Date: March 28, 2013
Four unknown figures are overseen. One beckons, others follow, and see things they can't… quite explain.
"Advent of Mystery - Into the Unknown"
Kirigakure's Mist Lake and Within
Four figures stand at the shore waters of the lake, their forms hidden by platinum robes. They
stand cowled, of varying heights, the mists threading around them in the dead of this night. The
wind passes through, the motions of their heavy robes making it seem as though they were swaying,
the sussurus sound of quiet whispers floating between them…
Training is the causality of all things in a certain Chuunin's life. Regardless of what he does,
his sensei invites him to consider its usefulness in his training. So it is that Ichihoshi has come
to the the Mist lake, practicing his stealth. The surrounding woods of the mist lake are a good
place for this, as there are many beasts that hunt prey the size of a man, and hiding from them is
worthy work. It is as he comes to the edge of the woods, where the beach begins to descend to the
water, that he spots the silver robed figures. Quietly, to himself, he wonders who they are, and
what their purpose is? Can he learn something from the techniques they are using?
The figures continue whispering with one another, the sound of their voices dying before getting
too great a distance away. Though the occasional stiff breeze will tow along a fragment of a word, a
nearly dissonant sound. It is with an abruptness that the noise ceases, the four then speaking
silence before they each nod their head in unison. Three vanish.
The last looks towards Ichihoshi.
Ichihoshi huddles closer to the ground as the one looks towards him, and looses the katana in its
scabbard. Is it worth the attempt to learn something new, or is it more important to keep his life?
Ichihoshi licks his lips in anticipation, and then rises from the shadows and steps onto the beach.
If his presence frightened three, why not the fourth? He glances around quickly to ensure that he is
not being surrounded, and then approaches the water. "Hello, mist person. A fine evening for star
gazing?" He glances towards the perpetually misty sky, a frown appearing on his face as he realizes
that was a poor greeting considering the location.
The cowled figure makes no reply to either Ichihoshi's emergence from the shadows or the empty
words he tossed back into them. The breeze no longer holding any sway, It simply stands. It simply
stares. It simply is. For a small while.
An arm lifts, long fingers, pale and slim slipping from the voluminous sleeves. The figure beckons
before turning about, heading towards the lake, stepping over onto it's waters. It heads away from
Ichihoshi frowns at the creature's response. Is this the time to retreat? What if this is a new
threat to the village? Did he not have a responsibility to learn what he can and announce it to the
Jounin? Ichihoshi quickly smooths the concern from his face, and walks out onto the water behind the
cowled figure. A smart eye would notice how the water reacts towards the chuunin's chakra, as if
flowing together rather than pushing apart.
Today marks Kiyoshi's second attempt to find solitude at Mist Lake. He held little hope of success
given what transpired last time. Nevertheless, he packed the usual night time training gear and set
off without so much as a backwards glance. Upon arrival at the Lake itself, Kiyoshi pauses and
narrows his eyes. There were more there than last time. Annoyed but curious, Kiyoshi followed them
as silently as possible.
He's not at all very silent though even with genuine effort.
The cowled figure eventually comes to a stop, robes pressing against it's back, lifting in the
front as though straining to continue on. It turns around, looking towards Ichihoshi and Kiyoshi
from behind the blackness covering it's face. A pause. And then again, it appears to beckon to the
man, this time the gesture seeming to include the boy. And then it begins to sink beneath the
surface of the water, as though lowered by a platform.
Eventually, the whole of it is enveloped with a final cold caress of the water. Should any choose
to follow beneath the waves, they'd find a pale rope leading downward into the depths and the
darkness of the night lake. Eventually one would lose sight of it and be forced to follow it by
touch, but should they brave the 30 second swim along it's length, they'd find it's upward trailing
end — and air, and stone, and further darkness. The darkness would not prove absolute. After eyes
adjust, the'd find a pale green light glowing from moss that limns the wall of a small cavern, the
furthest end showing further darkness. A tunnel.
Of course. For what reason would one follow a phantom in the night?
A hunger for knowledge is probably Ichihoshi's one weakness. His sensei says otherwise, but it was
just such instances as this that would probably some day result in his demise. But that was for the
future to tell. He turns to the young Genin behind him, and inspects him, noticing the badge of
Kirigakure. "Well, if it turns bad, I'll hold them off while you escape." Ichihoshi draws the thongs
of the hilts of his blades to keep them sealed shut, and then descends into the water, and to the
Kiyoshi flinched as the cowled figure beckoned him forward. Logic dictated that he remain as he
was until he understood the intent behind the figures gesture. Curiosity however demanded that he
took a gamble by begining to approach once more. With a start, Kiyoshi stops again to regard
Ichihoshi once more. A brow lofted and silence is the only thing the genin offers before proceeding
after the swordsman. The former of which being unseen due to the gas mask.
Before entering the water itself, Kiyoshi stopped to bury the oversized cleaver he had been
carrying up to this point. Death by drowning is very unappealing.
The cavern the two come upon is small — nearly too small for Ichihoshi to stand upright in — with
walls smoothed by years of the water's tender touch, though the two appear to have grown distant as
of late. The entrance is a simple hole in the center of the cavern floor, the pale rope tethered to
it's edge. The figure who'd guided them here was nowhere to be found. Instead, all there was was a
subtle green glow from the moss on the walls, the silence broken only by the water streaming from
them, and the dark tunnel on the other end that beckons as surely as their guide had.
Cracking a flare, Ichihoshi raises it overhead as he ascends into the tunnel. "I don't think this
is on the map," he says, looking around. He loosens the thong on his katana, once more prepared for
the worse. He then chucks the flare down the tunnel to see how far it will go.
Kiyoshi swam, or better yet pulled himself along the rope until he reached their destination. The
first order of business was of course to nearly rip the mask off trying to get rid of all the water.
"Worthless." He stated darkly, but rather or not that was directed at the mask or Ichi is hard to
say. Glancing around with careful attention being placed on keeping his eye averted from the flare's
light directly, Kiyoshi begins to wander down the first available path to present itself.
"A pointless endeavor, Ichinoshi-san." He stated blandly in passing.
The flare bursts into sudden light — tossed into the tunnel, it arcs through the tunnel to pierce
the darkness like a sun traveling the sky, throwing red light onto the stone walls, floor, and
ceiling. And then it strikes the ground, bouncing to clear the short passageway. It rolls into a
room on the other side as the echos of Kiyoshi's words die, lighting a small figure in a pale shift
sitting down, arms wrapped around the knees it lays it's head on.
That head rises, showing the face of a young girl for but a moment before she shields her eyes from
the light with her hands, a screech bursting from her lips. "It hurts!" is her scream — the light
abruptly snuffs out — leaving only darkness once more and the sounds of a little girl sobbing in
Ichihoshi draws his blade as darkness descends once more, keeping the blade down and away from
himself. "I apologize, young lady. I was unaware there were others down here." The metal blade
glints in the light as water swirls from the cavern opening, and pools around his feet. "Now, if you
can direct me to where I might find your caretaker, I think we can figure this thing out." He
glances towards Kiyoshi, and then begins heading towards where the room was, as well.
The scream cuts through Kiyoshi like a hot knife through butter, and nearly scares the young Moto
to the point that he would have fell back onto his bottom in suprise. The solid placement of his
feet prior to the scream keeps him from embarrasing himself in such a way. The words that flow out
of his mouth on reflex unfortunately ruin any chances of proving to be wholly untouched by the
scream. "Wha-wha-wha-what the helk wash thash?!", He exclaimed. Then whipped his head about to leer
at Ichi behind the mask.
The leer is held even as the swordsman passes him by. It is at which point that he regards the
blade itself. "A-hem… Should you not sheathe that?", Kiyoshi asks as he jabbed a finger in the
direction of the blade. If ignored (or more than likely refused), Kiysohi would shake his head in
disappointment and mutter something along the lines of "foolish human" before following along after
him. LIke a foolish human as well, but one that at least had enough sense to keep a hand on the cave
wall as the went.
The sounds of sobbing go unbroken, the words of the two newcomers going ignored. "It hurts…" is
her only response to Ichihoshi's attempts at diplomacy and information gathering. "It hurts so much..
." The sounds of sobbing begin to grow further away, the light slap of and scrape of bare feet on
stone accompanying them. Fading…
Should the two enter the other room, they'd find that this room was far more purposefully crafted,
the stone carved into a rectangle. The room was empty as far as could be seen, the slightly
luminescent moss once more adorning spots on the ceiling, walls, and floor, though leaving far more
shadow than light. In two opposite side of the room stood two more tunnels.
"HELP! PLEASE!" cames a girl's screech. But from which passageway?
Ichihoshi glances around. "It is at this point that I believe that a team should be assembled," he
states. "I lack the skills to track in this environment." He looks over to Kyoshi. "Do you wish to
seek the girl, or should we turn back?"
It should not have been possible. It -was- impossible before this point. And yet, Kiyoshi hardly
hesitated for a second in deciding which tunnel to head down before proceeding to the entry way. It
is at which point he stops and turns just enough to look back at Ichihoshi for a long moment.
"Coward." Is all that he says, breaking the silence with the harsh admission. Afterwards he turned
back to start walking again, and motioned for Ichihoshi to take the other path without so much as a
glance backwards; presumebly if the elder shinobi did not try and stop him or leave altogether to
gather the precious "team". Once inside the youth kept his ears peeled and eyes strained in search
of the little girl from before. All the while his conscious debated with itself over the whole point
in carrying on.
The sounds of metal scraping stone suddenly rakes across the pair's ears — again stemming from
both tunnels, the sound of sobbing and pattering feet once more escaping, moving away from them
further into the darkness of the tunnels.
Ichihoshi stares after the Genin, considering a moment his words. "As I said, I lack the skills to
track in these conditions. It does not mean I cannot survive. By all means, you can go ahead down
that corridor. When you are lost… I will regrettably be unable to find you." His expression cools
from one of concern, and he draws a black oil from his belt pouch. He coats his blade, and as it
turns from silver to black, he steps back into the shadows and vanishes. Presumably, down the other
Kiyoshi merely nodded. He had already expecting nothing less than the truth of the matter. The
truth being the fact he was on his own. Again. Always alone to face the darkness…
Gritting his teeth, the youth fought down the desire to turn tail upon noting the sounds of metal
scraping within the tunnel ahead. If the source was hostile he would endure it. If not, then he
would make certain the perpertraitor was punished for attacking his delicate ears. In the meantime
he kept on doing his level best to focus on the main objective.
"This is as irritating as it gets." He muttered underbreath as he shook off some of the moss that
ended up adhering to his hands along the way.
The word is a sob, punctuated by the sound of something metallic striking stone once more, the
sounds ahead of the both of them, despite them being in two separate areas. Two separate tunnels.
And two separate but identical falls. Should the two simply continue walking in the dark, they'd
find that the next step in front of them simply wasn't present. The ground was gone.
A sheer drop. But not huge one. A simple five foot fall would see them on solid ground again. But
from down here light could be seen before them, just a a gentle glow at their feet. Should they
crouch to investigate, they'll find a small passageway — a crawlspace that, after entering would
brig them to a much larger cavern than any they'd stepped into before, the moss growing heavily on
the ceiling and sparingly on the ground, giving one the feeling that they were searching an eerie night sky.
Trained in stealth, Ichihoshi walks on his toes, not settling his weight until he is sure of his
footing. So when he comes to the dropoff, he would pause to catch his balance again. The katana, an
extension of his arm, would sweep the air, searching for the floor… a further wall. None sensed,
he dropped a senbon off the ledge. It sounded almost immediately. Moments would pass as he waited to
hear if anything would react to the fallen needle.
Satsified, Ichihoshi would hold his katana above his head, and performing the tree walking,
descend down the wall slowly until he reached the bottom. Further inspection of his surrounding area,
and he would nod to himself, and descend into the small passageway and the cavern of light.
Ichihoshi was not alone in being careful with the plcament of each foot. The one difference
between the two being the lack of light forcing the already laid-back shinobi to take even more time.
Slow and steady did not prevent him from still making more mistakes along the way, such as nearly
falling to what felt like certian doom, then suffering a nerve wrecking thirty-seconds of slipping
down further after narrowly catching onto the edge in the first place.
If only he had paid more attention to the wall…
"Tch… Ain't, gonna, die… Can't, yet-…" The rest of the mantra falls away as the rocks give
away. He hits the ground hard on his back, and remains in that position; groaning in pain and
wishing in earnest that he had turn back. Then came the memory, faint but insistantly reminding him
that laying around won't do. So, he grits his teeth, rolls over, and gradually gets enough of his
bearings back to note the crawlspace before shimming on through.
A sudden sob resounds throughout that caverns…
"H-hello?" There's a sound of rustling cloth before the quiet patter of footsteps approaching. A
muffled sob. The girl who'd been running away from someone until now comes into view, her hands held
to her chest. Barely visible in the light overhead she comes closer, her pale sundress gaining a
vaguely blue-green tint. "Please… Please take me awa—" she breaks off in a sudden scream as she's
lifted from behind by the neck, the cowled figure stepping backwards into the darkness with her. Her
screams abruptly cease, leaving only echoes once more, and soon even those are gone.
Ichihoshi studies the formation of the cavern for a moment, and then seeks out Kiyoshi. When he
finally finds him, he comments, "I don't like this. We need to report this to the Mizukage's office
so that a proper investigation can be made." He would then lead the way out of the cavern system and
back up to the mist lake.
Kiyoshi kept crawling forward despite how much his head ached from the fall. The sobs that echoed
ahead only renewed his resolve and gave him the strength to press on even further.
It was not enough. A minute, perhaps three more and just maybe he could have done something.
Instead, he had a back row seat for a kidnapping. Thoughtless, he still charged after the cowled
figure and his hostage; only to slide to a stop upon belatedly noting Ichihoshi's prescence. The
words he spoke made his blood begin to boil, and for just a brief second he considered following
through with the mad desire creeping up his spine.
A heavy step forward is taken. Then he froze up and clenched his fist at his side. "…Hai." Is
his tonelessly reply before following behind the elder shinobi. There would be another chance. To
rescue and protect… or for vengeous.