Path of Hope - Unexpected


Goh, Sanshouuo (as Ando & Hiro)

Date: February 17, 2011


A walk down a tunnel in the Salamander Caves gives time for discussion, questions and answers, and bad news.

"Path of Hope - Unexpected"

A Tunnel - Salamander Caves

Ando answers as many of Goh's questions along the way as possible. He seems to be very sensible. However, he does not seem to have an abundance of either knowledge or power. What he >does< have is patience. One sort of needs patience to be friends with someone like Hiro.
"The reason this part of the caves was chosen to relocate to from the surface of the planet is because normal Summoning Techniques do not work here. I do not know why. I just know it is somehow protected so that no one can get here via Reverse Summoning or call someone >from< here to somewhere else. The Great Elder is trying to keep the… 'Enemies' contained. Sadly, it seems they have found a way to the surface anyway." The gila monster-patterned salamander shivers as he remembers his close call with that bird-thing.
Basically, it seems that there is no way out of here except via specific types of jutsu, or by walking out of the protected area. Or at least that is true as far as Ando knows. Which is why Hiro was used to come here and depart. "Hiro-kun has Jikuukan Ninjutsu. He is the 'master of time and space', if you ask him. He can go almost >anywhere< he wishes. Only a few times has his power failed him, and he has gotten a lot better since then."
Ando finally finishes off the current line of questioning by saying, "We are headed to the Throne of Fire to see Sanshouuo-sama. And yes, snakes! It seems that some of the Serpents of the Green Ward have arrived here somehow… I am not sure how or why. But they are not happy about their relocation and are attacking us! This means we are fighting a war on two fronts."
Ando keeps waddling along down the tunnel they have been passing through for at least an hour now. "…Which is bad, by the way," he finishes. Duh.

"Yeah. No kidding." Goh muses to Ando, who says that fighting a War on two fronts is 'bad'. "Hey, I have /some/ sense. I could figure that out. But what's the deal? Have the snakes always not got along well with the Salamander or something? Aren't you supposed to be cousins?" They were both reptiles or something afterall, right? "Do they just sense weakness within the Salamander because of these shadow birds?"
Walking along, the ex-Jounin of Konoha slides hands into his pockets. "Do you think Hiro could teach me how to use that time and space technique? Seems like a handy thing to learn. Sure beats walking everywhere!" He grins stupidly, showing off his teeth. "But I imagine that'd be hard to do. I'm not the best with seals right now, but .. I could always learn. I was gonna learn anyway. Help Mushi out."
"Throne of Fire, huh? You know, I don't think I've ever been there. Or seen Sanshouuo himself. Just Igneel. This should be exciting." Step step.

Ando shrugs. Or tries. Or maybe that's just how his joints move when he walks. "We are related, but that does not mean much in the long run. Chimpanzees will kill and eat monkeys, even though they are both primates. Humans will kill any sort of primate, even if it is another human. Species, race, family… In the end, what matters is the individual doing the killing -- or refusing to kill. And right now, these >individual< snakes have just been dumped in foreign territory without warning. They have no more idea how they got here than we do. It is natural to assume this is a trick, trap, or attack of some kind. If I suddenly found myself in the Green Ward, I might do whatever I thought I needed to to defend myself too. I might be less aggressive about that defending… But I am not a snake. Who can say how they think?" He shrug-walks again.
Ando pauses for a moment to lick at one of his wounds that seems to be bothering him. He speaks between licks. "He may be -- able to -- teach you -- but his power -- is his own. It is like -- a Kekkei -- Genkai. Bleh! I think that monster left some foul substance on me! I hope these cuts do not get infected. Your friend can heal, ne? Maybe she can help me." He turns and then begins walking again.
"It can be a bit overwhelming at first," Ando chuckles. "My first visit was… Intense. But the Great Elder trusted Hiro and myself with a job. He has confidence in me!"

"Huh. Point there." It seems even the smaller Salamanders have a habbit of outsmarting poor Goh! "Yeah, humans can be savage for sure. But I guess that's not really one of our best traits. To think that they've just been dumped there by someone. Or something. Do you think it's related at all? To the shadow featherless birds?" As he walks along the tunnel, Goh drags his hand along the side -- feeling the solid earth. Careful to avoid the torches, of course.
Goh's brow furrows a little. "Yeah. Mushi can heal pretty much anything, save for really radical diseases. A wound like that should be no problem. But … gross. Please don't lick it while /I'm/ around at least. With any luck, Hiro will have found Mushi and might even bring her back. But teach me a bloodline limit? Sounds a bit impossible." He smirks. "Worth a shot to ask, anyway. What about him makes everything intense? I mean, Igneel has the whole looking like a dragon thing going on. You screw up, he breathes fire on your face. Or melts your bones. Surely he can't be any worse than that."
Right? ._.
"And what does he expect me to do? I'll do all I can to help, but I'm not… well. I dunno. Super combat warrior."

Ando shrug-walks again. "I really do not know. I was a computer programmer before I was called for. I am probably going to return to doing that when this problem is over. …If I survive." …Computer programmer? What? "Hiro has had to learn skills to control his powers. It is those >skills< that he can teach you -- maybe, at least. And… Sanshouuo is… Err… Well, he is called the Great Elder for a reason. But even the Throne itself is rather impressive." He pauses to look back at Goh and says, "I do not know what he wishes of you. I just know we were supposed to find you. Sanshouuo-sama gave us a prophecy that must be fulfilled, in the form of… Paintings. They were images of events that the Great Elder says depict the >future<. One of them has you in it. Sanshouuo-sama said we need to find you and bring you here. So we did."

"Oh. Nice." Goh says, seeming to like the idea of being put into paintings. "I had no idea that Salamanders could … I dunno. Draw. Or paint. How do you do it? You guys have more claw-like things rather than digits to manipulate a brush." He does pause a little bit. "What's a computer?" Another piece of mystery that these creatures have, it seems. "On anyrate. If Elder Sanshouuo wants me to do something for him, of course, I have no problem at all doing it. He's done so much for me, letting me take Reiko around. And summon Wanpo into battle. It's the least I could do!"
His teeth suddenly grit, as if remember something. "I can't believe that damn Fire Stone has caused so much troubles for everyone. Why would such a thing even exist?" His fingers continue to trail along the earth wall, no doubt getting dirty.
"Aannndddoooo." He then whines. "…how much longer have we got? We've been walking for at least an hour!"

Ando sounds a bit embarassed as he slows his pace. "Err… We did not make the paintings. A human did. Sanshouuo-sama just collects them. And a computer is a machine that does can count numbers and do other mathematical operations on a scale and at a speed that surpasses what a single person could do. The technology itself is from a long, long, long time ago… It is from before the Sage of the Six Paths was even born! Before the endless wars that raged prior to his appearance! We have some of the computers available to us, among other things, but we're still trying to fix it all or learn how it all works. Some of it is… Quite advanced."
Before any response can be given to Goh, suddenly there is an odd noise and then Hiro appears before them! Ando startles a bit. "Wh--" Hiro says, "Ando-kun! I can not find Goh-san's friend!" Ando blinks. "…Did you try teleporting directly to her?" Hiro answers, "Mhmm! She is 'off-the-grid'." Ando tries to understand what Hiro just said for a moment, then gives up. "What does that mean?" "It means that she is not in the current space-time continuum! She is somewhere else!" Pause. "Or some>when< else." He seems to become thoughtful about that dramatic announcement, but Ando starts freaking out. "Wha--bu--I--What do we do now!? I am injured! How can she heal me if we do not even know what >year< she is in!?" Hiro shakes his head. "I do not know, Ando-kun. But I think I know someone who does!" Then he squints his eyes and wobbles his cheeks and vanishes with the same odd sound, just as Ando calls out, "But what about my injuriiiieeees!?" (Re)

"There's a human that's been doing paintings of me?!" That seems to weird Goh out a little, the blonde looking behind him. As if there's some stalkerish person. "…that sounds really weird. I guess if you were in a hurry that could be useful. But why would you use it otherwise? Can't use your head to work out problems?" He scratches the top of his hair, almost in a bit of confusion. "Sage of the Six Paths .. I seem to hear a lot about him. When it comes to lots of stuff. I guess it is true that he created everything, huh? Or was the focal point for a while."
With Hiro suddenly appearing out of no-where and revealing that he could not find Mushi, he gives a brief chuckle. "Don't worry about it. She's probably found some half-dead shinobi to heal." Hearing that she could be some/when/ else, he just widens his eyes. Even moreso as he poofs out of existence again. "Er, don't worry. Mushi isn't anywhere that dramatic. I hope he at least left a note for when she returns. Who do you think he's gone to get?"
Looking ahead of him with blue eyes, Goh tries to pinpoint exactly how much further they have to go. And how far they've gone, by a look behind him. "…It's a good thing you're here with me, Ando. I'd get so lost."

Ando shakes his head. "If Hiro says she is not 'here' or 'now' then I trust him to know what he is talking about. We already saw that one of those monsters made it to the surface even without any summoning occurring. Perhaps one of them has taken her somewhere else?" Then he pauses and turns to look at Goh apologetically. "I am sorry. I did not mean to make you worry. I am sure that Hiro will find her quickly and then we will all proceed to where we are going. Hopefully more quickly than we have been."
Ando then returns to walking. He takes no more than a step and then Hiro reappears. Hiro looks confused. "Err… Something is wrong in the Leaf Village. She is not there. I am going to check something and then I will return." Then he vanishes again before anyone can say anything. Ando waits right where he is this time. Minutes pass. He looks towards Goh worriedly.

"/WHAT/?" Goh rounds on Ando, a sudden fury in his eyes. Quite a change from the relaxed figure he normally is. "/Mushi/? You're saying that bird thing may have taken her away as well?" A sudden flame comes to life around his fists, his teeth clenching together so hard that they nearly become audible. The flame intensifies, growing hotter. For a moment, it looks as if he's about to punch the wall! But after a few moments he seems to calm himself -- the fire evaporating into the air. "…don't worry about it. Mushi can handle herself, anyway. If they can't beat me, there's no way they can beat her. She's way stronger than myself." Even if she weren't bijuu powered, that would be the case probably!
"--eh?" With Hiro appearing once more, and then dissapearing only seconds later, he tilts his head. "What is going on? Why was Hiro in Konoha?" A glance goes to Ando. "Is that the place where the backup healer is or something?" And now the waiting game.
Sitting down on his rear, the blonde seems to just wait there in silence. A little lost, but waiting it out. Things will make sense to him eventually. While Ando looks at him, Goh just looks with serious eyes straight ahead.
"Don't worry, Ando. I'll fix this."

Ando looks kind of nervous around Goh now, but once he settles and promises to fix things, he relaxes. "I know," is all he says. An odd response, but… The Great Elder >did< send for Goh specifically!
Fifteen minutes after Hiro's last disappearance, he reappears. "Err…" he offers as Ando turns to look at him. Hiro says sheepishly, "We have a slight problem."

Sitting there cross legged on the ground, the blue eyes ex-Jounin remains sitting there. Seemingly focussed on the earthy tunnel ahead of him. He just stares, giving a small nod when Ando says that he knows. "…hm." He seems to anticipate Hiro's arrival, looking down at the Salamander appearing out of nothingness. "What's going on?" He queries Hiro sternly.
"What problem? Something wrong in Konoha?"

Hiro shakes his head. "Not in Konoha. Somewhere else. Somewhere very, very deep beneath the surface." Ando looks ashen for a moment. His bright-yellow coloration that is mixed in with the black pales until it looks nearly white. "…Do you mean… You went to…" Hiro nods solemnly. "I went to the temple." Ando says, "What is it!? Is the temple under attack!? Did the monsters find it? The snakes!?!" Hiro fidgets. "Eeto… Nothing like that, really. The Sages are all fine." Ando then yells, "So what is it!? >What is wrong<!?!" Hiro scuffs at the floor of the passage with one foot. Then he clears his throat and says, "The Stone of Nature is >gone<."
Hiro's voice seems to echo in the hall for far longer than it should. Ando's lower jaw is on the floor. His yellow is completely white, and his eyes are bugged out. That's… Probably bad.

Goh just sort of stares at Hiro and Ando when they're arguing, before his own blue eyes widen a little. "Stone … of .. Nature?" What is that? Was it related to his own Stone of Spirit? He just sits there, staring at the pair of them in wonder and surprise. And to make matters worse, it was gone. Dissapeared.
"…gone." He says again, trying to comprehend how something could be stolen from the very depths of the Salamander caves.

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