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1[Yuki no Kuni] Black flames for dinner [Takao] Empty [Yuki no Kuni] Black flames for dinner [Takao] on Tue May 29, 2018 12:28 am

Verdandi

Verdandi


D-rank
Verdandi yawned, waking in the comfy space of being surrounded by a dozen pillows, two blankets and the sunlight slowly shining into her room. The princess would get up. Trace her fingers along the many crystals that were dangling from the roof and moved into her own personal shower. Dropping her PJ as she stepped in to let the water slowly rinse down her skin. Humming a little tune about it being a good day, Verd would proceed to get herself dressed in her usual battle kimono. Leaving the eye patch in her room, but taking the snow protecting vest with her as she was supposed to go on a longer walk today.

Stepping out of her room, she could see Avalanche tugging on the cook's robe with his paws and teeth. The poor lad was carrying a fish cake and the smell had attracted the little nom monster. Verd moved in to cut a piece of the cake off with her kunai, shaking it in Avalanche's peripheral view and going all. "Puuut put put put. Nice little bear cub. No eating the cook." As the polar furball let go of the poor mans robe and quickly huddled off in direction of Verdandi. The cook quickly used the chance to flee the premise and Verd got to feed her little monster before she ruffled the cute furball and caressed his chin. "You're just an oversized dog, aren't you?" she said and Avalanche growled in return, obviously insulted and feeling the need to show off his intense power as a bear.

Verd giggled. Her sisters had already gone to work. Skuld moved past her with her guard outfit, probably off to a meeting to fix the new schedule for the patrols. Urd was already in her study buried in books. Mum was busy upstairs with some Kiri traders that asked for more money on their shipment than previously agreed on. Dad was making his way to the hospital. Generally, a normal day for the Yuki family to begin with. Had there not been a very strange message from Verd's messenger owl the other day.

After Verdandi's findings in the burned village of Xshu, someone had replied to the local newspaper agency. Implying their interest into the fact that a remaining shard of Amaterasu had been found and also implying that they were able to remove the flame. Dandi had sent her own private and royal invitation to the person in question and was looking forward to meet him today. Supposedly an ally of her aunt Ayakashi's regime in Kiri. Verd rarely dealt with the politics of Kirigakure despite her involvement in several missions that auntie had given her already. Dandi preferred to remain in Yuki. Rebuilding their home country was her personal wish.

The ship in which her guest was supposed to arrive in today was about to dock down in the lower levels behind the walls of the main part of the city. Verd could hear the ringing noise of the lighthouse watchtower already. Signalling for an incoming ship. Dandi checked her clothes once more to make sure she was presentable on behalf of her mother and made her way down the long long stairs to the docks.

Takao would eventually dislike the general weather within Yuki no Kuni, the snow and wind would splat cold water in various forms in his face if he dared to move outside from the combuse he was appointed to in the ship's ride. Passing by the large watchtower to see the unusual mechanism of Heidel's way to allow ships into their territory. The sea around Heidel was basically constantly frozen. Takao's ship would stop on line with the watchtower. Soon a loud horn could be hear from said lighthouse and the guards at the docks would activate the mechanism.

Upon the tug of a lever, a large trapdoor would be opened way beneath Heidel's water surface. Below the trapdoor was nothing else but the entrance to the lava brooding caves from the volcano beneath Heidel. The boiling water would start to rise towards the surface and quickly melt away most of the quick ice that was covering Heidel's shore. After a bare few minutes, Takao's ship would start to proceed its course. The remaining quick ice that lingered on the surface of the water now weak and easily crumbling against the front of the large boat as it passed through.

Another characteristic feature would be, that despite the snowstorm that surrounded the whole area. The village of Heidel was neatly places into what seemed to be the 'eye of the storm'. This artificial weather control was something created by no one else but the princess. One of the few fun things one could do if they learned to conjure a snowstorm by themselves. Verd didn't really control the whole storm around Heidel, she simply made sure that the eye of the storm would remain right where it was and not move further into the mainland.

By the time the ship would move into the harbour. Verd would have arrived along with her furry little polar bear pet. Waiting on shore to greet the arriving guest. Leading him past the stairs into the village, past the inn and the town's square, up into the entrance way towards the castle and further into the courtyard. In the courtyard, next to the obvious training ground, was a table set up for the princess and her guest. Thanks to the eye of the storm, the weather was nice inside Heidel and despite an occasional lingering cold breeze the sun would shine down into the gardens surrounding them.

Offering her guest a place to sit and a hot tea, Verd would take place while her polar bear seemingly untouched by the whole royal behaviour would run around the courtyard, scaring a myriad of guards by bumping into them and eventually ripping some nice flowers out of the ground much to the dismay of the gardner that demanded the playful creatures banishment for messing with his duties every day.

"Welcome to Heidel I guess. I'm aware it isn't much but I hope we can make you feel somewhat at home. My name is Verdandi Yuki, it is a pleasure to meet you Sir... uhm?." Verd would sip on her tea and smile at her guest. "I was informed that you know a way to extinguish the black flame in Xshu. May I ask how?" she wondered. Being well aware of how many ice users had failed to remove that seemingly immortal flame. "It has been blocking our attempts to rebuild Xshu, none of the workers is willing to step a foot into the place while the flame is about and I honestly cannot blame them…" Verd formed a pout, considering that Hao's flame pretty much destroyed her whole country and others, including Kiri, twice.


1150

Background infos:


Basic info and pictures of Heidel and the Royal Family. Here.

Avalanche the pet. Here

Related story arch of Verd finding the black flame. Here


____

[Yuki no Kuni] Black flames for dinner [Takao] CNyEAMX

| Verdandi | Jutsu | Locker | Tracker | Division | Plot | Theme |

Inactive

Takao

Takao


S-rank
Black eyes narrowed as a single frozen flake of snow fluttered by, disappearing into the wake made by the vessel he stood upon. Friends would join it before long, dancing from the cooling atmosphere down to the chilly ocean waters. This had hardly been the voyage Takao was expecting when he had originally arrived in Kirigakure, and certainly not what he was planning on doing upon leaving. The plan was to be back in Konohagakure with Fuyuko, resuming his responsibilities as a Jōnin of the village and finally resuming his life at home. But lady fate had much different plans for the raven-haired shinobi; the most recent advancement had left him aboard a large ship headed north.

The Snow Country reminded him greatly of the Country of Iron, which had been hospitable to him in the past, yet dwelling beneath the ice lay the memories of previous failures and mistakes. When wars were to be waged over good intentions and misplaced dirt, and when the snow was stained by the blood of fellow leadership brought together by his call. The spark of his ire had left two Kage dead, and reminded the world of a lingering threat. That Gokage Summit convened by he during his brief stint as Hokage was a mental scar not keen on fading. Gloved hands tightened on the metal railing they rested upon, the leather whining and metal creaking under the sheer unconscious pressure of his grip. When his attention returned and his grip loosened, those black eyes fell earthward and looked to the metal that he left bent in the shape of his grasp. Quietly, he slipped away to wander the ship, lest he be found red-handed damaging property that didn’t belong to him.

This journey was not to Rikimaru’s castle, thankfully. But it was related to the events that had transpired there. It was a curious matter that he found his interest stuck upon; a newspaper advertisement, of all things, claiming to have a remnant of Hao’s Amaterasu they wished disposed of. The very flame he had spent the entirety of his teenage years obsessed over, trying his hardest to replicate and surpass yet to no avail. Now that very flame lay encased in ice, little more than a delicious flickering morsel of a time long past.

The ship approached a guard tower and stopped momentarily. It lingered parallel to the building until a loud horn sounded, and within minutes the water began to boil and bubble. The ice withered away in the heat of the water, and allowed the ship further passage into the village of Heidel. His eyes lingered on the silhouette of the village first, before the gaze turned skyward and settled upon the eye of the storm circling above the village proper. Scenic, he thought to himself. If not a little over the top.

The sea voyage came to an end before long, and he took his first steps onto solid ground. He was greeted by the sight of a short, green-haired girl and her snowy-furred Ursus companion. By her charge, he was lead from the docks to the village, where he was given his first intimate look at the Snow Country’s settlement. He took note of the various buildings that they crossed, inns and taverns were aplenty, and the people that he saw looked hardy and hearty. Their journey lead them into the castle and through its halls until they reached a courtyard. She may have noticed his eyes in constant motion, taking in as many details as their journey onward would afford him.

In the home of royalty, he stood until she sat, and then shrugged the black long coat from his shoulders. With the fabric folded over his arm, he followed suit and sat after her, letting the insulated cloth rest over his legs now. As he accepted the offering of warm tea, his eyes trailed by the mischievous bear and observed the entertaining antics, until Verdandi’s voice brought his attention onto her, starting with a welcome and introduction.

“Sir Uhm was my father.” Takao answered in jest, although the painfully stern monotone of his voice and the facial features that didn’t falter for even a second might have left her questioning the jovial nature of his response.

“My name is Takao Kimura, and just Takao is fine. The pleasure is mine, Miss Yuki.”

He returned the introduction and offered a respectful bow of his head. She wasted no time in getting down to business and questioned his knowledge on extinguishing the black flames of Amaterasu. His face relayed no information whatsoever, but the idle voice in the back of his head mused that she might not find his intentions as humourous as he did.

“Considering your hospitality, I feel as though I’m obligated to be truthful with you. I’ve been after Hao’s Amaterasu for years, ever since I witnessed first-hand the destruction it wrought upon Kirigakure. I’ve spent the better part of the last decade trying to surpass it, training to make something better to beat it. Making hotter flames… bigger flames... I’ve failed in that endeavour, for the most part, my direct approaches of meeting it head-on have been a largely wasted effort. But there are ways to get rid of the black flames.” Takao explained, his deep voice speaking smoothly on the matter. He let his answer stew for a moment as he took a slight sip of the warm tea.

“To make a long story short, I’m going to eat it.”



Total WC
937

Verdandi

Verdandi


D-rank
Verd smiled as she slowly gazed up and down her guests figure. He was cute of sorts, but Verd had the distinctive ability to feel someone's aura. Her empathy allowed her a slight insight into the man's personality. Strangely enough, the stronger someone was, the less likely it seemed to be possible for her to read them. Hence, realizing how her attempts to read him were naturally blocked would then again tell her that he was indeed as strong as it had been suggested to her. For once she was glad that Gin was still somewhere in the castle. Verd disliked the thought of having no means to defend against… a potential bomb amidst her people. She was cautious. Maybe a little too much. Considering he was supposed to be a renowned ally worthy of her aunt's recognition was one thing, Verd preferred to judge people on her own accords. The number of guards manning the walls wouldn't help her in this very situation. So being in close vicinity of her sensei was keeping her at ease of sorts.

That thought put aside. Safety ensured. Verd returned to appreciate the looks of her guest while sipping her Tea. Avalanche was busy biting the maid that scolded him into her buttocks before being chased all over the courtyard. Verd chuckled at the silly Sir Uhm joke but refrained to dwell upon it. Her mother had implied times and times again that Verd's weird humour and sarcasm were not befitting the likes of a princess. She was biting her lower lip to keep herself from saying something incredibly weird and, or stupid. Her eyes would return to follow his body gestures, trying to read him the old-fashioned way since the empathic or psychic attempt didn't seem to work here. Verd would be following every mime and facial expression, trying to feel a weak spot, read a lie or a certain show of discomfort but it seemed that he indeed remained honest. Despite the fact that his claims were intensely odd. Especially the last part made Verd unsure if he was messing with her or not.

Having not heard of the Kimura and not being a renowned scholar like sister Urd, the ability to eat flames seemed rather odd to her. She was aware that Auntie had offered to send a team of specialist chakra-cancel shinobi but wasn't sure if it would work on a flame that had endured years of imprisonment. Dandi had yet to keep it in the back of her head. "I see… you will eat the flame…" she added. Her two differently coloured eyes were gazing at him, she still expected to see the slightly hint that would prove that he was messing with her or trying to trick her into something. But apparently, he was speaking the truth. "Alright, to be fair I've expected to see someone who is simply able to extinguish the flame. You claim to have been hunting it, chasing for it even. What exactly happens when you eat this flame?" Verd simply tried to understand what kind of bargain she was indulging into here. After all, there was always the concept of letting the flame be until another option arrived for her. The only person to know the actual position of Xshu was no one else than herself anyway. Having stumbled upon the village by pure accident. Hidden beneath the glacier, not been mapped properly before it's fall, part of a largely populated area. Without her directions one wouldn't find the caged flame.

Verd sighed. One of the gardeners apparently did catch on Avalanche by his collar but the strong little fella just kept running around with the person hanging idly and helplessly clinging on to him. Dragging him along like an accessory of sorts. Making even Verd chuckle for a second despite her being used to the fact that he was creating a large ruckus and mess among the castle. Sipping the tea cup empty as she would slowly let go of her paranoia for a little. "Please don't misunderstand my cautious behaviour. I do not wish to be rude or imply my distrust too deeply despite your obvious well intended offer, but I feel you have a very personal gain in view and not just the public safety. I must be sure that weapons such as the black flames would be treated with caution and the respect they deserve and to make sure their power won't be used in ill attempts to cause further harm and destruction among my people." Verd seemed to underline the fact that she was speaking of her people. As if she was asking whom could be harmed within the flame but putting specific effort onto the matter that she wished the damn thing gone and as far away from Yuki no Kuni as possible.

Verd sighed. She felt uneasy and as if the decision to lead this man to the black flame would potential cause things to happen that she'd feel responsible someday. But She did have a simple idea. Verd could lead her guest in direction of the flame and keep interrogating him gently so she'd still be able to decide if he was worthy of facing it or not. If he turned out to be a complete lunatic Verd would probably have to abort the whole thing. Maybe act as if the flame had vanished. He couldn't possible do much worse than kill her? Again, her eyes would roam astray towards Gin's room in the castle. Unsure if her paranoia at this point was still justified or if she was just overreacting.

Meanwhile some of the servants that weren't occupied with keeping Avalanche in check, were visibly preparing a backpack with some food. "We will have to leave in a bit I guess… I'm afraid this will be a good one-day travel to get there. I hope you don't mind to do a little camping on the way." She knew he was probably a good tad faster than her but he would have to adjust to her. If he was indeed her in well intent, this could turn out to be quite the fun adventure after all.


1050 / 2200


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[Yuki no Kuni] Black flames for dinner [Takao] CNyEAMX

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Inactive

Takao

Takao


S-rank
A faint smile pulled the corner of his mouth into his cheek at her understandably skeptical reaction to his declaration of intent. Such a reaction was expected, but it was hardly an easy task to explain his intentions softly. Takao had determined it was better to rip the proverbial bandage off and explain himself rather than sugar coat his prospective methodology.

“You won’t find anybody that can extinguish it unless they have Sharingan capable of manipulating it themselves. Amaterasu flames won’t die unless the user’s chakra is entirely exerted from the technique through natural consumption and there is no auxiliary fuel for it to feed off. Generally, this happens within hours of the technique’s usage… The fact that Hao’s flame has remained this long is a testament to just how monstrous his raw power was.” Had it not been for the monotone in which he spoke, it might have seemed as though he admired the topic of their conversation, yet the information was spoken factually as an observation. Yet beneath the surface, hidden behind walls of well-practiced body language suppression, Takao was deeply envious of the Uchiha. In his youth, he had fantasized to be the one to meet Hao in battle, and test his fire against one of the world’s greatest. Like many youthful fantasies, it was far from what would happen in reality. He could hardly harbour true ire toward those who had brought his wretched life to its end, for they had rid the world of a truly frightening monster, yet the raven-haired Jōnin clung to that envy all the same.

“Despite this, it can still be moved. Easily, in fact. Historically, we see this with fūinjutsu sealing the flame away, but Amaterasu will eat away at any chakra that’s fed into it… like flames along a wire. I’ll be the first to admit that my methodology is crude. My bloodline, Ryū Kokyū, is based around the usage of chakra in my lungs and stomach. I would use my chakra to guide Amaterasu into my stomach, where it would be sealed and manipulated by the seal formulae.” The tea in his hand was lowered slightly as his features softened slightly. Had she a keen eye, Verdandi might have noticed the slightest tinge of discomfort cross Takao’s visage as he spoke wantonly on his kekkai genkai. A brief crack in the otherwise steadfast exterior.

“Our countries are allies, and we both want to protect our people. If I’m to offer my services for taking the black flames off your hands, then I owe it to you to be fully honest and open with my intentions. Hao’s Amaterasu is part of my contingency plan for Miyamoto Hastur. My intentions are to seal it and weaponize it to be used against him.”

Takao let a moment of silence overtake their meeting, offering her a chance to digest the information before he continued. The features that had softened what seemed like a mere instant before stiffened again, growing hard as the topic shifted to a matter that Takao seemed to take quite seriously.

“Hastur is a time bomb. It isn’t a matter of if, only when. I lack intimate knowledge of how exactly he plans to accomplish it, but I know he intends to conquest and subjugate the shinobi nations under his banner. He’ll come for Kirigakure, and then he’ll come for Konohagakure, and every nation after that will fall like cards. Ayakashi would be hard pressed to defeat him, even with help… But I’m certain that Amaterasu is the perfect edge to the fight that he won’t be expecting.” The threat that loomed in the mountains was one that wrought him many a sleepless night, urging him to prepare well in advance for the battles that had yet to come. For a brief and fleeting moment, a pensive gaze overtook Takao’s visage, yet it faded as quickly as it appeared.

“I’m aware that in the wrong hands, that fire of Hao’s would be rekindled and his destruction would begin anew. But with the flames in my possession, the weapon he used to destroy so much would be used to protect instead. Not just for our people alone.” Appealing to the heart was hardly a good strategy to somebody he hardly knew, but Takao had yet to speak dishonestly. The drive that lead him to pursue Amaterasu may have found roots in selfish envy, but the application of it now was far from self-serving.

“I understand your caution. You don’t know me, and you only have my words to judge my intentions and character. I can empathize with the weight of a decision that involves the safety of your people as well. It’s a heavy burden. Years ago, I briefly adopted the mantle of Hokage, and I was given a similar choice to make. Funny enough... I was in the position you were in now, and the person I spoke to was in my position… More or less.” Takao said. The brief recall of that time forced another faint smile to tug at his cheeks. His gaze faltered from her and glanced sidelong toward the workers that prepared supplies, seemingly for a trip. This suspicion was confirmed by her declaration that they would leave shortly and that the trip would be a long one on foot.

His head turned to watch them for a moment longer as his mind wandered over the trek ahead of them. He didn’t do particularly well in cold conditions, although he had methods for handling it. Perhaps the day-long trip in the hellish snowy wastelands that awaited him beyond the comfort of large castle walls wouldn’t so bad with decent company. Takao turned back to Verdandi and smiled.

“Not at all. Maybe along the way I can convince you that I’m a trustworthy person to keep the flame.”



Total WC
(+1,002)
1,939

Verdandi

Verdandi


D-rank
Verdandi's smile would fade over the time as Takao spoke. It was not because she was shocked, ill tempered or even displeased. She simply expected her guest to beat around the bush and play coy. Maybe even try one of those oh so famous tactics that would lure her into thinking the way he desired her to go. Verdandi was smart. Based on education royal families had access to while others did not without pure, raw talent. She would have seen through most lies and tactics of deception. Not without fail but with a very high chance to feel that she was being played of sorts. Takao placing all cards on the table, including a rather bold statement as to his intents with Hastur, left Verdandi indeed speechless for a while. His reaction towards his emotions over his own clan or ability in that retrospect, was unusual and duly noted. However, she was kind of processing his previous words rather then overthinking any detail at this point.

Once they got up, Takao would be offered a complementary coat made of snow wolf fur. A side product of what the hunters would bring in when they were up to hunt for meat. Most other creatures like snow owls or polar bears were almost holy to the people of Yuki no Kuni. They preferred to fish casually and kill the wilder creatures that sometimes dared to step into the human's realms. The bears of Yuki no Kuni usually lived far away from the civilization and the snow folk had always shown deep respect towards them. That Verd was keeping a cub of them as a pet was some sort of an inter political trouble maker for the servants. They were basically compelled to worship the creature while at the same time being forced to prevent Avalanche from ruining their garden and other property of the castle.

When Verdandi would whistle and Avalanche came jumping her way, the servants seemed heavily relieved that he would be gone for a while. Caressing the young beasts neck and telling him to move along. As they left the courtyard, Verd was still lost in thought. Giving her occasional nods as he requested confirmation if everything was alright. "I'm thinking." She would reply in any case, making it clear that she was processing the whole of the situation without going simply to an emotionally fuelled decision.

They would pass by the Mammoth Inn not far after leaving through Heidel's main gate towards the north. Verd moved into the Inn and was quickly greeted by the bartender and the service gals. Stocking up on a bit of fish meat for little polar bear boy and some snack even Taco could lift up if he dared to try. Mostly chocolate filled pastry. Being in the snow didn't mean that culinary instincts had been abandoned by them. Bakery goods were a speciality of the Mammoth Inn. Verd picked up a little flask of plum wine as well. One of the many sins she liked to indulge into. If Takao desired any kind of alcoholic beverage to take along he was free to do so. The charge would go to the Yuki family's tab. Verd rarely every paid anything herself here. Much to her father's dismay in most cases.

As they finished their purchases at the inn, Verd would lead on towards the crossway. From the many paths that lead from here. They would choose the one that would go north past the former location of Yukigakure. She didn't mind of a stranger would see the whole destructive force that Hao's wrath had unleashed in their lands. But if she wasn't forced to, she didn't really enjoy visiting the ruins of their former pride. Having taken this road many times before to visit the Aisu temples, Verd would engage in simple small talk with Takao on their way. Until they would reach the mountain of the large Yuki mountains. Past this point would only come glaciers and rocky ground. Verd decided she wanted to set up camp before they would go too deep into glacier territory and while the snow was still mild and comfortable.

Moving towards the mountain's end, they would walk a bit along until one of many cave entrances came into vision. The polar bears used those caves often as hibernation chambers when they were visiting the southern planes. Knowing the way, her holy creatures followed, she was aware that it was long before that season yet though. Moving into the small cave, to place her things down. Avalanche would quickly bury himself under the bag of fish meat and occasionally sniff inside, munching away at the meat at his heart's content.

Verd would turn her primary weapon, Wyrm's Tooth, upon click of a button into a saw and cut down some tree remains into sizable wood branches. Returning with a proper amount of it back to the cave while Takao had the chance to hunt down some wolf or hare meat if he dared, unless he wanted to share the smelly fish food with Avalanche that is. Back in the cave, Verd would allow herself to ask for the obvious fire user to do his thing. She did have ways to start a fire but they were sadly not as elegant as doing it with chakra.

In return to her lack of fire, she would use her Hyouton affinity to let the entrance of the cave slowly freeze shut as night approached and the wind grew colder. With the warm fire in their midst, the smoke of the fire would be carefully aimed at a hole above them, that lead deeper into the cave system. If at some point oxygen would become a problem, Verd could always open the ice locked 'door' for a while. But for now, getting all warm and cozy was of primary intention. Despite her being cold blooded by nature and rarely felt bad within even freezing temperatures, she still deeply enjoyed the comfort of warmth.

As they sat by the fire. Verd would start to prepare some of the available meat to cook it by the fire. Avalanche would soon fall asleep and nap next to his fish filled bag. Verd would close it to keep the smell it gave off contained within. With a content smile she would place her aunt's gift, Wyrm's tooth, back into her lap and start cleaning the shark tooth from any oak raisin that might still stick to it. Obviously, content and finding the act of cleaning her own weapon somewhat meditation-like.

"Well, small talk aside. I see that you have your own reasons for all of this. I do believe you and I could ask simply for you to remain the damage outside of Yuki or Kiri even. But I do have a request that is easier said but then again might be harder to keep. I will show you the flame. It is not far from here anymore. However, you wouldn't find it without me. Believe me. I will show it to you. If you promise that you will do everything within your powers to make sure that the flame will not hurt any civilians. That is all I ask for." She would eventually place her blade back in it's sheath and put it aside. Offering her palm to Takao. It's not that promises couldn't be broken. But Verdandi could sense, despite all his masked attempts to remain a mystery to her. He seemed to have a deep sense of duty and honour. If honour would indeed mean anything to him. Shaking hands with her would be a binding contract. Once that she'd ultimately accept as payment for what he would gain in return.


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[Yuki no Kuni] Black flames for dinner [Takao] CNyEAMX

| Verdandi | Jutsu | Locker | Tracker | Division | Plot | Theme |

Inactive

Takao

Takao


S-rank
As her smile faltered, Takao’s expression remained unchanged. This much was expected as well, for he anticipated that she may have been under the assumption that the flame would be rid from the realm of mankind for good. Had threats larger than them both not lingered within the lands they called home, perhaps he would have preferred the flame to simply fade into oblivion, never to be seen again. Yet they were not so fortunate, for such threats would always fester like an infection, liable to do great damage if they were not culled. As the moment of silence befell them, Takao merely remained quiet, his gaze steeled while small drinks of tea were taken. He had little issue sitting in silence while she thought or considered, having already mentally readied himself to be asked to excuse himself from the castle if his pitch was not well received.

Yet he stood when she stood, and graciously accepted the coat that he was gifted. Insulated as his own was, it paled in comparison to the natural warmth of fur. But even with the warmth of the fur, he expected his sensitivity toward the cold to shine through regardless, which left him in deep mental preparation for the journey looming ahead of them. He concluded that internal fire-nature chakra manipulation to stave off the biting chills would be in order, depending on just how cold the deep north of the Snow Country would get.

As they departed first from the courtyard and then from the castle, Takao opted to fill the silence with idle smalltalk. Simple compliments to the castle, idle comments on the various sights, and easily forgettable topics of conversation that were far from imperative to the subject matter that had brought them to the same place. She remained quiet and pensive, which did little to deter him. She had yet to escort him back to the ship and tell him to go home, so she hadn’t yet come to the conclusion on what her decision would be.

Takao followed her out of the castle and passed under a gate on the northern end, which lead to them passing by an inn. Verdandi seemed keen on entering and Takao continued to linger behind her, not minding the opportunity to see more of the town so foreign to him. More one-sided idle chatter ensued as he examined the building’s interior, until a well-trained nose caught the scent of alcohol and pastries. He wasn’t much of a drinker, but he did appreciate the fine delicacies of a foreign culture. Takao passed over the pastries and baked goods, for he truly detested the sweet flavour in nearly every capacity, and set his sights upon a barrel of mead. Unwilling to pass  on the opportunity, Takao ordered a still semi-sweet horn of mead, and quietly paid for it himself rather than taking advantage of the royal family’s hospitality.

The tingle of strong mead kept him warm as they departed from the inn and to a crossroads,  where Verdandi chose a path leading further north. They passed by the ruins of Yukigakure, barely standing nearly a decade after Hao’s wrath reduced it to black ash and soot. His gaze lingered for a moment and his pace faltered, the sight forcing another memory of the Gokage summit to the surface. The exact details were hazy, yet the recollection of a man depositing two heads and proclaiming them to be the remains of both the Yukikage and the Kusakage was clear as day. He was provided closure to what had transpired in the north, although he hadn’t particularly been in search of it. Within a moment, Takao’s pace resumed, and he was following alongside Verdandi once again, engaging in small-talk with her. Before long, their journey had taken them to the footholds of the Snow Country’s northern mountain ranges. By now, Takao would not have been fully sated with the warmth provided by the wolf’s fur coat, and opted to utilize the core concepts of a yet unfinished technique to warm his skin. The sweat that he produced from the technique evaporated, causing barely visible and even less audible wisps of steam to dance off his body.

Verdandi’s guidance lead the trio to one of many caves scattered throughout the footholds of the mountain, undoubtedly used by the tundra fauna when the weather turned to its harshest. It would prove to be a sufficient shelter from the nights, which would likely be insufferable and perhaps even unable to be survived without such adequate protection from the elements.

With his host temporarily departed to gather firewood, Takao opted to hunt. A difficult task for an outsider who knew precious little about the area and landscape, yet he had tools that gave him an edge in the task. Having left the cave, Takao split himself into three copies, quadrupling the ground he could cover in the same amount of time. Each of the doppelgangers flooded their eyes with chakra, lighting them aflame with Aibāningu. A kilometer’s worth of heat signatures was revealed to them, including Verdandi’s own, although it was faint. The clones set out in their respective directions and began the hunt over the span of an hour.

Two of the clones dispelled themselves after their hunt was determined to be unsuccessful. The remaining clone had managed to catch two arctic hares, which had been quickly killed, gutted, and skinned away from their cave. Leaving a pile of blood and guts where they slept was liable to bring unwanted attention. While the remaining clone made its way back toward the cave, the real Takao had been fortunate enough to spot a small caribou and down it with a slicing wind technique to the neck. The disembodied head was left for the birds along with the guts and other undesirables. With the hefty beast over his shoulders, Takao returned in time with his clone, noting that Verdandi had adequately prepared a plethora of wood to be used for the night.

“Might have gone a little overboard with the hunting,” Takao admitted as he set the gutted caribou down alongside the pair of skinned hares. “But we can smoke most of this overnight and have something for the morning.”

Before he set about preparing the venison, Takao stacked the wood and lit it aflame using a plume of flames exhaled from his lungs. The chakra stuck to the wood and continued to burn until the wood caught and began to crackle. With the fire stable and providing adequate warmth to their small cave, Takao turned back to the caribou and went to work butchering the carcass with practiced prowess. Most of it was cut into thin strips to be smoked, as he had suggested earlier, while a few larger steaks were cut from the carcass as well. The number of thin slices might have seemed excessive, but with the moisture removed from them during the smoking process, their size would shrivel considerably.

With the meat prepared, Takao rolled the sleeve of his shirt up and revealed the bandages that wrapped his right arm. Upon the cloth was a complex seal with several strands of seal formulae, each containing a different item within the aether. He placed his hands upon the seal and channels chakra into specific strings, conjuring various cooking utensils that he kept with him.

“Camping doesn’t mean you have to eat miserably unseasoned food, yeah?” He commented idly as he set up the cooking apparatus. The thin strips of meat were draped over the bars of a cooking grill on the steel tripod that hovered over the flames, while the trimmed steaks were set to fry in a skillet on a lower grill closer to the flames.

Verdandi spoke up once the sizzle of the meat began to fill the cave’s silence, and garnered Takao’s attention. Her words brought a faint smile to his face, and he nodded.

“I appreciate you putting your trust in me. You have my word that Hao’s Amaterasu will only be put to good use. No harm will befall any innocent lives, as long as I can help it.” Takao said as he settled into a cross-legged sit near Verdandi, his hand raising to meet hers for a firm shake.

“So, what’s your bear’s name?”

[ THREAD EXITED ]



Total WC
(+1,408)
3,347

Training Devastation Collapsing Spiral Sphere || 5000 (S-Rank, Rasengan) - 20% (Genius) - 30% (a the scroll of seals) = 2,500



Last edited by Takao on Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:11 am; edited 1 time in total

Verdandi

Verdandi


D-rank
Verd's eyes widened the very moment Takao produced a whole cooking set from his body seals. Intrigued by the display she never had much skill, understanding or deeper interest in sealing things. One of these days she would have to ask her squad member Haka to explain the basic concept again. Dandi's knowledge was merely limited towards the book entries she had read for the academy tests. Being a lazy princess, she did not rarely skip out on some subjects. This was one of those moments where she had to face the sad truth that every time one would skip such knowledge hoarding, there would come a day where you might have needed that very wisdom.

Then again this was about Takao pulling a frying pan and stuff alike from his arm. It wasn't necessarily about the utter fate of the world at this point. Verd admired and complimented the big catch the hunter had made. Making it clear that she admired such quality. Yet she tried to hide a certain level of discomfort to how he was handling the remains of the creature. She agreed with the fact that the inedible parts towards humans would best rest in the wild where even those things would sooner or later be broken back down into their very natural base components and feed a myriad of creatures.

Hands would be shaken, promises would be made. Verd's oddly miscoloured eyes would burn themselves vividly into Takao's memory. She smiled but she was serious. Even as he might have tried to tug his hand back, Verd's palm would remain firmly onto his. Not breaking it until at least a minute passed and sixty seconds could feel like an eternity within the premises of a somewhat awkward situation. But Verd didn't mind. Awkward or not. This would be burned into his memory and every second he might have dared to even think of using the black flame, Takao would be forced to think of this very moment and this very handshake. Verdandi was in no position of power, she could have easily thrown some trashy proverb at him about how she's going to 'hunt him down' or 'make him pay' if he dared to break this promise. No, Verdandi believed in karma and in the fact that all the gods she had met so far seemed to have an incredibly odd humour and sarcasm. So, she wouldn't threaten him. She would simply pray silently to herself. That if he dared to break this promise. The most undesirable of unfortune, unlucky curses would strike him and unleash the very worst of natures ill-tempered humour onto him.

That being said, or rather, that being thought. Their palms would part. Verd deeply believed and yet also hoped into the honesty of the man sitting here with her. She yet had to trust her own judgment. But while she did so, she had yet to remind herself that sometimes a little snowflake could set a while avalanche of frost in motion. Yet the topic was closed. No need to linger further in it. Decisions were finalized and now all that would count is to enjoy the ride.

"This little furball?" she replied to his question about what the polar bear was named. "That’s Avalanche. I found him not far from where we are now a few months ago. His mother sadly died protecting him from the wolves here. I guess I'm his new mommy now." She chuckled a bit. The bear was snoring now that he had eaten his fill and napping time was the second-best thing to do next to eating time.

Verd stood from her position and boldly sat down right next to Takao, while he was handling the meat, Verd would slowly start to cater to the animal's skin he had peeled away. Hare's provided good leather despite their size. Without fail and without splattering even a single drop of blood onto her well-preserved clothes, she severed any remaining flesh from the skin and tanned it very lightly once with her knife. The actual work on this would eventually be done by the professionals in Heidel. But the furs were well prepared and Dandi would pick a few single strands of her hair, using it as improvised string. Adding a little chakra to her hair would turn the otherwise fragile thing into a pretty good makeshift rope. Since she didn't have any fancy seals on herself. She pouted and visibly placed the furs next to the rest of her baggage. Cleary implying that she intended to carry them the normal way. She really had to get her hands on some basic sealing scrolls one day…

However, she was not finished. As the moved the meat and separated it from the bones. Verd would make sure that every thicker bone would b broken into easily transportable pieces. With a continuous motion to scratch the remaining flesh off those bones, severing any tissue clinging to it. She would clean the bone with water, producing it within her own palm, basically just concentrating some well available moisture within the air. Once cleaned, she would put the bones aside, string packed with another plucked hair. The potentially dirty organs had already been removed by Takao earlier. Verd would simply close her eyes and whisper a few chanting words in old Hyougaan language. Nothing spooky. A simple and quickly perfumed prayer to thank the beasts that they sacrificed their life force so the princess and her strange friend could continue on with their paths and fates.

Verd was basically shoulder on shoulder with Taco while she did her intervention. She didn't wish to imply that he was doing wrong. After all he could just as well have ended up doing the very same without her help. She did yet not need words to explain that the hunt was something sacred to the snow folk and while survival of the strongest would always remain the primary way of life, especially in harsh lands as Yuki, the people have learned to show deep respect towards the creatures that lived here. Somewhat they all belonged together. Unique in their very own way. Simple organisms that learned to adapt themselves and become one with the snow.

Verd shared some of those thoughts with Takao, wondering if he was the kind to philosophy about random things if the chance would rise. While doing so she'd slowly move back into her own seat at the opposite side of the fire. Her shoulder seemingly warmer now than expected. Wondering what Taco was doing that he basically steamed away such warmth. Verd liked it. Anyhow, she didn't feel uncomfortable or cold either. Her natural body temperature could probably turn as icy as the very Hyouton chakra that was gushing through her whole system. Yet the clothes and the fire would keep her warm. Preferring the cozy tenderness of warmth despite her natural love for ice and snow.

Verd would help herself and gradually await Takao's final product that would be but produced and perfected within the help of those fancy utensils he had spawned. Once she was offered. Verd would quickly nom her way into the juicy meat. She was hungry and knew well that the second part of their trip would cost her some energy. After all. She would have to find Xshu again. Even while she so proudly claimed to be the living key to find Xshu or not, Verd was well aware that she wouldn't be so sure it couldn't be found without her, if she didn't somewhat fear that even she wouldn't be able to find it anymore. The dome of frost that contained the village was small. Most of the village had been swallowed within snow and was by now deep below what could be called the surface level.

Rebuilding Xshu would be a pain. But if Verd's dream was to come true someday, sacrifices had to be made and if they were just based on a lot of effort and a little bit of hope. That was just fine with her. Small talk continued. Verd would poke around a bit in Takao's past and while he seemed to brush past the topic of Yuki's fall. Dandi didn't go into the subject too deeply. She wasn't a specialist on politics or history. But primarily because the fall of the snow was a very sad part of history that she preferred to simply forget and rather rebuild than throwing a hissy fit about things in the past. Lingering within wounds of history didn't provide anyone with new insights other than humanity being able to birth a sad bunch of monsters every few generations.

Instead, preferring to linger on the more interpersonal relationship here. Verd would use her chance to get some in-depth feel of whom she might be dealing with. All suspicions aside, he was supposed to be somewhat of a big shot. That could eventually come in handy someday. Peacemakers were a relatively rare breed these days. So, making friends with one might lead to alliances that could yet turn out of positive nature for both of them. While doing so, Verd would casually sup away at the flask of plum wine. She knew how much she could drink without getting too dizzy. But a little warmth in her belly during good company never hurt anyone. At least not that she knew of it... unless Gin was involved... oh well.





Many months if not even years later. Verd would look back on the events that had transpired in the snow. She tried to remember how it all turned out. What had happened with her supposed mentor or role model? She enjoyed the part of their fond interactions and their genuine respect for each other. But somewhere something must have gone wrong along way. Did he actually end up removing the black flames of the distant past? Their travels after the snow cave were lost to her memory by now. Eventually, she would have to travel north again during the next training exhibition with Snow Patrol. The fire itself was a caged beauty of destruction. But even if it was still there, there would be ways to somehow extinguish and seal away the dark memory of a distant past. The last reminder of Hao’s grip on the broken continent. A way to walk past the burned ashes frozen below the snow. Someday, the snow people would reclaim this wasteland. Someday the land would be healed and return to its own unique fertility within the cold lands. Someday, be it with or without the little snow princess, people would rebuild from those ashes and forge a new civilization. But nothing ever lasts forever.

[EXIT]

1800 / 5'300


WC Usage:
4800 WC (6000 on 20%) Learning 4 B-Rank Pet Jutsu.
- Water Release, Suicide Bear
- Wind Release, Endless Claws
- Wind Release, Recoil Blast
- Water Release, Fish Tank

Adding the last missing 500 WC of 7200 (20% off 9000) for my A to S-Rank Senjutsu Training.


____

[Yuki no Kuni] Black flames for dinner [Takao] CNyEAMX

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