Date: February 26, 2013
Ruri is assigned to a mission to escort an envoy from Kirigakure to a safe location to discuss the constant military build-up in the Land of Lightning. That envoy turns out to be the Jinchuuriki of the Hidden Mist. However, the place they meet is one very poorly selected. And the Ghoul of the Desert emerges from its self-induced slumber to slake its thirst with the blood on the blood of both a former friend and a Jinchuuriki.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Blood Red Sandman - Sand and Sand vs. Sand"
Sandy Expanse - Eastern Desert - Land of Wind
Rurohashi Ruri is in a very foul mood. The Jounin of Sunagakure is not normally in a good mood, really, but she is at least merely grumpy these days as opposed to a raging ball of rage. But something she has been told by the Kazekage has left her VERY unhappy… And even worse, on top of that bad news she has been assigned a mission. She, all by herself, has been sent out to meet an envoy from the Hidden Mist to discuss recent events in regard to the Land of Lightning's steady build up of military power, and rumors of the Three-Tailed Giant Turtle possibly being somewhere in that country. If the person or people who nearly killed Ruri's sister are from the Land of Lightning or the Hidden Cloud…
Her fists clench so hard she draws blood from her own palms as she stands there, with only a couple unfamiliar ninja as support, in the middle of the desert, and in the middle of the night. Ruri's sister is off on a mission with a little apprentice. A girl Ruri has met and is starting to grow very fond of as well… Kara is off doing whatever she's doing. The only Jounin available, apparently, is Ruri.
So there they are. Under a full moon. Near some half-buried ruins that have a red length of cloth tied off to a pole to mark that this is the location the envoy are to meet the Sunagakure ninja at. The other two ninja are quiet. One of them is an Amaro Clan member, approximately Chuunin-level, wrapped all in bandages. His name is Basult. The other is a Hayato Clan member, by the name of Mana, with her falcon, Rido. Both of these ninja know they are escorting someone, but not who. Ruri knows who.
The Jinchuuriki of the Hidden Mist, and whatever escorts she was assigned. Ruri does not like Kirigakure. She has faced them in war twice now. But that's not why she's in such a bad mood. The topic of conversation before Ruri was sent out here, combined with the fact she's being sent out at night, and her own fears about that topic of conversation… She fights the urge puts her arms around herself protectively as she waits, crouched atop a crumbling stone obelisk. She can't show weakness. She can't show how much she fears what else is out here in the desert with them.
She can't let on that she thinks she was sent out here by the Kazekage to silence her — to get one of the few people who know the secret of the Ghoul of the Desert out of the way. She's a liability now.
She's trying hard not to let paranoia cloud her judgement. But she's scared regardless.
The tattooed Seal-expert takes in a breath and lets it out. She's stronger than she was back then. She can handle it this time. Ruri turns her head towards Hayato Mana, and asks, "Does Rido see anything yet?" Mana looks up, forms a few hand seals to connect her vision to her falcon's — that falcon also being augmented with a jutsu to make night vision as good as day vision. When the envoy is several miles away, the Sunagakure team will already be informed well in advance.
Shrouded in robes designed to make this journey all the more comfortable, Kaguya Tsun is let loose on a long distance mission in order to settle her cabin fever. Since, she's one ninja that can have a tantrum of titanic proportions, she was let off her 'leash'. Originally assigned a full team, she had long ago managed to scare two others off with physical threats… something she'll hear from the Mizukage. She'd actually rather pretend to listen to his scolding instead of having those idiots interrupting her thoughts, her wonderful… wonderful thoughts.
This trip, may not of been the best thing. Along the way she had come across bandits and the like, constantly haunted by the maddening whispers of the corrupted Shukaku, convincing her to brutally murder each and every one of them and she enjoyed every second of it. At this point in her trip, the gourd is actually more blood than water and it meant bad things for Ruri and the mission in general to a certain extent Tsun had become more stable and talkative.
It was getting easier to pointlessly kill. What also didn't help was the voices telling her of the traitorous dogs that were the Sand ninja, how they were going to stab her in the back and use her, how this was Kirigakure's idea of getting her out of their hair. Tsun wasn't having it for now, she liked to complete missions, she'd usually take success above all else, so that was one point towards a peaceful meeting.
This state of mind would have a heavy breathing, sweating, Tsun approaching the meeting location and it had little to do with the climate. The mental stress of nothing out in the empty lands to distract her from her own mind was beginning to be a bit much and even when the first distraction comes, the falcon, she wasn't really in the mood to pay it any mind.
Eventually Tsun makes her way into clear view of the Sunagakure team, glaring at them as she approached, putting the blame on them for her being in such a miserable state and leading into a very annoyed, "Hi." The short greeting could easily go missed given the distance and how low she said it, but, here was Kirigakure's lovely envoy, hooray?
Ruri gets the info she's looking for. Rido watches the approaching ninja, and Mana keeps watching through her falcon's eyes. What is reported to the pony-tailed Jounin makes her frown. Just one ninja? She can't imagine Kirigakure being overconfident enough or FOOLISH enough to send out their Jinchuuriki unguarded. Even if this person is really, really strong… There are stronger people out there, and worse, there are people who specialize in taking down strong people without being strong. There are people who are very, very good at making a strong person weak, simply by taking away the source of their strength.
People like whomever it was that tore the Three-Tails out of Rinako and left both Rinako and Ruri with no memory of the details of the event.
People like Ruri herself.
When Tsun finally gets close enough, the three ninja remain where they are, Mana continuing to search for anyone else in the area via Rido, Basult simply sitting so still he might as well be a statue… Or a mummy. Ruri just stays atop the stone pillar, and looks down with her brown eyes upon this representative of Kirigakure. She doesn't look any happier about this whole thing than Tsun. She replies, "Hi, yourself. You're not here alone. Where are the others?" Quick and to the point. Yeah, Ruri is paranoid enough that she won't believe there's no one else with Tsun, even if the latter says there isn't. She's also not sure this is really the Jinchuuriki, if she IS alone. She needs some kind of confirmation. Luckily pass-phrases were coordinated on both sides.
"Sorry," Ruri says in a dull tone that doesn't sound very apologetic. "But I need to confirm your identity. 'The full moon is an omen of blood.'" That's the 'sign'. Now she just needs to wait for Tsun to provide the 'counter-sign'. If she doesn't… There's likely going to be trouble.
Tsun halts when in speaking range, head slouched and staring at the ground. Tsun seemed unfazed by the sudden question, in fact it doesn't even look like she heard the thing as she remains totally unresponsive until the sign is given, "So let the blood flow in accordance with the moon." The counter-sign given with an arid tone. Her head then slowly rises, offering a small smile to the gathering, slowly shaking her head. "No, no I'm not… the others?" Tsun looks left and right slowly, her right hand slowly rising so that her index and middle finger gently tapping her forehead a few times as if thinking.
"They're right here, with me. The Mizukage does some questionable things, but, you don't think he's that dumb… do you?" Tsun giggles, her tone much more pleasant than when signs were exchanged, everything about her shifted very suddenly… probably glad to finally be at the end of her journey. "I don't expect you to relax, but I don't plan on jumping you or anything." With that she waves her hand and the gourd pops open, the foul smelling water oozing out and taking the shape of a frozen, bloody throne. Tsun herself doesn't seem remotely offput by the smell.
"I'm just going to assume you weren't going to take me somewhere nice for this and make myself comfortable." The throne warps to perfectly mold about Tsun in a nice slouched position. "Not like there's much to talk about, really, at least on my end." Tsun reaches into her robes, pulling out a scroll from her robes. "Everything we promised is in this scroll. Well, sorta~" Tsun's head rolls side to side. "Mizukage said I actually had to /talk/ and clarify things." Tsun sighs and tosses the scroll their way, if they were to open the scroll right on the spot all they'd find is a bunch of random letters and numbers. Most likely an extra step in case someone stumbled on the scroll one way or the other, there was probably a bit of information on there that others shouldn't get their eyes off… information Ruri probably wasn't interested in at the moment.
"So… anything you want to ask me?"
The desert is a big place. A vast, monotonous, empty place. It frequently seems lifeless. Much of it really is fairly void of life. But just because there is nothing alive in a given place does not mean there is nothing there.
The desert is also home to dead things as well. And these particular ruins that this group has met at… Could not possibly be any worse a meeting place to have been chosen. For it was once the place where a man named Misu Yane researched and obtained immortality — only to eventually become the monster known as the Ghoul of the Desert. And that Ghoul is very, very, very sensitive to the scent of blood.
Even before Tsun's gourd opened up, something stirred deep beneath the dry sands, in half-buried rooms and chambers that once were part of a laboratory. Something dead. Something hungry. Something that could feel the presence of the living. When all that bloody water comes out, though… A pair of lidless, red-pupiled eyes suddenly obtain a sharpness to them in the pitch-black.
«…It seems that sleeping away the millennia is not an option after all.» the dead thing thinks to itself. Then its thoughts are subsumed in the hunger for human flesh. Above ground, the air temperature suddenly drops so fast and noticeably that breaths can be seen as fog. The moonlight slowly diminishes as some awful red miasma seeps over the sky, causing the light cast by the full moon to be filtered down in a crimson hue. Sweat freezes on the skin. In a short while, the minimal air moisture will begin to turn to red snow — even at low altitudes.
And none of this is the most disturbing of the strange events.
A crackling pulse emanates through the area. Like a heartbeat of some awful, rotten heart that beats despite it being dead. A malign, frigid, unnatural energy that can not properly be classed 'Chakra'. It is a force that has no right to exist in any world other than that the after life. Everything about this power screams 'death, death, death'. And after but a few moments to orient oneself… It should be apparent even to non-sensor-nin that the source of this energy is very close by.
Directly below the group, infact.
The hideous presence feels hungry.
Ruri shakes her head. "You didn't arrive in the numbers we were told you would. Even if you match the description, we all know there are ways to look like someone else. I had to make sure." The evasive answer about who else is with Tsun has Ruri bothered still. She starts to straighten up from the pillar, but then pauses where she is when Tsun makes her throne. She rises more slowly then, and says, "Actually, we were supposed to escort you to a secure location, so, yeah, we were taking you somewhere nicer than this place. I wasn't informed of the change in plans, but I suppose there may have been a miscommunication." Pause. "Hypothetically."
Then she says, "Basult." Without turning her head or taking her eyes off of Tsun, she directs the Chuunin to retrieve the scroll offered. The Amaro ninja does so, moving silently and gracefully. Ruri asks, "The only question I have is: Where are your companions? It's not that I don't trust you, but I don't trust you." Very blunt. But at least she's being honest. For ninja, deception and subterfuge are expected. But that doesn't mean one has to just fall for it. The younger of the Rurohashi twins did not make Jounin by just eating whatever garbage was fed to her.
She starts to say something else, but then Mana lets out a cry and stumbles. Ruri glances sharply in her direction, and then back to Tsun, as though suspecting the Jinchuuriki was responsible somehow! For some STRANGE REASON. "What's wrong, Mana?" Ruri asks. Mana is holding her head and breathing heavily. "M-my connection with Rido was broken. He just… Suddenly turned and flew away. It's like he was scared of someth—"
Mana gasps and says nothing else. Ruri likewise freezes, though for other reasons. She was already noticing the radical temperature change and remembering a similar event, back when Team 01 was supposed to capture the rogue Seishukuni who called himself 'Kureno'. But when that bizarre, unnatural, HORRIBLE feeling washes over her… She remembers that it's the same as that time. And her own heart beat speeds up until it's thudding in her chest. She perspires in fear and that perspiration turns to ice on her skin very fast.
She snaps herself out of her trance. «Not a second time!» she decides. "We're getting out of here right now! Move it or lose it!" The Jounin then leaps off the stone pillar, flipping through the air, and touching a second pillar with a hand on the way down. Then she turns to Tsun and snarls, "We're heading for the Village! Unless you want to die, I suggest you do the same!" Ruri is scared, but she is also very, very angry. Because she figured Sousa wanted her oujt of the way.
But she should have known he'd use the Ghoul of the Desert to do the job for him, given what Ruri had just found out. Or that's what she's assuming at least. It could just be a coincidence. But her thoughts aren't running along those lines. Just along the lines of, 'We have to get out of here NOW.'
"Mmm, I guess you're right, the numbers were never right anyway, though I'm assuming they told you three, well… there are three here." The girl was being completely honest though she was well aware that Ruri had no idea what she was talking about. "Oh, we /are/ going somewhere nice, then I guess I can be a bit more agreeable… once we get there." With that the throne lifts off the ground slightly, ready to move on. Then, something out of place happens. Mana gets a strange look from Tsun who instantly thinks it's some sort of annoying tick the girl had or something, pretty useless for a ninja.
Rolling her eyes, she completely misses the sharp glance from Ruri. Tsun's non-chalant look is kicked in the teeth and swapped with total confusion, the sudden shift in temperature causing her to think one thing. She finally snapped, to the point of having no control over her own power. Of all times, on a diplomatic mission, "Well… ****." Tsun sighs, "S-" Cut off from her apology as a voice bounces around within her head, sounding a bit confused itself.
'This is not our doing, Tsun.'
The cold temperature, the red hue, the overall vile presence? These were all key additions in the event of Tsun transforming. So Tsun, notorious for her lack of awareness, could only assume that she was missing something blatantly obvious, like an extra member of the Sunagakure team's group doing all of this or, "Kai!" No, this wasn't genjutsu. Tsun glares up at trio, though it becomes obvious when her head settles, just slightly, that it was not their doing.
The throne disperses to a simple plate of ice beneath her feet and she takes to the air, taking Ruri's advice. Tsun had yet to take herself on and that was what this felt like. Anything that's enough to put the now darker Shukaku at unease was enough to tell her to get the **** away from it.
Moments after the Sand-nin trio and the Mist-nin start leaving the site of the ruins, the ruins are destroyed in an enormous pillar of disturbed earth — a massive column of sand, ancient stone, and the remains of a laboratory that was used to discover the secret of immortality. All thrown high into the air, hundreds of feet, only to rain down from above. The force of the eruption sends shockwaves through the ground that may cause some to stumble or slow down to retain their balance.
One way or another, however, the awful presence of a True Undead reaches out across the desert as a tower of sand looms high into the air… Wait, not just sand. Sand, skeletal remains, and mummified corpses. And one particular dead thing sitting atop it, on a throne of its own. An emaciated human — clearly dry, dead, and incapable of movement. And yet it stands atop the pillar, with its hands held in a seal. Its red eyes stare unblinking, disturbingly wide without any lids, upon the prey that scurries away. Sharpened teeth maintain a constant grin despite there being no mirth in the expression.
The Ghoul of the Desert sees one of those amongst its prey and recognizes her. It does not hesitate to kneel down and slam a palm onto the sand pillar. A quartet of eruptions occur from the side of the pillar, as four objects are launched at high-speed at those who flee.
Whether the objects hit or not, when they hit SOMETHING it is with a lot of force. And when the dust clears. they are revealed to be dead bodies — dry, but not quite so dry as the one who propelled them. But they too, eventually, start to climb to their dessicated feet, and turn to face the enemies of their master. «Death Release: The Dead Shall Serve.» the Ghoul thinks silently. Then he wields his unnatural power a bit more, and dozens more such eruptions occur on the side of the pillar, launching a hail of animated dead at the fleeing ninja like artillery fire that gets up and tries to eat you after it has been fired.
Ruri is really, really, really scared. But it's not just her fear that she's running due to. Unlike the last time she faced the Ghoul of the Desert, she is not just leaving everyone else behind. She is making sure they all get out alive and intact. She watches over her shoulder, making sure that even a disliked Kirigakure ninja is not left to this monster. Some people call Jinchuuriki monsters. Some see them as just weapons. Until relatively recently, Ruri's own sister was a Jinchuuriki. She might not like Kirigakure or its ninja… But she doesn't see Jinchuuriki as monsters or weapons. They're people. And no person deserves to be left to be eaten alive by that abomination.
Then again… Maybe the reason she's not as scared is… She knows who the Ghoul is now. She knows she's been working alongside him, fighting alongside him… He has saved her life more than once. She wants to ask him why. She wants to TALK to him, not just run from him. She wants to understand, just like she understands her sister… Like she wants to understand this Tsun chick. She doesn't want to paint everyone who doesn't fit her world view with the same brush anymore.
The fact that she is looking over her shoulder as that giant pillar erupts allows her to see the incoming projectiles. Her skill as a ninja experienced with running through the desert, along with the specialized footwear that she, Mana, and the silent Basult all wear, keeps them from stumbling. But those things, whatever they are, are not something she wants to leave up to chance. So she stops, skidding and turning in a circle, and taps one of her Flesh Scroll tattoos. A series of chain-link fences appear in an eruption of smoke, catching the projectiles and keeping them from hitting her or her team. She turns when Mana and Basult stop, and yells, "KEEP GOING! GET THAT SCROLL TO THE VILLAGE!"
Then she turns to see what her fences caught, and finds moving corpses snared in the metal. Her throat closes up and her eyes widen even more than they already were. But then she just grits her teeth and focuses on the matter at hand.
And she focuses on her Chakra as a seal appears on her forehead — ink fading into existence in the shape of a stylized eye. Then that eye becomes flesh. She leaves the corpses trying to get to her in the metal fence, and instead just waits to see what her opponent will do next. She waits for an opportunity to ask him, 'Why?'
Tsun's input isn't all too great at this point, if her input was any decent before anyway. Now she's just swearing, loudly as chaos just up and erupts, literally, out of the earth. Tsun didn't really get time to look back at what that pillar was, she was just intent on getting away. At this point, 'This is new.' The voice is only met by more swearing from Tsun, truly upset that it was taking this in so calmly after sounding as if it were in a panic before.
'Oh Tsun you might want to-' -WHAP- One of the projectiles tears right through the shield of water that came up to defend the girl and sends Tsun right off of her frozen plate and tumbling to the ground. 'Watch out.' There is a tumbling dusty mess and an annoyed Tsun just reaches up to push the chunk of earth off of her. "The f@#!?" Tsun grits her teeth as there's a sudden sharp pain in her hand, a pain that is revealed as the dust starts to clear. Some sort of zombie, attached to her hand via teeth?! She manages to kick it off of her, losing a bit of flesh from her hand at the same time.
It was obvious that she shouldn't be goofing off here, "Very well. We shall assist." A dual voice resonates from Tsun's throat without a single motion of her lips as chakra explodes from the little girl. Chunks of ice forming in the desert air, somehow… Then each chunk of ice latches her body, causing her hand to sizzle as it begins to work on curing her wound.
"There's another part to that scroll, so… we better make it out of this." Tsun, semi threatens Ruri as more and more chunks of ice latch on to Tsun, giving her an older, taller appearance with crystalline claws and fangs forming. "I least… I better." With that said she hisses, a dark mist escaping her fangs as the transformation completes.
The Ghoul knows Ruri indeed. He has more than once worked with Sunagakure's Team 01 on various missions — was once a client of theirs in the investigation of Wind Path Sasaki who were acting as grave robbers. He felt attachment to her at one point. To her sister, Rurohashi Rinako. To the Puppeteer named Uudo Kara, currently the leader of the Puppet Brigade. To Maneshi Shemri, mother of a daughter who is now becoming a ninja as well, and a master of the Extra-Limb technique. Even to Shemri's cat, Shiikaa. The Ghoul was once Hone Nai.
And he still is a little bit.
That special metal that was used in the blades wielded by Genjitsu Emu — the metal that can permanently remove Chakra from someone's body. It was used on Nai, but he had already ceased to be capable of using Chakra decades prior. The Chakra he used was not his own — it was generated from consuming the living. Nai went over to the Other-World, an alternate version of THIS universe to find his opposite… And there… He did. He met Dead King Yane.
And Hone Nai ate that monster.
Body, Chakra, and even the Dead King's soul. But the problem was that the soul was not Yane's. The one who inhabited the Dead King's body was NOT its original owner. It was the Sheex of the Other-World. Sheex, who was the same one who attempted to possess Ruri herself. Sheex, who nearly succeeded and was only permanently evicted during the mission to the Land of the Sea.
Sheex who, in that OTHER universe… Traded bodies with Misu Yane. So, the Nai of THIS world wound up consuming a ninja skilled at possessing bodies, a ninja who was wielding the power of multiple Tailed-Beasts — extracted from their Jinchuuriki and consumed. Perhaps the Dead King was defeated eventually, but he was not slain. Not until Nai appeared and dealt with him. And the problem is that that powerful monster allowed himself to be eaten. And without Nai's Chakra to suppress him, Other-Sheex has been slowly taking control of Nai — even as Nai continues to fight him off by virtue of being a tireless, undead monster himself. He does not need to rest in his mental struggles. He does not tire. But Sheex has obtained some degree of influence regardless.
And that is why the Ghoul of the Desert looks upon Tsun and Ruri, and does not care what happens to them. Because he is losing himself more and more. It was not Nai's own Chakra that was cut out of him. It was Sheex's. And just as happened to Genjitsu Emu, insanity has resulted in Sheex. Insanity that is corroding Nai's identity gradually.
So he plunges a claw-fingered hand into his own chest, and tears out some 'left-overs' from his dusty husk of a body. Then he throws the chunk of rotting flesh high into the sky. It's so dark here now, visibility is so low… That dodging what comes next might be a bit difficult. "Death Release: Abomination's Rain." The Ghoul holds up a hand, and then clenches it shut. The mass of organs and tissue bursts, and sends down a rain of rotting tissue, poisoned blood, and corrosive sludge, over the entire battlefield.
If Ruri knew all that, she'd feel a bit differently. Instead, all she feels is betrayed. She can see the Ghoul — no, NAI — up there on the pillar. She can see him with her Tomogan, with its enhanced vision. Even in the darkness, it can see perfectly… And it sees Nai look down upon them, SEE THEM, and continue the assault. She nearly gets sick when she sees what Nai looks like and what he does to attack them. But she manages to keep her composure, adrenaline making up for a lack of emotional capacity to handle it. She is a Jounin. She focuses on the matter at hand. And she makes a fateful decision.
As she releases a large shield from its Flesh Scroll tattoo — a shield that hovers in front of her no matter where she turns, and thus acts to protect her from the rain of sludge, she also runs towards Tsun, trying to get to her as well. "Can you take out that tower?" she demands suddenly while she runs. "Jinchuuriki are strong. My sister used to be one. Can you use a Tailed-Beast Ball yet? He has a height advantage on us as long as we let him stay up there raining death and awful gross on us!"
Yeah, it's all splattering on her Fierce Shield, but it's still gross as all bleep. Either way… She has to try her own attacks. She can't remain on the defensive forever. If they run now, they'll just be hit with more of this artillery ninjutsu. She remembers what the Ghoul's vomit did to the Painted Cliffs. That place is STILL too toxic for people to be allowed near. The monster probably has lots of attacks that capitalize on the fact that it is immune to rot, disease, and poison… And the rest of them aren't.
But she'll need to build up Chakra for that. So for now she settles for some thing else. With a deft move of one hand as her Fierce Shield drops to the ground, no longer under her control, Ruri undoes one of the scroll sleeves on her vest, causing a scroll to pop out. She unrolls it, hoping that Tsun can just defend herself for now, and removes the brush and ink that were wrapped up inside the scroll. The scroll itself is blank. And it remains so as Ruri simply uses it as a platform to smear her brush in ink, and then slash with the brush towards Nai.
Two slashes with the brush. Each time, a shuriken seemingly made of ink flies from the brush tip. The ink shuriken fly towards Nai, attempting to distract him. And if they hit… So much the better. Because they will turn into Seals if they hit him.
Tsun focuses on the main beast, The Ghoul, "I'm guessing we break that, we fix this mess?" "Obviously." "No need to be such a jerk." Now that fear had been diminished, Tsun was just as indifferent to the Ghoul as it was her, well close…ish. "Did he just…" Tsun's uneasiness comes again, as it rips out its own guts, she was really hoping the zombie thing was just some sort of look or something, but then THAT happens. The image vague, but she got the gist of what was going on now. 'Shield's probably not going to hold that.' "Duh." Tsun mumbles as she was already forming seals and taking in a deep breath.
'Just guts?' She breathes out unleashing a torrent of red corrosive mist, devouring the flesh about her, keeping herself safe. A glance is given to the flesh that was left free to fall and notes its equally corrosive qualities on the earth. Tsun does a light leap into the air, the discarded sheet of ice rising up from the distance and sliding right under her feet as she starts to fall.
"I… have no idea what a Tailed Beast Ball is…" Tsun vaguely remembers that being brought up, somewhere. "Whatever, I can take down tower." And so she takes to the air, once again rapidly stringing seals, body lurching as she rises. It looked like she was about to throw up from the vision of her gruesome opponent, but maintains her handseals.
Her cheeks swell and she doubles over, throwing up torrents of water that molds and shapes into a massive serpent, pouring on and on and on, the massive serpent quickly charges at the tower while it was still being put together.
Maw wide, it slams into the tower, trying to cleave right through it. If that wasn't enough it'd started to wrap about it at two points, trying to flat out snap it.
The pair of shuriken that come flying in… Simple attacks. But the Ghoul knows Ruri is a skilled strategist and an expert at Seals. He also has familiarity with this technique in particular. He saw her use it in the past, during the mission to Mother Island, in the Land of the Sea. So he knows he doesn't want to get hit with it. Instead he forms a few hand seals and causes a dome of earth to rise up to cover the tower's top, shielding him. The first ink shuriken is blocked easily. But it drains Chakra from the dome, such that the second is only barely blocked.
And because his vision is obscured, he has no way to see the water serpent being formed. The tower is smashed into, destabilizing quickly as it is simply sand, earth, and dead bodies. The Ghoul tilts as the tower does, staggering only slightly, before just allowing himself to fall off the tower as it is wrapped around and crushed. He falls. He falls and falls and falls. Hundreds of feet, the monster falls.
He hits the ground and seems to just splatter. Then the bits and pieces of blood, flesh, and bone, dust, sand, and rot all seem to just start crawling back together — to the core of the body and the head that remain intact. They reform, merging with the original body, and then the flesh becomes sand. The entire body shifts from being a construct of rotten tissue and dirt to being pure sand. The Ghoul calls out in a reasonable, intelligent-sounding, aristocratically-toned baritone, "It seems I must take you seriously if I wish to eat you. I wonder what a Tailed Beast tastes like. I had hoped to find out when I ate your sister, Ruri-san, but she no longer qualifies. Perhaps after I eat this one, I shall eat Rinako-san anyway." Yes, he is goading Ruri. Trying to make her stop using her brain. He knows how protective the younger of the twins is of the older.
Fighting someone to the death who knows you this well is a major problem for most people. Will it be this time as well?
Ruri was just trying to think of whether to check on Nai or just evacuate herself and Tsun. The mission comes first. But… She hesitates just long enough. Long enough for the Ghoul of the Desert to stand up, and speak with a voice that Ruri has never heard from Nai. And to say some things in an attempt to infuriate her into no longer thinking.
No sooner has the Ghoul finished what he has to say, then a giant guillotine is flying at him attempting to cleave open the ground that the undeads stands upon and hopefully the creature himself. Ruri is replying almost instantly afterwards as she stands there, two fingers pressed to a Flesh Scroll tattoo on her upper arm that is no longer there. Breathing heavily, she yells out, "WHAT THE **** HAPPENED TO YOU, NAI!? HOW LONG WERE YOU GOING TO FAKE BEING A HUMAN BEING!? HUH!? YOU THINK I'D EVER LET YOU COME ANYWHERE NEAR MY SISTER!?! I'LL KILL YOU FIRST! EVEN IF YOU CAN'T DIE, I'LL KILL YOU AND KILL YOU AND KILL YOU!" Then she goes back to breathing hard. Eesh. Talk about a rage button.
"…And I won't let you have this Jinchuuriki either — this girl. She's not food for a **** ZOMBIE. She's a person, and I will protect her with EVERYTHING I HAVE!" She says this while making sure to point at Tsun to make it perfectl clear who she is talking about. Because there's so many other Jinchuuriki around.
"Jeez." Tsun watches the thing fall and fall and fall until it just outright splats on the floor. "You let things like that roam around? Well, good thing I was here, huh?" Tsun, completely under the impression that she had become the strongest thing in the world again after mastering Yin Shukaku, pretty much assumed the fight was wrapped up with a fall like that. "Should I dissolve that mess just in caaaa…." The splattered parts were move, "ssssuh…" The leviathan, now fully formed, hardens into its proper ice form, loops back around at a motion of Tsun's hand. "I'm not sure how you're going to manages to eat me when you're just a puddle." The leviathan had flown way far off in the distance so the loop around was taking a bit, hopefully the Ghoul would've assumed the attack was nice and done.
So as it approaches, Tsun's fanged grin widens, the black mist starting to flood out of her mouth at this point. "Calm down, child." Tsun says to Ruri, "You're playing right into his taunts. Recompose yourself, in case we still need you after this next strike." As calm as Tsun sounds, her body was shaking and if Ruri did look her way, she'd spot her eyes starting to flood with a black ooze, dripping away like tears as it began to overflow within her lids, though this could just be a normal thing with the One Tailed Beast, of course.
"Die." The leviathan dives down, maw wide open spewing out a crimson colored gas as it crashes down on Nai's location, sending a flurry of sand everywhere, to which Tsun simply raises a hand up to shield her face. "This combo doesn't lose. Once I have him locked in there, he's going to meet a nice pool of boiling liquid, toxic enough to dissolve diamonds." Probably an exagerration… I mean, she's never actually tried to dissolve diamonds. "There's going to be nothing left to regenerate."
It seems the plan worked. Though the Ghoul had not been expecting such a strong attack to be launched so rapidly. He is crushed and scattered under the blade as it tears open a ravine in the desert, into which sand and rubble plummets. The Ghoul was not a puddle upon transforming. It stood up and was humanoid again. Just… A humanoid of sand. But now it is scattered every which way, and as that leviathan comes surging in, the sand seems to just fly up into the air in defiance of gravity, swirl around the beast in spirals, and come out somewhere up above as a partial torso — just enough to have arms available to make hand seals with. «Unholy Release: Angel's Thanatos.» Then the Ghoul tilts its head back and stretches his jaw hideously wide, likely breaking it if it were made of bone instead of sand. Then what appears to be glowing, liquid stone rises up from the Ghoul's innards. Spiralling, flowing, turning into something else. A humanoid figure. It looks like a bit… Angellic. Peaceful. Caring. And as it spreads its wings of light and pristine marble, it floats towards Tsun. Ethereal, brilliant, beautiful in the darkness and the frigid cold that should be numbing unprotected skin by now. It glows and descends upon Tsun, and, if she is entranced by this strange technique… And it gets close enough… It attempts to take her in its arms, hold her gently, and then try to eat part of her soul and send it back to the Ghoul as sustenance.
This is the technique that killed the Kazekage. He was resuscitated, but he was still an unmoving corpse for awhile. Can a Jinchuuriki fare any better?
Ruri is not answered. She is, infact, IGNORED. She's probably not going to like that.
But speaking with one's mouth full is rude.
Ruri looks towards Tsun, glaring a bit… But the girl has a point. So she settles herself, attempting to be calm, focused… And not give in to her protectiveness of her sister and people LIKE her sister. "…Yeah. He just… I used to think he was a friend. I didn't know what he really was." Ruri sighs, seeing the ravine created, the water beast swooping in to eat and dissolve Nai. Or so she assumes. She doesn't see it succeed. But as she stands there, sweating and freezing, and losing sensation in her body very quickly, she isn't sure she wants to verify it. She doesn't WANT to find out Nai is dead. She still doesn't have an answer to just… WHY.
If he's dead, she'll never know. On the other hand, if she doesn't know the Ghoul is gone for good… She'll be afraid for the rest of her life. So she starts gathering Chakra, preparing to go to a higher level of Tomogan. Then the torso appears and makes hand seals. Ruri's two normal eyes widen as she's in the middle of gathering Chakra and multiplying the number of Tomogan she wields. She can't do anything to stop it as a glowing, angellic figure comes floating in… Dazing even Ruri and she's not the target! But the eyes in her forehead extend out on tendrils of flesh and they see that the statue is emerging from the mouth of the Ghoul. No matter how beautiful it is… It's a cover for an attack being used by the monster
And she took too long to realize. She tries to warn Tsun. "Watch out!"
Is she too late?
Good he was cut, this would make everything that much easier at least, that's what Tsun thought. "Wait what, this thing is cheating." That childish claim was obvious the Tsun side of the dual voice. The beast shattering, after soaking up the deathly cloud within itself, not wanting to let that technique go off wild and end up killing herself in the process. Livid, Tsun stomps on the ground in fustration. With a sigh, she looks on to the reformed ghoul, completely unsure how to go about this, she'd probably have to use 'that' technique at this rate.
"When the time comes, everyone who claims to be your friend…" Tsun's hands come together, looking to prepare another powerful technique as the desert monster seems to start up its own. "Either disappears on you, or betrays you. It's best to not accept anyone, I've learned it hurts a less than building up hope over and over again." Tsun grits her teeth before speaking up again, "The child is right, so quit hesitating, both of you… Tsun?" Tsun's body pauses completely, the seals just stop as the angel begins to take its form. The warning from Ruri falls on deaf ears.
Whether Nai knew better or Tsun's broken mind decided to make the angel's face take shape of her long lost mother, it seemed to over take her and despite there being two minds, Tsun was currently in control and the beast couldn't override it, Tsun was denying him access until she was wrapped up in the embrace. She looked calm for a moment and then, it tears into her, her very core starts to get ripped out.
A loud screech follows, the screech of Tsun and Tsun alone, that trails on as it continues to devour her. The high pitched wail of pain slowly becomes deeper and twisted, until it shifts to that of something else all together. "Oh, what a pity, for you at least. You see, you shouldn't of done that." Tsun grins wide before her body goes limp in the embrace. It seemed as if she was dead for a good ten seconds. Though a super natural amount of energy rivaling that of the Ghoul's follows up.
The same dark mist that had been rolling out of Tsun the entire time explodes outwards, engulfing Tsun, then the bit of the immediate area around her. From there it stops for a few seconds before exploding outward, engulfing the angel and anything else that didn't know better than to run away from the rapidly growing black cloud.
Something dark was brewing within, but for now it's unclear what.