Date: January 16, 2010
The search for Rinako is taken out to sea. Monsters and storms work against the team, but their efforts finally bear fruit.
Warning: Contains foul language.
"Paradise Lost, Part III: Tempest"
Off the Coast of Mother Island, Land of the Sea
The waters were clear, deadly calm, the opposite of a sky that was anything but. Directly overhead was clear blue, with thin, wispy clouds scuddling by without a threat on their mind. But on the horizon loomed their more ominous cousins, billowing and dark, threatening storms, packed miles high and closing in on the islands fast. It wasn't typhoon season, but most captains worthy of the name would agree that one was fast approaching the Land of the Sea, and those with old bones and achey joints promised that it would be a big one.
After breaking a new hole in the side of the mountain with his enormous strength, Kokuoukabutomushi, the newly dubbed 'Boss Beetle', had spread his gargantuan wings and carried himself off into the daytime sun, flying his enormous bulk towards one of the other islands, leaving the band of shinobi to make their way down to the water to search for their wayward sister/companion on their own. Luckily, one of their number had a very handy and efficient means of transport!
The trip down the mountain takes much less time than the trip back up it had been, which was a good thing, considering how fast the storm seemed to be closing in on their position. The surface of the waters were relatively calm, especially from the air where the eddies and currents could not be felt, but whiteheads were beginning to form even out here, away from the shore, the waves growing taller, wider, rocking the ships upon them more violently. The fishing ships themselves, what few there were, were all making haste back to port, where those already moored were battening down as best they could.
Occasionally, a piece of driftwood that didn't seem to be natural wood, or cloth much like that used to make sails, floats past, recognizable upon close inspection as the remains of ships. But the ocean is a vast, mostly-empty place. How is one to find a single person anywhere in it!?
Once everyone is out of the cave, and the decision is made to go looking for Rinako, Ruri leaves transportation up to Kara. "I have a jutsu that might help us find Rinako. I need some time to set it up and the rest of you can start searching visually as well." Ruri takes note of the approaching storm. It looks like a bad one. Maybe she has very little experience with sea-storms, but the clouds look plenty ominous with or without an education on the subject. Narrowing her left eye, the young woman touches one finger to a Flesh Scroll tattoo on belly, and a set of inks, brushes, etc. appears on the ground in front of Ruri.
"Let's go, Kara. I get the feeling we don't have a lot of time." Once Kara has gotten them all situated on her flying boat, Ruri will seat herself and begin inking the palm of her left hand with complex calligraphic symbols in the style of a jutsu formula. It doesn't look like her usual Flesh Scroll tattoos… Those are more like tiny pictures, not writing.
Kara is glad to be out of that cave. The noise of the stone being pounded away had been horrible. Even now she can barely hear Ruri's instructions. Still, she gets the idea. "Alright!" she answers, and pulls Pharaoh off her back. The Puppet fires a small paper boat from his mouth which turns into a much larger boat after a cloud of smoke erupts from it. The Papyrus Reed Boat hovers above the mountain side, and Kara waits for everyone to get on board before urging it onward with her Chakra. The Ninjutsu vehicle soars down through the air, seemingly trying to beat the incoming storm by moving faster.
And maybe they >are< trying to race the storm. If that thing hits Mother Island… A lot more people will die than already have. And then there's all the other islands! And Rinako is out here somewhere! Finally, the boat reaches sea-level and skims the water's surface, sending up a spray of salt water from the Chakra propulsion being released from the papyrus's hull. "Anyone see anything yet?" she asks after they have flown around for a few minutes. She doesn't know what Ruri plans to do, but she hopes she does it soon.
Shemri immediately takes up a position perched on the prow of the boat, clinging to it with her chakra and acting as lookout. Probably unnecessary for the trip down the mountain, but it sure is fun. :3 Once out on the sea, Shemri takes the situation more seriously, scanning the water for any sign of movement or unusual shapes. Lucky the sea's so still just now, makes things a lot easier to spot.
Shiikaa is less helpful in these circumstances. He's not having much fun at all on this mission. First the restless earth which makes it impossible for any creature with halfway decent senses to relax; then said earth SWALLOWED his mistress and her companions; then they show up again accompanied by the great-grandaddy of all Small Crunchy Nom Critters; and now they're all in the middle of The Big Wet with only PAPER between them and the water. ^>.<^; Let Shemri handle the searching, Shiikaa's staying as close to the center of this floaty thing as he can manage. In being so, he becomes an over-the-shoulder (or maybe around-the-side) audience to Ruri's writing. What's all that? A grocery list? ^c.c^
After carrying/leading Shiikaa to where the others emerged from the mountain, Nai listened to Ruri's orders and prepared to do his part — whatever that may be. He simply feels he is at a distinct disadvantage for rescue missions. It's just… Not within his realm of experience, really. Perhaps something he should fix.
Nai, despite his familiarity with the general capabilities of Team 01 from their files, is by no means experienced with the broad variety of jutsu that each possesses. A flying boat is definitely new to him. But he finds — somewhat to his disappointment — that there is no adrenaline rush, no sickening lurching of his stomach or feeling of his insides being pulled upwards in response to the rapid descent. More evidence that even the simplest pleasures and terrors of humanity are denied him. Still, this is not a time for moping. He has plenty of vacation he can use for that. Right now he is simply trying to do something useful for a change and possibly save lives instead of end them.
"I detect nothing," Nai rasps in response to Kara's question. He turns to look over the side of the papyrus boat, seemingly unphazed by the possibility of falling out. Rinako was mentioned to be able to survive deep underwater, where others can not… So shouldn't they be looking for large, dark outlines partially-visible beneath the waves? "I suppose that what we should ask ourselves is whether we are looking for Rinako-san or the Three-Tails. One does not look much like the other."
Waves, salt-water all around. And not much else. There is a reason why those who braved the deep, wide waters for a living were considered a little crazy. There was nothing out here to give direction, to prevent one from simply drifiting aimlessly in one direction for an eternity. And the sole vision of safety came from the tiny, mobile island upon which sailors, or, in this case, shinobi huddled.
Across the group's paths lies yet move canvas, followed by a thick column of floating lumber, the snapped mast of some doomed ship. One destroyed recently? Or perhaps one crushed many leagues and many weeks ago, brought by the currents from half-way around the world. The waves gradually grow higher, rougher, whitehead spray reaching up for the bottom of the paper-reed boat, giving those too close to it's edges a soft bath of gentle mist. Yet it is obvious that the sea is becoming more violent, though the storm is still distant for now.
But the speed of clouds was not limited to the rigors of overland travel, and the adverse weather was traveling quickly.
A geyser of water splits the air, the gray hump of some large animal being momentarily seen as it spits water into the air, before diving back beneath the opaque waves. The churning of the waves make shapes, sizes, and depths unimmeasurable guesswork at best.
Ruri finishes the inking of her palm, and then focuses her Chakra. Rurohashi Ruri has been fascinated by and nearly obssessed with Fuuinjutsu — Sealing Techniques — for a decade now. Ever since she found out what had been sealed inside of her sister, she had been trying to learn all she could about this subject so that she could get rid of that monster for good. And yet, the results of her jutsu studies was the Flesh Scroll style, not anything strictly Seal-related. Unknown to everyone, Ruri had been developing a new branch of jutsu derived from Flesh Scrolls in secret.
Her first practical application of that jutsu had been the Full-Body Flesh Seal tattoo she used on herself to imprison Sheex inside of herself. But now she has advanced beyond that single, dangerous jutsu. She has developed Flesh Seal Ninjutsu, and she is ready to use it for its intended purpose — saving her sister. Does Rinako need saving right now? Ruri isn't sure. But if the storms are artificial in nature and there is some ancient evil from beneath the waves that she may be fighting… Then the younger of the sisters is willing to wager 'yes'.
"Isolation Location Seal!" Ruri calls out, and then claps her hands together, interlacing her fingers and sending Chakra from her left hand into her right. The Chakra moves slowly at first, but gradually builds up momentum as the same Chakra keeps flowing around in the circle created by her arms — the 'loop' means that more and more Chakra is building up over time. Eventually an invisible 'wave' of Chakra projects from her body and sweeps out across the ocean. With each revolution, the range increases. Eventually, Ruri is canvassing the area from their current point all the way to the two nearest islands (one of which is likely Mother Island), scanning for anything out of the ordinary… People, monsters, large Chakra sources… Anything.
This is a powerful sensory Ninjutsu, but Ruri is not getting the desired results. The 'static' and 'interference' that Kara spoke of before is making itself known now. It hangs heavy in the air, distorting the results of Ruri's scans. Still, she can at least determine a few things. "There are a few large Chakra sources in the area… Hard to identify them, and they're moving around pretty quickly… I don't recognize them as belonging to Rinako or that stupid turtle. They might be, or they might not be. The interference from the island extends out this far…? Dammit."
Ruri may not be having luck immediately, but she doesn't give up. She just keeps scanning. She closes her left eye, and considers using the Tomogan for a moment. The Tomogan can see through some types of Genjutsu, and can penetrate many things that normal eyes and jutsu can not. This is due to its unnatural origins, and Ruri is trying to follow her sister's advice and just not use the All-Eye anymore. She doesn't want to become reliant on it — or on HIM.
Even so… She resolves that if they don't have better luck in the next hour that she will use it anyway. Dozens of eyes that can see in the darkest depths of the ocean as easily as the brightest, most blinding light of day? That would be quite useful indeed. Then again… That usefulness is the PROBLEM…
The jet of water spraying up makes Ruri turn her head in that direction, more based on the sound than because she clearly sensed what caused it. "Why couldn't stupid Rinako have left us a clue or a map or SOMETHING!?"
Kara hmms. She isn't familiar with the jutsu Ruri is using, and doesn't know how it differs from Flesh Scroll jutsu… The fact she just painted it on instead of using needles and such to tattoo it indicates it is >not< the same as her usual brand of techniques. But Kara's specialties are Puppets and Scrolls, not Seals, so she just assumes it's a variant of Flesh Scroll techniques. She is paying more attention to piloting the boat, rising out of the way when water threatens to come too close. The papyrus is coated with and infused with Chakra, so it won't fall apart just from getting wet, but there's no reason to risk it.
"The weather is getting worse!" she calls out. No, duh. But there's a reason she is pointing that out. "If we don't find something soon, we'll have to find shelter. I don't think we can just keep flying around during a tropical storm safely, and we wouldn't be able to see anything in the water anyway!" Considering their options, Kara eventually says, "You said there's big things in the water, moving fast, right? Like… Faster than a whale? Cause I have an idea for how to get the attention of whatever's down there — whether it be Stormcallers—I mean ancient evil things I've never heard of before, or the 'Lord of Water' himself!" She then slows down the boat for a moment, before coming to a stop. "The problem is that we need someone brave and strong, who won't take any carp from anyone! Someone who can punch the heck out of anyone who messes with her! Someone who will do whatever it takes to save a trusted comrade and friend! Hmm…" Kara rubs her chin with one hand while looking up at the stormy sky. "But >who< in the >world< could we get on such short notice for such a job?" Kara shrugs helplessly, and slowly twists her upper body to stare expectantly at Shemri, wide-eyed and innocent.
A few minutes later…
Shemri is being dangled from the boat with very durable industrial-strength towing cables, which in turn lead back up to Pharaoh, whose chest is partially opened up. He has a spool of the cable sitting in his torso, along with a mechanical device for extending and retracting the metallic cord. "Remember, Shemri-chan!" Kara calls down as the lioness-headed Sekhmet stands nearby, ready to help haul Shemri up manually incase anything goes wrong, "Sharks are very sensitive in the eyes, nose, and gills! A good punch can make them rethink the whole 'eating you' angle!" It is unlikely that Shemri can respond with the diving helmet on her head, though there >is< a rather basic waterproof radio inside of it she can use to call back up to them. The underwater lamp she has been given will likewise provide illumination during her search.
Kara hits a lever and *Splash*! "I hope this works out. We don't have time to waste fooling around. We need to find Rinako and find out what she knows about the storms!"
Shemri tilts her head thoughtfully, considering Nai's observation. "This is a fact, I suppose. I am personally more concerned with spotting Rinako-san as her usual self. If she is currently doing that strange turtle-thing of hers, it shall be hard /not/ to notice her — " Shemri glances aside at the breaching of the sea leviathan. " — like that," she finishes. "Turtles must breath air, yes? Perhaps we shall see her come up for a breath too." Or, in accordance with Kara's idea…they can go down for /her/.
Shemri's neither fooled nor flattered by Kara's words, but she agrees to the idea easily enough. Better searching under the water for an aquatic thing, right? She might've volunteered for it earlier had she known Kara /had/ such equipment. Shemri gives a wave as she disappears under the water, then takes a look all around. Hmmm, no giant turtle sillhouettes immediately visible. What now? Swimming around doesn't seem like it'd reveal much more. Dragging Shemri up and moving the boat before dropping her back in again would be tedious, but still a lot faster than her just kicking around. Probably should've ironed out those details before —
— say, what's that big shape? Doesn't look nearly as big as Turtle!Rina, but it's still pretty sizeable, maybe that whale from bef — uh, do whales have jaws like that? o.O; Shemri draws a kunai and faces the creature charging at her. Even a ninja like Shemri can't do much in an environment as alien as this. Can't dodge (not as well as an aquatic animal can compensate, anyway), can't punch at full strength, and no Shiikaa there to help. Shemri aims her knife at her assailant, reasoning to use its momentum and aggression against itself, and hopes for the best.
Nai is, as usual standing off by himself — or as 'by himself' as he can be in a crowded boat. He keeps his own council, and does not interfere in what is going on except to try to keep aware of the environment. Ruri's sensing jutsu is interesting, but Nai is not very sensitive to such things and thus remains oblivious to what exactly is happening. For now, he just looks over the side and watches as Shemri descends into the churning depths. "Perhaps someone should have gone with her," Nai suggests. "To cover a larger area, or to guard her back. If sharks are a concern… Well, they can come from behind or below or the side. And if something OTHER than sharks is down there… Who knows what it is capable of?"
He watches the cable continue to unreel, forgetting for awhile to keep on pretending to breathe. Not that anyone is likely to notice right now. Finally, the recordskeeper makes a decision. He puts his hands together and focuses some Chakra, then he turns away from everyone and pulls down the wrap about his face enough to expose his mouth… Or what passes for a mouth. A moment later, a wet, thick, gushing noise emits from the robed man as a large amount of mud pours forth from between his jagged teeth. The mud piles up and shapes itself into a humanoid that then mimics Nai's appearance exactly. He doesn't bother to call out the jutsu's name. No one here cares and he is familiar enough with the jutsu that he does not need the extra focus.
Then Nai replaces the fabric and he and his Earth Clone both dive over the side of the boat and land with a pair of *SPLASH*es in the water. Creatures of water and water itself are both weak against Earth Release. And Earth Ninjutsu is Nai's specialty. Isn't that a happy coincidence?
Less happy is the horse-sized creature that rises from the depths a moment after Nai completes his descent, jaws ready to devour him! His Earth Clone is left untouched for the moment, perhaps due to it not 'smelling' or 'tasting' like a living thing. It's just dirt shaped like a person. Nai, on the other hand, is… Well, not smelling or tasting much like a living being himself. But he is close enough that he is chomped down on. He feels remarkably calm about it as he is carried along, saw-teeth digging into his emaciated body.
Thanks to his visual capabilities, the darkness is less of a hinderance to him than it is to a normal person like Shemri. However, there are about half a dozen of these things, and Shemri is probably unaware of the others. Time to do something about this. The saturated Earth Clone retains its form more through the Chakra inside of it rather than its composition. It points one hand at one of the creatures and fires a highly pressure-condensed ball of earth equivalent to a relatively fragile rock at the eye of any creature that is looking to assault Shemri from behind. It is equivalent to a bullet of stone being fired with Chakra. Of course, it's underwater, so momentum will probably deplete itself quickly.
Nai, meanwhile makes no move to free himself from the creature chomping on him. At least not through simply struggling. Instead, he focuses his Chakra internally and begins attempting to release sprays of his toxic innards into the aquatic monster's mouth. If it lets go before that happens, perhaps having realized its prey is not very edible, then it should be fine — if not having a bad taste in its mouth. Otherwise, if it lets go AFTER the gunk is left within… It would be far too late. Flesh would begin to dry up, even with water flowing over it, cracking and withering and rotting painfully. Teeth would fall out as gums gush blood and peel away, and—
Well, it would be a very unpleasant way to die. Nai, though injured, can recover without even needing medical aid. What Nai REALLY needs is simply to be free of any hungry jaws so that he can get Shemri back on the boat. Hopefully the Maneshi will have the sense to use her radio to call for help. If she survives this initial encounter, at least.
The group decides to go fishing, and they endeavor to use Shemri as the bait in which to hook one of the monstrous… whales? Fish? Rinako herself? Whatever the case, it doesn't take long for the whatever is beneath the water to begin closing in on the 'free lunch' so readily offered by those above. Ruri's technique, if she is still using it, would readily detect the convergence of the chakra-forms towards the Maneshi's subaquatic location, moving steadily and quickly, like arrows, as if a school of sharks had just smelled blood. …Except for two, which steadily get closer, rising towards the surface, one followed by another.
As the blade held by the underwater Maneshi sinks into thick, scaled flesh, the creature attacking the woman turns slightly to the side to avoid the pain, causing it's jaws to miss Shemri by inches. During the passing, a clear view of one of it's eyes reveals malign intent, and, perhaps far worse, intelligence. But others were closing in fast, one coming from beneath, a wide, gaping maw nearly eight feet across ready to swallow its prey whole!
The creature the earth clone attacks feels the impact of the rock slamming into it, but it fails to penetrate skin. Water may be weak against earth jutsu, but most earth jutsu was not created with fighting beneath the waves in mind! It turns away from Shemri, and makes a beeline towards the clone. Whatever they were, they were intelligent enough to attack what they considered threats, whether they were 'edible' or not!
This is further evidenced by the one carrying Nai in its jaws, its teeth continuing to grind and saw at emaciated flesh regardless of the fact that it has sensed the being in its mouth is not food. It does not let go, at least not until the pain in its mouth has become overwhelming, at which point it ceases its headlong journey of dragging the male away from his group of companions and spitting him out, diving deeper beneath the waves, out of reach, a high-pitched keening emanating as it retreats into the depths. The original Nai is left alone for now, but not for too long if he remains stationary!
The one coming from below Shemri is suddenly interrupted by an unnatural current of water slamming into it from the side, smacking into the side of its head, thick enough with chakra to be visibly different from the surrounding water, diverting its course enough to discourage it from trying to swallow the Maneshi. But there is still that enormous finned tail whipping about in its effort to change course which might deliver quite the crushing blow! To say nothing of the other hungry beasts circling like hungry animals.
And from the waves, those in the boat would suddenly find a creature bigger than the boat they were using as transport firing itself from the water like a marine missile, it's powerful fins launching the large, scaly body towards their craft, jaws wide open and ready to wreck the entire craft even as the first drops of rain begin to fall. Thunder rumbles in the distance and the wind picks up, whiteheads breaking, spraying seawater into the air as above the surface of the water the ocean turns into peaks and valleys, the first of the dark clouds already moving overhead.
Ruri is still scanning. Nai's words trouble her a bit. "Maybe you're right, Nai-san. But Shemri is pretty tough—Did you just get sick?" she asks as she opens her left eye and STARTS to turn her head to look behind her, before she realizes two things. 1) Her neck doesn't rotate that far. 2) If Nai is throwing up she REALLY doesn't want to see it. So she just looks forward and focuses on her jutsu again.
Then she realizes those things moving quickly about in the water are headed right for Shemri! "CRAP!" she yells. "Kara, warn Shemri! There's—" *SPLASH SPLASH* "Holy hell! DID HE JUST JUMP IN!?" She cancels her sensing technique and turns to make sure Nai didn't just do what she thinks he did. But just before she cancelled the jutsu, she got a hint of something that felt like… "…Rinako?" she asks in confusion, pausing.
The young woman then is treated to the spectacle of a huge creature bursting out of the ocean, mouth open, ready to smash them or eat them or whatever the hell sea monsters do to flying boats. "…I think we're going to need a bigger boat," is all Ruri can get out in terms of words as she yanks her hitai-ite up off her right eye. A stream of ragged black flesh pours forth from the eyesocket, covered in menacing, glowing-red eyes, with rings in them, radiating outwards from the pupils. The flesh extends outwards in a rush, and tries to SLAP the monster out of the air by striking it full-force in the head. Even if it is not knocked into the water, it MIGHT be kept from striking the boat. And that is basically the best that Ruri can hope for right now.
"Kara, get us out of here!" she lets out if she is successful in deflecting the sub-marine beasty's attempted tackle. Wait, 'get us out of here'? Sure, maybe Shemri is attached to a cable and can just be dragged through the water to relative safety, or reeled back in… But what about Nai!? Is he being left behind!?!
Kara is focused on the cable and attending to the radio she is holding, waiting for anything from Shemri. The winds, the rain, the extremely rough waters, all make it hard to hear and focus. But Pharaoh keeps on giving Shemri line, and Shemri keeps taking it. Then Ruri starts yelling about warning Shemri about something. Turning to find out what's wrong, the dark-skinned woman finds only Nai jumping over the boat twice. "…Deja vu," she mumbles. Looking to Ruri, she asks, "Rinako? Did you sense her? What's going on?" A 25-foot long crocogatorfish comes leaping out of the water before any answer can be provided. At Ruri's clever one-liner Kara just thinks, 'Darn. >Now< I wish I'd made Pharaoh-25: Barge of Kings after all. Then I would have a witty retort to that.'
Instead of a witty retort, she just follows orders and sends Chakra through Pharaoh to cause him to start reeling in the cable, and hopefully drawing Shemri upwards to safety! Also, the boat attempts to move out of the way of the reature, because it's a >flying< boat not a 'stays still' boat. "Pharaoh-kun, take the wheel!" she calls out absently, and then aims one hand at Sekhmet. The Puppet of gold opens her felinoid mouth, exposing some sort of series of rotating fan blades. Aiming her mouth over the side of the boat, and into the water, Sekhmet releases a massive concussive blast of wind and sound directly into the ocean. The deep *whhOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM* of the attack resonating in the water would probably be quite disorienting to aquatic creatures in the area, if not painful — though since they may not have been struck directly by the wind blast or cone of sound, being physically damaged would be another matter entirely.
As for poor Nai? Uhh… Oops?
Score! Shemri feels a mixture of exhileration and relief as her small but well-aimed blade turns aside the monster's first attack. n.n; That was a close call, better get back up to the surface. "Hoi, I am being attacked down here! Haul me up!" Shemri kicks upward, oblivious to the second creature coming at her from below. Fortunately, the mystery water blast, combined with the reeling from Pharoah and the tug of the boat moving, are enough to prevent Shemri from becoming a jaws-from-the-deep victim. She breaks through the surface and swings back onto the boat. "I do not think that was a whale!" Shemri says, though likely enough nobody can understand her from under the helmet. After removing the thing, she looks around and tries to figure out what-all's going on — seems like a lot has happened in the last few moments. "What shall we do now?"
Shiikaa has decided this is officially the WORST VACATION EVER. Yes, it's a mission, but worst vacation sounds better. :P At least the giganto Small Crunchy Nom Critter didn't do anything unfriendly, but now there's a giganto Scaly Nom Critter trying to EAT them — and worse, knock them all into The Big Wet! DX Well, as terrified as Shiikaa is of the prospect, he doesn't let it prevent him from acting to prevent it. A gust of wind chakra follows up after Ruri's attack, attempting to slice the Scaly Nom Critter into filets.
Nai does not remain stationary. His Earth Clone is destroyed without much difficulty, and Shemri appears to be getting pulled to safety. The massive, resonating, THRUMMMMMM of sonic blasts being conducted through the water makes Nai glad he is only partially susceptible. Even so, he finds it difficult to orient himself towards the surface. When he finally does identify which way is up relative to himself, he focuses his Chakra into his feet and kicks rapidly, pushing himself as high-speeds back to the world above. Unless someone or something friendly is in the water with him, he'd basically be stuck standing on the water while his 'allies' go soaring off.
Does Nai just stand there stupidly and wait to be eaten from below? No. Not that he is concerned about that, but it is possible he might still be able to catch up. Overall, however, he feels a bit… Betrayed. So unless there is cause to do otherwise, he will begin running off after the boat, and perhaps attempt to get back onboard if that is not too much of a hassle for everyone.
The tentacles rush to meet the incoming creature head-on, scaly flesh slamming into other-worldly flesh in a colossal collision moments before the feline wind-attack strikes into the sea monster. The sharp chakra-enhanced wind slips between the small scales covering the beast and creates several large gashes along its back and snout. As the deflection hits home with the attack and the boat seeks to move out of the way, the creature's enormous mouth only manages to clip the tail end of the boat, doing negligible damage to the craft as a hole other than taking a small chunk out of the very end. The creature slams back into the ocean, vanishing beneath the wave in a great splash that is likely lost amidst the tossing and frothing waves as the rain begins to come down harder. There's starting to become quite the puddle in the interior of the flying papyrus boat!
As the chakra-enhanced soundwaves slam into the water, the creatures… fail to react in any appreciable manner. High-pitched subaquatic noises are their main means of communication, and their tolerance to loud, unpleasant noises is far above that of a human's, or any terrestrial animal for that matter. There is one noticeable effect of the sound-blast, however.
Through the ever-heightening rains and heavy waves explodes the humanoid figure of a woman, crying out even as she gasps for oxygen, her arms held up, hands over her ears as if they were pained. Those who knew her best would certainly recognize the appearance of Rurohashi Rinako, as she does an inverse dive, removing herself from beneath the waves, skidding along the surface of the water in an unkempt tumble until her feet are gathered beneath her, finally gaining traction on the rolling waves, bouncing up and down with the tossing waters.
Before she can even begin to look about and find out where that awful noise had come from, another form emerges from beneath the waves, one of the great serpentine monsters that have been chasing her exploding from almost right beneath the kunoichi's feet, catching her up in it's jaws before vanishing in a terrific splash beneath the waves once more.
Winds are buffeting the airborne craft, beginning to make piloting it difficult, trying to snatch away control of the bow, slamming it up, down, side-to-side with each of the sudden, forceful gusts. Given that this was only the edge of the storm, worse was likely to be coming. Soon.
Ruri is amazed at the toughness of the creature. The Tomogan is controlled by her Chakra and possessed of blatantly supernatural and artificially instilled strength. Her own body has nothing to do with its power, just how much Chakra she uses and its innate physical might. Ruri thought she was pretty darn good with her Chakra — at the peak of Chuunin capabilities, even! But for her attack to fail to simply slap this monster away…
'Something ancient and evil from beneath the waves,' she repeats silently, even as the boat manages to (barely) soar out of the way of the creature. So this must be a creature from some unfathomably old time when everything HAD to be tough or else it would be DEAD. She can't quite grasp that fully, but there is more to worry about. The Tomogan retracts a bit, before forming a sort of 'canopy' over the ship to shield it from the rain. Other scraps of the midnight flesh extend in a different direction, not being limited by physical dimensions. These new tendrils reach down towards the water before Nai even emerges, apparently intending to go under the waves to grab him and pull him to safety.
Yes, pull him to safety with a bunch of eyeballs.
However, he DOES emerge, so Ruri just creates a sort of continuously extending 'ramp' of flesh for him to run up and onto the boat. It continues to extend because they are STILL moving AWAY. However, what might have turned into a quick retreat is ruined when all those dozens upon dozens of eyes see something that is then trasmitted to Ruri's brain. "…Rinako!" she yells as she turns to face her suddenly-appeared sister. Then when she is apparently EATEN, Ruri screeches louder, "RINAKO!" She forgets about the rain completely. Assuming Nai has gotten back up to the boat, Ruri… Runs down her own Tomogan-flesh ramp! She charges at her top speed towards the water where she saw her sister vanish, and then stands atop her own tentacles of ragged flesh as an improvised platform. The tentacles thrash through the waves, 'swimming' like some sort of insanely deformed squid or octopus. Ruri doesn't see Rinako anywhere.
She flexes her mental muscles and sends her Chakra flowing through the unnatural tendrils, and then diving beneath the waves, spreading and spreading into a massive canvas of black. The eyes stop looking like (evil) eyes, and begin to look more like balls of fire. Glowing flames of red Chakra blaze from each orb, lighting up the ocean as they search in every direction for the sibling of their owner. If anything gets in the way of this search, it is likely going to be seized, crushed, or simply smothered between walls of staring flesh that grind together like tectonic plates. "Give me my sister…!" Ruri hisses, completely forgetting about the team, completely forgetting about the storm, the monsters, and anything else.
Nothing is more important. Nothing. Especially not the lives of sea monsters.
A near miss there with the fishasaurus, to be certain, but they're okay now! As long as they keep moving, these things — no matter how smart they may be — are not going to get them! Afte all, kara can just make the boat fly high enough that they are waaaaaaay out of reach. For now, though, she just keeps Pharaoh reeling in Shemri, until she is aboard. The ramp for Nai is nice, but it quickly becomes hundreds and then over a thousand feet long, because of the speed of the boat. The water filling the bottom is troubleing, but with Ruri protecting them with her eye-umbrella, they'll be just fine!
Then Ruri yells about Rinako and takes off. The water level resumes rising. "…Ugh!" Kara lets out as the wind tries to shove her off course. It's a battle between her Chakra control and the forces of nature itself, and Kara doesn't feel good about her chances. Sekhmet is scanning the water but lacks special sensors like Pharaoh does. "Pharaoh-kun, pack it up! We need to go back and find Ruri-chan and Rinako-chan!"
The mummy is rather miserable-looking out in the rain, so he quickly dumps out all the water that has gathered in his hollow torso and then seals his chest-flap shut. He hunkers down and begins serving as a focus for Kara to control the boat, while Sekhmet goes on 'stand-by'… Or so it seems, as while Kara is distracted the lioness-headed Puppet moves towards the rear of the boat on her own and stares out at the tall waves and Ruri as she runs along her own ramp of artificial flesh.
Shortly the ocean seems to become alive with glowing balls of fire, like hundreds of angler fish coming to the surface. Kara has never seen Ruri use this level of her 'All-Eye', but she gets over it quickly. "Note to self: Get to work on aquatic capabilities for Puppets after this." Then she just directs the boat to where Ruri is, and tries to keep an eye out for trouble. "Where did you see her!?" Kara calls down.
Well, Shemri's team-mates seem too busy with their own problems to provide an update, so she continues looking around and trying to figure it out for herself. That's probably the most valuable thing she could do right now anyway, right? Go back to being lookout. So Shemri peers over the sides of the boat and scans the sea below, and in doing so manages to be amongst those who spot Rinako's emergence. "Hoi! Rinako-san, we are he — " Oo. Chomp. c.c; Well, at least it looked like it might've been a gulp-down-whole chomp rather than a bite-in-half chomp, right? "Over there!" Shemri shouts, directing Kara toward the spot where Rinako disappeared.
Meanwhile, Shiikaa has yet another reason to be irritable: the wet is encroaching into the thing that's specifically supposed to keep wet out! ^>.<^ In an effort to slow this process, Shiikaa creates a vortex of air around himself, hopefully shunting aside some of the rain. Probably won't do much good for keeping it out of the boat, actually, but maybe it'll keep /him/ dry a little longer. :P
Nai sees the ramp coming for him, and a sense of relief floods him. He wasn't betrayed after all. Ruri planned to rescue him. He just rescued himself sooner than she could react. He appreciates that. A lot. He will have to tell her later. He is actually a bit stunned that anyone would care enough to rescue him, but he supposes it was just part of a team leader's duties.
Then he sees Ruri leap out of the boat and come running to meet him. Does he look injured? He knows he has a number of nasty holes in his body, but—No. She is running right on past him. Confused now, Nai turns to watch while simultaneously trying to remain aware of his environment. Those things can probably leap out of the water if they wish to. They look capable of it. And being out at sea means Nai is at a disadvantage in terms of jutsu. Not enough earth to go around. The rain pounding upon him and the strong wind nearly forcing him off of the slippery ramp makes footing difficult, but he turns to follow after Ruri, only to find that he is walking not just on a 'Stored Ramp' or something… But on a bunch of EYEBALLS. "…." Nai looks down at the grotesque eyes beneath his feet.
Then he shrugs and follows after Ruri. He has seen worse. "You saw your sister?" he rasps as loud as he can, but the wind might drown him out anyway, and Kara seems to have it covered thanks to Shemri directing the search party to the right place. He cannot do much down here, so instead he leaps up onto the boat and begins assisting by bailing the water out of the bottom. When no one is looking, he changes his hands into large, scoop-shaped appendages that would probably do well doubling as 'shovels'. They work better than normal hands for the purposes of scooping up loads of water and dumping them over the side.
The many eyes of Ruri's own monstrous ability quickly manage to locate her sibling through the churning, murky depths, mostly from the amount of bubbles that are forming around the combative pair. Rinako has apparently at least managed to save herself from becoming a snack, the creature's enormous maw thrashing this way and that, attempting to cut through the struggling teenager. But the elder Rurohashi sister was not moving as a normal human through the water, darting this way and that, moving her arms as rapidly as she could above the waves, each movement unhindered by the ristance of the water as she hammers her fists repeatedly about the creature's head whenever there is an opening, each accompanied by a minor underwater shockwave. The force of the blows were obviously harmful to the monster, but it was certainly NOT deterring it from trying to make a meal of the kunoichi!
The boat is continually buffeted by the heavy winds, a roar across the dark heavens immediately preceeded by the strike of a bolt of lightning merely several hundred feet away, lighting up an otherwise dark sky. It is as if the night itself has overtaken the day, rain reducing visibility even further, winds doing their best to rip the unwary from the craft and the craft itself from the sky. Each moment spent seems to increase the torrents even further, the rain coming down in near-horizontal, stinging slats.
But at least Shiikaa has found a way to thwart most of it from himself. The others probably won't even notice a little extra wetness flung their way.
The sinister serpentine aberrations seem to do the opposite of being repelled by the sudden influx of bright, fiery lights into their environment: they assault them. The five remaining creatures circle momentarily, before beginning to snap at thrash on the tentacles and their fiery appendages, with strength in their jaws that no normal animal should have. The thrashing, pulling, striking, slashing of the attack manages to give as good as it gets, injuring the cretaceous-era monstrosities in some places, tearing off a fin here, putting out an eye there, bludgeoning them about the snout and body. One of which had sought to attack the central mass from below is actually torn apart, becoming little more than bloody chu- liquid chakra!? The creature, once slain, melts into the primal essence that fuels ninjutsu, before evaporating into the surrounding environmen.
Yet one, the largest of the aquatic lizards, bullies its way through the tentacles, ripping apart those which try to thwart it, shoving its bulk through, heaving up out of the water. …And right onto the artificial island made by the younger Rurohashi sister. It's enormous jaws snap at the kunoichi upon the tentacle mass's surface like an ancient alligator, using it's fins to shift it's snake-like bulk around for lethal strikes.
Underwater, the unnatural beast battling Rinako seems to have gotten the upperhand. Either through fatigue or simple overpowerment, the crocodile-jawed lizard is being held at bay by the elder twin's hands from slicing her body in half, but it appears to be a losing battle as, inch by inch, those jaws begin to wedge themselves shut around the jinchuuriki's body.
The biting and tearing of the Tomogan tentacles hurts Ruri. Badly. And because there are so many vicious, biting, saw-toothed mouths biting her in so many places, the pain is much greater. Though it is also evenly distributed so it does not overwhelm her mind… Or her resolve. She gathers all the Chakra she feels she can spare without risking death, and then makes the tentacles SURGE forth! Not just multiplying, they now grow thicker, stronger, and they begin firing lots of nasty things from their eyes. Over-sized meat cleavers; barbed harpoons; super-heated anvils; a giant iron maiden that may slam its spiked doors shut around one of the monsters before sinking towards the bottom of the ocean; the largest and ugliest gargoyle ever created; and finally, just for the monster grand-daddy who has landed upon Ruri's woman-made island of eyes and begun to snap at her, she has brick wall after brick wall after brick wall come popping up seemingly endlessly from the countless, fiery eyes. They are initially just a defense, but eventually form a teetering tower of stone that probably weighs dozens of tons or more by the time it overbalances and begins falling over, smashing against other walls, and then crumbling down on the creature while it lies there, inches away from making a meal of the immobile Ruri. She can't dodge like this.
Not with so many eyes coming out of her head.
Attacks of this level and multitude are generally not something that Ruri is capable of under any other circumstances. Only her desperation to save her sister and to kill anything that gets in the way of that goal has driven her to this state. She doesn't know if she has the Chakra left to destroy the monstrous master that will eat her in less than 15 seconds, when she runs out of energy to keep popping out walls made from nothing but her will and an other-worldly power.
She just knows she can see Rinako in trouble. She can SEE her. No matter how many of the beasts remain, whether the attacks were successful or not, whether she is going to die after accomplishing this rescue or if she'll survive in some mangled state, Rurohashi Ruri has no choice. Inside of her head, her mental self begins tearing into the pillar of stolen soul parts that Sheex had become before his 'self' was destroyed. Ruri takes all the power from that pillar that she can. Nothing is more important than her sister. Nothing. To hell with the risks. To hell with Sheex!
Ruri takes in all the power she can handle and then pours it into the Tomogan. Beneath the waves, the tentacles begin to wind together, massing and changing into a single solid shape. A gigantic replica of Ruri about as large as the Three-Tails, complete with pure-black skin, flecked with tiny lights as though she had BECOME the night sky, and with two eyes made of fiery stars, descends and thrusts out a massive hand, creating currents in the water that could capsize ships, displacing water and sending air bubbles forcefully enough to hurl away any lesser monsters.
Finally, that giant hand made of woven-together tentacles and eyes reaches for Rinako and her attacker. And then, distorted by being underwater, Ruri's voice roars out, "GIVE ME MY SISTER!!!" The giant attempts to crush the beast between her fingers, and then gently scoop up Rinako — if she'll hold still long enough — and lift her back to the surface. Ruri will run out of Chakra pretty shortly after that, and simply collapse. Sheex's stored power has run out. Her own power has run out. She can't fight anymore. The giant begins to disintegrate regardless of if it succeeded or not. Eventually, the island will do the same.
Shemri's seen more than her usual share of usefulness on this mission, it seems like. Tracking through the forest, exploring the dark cave, even searching beneath the waves (although considering that resulted in the party being attacked, its usefulness is debatable). Still, in the end it comes down to tangling with huge monsters, and Shemri finds herself wishing once again that she had some big ninjutsu whammy to use. :P Oh well, that's Shiikaa's job! "Hoi, Shiikaa! Down there!" Shiikaa shivers, but sacrifices his protective vortex to blast away at the creatures below. There better be a solid week of high-quality kitty treats coming up after this. ^>.<^;
Kara has little to do right now. Ruri is going nutso, Nai is bailing out the boat, and Shiikaa is blasting the monsters, and here comes Godzilla up on Ruri's Island. Everything seems to be getting worse and worse. The massive amount of energy being channeled by Ruri to perform all her feats is beyond anything Kara has witnessed before. The giant Ruri bellowing beneath the waves, even though Kara can't >see< it, can be heard at least. Rinako is rescued, however, as a giant hand of bound-together tentacles rises from the deeps.
And then Ruri collapses and all those tentacles begin to disintegrate. "CRAP!" she yells and sends out sekhmet to leap down onto the island and try to pry Ruri away from her own crazy eye-tentacles. If at all possible, Rinako and Ruri will both be gotten onto the boat, and then they can get the hell out of there! The weather is a monstrous fury now, and the boat is nearly depleted of energy to sustain its stability. And Kara is running low too.
Once everyone is aboard, Kara will try to high-tail it in any direction >except< where the storm is coming from. They can't hang around here, that's for sure. Because… That monster fish didn't look happy. Was it even still alive? She didn't know, but it was ugly and huge and very unhappy-looking. And unhappy things with that many teeth are best avoided.
Nai just keeps bailing the water out of the ship and stays out of the way unless directed to help in some other fashion. There is little he can do in this situation. He is completely out of his element. His only hope is that he does not have to run back to shore atop the water if the others are killed. It would take a long time, and the ocean is full of hostile lifeforms like that thing they are leaving behind on a disintegrating island.
Nasty piece of work. And now Nai's stomach is hurting. Given he has no living nerves in his stomach to feel pain with, that can mean only one thing…
He'll have to feed soon. He looks towards the unconscious Ruri for a long moment… And then returns to dumping water from the boat.
The fired things lose much of their momentum after a dozen or so feet of underwater travel, with the resistance of water molecules and the buffeting of many conflicting currents this close to the surface. Even so, many of them manage to fly home, sinking into the flesh of monsters, or striking along their bodies painfully. A few dissolve into liquid-chakra before evaporating into wispy streams of nothing, at least one begins to quickly swim away, it's elongated body slithering through the water as it sinks into the depths. The rest are merely driven away, still circling hungrily, hurt but not yet beaten.
The creature attacking Ruri directly is struck by the wind-blasts of the sonic cat, distracting it from snapping the mistress of tentacles in two for a few precious seconds… Just long enough for her to finish laying out the walls to fall like dominos onto the creature. Part of its body and one of its fins is crushed against the island of tentacles, before the sheer weight plunges it back beneath the surface of the water, where it withdraws with the others, circling, eyeing for another opening with which to strike again despite its injuries. The circle of creatures backs up, relegating themselves to an even wider perimeter as the enormous tentacle-being comes into creation, swatting aside all opposition, crushing the monstrous marine lifeform attacking her sister into fine chakra-paste.
Rurohashi Rinako is plucked from the ocean, one hand across her bleeding stomach, the other braced against the palm of the tentacle-hand, her eyes whipping about wildly for the source of her rescue, or possible soon-to-be-demise as she breaks the surface to the whipping wind and violent rain. When the golden puppet lands near her and attempts to scoop her up, the jinchuuriki strikes out at it before recognizing her rescuer for what it is. But in the end, the weakened Rinako and exhausted Ruri are brought back on board, and the boat is speeding towards the only safe haven around to be had from the ever-growing storm: land.
The elder of the twin siblings crouches low over her unsconscious twin as the boat speeds through the stinging rain, a hand under her head, speaking low into her ear as the boat continues to plow through the dark skies, her voice whipped away and carried off unheard by the wind. Mother Island rapidly approaches the group's field of vision, looming out of the dark, storm-laden sky like a beast all its own. Already high waves are smashing into the shore, and what boats haven't yet been devastated have broken their moorings and are adrift at sea. People are nowhere in sight, having all sought shelter from the storm. The only thing left to do is for the team to seek shelter themselves.