Date: April 3rd, 2010
An odd request from an unknown client leads to the beginning of a major undertaking for Sunagakure's Team 01. An undertaking that may threaten the very stability of Sunagakure itself!
"Death Is Only The Beginning - Robbing Graves For Fun and Profit"
Warrior's End Graveyard - Land of Wind
This mission is odd from the beginning. Instead of heading out to do the mission as soon as possible, the team was specifically asked to leave no earlier than dusk… And to talk to the mission's petitioner instead of just going out to do the mission. Apparently not all of the details were provided in the mission's writ, and the petitioner wished to speak to the team in person for the full briefing. At night. In a graveyard.
The moon hangs high in the evening sky, sending a pale, sickly yellow light down on the desert. A somewhat chill wind whips across the sands, sending sprays of it drifting through the air. The sound of the wind as it moves across the cliff face to the north produces a hollow sound like something howling low and mournful.
There is only one gravestone here. An iron pillar that is etched with some symbols but is otherwise unadorned. It gleams cold and lonely in the moonlight, the only marker for the many honored dead that lay buried beneath the ground.
Kara is not exactly easily scared, least of all by the dead… But even she was reluctant to head out to a burial ground at night by herself. So she waited until the other three members of the team were available before setting out. Once they arrive, however… "Hmm… I don't see anyone around… Do you, Pharaoh-kun?" Kara asks of her puppet. Perhaps she has good reason to ask a dead man if he sees anything she doesn't. He might have special detection tools! Or one of those things the Ghost Busters had for detecting paranormal activity! Whoah!
Pharaoh doesn't answer, though, other than to look around. So he probably doesn't detect anything after all. Kara looks around at the other team members. "Who hired us anyway? And why would they want to meet in a place like this?"
The graveyard at night. That setting could send a shiver up the spine of the most hardened of skeptics. The elder Rurohashi sister was known for trying to act tough, brave, and unphased by all things that came her way. It was her job, as a big sister, after all. But dead things kind of creeped her out, and dead things buried in the ground all around her at night doubled the creep-factor.
Casting about suspicious glances at the barely-illuminated sands around them, as if expecting a spectral hand to rise up through the ground to come at her, Rinako does her best to hug her arms around herself without /looking/ like she was hugging herself, trying to seem as if she was just folding her arms. Nevermind that her thumb occasionally wint to her lips so that she could chew nervously at ther thumbnail, eyeing the enormous monolith set into the earth like some silent sentinel of the dead.
"Noooooo idea. They have about ten minutes to show up, though, before I call them late and go home. Why the hell would someone want to meet out here, anyway? This whole thing is fishy. Why don't we ever get anything good, go anywhere nice? Like a mission to become more tanned by sunbathing. Swimsuit modeling, checking out expensive jewelry prices the next town over, /something/."
Brushing her bangs out of her eyes, the dark-haired girl turns a slow circle, as if trying to keep her eyes on everything around her at once.
Like Kara and Rinako, Ruri is not easily scared. Unlike Kara, dead people are kind of an issue for her. She didn't use to have a problem with zombies, because they were just like the ones in story books or whatever. But then she got too close to one. And it tried to eat her shoulder. The feeling of broken once-human teeth sinking into her flesh; the pain and horror of knowing something is trying to eat her alive; and the dry, withered flesh of the unliving on her body — these things have kept her awake at night.
She hasn't spoken to anyone about it. She has not even admitted it to herself in her journal. But she has developed a rather keen fear of the animated dead. And that extends to the incorporeal kind as well. After all, a zombie is horrible enough, but you can fight it. What can anyone do against a ghost?
The trek across the desert was no big deal. Even at night, even with the wind, it's nothing Ruri hasn't experienced before. When they get to the graveyard however… The whole setting doesn't sit well with her. She shivers at the howling of the wind, and glances down at the dry earth below, realizing there's bodies down there. She half-expects hands to burst from the lifeless soil and grab at her. Shaking her head to clear it of such images, she looks around for the petitioner. "No one here? Oh well. Looks like this mission is a bust. Let's go home."
The team leader then turns around and begins to walk quickly out of the area.
Since we're all talking about how creeped out we are, Shemri is…maybe a little less perturbed by the setting. Not someplace she'd want to go on a picnic, certainly. "This is a most strange place for a meeting," Shemri mutters. "I hope that our client is not engaged in any underhanded dealings." Shemri blinks at Ruri's sudden pronouncement of mission scrapping. "Hoi, are you certain? Perhaps he has merely lost his way in the dark. We might try to hunt him down."
A pair of glowing eyes that pop up from behind a sand dune in front of Ruri. Shiikaa meows. Tracker cat, reporting for duty!
"I am here," a muffled voice says. It is muffled because it is coming from… Below. A moment later, a hand DOES burst from the ground. A thickly bandaged hand that continues to rise until a likewise-bandaged arm emerges as well. Then the hand plants itself on the dirt and uses it as support to help the rest of its body above the surface. Soon, a shoulder and head begin to emerge, and then the other arm, and eventually, the entire body. A figure in heavy, draping hood and cloak, wrapped all in bandages and baggy clothing, along with tinted goggles and a face mask, rises up and stands before the women assembled.
"I am pleased that you could make it," the raspy voice of the figure says. "My name is Hone Nai. I am a Chuunin of Sunagakure. And it was I who submitted the petition." Nai doesn't even bother to brush the sand and dirt from his form as it continues to stream off of him.
Kara was just noticing that it looks like there are signs of digging in the area… Recently, and in multiple locations. Have new dead been interred here? Kara nods to Rinako. "That's right, Ruri-chan! Ten minutes and then we'll deparwhaaaaa!? What do you mean, Rinako-chan?" She asks as she turns to Ruri. "We can't leave >yet<. We have to at least give this person a chance to show up!"
She glances over her shoulder to where Pharaoh is all wrapped up on her back. "Hmm… Though this >is< a pretty creepy place… And Shemri-san is right too. We should look around for him! Or her! …By the way, has anyone heard of anyone dying recently? Because there's—" she breaks off when that voice comes from below the ground.
Her eyes widen as a hand emerges, and then an arm, and then the rest! Once Nai stands before them, Kara relaxes a bit. Well, then! Despite his strange appearance, dramatic entrance, and odd choice of meeting locations, he is at least a person! Zombies don't talk, right? Except to say, 'Brains!' or whatever. Bowing briefly to Nai, Kara says, "Glad to be here!" Okay, no. She's not. But it's polite to say so. Pharaoh chatters his blackened teeth in agreement.
The elder of the twins stands there for just a few more moments as she watches her sibling begin to walk away. Finally, she glances at the other two with a helpless shrug of her shoulders. "Good enough for me." Her sandals turn in the soft, forgiving grains of earth below her, she begins to trek after the younger girl.
But then a hand bursts forth from the ground like it was straight from one of their nightmares come to life. The sudden introduction of an appendage from whence there should be none causes the dark-haired Rurohashi girl to skitter off to the side a few steps before instinctively crouching down half-way, fight-or-flight instincts kicking in on overdrive.
"Did someone get ahold of that damned medallion again!?"
After a moment passes and it doesn't look like the newly-arrived, or perhaps not-so-newly, Chuunin is about to attack them in an ever-questing search for delicious flesh, she relaxes a bit and puts her fists down, though it's clear from her stance that she's ready for, and expecting, trouble from this gentleman. "Yeah, well, nice to meet'cha. Way out here in the middle of nowhere. Is there any reason we couldn't simply have met in the village? If you are a Chuunin, as you /claim/, it would have been much easier and made a lot more sense."
Ruri pauses briefly as the cat shows up, but then just shakes her head and continues on, ignoring any protests. Cat-eyes betrayed what Shiikaa was before Ruri could get too upset. Shemri's suggestion, however, makes enough sense that Ruri can't ignore it. Weighing her desire to get out of here versus her dedication to finishing a job when she starts on it, Ruri remains nearby just long enough for a VOICE to be heard. A male one. From underground. Ruri freezes as a violent shiver goes up her spine.
Whith the noisy appearance of Nai from the dirt, Ruri shrieks, leaps straight up into the air, turns in mid-leap to face this person, and then lands on both feet unsteadily. Eyes wide, heart beating a mile a minute, hands scrambling for some weapon or tool to defend herself with, the younger twin can only watch as the thin, bandaged figure slowly extricates himself from the ground. Once she gets ahold of herself (somewhat) she straightens up, one hand still on her right arm, ready to use whatever tattoo her fingers happen to be on. "…Uh-huh. So, Hone-san—What she said. What are we doing out here? And why the *bleep*ing *bleep* were you hiding underground with a bunch of dead bodies!?" She pauses. "Oh, I'm Rurohashi Ruri, by the way." Can't forget manners!
Shemri watches warily as Nai comes out of the ground. It can't be said that this doesn't spike her adrenaline as well, after all, she was part of that whole zombie episode too, and she still thinks the whole setup is awfully suspicious. But, no clear threat so far. Shiikaa's fur puffs out taughtly. Something ain't right about that thing. ^c.c^; Still, not much to do but watch and wait for the explanation like everybody else.
Nai turns his head inclimentally towards Kara. Is he looking at her, or at Pharaoh? With those goggles over his eyes, it is hard to tell. Eventually he looks at Rinako instead as he answers, "The manner in which you were contacted, and this scenario arranged, has more to do with my distrust of a certain faction within Sunagakure than because I am doing anything… Unseemly." He turns his attention away from Rinako and onto the identical face of Ruri. He bows his head briefly at her introduction. "I was hiding underground because I am guarding the dead."
He turns away from everyone to look at the disturbed earth piles that Kara had noticed before. Already he is regretting this whole thing. He knew there would likely be conflict, but he knew there would be far worse if this was not dealt with quickly by an independent party. Well, it cannot be helped. Nai begins to explain.
"There are grave robbers that have been visiting the Warrior's End Graveyard. The difference between these grave robbers and normal grave robbers is that they are not looking for valuable weapons, or jewelry, or material wealth. They are stealing the corpses themselves. And since the majority of those laid to rest here were shinobi, it is likely that they are attempting to steal Jutsu knowledge, Kekkei Genkai, or both. Further, via my own investigations, I have traced back the grave robbers to their source…" He turns half-way to look at the ninja team. He glances briefly at Shiikaa, and then finishes, "…The Sasaki Clan's elders. It was the Wind Path Sasaki Elders that ordered this."
Kara nods in agreement with everyone else who is asking the same questions, but doesn't press for answers. They'll come eventually. When they >do< come, they aren't what she expected. "…Graverobbers looking for Jutsu? And they're from our own Village? That's… Uhh… How did you find this out exactly?—Oh, I'm Kara by the way." Pharaoh doesn't introduce himself.
Kara considers for a moment the implications if this is true. She knows there's animosity between the Wind Path Sasaki and the Earth Path Sasaki… Each wants to know the secrets of the other… But badly enough to dig up dead Clan members?
Her sister's reactions to the man springing forth from the ground like a slow-growing daisy would have been funny were it not for the gravity of the moment. As it was, Rinako does her best to catalogue it and remember every detail for further teasing when they were no longer on mission. By this time tomorrow night, should they make it back towards the village by then, half the village would know about her 'baby sister's' shriek of zombie-induced terror.
"Stealing corpses, huh? These are the most honored of our dead. Why would the Sasaki Clan risk everyone's wrath by disturbing these dead? Most of them are little more than dessicated dust. …Do you have any supporting evidence? If we act against the Wind Sasaki, even just to spy on them, then we're traitors if you're wrong or can't prove anything."
"Whaddaya think, Ru?" Looking towards their group leader, Rinako tilts her chin towards the unmarked graves. "We catch one of these corpse-snatchers and make them squeal? That might just give us enough to get the Council to authorize an investigation of the elders."
Ruri doesn't like the sound of this. If the story is false, then they have a Chuunin of Sunagakure lying to them for some reason. If it's true, then this is way bigger than a simple 'beat up the bad guys' mission. They could be rooting out traitors, yes, but they could also be destabilizing Sunagakure as a whole by removing one of the Village's main allies from power. That would weaken their forces as a whole, which might bring them under fire from others. Hidden Villages, bandits, whatever.
All of this is considered while Ruri waits for her heart to slow down, so she doesn't answer Rinako immediately. When she does answer her sister, she says, "I think that would be a good start. But we'll need more than a confession. We'll need physical evidence too. We'll need to find the stolen remains themselves, and we'll need to be able to link those remains to the Wind Sasaki. That means we may need to do some infiltration… In our own Village." Just saying that makes her feel a bit ill. She's not exactly a loyal soldier of the Kazekage — infact she would love to kill him and the Council — but there's lots of innocent people in Sunagakure. Civilians just trying to live their lives. Destroying all that everyone has worked for, and sending those innocents out into the desert they have only recently been rescued from, is not very palatable.
But a snake is a snake. Some are harmless, and some are deadly. They won't know which type this is if they don't at least look into it. "Alright. Let's set ourselves up for an ambush. We're staying here until they show up. Hope everyone brough adequate supplies, because if they don't show up tonight, we're going to remain for tommorow night too. However, before we get settled, I WOULD like to hear how you found this out, as Rina-chan and Kara-chan have asked."
Shemri…has little to say that hasn't been said already, again. She doesn't think so far as the political ramifications of busting these guys; in Shemri's mind, jerks who break the rules get smacked down, and the world must be a better place afterward, right? But she's not totally convinced this Nai guy is telling the truth, either. "Should we not see the evidence of this investigation first?" Shemri remarks.
Nai nods, and rasps out, "I would not expect you to accept merely my word. I found out when I happened to be here while one of the grave robbing missions was underway. I attempted to confront them, but I only managed to capture one grave robber. The others attempted to kill both him and I with Wind Release Jutsu. They were prepared to eliminate their own ally to keep this secret from getting out. I allowed them to think they had succeeded. I did not recognize any of them, as they were disguised, and did not speak. So once they had left, I questioned my captive. He did not wish to talk."
He walks towards the iron pillar, and rests a bandaged hand on its surface. "I made him change his mind. I would offer to let you speak with him as well, but he is no longer capable of speaking." He turns his head to look rather directly at Shemri.
"It is as your team leader says. You will need more than the confession of a dead man. You will need to capture all of those who come here tonight, acquire as much information as possible from them, and then find those stolen bodies, wherever they lie. I suspect that there will be ample evidence at the location that the Wind Sasaki were involved heavily."
Kara frowns a bit. Nai seems confident that they'll return. It's pretty inconvenient that the one who confessed isn't alive anymore… She really has to wonder what kind of interrogation methods Nai used. "Hmm… Well, if they show up tonight, and if we can capture them, and if they turn out to be what you say they are… Well, that's a lot of 'if's. But" she turns suddenly to look behind her. "I guess we'll find out soon what's going on here. We have company."
She glances to Nai. Well, at least he was correct about someone showing up here tonight. Now to see about the rest. She unstraps Pharaoh from her back and places him on the ground. "Go, Pharaoh! Sudden Burial!" The bottom of the bandages wrapped around Pharaoh's legs shred and tear as >drills< activate and burrow into the dirt. Soon the puppet is buried underground, with a quickly-smoothed-over pile of dirt as the only sign he is there. Kara nods to the others. "We should get into position! These could be the guys!" Assuming Ruri agrees, she runs to the north and up the cliff-face, until she is standing on top of the towering sandstone cliff.
"Bad thinking, Ru. We /can't/ spy on our own within the village without authorization. We're not the secret police. One false step will see all of us imprisoned, or worse. And the same might happen to our families by association." Rinako shakes her head mildly. "I'm not taking action against Suna's allies, even with evidence, without Council approval. To act with anything less would be treason."
As Nai walks towards the enormous pillar, the elder of the siblings folds her arms. "I'm all for gathering whatever information and evidence we can outside the village. I don't suppose we know exactly when these guys are supposed to show up next time? If they even do. Considering they were ambushed once already, they may have been spooked on to other targets."
The sudden announcement of 'company' puts an end to discussion for the moment, causing Rinako to spin and glare off into the direction indicated, crouching down lower so as to make less of a silhouette. She follows in Kara's footsteps as the puppeteer runs towards the cliffs, but doesn't follow her up it. Kara might fight best from a distance, but the elder twin needed to be in close and personal, scuttling behind a rock outcropping, digging a small, impromptu pit in the loose sand she could crouch low in while their mysterious guests approached.
Ruri frowns. Even thinking about talking to the Council of Doom turns her stomach, but… "Yeah, you're right. We'll have to gather what we can and then report to the Council." '…Assuming they aren't already in on this.' she adds on silently. "Alright. Let's get set up then. Did the corpse stealer you questioned happen to give away their schedule, Hone-san?"
Then Kara announces they have company. How did she even notice? Ruri doesn't see anything at all! Then again, it's night time, and the only light is the full moon. Maybe Kara has a special technique for detecting things at a distance. That would probably be useful for a Puppeteer. "…Alright, let's get into positions. I'll go up top with Kara-chan. Nee-chan, that's a good spot there." Duh. "Shemri-san, can you please head around to the east side and hide around the edge of the cliff? I know you probably prefer to fight close-up, but if Hone-san is correct, their Wind Release Jutsu could do a lot of damage if we're all bunched together. I'd like at least one person to be out of range if they decide to go for area attacks. Shiikaa can hide behind the grave marker."
Without looking at Nai, she runs towards the cliff and starts to head up it with Tree Walking while saying quietly, "Hone-san, I don't know what your specialty is, but you could always hide underground again if you think that would work on these jerks. Let's make this a clean capture. We don't need all of them alive, but try to take them alive if it is reasonably possible. If it's not, then we just need one."
Shemri smirks. "Ah. Aha. Well, no matter who they are, if somebody comes to rob the graves, that is reason enough to stop them, this is a fact? We can sort out the rest afterward." Shemri nods to Ruri's instructions. "Very well. Shiikaa, do your best." Shemri takes off for the position Ruri ordered, and Shiikaa scampers around behind the grave marker. Grave robbers beware, the guardian of the dead is watching. >3
As Ruri speaks to Nai without looking, she would thus be unaware that the one she is speaking to is already gone. All that remains is some disturbed earth, and soon enough even that vanishes as the earth itself seems to merge back together in one seamless piece. Nai has no intention of being seen a second time, or in confronting these grave robbers a second time. Whatever this team winds up doing, he has no reason to be involved in the fighting.
'Let us hope that they are successful…' he muses to himself as he burrows deeper and deeper underground.
Kara hunkers down on top of the cliffs, lying flat on her stomach and peeking over the edge. It was Pharaoh's detection tool that allowed Kara to notice what was coming from behind and from a distance. Now that Pharaoh is like 50 feet below her, and underground, she can't see the incoming people as well. Not until they get much, much closer. And when she does see them, her eyes narrow a bit. There's more than she thought there were. Now visible to anyone who looks in their direction, there are about a dozen people running in as ninja speeds, with arms held out behind them so that they can easily act or react by seizing or throwing a weapon. By keeping their arms loose, they can do whatever needs doing in an instant.
Once they arrive, they immediately take up formations in a well-rehearsed manner. Six of them fan out in a half-circle, facing back towards the desert, effectively sealing off the only real path out of here — unless someone wants to jump down from the cliffs and head out into nowhere-land. And that wouldn't lead back to the path without a lot of circling around. Three others of the remaining six begin checking out the area thoroughly and cautiously. It appears they learned from their last foray. The last three appear to be the leaders, or at least senior members of this group.
A man with spikey black hair, black eyes, and a mask covering the lower half of his face. A woman with silvery hair, and a blindfold over her eyes. She also wears a face mask. And finally a teenage girl in a jumpsuit, with gold-colored eyes. Again with the face mask! The rest of them also wear various face coverings, though most have chosen scarves and/or hoods. They clearly don't want to be identified.
The three scout members quickly find Shiikaa when they look behind the pillar. One of them is heading towards the rock that Rinako is behind. The last is looking around near the cliffs, but not at the tops of them, just at the base. They are all acting in complete silence. All communication is done with hand signs, rather than speech. It's a close thing, but the one looking by Rinako doesn't spot her in the darkness of her quickly-fashioned pit. He gives a thumbs-up sto show his area is clear. The one at the center, where Shiikaa is, looks a bit confused as to what a cat is doing out here, but after a moment of hesitation — probably aided by any reaction Shiikaa might have to him — he also indicates his area is clear. The one by the cliffs looks up suspiciously at the cliff top, but from his angle he can't see Kara or Ruri. So after a couple seconds more, he also gives a thumbs-up. Everyone relaxes a bit then.
The male leader says quietly, yet in a way he can still be heard, "Alright. You know the drill. Identify the location exactly on your map before you even think about digging. We're looking for three specific bodies tonight." He pulls a scroll from his belt and looks it over as he unrolls it. "Sasaki Muru, Sasaki Goshen, and Shippodoku Roshi. We only got one of our targets the last time we were here. We need all of them this time. Move!" The three scouts salute, and then move to start digging with shovels that poof into existence from scrolls they are carrying.
Ninjas. Great. She'd been hoping that that piece of information had been wrong, as it wasn't likely to be novices sent out on a particularly dangerous assignment that required the utmost secrecy. Thus all of their enemies could be assumed to be Chuunin or above in skill level, if not actual rank, which meant their team was likely overpowered.
The elder of the twins keeps her head down, listening silently, holding her breath as the footsteps approach, tensing with every step closer… closer… until they stop. As the silence drags on and on, she begins to get the sinking suspicion that she had been spotted, putting her hand against the rock outcropping she'd been hiding behind, getting ready to launch it. The speaking stops her at the last minute.
That confirms it, these guys were here to steal bodies. Bodies of Sunagakure's heroes. The tought made her sick.
"No guts, no glory, Rin."
Whispering under her breath, the dark-haired kunoichi shifts in her position slightly, gripping the rock with both hands. There was no covering what was about to happen, as her chakra levels spike, closing her eyes in concentration. If they hadn't spotted her by now, they sure as hell would soon. Reaching within, Rinako pulls out her other store of chakra, the sand kicking up around her in a miniature whirlwind, the iris of her eyes turning to yellow, vertical slits, her skin taking on a blueish hue as her fingers dig into the rock with renewed strength.
With a sound akin to thunder, the large chunk of boulder she'd been hiding behind is uprooted, lifted overhead, and then /hurled/ at the fool who'd given her section the 'all clear'.
Ruri does an assessment of the forces they're going to need to take on if they do this. Nai has vanished without a trace, so she assumes he's ready to launch a surprise attack when necessary. She has no idea he's leaving them to their own devices. So that makes… 4 Chuunin, 1 Genin, a Puppet, and a cat. 7 against 12. And the three leaders don't look like they're anything less than Chuunin, and are probably Jounin. One Jounin can probably take on two or three Chuunin each, depending on the individual's skill. So if all three leaders are Jounin, then in BEST circumstances they each negate two Chuunin on the heroes' side. Leaving them with 1/4th disadvantage, because Ruri is pretty sure that Pharaoh doesn't count as a whole Chuunin. And that's not even taking into account all the minion-types who could also be Chuunin! This whole situation sucks.
Ruri observes and listens closely to what is said and done. So they ARE here for the corpses. Ruri isn't exactly attached to the dead bodies emotionally, but she still feels that picking apart someone's remains to steal all their skills and accomplishments in life is almost as low as one can possibly get. It's a form of parasitic behavior. And parasites are not something Ruri feels deserve to live. Still, they're out-numbered. They should retreat, inform the Council mooks of what they witnessed, and then set up a real ambush with lots of Jounin and Chuunin of their own.
Then her sister throws a boulder while yelling. Ruri plants her face in the rock she's lying on for a few seconds, and then scrambles to her feet, and starts activating her Flesh Scroll tattoos silently. Stored Physical, Stored Sharp, Stored Sharp. The tattoos glow red as they release their Chakra and the objects stored within them. A pair of dumbbells go for one of the guys with the shovels, a battle-axe goes flying at the back of one of the six ninja guarding the path out of there, and a stuffed stag's head goes flying at the girl in the jumpsuit. Hey, those antlers are sharp, alright?
Shiikaa stares back at the scout from under hooded lids. I'm a wild creature of the night, what's /your/ excuse for being here, bub? ^e.e^ That's right, just keep moving. Pay no attention to the cat behind the <strike>curtain</strike> rock. Shemri watches the scenario unfolding from around the corner of the cliffs. Pretty hard to tell exactly what's going on from back there, but it looks pretty well in line with what they were expecting. More baddies than expected, though. :/ Even Shemri knows that discretion would be a wise tactic in this sort of situation…but it looks like that option is being torn open. x.x Shemri starts making her way back toward the scene of the action, trying to remain unseen so that she can at least get in a surprise attack. Meanwhile, Shiikaa gives a loud roar toward the nearest foe. With luck, maybe some of them will think there's a real tiger around and decide to high-tail it out of there.
The sand kicking up, and the sensation of surging Chakra, both cause a reaction amongst those assembled. The leaders immediately look in Rinako's direction, and prepare to take action despite seemingly deceptively calm. The ones nearer seem confused and startled but also prepare for >something< to happen. Adrenaline and doing something that one knows one isn't supposed to be doing does wonders for survival instincts. Still, a blue-skinned young woman popping up and throwing a boulder is not quite what was expected. The man, to his credit, tries to leap backwards while swinging his shovel at the boulder, trying to lessen its force somehow. But it is thrown hard enough from a close enough range that he gets creamed anyway. He's still alive, but when the boulder lands on him, it breaks both his legs. He howls in agony.
Foolishly, the other two shovel-wielders focus solely on Rinako. Meaning that one of them gets a pair of heavy metal lifting weights in the head. There's a cracking noise and a dull thump as the man hits the ground and starts to bleed out. The six ninja guarding the perimeter had turned at all the noise, so the battle-axe lands in the chest of one of them, instead of the back. It is effective regardless. The teenage girl, however, just swings her arm before the antlered trophy even reaches her, and it is sliced in half, before clattering to the ground. She has no visible weapon, but her hand is held as though she is gripping something. A Chakra weapon perhaps?
Shiikaa's roar stuns the shovel-bearer that was charging at Rinako, prepared to clobber her with the digging tool. The shockwaves and vibrations affect his inner ear sufficiently that he staggers dizzily, trying to shake off the effects. The man in charge calls out, "Perimeter guards! Resume your duties!" The five remaining ninja hesitate for only a moment before turning their backs obediently on the combat that has exploded in their midst.
The black-haired man then vanishes, using Body Flicker to appear atop the cliffs, right behind Ruri. He looms there for a half-second, and then turns and thrusts out his right leg in an attempt to kick Ruri off, to the ground below. The silver-haired woman goes, "Hmph." And then she starts walking in a straight line towards Rinako. "So… You must be the Bijuu I heard about… I knew Sunagakure had one. Though I thought that it was the One-Tailed Shukaku…" The woman still has a black blindfold over her eyes, but she seems to be plenty aware of Rinako's position as she just keeps advancing.
The jumpsuited-teenager with the golden eyes and invisible sword focuses on Shiikaa for a moment, and then points. Unless the cat can avoid it somehow, a Chakra blast would slam into him rather forcefully. A normal cat would definitely be severely injured if hit. Shemri herself appears to go unnoticed.
Kara was preparing to attack as well when the male Jounin popped up to the cliffs and threw a kick at Ruri. She gasps a bit and then leaps backwards, off the cliff tops, and somersaulting in the air to try to land down on the ground. There's not a lot she can do on her own, so she tries to lure the leader back down. Oh, and catching Ruri might be a good idea too, if she gets kicked off.
"Ouch. Sorry about that… Try catching it next time." Sure, they were on opposing sides, but Rinako was no sadist. Even she had to wince when the guy's legs become pinned and broken beneath the boulder. As the remaining pair with the shovels advances on her, Rinako's skin hardens invisibly, a field of chakra coating and sticking to her outer form, unable to be seen by the unaided eye. She doesn't have to test it against the shovels, however, no matter how confident she was in her ability to deflect them with the Other's power.
"So you know what I am." Rinako's eyebrows raise marginally as she frowns at the blindfolded woman stalking towards her. "And that means you know what I'm going to do to you if you piss me off. You might want to stick to safer hobbies than desecrating the graves of those who went before you. It's just not nice."
The dark-haired kunoichi begins inhaling deeply. Hey, if this girl didn't use her eyes, her hearing must be /phenomenal/, or so she was going to gamble on. Rinako's hands flash through a trio of seals, converting the chakra in her lungs, and when she lets out that breath, it's not just air coming out, but chakra-laced sound-waves. It wasn't a roar, not the kind the feral kitty was prone to give, but the keening of an aquatic animal, high-pitched and capable of shattering ear-drums, focused into a cone of force in front of her.
Ruri is totally not expecting the Jounin to just suddenly be all 'INSTANT TRANSMISSION' and appear behind her. But still she starts to turn when she sees the enemy vanish from the ground, assuming correctly that he had to have gone SOMEWHERE. Thus she is just in time to catch the kick full in the side of her face. This is somewhat of an improvement over the back of the head. At least getting hit in the face is unlikely to cause brain injury. Still, the force is sufficient that she is hurled from her perch atop the cliffs, making a strained, guttural noise of pain in the back of her throat. A few drops of blood also trail through the air behind her, because she got KICKED in the FACE.
Assuming Kara catches her, she takes only a moment to gather her senses and regain her feet, before trying to shove Kara away hard, and then leap backwards herself. That's a Jounin up there. And seeing two enemies in close proximity would be all too tempting targets for some kind of two-for-the-price-of-one attack.
If she is successful in putting some distance between herself and her team mate, then she next turns her attention on Mister Danger up there, and taps two fingers to a Flesh Scroll tattoo of a streak of flame. It glows red and then a stream of fire erupts from the air above Ruri's arm, lighting up the entire graveyard with bright-yellow and red flames, trying to nail the Jounin from a distance. "This is not a good situation," she calls out over the roar of fire. "We should grab one of these jerks and run for it!—And where the hell is Hone-san!?"
Shiikaa's ears twitch up straight when the girl points her…whatever-it-is at him. Can't really tell what it's about, but being pointed at by an enemy in a battle situation is generally a Not Good thing. Unfortunately, it's also tricky to dodge an attack that can't be seen. ^x.x^ Shiikaa is blasted back into the iron monolith. Vengeance isn't long in coming, though. A pair of strong hands clamp down on the girl's sword wrist and the back of her neck, and with a yell of rage, Shemri rushes her head-first into the pillar. That accomplished, Shemri kneels down to examine her cat. "Hoi, can you fight?!" Shiikaa shakes his head groggily and limps to his feet. Takes more'n that to put a ninja cat down for the count. ^>.<^; Shemri nods, whipping a shuriken at the nearest target with her sash. "Good. Stay sharp!"
It turns out that Rinako's sonic attack is effective on the woman. Not 'super effective' but effective at least. She staggers under the assault, hands to her ears, fighting to retain her position instead of being forced backwards. She must be using Chakra in her feet to stay stuck in place like that, otherwise she surely would have been blasted away by now. Whenever it is that Rinako ceases her attack, the blindfolded woman immediately tears off her blindfold, revealing… Her left eye appears to have burns around the edges. The eye itself is a pale-white, and veins bulge around it. Byakugan. Her right socket contains an eye that does not belong to her. It looks like it belonged to a younger girl, and was just grafted into place somehow. A red eye, with two black tomoe in the iris. Sharingan.
She doesn't waste any more words, just inhales deeply, forming some very familiar seals with her hands, and then lets loose with a sonic attack the same as Rinako's own! And since Rinako is standing in front of a cliff, some rocks start to rain down from above as the sandstone cracks, and then larger stones tumble down. Good thing for Rinako's Chakra Shell or a good whack in the head from one could mess this situation up even more than it already is.
"Nice shot," she lets out when she finishes and takes a deep breath to replenish her oxygen stores. She doesn't have Rinako's lung capacity after all. "I don't think I'll be able to hear anything until the Medical Ninja attend to me. Even though I molded Chakra into my ears when I saw what you were doing, it didn't fully stop the vibrations. They were frequencies to it I hadn't expected. Of course, you probably can't hear what I'm saying either. So I better stop wasting time."
She then lunges forward, hands and body held in the Juuken style of fighting, and tries to start sealing Rinako's tenkketsu.
Meanwhile, the teenager that Shemri grabs and hurls towards the pillar seems to be slammed into it head-first. But then, as she slumps to the ground, she seems to go transparent, flickering between flesh and light-blue frame like a dying light bulb, and fades out of existence completely. The nearest target to Shemri would be the same girl that just vanished, as she attempts to send a mid-air snap kick up underneath Shemri's chin, land, and then slash sideways with her invisible Chakra weapon. This leaves her open to attack from the side by Shiikaa, though.
The male Jounin threw a kunai bomb down at the spot where Kara and Ruri had been a second before, and it explodes between them just as they get out of range. He Flickers back down to the ground to avoid the stream of fire that tears towards him, and says to Kara and Ruri, "I don't know who sent you all to ambush us, but I'm willing to bet don't know what you're doing or why. Give up now, and tell us who sent you, and we can sort this out peacefully. You >might not< have to be imprisoned for treason. Keep fighting and I can promise you we'll find out what we want to know through very unpleasant means." Then, as if to demonstrate he is serious, the black-haired man slams his hands together, interlacing his fingers, with index fingers extended and perfectly aligned. Then he focuses a great deal of Chakra. Enough that small rocks begin to skitter across the ground, and the air seems to become heavy and difficult to breathe. Then, all of a sudden, most of his clothing is shredded as his entire body erupts into a mass of huge muscles! He grows from 6' tall to nearly twice that, and a visible aura of blue-white electricity crackles over his gigantic form! In a deeper voice he repeats himself. "Surrender. You are Sunagakure shinobi. We do not need to fight."
Kara, has witnessed all of this the same as everyone else. But she hasn't actually attacked yet. She considers what the man says, especially after he grows huge like X-Box. She even takes a step backwards, intimidated by this bizarre transformation. But then she steels herself, and says, "I have only one thing to say to you, Jounin-san." Then she looks him straight in the eye, and says, "Pharaoh-20: Pharaoh's Judgement." Behind the Jounin, Pharaoh rises silently from the ground, cranks his jaw open and fires a stream of blood-like oil from a nozzle in his throat. The male Jounin Body Flickers out of the way somehow, despite his huge size, and the stream hits the five ninja standing guard around the path out of here. Then a flame clicks on in Pharaoh's mouth, and a powerful stream of fire gets sent out. Backs turned and stuck in place, the guards can't do anything to defend themselves as the flame hits one of them… And >explodes<. The fireball catches the others drenched in the Plague of Blood, and then they too explode big time. This continues until all five have been blown up. Then Kara gestures beckoningly and Pharaoh leaps onto her back, clinging there. "Someone grab one of these mooks and let's get out of here, like our team leader said!" Kara calls out as she charges towards the flame-covered bodies that lie in a fan-formation around the graveyard's entrance. Pharoah turns his head to spray poison needles at the woman attacking Rinako too, just to help out a teensy bit. (It can be assumed that the Jounin woman has to dodge them or defend herself somehow, thus preventing her attacks from working fully/at all on Rinako.)
Tearing off the blindfold wasn't quite what Rinako had expected, and reveals yet more that she had surely not expected to see. Giving up one eye was rather unusual, but having both of them implanted in her… or maybe she was a traitor to the Leaf village. Either way, it was a surprise to see.
The elder Rurohashi kunoichi holds her hands out in front of her as if she could stop the sound waves from reaching her, though the rocks overhead thunk against the invisible shell around her skin, one impacting her shoulder, causing her to stumble with the weight, another glancing off of her head, causing her to dip forward a bit before standing up again, rubbing lightly at the side of her head.
"…Ow. Bad luck for you, sister: I can block my own techniques." Looking not much the worse for wear after fending off two boulders and her own attack thrown back at her, the dark-haired shinobi advances on the other woman, striking out at her even as she likewise strikes at the chakra release points on her body. Rinako fights with overwhelming power rather than speed, and thus, at first, takes no notice of the seemingly inconsequential hits the older woman lands on her. After all, if it had been a hit worth noting, it would have hurt, right?
Until she attempts to strike the woman with the full force of her bijuu's chakra behind the blow, only to find her fist unaugmented with it's power.
Kara's puppet's needle-shower prevents her from falling victim to having yet more of her chakra sealed off, however, forcing her, and likely her opponent, to jump back and put distance between them. Not being one of the overly-quick of the group, the elder Rurohashi girl gives a powerful leap for the opening of the graveyard, leaving grabbing a prisoner to one of the quicker women, seeking to cover their escape, despite her sudden handicap.
Just what the hell had been done to her!
Ruri is just as intimidated by this muscle-man transformation as Kara is. But still, at the opportunity presented, she grabs the guy who got the dumbbells to the head hauls him over her shoulder with much difficulty, and then begins running off with him! Unless stopped at least. She knows all too well that her back is a huge target for the male Jounin if he wants to stab her or something, so she is just trying to put some distance between them. She'd say a huge guy like that can't run very fast, but… Well… He already dodged a point-black attack from behind, so that theory is pretty much shot.
Shemri glances over to make sure the girl she rammed into the column isn't recovering too quickly…she's gone. Uh-oh. -.-; Shemri looks around just in time to be lifted from the ground by the kick to her chin. x.X; Seeing the follow-up coming, Shiikaa leaps in at the girl's side, teeth and claws striking viciously. The fraction of a second by which it slows the girl's slashing attack is just enough for Shemri to recover her senses and react. Her sash reaches downward and sticks to the pillar using the chakra flowing through it, then yanks downward. The tug gives a little extra speed to Shemri's fall, throwing off the aiming of the slash—though it does shave a tiny bit off the end of Shemri's nose. Ow. >.<; Shiikaa decides to do a follow-up of his own, roaring up into the girl's face. Shemri gets up and reaches into her pouch. "Time for us to be gone, Shiikaa!" Shemri hurls a pellet onto the ground, and the area is suddenly engulfed in smoke. It's a good thing it's dark out, because that makes it hard for the enemy to spot you once they lose track of you. Shemri and Shiikaa slip away from the fight, heading back for Sunagakure post-haste.