Date: February 26, 2013
"A Fishy Situation"
Land of Waves, aboard a cargo ship.
A team was told to journey to the Land of Wave's main dock and meet by peer 3. As Nori shows up, Nori's least favorite Jounin Inuzuka is waiting for him there, along with the Jounin's companion. Upon seeing Nori arrive, the giant wolf henges into a twin of the Jounin and nods. When the others in the team show up, the wolf-henge states, "Good, everyone is here. As you can see, behind us is a ship, the 'Torrent Cutter'. It is part of a Trading Company between the Land of Waves and the Land of Fire. Recently several ships in the Trading Company have gone missing. Hypothesies abound, but we are to make sure this ship doesn't go missing. So then, get aboard. I am told that you are free to roam the top of the ship and the holds below, but stay out of the crew's way unless they try something funny. Any questions?" Nori shakes his head and looks at the others.
Hideaki nods at the request of the Jounin. He glances over to Miyo frequently, even as the Inuzuka talks, as if feeling some special obligation to make sure the young girl stays safe during the mission. Hideaki pipes up at the request for questions. "Only one trading company is losing ships, then? No other unusual losses reported?" As soon as he gets his answer, he nods and heads aboard the ship.
Miyo was not used to being away from Konoha since she moved to the village, but it was not her first time out either. She had been outside of the village on a delivery mission once, but other than that, there were few times she ventured beyond the safety of the village walls. Today, however, was another exception. She had travelled all the way to the land of waves with her instructor Hideaki, whom had been taking good care of her at the academy. The only reason Miyo even agreed to go along was because it was supposed to be a low risk mission and Hideaki was there to defend her.
When she showed up in the wake of her instructor, she had her ashen-colored hair tied up on a ponytail that sprouted high on the back of her head, bursting outwards and trailing down to her waist. She wore a long black robe with red lining that covered the majority of her body aside from her feet and the very tips of her fingers. Being that she was outside of the village and in a potentially dangerous situation, she had her sword Benisakura strapped over her back, the leather banding securely wrapped around her chest from shoulder to hip.
Miyo listened to their conversations, but she had nothing to add at least yet. It was best for her to stay out of the way and observe.
The wolf-henge nods to Hideaki, "Only one trading company, yes." Normally a student wouldn't really be allowed on a mission like this, but this particular Inuzuka Jounin doesn't really give two shitzu's…to keep with the dog references. That is why the wolf-henge is talking for him in the first place while he is busy looking bored.
Once aboard Nori makes his way over to Hideaki and frowns, "Sorry about the team leader. I've run missions with him before. He's a real pain in the butt, though he is strong." Nori smiles and then looks over to Miyo. "Yamanaka Nori. Nice to meet you." Miyo may have seen Nori around the Academy a few times with Midori. If Hideaki is Miyo's tutor, Nori is kinda-sorta Midori's.
The crew is busy as the shinobi get ready to set sail. They are manning the anchors, raising the sail, cleaning the canons, and checking the hold's inventory. The Captain of the boat is at the helm, and while he's probably nervous for his ship and crew and ryo…he doesn't look it. With a mighty shout from the Captain, the ship departs the peer and makes its way out to the sea. Within minutes of losing sight of shore, a thick fog can be seen ahead of the boat. It stretches out along the horizon.
The Jounin Inuzuka can be seen talking to the Captain…and then he runs down the ship side. A moment later, the wolf-henge appears to Hideaki, Nori, and Miyo and states, "Be prepared…they have to enter the fog, but anything could be in there."
Hideaki nods as Nori explains about the team leader. "I see. He is not paining me thusfar, so there is no need to apologize." He falls silent as the boy introduces himself to Miyo, then says, "Miyo-chan? May I ask you that you stay with Nori-kun for a little while? I have something that I'd best do alone."
Hideaki takes the few minutes it takes to raise anchor and reach the fog to inspect the hold's inventory himself. Although he is not hiding persay, he tries to be as unobtruse as possible as he double checks for signs of something unusual in the ship's cargo.
Regardless of what he finds or does not find, he is back on deck, standing with the others by the time the Jounin Inuzuka delivers his warning. He glances over to Miyo. "Under no circumstances do I want you to even think about doing anything remotely courageous. Your primary objective is to observe and learn. Is that clear, Miyo-chan?"
Miyo nods as Hideaki tells her to remain with Nori. There was no verbal response, nor was there actually any communication with Nori other than to state her name as Miyo, after which she remained impeccably silent. Miyo figured that it would be step number one to making herself not a target if anything were to actually happen: being quiet.
When Hideaki returned, she nods again as he gives her instructions. "Of course, Hidieaki-sensei! I will not do anything courageous and will watch and learn." She nods a couple times to punctuate her statement, and then falls silent again, hiding in her instructor's shadow.
RPCOMBAT: Nori defends against with a CHAKRA-SENSING-TECHNIQUE…29
Nori 'uhns' a yes when Hideaki tells Miyo to stay with him. Nori doesn't have any peculiar reason to speak to Miyo either, and he too isn't really a combatant per-say, so he just leans up against the rail of the ship and watches. He keeps an eye on Miyo though.
The cargo hold looks fairly normal. There are several cannons on each side of the vessel, but the center of the hold is full of boxes and crates and various supplies. They are all marked with contents, owners, weight, etc. etc. Nothing crazy to see here.
The fog sweeps across the ship as if it has a life of its own. The world goes grey and it is difficult to see from the starboard side to the port side even. The crew is shouting directions back and forth so that they can get lanters lit and focused on the water, slow their speed, get weapons ready. Time ticks by and nothing happens. Time in the fog is unforgiving in how the tension doesn't ease.
Eventually though, a scream is heard in the aft of the boat. As men go to see what happened, another scream is heard at the bow. One of the men who ran for the aft calls, "The Captain's gone…the Cap…" and he cuts out. Nori blinks and calls to everyone Hideaki…"I'm sensing..several small things. Can't tell what they are yet though. We should gather together near the center of the ship. They dragged the Captain off the boat and into the water."
Hideaki is not surprised that the contents were uninteresting. Still, the young man is nothing if not thorough.
Hideaki's muscles tense as the captain vanishes. Continuing to be quite overprotective of his student, Hideaki reaches out to try and hold on to the hand of Miyo. Meanwhile, he scans the surrounding fog, ears perked, trying to see if he can gather any visual evidence of the 'small things' Nori mentions. "Nori-kun. Can you sense the crew? Let me know if we are losing more of them."
RPCOMBAT: Hideaki defends against with a PERCEPTION-II…27
As the fog creeps in, Miyo's skin crawls. It was really creepy, if not a little cold too. However, when the captain disappeared and someone screamed, Miyo's heart practically leapt out of her throat, but thankfully Hideaki's hand found hers and she clutched it tightly, her tiny fingers wrapping around his. "What's going on?"
"There are… Small creatures. They are on the ship, pulling crew members off. Very well organized. I recommend we maintain a tight formation but engage them before we lose more." Hideaki lifts his hands, preparing to do just that.
RPCOMBAT: Miyo defends against with a PERCEPTION…16
The other crew that are still standing make their way towards the center of the deck where Hideaki, Nori, and Miyo have now moved into a formation so that Miyo is between Hideaki and Nori. A few of the crew members make it to them and continue the circle around Miyo, several of them holding hands in fear. Other crew members aren't quite so fortunate and get caught by whatever is attacking them. The fewer crew members left makes the chance of becoming a target that much higher.
And that is precisely what happens. Hideaki is attacked first, followed by Nori and another guy to Hideaki's left. The attacks come in a set of small tentacles with suction cups on them. When they are up close and personal, the creatures look like cuttlefish, a squid-like thing.. The tentacles are strong and the suction cups potentially break the skin. When one of the mini-monsters attacks, several others jump to attack too.
The crew member that is attacked falls to his knees. Miyo could see that he is suddenly covered by the fishly-beasts. He reaches to grab for her in his panic.
RPCOMBAT: Nori defends against with a DODGE…13
RPCOMBAT: Hideaki defends against with a WIND-CLONE…36
Hideaki takes in a deep breath as he makes a flurry of handsigns. As he exhales, a clone steps out of his body, and there is a disruption in the fog from swirling winds. The wind clone steps into the cuttlefish, pushing them aside in a tiny explosion of swirling winds as Hideaki steps to one side, trying to keep a tight formation rather than moving about frantically. Almost immediately after the wind clone has left him, he reaches into his vest to retrive a handful of shuuriken and begins tossing them at the cuttlefish-like creatures.
RPCOMBAT: Hideaki attacks with SHARP…22
RPCOMBAT: Hideaki attacks with SHARP…17
RPCOMBAT: Miyo defends against with a DODGE…13
What horrible little creatures! They were ugly, ishy, ewie, and maybe gooey. Miyo did not want them anywhere near her, but unfortunately one of the sailors was overwhelmed by them and fell back in her direction, and in her panic, Miyo falls backwards, but out of reach. "What are these things?" She kicks at them, making sure they stay away from her, but they were out of range, still worrying away at the sailor they had taken down.
RPCOMBAT: Nori attacks with PHYSICAL…19
Nori is grabbed, but it only lasts a moment. The young Yamanaka manages to rip the squid-creature off his arm, which leaves big red welts from the suction cups, but at least it is off. The boy squishes it between his hands and grunts. "They're squishy!"
Nori shrugs at the question from Miyo, "Not sure…spirits of the sea maybe?" The sailor that Miyo can see is slowly dragged by the critters towards the rail of the boat where he disappears into the fog. A few of the cuttlefish manage to jump through the air at Miyo and Hideaki, but Hideaki's shuuriken find their marks and the creatures go squish. Sensing strength instead of weakness, the other crew members are targeted next…along with Nori again. Hideaki is given a moment to think up a strategy.
RPCOMBAT: Nori defends against with a BLOCK…14
RPCOMBAT: Hideaki defends against with a BLOCK…16
Hideaki steps in front of one of the cuttlefish as it attempts to attack the sailor and tries to toss it away with the flick of his arm. The creature manages to latch on and tear a bit of Hideaki's arm before it flies elsewhere. He then reaches into his vest again, this time to pull out an entire string of a dozen kunai. Rather than throw them at the cuttlefish, though, he begins tossing them down on the deck, dispersing them throughout the group. "Pick up a knife and defend yourselves! Their strength is in numbers, so too must ours be!" Not exactly the most inspirational speech ever delivered, but Hideaki hopes it will be effective in convincing the sailors to do more than stand around being dragged away one by one.
RPCOMBAT: Miyo defends against with a BLOCK…16
Watching the sailor being dragged away by the cuttlefish-things was quite terrifying for Miyo, but she pushed herself to her feet and took her fear out on a nearby cuttlefish, punting the thing half-way across the deck as it attempts to crawl up a sailor's leg without him noticing it. She lets out a little yip-like cheer and places her hand on the hilt of her beloved sword that was poking up over her shoulder. "There's a lot of the little demons, isn't there, Hideaki-sensei?" With a flash, she draws the sword, attempting to bisect one of the buggers as it came towards her by cleaving it in two.
RPCOMBAT: Miyo attacks with SHARP…17
Hideaki's attempts to create comraderi get a few nods of approval, but as soon as one of the sailors tries to help another crew member that is under attack…and the critters turn on the helper…the other sailors become all for none and none for all.
Nori blocks one of the jumping fishies only for another five to jump at him. He is quickly over-powered and dragged down to his back. He finds himself moving across the deck, and since the suckers are over his face…he can't call for help aloud. In his panic, he forgets that he can call for help in other ways.
There are a lot of them…too many, and with each crew-member being dragged away one by one, there are more of them to attack at once. There are only two crew-members left besides Hideaki and Miyo now that Nori is being dragged off too. Miyo manages to save both of the crew-members for a little while longer, once with her kick and the other with her sword. The mini-monster bleeds by Miyo's foot.
RPCOMBAT: Hideaki defends against with a PERCEPTION…16
"Their numbers are the source of the danger," Hideaki agrees to Miyo. He frowns and steps back to back to Miyo. "They are surrounding us," he warns. He then inhales sharply, and spits out beads of wind at the cuttlefish trying to push them back. But there are just too many for this strategy alone to bear any real fruit. And, troublingly, in the choas of the battle he fails to notice Nori's predictament.
RPCOMBAT: Hideaki attacks with WIND-BULLET…28
RPCOMBAT: Hideaki attacks with WIND-BULLET…23
RPCOMBAT: Miyo defends against with a PERCEPTION…10
The cuttlefish that Miyo had selected out of the many that had surrounded them was slashed in two with hardly any resistance. They were squishy, but they certainly split open nicely. As soon as it hit the deck, she kicked it out of the way and flicked the remains off of her sword before turning and looking around a bit. There were so many! "I think they already have us surrounded, Hideaki-sensei!"
Nori is dragged over the rail, down the side of the boat, and into the water. He took a breath just before hand out of instinct, fully expecting that it would be the last breath he's taken. This is it…death is here. Nori peacefully accepts it, despite not having done everything he wanted to do.
The sheer force of numbers is disconcerting for sure. One of the crew-mates even uses a knife to stab himself in the throat when he realizes this is it. Better to choose your own death I guess. The other crew-memeber is snagged and dragged by a whole mass of the creatures. For a moment, the waves of cuttlefish are stopped by the wind bullets, but the swarm through the bullets and completely over-run Hideaki and Miyo's position. In no time, they find themselves being pulled along the surface of the boat in remarkable speed. Over the rails they go, down the side of the boat, and into the water.
Before they can lose their air though, they would hear…<Don't panic, hold your breath, there's air down here.> Sure enough, when they get to the under-side of the boat, they would be drawn into an immense air-pocket the entire size of the ship's hull.
Hideaki stops fighting for only instant to check on Miyo and swiftly realizes that Nori is gone. His last moment before being overwhelmed by the creatures is one of panic. He struggles even as he is being dragged, trying to claw his way to Miyo. Only one of the children is left, and soon it will be none, and there is nothing Hideaki can do about it. He goes over the railing.
With a splash, he slams into the water and begins to sink, still fighting with salt stung eyes and halted breath. His fight ceases when he receives the message from Nori. With some effort, he relaxes his muscles and focuses on conserving his air. <I am glad to hear you are safe.> Hideaki thinks, assuming that Nori can "hear" him as previously.
As he comes up in the air pocket, he gasps for air, trying to adjust his senses even as he does, taking advantage of any sounds and smells should there be no light beneath the ship. He thinks, hoping Nori can still hear him, <Be alert. I feel increasingly suspicious we are dealing with some intelligent being or beings that have yet to reveal themselves.>
About the time that Nori is pulled away by the cuttlefish, Miyo is repeatedly stomping on top of one of the little devils. Her feet may be small, but she put enough force behind her stomps to make that poor thing practically explode. However, at about the same time Hideaki is taken away, Miyo feels the cuttlefish swarming around her, dragging her down. And as she goes over the edge of the ship and hears Nori's message, mid-fall she manages to slide her sword back into its scabbard on her back and hold her breath, plunging into the depths below the ship. Well, at least there was air.
The water below the ship may be held at bay for the time being, allowing everyone who has been brought over the side of the ship to breath, but between the fog above and the swirling bodies of cuttlefish creatures below, not much can be seen except for the other survivors. While most of the crew is being held to the hull of the ship by the mini-monsters, Nori is tree-walking along its underside.
When he spots Hideaki, he nods his head and states, "Looks like everyone is here and…well, surviving. The Captain had to breath into one of the other crew member's mouths, but that is okay now." Nori doesn't quite understand rescue breathing it seems. "If you can tree-walk, they'll let you go I think; as long as you don't fall back into the water." Nori looks out at the swarm of beasts and shakes his head.
A moment goes by where nothing happens, and then the mass of monsters parts below the ship. A single black shadow can be seen moving from the back of the partition…and then a giant squid-like beast slides into view. Its huge tentacles flicker and flit back and forth. It speaks, much like Nori does, directly into everyone's mind. <I am the spirit of this reef.> Sure enough, below the parted cuttlefish is a giant reef…and it is positiviely littered with what looks like bits and pieces of ships and cargo. <I apologize for taking you by force. I cannot talk to you unless you are underwater though. For too long ships have crashed against my reef due to the natural fog it creates above. After the last two ships crashed, I attempted to talk to the third ship. One of my tentacles made contact and the ship hull cracked. The next ship I used my underlings as I did with you, but I did not realize you would need air to breath while I talked to you. So, now you are the latest attempt. I need help.>
Hideaki nods, flipping upside down and sticking to the bottom of the ships hull. He looks for Miyo, and offers her a hand. "Here. You can just hold on to me if you haven't learned this trick yet. I won't let you sink." He then raises his voice, calling out so everyone, hopefully the reef included, can hear him. "You seem to have us at your mercy. What assistance do you need? Do the ships merely need to stop, or do you need the wreckage removed." He silently hopes it is not the latter, as moving entire wrecked ships is easier said than done.
Requiring treewalking to be let go was unfortunate, as Miyo was unable to do so, so she was stuck to the bottom of the ship with the cuttlefish and the sailors. It was sufficiently embarrassing and the cuttlefish holding her was a little awkward to the point where she was blushing slightly from her predicament. She was supposed to be a shinobi, not barnacle! Then, Hideaki-sensei offered his hand and help to her, but she shook her head. She couldn't accept help after this embarrassment! It'd get even worse!
Because of her current situation, Miyo hadn't even really had a chance to see the big creature addressing them, and when she focused in on it, she let out a little surprised shock. Well, at least they figured out what had happened to the other sailors. She began contemplating if she could take credit for the discovery or not.
The giant squid's mega-eye focuses in on Hideaki. It's eye, while flat-black at first, is actually a dark, dancing void of flames. The spirit's eye is eerie to stare into, as if your own spirit trembles at its presence. <Please make all future ships aware of this reef for one. For now though, to prove your good-will, while most of the wreckage can be incorporated into the reef, some of the debris needs to be removed and taken back aboard your ship. The cuttlefish will guide you, but be quick about it. The air will only last so long. If you do not get everything by the time your air runs out…you will be on your own to resurface.> With that, the mini-cuttlefish start dropping back down into the water along with the crew and Miyo. Then…slowly…the air-bubble begins lowering down to the sea floor. Nori and Hideaki would most likely find their air-bubble leaving the ship's hull, so they would need to jump too.
Once everyone is on the sea floor, individual air bubbles break away to surround each individual person. Everyone too gets a cuttlefish guide who starts moving in one direction or another leading the crew and shinobi toward something that needs to be removed from the ocean floor.
Hideaki shudders, just barely noticibly, as he looks into the eye of the creature. Hideaki jumps out into the water, then sinks into water. Eventually, he drops down into the muck on the sea floor and spots the object he is to go after. He trudges toward it, doing his best to move quickly but finding himself unprepared for the task of navigating underwater sludge. Still, eventually he manages to reach the crate. His brow furrows as he reads the inscription on the crate. Human waste… For scientific purposes? No wonder the spirit wants this one out of its reef.
Hideaki lifts the object, shouldering it and then looks around in confusion. "Excuse me… Where, precisely, are we to take these?" He calls out, deciding to limit his volume short of a shout given his finite air supply.
After being given instructions, Miyo and the rest of the crew are dropped to the floor of the ocean where they are met with air bubbles. Miyo found it rather interesting to be beneath the ocean and wanted to explore a bit, but the lack of air to consume was rather concerning. Instead of having fun, she hurried along, moving swiftly through the ocean and coming across the first set of items that needed to be removed. It was a flask of highly radioactive nuclear was- er, some sort of harmful chemical possibly used to create poisons or some such, and it needed to be removed from the ocean before it began to spread around the reef.
Miyo carefully takes a hold of the box, hoping that it had not rotted out and thankfully it must have been rather fresh because it was still good and solid, if not a bit soggy. Once she had a hold of it, however, she was not really sure what to do with it so she waits for her cuttlefish guide. It'd be fairly difficult for her to swim back up with it, and even if she did, there was no guarantee she'd have a place to put it.
Nori dives into the water from the hull, ahead of the air bubble. He makes it to the sea floor before the bubble reaches him, but once it does, he has a bit of a hard time moving along. He isn't all that large framed, but he is bigger than Miyo…so it takes some effort to move through the muck. Where the cuttle-fish manages to lead him to is a whole crate of fertilizer. In fact, he wasn't the only crew-member led to this crate. Some of it has already seeped into the surrounding water a bit…but as the air-bubble reaches them, it drops to the floor. Nori begins by collecting the fertilizer along the ocean floor and throws it back onto the crate. When Hideaki asks where to put it, Nori hmms, "Good question." The giant squid reef spirit pipes up <To your ship of course.> Nori sweat-drops. "Um…how are we going to do this exactly? Either of you know how to manipulate water or earth or something that might help us move this stuff back up to the ship?"
"I do not. I certainly have no way to move crates of this size using my wind manipulation. But if the spirit allows it, one of us can go back up to the ship and drop ropes into the water. If we can tie them to the ship, perhaps we can pull them up after we are done." Hideaki pauses, then adds, "It does sound like a lengthy endevour, however. If you have a faster suggestion…" The Chuunin then raises his voice so the spirit can hear. "May one of our crew return to the ship to place ropes in the water, so we may haul these items back to the ship?"
Miyo looks to Nori and gives him a look of bewilderment. She was a student and he was thinking she might have some sort of crazy water techniques up her sleeve. She didnt even know if she was a water jutsu type person! She merely shakes her head and waits for them to figure out what is going on, being smart, and not using all of her oxygen for conversation like Hideaki and Nori.
The spirit speaks <One may go.> The Captain chooses one of his crew members to go…and up the cuttlefish sweep him. The ropes drop into the water, along with anchors, and they land along the sea-floor without much adieu. Nori quickly unropes the anchor and starts tieing the crate of fertilizer to the ropes. "Good idea Hideaki-san!" Nori says. Yes, he isn't really thinking about the whole conserving oxygen thing. Meanwhile, the air-bubble he is working in gets smaller and smaller. Miyo's air bubble is getting smaller too, but much more slowly due to her speed and conservation techniques. Hideaki on the other hand had gone through a bit more oxygen then the others…but he's picked up some speed so it doesn't look like it'll matter.
Hideaki slips the anchor off and ties the crate to the rope, moving at a brisk pace now. He has finally gotten the hang of this ocean muck, it seems. And then he sets off, following the cuttlefish to his next destination.
The next destinations are fairly more or less the same as the previous ones. Several crates more are brought into the tie-down zone where the crew eagerly straps everything together to get ready to haul up to the ship. Once everyone's cuttlefish stop leading them around, they would hear the spirit, <That is everything. Quickly, before your air is depleted, leave us.> Nori herms and looks to Hideaki, "Maybe you and Miyo should stay underwater while I help them pull the crates up? That way in case something goes wrong (foreshadowing), you two will be here to fix the issue?" And with that the cuttlefish swarm everyone and pull all but Hideaki and Miyo back up on-board the ship. Sooner, rather than later, the first rope is pulled up. Hideaki and Miyo would find their combined air bubbles to be getting smaller and quickly. There are two other ropes to go up. The first makes it without any issues, but the second…the second rope starts to unravel half-way up. Uh-oh.
Hideaki nods but says nothing in response to Nori's suggestion, having finally figured out that talking endlessly is not a wise plan with limited air. As the second rope starts to unravel, Hideaki moves into action, trying desperately to swim to the crate before the rope snaps. Once there, he simply tries to swim upward, hoping to push the crate toward the surface while cutting down on the tension that the rope must face.
Miyo seems very worried about the condition of the second rope. These things were supposed to hold anchors that would hold the ship in place and they couldnt even hold themselves up! Pfft! Shoddy cratsmenship theay were. Unsure of how to proceed, Miyo looks to Hideaki for answers, the expression on her face asking the question that she didn't need to really voice.
However, her answer is recieved when Hideaki begins swimming up and she feels that she has no choice but to go after him. Mustering up the last bit of strength she had in her, Miyo begins the ascent, hoping that she would make it before she ran out of oxygen or stamina. Maybe Hideaki would even manage to stop the thing from breaking.
With the combined strength of Miyo and Hideaki, the create gets pushed up to the side of the boat. Noting the differences in the strength, the crew have shepherd's hooks ready to grab the crates instead of using the rope to haul the creates up to the deck. From under Hideaki and Miyo, the last of the ropes and crates is pulled up. Seeing that everything is up and safe once again, Nori looks to the Captain and states, "So, eh, do we know how to mark the maps so people don't run into the reef now?" The Captain simply nods. Assuming Hideaki grabs Miyo and pulls her aboard by running up the side of the ship, Nori would ask, "Everyone alright then? Ready to get out of here?"
Hideaki climbs aboard the ship, clinging to the hull with his feet, then reaches out to pull Miyo up. As they both get aboard, he agrees emphatically, "I cannot recall ever being more ready to leave a place." Hideaki pauses, looking over both Miyo and Nori. After a moment, his normally stoic face breaks into a tired smile. "I am glad it all worked out."