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Sasuma Ataki: Mystic Time Ninja
The two shinobi fought to a stalemate. I made plans to send in some more men. I figured that fatigue would settle in soon, and rather than risk losing one of my best, I'd take a chance with a few newbies. Little did I know, this guy had been holding back the whole time. My reinforcements would arrive only to fall victim to this man's true power.
Recognizing that he was outnumbered, our target fell back leading us to believe he was retreating. I gave my men the order to press on and finish the job. That's when it happened, a blinding white glow, preceded by the words, "Time Seal." It didn't take long to understand that this was no ordinary light. The light radiated for a few seconds, then disappeared completely. When it vanished, my men were moving half as fast as they were before, while Sasuma's speed had increased exponentially. Shocked by this vision, I called in an informant to see if knew anything about this guy. When I showed him the video feed, he broke into a nervous sweat as he mumbled something that sparked my curiosity, "So the rumors appear to be truth after all; one of them did go rogue."
"What are you blabbering about, one of who?"
"Sir, this man is clearly a member of the Ataki Clan."
"Calm yourself down, that can't be right. The Ataki were a heroic ninja clan who wanted nothing but peace. There's no way that this man is one of them."
"I know sir, but one of them supposedly defected a week or so ago. My guess is that this man is that rougue ninja. Besides, his technique is undeniable. Only the Ataki Clan can manipulate time like that and you know it. He used the trademark power of the Ataki, The Time Seal, to decrease the flow of time for our soldiers, slowing them down enough to make them easy prey. Give up on this bounty, sir, because you have only witnessed a small fraction of what this man is capable of."
"What makes you think that?"
"Well, apparently, this guy harbors the abilities of both branches of his clan. The only one EVER to do so."
"If what you say is true, then we're in for..."
"Correction sir, YOU'RE in way over your head with this guy, and I don't plan on dying anytime soon. If you plan on pursuing this bounty, I quit!"
I must admit, however, I am a little hesitant to face Sasuma Ataki. They say that this guy has become the most powerful Ataki to date. I usually don't pay much attention to such urban legends, but I can't help but believe that it's true this time. For starters, he wields the powers of both branches of the clan. Also, consider the very fact that he's managed to survive for this long. I mean, surely by now his village should have sent a team of trackers to eliminate him. If they haven't taken him down yet, and they're likely the best suited to do so, then it would be very foolish of me to rush into a battle with this guy. I need to gather more information on him before confronting him myself. I'd like to see what else I'm getting my self into, so I've sent about ten of my most elite men in to bring this guy down... *turns on a/v feed*
Squad Leader: Sir, we have located the target within the Khazan Research & Development Center. There are no bystanders in sight, and we have moved in and surrounded him. We await your command."
Sasuma: Fools! You speak of waiting as though the next moment is guaranteed you. When you face me, time is the one thing that you DON'T have."
Squad Leader: Yeah, yeah, we've done our homework. I just have one question, how can you justify killing so many? Do you not realize the negative light that such deeds will reflect on your clan...?
Sasuma: You know NOTHING about the ones whom you refer to as "my clan!" You ignorant fools praise them like they're heroes. Perhaps the elders who saved Khazan were, but the ones who currently assume the Ataki name are far from it. They're nothing more than a bunch of power-hungry cretins. Those people doomed me to a life of misery all in the name of controlling the supreme power that they'd tried so long to prevent from existing. You say that you've done your homework, so I'll assume you already know of how the power of the Ataki was once used as an instrument of salvation. Well, every light casts a shadow, and The Time Seal is no exception. The moment approaches when the power that saved Khazan so long ago will become the tool of its annihilation. My clan's greatest fears will be manifested as I demonstrate the incredible destructive force of the Ataki on you pathetic wretches! You've seen what the Time Seal can do on its own. Now witness what happens when I combine it with my Acceleration Technique!
Sasuma delivered on his promise. He broke the time seal, and then formed the hand sign for his technique. At first glance, it seemed as though nothing special had happened. The same bright white light that appeared earlier returned again. However, what I witnessed upon the dissipation of that light continues to haunt my dreams to this day. I watched ten men in their prime advance in age at a ridiculous rate. Within a second, most of them had, hopefully, already died of old age. That's right, I did say hopefully. As I watched the flesh melt away from their bodies, I wanted to believe that they'd already passed rather than suffer through such an ordeal. I lost my video feed about two or three seconds later, so I made my way to the scene to see if anyone had survived. Actually, it was wishful thinking more than anything else; I knew their fate had been sealed the moment that light appeared. When I arrived, all that remained were ten piles of dust scattered about in the gentle breeze. Not even their weapons and armor remained intact. I thought about calling off the job at that point, but I couldn't allow my comrades' deaths to be in vain.
His words were interrupted by the sound of fifty marksman opening fire simultaneously. The white light appeared again, but this time it did not disappear. Instead, it seemed to spread, covering everything within his line of sight. Sasuma continued his boast, "The first of these properties serves as the ultimate defense technique by allowing me to freeze time, rendering your attacks useless." At that point I noticed that none of the hundreds of bullets that flooded the air managed to reach their target. They were all frozen in place upon entering the vast white cloak. If all of that weren't bad enough, my men also seemed to be trapped within the radiant light. Even the gentle breeze seemed to be frozen in time.
"The second property of the vortex, provides an extremely effective counter-attack..." As he muttered these words, the bullets began to shake violently. "...by allowing me to, for lack of a more accurate description, 'rewind' your onslaught. But, I wouldn't think about it too much. You won't figure out what I mean, until it is far too late." The looks of confusion that suddenly covered the faces of fifty men would morph into expressions of shock and horror as each and every bullet was returned to sender.
The sky went dark again, and the mammoth vanished, replaced by a pterodactyl. Sasuma made some more hand signs before kneeling and striking the ground with his fist. This time, the terrifying white light reappeared, and he vanished into it along with the pterodactyl. Almost instantaneously, the light seemed to have teleported to inside the facility, and that's when it occurred to me. I suddenly understood his reason for spending so much time in Khazan's Science Sector. If he can travel to the past, then he can probably travel to the future as well. He didn't come to this part of Khazan by coincidence; he came hear to narrow his search and gain insight to the future of Khazan's technologies. A thunderous boom echoed from the now destroyed research center. I was mortified to see a pterodactyl emerge with a few new "enhancements." Jet boosters aligned the tips of its wingspan along with an assorted variety of heat-seeking rockets, lazers, and the like. My men and I never even stood a chance against this ruthless Ataki. I watched helplessly while he playfully blew us away, one by one, until I was the last man left standing. This is where my story ends. My back is now broken by the feet of a monster that has pinned me to the ground, and I am forced to listen in terror to the evil cackles of a vicious ninja while the jaws of a dinosaur draw closer...closer...
Empathy...that's the funniest word I've ever heard in my life. You see, how can you empathize with someone who no longer feels any emotion. To experience emotion one must have a tie that bonds them to this world, something that makes them long to express how they feel about things. My ties to this world were severed when my parents breathed their final breaths, effectively vanquishing what few emotions I had left to express. Then you worthless morons try to say that you understand, that you can feel my pain. Hmph! The truth of the matter is that you really can't sense anything at all. Sure, maybe you can invade my memories to gain a glimpse of what happened in my past, but that's the extent to which you will ever "identify" with me. Until you actually experience what I endured throughout my childhood comprehending my mental state will prove itself an impossible task for you. I don't care what dysfunctional background you call yourself coming from or how advanced your expertise in probing the mind may be. The bottom line is that you will never know the pain I suffered without having actually gone through it yourselves. You will never truly understand the heartache of having your life threatened by the very people whom you should be able trust more than anyone else—and all in the pursuit of a taking control of a power that could've been shared by all. My heart turned cold long ago, there's nothing left to be analyzed, drained, or manipulated.
Long ago, while learning science at the academy, a simple truth revealed itself: the brain can not function without the heart. It would not be until some twenty plus years later that I discover the real truth behind this statement. I can't even begin to count the number of psychic "warriors" who have attempted to prove otherwise by launching attacks on my mind. How laughable. If only they understood how futile their efforts would become—perhaps they might still be alive, for now at least. You see, my mind vanished long ago when I decided to dedicate every fabric of my existence to the task of finding and destroying the man responsible for the death of one—and, ultimately, both—of my parents. My sole purpose for living became a hopeless hunt for the person who, be it directly or indirectly, killed the only two beings in creation that I have ever loved (or even trusted). No one, including her so-called "relatives," made the slightest little fuss when my mother was assassinated, yet a few nobodies die by my hand and its pasted all over the news. And you people wonder why I'm on a killing spree! I simply wanted the same effort used to track me down directed towards the bastard who ended my mother's life. That never happened. But that's a pointless conversation now, because I have already made my decision. I will continue to kill until no one is left standing, leaving no doubt that I have avenged the ones who brought me into this world and showed me compassion. Until then, either show me the assassin or DIE along with the rest! No response, then your time is up ...
*white light appears again as another victim is added to the death toll.*
There's only one place in all of Khazan where this does not hold true. I tend to stay away from there most of the time, but I feel compelled to return there occasionally. Anywhere else and a quick turn of the head or a swift punch or kick is enough to dispel the one image that can resurrect memories of the past, causing me to "feel" again. But there's no escaping that reflection in this place. It is the only place where I can gaze upon my parents' faces and still see life within them. I eventually come to, realizing that I will never truly have the pleasure of that experience again. That's when the heartache returns. But there, no matter how many times I turn away, or in which direction, I am constantly reminded of the only two people I've ever cared about. I've considered simply destroying this place, however, in reality, that is not an option. Not only has it survived countless battles between foes with immense power and remained intact, but a part of me wants to go there to feel protected again, to return to the sanctuary that existed two decades ago. On the other hand, part of me wants to demolish the place as it will eliminate for good the one and only true weakness that I have left.