Date: January 7, 2017
Goh and Mushi are once again approached by a mysterious organization…
"The Chronos Project - Part 2"
While the bioluminescent lake was a nice place to visit during the day, its true beauty was in the evening. The aura that the waters glow with are truly magical. Perhaps even alien like! And a popular place to visit. Whether it be to meditate or bring a hot date to, this was the place to be.
Which is why it's almost a bit surprising that no-one is actually here on this cool eve. Aside from the Salamander and the Bird, who have walked in from the path to take in the sights. Goh wears his normal attire, tattered cloak swirling and billowing about him as subtle breezes sweep off the lake surface.
"Phheewwwww." He whines in impressive awe. "This place is amazing! What do you think makes the lake glow like this? Some sort of magic, huh?" The man grins, happy to leave the science of it all and just call it 'magic'. Because. Why not?
The evening was nice. Not a cloud was in the sky, meaning the moon and twinkling stars were in full view in the inky sky above. The sounds of various nighttime critters can be heard buzzing and humming. Even some owls can be heard hooting. Perhaps hunting the buzzing bugs.
Mushi grew tired of selling different kinds of merchandise as quickly as she enjoyed it. She made a tidy bundle and had stock left to spare, which she stored away. She's talking to Goh about it. "You know, if you think about it I have a small fortune stored away in my scrolls," she says. "The bulk of my money isn't with me, but if you release all the contents I have an entire apothecary of herbs and medicine. Sealed artifacts. Clothes, food, supplies, and so on. Plus there's a few things you can't put a price tag on." The thought makes her pat her medical pack, as if to make sure they're there. Then her hand would slip into Mushi's warm, and soft. "Yup," she says. "Magic." She gazes out over the lake. She, too, doesn't want to find out what chemical or lifeform gives it that hue. She does bend to pick up a pebble and throw it swiftly. It skips a few times over the surface and lands in the lake with a soft 'plop.' "Kiri isn quite nice, this time around."
"This time around." Goh repeats, perhaps agreeing with that notion. "It's been nice, even. Dare I say it?" As if saying such a thing would perhaps jinx such an experience. Grinning to her as his hand gives her a nice squeeze, his gaze is cast back out into the lake — watching the ripples extend from her earlier rock throw. With a large breath he inhales, then exhales. Perhaps trying to focus.
Perhaps what Goh said just then DID jinx the niceness of it all. The arrival of the two enemy ninja is swift and without sound. In fact, even shinobi of Mushi's calibre would have at least a bit of trouble detecting them! Until, of course, both of them land on the surface of the lake. Both of them are dressed in matching outfits, suggesting that they belong to the same group. One is female, it looks. Small in stature at only five feet. Her long, black spiky hair can be seen disappearing over her shoulders. Her partner is larger, standing at nearly Goh's height with a similar build. With an orange beard, this figure sports a large spiked mohawk, with his head well waxed and shaved to the side. A large cigar can be seen in his mouth. Already lit and smoking. Their uniforms are mostly black and long sleeved, with large collars hiding their necks. Yellow circles can be seen patterned on. Maybe the organization symbol?
Goh flinches in surprise at the sudden appearance, his mouth and grip on Mushi's hand tightening.
"Kuuuuuu!" The large man cries, taking his cigar from his mouth. "THIS is what we are doing these days? Playing round up on lovers? Spare me." The much smaller girl steps forward. "Shut up." Tone filled with sass and edginess. "Just do your job for once without complaint."
When the two shinobi appear, Mushi lets out a sigh. She gives Goh a 'this is all your fault for jinxing it' glare, and turns back to the two shinobi. She's not relaxed however. She had flinched at the abruptness of their arrival, before she regained her calm composure. Now she's studying both closely, before she turns to Goh, and gives him a pat on the back. "Good luck," she says…and she steps back to take the sidelines. She's not needed for this one, or at least that's what she seems to be signaling. She is gathering her chakra however. And now she says, "Hey guys, if we're not worth it why bother in the first place? If you stand down, we'll stand down." She pauses and then adds hopefully, "Please."
"Eeeeeehhhh…?!" Goh reels when Mushi seems to signal for Goh to take these two ALL ON HIS OWN! "We're supposed to be on a hot date here, Mushi. That means doing things together, right? Eh heh." With a sigh he turns back to the pair in front of him, eyeing their forms up an down. Perhaps wondering what each of them could do.
"You can call me Moeru." The big one suggests, cigar being planted back into his mouth. "And that's Hakujona." The girl sniffs, barking at the older man. Upon close inspection, it looks like the girl actually has markings similar to the Inuzuka clan inscribed on her cheeks. If not the same. "Stop talking, you mohawk wearing bastard. And get a proper haircut. Tch." The smaller girl rounds on Goh. Mushi as well, as she's still in her field of view. "You remember two fellas who came to you two a few weeks ago? Asking you to join a team for a great cause? Well… They don't take 'no' for an answer. So we've come to force you guys along." She smiles oddly, as if she were a bit mad in the head. Moeru just remains there, standing still with arms folded across his chest.
"How about this for a proposition. We need a good, strong Akuu clan member. And a healer of Mushi's calibre." The girl speaks, pointing to the two wanderers. "In return, we'll release the Akuu clan members we have in captivity go."
Goh blinks. His mouth drops a bit. Did she just say that they HAD Akuu clan members? Is Goh not the only one left?
Mushi crosses her arms as they speak, until they mention captive Akuu members. She shoots a look at the Salamander, and places a reassuring hand on his shoulder. Then, she turns back to them. "All the Akuu have been wiped out, the exception standing right in front of you," she says flatly. "We'll consider your proposition if you have some proof you do hold a living Akuu. Otherwise, why should we believe you?" It turns out she didn't reject their proposal right away. Maybe it's for Goh's sake. Or maybe it's to think up some strategy.
As her hand rests on Goh's shoulder in a close gesture she's actually channeling chakra into him. Enough that he can attack right from the start. She's doing it so slowly it'd be hard to detect, but even if they saw it she doesn't plan to waste time if it turns into a confrontation. She isn't sure whether they themselves have come fully ready. And she says to him, "In the end, it's your call, Goh-kun." And she says it clearly, for all to hear.
"Kukuku! Proof? Like what? A body part? Their gross third eye?" The smaller statured girl replies with a chuckle. "I'm not here to sell you of anything. If you want to save them though, just come willingl— HURK!"
Goh and Mushi formed the ultimate team. Because they spend so much time together, they often knew what the other was thinking. The pickler had clenched his fist tightly with Hakujona speaking, and finally acted. In a flash of movement he had closed the distance between the pair, with only his cloak flapping about as he pinned the enemy girl to the surface of the water. Knee in her gut, his hand gripped around her throat. And clenching hard. "You tell me where you're holding these clan members… and I'll let you live. How about that for a proposition?" Goh growls, eyes wide. So focussed and furious. So rarely this serious. Hakujona just smiles up at him, even as she struggles to breathe. "Piss….off…" She sort of chokes out.
That's all that is said, as Moeru appears with a flash of movement behind Goh, ready to back up his pinned partner.
"A body part? Don't be so crude. I meant their names." She shakes her head. Mushi blinks when Goh goes in for the kill. He's not pulling any punches. She hadn't seen him this angry since the Seven. And from the sound of it, they're dealing with an enemy of great number. Though it may not be greater danger. She waits for the girl to reply, but she isn't acting like a person who is caught in a stranglehold. Mushi chews on her lip. This is going to get messy. She'd meant to call for help, but if Kiri forces get ahold of these two, they might not get the information they want.
Plus Goh is in a bit of a bind. Supposedly they'll be taken in alive, but Mushi is no longer going to be a spectator on the side. So when the man appears all three of them are promptly engulfed in a sweeping wave of chakra. That is if they remain there. Both of them would find themselves frozen by the attack. Though Goh would only feel a faint tingling as her chakra washes over him. It seems she can use this attack selectively.
The bodies are frozen! Goh narrows his eyes on the enemy female for a moment, not feeling too worried with Moeru frozen by that chakra wave. "Last chance. Or I kill you right now and get other means of finding where you're keeping these people." For a moment he just stays there, before his head tilts a little. "Huh?"
Mushi's technique had worked, of that there was little doubt. But it seems that these were naught but clones! Shadow clones, to be precise. Which proceed to EXPLODE! KABOOOOM!
Being so close to the shadow clone detonation, the pickler is enveloped in fire and smoke. Though his form can be seen jumping out of the smoke not long after, having just noticed at the last moment and guarded himself from serious damage. But still suffering injuries, given the mild burns and grazes seen on his face. Sailing through the air, he lands next to Mushi with a grunt.
There is nary a time to breathe though, for the next attacks are coming! The much smaller Hakujona, presumably the real one, lets fly a series of shuriken and kunai knives for the pair from a hidden location to the side.
Mushi throws up a thin barrier of seals between the enemy to block both of them from the attack. When the kunai and shuriken strike they bounce off as if they'd struck rubber. The projectiles fall harmlessly to the ground. But Mushi isn't done there. She peels off a tag and drops it on the ground before her feet. A thin trail of seals would run across the ground like a fuse. It'd make a beeline towards the real shinobi, and form a seal underneath her before detonating via contact. Chakra explodes outwards. She gives him a cocky smile. "You can't even make me move from this spot," she says to her. Her voice is dripping with contempt. She's definitely looking down on this girl, which isn't Mushi's style. Nor is it her style to have a hand on her hip, as if she's relaxed. She's provoking her. She's also a very good actress.
Hakujona watches as the fuse of seals rapidly closes the distance to her, green eyes widening as a ripple of chakra explodes out from the ground! "Kuh—!" BOOM! Dashing out of the cloud of debris that is formed from Mushi's attack, it looks like Hakujona is wounded. Her left arm looks to be injured, given that it's just hanging lifelessly at her side.
In that moment, the second shinobi in Moeru appears like a shadow behind the wanderers. With a fist retracted, he lets it fly right for the back of Mushi's head — hoping to catch her off guard while she was using that technique. Fortunately the move is blocked by Goh, the pickler wincing as his hands hiss from making physical contact with the enemy. Moeru, with cigar still in his mouth, snickers. "I heat my body parts up to boiling temperatures. Even when you just touch me it means you get burned!" With a grit of his teeth, Goh performs a judo type move, grasping the man and HURLING him over to his partner. Something that doesn't do a lot of damage, but just to get him away.
"I can't believe you got hurt." Moeru remarks to his partner after landing from the Goh-throw, looking down at her with a smirk. "Shut up you red haired bitch." Hakujona replies with a grunt. "She's the tough one."
Goh looks at his palm in the meanwhile, badly burned from making contact with Moeru. "We can't let this drag out." The pickler speaks softly to Mushi. "Kirigakure forces will be here soon. They won't let all these explosions just be." Pause. "Follow my lead."
Taking a step forward, Goh closes his eyes for a moment before snapping them open. As he does so, his chakra swells and swirls about his form. The air gets heavy. The ground beneath begins to splinter and crack. The pickler is merely exerting his 'pressure', a force of true dominance that, combined with Mushi's own (assuming she will follow suit), will spook the enemies.
Mushi glances around in time to see Goh intercept an attack aimed at her head. It's not a bad strategy to aim at a medic's head. A one shot kill is the best way to take down a medic. Not to mention it rattles the brain, and a medic who can't think can't heal. So she's frowning when he reveals his techniques, which may not be a wise move, but it definitely puts Mushi on edge. "A Miira," she says softly. It makes sense. Even though some Miira belong to Sunagakure, others are legally unaffiliated and desert wanderers.
She's framing her next technique when Goh asks her to follow his lead. She cuts off midway, and gives him a nod. They all have a time limit. When Goh begins to concentrate his chakra, one that makes the air heavy, Mushi joins in. Hers is as dense as stone, and a crushing force. The ground ripples outwards, an undulation as if it's water rather than earth. There's a symbol on her cheek, that of a leaf-like symbol. She's unlocked at least one seal to channel more force. "Ruined," she whispers bitterly. "My vacation, ruined."
The chakra of Mushi and Goh are often kept under wraps, and for good reason. Walking around like a beacon is just not smart for any number of reasons. So when either cut loose it can be a surprise for their foes. And when both do it together? Well. It combines to form a force rarely seen.
The air densifies, becoming thick and hard to breathe. For Moeru and Hakujona, as strong and experienced as they are? They quickly begin to realise how out of depth they are. It's as if any movement they make will be crushed. As if they are looking into the very valleys and pits of Hell itself. Sweat rolls off their face, dripping into the splintering ground below. Then?
They pull the pin.
It's Hakujona who moves, daring her luck to throw a smoke bomb into the air that conceals their movements to cover their escape. As they do, Goh relaxes, the swell of his chakra diminishing in a near instant.
"I'm sorry." He offers to his lover, turning around to look at Mushi. With the pair now alone once more, he looks at his burnt hand. "We might have to put our vacation on hold for a bit. Celebrate the New Year some other time."
Mushi sighs when they make their retreat. She could chase after them and probably catch them. However, a massive hummingbird zipping through the village would definitely attract attention. And while they don't want attention, this is the last place in the world Mushi wants too much attention either. She calls out, "If you leave us alone we'll leave you alone!" She waits for a reply but when none come she begins to clean up. And that's by placing her seals on a scroll, one that would draw in the massive amount of chakra in the air and seal it away. Plus the chakra of their two fled enemies. Then she rolls up the scroll and ties it off. "If someone asks why our chakra is all over the place, say we were sparring. No one else was with us."
After that she heals Goh's wounds. She does so in a matter of moments. Mushi's healing isn't only effective for its power, but also the speed at which she can heal someone. Even in the midst of battle. "A Miira," she says, "is the heat based clan. They're not fire. They're embers. At higher levels a Miira with scorching abilities can turn an entire lake into a pillar of steam. I've seen it. They're from the Land of Wind." Her tone is ominous. She leaves the rest unsaid.
"And an Inuzuka." Goh replies, sighing in some relief as his wounds become healed. "But with no non-dog that I could see." With eyebrows furrowed, he nods at the instruction. Sparring certainly made the most sense. They decided to just cut loose a bit! Right? Right.
"So, what do we think? A Miira. And an Inuzuka. Working together in outfits that matched. Is some new team forming? Is this the organization that is taking people?" He rolls his shoulders into a shrug. "Anyway." A huff. "We need to find out if what they said is true. Mushi, if there are other Akuu clan members… I need to find them. I need to know for sure." Once healed, he opens and closes his palm. It really was burned quite badly.
"And if they are taking other clan members and keeping them imprisoned to try and create some sort of mega ninja, we need to rescue those people too. But it's going to get dangerous. Even for us. If there are MORE people like that we faced today, it could be tricky." His healed hand lifts to rub his forehead in thought. "We need to find out where they are first. Maybe we should track those guys who just left. Moeru and… the other girl. They could lead us straight there."
"I have an idea," Mushi says. She makes a few hand seals and a bird appears. It's Kirameki who was dozing, wings drawn down. She peers at both of them in silence, as if she's considering something. Then she says, "You've been in much trouble, Mushi-chan."
Mushi grins. "Yeah," she says. "Sorry."
Kirameki says, "It's not you who should be sorry, it's him." She looks at the Salamander. "Ever since you started traveling with Goh you've been in constant danger. He draws peril to you like a lodestone. It's not merely me who thinks it. It's the others as well." She glances to Goh. "No offense." She doesn't sound apologetic though.
But Mushi reaches out to grab Goh. "It's my choice, Kirameki-chan. Besides, the danger that has come would've come without him around anyway. It's better that I have him as my partner."
Kirameki seems to think that over. Then she says to Goh, "Become stronger so you're not a burden to her, boy." She turns back to Mushi. "You are stubborn. Very well. You probably want to know about the feather you just placed. Is it a friend you gave it to, or an enemy?"
"An enemy," Mushi says. "I planted it on them while she was distracted, and now she's running away. Soon she'll probably discover it and take it off. Can you catch up and follow her? Without being seen?"
"Yes," Kirameki says, and flies off higher and higher into the sky, before vanishing from view."
Mushi rubs the back of her neck and sighs. "Sorry," she says to Goh. "She can be waspish sometimes when she's woken up."
"Ho." Goh smiles for the first time since the two enemies appeared, suitably impressed that Mushi had planted a feather. With his good hand, the pickler shows some loose fabric. "I grabbed this from that guy when I threw him. I was going to say, we could use this scent to track them, but your feathers are an improvement on it a hundred times." The pickler doesn't seem dissuaded by Kirameki's comments. He sort of nods along with them. Impressing them was like trying to impress her parents.
With a hand on his hip, he watches the hummingbird fly away. "She's not wrong." He replies to Mushi's apology. "Grumpy or not, she raises some good points. Hopefully one day I can show them that I'm worthy of you, huh?"
Stretching out his legs a little bit, he turns on his foot after reaching for Mushi's hand. "Come on. We need to prep and start heading out as soon as possible." And with this, he begins to step away from the lake. Ideally hoping to avoid any Kirigakure shinobi!