Date: September 18, 2011
Summary goes here.
"Intelligence Exercises pt1"
Meruin takes some Okumo genin through a puzzle filled temple to test their minds.
Meruin stands at the hole in the wall of the cavern that leads to the entrance of the once hidden oasis, the young boy nearly hidden in the shadows of the place. He was silent because there was no need to make noise and reason not to, still because there was no need for motion in waiting, and so, his practicality led him to stand as a silent sentinel waiting for his team. There was work to be done, afterall.
Daomi had went for a walk through Kiri for no reason then to get out and stretch. He knew Meruin had wanted to see him, so he didn't stay gone long, just now returning as he made his way into the darkened cavern. The shadows of the place were every where and spotting the other Okumo wouldn't be easy, but he knew Meruin was here, waiting for him. So he simply moved further into the cavern and stopped, letting it be known he was here.
Meruin's voice floated from the shadows that concealed most of his form, his voice smooth and pure as bells. He inclined his head to the other Okumo in greeting, part of his face falling into the light of the outside area for a moment or two as he did so. "Come."
At that moment, two more Okumo genin stepped from the warmth of the hidden oasis as though the command to come had been directed at them. They were slightly taller than Daomi at 4'10 inches, just as thin, and looking to be around 12. Male and female, there was little difference between the two, clearly twins that were clearly androgynous. They bowed to Meruin in silence and he inclined his head back to them.
Daomi would turn to the direction of which his name was called and upon seeing it was indeed Meruin waiting for him in the shadows, he nodded in response. He prepared to speak, but stopped himself when the other Okumo beckoned. Thinking it was meant for him, he started to move forward, stopping quickly when two others stepped out.
Kohaku is the last to arrive, she's been asked by the clan to join the mission, and is rather glad for the reprieve from boring, mundane works better suited to a hunter-type or some other clan. She doesn't seem in any great hurry as she steps into the cave, moving with poised, almost arrogant grace. It's clear at a glance that she's one of those 'superioriority-complex' nester types, just from the way she holds herself.
"We have been given a task by the clan," said the nine year old chuunin without preamble, eyes on Kohaku as he gives her a nod. His visible attention turns, aferwards, to the group as a whole. "A labrynth has been found down below, deeper into the caverns. It has been searched, it's contents plundered, and it's dangers removed. So, the traps and puzzles have been reimplemented and we are to pass through them and come back home alive. It is a simple test of our intuitive intelligence that they wish of us, it seems. Let us go." And with that, he started off, away from the warmth of the oasis and further into the darkness of the Okumo home.
As Meruin spoke, Daomi focused his attention and listened intently on what was to be expected of them. He remembered the last time he went down into the caves, it was no easy task and doesn't expect this one to be any different. Though this time, the group was larger. Which could only mean more dangers. The boy straightened up, glancing behind him momentarily as he noticed Meruin giving a nod in that direction. Apparently it was another member to add to the group. This indeed was going to have its challenges. He then turned around and began to follow in step behind the others.
Kohaku follows along as well, hand reaching out to trail along the cool stone wall as she moves. One of her spiders emerges from her clothes, and crawls along her leg, up her back, and then back down her arm, finally moving onto the wall to begin wandering around herself.
Meruin led the group for some small amount of time, or some large amount of time — it was always a difficult thing to tell. There were no seconds in the breaths the nine year old took, no minutes in the slimy walls of the dark tunnels that they reached and passed through, no hours in the eventual receding and gradual reappearance of the sound of rushing water that could be heard outside of the stone they trod through.
Meruin stepped out of a long tunnel they'd been walking through for an indeterminate amount of time, his long platinum hair whipping out to the side as an abrupt wind tore at it, accompanied by the sound of crashing water and spray. Somehow, they'd gone in further and gone in deeper in the caverns, and they were much nearer the bottom of his underground waterfall. The exit of the tunnel led to a path, one side a wall of wet stone and the other a sheer drop into darkness, an abysmal fall, and a waterfall.
"Our first issue," spoke Meruin, giving the first words since he'd relayed the details of the mission. He pointed further down the path. It… ended. In yet another sheer drop. The deluge of water falling was a possible explanation. Still, from their perspective, they could see the wall that lay behind the waterfall. In the wall on the other side of the huge falls was a spot that was darker than the rest. "Our entrance to the temple is over there. We need to get to it. None of you have mastered tree walking, yet. How do you propose we get over there?"
Continuing down the tunnel for what seemed quite a while, Daomi didn't bother asking if they were there yet. He knew better. Instead he simply followed blindly and obediently. Though when the sounds of water crashing came from ahead, he thought they might end up outside, but that was not the case. They were still inside the deep caverns and he was led to believe he might now where they are.
The boy made his way out of the tunnel and onto the path that led to a sheer drop. He looked above, then around, as he tried to take in the scene and attempt at figuring out a way across before they can continue. Once again, he was reminded of their last mission, "Can we not simply get across with our webbing?"
The Female Okumo shrugs her shoulders, "I suppose he most direct way would be to jump. A less suicidal method would be to use Ninja Wire anchored to a grapple to make a bridge, but it would still be very difficult to cross without tree-walking technique. Of course, the most effective method would be to learn Tree-Walking technique, but I suspect that time constraints would make that impractical." she says. "Webbing would theoretically work in much the same way as Ninja wire, but may require a specific technique to strengthen it enough to withstand these conditions."
Meruin remained silent and still but for a nod at the words given. It was obvious that he was only along to protect, perhaps. Or, more likely, to observe rather than to guide. The thin twins stood next to eachother, their green eyes examining the slick walls next to them and the gap between them and the entrance to the temple on the other side. They, too, were silent, simply thinking.
Daomi moved over toward the edge of the path for a better vantage point. The mist and breeze from the waterfall blowing into him and causing his kimono to flap wildly against him. His frail form and baggy clothes making it seem as if he might blow off into the abyss. For a moment he'd glance to Meruin, the twins and Kohaku hoping for a response from the mission leader, but none was given. "I don't have any wire." He'd turn back around to gauge the gap between the waterfall, the slime coated wall and the destination at the other end. The boy would extend his hand forward and a thick line of webbing would shoot out and across the way.
Kohaku hrugs her shoulders then, and makes her way towards the gap. She draws a long, slender senbon from her sleeve, and then suddenly hurls it across the gap- a razor thin line of weba ttached to the bottom- guiding it. It lodges in the rock the other side, then several of her spiders crawl out of her sleeve afterwards, moving along the guideweb to reinforce it, to anchor it. She begins to creep out across the line, bracing one hand on the wall, and taking careful steps.
Meruin simply watched as Daomi and Kohaku employed their webbing, shooting it across the distance. Daomi's thick rope hit and struck and Kohaku's lined senbon found it's way into the end of the rope and was thereafter reinforced by her spiders. Which was beneficial. Otherwise, she'd find that the senbon would not have pierced the stone of the wall on the other side, and even if it had, it would have slid out as soon as she put any worthwhile amount of weight on it.
The thin twins nodded at this, and simply stepped up to the web ropes, awaiting their turns to move on. Apparently deciding that they'd figured this portion of the puzzle out, Meruin stepped onto the wall and simply walked across the slick thing. He reached the other end in short order, walking into the darker spot and finding that it was, indeed, the entrance to a tunnel. It was likely the one they were looking for, as it's surfaces were much cleaner than the other tunnels', much more angular, more man-made.
And so he stepped inwards without so much as a glance towards those that were still trying to make it across. A few yards was the short distance it took to make a right turn in the tunnel. Almost immediately after the turn, the tunnel opened up into a room that was different from anything seen so far. The chamber was a cube with three sources of light. One was a red glowing star that appeared to be floating in the center of the room. Another was a white light passing through a hole on the other side of the room that seemed to match the shape of the star floating in the center. And the last source of light was the dim green glow that each of the millions of motionless beetles that adorned the walls and ceilings had.
Meruin waited, silent.
After getting to the other side of the gap, Daomi followed suit behind Meruin as he went into the dark tunnel that awaited. When they reached the cube shaped room, he stopped and glanced around, taking in what he could and remembering each room was a puzzle or trap waiting to be solved. But how could this one be solved. He didn't think to look for Meruin for answers and only briefly looked at Kohaku and the twins to see if they were having any luck with the room. "Perhaps I should just step forth and see what happens."
Kohaku picks one of the glowing beetles off the wall, and then moves a little closer towards the glowng red star, before she flicks the creature at it to see if the light source is tangible or, for that matter, safe to touch. "I suspect that this puzzle has something to do with the lights. Maybe the colors, or teir orientation."
The two twins appeared behind the other two as they caught up, turning their examinations onto the room. The beetle squirmed in sudden motion as Kohaku picked it up, and when she tossed it, the rest did the same. It flew through the air and the glowing points on the wall, floor, and ceiling abruptly went after it. The shifting light revealed a few things. First, the red star was indeed a tangible thing. It was connected to the ceiling by a length of rope or wire or web or whatever the thin line stretching from the now swinging crimson star to the ceiling was made of. Second, where Kohaku had stepped into the room was a path that continued level with the floor of the tunnel she'd left, but the sides of it dropped off a few feet into small pits that held a great deal of those beetles. Third, the beetles could fly. And lastly, they didn't like what the Okumo girl had done, as the green glowing scarabs quickly turned their flight from the light they'd been following to Kohaku, the group of them moving to swarm her.
As the light of the glowing beetles flew around the room, making more things noticeable that weren't previously, Daomi shifted toward the wall that connected with the tunnel and placed a hand against it. Several spiders would then crawl out from his sleeve and onto the wall, before climbing up and toward the red light dangling by a line. Were the spiders to encounter any beetles that had not flown toward Kohaku, they would avoid them giving the option. Otherwise, they would defend themselves the best they could.
Daomi would then lower his hand back to his side and move out onto the path, stepping around Kohaku and continuing forward. His light weight and steady gait, making little to no sound as he moved ahead.
Kohaku scowls as the creatures fly all around, getting in her hair and everything. "Dinner time, my pets." She whispers. Sadly, though, her spiders were not cut out for this kind of hunting, so they have trouble keeping them off her. They do manage to snare and eat one or two of them as they become entangled in her hair or clothing. "I think the red star needs to swing into the white one." she yells over the incessant buzzing.
The twins simply continued observing things, for the moment, seeming to take a page from Meruin's book, though they did murmur among themselves and make vague almost gestures. Unfortunate things would happen as they talked and watched. Kohaku would find that the glowing scarabs weren't entirely harmless as their mandibles bit into her skin wherever they could, causing notable damage. Worse, though, would be the paralytic poison that would spread through her body. Of course, as Daomi stepped onto the path next to her, he'd find that they quickly swarmed him and brought him the same fate as Kohaku, their poisonous mandibles finding his body in many places and paralyzing him. His spiders were simply rent to pieces by the viscious insects.
By stepping out onto the path, at least Daomi got his answer of seeing what would happen by doing so as well as knowing what would happen to his spiders by sending them up the wall. For now and not by choice, he stayed where he was as the paralytic poisons coursed through the tiny punctures the beetles had made.
Kohaku's nails dig into her palms as the parylitic poison causes her to tense up, and blood drips from her clenched fist. She tries to yell something else, but she's finding it difficult to breathe at all, let alone speak.
The twins seemed to find now the time to act rather than to watch, though Meruin did not. "Enough," was their simultaneously spoken word as they dashed forward, spiders bursting from them. They washed over the other two Okumo, but most… went past, the hoard of them diving into the beetles. The insects flew towards the frenzy as the androgynous twins went to Daomi and Kohaku, pulling them back towards the tunnel, the spiders that had stayed on the pair swarming over the beetles still attached to the two. As the reentered the tunnel, however, the beetles that were still attacking let out screeches and fled back into the chamber.
The twins knelt next to the two, examining the paralyzed people. "Thought so…" The other nodded. "They were moving way too little for people getting eaten by beetles." They looked back up as 1/4 of their combined brood returned from the scarab death trap, making their way back to them and into their clothing. "So…" The twins stood, leaving Daomi and Kohaku laying where they were as they went to the edge of the tunnel, finding that things had settled down inside of the chamber. "They're carnivorous, it appears. Poisonous. Able to fly. Attracted to motion. And… unwilling to leave the chamber, for some reason." One pointed towards the glowing star in the center of the room. "That thing is the exact same size and shape as the hole in the opposite wall that's letting that bright light through. It's probably the key to the next room. The question is how we get it and to the other side without getting swarmed."
Upon being dragged back toward the safety of the tunnel, Daomi picked himself off the ground when the paralysis finally wore off. Once again, he moved toward the edge of the cubed rooms entrance and stared out toward the red star in the center. "It's the key you say?" At this point, even with the twins words, it was obvious the beetles followed movements, but did they follow seperate movements once already focused on something else. Suddenly, several spiders would flow out from his pant legs and onto the path ahead. Daomi then raised his hand up shot out a web forward at nothing in particular, then shot out another one at the red light dangling in the center.
Kohaku finally does manage to scream as the creatures contine chomping down on her, and she collapses onto the ground as it all becomes too much and she loooses consciousness.
The twins stepped aside as Daomi stepped up, looking back at Kohaku at her scream. Worried that she may be having an especially bad reaction to the poison or had been injected with too much of it for her system to handle, they took a step in her direction, only to find that Meruin kneeled by her side to examine her. So, they left matters in his hand, turning to look forward as the other Okumo did his thing.
As the aimless stream of webbing shot out, the horde of beetles launched into the air after it, blindly lashing out with their mandibles. A grouping of the horde broke off, running the stream that flew after the star-shaped key off of it's course. The spiders on the path were, however, too small a disturbance compared to the others to be noticed.
The spiders Daomi had sent across the path were supposed to be one of the necessary distractions to attach his webbing to the red star, but they were ignored…Why? The reason for this wasn't apparent to him, so he let the spiders stay where they were for now, instead working on another strategy.
He would try shooting his webbing at the key once more, this time however he brought his hands together as he focused his chakra to a specific point. When he finished, he extended his hand and shot out a web that instantly transformed into a dimly glowing green beetle flying toward the red light.
The twins squat down near eachother, suddenly, as Daomi thinks and Meruin lifts Kohaku onto his shoulder, looking towards the three Okumo working things out. As the webbing shot from Daomi streaks through the air, it gets the usual attention, the swarm flying towards the strand with a globule at the end. When it turned into one of the beetles, emitting the green light, the swarm begged off, settling down after a moment. The web scarab reached the key uninhibited, settling on it.
"Time to go," said the twins, coming to a stand. "Meruin, come." And with that, they hefted what they'd been working on. Two large, swiftly spun sacks of webbing. Quick spins and heaves sent them flying towards the opposite walls. The scarab horde flew after them and when they burst open, revealing a good deal of scurrying and chittering spiders, most of it stayed by them. "Get the key," was their reminder as they dashed onto the path, simply making a break for the other end where the bright star-shaped light was.
Meruin dashed after.
When his beetle-disguised webbing stuck to the star, Daomi half expected it not to work, but it did. What now? He looked to the rest of the group seeing Meruin picking up Kohaku and the twins working on something of their own.
The next thing he knew the rest of them were running across the path ahead to the other side, with the beetles attention being distracted by something else.
Not wanting to be left behind, Daomi gave a quick tuck to his line, plucking the star from the sky and catching it in his grasps before running behind the others. When he reached the other side he lifted the star up and placed it into the hole that matched its shape, waiting to see what would happen.
The horde of scarabs begins to diverge from the spiders they were slaughtering as the group dashes down the path. It took them a bit, but soon enough, they charged after the Okumo, their dimly glowing bodies covering the path behind them in an inky tide as pressed forward. The star-shaped key fit into the hole in the wall perfectly, cutting off the light that was passing through it. Soon, though, a long vertical line opened up in the wall and it split open, a white light so bright that it didn't permit one to see shining through and spilling forth as the next room was opened up. The scarabs screeched and fled to the walls and the pits to hide from the searing light, no longer a threat. "Come," lifted Meruin voice as he moved into the next room.
"We're not finished yet."