Date: October 6, 2014
Akiko, Katashi, and Rikuto are sent to explore this so-called 'Mushroom Kingdom'
"Mushroom Kingdom in the Land of Wind"
Underground Tunnels of Shiren Caves
East Shiren Caverns [Land of Wind]
The eastern area of Shiren Caverns is hot and, surprisingly, humid. Geysers and hot springs dot the tunnels, which are larger and fewer in number than the northern ones. The surfaces are slick with moisture, trickling its way gradually down into the southern regions. Some forms of vegetation — moss, lichen, algae, etc. — grow about the small pools, as well as fungi.
Reports say that the Shiren Caves have a system beneath them, and it's up to the team of Katashi, Rikuto, and Akiko to scope it out. It's just a scoping mission, so Suna doesn't need to send in the 'big-guns', right? Also, all of the stronger people are busy dealing with other things… The pair would find a hawk waiting for them with a report on its leg, the details of the mission kept brief: figure out what the giant mushrooms in these underground caverns are, and attempt to bring some back!
Akiko gets the message, of course, and she seems excited as ever to be on a mission. Kotone isn't too thrilled by the fact that it's /Katashi/ who's coming along with, but that's life… The pair (trio?) are supposed to meet in Shiren caves just before the sighting of these mushrooms, so she makes her way there first. Kotone is perched on a nearby rock as opposed to the Hayato's shoulder, since she's gotten a bit larger in size. "Anything interesting, Kotone?" Akiko wonders as she waits for Katashi to get here. She's unusually early!
After a few weeks of being under monitor, just in case of another 'flare up', Katashi finally got another mission. ~Boy they're whiney.~ 'If you hadn't of attacked a JOUNIN, maybe they wouldn't of been so bad.' ~I was trying to kill your girlfriend.~ 'SHE'S NOT MY.. you know what? shut up. Just shut up.' Katashi showed up a little behind schedule, looking lost in thought as was quite often the case. Slowing to stop outside of the caverns, he'd blink, looking at them, then over to Akiko. "Hi Akiko-san. Kotone-san." ~Lunch-san~ 'knock it off.' "We ready to go then?"
Akiko waves a bit. "Katashi-san~. How're you doing?" Kotone doesn't glare at him, at least, which is something. In fact, the falcon is pretty polite, acknowledging Katashi's entrance with a bob of her head. "I'm ready when you are! Exploring these caverns sounds really fun, I think." She gives a bit of a nod. "The tunnels are just over there, like the map said. I checked, but I didn't go down there yet. We should get to moving, I think." Another nod and she starts over towards the entrance, which is plenty big enough for a 6' person to travel down.
Less then a day after he left the medical center, Rikuto was met by a familiar hawk bringing a missive leading him close to the middle of nowhere. By the time time the teen manages to find the correct cavern system, he realizes he had passed it at least twice already in his hurry to try to make it on time. "..Next time she should draw a better map," was muttered as he stand up from his sand, wind sail. Looking back down at the missive again, he begins to wonder around closer to the outcrop, checking to see if he needed to travel again. "Akiko-san?"
Katashi starts to say something when he hears a voice call out. Glancing over, he would wave to Rikuto. "Alright. I'm doing well enough. Considering." ~considering what??~ 'considering you're so rude.' ~pfft. You haven't seen anything yet.~ 'I don't want to.' "It can potentially be fun. We got the initial reports so be aware of what might be happening around you. Even if jumping on the mushrooms. Rather not be ambushed by snapping turtles or something." Katashi would wait for Rikuto to catch up before heading in with them for that cavern.
"That's good to hear!" she replies cheerfully. Rikuto shows up just in time! Akiko hears him and has the sense to pause and wait. "Rikuto-san, you're late. But you're here, so that's good!" She nods a bit. "Like I said, we're gonna explore the caves. We have to bring back a sample of the mushrooms we see, too. So let's go!"
While the entrance was a bit short for Katashi, it got better for him. The caverns turned out to be a grand 10 feet tall once they got to the 'ground' floor. A quick look around would reveal a bunch of mushrooms. They were, like the reports said, extremely large and, if someone touched them, very springy. Their colors spanned the rainbow, but all of them had white spots. There were no turtles or strange plants around. Maybe they were hiding?
"Whoa!" Akiko exclaimed as she looked around the cavern. She removes a kunai from her pouch along with a bag, moving over to one of the larger red mushrooms to cut a piece from it. Said piece goes in the bag, which is tucked into a pouch. Then she puts away the kunai and can't help but poke the mushroom, finding it bouncy like reports said. Then she jumps on it lightly, ending up a foot in the air despite the small amount of force.
Glancing to the side, Rikuto looks to Katashi and dips his head but then stares at the young man for a moment before asking, "You're.. Katashi-san, right?" Turning away from him, he would turn to where the other was looking and towards Akiko, looking a bit annoyed when she said 'late'. "If you sent a proper map I might of gotten here on time," was grumbled, but not said too loudly as he begins to enter the cavern more deeply after Katashi.
Once within the cavern, the young Miira would look around, his eyes widening as they made it further from the entrance. "Are you sure you should even be touching that with you.." Rikuto trails off as he watches Akiko do something rather odd and suddenly seem to jump up quite fair height over the plant. "We're supposed to 'collect' those things, not 'stomp' all over them, aren't we? What the heck are you doing?"
Katashi went with the others into that cavern, keeping alert as Akiko would collect some of the mushroom in the bag for study. He frowned slightly. "Odd.. With the reports of what happen I'm surprised there isn't something coming along to deal with us.." He'd glance at Rikuto, then over at Akiko and the mushroom with a small nod. "It might be poisonous. Should really be careful I think." He'd shift on his feet. ~Did you see? I tried to kill the bird and now it treated you nicely.~ 'really? You're going to bring that up now?' ~what? it's true!~ '… it's because I explained that YOU caused the issue!' ~pfft. I think it's because I tried to kill it.~
Thanks to echoing caverns, Akiko is able to catch Rikuto's grumbling. "It's not my fault! I didn't make the map. Besides, I got here perfectly fine, and so did Katashi-san." After the bouncing happens, she recovers herself enough to say, "It's fine, I think! It's really springy, and I just wanted to test by how much." She nods a bit. "And I thought poison mushrooms only affected you if you ate the-" she breaks off her sentence as she sees a peculiar sight.
In the distance, the trio would notice a turtleshell. There's nothing too interesting about this turtleshell, but then it moves, becoming completely vertical on its own! A yellow head pops out of the shell, along with its arms and legs. It doesn't seem to notice the group quite yet, as it had just woken up. Lazily, it shuffles about trying to feel more awake.
When Katashi mentions something 'dealing' with them, his brow furls. "Not even allowed one simple outing?" was asked some what tiredly but then he turns away and closes his eyes, focusing for a moment. "Just what are you thinking might be in these caverns? Something that eats these things or something that grew these things?" Extending a hand, Rikuto begins to slowly wave it side to side.
When Akiko speaks up, the young Miira opens his eyes and says, "Contact poisons. Are the tops or side slick at all? Once we're outside I'll try burning some of them to see just to see if they react more than just shriveling up." When the girl cuts off in the middle of talking, Rikuto opens his eyes and begins to move closer towards her, trying to see what might of happened.
Katashi nods slightly in agreement. "Contact doesn't require eating.." He trailed off. ~What the heck is that??~ '… I was hoping you'd know..' Glancing to the others he'd motion for them to stay back. It made sense to him the chuunin should be the one to check it out. Heading closer to the turtle as it.. walked.. around? Katashi would watch for a few moments, making sure he's between it and the others before stepping back slowly. "Well. If you were wondering.. that." Katashi glanced over at Rikuto with a shrug. "there's also reports of.. plants."
The turtle is very lazy… Its movements are slow. There's no chakra signature coming from it, which might be a bit strange. With all the talking, though, it's bound to notice the trio, right? Yeah, it does. Quickly it retreats into its shell, not moving for the time being… The shell, a bright green, contrasts with the walls, making it easily visible.
"Oh…" says Akiko, sounding rather disheartened. "But it was fun while it lasted…" She stays where she is instead of advancing toward the strange turtle, but she does take out her bow just in case. Having it in her hands made her feel better. Kotone eyed the thing warily, the falcon's eyes flashing just a bit as she studied the shell.
"Plants? I heard some silly rumors about man eating plants but.. isn't that in the Land of Fire? Nothing out here grows like that." While Rikuto sounded sure of himself at the beginning, the more he spoke, the less confident he sounded as he took in more of the weird surroundings. "I think it's just us in here.. not counting plants and animals but stay careful. Someone could just be hiding."
Walking towards the plant that Akiko was just at, the young Miira would glance between it and the turtle. Pulling out a kunai, he would cut out a small chunk before tossing it past the girl, aiming at a spot in front of the creature. "I don't think that thing could make a good stew. Do you or Kotone see more of them deeper in?"
Katashi watched the others for a moment, keeping quiet as the turtle seemed to have pulled into it's shell after seeing them. ~Hey.~ 'I'm not talking to you.' ~heeey.~ 'still not listening!' ~HEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!~ 'WHAT??' ~kick it.~ "what?" Katashi blinked, looking startled, glanced at the others and then back to the turtle. ~Kick it. The mushrooms bounce. It'll be funny!~ 'Seriously?' ~Fiiine. Kick it to see if you set off anything else further ahead. Keep your prescious giiirlfriend alive then.~ '…' "Hold on." He'd glance at the other two and then start forward. Approaching the shell, Katashi surged that chakra into his limb and aiming for a mushroom to make it rebound further into the cavern, launched a kick at the side of the shell.
The kunai Rikuto threw wasn't enough to get the turtle thing active, but it certainly went flying when Katashi hit it! It was extremely hard, Katashi would notice, the shell difficult to break even though he was using chakra to enhance his kick. The shell goes sailing off, bouncing off the walls and shells at a fast rate. Various thuds/clunks/clacks can be heard as it ricochets everywhere. Eventually, the shell comes back! Is it even the same one? It is headed for all three of the Suna-Nin…
Akiko waits where she is, just watching Katashi. "It's a bit too dark to see much further, Rikuto-San… Sorry…" She frowns, then, as Katashi gives the shell a good kick. "That wasn't nice!" she exclaims. The girl listens idly to the shell moving around when it suddenly appears again, zipping right at her! She squeaks, moving out of the way by diving to the side.
Turning his attention towards Akiko suddenly when she squeaks, Rikuto manages to get a glance at a fast moving shell. Forming two seals quickly, he quickly breaths out, forming a barrier of wind around himself but it didn't hold, knocking him off his feet after it collides with his left leg. Before standing up, the teen turns around and clasps his fingers together just under his chin, lacing his ring and pinky fingers, quickly beathing out a pair of flaming orbs.
Katashi got a certain deep down satisfaction in watching the shell launch away. ~See? FUN!!~ He shifted on his feet then frowned as the shell came flying back towards the others. 'see? Stupid to do.' ~Bah! If they can't take one little shell hit..~ 'shut it.' Katashi moved then, the explosions on one side of the shell, Katashi would seek to flip kick the shell up into the air, negating further forward momentum so he could finally catch it when it comes down and plant it on the ground. "Alright. So there's nothing ahead that would stop us easily. We should get going before the turtle in here freaks out I think."
The poor turtle finds itself being heated up like the Suna-Nin want to turn it into soup. Then it's kicked around like a soccer ball, which doesn't help its dizziness. Fortunately, all this movement is put to an end with Katashi's actions, and it's able to relax, though still in its shell. Up ahead, people would notice more of those mushrooms, nothing particularly impressive for the time being.
Akiko feels bad for the turtle as it gets beat up on… But she's ready to move along. "Let's go!" she says, getting up after her rather acrobatic avoiding skills. She tries to see things better, but her sight is only about as good as a normal person in this darkness. Kotone has a bit better luck, but she's not nocturnal. "I don't see anything interesting aside from these mushrooms…"
The young Miira soon stands up, a bit unevenly to rubs at his leg. "Just.. what is that thing? That's not a turtle. I don't know what that thing is." Standing up straight, Rikuto begins to follow after Akiko though his head constantly turns, seemingly on watch for other odd shelled creatures.
After catching up with the girl, he looks around her but then pats her shoulder lightly once. "I'll make a flare. Try to give me a direction." Without seeming to make a seal, the the teen breaths in before breathing out sharply but briefly, spitting out a senbon made of flames, using it as a moving light until it hit something and snuffs out.
Katashi shrugged. ~Soccer ball!~ 'shut up.' "Let's keep moving." Having Rikuto provide the light, Katashi would head in that direction, avoiding the mushrooms as he could while they'd go exploreing this new location further. Hopefully the plants would just be a rumor. He'd hardly wish to have to deal with stuff trying to chomp him. ~Bah. you wuss. Every day should start with a good chomp!~ '… I.. don't even know what you're babbling about.'
The bright-ish light of Rikuto's Fire dart reveals a large black rounded figure to the side of the cave. It seems to be attached to the wall, too, which Akiko would notice just barely. She points out as much, too. "There! Something in the darkness, I think. It looks like it's sleeping…" They might not want to wake it up. There was a glint of white teeth that seemed particularly sharp…
"Where?" Rikuto asks, squinting into the darkness, noticing only vague shapes, soon looking likely in the wrong direction. Turning to Akiko, he nudges her slightly before turning around. "Why don't you show me or.." When he turns to Katashi he asks, "Do you think she's just seeing a knocked over mushroom?" Turning to look forward again, he raises a hand, scratching the top of his head lightly.
"Huh." ~Chomp chomp! don't knock it til you try it!~ 'you DO realize you're telling me to get hurt, right?' ~… so? How else do I get free?~ '…' Katashi glanced to the others and would pull out a rope to give to them. "Loop about your waist. Loosely if needed. so we can keep going the same direction in here. That, or light that mushroom on fire." Katashi would point to one nearby. "Rikuto-san, I saw teeth.. I don't think it's a mushroom. Could be a plant. Let's light up the area and find out what's going on. We have our sample so if we need to do a controlled burn we can."
Akiko fumbles a bit with the rope, tying it around her waist and passing it off to Rikuto next. "I know what I saw, Rikuto-san." She pouts a bit at the Miira not believing her, though the fact that it's dark isn't helpful. Her voice doesn't go above a whisper, as we doesn't want to wake up the chomper thing…
Turning back to Katashi and takes the rope, looping it around himself but only loosely. Turning back towards Akiko and says, "Says the girl who started hopping on a weird plant without a thought" though his words were a retort, they were said with a tease. The two close to him could feel that the air seemed to become warmer and more crisp. Looking forward, Rikuto began to weave a pair of jutsu, the first one quickly wraps around one of the close by mushrooms, trying to rob it of it's moisture, the second jutsu was a gentle breeze at first before igniting into a blaze of flame.
Katashi chuckled softly at the teasing going on. He'd set himself, preparing for what might be coming their way as Rikuto is very effective at drying out, then lighting the mushroom on fire. The leaping flame giving him a wide look at the surroundings for however long it lasts. If need be, he'd be dragging them with him, but he was going to make sure the genin were safe. ~Chomp chomp! Don't knock it til you try it!~ 'no. I am NOT allowing them to get hurt. Knock it off.'
The lighted mushrooms give a better light. They actually seem to retain the fire, too; not burning out the moment they catch. It provides better illumination to see the beast, which everyone is able to sneak by. They have to move quickly, but quietly. The chain chomp doesn't wake up! Phew~. They have to make it a bit further and… Yes, they're in the clear. Whether or not Rikuto keeps making mushroom-torches, they would notice that this isn't really needed. Something is lighting things up ahead, though it's inconsistent…
Akiko squints a bit as she tries to look into the distance, using a bit of chakra focused on her eyes and Kotone's abilities to figure out what exactly is up ahead. "There's a …. really big turtle ahead, I think, Katashi-san. And it looks kinda spiky too…" A frown crosses her face, as this really didn't make sense. What the heck kind of turtle is the size of a 7 foot person???
"Hmm.." Heat begins to swell around Rikuto but fainter than before. Breathing in deeply, he exhales slowly before nodding his head lightly. "Much better.. I don't really see it just yet, you're going to have to paint me a target this time. I'll send a volley towards it, should at least knock it away from the path if I manage to hit it right, ya?" Rikuto began to make a set of seals and practices his breathing, but pauses for Akiko's hinted directions.
"Spikes." ~I knew a guy with spikes. Had a bunch of tails. Turtle shell too. Rung real well when ran into.~ '… I'm not going to ask.' "Simple.. I'll confront it. You two support. It will either back off like the previous turtle.. or we deal with it." Katashi shrugged and would undo the rope then. "don't get too far apart. We'll have to deal with the ball thing and the other turtle going back.. so be ready." With that warning, Katashi would start forward, spotting his target and he'd accelerate. Time to see what it does to someone approaching.
The giant turtle sees Katashi step forward towards it. Well, it sees a lot of people, actually. It's more aggressive than the first turtle, sending a searing wave of heat from its mouth to the three Suna-Nin. "BWHAHAHAHA!!!" … Weird turtle…
Akiko moved to dodge the flames, but Katashi was ahead of her even then. It's maybe because he's in front of her? The Hayato still has her bow in her grasp… But that might not be useful? Or will it? She brings up the bow and sends three arrows at the giant turtle, hoping to pierce its armor. Kotone directs her shots a bit after noticing Akiko struggle a bit in her aim.
Katashi accelerated more. Eyes narrowing at the flame errupting from the turtle. With a sudden burst forward, resulting in him getting burnt, he got under that turtle's jaw. Crouched low he'd grit his teeth at the fire. ~I sense turtle soup coming..~ Launching upward with all the power coiled into his body, Katashi came straight upward, launching that fist into the thing's jaw to stop it from getting the others with the flame as well as try to knock it on it's rear. He'd plant a foot on it's chest after doing that swing to kick off, seeking to stagger it backwards, leaving that opening for the others as he'd flip away.
With widened eyes, the young Miira begins to change his fingers for another seal but hesitates when he watches Katashi rush ahead and distract the creature. His gaze drifts to Akiko, watching her briefly as she fired off a volley of arrows and nods. "Try to not get burned!" Shifting his fingers, he breaths out a steady and slow stream of wind which curls forward, likely brushing past the other boy as it wraps around the creature's head before trying to enter it's nose and mouth as it ignites into a cloak of flames.
That turtle is not a happy turtle, despite its laughter… Katashi's fist is painful, though the spiked shell on the turtle's back returns some of the hurt Katashi gave it. It roars unhappily, the physical blow stunning it enough that two of Akiko's arrows hit their mark. It's difficult to avoid a wave of heat, and as such, the turtle ends up with a number of heat blisters. Much like a bull, it's angry with all these attacks and starts to charge at the shinobi. But unlike a bull, it curls up on itself and uses its spiked shell as the main damager.
Akiko moves out of the way quick as possible, tossing seals behind her that explode on contact with the turtle! It's not enough to stop it, but the turtle does end up a bit disoriented, open for attack from her companions.
Rikuto doesn't dodge out of the way but focuses in front of himself before breathing out forcefully. When the strange creature continues to roll towards him it strikes and then redirected away by a wall of just wind solidified. Echoing Akiko's attempts to blow the creature up, the young Miira exhales a trio of orbs, though with Katashi safely away from it, the orbs expand significantly, as he tries to not only damage the creature but possibly knock it against a wall.
With the turtle dizzy after his attack, the explosions have a huge effect, as mentioned earlier. Rikuto's fire jutsu is more than enough to handle the beast! As such, he turns into baked turtle (anyone want a portion?)! Akiko hmms as she pokes at the now-dead monster. "Should we take this back too? It seems kind of heavy…" With a shrug, she cuts a slice of it off with a kunai. "We should head back. I think we're done exploring." And indeed, they were. An exit to the northern Shiren caves was just up ahead!