Date: July 12, 2016
With reports coming in of a strange monster being sighted in lakes just before storms befall villages all across the Land of Fire, a small team is dispatched to investigate and deal with the issue at hand.
"Invasion of the River Spawn"
The land of Fire
Reports had come to the capital time and time again of the issue but finally, the capital found that it was not something that could continue to be ignored. Storms had come time and time again to the land of fire, however with the arrival of something new, flooding and earthquakes had also seemed to begin taking place. The lakes would overflow and quickly flood nearby villages following reports of villagers seeing some strange monster in the water. One or two instances were nothing to be worried over, however the problem now was that something had been noticed of the flooding, a pattern. The mission was sent to Konohagakure for their ninja force to deal with the issue. The flooding started far to the ocean shore of the Land of Fire near where it and the Land of Rivers meet and from there, steadily moved inland toward Konoha itself! If the issue was not resolved quickly, the ninja village could be the next to experience flooding and powerful quakes.
What a scary situation, to think of all those people harmed by strange occurrences and without knowing why or when it might happen next! Tatsuo was certainly curious and was ready to go check it out, but first he'd have to check with the administration to see if they were sending someone already. Maybe he would join them. Or maybe he'd just go himself if they hadn't sent the team yet…
Konoha had already taken action and sent out several teams already, though not after the source itself. Relief teams had been sent to the villages affected by the sudden flooding to help force the water back and rescue the villagers and their homes as well as the shinobi could. It wasn't long before a ninja would be dispatched to Tatsuo's location with a sealed scroll held in hand and orders for the medic about where it was that Tatsuo was being dispatched and what would be required of him.
That dispatched ninja was just the poor genin they could snatch away from returning his borrowed medical books from Kenta at the hospital. He had looked over the mission and couldn't say he was the best for the job but with much of their free medics already dispatched to the other troubled locations, Shugo had little choice other than to go hunting down a medic he knew would be good in this kind of situation. The earthquakes were out of his control but he knew just the person that could be great at helping fend off flooding and helping anyone that ended up injured at the same time. "Tatsuo-kun!" Shugo called out as he jogged along the road in search of Hige with the scroll held in his hand. "Have you heard about flooding issues around the land of fire?" Shugo questioned while he held up the mission scroll and offered it to Tatsuo while explaining. "They want me to go to one of the predicted locations with some others, purely to keep the nearby area from being flooded and to rescue the people and wildlife if it happens. I was going to bring the mission to Hige, but I can't find him anywhere. And it's been a few hours already, do you have some time free to come with me?"
Tatsuo blinks in surprise and looks over to Shugo when he hears his name being called. "Oh, Shugo-kun, hello." He listens to what the older Nara has to say, eyes widening slightly. He'd wanted to help and was even heading to find a place to help. This was perfect! "Hai, I was going to see if I could help anyways, so this is perfect! I'll go with you Shugo-kun."
The mission gave a detailed map of the lakes that were already flooding and the predicted which lakes that might overflow next. It warned that the creature might be a ploy of some invading ninja disguising themselves to stir up superstitions, caution was advised. Of the three lakes, the one that seemed to have been marked the most was of course, the largest one of them all, a massively wide and deep lake.. one that was familiar to nearly all of Konoha's residents by this point. If the creature appeared there somehow, it would cause quite a bit of chaos, but that was unlikely considering it was within Konoha's walls and the creature would need to crawl through a village of trained ninja to reach it. The smaller two lakes were the options that the pair could choose from for their destinations.
Unrolling the scroll and moving toward Tatsuo, Shugo turned to let his cousin see the map while he used a thumb to point out the two lakes. "We just have to watch these two for a while and make sure everything stays fine in the area." Shugo stated while looking at the lakes and pursing his lips. "None of the other teams have reported sightings of the creature so it's possible it's not even coming, but if it is, we should be ready to handle it. Some of the jounin there said it might be some form of cover for a team of enemy ninja trying to infiltrate the land of fire to some end so we need to be on the lookout for anything suspicious." Shugo explained as he checked the map for a moment before offering it to Tatsuo. "Ready when you are."
Tatsuo looks the map over as Shugo points out various things on it. The lakes, well that shouldn't really be too hard. "A form of cover?" Now that was an interesting thought. When Shugo offers him the map the young Nara blinks in surprise and looks at his cousin. "No Shugo-kun, this was your mission. I'm just here to help you. Since it's your mission that means you're in charge of it all. So…I'm ready when /you/ are."
With the decision of captain for this mission, as well as the map had been examined, the mission could officially begin, and not a moment too late as the distant disturbances were slowly closing the gap between the target lakes, and the source of the flooding. The cause of the floods was slowly creeping closer to the marked locations, a low growling leaving it as it left a trail of battered and beaten bodies in its wake. Villagers, hunters, even dispatched ninja were not able to fend off the strange monstrosity as it moved forward with such determination.
Shugo smiled lightly and nodded gently in agreement, taking back the scroll and rolling it up before storing it inside his pouch and starting off toward the wall of the village. "Remember to take a moment and focus your chakra before we leave the village. No need to get caught off guard." Shugo said as he took a few jogging steps and kicked off firmly into a sprint toward the gates of the village. Once Shugo arrived, he'd wait by the doors for Tatsuo, though if his cousin chose to follow, Shugo would head straight out of the village instead. They didn't have too much time to waste so Shugo would press for a fairly swift pace like how Hige did when rushing to a destination once they were all ready.
Tatsuo seemed to relax a little once Shugo took the scroll and agreed to lead them. It was just the two of them after all, so this would be good experience for his fellow Nara in learning to later lead larger groups. "Hai Shugo-kun, I'm ready to go." He moves after the Nara, focusing his chakra, then cheating as he jumps into the air and lands on a thin layer of water that shoots after Shugo. Why run when one could move faster with chakra, right?
The trip toward the lakes would not be an issue, merely taking some time and causing the sun to lower in the sky by the time the pair neared the area. What would be an issue however, was the population on the roads. A village near to the first lake was having a celebration in respect to their village's founder. A parade of sorts was making its way toward the lake that Shugo and Tatsuo were heading toward. Marching, chanting, and raised torches signaled the location of the moving villagers as they marched forward toward the lake with determination.
Shugo smiled as he heard that Tatsuo was ready to go already and took to moving with a bit more determination. Focusing his chakra, Shugo stretched his shadow forward only to dash forward more quickly with little effort so that they could continue the quick sprint toward the destination. The sooner they got there the sooner they could make sure the lake was clear and perhaps move on to the next body of water to try ensuring they covered as much ground as possible. "We'll go to the one that's furthest first and then, if it seems undisturbed, we'll make our way to the next location to try confirming the same. Our goal will be to try making sure the roads are clear of travellers in the areas as well." Shugo explained as he raced forward and watched the area ahead of himself. The sight of the lights and the chanting that rang out from ahead of them wasn't what Shugo was hoping to have in their path. "Why today of all days?!"
Tatsuo nods in understanding to Shugo as he explains what they'll be doing, moving quickly along with the the other Nara. "Sounds good Shugo-kun," he says, his mind already moving on to what happens if he needs to stop some water from smothering people. Well, he'll do it of course, but he hopes that Shugo will also give out orders as needed since he's the leader and all. Tatsuo wouldn't want to step on his toes while he's trying to observe him or anything. When they reach the village he drops off the water and looks around at the large crowd of the festival with wide eyes. "This…isn't good."
Not good would be an understatement. A closer look at the marching villagers showed that many who weren't carrying torches or baskets of petals, were carrying hand crafted lantern boats. It seemed this celebration wouldn't stop with just walking to the lake as they went. The sheer size of the crowd also told that there was no way they could just up and get them to turn back without any issues. Overhead, the birds were scattering from the area with the coming night, seeking a new place to roost for the night.
Shugo came to a stop as he neared the villagers and frowned before beginning to rub his hands over his face in irritation. He regretted not stuffing the scroll down Tatsuo's pants right about now but that wouldn't be fair to the other Nara. He'd have to deal with this himself in some way. "Alright, Tatsuo, go ahead to the lake and try to confirm if it's safe or not. I'll try keeping the people from reaching the lake before your report." Shugo decided after a moment's deliberation. "If you find anything wrong, send out some kind of a sign. An explosive tag, a scream, anything. I'll come to help." Shugo said as he looked at the villagers and moved forward to try getting the attention of the villagers
"Hey… Hello? Who is the leader here? There's a situation that needs to be discussed." Shugo called out, arms raised over his head in a wave to show he wasn't holding a weapon and also to get the attention of the parade.
"A…scream…?" Tatsuo asks, glancing to Shugo uncertainly. Hopefully it wouldn't come to that. Then again he didn't have much to go on when it came to signaling at this point. Maybe he should take Kenta up on learning some basic seals some time. Without another word he jumps onto the water platform as it appears again and shoots off into the darkness, leaving Shugo to deal with the people. Tatsuo could certainly get them away from the lake if he wanted but it might do more damage at this point. Instead he focuses on the lake as he nears it, dropping off of the water platform onto the shore and looking around slowly. A hand seal brings a light mist into the air around the lake as he searches with his chakra for anything out of the ordinary as well.
The villagers wouldn't take very kindly to being interrupted, coming to a stop and watching as Shugo approached, however they were not a very peaceful gathering of people in any way. The immediate reaction to Shugo when he was in range was a swift swing of the torch to bash at his head if he wasn't careful. They had seen him send off his partner and wouldn't miss the opportunity to try removing half of their interruption right now. The first swing served well to open a can of worms, the others carrying torches and some even simply with baskets rushing toward the Nara to try beating him back from their proceeding. "You will not stop us on our honored day!" The villagers shouted, almost in a chant that resounded, working well to muffle any sounds of combat.
As Tatsuo searched the lake, nothing came up on the surface or the immediate area. What did come up however, was the steadily rippling surface from tremors previously disguised by the marching steps of the villagers. Perhaps Isobu would be able to notice something as he was naturally similar. That there was something beginning to move deep within the lake, something large and driven enough that it was beating at the stones deep beneath the water's surface.
Shugo watched Tatsuo's uncertain look and laughed a bit. "It's what I do when I stub my toe. Though I'm sure you'll have a better way of signalling to me than that." Shugo said before watching Tatsuo go and closing the distance between himself and the villagers. They didn't look violent, however if he wasn't quick with his defenses, that torch very well might have scorched him right across the face. As the tip of the stick shattered on impact and Shugo staggered back, the shadows he'd brought up over his face were revealed to the villagers. Still, he needed to focus more shadows onto his body as the other villagers joined in and Shugo lunged back to retreat from their wild swings. "Hey, I'm only here to talk!" Shugo called out, forming a few quick hand seals and sending out his shadows to try joining with the shadows of others so that they couldn't keep attacking him.
Tatsuo wasn't focusing so much behind him, figuring Shugo can handle a bunch of villagers…er…can't he? Still he was more worried about whatever was going on at the lake and while his mists didn't find much there was definitely something going on. But what was it? Tatsuo slowly walked onto the lake's surface as it began to ripple, trying to find the center of the rippling effects to get a better idea of where something might come from. But he still wasn't sure what it was. ~Something below, be careful.~ It's the warning he receives and it's enough to put him on guard at least.
Several of the villagers were caught by those shadows, though many more were using the trapped people as stepping stones, jumping onto them to remove their shadows from being on the ground where Shugo could catch them so easily and leaping through the air with their torches held over their heads. Strangely, they didn't look crazed, they seemed almost too calm in their expressions while trying to attack the young ninja. More than that, they were organized in their movements and if their target wasn't careful, he was sure to find himself overwhelmed by the few that launched kunai and other blades toward the konoha ninja.
Tatsuo was right to be on guard as the ripples echoed from deep within the lake, the pounding finally shifting the stones that blocked the creature's body from fully moving through the tunnel and into the lake. Almost immediately the monster started to rise up toward the surface of the lake, its head roughly twice the size of a person being deceptively small as its long neck continued coming, rising higher and higher from in the water until it was looking down on Tatsuo from what looked to be several stories in the air. Its body remained low, just barely breaching the surface though showing enough of the smooth skin to tell it was not a fish. As its mouth opened and those long, sharp teeth were put on a clear display, the creature lingered in place, a slow hissing leaving its throat in warning while it watched Tatsuo… Waiting for him to make a move.
Shugo had his hands full holding the villagers in place with his shadows and as those others came to strike at him, had no choice but to focus more on himself and weaken the shadows holding the others. He did his best to keep hold of them while his chakra cloaked his body and let those lunging attacks pass through him. Kicking strongly with his right leg cloaked in shadows, Shugo tried knocking his attackers away while at the same time, trying to drive his shadows into the villagers so he could stitch them to the ground and trees in the area. Of course, with the others trapped in his shadow mimicry, they would be forced to kick out at the villagers behind themselves as well.
Tatsuo blinked in surprise as the creature started to appear, the head followed by the rather long neck. How…odd. Yet Tatsuo didn't move since the creature didn't attempt to strike at him, instead he just watches the creature for a few long moments, wondering what it's thinking. He raises his hands to either side in a non-threatening manner. "I mean you no harm," he tells the creature, not sure if he'll even be understood. Poor Shugo would have to fend for himself for the moment while Tatsuo dealt with this, er, interesting arrival.
The steady assault kept coming even as Shugo worked to pin the villagers, constantly attacking and at times even seeming undisturbed by the shadows beneath their feet. They continued their assaults without hesitation, some even working to try ripping free of the shadows that bound them. Others still stayed back, holding their boats and other crafts and watching the combat which in its own way could be a success for Shugo. After all, he wanted to stop them from getting into the conflict that might arise at the lake, right?
The monster facing Tatsuo remained still for a moment, watching the young water user closely and observing him before its hissing suddenly raised up an octave and its head lashed forward as though it were the end of a whip. The creature didn't move its body from the lake that it resided in, only choosing to lash out its head in a quick sweeping motion to try removing Tatsuo from what it deemed to be its territory now that it had arrived. Tatsuo was no more than a challenger to that right.
Shugo narrowed his eyes as he watched the way the villagers were acting and began focusing his chakra, building it up in his core and then rapidly beginning to fluctuate the flow to try breaking free from whatever Genjutsu it was that might be trying to take hold of him. The people weren't acting right in any way, ignoring his shadows was a big sign of that being wrong. There was no way that they were easily moving past the shadows that held their friends. It just didn't make any sense to him that they were anything but a simple illusion cast on him. "If you won't stop I'm going to make you stop..!"
Tatsuo watches the creature and studies it just as it seems to study him. When it makes a rather loud sound he wrinkles his nose slightly but doesn't otherwise react, even when it's head whips down towards him. There's no movement and nothing happens until the creature almost hits the teen. Then the surrounding area lights bright blue as his cloak flashes into existence, larger than most have ever seen it before. Part of the blue chakra cloak intercepts the head and Tatsuo frowns up at the creature. "I really mean you no harm, but if you continue in this way I will have to subdue you." If Shugo wanted a sign there is a whole blue thing lightning up the sky over the lake.
Pausing to try fluctuating his chakra didn't work well for Shugo, earning him little more than the redoubled efforts of the villagers and an opening that allowed the trapped villagers to rush the Nara. If he wasn't careful, Shugo would suffer for his mistake, and only a keen eye would allow that fluctuation to serve the teen as something more than a painful lesson.
The creature reared back from that shocking resistance and examined the cloak that was wrapped around what it thought to be a simple human fool. Slowly drifted backward in the lake, the beast lowered slightly but began its hissing once more, eying the strange, eerily powerful being before it. As Tatsuo spoke to it once more. The monster hissed its warning once more, though much less sure of itself as it watched Tatsuo. As it lowered down, the water level began rising, flowing through the path it had opened and beginning to flood the lake along with the massive body that had taken residence there. There was something off about the creature's actions, somewhat scared, but unwilling to flee the clearly unnatural power Tatsuo began to release…
Shugo cringed as he felt the attacking villager's attacks stab into his shoulders and their torches smash across his head even as he tried to quickly defend against their attacks. Then came that horrible feeling, the ominous pressure and sickening feeling of Tatsuo's secret chakra coming to the surface. That little movement in the crowd of people wasn't lost on him however, a flicker of a forehead protector racing about and the suddenly smaller crowd of villagers standing with boats and watching. In their place, the pair of ninja from the land of rivers seemed to be maintaining a genjutsu even after Shugo had broken free of his own. Looking to the villagers, Shugo jumped back and formed a series of hand seals quickly as his chakra boomed higher. As Shugo landed on his expanded shadows and lifted the beast from within the darkness, Shugo sank slightly into the massive kraken and guide the tentacles of woven shadows outward and after the moving ninjas. He didn't have time to be gentle so the villagers as well would need to endure his shadow sewing technique piercing through them on the way to those invading ninja. "A little pain should help clear their heads.."
Tatsuo remains standing still, his body rising on the water as it starts to flood into the lake. "I can't let you do that." He speaks calmly to the creature even as he makes a hand seal and starts sending the extra water over the shore in a direction towards the river so as not to allow the village to be flooded. Then his cloak flares wider, growing as tall as Isobu himself is in his natural form before various tendrils slam into the water, seeking out the companions he senses hiding within.
Those shadows were more than the hiding ninja were expecting to come from Shugo after his fairly average display of ability and it caused the pair of genjutsu user to cry out when they were pierced by those shadows so brutally. Many villagers were caught and bound as well as, and even, the stationary villagers. There were no exceptions in who were caught it seemed and with the pain, many were broken free of the genjutsu and brought to their senses. They cried out, struggled, and even looked terrified at the fact they could barely move and more than that, were stabbed and bound by something black and impossibly flexible.
The tendrils were closing in and one even met its destination, but the others were bound around the large beast that responded by hissing loudly and lashing to try rapidly biting at the cloak even as the chakra proved to be a painful weapon of its own. The small forms that weren't caught moved swiftly to try escaping behind the trapped large form. Peering their heads from in the water, the smaller versions of the monster rose up to look at, and proceed to hiss at Tatsuo's cloaked form from the safety of their mother's back.
Shugo wasn't done with those trapped ninja and lashed out his shadows to wound around the bodies of those ninja before he clenched his hands tightly to try crushing their bones and prevent seals from being an issue in the near future. That left him with one more ninja to deal with, and he couldn't see where it had run off to just yet. He needed to finish this quickly and get to Tatsuo's side before something bad happened. Or before Isobu got out of control.
Tatsuo tilted his head slightly as he saw the smaller creatures while the cloak did it's job of keeping the creature from him. He drew up the other beast, somehow the cloak not burning it like it does anything else it touches, and he draws the creature up in front of him so he can get a closer look, practically ignoring the large mother creature in the lake as he examined it silently. "I'm not sure what you are, but I really don't want to have to hurt you or your children. I'll give you this last chance to stop what you're doing in trying to flood this lake before I take action." Still so calm.
The free ninja was keeping his distance, hiding away in the brush from Shugo and watching Shugo from his vantage point as he focused his chakra and began molding the water flowing into the lake as soon as he could feel the water nearing his location. The water user built up a fog with a grin as he watched Shugo and hid in the cloak of misty waters. It was only a distraction however as soon bullets of water were shot from in the mist and directly at Shugo at a high velocity. If the Nara wasn't careful, he'd not survive their little fight.
The large beast did what she could could fight off the tendrils holding her, snarling at the little ones to try getting them to escape while she fought to try lashing at the tendril binding her little one. As much as Tatsuo might try, a wild animal didn't so easily understand the words of man, more so when that wild animal was fighting to defend its little ones from a possible threat posed before it. The baby was seemingly trying to imitate its mother, flippers on its oval-shaped body slapping at the harmless cloak as its little head, perhaps the size of Tatsuo's torso opening its mouth to hiss at the cloaked form and give it a few testing bites before it calmed down. As it calmed, so did the mother as well, the water however, was out of the beast's control, or at least the beast had no intention of stopping its flooding efforts.
Shugo shook slightly with the impacts and then dropped to the ground, coughing a dark pool from his mouth as his kraken faded down into his shadows and the darkness of his transformation began to recede. Lost in the fog, the Nara could barely look around through the haze. Only a close look would note that it was shadows and not blood flowing from the impact zones, a simulation of his wounds that would have been if he'd not focused his shadows on letting the water pass through him. He didn't stop with just those shadows however, narrow lines of barely visible shadows along the ground reaching out for the brush around him in search of larger shadows to link with. Only then would the Nara begin his counter assault. Focusing his chakra, Shugo launched out a urchin-like pin cushion of shadowy tendrils to try stitching the ninja into place wherever he might be. Hopefully the villagers wouldn't mind being captives again.
After the creatures had calmed down somewhat Tatsuo would point to the direction they'd come from and even use the cloak to drop the little one next to it's mother nearer the whole it had created. Healing chakra flows through the water itself, finding any injuries or burns they might have received in attacking his cloak to show he means no harm while at the same time the cloak slowly withdraws from the mother. It was a show of power. He had taken them in his control and instead of hurting them he helped them and released them albeit with a little bit of a shove back the way they'd come. Tatsuo didn't really want to have to step up the show of power here or things might get really ugly. He just hoped that Shugo was doing okay with the villagers. Shouldn't he be here by now?
The ninja had felt safe in the mist and as it cleared, was satisfied to see a battered and bleeding Shugo on the ground. Only when he saw Shugo's blood was black did he try to get away, however his arms were already immobilized. A low, guttural growl left the ninja as he thrashed against the restraints and tried getting away, but to no avail. Only his head was left able to move after those shadows pierced his arms and legs, pinning him to the tree he was hiding behind.
The large beast seemed to have calmed as he watched the cloaked Tatsuo, swimming in place and examining the strange creature while its little ones dove toward the hole experimentally and then began to swim inside. The mother lowered slowly after then, watching Tatsuo all the way until her head slipped beneath the surface and her large presence began fading into the depths. The only evidence of her departure would be the large hole in the floor of the lake, and the soft shells of her little ones' eggs that were already beginning to break down in the depths of the lake. She would linger behind the little ones, adjusting the stones and fixing them to barricade the lake just as she had ages ago when she had first departed from the water ways with her own mother.
Shugo formed his hand seals once more, withdrawing the shadows from in the villagers and focusing them on the last ninja. As the Nara moved to his feet, he looked down at the hole in his abdomen that actually was bleeding beneath its shadowy disguise and then glared at the last ninja. Rather than the man's hands being bound up by his shadows, it was the ninja's throat and skull the shadowy hands grasped hold of. With a final sigh, Shugo let his chakra pulse and those hands to grip tightly. He only needed one alive for answers anyway… Once the deed was done, he'd tie up the others before going to search for Tatsuo at a bit of a slow pace.
Tatsuo watches as the creature begins it's retreat with it's babies, keeping track of it through the water while it leaves. Only after it had started it's retreat did Tatsuo let his cloak shrink and begin to fade away. Interesting. This would require further investigation to prevent future incidents. The young Nara hops upwards, landing on a layer of water that shoots back off towards the village. He meets Shugo part way and blinks in surprise. "Shugo-kun, what happened? Are you okay?" Without waiting for an answer he drops off the board and goes to put a hand to Shugo's forehead, sending medical chakra through to check his injuries and begin healing what he finds.
Shugo smiled a bit at the arrival of Tatsuo and looked down at his stomach where he'd been trying to keep from bleeding with a bit of gauze from his medical kit. "The villagers were being manipulated through some form of Genjutsu by a few ninja that were invading. Sorry for taking so long. What happened?" Shugo asked as he felt the medical chakra washing through him and helping to mend closed the hole in his stomach. "Did something turn up at the lake?"
"Genjutsu? What happened to them?" Tatsuo asks worriedly, medical chakra still flowing as Tatsuo guided it to heal the injuries the teen found on the older boy. "That is a long story Shugo-kun. I'll fill you in after we get back to the Village to make sure everything is okay. We'll…have some research to do when we get back." Or he does at least. He won't subject Shugo to it. "Better?" he asks after he finishes the healing, at least for now. It'll be sore but the wound is closed.
Shugo took a moment to check his wound and then smiled and removed the gauze to tuck into his pocket."Thank's for that, it was starting to hurt." Shugo thanked before listening to what the fellow Nara had to say about his part of the mission. "Yeah, I'll explain when we get back to the village too. No need to stand around out here if we're finished. I don't see any flooding so I guess you were successful too, and the villagers are safe. "Shugo explained with a light nod of his head while beginning to back away a few steps and then moved back in the direction of the village.
With both of the young Ninja in one piece and both the monster and the enemy ninja dealt with, the mission was a success. The waters would slow their advance to a halt long after the monster's entrance and departure from each of the lakes, soon soaking into the ground and leaving little more than muddy ground as a reminder of the event. The more extreme flooding however, that would require more assistance from the ninja of the Land of Fire in order to resolve them. Shugo and Tatsuo would be able to return home without issue and report of their success to their superiors.