Date: December 4, 2012
The Recluse opt for something a little less dangerous to their agents while at the same time proving Taiki is not safe in any foreign village.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"The Recluse Saga - Seals of Doom"
Namami Restaurant, Kirigakure
It is evening in Kirigakure, and it is growing cold outside. Despite a few objections from the guards, Taiki and his ninken partners are making their way into the bar for the first time. As part of the compromise, tonight Taiki and his two ninken partners have two guards, one staying a reasonable distance away, the other staying close to him. Their dogs disperse into the crowd the moment the group arrives so they can walk around and be ready at the first sign of trouble.
Taiki pauses as he enters the restaurant, blinking a couple of times due to the atmosphere. He doesn't say anything, but instead looks around for a table in a corner, but close to the door, so they can get away if they need to. "Are you sure you want to come here?" the close-standing guard asks with a slight smirk on his face.
Unfortunately for the guard, Taiki has a long history of being, as Atsuro would put it, "more stubborn than a god." The guard's question therefore steals Taiki's resolve. "Hai. I can't be afraid of living, and this is a good start. Come on," he says as he makes his way to a table in the nearest empty corner.
Unlike Taiki, Atsuro doesn't have to convince anyone of anything to go to a place like this. The main reason is that he doesn't have guards following him around, but there's also the fact that he's in places like this one all the time. Drunks, yelling, fighting? Why, that just makes him feel more at home. And since this is one of the few places in Kiri he's really liked so far, this bar is beginning to be a second home to him.
He and Taizen walk in, weaving their way through the crowd to the bar. Atsuro sits down on a stool, and makes a couple of gestures to the bartender to bring him a beer and some snacks. The bartender nods and hurries to get them, but Atsuro's going to have to wait at least a little bit before he can actually consume them. Even over the smell of beer, food, and people, he catches the familiar scent of Taiki. Following his nose, he looks over to see his student and his entourage. While he didn't come here to talk to Taiki, he figures he may as well take a minute or two. He and Taizen make their way through the crowds once more, heading over to Taiki. "Hey kid," Atsuro greets, "This doesn't seem like your kind of place." Taizen wags his tail and barks softly in greeting.
Atsuro is watched at first, just like everyone else. The guards seem somewhat nervous for some reason, probably the environment. For someone under guard, this is probably not the best of places. Still, the close-by guard gives Atsuro a nod before turning his attention to a waiter as the guy tries to take Taiki's order. After completing the order, during which the guard declines anything, Taiki answers, "Hey Atsuro. I've asked around town for the most popular ninja restaurant, and this place was at the top of the list. No, it's not my usual haunt, but I was hoping to get a feel for the village while I was here." A fight breaks out near where Atsuro was before, but so far anything Atsuro left there is safe.
Atsuro glances at the guard, giving him a one-over. Beyond that, though, he doesn't interact much with him yet, figuring the guy doesn't really want to be chatted with when he's just trying to do his job. Plus, he should remain vigilant. He turns his head to Taiki and shakes his head.
"Don't let the name fool you," he says, "This is really more of a bar than anything else. Specifically, a dive bar. Not to scare you off, but it's not really going to give you a feel of the village. And even if it /is/ popular, it caters to a specific type of ninja. That's the type who likes to get drunk." He grins, "And I like to think I taught you better than that." He glances over to the fight briefly.
Taiki raises an eyebrow at Atsuro's words, then shrugs. "There were enough conflicting stories for us to try this place. And no, you didn't really tell me much about bars, other than to tell me I was too young to drink. Besides, some of the stories I hear is that the employees are all ninja, so there's that added safety net, or so we thought." He too watches the fight, then nods to the waiter as he returns with something non-alcoholic and some tempura. "Would you like to join us? It doesn't look like that fight is going to end any time soon," he says as he reaches for a bottle of soy sauce.
"There are a lot of conflicting stories about Uchiha Madara," Atsuro says, shrugging, "Would you invite him into the village if he showed up?" He grins. "Really? That's all?" He shakes his head, "Boy, was I responsible or what. Okay, a dive bar means that everything here is cheap and dirty. People come here to fight and get drunk, or both." He gestures over to the fight. "Those people are model patrons." He pauses. "And you are too young to drink," he points out, "But I guess I may as well join. Have to make sure you aren't bewitched by the demons of alcohol." He waves to a waiter, then points to his stuff on the bar.
The waiter looks at Atsuro for a moment as if asking, 'Yeah, and?', then rolls his eyes and heads over to the bar. As Atsuro turns around, he'll notice something is wrong. Taiki is still reaching over to grab the bottle of soy sauce, and doesn't seem to be moving. In fact, he seems quite unable to move, if the truth were to be realized. The guard is the same, though his eyes are narrowed and looking at Atsuro intently. When Atsuro looks at him, he deliberately moves his eyes from side to side slowly, as that is the only part on the guard's body currently capable of movement.
Looks like someone doesn't want a tip. Atsuro rolls his eyes and turns back to face Taiki. "Well," he says, "You've been bewitched by something all right." He reaches down. Taizen, alert and ready for a fight, already has a pair of ninjato ready for him. Atsuro takes them, wielding one in each hand, but holds them under the table for the moment, keeping them concealed so as not to be the guy holding a pair of weapons in the middle of the bar (his muscles don't count). "Try to fight it," he says in a low voice, as he focuses chakra and searches around for anyone or anything that looks like a threat to them.
'Try to fight it, he says, what does he think I'm doing?' Taiki thinks to himself as a wave of pain hits his body. A grunt sounds from his throat as something courses through his body. His jaws clench just enough to bite the inside of his mouth, causing a thin line of blood to trickle out of his mouth. The close-by guard's ninken and the other guard and his ninken notice now that something is wrong, and the closer ninken rushes over to grab Taiki to pull him out, only to freeze itself when it gets close.
In the meantime, the waiter is making his way back over, as is the further guard and ninken. A pain-filled moan escapes the closer guard's lips as his eyes go wider. Taiki's eyes narrow in what would be a grimace, if he could voluntarily move his jaw or lips.
"Really wish I'd learned more about this seal ly," Atsuro mutters. How to handle this? Well, he can't simply grab Taiki and pull him away, if what happened to the nin-dog is any indication. But he recalls that he was able to prevent himself from being harmed by chakra before by standing on his sword. Is there something similar to that he can try and use here? "Tai," he whispers, "Pull a chair over here?" Taizen hurries over to the closest empty chair and starts pulling it over.
Now he just needs to avoid drawing anymore unwanted attention. No telling what could happen if there's a panic in here. "Hey," he calls to the approaching waiter, "You mind bringing us a pitcher of beer?"
Taiki issues a low moan, almost impossible to hear, but the guard's moaning is growing louder. The waiter looks at the guard and demands to know, "What's going on here, why aren't they moving?" He's not easily diverted it seems.
In the meantime the other guard stops before he reaches the table, then pulls a couple of slips of paper out of his pockets. "See if you can get these attached to Tiaiki-sama's bare skin. Uzumaki thought something like this might happen, and thus we all insisted we be prepared." The other dog is now positioned near the group, and appears to be watching the crowd as well.
For a second, Atsuro considers telling the waiter that it's some kind of performance art, but there's really no good excuse, and Atsuro isn't interested in doddling. "It's a medical emergency," he tells the waiter, "Get us some mednin. When they arrive, have them look for a man named Uzumaki Tenken. Hurry."
The papers might be a game-changer, but it's not a matter of simply reaching over and putting them on Taiki. Atsuro knows he'd end up under the effects of the seal before that happened. Luckily, Taizen has already brought over a possible solution. Atsuro grabs the chair and extends it so that the legs interlock with Taiki and those of Taiki's chair. Once secure, he starts to push, moving Taiki away from the table.
It's slow going, very slow going, but Taiki is able to be moved safely, at least for the moment. First the closer-guard's ninken is freed from the seal, who immediately falls down and whimpers as his ears turn bloody. The guard is not so lucky, as he was simply too close, and with as slow as Atsuro has to take it to get the guard out without himself being caught, there's no way it could be done quickly. The dog is not moving very well, and seems to be twitching.
In the meantime, Taiki finally lets out a whimper, as he's still under the effect of whatever this is. The blood out of one eye seems to accumulate a bit as his eyes clench shut. The guard is trying to scream now, as the pain is becoming too much for him. In the meantime this attracts attention, and the waiter quickly calls another employee over and tells him to go get some help. That accomplished, the waiter then starts to guide people away from the area, which is probably a good thing since the entire bar is now focused on Taiki's table, and the all look defensive. The bartender is now leaving the bar and headed in their direction.
It's been slow-going, but he's managed to get Taiki in a better position. Still not enough though. Atsuro keeps at it, pushing Taiki out of harm's way with the chair. "See if you can get the others away from the table," Atsuro says, glancing back to the employees, "That includes the dogs. Just don't get too close yourself. Do we have someone getting the mednin? And Uzumaki Tenken. We need them both immediately." Hopefully there's still time to save the guards. Taiki is the number one priority, of course, but any casualty is a loss. Regardless, Atsuro has to keep moving Taiki away from the trap.
Interesting things start happening as Taiki is being maneuvered around the table. Faint black inscriptions seem to spiderweb out from the bottle Taiki is holding, running along the table. An eerie glow seems to appear at one end, growing brighter as Taiki is moved further from it. Taiki's whimpers grow louder as he is moved, and his body starts to shake. He opens his eyes and in desperation tries to focus his chakra into combating the effects, causing him to let out a brief shout of pain as blood starts to drip from his other eye. Suddenly the closer-guard is free, and he lets out an earth-shattering scream before collapsing, shuddering violently as his body shuts down. The other guard's ninken starts to pull the now debilitated guard away by the collar, which he's able to do considerably faster than Atsuro is.
"Hey tinkerbell, be careful! Can't you see you're moving the trap along with the boy?" one of the nearest customers calls out. "You're going to trap others in that shit, and then we'll be forced to kick your navi!"
In the meantime the bartender talks to the waiter, and then calls out, "Okay folks, everyone not involved in this get away from that table. We've just called for assistance. Now buddy," the burly man asks Atsuro, "Who is this Uzumaki Tenken and why are you calling for him?"
"Oh, I'm sorry," Atsuro says sarcastically, setting the chair down. "I didn't realize there was a tatl expert in the house. Maybe you could drag your own sprite somewhere you won't get hurt, professor." Trapped soy sauce. Who would have ever guessed. That glow, though, what could that mean? "That might be the boundaries of the trap," he says, pointing. "He's a seal expert," he answers, "And he might know what caused this. And how to fix it."
If he can't get Taiki to a better position, he has to put the seal on Taiki from here somehow. Reaching into his equipment pouch, he pulls out a couple lengths of wire, then uses them to tie the seals to the chair's headrest. "Okay, Taiki," he says, picking up the chair by the legs this time. "I got a couple of seals from the guard. He says they're from Tenken. If you can move, try to get your hand or face or something to touch them. He holds the chair out in front of him, trying to get the tags up against Taiki.
Well, Atsuro isn't a taijutsu master for nothing, even with the awkwardness of the chair, and the range he's having to use, he does manage to get one of the seals close enough to Taiki's neck so that, with a supreme effort from Taiki that causes him to scream loudly, he makes skin contact with one of the seals. It's not enough to completely free him, but Shinobu and Nozomi both drop to the floor, yiping loudly as they scramble away. Taiki himself? He's able to move his mouth and speak now at least. "Get away… secondary array… going to blow…" Indeed, the bottle is now glowing along with the table leg. The customers don't need to be told twice, they are vacating that part of the bar at record speeds. Those that don't leave directly are now congregating on the other side of the bar. In the meantime, the Kiri equivalent of ANBU are arriving, along with Med-nin to handle the wounded.
"Dammit." Has Atsuro wasted too much time? He needs to hurry, that much is obvious. "This is going to be a photo-tael-finish," he says, pulling the chair back. He removes the two seals from the wiring. "The seal's going to explode," he warns everyone. But it's not going to explode before he gets Taiki out of there. "Tai, if this doesn't work… well, I trust your judgement." Squeezing the seals between his fingers, he lunges forward at Taiki. If the trap won't affect him anymore, he'll make it. If it does, his momentum should still be enough to put the seal on Taiki. It'll have to work one way or another.
When Atsuro makes his announcement, that's pretty much it, everyone who can't put up some kind of barrier leaves, others put up various barriers or other kinds of protections. A kunai flies by, missing Taiki and Atsuro, but imbedding itself into a wall. It's surprising there's only one really, but then the ANBU start calling water up, forming water walls as quickly as possible. They're ready.
And it's a good thing too, as Taiki tries to resist the seal again to drop the bottle, but winds up screaming in agony instead as the feedback surges through his body. But the tag Atsuro is holding makes contact with him, allowing him to activate it to partially protect Atsuro and Taiki from the resulting blast, which sends them both up and almost through the wall behind them. It definitely destroys the chairs and the table, sending shrapnel hurtling into the water walls. Taiki is alive, but he's not enjoying life at the moment…
Being thrown by an explosion. Not fun. Atsuro lands with a grunt, but aside from a little soreness (a little by ninja standards, that is), he's okay. There's still at least one threat in here, but the biggest is gone for now. Atsuro takes a split second to breathe a sigh of relief. Taiki, against all odds, is alive. But now Atsuro needs to keep him safe from whoever threw that kunai.
Luckily, Taizen is still around. Apparently Atsuro was right to trust his judgement. Atsuro quickly grabs him and makes a seal. There's a puff of smoke, then there's two Atsuros. Atsuro One grabs his swords from the floor, while Atsuro Two (Taizen) just draws a couple of his own.
They surround Taiki, holding up their swords and ready to protect him from anything. "Anyone see where that kunai came from?" he asks, "And we need a medic over here ASAP."
Taiki just lays there in a heap, mostly silent except for a groan as he holds his now severely burnt hand close to him. Common reaction for this kind of wound, but not really helpful since the skin is heavily charred. Just then Uzumaki Tenken is escorted in by two Kiri ANBU, and he is just in time to hear about needing a medic. He rushes over with another med-nin, and noting the med-nin is starting, Tenken asks the two Atsuro's, "What's going on?"
Simultaneously to all of this the water walls drop, and the same guy that yelled at Atsuro before is pushed forward. "Yeah, I did it, so what? Kill the target, the seal falls apart. Or at least that's my experience. But it looks like it took care of itself, so the brat can live or die on his own for all I care." The man is wearing a Konoha hitai itei, and Atsuro would remember he's not known for his good temperament. "So is the mighty Inuzuka Clan going to pay for my drinks or what?"
"It was a trap," Atsuro tells Tenken. "Some kind of seal that stopped him from moving. And it made him bleed too. From the eyes. And there was an explosion. It had him for a while; anyone who got too close got caught in the seal as well." He looks to the medic, hoping there's been time for at least a brief examination. "Will he be all right?" he asks.
The revelation that the attacker was a Leaf nin is shameful, if anything. "You can send the receipt and your contact information to the clan treasurer," Atsuro answers, his contempt only partly concealed. "You might have experience with seals, but I can tell you don't have experience with me, because that explosion was nothing compared to what I'll do if you pull a stunt like that again."
The active guard takes obvious note of the man. Taiki may not be the most well-liked of Inuzuka, but being one the grandsons of the Founders head, as well as one of the clan's diplomats, gave Taiki a certain political power both in and out of the clan. An attack on Taiki from a Konoha nin was not going to be forgotten or forgiven. This guy was in for a world of problems, he just didn't know it yet.
In the meantime the med-nin replies, "I won't lie, he's in bad shape. Several of the blood vessels in his eyes have ruptured, and his chakra network is de-stablilized. His body is suffering from chakra infection. We need to get him to the hospital stat."
"Sounds very familiar, like one of his relatives," Tenken says, looking at Atsuro meaningfully. "I am Uzumaki Tenken, a medical seal specialist. I have worked on cases similar to this before, and you'll need my help," he replies to the med-nin, who nods. "Let's get him to the hospital stat, and we can prevent what happened to the last patient with similar symptoms…" With this the mednin calls for a stretcher, and they, along with the other victims, are cleared out in short order.