Date: December 2, 2016
Goh and Mushi combat the enemy for the last time.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"The Twelve Hunt - part 5: The Conclusion"
Preparations were made as the Goh and Mushi roused from their slumber. The tent was disassembled and the sealing pot was sealed within its own scroll for better maneuverability and access. If Mushi wanted to use it, she could now get to it at near any time. The pair had dressed as they normally do, perhaps not seeing the value in traditional shinobi attire. Goh wears his tattered black cloak that billows about him, covering his bare torso. His boots on his feet, normal pants on his legs.
As he lets Mushi's hand go, the once legendary shinobi moves to stand on his own and focus in chakra. Gathering it and building it within himself, his presence becomes known to sensor shinobi from afar. After only a couple of minutes, a storm cloud can be seen rolling in from the east. It moves unnaturally, against the wind and soon blocking out the sun. With a sharp inhale Goh begins to ready himself, rotating his arm around and stretching.
The storm gets closer and closer, and with it? Rain falls. Thunder crackles and booms. The desert has likely not seen rain for many months, and this somewhat unscheduled downpour has many creatures scurrying in surprise. But Goh waits, hair now matted to his face. Clothes starting to stick to his frame as they soak through. There was no sign of the Patriarch yet though, despite the cloud now completely over them.
"You ready?" Goh calls over to Mushi, finding he has to elevate his voice to carry over the rain.
The storm is coming, but as it does Mushi has grown increasingly calm. Her anxiety that plagued her for the past few weeks off and on is gone. Perhaps she’s relieved that the day is here, and there’s no more tormenting waiting. Or maybe she’s really good at concealing her doubts. Any last minute motivational speeches were skipped. She didn’t want to think of this as something that merits ‘final words.’ She just dressed, geared up, and literally prepared for a storm.
When Goh turns to Mushi he’ll see an empty spot. She’s gone. To be specific she’s retreated a very long ways away from Goh, and would leave him by himself. Well not completely by himself. A little hummingbird lands on his shoulder. “Mushi-chan is preparing,” she says. “You’re going to have to distract it with the Suna nin. Good luck.”
The Sand Shinobi have made a large perimeter with a few preparations of their own. They don’t plan to rely solely on a sealing jar. They’ve laid out millions of paper tags under the sand, and have shinobi ready to create barriers and attack simultaneously. However all agreed: Goh could act as the bait. “They’ll be sure not to hit you, but be prepared for their support,” the bird says. “I’ll stay with you during the course of the battle.”
Mushi has sat down with the seal pot. She was given a contingent of three shinobi guarding her, but they’re doing a very good job of not being seen. This is their natural terrain. Far far above, above the approaching cloud, and even the real clouds a shadow soars.
"Just make sure to tell her to not activate the pot until he's unified in his singular form." Goh speaks softly to the Hummingbird, the pickler glancing down to the creature with a smile. "We need to beat the sum of his parts, force him to merge into his single self. THEN she can go." Goh turns around to look at the Sunagakure shinobi around him. The brave men and women who are perhaps wondering why they are even here.
As the cloud builds and thickens, the rain increasing along with the thunder and lightning, twelve streaks can be seen emerging. They trail down like small meteors, falling down through the sky with great pace. With huge THUMPS onto the wet sand they land in a crouching position, sending a ripple of energy out. One, Two. Three, Four. Five. Six, Seven and Eight. Nine, Ten, Eleven. And then finally Twelve, who snarls a growling noise as he stands tall. They are all tall and intimidating, eleven feet and muscular. Their skin is black, radiating energy much like Two did the last time Goh and Mushi fought the Patriarch.
Speaking of Two. He walks out from the group of divisions first, perhaps the alpha of the divisions. With an outstretched hand he holds up… a head. A decapitated head, held from the hair of the victim. It's the head of Uzumaki Roshi, the old man staring at Goh with eyes rolled back into his head, tongue hanging out of his mouth.
Goh's eyes twitch, his mouth turning into a grimace. Despite the incredible strength that they all wield, despite the danger they impose, the pickler snaps with anger. Propelling himself forward in the rain, the man charges and then LEAPS! "RARRRRRRGH!" As a long crackle of thunder and lightning ripples through the heavy clouds above, Goh screams at the top of his lungs, launching into a taijutsu battle with all the divisions at once!
It may seem like a suicidal attack, but Goh knows that he has the support of the Sunagakure shinobi at his back. And all of those paper bombs.
The shinobi don’t know who Roshi is, but several look alarmed and angry at the sight of the decapitated head. For that display, Two gets the brunt of the assault. A pillar of wind drops down on him like an invisible sledgehammer, but one so massive it parts through the rain to literally pound him into the ground. A group of collective shinobi have executed it. Squad leaders are barking out orders. A few of the forms face hailstorms of kunai, senbon, and shuriken all edged with poison. Anti-coagulants, to lessen any healing factor they might have. But most of all paper tags are exploding with the force of bombs, huge collections of them hidden underneath the ground that’d rain down fire and sand anywhere they moved. It’s difficult to see where the attacks are coming from, but Goh would find himself in the middle of chaos—without any of the jutsu harming him. In fact, any time the forms go for Goh they seem to get especially targeted with a combination of explosive tags, wind ninjutsu, and needles.
From afar Mushi is speaking with the little hummingbird. She zips back. “Mushi-chan is ready,” she says. “She says to not lose your senses. She also says to be prepared.”
As earlier hypothesized by Roshi, Goh and Mushi, the beings are not nearly as strong individually compared to what faced Mushi nearly a month ago. After all, they are split into twelve, so the Patriarch's strength must be divided by that amount. The downside of course though, is that each of these twelve beings carry the same skills and abilities. Goh's first few hits hit home, and they hit HARD. So hard that the beings actually stagger back with a grunt. The pickler ducks and weaves among the sea of incoming taijutsu attacks, spitting forth fire in counter-blows.
The support from Sunagakure makes him feel nearly invincible. There's even a subtle smile on his face at one point, but it's quickly replaced by a gasp as 'Five' shoulder charges the pickler, sending him backwards and skidding to a halt in the wet sand. Coughing up some blood from the strike, Goh faces the follow-up attack, but he finds it not hitting him due to the support which he gets. The hammer of wind strikes several of the beings down at once, while the poisoned shuriken and other thrown weapons all manage to slow them down.
The final coup de grace happens when the explosions erupt however. Knowing that the bombings are about to happen, Goh launches at one of the beings and uses him as a springboard to launch /high/ into the air! As he does, the ground rocks and explodes, sending divisions of the Patriarch, as well as wet sand and debris, /everywhere/.
Once Goh lands on the disrupted ground, he breathes heavy. It was only a few minutes of engagement, but it left him exhausted. Slowly yet surely the divisions rise, each of them seeming… well, upset.
The merging begins to take place. The twelve seem to walk in close together, some of them still re-growing limbs from where they had been early blown completely off. Some are hobbling, while some are literally dragging themselves along by their arms and hands.
Goh just watches, lifting a hand up to indicate to the Sunagakure support to not attack them. To perhaps let them complete their merge.
While the beings begin to merge the Sunagakure shinobi don’t stand idle. They know they’re not supposed to disrupt the merging so instead they’re forming a long line between Goh and the soon-to-be-one Patriarch. NInjutsuists are making hand seals and gathering chakra for a jutsu that’s starting to make the ground tremble. They don’t know precisely what they’re facing, only that it’s an enemy, and one beyond human. Their collective effort is incredible. As the merge begins Aru the hummingbird lands on Goh’s shoulder and he’d feel a flood of energy pass into him. “Be prepared,” she says again.
The divisions crawl onto each other and press against each other. Upon close inspection, it's clear that they are literally melting into each other - a process that seems painful given the screams of anguish that each division makes.
Goh watches as the shinobi in front of him fall into line, though his eyes narrow a bit. "What are you all doing?" He queries, perhaps not entirely happy that they are being used as a shield. And besides, the true form of the Patriarch is something he hasn't seen before! He wanted to see it! He remains standing though, catching his breath in the storm. Feeling more energy wash into him from the Hummingbird, he nods at the advice. "Right."
As the divisions merge and absorb into each other, a bright white light appears. It radiates from the combination of beings, blinding anyone who dares to look at it directly. As the Patriarch comes to life in his natural form, the white brightens, and the storm above him splits — as if the weather itself fears his presence. Eventually the storm parts and dissipates completely, and in the light that the sun provides, the Patriarch stands.
Long flowing golden hair falls down his back, as the somewhat youthful (considering how old he is) being steps forth in white robes. He looks almost like a Priest! He stands at an even six and a half feet tall, not that much taller than Goh himself. But despite the lack of height, despite the white clothes that indicate 'purity', this man… Is evil. He radiates death and foreboding. If plantlife were around him, it would wither. Heck, the Sunagakure shinobi closest to the Patriarch will start to legitimately feel ill. And if they are very close? They will begin to /die/.
Goh just stares, his body trembling at the sheer power of this individual. Frustrated, he tries to grasp his own hand to keep it still, but both of them end up shaking instead. He can't even sense chakra, but he didn't need to. Even the most common of man would be able to feel that this man just is not right. Not natural.
As the merging process completes, the Patriarch opens his eyes. Baby blues snap open with authority, and as they do, a wave of dust and sand ripples out from his body. Goh nearly falls to his feet as his knees buckle, despite being a distance away.
That's when the sand around the Patriarch hardens, and turns into jagged crystal. Not just around the Patriarch but in a wide radius. Harmless sand shoots up, transforming into crystal as sharp as blades. It'd skewer the Patriarch from every direction. Not to mention more shards are being used as projectiles to sink into its flesh. They'd been briefed on its ability to absorb senjutsu chakra, and perhaps chakra in general, so the Sand shinobi seem intent on at least giving a try to kill the guy physically. The hummingbird whispers, "They feel that the Patriarch will find this harder to counter, since it's a combination element and a…a… sorry, I must flee." Aru zips away out of the radius of the corrosive chakra. The Suna nin are feeling the effects as well. Some are collapsing, but medics are already dragging them back. However the assault of crystalline sand continues, picked up where others left off.
From behind Mushi has released all her chakra and now she begins to channel her chakra. Or at least it looks like she does. Unlike the immediate outpouring of power like she did before, nothing seems to happen. She'd assured Goh she had mastered it. And the Sand Shinobi had the thought to bury the sealing pot, so that it wasn't immediately visible. It's lid is just below the sand. They may as well not broadcast what she's doing, which makes what she looks like she's doing is sitting around doing nothing.
The Patriarch seems a bit surprised at first, his eyes looking lazily at the crystals of sand that form all around and skewer into his skin. There is a mild annoyance from the figure, as he twists a little. Goh looks on with delight, perhaps foolishly believing that the jutsu worked! But Sunagakure shinobi are about to be denied, as the leader of a now-extinct clan simply twists himself free. With a grunt he pivots, and he swipes a hand like a cat. As it does so, a huge rush of energy, chakra and wind is expelled from his being, resulting in the crystals simply being blown to pieces.
While a 'farm' of crystallized sand surrounds him, the Patriarch has created a path through by simply waving a hand! Goh grumbles at the technique, hollering at the Sunagakure shinobi to hold fast. In the face of such a being though, it was tough.
The Patriarch rapidly forms hand seals, and from about his body a whirl of water is created out of nothingness. Even in the desert, he seems capable of creating an extreme amount of water! The tornado of fluid rises high in the air, before it begins to morph into a titanically sized wall of water, like a tsunami. The head of the Patriarch forms in the wave as it begins to push forward, threatening to wash all of the shinobi away with one fell swoop!
The size of this water technique is … well, it's off the scale. Goh begins to perform a technique to hopefully get him out of it. But the panic on his face suggests he may not get out in time.
The Suna nin are washed out to sea, or rather they make way for the tidal wave. A few are swallowed up and swept away. However before Goh is one of those victims Kirameki dives down, straight under the descending tidal wave. “Get on,” she says, but she wouldn’t wait if he was too slow. She’d snag his cloak with her beak and fly him away. This time she wouldn’t go into the sky. Rather, she remains low, skimming over the ground so closely that her shadow would travel over the sand with her. She’d set him off somewhere closer to Mushi rather than the scattered shinobi forces. “Go to Mushi-chan,” she says. Then after leaving him there she’d fly back faster than a spear to slice into the Patriarch with sharpened wind chakra. It’d only be a temporary attack before she took to the air again.
The Suna nin are pulling back to their medics, taking the wounded. And it’s partly because the paper tags under the ground have been washed out and destroyed. Yet they’re not done. Instead they are maneuvering to not be a single target like before. Fanning out, waiting for their chance, and that’s when Aru lands on his shoulder again. “She’s ready.” Indeed Mushi’s eyes are open and she’s looking intently at Goh. “Get to her and protect her.”
Pfffft. Goh TOTALLY had that situation handled! He was… uh, well, he wasn't sure what he was going to do really. So it's a very good thing that Mushi's summon came to his aid. Letting out a sigh in relief, Goh rides on the bird as it blitzes across the water and sand, and then attacking the Patriarch! The slice of wind chakra is avoided as he ducks under the blow, watching as the slice passes harmlessly above him.
Dropped off moments later near Mushi and far behind the front line, the pickler takes a moment to take his breath. It seems that he barely has time to even do this, before he's told that the healer is ready. "Mushi!" He cries out, looking to her as if it's the first time he has seen her in months. When in reality, it had only been moments.
"Ready?" He asks, voice filled with anticipation and a bit of anxiety. "I've got you, hun. Seal this Q.E.D. away before he comes in on us!"
As the Sunagakure ninja start to fall back, the Patriarch perhaps gets wind of what's happening. With a sniffle of his nose and a narrow of his brow, he begins to make his way for Goh and Mushi.
Kirameki is circling the surrounding forces and feathers rain down on them. Except these feathers are made of pure, glowing chakra. They dissolve once they touch a person or the ground and release revitalizing medical chakra. When Goh reaches Mushi she closes her eyes and makes a hand seal. “Don’t let him touch you while I seal him,” she says. “It could be dangerous.” And then it’s proven that Mushi did indeed master the sealing pot, even above what Roshi had. Before it was like a tornado was coming forth. Isntead, the tornado remains inside the pot, but the suction is unbelievable. Instantly every loose, lightweight thing would be sucked inside. Even getting too near the pot would suck someone’s chakra from their body. However it’s most concentrated on the Patriarch who’d feel as if everything—the air, the chakra, even the cells of his own body, were being sucked into the pot. Trying to get away would cause him terrible pain, as if he were tearing his body apart.
But it’s also rapidly consuming Mushi’s chakra. If she doesn’t complete this interrupted, she may not have enough energy to perform it a second time. She’s focused, unmoving.
Perhaps the Patriarch knew what was coming, or he just got lucky. Regardless, the figure charges forth to Mushi and Goh at breakneck speed! With his capabilities that means he is there in a nigh instant, though he is far enough away for Goh to sense his incoming. "I'll hold him off!" The pickler bravely declares, pushing forward to intercept him. "You just get that pot sealing going!"
The reality is that Goh has ZERO chance of winning any battle here. Heck, even him 'holding off' is a steep ask. But Mushi needed some time to launch her attack, and it's some time that the man can hopefully buy. Pressing in to the Patriarch and forcing him to stop from his running charge (which would have beelined him and taken Mushi straight out), Goh gets in close to exchange a few blows. However, the man is surprised to find that the Patriarch has already reacted, and is instead attacking himself!
The Patriarch slams a fist into Goh's torso at such speed that the pickler can't even see it. Goh's body sort of wraps around the fist, contorting a bit, before launching away a good twenty feet away. He bounces once across the sand, before sliding to a halt. Unmoving. On the plus side, it has catapulted him far away from the Patriarch, and thus the prime target.
But this second that Goh had bought her. This moment? It's all that Mushi needs. His expression reveals all, the man gasping in sheer terror as he begins to feel himself getting sucked in. "WAUGHGHH!" He hollers at the top of his lungs, the man resisting to the best of his capabilities. He will 'feel' like a gigantic mass of heaviness, far different to anything that Mushi has practiced on. Yet still, it's working! At least to begin with.
As he’s being sucked into the pot, Mushi looks at the being called the Patriarch. “People would’ve helped you, you know,” she says. “If you asked someone like Goh he would’ve given you a hundred times more in generosity, than what you took through force. But seeing you with that man’s head I realized…cooperation is impossible with you. You give us no choice.” Her words cut off in a gasp. Her teeth grit as she attempts to draw that terrible weight into the void. She places her hands directly on the pot to increase its power, but at the same time her own chakra is plummeting down into it. And she notices something. As she touches the pot her fingers are starting to stiffen. Instead of recoiling from the effects of the senjutsu chakra, she’d just close her eyes and keep up the attempt.
That’s when wind chakra blasts the Patriarch from behind. Trying to upset his concentration and knock him forward into the sealing pot. Some of the Suna nin have regrouped. They don’t look forgiving.
The Patriarch howls and moans in displeasure as his very being is sucked into the abyss. He resists as much as he can, before the final push from the Sunagakure shinobi tips the favour in the scale of Mushi. With a final breath, a curse to the world and everything in it, the man disappears into the void that the pot has opened up, and is sealed within.
Nearly instantly the weather clears straight up. What little cloud remained in the sky from his arrival has completely disappeared, and with the Patriarch's disappearance into the beyond, all that's left to hear initially is the wind. Naught but the sound of people breathing, perhaps in a state of disbelief that the battle, while short, is finally over.
Only moments later, the pot groans. The entire thing begins to shudder, as if it had not enjoyed what it had just consumed. It then… splinters. There is one crack. Followed by another. And then another. From the base it splinters all the way up, before shattering and falling to pieces. There is nothing inside of it worthy of note. No secret portal. No man. The doorway is to that void is now permanently shut, it seems. Forever gone.
The sudden silence seems unnatural after the thunderous battle. No one says anything for a moment. Then the shinobi let out a roar of triumph, all at once. It's not enough to make the ground shake but Mushi does smile. She flops back in exhaustion-or would. Her arms and much of her body are rigid. The hands to make seals that might undo the flux of senjutsu chakra are now just two useless lumps of stone. "You'd better have that senjutsu stick," Aru says nervously, and flits into the air near the medic. Whether it was willpower or skill that held off the flow of natural chakra is hard to say, but that's gone now. "Well this could be it," she says. "It looks okay, but if the sealing pot fails…" Whatever she might say is stopped as she's literally almost entirely a statue. She closes her eyes. It's fitting that her statue will look like she's healing someone with medical chakra.
Despite having his entire middle entirely wrecked by the earlier punch from the enemy, Goh has managed to not only get to his feet, but limp around to where Mushi is turning to stone. One of the fallen feathers from Mushi's summon had surely landed on him, given him enough strength to make the trip.
The pickler strikes the healer with a large rod with a flat tip. This tip is shaped to resemble a salamander mouth, so it almost looks like it is eating her when the rod strikes the healer. But in essence, all this rod has done is consume the senjutsu from within Mushi, reverting her back to her normal state instantly. Should she snap her eyes open, she will notice that there is no stone at all.
Still heavily injured, Goh falls onto his knees and gasps for air. All of his remaining energy went into hitting Mushi as hard as he possibly could, which will certainly leave a welt on the top of her head. But alive.
Coughing wetly, he spits some blood out and onto the sand. "No dying allowed." He comments somewhat ironically. "Remember? That's what you told me last night."
“Oww!” Mushi says, and curses. “Are you trying to kill me or something? Watch where you swing that thing!” Her hummingbird lands on her shoulder and whispers something into her ear, to which Mushi responds, “So? At least I’d be leaving a nice looking statue behind. I have a concussion.” Yet she’s already healing herself, giving the lump no time to form. It went more smoothly than she planned, and Mushi still has chakra left. In fact, she’s radiating chakra. She must’ve really drawn on the entire amount. So she goes over to Goh and gives him a tight hug, never mind the blood or dirt he might leave on her.
“Thank you Goh-kun for saving my life,” she says. “Sit down now.” Surrounded by relieved Suna shinobi, and sitting beside the shattered remains of the vase, it feels as if a chapter has come to close. People are injured, but medics are there and no one has died. Not this time. And with the healing chakra flowing through Goh he’d know it was a new start.