Date: November 22, 2011
After a week in the forest on a mission to cleanse the animals of an infected chakra, Hashi and Daisuke finish up with the cleansing only to head to where the infestation started, the former cave of the Four Tailed Ape
"Mastery of Oneself - Cleansing"
Hidden Ancient Forest - Land of Fire
It has been a week since the two Senju had made their way into the Ancient Forest and the time had been spent scouting the landscape and investigating the local wildlife. After setting camp the first night, Hashiramako had sat Daisuke down around the fire and informed him of the mission. She had received word that the forest wildlife, as giant as they were, had been attacking towns and wayward villagers outside of the boundaries of the forest, something that was unheard of for many years. It seemed like the forest was special, in more ways than being gigantic. It was sheltered from the outside world, away from human influence, and had been for hundreds of years at least. 13 years ago Hashiramako had come seeking the king of the Forest, the 4 tailed giant Ape, in her quest to control the chakra monsters, or bijuu, as peace offerings to other countries, sharing a balance of power. It was around that fire that Daisuke finally learned what had happened when he was younger and lay sick and dying, of what his father had begged Hashi to do and the sacrifice he had made to keep him alive. After a long, restless night for Daisuke with a few tears, the boy seemed less light-hearted and more keen to complete the mission the next morning.
After the narrow escape from the crow's mouth on the first day, there had been considerably less close calls through their exploration. They had developed a kind of routine for checking the wildlife for 'infestation' of the demonic chakra and if the beasts contained any trace, Hashi would seal the chakra within a scroll while Daisuke played decoy. They had begun to get fairly good at the routine and things were going well in the forest, but their was one place that they had yet to explore. After the first day along the river, Daisuke had pointed out a cave to take shelter in, to which Hashi had denied him quickly. This wasn't just an ordinary cave. The mouth of the cave looked more like someone had cleaved half of a mountain off and dug right into it. It had to be over 100 feet high. Daisuke also felt some kind of strange comfort upon seeing the cave, though he did not understand it at the time. But as the week went on and the animals were cleansed and returned to their fairly passive selves, there were less and less places to check.
Daisuke stood on the back of a giant elk, gently stroking the fur on the back of the neck of the beast as Hashi finished up her sealing. "You know, I could definitely see myself coming back here to train or something. It's not so bad once you get used to it. It would make a great training area. Maybe you could 'grow' one of these in Konoha for a training facility?" he says with a smile, seeming keen on the idea.
Hashi could remember her efforts in coming to this forest, seeking the Ape to control the monsters. To her, it didn't feel all that long ago and was certainly something that was burned deep into her memory. One doesn't forget an encounter like that, not to mention the quest that came along with it. She's never quite felt at ease in this place, at least, with the evil chakra that seemed to be filling the wildlife and twisting them into monsters that sometimes required destruction or if they were particularly strong, taking flight.
The groove that her and Daisuke shared in sealing away the evil chakra was a good one and she admits she now feels much more comfortable around here than before. As she tended to sealing the chakra, she smirked at Daisuke's words as she said, "I don't think it's safe to train here at all. It may look beautiful, but this place is still wild." She admits. "If you want to, you can knock yourself out. I won't be coming back to get you." She teased as she finished out the last of the sealing and placed the scroll away for safe keeping. She stretched a bit and inhaled deeply. "Besides, you're only as good as me being around. Without me here, I'd say you'd have been done in a while ago." She chuckled.
With his ego deflated a bit, Daisuke hops down from the elk, joining his aunt on the ground. "Maybe, though I was the one to save you from being dinner for that two headed crow." he says with a boyish chuckle, still proud of that fact. "Where should we go next?" he asks curiously as he places his hands on his hips, scanning the forests as if he could actually see through the massive cedars and oaks. "We can't have too many more animals to save, we've been at it for a good solid week." he remarks. He hops up to a low branch hanging down near Hashi, though the branch was thick enough to hold four people side by side. From there he was able to get a better view of the land. As they were close to the grassland and riverbed they had been attacked by the crow on the first night, and being that it was still daylight, he was able to make out the ridged peaks of that odd mountain with the cave. "I can see that cave, I wonder if any beasts have been hiding inside there. We've covered almost everywhere else." he muses, still curious enough to want to check that place out, feeling an odd pull towards it. Little did he know that the infection of chakra was probably coming from that cave, where it all started 13 years ago.
"True." Hashi remarked about the two headed crow. "But I still think I could have handled my own. I may have needed a few moments, but…" She smiled and looked towards the cave as he mentioned where to go next. She turned her head away from it and looked up at Daisuke with a thoughtful expression. "We can probably explore a bit more and come back. I'm sure there are more animals that need chakra extracted from them." She didn't want to go to that cave just yet. Despite being here for a week, she wasn't certain if Daisuke wa ready yet. Looking back to the cave she then turned her attention to the rest of the forest, almost hoping there would be something else around here that they could deal with. It seems they've made a bit too much progress, though.
Folding her arms, her armor followed up with the soft stretches of leather and clinking of metal as a frown formed into her face and an aura of serious washed over her. "How ready are you to proceed into that cave?"
Without knowing about the cave itself, or at least about who used to sleep there, Daisuke found the question a little odd. With all the monstrous animals they had dealt with, he felt like he could do anything with his aunt watching his back and he watching hers, like a good team. But after she asked him the question his vivid imagination began to formulate all kinds of crazy monsters and beasts that could be residing in the cave. He looked a bit skeptical when he replied, "It's one of the last places to look, who knows how long that seal will contain the chakra, we need to hurry and I'd like to do it before nightfall incase some kind of crazy ghosts reside in the cave." A little nervous, Daisuke latches onto a lowhanging 'twig' of the massive branch and swung down to the ground next to his aunt. "I'm ready when you are." he says firmly, punching one hand into the open palm of the other.
Hashi considered his words for a moment and soon nodded in agreement. "Alright, we're heading in." She remarked. It's not that she wasn't confident in Daisuke's ability. They got this far, but being his aunt, she was naturally concerned for his wellbeing. This was necessary for his growth and mastery over that which was thought to be uncontrollable. She began to proceed towards the cave mouth, able to feel the darkness emanating from it. It gave her an uncomfortable feeling, but this time she wasn't alone in facing that which lay in wait for them both.
Passing through the cave mouth and into the dark of the cave, she looked to see if Daisuke was with her, almost distracted with facing what was ahead enough to break her attention. She vowed not to let that happen again. "How are you feeling so far?" She asks of him.
Daisuke nods his head and follows his aunt, opting to his usual swing through the trees to move through the forest. As the cave neared, he began to get really eager to go inside as excitement showed across his face. "It seems so familiar, and wow is it big." he says as he stands before the massive mouth of the cave. "Like someone carved half the mountain away."
He follows Hashiramako into the cave, the darkness enclosing around them rather quickly. When asked how he was feeling the red-headed chuunin looks up at Hashi with a pensive look. "It's like familiar to me, but I know I've never been here. Like I've come home but I'm not in Konoha?" He gets a little frustrated trying to describe it as they walk so he simply says "It's hard to explain."
Deep within the cave a low rumble is suddenly heard, catching Daisuke's attention. "What was that?" he says in a quiet voice, peering into the darkness. "It sounded like rocks shifting. This cave is secure isn't it?" A bit of a worry in his voice now.
Hashi wasn't sure she was enjoying this as much as Daisuke, but she understood he was young and so his youth may have gotten the better of him sometimes. Inside, he seemed to have changed and grew more tense and it wasn't a secret why. She looked at him and then back ahead into the darkness that maintained its presence around them saying, "Do you feel like you could lose yourself to it?" She thought to ask. "Does it draw you near wanting, needing in any way?" She wondered. "Or is it strictly a familiar presence…?" She finished and was answered back with a low rumble.
She halted in her steps and observed the emptiness with an intense stare, only allowing her eyes to be guided around the area to see that the cave wouldn't fall in around them. It's been here for a long time and kept its shape. She doesn't think it'll be falling anytime soon. "It's secure enough, yes, but we should be careful regardless." She explained in a cautious tone.
The low rumbling continued deep into the cave and though dirt may have fallen from the ceiling in faint streams, the cave was more or less holding. The shifting of rocks grew louder and before long, a low whistle rose up from the darkness and announced a large boulder heading their way. "Move!" She called out to him as she made the effort to evade the boulder.
"I feel like I could stay here and I would be ok, not home sick. But then I've never been here before and it doesn't exactly rival any of the best inns I've seen. Why is that, Mako-ba-san? Who lives in this cave?" the red-headed Senju asks, perhaps cluing into something from within. As he steps near his aunt after the rumble and looks around, he is startled by his aunts sudden shout to move, relying on sharp instincts to flicker out of the way and close to his aunt as the boulder goes flying by. "That isn't normal!" he exclaims, not in his whispering voice anymore. Within Daisuke something was stirring, as if the surroundings were resonating somehow. The Ape was beginning to get a little restless, though in a strangely happy way. 'What's your problem' thinks Daisuke, only to be answered with a tongue wagging. A look of annoyance crosses Daisuke's face, though his eyes remain focused on the darkness where the boulder came from. "I can't see anything.." he says as he moves his backpack around so he can dig through it, retrieving a lantern. By focusing some chakra, Daisuke spits a small streak of fire towards the inside of the lantern, lighting it and the area around them in a warm orange glow. "Jeez…" he says as he looks at the cave floors suddenly revealed, old bones scattered around.
Hashi kept herself in place before she decided to keep going in the cave. Whatever was in here didn't really like them. On the other hand, Daisuke was feeling too comfortable. She's using that as her gauge for their closeness to their target. She did find a chance to chuckle in the apparent darkness of the situation. "What about all of this has ever been normal?" She smiled as she began to proceed further, awaiting Daisuke's lighting of the lantern. Just as he did and the bones appeared her jaw shifted lightly. Just as she remembered it.
"Okay, so whatever lives in here doesn't like humans…or anything else for that matter." She hummed. "Looks like we're getting close." She plucked a piece of a rib from the wall and began to spin it around idly between her index and thumb finger.
Down the way, there seemed to be a dark glow from some otherworldy light. Upon drawing closer, it'd be a line of torches emitting dark, purple flame leading up to a smaller opening. It seems to be refined, however in that the floor abruptly stops and makes way for a floor that is decorated with paved rocks.
"True." Daisuke says as he manages a chuckle, holding the lantern up as the move forward. He watches Hashi idly playing with the bone of some dead animal…or maybe human.. and wonders if anything phased her. 'I guess as the Hokage you have to have an iron resolve like that'. he thinks to himself, a smile on his lips. 'Not being a wuss is a good start to any career, kid' is said inside his head as the Ape seems to have fully awoken and was keen to look around. Daisuke jumps a bit at the sudden intrusive voice, not having heard from the beast for quite some time. 'Now you decide to wake up, when we have already done all the hard work' he thinks, only getting a loud yawning sound in return. He mutters something under his breath and continues on.
"I kind of got that feeling with the massive boulder flying by our head." Daisuke says in response to Hashi's explanation of what lived down here, a small chuckle to try to lighten the mood as the approach a really eerie line of torches. "Yeah this isn't weird at all…." Daisuke says as they slowly walk through, being on alert.
The gutteral growl of whatever belonged in here was now growing before finally emitting a roar that could shake the average shinobi to the core. This was no ordinary roar. This one was meant to penetrate deep into the body, physically and mentally. Hashi, though she was strong enough to take it visibly paled from the roar. She begins to focus on Daisuke, hoping that he doesn't succumb to the power of the roar and it's ability.
"Are you alright?" Her breath was heavy. Her body reacted with physical fear and was growing tense despite her efforts to control her mind and convince it that there was no fear to be had. She looked back into the darkness and saw what was something locked up in a number of chains and shackles with eyes burning in the same color as the torches that lay on the outside of the opening. On top of that, the darkened chakra was sickeningly thick here, visible as a haze that lay stagnant in the air.
As the roar washes over Daisuke the air around him begins to boil, the demonic red chakra of his cloak beginning to seep out. 'Oh hell no, it did NOT' comes up deep from within Daisuke, mixed with annoyance and anger. But the chuunin looks more surprised than anything at what was happening, clearly not at a level where he couldn't control it. As the cloak slowly surrounds the boy his eyes remain focused on the opening before them. "I'm feeling oddly territorial right now, Mako-ba-san. I guess this cave used to belong to the beast inside me and he certainly does not like whatever guest is residing within this cave." The cloak of chakra seemed oddly reassuring right now, like it had his back. It helped reassure his fear of what lay beyond to know that he had his own monster and his aunt beside him. The sight of the eyes in the darkness makes him gulp. 'Come on kid, this creep is encroaching on private property. Are you just going to stand there and do nothing?' the beast says from within, pushing him forward, urging him to take action. 'Fine, but for the record I'm pretty freaked out. What is it?' Daisuke response internally, only getting a 'Youuuuu'llll see.' in response. "This must be the end boss, huh?" says the boy who plays too many video games. "Lets start the sealing."
With that Daisuke stretches his arms out towards the darkness, the cloak around them shooting out towards the eyes at super fast speeds. A massive roar is heard as Daisuke grips something in the darkness, holding tight as it protests. The beast begins to crash into the walls, trying to break the chains and shackles. Successful, the beast, standing well over 65 feet tall with a massive maw of teeth and a large tail, uses its own, dark flames, to push back Daisuke's. It had a demon cloak and it wasn't too happy! The beast begins to charge. "Move!" Daisuke moving out of the way but dropping the lantern in the process. The flame flickers out and all that is left is the soft hue of both the demon cloaks. Daisuke hopes his aunt is starting the sealing ritual cause this one will be rough!
"Territorial?" Hashi questioned. A glint was in her eye as she spoke it. "Seems like we're where we need to be. Well, I suppose it's time to get it together. This…lizard, beast thing doesn't look like it wants to give up its nice and cozy spot." She still found time to joke in the worst of times. At the call for sealing, she nodded and made quick work of placing herself at a decent enough distance, watching as the lantern went out in the midst of the fight that just started.
Back in the dark of the cave, she silently watches the battle in front of her, two natures of chakra battling one another, their light barely able to be seen in the dark haze that blanketed this cave. Drawing out a torch, she struck it against the ground to light it and laid it beside her as she pulled out a particularly large scroll from her back and set it on the ground. She then began the handseals necessary to activate the seal that was on the scroll and draw in the chakra of the large lizard into it.
Daisuke's extendable chakra cloak went crazy in the darkness, like some kind of light show as it collided with the lizard's own cloak over and over in all kinds of directions. He was lucky that the creature wasn't as sentient as a human or its use of the demonic cloak it wielded might've overpowered Daisuke. But it was not as smart and, as such, the giant lizard spent a lot of time searching for and snapping its giant mouth of teeth at Daisuke in the dark. Betrayed by its dark hue of color, Daisuke knew the location of the beast at all times and, guided by his own cloak and a rare occurrence of cooperation from his friend inside, he felt comfortable battling this crazy large lizard while surrounded by the demonic chakra. The battle raged on and on in the darkness, with the occasion burst of flame from Daisuke's mouth and roar from the beast shaking the walls the only signs of the fight to any normal onlooker. As Daisuke kept battling in the cloak it was getting rather dangerous for him, as more and more of the chakra of the Ape seeped out of him, forming one, then two tails behind him, signifying that almost half of the strength of the chakra sealed inside him had slipped out. But from the years of Hashi training him, a two tailed form was able to be handled by Daisuke, an homage to the great mentor he had watching over him. Even the Ape within was impressed, though he would rather be caught dead than admit it. He was a little tsundere that way, with the giant ego and prideful nature of the ape. As Hashi continues to seal away the cloak surrounding the lizard, Daisuke sees an opportunity and takes it.
Daisuke rushes towards the lizard, drawing its large mouth of teeth to attempt to snap at him. As he flickers out of the way his two tails form uses the extra appendages, along with the extendable arm and leg cloak appendages, to completely wrap up the beast, restricting its movements for Hashi to finish off.
Hashi was keeping focus of the fight as well as the seals she was blazing through quite quickly. It wasn't long before the scroll responded in part of her finished seals and the center of it glowed with a kanji for sealing, causing a vortext to open up and draw in the dark chakra that manifested not only inside the giant lizard, but also within the cave. This would be the last time she'd have to come to this place and it would ultimately keep the ancient forest protected from any other twisted deformations that come from this dark chakra.
The mist of the opposing chakra gathered into a tornado that continued to be sucked into the scroll, soon to disappear entirely along with the cloak that surrounded the lizard. In turn, it drained the beast of reserves and it keeled over from exhaustion of having to handle such a great amount of chakra. Down to the very last drop, all the chakra would be sealed into the scroll and locked inside, clearing the surroundings of its influence.