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Shimamoto "Jiu" Ni Zi

"It is easy to hate and it is difficult to love. This is how the whole scheme of things work."

0 · 213 views · located in sengoku period, japan

a character in “The Ways of Samurai”, as played by blackrider


Shimamoto “Jiu” Ni Zi

“Share a drink?”




Not exactly handsome or ugly Jiu stands at about 5'10” with a solid muscular frame and sharp pointed facial features. His unkempt wild black hair juts out randomly in all directions as if it has never seen a comb (or water) and a rather pathetic looking goatee and mustache sit on his face. Somehow the wispy facial hair actually compliments the sharp corner of his chin.

Usually he wears a plain gray cloth undershirt with a faded red long sleeved gi on top, the way he wears the gi open almost gives it more of a jacket like appearance. He's also usually sporting a pair of rather unique looking hakama that have been cut off at the knee. Like many men he also wears a pair of wooden sandal. Three medium sized hollowed out gourds cling to the right side of his waist tied from a small white sash.

-Alcohol: In Jui's opinion nothing loosens people up and brings them together quite like a hardy jug of spirits. Based on his constantly red cheeks and goofy smile some might even say he likes this wondrous substance a little to much.
-Music/Singing: Having grown up in a brothel of sorts many of Jiu's earliest memories were of the nights his adopted “family” had been lucky enough to have a musician grace their presence. To this day Jiu loves the sound of instruments and many a drunken night he can be found trying his best to play them.
-Confucius: Don't ask, its confusing.
-Food: Jiu will devour food regardless of type, flavor, and style with reckless abandon. Having long lived with the attitude of “Eat what you can when you can.” Jiu honestly thinks that the only thing that really makes a meal taste better (aside from wine of course) is whether or not he's paying for it.
-Friendly sparring: One never knows just what they might pick up sparring with another skilled opponent while at the same time you get the rush and excitement of testing your own abilities. Jiu loves it.
-Japan: He knows almost nothing of his culture but has been completely enamored with his glorious home since he was a child, most of his beliefs and ideas having been formed without ever even laying eyes on his beloved homeland.

-Honor: Jiu's unique upbringing has caused him to form a rather adamant opinion that most honor codes are a little more then a cruel joke and a sure way to a quick death. “Honor has killed more men then the blade ever will.” his old Master often joked.
-Living well: A comfy bed and regular meals are an idea so foreign to Jiu that the mere thought of daily consistency makes him slightly cringe.
-Racism: Being Japanese raised in China one quickly learns of racism first hand. To this day it is one of Jiu's only “pet peeve's”, the subject being one of the few things able to actually anger the man. It is an anger made worse by questions of his own heritage.
-Reading: Only knowing a handful of words in both Chinese and Japanese makes proper reading all but impossible for Jiu in both languages, it is an extremely touchy subject and one Jiu does his best to hide.
-Heartless men: Be they warlords or adept men of the blade, those without mercy and compassion are, in Jiu's words, “lost souls.”
-Cowards: “To know what is right and not act is the worst cowardice.” -Confucius
-No alcohol: Whether to spend his last coin on food or spirits has never been a challenging choice.


Having been raised by whores, thieves, and drunkards it is somewhat amazing how seemingly well Jiu turned out to be. The most common first impression people get when meeting him however is that he is a useless young man already lost to the bottle, the fact however couldn't be further from the truth. In all honesty he normally isn’t even drunk but simply feigns a constant state of inebriation,a skill his old Master had instilled in him through several brutal surprise attacks. He seriously couldn’t recall just how many times he had gone to help his seemingly far to drunken Master only to have his mentor strike out ferociously with his flashy fighting style known as Zui Quan. It wasn't long before Jiu himself was walking along with a constant stumble and sway of his own.

Aside from his Master's world views and training the single most influential teacher in his life would be the revered Confucius. Many of the basic tenets of the philosophy are seen through his day to day actions and it is not unusual for him to spout a Confucius quote in response to a question, a habit that does nothing but reinforce his appearance as a drunk that should not be taken seriously. All teaching and philosophy aside when you get down to it Jiu is at his very core simply a good person, the type of man that somehow despite all the hardships of life still radiates the same pure genuine kindness of a child. In fact the very best way to describe his usual mood would be “merry”, an infectious grin almost always hanging on his face effortlessly as he jokes and bumbles about with anyone willing to share a drink.

It is not uncommon for Jiu to be treated like an idiot-something he does his best to bear with a smile but nonetheless wishes he could change. He is not stupid but merely extremely uneducated, especially when it comes to the vast customs and societal differences of Japan. On more then one occasion a fight has broken out due simply to Jiu's ignorance of the culture.

Other key personality traits that stand out range from his willingness to blindly believe those he trusts to his reluctance to kill and even his dealings with the poor. Having been raised by those far from what anyone would consider fortunate Jiu still holds strong ties to the lower class and is always quick to pass out a spare coin or offer a hand to those in need. He especially has a soft spot for the forgotten children of the streets, he himself still able to remember all to well just how it felt growing up in a society that had already written you off as the lowest of the low.

-Master Liu Qizan: Jiu had been lucky to meet Master Qizan at such a young age: a fact he realizes more and more the older he becomes. Friend, mentor, teacher, and disciplinarian-all these roles Qizan filled after their first meeting. To this day Jiu looks up to Master Qizan as if he were an actual father to the orphaned boy.

-Long Pei: A woman that was the closest thing to a mother Jiu would ever have, although her ideas of child rearing had been far from normal. He couldn’t complain though, after all he did survive childhood which was more then many could say. And besides she taught him things like how a smile usually wins out over a fist and that living an extra day is worth all the dishonor in the world, more importantly though she taught him how to cook.

She was also the one who revealed to Jiu the single greatest truth he would come to know in his childhood: He was, and always had been, a pure blooded samurai warrior. Yes, the blood of true warriors flowed through his veins and merely hearing these words as a small boy filled his frail body with an unfamiliar strength. Despite this startling revelation from Long Pei he was never able to pry any substantial details out of the woman, persistence and patience would occasionally add up however and let poor Jiu gleam a scrap of information from the tight lipped Long Pei. However on the handful of occasions he had been able to gather slivers of details they often didn’t piece together or outright contradicted each other.

Having been an ardent disciple of the martial arts his long years of training clearly show in his well defined muscular body. His true strength however comes not from brute force but the mastery of his Zui Quan style, the fact that he's willing to throw a dirty punch doesn't hurt either. His pain threshold is also next to none, especially after he has a couple of drinks in him.

Although skilled with the blade it was never a main focus in his training and to this day he has never truly fought with the intent to kill. In his mind killing is a conflicted idea like yin and yang there being both good and bad to the act. Up to this point in his life he has been fortunate enough to not have been forced into dealing with this internal conflict of taking a life; he tries his best to avoid it.

Another weakness is also one of Jiu's main strengths: alcohol itself. His sensei would often chide him for his reliance on alcohol while constantly reminding him that true masters of Zui Quan need not drink at all. Jiu however walks the razors edge between a true drunken Zui Quan master and a mere bumbling village drunk; alone in a foreign homeland he is finding it harder and harder to remain the former of the two.

Where ever he lays his head, he has been traveling across Japan for less then a month.



Thunder roared above as Jiu ran muddied and barefoot through the small fishing town he called home. The fresh bruises on his face were a clear give away that he was running away from something, or perhaps he was running towards something; its hard to tell in life. Either way his destination loomed up ahead, the old well built but worn tea house exuding an aura of safety and merriment. Standing out in the pouring rain Jiu still had no trouble making out the familiar sounds of drunken laughter, a harmonic twanging sound especially catching his attention. It sounded like a half decent Liuiqin player, a fact that brought a smile to the battered face of the small eight year old. Maybe if he hurried he could catch a song or two before the man became to drunk or unwilling to play.

Having learned the wrath of his adopted mother Long Pei long ago Jiu was positive that if he came inside tracking mud like a drunken ox she would have his head; or even worse his supper. It was for that reason he took off running towards the back of the building, intent on grabbing a dry pair of dirty clothes along the way. Entering through an almost unnoticeable back door Jiu was immediately met with the sights and sounds of the small kitchen that lay directly on the other side. Although the tea house wasn't necessarily that big it was a rather popular place among the local fishermen and kept the two old cooks who manned the kitchen constantly busy.

The older of the two looked up at Jiu's arrival, his wrinkled old face contorting into anger upon seeing him. “You boy!” The old man roared as he pointed a bloodied kitchen knife accusingly towards Jiu. “Where have you been? Off fighting again by the looks of it, eh?” Quickly he brought the knife down onto the wooden counter top he was working at, a loud 'kathunk' sounding in the air as a fish head literally flew off the table.

“Oh calm down Fuling, you old badger.” The other old cook chided kindheartedly as he continued rolling away at some soon to be noodles. “But Long Pei has been looking for you Jiu and you best not keep her waiting. Don't you agree?” he finished with his signature smile.

“Oh, thank you for the warning Guang.” Juis voice cracked as he gave a quick bow to his elder, his mind more focused on the pain of his bruised face and the cold from his dripping wet clothes. Turning to enter his room (which was an empty spare kitchen pantry) he was forced to turn around as angry old Fuling was shouting yet again.


“Yes?” Jiu asked, concern clear in his voice that he had done something wrong yet again.

“Eat this dish I've ruined. To much salt.” He practically shoved a medium sized plate of rice and fish into Jiu's hands. “Normally id gave that to the dogs but the storm has scared them off. I guess you'll have to do.” Fuling spat grumpily as he returned to butchering more fish carcasses.

Jiu was so ecstatic to have a hot meal (and fish nonetheless!) that he literally bowed three times out of sheer excitement. “Thank you sir!” Jiu added with a large smile on his face as he hurried off into his room.

Sitting on the floor of his bedroom,which literally contained nothing except a few ratty blankets to sleep with, Jiu began to greedily down the warm meal with nothing but his dirty hands. Within minutes the plate was completely cleared, not even a single drop of rice having been spared.

For a brief moment the worldly delight of a full stomach had made Jiu forget he was still rather wet, a mistake he quickly rectified by changing into his one other spare outfit. He had long suspected his “hand me down” clothes were some form of old sack Long Pei had simply cut holes into and convinced him was clothing. Still though it was better then running around naked, even if the accursed fabric would endlessly itch.

Almost as soon as he was done changing his bedroom door flung open and there in the doorway stood one of the soul stealing demons of the wilds that so many folk tales spoke of.

Actually it was just Long Pei, but the furious look on the woman's face was just as frightening as any demon.

“Where have you been?!” The middle aged woman shrieked as she strut into the pantry room, her talon like hand striking out to grip Jiu's chin. Slowly she turned the boys head side to side as if to asses the damage from his most recent street fight. Finally she let go and with a wave of her hand and continued ranting, as if to wordlessly say his injuries weren't sever enough to warrant any attention. “After all I've done for you! Bah! Its enough to drive a woman mad! Now make yourself useful and take more wine to Mr. Qizan, he's at his usual table. Now hurry!”

“Yes Long Pei. Forgive me Long Pei.” Jiu said sincerely with another exceptionally low bow. Quickly he was off yet again, an old medium sized clay jug clutched in his hands as he made his way out into the heart of the tea house. Old but well kept the place wasn't much to look at, tables and cushions to sit on were seemingly placed anywhere they could be fit. Nonetheless men and woman filled the place, their bodies talking, laughing, and moving in a certain chaotic rhythm that gave the room an energy of its own. Against the wall on the far right side of the tea house was a small makeshift stage that was little more then a raised platform with a wooden stool. A rather good looking young man currently occupied the stool and was filling the room with an upbeat if somewhat off tune song played from his own Luiqin.

It only took Jiu seconds to locate Mr. Qizan, the old man sitting at his usual table furthest away from the music. Actually he wasn't sitting, instead he was sprawled out across three pillows, his old head propped up with his left hand. His right hand nursed a small wooden bowl of rice wine.

It took a moment for Mr. Qizan to notice the young boy, having actually been drunk for the first time in years his senses were much duller then he'd realized. “Jiu! How goes it? I'm so glad to see you.” He paused sitting upright, his left hand rubbing a bit of dirt off the old black Gi he wore. “But who wouldn't be glad to see someone bearing wine, eh?” he joked with a laugh, his toothy white grin causing Jiu to smile himself.

“But come, sit a moment.” Mr. Qizan demanded more then asked, his hand gesturing towards the table. Filled with curiosity Jiu quickly sat down and put the jug of wine between them. “Long Pei has told me much of you but we have never actually spoken, have we?” Mr. Qizan asked although he already new the answer.

“No sir.” Jiu spoke up feeling smaller then normal.

“Those are some bruises you have there. You like to pick fights, do you?”

Jiu bit his lip, unable to make eye contact with Qizan. Finally he replied. “Other boys don't like me.”

“And whys that?”

“Because I'm a samurai.” Jiu stated factually.

“Oh.” Mr. Qizan said as if this was a daily admission in china. “Aren't samurai supposed to win the fights though?”

“I didnt have a sword!” Jiu barked back a little more angrily then he intended.

This response made Mr. Qizan throw his head back in a deep hardy laugh as if the young boy had just told a finely crafted joke. After taking a moment to regain his breath he began to speak once more. “Well, then perhaps you should train to fight without a sword, yes?”

And train he did. As the years went by Jiu devoted him self entirely to honing each and every skill his master would impart on him and by the time he was twenty there was nothing more for his aging master Qizan to teach him, a fact that Jiu would deny despite his master's best attempts to tell him otherwise.
Everything changed on what seemed like an entirely normal day, Jiu having woken up early to greet the day with his morning routine of stretches and wine. Finally he'd made his way into the teahouse he called both home and dojo, finding his masters table empty in the back of the main lobby he took a seat on a rather particularly comfortable looking pillow-the older his master got the more and more he seemed to enjoy wandering around the village and country side, as if he preferred to be any place but where Jiu was. Knowing it could be hours before his master showed up Jiu was quick to make himself comfy, he'd even brought his pear shaped wooden pipa to stave off the boredom of waiting.

For the next several hours Jiu sat there drinking and absent mindidly playing his pipa, it wasn't until the sun had set for several hours that Jiu began to worry about his still absent master. Disregarding the danger of bandits and mother nature Jiu ventured off into the night with nothing more then a musical instrument and a haphazardly made torch, his destination the small hut on the hills overlooking the village.

It took about an hour of stumbling through familiar terrain for Jiu to find his masters home, the way no light shone from the windows made Jiu worry that the place would be abandoned, or perhaps worse. Opening the rickety wooden door of the hut his eyes were met with literally nothing but an empty room save for the dirt floor and a small looking package. Upon further inspection Jiu noticed a note atached to the left behind parcel, his free hand quickly snatching up the mysterious letter.

Despite his best effort to find more clues he found nothing, the small box that had been left behind containing nothing more then a small but substantial amount of money in Japanese currency and three hollowed out gourdes filled with wine (each with, oddly enough, a different kanji).

Returning home he immediately sought out Long Pei, explaining to his strange version of a step mother the events that had unfolded. Her long black thin eyebrows narrowed as her face contorted into its signature angry expression. Quickly she snatched the note from his hands, he eyes darting up and down the parchement before she finally tossed the letter aside with a loud overly exaggerated “Bah!”. Jiu scrambled to grab the fallen letter.

“The old fool has decieded to run. Says he is an anchor around your neck along with some more Confucuis nonsense.” Long Pei squawked as she began to turn to leave, as if the matter were closed.

“Wait!” Jiu called after her with an added pre-emptive bow of forgiveness. “Did it say where he went? Or what I should do?”

Long Pei took a step forward as she sucked her breath in, her chest puffed out slightly as she stared down the much larger Jiu. Waving her hand with a pointed index finger she began scolding him as if he were a child. “Maybe you should learn to read how bout that? Then maybe all my precious time wont be wasted reading and explaining the vast meanings in life to you.”

“But-” Jiu began only to have Long Pei leave the room mid sentence. Left alone in his pantry Jiu examined the last link he had to his master one last time, a painstakingly well done image of a rising sun catching his eye at the bottom of the page.

Perhaps this was his masters way of pointing him in the direction of his true homeland?

So begins...

Shimamoto "Jiu" Ni Zi's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Fujimaki Taro Character Portrait: Yousuke Haru Character Portrait: Shimamoto "Jiu" Ni  Zi Character Portrait: Amaya
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Cowritten with blackrider and Quakernuts

It would appear that her next challenger was Fujimaki-san. An unusual fellow, in some respects; Amaya had spoken with him a few times, which was true for most of those ranked officers in the army. His position was irregular as it was, which, should he prove adequate to the task, would make for a good candidate to the squad she was trying to assemble. It was fortunate, then, that he’d decided to challenge. Her eyes flickered for a moment to Yousuke-dono, who seemed as amused as ever by the spectacle of soldiers fighting a strategist, and her lips twitched into a smile at Sasuke. He’d had a little too much sake, perhaps.

“Your challenge is accepted, Fujimaki-san. You are permitted to use whatever weapons or implements you should wish. I encourage you not to worry about harming me. There will be enough other concerns to occupy you shortly.” It was a warning, of sorts, but delivered without a shred of arrogance. Amaya was good at what she did—it was why she held the rank she did. Some tended to forget this fact upon looking at her, because she was small and female. She didn’t resent it, but neither would she fail to punish someone for it if they held back out of some misapplied notion of mercy.

She was stepping forward to bow in the traditional manner before a bout when another voice carried over the din, and the owner of it came flailing after. Amaya’s brows drew together over her eyes for just a moment, and she snorted softly, the sound escaping as a little huff of air. She raised a brow at Yousuke-dono, but these matches were hers to conduct and therefore hers to construct.

“No need for turns. I will fight you both simultaneously. Teamwork is, after all, just as vital a skill as solitary combat. If you should best me, you can face each other.” That should assuage any concerns about credit going where it was due.

The whole time Amaya had been speaking Jiu had been doing his best to stretch out his body, a process that looked quite comical as he flailed his arms around and did a couple squats. It was as if despite what was going on Jiu couldn't keep his body still for more then the span of a few seconds. Suddenly his last attempt to stretch out his legs resulted in him literally crashing to the floor in a painful looking heap, instead of picking himself up though, he simply lay there. He was hoping to lull Amaya into thinking he wasn't worth her attention.

This woman truly wanted to fight them both at once? And with their choice of weapons no less. Jiu thought she had to be extremely skilled or foolish, or perhaps just the perfect mixture of both? He wasn't sure but regardless he was determined to do his best to catch the eye of Lord Yousuke, or more importantly, gain access to the man's coin. So that meant now was no time to hold back.

As Amaya finished up her comments on teamwork and explaining how the victors could fight each other Jiu slightly sat up, quickly piling most of his belongings together that he had no intention on bringing into the fight. In moments his staff, sword, and pear shaped musical instrument all sat a good foot away and the only "weapon" he still clutched in his hand was one of his signature hollowed out gourds. Unlike the black 'Ox' gourd Jui had drank from moments ago this one was more redish in color and bore the kanji for 'Dragon'.

“Before we begin perhaps I could offer a drink to my new found friends, yes?” Jiu asked before he himself took an exceptionally large swig. He'd spoken with all the sincerity he could muster before offering the hollowed out gourd to both Taro and Amaya, all the while trying his best to hide the mischievous grin curling across his face.

Well, this one was a weirdo. Fortunately, Amaya was rather accustomed to dealing with those. Yousuke’s army took people who could fight or had other valuable skills, and the reason many of them were available in the first place was because they would never fit in with a conventional army. If they were ronin, they were either not good at following conventional rules, not of noble enough blood to become samurai like they wanted to, the wrong gender, or whatever. This one looked like a lush, and acted like one too, though she could detect that there was something else there as well, from the way he never quite faceplanted or hurt himself, however precariously close he seemed to get.

She was almost a little insulted when he chose to stow his sword with the rest of his extraneous belongings, and she decided right off the bat that this one was not already part of the troops, from how much he was carrying. He was probably looking for a way in, then. Fine by her—she neglected to tell him that there were much easier ways to join up.

“No, thank you.” Her reply to the newcomer was simple, blunt, casual—as though she regularly received the offer of alcohol before a match and thought nothing strange of it. Deciding, however, that it was high time to get on with it, she curled one hand into a fist, placed it against the opposite palm, and bowed, coming back up and settling into a relaxed stance.

“Whenever you are quite ready, gentlemen?” Threaded in the manner of address was a subtle note of irony; perhaps only she would address these particular people as such. But for all the lightness of tone, her face was impassive. She intended to take the challenge as seriously as any other, no matter how bizarre it would seem to anyone else.

Taro was in the process of analyzing Amaya as an opponent, his thoughts mixing to what type of style, speed, strength, and weapon she would be using. When it became clear that her lack of a weapon came from the purpose of not using one, Taro nearly gave a smile in amusement. He moved to take his swords off of his hip when another new comer had entered the field. Taro stared over at the man, irritation bubbling beneath the surface even though he refused to let it show. The way he carried himself, with a stumbling befit of only the most drunken fools was enough to make Taro groan inwardly. Enough, stop embarrassing yourself and walk away Taro thought to himself as the man continued to address Amaya.

Taro's hands stopped disentangling his swords from his hip for a moment as the man asked to test himself against the lord's strategist. Taro had already opened his mouth to let the man know that the fight was already his, and that if he planned on battling anyone he should do it sober. Instead, Amaya beat him to the punch and nearly left him speechless. Fighting? Together? Teamwork? I don't even know this man's name, let alone what he could possibly bring to the table in a fight? I wanted to test myself against you! That was supposed to be the deal! WHY?!

"If you would feel that to be the best option Amaya-san, I will comply." Taro stated, gently inclining his head towards her. She was part of Yousuke's personal retainer, and as such held almost equal rank in Taro's mind. Due to that reason, none of his personal concerns about the clumsy swordsman made it past his thoughts. He removed his blades from his hip. "Tsukehara-san, do you mind?" Taro stated, his tone respectful as he handed his blades to his Squad Captain. He then removed his jacket and placed it on top of the swords as well. This revealed that his gauntlets did not go all the way up his arms, instead stopping at the elbow and revealing scarred skin as a result. Before returning to the field, he stopped at a rack of weapons, and grabbed a wooden training sword, testing it's weight before walking back to the man and standing beside him.

"I am Fujimaki Taro." Taro stated, grabbing the gourd from the man. "And I would suggest grabbing something...even if it's just a stick." Taro stated, having grabbed the training sword for the simple fact of being able to unleash his full ability without having to worry about serious injury on Amaya's side. He took a swig from the gourd, his eyes went wide, and immediately started coughing and spitting into the dirt.

"That...That's pretty strong." Taro's voice came out raspy and weak as he handed the gourd back. He pounded his chest a couple of times, straightening up and letting out a breath. "Alright...let us begin." Taro stated once he got his voice back, holding the sword out in front of him with two hands in a combat stance.

And then you drunken fool, if we win this, I will beat your face into the dirt for disrupting my solo chance at this!

Taro launched forward, his speed surprising for his size as he brought the sword down in a standard straight arc.

Watching Taro down a decent sized gulp of the awamori made Jiu immediately like the man. Regardless, he refused the man's sound advice to grab a weapon, a fact he would surely soon regret.

Jiu wasted no time with responding to Taro, his mind solely focused on the fight now. Although in all honesty he couldn't have responded if he wanted to, his mouth still full of the same foul tasting liquid he had offered to Taro and Amaya moments ago. Quickly springing to his feet far faster then any drunken man should have been able to Jiu did his best to take advantage of the momentary distraction from Taro's attack.

Quickly making his way to the left side of Amaya, Jiu started his own assault, an act that consisted of a disgusting display that had him actually spitting out all the alcohol he had been storing behind his drunken grin. If he was lucky some would get in Amaya's eyes, if he was unlucky he'd cover Taro in a fine mist of spit and alcohol. Deciding it was well worth the risk he followed the dishonorable act with a particularly well timed attempt at a leg sweep.

Amaya was extremely quick on her feet—it was, in fact, one of her primary advantages as a combatant. As she’d chosen to forgo weaponry in this instance, she was going to be making heavy use of the fact, since she would need a way to work distance to her advantage without the ability to stave anyone off with her naginata’s length.

Fujimaki’s first blow was a standard-enough starter, meant likely to test more than to actually hit, and she didn’t have any trouble avoiding it, simply smoothly stepping just far enough to the side that adjusting to hit her would overextend him more than he should be willing. It was no sooner than she had done so that the other man stepped in close, spitting his alcohol at her in one of the most unconventional opening maneuvers she’d ever seen. She ducked it, rolling sideways towards him and away from the leg sweep, coming up well under his guard. Surging back to her feet, she aimed a punishing strike with the heel of her hand for the underside of his chin.

The attack was one that Taro would have been extremely disappointed if it had connected. Within that small instance though, he got a small feel for just how fast Amaya was going to be. If anything, he was pleasantly surprised. Well, at least he was until he felt something wet cover his face and a portion of his upper arm. He slid away, wiping his face as he looked over at Jiu and figured out immediately what it was he was cleaning off. He just spit at her? Great, now we're adding bodily fluids to a list of possible attacks. Taro thought to himself as he watched Amaya expertly dodge Jiu's attacks and deliver a punishing blow to his chin. Serves you right. Taro thought as he readied his sword for another strike.

He pushed forward, his sword held low at his side as a straight slash cross wise seemed like the most logical choice, but right before it would have connected, Taro stamped his foot down, stopping his movement. His left hand reached out into a direct palm strike meant to impact center mass.

Jiu suddenly realised that not only was this woman strong but she was exceptionally quick, a fact painfully obvious as Amaya's responding strike exploded across the bottom of his chin. His eye's widened in a moment of sobriety as the blow briefly lifted him from his feet. An average man probably would have been sprawled across the ground from the sheer force of the strike, but luckily for Jui years of constant beatings had taught him how to take a punch like a pro. In his mind simply still standing was testament enough that he was worth the brief attention of Lord Yousuke.

Clacking his now-sore jaw up and down while shaking the stars from his eyes, Jiu immediately regained his composure, his body swaying to and fro in an erratic unreadable pattern. Tossing his dragon gourd towards his pile of worldly supplies, he assumed a more proper stance. Turning to his side with his left leg pointed towards Amaya he let his left arm follow suit as it extended outwards in Amaya's direction, oddly instead of fists or open palms both his hands were curled together as if they held invisible cups of sake. Keeping his right hand close to his chest he began to circle Amaya while he continued his drunken sway, his body ready to bend or fall an any direction needed to dodge a blow.

Standing nearly a full foot taller then Amaya, Jiu was doing his best to use his longer reach to his advantage, staying just out of her range as he waited for Taro to present him with another opening for attack. “Sorry about that!” Jiu hollered over towards Taro, a wide grin still spread on his face betraying any true feelings of regret. “I'll get you a drink later!”

Almost at the exact moment Jiu finished speaking Taro had struck yet again, feigning an attack only to follow up with a quick open palm strike to Amaya's chest. Not hesitating for a second Jiu literally threw himself at his opponent from behind with a fierce spinning kick towards Amaya's back left leg.

Caught in something that was roughly a scissor formation and well aware of it, Amaya made note of the fact that both had proven adaptable enough to the other’s strategy to get her into such a disadvantageous predicament. This was not to say, however, that she had no way out—merely to acknowledge that they had done much better than one might have expected.

Being in the middle of a scissor formation was unwise, and so the logical thing to do was get out of it. Knowing that Fujimaki was coming in behind her but unsure of exactly what he was doing, she made a judgement call, jumping to avoid the spinning kick to her leg, torqueing her body to land facing him. The sword slash she’d expected was aborted, and the follow up blow landed, if only just, so she bent backwards like a reed when the blow connected, taking away most of the force. Rather than snapping back up from the bend, however, she turned it into a short, efficient flip, landing slightly to the left of the stranger.

Taking advantage of the fact that he was still not as steady on his feet as he could have been after his low kick, she grabbed one of his wrists and twisted it behind his back with a spin, grabbing with her free hand onto the fabric of the back of his shirt, then shoving him forward and towards Fujimaki with surprising strength, releasing her grip on both.

A surprisingly deft move, not expecting that one. Good work. Taro thought in response to Amaya's movements. He had hit her, of that he was sure, but it wasn't enough. She quickly adapted, moving in such a way Taro had to wonder if her body was made of water as she landed and pressed the attack. She immediately went after the Drunk, grabbing his wrist and twisting it back in a standard arm lock. By the time she had launched him as a human arrow towards Taro, he was already moving out of the way. He sidestepped to his right, grabbing the man by the collar and whipping him around so that he was facing Amaya once again, preventing him from falling to the ground. Taro stood there a moment, wiping his own face more for the expression than the need. "You know...if I was wearing my jacket when you did that...I would be more than a little unpleasant towards you." Taro stated, but gave a wicked smirk afterward. "Instead, try to hit her at least once? That could help both of us."

With that, Taro was launching forward again, jumping in the air slightly as he reared his sword back for a very powerful one handed thrust.

It was easy to tell Jiu was slightly embarrassed by the way things had been going for him in this fight, his usual rosy cheeks an even deeper shade of scarlet as Taro redirected his flight path. He tried to play off the scene with a friendly quip back at Taro. “I was just saving my real skills for you, but if you insist.”

Back on his feet and determined to prove he was worth something, Jiu's smile had turned from friendly to fed up. Well, in all honesty his signature big goofy grin remained unchanged and genuinely kind looking. But he was fed up damn it!

Jiu threw himself (quite literally) back at Amaya with the renewed vigor of a madman. He'd closed the distance to Amaya in two quick leaps, landing beside her in an odd imitation of a frog. Locking eyes with her he let out a loud almost convincing ““Ribbit”.

Springing to his feat in the blink of an eye he pressed his attack. For what seemed like hours (but was probably only a few short moments) they went blow after blow. At first Jiu had been doing extremely well dodging her attacks, his body bending and contorting in ways that looked rather surreal and impossible to the human eye. It was actually a rather impressive sight watching the man whose body seemed to have a mind of its own.

The blows that did connect were extremely painful but watching with an expert eye it was obvious to see the way he leaned into or guided the strikes to lessen the impact of the hits on his body, one occasion he even headbutted Amaya's incoming palm with nothing more then a laugh and a 'tsk tsk' sound.

Despite his combat style looking completely random and made up on the fly, there was an actual method to his madness, a fact that became apparent as Taro was closing in on the hopefully distracted Amaya.

He wasn't sure if what had happened next Amaya had allowed or his plan was working perfectly, either way mere seconds before Taro's attack connected Jiu had snaked his left arm around Amaya's right in a successful yet strange looking arm lock. Now all he had to do was use his superior strength to hold the poor girl in place. And being a man that was a simple task, it was not like Jiu was fighting a demon or something here.

Given that this was an assessment, Amaya was, to a point, willing to play into various gambits and allow herself to be, in some ways, maneuvered and steered into situations that were disadvantageous for her. The strategy that was her primary strength, she eased back on, keeping track of how she believed they were thinking, but primarily just defending, rarely becoming aggressive unless someone pressed, and in this way drawing out the confrontation so she could get a sense of what their skills were like.

After a particularly rapid exchange with the stranger, she found herself in an armlock, and she conceded that the newcomer had done quite well to get her there. Not bothering to struggle in his grip, she instead devoted the seconds she had before Fujimaki got there to escape in a different fashion—first, she stomped hard on his foot, a strike that could look ill-aimed, but actually hit one of the pressure points on the foot. His resistance to the pain of the strike seemed to be greater than she had expected, but it was either painful or surprising enough to loosen his grip just enough, and she slipped out of the hold like a fish—just in time to avoid what Taro had aimed at her.

One minute Amaya was there and the next she was gone, leaving Jiu with one extremely sore foot and a wooden sword in his chest. With practically no time to respond he had received the full force of Taro's attack, a sickeningly loud crack sounding from Jiu's ribs as white hot pain shot through his head. Clutching at his chest with a look of actual surprise on his face he staggered for a moment, gritting his teeth in an attempt to stay up. For the first time since ariving in the arena his smile was gone. Finally opening his mouth to speak all that came out was “Jacket”, and with that he collapsed to the ground in a motionless heap.

Well...unintentional but not entirely upsetting. Taro thought to himself as he looked at the crumpled pile of drunken swordsman on the ground. Taro simply walked around him, twirling his sword in his hand as he came face to face with Amaya once more. This time, it was how it was supposed to be. Just him and her, and already she was proving to be a challenge worthy of his attention. He held out his left forearm, taking the wooden sword and slowly scraping it against his gauntlet until just the tip was resting on his armor. With a slight smirk, he bolted forward once more, increasing his speed until she was right in front of him.

Several slashes filled the air as Taro swung in multiple directions to try and catch Amaya off guard, each attempt countered by either a side step or a deft redirection with the palms of her hands. Finally, on a downward stroke, Amaya took the extra step forward inside Taro's guard, clamping down on his right wrist with both hands. With a slight twirl akin to a dance, She twisted and brought Taro's arm along with his sword behind his back. He grunted slightly from the awkward position, but didn't waste any time countering. He bent forward, releasing his grip on the sword and allowing it to slide off his back into his left hand. Rolling forward, he forced Amaya to let go or be dragged down with him, ending with him slightly dusty and less than a couple feet from her.

No time should be wasted in a battle, so again Taro pressed the attack, but instead of his standard strokes, he reversed the direction of his blade so it curved along his forearm. This time, he took that extra step forward, forcing himself inside her guard and swiping every which direction. There was no room to move nor redirect as Amaya was forced to bring up her arms and bear a punishing barrage of attacks that finally ended with a kick to her opened palms, having placed them exactly where they needed to be in order to minimize the damage done.

Amaya flared her arms slightly, most likely to get rid of the slightly numb feeling, but Taro didn't give her long as he rushed forward once more, his sword back into the standard fighting style of slashes and thrusts. Instead of trying to dodge for awhile before pressing an attack, Amaya reached out, grabbing Taro's free hand and spinning around to his back before he could react. She was learning, as she didn't bother to even try to draw out the hold. She twisted hard, hard enough to snap bones, something she must have known Taro would have been able to counter or at the very least, she had to be hoping as Taro forced himself into a very awkward frontal roll to avoid snapping his wrist.

He landed hard on his back, feeling his breath leave him for a moment before returning and rolling to his side, scrambling to his feet. He stood there for a moment, his weapon in hand as he looked at the girl that was giving him so much trouble. She wasn't breathing heavy, but Taro could swear there was at least one bead of sweat on her person. Even as he thought this, a salty sensation entered his eye as well, and he nearly laughed. Obviously he was in the same position. He twirled the sword slightly again before bringing it up beside his face, the palm resting on the butt of the handle as the blade was pointed forward, ready for a thrust. She was good, he would admit that much, but no one was perfect.

With that in mind, he pressed forward once more.

Amaya was entirely still as Fujimaki approached, her facial expression having deviated little, if at all, in their entire exchange. She still seemed to be, more than anything, observing. As her remaining opponent rushed her, she settled back into a loose stance, knees slightly bent and arms partly in front of her, almost as though she simply intended to take the hit.

What she did do was something considerably different. Her timing had to be perfect, and fortunately, in this instance it was. When Fujimaki’s sword moved to strike, her hands lashed out, viper-quick, her palms catching the blade mid-stroke. Rather than absorbing all of that force herself, however, which would almost certainly have knocked her off her feet, she turned it into motion, letting the loose positioning of her form flow naturally into a twist, applying Taro’s own momentum in a way that ultimately worked against him, forcing him to give up the blade or fall, much too close to her to be safe in the seconds afterwards.

The bokken was hers, and she smoothly gripped it completing her spin with a strike not to anywhere especially vital, but rather to his arm. An innocuous hit, or so it would seem, at least until his arm went numb. Now she had both the weapon and one more useable arm than he did—though she had to admit to some surprise when he recovered quickly and attempted to use the dead limb as some sort of bludgeoning instrument. Her brows drew together, a spark of amusement lighting in her eyes, but the match was done now. She knew what she needed to know.

Ducking under the swing of his arm, she came up on the other side, hopping into a seemingly-effortless roundhouse kick. With his defending side missing a working limb, she connected with the side of his head, dropping him.

Rolling her shoulders out and cracking her neck to either side, she finally allowed the spark in her eyes to be reflected in the rest of her, a grin blossoming over her face. Bowing to both of them—though the stranger was out cold and Fujimaki’s consciousness was debatable—she turned to Yousuke and lofted one dark brow. “I think I like these two.” In her usual brisk manner, she pointed out a few of the other fighters she’d sparred with thus far that day, assembling her new strike squad in an efficient manner, and then calling for medical to come attend to those too injured to leave the area on their own power.