Date: March 13, 2016
The laboratory of the medic that created the mutagenic viruses infecting various animals is located. Atsuro leads Kenta and Tatsuo on a mission to capture the culprit for his misdeeds.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Fang & Talon - Final Apprehension"
Land of Fire
The lead, when it comes in, is a surprise, since things have been quiet for months after the attempted assassination of Kenta and Atsuro. Konoha's network of ears and eyes hadn't found any clue to the whereabouts of Old Man Shou's grandson for most of this time. Even sightings of him has disappeared. It's beginning to seem like Nensu has either fled the Land of Fire or decided to stay out of trouble after the failed attempt. But that doesn't explain why he infecting animals with mutagenic viruses in the first place.
Then, two weeks back, a few agents caught a rumor that "special" animals are being sold as guard animals and weapons to buyers in the black market. These "special" animals lack the intelligence of summoning animals, but are well trained - those that can be trained, but at easier to control and able to do much of the same things that summoning animals could. Tracing this rumor lead to the capture of a dangerous bandit group that had acquired a fire-breathing wolf through the mysterious supplier. The results of the interrogation sat on Atsuro's desk for three days before the Jounin Commander noticed it.
According to the report, the animals are being sold by a man that matches Nensu's description. It's unknown how many were put into circulation, but the bandit leader heard of at least two dozen other sales before he was referred to the seller by a shady acquaintance. The trade took place randomly out in the wilderness, but the bandit heard that the "breeder" of the animals has a base of operations within the forests several days travel to the north of Konoha.
Scouts that followed up on this were able to identify more sightings of Nensu from small villages and outposts near or within the forest. At this time, a small area less than a mile by a mile is marked as the likely location of the hideout. A sharp nose like what Atsuro and Taizen have would be required to do further tracking. Of course, it could be dangerous for them alone, so they'd have to bring backup with them too.
As soon as the hideout is discovered, Atsuro sends for Kenta. And apparently Kenta sends for Tatsuo. Soon the team is assembled. Other free ninja are called into the job, and soon they have a perimeter established, with small groups of ninja set at intervals. Sensory ninja are included in each group to ensure that nobody slips through the no man's land in between while the Jounin Commander's team goes in to investigate.
"Okay," says Atsuro, "We're going in. Eyes and ears open, everyone." He turns and waves to one set of sentinels, then does the same for another. He moves up to the front of the team while Taizen takes the rear. Waving forwards, Atsuro takes his first step into the perimeter.
They found them! They finally found them! Tatsuo was happy to hear that and he was more than ready to put these rather evil people in jail! Or whatever they had to do at this point. After all the trouble they'd caused and the people they'd hurt he was not sure he'd even be sad if they ended up having to kill the person. Granted that would not be the Nara's preference but at this point he'd do what they needed to. "I'm ready Atsuro-sama."
Kenta's probably warier about the entire operation than anyone else in the group. The young man joined Atsuro's team out of necessity, but there was a whole lot of internal conflict beforehand. Kyu is still missing, so Kenta feels like he needs to stay behind, in case something comes up about his student. On the other hand, finding and stopping Nensu's operations has been a top priority of his for months now. In the end, the need for his knowledge overcomes the minor possibility that something will happen with the Kyu case while he's away.
Kenta bounces slightly on his feet while he waits for all the instructions to be given out. He starts moving the instance that Atsuro does. "We need to do this as quickly as possible. Find the hideout before Shou-sama's grandson notices us here. Subdue him before he can cause too much trouble. And bring him back to Konoha." The young man fiddles with one of the pockets of his modified Jounin vest. He's carrying more than he usually does - more pouches, fuller pockets, slightly bulkier pack. Kenta looks over at Tatsuo. "You're wearing the bandolier and belt that I gave you? The ones carrying the three dozen vials of antidote? If we find the hideout, you're our big cudgel, Tatsuo."
As Atsuro said, he stays at the front of the group while Taizen stays at the back. Both are watching, listening, and most importantly, smelling for any sign of the enemy. A square mile of forest is a big area to cover, so the search pattern is crucial. With a single team searching a large area, Atsuro has chosen to start at one corner of the square and following a gradual spiral inward.
Tatsuo listens to the instructions and gives a small nod to show that he understands it all. "Yes Kenta-sama, I have it all. I'm ready." He follows after Atsuro then, his chakra already gathered and prepared for whatever they might find. As they start to move along Tatsuo keeps a careful eye on their surroundings, watching for anything that might seem out of place. He doesn't expect to find anything before the Inuzuka would, but he's not going to take that entirely too small chance.
"Remember, it's best if it goes into the eyes or mouth. If that's not possible, it has to be injected, so you have to make sure that the antidote pierces skin. I have some pills, but that'll be too diluted for larger creatures, so it's all up to your water manipulation if we run into anything bigger than mice. Umm… regular sized mice," Kenta reminds the boy as they walk. The medic-nin sticks close to his student, which isn't hard, since they're both in the middle of the group. That allows Kenta whisper and also to keep an eye on Tatsuo.
Atsuro's team travels in circles and circles and circles. That's only to be expected when they're searching in a spiral formation, so at least they're tightening the loop instead of wandering lose. It still takes a lot of time. It's over an hour of careful scouting before something reaches Atsuro's noise. At this point, the team's about a quarter of a mile away from the eastern edge of the area and slightly to the north. The smell is very faint, but it's unmistakable. A tiniest hint of blood, either very old or dripped from a shallow cut at most. It also smells similar to the scent that Atsuro caught at Old Man Shou's house back in Konoha.
Atsuro glances back at Kenta and Tatsuo for a moment. Hopefully they don't run into anything bigger than a mouse. In any case, he's an experience scout and he's not going to let himself be distracted from his search. An hour is nothing to him. He holds up a hand. "I smell blood," he says, "And Nensu." He sniffs the air a couple more times, then turns to face the direction fo the scent. "This way," he says, waving the group forward again.
"Don't worry Kenta-sama. I've been working on ways to get the antidote introduced in an effective manner. I can do it if I need to on any kind of animal." Tatsuo had been working on ways to do so since they'd discovered the antidote and while he hadn't truly tested it on an animal yet, he'd managed to get the rest of it tested and figured out. Now he continues to move with Kenta, following after Atsuro. And then the Inuzuka finds something. He worries at his lower lip nervously as they continue on.
The scent is from the southwest, so the team's now cutting across the forest. Atsuro and Taizen keeps losing the scent only to find it again at intervals, reaffirming minor bleeding from a shallow wound. Perhaps a drop or two of blood was left behind by Nensu's passage every few hundred meters. At first, it seems like the group's heading for the exact center of the area. But they soon pass the center point and enter the southwestern quadrant of the blocked off section of the forest. A sound begins to reach Atsuro's ears - waterfalls. A river cuts across the area from north to south, so it isn't a surprise that one might be around.
Atsuro leads the rest of the team through the forest as quickly as they can manage, occasionally stopping to pick the scent up again. He doesn't go any faster than the slowest member of the group can go, but he's still moving quickly so that they have a better chance of catching Nensu. Whether they pass the center of the forest or not is totally immaterial to him, in any case, he's only interested in where the scent is leading them. He stops, holding up a hand again as they reach the river. "He either swam a way down the river to split up the trail, or he's using the waterfall to conceal his hideout." He turns torward the waterfall, "I'm thinking option two. The scent wasn't recent enough that he'd know we were pursuing him."
Tatsuo moves slowly behind Atsuro as he tracks the scent he'd found to it's source. As they come near the waterfall Tatsuo pauses at the motion from Atsuro and he croches down a bit behind some bushes out of habbit. "He's hiding behind the waterfall?" Tatsuo repeats, sounding a little surprise. But then he looks between Kenta and Atsuro. "Um…I could try and use my mist to see what's behind the waterfall. As long as I don't let it go in too far he probably won't think it's anything besides the waterfall itself making it happen." Hey, he could offer at least.
Kenta scans the area for anything that screams out for attention, but doesn't notice anything odd right off. "I don't see anything behind the waterfall, but it's pretty big and that's a lot of water, Atsuro-senpai." The waterfall's not enormous, but it's about thirty meters, or about as tall as a ten story building. The water crashes down over jagged rock and forms a pool before rushing outwards again into the river proper. "I think I do see a section where it might be possible to slip behind it without getting crushed by the water."
Kenta nods his head up and down at Tatsuo."That sounds like a good idea. It'll be better than using medical chakra to try to look pass the waterfall. You have a longer reach and your jutsu would be less suspicious to a medic-nin. Ummm… I mean, assuming that Atsuro-senpai doesn't think of any downsides to it." The young man looks to Atsuro.
Atsuro turns to face Tatsuo and Kenta. "I think it's probably best to try Tatsuo first," he says, "There's not really much chance of me smelling inside there. The air around the waterfall is saturated with water, which makes it a lot harder to smell, and anything under the waterfall is being washed away. And then the waterfall itself is a barrier. And if Kenta's medical chakra can be detected, then that'll alert him. I think Tatsuo is our best bet… but if it will make things obviously misty in there, be careful not to overdo it."
Tatsuo listens to his elders and then nods quickly before closing his eyes and making a single hand seal. Nothing really visible with him keeping it fairly light and all. He might not be able to pick out specific details by /keeping/ it so light, but he can certainly still pick up on general things. Like if there's people there…and weapons…and scary animals…
The mist shows that there's actually a gap between the falling water and the rock walls near the area that Kenta pointed out. It's difficult to tell without moving right up against the wall, but the gap is actually wide enough for a small group of people to make it through with no problem. The spray from the waterfall creates an illusion that makes it look much narrower and more dangerous from further away. There's a small crevice behind the waterfall that can only be reached by moving along this slick path.
Beyond the gap is a tunnel into what's probably a cave system, but Tatsuo can't look too deeply without sending in too much mist, which would be suspicious. He can tell right away that the entrance is bobby trapped to fall on whomever's entering if they trigger some trip wires. This is a pretty quick giveaway that there's someone using the caves and tunnels beyond, even if Tatsuo can't get more details than that.
Once Tatsuo has relayed all that information, Atsuro nods slightly. "Okay," he says, "We'll go in behind the waterfall and see if we can take a look inside—or a sniff." He starts walking towards the waterfall, though he still whispers back to the team, "We need to be careful about the tripwire though. Is it easy enough to just step over, Tatsuo?" He steps onto the ledge leading to the rear of the waterfall, using some chakra to adhere his feet to the wet surface.
"Um, yes, I'll show you where it is and we can step over it." Tatsuo moves after Atsuro then, letting the mist fade back to it's normal state as he does so. As they near the waterfall he looks up at it a bit in amazement. It's so much more interesting up close…
Kenta follows behind Tatsuo and allows Taizen to continue to stay at the rear. "Umm… be better not talk out loud once we're inside. You know how much enclosed spaces like that echo." The young man makes a few hand seals to establish that the increasingly familiar telepathic link between the four of them. «I'm glad that we can communicate without being overheard. If this is the hideout, there's probably going to be plenty of nasty things inside.»
It's actually much easier to get to the crevice than the team might expect, even knowing that there's a wide hidden path to walk on. The rocks are slippery, so a regular person could easily fall and break something. Or topple over and drown under the waterfall. Shinobi doesn't have that problem at all. The crevice leading into the cave system proves to be narrow, yet big enough for two people Atsuro's size to enter abreast with some creative contorting. Through it is a very damp tunnel with smoothed walls that bears water erosion patterns. The tripwire is about ten meters in, where the light begins to fade drastically.
Atsuro makes his way up the slippery path, then peaks inside. His own sharp eyes can spot the tripwire easily enough with forewarning, so he stalks into the cave, stepping over the wire, then stops just past it to point to it for the benefit of the other team members. «We'll need a light deeper in,» Atsuro sends to Kenta. He also takes a moment to sniff the air for Nensu's scent again, just to make sure that this is indeed where he slipped off too. And to get an idea of how close he is, if possible.
Using chakra to keep from slipping happens naturally as they move along. Tatsuo doesn't even realize he's done it. It's just habit at this point. As they enter he remains silent verbally, mentally, and physically. It's best to be as quiet as possible after all since they don't know exactly what's going to be ahead of them. Tatsuo hesitates a moment, then brings the mist back but only against the ground and very lightly, and really only a few meters ahead. Just to watch for more traps but not enough to escape and give them away.
«I can provide one.» Kenta sends to the group on the matter of the light. He brings out one of the glowsticks that he always brings with him on missions. Before the young man breaks it, he notices the thin mist that Tatsuo had summoned. Someone that doesn't realize there's a group around probably won't detect it easily. «Good idea, Tatsuo. If you keep it sweeping ahead, you can warn me to hide the light in case someone comes from the other way.» Kenta breaks the partition in the stick and shakes it until it starts emanating a faint, bluish glow that illuminates a few short meters around them.
The faint light of Kenta's glowstick is more than enough for Atsuro and Taizen's enhanced senses to work with. «Nice,» he thinks, then starts creeping forward through the cave, focusing his senses on what's ahead of them, now alert for any sign of traps as well as just Nensu himself. Between that and Tatsuo's mist senses, they can hopefully avoid any surprises. «Kenta, are you able to reach the other Leaf nin?» he asks, "Can you tell them the approximate location of the waterfall and have them send some guards in to keep an eye on it?»
«Yes Kenta-sama,» Tatsuo replies on keeping an eye ahead. He does so, extending the mist a bit but leaving it so low and thin that he'd only be able to tell something is ahead by the shape of the foot more or less. It's enough and will at least give them an advantage in knowing if someone is ahead. As long as they aren't, ya know, sitting on a stool or something…
The light from Kenta's glowsticks doesn't help much. It mostly reveals damp stone tunnel walls after more damp stone tunnel walls. The light just shows enough of the surroundings that they don't trip on the uneven footing. Tatsuo's mist actually helps more, locating several more trip wires within the next five minutes of walking through the twisting and turning system.
«Sorry, Atsuro-senpai. I'm a poor excuse for a member of the Yamanaka Clan. I can't contact anyone that's not within sight» Kenta sends apologetically along the link once Atsuro comes up with the idea of sending a message. «Maybe one of us should head out to contact someone. Ummm… but Tatsuo and I both have to stay with you. We have the antidotes on us.» That really only leaves Taizen…
«It's fine,» Atsuro sends back to Kenta. Don't be getting all down on yourself now, of all times, Kenta! «It was just a thought. They're fine where they are, I thought it would just help to have someone covering the entrance. My bigger worry is that there's a second exit. Hopefully the wide cordon will cover any of those.» He continues to walk carefully along the cave paths, sniffing the air ahead.
Tatsuo notifies the group of the trip wires as he finds them, silently informing the group over the link each time so they can step over them. He glances back to Kenta when he starts apologizing but he doesn't say anything. Who was he to correct a superior after all. «How much farther do you think it is?> he asks suddenly before glancing back towards the entrance.
How much further? Apparently quite a ways. It's always difficult to judge time underground and this time isn't any exception. The group wanders for quite a while before they hit a fork in the tunnels. Both look almost identical, dark and dank and uninviting. Tatsuo's mist jutsu also consistently finds the same rock, rock and more rock also. By this point, the number of traps have tapered off until disappearing completely. Whomever uses this tunnels must not think that anyone would be able to make it this far.
Thankfully, there's something else that allows the group to figure out which direction to choose. At some point, Atsuro picks up some scents. Not blood, which means that Nensu might have discovered and healed whatever was producing that tiny amount that lead to the waterfall. This is a medley of scents that's faint, yet doesn't belong underground at all. A tinge of chemicals. A waft of animal musk. The tang of metal. A touch of human. It's only coming from the tunnel to the right.
Atsuro is mostly silent for the journey deeper into the cave, only speakingthrough Kenta's telepathywhen necessary. He and Taizen are still both keeping their eyes, ears, and noses peeled, but the smart money is on the third for navigating this endless tunnel. Atsuro holds up a hand when they come to the fork, then stops to sniff one, then the other. «This way,» he says, turning towards the right tunnel, «The animals are here, and I bet Nensu is too.»
Tatsuo senses the fork before they even see it. When they reach it he looks down each tunnel, marveling at the similarities for a short time before Atsuro tells them which direction they'll be going. Tatsuo nods, then hesitates a moment before he makes a hand seal. A thin layer of mist appears in the mouth of both tunnels, looking like it's misting down from the ceiling. «If someone else walks through one of the tunnels behind us I should be able to tell, at least until we get too far for me to maintain it…»
After going down the branches, it's not long before Tatsuo senses something ahead of them. Nothing from behind, but definitely something ahead. About another ten or fifteen minutes walk later, the Jinchuuriki's mist encounters the end of the tunnel. The leading tendrils spread out into open ground. It's impossible to tell how big the space is without blanketing it entirely with mist, but that would make the mist more noticeable. Nevertheless, Tatsuo can infer that the open area is pretty big.
At the same time, Atsuro's sensitive ears and nose detect a different type of change. There's a faint rumbling ahead that sounds similar to the thunder of the waterfall outside, except much smaller in scale. Besides water, the smell of animal musk has strengthened noticeably. The faint human undertones has also strengthened enough that Atsuro can tell that the scent definitely belongs to their quarry. But above all that is a strong scent that the Inuzuka would normally associate with a hospital or a laboratory.
Atsuro pauses, then starts moving again, though more slowly, creeping forward carefully and stealthily. «I think there's a small waterfall ahead,» says Atsuro, «And it smells like a lab. Maybe he's running some of the water through the cave and using it to power his work?» Now as he starts to walk ahead, he starts looking and listening more carefully, trying to see if there's any change in the light or the sound that might indicate they're getting close.
«There's definitely a room of some sort not far ahead,» Tatsuo adds to Atsuro's own words, withdrawing the mist quickly before it's noticed. He leaves the mist up behind them though out of an abundance of caution. Then he moves carefully and quietly after the Inuzuka, pretty much holding his breath as they move in an effort not to give them away…
«We should be -very- careful. Umm… Tatsuo, keep the antidotes at ready» Kenta grimly creeps after the others. He's not nearly as stealthy as the Inuzuka, but at least there's very few loose objects around to accidentally knock around and create sounds with. The medic-nin reaches into a pouch as he walks. He retrieves a small blue pill, which he pops into his mouth.
The team soon sees light glowing ahead of them. This comes from the mouth of the tunnel that Tatsuo detected. There's just enough of a "lip" of stone around the opening that the shinobi can peek out from around it without exposing too much of themselves. What they see confirms that this is the place they're looking for.
The cavern before them is huge, but very well lit. Electrical light fixtures are set into the walls are regular intervals. Atsuro was correct to assume that there's hydropower being harnessed, since a water wheel has been built directly under the small waterfall that thunders out of an opening near the ceiling at the far end. The water pours over the rapidly spinning tines of the wheel and down a pit, which likely leads into an underground river that possible merges with the one aboveground at some point.
The light fixtures aren't the only glowing objects around. To the right of the waterwheel, built against the cavern wall there is a bank of machines that flash with blinking lights. To the left of the waterwheel is some high end laboratory equipment, including a surgical table that current have the flayed carcass of a dog pinned to it. What seems like hundreds of cages filled with animals of all different sizes line the wall near the laboratory area. There's very little movement there, which means the animals are either dead or in a drugged sleep.
A short, dark haired man in his late twenties or early thirties mutters to himself as he works at the bank of machines. He's wearing a long lab coat similar to what Atsuro has seen Kenta and Tatsuo in often. The man fits the descriptions of Nensu to the dot. After typing for a while, Nensu turns around with a scowl on his face. He briskly walk away from the panel of buttons he was working on to the one part of the cavern that's mostly shrouded in darkness. There's a giant glass tube there full of water with a dark shape floating in it. Nensu places a hand on the glass and caresses the tube.
Atsuro is very cautious about peeking around the corner into the lab. They've caught Nensu with his pants down, and he doesn't want the opportunity to go to waste. «There's a good source of water for you, Tatsuo,» Atsuro tells the group, «Any idea what he's doing, Kenta?» He glances back to the rest of the team for a moment. «You've got more experience dealing with these animals than I do. Are they going to be a problem, or can we just focus on Nensu?»
A good source of water indeed. «I can probably make the lights go out…although I'm not sure what turning off some of the machines might do to things.» Tatsuo is peeking around Atsuro, though he's crouched so he's really peeking around his legs. «We didn't bring this much antidote…» That almost seems like it's a thought that just slipped into the mental channel since he blushes lightly after he says it.
«It looks like all the animals are in cages. That makes Nensu the more important target. If we take him down quickly, he can't release them to attack us. I can't make out the one in the tube, but something about that's a little creepy…» Kenta sends after a moment of deep thought. He pokes his head out a little further, but yank back immediately when Nensu idly glances towards the tunnel opening. «Ummm… you're right about the antidotes, Tatsuo. We don't have enough in liquid form to use on -all- the animals if they get loose. That makes it even more important that they don't. I'm a little worried about depowering the machines too… Atsuro-senpai and Taizen-senpai, you two are the most experienced, so I think you're the ones that's best at strategizing.»
«Don't shut off the electricity for now,» Atsuro decides, «For one man to keep control of all these animals, I'm guessing he's got the environment very well controlled. No telling what might happen if we shut if off.» He peeks around the corner for a moment more. «Kenta, can you try controlling him from here? You might just be able to forcibly capture him. Tatsuo, while Kenta's doing that, fill up the room with mist so that it's hard to see and you can sense him.»
«Of course Atsuro-sama,» Tatsuo says, making a hand seal in preperation before he looks to Kenta. He doesn't want to block his view of the man if he needs it to make his attempt. «Let me know when Kenta-sama.» And whenever Kenta would give the word Tatsuo would fill up the entire room with a thicker mist in a matter of seconds.
Kenta sucks in a deep breath between his teeth and lets it out again slowly. Then, he makes the hand seals for the mind body switch technique and lets the jutsu loose. He sends out the signal to Tatsuo to release the mist at exactly the same time. «Got him» Kenta announces with relief in his mental voice immediately afterwards. «I've frozen him and he can't move…»
The mist obscures everything from sight, but at least Kenta and Tatsuo can feel some of what's going on. Tatsuo, because the Jinchuuriki can sense through the mist. Kenta, because part of his mind is inside Nensu's body… And then, it isn't. Kenta reels back at the same time that Tatsuo feels Nensu disappear. «Shadow Clone!»
Immediately afterwards, Tatsuo senses three more human figures run into the cavern laboratory from a small passageway that's hidden from where the Leaf shinobi are watching, but can be felt by the mist. One figure runs for the bank of machines. Another runs for the tunnel mouth where the Leaf shinobi are. A third heads for the cages.
«Arrest.» Atsuro holds out a hand for Taizen to pass him a sword. «Tatsuo, use the power water to smother the one by the machines, then clear the mist out as quickly as you can. Kenta, if you can, try controlling the clone by the cages. If he's already opened one and woken up the animal, control the animal and kill him. I'll take care of the one coming for us.» He stands to the side of the entrance and lifts up his sword to strike. «Tai, watch our rear. Nensu thinks he's clever.»
Perhaps Tatsuo needs to train with Atsuro some time to show the Jounin Commander just what he's capable of. As soon as he asks the mist is gone as if it'd never existed, clearing immediately. Then water just appears, pulled out of the air, between the clone and the machine he's running towards while other parts of it break off to try and wrap the clone up. Tatsuo's eyes are narrowed in concentration but he doesn't seem even stressed.
Well, this is extremely annoying. That's to be expected whenever facing off against someone that's good with clones. Kenta's ready as soon as Tatsuo drops the mist. He makes the same hand seals that he performed earlier and sends his mind out to capture the body of the Nensu that's running for the cages. He would have tried to take control of the Nensu heading for their position at the same time, but it's hard to use the jutsu against two targets so far apart. Atsuro and Taizen has the approaching one in hand anyway.
The Nensu trying to get to the machines barely makes it before Tatsuo's water cuts him off. He attempts to jump over the wall, all the while snarling something foul that distance renders difficult to hear. His jump brings him clear over it, but not quickly enough to avoid the other tendrils of water whipping towards him. The first strand snags him by the legs on his way down and Nensu's face smashes into a panel. Poof! This Nensu proves to be a clone.
At the same time, the second Nensu skids to a stop close to the entrance. "You!" he exclaims upon seeing Kenta standing there, since the medic has exposed himself to perform the Mind Body Switch jutsu. "You and that Jounin Ape has been a thorn in my side long enough!" Hand seals flash in a quick sequence. The villainous medic-nin sends forth a stream of thick, purple mist from him mouth to blanket the entrance and a good portion of the tunnel beyond. It doesn't take a genius to realize that this mist is poisonous.
The final Nensu reaches the cages moments before Kenta manages to capture him in the Yamanaka's hidenjutsu. The cages are fairly close to the back entrance, which means this Nensu was able to release and rouse two of the animals before he freezes with a hand reaching for a third cage. He disappears in a puff of smoke soon after, proving himself to also be a clone.
Unfortunately, the two released creatures are not clones. Both bolt towards the entrance tunnels to flank the last Nensu like twin masses of snarling fur and claws. One is a huge wolf with glowing red eyes. It huffs once, twice, and suddenly coughs out a roaring fireball that rolls forward to incinerate anyone that survived the poison mist. The other creature looks like it started out as a gray squirrel, but is now also a red-eyed slaving beast almost of size with the wolf. It's tail, thick as a human torso when fluffed out, lifts and sprays a barrage of needle-like hair after the fireball.
«Good work,» Atsuro sends out, «Now get behind cover and be ready to use your antidote on the animals if they make it here.» He hides behind the side again for a moment, but only long enough to make a series of quick seals. Then he leans around the wall again to unleash his own fire; not a mere fireball, but a sustained stream of flames, blowing back against the three attacks aimed for the cave's entrance.
Tatsuo is ready to defend them but Atsuro is already blasting away the attacks before the boy can finish his watery defense. As he hears Atsuro's order, however, he hesitates a bit. «I can get them,» he says after a moment. A layer of water forms under Tatsuo's feet and he quite literally flies out of the cave opening into the larger room, moving up high as he draws out two vials of the antidote and throwing them in the air. And then he uses what he'd been working on. Water shatters the glass of the vial and surrounds the antidote before forming into a syringe /made/ of water. The fly at top speed towards the two creatures, the tips trying to pierce the skin before the plunger made of water pushes down…
Kenta holds himself at ready behind Atsuro while the older shinobi countering the triple attacks. It's time like this that shows why Atsuro's the Jounin Commander and not some other chump from Konoha. "You're the one in big trouble. You're performing illegal experiments on animals and trafficking dangerous weapons… ummm… that's the animals… on the black market! You're coming back to Konoha with us!" he exclaims aloud over the sound of roaring flames. This means Nensu is only going to -barely- hear what Kenta's saying. As soon as he has an opening, Kenta sends his own blast of mist into the cavern, but his poison is for subduing and not killing.
The stone lip around the entrance cracks from the forces it has to withstand. Fire blast against fire superheats the rock. When both streams of flame die down, the air has a harsh burned hair and chemical smell to it. Both the giant squirrel's and Nensu's attacks were also decommissioned by Atsuro's counter.
The final Nensu ducks sideways, thinking that Tatsuo's watery spears were meant for him. Surprise appears on his face when the flying Jinchuuriki's attack bypasses him for the two mutated animals. This doesn't prevent Nensu from spitting another stream of poisonous purple mist at the boy after he rolls to his feet again. He almost gets caught in Kenta's soporific poison, but a hand seal later produces a second Nensu that shoves the first one out of its path. The shadow clone puffs upon getting engulfed by Kenta's mist.
The wolf coughs another ball of fire at Atsuro and Taizen moments before the first of Tatsuo's antidote lanced water slam into it. While the creature manages to twist to avoid most of the impact, the makeshift syringe still infects enough of the antidote into it that it instantly collapses and starts shuddering. The red slowly fades from the wolf's eyes as the antidote takes hold, with a side effect of putting the creature to sleep.
The giant squirrel proves to be much faster than the wolf. It bounds away before it's struck by the second dose of antidote. Chattering angrily, he scampers a wide circle and up one of the cavern walls to launch itself into the air at Tatsuo. The squirrels' mouth opens to expose wickedly sharp from teeth that it plans to rip into the boy with.
In a coordinated defense, Taizen jumps in front of Atsuro and sweeps his sword through the air in a sustained blur to dissipate the fireball, while Atsuro skirts around both and charges into the chamber. That shove may have defended Nensu from Kenta's attack, but it also means he needs time to recover—crucial seconds that can be used to steal the iniative back from him. "I did warn you: No one escapes me." He flips his sword around, then makes a fast sweep at Nensu's legs with the back of his blade.
A sickening feeling fills the air as Tatsuo draws on the chakra of the bijuu within. A chakra cloak flares out suddenly around him, two tails of blue chakra forming behind him. Without even making a hand seal a large wall of water appears to absorb the poison before it can reach the teen. And then the squirrel comes. Luckily flying makes things a bit easier to move and as it lunges at him he flips upside down to let it pass overhead before throwing his hand open towards the passing squirrel. He already had another antidote prepared and the water syringe shoots upwards at the squirrel while the water holds Tatsuo in place even upside down.
Kenta slaps a hand to the ground. A wave of black seal characters ripple down his body to spread rapidly across the cavern floor. It looks almost similar to the Nara's shadow manipulation techniques, except the mass of the "shadow" is formed entirely from the black seals instead of real shadow. The wave of seals reaches Nensu and streamers of binding chakra lashes forward to capture the corrupt medic-nin.
"Why can't you leave me in peace?" Nensu growls when Atsuro attacks. The man's hands glow with medical chakra as he brings familiar chakra scalpels to bare. With a fast twist of his body, he faces Atsuro's blade with a chakra scalpel and uses the momentum to flip himself over the sword. Then, he's perform a quick series of strikes at the Jounin Commander's chest, neck and arms with both dangerously chakra enshrouded palms. "Why does Konoha have to butt into other people's business. All I want to do is make a bit of profit without the village's interference!" Then, he has to jump backwards to avoid getting bound by Kenta's jutsu. His hands slash out to slice strand after strand of binding chakra with all the grace of a medic-nin trained to avoid attacks.
The giant squirrel is caught by surprise when Tatsuo simply flips upside down. The creature soars through the spot where Tatsuo was. Then, the spear of antidote-laced water slams into it and launches it upwards. As the squirrel lands twitched on the ground not too far away, the red fades from its eyes before it passes out like the wolf did.
Tatsuo feels a companion pulsing to the chakra of his Bijuu cloak from deeper in the cavern. It started up as soon as the Jinchuuriki drew upon Isobu's chakra. The pulses seem to be coming from the giant glass tube that the very first Nensu clone was inspecting when the shinobi team first arrived. The shadowy creature inside the tube writhes gently inside it's watery prison.
"I should have figured you for a whiner." Atsuro brings up his sword, quickly maneuvering his blade to ward off Nensu's attacks. He jumps after Nensu as the other man is distracted by Kenta's attacks. He makes a hand seal then blows a puff of flame at Nensu's face: only second distraction to occupy Nensu's attention while Atsuro attempts another leg-sweep with his sword.
Tatsuo watches as the squirrel gets injected and falls to the ground, righting himself. HE turns his attention back to Nensu, but then pauses as he feels…something. Something strange. He turns and the water takes him over to the tube. He approaches the last few feet slowly, leaning forward to try and see what's beyond. What is it that could react in such a way? What is it that could feel such a way to his bijuu chakra…?
No matter how well Nensu can dodge, the combined attacks is too much for him. He manages to duck out of the way of the burst of flame that Atsuro breaths at him, but trips over the leg sweep moments later. As soon as the man hits the ground, Kenta's jutsu wraps him tightly in a cocoon of chakra threads. This final Nensu doesn't disappear like the others, which prove that they've captured the real one. The bound man struggles on the ground while trying to offer threats that couldn't be heard with chakra threads wrapped around the lower half of his face.
When Tatsuo's water carries the boy to the tube, he sees a strange sight in front of him. Inside the shadowy confines of the tube is an enormous turtle the size of a horse, possible a sea turtle, immersed in water. Wires and tubes are attached to the turtle, through which a blue-tinged chemical solution is being injected into its body. A horny coral growth is growing on the turtle's wide shell, having encrusted about two thirds of dark green shell. The turtle doesn't seem to be conscious even though it's eyes are half-open. Like all the other mutated animals, it's eyes glow a reddish shade. Tendrils of Bijuu chakra, -Isobu's- chakra, is leaking from it's form.
Atsuro smirks and walks over to Nensu. He points the tip of his sword at the man's neck, "No one." Then he sends out instructions as a thought, «Tai, go out and contact the other teams. Kenta, can you start giving the antidote to the animals? Tatsuo… what /is/ that?» He can only spare the creature in the tube a single glance. Just in case Nensu manages to get free of Kenta's bindings.
Tatsuo doesn't answer Atsuro's question as he reaches out a hand to the tube, dark red eyes staring at the creature within for a few moments of silence. And then the glass cracks, streaks forming along it the only warning before it blows outwards in all directions, water keeping the glass from hitting Tatsuo while he also controls the water that was inside. All the plugs are unhooked at once as well and a bubble of water floats there with the creature inside, no longer hooked to anything.
«Understood, Atsuro-senpai!» Kenta jogs over to the cages as soon as Atsuro gives the orders. Applying antidote to actively aggressive animals might be tough, but the ones still inside the cages are sedated somehow as long as they remain inside. The answer to how comes to Kenta when he gets close enough to see that there are small tubes going in from the back of the cage and carries a medical compound into the animals. Kenta doesn't want to disturb that, so he leaves the cages alone for now. He starts putting together more antidote from some pills that he has on one of the lab counters instead.
Across the cavern, the massive sea turtle hangs suspended in Tatsuo's globe of water after the glass tube breaks. The turtle begins to stir now that it's unhooked from the chemical feeds. It's red eyes slowly widen and gain focus. The amount of Bijuu chakra that emanates from its form start to thicken. Some of that chakra is attracted to Tatsuo's Bijuu cloak and streams back into it, but not all.
"Hey, guess what?" says Atsuro, making a seal. Two Atsuros poof into existence nearby and both rest a foot on Nensu's chest. They shift their weight to keep the man strongly pinned against the floor. Atsuro hands his sword to one, who quickly hangs it over Nensu's neck again. "I know this technique too." He turns to see what the other members of the team are doing. "Tatsuo, what's going on there?"
Still no answer from Tatsuo, his focus on this creation of his bijuu's chakra. ~Can you understand me?~ A voice from inside Tatsuo speaks towards the creature, Isobu himself, speaking to the creature as he would to other bijuu. TAtsuo doesn't move, he just floats there on a layer of water, the sphere continuing to hold the creation in place.
Kenta's working pretty quickly. By now, he already has a jar of antidote ready. It won't be enough for all the animals, but this is only the first batch anyway. He still have more pills that he can dissolve in distilled water to create the rest. The young man has filled several syringes with antidote and is carefully unlatching the closest column of cages to inject the animals inside.
The sea turtle's almost completely conscious now. But even at this point, Isobu's beginning to sense that there's no real sentient presence inside the turtle. The only mind within the turtle is that of the turtle's itself, which is in itself somewhat enhanced by Nensu's mutagenic virus. The Bijuu chakra in the turtle has become part of it's being, but while it's a substantial amount, there isn't really enough to develop a second Isobu personality. It's basically like a tank of water taken from a deep lake.
Atsuro frowns as he watch Tatsuo and the turtle. "Tatsuo, what's going on over there?" he asks again, "Tatsuo?"
"This…it's mine…" Tatsuo says in response to Atsuro though he almost seems to be in a daze as he speaks. He opens arms wide then, the bubble of water coming towards him with the turtle inside. The water bubble grows to encompass Tatsuo as well and he wraps his arms around the much smaller version of Isobu, his cloak seeking to absorb the chakra back up as Tatsuo draws it into himself combining the turtle's mass with it's own.
The huge turtle thrashes against Tatsuo and bellows soundlessly within the bubble of water. The outside of the globe keeps bulging out and shuddering from the force of the struggle. Tendrils of red chakra starts snaking everywhere, but most end up curving back towards Tatsuo. The portion of Isobu's chakra that Nensu's seal barrier captured during the failed assassination is substantial, but only a drop in the lake compared to what's inside the Jinchuuriki. In addition, the sea turtle that it's infused into is less of a perfect vessel.
The Bijuu chakra gradually drains out of the sea turtle into Tatsuo. With it goes the coral encrusting the turtle's shell, which leaves just a very angry turtle that keeps trying to bite chunks out of the boy's face… a turtle that becomes smaller and weaker until it's the size of a chihuahua. Nensu had apparently used a very young turtle, which begs the question of how big it would have eventually grown with both the virus and the Bijuu chakra in it.
Atsuro watches, brows knit, his eyes following the form of the turtle as it grows smaller and smaller, until it could easily be held in one's hands. "Oh." He scratches his chin. "Well, I'm glad that worked out."
Water forms up each time the turtle tries to bite, just enough to keep it from being able to actually get to him. As it shrinks Tatsuo keeps it closer until the chakra is gone. Only then does the water burble burst, the water itself just splashing against the ground, then mostly dissipating as it was created by chakra, and thus did not last after the chakra was gone. Tatsuo blinks a few times as if he's coming out of a trance, then looks down at the turtle in his arms. He cradles it on it's back, watching it uncertainly. "What…are we going to do with this?"
Kenta hasn't finished administering antidote to all the caged animals yet, but he ran over to watched while Tatsuo struggled with the turtle. The medic-nin let's out a sigh of relief upon seeing that everything's fine. "Ummm… antidote," he says. Then, Kenta walks over to Tatsuo and squirts the contents of his syringe right into the now much smaller turtle's mouth as it keeps trying to snap at the boy. The red instantly fades from its eyes and it stills. "Ummm… I'm not sure if we can keep a sea turtle with us. Might have to release it…"
Kenta glances over to where the two Atsuro's and Taizen are guarding Nensu. "This reminds me…" He approaches their glaring prisoner and bends down. Since Nensu can't move and can't speak, the villain could only glare harder while Kenta administers sleeping gas to the man.
When Kenta gives antidote to the now smaller turtle Tatsuo watches as it calms down and appears to return to normal. They aren't really near a place to take it right now, though all the other animals will likely have to be distributed later as well. Still, this turtle has been through a lot and is almost like a part of Tatsuo at this point. "I think I'll keep him, if I can Kenta-sama. Um, that way we can watch for any long term affects may come from whatever was done." See, valid reason! "I'll help you give antidote to the rest Kenta-sama." For now he gives the turtle a little bed of water to rest in. Sleepy turtle!