Date: May 15, 2014
Explorers come upon a find which they bring to a village they were visiting for their adventure. Ignoring the plight of the villagers regarding the find, the explorers end up fleeing when worse comes to worse and the villagers change into hideous monsters. Finding no one to turn to for fear of being attacked due to their appearance, they make up a request to have Kirigakure shinobi sent to help them, in the hopes that they could resolve this problem, for them.
"The Curse of the Wishing Idol"
Near Koumorite Village, Land of Water
A small village in the woods has been plagued by some issues for as long as they can remember. The thing is, as long as they can remember is not too long ago. Some adventurers came with the intention of looking and documenting local beliefs and mysteries and the village recounted some of their stories of happenings with them. They came with clear warnings of what happened if people wished to test these stories. The adventurers, though they assured the people that they wouldn't do anything, went out and decided to follow the hints of the stories to make adventure for themselves and also to see if these stories were true.
What they returned with was an idol of sorts that the villagers had right to fear. This item was spoken of plenty of times and no one wanted to have anything to do with it. Originally, nothing happened when the item was returned to the village by the adventurers, but over the course of time, the strangest things occured. People awakened to see that they had been changed. They became demons and although they retained their personalities and normal way of life the people didn't want to be these monsters in the first place. Any attempts at help had been met with fear and attacks. They couldn't get any help from anyone without thinking they'd lose their lives in the process. The adventurers had long since fled after they saw the effects of what had become of the people of the village, taking no responsibility for the problem they caused.
The village, hoping to petition some service, sent notice to Kiri about help they needed to fend off aggressive creatures. They made no note of describing anything with too much detail, so it was largely up to the shinobi to determine what they wanted to do. Isra, thinking that she could help fend off these beasties, decided she'd go and help out and she enlisted the help of Kiyoshi to assist her. He seemed to have experience dealing with a beast of his own, so maybe he could help out.
They traveled out of Kiri and into the wooded area where they followed the river until they reached the village that sent out the request. "Well, we're not too far from here. Strange, though. I don't hear anything or see signs of aggressive behavior from beasts…" She hoped they weren't all dead before they got here…
"Probably someone lieing just to have us deal with folk they can't tolerate, but can't deal with themselves either." Besides the initial greeting and maybe some half-hearted comment about the mission itself, these words were the only ones the boy has spoken since they left the village. Up until this point Kiyoshi has been in a rather pensive state. While this is nothing new per say, considering how he kept toying with some red feather in hand at odd intervals throughout the trip denoted something more going on than the simple frayed state of a budding teen.
"It could be. That could very well be the case. That isn't unusual for the requests that we get," Isra replies to Kiyoshi. Once they approach the village, the only thing they experience is an unusual quiet. The river flushes nearby, but otherwise, the village is empty. Were they too late? "…I…" She starts as she begins to look into the village. "You'd think that aggressive animals would be a bit more well, aggressive. I don't see any markings or sorts of things that characterise aggressive attacks. Not even signs of a scuffle," she sighs.
She looks off to the side and spots a sign indicating where the village leader's house was. "…Guess we ought to seek out this home and hope for the best."
Kiyoshi nods absently in return as he too searched the village for any signs of aggressive creatures or their whereabouts. Could they have come to the wrong village? It would certainly be a first, though not something that would've gone well with Isra's Mentor points by Kiyoshi's book. That is to say, at least not without a very good reason.
"Hmm… Maybe they can fly like the kumourite…?" He'd say, only to trail off at the passing sight of something… odd. Did he just spot one of the villagers? He'd yank on Isra's jacket to grab her attention before motioning towards oddity, but would not make any move to pursue without her go ahead.
Isra felt the tug at her jacket and turned to look in the direction Kiyoshi was pointing. Sure enough, she spotted the same thing he did, even though the person made efforts to duck away from their eyes. She winced and began to approach the house, causing the person inside to panic. They didn't know where to go or what to do, so they just shut the door they were peering from and went silent.
When she came up to the home, she looked inside the window, between the thin slit of doors that hung up on the sill before knocking on the door to the place. "Hello?" She called out. "I know someone is in here," she states. "We're not here to hurt anyone. We were the ones called to help out with the issue here. We're just trying to make sure everyone is alright," she spoke through the door.
There was silence for some time before the person decided that they would unlock the door. They didn't open it, but the duo were free to come inside. Other villagers who had been hiding in much the same way all began to peek and peer from their homes and trees to see the activity that was unfolding here. Who knew that two people could cause such a stir?
Kiyoshi follows Isra's lead mutely, but keeps a careful eye out for any other surprises. And just as resolutely, he leaves Isra to try and coax some answers out of hide-and-go-seek-san while he kept up the vigil. He tenses up at the sound of a lock sliding out of place, and starts to turn to see if there's a face to go with the stranger, only to catch sight of the other villagers begining to get noisy as well.
"We goin inside sensei?" He asks without averting his gaze from the others.
The villagers begin to slip away once Kiyoshi begins looking about while Isra keeps her focus on the task at hand. She decides to open the door and step inside. The home was quaint, warm and well furnished. The colors of the home accented well with the forest that surrounded this village. She didn't see anything in particular that was out of the ordinary until someone or rather, something stepped out of the shadows. She reacted quickly and withdrew her blade, aiming it at the thing before her only for it to react with fear. "Wait, wait! Don't hurt me!" The thing called out, recoiling on the ground. It had horns and spotty skin with prominent teeth. "Are you what's been terrorizing these villagers?" She inquired.
"No, no, I'm not. I /am/ a villager!" Isra winced and seemed confused. "Please, just listen. We didn't know what to do when we fell into this predicament. We thought it best that we get /someone/ out here to do something about what happened. We didn't want to reveal anything because we didn't think anyone would believe the truth. So, we told a lie. We weren't attacked by monsters…we are the monsters," he stated with sadness in his voice.
Isra listened to what the thing or rather, person had to say and retracted her blade, believing he was telling the truth. She then helped him up from the ground. "I'm sorry for how I reacted… I was just going off of the information I was given." The villager nodded and rubbed his hairy arms. "It's alright…" He stated. "After those explorers came through here and found that idol, it turns out that it was cursed in some sort of way. We knew that because we're familiar with the legends surrounding it. When the explorers saw what we turned into, instead of helping us, they ran away. We tried to get help before, but everyone that we went to thought we were monsters, so we hid away."
If there's one thing that properly describes Kiyoshi well, it is the fact that boy could be as stubborn as a mule. He kept his eyes on the rest of the village until Isra's footsteps began to grow faint. At which point he stepped in backwards and closed the door behind him, locking it once more thoughtlessly. The yell from the stranger gives him a jolt, and prompts the boy to spin around and rest a hand on the hilt of his own weapon. Compared to Isra, the boy is quicker to relax his guard. Not by much, but enough to appear much less hostile than before while things were explained.
"Mmn… figures… So what can you tell us about this idol?" He asks off-handily as he looked about the villager's dwelling. Once it becomes clear that nothing stands out immediatly, the boy's gaze eventually returns back on the altered villager.
"The idol is a cursed object. It belonged to someone long ago. He was an average man that lived in this village. He hated the way life was around here and wanted more than just simple living, so he set off to find something that would complete him, so to speak. Eventually he found this idol. At the cost of giving him what he wanted, it turned him into a monster. The change was gradual. First, he started off normal and began to gain wealth and other things, but over time, his features changed and so did his mindset. He became a demon and people didn't want to have anything to do with him anymore. The idol reflected his innermost desires and turned them against him." He sighed.
"Now that this thing has been left here, it has reflected ours in some ways too. That isn't to say that we don't like our lives here. We love our lives and what we do, but all have things that we want in some form that might make us like this," he explained.
Isra had taken a seat, having found some interest in what was being explained. She hasn't heard of anything like this, but it's intriguing, to say the least. She wants to help these people, if only because she understands how strong desires can be sometimes. "…We'll help you out, somehow. What must we do?"
The villager seats himself. "We have to get the explorers back who found the idol. They're the only ones that can put it back. If we maintain too much contact with it, we'll be even more strongly affected. That's why we've been here in our homes so we wouldn't fall to it as strongly as the story showed."
As the story progressed Kiyoshi eventually found himself leaning back against one of the walls, shoulder to wall. It wasn't comfortable; but, it was closest thing to it without taking a seat. A precaution on his part perhaps born of as a result of innate paranoia and the villager's story. Even the villager taking a seat does little to ease his conscious.
"Bothersome." He murmurs underbreath, and then lets out a weary sigh. "So just where did these explorers?"
"Go? We sent out some people to track them down. They've been trying to keep to the shadows so others won't spot them. They returned saying that they were at the port town. They're trying to leave, but there aren't any ferries available right now. They'll be coming, though. If we don't get to them, then we'll be stuck getting worse. The village elder took it upon himself to keep the idol locked away so it wouldn't affect us the most, but that means he's closest to it at all times. We're running against time. Before long, he'll lose his senses," the villager describes with urgency in his voice. "You both must get going and quickly!"
He looks away to the other part of his home where the rest of his family is resting. More like spying. There are two young children and his wife looking at what's going on. "I'll tell the rest of the village that you all are safe so they won't have anything to worry about. They must be concerned with how long you've been in here with no word of what's happening."
Kiyoshi turn Ts his gaze towards a nearby window. "I'm more surprised they haven't tossed a torch in through the window." He deadpans carelessly. Then pushes of the wall and regards Isra for a moment, awaiting confirmation to move out. Then a thought hits him that was facepalm worthy. He resists on account of the gas mask in place, but… yeah.
"One more thing… Just how do these explorer's look like?"
"To be honest, I'm surprised all the same, but let's not bring up much more bad luck, hm?" Isra chuckled. "We'll be on our way then and we'll go ahead and find these explorers. They have to take responsibility for what they've done," she states. "And uh…yeah, what do these guys look like?" She smiled sheepishly.
"Oh, the explorers. Well, they have large backpacks with a bunch of tools along them. Ropes and things. You can't miss them. They used that stuff to scale the caves we have here," he pointed in the direction of the caves. "Please, hurry and get them before its too late," he requests.
"Not a problem! We're off! Kiyoshi, with me!" She chimed and grabbed the boy's arm to dash out the door. The villagers that gathered nearby all scrambled and yelled as she kicked the door open and ran off. Well, at least they came out of their homes this time. She didn't have time to focus on the extras around here as she headed to the port.
Kiyoshi stares flatly at the villager and mentally face palmed at the answer. He has yet to see an explorer in his life, but he could figure out THAT much about them. He's just about to open his mouth to ask for sharper specifics when Isra takes his arm and practically drags the boy out before allowing him to catch on and dash alongside of her. "I don't see why they won't just let us destroy the darn thing." He states bitterly underbreath.
"I don't know, but if they didn't mention destroying it, then it likely means that it's not something that should be destroyed," Isra states. "Who knows what kind of damage it could bring if it was?" She wondered as they continued down the way and to the port. "We'll find these guys and set them straight. If we don't, then those people will be lost forever and I can't have that, especially the elder. He's taking a lot of risk trying to keep his village safe," she remarked.
It takes a bit of time, but they arrive at the port and activity is going on as usual. The place smells of fish as it's its primary export. There are other things to be found here, mostly cheap items that vendors take advantage of visiting people to put out, but there are many legitimate businesses too.
"Alright, so we have to look for the explorers…" She starts, but there are a bunch of people with bags and sorts around here as well as tools. Looks like they're going to have to narrow their search results. Somehow… "We can do this. I know we can. I believe in the you that believes in me, Kiyoshi," she states.
Kiyoshi makes a dissatisfied noise at the answer, but otherwises accepts it nonetheless. The rest he listens to with even more attentively, for in truth, the boy was still trying to puzzle the swordsman out. "You…" He frowns, and then folds his hands over one another behind his head. "Nevermind. Let's just be done with this." He states briskly, warding off any and all attempts to pry out the question for the duration of the trip down to port.
When the duo finally arrive Kiyoshi is already scanning the crowd for any signs of the explorers. Just as he expected though, it was like trying to find chalk in the unsettled portions seastone island. His ears do catch something, though Isra mildly distracts him with her odd statement. "I… Ugh, just c'mon. I think I've figured out where we can start." He says, taking her hand ONLY to better help lead her towards their destination.
Isra finds herself being taken in much the same way she took Kiyoshi from the village. Although, his guidance was much less rough than hers, but it was nonetheless brisk. She followed after him until they sorted out the rumors that ultimately led to a bar in the area. Inside, there were a number of people, but one thing was certain were that a couple of guys were talking about some exploring they did in the area. Monsters were mentioned and…a shameless embellishing of their story of having fought against them.
"You fought against monsters? Do tell," Isra began as she and Kiyoshi approached.
Frustrating as it was to deal with circulating through rumors, Kiyoshi buried it behind a bored facade. Once they DO found who they were looking for, or at least what felt like a decent lead, Kiyoshi would leave it to Isra to do the talking once more. Meanwhile, he would discretly try to work himself into position to cover an exit. Worst-case-scenarion: He'd at least be ready to take down one of the guys.
"Yes, we did fight monsters. A bunch of 'em. There was a village full of them and we had to fight out way through them to escape with our lives. We're here now to live and tell about it," the man spoke as he thumb pointed between himself and his friend. "Ah, of course. I met with these same monsters. They were…a great deal more mild than what you put them to be. In fact, it seems they were nothing more but bats with large wing spans," she winced at the explorer who frowned back at her.
"Are you calling me a liar?" He questioned. Isra shrugged. "Well, I was just there and I didn't see anything about a full village of monsters. Just a bunch of bats. My friend here can vouch for me," she pointed out Kiyoshi. "Besides, there's a big find there that I think you'll be interested in getting into. Trust me. I'm a shinobi," she grinned.
The explorers seemed wary, but what /if/ there was something there? They couldn't reach it because they didn't have the power to do so. If a shinobi could lead them to something good, maybe they could split it or wait for the greatest opportunity ever and take all the treasure for themselves. "We know what we saw there," the friend corrected. "And those were monsters, but we'll fight through them again to get to the goods. For the sake of adventure."
Kiyoshi tensed up, and then shot Isra a glare for drawing attention to him. Wasn't the whole point of being a shionbi was to make sure your enemy did see you coming? A heavy sigh and a headshake later, Kiyoshi returns his focus back to the would be adventurers, bored and aggravated by the looks of him. "Great. We should get going before night falls." He states, and would start walking away, intending to lead the way unless Isra or others give him reason to dally.
Kiyoshi just honestly wanted the things done and over before he wound up punching the adventures out for being so irresponsible.
"Perfect. We've got the best kind of adventure for you then. Come with us, please," Isra remarked as she stepped out of the establishment, tailing Kiyoshi. She gestured for the explorers to go in front of her just in case they thought they'd try and escape from the both of them. There wasn't much said on the way back, but there was plenty of tension in the air as these explorers really didn't want to return to the place where they saw these actual monsters. They didn't realize that they were the direct cause behind making those people into monsters. Now they're going to have to be the ones to fix the problem.
Before they could even make it to the village. A few came running down the path, without care of who saw them to seek help and inform them of the danger, even if it took frightening people to clear the area. When the shinobi were spotted, one of the group came up, first leering at the explorers before focusing on the task at hand. "We have danger to report. Our village and possibly this whole area is in great danger! Our leader, he's not himself anymore! He's begun attacking the village and destroying buildings. We're certain it's the idol!" He shouts.
"Alright, it seems we'll have to move quickly then. Kiyoshi, are you ready?" Isra questioned him.
"You two! You're about to become real adventurers! You're going to help us with this whether you like it or not. You better hope that you don't flee. Kiyoshi will be angry if you do try and I won't have much reason to stop him from trying to murder the both of you." She looks ahead and takes note of the smoke rising from the trees. "You two are responsible for what happened to these people. You failed to listen to them and their responses to what you brought into their village and abandoned them in their time of need. You both are despicable and don't deserve to call yourselves anything worthy of exploration or adventure, but you may be able to redeem yourselves by doing one simple task. All you'll need to do is remove the idol from the village and return it to where you obtained it from."
Now that there were on the move again, Kiyoshi gradually lost the chip on his shoulder. He even grew more enthused with the trip after becoming aware of the explorers tension. It served them right to suffer a little, but only just enough to feel sorry. Too much of it and they were bound to cause enough trouble to slow the trip down considerably.
All seems to go well until transformed villagers came running down the path. Although he felt no reflexive need to go for his weapon, Kiyoshi couldn't help grimacing at the combined ugliness of them all. Mindful of the explorers cowardice before, Kiyoshi makes a point in repositiong himself slightly to keep them from running away out of fear.
The news delivered and Isra question merely earns a sigh from the green-haired kid, followed by his weapon being drawn. The timing of it could not have been better. Nor the look he gave the explorers after Isra had just got through saying he'd get a consequence free chance at manslaughter. What self-respecting Kiri Genin would not want that? :D
All in all, Kiyoshi doesn't add much more. Now more than ever he was pumped up to see how things proceeded.
Back in the village, the women and children begin to gather to themselves and try to take refuge with the guidance of brave souls by heading to the caverns that lie beyond the village. The village leader had grown two times his normal size and many times more powerful. The idol he'd held in his possession had finally taken hold of him and changed him into the beast he is now. The explorers were already having doubts about their participation in this. Forced participation, that is. They felt this village was on its own after what they saw, but now they have to handle this. A quick glance over their shoulders reveals that they can't necessarily escape, so they're in this for the long haul.
The beast elder knocked aside a building and its debris was headed for some people below. Some quick action was going to need to take place in order to protect them from it and get them to safety.
Did somebody say Quick Time Event?? :D
No, but Kiyoshi certainly reacted fast enough after checking to see that the explorers wouldn't chicken out, covering distances no normal human could in the same time. Knowing that same speed didn't account for how fast he could bring the weapon to bear, Kiyoshi battered aside the falling debris as he leaped over the villagers. The largest of which he kicked in the giant mutated elders direction, meaning to knock some sense into the old man.
And if not, he'd at least direct the focus of the Elder's rampage towards him. Until that was confirmed, Kiyoshi would scan the giant for any signs of the idol on his person.
The villagers ducked and screamed, crowding together in order to protect themselves from the fate that they would be met with only to see that they were still alive at the end of it all. They looked up seeing only smaller pieces falling around them and the trail of it sent away before them by Kiyoshi. They quickly hastened themselves to escape all while thanking the boy for saving them. Still, there were others that needed help and some that were already injured, especially in trying to battle the monster of a man that their elder had become.
Having taken notice of where the idol was hidden, Isra took action to see if she could somehow knock it away from the elder's person. It would be difficult with the way he was rampaging and her blade certainly wouldn't cut it with explosives. That'd be too dangerous…maybe.
"You guys make yourselves useful and guide the other villagers to safety! Kiyoshi and I will handle the elder!" She called to the explorers. They were clearly frightened, but what other choice did they have but to help? They tried to steel themselves and invest time in trying to help the villagers to safety by guiding them to the caverns and away from all the destruction being caused.
The elder, responding to the activity around him began to strike at Kiyoshi as his closest target with heaving swipes of his clawed hands.
Kiyoshi thoroughness paid off! "Isra-sensei!!" He calls out. It is all he manages to get out before the elder takes a swipe at him. Not one to concede ground if it can be helped, Kiyoshi brings the axe to bear, flat-side facing the direction of each swipe and digs in. The earth gives way with each blow, but by the end, Kiyoshi remains standing strong.
"The sash!" He calls out as he strained to hold back the second blow. Digging deeper, Kiyoshi summons up his reserve strength and forces the hand away just enough to leap ontop of the appendage and start running up along its side. Dragging the blade along the surface just deeply enough to keep the elders attention on him.
"The sash, got it!" Isra called out as she drew as close as she could to the elder to slash at the sash and release the idol from where it was tucked. The Elder caught onto this and made motions to try and knock her aside to keep her from acting on the sash. She had to overcompensate for the difference and raised her blade to block his hand, placing up an explosion between her and the hand, sending her back to the ground. This drew focus on her now as he raised his arm and drove a fist down to smash her into the ground.
If he weren't using the tree walking technique to keep a hold down to the Elder's arms the boy would've slipped by now. The movement does slow him down, and at open even forces him to bury the blade in deep and take kneel just to stay steady. "…! Isra-sensei!!" He cries out in warning. Knowing its too late to stop the strike, Kiyoshi leaps as the arms come down, bellowing a war cry with axe at the side. He intended to cleave the elder in two for trying to hurt his teacher!
Intended, but stopped himself just in time to direct his fury into a strike to skull meant to daze the elder long enough for Kiyoshi to kick off the man's head, sending him falling backwards towards an already destroyed (and hopefully long since evacuted) section of the village.
The elder takes the axe straight to the head and is effectively stunned. He's dazed and though he stumbles back, he recovers just enough not to prevent from falling on the sharp rubble that made up the debris he'd already knocked over. Still, he falls short and finds himself trying to shake off the daze he was experiencing.
In the meantime, the explorers were doing their best to guide the last of the people out of the village, their hearts pounding hard enough that they could hear and feel the thumping in their ears. Once the people were out and safe, they needed to get to that idol, but how? It hasn't been cut out of the sash yet. They decided to leave themselves open to trying to collect it if at any point it'd be knocked away. Considering he's in a daze, this might be the chance they need to collect on it.
"If there was any moment to strike, it should be now!" One of the explorers calls out.
Isra rolled her eyes, but she did follow after their advice and pointed out to Kiyoshi saying, "With me, we'll do this together!" She then ran forward with the intent of cutting through that sash and releasing the idol from its hold.
Kiyoshi hits the ground sliding with such momentum that it takes burying his axe in the ground just to slow himself down. Oddly enough, he winds up stopping just a few feet next to Isra, growling guttural. Just what would it take to take this guy down for awhile?!
He tenses up at Isra's words, but before he can get a word in edge wise, the woman takes off. Suppressing a sigh, Kiyoshi follows suit, leaping in time with her own own with the intent to cut the sash from the otherside of the end and release the idol from its hold.
Belatedly would it occur to him that one of them should've probably been in position to catch it though…
That's where the explorer idiots come in! They take the opportunity to flail and shout among themselves as they run forward and get the idol. When they do retrieve it, they celebrate in the worst way possible. "Yeeeaaaah! We got it! Look, we got the idol!" They shout back and forth in celebration. They just ran /up to the beast/ and retrieved it! +500 manhood points! Meanwhile, the Beast Elder was stirring from his daze. "Okay, that's nice, but go and take the stupid thing back!" Isra snapped at them. "The longer it's here, the more this place is in danger! Celebrate later!" The explorers stopped and observed the idol for a bit and then looked back at the elder before taking off to do as they were told. They almost forgot about that part. "We're on it!" They saluted as they ran off to return it where they found it.
Kiyoshi snorts deresively at the explorers, then turns to regard Isra. "Do you want me to go make sure they put it back properly?" He asked dryly. Even if the elder should shake of the daze, Isra handed herself well enough in his book to not need his help further. Despite his words and try as he might, Kiyoshi couldn't fully disguise the concern fidgeting he had regarding leaving Isra alone with the berserker. He already lost one elder sibling in his life.
He couldn't afford to lose another…
"Yeah, go ahead anddo that. I'll be alright here," Isra offered to Kiyoshi as she prepared herself to keep the Beast Elder down. She looked back at him and smiled. "I have this blade here. This thing can blow up anything. Not that I want to actually blow the guy up, y'know. I just think I'll give him a bit of a run for his money. I mean, you did a number on him already and…" While she was speaking, the Elder finally comes to and rocks the ground as he begins to rise from the ground to strike again.
She looked back and up at the guy and snickered. "Back for more. Well, you can have some, but the food ain't gonna be all that great, yeah?" She states as she twirls her blade around in her hand and launches herself forward to strike his knees to force them to buckle.
Kiyoshi blushes lightly at the compliment, and probably would've ended up telling Isra to shut up before he got any redder if not for the elder stirring. Although her words brought him some measure of comfort, Kiyoshi lingered just long enough to see Isra charge, then relunctantly take off himself in the opposite direction.
"Good luck, Isra-onee-chan…" He murmurs absently underbreath.
With the two split up, Isra took care of the beast while Kiyoshi took care of the explorers. The Elder, though he still had a great amount of strength, was beginning to lose it as the idol was carried further away and back to its resting place. With his strength sapped, it made it easier for Isra to take him down and keep him there until he was able to return to normal. The explorers, on the other hand, were fumbling over the idol in excitement of their duties, but with Kiyoshi's presence, they remembered what they were supposed to be doing. Correcting themselves, they along with the boy, went to the idol's resting place and put it back, ending the problems with the village and keeping the curse away.