Date: April 29, 2016
A village has requested shinobi aid when their river suddenly dries up. By the time the ninja arrive however there's no sign of life in the village at all. Just what happened to everyone?
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"A River Runs Dry"
Land of Fire
There was an issue in a village near the edge of the Land of Fire. The small river that had run by the village had dried up and anyone sent upriver to check what was going on didn't return. With people disappearing as well as the water dried up their last chance of finding something was to hire shinobi. Otherwise the village would have to move in it's entirety. Something they didn't want to do of course. That meant that a pair of shinobi would be sent to check things out. A water user of course to try and figure out what happened there as well as someone to protect and help said water user to figure out the problems. Tatsuo and Shugo! Yep. Tatsuo himself was ready and waiting at the gates for Shugo to arrive so that they could get under way.
Shugo was a bit surprised to find out that he was going out on a mission with Tatsuo but it wasn't something he'd question to the point of being late. Rather, the Nara would arrive riding on that shadowy mount of his while he sorted through the pouch at the front of his waist for anything important that he might have forgotten. When the Nara was close enough to where Tatsuo was waiting, Shugo would step from on the shadowy mass and let it melt back down into a simple shape cast on the ground while waving with one hand. Dressed in his usual baggy pants and the tight fitting green sleeveless shirt, Shugo was still slipping his haori on by the time he had finished his greeting. The last thing to apply was of course, his hitai-ate being tied loosely about his neck.
Tatsuo just waits until Shugo arrives. When he does so the boy offers a small smile and a wave of greeting to the older Nara. "Hi Shugo-kun. Um, I'm sorry about the sudden mission. They asked me who I would want to go with me and I couldn't think of anyone else…" At least that didn't hate him but still had some skill. He was curious about that little shadow thing however…"What…um…that shadow, how do you do that? How fast can it go?"
Shugo smiled a bit and looked at the shadowy form before he'd form a hand seal to let the shadow segment and reveal itself to be a wound up mass of shadows behind himself. "It's a slightly complicated shadow manipulation being used in a more daily-utility manner than for just combat purposes. As far as the speed… I would guess as fast as I can fuel it with chakra to go." Shugo answered without too much thought before focusing his chakra and causing the shadow to move about in a few swift circles for a demonstration. He didn't send it too far however, or rather, he couldn't. It seemed all of Shugo's focus was on the mass which limited how far it could go to the size of his personal shadow and how much it could be changed.
Well now this was something interesting to Tatsuo. He had never thought shadows could do something like that after all! Water forms up near Tatsuo and he jumps onto it, the layer of water moving quickly now that he's attached. "Is it faster than running? Um, it might be good to get to this village quickly from what the report said. But I don't want to wear you out either…"
Shugo moved back and sat down onto the shadowy form before focusing his chakra a bit to widen a shadowy claim around it. "I can make it faster than running. Don't worry about me." Shugo explained while he lifted his parasol and snapped it open to rest over his shoulder. It was both for the shade, and for the added bonus of a shadow he could maintain ahead of himself while he sat atop his shadowy mass and began moving it forward to settle beside Tatsuo. "I have pretty good chakra control and plenty of chakra to use, maintaining this is easier than launching and it's less tiring than… running…" The last word was said with some disgust… physical labor itself was disgusting to Shugo.
Hey that worked for Tatsuo! And he wouldn't have to exert extra chakra to make this platform bigger. "Um, okay then. Let's get moving." With that his platform of water turns and he's off. Really it's a lot faster than normal shinobi running. Perhaps not as fast as some of the fastest people but Tatsuo was less likely to get tired as well. He wasn't really watching Shugo at first, just kind of assuming he could keep up as they headed out of one village towards another. Right?
The Nara smiled and zipped after Tatsuo while crossing his legs atop his shadow, leaning forward slightly to give the shadow more room before himself and increasing the speed of its forward motion. He wouldn't have much trouble keeping up with Tatsuo once they reached an area with shade off the road that Shugo could use to claim and streak across before he was just slightly behind Tatsuo and trailing along after him. "So what do you think the causes could be? Droughts don't just pop up, right?" Shugo questioned as he kept an eye closed to focus half on Tatsuo, and half on his shadows.
"Um, not so suddenly no. And people are disappearing which is what has me more worried. I can get the water wherever it's needed, but I'm more worried about where the people are." Tatsuo's water just kind of flashes him along, the boy not even really seeming to focus on it as he floats a good ten feet above the ground. "I'm worried someone is doing it on purpose just to try and get the people."
Shugo nodded his head at Tatsuo's comments and scratched at his hair as he sped along more closely to the ground that Tatsuo. The mass Shugo used only expanded around a foot or two up into the air to keep from negatively affective the size of Shugo's shadow while he moved. "I'd guess so as well though the method is what worries me the most. Earth manipulation and water are the easiest to manage it, but I think fire could do it as well. I don't have a clue as to what they are doing with the people though." Shugo commented as he thought over the information that had been supplied from the brief bit of information.
It's definitely some kind of mystery! Tatsuo doesn't respond to Shugo's comments as he instead focuses on getting to the village quickly. Luckily with their increased speed the whole trip doesn't take as long as it normally might, and also with the increased speed they don't run into any trouble along the way. A nice relief in that at least. Once they arrive at the village the feeling of concern and desperation is thick in the air. There aren't even any people out in fields or really out of their houses at this point, everyone seems to just be hiding.
At Tatsuo's silence, Shugo nodded a bit and simply focused on their trip. Pressing from his shadow to step off of it even before it stopped, Shugo drew out a simple seal tag to drop to the ground for the moment while looking over the area. Barren of life, there was probably more activity in a desert at noon than there was in the village at this particular moment. The locals must really be scared… or already gone.
Tatsuo looked around the village with a frown when he realized just how empty it was. Something wasn't right, that's for sure. "Shugo-kun…we should try and find the Elder's house. Um, keep an eye out to see if you see anything out of the ordinary." Or perhaps /more/ out of the ordinary? Tatsuo starts walking through the empty village then, dark eyes flicking around quickly to try and make sure nothing surprised them. But so far there's no sign of human life. Or any life for that matter.
Shugo gave a nod of his head as he followed after Tatsuo and shifted his right arm to release a packet, a slow fall of pages flittering free and beginning to quietly float about the village. Where those pages settled, they would begin to send out a short lived barrier, and then react in one of two ways. If they detected something they would let out a quiet bell-toll, while nothing being detected would simply render them inert, a simple paper talisman on the ground. Things that were out of the ordinary… besides there being a village populated with nothing but dead air, what could there be?
Silence greets the arrival of the seals as they pick up nothing but houses and air. When Tatsuo reaches the home of the Elder he stopped outside, then knocked on the door. When there was no response he looked through a window. "There's no one here," he says softly sounding concerned. He turns to look around once more, uncertain. "I guess we should go check on the river…"
Shugo frowned at the lack of sound that he was expecting to hear from the people hiding inside. "There's no one anywhere so far… That's just about the only strange thing we're going to find here.." Shugo commented while he walked away from Tatsuo to test one of the doors of another house. All the while, his green eyes were scanning the area, searching for signs of forced entry, spilled blood of a struggle, or even just some sign of recent activity that would tell him this place was at least deserted recently.
There was no signs of anything. It was like the entire village had just up and left, leaving behind all their belongings when they went. It was not a good sign whatever it was. Tatsuo led the way to the riverbed, pausing at it's edge to look down into the two foot divet that was dry as could be. "How…strange. Usually there would still be some signs of water this soon after the river dried up."
Shugo was right behind Tatsuo as they moved to the riverbed and the shadow user reached out as he crouched down to touch the riverbed and lightly scratch at the ground to test how long it had been dried up. "Should we follow it up river then..? Maybe see what's happening at the source?" He questioned without looking away from the ground. It was fairly strange but he had no way of getting as much information as Tatsuo would. Shadows weren't really useful at all with this kind of a problem.
"Yes," Tatsuo agrees with Shugo as he looks from the empty river bed to the direction the river /should/ be flowing from. "Just be watchful. I'm not too sure what we might find now even more than before." It would help if /someone/ was still around, but the absolute absence of a single living soul was beyond disconcerting. He starts up the dry river bed then, looking around as they go while also reaching out with his water sense to try and find anything within the riverbed itself. By the look on his face he didn't like what he was sensing so far.
Shugo jogged briefly to begin walking alongside Tatsuo and examining his face for a moment. He didn't ask what was bothering the other, guessing he'd explain if he wished to, and if not, had reason not to. Laying his parasol over his shoulder, Shugo tucked his hands down into his pockets and let a sigh escape from his chest while he began to refocus his chakra once more. "How are things going at the hospital?" Shugo questioned, trying to give Tatsuo something to speak on to fill the silence.
"It's going okay…" Tatsuo says, then trails off. He stops suddenly in his tracks as he stares ahead. At first there's nothing visible - then there's suddenly a rather large wave of water that seems to have almost manifested out of nowhere. "Uh…" This was a bad sign in many ways. He steps in front of Shugo quickly, blue chakra suddenly cloaking around him before two tails form up behind him. As the wave hits them it splits in half, going around the pair before diverting back to the river bed. That last bit was the hardest part, but he didn't want the wave to hit the village.
"Well well," a voice says from further up the river, not shouting yet it still carried easily enough. "What have we here. I thought I'd be able to kill a few shinobi in one fell swoop."
When Tatsuo came to a sudden stop, Shugo already let his chakra begin to seep free from his form, slight fog of shadows beginning to wisp from in his haori to signal the Nara growing cautious of the possible threat. Shugo flicked his wrist at the sight of the rushing water, tis shadow blackening in preparation though before the teen had even began to raise his shadows up and reach for Tatsuo to protect him from the water. It was that chilling senation of the heavy chakra of Tatsuo's partner that caused Shugo to smile a bit wickedly - a smile that was uncomfortable, but happy at the same time. At least the beast wasn't trying to wash away all of his hard work this time…
"I guess idle chatter can come later…" Shugo said as he tilted his parasol to shade himself and increase his shadow's natural range.
The cloak faded as the water finally subsided and though the river was bulging over it's bank it was no longer a threat to flood everything. Obviously some of the water had been stored up and apparently the rest had been diverted. Tatsuo doesn't look behind him to Shugo as he instead stares ahead at the man continuing to frown deeply. "Where are the people of the village?"
"Oh them? I think some might still be alive up yonder," the man says, motioning behind him and to the side a bit. "Probably not for long though."
"Shugo-kun, I'm leaving this man to you," Tatsuo says, tone dark. "I'm going to see if I can save any of the people."
Shugo nodded as he listened to Tatsuo's words and slowly twirled his parasol over his shoulder. "I'll take care of him then, I won't kill him but I can at least make sure he doesn't cause anyone problems any longer. Go take care of the villagers." Shugo offered while slowly lifting his parasol from over his shoulder. A firm thrust, and that parasol would be launched up over his head while the Nara formed a set of quick hand seals and sent his shadow forward along the ground swiftly. The shadows molded into the form of clawed hands grasping for the man's legs while the Nara allowed the shadows to begin wrapping around his form in preparation for what was to come.
Tatsuo lept onto another thin platform of water and zipped away quickly once Shugo said he would take care of the man.
The man looks after Tatsuo but before he can attack the youth he finds himself dealwith with a shadow user. Apparently this man is also a water user as a wave flahses over the shadows with the movement of a hand, washing the shadows away before they can reach him. "One of those Nara then? Interesting. I might not kill you right away. Perhaps a few experiments will be in order first." The nearby river shifts suddenly and a rush of water launches towards Shugo, preparing to slam into him.
The Shugo let his shadows completely wrap around himself and for the water to pass through those shadows harmlessly while he counted silently to himself. "Five… four.. three.." He formed a few seals with his hands and sank down into his shadow as his parasol drifted down to the ground. "Two… one…" Shugo said as his parasol's shadow touched the outstretched shadows and let the Nara lunge forward through the darkness while whipping off his haori. With his haori off and subject to the water's soaking nature, Shugo let it gain weight from the water before throwing it toward the man. "Less talk," Shugo began in that warped tone of voice as he formed a single hand seal, in an instant shadowy spears shot forth from the shadows covering his form in an attempt to try piercing through the man's arms.
The man seemed rather bemused at the way Shugo had avoided his watery attack. He seemed less amused when the shadows flowed forward and pierced through his arms. But then he vanished as water slid to the ground, showing the clone that he'd used in his place. Instead the man had snuck /through/ the water around behind Shugo. "Sharp pointy objects, got it." Water formed up into two large spears at either shoulder before they launched towards Shugo quickly.
Shugo frowned when he saw the man had used a clone to hide away and began looking around for where the man had slinked off to. The answer made itself known for Shugo however, the pain of those watery spears stabbing into him from behind causing the Nara to let out a bark of pain before he stumbled forward across the surface of the water. Turning about and reaching up over his shoulder to feel for the wounds, Shugo ground his teeth while glaring at the man for a brief, silent moment. "I think I'll call you slug.. you're slippery like one." The shadow user explained as he waited to see how the man would react.
The man watches as his watery spears find a home in Shugo before they themselves lose form and fall to the ground. "Slug? Well you won't be calling me much. After all, when I'm done you'll be called 'Dead'." The man flashes through hand seals and the water on either side of Shugo shoots suddenly upwards before coming down in a torrent of water imbued with power. It's like a giant boulder bearing down on the Nara.
Shugo would focus his chakra to cloak himself in his shadows once more, letting that water slam down on his form harmlessly for the most part though when the downpour finished, Shugo's shadows had receded early leaving him soaked and his exposed skin reddened with the first onset of bruising. A slight wince and the Nara would drop down to one knee as he winced. "Son of a…" The Nara muttered out but seemed to be struggling to move after that last strike, he could barely even lift his arms from his lap. A mindful eye might notice that his hands were both in his pouch though that was explained when the Nara threw out a pair of paper tags to land on the water near the man. And then Shugo was down and beginning to sink into the water he once stood upon as he seemed to pass out. It would be only a brief delay before the complex seals on those tags triggered and the sapping funnels of their seal activated to try draining a fair portion of the man's chakra.
"Hmph, such weak shinobi," the man says when Shugo seems so badly struck and falls face first into the water. "Now, where did that other one-" he had started turning to look for Tatsuo but was cut off when the seals activated and he felt the draining presence of his chakra. "Draught!" he curses at Shugo as he finally manages to back away from the seals before dropping to a knee as he tried to regain some of his strength.
GAME: Save complete.
"Such a weak fool.." Shugo mumbled as the floating parasol lifted, its black shadow on the surface of the water allowing the Nara to emerge from inside and stand before the man before he'd form a single hand seal and send out his shadows toward the man. Rather than just using the same tactic however, Shugo would shift his hand seal to split the shadow into a myriad of needle-like spires extending from his shadow, planning to try catching the man from multiple directions and hopefully deter him from being able to get away.
The man spat a curse at Shugo when he showed he was really only playing dead. Well that wasn't cool. It seemed he wasn't about to just give up however. He makes a quick set of hand seals still on his knees and water wraps around him, then shoves him towards shugo. The water was a distraction. The kunai in his hand was the deadly part as he tried to sneak it through Shugo's defenses.
Shugo didn't move from his place as he watched the man, merely narrowed his eyes as he shifted his stance and the hold he had on his parasol. Raising his left hand as shadows encompassed his fingers, the Nara would harden layer after layer of his shadows around his hand to try blocking that attack, but also to launch one of his own. With the water and the man being driven straight toward the teen, Shugo let his shadow at his feet stretch forward along the water, seeking the shadow of his enemy in a calm attempt to use the man's forward charge against him. It wasn't his most high-ranking technique, or even the most dangerous… it was the Nara clan's most basic technique of Shadow Imitation that Shugo chose to use against the man.
The forward momentum and the chakra flow of the water moves the man forward, so while he will likely be caught after the moment, he still moves towards Shugo with that kunai aimed with deadly accuracy towards a vital organ or two.
Shugo wouldn't move, not wanting to lose focus on his attempt to capture the man in a simple trap that could be used for so much more. His hide was durable enough to break up the watery cascade and with his face wrapped in the darkness, the Nara was blinded for only a moment. That was the teen's undoing as he, at the last second, saw the charging man's hidden strike behind that watery wall. There was little time to do anything but shift his own arm out to the side in the hopes of directing the man's strike off to the side and avoid the vital organs he's learned about in Tatsuo's training. Hopefully his hide was thick enough to misdirect most of the damage and leave him with little more than a glancing blow.
The man fights the movement of the kunai through the use of the shadow manipulation, yet in the instance before it hits the kunai has moved enough so that it only heads for Shugo's shoulder. With the shadowy hide it will likely be a glancing blow anyways. "Gah! Let me go you piece of sediment!"
It's then that Tatsuo returns, already looking tired. The river looks to be back to normal now and a few splatters of blood on his clothing show that he had been working quite diligently while he was gone. "Shugo-kun, are you okay?" he asks as he lands behind the other Nara, preparing to attack the man.
Shugo hissed slightly at the pain of the slight cut that scratched into his clothing, cursing slightly under his breath as Tatsuo arrived though the Nara was already smiling sweetly even as he let shadowy arms wind around the man's body to ensure he didn't move from that spot. "I'm just finishing up here is all, how's everyone from the village?" Shugo said in a good natured tone. Raising his hands to form a seal, Shugo had the grasping hands of his shadows crawl along the man's arms before clench powerfully on his hands to make sure they would not easily be used for jutsu in the future.
Tatsuo moves around Shugo as the man lets out a cry of pain. "Um, have him put his hands behind his back please so I can tie them," he says as he pulls out some wire to tie them up. They might be destroyed for the moment, but it wouldn't hurt to make sure he can't move even more. Or is that less? "Some of them were already dead when I got to the building he had them in. I was able to save all the others but I still have some work to do with some of them. I didn't want to leave you alone for too long." Although he really didn't need to worry apparently.
Shugo would have his shadows force the man to obey Tatsuo's wishes, drawing those arms back and crossing his hands at the wrists so that Shugo didn't need to let his guard down. He would form up his shadowy hands once more but not in an honest attack… it was more of a threat with pressure on the man's wrists in case he chose to resist at any point. The resulting punishment would be obvious. "I'm glad you did, I wasn't sure if he was alone and giving him so much of my attention left me open toward the end." Shugo admitted with a touch of relief in his tone. It's good to have back up when you need it most.
Tatsuo nods in understanding to Shugo's words. "I can understand that. But you did very well here Shugo-kun." Tatsuo ties up the man before he nods to Shugo to indicate that he can free up his shadows. Once he does Tatsuo would give the man a swift, calculated chop to knock him unconscious, letting him fall to the ground before he moves worriedly forward to check on Shugo. "You're hurt. Here let me take a look." He reaches out a hand to Shugo and, if allowed, would send the healing chakra through.
Shugo wasn't against a little first aid from an expert, shifting his shirt away from his arm to let Tatsuo have a clear look at the wound. It wasn't long before Shugo let a joke slip out. "How bad is it? Do you think I'll live, Doc..?" Shugo said in the most overdramatic tone he could muster, it really did hurt but it wasn't comparable to the kind of pain he got from a certain Inuzuka tazing him within an inch of his life! Nah, this scratch was nothing, and besides, Shugo had bigger priorities… His head began moving like it was on a swivel as he scanned the area for his Haori… that thing was his favorite.
Tatsuo blinks in surprise at the rather odd, overexerated question and it causes him to blush lightly. "Um, yes, you'll be fine Shugo-kun," he says as he heals the scratch and even gives the other Nara a small injection of stamina to help him out. With that done he withdraws his hand and looks back to the man they'd captured. "The villagers should be back soon. He had them all locked up. He was using them to get shinobi to come out. If it was a lesser team he might've killed them." He looks to Shugo then with respect. "I'm glad you came with me Shugo-kun." He notices the worried look for a moment and starts to ask what he's looking for before he senses something. A rivlet of water rises a short ways down the river with the haori. It drops the item of clothing from a few feet above Shugo, already dried.
The Nara liked the reassurance as well as Tatsuo's words of praise. "I'm not so sure. I'm not really that strong… you should see Hige wipe the floor with me even when I give it my all some time." Shugo commented while looking about, however soon enough that Haori had been deposited close by and the Nara would work his arm to make sure it was feeling perfectly fine. More so to show it really, Tatsuo did good work so there was no need to worry about lingering pain or stiffness. "You're a life saver, Tatsuo. For the villagers and my wardrobe. Now, how about we get back to the villagers? I can help with the basics and you can even teach me a thing or two about being a medic while we take care of them." Shugo suggested. No point staying here now that the opponent was bound and broken, right?
Tatsuo nods his agreement quickly. "Yes, that sounds good. Um, let's go see if they have any that need help getting back." A bubble of water forms around the unconscious man just to make sure he doesn't wake up and try to escape, then he turns to lead Shugo away. They solved the mystery of the river and the missing villagers. Mission complete!