Retaliation - The Inuzuka Returns


Taiki, Atsuro, Takeo, Michiko, Soubi, Kenta, Usagi

Date: December 19, 2014


A rescue mission is mounted to save Taiki, with some interesting results

Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.

"Retaliation - The Inuzuka Returns"

A cave in western Land of Fire…

Tenken spent 24 hours under a medically induced coma while a team of highly-skilled mednins worked to repair his body. Another team spent time donating chakra and administering high-energy substances directly into his blood stream. The result debriefed the Hokage, Inuzuka Kenshin, and Atsuro a few days later. Between the three of them, they developed a plan to either rescue Taiki, or deliver a mercy death. In case of the later, orders included complete destruction of the bodies to attempt to limit the number of secrets exposed by an autopsy. Tenken was one of the first to swear that the later plan would be a last resort.

The next day, a select team of shinobi left, speeding on their way toward their destination. It would take two days to reach the execution site, giving the team one or two days to infiltrate the Recluse's security before Taiki is scheduled to die.

Tenken leads the group to the west, to a great waterfall feeding a pond, and up the cliff face. As they go up the cliff face, a tired, sore Tenken motions caution and quiet, soon leading them to a disguised cave about a quarter of the way up the cliff face. After applying a few seals, he motions everyone into the cave, but cautions people to be quiet and to stop a few paces into the cave. After he gets in, he applies a couple of seals and then looks around. "We have a couple of minutes to come up with a plan. This tunnel leads to a naturally concealed platform overlooking a cavern. Taiki and his ninken, and his executioners, will be below us. They think this tunnel sealed using very high-ranked fuinjutsu, which is why we're not being swarmed with guests at this time. But make no mistake, they are listening, and will occasionally look up, so what we do will have to be done with stealth. Unfortunately, everything in the cavern is mobile, so I have no idea what the layout is likely to be." He then looks to Atsuro, who Daisuke put in charge of this mission, for instruction.

"Would have been nice to plan this /before/ we started the mission," Atsuro mutters under his breath. He raises his voice, but only enough that the team can hear. "Tenken, there's no traps or anything along this passage?" Then he turns to other members of the team. "Michiko, can you use some of your earth abilities to scout ahead? We need some information if we're going to come up with a decent plan. Kenta, can you use that sensing technique you have?" He glances to Tenken, "Assuming those wouldn't set off any seals or anything that you know of? Tai and I will try and do this by scent. Takeo, you're watching out here for now. If something happens, you need to be ready to defend the rest of the team while we get ready to fight again."

That Kenta finds himself part of the team sent on the rescue mission - he refuses to think of the last resort instructions - isn't a surprise to him. He had expected to be placed in it due to his connection to Taiki. Nevertheless, he's no less nervous about the role that he's going to have to play in the upcoming task. As a medic, it's his job to keep everyone alive, so that they can do their part properly. It's something that he hadn't had to do when stakes are this high and he's obviously nervous to the people that knows him best. His expression is one of calm steadfastness, but there's a faint tension in his posture and hidden in his eyes that betrays his feelings.

When the team arrives at the target location, he splits all his attention on the surroundings and on Atsuro. The former, because who knows what dangers are hidden all around. The latter, because Atsuro's the team leader and must have some amazing plan of action. He nods his head readily upon hearing the Jounin's first round of orders. "My jutsu doesn't reach very far and thick barricades might block or scramble the chakra pulses," he reminds Atsuro in a whisper, so that the older shinobi remembers how limited his detection skill is.

Takeo was the first to sight Tenken when the old man hobbled up to the village, and naturally, he was among the first to become a nag about rescuing Taiki when a mission was proposed. After all, this was his cousin, his brother. The man who helped him to gain acceptance again when the village had turned his back on him. How could he not use what had been given to him in the rescue effort? What's more, he was Tokubetsu now. It was time to step up to a Jounin's responsibilities and sacrifices.

Then, there's Atsuro's command. He furrows his brow in confusion and asks, "You're leaving me to guard the entrance? I'll admit that I'm not exactly great at sneaking around, but I can't do a fired thing for you or him if you're way the earth inside the cave."

Michiko is here on the rescue mission for Taiki and his nin ken. She's not entirely sure why, admittedly. Orders from above, though, and she had to follow them. She follows the Konoha shinobi, preparing herself for … Well, she's not entirely sure. The girl sighs faintly at being left so in the dark. She was only just learning the situation, and she felt that the lack of information was something she… really hated. Atsuro makes a request of her, then, and she nods a bit. "Of course…" she replies, focusing her chakra and sending it through the ground to try and figure out what they might encounter in the upcoming route.

Her chakra acts as a sort of echolocation device, pinging off against the walls of the caverns and letting her know all the information that could possibly be cleaned. And, being chakra, it flows through beings enough that she'd be able to detect just how many opponents there are and who they might be in terms of stature.

There had been a lot of misleading information on Taiki's whereabouts. The clan head of the Inuzuka had someone how ended up disappearing… and it had been for quite some time. Taiki wasn't that foolish to finish this off once and for all, all on his own accord was it? It was something that bothered Soubi to the core, and something that she had been investigating throughout her travels of the shinobi world. What was their aim? The Recluse? The answer had lead her to a cavern, verified by a strike for of Konoha-shinobi. She had followed closely behind, adorned in her traditional black cloak, emblazoned with puffy red clouds, along her head was a simple straw hat, a curtain hung along the hems to obscure her face. She followed closely behind the Konoha shinobi, the injection of her genjutsu working from afar, their senses would simply not allow them to see or notice her.

Tenken looks down the tunnel and says, "There weren't when I used this tunnel to escape, but…" He then forms several hand-seals before slamming his hands down onto the ground. "Fuinjutsu: seal of detection." A blue light flashes, then fades down to a barely noticeable level before snaking outward in all directions, quickly scanning all directions at once. "They appear to have figured out how I escaped… this will take a moment…"

He runs through another series of hand seals before slamming his hands down on the ground again. As he does he finally is able to process the feedback from the former jutsu and grunts, "Behind us."

Atsuro is quick to answer the team's concerns. "Unfortunately," he tells Kenta, "We don't really know what they do and don't have. The best we can do right now is use a number of techniques and hope a few do something useful." He turns to Takeo "Not leaving you," Atsuro tells him, "Just asking you to keep an eye out for the main group while we try and scout the place out. We don't know how long we have before we're discovered, and having one of our heavy hitters ready to go could make the difference."

Once he's made his explanations, he sniffs the air, trying to glean any useful information he can by scent. At Tenken's warning, though, he grabs a sword from Taizen's vest and whips around to see nothing there. "What's behind us?" he asks.

Kenta nods his head at Atsuro. What the older shinobi said makes sense. The medic-nin sucks in a deep breath and presses his palms together. He sends out a subtle pulse of medical chakra and "listens" to the way that it bounces off surrounding organics before returning to him. His eyes pop open in surprise, then narrows as he spins around to scan the area. "I can't tell in anyone's ahead, but someone's definitely behind us. I can't pinpoint the exact location either. Might be one of our foes," he adds his assessment to the rest of the voices sounding out around him. Kenta keeps his palms pressed together as he starts to focus chakra just in case the group gets ambushed.

"Looking around myself, I don't exactly think I'm your biggest gun," Takeo comments to Atsuro. Still, he wants to get in there. He wants to rescue Taiki before the worst comes to pass. If the young man were to see him tortured or murdered, then that would drive him to act with his own anger, rather than the Bijuu rage he'd worked so hard to gain control over.

Takeo rolls his shoulders back and takes a few steps back toward the waterfall, leaning his shoulder against the mouth of the cavern. At least here, there's a plentiful supply of water, enough that he'll not need to draw upon his own chakra to form it.

Michiko frowns slightly at the news, sending some of her chakra behind her as well as forward to try and detect Soubi. Nothing comes of the hunt, though, and she's left puzzling. The girl starts to focus her chakra in response, letting it build up to a decent amount as she tries to focus on the information she's going to glean from her chakra-sonar. "It could also be an ally, though… I'm not sure why someone would be so sneaky if they were… Perhaps someone who doesn't know of our identities? Or maybe a loner?" she speculates, unsure how else to add to the comments.

Spotted? Not necessarily. For those who could see her, she began to take light steps forward, for those who could not, only a snake could be seen funneling through the grass, attempting to make it's way into the cavern. Slipping through the cracks made it a little easier for it to get a read on what was going on.

"Don't be so alarmed, and even more so careless. I'm here for the Recluse. I'm not enemy of yours, unless you want me to be," her voice remained quite calm and subtle as she honed in her approach. "I recommend leading the way or stepping aside though. There is a lot of work to be done…and time is not in /our/ favor." Those words left her lips, as she focuses quite a bit of chakra throughout her body. It was interesting to see Atsuro after such a long time… but she made no move for further introductions.

A moment later a very faint blow forms on the walls, floor, and ceiling as Tenken's work starts to take effect. They flutter for a moment, then fade into nothingness.

"That… was tougher than I thought," Tenken mutters for a moment as he stands up. "It was a rush job, but the seal work… they have an Uzumaki in their organization. Some of those seals are known only to my clan," he says with a rather upset look on his face. "We should go… now. Provided you think we can trust that voice…"

"Looks like you're right," Atsuro tells Michiko. He turns back to the invisible maybe-ally. "Can you blame us?" he asks. He pauses for a moment. The voice sounds familiar. He glances over to Tenken. "In this situation?" He glances over in the snake's direction. "I… might. We don't have much of a choice. Let's get going, everyone. Eyes and ears, though, the Recluse like their traps and ambushes." He waves his hand forward in a 'move-out' gesture, then he and Taizen start to stalk silently deeper into the passage, looking, listening, and smelling for anything they ought to be aware of.

Kenta stiffens slightly when he hears the voice. He reaches into one of his pouches to pull out a tag, which he holds at ready, but doesn't use yet. His eyes flick briefly towards Atsuro to see what the team leader's reaction is. He definitely doesn't trust whomever spoke, but it's not his decision to confront it or not. He nods curtly when Atsuro deems retrieving Taiki more important than wasting time trying to figure out who the stranger is. Kenta keeps the tag in one hand while he follows closely behind the Jounin.

Takeo's preparing himself, less for a battle at the entrance and more for terrible things to be seen further in. He takes the moment of quiet before the waterfall to focus, reaching inward. He goes deeper and deeper into the well of his spirit, delving into it and pulling up a mixture of his and his Bijuu's chakra. Well supplied for the moment, he resumes his stance until a voice issues from nowhere.

"Let me know if you want me to drown her out into the open," the Jinchuuriki mentions to Atsuro, leaving it at that. This was a tense enough situation without a haughty, unexpected visitor sneaking up on them at the very entrance to the enemy's lair.

Michiko frowns a bit more as she can't sense anything. Something was moving against her, making it difficult to detect anything. "I can't sense anything at the moment. It's … There's someone blocking my senses intentionally." She gives a light shake of her head, then focuses on the voice that's coming from seemingly nowhere. "I suppose that means we've a common enemy?" she murmurs at that voice, though she didn't really need to add that. Everyone's come to a similar conclusion.

As they move, she continues to send chakra through the earth, letting her natural senses that connect her to the earth take over and let her know minor things like where a wall could be or if she's about to run into someone. It's something so second nature to her that it doesn't even strain her energy or chakra usage. "Keep safe, Takeo-san," she says to the Jinchuuriki as she passes by him, keeping close to Kenta, Atsuro, and Tenken.

"It's not good to sit out in a place like this alone…" Soubi merely mentions to Takeo as she decides to move on past him as well, much like a breeze in the wind. She had no intention to address any other tidbits of information, after all Soubi wasn't interested in wasting time on pointless banter. She doesn't at all relent, she keeps here senses open, careful for anything else that might surprise her…including her own 'allies'. "My snakes can keep alert at the entrance if you don't wish to leave the young man behind…" Her own word of caution. Despite her demeanor she had no idea what they were up against. Or if anyone else may have been trailing before her.

Upon those words the sound of flesh being bitten and droplets of blood became visible, a summoning seal is planted against the ground. "Kuchiyose no Jutsu…" In that instance a medium sized snow white snake appeared, peering upon Soubi. "Odagu-san… Do you mind watching the entrance? Send others to come find us if something happens to come this way."

"Hai, Ssssoubi-sssama," the obedient snake hisses back at her, uncoiling his form to take his position.

As the group makes their way to the end of the tunnel, it opens up to allow people to fan out along the ledge, which sports a two-foot high ledge. If one crawls, they can move out onto the ledge unnoticed. Soft, labored whimpering can be heard throughout this chamber, which is mostly clear save for three giant wooden X's that are tilted up at about a 75 degree angle. Tied rather harshly to each of these X's are Taiki, Shinobu, and Nozomi. Shinobu and Nozomi are tied spread-eagled, just like Taiki, with all of their hair gone. Their skin is a network of half-healed scar tissue from various cuts, acid burns, and fire burns. Both ninken have one eye missing, with Shinobu missing his left eye while Nozomi is missing her right. The whimpering is coming from them as they are obviously in a great deal of pain. At least their bones don't look broken, from the ledge.

Taiki, however, is hardly in better condition. One ear has been removed, and his naked form is riddled with even more half-healed cuts, acid burns, and fire burns. He, however, appears to have broken bones in each of his arms, and his fingernails have been removed. He is silent, however, but he is definitely cognizant of his surroundings, particularly focusing a rather strikingly beautiful woman that appears in her late twenties that stands in front of him.

The woman, though lovely on the outside, wears a face of prideful, confident, scorn as she addresses the clan head. "I'm going to be so sorry when our time is done, Tai-kun," she says in a sickeningly sweet voice. "Here I thought you were a stamina god… but alas, you fall so short, just like most men. Still, your howls were fun…"

It has been said that Taiki is more stubborn than a god, and this case proves the observation right as he spits blood at the woman. "My time may be done, but so is yours," he rasps out, his normally hoarse voice barely understandable. "For I may die here, but my death will spell your end. You, and all your… compatriots. In my death, I will become stronger than you ever imagined. And you will know true fear. Do your worst Fumiko-teme, and lets see who wins in the end." Growls ring out from around the surrounding caverns, human growls that can only mean Fumiko is not alone.

Tenken's eyes narrow as he sees the condition of his student. His hands curl into fists and shake with barely controlled fury as he hisses in barely above a whisper, "Waters… Complete waters…" Before anyone can do anything else, he is running through and seals at blinding speeds, but the jutsu he is preparing is so complex that it obviously is going to take a few moments to complete. Whatever it is, it will be… impressive.

"I wasn't ordering you to stay at the entrance," Atsuro tells Takeo, "I wanted you to watch the group while we were gathering information. You're with us. C'mon." He waves for Takeo to follow. He nods in the direction of the voice. "That'll do," he says, "Ideally, we're going to grab Taiki and get out." Though he's more worried about what's ahead of them than what could come from behind.

Fortunately, they make it to where Taiki is being held without too much trouble. But what they see at the end is chilling. Atsuro shuts his eyes and looks away for a moment. But when he brings his head up again, his expression is one of dead-serious determination. He glances over to Tenken. Sure would have been nice if he'd explained what he was doing before he did it. "Everyone," he says in a low voice, "Get ready for a fight. Does anyone have a way of moving Taiki and the dogs up to here?"

Kenta presses himself close to the ground as they move, occasionally poking his head out just enough to check what's beyond the ledge. When the group's close enough to witness what happened to the three missing Inuzuka, the young medic-nin finds his hands clenching into fists. He crushes the tag that he was holding, but doesn't even notice. Everything in Kenta says to attack the evil woman and her companions. The more logical part of his brain tells him that the wrong move could spell death for the ones they're supposed to save, as well as the rescuers. He inspects the prisoners intently to analyze what injuries he can see from afar. His gut instinct seems to be correct. They're not doing well at all.

Kenta silently shakes his head at Atsuro. Kenta unclenches the fist without anything in it and carefully reaches for a pocket. He removes a small black pill, which he pops into his mouth and swallows. "I can't do anything to move them, but maybe I can try slowing the lot of them down with sleeping gas when you guys make your move," he whispers. "Or I can try to take over one of them, but they might be able to shake it off easily. Must be strong." The young medic-nin smoothes out the tag again before he presses his palms together to gather more chakra. It sounds like there's a -lot- of people.

Takeo stiffens slightly at the voice and bares his enlarged canines just slightly. "If you've decided I'm alone because you see one body, you're not as clever as you think," he replies to the unseen individual. Still, agitation subsides in favor of concentration. More, more. Yet more chakra drawn. When at last he feels that he truly does have enough, he turns about to move, but not before running his hands through the waterfall for a moment. Preparation for later, perhaps?

When beckoned, Takeo turns about and starts after Atsuro, obeying the order to follow. It may well have been better for him to stay at the entrance, for what he sees in the depths causes the anger at his core to boil. Clawed digits wrap inward so tightly, they pierce flesh, causing blood to run forth from his fists and coat his fingers. It's fortunate that he just recently attained a certain peace within himself, or he'd probably be down there already.

"If you get him down from that thing," Takeo says to Atsuro, "I can stand over him. Whoever wants to help him from there'll have to crawl under the shell." Whatever that means.

The path seems to be longer than ever, and Michiko feels relatively blind despite the fact that her normal senses are working fine. She still has the team in sight, and eventually they get to the light at the end of the tunnel… Literally. While she doesn't know Taiki personally, Michiko has been given a good description of the man (prior to the torture he went through recently). The light is just a bit unsettling, and she has to squint before her eyes fall to the area below. And what meets the team…

Michiko's jaw hardens at the sight. A combination of anger, disgust, and any other emotion that would fall within that spectrum passing through her being. "Agreed," she breathes in agreement to Tenken's statement. She could tell from this far away that the three Inuzuka were in awful condition. If someone couldn't, they might as well be blind… She considers, watching Tenken fly through the handseals quickly. Atsuro's question is met with a response. "I can try to bring them up… If the earth cooperates with me, I can try and make an earthen wall that will raise them up to us. It might not work, though, if that chakra-blocker is still around…" the Iwata's voice is a whisper when she speaks.

The sight alone was enough to unhinge Soubi. It was then her heart literally felt dead in it's tracks. The sight was horrible.. Could she at all keep it together? A faint growl escapes her lips as her eyes flickered from behind those curtains of fabric. Amongst the darkness a pale blue illumination from her eyes formed. "Just…my snakes but not ideal…" Soubi managed to make out in hushed words, biting down upon her lower lip. There wasn't going to be any holding back against this foe…even if she were to go blind in the process. She focuses even more chakra throughout her body, readying her self for an intervention. For now though she would need even more chakra, also planning to perform a rather lengthy technique, as well as gain more insight on the area about her… Was there any traps? Was Taiki and the ninken linked to anything? "We don't know what we are dealing with yet….but whoever that woman is…she needs to die,"

That would at least give the Uchiha a good view of what happened next. Right in the flickering shadows of the three X's, a small form slides 'just' a bit out of the shadows. She looks at the group, then makes a motion towards Taiki and the dogs, then herself, then to the wall above. Atsuro and Tenken might recognize the Nara as Usagi, but she didn't give them much chance either as she slipped back down into the shadows to avoid detection. But an ally was at least close by….she would not allow the blade to fall on him.

Fumiko only shakes her head before reaching up to caress Taiki's jaw line. "Oh Tai-kun, you say such wonderfully fantastic things. I'm going to miss our story time. Unfortunately, I have my orders. I have your elders to frame for your death. But don't you worry none," she says as she leans forward and plants a kiss on his chin, "Your clan will soon join you. We can't afford to leave any lose ends, after all." That said, she stands back and starts to run through several hand-seals of her own. Finally she ends on the dog seal before reaching out with a water-coated hand toward Taiki's heart…

Taiki remains still, but looks utterly revolted by the kiss. He just stares into her eyes, waiting for the final blow that will end his life. Shinobu and Nozomi growl menacingly, but helplessly at the woman as her hand inches closer and closer toward Taiki's heart.

"I'm freeing him, since I know what they've done," Tenken whispers before standing up and finishing his seals. "FUINJUTSU: FREEDOM. KAI!" He's moved away from the group as he does this, moving to stand on the wall a good distance away to attract even more attention his way. He slams his hand down on the wall he's stuck to and blazing blue chakra runs down the walls and over the X's. The stands disintegrate instantly in a blaze of blue fire that doesn't appear to harm Taiki or the ninken, causing them to fall backwards and causing Fumiko to miss her target completely. "We have unfinished business, Fumiko." He starts focusing his own chakra, which starts to visibly coalesce around him, marking him as the single most dangerous person in the room to the assembled, masked, Recluse.

Did someone just slip out of the shadows? Despite the situation, Atsuro feels slight relief. "We have someone else taking care of it," Atsuro whispers back to the group. He looks back to Tenken just in time to see him finishing his jutsu. Once he sees what's happened with Taiki and his dogs, he nods slightly to himself. He has an idea of what to do now.

"Kenta, Takeo. We're going down there to block them from Taiki. Takeo, Taizen and I will do the front-line fighting, Kenta will support us." He nods to Kenta and Takeo, then continues, "Michiko, attack them from up here and try to keep Tenken covered." He sighs, "Disembodied voice, I have no idea if you'll listen to me, but I wouldn't mind if you went down there and went around spreading chaos in the Recluse. Nobody take any unnecessary risks and remember our main goal is getting Taiki out. Let's move." He and Taizen each draw swords, then Atsuro takes a moment to focus chakra before they jump down close to where Taiki and Usagi are, blades raised, ready to fight.

Kenta's eyes widens slightly when Usagi appears out of the stonework. It doesn't dispel his dark and foreboding mood, but her appearance might give them the extra little edge needed to succeed. Having a medic so close to the three injured prisoners already is also an advantage, since he's not going to be able to able to reach Taiki and the ninken nearly as quickly. He watches with astonishment when the old man releases the bound individuals from afar, but snaps quickly to attention when Atsuro lays out instructions. "Got it!" he asserts.

Kenta straights to his feet and forms several quick hand seals. Hidden by his clothing, a series of seals inked directly into his skin darkens and starts releasing an influx of chakra into his chakra network. The medic-nin quickly jumps down after Atsuro and weaves several more seals while in midair. "Atsuro-senpai. Hold your breath," he warns right before he purse his lips and blows out a cloud of soporific mist to cover the crowd below. The mist dissipates quickly, almost before Kenta even lands, but hopefully some of their targets inhaled it.

Takeo's cut off the leash, and that's all he needs to know from Atsuro. The young man draws deeply of the air and leaps down into the depths, engulfed in dark blue, watery chakra as he falls. He can be seen to pivot in midair as he falls, turning his back to the strange woman and Taiki. There is the brief but powerful sensation of chakra pulsing outward, vibrating through one's veins, particularly as he lands and the cloak suddenly bursts outward.

The first thing one sees thereafter would be three armored tails falling slowly to the ground. The landing was carefully measured so that, unless she moves away from Taiki, one very heavy length of plated flesh is going to come crashing down upon her. The remainder of the cloak fades to unveil a miniaturized (but still quite huge) mimic of Isobu, one black and red eye snapping open. It's quite the sight to see, but the use of tactics in transforming implies control, rather than someone walking a razor's edge.

As the group makes their way to the end of the tunnel, it opens up to allow people to fan out along the ledge, which sports a two-foot high ledge. If one crawls, they can move out onto the ledge unnoticed. Soft, labored whimpering can be heard throughout this chamber, which is mostly clear save for three giant wooden X's that are tilted up at about a 75 degree angle. Tied rather harshly to each of these X's are Taiki, Shinobu, and Nozomi. Shinobu and Nozomi are tied spread-eagled, just like Taiki, with all of their hair gone. Their skin is a network of half-healed scar tissue from various cuts, acid burns, and fire burns. Both ninken have one eye missing, with Shinobu missing his left eye while Nozomi is missing her right. The whimpering is coming from them as they are obviously in a great deal of pain. At least their bones don't look broken, from the ledge.

Taiki, however, is hardly in better condition. One ear has been removed, and his naked form is riddled with even more half-healed cuts, acid burns, and fire burns. He, however, appears to have broken bones in each of his arms, and his fingernails have been removed. He is silent, however, but he is definitely cognizant of his surroundings, particularly focusing a rather strikingly beautiful woman that appears in her late twenties that stands in front of him.'

The appearance of Usagi doesn't go unnoticed, but she doesn't recognize the Nara. Tenken is given a glance when he suddenly slams his hand down, but Michiko doesn't hesitate to act when things start to get heated. The woman begins to reach for Taiki's heart, and she's already forming the seals. The girl ends her handseals with the snake sign, sending chakra through the ground to erect a barrier- No, a dome around Taiki and his nin ken. It surrounds them, enveloping them completely to help them avoid those shadows that seem to move, as well as blanket their fall. It's like Usagi was also contained in the dome, but they would be able to dig their way out with ease.

"Got it, Atsuro-san," Michiko says, chakra flaring around her figure briefly as she prepares her next attack. She creates a few more handseals, but doesn't do anything yet. "Hmm… Tenken-san, I'll be sure to watch your back."

Events began to unfold quickly, was Taiki really going to die so easily? There was a brief second of hesitation but the Uzumaki's sealing technique began to work into play, making it easier for Taiki himself to be freed later. Soubi heard Atsuro's words but she had already sprung into action…and opening that she could take to make up for that brief moment of hesitation. She was fast, and no longer that ghost of a voice which rang not too long ago. She reappeared right before Fumiko, parting the curtains from her straw hat so that the woman may look into her eyes.

"The amount of pain you caused him… will be inflicted upon you ten fold. You will wish you could wake up from a dream that will never end," The swell of her vibrant sharingan began to converge along one another, spinning and spiraling out into sharp rays of thunder bolts jagged along her center iris. " Tsukuyomi," The words are uttered in more so a faint whisper. If Fumiko couldn't resist she would be pulled into an inverted world, an abyss of darkness with only a single red moon looming in the air. Her soul ripped from reality, and plunged into a state of staggered time. All within a few blinks of an eye, leaving herself open to outside attacks while

The woman didn't have time to wonder if they saw them, though from the looks of it, they did. She sighs with soft relief as the dome closes over them. Usagi has only a small window of opportunity, but with the dome, her shadowy wings unfurl, and she uses them to cover Taiki and the ninken as she begins to heal them. She knew the severity of the damage, she'd been there for quite some time. As it is, she works quickly on Taiki and Shinobu first, taking a few moments to at least make sure Nozomi is stabilized. "Come on, I know you want at them. If you've got anything left, Taiki, now's the time to dredge it up"

"You aren't just whistling, Uzumaki Tenken," She says, her sickly sweet demeanor dropped. Suddenly her entire body lights up in seals so intricrite that no one but Tenken would recognize them "The leader wants you to himself, but I suppose he won't mind if your… tenderized a little." She is now ignoring Taiki and just about everyone else as she side-steps the jinchuriki's tail. She runs through several handseals before intoning, "Fuinjutsu, Western Heavens Seal." Her target is obvious: Tenken. She even quickly runs through hand seals and says, "Kai," dispelling Soubi's attack before it takes hold.

In the meantime, Kenta's attack is intercepted by one of the several masked nin surrounding this chamber, who calls forth a wall of wind to disperse it. Unfortunately, while he is able to keep the attack from affecting Fumiko or anyone else, he falls victim to it himself, falls over, unable to act at the present time.

Taiki looks up and Usagi and nods. "You're right… Bu… Noz… just once?" The dogs each yelp an affirmative and they come together, touching. Taiki closes his eyes and weakly runs through several hand seals before ending on the dragon seal. "Transform: elemental stalking wolf." Taiki is nothing if not stubborn, and a fighter as the trio disappear in a puff of smoke, only to come out as a three-headed dog the size of an elephant. All three heads growl, half in pain and half in absolute fury before they explode in one, final action to help clear the way, becoming little more than a series of flashes of light as about half of the masked people here become targeted, leaving the other half, some 6 people for his rescuers to cover as he bleeds off extra speed getting to the platform on which they entered.

In the meantime, Tenken's eyes narrow into slits as Fumiko transforms. "Who taught you that?" he asks, his voice growing impossibly colder before running through some handseals of his own. Another series of seals appears over his body that mirror his own exactly. "You are no Uzumaki. Those are a clan secret." He then brushes off another seal attack by Fumiko as he runs through several more handseals. "You will die for this… affront to my clan! Fuinjutsu: Ten Point Seal Technique!" With this he leaps, landing between Soubi and Fumiko, before slamming his hand down on the ground. Ten seals form around her in an attempt to freeze her where she stands.

Atsuro is about to order Taiki to go up to the platform, but apparently things aren't going to be that simple. "We need to take down some of her cohorts," he says to Takeo and Kenta, "But don't stay out of the group too long — these are serious enemies we're dealing with and if one of us gets isolated, it's trouble." Then, he and Taizen step forward and become a pair of blurs, weaving around a group of enemy ninja, swords slashing through the air. To the untrained eye, the movements look random, but it's more like an intricate series of carefully coordinated strikes and feints spread across several Recluse nin at the periphery. As the attack loses momentum, they quickly return to their original position near Kenta and Takeo, just as Atsuro said.

Adrenaline pumps through Kenta's veins. So much is happening around him at the same time. Takeo transforming. Michiko calling up a dome of earth to protect the injured. The mysterious voice turning into a creepy woman. Earth domes bursting upwards to release three headed wolves. And on and on… It's too much to absorb at once, so Kenta focuses on following Atsuro's lead. "Someone needs to get Taiki-sama out of here while we cover him," he utters. "There's so -many- of them… I don't know how many can be taken down."

When Atsuro spins forward to attack, Kenta pops another black pill into his mouth and rapidly forms a familiar of hand seals. He times the action, so that he blows out another wave of sleeping mist right at Fumiko's subordinates just as Atsuro's jumping back into position away from the targets.

Takeo is in something of a precarious situation. The great turtle could evoke greater power here, but not without putting others at risk. His primary concern is getting Taiki and company out, yet he's the shell, the bulwark between the vulnerable and the enemy. That's the idea, anyway. He successfully forced the strange woman to dodge by carefully placing the formation of his tail, and so he turns with surprisingly speed upon his front legs, facing a group of missing-nin.

In this state, Takeo apparently needs neither invocations nor hand signs to make use of his power. Water forms at his feet and begins to build and build, until at last, a great tidal wave simply rises from what should be far too little water. The wave surges forward, seeking with the Jinchuuriki's wrath to kill at best, hobble at worst.

Michiko watches with a rather neutral expression when Taiki turns into a three-headed wolf/dog/thing that is basically Cerberus. She is definitely impressed, but there are more important things to worry about… Like the twel- make that six guys that seem intent on keeping the team and Taiki in this cave-like system. She finishes the handseals she had begun making earlier, murmuring as she sends chakra through the earth, "There may be a lot of them, but we'll beat them regardless…"

Hands of earth start to rise up, grabbing at the enemy Recluse-nin and attempting to drag them into a coffin. If successful, rib-like stone structures would keep them locked up in that coffin, allowing for the team to either escape or at least have a better chance in defeating the enemy. One eye is kept on Tenken, since she was supposed to watch over him, but Fumiko is a bit much for her to handle in her current state.

There truly was a lot going on. Despite her genjutsu not taking hold the Uzumaki and the senior recluse member seemed to have a personal vendetta against one another…and with Taiki suddenly out of harms way, or at least for the most part, nothing else was much of a concern to her. The sudden rush of water from Takeo had given the Uchiha a bit more arsenal to perform her own jutsu, forming a portion of it into a spear to slam into one of the enemies, as she had taken a leap backwards to begin an escape… " Time to leave…" Soubi whispers quietly under her breath, watching as the other battles began to take place…. there was a certain watery blinding chakra bugging her all the same way. The area was becoming to awash with chakra to see properly.. She briefly skins the strain of her eyes while attempting further… to wrap up an escape.

Usagi looks at Taiki, annoyed that he's already on his feet and fighting and…..evening the odds, it seems. But Tenken is definitely not in a mood to let it go, it seems. She looks around, Atsuro is attacking as well, then there's the big turtle, the mist…..but it seems she's glancing around for a few moments, keeping track as the hands burst from the earth. She grumbles softly at such, but nonetheless she forms a few hand seals and slams her hand into the ground. Oh look, an explosive tag….


Seems the Nara had been popping in and out of the shadows since she got here, placing the brown colored tags against the rock, barely if at all visible. As the first starts to burn, she bellows. "OUT! NOW!!!" And hauls lightning over towards the ledge, trying to wrap the Taiki combo into her wings and carry them, but she's definitely not exactly the strongest in the group as little fires start to burn all around the cavern. And Kami help whoever got caught beneath it all when it went up.

And Tenken's vehemence catches Fumiko off-guard enough to send her reeling into a cluster of still-moving masked Recluse. They look around at the explosive tags, note their closed-in environment, and decide to take their leader and run. Anyone who can't run? Well, they're likely dead already. Only one problem, a deeply offended Uzumaki Clan elder with a vendetta against the Recluse unmatched by any save for Taiki himself. But for that Uzumaki? It's a matter of honor. Unfortunately, he still isn't fully recovered from his injuries, just patched up. The strain of all these jutsu's catches up with him, causing him to stumble and falter before he reaches the archways, leaving him in dire straights.

Taiki remains unconscious on the ledge, but since he's no longer concentrating on his transformation, he's transformed back. Unfortunately, the strain has aggravated his injuries, to the point he still needs medical attention. HIs ninken appear in a similar boat, but at least the three would be easier to carry than the one large one.

"Everybody out!" Atsuro calls, "Move, move, move!" He and Taizen wait to make sure that Takeo and Kenta are able to leave — and help them if necessary — but once he's sure of their safety, he jumps back up to the ledge. Probably being the one with the greatest physical strength among the team, as well as the leader, he figures Tenken is his responsibility and hurriedly grabs the man up in a fireman's carry before running him down the passage back to outside — and safety.

Kenta's head snaps up to see all the explosive tags getting to explode around them. He doesn't need extra urging to figure out what would happen if everyone's still inside when the tags go off. With the seal on his chest still activated, he has no problem sustaining a higher level of activity in the short term. He's sprinting towards and up the cavern wall back onto the ledge as quickly as he can. While Atsuro goes for the Uzumaki elder, Kenta flanks Usagi to keep an eye on the injured. There isn't enough time to do any treatment now, with the cavern threatening to blow around them, but having two medic-nin close anyway would be the best precaution. But first… fleeing for their lives is the first priority.

"Give him to me. You make sure Taiki gets out," Takeo says to Atsuro through a rumbling voice not his own, though there's assurance of his control somewhere in that black and red eye. "C'mon, old man. I owe you once over for training that student, and I owe Taiki twenty times over for a lot more. Somewhere, that adds up to making sure you get out without being dented up again." He opens his plated mouth to gently scoop Tenken into it, and then promptly retracts his head into his shell. With the Uzumaki thus shielded from cave-ins and other threats, Takeo's massive frame leaps with great strength up to the ledge and charges straight out through the waterfall.

Somewhere along the way, certainly once outside, the great turtle in a flowing wave of watery blue chakra. Takeo is in human form once more, albeit wreathed in energy and with two tails flowing behind, carrying Tenken in his arms.

Michiko hears the explosive tags, and then the order to evacuate reaches her ears. She nods slightly, not that anyone would see her or even respond, and dashes out of the caves quickly, using some of her jutsu to keep falling caverns from crushing her allies. Once everyone is safe, she lets herself relax, and any aura of chakra about her person disappears. "… Well, I suppose that's one way to handle everything," she says lightly, mostly to herself as she glances around to the Konoha-nin. "Does anyone need help with anything? I might be able to help heal people, if needed…" she offers, though Kenta was probably much more capable than her.

Soubi also heard the explosive tag, and just like that she began to bolt out from the cavern. After all Taiki was in save hands now. For what everyone else knew, her business with the recluse was pretty much over…yet there was still so many unanswered questions. The situation at the moment was a bit to dire to sit on it for the time being. Once out of the cave she didn't at all stick around. She more so disappeared without a trace. Herself along with her snakes….

Usagi grunts softly as they split apart, growling at him for a few moments before she snags all of them with shadows and pulls them along with her. Her physical strength may not be up to the task, but her ninjutsu was something she worked on regularly. Between the two, she carried Nozomi as best she could across her shoulders, and Taiki and Shinobu along the shadows. They weren't exactly in for an easy flight, but all things considered, it was what she could do. And it seems they made it out of there in time, as she carries them to a stop on safe ground. Once there, she's panting a bit, trying to regain her breath before she moves in to offer him some healing. Him and both ninken.'

Just as Usagi, who is slowest due to her load, gets out of the tunnel, the earth rumbles as the cavern caves in, causing a sinkhole on the earth above the waterfall. No one knows how many, if any, Recluse escaped for certain, but one thing is for sure, it's highly doubtful that Fumiko perished here. Still, for all the pain, suffering, and hardship, some very important pieces of information became known about the Recluse today. Does it balance out the costs? That's for each individual to decide.

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