Date: February 7, 2016
Malik invites Waffuru out for a drink after the rescue mission… And some serious talk takes place about the danger posed by the dead.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Dead In The Desert"
Sand Storm Bar - Sunagakure
After that mission in the desert, Malik had invited Waffuru to the bar for drinks. So he was here now, with one of the house specials in his hand and sipping from it periodically while waiting for his guest to show up. The Hayato archer was dressed in a plain brown tunic, along with light tan colored pants. He wore no weapons and his falcon was nowhere to be seen at the moment.
The Uzumaki librarian, when she arrives, is wearing some standard desert-appropriate clothing, such as was worn on the mission. A white linen wrap over loose beige clothing, with a white head-wrap. The wrap does a poor job of keeping her ridiculously long red hair held up, and the ponytail that extends out from underneath in back still reaches her waist after being coiled several times atop her head. She tromps into the bar and plops down across from Malik without fanfare.
"Why is this place so hot!? We have jutsu that can reshape the desert, but we can't install Village-wide air conditioning? An ice cream vendor on every street corner? A GIANT SUN SHADE UP THERE!?" She points indicatively and repeatedly towards the sky. "The desert is terrible, and I am considering boycotting it." There's a lot of other things she could say about the desert, but discussing what happened out there among civilians might not be the best idea. Secrecy and security should be maintained regarding dead people walking around unless the Kazekage decides otherwise.
Waffuru holds up a finger to indicate a drink server should come over to her and says, "Anyway, how has your day been so far?"
Malik blinks several times as Waffuru shows up and immediately starts in on talking about how bad the desert is. There is an amused smirk on his face as he just looks at the woman for a long moment while he sips from his drink. When directly asked a question, he replies to her. "My day has been fair so far. I would ask how yours has been, but I'm judging from your earlier rant that it's been terrible for you." He also makes a motion to the bartender to re-fill his drink. "So, Waffuru-san. There is nothing that can be done about the heat, except to endure it, or find ways to beat the heat. Finding shade during the day is a start." He runs a hand through his blonde hair as he smiles. "A cold drink is probably a close second. Though I would recommend water…it's better for you than anything else."
Waffuru waves it off. "I'm just blowing off steam. Figuratively. I've been here for a few months now, I'm sure I'll get used to it eventually. Maybe." She drums her fingers on the table. "The day's been about average. Just… That mission. I've never seen anything like that before." She has her voice lowered greatly when discussing that part. But raises it again when she moves on to other topics. "I'm thinking if I'm going to keep winding up in dangerous situations, I should maybe devote some time to improving my self defense skills. I just haven't had time lately due to my work. There's so many records this place needs verified, so many texts it needs organized, so on and so forth. I don't know what this Village has been doing with its library since its last Head of Records left, but it's left me with plenty to do to earn my paycheck, that's for sure."
She waves her hand more insistently in the air when she fails to get anyone coming to serve her a drink. "Hey, do I need to pour the drink myself or what!?" she calls out towards the bar.
Malik leans forwards slightly, lowering his own voice. "No. I've never seen anything like that..well, not personally. A couple of years ago, though, there was this situation in the Land of Tea. This thing called the Crawler was trying to take over. It's best weapon was strong genjutsu and a legion of undead soldiers called the Hitokage. I thought it was just stories, but after what we saw in the desert?" He shakes his head slowly. "I've seen some strange things in my time, but never anything like that." When she calls for a drink, he looks over at the bartender. "Bring the lady whatever she wants, and please put it on my tab." He leans back in his chair before he asks, "You ever think about trying to research what we saw in the library where you work? Maybe there's some obscure record or something?"
The kunoichi listens to what Malik has to say, considering carefully his story. But she doesn't say anything else until she finally has a drink in front of her. She keeps it simple. Something cold, strong, and the whole bottle. Once she has some of THAT in her, she has something to say. "But that wasn't the first incident of the dead rising, was it?" she asks rhetorically. "I didn't know about these Hitokage or this Crawler… But based on what I've learned from reading the records I've been organizing, there's been at least three prior incidents of dead people walking around. Possibly more. There was a monster known as the Ghoul of the Desert who raised an army of the dead right here in the Land of Wind. There was someone who attacked Sunagakure with a giant snake made of dirt and sand which ate corpses and then spat them back out as zombies. And before that, there was a temporary period of walking corpses throughout all of the nations. I don't know if the cause was ever identified, nor how it was stopped exactly."
Waffuru looks up at Malik, green eyes serious. "All of this has happened just in the past 10 or 11 years, and that Ghoul thing was supposedly active during the Clan Wars, before the Villages were founded, as well. There is something very wrong here. The dead rising? That's some kind of absurdly powerful, unnatural jutsu. I could understand if it was Genjutsu, or even Medical Ninjutsu… I heard there was a Swordswoman in Kirigakure, a war criminal and wielder of Nuibari, that controlled corpses with wires and Lightning Release. There are plenty of ways to fake it. But actually DOING it? And in many of these cases, they're powers that go far beyond even a high-level shinobi."
Waffuru shakes her head and takes another swig from the bottle. "The fact it keeps happening…" Then she looks around realizes she intended not to discuss any of this in detail in a public place. She lowers her voice further. "There has to be a reason for it. I'm going to try to talk to the Kazekage about it. If we're facing another incident of mass reanimation of the dead… Ninja like you may have to stop it before it goes any further."
Malik listens to Waffuru with his full attention. He doesn't even take a sip from his drink while she's talking. After she's finished, he lets out a shaky breath and then downs half the contents of his glass. "I'll be honest with you, Waffuru…" His own green eyes gaze into hers. "…all of that scares the sand out of me. My family is nomadic, and until they sent me here to Suna, we didn't concern ourselves about anything much than finding a reliable source of water in the desert, and then protecting it from those that might come to take it. But I think you're right. You should talk to the Kazekage…this could be the beginning of something so sinister that our entire village could be affected…perhaps even other villages." His voice is just as low as hers, mostly so prying ears can't overhear them. "From now on, I'm going to consider you the leading expert on this situation. I also noticed that during the fight, my arrows had limited to no effect against these things. I may need to invent something to specifically deal with them. I've got a couple ideas cooking already."
Waffuru nods solemnly, but briefly. Then she thinks. "Preparing for the next encounter is something I think we should ALL be doing. It's good that you already realized that. Though a couple ideas, if you haven't considered them yet: They didn't seem to be very intelligent, just persistent. Their flesh also seemed to be about as easily damaged as normal human bodies. But the vulnerability of living things is that if you break the right things, we stop working. Weapons like arrows are really useful against other people, or wild beasts. But to take down something that won't stop moving even when its head is destroyed, we might have to consider total destruction and immobilization more of a priority than weak point targeting. At least until we know if they have a weak point or not. Explosive arrows would be useful for taking them down at range, especially if they're in a group. Corrosive arrows of some kind could also be effective at impairment and destruction, depending on how strong the corrosive effect is. Without limbs they're a lot more limited in their threat potential, since they can't chase us down or wield weapons. The very fact they were still ABLE to wield weapons, however… That bothers me to no end."
She sits back and folds her arms. "If they were just staggering corpses, that would be horrifying enough. But these ones were swift, mobile, and capable of swinging weapons around, even if without much skill. What if their limited combat ability was due to who they were made from, though? The quality of the 'ingredients', so to speak? If a ninja became one of them… We might be looking at a different threat level entirely. Imagine if we'd been facing eight shinobi-class enemies who didn't die when they were killed instead of a couple dead bandits and some non-shinobi guards." Waffuru raises a hand to scratch her head. "Actually, forget I said any of that. It's speculation at this point, and making the people who'll be keeping me safe as scared of the enemy as I am would be counter-productive. I should talk to Nidaime Kazekage-sama first before anything else."
She then starts chugging from the bottle until it is completely empty.
Malik listens to Waffuru again and then he comments, "You're ahead of me. I've come up with an explosive version of my flash bang arrow. I need to test it though. As far as the corrosive? I've got an idea about that, too. Snake venom. We have some of the deadliest snakes in the world around here. I'll go hunting for some and milk them for the venom and then come up with a delivery system. But you're right. We should already be preparing for the next encounter. It's why right after the mission, I went home and began to design new arrows to deal with this threat. That's why I also invented my blade-bow. Melee combat in this situation is a real possibility. It's something that we archers try to stay out of, but sometimes it can't be helped." He reaches across the table and places his hand gently on top of hers. "I'm sure that between the two of us, we can figure out what's going on and the best way to stop it. Though I think we should hold off telling anyone until you talk with the Kage about it."
Waffuru jerks her hand back when Malik puts his over it, blushing. "Wh-who said you could touch me!? Of course we'll take care of them! B-baka!" Waffuru pushes her chair back and stands up. "But I'm also sure that it's not just the two of us who will take care of it. I can barely do anything. I'm not even a real ninja!" She slaps her palms on the table a few times to show the level of her seriousness! "This will have to be a joint effort between many qualified ninja! Not a guy with arrows and birds and someone who'd rather be reading in an air-conditioned room than running around the desert!"
She points dramatically at Malik, one hand on her hip, and says, "Listen! No cowboy justice or recklessly! You'd better take care of yourself too, not just everyone else! If you die, I'll never forgive you!" Then she hmphs, and spins about to leave. "Mattaku! <Geez!>"
Must be the tsundere way of saying she doesn't want him getting hurt. Before she exits, she calls out over her shoulder, "Thanks for the drink! I'll have you treat me again sometime!"
Malik leans back as Waffuru literally explodes after he touches her hand. He holds both his hands up, trying to show that he didn't mean any harm. He blinks rapidly as she goes on a tirade before she ends up walking out. "Uh..hmmm. I never said that…" He flounders. "I mean..I didn't mean that we would be the only…" The door slams as she makes her way out of it, but at the last sentence she says, he flashes a smile and leans on his hand, propping his head up. "I look forward to next time, then."