Date: September 01, 2010
Continuation of "Storm of the Century: Episode 1".
"Broken Memories Pt. 2 - Storm of the Century: Pursuit and Retreat"
There wasn't much information that needed to be gathered. Itami might not be able to see, but she can definitely feel…and hear. Things were beginning to collapse in the village and while she's concerned, she has a job to do here. She can only hope that things are being handled outside properly. Efficiency is difficult to manage when the threat isn't quite understood, but she's confident in the abilities of the ninja and people alike here that they'll be able to get through this. Kuoroke on the other hand is standing back with a depening scowl on his face while taking the insults of this youthful punk. Every inch of his body is crawling to strike him, but which part is the better question. Fist? Leg? Perhaps even both. The Council woman can feel his building tension, but tries to keep him calm so that she might be able carry this out in her intended smoothness. It's already rough as it is and trying to shuck a pearl out of this clam of a situation might be difficult.
Itami doesn't bother to interrupt Goro. Instead, she allows him to speak…not like she had much of a choice in that matter anyhow. So this Sage of Six Paths apparently has a large family and in a classical sense of a twist, there's an extra son that goes unmentioned in history unlike the other two. What's important appears to be the paths and what they inherited. She was only vaguely familiar with the legends and myths surrounding these figures so she was experiencing a slight disconnect from the story, however that didn't make it any less important. At the question, Itami takes a good guess and says, "If the other descendants are said to be gone and onle one of the sons is still living, then I imagine that you are representative of this last son…" She pauses, "Am I right?"
No sooner than Itami finishes the question, her eyes widen and she cups her ears as if to prevent this sudden static noise from sounding off in her ears, however it doesn't work and she begins to cry out with no chance of hearing herself or anything else. It was too much for her to bear at the moment and eventually, she'd begin to feel faint and fall from her seat, the static still sounding off in her head. She didn't understand what it was, but it probably didn't matter at this point.
As he starts to round the corner leading to the village gates, Takumi stumbles and grips the sides of his head for a moment. It suddenly feels like there is an ice cube in the center of his brain, and a strange static like a dying radio. He rubs his head quickly and pants repeatedly in an attempt to warm up his brain to stop the pain. The feeling doesn't seem to be going away yet, and the stinging winds aren't helping in the least, despite how hot they are. Trying to push on, the medic-nin forces himself to walk down the street, shaking his head every so often to try to clear the feeling. In a short moment of clarity he attempts to find whats wrong in his head and repair it, but there is no real damage, only the sensation.
Takumi decides theres nothing he can do for himself, but there might be something he can do for the unknown others at his destination. Steeling himself, he pushes on down the street to arrive at the pile of rubble that was once a spire. He then pauses to collect his thoughts through the light haze of static in his brain, feeling as though he just woke up from a deep sleep.
Goro's smile changes from a broad grin to a lop-sided smirk, one eyebrow coming down while the other arches. He looks at Itami incredulously, as though unsure if she is joking. He shrugs and seems to decide she is serious. "Not quite. The descendants of the Middle Son and Youngest Son still live. It is only the descendants of the Eldest Son that have perished, aside from the very last one. But yes, I represent the last living descendant of the Eldest Son of the Sage of the Six Paths. Not that this knowledge will help you at all, but the story and revelation were a convenient way to stall for time."
Before he even finishes answering, Itami would have been experiencing the mental static, and the pain of a massive headache that accompanied it. Can she still hear him speaking? Surprisingly, yes. She might even remember what he said later on. But for now, the ability to >process< that information would be next to non-existent. However, he's still bound to the chair, with the Chakra Absorber attached to it. Right?
Well, no. Or at least, not for long, apparently. The white-haired teenager closes his purple eyes and his smile fades away, settling into a neutral line. He concentrates, and then the Chakra Absorbing crystal starts to beep as it siphons away Chakra from the prisoner. It beeps repeatedly, faster and faster, as the previously-dark gemstone set in the device glows internally. A blue-white light, the >ordinarily< invisible light of Chakra, begins to radiate from the crystal until the entire side of the room behind the chair that Goro is seated in is filled with a blinding glare.
Then the crystal >cracks< and the Chakra that was being stored in it is released in a powerful blast of force that makes the the heavy-duty security door — and the bunker-style walls that the door is set in — burst out into the hall in a lethal wave of stone and metal. Whatever guards or personnel who may have been standing outside are at least free of the mental pain… And all other pain. Permanently. With that accomplished, Goro is left visibly paler than before. Yes, he managed to overload a Chakra Absorber that was theoretically capable of holding even a Jounin. But that kind of effort is bound to take a toll on one such as he. The Chakra he used was not his own. It was a >gift< from the one he represents. Meaning that he's already well beyond his own healthy Chakra threshold. Still…
"No rest for the wicked," Goro chirps cheerfully despite the ringing in his ears from that explosion, and the massive use of Chakra just now. "Now for these restraints…" He looks at the arm restraints, and then just yanks his arms out of them. Were they never even closed tight enough to restrain him at all? No, it's something else… The leg restraints are thoroughly latched, but his legs seem to bend and distort like wet noodles and just slither right out of the locks and bars and straps and such. It's like the bones in his legs just turned to jelly or liquid or something.
His legs crack and pop disturbingly as whatever he did to them is undone. Joints that were previously reversed or compressed or something return to their natural positions. Goro then hops to the floor, seeming not to notice or care that Itami is lying on the floor at his feet. He even takes a moment to look down at her thoughtfully. Then he kneels down and lifts one of her hands to his mouth. A short, sharp, >deep< bite to one finger later, and there is plenty of blood to go around. The young man then makes a few hand seals with his free hand, while using the hand holding onto the Watanabe's appendage to force her own hand into identical seals. Then he puts them both together.
"Fuuinjutsu: Soutei Keiyaku! <Sealing Technique: Binding Contract!>" Sanskrit-looking writing — the language of Seals and Jutsu Formulas — forms on the back of Goro's right hand, and turns into a circle of black, with various Sealing symbols on the outside of that ring. Once it has solidified, an identical duplicate appears on the back of Itami's right hand.
Then both marks waver and fade away, vanishing from sight.
He nods to himself and drops Itami's hand as though it were no longer important. Rising to his feet he wavers momentarily, as though dizzy, before shaking his head. He then turns around and jogs across the room. He pauses by where Kuoroke has likely fallen or is at least suffering from the mental pain and paralysis, and gives him a brief kick to the side of the head. Nothing too serious, but, you know. Every little bit helps! <3
He runs down the hallway in the manner that ninja run, maintaining his balance even with the nearly-apocalyptic shaking of the ground, walls, and everything else. The momentary lessening of the tremors was merely a false promise of things dying down, as the earthquake resumes full force. The Dome is starting to take structural damage at this point. Walls are cracking, ceilings are drizzling dust and debris and are near collapse, furniture and bookshelves and everything else are toppling or bouncing around, and anything fragile and not bolted down has long since shattered.
And still Goro runs. He runs and navigates the passages and rooms as though he had the entire Village memorized. And he thinks to himself, 'Kazekage-san… We are coming for you!'
As Takumi makes it to the rubble, he would find that the guardhouse has been destroyed utterly. That huge stone spire from the temple went straight down through the roof. If anyone was inside, they are dead now. Might someone have missed being crushed by the roof? Well… Yes. But that's not why they'd be dead. It's the fact that in addition to the building being >impaled< there is also a large >sinkhole< where there used to be pavement.
Looking down into that hole, at the middle of the rubble that managed to fall from the edges of the guardhouse — such as the windows and outer walls — would reveal that there the bottom of the hole is only barely visible. The sand storm presently blocking out the sun does not exactly aid in identifying the dozens of feet of earth and concrete from the remains of the guard house, since it lies at least a hundred or two hundred feet down in some dark cavern that apparently is situated beneath Sunagakure itself. Identifying the bodies of anything human down there from up on the street level is unlikely.
However, that doesn't mean no one up there is injured. Infact, though the scouring winds and the sand are pelting everything and limiting visibility, it's still possible to see down the street fairly easily — once one takes into account the ground bouncing up and down like some giant has picked up the planet and started >shaking it as hard as he freaking can<. And down the street, there appear to be people that were either caught outside when things started going berserk, or who have attempted to evacuate their homes or businesses or wherever they may have been when the earthquakes started, for whatever reason. Maybe they felt it was safer outside. Maybe they would be right ordinarily. But with the revealing of that huge empty space underground… Well, it's unclear how far it reaches, but it is possible that the entire Village is built ontop of a huge network of tunnels and caves and such that would be >just perfect< for dumping an ancient city into and killing everyone living there while they wait for everything to stop.
And what if it doesn't stop? What if it >does< stop, but only after the Village has collapsed into a massive hole in the ground? Something has to be done. Though voices are hard to make out over the shrieking desert wind, there are >other< kinds of screams that are being carried on the wind as well. Those of human beings. That street with the people flocking onto it in a vain attempt to find safety has at least a few that appear to be injured. About 50 feet to Takumi's left (assuming he is facing the sinkhole the guard house fell into), there is a little girl in the common brown and white clothing that desert dwellers wear. She is kneeling next to a woman, possibly her mother, who is lying face-down on the street. It is unclear from here how badly the woman may be injured, and if the girl is injured too or not.
>Something< has to be done. And it has to be done >quickly<.
Takumi sees the giant hole, and realizes that anything in its immediate area is a lost cause. The feeling in his head is still muddling his senses a bit, but his mind is clear enough to hear the sounds of people in trouble, and more by chance than by attempt, he notices a prone woman with a child next to her. He makes his way over to them first, as the other injured people he can see are at least awake. He kneels by the woman and child and starts to assure them he can help, but then notices the extent of the woman's injuries. There is nothing that can be done for her, as she is quite violently dead. The massive pool of blood she is in has been covered lightly by the sandstorm. Takumi looks to the child and calls out, "You can't stay here, its too dangerous, is there someone else who can take care of you?" He looks the child over and she doesn't seem physically harmed, but he needs to get her away from this corpse for her own sake. "If not, you need to come with me for now." He motions to follow him, and both hopes and assumes she is following him as he moves on quickly to the various walking wounded. He makes his way through the groups of people, stopping when someone calls or when he sees something that needs attention. A man with a bleeding injury on his head catches his eye and he moves to him, notifying the man that he is a medic. Takumi concentrates his chakra and places his hand over the man's wound, stopping the bleeding, but not able to help with much else. At this point, quantity is more important than quality, and he makes his way quickly through the crowd, stopping to provide quick care to those that need it. Soothing a twisted ankle here, a bruised head there. No one here seems on the verge of anything but discomfort, and after a short while Takumi searches behind him for the little girl, about to run off and get her if she isn't there.
Itami could hear the words, but everything didn't quite register like it should. Everything felt so lucid and with good reason. She'd just been knocked out by some sort of painful mind trick. When she comes to and looks around, she sees guards cast aside and the room partially destroyed and all she can do is link Goro to all of it. He was no longer in the chair after all. While picking herself up from the ground, she winces softly and looks at her shaking hand. It was bleeding, but from what she didn't know. Shaking it softly sends drops of blood splattering to the ground and some on her clothes.
With another look around the room, she sees Kuoroke has been knocked out as well, so she wasn't the only one, but this isn't good. The room is shaking and dust is floating in the air from the ceiling beginning to buckle under the pressure of what was occuring outside. "I…guess my job is done…" She remarks to herself and now she had a new job to fulfill. She had to find Goro. She didn't realize it, but she'd undergone a change while she's knocked out and it's only when she begins to make her way out of the room that she notices the change. Her skin has scaled over, claws extended from her fingers and her height had changed to some degree. She knows she didn't trigger it, but…"Goro…" She growls and starts to make haste after him.
Even with the ground shaking beneath her feet and the dust beginning to build up in the air, her whole drive is now to find him before he is able to escape the village. Some damage might have been done to those surrounding her, knocked out of her way, stepped on and tackled when she needed to get through the halls. Much of her didn't care, let alone think about what she was doing. At least, for now she was on auto-pilot.
The little girl is very reluctant to leave her mother's side, and continues crying while she babbles things likely difficult to make out over all the other noise, if Takumi even bothers to try. Though she >does< follows after Takumi, she does so less because she is prepared to leave her mother unmoving form and more because she realizes that the Chuunin is a Medical Ninja and her okaa-san always told her that Medical Ninja were good people who can fix just about anything! She can only assume that maybe Takumi just did not realize how hurt her mother was. Maybe he thought she was just sleeping. But she wasn't sleeping, and she needed him to help! So she pads along as fast as her little legs will carry her, tugging on Takumi's pant leg and trying to get his attention while yelling about how he has to help her mother.
"Okaa-san is over >there<!" she insists, terrified by the shaking of the ground, the collapsing buildings, and everything else, on top of her mother being hurt. The wind does its best to drown her out, but she won't stop yelling until this ninja goes back for her mother! Looking back, the pristine whiteness of her mother's robes appears nearly biege thanks the dim light. But she can still see where she is lying in the street, even though she is getting further and further away… And then Takumi turns back to her and her head whips around! She starts babbling at him again and pointing back at her mother's location!
And right then, the building that the girl's mother died in front of thanks to a piece of masonry to the back of the skull crumbles and collapses. The two-story structure falls into the street, burying the corpse. Even with all the other noises, the sound like a giant piece of pottery shattering is noticeable. The little girl turns her head to look at what caused the noise. And sees no sign of her mother. Just loads and loads of stone blocks and fragments.
She has stopped crying and yelling and just stands and stares, too much in shock to do anything else.
Itami chases down the fleeing prisoner of Sunagakure. She chases after him despite not knowing exactly where he is or where he might be headed. Her assumption that he plans to flee the Village may guide what direction she goes, but it is an unfortunately incorrect assumption. Though she pushes her way through the fleeing and the fallen, driven more by reptillian instincts than anything else, there is no sign of the white-haired youth either in the Security Department or the huge central room of the Administration Dome. Is he still back in the halls somewhere? Has he already left the building!? The chaos in the circular main area of the Dome on the ground floor is in a state of utter chaos, with the pillars that hold up the second and third floor balcony-like walkways that ring the central room from above showing visible cracks and chipping, despite being constructed from some of the sturdiest materials that Sunagakure's Earth Style users could find and shape.
Infact, possibly the only reason the dome isn't in even worse condition is >because< of the sturdiness of its construction. That is something to reflect on later, if Itami even remembers this experience later on. At the moment, people are mostly trying to flee through the large front doors of the Administration Dome in droves, while others lie on the ground, trampled, or stuck by falling debris, or otherwise injured or… Perhaps even killed.
The gridlock at the doors seems unlikely to clear up in the next several minutes, so if Goro has gone that way, he may still be trapped in the crowd. Then again, he could have just as easily run across the shoulders and heads of those stuck trying to get out on foot. Or perhaps he simply ran up one of the pillars and leapt out a window. He clearly has ninja training, and could survive a fall like that easily — if he didn't just run down the outside walls of the Dome with Chakra in his feet.
Truly, this is a horrendous situation. And though Goro's capture and escape, and this massive storm, and the destructive tremors, all >seem< to be seperate from a logical standpoint, it also seems far too >convenient< to a suspicious mind. All of this? A coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe it all fits together somehow, in a massive puzzle too big to piece together right now. Something to reflect on later, if Itami even remembers this whole… Etc. For now, something needs to be done. Look for Goro? Find the cause of these >un<natural disasters? Help keep the people from crushing each other in their desperation to get out? Too many options. Too much to think about for a reptile. There's still a lot of pain for Itami's more human side to deal with, but it should have died down to a dull roar of pain now, instead of feeling as agonized as she might if someone were taking two large rocks and slamming them together repeatedly, with her head inbetween them.
Maybe it's safe to use some human intelligence now? Or maybe there's still a need for the strength of the lizard… And the ability to kill without thought or mercy…
Buildings are starting to fall into the street, and being inside the city looks like it is quickly becoming too dangerous. Takumi decides he has to get these people through the village gates to the open desert. Hopefully the increase in sandstorm intensity is worth getting away from the falling buildings. He starts moving back along the line of treated patients, pairing those with leg injuries with those without, and instructs everyone to make their way out the village gates, staying in the center of the road and away from the buildings. As he makes it back to the end of the line where the girl he, he shouts out, "We need to go, now!" and picks her up. With the girl in his arms he makes his way with the rest of the people to the village gates and to the open space beyond. He moves back and forth through the mass of people, doing what he can to encourage and help everyone get out of the village.
Itami, in chasing Goro, didn't think about the panic of the others around here. All she was focused on was finding him, but with so many people running around to and fro, she couldn't maintain this focus enough to pick him out from the crowd. This begins to enrage her and she starts to react by attacking, though…not in the more violent sense. She uses her macroburst to summon wind and floor all the panicked people. This might prove to be more negative than not, but even with her instincts running mad, she still had enough of her to keep her from killing her people. It's in this moment that she slowly begins to fade back to her more human senses and looks around. Things were worse than she expected. The admin building might be sturdy, but this isn't speaking for the whole village.
She begins to feel a pain build up in her heart about this situation and tears begin to well up in her eyes. She didn't have time to focus on Goro, she had to dedicate herself to her village. What's responsible for this and how can she stop it? Where can the people evacuate to, if possible. It's still so much to think about. "I…I can't…" She begins to speak to herself while the world continues shaking around her. She feels hopeless in a sense, but is trying to maintain her strength in this matter. She has to think for the people. She knows they had an evacuation plan, but…how to put it in action…
She knows this place has an evacuation plan, but with the ground shaking like it is, she isn't sure if it's safe to send them beneath the ground. Not in this way. No, she…had to find the source and she knows Goro has something to do with it. She isn't going to excuse this possibility. All of this did begin happening with him in custody. "…I'm such a fool." She sighs. Maybe…maybe there is a way to disrupt all of this. "Storm…" That thing isn't a coincidence. She was only one person, but she knows there are other wind users. How can she disrupt this storm? She'd need to get to a high point and the dome seemed likely. "Anyone who is a ninja and can manipulate wind, follow me! Those of you that manipulate earth, guide these people out of here!" She'd hope that the earth that was killing them could also sustain their lives in the right hands. Without much more waiting, she put her reptilian strength to work again and began to scale the cracking pillars quickly to get to the top of the dome fast enough. If she's lucky, she might find Goro, if not, then her purpose doesn't change. Just like this massive earthquake, she doesn't think the storm is natural either. Contrary to what she thought before.