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26 Re: Vagabonds: Pilgrimage to the West [Private] on Mon May 22, 2017 10:28 am

Sousetsu Senju

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S-rank
Lima Syndrome





Climbing trees, picking flowers, looking for fruit; Throwing pellets across the waters; Running round sandy hollows, chasing dragonflies and catching locusts. Worshiping the sky, and weaving straw hats; Beating, scratching, pushing, squashing, tearing and tugging; Playfully arguing under the pine trees; Washing themselves beside the green stream. These were the memories she would cherish most of all during their time together. The Monkeys that accompanied her in the haven were not that different.  

But it is not all about fun and games. They needed him to bring them back to reality.


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Days had turned into weeks. Their bonds could be found growing in the words that they shared, the history they learned from one another, and the joyful laughs when Pig had made himself act a fool from time to time. It was relieving to see that even a beast could smile, even for just a little while. Her heart would continue to melt as Pig would challenge Monkey further each day. He could sometimes be found displaying his might leveling trees in the land of various woodlands on their ventures meanwhile, Monkey would react by leveling mountainous terrains as they climbed the hills of stone and hardened earth now that his power had slowly been revived to its former might.

The followers of the dark horse would invade their path every other day. Their numbers were greater each time but not their abilities in combat. Some of which summoned giant creatures that would soon be thwarted by a staff that couldn't be broken. Others would fly off into the great distance as they were launched by the iron ball and chain. It was through these displays that Pig would grow jealous of Monkeys stoic nature yet treasured his rivalry for allowing him to better himself in order to match his pace in growth of power, all to protect the one he loved. But whose heart belonged to Trip?

The night skies reminded her of Monkey. The correlations resembling the animal with a staff and tail once the stars were connected however she saw fit. Pig found his own animal, next to a carrot and bundles of green vegetables. A fitting and unsurprising vision for the gentle giant known for his lust for greed and gluttony. Monkey however, seen a familiar tree. One that he held dear in his memories. One that reminded him of her. The fondness of the old oak tree that he envisioned the two visiting from time to time in order to escape the world and create their own. A deep inhale and small sigh escaped before he lay to his side. His time of watching the shooting stars came to an end as all good things tend to do.

"Monkey?" Trip made her way over sat with her legs crossed.

In order not to draw attention, he forced a small grin before turning to face her.

"What is it?" he replied with high spirits yet a noticeable curiosity.

"We are almost there." she forced a small smile of her own, knowing what this meant for the two.

He nodded in reply. His lips began to transfigure back into its normal persona of a serious expression and stoic at that, with his jaw tensing, he cleared his throat. Her hand tugged his shoulder, wanting him to sit up to match her to which he complied. Her hands outstretched, placed on his chest as the hue of her powers emitted from his body in a soft glow.

"You are free-" Her words stopped as did the glow. Monkeys hands had found her wrists as he forced them away from him.

"We still haven't found her."

Monkey had thought about his decision. His mission to accompany this woman would be fulfilled, even if that meant that his own personal gain was to be forwarded to his future self. He had not lost hope in the Monkey Warriors in their quest of finding her and so he could rest easy, at least for a little while longer. Trips smile hidden behind her quivering lips and welling eyes said more than words ever could. It was then that she knew who her heart was skipping for. He was no longer a slave in her eyes, and he now knew this. But, he did not know that she was slowly becoming enslaved to him.

Pig snored in the distance as he found himself in the land of the sleep, where the shepherd anointed you to count his sheep for an allotted time. Monkey gave another infamous grin for his new comrade before laying his head back down, facing the stars, soon accompanied by Trip, who gave a light chuckle at the loud noises from the gentle giant.

"His name is Kuroma... The Dark Horse..."



Last edited by Sousetsu Senju on Fri May 26, 2017 12:17 am; edited 2 times in total


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27 Re: Vagabonds: Pilgrimage to the West [Private] on Mon May 22, 2017 11:38 am

Sousetsu Senju

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Before their Journey



The Sage found himself among the shade of the leaves of emerald, overlooking a mass of warriors in armour and various abilities. Ink etched their skins, fire burned in their eyes as their passion rose to appease the one that stood on an earthen platform before them. Two weeks had passed with information being relayed back and forth between the Sage and the Monkey King and his disciples. He had found a man who was also searching for an unusual power that scorched the earth as it passed its cherished grounds, but he did not know why. All he knew was that their goal was the same. Their paths were destined to be crossed, fingers would always be pointing in the same direction, fate showing that they were in an unknowing race to the same finish line.

The Sage's purpose was his own, to find the woman who his heart belonged to. He was sure that no harm would reach her, no matter how far into the depths of the shadows or behind whatever curtain he found himself, he would not be far behind, eliminating whatever threat dared to present itself. Kuroma was the beasts next prey, and there he lay in wait at his very doorstep. It was reported that Kuroma possessed a unique skill. A counterpart to the man who stole the ocean, Kuroma was a man born from flame. It was said that fires could not burn him, his skin showed no signs of disturbance from the severe heat that spewed, a burn to no degree.

It was almost time for the beast to strike as his claws grew weary of scratching the bark, his teeth already sharpened and ready to tear into the flesh of the many. His blade would be slowly withdrawn behind the cover of the branches, his focus would not be blinded by the sun's gaze, his might ready to be displayed. The laughs of the many followers continued to mock him. That feeling of unease that they were to do what they pleased with the spoils of war under his expense. They would be lucky to leave with their lives now that the Azure Beast had joined the battlefield.

"Men! Our time has almost come to an end! The new Intel has arrived and it has proved to be quite fruitful!" Kuroma had spoken from his makeshift podium.

A wisp of air replaced the Sage. Few leaves fell as the last remnants of his time in hiding. It was his time to attack. An ambush of speed and a quick succession of strikes would leave the open area crimson with their blood. Only a few remained, just like the leaves that had not yet reached the earth's surface. Fear quickly ensued upon the faces of what was left of this battalion. Blood had not even been spilled onto the white kimono of the Sage, a true test of his speed to the unknowing, giving the impression that he was a ghost of war, a death god coming to claim its victims in order to feed and remain among the living further in time.

The leaves had finally reached their destination to the earths surface and another wisp of air was left leaving more bodies to the collection of the death gods toll. Only few remained, reducing to Kuroma himself once his subordinates had fled the battlefield. Their screams would echo in the lands for days to pass. The story of a ghost would soon travel from word of mouth. What variations would he hear when the time came?

"What do you know?" he questioned the man upon the podium.

"About the woman? Over my dead body..." his hand resting his a blade of his own.

Sousetsu retorted by whipping his own blade to rid the blood that had not yet stained the steel. Showing its thirst to the opponent before him. The two vanished within the pines of the surrounding area. The clatter of steel clashing filled the air from various area as they moved hastily, attempting to better each other with their prowess of agility beyond that of any commoner. Sounds of waves colliding with the rumbling heatwaves evaporated into steam as their powers peeked above the wildlife. The very trees began to move as they aided the Sage in his offense, only to be overwhelmed with another gust of fire. The land would soon be scorched had it not been for the water raining down in suit.



Last edited by Sousetsu Senju on Mon May 29, 2017 11:20 am; edited 1 time in total


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28 Re: Vagabonds: Pilgrimage to the West [Private] on Mon May 29, 2017 12:20 am

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Two days had passed since the first drop of blood spilled upon the minerals the earth had to offer. Their blades grew dull as the clashing of metal scraped and rolled off another with their defenses and parries. Both parties showed no signs of forsaking their paths, their goals and what they planned to achieve. Another strike, sparks emitting like flint when striking a flame. The land grew barren around them. The trees suffocating from the fumes of the smoke born from the fires of Kuroma and the insects drowned from the overwhelming roars of coursing rivers that echoed above them from the Monkey Sage.

The two opponents grew weary as their breath quickened in pace. Their hearts thumping as their minds wandered into the abyss of the simple question, 'what if..?' What if they failed here? What if they had lost their lives on this very battleground? What if their predecessors failed to succeed where they did not? For the Sage, his quest to find the woman who silenced his demons gave him all the strength and determination he needed, while the Dark Horse searched for a new strength to call his own.

"I haven't fought like this in some time! Your efforts are futile, however!"

"..."

Another dash, much like the first, did not lose its pace. A thrusting blade dodged as the Sage side-stepped before returning a slashing diagonal strike of his own. Another dodge, the blade cutting through the air like a soft sponge with little to no resistance to fight back. Sweat from their brows and the chests bulging in and out, their mouths open to feed the brain more oxygen and their feet constantly on the ball and toes, ready unleash another flurry at any given. All before the Dark Horse grinned. His hands came together in prayer, summoning a great earthen titan that dwarfed the two in size.


Monkey took a small step back. His blade still firmly in his grasp. His teeth now coming to a grind as he watch this colossus reign over the barren lands at the will of the man born from flame. He darted his attention back to the fire-user, seemingly controlling the earth with the same level of skill. He was not unlike the Sage before him. A master in the elements around them, utilizing them and bending them to their every need. The Sage had not faced a titan such as this in his life time, yet he refused to be outmatched no matter the adversary.

He turned his gaze to the right, in the distance, the pine trees still stood, and as he scanned his eyes around them the trees would always connect. A great family of pine had lost their center, their very heart, and Monkey would help ease the pain. He would use their pain and create a new protector of these woodlands. He placed his hands together, quite similar to the opposing previously, and allowed the nature around him to mold and form their own creature of awesome size. The sounds of the very earth groaned around him. Using the minerals within the soil, he created new life in the barren wasteland once more.  
A wooden titan matched the size of the new found opponent, only the Sage had made his own adjustments to the creature. A wooden dragon that curled around its waist and lingered on its right shoulder seemed to have a life of its own, willing to protect and attack at any given point. The face of the titan resembled that of Oni, a demonic being that would cause terror to those who opposed it. Kuroma gave off a playful giggle in response. Laughing at the face of death, just as he had done before.

"You continue to impress me and I have yet to know your name!"

"..."

The Dark Horse refused to grin any further. An opponent who he had fought for a great length of time still remained a mystery to him. His abilities were continuously matched and both still remained unscathed.

"You may have heard of me? The Dark Horse?"

"..."

"Finding me is something else! You really are something special!"

'Two days, Wukong. Really? How long do you need?'


____

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29 Re: Vagabonds: Pilgrimage to the West [Private] on Mon May 29, 2017 11:10 am

Sousetsu Senju

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The Monkeys gathered in the great kingdom. Misty clouds scattered colours, accompanied by the Sun and Moon shimmered bright. A thousand ancient cypresses, ten thousand lofty bamboos. A soft green drawing the rain from the sky and a misty valley that reminded him of the Sage coated in azure blue. They could be found gathered outside the gate where rare flowers spread brocade beside a bridge that wafts the scent of jade flowers. Rocky crags jut, glossy with green moss and on the overhanging cliffs, blue lichen grew.

"I think we have wasted enough time here, Wukong! He needs our help!"

"Nonsense, there is always time for a prank!"

"You have been thinking about it for two days! Just send us to assist!"

"No."

The black apes began to grow restless as the Monkey King pondered. To cross the Dragon King was a risk only he dared to take. With his group of not-so-merry men, the Monkey King finally let loose a grin.

"I got it! Omori! Go help him."

The apes erupted in a small cheer, slapping the bamboo against one another, padding the earth like a percussion instrument, provided a bass line with their deepened cries as his decision finally came to end. Omori was chosen. Known for his soul allegiance to Wukong, he would not fail. Although young within the circle of apes, he still proved to be above exceptional in his tasks. They raised their staffs above their heads in salute to their comrade who made his way into the nearby cave, wishing him well with his new calling to help the Sage.

Omori had soon found himself in a place among the pines. The sounds of percussion echoed throught the land as two titans made from earth and wood began their spar. They traded fists, blow for blow, while their masters clashed in the air above them. With each block and parry, they found a new landing point from their descent onto their respective titan, only to propel back into the air for another bout. Their actions repeated over the course of time.

"A friend of yours?" Kuroma smirked.

There was no indication that Sage was with company. Caught in the heat of battle, he collected himself and allowed his markings to etch across his face. The colours of orange and red mixed to create tomoes around his eyes, covering a third of his face becoming apart of his features. He did not look, yet allowed his new ability to sense the area around him. A monkey in the distance flowing with the natural chakra that he was given at birth, his aid had responded. Meanwhile, another sense of chakra was sensed. Behind him in the distance, a small figure in white stood in a small open space, becoming one with the environment as it did not move.

Time had passed and the master of the ocean had collaborated with the wooden dragon in taking down its prey as they edged closer to the pines in the East, to where the figure in white resided. A whirlpool had covered his blade as he sent it crashing down. It was then that the Dark Horse had seen the Sage's power for what it really was. His change in energy, lending strength from the ocean and the family of bark and flora around them. If this was indeed his accomplice in white, he had to test him.

"This has gone on long enough..."

Another weaving of hand signs and another expulsion of great flame came from the Dark Horse. Like the whirlpool, a fiery tornado covered his own steel, bring the wooden titan to its demise. In a quick succession, another gust of fire was expelled towards him. The sage suddenly realized that given his current position, if he avoided this attack then the bystander may be caught in the engulfment. The trajectory was calculated in that brief moment. His eyes closed slowly as he allowed the nature to form around him in a thin protecting aura. The flames swallowed him whole.

Off into the distance he went, there to meet the figure in white. Omori had found his opportunity to meet the Dark Horse. In an instant he was by his side, watching the worn and tattered being collect himself before making his way to the result of his devastating power from the branches of the pines.

"You would do well to leave them."

"Huh... Who said that?"

"Just answer me this question. Where will you travel next?"

The Dark Horse scanned his surroundings, believing that the very nature around him could now communicate with him.

"You can tell your kin that they will meet their demise in the West." he smirked, heading to the ending once more.

It was there that he found the wooden giants head but not the being he was looking for. A swift end should be brought to the one who could match him. He smiled as he continued his pace passed the outcome which burned as bright as his desires. He would continue into the family of pines and find him beaten among the shrubbery no doubt. Omori lingered the trees above, his speed almost putting the Sage's to shame. His attention looked towards the young being in white and his injured comrade whose presence was become faint, weary from exhaustion. His markings of the sage disappeared along with his aura. A shield of nature saved him from certain death. She had used a power to conceal them. If it was not for the natural energy around them, Omori would have also missed them.

What the Dark Horse saw next he could not comprehend at first. A sea of amber eyes watched him in the shade of the woodlands. Omori had his clones in place, laying in wait, waiting to strike. He was warned not moments ago, and chose to ignore 'the forests' wishes. Was he willing pay its toll?


Another smirk, now becoming an infamous trait to the fire-user, before he turned and went on his way. The Sage was now safe.


____

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30 Re: Vagabonds: Pilgrimage to the West [Private] on Mon May 29, 2017 12:11 pm

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Present Time



The stars lost their constellations in resemblance to Monkey and his staff to the woman in white. Trip focused on the Monkey Sages path until her coming. He was on his own journey which she led astray. Her emotions ran wild as she now realized the depth of his anger. His quest was for love, not unlike hers, but who was she to take that away from another? Now saddened, she turned to her side, waiting impatiently for the land of dreams to take her. The Sage exhaled briefly through his nostrils as he mimicked her actions. He finally let her in, and he did not have to put much thought into how she felt, knowing he chose to tell her the extent of his en-slavery at such an untimely manor. A guilty conscience, a restless night.

The sun greeted them for a new day with the accompaniment of the melodies of birds chirping, waiting for their parent to catch the worms within the soil to feed the young. Pig was first to awake, gathering his supplies and itching to go to the nearby town for his first feed of the day. The Sage soon followed, his eyes opening slowly before sitting upright and to his feet to continue the pilgrimage west. Looking for Trip, he found her nestled under a nearby tree, her knees into her chest while her arms wrapped around them. She seemed lost in thought. Most likely still coming to terms with her actions. Once she realized the two were ready to move, she slowly rose to her feet also and lingered at the back of the group.

Reaching the nearest town, Pig spotted the local food vendor who was open for business in a stall by the entrance. He made his way over and firmly planted himself onto the stool provided, raising three fingers and pointing to the menu that resided on the wall behind the chef. Monkey side to his right side, Tripitaka to his left. Before long, the chef placed the three bowls of various cuisines in front of the gentle giant. Unsurprising that the three meals were not ordered for his newly acquainted friends, Trip pointed to the top of the menu, the smallest dish of rice and fish, while Monkey had ordered one of the bowls the gentle giant harbored.    

A young teenage boy entered from the side of the stall with a rather large crate. Struggling, he placed the crate on a nearby counter to help support the weight. That was until,  the crate slipped through his grip and crashed into the ground at his feet.

"Sandy! That's the second crate this week!"

"I'm sorry, Sensei!" Sandy scoured the remnants of the crate. Although the three could not see its contents, they were certain that the sounds of ceramic were among them. Bowls and plates now in pieces were being collected in hopes of bringing them to their former glory.

"Next time will be your last! -Uhh, forgive me..." he suddenly stopped shouting as he realized  he was in company of paying customers.

"It's fine..." Trip forced a smile as she felt sorry for the scolded young man.

She took but two bites into her rice before leaving her eating utensils within the bowl and pushing it further in front, back to the chef.

"Sorry, guys I think I left something back at the campsite. I'll catch up."

Pig continued to eat, while the Sage stopped eating and watched her carefully as she left the premises.

"When you are finished, go see how she is." Monkey grew concerned.

"Mhmm!" Pig continued to inhale the food and slurp the sauce that was left within the first bowl.

It was not long when Monkey had finished his breakfast, at the same time the third bowl for Pig rolled back to join the other two. With their goodbyes, Pig set off to find Trip. Monkey however, would become a fly on the walls of this small town. He made his way by every stall, his head low, his ears sharpened. After some time, it appeared the towns people were not common with violence or legends of the surrounding areas. So close to their destination and there were no mention of newcomers who passed them by. No signs of migration from various lands as a result of disaster that Trip had claimed. Was it all lies?

"Monkey! Monkey!"

A very hasty and sweating Pig shouted in the distance. He stopped before he could even reach the man he called for. In return, and in order not to draw any further attention, Monkey made his way back to Pig, saving him the short journey.

"It's Trip! She's gone!"

"What do you mean she is gone!?" The rightfully concerned Sage replied with shock etching on his face.

"I got- to the... campsite..." he panted.

He raised a finger as he bent forward, asking a moment to allow the air to refill his lungs. Time was not something Pig took into consideration.

"Pig!"

"Sorry- She was not there! There were two men instead! I pummeled 'em Monkey ya should have seen it!"

"What did they want!?"

"I don't know. They just kept mentioned a woman and a... horse or something..."

"Let's go!"

Another large sigh exhaled from the gentle giant before he took another deep breath to follow the Monkey Sage in pursuit.


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31 Re: Vagabonds: Pilgrimage to the West [Private] on Wed May 31, 2017 11:41 am

Sousetsu Senju

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All Good Things





Flashing like lightning when they meet. The chill wind from them makes one cold. One, moved by greed and lust for power. The other, who set out to save the pilgrim, showed no touch of mercy. The two sides seethed with equal hatred, each of them sharing the same loathing. They fought so hard that Heaven and earth were thrown into darkness. They said that Gods and demons were terrified. The sun went pale in the dense smoke. Dragons and tigers trembled. One gnashed his teeth, as if filing nails of jade; The other's glaring eyes burned with golden fire. Moving to and fro they showed off their valour in an endless play of sword and staff.
Don't make Monkey lose his fiery temper. For if he does, he'll surely wipe you out.


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The Dragon's pearls still hung loosely around the Sage's neck, flailing like the leaves in gusts of wind. His eyes took notice of the cursed seal upon his person yet again. His choice to stay true to his words may come in handy for they would share their pain. They were connected so long as the markings etched on his skin. Blurry to the eyes like a far off distant mirage across the scorching sand dunes, its magical properties revealed itself naturally, reminding him of his pilgrimage with every step taken. This was no longer about him. This was a chapter he dedicated to the one who used to be a blank page. His words would fill her with comfort, a sense of fulfillment, and her story was not to end yet.

Monkey's attention was captured with every faint disruption within the environment that surrounded them. Accompanied by Pig, the two would dash from one area to the next, in search of any lingering sound or man-made material left in the natures residence. They continued West during their search. It was not until the emerald green was greeted by a barren earth that the two left the family of pines, now darkened in the late afternoon.

Sand stretched across the land, so close to the border of the West before the land of Rivers, how was this possible? The dunes provided little cover over the vast emptiness of the landscape and it was when their attention was caught by a darkened cloud that moved, that they knew they had found what they had been looking for. The cloud hummed in the distant. Gentle spirals of wind formed at its edge, drawing their attention further in wonder and awe of this new discovery. Their journey had not yet come to a halt as they found themselves scaling the nearby dune.

"What is that, Monkey?"

"..."

He did not answer, for he did not know. He would climb the sandy hill with his comrade in hopes of the answer on the other side. It was only when he reached the top that he could find what he was looking for during their short quest to find Trip. A great abandoned hideout, hidden among the dunes. Made from old mechanical pieces of girders, nuts and bolts. Metal sheeting and propellers sprawled unevenly throughout the land. Pig allowed his heavy jaw to drop, Monkey would tense his jaw in order to seize it from following suit. Their eyes came together in unison as they lusted for knowledge of the new unknown. The humming grew louder, their eyes wandering to where it came from in the spiraling clouds. A flying machine emerged, its propellers being the source of the trebling noise that filled their ears and curiosity.

"Monkey..."

What could he say in response? Falsely claim to know the machines and workings before him? He turned to face him in a simple regard to shrug his shoulders, but it was then that he found his comrades attention was not towards the same cloud as his. Pig looked off to the distance, to the left of the construction, finding more spiraling clouds and flying contraptions similar to the one that presented itself before. He turned his gaze back to the building that overlooked the sand and far-off lands. Markings of his own would begin to creep over face once more. The sage had shown himself once more, his senses sharpened and transcendent in every way. He could sense the same presence that lingered on his skin within the metal tower.

"Come. She is inside." Monkey ordered his fellow pilgrim.


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The sounds of crackling sand came in repetition during the short skirmish towards the metal scaffold. Their destination was within reach as it towered over them the further they proceeded, much like the family of pines and bamboo. The humming of the aircraft's engines and propellers echoed across the wind like a hornets nest. They would do well not to disturb the machines way of life. As the Sage remained in his true form, he scanned the surroundings and the mechanisms that occupied the air, they were not alone. With a tensed jaw, he focused his attention to the signatures within each airship, his powers staying true to their purpose of sensing foreign aspects and unique lifeforms. It wasn't until the ships in the sky changed their routines of circling the metal tower to meeting on the East side that the Sage grew wary.

"They are sentinels."

Monkey's head tilted towards Pig. His stoic presence amplified, his current state of being peaking like never before. Pig grew worrisome. To be spotted in such an open area, there was nowhere to run. Their safest option was to enter the creaking and unstable building of metal sheeting before them. He inhaled deeply and swallowed whole, trying to muster all the courage that he held deep within, but much like the Monkeys curse, it felt suppressed.

"You go on ahead. Find her, Pig. Make sure she is safe." Monkey reassured his cowardly comrade.

Monkey let his grin reveal itself once more. This mortal man knew of the dangers that surrounded them better than he. He had proved his skill and diligence to best the many terrors and obstacles within their journey thus far. This time was no different. The Sage unsheathed his staff from his back ever so slowly and let it hang loosely in his right hand is it lingered by his side. With a nod, Monkey had allowed Pig to further his travels where he could not. He would act as the shield to allow safe passage, and the sword to strike back should any harm come to his path.

Pig gripped his iron ball by the pole it latched onto and began to make haste for the metal towers east-side wall. There were no signs of an entrance, no passageway, no makeshift window, not even a guard to reveal an area to protect. It was then that he had to become creative. He swung his great iron ball which came loose from its latch, the chain rattling like a hissing snake as it was propelled into the distance. A sudden clatter of crashing metal, like a tumbling scrapyard, an entrance into the east-side of the building was made.

The hornets nest had been tampered with. The sounds of rumbling engines and propellers that quickened in pace had begun a new course towards the origin of the sounds of colliding iron and metal. Dust clouds revealed the point of interest, only the being that was Monkey let himself be known as he lingered out in the open to be found by any sentinel that wished to point a finger to blame. His grip tightened around his weapon, twirling it ever so slowly and prepared his battle stance.

Inside the facility, Pig lay in awe and the architecture the building had to offer. Carved etchings into the walls of metal told stories alien to ones he was accustom to. Swirls that represented the sun, figures of tigers and dragons shown greater than the crowds of people that tried to fend for themselves with spears and pitchforks. His hand caressed the markings, the feeling of coarse and rough outmatching the sand that resided on the towers doorstep. Further markings, similar to the ink that claimed the Sage, circled the drawings. The stories had meaning, but one Pig could not understand. He allowed his hand to guide him, attempting to follow the story with the pictures alone, like escaping a maze his hand would not leave the walls surface and allowed it to carry him further into the unknown.

The war-machines of the sky began to edge their way closer, nose-diving in their descent towards the sage. The sounds of the buzzing and humming growing ever louder that one could question how the passengers could bear the sounds? His attention glanced towards the metal opening, watching as the gentle giant entered the premises with the help of his sensory. The dust clouds limited the vision to those with the average perception. He was through, and beginning his own short journey to find Trip. With teeth coming to a grind, the great Azure Beast let loose a powerful roar. A sudden surge of energy would disrupt the sandy terrain around his being, flattening the immediate area and blowing gusts like the beginning of a tornado the further his energy reached.

The machines drew near. The Beast leaped to greet them.


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Sousetsu Senju

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The sounds of wailing metal like a sinking ship filled Pigs senses. Unease crept over him, his footsteps as heavy as his heart as he left footprints in the sand that still seeped through the cracks of the iron sheets that lay sporadically across the ground level of the towering abyss. It appeared that their Odyssey to the West had peeked in its danger with this new realm of the unknown. His left hand had not yet left the wall that carried his course, hoping this path would lead him to a sign of the whereabouts of his captured comrade. There was no longer curiosity in this gentle giant, only fear poisoned his mind with the urge to leave this forsaken place.

He reminded himself of the golden sun that seeped through the bamboo upon the hill with the narrow and winding path. His home bearing gifts of bountiful food leaving him with a nostalgic smile. Remembering the sweet taste of fresh strawberries, the crunching sensation of that first bite into whatever variety of vegetables he had come to love, and the succulence of a pork combination with noodles, he could feel the juices well on his taste-buds even now. This was his light in the dark. The moaning metal would always bring him back to reality however. He swallowed whole just as he had done before, this time ridding himself of the excess saliva that he harbored during his reminiscence.

His hand stopped as a sharp pain presented itself along his index finger. A sudden jerk to pull his hand into his chest, held by his opposite hand to comfort the wound. A cut, although not deep, still shocked his body and regained his focus to the task at hand. He looked upon the wall that had pricked him, only to find another carving unlike the others. This carving was not made by the same sharp object that etched on the previous, the utensil used here was far greater in size. The drawing revealed a familiar character surrounded by four great tigers that seemed to leap to him. The familiar character had a scribble of hair, a being with an average build holding a long line within its grasp. An outfit consisting of white with a swirl pattern on the bottom and ends of the sleeves, and the right half drooping. That line must have resembled a weapon, a staff of some sort. That character was Monkey.

Fear was pushed aside within the mind of the gentle giant that bore the iron ball and chain. A look of disbelief made its way in its stead. He looked to his left, then to his right, still alone in this labyrinth of carved art. It was time he quickened his pace further into the dark depths of the abyss for time was not something that accommodated those who wasted it. The blood from his finger still remained on the sheet of metal, re-imagining the image that was Monkey. Blood now lingered across his abdomen.

"Trip!" Pig's presence was now to be heard echoing throughout the construct. His hopes in a reply was figured to be futile, but one could only try.

"Trip!" A second cry carried across the walls and rust and copper.

Silence soon filled the room his pace halted as did the ripples of his voice.

"..."

"Pig!"

His eyes widened as his cry has been answered. His footsteps were still just as heavy on the cast iron that replaced the sand flooring.

"Trip!"

He neared a corner, the end of the labyrinth was within his sight and within his grasp. His smile was beginning to seep through his once fearful persona as hope had found him yet again. He had found the one who bound him to the journey through an act he had created. His debt soon to be repaid as he could reassure her safety within his grasp, possibly winning her heart in the process. Upon turning the corner of the ending edge of copper rust and hieroglyphics, there she lay. The woman in white cloth. In the center of the room, she lay on her side, her hands stopping her from lying fully on the surface, her knees curled into abdomen.

"Pig!" She cried, yet she did not appear to be happy. Sorrow emitted from her glow.

His smile melted back into the small sense of fear. He was not alone. From the shadows, a man with dark hair emerged. His beard being his most notable quality after his menacing giggle. The darkened individual edged his way closer to Pig with a golden fire in his eyes.

"Pig! Run!"

A wave of fear crashed over him once more. But only for a brief moment. Instead of heeding to her words, the gentle giant withdrew his iron ball and hastily expelled it, the hissing and rattling of the chain following its righteous path towards his new found foe. A small exert of a grunt came from the not-so gentle giant and his new persona of bravery. All to be taken away from him in an instant as the being before him seized the offense with nothing but his palm. With a great thud and vibrating bass travelling throughout the walls, the iron ball and chain met an immovable object, falling to the fall like an anchor to a ship by shore.

"Yes, little Piggy. Run..."


____

:19

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Sousetsu Senju

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The sun was hidden behind the dark spiraling clouds. The dark tower cast a great shadow across the dunes that the Sage could be found in a heated battle of swarms of hornets and their travelling nests. A duel before the dawning light, the cursed Azure Beast would let his fangs be revealed as his roar matched their resonance. He could be seen mounting the great mechanized blimp, his feet steady, maintaining his balance as he scaled the balloon with his staff firmly in his grasp. He kept his movements low to the surface, his eyes scanning the every little nut and bolt that held each foreign mechanism in place.
Water formed in his left palm before enveloping around his entire hand, condensing and sharpening across the fingertips. It was then that he jabbed the surface beneath him. An impressive gust of wind began to shoot up from the puncture, trying to expel the Sage like swatting a fly from an unwelcome presence. Through gritted teeth, the Sage lingered like the stinger from a wasp into pierced skin. His attention was taken to the skies further as the neighboring nests came to the aid of their now infected kin. Circling and increasingly narrowing down to their target, their distance reduced drastically and the sounds of humming was growing more unbearable with each passing second.

Monkey threw his weight with each step forward he took, his pace quickening until he came to a sprint. His left hand still lodged inside the balloon of hot hair, tearing a great hole, creating a large enough crevice to impact the machines functioning. The further he traveled, the greater the gusts of wind blew wildly behind him, the sounds of a muffling cry from the gears and roar of the flames that fed the sky demon ached in pain as it worked harder than before to stay within the air. With a few grunts and large breathes taken in, Monkey diverted his focus onto another war-machine that was closing in.

He was greeted with a bronze head, similar to that of a reptiles. A small blue flame led from a small pipe, peeked out from the throat of the bronze replica before erupting in flame. With widened eyes, the Sage leaped from the deflating balloon with no real thought into his landing as he escaped the engulfment of the dragons rage. Falling through the air, like a leaf from a branch, he swayed to and fro. The wind was cutting, like a rake across the farmers soil, his face felt it pushing against him, unwilling to allow him to reach the ground from the high altitude that carried him further from the earth. In his peripheral vision, a long piece of rope was caught in the wind from another foes airship. Stretching his arms he attempted to surf the wind to its direction until he could finally grasp his salvation. Its grasp burned like catching hot coals as he slipped further down its long and narrow body. A tightened grip was soon found to be the solution.

Two similar vessels were creeping below, hunting their prey, stalking, laying in wait for the loss of grip and swallow him whole in a fiery blaze. Meanwhile, his vision wore thin as the air blurred his sight as his eyes welled against their impact. He could see crew members tampering with the rope that was latched to the side of their hull, wishing to rid it of their possession. It was not long before their goal was achieved, sending the leeching passenger that was Monkey to satisfy the wishes of the fiery mouths of bronze below. He let go of the rope, no longer useful in his time of need. His thoughts raced with possibilities and ended with one solution. Hastily, one hand came to his center before him and two clones appeared by his side, falling with him to the fires embrace. He could not die here. He could not die alone.

The three Monkeys gripped each others arm before starting a slow spin that was carried by the wind. As it quickened its pace, the end of the line of Monkeys launched the other two, sending them towards the opposing ship that left them to fall to their deaths. The remaining clone and original continued their spin before mimicking the action of the previous clone, throwing the creator towards with enough force that called for an exerted grunt, sending the original to eventually grab hold of the hull of the nest. The first ship had finally reached the earths surface, the sounds of crunching metal was soon overpowered by an explosion of black smoke, a roaring flame and flying shrapnel.

The falling replicas each lined their bodies straight, one headed for each ship and allowing the current of the air to feed their speed as it increased over time. Each of the clones began to bring their own hands together, wooden spikes forming over their bodies like porcupines ready to curl and defend themselves. They each swung the right hands towards their designated ships, shooting forth several sharpened pieces of wood to tear a wide enough gap into the balloons. Directing themselves into each crevice of each flying mechanism, silence filled the air. The sounds of arrows traveled through the wind, all before the gusts of air erupted from the nests in multiple locations. The arrows continued their volley as the clones began there tampering from the inside as they succeeded in infiltrating and sabotaging the great flying beasts. Their lives would not be missed as they continued to fall to their demise along with the captain and crew of these ships.


____

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35 Re: Vagabonds: Pilgrimage to the West [Private] on Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:24 pm

Sousetsu Senju

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"Stop!"

The sonic booms of loose metal rang against the walls as they crashed and collided. Pig emerged from the metal covered in its shavings, bloody and weakened with fatigue and durability. His skin was bruised, his right eye was clouded with red as a vessel had been damaged. His left arm was dislocated at the shoulder, ribs had been shattered, and yet he still clutched onto the iron ball and chain which could do more harm than good at his current state. He panted heavily before throwing a right straight punch towards the man with golden amber eyes, only to be parried with ease by a mere slap and a counter to exceed where he had failed. The gentle giant spewed blood during his short journey to the sand covered metallic flooring. His face connected with the rusty surface and it seemed his spirit had joined him, unable to bring his will and usual energetic persona back into battle.

"You are going to kill him! Please! Stop!" Tripitaka's cries bellowed throughout the surroundings yet continued to fall on deaf ears.

The man tightened his fists as he neared the downed giant. He watched as Pig barely moved to avoid the inevitable onslaught during his time of vulnerability. He lay gazing towards the woman in white, centered underneath the sky the seeped its light through the iron ceiling. A small smile escaped him as he took pride in his last moments being that of an act of bravery and not out of lust or greed, but out of love for the woman he cared for, his companion, but above all, his friend. Her eyes welled with tears as she watched helplessly, too afraid to move and intervene in deaths calling. As the curtain began to close, the man with golden eyes clenched his fist as fire enveloped it. Pig closed his eyes, picturing Tripitaka as he would forever remember her; Smiling and laughing at his childish and foolish antics. He welcomed death with its warm embrace.

A clatter of metal had met the walls in which they resided. The flame from the Dark Horses fist had faded leaving a hint of white smoke as it was extinguished. His attention now drawn to the origin of the raining objects that littered over the construct. Suddenly, a tear in the wall emerged as a great sharpened piece of a war-machine emerged, greeting the three with its terrifying intrusion. The Dark Horse prepared himself, his feet stood firmly at shoulder width apart, his hands clenched into fists as he took a defensive stance. Trip mustered up the courage to crawl to her fallen comrade in hopes to shield him from the loose pieces of metal that knocked against the fabric of the building.

Through the crack in the wall above the emerging visitor, Kuroma spotted the disturbance off into the distance. His infamous grin returned, his passion burning brightly once more. The fires of his anger and curiosity grew to its fullest as he longed for the return of the man who stole the ocean. An explosion echoed through the air with a sudden burst of flame through the cracks of the construction caused the woman in white to flinch and shield her friend once more.

"Incredible..." Kuroma muttered under his breath as he neared the small opened in the wall. His sight now improving as he inspected the surroundings. He noticed the two creeping vessels in pursuit of the one highest in the sky, only their balloons were hastily deflating. Turning his attention to the machine that climbed highest in the skies, he watched as a figure frantically twirled a long pole against the many that surrounded it.





Kuroma began to chuckle deeply. It was the sounds of one who was on the brink of madness. He cheered as he watched anarchy towards his own subordinates. His menacing gaze returned to watch over the two captives.

"I have no need for the two of you any longer..."

He placed his hand firmly around the edge of the rather large shrapnel that created the gaping hole within the fabric and pulled with great force, letting it loose at the end of his pull.  Pig used the last of his energy to embrace Trip, tilting her to lay on her back as he would receive whatever impact that would come their way. With a sound of scraping metal followed by a loud thud, the woman in white would begin to yell with pain and sorrow. It wasn't until she found herself beneath the gentle giants smile that she found solace. She forced a small smile to meet his, looking passed the large man to find the Dark Horse no longer in their presence. His smile soon faded however, before he fell to her side, blood spilling and reddening the sands beneath them. The shrapnel had found a new home within the back of the gentle giant. Her welling was to return, her hand attempting to reach the wound before snapping back and covering her mouth, bottling her cries.


____

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36 Re: Vagabonds: Pilgrimage to the West [Private] on Sat Jun 03, 2017 10:26 am

Sousetsu Senju

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Almost




Wicked the ape, and stubborn the Dark Horse that had their souls bound in this life. They forgot themselves and landed in these lands. Like the woeful swan that loses the flock; tearful the Horses soldiers whose race was to be destroyed. When will their time be done and their bonds released, so that they may return to havens of their own?

Happiness braces the spirit. Sorrow just sends you to sleep. He stayed true to his word. She did not.


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Upon the hull of the flying war-ship, Monkey held tightly along the edge of the square crevice the allowed the bronze head of a reptile peek out like an open window. His teeth came to a grind as he used his strength to pull him further along the body of the vessel. With the sounds of distant chatter, he knew he had to pirate this ship in order to rid the hornets of their nest to seize control of the skies. Another strong tug with his left arm forced his body further upwards before another breath of fire expelled from the window that was now by his side. Its fires singed the loose cloth that resided on the Sage, flailing against the harsh winds. The fires were feeding off the material within the cloth, spread further along and soon to reach the Sage's skin. With a brief shock, Monkey placed the staff under the dressing of marked cloth pushed against it, ripping the cloth from his being and allowing the winds to carry the burden off into the distance.

Rid of the burning trap, Monkey continued to scale the ship, boarding the deck before long. There he was greeted with the captain and his crew, hastily scouring for weapons of spears and curved swords before returning to the center to oppose their unwelcome passenger. With a flick of the wrist, the Azure Beast had already begun the offense, jabbing the closest member in the abdomen with the butt of his staff. With haste, the hornets grew in anger and retaliated with little notice but their cries of vengeance. Parrying with a twirl of his staff and fluid motions, the Sage, although outnumbered, proved his abilities to reign supreme against the mismatch.

A tightened grip across the staff that could not be broken and the Sage who wielded proved too much to any who found themselves in their path. He stood firm in his battle stance before placing the pole before him, standing it on the surface of the hull before he launched himself with multiple kicks in succession across the jaws of three crew members, retrieving the pole with another spin of his person, swinging the pole in with the motion to connect with another. The sounds of thudding wood against skin and bones created a bass with little treble as Monkey sent the crew members across the ship, one by one.

The sounds of the two ships that the clones occupied had finally crashed into the sea of sand with chunks of metal spewing across the sandy dunes and the sounds of screeching metal and wooden creeks echoing throughout the air, even over the humming of the propellers at the rear of the ship he could now be found on. Another explosion, emitting black smoke from the fiery remains followed by a predecessor that fed the blackened sky further, would scale the skies and be blown asunder, covering a large surface area that would make an individual prepare for an inevitable downpour of rain as the storm would reveal its intentions.

There was no calm in the wind however, as Monkey continued to repel the forces upon the nest he had found himself on. His attempt to overthrowing the captain and his crew was proving fruitful as the beaten members were now laying in their own defeat, unwilling to return the favor to their dark passenger. It was not until a great tremble in the sea of sand below that made all of its occupants seize their current agenda and focus their attention to the sounds of rumbling far below. Emerging from the sandpits, a rather large hand of earth emerged before its opposite came to join it from a distance. Pulling itself onto the sands surface the titan of earth returned. Its cry bellowed through the lands as it pulled itself from the depths of the underworld from which it spawned. In an instant, its right titanic hand thrust forward, impacting the hull of the ship and crashing through with ease before the Sage leaped blindly into the air once more. The crew would have to save themselves. The captain would have to remain loyal to his position. The Sage, was bound to repeat the past.


____

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37 Re: Vagabonds: Pilgrimage to the West [Private] on Sat Jun 03, 2017 11:59 am

Sousetsu Senju

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Finding himself falling through the skies once again, the Sage had embraced the flowing winds with opens arms, his staff still clutched within his right hand.  The earthen giants hand had returned to its center, its focus now on the falling Sage as its head looked at the sprawling figure and centering itself to find the opposing beast. Monkey had noticed its gaze, his eyes remaining transfixed on its movements. Nothing could be helped. Caught in the air with no flat surface of debris to repel or rebound off of, he was out in the open with no strategy in place. The hands of the titan widened, as did the sages gaze, before the hands forced the gap between them to be closed within an instant, clapping together, catching the Sage in the brief moment they shared together. The sage could not be found falling any further. He did not pass through the colliding hands. The gusts of wind created by the clapped continued throughout the land, blowing the sands away from the great titan.

"No..." a quiet and frightened voice spoke.

Trip watched as the hands of the earth swallowed Monkey whole. She placed her hands upon her forehead, she sank down to her knees within the open and vast sand covered dunes after she exited the metallic chasm. She had left the body of her fallen comrade, Pig. Her wallowing in self-pity was of no help to Monkey and now that she had witnessed her last companion taken from her, it proved too much for the mind to take. Her heart was too heavy to keep her body upright. The woman in white was once again, all alone in this world. Her bonds created through the pilgrimage was taken from her by the Dark Horse, under reasons still alien to her. Why did she involve the two? Why did she have to be so selfish?

"Why won't you stop!?" she roared through pained lungs. Kuroma turned to face her off in the distance, his infamous gin still lingering.

"Why?" He turned to face his creation once more. "Our paths were bound to cross again. I am simply eliminating the competition."

"Pig had nothing to do with this! Monkey was just a guide!" She yelled through sparkling tears against the setting sun. Amber filling the dunes while the black clouds continued to emerge from the dying flames of the fallen war-machines.

"And what about my village! Were they your competition!?" Trip cried with further anger and pain. She began to breathe heavily. Her feet were heavy yet that did not stop her from the approach towards the Dark Horse.

"...Your village-"

"Shut up!" Trip's blood came to a boil as she had not yet finished her speech. Her emotions ran wilder than the winds. "In the land of Hot Springs, far off in the East... You brought terror to my people! I know it was you!" her crying began to interrupt her breathing as she reminisced her past of burning amber and lingering ashes.

"..."

"You burned my village to the ground..." she calmed her demeanor. "My family headed West..." she clutched onto her hopes along with her thoughts of their safety.

Kuroma's grin faded into an expression of reminiscence. He remembered their intertwining path with a tensed jaw. His eyes focused on the grains of charred and blackened sand created by the resulting blast of the exploding war-ships. Loose droppings of oil that fed the engines scattered across the land with a flame to burn away the flammable liquid. It was true, he had came across that village before.

"If you came from that village... You were the only survivor."

Tripitaka's lip began to quiver. Her body began to tremble like a shaking leaf. Her heavy heart no longer willing to bear anymore as it beat the blood through her coursing veins with such force that she could have been bruised from the inside. She fell to her knees. Their pilgrimage was all for nothing and yet the result led to the death of her only friends.

"I thought it would have hurt less if-"

"If what, Kuroma!?" Trip snapped back at the Dark Horse with bravery she had not found before. She looked back at him, trying to find remorse in his golden eyes. Had he realized the magnitude of his ways? The pain that he had dealt to those who survived his many conquests for power across the land? All of that would be  answered through a short and deep chuckle.

"My only rule is that there are no survivors. It is a possibility that vengeance may take me. That is a risk I am not willing to take!" he overruled the charade of a hint of care. He was still the same menace she had found back then as his grin began to linger on the bearded face once more.

She was powerless to stop him. Her burdened body riddled with heartache was unwilling to face the man born from fire. All she could ask for a swift death as she allowed her head to sink deep into her chest as she sat upon the amber sands. A sudden tremble in the earth would not allow this however, as if the God's disagreed with her will to give in. Her welling had stopped, she wiped the loose tears from her eyes and across her cheeks before falling backwards as the trembling dunes quickened its pace. A wooden dragon emerged from the sand, darting towards the neck of the titan of earth. Once it had found its course, the tail of the dragon was met with a great wooden hand, being pulled along its short journey. Another hand emerged from the golden grains, allowing the being to use the flat surface to assist in its emergence. The wooden titan had entered the battlefield, confronting its counterpart with a left hook to the face. Among the confusion, its hands sprung loose allowing a small figure to fall through.


____

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Sousetsu Senju

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Darkness surrounded the Sage and all was quiet and faint. The grains of sand that found itself trapped into each small crevice within the palms of the titan would spill, like an hourglass, time went went on. He looked up to the staff could not be broken. Wedged in the palms of the earth, the Sage's grip remained upon the wooden pool that pierced the hardened soil on each end. He panted as he regained his breath as he lingered with his clutch. The sweat dampened the edges of his silver hair and clothes on his back.

He let go of his salvation, standing in the small gap between the titans palms, allowing his body to rest for the brief moment of his misleading demise. He collected his thoughts, his sage-like entity still etched across his face with red. He inspected himself, searching for the few wounds that he received during the impact of the fist and hull. Minor scratches and few grazed cuts created openings on his skin, none affecting the black ink that still cursed his body.
It was only when he breath returned that he could hear the faint mumbling of the outside
world. A female roared, like a lioness protecting her kin. He placed his head closer to the earth in hopes of hearing her words of passion. It dawned on him that it was mere earth that surrounded the Sage in this darkened abyss, and so he dug. He dug deeper into the palms of the titan until the faint words were growing thicker, his ears twitching as the passion began to reach him.

"-vengeance may take me. That is a risk I am not willing to take!"

These words marked the dark matter within Monkey's brain. A statement only the guilty would share to the world before them. He placed his hands together and unleashed his energy.


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Released from the grasp of the titan, the wooden dragon spiraled to meet the Sage during his fall, breaking it from his descent. Now riding along the head of wooden beast he set a new course of action towards the Dark Horse. The great titans of earth and oak traded fists, crashing sounds creating a large thud between the bark and soil each time they had done so. With the imminent collision between dragon and man underway, Kuroma readied himself with his defensive stance that he was accustomed to. Flame covered the Dark Horses hooves just as he leaped forward into action, wanting to greet his rival with a warm welcoming. At the peek speed of the dragons flight, Monkey had dashed forward, his agility taking over from the dragons large surface area to Kuroma's surprise.

The sage slipped passed the welcoming and open fires, his own hand already reaching outwards, slapping against the face of the man born from fire. Kuroma's advanced had seized as the man who stole the ocean would wisp him back beyond the initial point he was found. Along their short travels, the woman in white watched in awe as time slowed, taking in the great power of the Sage as he grinned against the face of death he held within his grasp once again. The wind breezed passed her in that brief moment. Her deepest and darkest sorrows that spawned from her new found demons were silenced as her white knight had intervened. A wave of dust and debris expelled as Monkey had taken the Dark Horse through the building, like the iron ball and chain, they created an opening, only this time they would emerge to the opposing side.

The wooden dragon returned to its wielder, curling around the wooden giants waist and over its right shoulder, seeking out its new opponent with its own thirst of action. A mighty roar served as a war-cry to the giant who now growled with gnashing teeth. It's rage barely contained as it remembered its foe from days that had come and gone. It would not concede defeat, it did not then and it would not now. It's anger was fueled by the determination of its caster who had torn the building of rusted iron asunder not a brief moment ago.

It readied itself with a steel heart. The dragon willing to be let loose as its new opponent lifted itself from the soft bed of sand beneath their feet. The snarling titan of oak grew impatient, unwilling to fight with the respect it gave its enemies for this prey did not deserve such a luxury in the heat of battle. It waited however, staying true to its masters way of life. It was not long before the titan of earth returned to its feet. It did not growl however, merely moaned as the soft earth upon its body had been indented by the dense forest fists.


____

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The markings upon the Sage began to emit a vibrant violet hue as he rained down his clenched fists onto the face of the Dark Horse. One fist after another in an accelerated fashion of succession led the pummeling to quickly reveal the bruising, cuts and marks to surface on the now rugged and worn embodiment of fire. The Beast's roar dared its prey to provoke him, to find a counter-offense so that his abilities could be tested once more. Blood spilled from his mouth to his cheeks as the hooks carried his head to and fro each side.  From amidst the downpour of his wrath, Kuroma found humor, carefully letting loose a chuckle each chance he could find his breath.

Meanwhile, the great titans that faced each other continued to trade their blows, mimicking the actions of the other in a test of their own strength and durability. The wooden dragon would lend the giant of oak the upper hand however, as it wrapped its long serpentine body around the limbs of the earthen being and  sinking its sharpened fangs into the neck of moss and stone. An uppercut and another straight, the earth had fallen to where it belonged. Pieces of the great beings would crumble in small amounts during their battle, a light rain of bark and stone causing small ripples within the sand that they would tread.

The wooden dragon would squeeze tightly, the earth seeping through the openings of the narrow and winding body, while its bite would sink further into the neck. Soon, a snapping chomp similar to the sound of a falling tree breaking through its support, came from the blood thirsty jaws of the beast as its mouth was now harboring the soil that made up the earthen giants construct. Another dreaded war-cry and gnarling snarl from the wooden creatures claimed their victory over the outmatched embodiment of minerals. Their calling would echo throughout the dunes as it was carried by the wind. It would resonate off the loose metal parts of the war-ships that lay scattered, creating the once alien land of spiraling clouds and humming nests into a junkyard. Now a mass grave to the captains and their crew, Death had not yet finished reaping the souls for there were two remaining warriors on the battlefield, neither of which on the same side.

Insanity reigned over the Dark Horse as his menacing cackle was only feeding off of the swollen knuckles that Monkey bore. Through gritted teeth he refused to halt his advance, another right to the center. In an instant, Kuroma became engulfed in flames and expelled a great force of energy towards the Sage, expelling him from the vantage point and sent travelling across the sea of grains. The sudden burst of flame still left its remnants along the the attire of Monkey. With a quick roll over the grains of the golden sands he raised to his feet and patted the remains of the sparking amber from the cloth.

The sounds of scuffling on the sands surface belonged to the slightly dazed and worn individual of the sun as he closed in on the wielder of waves. His fists, still carrying the fires from his recent burst of energy.

"Impressive!" he showed his enthusiasm through his panting and struggle.

"Pushing away from that creature in order to breach my defense." He stated with a small applaud. "I commend you!" he praised.

"I only wish your friend was as insightful as you..." he attempted to hide his now growing grin. His head tilted towards the great metal tower, his hand raised in order present the tomb of his fellow pilgrim. It was then that Monkey noticed Trip who would seek the Sage's side, still fighting her own battle of regret as her tears would return, the reddening of her cheeks still coarse from the rough caress of her own hands.

A wave of rage would drown out the feelings of remorse and disbelief. It would fill the Beast  with pain alongside it as he familiar to its touch and yet he still found it harder to bear each time. The orchestra of the wildlife would leave him, no more sands of rustling sand across the rusting cast irons from the resulting battle, the wind no longer whistled in his ears, the soft cries that quivered no longer pulled on his heartstrings. Even the great titan of oak that would tremble the dunes with its footsteps of deep bass did not shake the train of the Sage's thoughts. But the Dark Horse could not fight a man who was not prepared, he had more respect than that.

With his hands coming together, Kuroma presented his energy once more. Ripples formed within the sand that resided beneath him, a sense of discomfort lingered in the air as it grew heavier on the shoulders of the remaining two travelling companions. The skies would grow brighter as the heavens opened to unleash its wrath upon the victorious titan. A tornado of fire utilized the wind to feed its flames, forever growing, collecting the terrain in its travels towards the center of their earth. Pained cries screeched in the ears of any within the horizon as the two wooden creatures would catch fire and slowly begin to burn to their untimely demise. The tornado would begin to drill down to the center of titans head, melting the bark from the inside out and silencing the pained calling within a brief moment with its companion following suit.

Monkey's jaw would tense, his feet planted firmly like the oak he had become so accustom too. He watched as his creation shared the fate of his fallen comrade. Was it this painful for Pig? His staff was no longer in his grasp as it still remained at the origin of his expulsion. Trip was still far off at a reasonable distance, while the opposing force marched forward, striving to better the Sage.

"I know there is something more to you. Show me!" the man of flame cried as he poked the Beast once more.

The vibrant violet returned across the etchings on his skin. He revealed his true self once more with a gold and red markings of own. The ripples in the sand outmatched his predecessors before him while the clouds would close over and darken, casting the shadows aside from the suns rays and allowing the rain to pour. Water began to emerge from the dunes, small in depth but a large equivalent to a great pond. The drops of rain from the sky would soon lash down around them, the great pond growing in size as a result.  

"Changing the field of battle to your favor! You are full of surprises!" he cheered for his opponent.

"No..." Monkey would reply softly as he let his sheer power intimidate.

The sudden downfall had stopped. The large body of water no longer fed or shared its rippling nature. All remained calm before the Sage raised his arms and placed his hands together. Suddenly, the rain would  return, but not from the skies above but from the great pond they found themselves in. A small chuckle escaped as the Dark Horse watched in awe of his rival's mastery of the liquid element, all before the rain would begin to quicken its pace and begin shooting great balls of water throughout the pond with concussive punches.

Soon the clouds rumbled with a thunderous roar. In the sky, a single cloud collected the pouring rain and bursts of water, growing in size and covering the air with a small mist. Another thunderous roar, this time screeching, growling, snarling, inevitably waiting to be born in this battle field, another beast made from solidified and condensed water would show its fangs. The head of another dragon emerged from the darkened clouds in a greater length and width than the wooden beast before.


____

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40 Re: Vagabonds: Pilgrimage to the West [Private] on Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:20 am

Sousetsu Senju

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With the fiery tempest receding back into the heavens its light still seeped through as the Dark Horse refused to allow the opportune moment to slay him to be one without his own display of might. He no longer chuckled, not even allowing a curl on lip. It finally dawned on him just how powerful the man before him could be. Monkeys true nature had seemed to be caged behind the heaviest and most solidified barrier one could contain within themselves. Power such as this was that equal to the Heavens and its occupants, to think a God would walk among the common folk would be a fool's thought. Kuroma, was one such a fool, who  could finally test his abilities and send the Sage back to the land of the divine.

The Sage was not a man of divinity, nor was he willing to live in such luxuries until his search had come to an end. His paradise was by her side. To sit on his throne of happiness was still a possibility within his lifetime. His dreams of laying by the oak trees next to a sea of water in the hands of the one who stole his heart and his thoughts still kept him drawn to the earth. He would walk among the lands as a Beast to the hunters, a Sage to the non-believers and a Demon to those holier than thou. All could oppose him yet he would always overcome the many obstacles that would present themselves, including the sharp cries of the creature that soon accompanied Dragon.

Among the seeping beams of light, another opening was created in the clouds. The sun shone brilliantly as it illuminated the fiery creature that resembled the great tiger whose will was bent to Kuroma as the new opposing force had come into play. It leaped down to meet its counterpart in the skies, chomping down with its sharp fangs that glistened in the suns rays onto the dragons serpentine body. A grunt of the beastly avatar of water and a sudden burst of speed returned with the bite of its own against the neck of the infernal tiger. With both natural affinities shrieking with cries and snarling remarks, the two beings on the dampened sands stood tall in opposition.

"Let's finish this with one attack." Kuroma stated with proclamation.

"Agreed."

The violent violet and dark markings of the Sage began to burn brightly and sway like a mirage in the desert. His fists tightened, his focus transfixed, and his will as strong as steel. Water began to forge around his right arm, solidifying yet still running its course like a river. The Dark Horse would meet the Monkeys indication with his own affinity wrapping his right arm in a blaze of embers. Their feet squared with their leading leg at the ready to charge, their breathes fell silent as they calmed their minds, emptying their thoughts of everything that surrounded them and diverting its soul purpose on the task before them. With one fell swoop this would end, one way or the other.

A sudden kick off of the damp grains beneath them with their hind leg, the two oppositions erupted with great speed, their arms wound back ready to strike with their affinities. The Dragon and tiger charged just as their creators below. Trip watched as time allowed her to grasp the standoff between beings far superior to the common man. These beings equal to the Heavens would test their might to appease their conquest, their paths bound to cross until the other could no longer push forward. She could relate to their stories once upon a time, up until the Dark Horse had spilled the ink on her pages. Burning her dreams and aspirations like oil to feed his own ambitions. For that, she could not forgive. Once they connected, a bright burst of flame and sparkling water  rained across the sandy dunes. The clouds above spiraled and warped before blowing outwards, welcoming the evening sky. A  white light blinded all, but darkness soon took over.

Blurry was his vision as the Sage wakened from his unknowing slumber. He could not move, he could barely breathe, he was a paralyzed being with an aware soul. He struggled to turn his head but allowed it to fall to the opposite side,  there he found the white outline of the a figure in white. It mumbled across his deafened ears. The collision no doubt took its toll, both on the surroundings and the disorienting, leaving Monkey in a state of confusion. Unprepared for anything that would creep up on him, he was at the will of the Gods in this now barren wasteland of scorched sand.


The faint rumblings in the distance were signs of struggle. He blinked numerously as he tried to regain his focus but could not shake the movements of the earth. The woman in white was stepping back in the direction of Monkey, her arms forward during her short journey to a few mere meters away from her companion. Opposing her was the Dark Horse, who struggled to find his path as his center of gravity eluded him while blood dripped from the shoulder of where his arm should have been. He stumbled and fell to the golden soil beneath his feet, Trip immediately following him to the ground as her hands appeared to be attempting to keep him there to remain. The Sage's eyes closed once again. He imagined the waves of the blue sea in his dreams. Another hue of light emitted, returning him back to reality. He looked up to find Trip standing just as she had done so before, only this time with a blade to her abdomen.

"Stay back!"

"I just...Need t-to...Finish this!" the wavering man cried as he progressed.

Her act of bravery was admirable but brief as the man names Kuroma had finally reached her and tossed her aside, falling as her legs lost her footing. A the same time, the man born from fire had stumbled in his stride also but continued his determined path. It was not long before he stood towering over the man he had once met in the sea of pines. Their path coming to the end, he opened his left palm and allowed the embers to take its place.  

"You continued to impress me... Even at the end." he admitted with that infamous grin.

Monkeys gazed upon the man that stood over him, noticing his right arm longer attached as the blood poured to stain the sands. He could not meet his eyes however as his head could not bear its own weight. He closed his eyes only to hear another pained grunt from the bearded man. Slowly, they opened again to greet Kuroma and his fresh wound that spewed blood in the lower right corner of his abdomen. He fell to his knees. Soon his head would come parallel to the Sage, finally he could look death in the eye once more. His eyes widened, he inhaled painfully and his mind pondered of all the possibilities. He used his best efforts to raise his hand and found it just as he remembered it the way it was some weeks past. He witnessed the man before him covered in the wicked etchings that he knew too well.


____

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Stay





His heart was always set on loyalty and justice, and filled with thoughts of kindness and benevolence. Kindness to others is rarely with kindness rewarded; Kindness will often lead to hate and hostility. Plunge in the water to rescue the drowning? You'll suffer. Think before acting and spare yourself grief you don't need. Shivering and shaking, weeping and lost for words, Tripitaka gazed upon the Monkey Sage.

However remote the place evil deeds can be done; Heaven may be high, but it does not desert the good.


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


The Dark Horse curled his lip as he met his rivals gaze. The path was not his to lead and his own story had ran dry of ink. Monkeys gaze scanned the dreaded cursed writing upon Kuroma and how it began dissolve with a faint mirage of smoke.  The violent violet hue was no longer vibrant but fading to meet the peachy tone of the bearded mans skin. He would offer him his time of need, waiting for death to take him beyond the shadows. One last act of benevolence and respect to his rival while he satisfied his own curiosity, wishing for this to be the last time they would cross their paths. His breathing quickened before the Dark Horse's gaze had found a new light, his eyes watched the divine take his soul to the place where life led after death. White filled his eyes as he left this world with his infamous grin one last time.

Monkey struggled to swallow as his body of cracked skin and parched lips continued to loose its moisture. A struggled wheezing escaped him as he attempted to breathe with the last of his life force. He winced as he tried to move but mustered the strength to raise his hand and place it by his side, rolling over as he would begin his slow and painful crawl from the Dark Horse's corpse. Grunts followed by an exertion of air from his mouth spread the sand before him as his head remained close to the blackened scorched grains. His vision was returning and the sound of screeching drone was beginning to fade away. In the short distance away, there she lay. The woman in red.

"T-Tr-T-Tri-..." his voice called out drier than the desert dunes around him.

"Tri-Tr-Trip..." He finally found her name.

With all his remaining might he pulled himself closer to the body of the woman he had grown to no longer resent. Tripitaka, the woman who enslaved the great Monkey Sage with powers of a selfish nature, trembled and shook as the alien feeling of cold coursing veins and a sharp unbearable pain took over. Her eyes welled with the fatal wound upon her, yet happiness would still find her as she watched Monkey make his way to her once more. Still willing to save her even after the plight of her powers had been removed. A brief moment had passed. The dunes whistled with the small breeze that had come and gone. There they lay, gazing into each others eyes.

"I couldn't- I couldn't-" her shaking head, quivering lip and stinging sinus would not let her finish.

"..."

He reached out to her, caressing her cheek with a careful placement of his hand. His eyes, weary from exhaustion and pained with the past told more than words ever could. She had set him on this path, one he was not willing to take, share or burden with others. The sounds of shuffling sands returned. The crunching grains that brushed against one another increased numbers as their creators traveled in groups. They were not alone. Her tears would return as she feared for her final moments on this earth, happy with the one who had stole her heart, saddened by the short time alone they possessed. His hand still lingered upon her, his thumb wiping away the tear that escaped her left eye.

He wanted to tell her many things. Anything that put her mind at ease during her final moments. They would not come to him however, they could not. With the sounds of the scuffling footsteps nearing, their heartbeats quickened, their chests elevating outwards and inwards still providing that pain would accompany them to their fate. It was in that final moment in each others company that Monkey had found the words he so desperately longed for in the brief moment they shared.

"Monkey-"

"Sousetsu. Sousetsu, is my name."


____

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He who had vowed to feed the wishes of his captive found enlightenment. He was not fated to see the Gods, but visit their underlings. In the blink of an eye, Sousetsu had found himself among the familiar skies that shared the night and day. The smell of citrus filled his nostrils just as sweet and enticing than before. He sat upright, his mind barely comprehending his new found surroundings as he scanned the area. Incense burnt in offering. Drums and gongs were beaten, pipes and shawms were played in the distance. Cloud−cymbals, pure−toned flutes sounded in tune to the beat of the drum and the woodwind's notes. No longer disoriented by the heated battle with the man born from fire, Sousetsu rose to his feet, continuing his search in the opening of the land of the Monkey King.

Monkeys were seen bowing to the statues of their own reciting their Sutra, each word of which could sweep away disasters.  He checked his person, feeling areas which were once affected with the plight of pain, the hornets stingers, the metallic shavings and the fires embrace, none to be found lingering on his body. The Dragon's pearls still bore heavy on his neck, lifting the staff that could not be broken that lay on the soft soil to the left of where he lay. He held it out before him, damaged beyond repaired. Cracked and split, the wood cast splinters that peeked out in hopes of pricking their way onto a new home. He placed his hands evenly to its center, bending it to his will until he heard its snap. The staff was broken.

Swallowing whole, he realized his body was no longer dry. His mouth refused to shut as he pondered in awe as he watched the orange mist guide his vision towards the various monkeys in their unique ceremonies of prayer, praise and worship. The sounds of chewing at an open banquet of the fresh golden fruits lay on the stone bench. Monkeys helping themselves to their treats once their rituals of repentance was fulfilled. All accompanied by a familiar gentle giant.

"Pig..."

His eyes did not deceive him, but could this Haven? He wanted to rush to him, his hand willing to reach for his fellow pilgrim who shared the burden of being a hero to the woman in white. Instead, he let a smile creep over him. Happiness overwhelming as he watched the gentle giant feed to his hearts content. Each hand occupied with a great golden fruit that lay in such bounty that he could feed for the entirety of the day.

"Where are the vegetables? We need more onion!" He still managed to complain about the lack of variety however, a soft smile emerged from the Monkey Sage.

"Good thing we found you." a familiar voice spoke as clear as day, turning the Sage's attention.

"Omori. How-"

"It proved difficult, but at some point your presence became as clear as day. I told you I would find you in the West."

Sousetsu felt his chest beneath the Dragon's pearls before scanning his wrists and arms alike. He had rid himself of the cloak of the seal during his flight against the hornets nests. It became clear to him that once the pieces of cloth had caught the fires of the bronze head of the reptile, he rid the cloak that hid their presence. He sighed deeply. His mind slowly coming to the ease that it deserved. He blinked briefly and tensed his jaw as he looked from the soft soil to meet the eyes of his teacher in the way of the staff.

It was then that a hand had found the Sage's shoulder. One of great surface area, coarse skin and hair as gold as the desert sands. Turning his head slightly, Sousetsu had found the Monkey King, his mentor, and his savior. Wukong's grin still held the same mischief that he remembered so well. Always, the trickster would always see his plans to the end and leave nothing to failure. The Monkey Kings hand gestured towards a great stone tablet that resided by a staircase that climbed higher than any Sousetsu had seen, passing the clouds into the sepia and constellations beyond.

'Are willing with this achievement, to adorn the Pure Land. Above we can repay the fourfold kindness, below we save those suffering in the three paths of life. Let anyone who sees or hears cherish the enlightened mind. May all be reborn in the Land of Bliss, to end this present life of retribution.' The tablet read.


____

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43 Re: Vagabonds: Pilgrimage to the West [Private] on Mon Jun 05, 2017 10:29 am

Sousetsu Senju

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Legend has it that the incense smoked in the golden burner for a thousand years, the light burned in the lamps of jade through eternity. Colored silks hung from the gates of the stairway to the heavens, red carpets were spread across the soft soil. Heavy, rare fragrances, fresh and exotic foods. Amber cups, glazed dishes set with gold and nephrite. Plates of yellow gold, white jade bowls inlaid with patterns. Words could not describe the countless delicacies. Nothing was missing, all was complete.

"I believe you were searching for these." the Sage lowered his head before he lifted the Dragon's Pearls from his neck.

Surprised, the Monkey King retrieved the welcoming present from the past student of the way of nature. He nodded in compliance. A slight giggle could be heard as joy overcame the Monkey King, slapping his pole against the earth as his applause and gratitude.

"She heard my voice! This is wonderful news!" Wukong spoke in high spirits. "The Dragon King will be pleased to have these in his treasury. Truth be told, I had left them behind. It was only when Omori brought you to my place of solace that my memory had returned to serve me!"

"Let's not forget them next time, Wukong. Even if it was a prank..." he smiled in return, knowing his master all too well as he hid behind the embarrassment of rosy cheeks behind the golden exterior. Omori placed his hand upon his brow, scratching and sighing in disbelief as the Monkey he served could only serve to trouble them further than before. Angering the Dragon King was the equivalent of signing ones will. It would appear luck would be on their side as the Monkey King would no doubt be praised for their retrieval, if he danced around the mystery of their disappearance.

Playful were the sounds of splashing in the short distance away as the Monkeys swung from the vines and into the longing river of jasper and jade. The foreign flowers of vibrant and immortal qualities spread evenly across the riverbanks.  Floating atop the layer of calm water, was the woman in white. Her gown no longer stained with red, her face bearing serenity and peace where pain used to be. He could not smile however, but take another deep breath and push down the rush of feelings that desperately tried to surface.

"I will continue my search, Sousetsu. Do not think I have forgotten-"

"No. I have learned that she will find me when the time comes. Thank you for your efforts." his eyes never left the woman in white.

Omori followed the Sage's gaze to find Trip bathing in the flowing waters with his kin. His sudden realization of the bond they now shared was strong and led to a peak of his own curiosity to see what would be said from both parties.

"Just as she had done back in The Flower Fruit Mountain. Her proficiency in her seals had repeated history. Transferring the seal left you with enough energy to prolong your life. Even offering her own in exchange." Omori would explain.

A step forward  with hesitation by his side, the Sage began to make his way to the woman he had sworn to protect. His heart raced once again as he gazed upon the purity within the waters that carried it ever so slowly down the streams. She felt the unease of being watched, tilting her head towards the direction of her hunch, finding the man who she had shared her last moments with. A widening smell stretched across her face before she erupted from the river. A thrashing of water as she kicked her legs to the riverbanks, rushing to the arms of the man who made her feel just as immortal as her Haven.

"Sousetsu. Thank you for everything." she embraced him with such a warmth he had not felt in quite some time.

"I'm sorry..."

"It's okay. Our Journey ended the moment I had found what I had been looking for. My family was not in the West. They discovered their own Havens, just as I have here."

"But-"

"This was the path I was destined to lead. You are not at fault, Monkey. I-I mean-"

"Monkey is fine..." Sousetsu had melted into a soft smile.

"I'm sorry for all that I have put you through. Had I not taken you from your journey, you may have found-"

"I may have found an answer I would not be willing to accept.  I realize now that our paths will cross when the time is right." he smiled down to her, she returned with a smile if her own. It would soon fade, however.


____

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44 Re: Vagabonds: Pilgrimage to the West [Private] on Mon Jun 05, 2017 11:33 am

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The colored mists surround the Peak. Auspicious clouds are massed in the world of bliss. Golden dragons lie at peace, jade tigers all are quiet. The hares come and go at will, tortoises and snakes coil all around. Happy the dark apes and white deer. Throughout time amazing flowers bloom. Immortal fruit grows in all four seasons in this Haven. Lofty pine and ancient juniper, blue−green cypress and slender bamboo. Plums of every color, in blossom or in fruit, eternal peaches, sometimes ripe and sometimes new. A thousand kinds of fruit and flower vie in beauty. All of the sky is filled with auspicious mists.
Trip looked down to the soft earth beneath their feet, her mind wandering to the heavens above. Her eyes shifted from side to side as her lips would remain stationary, her words lying in wait for the man known as Monkey to hear with a respectful patience.

"Your belongings will be waiting for you before you set on your journey back home." she finally revealed, her feet beginning to move her body towards the opening where he lay, to meet the Monkey King and his disciple she had grown to know.

"You are not coming?" the Sage followed her, his words laced with a curious and anxious disbelief in search of further knowledge.

"I can't, Monkey. My place is here."

Sousetsu glanced at the surrounding Monkey warriors, the sounds of silence filling the air as the woodwind found no more air and the drums no longer keeping its beating rhythms. They became the centerpiece of the grand banquet for all to witness. The Monkeys were no longer filled with joyous energy but lingered with a saddening ultimatum. What choices were the three pilgrims to make?

"Monkey..." Pig finally announced with a greeting of sadness. He made his way to Tripitaka's side, hands still full of the golden and immortal fruit.

"Pig and I cannot leave. If I were to return, so would the Dark Horse. Pig can eat as much as he likes here! I cannot leave him alone..." she pleaded for the Sage's understanding.

A tensed jawline and deep breaths through the nostrils of the Monkey Sage helped him find their reasoning. It was not his choice after all. There was still much for the Sage to accomplish back in the land he called home. Was it selfish of him to return with companions by his side? He had to accept their request for their journey would have meant nothing otherwise. To live by the side of the Monkey King did not mean the end and the pain of losing them all over again could prove to be too great upon his heavy heart. His eyes wandered the vast vibrant land.

"Are you sure this is what you want?"

"We're afraid so..." Trip's heart sank deep in her chest, Pig nodded in agreement with disdain.

Sousetsu simply nodded. He did not smile for he could not. His eyes did not well for he could not be sad for the ones who had found eternal happiness. He could just simply be. The two came closer to the Sage and held out their arms. He welcomed them openly, accepting their embrace and their final goodbyes.

When duties are completed they escape from suffering. Great is the blessing of scriptures spread abroad, within their haven should they dwell high. All of the reality they knew too well would turn to dust. The substance of the Elements would soon become void and they would forget about the passing fame of fiends. This was a story to be passed down the generations with glory forever.

Once their embrace had found its time, Sousetsu nodded once more before he headed towards the great stairway. Trip placed her hands upon the soft soil beneath her feet, markings etching their way by the stone tablet that held the great teaching Wukong had revealed not moments ago. In an instant with a short emitting bright white, the Sage's blade and armor had returned to its respective owners. Depositing his blade within its sheath that dangled by his waist, he lifted the armor emblazoned with his clan's crest. It was too heavy to wear on his already burdened shoulders created by a Journey that was destined to fail before it had even begun. One last look at the Haven of Trip and Pig, casting his eyes over the many Monkey Warriors, the Monkey King, and his disciple, Sou let slip his soft smile.


____

:19

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45 Re: Vagabonds: Pilgrimage to the West [Private] on Mon Jun 05, 2017 12:22 pm

Sousetsu Senju

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When living in the world you must be forbearing. Patience is essential when training oneself. Although it's often said that violence is good business, think before you act, and never bully or be angry. The virtue−loving sages are renowned to this day. Strong men always meet stronger than themselves and end up as failures who are in the wrong. Light−filled auspicious clouds, the Sage continued his Journey alone once again as he scaled the steps.

Perfume floating in a blessed haze. Black cranes danced on a nearby mountain top. Pale green lotus−root and peaches helped the taste of wine, pears and fiery red apples gave them a thousand years of life. Neither of them had ever heard an imperial edict but each was entered on the list of Immortals. They drifted and floated with the waves of the wind, free and easy in unsullied elegance.

The passage of the days could not affect them. Their freedom was guaranteed by Heaven and Earth. Black apes come in pairs, looking most charming as they presented their respect. White deer, bowing two by two, thoughtfully offered flowers for the Sage to marvel upon during his pilgrimage to the East.

It was at this moment, as Monkey climbed the divine staircase that would lead him back home, Trip had found her heart being tugged by the strings she could not sever. Her hand reached for him, not knowing he continued his stride with his armor in hand. Pig offered his own hand to take the place of Monkeys. Not out of love but comfort. She accepted the proposal, a hand of the Monkey King to lend her strength rested upon her shoulder.

Taking in the sweet aroma of the skies of this Haven, Sousetsu let his smile linger. His back was facing the many who stood in awe as he ascended back to the land he knew too well. With no-one opposing him at his front, he could allow his eyes to well with sadness, happiness, hope, remorse, any deep regrets and memories that sent his emotions in disarray. He was forced on this journey to find the treasure of the woman in white, only to find the real treasure to be the relationships they obtained along the way. All to be taken from the Azure Beast once again. The Hunters never allowed the Beast to rest.

Without his knowledge, the many dark apes bowed their heads in reverence. Their kin was to venture from them once more. Even the great Monkey King was so kind to oblige with a knee sunken into the soft soil beneath him, his staff firmly placed upright to keep his balance. Omori smiled and mimicked his master, Pig was soon to follow and many more until Trip was left to stand on her own. Her tears could no longer be held back as the silver-haired Sage showed no signs of returning, his course set in stone like her life told by the tablet.

She could not show greed in this time of reverence. She could not disturb the wishes of a fortuitous travelling. She could not allow her heart to feel the ache he brought with his presence. It was only with the faint glisten that dripped by his side like shooting stars did she realize that he too would suffer just as long as she would. Her affection towards the man who kept her safe during their travels would overpower his, for she knew that he had to find the one whom his heart belonged to.

It was not a question of when he would find her, she could not linger by his side when he had done so. The pain would be too great. A greater pain than the blade that brought her to this land.


He was the Man who had stole the Ocean.

The Man Beyond the Pines.

He bore the burden of being a Hero.

He was the White Demon,

The Azure Beast,

and the Great Monkey Sage.

This was not his haven,

And she had simply found love where it was not supposed to be.




~ End ~


____

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46 Re: Vagabonds: Pilgrimage to the West [Private] on Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:08 am

Sousetsu Senju

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Thank you for taking the time to read the first installment of the 'Vagabonds' Saga! Pilgrimage to the West!

or even just glancing...

I have received a few messages regarding this story and the feedback has been so generous! I can't thank you enough for your support and will hope to continue writing soon!




Word count: 38,041

Clan Drawback: A Senju, upon learning a secondary or tertiary Specialization, must state that they are taking the clan's drawback with it. (This need be done for only one, not both.) It takes 20% more words to train that specialization, or 10% more words if you complete the training with someone who also knows it.

Training Bukijutsu: S > SS - 9,000 + 20% = 10,800 words
Training Sub-Spec Bojutsu: - 1,500 + 20% = 1,800 words

10,800 + 1,800 = 12,600 words

Training Specs:

Strength: A > S-1 = 6,750 Words
Endurance : A > S = 5,000 Words
Perception : A > S-1 = 6,750 Words
Reaction Time : A > S-1 = 6,750 Words

12,600 + 25,250 = 37,850 Words

38,041 - 37,850 = 191 Words left

Total Ryo Needed: 6,650


____

:19

Sousetsu | Jutsu-list |  Locker
Tales of Sousetsu Senju
Main Theme | Battle


Ninjutsu: SS | Bukijutsu: SS | Senjutsu: S
Suiton: SS | Doton: SS | Mokuton: SS

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