Date: May 30th, 2010
After claiming the Stone of Body, "Amuro" flees the scene. However, when he stops to rest Kirigakure's team catches up with him… And so does the pickling ninja Goh!
"Broken Memories Pt. 1 - Erased"
Deep Forest - Land of Waterfalls
The kunai is intercepted before it can reach Kakuzu. A noble gesture, to save that poor defenseless Jounin from the horrible actions of a Kiri-nin. Oh, except for a couple things. Kakuzu had told everyone 'Don't move'. Even his own allies had frozen in fear. The Kiri-nin may be oblivious and quite possibly mentally deficient, but that isn't going to save them from what happens next. Because as Mitsuo leaps to defend Kakuzu… Just as he is yelling out to the two Mist kunoichi, he would likely find that the Jounin has already turned around, and now has an odd mask on his face. A white Noh-style mask. The sclera of his eyes are now red as blood, surrounding his solid-green pupils. The mouth of the mask has marks on it as though it were stitched closed.
Of course, seeing this when one's head is pointed away from Kakuzu is unlikely to happen immediately. Instead, what may be a more pressing concern, is that there is a steady, chilling >throb< of raw violence palpable in the air, all emanating from Kakuzu. He is apparently not as slow as the Mizukage assumed. This is evidenced further as numerous black threads erupt from the edges of the Jounin's mask, very quickly attempting to ensnare Mitsuo everywhere. Limbs, torso, throat, and any other vulnerable location they can possibly grasp.
Kakuzu has a short temper. He may be very intelligent, and an excellent strategist, but the Mizukage and his companions have been nothing short of insulting. Further, ignoring what Kakuzu said in order to 'save' him was apparently not appreciated in the slightest.
The Waterfall Jounin finally speaks. "You protected the wrong person," he states. Then he attempts to pull most of the threads that weren't designated as 'restraining' from his target, more or less trying to shred Mitsuo's flesh to ribbons from the wires cutting right through. Obviously Mitsuo is a Kaguya. But even a Kaguya with absolute control over his or her Kekkei Genkai can bleed.
"Did I?", Mitsuo replies to Kakuzu as the Waterfall commander's black threads surge toward him, "Too bad for you, that's a mistake I can correct". Leaping away, the Mizukage finds himself being chased in mid-air by the threads, and with nothing solid enough nearby to help him dodge. Falling to the ground in a heap, the Kaguya struggles against the sickening tentacles as they rush to pin him down and worm their way into his flesh. His bone plating offers some protection, but at best it's only a matter of time until the protected areas are bitten into while others have already been pierced.
Loosing a growl as he feels the threads digging in, Mitsuo activates his blood inheritance. A second later, his body explodes with bony spikes that arch and grow outward, cutting the black thread in some areas and pushing it away in others. Gradually, things come to a standstill, with neither shinobi showing signs of slowing down. Glaring up at his would-be captor, Mitsuo spits, "You're one dead bitch when I see you next. Enjoy your last days, because I'm adding you to my collection". Ivory spikes punch through the skin of Mitsuo's elbows and into the ground, shoving his arms together. Blades of bone rip through the skin underneath his wrists and spurt yet more blades to fend off the threads that seek to devour his hands as they rush through a string of seals.
"Water Release: Crashing Wave technique!!", Mitsuo bellows, summoning forth the water that the Waterfall nin had used earlier, turning it into a twisting wave that threatens to hammer all of the surrounding ninja. Instantly, Kakuzu would feel the tension of his binding threads spike and then grow slack. When the water subsides, the Mist ninja are gone, having used the Mizukage's jutsu to cover their escape. Well, not all of them - The 'Mist' ninja that threw the kunai to begin with is still around!
It can be assumed that while Mitsuo would hurry to bandage himself up, lest his bleeding wounds give away his location, the Taki nin would have a good start should they send a pursuit team.
A week has passed since the tower arose in the Land of the Waterfall. While initially stunned, Takigakure was quick to investigate, and have since begun setting up barricades and camps and so forth surrounding the structure. The Hokage may have full control over the tower in the Land of Fire, but this one will remain the rightful property of the Waterfall. This they have determined. Thus they will fight for.
They have had days to enforce their positions, and they have been sending out patrol after patrol into the wilderness of the country. The dense forests of the land were not disrupted by the tower's emergence from beneath the earth. Instead, it came tearing up from a water-filled canyon, fed by countless waterfalls that stream from the many cliffs of the Waterfall Country. The tower, even with part of it submerged, stands high in the sky, protruding up out of the misty canyon. And that's just the bedrock pillar that the tower stands atop of. The tower then continues on for at least 800 feet before terminating. A steady, stiff wind streams from the tower's giant windows — the only openings in the structure — as though there were something inside that was generating this turbulence.
The mist of the waterfalls shrouds the forests surrounding the canyon in a thick haze. A short while ago, Kirigakure approached the Takigakure camps in an attempt at trickery of some kind. The Mizukage himself was among them, and confronted the commanding Jounin of this operation: Kakuzu. When a nearby cart exploded, killing two Taki-nin, and the Mizukage chose wrongly to act when told to stay still… The Takigakure ninja now believe they are under attack. They swarm like a disturbed bee hive, running everywhere, searching for the Kiri-nin who have retreated and any others who may be hiding in the vicinity. Kakuzu stood and watched for awhile, before returning to his command tent.
The 'Kiri-nin' that threw the kunai originally transformed back into his normal self, when the presence possessing him departed. The Takigakure ninja would likely be questioned on his actions. But answers will not be forthcoming in time to prevent what happens next. About fifteen minutes after these events, Konohagakure's own squad, along with a team from Sunagakure that included three of their Jounin Council, began working their way towards the canyon, and the tower at its center. Despite their plans and their caution, they had not counted on one particular complication. They were going into this mission with the assumption that no one else was already scaling the pillar and the tower at the top.
And someone was.
When another possessed Takigakure ninja sends up a column of water to alert his allies to intruders, a large number of the shinobi army moved to investigate. Despite hiding in a dense cloud of Ninjutsu-created mist, the two Konoha Chuunin had made a grievous error. By the time the Jounin of each Village decided to rush the pillar and climb up it as fast as they possibly could, the prize in the tower's top room had already been claimed.
An explosion from the tower's bottom floor was soon followed by a mysterious golden light *cracking* the tower down the middle, before a blur of red and black took off, and quickly left the canyon — and the entire area. Sonic booms were likely heard at the speed the strange entity was moving, trailing unnatural green fire wherever it tread…
Once he had covered about 50 miles, the man called 'Amuro' had come to a stop. Using the artifact he had claimed was tiring. And there is nothing to be gained from being tired in hostile territory. Beside that, he had to have the energy to summon his allies to safety as well. He was not leaving Datura, Mune, or Kanami to escape on their own after the ruckus that was caused. Ryoji might be helped out too, but only if someone remembers to mention him…
So he merely sits down on a boulder and waits, looking at the stone that glows green in his right hand.
The Journey to the Second Tower had been rife with trouble. Not only were Goh and Mushi later than expected, but Mushi was antsy! Not too surprising, since it was her home country. Travelling underground via a small Salamander, the lizard will let the legendary healer off in the Land of Waterfalls, before once more burrowing itself under the ground. The sensations and vibes in the ground were no doubt tremendous. There was little doubt in Goh's mind that something fierce was going on… and it was best left avoided. And so, the Salamander continues to scurry itself underground, heading for the tower. Beneath any barriers and anyone's notice. At least, that was the plan. If it was anything like the First Tower, the issues would be more at the top. And not so much around the base.
Feeling the ground rumble once again, this time nearly quaking, Goh halts the track of the Salamander. Grimacing, the small, two-inch long lizard surfaces, only to see the large crack in the tower and the red and black blur launch off. There's a moment of stunned silence… "Damn." Goh mutters, still inside the tiny critter. His fist clench tightly. Too late! Someone had already breached the tower and got the stone. Not good. Not good at all. It scurries top-side a little bit, before digging back underground. A plan needed to be thought up!
After having momentarily escaped the clutches of the Taki shinobi guarding the tower, Mitsuo was quick to do what he could to stem the consequences of the very short-lived brawl. Whilst in the middle of plotting his next move, the tower had come undone with much fanfare. Fortunately, the Mizukage was not so far that he did not notice the departure of the red and black blur. It was equally fortunate that it's travel was far from subtle. Without any time to spare, Mitsuo scooped up Jayde and rushed off at top speed after the blur.
While in more subtle pursuit, the devilish leader began calculating potential battle strategies and tricky to unleash on whatever or whoever was trying their best to make a quick getaway. A lesser shinobi might not be able to give such chase, hence Mitsuo's snap decision to carry his kimono-wearing ladyfriend, and so far, things were looking up. It wouldn't be long now…
When Mitsuo was attacked, the jounin known as Jayde hissed. Flicking her wrists as boney claws seemed to emerge from her finger tips. The Taki nin cautiously began to crouch in around her, when suddenly the massive wave of water seemed to possibly catch up many of them. The sounds of clashing metal and bodies and trees rushed through the area as Jayde suddenly felt herself being whisked away by Mitsuo. She looked at him with a cocked eyebrow, in any other situation one may wonder if he was sweeping her off her feet in some grandiose sadistically romantic gesture. However, as she looked in the direction that Mitsuo was taking them, she nodded slightly. She knew her speed was just slightly lacking compared to her kage and it appeared the blackish red blur would have been a challenge for her to catch if she had noticed it in the first place. "You sure know how to sweep a woman off her feet." She jabbed jokingly to the Kage.
As Amuro sits and waits, recovering his physical energy, he can feel the corrupting influence of the Stone trying to take hold of him again. He is well-versed in how these artifacts work, and so batters the voices out of his mind. But then the voices start to change tone. They begin to hiss and whisper, and it's not about power or even directed at the masked man. Instead they are speaking of something else…
'The other…' they whisper. 'The other is coming…' Amuro raises his head, and looks to the north. He can feel it now. Via the Stone of Body he can feel the presence of the Stone of Spirit. It's coming right to him. "…Hmph. How fortunate." And yet… Amuro would rather have claimed the Stone from the First Tower when he was at full strength. Heaving a sigh, he rises from the boulder and stands in the clearing in the dense forests. Moss beneath his heavy-duty boots crunches as his weight settles on it.
"I probably won't be able to take it this time. I'll just identify the one who carries it, and then find it again," he decides outloud.
"Reiko…" Goh intones, hesitating a little bit. "Whoever used the stone is walking in dangerous territory. That thing sucks chakra dry. Odds are, the person is already tired from using it. They can't have gone far, assuming their chakra supply is at least on human standards." Thinking more, he continues. "…problem is, the high-level guys are probably already after the stone. And I may have some quick techniques, but they can't be sustained." One particular skill comes to mind, but… Damn.
Scurrying about to a place where the ground is not trembling so much, Reiko, the small Salamander, surfaces once more. Slowly yet surely, after checking that the coast is clear, Goh emerges. One hand at first, followed by a slimey arm. And then in a pretty gross fashion, the ex-Jounin /pulls/ himself out of the creature! A bit sticky, but oh well. "Here we go… It's all or nothing. I'm betting it all on this." Performing a few seals, Goh thrusts a hand down to the ground. "Kuchiyose no jutsu!" Poof! With a thick white smoke patch erupting, Goh is seen standing on.. Wanpo! A much bigger Salamander, some six feet long. "Wanpo, it's time. I've got no choice." Jumping off the creatures head, the blonde teen watches as the Salamander swallows, before opening his mouth. Extending its big long toungue, it reveals… a wooden cube! "..Sorry, Hokage. Hope you forgive me." Withdrawing a paper seal that was also given to him by Hashiramako, the Pickler places it on the wooden cube. The cube, whilst was once solid, falls apart like rotten pieces of a tree. It reveals a stone… sitting there. Hesitating a bit, Goh picks it up. Gasping at the sudden power he once again feels, a dark smile comes across his face. This is his third time using it.. It was starting to really get to him. "Heh… Now. Here we go." With Reiko moving to scuttle into his vest, Wanpo poofs back into nothingness. "Reiko. Hit me if I go out of control. Smack me out of it."
Funelling some of its chakra through it and then back into him, the user feels his power incrase greatly. Fire… Fire… So much fire! So much… power! He was the Lord of Fire once more! Feeling power and chakra course through him, Goh leaps into the air. Using his 'fire dodge', the ex-Jounin launches off like a rocket! Whilst he usually can only sustain this defense for a short time, the power of the stone fuels his chakra to insane levels. Now he's like a rocket! "..WOAAAAARRRGGGHHH!" He cries, the sudden burst of acceleration surprising the Pickler! Gripping the stone to his belly, the blonde /rockets/ through the sky. At first straight up, but then he levels out horizontally, heading straight for the area that Amuro is at. Mitsuo and his gang will likely see the trail of fire streak through the sky at an unbelieveable pace above them. What could it have been?
Goh's own stone seems to draw him to the second, and it only takes moments before he crashes into the ground to where Amuro is located. Panting heavily from the pace and the energy required, he stops funneling the chakra. For now, it's just him and this other guy. But it wouldn't be long before Mitsuo got here! Pant. Pant. "Reiko…" The small Salamander, who scurries out of his vest, slightly dazzled at the speed, falls onto the ground. "Take the Fire Stone… back into the tunnels." Dropping the stone, Goh watches as Reiko moves to swallow the thing, hiding it as Goh always does.
Amuro keeps on waiting. Time passes. The other Stone is coming closer and closer. He knows it's not physically part of this dimension, because he can't feel it at all with his own finely-tuned senses. Only the Stone in his grasp is alerting him. Without it, he'd have no idea. Alternate spatial environments are a bit beyond even a Hyuuga or Uchiha's capabilities to detect, and Fuu doesn't have a special Dojutsu or anything. Such is life.
And then his head comes up slightly. >Now< he can feel the Stone of Spirit. It's part of this world again. Whoever has it is probably aware that Amuro is present. The black mask he wears with the red question mark on its surface gleams along the edges as a burst of fire in the sky lights up this entire part of the forest. And then some blonde-haired kid (in Amuro's eyes, at least) slams into the ground after tearing the canopy, setting fire to some leaves even! Amuro watches as the Stone is fed to a lizard of some kind. "Hmm…" Amuro hmms to himself. His right hand holds the glowing green Stone of Body loosely, as though it weren't all that important.
The nearly eight-foot tall man waits for Goh to make the first move, as a sudden wind causes his black robe with red clouds to billow.
With Goh panting a little, his two eyes drift down to look at the small Salamander, who in turn poofs back to the tunnels underground. Good. It was safe for now.
A look goes back up to Amuro. Damn… this guy was big. Goh in turn looked like a kid. "I…I'm Goh. Konoha's.. ugh. Konoha's.. Number One Pickled… Pickled Vegetabler. Some…some call me Goh the Salamander. Y..You. I won't let anyone have the power of these stones. I'm the only.. only one.. w-who can handle them." Seems the power is starting to get to him! He's already starting to become addicted. "…any lesser person will use them for evil." It's rapidly becoming evident that the Pickler is /deaded/. Utterly tired. Totally shagged. ;) If that wasn't apparent by his phrasing, it is by the fact that one eyelid is nearly closed. The summoning technique drew on stamina, true, but nothing like what that mode of travel did. He falls onto a knee, trying to conserve stamina. "..I'm going to get it back. Right now. Be prepared… You haven't faced the Gohmeister before…" Seems he's already starting to go back to his normal, playful ways. Sucking in a deep breath in an effort to recover, the Pickler snaps open his third eye! Seems he wasn't really messing around. This isn't something he uses lightly for obvious reasons. "Daisanseiryoku!" The mysterious eye opens up on his forehead, one that is vertically placed. Clasping his hands together, the third eye opens wide! In an instant, an invisible force will rush for Amuro. In particular, it's aimed at the stone. Thing is, Goh doesn't know if this will work. His eye didn't work on anything biological based, and his at least seemed sentient. But if it /was/ just a stone.. then Amuro may find that the stone is suddenly rushing away from him! Even from a tight grip, he may just lose it.
Having Jayde focus on their rears for anyone chasing them, Mitsuo continued to speed after the blur. It wasn't until a very noticeable trail of fire in the sky catches the Mizukage's attention that he abandons all effort to mask his travel and instead opt to arrive before a potential opportunity is lost.
With a grinding halt that kicks up a stream of dirt and dust in his wake, Mitsuo arrives on the scene. "Phew…", he huffs, slowly letting Jayde down from his arms. "Ah… Don't… Start the party without us", he says inbetween pants. It only then hits him that he recognizes at least one of the two other people in the middle of this.
"Ah.. Goh, was it? I remember you…" the Mizukage states haltingly, "Why don't you tell me.. What's going on here? Promise… It'll work out… To your benefit". With that, the leash on his killing urge is loosened just long enough to show the pair of other shinobi that he wasn't taking 'no' for an answer.
Jayde dropped from Mitsuo's arms with a light touch to the ground. She reached into a pocket on the back of her thigh and pulled out a scroll. She ran a jagged claw down the seam of the scroll and unrolled it slightly. "Give me your hand for a moment Mitsuo-sama, those bitchy Taki nin took all my gear and now I need to reequip." She said with a bit of a sigh, it really was a shame that the jounin had no real talent in seals and scrolls, her elemental ninjutsu was only mediocre at best as well. When the seal was released, from it would pour a long pile of equipment, various kunai holsters, senbon and shuriken, most of the weaponry was quickly hidden away within the folds of the girl's kimono. Finally, she hefted a long chain from the ground before her, at either end of the chain were sharpened bone kama specially made for her use. She ran her hand along the blade and smiled, "It's been a while since I've used this set." She said, "I think they're a bit thirsty."
Amuro patiently watches Goh and listens to his ranting. He starts to hold the Stone up near his head, and asks, "You mean this…?" But then the unnaturally green Stone is sent hurtling from Amuro's grip, arcing through the air. Apparently he wasn't holding on too tightly. "Oh, no. The Stone." His extremely deep voice offers in monotone. Then, just as the Stone's green hue is starting to change to blue, it poofs out of existence in a cloud of smoke. It reappears in Amuro's upraised palm.
"Baka," he says. "Did you really thing I wouldn't have taken precautions? You are in no condition to be fighting me for control of this thing. Further, you're allowing >your< Stone to influence you. This shows you are not strong enough to be its master. It would be a much better idea for you to turn the Stone of Spirit over to me. Using the Stones directly is too much of an annoyance to—" Then the masked man pauses and looks in the direction that Mitsuo and Jayde are arriving from. When they finally do arrive in the clearing and start summoning weapons and tools, Amuro just turns his head to the side. If he could spit through his mask, he probably would.
"Hmph. What a bother." Then he uses the Transportation Technique to cause the air around the glittering green gemstone to swirl inwards, seemingly stretching space to send it elsewhere. When the air 'relaxes' the Stone is gone. Heaving a sigh, he drops his right arm to his side. "I suppose you two also want to fight me for the Stone, correct?" He does not bother asking anyone's names. Either he doesn't care, or he already knows.
With the stone poofing out of existence and then back into the mans hand, Goh just stares in amazement. "..you have no idea what you're talking about." Seems he's gonna try and not figure out how Amuro just did that. "I've had mine for longer than you." A pause. "..mine isn't going anywhere."
"Oh…oh no." The voice of Mitsuo was definitely one that's unforgettable. Before Goh turns about, his third eye shifts to close. Not only could he do just one of those attacks at the moment, but he did not want Mitsuo to see his bloodline. With his Daisan closed on his forehead, Goh slowly turns about to face the large Kaguya. It was HOLYCRAPMITSUO in the flesh, of course. Of all people. Of all flippin' people to come, it was the Mizukage and… someone else? Gritting his teeth while still on his knee, the blonde speaks. "…damn." Having been down on his knee, at least his breathing is starting to recover. "A promise from the Mizukage. Something to my benefit?" He says nothing as to 'whats going on', eyeing the large set that Jayde has just summoned. His brow quirks a bit, before his attention turns back to Amuro. The stone sort of warps out of reality and is gone. "Y..what?" How perplexing. He says nothing about combat. Why bother, if the thing was already gone? "Who are you?"
"I wouldn't do this for just any woman…", Mitsuo replies to Jayde, unable to hold back his amusement. Something about their interaction made him laugh, and not with mirth. As Jayde begins to re-equip herself, the Mizukage takes a few steps toward Goh and his mysterious 'friend'.
"So, that tower held some kind of magic stone, eh?", Mitsuo remarks. His eyes narrow on Fuu's feature-less mask as he begins to convert stamina into useable chakra. "You better hope that jutsu you just used doesn't send that rock to anyone you value. For their sake", he growls, peeling his lips back to reveal a set of monstrous, shark-like teeth.
Tilting his head to the side, Mitsuo forces his neck to utter a sickening, wet crack. "Yeah, I think we will take a stab at you", he tells Amuro. Slightly turning his head to his right shoulder without taking his eyes off either enemy, he barks, "Jayde! Focus on the freakshow for now! We'll deal with Goh next". Glancing over to the ex-jounin, the male Kaguya threatens with a vicious grin, "Yeah, your benefit. It's starting right now, actually, and it'll last until I get impatient. Better start telling me what you know, kid!!".
With that, Mitsuo's back splits wide open in a spray of blood. Reaching behind him, the horned hellion grasps his spinal cord and rips it from his flesh. Giving his new chain whip a snap, the Mizukage allows himself a moment for his bloodline to finish pulling his body back together.
"I could do it myself," Jayde grinned to Mitsuo, "but that could take the better part of the day. However, you don't keep me close to you because of my magnificent ninjutsu capabilities." She joked and stepped up a little closer to Mitsuo, but knowing he was focusing on Amuro, watched Goh. "Now now young man, don't go doing anything silly like running away while Mitsuo-sama has your friend distracted." She said, carefully examining the bone cleaver like blade that was the kama had. "Wouldn't want this to end up embedded in your back now would we?" she said, though for a moment her attention is taken as Mitsuo pulls the chain whip of his own spine from his body, relishing in the blood that splashed on her as he prepared for combat.
When Goh asks that question, Amuro responds, "If I told you, you wouldn't remember." Amuro then turns his attention on Mitsuo, finding it vaguely ironic that the guy who just pulled his own spine out is referring to him as 'the freakshow'. But he doesn't bother wasting time retorting. Instead, he holds up his right arm, palm facing the trio before him. On his palm is the kanji for 'memory'. He doesn't even bother to gather Chakra for this, having a 'passive Chakra reserve' sufficient to perform this favored Jutsu.
'Seal Technique:' he thinks silently. Then the ink on his palm begins to shift and change like a living thing, rearranging itself into a different symbol. The kanji for 'forget'. Amuro finishes thinking the name of this Jutsu. 'Lethe.' Then the ink glows red momentarily before the world seems to be drawn into the symbol on his palm. All of time and space is being sucked inwards without actually moving. A tunnel of distorted reality is all that there is. All leading to that word… 'Forget.'
The next thing that Goh would likely be aware of, would be that he is lying some distance from the clearing, his hands tied together in front of him with rope. Nothing a Jounin can't get out of. But… How did he get there? What just happened? He sensed the other Stone and used his own Stone to rocket to the other… And then what? Nothing. A blank. No explanation for how he got where he is now or what happened inbetween. Very strange.
Mitsuo and Jayde, meanwhile, would find themselves standing exactly where they were and ready for combat! …With who? Who were they facing? Where did the enemy go? Who was it? What did it look like? All questions left unanswered by memories.
And dashing through the forest as fast as he is able to without using the Stone of Body, Amuro remembers very clearly what just happened. He's the only one who ever does.
Oh, great. Turning around slightly, Goh stands so he balances on both feet. Stumbling forward, it seems that the Pickler has chosen a side! And it's not with Mitsuo. To be honest, he'd rather the stranger have the stone than the Mizukage. "Sorry, Mizukage. But it'd be better off if you knew nothing about the stones at all. So… uh, if you could forget all about them, that'd be pretty cool." At the grotesque image of him the man ripping out his spine, Goh's eyes widen greatly. "Or… um. Or not. That's fine too." He murmurs, before looking at Amuro.
"Look, I have no idea who you are, but you already got the stone. I can't get it from you right now. But.. Mitsuo? If he got it, there'd be issues. Tell me you can keep it from him. This is a fight we can't win." Seems combat was not on his mind, at least for now. Escape was the best course of action. Slowly yet surely, his chakra was returning. But he didn't have nearly enough to fight both the Mizukage and his lil' sidekick.
And then… it's all gone. Waking up to nothingness, Goh blinks widely, peering around. He was tied up! Not seeming to really understand what just happened, the blonde sort of sits there. Indeed, getting free of the ropes was not difficult, and he does so with the greatest of ease. But… hm. "..this sounds familiar." He speaks clearly, recalling a conversation he had. "..I need to think. Ugh. So spent." And just like this, he starts to hobble away. Finding cover. Gotta track that stone, but.. rest first.