The Eighth Tailed Beast: Freedom! ... Almost


Arika, Itami, Jiro, Ayumu

Date: July 18, 2015


Arika’s gone missing! And considering who she is, a lot of important people are looking for her, including Itami and her Jounin Guard(ian), Ping.

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

"The Eighth Tailed Beast: Freedom! … Almost"

Land of Wind

Arika's disappeared! That could be the reason that they had called Ayumu to Suna. She's not been missing for long, but Jiro, Ping, Kaidan, and Itami were some of the few that would have seen the girl at least /once/ in the past few hours. She wasn't on a mission, either, which is probably why so many were alarmed. Where was she?! Ping growls softly as she looks around town, though he doubts he's find anything… "Where's that blasted Iga…" he mutters, half an eye out for Ayumu while the other is looking for Arika.

"So another of the blood has already been assigned to this case? My, my, what a tangled web others dare to weave using my thread." Ayumu calmly states while stepping free from a wall just out of Ping's immediate sight. "Ah well, I wish you luck, Ping-san. With any luck, this blasted Iga of yours will show up soon, and do his part nice and properly, neh?" The wanderer grins, then turns to walk away, stuffing his hands in his pocket mid-motion. Although only joking, Ayumu had every intention of milking out one small bit of entertainment the days 'mission' would allow before truly accepting what fate delivered upon his proverbial doorstep.

Ping glares at Ayumu. "You know exactly who I'm talking about, you fox. Where's Arika?" he asks, eyes boring into the back of Ayumu's head as he raged silently. Part of him was angry, but most of the anger stemmed from fear. If Arika isn't found… And her current condition wasn't that great… He couldn't think of that now! The man shook his head a bit. "Do you have any idea where she went?" he demands.

Ayumu slows to a stop, but refrains from turning about to face Ping's anger and fear had on. The air was tainted enough for him to garner more than a healthy taste of the stuff. After Ping finish speaking, there's a lengthy pause on Ayumu's part before a sigh breaks it. "One would think repetition would be enough. Alas, such is not the case today…. I know not where she went, nor do I understand why this lowly one is being asked that. From what I've gathered, Itami was to see to it that her wanderlust was taken care of." He turns just enough for what may be a normal man's chance at glancing over the shoulder. "Or am I mistaken in believing this to be something else?"

Ping clenched his jaw to stop another outburst. It wasn't Ayumu's fault that Arika was gone. If she was with him, after all, she'd be here. The Jounin looks Ayumu over, not spotting any form that Arika would probably take with the Henge. "What else could this be? Ikitara-san is missing, and we need to find her. /Quickly/."

"And that is another thing as well, but as you said, she needs to be found quickly." Ayumu admits as he turned about fully to face Ping. "Are you truly certain this is not some prank concocted by both her and Jiro to get back at everyone?" He asks. Despite his own hinted suggestion, the man has already begun the process of reawakening sensory organs scattered about the village. There were less that responded than what should be, no doubt the result of predatation or incident, and yet plenty enough remains for an almost seventy-five percent coverage of the village.

"He's not seen her either. And I can tell when he's up to no good. When it comes to Ikitara-san… Well, I tend to trust his judgement more," Ping says, eyes narrowing in thought. Ayumu wouldn't find any trace of Arika in the village, which has been checked from roof to gutter for the most part. Not even her chakra signature could be picked out if one were a sensor.

"A saddening fact, yet no truer words have been spoken." Ayumu says, grinning crookedly for the sake of what was now a facade. To find not a trace of her at all made little sense. Days, perhaps even weeks or months would've had to gone by before her presence was thoroughly scrubbed, regardless of the deserts nasty habit of making things disappear. Truly, Ayumu was disturbed by this fact, and while a number of other questions popped into mind, there were far too many seeking to be spoken of.
"Hmm….. Mah-ee, Arika." He murmurs wearily. "… I believe I must move elsewhere to be of any use to you and yours. Before I go I would ask if before this disappearance was there anything 'off' about her, as well as anything of interest that has blown and left within the past few days."

The traces that Arika left were pretty much already blown away or kicked away by those passing though the streets. Ping tried to think, saying, "She's been unable to fall asleep lately. And she's a bit irritable. When she stalks off, though, she usually tells me that she's going. This time I didn't hear anything.

'Him then?' He thought, cocking his head slightly to the side and rubbing his chin. The distant look about the Iga doesn't wane easily. If anything, the man disappears into another world altogether after sending in one final order for his organs to continue scrubbing /everything/. "Be still heart you quaking thing." He states aloud thoughtless.
Moments later, Ayumu returns to the present fully, combing a hand roughly along the top of his head as his composure finally begins to melt. "Mah-ee…. If she is another to be-…" Ayumu winces, and clutches at his head. "I will do what I can, but I make no promises Ping-san. And if I discover anything to note, I will of course report it." He finally says, dropping his hand to the side and grinning broadly, and yet without any real feeling behind it.

Extreme examination of almost everything in reach of the organs would eventually find some marks on a rooftop. Arika had been there, and there was no one else to mask her presence. But it disappeared from there. The girl might have jumped? "Good," Ping growls. "I think looking outside the village would be good too. Sometimes she likes to wander… I think it's the Miira blood in her."

What they find does no go easily pushed aside for the pragmatist within, but neither did Ayumu jumped for joy. There's an awkward pause on his part as a result of trying to steady his heart. "…. T'is my intention after a house call or two. Now, if you'll excuse me." He states before calmly meandering down towards one of the main roads leading to the gate.
Rather or not it coincided with the clue mattered little to the Iga. Following the forming of a single, odd seal, those sensory organs closest to the spot began gathering together, ultimately forming a seeing copy of their creator. It was a rare thing of him to do, viewing the world through naked eyes. Necessity however left him little choice. After a few sharp wiffs, the clone began scanning the area with its eyes and ears…

Now that Ayumu can see (technically), perhaps the world is a bit clearer? Looking outside the village, the Iga would a bit of dust way out yonder. Who knows what it is, but maybe it is an Arika? Ping let Ayumu go, seeking Jiro out to try and get him to accompany Ayumu since the Iga is better at tracking people down. It was pretty unusual, though, for him /not/ to be with Arika, though, which made him worry even more.

If Ayumu is concerned about it imagine how Jiro is. The space next to Ayumu is empty one second, and then Jiro is there the next as he just appears in a flash of speed. He looks /very/ grumpy too as he looks around where they are. "Where's she?" He asks in a not-at-all-happy tone as he tries to spot her. When he finds her…she's in so much trouble!

"Yes, that's a question I'd like answered…" Itami remarked as she slipped right into the group. She sipped at her cup of coffee she had on hand. Probably for the best as this situation did not place her in a particularly good mood. "So, what can I expect out of this? Not that my expectation shouldn't be clear as day. I only want her found…" There's other things she could think of, but none of those things were nice or good or tempered in the slightest.

Clearer? No. If anything, sight actually distorts the mental map built up from years of experience, so the clone is given even more free reign to handle any and all senory data transfered through the link. At any other time, it might of grin of the laxness of the original, but no genuine pleasure could be taken out of it before Arika was secured again.
"Huh, well, isn't this—" He gets no further before Jiro gives him pause in both appearing abruptly and with the question. Blindsided (sort of), Ayumu hesitates for a moment to long. As a result, as soon as he tries to speak again, Itami cuts in well! "Hnn… And so the motley crew grew.." He murmured, then aloud says, "A troublesome venture possibly wrought with danger…. Another has garnered some minor insight — a trail, as ye might call it, and… is following it. Beyond this, I know little more except where might you find this other to follow that lead." He states irritably, continuing on his way towards one of the main streets.
"It truly is an odd thing, ya know, that she slipped passed both the Hayato security, as well as that of this ones kin."
Ayumu looks down in Itami's general direction. "Care to enlighten this lowly one of possiblities, Itami-ch… Kazekage-sama. Or perhaps you, Jiro-san?"

Ping appears beside Jiro shortly after, saying, "You know she likes to trick people, Ayumu-san. I bet she was able to sneak by as a piece of paper or a lizard." Ping pulls out a few pieces of paper from his pouch and starts painting seals on them quickly, not even screwing up as he forms them. The work of an experienced seal master, even though the seals are fairly complicated. He must have practiced quite a bit to make them so fast. "We need to find her," he says, echoing everyone else's thoughts.

"I haven't any clue as to where she could have gone. I expected everyone else to know," Itami replied to Ayumu calmly enough. Perhaps too calmly. "But I see that's not the case." She gulped down the remainder of her coffee and tossed the cup into a nearby recepticle. "I wouldn't find it odd. There's—well, I can't say she isn't capable of slipping past. There /is/ a way, but that just gives me the impression they're working with her. There's no reason why she should be able to slip by so easily."

Ayumu sighs softly at Ping's suggestion, but refrained from a comment. If so many of Sunagakure's sensor-nin were easily fooled by a piece paper or lizard, truly did the village not deserve the right to hold any titles revolving around their intelligence division. "As much as I'd like to agree, Kazekage-sama, the past speaks for itself in regards to some manners." He states simply. "Nonetheless, you do got a good point, though what could compel your own to allow this to happen is beyond this lowly one." Ayumu adds, turning down a path.

Ping just huffs and looks like he's about to charge off to go find Arika, but he figures he might as well stay here for the time being. "I'll be in the apartment and getting some things ready just in case," he grumbles, stalking off angrily.

"I'm not eliminating the past. I'm well aware of the past…" Itami snapped mildly back to Ayumu. "I think I do have a good point. This is the same one who taught a certain other how to forge my signature," she narrowed her eyes at Jiro. "So, I imagine she knows how to slither her way out of here like a snake," she huffed. "Some may not need compelling, though I imagine that she's learned a thing or two about different kinds of manipulation."

"She didn' teach me 'ow. She just 'ad ta get me a copy ta see," Jiro says back towards Itami, letting his eyes scan around while he frowns deeply. He's so very much unhappy with this. When he found Arika…"Well where's she at? Someone has ta know," he says as he turns to face Itami, arms folding angrily over his chest and his brow furrowed as he waits for an answer, foot tapping impatiently.

Ayumu — in his own Iga-ly fashion — watches Ping stalk off, idly hoping that frustration did not lead to the reckless. His focus on the man left him silent for a time, not unlike a certain Amaro for the past few minutes. Well, who was for awhile, in anycase.
Being snapped at shook the Iga from whatever it is his mind wandered, though with his attention on the present now, the man cannot help but grin over Itami's irritation. "As I said, but will say not again. For now, you are welcome to continue walking alongside this one if you wish as I check into a few things. Otherwise, you're welcome to join my other half." Ayumu says nonchalantly, yet more loudly than before to compete with the growing noise of the main traffic area.

"That's close enough in my opinion," Itami scowled in much the same manner as Jiro. "Teach, copy, whatever it is, it was done and I'm still not over that. Just goes to show you. Children," she sighed. "And don't give me that look. She always finds some way to scamper off. If I'd known where she was I'd have my foot on her neck right about now," she turned away from Jiro and his grumpiness to focus on seeking out Arika.
"I didn't think I'd have to use this that quickly, but…" The time calls for it. From her lips flicked a long, serpent's tongue with the intent of picking up even the smallest traces of a chemical that could be found within the village. With the survey finished, the tongue retracts and Itami takes the time to process where it leads, sniffing at the air to determine which direction the trail leads. "…What the actual liberty," she grumbled. "What is with these guards?" She questioned. "Well!" She began. "It appears that she's managed to escape the village by getting around some lazy guards. Come, this way. We can inquire more about it to them when we get there."

Jiro's arms remain crossed over his chest as he waits impatiently for Itami to decide on /something/ for them to do. He doesn't even care about Itami and her weird lizard tongue thingy. He just wants to find Arika! When Itami finally starts leading somewhere Jiro follows, looking around as they go for even the slightest clue of Arika's passing.

"But-…" Ayumu starts, only to incline his head and sigh heavily. For all intents and purposes, the Iga wasn't under any obligations to follow Itami save one or two, and yet he followed along after her. On some level he hoped his kin might finally reconsider the game, and sweep him away. Naturally, this never occurs.
Meanwhile, the clone pauses for a moment, straining its abnormal making one part at a time to try and predict where the anomly is head, instead of just simply chase after it.

The guards that Itami is leading the group to don't seem very alert. Actually, they seem very drunk… A few bottles of alcohol lay scattered around them. Probably because this is one of the more deserted areas of Sunagakure, and they're pretty bored. Why are they even sitting there guarding the small gate when it's never used?

"…" Itami arrived to see the area littered with bottles. Whether it was plenty or few, the fact remains that they're flat out drunk. She walked forward to pick up a bottle and pad it lightly with her hand. "I'm going to see how well you can recount the events that occured here," she spoke in a commanding tone. She observed the bottle in her hand and her reflection inside of it. "Far be it from me to try and deny a healthy day's work be topped with alcohol, but…well, frankly, I'm just a bit upset. So, please entertain me," she gripped the neck of the bottle tighter.
"Did anyone pas through here lately?"

Jiro follows after Itami until they reach the gate and the drunk guards. Blue eyes narrow at the guards as his hands uncross from his chest and drop to his sides where the ball into little fists. Oh he's angry now! Watch out! Nine year old coming through! Certainly scarier than some dragon lady. "Where's Ari!" He shouts at the guards angrily.

Ayumu smelled them well before they came into the others sight. Should he have warned either party? Possibly! But why waste one's breathe when the ending would ultimately remain the same. Besides that, if the agitated atmosphere about the Iga was to go by, he was in no pleasant mood over the guards failures anymore than Jiro was.
"Leave the scolding to the Kazekage, Jiro." He states, calmy placing a hand on Jiro's shoulder. Although quite calm on the surface, the immediate area about Ayumu grows thicker from chakra building up within the man. Some of which he directed to reinforce his grip, assuming of course Jiro hasn't already evaded his hands before then.

The guards seem pretty out of it. If they had seen Arika, their memories must be pretty jumbled. "Whhhhaaaa?" mumbles one faintly, looking a bit nervous. He has enough sense to know that the atmosphere isn't friendly. "NNnnnnnooooooo-" he drawls out, stumbling up to try and salute Itami. Of course, he's drunk, so he ends up tripping and falling and doing all kinds of wacky stuff as he attempts to look not-drunk. "Nooooo one heeee~errrrr~" he slurs. "Jus' 'mmm" Then he passes out flat on his back. The other one is simply unconscious and snoring away. Some help they were…

Itami threw the bottle at the wall, having decided against smashing it across one of their faces. It wouldn't do them any good to be injured and attempting to place them back on duty. She had reached the ends of her frustrations. "What has your clone figured out so far?" She questioned Ayumu. "I need answers quickly and my patience is gone. I've tracked her to this point, but I'm certain she's further out. It's nothing I couldn't do, but seeing as she has built some sort of connection to you I have suspicions against you. Yet, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt. Just this once…" She clenched her fists to stave off the claws attempting to come through. Her efforts manage to draw some blood to her hands, but at least the claws haven't come out.
"It appears we'll need to head out into the desert."

As Jiro watches the stupid idiotic drunken guards not be able to answer and then pass out he starts pulling up his sleeves and takes a step towards then, ready to pummel them both so hard that they'll have a real reason to sleep! But Ayumu's hand falls on his shoulder, preventing him from doing any beatings at this particular moment. It does, however, earn Ayumu a nasty glare. Not one of his normal glower's that's more annoyed and joking. No, this one is filled with actual anger and rage, something that Jiro hardly ever expresses. It's not really a good sign when he does either, generally. "Let go'a me," he says in a quiet tone. Part of him blames Ayumu and his recent wandering ways. He plays some part in the disappearance. Jiro's sure.

Ayumu hesitates for a moment. Rather or not this was out of fear of Itami's fury is hard to say, what the Iga's personality being what it is. After roughly a full minute passes, Ayumu roughly combs a hand through his hair (somehow avoiding the slew of sensory organs entangled there). "Your… vote, Kazekage-sama, is appreciated. As for the answers you seek, she is… no, I will not say she so much as the more viable trail is beyond this point, and that you need only follow me until we reach the drag marks." Ayumu doesn't waste a second finding out how either of two reacts to his blithe statement before rushing past the drunken guards and out the gate. With any luck, his little slip into insanity land wouldn't net him a nice claw scar to go with the burns adorning his back.

Itami wasn't exactly thrilled to hear a 'no' come from Ayumu. She knew what he meant, but even still, she wasn't fond of the language used at this moment. The claws came out, but thankfully not against him. No, instead they went towards the wall where she took a leap forward and grasped it to make the climb up. "Lead the way, then. We need to find her while we still have a trail to work with."

Ayumu moves ahead to start leading the way out of the Village, Itami jumps to climb up the wall…they left him alone with the guards. Needless to say he follows after Ayumu, but the two guards are going to be missing some teeth and have broken noses when they wake up. He stalks over to the gate and exits, following after Ayumu at top speed.

Ayumu hadn't forgotten little Jiro. In fact, he hanged back after the first few steps to make sure the Amaro was tagging along behind him, what with the other option being potentially having to stop anyways. As for Itami, well, being no stranger to pain and what not, the Iga was fully prepared to deadened some nerves so that things continued on without a hitch. Fortunately, it doesn't come to that, eliciting some small measure of relief in the form of his shoulders sagging after awhile.
"As you wish…. Itami-chama." He says, though the last part comes out murmured. Once their on the move Ayumu sucks in one last good breathe before taking off at a run. Nothing to streneous for a shinobi or even at his full speed, but just enough to make good time without letting the desert play havoc in force with his body. With any luck, the trail doesn't stretch so far that they'll catchup with the clone, and not be forced to settle in for a long march.

The clone that's chasing 'Arika' would suddenly be confronted by a miniature version of the eight tails. The Mini-Hachibi would open its mouth, releasing a sudden burst of wind to try and destroy the clone. This should allow the team to catch up to 'Arika', especially if the clone survives the encounter.

Itami makes it to the top of the wall and scans the desert just beyond the wall. She takes another jump, blinded by her intents of catching up to Arika having Jiro fall out of her sight and mind for the time being. In order to make up for time, she took reptilian form and lowered to all fours to rush across the landscape. She did see the miniature hachibi that was released and set up to attack Ayumu, which strengthened her resolve to capture her. It would appear that she's under the influence at the moment.
Thankfully, there is some clarity in all this. With this revelation centered on her mind, she has just enough of it left to consider the others in this and not just herself. She slows in her approach, if only so that they could all move together.

"Mah-ee." Are(Is?) the last word(s) to come out of the clones mouth before a good chunk of his head and torso are blasted apart into a gooey, pink-ish red mess on the sand behind it. It falls to its knees after a brief moment, dead for all intents and purposes. Yep. Absolutely, postively dead after it eventually falls forward, so no need to pay it any more mind, right?
Sadly, no, as it turns out. Within seconds, the rest of its form loses consistency, reverting into a mass of flesh, only to reform within seconds into its former glory! Mostly. Kind of. There's a distinct lack of… puberty involved with this one. "Ah, man… That really smarts. Now everything is gonna taste funny." 'Kid Ayumu' says after falling back on his legs. And as if to prove his point, ignoring the great beast not so far off, the clone picks up a hand full of sand and gives it a lick. After smacking his lips a few times 'Kid Ayumu' nodded his head in a mockingly sagely manner. "Yep. Tasting sulfur in this. Oi, you dere? Red-purple-thingie-you? Mind having a taste of this sand and seeing what'chu think?" It asks, offering it up to the beast with the guileless smile.
Meanwhile, Ayumu just clutches at his head, murmuring something along the lines of "Of all the forms.." under his breath along. Afterwards, it takes some doing but eventually his focus is purely on rescuing Arika. Hopefully…

Jiro has no problem if the other two completely forget about him. Really, it would just give him leave to look for Arika himself in his own way. Which probably means a lot of broken noses along the way. For now he follows after the other two but they're both generally faster than he is and he's not going to tire himself out. Not if he might have to fight later. So he goes at a good clip, as fast as he can without stretching into the 'overreaching' space.

Arika(?) stares intently, as if she hopes the clone was destroyed. She almost turns except she can sense Ayumu 'recover', and a little kid is in front of her eyes. She growls, a low rumbling noise, and her mouth opens. But it's not her voice. It's layered by Gyuki, echoing a bit and definitely rage filled. ~Why don't you go die?!~ the voice growls before the miniature eight tails starts moving away quickly.

"I suppose you're forgiven, Ayumu. You're finally cleared of suspicion. Those guards on the other hand…" No, they're going to get a very rude awakening later. "Jiro!" Itami called to him. "I feel like you'll be best in this situation," she remarks. "I hope you can forgive me for my impulsivity. I tend to take issues with the 8-Tail with too much vigor. However, we're dealing with more than just the bijuu. Of all of us, I believe you'll be better at getting through to Arika," she offered to him.
"…I think you can lead us from here on. You can take command of both Ayumu and myself to maximize on the successful completion of this impromptu mission. Whatever you feel is best, I'll follow it and the Iga shouldn't put up a fight because if he does, he'll have me to answer to," she turned her eyes to the one in question and narrowed them slightly. Just work with it, man!

Jiro finally catches up with the others, sliding the last few feet to a halt as he takes in everything. The boy frowns deeply upon seeing Arika's current state and though true fear and concern for her practically oozes out of his pores he doesn't show it. He does show surprise, however, when Itami tells /him/ to take charge. He gives the dragon lady a sideways glance but for the moment doesn't much care and his blue eyes return to the girl. "I need ya both ta distract 'er," he says.
Jiro reaches to a pouch at his pack to pull out a pair of seals. He really hoped she wasn't so far gone that they wouldn't work, otherwise he'd have to go with plan B. "Ping made these ta stop the chakra from tha' thing an' help Ari get back control. I have ta get 'em on her."

Unperturbed by the menacing nature of the hybrid before him, the clone merely dumps the sand back on the ground, dusts off his hands, then cants his head to the side while pinching his chin. As time quickly passes, the clone's expression grows stormy for a few moments, but then its back to the whole happy-go-lucky expression.
"Can't. Kinda impossible really, what with not actually being alive and all. The other me tried though a few times. A lot of times really. Like that one time, I slash he was just yay high—" He lifts up his hand to about his brow level. "When we first tried dying. Then some folks unburied us from the sands. Time before that, I ran into a giant scorpion's nest. And the time before that, oh, this is a good one…. wait, no, that came after… Kinda happened a couple of times too, being set on fire that is. Wound up floating to somewhere close to Kadomai I think."
While all of this is going on, the original is divided between the desire to dismiss the clone and let Arika escape, or let it prattle on about his secrets without a care in the world. Not that they were /big/ secrets or anything, but it was the principle of the matter! As a result of this internal and very important debate, the Iga is a little slow in digesting his immediate surroundings. By the time he does, the man is at a little loss of words. Both Jiro and Itami recieve a look of "Are you serious?" before the Iga simply shook his head, silently accepting his fate for the most part. Having faced a Jinchuuriki once (twice?) before, Ayumu knew that holding back in anyway was a sure way to die. And while death was on his list of things to eventually explore more fully someday, leaving behind Ei and Miyu and just so many other folks just didn't sit right with him.
His eyes open fully for once, glowing almost as nerve after nerve undergo the 'awakening'.

Arika really doesn't intend to listen to this guy's prattling. Or rather, Gyuki doesn't. The small Hachibi opens its mouth and releases another burst of wind at the clone while Arika listens to the tale and tries to poke Gyuki back into his cage unsuccessfully. 'No fair!' she grumbles. 'You got me when I was asleep! That's a dirty trick!' she pouts at the eight tails. Outside of her mind, though, the miniature beast has turned around again to try and escape the Suna team

"You got it," Itami stated to Jiro. With her orders set in place, she went about attempting to provide enough of a distraction for Jiro to get through. "Why must your clones be just as strange as you?" Her focus drifted to the child currently talking up a storm. "You're already strange enough as it is and now you have this…child that is talking about your adventures all of which seemed to have ended in near death. Should I expect that in this situation? Are you a magnet for that sort of thing?" It seemed like it was important to know.
"You frustraing beast!" Itami called out to Arika or rather the hachibi. "How much do I have to deal with you on this? I have endured bijuu in my life, but none have been as aggravating—no, wait, no. The one tail was /the/ most aggravating and still is in many ways, but you rank a very close second!" She called out. In her talking, she decided to summon a fire clone behind her to hide it until it was time to strike. "Would you be so kind as to stop stealing my friend away? I would appreciate that," she punctuated her statement by sending the clone forward to draw focus towards it.

Jiro is surprisingly focused on the task at hand. A faint, thoughtful frown rests on his features for the moment as he watches the bijuu and waits for the two around him to start their distraction. While he's waiting for an opening he moves, vanishing with a burst of speed and stopping to crouch behind a small rock that's more to the side of the target rather than in front of it. From here he should be able to speed close to her once the others draw her attention towards them. It was a horrible game of semi-patience that he played now.

The original isn't the only one that benefit from the 'awakening'. With eyes set alight, the clone predicts the path of least resistance. In concert with a gust of wind struck up personally, Kid Ayumu all but disappears under a wave of air and sand, only to reappear off to the side of Arika. "Now that wasn't very nice. Tut, tut! You know how troublesome it is reassembling myself?" It dares to ask.
"Walk in my shoes if'n you want a proper answer to any of that." Ayumu states dispassionately. And with that, the original detaches the unnecessary, leaving only room for that which involved the fight ahead. Tactics after tactics after tactics flit through the Iga's mind, provoking arguments that would normally take weeks or months to settle. He finishes within seconds before settling on the perhaps, less advcised.
"You know what to do." He need not say more. The shadow clone rushes ahead while the original became one with the sand.

The Hachibi's focus slowly goes from Kid Ayumu (who cares about that nuisance) to Itami. The beast cackles, not bothering to try and find Jiro or Ayumu. ~That stupid Tanuki gives you trouble? Well, I suppose its host is more than capable of giving you trouble. I'm surprise that this one is!~ Then its chakra whips out and tries to grab Itami, flinging her this way and that.

"I don't need to walk in your shoes. Mine were terrible enough as it was," Itami huffed at Ayumu. She didn't have time to say anything else. She had bijuu coming at her for the umteenth time. She can't remember how many times she's engaged this same bijuu, but she knew it well enough. Still, knowing it doesn't always mean you'll be prepared for it and as such, Itami finds herself bound, despite her efforts to ease out of the way of its binding tendrils. Before she knew it, she was on the ground, only halfway blacked out. This pain she was feeling was all too real at this moment.

Well they certainly are providing one heck of a distraction! Jiro watches from his hiding spot as the bijuu lashes out towards Itami and that's when he finally moves. He rushes towards Arika in a flash of speed, one of the seals in his hand as he tries to get close enough to smack it onto her.

"Whoa, wait, where are you—" It gets no further than that before its gaze affixes on the Bijuu's target. Through the link, only the original and the flesh clone truly share the emotional distress from the heat of the moment. It is for one dangerous moment they consider scrapping the plan. But in the next, all feeling is buried as the shadow clone sought to put some distance between Arika and the Kazekage without hopefully breaking Jiro's chance to put a quick end to the fight. A bit of grappling from behind to be exact that might buy the duo an extra second before either the beast shook him loose, or the caustic energy destroyed it.

Well, Ayumu is able to grab ahold of Arika, which slows her down enough so that Jiro can get real close to her. But it'll be painful for him. And everyone else. The Bijuu isn't going down without a fight! The cloak tries to destroy the clone that has a hold on her, and another bit of the Bijuu's tails whip out to strike Itami again. Yeah, Gyuki isn't a fan of the Kazekage. Wonder why!

Itami needed a bit to recover from the hit she just took. She stumbled to her feet and looked ahead, hoping her eyes would adjust quickly enough to observe the field and further, the current status of the mission. But yes, it does seem she's rather unpopular with the Hachibi, but he had to be put somewhere. She wonders how long he can hold this grudge, anyhow? She's tried to be amicable, unwelcoming, nice, and downright terrible, but he won't budge much to her chagrin. "Stubborn son of a…" She muttered to herself while taking form to narrowly escape the extensions that were lashing out at her. "What's the situation so far?" She inquired, hoping she'd get a decent reply.

"Bad!" Jiro replies to Itami before he moves in again with another seal, ignoring the burning sensation in his hands from touching the cloak. This time he zigzags towards the bijuu, trying to throw it off as to which direction he's going to strike from. This isn't good at all. Finally after he zigged, zaggged, and did some more ziggityzaggity he appears right next to the girl and tries to smack the seal on again.

"That about sums things up well." Fifteen seconds barely elapse before *POOF!* the shadow clone disappears in a small column of smoke. Even as the last memories of the destroyed clone is assimilated by the Iga, the original surfaces and starts forming a rapid number of seals. In what can only bescribe as a deluge of pale pink, reds, and blues pours out of the man's mouth, forming a large mass before him. From it rises two mishapen figures that — despite their form — still manage to scramble quickly into a bull rush at Arika.
With what they lacked in physical strength, the still forming clones would more than make up for it in weight, haste assisted by a few well placed burst of wind, and regeneration. What remains of the original pool of flesh quickly forms into a multitude of sensory organs that try to crawl their way to a waiting Kid Ayumu.

Apparently the Ayumu-clones are too much. The Hachibi is strong, but Arika's body is more reliant on speed than power, and she falls down with a OOMPH! This means that Jiro can stick that tag on, and the chakra around her begins to fade. The beast in front of them disappears, turning first into a chakra cloak, then into nothing at all. Arika is basically underneath all the Iga-clones, unconscious.

"Again with this," Itami grunts out, holding onto her sides. She's pretty sure she's broken some ribs here. "I'm halfway tempted to just rip the thing out of her if I didn't think that the chances of killing her were high enough," she sighed. "She'll have to be watched at all times now and leaving the village is completely out of the question."

The clones do not completely let up even as the seal finishes its work. Instead, they both monitored the process closely until no traces remain on the surface. Jiro proximity makes things difficult, but eventually at least one peels away while the other gathers her up in his arm (assuming Jiro hasn't beaten it to the punch).
"She is not suggesting—"
"What we think she is suggesting-"
"Or are we?" One clone says after the other, though last voice comes out distorted. A glance in Kid Ayumu's direction would reveal it slowly 'growing' on the spot, retturning to Ayumu's full size as it made its way over to its brothers. The original in the meantime wordlessly made his way closer to Itami, hinting at the offer of aid in the form of a bandage roll dug out along the way.

Jiro isn't gonna be doing anything much, probably! His hands are likely burning thanks to the caustic nature of the Bijuu cloak. So Arika is picked up by Ayumu! Zzzzzz.

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