Traveling up onto the boat itself was a process of ever escalating dread. The captain and sailors wouldn’t say anything more than was necessary to the two as they transversed up the gangplank. Following the brief introduction there wouldn’t be much more attention paid to the two other than a quick glance or two. The crew seemed too busy with whatever had previously occupied them to be concerned with the shinobi they hired to carry boxes, and probably rightfully so considering the nature of the mission. Even the Captain, who Chigetsu was half-sure he recognize, had disappeared off the vessel quickly after he and Hana had come aboard. It made sense, after all why else would they be paying shinobi to do this unless they had something better to do?
Things didn’t become so terrible until they descended down the ship’s trap door. The smell hit immediately, and almost made Chigetsu physically cringe back in repulsed horror. Previously masked by the sea breeze, the scent of fermented fish now wafted up and nearly knocked Chigetsu off his feet. Almost immediately his hand would reach up to cover his nose and mouth, lest he begin retching. It was a bit of an overreaction, but with how nervous Chigetsu already had been the threat of his fluttery stomach ejecting his breakfast in response was a very real possibility. After the initial shock wore off the stench became a bit more tolerable, but still not pleasant in any way.
“Eugghh… This is… Is this supposed to be food?”
It was the first thing Chigetsu said at a normal volume so far. Having been raised on silver spoons of caviar, Chi had never developed an appreciation for the unique smells and flavors that fermented fish could have. With his nose still plugged with one hand, Chigetsu would approach carefully and inspect one of the barrels that filled the crowded storage cellar. He half expected to find the contents of the barrel already long rotted away, but instead he was only greeted with an even more pungent stench of fish that punched him in the face as he lifted the barrel’s lid. The rolling stench nearly knocked him off his feet, and immediately the lid would be placed back down.
By this time Hana had already left, slinging one barrel over her shoulder and carrying another in a free hand. Even knowing she was the Mizukage now, just the ease and speed at which she was able to lift them completely caught him off guard. It was only after a bit of staring at her as she left that Chigetsu noticed the stares of the observing sailors, and how their gaze turned to him after they had finished watching Hana’s feat of strength. Turning back to the barrel, Chigetsu would set himself towards the task at hand.
Trying to lift the barrel, even with both of his arms and all of his strength, was impossible. It just wasn’t something he was capable with his petite figure. There was little to no muscle on Chigetsu in the first place, and these barrels felt as if they were over twice his weight. What little he had wasn’t enough to even get them a millimeter off the ground no matter how much effort he put into it. Attempting to drag them produced better results, but the few inches that Chigetsu managed really wasn’t enough. Chigetsu would quickly be forced to turn to a different strategy.
He would pull back the sleeve of his right arm, pushing the fabric up over his shoulder. It was necessary, unless he planned on tearing open the sleeve entirely with what he was about to attempt. The Great Water Arm Technique. One of the Hozuki’s special techniques that they had gained a bit of a reputation for. It was one of the things that all those tutors he had trained under in the past, and given all the time he had spent attempting to learn it, it definitely was something that he theoretically should be able to do in a situation like this.
The musculature of his arm would be liquified, and then moisture from his entire body would be sucked into and compressed into his muscles. It was similar in practice to filling a water balloon, although much more of a dangerous balancing act. It required specifically liquifying the muscles and not the bones or skin. Drawing too little moisture would result in nothing noticeable happening, and drawing too much was dangerous and could result in accidentally inducing the effects of serious dehydration. The compression itself was no easy task either, and if it wasn’t done properly…
His arm popped, expelling itself across the opposite facing wall with an excessive amount of force. The liquid of his lost limb hit the wooden wall with such a great force that it actually bounced off, splattering then all across that side of the room. Without enough compression your arm would turn into jelly, and with too much it would explode like a bomb. This left a sadly now armless Chigetsu, who had succeeded only in embarrassing himself. Fortunately it wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked. While having your arm explode would be pretty bad for anyone else, having the ability to liquify yourself in situations like this was pretty convenient, and thus it wouldn’t result in lasting damage to anything but his pride.
“A-Ahh…” He nearly began to sweat. Even though his back was turned, Chigetsu was sure that those sailors were still keeping an eye on him. Even if they hadn’t before, the sound that his arm exploding just made probably would be enough to catch their attention. The splattered liquid would begin to snake back to his body, collecting from the room to reform into his arm with an embarrassed haste. In his defense, this was a technique that was damn hard to pull off.
“I can do this, I swear. I’ve done it before…” He sputtered that defense of himself out quickly, mostly in response to his own anxieties and what he assumed any potential onlookers were thinking. “I should have practiced more, I should have practiced more, I should have practiced more” would be whispered under his breath in a mantra, berating himself at his past-self’s laziness. Trying again now, Chigetsu would pay special attention on the not having your arm explode part of this technique. The muscles of his right arm would bulge out unnaturally, swelling up and sloshing around with liquid as he tensed to keep everything tight and packed inside. Putting a bit more desperate focus into how tight he kept his shape transformation, Chigetsu would manage to pull off something resembling a success. His arm had pumped up dramatically, enough so that the overly-muscled limb was outrageously unnatural looking on him.
Getting it to pump up was one thing, but keeping it steady as he used his newfound strength was another. Having his arm detonate in the middle of carrying a barrel full of these foul smelling fish wasn’t something he was looking forward to, and so he was a bit overly cautious as he lifted the barrel he had been screwing about with earlier. Very, very slowly, Chigetsu would emerge from the ship’s bay carrying the barrel in his excessively large muscle arm.
"Alright, now don't explode on me..."
[1268/200 Learning Great Water Arm Technique]