Cult of the Midday Sun - The Labyrinth


Fujiko, Arika, Kyo, Akina, Hiroto, Jiro, Shinta

Date: January 4, 2016


A newly arisen cult kidnaps the Wind Daimyo’s son, and now Sunagakurean forces must get him back.

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

"Cult of the Midday Sun - The Labyrinth"

Land of Wind

It was late one night when the Daimyo's son was taken right from under his nose. The child was visiting a relative far off in the desert, at a small town known as the 'Whirl', known for having a sink-hole in the middle of the town. Unimportant information. The important information was that the Daimyo's son was taken. Individuals who spied this happening late at night brought important information to light. Orange sunfire colored robes with a bright golden-thread emblem upon their back. A golden sun held high in the sky, it's beams shattering the ground below. This was the Cult of the Midday Sun, a group of people whom wish to bring life to an eastern god from a far off continent that know one even seems to know about. A serpent-bird whom prophesizes the end of days.
Eyewitnesses noted that the Daimyo's guard was overwhelmed. The kinds of techniques that the cultists used were far more powerful than one could imagine an unorganized cult would contain. This all happened right after several Sunagakure shinobi went on leave, as if some of the cultists were those shinobi. Religion is a powerful tool, and at the moment it was powerful enough to sway shinobi far above the usual. Fortunately, Fujiko and Arika had already come across their hide-out. Though, they had barely scratched the surface of the labyrinth that was inside. All the two knew was that this cult performed child sacrifice, and that the mural within the entrance depicted a story. A story crafted by this cult that was etched into the sandstone.
The story began as such. A single boat returning to what appeared to be the Land of Wind, and on it a great book. In that great book, the truth about the end of days. The next step along the cave's murals were two important sacrifices. One sacrifice, the power of the desert itself. The next sacrifice, a far greater power to feed that power. This ominous tale finished with a great mural at the end of the cave. With the sun high above the desert sands, a great serpent with wings burst forth traveling towards a dome that covered over great sandstone walls. Within the dome, the symbol of Sunagakure on fire. According to this cult, Sunagakure was at risk… Due to the Daimyo's son being stolen, the power of the desert itself was assumed to be him. The heir to the Land of Wind. That is why the Village has launched a large recovery mission to extract them. Fujiko, Zankaru, Akina, Shinta, Hiroto, Jiro, Arika, and even a mercenary that has recently been granted some level of trust, Kyo. These are Sunagakure's most gifted, and given the manpower shortage, Sunagakure has no choice but to employ everything they can get their hands on.
Fujiko stood in the Odeon-like room. A large room laid out like a theatre almost. A half-circle of sandstone benches around a central area sandstone surface where sacrifices took place upon sandstone sacrificial tables. More than just one too. There was no blood, so it was assumed that the Daimyo's son was still alive. Fujiko was acting as the leader of this mission for the meantime, though there might be more capable, she had studied the actions of the cult carefully as of late. "According to my research, the heart is the most powerful object within the cult's culture. Corpses found during the initial discovery of this place revealed that they attempt to remove the heart of their victims. The Heart is an important part of the chakra network, as we all might know, but how they process the energy of the heart is unknown. Don't get yourself caught." Fujiko walks up to the wall behind the altars and feels around it. "When Arika and I first came here, we found a draft coming from the walls… Yes… This is it… This stone here…" She attempts to push the large rock out of the way. To no avail… "Someone give me a hand with this? Or… Find a lever somewhere… There must be a way inside…"

RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a INK-SCOUT-I…51
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a AIR-CURRENTS…53

Arika clings to Hiroto's back for nice transportation or something! The girl sorta poked Tenshi off his spot because she was sorta mad at him still for tugging on her hair that one time >:| Meanie bird. Minor payback! She sorta peeks around the creepy chamber that she remembers from before. She should remember, at least. She's been working with Kuo for the past few weeks on memory games and the like, so she should know her stuff! Luckily, she has a picture in her pocket of the area from when she first arrived, so she takes it out and holds it up so that she can compare then and now. A few critters made entirely of ink hop off the page and start scrambling around the room to find things while she also casts her senses along whatever air there might be in here.

COMBAT: Kyo focuses 3461 stamina to turn it into 4000 usable chakra!

Kyo's apparently doing quite well at earning the trust of the Sunagakure folk if she's been invited on a mission such as this. It's either that or this is just a big enough emergency. Having read the tale upon the stone, she finds this all a bit bizarre, but cults tend to be just that. Standing in the room with her enormous horse by her side, the Umahito listens to Fujiko's words intently. When she seems to need help, the larger woman nods and she and Yuuta walk over to assist with moving the stone, putting her weight into budging it in the right direction while the horse provides extra force.

COMBAT: Hiroto focuses 3212 stamina to turn it into 3000 usable chakra!
RP: Hiroto transforms into TENSHI.
RPCOMBAT: Hiroto defends against with a HAYATO-SENSES-II…51

Hiroto was scanning the area a bit. Tenshi was as well, but he was on the ground being annoyed at Arika for pushing him off his spot. Both Hiroto and Tenshi were looking around at least and would try to see if it matched that picture Arika had well. Tenshi after a while couldn't see much and went to Akina. He would try to sit on her head, but if not allowed there would move to her shoulder. From there he could see much better. "Arika. Anything look familiar?"

COMBAT: Akina focuses 1692 stamina to turn it into 2000 usable chakra!
RPCOMBAT: Akina defends against with a PERCEPTION-II…31

Tenshi flaps his wings in a quick flutter as it lands on Akina's head, unexpectedly so. She blinks her dusky eyes from beneath her full, plain white mask and lifts her head slightly, glancing up at the bird, which in turn makes him shift to keep balanced. It took a moment to get used to the weight on her head, but the masked girl returns her attention to the wall they're searching, narrowing her gaze at it thoughtfully. If it was earth, maybe, but she wasn't certain if she could move through stone.

What a weird place to be! And yet he was here for some odd reason. And so because Arika was already involved Jiro decided to drag along poor Shinta. Kid might not really want to be there considering what was going on but Jiro didn't seem to care much! The boy stands in the chamber now that they've arrived and looks around with a curious expression as Fujiko explains things. Then he just grins as his hands flop on top of his head and he looks between Shinta and Arika. "Guess we coul' tra'e sacrifices."

The advantage of being a student was dissolving the more he became involved with those of the village it seemed. And now he was being dragged into some mission about child sacrifices. The pale haired child shook his head slowly at the absurdity of it but did take out a scroll to begin writing this new information about the chakra network, he'd have to consult the doctors at the hospital about the new information when he returned to the village. For the moment, Shinta was making himself useful by overseeing the progress of pushing at the rock. Someone needed to keep an eye out incase this is an ambush along with the need for the pale haired boy to be ready in case someone triggered a trap and didn't wish to die of the after effects. The fact that he could barely move a stone without the aid of his wires was another reason of course, but no one could know that while he kept his arms hidden within the coverings of his poncho. At Jiro's suggestion there was the angry hissing of Gojira somewhere in Shinta's poncho and the small boy's narrowed sandy eyes leering at the older boy. "I am not going to be a sacrifice, I would let Gojira eat anyone who attempted to lay a finger on me."

The young Arika actually found the correct way in, and as soon as the ink scout had slithered across the switch, the stone door moved out of the way as if influenced by some mechanical contraption. Fujiko and Kyo would likely get the glory of having moved the stone by hand. That was what it had mostly seemed like anyways. The smell of the air was like that of blood, expected of a cult that murdered people for hearts. The revealed passageway was not a single passageway, but three. Three paths to take, and a limited time before the Daimyo's son was sacraficed for some ritual. The inner path turned from rough sandstone to very well carved out limestone, and moisture would be apparent in the air. Seems as if there was a water source nearby. Three pathways, and a limited time…
Fujiko had to make a decision. There were, well… eight shinobi and three paths. She wanted to make sure each path had a sufficient amount of skilled shinobi. Arika already seemed to be attached to Hiroto, and Jiro and Shinta appeared to her to be rather unskilled. She felt she was rather skilled enough to fight cultists, perhaps overly so. "Listen. There are three paths, and seven people.. I'm going to send Zankaru back to get reinforcements. There likely won't be any. I want 'Rika, Hiroto, and Akina to go down the left path. Kyo, you make sure Jiro and Shinta are safe, and go with them down the right path. If it gets too dicey, I want you to return to the entrance and keep anyone out. I will take the middle path, and do the same. I'm not foolish enough to fight unless I am cornered anyways… Any questions?" She asks as she stands at the mouth of the boulder she and Kyo moved. Poor Arika got no credit.

Arika puffs her cheeks a bit. "But you can't go 'lone! 's dangerous!" the girl protests Fujiko. Arika would slide off Hiro's back and zip over to Fujiko, not even noticing that it was her own ink scouts that let the door open. She figured it was Kyo and her epic horse! Yep! "I wanna go with you if yer going 'lone!" she declares suddenly, crossing her arms to prove she was probably going to be stubborn.

When the door moves a bit easier than she thought it would after a moment, Kyo blinks a few times then shrugs her shoulders. She then eyes the revealed passageway and takes a step back to listen to the planning by the mission leader, Fujiko. Given her instructions, she nods and looks to Jiro and Shinta for a moment before she looks back to Fujiko and shakes her head. "No questions from me."

Hiroto looks between Arika as she slid off her back and Fujiko. "Yeah Fujiko. Arika should go with you. Me and Akina can handle this path alone." He glances over at Jiro and Shinta. He pauses, but if Kyo was going with them he figured it would be fine. And he was sure Jiro was strong despite his age. That left him and Akina. "Alright Akina. Follow me as long as Fujiko has nothing else to add." He looked once more at Fujiko as if to ask her if she did before walking down his path if nothing else was said.

Akina blinks up at the wall as an actual stone door slides away, activated by the switch that was found. The team instantly met with the sudden stench of aroma, pillowing over them in a sudden wave. Under her mask she makes a face, but otherwise she doesn't try to turn away from smell. Rather Akina takes a few steps closer and narrows her eyes on the visible passageway, the end of which appears to break away. Cover head turning towards Fujiko as she begins to speak up, the team as a whole is divided into three, and in turn she simply lowers her chin with a simple nod of understanding. No questions coming to mind. Looking to Hiroto this time, Akina nods again, waiting a pause or so just in case something was also added before turning to follow Hiroto. Already her senses on high alert.

RPCOMBAT: Akina defends against with a PERCEPTION-II…43

Jiro gets the instructions and just shrugs in response, hands remaining in their place atop his head. He's just here to help hurt people more or less. Although he isn't a fan of letting Arika go somewhere without him…"You bet'er scream if somethin' star's ta 'appen!" he tells her. That'll have to do for now. Then he looks to whom he was 'assigned' and looks her over a moment before grumbling to himself and glancing at Shinta. "Rea'y?"

COMBAT: Jiro focuses 5073 stamina to turn it into 6000 usable chakra!

There was a bit of relief at the fact that Jiro would be coming along the same path that he was moving down. When Jiro questioned on if he was ready, the pale haired boy nodded his head a few times and then moved to stand behind Jiro where it was safe. "Try not to get any scratches, I think you already traded my medicine jar so I will not be able to help you much if you get too badly injured." Shinta warned as he tucked his hands away somewhere within his poncho and began waiting to follow after Jiro and the stranger they were assigned to travel with during this exploration.

COMBAT: Shinta focuses 879 stamina to turn it into 1000 usable chakra!

Well, Fujiko can't exactly stop Arika. In fact, no one can stop Arika! She's actually quite strong. "Thanks Kyo." She would not her head to the older woman. "I trust they will be absolutely safe under your care… That's the kind of trust that you've dragged out of me this past month. Spirits guide you." Fujiko turns to Arika whom… was seriously going to bypass her order… "… Arika… I… I'm not sure…" She looks over at Hiroto and Akina. "You two are genin of the Village Hidden in the Sand. I trust that you will be fine… I trust you very little, but I have no choice do I." Fujiko would say as she crossed her arms and shook her head. "If they get in trouble, I hope you'll go to them as fast as you can, Arika…" Fujiko snaps her fingers, "Move out." Fujiko would go with Arika down the middle hall.
The Halls were all identical, until each individual hall moved into a maze-like structure. The left path, taken by Hiroto and Akina, would be relatively uneventful. At the very least, it soon became known that the left path had traps placed along it. Traps that wouldn't take long to activate. Akina would be unable to avoid a pressure-plate that caused blades to slip out of the walls. They would need to be avoided.
Meanwhile, Kyo, Jiro, and Shinta would not come across similar situations. Their path was slightly more ominous though. It was not laden with traps, but the air was thick with a strange gas that made sight hard. A good eye might tell what is going on with the room.
Fujiko and Arika's path seemed to be the most well-decorated, but was the first to enter what was quite easily a labyrinth.

COMBAT: Arika focuses 6097 stamina to turn it into 10000 usable chakra!
RP: Arika uses SHADOW-CLONE.

Arika makes a handseal, and there would poof into existence a second Arika that would move to tag along with Hiroto and Akina. "Now I c'n watch them and you!" she tells Fujiko triumphantly. As she and Jiro part, she would just wave and offer him a grin. "You better holler if you get in trouble, too, Jiro-kun!" she tells him before she would grab a cloth from her pouch and tie it around her nose and mouth. It smelled yucky… And then she goes to follow after Fujiko!

[NPC System]: Mausoleum of the sun roll(s) It's Difficult to See vs Kyo, Jiro, Shinta from 30 to 60 and get(s) a 55. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RP: Kyo transforms into YUUTA.
RPCOMBAT: Kyo defends against with a UMAHITO-SENSES…41

Taking off down the hall tunnel as ordered, Kyo and Yuuta glances back to make sure the others are following. Despite their enhanced senses, however, horses don't see in the dark like bats or something, so it's rather hard to make out what lies ahead. "Either of you able to figure out what's up ahead?" he asks in a low tone as they move.

[NPC System]: Mausoleum of the Sun roll(s) Spike Trap vs Hiroto from 15 to 40 and get(s) a 34. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Hiroto defends against with a INTUITIVE-DODGE…34
RPCOMBAT: Hiroto defends against with a HAYATO-SENSES-II…55

Hiroto was not quick to respond, but he expected something to happen. Which meant as he was walking he was already in position to move. That allowed him to side step just as the spike trap went off. "Akina. You alright?" A little dust was brought up from that, but Tenshi who was sitting on Akina then was now flying in place and looking ahead. "I guess I will take extra care to look for traps now."

[NPC System]: Mausoleum of the Sun roll(s) Spike Trap vs Akina from 15 to 40 and get(s) a 35. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Akina defends against with a BLOCK-II…48

Rather than side step as Hiroto had, a hidden hand emerges from her long kimono sleeve and instinctively clashes with the spikes, redirecting it with the secret weapon and allowing Akina to quickly step away. The emotionless mask reveals nothing, but she breathes a little more quickly than before. The hand disappearing beneath the billow of the long sleeve. "Somehow I can hear sensei's voice berating me in my head. I should have seen that." she replies. "Yeah, I'm fine." Before they move further into the tunnel however, Akina reaches out her other hand and lightly brushes her fingertips on the stone wall, reaching out her senses through it.

RPCOMBAT: Akina defends against with a TREMOR-SENSE…32
[NPC System]: Mausoleum of the sun roll(s) It's Difficult to See vs Kyo, Jiro, Shinta from 30 to 60 and get(s) a 55. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Jiro defends against with a PERCEPTION…28

Jiro follows after the horse and horse person, his hands falling to his side as they start to move away from the others. He's ready to pull off his sash if it comes down to it. Is it is the darkness is too thick for him to see through and all he can do is squint, then mutter, "I can'na see anythin'…" What an odd darkness though.

[NPC System]: Mausoleum of the sun roll(s) It's Difficult to See vs Kyo, Jiro, Shinta from 30 to 60 and get(s) a 55. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Shinta defends against with a PERCEPTION…13

Shinta followed along with Jiro heading off his path in the darkness and reached to hold onto the back of Jiro's clothes while he let his wires spread out around himself and begin feeling the distance of the walls surrounding the small boy. It didn't feel too wide of a cavern though when the gas began growing thick, Shinta pulled up his poncho's funnel neck and tightened it with a knot to use it as a mask against whatever the gas was. "Do not breathe in mysterious airborne particles. The particles could cause adverse effects I am not equipped to deal with." Shinta warned to those with him while squinting as well as he could to see through the thick gas… It looked like there was something there which was strange since the path was dark and clouded but it was the only thing he could make out. "Something is there, be on your guard…"

The left path was fortunate to dodge the traps, which allowed them to progress. Both of them would be able to see a large suit of heavy lamellar and iron plate that seemed as if it was just a decoration. It had several samurai blades along the suit's hips. Nothing at all seems actually rather 'alive' about it what-so-ever. After all, the Suit was around nine feet tall. No one could possibly be in that suit and fill it's shoes. Given it was just a prop, Hiroto and Akina get a moment of respite after dodging spikes.
Meanwhile, on Jiro, Kyo, and Shinta's end, the gas seems considerably thick at this point as they move forward. It was almost like the hidden mist technique, except at the snap of a finger… It all exploded. One might see the fire approaching at this point, but it might have been too late to dodge it! Clearly, this gas was placed here as a trap! "WOW! You took the -right- path. As in, Right to me! That's excellent. Let's have some fun!" Clearly, this individual was a pyromaniac. When the gas is dispelled and sight returns, he was rather well covered in bandages and the rest of him looked as if he had minor burns.
Fujiko continues with Arika in the middle path. All around it seemed as if they had simply become lost in some maze. In fact, each time Fujiko had found herself reaching an end, she would likely curse. "Are they buying time or something?" She asks. "This is rediculous… Arika-chan, could you use your special scouts to try and map this maze?" Fujiko asks.

RP: Arika transforms into GALE.
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a AIR-CURRENTS…57
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a INK-SCOUT-I…64

Arika nods slowly and makes a handeseal, gathering wind chakra around her so that she can better make the needed air currents to sense what's going on around her. She frowns a bit and also sends a few creatures made of pure ink down the way to also scout ahead. "'s too quiet.." she mutters, wondering what's happening to her friends.
Meanwhile, the Ari-clone managed to catch up to Hiroto and clings to his back if possible. "Ne, Hiro-kun! Have you found anything?" she wonders, peeking up from behind his shoulder curiously. She already has all her chakra focused.

[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Explosive Gas vs Kyo from 15 to 40 and get(s) a 16. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Kyo defends against with a DASH-STEP…37
COMBAT: Kyo attacks target 1 with SPIKED-ARCHER-SHOT with a roll of: 32
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Gas Release: Dense Air Technique vs Kyo (32) from 25 to 45 and get(s) a 27. - Rolled by: Fujiko

Seeing the explosion coming, Kyo calls out, "Look out!" She herself gets lucky enough to be in a lesser part of the blast and leaps back along with Yuuta while she draws her trusty bow. Grabbing a rather evil-looking spiked arrow from her quiver, she aims it directly at the chest of the pyromaniac and pulls back to let go and send it flying at him.

RPCOMBAT: Hiroto defends against with a HAYATO-SENSES-II…36

Hiroto eyes the armor suit here, and frowns. Then suddenly he has an Ari on his back again. "Oh ummm… No we haven't found anything." He waits a moment to look at the suit of armor before moving on. "Lets go further then." He pulls an arrow free though. A forked one. He didn't trust that nothing would happen again. "Akina and Arika. If you see anything just make this gesture with your hands. I don't want people to hear us if they are down here." He shows them the gesture to do before moving further on and keeping an eye out.

RPCOMBAT: Akina defends against with a TREMOR-SENSE…34

Akina glances over her shoulder just as Arika flies onto Hiroto's back again, as if out of nowhere. She gives Tenshi a dubious glance for a short instance before refocusing her gaze forward, at the suit of armor that seems to dominate the tunnel. Though as suspicious as that is… beneath her mask Akina frowns to herself, then quickly glances forwards and back. A hand still pressed against the wall while they walk, feeling out for those small details they could be missing. "If I placed something that large in a tunnel, it would be either to be a distraction for another trap, or blocking the entrance to another room."

[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Explosive Gas vs Shinta from 15 to 35 and get(s) a 21. - Rolled by: Fujiko
COMBAT: Jiro attacks target 1 with INTERRUPT with a roll of: 65
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Explosive Gas vs Jiro from 15 to 50 and get(s) a 44. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RP: Jiro transforms into STEEL-RESOLVE.
RPCOMBAT: Jiro defends against with a STEEL-CLOTH-SHELL…66
RPCOMBAT: Jiro defends against with a STEEL-CLOTH-SHELL…60

Jiro squints through the darkness and at first he doesn't seem to realize what the gas is. It's the snap that signifies it and from one moment to the next his sash flares out and hardens, protecting himself and Shinta from the fire. "Convoluted stupi' idio'," he mutters about the man who started the fire, his cloth falling so he can glare at the man a moment before he suddenly launches forward, whipping the sash out and letting it harden just before it hits.

COMBAT: Jiro attacks target 1 with STEEL-CLOTH-FANG with a roll of: 60
COMBAT: Jiro attacks target 1 with STEEL-CLOTH-FANG with a roll of: 52
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Gas Release: Dense Air Technique vs Jiro (60) from 45 to 70 and get(s) a 55. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Gas Release: Dense Air Technique vs Jiro (52) from 45 to 70 and get(s) a 49. - Rolled by: Fujiko

Shinta blinked as he was defended but quickly would look at the man that had cuased the attack and frowned while reaching into his pouches for what he could use to fend off this enemy. Still, Jiro seemed to take the lead and while Shinta couldn't do much at range, he could do his best if the enemy survived against Jiro's assault.

Akina, Arika Clone and Hiroto would never see it coming. All they would hear is the clank of Iron, and the swinging of a rather large blade known as a Daikatana with a force that might cut deeply into the body. Akina, the Shadow Clone, and Hiroto are all in range. Even the wall Akina was touching would be cut through. It was a trap!
Meanwhile pyromaniac's advanced air nature would be put to the test, but would fail miserably. "OUCH! OWW! AAAAH! THE PAIN!" With an arrow sticking out of his shoulder, and two ribbons of cloth dig into him. "AAAAAH! I LOVE IT! I -LOVE- THE PAIN! PLEASE GIVE ME MORE!" The man stands up, his bandages bleeding all over as he creates a handseal. "I'M SO HAPPY! THE SUN BURNS MY SKIN WHENEVER I GO OUT IN IT! I LOVE THE SUN!" The Crazed man would condense the air around Kyo, and Jiro. He seemed to leave Shinta alone. In fact, he doesn't even bother with him for the moment. It might give Shinta an opening.
Arika would easily be able to guide Fujiko and herself to what seemed to be the end of the maze. Indeed, her scouts picked up the location of the Daimyo's son. It seems he was okay, and when Fujiko and Arika arrived he was merely tied up on the altar. There were two men by the altar, and a female whom sits upon a sandstone throne. She had blonde hair, as golden as sunishine and likely dyed, and she appeared to be using some strange ninjutsu on the child. Some sort of scanning ninjutsu? "I guess there is no truth in the claim that the Daimyo's son was the living will of the desert. Terrible. Nothing much we can do with him now." One of the men turned, "His saviours have arrived as well. I suppose we'll call off finding the 'Living Desert' that the books prophesize for another time. Shall we kill the intruders?"
Fujiko would grab a scroll from behind her. "No idea what they are talking about, but… Given it's just you Arika, and granted that you could do it yourself anyways I'd say I should use this as good practice opportunities…"

[NPC System]: The Hollow Samurai roll(s) Slay vs Akina from 30 to 60 and get(s) a 60. - Rolled by: Fujiko
COMBAT: Arika attacks target 1 with INTERRUPT with a roll of: 77
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a SHADOW-CLONE…84

Arika-clone squeaks and suddenly launches into action because Akina was closest to being crushed! The girl would just kick a burst of wind at the strange metal thing and make it miss Akina. "Are you okie, Akina-chan?" she asks, gathering chakra and attacking the strange suit of metal with a long… tentacle? It sorta looks like that. You know, from the Hachibi c.c; Shhh!

Arika blinks a bit at Fujiko and nods slowly, stepping back to let Fujiko have reign for a bit. She could probably defeat these pesky cultists with a hand tied behind her back (depending on what form she was in… Maybe even both), so she'd let Fujiko practice a little bit. And if things get rough…

[NPC System]: Arika roll(s) Ink Bind from 48 to 83 and get(s) a 78. - Rolled by: Arika
[NPC System]: The Hollow Samurai roll(s) Iron Body vs Ink Bind (78) from 25 to 50 and get(s) a 43. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Crush vs Kyo from 20 to 50 and get(s) a 33. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Kyo roll(s) Dash Step II from 20 to 50 and get(s) a 46. - Rolled by: Kyo

"A pyromanic that's also masochist. Now there's something you don't see every day," Kyo comments with a quirked eyebrow as she watches the guy kind of reveal in the pain he's dealt. Still, no time to waste. If the guy wants to die, may as well grant his wish. Grabbing a cluster of arrows, she fires one after another, causing them to collide with each other and come down in a rain upon him.

COMBAT: Kyo attacks target 1 with TRICKY-ARCHER-SHOT with a roll of: 39
COMBAT: Kyo attacks target 1 with TRICKY-ARCHER-SHOT with a roll of: 36
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Masochism vs Tricky Archer Shot (39) from 30 to 45 and get(s) a 33. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Masochism vs Tricky Archer Shot (36) from 30 to 45 and get(s) a 34. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: The Hollow Samurai roll(s) Slay vs Hiroto from 30 to 60 and get(s) a 43. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Hiroto defends against with a INTUITIVE-DODGE…26
RPCOMBAT: Hiroto took 800 damage.

Hiroto was actually tripped up some by that wind to which caused him to get clipped in his shoulder. It was rough, but he could still use his bow easily enough. Tenshi lands on his head, and in moment that arrow is readied and fired towards the suit of armor. Another one is quickly pulled out, and this one was aimed to hit the suit of armor and rip it up. He was sure nothing was on the inside, but this would gurantee it. That arrow wouldn't come out without blood if it hit a human.

RP: Hiroto transforms into TENSHI'S-MIND.
COMBAT: Hiroto attacks target 1 with DISRUPTIVE-ARCHER-SHOT with a roll of: 43
COMBAT: Hiroto attacks target 1 with SPIKED-ARROW-SHOT with a roll of: 30
[NPC System]: The Hollow Samurai roll(s) Iron Body vs Disruptive Archer shot (43) from 25 to 50 and get(s) a 44. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: The Hollow Samurai roll(s) Iron Body vs Spiked Arrow Shot (30) from 20 to 40 and get(s) a 28. - Rolled by: Fujiko

There isn't time to react. Before Akina even realizes the long sword is being swung at them, Arika dashes at her and practically jumps, tackling them both to the ground and out of harms way. Beneath the mask she winces, "Yeah, I'm alright." she murmurs, trying to get them both on their feet in case they need to dodge again. Hiroto though is taking aim, and now is the time that she does too. Beneath her sleeves Akina pulls out a dozen poison-tipped senbon, threaded carefully between her fingers and in one smooth motion, she throws each set at the suit of armor.

COMBAT: Akina attacks target 1 with MULTIPLE-POISONED-SENBON with a roll of: 32
COMBAT: Akina attacks target 1 with MULTIPLE-POISONED-SENBON with a roll of: 35
[NPC System]: The Hollow Samurai roll(s) Iron Body vs Multiple Poisoned Senbon (32) from 25 to 40 and get(s) a 28. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: The Hollow Samurai roll(s) Iron Body vs Multiple Poisoned Senbon (35) from 25 to 40 and get(s) a 26. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Crush vs Jiro from 40 to 70 and get(s) a 67. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Jiro defends against with a STEEL-CLOTH-SHELL…40
RPCOMBAT: Jiro took 450 damage.

Well that air does manage to compress around him and Jiro grits his teeth against the pressure. Eventually he breaks free enough to last out at the man again. "You wan' pain? I c'n do tha'!" But his plan in the end is to keep him in place. The cloth goes out, whipping to try and wrap up one of his limbs and hold him in place so Shinta might be able to get himself.

COMBAT: Jiro attacks target 1 with LIMB-ENSNARING-CLOTH-RAZORS with a roll of: 49
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) Wind Dodge vs Limb Ensnaring Cloth (49) from 40 to 50 and get(s) a 43. - Rolled by: Fujiko
COMBAT: Shinta attacks target 1 with DISRUPTION-PALM with a roll of: 16
COMBAT: Shinta attacks target 1 with DISRUPTION-PALM with a roll of: 17
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) No Defense vs Disruption Palm (16) from 5 to 10 and get(s) a 8. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Maien Jan roll(s) No Defense vs Disruption Palm (17) from 5 to 10 and get(s) a 7. - Rolled by: Fujiko

Shinta blinked as he went fairly thoroughly ignored and couldn't allow something like that to continue when the person was attacking Jiro.. As much as he trusted Jiro to take care of himself, Shinta wasn't against helping. There was a flash of something purple and gold as the boy had his pet leave from his garments and hide away from the gasses, and then a clattering sound as Shinta replaced himself with one of the moderately large stones lining the path they were on. The arrows fired were a good distraction against the boy's movements though they might make the man almost as happy as the man seemed in being harmed in the first place. He didn't replace himself to get away however, instead, the boy was only about two meters from the crazed gas user and leaping at the man. Arms outstretched, Shinta tried to grasp hold of the man by his joined hands so that Shinta's chakra could take care of the rest. Either hand was all he needed to shred through every last muscle in the man's body, but he'd focus the effect onto the man's hands so that they could be rendered useless.

The Samurai appears to fall apart under the assault from Arika, Hiroto, and Akina. Yet, as they seem to defeat it, they also notice… There was no one inside. Typical puppet, it would appear. Which means where there is a puppet, there is a puppeteer. Sadly, Akina and Hiroto's path would run out.
The same could be said for Shinta, Kyo, and Jiro. Once more he was filled with arrows, yet the masochistic man seemed to just smile in stride as he was battered by them. Even being ensnared by Jiro he seemed to have not cared much about it. With his arms held to the side, it gave Shinta enough time to sever the nerves of his hands. Great. All this lovely pain, and now he doesn't have any hands to capitolize on it. "NOOO! MY HANDS! AAAH!" He screamed loudly. Rather suddenly, the man lowers his head as if rendered unsconscious. There appeared to be some kind of seal on the back of his neck when he does. A brightly shining sun. Perhaps his insanity was caused by it? Further inspection might reveal he had a Hitai-ate from the hidden sand on him. He was a Sand Shinobi, but somehow he was turned to this cult and turned insane…
It seemed the two men flanking the woman subtly stepped out of the room, seemingly phasing into the wall behind her. Odd. The woman stood by, shaking her head. "Well, I suppose you can have them back. Do you mean to attack me anyways?" The woman asks. "You're both kids, but your hearts will suffice anyways. I'm sorry you both had to die here." She seemingly made a simple seal, but that single seal had great impact. One Fujiko and Arika might not have expected…

[NPC System]: Seishukuni Kou roll(s) Crystalline Impalement vs Fujiko from 25 to 50 and get(s) a 49. - Rolled by: Fujiko
COMBAT: Fujiko focuses 3554 stamina to turn it into 4000 usable chakra!
RPCOMBAT: Fujiko defends against with a SCROLLED-TERRAIN…28
RPCOMBAT: Fujiko took 900 damage.

Fujiko was clearly not aware that this strange looking woman (Though, was she any stranger than Fujiko?) had real skill. She looked pale, and she looked like she hadn't trained a day in her left. She let her scroll drop and pressed her hand behind it, channeling her chakra into it as a solid mass of condensed sand was produced. Not quite enough. A spike of some pink crystal substance just up and penetrated right through the sand. Straight into Fujiko's stomach. Crystal Manipulation, the trait of a Seishukuni. Fujiko looked at the woman's face with surprise when her sand fell to the floor a few moments later. She would soon wrench herself from the spike and create a single seal before swishing her hand across the air as blood ran down her center. "Arika, I'm not entirely sure going all out will do anything if my performance remains like this…" Sand would burst out of the pile, travelling like bullets towards this woman that so easily hurt her…

COMBAT: Fujiko attacks target 1 with SAND-SHOT with a roll of: 31
[NPC System]: Seishukuni Kou roll(s) Crystallize vs Sand Shot from 70 to 120 and get(s) a 70. - Rolled by: Fujiko
[NPC System]: Seishukuni Kou roll(s) Crystalline Impalement vs Arika from 35 to 60 and get(s) a 35. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a REPLACEMENT-TECHNIQUE…54
COMBAT: Arika attacks target 1 with INK-BIND with a roll of: 75
[NPC System]: Seishukuni Kou roll(s) Crstallize vs Ink Bind from 70 to 120 and get(s) a 93. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a INK-SCOUT-I…52
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a AIR-CURRENTS…45
RP: Arika stops using SHADOW-CLONE.

Arika blinks a bit when the crystal structures burst out of the ground, and she makes a handseal so that a pile of sand takes her spot. "Huh… Yer sorta like Mei-chan!" she says. "Can you make a birdie?" she would ask the stranger, though Fujiko doesn't seem to like this stranger all that much. "Ne, Fu-chan! I bet we c'n take 'er down!" she says, making a handseal. The move her clone used earlier was duplicated in that instant, a long ink-made tentacle snaking over to grab the enemy.
Ari-clone makes a few handseals and tries to scope out the rest of the tunnel, but there doesn't seem to be anything there. "I dun sense anything… Le's go 'n head back t' the middle cave!" she suggests to Akina and Hiroto. The girl would make a handseal, and *POOF*, granting Arika the information from the clone.

Once the man falls dead, Kyo walks over to him and lifts an eyebrow as she notices seal on the back of his neck…. and then the Hitai-ate. "… He's one of yours?" she asks, looking at the other two with a quirked eyebrow. "There may be more to this than we know. Though I've never heard of a seal capable of mind control, I can't say it's impossible… But we need to get back. Hopefully the other crew that went down the other wrong way will make it back about the same time so we know which one is right." With that she turns and starts darting back down the tunnel toward the entrance.

Hiroto frowned and knowing nothing else was here he started heading back. Noticing that this Ari was a clone he simly facepalmed in his mind. "Well passage. We could of just sent clones down each tunnel. I have to remember that Arika can do that. Akina you think we should rush to check on the others?" He would be ready to rush/not rush whether her answer was either way. Just in case there were more traps they missed before he would keep an eye out.

RPCOMBAT: Hiroto defends against with a HAYATO-SENSES-II…57

Seeing the armor collapse as it's so easily defeated gives Akina pause, watching it a fraction of a second before quickly glancing around them. In case it was a trap. It must be a trap. But there wasn't anything else here, just a dead end. Which means that the cult wanted the group separated. She inwardly curses to herself. Arika's clone realizes this and poofs into thin air, leaving them behind. "Yeah, we could have. But no use crying over spilt milk. And yes, we should. They might be worse off than we are." Akina dips her head and takes off in a good sprint, picking up speed and only half-heartedly keeping an eye out for more traps.

Jiro blinks in surprise when the man just kind of…dies. He steps forward to look him over with a small frown, even giving him a little nudge with his foot. "Huh," is all he has to say in response to that. He looks over at Shinta and nods to the kid. "Goo' job." Then he pushes Shinta to follow after Kyo.

Shinta sat on the ground watching for a moment before hearing Jiro's comment and smiling widely at it. Still, he wanted to learn something new so that he could get better at combat without needing to get in the line of fire and possibly obstruct another's attacks while being too frail to endure much. Rather than leaving the person however, Shinta reached out to begin checking the man's vitals quietly. "I will try finding out if the man has something wrong with himself mentally..

The woman raises her hand as the sand shoots and the ink reaches out to encase her, yet, in mid flight both's compositions are changed. Fujiko's balls of sand become smaller balls of glass. Arika's ink becomes black ice. Stopped right in their tracks, both attacks would fall to the floor and break. "Not quite." The woman closes her eyes and adjusts her robes a little as she notices all that sand that is all over her floor now. "They say the first step to the end of times is the capture of the 'Will of the Desert'." She would say as she looks between the two younger girls. "Yet, I'm wondering if they didn't mean sand manipulation. What a rare talent. The history books tell of a great beast that was considered the desert personified. You wouldn't happen to know anything about that… would you?" Seishukuni Kou was the head of this entire operation. Her goal clearly to make what has been shown in these ancient text she found in a far off land come true. "Maybe -you're- the one I'm looking for. The first piece of the puzzle."
A few moments later, another one of the men whom was around earlier would return. "Kou-chan, another time. This has gone on long enough. We should retreat. Give them the Daimyo's son and let us replan our tactics." Kou would hiss. "What, are you tired? Our god frowns upon that… Well… Fine…" She would create a few more handseals. "Till next time…" The woman would move with the man whom begged for retreat, moving through the stone seamlessly with him as if it was false… A few moments later… The air crystalizes right in front of Fujiko and Arika, and along the walls, and floor of the entire room. The projections forming might impale Arika and Fujiko, and the sudden lack of oxygen might cause them trouble breathing…

[NPC System]: Seishukuni Kou roll(s) Air Crystallization vs Fujiko from 60 to 110 and get(s) a 105. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Fujiko defends against with a SAND-BLOCK…32
RPCOMBAT: Fujiko took 1300 damage.

Fujiko for a few moments, holding her previous wound, would shake her head. Someone more vain than she is? She certainly wasn't going to let her get away. "No chance." She would attempt to reach out to have her sand wrap around the woman. "You're not going to get away. No one ever does. No one ever will, from Sunagakure." Of course, then the air around her crystalized, and impaled her quite a few more times. Through the leg, stomach, chest, neck… This would certainly have killed any average person. She at least had something that kept her from the obscurity of being an average person… It kept her from passing over the death threshold. At any rate, her body was locked in the form of reaching out to grasp the cult-leader. Her consciousness having left her, she doesn't speak or say anything more…

RP: Arika transforms into HACHIBI-FULL-RELEASE.
[NPC System]: Seishukuni Kou roll(s) Air Crystallization vs Arika from 60 to 110 and get(s) a 108. - Rolled by: Fujiko
RPCOMBAT: Arika defends against with a VANISHING-GALE…69
RPCOMBAT: Arika took 1300 damage.
COMBAT: Arika attacks target 1 with BIJUU-SONIC-CATASTROPHE with a roll of: 91

Arika blinks a bit as she hears this stranger start going on about sand and who knows what else. She sort of tosses it out of her mind because there's suddenly all these stone fragments spinning around her and Fujiko. Almost instantly, but not fast enough, Arika is no longer there. Instead, it is the hulking form of Gyuki, likely smashing against the ceiling of this area. The tailed beast would let out a huge roar as the crystallized air injures it, which might make the area tremble and maybe start to collapse. People better start getting out… Fortunately, the giant Ox-topus is standing over Fujiko so she isn't further injured.

Well, the sound of the Gyuki smashing stuff is a pretty good indicator of what tunnel to take, but Kyo and Yuuta will still have to get there. The Umahito nods to her horse partner then turns to charge down that tunnel toward the sight of the giant creature… and then stopping for now to wait and see how much of the place gets caved in rather than running under falling bits of cave.

Hiroto heard the sound, but luckily they were already moving. "Alright Akina… that might be bad. I hope that isn't what I think it is because if so then these people they are fighting are stronger then most of us here can deal with." It would hopefully not be long before they were able to get out and head back down the path that Arika and Fujiko are on. He suspected that was Arika going Bijuu mode.

Akina makes a sound of confirmation behind her mask, but fall silent as she and Hiroto fall into stride, picking up the pace steadily down the tunnel. Hopefuly not, because if they were unlucky and they're too slow, they might not make it in time. The thought makes her grit her teeth to herself.

Jiro is right behind Kyo, running quickly to the tunnel that is obviously the one where the trouble is. He realizes what it is after a moment and his breath catches. "Ari…" and then he's gone, bursts of speed pushing him from sight as he ignores any danger in an effort to actually get to where his friend is.

Shrugging at the lack of any feedback from the man's vitals, Shinta stood and let his pet vainish back into his poncho while he began moving off after Jiro and Kyo's running forms. The small child didn't rush both because his hands were still stinging and he didn't want to push himself, and that he knew he was no match for Jiro's speed when the older boy was being serious.

COMBAT: Arika heals Arika for 1322 with MEDIUM REGENERATION.

Arika would remain in her giant form, though she was under control. Just … a bit angry that Fujiko was so badly hurt… The girl sorta felt responsible, too, that the performer was injured. Technically she was supposed to be teaching her! Arika grumbles inwardly and waits for everything to settle back down before she would return back to normal. Of course, probably everyone's seen everything at this point, but she didn't particularly care. They were all allies, right? Arika would kneel down beside her friend and start applying first aid stuff, mostly just trying to patch what she could. She had a feeling that the other injuries were a bit out of her league right now, though… MEDIC! »;

RP: Arika reverts to her normal state.

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