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 The Lead (Solo Task)

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Natsuko Nonomura

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PostSubject: The Lead (Solo Task)   Wed Sep 28, 2016 6:45 pm

"So why exactly did we come all the way to some desert, Tak?" The voice of Amaya came to Takuji's ear from beside him on his right side as they disembarked from the small merchant vessel that had been bound from a small coastal area to the place that, as the man who had taken them aboard had called it, was known as 'Drought Island'. The woman smiled softly, her expression showing that she was more curious as to the reason more than anything, though if Amaya were to be completely honest she was not too fond of coming to a place which apparently was some sort of war zone between two nations contesting over land and politics - all that kind of thing never really interested her and more often than not just seemed to be a way to get in a lot of trouble by wandering in to.

The young black-haired Paladin gave a small smile of his own in response, adjusting his swords idly upon his back as he spoke up to his companion:

"We're here on a mission, Aya - We're gonna find the pirate who can meld Souls." He said with a confident expression and tone, causing Amaya as well as his other companion to give him gazes that were equal part confusion and disbelief at the notion. Takuji's other companion, a young girl by the name of Abigail who hardly looked old enough to be out on her own after dark let alone go on an adventure spanning the South Blue with a Paladin and a treasure hunter of sorts in search of a pirate who supposedly had the ability to harness the power of Souls - She seemed the most believing of this statement that Takuji had made and gave a little gasp while covering her mouth as if shocked to the core by the very concept that the Paladin was presenting to her.

"W-Why are we going after someone so scary?" Abigail asked, her eyes wide and a slight shivering of her body showing she was not too keen on the idea as a whole. Takuji gave the young girl a smile and brought a gloved hand to her shoulder while speaking to her in a quiet tone of voice that was meant to soothe her fearful state. "He won't hurt you or any of us, I promise - He's going to help bring happiness to everyone back home, we just have to find him." He said in a gentle manner, the young girl's expression slowly dissolving into a more resolved one as she gave a little nod to show that she understood the reason why they were going to search for the man and that it was going to be for the good of everyone back home, not just themselves.

Takuji nodded in return, removing his hand from the girl's shoulder as he took a look out at the vast desert before them past the small port village that they had landed in. "I really don't know why - But I was hoping that Drought Island was just a name they gave this place.." The black-haired young man said, sighing deeply as his arms fell to his side in a dejected manner.

"And that's why you're not in charge of packing supplies." Amaya quipped with a little grin, offering a canteen of water to both Abigail and Takuji whom quickly accepted and took large drinks to quench their thirst and hydrate themselves for the upcoming trek that they may have to make. "Thanks, Aya, you're a life-safer.." Takuji noted with a cheerful expression as the black-haired Relic Hunter gave a small laugh. "That's why you bring me along." She replied, before the trio then made their way into the small village and began to ask around for anyone who had information regarding the 'Soul Smith' as some locals called him.

After a few hours of asking those within the village who they came across, the trio's search would point them in the direction of a small building which they were told held a small marine contingent within that had caught wind of the mysterious soul-manipulating man or at least had heard the same rumors that others had and may have a better idea of where to search for him.

Apprehensive, at first, Takuji eventually reasoned with himself that they Marines here may not even know who he was or that he was considered a Pirate and even a Supernova due to his actions in searching for this so-called manipulator or smith of Souls:

"I mean - A place like this probably doesn't get news for a while, maybe they haven't seen my wanted poster yet?" Takuji asked aloud towards his companions, Amaya giving a small shrug and Abigail a little nod that seemed to show her belief in what the young man had said. "Well, no time like the present.. - Abi, Aya, You two wait out here just in case things get hairy, okay?" Takuji then said, cracking open the door slowly to reveal an office wherein four Marines sat discussing some sort of plans with one another before turning their attention to the intruder on their little meeting.

"What're ya doin' here, Kid?" One of the Marines, a middle-aged man with a small graying mustache and balding hair covered by a cap asked, his gaze steely and cold. Takuji rubbed the back of his head, fingers weaving through his short locks of black hair as he gave a slightly nervous chuckle before speaking up as innocently as he could in response. "I'm sorry to interrupt - I just heard from the locals around here that you might know where someone I'm looking for is." He said with a slight anxious smile as he entered the office area fully and gave it a look over quickly.

"Nice place - Especially for the middle of a desert.." He commented, trying to sound friendly as he did so before the Marine from before rose a hand and cut him off from speaking any further. "Get to the point, Kid, who're ya looking for around here and why the hell would we know where he is?" The middle-aged man asked, causing Takuji to give a small gulp before he revealed who it was that he was searching for. "I'm looking for a man known as the Soul Smith, or that's what people call him around here, he has the ability to manipulate human souls and I need to find him." The young paladin said with conviction, causing the other man to laugh in response uproariously.

"Even if we knew where he was, why would we tell you?" The man asked, as another one of the Marines - a slightly younger but definitely more agitated looking man - would turn his gaze in Takuji's direction and immediately his eyes would widen. "That kid's a Pirate! I saw his poster back at another Base before I came here - He nearly killed one of the Vice Admirals!" The man said, jumping to his feet and immediately brandishing his sword as the middle-aged man cautiously did the same.

"Hey, Hey.. Let's not fight, I'm just looking for--" Takuji began to say, but was interrupted by the ringing of a shot from a third man's gun towards his direction and then the fourth's, both just barely missing him due to his ability to move just enough to evade them due to their relatively shoddy accuracy and the fact that Takuji was quite quick when it came down to it.

"Okay, I guess I don't have a choice, then.." The young Paladin said further before he then drew his dual blades and allowed the men to come at him, the middle-aged and young second man both coming first and using their swords to swing at him as, due to his speed comparatively speaking to the Marines who were attacking him, he was able to bring his Adjudicator up and use it's serrated side to catch one blade and instead of simply tossing it away would push the man backwards with a powerful motion before then using both blades to slash the younger man powerfully across the chest and dropping him to the floor rather easily in a fluid motion.

A silence seemed to fill the room momentarily after the man had dropped to the floor, his blood pooling below him as Takuji seemed surprised at himself for a brief moment until he gave a small shake of his head and rushed the third and fourth Marines and used the hilt of one blade to strike one upon the head and knocking him down as well, grabbing the fourth man and placing a blade to his neck while holding him as if he were a shield.

"Just tell me where he is, and I'll leave.." Takuji said with a slight growl in his tone, annoyed that it had to come to this and partially at himself for possibly seriously wounding the Marine just moments ago even with his own life having been at risk.

The Marine who he had previously knocked away, the middle-aged man, would turn his gaze to his comrade and Takuji and clench his fist, taking a moment of angered silence before he spoke: "You wanna know where he is? I don't know where he is - But I do know he went off where the Bandits usually roam, so if anyone would have seen him crossing the desert it would have been them - Now let him go, you damn Pirate." The man said, Takuji remaining silent as he dropped the man and sheathed his blades, walking out of the Marine Office and motioning for Amaya and Abigail to follow as he quietly walked out of the village with new bloodstains upon his coat.

[To be continued soon]
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Natsuko Nonomura

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Position : -
Berries : 23,500[C]
Posts : 53

Skill Sheet
Skill 1: Red Death Style
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Skill 3:

PostSubject: Re: The Lead (Solo Task)   Sun Oct 02, 2016 12:58 am

They continued mostly in silence through the path out of the village into the desert, the sound of Takuji's sheathed swords lightly moving as he walked and the sound of their crunching footsteps against the sand being the only thing filling the air until finally Amaya would talk in order to break the silence: "Wanna talk about it, Tak?" She asked, a hand resting idly upon her own sword as her gaze moved to the short-haired paladin beside her who frowned and took a deep breath before her responded of his own accord. "It's just those Marines, Aya - They never want to take the peaceful route." He muttered, giving a small shake of his head. "But I have a lead on where the craftsman of souls is - Or at least, who might have an idea." Takuji continued, giving a soft smile as they continued onward into the desert with the sun beaming down upon them. "I have a bad feeling about this.." Amaya added, sighing as Abigail fidgeted meanwhile with her bow in an anxious fashion.

After nearly an hour of walking, the trio had passed the point where you could still see the village they had come from through the sands and it was now concealed behind several large dunes and drifting valleys of sand that seemed to go on endlessly in every direction and a sun which made them deplete their modest supply of water relatively quickly. They could see a small collection of tents in the distance, one which they hoped would be friendly, although Takuji knew that they most likely would not be if what the Marine had said were to be any indication. Not having much else of a choice, however, the trio approached the camp and Takuji called out towards anyone that could hear him, his voice somewhat hoarse due to his thirst from the desert trip as he spoke:

"Has anyone seen a man come through here? A man with the ability to manipulate souls..?" He asked, too tired and thirsty to really mince words when it came to who exactly he was looking for. Soon enough, a group of what seemed to be ten people came from the collection of tents to greet Takuji - though judging by the fact they all had daggers drawn and ready made it clear that they were in no position to answer the young man's question and likely saw him as an easy target whom they could dispose of easily along with his companions and sell whatever he had on him for modest sums of money.

Frowning, Takuji knew that these people were most likely the Bandits that the Marines had mentioned and furthermore that they were not the type to be easily persuaded to give information. On the contrary, he knew that they would most likely kill him and his two companions if given the chance and that in order to both defend them and continue on his quest - He had to take the offensive.

Once again, Takuji drew his swords, the familiar sound of scraping metal against metal ringing out as he brought the blades to bare in-front of himself and without another word he moved forward and struck just as he approached the first Bandit, slashing the leather-armored man in an 'X' formation across the chest and watching him drop the floor slowly before he growled towards the remaining Bandits:

"Don't do this.." He warned them as Abigail seemed in shock from the bandit being hurt and had her eyes quickly covered by Amaya who ushered her away from the soon to be scene of battle. It would seem that his warning fell on deaf ears, however, as the remaining Bandits rushed Takuji and forced him to take a defensive stance - raising his blades into his 'Crucifix Block' position and allowing the bandits to continue attacking him relentlessly as he hoped to wear them out a bit before retaliating with his own attack.

After a few moments of vicious attacks, Takuji pushed outward with each blade at the same time, shoving a few of the Bandits back before he unleashed a flurry of blows towards those who had been left standing with his blades and wounding them mortally while doing so before then turning his attention to the others and stepping over slowly to one of the downed Bandits and swiftly stabbing a blade downward into the man's chest and another beside him. The young Paladin was not typically the type to kill, as he had demonstrated by not outright slaughtering the Marines he had defeated earlier both on this island and on the previous base he had raided - But of the few things he did not tolerate, those who would hurt innocent people without reason were one such type and Takuji saw these Bandits and those like them as such and would have no mercy when dealing with them.

The few that did not run would be dealt with at this time, the remaining Bandits charging at the black-clad Paladin who would perform his Flurry ability, swords lighting up with a bright cobalt color as he swung them with more speed than even he typically moved with, dropping the last few Bandits as any that he had left standing had long since abandoned the others at this point. He was disappointed, internally, these people were likely the only ones who may have known where the craftsman had gone to and he had killed them before getting a solid answer back - though he would be quick to remind himself that if he did not kill these Bandits here and now then they would have surely gone on to rob, hurt or even kill innocents who happened to wander through these deserts on their own journey and that was something that the Paladin could not simply let happen.

Sighing, Takuji then sheathed his blades and wiped a stain of blood from his face before then going about collecting any sort of rations that the Bandits may have had, be it water or food, for the upcoming journey and then returning to his companions with a weary expression:

"I don't think we're going to find what we want here." He said, quietly, his gaze turning to Abigail whom was now allowed to see and hear again as he offered the young girl a sweet from his pocket that he had gathered from the bandit camp among the other rations. The young girl gingerly accepted the token and gave a warm smile towards Takuji, her gaze bright and innocent as always as she spoke up. "Don't worry, Tak - We'll find Him, and I bet he'll be proud of how far you've come just to see him!" Abigail said with that aura of positiveness that the black-haired man admired her for. Smiling, he would then reach out and give the pink-haired girl's head a little rub with a nod before then turning his attention towards Amaya who seemed to be staring off into the distance.

"What is it?" Takuji asked, a look of concern coming over his face as Amaya pointed off into the distance towards a plum of smoke that seemed to be akin to that of a campfire, blinking before she then turned her attention to Takuji and said softly. "Are you seeing what I'm seeing?" She asked. "A camp - Maybe.." Takuji began, his eyes widening and a smile crossing over his lips now. "Maybe it's Him!" He added excitedly before the sound of a pistol going off rung out and the young Paladin turned around to see of all things a Marine with two rather expensive looking pistols and a large sword upon his back would be seen just a short distance behind him.

"You have got to be kidding me.." Takuji muttered, his smile fading as he drew his swords slowly and would be answered by the Marine holstering his pistol and drawing the large, heavy looking blade of his own and approaching the young Paladin who only just had time to place his swords into the blocking position as the man delivered a heavy blow that was powerful enough to send Takuji skidding backwards a few paces, his feet leaving trails in the sand as he was hit with a second blow and a third all within a surprisingly quick succession that shocked even the Paladin who had usually fought those that just seemed so slow to his own eyes, only managing to keep up with this Marine due to his training and powerful blades providing him the ability to tolerate these powerful slashes.

In response to the young Paladin's trouble, Abigail and Amaya took out their own weapons, the former drawing her bow and preparing a magical arrow as the latter would send out a slash of aura from her own blade that traveled through the air and struck the man who reeled in surprise before being hit by a magical arrow in the chest that - while not gravely injuring him - caused enough panic to create an opening for Takuji who took this chance to leap upwards into the air, swords glowing brightly as he brought it downward at the man in a powerful dual slash of his own that sent the Marine stumbling.

However, the Marine was not yet stopped and somehow managed to withstand even this amount of an onslaught - albeit not with much consciousness appearing left in him. The Marine would quickly answer these attacks by dropping his sword and instead drawing the pistols he began firing off at the trio who dispersed, Takuji moving quickly in-front of the man in order to take the main brunt of his attack with several bullets grazing him and one managing to hit him in the shoulder as he gave out a little grunt of pain before finally being close enough to slash one of the man's hands clean off and quickly knock away the gun from the other and concluding with a blow with the hilt of his sword to the man's head that would knock him unconscious and if he did not bleed out would find himself in the middle of the desert in a couple of hours with a missing hand and hopefully a desire not to chase after Takuji again.

The battle, in it's entirety, did not last too long but due to the fact that Takuji had already fought so many others today and had trekked through the desert with little supplies - it left him drained; Both mentally and physically. After taking a moment to compose himself and use a piece of the shirt beneath his coat to create a tourniquet to slow the bleeding on the Marine, Takuji would then return to his companions and ensure that they were both unharmed by the attack before sheathing his blades and saying quietly to Amaya and Abigail: "Come on, let's go." as the trio made their way, finally, to the distant plum of smoke just over a nearby dune.

Once arriving at the source of the smoke, Takuji immediately dropped to his knees from exhaustion and then onto his side, muttering softly: "Finally..." before he drifted off into a temporary sleep, his companions keeping watch over him as they brought him into the camp and greeted its inhabitant - They had made it, after a day of traveling through the island that had felt as if it were an eternity and countless islands before this one, the trio would finally get to meet the man that was the subject of their intense search throughout the Blues.

The mysterious and until now elusive, Kaijo Okinaga.

(End solo task)
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Character Application|Demon Officer's Katana | Red Death Style (Skill-Set)
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