Crystal Cave within the Tree Felling Village
"A crystal cave. Interesting location, to be sure. I think I remember these caves. They're within the Tree Felling Village. I went there once on my travels." An ancient voice within Kisui's mind, an elder of legend spoke his opinion of their location. The cave was damp, but the crystals seemed to provide a sense of warmth, glowing with a soft hum that seems to permeate through one's thoughts. At the opposite stood his opponent, a Genin. But Kisui could see something in her that set apart from most Genin he met. She had a drive that Kisui saw as a driving force in her eyes. Unfolding the hood of his cloak, Kisui stands still, his blue eyes seeming to read his opponent. It didn't take him long to figure her out, his aging eyes having seen much in his forty years of travel.
"You're a Kataihyouhi. Judging by the skin tone, you're not from Takigakure. Which means you must be from Iwagakure. The tiny scars in your skin that your hiden couldn't recover show that you've been around rocks all your life." Kisui speaks up to break the silence. Ever the observant one, Kisui always seemed to know who the people around him were by the way they looked, but not just by the look of their face, but by the subtle things everyone takes for granted. "Given your young age, you're still a Genin, but one who has the potential to push herself beyond her own expectations. You've got the Will of Stone within you, and I want to see it for myself." Staying in his base state, he assumes a combat position. "I will be your mentor for the duration of this fight. When I deem you worthy enough, I will push myself to the next level, and keep going until either one of us loses, or I reach my apex. If you can either beat me before then, or keep up all the way to my final state, I will declare this fight a victory in your favor. But it will be a victory for me as well, to train the next generation of shinobi."
"Uh-huh.... Someone who actually knows my bloodline... awkward... I am not sure who you are sir, but you are definitely observant... To be honest, I really don't know why I'm here, I picked up a brochure about some tournament and ended up in this cave." Aimi responded "I don't know... guess I'll just get in some practice before the Chunin Exams. I hope you don't mind if I make the first move." She continued as she drew a pair of black shurikens out. She started circling around her opponent and took in the area. The cave around them was filled with softly glowing crystals, embedded in every wall, on the ground, and the ceiling. Least this field had cover. She was probably gonna need it by how the Ojisan in front of her was acting. She was going to have to play this smart.
She took her chance as a slightly larger crystal came between her and her opponent, partially obscuring her from his gaze. She threw the shurikens, the pair of tan projectiles arcing out around the crystal at her opponent from two different angles. Then she simultaneously prepared two different clone techniques. One of Orihada's biggest advantages was the minimal amount of hand seals needed to use it. So as she grew a single clone of skin off of her back, shielded by the crystal and her body, she made the hand seal for the generic clone technique, seeking to hide her and her actual clone's movements with a distraction. She bolted out towards the left as clones started running in every direction, some running away from the the man, some running towards, and some running in no direction in particular. At the same time, she cut the clone off of her back, which proceeded to run deeper into the cave to prepare. "Let's hope this works..." she whispered to herself.
As the the two shuriken arced in Kisui's direction, he times their rotation speed, and at the apex of their flight, strikes the lower portion of the shuriken with the lower palms of his hands, bunting their movement and catches them. "She's hiding herself with basic clones. They're not meant for an attack, but to give her an opportunity to find a more advantageous position." Kisui thinks to himself. Noting the obvious patterns the clones were making, he runs past them, jumping up on a crystal that has grown from an upper portion of the cave. Using the height advantage, he observes the two, noting the one that runs deeper in the cave. Having a sneaking suspicion that one might have been a clone as well, he nonetheless chases after it to see just what Aimi was planning. As he closes in on the clone, he notices a crystal grow in front of him. Not wanting to delay his movement, Kisui throws the first shuriken he caught. Then, when it nears the crystal, he throws the other. As it strikes the shuriken, it causes it to arc around the crystal and towards the clone's path. From that point, Kisui leaps on top of another crystal to observe her next move. "I need to see if I can figure out her game plan. See what she's fully capable of. So for now, just play it slow, read out her movements whenever possible." Kisui once again thinks to himself, standing still on the crystal, keeping himself knelt down to help hide himself.
The clone didn't even slow down as it was struck by the two black shuriken, just continuing it's run into the cave. They might interfere with it's purpose slightly, but something like that wasn't enough to stop it from functioning.
Aimi herself decided she needed to remain on the offensive if she was going to stand a chance. Another combination then. She thickened the skin on all of her limbs in preparation for close combat. The skin on her arms she siphoned off to a pair of table sized shuriken, one of which she slapped an explosive tag on. With a quick spin she used one of her tanto to slice off both shuriken and threw them, aiming to hit the spot where she last saw her opponent land from two slightly different directions, reminiscent of her previous move. She aimed it so they would barely miss the crystal, hitting the older man at ankle level in an effort to force him to either take unnecessary ankle injuries or jump into the air. She ran towards the crystal as she flashed a series of hand signals before launching a large ball of fire at an area a couple of meters above the crystal, at the area her opponent would hopefully be after he jumped. Then as the last part of her three step attack, she continued her run before running up the crystal, attempting to get a kick in on her opponent while he was helpless to move in mid air.
Kisui found himself impressed by the strategy Aimi attempts. Kisui feels she's ready for the next step. In a flash, his eyes begin to glow red. As the world around him slows to a halt, Kisui enters his mindscape, a sort of internal point of his mind where he can formulate a plan without the surroundings of the world interrupting his thought process. From there, Kisui begins taking stock of his surroundings. "Two fuma shuriken, one of which has an explosive tag. At the angle they are flying, they would hit me at the ankles, which would force me to jump." Looking down, he notices the glow of the fireball below him. "Great Fireball Technique. Meant to force me to jump at a very specific angle. But I think I'll just take the third door for this one. Been a while since I've used this technique. Might as well dust it off, then." With a smile, Kisui forms a seal that looked like half Ram, half Tiger. Just before the shuriken and fireball make contact, Kisui disappears from view. The two shuriken that made their hit on Aimi's skin clone were marked with a seal, giving Kisui the opportunity to appear directly in front of the skin clone. Unsheathing his sword, Kisui goes in for a slash against the skin clone.
The clone never stood a chance, being easily cut down by the sword. It wasn't intended for combat so Aimi had never bothered to increase it's durability. That being said, even cutting it in half doesn't stop it from moving, as the two halves continued to drag themselves deeper into the cave. It wasn't a chakra construct, just skin animated by her Hiden, damage wouldn't cause it to disperse or anything.
Aimi on the other hand was just confused as to how in the world her opponent managed to avoid her combination. He had just disappeared without a trace... "How did he do that... she said as she kicked through the air an instant after he disappeared.
In an effort to try and figure out where he had gone, Aimi shot out several tentacles of skin, penetrating into the the ceiling before she pulled herself up to it, landing on it feet first. This is how she found out about her clone. "How did he get all the way over there... I guess long term strategies aren't going to work well... I need to figure out what he can do if I'm to stand a chance." She pondered.
It was time for the best testers, clones. But with presents. Still rooted to the ceiling she started to create several clones from her skin, but she mixed in a few extra ingredients besides skin this time. She used her skin tentacles to break off several crystals from the ceiling, which she then liberally poured poison over. Then she attached an explosive tag onto each one before securing one inside the chest of each of the ten skin clones she created. Making each essentially a poisoned fragmentation bomb.
"I will leave the clone for now. In the meantime, let's see what I can do about the real Aimi." Kisui thinks to himself. Looking up at the ceiling, Kisui sees several crystals falling from above, which tells Kisui she's up above. But ever the cautious type, Kisui chooses to evade the crystals rather than deflect them via defensive means. Looking behind him where the clone stood before he cut it down, he sees the two shuriken he threw at the clone earlier lying on the ground. Picking them up, Kisui places them in his pocket, figuring they'll find some more use sooner or later. Decided to figure out what to do about Aimi's potential next move, Kisui decides to try something new he had been training up recently. Taking a slow breath, he splits his celestial energy into the halves of Yin and Yang and creates a clone out of the latter. This clone, unseen by the naked eye, begins its hunt towards Aimi while the Yin half stays still just in case. If done right, Kisui would have a good setup in place to provide a devastating attack.
She thickened her skin further to prepare for melee combat, something she mirrored in each clone. She also modified their properties a bit so if something cut them or struck them hard enough it would stick to them before the clone exploded. It was dangerous mixing herself into them this way, but her hardened defenses should allow her to not get poisoned while doing this. With that, she plus the clones broke into four groups, three groups of three and a group of two. Each group ran down down the sides of the cave, converging upon Kisui with Aimi mixed into one of the groups of three. Each was even alive with her chakra, so targeting one of them like her last clone shouldn't work. She hoped. It was time to take a risk and force a melee against an unknown opponent with unknown abilities and unknown strength... today was going swell...
"An all out assault. Very well. Looks like some crowd control is needed for this situation." Man of few words he was, Kisui takes out the two shuriken he recovered and throws them upward, where they become stuck upon the ceiling. With a slow release of air from his lungs, Kisui waits for the right moment, feeling the link between his Yang clone getting stronger as it begins its approach. The group of clones and Aimi, pursuing ever closer on Kisui's position, gave Kisui a sense of chill down his spine. He could feel the chakra tingling within their cores, some of them feeling like a mixture that was ready to blow. Once he felt the presence of his Yang clone pursue close enough to intercept the groups of clones, Kisui forms another hand seal, once again disappearing from view. The Yang clone then slams into the first target it sees from the group, activating its special ability; As the Yang clone's celestial energy, which was building up since the split, has been released, forming a shockwave so fierce, it would pull a tree from its roots. But as an added effect, the shockwave was tuned to the resonance of the crystals around it, causing them to shatter. The remainder of the blast leaves behind the burnt ground stain of a blackbird, but Kisui, thanks to being on the ceiling, was safe from the shockwave's blast radius. Once the radius dispersed, Kisui begins his descent, ready to combat whatever was left from the blast.
One of her groups of clones was annihilated in a moment. She was going to have to move faster, commit more to this course of action before he could repeat this feat. Luckily for her she had been in the group farthest from the initial blast. If she had been closer, she would have been more severely injured than just the numerous rocks that were slowly being forced out of her skin. Her hardened skin had stopped more serious injuries. Her clones were also peppered with them, but burns and stab wounds don't actually do much to them, considering they were just made of skin.
She had some good news though, the halves of her clone that Kisui had damaged had finally reached the section of the cave where it would set up. But more time was needed. She and her 7 clones would have to buy it. Each utilized the Body Flicker Technique to move to encircle her falling opponent. They would each charge her opponent sequentially, one after the other in an attempt to overwhelm him with numbers. Aimi herself was the second to last person in the chain. She would attempt to use one of her clan's most feared techniques in an attempt to flay her opponent. She just needed to touch him, which with the 6 clones going before her, should hopefully be enough to break his guard to the point that could happen.
"And now the fun begins." With a steady smile, the tomoe of Kisui's Sharingan begin to rotate, spreading out into the familiar pattern of the Mangekyō Sharingan. With the patterns set in, Kisui puts his ability to use; Creating a nebula cloud, it surrounds Kisui, obscuring him from view. This was his chance to formulate a proper offensive tactic. It was time he stopped the defense and even the playing field. Kisui always favored his defense, but also knows when to go on the offensive, and he felt now was as good a time as ever. His shuriken were still on the ceiling, ready to be used again when the moment was right, but Kisui bid his time. The clones were attacking one by one, something Kisui recognized as a dogpile attempt, trying to overwhelm him one at a time. As each clone came in, the nebula would form a kunai, each one striking the clone one by one. While this was happening, Kisui once again repositioned himself by teleporting the the shuriken. Once he saw the kunai each hit the clones one by one, it was time for the offensive. Like the shuriken, the nebula was laced with Kisui's Flying Thunder God Seal, which was imprinted on the kunai it formed and threw. Forming his corruptive, celestial energy into his hands and feet, Kisui begins teleporting to the kunai one by one, each strike he would perform on the clones disrupting the chakra in their body and causing them to erode from the inside out while also preventing physical contact with the skin itself. If successful, he'd aim for Aimi next.
That technique wasn't normal, Aimi realized with a twinge of fear. This man was using way too many techniques she didn't know or understand. But she wasn't stupid, entering that fog was tantamount to suicide. By the time she realized this the first three clones had gone through the fog. By the time she had given the command for them to break off two more had entered it, and the sixth clone had touched the edge of the cloud, making Aimi and the last clone the only two who hadn't interacted with it.
She jumped back before unleashing another fireball into the fog, which while it probably did nothing, made her feel better. The she set her affected clones to detonate if they received a significant impact, though she cleared a bit of distance between her and them. They were still poisoned bombs after all.
To make things worse, she had lost sight of her opponent again... Which meant it was time for the nuclear sensing option. She gathered a bit of chakra, focusing it on her back before she launched a large wave of small tentacles in all directions, sending hundreds of the things shooting out in all directions, each one penetrating and anchoring to the rock in the distance. She could feel anything touching the tentacles, as it was all her skin. She twisted it a bit before cutting the tentacles off, though she remained in contact with them. It produced a widespread sensory net, leaving only a few ways to get at her. Ways that were easy to predict. The then hardened said net, making it the equivalent of a large mass of wires attached to the ceiling, walls, and floors.
This was about the point she realized her clones were disintegrating... Why hadn't the explosives gone off? She looked around and just saw her skin clones withering away... "Well shit, now how did you do that?" She said as she released a pulse of chakra that caused her skin to grow, slowly adding new wires as well as speeding up the progress of her traps. "Cause I have no idea at this point..."
"Don't think I can rely on that same trick again. Going to have to adjust strategies. Now, it looks like she's spread several tentacles all over the surrounding area. My guess is she's going to use them as a sensory network. I suppose I can slow down some more, now." Clearing his throat, Kisui decides to explain how he managed to stop her clones. "As you may have guessed by now, I'm not exactly a normal person. I'm a Celestial Being. An individual possessing the primal base of chakra, known as celestial energy. Long ago, these beings gathered energy from the stars themselves in order to gain and utilize their powers. I'm descended from one of those beings, who in turn is an ancestor to my ancestor, Hagoromo Ōtsutsuki. This celestial energy corrupts chakra, and those without the means to allow their chakra to revert to this primal state, it eats away at it, like a heavy stream of water against metal."
As Kisui observes the surrounding tentacles, Kisui also notes the pulse of chakra nearby, assuming it to be Aimi. But Kisui remains in his place, just in case. "It eats away at the individual's chakra, causing their bodies to erode from the inside out. Any clones that possess even a sliver of chakra can be brought down this way. When I sensed the chakra in your clones via my Mangekyō Sharingan, that's when I knew the right tactic to eliminate the clones. I could tell some of them had explosive chakra within them. Chakra is a lot like a stream. Unabated, it flows in a straight pattern. But when chakra begins to be used, different tertiary elements and abilities alter the stream of chakra. Explosive energy causes the chakra to fluctuate, as if setting off an actual bomb within the stream. It interrupts the flow on all sides, causing the chakra to appear unstable until the energy is either expended, or siphoned off." A slow breath of air escapes from Kisui's nose as he observes his surroundings once more, and he stands still, assuming an almost meditative stance.
"You're probably wondering why I'm just standing here monologuing, well, to be perfectly honest, I'm not much of a fighter, not since my daughter was born. I am pretty much just fighting with pure instinct rather than any semblance of a full, drawn out plan. Just thinking on my feet, letting the situations come to me and just responding to them accordingly. Because after all; When does anything ever go perfectly right for any of us? Things may go a little bit as planned, but it's never in the way we expected it to. When fate floods the path of our desires, we just make another path and keep going. It's harder that way, but I think I can speak from experience just how more rewarding it is in the end. I was at the end of my rope for twenty years. But then I stopped trying to swim through the flood and paved my own path around the water. You don't have to dive off the deep end to get what you want. We're all afraid to drown, so it's just common sense to try and think of the situation in a different light."
Good, he is talking... Aimi thought to herself. It was nearing time for her to head to her little surprise. She had expected him to give some succinct explanation followed by him taking the time to attempt to deal with all the tentacles. "An Uchiha then... even I've heard of the Sharingan. Random eye powers... Least you have the number of abilities to take things as they come. I've had to plan out every single move I've done with zero to no information on what you can do. I'm more concerned you knew my bloodline just by looking at me though. Orihada isn't exactly obvious." she said while watching the shifting lines across her opponent's body. He was discussing philosophy as well, which was nothing near her specialty. "That's only true when you have the power to choose your own path. Mine was set for me from the day I was born, the clan demands it. Then now I've shed too much blood, been through too much pain to go anywhere else. You may fight to fight, or whatever lofty goal you may have. I just fight so all I went through wasn't for nothing." She continued as she slowly extended a few tendrils behind her, making sure to keep her body between them and his eyes. It was nearly time indeed.
"I've shed plenty of blood in my travels. Pretty much all of it my own. I was wanted in all of Kumogakure just because I was in possession of a forbidden technique. I was hunted every single day until I found asylum in Sunagakure thanks to an old friend of mine. Even then, I felt uneasy having to leave everything behind. My sister, one of my closest teammates. It hurt leaving everything behind, but I felt that my travels called for a deeper purpose. I wanted to try and spread peace throughout the world. I knew I wasn't going to spread total peace between all people, but even if I were able to help them, it helped give me a path to walk on." As Kisui walks around, he keeps his hand in his pocket, listening to the ambient sounds of the cave, including some of the less ambient noises.
"There's a trial some people choose to go to. The Arihant Trials. If you wanted to face your deepest fears right then and there, the Arihant Trials brought them to life. Time feels like it passes so much faster in the shrine. It's a literal battle of the mind. You could spend days, months, years, even decades. But if you want to get through it all, you're looking at a lot of patience. Mentally, I'm a solid thirty two thousand years old. Maybe even older than that. Kind of stopped counting after thirty two thousand. Regardless. Despite how long it seems the Arihant Trials go on, in reality it'll only be about a day long. For me, my deepest fear was being unable to save someone close to me even though I had the chance to. Imagine seeing that punishment for thirty two thousand years. It almost broke me, until I learned to finally accept that not everyone can be saved, no matter how hard one tries. Thing about the Arihant Trials is it never tells you that; If anything, it reinforces your deepest fears, makes you wonder what you're doing wrong. But when I figured it all out, I woke up, renewed and at peace. I felt like the stresses of the world no longer held me down, and that I could do anything. Even just fighting to not lose what you've worked so hard for is a noble goal. But you've still got a choice to to turn yourself around, even if you don't yet know it. Pain will always be a part of our path, no matter how we try to take it. We can either let that pain beat us, or we can let it mold us into something stronger. You may have shed blood, but we all have. You probably shed more blood than others your age, but whatever the case, don't let it be what defines you. The thing that should define you is the path you choose, not your clan. More importantly, if you do decide to go your own path, don't hesitate to ask for help when this is all done." With a smile, Kisui prepares himself for whatever may come next, his hands sternly behind his back.
The Tendrils had reached a rock outcropping a ways behind her, grasping onto the rock. "Well I suppose it is time to get back to it..." She said as she flashed the hand signs for the Great Fireball Technique to throw off her opponent as she grabbed the node of her net. The tendrils pulled on her, sending her jetting backwards aided by a Body Flicker. Her remaining clone followed suit, moving backwards quickly. The mass of tentacles followed as well, pulling out chunks of the ground around them, collapsing to form a wall of skin and stone that would seal off the tunnel she was running down for hopefully long enough for her to reach the Hall she had prepared and repair any damage to it. The clone ran as a body guard, ready to distract Kisui if needed.
As Kisui grabs hold of the fireball, he causes its energy to decay until nothing is left. Once again, Kisui splits himself into his Yin and Yang halves. Signaling his Yang half to split up, Kisui's Yin half remains still, just in case something tries to follow behind them while the invisible Yang half begins pursuing the direction she was pulled back from. Using the tremendous, physical strength gained through intensive training over the course of many years, Kisui's Yang half punches through the wall of skin, then uses his knowledge of Earth Release to push the stones away. As the stones fall, Yang Kisui begins pursuing Aimi.