Masters of the Blades
Hello everyone! Just to be sure that were are all clear, I wished that I owned NARUTO and WITHCBLADE, but I don't.
Catalysts and Complications
After the two female Amaha-Uzumakis had been cornered by the police, they were immediately escorted to a cruiser and driven to a police station. From there, they had been placed on a bench, and were told to wait until the NSWF representative arrived. The wait was unbearable for Masane as time seemed to pass by at a snail's pace, the only distractions being the hustle and bustle of the police officers doing their work. It had been a little over thirty minutes since they were told to wait for the woman from Child Services, and Rihoko had fallen asleep beside her, as a result of the combined effects of her adrenaline rush leaving her system and the boring waiting. The little girl wanted to stay awake as she was afraid what would happen while she napped, despite the fact that she was becoming drowsier by the second, but Masane managed to convince her to get some rest with the promise that she would wake her if anything important happened. That left Masane alone with her worries about what happened to Naruto. The last that she saw of him was when he was acting as a diversion so she and Riko could escape. She was upset that he had actually assaulted the police officers that were there, as she had had a long talk with him in the past on how resorting to violence against the police would only make things worse for him in the long run. But at the same time, she understood why her husband was so distrustful towards them, given his past experiences. Yet Masane knew that now was not the time to reminisce about bad memories; not when the possibility of her family being split apart was far too close to her liking. And if that wasn't hair-raising enough for the brunette, then there were the rumors that she managed to hear from the officers about a wild blonde man having to be tranquilized in order to be subdued.
'Naruto,' thought Masane, her right hand subconsciously clutching the green gem of her necklace, an act she always did whenever she was nervous, 'I really wish that you were with us right now. You always seem to know how beat the Child Welfare agents at their own bureaucratic games. I'm not sure I can last long against this bitch on my own.'
She was broken from her thoughts by a pair of giggles, perverted giggles to be precise. Her eyes darted towards the source of the noise, where she saw two policemen at a desk a few feet away from the bench that she and Rihoko were sitting on. The two law enforcers were complete opposites in regards to body types: one was overly muscular whilst the other was obese; both were staring at her with lewd eyes, specifically at how her breasts looked more pronounced with her right arm positioned in between them. She just sighed tiredly; sometimes, Masane felt that her bosom caused her nothing but trouble.
Once the "pigs" noticed that she was aware of their lecherous stares, they tried to play it off by sending her flirtatious winks and wriggling eyebrows her way, as if they thought that she would actually want to spend more "quality" time with them later. Masane responded with a cold and infuriated glare as she brought up her left hand for the officers to see, mentally smirking once she saw their confident expressions deflate as the light caught her ring's polished surface, before she decided to add insult to injury by flipping them the bird. Their surprised and outraged expressions were priceless.
But before the two men could do anything to salvage their wounded pride, a female officer in her late forties directed her and a recently-awakened Rihoko to an empty office upstairs, with explicit instructions to wait for the Child Welfare agent that had met them at the restaurant. With nothing but the hum of the overhead fluorescent lights and the quiet ticking of the clock hanging on the wall to keep them company, Masane was left with her thoughts to preoccupy herself. If the police had to use tranquilizing darts to subdue her husband, then he was in even more trouble than she thought. With the steadily rising rate of crimes being committed throughout Japan after the Great Quake, the local police were forced to take more drastic measures. A new type of tranquilizer dart had been developed to be used as a means to end violent riots and hostage situations. The JSDF had been the first to implement the darts in their arsenal, and the local law enforcers were just beginning to use them for their patrols, but were restricted to be used for only the most dire of situations. And if Naruto had to have been tranquilized before he was taken into custody, then getting him out of jail was going to be more difficult than she originally thought.
Just at that moment, the door opened to reveal the very woman that had made it her mission to break apart their family. The social worker said nothing as she sat behind the desk that was in front of the mother/daughter duo, and got her papers in order. Once she had everything organized the way she wanted, she turned to face the Amaha-Uzumaki woman with a calm, emotionless gaze. The two women remained silent, as if daring each other to break the silence, all the while making poor little Riko very uncomfortable with the tension building between the adults.
Finally, the social worker noticed Riko's discomfort. "If it's alright with you, Rihoko can wait outside whilst we talk." she said. Masane didn't like the idea of letting her child out of her sight, especially around with the NSWF, but she knew that it would be best if the little girl didn't hear their conversation.
"Riko, could you go sit outside for a while, please? Mommy needs to talk to the NSWF lady." said Masane, keeping her tone as calm and endearing as she could, despite the fact that she was even more nervous than her daughter. Riko gazed into her mother's eyes for a moment, her nervousness making her hesitant to leave her mother's side, but a kind smile from Masane managed to placate her nervousness. The moment she saw her daughter leave the room and close the door behind her, Masane leveled the woman in the suit with contemptuous glare.
"Where's my husband?" she asked, tersely. "Why isn't he here with us?"
The Child Welfare woman remained calm, as if she had been in similar situations like her current one several times before. "I never took you as a woman who needs your husband's approval whenever you make decisions." she replied coolly.
Masane didn't rise to the woman's bait, but was mentally seething at the remark. "I don't. I just thought that since this concerns our family, he'd want to be involved.
"Well, I'm sorry to say, Mrs. Amaha-Uzumaki, but your husband won't be able to attend this little meeting."
"And what's that supposed to mean?" asked Masane, a sliver of dread forming in her stomach.
"He's in a holding cell in another precinct, ten miles from here."
"And what about the rumors I've been hearing throughout the station? About how some wild psycho had to be tranquilized in order to be brought in? Is that what your organization tells the police is the best way to bring in people that refuse to cooperate now?! By shooting knock-out darts at them, as if they were dangerous, out-of-control monsters?!"
"Given Mr. Amaha-Uzumaki's history with policemen that were assigned to assist us, the local authorities believed that it would've been best if he were detained as painlessly and quickly as possible, in order to avoid the risk of injury for both parties."
"Oh, so now the police are the victims? Tch, of course you'd side with them." muttered Masane.
Masane's glare intensified at the woman in the pink suit. "I said that I'm not surprised that whenever there's a dispute between citizens and the police officers NSWF has under its payroll, the police are always portrayed as the misunderstood, long-suffering people, dedicated to upholding the law. Of course, your corporation always seem to conveniently forget all of the times when their operatives abuse their authority, or whenever they're on one of their power trips."
The woman's stern mask broke away to reveal an affronted expression. "That is quite an accusation to make towards servants of the law based solely on rumors from the public media, Mrs. Amaha-Uzumaki. Unless you have the proof to back your claims up, I'd strongly advise you to keep your wild ideas to yourself, they won't-"
Masane said nothing, instead started shifting through the contents of her bag, before withdrawing three folders, which she all but threw on the table.
The NSWF agent was surprised by the brunette's action, clueless as to what her intent was. "What are th-"
"These are incident reports detailing how the police officers that were assigned to work for your organization, harassed my husband, and attempted to arrest him on the grounds of being in Japan illegally on three separate occasions! I made sure that I had gotten written reports from the superintendents of their precincts, especially after the third time." Masane pulled out the contents of the folder, and slid the report in front of the social worker's face. As the woman began to skim through the document, taking notice of the pictures showing Naruto's bruised visage, Masane continued. "That report states that while my family was brought to the local police station, as per your orders, two of your officers dragged Naruto away from Rihoko and me, saying that they needed to ask him some questions. That was just an excuse for them to aggressively interrogate my husband on whether or not he was in the country legally, all because he looked like a foreigner! And when he wouldn't admit to his crime, they started to viciously beat him! But when I tried to find out where Naruto was, another one of your flunkies attempted to distract me by trying to flirt with me, in front of our daughter too!"
The Child Welfare woman tried to say something, but Masane was having none of that. "But wait, that's not the best part! When I tried to go towards the room where I saw your cops take Naruto, that third one tried to arrest me on the grounds of obstructing justice! If it weren't for the chief, he would've probably gone through with his bullshit arrest, and my husband would've most likely been severely injured, or worse, killed! So don't you dare try to portray Naruto as some demented violent sociopath, when he has every right to be distrustful towards your hired police thugs!"
"Alright! Alright, already!" exclaimed the social worker, as she slammed her palms onto the desk in frustration. Realizing how unbecoming her emotional outburst was, she took a deep calming breath to settle her already frazzled nerves, and pushed away the incident report. "Mrs. Amaha-Uzumaki, I understand that you and your family have had issues with our police officers in the past, and for that I sincerely apologize for what you've all endured. Their actions were absolutely atrocious, and your family should not have been subjugated to such horrendous behavior. But the reason that we're here isn't about your family's past history with the police. It's about your daughter, and her future."
"What are you going on about?" exclaimed Masane. "Naruto and I have always put her well-being before our own. We made sure that she ate three meals a day, had clean clothes to wear, and is always in good health!"
The woman's expression remained neutral. "That may be so, but your family has been constantly on the move. You three never stay in the same place longer than four months, that can't be good for a young girl growing up."
"But it's not like we meant to move from place to place. Sometimes, we'd lose our jobs because of the economy, or when our residency was terminated because our apartment or hotel had to be foreclosed. We had to move in order to better provide for our daughter! That's why we moved to New Tokyo, we figured that if we got work in a more stable city in Japan, we-"
"I'm sorry, Ms. Masane, but you've used that excuse several times already. We gave you plenty of chances to try and create a stable life for Rihoko, but so far, NSWF doesn't see any improvement. Now, I'm not saying that you and your husband are to blame, but there needs to be a change in the way you do things."
"...What are you saying?"
The representative reached into her briefcase, and withdrew a sheet of paper. As soon as it was placed in front of her, Masane knew exactly what it was: a consent form to willingly allow the NSWF to take temporary custody of a endangered child.
"Before you say anything, let me assure you that this arrangement would only be temporary." said the woman, effectively cutting off the retort Masane wanted to shout out. "What I'm proposing is that you leave Rihoko in our care for a little while, three weeks maximum; just long enough for you and your husband to get a steady-paying job, and a permanent place of residency. Once we see that you've met the necessary requirements, your daughter will immediately be returned to your custody."
"But our family has always been together, you can't just separate us like this! Think about how this would affect Riko, it would devastate her!"
"I'm sorry, but my hands are tied. The NSWF isn't willing to give your family any more chances. It's time to accept that you need time to get yourselves settled without having to worry about taking care of Riko."
Masane stared at the document intensely, absently scratching at the scar on her right wrist. The entire situation made her stomach turn. "Can I at least talk to my husband first, so that we can make our decision together?"
The lady just shook her head. "I'm sorry, but I need your decision immediately; this matter can't be postponed any longer. As Riko's mother, I thought that you were capable of making decisions regarding the well-being of your child."
If looks could kill, then the glare that Masane shot towards the woman would've been powerful to melt steel. "Of course I'm capable of making decisions regarding my daughter, but she's Naruto's child too. We promised each other that we would always make decisions regarding Riko together."
"Are you on good terms with your husband?"
That question was like a smack to the face. The fact that the woman in front of her had the audacity to ask such a question was both shocking and infuriating! "Of course we are! We love each other and our daughter very much!" she angrily exclaimed.
"So he trusts your judgment, then?"
Masane couldn't believe what she was hearing. "What kind of stupid question is-of course we trust each other!"
"Then I think he would understand the situation your family is in right now, and respect any decision you would make for your daughter." answered the woman, as she placed a pen beside the form. "Masane, I know that you don't like to admit that you need help when it comes to your family, especially if it's from Child Welfare, but sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and do what's necessary for your child."
Masane stared at the paper in front of her as if it were a live bomb set to go off in less than a minute. Her initial instinct was to rip the form to pieces, and throw them in that smug woman's face in spite. Their family had been together since the day they had been found by rescue workers. She truly believed that they could endure any hardship so long as they stuck together. But after losing more jobs than she cared to count, and being forced to move from one home to another, she was seriously beginning to have doubts. And then she thought about Riko. Because of their inability to hold down a proper home or job, their daughter had missed out on so many things children their age normally experienced: going to school, making new friends her age, going to birthday parties, sleepovers. The brunette wanted Rihoko to have a happy, normal life more than anything, and as much as it pained her to admit it, that didn't seem all too likely with the way things were now.
'As much as I want to believe in Naruto and myself, I know that we can't keep doing this to Riko. It isn't fair for her to keep living this kind of life.' she thought despondently. With defeated sigh, as well as a feeling of dread steadily pooling in her stomach, Masane did something that she thought she'd never do: she signed the consent form. Seeing that her objective has been fulfilled, the social worker took back the document and pen back, and placed them in her briefcase.
"You made the right choice, Masane. I'm sure you and your husband will be able to get things straightened out in no time. But don't worry, we'll make sure to take good care of Rihoko." said the woman, trying to sound as sympathetic as she could. But Masane said nothing; to her, the social worker's words just seemed hollow and fake, like it was just something that all social workers were trained to say in this type of situations. She didn't even notice the woman walk out of the room, too focused on what she had just done.
"Rihoko? My name is Ms. Sakurai. I need you come with me." said the social worker. Masane stayed silent, afraid that if she did anything, her fragile resolve would shatter to a million pieces. It was all that she could do to keep herself from comforting Riko when she heard the fear and despair in her voice.
"I'm sorry, but your parents are going through some serious difficulties that need to be resolved immediately, and it wouldn't be safe for you to remain with them while they work things out. So, I'm here to take you on a little...camping trip...for a little while." explained Sakurai.
"But...But I don't want to go. I want stay with my mom and dad!" The young mother visibly flinched, as if she were struck by an arrow. This was all too painful for her to bear.
"I'm sorry, Rihoko, but it's for your own good."
"No! I don't want to go! Please, don't take me away from my family!" The increased noise outside the room, and her daughter's voice becoming fainter with each passing second, indicated that Sakurai and the officers were escorting her daughter away. "MOMMY! MOMMY, PLEASE HELP ME! I DON'T WANT TO LEAVE YOU AND DADDY!"
'It's for Riko's own good. It's for Riko's own good. It's for Riko's own good.' Masane mentally chanted to herself, trying her hardest to keep herself together. 'It's for Riko's own good! It's for...for...' But no matter how hard she tried, memories of all the good times she experienced with her family came rushing back. Rihoko's first words, seeing her learn how to walk, the night Naruto proposed, all their little family outings; in all of these memories, their family had stood together through all the good and bad times. She and Naruto had managed to keep their daughter with them for six years, and yet she willingly allowed the NSWF to break them apart in just one day.
"Oh Kami,...what have I done?" she whispered, as a lone tear slid down her cheek. In a flash of movement, she charged through the door, and dashed down the flight of stairs, practically leaping over three steps at a time. The moment her feet landed on the bottom floor, she ran towards the main door, shoving her way through anyone that got in her way. But once she finally made it outside, she saw, to her utter dismay, that Sakurai was driving away with Rihoko in her van.
It was all becoming too much for Masane, everything was coming apart too quickly. Out of the corner of her eyes, she spotted an empty police cruiser, with the keys still in the ignition. Without a second thought of the possible consequences of her actions, the young mother jumped into the cruiser, shifted it into drive, and tore down the street after Sakurai and Riko. With the gas battle pressed nearly all the way to the floor, she managed to pull up beside the van in no time. Both her daughter and the social worker were surprised and aghast respectively at what the young mother was doing. Rolling down the window, she desperately tried to get her daughter's attention.
"Riko! Riko, hang on, I'm coming to get you!" shouted Masane. She accelerated the car even further, hoping to cut off the NSWF agent and stop her from taking her daughter. Unfortunately, in her haste to reclaim her child, she didn't pay attention to the where she was going. By the time she looked back onto the road, she saw that she was about seconds from hitting a fork in the road. She tried to avoid a collision, but she still managed to clip the guard rail. At the speed she was going, the car went airborne, flipping over and over as it tumbled down the road, before managing to land upright and collide with the railing beside a sidewalk. The impact caused her head to bash against the steering wheel, hard. She futilely tried to stay alert, but to no avail.
'Naruto...Riko' were her last thoughts before she finally blacked out.
Naruto awoke with a start; he could have sworn that he heard Masane call out to him. He tried to open his eyes, but had to immediately shut his eyes from the intensity of the florescent lights above him. Once his eyes adjusted to the brightness, he suddenly realized that he wasn't in the same jail cell that he had first woken up in. The metal bars had been replaced with solid concrete painted in a bright white, which was blinding to look at due to the lighting in the room. Upon seeing the toilet/sink, the metal cot bolted to the wall, and the single door with an outside view cover, it became apparent to the young father exactly where he was.
'Shit! I'm in solitary confinement!' He immediately bounded for the door, and banged on it as hard as he could. "Hey! HEY! Someone let me out of here! You can't just leave me locked in here without justifiable cause!"
Suddenly, the metal flap slid away to reveal a pair of extremely annoyed eyes. "Stop making so much racket already. I've already got enough trouble makers to watch over without having to worry about someone like you."
Naruto's eyes narrowed at police officer's words. "Someone like me, eh? I take it that you're one those types of cops."
The officer scoffed at the veiled accusation. "Don't start that shit with me. I could care less whether you're from Kyoto or San Diego. What I do have a problem with is you attacking and seriously injuring my men. And on top of that, you just had to go and assault a representative of the NSWF."
Naruto scowled at the mention of that meddling woman, whose name he never bothered to remember. "Oh, come on, that pretentious twat started it. And besides, don't try to act as if you've never had the urge to throttle that woman for ordering you about like you're her personal soldiers."
The officer didn't rise to the bait like he had hoped. "Despite your opinion of the matter, that doesn't change the fact that you've been charged with assault on two separate occasions, and considering your track record with law enforcement in the past, I'd get comfortable if I were you."
"Now hold on a second, those incidents were not my fault! I've got it on record that those pigs instigated each and every one of those confrontations!" Old memories began to resurface for Naruto, as he recalled those racist cops that roughed had him up, so sure that would get away with their actions because they were the law, and he was just some gaijin that didn't belong.
"That remains to be seen." the policeman answered. "So until I've gotten all the information I need, you might as well make yourself comfortable. Maybe some time in this cell will calm you down." And with that, the small metal cover was slid back into place, and the officer walked away.
"Hey! Hey, come back here!" exclaimed Naruto, as he banged against the door, trying in vain to get the man to come back. "What about my one phone call? Don't I at least get that right? Come on, I need to talk to my wife! Hey, aren't you listening to me?! HEY!" It was no use, the policeman was already gone, leaving the blonde all alone in extremely small cell, with nothing but the hum of the florescent lighting, and the wails from the other occupied isolation cells to keep him company. Now alone, there was nothing to stop the utter despair that he had been barely keeping at bay from settling back in. His back listlessly slammed against the door, and allowed gravity to slowly pull him down to the ground. Everything was going so wrong so fast, and it looked as if there was nothing that he could do about it.
'Masane...Rihoko...I'm sorry, I couldn't keep us together.'
"Wha?" the brunette moaned, as she tried to wake up. Her neck was stiff, there was something on her forehead, and she felt bruised and battered all over. 'What the hell happened to me? And why did I just hear Naruto's voice inside of my head? It sound as if he were ca-'
It all came back to her like a flash of lightning: their arrival to New Tokyo, that Child Welfare bitch somehow finding them at the restaurant, her husband starting a fight with the cops so that she and Rihoko could try and escape. Rihoko! She had signed custody of her over to that manipulative bitch, Saku-something! And she tried to get her back by hijacking a police cruiser of all things!
Masane bolted upright, no longer drowsy, but instantly regretted acting so quickly as a fresh wave of pain seemed to flow all throughout her body, her forehead feeling especially tender. Instinctively, her hand reached to feel the afflicted area, where her fingers touched something that was thick and made of cotton. Out of curiosity, she gently pressed down on the bandage, only to wince as a sharp throb of pain raced from that spot. It was most likely where she had hit her head against the car's steering wheel.
"Well, it seems you're finally awake." said voice behind her, making Masane flinch from the sudden noise.
Slowly, but surely, Masane turned to see a police officer that was standing outside of the jail cell, and he did not look amused at all. "You do realize that you're in a lot of trouble don't you?" the man asked.
When Masane didn't answer, the officer took it as a prompt to continue. "Considering that you've stolen a police cruiser and totaled it, not mention nearly caused a horrendous traffic collision that could have killed several people, you might be spending a long time behind bars. You'd better have one hell of a lawyer to get yourself out of this big hole you've dug yourself into." The man turned to leave the holding cells without another word, leaving Masane alone to stew in her sorrow, silent tears streaming down her cheeks and landing on her hands.
'Riko...Naruto...I'm sorry. I'm so sorry that I broke our family apart.'
Night fell in New Tokyo without any more outrageous accidents, but for Amaha-Uzumaki family, it felt like hell. The trio had traveled to the city to start over, to turn over a new leaf, but their past seemed to be determined to break them apart. The child of the family, on the other hand, wasn't willing to accept defeat. When the social worker mentioned that her parents were both alright, but in separate detention centers, she knew what she had to do. Whether she was influenced by her mother's stubbornness or her father's sense of pride, she just could not allow things to end so easily. By playing on her young age and innocent-like nature, she was able to give Ms. Sakurai the slip by pretending that she had to use the bathroom. The woman, who was conscientious of the turbulent emotions that the child was enduring because of her predicament, tried to be as genial and comforting as she could. She had no idea what little Riko was planning to do.
Whilst no one was looking, she slipped through one of the windows by the bathroom stall she was hiding in, grateful that there was a sizable ledge underneath. Unfortunately, the distance between her and the ground was too large, but there was a tree just close enough for her to use. So with a deep breath, she leapt off the ledge and grasped the tree, screaming as she slid down. Suddenly she felt herself collide against another body. It was an unshaven man that looked a year younger than her father. He had a camera with him, which he immediately examined to see if it was damaged, claiming that it was his life. It was at that time that Ms. Sakurai stuck her head out of the window she had escaped from, and started calling out to her. Seeing that her clean escape was ruined, she quickly seized the opportunity that was before her, and begged the man to help her. He was reluctant at first, not wanting to look like he was a kidnapper, but quickly changed his mind when he heard an armed guard coming their way. After a quick sprint to the man's the car, they immediately sped off. As she watched the road whiz past them, she couldn't help but wonder if her parents were okay.
Masane was laying on the ground, her arms wrapped around her legs, and her head resting against her knees. So consumed in her self-pity and anguish that she almost didn't notice the brief red flash from the scar on her right wrist, but she couldn't help but acknowledge the small twinge of pain that shot through the spot. But upon further inspection, the flash didn't appear again. Suddenly there was a loud banging noise coming from another cell that was on the other side of the holding area. Some inmate was wildly bashing himself against the bars.
"I can smell it in the night. This wonderful...Mmm, the flesh..." the crazed man said as a small blue glow began to shine through the upper part of his left shirt sleeve. Then, without warning, the glow intensified to the point that it seemed to rip the insane man's sleeve off, revealing a black bracelet with a blue jewel in its center bound around the man's left bicep. Now free of its fabric confinement, the jewel's glowing practically exploded, engulfing the figure in unnatural wind and mist as an unnatural transformation occurred.
Simultaneously, the scar on Masane's wrist began to glow once again, only this time it was accompanied by an intense pain. At first, it was mildly irritating to the young woman, but it quickly worsened with each passing second. Soon, it became unbearable; she clutched at her old wound, hoping that she could somehow ease the pain by applying pressure, but it was all for naught. Without warning the pain's intensity skyrocketed. She wailed in agony as she thrashed around on the floor, her wrist feeling as if it had been submerged in molten steel. She could just barely understand the officer on guard duty calling for back-up, when something bulldozed its way through the metal door that divided the room into two different holding areas. The cop's attention quickly refocused on the invader, his expression that of horror, before a large metallic, black blur shot forward and slammed him against the wall. Masane couldn't hear anything that intruder or the cop were saying, but she did hear the man's terrified screams and the gunshots, followed by the sounds of something metallic ramming against flesh with a sickening splatter and heavy concrete crumbling into dust.
Dead silence briefly settled around the area, until it was broken by the whirring noise of a motor, and the clanking of machinery, which was getting closer and closer to her cell. The odd machine stopped right in front of her door for a brief second, before the entire door was blown to pieces. From her position on the floor, she finally saw what was causing all the commotion, but she soon wish she hadn't. There, standing in front of her, had to be the most terrifying piece of machinery she had ever seen. It stood on a wheeled tripod base, with two small cylinders near the rear that looked as if they were locking mechanisms. The body was that of a support pole that was about as twice as wide as her arm, and yet strangely had a small piston sticking out. On top of the support beam was some kind of large air-pressurized bolt cannon, with a strange sensory unit on top of it. But what really drew her attention in was the tri-pronged claw that was on the end of the piston, its ends dripping with freshly-spilled blood.
"So you're the one I've been sensing. What a delicious aroma!" the horrific machine said, as it retracted its clawed bolt in a chorus of heavy clanking parts. The woman stared in silent horror as the claw spun counter-clockwise, inching closer and closer to the launching mechanism. "It will feel so wonderful to rip you apart! All you have to do is stay still for me!" Masane couldn't move, despite the fact that every fiber of her being was screaming at her to get away from the abomination. As the bolt was finally reloaded the small piston began to pump at a rapid pace
"Here we go!" laughed the demented, talking torture device. "Oh, how I love the sound of crushing bone, the smell of blood, the taste of soft flesh!"
But before the machine could attack, two more police officers arrived with their firearms drawn, ordering it to freeze. In retaliation the bolt cannon turned 180 degrees to face the men, before it launched its weapon at them, completely decimating the humans. Seeing two grown men get butchered by that monstrosity was enough to get Masane moving again, however with the damned thing blocking her only exit, the only direction she could move was backwards. Seeing her trembling form inch away, the machine crawled forward, once again retracting its bolt.
"We can't have them interrupting, can we? It's just you and me now, my darling prey!" The pistons on its wheeled base slammed into the ground, fixing it in place. Knowing that she was going to be the demonic automaton's next victim, her thoughts immediately went to her husband and daughter, and how she would never get to see them again; how she never even got the chance to say goodbye. Suddenly, something snapped within her.
"I can't wait for the pain! The sound of ripping tissue! The taste of soft marrow!" Before the machine could even think about attacking, a thin, red, razor sharp tentacle sprung out from the woman's wrist and sliced a portion of its base off like a knife through hot butter. Surprised by the sudden action, the sentient killing machine howled as if it were in pain.
But Masane, on the other hand, was hunched over and clutching her right wrist, the red tentacle sticking out between her fingers and thrashing around like mad. Suddenly, the tentacle withdrew back into her arm, vanishing into the small scar. Moments later, the pain returned a hundredfold, with the point of origin being the woman's scarred wrist.
She could barely keep herself from blacking out from the pain, her eyes clenched shut in a futile attempt to lessen the agony, but things quickly worsened when a ruby red orb emerged from her skin without warning. She began to sense something...dark within her mind. It was difficult to describe; it was like some sort of presence, not like a voice but a collection of compulsions, something that seemed familiar and yet completely foreign. Whatever it was, Masane could feel it trying to imprint upon her, to make her do things that both horrified and aroused her. It was as if there were thousands upon thousands of different urges firing through her head all at once, making her feel as if her brain was going to explode at any minute. And the worst part was that all of these urges sounded exactly like her! She tried to drown out the...entity's voices, tried to focus on thinking about Rihoko, Naruto, or even that blasted machine, anything that could stop the pounding in her head. But the moment her thoughts landed on her husband and the death machine, the entity's distorted voices grew louder, their demands practically being shouted into her ears.
"No..." Masane tried to resist the intrusive entity's seductive whisper to let it fight the monster in front of her. It said that it could save her...them...from that bloodthirsty freak easily; how it could help her find both Rihoko and Naruto. So distracted with her internal struggle that she didn't notice the appearance of two purple lines that stretched from the bottom of her jawline to just underneath her eyes, nor that her brown hair was slowly changing to blood red.
"No!" The legion of voices would not be so easily deterred. It angrily reminded the woman that if she didn't accept their help, they would all die. And if necessary, they would force her to accept their help, at which the voices began to get louder and louder, drowning out Masane's conscience. The orb on her wrist shone even brighter than before, as clouds of mist and sparks of red light began to emanate from the jewel. Her eyes snapped open, revealing how the organs had taken on a more arcane quality; gone were her brown corneas, and in their place were bright yellow orbs. The normally white sclera had darkened to an obsidian black, making the sensory organs look as if they were small twin moons in a night's sky. And it was the sight of those eyes that signified the deity's dominance of its host's body, triggered by one last brilliant flash of vermillion.
"NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" In a whirlwind of mist and red light, a black liquid metallic substance erupted from the jewel, traveling down her arm to the rest of her body, her clothes being reduced to dust as the alien material made contact with the cloth. When the small maelstrom finally died down, there stood a new and completely transformed Masane Amaha-Uzumaki. The armor that just barely covered her otherwise naked body was a...hodgepodge of gray and silver metal, with streaks of red and maroon spread throughout. She had gray high-heeled boots that reached up to her knees with a bladed edge in front of her shins, curved blades pointing upwards where her toes would be, and bladed heels. Her entire right arm was encased in the metal, with a curved blade jutting outward from underneath her forearm, the red jewel still embedded on her wrist, and had small silver blades embedded over her fingers and thumb. Her voluptuous breasts were just barely contained by small bits of the armor in the shape of ghastly ghoul hands, and her womanhood and intergluteal cleft were narrowly covered by a small little patch that had a small silver point placed provocatively on the piece. Those were the only areas that the durable yet light armor actually covered, revealing a gratuitous amount of skin, including her inner thighs, navel area, and her buttocks. Additionally, the armor seemed to be more concentrated on the right side of her body; her left femur and arm were completely bare, save for a small "glove" that ended slightly above the wrist. Finishing off her intimidating yet sexy appearance was her dark red hair, which had grown into a wild and spiky mane that reached the small of her back.
But if Masane was bothered at the sudden change in her appearance, she didn't seem to care. No, her glowing gaze was focused on the wretched instrument of death that tried to kill her. She said nothing, her visage expressing bored indifference, as she made a "come hither" motion with one of her bladed fingers.
The machine seemed to be more excited than ever. "You're an NSWF! No wonder you smell so nice!" it exclaimed. The new Masane didn't respond, as she slowly stepped towards her enemy. Suddenly, several strands of her hair extended, the ends sharpening to barbed points, before they shot forward and pierced through the mobile cannon, violently shoving it against the bars of the cell directly behind it. As Masane walked out of her former cell, her hair tendrils retracted, allowing the bolt cannon to land roughly on the ground.
"You're the best I've ever had! I can't wait to tear into you, and finish you in one blow!" screamed the cannon, its piston pumping wildly, and its bolt primed for firing. And yet again, Masane remained nonpulsed. The gem on her wrist flashed briefly, and as if responding to it, the blade extended downwards, the small blade now the length of a medium sized sword.
"Sorry, I've already got someone who does it for me," Her voice was like a whisper. Then, in a flash of speed, her arm shot up, the sound of a blade slicing through metal ringing through the air. "...and you're not him." she finished, as the blade retracted, and regained its original form. And with that, she turned away from her enemy, and made her way towards the hole in the wall.
"HEY, WHERE DO YOU THINK Y-" the machine was consumed in a violent, fiery explosion, cutting off its rant in mid-sentence. Just as she was about to step outside the jail, Masane noticed that there was a silvery liquid splattered on her right arm. Out of an errant impulse, she licked the substance off of her thumb, realizing that it tasted like blood. Hearing a shout from her left snapped her out of her reverie, and she broke out into a mad dash away from the approaching stranger. Little did she know was that she had been spotted by two men: a photographer who coincidentally had her daughter, and a man who had recorded her as well as struck her with a homing tranquilizer dart.
With Naruto – (takes place the same time Masane's "encounter" occurs)
Naruto awoke from his slumber with a start, a sharp stinging pain jolting in his wrist. Looking at his right arm, he was surprised to see no sign of injury, save for the scar that was from that strange injury he and Masane had when they were first found.
'That's strange,' he thought, 'I could've sworn something was wrong. Am I finally going crazy from being in this room?'
Naruto's eyes snapped wide open, his pupils darting all around the room in search of anything that didn't belong in his cell, like a microphone, or a speaker. To his displeasure, it was just an ordinary solitary confinement cell, with the only electronic device being the security camera mounted in a corner of the ceiling. But that voice, there was no doubt about. It sounded exactly like...
"Masane!" Naruto leapt to his feet, frantically looking for whatever was making him hear his wife's voice, her panicked tone making his already frazzled nerves even worse. Was she alright? Were the cops up to something? Questions like these flooded his mind, as he paced around the room like a caged animal.
'Fuck! FUCK! I've got to get out of here! Masane's in danger, and I'm stuck in some jail Kami knows where!' Naruto internally raged. 'I have got to escape! I've got to find her! Fucking damn this cell!'
Suddenly, he heard something crash through a wall, making the lights in his cell flicker off. The faint yells from policemen, both fearful and controlled, could be heard through his door. Gunshots quickly followed soon after.
'SHIT! Now there's a prison break? How can things possibly get any worse?!' It was a rhetorical question, but he received an answer nonetheless.
Another jolt of pain from his wrist broke him from his thoughts, powerful enough for the blonde to take a second look at it, and notice the orange-yellow glow emitting from his scar. Finally, as if noticing the abnormality was some sort of cue, the pain intensified to the degree that it actually brought Naruto to his knees, his eyes gleaming with unshed tears. To his horror, he was treated to the sight of an amber jewel breaking through his skin and settling onto his wrist. But it wasn't just the jewel's appearance that freaked him out, it was the black liquid that began to flow out of it. The process was slow going, but when the substance covered his entire lower right arm...
"At long last, my time has finally come!"
...all hell broke loose.
(cue for music* begins)
The moment Naruto heard that loud guttural voice in his mind, he felt a sudden burning sensation in his chest. Instinctively, he placed his left hand on the affected area, but had to quickly remove it as it felt as if he had touched molten lava. When he looked to see if his hand had the injuries to match the burning sensation, he was meet with the sight of his hand engulfed in a red miasma, the same miasma that belonged to that demonic bestial face from his nightmares. On top of that, his fingernails had somehow sharpened, now resembling claws of a demon.
"It has taken me six long years, but I've finally found a way out of this cage! I cannot wait to be free of this filthy human!" the voice growled with joy within Naruto's mind, as the crimson energy began to travel up the length of his arm, heading directly towards his head. The black liquid, as if sensing the impending danger should the red energy reach its target, sped up its pace and reached the right side of his head the same moment the red energy got to the left side. The effect was instantaneous: the hair on the right side of his face faded to black and his eye changed to a yellow cornea against black sclera pattern, whereas the left side's hair simply became more haggard and the eye turned bloodshot with the cornea becoming blood red with a slitted pupil. The only thing the two sides had in common were the scar-like whisker marks that adorned Naruto's cheeks.
"WHAT?! You dare to take what is rightfully mine?!" The snarled threat was more concentrated on his left ear, as murderous and violent thoughts began to surface. But to his surprise, he felt a presence in his right side actually confront the voice. It didn't say anything, but Naruto could practically feel its contempt for the secondary invader. The entire inner conflict set his head ablaze with excruciating pain, it felt as if his brain was going to explode. His eyes clenched shut, as he tried to remain conscious. So distracted by his torment, that he was completely unaware of the sounds of carnage that were getting closer and closer to his position.
"NO! I was trapped in this damned fleshling long before you arrived, and I will be damned to the lowest depths of the netherworld if I let you gain control!" His left arm lashed out at his right, his claws raking through the black substance, trying to break its hold on the man's right half. But try as it might, the liquid metal would always reform itself. And whilst the red miasma was focused on breaking its opponents grip, it failed to notice a trail of black liquid slowly creeping behind Naruto's neck, until it finally reached the other side, and began to push the energy away from its half of the blonde's head.
"No! NO! NO, I WILL NOT SUBMIT TO YOU!" The voice's tone was becoming more enraged, borderline desperate. Naruto's entire left side began to thrash wildly, growling and snarling as if it was a cornered wild animal that refused to go down without a fight. But the black liquid persisted, reclaiming Naruto's left arm inch by inch regardless of how strongly the miasma fought back; it had already lost its foothold.
"YOU HAVEN'T HEARD THE LAST OF ME!" was the last thing the energy said before it was finally snuffed out. Now, with nothing left to hinder it, the liquid was allowed full reign on his body, its presence able to fully imprint its influence on its newest host. Immediately, Naruto's head was the first to be fully transformed. His wild and raggedy hair darkened until it was as dark as a midnight sky, with small streaks of his natural hair color still present at the ends. His eyes snapped open to reveal a startling sight: they had the combined appearance of his two previous forms. The sclera were still black, but instead of being yellow, his corneas were a deep red with a slitted pupil. Naruto snarled as he felt the presence's "voice" become louder in his mind, and the jewel's latent energies build up within his body. With a mighty roar, a whirlwind of ash gray mist and yellow-orange light exploded, with himself at the epicenter.
(cue for music* ends)
Suddenly, the steel door was bashed into his cell, the culprit being a mobile bolt cannon armed with a jagged harpoon. When the mist finally parted, the sentient machine saw its target. Standing in front of it wasn't the human that had been originally placed there. Instead of his normal clothes, he was completely covered in pitch black armor that looked as if it had been poured over his body when it had been super-heated into liquid. Only his head, pecs, and abs were visible. Centered on his wrist was the orange-yellow orb, surrounded by a circular structure with horizontal gaps at the center; it looked like that strange monster catching ball from one of Riko's favorite cartoons. On his knuckles were pointed uprisings, similar to the ones found on a crown. And there, sticking out from the end of the circular structure, was a double-edged blade, similar to a medieval European sword. As he fixed his crimson gaze upon the sentient machine, the ghastly thing seemed to shudder in exhilaration.
"You!" the machine seemed to be in barely-restrained ecstasy. Naruto could practically sense the bloodlust from the metal menace. "It was you that I've been sensing! So much like those NSWF's, but different...coarse...unrefined! It's an entirely new experience, one that is MINE and mine alone! I can't wait to splatter your blood, to crush your-" Its ranting was interrupted by a strong right cross across its cannon, the force behind the blow sending it flying back out of the cell and into the adjacent wall. Before it even touched the ground, a hard wheel kick sent it tumbling down the hall. Now that Naruto was finally free, he was able to see the fruits of the monstrosity's labor. Blood was splattered everywhere, with eviscerated body parts scattered about. He could make just a few arms and legs that were still somewhat intact, but it was the heads, and their horror-stricken expressions, that made Naruto's blood boil.
"Aw, what's the matter, feeling left out that I didn't include you in the making of my masterpiece? Well don't worry, I can easily add your blood with others!" A pair of legs unfolded from the machine's base, and pushed it upright. Its internal mechanisms started turning, as it prepared to deploy its weapon. Naruto remained calm and silent, his glare unmoving. The jewel on his wrist flashed briefly, before the blade extended, growling longer and longer, until a cross-shaped guard, hilt and pommel emerged. The cross guard had clover leaf symbols at the end, and had an orange-yellow tear shaped jewel embedded in its center. The moment his hand grasped the hilt of the newly created sword, black tentacles shot out of the hilt's grip and fused it to his wrist. Naruto gave the weapon a few test swings, and changed hold of it from hand to hand, until it was back to his right hand once again. He idly noticed that the tentacles always separated and reattached themselves to the wrist of whichever hand was grasping it. The arrival of his new weapon seemed to excite the harpoon gun even more.
"Oh yeah, now we're talking! I love it when my prey tries to fight back! But it'll all be for naught, I'll still kill you, and bathe in your bl-" It all happened so fast. One moment, Naruto was standing in front of the talking cannon with his sword held idly at his side, the next he disappeared in burst of speed along with a flash of silvery steel, and stopped a few feet behind it. His sword was pointed upward, and silvery liquid was dripping off the blade.
"Utterly pathetic. You're not worth the effort." said Naruto, his baritone voice cold as winter. He brought the sword up to inspect the liquid that was on his blade, which smelled an awful lot like blood. Frowning in disgust, he ran his left hand along the sword's flat edge, and wiped the silvery blood of the metal's polished surface with a flick of his wrists. Completely losing interest in his opponent, he made his way towards the end of the corridor, where the possessions of the prisoners were kept. The machine, having heard Naruto's comment, didn't take the dismissal well.
"HOW DARE YOU! COME BACK HERE AND FI-" In mid-shout, the machine exploded, spewing shrapnel and fire everywhere, but Naruto didn't even flinch. Approaching the locker, specifically the one that had the same number as his cell, he punched through the door and ripped it off its hinges. Once he had his belongings back he was about to make his way out of the station, when he heard the sound of policemen hustling and shouting coming closer and closer to his position. That wouldn't do at all, he just wanted to escape, not have to fight through an entire platoon of men just doing their jobs. Then, something flashed through his mind, like some sort of idea or compulsion. Looking down at the sword, he thought back to when it was in its previous form, and was surprised to see the weapon retract and become reabsorbed into the armor on his right arm, as if it were responding to his own thoughts. That's when he noticed that the gem on his wrist began to glow even brighter than before, and could feel the pressure of something building up. Acting on instinct, he clenched his fist, and pointed his arm at the jail's wall. The moment he wished that he could just break through that blasted obstacle, a powerful amber-colored beam shot out of the jewel and collided against the wall with a massive bang, throwing up massive amounts of dust and debris everywhere. When the smokescreen settled, Naruto was shocked to see that the attack had blown a large hole in the wall, allowing him see the night sky and the rest of New Tokyo outside. Knowing what was rushing towards him, Naruto quickly made his escape.
Back at Masane's jail, seconds after her escape
He counted himself quite lucky to easily find the source of the energy signature that their sensors had picked up. He had just managed to get into an adequate position to record footage of the source making her way out towards freedom. There had been that amateur photographer who had gotten there before him, but using a flashlight, and imitating a police officer was enough to scare him away. His voice had also spooked his target away as well, but luckily he had managed to tag her with a tranquilizer dart equipped with a small GPS locator. Now alone, he fished out his cell phone, and selected a number that he had programmed on speed dial.
"Hey, it's me." began the bespectacled, business suit wearing man. "I'm sending you the video footage right now."
"So do you think she has what we're looking for?"
"I'm still at the scene right now. The target fled a while ago, but I managed to tag her with a tracer. We'll be able to find her once the drug takes effect."
"It will be done, sir." The man hung up, his gaze focusing on the destruction before him. He had a lot of work ahead of him: calling in a clean-up crew to gather the remains of the destroyed Ex-con, coroners to pick up the remains of the poor souls that had been slaughtered by said Ex-con, seize all CCTV footage of the battle that had occurred, have a believable cover story made for the public, and either have the officers sworn to secrecy or silenced about what they'd witnessed. To any man, this would've seemed like an impossible task. But for Hiroki Segawa, it was just another average day's work in Doji Group Industries. But there was one fact that Segawa had failed to mention to his boss, Reiji Takayama, when they were first pinpointing the location of the Witchblade. For a brief moment, their sensors had picked two energy readings that both registered as the relic they were looking for, in two different locations. But just as soon as it appeared, one of the signals disappeared off the map completely. Figuring that their instruments were overloaded by the energy released when the Witchblade revealed itself, he just wrote off the secondary signal as a result of a technical glitch. Yet for some reason, he couldn't stop thinking about that secondary signal.
'Riko...Naruto...' These were the thoughts that continued to run through Masane's mind. After she had defeated that machine monster, and made her escape, she felt...unstoppable. It was as if every single cell in her body was supercharged! She felt faster, stronger, like nothing was impossible for her. All of her desires, both the ones she shared openly and the ones hidden in the darkest recesses of her mind, were now obtainable to her. Now nothing could break her family apart! And then it hit her: she had no idea where her husband or daughter were. That's when she began to feel her strength leave her. It made no sense, she'd been bounding from rooftop to rooftop mere seconds ago, now she having trouble just standing upright!
Knowing that she wasn't long for the world of consciousness, Masane dropped down to the ground level, and dragged herself into a dark, deserted alley. She made it halfway inside before she finally tripped over her own feet. She tried to use an old wooden crate to push herself back up, but she was just too weak.
"Riko...Naruto...please hang on...I'm coming...to find...you both...my...family..." With the last of her strength depleted, she collapsed onto the hard ground. In a flash of red light, her revealing armor disintegrated, revealing the same clothes she'd been wearing at the beginning of the day. But she had two additional things on her person that she didn't have since setting foot in New Tokyo: a small dart with a flashing red light sticking out of her upper left thigh, and an ornate silver bracelet on her right wrist, now covering up the scar that had originally been there. The jewelry piece was a sleek band of silver that wound around the woman's wrist, with a small structure that resembled a tulip, with the "stem" pointing up her arm. And in the center of this "tulip" was ruby red orb.
Naruto plowed through a group of trashcans as he blindly staggered down the decrepit ghetto street. He hadn't any idea on where he was going, as his only concern at the time was to get as far away from the police station as possible. But now that he was far away from where he had first transformed, and the adrenaline had finally faded away, the stress of the day's events was beginning to catch up with him. Knowing that he couldn't continue any further, Naruto turned down an alleyway that led to a dead end. He made his way towards the very end, his hold on his transformation breaking along the way, the armor disappearing in a flash of amber light. Now in his normal attire, he collapsed against the brick wall, clutching his backpack like a life preserver, his exhaustion too strong to resist.
'Hang on a little longer...Riko...Masane...just hang on a little longer. I'll find you both in the morning, and we'll be...together again,...I promise.' were his last thoughts, before his heavy eyelids closed, and he fell fast asleep. So strong was his exhaustion, that he failed to notice what was on his own right wrist. Unlike Masane's new bracelet, it was made of a bronze-colored metal, that almost looked like rust. Four small ridges, each getting thinner as they reached towards his arm, gave off the illusion of a crown usually found with medieval kings. And in its center was the same orange-yellow jewel he had seen on his armor and weapon.
No one could predict the chaos that was about follow with the arrival of the two ancient weapons.
To Be Continued...
Special thanks to Vandenbz, my beta reader.
This was actually a lot harder to write than I first thought. No matter what, I just couldn't get the scene down right. That, and describing Masane's Witchblade form is tough as hell. Here's a link to a picture of Witchblade Masane and Excalibur Naruto standing side by side: toanaruto. Deviantart art/Masters -of -the -Blades -336472695, just get rid of the spaces.
*During Naruto's transformation sequence, I thought that some appropriate background music would make the scene a lot better. My reason behind this: figured that since Naruto was bonding to a portion of a woman-exclusive weapon, and a certain fox saw said bonding as a means to escape, the transformation wasn't as fluid as Masane's. Here's a link to the music: www. Youtube watch? v=2xgUr74VvvI. Just be sure to get rid of the extra spaces.
Before anyone recognizes the elephant standing in the room, yes, I am aware of how long it has taken me to update this story. But the thing is, my life hasn't been going too well for me as of late. Loads of personal problems occurring one after another, and accidentally losing all of my files, has caused severe writer's block for me, as well as loss of inspiration, to the point I was almost ready to just give everything up. So fair warning to everyone, if you're expecting me to push an update every few weeks , then you're going to be disappointed. For those who have stuck with me, I greatly appreciate it, for those who haven't I hold no hard feelings.
Please read and review, tell what you did and didn't like!
P.S., HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!