Date: March 10 ,2012
The trap has been sprung and now the team of would-be rescuers of Emu's captive find themselves under the streets of Sunagakure, in a labyrinthe network of tunnels and passages known as the Catacombs, and feared by just about everyone who knows of their history. They are cut off, their group split in half, and Emu is still down there with them… As well as horrors that predate the Hidden Sand Village itself by over a century.
Poster note: Profanity filtered in obvious places.
"Blood Red Sandman - Am I Evil?"
The Catacombs - Sunagakure
Just as Naru says the word 'trap', lines of Chakra race along the walls in the vision of the two Sharingan-wielders. It appears that there are wires cleverly hidden amongst the dirt and sand, wedged into the cracks of the stone walls… And they are conducting Chakra from further within the tunnels, and terminating at indentations—'pockets' in the stone blocks that look to be rather recently-made. Berii and Naru have about two seconds to call out a warning, react, or otherwise get out of the way. Then the explosive tags inside the walls trigger and the tunnel suddenly becomes a death chamber full of rock shrapnel, hundreds of pounds of dirt and sand, and a dense cloud of dust that obscures sight.
Oh, and a very loud *BOOM*, like someone just began playing on the world's largest drum inside the skull of each kunoichi.
Whenever the debris finally settles, and whatever condition the two Uchiha girls are in afterwards, they'll find that they're cut off from the others. The Chakra of the others may be visible to some degree even through all the earth now between them, but it would take time to dig through it. Meanwhile, the tunnel is open and available heading north — the direction Emu's mocking laughter and the fading energy of the girl he took captive were heard and seen, as opposed to south, where the others were before the explosions.
Berii looks forward while Naru begins to talk, squinting for a moment as her Sharingan darkens for a moment but, she couldn't figure anything else out. She just shrugs and then nods to Naru, "Hnn, definatewy a twap but… why?" Was this guy just /that/ bored, maybe he lost his job and family or something? Berii rubs the back of her neck and takes one step forward before picking up on the chakra linings.
There wasn't much she could do to avoid it so she just drops low and with a quick movement, summons two targes to try and take the impact from her sides. "Down!" Was the last thing she managed to yell before she found herself falling once again, not through holes thankfully, just from the force of the blast.
"OW!" Yelled out a lot louder than she had planned, the pink haired Uchiha's ears ringing for quite some time before managing to pick up on the incoming laughter. Berii seals the two shields back up and wipes some dirt from her face. "Bleh… neh, you okay?" Berii turns her eyes to Naru, her dazed brain only just now remembering that there were others with her. Which…causes her to slowly turn her attention to the group behind her vaguely making them out through the debris.
This realization that they were split up from the rest only led to a sigh.
Naru too was what curious of the ciurcumstances of why this guy was doing this, chasing someone into dark tunnel, falling from a the top of a building and everythign else that was ensuing was not her way of having a good time.. As Berii spoke naru could only shrug her shoulders, "Honestly, I'm not quite sure what to make of it…" She states simply, her eyes watching along the alls she blinks for a moment as the trap was begining to be sprung. "" Naru shouts out as the explosion had made way, forcing the two to drop and leap further into the area, away from the blasting zone but forcing Naru herself to barrel roll slightly picking up dust and sand in her hair and mouth.
"Uck…Bleh.." She mummers quietly under her breath, spitting out the dust her eyes turns to Berii to see if she was okay, and judging by what her eyes were telling her, everything was fine.. " I'm…Fine…" Naru replies back, fixing her head on straight while rising to a stand. " It looks like we have no choice but to go forward… And play this little game," Naru states, brushing herself off in the process, she held out a hand for Berii in case she needed help getting up. "We can't waste any time… Lets move quickly and be vigilante…" With that, Naru began to move forward, keeping her sharingan activated to scan her surroundings. This time they had to be ready for anything…
The girl that the blonde-haired man took as a hostage seems to be ahead in the tunnel still. And her Chakra is still fading, though it's not fading as fast as it was before. Infact, the wires that were used to trigger those Explosive Tags had the same subtle coloration of Chakra as the girl's body does… Did… Did this kidnapping guy somehow drain the girl's Chakra to fuel a trap to attack her would-be rescuers!? How much more vile can one get than THAT!?
Sadly, it seems the two girls are likely to find out how much worse he can be. There don't appear to be any more traps that the all-seeing Sharingan can detect. No more wires in the walls… Or rather, the ones that were there have been dislodged and now hang limp, severed, and loose on the sand-strewn ground beneath their feet. It's still completely dark aside from the bright Chakra of each other and the dwindling glow of a girl who is clearly dying. There's no more doubt about that. The outline of her form is visible, especially if they hurry over to where she lies on the floor, and her Chakra has receded from the outer portions of her extremities as her heart is no longer pumping blood and the energy the cells contain as efficiently.
And there's still no sign of the perpetrator of all this. So he used the girl to fuel a trap and left her to die? Why is he doing this? Who is he? If Uchiha Berii and Uchiha Naru had heard the name of the man they are dealing with they might realize from reputation alone. But right now, they have no idea that they are the 'prey of choice' for a serial-killer.
"Hnn, white. Pthhtbt." Sand in her mouth /again/ how often was this going to happen. Berii groans and just begins to run forward, much more wary for even the most subtle of objects. Every little crack or disturbance in the sand was now a trap and she would brace for some sort of surprise every time she ran by one of them. It was sheer paranoia but, it was enough to make her avoid thinking too hard which…isn't entirely a good thing.
A man who could evade multiple ninja, a man who would randomly abduct a girl, a man who would leave said girl to just die and link her up as a trap to kill multiple other people. This definately wasn't something Genin should be chasing.
But. 'Lalalala, time to be a hero~' Berii was too caught up on avoiding more possible traps and trying to stop this kidnapped girl from dying completely and so when they finally reach. Berii's brain sort of cut short.
It already appeared as if, the whole hero case was dying rapidly with the girl. "Neh.. Nawu-chan?" Berii scans the area before settling back on the girl, the Uchiha's basic medical knowledge making her come up with ideas on how to treat the wound but, "I think wew, too wate."
Berii drops down next to the girl, "Do you know how to patch this up a bit? Hnn, maybe we can get some info." Berii was continuing the brave face but, her look was growing pallid, hands shaking when she slowly started to reach for the injured girl's clothes her brain telling her to attempt to do something though Berii continued to rapidly drop into uselessness.
Naru wasn't a medical ninja, the wounds and the chakra levels of the girl were deplinishing expotentially, she didnt know what to do quite honestly, she could only watch as the girls energy began to fade away. "I have no idea what to do about that Chakra…But we can dress the wound around….her neck? she speaks up, moving closer with a kunai in hand, slicing into her own clothing to tear off the along the hem of her shirt, with Naru's clothes being a bit durable to the heat it was probably going to make a perfect dressing for the wound, at least considering the circumstances… That would stop the bleeding but the needles..and odd things plunged into her body, she didnt want to risk touching it, she had no iea if they would cause more bleeding or not. " Our mission is done… The next step is getting out of here…" Naru concluded, while attempting to get the girl fixed up as much as she could, her unconcious state was a good thing. Naru was irritated though, after dressing the wound she began to rise up, looking around mostly for the man that had caused this. " Where the are you?! How about you pick on someone that can actually fight back?!"
The girl's bleeding is stopped to the best of Naru's abilities, but the arteries were severed and she has already lost a LOT of blood. She needs medical treatment as soon as possible or she's going to die. Berii's stunned state, even with the desperate attempt to come up with some way of helping, of DOING something, fails to accomplish much. The blood that has spread out in a pool within which the Iwa ninja is lying in is already starting to cool, much of the Chakra within the blood cells having vanished already as those cells die.
So much blood. It can't even be seen in the darkness once it loses its life-giving energy. What will happen when these two run out of the Chakra needed to maintain their Sharingan? If they haven't gotten to the surface by then, not only will the girl be dead, but they'll be blind themselves. Is that what this fiend is waiting for?
Naru angrily calls out a challenge to the villain… And receives a reply from much closer than is probably desirable:
Directly above her.
A length of garrotte wire that was hung in a loop drops over Naru's head as she stands up. The indistinct, miniscule weight of the wire is the only warning during that moment after Naru yells. If she doesn't act quickly to cut the wire, duck back down, or otherwise shift mental tracks from 'challenging a distant foe' to 'suddenly nearby threat', it cinches tight and cuts off her air supply to yell with, before pulling upwards powerfully and likely leaving her dangling a couple inches above the floor, feet not quite able to touch. Perhaps she would struggle in the darkness, then, unaware of what exactly is going on except that something thin and painfully-tight is assaulting her throat. Cutting the wire with a kunai would be the best solution….
But only if the kunoichi can overcome immediate survival instincts instead of scrabbling and scratching uselessly at the tightened noose. Berii might notice the strange noises from her friend, or the sudden movement in the dry, warm, stale air-currents. If not, however, she is completely reliant upon either Naru freeing herself in time to choke out a warning, or pure luck to determine they are under attack.
How did this bastard get so close without being seen? Why isn't he visible right NOW, infact!? The answer becomes clear one way or another a few moments after the attempted hanging of the elder of the two kunoichi, as Genjitsu Emu drops down from where he clung to the ceiling and attempts to kick Berii as hard as he can directly in the face, right across her eyes. He is a master Taijutsuist, and he can hit HARD.
Further, it appears he has no Chakra at all. He's there, physically present, and clearly alive… But it's like his Chakra Network was removed from his body at some point, leaving him alive even without the most basic level of Chakra that all living things have. Like he's running on Stamina and nothing else.
That would explain why no one has been able to find him yet.
He's nearly invisible to sensor-ninja.
"That's the idea, princess," the friendly voice of Emu replies out loud finally. "It wouldn't be much fun if you couldn't fight back. Though the helpless have their own flavor of fear, of course… My name is Genjitsu Emu, and it has been such a long, LONG time since I've gotten to play with Uchiha girls~…"
Then he growls in a much more animalistic tone, "So frustratingly, ACHINGLY long… I think I'll leave the prissy one intact except for her eyes. But you… I'll have my fun with you after I've removed your arms and legs." The sound of a spring firing and metal sliding into the palm of a man's hand may be heard for a moment before the wire noose is released, regardless of if it worked or not. Then a blade slashes at Naru's left shoulder in the darkness.
Light tears start to well up in Berii's eyes, she was not necessarily attached to the passing girl in any way. They were tears that were a result of her own failure to do anything at this moment. The girl continued to die, Berii mentally slapping herself as she gains a bit of tunnel vision, eyeing the 'treated' wound as blood just continues to flow. "Sowwy…" Her brain finally clicks into activity as she does a few quick seals and lets off a gentle stream of flames.
Berii could only hope that the Iwa ninja was in no state to feel any more pain as the goal was to simply cauterize the wound though, this may also lead to burns elsewhere as the cloth is burned away and the wound sealed up. While Berii was focused on the wound the flash of light from the fire may give Naru a bit of warning of what was to come.
Convinient momentary flash of light may be enough to give Naru a looksie and figure how to better get away from being strangled. Sadly, Berii would not be so lucky later on as she suddenly feels a, literally, blinding pain in her face. The kunoichi is lifted off of the ground and tumbles back a few feet with a little squeal. Once again dazed and confused, Berii gets up to her feet, gingerly feeling at her face as her limited visions comes back to.
"Wh-what?" The sounds obviously came from in front of her yet, she could only see Naru. For now, she doesn't blindly step into the fight instead she starts to rapidly summon some items two large fuuma shuriken, each blade wrapped in cloth yet… nothing is done just yet.
Naru is completely taken in by surprised from the sudden events, though was curious as to why she herself didnt think of cauterizing the wound with her fire jutsu, she watched carefully as Berii began to work her magic, almost smirking during the process. "Thats actually a good idea…" Naru stated, though suddenly she noticed something odd, her eyes finally catching on to what had been a shadow looming over her head. " Neh?" She quickly looked upwards, seeing something reach down at her from above, though rather than instinctfully moving away she reaches out for it and feels her arm caught up in a restraining noose as she attempted to tug the object down.
"Berii-chan!" Naru shouts out as she struggles at first, wiggling in the air with a dangling arm naturally she reaches down into her tools to take out a single kunai, attempting to cut herself down while her sharingan lingered and watched carefully around, she couldn't see him still but hse knew something was up, especially since he finally began to speak, she did feel a slash across along her flesh, causing her to grunt slightly in pain… "You bastard… I promise as soon as I get down from here…" She continued to struggle, though mostly concerned with how Berii was doing… She would help out as soon as she got down…
Am I Evil? - Part Two
Just as Naru says the word 'trap', something happens. Berii yells out, "Down!" and then throws herself to the ground, Naru doing likewise, and that same moment the tunnel suddenly becomes a death chamber full of rock shrapnel, hundreds of pounds of dirt and sand, and a dense cloud of dust that obscures sight as the walls explode.
Oh, and a very loud *BOOM*, like someone just began playing on the world's largest drum inside the skull of each ninja.
Whenever the debris finally settles, and whatever condition the ninja are in afterwards, they'll find that they're cut off from the others. A huge amount of rock has filled the passage, forming a barrier between Itami and Kazuhito, with their torches, and the two Uchiha girls with their Sharingan… And no torches. The tunnel is open and available heading south. However, that is the exact opposite direction the two young ninja are, if they aren't buried under all that rubble, and north — the direction the girls are in — is the same direction Emu's mocking laughter came from before, and the same direction Berii reported the fading Chakra of the Iwa ninja who was taken captive was located.
It seems Emu set this up nicely to isolate his targets and then split them up. Fortunately, both Itami and Keiji can move through the earth to various degrees, and the explosion would have alerted Keiji to something being wrong when he makes his way back. Further, thanks to Kazuhito's quick-thinking they have illumination to work with (though Keiji might not need such, with his low-light vision). But with a killer like Genjitsu Emu, there's really just no time to waste.
Not only is the captive in danger, but two Genin are now likely targets as well.
Elsewhere in the tunnels, Keiji finds a ladder leading up to a hatch. He climbs up it and opens the hatch to find himself inside another small abandoned building. He quickly makes his way to the door. It's been boarded up from the outside. "…" the boy states as he pushes against it. Then, even though his eyes are dark like the night, a light bulb appears. The boy places his hands together to make some seals and the earth beneath the door turns into a carpet of rising daggers. Now able to kick open the door, Keiji rushes outside. His eyes glance around once more before they fall on another shinobi.
"You. We need…" Then the earth begins to shakes from below. Keiji does well holding his balance but turns around. "There is no time, follow me. Itami-sama needs help. So does a little girl. Just stay close to me. I'll lead you back to them."
Kazuhito lunges at the sound of the explosion. A piece of rock lands on his leg, and it twists awkwardly. He cries out, then tucks his head down while the dust settles. When the immediate noise stops, he starts to stand. His leg, luckily, is not buried, but the instant he puts weight on it he grimaces and starts to sink back towards the ground. With some effort, though, he rises, face crinkled in pain as he looks over to Itami. He raises his torch and inspects both the path back to the north and the open tunnel to the south. Finally he says to Itami, "I- I'll follow your lead but- that way seems the only real choice at this point?" He leans his torch to the south.
Upon hearing the word 'down', Itami dropped to the floor and watched as the tunnel exploded, sending debris and rock everywhere. She guarded her head well enough with her arms, but it came at the cost of having some rocks shoot into her arms. She hissed at the pain, coughing as some dust made it's way into her nose. When she rose from the ground, her ears were ringing and she found it difficult to hear anything at the moment.
Eventually, they'd settle enough for her to make out Kazuhito's words, so she nodded as she rubbed her head saying, "We can get through…" She remarked. "I don't know where these tunnels lead, but…I think this barrier is going to need some busting down…." She placed her hands together in a seal and lowered herself to the ground to allow her body to take shape easily into her reptilian form. She needed one with enough power to get through, so she took her largest form and waited for her body to balance itself in this form. Once done, she took a few steps back, cautioning Kazuhito to step aside so she wouldn't step on him. With enough distance, she charged forward and connected with the wall of debris with enough force to make the center collapse. The debris on the side gathered into the center in a small pile, but it was nothing that couldn't be easily avoided.
Still, the extra caution was taken to scrape the mound down until it was less of a nuissance before going back to her original self. "Not anymore," she stated to Kazuhito. "Let's move forward." With that, she returned to get her torch and meet the Uchiha. "Are you both alright?"
Shemri and Shiikaa walk down the street on their way to…well, who cares? :P Things have been a touch depressing for Shemri lately, thanks to sorta-failing at important things. First there was that mission track the Pride and make sure they didn't cause any mischief in the Land of Wind. Converting almost an entire gang of ninja bandits to Suna loyals would probably be considered a wild success for such a mission by most, but that was mostly Sora-san's doing, and the whole thing was soured for Shemri by the head honcho getting away. >P Then there were the recent exams, in which Shemri did…kinda okay…lost a scroll, gained another one, you could call that breaking even, but it wasn't enough to pass. Feels like she's in a rut, really. If only some chance would come along to do something important and do it well, some emergency she can—oh hey, watch what you wish for. c.c Shemri blinks at Keiji and his terse request for backup, then dashes after him with Shiikaa on her heels. "What is going on?"
Blood has been spilled. Blood. The fluid of life. The substance that fuels us. The fuel that drives us. The precious liquid that carries Chakra throughout the body, and the very cells that produce that Chakra by processing food, water, oxygen… Deeper in the tunnel, an Iwagakure Genin is lying in an ever-growing pool of her own blood, until Uchiha Berii cauterizes the wound in the girl's neck. Even then, however, Emu's victim is near to death's door. She has lost a lot of blood. The bleeding has been stopped for now, but she still needs help immediately if she is going to live.
However, there is another concern. Blood has been spilled in the Catacombs beneath Sunagakure. None are likely to realize how bad that is. None except the Kazekage, and Kokoroe Sousa isn't here to warn anyone… Assuming he were inclined to do so to begin with.
Some predators are attracted by the scent of blood.
However, the noise of the rubble being cleared alerts Genjitsu Emu that there's company coming. He manages to turn and flee deeper into the darkness, a sand-colored mantle flying out and stirring the dusty, dry, stale air as the light of the torches makes him visible for a moment. His eyes are already closed, so it seems he won't be suffering from any disorienting blindness due to going from darkness to brightness. Further, the vision he leaves behind once he's gone is a rather shocking one for those unprepared. Berii is down on the floor, holding her face and a bruise laid lengthwise over both of her eyes that has already begun to swell, blinding her for the moment. Naru was dangling from a thin, assassin's wire by her arm, with a bleeding wound in her left shoulder. Once Emu fled, though, he let go of the wire, freeing her.
The extensive pool of dark-red blood on tunnel floor and the death-pale and unconscious Iwagakure ninja lying in the middle of it are also quite a sight. The cauterized wound should tell Itami all she needs to. Berii and Naru would be best served getting this Genin to the surface. A disturbing thing she may note in passing, however, is that there are needles and wires stabbed into the unconscious ninja's flesh and those wires appear to trail off down the tunnel the way they came. Each needle is located at a vital point of the Chakra Network, though whether they actually plug into any tenkketsu, no one but a Hyuuga could determine. It appears Emu used this girl as fuel to power the trap he sprung on her rescuers.
He has already run off somewhere further down the tunnel, the sounds of his rapid footfalls already fading, though the echoes continue to resound.
He SO needs to die.
"There is not a lot of time." Keiji states as he makes his way back to the ladder. "It is dark in here. I can see through it though." Now in the tunnels he begins leading Shemri and Shiika back towards where he had left the others. "Some guy kidnapped a child and ran down here. He threatened to kill her if people did not follow him. It's a trap and that rumbling of the earth was probably not in our favor. By the way, I am Shippodoku Keiji." If Shemri had heard of him or not did not matter. There were more important things at hand.
Kazuhito doesn't need to much convincing to back away from the giant lizard. He moves nimbly enough, though the sharp intake of breath as he does so indicates it isn't tremendously comfortable. He follows into the breach- and audibly gasps at the sight. He takes a step back, back hitting the wall in shock. He breathes raggedly for a moment, then looks to Berii and Naru. Then to Itami. He opens his mouth, as if to say something, but nothing comes out. And then, wordlessly, he pushes himself off the wall. His knuckles turn white around the torch. And he starts to run, down the tunnel, after Emu, as fast as his legs will take him.
Shemri scowls at the report. A kidnapper…always unpleasant, not to mention dicey, when children are involved. But he threatened to kill her if he wasn't followed? Usually it's the other way around. "Maneshi Shemri, and Shiikaa," Shemri introduces herself and her feline. "We too are well able to move in darkness. It is fortunate you happened upon us." Although if Itami-san is having trouble with the situation, who knows whether the addition of Shemri will be much help. c.c;
Perhaps Itami asked the question too soon. Just skimming over the area, she was able to gather all the information she needed to act. She can't do much about Berii at the moment as she doesn't have much medical skill and there's nothing cold that she can use to place on that bruise, but she /can/ get Naru down out of that wire. Quickly approaching her, she begins the process of unwrapping her arm from the wire, making sure to shift her weight to give the wire enough slack to unravel without problem. Once she was done, she laid her to rest on the ground.
She was about to address the situation, but the sound of feet running off caught her attention and she looked to see Kazuhito darting off further into the tunnels. "Kazuhito, wait!! Don't!" She shouted, though she's unsure if her words would really penetrate him by that point. Her heart rate began to rise as she now needed to speed herself along to go after him and ultimately after Emu. "I'm sorry to be callous, but are you both incapacitated? If not, I have a request, however foolish it may seem…" She looked back at the girl and though she wanted to remove those objects, she wasn't sure if they'd contribute to leading her closer to death. "I need you both, if able, to get this girl back to the surface and get her aid immediately. I can't stay here any longer. I must go further. I leave this torch with you both to utilize to get out of here. There's an exit that can be used further down with stairs. It leads into a basement of a home. Use that to ease the burden of getting to safety." She wanted to stay longer and tend to the problem herself, but she couldn't risk another life on her watch.
Jabbing the torch into the ground, she decided to take off into the darkness, giving one more passing glance to the bleeding girl before returning her focus to getting Kazuhito and Emu.
Kazuhito runs down the passage after Emu, torch in hand. If he knew who he was chasing would he still be so focused on catching up? Quite possibly. Heroism can be found where one least expects it. And the desire for vengeance can take hold of even the kindest with the proper motivation. Does it matter who Emu is to Kazuhito? That's unclear, but the man himself suddenly stops running just past where the passage opens up into a large, empty room or chamber of some kind. The blonde-haired, handsome man turns in place, the torch lighting him up as he stands and smiles cheerfully, arms held out to his sides, palms open, and announces, "I'm unarmed!" He then just waits and smirks so… Infuriatingly! Like there's nothing at all wrong here. His blue eyes shine in the torch's fitful luminance, not blinking at all despite the transition from dark to light.
He just stands, waits so… PRECISELY, with his heels together, as though waiting at attention to be inspected or something. The darkness beyond him remains, perhaps giving some uncertainty about the full dimensions of the room, but if he stays right there, then no problem, right?
Kazuhito has caught up with him. Itami will be arriving only moments later. Then Shemri and Keiji. The three girls are on their way out of there, and a monster is going to be made to pay for his crimes, one way… Or another. But something may still seem wrong here. Why give up now? He lured them all down here. Has he run out of tricks? Does he really intend to let himself be taken, or risk simply being executed on the spot?
As Itami runs through the tunnel in the dark, seconds away from arriving at Kazuhito's location, the outline of a skull in the the wall to her left crumbles from the commotion. A glowing red eye appears in the hollow of one of the stone eyesockets for a moment, tracking Itami until she is out of sight. Then the light goes out and the face falls apart into dust.
Keiji follows the tunnel and finds the ruble. He is waived on. "Come on Shemri, lets move." he states. He was not meaning to break the chain of command or even deny others help. He was simply excited with adrenaline. The boy moves through the caverns to follow Itami. He seems to just miss the eye of the skull and the face crumbling is seen as nothing more but ruble falling from a place that seems to falling apart.
"As he enters the chamber behind Itami, the boy looks towards Kazuhito. "Kazu, get back. Let us handle it." he states as he looks around. He's not drawn a weapon yet though he is wearing his pincer on both hands.
Kazuhito abruptly skids to a stop as Emu allows him to catch up. His left leg shudders slightly from pain, while he drops the torch and his hand starts to reach into the folds of the his clothing. And, as the man announces he is unamared, Kazuhito pauses. His eyes are unsteady, dancing left and right. And then, with a trembling voice, acknowledges, "I- I see-see that." His hand emerges from the folds of his clothing, and he opens it to reveal it is empty. He flashes the man an open palm and makes no other motion.
His eyes stop twitching, however, and they focus in on Emu's face. And wordlessly, he begins to try and invade the man's mind, attempting to push his will onto the other.
He doesn't turn as Keiji approaches, nor does he heed the other boy's warning to get back. "I'm- it's fine. It's all- going to be- fine." He claims vaguely, not making much sense, his tone distant.
Shemri moves along with Keiji, conserving her strength. Part of her wants to dash on ahead, particularly once Shiikaa picks up the scent of the other bodies down here. But as urgent as the situation is, getting there faster isn't going to help too much. After all, this man wants to be followed. And it's best not to separate their numbers if it can be helped.
Arriving at the place where their quarry chose to stop, Shemri looks the situation over. She peers at the visage flickering in the torchlight…it seems familiar… "Ah. Aha. I have seen him in criminal records," she says. "There is more to this than there appears." Shemri and Shiikaa start circling around the chamber. "Itami-sama, allow us to investigate this place. If there are any tricks hidden in the darkness, we are best able to deal with them."
The skull was completely missed by Itami as her focus was to make sure that Kazuhito was okay. When she arrived, she saw that he hadn't been attacked, but she isn't through holding her breath. "We should handle this, yes," she agreed with Keiji. "And I would appreciate the aid in this, Shemri. Do what you must."
She looked at Emu and tried to figure out what was going on. All of this was one big mind game and she wasn't exactly figuring out what it was. Reading into this situation was difficult and only added to her frustration, not to mention this darkness. "Kazuhito, can you raise your torch?" She asked of him. It was still a bit hard to make out anything and with this guy and his mannerisms, the least she could figure out is that they were typically a sign for something else going on.
Kazuhito shows he is unarmed in return, and Emu acknowledges this with a tilt of his head to the side and a continuation of his smile. The attempt to establish a Genjutsu Link seems to work just fine. No sign that Emu noticed it. Though Kazuhito may notice right away that he's going to have his work cut out for him if he intends to use Genjutsu on Emu. The man has no Chakra to manipulate the way basically all other humans do. That's bizarre, alright. But putting some of Kazuhito's own Chakra into his techniques and then manipulating THAT within Emu's head should work just fine. More expensive energy-wise, but as long as the brain's functions can be fed false information, there's no issue at all with fighting with illusion techniques.
Then Emu begins to hum to himself as he waits. He hums and then begins to sing quietly under his voice. Some unfamiliar song, with lyrics unappealing to most, but offered in such a musical, pleasant voice. "o/‘ My mother was a witch, she was burned alive. Thankless little *****, for the tears I cried. Take her down now, don’t want to see her face. All blistered and burnt, can't hide my disgrace. o/‘" This guy has some real screws loose. "Twenty-seven, everyone was nice. Gotta see ’em, make 'em pay the price. See their bodies out on the ice… Take my time~…" Then he sings a bit more loudly, his eyes squinting almost-closed, his smile broadening to reveal his teeth, filed to canine-sharpness. "Am I evil? Yes, I am. Am I evil? I am man, yes I am."
Itami arrives. Keiji arrives. Shemri arrives. 'Everyone is all together,' Emu thinks. 'How nice. How nice that we're all finally together in this place. That thing too. Finally got it to come out of the walls. I can smell the death on it. It can smell the blood on the ground. I hope it comes after this bunch instead of the girls… I want those girls for myself, but I'll share these guys with it. Maybe not the woman though… I want to see what kind of tools I need to remove her scales, one by one…' Emu's thoughts keep going along these lines, and he continues to sing, at normal volume, his voice echoing in the vastness of these underground halls.
"o/‘ As I watched my mother die, I lost my head. Revenge now I sought, to break with my bread. I’m taking no chances… YOU come with ME." He flexes his outstretched fingers a few times. "I'll split you to the bone… Help set you free! Am I evil? Yes, I am. Am I evil? I am, man… o/`" Behind the group, the smell of rot begins to filter out of the hallway, along with the sound of sand brushing across stone, and then a *thump* as something hits the ground. Then several more such *thump*s. Rising gradually, jerkingly from the floor are the faint outlines of humanoid shapes. If revealed in the torch light, all will see what appears to be… Corpses of those who seem to have died of starvation, coated in dust and sand to such a degree that no detail of their features can be made out. Their jaws creak, as though they are attempting to mouth words. They move their too-thin limbs twitchingly, spastically, like some kind of stop-animation nightmare. Their movements are uncoordinated, unnatural… These are not things that should be moving. These are not things that should exist to begin with, but the fact that these corpse-things are walking unsteadily forward, groping blindly…
A jutsu of some kind!?
Emu opens his eyes wide and then tilts backwards, remaining stiff like a board, and falls from the ledge he was perched on, into the enormous, darkened pit that lies beyond, one last line sung out. "Am I evil!? Yes, I ****ing am!"
Keiji watches the lunatic as he sings the rest of his song. "Orders?" he asks before glancing towards the moving corpse-like things. "Thats not natural… I think he is trying to split us up. Who follows him and who takes care of these things?" the boy asks. He was ready to move either way though he was unsure just how Itami would choose the split. Would it be Itami and Shemri after the lunatic leaving Kazu and himself to the corpses, or would it be different?
Kazuhito hesitates at Itami's words, but bends down, picking up his torch and holding it aloft. He narrows his eyes at the singing, but doesn't seem inclined to stop him from carrying on at the present. And then he hears the sound of motion behind him. He turns, and, seeing the corpse, his eyes widen in horror and he starts to step back.
Keiji's words jar him back to reality, and he turns back to the pit, realizing that Emu is gone. He scrambles over to the ledge, holding his torch over it and trying to see down into the darkness. He then glances over at Itami, the corpses, Keiji, and finally says, "Wa-Watanabe-sama. I can- can't- my skills wouldn't be useful against- th-these- whatever they are. But he… I can… slow him down- I th-think." He waves his torch at the walking dead, as if trying to shoo away an attacking animal.
Itami feels her body jerk forward to try and chase him, but she had to overpower herself and exercise some restraint. They've gotten this far with no gain whatsoever. Constantly being taunted and evaded. If only she could just burn him…just once, but she can't… Surrounding them are a number of corpses that have rested down here for who knows how long and are now rising from the ground. If this guy is a non-shinobi, where does he get this kind of power from?
Ah, the song as it goes down further into the depths. It was enough to light her fire, literally. While Kazuhito was busy waving the torch at the corpses, she joined him and began to fly through handseals with some fluidity, ending by lifting her fingers up to her lips to blast out a large fireball at anything close. For her, it felt particularly hotter than usual, but maybe that was just in her mind. With the way things were going, she just wanted all this to end and these things to meet with eternal slumber again. If it could be called that. Tormented souls.
Shemri and Shiikaa walk carefully into the darkness. Actually, it's not that dark to them. It's possible to get so deep underground that even a cat and a person-with-catlike-senses can't see anything, but there's a torch present, so they can see just fine even past what most would think of as the edge of the fire's glow. That is, they should be able to see something…so the sudden transition to inky blackness is a pretty clear warning sign to them. o.o Oh look, a cliff. It's the classic tricky trap for somebody in a do-or-die situation. :P Good thing nobody charged the guy.
Before Shemri can inform the others of this geographical feature, along comes a new threat…oh, not AGAIN!!! >.< "Is it ME?!?!" Shemri yells. "Would all these dead things have left my team alone had I not been there!?!?" DX
Shiikaa meows sharply, and Shemri turns her head to see Emu starting to tip backwards. Oh no you don't! >.< Shemri surges forward, pulling the loops of her sashes closed to add length to the trailing ends. A split-second after Emu goes over, Shemri dives off sideways. One sash end reaches out and wraps around Emu's midriff, while the other catches the lip of the cliff. There is a mighty jerk which tightens the middle section of the sash painfully around Shemri's waist, but both ends hold and she lands against the cliff face. "What is the matter?" she grunts as she starts hauling the felon back up. "Not evil enough to get along with those things back there?" >)
Emu is snared around his mid-section by the scarf and is hauled back up to ground-level by Shemri. He's not smiling anymore as the torch's glow lights up his face from beneath. He hangs, arms dangling limply, his face a disturbing contrast in light and dark… And the most neutral, uncaring, soulless expression anyone can ever imagine. "Oh," he offers lightly, no humor or friendliness or animalistic viciousness. "I was just thinking I might be able to get back to those girls while the thing in the walls dealt with the lot of you and then come back later to chat with it."
Kazuhito's offer to slow Emu down with Genjutsu may appear to be unneeded now, with Itami torching the sandy corpses, and Keiji ready to pincer-stab anything that seems disinclined to burn. But then Emu raises a hand and a wrist-mounted spring-loaded sheathe fires a kunai of some weird-looking blue-green metal into his grasp. "But I guess I'll have to take care of priorities one at a time." He brings back his hand and throws the blade lazily right at Itami's back. A blade made of the same metal that removed Emu's own Chakra from him on a permanent basis… Against quite-likely the strongest of the ninja here. That would tip the odds in Emu's favor for sure. Even if he's frozen in place with Genjutsu right this very moment, the blade has already left his hand and is making its way through the air…
Inches away from hitting Itami in the back, the very ground behind her stands up, forms into a humanoid shape, and 'catches' the weapon by accepting the blade through its palm and out the other side. In less than a second, a man has appeared and taken the hit for Itami. He is wrapped in bandages, with a brown cloak, brown hood, and black-lensed goggles over his eyes.
Emu arches his eyebrows but otherwise retains his uncaring expression as though he is half-asleep already. One of his legs lashes out in an attempt to kick Shemri in the throat if Shemri focuses on the blade or who caught it at all instead of on restraining the criminal from further attacks, but either way Kazuhito has ample opportunity now to 'slow-down' or incapacitate or anything else he can do to this Taijutsu-wielding serial-killer.
The corpse-things that have been blasted back into sand in the hall have stopped moving, now being only piles of dirt and some burning strips of rancid flesh. A new ally stands amongst them, it would seem. A certain missing Records Keeper.
"I thought I told you to run and find someone strong, Itami-san." Nai rasps. So much for saying hello. "Now it's too late. It is simply too late for the entire Village."
Keiji watches as the kunai goes flying and is blocked by a mound of earth. He had smelled that scent before. Soon the boy closes his eyes and transforms into a six armed, scorpion-like boy. He dashes towards the wrapped up Emu and swings his body around in a twirl using his deadly pincered tail to slice into the man's body. He was using the poison gland in his tail to secret a burning venom into the lunatic. "Feel the burn. May you suffer for all those whom you've harmed before you." He then looks at Shemri. "You alright? The venom will only keep him down for a while. It's not fatal in that dosage. If you do not end him, I will."
The boy then glances towards Nai. He does not feel bad that Nai did not greet him. Oh well. This fight was getting a lot bigger than just one criminal.
Kazuhito looks over to where Keiji was standing. And, instead, sees a scorpion rushing towards Emu. Kazuhito doesn't actually move, just clicks his tongue once.
Though it's quite likely no one else in the room would notice anything, the blinding sun jutsu, if successfully, would cause Emu's field of vision to be overwhelmed by a bright light just as he is charged by the transformed Keiji. He tears his eyes away, as if uninterested in watching the kill itself, and instead looks back over to the strange newcomer.
"The- records keeper?" Kazuhito murmurs to himself. He hadn't had any cause to interact with Hone Nai before, but his strange appearance, covered head to toe and with darkened googles, was hard not to recognize at once as the unusual individual he still heard whispers about when he worked in the adminstration dome.
Itami would have been effectively cut off had that blade managed to strike her, but it was captured by something before it could. She'd just finished up torching the corpses and barely caught what that thing was other than just managing a glimpse of what appeared to be a shadow. "…" She had no words at the moment, but she did have the mind to reply to Kazuhito. It'd probably be a bit too late under the circumstances that they're in now. "The thing in the walls…" She remarked after Nai addressed her. "I hate how all of this has come together at this moment." She lifted a hand to her face and brushed her fingers through her hair. Now who was more important now? Both of them were equally as bad, if not Nai was definitely the more terrible of the two.
Shaking her head, she tries to regain some focus on the situation she's in and watches Keiji lead an attack against Emu. She once talked him down about the actions he took, but this time, she thinks she can let him go. That just leaves Nai to deal with, however bitter the taste in her mouth might be for not attacking him herself. "I'm…very tired, Nai…" She speaks to him while preparing more fire to unleash. "I don't think you're here to save the day," she finished that remark by pinching her fingers to her lips to unleash fire on the record's keeper.
Shemri watches with narrowed eyes as Emu is pulled up onto the cliff again by her sash. She really hopes he doesn't try anything, that took a bit of wind out of her and she'd like to loosen the sash around her middle before—shoot, weapon! >.<; Shemri brings her arms and sashes up to defend herself, but apparently she's not Emu's target. Of course, attacking past Shemri at one of her allies, particularly when she thinks she can grab the missile with her sash — nope, not quite — is certainly a good way to distract her from a follow-up attack. Luckily there's always Shemri's extra set of eyes, but even a warning meow from Shiikaa only lets her get a hand in the way to soften the impact a little. XP Shiikaa jumps high and unleashes a whipping scythe of wind at Emu after Keiji finishes his assault. Shemri coughs. "I am well enough. You are right, we cannot afford to take him alive." >P
Emu's vision is obliterated by blinding light. His eyes dart from side to side, but even though he is blinded by Genjutsu and those pincers slash into him, delivering a painful, numbing toxin into his system, he shows no sign of the discomfort he's feeling. A faint smirk appears, as he manages to get out, "So… You still have attachments… I guess you're not… What I thought you were…" Is it just the imagination or is Emu being impacted by the poison a bit more severely than he should, regardless of potency? His entire body is starting to quiver and shake. Limbs going rigid, then bending and twisting of their own accord, he arches his back, then hunches, his eyes bulging.
Breathing becoming ragged, Emu continues to spasm in the background while Nai stays where he is, removes the blade from his palm and drops it to the ground. "No. No, I'm not. I'm dead, after all. I thought I might save some of myself… Incase of an emergency, you see. Incase I couldn't be stopped. But that kunai is made of a metal that cuts out Chakra. Hone Nai is the last of the self I developed when I still had my own Chakra inside of me. It's just been cut out." He leaves his back to Itami as she blasts him with fire. He allows her to roast him, leaving a charred figure in blackened fabric. He lowers his hand. He turns his head briefly, seeing that Shemri doesn't appear to have noticed his arrival. The image of her back to him reflects in his goggles. And the breathing he was faking out of habit stops completely.
"Always with their backs to us. Isn't that right, Itami-san? No matter how long we are amongst them, no matter how much we do for them, no matter how many of them we surround ourselves with… They never stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us. We're outsiders. You'll never be truly accepted. Neither will I. 'Team Ruri' couldn't accept me… WOULDN'T accept me. Neither would the Kazekage, despite how much I wanted him to—" he breaks off as his form seems to shift and ripple as though he's having trouble keeping it solid.
"…You wanted to kill Genjitsu Emu because you hate him. You hate him because of the suffering he has caused you. Would you, if I were the one who had relieved you of suffering by killing him, be loved by you? I don't think so." Nai ripples again.
Emu offers more strangled speech, seemingly hallucinating as his flesh turns purple-black around the wound inflicted by Keiji. "He said… No injuries… Or I'd never.. Recover… Didn't… Think… He meant… This…" His eyes are rolling up into his head. Seems he won't be alive much longer and he's going to be dying painfully… But probably not as painfully as he deserves. Nai asks raspily, "Genjitsu Emu, you have hurt many for what reason? What purpose?" Emu manages to force his blue eyes onto the head records keeper somehow, despite losing control over most of the rest of his body. Lungs constricting, he offers as calmly as he can, "No reason." A few seconds pass, then he whispers, "No reason… At all. I didn't have… Any intent… In mind. I… did… it." A shudder racks his body. "There… Is no… Reason… To… To anything…!"
Nai makes a noise like sand running through an hourglass. "That is why I am doing this. It's all broken. EVERYTHING is broken." Nai's voice changes at this point, becoming an unfamiliar voice. A rich, deep baritone. He stands up a bit straighter as he says, "There is no 'reason', no 'purpose', no 'grand end game'. Life is meaningless. But it doesn't have to be. It can be fixed. So can I, for that matter! I can fix myself by cutting away the sick part of me that clings to this flawed universe! I can free us all from this wretched wheel and begin anew!" His clothing starts to run away, ACTUALLY turning into sand. Bandages, cloak, hood, goggles… All of it falls away, leaving behind a creature even more emaciated than the zombie things from before. A withered, dessicated, boney, rotten, dry, legendary abomination of the Land of Wind.
The Ghoul of the Desert says, "I am so sorry, Itami-san. Nai hated changes to his routine. Nai hated confrontations. I think he would have told you how he felt about you otherwise. But he was in a dark place himself. Reaching out from that place of pain was too great a risk. A justified risk at that, given how no one could accept something that looks like me and has done what I have done. So, I apologize on his behalf… Now that he's gone, he certainly can't do it himself. You've burned him away as surely as that knife cut him out. For that, I am thankful. There is no longer anything hindering me in fulfilling the wishes of the dead… To end… EVERYTHING."
The Ghoul of the Desert then melts away like an apparition, blowing into the air as sand and scattering into the darkness.
Keiji listened to the words of Nai and the words of the lunatic. His poison should not have had that effect, but it seemed to. Only after he had answered the questions and his body started to fail him, Keiji stood over him. "May your soul exit this chaos and find peace upon entry to the next life. Let those you have burdened move on. May you move on." Though part of him hated the man for what he had done, in the end they were only seperated by a choice. Keiji then turns back in time to see Nai vanish into sand.
"Itami.. are you okay?" he asks. He looks towards the council-woman pondering exactly how well she knew the Ghoul of the Desert and just what exactly his words meant. "This is far from over, isnt it?" he asks. He then turns towards Shemri and Kazuhito. He was not sure what to say…
Kazuhito's eyes widen as everything covering the ghoul falls away, revealing the horror beneath. After a moment, he steps forward, swallowing, and reaches to pick up the blade left behind. He swallows as he examines it, and then, answers Keiji's question. "N-no. It isn't- over." There is something dull, numb in his voice as he speaks. He looks up at Itami and shakes his head. "He's- He cut- out his own- chakra. And he- he loved you. Once. Didn't he? He ne- nearly said as much. He'll…" He looks back at the blade. "The pain- of wanting someone's approval- he'll- he may try to end everything. As he says. But if he- he'll try to end you first. To cut out his last- attachments."
He blinks, and suddenly his eyes come more into focus. "I- uh- that's- I mean- that was a- guess. Based- on- nothing, really. I don't know what I am talking about. I am sorry. We should focus on- ge- getting back."
What stood before Itami was nothing more than just…an object in her eyes. She didn't see Emu or Nai as any particular beings anymore, just things that needed to be eliminated. It was too much strain on her to care. Why should she? Where is there to be accepted when all of their actions have proven the exact opposite of that kind of trust? Attacking young girls, threatening the lives of the village? Bringing damage to an institution of healing? She felt insulted. "I don't have a need to be truly accepted by anyone," she replied back and pointed back to Emu. When she turned her head to look at him, she winced and then turned an accusing glare on Nai as if he had something to do with what was happening to him. She couldn't say anything yet, listening to what the criminal had to say in response to Nai. Though her sight doesn't leave him despite how much she wanted to look Emu in the face and watch him rot while he spoke. Even in death, though his words have a greater sting than what his body is enduring. Can someone truly do all of these things for nothing? For no other reason than just to do it?
The air of this tunnel began to change, for Itami at least as she watched Nai take form into something…different. His clothes turning to sand, his voice changing and leaving behind…a beast. She balled her fists into a tight grip, visibly quaking at that apology. She couldn't even find the words to say to it, nor could she really do anything about it. All the energy she had to strike was now going to be displaced into the criminal that remained as The Ghoul took his leave. "I'm not okay, but yes, this is…very far from over," she closed her eyes and turned toward the group. "We have to get back to the surface. I…I fear for the worst," her voice quivered. She really just wanted to let out all the emotion she had at this moment after enduring this whirlwind. She's not even sure she can think straight anymore.
She feels like she's accomplished nothing and has no one to blame but herself for the events that have taken place. "Let's just go. We've done what we can down here and it's amounted to nothing…." She paused, "Is he dead yet?" She asked wondering if Emu has finally rotted away. She had to at least know that, even though now, it'd give her no satisfaction at all.
Shemri observes Emu's unpleasant end with some satisfaction, but mostly revulsion. XP Sheesh, what kind of poison does this Keiji kid use? Remind Shemri to keep away from his bad side. That threat apparently dealt with, Shemri turns her attention to the zombies who are…gone. c.c And hey, when did Nai-san get here? Did he have something to do with the zombies going away? Sure would be nice to find out he can deal with them that easily. Shemri will have to thank hi — oh, he's turning to sand? Is he leaving already, using one of those weird elemental ninjutsu, or…
Shemri doesn't have any clue what's going on anymore or how to react to it. Well, except for Kazuhito's statement about getting out of there. "This is a fact," she mutters, striding briskly. "This is very much a fact." Shiikaa gives Emu's body a quick sniff before bounding after his mistress, mrowing affirmatively to Itami. Yup, deader'n we'll be if we hang around here much longer. :P