Date: February 25, 2013
Taiki's uncles escape prison and make a run for it. The team put together to retrieve them are ambushed.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Unholy Alliances - Reclamation"
Konoha gate and one hour outside of it
It's early in the morning, and a slight fog has settled in the area. Most sane people are asleep at this time, unless they have reason to be up. Konohagakure is quiet, with only the sounds of guards changing shifts. Even the training grounds seem to be deserted, with only the local indigenous wildlife showing any movements. All appears to be quiet…
Suddenly alarms sound in a remote part of Konohagakure, and the gates to the village slam shut. Most of the shinobi of Konoha remain blissfully unaware however, due to the procedures implemented. Yet the area around the prison is put on high alert. The alert proves fruitless, however, until just a half hour ago when a call went out to Atsuro, Taiki, Hikari, and any other available ninja to meet at the front gates of Konoha. When they arrive, the scene is bloody. The guards at the gate are being treated from a battle they most obviously lost, and the gates are wide open, as if opened from the inside. An Inuzuka elder and a Jounin from the mission office are arguing heatedly. Finally the Jounin looks at the elder and says, "Look, I don't care who they were. Their crimes were not just against the Inuzuka, so the Inuzuka will not be left to handle this. And quite frankly, this is not a situation a single person, /Jounin/ of Konohagakure or no, can handle alone. So you are out of line, and this is a /Konoha/ matter. Do you understand?"
Nothing like the sudden sounding of an alert to ruin your relaxation. Atsuro received his message in the bath, and when he and Taizen arrive on scene, his hair is wet and he has the scent of sweet galingale and eucalyptus about him. It was a really relaxing bath; he was supposed to have the day off. They pause briefly to look at the carnage, but obviously whatever's happened here is already over for the time being. He has a feeling the real reason he's here is for the two hens clucking at each other.
Ideally, he'll have to deal with the elder as little as possible, so for the moment, the two of them just stand nearby and remain quiet, waiting to hear whatever instructions for them.
Just waking up, Hikari looked pretty rough. Her long bright red hair knotted and frizzy and dark circles under her green eyes make her look quite silly. Getting the notice that she was needed during her morning routine took her quite off guard. Tying her hair up in a ribbon and grabbing her forehead protector she was off. Running swiftly through town and towards the sound of yelling, Hikari was needed. Approaching the scene, she surveyed her surroundings as the approached Atsuro and Taiki, "Well good morning you two, what do we have going on here?" she asked as she stared in the direction of two guards who were being treated for what looked like to be pretty serious injuries.
Taiki was having breakfast before heading to the hospital, though since he normally changes at the hospital he's in his standard attire. He looks at the only person called who speaks and shrugs, after greeting Atsuro and Taizen. "I don't know," he says loudly enough for them to hear, "But I wish they'd stop arguing long enough to tell us."
"Silence boy," the elder Inuzuka says, positively glaring at Taiki. "We'll tell you…"
That, however, was as far as Taiki was prepared to let the elder go this time. "With all due respect," Taiki says in a low growling tone, "Given the dispute of jurisdiction I've heard, the decision about "place" falls to the Inuzuka diplomatic corp, mainly… me. So in this case, my place is well founded. The state of the guards alone dictates this would not be a matter solely in Inuzuka jurisdiction, even if had been before. Therefore," he says, turning to Konoha Jounin, "Will you please tell us what we're doing here?"
For the moment the older Inuzuka realizes that Taiki is right, and grudgingly shuts up to allow the mission office rep to speak. "Two hours ago two high-A Rank prisoners escaped maximum security prison. We have been hunting them, but they have managed to escape Konoha about 20 minutes ago, causing the casualties you see here. As you are the first responders, and two of you are the most likely to know how Inuzuka Katashi and Inuzuka Shichiro will think, you are hereby ordered to give chase and subdue them."
At this point the Elder speaks up and says, "One hour ago they infiltrated the Inuzuka village and retrieved their ninken and weapons. They are to be considered armed and dangerous…" The elder has a mix of emotions on his face, but a barely hidden sneer in his eyes toward Taiki.
Still not wanting to draw attention to himself, Atsuro gives Hikari a nod, then does the same for Taiki and his crew. Taizen wags his tail, but follows suit with Atsuro and stays quiet. The arrogant display from the elder gets a rather exaggerated eyeroll from him. That's pretty much exactly why he didn't want to say anything. And then he smirks a little as Taiki puts him in his place. Not that he usually likes when people do that stuff, but he'll make a special exception in this case.
Finally, he speaks up once the jounin has described the situation. "When you say 'subdue,'" he asks, "You mean capture? Do we have authorization to kill them, should it come to that?" And of course the names are more than familiar to him. "I suppose it isn't just a coincidence that they apparently had such an easy time retrieving their things," he adds mildly, "Was someone helping them? This is already going to be enough trouble without us getting stabbed in the back too."
Listening to the conversation, Hikari nodded, she had heard all she needed to hear. They were about to go retrieve two A-rank prisoners from the prison she had just escaped from herself not more than two weeks ago. "Guess they never fixed the security problem…" she thought to herself, letting out a quiet giggle. Suddenly hearing Atsuro speak up, she looked up quickly when she heard, 'authorization to kill…'. "To kill?" she squeaked out, "Hopefully that will that be necessary." Looking back and forth between all of the men, then to Taizen, Hikari nods and straightens up. "Ready when you are guys," she barks out as she puts out her arm with a thumbs up.
The Inuzuka Elder and his old ninken are positively growling at Atsuro's question. "Just what are you implying?" the elder asks while baring teeth. "I'll have…"
"Nothing," a voice speaks up from behind the group. Two people come forward past the assembled team, both Inuzuka and both older than either Atsuro or Taiki. And neither one look happy. "Given your stance so far, he as every reason to ask that question. In fact, that's a question /I/ will ask when you are escorted back to the Inuzuka village." The unknown man nods in agreement, which causes the outspoken clod to wilt and slump his shoulders. "For far too long we've allowed the council to divide us, no more. You three go," he says, turning to the team. "I'll handle this from here."
Taiki bows slightly to the new speaking man and says, "Hai Kenichi-sama." He then looks toward the other two and says, "Let's get going. Kenichi-sama and Kaoru'sama will take things from here. In the meantime, we have some traitors to track."
Just as their leaving though, the mission office Jounin speaks up, "Permission to kill granted. Do not let them get away."
Huh. Atsuro thought asking about killing them was more likely to get the elder's ire up. In any case, his only response to the indignant questioning is a blank stare… with an almost imperceptible hint of a smirk. He's sure he has the perfect response to that, but then Kenichi shows up. On the plus side, they're able to get on with the mission now.
"It's worth keeping in mind," he tells Hikari. He nods to the jounin. "We'll do our best to capture them, of course." He looks from Hikari to Taiki. "Let's go," he says.
Eyes widening and following the spat back and forth between men, Hikari couldn't help but smile slightly thinking about her brothers fighting with each other at home. "Boys, they all want to have the power don't they…" she thought to herself, shaking her head. Now the group was about ready to leave, Hikari would clear her mind and furrow her brow. She needed to be prepared for anything, A-Rank prisoners were nothing to take lightly. Following behind wherever Taiki and Atsuro were headed Hikari would stick close behind, watching the back of the group for any signs of movements or tracks.
Taiki was waiting for his other two teammates out of the gate. Once they join him he gives a brief overview for Hikari, "The traitors involved were highly placed in the Inuzuka plan. They allied themselves with a group of missing-nin, mostly A rank and S Rank, and fed information about Konoha and the Inuzuka to this group. They also used their positions to hinder shinobi forces, both in clan and out, for quite some time before they were caught in a murder attempt. They were both elite Jounin-level ninja and the causes for much of the squabbling you saw earlier. Like you would expect, they're highly adept at the Inuzuka skills, including Inuzuka stealth. Finding them will not be easy." He then looks to Atsuro and says, "You're ranking person here Atsuro, how do we proceed?"
Already knowing all of this, Atsuro and Taizen take the opportunity to sniff around the area, looking to pick up the scent of the fleeing elders. He has some idea of how to go about following them, so he's quick to respond once Taiki asks him. "They have three basic options," he says, "Keep moving and try to outdistance us, stop and try to ambush us, or wait for an opportunity to try and hide their scent."
He rubs his chin, "If it's the first thing, the trail will be obvious. If it's the second, we need to be able to respond quickly. If it's the third… it all depends on how well they hide it. Taiki you're on point and trying to follow the trail. I'll follow you and hopefully catch anything you miss. Hikari, you bring up the rear. Watch for attacks from behind and be ready to respond if something happens to us up front. Any objections?"
Hikari nods, her red hair bun bouncing back and forth on the top of her head. She was ready, this time of day was the perfect time for a fight for Hikari, the shadows were so long and there were so many of them. If the group on nin did find these escapee's, she wouldn't have any problem trapping at least one of them in her shadow ninjutsu. The thought of this made her smile and she followed the two chuunin. "I'm not very good at spotting things if they are well hidden, but I promise to try my best!" she yelled up to the front of the ninja line. Scanning the area as they went, she was going to be ready for whatever was to come at them…hopefully.
It would seen the criminals were more intent on getting away than anything else. The trail was not easy to find, but find it Atsuro did. Once it was pointed out to Taiki, he took point and started to follow it. For about an hour's travel the trail remained hard to find, but identifiable, until they came to a point where Taiki and his crew could not see any more traces. Finally he pauses, waving everyone down into a clearing with a large crater with a small pond therein. The crater was recent, likely created at most six months ago, judging from the grass that is just beginning to spread down its slopes. "I can't find them," Taiki says to the other two. "I've lost the trail. Can either of you find something?"
Atsuro frowns as he looks down into the crater. "Wonder what caused this," he comments, "If it was more recent, I'd have an idea, actually, but it looks like there's been plenty of time for the grass to regrow." He starts to take a step towards the pond, but freezes and puts his foot down. His frown deepens as he eyes the shore of the pond, then gestures to Taiki and Hikari, pointing out an area where some of the mud appears to have been scooped up.
He takes a pair of ninjato from Taizen's vest and unsheaths them. The dog himself takes a katana. They suspect someone's around here.
Stopping at the crater and searching around for any signs of the runaways, Hikari crouches down to search. Walking over towards the pond where Atsuro had just found something, she hears a loud cracking noise on the other side of the pond. "Hey guys," she whipsered, "Be quiet for a second, I think I heard something over there," she finishes as she points over to the other side of the pond. "It sounded like a branch breaking to me," she said as she looked at both Atsuro and Taiki, "Wanna go check it out?"
Taiki himself gets down on all fours and starts to grow hair and nails at a visible rate, looking more feral as Shinobu and Nozomi, Taiki's ninken, bracket him. He is facing the direction of Hikari's sound, snarling with a silent growl. Suddenly a seal activates under his location, causing him to howl in agony as he's frozen to the spot. He had tried to escape, but was not too successful in doing so apparently. At the same time, a barrage of kunai launch themselves at both Atsuro and Hikari.
Wow. Atsuro's sure glad he got ready to fight. He and Taizen easily dodge the kunai barrage, simply ducking under it. He knows enough about that seal that he's pretty sure he can't do anything to help Taiki for the moment. All he can do is try to find the attackers and keep them off Taiki's back. He kneels down in the crater to give himself a bit of breathing room, then focuses his chakra and inhales through his nose. He spares no effort in this, ready to track the assailants down if there's so much of a trace of their scent.
"One there," he says, nodding in the direction of the twig snap from before, "A little ways into the woods, and the guy with the seal is… this way." He and Taizen take off in the direction of the seals's user. In unison, they leap into the air and start spinning, flying towards their target, coming after him with multiple passes.
Not being prepared for the barrage of kunai coming from above, Hikari's earth dome only formed an earth wall before the kunai began to strike her. Throwing her arms over her head and running out of the shower of kunai she was only hit a few times. A gash in the shoulder and a few in the arms began to bleed as she prepared herself for the oncoming battle. "It's go time," she whispered as her green eyes narrowed. Her face was the definition of focus as she called her own shadow up around her, covering her in a dark smokey skin. "I'm ready." she laughed out as she smiled, running in the direction of the first foe Atsuro had pointed out.
The previously unseen seal expert seems to know Atsuro and Taizen are coming. As they draw close, they find their course somehow diverted, as if they're hitting a barrier of some kind. As they regroup and attack anyway, the seal breaks, but pushes the man far enough away to take relatively minor damage. But he was appently ready for this as Atsuro and Taizen find themselves in a veritable mine-field of explosion tags,which all detonate at once, filling the area where Atsuro and Taizen are now with massive explosions.
Hikari seems to be facing a rather determined foe who is a weapon user. As she transforms and prepares for battle, a veritable cloud of various sharp objects are flung in her direction. This person is serious.
In the meantime Taiki breaks free from the seal and is now very, very upset. He snifs the air, then moves off toward the seal expert with Shinobu in tow, both running toward the seal guy while Nozomi moves to aid Hikari. None of them attack yet, rather they seem to get ready for their own fights.
Nori is slow to the scene. He's not the quickest of shinobi…but eventually he does manage to catch up to the others. As he stops to take in what exactly is happening, he blinks at the explosions. "Atsuro-san and Taizen!" he gasps. Not really knowing Taiki and Hikari…but seeing them working together, Nori moves towards the flames where Atsuro and Taizen are to see if he can help them.
Simple explosions aren't going to stop Atsuro and Taizen when they're ready for a move like that. As soon as they spot the tags, they leap out of the area, once again heading straight for the escaped elder. "Give up," Atsuro calls as he continues the pursuit, "Even if you manage to escape, what do you think is waiting for you? You'd have been smarter to stay back in your cell, claimcheck."
Hearing Nori's call, he spares him a quick glance. "Be careful," he whispers, "This guy is the real deal." Once he's within range of the elder, he figures he'll try and set Nori up for an attack. But they're not going to screw around this time. He and Taizen leap into the air, but this time they attack asynchronously, man and dog both making repeated passes at the elder, trying to smash him up into the air.
Running across the water and towards the unseen foe, Hikari barely makes it to the shore before the weapons hit her. Quickly making the correct hand seals, the sand dirt and rock around her bust out of the ground and up around her, hardening enough so that the weapons could not pierce through and hurt her. Not wanting to waste any time, she sent her giant shield back into the ground and began into the forest, spotting the man who was attacking her to her right. "My turn!" she yelled, "Shadow Body Bind!" Her shadow morphed with the shadows of all the trees around her, bolting across the forest floor and snaking itself around trees and bushed trying to capture the man and his shadow.
The seal guy laughs out loud at Atsuro's remarks even as he's launched into the air. "Baka! You've already lost! Here, let me show you how!!" At the same time the shadows reach out to bind the guy, only to find they're trying to bind a ball of kunai, which explode forward to attack Hikari in return. Taiki, on the other hand, uses the space between all of them to clear more area by using the raigatsuga, causing untold destruction where the seal guy is.
Nori looks to Atsuro and nods, "Tire him out and make it easier for me then." He winks. The young Yamanaka boy watches and waits for an opening. When the duo move in to strike at the elder, Nori sends out a concentrated burst of his mental energies. Where Mind Body Switch is a slow moving mental mass meant to act as the KO punch, this mind-lock technique is used more like a jab. As the body has pressure points, so to does the mind, and Nori is pressing on as many of them as possible to lock up the Elder for a split second long enough to get hit by Atsuro and Taizen.
Realizing that the ball of kunai was coming straight at her with not enough time to get out of the way, the shadows around Hikari began to harden into a dark shell around her. The kunai hitting and ricocheting off in every direction, "Ha, nice try!" Running towards the weapon user, Hikari pounded her feet into the ground sending three great spires of earth shooting out of the ground towards him. The tips of the spires pointed to a nice sharp point which would easily stab into whomever was unfortunate enough to get hit by one.
The seal guy, still caught up in the air by Atsuro's technique, is caught in a field of lightning death by Taiki's raigatsuga, which leaves a smoking crater with small patches of flame in the center where the body is. Atsuro in the meantime pauses to look around as he announces, "These aren't our targets! Just then the body of the seal guy disappears, leaving behind… nothing. But both Taiki and Atsuro smell something, and Taiki says, "You go toward that, I"ll stay behind here and help them." Atsuro then nods and bounds off in another directition, leaving Taiki free to turn and help Hikari and Nori. Just in time too, for he, his ninken, and the two others are under a barrage of weapons from the weapong guy's twin scrolls. It's the twin rising dragons technique… Nozomi attempts to push the two others out of the way before running back to Taiki, where she jumps on the backs of both Shinobu and Taiki before Taiki runs through several hand-seals, then calls out, "Jinju Konbi Henge: Fusei Santouro!" The trio disappear, and in their place is a /huge/ red and white three headed dog, who looks non-to-happy…
Nori blinks again as the body just disappears. "What the heck?" He erks and then looks to Atsuro. When Atsuro goes running off after a different target, Nori blinks. The boy looks back to Taiki and Hikari only to have their attacker send a barrage of weapons his way. He is thrown away from the weapons by Nozomi, but some still head his way, so mid-air he creates a clone. It isn't all that effective and he's now got some kunai sticking in his shoulder and leg. He groans as he hits the ground and quickly moves to take some cover. He calls out to Taiki mentally, <I'm hit. I can Mind Body Switch him, but only if he's held down.> This is the Yamanaka telepathy at work.
Once again being too slow for the advanced ninja's attacking the Konoah nin, Hikari was hit by the onslaught of weapons being thrown towards them. A few kunai stuck out from her legs and torso now, as she begins to pull them out she winces in pain. "Why can't I hit one of these guys! Come on now Hikari!" she yelled trying to amp herself up for her next attack. "Shadow Body Bind!" Her shadow once again elongating and slithering towards the weapon using nin, if she can get him in her grasp the only thing Taiki and Nori will have to worry about is getting the other guy under control.
And suddently Hikari and Nori get a break from the onslaught, even though the weapon guy was able to move out of the way, albeit barely, he realized that with Taiki transforming the jounin was now the biggest threat on the field. Thus a rain of weapons seemd to swar over the three headed dog, only to miss by a country mile as the dog moves with a natural/preternatural speed and agility only canines can use. At the same time long, arching electrical spikes form as the dog comes raining down on the man with something else in his arsenal, his only true stun…
So, Nori is hidden behind a rock for the time being…or at least he thinks that he is. The Yamanaka begins gathering chakra. If he has to hold the man to get him back in custody…perhaps even switching on and off with the Nara here, it will take all his chakra. The boy's stamina begins getting converted.
The man who was causing her all the trouble had now run towards Taiki, now it's her turn to do the background damage. "Earth spire!" she whispers as she stomps her foot into the ground three times. Hoping to help out Taiki as he is now the center of the mans attention, Hikari's heart raced faster than it had all day. "This isn't looking too good for us, I need to start helping more!" she yelled to herself in her head. Squeezing her fists into tight balls and waiting to see if her spires hit.
And here's where Hikari's opponent makes his mistake. In this form, given the room, Taiki and his ninken are a force of nature, as they quickly prove by raking the man down his body with a giant lightning charged claw, sending him directly into the earth spires. His body is still twitching from the electrical discharge of the attack when it hit, causing the man to be impaled at the shoulder. He still manages to dodge the second wave of earth spires, but even his luck will run out when wounded, and the last wave manages to catch him again, sending his body flying right into the 3-story tall dog, who swats him down with a second electrically charged claw, pinning him to the ground. The right-most head turns and gazes directly at Nori, giving her a deliberate nod. Now is the time to finish this up, while the dog is holding the guy down.
Nori hears and understands the Dog-Beast. He knows what the call means. Nori's head pops up from behind the rock he was seated in and the boy calls out another mental connection to Hikari first. She would suddenly hear him out of nowhere in her mind <After I hook him, we may have to switch on and off holding him down.> The boy then drags his injured arm up with his good arm and then forms the Yamanaka Mind-Body-Switch seal…and then sends out his mind. Luckily, he only slumps forward…the rock holds his body in place.
Grabbing the side of her head as Nori's voice suddenly starts echoing though her brain, she nods towards him behind her as she watches his body slump over onto the rock. "Wow he reminds me of an old friend…anyways. Time to knock this guy out, tie him up, punch him in the face, something!" Hikari yells out to herself. Looking over towards Taiki, Hikari yells over to him, "If this works, we need to tie him up or something so we can get him back to the village as quick as possible! Shadow Imitation!" Hikari's shadow shot straight towards the man on the ground, her shadow trying to entwine with his so that she can make him do whatever she does. If she is able to get him in her grasp, she would have him sit and put his hands behind his back so that he can get tied up or what not.
The weapon guy was never quite able to recover from the series of attacks, and tries to feebly block Taiki's second claw with a sword. But it is flattened against him as his body is now heavily wounded from the twin claws, only to be shunted aside by Nori and bound up by Hideaki. In fact, the man is not likely to move for a while. Taiki reverts back to his old self and motions Nozomi over. When she's next to him Taiki pulls out some medical restraints and goes to work, restraining the guy. "Okay, you can release him Nara-san, he's not going anywhere," he says as he starts to check the prisoner fully. "This isn't one of the escaped prisoners, unfortunately, though it will be interesting if we can keep him alive long enough to get information out of him. Good work you two. Yamanaka-san, you can go back to your body as well…"
Now that this is done, he looks up at Hikari and says, "And Usagi will skin me alive if I don't patch you up before we head back. So please come here Nara-san, and I will help tend to your injuries."
Nori's voice comes out of the man, "Ok, releasing him." And with that, Nori suddenly wakes up while the other man comes around too. Nori frowns and just states, "So it wasn't a complete success then hmm? I'd love to try and help more, but I'm in no shape to do so. I have to get checked by the hospital if that is okay." He bows and, assuming it is okay, he takes off.
Walking over to the group now, Hikari calls back her shadow and lets the shadowy smoke around her body dissipate as well. Reaching Taiki, she laughs slightly as she winces, her wounds throbbing. "Wow, I didn't even notice the pain until now, thanks for patching me up!" she smiles and bows to Taiki. "Hey Nori, that was a pretty awesome job you did there!" she yelled back to him. Turning back to Taiki she sighs and slumps a bit, "I am tired now, we should get this guy back as soon as possible." Hikari gives the man a little nudge with her foot.
Taiki looks over at Nori and shakes his head. "I can take care of you next, if you want. I'm a med-nin after all," he says as he concentrates on healing Hikari. He's feeling slightly sluggish himself, but he figures he has one more heal left in him if Nori wants to take him up on it. "I'd still suggest you both get checked out by the hospital. I used a lot of chakra for this…"