Date: February 18, 2014
Doihara Ishino, seven swordsman and wielder of the weapon known as Hiramekarei, is assigned alongside his fellow swordsman Isra and a pair of medics to the task of investigate the mystery behind yearly 47 suicides by cliff diving in the Land of Sky.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
Small Village within the Land of Sky
T minus 2 days.
The land of sky had an issue and they reached out to Kirigakure to seek assistance. There was 47 people bound to die in 2 days. The question was, who, and why? Kirigakure has decided to send out the seven swordsmen (and woman) to deal with this situation. Ishino and Isra both told to go figure out why it's happening and put an end to it. They were also given Onimitsu and Akane to see if it was something on the medical side to try and resolve. The travel was quick, having them reach the effected village just before dusk. It looked like a fairly standard village, slightly on the small side, as one end of the village can be seen from the other. Everyone was grim, they were worried as they all
Soon. Soon it would be time.
Looking around, Ishino studied the setting for a moment, then looked to the other three. "Alright. We need to spread out, gather as much information as we can about what's going on and report back here. We'll get an inn room at that time, compare notes and see what we can do tomorrow to try and stymy the coming deaths. Understood?"
"Sounds like some sort of ritual," Isra states. It is the most easily drawn conclusion, but may not be the only option so, as usual, she must keep her mind open to all the possibilities there are and hopefully choose a direction that will lead to something applicable to the situation. The trip didn't feel very long by any means, but it was a bit of a wear on the body either way. She was glad they arrived in the village. She could use a bit of shut-eye. "Oh, we're doing something now? Ah, shoot. I'll have to redo my plans," she stretched and yawned. "But alright, spreading out. Everything is all understood," she completed her statement with a groggy nod. "I'll see what I can figure out and report it back here, but I already have preconceived notions, so I'll try and minimize the bias in order to find a suitable lead to follow."
The news weighed heavily on Onimitsu mind, and if not for Ishino setting the pace, the medicine box bearing man would've been fairly winded by the time the actually arrived at the village. A lucky thing; especially since it gave him time to examine his other companions and anticipate certain pros and cons. Akane in particular is given the greatest of scrutiny, or would've been if not for the voices in his head communicate far too many lewd things to stay focused on his original objective. An unfortunate thing, but not something that cannot be recovered from at a later date.
"Hai." Onimitsu states, offering a curt salute to Ishino. He would hold that position until official dismissed to begin the mission in one fashion or another. Before that moment, he'd wait to see where and how the others would proceed. No point overlapping paths too soon after all. At some point his eye does wonder to the villagers themselves, watching for any signs of some type of sickness being involved. Perhaps even
an advance form of the parasite that's been plagueing the other lands?
Akane had kept up with the group as they traveled pretty well. She was getting better at navigating herself, she supposed. Her long hair is in a tight weave that falls into a long braid down her back, her hair sticks remained int he mass of crimson hair of course. The trip had been perhaps a bit harder on her but she did not show any fatigue yet. She had been fully aware of Onimitsu's scrutiny on the trip, perhaps that was why she'd not tripped once the entire journey. At some point, however, the man wit the medicine box might discover that she could only see in a limited range, though she reacted to sound acutely.
Ishino's orders had been given: spread out and investigate. During the trip, Akane had been contemplating what could possibly cause 47 people to suddenly decide on mass suicide, and by walking off a cliff to top it off. To Akane, it sounded like some kind of drug, a hallucinagen perhaps, though she was unable to determine on her own how they would get a hold of the drug and why… Such a possibility did not rule out would come into play, someone in the shadows administering this drug. So she nodded to Ishino's words. "47 is a very precise number….Maybe the village's doctor would have information that would help us."
Ishino nods in response to them. "Isra-san, if you would check out the cliff. Last recourse we may just blow it up, so they don't have some place high to jump from." Ishino looked to Akane and Onimitsu then. "Onimitsu, my recommendation is to check the water supply. As Akane-san said, 47 is an extremely precise number. We really need to figure out why. I would agree with you Akane-san. While the initial report from their doctor didn't have anything, a double check by one of us is good. Also, be on the look out for genjutsu potential. This really sounds like it may be in that situation." Time Keeper, would *POOF* from being summoned, the old man guise already in place as Ishino gave a smile. "I will look around as well. See what you all can find. Dismissed." Once they were, Ishino would head for the local bar. How else to contact the seedy side, if there was one here.
"Right. Cliff sounds good," Isra states to Ishino. She then walks off and begins to look around the cliff. She decides to seek out any possible genjutsu first and then focus on physical evidence that might be a cause. Although, she can't even say herself that she's known any jutsu to work that is consistent with time. 47 people every 2 years? Genjutsu needs someone to be around in order for it to work, but if it's not that, it's possible it could fall within the realm of seals. Those can work for a number of occasions including this one. Hmm. This might be a tough one. To be on the safe side, she decides to lay some detection seals around the cliff to be set off later along with a seal wall. If there comes a time when the people jump, they'd run into a barrier preventing them from doing so. Blowing up the cliff is also still a viable option that she'd completely enjoy.
"Hai." Onimitsu states and bows partway at the waist. Then, he gave Akane one last sideways glance before leaving to do as suggested. While the mission may have been his primary concern, the splintered mind of the swordsman had a way of latching on to things. Try as she might, there was no hiding her affliction from a man trained the way Onimitsu was. She was a liability. By a technicality, so was he. Thus, for the time being he'd stick to being mindful whenever the situation allows for it.
"Pardon this one." Onimitsu would say as he reached out to grab the attention of one of the younger villagers — a woman, perhaps? — milling about. "If I might ask, where would be best to obtain water." He adds. An innocent question from polite bishounen faced young man, but in truth the question was meant to serve more than one purpose. What is the potential depths of resistance from the locals? Any potential signs — tics perhaps that may give away some type of selective biological issue? Whatever a one on one interaction could unlock, Onimitsu would laid down what he could to gather these answers.
Akane nodded as Ishino dismissed them and turned to look around her until she found a kid. She smiled brightly and asked the boy where the doctor was in this village and could he bring her there? She offered the boy a coin for the trouble and he gladly took it, leading her to the doctor's place. She thanked the kid before knocking on the doc's door. She was welcomed in once she introduced herself to the aging man that served as a doctor for the village. She would ask for a copy of the report again, just to be sure she had everything she could gather, then asked pointed questions. Were there any local herbs that could cause sudden depression? Did something connect the 47 people every year? Perhaps they all had a common enemy? Did the people begin acting strangely before the suicides last year? If so, how? Did the Second of April have a special significance in the village? Perhaps someone experienced a great loss on or around that day. Was there any especially talented shinobi candidates in the village? If so, Who and how had they been acting?
They all, for a moment, when talking to people heard.. a hum. Something? wait? no. No there was nothing there. Isra definitely felt.. something, when she actively searched for genjutsu. Then again, Ishino has Time Keeper out and that puppet is a ticking genjutsu machine.. maybe it was just him? The lady stared at Onimitsu a moment, before finally she'd give a nod. "Hai." She'd lead him down a road towards the well that it seemed was the main water supply for the village. From a casual glance, it looked like a standard well. Watching the woman, there was a moment, the step she took from outside 10' away from the well to inside that point that she.. flinched? Then.. nothing. Something happen, she was more relaxed, or something. Even gave a smile to Onimitsu, drew some water and carried it back off for her home.
The doctor was friendly with Akane, happy to have the help and welcomed her in. He'd answer her questions all generally with a polite no. Nothing he knew of around here to cause the issues, the village didn't really have a shinobi presence, why they had contacted Kirigakure. He didn't know of anything about the 2nd of April, it just seemed to happen. The people were all tense right now, they knew it was coming, but no one that he had seen was out of line.
Ishino was prompt, as always. The watch out of his vest pocket while he studied the time. He hadn't found anything himself, not with the black market. On the other hand, he sensed.. something was going on. No one acted normal. They were out of rythm with time. Maybe the medics figured something out from such?
Isra was about to walk away from the cliff, but slowed to a stall as she looked back at it and then the surrounding area. There was something that didn't seem right about this place. She couldn't pinpoint it, but something was there. She had a feeling. It was a strong one, but that's all she had to work with. She kept her plan in mind, but decided she should go and ask about this strange feeling she had. It certainly wasn't normal by any means.
"Hey! Someone, I need some assistance with an issue I'm having right now," she called to any villager in particular that would hear her. "Have any of you ever felt a strong sensation before this event took place? As in, it just sort of came out of nowhere in particular and filled you with any sort of emotion, dread, fear, confusion, concern, anxiety, anything that would fall into that sort of category?" She questioned. "Additionally, does it continue like this until the day comes…does it ever grow stronger, maybe?" She needed answers and someone should have something to share.
Onimitsu scratched the back of his head sheepishly and he bowed his head twice in appreciation before following along after the woman. For the most part, up to the well everything seemed to progress as one might expect. There was the humming noise he thought he glimpsed earlier, but since the yoshimitsu didn't offer a signal in response to a potential danger, the event is all but dismissed. The misstep on the woman's part is not so easily ignored. As a result, Onimitsu err'd on the side of caution and kept from entering the ten foot radius himself. Instead, he would observe the woman with that humble traveling medicine man persona in place until she left.
Only once certain that neither she nor any other villager turned to consider the well. First, a clap of his hands in tune with a pulse of chakra to search the area for any signs of some type of trap. And if the all clear should be given he'd approach. Ignoring the popping noise of weary joints, the medicine box is removed nearby the well, gloves produced and donned, and the bare basic testing equipment he'd need for the water is set-up. With that out of the way, there was only the matter of obtaining some for the test. Poison. Drugs. Hostile Bacteria. A clear picture maybe be impossible but something closer to the truth is still hoped for.
Akane thanked the doctor and took her leave. Out of habit she held up that printed report about the last years occurrence as though reading it, but she couldn't see the words without a bit more light ont he page. Rather, she was contemplating what else could have caused the incidents. She stopped then, contemplating for several moments. Indeed, Ishino-san had told them genjutsu could be a part of this… She frowned deeply, her jade green eyes deepening a shade as she considered the consequences of that avenue. On a whim she turned and bribed another kid to bring her to the market. She arrived within a few moments and walked directly into the biggest crowd she could find….And stood there. Reaching out for the familiar oppression of a genjutsu attack. She struggled to keep her mind from wandering to the last large genjutsu she'd felt. Such thoughts would only bother her more…
Isra would find someone, an older man who peered at her quizzically. Definitely that hum.. just a moment.. then gone. "No. We all dread it coming now, but the first time it was just thought to be a fluke. The second time some of the younger's got worried. Now, well.. we're all just plain confused and probably a bit scared. But, brave face and all that. Afterall, I heard some shinobi from Kiri were around, poking into stuff. They should be able to help us out, right?"
Oni would notice in general everyone avoids the well, if they can it seems. When he stepped in, there was a sudden, hard, feeling of euphoria. It felt really… good. To be there. Like.. he wanted a drink. Considering the scattered brain, one or more of the voices were probably going the mellow path, while he worked to take samples. The longer he was there, the more it would seem to invade, a chakra sense eminating from the stones of the well itself. Most likely, belatedly, all the alarms of 'danger' would show up. The test of the water shows it to be… water. Doesn't seem to be the source of the issue.
Akane would feel it strongest there, in the crowd. That hum, it.. was a song? Something that seemed to be traded between people, a single note, done before anyone talked, it hopped back and forth between the people. A perpetual genjutsu? Suspended by the people talking? It was hard to focus on, as it was easily 50 or so people talking to each other in that marketplace. Just the briefest thing, tapping at the edge of consciousness.
Isra seemed confused, but she tried to work her way through this confusion to a logical point of view. So far, she was using her own, but there were other hypotheses out there that could work for this occurrence. This guy was describing feelings. Dread, worry, confusion, scared. These were important factors and… "Aww, shucks," she remarked to herself. Common feelings for genjutsu. Now, her question is who would use a genjutsu against people to turn them suicidal? Ritual suicide, even. That just boils her blood. "I'm from Kiri, but uh, yeah, they should be able to help us out," she nods and gently shoos the guy on his way. Hmm.
<What are you waiting for? Some of us are dieing of thirst in here>
'We're spirits, Masaki. Fragments. We don't -need- to drink anything'
<Quiet woman! When a man says he's thirsty, there had better twitch well be — >
Onimitsu sharpened his focus on his work, knowing full well to do otherwise would only serve throw him in another debate between the two more outspoken spirits. It was a never ending deal with Akahime and Masaki. Strangely enough, the swordsman found himself agreeing with the worst of the duo, and asking such questions like, "Would it really be so bad to have a taste?" The man did push himself a great deal for the sake of the mission already. Plus, It seemed almost… sinful, not to take advantage of the atmosphere.
A moment is all Onimitsu is away from downing the beaker full of water when he feels something trembling at his side. An agitating presence that, despite his best efforts to ignore, refused to be denied. A dazed glance in the direction of the Yoshimitsu reveals to him an unmistakeable aura about it as well as it being the source of the trembling.
The water is scattered as Onimitsu leaped away. He was prepared to go even a step further than that as well, but in recalling the remainder of his supplies still sitting by the well, the swordsman gambled on the 'others', or at least those not still incapacitated by the area, to shield him long enough to retrieve them. Only /if/ successful in his endeavor — even if only in part — would Onimitsu in hindsight take a moment to discern just what happened. A physical search revealed nothing before… but what of the ephemeral? Both chakra sensitivity and genjutsu perception are brought to bear.
Akane could only just perceive the sensation hopping between people but it ws enough to send a chill through her spine. She opened her green eyes and looked around. There were plenty of people within her range of sight and more beyond of course. She bit her lip wondering wether to test this new information or to simply report back to the meeting place. Had she been alone she would have simply followed where the path led, but as she was with other shinobi.. and Kiri shinobi at that.. she stopped herself. She knew from past experience that she was weak against genjutsu so should she come upon the spell's user she might be more of a liability than a help. She backed up and spun on her heel to return to the meeting point.
There was a LOT of chakra in that area, that Onimitsu would find. Rather quickly. Something.. Something seemed to point at Genjutsu.. a source? But.. no. No source, it just.. was there. It seemed very disjointed. Onimitsu was able to recover his stuff correctly and once outside of the 10' ring, everything quickly reverted back to normal. It did, however, seem to be centered on the well, somehow. Although a general look revealed nothing.
Akane Had no trouble with getting back to Ishino. He was standing there studying the old man who stood beside him. Glancing over at Akane, Ishino frowned for a moment, focusing on her hard, right up until she got within her sight range. Then he'd relax back to that blaise look with a polite nod given and an easy smile. "Akane-san. You seem to be the first to return. We'll wait for the others, then put all our notes together at the inn to figure out if we can resolve this issue before the day after tomorrow."
Ishino sent the old man on his way, who would bow in that eastern style to Ishino, before heading off to try and find Isra. It didn't take that long before he did so, politely requesting that she return to the team for a meeting of the minds. The old man that Isra had been talking to would peer at her, then shrug and move on. Some Kiri nin were kind of odd, weren't they?
Isra was still settled into her area mostly thinking to herself and considering what they're up against, but her thoughts are only partially interrupted by Ishino and Akane's arrival. "Oh right, I almost forgot about that," she snickered to herself and rubbed her head lightly. So, she did as she was told and met back up with the team. She gave the old guy she was talking to a mischievous smile before focusing back on the task set before her.
The potency of the chakra now that he opened himself to it was staggering. His hands continued to tremble long after the discovery was made. But what to think of it all? "Fragmented. Just like this one's own soul." He mused aloud, then set his gaze skywards. While it would be best to report his findings immediately, gathering more intell within the first day was heavily desired. Ultimately, everything fell upon rather or not there was enough daylight left to honestly consider checking in on any other leads.
-Better to not bite off more than we can chew, Oji-sama-
"This one would have to concur." Onimitsu admitted and gave a soft sigh. Soon after he made one last adjustment of the box at his backside and took off for the meeting point, casually as to not alert the villagers anymore than their presence might have already done. Being the last to arrive, Onimitsu would quickly bow to the others and offer an apology to all before turning to regard Ishino for further instruction.
Akane spotted Ishino at the meeting place, nodding when he informed her that she was the first to return. She was about to speak, but stopped her self. Yes, it would be wise to wait for the others to return before sharing the information they had gathered — or the lack of it. She had caught the edge of his expression shift, though what she'd managed to see appeared to her as more of a twitch, it was enough to remind her to act with caution around these Swordsmen…. She offers a short bow and an easy smile as she waited quietly, contemplating what she'd sensed and reminding herself silently of her reasons for coming along on this mission. She remained quiet but acknowledged each of them as they returned.
Once everyone returned, with Ishino greeting each of them with that same studied look, polite smile and nod, he'd check his watch. "Excellent. Still within acceptable time range." Looking to the others he'd nod. "We have dinner waiting for us and we will discuss what we all found. Please follow." With that, he'd turn and walk off, heading for the inn that Time Keeper had them set up at. Ahh.. the joy of having puppets, making it easy for doing multiple things at once!
At the inn, they were greeted kindly enough, that hum.. it was there with them too. Ishino's expression tighten, just a little, but otherwise nothing was said. Instead, they were shown to three rooms. One for the girls to rest in, one for the guys and the third with the meeting table that looked to be dinner table as well. Time Keeper was already storing stuff in the men's room for Ishino. He'd nod and dismiss the inn keeper before looking to his team. "Please freshen up then join me for dinner. I would like to hear what you all have found, I will share what I have found as well." Of course, he was already dressed for dinner in that tux, so would head for that room, leaving the other three to sort out what they would.
Ah, to be at the inn. Finally. Isra was running on low fuel and needed to get some rest, but she couldn't get there quite yet. Things needed discussing before that could happen. She thinks she could hold off a little longer. Seeing herself into the girl's room, she decided to go and get herself together before the meeting. She didn't take up too much time because, heck, there wasn't that much time to spare. So, she stuck to the basics and came back out with her hair down. Wasn't enough time to spoof it up and put it into a mohawk.
"Okay, so what I learned…" She started as she headed into the meeting room. "I learned that the villagers have had this building feeling over the course of time that led up to these suicides. From the way it sounded, things started small and then grew more prominent as time went on. It even sounds like it affected different age groups and people differently. That's just the account I received from one man that responded to me. Aside from that, I think I got the strangest feeling something was off in the village. It didn't last very long, but it struck me as odd that I'd have a feeling like that come out of nowhere. Unfortunately, that's the only way I can describe it," she shrugged. "But I have reason to think what I felt is associated to what I was told. The most common types of responses to the feeling I had were fear and confusion."
Onimitsu nodded and would immediately turn to do just that. But, a nagging feeling in the back of his mind that had, for once, nothing to do with the others gave him pause. Two to be exact, but a quick once over of the sole non-kiri shinobi was enough to at least partially assuage any concerns. The other required calling for Ishino to hold up a moment, and should his call be heeded, Onimitsu would quickly go about producing some pen and paper from his medicine box. A quick note is jotted down regarding the days events and handed over with the only explination being, "A safety measure." before the swordsman wandered off get freshened up. It would seem the close call from earlier had the man spooked, though to what extent exactly is something he kept hidden in his eyes.
When he returns — the latest thanks to the 'others' — there's not much of a change to him; except a fresh Kimono and his old mask firmly in place again. His account would be slow to be spoken of on his part, for the others had to — or in his mind — needed to take priority as far as digesting goes. "… This one may have found the epicenter of this crisis, or at least in part. A flyby would be necessary to confirm this, but to do so may elicit unforeseen misfortunes." He starts off, chin cupped by one hand while the other lay at rest upon the hilt of his sword. "Er, *clears throat* The well. It seems the area about it is thick in… something. Definitively something powerful enough to cause my guide to the well some brief discomfort, though such was quickly hidden… or forgotten." He gives all a glance before focusing on Ishino.
"The water from it contains no traces of man-made influences from what this one was able to gather."
'Forgetting about your little episode already, such a bad Oni'
Onimitsu jerks at the noise, and after a short mental debate, described the 'something's effect in greater detail in obvious embarrassment.
Akane immediately recognized the same sensation she'd felt in the marketplace and it caused her to pause. Her expression remained warm and friendly, but her eyes narrowed just a touch, a deeper tone of green seeping into her eyes as she watched not just the employees of the inn, but the other customers as well. It only lasted a moment and of course she could only actually see a fraction of the people around her, but that hum, the buzz, was discernible enough to solidify her concerns.
Akane had been aware of Onimitsu's scrutiny and made a note to ask him about it later, though she could guess what his issue with her was, well there might be a couple issues…. The girl shook herself mentally and followed Isra to the girls' room, dropping her satchel in a corner of the room. Quietly she observed Isra's preparations before she would borrow a nice yukata from the innkeeper, dressing swiftly. She spent about 7 minutes coiling her long braid into a nice bun and secured it with all six of her hairsticks. Then she would head down as well, coming into the dining-meeting room. She kneeled down gracefully at her place before the table, her attention on what the others were saying. Onimitsu's explaination about the well made sense with what she'd found. "The doctor had nothing to add, but I acted on a hunch and went to the marketplace. There was something going on.. It's hard to describe. It was like an energy bouncing between the people gathered and it was strongest in the larger crowds. It felt to me like a genjutsu, though I admit my experience with Genjutsu has been limited to a specific skill set in the past." She does not elaborate on what skill that had been. "It's here in the inn as well. I would have searched more but I felt my lack of experience with genjutsu made returning to regroup a more prudent action. If it's in the well, that would explain the wide-spread 'infection' in the villagers, but it still does not explain the 47."
Ishino would of course, pause at Onimitsu's request. He would not be so impolite as to ignore such! Taking the note, Ishino studied Onimitsu in silence for a moment before finally giving a small nod and finish heading into the room. While the others got ready, Ishino read the note. Of course, he also had all of his puppets quickly reset the meal with one of his own. Same meal, just food he brought with him instead of local fare.. no reason to be careless. As the others came in and described what happen, his attention focused the most on Akane when she spoke. That was.. interesting. Finally a nod was given. "So. Isra-san found it to be a genjutsu. Something strong when groups of people are together, thanks to Akane-san. It seems Onimitsu-san found where it's originating from, with it being the well. Although not necessarily the water." Ishino would muse for a few moments. "I've noted the genjutsu as well. Actually, it's here in the room too, but very faded as there's nothing bouncing for it.. and my own is keeping it muted mostly." Shaking his head, he'd eat some of his food, thinking for a moment. "I would have to agree with you all. the 47 is kind of odd. I'm not sure why it's only that much. We'll rest tonight, gather your strength and tomorrow we'll focus on the well and see if we can discern the source exactly as well as break the genjutsu. Isra-san, were you able to secure the cliff? Just in case?"
Isra listened to what the others had to contribute to the situation and it appears that they're all in agreement on one thing. That humming sound or the feeling that Isra felt is the same. Additionally, it appears it's likely a genjutsu or at least, that feels like the general consensus. So, she was glad to be on the right track with everyone else. It'll make this mission easier now that they're able to proceed with the same idea in mind. "We're glad that you returned," she spoke to Akane. "Us being all together is perfect in order to get through this problem. I gotta admit, it's a doozy," she chuckled.
"But yes, I secured that cliff. I have seals there that track movement and also a seal wall to prevent anyone from flinging themselves off of it. I think everything ought to be safe for now."
The note contained only a brief summary of what was spoken of by Onimitsu later. In addition, there was a brief blurb about dirt, but no further details. Onimitsu eyes flashed for a brief moment in response to Ishino's admission about maintaining his own genjutsu, but only for a fraction of a second. The rest is taken in idly while his mind drifted back to the well. Even now he could recall the feelings it excited and longed to return to its side. Such longings however were tempered by curiosity and a promise to do a more thorough investigation of the area.
"Then by your leave, Doihara-sama." He inclines his head, then kicks off the wall he was at rest upon throughout the meeting. "A pleasant eve to you two as well." He says, regarding and bowing to the other girls in kind before moving on to his room.
Akane nodded her head to Isra and offered a smile. She listened to each person in turn as she ate the meal provided. The circumstances seemed entirely pointing toward genjutsu which makes the woman uneasy. Once she finishes eating she excuses herself and goes directly to the room she was sharing with Isra. She stripped down to just a loose pair of shorts and a cami top she would wear to bed and opened the window, sitting on the sill silent and brooding, staring up at the night sky and down at whatever people were still about at that time of night. Her jade toned eyes have deepened in shade to a more forest green tone and she appears withdrawn or in a very deep contemplation. She does not move for a long time.
Ishino finishes his meal with the others before withdrawing to his room. If Onimitsu was awake, he'd offer the fairly simple explination. Time Keeper, his puppet, is a genjutsu amplifier. It runs a base genjutsu to make it easier when Ishino tries to actively effect others. The rest of the night is surprisingly peaceful, leaving those who sleep rested and refreshed. Onimitsu may note it, once Ishino explains, a certain ticking, fairly close to sub-sonic, just the quiet count of a clock that seems almost to stubbornly refuse to be heard easily, emanating from the old man.
~*Insert night music here*~
In the morning, Ishino would meet the others outside. Once more in that well pressed suit, it'd be hard to tell how he was able to do it, if they didn't know about the puppet. That said, he'd wait for them all to be ready, only pushing with gently firmer nudges the closer it got to 9 in the morning for everyone to be ready. Yes, Time keeper would flip a bed if need be it seems. Once they were together, he'd head for that well with the others. "Time to see if we can figure out the source of this issue and how to end it."
The meeting was over and Isra retreated back to the room in a hurry. She needed to get into some comfortable clothes and just drop in the bed to sleep. She slipped into her bed and knocked herself right out. Buried completely under pillows and covers, she lightly snored the night away.
Waking up to the morning, she stretched out in the bed and tossed the covers off, looking somewhat disheveled. Time to get ready… She freshened up and went right back to work, now better and able to focus more properly on the task. She didn't sense anyone pass up her perimeter or barrier, so things seemed to be good. She'd meet up with Ishino outside saying, "Hey!" with a bright smile. "Back to work, eh?"
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
One night later…
None of them knew how or why, they just knew that Ishino's infernal puppet was to blame for their restless night. Both spirits and host lacked sufficient proof, so the matter would not be brought up with the younger man in question. No, better to suffer this in silence and pray never to have to share a room with the dandy again.
"Indeed." Onimitsu would answer for Ishino as soon as he stepped outside a moment later. Gone is the traveling medicine man in favor of the silver armored demon instead. The sword is about the only thing not in sight, though, any who knew him well enough could tell just where 'that' was secreted. A yawn escapes his lips before a thought belatedly occurs to him.
'Now where is that one?' He asks, referring to Akane.
Akane had spent most of the night in that window sill brooding over something. When Isra wakes she would find Akane's futon folded up properly and both the medic and her satchel were missing. She would be found easily enough once Onimitsu stepped out of the inn as she was sitting there on a bench with her bag beside her. She was nibbling the hell out of what looked to be a ration bar as though she wasn't honestly hungry but she made the effort anyway. When Onimitsu stepped out of the inn and asked his question she would look up with a very serious expression on her face, her eyes that deep green again where they had been jade before. "'This one' is right here." Her tone was cool, rather than friendly and open as she had been the day before. The woman's eyes and the way she watched Onimitsu spoke of her knoeledge of his watching her so closely.
"Always working. The more efficient we are, the more time saved." Ishino nods to them as they all showed up, eyeing Onimitsu and Akane at their exchange. Interesting. Finally, moving on for the well, Ishino would stop well short of the 10' radius, looking over the whole thing. Time Keeper, in that old man guise, would walk right up to the well, of course, seeking to poke around at it to try and figure out what's going on. Ishino frowned at the results. "I don't find anything hostile. Nor can I really track a source. Someone isn't manipulating this. It's just.. the well?" He'd shake his head, looking to the others. "So any of you know how to get high enough to get an overhead view, without getting in range of the well?"
"I agree completely!" Isra chimed in response to Ishino. They ought to be figuring this out in no time now that they're all together and have ideas. They proceed to the well and the Uzumaki isn't sure what she's supposed to be looking for her, but perhaps that's within good reason. A ten foot radius implies there's not something right going on. No need to approach. "I can't say I have anything in particular. I suppose I could use this blade to launch someone with sufficient explosive force, but that's about it."
He could already here them laughing at him, though one was strangely huming something. Odd as that last one was, Onimitsu is no less embarrassed from the event and quickly averted his gaze. With the mask/helmet in place, an apologetic eye smile is given return, but rather it was for not seeing her before or for the frequent looks is up for interpetation. Regardless of which, Onimitsu doesn't spend another moment more on his fellow medic nin before Ishino (with Isra more than likely in tow) prompts him to follow up quickly.
"Tha-tha-that won't be necessary, Isra-cha-mm-Uzumaki-sama!" Onimitsu exclaims as he motioned for the uzumaki to bring it down a notch. Even with two medics on the scene it would do no one any good to have to deal with the injuries that were bound to result. "This one sensory abilities are limited, but it should be possible with my abilities… This one would however suggest that some preparation be given regarding this place." The last bit he asked with his gaze firmly only the Uzumaki. Afterwards he step back away from the others and take in as much of their surroundings a possible before crouching down as if prepared to leap. A powerful one at that for the man seemed to soar for meters in seconds, armor shifting without any visible or verbal command from its basic silver form into that of a crimson beetle of steel! From there it is all a matter of putting those wings normally hidden away to work and stay mindful for the signature growing stronger or weaker as he flew up.
Akane bit off another bite of the ration bar and put it back into her satchel, nodding once to Onimitsu before following the group silently to the well. At Ishino's question, Akane shook her head slowly, her eyes never leaving the well. There was no point in her looking up, she knew there was nothing around the well and she assumed there was nothing above it. Due to her range of eyesight, she was closer to the well's radius than the others had to be, giving her perhaps 5 feet between her and the 'danger zone'. Isra's suggestion pulled her eyes away from the well as it sounded like a rather..large… undertaking. She must have been right as Onimitsu fairly sputtered to make her /not/ do it. Rather he crouched and leapt well out of her range of vision, though by the angle of the others' heads he wasn't just bouncing up to get a quick look… (re)
Isra was there, ready with a potential need for seals to stop any bad falling or anything. Ishino would take a step back himself, watching Onimitsu as he went up and up. Once Onimitsu got high enough, he'd be able to see that the whole village was arranged in what looked to be an elaborate seal. Each road a line of the seal. The well was the center of that seal, although there was something.. off about it. Something about what was on the well was wrong. Backwards. It changes the entire meaning of the seal.
Once Onimitsu landed, Ishino would nod towards him. "Nice trick. I need to figure out how to do that too." At about that time, both Onimitsu and Akane would feel a sudden *STRONG* desire. A desire to sing as well as get to the highest point they could.
The song? 'I believe I can fly'.
Onimitsu is no seal expert, and with only one eye to spare to examine the landscape on top of that, it'll take him a couple of minutes to piece it all together. There was something else as well. Something that, no matter how quickly he jerked around to catch a glimpse of it, nothing is ever there.
For the time being he would chuck it up to one of the others trying to toy with him again, and just head on down until he's hovering just a foot or two off the ground. "For your sake, this one hopes that a strong stomach for turbulence is viable." He jokes, though there's a noticeable undertone that bespoke of some level of seriousness as well. "It seems this one was not too far off the mark. The epicenter — " He touched down and turned about to peer at the well. "Would be the well, or some part of it obstructing the seal array on this place." He turns glances back at the others. "But for what purpose, this one cannot be certain… Perhaps if I… I… believe I can — "
<I believe I can fly~>
<I believe I can crush the sky~>
Feeling the words threatening to burst forth in reality, Onimitsu de-gauntled a hand and pressed the palm into the top of his horn at the most painful nerve point. The urge fades… but for how long?
Akane looked over as Onimitsu landed and paid attention to his words.. mostly. Something seemed to be distracting her. It started as a chuckle. And grew into a soft hum. And Akane caught herself with a faint flush. She felt her chest tighten with a welling desire to…dear gods she wanted to sing… It was soemthing entirely against her nature to do, least of all on a mission. She backed up a few steps until the well faded into the shadows that surrounded her. One of her hands reaches up to clamp over her mouth hard enough to stifle any sounds. From an outside perspective she might appear as though she was about to be sick. /Helixit I'm on a mission here!/ she thought to herself… /And I'm with Kiri-nin to top it off./ A dark little voice inside her head chuckled at her from the shadows of her mind before it pressed it's advantage. ~Genjutsu, remember, little Akane?~
The woman's eyes darken to a near emerald tone then and her entire demeanor shifted into something more raw, like restrained violence. With a smirk, she gathered a small amount of lightning in her right hand and reached up to her own shoulder before she let it go. The jolt was small but it was enough… for now. Her eyes drifted back to their original color and her aura slid back into the one her companions had become accustomed to on this trip. She shook her head. "Maybe we should give that well some more space…. Wait.. Why is there a seal array in a village like this?"
Ishino frowns, glancing between Onimitsu and Akane. Interesting.. something was definitely acting up. "Both of you, to the inn." He'd glance to Isra. "Look at the well for a seal. Something is causing this issue." He'd pause then.
Singing. 45 voices in perfect harmony, were trailing through the village. They were starting for that cliff.. "It's starting. Already? It must be the chakra.." Ishino frowns and looks between Onimitsu and Akane. "I suppose neither of you are genjutsuist, hmm? I may have to get drastic.."
The pain was mind numbing, which was its purpose, but even that distraction doesn't completely block out everything as intended. The noteable sound, well, notable by shinobi standards, that emitted from Akane drew his attention to her. Disconcerted by the distance and sick look about her, Onimitsu turned fully with the intent to offer her aid. The words never leave his mouth. Not after the catching darkness in her eyes…
Subconsciously, his hand goes for the hilt of the sword at his backside, then clinch it tight in response to the build up of electricity. Even once she shocks herself instead of the others the swordsman would maintain a wary eye on the girl, if nothing else. "… By your leave, taichou(captain)." Onimitsu states without averting his gaze from the red-headed woman.
The man hardly makes it a few steps before taking note of the song in the air. Many voices for one song, and all sung in perfect unision. "Regretably, no." The question was probably not meant for answering, but Onimitsu was far too polite for his own good. "… Shall you still have us return, sir?"
Akane had seen the expression on Onimitsu's face and the way he'd first seemed about to offer aid then reached for his sword. Wether the dark-shrouded woman or the more calculating Akane, she had seen. Once she'd gained better control she sent Onimitsu a small smile of thanks. Then she heard Ishino's order to return to the inn and nodded, spinning on her heel to escape that well quickly.
About halfway to the inn she slowed her steps, that same desire to sing and be free… She'd chosen her own shackles so this desire to be free just felt alien to her. ~You're losing it, Bakane.~ Akane clamped her hands over her ears as if that would stop that voice in her head. "Shut up!" But Akane had no real argument. She could feel that desire welling up inside her again. Her feet started moving once more, taking her away from the inn, absently humming that song. On the next street she would run into a group of people actually singing and walking along and she joined them unless otherwise impeded.
"Yes.." Not that he was sure.. but this was becoming.. difficult. He'd move with Onimitsu and Akane for the inn. At least until Akane yelled out.. then went the wrong way. "Bother." Glancing to Onimitsu then, he'd ponder the samurai for a moment. "If we disrupt the seal, it should break the genjutsu. Right? We can't break the well.. but we should be able to do something.." Ishino draws on Time Keeper, the henge fading away to reveal the puppet as the surge of ticking would increase. He'd focus, a fast set of hand seals and everyone but he and Onimitsu would.. stop. Time's thread was good at making people drop into their own reality, everyone interacting together. It'd drain them.. but it was a stall for time. "I can't do that too many times, or I'll kill them." He'd shake his head and look over to Onimitsu. "Any suggestions, before it grips you again?"
Onimitsu nods curtly and turned to do as bidded. The instant he took that first step, a change within creeped up his spine, locking all functions until it reached his head. He doesn't answer Ishino's question, or at least, not as the man might've expected. He'd start following along after Akane, belting out the lyrics in not one, not two, but somehow three voices at once. One of a child, his own, and the third being that of one with quite the stereotypical manly man voice. All the while his eye glowed with an unearthly light, chaotic due to the ever changing color shift.
Thankfully, Ishino's quick thinking save those who retained their self-awareness from more than a couple of lyrics from being belted out. "This… one…" Onimitsu closes his eyes and grips the side of his head. "Alter… perhaps.. alter.. the seals… Add an… disruptive.. additional lines." He manages to say as he peered down at his own hands, gauntlets rusted in some places. That fact alone doesn't concern him however. Blue flames replacing flesh does however….
Akane was unaware of what was going on around her. Her body had stopped and she stood there just staring into the vastness of ..nothing. In her head she was presented with conflicting images. At first she would see herself happy and surrounded by friends, and students she had pupils! aaah, she'd made Jounin of course. But then the image shifted and the Hitai-ate on her forehead shimmered, a line drawing through the symbol there. And there was blood. Each of those she had been surrounded by were dead now at her feet and she was laughing. The symbol shimmered again and was replaced by that of another village and she was happy there too, a Jounin still, and here she worked as a doctor…. Then the scene shifted once more and rather than a free citizen she had been arrested. interrogations and violence and blood abounded in that reality. This splitting of the Time Thread's purpose continued through the entire course of the spell, showing alternate futures for her alternate selves. It was maddening. And the strain of it showed on her face.
Ishino gives a small nod. Disrupt the seal, end the genjutsu. He'd wince in sympathy as Onimitsu and Akane both looked like they were having a rough time. Shaking his head, he'd glance over at the well, then look about. "There." Motioning, Time Keeper would leap up, then a drill bit would form around it's legs, shifting it's whole function as the drill slammed into the ground and started burrowing. In a wide sweeping line, adding to the 'seal' that the roads had been making, Ishino attempted to alter the situation.
For Onimitsu and Akane both, being the strongest of those effected, they'd feel that weakening. The genjutsu changing from crushing to.. a force. But it could be fought. The Time's thread ended as Ishino worked on altering the terrain. They were left with having to deal with the citizens.. and the singing.
His vision begins to blur, then steadies abruptly. The armor was fresh again, so for a moment he entertained the thought that all may turn out well again. But then he looks up and sees them. They would be carbon copies of what he saw in himself prior, or so he first imagined. Upon closer inspection he saw that they still wore flesh, though, obviously the fireball replacing their left eyes gave away their unnatural existence. The only thing to disturb him more was not their familiarity to him, and his to them, but the fact that he could still feel it. The only solid thing about him being the armor he bore… and the skeleton beneath it surrounded in a ghoulish flame.
There were no happy futures imaginable for Onimitsu. Those died mere months after coming into possession of the Yoshimitsu. A blade he could not even begin to imagine being without. Nor could he see its existence being terminated or contained in any future. The same went for the past. That was, in essence, the curse of his bloodline. A curse that would not fade with time…
By the time Time's Thread has ended there are tears streaming down from Onimitsu eye. If not for the dull burning from his other socket, Onimitsu might've stood there for a time instead of seeing to the citizens. One last check-up on Akane first to see if she was… steady, at least. Then he'd quickly physically incapacitate as many as he could with well placed pressure point strikes.
Akane was unaware of the pain that had shown on her face, the suddenly alabaster tone of her skin. She was trembling and visibly shaken by what had been presented to her in the visions. Despite her return to reality, it took her a moment to truly return to herself. The pallor remained, however, even after the jutsu was lifted, leaving her with quite the headache. It only took her a moment for her to piece together what had likely happened.. The odd visions aside, she'd obviously fallen victim to the genjutsu same as those around her. But thanks to Ishino's efforts she could focus her attention. She bit down on her lip to bring a bit more clarity to herself.
Onimitsu had gotten moving faster than she, but after seeing him begin to incapacitate those around them she too turned and began to follow his example. Where as his strikes were well aimed, hers were a bit rougher on the targets. She rarely fought without her weapons so though her medical training had taught her about pressure points, she knew only a few that wouldn't do serious harm if struck. As such she put a small amount of lightning in her fist and aimed at their solar plexus, dropping them one by one. It wasn't a job Akane relished, and by the time she was halfway through her share of the crowd her eyes had deepened and her aura had shifted again, a small smirk on her lips.
It took a bit. Between the two shinobi aiding those people gently.. or not so gently and Ishino's work, it was crude, but effective. The resulting mound of dirt, from Time Keeper's digging, finally broke the seal. This would have all those left standing.. immediately drop, passing out. This happen across the entire village.. they had all been effected.. some just stronger than others it seems. Ishino looks around. He'd look over to Akane and Onimitsu then. "It seems.. it worked. Are you two ok?"
Onimitsu could not approve of her efforts, and made a mental note following this mission to see a change about that. Not that he was arrogant enough to believe his words would do more than fall on death ears, but still, pain inflicted upon a patient should always be avoided if possible. His focus snaps back to the work at hand, and the twenty or so odd civilians left to take care of. Before he can press on, the rest fall like puppets their strings abruptly cut.
"No… but we will fair well enough." He replies uncertainly, searching now for any possible other disturbances while he caught his breathe.
Akane seemed to be enjoying her efforts and she even sighed a little when the people dropped unconscious. She hadn't realized that she'd been weakened by both genjutsus until she found herself thumping against a nearby wall. "Oh so typical Bakane. You are so weak." But the dark presence faded slowly from her, her eyes returning to thier jade color as she takes a few breaths to center herself. She hears Ishino's question and waves her hand, nodding, as though it were nothing. A scratch. She just needed to catch her breath right? Onimitsu's answering for them was appreciated and she sent a look of thanks toward the man. She had to start learning better defenses against genjutsu… this had been what? the third time she fell prey to large genjutsus like this? It was getting to be a bit too routine for her liking.
Isra would figure out how to fix the seal on the well, it seems that it was initially set to be a protection of the well, keeping flying insects out of the water and generally making it pure. Some research into the notes of the village, as the civilians recovered, showed that the well was put in 4 years ago. It took time for the genjutsu to build up it seems. The more they used the well, the stronger it got. As for the singing? No one was really sure on that. Ishino made his final notes ont he mission progress then nodded to the others. "Mission complete. We did it."