Date: October 22, 2012
Amiko meets Goh, and the pair give chase to a Land of Whirlpools criminal.
Land of Fire
The early afternoon sun hangs high overhead, bombarding the land with its sweltering heat. Thankfully the shaded paths of the forests in the Land of Fire provide some relief from the heat, although only a little, and even the the temperature is a little lower the insects are even worse. Amiko steps out from the underbrush into a small clearing, stopping for a moment as she peers around the area. After a few seconds she squats down and checks the ground, her hand touching twigs and a squashed patch of grass. After several long minutes of examining the area she returns her attention to the canopy above, scanning for signs of anything out of place while swatting flies away from her face. "Damn him, travelling in the middle of a heatwave," the girl mutters to herself as she wipes sweat from her forehead with her forearm.
The sounds of nature in the Land of Fire will be rudely interupted by what sounds to be… a scream. Or a yell. "…ya..a..a.aarrrrrrGGGGHHHH!" The voice slowly gets louder and louder, seeming to be coming from Konoha! If Amiko will cast her gaze towards that direction though, she won't see anything immediately. But then, silhouetting against the sun will be a figure falling in from above!
Rocketing in as if he was just fired from a canon, the hollering form of Goh hits the tree canopy with a loud crash, the branches slowing him down as he falls closer to the earth, before finally, with a loud thump, he lands on the ground. The blonde form sort of slumps, Goh clearly showing some wounds as he rolls over a little bit. "Ooohhh…gurrhhh…ow."
Blissfully unaware that he has company, for now.
Amiko stands there, stunned, as the form of the other ninja flies… or crashes… in to the clearing. As Goh hits the ground, Amiko raises her eyebrows and, after a few seconds, starts laughing. This was clearly not what she'd expected to happen in her early afternoon. When the laughing fit passes, the yonug Uzumaki girl walks toward the injured ninja, a little wary of potential ambush, but friendly none-the-less. "Well friend, you sure know how to make an entrance," Amiko says, "Are you alright?" As she asks, she swivels her head quickly in every direction, checking for threats but finding none.
"Y…yeah." Goh stands, brushing himself off a little. He did have wounds, including some nasty looking scratches visible on his torso and arm. Recent too, given the fact that the blood was just beginning to dry. But he doesn't look too bothered, the blonde just making sure to get the branches, twigs and other various plantlife out of his hair.
"It's alright." He clears his throat a bit. "I'm not here to rob you or anything, so no need to look cautious. I just… well, got launched from Konoha." Finally standing up straight, he takes a good look at Amiko.
"Uzumaki, huh?" He's noticed the clan symbol almost immediately. "Good to meet you. I'm Goh, the worlds greatest pickler of vegetables."
"Nice to meet you, Goh. I'm Uzumaki Amiko," the girl introduces herself, grinning widely, "Launched? That -is- interesting." Taking a closer look at the other ninja's face, Amiko frowns and says, "Don't I recognize you from somewhere? Goh. Goh? I'm sure I've seen you in Bingo Books before. You're a famous ninja as well as a pickler, aren't you?" She glances around the area again and then remembers Goh's comment about robbing. "Oh and its not you I was concerned about, although given your ninja skills maybe I should be. I'm tracking… a dangerous criminal. Until now he's always been at least a couple of days ahead of me, but now I don't think he could have more than a couple of hours lead on me," Amiko says, once again glancing around the treetops, "Having caught up on him so much I'm half expecting him to send some cronies out to delay me, but I've run into no one thus far."
"In a Bingo Book?" Goh sounds almost surprised by this. Not once had he heard that he was in the Bingo Book before! Though with his latest… adventures, he probably should not be surprised.
"Yeah, I guess you may have heard of me. My name could be gaining some more traction with recent events." Stretching his arms out, he proceeds to limber up. Just trying to stretch out as best he can, as if he's about to run a race or something. "Fair enough, that all makes sense. Are you a Konoha ninja?" He queries, before looking behind himself, glancing along the path. "Who are you tracking, if I may ask? I might have some cool information if you have at least a name. Maybe not though, can't promise anything."
Amiko shrugs and says, "Well, I can't be sure. I only memorize the entries in the Uzushiogakure Bingo Book, and you aren't in there. But I've seen a fair few foreign Bingo Books in the last few months." When the other ninja asks after her quarry, Amiko stops for moment and bites her lower lip as she thinks about involving another ninja. "I'm a Ninja from the Land of Whirlpools, and I'm on Uzushiogakure business. But, I've been given the authority to involve foreign military when its appropriate, and in this case the criminal has made attacks here in the Land of Fire as well. You might be aware that a poisoning took place here in the Land of Fire about a week ago. Poisoned water source killed several people in a small village. The criminal I'm tracking was involved in supplying the poisons for that attack, but he's also committed several classified crimes in my homeland. His name is Uzumaki Tashijou. If you've heard anything, it would be greatly appreciated."
Goh lifts a hand to rub his chin thoughtfully, trying to best recall anything that could be helpful. "I've heard the story, but I haven't been involved much." He says simply, seeming genuinely apologetic. "I haven't heard of anyone called Tahijou. I'm sorry." He frowns.
"Well, if you want help, I'm always keen to give some aid. Uzushiogakure is actually a place I'm looking to learn more about. And I'm not part of any ninja Village or anything like that," He confirms. "I'm just a wanderer. So me helping you won't leave your home indebted to any of the other Ninja Villages." He pauses. "If that's what you were worried about. But with that said, I can understand wanting to do it yourself. Ninja pride and all that." He finishes stretching, before turning about.
"I'm certainly not bad at tracking though." He grins then, almost mischievously.
"Well then you sound like a good person to have around," Amiko says, and adds, "And no, I wasn't worried about leaving Uzushiogakure indebted. My homeland actually works quite closely with Konohagakure, so co-operation when I'm in this country is the norm. Kirigakure, on the other hand… I never expect them to co-operate with even the simplest requests. So pushy…" Having worked out the direction that the criminal took Amiko begins walking, and beckons for Goh to follow. "As for pride, well, I don't think ninjas can really afford to have pride. A lot of the time we're doing the most dangerous work that exists. Pride just gives us another weakness that an enemy can exploit," Amiko says, "And life's too short to get all hung up on your own reputation. I don't want to be 100 years old and realise that I've wasted my life trying to look like the best instead of simply enjoying the time I have."
"Really?" Goh answers, seeming thoughtful and quite interested about Amiko's thoughts. He will fall into step behind Amiko, letting her take charge of the operation. He didn't want to step on any toes or intrude on how she went about it, after all.
"No way, I can't agree with that. You've gotta feel good and have pride with what you do, Amiko. I mean, look at me. I have super amounts of pride! My pickled vegetables are number one. I've worked hard to get to that spot, so I think I'm entitled to feel proud about it." He punches a fist to his bruised chest in a manly fashion, though finds himself wincing. Forgetting that it's still injured.
"Those are the sorts of reasons I left Konoha. I was one of the founding Jounin there, but… I dunno. For as good as it appears, even Konoha tries to shape you and try to turn you into something that restricts being yourself. Not as much as Kirigakure, of course. But it still does a little."
Amiko nods. "I understand. Its not like we can't aspire to things, or be proud of our achievements, but when we start turning down help or taking foolish risks and becoming obssessed with our own reputation, it starts weighing us down," she replies, winding in between several thick trees as the trail slowly fades into underbrush, and then eventually crosses a stream. Amiko stops for a minute as she looks around, and the looks up into the trees. "It looks to me like they took to the trees here. What do you think?" She asks Goh as she searches for any other sign of recent passing.
"Hmmm." Goh thinks about that, closing his eyes. "I think you have a good point. Those sort of people are usually jerks." Following after Amiko as they weave through some trees and then come to a hault at the stream. Looking up as the Uzumaki suggests that the criminal took to branches, Goh squints. "Makes sense, especially if they want to extend the gap. Just on ground in the immediate, then to branches to hasten the escape. How far away do you think they are, again?" Goh asks, looking to Amiko in curiosity.
"I have an idea that could enable us to cut them off. So long as you know how far away and in what direction they went." He sniffs at the air.
Amiko observes Goh as he sniffs the air, wondering if the man has the same incredible sense of smell that she observed of the members of the Inuzuka clan, then remembering that he had asked her a question. "I think they're about two hours ahead, maybe three if they're pushing themselves to the limit. Of course, that might actually be to my advantage, since I can probably catch up after they're worn out," she says, "but I don't know exactly where they're headed. At first they went northwest, as if they were heading to Amegakure, but now they've turned further northeast like they're going to the Land of Lightning. If we knew exactly where Tashijou was headed, or what his objectives were, we would've intercepted him by now." She shakes her head frustratedly. With a quick jump she leaps up to tree branch in the canopy and further surveys the area. "For all I know they could already have gone to ground and tried to hide instead of running any further."
"Even better if they do that." Goh replies, having heard that they may have hit the ground. Watching as she hits the branches to try and get a better feel for the area, Goh wipes the palm of his hand in some of the dry blood on his torso. "Come back down to the ground, Ami." He's already got a nickname for her! Oy.
Thrusting his hand down to the ground, a white POOF of smoke appears, revealing Wanpo. Six feet long and about three feet high. "This is Wanpo." Goh reveals, calling up to the Uzumaki. "He's one of the salamanders that I have a contract with. He has a wicked sense of everything that goes on top level when he's moving under the ground. On top of that, he can move under the ground very fast. So I can send out a few salamander in the rough direction of where we think this crook is headed. Then when they find him, they can let us know where he is. Then we can narrow in on him by using Wanpo here. So! In essence, we catch him without having to expend stamina." He pauses, sucking in a breath.
"Sound like fun?"
Amiko hums to herself for a moment, then drops out of the tree and lands agilely. "I don't know about fun, but it sounds like a plan," she answers, and smiles. "I've been tracking this guy for almost six months now. It'll be nice to finally bring him to justice."
With Amiko dropping down from the tree, Goh grins. Wanpo will lift a paw. "Hey babe. Damn, you smokin'." The salamander speaks! In a very deep voice, no less. The blonde rolls his eyes, before facepalming a bit. "Sorry. Wanpo… well, it's a long story. Just ignore his comments for now, Ami. And stand still. This won't hurt." The salamander will open his mouth very widely, approaching Amiko gingerly. Once he gets close, his toungue will erupt from the mouth! Sticking onto Amiko, the Uzumaki will feel an incredible force that sucks her deep into the stomach of Wanpo.
Amiko will fall in dark emptiness for only a second, before she will find herself landing in a 'fleshy' cavern lit by lanterns. Small pools of stomach acid dotted around. Only moments later, Goh falls in from above too.
"It's a bit weird when you first experience it. But welcome to the stomach. Not luxurious, but… you get used to it."
"Babe?" Amiko asks incredulously, "You've gotta earn the right to call me somethi-!" Suddenly Amiko is slapped with a tongue and slurped down the salamander's throat. When Goh joins her a few seconds later, the girl looks thoroughly surprised and more than a little disgusted. "Oh man, this reminds me of the time I got swallowed by a giant fish back when I was a genin… gross!" she complains, screwing up her face. "Wanpo should really learn how to talk to women," Amiko says to Goh, then stands back up and fixes her hair, "At least its not trying to actually digest me this time."
"He's sort of going through his maturity phase in life." Goh admits, not feeling particulary proud of the behaviour. "It's just something he will pass through, hopefully. He'll be back to normal in no time." He coughs.
"Yeah, you're right about that. I actually take enemies in here sometimes to.. I dunno. I don't want to say torture, but 'convince' them to tell me information. Pretty handy, actually." Arms fold across his chest as he looks up at the ceiling.
"So tell me a bit about yourself, anyway. Chuunin? Jounin? How's the Whirlpool in regards to this… I dunno. War talk and stuff that's going on?"
"Chuunin. We don't have a lot of ninja in the Whirlpool, and Jounin positions are rather limited. I'm a pretty long way down the list, honestly," Amiko says, "And I mostly stay out of the politics as much as I can. I prefer to just take life one mission at a time. If I get promoted and have to deal with the politics, well, I'll worry about it when I get there." She gives a little smile and a shrug. "I'm serious about ninja work, but the rest of the time I'm laid back, lazy, friendly and love being the centre of attention," she says with another smile, "I like herbal teas, and I recently fell in love with Ono Teahouse's jasmine tea. I also like boys and peppermint ice cream. What about you?"
Goh remains standing, listening with a smile of his own. "Well, like I said. I was one of the founding Jounin of Konoha. After playing a leadership role there for a few years though, I left. For reasons I've already mentioned combined with way more complicated ones. So I was a wanderer for another few years, before just recently setting up the…" He stops, scratching his head. "I dunno what you would call it. A guild, a group.. organization, brotherhood. Whatever you want to call it, it's a place that is designed for wanderers to seek shelter in the coming War. Also lets them take jobs that civilians will still need to be done, while the Ninja Villages murderize each other. It's called Jump, and it's a place that is completely neutral in this whole thing."
"I love pickled vegetables. Making them, selling them and eating them. Semi-recently dumped by the love of my life via a swift punch to the face." He frowns. "…er, I didn't really do anything wrong like lie or cheat on her. I'm a nice guy. I just… got taken for a couple of years. She moved on, I spose."
"If you're looking for a recommendation for that promotion, I could put in a good word for ya." He grins widely. "My word could carry some weight. At the very least might put you further up the pecking order."
"Its a good idea," Amiko admits, folding her arms, "Provides safety and a purpose for people who could otherwise become exploited or dangerous, and it could turn a pretty good profit considering that the prices of most of the Hidden Villages will rise substantially if war breaks out. Sad about your girlfriend. Wait, that punch to the face wouldn't happen to be the thing that launched you out of Konoha, would it?" She scratches her head as if puzzled and says, "I'd heard about a Taijutsu Style in Konoha that resulted in tremendous strength, but surely that's ludicrous."
Goh throws his head back to laugh loudly. "No, but good theory! I was launched out of Konoha for different reasons." Still not admitting what exactly it was. "If it was that soon after the break-up, I'd still be a mess. She sort of ditched me a month ago now. Maybe even longer. But the actual punch that she hit me with was way tougher than the blow that sent me rocketing out of the Village. When she hit me, it sent me through a couple of walls and… well, you get the idea. She's a strong girl." His nose wrinkles.
"Anyway, moving on. You're right about Jump. I guess we would get some cash, but I didn't really set it up for that. Just to allow us neutrals to still get work. Whether it be through deliveries, cat watching, or whatever. Half of the members aren't even ninjas. Just caravans looking for a safe place."
With his head tilted up still, he lifts a finger. "Looks like we found your man. Someone on the run. Shall we head up to the surface?"
"Hold on a second," Amiko says, reaching into the pouch across her backside and withdrawing a pair of kunai. She skilfully wraps the handle of each in an explosive tag and slips the kunai into a pair of small sheaths in the same pouch belt. Then she forms the seal of the ram and prepares herself for battle. "Ok, now I'm ready," she says, "Let's go fry some bad guy."
"I'll follow your lead." Goh muses, watching as Amiko gets battle ready. "Nice. Explosive tags. Cool idea. Now, brace yourself." The blonde slams his foot on the fleshy ground. This causes the stomach from beneath the pair to suddenly start to contort and writhe. It sinks, before then raises suddenly! The result is Amiko being launched up into the darkness like a spring. Goh following not far after.
A bright light will then erupt around Amiko as she escapes Wanpo's mouth, flying out of the salamander body and into the air. Not too high, but high enough to not only get a bearing on where she is, but to see the criminal below! Standard ninja leap height, really. Goh of course is not far behind, having been launched by salamander stomach too.
As Amiko catches sight of Tachijou below her, she quickly draws the kunai she had prepared and flings one at him, and one ahead, hoping to cut off his path and slow him down. After all, she doesn't want to risk him escaping. Then the arc of her launch starts bringing her downward and she lands a little awkwardly not far from her target. She looks up to see that Tachijou easily dodged both attacks, and he turns to face her, a smug look on his face. "I knew you'd come find me, dear."
Goh lands on the opposite side of the man, having flipped neatly to position himself on the other side. So while the criminal faces Amiko, Goh is flipping through a rapid series of seals. A great big long stretch of them, before he puts both palms down onto the ground.
It doesn't happen instantly. It's almost subtle, the way that the ground beneath the trio sort of rumbles a little, becoming squishy. And then in a nigh instant, walls from around the pair shoot up, a ceiling forming not long afterwards. They were now surrounded in a fleshy dome! It's a bit different than the stomach they were in just before though. It's much more pink, without the pools of acid dotting the area.
"Sorry to put you through this again, partner." Goh muses. "…but there's no escaping from this. So you can take your time." Slowly, exhaling, he stands back up.
Amiko nods to Goh and smiles. "No escape, Tashijou," she says to the older man. Now that things have settled down a little, you can get a better look. He has long, strawberry blonde hair that comes down to the base of his neck, with several braided strands throughout. His eyes are the same green as Amiko's, and on the back of his black jacket is the Uzumaki clan symbol. "Now now, my princess, do you really think you can hold me here?" he asks confidently, that smirk crossing his features again. Before he can even finish asking Amiko charges forwards with another tag in her hand, but at the last second Tashijou disappears in a cloud of smoke, reappearing on the far side of the stomachy area. As his feet touch the ground again he disappears once again in another cloud of smoke, appearing this time behind Goh with a kunai in hand and slashing toward the back of his neck. "If you're the one holding this technique, there's a good chance it'll fall if you die!" he exclaims as he attempts to behead the pickler.
Goh's eyebrow raises a little when he feels the criminal's presence directly from behind him! He takes a single step, before he's just… gone. A blur of movement later, and he will come skidding to a hault next to Amiko, crouched slightly in order to reduce his speed furthermore. "Princess, huh?" Goh queries to Amiko with a grin. "I didn't know that. Anyway, remind me again." He asks. "Are we taking this guy alive? Or are we killing him?"
The blonde was being very careful not to be too involved with this. This was Amiko's capture, after all. Goh didn't want to ruin her fun after six whole months of trying to catch him! But he gathers chakra… just in case it becomes a bit too much. His knuckled crack, a devlish smile coming across his face. "Just for your information, criminal. I'm not sure I'll be able to stop her if she opts to just bring you down. Don't know her very well, but she's determined."
Amiko smiles as Goh speaks to Tashijou, and at the same time she draws a trio of kunai. "I'll pin you to the wall if I have to," she says, and throws all three kunai in quick succession. Tashijou doesn't falter for a second. He easily sidesteps the first kunai, then catches the second and quickly deflects the last with it.
"You haven't told him anything at all, have you?" the man asks, his grin showing the slight wrinkles starting to form on his face from age, "Well, I'm sure you'll have plenty of time after I get out of this ugly prison." With that there's a flicker of motion and Tashijou is suddenly standing right in front of Amiko and slaps a paper seal down on her forehead. Amiko's body tenses up, but a moment later she slumps to the ground, groaning as her muscles refuse to respond. Another flicker of motion and he's headed towards Goh, another of the seals in his hand, and he slaps it down toward the man.
Goh turns to look at Amiko curiously, before he turns his attention back to the cuplrit. His eyes widen in a bit of surprise, before the seal his partner. "Ami!" He cries, looking at her. "You alright?" But it's only a short second before he is hit by the seal too, feeling his body become numbs. He sort of crumples on the fleshy floor, grunting as he does so.
This was not going according to plan at all! It seems Goh has grossly underestimated this foe. That, and it's been a while since he's been in an actual combat situation. As soon as this technique wears out, he's going to smash him to bits!
"Ithhh pawellssys," Amiko manages to mutter, slurring her words into virtually incomprehensible mush, "shhht tewm." Tashijou immediately turns around with Amiko's kunai still in hand and approaches the girl. He picks her up by her hair, turns her around so that her limp body stands in between himself and Goh, and holds the kunai to her throat. "Dispel this jutsu now," he commands, "Or the girl's carotid artery becomes a public fountain. No sudden movements, nothing but dispelling this dungeon, understand?" he commands Goh, the kunai pressing harshly against Amiko's throat. The girl tries her hardest to shoot Goh a look, but her body refuses to respond to her urging, and she just dangles by her hair uselessly.
With the paralysis ending, Goh touches the ground a little, before slowly standing up. "You realize I met her about thirty minutes ago, right?" He asks, before his foot stomps on the ground. "But very well. Let her go." And just like this, the ground will begin to fade back into grass. Likewise, the wall and ceiling will retract from where they came, going back into the earth. This won't be the end though!
As soon as the criminal will loosen his grip, or become even the tiny bit distracted by the prison withdrawing, a toungue will extremely silently creep out from the ground. And then in an instant, will wrap itself around the ankle of the male Uzumaki! Tashijou will have either two options. Drop the girl and jump to dodge, or just get caught in this technique. Since he certainly can't block this evil toungue! If it is successful in wrapping about his ankle, the toungue will then PULL the Uzumaki down into the depths of a NEW salamander with huge amounts of force. Tashijou will then be a prisoner in a brand new stomach.
As the prison begins to melt away, Tashijou starts backing off slowly, watching carefully so that he knows when Amiko's paralysis also wears off. "Well, thank you for enabling my getaway," he says, and is then caught by the tongue wrapping around him, "Or not. Amiko, come find me down south." That same, horrendously smug smile stays on his face as he puffs out of existence and Amiko drops to the ground. It only takes a few moments more for the girl to recover from the jutsu, and she stands up, groaning.
"Damn you. Damn you to hell!" she yells at the now empty space where Tashijou's shadow clone had been standing only seconds before. She turns back to Goh and says, "I'm sorry to have lead you on a wild goose chase. He always seems to be three steps ahead of me."
Goh's eyes widen in surprise when the shadow clone poofs out of existence before his very eyes. A shadow clone?! Damn, this guy was good after all. "Tch." He gets out, before lifting a hand to wave. "Don't worry about it." He exhales slowly. "You couldn't have known differently. But still. Shadow clones? This guy is way better than the standard criminal." Rubbing his hands together, he looks down to Reiko, the small salamander responsible for the tounge just before. She sort of scuttles up, perching on Goh's blonde hair. Only an inch or so long, after all! "I am sorry." She admits in a high tone of voice. "I was not fast enough."
"Aaah, don't worry about it, Reiko. Normally I'm decent at recognising shadow clones, but not this time it seems." He takes a glance to Amiko. "So. Princess." He smirks. "Any of that true? Are you royalty in the Village?"
He then takes a good look around him. As if trying to gauge exactly where they are.
Amiko shakes her head and replies, "No, not royalty. He calls me that because… Well because I'm his daughter." She doesn't bother to look back over her shoulder toward Goh, and instead looks to the sky to work out her position, then starts walking in the general direction of Konohagakure. If she's going to head back south anyway, she might as well stop off another night in the village. "That's why I've got to take him down."