Goh, Sanshouuo (as Ando & Hiro)
Date: February 15, 2011
Goh is approached by an unknown salamander. This is the beginning of a great upheaval in the stability of the balance of power between the >non<-human inhabitants of the planet…
"Path of Hope - Fallout"
Grassy Field - Land of Wind
Goh and Mushi, after reuniting in the windy village of Sunagakure, have since left and begun their travels east. The target? Kirigakure. Unfortunately, the Pickled Vegetabler never really liked Kirigakure. For obvious reasons. People in that place enjoyed killing him! And ever since Mitsuo sort of ambushed himself and Mushi in a tent, in a very isolated place, it was … well, a bit awkward. But now the Mizukage is dead. So the pair of travelling nin have to check in to see how everything is.
With Mushi out looking for various herbs and ingredients for dinner, the blonde ex-Jounin sits on a small log--deep within the long grass. They seem to have found a nice shorter patch of foliage. Short enough to safely light a fire in the fading sunlight. It had been a big day. Lots of walking. Lots of talking. Catching up, mostly.
Something is moving in the grass. Probably just some animal native to grassy fields. It's not very large, judging by the level of the disturbance in the grass, but it's also not very small either. A rabbit? A wildcat? Something around that size.
The rustling continues for awhile, moving away from Goh, and then closer, then away… It's like whatever it is is searching for something. Then the rustling thing comes directly towards Goh, stopping every few seconds. Then… All of a sudden a salamander about the size of a large cat or small dog pops out of the grass right in front of Goh. He (or she) is mottled black and yellow, like a Gila Monster. The salamander blinks in surprise for a moment and then says quietly, "There you are, Goh-san. I've been looking for you."
Staring into the fire, the sun dissapearing over the horizon, Goh sort of narrows his eyes in thought. Thoughts about Kirigakure, thoughts about recipes. About Tailed Beasts … hum. His thinking goes interupted when a small rustle can be seen nearby. "Eh?" Turning to glance, he looks hard, snapping his eyes wide open when a Salamander pops up out of no-where! "WAUGH!"
Crying out in surprise, Goh falls backwards off of his log, landing back-first into the long grass behind him. He's quick to get up though. "Sheesh! Don't sneak up on me like that." The Akuu clan member sort of tilts his head after standing, peering at the critter. "And who are you?" He asks casually. Most of Goh's dealings had been with Igneel himself. Very rarely do they come to him.
Walking back over the log and then sitting down on it, perhaps a little grumpy that he was so surprised, he looks down. "…and what's up? I'm not in trouble, am I?" He frowns.
The salamander flinches a bit at Goh's surprised reaction and noise. It says quietly, "My apologies. My name is Ando. No, you're not in trouble. But… >We< are." Before Ando can explain or say anything at all further, a shadow passes overhead. Perhaps not very noticeable in the evening, things flying overone are generally not something to get upset about for humans. For a salamander it might be more understandable to get bothered. There are predators out there, after all! But what happens shortly after Ando tenses and looks up at the night sky may make Goh rethink the whole 'nothing to worry about' angle.
Something large, about as big as Goh himself, drops down ontop of Ando silently and without warning other than the chilly, pitch-black shadow it casts -- even without light to make it cast a shadow. It has great, big, feathery wings, a lengthy neck, and feet that look like someone welded a bunch of kitchen knives together and stuck them on the end of a giant bird's ankles. First impression is it's a giant bird. As it tries to make off with the salamander that is currently screaming bloody murder, clenched in the bird-thing's claws, it becomes evident that whatever this thing is, it is not any sort of natural animal. Not even close. Its 'feathers' are made of shadow. Its neck is a length of spinal cord with no flesh. Its feet really >are< made of metal and knives. It scatters wisps of tangible darkness with every beat of its wings. It doesn't have a head. It just has a pair of jaws that resemble a bear-trap made of bones protruding from the end of its spine. No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue… Just chomping jaws that look like they can kill Ando quite easily should they be brought into play.
Ando continues to scream for help and thrash as best as he can as the knife-talons cut into his flesh. The monster is escaping!
"You are?" At the revelation that Ando, or perhaps the Salamander are in trouble, Goh of course comes to attention. They were his family, and he'd of course do anything top-side to help them out. The huge shadow isn't noticed right away, as indeed, the darkening area makes it difficult. He even reels slightly when the poor critter is swooped and caught by … something. "ANDO!" Goh cries loudly, watching the thing fly away.
"Damn it…!" Gritting his teeth, the blonde haired shinobi tears forth into a dash -- racing across the ground underneath the bird. "What do you think you're doing, you featherless freak?! ANDO! Hang in there!" His mind races, looking all about him. Damn … there were hardly any trees around. Scrap that. There were /none/ along these plains. And he couldn't just breathe fire or shoot fire attacks up. That could engulf the Salamander too.
Forming a seal with his hands, the skin on his forehead suddenly snaps open wide--revealing a large vertical eye. It wobbles, looking up at the fleeing bird. His bloodline limit. Not often seen.
With his two regular eyes locked onto the animal, his third eye goes down to the ground. And, just like that, the bird may just find a series or rocks being hurtled up at it! There were no trees around here, but there were rocks. Not anything larger than a baseball. As they streak up, the ex-Jounin is clearly aiming to not hit so much as cut it off from its trajectory. Goh is hoping to stall it. Distract it, too!
Forming a few seals just as he fires these stones, Goh LEAPS up into the air, his head canting down below him. Exhaling a huge blast of fire energy, it propels him further than an ordinary jump would. Acting like a rocket straight up for the flying creature. Hopefully, this bird has not seen the flames due to the rocks being used as a distraction. But even if it has, it won't have much time to realize that Goh is /right there/. High in the sky, a meter above the featherless shadow creature. Directly above.
Pissed off, it seems.
"You picked the wrong prey, birdy." His fist is aflame, amping up his physical power with ninjutsu. "ORIYAAAA!" And just like that, he aims to SLAM it down into the creatures back just as he falls.
The creature is pelted with rocks. Whatever it's made out of -- shadows, metal, bone -- it can at least feel pain. That's good (probably). It's at least good in that it means it can tell it is being hit with rocks and that it does not like this. It is thus distracted. It turns its bear trap-like jaws to the task of snapping at the rocks rather quickly after identifying what is hitting it, but it never once stops flapping its huge wings and attempting to escape with its 'prey'. Ando is trying to hang limp and pretend to be dead, but he's also keeping an eye on the rocks and on Goh, just incase there's an opportunity to escape on his own that becomes evident. Anything to help out, right?
The bird-thing is unexpecting when Goh leaps into the air and propels himself to about the same altitude -- if not higher. With its lack of eyes or other obvious sensory organs outside of the sense of touch, it's hard to discern whether it is even >possible< for it to notice Goh.
But it notices when he smashes it with his fist. The creature seems to scream, but no sound comes out. Instead there is just a wave of cold and vibrations in the air, radiating outwards from the monster. It's like sound that is felt but not heard. Frigid air without the air. This thing is so incredibly unnatural!
But it still does as expected and suffers from the blow. But it does not fall out of the air or otherwise surrender to the mighty impact. What it >does< do is >drop Ando<! The salamander cries out a bit as he is released from the knife-like talons and begins to plummet towards the earth! The bird thing is still reeling from the force behind the attack, and cannot dive for the salamander immediately. It tumbles through the air, trying to get its wings straightened out, all the while snapping randomly at the surrounding air, hoping to inflict equal pain on the one who has harmed it. Whether Goh is still in range of those jaws or not is questionable, but hopefully not. Otherwise Ando is probably going to be hurt severely from a fall of this height!
With his punch hitting the bird hard, Goh does exactly as what he expected it to. Drop the Salamander captive. A small grin appears on his face. If it was like any other bird, priority would be up to its own well-being rather than the next meal. And yet still, whilst this bizarre creature acts like a bird, it certainly doesn't look like anything Goh has seen before. It had no eyes! And … made no sound! Weird. On anyrate, with the duo (Goh and the bird) now spiralling through the air, the blonde haired manages to lock eyesight onto the sprawling Salamander nearby.
"Ando! Just make sure you don't tense up right now!" Focussing his chakra, Goh … moves! Pushing off of the falling bird with his Body Flicker Technique, the ex-Jounin zips through the air, travelling downward at an incredible speed! He's able to make Ando's form just in time, getting underneath the Salamander to 'catch' him. Acting like a pillow to Ando, so to speak. Goh himself hits the ground hard, sliding along on his back.
"Man… can't you guys just poof out back to the Caves? Heh…" Yeah, that fall hurt a little. But is Ando alright?
Ando is caught safely. The bird-thing rights itself -- barely -- and flies off into the darkness. Only the glitter of metal feet reveals its presence. And then in an eye-blink, even those vanish. It's like the monster actually flew >into< the darkness somehow… It was as though there was an invisible door and the bird had just gone through the portal and slammed the door behind it. It's gone for now… Whatever it was.
Ando is not seriously injured but there are lascerations all over his body where the claws latched. He is breathing rapidly thanks to the adrenaline rush. "T-thank you, Goh-san! But… Our problems are not over yet… You see…" Ando turns his head once he has climbed off of Goh and looks at the Akuu Clan member. "…There are more of >those< things where >that< one came from. And we need help. Otherwise… Hitokage-hora -- the Salamander Caves -- are going to be rendered empty of any living thing."
A silence hangs in the air for a few seconds after that dramatic proclamation, and then the silence is sundered by a high-pitched (but male) voice calling out, "Oiiiiii! Ando-kun! Where did you go!?" Ando sighs heavily. "I am here, Hiro-kun!" A salamander that looks a lot like Ando but with a red and yellow pattern instead of black and yellow, comes running up through the tall grass. His eyes are squinty and he wears eye-glasses strapped to his head. Yes, eyeglases. "Oh, you found him, Ando-kun! Good job!"
When Ando trots off his belly, Goh sort of groans a little -- before grinning. The scratches and bruises caused by that fall will no doubt heal quickly. Well, hopefully. Sitting up to rub the back of his blonde hair, he just tilts his head a little. "…What do you mean, not over? What the heck was that thing anyway? And … what do you mean, the Salamander Caves? That's my home too!" Clenching his fist, the ex-Jounin looks up into the sky. The bird is already gone into the shadows.
"Can you tell me what that was, Ando? What's going after us? You? Is Sanshouuo safe?" Some quick questions it seems, before another voice comes. "…you're Hiro. You wear glasses?" …yeah, a little odd. "Yeah, he found me. Who was that? What was that?"
Ando sighs and says, "We do not know if they have a name. We do not know if they are even >real<. They may be physical and able to hurt people but--" Hiro interrupts to say, "Yes! My gankyou <spectacles> let me see! I have… Vision problems otherwise." Hiro notices Ando looks a bit annoyed. "Aa, gomen nasai, Ando-kun. I did not mean to interrupt." Ando shakes his head and says, "It is fine. These things may be physical, but they may be products of the >Sixth Chakra Nature<… Yin-Yang Chakra Nature. As for the Great Elder, he is fine for now. He is the one who sent me to find you!" He seems to puff up a bit with pride when admitting this. Then Hiro pipes up with, "And Sanshouuo-sama sent me with, because Ando-kun cannot transport himself from place to place!" Ando turns his head quickly and scowls at Hiro as well as a salamander can scowl. Continuing on, Ando says, "We think that the cursed stone you brought to the Salamander Caves is responsible. Some of its power may have 'leaked out' while it was kept there… Or perhaps it was 'absorbed' by the caves themselves. The end result is that many terrible things have happened and many terrible things walk amongst us, preying on us."
"War has comes to our home, Goh-san," Ando says.
Hiro interrupts this solemn moment again as he says, "Ando-kun! We should return now! There is no time to waste!" Ando nods and looks to Hiro. "You are right, Hiro-kun. Let us go home. The Great Elder will want to talk to Goh-san immedi--" Hiro closes his eyes tightly and concentrates so hard his cheeks wobble.
Goh, Ando, and Hiro vanish instantly.
When they reappear it is in rocky cavern, lit by torches, and rather warm. Ando finishes, "--ately." Then he realizes they've relocated. "…."
"That damn stone." Goh mumbles, gritting his teeth. "I never should have left it in the caves with you guys. I'm sorry." Tch. His fists clench as hard as they can, before loosening. "I'll make it right, I swear I will. Even if it's … I dunno. Cleaning out all the caves with a toothbrush." His head is cast up into the now starry night. Thinking of what he has done.
Upon hearing that 'War' has come to the Caves however, his attention goes back to the now. "War? What do you mean? By the things that attacked you? The Sixth Chakra Nature?" His brows furrow. "…I haven't heard anything about that in ages. What's it got to do with the Fire Stone?"
POOF! Suddenly, being reverse summoned, Goh widens his eyes. He almost feels like throwing up. "Ugh. Nice … thanks." He grumbles, moving over to grip the earthy walls as best he can.
"Lead the way, guys. Ando and Hiro, huh. How come I've never seen you before? You guys related to Wanpo? Or Reiko?" A sudden realization comes upon him. "Oh, maybe I should have left a note for Mushi. If she gets back and I'm not there, she's gonna flip. Think I've wandered off like last time."
Ando looks at Goh incredulously. "How much of the Salamander Caves have you seen? There are many communities down here. Some seperated by hundreds of miles. Hiro-kun and I are from one of those. We only recently joined the Great Elder's court, however, so that may be why you have not met us before--" Hiro interrupts to say, "Ando-kun, I am going to go leave a note for Goh-san's friend! You can lead the way to the court!" Ando blinks and looks towards Hiro. "…Nani!? How can I lead the way--" "I leave the rest to you!" Hiro says swiftly. Then he squints and wobbles his cheeks and there is a strange noise and he's just >gone<. No puff of smoke. That's not Reverse Summoning at all! That's just… What was that!?
Ando stares at the empty space. Then he sighs. "I hate when he does that." Then he turns to the cave's exit and says, "Please follow me, Goh-san. This is going to be a long walk." Pause. "A very, very, >very< long walk." Then he begins walking along as best as he can with his injuries. The tunnel outside is lit with torches. But it also continues so far that it doesn't seem the end point is even visible! "And please keep an eye out for snakes!" he warns.
"I've seen the … uh, main part? Cut me some slack! The caves are huge, and I've been a little busy. What with Bounty Hunters following me or Mitsuo trying to kill me, I don't really have time to explore every square inch of the caves and pathways." He grins a little, before nodding. "I guess that makes sense. Well, welcome to them anyway." With Hiro poofing out of existence, the blonde tilts his head a little. "…I guess this will be a while?"
That is confirmed by Ando, who mentions that it will be a LONG way. "…why is it going to be such a long walk? Where are we going to be walking?" A pause. "You know. I can just get Wanpo or Reiko to bring me straight ot Igneel, if that's where we're going. It'd be nice to see him again, actu--snakes? Did you say snakes?"
Goh looks straight down to where he's walking, keeping his eyes peeled. "Great … really great. Why do I have a bad feeling about this?"