Ninja Cook Off - The Devil's Pantry


Nobunaga, Zankuro

Date: April 27, 2015


The Second Round of the Ninja Cook Off is underway. Zankuro is going to have to step up.

Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.

"Ninja Cook Off - The Devil's Pantry"

Land of Bears

Things were warming up in this year's Ninja Cook Off. Having faced down a hoard of hot hogs and slaying the Baron Nobunaga and Zankuro seemed to have finally caught a break. That is until the mist shinobi swooped in to steal their impressive kill. Facing off against four enemies of Chuunin rank or higher Nobunaga does not wavor. He glances to Zankuro already having decided to prioritize the Sarutobi's safety. He's always getting Zankuro dragged into these types of situations. Nobunaga's expression hardens. The other Mist Shinobi look like they're raring to go however one steps forward. Heavily cloaked and shrouded a woman's voice cuts through the tension. "Are you mad?" she asks. "Have you forgotten we're under a strict time limit? While we could certainly do away with these shinobi easily enough it's best not to waste our time on them any longer. Look…" She turns towards the setting sun. "We'll finish them off in the second half of the competition. For now we should get back and quick. Remember first come first serve." The other mist shinobi back off agreeing with the woman. "Oh that is right. Don't want to get the short end of the stick." they chuckle menacingly before taking off. A sigh of relief escapes from Nobunaga. "Lady luck has a crush on us Zank-kun."

"On you maybe, because she sure as heck doesn't seem to like me all that much!" Zankuro exclaims. And it was true, to an extent, for the vast majority of his past experiences seemed to involve nothing but bad luck! Still, he turned to watch the last of the mist shinobi slip away and breathed a little easier knowing their prety wouldn't be stolen. "Alright, think you can gather them up in a pile for me so I can seal them away?" He asks while moving to the baron. Seeing as how it was the largest of the hogs, a special place in his scroll would be in order. He unfurls the giant scroll on his back to begin working on making a few alterations before sealing the former boss hog inside.
"Nobu-sensei.. what do you think… We got enough time to catch more ingredients?" What is this!? Has Zankuro gone off the deep end in the past few moments? Or did taking down the hot hogs and baron served to boost his ego a little? :)

Nobunaga chuckles at Zankuro as he moves to get everything all nice and orderly for Zankuro to seal up. "Sadly we don't. But we should be fine with the hell hogs and the Baron Lizard." Nobunaga, after moving the carcasses around, falls to his knees. The fight with the Baron Lizard had taken a toll on him. "We need to get back as quickly as possible before all the good stuff is gone." Nobunaga reminds Zankuro. While they were not under an actual time limit the teams were informed that the sooner they finished their hunt the sooner they'd be able to return to camp and select equipment and spices. Panting visibly Nobunaga hurries Zankuro while he tries to catch his breath.

Zankuro nodded absently in agreement. Now that /that/ is out of the way however, the Sarutobi was left looking over their catches and wondering what the heck they were going to cook out of their ingredients. Meat Supreme Casarole? Stuffed Hog? Baron Surprise. "Keep your pants on, sensei. And here—" Zankuro unseals a canister filled with crips, cold water and toss it to Nobunaga. "Drink up and chill out for a bit. It won't take me long so long that we won't get a good deal." It really doesn't take all that long too due to all the gathered up hot hogs. The chief among that batch needed a bit of special care too, though the seal adjustments were not nearly as bad as with the Baron. As soon as their catches are all sealed away, Zankuro nods curtly to Nobunaga, signaling for the chuunin to take the lead.
«OOC» Zankuro says, "brb"
GAME: Save complete.

Graciously accepting Zankuro's aid Nobunaga downs the canister. Once he's up on his feet again the two would be heading back to camp. The Konoha duo has survived the first round of the Ninja Cook Off. Upon returning to camp they find that they are the second to last group to make it back. Sunagakure finished first followed by Kumogakure. Kiri took third leaving Konoha in spot number four and Iwagakure bringing up the rear. The lovable and androgynous yet attractive host of the cook off, Yuki, revealed him…her…itself in a flamboyant display after all the teams gathered. "Well done well done! You've all survived the first round of the cook off. Really impressed with Konoha over there." Yuki winks at the two leaf shinobi. "Well now lets not dally shall we? On to ROUND TWO!"

"As I stated earlier first teams to return from round one will have first dibs to their equipment and ingredients in round two." Yuki playfully explains. "Sunagakure you guys are up first. Please choose a victi…er I mean representative!" The Suna shinobi huddle and talk amongst each other before one steps forward. This particular shinobi is completely wrapped in bandages, even their face. Only their long silver hair showed. "Ok so for those of you who don't know, Konohagakure, the second round of the Ninja Cook Off is called the Devil's Pantry." Yuki swoons and giggles shortly before going on. "So basically…follow me over here." Yuki leads the shinobi down a path that takes them into a forest. It was extremely dark yet teeming with life. Finally they reach a clearing. All manner of vegetation's grows in this clearing. Of course plenty of which could be used in cooking as spices, seasonings and garnish. "Beautiful ain't it? Ok step right up Mr. Sand Representative." The suna shinobi stands next to Yuki. "You have as long as you want to gather up as much as you'd like. You can bring back AS MUCH AS YOU CAN CARRY. The only rule…" Yuki snatches a small rodent from nearby and tosses it into the clearing. Before the rodent can hit the ground something emerges from beneath and swallows the poor animal whole. It was fast. Too fast to get a good look at it. "Actually more like a bit of advice. Stay light on your feet~." Yuki giggles. "The Land of Bear's very own carnivorous plant, the Demon Root, dwells beneath this soil." Yuki showcases. "Needless to say once it has you, you're a goner. It'll eat you up and spit your bones out." Yuki gestures to some human bones that just so happen to be lying about. "So first up is Suna. Followed by Kumogakure then Kirigakure, Konoha, and finally Iwa. If you get caught and die well your team can select another rep but they loose their spot in line." Yuki adds. "Are well all clear on the rules?" Yuki looks to Nobunaga and Zankuro again. "Well then, good luck."

"How to feels…" Zankuro murmured under breath as he watched the host go all out in another display of fancifulness. Not knowing whether the host was a girl or boy really did bother the Sarutobi so much so, he didn't even pay much attention to anything else. He just followed along with a contemplative look about himself. Then, the rodent gets snatched up in the blink of an eye. A whole host of emotions plays across the fluffy face of the fresh chuunin. Fear was the common theme for the Sarutobi, and eventually could be considered having become the crown champion given the fact it stayed behind.
"Yo-yo-you so g-got this r-r-ro-round sensei! I believe in you!!" A very overly enthusiastic pat on the back is given the elder male. Turning, Nobunaga would see the Sarutobi smiling brightly, but sweating up a storm while his legs trembled beneath him.

The other shinobi laugh at Zankuro's fearfulness. Yuki dances over to the Sarutobi and snickers playfully "Aww how cute. But your sensei doesn't look up to the task." as frightening as it was Yuki was right. Nobunaga is still tired and not in tip top shape. For him to challenge the demon root in his current condition would be akin to suicide. "Sorry Zank-kun but…uh Yuki-san is right." He admits. "But that doesn't mean I'm as good as plant food." Nobunaga smirks. "I'll manage." He assures. Yuki shrugs "How noble of you." One of the Kumogakure shinobi scoffs at Zankuro. "Coward. I heard tales of Konoha's moving comradery. Alas you can't alway believe what you hear." One of the Kirigakure shinobi groans excessively loud. "Can we start already!?" Silence overtook everything and the second round began.

The Sand shinobi dashed out quickly and already the roots of the Demon Root were after him. Sinister tendrils sprung up from the ground menacingly pursuing the shinobi. Not letting up out of fear the shinobi scrabbles and makes grabs for several herbs. He's only able to snatch a small amount before the vines were upon him. He had to circle back several times just to get a handful. There were a few close calls. The replacement and clone techniques saved his life on more than one occasion but it's clear he's becoming winded. "Yoshiro that's enough!" one of the sand shinobi call out. Yoshiro makes his way back but just as he turns around one of the vines snag his wrist. Instantly he drops, arm sinking into the ground. More tendrils arise to ensnare him. Suddenly a slicing stream of wind severs Yoshiro's arm. Without missing a beat, nor wincing, Yoshiro flees back to safety. "Hey hey hey!" Yuki points at the sand shinobi that cased the jutsu. "Cheating! I mean…did I forget to mention that there'd be no outside help?" Yuki ponders for a moment as Yoshiro is tended too. "Meh I don't remember. So you guys get a pass on that one. But just so everyone else knows…that's not cool. You'll be disqualified." A few shinobi groan but most just move on. Kumogakure was up next. Their representative performed admirably well. Kirigakure's representative would be the cloaked figure from earlier who confronted Zankuro and Nobunaga a while back. Shedding her hood she revealed a young blossoming face adorned with short yet beautiful golden hair. She sighs before glancing back at her team then to Konoha. She smirks at them before starting off. Gracefully she dances around the vines freezing any that come too close with her jutsu. "The Ice Witch certainly lives up to her name." Yuki comments. Looking back to Nobunaga who would still be panting Yuki frowns. "So I take it you'll be Konohagakure's rep then?"

"I can't watch." Both hands are thrown up, but only one actually covers Zankuro's eyes. The fingers of its counterpart however part just enough for the teen to watch as much as the display as the forest allowed its viewers. He had to admit, the guy definitely had some decent skills to work with. Unfortunately, relying on the basics and a bit of strategy proves not enough to keep the sand shinobi safe. "We knew him only so—" Zankuro pauses mid-salute and smiled as the sand shinobi's comrades came to the rescue! Sure, they could've been more tactically about it, but losing an arm certainly beat death!
Then Yuki just had to go and technically not change the rules on them, earning some mild grumbling from the Konoha-nin as he averted his gaze. With his attention elsewhere he missed Kumogakure's reps actions, though upon looking back it is clear they did well. Kirigakure fared even better… BUT Zankuro's attention is not even remotely on the hows or what's gathered. Nope. As soon as that cloak came down everything else was just forgotten by the Sarutobi. He didn't care not one iota that ice witch smirked at them. Er, well, it isn't that he cared in a negative way is more like it if the whole intense blush Zankuro sported had anything to do with it.
He… He… "Actually miss host, I'll be taking care of this round." Zankuro puffs out his chest and steps forward, blissfully ignorant of the drool hanging out of the corner of his lips.

Nobunaga blinks in astonishment at the skills of the other reps. 'Man they're all pretty quick and just barely keeping themselves out of harm's way.' a look of anxiety starts to appear on the Amaro's face. 'This might be tougher than I thought." Nobunaga rises ready to answer Yuki when Zankuro steps forward. "Wait what?" Nobunaga turns to Zankuro. He prompts Yuki to give them a moment. "Zank-kun look I'm fine you don't have to do this." He tries to explain to Zankuro but seeing the look on the Sarutobi's face and following his eyes to the Ice Witch. "Oh you've got to be…" Nobunaga sits down and motions Zankuro off. "Well if that's the case then I guess this is best." Nobunaga smiles gives Zankuro a thumbs-up. "When he gets like this there's no need to worry." Yuki chuckles and nudges Zankuro "My my the sudden change of heart…it's becoming of you." Yuki turns back to watch the Ice Witch finish up. "Did…did he just call me 'miss'?" Yuki now wonders. "Oh…so you've grown a backbone?" The Ice Witch says to Zankuro as she moves past him and Nobunaga. "More for the Demon Root to discard." she snickers as she brings her hood back up. Nobunaga sits up and calls out to Zankuro "Oh hey we need these seasonings." Nobunaga hands Zankuro a list. "A handful of each should do it." There were five types of herbs on Nobunaga's list. "But listen if you come back if you can't manage ok?"

Zankuro just looks at Nobunaga, eyes a glimmer and brimming with determination and confidence. Just as he thought, the look is enough to get the elder man to back down and let him do what was necessary for his lady love. Er, for the team, yes, totally for the team! Not one part of him was being influenced by lust or love or some combination of the two. Nope. Totally not the case. Obviously if he was consumed by either, then there would be no way he could return the thumbs up to Nobunaga or direct it in a totally non-mechanical fashino to Yuki.
"Heh, if you say so." Zankuro replies to the witch as he watched her drift by. He is a bit slow to react to Nobunaga, but he does eventually turn to the man, patting his shoulders. "Alright, alright, no worries man. I got this." He says grinning. "Yo! Cloakie-chan~ How bout a bet?" He pauses long enough for an answer, and assuming its a positive one, the boy beams at her before dramatically turning about to face the forest. "If I manage to get everything on this list here, you owe me a non-lethal kiss! On the lips!" Look at mr. keeping-just-enough-of-that-sanity-for-specifics!

Nobunaga facepalms hard at Zankuro's proposition. "I'm not surprised." The Kirigakure shinobi start to chuckle as well as the others. The Ice Witch just stares coldly at Zankuro. "You forget yourself child." She turns to face the Sarutobi. "I would sooner kiss the rear hide of a beast than give your life such meaning." COLD AS MINT! But there was a break in the stoic chilled expression of the Ice Witch. "Never refer to me in such a manner again or I'll freeze you to your very core." She turns away leaving Zankuro with only her back to look upon. "My name is Minami." she later informs him. Nobunaga blinks in alarm. "That's ringing a bell." he thinks.

"Ok enough with all this kissy talk!" Yuki proclaims. "Konoha you're up. Rules are you get no help and once you return…if you return you do not get to go back out." Yuki pokes Zankuro "Got that Mr. Lovey Dovey~?" Yuki winks at Zankuro before getting out of his way. "You may proceed when ready. Good luck. Try not to die." Nobunaga couldn't help but be a little worried. Zankuro was anything but fast. Much more nimble and speedy representatives struggled to stay out of the clutches of the vines. "Zank-kun I seriously hope you've thought this out."

By the time Minami is done tearing Zankuro down, the teen is curled up into a ball on the ground, rocking back and forth. Neither Yuki's empowering poke or Nobunaga's words can return the poor dispirited Sarutobi back to his noble self. "Hrmm…. I still got a plan.. tho' I don't really feel like do anything about it." He admits as much. Despite his own words the body still rises sluggish back to its feet. "Man.. and here I was so pumped up to." Zankuro murmurs while idly repositioning the giant scroll. "First test.." Another scroll is fished out and tossed in the air. While it spun, Zankuro flashed through a set of hand seals. Nothing happens immediately, but after giving the scroll a few spins about his form, roughly human sized boulders explode into existence and go flying off, forming a rough path into the forest from the starting point.
Assuming the Devil roots don't immediately try to drag them off like they would any intrude, a tentative leap from one boulder to the next is made by a still very depressed Sarutobi.

"Nice." Nobunaga exclaims watching Zankuro traverse the clearing with ease. The demon roots swarmed the boulders but did nothing more once no source of food could be confirmed. It seems like Zankuro has outsmarted the roots. "Hmm. Clever." Minami comments. One of the other Kirigakure shinobi snorts. "More like cowardly. Guys like him just spice me off." Minami looks to her teammate silently. She notices he's up to something. Just when all seemed to be going his way the boulders start to explode one after another. "The basil?" Nobunaga snaps. Yuki blinks and looks to the mist shinobi. Pressurized water bullets were being fired from his fingertips effectively destroying Zankuro's foot holds. "Hey hey hey hey! That's against the rules!" Yuki says to the mist shinobi. "What? I thought you said we couldn't help?" The shinobi feigns. Yuki groans "Come on, act like you've been here before. Or Did…did I forget to mention that too?" Yuki shrugs "Meh well just so the rest of you know. No outside aid or interference will be tolerated." Yuki nods "Anywho…" Nobunaga growls staring daggers at the mist shinobi. "You cloves…" The vines now search for prey after the bolder are turned to rubble.

Zankuro did not even have enough time to mutter a curse before being forced to act. Out of the six or seven boulders summoned by the Sarutobi, the rotund teen only manages to make it to the third when things go to heck. Reflexes lead him to leap back onto his previous boulder, but after glancing back and seeing the mist shinobi already primed to act again, Zankuro leaped forward again, rolling roughly along the ground. "Kuso…" Mere moments after those grumbled words left his mouth, Zankuro is again forced to move or wind up captured by the sweeping roots. Fortunately, he is sharper than he looks, though not the most coordinated of fellows, seeing as how some of his moves couldn't exactly be classified as acrobatic feats of extraordinary prowess. Heck, the one back band flip maneuver looked downright comical! "Che! Too close…" The words left his mouth as he once more straightened out. Knowing it would not be long before the vines began searching the area he was in, Zankuro again summoned another array of boulders. His /last/ six boulders, though more spaced out this time. He knew nutmeg well it wouldn't be enough, but if he could get to at least some of the ingredients the easy way then by golly he was gonna take advantage of that!

"Che how many boulders does this guy have stored away?" the Mist ninja complains. Nobunaga cheers Zankuro on seeing as he is able to evade capture. Minami can't help but smirk as well. "He's prepared. Maybe Konoha isn't as much of a joke as we initially thought." Nobunaga chuckles arrogantly "Hehe you guy haven't seen anything yet." The vines missed Zankuro but the Demon Root is aware that nourishment has wandered into its den. Even with the boulders the vines continue to sweep surveying for prey. Zankuro wouldn't have it as easy as before. The demon root seems to grow agitated with its search. After checking the surface of each boulder the the vines then entangle the stone and crush it. "Oh this is new. I didn't know the Demon Root was that strong." Yuki giggles. "Better get a move on." The vines start lashing about as well. Swatting in an attempt to harm and cripple their scurrying prey.

Zankuro bright grin completely sorrows in an instant. "So much for that plan.." He muttered darkly underbreath. After that, the Sarutobi did not dare utter a single word. The Demon Root didn't seem to operate by listening per se, but the less vibrations he were making they better. That is, after he managed to play catch a tiger's by its toy with the vines, evading them all by the last second. "Getting a little agitated huh… How bout a trade?"
From out of a small explosin of smoke comes out none other than one of the Hot Hogs the duo managed to capture last. Zankuro doesn't wait around to see how well that still pretty darn fresh treat is percieved before making a cautious bee line to the nearest likely place to house the ingredients he was after, some type of shrooms if he recalled correctly. As he picked and sealed up the necessary ingredient, Zankuro threw the occasional glance over his shoulder to check on his bait.

"Oi Zankuro, what the oregano!? Don't go wasting our hard earned meat!" Nobunaga fistshakes. Yuki laughs "Oh man that's rich. You're gonna want to save your meet for the third round. But then again if you get eaten here I guess you wouldn't have to worry about that…" Yuki shrugs and continues to watch Zankuro evade capture yet again. The demon root does devour the hot hog meat. "Grab some herbs while you can!" Nobunaga advises. The Demon Root made quick work of the hot hog meat and is once again on the look out for Zankuro. The Sarutobi's poor stealthing not only failed to keep the demon root off his trail but the misstep gave away his position. The vines were no longer surveying. It was time to eat. Lashing out at Zankuro from several directions came thick roots. If he were caught by those they'd be no escape.

"Urusai! We got — Oh pepper buckets!" Without another word Zankuro leaps high into the air. The maneuver isn't enough to keep the demon vines from following afterwards, but it does buy him enough time to summon another hog. As soon as one of their smaller catches pops into existence, Zankuro rides the beast partway down before springing away from the soon to be devoured hunk of deliciousness. At some point during his aerial trip, the Sarutobi delved deep focused his chakra to his mind, sinking himself into a half asleep state. Rather than be the boon most expected, the state purged his fear and cleared his mind of all distractions.
Zankuro could only hope it would be enough to keep from making the same mistake as last time in seeking out a means to obtain his original quarry.

"What happened to him." A Kumogakure asks. Nobunaga didn't know how to answer. Zankuro's change had everyone baffled. The boy seems calmer and more level. The roots, after missing him, seem to lose track of him. Zankuro was emitting vibarations too weak for the Demon Root to really pick up. Rather impressed with Zankuro Nobunaga smiles "Thatta boy. Finally he's gotten serious." Nobunaga did always say Zankuro lacked focus. Minami was even impressed…for a bit. "That'll keep him safe for now. But if he doesn't hurry he'sa dead man." She smirks. Yuki nods "Yeah how long has it been already?" A sunagakure shinobi answers "He's got about 2 minutes." Nobunaga looks to each of them. "Wait there's a time limit?" Yuki giggles "Oh right this is Konoha's first time at the cook off. Naturally you wouldn't know about the Demon Root's Ace".

It was all just so relative for the Sarutobi at the moment. Step here, get that — all the same. "No man, stay focused now." He would say, and yet his movements were anything but focused in a way. Zankuro drifted from one spot to the next, kneeling or stretching as need be to gather up a couple of ingredients before sealing them away. Naturally, the more lively samples had to be contained in elsewhere, but that's no real problem for the Sarutobi. Aside from being known as the number one pervert of Konoha, he also had a penchant for always having something stored away that might help out at some situational point. Its part of the reason why he studied scroll ninjutsu.
All in all, he pays not one mind to any conversation going around with the others. He couldn't even if he wanted to. Simply put, he's pretty much has gone outside of non-yelling range by this point to gather what he needed.

"Thirty seconds." Nobunaga turns to Yuki. "Thirty seconds until what!?" He's grown tired of the suspense. "You'll see." Minami answers. Zankuro was doing well. He's gathered almost all of what Nobunaga had asked for. But then the ground starts to rumble and shake. The Kirigakure shinobi start to chuckle and Yuki wags a finger at Zankuro. "He had a nice run." Nobunaga calls out to Zankuro "Hey! Head back now! That's enough we'll make do." Soon after that center of the clearing starts to open and the ground sinks. The vines crawl out of the opening in the center and branch out all over the clearing. A deep abyss lies in the center but a grinding sound can be heard from below. "When all else fails the ground opens up and whatever is still in the clearing is raked into that abyss…and Presumably eaten." Yuki finally answers Nobunaga. Inclined downward on all sides the terrain was completely unfavorable. "Chili. I probably should've gone instead." Nobunaga curses under his breath.

"Hmm… Oh, no. This can't be good." These are the last words to leave the half-asleep looking Sarutobi's mouth before the ground inevitably swallows him up. Again, he enjoyed a comical moment of floating seemingly in the air before dropping down into darkness. And down deep did Zankuro fell, crashing every once in awhile into the walls or whatever else fell into in the pit as well.

Zankuro soon found himself ensnared in what could be described as the belly of the demon root. His limbs strung up by the vines he was suspended just below the surface. Three or four more tendrils rise up and slither before Zankuro. "ZANKURO!" Nobunaga yells. Yuki stands in his way. "Nothing you can do about it now. But Konoha is disqualified since they only have one shinobi. You need a team of at least two to compete." Most are silent save for the Kirigakure shinobi that just didn't like Zankuro. "Well can't say I'm surprised." he chuckles. Nobunaga shoots a nasty glare at the shinobi before heading towards him. "Say that again?" he threatens. The Amaro was beyond grief stricken at this moment and blindingly angry. Meanwhile in the pit the vines lash away at Zankuro cleaving flesh away. "The Demon Vine kills before it consumes, so he won't suffer long." Minami explains. It does not calm Nobunaga down.

At some point or another, Zankuro lost consciousness on the way down. One too many bumps to the head would do that to a person. A weary, drawn out groan left him as consciousness returned the teen. It took longer for him to regain focus, but he fought to do so without truly wavering. For the first few moments, the Sarutobi wondered if he had gone blind. There were virtually no lights in the abyss; only a dampness and pain. A great deal of pain! Focus sharply returned to him after the first lash left him a pound lighter. Zankuro struggled to avoid another attack, but they were relentless. He did not struggle in vain as it would soon turn out.
Through sheer force of will, Zankuro pulled his hands together and formed a single seal. Despite the doubts trying to creep to the forefront, Zankuro focused as much as his chakra as possible than expelled a lack luster fireball. Most would be daunted by the sight of measly thing. As soon as it crashed into one of the nearby walls however, the flames expand rapidly into a inferno that threatened to consume every inch of the place. If the Demon Seed (Root… whatever!) knew pain, then that certainly caught its attention. If not, Zankuro would still take advantage of his jutsu to try and free himself of his bindings, and eventually put his tree walking skills to good use in an effort to escape his would be tomb. All the while he kept cursing the same curse excitedly despite still bearing a mostly tired look about him.

"Now now no need to get violent. We warned you at the beginning. I said demise…twice!" Yuki tries to dissuade Nobunaga. "You know I never did like you Leaf Shinobi. You guys have it too good. Too easy. You're not even used to losing a comrade. That happens every day almost where I come from." the Kirigakure shinobi comments. "Little piece of garlic had it coming." he hisses at Nobunaga. "You sonofapar-" just before Nobunaga can fire off a shot at the Mist Shinobi the ground opens up again. This time there is a light in the abyss and smoke…and the smell of fire. "Oh-ho?" Yuki whistles. "Impossible." Minami adds. Nobunaga's anger and attention are diverted towards the opening in the clearing. "Son of a parsley."

The proverbial light at the end of the tunnel can be seen now by the Sarutobi. Though he wanted to press on, for the sake of future unfortunate competitors, Zankuro slid to a stop and turned to look back down the path he ran. There was plenty of fire down there, but why not add a little more fuel to the fire? With that thought in mind, a hail of oil soaked in flames is sent flying into the nearby walls and even back down the tunnel. Immediately after, Zankuro spun about and fired a more compact fireball ahead of himself to clear away any obstacles. It doesn't seem to get very far on account of having to work against gravity. Undaunted, Zankuro formed an X with his arms, took a deep breath, then closed his eyes. "Gate of Opening… Gate of Healing… Open!" Dark brown eyes snap open as a surge of energy shoots through his muscles. Without missing another beat, the Sarutobi is off again, maneuvering around whatever obstacles might be in his way with the practiced easy and even nearly the speed of someone much fitter than he appeared to be. If his luck held, the teen would launch himself out of the abyss yelling out "Wa-hoo!!"

An amazing feat Zankuro has just pulled off. He escaped the Demon Root and has caused it some harm. His tactic of spreading the fire with oil bought him more than enough time to escape the pit. When he emerged Nobunaga couldn't hold back his joy. "DILL YES!" Nobunaga points to Minami "Be thankful you didn't make that bet Ice Witch otherwise you'd be kissing him right about now!" Minami glares at Nobunaga but cannot deny Zankuro. She underestimated him. They all did. "Impressive. A coward but a resourceful one." the Kumo shinobi from before remarks. "Well get your onion back here already!" Nobunaga yells at the Sarutobi. The vines from the demon root haven't given up on Zankuro just yet however. Though they may be coated in flames they still seek blood. They lash out at the Sarutobi with blind fury. "Run Zank-kun, run!"

Zankuro darn near well face planted as soon as hit the ground again. His stupid scroll had over balanced him for a second or two. Encouraged however by Nobunaga's calls, he recovers quickly and for a few moments there, casually jogs, smiles, and waves at everyone, foolishly holding his breath to keep from panting. After perhaps a few seconds or so, the Sarutobi is slowing down further and gasping for air. "I'm.. I… Urusai.." He managed to get out inbetween pants, remaining all the while blissfully unaware of his impending doom until the shadow overtakes him. Thoughtlessly, the ero-senin in the making manages to launch himself to sides each time the burning root nearly falls on him, losing ground for a second or two, only to race at an even greater speed just to make up for it! "Noble-sensei!!" At the very least moment Zankuro makes one dramatic leap… towards Minami!
A couple hundred pounds of flesh and muscle and sweat fast approached the perhaps very surprised kunoichi.

Minami side steps Zankuro and lets him hit whatever. "Ok. I'm impressed." She admits. Yuki cheers "Quite th show you put on. Your friend here was getting all flustered. We thought you were plant food for sure." Nobunaga walks over to Zankuro helping him up. "You lecherous goof ball." he chuckles. "Good job, thanks to you we made it past Round Two." Nobunaga pats Zankuro on the back. "Man Iwagakure caught a break." Yuki mentions looking out into the clearing. "The Demon Root is gonna need time to recover." Nobunaga chuckles "Hehe next time it'll think twice about dining on a leaf shinobi." The kirigakure shinobi scoffs. "Well this just means we'll get to humiliate you in the final round." Nobunaga ignores him and folds his arms "You can leave the rest to me Zankuro, we got this in the bag." Yuki's eyes narrow at Nobunaga. "Oh~ you haven't even seen round three yet. I wouldn't be so confident." The Kumogakure shinobi walk over "I look forward to the final round. You leaf shinobi have heart. That goes a long way." As the Iwagakure rep steps up to retrieve their herbs Nobunaga can't help but wonder why Minami seems so familiar. "The Ice Witch Minami…I know her." With Iwagakure's easy success thanks to Zankuro's efforts Round Two of the ninja cook off is concluded.

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