Date: December 1, 2010
Nothing is ever easy when dealing with shinobi. No sooner do the members of the Tao Shih, and one enterprising spider, find the man they're looking for when they run into an unexpected, large, and angry complication!
"Infection - Earthshake Rumba"
Decimated village, border of Whirlpool and Fire
It has been over twenty-four hours since the group that had set out managed to secure the assitance of Hyuga Takara, and throughout the journey to Uzushiogakure in the Land of Whirlpools, and during the plotting of the next step from there, Datura has still not awoken. And yet, despite not having awoken, sedatives must be administered every four-to-six hours to keep the young woman sedated. When they are not, the screaming, clawing, and thrashing begins anew. In all that time, her eyelids have not stopped fluttering, indicitive of a deep dreaming state. The doctors at the hospital were baffled and unable to come up with a diagnosis, much less a treatment. Her vitals were beginning to slip.
Takara had continued on her journey to Konohagakure, giving the group first directions and a letter that would admit them into the Hidden Village, a description of her husband (around six feet, short, spiky red hair, brown eyes, etc.), and then directions to the area Uzumaki Mino had been dispatched to with a strict warning not to disrupt his mission. The mission couldn't be speculated on by the man's wife, she simply knew that he was working on something of a sensitive nature and a disruption would ruin months of work, if not years. Whether she would report an injured and dying Yamanaka to Datura's home clan was unclear.
The shinobi of the village were courteous, if not friendly, treating their guests with suspicous respect, giving them access to basic shelter and supplies, as well as free reign through the public parts of the town. Datura was made as comfortable as possible, but time was running out and Uzumaki Mino had to be tracked down.
From the directions given, a wooded part of the Land of Whirlpools, the group was able to pick up the Jounin's trail readily enough. Following it was a bit trickier, and it eventually crossed back into the Land of Fire, though a different part than where they had intercepted the Hyuga. Eventually, the trail came out of the woods, into a wide ravine, at the bottom of which was a small village.
Or what was left of one.
Boulders and debris were about all that were left, and soon enough it would become apparent that Mino's trail led straight into the canyon and the grouping of adobe huts proper. Descending would be easy enough for experienced shinobi, though the sight that would greet them as they approached certainly wouldn't be so forgiving on the stomach. Mangled bodies lay everywhere, men, women, children, none had been spared. Dirt and debris were piled high, some forming earth pillars on top of which bodies were impaled. Houses were collapsed, crushed from the outside, some torn asunder, shattered outward from the inside. Nothing moved and no trails led from this wrecked place.
The bodies were several days old, but some of the earth had been disturbed more recently than that, a few small craters and upheaved rocks showing signs of a struggle.
Kanami feels a bit sullen. Really, she is an actress and an assassin. Lying in wait is all fine and good, but she should have been the one to think of swaying the Hyuuga woman to their side through words and perhaps trickery, rather than force. Hanging around the Tao Shih is dulling her edge. That is the conclusion she has come to. So when this is all over, she is going to take a bit of a 'vacation'. Perform some missions for the Theater in Higuregakure, perhaps… Anything except allow her skills and wits to decay.
'Decay,' she thinks to herself. That word brings her back to the present problem of Datura's health. Datura is decaying right before her eyes. 'That I am putting myself out for no tangible reward is another sign I am losing myself. I am becoming the controlled instead of the controller. How did it come to this? How did the most accomplished and yet UNKNOWN assassin of the Nogakujin become such a simpering weakling? Why does she even care about Datura? New friends, new companions, new lovers… All can be obtained easily enough. One can always get more 'friends'. So why is she risking herself for this one in particular? So annoying.
"Well," Kanami begins cheerfully. "It seems we are late to the party! Do you detect anything odd, Kimigumo-san? Any sign of the ones responsible for this?" She does not assume that multiple attackers were responsible, but that IS likely. And saying what she really thinks outloud is a habit she has decided to terminate as of right now.
"Earth Release, it looks like… This small village must have had or done something awfully important to deserve this kind of effort." Or maybe there were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Having kept quiet for the most part of this trip, Shinjis mind was in a constant blur. Datura dibilitating illness, the rush to mee Uzumaki Mino. This was moving a bit fast, but with the situation they are in, it had to be moving quickly. None of them knew how long Datura could stay in this state. When they arrived at the Hidden Village of Whirlpool, it is a really nice place, one that he hasn't come to during his travels, when things settled down he will have to come back, but that was only a fleeting thought as he watched over Datura when she was given a room and made as comfortable as possible.
With all that was going on, Shinji wished there was a much simplier process that could help their ally, but from his upbringing not just medical jutsus could heal, there were other ways, herbs, treatments and such. If only he studied in that field versus his preferred skill set. Shaking his head when it was time to move out to go search for Uzumaki Mino. Their travel lead them to a wide ravine, fairly easy to get down to the village, Shinji is ready for anything at this point, he looks around primarily looking for anyone or anything that coudl've created this destruction. His face showing no emotion, Shinji looks at the spikes and earth that have people impaled onto or over them. Pushing on, Shinji allows the group to move a bit ahead of him as he keeps towards the back covering their flanks.
Kimigumo has not been his usual cheerful self since the return to Datura's position and the discovery of her current mental state. He has suggested possibly giving a small bite to Datura that would act more like being 'put under' than being allowed to sleep. That is his special venom he has developed. Effectively, his venom is equivalent to a drug that a dentist or doctor might use. It would allow Datura to rest in a dreamless state, suppressing whatever might be happening within her mind.
He explained all of this. But he was not allowed to contribute in such a manner, because it was unknown if the venom would react poorly with the sedative already in her system, or if it would have some other side-effect in connection to her ailment. Kimigumo still does not know the full details. He knows only what Queen Nefura told him, and the specifics were left out intentionally. But he knows enough to be worried. And worried is not something he likes being.
The giant spider had wanted to stay behind to guard Datura 'with his life' as he proclaimed. But, perhaps wisely, the Village Hidden in the Whirling Tides assured him they would guard their friend well, and that he should help the others search for Uzumaki Mino. Maybe they just didn't want a giant spider hanging around. Before they left, Kimigumo requested a brief moment alone with Datura. He had done all that was asked of him. He had offered everything he had. His health, his time, his life… He had nothing more valuable to give. But he still had his life, even if time was running short, so he would keep offering himself in all ways possible.
But right then, alone in the hospital room with the rogue Yamanaka, watching her nearly bruised-looking eyes, her sunken cheeks, her skin as pale as Kanami's, the hair that has begun to fall out in single strands, and the shallow breathing being forced from her by an artificial respirator, Kimigumo simply strokes one foreleg across Datura's face, as gently as he can, as though she were a rare and fragile flower instead of a person. The tiny bristles on his leg fail to wake her. Not even noticing as several blonde hairs come away when he withdraws his appendage, he just says, "You are still beautiful." He knows she can't hear him. But he says it anyway.
Most of his long life, Kimigumo has admired and loved humans for many reasons. Now he envies them. He envies them because of how cruel it is that humans may cry, whereas spiders can not.
Now they travel in search of their last hope. Nefura had said she was following leads, and that she was seeking others who could help. But there really is no time for anything else. They need Mino >right now<. Coming across the scene of carnage, Kimigumo is not thrilled, but he is not quite as horrified as a human might be. Disgust and sadness are in his voice when he speaks, but not fear. "I detect… Much death. This did not happen recently, but there are definitely indications that combat took place more recently than these dead. Whether it was the same combat that killed them or something else… I can not say. This reminds me of the time that a man named Ichi J. Hoba went berserk when he learned that the name 'Yveh' is pronounced 'Yah-vay' rather than 'Jeh-hovah'. You see, he had a bit of a god complex and took the name 'J. Hoba' and its similarity to 'Jay-hovah' as a sign he was destined for greatness. Long story short, he went crazy, and it turned out a lot like this." He hums a bit to himself, then explains, "He had a bunch of killing machines he had built, you see. He set them loose all at once."
Making sure his fencing sword is equipped properly, Kimigumo begins to walk into the village proper, turning his head occasionally, but mostly using his multiple eyes to see every which way. "Hmm hmm hmm… I do hope that Uzumaki-san is not in here somewhere. Or rather, that if he is he is well. Uzumaki-san! Are you here? We have been sent by your Village! Please call out if you are able!"
Again with the lack of stealth!
Mune did all she could, but when even the Sealing-specialist doctors of Uzushiogakure could do nothing, she began to feel perhaps the cause was lost. Still, they would have to keep trying until the end — whatever the end might wind up being. The half-Yotsuki woman does not know what Datura might be suffering even while sedated. For all she knows there is psyche damage occurring even while resting. So Kimigumo's offer holds merit. But the Uzumaki feel otherwise, so she left that issue alone. Now she is with the others, and while Shinji, Kanami, and Kimigumo are not horrified, Mune is. She has killed. She has seen those killed by others. She has lost patients on the operating table. But a slaughter like this is… Still abhorrent to her. She narrows her eyes and looks around cautiously. First thing she wants to do is check for survivors. Compassion might be part of it, valueing life might be part of it, but really if they can find out what happened here, they would all be better off.
Placing her hands flat together she closes her eyes and mutters, "Vital Search Technique." Then she sends out a wave of Chakra to try to detect the life signs of anyone in the vicinity. She walks through the ruins and the carnage, attempting to sense any living thing that might be out of sight, or hidden beneath other bodies, or similar.
There is no outward sign that anyone made it out of the village, or even left at all. Could whoever had done this still be in the immediate vicinity? Most likely, unless they learned to simply fly away or were exceptionally good at covering their tracks. Given the vast array of shinobi abilities, neither answer was completely out of the realm of the possible. Of course, this also meant that Uzumaki Mino was still around, unless he too had found unconventional means of traveling out of the half-buried village.
Kimigumo's cry would reveal nothing, but his senses would eventually lead him in a direction where there is a slight disturbance, a little unsuality in the vibrations of the earth beneath his feet. Spiders can sense vibration like that. The sense would lead him to the edge of a particularly-large, unnatural crater near the western-central portion of the village, a large area of disturbed earth out of which could be seen the occasional arm or leg of a mostly-buried human.
Mune's own technique would provide precious little input, other than the detection of a faintly-beating heart. Following it to its source would reveal a male sprawled atop a trio of other bodies, a male fitting the description of Uzumaki Mino. His chest was riddled with tiny holes, pieces of sharpened earth still embedded in the flesh. The flak vest had been little protection against the assault, and a large gash was opened up on his left thigh. Part of the skin across the right side of his face had been torn away, revealing the endodermis beneath.
The male's eyes pop open the moment he is touched, a gargling gasp for air issued from his throat, seemingly having trouble breathing. A single word escapes his lips as his eyes, clouded with pain and rapidly losing focus, pop open. "Gggggghhhhh… run…" He would not last long without swift medical attention.
Kanami stays where she is. She is not a front-line combatant. She is not even support. She is DPS, if anything. But she also has some sensory abilities available to her. She is not a Sensor-Nin but she does have a nice little trick… Placing her basic Mystic Noh-Men on her face, she begins to use a sense that is not normally available to her. While wearing the Mystic Noh-Men it seems so obvious. Sensing Chakra is EASY. How can she not have known how before? When the Mask is removed, it is like her brain forgets how. It is like suddenly being rendered blind and deaf. At the moment, however, she has full access to Chakra sensing capabilities.
So she uses them, from back here where it is safe. She has no idea if Shinji is going to go in and help out or not. He's a Tank after all. He should probably be protecting everyone by being a great big obvious target. But Kanami can say a few things with certainty. One: Very few in the village are alive. Two: Of those few, only one she detects is unknown to her. Three: What the hell is that over by the crater? Is that Kimigumo? Or something else? She can't tell from back here. She'll have to move closer if she wants a better indication.
"Be careful, everyone!" she calls out. She doesn't know enough to determine if there is a threat, but the fact there is someone nearby with rapidly fading Chakra indicates that the attacker might still be in the vicinity — if not a recent victim.
Shinji sighs and shakes his head as Kimigumo calls out for Uzumaki Mino, 'Oh come on, aren't you supposed to be a spider? Stealth.' he thinks to himself. Not liking the fact that their position was just giving up. Shinji makes due and continues doing a sweep of the area, looking for any possible threats. He hopes that the threats have moved on, but then again, if not, they would get to face off with whoever did this.
Moving ahead of the others, seeing as he wasn't seeing anything from behind. A tank huh? But then again, he is one of the only close range fighters in the group, so being seen could be or not be a good idea, but then again he doesn't have really any sensory type techniques that would aid the others outside of regular sight and hearing. With a bit of a lead from his other team members, he does note the large crater and hearing Kanamis warning, this only puts him a bit on edge. Though his body looks relaxed, he was ready just in case something starts.
Kimigumo tut-tuts over the crater with its partially-buried people within. "Well, this is dreadful. I wonder what caused this crater?" He does not waste time while he wonders, and instead throws out a web line across to the other side. He tosses out a second, and a third, and then connects them all so that he can walk across them. It won't win any awards, but the web walkway is sufficient to stride over the crater for a better look, and then move around to the underside to lower himself gradually. "Hello? Are any of you alive in there? If you can hear me, try to move! Try to make a sound! Anything at all! I am here to help!"
He dangles only inches above the distubed earth, and tentatively tries to pull at least one person free. He has no idea if this was a crude attempt at a mass burial, or what may have done this, or anything else. He just knows if he finds someone alive still he should bring him or her over to Mune. She is a capable healer, from what he knows and has witnessed so far.
Then he hears Kanami call out to be careful. He turns his attention away from the arm he is trying to pull free, in order to look back in that direction. "Is something the matter, Seishino-san?" he calls out. A pause. "…Other than the obvious, that is?"
Mune detects the barely-there vital signs of a dying man. The heartbeat is only one detail. She can sense respiration, brain activity, rate of blood loss, pain signals and a host of other things. And they all lead her right to Mino. Or someone who looks an awful lot like him. She wastes no time, and after checking him over to see if it is safe to move him, she determines there is no time. "Don't try to talk," she says firmly, and then begins to remove his flak vest and anything else that might get in the way. She's going to have to operate.
Yes, right here and right now. Or… Maybe there is an alternative. She is not very confident in this Jutsu yet, having learned it only recently… But it is better than nothing. Placing a hand on Mino's bare chest she focuses her mind and her Chakra both. She shuts down all parts of her brain not necessary for healing this man. Clearly this means leaving vital functions active or she would be unable to heal him. But emotional parts of the brain are disabled or suppressed, in order to reroute their functionality to the parts needed more. Logic centers, mathematical areas, sensory input processing, etc. Then she uses Chakra to identify where the things are that punched those holes in his chest, what they are, and then to begin removing them.
If successful, the foreign objects would be drawn outwards gradually, retracing the path they took to arrive, and on the way out… The flesh begins to heal rapidly behind them. Even after the Chakra has left the healed portions, they continue to regenerate gradually, and will do so for at least three more hours. This is not easy. Being able to focus on and extract even one foreign object with Chakra alone is a delicate process. Doing it on ALL of them AND causing the flesh to heal at the same time leaves Mune covered in sweat after barely a minute. But thanks to Perfect Surgery, she does not notice her discomfort or the strain involved. She focuses solely on the task at hand. Nothing else matters.
She thus does not process or acknowledge Kanami's call, or Kimigumo's response. Hopefully that dosn't turn out to be a major problem.
Kanami's new sense wouldn't reveal anything extraordinary at first. Not right away. Nothing chakra-related seems to be in the environment… but one is beginning to approach. The direction might be difficult to tell at first, but it would begin to become rapidly apparent that it was on a collision course with the group, and the chakra signature was LARGE. And it's coming from below the village itself!
Shinji wouldn't notice anything new about the crater not already immediately apparent to Kimigumo. But by now the subtle vibrations are no longer quite so 'subtle' and can be felt by anyone trying to pay attention. The ground shudders minutely, as if something very large were making earth-shaking footsteps, except that it doesn't end, just keeps steadily humming along.
Kimigumo's efforts would ultimately prove in vain. No voices answer his offers of assistance and no limbs move. The arm he tugs upon belongs to a woman, but it is cold to the touch, lifeless, in the passing stages of rigor mortis. Nothing in the freshly-made pit is alive nor capable of being saved.
The healing of Mino seems a tortorously slow process, but it's barely a few minutes before he's brought back from the cusp of dying into a more stable condition. He likely still won't be able to move around much, but he's at least no longer in danger of immediately expiring. The pieces of sharpened rock riddled throughout his torso are removed, and the wounds begin to seal themselves from the inside out, the worst of them doing so first. After a few more moments of pained gasping, the red-haired male is finally able to at least speaking, grabbing for the doctor's arm.
"We must… leave! There is a… thing here that… caused all this. Came from… the ground and attacked… the villagers. I must report… back to Uz-"
The 'small shuddering' that was apparent to a few before is now largely apparent to EVERYONE whether they're paying attention or not! The ground where the crater was over which Kimigumo was hovering suddenly explodes outwards, a large tendril of earth snaking skywards, twisting and moving as if alive. It's makeup is that of dirt, soil, rock, sand, and dust, nothing solid within it, a massive arm nearly eight feet in diameter, and, so far, almost a hundred feet long. All around the central area of the village, more and more tendrils begin to spring upwards, sending rock and debris, even a few bodies, into the air. These same rocks rain down upon the two nearest the crater with unnatural force.
From out of one of the collapsed adobes comes a bulbous shape, using some of the hardened mud-hut's walls as part of it's makeup. Unlike other parts, it doesn't seem to be solid earth, more an earthen shell through the cracks of which can be seen glowing orange energy in the rough shape of a humanoid face. This 'head', bigger than any of the houses, glares balefully in the direction of the trespassers, the earth sloughing off of it almost making it seem as if the creature, if it could be called that, were thundering in disapproval at their presence.
Kanami senses the approach of a very large Chakra source and tries to call out to everyone again. But soon, the rumbling is enough that she cannot be certain her shouted warnings are heard. Oh well. She activates her Mystic-Noh Men and the woman's face gains green vines with red roses that seem to grow across its cheeks in 2-D format. The eyes turn pure white and dark-blue eyeshadow appears around them.
It might not look like it, but Kanami has just become more aware of her surroundings and a lot more skilled with Chakra control. She leaps towards the nearest building top or other surface that seems unlikely to kill her, and tries to keep her senses open for surprise attacks. She is not a Tank. She is not going to put herself in jeapordy when she is as flimsy as she is.
Not seeing anything different about the crater nearby, Shinji begins watching the rest of his team mates, to make sure they aren't having any complications with anything. Noticing Mune tending to Mino, Shinji begins making his way over to her to assist her, but as he starts to get closer he stops as he feels the rumbling. Weak at first, then steadily picking up, Shinji starts to look around. "What the…." he says as he has to work on keeping his balance. Looking and seeing that the rest of his team was having a similar issue. "Shit." he says a she starts to quickly make his way over towards Mune.
When Shinji begins closing the distance, he quickly hops back as something large erupts from under the ground. As the large arm rockets out from under them, large rocks begin to rain down upon where he is. "MOVE!" he shouts loudly towards Kimigumo as he begins rapidly backflipping and leaping away as the large chunks of rocks begins crashing where he and the spider just was.
Kimigumo senses the trembling, but he is more focused on the arm he is holding onto. He was hoping that the stench of decay he was detecting was false. That maybe this one was alive because she was closer to the top. But eventually, as the tremors become more and more violent, he cannot deny the truth any longer. Somehow, he feels like this is his responsibility. If he had only known about this place sooner, perhaps he could have been here to protect these people. Perhaps he would have been here to greet Uzumaki Mino and get his assistance. Maybe he could have—But he has to cut off that line of thoughts. The tremors have become violent enough that his web bredge is bouncing up and down like a trampoline. He turns and starts crawling back upwards to the bridge along his web line, but not in time.
The massive appendage of rock emerges from the pit and though he can sense the vibrations and feel the changes in air pressure and even >see< the thing behind him somewhat, he is unable to do much to avoid it while he's dangling there. The first blow strikes hard and painfully, sending him swinging back and forth on his webline like some horrible trapeeze artist.
But Kimigumo is not a horrible trapeeze artist. He is a being to whom aerial maneuvers come naturally and needing to be on the ground to dodge seems horribly inefficient. So he lets loose with another pair of weblines and simply bypasses the matter of getting back to the bridge above by making himself a new bridge. This he clambors onto and begins to flee along even as huge boulders come raining down around him.
He manages to avoid them all somehow, even though they seem to be falling faster than simple gravity should allow for… When he reaches solid ground, he turns his head slightly to see what hit him back there, and immediately leaps straight up into the air and does a 180 to face the tendril. "I, >say<!" he lets out as his monocle pops out of place. He has to reach up a foreleg to maintain a hold on his tophat as well, for fear that it might inexplicably fly away simply out of sheer dismay.
"Well, that's… That is… I honestly have no idea what that is!" When he notices the bodies tossed aside like trash by the tentacles he tilts his head forward a bit on his head in determination, does his best to furrow his brow (not that he has one per se, but he is making the effort), and then says, ">Right!< Come here, you pustulant pebble! You Ridiculous rock! Come here and face me while my friends are most certainly not RUNNING AWAY! Come at me you belligerant boulders! You malicious minerals! Your mother and father, or reasonable facsimiles thereof, were bricks used in the construction of an outhouse and the contents of an outhouse, respectively! Pay no attention to Shinji-san who should be RUNNING AWAY right now! Likewise pay no attention to Kishi-san or Seishino-san! Come on!" He then brandishes his fencing sword threateningly and also tauntingly and takes a swipe at the nearest tentacle. "Ha-hah! Take that!"
Mune is focused on the task at hand. Noticing that Mino is recovering but requires treatment still, she begins to retrieve a roll of bandages from inside her coat. She pays no attention to his words, except to say, "The patient needs a sedative. 20 CCs of morphine." To whom she is speaking is unclear, but she is the one who ultimately goes for the syringe and so forth.
When her arm is grabbed however, she inhales sharply, her focused gaze turning in a wide-eyed look of startlement. A moment later she slumps forward, breathing heavily. That sudden pressure on her arm made her snap out of the Perfect Surgery state of mind. Now she's suffering for over-focusing to such a degree. Breathing heavily, but not QUITE fatigued, she sits up and looks at Mino for a moment before getting to her feet and trying to help him up. She takes on a moment to check his thigh and make sure no arteries were cut, and then starts to try to lead him away from this decimated village.
It has become a combat zone, and that's no place to leave the wounded. "I FOUND MINO!" she yells out to the others, hoping that someone will help her get the injured man to safety. He's still not in a good condition to travel. His lungs are still repairing themselves for instance. But he will be better somewhere else than lying around here.
She is tempted to take a swipe at the nearest tentacle but that might just draw attention to her, so she decides to just avoid them as much as possible.
The sword of Kimigumo seems at least partially-effective, slicing through the rock and grit that made up the offending appendage readily enough. How much it 'hurts' the creature of stone and soil is unclear, but the tendril does give out a groaning shudder, and it causes the beast's 'face' to turn towards the sword-bearing spider. Whatever it had done had at least earned the thing's attention!
The tendril bends itself nearly in two, sticking one end into the ground in an arc over Kimigumo. With a creaking protest, the earth it has sunk itself into begins to erupt in a geyser of rock, dirt, and chakra, heading not for the brave fencer, but the doctor and her patient! It clearly had no intention of letting anyone out of its net that easily.
Obviously whatever this was didn't need its eyes to see, for though the head was turned towards Kimigumo, snarling its crumbly-mouthed displeasure, it was attacking Kishi Mune and Uzumaki Mino. And yet that wasn't the end of it's strikes, for not even has the wave of erupting earth come close to reaching it's destination than the earth begins to emit an eerie hum around the feet of both Shinji and Kimigumo. Pebbles, then rocks begin to tremble, and finally tiny bits of earth begin shooting upwards at them with incredible force from beneath their very feet! In Shinji's case, this could strike in some very unpleasant places.
The Nogakujin has thus far escaped detection, being much farther from the group than any of the others.
Kanami watches how the creature behaves. The head turns to face one enemy, while the rest of it continues to act independently. Given that the head was not even there when they first arrived, it is likely that it can sense vibrations in the ground somehow, or possibly Chakra signatures. Regardless, the had may or may not be important. It may just be a decoy. And there is really only one way of finding out, in Kanami's mind.
She dares to hop down from the roof top and dash towards Mune and Mino. She sees the incoming wave of earth, but can do little to protect those in its path. It will be up to Mune on that front. But she can try to help with getting her and Mino out of the way of further attacks by assisting with carrying Mino. Oh wait. She has less physical strength than a teenage girl. She might lose an arm-wrestling match to an 8-year old, infact. Physical effort is not her strong suit. So she has someone else do it for her. She forms some hand seals and suddenly there is a second Kanami running forward. This second Kanami is actually a bunch of snakes held together by Chakra and a Henge. It is going to be stronger than the real thing.
That leaves Kanami to try to find some way to hurt this beastly… Thing.
Well this was getting a bit dangerous. Shinji having already managed to evade the huge tentacles as well as the large rocks that rained down upon him and the others. Hearing some sort of hum, Shinji gulps a little and looks down as the humming is coming from under him and now Kimigumo. As the tiny rocks and earth begins shooting upwards, Shinjis body moves rapidly on it's own. Leaping sideways away from the rubble, and doing a forward diving roll to clear more of the ground. Shinji groans, "Awe man." he mumbles to himself. No where in training did they ever prepare you to fight huge ass monsters.
Right now though he pushes those thoughts aside, Mune was calling for help, and having managed to catch Kimigumo strike one of the tendrils with his sword, it looks as if he and Kimigumo were the main fighters or well he the main fighter and Kimigumo the assists. "Alright lets do this!" he shouts as he quickly scans the area. Noting where the head and partially the main body of this thing is, he had to give it something else to focus on and who else for it to focus on but HIM!
A grim chuckle escapes Shinji as he rushes towards one of the tentacles, using his speed which he trained his body to produce, Shinji jumps towards the large tendril and does spinning tornado kick. Hoping the kick is strong enough to grab it's attention, he would land and rush off towards the nearest tendril from the one he just attacked and instead of kicking he channels chakra through his body does a palm strike towards the tendril. Pausing briefly before rushing towards the main body of rockkracken. Knowing that it may not have even noticed his attack, but maybe, just maybe it will see him advancing.
Kimigumo is quite unhappy at his failure to stop the creature from attacking his allies — friends? He does not know, on that front. He is even more unhappy when he notices that Mune apparently >has< Uzumaki Mino, thanks to her yell over the loud crashing and rumbling and so forth. That makes protecting her even more of a priority. He leaps backwards as pebbles, and then larger rocks all begin trying to pound into him from below. Seems Kimigumo is a jumping spider! He lands atop the wreckage of one of the buildings quite a distance away from his original location, though not out of the rock beast's range.
Then he makes a decision. He can dodge all day long, unless this creature has more tricks up its sleeve. But the humans are much more land-bound than he is, and probably nowhere near as agile. He has to make a big enough distraction that this monster will have no >choice< but to focus on him.
Shinji's actions are brave indeed, and earn a salute from Kimigumo. But he knows that in the end, his duty to his Queen is a very close second to his duty to his friend. Datura must live. He has lived three-hundred years so far. It has been a good life for the most part. These humans have so little time available to them as-is. He will have to go all out against this monster.
Still, he is not eager to sacrifice himself pointlessly. So he will only do such if that is the only way the others can live. For now…
Kimigumo leaps in a blur, making a serious of bounces across various locations in the village until he lands near that 'head' thing. He has no idea if it is a real head or not, but he is going to make very certain that it knows he is not to be trifled with. He attempts to stab into it with his Chakra-destroying blade, right in its approximation of an eye.
Mune hears the tearing of the ground behind her even as she sees Kanami—No. TWO Kanami incoming to assist. One heads on an intercept path to help out with Mino, while the other keeps heading straight towards the monster behind her. But they won't arrive in time. So she hauls Mino over her shoulder in a fireman's carry, knowing all too well his state of health and how that can't be good for his lungs, and then turns and hurls a vial of something silver-grey at the wave of stone that is nearly close enough to punch into her back.
When the vial shatters and spills its contents all over, it ignites in a brilliant white light, masking everything in the vicinity in a blinding radiance. Mune, of course, covered her eyes with her arm and kept Mino facing away from the light even as she leapt aside and backpedalled. She has no idea if the magnesium flare she just used will impact a creature without eyes, but she did leap to the side!
When the illumination burns itself out, she turns again and tries to head towards the Kanami that is approaching. "We have to get out of here! No time or reason to fight!" she yells out.
Mino is slow-moving due to his injuries and the fact that he is only just beginning to recover from being on the brink of death. The open gash in his leg isn't life-threatening, but it does prevent him from moving around effectively while unaided. When he's slung over the dark-skinned medic's back, he doesn't try to protest, allowing himself to be more or less manhandled into position, the magnesium flare and dodge routine deflecting what likely would have otherwise been a lethal blow to the Jounin. Even short of breath, finding it hard to draw more, he continues to try to pass on what he considered relevant information.
"This thing… it will kill… must warn… warn…"
Shinji's first strike against one of the tendrils shatters part of it, taking out a huge chunk of earth and stone. The tentacle of dirt wavers, and then sucks itself back underground, retreating to either heal, or spare itself more damage for the moment. And yet the material that made up that limb remains on the surface, looking almost as if it had simply collapsed into a crater. The second impact against another of the tendrils fails to penetrate the hard, pebbly exterior, taking off small bits of debris and forming small cracks in its tough hide, but doing no appreciable damage.
As Kimigumo leaps for the beast's glowing orange head, it glares defiantly at the spider, opening its mouth in a silent roar, even as the sword sinks deeply into one of the 'eye sockets', managing to slip between the thicker pieces of stone. Yet it feels as if the sword has hit nothing, only striking the air where the energy within crackles. But the energy there distorts, waves, part of it extinguishing, diminishing the glow. All around, all of the tentacles of soil and stone thrash violently, upending pieces of earth and rock, and the head of the creature shakes violently, attempting to rid itself of the spider. Whatever Kimigumo had done, the earth-creature did NOT like it.
The head collapses in on itself, sinking back into rubble, but reforms a moment later, several dozen meters away, nearer to the approaching Kanami. No longer is it made out of pieces of adobe house remnants, instead largely being made of a singular boulder that was ripped from underground. Cracks form along its surface, widening to form two eyes and a rough imitation of a mouth, glowing hotly orange in the depths of its 'skull'.
Shinji and Kimigumo have apparently succeeded in their efforts to obtain the beast's attention. It does not show its attention by merely 'looking' at them, however, instead it is shown when the earth erupts near both human and spider once more. Rather than showering them with deadly debris or attemtping to spear them, it appears it has a much more elaborate demise for them. Sixteen-feet tall headless bodies of stone rise up out of the ground, each sporting a hefty boulder for a torso, and pillars as big as treetrunks for arms and legs. Kimigumo's opponent attempts to crush him beneath a fist, but it looks like Shinji's only desires to step on him!
The Serpent Clone aids Mune as much as it can, using its coiled, serpentine strength to take over some of the burden. It does not speak, nor can it transfer information between itself and the original Kanami. But with the ease that the Clone carries the wounded man, perhaps Mune can talk to him without distraction and fine out what he is trying to say. Or maybe she'll just heal him some more and get out of there. Who can say how a Medic will act?
And Datura needs that man's skills either way. It does not really matter if this thing dies or not. As Mune said, they have no time for games.
So the real Kanami applies her Doujouji Mask, goes through the process of activating it, and then dislocates her jaw (or at least the mask's jaw) so that three or four asps may emerge from her throat and then mouth. The snakes begin spitting fire bullets rapidly at the head of the creature that has popped up nearby. The bullets are not very large, but whenever they hit something — anything at all — they EXPLODE in large and powerful fireballs that are able to leave behind flaming craters in solid stone, or to obliterate relatively fragile adobe buildings.
When the bombardment finishes, the asps retreat and are swallowed again, allowing the jaw to return to normal. Towering walls of fire roar in the place the head was, whether it retreated successfully or just blocked the flames, or whatever it may have done. But was it enough? It had better be. Because if not, then Kanami may have just pulled aggro, and that would be Bad.
With his last attack not doing nearly enough damage, Shinji grits his teeth. It was earth, he had to make sure each of his strikes counted. Not looking back to the others to see what was going on, Shinji glances up to see the Kimigumo attacking. A grin comes upon his lips, and it seems that him and the spider did some good, but when the creature reformed some ways back and sent forth rock clones, Shinji only shook his head. Sparing a moment to look back at Mune to see how she is doing, she was getting some assistance, he was a good distance away from her and the flare. He does turn around so that he doesn't look at flare. But as he does his rock creature moved in closer, "Shit." Rolling to his side, Shinji isn't stomped but did get kicked a little.
Not losing his cool, Shinji leaps up spinning again, aiming a kick towards the center of the rock creatures assumed chest in a attempt to crush it or destroy it completely. Upon landing, Shinji starts to head towards the rock creature, he does note the firey assualt coming from behind him, and using that he closes teh distance slowly, not wanting to get to far from the others, but wanting to keep the Large Rock Monster focused on him.
Kimigumo laughs loudly and mockingly as the stone creature retreats. "Did not like that one, did you? You overgrown ore! You laze limestone! You recalcitrant rubble! You… Err… What letter have I not used yet?" His pause to consult his memory leaves him open when a giant statue of stone erupts from the ground. Only it is not just a statue. How Kimigumo can >not notice< the rocky giant is unclear. It's >right there< behind him! When he does come to his senses he calls out, "Ah-hah! Z! You zany zirconium! Yes, indeed, I just called you a cheap imitation diamond that insincere fiancees give as engagement rings! Which is what your father probably did to your moth—Oh. Ohhhh…" he has to break off and utter a single spidery expletive that translates in English something like 'bullocks' as the fist comes slamming down on top of him.
Spiders are not remotely as weak as human beings. They have more strength than a champion weight-lifter in single limbs, let alone their entire bodies. Even so, that is a LOT of stone. So when the fist starts to be >pushed upwards< slightly, it is mostly due to the fact that Kimigumo tried to block the attack at the last second with his sword that he has survived. He has plenty of strength to use to defend himself, but there's still an indentation in the ground around and beneath him where he was temporarily smashed. He strains every chitin-covered part of his body to try to lift the stone fist. Noises of effort are offered both in human and in spider, sounding more like chittering than grunts for the latter.
Then he scuttled backwards, out from under the fist, and relaxes ever so slightly once he is safe — relatively. Then he realizes something is missing. He reaches up on top of his head with his non-bladed foreleg and feels around. Then he gasps! ">My hat!<" He searches around quickly with all eight of his eyes and then sees the crumpled form of his hat lying near where the stone giant's fist struck — whether the fist is there still or not. ">MY HAT!!!<" he screams out in distress. He rushes over to the hat as though it were a wounded pet and holds it close to him, in the 'crook' of one leg. "Oh! Ohhhh! OHHHHHH! YOU… YOUUUU…!" Kimigumo turns his furious gaze on the monstrous giant nearest him. "I will never forgive you for this. Never! THIS COWARDLY ACT WILL NOT BE PERMITTED TO GO UNPUNISHED!" He then proceeds to aim his sword at the stone giant and… Do nothing at all? He seems to be quivering with rage and yet he does not act to strike down the giant. He just stands where he is and focuses on the sword he wields. It may be the imagination, or it might be some remaining light from that flare that Mune threw, but the silver blade seems to almost… Glow slightly.
Mune listens to what Mino says as much as she can while running and over the sounds of crumbling stone and more stone rising from the earth and all of that. She hands over some of the effort to the Kanami-clone and says, "Kill who? There is no one left here! We're leaving right now! We're the only ones left!" Hopefully they can get a good distance at their ninja speeds that they can Mino down and hear what he has to say. Or just extract the others from the area and get out of here.
She casts worried glances back in the vicinity of the fight as she hears the mild-mannered spider yelling in rage.
An enormous slab of solid stone rises out of the ground into the way of the incoming barrage of explosive fire. The fireballs are barely even slowed, however, the first one to hit punching a hole through and crumbling the wall, allowing the others to pass freely, each slamming home into the creature's makeshift face. The bright orange energy goes out with a high-pitched shriek, and the head once more collapses into nothing but a pile of rubble.
The stone golem facing Shinji appears unaffected by his vicious kick, several large cracks forming along its body and dust flying off of it. It shows no other reaction to the attack other than to lift its heavy arm and prepare to smash down. Kimigumo's opponent similarly shows no real reaction to either its landed hit or to being threatened. With one fist still where it had landed, it simply raises the other one, preparing to strike even as its twin was… Only for both of them to suddenly crumble lifelessly to the ground in a pile of dirt.
The Nogakujin had apparently drawn aggro indeed, and in a big way.
A sound from a few dozen feet behind Kanami might cause her to turn around and reveal the mysterious head reforming already! This time seemingly made mostly of compact dirt, with a body sticking out of one of its eyes like an eyelash, all of the beast's tendrils stand pillar-straight in the air as its mouth opens. But this time it is for no silent roar, a barrage of chakra-laced earth spews forth, heading for the delicate actress, a visceral response to her previous barrage.
With the other three keeping the creature's attention focused quite well, the medic and the clone have little difficulty in getting Mino away from the soil-made octopus. Once they have reached a position they deem safe enough for him and bid him to continue, whether they are still moving or not, he fights to keep his eyes open despite the bloodloss-induced fatigue and get his message out.
"It will go… on killing… must be destoyed… village must be warned… beast will not… stop killing…"
Kanami turns when the head of dirt rises again. That orange light is odd. She is not sure what it is, really. Some sort of visible Chakra? She has to admit there is quite a lot of Chakra in the creature. This is made even more evident when it begins firing out a massive barrage of stone spheres. She turns her lower body into that of a serpent, quick as a… Well, a cobra. And then… Err… Swift as a serpent, she turns and departs! She just turns around and tries to flee the attack. But the stone bullets slam into the ground all around and behind her at the enemy traces her route. She is moving at incredible speeds, low to the ground, but she can't afford to turn or she'll simply be smashed into pulp.
So she does the next best thing to turning to the side. She turns upwards. She just straightens out her 'tail' and 'launches' herself into the air. She turns in mid-air to face back towards the beast, even as the stone bullets pass by beneath her. Then she turns her tail back into legs, and turns one arm into a very thick python, which in turn extends and wraps around the nearest tall thing and then shortens, thus drawing Kanami towards it. Her snake-arm turns back into an arm a moment later.
She is no longer in easy striking distance. She can use Pyro Asps again, but… She is not sure if it really injured this thing or not the first time. She doubts poison will be of any use. She really does. This is not a living thing, from her observations. Intelligent? Certainly. But not alive in an organic sense, at least.
"We should get out of here at once!" she calls out to the others, unaware of Mino's warning. Infact, her Serpent Clone falls apart into a bunch of different snakes that in-turn flee the area. Too far out of range to manipulate it further.
Skidding to a stop as the creature seems to fall into the ground then reform and begin it's attack anew but this time, as Shinji turns to see who it's attacking Kanami. The softly dark skinned man turns to look back at his giant which didn't crash to the ground when he struck it, but as he looks back it's crumbled into dirt and rock. He knew he didn't do it, but then remembering and seeing the fire blast hit the creature. "Alright big boy, need to get your attention again." he says as he takes this opprotunity to rush behind the monster. Yeah, note to kids watching this, 'Don't try this at home.'. Putting on a burst of speed, Shinji leaps up onto the oedge of a roof, then scampering up the roof and leaping again towards the lip of the monsters side. Shinji starts to climb up the back of the creatures head, oh boy does he know this is very, very, very dumb, but he needed to take the heat off of Kanami.
It takes Shinji a bit of time to climb the up the back of rock creatures head, Shinji begins channeling chakra through his body. He didn't like using a lot of chakra techniques, mainly due to him enjoying fighting without the use of it. But this was not just a regular fight, they all could die at any point. Getting to where he feels is the right height, Shinji uses his chakra to keep him anchored down on the monsters head then reaches back and channels as much chakra as he can and punches into the creatures head. "Don't forget about me!" he calls to it letting it know where he was.
Kimigumo does not turn away or otherwise change his direction as the giant prepares to smash the stationary spider. When the giant crumbles and fall apart, he likewise does not move. He just stays where he is, focusing on his blade. And the blade >is< glowing now. However it is doing it seems not to matter. The point is that it is glowing bright silver, and surrounding Kimigumo with a similar light. As the head directs its barrage at Kanami, Kimigumo turns towards the creature's 'core'.
"I was never very good at spider magic, you know," he says to no one in particular. If Shinji is nearby, he might hear. Otherwise, he is just talking to himself. "But I did learn one particular trick. It is called 'Vengeance Self-Venom'. And when combined with the last remnants of Forge Sparks that the General of the Land of Iron imbued this blade with, the darkness of revenge is purified and turned into something else:" He then lowers himself towards the ground and hisses out, "Justice Poison!"
He turns to Shinji then, and calls out to him as he tries to strike the Rock beast, "This is the last time I can use this technique! If it fails, prepare to get everyone out of here!" The silver glow that coats the spider now makes even an ugly thing like an arachnid appear to be beautiful. The edges of his body seem indistinct, lost to the light, and yet every detail of his form can be seen with crystal clarity as a glowing white representation of itself. His eyes shine like starlight.
He has poisoned himself with his own venom. He has made it worse by extracting metal from his Chakra Resistant blade and mixing it with his venom before dumping it into his own Chakra Network. He can not do this ever again or he will die.
But, as he vanishes into a blur that tears across the village at such high speeds that the valley walls shatter from his passing, and he closes in on the stone head, he thinks that as his final use of this technique it was worth it. To save the life of a human is a fine thing. To save the life of a friend, regardless of species, is quite another type of thing. But there is also a third reason for doing this. "That was my best hat," he offers flatly in the nanosecond before he tries to strike the Rock Beast's head as hard as he can with his sword.
Mune takes in the grim news from Mino and says, "Alright. I'll tell them. Just stay here and rest. You'll need your strength." Then she stands up and prepares to run back into the combat area to inform everyone. She never gets there because a massive shockwave erupts from where Kimigumo is attempting to strike the rock beast, nearly hurling her off her feet. Dust goes flying everywhere, along with large rocks, and even the debris of broken buildings. She braces herself and shields her eyes from bright light. For a moment, though, just before the shockwave, she thought she saw an angel.
Kanami manages to get away from the bullets erupting all around her, and seemingly manages to get just out of reach of the many tendrils flailing in her wake. It appears that though this creature had no solid form, it was at least forced to constrict its activities to a certain radius at one time. Which may or may not be useful to know.
Shinji's clamboring atop the cranium of the giant creature seems to go unnoticed at first, but soon enough small spikes begin to form along the head of the earthbound beast, trying to impale his feet and hands as he climbs! These are avoided with ease by a shinobi of the Tao Shih male's caliber, but the final blow he levels against the hardened earth similarly fails to penetrate the creature's overly-thick skull, only managing to chip a few layers of dirt and soil out of the enormous head.
The slow-moving rock-octopus never had a chance to try and dodge or block the incoming spider's attack, not even so much as squinting an eye against the overly-bright light. But then it was unlikely this thing relied on mundane 'sight'. Either way, the thick armored hide of the beast has lost some of its potency as its chakra reserves were slowly dwindled down by the constant attacks, and the sword penetrates easily, carving through earth like fire through grass. The skull of the creature splits open, and the mysterious orange energy within is struck once more. With a thundering crack, the hardened soil making up the head of the earthen beast sunders into two, the energy within glowing brightly in tune with the attacking white light for a brief moment, and then fading away to nothingness, evaporating into the wind.
When the dust settles and the light fades, Kimigumo and Shinji are left standing atop a pile of loose dirt, the tendrils that had formed the beast's arms having solidified back into stone and soil. Some of them crumble, others, the ones which were made mostly of stone, remain in the pose they were when the monster was destroyed. The village was not saved, but Uzumaki Mino was, and it appears they were at least avenged.
As Mino was treated until it was at least deemed safe enough to move him, the story of his mission was told. He and several others had gone undercover to out a group of dissidents from their very own village. It was slow-going, however, and finding concrete proof against the presumed leadership was difficult. Mino eventually uncovered the group's ultimate goal: the destruction of all sentient life on the planet. Having all felt the loss of the Clan Wars, the shinobi at the core of the group believed that humanity had gone too far in its sinful ways and needed to be purged so that the world could begin anew, with a clean slate. Towards this end, they had begun research on how to make their dream a reality.
Mino, failing to realize just how close the group was to achieving their ambitions, attempted to apprehend them at their base of operations, only to find that the group had been forewarned and already fled. He tracked them to the destroyed village, but instead found the creature they had left for him. Having been caught by surprise, he had injured the beast enough to force it to flee underground, where it tended to its wounds. He had no idea how long he had been lying there when Mune's touch drove him back to consciousness.
"They used that village as a testing ground. A little 'field test' for their new pet." The Jounin remarks bitterly. "They know how to make more. That was just the first, a prototype. They use one of the five elements and the life-chakra of a shinobi. They turn the very essence of a ninja into that… thing. Pure evil with a heart for nothing but destruction. From what little of their data I have been able to recover, I believe the strength of the beast is directly proportional to the power of the ninja used. …They used a genin for that earth monster. They have to be stopped."
"But I owe you my life, and likely the lives of many others. First I think I will see what I can do for your friend."