Date: March 30, 2013
Taiki leads a group to rescue his mentor… and everything goes wrong
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"Unholy Alliances - The Enemy of My Enemy"
River near the boarder between the Land of Fire and the Land of Wind
After some extensive work, the prisoner from the Inuzuka prison escape was rendered unable to suicide. It took a while and keeping him in a medical coma until the various seals could be removed, but it was done. The interigation took just as long as the preparation did, but in the end the Yamanaka were able to break the prisoner down. The Recluse had plans for the Inuzuka ex-prisoners, but surprisingly enough they didn't have much to do with Taiki or the Inuzuka, at least at first. It turns out another group had begun to move against the this criminal organization, and the Recluse were going to use Taiki's uncles to eliminate the threat.
What proved equally as interesting is that the Recluse was responding to the kidnapping of Uzumaki Tenken. The leaders of the organization were very interested in getting their hands on this group's prisoner, and the captive was one of the people to scope out the new organization's base. Through this line of interrogation, Tenken's current location was determined, and It was decided that the Uzumaki represented a possible area of concern for Konoha as long as he remained in custody. Given this information, a team was put together to infiltrate this organization, rescue Uzumaki Tenken if possible or eliminate the threat if not, and to determine if this other organization needed to be eliminated. Make no mistake, this was an A rank mission at least, possibly S ranked. Taiki and Atsuro were tapped for this mission instantly, and a team was put together.
Once the team received its briefing, everyone but Taiki was told to wait outside. Taiki was alone with the mission assignment ninja for another five minutes before he walked out, grim faced. "Let's go," he says plainly, if a bit more formally than usual. He doesn't seem to want to talk about what was said in there…
Perhaps it was a stroke of luck that Hitoshi would recieve notice about this mission later in the day after speaking with Naru, given their conversation on resting. Having removed the scroll from the carrier pidgeon that had brought it to him in the woods, he would read it over, and be back in the village proper in rather short order… and ready to go not too much longer after that.
Sword? Check. Armor? If one could call a Chuunin flak vest armor… check. Bug-out bag? All the amenities included… Check. He would be at the village gate, waiting… until Taiki and the others for the mission arrive. And once assembled and they begin to set out, he adjusts his bag on his shoulders. He's pretty much silent. This was his first mission to embark on since returning to the village. Nevermind it was with two former teammates, a former partner, and… someone he didn't recognize. He just remains silent for now, his shoulders shrugging slightly under the weight of the bag he's carrying.
Having arrived in Konohagakure just a few weeks after her sixteenth birthday, Chikako Akiko had approached the shinobi of the Village Hidden in the Leaves about working with them, and despite being flawed in one area, had showed herself to be capable enough in other areas to warrant being stuck with the other Chuunin. And now, the Konoha shinobi had decided to give her a task to prove herself capable of working with a team or at least her ability to follow orders and do as told, due to her training being private with only her uncle.
The white-haired young woman remained quiet during the briefing, simply soaking up what they were told and looking to the other, more experienced members of the team. Waiting outside in the hallway, Akiko's fingers began to tap-tap-tap upon one of the scroll cases tied to her belt, her other hand flexing and unflexing slowly, looking towards the door periodically. The girl seemed to carry no weapons beyond a number of kunai and shuriken and she still wore a dark kimono with mesh visible beneath it.
When they began to leave, Akiko followed, dipping her head slightly when addressed.
What's going on in that post-briefing? Atsuro doesn't know, but he assumes it's, well, a pile of tincture. He's tempted to ask Taiki about it when he comes out, but if it was for him to know, he would have been in on it too. And Taiki doesn't seem to have any interest in talking about it. So that's that. All he can really do is keep on this mission and hope whatever was discussed isn't anything terrible.
He does, however, take the opportunity to make his first contact with Hitoshi in a long while. They can't just chat, since it's a big important mission, but he does shoot Hitoshi a grin when he gets a chance. And Taizen attempts to go over and get his attention too. Aside from Hitoshi, there's a woman Atsuro doesn't know, and Naru. Somewhat less exciting than seeing a long lost student for the first time in months. No offense, ladies!
In any case, he and Taizen just follow along after Taiki for now, ready to do what needs to be done.
Highstake missions seemed to be the highlight of Narusegawa's life as of late, and just as quickly as she was summoned she found herself stationed along with the other shinobi gathering for the mission. Knowing that Taiki was the one leading this and spotting her company it was obvious that this mission was going to be quite tolling, and certainly life threatening. Danger always lurked around the corner when venturing outside the gates with Taiki. Narusegawa approached the group from afar, her body garbed in a long bellowing hooded black cloak which remains snug against her hidden but voluptuous form. A single blade was sheathed horizontal along her waist line.
Behind her long locks of silky hair stared her vibrant pumpkin hue eye's, taking in company that she recognized aside from a single person. "It's like a reunion isn't it? I told you it wouldn't be long, Hito-kun," Naru spoke softly with a faint grin, alluding to a previous conversation that they had. With that said she traced her eyes towards Akiko, offering a bowing head of greetings before waiting for Taiki to make the next move…he didn't seem like he wanted to talk very much.
"Our destination is a river near the border of the Lands of Fire and Wind," Taiki starts, his posture rigid and his facial expression utterly serious. "I would recommend getting any greetings out of the way during the first part of our journey, because once we hit the river it will be hand-signals only. Our target is not the Recluse, but we cannot assume they will not interfere. Our primary mission is to rescue Uzumaki Tenken from a group we have very little intelligence on. Let's move out," he says once everyone is assembled at the gate.
Along the way Taiki gives the group what little information he has on this group. While they are adept with seal work, their quality is not up to Recluse or Uzumaki standards. This group seems to focus on elemental ninjutsu, and have raised it to an artform. Other than that, nothing else was known except that they were violently apposed to the Recluse. But the thing was, no-one knew their goals or what their true abilities were. Taiki appeared to have a lot on his mind during this, only giving a slight smile to Naru once or twice. Otherwise Taiki was obviously shutting down his feelings for the moment.
The smile is noticed; and of course, it's returned by the younger Chuunin. Hitoshi remains quiet, though. He does listen as Taiki speaks, and he just takes up a position in the group opposite of Akiko and in front of Atsuro after they start moving. He glances toward Naru… and he makes a small noise, a snort, as they begin to move. "I guess it's a pretty big stroke of luck," he comments toward her.
"And just how certain are we The Recluse isn't going to interfere at this point? They've been pretty well good at surprising people in the past, after all," he offers out as a question as they begin to move. He falls into a point somewhere midway in the group - on the outside, opposite of Akiko and near to Atsuro. "Back to work, right, Pilate?" he offers toward Atsuro quietly, before glancing toward Akiko… and tilting his head slightly at her state of dress. And the lack of identifying marks regarding the village. He doesn't really make a comment on it, though. Nor does he decide to speak for now. She's here for a reason, obviously.
Naru has reconnected.
Akiko listened to Taiki quietly, a small smile on her lips as she glanced around the group. She dipped her head to the others at Taiki's comment about greetings, who all seemed to be fairly experienced shinobi (more than her, anyways!), and offered her name to the group at large, "Chikako Akiko." The white-haired girl takes up a position as she follows along, nodding to herself as Taiki spoke more, trying to commit everything to memory.
She glances to Hitoshi, offering a smile and bowing her head again, and doing the same to any of the others who might happen to look towards her as they speak. One hand hooks a thumb in one of the myriad belts wrapped round her waist, the other tap-tap-tapping against her thigh as they walk. The young woman isn't entirely familiar with some of the factions and the like being discussed, so she decides to err on the side of caution and keep her mouth shut and learn what she can.
Atsuro frowns a little and exchanges glances with Taizen. What the magicite is going on with Taiki? Not that the mission isn't a serious thing, but it's like he died inside during that meeting. "Our destination is a river?" he asks, "Is there some kind of base there, or is there something about the river itself? And I don't suppose that their elemental ninjutsu is mostly water, is it?"
He smirks a little to Hitoshi as he moves near. "We're still doing that joke, huh?" he asks, "So much so that you put it before, you know, 'hi' or 'nice to see you again.'" He rubs his chin, "How long you been back in the village anyway? You been avoiding me? Actually, that would be a pretty smart move, but I guess we were bound to meet up sometime no matter how hard you try to keep away."
He glances over to Akiko as she introduces herself and nods. "Inuzuka Atsuro," he replies. Taizen woofs. "And my partner, Taizen. He says he's pleased to meet you." He glances at her, trying to get some idea of what her deal is. "You an independent ninja?" he suggests.
"It's nice to meet you Chikako-san," Narusegawa soon replied back as she peered over at the other individual. "My name is Uchiha Narusegawa, I hope you are ready for this mission… The people we are dealing with are always full of surprises," Narusegawa spoke rather honestly while they settled themselves closer towards the edge of the river, it wouldn't be to long until they had gotten to their destination. She exchanged a few smiles with Taiki along the way but she herself didn't have much else to say. Right now her attention was on the mission and what orders Taiki planned on "barking" out.
"If I were a betting man, I would not bet on the Recluse ignoring this opportunity. They were preparing to make a move of their own against this group." He looks back to Akiko momentarily and says, "Inuzuka Taiki, and these are my partners, Shinobu and Nozomi." Shinobu is a huge white dog the size of a small horse while Nozomi is smaller and red-furred with a medic-nin vest on. Then, to everyone he adds, "This mission is apt to get very ugly very quickly. Be warned, if I tell you to do something, consider it an order from the Hokage's office." Yes, he has orders that go beyond what they were given, and he's apparently preparing himself for them. "And if this group is found not to be in Konoha's best interest, no one leaves alive." There's part one of what is bothering Taiki in a nutshell. This rescue mission can turn into a bloodbath just as easily as not. "Everyone keep a lookout for any attacks from the outside."
As they approach Taiki makes the last verbal answers he's likely to for a while, "Their base is on the side of the river, a ways downstream from here. I hope everyone knows how to water-walk," he says as he steps on the water. He then watches to see if Akiko will need any special help with the water walking. Reverting to hand signs, he establishes a marching order: A V formation with Taiki at the front point with his ninken, Hitsoshi to his right and Akiko to his left, then Atsuro to the right and Naru to the left. So far, everything seems normal.
"Taniguchi Hitoshi," the younger Chuunin remarks toward Akiko quietly, tilting his head slightly and glancing at her to nod a little. "You'll have to forgive us," he offers her quietly as he closes toward her during their movement… "We all have worked together - a lot - before. We all kind of know how the other works." He then pauses, glancing toward Atsuro and snickering slightly. "Don't tell me you're sore about it," he offers the Jounin quietly… "I've been back for about two, three weeks," he offers him, though, shrugging his shoulders. "We've both been busy since I came back, too, so you'll have t'forgive me that I didn't get t'see you 'til now." He hefts the bag on his shoulders quietly, and as they finally reach the river… and he glances toward Taiki as he speaks.
He nods, then, as they revert to handsignals and a more coordinated positioning for their traveling. He takes up his spot, glancing between Akiko for a moment, before looking to Atsuro and Naru. He nods to them, and moves to step out onto the water after Taiki….
"Yes. I am hoping to work with the Konohagakure shinobi," Akiko answered Atsuro. She looked to the the dog with a small smile and then turned her attention to Narusegawa, nodding at the other woman's introduction and listening attentively.
Then her attention is drawn back to Taiki and his companions and she dips her head as she looks each of them over briefly. As the apparent leader of the mission gets back to business, the white-haired girl nods, seemingly unphased by the idea that there is most likely going to be fighting.
Akiko takes up the indicated position, stepping out onto the water easily, and realizing that as it seems the rest have worked together before, any concern about water walking is likely aimed at her. She remains silent, simply doing as told and apparently managing it just fine, though if anyone could tell, she likely has a bit more chakra than necessary focused into her feet. The young woman glances to Hitoshi, who is apparently opposite her in the little formation.
"Hey," says Atsuro to Hitoshi, "Like I said, it's a good idea. I wouldn't blame anyone for wanting to avoid me. As my student, you've had plenty of Atsuro in the last couple years. Why would you want any more?" He glances to Taizen. "Ah," he says pretending to pick up on something, "Well, I can arrange for him to visit you. Anyway, now that I know you're around here, I think we'd better catch up sometime. Bet you wish you'd found another mission, eh?"
He nods to Akiko. "Well, glad to have you along," he says, "Not sure this is the mission I'd want to start with in your position, but I guess it's a chance to prove yourself." He shrugs.
As they approach the river, Atsuro quiets up and assumes his position in the formation, behind Hitoshi, without a word. Though he can't help but notice that the group is either segregated according to sex or to friendship. He quietly takes his usual two ninjato from Taizen's vest, and the dog himself draws a katana.
Upon stepping upon the water Narusegawa was sure to keep herself as alert as she had ever been. Her honest pumpkin gaze had churned into a vibrant crimson red, the 3 tomoe of her sharingan began to take form in each eyes, briefly taking a glance around the area to see if she could pick up anything on a preliminary basis. Her eyes did sort towards Akiko briefly, and something did look "off" about the way she was pushing her chakra, her flow was rather unusal. "Nervous, Akiko-san?" Narusegawa couldn't help but to ask as she motioned herself in position and set herself up to follow after Taiki's hand signs. Settling upon the water was easy enough, the question was just what might be awaiting them once they fully crossed over…
As the group walks up the river, things continue to look fairly normal for everyone. In fact, Hitoshi, Akiko, and Atsuro are likely bored. It's beautiful countryside, but nothing remotely like the danger they were led to believe. But suddenly Taiki stops along with his ninken, all three sniffing the air. Very light growls eminate from the dogs' throats, and Taiki holds up his fist in the air as a universal "stop" signal. He looks back toward the group and points at his eyes, and then points off in a direction that anyone but Naru would assume to be a random direction. He looks at them questioningly, silently asking if they see or sense what he and his ninken do.
Stopping short on top of the water, Hitoshi immediately throws up his hand as well, out of habit, passing the word back through the group to stop. As he does, and he watches Taiki's handsignals… he blinks, looking toward… a tree on the shoreline. He then looks back toward Taiki… and as he focuses and tries to let his sensitivity increase a little… he just shakes his head, looking around slowly.
His eyes go first to Akiko, and he blinks toward her, shrugging… before looking back toward Atsuro, and giving the Chuunin a quiet shrug as well. He's clueless.
Akiko glanced to Naru at the query about her being nervous or not, but she doesn't answer as they began walking over the river, not wanting to risk getting in trouble. Suffice to say she continues to focus more chakra than needed for simple water walking. At Taiki's signal to stop, she does just that, glancing about warily. The girl then looks towards Hitoshi briefly, answering with a shrug of her own. And then she frowns as she glances around again, figuring there's something she's missing that she probably shouldn't be.
He may have had the fine-tuned senses of an Inuzuka at one point, but at the ripe old age of twenty-one, Atsuro is venerable by ninja standards. Whatever's going on out there, it's simply too much for him and his gray hair to deal with. Taizen is also twenty-one in dog years, so he's similarly clueless. Or maybe the wind just wasn't right or something, who knows? In any case, they don't know what it is that Taiki's trying to find, and Atsuro signals back: nothing detected.
Narusegawa ceased her movement as her eyes could see something up ahead. The area before them was laced with chakra, a genjtusu trap spread about throughout the area to capture them if they were to get within it's radius. Quickly she exchanged a quick glance with Taiki and nodded to affirm the situation, and uses this moment to build up her chakra and prepare for the worst. Getting through the genjutsu was possible but there wasn't anything telling how strong this genjutsu might be if they swept into it, but also right now it was hard for Narusegawa to tell if there was anything they could do to stop it. For now Naru held up a hand for them to becareful and alert, using her eyes to scout out for anything else that might catch her attention.
Taiki nods to Atsuro, then makes some hand signals for 'trap' and 'scent' and turns back toward the direction he just pointed. The dogs in the meantime become instantly alert as Taiki drops down onto all fours quickly, then all three scatter quickly as a couple of twin tornadoes strike right at the area that Taiki was. The moment he sets down on water again though, another set of tornadoes come after him and his ninken, causing Taiki to once again have to leap away. This time he lands next to Akiko and growls out in something akin to absolute hatred, "Uncle Katashi… Uncle Shichiro… it's… good to see you…" Then, while not taking his eyes off the newcomers says, "These are trators and escaped prisoners from Konoha. They're both A-ranked with a kill on sight order upon them as of today."
"Well if it isn't Taiki and his esper sensei…" Katashi says, seemingly very happy. Their ninken are also seemingly sadistically happy, for the same reason. "Shichiro, go take care of our objective, it will be great to see what this brat has achieved before I end his life like we should have done long ago…" Shichiro looks like he wants to object, but then nods and starts to head off toward the direction Taiki pointed at earlier. "Now welp, it's time to die." Taiki seems unphased by his declaration.
Watching Taiki… Hitoshi begins to furrow his eyebrows a bit. Immediately, a kunai is drawn out of his leg-holster, and he spins it around by his finger to where it's in place in his hand, and he looks around. Then, though, is when the first wave of attacks come. And Hitoshi's eyes turn, and furrow… He's quick to split, his body flickering out of sight and then back into sight a small distance away from where he was as the rest of the group does their own thing to split up.
When the dust settles and there are two Inuzuka standing before them that Hitoshi is very quick to recognize… Something deep inside begins to come forwad, and he growls a little bit. And then, Katashi begins to give the orders for the other - yes, that one - to split off. He looks toward Taiki for a moment… and he doesn't even wait for an inclination. "I've got him. I took him down once - he won't walk away with his head again." Immediately, Hitoshi begins to split. And as he moves across the water at a clip to go after Shichiro, he raises his hands in a Rat seal to begin focusing even more chakra into his system…
Akiko continues to glance about, watching the area around the river and the rest of the little team. The tornadoes catch her off guard, and she jumps back a short distance, even though they were mostly aimed in Taiki's direction. As the team leader lands next to her, she glances to him, then flicks her attention to the pair of men as Taiki growls out their names. She shifts slightly, not really moving yet and not reaching to draw a weapon of any sort, though the white-haired woman looks ready to spring into motion.
Her gaze alternates between watching the two men and watching Taiki for the moment, then she hmm's as one of the attackers turns to leave. Akiko looks towards Hitoshi as he speaks, then glances to Taiki, seemingly waiting to be told what to do. As Hitoshi turns to chase after the fleeing Inuzuka, the girl asks, "Should I go with him, or stay?" As she speaks, her own chakra begins to build, the 'off'ness growing more pronounced as it is used for more than just keeping her feet atop the water, some of it seemingly being burned off even as she builds it.
Atsuro frowns slightly as he looks ahead, but there's not any time to contemplate what might be there as Taiki comes under attack. He gets down on all fours, then he and Taizen quickly back away, getting ready to respond to whatever's going on. His eyes narrow slightly as he sees who the attackers are.
Atsuro actually sighs as Taiki's uncles show up. "That was pitiful," he notes, "Your muscles atrophy in prison? Actually, don't answer, I'll just assume it's something /waaaay/ too smug for the circumstances… or the man. Now remember, everyone, you're fighting for the honour of the Inuzuka clan… which is a lot more than these clowns have ever done."
Without any particular fanfare, or even warning, he and Taizen jump into the air, then spin rapidly. Both Katashi and Shichiro come under attack as the duo streaks through the air with tornadoes similar to the ones used before, each of them making multiple passes at the traitor uncles and their nin-dogs, attempting to smash them into the air.
Narusegawa blinked her eyes as they duo of Inuzuka had come to their approach, she huffed lightly and began to ready herself, carefully analyzing as Taiki is attacked but skillfully avoids the barrage of attacks trained against him. "So these are the guys…" muttered Naru under her breath, using this time to focus a bit more chakra throughout her body and preparing herself for the worst. The gleam of her sharingan darkened as more chakra was pushed to her eyes and then all about her body having enough chakra to push on the right of the fight. " IF the orders are to kill them on sight then we will need to do this quickly… THey happen to be getting in the way of our main objective as well…"
Taiki wastes no more thoughts or words on the situation. Naru is right that these people are in the way of their main mission, and it is past time these two went straight to hell. "Chikako-san, follow Hitoshi-san to where our main objective is. Your job will be to sneak around the battle and see if you can find the person we're here for." He slips her a tag and says, "Put this somewhere on his body, and activate it. It should break him out of any mind-control he's under, including genjutsu. Your job will be to get him out of here." All of that was said quickly and quietly as he notes that Atsuro and Taizen have set them both up perfectly. Taking advantage of the set up, the trio leap into action as Taiki and Shinobu launch themselves into a traditional gatsuga while Nozomi backs up Hitoshi with a water Jutsu. This is the wrong place to be attacking a water manipulator, even if it is a ninken…
Of course, with having split off, Hitoshi wasn't expecting much in the way of a backup attack coming from anywhere. But when a jet of water comes shooting by him… he doesn't look back to see who it could be. Instead, he keeps moving forward, focusing on his target in front of him. His fingers come up into a series of handseals - and as he finally seems to lock onto the last set, he comes skidding to a stop atop the water, focusing.
"Katon: Housenka no Jutsu!"
As he lets the incantation loose, fireball after fireball is issued from Hitoshi's mouth, a multitude of fire coming from the boy as he spreads the attack out to try and cover the areas that the man could try to use as a gap-through. As the balls of fire impact on various surfaces - like trees, or the like - one would realize that the fireballs have an extra wallop: a shuriken, hidden in each one, that comes out flamingly red-hot…
Having voiced her query as to what to do, Akiko dips her head as Taiki speaks, listening to him as he lowers his voice. She blinks a bit as she takes the tag from him, slipping it into a fold of her kimono and nodding again, "I will do as you say, Taiki-san." And then, quickly assessing the current situation of what is going on, the white-haired girl is gone.
Hitoshi and the fleeing Inuzuka had a bit of a headstart on the young woman, but she does her best to catch up, sprinting across the surface of the river, she flickers, repeatedly in a rapid succession. Multiple after-images of the girl mid-stride appear atop the river as she tries to quickly close the distance and catch up with the pair.
Not keen on letting Shichiro escape (and figuring Taiki and Naru can handle Katashi for the time being), Atsuro and Taizen land themselves near the fleeing elder, off to either side of him. Readying their swords once again, they charge towards towards him. They're coming at him from the flanks and attacking from either side, so hopefully that'll be enough to do some damage, especially with attacks from Nozomi and Hitoshi coming in.
The battle had finally began, and Taiki and Atsuro already began to make their marks. With each of them closing in it made it difficult for Narusegawa to join the fray, so instead she stayed back away from the both of them, using her hand seals and focusing her chakra throughout the basin of water beneath her feet, she too was within her element allowing herself to stirr into focus while growling faintly under her breath. " I will attack from behind!" Narusegawa exclaims to both Atsuro and Taiki, forging spears of water by her side as the warped from the water besides her then sling shots in the enemies position. The whirling spear of water was refined and pointed, strong enough to pierce through flesh.
Shichiro grimaces as the water needles hit him. He's surprised that such a basic D rank Jutsu can cause as much damage as it is, but he's not part of the Recluse for nothing. Despite bleeding from several pin-prick punctures, he and his ninken start twisting in the air, attempting to avoid the fireballs headed his way. He manages to twist through the onslaught, escaping unharmed. Finally he lands on a tree and glances back at Hitoshi. "Pitiful. You want me to face you, make me!" With this he throws a metal ball back toward Hitoshi before continuing on his way. When the ball reaches approximately where Hitoshi is, it explodes, hopefully catching Hitoshi in the blast. Even though Akiko is catching up, she's ignored for the moment. She's not the annoying one after all…But Shichiro does pay attention to Atsuro and Taizen, however. The ex-elder and his ninken launch forward with moves of their own. These attacks look like standard tsuga's, but are different. As the clash comes, seals alight on both bodies, sending waves of pure chakra, sharpened to a razor's edge, at the two. Unfortunately for them, they start too late and are cut off mid-strike, taking injures to their bodies. But they're undeterred from their mission as they use the momentum to get further ahead.
Katashi, in the meantime, takes the full brunt of Taiki's onslaught, and is injured, but only slightly. "You call that at gatsuga boy? That was pitiful. But then again, ninjutsu always made you weak. But seriously, a baby could have done better than that!" With this he and his ninken join up and the ex-elder starts running through seals. "Beast transformation: Demonic wolf!" With that smoke envelops them both. A moment later he comes out of the smoke as something that looks like the Inuzuka A rank double-headed wolf, only with no fur, red skin covered in seals, horns and a tail. "Now, let's see how the pup and the Uchiha cactrot deal with this!" He notices the water lances heading his way and seems to blink out of sight, appearing right between the pair, with both lances missing target. Then this monsterous beast lauches forward in something that looks like a garuga, but appears to be even faster.
Taiki nods as Atsuro goes off to help the chuunin, then glances at Naru as if to say, "Cover me" before having to dodge whatever it is that man is using now with another advanced four legged dodge. This enables Taiki to barely escape this move, though he could feel the force of the air revolving around this attack. Taiki then growls at the first set of insults, nodding to both of his ninken before being moved to speak. The sheer audacity of this man is appalling to Taiki. "What we have here… is… a failure to communicate. There are some men you just can't reach…" Taiki drawls. "Remember that speech Katashi-teme? Well, this new form just goes to prove how big a hypocrite you are." He and his two ninken leap, and land in a formation Naru should recognize well. Taiki forms various hand-signs before calling out, "Man-beast henge: Elemental Triple Headed Wolf!" A large poof of smoke erupts, and a monsterous three-headed dog, easily seen over the trees, appears and growls, then launces forward in a lightning charged tsuga.
Perhaps Hitoshi wasn't expecting a serious retort as he kept chasing after the Inuzuka. He had seen a glimmer of something being thrown at him… but it was round. Not a big deal, right?
As Hitoshi turns to let the object glide by him, his eyes turn to the object and widen when he realizes what it really is. And his hands are coming up in a seal - but it's too late. The explosion from the bomb is more than enough to send Hitoshi flying back after the initial shockwave. And when his body finally comes to a halt in it's rather ragdoll-ish skid across the water, it just kind of sinks without a notice of air bubbles coming up from where it went down.
Akiko is catching up, with a rapid series of flickering steps across the river. She slips off to the side as they near the other bank and trees, hoping to approach the man from a different angle, and luckily is out of the area as the thrown explosive goes off, knocking Hitoshi back. She grimaces at the sound, but continues on, feet touching land again. Yay.
As Atsuro and his pup start dog-sword-fighting with Shachiro, the white-haired girl's eyes watch, and as the pairs begin to separate for a moment, she flickers. After-images appear, on the ground, on a tree and then she flickers closer the enemy Inuzaka, her previously empty left hand now bearing a tanto, which she takes a swipe at the man with. Flickering again, she appears on a different side, her empty right hand swinging at him in a slicing motion, a wakizashi popping into her grip at the last second.
"That move is for /attacking/, you ultima, not running away!" Atsuro's taunt isn't exactly a taunt now, but a cry of anger. The attack that hit Hitoshi looks bad, but if there's going to be any sort of chance at saving him, they've got to get him /now/. They throw their swords to the river banks, then dive into the water. Atsuro can only hope that all of his practice swimming is enough to recover Hitoshi as he and Taizen start their search, hoping they can bring him to land alive.
The strike aimed at Narusegawa was enough to tear the flesh right off of her body…and it did… The spiraling of his Garuga sent her flying back awat from him, blood spilling from her wound as she sliced and smacked along the otherside of the water's surface. She attempts to hold her form, skidding along the surface until splashing to a halt, darkening the water beneath her as her blood began to pool.
" X-zone it…" Narusegawa cursed quietly under her breath, slightly panting, expending a bit too much chakra than she had originally anticipated… Akio was fighting the other shinobi on her own, and Atsuro was diving deep into the water to bring Hitoshi back to the surface… They were at odds and sorely out gunned for the moment. Clenching her teeth she growled briefly, festering more pint up chakra while the seal along the nap of her neck began to expand, black streams of lightning bolt shaped seal marks began to take up her flesh, expanding all about her body while a dark azure chakra scheme began to take form about her presence.
"We aren't going to let them get away Ta-kun!" Narusegawa explains as she rises back to a stand, spreading her finger tips apart and forging lightning chakra in the shape of a spear within her hand. The Crackling of electricity continued to build up, and right after Taiki's onslaught she backed him up with her own, forging a spear of lightning and launching herself up above them to spear the man point blank with an explosion of piercing vibrating chakra. " Forged Lightning Spear!"
Shichiro smirks as Hitoshi hits the water. "Two for the price of one… I love it when people care more for their comrades than their mission…" That said, he starts bounding forward even as a seal activates on both him and his ninken. Flesh is slowly starting to knit together, but before it gets very far Akiko flickers before him. Deciding to conserve energy, he tries to dodge only to be hit by her first strike, before he moves out of her range by jumping backwards. "Stupid trash… do you think that would do something against someone like me?" With this he and his ninken form tsugas, moving forward to strike at her as they pass her and onto their objective. Unfortunately for them, boulders sail toward them from somewhere in the direction their heading, followed by gouts of fire. Someone else is entering the fray… And unfortunately for Akiko, they don't care who they hit as a fireball streams up at her as well…
Katashi on the other hand is seeming to be trying to work out the kinks of his new form. Taiki's shot against him barely misses its mark, though the ex-elder seems shocked. "What the tonberry was that?!" he calls out. Unfortunately for him, Naru's follow-up attack scores a hit, seeming to rip through him, opening up his side tempaorarily. He screams as he too is further assaulted by elemental attacks. Wind and water attacks pour up at him, forcing him to further dodge. Even so, he's not about to take his eye off the these two. "Your behemoth is better than you ever thought to be Taiki-kun… She actually managed to hit me. Here's a return present for the both of you though…" And with this another ball, like the one that took Hitoshi out, is lobbed toward them. The explosion is… impreseive… Unfortunately Taiki and Naru are also attacked, this time by water dragons as masked figures appear on the shoreline…
Atsuro manages to find Hitoshi in the water, bleeding and damaged, but alive. He's in need of medical help, but at least he's not going to die, if Atsuro gets him to the surface.
Taiki, on the other hand, almost shouts aloud when Hitoshi hits the water. He'd go after him himself, but Atsuro beats him to it. Now more than ever it is important that he dodges successfully. While he avoids the first explosion, the water dragon catches him by surprise, scoring a solid hit. Taiki growls, noticing the masked figures at the riverside, and decides to angle an attack to get rid of the destractions, and hopefully harm Katashi in the process. The next moment the massive dog explodes into motion, tearing into everything in his target area… trees… ground… Katashi… unknowns… The smell of ozone permeates the air as he strikes with the Raigatsuga.
Taiki asked Usagi to come up the back way to where this base was. She has two jobs here. First is to bring the box he got from Tenken's den. Usagi would know he's cracked it, and he's not happy about it. He fervently hopes he doesn't have to use it. Second is to watch for Tenken. She has a tag similar to Akiko's. Usagi is to plant that seal on Tenken. It is the Uzumaki's attempt to wrest him away from any mind control. If it fails… the Uzumaki made it clear: Use the box.
Atsuro and Taizen breach the surface, holding Hitoshi's between them, doing their best to keep his head above water, and Atsuro attempting to give him rescue breath as they swim for the water's edge. It seems like an eternity for Atsuro, but both he and Taizen are strong swimmers. They pull him onto the shore and lay him out. Taizen stands guard, drawing his sword once more as Atsuro begins CPR. "Taiki, I need help over here NOW," he calls. He then starts alternating between rescue breaths and chest compressions.
After her lightning spear attack Narusegawa pushed back away from Katashi, pelted by a sudden barrage of attacks being a mix of an explosion along with the the torrent of a water dragon. A single glisten emitted from Naru's sharingan as her retina's focused upon the techniques approaching. "Kaminari!" Naru exclaims summoning forth a powerful surge of vibrant scarlet red lightning chakra, building up at the base of both techniques and sapping away at the chakra to disable and mist away the technique, Naru however was losing quite a bit of chakra, especially with the excess emitting off her form. Atsuro's cries for Taiki to help began to fluster the Uchiha, she fidgeted and glanced over in their direction. Hitoshi wasn't dying was he?
Nevertheless her eyes looked back forward towards Katashi, reaching a hand out much like how she forged her spear, this time it would be driven and molded with stronger bounds of chakra, carefully forged and condensed into a completely solid lightning blade eventually crackling at her finger tips. Her Sharingan remained focuse as she peered at the battle from afar, briefly holstering the sword of light and forcing it through the air with a single motion.
" Raiton! Raihasaki!" In an instance the blade would soar almost at the speed of light, hopefully hitting home and exploding the man with the chakra combined with Taiki's onslaught… After the attack Naru the seal upon Naru began to give out, her body no longer able to keep up with the chakra drain forcing her into a kneel.
Anyone who might have been paying attention up to this point 'may' or may not have seen a shadow slowly making its way around towards the fracas that has been brewing at this point, making a point to stay to darkened areas and keep to cover as it is, steadily approaching, and once close enough, seeming to be content enough to remain present, and be unnoticed. Perhaps a trick of the eyesight, or the ninpo occurring out and about, with often spectacular results. But as things progress, that changes rapidly.
There's a not quite so much a blur, but more of something hard to discern as it approaches quickly behind Shichiro, and then a flash of light…as the cloak of shadows drops from a familiar face to many of those present. Naru Usagi, dressed fully in black with her chuunin's vest dyed fully black as well to keep her better hidden, becomes fully visible as the flash of light can now be seen as a full sized war scythe. The first flash was her first attack from behind, and she continues forward, spinning the unwieldy weapon a second time to catch him as she passes, trying to cut him again. But, it seems she's not done.
As she passes, she only glances over her shoulder to try and see how effective her surprise attack was, and then continues her headlong dash towards her true target. Atsuro. Or more likely, Atsuro's charge. She skids to a stop, barring any particular halting of her movements, and she kneels to take over for Atsuro. "Go. You're better at combat, I'm better at this. I'll help when he's stabilized" and once Atsuro gives up on it, she would begin trying to keep the man alive, and make sure he survived the night.
Shichiro seems to be having no luck, literally. He manages to avoid being hit by Akiko, only to be surprised attacked by Usagi. Usagi's first scythe slash sinks deep into the ex-elder, almost cutting him in half. He manages to dodge her next attack, but he's weakened enough for a fire-dragon to engulf him. A moment later, a charred, unmoving hulk falls out of the tree and onto the ground, unmoving. Whether or not he's alive when he falls is anyone's guess, but odds are he won't be thereafter.
Katashi seems to be faring better than his partner, but for some reason isn't doing the taunts anymore. He's more concerned about dodging the attempts from Taiki and Naru to kill him as those attempts become more and more destructive with each passing moment. He knows full well at this point should he slip once, and one of them connect, he's done for. He gathers up energy to strike again, only to pause as seals form around him, freezing him in place. A larger seal forms above everyone and "glows" an ominous black, as if blotting out the sun. The barrage from the unknowns continue, so it is evident they don't fear whatever it is, but everyone here, including Katashi, feels a sense of impending doom… Whatever that is, it isn't good…
Taiki, seeing the situation, apparently recognizes the seal. "Usagi! The box!" he calls out, his voice nearly breaking despite his form. Whatever it is, this is something Taiki /fears/, even more than using the box itself would be. "Chikako-san, Tenken is at that glow! Neutralize him now!" The massive three-headed wolf bounds over to Usagi for a moment to retrieve something before bounding off in the direction of a bright spot a short distance away, the same bright spot Taiki pointed Akiko to…
Akiko is somehow, unharmed so far. Likely because Shichiro is trying to conserve his energy, thankfully. Perched on her branch, having just thrown a kunai after the fleeing Inuzuka while trying to determine where the fireball came from..her attention is drawn back to the elder as there's another flash of movement in that direction and…ow, some girl is slamming a scythe practically half-way through him. Ow.
She she make the fireball? Akiko frowns. And then there's more fire. Well, no, then, it doesn't look like scythe girl made the fire after all. The white-haired girl tenses, about to spring into motion when…things go dark. "Wonderful," is muttered aloud.
Akiko glances up, then back towards the river, since it seems her current target is erm. Out of play. Hearing Taiki's voice, the girl flashes into motion, hopping from tree to tree at a quick pace, back to the river and nimbly leaping down to the surface of the water. At the team leader's words, she looks towards the glow. She grimaces, but doesn't hesitate, flickering. Her path is a bit erratic, blurry images left on the river at angles, still wary of random elemental attacks while she hurries to the 'glow'. As she moves, her right hand draws the tag Taiki had given her earlier from a fold of her kimono.
Atsuro nods seriously. "He was hit by an explosion, then he was in the water for a bit," he tells Usagi, so that she can give him the proper kind of treatment. Then he gets to his feet and draws his swords again. "Shichiro's dead already?" he asks, "That's a bit of an anticlimax. But face this way, Katashi. I wanna see the look on your wrinkly old face when the blade goes in. And don't bother trying to run. The only thing that can preserve you now is formaldehyde."
He gives his trademark grin, then he and Taizen rush in, brandishing their swords. Taizen strikes low, aiming to sweep — or cut — Katashi off his feet, while Atsuro jumps in from above, intending to slice him from either shoulder to his hips.
Usagi pauses long enough to pull a box out and give it to Taiki and nodding, also passing a particular item over aside from that. "You go do that, I'll take care of him" As Atsuro comes in to give her information, she nods again. "Got it. Keep me covered" She places a hand on Hitoshi after a few moments, though she continues to move towards giving him breaths and chest compressions. Her attention, as of now, is more or less undivided on her charge.
Katashi is good and caught, and Atsuro's threat poses true. Soon the light fades from Katashi's eyes as Atsuro finishes him off. In the meantime Akiko can see Tenken up ahead, though the flak she's getting from the people in the forest is increasing. She has a good direct run, but it will be tricky, and if she misses, she'll be in deep trouble. Taiki as a huge dog bounds after her, the box in his mouth. Despite the severity of the situation, the expressions on the dogs faces are sad indeed… If the box must be used, it is evident it will be bad…
Naru in the meantime passes out from over-use of chakra, oblivious to what is going on around her…
Akiko manages to make it on time, applying the seal before activating it. Suddenly Tenken jerks as if shocked, then blinks for a few moments. "Wha…" he says before looking up at the sky and seeing his master seal. Paling, he reads what its targeted to before his attention is brought to the large three headed dog in front of him. "It's okay Taiki-dono…" he says before delving into the seal. After a moment he says, "It's too late to bring it down… but I can redirect it." With that in mind Tenken adjusts the seal, then releases it. Suddenly gravity erupts everywhere, seemingly fluctuating with each passing moment. Taiki and his entire team feel nothing, but the mystery organization nor the ex-elders are so lucky. The world goes black, though once the sky clears there's not a trace of life left, besides the team from Konoha and Tenken himself. Everything else has been squashed flat. Taiki turns back into his original form, catching Tenken as he slips into unconsciousness. "It's done, let's go home…"