Date: October 13, 2010
Ankoku Cave is a Bad Place. The place where nightmares are born and die. It seemed to be losing some of that evil. It seemed to be permitting the forest to live again. But will it stay that way?
"Darkness Rising - Return To Darkness"
Ankoku Cave - Land of Fire
The last time any human being was present at the cave prior to an investigation unit being sent relatively recently, this part of the forest was pretty bad off, and getting worse. Unnatural changes were taking place. The forest was dying, along with all that lived in it. Further, approaching or attempting to enter Ankoku Cave was a losing proposition. There was something -- not quite Chakra, but similar -- that radiated from the cave. A sort of menacing air that could not be described easily in words, but could be identified in one's heart and spirit. Pure evil.
Some people throw those two words around, or apply them without thought to things they find abhorrent. But every person has a reason for whom he or she is. Every human being, no matter how foul he or she winds up being as an adult, was once an innocent child. The concept of a person that is 'pure evil' is mostly a fictional one. There are very few who have absolutely no trace of kindness, no trace of empathy, and no redeemable traits whatsoever.
And yet this cave, Ankoku Cave, once sent out waves of cold, vicious hate. It radiated malice. This cave, at one point in time, >was< 'pure evil'. There was no denying it. There was no reasoning with it. There was no forgiving it. It could be felt in the bones of those who drew near. A sort of buzzing, irritating sensation, almost like a noise but not quite. More like a voice in one's thoughts, trying to talk at the same time one is hearing thoughts in one's own 'voice'.
Today, though the forest is still recovering, still unhealthy, the evil itself is no longer felt. Perhaps it went somewhere else. That would be good. Well, bad for someone else somewhere else but good for those here. And confronted with that level of insidious killing intent, it's hard to be that concerned when the thing that wants you dead is no longer present. Another possibility is that the cave -- or whatever was in it -- has died. But that might be too much to hope for. Evil doesn't die. It just gets reborn. But whatever happened here at Ankoku Cave when Akimichi Noab and his team tried to investigate, the evil is no longer felt. It still feels >wrong< here, but not as though one's life is in danger just by breathing the air.
What happened here? That is what ninja from Konohagakure are here to find out. That is the place a man with a specific objective in mind has come, searching for something that might aid him… Something that may be the concentrated essence of human wickedness given a tangible form. Some think it might be a Tailed Beast.
Today they will all find out.
The Takokujin has diminished in number… but also grown in number at the same time. It was he nature of the beast. Strong individuals replaced by numbers of loyalist. Pure freedom and anonimity sacrificed for solidarity, progress, and resources. These changes have brought about internal shifts as well. One of the major differences of not has been that Rain himself has acted on his own alot more. More accurately, Uchiha Rainos has resurfaced and began his campaign in to what ever future he invisioned. Perhaps it was a mild psychosis, but Rain seemed to be a different person than Rainos. The actions of the man, even the policies that he inacted, risks that he took were starkly different than the regal appearance he had held prior to his return. However, regardless of the very limtied appearance one very well informed may gather… it was all calculated, and had a reason besides any form of insanity that may drive it.
Coming across information during his time in Konoha, Rainos had taken time to assess his assets as well as tap in to some abilities he had not yet been able to explore. The surface of it all, remained without a mark despite his efforts and the efforts of his chief scientific mind. This was not because no progress was made, but because the progress, on the whole, was insignificant. There was simply alot for so few people to digest. After this time however, he would pursue the information of a cavern that holds a dark and malicious power, unaware of the current status of it. At the very least, he wanted to investigate it. At the very most… even malevolence itself can be a tool to someone who can wield it. For this task, he would once again go alone.
This approach did not sit well with everyone, the one considered a leader to many simply wandering off for what ever reason. However, that was not Rainos' concern. There were other things to be done besides pursue phantoms, regardless of his interest, and that is what he desired for them to do instead. Should he fall, that was the eventuality of living any how. Should he succeed, things move forward as always. It was a simple as that to this man.
Akomura is leading a seperate team, searching for other ways into Ankoku Cave. If there is someone in there feeding people to some monster, that person needs to be prevented from fleeing. That means covering all of the exits. But going in through the front? Taji, Daisuke, Uma, and Fuyu. The team was assembled with certain needs in mind. The ability of Uma to see Chakra, the experience of Fuyu for leadership, and the potentially enormous firepower of Daisuke -- especially if this turns out to be what Fuyu initially feared it was. And then there's Taji. Genin. Non-violent. Has few techniques at his command that could inflict physical harm. And yet Fuyu wanted him specifically to be here. She took the time out to train him personally for four days. So there must be SOMETHING about him that is special… Intelligence? Good judgement? Subduing capabilities as opposed to killing power, incase they want to question someone? Maybe some or all of those are factors… But the simple fact of the matter is that Taji is the only person available that has been deep into Ankoku Cave and come back out to tell about it. Even the Akimichi Clan Head and his experienced team couldn't even make it far past the mouth of the cave, apparently. Thus, Fuyu is relying on Taji to guide them in the darkness.
He will give directions, Uma will give information, Fuyu will give orders and, if necessary, Daisuke will give out pain.
It has almost a full day of travel to get here. It used to take two days to reach Ankoku cave, but the roads have been cleared somewhat since then, so the trip is much faster and smoother. Especially when leaping through trees. Unless, of course, Taji cannot leap through trees yet. Or perhaps he learned how during his training with Fuyu? Either way, they make good time and are soon at the site.
They stop on a ridge of unnatural, pale white grass and kneel down, spying on the cave from a distance. Fuyu has binoculars she is using to scout the area from afar. It looks almost as bad as she heard it was. No sign of weird green mist or sludgy water or rotting animals killing each other. "I don't see anyone," she mutters to whomever is nearest to her.
Being filled in on specifics from the team leadership and other facts from his aunt, Daisuke had been eager to get out and help with this investigation. The thrill of a mystery always spurred his teenage curiosity and after the clean-up that had been going on within the village it was good to get outside. So the red-headed chuunin moves with the group, keeping an eye out as he does.
As they enter the area close to the caves it was fairly easy to spot the influence from the cave as the trees and plants all looked fairly sad to Daisuke. It was fairly easy to get depressed at the sorry state the forest was in, even for Daisuke's upbeat and energetic self. But the forest and the earth around the caves could be saved and this group he was in was here to help determine the cause.
"It looks bad, but not nearly as bad as I had heard." Daisuke comments to Fuyu's remark, scanning over the area. "Perhaps with all of the visitors whatever was hiding left."
He shrugs his shoulder and looks to the rest of the team, nodding to Taji as he recognized him from the battle for Konoha.
Taji was ordered to come along, the lowest ranked member of the team as just a Genin, he does his best to keep up as the group makes its way to the cave that he visited so long ago. He stayed quiet on the trip, mostly watching the others as the group made its way out to the far reaches where the cave is located. He recalls the evil of the place from before, the way it made his skin crawl, the way it bothered everyone around him. Mostly he's keeping to himself as much as he can, nervous about this mission on many levels. This will not be good, he fears.
Taji had just had a bad ankle injury the day before the group left, but thanks to a quick healing done at the medical center, his foot is back up to snuff and he's able to keep up at least. He's hauling his usual big pack with him as he moves along, trying his best to not fall behind as he lacks, apparently. No leaping through trees for him. But he manages to keep up through fast running, speed is something he has, even of tree walking is a skill he's still working on. As he approaches he looks around and keeps low, as he approaches Fuyu, "The place seems greatly recovered from last time. The sickly death is… less. I don't feel the active evil that we felt last time. Maybe some residue but… not the same. Maybe it died, or left?" He ventures, unsure as he looks to the others. "At least the vegetation is recovering, some of it looked almost mutated the last time, sicky and dying." He turns his attention to the cave entrance, looking from afar, until he pulls out a spy-glass from his pack, and extends it to try to look out and down at the cave.
Uma's presence in the Hidden Leaf was constantly shrouded in mystery. Both councils kept Uma tied up in missions, when she wasn't working, she was a ghost. When Hashiramako had left Konoha, Uma had not been seen at all the entire time, yet the Hokage's return marked her return as well.
The Hyuuga is dressed in black attire in stark contrast to her usual white silk tunics. A black mask is fitted over her forehead and mouth, her milky-white eyes visible while her hair is braided carefully behind her.
As always she remained quiet, and near the back of the group. The area around her causes the slightest infliction of grump on her otherwise emotionless features, and her arms cross mid-tree-glide. Why'd she always have to go on the missions that looked like death threw up all around.
Coming to a halt, Uma holds her hands together in a seal, her eyes bulging once, twice, three times their size, the veins throbbing around her temple, "Let me see if I can't find it.."
The cave sits and waits. It rests, maw open, ready to devour. And yet the darkness seems not as forboding as it did in the past… Almost inviting… Almost, but not quite. It is still a nasty-looking cave in the middle of a likewise sickly-looking patch of the forest. With or without evil emanations, the human psyche does not find such places appealing usually. The instinctive fear of disease-carriers, of things one just finds to be 'gross' without knowing why… Roaches, maggots, rotting corpses… Any of those or worse could be lying around in this area. Inside the cave? The imagination would likely go into overdrive conjuring up frightening images of spiders massing on the roof of the cave, of the recently slain rising to welcome the living to join them with hungry, gnawing mouths, and sharp teeth…
Evil or not, this is a place where nightmares could be born and raised. Nothing moves outside the cave, and nothing can be seen within from without. They'll need to move closer if they want to learn more.
There is a moment when you make a step and pause and many things shoot through you. A sense of mortality or fate or insecurity is the case sometimes. Other times, you may feel someone is watching you, or that something is wrong, or that another step may lead to your demise. It is hard to identify this intuition for most as it seems random, and may be because of nerves instead of insight. Such an event occurs with Rainos as he steps up to the cavern after suddenly burning his way through what apepars to be the fabric of space and time even as that is not the case. The invisible fires that eat away at reality reveal him only about a dozen feet from the cavern entrance before he makes that step that causes him, for once, to hesitate.
While Rainos does not sense the presence of others, he does sense the presence of the intangible… will? Desire? What ever it is, he is very receptive of this taint. It is not merely a chill down his spine… it is an affirmation. It strikes his soul like a bolt of lightning and remains at his core for a few seconds as his mind rapidly takes in the sensation. Slowly raising his gloved hands in front of himself as he looks down at them, they were shaking. It wasn't a violent or pronounced shake, but it was certainly there. His visage was split in to a thin grin. "Why waste all of this… in an abandoned hole near the least likely people to ever understand…?" Rainos would say to himself as he clenched his fists hard enough for the leather to stretch and groan in protest. It may be the first time Rainos has ever had an inkling of obsession in his bones.
Moving forward after the brief moments of pause, he would approach slowly. Fear is not something that lives inside of Rain, but all men know fear regardless of how rooted into them it is. Fear for him was a tad different then most. It did not shoo him away… it drove him forward. Anything that threatened his control over himself was to be conquored or destroyed. He would not allow himself to be his weakness as it was his purest strength. It was the entire reason his organization worked the way it did. He did not fear betrayal, he would only fear being affected by betrayal. Uncertain of this place assuredly, he hungered to know more. Ignorance of power would not do for him. It either needed to be controlled, or eliminated, there was no middle ground for him because if neither of these happened, then the only outcome was eventual chaos in his mind. Walking in to the cavern, it was his goal now to have one of these events occur.
Fuyu hears Daisuke and Taji suggesting that the cause of all this may be gone. She certainly hopes so, but not for the same reasons as everyone else. Is she eager to face down the Nine-Tailed Fox in its lair where it may have recovered from its wounds? Infact, even half-recovered the Lord of Chakra would be more than enough to kill them all. She isn't strong enough yet to even ATTEMPT to manage such a beast even temporarily.
She'll just have to find out what she can and hope that if Rainos has the monster -- Bijuu or not -- that he will keep it somewhere hidden and safe for awhile longer. It has no place on the battlefield. Not yet. "It may be gone, yes… It may already be in the hands of Rainos and his Takokujin. If so, we should hear reports of it eventually. A thing like this will have an impact on any place it stays for long. And it will need to be fed. From what Taji discovered, it may feed on flesh just as much as Chakra."
She turns her head when Uma activates her Byakugan, realizing she intends to look for the creature. She starts to warn her not to, but then just shrugs it off and resumes looking forward. Just in time to see Rainos appear out of thin air -- or perhaps thin flames. She curses as quietly as she can, and then gestures silently with one hand for everyone to get down on the ground, as she throws herself down on her belly as well.
She waits and watches. Taji likely sees Rainos as well, though whether he recognizes him or not is a different story. "Rainos is here," she explains to the others in a low mutter. Well, this might work out even better than she had planned. Or perhaps worse. It depends on WHY Rainos is present…
Uma stops and her expression actually flickers in discontent. "Hm." She stares at it, squinting her eyelids in confusion. Tilting her head once more, the Chuunin repeats, "Hm." Appearing to be the only word or sound she knew, Uma finally frowns deeply, "I've never seen anything like this.." She expresses. Rainos apparently appears out of nowhere, his chakra resonating like a trumpet in her advanced state of Byakugan. "I believe someone just appeared out of seemingly nowhere.." She hisses quietly, her hands forming into the ram seal, practically pulling the shadows around her as she slips into the shadows in an expertly fashion.
Uma continues her report quietly, "Anyways.. the cave.. itself.. appears to.. have it's own chakra. It's a vivid dark reddish color.. prismatic almost. It's like it's infused with chakra. As for any monster… I see nothing whatsoever.. or perhaps I cannot see it at all." She shrugs suddenly, "If we enter the cave, we may be walking directly into whatever we're looking for." She guesses, her voice hushed while whispering from the shadows.
After explaining what she saw, she turns offensive, and waits for orders, a pitch blank kunai being plucked from it's pouch.
Daisuke looks over towards Taji as he seems to confirm what they had thought, which was that the forest seemed to be recuperating even if it did look like it had seen better days. Kneeling down, the Senju chuunin placed his hands on the white grass, fingertips on the earth below. He wasn't even sure if he would want to move or use this earth in such a state if it came down to a battle, Standing and dusting himself off after a moment, Daisuke prepares to move with the group, making sure everything was in order with his gear as the group continues to wait on the ridge. 'Mission time!' he thinks to himself, being so long since he had the thrill.
Upon hearing Uma's assessment of the cave, Daisuke is stuck in an internal dialogue with himself, looking lost in thought. He seems to have lost some of that eagerness he had to explore. "This is definitely not sounding like a happy place." he mutters sarcastically before looking up at the mention of Rainos. His mind wanders back to the time just after defeating Nuraku when Yuzuna had mentioned that name as well. He frowns as he turns to see Uma get into a battle mode. "Want me to move around the other side and surround him so we can 'talk'?" he asks, looking at Fuyu this time.
The cave waits. Rainos travelling into the darkness is a simple matter. He just walks in. Amazingly, even in the blackness that seems to engulf him as he proceeds further into the cave, the sharp rocks that protrude from most surfaces at almost every angle are avoided, seemingly by sheer coincidence. Some steps would likely not be placed quite right to avoid the unseen spikes, but every footfall or movement of form would just fall >near< or against the >side< of such jagged earth-teeth. No actual foot-impalement or damage is inflicted. And eventually, unless someone moves to chase him down and stop him, he proceeds far enough into the cave that he moves beyond its jaws and completely into the seeming emptiness.
The steps taken were without proper precaution given the darkness. Rainos' mind was on something entirely different than the safety of his physical form. Still, he was cautious not to lose himself in the draw, as intrigued and driven as he was, he would resist it becoming his only reason. There was no rush in his movements, as he seemed to want to take it in as he moved through instead of heading straight towards a particular objective. One of his hands would fall to a pouch tucked between armor and padding and he would draw several dozen senbon, spraying them generously throughout the area within the darkness beyond the entrance. He would take this time to try to ascertain what was happening, activating his sharingan and scanning the darkness. While it may not actually help his eyes find light, any details he could make out, including clues about chakra, would be as evident as they ever will be. Opening his eyes to see this near other wordly place differently, almost piercing through the darkness with the crimson of the sharingan, he would be able to see the dark aura that was saturated in this place. Assumedly, there would be a particularly strong source some where, a vibrance in the muted glow if there was a power that remained. Moving forward slowly as it was still very dark, he would proceed with his strategy for conflict or escape from what ever was already in mind.
Fuyu glances towards Uma, making sure she sees what's going on and recognizes it. "Yes, that's Rainos that just appeared… And if the cave itself has Chakra…" She considers as she eyes the form of the male Uchiha while he retreats from her vision, and into the darkness. "He is already in. No time to surround him. But he didn't seem to notice we were here." Thinking fast, she gets up. "We're going to follow him. I'll notify Akomura's team of what's going on here. Uma, track him if you can. Daisuke, guard her. Try not to use light sources, if possible. If you need light, then keep it turned low or as hidden as you can. Taji and I will be right behind you once I've told the other team to come back us up and guard the entrance."
She immediately gets into a pack she brought with her that apparently has a radio in it. Not one of the super-advanced wireless radios that will be rediscovered decades from now, but one of the clunkier, heavier, box-like radios. She sets it up as quickly and quietly as she can, and then holds up one earphone receiver to her left ear, tuning the device in. She then begins communicating in code to the Head of Konohagakure ANBU, talking quietly into the microphone in specific phrases and numbers, rather than understandable sentences. She'll get confirmation, and then she and Taji will follow after.
Uma nods towards Fuyu's orders while returning the kunai to her pouch while keeping her attention on her surroundings. Tracking only goes so far when Rain's image starts to weaken, "Hmm, the further he gets into the cave, the further his chakra dissipates.. let's go Daisuke.." Uma motions towards Daisuke to follow after her before she suddenly lunges forward without so much as a swish. Landing below, Uma hits the ground running, disappearing into the shadows while moving to the cave entrance in precise, fluid movements that render her practically invisible.
Daisuke nods his head as he is given the order to watch over Uma. They were tracking the renegade Uchiha responsible for the mess made while his aunt was away and Daisuke was eager to return the favor to the man's face. He moves over to the Hyuuga kunoichi before he nods to her, confirming that he is ready to go. Upon acknowledgement, Daisuke moves off from the rest with Uma, moving off the ridge to the ground below. As they approach the cave Daisuke's stomach begins to feel uneasy, the unpleasant feeling attributed to the nasty chakra within the caves most likely. Once they arrive at the mouth they are met with sheer blackness. Daisuke turns to Uma and whispers "Guess we will be counting on your eyes for this one."
Rainos walks through the darkness, and yet sees what lies around him. Not entirely, as there are various rocks and protrusions, but after that entry area the rest of the tunnels are remarkably clear of nasty, sharp, death-dealing impalement stones. The tunnel seems to widen greatly up ahead, based on the space between one dark-red wall and another. Some kind of large cavern?
The next step Rainos takes, he would suddenly find that the walls he has been following have vanished. They are no longer on either side of him. They are no longer behind. They are no longer >anywhere<. All point of reference is gone. The floor is obviously still there, because he's standing on it. But there is no more coloration to judge by. Nothing solidly defined. And then… Something dashes by in the corner of the Uchiha's vision. Turning to look would reveal nothing. There is nothing but blackness in here. Well, no need to panic. If he wants to, he can find his way back. It should be as simple as turning around and walking back the way he came…
…Which way was that again?
Meanwhile, as Uma and Daisuke follow into the cave, they are treated to the same 'stepping carefully amongst sharp rocks' deal that Rainos had to go through. At first it is fairly easily to track him for Uma. Though distorted as though looking at him through multiple layers of ruby quartz, or perhaps just colored glass with a warped surface, that is clearly the Chakra of a human being up ahead. Depending on if Uma is focused primarily on Rainos or on the area around her, she may or may not detect something odd… Something comng from behind!
A wave of 'pressure', sort of… Like wind, but producing no sound. The source of the pressure seems to relocate, moving gradually from one place to another within the cave's walls. It shifts from behind to directly overhead, and then keeps moving forward and above. To Byakugan eyes it appears to be a patch of true blackness in the already-pitch environment. Even the glow of Chakra infused into the stone is blotted out by this black thing. …Whatever it is.
It just proceeds down the tunnel ahead. If it is sentient it is unaware of Uma or Daisuke. If it is something >other<… Then it likewise seems not to be impacting them other than to make Uma feel as though she is being pressed upon by some sort of intangible weight.
Daisuke's accompanying of Uma into Ankoku Cave leaves him in the same darkness as her. There is a different in perception however. At some point, it is unclear when, the darkness stops being darkness. Oh, it's still plenty black as a bottomless pit. No walls, no floor, no ceiling in sight. And yet he'd be able to see his hands and the rest of his body. How can he be seeing this with no light source? Uma is presumably still nearby, but she can't be seen. What is this? Genjutsu?
And outside the cave, Fuyu's attempts to contact Akomura are interrupted when the radio begins squealing with static. A moment later, a voice starts responding. It sounds male, but it's pretty broken up. "Un--rstood," it says. "Got--bodies by the--" *HZZZZ* "--temple." Then that voice is supplanted by a different one, sound like someone talking far too quickly, laughing between sentences. "ChainsmaketheworldgoaroundHAHAHAHA--" *FZZZT* "Another one--" another voice interrupts. "Up in the--" *HZZ* "--isn't real--" *Helpme!* The static is replaced with a voice now. The voice of a young girl. "--a woman! What did I tell you? I've just got a knack for--" *CLANG* Something metal strikes something else metal very loudly. "Help me, sensei!" the little girl's voice says. "It hurts! I'm down here in the dark and I--" *nothingnothingnothing* "--hear voices and they're >whispering< to me and I--" *alldownhereallbloodallashesallfalldownall>burn<* "--get out! Hurry! Get out now!" *Andthekingofthethornswithhiscrownofboneswillinherityoursoulwhenithasbeenrippedscreamingfromyourbodyand* "-->No!< Stay away! Don't come any closer!" *downinthefireandtheshadowandthedeadarealldancingandeatingandthevictoryoverthelivingisnightand* "-->Madara-sensei!< >HELP ME!<" Then the static and noises all go quiet for several seconds. A voice then says calmly and distinctly, "A weapon that can destroy an entire country." *Tryandcatchme* the girl's voice whispers. "Perhaps now you understand a little about pain." *I'minhere*
The radio goes dead. It just shuts off and starts to stream smoke.
Rainos' senses fail him in a location that defies logical senses to begin with. Nothingness was around Rainos and he was left with no path to follow, in or out. Even his gaze, a power reputed to pierce through darkness itself as if it were at home, held no sway here. Rainos would smirk. "Are you afraid… or do you believe that uncertainty of my next step will stop me?" He would ask nothing at all… or perhaps something unknown. "I will not wait for you to play with me." he stated before moving forward still, though raising a hand cautiously incase there were things in his path. "You will either reveal yourself, or you will be dragged from the darkness by my hand. I care not which." Staring blinklessly forward with slightly squinted eyes, Rainos would proceed forward in to oblivion… or else where. Unfortuantely, his lack of noticing he was being followed disallowed him from sprining his trap to stall or disable them.
Fuyu jerks her head away in the middle of passing along her coded message, because she just got a earfull of painfully high-pitched static. When it seems to tune back in, she hears a voice that might be Akomura… But the fact he is not responding in code and… Is… Talking about bodies? And a temple? When someone else breaks in, Fuyu does not sit and listen to the crazy voice. Instead, she messes with the tuner knob some more. A burst of static and then the only change is to get a different man's voice talking about something she doesn't care about. She tunes it back in the other direction, becoming very irritated, only to catch a staticky cry. She stops, brow furrowing and tries to find whatever she was just on. That voice had been familiar…
She gets the last guy again and snarls a bit and then pulls the headphones away at the CLANG. She smacks her hand into the radio and once she is certain no more loud noises are coming out of it she puts the earphone back to her ear just in time to hear a little girl's voice calling out to her.
The Uchiha woman isn't quite sure what to make of this at first, and her eyes dart back and forth over the radio's controls. She tries to interrupt the girl's pleas for help, and talks into the microphone, "Who are you? WHERE are you?" A voice identical to the little girl's is talking in the background, barely understandable. Nonsense words. Gibberish. "…Get out of WHERE?" Even as she asks, she looks towards Ankoku Cave's entrance. Is this a warning for those already within? Or… is she being told to get out of the area? Is something about to happen--? Then the girl's voice talks rapidly in a long string of words that do NOT make Fuyu happy. She is not the type to frighten easily. She is not 'badass', she just is a bit jaded to horror. But this… This is making her eyes widen and her heart beat speed up. "--Get out of there!" She yells into the microphone as the little girl is talking to someone on her end, apparently. "NO! GET OUT!" she yells back, trying to be heard over the increasingly loud babbling of the staticky voice in its creepy monologue. She is about to search for the volume control when the little girl yells something that makes Fuyu freeze completely. The silence afterwards is so heavy, so full of tension, that Fuyu thinks if someone tapped her right then she might have screamed and killed that person before she even bothered to check who it was. Then a voice she does not recognize speaks. A man.
He says some words that make Fuyu feel cold all over. 'She felt her blood run cold' is just supposed to be an expression. But this is the real thing. She feels like her blood just turned cold. The radio shuts off and starts to crackle and burn. She barely reacts except to lower the microphone and headphones to the bone-white grass. Several seconds pass as she stares blankly at the radio, a look of total bewilderment on her face. Her face is pale, like all the blood has drained out of it. She knows that girl from the radio. She recognizes that voice. That was HER… About 14 years ago, Fuyu sounded just like that.
"What the hell is going on here?" she whispers.
Uma is stepping carefully over the rocks, her legs moving with an agile grace. She continues forward, Rain's signature steady enough to track for awhile. She had been keeping her attention on all of her surroundings, so the pressure that hits her doesn't totally catch her off guard, but her kunai is withdrawn with a quickness, as she continues forward, watching the pitch-blackness travel around the cave. "Daisuke, the source is all about.. it's blocking out chakra, come on.. it's going down this tunnel. She looks back to make sure Daisuke can see her, and if he is in arms reach, she reaches out to garb ahold of his arm, suddenly feeling a bit weary of this.
As they enter Daisuke would stress the importance of sticking together. He had read too many manga and knew that splitting up or getting lost was a bad thing. Almost running into a few sharp stones in the darkness, Daisuke was relying on Uma (and her eyes) closely walking in front of him as he really couldn't see anything. Tempted to use fire, he keeps his urges to himself and tried to let his eyes adjust to the darkness. Before long Daisuke finds the sound of Uma's movements and voice gone and he is left on his own. "Uma?" Daisuke says as he tests the darkness in front of him. Getting a little nervous, the young chuunin tries to adjust his eyes to see. Unsuccessful, he sighs and looks down to his feet in defeat before he blinks. Daisuke notices that somehow he could see his body clearly in this supposed darkness. "Genjutsu?" he asks the darkness as he looks down at his hands, going silent for a moment before nodding his head as he becomes aware of a grasping presence in his body. Seemingly satisfied with something, he looks around as the natural darkness returns, his body disappearing from view again. "Much better…well, in a sense at least. Still can't see anything." he says with a 'heh' after.
"Off we go then." he finally says out loud as somewhat of a confirmation of the potentially dangerous situation. Having experienced many confusing, horrific, malevolent, and almost downright demonic things for as long as he can remember, the young chuunin seemed to compose himself rather well in the complete darkness. Concerned for his partner and about finding his way out, Daisuke decides it's best to move forward slowly. "Uuuummmaaa?" he says, dragging her name out as he walks forward into the blackness with his hands out in front of him as feelers.
Feeling Uma's hand on his arm he jumps a bit before calming down. "There you are…" he says, settling down. "Lead on, whatever is here is not friendly." he adds before beginning to follow Uma again.
Taji is next to Fuyu, and left to hear this strange radio broadcast. He frowns, watching Fuyu's reaction, then… the smoking radio, which just doesn't seem right on so many levels. He glances down to the cave entrance, tensing then looking back to Fuyu, "This is bad, really bad." He murmers under his breath, "Fuyu-sama?" He asks, watching her carefully, "Do I need to go get Daisuke and Uma out of there, ah… now?" He asks, not sure what to do, left being indecisive. His body tenses up as he gets ready to sprint down to the cave entrance if given the word by Fuyu to do so, but until she says to, he looks like he's not actually going to move.
He keeps looking around, trying to make sure that a distracted Fuyu doesn't result in an ambush of the pair, or something worse. Paranoid doesn't even begin to describe Taji's current state as he is in hyper alert mode. He even sends out a quick effort to sense chakra, to see what he can feel, even though he's no Hyuga, he tries the skill taught to him by Fuyu, in hopes it might reveal /something/ and at the same time nervous that it might be a risk to even open himself up /this/ much to whatever the 'thing' is down in the cave.
Rainos starts speaking. Nothing answers him. When he steps forward, hand extended, his hand contacts something soft. Soft, chilly but still warmish, and apparently startled awake. A sudden breath high-pitched enough to be indicatory that the owner is female is heard from about a foot or so in front of Rainos. Gasping, repeatedly, and then coughing a couple times, a gentle, quavering voice that should be all too familiar to Rainos says, "Wh-who's there? Rain… Is that you?" The voice, initially frightened, now sounds hopeful.
There is no way that Rainos can forget that voice. The voice of the one who sacrificed everything for him. The one that would achieve true happiness only by giving up her life. Rain could not choose back then. He could not choose between his goal, or the life of Natsumi.
And now she's here. In this dark, horrible cave. She's here again. "…Rain? That >is< you, isn't it?"
The black spot on the ceiling proceeds down the tunnel, approaching a smaller part of the cave. Uma can follow it easily enough. In the middle of a pool of blood, a dead body is hard to ignore. The same principle seems to be true here. That black blotch on the stone, radiating waves of pressure, stands out from the dark-red walls and ceiling, as it shifts its location every few seconds but keeps heading the same general direction.
The new cave is different. For one, there is real light in there. Not just Chakra, but >real light<. The source of the light can not be made out from here, and it is down a different tunnel than the one Rainos went down. Where is Rainos now? Standing on the edge of a cliff, according to Uma's Byakugan! A cliff looking out onto… Nothing. There's nothing beyond. Just a vast, empty space. No Chakra, no weird energy… And then the black spot on the ceiling vanishes into the lefthand cave -- the one with the light source.
A moment later, a wave of cold ripples through the passage. The evil was not detectable from outside of the cave. That is because the thing once dwelled here was gone. But the cave itself seems to possess some evil of its own. Because that's what just washed over Uma and Daisuke. That's what is tugging at the chains that bind what rests inside of the latter. It was brief, but it was chill, and horrible, and utterly corrupt. It is akin to being forced to consume something that is not only disgusting but also poisonous, and one >knows< it is poisonous. It makes the body ill to know one has just been essentially washed in a tide of someone else's sins.
And ever so slightly, the bonds within Daisuke might weaken slightly.
Taji may not feel anything trying to influence him, but there's plenty of >something< hanging around here in the forest. It was early evening when they arrived. Less than half an hour has passed and now the sky is dark overhead. Or is it… Some kind of… Black mist? Yes, it's more like there's some kind of mist or smoke in the air. A 'physical darkness'. This is not new to Taji, but it was probably hoped to be gone for good.
The darkness seems to be coalescing into thin strands that then get sucked into the cave. They vanish afterwards. Whatever they were, they felt bad. They felt like wrongness. They felt like being presented with the freshly gutted corpse of one's family pet and told that it needs a hug. It feels like biting into a sandwich and feeling your own teeth take a bite out of your ear simultaneously. It feels like every nightmarish psuedo-sensation and quasi-emotion -- imaginable or not -- all sprayed about the forest clearing like air-sanitizer.
This place has gone from "slowly recovering" to "hell" in about ten minutes' time. And there almost seems to be some bits and pieces of blackness streaming from Fuyu towards the cave. It would only take a single movement to dispel them. All she has to do is move or stand up, and they'll stop. But the fact this is happening at all is disturbing on so many levels it cannot even begin to be described.
History was made twice in one day… Rainos would hesitate twice! After having felt the familiar and ralistic body and then heard the voice of Natsumi, Rainos stared at the nothingness before him, unable to see her. He did not reply however. It was time to stop and think, not to react. "I know where you are." Rainos would say to the woman who was suppossedly in front of him. "Here…" he would state as he slowly ungloved his right hand an produced his palm from which an archaic seal would form, the commanding seal of the newly reactivated Shukun Sumitsuki (Master Seal) the Manako no Kuragari Rakuin (Darkness Mark of the Eye). "… with me." he would state calmly, forcing any emotino away from his actions, residing in fact, perhaps even hiding there, or atleast shielding himself there. "And there… but certainly not here. Beyond that… you could always see beyond my sight. This place would be of no challenge to your perceptions, regardless of the ominous nature and the strange power that fills this cavern." Rainos now seemed to be secure in his facts, though he seemed to glower.
"I do not find this amusing any longer." he would state as his chakra began to violently flare. "Using my suffering for anything beyond my growth… is beyond offensive. If my demise is what you seek, you will have to come get it yourself." drawing back his lips with a slight showing of his teeth in his quiet rage, he would gather his power to him, unmitigated. "Even if what ever this is lacks sentience… it will fail to conqouer me." he said aloud, perhaps to reassure himself, or simply as an immovable position with which he would continue on throughout this excurtion.
Fuyu is surprised, yes. But when Taji speaks she snaps back to her senses. This is clearly a trick. This place does that to people. She read the reports. It's a twisted location, where hallucinations are common. Was the radio's broadcast a hallucination? She does not know. But as darkness begins to congeal along the edges of her body she frantically tries to brush it away while leaping to her feet.
"Yes, we need to get them out of there now. But…" She looks at the threads of ebon that seem to be gettin sucked into the cave. "…We have to be careful. Whatever is going on wasn't going on until Rainos entered the cave. It's possible he's controlling it. Chakra use should be kept to a minimum unless it is very necessary. Keep your mind sharp. Eyes will be next to useless. If we encounter Rainos, just stay away from him. We know enough to request a heavier assault force next time. Get Uma and Daisuke out, and then we leave too. No heroics. Understand?"
She glances sharply towards Taji and then leaps down from the hill top, moving swiftly, but not so swiftly that her pupil cannot keep up. Leaving him alone in this place would be as stupid as leaving herself alone in this place.
Uma chases the black spot down the tunnel, notices quickly that the direction she was following was not the same path Rain had taken. Grunting, the Hyuuga Chuuning mutters quietly to Daisuke, "Rain's on the other side.. standing.. on a cliff.." Scoffing, she explains, "But there's nothing beyond the cliff.."
The dead body doesn't bother her, though she stops for a second to examine it, instead muttering, "This isn't right.. we shouldn't be in here." As the black spot disappears, she tugs on Daisuke's arm again, "This way.. towards the light source."
It's when that cold ripple touches her, and she shivers lightly, "Something evil inhabits these caverns Daisuke. Do we really want to find out?"
Daisuke shivers as his hands rub opposite arms to try to warm up after catching up to Uma. He nods at the information about Rain, looking to the right as if he could see him just on instinct. "I can't see an Uchiha caught in some kind of genjutsu of whatever caught me up back there in the dark. It's really not pleasant in this cave. I can feel something tug- hey look, light." Daisuke says, interrupting himself as he notices the lefthand cave with a noticeable light source down its hall at the same time as Uma. Hearing Uma's opinion of the place Daisuke hmms before saying "In the reports things were far more intense than this. Can you see anything like a large chakra source? I wonder if whatever was here has left a lasting impression but is gone. If you do one more good sweep I think that would be satisfactory enough. Hmm.. or maybe it's out hunting for dinner?" he says with a small hesitant chuckle, trying to lighten the atmosphere. So far he was able to keep out the influence of the cave from his body and mind with help but he didn't know how much longer he wanted to stay.
Watching the dark mist streaming from Fuyu, leaves Taji a tad worried, well, more than that, he's scared but he hides it as best as he can. When Fuyu speaks, he nods, "Gotcha." This is all he offers as he shuts down his chakra sensitivity, not wanting to have that on while in the cave, worried about leaving himself even more open perhaps. No Heroics, right… why are we charging into this cave then? He thinks to himself, as he shakes his head and leaps down from the hill top, following Fuyu.
Taji pauses, before entering the cave, and ties off a string from his pouch, the other end of it leading to a rather large ball of string in one of his pouches. With luck he'll be able to follow the string back out if he loses his orientation, or so he hopes. The pouch is clasped shut so only the string can slip out, rather than the ball of it if he has to move quickly. He ties it to one of the sickly plants near the entrance, hopefully finding something that looks sturdy enough to stand a few hard tugs at least. Then he tries to stick close to Fuyu, once this 'life line' is in place. Hopefully the strong string will stand up to whatever it has to, was supposed to be strong fishing line for big fish. Eyeing the cave entrance, Taji can't help but suddenly feel like the bait on the wrong end of the fishing line. Shaking off the thought he follows Fuyu as quickly as he can.
A shuddering breath is let out by the thing that may or may not be Natsumi as she hears Rainos's voice. When he denies her existence, denies her presence, denies this is anything other than a trick, she doesn't offer an objection, or insist it's her. She oddly just lets out a little laugh. Not really laughter, more like just breathing out in relief. "It really >is< you. I wish I could see you… But my eyes were taken. My sight was stolen from me. I >am< Natsumi. But… Only part of her. A scrap of my-->her< spirit. I--She--" she pauses, and breathes in, trying to calm herself. "I tried to warn you. He took my eyes so that I could not find you. I tried to escape. So he bound me here, in this… 'Space between'. Dear, Rainos… I wish I could keep you here with me, but you have to leave. This is not a place for the living. Infact it is not even a place for the dead. Just… Pieces of them. Of us. I haven't been here long enough to find out all the details. But there's… Things here. Things that whisper to me. I don't want to hear them, but I have no other choice. I must stay here. The only way to return this part of me to the 'whole' me is…"
She trails off and then says, "It does not matter. I won't allow it. But you… You need to leave. He's using your pain to fuel his powers. I might not be able to see it, but I can feel it. I can't… Remember everything from my whole-self. But, I remember that I love you. Always remember that."
The light. The cave with the light has… Something inside of it. Something to make that light. And as Uma and Daisuke move towards it, whether they go all the way in, or just peek around the edge of the stone wall, they would both see something simultaneously wonderful and terrible. A shaft of intense light lies in the center of the roughly-rounded room. Surrounding it are floating fragments of utter blackness. So black they can't really be fragments of anything, because nothing that dark exists on this side of a blackhole. Things are being drawn into the light. Light itself is being drawn into the light. It is visible because of the light, but it is not sending anything out. Just taking it. It keeps taking and taking from the environment, and the walls of the cave are frosting over. Warmth is leaving the bodies of Uma and Daisuke. >Life< is leaving them. Every breath they exhale is taken into the light, and every breath they take seems to be less substantial than the one before.
It's almost like this thing is… Eating reality. Eating life. Eating time and space, and >everything else<. What it takes it does not give back. Another black blotch travels out of the wall and into the shaft of light. For a moment, electricity crackles from the black fragments as they attempt to do something to the cloud-like darkness. But it fails to work properly, and with a *THRUM* the shaft of light >rejects< the blackness when it touches. The dark circle is scattered outwards, in another wave of condensed wickedness. The crimes of dead men and women flicker both in eye and in mind momentarily, before the wave of hate flows out into the split-passage.
And then it's understood. Somehow, both the one with Byakugan and the one without, would understand. Whatever this thing is… It's supposed to be >purifying< evil before it enters the light… But it can't. Because it's >broken<.
Entering the darkness first, Fuyu does not get hit immediately by any stange hallucinations. It is only when she goes deeper, once Taji had caught up, that anything happens. And then it is fairly simple. A man runs past them out of a side-passage. How he can be seen in the darkness is unclear. Perhaps it is because he looks like a ghost. Translucent, legs trailing off and vanishing… But his face is the worst part. It might be handsome under other circumstances, but the fact that both of his eyes are empty pits that are actively sucking in everything around them is a bit disturbing. He rushes past Fuyu and Taji and seems either not to notice them or not to care. If they follow, he leads them in the direction that Rainos, Uma, and Daisuke went before they split ways.
And it would be best if Taji did not look down to investigate why the ground is suddenly so uneven. Because if he looks down, he'd find many familiar faces. Faces of dead people he knows well. Their corpses lie strewn about the floor of the cave. Another hallucination? It could be. They do not appear to be quite solid. Somewhat insubstantial. Which does nothing to stop them from opening their eyes and beginning to scream and holler as they reach for Taji, trying to grab him and pull him down amongst them.
"Impossible." Rainos says without inflection after having gathered his power. None of this made sense, so he intially refused to believe any of it. However, the fact that it asked for him to leave was… surprising. Why would this presence do such after luring him in in the first place? Who is "he"? Who draws in pieces of the dead and for what purpose? Natsumi had not died… if she was even truly dead… here or anywhere near here. What could possibly draw her from that location to here. Then again… how was he to know anything of a world beyond death? Twitching his left eye slightly, he would become angered again. "Lies… truth… which ever it is it makes no sense. If this is what awaits us in death… some form of manipulation out side of understanding…" Rainos would not finish his statement, for what was there to say… he simply won't die? He'll destroy it… even if "it" transcends reality as he could possibly know it?
Turning on his heels, he would close his eyes. "I know where you are…" he would state, sliding his glove back on to his hand. "I rescued Fudo from Nuraku. Do not allow any fear for me or him to keep you restrained… if you cannot fight, give this… being nothing. Starve it. Enrage it. But do not give in for the sake of those you left behind." He would open his eyes, attempting to penetrate the darkness as he would move once again. "Figment or reality… i will get nothing from this place at this time."
Fuyu reacts to the sudden appearance of the ghostly figure. She knows it's dark and she shouldn't be able to see anything. Thus this must be an illusion. She tries to lock down her mind, to force out all influences, and ignore this thing… And then runs right into a wall. Wherever that… Hallucination is going, it avoided this wall she just ran into. Why would it even bother to follow a path when the path is unseen? It could have left her to fall on jagged stones and die.
"Stay close, Taji." she calls quietly over her shoulder without taking her eyes off that fleeting figure, visible even in darkness. She then closes her eyes for a moment… And opens them. She won't using Sharingan. Not in this place. Too risky. So she just rushes ahead and tries to follow the same path that the ghost took as closely as possible, she also flicks on a small fire-starter torch in one hand, holding it behind her to try to provide illumination for Taji to follow, but not enough for anyone to see her or him.
Where is the phantom leading her? Why did it have no eyes? Irrelevant. Find Uma, find Daisuke, and get out. All that matters. And if it becomes necessary, she'll just have to leave them here. Not because she's concerned that much for her own life, but because she knows that someone has to live to tell what happened here. If no one does, they'll just become more victims of Ankoku Cave.
Fuyu is unaware of the ghostly corpses reaching for Taji behind her. She doesn't hear or see them. Very odd…
Uma did not turn that corner quickly. In fact, she hid in the shadows, avoiding the light like a good ANBU trained shinobi, motioning for Daisuke to do the same, his attempts at humour only cause her to shift her finger to her mouth in silence. She does peek around that corner, and her eyes go wide.
As soon as the light touches her cheeks, she stops dead her arms flung widely to halt Daisuke. "No!" She exclaims in a monotonous tone, her breath being sucked from her as she spoke the word. With a running shove, Uma pushes Daisuke away, hard, before forcing her hands together into a firm seal, breathing heavy from damage that the light had imposed on her body. Chakra surges through-out her body, towards her eyes, and she shouts, "Daisuke, grab onto me and prepare to start running!"
What she had been doing? Forcing her Byakugan to the limits to perceive what was real and what wasn't. Sorting chakra, figuring out the quickest way out of here. Having only acquired her current mastery of her ability, it takes her some time with her eyes closed before figuring out the direction they came in the pitch black of the room.
Fuyu's chakra lights up Uma's senses like a beacon, "I see Fuyu! This way!" She exclaims, her seal being broken as she reaches to grab Daisuke's arm. "This cave will be the death of us!"
Daisuke blinks in surprise as he peeks around the corner, the view was definitely not something you see every day. His eyes, first draw to the center shaft of light, are pulled away by movement of the black orbs. He blinks again as the fragments begin to crackle and a deep thrum was heard from the shaft. "I… have no idea what that is, but for some reason I think it's brok-" he says out loud but with uncertainty in his voice as he wasn't sure how he would have come to that conclusion. His thoughts were cut off by Uma tackling him and became jumbled as he looked at Uma as she drags him through the dimly lit passage they came through. "What do you mean? We have to go back and fix this thing… " he says to the Hyuuga as he attempts to reach out and take her arm to steady her mind. The temperature in the area was cold, and seemed to be getting colder, as Daisuke shivers slightly. He rummages around in his hip pouch and produces a flare, "We can use this to bring the rest here?"
Dead people. Reaching for Taji. This is… clearly an illusion. After his practice with Fuyu and Genjutsu the last week, he has gotten better at figuring out when something is messing with his mind. The defenses are almost natural to him now. He makes a quick sign and attempts to push the influence from himself, as he follows Fuyu, trying to stay close. He doesn't share his own personal horrors. He moves along as quickly as he can, staying as close to Fuyu as he can, ignoring the reaching hands, and more over trying to be sure to avoid any rocks or protrusions that the reaching hands might conceal. He takes a breath and lets it out slowly, trying to focus, hoping his efforts to banish the visions will work as he continues deeper at Fuyu's back. He keeps a hand on the line behind him, making sure his path back is still marked.
Natsumi -- or the fragment of her -- starts to respond haltingly to Rainos, saying, "No, this is an unnatural place. It is not where the dead are supposed to go. But he can take pieces of us… Pieces of our actions and feelings from life, and--" but then she stops speaking and from the swish of air seems to have turned away. Then she seems to turn back and whispers urgently, "He's coming! He only needs two more sets of eyes and then he'll be able to >See<! You can't let him See! Inform the Hyuuga Clan to stay away! They are one of the final two Dojutsu he needs, and if--"
Whatever she was saying just terminated abruptly. As did all indications she still exists. And as Rainos focuses his sight, trying to see what cannot be seen, to find what cannot be found… A voice speaks to him. It is not Natsumi. "It is the vague and the elusive. Face it, and you will not see its head. Follow it, and you will not see its back." Walking down the passage that lead here, a man as tall as Rainos himself, or perhaps a bit taller, strides confidently. Broad of shoulder and chest, strong of limb, a man with sharp features, and a mane of spiked, greyish hair is approaching. He is garbed in a black kimono -- the type worn at funerals.
Around his neck hangs a medallion of some kind… A ring of metal that looks somehow familiar. Almost as if… Almost as if the Senju Clan symbol and the Uchiha Clan symbol were intertwined somehow. The man has no eyes. Just empty pits in his face. He is visible because he glows. But the glow does not touch the rest of the cave. "Welcome, young one. Welcome to Ankoku Cave. Welcome to the burial site of the Eldest Son of the Sage of the Six Paths. Welcome to >my< burial site. Welcome…" Then he holds up his right hand to show his palm. In it are a pair of Sharingan, staring back at Rainos. "…Nephew."
"Care to join me as I take the eyes of the Hyuuga that has entered my tomb?" His smile is unpleasant.
The broken thing, whatever it is, may or may not be repairable. If it can be fixed it might require materials or knowledge beyond anything that Daisuke or Uma has available. She identified Fuyu's presence and location easily, but using the full extent of her Byakugan's current level has revealed some unpleasant facts. If Uma looks towards the light source it becomes harder to look away. It is no longer just taking heat, but willpower as well. It is best to not look at it then. But then again, it is not exactly fun to look through the cave walls in the direction of Rainos and see that the cavern that was previously empty now has dozens or possibly hundreds of people standing in it. Chakra signatures are not completely visible. But they are weak, and flickering. As though they were the Chakra of the dying… Or the dead.
Another chunk of darkness flows across the wall, headed for the shaft of light.
Taji fights his way through the ghostly corpses as they cling at him, hands becoming more and more substantial the deeper into the cave he goes. The cries become more distinct. Pleas for help. Pleas for mercy. They call to him by name. And Taji pushes through regardless, fighting to force out the invading Chakra of dead men and dead women that tries to insinuate itself into the deepest parts of his mind.
And both Taji and Fuyu would be able to see the ghost as it floats through the tunnels, leading the way. It goes right when the passage splits. To the left is that sickly glow that seems to take in more light than it gives off. And charging out into the passage are Uma and Daisuke. Uma seems to be trying to keep Daisuke from going back into the lefthand cavern. But if the ghost didn't go that way, that must mean nothing important is in there. Right? The mission was to investigate the cave. Then the mission became following and stopping Rainos. But this is all spiralling too far out of control.
Too much, too fast. The voice of the ghost echoes weirdly down the passage. It sounds nearby when it is distant and distant when it is nearby. It should no longer be a secret of what this cave is intended for, nor of the plans of its deceased patron. Uma's eyes. One of the last two Dojutsu that "he" needs. And she's standing about a dozen feet away.
Rational minds, unphased or traumatized by other wordly and altogether unnatural experiences may be able to get a more cohesive thought than Rainos currently had. It was extraordinarily hard to remember the words of the shattered remains of your lost lovers soul as a man enters the room with eyes held in hand wearing and emblem that seems to indicate the highest form of heresy embodied (figuratively) within a corpse that claims to be a direct ancestor of Rainos'. However… this is not the first time he had heard of such a union… of the Senju and the Uchiha. Only once before… not even a true mentioned… was it ever even breathed. Only one man had even thought of such an impossible combination, let alone spoke of it.
Rainos stared at the only thing that he could, the only presence that allowed itself clarity within his gaze. "I see." he would state shortly as he watched the … being carefully. "I have to wonder… if this is not all caused by something that is failing to contain you. I do not understand what is going on… but i do understand one thing… you are desperate for what you have lost or what you simply want to gain, i am not sure which."
It was then that Uma and Daisuke and the rest were now known to Rainos. Whom ever this is… it was acting based on real time events. "What does the dead need of the flesh of the living? The only thing that i can think of is vengence. And i do not have time for you to enlighten me." While he is aware of the others, he stares in to the depths of the eyeless form. "If only i had time… time to discover why." Nephew? Such fantasy… that Rainos could not shake from the possabilities within his mind. "Whose eyes are those?" he would speak before shaking his head… not expecting an answer… not that it mattered. Moving to walk past the entity, he would state, perhaps finally, "I do not join causes i have no stake in nor understanding of. It would seem time is on your side, regardless." He would now be facing his next obstacle… the shinobi of the Leaf. "If they provide reason for me to act however, you may do as you wish with what remains.
Fuyu has been left remarkably alone by the hallucinations after entering the cave -- assuming the ghost isn't one too. But her paranoid nature is overwhelmed by her training for now. The original mission was to investigate this cave. Then it was to find Rainos and determine what he is doing here. THEN it was to find their team mates and get out.
Fuyu is now deep in the cave and thus considers it investigated. Fuyu has found Rainos and determined that what he is doing is leaving as quickly as possible. And Uma and Daisuke are standing right there, so clearly she has found them. Done, done, and done. All objectives accomplished. Time to get out. She tosses a flashlight to Uma and says, "Uma, leave as quickly as you can without killing yourself with a rock!" She points at Daisuke. "Daisuke, explain that other light source to me on the way out!" She then turns to Taji to make sure he's there. "Taji, 'escort' Rainos out of here and don't get lost! If I'm not out of this cave within 5 minutes of you being out, have the entrance destroyed and go directly to Hashiramako. Make sure she knows what happened here, and why this cave needs to be destroyed!"
Finally, she faces forward again, and looks hard at Rain. Then… "Rainos, we're leaving! Get a move on!" she orders the Uchiha male as he attempts to walk past that creepy ghost. She jerks a thumb behind her at where everyone else is hopefull going. Especially Uma. She doesn't know why a ghost needs Byakugan, but it can't be good.
Uma shook her head to Daisuke, "No.. we need to get out of here. Screw fixing anything in here. We need to leave." She says in a pointed fashion, as if she really did not feel like dying here.
With Fuyu's sudden appearance, as well as Rain, and this ghost who wanted her eyes, Uma makes the firm decision that perhaps her eyes where a bit more important than any mission objectives, and Rain wasn't attacking them? Right? Well, out of here is where she is going. She hands the flashlight to Daisuke, while taking off in a full sprint, following the path her Byakugan laid out before her, "Hurry up everyone, let's get the hell out of here." The ghost is ignored for now, unless it is attacking her, and if it's attacking her? Well, what could she do? It's a ghost?
Like the stereotypical red-head Daisuke was getting frustrated fast. There was this wacko device that he had no idea how to fix and yet he knew was broken. There was this lingering darkness that would eat someone's heart if they let up for just a moment, and then there was the fact that somewhere in the cave lingered an S class criminal of Konohagakure, not to mention an Uchiha. He had so many thoughts and options running through his head that he just rubs his head in frustration and lets out a frustrated choice word.
"Why don't we just bury this place and be done with it!" he shouts out before looking into the darkness of the path Rainos was down as if remembering now that there was a threat nearby. "What's -he- up to now?" he asks quietly to Uma, looking down the direction they had come in, the flare still burning with red light in his hand that would hopefully draw anyone else coming to help to them. Whomever would come next, Daisuke would be a little more prepared and perhaps glad to get rid of some of this built up frustration and the constant toying, talking, and feeling this cave was giving off.
As the duo team of Taji and Fuyu meet up with them Rain also decides to show. In the darkness it was hard to make out the man's features but he knew the name was on a special list of wanted criminals. "We aren't just letting him go right? We've all been picking up pieces of what he did for a month now." the Senju asks the Uchiha team leader as they move back towards the entrance. He frowns no matter what the answer, debating what to leak now that Fuyu's integrity may have been compromised in his mind. Truthfully he held no grudge over their clans but he knew other, older clan members from both weren't so open minded. "It's a shaft of light in the cave where darkness seems to be encircling but not entering. We didn't get much time to investigate thoroughly but maybe my aunt will know more."
Taji watches all he can, ignores the things he thinks are less than real, his jutsu having little effect to shield his mind apparently. He mutters, "This is way worse than last time." He shakes his head then more loudly says to Fuyu, "We need to go back, now. Someone has to be able to go back and warn…" He trails off as Fuyu gives her orders. He makes sure his line is still intact, glances towards Fuyu apparently trying to decide if he should tell her that 'escorting' Rainos out is a bit insane or not. The rest of the orders were quite clear.
Get out, blow the entrance if not followed in a short time, then get back to the village. This Taji can do. At least he hopes he can. He starts to wind his line back up, quickly as he heads towards the exit. To be honest, if Rainos follows him or not, or if Rainos stays ahead of him or not is no longer really high on Taji's list of worries. Exit. Period. Follow line to exit. Get out. Simple, or should be. He makes a quick series of hand gestures doing some Jutsu as he turns to head out, but what isn't clear as there is no obvious effect. Whatever the point, the Genin is exiting, stage out, as fast as he can, glad to have the line to follow, in the mix of darkness and illusions that seem designed to block easy passage. Ignore the rest, keep going, out is at the end of the line. This of course means Taji basically leaves the group, classic mistake normally but, perhaps at this point a wise move and definately in line with Fuyu's orders.
The ghost stares at Rainos with those holes-in-place-of-eyes. Looking into them yields no results other than the perhaps ridiculous impression that getting too close to those two voids might result in being sucked in. Ridiculous… But then so is the rest of this place. "They belong to one of your encestors, and thus one of my other nephews. I have no use for flesh as a ghost… But the spirit shows one's true nature. And the Sharingan and Byakugan are part of one's nature… So I took these--" he holds up his hand and shows again the eyes embedded in his palm. "--off of another spirit. Just like I took the sight of your woman, just like I'll take the sight of that Hyuuga, and just like I'll >eat< the spirit of that Senju right there…"
Rainos said he didn't have time to find out the truth. He's already walking away. But after so long stuck in this cave, he does not seem willing to let a chance to explain walk out. "There is a way to set that piece of her free to rejoin her whole self, Rainos. She does not have to remain here. All you have to do is find someone willing to take her place… Remember that, won't you?"
The ghost then begins to use its Kekkei Genkai -- or rather its 'spiritual Kekkei Genkai' -- to try to stop Uma and Daisuke from leaving. It starts by all forward movement for those two ceasing. Then they start being pulled backwards for a moment… And then comes the pain. The pain of one's soul being ripped from one's body while one is still among the living. Limbs of the Hyuuga and Senju detach from their physical selves.
If this keeps up, the ghost will have the two spirits he needs, and then he will only need one more Dojutsu, according to Natsumi's spirit fragment. He will only need one more and then… Something bad. Something >very< bad. The ability to 'See'? What that entails is unclear, but it is something no one probably wants.
Then the pulling stops. Regardless of who attempts what, it just stops. Spirits snap back into bodies, forward momentum is resumed, pain vanishes, and all are free to depart. But it seems that Fuyu has plans to stay behind for some reason. Thus, she would be perhaps the only witness to why the attempt to steal and mutilate the spirits of two >very< distant relatives has stopped. A woman that Fuyu probably does not know, but can no doubt see clearly. Her eyes are gone. Not like the ghost, but more like they were torn out of her face somehow. She glows like the ghost, but terminates halfway down her waist. One arm is missing. But the other is wrapped around the Eldest Son's throat as she attempts to pull him back into the darkness, where many other ghosts stand, staring blindly at the black void surrounding them. The Eldest Son lets out a cry of rage!
Then he vanishes into the dark. But how long a single ghost can hold one as strong as him is unclear. It is time to leave.
"Willing…" Rainos would say aloud as he stared at the "Sacrifices" before him… or perhaps maybe he viewed them as people at this particular time. Rainos had had many sacrifices done i nthe name of his progress… not all that long ago. It seemed more were called for… atleast one more. It sort of felt like an addiction… he can't get rid of the necessity of sacrifices in his life. It was a strange suffering… knowing that you did not simply require the life of someone, but their sacrifice. Glancing at Fuyu and wondering of her decision to stay as well as his ability to return later… as well as the benefits of silencing those that came in after him, Rainos would be paused once again, for the last time. To kill them all… and keep this to himself? To pursue this at all, or leave it behind? To come back later with… bartering material for natsumi's immortal soul for… what exactly? What did this spirit want? The eyes… was that all? Was knowing the exact details important to understand the threat?
Setting his jaw, Rainos would continue out, "I will remember." he would state. Strangely, he ignored Fuyu other than to glance her way. Was she not a threat? Was stabbing them all no longer on his mind? Rainos certainly hated having to leave with so many questions unanswered… but now that he knows a bit about this place, he can more easily cut to the chase… if it is not destroyed by the foolish leaf… Stumbling slightly, his hand would brace himself against the wall for a moment. His right hand. Should he be fortunate… the leaf would be unable to interfere with his return by physical means from this point on.
Fuyu shakes her head almost imperceptibly at Daisuke without taking her eyes off the ghost. That's in answer to his question about letting Rainos go free. She watches Rainos walk past her, but then focuses on the ghost for a moment. She stays and watches once everyone else is gone, as a second ghost tries to drag the first away for some reason. Then she focuses down the left-hand passage. She has about two minutes left to get out, and then the cave is going to collapse on her, most likely. And yet…
Is this what she thinks it is? One of the secret tools from the past? Something akin to the one that Akuu Goh obtained? Is this one of those 'Stones' she has heard of? Like the one that almost destroyed Sunagakure? If it's broken… That means it can be fixed. What kind of power would be available to one who was able to fix it? What could be accomplished with this Stone that seems to hold power over life and death -- light and dark? Yin and Yang?
She walks towards the shaft of light, even as her body and the room both grow far, far colder. She can see her breath as it leaves her lips and is then sucked into the light. She has no idea Rainos plans to return. She wants him out of here because she doesn't want him to have access to this sort of power. She wants to be sure that everyone keeps him away. He may be a tenative 'ally' of sorts, but only as long as she needs him. With this Stone, she wouldn't need him. She wouldn't need anyone. She stands in front of the light, as the black fragments of crystal orbit it. She can feel her life force being leeched out of her.
She'll just have to do it then.
One hand whips up in a tiger seal.
Sometime after Uma, Daisuke, Taji, and Rainos are all out of the cave, with Taji entrusted with the mission of carrying this information directly to the one who will be in a position to do something about it, it seems that time is up. It has been 5 minutes. No sign of Fuyu.
The ground rumbles violently and then an eruption of black fire comes pouring out of the cavern entrance, consuming all in its path. The flames cease quickly, but continue to burn whatever they touched before then. The cavern entrance has been melted shut. If Fuyu is still alive in there, she is likely not coming back out without help.
It had taken everything for Uma to not freak out when her soul began to leave it's host. For just a second, Uma appears human, fear present on her features.. but when the second spirit arrives, and her soul snaps back, Uma gasps, her feet taking her out of the cavern. She doesn't look back, not until she is far away from the Cavern. Five minutes away infact.. until the ground began to rumble and the cavern shuts. Uma stops then, her gaze falling on the cave in an attempt to spot her life-source.
An eye falls to Daisuke, then Taji, a curious expression present as she gauges his reaction. Having lost Fuyu to the cavern made this that much more delicate of a situation. "Alright guys, full hustle. Let's get back to the village. Ignore Rain, we need to tell the Hokage what the hell is going on."
As Daisuke makes his way towards the entrance with Uma he finds himself suddenly unable to move. Try with all his might, he couldn't get his legs to move forward. In fact he felt like he was moving in the opposite direction. With a sudden onset of pain that Daisuke couldn't describe, Almost blacking out after it was over, Daisuke feels weak in the knees and his stomach is in no condition as he makes sure Uma was ok. Confident enough in Uma's state, Daisuke turns to look toward the culprit and was just about to tear the whole place down when he noticed the spiritual combat going on. Way above his head, he decides to just continue on outside the cave, following Uma.
As the group exits the cave Daisuke turns back, staying with Taji. If it had to be done, the entrance was going to be sealed one way or another. As time pressed on, 5 minutes approached and Daisuke found himself wondering what was going on in that cave, exactly. "Time's up." he says with a sigh, about to say something else when the black flames erupt from the entrance. As a strong fire user himself, Daisuke found the flames interesting. He had steered clear of the flickering evil flames but was curious enough to watch them. With the entrance sealed there was nothing they could do as a trio and Uma's decision to tell the Hokage is met with only a little resistance.
Taji was standing at the entrance of the cave, waiting, with explosives actually, for Fuyu to emerge. The fumble and 'whoosh' as the flame heads towards the entrance give Taji just enough time to dodge to the side, leaving the explosives in the path of the flames, only to be consumed completely, and not really well, explode. Fortunately the entrance is sealed anyway. Taji managed to just barely avoid becoming a living torch, ending up on his stomach as he looks back, watching the melted entrance of the cave. He frowns, then recalls the last orders of Fuyu.
Taji gets up to his feet, glances around then calls out, "I'm headed back, as fast as I can go. But I am not that fast." Well, compared to chuunin and what not he's slower it is true, "So you two, or at least one of you, should go ahead, run, to the village to get the news there as soon as possible. We should split at least into two groups, one of one and one of two. You're both faster, you should hurry ahead, get the news to them." He says, as he tries to get up and head back to the path, glancing around to see where Rainos went, but only so much as to make sure the criminal isn't coming at him while he recovers.