Date: February 3, 2014
Ishino, Keichi, and Yoichi are sent across the sea to leave the shinobi world and enter the Land of Sapphires to investigate the goings on and take care of some of the puppets, as well as bring back samples and maybe a hostage or two to study.
"Silk Road - At World's End"
En Route to the Land of Sapphires
The trip towards the docks south east was relatively easy. And renting a merchantman worthy of traversing the sea was also easy enough. This is where Keichi could provide plenty of help. He has a huge network and seems to know someone somewhere due to all his travels. But he never left the continent! Plus, boats kinda scared him! A local connection landed them a sweet deal though, a ferry towards the land of Sapphires.
At least, that's what they think they're headed towards. They might be out of the docks five to ten minutes, main-land still in sight when suddenly a hissing voice emerges from the waters. "These lands are under Sapphire blockade, turn around or you won't be spared…" …
Keichi looks up at Ishino.. "I think we should do what the creepy hissing voice says…" He suggests while peering at Yoichi. Their ferryman however seems to be a brave sailor! "I aint turning her round for no blockade boys! You better get ready to defend us though! I have seen ladies taller, broader and more armored than ours go down wickedly fast due to these bastards!"
Ishino watched attentively but let Keichi work his magic for getting them a ride. Meruin, the new Mizukage, said to go there and get information. So that's what they had to do. With that in mind, Ishino's eyes narrowed as they were threaten. "Great. They're going to come out of the water and get my suit wet. They are going to really displease me, if they do it." Gathering chakra, Time Keeper was quickly summoned, the puppet going into full combat mode with Ishino. No umbrella this time, he had to have his hands free. "Yoichi-san. It seems they challenge us. We have to keep our boat active though, so try to keep the strikes outside of short range. If they get in that close, I'll deal with them."
Yoichi would be silent for majority of the trip, pretty much only speaking when asked a question or spoken to. He's not one to care much for socializing, after all. As the voice comes, his eyes would narrow a bit. Well, there went the easy sailing. "… Challenge?" he asks with a glance toward Ishino, his voice a stoic as ever. "That would imply they actually have a chance of survival." With that, he would turn and leap off the boat onto the ocean's surface, his feet touching the water's surface a moment before his form would begin to shift, growing incredibly muscular and growing up to stand at roughly twelve feet tall. Reaching back for his blades then, he draws them and steps into stance, those stoic crimson orbs scanning around for where the voice comes from as he uses Hydro Sense to scan the gigantic mass of water he has now melded with and soaked with his chakra for anything odd below the surface.
Well Yoichi definetly senses it! A huge mass moves closely beneath him! If he doesn't jump or dodges out of the way he gets lifted up by a giant decayed ship schwooping up as if being launched by Davy Jones's locker itself! Several puppet archers deployed at the side of the ship. All arrows aimed towards the group and more importantly, their ship!
Though probably a higher priority is a large harpoon at the front of the ship that just emerged hundred meters besides their merchantman. The heavy weapon slowly being turned and pointed at their ship! "Don't let that thing hit her boys! We'll go down in no time! We can take a few arrows, THOUGH I CAN'T!" The sailor says, as Keichi conjured up his first dragon, eyes shooting between Ishino and Yoichi, letting them call the shots, getting ready to defend himself!
That hissing sound emerges again, and the volley is fired.
"Keichi-san, guard the captain please." Ishino motioned Keichi towards the sailor to make sure that the man didn't get shot down. Time Keeper shifted between Ishino and the puppets automatically, to stop any potential arrows going his direction. Calling out towards Yoichi, Ishino was already searching. Puppets required a mind. Minds could be manipulated and Time Keeper's pulse was going full force to aid in the capture of the enemy's mind. "Yoichi-san, take down the harpoon please. I'm seeking out the puppeteer.." Not that he'd stop Yoichi from taking out the puppeteer if need be. If Ishino would catch where the puppeteer is at, his first action would be to use that Time's Thread, sending the person into an infinite time loop of what they thought they were just doing, so as to render most actions innert.
SPLASH! With the collision into him by the giant ship, Yoichi's body would seem to shatter into a million pieces!… of water? A gathering of water would have the Kaguya-Hozuki's giant body reforming itself in the midst of the archers on the ship with his blades already held in the air. Without a word, he swings the swords back, creating a cat of nine lightning tails from the end of each blade as lightning crackles along them. As he whips them forward, the mass of lightning swipes all around the ship, intending to fry both puppet and ship to burn it down via electrical fire, one particularly focused on annihilating the harpoon's functions before it can be used.
Keichi quickly shifts towards the captain, Mandoreku flowing to guard them both from arrows! Ishino is in little luck! These easterners are sophisticated in their puppetry! There is no puppeteer! Well there is, but not here! The puppets threads seem to literally go - into - the ship and, if the Hozuki would care to look. The ship is attached to the sand down below! It seems like the chakra and commands are streamed over the ground before shooting up where puppets need to be controlled! Keichi taps his lip and considers for a moment, blinking as he witnesses that destructive power again! Indeed, a few puppets are fried and collapse into a pile of nothing, but some jumped up in time! Yoichi particularly might not like the following, as these puppets seem to be sucked together into a larger being of about his size, and while sloppy in movement, those punches carry some real weight behind them!
The harpoon does seem disabled! At least, the device still stands, but the puppet behind it is down.
Ishino frowns. "distance puppeteering. Most likely using the puppets to see what's happening." He'd pause, watching the massive puppet get formed to deal with Yoichi's size. "modular. interesting." Time Keeper went on the offensive himself, twin puppet blades springing free at the wrist, he'd launch at the other ship to start shredding puppets as well as he could. Ishino's next target was to disable the ship. Seek out that wheel and wreck it, so there's no further control of the ship. He'd also watch the harpoon, heading that way himself to man and potentially turn it on it's own ship.
While he didn't manage to fry ALL of the puppets, Yoichi did accomplish taking out the harpoon-wielding puppet with some of the others. It's big, but the Swordsman seems rather unimpressed. He allows a punch to literally go straight through his torso while going to shove the Kiba blades directly into the new mass of puppets. If successful, he would use the Lightning Scourge again, this time intending to destroy the new creation by electrically scorching it from the inside out.
Ishino is faced with a surprise. The ship doesn't have a wheel! Probably logical, since it could go underwater and all! But still…. Yoichi is equally faced with surprise. Unless he could make it so he doesn't conduct his own electricity, the shock is actually used to PUNCH Yoichi, the new puppet apperently far more resilient, aiming at circling his attack straight back at him!
Yea, dodge that water boy!
Time Keeper, not finding a wheel, went off the back of the ship. Walking down into the water, it'd seek out that flat plane that would be the rudder and with the strength that a puppet can bring to play, snap it in half. The broken hunk of wood was let go, to go floating off into the water as Time Keeper made it's way back onto the bridge. Meanwhile, Ishino altered the alignment of the harpoon gun. Aimed to the right and down at the main deck of the puppet ship, he'd launch the harpoon to do as much damage as possible to the puppet ship. A panel on the back of Time Keeper, now that he was above water, would open. From there, Ishino's blade came winging out. Flipping end over end, it was guided as well as one who had a puppet attachment to it could do, to smash into that harpoon gun, seeking to wreck it completely. Ishino would head back for their own ship. Clearing the deck for Yoichi to unleash, of course.
Yoichi smirks a bit as the puppet mass swings back at him with his own force. Luckily, dodging isn't something he actually has to do to survive an attack. Yanking his swords back, he absorbs the impact with a splash is purposely send flying back to skid to a stop as he stabs his blades into the ground. "Swing this," he says as he points his hands into the sky, a charge of lightning firing into the clouds to turn them back, crackling with a mass of an extreme charge before an enormous pillar of lightning would fire down on the boat directly at the mass of puppets. Guided by his chakra, it would follow any who try to escape while basically nuking the very boat he's standing on.
That force causes most of the boat, as well as the puppet to just be decimated, sinking instantly…. "Shouldn't he conserve chakra?" Keichi asks Ishino as soon as they get back, watching the ship they just sunk in half disbelieve! THey made it seem so easy!
They sail for a good ten hours, after that encounter not much happened. Well Keichi puked twice because he was sea-sick. But that's about it….. "Land ho!" Yells the sailor as they approach the beaches. Massive collumns of black smoke rise through the blue sky though, indicating camps!
"That was him conserving chakra. He was hardly going all out there. It would of wrecked our ship too." Ishino shrugs in response. Time Keeper was checked over and upkeep done while they travelled. He was going to be prepared. "They have distance puppeteering. That's a weakness, especially with multiple puppets. They can generally only look through one at a time. Find the active one and it disrupts the sight. Until they change to a new one." He'd muse, watching Keichi get sick. Shaking his head, he'd sigh. "No sea legs at all."
Once they got to shore, Ishino would stand and watch the camps. Pondering for a few moments. "Yoichi-san, I think it's time for us to show them why they should leave Kirigakure and the Land of Water alone. If it moves, you're welcome to destroy it, I'd like to try and capture any non-functional puppets. It's a good way to research how they are doing what they're doing." Ishino muses as he'd study what they were sailing towards. "We'll need to try and capture a puppeteer alive too."
Yoichi's body would reform on the deck of the ship after taking the puppets and their controlled ship out, resuming his normal activity of leaning against the cabin wall silently with his arms folded. Once they arrival, he'd look over to Ishino, giving a simple nod. "I'll see what I can preserve," he says with a slight smirk as he looks back ahead. "As for the puppeteer, to be controlling this large an amount from a distance, he's got to have some endurance. He should survive a…. mild blast."
"Might I suggest there might be more than one? These small armies spawn all over the countries. There's no way one of them can focus on this many things…" He pauses… "I don't know how they do it, but whomever is behind this has got to have some kind of control center!"
When they arrive (they were silently inserted with the boat) they find out upon taking a better look that charging the camps head on might not be wise. There's a - huge - army stationed here. And a good gaze over the horizon reveals there's two more a few miles away. There's literally thousands of soldiers here, made of flesh and blood I might add! It seems the puppets are their foreign legion! These guys look serious though, and they're geared for war!
"I concur. This looks like multiple puppeteers at work." Ishino muses as they got off the boat. A nod was given to the sailor, before his attention would turn to the masses. Pondering, Ishino looked around. "Best bet, find the leadership and remove them. It looks like they have resources on their side. However, I'm not sure exactly how strong they are. I could hit a fairly wide swath with genjutsu. Either to bind them or simply drain them. Even I have a limit on how many minds I can hit, so they might be able to overwhelm me." Ishino glanced to the other two. "Your call Yoichi-san. You'll be dealing with the brunt of their forces. We focus strike, or alpha."
"Plausible theory," Yoichi says with a nod before he leaps off the boat. He ponders for a bit as they speak, glancing at the giant mass of soldiers. "Bravado can be a powerful thing, but I imagine the new Kage would prefer we come back from this alive. If we just charge in, even we might die due to the numbers surrounding us, which leaves Keichi out of luck entirely," he says, pondering things over in his mind a bit then points toward some dunes and rocks. "Hide there for now. I'm going to see what I can find." With that, his shape would turn into water then shift into the that of one of the soldiers in the camp before re-colorizing. "… Wait here. I'll send a signal when it's time. I suggest you use a Genjutsu to disguise your entrance as best possible when you come." With that, he'd splatter and sink down into the sand to travel as a mere underground puddle to find a spot in the camp to pop up behind something large and infiltrate. Seems the man best known for his destruction capabilities also has quite the mind for other types of shinobi work.
Keichi's head snaps at Ishino… "Ehm… Ishino sensei.." He swallows for a moment. "I ehm.. Don't know any genjutsu. Now do I know how to hide very well.." He blinks a few times and laughs almost awkwardly. "Yeaaa… Great idea…"
Yoichi for now mostly finds battle ready camp, divided over different sectors. It's soon clear this is a combined army, either captured or an alliance. Since every section speaks a different language and dialect. Though the first kilometers of walking really are very much of the same. Chow, weapons… Some entertainmen, rince and repeat!
"Good thing my genjutsu can cover both of us." Ishino would smile with a small nod towards Keichi. He looked to Yoichi and gave a nod. "Make it your normal effort and I will know that means it's time to converge. I'll get us there. We wreck the leadership and as much as we can, then I mask us and we get out." He'd watch Yoichi go, before retreating to the dune as suggested. Of course, Time Keeper's henge would get modified, mirroring that of the guards. But he stayed with the two shinobi. It'd be there as part of a potential need. Nothing saying this group can't read henges off puppets.. considering how many puppets had been in use.
Meanwhile, Yoichi continues to wander the camp. He would move as if on a certain duty or patrol, merely slipping through the camp in search of any sort of command center. This large a crowd makes him wish he'd asked Yuuka to come along as well since their shared abilities work wonders for watching each other's back in thinning the masses. Oh well, at least a talented Genjutsuist should be able to freeze a large portion of the crowd for him to take them out if need be.