Fire Starters - Inferno


Tsugumi, Rinoko, Suzu, Nonon, Noab, Aru

Date: May 27, 2016


The rush to apprehend Moroi and end the attack on the Hidden Leaf continues.

"Fire Starters - Inferno"

Konohagakure, Land of Fire

Tsugumi is injured, she has just learned her husband is going to meet someone disguised as her to get the conclusive evidence needed to prove Moroi's involvement, and a guy who nearly killed her daughter has just revealed himself and set off an explosion in the Hokage Administration Dome with his Explosion Release… Contained area, and Tsugumi wasn't able to get out of there in time. She doesn't have the same speed that Nonon does, even if she saw the jutsu being performed, the Chakra focusing to his hand… She was still yelling a warning and leaping backwards when everything became fire.

Out on the streets, all over the Village, the stream of fire and smoke and the thunderous sound of an explosion all caught the attention of various people, from the civilian to the shinobi. Rinoko and Suzu already knew that's where Tsugumi and Nonon were supposed to be, most likely, so they'd know to go there even without the explosion.

But now Akimichi Noab is gathering reinforcements from the Akimichi Village before heading there as well, with a prisoner held in hand (who may have been turned over to the others in the village), and Aru has been told by him to go regroup with her team, and tell them what's going on.

Basically, the whole situation is chaotic and getting more and more complicated.

And Uchiha Ken still isn't aware of what's going on, as he walks out to meet someone disguised as his wife, who may be intending to kill him once they have the evidence. Whether they'll be successful or not is another matter… But Moroi has been concealing the fact he's a ninja himself all this time, so presumably he has some pretty considerable jutsu at his disposal.

They're on a deadline here. They have to end this quickly.

Run, run, run! If it weren' for adrenaline, it's very likely that Rinoko would have passed out or her body may have simply given up on her by now with all this running. Beads of sweat run down her forehead, the Rankoro Chuunin panting and gasping for air a bit by now. She really needs to work on a jutsu that'll let her run with everyone else since the idea of her physically being as fast as them without a jutsu supplement is unrealistic. Still, she strives hard, glancing to Suzu once in a while to be sure she is at least somewhat keeping up with the Uchiha girl, also keeping up the pretense by glancing at the Paper Clones as well.

The Hokage Administration Dome just exploded. Or part of it, at least. Given they were just almost taken off to some secluded area to be executed or framed for treason or both, by people who probably outmatched them in terms of raw combat ability and experience, Suzu is already on edge enough without the realization that her mom and her team mate might be in serious danger. She is running along with Rinoko and the paper clones, feeling the effects of stamina loss herself but seemingly do better in terms of endurance than the Chuunin.

She looks towards her as they race through the streets, leaping up to rooftops when necessary, and says, "Rinoko-san. Maybe you should have one of our… Companions carry you. It will save you on energy." Her voice sounds shockingly calm to her own ears, given the turmoil she's feeling. She doesn't know how she can keep her tone level. Is it the fact she can see so clearly now? See so MUCH? Like… Maybe she's reached some kind of epiphany or revelation or something? She doesn't know. Maybe it's just how important it is that they get there in time that is pushing her to overcome her feelings of panic and get the job done.

She faces forwards against as she leaps from a smoke stack to the roof of a restaurant. "Or I could carry you, and you could conserve Chakra from here on out. I doubt we'll be able to confuse observers for much longer…" Suzu is pretty strong, and Rinoko doesn't look that heavy. As fire pours out of a window on the… Second story? What they're going to be doing is going to have to be decided soon. They were supposed to capture the people pursuing them, so they had additional testimony and prisoners to use in uncovering the conspiracy. The plan has been thrown into total disarray now!

They'll just have to adapt.

'Please be okay.' she thinks, praying that everyone in there is alright as she makes another gravity-defying ninja-leap.

Nonon managed to evade the explosion by not being nearby when it went off. But it looks like Tsugumi didn't make it out in time. Fear clutching at her heart, Nonon darts back towards the burning office, the walls on either side of it blown out. Nonon shields her eyes with one arm as she tries to enter the inferno, and discovers the floor is also gone. Flaming timber and shattered masonry has spilled down into the floor below. She coughs on the smoke, as she calls out, "TSUGUMI-SAN!"

Leave it to right now to really realize how dependent she'd become on the others being well-trained sensor-nin or having unique powers that let them detect things. She's part of a sensor unit, but has no sensor abilities herself. She realizes in this chaotic situation of trying to make sure one of her team leaders isn't dead that this probably isn't the time to be lambasting herself for coasting on her special speed jutsu, but it's still there in her mind. As sped up as she is, dozens of trains of thought are going by simultaneously or in quick succession as everything else goes by so slowly.

And she doesn't evem know where that Bomber got to. Is he dead too? Destroyed by his own firepower? Or is he alive and about to cause more problems? She doesn't know. And then there's the fact that Uchiha Ken is completely unaware he's meeting the very enemy he's investigating…

To use a somewhat archaic turn of phrase, this is a real boner of a situation.

Noab passed the straw-ensconced one off to be jailed as soon as enough trustworthy clan-mates arrived. No point in dragging a prisoner around during a crisis if it can be helped. :P The boy's DARN LUCKY they aren't in enemy territory or Noab would've simply followed standard procedure for prisoners in an emergency situation, which is to say summary execution. >P Er, but that's not important now.
What's important is quick response and damage control! "Listen up!" Noab barks to the collection of Akimichi who responded to his call. "There's an attempted coup in progress! We don't know who is on what side, so our priority is to contain any conflict! If you run across any skirmishes, order all sides to cease combat immediately! Anybody who continues to act in aggression, treat them as the enemy! The enemy is known to favor explosive techniques, so be ready to evade or shield against such! All right, fan out in the direction of the administration!" The Akimichi give the village's equivalent of an OO-RAH and break out. Noab himself heads on the straightest path toward the smoking adminstration building.

Aru knows what she was told, but she waits with Noab as he assembles his troops. Once he's underway, she goes along with him, and calls out, "I was not informed where my team would be to avoid compromising them. And if we have infiltrators in the streets, it is not safe for a lone Genin to be wandering around alone. They clearly know who I am and my connection to Team 13." Which makes her worry about Reime's location and situation as a result, but she'll just have to keep on believing that her big sister can take care of herself, with her greater experience.

So instead, she says, "It's likely that if they're anywhere it would be productive to join up with them at, they're already close enough to see what's going on and make their way there. So I would like to respectfully request that I come with you instead of splitting up, Noab-sama."

The Hyuga girl waits expectantly, but with determination in her pale eyes, as she runs alongside him. If Noab repeats his order, she'll obey to the best of her ability. But in this situation, it would be irresponsible to follow that order without at least explaining why it might not be useful for her to do so.

Her Byakugan doesn't have the range to see all the way to the administration dome unless she focuses solely in that direction, so she doesn't catch sight of Rinoko or Suzu approaching, despite their proximity. But chances are, with the amount of Chakra about to be thrown around to the north, it won't be hard to distinguish who is who and where and in what condition the closer they get.

Tsugumi is coughing as well, which might help Nonon find her. She's burnt, suffering damage from concussive force, her ears are ringing, and she lost track of the bad guy when she closed her eyes to shield them from the blast. So she has no idea where he is. But she knows this isn't a safe place to be. If only her Water Release jutsu were more developed, she could put out this fire. Instead she's forced to climb to her feet and stagger towards what's left of the hallway, which she is judging mainly by the direction the smoke is flowing.

"Nonon…" she gets out roughly before dissolving into coughs again. Once she has some air to breathe, she'll hopefully be able to speak more clearly. But then she sees a figure looming behind the blonde Chuunin. She calls out, "BEHIND YOU!" as she pushes herself away from the damaged support pillar she was leaning on with the arm that still works and hurls a kunai towards the Chakra she now recognizes as belonging to the Toujitakumi ninja. It's mainly a distraction, to try to buy Nonon time. But if he takes the hit or avoids it, one of his hands is reaching for Nonon, likely with the intent to explode her!

There's nothing else happening in the streets at first, as the Akimnichi forces and the rest of Team 13 head to Administration, but then people in stra hawts leap out into the path of the reinforcements. Some cast aside their cloaks and hats, drawing staves and swords and other weapons. But they all seem to be intent on trying to slow down the good guys as much as possible.

If they have someone on the inside helping them, it's likely the reason so many enemy forces are in the Village is because the codes to the barrier were provided to them. Which would explain a lot of OTHER things too.

The situation just keeps getting more and more complicated.

Rinoko winces a bit at the explosions and other chaos. She glances over at Suzu, pondering the given suggestion, but there's no time to accept it really since path fills with people in straw hats. People still wear those? Rinoko remembers some stories about warriors in straw hats… which she really shouldn't be thinking about right now! Shifting her hands into a seal, she begins to send sheet after sheet of paper out to try and stab the enemies with them as she passes.

Caught in mid-air as enemies get in their way, Suzu has to stop focusing on her Chuunin superior who can probably take care of herself as long as she doesn't have to run much longer, and instead focuses on the enemies before them. She holds her hands behind her back, with one of them near the opening of her ninja tool pouch. Using her Chakra she draws a few kunai to the palm of her hand, using the principles of the Tree Walking technique with her hands instead of her feet. One of the kunai is swapped to her other hand, and using her Sharingan to coordinate the attack, she throws one kunai at two different enemies without even touching the ground, and then somersaulting forward to try to heel-drop a foe in his hat-covered head, before launcyhing herself off of him and after Rinoko and the two Paper Clones.

This leap is aiming her towards that upper level where the smoke is pouring out of a hole in the wall. She has to find the enemy and her mom and her team mate quickly before things get any worse. And they need to inform the Hokage as well!

Nonon starts to move towards Tsugumi when she hears her coughing, though she also has the fear in mind that the enemy might be trying to fake her out through disguise… But when she hears the yell that someone is behind her, she turns her head just enough to look back up at the towering figure out of the corner of her eye, and to see the arm reaching for her. Even with her speed, dodging at this range would be difficult. She doesn't have the experience needed to fully control her Kekkei Genkai. Compared to Tsugumi or Suzu or even Aru, she's a complete newbie to her inherent powers.

And as she draws a kunai, seemingly intending to turn and attack behind her in the brief time she has available, she appears to have made a fatal decision. There's no way she can turn in time! The hand is almost touching her! Even if she dodges, he might simply head for Tsugumi instead and blow her up!

But then Nonon, with her kunai held up in the air, rather than trying to swing it… Reversed her grip on it so the blade is pointing inwards and towards her back instead of outwards, where it would be useful to slash with. And then she kneels as fast and forcefully as she can, basically trying to slice off her attacker's arm by causing a piece of sharpened metal to cut downwards at dozens of miles per hour. Even if she can't sever the limb, it might go over her head.

And in that crouching position, she can put herself up on one hand and try to drive both feet backwards into the Toujitakumi's chest with the same high degree of speed and force!

Given his position, if this works he might be knocked backwards just as Suzu enters the building!

Noab grunts in response to Aru. "Acknowledged. Probably just as well, I could use a good set of eyes to point me at the right targets."
And then the Mugiwara Mob shows up. Well now, so much for not knowing who the enemy is. They've gone and revealed themselves, and they're in uniform of sorts to boot. Not that there probably aren't a fair few innocent civilians and maybe even some loyal Konoha nin wearing straw hats at any given time too, and there's certainly no garuantee that all the enemy forces are following that fashion trend. Still, this lot pointing sticks and blades at the Akimichi & co. are pretty obviously adversaries. "ALL CIVILIANS, CLEAR THE AREA!" Noab barks, readying his axe. "You lot have one chance to lay down your weapons and surrender, we're not taking many prisoners otherwise." >[

That's a lot of enemies. Aru wasn't even able to do much except against a Genjutsuist who was panicking and weak on that mission to the river… She may have helped out against Aoiko at the very end, but even then, if it hadn't been for the others, she'd have been dead. Against this many enemies? The sense of confidence tinged with worry she was feeling as she began to run towards Administration with a bunch of Akimichi warriors at her back dissolves into fear again as she realizes she probably has no place in a fight like this.

She doesn't have the skill or experience or raw power. So she focuses on what she CAN do…

She uses her Byakugan to scan for openings, or any other intel of note. And what she discovers confuses her. She furrows her brow slightly, and then says, "Noab-sama. There is something wrong with these enemies. They are full of flowing Chakra… But they do not appear to have any distinct Chakra Pathways. They are like… Shells of some kind that have been filled with Chakra. They might not be people at all." And unfortunately, Aru doesn't know if she can affect something like that… She'll have to try though if they're going to punch through.

'Everyone… Wait for us!' Aru thinks as she settles into a Juuken stance, even as she continues to try to count all the enemies in range and identify their locations.

5… 10… 25… 26! "There are 26 enemies within my sensing range. None of them appear to be humans. My range is limited though, so there may be more!"

The Bomber was not expecting Nonon's maneuver. While his arm is not sliced off cleanly due to the edge of the kunai not being as fine as a sword's, it's still been seriously damaged and doesn't make contact with her. He yells out in pain, only for the air to whoosh out of him as he is donkey-kicked in the chest, breaking some of his ribs and sending him flying back into a wall, right as Suzu comes in through the window after taking down three dudes on the way in. To his credit, he doesn't linger on the floor after he hits it, and instead tries to grab Suzu and take her hostage, with his forearm against her throat and her head held fast with his bulging muscles.

Bleeding, coughing in the smoke and making his broken ribs hurt him even more, eyes watering, he still seems to be determined to get out of here alive. Even in a situation like this…!

Tsugumi can't risk doing too much with Suzu there, though of course, if Suzu can escape on her own or avoid the attack to begin with, that would be ideal. And as her own eyes are becoming irritated and her own pain and fatigue are catching up with her, even using her Sharingan to try to control the enemy isn't seeming very viable.

"You aren't escaping here!" she yells out to their enemy. "Tell me where Moroi is and save yourself some suffering!"

Meanwhile, Rinoko has as much succes in Suzu in defeating her enemies. But something is odd about them… It's kind of like what Aru noticed over with Noab's group. It's like… They aren't really people. More like dummies or something. While pure blunt force attacks seem to be ineffective against them, kunai puncturing them and paper slashing through them reveals what they really are. They deflate like balloons, the shiny black texture to their 'flesh' being exposed as rubber, while Chakra instead of air blasts out of the punctures. Rubber Clones!?

In response to Noab's yells, and Aru's pronouncements, the Rubber Clones leap into battle as civilians flee the area, slashing with swords wielded inexpertly, though definitely faster and stronger than a random villager. Probably not enough for the Akimichi forces. But if they're meant more to stall them than to defeat them…

There's also the matter that, if there's this many enemies running around and they aren't self-aware, then there must be someone nearby controlling them. Maybe taking out the jutsu caster would cause all of these clones to be defeated at once!

… So Rinoko is using her fakes to trick fakes. She had not expected that, but it's a bit amusing. As chakra starts to blast out of the clones, she figures it's better to just get away from them at this point and try to help find and stop the source of all this. So, heeding to Suzu's words a bit, the librarian Chuunin alllows one of her Paper Copies, Nonon, to grab and launch her into the air while Tsugumu leaps up to intercept and use the momentum to carry her into the room after Suzu in the hopes that her plan to take out the enemy on her way in works. If not, she might be leaping straight into trouble…

It seems Suzu is learning. Because as she leaps in through the window, a few seconds ahead of Rinoko, despite being even with her on the way here, the Uchiha kunoichi is grabbed and taken hostage by the enemy! Only for Rinoko to then come in through the window. And then Suzu to come in through the window a second time.

The Suzu in the Bomber's grasp, previously acting surprised and unable to break free, suddenly brings one arm up, and uses her other hand to try to drive her elbow down into the enemy's broken ribs with all her force, before dissolving into flames. Suzu sent a Fire Clone in ahead of her to make sure it was even safe inside the burning building!

When she lost line of sight with her clone, she lost fine control. But once she regained visibility, she was able to direct it once more. But now that Rinoko, Suzu, Nonon, and Tsugumi are all in one place, against one enemy, their lone enemy is severely outmatched.

And when Suzu sees who the enemy is… Her heart goes *thud-THUD* in a mix of fear and anger. This man… He's the one who nearly killed her. Who killed a bunch of Konoha ninja right outside the gates. He's part of this whole mess. Other infiltrators breaking him out of the intel division again put her and Reime in danger, and her dad and her mom as well, and made a bunch more ninja lose their lives or get seriously hurt.

It all started with THIS guy.

She never expected to face him again. And she never suspected how angry she would be if she saw him once more.

In a flash, using the smoke and chaotic environment as cover and using Rinoko between her and the enemy to conceal her location, slips into place below and in front of the Bomber. And then her foot drives upwards towards his chin, trying to deliver a dizzying strike using a technique she copied from Daichi several months ago.

Hopefully one of the others can follow up on it! For the moment, after seeing the condition her mother is in, the state of the building, and that scarred face… She is in no mood to go hunting for the Hokage. This jerk takes priority.

Nonon rolls away from the Bomber, worrying that her blows wouldn't be enough to take down such a strong ninja, but she need not have worried, because here comes Suzu… Only to be taken hostage!? But then in comes Rinoko as well, and then… Suzu again!? Soon enough, the situation is made clear, and Nonon nods approvingly of the use of a clone to test for danger before entering on her own. Suzu really is learning. Nonon looks up and down the smoke-filled hallway, and says, "Rinoko-sensei. If you have Water Seals and Earth Seals, do you think there's any way you could put out the flames and reinforce the building's structure? Right now it's a hazard to all of us and the others in the Admin Dome. I think at this point it's safe to assume that either the Hokage is out of the Village, or he's already busy fighting the enemy. He would have already been here by now otherwise."

She says all this rather quickly, because Suzu is going after the enemy with her Taijutsu, and Nonon doesn't intend to let it go to waste. By this point, there's plenty of smoke around to use, and rather than having her and her allies inhale it, she uses ninjutsu to gather up as much of it as possible and try to force it into the enemy's lungs.

"Wind Release: Fatigue Smoke!" she chants before manipulating wind currents to funnel all the smoke right at the enemy's face and hold it there for as long as possible. Maybe smoke damage to the lungs will take any remaining fight out of him!

A 'Hero' would look at this situation and go for broke. They would try to find a way to protect every civilian, defeat every foe (maybe even without killing them), and still accomplish the mission they've set out to do.
Noab's not a 'Hero'. The concept of 'acceptable losses' is very much a part of his vocabulary, and right now, he sees these rubber clones not first and foremost as a danger to the populace, but as a deterrant to his mission. He is carrying vital intel which needs to be delivered to high command. That is likely to save more lives in the long run than mopping up clone fighters. >/
Still, no reason not to take a few out on the way, especially since they're right in his way. >) Noab barrels forward and swings his axe in a huge arc, rupturing any clone not quick enough to get out of his path (and if there happened to be a spray of blood from one of them, Noab wouldn't object). It also occurs to Noab that there must be a lynchpin to the enemy attack, although he's not the one who'd be most likely to find it. "Hyuga-san! Any sign of the controller for these blasted balloons?!"

Taking the out the jutsu controller would probably be the safest bet rather than fighting all these clones, it's true. But it seems the greater priority is getting to the administration dome, at least as far as Noab is concerned. Aru focuses on tryng to find the jutsu controller either way, however, scanning all around, focusing in one direction, and then in another. Searching… Searching…

"…I think they may also be a sensor-nin, or they are simply out of my range. But they have to be close to be able to control this many clones. There might even be more than one of them…" Then she pauses as she thinks of something. It couldn't be, could it? She has to try to duck and dodge under various incoming attacks, and finds her Juuken to be ineffective against the rubbery bodies. Further, with her level of Byakugan, she can't clearly identify the Chakra type or distinguishing characteristics. It might even have been intended that way. Forces assembled specifically to counter a Hyuga. With two Hyuga on Team 13, that would make sense for their enemies to plan around. Especially since they've thought through everything else.

But would they have thought as far as to have proper disguises ready to infiltrate the Akimichi? Aru turns and looks behind her, searching for anyone who doesn't fit. And then, a man with a somewhat off silhouette compared to the other Akimichi, only large-bodied at a glance rather than in actuality… And his Chakra is hard to identify in parts. Like something is blocking it!

"Noab-sama! That man is an impostor!" she calls out, pointing out the 'Akimichi' who has covered himself in a rubber clone to hide both his Chakra and his true identity.

Between the Fire Clone blow to the broken ribs, the jarring kick to the jaw, and then Nonon asphyxiating the man, and all the damage he has taken so far, the Bomber is soon on his last legs. Rinoko could get the final blow in and still have time to try to put out the fire if she wished to. But Tsugumi has other priorities. She staggers towards the window, coughing and hacking. She's definitely injured.

But she is trying to get to the Bomber. She has to find out where Moroi is meeting Ken, no matter what has to be done to drag the information out of him. Her eyes are irritated by the smoke, but they are still powerful. Her visual prowess is not to be underestimated. And if someone can just hold him still long enough for her to get over to him…

Meanwhile, Noab and his Akimichi back-up are taking out the clones left and right, carving through them and making them release their Chakra. And then Aru detects the infiltrator among the Akimichi. He leaps out from among the ninja surrounding him, the downside to hiding among one's enemies suddenly becoming clear. If he's grabbed before he can escape, he's basically done for.

But right then, all the clones suddenly converge on Noab, Aru, and the other Akimichi, focused solely on attacking them. And as their numbers have been reduced, more focus can be put on their skill. They suddenly become a lot tougher and deadlier as they aim for weak points, and do more than just wildly flailing with their blades!

Rinoko's eyes move quickly around the room, spotting the Bomber as well as the others of the team, who seem to have been hurt a bit. Oh, this dude hurt Tsugumi-sama?! It's ooooon! Except Rinoko's not cool enough to act all awesome when she's fighting, so instead she just points a hand at the guy, sending a seal directly at his face that bursts into shackles of lightning intended to bind the guy and hopefully disable him enough that information can be gotten from him. She glances around the room ooce that's launched, nodding to Nonon and deciding it's finally time to sacrifice Paper Tsugumi and Nonon. Alas! Using paper from them as they disperse, she creates sheets large enough to smother the flames out. Normally paper would burn under such circumstances, but, since she knew these clones could come under fire, she took the time to wet the sheets of paper beforehand, using chakra to keep them from getting soggy or collapsing. Thus she can put out the flames with paper, yay!

Suzu almost wishes this guy was in better shape so she could see if she's really stronger since the last time they faced off against each other… She didn't really stand any chance at all back then. She was nearly killed by being in the same areas as him while he fought others. Is she better now? She wants to believe so. But with him like this… She can't be certain. She puts aside matters of ego for now, focusing instead on getting her mom some medical care, as Nonon asphyxiates the man into unconsciousness, and then Rinoko electrocutes him to immobilize him the rest of the way.

"Mom! Come on, let's get you out of here!" Even Suzu is starting to cough. The skin-blistering heat of the flames and the smoke together are making this into a really unpleasant place to be, let alone fight. Thankfully, Rinoko smothers the flames, putting them out, but the building will still probably need reinforcement and repairs in the future. Less of a priority at the moment however.

"Mother… Did you catch Moroi?" she asks, noticing he doesn't appear to be in the area. There's another body lying around, but it looks like a ninja, not an advisor to the Hokage…. She does what she can to help guide Tsugumi, but given the older kunoichi is headed for their new prisoner instead of the exit the explosion made, she helps stabilize her when headed that direction. She figures it out after a moment. Right! This jerk must have vital information… And they can't wait to bring him to intel division just so he can bust out again! They have to find out what he knows right now!

Nonon doesn't have any long-term restraining capabilities presently. Just one among many weak points in her jutsu arsenal that she wants to fix. So she's glad that Rinoko is able to shackle him with electricity (which is pretty awesome) AND attend to the flames. And even more glad the Bomber doesn't seem to have any more fight left in him. But she has to wonder about the status of the rest of the team. Suzu and Rinoko weren't supposed to come back here. They should be dealing with any enemies that were lured to chase after them out in the woods. What's going on?

Coughing, her face smudged with ashes, the blonde who is practically becoming a brunette from all the garbage in her hair now leans out the opening in the wall to try to see if she can spot what's happening. And her eyes widen a bit as she sees what looks like two small armies battling in the street just south of the administration facility. Seems like things aren't going according to plan anywhere else either.

Rather than making Tsugumi explain to Suzu, Nonon leans back inside and says, "Moroi isn't here. He had this lummox replace him." There's a diplomatic way to say this, which could help prevent panicking, and there's the direct way, for when they don't have a lot of time. She opts for the latter. "Moroi has gone to meet your father, to try to obtain the evidence collected on him. We believe Uchiha Ken is in danger as a result. Tsugumi-sensei probably wants to get the meeting place from this creep so we can go to his rescue!"

In principle, Noab hasn't changed his priorities. Delivering the intel is still more important on the whole than quashing the immediate enemy threat. But when it becomes apparent that you can strike a crippling blow to the local enemy forces for a fairly small time investment, that's what's called a 'target of opportunity'. >) Besides, Noab can't gamble on his clan-mates having the grit to assault what looks like one of their own on the word of a Hyuga waif. e.U
Looks like Noab's got a bit of defending to do first, though. Y'know how in martial arts movies you occasionally see a flashy fighter doing some flowing series of weapon movements that only works because all the enemies around them are doing choreographed strikes aimed specifically to hit the weapon? Noab pulls off that kinda scene now. The axe whooshes and hums dangerously as it sweeps all around Noab's body, deflecting attacks with its broad blade. Noab makes plodding but calculated steps through the crowd of enemy clones, turning this way and that as he passes the axe from one hand to another to block the next blow and pushing his adversaries aside with small but weighty nudges of his girth. Finally he finds enough clearage to 'hurl' his axe at the clone user, albeit with an inflating arm still attached. >.U

Aru herself can't do much other than dodge and weave, and with the clones becoming more skilled, she fails to defend in several cases, getting slashed and sliced. She was already aware of just how weak her capabilities were compared to others, but how vulnerable she is to a multi-pronged assault is driven home as she scarcely manages to deflect attacks to slice the surface of her skin instead of stabbing right through her. The mental image of when that happened to Nonon is still very vivid in her mind.

Fortunately, it appears that Noab is going to put a stop to this. And if he does it in time, Aru might even be able to detect the Chakra of her team mates in the building ahead, and call out the fact. It seems they've managed to meet up after all, and with lots of reinforcments! Whatever's going on here, there's no way they can lose! …Even if Aru doesn't feel like she contributed that much.

She has to become stronger.

And get all these injuries treated too. Because ow, she has never been hurt this this much before, even if it's superficial compared to what the rest of her team has suffered.

Tsugumi plants a hand on the throat of the incapacitated enemy ninja, pressing him into the wall hard to get his attention and make sure his eyes are wide open. Then, gritting her teeth as she leans on Suzu for support, she forces her will onto the Toujitakumi ninja's, infiltrating his Chakra Network with her Sharingan and forcing memories to the surface. She doesn't have time to do this delicately, so she just forces as much information as possible to emerge, tearing open any vaults of memory that are relevant to her search…

"Tell me… Where… He is…!" she growls out.

Meanwhile, Noab takes out all or most of the clones, and any reinforcements they have abruptly freeze up and deflate as the one controlling them is cleaved in half by a large axe. Good thing THAT'S dealt with at least. And Aru would, indeed, be able to spot her team and their location and the good guys would all get to gather at the admin dome and make sure the Hokage is safe and all the rest…

Right as Tsugumi finally pries the information she needs out of the target.

"Arikawa… Bridge… Far… From here… Meeting… Was… Nearly an hour… Ago…" he says haltingly, looking dazed and out of it, almost zombie like as the Genjutsu seizes control over his body movements.

Tsugumi doesn't wait any longer. Despite the condition she's in, she leaps out the opening in the wall, landing heavily and off-balance on a rooftop, and then begins running and jumping her way out of the Village, leaving everyone else behind if they can't keep up. There's no time to waste on explaining. She knows where the bridge is. And it might really be too late.

But she isn't willing to believe that yet. Because just like her team, just like Akimichi Noab who she trusted, just like the whole Hidden Leaf… Uchiha Ken is strong.

She can only pray that he is strong enough to take of himself until she arrives.

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