Date: December 29, 2010
A small group of shinobi intercept an illegal operation off their shores.
Rock-Strewn Beach [Land of Water]
As one walks along the coast from the ferry, things grow quieter- But for the sounds of the sea, crashing against the rocky shore. As the tide grows low, one can make out a rock-strewn path across the shallows, twisting and turning, ending at a beach of black sands about 50 feet out into the water- Crossing at a higher tide is possible, but dangerous due to the slick rocks. The faint sounds of obsidian singing against obsidian with the ebb and flow resonate across the water, giving the area- Trashed as it is with kelp, bushes, gravel, and boulders- an aura of near-tranquility.
The mist was ridiculously thick to be lingering over the water and beach in a windy lightning storm like this. The wind rushes through the fog, making it swirl but never completely kicking it out of place. It's as if the stuff is being continually replaced.
Lightning cracks and whips through the black sky, a sign of an approaching storm. And a bad one. The three accompanying ninja would be given a location for meeting and little else. Upon arriving at the precise coordinates, they would find Kurohana's small shape, standing perched upon a rock in a perfectly clear circle. No mist lingers for a good ten feet around her. It doesn't even dare come close. She waits patiently, her green eyes peering off into the distance toward their target.
The first one to arrive is Akihiko. He wearily traverses the fog to the appointed area and spots Kurohana, seeming less than thrilled with this for now. He nods to her and stops a few meters away from her close to the edge of the fogless area, "You sent for me?" he asks calmly.
Yuuka is careful as she follows the worn earth path towards the stretch of beach, her bright aquamarine eyes darting around with some uneasiness as her slender fingers clench her warm robes a bit tighter around herself. Though winter had begun to melt into spring, the heavy fog never gave that impression as it hangs thickly in the air. Though she originally had the instructions out to make sure she was going the right way, Yuuka had long given up trying to see anything in the fog, instead relying on the feel of the path and trusting it to lead her to her destination. It isn't until several moments after that the Kaguya kunoichi sees any shadow even minutely shaped like the figure of a person. She blinks her bright eyes with some surprise to see Akihiko at first, watching him with a faint and confused frown as her gaze shifts to Kurohana, unsure if this indeed where she is supposed to be.
Meruin appears from the wall of fog like a wraith, the child's pale form dragging tendrils of wispy mist as though it had been a part of him that he left behind. Spider silk clung to the Okumo's body, wrapped tight around his slender limbs and stretched across his shallow torso. He moved 5 feet into the 10 feet of clearance, eyes only for Kurohana. He dropped into a practiced bow.
The kunoichi turns her head as the ninja begin to assemble, quietly attempting to remember ability thresholds and the such. Kurohana smiles to herself and begins to address them. She hops down from her high perch and walks closer, her head tipping back slightly so that the ones who are taller can hear her over the racket of the waves crashing against the rocks. "Welcome, Akihiko-kun, Meruin-kun.. Yuuka, I presume. I'm not sure that we've officially met." Kurohana makes a slight tip of her head to her two-year elder. Oh my god. Someone take a picture. She just showed someone respect… Perhaps only to make this run smoothly.
"We've been assigned to take out an operation approximately two kilometers due northeast. There's a shallow cave in which a group of unknown laborers are assembling some sort of cargo." The kunoichi pauses, her arm reaching outward to point in the direction they'll be going should anyone be directionally challenged amongst them in this mist.
"Two scouts have been sent to survey the camp and neither have returned. We're assuming the worst." She turns back to them with a frown upon her face. "Our mission is to secure the freight, secure our operatives… or what is left of them, and take what captives we can. Kill the rest." Kurohana glances back and forth between the three. "Any questions?"
Akihiko listens carefully, taking note of the objectives and available intel, "I see. Smash and grab operation then by all accounts." he says, thought a faint undertone of a question follows the words as he looks between Yuuka and Meruin curiously, unsure what skillset they might be bringing to this endeavor - having already seen some of Kurohana’s.
Yuuka smiles softly as she lowers her chin in a quiet nod, confirming Kurohana's assumption, "Yes, Kaguya Yuuka-san…" she murmurs just as softly, glancing to the others in introduction as she offers them a bow in meeting as well, "It is… a pleasure to meet you." Though her words are faint and meek, her smile is honest and genuine, even holding an innocence one of her age wouldn't normally hold. Her smile grows some at Meruin, though as soon as Kurohana begins speaking again her bright eyes look back to their mission leader, blinking a few times as she absorbs the information. She has been on very few missions, if any, and while this seemed to be easy enough in any case, she wondered if she will be able to hold her own. When asked if there were any questions, Yuuka faintly shakes her snow white head, glancing to the others in quiet curiosity.
Meruin listens to the situation, goals, instructions, questions, and the other's silence without comment. His own head shook in a negative. Things were fairly straightforward; these ninja needed to ask no inane questions. They only wasted time.
"Yes, pretty much, Aki-kun. Though I do encourage delicacy. We do not know what is in the crates or if our people are still alive. At any moment, this could develop into a hostage situation. You are all urged to use caution in your approach. I assume that won't be much of a problem.." Her eyes survey the three and she nods, knowing some general intel on each of them that leads her to believe they won't do anything abnormally retarded.
"Nothing else? Then, let's go. Do not worry of picking your way through the mist. I will ease it so that you do not lose sight of the path. I've provided it in order to slow their departure." With that, the kunoichi moves, taking a slow enough pace that they will not lose her. Her small frame hops from rock to rock gracefully, her black cloak fluttering behind.
Meanwhile, within the cave, the ninja move quietly, tossing the crates aboard a small enough vessel for transport. A cloaked man stands on the dark shore, looking out toward the open ocean with suspicion.
"Captain!" A young adult kneels beside the cloaked man as though he had been called, blonde hair falling into his face.
"This is not ordinary. We're being watched. Send out a few scouts." The cloaked man speaks to his subordinate in a quiet, solemn tone.
The blonde haired man blurs from vision and soon after, others take out upon the water, darting across the surface to search for the intruders.
Kurohana would stop her party a good distance away, letting down her mist enough so that they can see the movement to and from the cave and each get a good survey of their target. She hasn't sensed the scout's closing in on their location as of yet. Perhaps one of the others will beat her to it…
Akihiko follows Kurohana, staying a few feet behind her and to the side while keeping his eyes and ears peeled in hopes of catching anything useful. And what'dya know? Movement.
Akihiko's senses go off with a ping as he jumps forward a few feet and extends his arm out in front of Kurohana as his voice drops to an extremely quiet level, "Someone is coming. They might be on to us." he says simply and straight to the point. He then withdraws his arm and looks to the others, awaiting their reactions.
Yuuka blinks as she watches Kurohana turn and begin hopping from rock to rock as she crosses over water. Frowning gently, she bites at her bottom lip absently as she follows quickly after the other, glancing every once in a while at the mist around them, though seeing nothing past the thick cloudy fog. Stopping when Akihiko stops, her concerned frown lingers in her facial features as she continues gazing around them with little luck, her attention suddenly pulled to Akihiko nearby as he sees someone. Yuuka looks up in the direction he points, though sees nothing.
The young Okumo followed the path and the Kunoichi leading them down it, his face as impassive as Kirigakure's cold. There is no distraction, as though he walked by faith and not by sight, and could not see what lay around him. As Akihiko jumped forward to speak with Kurohana, he made no motion to look that way, instead focusing on examination of the cave's movements, attempting to get a feel for them, to pick up their rhythm.
Hearing Akihiko's words, Kurohana lifts her head upward. The mist immediately drops around them and thickens nearer to the cave so that the others will not see the brawl that is fixing to take place. As soon as the mist fades, three ninja dart inward toward the troop.
The first is aimed directly at Akihiko-it would have been Kurohana had he not stepped in front of her. The ninja has a light dagger aimed at him, having the intention of slicing the boy across the chest.
The next has taken a fancy to Yuuka. The female ninja lashed downward with a pole arm of sorts, aiming to give her a quick thunk against the head with the wooden staff of it.
Meruin's opponent is the blonde. The man has drawn out an assortment at shuriken, tossing them simultaneously at the young Okumo.
Kurohana grits her teeth as the attacks come, watching to see if they should all defend before she launches any sort of jutsu at the opponents.
All that remains of Akihiko is a blur as the enemy nin attempts the slash across his chest. The chuunin doesn't take the time to assess the others just yet, trusting they wouldn't fall easily to such a small assault he forms a series of hand seals before extending a hand at his attacker, a bolt of lightning arcing and splitting around them in an attempt to electrocute and bind the ninja…. There was a desire for hostages after all.
Yuuka reflexively defends herself as the Epigaea dagger gripped tightly in her slender fingers snaps up to meet the end of the pole arm. The Kaguya kunoichi narrows her dark aquamarine eyes at the other woman for a moment that seemed to last longer than it did. "Bad move…" she murmurs in a low tone, flicking the end of the dagger up to push the end of the pole arm up and away. Her fingers tighten on the hilt of the Epigaea as Yuuka swiftly slashes at the kunoichi once, twice, pushing her back away from her team.
The change in tempo was sudden and swift, so Meruin had to be as well, turning as soon as the enemy began rushing his way. The shuriken aimed at him were let loose and he dashed towards them, almost lazily throwing an arm out. Discs of webbing flew from his pores, anchored to his arm by a thread, and they caught the shuriken.
Silent as his arachnid counterparts, the Okumo pulled the shuriken tipped webbing back and leapt into a spin. The webbing whipped at the blond in a horizontal arc, meant to wrap around and restrain him. If caught, the webbing would continue to wrap around him. The line was short, so the spin was quick, and it'd whirl around until the shuriken slammed into his body. One of them, the only Meruin cared for, was meant for the jugular. If the web trap failed, all that was left to contend with was the steel at the end of it.
No matter the happening, Meruin saw fit to speak, his voice low but not too low that the other's shouldn't be able to hear. He trusted the mists and the storm to muffle any noise he made. "Excessive light; excessive noise."
Hidden away in the cornered safety of the cave, the cloaked man growls beneath his breath. He turns, a staff heard clunking against the ground and thin white hair swirling in the air and then coming back to rest in place. "Get on with it! We're under attack!" The shout bellows from the cave, echoing against the wall and setting every body alert.
The ninja begin to move at a rapid pace, tossing the crates with near abandon. The boat is untethered from the shore and begins to move away as people begin to scramble aboard.
Akihiko's opponent is hit squarely with the lightning, feeling his body being paralyzed in place. The man falls, his eyes wide and twitching. One prisoner down.
Yuuka's opponent's eyes widen when the kunoichi deflects her attack. They severely underestimated this group of Kirigakure ninja. As Yuuka's blades dig deep into her skin, she falters, grasping at her gushing throat as she falls to the ground. Small fry so far.
The blonde-haired man flails as he's attacked by the webbing, finding himself snared in it and falling over against the rocks. He yells, "You'll never find them! You'll never de-.." At that moment, Meruin's blade would set itself deeply into his neck.
"Move! They're aware that we're here. We have to be quick." Kurohana leaves the mist up only until they're upon the boat. Then it drops suddenly as if it was never there to begin with. The water lifts from the shore as she makes the first attack, her watery ribbons intending to bind three of the assailants leaping for the boat. The ribbons would jerk and twist until they would become immobile and fall into the shallow water's edge.
As the group boards the boat Akihiko takes quick account of his surroundings - teammates, enemies, obstacles. With a mental image he becomes a series of consecutive blurs, attempting to position himself behind opponents to deliver brutal elbows to the back of their heads, targeting those closest to him first.
Yuuka narrows her dark gaze as her dagger buries deep into her opponent's flesh, watching the other woman coolly as she falls and grasps at the wounds in desperation, deep crimson ribbons between her fingers. Snapping her gaze upwards, Yuuka glances to Kurohana for a flicker of a moment before pushing off, following after their team leader. With Epigaea blade in hand, she doesn't hesitate to slash at several shinobi as she passes them, heading straight for the boat.
The warning call went up and Meruin didn't seem to care, simply turning to look at Kurohana for orders as he himself listened to what, exactly, was being said. When the orders finally came, the Okumo followed them immediately, sprinting full tilt in the direction of the boat. He barely seemed to touch the surface beneath him, whether it was land or it was water, and he traversed both with the speed reserved for at least chuunin, if not more. He reached the ship in short order.
So he jumped, landing on the front of the hull. Immediately, darkness leapt from the eight year old's pale form, spreading away from him on either side of the hull. The spiders travelled faster than the plague, the number of them obscene coming from Meruin's small body. But they were there, and there were many, and they swarmed, flying over the edge of the boat, biting and poisoning and destroying all of any they could that Meruin did not recognize as ally. They were warned, however, to avoid killing the Kiri scouts if they were present through the link unhindered by words. A small detachment was sent to explore the ship in search of them.
Amid the tumult and the havoc caused by allies and brood, the Okumo jumped onto the top of the ship, walking along it.
And, let the onslaught begin! The Kirigakure ninja seem to have the upper hand for now, slicing and dicing their way through the soldiers mercilessly in a true Kirigakure fashion!
The cloaked man stands idly by within the cabin of the boat, watching the onslaught of his men with anger. His eyes focus upon the black-clad kunoichi in particular, daring to smile as he notices her techniques and style of fighting. "Go."
Four ninja step free from the cabin of the boat, taking places atop the precious cargo as directed by their leader. One of them lifts his sword high in the air and lightning seems to crack down through it. The weapon sends a bolt out to each of the Kirigakure ninja, intending to stun their movements and cause them each a great deal of pain.
The other three ready their weapons for the attack, each aligning themselves with a target.
Akihiko's eyes dart over as the four ninja appear, seeming far more formidable than the others up to this point. Forming hand seals he forms a lightning clone in an attempt to throw off the one flinging the zappers, only to be zapped. He drops to a knee for a moment with a faint wince before standing back up and looking at the lightning user, "Mine." he says aloud, his eyes not leaving the ninjas as his lightning clone moves in for a close ranged melee attack before the real Akihiko extends his fingers, five wire thin bolts of lightning arcing towards the ninja and any others in its path.
Lightning. Almost impossible to defend against. And try as she might, Yuuka doesn't have enough speed to dodge the attack entirely. A harsh and unexpected cry is torn from her lips as she's struck, pain lacing through the Kaguya as to her several moments pass, blinded by the pain. When it finally fades, Yuuka staggers for a brief moment, breathing harder and shuddering faintly. Shrugging off the attack, she refocuses her attention on the four guarding the cargo. Pushing off again, she leaps up into the boat and slashes at the closest one, never hesitating or pausing in her attacks.
Meruin's eyes swept across the slaughterfield as enemy ninja died by the hands of his comrades and the swarm of spiders blanketing sections of the ship. Abruptly, though, lightning flashed and struck the sword of a man at the cabin. The Okumo's attention turned towards him — and then the lightning was flying his way.
The eight year old vanished… and reappeared next to Kurohana, his right arm pinkened to a dark red. The pain that must have been there was nowhere on his face. Indeed, nothing was. "The prisoners are below. They are wounded, but my spiders do not know enough to tell me to what extent. I am off to secure them."
He then vanished from view once more, coming back into view on the side of the ship. A porthole was smashed by his small fist, and he slipped inside, crouching on the wall and examining his location and surroundings. They were close.
Kurohana's eyes widen as she sees the arcing lightning. The woman's hands fold into seals and water begins to rush over the side of the cargo boat, forming a large shielding wall just in time to keep her safe from the attack. She watches as the others pick their targets, leaving one left for her. She was going to go after the lightning fiend, but it seems Akihiko has made his claim.
The lightning clone strikes the man, knocking him back off the cargo and to the deck below just in time to avoid Akihiko's upcoming blow. The enemy quickly recovers and slings a lightning charged blade at the Kirigakure nin, looking to both shock and cut him. (400, if it hits)
Yuuka's opponent is a speedy bow wielder that seems quite adept at dodging the kunoichi's close-range slices. She can be heard giggling and lifting her bow, a flaming arrow appearing. The fire is launched directly toward the Kaguya, aiming to knock her back off the boat. (300)
She nods to Meruin as he has pin-pointed the location of the prisoners. "Go. Be safe. We will secure things up here."
Kurohana glances to Yuuka, noticing the trouble that she seems to be having. The kunoichi leaps up into the air and flips. While air born, black petals scatter all over the boat attempting to create genjutsu links with each enemy. Landing, her hands fold into seals as she attempts to trap all four, even the one searching for Meruin, in genjutsu and render each ninja helpless as black, dead vines seem to creep over their shape within the image. "Finish this!" She's given Akihiko and Yuuka clear shots to end their lives with single blows.
From within his cabin, the cloaked leader could never be more certain that it is her. "So this is where you have gone, my little black blossom." He speaks quietly to himself, amused that he has found her. Yet there is anger as the white-haired man clenches his fist, knowing that his plans have been ruined this night. With no crew, there is little he can do in transporting these goods. Time to leave.
Akihiko becomes another blur of movement, leaving the faintest of streaks as he disappears up and away from the charged up blade, only the reappear to the side of the now trapped ninja, "Mine." he states, arcing two rope-like bolts of lightning around the ninja and holding them, "Status?" he asks, looking to Kurohana and the others before appraising the ship and the door to the cabin.
Yuuka doesn't hesitate to lift her Kaguya blade and flick the flaming arrow away in midair, the fire scorching along her sleeve and burning part of her arm as pain flares along it. "You think this will stop me?" she murmurs as she leaps towards her target, expression darkening, "This is just pissing me off…" The Epigaea dagger flimmers as Yuuka lifts the blade in her hand, flicking it with two, three slashes at the bow shinobi.
Deciding himself to be all clear, Meruin stood, running along the walls down the hallway, the small boy a shade in the shadows, the sounds of dim battle far off, as though a distant dream. A door was pushed open and he crawled through it, making his way onto the roof.
And here he found the two scouts. Two of Kirigakure's soldiers, tightly tied and bound, eyes glazed and with multiple puncture wounds, a few of whom were still bleeding. They'd been tortured, and pretty skillfully. They looked as if they were barely holding on.
A moment of thought and Meruin dropped down from the roof, landing next to the two. He had no idea what genjutsu they were clearly under, and so, he moved up to them, applying swift, painless bites to their necks. In a matter of seconds, a neurotoxin reached their body, and their bodies were rendered unable to move to prevent them lashing out. Pleasure flooded their systems and became all that they knew, and a slurred moan slipped past one of their lips.
Webbing exploded from Meruin's form and rolled over the two, lightweight but strong, giving them a shared cocoon. The cocoon made, all that was left was a thick rope attached to Meruin's back and he turned towards the wall.
Chitin spread over his skin, it's hue that of the abyss, reflecting no light. It covered the whole of his body, granting him protection from what he was about to do. Which was simple. He took a few running steps, made a small bound, and leapt upwards at the wall, crashing through it and outside of the ship, his arc taking him a long way to the ground. The cocoon's rope pulled taught and brought the scouts along behind him.
Meruin hit the water, immediately turning around and grabbing the silken rope, rotating swiftly so that the cocoon spun around him rather than simply coming to an abrupt halt. Once he had them anchored to his back and as safe as he could make them, he gave a glance towards the top of the ship and dashed off towards the shore, hands formed in a seal.
He imagined that, by now, crew would have taken notice of the hole in the hull. It was high enough up that the ship wasn't immediately taking on water, but with it storming outside, any attempt at sailing away would almost assuredly result in sinking, unless something was done.
Kurohana watches the others, her hands folded as she attempts to keep the genjutsu in place until the others can do their dirty work. As the enemy ninja are either captured or killed, she finally lowers her hands, looking to the door. What happens next is quite unexpected.
There's a sudden explosion-enough to send the boat tipping and weaving and to fling the door off the cabin. A diversion. He winds his chakra into their nervous systems. Kurohana would recognize it, but be unable to break the link. That can't speak well for anyone else.
"Pull back!" is all that's heard from her lips before it begins. The ocean… would become surreal. The sun bright and soothing. Even the air around them would seem warmer. It was as if the world had suddenly become a paradise. There was no fighting. Just calmness and an open ocean. So relaxing, a person would never want to leave.
Unless either Yuuka, Akihiko, or Kurohana could miraculously break free, there they would stand, paralyzed from head to toe in what seemed to be the most beautiful place ever. It would be up to Meruin to jerk them out of it or for the effect to simply wear off. There's no telling how long they'll stay there before the boy ever comes back.
The white-haired shinobi would make his escape here, leaving his men, his prisoners, and his cargo to save his life. There will always be another day.
Akihiko stands, hands still unconsciously gripping the pulsating electrical rope around one of the enemy shinobis, enjoying his brief paradise.
Yuuka snaps up her snow white head as she hears Kurohana's command to call back, her aquamarine eyes snapping to the bow shinobi with a dark look before she quickly turns to push off to join the rest of her team. Though before she does, the Kaguya kunoichi blinks her bright eyes with honest surprise to see the sun shining brightly, the clouds pulling away quickly as the ocean becomes a surreal shade of perfect blue. She blinks a few times before Yuuka shakes her snow white head, realizing quickly that she must be trapped in some kind of Genjutsu. Tightening her slender fingers on the hilt of her Epigaea dagger she lifts it to slice at one of her fingertips on her left hand, instantly drawing blood while the sun continues to shine brightly in the sky. It wasn't enough.
The ship hadn't set sail too long ago and there was little time for it to put much water between itself and the shore, so Meruin made land fairly quickly. He deposited his cocoon, standing alert near them, keeping an eye out on the ship and an ear out for movement in the cave.
It wasn't long before he noticed that all was a little too still, and though it showed not at all on his face, he knew that there was probably a problem. He was letting the chitin sink back into his skin when the spiders on board that remained from the slaughter of the ninja and crew on the ship informed him what had happened. There was a pause…
And through the link, he told him to swarm over them, their stiff-bristled legs causing a great deal of discomfort, hoping that a human's seemingly natural fear and dislike of spider's would snap them out of whatever held them in thrall. He gave permission for a bite or two, as well, and all from a distance to stay and protect his charges.
And so Kurohana will be far away when it happens.
It was him. She knows it. Kurohana closes her eyes and swallows deeply. Time to stop running from the past.
What's heard next is a sudden shriek/scream. The black-clad kunoichi feels spiders over her skin and the bites. Oh for god's sake the legs and the bites.
She runs around with flailing arms for two brief second before an orb of water forms directly above her head. She stops underneath it and lets it rain down, splashing the spiders off her body.
"MERUIN!" The kunoichi can be seen screaming from the side of the ship with a fist raised in the air. So tiny is she from so far away.
Akihiko twitches slightly as the spiders cover him, the tingling discomfort from the countless legs crawling across his body more than enough to edge him out of the genjutsu's grasp. Slowly he opens his eyes, "That's enough of that…" he says, as if to the spiders as a shiver runs up his spine and he starts shaking his limbs in turn to loose the spiders.
It's around this time that Kurohana screeches at Meruin and a visible wince spreads across his face, even he feels sorry for Meruin at this point.
The points are small, but precise as the spiders bite at her pale skin, causing Yuuka to flinch lightly and frown gently to herself as she glances down at her hand, seeing a few spiders having gathered there. When she glances up again, the fog seems to have rolled in again and blocked out the sun as before, as if a curtain was pulled across the sky. Kurohana nearly screams Meruin's name and it echoes across the water, her expression softening some as she holds back some gentle laughter. "How is everyone? Is everyone alright?" Yuuka asks out loud.
Meruin turned away from the shore to the sounds of Kurohana's scream, bending down to the two scouts in his cocoon. He touched it and strands stuck to his fingers before the whole thing unfurled and lifted. It rose to make a canopy of sorts, and he kept his mind on it, making it hold it's form against the harsh winds. It took concentration, but already the first drops of rain were starting to fall and the wounded scouts did not need to be wet right now.
When the rest of the team got back from the ship, depending on Kurohana's orders, he would see about getting the ship ferried in, the surviving crew collected, and the cargo examined. But for now, he simply watched and he waited.
Always he waited.
Everything eventually falls into place. The tugboats come in to pull the cargo ship into the port. Some ninja have already been assigned to process the freight, it would seem. Kurohana leaves the boat to help Meruin with the injured prisoners. "Good job, everyone. Report to the administration building in a half hour for debriefing."