Retaliation - The Danger of the Recluse


Taiki (emitter), Takeo, Soren, Usagi

Date: December 17, 2014


Uzumaki Tenken makes it to Konoha, in desperate need of medical attention, and in more desperate need of help to rescue Taiki from the clutches of the Recluse

Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.

"Retaliation - The Danger of the Recluse"

Konoha's front gates

It's late evening, and the village has begun to settle down for dinner. The guards are ever-vigilant however, given the problems with the Silence. The front gate guards are especially vigilant, given the rather macabre message that was delivered there not that long ago. Traffic in and out of Konoha has slowed down to but a trickle, and even those are mainly senior shinobi who practice/patrol outside of the city walls. By all rights, this appears to be a relatively quiet, clear night. In fact, it's about time for guard rotation as genin and chuunin are replaced with chuunin and jounin.

Unnoticed by the guards at the moment, a solitary old man appears at the farthest visible point of the road leading into Konoha. He is moving slowly, and nothing can be be made out about him at this distance, except for a hunched-over posture and a decided limp to the left. Though no one can really tell at this distance, he sees the gates and appears briefly relieved before a renewed sense of determination sparks him to plod along a little faster.

The guard may be shifting to the elder ranks, but it's for other reasons that a certain newly minted Tokubetsu Jounin visits the gates. He was among those who inspected the gruesome delivery, and it has left him concerned ever since. Every night, he's returned to the gates for a time, perhaps waiting for another sign or some chance to catch the messenger in the act. Either way, he stands just outside, clawed hands tucked into the pockets of his white longcoat.

"Not gonna show again, eh, you munchkin?" Takeo mutters this to himself as he scans the surroundings, thoughtfully chewing at his lower lip with one of his enlarged canines. Such close inspection does eventually lead him to acknowledge the approach of a figure on the horizon. It's a little late for someone to be coming in from so far away, which is curious, enough that the Jinchuuriki remains at the gate with the current guard to see who's arriving.

Takeo had not been the only one worried. A number of Shinobi had taken it upon themselves to beef up the guard at night, on their own time. And while Soren could not technically be counted as one of them, he was there all the same tonight. The forge had kept him busy most nights, alas, but tonight he was here. He approached the gates from behind, but stopping at the edge of the buildings. Tonight, he had forgone his normal white vest, and plain cloak, instead relying on his darker clothes, and a dark blue cloak to blend into the night. "Heads up." he says, plainly, simply to alert the guards to his presence.

One of the guards nod toward Soren's direction, even as one of the other incoming guards keeps an eye on Takeo. That one notices the jinu's interest, and follows his gaze down the road as the figure draws ever closer. "Did we have any oldsters leave the village today?" The jounin asks one of the soon-to-be departing chuunin.

Said chuunin looks over the list he was just about to hand the captain of the guard before shaking his head in response. "No sir. Normal traffic, a few concerned shinobi like that one over there," he says, motioning toward Takeo, "And an couple of caravans for trade purposes, each accompanied by a shinobi team. But everyone other than /him/ has been accounted for."

The Jounin nods and tilts his head toward his left, squinting his eyes as he responds, "He's moving oddly, stay here for a few moments, just in case." With a single hand motion, the incomming team is on alert, and the jounin straightens out his neck before taking the board from the off-going chuunin. "Inuzuka'san," he adds as he glances back toward Soren. "If you wish to help, move only on my command. And I would appreciate you telling that to your fellow clansman as well. In fact, if you would move up to join him, that would be fine."

Takeo hears a building commotion behind himself and glances over his shoulder, though not so far as to lose sight of the approaching elder. "Niisan," he says, addressing his adopted cousin in a familial fashion without second thought. The Jinchuuriki's always had a certain affection for his cousins, closest as they are to brothers of his own. "You've been keeping watch too, eh?"

Turning his head, he looks down the road once more, mindful of the old man's approach. The Jinchuuriki remains where he is, just ahead of the gates, as if to serve as a wall between the road and the village. There's someone behind him of higher rank, someone giving orders, so that's all he does for the time being. It really could just be an old man, but given recent events, Takeo addresses this with an abundance of caution.

Soren nods to the guard captain. "Will do, sir." he says with a smile, moving up net to Takeo. "Nii-san. It's good see you." he says, glancing over at Takeo, and nodding. "You look good." he says, grinning, and pulling his cloak a bit closer. "Yeah, when I can. Normally I keep my distance but…" he says, folding his arms. "You too I take it?" Yes, he was talking. Yes, he was acting casual. No that didn't mean he wasn't ready to act on a moment's notice.

As the figure draws closer, some things become abundantly clear. First, the man is old, but doesn't appear too old. He looks like he's in his late 40's to early 50's, which is practically ancient to most shinobi. And even though the state of the man's clothes leaves a lot to be desired, as they appear torn, sliced, and with significant pieces missing, they do resemble a shinobi's uniform. The man is without hitai itai, however, though clan markings on the remnants of his outer jacket show a red swirled circle, like that seen on members of the Uzumaki clan. He trudges along, favoring a leg with an arm in a sling, with his other hand holding a small bag over his good shoulder. Given the reputed longevity of the Uzumaki clan, this man must be very old indeed…

The head guard holds up a hold sign, but addresses the duo in front. "Challenge him, but do not attack. Let's see who he is and what he wants first. I'll leave it up to you two how to ask, so long as it's not overtly threatening."

Takeo flashes his enlarged canines sidelong at Soren, a feral grin. "You think so? Not looking so bad, yourself," he replies. "A lot's happened lately. Let's just say that I feel seventy-five percent better than I have in a very long time." There's a pause, though, as the other question's asked. "Yeah. I saw what was in the bundle they shot against the gate. Too familiar. Worrisome."

Once details about the old man become more evident, quite a few coincidences present themselves. Takeo not only has an Uzumaki on his team, he has an Uzumaki seal tattooed upon his stomach, much like the spiral on the man's jacket. Of course, it's invisible to the naked eye at the moment. When the head guard asks them to be diplomatic and nonthreatening, essentially, Takeo's challenged. His native tongue tends to include lots of swearing and so on, after all.

"Hold, please," Takeo says, pulling a clawed hand from his pocket to lift it in a staying gesture. "You're visiting us at a late hour, Uzumaki-san. Is everything alright?"

The elder Uzumaki slows down to a stop as he looks at the two Inuzuka in front of him. While he instantly recognizes the fang marks, his eyes linger on Takeo for a moment before drifting downward. "Inuzuka-san… I need to see your Hokage and a high-ranking member of your clan… as soon as possible. I bear… news… and I need help…." The old man's words are jagged and pain-filled, and it is obvious that he recognizes Takeo, but from where is uncertain.

"What he needs is a hospital bed," one of the newly-minted chuunin mutters behind the group.

The Captain waves the man to silence as he steps forward slightly to whisper softly so that only Takeo (and maybe Soren) can hear, "Ask for ID."

Takeo seems to notice the manner in which the old man looks at him, prompting him to lower an eyebrow skeptically. Something's a little off about that; he's never been to the homeland of the Uzumaki. Still, he keeps his place and listens to the old man's statements and requests.

Just as he opens his mouth to speak, the guard captain interrupts with new orders. Another course correction. "May I ask your name, Uzumaki-san?" A pause, as he decides to go just a bit rogue. "That, and what's wrong with you? Are you injured?"

Soren grins, and dips his head for a moment. "Yes, we do need to see some Identification, and as long as that checks out, we can see about getting you some medical attention, while we see about your request." he says, stepping forward. He sees no reason to deny the man medical attention so long as he doesn't pose an immidiate threat. Besides, many of the medics were also trained ninja, capable of also acting as detterents in an emergency. He spares a glance back to the captain, just to ensure that there woud be no complaints. "Look at us, asking your name before introducing ourselfs. Inuzuka, Soren." he says a slight bow, smiling.

"Politeness… out of an Inuzuka… Taiki-kun… would be proud…" the old man wheezes. Nonetheless, he gently sets the bag down and with his mobile hand draws out a card to hand to Soren. "Him…" he says, pointing to Takeo, "I know…, for private reasons…" For those familiar with Taiki's history, and his list of associates, the name on the card answers many questions about this man, and ignites a few words.


The picture matches, once one takes into account the injuries the man is suffering. If anyone takes a closer look, they would notice his wounds are only half-healed, and ought to be producing extrodinary pain. Moreover, their placement is conducive of advanced torture techniques being used on him, making them doubly painful. "I… need to… see… Hokage… elders… now. Time… is… short." Tenken looks ready to keel over. Only stubborn determination one usually observes only in the Inuzuka Clan Alpha is keeping him going.

In the meantime, the Captain looks at the ID and swears quietly for a good minute. "Go get me a healer, and find either Inuzuka Kenshin or Inuzuka Atsuro… now. And you," he says, pointing to the outgoing chuunin, "Go directly to the Hokage's office and tell him his visitor is at the gate… NOW!" Both messengers disappear in a swirl of leaves. Apparently the jounin has orders.

"Sorry, but you've got me at a disadvantage," Takeo says, not seeing the card at this point. The other eyebrow descends to match its companion, forming a brow furrowed with mild confusion. Oh, yes, the introductions. Under the suspicious circumstances, he gestures toward Soren and comments, "I'm his cousin. He bleaches his hair for whatever reason." That's suitably secure!

Takeo at last looses a mildly exasperated noise and breaks the leash the guard captain holds over him, stepping forward to offer the old man his shoulder. "You'll probably be able to get one of the elders," he says. "The Hokage, not so much. I don't even see him, and he's my legal guardian. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork." Nothing like ranting to a stranger.

Soren flicks the card around, showing Takeo the name, and the picture. "Uzuamaki Tenken. You ever heard of him?" he asked, but at the sudden reaction of the guards, Soren raises a brow. "Well… someone has. Come on, Nii-san. Help me get him to a seat." he says, offering the elder his shoulder. Something's up, that's for sure.

It's not very long after that, that said med-nin shows up. One that hadn't really been on many missions lately, but was still available for certain issues. Usagi lands on the ground after responding to the summons, and as she looks up, she stops for a half second. One can see the recognition on her face, though it'd be hard to tell if her freezing had anything to do with that she recognizes the Uzumaki, or the extent of his injuries. In either case, it only takes her a moment to snap back into action, her hand moving to her pack to retrieve what she needed. "Easy, Uzumaki-san. you're in no shape to go running around with what's been done" She looks at Takeo and Soren, taking a slow breath. "Are you two capable of keeping him stable and getting him to the hospital quickly?"

Granted, she had her own questions for the man once they had him out of the intensive care that he was likely to see, but she nonetheless helps him to his chair, her hands beginning to glow green so as to ease his pain. She also had some medicine for that, and her other hand produces it. "Someone snag me a glass of water, please"

"Oh, he'll get to see the HOkage soon enough," the Captain says right after Takeo makes his comment about availability. "Hokage-sama left strict instructions to alert him once Uzumaki-sama appeared. Something about time and politically sensitive information." Two guards rush to help Takeo help the old man to a bench.

Uzumaki smiles gently at the Nara as she arrives. Finally, someone that knows him. "She… can tell you…" he rasps out as she begins to move forward. "But… cannot… stop. Heal… what you can… Taiki-kun's life… no time…" It's obvious that the Uzumaki tried healing himself, as many of the wounds seem half-healed, and both medical jutsu and splints are holding multiple fractures together. In fact, the arm shows evidence of a reset, half-healed compound fracture along with acid wounds.

Takeo shakes his head over the man's head at Soren. "No idea. He seems to know me, though." When recognition isn't mutual, that always makes the Jinchuuriki wary, but he nevertheless does his duty in helping the old man to a seat. Usugi's prompt arrival to provide medical attention permits him to relieve himself of the man's weight for the time being.

When the request for water is made, Takeo reaches into his coat and fishes the least full bottle of sake from his sash. After emptying its contents down his throat (for to waste it would be tragic), he holds up a hand. Wisps of chakra rise from his claws and swirl together into a sphere of water, which is then guided into the bottle and passed to the med-nin. "Let me know if you need more. I've got plenty. Could get him to the hospital plenty fast, but it'd scare the sh-" Oh, right. Elderly presence. "It'd unsettle the villagers."

Suddenly, Takeo blinks twice and flicks his attention to the old man. His voice is a bit more aggressive as he asks through barely parted fangs, "What about Taiki? Where is he? There's a lot about you that ain't making me feel comfortable, gramps."

Soren nods at Usagi. They had met once before, and he atleast recognized her as a friend of Taiki's. Upon her recognition though, Soren's demeanor changed a bit, tensing up a bit. And then when Taiki is mentioned as being in danger… he paused. "I hate to admit it Uzamaki-san, but you need to be tended to. If we don't get you atleast stabilized, and recovered enough to move, then you can't help us get to Taiki in time, and what good would that be?" he asks nodding. "I have first aid training. I can atleast get him to the hospital." he says. "I figure it'll be quicker to get him there, and then treat his injuries?" Multiple medics and all that. "But please, share what you can for now."

Takeo shakes his head over the man's head at Soren. "No idea. He seems to know me, though." When recognition isn't mutual, that always makes the Jinchuuriki wary, but he nevertheless does his duty in helping the old man to a seat. Usugi's prompt arrival to provide medical attention permits him to relieve himself of the man's weight for the time being.

When the request for water is made, Takeo reaches into his coat and fishes the least full bottle of sake from his sash. After emptying its contents down his throat (for to waste it would be tragic), he holds up a hand. Wisps of chakra rise from his claws and swirl together into a sphere of water, which is then guided into the bottle and passed to the med-nin. "Let me know if you need more. I've got plenty. Could get him to the hospital plenty fast, but it'd scare the sh-" Oh, right. Elderly presence. "It'd unsettle the villagers."

Suddenly, Takeo blinks twice and flicks his attention to the old man. His voice is a bit more aggressive as he asks through barely parted fangs, "What about Taiki? Where is he? There's a lot about you that ain't making me feel comfortable, gramps."

Usagi does accept the canteen from takeo and does try to give the elder man a drink of water. "….then we'd best hurry. And so help me, if you die on me on the way there, I will backtrack your steps and find him. Or whomever did this to you, I'm pretty sure they're both related" She looks at Soren and takes a slow breath. "No….not to the hospital. To the Hokage. the Captain is right on this one. Who here's the fastest?" She's already sent a pulse of chakra through the elder man, a light one to assess his injuries, and after a moment, she actually flinches. "Good Kami, what did they do to you…."

She looks back to the others and takes a slow breath. "We'll work on the way. If someone could send message to the Hokage that an escort is en route with Uzumaki Tenken, that would be much appreciated, he'll be expecting us then, instead of us bursting in on something" Lastly, she looks at Takeo, a very clear 'save the anger for those worthy of it' look written across her face.

Tenken accepts the water greatfully, and drinks some, even as he starts to gather strength. As Takeo becomes annoyed Tenken looks at him and says, "I'm a consultant for sealing… powerful beings," he says, with the tone to indicate something very meaningful to Takeo. "While your case wasn't my project, I know the person that did the work." He's still rasping, but now that his concentration can better be spent on talking, and he has Usagi's chakra pulse, his words are clearer.

In the meantime, the Captain assigns his two fastest couriers to help whoever amongst those going that volunteers. "Go. We sent a messenger already, and another is leaving now." With that statement, another vanishes in a swirl of leaves.

Tenken is silent for a moment before he says the one thing that is sure to catch Usagi's attention at the very least. "The Recluse." He shudders as he says, "They meant to torture me in front of Taiki-kun before getting their leader, who seemed to have a personal interest in in me. When they left us to get him, I escaped, with some things of Taiki-kun's," he says, pointing to the bag he had long dropped on the ground. "I know where they'll kill him… we only have five days…"

"That's my chakra you're drinking. You're welcome." Takeo looks sidelong at Tenken with continued suspicion until, at last, an admission is made which justifies his wariness. He takes a few steps closer and leans forward so as to address the old man eye to eye. "I have no idea who you are, but if /you/ know what you're talking about, you know the rule my 'case' carries. You break it, you definitely buy it."

He draws deeply of the air and then rights himself, tapping into that inner calm he'd attained as a result of recent events. "Look. If I start glowing and jumping across rooftops …" The Jinchuuriki was about to say something responsible, but any intention of doing so falls away with Tenken's ensuing statement. Tortured in front of Taiki. Taiki to be killed.

"Is he gonna break or anything if I pick him up?" The question's directed to Usugi.

At first, as Tenken speaks, Soren seems a fair bit concerned, but as the recluse and Taiki's execution are mentioned… all pretense fades, and his face shifts to grimly determined. "The recluse, eh? Then that'll be 3 more than we need." he says, glancing at Takeo. "Sorry Nii-san, but I don't think pure speed is the need here." he says, before offering his own back. "Usagi, you said you'd work on him on the way?" he says, picking the elderly man up, and getting ready to take off. "I'll try to match your speed." he nods, waiting for Usagi's signal, before taking off.

There's a very, very brief look on Usagi's face that she's extremely tempted to go in after them herself. Anyone glancing at her might spot it, a deep seated anger, a near hatred. Then it's gone, almost like it was never there. She nods to Tenken and moves to assist him in moving. "Then we'd better get going. Thank you Captain" She nods to him, then looks at Takeo and Soren. "C'mon, let's go. There is no time to waste….not if Taiki is going to live"

Usagi blinks at Takeo after a few moments, then takes a breath and nods. "More than likely. He's in particularly bad shape" She nods to Soren as he speaks, allowing him to take the man as her hands begin to glow green. She didn't have time to do this the slow and steady way, she'd need to heal what she could to ensure he'd make it. The pulse she'd sent through him had already told her what sort of damage needed taking care of first, and what could wait. So she started with the internals.

Tenken seems to take Takeo's first words to him as a low level of insolence. "I know enough to know that your warning is… insulting to me." He leaves it as that and allows himself to be picked up by Soren, Usagi, and company. Odds are, were he in better condition, he would have likely said more. As it is, the jostling causes him to groan softly, as if punctuating Usagi's claims. If Tenken is in this condtion, one can only imagine what kind of condition that Taiki, or his ninken partners for that matter, are in. But his next words are likely to enrage any Inuzuka, "Shinobu… Nozomi… are to die with him… but they are not… exempt from torture." Two ANBU relieve the guard escort, followed by two more coming up behind them as they start to clear the way for the group, thus allowing them to focus more on safely transporting this guest.

Takeo lifts his shoulders to Soren. "I heard that we needed to get him there fast. I can do it, but …" Between his cousin's warning and the med-nin's word, he doesn't do what he'd planned. The old man's words do prompt another look, though, and a thin grin. "That's good. Means you're trustworthy. By the way, the seal's already been unlocked and locked again. We reached an accord."

The guard forms up, and ANBU suddenly moves in, as well. Looking between the lot of them, the Tokubetsu half turns to face the road. "Unless I should be there, I think I'll stay behind for a while," he says in an ominously casual tone. "Just in case anyone followed him after he made a break for it."

Soren nods. "I'll send a fox to keep you up to date, Nii-san." he says, before taking off without another word. As Tenken speaks… the next look on Soren's face is likely one that's down right terrifying for anyone that knows him. He looks ready to take a life. "Then I suppose we should rush to their aid as soon as you're treated, Tenken-san." he says, taking pains to try and make the jostling less severe where he could.

Usagi raises a brow at Takeo. That gave her an interesting impression, but Tenken's words cause a definite bristle. "Pray I don't get there first…." She mutters softly under her breath. One can now easily tell the young Nara is -not- in the calmest of moods, though she at least takes pains to try and not show it. She looks at the ANBU, then back to the Uzumaki. She had a job to do, not worry so much about their escort. She only looks at Soren once. A shared sentiment, but nonetheless, again a warning to save it for later. "Let's make sure he makes it alive first….then we'll go after them"

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