Broken Memories Pt. 1 - The Second Tower


Amuro, Kanami, Datura, First Mizukage: Kaguya Mitsuo, Jayde, Tsun, Mushi, Kirin

Date: May 28th, 2010


A team from Kirigakure arrives to infiltrate the Land of Waterfalls and claim the Second Tower's treasure for their own. Meanwhile, the eyes of others are also upon the tower… Including those of the ones who raised the structure in the first place!

"Broken Memories Pt. 1 - The Second Tower"

Canyon of God's Tears - Land of Waterfalls

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. It is presently early morning, before the sun has come up over the horizon. The Taki-nin situated all around the canyon are preparing for the day.

Jakusobi Nobu was your ordinary Takigakure Chuunin, just one of the middle-of-the-road bunch. He never stood out much throughout his entire career, which led to him earning his rank a bit later than most, just before his twenty-fifth birthday. He wasn't too striking, wasn't too skilled, wasn't too smart, yet he'd managed to woo the heart of a very lovely lady of his village, and father two beautiful young girls with her. There was just one problem.
Jakusobi Nobu was currently decomposing quite some ways from the main Takigakure base camp, buried under deadfall and debris.
And yet here he was, patrolling the perimeter of the encampment along with his fellows. He was an average-height, unremarkable man, with a Takigakure forehead protecter over his brow, a mask on his face, and a large, two-handed sword slung over his back. He didn't seem to be paying quite as much attention to what lay outside of the camp as what lay inside of it, however, and every now and then he'd stop and make small, idle chatter with one of the other guardsmen, gesturing towards this tent or that tent, an easy smile, mostly unseen beneath the mask, and a hearty laugh as they shared a good joke.
Apparently he didn't think much of needing to remain steadfast in his duties, even as one of his colleagues began berating him and ordering him to keep an eye out, eyeing the young man strangely. With a grunt, Nobu returns his eyes to the perimeter, but only after rolling them.

"Ah. Those idiots managed to do something halfway decent", Mitsuo muttered to himself from his hiding place. The team of Mist ninja that he had accompanied were sneaking in from the Southwest while the other team still scouting the region. Looking down upon the nearest camp from their vantage point up in the trees, the Mizukage's frown deepened.
Stealth probably wasn't going to be very viable, given the patrols the Taki nin had organized. A straight battle was out of the question too - They were pretty committed to holding this tower. A surprise attack would probably be best, catching them while most slept. Too bad Sakura wasn't around, Mitsuo thought with a grimace. Plenty of water for he and the other Mist ninja to use, but then again, so could the Waterfall shinobi. The more he thought about it, the more a sneak attack with the other team would be useful in getting at the tower.
"I was thinking that we could wait until dark, but with other villages hearing about this tower, we may need make our move quickly", Mitsuo muses aloud, "And I don't think we have enough poison to go around all of those camps…". Pushing a sigh of resignation through his lips, the horned man turned to the rest of his team. "I've got an idea. I want all of you alert and ready to defend yourselves. We're going down there for a meet and greet", he commands. With that, the Mizukage leaps down from a thick tree branch and begins to casually make his way toward the nearest camp.

Jayde didn't know the full plan, obviously, the Kage had only said they were going down there. She sighed and checked the weaponry around her, several combs in her hair, a few senbon tucked away within the folds of her clothing. "Eh, think we'd be better off going in as more or less reinforcements or suppliers, but that's me." She muttered as she followed along not too far behind the Kage, pondering if she should appear more or less as perhaps a female slave of his. Perhaps bartering her to the leadership of the encampment (or being right out seized) would position her to allow them to enter more under the scope of the Land of Waterfalls.

Tsun, for once, was actually in her ninja gear. Which wasn't really any remarkable difference, more leathers used as opposed to cloth though this year's color scheme was still kicking around. Another replacement was the usual coffin, replaced with what seems to be an oversized water cooler tank, made of some strange plastic, making her /slightly/ ligther than usual. It is still safe to say her gear is heavier than her. "Meh…" Tsun would fiddle with the strap about her torso, loosening and tightening it in an attempt to make it more comfortable.
Looking not all too focused, its a surprise a genin of her apparent level would be dragged along in something of this importance. All she could do was hope that Mitsuo would finally decide what to do, her legs starting to get sore from standing under the pressure of her equipment for so long. "How 'bout… we just follow another village? Let them do the work…" Tsun yawns eventually giving up on the hope of moving in as she slowly lowers and takes a seat, giving a sigh of relief.
"Fighting ninja would be super annoying…" She'd tack in, though given how much fun Mitsuo seemed to have killing the Kumo ninja, she wouldn't be surprised if he was trying to plan a way to actually get caught up in fighting. This would cause another sigh to roll out and she'd just get to massaging her poor legs.

When Mushi heard of where the tower had sprouted, she'd come as fast as she could, thanks to a rather strange mode of transportation. Now she's standing atop a rise, looking over the tower and the many barricades from a distance. She gives a sigh. Somehow, she suspects that this tower will do more good than harm to the Waterfall. But she doesn't doubt they will fight for it. Small villages don't make small people. So she'd come to help. It's not like she's taking sides… she's merely here out of curiosity. Yeah.
When she'd approached the barricades she was rebuffed though. Not attacked, since some had recognized her, but someone who refuses to officially take sides could be as harmful as they were beneficial in the camp, no matter her intentions. She'd been there for less than a few words and left within the same minute without complaint. Let in one wanderer, you let in all of them. And hopefully there won't be any need for her to join the barricade. So she's merely waiting from afar, within sight of the barricades, but far from any of it. And she's growing a little bored. She'd underestimated her village when she came, but here they were already prepared to fight the good fight.
She laughs softly at that and rummages through her scrolls and supplies, double checking them. In the meantime she keeps an eye out for any others interested in the tower and Takigakure.

Amidst the massive occupation of the Land of Waterfalls militia, the high class presence from Kirigakure and everyone else involved: the tower can be seen for quite some great distance away, and the word of mouth travels faster than any beast. And so, after hearing about the massive congregation of people..anyone can see that there is money to be made! With smooth gray hair and very clearly commoner rags, a simple man makes his way torwards one of the camps - a civillian pulling a modest cart of his many wares. The man ambles along, taking a glance up at the massive tower in the distance..and all the hustle and bustle going on around him. He seems to be a decent distance from the barricades, but he isn't the only one headed in that direction it would seem..and these folk seem a different sort, maybe they have some sales to make of their own? For now, he plods along dutifully pulling his cart, though he minds to steer away from the procession already headed there as not to offend, his heart hopeful for a good days sale.

A water snake slithers its way along the wet rocks of the cliffs. Many rivers converge on this canyon, and yet it never fills all the way. Either there's a drain at the bottom that the Taki-nin pull the plug on occasionally… Or this canyon isn't as solid as it appears. Tongue flicking out occasionally, the snake wriggles out onto the surface of the water, swimming even as the fast-moving currents drag it right up to the edge of the waterfall… And then plummeting hundreds of feet into another river.
The snake seems unperturbed, and continues to swim along. It falls several more times… What should be lethal heights for any land-bound animal, and yet turn out to be merely inconvenient for this snake. Then, finally, after swimming what must have been at least a few miles (horizontally and vertically) the unusual serpent is deposited in a vast, churning pool — the bottom of the canyon. Or at least this is the bottom without diving to the very bottom of this land-locked sea. The snake slithers up onto a rock protruding from the sloshing waters, resting for a moment as its tongue continues to flick out, tasting the air.
Water, water, everywhere… But not what the snake is looking for. Behind the first snake, the same waterfall that dropped it here dumps another water snake. And then another. And then two more. Then there is a deeper *PLUNK* of something large forcefully landing in the water and being submerged, sending up a small spray. The first snake slides off the rock and starts searching again. The rest follow suit. After a few seconds, a pale hand shoots up out of the water, grasping the rock that the first snake had briefly rested upon.
Then an arm follows the hand, and then a head, with smooth, thick, slicked-down black hair, and a white and black kimono that appears to have the pattern of scales on its surface. Snake scales. When the (seemingly) female form sloshes her way up onto the rock, she pauses for a moment… And then turns her head suddenly, revealing her face to be that of a monstrous white snake, complete with fangs, and yellow, reptillian eyes that track back and forth.
Turning to sit on the rock, the snake-monster-woman waits with her hands in her lap, as one of the dark-hued water snakes swims up to her, raises its head slightly to look at her when it climbs into her lap, and then vanishes into her right sleeve. "Sssooo…" the woman begins in a raspy, sibilant voice. "I have found my preciousss monk at lassst! He thought to hide in the temple, beneath their sssacred bell…" she casts her cold gaze upwards, mouth remaining rigid as she speaks. Her eyes pierce the mists of the canyon — barely — and find the tower. She cannot see the top from here, but she knows it is bell-shaped. How very coincidental. Then she laughs raspily, as the sound of hissing wars with the deafening roar of the falls. Then she finishes, "He thought WRONG." Then one pale hand reaches up to her face… And removes it.
A normal, perhaps even beautiful, Japanese woman's face is revealed, with normal eyes and smiling lips. "I will find what I seek… And what Amuro-sama seeks also." Then Kanami replaces the mask, and it resumes its extremely realistic appearance and movements. Kanami then slips back into the water. One of her snakes will return to Amuro where he waits and inform him of the secret she has uncovered. She will go on ahead… And behind her… Is a thick, snake-like tail instead of a woman's lower body, swishing back and forth.

Meanwhile, standing sideways on one of the cliff faces a good distance away, is a man nearly eight feet tall, garbed in a black robe with red clouds. His arms are crossed over his broad chest, and even though his robes hang down to the 'side' and flap about in the winds, he seems not to be in danger of falling. His short, spikey brown hair protrudes over the top of a smooth black mask with no eyeholes. A red question mark is emblazoned across the mask's surface.
The man called 'Amuro' waits. He is a patient man. But he also has a schedule to keep. So he sends out his thoughts to his two companions in the area. « Unless they were delayed, Kirigakure's special operatives should have arrived by now. There are indications from my sources that a very high-profile Kirigakure official has gone with them. From the way that Kaguya Mitsuo likes to be involved in combat directly, I imagine it is probably him. Do not engage the Kirigakure forces directly if you encounter them. Not unless they attempt to enter the tower. Even then, use your discretion. » Giving time for the communication Jutsu to work, he considers other information streaming to him via rather unique Seals he has scattered around on various people all over the Continent.
While he waits, he picks up that there is something moving below him. "Hn?" Amuro looks down through the mists, despite there being no holes to see through in his mask. He spots the snake nonetheless. Unfolding his arms, he points his right hand down at the snake. The air distorts inwards momentarily, seemingly sucking the snake into its center. Then, up above, the air 'relaxes' and the snake is in Amuro's grip. Amuro is not hurting it, and it should recognize his Chakra, so hopefully he won't get bitten or anything. He holds the snake lightly in his hand, turning it palm up so the reptile isn't just dangling in mid-air. Then, after a couple seconds he says, "Haa… So I was right. The Second Tower was not built by the Jutsu of any one ninja. It was made… By >him<."
The tall man then turns his attention away from the snake as it dissolves into black smoke and fades away. "There is a backdoor."

Jakusobi Nobu is probably going to be getting a silent message shortly, to which he can respond without using his voice. But it will require concentration. Other than that, there is nothing to show he is special in any way. Normal--nay. 'Sub-ordinary' Nobu is no one's concern. Nobu would eventually find where the commander of the Takigakure forces is stationed… The largest tent is, perhaps counter-intuitively, >not< the abode of the leader or leaders of this ninja army. Instead, it is where they store some of their spare equipment, and also where they make plans. Tables and maps and very primitive computers (not like 'Windows 3.1'. Think 'un-powered calculators as tall as a person') and various people standing around, proposing this, or arguing that, or pointing out some other thing to his or her fellows… All of these things fill the tent with ordered chaos.
And watching over it all is one of the strongest, loyalest, and most cunning Jounin that Takigakure has ever had. A tall, muscular man, he wears a white hood and a black ninja mask on his face. His eyes are blue, and he is dressed in a mix between the flamboyant garments of some Noh plays, and the garb of a Jounin. He is one of the few rare Nogakujin to join a Hidden Village. He watches everyone, and plans what the next move will be in dealing with this tower. "Kakuzu-sama," a ninja offers as he stops nearby. "Hm?" the Jounin inquires, eyes focusing on the subordinate. He hesitates. Kakuzu then barks, "Speak!" The other ninja almost yells out, "H-hai! My apologies for disturbing you, commander-sama! We had a medic-nin of the Waterfalls attempt to gain entry into our camp."
The man's eyes narrow. "Did you let him in?" The ninja shakes his head vigorously in terror. "N-no, commander-sama! We turned her away!" The commander relaxes marginally and nods. "If that is all--" but then a messenger runs up and stands nearby the Chuunin who had spoken to Kakuzu. The Chuunin turns with a frown and whispers with the messenger. Then he cries out in shock, drawing the attention of a number of people. The commander's eyes continue to focus on the noisy Chuunin as he waits. He doesn't have to wait for long. The Chuunin turns and offers, "C-commander-sama! Bad news! Kirigakure forces have been spotted in the vicinity!" The commander turns fully to face the other Taki-nin. "Where are they now? How many?" Then the Chuunin says, "Three, commander-sama! And they are right here!" "Nani?" "They are walking right up to the barricades! They aren't hiding at all!" "Hmm… I am going out to meet them. This is likely just a diversion. But I will pierce the veil of their deception with my own eyes…" Then one hand reaches into his stylized robes, stroking the edge of a barely-visible object within.
Meanwhile, the Mizukage and his two kunoichi companions have advanced right up to the barricades without being attacked, though they would have been warned not to come any closer. Some may recognize Mitsuo by facial features alone. Most, however, do not. They just know that there are Kirigakure forces where they ought not to be, and it is very bewildering how they managed to get here without one of the patrols spotting them. And right then, a number of different patrol teams arrive, landing around and circling the Kiri-nin. "Stay where you are!" one of them warns. Some of those behind Mitsuo notice the marks on his cloak, which indicate… "Th-The Mizukage!?" one of them mutters quietly and incredulously.
Even as all this commotion is going on, one of the patrol teams streaks through the air above the man with the cart, before realizing what they just leapt over, turning around and bounding back to investigate. "This is a restricted area, traveller. It would be unhealthy to stick around," a snarky twenty-year old Genin threatens. His companions likewise look menacing, but one of them has the courtesy to say, "If you're lost we can direct you back to the road. Though how you got that cart through the forest without aid…" She shakes her head and examines the cart a bit more closely.

After a moment, the Taki Chuunin places a hand on his hip, his little finger of his right hand dipping into the waistline of his baggy pants, just below his Chuunin vest, where a hidden seal lay on his skin. Once touched, the Takigakure nin has only to concentrate in order to send a telepathic message back to the one who had placed the seal in the first place, though his is whispered, muted as if talking too loud would make him overheard by others, even if it /was/ completely silent.
«If that is your wish. I will delay them as much as possible.»
The alarm sounds as the Kirigakure shinobi are spotted and confronted by the guards, which… no longer includes Jakusobi Nobu, who excuses himself under the pretense of helping to spread the word throughout the encampment. Of course, he doesn't go to warn the rest of the encampment, he immediately heads for the command tent, arriving mere heartbeats after the official messenger has wormed his way inside. Rather than enter, he stands near the entrace, listening to what was happening inside… Before coming up with a course of action!
After only peeking into the edge of the tent, the Chuunin moves on, gone before anyone else emerges from within, headed towards the periphery of the camp in the opposite direction of the Kirigakure 'disturbance', where the least amount of attention was likely to be paid, at a run.
As a fellow Takigakure nin, it doesn't take him long to move through the camp unmolested, reaching the furthest guard at the rear. Comming to a stop, the dark-haired Chuunin taps the young male on the shoulder.
"I'm your relief. Get to the front and be ready if the Kiri try anything. Hey… be careful."
Of course, as soon as the male would turn his back, a seal would be made, followed by Nobu's fingers forming a small box, glaring through them at the other nin's back, before sending his mind out to take over the younger male's.
Let's hope he didn't depart /too/ quickly!

"Duly noted, Jayde", Mitsuo said airily, keeping his criticisms to himself for the moment. If they were smart, they'd know when a supply shipment or batch of reinforcements were coming. Sure, a few good spies could make that trick work, but that just wasn't in the cards when this tower suddenly appeared. Hearing Tsun's complain, he nods his head softly. "Yeah…", he says to her with a grin, "Without the right plan it would be".
As Mitsuo kept walking he fell silent to the other Mist ninja, having passed the point that whispering wouldn't be heard by the shinobi manning the barricades. Coming to a stop right at the barrier, the Mizukage enjoys a grin that their approach has caused. Then, when the other teams circle them with their game faces on, Mitsuo raises his hands in mock surrender. "Hey, take it easy kiddo. I'm not going anywhere", he chuckles, slowly turning around to look at one of the shinobi that barked a warning, "Where's your boss, anyway? We didn't seem him in any of the tea shops on the way here". Keeping up a laidback face, the monstrous looking man rests one of his shoulders on Jayde's own.
"Hey Tsun!", he then calls over his shoulder, "You brought that lemonade didn't you? What was it called again? Super Sour Blue or something…". The question was less a request for information and more a request for a can of super sour lemonade. Naturally.
"Anyway, I'd like to talk to the one in charge of this whole thing", Mitsuo tells the Waterfall ninja surrounding them. His resting arm moves to give Jayde a reassuring pat as much as to instruct her to keep an eye out for anything unusual. Like incoming Cloud forces that heard about this tower, or pesky Leaf ninja coming in trying to sell the Taki forces love and friendship. The usual things that could go wrong at a time like this.
"Jayde… You still have that scroll of lawnchairs??".

"Without the right plan?" Tsun's head would drop, looking defeated as it seems that all the Kaguya have the same mindset for some odd reason. Slowly stumbling along, the girls would leave snaking trails in the dirt behind her until they were confronted
Tsun would give the twenty year old an unamused look before speaking up in a naggy tone using her distance and low volume in hopes of him not hearing her, "Nyeh nnthis nis na nestwicted awea. Nyeeeeh." Making little hand motions to add to the teasing, she'd then make a little. "Hmph." Sound, while moving ever so slightly to put the Kage and Jounin in front of herself just in case he did pick up on her words.
Though her sensei would cause her attention to snap his way when he calls her name out and she'd jog up closer. She'd give him a confused look for a moment -she truly was confused- though! She'd manage to play it off thankfully. "Oh you mean, Blue." The Mizukage was crafty, Tsun had conviniently made a blue drink at a small store that let you make your own soda, somehow she managed to make her lemonade go blue.
She'd grab one of the gourds hanging off of her tank. "Here you go." She'd hand it over to him, still trying to figure out what he was going to pull with this and… lawnchairs? Well, all Tsun could do right now is focus on not looking awfully lost.

Jayde glances at Tsun, having, become at least somewhat acquainted with the genin in their trip here. As the patrols suddenly rounded up around them, the jounin trembled slightly as she slowly slouched her body. She cast her gaze down though occasionally she'd glance at the ninja that were surrounding them, her eyes darting back and forth nervously. A few may for a brief moment mistake her for weakness and fear, however Mitsuo would know of her skills and ways well enough to know it was merely a part of her art. The moment attacked, the seemingly shy, nervous, and weak girl would turn into a strong and dangerous beast, it was all a ruse, a lure. One that was possibly strengthened by Mitsuo's casualness with her, his touch seeming to melt the bit of trembling that was present, perhaps, reassurance?
When he asked of the scroll of lawn chairs, she looked up at him, an expression of affection on her face as it seemed to warm slightly. "Yes, of course, my Lord Kage." She said, her voice soft and sweet like a butterfly dancing on a lily. She turned slightly, her eyes moving carefully over the surrounding shinobi as she slipped her hand into a pouch, and pulled out an ever so simple scroll. As she turned back towards the Kage, her eyes moved quickly over the other shinobi on the opposite side. Her hand lifting the scroll to the Kage, tucked away inside would be pretty much anything one may want to have in a campsite, to include specially made reclining lawn chairs crafted by the Kaguya. Of course, these chairs would be made from bone and the soft yet strong skin from the underside of alligators that so commonly prowled in the Land of Water.

Mushi stands up in surprise when she sees some shinobi approaching the camps. That garb…that symbol… they were shinobi from Kirigakure. She'd been keeping an eye out and hadn't seem them either. Clearly, she was spacing out. Mushi draws up the loose hood of her cloak, her face half in shadows within the loose folds. This she has to see. There's no way that Kiri could or would attack so many Takigakure nin with so small a force, so clearly they must be emissaries. Perhaps it's time she tries to get into that camp after all. She tugs off her shinobi armband and stuffs it in a pocket, and then skips down the slope, across the grass to the front of the camps. She doesn't really have to try to listen to what the Mizukage is saying. She can hear it fairly well, as he's making no effort to stay quiet. She glances at him and for a moment she can't help but stare. Is that his real appearance or some terrible henge? But it'd be to one of the front line shinobi she'd try to signal and say quite calmly (or call out if no one approached her), "I am from Mushi from Takigakure, now independent. May I volunteer in any way or speak with someone who can answer that?"

As the Taki nin bounce overhead, the old merchantile man gazes up from his trek..his terribly worn sandals coming to a hault as he sets down his cart instinctively. His right hand raises up to grasp a charm around his neck and rub it in prayer or figit, either way..he falls to his knees and deeply bows to the shinobi as land near him. The genin Takinin speaks first, and the man keeps his head bowed. Only untill the kunoichi speaks does he raise his head in reply, he opens his mouth to speak but coughs instead into his head..wobbling a little, beads of sweat visible on his forehead from the long journey. "Ahh..restricted? I had a feelins somethin' wutn quite set." He raises slowly from his knees, gesturing to his cart. "This isn't just any ol' cart, 'tis the most best invention of my village, 'n if I can't make 'ta payments, I'll lose it, and all my land." The man says sadly, his voice strained and hoarsely cracking. He looks to the female who spoke, regarding her thoughtfully and her offer. "Hmm.. I'm not lost, it's wares here, the most delicious foods - but anymore traveling, they'll all spoil. I've even supplies 'n things you ninja types would fancy. Thats is, if you gots the money to pay 'fer it, but they're very fairly priced."
The man turns slowly and ambles to the side of his cart, pulling a lever that very impressively, or not..a wooden panel slides open to reveal a bunch of glass jars with pickled vegetables, pastries and even various baskets of fruit. The man turns to the shinobi, reaching up with a free arm to wipe some sweat from his brows and forehead. "Don't jus' take my word 'fer it, you can try what you like free of charge, but ya better atleast tell yer friends and remember good ol' Maruchan when your tummies rumblin'." The old man pauses, raising a hand to cover his eyes from the sun, peering across the way to the many Takinin surrounding Kirigakure's party. "Hn, yer business is yer own, aye, I say, ye can't turn me down after ya try what I gots."

Swimming in circles around the mammoth stone pillar that is comprised seemingly of solid bedrock with her snakey tail lashing back and forth, Kanami searches for the secret way that one of her more sensitive little snakes found. She grows ever so slightly frustrated, less out of the fact that her search has so far proved fruitless, and more out of the fact that she is alone. Not that 'alone' really means the same thing to her as other people. What is 'alone', when no one else is real? Then she hears the message from her benefactor. Treading water with her lashing tail/lower-body for a moment, the woman with the white snake mask presses one hand against the stone pillar, and the other to a Seal on her left ribs, just below her chest. Focusing, she sends back her own thoughts. « I have yet to locate the — » and then the solid bedrock gives way to her hand. The masks's serpentine eyes snap up to look at the pillar. Solid stone… That crumbles like loose, moist dirt? She isn't sure what changed just now to activate the secret passage, since she was sure she had checked before… But the creator of the tower atop the pillar has been a crafty one. He could do things with Jutsu that few or no others would ever manage to replicate. She did not need to understand what had changed. She needed simply to act.
So Kanami removes her right hand from the interior of her soaking-wet kimono and applies both hands to the surface before her. The serpent-woman passes through. "'The way is shut!' said one… But not anymore~!" She slithers forward and vanishes into the pillar. The 'dirt' returns to solid stone a moment later.
« I am inside. I found the backdoor. » she transmits back to Amuro. « It is at the base, along the waterline, at approximately 80 degrees of the pillar's radius. Press against the stone, and it will surrender. » Then… Then she takes a look around her.

Amuro hears the messages sent back to him, even if they are 'quiet' in the case of one. When Kanami is cut off, he pauses. He can usually feel anyone he has placed a communication Seal on regardless of how far away they are, or their condition. The only way for this to be prevented is for the Seal to be removed… Or the bearer to die. He presently can no longer feel Kanami's existence at all. Likewise, he does not hear her message once she is inside.
Considering his options silently, Amuro decides that he will continue to use stealth. But he will move with even more caution than before. Thus, he emerges from a nook in one of the cliff faces that, thanks to the angle, had hid him completely from view of anyone above or even on the same level as he. He blurs through the air, a black streak that takes only two leaps — one from the nook he had been standing in, and a second from a single rock sticking out of the water — and covers about 300 feet. The tall man lands on the side of the pillar near where he had felt Kanami's presence before she vanished from his mental radar. He transmits his thoughts once more, attempting to reach her. « Kanami. » He waits. There is unlikely to be an answer, but he tries a final time. « Kanami, if you can hear me, give a sign. » Then he sends his thoughts to his other team member while he waits for an answer. « Kanami may be dead. The tower has a secret entrance. It was probably trapped. I am going to enter the tower now, so maintain your efforts. » Then, as an afterthought, he sends, « Don't die. »
Then he puts his hands together in a very unique seal. "Shadow Clone Technique," he intones in his nearly inhumanly deep voice. Then a second Amuro, identical to the first, appears alongside him, sticking to the pillar. "Look for the secret entrance. I will go through the main route." The Shadow Clone doesn't bother to answer, and just drops down to the water while trying to stay out of sight. Standing on the sloshing liquid, he begins to inspect the pillar for any signs of secret switches or traps. Or Kanami's body.
The original Amuro, meanwhile, begins running and leaping right up the nearly-smooth side of the pillar in a blur of motion. He is trying to stay on the less-watched side of the stone column, but if someone is at the right angle they might spot him anyway. Which is why he's counting on his other companion to make sure no one is looking.
The ninja that 'Nobu' tricks into turning away is nailed by the Jutsu used, never having suspected anything. He tenses, and then relaxes. Success. Whatever this body-hopping ninja has planned, however, it probably didn't take into account that changing bodies would leave the real one behind… The one with the communication Seal on it. Amuro is now out-of-contact with both of his allies. And he doesn't even know it in the case of 'Nobu'. Still, whatever this impostor plans to do is probably going to be quite devastating without the encouragement from Amuro. There's so many things one can do when one can use the enemy's own soldiers against him.
The Mizukage begins to make a big commotion and act all nonchalant and friendly, while one female companion is apparently a timid mouse, and the other is some immature child. While perplexing, this situation is also highly suspicious. The Taki-nin do nothing except maybe adjust their drawn kunai and other weapons, incase anyone moves. When Jayde starts to hand over a scroll to Mitsuo, a ninja of indeterminate rank puts his hands together in a series of seals, and then causes a geyser of water to erupt from the forest floor, attempting to knock the scroll out of the Kirigakure ninja's grasp. It would be swell if it landed in the hand of a nearby ally, but he'll settle for just removing it from play entirely.
That ninja who called up the geyser, whether it worked or not, focuses on Jayde and says viciously, "If you move again, >you< get geysered next." The others hunker down for what is likely to turn into a fight. These are not stupid academy students. These are war-hardened veterans for the most part. Even the Genin likely were active during the Clan Wars. The Land of Waterfalls has never successfully been invaded. There's a reason for that.
When Mushi pops up suddenly, one of the guards recognizes her. "You again…! Scram!" But a much deeper voice suddenly calls out, ">No one< move." Some of the Taki-nin almost turn their eyes or heads to see who spoke. But that would be a foolish instinct to obey. They know who speaks. The commander of all these forces is striding across the camp site. His light-green eyes are focused on the Kirigakure ninja — and Mitsuo specifically. His gaze is like a laser beam. He may not be a Kage, but he is clearly no common enemy either.
Kakuzu approaches to just beyond the edge of the Taki-nin ringing the Kiri-nin. Then he says to Mushi, while still looking suspiciously at Mitsuo, "If you wish to volunteer, you may start by taking the equipment and weapons — >all< weapons — that these envoys may have in their possession. They will turn these over willingly. Then we will speak with them. If they refuse…" His eyes narrow as he radiates killing intent momentarily. One of the ninja on the >Takigakue side< swallows hard and keeps staring ahead at the Kirigakure team. "…They'll die."
The kunoichi continues to look at the old man, squinting her eyes. The rest of the team begin to look less 'threatening' and more 'annoyed'. Finally, the female ninja says, "We have everything we need, but here." She grabs a bulging wallet off each of her team mates, to which they protest loudly. "HEY!" "Let go of my wallet!" She ignores them, and then pulls out her own. She dumps about half the ryo out of each wallet into 'Maruchan's hands, provided he holds them out. "We'll take everything you have. Just get out of here," the female ninja says. One of the two men says, "Y-You can't just spend >our< money like that! You have no right—!" Then she punches the guy in the upper arm, right in that one spot where all the nerves are bundled together, where it hurts like hell when you're punched there.
The guy rubs his arm slightly, trying not to let on how hard the team leader can hit, and just how much that hurt. The other guy decides to stay quiet for now, if for no other reason than he doesn't want to get punched too. He can always complain to his superiors later.
Kanami's surroundings… Are dark at first. Pitch-black. No light. Just darkness. Then a faint light begins to fade into existence, seeming to permeate the area without having any definable source. Kanami is in a room. A large, circular room. Behind her is the wall she came in through, not a door. Some stairs spiral upwards through the hollow interior of this pillar… But there are also stairs leading >DOWN<. Why would she want to go down? The tower is up! But things are different in here. The air feels 'heavy', like it's more solid than gas. The light is everywhere, but radiates from nowhere. Whenever Kanami moves, her own body seems to blur and ripple, leaving after-images for at least a second after she has stopped moving. What's going on here?

'Nobu' never gets that second message. Or, more correctly, gets the message, but might as well not have, considering he can no longer reply to it once his mind has left his body. Even as it slams into the enemy shinobi, a drastic change comes over Nobu, namely that he disappears in a puff of smoke.
…And is soon replaced by the body of a young blonde woman.
The new inhabitant of Datura's mind turns quickly, rushing towards the falling, unconscious woman's body, catching her gently before she can hit the ground. Working quickly, the male carries the body just out of sight, /just/ beyond the perimeter he'd been guarding, ensuring she's carefully covered and camoflaged with a mixture of rocks, dirt, and leaves. Unfortunately, there's not too much time to make sure it's perfect, but it only had to keep her hidden for so long.
That task done, the possessed Chuunin then turns, sprinting back towards the command tent, leaving a hole in the otherwise strategicly sound Takigakure defense. Along the way, his hands form seals once he's ducked behind the tent, checking to ensure there were no witnesses… before he henges into a nondescript, masked Chuunin from the Land of Water. Now disguised as one of the Kirigakure forces, he begins to climb the outside of the large tent, trying to evenly spread his weight amongst the supporting poles. After all, this was a storage tent, not some flimsy little camping implement! Once in position, the 'Kirigakure' nin reaches into his kunai pouch, searching for his target from atop the tallest structure, likely sticking out like a speck of white on a black outfit.
But then, Datura reflected as she loosed the kunai, aimed right for the back of Kukazu's head, that was the idea!
The missing Yamanaka was under no illusions that her little knife attack would do any good whatsoever against the mighty Jounin. But then, she wasn't trying to kill Kakuzu, she was trying to start a fight.

"Ah, good", Mitsuo says to Tsun as she gets him a can of Blue. Pulling open the tab, the Mizukage begins to enjoy a long pull when their storage scroll is knocked to the ground by a blast of water. Pausing in mid-drink, a pair of glazed eyes shoot out at the ninja holding his hands together. Without pulling the can away from his lips, Mitsuo says loud enough for all to here, "Prick". Before he can take another sip, some weirdo with a tough look makes his way into view.
After Kakuzu gives his orders, Mitsuo sizes him up with a wicked grin. "For a tough guy, you've sure got a sissy taste in clothing", he tells the other man, completely unafraid of the momentary display of killing intent. "It's a good thing we came when we did, eh honey?", Mitsuo says while putting his arm around Jayde's shoulders, "These people are so scared of being attacked, they'll waste chakra on a scroll of pots and pans". In a matter of seconds, the Mizukage grows so visibly sleepy that it seems at any moment his words will be cut off by snoring. "You", he begins to say, addressing Kakuzu, "Have a real problem on your hands. So, since neither of us seem to be the type to entertain politics, let's cut the bullshit, eh? We want to help you protect that tower". Letting that little idea hang around in the air for a moment, the kage adds, "Why would we want to do that? Because we don't want anyone else to have it anymore than you do. Least of all the Hidden Cloud. And to be honest, it'd be a pain in the ass for us to have whatever is in that tower as well. It'd be a real pain to have to fend off all kinds of tricks day and night…".
While Mitsuo was talking, he held up his arms so that the surrounding Waterfall ninja could search him. There was nothing on the man at all. Except for a can of Super Sour Blue. Likewise, the two girls didn't have anything on them that couldn't be replaced at some run-of-the-mill blacksmith.
The kunai splitting the air toward Kakuzu is deftly plucked out of the air by Mitsuo, who was now standing back to back with the Waterfall commander. "Just like that", the Mizukage tells him without missing a beat. Pointing a figure directly at the person who had thrown it, the devil shouts, "Girls! Stay behind me! Let the Waterfall do their job!".

As the shinobi haunches towards Jayde, threatening with a geyser, the kunoichi frowns. Her eyes and cheeks seem to droop almost as if in a sad and disappointed state. "Please, no geyser, this kimono is dry clean only. I'd hate to have it ruined the first time that a wear it." She said pitifully like a child.
As the Mizukage demonstrated his lack of weapons, Jayde shrugged, and began the long arduous task of pulling out her weaponry. Some bits were relatively obvious, a senbon holster up her sleeve, a dagger hidden just under the back of her shorts, the list went on and on, and ended with the pulling of combs from her hair, dropping them on the pile of rather simple items that had been sharpened with precision.
"Sadly, that is all I have at the moment. Well, that is all I can access without completely disrobing first anyway." She said with a slightly coy smile. "You can try to get them if you like, a girl can't be too prepared." She taunted the waterfall guard slightly before looking towards Mitsuo who had moved ahead. She gave him a slight wink before looking back at the guards around her. "Mind if I crack my knuckles? It's a bad habit I know, but I do it so often without thinking I'd hate to set of the hair triggers on some of you."

'I'm thirsty.'
"Shut up." Tsun would say out loud, to apparently no one.
'I'm thiiiirsty'
"Dude! Shut u-"
There would be an awkawrd pause after Mitsuo went out and called the ninja a prick. She would visibly pale under all the make-up, she'd then quickly try to play it off cool. "There were…soooo many better ways you could've said that." Tsun would then sort of paw at him standing at the tips of her toes as the short girl tried to grab her canteen back from Mitsuo, "You're not gonna drink all that are you?" All the while trying to get a look at his face to try and figure how truthful he was with that offer he made. If he decided not to hand it to her, she'd eventually stop unable to read him, her main intention.
Not bothering to fight off the ninja searching her, as they'd honestly find nothing, she didn't even have enough weaponry on her to pass as an Academy Student in training, looking quite bored with the situation again. Her eye would twitch when Mitsuo would simply up and disappear, though not much beyond. Catching a kunai she had not picked up on at all. There wasn't much to do beyond continue following orders for now, sighing and getting ready to move in if allowed.
'I-am' "Yeah yeah…"

Sc-Scram? The medic nin stares at the Takigakure nin who seems intent on rebuffing her. For a moment Mushi considers simply leaping the defenses and finding their leader. But that's mad. Fortunately, she doesn't need to do anything further when the leader comes out. Mushi would give a graceful and very deferential bow to him. When he suggests she take the weapons from the murderous Kirigakure nin, Mushi starts to laugh, until she realizes he's being serious. She looks perplexedly at the Water fall leader, and then at the Mist nin. Part of her wants to make a mad dash for the hills, but instead, she steels her resolve visibly and goes over to them.
The Mizukage seems to be entirely disregarding the warning. Mushi looks him up and down, and is relieved to see she won't have to take his weapons. He doesn't have any… well, not shuriken or kunai or senbon. Even if he did, it'd be less than useless to take them, since from the bone plating and his origins he's most likely a Kaguya. Taking weapons from a Kaguya was like pulling out one quill from a porcupine. She glances to the two younger ones, particularly to see if they have any swords. She'd heard of the Seven Swordsmen, but both of them are too young to be in it, right? She would just give Tsun a quick few pats, but not pry any further. She doesn't seem too enthusiastic about shaking up the Kirin in and inciting something. When Jayde hands her her weapons Mushi pulls out a scroll and would see the weapons on top. She rolls it up in a flip and would pocket the scroll. "Thank you, Kiri-san. Once you leave I'll retur—whoa!" When the Mizukage moves quite suddenly, catching a projectile straight from the air, Mushi spins to look at the two leaders, and then up at the perpetrator.
Mushi presses her lips together. The Mizukage had helped their leader…right? Or a more suspicious person might think this is a crude ruse to seem like the Waterfall's allies. In the meantime she'd move right between her leader and the Kiri nin as if blocking them. But it'd be to them she spoke. She can smell potential for disaster all over this if the Mist shinobi start running around in the camps, innocent or not. "If you could stay outside the lines, I'll be able to help guard so this situation doesn't worsen." She doesn't sound accusing, more so diplomatic. But her attention is heavily on the Waterfall leader as well, her eyes darting around to find any other spies or flying kunai. How could /she/ not have helped when he was being targeted?

The old man tiredly looks on, his gaze trailing off to the commotion in the not so distant distance..looks like things are getting a bit uneasy - and here the old man remains, doing his best to sell his wares before his stock expired. While the female kunoichi takes a closer squint and thoughtful second to contemplate, Maruchan continues to attempt showcasing his wares..reaching in and pulling out a rather large container of the wares-cart..clumsily juggling it from side to side for a moment. "'n this here is the finest wine-" *CRASH*, No sooner does 'wine' come out of the old mans mouth, the entire glass container shatters on the ground spilling a white wine onto the ground at his feet and the shinobi present. He looks shocked for a moment, "I'm..really sor-" but, the kunoichi would finally speak up and all but cut him off. As the girl moves to offer some currency, the mans attention springs hence..forgetting completely about the spilled wine, his eyes light up with pure joy..holding both hands out in a cup as the money falls into his hands..his eyes watching eagerly. "Oh, well.. in that case! S'all yours!" the man exclaims, his cupped hands blur into the formation of the tiger seal. In that same moment, a figure nearly instantly raises out of the liquid to match each's surface reflective like water, they all in unison move to grab them all in a restraining bearhug..if only for the briefest of moments..his left hand falls away and he stands up straight, his right hand in a focusing seal. All in the space of a few moments, a familiar sizzle hints what is about to come..the noise seems to buzz from the man himself and his cart - each of them practically plastered with explosive notes.
Maruchan and his cart explode into an earthshaking torrent of flames..leaving all to wonder exactly what happend, or is going to when the smoke clears.
His eyes closed, Kirin opens his eyes with a start as he gains the knowledge of his shadow clone..his eyes relaxing after a moment, he sighs loudly. Having used his technique at max distance, it's clear there's no further he can do here. Without hesitation, Kirin removes a scroll that's tied onto his belt, dropping to a knee as he splays it out - placing both his hands on the scroll, upon either side within the inscriptions. The inscription in the center of the scroll lights up a bright blue, and then disappears..the scroll poofs into a cloud of smoke. Kirin reaches up and pulls up his facemask, fortifying it by donning his black cloaks hood. Without a glance in another direction, Kirin springs into action..body flickering away onwards to Konoha - mercy upon whoever gets in his way before he reaches the Hokage.

Kanami pauses as she observes her surroundings. When the light kicks in, that is. She also waits for some kind of response from Amuro. When a minute or two pass without anything, she becomes concerned. It was possible Amuro was busy with something. It was also possible he did not find her report worth responding to. It was even possible he was fighting someone powerful and could not spare the time to focus his thoughts towards her. All possible. But not very likely. She turns around, her snakeish lower-body coiling and then transforming into a pair of normal human legs. She's still soaked, but she's at least fully human again. She removes the Doujouji Mask and hangs it from a thin chain on her obi.
She once again reaches inside her kimono and touches the Seal. « Amuro-sama, I am inside the pillar. There are stairs leading up and down, but I believe this may be an alternate spatial environment of some kind. I request direction. » She waits a little bit longer, looking around the room and trying to see if she can spot what is in the room above this one without actually going up the stairs. When there is still no response, she frowns slightly. Then the Nogakujin tries one more time, focusing with all her might. If this is an alternate spatial environment, she may be beyond the range of Amuro's Jutsu, or there might be interference of some kind.
« Amuro-sama— » she begins, only to stop as she finally feels it. Everything seems to go to the opposite end of the light spectrum, colors changing to their opposites. Darkness becomes white, light becomes black, etc. Yellow-irised eyes wide, Kanami can almost mentally feel the huge amount of space that surrounds this room. Further she can feel something more than mere space… Something of hideous power. Something almost like…
"…." The colors change back to normal, as Kanami closes off her thoughts. Then she slowly begins to smile. "Very interesting… But not what Amuro-sama is looking for. Perhaps later this will be of use to him." She considers for a moment exploring this area and maybe seeing if there is anything of use to HER here… But if for no other reason than self-preservation, she instead attempts to find passage back out of this place. Preferably the way she came. Because she very much would like to NOT step out into a hostile environment.
Assuming she can even find that one spot on the wall she entered through, she attempts to push the way she did to get in. And if that fails, she tries to transmit her thoughts via the Seal on her ribs using one hand, while pressing on the wall with the other. Because she's smart enough to know there's only so many things she could have been doing when she discovered the passage to make it open. And if none of them do anything, then it stands to reason that perhaps it had not opened due to her at all.

The tall man's Shadow Clone finally detects the distortion in space. He presses his hands on the solid stone and begins to channel some of the Chakra he gained with his creation. A moment later, Kanami would probably fall out of that 'other space', and back into the normal world. "So you're not dead after all," he offers in his deep voice.
Meanwhile, above, as most of the ninja are distracted by the explosion and the actions of the Kirigakure ninja, the original Amuro reaches the tower. The entire pillar and tower are shrouded in violent winds that threaten to tear even one as strong as Amuro from where he clings to the stone. But there's something inside he wants. Something inside he >needs<. And he will have it… Even if he has to fight through a hurricane to get to it. Frost begins to form on his clothes and body as the air dissipates heat from the environment extremely quickly.
Amuro continues to cling with his Chakra, but his progress is slow. "…What a bother." he mutters as he continues to climb towards the lowest window of the tower proper.

And so Datura succeeds in her goal. Maybe she was helped along by the Mizukage, but a success is a success. Kirin has only succeeded in confirming in the minds of those who had initially doubted Kakuzu's actions that Kirigakure had intended this all along. Amazing. Konohagakure helping to start a war instead of end one. The charred bodies of the three ninja who has confronted Kirin's Shadow Clone were thrown very close to Mushi. Only the woman who had tried to pay the old man for his supplies so that he would remove himself from a dangerous area is still breathing.
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.
At that moment, apparently taking the actions of the Mizukage and of their leader as a sign, a number of the Taki-nin lunge at the disarmed Kiri-nin, prepared to restrain the two kunoichi as best they can. They may not have attacked, but the Mizukage certainly had been disrespectful and ignored instructions on how they were to proceed with any talks of assistance or what-have-you. One does not walk into a foreign country and start acting all casual and like one owns the place. One behaves respectfully, and one cooperates with the authorities. In this case, Kirigakure has failed in doing these things. So they are going to suffer.
Mushi would probably be near enough to get hit with tiny pieces of debris when the wagon explodes. It is distracting to most, for certain. But those Takigakure ninja who were attempting to tackle the Kiri-nin keep on doing so, if for no other reason than they were trained to ignore distractions like that in a combat situation. More importantly, Mushi would be right there to witness Kakuzu respond to the Mizukage's actions in such a brutal, bloody manner. Is this what has become of Takigakure while she was gone? Or is this a justified response to Kirigakure trickery? Either way, if Kakuzu's attack succeeds even partially, it will be quite a disturbing spectacle.
Kakuzu calls out to Mushi briefly, still focused on trying to attack Mitsuo, yet surprisingly calm, "Check for survivors." Then the Takigakure ninja surrounding Kakuzu send some of their members to find the command tent and warn them.
They're under attack.

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