Date: October 20, 2016
Kenta, Biwa and a group of Biwa's friends return to the Konoha side of the moonflower tree to clear out the manticore flies nesting in there.
"On the Wings of Friendship - Taking Winged Command"
Flower Fruit Valley & Land of Fire
While they don't know much about accomodating human needs, the butterflies have provided Kenta with enough for a mostly comfortable night's stay, and when he wakes up in the morning, Biwa is waiting outside the hut with breakfast: a big leaf (though far smaller than the leaf the hut is built on) piled high with all sorts of fruit, some of which Kenta would recognize and some that perhaps no human has ever encountered. It's all at the perfect ripeness—juicy and sweet.
"Good morning," says Biwa, "So… I was thinking. Do you think it was a bad idea to just leave the manticore-flies in the passage like that?"
Kenta shakes his head when he sees the pile of fruit. "Umm… all of you really know how to treat guests, even though you guys don't have much practice." He sits down and helps himself to some of the more exotic fruits, mainly because he wants to see how they taste like. He listens seriously while Biwa asks him the question and doesn't answer right away. The young man considers the question as he masticates a bright yellow berry that tastes a bit like lychee crossed with lemon. "You mean the ones that followed us partway before the passage closed again? Umm… I see how that could make traveling the other way dangerous again, but there's already all those camped on the other side too. I wonder if they could cause some kind of instability that might damage the passage itself though. I bet this isn't something that usually happens."
"Oh, well, we don't know how to treat humans. But there are other butterfly villages, so we know how to treat guests." Biwa's wings flutter for a moment, then he bobs the front of his body up and down. "And nobody will be able to use the passage safely," he says, "And it's probably the best way to get you back home… Er, no pressure. I was just thinking, what if I got some people together, and you came with us to fight them?"
Kenta's brows furrows. He lowers a many-lobed magenta fruit that he was about to bite into. "Umm… are you sure your people would even want to do this? I mean, the bulk is on the other side and I know that leaving the valley isn't something that the people here really do except in emergencies. I won't want to be the cause of anyone getting hurt." The young man worries at his bottom lip. "I was just going to see if I can round up some shinobi once I get back to Konoha." Big assumption that he manages to.
"But all the other trees lead to places really far away from Konoha," says Biwa, "You're going to fight through the tunnel and get past all the other ones all on your own? I mean, I know you totally beat a bunch up, but even you couldn't… well, could you? Um, I know I might not be much compared to you, but if I get some of the bigger butterflies, and some of the ones who are better at ninjutsu, you could probably beat them all up with their help."
"Umm… I mean, it's not that you don't make sense. I just wonder how many of your friends would actually want to help." Kenta looks around the area, noting all the colorful butterflies of various sizes fluttering around the strange tree village. The bright shafts of sunshine entering between huge green leaves, the color flowers all over, and the flapping of rainbow wings amongst silk spun cocoon homes makes the place look like a fairy tale. "It's so peaceful here. No one's going to thank me for stirring things up."
"No," says Biwa, "That isn't true. The manticore-flies can be anywhere in the jungle. We have to take out our warriors when we go foraging for food. I bet if there was a big enough group of them, they'd even try to attack us here." He shudders. "I bet the warriors would really love having someone even stronger than them to help them fight. They could get rid of a whole big group of them with you in charge."
Kenta fidgets uncomfortable and hides his face behind a bite of the magenta fruit. That unfortunately also paints his nose with the livid juice of the fruit, but the young man doesn't notice on account of not having a mirror handy at the moment. It takes several long seconds of silence before he swallows and tentatively starts to speak again. "I guess this all depends on your clan. Umm… neither of us can really speak for them. Maybe you can go ask around and we'll see what happens? It's likely that no one wants to take the risk, but I guess it doesn't hurt to check."
Biwa sits there and continues to watch Kenta eat, waiting for his response. "Okay," he says when it comes, "I'll go and see what everyone says. See you soon!" He turns around and walks away, then flaps his wings and takes off into the air.
Fifteen minutes later, he lands in front of Kenta again, followed by about a dozen or so other butterflies. A few aren't much bigger than Biwa, but others are much larger. In addition to some that look similar to Biwa (just more grown up), he's also brought along a giant swallowtail and a goliath birdwing—large is only relative when discussing the normal butterflies of these species, but these ones have bodies like elephants. "I got everyone," says Biwa, "Do you think this will be enough?"
Fifteen minutes is long enough for Kenta to finish eating his breakfast. He barely put a dent into the fruit laid out for him, but that's no surprise when considering that the pile of fruit is about half again his own weight. "Umm…" Kenta utters as he quickly gets to his feet. The huge leaf that he's standing on bobs slightly despite how sturdy it is. "Konichiwa. I'm Akiyama Kenta. Nice to meet all of you," he greets after he gives the entire group a bow. He looks from butterfly to butterfly, his gaze stopping a bit longer on the two huge ones that completely dwarf the others. "Umm… all of you really volunteered to go help clear out the manticore fly infestation on the other side of that moonflower tree? It'll be dangerous."
Kenta receives a chorus of nice-to-meet-you-toos in response. Some of the butterflies here have seen him before, but others haven't and are looking at him quite curiously. Fortunately, word of a human in the village has spread by now, so nobody is mistaken as to his species. "Oh, don't worry," says Biwa, "I told them all that. They know about everything they'll have to fight. Um, everybody split up into fighters and… ninjutsu-ers."
The butterflies shuffle around until they're in two groups. The two huge butterflies, not surprisingly, are among the fighters. Biwa walks over to join the "ninjutsu-ers." "Okay, what now?" he asks.
"Umm… I need to know more about your abilities as a group," Kenta says after a moment of thought. He nods at the two huge butterflies. "I guess you two are best at fending off enemies physically and keeping them away from your targets? If that's the case, I'd need both of you to be in the front lines, but at forty five degrees to either side of the main group to give us an opening for long ranged jutsu. I'll block anyone that gets pass the both of you with barrier jutsu." The young man glances at the ninjutsu using butterflies. "You can all use long and mid ranged attacks right? Anyone have abilities that can slow down the manticore flies as they approach us? Genjutsu maybe?"
The butterflies all look to Kenta with rapt attention as he starts to form the battle plan. The two giants nod as Kenta explains their role to them, then a bunch of the ninjutsu-using butterflies speak up as Kenta asks about long-range abilities and ways to slow the manticore-flies down. "We can fight them with our light jutsu," Biwa explains, "Manticore-flies are really scary, but they don't have anything like that. And we can make barriers with it too."
Kenta nods his head up and down. "The main group should try to stay in a formation three ranks deep with enough room to allow all of us to perform our jutsu without risk of hitting each other." He furrows his brows in thought as he considers what else might be important. "Umm… Some of us are bound to get hurt. I hope there are medics among you, but if not, I'll be the only one. I want anyone that gets injured to get directly behind me for healing while others take their spot. Hopefully this won't get too confusing, but entering a rotation like this allows me to heal the injured without having to move around too much to get to them." He pauses again. "I think that's it for now. Does anyone else have something to add?"
Kenta's request for comments only draws out a chorus of cheers from the butterflies. Looks like the bugs are ready for battle! Now that the war party is organized and ready to go, they start out back towards the moonflower tree that Kenta and Biwa used to come into the valley—some of the larger butterflies volunteer to give Kenta a ride so he doesn't have to worry about navigating the jungle again.
When they arrive at the moonflower tree, everyone gets into their position, according to how Kenta planned it. Then Biwa approaches the tree. "Okay," he says, "I'll open it. Do you have anything to say before I begin, Kenta?"
Kenta hops off the huge swallowtail that he was riding and bows his thanks to the giant creature. He had made preparations while the group was in flight, mainly in the form of ingesting various pills to fuel jutsu that he's using and making sure that his equipment are easy to reach in times of need. The young man nods his head when Biwa asks the question. He steps up to the tree next to his friend and turns around.
"Umm… I just want everyone to know that I proud be working with all of you in this endeavor. Umm… I know that this won't be easy, but you're all valiant hearts for agreeing to this. With some luck and diligence, we'll all complete this task without a hitch." Kenta nods to Biwa. "Ok, open up the passage. I'll enter first and knock back any of the manticore flies that might still be inside. We'll all get into formation once we exit."
The butterflies all cheer as Kenta finishes his pre-battle speech. "Okay!" says Biwa, "Everyone get ready! Here goes…!" He sets his two front legs on the tree and his body starts to glow faintly as he channels light chakra into the tree. The ground rumbles beneath them all as the tree starts to shift. Then it slowly uncoils, revealing the passage beneath it.
No sooner is the passage visible than manticore-flies start spilling out of its mouth. They've been trapped in there about a day now, and they've become ravenous. Light chakra from the butterflies arcs through the sky, from the butterflies at the manticore flies. Biwa, near the tree, takes off to rejoin the main group, but he's forced to break off as one of the manticore-flies slips through the blasts of light chakra and starts to pursue him through the sky. "Ahhhhh!"
Kenta expected to be manticore flies inside the passage, but not so many. He ducks under a pair of snapping jaws and yells out to everyone, "Hold your ground! We have to push through and get to the other side!" As another manticore fly attacks him, Kenta's entire body flickers out of sight and reappears several yards away at the moment right before impact. Once the chakra energizing his motions fades, he makes several hand seals. The medic-nin leaves the manticore flies that have gotten through to his makeshift army and focuses a huge blast of wind into the passage itself to try to push back others that are swarming through.
Kenta's wind roars loudly in the tunnel and the steady stream of manticore-flies abates for now. The handful that made it out before are either going down in hails of light chakra or are trying unsuccessfully to take the larger butterflies in close quarters combat. The only real problem in this reprieve is the pursuit of Biwa up above. Apparently seeing no other choice, Biwa dives right for the ninjutsu group, which scatters as the manticore-fly follows him there. Now the attack force is out of formation and the manticore-flies in the tunnel can't be too far behind.
"Biwa, duck!" Kenta exclaims right before he tosses several poison tags directly into the path of the manticore fly that's chasing his friend. He slaps his hands together and will the tags to explode, which fills the air with a cloud of caustic green mist. "Everyone, take down the remaining manticore flies on this end and follow me through! Remember to get back into formation as soon as we reach the other end!" With that order given out, Kenta quickly runs into the shimmering passage that had opened up in the enormous tree's trunk. He's already making hand seals as he runs.
Biwa huddles against the ground while his pursuer is enveloped in the poisonous mist. Although the formation has been broken up, the butterflies are able to quickly mop up and follow Kenta into the passage. The flies inside have recovered from Kenta's last attack. They're nearly surging out of the cave as Kenta charges in at them.
The good thing about the passageway is that it's narrow. This means that there isn't much room to dodge away from jutsu that affects a wide area. This would be trouble for Kenta's group as well, if it wasn't for the fact that the manticore flies don't seem to be able to do anything of that sort. All Kenta needs to do is to keep the creatures out of melee range and hopefully no one will get hurt. He inhales deeply, forms the last hand seal in the series that he started, and sends out another blast of wind. The suction created by the moving air makes his hair flutter and drags at the wings of the butterflies behind him.
There are shouts of surprise from the butterflies behind Kenta. The passage ahead of him is quickly cleared once again. But when he moves forward the manticore-flies have recovered once again and they're scrabbling and shoving to get past one another so they can fight. Already they're whipping their stingers Kenta's way.
Kenta barely manages to avoid the barrier of stingers. He whips forth a tag to conjure up a wall of chakra to block the attacks. There's so many that the wall has severely deteriorated before he's able to retaliate by sending yet another blast of wind to scatter the manticore flies in an attempt to open up some space for the butterflies streaming out behind him. "Umm… everyone into formation! You two keep them off us!" he exclaims pointing to the two biggest butterflies. "Everyone else, start picking out any of the enemy that gets close to us. Remember to move behind me at once if you get hurt!"
The butterflies push out into the clearing after Kenta. It's taken some work to squeeze the larger butterflies into the narrow passage, so they come out more disorganized than Kenta might have hoped. As they make their way out they hurry to get into the formation or at least prepare some light ninjutsu, but the webbing still scattered around the area hampers them, and a swarm of manticore-flies is already descending from the skies to attack.
An expression of dismay appears on Kenta's face. Using so many higher rank jutsu is bound to deplete his chakra quickly, especially if he has to support the group as a medic too. "Keep them from approaching! We can't let them reach us!" He quickly points at Biwa and two of the other smaller butterflies. "Cut away the webbing around is to create more room for us to maneuver. Everyone else focus on the breaking up that swarm!" Kenta focuses chakra as quickly as he can, molds it with a series of hand seals and sends it into the sky. A sudden downburst of intense wind surges out of the sky, threatening to knock the approaching manticore flies out of the air and pin them prone wherever they fall.
Biwa and the smaller butterflies start slinging their light chakra at the ground to cut the webbing away while the other ninjutsu-users start firing upwards. The manticore-flies above them weave and zig-zag amongst one another. Most of the light passes by them and they continue to descend on the butterflies until Kenta's jutsu brings most of them slamming into the ground. The two largest butterflies charge over to each of the fallen flies and finish them off by simply throwing them around with the weight of their bodies. Those remaining from the attack are now harassing the edges of the ninjutsu group, which isn't fairing so well in close combat, even if the enemy is lower in number.
Kenta does his best to aid his fellow comrades. Even though more space is available due to the efforts to cut some of the webbing, the butterflies are still group a bit too tightly for him to use some of his more dangerous jutsu. Instead, Kenta rapidly remove defensive tags from various pockets in his vest pockets and focuses on tossing them to create seal walls whenever he sees one of the butterflies about to get skewered or bitten by one of the manticore flies.
With Kenta's help, the ninjutsu-group is able to fight off the manticore-flies. The larger butterflies have dispatched the last of their enemies as well. A silence settles over the clearing. The butterflies look around. "Are they all gone?" asks Biwa. They look around again, then a cheer goes up. "Hooray! All hail the mighty KentaAAAAAAHHH!"
The moonflower tree cracks apart as an enormous form pushes its way out of the passage. The entrance crumbles around it as its huge form pushes away the earth surrounding it, and then finally it emerges, a huge manticore-fly, easily three times the size of a normal one, its carapace covered in red streaks. One butterfly is quick on the attack and fires light chakra at it and the others quickly join, but more manticore-flies spill out of the passage behind it and they're forced to push them back with fire as well. The great birdwing charges at the enemy, but the red manticore-fly smashes it away with a single swing of its caber-like tail.
"Umm… that seemed a bit -too- easy…" Kenta starts to say when the butterflies begin to cheer. His comment is cut off right in the middle when the itching feeling that he has turns into full blown horror at the sight of the new manticore fly army that's coming up behind them through the tree. No one had expected -that- to happen. "Stay away from the big one and leave it to me! Everyone else, focus on keeping the rest from coming out and overwhelming us!" With that order given, Kenta charges into the fight the way that a medic-nin never should. Medical chakra quickly shrouds his hand in a bright aura as he shapes it into a cutting edge. The young man darts at the supersize manticore fly's legs and tries to cut the muscles within the carapace with his chakra scalpels.
The butterflies rally as Kenta takes control of the situation and start launching salvos of light chakra at the smaller manticore flies. The red fly looks about to charge at the butterflies, but as Kenta approaches it stops and swings its tail. It misses and falls onto one side as one of its legs is cut apart from the inside. It shifts the weight to its other legs and brings itself back up again, then beats its wings rapidly to lash Kenta and swings its tail around randomly.
The red manticore fly may look big and clumsy, but it apparently has more than size to its advantage. Wind from its massive wings buffet Kenta as he seeks to avoid the rapidly lashing tail. It unbalances the medic-nin just enough that he flickers out of reach once, twice, and then gets smacked mid-flicker the third time. Kenta goes careening the trunk of a web draped tree, where he lies stunned and out of breath for a few seconds before he manages to shake off the block. He gets to his feet with a wince, quickly scans the area to see how the rest of the group is doing, and then head back into the fray. The young man digs his feet into the ground, inhales deeply and blows a spray of hardened wind bullets from his mouth directly at the giant manticore fly's flapping wings.
Apparently deciding that Kenta needs to be taken out first, the red manticore-fly doesn't lose its focus on him. As soon as Kenta is set flying, it jumps up into the air and starts buzzing towards him, only take a hard landing itself as one of Kenta's wind bullets blasts through one wing. It picks itself up almost immediately and its rear legs start working behind it as it stares at Kenta. Then it flips up to reveal its abdomen and whips a tangle of sticky webbing at Kenta.
"Ahhhh!" Kenta exclaims when he's suddenly facing an oncoming blast of webbing. The young man doesn't have enough time to dodge, so he weaves a quick seal and stamps a foot on the ground instead. A seal array appears underneath his feet and quickly brings up four shimmering walls to protect himself from the webbing. Thankfully, he manages to do this in time, so the substance slides down to the ground instead. Kenta drops the barrier and jumps away from the soil that has basically been turned into a sticky trap.
"Watch out for the big one's webbing!" Kenta calls out to the rest of his group. The young man grits his teeth and mumbles under his breath. "You're not the only one that can do something like that…" Kenta drops to one knee and slams a hand into the ground. Black seals suddenly flood down his arm to create a wave of darkness headed right for the manticore boss. When the ground underneath the creature is saturated, a golden chakra filament lashes out from the center to each seal to create an entangle web that seeks to bind it in place. The binding technique also targets all the smaller manticore flies closest to it, but avoids the butterflies.
By the time the webs have flopped onto the ground around Kenta, the boss fly has righted itself and started charging towards Kenta. When it's finally bound by the threads of chakra, it's very nearly within striking distance of Kenta. Perhaps even within striking distance, since it raises its tail and snaps it forward to try and hit the mednin, even as it hauls against the bindings, straining them to their limit.
Kenta's forced to create another barrier around himself to absorb the blow. The impact is so powerful that the barrier is completely spiderwebbed with cracks and in danger of collapsing. The medic-nin moves as soon as it's safe to, ducking under the red manticore's spiked tail and trying to get underneath the huge creature. He dissolves one of the pills sitting in his stomach while he sprints forward and uses the short time he has to make handseals as well. When Kenta is fully underneath the manticore fly, he makes the last hand seal in the series. "Umm… Let's see you dodge this!" He aims his mouth upwards, purses his lips and spits a barrage of chakra needles laced with the second most powerful toxin in his arsenal.
As Kenta ducks under the manctiore, he hears the tail slamming into the ground just behind him. The chains of chakra start to break away as the mighty beast pushes harder and harder away. Kenta's chakra needles all fail to penetrate the strong carapace that protects the manticore but one. As it gets free of the last chain and leaps away, the tiny cracks that surround the needle start to spread until they've formed a prominent breach in the armor. But even with that and the poison, it's still going, and it whips around to charge at Kenta once again, trying to simply throw the weight of its big body against him.
"Ahhhh!" Kenta reacts as quickly as he's able to and creates the strongest barrier that he's able to make. Another stream of seals flow down his body into the ground, but it resolves into a brightly glowing golden barrier instead. The barrier shudders from the impact of the red manticore's enormous weight. Thankfully, this particular jutsu is strong enough to take even a blow from a tailed beast.
The air around Kenta begins to distort while he stands inside his protective barrier. Double seal chains wrap up his neck to create seal circles on his cheeks while his body becomes flushed with an incredible amount of chakra from releasing the storage seal tattooed on his chest. Drawing every ounce of strength he can muster, Kenta wraps both of his hands incredibly sharp medical chakra. He dissolves another pill in his stomach, which he breathes forth onto his shrouded hands in the misty green plumes of the deadliest poison he ever concocted. Then, Kenta slashes both hands upwards with a shout. His poisonous chakra scalpels extends upwards like twin scythes to cut through both the barrier protecting him, trees, rocks and anything unfortunate enough to get in the way.
Even halted by the barrier, the manticore fly keeps trying to crush it apart with its considerable weight. It applies more and more pressure until Kenta's jutsu rips through it, carapace, then vitals, then carapace again as two sprays of blue-green gore jet out of its back. Then, whether it's the combination of two deadly poisons or the severity of the blows Kenta has just dealt it, it slumps off to one side, limbs twitching pitifully as its remaining life seeps away.
Kenta pants heavily and wipes the sweat from his brow. The sight of giant loops of intestine falling out of his opponent doesn't faze him, but it's a little unpleasant to consider that the red manticore might have landed on him instead of to the side due to the destruction of his barrier. Kenta quickly turns to survey how the rest of the group is doing.
The butterflies have weathered the second attack. Few have escaped without injuries, but most are able to move under their own power and move the more severely wounded to get them ready for medical attention. All around the group are the bodies of felled manticore-flies. "Kenta!" Biwa, who has made it through with only a broken antenna, flutters up to Kenta. "We did it! And you were amazing too! I can't believe you handled that big one all by yourself!"
Kenta heaves a sigh of relief. "Umm… it was a close one and I was very lucky," he replies demurely. "I was worried that you guys might have been overwhelmed by all those others ones coming out of that moonflower tree. Umm… I hope that we didn't lose the way back to your homes. It'd be terrible for you all to come out here to help me only to get stuck…" Kenta shuffles his feet a few times, but doesn't have the luxury to brood on his misgivings for long. He has more work to do. The medic-nin jogs over to the most injured of the butterflies to begin medical treatment.
"No!" says Biwa, "You were amazing! I saw you blast that guy like bwaaaaa-pckapcka-BWAAA—something like that. No wonder we one, with you helping!" He looks over to the damaged moonflower tree, which has been partly uprooted and has a number of deep cracks in its trunk. "We'll fix it!" he declares, "We'll come back here later and then we can fix it. Those trees respond to light chakra, so we can fix it that way."
A cheer goes up as Kenta returns to the main butterflies—even the badly hurt butterflies are in awe of him.