Cult of the Midday Sun - The First Sacrifice


Fujiko, Arika, Sousa, Jiro, Shinta, Malik

Date: January 9, 2016


The Cult of the Midday Sun lures shinobi to the desert to take what they desire most.

Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.

"Cult of the Midday Sun - The First Sacrifice"

Land of Wind

The Daimyo of Wind's Son was returned to him. The urgency that the Cult of the Midday Sun had provoked onto the Land of Wind's leadership had faded. There was some news about the cult that circulated around the Land of Wind, but in the end most people had considered the cult quashed after the safe return to the Heir of Wind. In the end it was the duty of Sunagakure to actually fight this cult, whose surface has not even been scratched. God is a powerful tools in the hands of man, used to sway the minds of many to unjust causes. Who is to say that god is nor real, and that Seishukuni Kou was truly bringing the land to a prophesied end time? Who was to say that winged-serpent sun-god of a religion across an ocean so wide that no explorer has ever returned was not real? It was a miracle that she had made it back, perhaps. It is a miracle that she has indeed somehow lead an organization that has yet to be found. Only when the Cult of the Midday Sun wants to be found is it actually found.
It wanted to be found. In fact, they left a trail so enticing that Sunagakure was sure to follow. Three miles of hearts impaled by wooden staves sunk into the sand. Each 1/10th of a mile of those three miles held one of these hearts, carved from the citizenry of the Land of Wind. It was clearly a trap, but how many cultists could their possibly be? What could they possibly want? These cultists have been scouring the desert for something in their book known as the 'Will of the Sands'. It is the required key for the coming of their god.
Fujiko isn't leading the group, given that last time she nearly died. Her command effectively split. The shinobi who had lead the assault on the cultists' lair beneath the sands were for the most part present, minus a few others. Arika, Fujiko, Jiro, Shinta. Combined with Malik, and the first Kazekage and nothing could go wrong. The sun is bright, and the trail of hearts bake under the bright sun. At the very end, it seemed as if there was nothing…

Arika grumbles a bit as she kicks up sand in her path. "They're gonna all die," she declares, likely not for the first time. "I'm not gonna let 'em get 'way with all this!" she huffs. The girl would glance over to Fujiko with a frown, but then her eyes would turn to Jiro. "Jiro-kun, le's stick together fer as long as we can. We fight super good together!" She would nod once, then continue along the path. A few of her ink scouts would skitter ahead, chakra keeping them from drying out or being absorbed by the sand. Her chakra was already focused, too, and a few people might realize that the amount of chakra she focused was intense… c.c;

Jiro just wanders along with the rest of his group, his hands flopped in their normal place atop his head in a lazy fashion. At least he's keeping an eye on their surroundings if nothing else! As they go he makes sure to keep a close eye on Arika and Shinta, not letting either of them out of his sight for the time being. "Dun w'rry, 's'long's we stay close t'gether we're gonna be fine Ari. Righ' Shinta?"

With Sinbad in the sky being his eyes, Malik moves along with the group. He's been silent for the most part, with his hood up over his head and his mask firmly attached on his lower face, he moves along the sand like he's right at home. The Hayato was armed with his bow and his quiver of arrows. He's been listening to the younger shinobi talk, but he hasn't been paying much attention, that was mostly because he was keeping an eye out to make sure that they weren't ambushed.

Shinta would nod his head gently as he watched Jiro closely but paid little mind to the others in the immediate area. As long as he kept Jiro healthy, Jiro could take care of the issues that came up which served well enough for him. With his arms lost in his poncho, the boy would no doubt be keeping a close hold on his medicinal kit do that none of it went to waste on something meaningless today.

Nothing could go wrong? Oh dear, batten down the hatches. Focus as much chakra as you can, roll every perception skill you've got, check for traps and ambushes in every room, and keep a copy of your character sheet from before we started this little venture just in case the GM is merciful enough to let us retcon the disaster.

…All that is what a genre-savvy team privy to the narrator's voice would do, but of course our intrepid shinobi are purely IC. ;) Of course, the trail of staked hearts is an obvious enough IC reason to be cautious. "I would point out the irrationality of your statement," Sousa remarks as they move, "but even were I to succeed in educating you, the immediate effects would include decreasing your short-term probability of survival. Better that you remain irrational and confident than rational and fearful." -.-

[NPC System]: Endless Sands Genjutsu roll(s) Vast Unending Desert vs Fujiko from 20 to 55 and get(s) a 36. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Fujiko defends against with a GENJUTSU-PERCEPTION…17
COMBAT: Fujiko focuses 3449 stamina to turn it into 4000 usable chakra!

Fujiko would glance back at Arika a moment, barely catching that little glare from the young girl. Everyone knows Arika is actually quite strong. One of the strongest, and Jiro has proven himself worthy too. It was a decent team, for a B-rank mission. Fujiko finds that given what had happened to her last time, that keeping together is the best option. "Listen. I beg you all caution. The last time we were goaded by this cult, there was a casualty. I am not exactly sure what the other groups moved into last time, but I am certain that we should try not to be separated as much as we were this time." Two groups maximum. Stretching oneself thin is a bad "… Strangely enough, I feel as if there should be something waiting for us. Yet… There is nothing?" Fujiko would attempt to sense and dispel genjutsu. Yet, she would be unable to do so. "… So, this is it then? Lead us to the end of the desert with a trail of hearts and make us die of thirst? Clever tactic, I suppose." Fujiko would unwravel a scroll, and summon forth a canteen of water, grasping it in mid air and taking a drink. "Does anyone else sense anything?"
The desert is vast, and unending. Those whom fall to this genjutsu would find themselves being drained abnormally, perhaps an affect of some jutsu?

RPCOMBAT Fujiko took 1000 stamina damage.
COMBAT: Arika focuses 6337 stamina to turn it into 10000 usable chakra!
[NPC System]: Endless Sands Genjutsu roll(s) Vast Unending Desert vs Arika from 20 to 55 and get(s) a 52. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a CHAKRA-PINCH-II…66
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a INK-SCOUT-I…52
COMBAT: Arika heals Arika for 353 with MINOR REGENERATION.

Arika notices some of her energy depleting faster than usual, and she makes a handseal to send her chakra through her body so that it pinches a few nerves. It was painful, but the pain disappeared quickly, as did the illusion. Before her was a huge structure, and it looked to be made of earth rather than some sort of stone. Things were too… neat for it to have been hewn by tools, too. "Ne! There's a giant … umm… THING!" she says suddenly, pointing ahead to the earthen structure she can see. Some of her inky scouts would scramble forward to start examining the odd massive building.

[NPC System]: Endless Sands Genjutsu roll(s) Vast Unending Desert vs Jiro from 20 to 55 and get(s) a 24. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Jiro defends against with a SELF-INFLICT-II…51

Something was a little off. And it had to do with an odd tickling feeling at the back of his mind. It was a familiar feeling in the end and so from one moment to the next his hands go from empty to holding a kunai and blood is drippling from a small wound on his arm. As the genjutsu fades he just frowns up at the building before glancing over to Arika, then back to the building, not saying a word. He pulls out a little bandaid to put on his arm too.

RPCOMBAT: Jiro defends against with a PERCEPTION…21
COMBAT: Jiro heals Jiro for 313 with FIRST AID.
[NPC System]: Endless Sands Genjutsu roll(s) Vast Unending Desert vs Malik from 20 to 55 and get(s) a 32. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Malik defends against with a GENJUTSU-PERCEPTION…14
RPCOMBAT Malik took 1000 stamina damage.

With every step that he takes, Malik begins to feel weaker. His knees buckle underneath him as he goes down to one knee. Out before him the desert stretches on and on as far as his eyes can see, which is pretty forfeited far. "I don't see anything but more desert." He replies to Arika. He picks himself back up. He knows he's under the influence of genjutsu, however knowing and being able to do something about it is two different things.

[NPC System]: Endless Sands Genjutsu roll(s) Vast Unending Desert vs Shinta from 20 to 55 and get(s) a 45. - Rolled by: Fujiko
COMBAT: Shinta focuses 1513 stamina to turn it into 2000 usable chakra!
RPCOMBAT: Shinta defends against with a GENJUTSU-PERCEPTION…4
RPCOMBAT Shinta took 1000 stamina damage.

The boy didn't bother much with trying to sense genjutsu as he was already feeling abnormally drained from the simple walk which gave it away but he couldn't find the right manner in which to fluctuate his chakra so he could break free of the illusions. Jiro seemed to have the right idea however as she stabbed himself and perhaps spared himself from getting too worn down as they proceeded. "It is an illusion, Malik. The female sees it and from how Jiro is acting he does as well so it is either a mutual mirage phenomenon, or we are simply trapped in an illusion wishing to cause us to exhaust ourselves by walking about the desert in circles pointlessly around our destination." Shinta explained before looking toward the retired Kazekage for confirmation on his analysis to see if he was correct or not.

[NPC System]: Endless Sands Genjutsu roll(s) Vast Unending Desert vs Sousa from 35 to 75 and get(s) a 61. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Sousa defends against with a GENJUTSU-KAI-II…80
RP: Sousa uses STUN-RELEASE.
RP: Sousa uses STUN-RELEASE.
COMBAT: Sousa focuses 9215 stamina to turn it into 12439 usable chakra!

Sousa chuckles. "An interesting strategic possibility, Fujiko-san. The problem with attempting to make us follow a trail longer than we're capable of surviving, however, is that it would be at least as much work for them to set up such a scenario as it is for us to go through it. Unless, of course…" Sousa clasps his hands together in a familiar seal, banishing the illusion of the interminable sands. "…they were to cheat." Sousa reaches out to flush some chakra through Fujiko and Malik, breaking off any foreign influences on them as well. "We should assume the enemy is already aware of our presence."

A building. Massive. Hidden in the desert. Clearly, normal scouts might not see it given that they might not expect to be prodded with genjutsu. This building in the middle of the desert, this structure… It was unlike any architecture ever invented in Japan. It was not made of tiled roof, but raw stone. It was a massive tierd pyramid built like that of an Aztec monument. The top was a symbol of the cult. A giant mirror made to represent a sun. Even though the tiered pyramid seemed roughly made by earth release, it had a myriad of ancient looking designs carved into it. A long stairway lead to the top of the pyramid, but there were many entrances that lead inside the structure.
It seemed as if Fujiko was under the cold grasp of a genjutsu, and when she awoke she saw this structure as well. "Imposing." She would note as she jogged up to the structure and ran her hands along it. "They certainly did cheat. Lambs." She would turn and rest her back against the structure. "If I may suggest a course of action, Kazekage-sama. Spreading our ranks thin caused us to nearly fail last time, I would request that we have two teams. One team to move within the ruins, and one to provide backup… Arika can provide a clone to travel with those whom walk inside, or those that stay on standby within… Is this acceptable?" She looks at Arika, and nods her head. "The action is yet to begin… Yet, though I have experience dealing with this cult, I am still lightly wounded from the last mission."

Arika would frown a bit at Fujiko's plan. "Then you gotta stay with the backup group," she'd tell her friend. "I c'n send a clone in, I s'pose… It's easier t' get back information than it is t' send it to a clone," she'd note. Not that she really knew why. /Do/ shadow clones receive what the original does? Prolly not until they get re-made… Hmm… Arika would glance to Jiro when he stabs himself, but hey, he has a bandage! That makes everything better! Arika would say, "The thing is weird. Like a giant triangle…" Her ink scouts would be directed to find a way into the pyramid for now.

RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a INK-SCOUT-I…31

Jiro's hands return to flop on top of his head as he looked up at the big structure before he glances around at others. Seeing Shinta he walks up to the kid and smacks him, trying to knock him out of the genjutsu. "Pay 'tention," he chides, though he's grinning rather widely at the free slap. Ahh yes. He turns to look back at the building again, head tilted slightly as he tries to figure out what it is. He doesn't offer anything else for now however. He's not in charge.

COMBAT: Jiro focuses 4921 stamina to turn it into 6000 usable chakra!
COMBAT: Malik focuses 4124 stamina to turn it into 5000 usable chakra!

Malik rises up from his knee, inclining his head to Sousa in thank you. "Yes, Shinta, I'm aware. However what concerns me more is that genjutsu can only be cast when the caster has line of sight on his target. Which means someone is watching us right now." He lifts a closed fist into the air, and a moment later Sinbad flies down to land on his forearm. He looks at the bird. "I need you to investigate that structure. Find us a way in." Sinbad dips his head and then launches back into the air again. Meanwhile, Malik's eyes go from their normal green to yellow with black pupils.

RP: Malik transforms into SINBAD-II.
RPCOMBAT: Malik defends against with a HAYATO-SENSES…46

Shinta staggered a bit at that slap but rubbed at his cheek without complaint while nodding his thanks to Jiro for the help in getting loose. "That is not necessarily true, Malik. They need only be within ear shot. The method of application they use for their Genjutsu also need be considered in this situation." The boy would explain before beginning to take his time and letting his eyes explore the area calmly for a few moments

RPCOMBAT: Sousa defends against with a PERCEPTION…42

"A single test case is a poor basis for establishing a policy of action," Sousa notes. "Of course, it's still better than no test cases at all, and your plan does align with generally sound tactical practice. I will proceed first along with Jiro-san and Arika-san's clone. The rest of you may follow at a distance." Sousa takes point, heading into the structure with a chemical light-stick held aloft. "I do hope we can bring an archaeological team out here soon after this, the untapped knowledge deposit here is likely quite lush…"

So that was the order. Arika and/or clone, Jiro, and Sousa would go into the structure, and activate all the traps. Should they go in, Sousa would notice that the light seems to bed and awkward angles inside, which would make it difficult to see said traps. There were indeed traps, too. It didn't take long for the trio to move in before the traps began to activate. One said trap that whirrs alive would be that of sharp blades that slice down upon individuals along pre-determined paths. Like giant guillotines, they would likely dig deeply if they hit someone given their weight and size
That leaves Malik, Shinta, Arika, and Fujiko waiting on the outside for a time… Fujiko herself seemed increasingly worried. She had witnessed pain the last time she had dealt with these people. Now, she almost fears moving within. "Malik-kun, Arika… I can't go in there. I know he said to follow behind loosely, but… I'm a tad afraid of what I might find. I'd like to stay outside." She looks at Shinta a moment. "He ought to stay outside, in my opinion." If something happens she would be pressed to go in, but it would be at last resort. She looks up to the shining mirror atop the pyramid that seems to focus the light of the sun and visibly send it over the desert. "I never fancied myself a capable ninja." She admits.

[NPC System]: Hallway roll(s) Guillotine Corridor vs Arika Clone from 35 to 70 and get(s) a 43. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a WIND-STEP…61

Arika frowns at the path ahead. Or rather, the clone does. It gathers wind to its legs and dashes across the corridor, avoiding each falling blade one at a time without even bothering to check if Sousa didn't mind. She was curious to see what was ahead… The real Arika would hug Fujiko. "Ne, when they get to the end, then I c'n tell ya what t' expect. It'll be easy peasy! Right?" She offers a comforting grin, even as she would attempt to climb onto Fujiko's back. "'nd me 'n Ma-kun will protect you! Right, Ma-kun?" she would glance at the Hayato expectantly. ~Don't trust him. He's a bird brain~ 'Hush!'

[NPC System]: Hallway roll(s) Guillotine Corridor vs Jiro from 35 to 70 and get(s) a 51. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RP: Jiro transforms into STEEL-RESOLVE.
RPCOMBAT: Jiro defends against with a BREVITY…44
RPCOMBAT: Jiro took 400 damage.

Why did Jiro have to go in first? Sheesh. Maybe he needed to start learning shadow clones too or something. He just goes with Sousa and the Ari clone all the way until they reach the slicing metal things. He tries to move out of the way when one of the blades comes down at him but isn't quite fast enough, leaving the heavy blade to sheer off a chunk of skin on his arm, leaving it bleeding quite profusely. He doesn't need any of that anyways.

Malik is kind of yielded off that he's been relegated to 'lookout' duty. The irritation is evident in his body language, but he hasn't voiced anything just yet. So he's slow to answer when Arika speaks to him. Golden eyes turn to regard her and Fujiko before he nods once. "Of course." Not having a chance to warn the others of the traps that Sinbad told him about, he finds a comfortable spot on the sand dune to sit down at.

Shinta would frown when he heard what Fujiko had to say but rather than listening to it, he began moving forward at a slower pace than the leading group. He was allowing them to create a fair enough distance that he could watch their movements and still be in range to mend whatever damage they might take onto themselves from trying to maneuver through the traps that might exist. When Jiro ended up injured however, Shinta was quick to rush forward in the footsteps of those before himself while drawing out his jar of medicine that Jiro liked to steal from him. He'd normally ask to see the wound but with Jiro's arm making a fair sized mess the boy needed no such hint and would simply dip a few fingers into his medicine jar while gathering up the shorn off flesh. He'd look it over and use the water of his canteen to wash the flesh of the ground dirtying it, then came Shinta's medicinal spray and a bit of the medicine on his fingers being used along the edges of that flesh. "Hold your arm still and try not to flinch when it stings; I can fix something like this." The boy would explain as he moved in to begin his work of reapplying the section of flesh. It would need a bit of the boy's green thread for absorbant stitches to be used but with chakra flow he could put the flesh well on the way to rejoining its rightful place.

COMBAT: Shinta heals Jiro for 407 with MEDICINAL HEALING.
[NPC System]: Hallway roll(s) Guillotine Corridor vs Sousa from 35 to 70 and get(s) a 59. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Sousa defends against with a BODY-FLICKER-II…65
[NPC System]: Hallway roll(s) Guillotine Corridor vs Shinta from 35 to 70 and get(s) a 43. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Sousa defends against with a BODY-FLICKER-II…66
RPCOMBAT: Sousa defends against with a BODY-FLICKER-II…50

Sousa was expecting traps, naturally. You can't have an ancient stone structure without traps. :P Especially when it's associated with some murderous cult. So when he hears the tell-tale clicks and scrapes, he uses some of his accumulated chakra to blitz from his position, landing at the other end of the passage. His eyes dart about — no immediate repercussions for moving here? Good, let's see how the others are faring — oh for crying out loud! >.<; Sousa zips back past the falling blades, then grabs Shinta and yanks him away from yet another metal chunk-o'-doom. Sousa exhales once they're all safe. "Your desire to aid a comrade is meritorious, but have a little situational awareness! Patching a wound of that nature is not so urgent that you need to do it in the midst of a known trap area."

Shinta rushing in as he did, risking life and limb over an injury would likely cause injury upon himself. Just because others had passed in did not mean the threat of traps had subsided. A blade would come right down upon him as he attempted to rectify Jiro's own wounds. Thankfully the Kage was there to bail the student out with a quick save. That wasn't the only thing that made life difficult. The entrance appeared to disappear. The light stopped filtering through. A result of a rather large amount of stone closing off the entrance. Those outside would see this, and those within would have likely moved too far inward to notice the entrance gone. Those outside would find things quite a bit more boring Fujiko pace in the sand, and would stop only when the entrance closed. "Well, well…" She says, feeling suddenly rather worried. "The trap appears to have been sprung…" What that means for those inside, Fujiko does not know. The only person here with an attack great enough to breach stone that thick is likely Arika. c.c; Nevertheless, neither Malik, Fujiko, nor Arika would be able to quite break through. Two black hooded men, one that Fujiko and Arika might have seen before move from the stones of the pyramid. They… simply seem to phase out. "Greetings." One of them says.
These two men, cloaked in black, appeared to be high ranking clergy. They present themselves with a worrisomely confident air. Both appear to be older men. "The sun is an important object for those of the desert. The sun itself causes our skin to burn, and our bodies to dry up." The other cloaked figure would speak up, "It's absence freezes our bodies. Without the sun we are doomed, with it we are also doomed. There is no escape from the inevitable. Apologies if it appears that our presence is seemingly cliche. Your entire assault team decided to play into our hands, and the Kazekage is safely within our palm."
The first hooded creates a handseal. "Yet, the Kazekage is not the will of the desert that our book talks of. We have been doing research, and have even had our members scour your hidden archives." Many of the cult are in the ranks of Sunagakure it seems, whether by choice or forced is unknown. "Now we know exactly what we need. We need the power of the tailed beast of the sand to create our weapon." That appeared exactly what they were going to do. At the top of the pyramid, beside the glittering mirror was indeed the Seishukuni that is indeed in charge of all of this. She was wearing quite a few feathers upon her person, and her eyes change color for a brief moment. Seishukuni Kou, an unremarkable woman who has made herself remarkable. Dressed in what one would expect an Aztec priest to wear, she now speaks. "Who here wants to guess where the Ichibi is?" It seems as if the robed figures had kept from outwardly attacking. Seishukuni Kou would reach out and run her finger along the brim of the mirror, "I can tell it's one of the people whom the light touches right now…"
Those whom are below, having cleared the first trap, would find themselves approaching what is clearly an obvious array of traps, but no only that, but there might be more… Before moving deeper into the temple, they ought to take a good look around…

[NPC System]: Temple roll(s) Trap Perception Rolls from 30 to 60 and get(s) a 42. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a INK-SCOUT-I…44
COMBAT: Arika attacks target 1 with INK-BIND with a roll of: 48
COMBAT: Arika attacks target 1 with INK-BIND with a roll of: 56
[NPC System]: Sage of Dawn roll(s) Earth Style Wall vs Arika (48) from 45 to 65 and get(s) a 58. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Sage of Dusk roll(s) Earth Style Wall vs Arika (56) from 45 to 65 and get(s) a 47. - Rolled by: Fujiko

Arika-clone was indeed too far to notice the entrance close. But she didn't care. She sought to reach the end of this temple so she could make sure everything was safe for Fujiko to explore as well. The clone would send scouts to explore while she glances back to Sousa, Jiro, and Shinta. "Shin-kun! You should've stayed outside!" she huffs. "'s not safe in here with a Buncha traps v.v" The girl would cross her arms a bit, wondering what the kid was thinking. Sure, she had gone on plenty of dangerous stuff when she was a student, but… She felt like being a hypocrite.
The real Arika would blink when the two cult folk appeared before her. "Yer not getting Shu-jii from us!" she huffs. "Go 'way!" Then the girl would lash out with two long arms, which were lengthened with ink that sorta seemed to appear… Courtesy of the Bijuu in her, really. They arms would try to wrap up around the two cult people and keep them there for a bit.

RPCOMBAT: Jiro defends against with a PERCEPTION…46

It all happened so fast. He got sliced up, then Shinta was there slapping it back on, then Shinta was gone. Seriously! Ugh. After picking himself back up he'd go over to Shinta and pat him on the head. "Than's fer the help." With that he turns to continue onwards, stopping next to Arika and looking out over the next area, scratching his head a bit. "Wha' shoul' we do?"

Malik stands up when the two men appear outside. He listens to what they have to say and then asks calmly. "Which bijuu would that be?" There were two of them here afterall. However, the question was really rhetorical as he slides his bow off his back while reaching over his shoulder for an arrow. He lets three of them fly in rapid succession. "I hate guys like you. Nobody believes in a god around here." Not to mention there was no way in penance they were keeping his little brother in there. But Jiro was tough enough to look after himself for the most part. Now his task was to keep Fujiko out of harm's way.

COMBAT: Malik attacks target 1 with ARCHER-SHOT with a roll of: 35
COMBAT: Malik attacks target 1 with ARCHER-SHOT with a roll of: 38
COMBAT: Malik attacks target 1 with ARCHER-SHOT with a roll of: 26
[NPC System]: Sage of Dusk roll(s) Earth Style Wall vs Malik(35) from 30 to 50 and get(s) a 48. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Sage of Dawn roll(s) Earth Style Wall vs Malik(38) from 30 to 50 and get(s) a 31. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Sage of Dusk roll(s) Earth Style Wall vs Malik(26) from 30 to 50 and get(s) a 38. - Rolled by: Fujiko

"While I would agree in natural situations, a trap blade is often one doused in poisons. Even a minor wound could grow deadly in moments without proper attention. Though I have not heard of traps built into halls that drop blades continuously every time the area is stepped on. It was a trap I will keep in mind for the future of this mission and I apologize for the inconvenience." Shinta answered with a slightly tone of annoyance more so directed at himself for the miscalculation. He was young but still wise enough to know that he was putting himself in danger by moving in. It was just within the range of perceived threat while the chances of poison or intentional infection were high if he did not act quickly for Jiro's wound. When he was getting his hair patted the boy felt a bit less annoyed at himself for the oversight and relaxed to take down notes to try learning how the rapid firing, repeated guillotines were engineered so he could possibly try spotting the mechanisms if more appeared.

RP: Sousa transforms into CLEAR-MIND.
RPCOMBAT: Sousa defends against with a PERCEPTION…54

Sousa looks around at their surroundings. "We shall continue on for now," he decides in response to Jiro's question. "Arika-clone-san, please be very careful. I realize you are in some sense expendable, but you have the unique capability of carrying information outside of the building should we become trapped. Or for that matter, Arika-san might release the technique to alert us that something important is happening outside, even if that will not tell us exactly what it is."

Those inside the temple might see the traps ahead, at least most of them do. The next trap to buy for time appears to be spark driven trap that ignited oil that seemed to be spread around the ground. The ground would burst into a sudden flame! Yet those whom had seen it would have a far easier time dodging it. A shame no one knows water release, else this trip could clearly be doused. Hitting the sand shinobi where it hurts. Yet, as the fire dies out, there would be someone over at the end of the hall that Jiro and Shinta might recognize. "HEY GUYS! REMEMBER ME!" Clearly, it was that person that was supposed to have been killed during the last mission. Good old Maien Jan, that pyromaniac sadist that had been vanquished because he ignored Shinta. "I had so much fun last time, that as soon as I was 'revived' I wanted to try again! Who is the short guy?" She asks, regarding the Kazekage. "Whatever…" The heavily bandaged man, full of burn scars all over his body where there wasn't bandages, looked almost like a mummy of some sort. How ironic he was in some crypt-like temple. His technique was just the same as last time, and his handseals were back despite that wonderful move by Shinta. It wouldn't happen again. He would breathe out a large amount of gas after creating the usual seals. Then he would exhale… It smelled a lot like gas, and as soon as it hit the fire created by the oil trap, the air ignited.
Those outside would be treated to a rock. A lot of rock. The old men in their black cloaks would use the rock around them to make walls to deflect attacks. One of the cloaked men would become hit by an arrow, while the other would have something grasp him. "Ah! H-help me, Kou!" He called out. The other sage would attempt to return the favor, "You don't need her. I'll take care of them." At least, he would attempt to sink Arika and Malik. Fujiko… Fujiko had another thing coming. She was being saved… For the main performance!
Seishukuni Kou would even attempt to shame Fujiko while her allies were preoccupied. "Well? Aren't you going to attack them? Save your allies? Or are you still scared I'll step in and bring you close to death… Come forth, vessel. Why don't you try again, or perhaps you are all washed up now? That fear still inside of you?"
Fujiko would shake her head. "I'm not going to be goaded." Fujiko says as she takes a deep breath. She truly wished she could speak to Shukaku. She wished he was silent, but she did have something else up her sleeve. "I'm clearly able to take on everyone at once." She would unwind a scroll, and summon some of her special sand. The kind that she can freely control. Right as the sand burst from the scroll, it would form balls that freely shot outwards, attempting to strike Kou and the Sages all at once.

RPCOMBAT: Fujiko defends against with a SCROLLED-TERRAIN…30
COMBAT: Fujiko attacks target 1 with SAND-SHOT with a roll of: 28
COMBAT: Fujiko attacks target 2 with SAND-SHOT with a roll of: 34
COMBAT: Fujiko attacks target 3 with SAND-SHOT with a roll of: 33
[NPC System]: Sage of Dawn roll(s) Great Earthen Barrier vs Fujiko (34) from 50 to 75 and get(s) a 74. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Seishukuni Kou roll(s) Crystallization Technique vs Fujiko (33) from 75 to 110 and get(s) a 76. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Temple roll(s) Oil trap (Seen) vs Ariclone from 25 to 45 and get(s) a 44. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Gas Release: Gas Ignition Technique vs Ariclone from 25 to 55 and get(s) a 30. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Sage of Dawn roll(s) Demon Graves vs Arika from 65 to 80 and get(s) a 72. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a WIND-DASH…46
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a CLONE-TECHNIQUE…33
RP: Arika transforms into HACHIBI-MULTI-TAIL.
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a VANISHING-GALE…91
COMBAT: Arika attacks target 1 with WIND-CUTTER with a roll of: 38
COMBAT: Arika attacks target 2 with WIND-CUTTER with a roll of: 38
COMBAT: Arika attacks target 1 with INK-BIND with a roll of: 61
[NPC System]: Sage of Dawn roll(s) Great Earthen Barrier vs Arika (61) from 50 to 75 and get(s) a 67. - Rolled by: Fujiko

Arika would avoid the incoming demonic graves, disappearing with a burst of wind that would acquire a sort of cutting edge. The girl would hopefully get to cut deep into her attackers, mostly wanting to cut their heads off. "I said… back… OFF!" Her chakra would suddenly flare up, turning into twin purple tails behind her with one lashing out to grab the other cultist.
Ari-clone would squeak and race away from the incoming dangers, keeping to a spot where the flames seemed the least dangerous. Phew… "Mebbe we should go back… I have a ba- *POOF*" And the clone was gone, which means that something bad is going on outside.

[NPC System]: Temple roll(s) Oil trap (Seen) vs Jiro from 25 to 45 and get(s) a 34. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Gas Release: Gas Ignition Technique vs Jiro from 25 to 45 and get(s) a 28. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Temple roll(s) Oil trap vs Shinta from 35 to 65 and get(s) a 47. - Rolled by: Fujiko
COMBAT: Jiro attacks target 1 with INTERRUPT with a roll of: 51
RPCOMBAT: Jiro defends against with a BREVITY…60
RPCOMBAT: Jiro defends against with a BREVITY…73
RPCOMBAT: Jiro defends against with a BREVITY…69

Jiro looks out over the traps ahead with a speculative, curious gaze, blue eyes flicking over it all until he hears that oddly familiar voice. What the heck…how did he survive? How did he still have limbs? "'ey, yer suppose'ta be dea'!" Jiro calls angrily, pointing at the man. And then the fire comes. Jiro vanishes out of the way in a burst of speed, grabbing Shinta and pulling him away as well. After setting Shinta back down Jiro starts back in…but then there's gas and bad stuff coming. Another burst of speed doesn't move him back but instead ahead as he appears behind the crazy guy and flicks his sash out to slash at the man.

COMBAT: Jiro attacks target 1 with STEEL-CLOTH-FANG with a roll of: 49
COMBAT: Jiro attacks target 1 with STEEL-CLOTH-FANG with a roll of: 42
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Masochism II (49) from 35 to 50 and get(s) a 49. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Masochism II (42) from 35 to 50 and get(s) a 38. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Sage of Dawn roll(s) Demon Graves vs Malik from 65 to 80 and get(s) a 78. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Malik defends against with a ACROBATIC-DODGE-II…40

Malik tries to get out of the way of the affected area, but it was a swamp and he's caught in it. As he sinks down into the muck, he struggles but he's not getting out anytime soon.

[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Gas Release: Gas Ignition Technique vs Shinta (He wasn't aiming for Shinta after all c.c;) from 10 to 15 and get(s) a 13. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Shinta defends against with a REPLACEMENT-TECHNIQUE…27

"He must be a corpse." Shinta called out in a clear tone of voice as he stood up to look at the man that was there. "I checked his vitals at the end of the fight and there were absolutely no vital signs at all!" Shinta would announce as he began moving forward though when that technique began moving his way the boy would trigger one of the traps and step back so that the guilotine fell into place and severed the connection between himself and the incoming attack. "It must be a controlled corpse.." Shinta would warn Jiro as the small boy climbed past the trap to keep the others in his line of sight.

[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Gas Release: Gas Ignition Technique vs Sousa from 25 to 65 and get(s) a 51. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Temple roll(s) Oil trap (Seen) vs Sousa from 25 to 45 and get(s) a 29. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Sousa defends against with a SHAOLIN-DODGE…50
RPCOMBAT: Sousa defends against with a WALL-SUMMON…76
COMBAT: Sousa attacks target 1 with AUTOPSY-ILLUSION with a roll of: 73
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Genjutsu Kai vs (73) from 30 to 45 and get(s) a 42. - Rolled by: Fujiko

Sousa performs a spinning step back as the ground before him ignites. Then the maniac appears, and the conversation between him and the youngsters lights up his scientific interest. >) "A corpse, you say?" Sousa remarks, pulling out a scroll. A section of wall *POOF*s into existence from the scroll in front of Sousa, shielding him from the explosive gas attack. "I can test that theory," Sousa continues, hopping back out from behind cover and projecting a strong wave of chakra at Jan. "Either way, I would very much like to take him back with us for study!" If Jan is still living — where living is defined as 'Having brain activity and chakra flow' — he should soon find himself in an illusionary preview of what Sousa may do to him back in Sunagakure, involving a medical table and lots of surgical instruments.

The tunnel distraction worked long enough. This seemingly insane individual reveals his true ability. "You've much to learn about medicine, kid! I -was- a corpse because I put myself into a death-like trance! Did… I seriously not hit any of you!?" He notes as Jiro lashes out with his chakra-hardened cloth. He grabs the first sash-strike, and as it was pulled out he bled. Oh did he bleed. The second cloth strike lashed out and struck him! He merely laughed! "I -love- this place! SO MUCH BLOOD!" He raised hands out in a cheer. As soon as he does though his hands are strapped to some table… Then, it was if there someone dissecting him… He laughed. He laughed hard… He was being dissected one piece at a time. He appeared to be enjoying the illusion a little bit more than anyone should… In fact, as he writhed in pain on the floor he was asking for more… c.c;
Outside, the man known as the sage of Dusk was too injured to continue to fight, but that of Dawn was keeping up with Arika and Fujiko. "Kou, I'm having trouble keeping up with the little one… Hojo is already wounded… We have to finish this up." The man said. That was when Seishukuni Kou finally tapped on her mirror. "Right, right. I'll finish it up. All I need is to kill the woman and take her heart." Then it is a matter of sealing Shukaku into the heart. A step that must be performed soon after death. "I've spent this entire time charging my attack, you know." The woman said, with a small smile. Her raven hair is brushed aside. "When I was in a land far east, I learned a curious jutsu. Over there, they call it 'Magiku'. I quickly adopted what I had learned there to the ways of my home… I might as well not cherry coat it. I call it 'Focus Release'. It is a combination of their jutsu, which I affectionately call 'Light' or 'Sun' release, and my own bloodline's power…" The sunlight that is being reflected from that mirror atop the makeshift temple suddenly grows more powerful. She then makes a one handed seal. "Focus Release: Sun Spear" She says as the light being reflected almost becomes so powerful that it would blind any that stared directly at it. Consider this an S-rank chargeable. Seishukuni Kou only need point the mirror at a single target… Fujiko…"

[NPC System]: Seishukuni Kou roll(s) Sun Spear vs Fujiko from 90 to 140 and get(s) a 125. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Fujiko defends against with a SAND-BLOCK…23
RPCOMBAT: Fujiko took 2400 damage.

Fujiko would smile a little, because she knew Arika had her back in the end. Even when her attack was crystallized she felt she could at least roll out her new ability. "It's a mirror. Don't get cocky. I've been in the desert since I was a child, and the light hasn't killed me yet. Why don't I show you my next greatest performance first hand!" She would attempt to reach out and surround Seishukuni Kou with sand, the precursor to the sand coffin, but once she saw the light descend she instead covered herself in sand to block said light. Unfortunately, the technique she had mastered was beyond anything a genin, even one that was the host of the Shukaku, could handle. The beam of light cut through the sand, instantly turning it into molten glass… Fujiko? Fujiko was cut in into pieces. Her eyes grew wide, before narrowing, as her arm dropped to the ground… A few moments later, she drops to the ground. It was a diagonal cut through her body, and she was currently in three pieces. An Arm, a lower half, and an upper half now lay in the sand.
The end what Seishukuni Kou wanted was Fujiko's heart, and her Bijuu's seal intact. The shinobi would rapidly descend the steps, and create a handseal. "The process must be quick. As soon as you die, everything is naught." The Seishukuni would quickly raise her hand, which was coated in crystal. She plunged her hand into Fujiko's ribcage, and tore out her heart in a barbaric manner, her other hand began to create seals. It wook about forty actual seals to finish, but she was quick about it. Her entire life had been to prepare for this moment. The moment in which she grasped the key to the doomsday. The 'Will of the Sand'! As Fujiko's heart was soon covered in transparent red crystal, Seishukuni Kou's fingers would glow with the important colors of the light spectrum. Fujiko watched in her last moments, in terrible pain, as in a single move the woman's hand broke the seal and dragged Shukaku out of it in a brilliant way. Black would encircle the heart within it's crypt of crystal, and within moments she raised the heart up… Fujiko only bled from her chest wound. The prior ability had cauterized everything else. Even if the greatest med-nin had come at this moment, Fujiko likely couldn't be saved anyways. "You old men made me wait so long to do this… Now we can call upon the god of the sun! Just watch!" The woman's face, confident and beaming, would toss the heart up and catch it a few times in one hand. Then she looked at the Bijuu that was Arika. "… You… You are the next key, aren't you?" She asks Arika… "It's your turn."

COMBAT: Malik left combat at 49.9 percent stamina.
RP: Malik reverts to his normal state.
RP: Arika transforms into HACHIBI-FULL-RELEASE.
COMBAT: Arika attacks target 1 with BLADE-OF-WIND with a roll of: 77
[NPC System]: Seishukuni Kou roll(s) Crystallize from 70 to 90 and get(s) a 70. - Rolled by: Fujiko

Arika notices that the mirror is directed at Fujiko, and she would immediately begin to gather her chakra. But there was little she could to to get Fujiko out of the way. The light was intense, and… well… It traveled at the speed of light -.- It's hard to defeat that. :( Arika would scowl a bit, and then the girl transformed into the Hachibi once more. It was a huge strain on her body, but this cult was asking for it dang it! "You're DEAD!" she would growl, the girl's and the Hachibi's voice blending together slightly. When Kou reached in for Fujiko's heart, Arika would gather wind to one of the giant trunks that Gyuki called arms, forming a large blade made of the pure cutting power of wind. And then she would attempt to strike, stabbing the 'sword' through Kou as best she could and as quickly as she could. "There's no way you're going to get Hachi-jii, too," she would roar loudly. Loud enough to shake the very foundation of the pyramid…

Jiro looks down at the man as he falls to the ground, bound under Sousa's genjutsu. Part of him would happily take his head off right now yet Sousa said he wanted him, so…guess no killing him at this point. Instead he starts looking around, trying to find out if there was anything of interest in here or, barring that, what the fastest way back out is. "Ari wen' 'way, we shoul' ge' back ou'side."

Shinta would like to see him make that clame in a serious matter but then again, absolitely no feed back from a complete diagnosis was something of an issue. He'd have to look into removing the hearts of those who don't give him any vital feed back from now on as it's annoying to see them popping up at random but either way, Sousa dealt with the person and Shinta simply let the retired kazekage do as he wished. When Jiro mentioned the matter of the female's disappearance however, Shinta would shift his hands and send out his wires to coat the floor of the hall they'd traveled so that the traps could not be triggered accidentally all over again. "I can maintain control over the floor for a short while so that we can return the way we came…"

Sousa doesn't care if his target enjoys the illusion. So much the better in fact, he'll be less likely to escape, and maybe it'll reduce those pesky squeamish feelings his assistants sometimes have while conducting studies. X) Unfortunately, Jiro's right, there's something going on outside and securing the hostage is a lesser priority than checking on the team members out there. Especially if he was telling the truth about tricking them into thinking he was dead, Sousa's seen that before. e.e "Let's go then," Sousa says, heading swiftly back toward the entrance. Of course, unknown to them, that way is blocked now…

Fujiko's timely death must have made Arika angry. At least, that is what Seishukuni Kou is seeing right now. Arika was going full-release mode. Holding the Shukaku in one hand, she would make a single-handed seal to crystalize the air before it reached her… Yet the force of the air was far to great, and Seishukuni Kou would be greatly wounded. It broke right through the crystalized oxygen, and crashed into her chest. Though the impact was very much reduced, she was still heavily wounded. There was blood coming from her mouth as she breathed in and out. "Heh… Well… That was quite strong." She would chuckle. "… Zuko, we're retreating. The sunspear took far too much from me." She would create several seals more. "When you next see me, vessel of the Hachibi, It will be when the vessel of the Sun God reigns doom upon you… Now, let me show you the benefit of light release!" She says, coughing as she created another group of seals… She sought to bend concentrated light around her. Light that burned scent and made her hard to track…
There was also the Sage of Dawn, whom had created his own hand seals. "I am not done yet, small one. The high-priestess shall not be stopped. Absolution is at hand."
Sousa was correct in his earlier guess. The entrance was still blocked, but that didn't mean it couldn't be powered through. While Seishukuni Kou makes off with the Shukaku, or attempts to do so, that wall provides challenge to likely the only one that could find her at this point. The First Kazekage

[NPC System]: Seishukuni Kou roll(s) Light Release: Perfect Camoflauge vs Arika from 70 to 100 and get(s) a 79. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Sage of Dawn roll(s) Greater Earth Dragon Bullet vs Arika from 65 to 95 and get(s) a 80. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a AIR-CURRENTS…48
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a VANISHING-GALE…115

Arika isn't intending for anyone to escape, but the Bijuu's eyesight isn't the best … And in fact, the sudden height might make things odd because everyone (and everything) looked comparable to ants. Arika would glare at the spot Kou used to be, then shake her head. The beast would move, inhumanely considering its size, to avoid the earth that sprung up at her, and the dragon would kill naught but sand. Arika would growl low in her throat, and Gyuki's voice would join hers in a loud roar that shook the pyramid further, forcing the walls to crack and crumble. The roar would be painful to listen to, especially for the Dawn Sage that was still present. And maybe even the hidden Kou would feel the wrath of the Hachibi…

COMBAT: Arika attacks target 1 with BIJUU-SONIC-CATASTROPHE with a roll of: 96
COMBAT: Arika attacks target 2 with BIJUU-SONIC-CATASTROPHE with a roll of: 77
[NPC System]: Sage of Dawn roll(s) Earth Release: Earth Style Wall vs Arika (96) from 60 to 90 and get(s) a 71. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Seishukuni Kou roll(s) Crystallize (77) from 75 to 95 and get(s) a 92. - Rolled by: Fujiko

Jiro was running back towards the entrance but he saw the path was blocked. "Offering," he mutters under his breath, stopping a short distance away from the entrance to look around for another way out. And the the walls start to crack and fall apart and the obstruction is gone. But now the place is falling down! "Sousa 'urry up!" He calls over his shoulder before he grabs poor Shinta and carries him out the entrance with a burst of speed to get free of the falling building. Then he looks around to try and take in what happened. "Wha'…" he isn't surprise by Arika or anything. It's the…rather horribly massacred girl that surprises him.

Shinta was a bit shocked when he was snatched up and suddenly being carried out and seeing what it was that was taking place before them. The sight of the badly beating Fujiko was a bit of a surprise but wasn't sure if he was needed. Her natural healing was supposed to be really incredible so the boy wasn't completely sure of what he was supposed to be doing.

RPCOMBAT: Sousa defends against with a CHAKRA-SENSITIVITY…50
[NPC System]: Seishukuni Kou roll(s) Light Release: Perfect Camoflauge vs Sousa from 50 to 80 and get(s) a 80. - Rolled by: Fujiko

Sousa winces a bit as Arika blasts the area. >.<; Yep, something big going on out there. He races out through the rubble of the destroyed entrance (phew, lucky it didn't collapse in such a way as to trap them) and takes in the situation. One thoroughly enraged jinchuu, one thoroughly dead jinchuu…and a couple of oddly-dressed 'gentlemen' nearby. Sousa runs through a few handseals, and the priest that's still awake is assaulted by the sensation of a crushing increase of gravity. "I highly recommend that you cooperate, I am capable of producing sensations for which there are no established descriptors. What has been done with the bijuu?" B/

COMBAT: Sousa attacks target 1 with MAXIMUM-G-ILLUSION with a roll of: 53

The one whom was conscious was the Sage of Dawn, self proclaimed. He would not state his name. As he is held down by gravity, he would proclaim the end… "It is the power of the east's ancient jutsu that has allowed the sealing of the great tailed beast within the heart. The heart, to the Azutekku, is the most powerful tool. It is also known that there is a great tenketsu in the heart that is known to contain and regulate chakra in high amounts. Yet, a high amount of chakra sealed away in a heart would cause it to burst. Our lady merely had to find a way to encapsulate the heart, and she did so through crystallization… Now, with the Shukaku, our lady can create the vessel of the sun god that will bring about doomsday." The old man coughs heavily, with blood slipping from the sides of his lips. "It is simple, First Kazekage. The power of the Will of the Desert, the Sbukaku, will give us the ability to suspend a great amount of matter in the air. Then, our lady will crystallize this matter into a giant lens." The old man looks to the mirror. "That little power that effortlessly cut into your 'Jinchuuriki' will be used to rend Sunagakure asunder. The Sun will be weaponized."

COMBAT: Arika attacks target 1 with BLADE-OF-WIND with a roll of: 96

Arika would stand there, tails lashing out behind her. She could see the remnants of Fujiko's body and knew that her friend was dead. She was mad at herself for not being able to save her, and she was furious at the Sun follows for taking her friend and thinking they could do away with Suna. The girl would, still in the form of the Hachibi, gather more wind to her hand and heft the wind spear such that she could throw it at the mirror/lens that was atop the pyramid. She wanted it to shatter completely, even if its pedestal was already starting to deteriorate. Then the girl would slump back into her normal state, panting and tired from maintaining the body of the tailed beast. "'m going home…" she mumbles, leaving with a burst of wind to return to Suna ahead of the others.

RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a VANISHING-GALE…97
RP: Arika reverts to her normal state.

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