Date: January 14, 2011
An investigative mission at the request of the Grass Daimyou reveals that some damage to the environment in the Land of Grass may have been the result of a ninja battle…
Temple Ruins - Land of Grass
It is afternoon, and Team 5 has gathered at a location in the Gaza Plains that used to have an ancient temple situated at it. The temple was once used by the Shinobi Sect — the followers of Nin-shuu and thus disciples of the Sage of the Six Paths, founder of all Ninjutsu! It was in remarkable condition. And now the temple is full of holes, crumbling, and falling apart. Its long staircase is shattered and lying around in chunks. And the fields surrounding the temple's remains have faired no better. The grass is beginning to regrow, but what was once a very dense field of tall grass has been cut down to mere green stubs, seemingly at random, with no single area having an even level to it. The trees surrounding the field to the north and south have been slashed as well. Branches lie on the ground, some trees are broken and leaning, and others have fallen over completely.
And a short distance away, in the middle of all the environmental damage, there is a rather large HOLE of about 30 feet in diameter, charred and full of burnt earth, churned heavily as though it had been ploughed, subjected to extreme heats, and then ploughed again.
This is not Team 5's country. They have no authority to perform missions of their own accord or at the order of the Hokage in this land, according to the Grass Country's laws. But they have been asked by Hashiramako herself, who in turn had it 'suggested' to her by the Grass Daimyou, that Team 5 investigate some sort of disturbance that had been reported here to the south of Route 100 — a major passage for travellers and merchants within the Land of Grass. The road itself can be dimly made out to the north, even with all the tall grass and trees between the current location and there.
However, even with as much as has been on Fuyu's mind, she is disconcerted by this level of destruction, especially to a relic of the times before the Clan Wars. "Well, this is it," she says as she gestures around. "As you can see, this damage is relatively recent, and unlikely to be natural. We are to find any clues as to what caused it, and who may have been responsible, and then report directly to the Hokage when we feel our investigation is completed." Fuyu looks around and finds that the smell of death in the area is likely linked to the many animal corpses ranging from birds to snakes to field mice to deer and more. They are already swarming with insects and carrion birds, though the latter tend to disperse when anyone comes nearby. …Only to return to pick at decomposing flesh as soon as the coast is clear.
Taji has been a tad quiet on the journey here. He has seemed more withdrawn as of late. As the group approaches the temple he frowns, "Almost a sin to let this place fall apart like this…" He mutters. He carefully approaches the edge of the hole, "Anyone have any idea what could have done this? Fire? Earth? Some jutsu? Some beast we haven't seen yet?" He glances around, then slowly walks around kicking through the grass lightly, to see if any clues might be hidden near the hole, "Charred burnt earth… churned. Fire and earth manipulation maybe… or maybe…" He glances up at the remains of the temple, "I wonder….." He says softly as he walks towards the shattered chunks of stone, "Maybe someone was looking for something here… perhaps a relic of the ancient days?"
Taji pauses and looks back at his team, looking between them, "I'm no detective. Anyone have any idea what we should be looking for in particular? Or…" He looks to Fuyu, "Directions on where we should look?"
Frowning slightly, Nobu surveys the ravaged surroundings. The remains of the temple and surrounding field and forest, the scores of dead wildlife, the huge hole in the ground… it's not entirely clear what has happened here, but he thinks he can glean at least a few facts just by looking. "Whatever happened, it was probably very sudden," he surmises, "Considering how many animals are dead, there was probably no warning." He points to a deer corpse nearby. "Something like a deer might have been able to get away, even with only a few seconds' warning."
He turns to look over at the temple again. "And whatever killed the animals is probably the same thing that destroyed the temple. It looks like the stone was shattered… but maybe we could find something more telling if we examined one of the animals themselves. They're more likely to show… burns, for instance. Assuming we can find one that hasn't been eaten too much."
Upon getting to the area, Hinotori has been relatively quiet during the trip, to him visiting a the ruined temple of the Sage of the Six Path was something of important for him in a way. Maybe there is some lost text or something relating to him. As the others speak about what could have cuased the destruction that is before them, the Chuunin Uchiha moves a little closer and looks at the dead bodies of the animals nearby, he also begins looking at the crater moving off to the left and just surveying the damage that was wrought here. "Honestly it could be anything." he says. One of main things for him he is just looking to see if there is any singe marks on the out laying grass to indicate fire, which it has, "What ever it was is pretty powerful. Also the trees are cut as well. Maybe a possible skirmish or something, I don't know."
Fuyu responds to Taji with, "If they were looking for relics here then they were either foolish or desperate. This temple was looted centuries ago, after the Nin-shuu monks were slain. They put up quite a fight, I'm told. But in the end, the number of people who wanted the secrets and powers of the Shinobi Sect overwhelmed them. They were slaughtered, and anything of value was taken. Where it all wound up is unknown. It's probably scattered all over the continent by now, or possibly even destroyed. Back then, Ninjutsu was still new and some people associated it with 'demons' and 'evil magic'. So a scroll depicting in beautiful detail the history of an entire Clan in the form of a panorama, simply because it demonstrated the use of jutsu within it, might have been burnt to ashes."
Sighing, the ebony-tressed woman says, "People are stupid. That's why I said that the perpetrator of this, if secrets or relics was the objective, would have to be fools or desperate. Only a fool would think that some magical source of infinite power and wisdom would be lying around here after being scavenged over and over and over for hundreds of years. Someone desperate for that power or knowledge might have been willing to try any angle. What worries me most… Is that a fool with the power to do all this might be running around, or that someone desperate with such power might be doing the same. Neither is very appealing."
Moving on from that Fuyu turns to Nobu. "You are probably correct. Sudden, devastating, no warning that any of these animals detected… And very wide-spread. The area impacted reaches from the tree line to the north almost all the way to the southern forest's tree line. Everything inbetween has been damaged, killed, or destroyed. The fact it can penetrate stone gives an indication that this may have been energy-based… But I don't see any signs of a fire except near the crater, or any burns on the temple. At least from here. So let's do as has been suggested. I'll check out the temple with Taji. Nobu, you and Hinotori investigate the remains."
And with that, she turns and starts heading for the chunks of ancient marble and granite that were once a temple.
Taji nods in response to Fuyu's evaluation. "Well, whatever it was, it was pretty big, yes." He shrugs as he moves from the crater's edge towards Fuyu, "So we go check the temple?" He confirms, "Maybe two unknown ninja had a fight? That's possible right? Met here, fought… destroyed the surrounding area in the fight? We should look for hints of that if it did. Only… if it was a fight the animals would have run, they wouldn't have been caught off guard." He frowns as he disproves his own idea right after suggesting it.
Taji gives another helpless shrug, "Well, guess we'll just have to see what we can see." He says as he mvoes to accompany Fuyu, keeping his eyes out for anything unusual or out of the ordinary, or even in the ordinary if it happens to seem important.
"Alright," Nobu says, nodding in response to Fuyu's orders. "Hinotori-san, shall we?" He gestures to a nearby deer that appears to be relatively untouched by the carrion birds. "The positioning of the body is strange," he observes, kneeling down near the corpse. He glances around the area to a few of the other dead animals, "Not quite like the others at least. Maybe whatever happen injured it but didn't quite kill it. It died later on, but it was able to fight off the crows for a while. Or that's my interpretation, at least." He holds out a hand to touch it, then stops himself. "Probably best not to touch them…" He looks over to Hinotori, "Unless you have gloves or something like that?" While a more in-depth examination might be in order, a cursory glance reveals that the deer was probably felled by the large number of cuts covering its body.
Nodding his head, Hinotori walks with Nobu over towards a deer which wasn't touched by any of the carrion birds, reaching into his pockets he takes out a black pair of gloves and hands a second pair to Nobu, "Before you decide to touch anything." he says to him. A smile playing on his face, as he then starts looking at the deer body. Inspeting the deers body, they are able to see a large number of cuts to it's body. "Hmmm….Lets see about the other animals in the area see if they may have any cuts as well."
Fuyu says, "Unless the animals were kept unaware of the fight somehow. Genjutsu is one possibility…" Then she turns to Taji and says. "…Another possibility is that someone with the ability to suppress and control sound waves may have been using such an ability during the fight, to keep an opponent deafened and off-balance. That would have kept the animals unaware as well, due to the lack of vibrations being transmitted through the air. At least two possible culprits come to mind that have that capability… And it would be a very strange coincidence if one of those two were here in the Land of Grass after our last encounter with him."
Fuyu looks carefully at Taji for a little while as she speaks. When she finishes, regardless of how the Genin reacts, she turns to a block of marble that has wedged itself firmly in the dirt after falling from the roof of the temple that once lay more than 20 feet above them. "It doesn't look like simple blunt force… Nor does it look like any type of energy was involved. Only that crater showed signs of burns, and I believe they looked more like electrical burns than purely fire ones. Scattered… Random… Not a continuous expanse of charred earth, but just the site of… A lightning strike maybe? Lightning doesn't make craters, so Lightning Release probably…" She is thinking outloud at this point, though she'll listen to anything Taji has to say.
Crouching down, Fuyu runs a hand over the block, noting the cracks throughout. She nearly cuts her fingers on a jagged edge and withdraws her digits. "There's something wedged in the cracks. Do you have good manual dexterity?" Withdrawing a kunai from a tool pouch, Fuyu offers it handle-first to Taji. "See if you can pry whatever is in there out. Dirt isn't sharp, so I doubt it's just the grime of centuries." Why she isn't doing it herself is mostly to do with her fingers being a bit thicker than a youngster's, and potentially a lack of finesse with her hands.
Taji frowns, "Sound? Oh, you mean that criminal, the one who… right, at the gates." He shrugs, "I don't know. Wouldn't be that much of a strange coincidence, since the tournament is going on. Criminals probably could meet here under the cover of the tournament with so many ninja around. Shinobi from every village are here, I think. Great way to meet without raising suspicion." He notes as he glances around looking for anything out of place. When Fuyu finds something Taji moves to her side, "Sure, Fuyu-sama, I'll see what I can do." He takes the Kunai, a tool he actually carries but seldom uses.
With some effort Taji works to try to see what is in the crack, peering in and trying to pry it lose with his own fingers and the kunai, "Come on…" He mutters as he works at it, trying to expose whatever it might be.
"Thanks." Once he's taken the glove from Hinotori and put them on, Nobu hesitantly reaches under the deer and lifts. The animal's weight is not insignificant, but being a ninja, Nobu is able to roll it over without serious strain. With the body out of the way, an examination of the ground reveals a few patches of blood and, itself spattered with blood, a small lump of some kind. "What's this?" Nobu picks the object up and holds it up to the sun. Despite the bloodstains, it sparkles a little in the light. "Some kind of crystal. I wonder if this was involved somehow." Turning his attention back to the deer again, he begins to roll it over again, but stops once he notices that some of the cuts have penetrated to this side as well. With some apprehension, he pulls one of the cuts open and sweeps a finger in a short ways, pulling out a few smaller crystals. "If the other animals have these, that probably confirms it," he says.
"No prob, we are a team and we help one another." Hinotori smiles as Nobu begins checking the animal carcass, the Uchiha chuunin begins looking around but keeping close to Nobu. Turning when called, he looks at the small shard, "I don't know." he says as he moves clsoer to the shard. Though now that he's close, Nobu would note that now the sharingan is active in Hinotoris eyes. "Theres small traces of chakra within the crystal." he says. He then stands up up and look around the immediate area, "Lets go report this." he tells Nobu. Reaching into a pouch in his vest he takes out a small plastic forensic bag, "Here place that in here and if you can find another add it, and we will go give this to Fuyu-sama." he says. Once Nobu does this they will head back, though he lets Nobu keep hold of the bag.
As Taji digs at the crack, the kunai manages to dig out several small flecks of something shiny, until an actual sharp fragment of the same crystal that Nobu and Hinotori have discovered is unintentionally pried out of the crack with a bit of force. Fuyu barely catches the shard in front of her face. Thankfully it was just physics that sent it flying, not a jutsu, so it didn't penetrate her hand or anything. She turns her hand over and looks at it. "…Crystal. Seishukuni, most likely. And I believe that Uchiha Yau has a Crystal user in his 'Takokujin'. Or at least he hired one to help him assault Konohagakure. I remember the reports of such. This could be a different one, or completely unrelated."
Hinotori and Nobu come over shortly, bearing a baggy of more crystals. These appear to be a bit more intact, however. Possibly they were exposed less to the air and the rest of the environment, so the Chakra took longer to 'bleed' out of the fragments. She offers that possibility to everyone briefly and then just nods. "Well, that was easier than I thought it would be… Though it would have been easy to miss if attention hadn't been paid to the details. We should report back about the suspected culprits. We need more evidence to be sure it is Shima Sami, or that sound was necessarily involved at all. But this crystal did not just appear on its own. At least one of those responsible has been identified by Clan. And it might even be possible to compare the Chakra remaining in the fragments you two recovered with the Chakra of any Seishukuni currently in Kusagakure. If we get a match…" She smirks a little.
Taji frowns, as he sees the crystal and mutters 'Kureno…?' soft enough that only Fuyu might hear it at best. Then he stands up straight and says, "There was an incident in the warehouse district… massive damage, crystal use. I saw some of the results, as I was near by when it happened. But only afterwards, but the destruction was impressive. I suspect the same mad man who damaged so much there was here. Perhaps someone was trying to stop him, or her. I don't know. But… Fuyu-sama, are you sure Shima Sami was involved? Anything could have caught the animals off guard." He points out, "Be lucky if he was here, though… then we might have a lead on him." He frowns, in thought as he looks at the crystal, "If they have crystals from that attack in the warehouse district they might be able to compare it to see if the same person was here." He points out.
Taji shrugs, "Anyway, we know at least there is one cystal user in the flower village, from that attack, so probably related, don't you think? Someone blasts a bunch of buildings there, using crystals and then we find crystals here… something strange going on to be sure. I don't know anything about the Seishukuni clan, but if they are crystal users seems likely it's one of them."
Neither of the two names Fuyu mentions seem to affect Nobu much. He knows of the Sheishukuni clan, though not a whole lot, and only by their reputation. As for Shima Sami, he remembers that the name was mentioned in some announcements from the Hokage's office. Beyond that though, he knows very little about either, and remains silent for the moment.