Date: April 9, 2011
Chichi and Seiji's journey with the scholar and ninja of the Sand sets out. The neighborhood they're seeking turns out to have some very unpleasant locals.
"Dominance - Admittance"
Deserts of the Land of Wind
And they're off! The small, semi-secret expedition to find the remnants of a lost civilization, and hopefully a means to control a 'spirit within', has begun its journey. Chichi and Seiji (under the aliases of Sara and Kai), along with the scholar Omoi and his shinobi twin Hitsu, are trudging across the desert wastes of the Land of Wind. Not surprisingly, Omoi is the one setting the pace, though his brother puts a lot of pressure on him to hurry it up. Hitsu can also be caught leering at Chichi rather frequently, though he doesn't overtly try anything. It's essentially the ninja equivalent of an unpleasant mixed-company road trip.
As the sun's glow begins to show on the horizon on the third night (traveling the desert by day generally isn't very smart), the group is nearing the place where Omoi predicted the temple they're searching for should be. "I hope we manage to locate it soon," Omoi remarks. "If we're lucky, we might be able to take shelter under stone rather than canvas today." Hitsu scowls. "Huh, you're the one who said it should be here. If I found out you dragged us out here to dig for something that ain't there, I'm gonna leave you out here." Omoi chuckles nervously. "Oh, c-come now Hitsu-kun, you know you really wouldn't do that. You simply couldn't." n.n; Hitsu's expression turns even darker, but he makes no retort this time. Instead, he turns to Chichi and Seiji. "How about you two? You got any special tricks for finding stuff?"
The journey is long, but at least they were back to doing something. Well sorta, Seiji would've rathered had a bit more time to just take it easy in Sunagakure village but then again he knows that they needed to get this taken care of. During the trip Seiji who is under the assumed named Kai has been keeping an eye out for any roving bandits that he's managed to read about, granted the Sunagakure shinobi are quite good at their jobs, there are the chance meeting with some unfriendlies. A pair of dark tinted goggles covering his eyes to keep the sand from getting into them as well as the glare from the sun, Seiji seems to be content. A pair of the same goggles he is wearing was given to Chichi as well.
As they near the supposed temple site, Seiji has allowed himself to slip off to the left a bit and just keeping an eye out. Listening to Omoi as he hopes they are able to sleep under stone rather than canvas, a chuckle escapes him. "That would be nice." he says then glance over to Chichi. She is a sight to behold, though it didn't help that the glaring Hitsu has been looking at her a bit too much and well, Seiji often saw himself cutting off the mans head a few times. But clearing his mind he allows the thought to drift off. Looking back to Omoi, "We will not leave you here, we all came, and we all will make it back." he says to the nicer cousin. "As for being able to detect things, sorry I'm not skilled in those sort of techniques."
Chichi remains oblivious to Hitsu. If she notices him looking at her in her beige, light-weight cloak and desert-appropriate clothing, she just smiles at him cheerfully and then returns to looking about her environment. The goggles provided by Seiji are useful, but if they are travelling at night, that usefulness diminishes. Tinted goggles in the dark are more of a handicap than an aid! Thus, she only wears them during the day or when subjected to sand storms. The sun may be hinting that it is about to rise on the horizon, but they do not appear to be stopping their journey right now.
Omoi informs the other three members of the group that they are getting close! Or that is what Chichi interprets it as, at least. The fact that Omoi is >uncertain< of the location of the ruins manages to pass over her head. She assumed he was just being optimistic. "Huh?" she asks as she realizes she is being addressed. When she catches up with the conversation and pieces together the parts she missed, Chichi says, "Oh. Well, I do have a couple techniques, yes… I can sense Chakra that is either focused in a large quantity in one location or is being actively used. I also can detect the location of everything touching the earth in a general area. The range depends on how much something is moving around or the strength of any possible vibrations it's making. However…" She pauses and thinks >really hard<. It makes her head hurt. "…I think I can also detect barriers in the area too. Like walls and things, you know? If there are walls buried under the sand, or other signs of buildings underground, I can probably tell that there is a barrier there if I'm nearby. It >is< touching the earth, after all!"
She smiles and puffs out her chest proudly, feeling quite pleased with herself and what she feels is a clever idea.
Omoi smiles. "That sounds like an excellent technique for this sort of thing, Sara-chan. Would you be so kind as to scan the area with that?" And as it turns out, there are walls not too far away, probably hidden amongst the dunes. However, there's something else too. Something, or rather several somethings, that are too large and solid to be sand, but not hard enough to be rock, hidden beneath the sand. "Local critters, probably," Hitsu remarks, striding forward confidently. "I'll sort 'em out. Just stay here and — "
Suddenly a gigantic tail with a wicked-looking stinger whips out of the sand and IMPALES HITSU THROUGH THE CHEST! "Hitsu-kun!" Omoi wails, clasping his hands together. Then — *POOF!* — Hitsu disappears in a cloud of smoke, only to reappear at Omoi's side, apparently unscathed. "Ngh, okay, maybe I could use a little backup on this one," Hitsu grunts. The form of a monstrous scorpion rises from the sand, followed by several others. Looks like there's plenty to go around! Hitsu charges at the scorpion with the same recklessness as before, while its brethren advance on Chichi and Seiji, mandibles clicking. :C
Quirking a brow as Chichi goes into a detailed explaination of her tremor sense technique, the detail and thought behind it to him shows she is smarter then she gives her self credit for. Granted they both had to grow up a lot faster these past months and learn as much as they could about each others skills. As she explains, Seiji continues looking about, there really isn't a whole lot going on and so far they've been pretty safe for the most part. As Chichi informs them of what she has found, Seiji turns to look at Omoi as he explains as best he can what she may have found.
Figuring they had a lot of work to do digging possibly to find a entrance, Seiji turns around just in time to see Hitsu get impaled by a large stinger. The metallic crisp sound of a blade escaping it's sheath, Seiji is already in a offensive stance. With Hitsu reappearing and stating he needs help, he nods his head. "Omoi-san, please stay towards the center of us." he says. "Sara-chan, lets do this." he says to her as the scorpions close on them.
As one of the large scorpions lashes out with it's claw, Seiji does a shoulder roll along the ground to his right. Getting to his feet, he quickly dashes in towards the scorpion that just attacked. Channeling lighting chakra through his arms and allowing it to course along his katana, Seiji spins his blade and strikes rapidly attempting to cut off or disable the Scorpions claw. His first strike is aimed closer to the Arachnida's body, he then keeps his awareness and attacks along the same joint, hoping to have both his blade and the lightning to cleave deeply into it.
Chichi, or 'Sara' as she is calling herself (she kind of forgot until she was addressed by that name!), is uncertain about the obstructions in the ground. The fact they appear to be giving off subtle but noticeable vibrations indicates they are moving to >some< degree… And the reason why becomes evident when they burst out of the sand! Those vibrations were problem their breathing and heartbeats! …Or whatever scorpions have as an equivalent. Chichi is not a scorpionologist, okay!
She is surprised by the enemy they are being faced with, but her training serves her well. Instead of just standing there and gawking, she also gets into a defensive stance and moves back a bit after the initial attack on Hitsu. She can gawk while she defends! Multi-tasking for the win! "Giant bugs!? What kind of country is this!?!" she cries out in protest as one of the scorpions closes in on her and tries to grab her with its pincers. She uses her forearms to stop the monstrously-strong pincers from closing on her, pressing against the interiors of the scissoring claws, and holding them at bay! That is some impressive strength she is displaying! But the pincer gradually closes tighter around her, until she suddenly and forcefully spreads her arms apart, pushing the pincer open! She then leaps back out of range for a moment.
Then she quickly forms an Ox handseal to focus her Chakra and draws back her right hand behind her. A crackling length of electricity that seems to be held in the rough shape of a whip extends from her clenched hand. "Lightning Release: Power Line!" she calls out, before lashing out with the whip at the scorpion that attacked her. The whip snaps at the creature's eyes, as the rest is probably much less vulnerable. Of course, she's using electricity rather than blunt force, so maybe it doesn't matter. But a blind monster is a monster easier to manage!
Regardless of her Power Line attack's success or lack thereof, Chichi dismisses the electric whip and forms another handseal, causing a mound of sand in the middle of the scorpions to 'explode' into a cloud of sand and dust that then spreads outwards and hangs suspended in the air around the scorpions farthest from the group, obscuring their vision! …Hopefully.
Omoi is very willing to follow Seiji's instructions. o.o; He remains as far from the danger as he can manage, continuing to wring his hands. Meanwhile, the attacks of the ninja prove decently effective. The scorpions' exoskeletons are tough, but lightning chakra seems to be effective for sawing through them, as Seiji's target finds when its claw is disabled, though not fully cut off. Still, it's enough to make it seriously rethink its perception of humans as viable prey! It backs away hurriedly and retreats into the sand.
Chichi's scorpion is more persistent. The lashing across its eyes hurts, but it's got plenty where those came from, and now it's mad! It jabs its stinger at Chichi repeatedly, a little inaccurate thanks to a couple of its eyes being damaged, but plenty dangerous. In the meantime, another of the bugs comes forward to menace Seiji, trying to box him in between pincers and jaws.
Hitsu is fighting with seemingly little regard to personal safety. He leaps onto the back of the nearest scorpion, narrowly avoiding its stinger, and drives a fist wrapped in drilling air chakra into it. Then he moves on to target the scorpions further away, which unfortunately puts him inside Chichi's dirt cloud. "Hey, what the — ? Whose big idea was ARGHH!!!" Omoi flinches. "Hitsu-kun?!" *POOF!* Hitsu shows up next to Omoi again. "Dammit, bugs don't use their eyes as much as we do! Don't you know anything!?" >.<
Managing to send his scorpion away disabled, he notices that his lightning chakra is aiding him well in this attack. THough as he turns to see how the others are doing, he catches a glimpse of another scorpion. Figuring they may have disturbed a nest or something, Seiji finds himself little time to try and focus his chakra. Shaking his head then jumping up and over the pincers as it tries to box him in. Seiji uses his vault to guide him towards the scorpions head. As he descends down Seiji knows this could be a bad mistake, but they have to either drive these things off or kill them out right because they don't want them hounding them later on.
As he starts to land, he strikes hard and fast, using one of his techniques that allows him to use his natural speed and agility to deliver three rapid strikes in succession. Seiji aims three of his strikes towards the head and maw of the scorpion, then quickly pivoting to the right he does the same thing to the limb with the pincer, sending two rapid strikes towards the joint, then lunging his third strike back towards the scorpions head.
Chichi once again manages to protect against the (now-injured) giant scorpion! This time, when it tries to stab her with its tail, she performs an overhead forearm-block to deflect the sharp and dangerous part of the tail over her head! However, this leaves her open to attack by a second scorption, which succeeds in catching her in one of its pincers and squeezing her with crushing force to hold her still! She tries to wriggle free, but it is no use! The pressure is getting painful!
"Stupid… Bugs…" she mutters. Then when the third scorpion comes forward, crowding the immediate area around Chichi, as two others are already there, she takes the opportunity to replace herself with the sand on the ground beneath her, causing the third scorpion's attempt to bite her head off fail! Instead he (or she or it) just gets a mouthfull of sand for his/her/its trouble.
When she bursts out of the sand and dashes back over to where Hitsu and Omoi are, she says, "I am >not a scorpionologist, okay!<" Then she turns and runs back towards the scorpions, with her message apparently delivered. What is not obvious is that she did more than just run over to yell at Hitsu. She was also focusing Chakra while moving out of melee range with the Scorpinoids of Doom Desert. Being able to focus Chakra while on the move is a useful trick, but it's not easy. Thus, she is not quite ready to attack at this point. Instead she is focusing on defense!
Seiji's scorpion finds its face (insofar as a scorpion has a face) slashed into even-less-recognizability, and then Seiji's final stroke finds its brain. Yup, scorpions have brains! Only this one no longer has a properly functioning one, as evidenced by the typical symptoms of complete neurological failure. CRASH. Chalk up another one for Seiji!
Meanwhile, the majority of the giant scorpions seem to be targeting Chichi. Maybe they think that she's the strongest overall threat thanks to her display of ninjutsu earlier. Maybe they're chakra-feeding scorpions that can sense the massive potential feast inside her. Or maybe she just looks like the juiciest morsel. c.c Whatever the reason, they're not finding her easy prey, even ganging up on her.
Hitsu takes advantage of their preoccupation to attack from behind. That's a funny thing about scorpions, even with that fearsome stinger on their tail, their defenses are all forward-facing. A couple of scorpions get their hinder-legs crushed by Hitsu's wind-punching. It doesn't quite stop them, but it makes their crawling a good bit slower and more awkward.
With another one down, Seiji turns to look to where the others are, as he looks to see whats going on he notices Chichi has three of the scorpions attacking her, while Hitsu has slowed them down quite considerably. Still not wanting to take the chance of trying to focus the chakra he needs for his lightning attacks, Seiji takes this chance to rush in towards the scorpions. Having found how to kill them, he streakes off towards the closet scorpion. His body is very low to the ground, making him almost unnoticiable. As he comes into striking range, he only attempts for very precise attacks, and this one was going to go to this scorpions brain pain. Trying to close in as quick as he can and manuver directly under it's head, Seiji attempts to thrust his katana up through the scorpions head where he figured the brain was.
Chichi manages to fool the scorpions one by one into attacking Lightning Clones of herself instead of the real deal! However, the third one appears to learn from the mistakes of the others, or maybe it just gets lucky. It manages to score a hit on Chichi's back with one of its pincers, causing her to stagger and hop off-balance for a few precious seconds. The giant beasts are closing in on her!
For a moment, there is the temptation to tap into the power of a certain >other<… But she knows fully well that she can't do that right now. So instead she makes a few handseals quickly, even as the arachnids get right in her face, and then lunges at the closest one, trying to shove a rod of pure electricity into its mouth and possibly into whatever delicate inner tissues may lie within! The voltage should be easily enough to weaken and stun even an enemy of this size! …Unless it doesn't respond to electrical overload in the same manner as humans and dogs and so forth. In which case, the red-head is kind of screwed.
Otherwise, she turns quickly and engages in a full-speed >ram< into the next-nearest scorpion, using a mix of Chakra-boosting and enormous physical strength to try to duck underneath the edge of its low-slung body, and use hands and shoulder to try to >flip< the monster onto its back or side, so she can then proceed to punch and kick at its underbelly!
Chichi is a >lot< stronger than she looks.
Alas, while Seiji's strategy is sound, his striking power turns out to be lacking this time. Maybe he got lucky last time and slipped the blade in between some chitin plates, or maybe the slashing strikes which happened before opened the path. At any rate, the sword glances off the arachnid's exoskeleton, and the scorpion rushes on heedless of Seiji. Chichi as well has a little trouble with her electrical attack: her target stops short and backs away from the menacing tongue depressor! But at least that shows they're hesitating, right? And when Chichi manages to OVERTURN one of their brethren and CRACK OPEN ITS EXOSKELETON with sheer blunt force, they decide they've had enough. The remaining scorpions scuttle off to find less dangerous prey.
Hitsu walks up and rests a foot against the carapace of the last scorpion, which is still waving its limbs feebly. "Heh, you're a pretty tough little chickadee, aren'tcha? Breaking one of these bad boys open with your bare hands." Hitsu leans hard on one of the chitin plates by the wound Chichi created, causing it to dislocate with a CRUNCH and dig into the bugs squishy inner flesh. Omoi winces. "Please, let's move on now. I don't want to look at those things any longer than I have to, and who knows what sort of scavengers and other predators the bodies will attract." c.c; Hitsu snorts, but turns to trudge away. "All right, fine. Come on kids, baby wants to get indoors away from all the nasty scary animals."
Indeed Seiji slipped, he doesn't get carried away in his fight, but then again, who is trained at the academy to fight GIANT >ARCHNIDS< anyway right!? As the Chichi cracks one open and the rest of the creatures leave. Seiji allows himself to catch his breath, nodding his head in agreement with Omoi, "Yes I think that is best. Hitsu-san, it may be wise for you to take point or I can." he says as he begins following Omoi. "Sara-san good job." he chuckles and winks to her. "Did you sense any sort of entrance or hollow area with your technique?" he asks.
Chichi takes a deep breath and lets it out after the scorpions start retreating, and backs away from the injured one. "There's walls or something past the next big dune. I think they're from a building, based on how they're arranged, but I think there's some sort of tunnel that reaches from down there to the surface that we could possibly use." It's hard for her to get back on the train of thought of exploration after an adrenaline-pumping fight like that, but she's trying!
"Let's just hope there's no more scorpions… You were pretty good yourself, Hitsu-san! But then again, you're a scorpionologist, so you're bound to be more experienced!" She nods eagerly.
Hitsu gives Chichi a long stare, and for once it's at her face. It's not a stare with any enjoyment in it either. "…Too bad muscles ain't brains," he mutters, walking onward.
Reaching the top of the dune, the group is treated to the sight of an ancient ruin, the shadow of the dune sweeping dramatically back over it as the sun rises behind them. "There it is," Omoi breathes. "We're about to find everything we came for." Hitsu smirks. "Yeah…everything."
Will Omoi's expectations be fulfilled? Will they truly find all that they seek? Will there be more there than they bargained for?! TUNE IN NEXT TIME TO FIND OUT! (Same Sand-time, same Sand-channel.)