Date: July 14, 2016
Kenta, Tatsuo and Biwa flee from the manticore flie spread throughout the forest under the stealth of mists generated by Tatsuo. Despite this measure, they soon find that they're surrounded by the creatures. While Kenta carries the injured Biwa into hiding, Tatsuo pauses his retreat to to give the manticore flies the scare of their lives.
"On the Wings of Friendship - Fight and Flight"
Land of Fire
After giving aid to a very large talking butterfly, Kenta and Tatsuo have found themselves in a dangerous situation, out here in the woods with a pack of chimeric 'manticore flies,' deadly predators apparently here to hunt down the butterfly, and likely anyone protecting him. Tatsuo's mist senses have discovered a number of them scattered around the surrounding area, searching the woods, and if their stealth isn't enough to keep them away from the manticore flies, then they're going to have to face them in combat.
The butterfly wriggles against Kenta. "Manticore flies…" he says tiredly, "Very dangerous. They have poison, and they can crawl all around, and they can fly…!" He catches himself and lowers his voice, "Oh, um, I'm Biwa."
"Umm… nice to meet you, Biwa," Kenta says, sounding a little distracted. He can't see too well in the mist and he knows that Tatsuo is keeping track of their surroundings, but the Jounin doesn't take that as an excuse to -not- pay attention. Jumping through the trees with mist all around requires some finesse and focus anyway. "I'm Kenta, a medic-nin from Konoha. This incredible water ninjutsu user traveling next to us is, Tatsuo." Kenta pauses to glance over his shoulder with a frown. He turns his face forward again when his feet lands on the next branch and launches off of it with a strong shove of his legs. "These manticore flies, why do they want you and where are they from? Umm… actually, where are you from?" He might have asked Biwa to save energy earlier, but the situation is changing. A Biwa that takes longer to recover is preferable to three dead people.
Tatsuo himself doesn't speak to the butterfly, letting Kenta carry on the coversation while he focuses on the mists and keeping them above the snow. Best to not leave behind footprints after all with something that's quite possibly going to be chasing them closing in quickly. Hopefully they'll get lost in the fog he's created as well, but who's to say what kind of abilities they might have. It's not something he's ever heard of before.
"Pleased to meet you both! I'm from the Moonwing Clan in the Flowering Fruit Valley," says Biwa, "The manticore flies are from there too, but they're so… so mean! They chased me all the way here. I was flying for almost a whole day… over mountains and lakes, and swamps, and towns, and cities…" He sounds tired as he recalls the long chase he's already been through. Meanwhile, Tatsuo has detected an immediate threat from above—one of the manticore flies has gotten clever and is flying back and forth over the treetops, apparently hoping to scout out Biwa's location from the air. It's not going to be long before it passes over their current location.
Unfortunately, Kenta doesn't know what Tatsuo is sensing yet. He keeps a firm hold on Biwa, not wanting to drop the butterfly during all the jumping and landing. "Umm… I'm sorry. I've never heard of this place that you're from. It must be very far away… though you must be a fast flier if you can travel so quickly. It's no wonder that you're so tired. Umm… so these manicore flies are enemies of your people? Is that why they're chasing you so far?" Kenta pauses to scan the area again. The mist swirls around them like a ghostly cloak and it's all that he can do to see more than a few feet ahead. Something feels off. Kenta asks Tatsuo with a frown, "Where are our pursuers now?"
"Kenta-sama," Tatsuo says softly when he senses the creature above them before motioning upwards with a finger. He hesitates, then motions for Kenta to continue onwards while he lets the mist build up all around them. It might make it more difficult for Kenta to see, but it'd make it harder for the bugs too. And with any luck he'd be able to catch them off guard.
As a giant butterfly, Biwa is probably indeed quite fast. "It's… hard to get there for someone who can't fly," he explains, "And it is far. Very far. Actually you're… the first human I ever saw." There's a slight pause. "Are you a human? They always said that you have four legs and you only use two. Oh, but, um, the manticore flies /are/ our enemies. They—mmp!" Biwa cuts himself off as Tatsuo points up. Luckily, that trick with the mist has prevented it from seeing them. But just for now. The manticore fly's wings give off a baleful buzz as it hovers overhead for nearly a minute. Then it goes down into the forest nearby. Farther away than it would have if it actually saw them, and it certainly hasn't spotted them yet, but each of its six legs give off heavy stamps as the creature skitters around the area nearby, and it's wandering close.
"Umm… definitely human. So…" Kenta's voice cuts off when Tatsuo signals him. His brows furrow once he understand the meaning of the gesture. Kenta doesn't want to leave his charge behind, but he's somewhat handicapped with Biwa in his arms. The medic-nin nods curtly after a moment and shifts Biwa's weight in his arms, so that he can awkwardly make a series of hand seals to mentally link all three of them. «Be care, Tatsuo. Don't take any risks and tell me at once if you need help. I'm far from defenseless even in this situation» Kenta sends telepathically before he surges ahead, leading a trail of disturbed mist behind him. «If only I brought a bigger pack with me…» Then, he'd be able to carry Biwa on his back and leaves his hands free for fighting.
Tatsuo waits for Kenta to start off before he makes a hand seal. With the mist Tatsuo knows where every tree is, where every bug is, and he knows where Kenta is. He uses the water, letting it flow silently through the trees towards the creature that had landed and then, after a few moments, it starts pelting the creature - from the direction opposite of where the three of them are.
Biwa wiggles in Kenta's arms as the voice enters his head. «What? How did you do that? Am I doing it now too? Can you hear me?» It's actually much easier than talking anyway. So perhaps Biwa will be able to save his energy after all, just like Kenta hoped. The nearby manticore fly whips around to face the water, its large mandibles making a sort of frantic sucking as it faces the unknown enemy. Scuttling back and forth on its eight legs, it attempts to dodge the water. Its wings flap all the while, whipping the wetness away until it once again takes to the air and starts weaving through the nearby trees. It's searching, but also going at too quick a pace for a truly thorough inspection of its surroundings.
«Yes, I can hear you» Kenta confirms after Biwa sends the question. The young man doesn't glance behind him anymore and puts most of his effort traveling forwards as quickly as he can. His feet lands softly on the tree branches only to leave them less than a second land. It's hard going considering how slick many of the branches are, but this is -exactly- why Kenta always insists that his team practice traveling in rain, snow and sleet. The only thing that training doesn't help with is leaving signs of passage. It's hard to land on a branch without dislodging snow from it. «Tatsuo, how's the situation on your end?»
As the large manticore fly starts to weave through the trees Tatsuo thickens the mist in the area around it, hoping it might get lost or perhaps crash into something. «It's fine at the moment,» Tatsuo sends in reply. Now that the manticore fly is distracted and buzzing about he starts moving after Kenta, keeping the mist thick behind him as a layer of water moves him over Kenta's footprints in the snow.
With the distraction of Tatsuo's mist, it's unlikely that any of their movements will give them away for now. The manticore fly moves straight up and out of the trees. Its buzzing fades away as it goes higher and higher up. Still though, the group can hear the beating of its four wings, somewhere up there. «Be careful!» Biwa cautions, «Manticore flies use smells to talk. If this one is calling others here, we won't even know!» Off in the farther corners of the forest, the other manticore flies don't seem to have noticed yet, despite the warning. «Um, come to think of it, they might have gotten some of their stuff on me…»
«Uh oh… that's not good. Tatsuo, can you send some of your water to wash any scent off of Biwa? We also need to find a place where we can hide for a while. We can't keep up this pace for long» Kenta sends to the group. He's not tired yet, but there's just the mildest of tinges to his legs that tells him keep up the pace of retreat will get harder and harder over time. «If we can find a hollowed out tree, a cave or something, I can set up some cloaking seals around it to mask our presence. I can also cloak us now, but it's not going to be effective, since we'll still leave some signs of passage behind us.»
Tatsuo does as asked, water forming in front of Kenta and dousing the pair as they near to try and dampen down on the smell. He continues to follow behind them until he hears what the butterfly has to say. Tatsuo's water board slows and then stops. «I'll scare them away,» he says after a moment. «You keep moving Kenta-sama. They're going to know where I am but I won't let them catch up to you.» In that vain he also starts moving off to the side so that he's not in line with Kenta's movements. He'll give them a good fright and hopefully push them off the trail for now. If not then things might get…interesting.
Biwa sits still as he's doused, but as soon as Tatsuo is finished, he starts to shake his legs and wings, flicking the water off. In the time it takes for Kenta and Tatsuo to make their arrangements, there's been a change in the behaviour of the manticore flies. Tatsuo can sense that others spread throughout the forest have taken to the air and started flying in the direction of the manticore fly they were dealing with before, apparently intent on gathering together and investigating the strangely behaving mists here. Or perhaps the one fly /did/ manage to spot the group after all, and they're ready for a fight as well. Not all of the flies respond to the signal though. Unfortunately, some are still searching other areas of the forest—whether it's some organized effort or they simply want to make the kill themselves. «Be careful, Tatsuo-san! They're actually sorta smart sometimes!»
Kenta shudders when the water douses him. Just because he swims during winter doesn't mean that it isn't unpleasant to suddenly go from dry to soaking while there's a cold wind blowing and snow on the ground. «Thanks» Kenta sends to Tatsuo, a bit grateful that mental transmission isn't hampered by gritted teeth. «Keep me updated, Tatsuo. And be careful like Biwa-san said. Just sow some confusion and heads towards me as soon as you're done. Ummm… we're going to have to send a large team here to take care of these creatures later. There's too many for us to safely take on without risk of injury.» The warning given, Kenta starts searching for a decent place to hide out in earnest.
Tatsuo for once may not be listening to Kenta. He's willing to take the chance in order to make sure the other two escape at this point. Once he's off a good distance he thickens up the mist in the area, lightening it around Kenta but still keeping him as hidden as he can. Then from one moment to the next the sky turns blue as a sickening chakra flows from the teen. In his place is a large turtle that stands taller than the trees and even out over the mist were the creatures are. He takes a moment, then lets out his bestial bijuu roar, knocking down a few trees and clearing snow off the rest for a good distance around him as the power from the roar shocks through the air.
As quickly as they gathered, the manticore flies immediately scatter as they spot the giant turtle suddenly popping up out of where they hoped to find their prey. Some stay in the air while others get a short distance away, then dive down to try and find cover in the trees. Meanwhile, Kenta is able to make decent progress through the forest. So far, though, he hasn't spotted much in the way of good cover, aside from one tree that seems to have blown down recently, and provides a bit of screening with its foliage. Two manticore flies have just hit the ground, each about thirty meters away from Kenta and Biwa, so he might want to take it—or try and take them.
Kenta's foot lands and nearly slips off a tree branch when he hears the roar from behind him. His arms tighten around Biwa a little bit too much, making it extremely uncomfortable until he loosens his grip a few seconds later. «Tatsuo! You didn't tell me that you were going to do that!» Kenta exclaims through the telepathic link. «It's too dangerous! I want you to revert as soon as possible!»
Unfortunately, the fact that Tatsuo is in danger of losing control of the power - despite his new alliance with Isobu - or attracting unwanted attention in his Bijuu form means that Kenta can't wholeheartedly keeps going. He ducks under the fallen tree, which hopefully will still give him a view of the giant "rampaging" turtle in the distance, just in case he needs to backtrack in a hurry. The young man sets Biwa down with a warning of, «Don't move, Biwa-san», and slaps a seal onto the fallen tree. Several short hand seals later, the two of them seemingly disappear from sight, smell, hearing and chakra senses.
Anything that still remains within easy set is going to regret it quickly enough as chains of water whip out in various directions, moving at amazing speeds as they seek to lash around the creatures. As if that weren't enough, should they actually get caught the chains will very nicely slam them into the ground. While the giant turtle sure looks scary, there's nothing to indicate anything is wrong coming from the connection to Kenta, although Tatsuo also doesn't respond when Kenta tells him to revert as soon as possible. Priorities!
Biwa huddles against the tree and stays still as Kenta asks. «What's going on? What's making all that noise?» The two manticore flies that landed nearby don't seem to notice the two of them when they recover. With the cloaking seal concealing their prey from sight, their only priority is getting away from the monstrous Tatsuo. They quickly scurry off into the trees and hide. The other flies in the area do this as well or are struck down. Soon enough, none are in sight from either Tatsuo or Kenta's perspective.
Kenta's worry bleeds through the link when Tatsuo doesn't answer. There's so many possible reasons for it and at least one is a bad one. «Tatsuo?» he tries again. The young man keeps an eye on the portion of the giant turtle that can be seen in the distance. He also keeps a firm, yet gentle grip on Biwa to prevent his patient from moving too much. «Umm… just… something that those manticore flies aren't going to like much…» he sends specifically to the giant butterfly. The identity of Konoha's Three Tails Jinchuuriki isn't for such an unknown quality to be aware of. Kenta blows a breath through his teeth and starts sending out pulses of medical chakra to "scan" the surrounding area for manticore flies. Might as well do that while he waits for Tatsuo to respond.
Another roar escapes as anything within the mists will find water practically licking at it's heels, attempting to smash them into nearby trees or something else equally as unpleasant. It's only as they reach the edge of the mist that Tatsuo would finally leave them be. «It's fine Kenta-sama, I'm just concentrating on sensing them all…» That's really the hard part at this point. There seems to be no strain or worry about Isobu himself either.
Before too long, all the manticore flies are either dead or outside the mist and likely fleeing deeper into the woods. Both Kenta's medical chakra and Tatsuo's mist indicate that the area is free of the enemy for now. Whether they try to regroup and attack again is unknown, but for the moment everything is silent and still. «Are they gone?» Biwa asks, «Is everything okay?»
Kenta heaves a sigh of relief. He nods his head at Biwa, accompanying it with, «Umm… I think so. I don't sense any of those things near us now. Tatsuo has a much bigger range though, so we'll wait for his verdict. We still can't stay exposed though. Once it's safe to move, we need to find a better spot to camp and I'll tend to your injuries some more. We're going to have to take you to the closest settlement tomorrow or maybe back to Konoha, unless you can tell us how to get you home again.»
Once nothing was left in the range of his mists Tatsuo's cloak vanished as if it had never been. It takes him some time to retrace his steps back to where he'd last sensed Kenta and the butterfly before they'd vanished from his mist and he stopped a distance away, looking around with a faint frown. The mist itself had lightened considerably and only the faintest traces remained in the air to make sure nothing else was able to approach without him at least knowing something was coming. "Kenta-sama?"
«I know how to get home!» says Biwa, "But, um, I actually have no idea where we are. Can you take me somewhere with a map? There's a certain way to get into Flowering Fruit Valley, but I can't go straight there from here.» There's a short pause, then he adds, «I didn't really pay attention to where I was going when I was flying. The manticore flies were after me!» Fortunately, the manticore flies really don't seem to be coming back yet.
"Oh… I have a map with me, but it only covers the route to this area. If you flew from a long distance away, it probably won't include what you need. I guess Konoha is the only choice… Oh! Tatsuo is here!" Since the barrier that he created is stationary, all Kenta has to do is stick his hand through it to wave at Tatsuo when the Chuunin arrives. This causes a seemingly disembodied body part to float around in the air for a little while before it vanishes from sight again. «In here,» Kenta replies through the link, since the barrier will also dampen sound on the way out. «What's the situation out there? Umm… Is it safe to continue traveling and find a spot to lay low for the night?»
«It's safe,» Tatsuo replies. «Nothing has come back into the mist yet of the ones that survived.» The young Nara moves towards where the hand had appeared briefly and just looks over the area from the outside with a note of curiosity. It was quite something to see with Kenta's seals in place. Usually he was hiding as well so seeing it from the outside was quite intriguing to say the least.
"I don't know anything about what's outside Flowering Fruit Valley, but my mom told me what mountain to look for if I ever got lost outside," Biwa admits, "Actually, what is Konoha?" He relaxes his posture somewhat now that it's confirmed that the manticore flies are gone. "There's a special tree you need to get in and out of the valley," he adds, "Er… I tried using it for the first time, and I think the manticore flies followed me out here. Sorry."
"Umm… it's hard to explain for someone who doesn't already know… I'll tell you along the way," Kenta responds to Biwa's query. He crawls out from under the fallen tree and through the cloaking barrier, which makes him pop into view right next to Tatsuo. To his credit, he at least tries not to do it too quickly, so that he can avoid startling the boy too much.
"Umm… let's get going. We have a long ways to travel both today and tomorrow," Kenta tells Tatsuo. "We need to I almost wish you didn't do what you did, but at least it was effective and we're not cornered anymore. We have to get back to Konoha as quickly as we can. Umm… first to send some people here to deal with the rest of those things. Second, to figure out how to get Biwa home to his people."
Tatsuo doesn't seem started at all. Since he knew where the barrier was he more or less expected KEnta to come out of it at some point! Now that he was out the boy just looked between him and the creature before nodding slightly. Then he pulls up the layer of water as a platform in front of them. "Come on Kenta-sama, I'll get us home quickly."