, he's shooting another one! But fear not folks, our adorable hero dodged it and she planted her first shot of the game dead center; needless to say, it's oh, so good."
"Kit, I should make a concerted attempt to gag you."
"And from our audience, a random threat of extremely kinky sexual activity involving a gag!"
"...I... what? What in all the hokages are you on about?"
"But fear not, people, your friendly hallucinatory kitsune is not swayed and will continue to broadcast the action in living, audible color!" She takes a long sip of tea. "And the withered old goat..."
"Real announcers use real names."
"...old goat otherwise known as Ranzaki throws a log at our hero but in a masterful display of skill, she's deflected it by... shooting it with an arrow! Lovely display of bow work by our very own Serasena."


"Wow, that's some amazing speed!" Rosie comments audibly, although not loudly.
"Although we are certain our hero will win through, her master is bringing his A game today, folks. Tremendous speed, agility, and skill with a bow entirely appropriate to a sensei of one so supremely talented as Miss Yuki. Sera has outstanding agility as well, dodging through the air like it's a solid surface she can jump off of, dodging, and weaving and giving it everything she's got. The projectiles are up in the air, and it's a no-hit on Yuki by Ranzaki. What could be coming next, my faithful watchers that I imagined into existence? Don't look away, because it's about to get real good up in here!"
"Say, Kit, did you just mention that her surname is Yuki?"
"Officials confirm that Serasena is, in fact, surnamed 'Yuki' and wonder what this inquiry could be about!"
"Cut that out Kit."
"Not a chance!"
Rosie sighs. "It could be important, or at least fill in a little missing piece."
Kitty floats backwards and turns upside down, nonchalantly sipping her tea in defiance of any semblance of gravity while still watching Sera go through her paces. "I'm listening."
"Yuki Clan is one of the clans that has a special jutsu skill, don't they?"
"Yup, though they're not all that chatty about it. No real surprise there."
"Sera does cute ice things. Coincidence?"
"I think not." Kitty grins and turns right-side up. "We're back, fanatics of indeterminate origin and location, and I've got a juicy thought for you to chew. What if the adorable one is, in fact, an ice queen? It would totally turn the world on its head, and speaking of turning the world on it's head, did you folks get the number of that triple that hit? It was out of this forest, out of this nation, and very possibly out of this world! Things are going outstandingly well for our plucky heroine but could the tide turn? Find out next, on Kitty Vision."

Kitty looks at her cup, shrugs, and opens the teapot itself, taking a big hearty couple of gulps before stretching and clearing her throat. "For those of you just joining us, where have you been? I know I'm imagining you in some kind of weird event where the imagination is imagining imaginary things but forget that, let's do this thing."
"I think it makes you sound even more insane when you lampshade your insanity, Kit," Rosie points out dryly, although her visible attention is fixed on the amazing display of Serasena being tested and stretched by Ranzaki's vigorous methods. "Although if you're my imagination, why can't I see what you're imagining?"
"Because I'm real and the people I'm talking to aren't. Speaking of those people, this is some amazing stuff we're seeing. Sera took a little gamble there, a little extra time to get it right, and our beleaguered girl of the hour paid for it, if my brilliant hallucinated eyes aren't playing tricks on me. But ladies and gentleman, if i can take a moment to be a rather perverted little kitsune, I cannot entirely object to any piece of Serasena's clothing being damaged int this contest."
"Just when I think you can't bury the needle any more..."
"My esteemed critical counterpart should know that there is no limitation to the depravity of a kitsune sipping tea and looking as amazing as I do."
"You're gulping it."
"My butt is plush, your argument is invalid. Speaking of such, there is no clever segue so I'll just point out that that masterful use of a shuriken and an arrow to hit those targets was some brilliant work by Serasena Yuki, and I think we can expect great things in the future from this young star. In case some of you missed it, that was an enormously brilliant pun, mentioning a shuriken and the word 'star' in the very same sentence. You will now laugh and gasp at how punny I am."
"How is it that you were ever a part of my personality?"
"Some of us are born lucky, Rose, and some of us make our own. Then there's me, who was born with luck and make my own, because I'm just that me."
"That makes no sense."
"Something, something, and your argument is once again invalid. And speaking of invalids, that old man looked like it until he started to strut his stuff and now, we see a true master at work, testing his student like the shriveled raisin of an elderly fuddy duddy that is the inevitable result of not dying when you're still beautiful."
"I'm not sure he was ever beautiful, Kit. Distinguished, perhaps."

"You are an amazing cohost, Rose! Distinction is exactly what we need to talk to next because those of you who aren't blind or distracted snarking with their schizophrenic hallucinations will have noticed that our star is proceeding with distinctive distinction and is distinctively distinct in her distinction and I'm running out of ways to use that word, so let's admire that arrow work and those amazing skills of agility and dodging. Competitors to this darling of the invisible audience will have to work hard to catch up, and may never fully accomplish their aims."
"Thanks, Kit, I appreciate the encouragement."
"The gracious hostess is happy to help, and will magnanimously ignore your blatant sarcasm, because I'm totally above such petty things, miss big fat stupidhead."
Rosie takes her attention from the display to stare at her hallucination. "What did you just call me?"
"I have no idea, but I'm sure it was brilliant and cutting, because I'm just that good." She munches a few more crisps. "Being the arena announcer on an empty stomach is stressful, and tiring.I recommend fish theft post haste to make your kitsune smile."
"And get the kind of beating Sera's just barely dodging?" Rosie gestures just as Sera makes another just-barely dodge. "No thanks, Kit. I think I'd rather be peckish than black and blue and sheepish."
"You could think of it as a test of speed, agility, timing, and good old-fashioned larceny. It's not like you could be caught because you'd totally just eat the evidence."
"I think the burned hands, lips, mouth, and face will be a little bit of a giveaway, Kit." She gestures backwards at the fire with her thumb as she continues to watch. "I know fire isn't a big thing to you..."
"It shouldn't be a big thing to you either, Rose." Kitty eats another crisp and looks back at her appraisingly. "We should really get working on making you master fire jutsu so you can learn to weave it around yourself instead of allowing it to scorch."
Rosie just looks pensive at the gentle rebuke, watching as Ranzaki summons a golem directly behind Sera, and Sera turns to face it, dodging and weaving and composing handsigns until suddenly, water of chakra appears on her back and turns into solid tentacles.
"Wow..."
"Yeah! Think of what she could do if she made those into mobile ice!" Kitty looks at her. "Or if you could create fire on yourself without harm and infuse it with the lightening strike to cut far more deeply than any flame normally could."
"Elemental theory," Rosie thinks dismissively as she watches the duel. "I care more about the practical and what I'm seeing right now is as practical a thing as I could have ever imagined. I... I just can't believe how far I have to go to get to my friend's level."
"Be cheerful. Think of it as a prod to move forward with vigor and determination."
"Why? I already have you sitting in my head poking at me to be the very best, like no one ever was."
"I might be gorgeous and sexy and appealing and brilliant, but she's adorable. You need cute to succeed, trust me on this."
"When have you ever known 'cute'? You pretty much have two modes: pouting and sultry. I didn't think you could do cute."
"I can do cute if given my own form and long enough with Sera."
Rosie makes a face at her. "That's revolting."
"That's nature taking its course, and things happening naturally, and speaking of both of those things my friends, did you see that golem getting totally ripped to pieces? Fine work, all the way through, all the way down to the ground and all the way up again. My superfluous talking is amazing, even to me."
"Are you not done with this schtick yet?"
"The show must go on, come hell, high water, hailstorms, haikus, hurricanes, and anything else which starts with the letter 'h' and is in fact an object or phenomenon."
"You're completely making up that last word."
"I completely am not! It's totally a real word, look it up scrub."
"Scrub?"
"Yes."
"What's that?"
"The thing you do when you get filthy and need to touch yourself vigorously and hard repeatedly until all the filth goes away."
"Once again, you make no sense."
"Once again, raisins prove that your argument is invalid."

After a moment, movement catches Rosie's eye and she looks up. "Say Kit, am I imagining things or is there an arrow flying upwards right now?"
"You are in fact not correct because that arrow is falling. In fact, it is falling straight towards a tired and unaware Serasena, which makes that it's a trap."
"The arrow is a trap?"
"More, the situation is a trap. I'm sure that Sera isn't a trap and I'd be terrified if Ranzaki was a trap, and that arrow is awfully small to be a trap, so logic leads us to the inevitable conclusion that the situation is a trap. Our dauntless paragon of cute virtue will learn of this in about five."
"Five?"
"Three."
"Two."
"Aaand..." Kitty claps her hands together hard as the falling safety arrow bonks Sera on the head. "Impact, figments of my imagination, we have impact. Our intrepid friend is now rolling on the ground complaining of her injury in a manner that is so cute that Rose is going to go and pick her up and hug her."
"How about we skid the middle man in that entire sequence." Rosie uncrosses her arms, which had become crossed as she was watching all this go on, and walks forward a few steps with Kitty trailing behind sipping tea from the impossible teapot.
"That's some amazing work, Sera," she says to her friend with a smile. "And ojiisan-shi, your work with my friend really does tell. It's a joy and pleasure to see a friend becoming more powerful and capable."
"Keptin, we are detecting a brown nose!"
"The only one of us with a colored nose is you, Kit. My nose is an entirely ordinary and acceptable color, shade, and hue."
"Sis, there are times when words just do not suffice to encompass the whole and entire of your obtusity."
"My...?"
"Obtusity, the state of being obtuse."
"You made that up."
"This time, i certainly did. But it still fits."

{Word Count: 2274 | 13977}
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PostSubject: Re: Walking through the woods   

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Walking through the woods
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