The hunt for the Inuzuka Horror


Taiki, Atsuro

Date: April 22, 2014


Taiki and Atsuro discuss transformations

"The hunt for the Inuzuka Horror"

Jounin training grounds

He might cultivate the appearance of laziness, but Atsuro keeps a pretty strict training schedule. And lately, that schedule is actually pretty strenuous. After spending months mastering the Shadow Clone technique, he's now just finishing with a Shadow-Clone technique-based technique. So let nobody say he doesn't work hard. Unfortunately, you wouldn't think that from seeing him now. After trying out the transformation a few times — a workout unto itself — he's just doing his usual thing in the training grounds: sleeping.

He lies curled up in the grass, in an area of mottled shade. Taizen, who doesn't have to work quite so hard when the technique is used, is not asleep. Instead, he's quietly padding around the area sniffing at plants and watching bugs fly around in the air. Things are surprisingly calm for the summer, with even the jounin training area relatively peaceful and quiet.

And Taiki has managed to gain some time with his ninken away from everyone else for personal training. Now that he has his first two A rank FLL techniques down, it's time to work on his and Nozomi's Suton Gatsuga, amongst other things. Thus the trio had spent about an hour working on that, complete with concept design, since the use of a water-based technique by people more adept to track by sense of smell presents special problems by themselves.

But that's not all that the trio is working on. Indeed, it's the training of the second ability that has them out here where they're away from most others. Instead, they approach this area to work on their own transformation technique. Having mastered transformations all the way to A+ rank, the trio have only their ultimate form left. And while it's been known that they are working on it, one thing is for certain, no one knows what it is. They've been very closed mouthed about it, and thus they're coming here to practice it, unaware that Atsuro and Taizen are here yet.

Whether his nap just happens to be over, or Taiki makes too much noise, or Atsuro's acquired some kind of sixth sense for danger, Atsuro wakes up. Feeling refreshed, he yawns and stretches. Maybe it's time to get back to practicing his moves. But wait. He sniffs the air a couple of times, then exchanges glances with Taizen. Maybe it's time to practice the art of retreat. Atsuro gets to his feet finally, and folds his arms, waiting to see when Taiki and company will show up.

As they approach, Atsuro's ears would more than likely pick out what Taiki is saying as he discusses things with his ninken. "We're getting better, the water overload's duration seems to be dropping. Hopefully before long we'll be able to keep it from wiping out scents every time we use it." Nozomi barks an agreement as the trio are just visible at the edge of the trees. "But now it's time for something different."

Shinobu speaks up in dog tongue, but something easily translatable by Inuzuka eaves-droppers, "How are you planning to break the news of this form to the clan… I can't imagine that it would be very popular. I remember that one kid wetting his pants when he just caught a glimpse. Thank goodness you were able to convince him he saw a mis-fired jutsu…"

Taiki is silent as the dogs close in around him. "I don't know, other than we need to get this down first before we figure out how to make it known amongst our clan. I will probably need to ask Atsuro… assuming he doesn't freak out over the form himself." So far, they're focusing on each other enough to be convinced they're alone.

Hm. How like Taiki, to be so wrapped up in discussing jutsu with his dogs to even notice someone else is here — even with some of the sharpest senses in the human species. Atsuro sighs, and exchanges glances with Taizen. Whatever Taiki's talking about, Atsuro's sure it can't be worse than all his other jutsu, so he figures he may as well say something… and Taiki gives him exactly the opportunity to do so. "Ask me about what?" he asks, keeping his tone neutral to avoid giving away his eavesdropping. Taizen woofs a greeting to the three of them.

Taiki's head springs up to look at Atsuro and Taizen when the former speaks. He then gives a slightly nervous grin and waves toward them. "Uh… hello Taizen. Hello Atsuro…" he says as the dogs look slightly nervous themselves, but also bark in kind. "Sorry I didn't notice you… but working out new water techniques tends to dampen the sense of smell for a bit, even when we've improved our Inuzuka senses to B rank." He then glances at hsi two ninken, who give him looks of support before he says, "We… have a slight problem with transformations."

After a moment Taiki shrugs and starts to draw closer. "You know of the penultimate transformation jutsu for our clan, right?" he asks, not knowing that Atsuro had achieved it yet. "Well, it's not going to exactly fit us very well…."

"B-rank?" Atsuro repeats, "Ahahahaha!" He coughs, "I mean, er, gosh, how could any technique possibly dull such sharp senses?" He stops and smirks for a second, reaching a hand up to rub his chin, "Does it give you trouble seeing, too? I mean, we were standing right there, after all. In broad daylight and everything." He tilts his head to one side, "A problem with… transformations? Gosh, I thought you'd finished puberty already. In any case, I assume you're talking about Stalking Two Headed Wolf. It would actually fit you just fine, I'm sure, but I know how you like to put in nails with a screwdriver."

Taiki frowns slightly and shakes his head. "Atsuro, I'm being serious for a moment here," he states clearly. "I'm kinda nervous talking to you about this, for reasons which you'll find out about later." He then sighs and shakes his head. "And yes, I'm aware I'm still not up to your level of senses yet. To be fair, I /was/ looking at my partners, not around much. I was relying more on my sense of hearing, and was distracted. So excuse me…" He then stops and shakes his head. "Sorry, getting too defensive there. Nervous."

He then looks between Atsuro and Taizen and says, "No, I already have Stalking Two headed wolf, and an A+ rank version for all three of us. I was talking about the S rank transformation. I'm sure, if you think for a minute, you'll figure out what the issue here is."

"Oh," says Atsuro, "That's right. Actually, didn't I teach you that? Anyway. I would have called that the penultimate move, but I guess you're hinting that Three Headed Wolf isn't the ultimate in Inuzuka power or whatevs." He shrugs. "I think I see what you're getting at. You've already got those three-headed moves. They're not as strong as the actual technique, to my knowledge, but if you went and added shadow clone to it, you'd just end up with a four-headed wolf. Am I half-right? So, I imagine you're trying to come up with a novel solution. With you, that means I can expect something equal parts stupid and brilliant."

Taiki nods as Atsuro thinks it through. And even he admits to himself that his solution was indeed equal parts stupid and brilliant. Now that he has the setup done, it's time for him to go for it. He's warned Atsuro, and there's nothing really to do but get it out of the way. He then nods to his partners who stand side by side with Taiki leaping on top of them. He runs through a set of handsigns that Atsuro would not recognize, at least in this combination before he calls out loudly, "Beast/human transformation: Elemental Wolf Horror." With that kind of name, it's bound to be something… right?

And indeed it is as a large puff of smoke envelopes the trio for a few moments. The wind quickly blows the smoke away to reveal… something. It stands on two legs instead of four, and tops out at about ten feet tall. It's furry all over with three tails, white, red and brown, flowing out the back and brushing the ground. It is exceedingly muscular, more so than even his other forms, with fully articulated hands which end in wicked-looking claws. What tops this beast off though is three heads, one of each color as the tails, all wolf-like. It moves forward a couple of feet before smoke envelopes it again, and the trio emerges normal once again, slightly panting. "Not quite got the endurance or coordination down yet…" Taiki says as he watches Atsuro's reaction.

Atsuro folds his arms and Taizen sits on the ground wagging his tail as they wait for Taiki and the gang to prepare themselves. "Name certainly doesn't inspire confidence," Atsuro mutters to himself. Taizen stays silent. Then Taiki transforms. For a few seconds, Atsuro just stares slack jawed at this monstrosity. "Horror indeed," he finally says, "So aside from making your opponent wonder if you've drugged them, what advantage does this… thing have over a more normal transformation?" Even Taizen can't seem to find a good word about it, opting to just sit there, still and silent.

Taiki climbs off his partners as they sit down, enabling Taiki to do the same just in front of them. "Well, first of all, it does for my elemental four legged style what the three headed wolf does for the standard four legged style. My tajutsu, speed, stamina, and chakra reserves are all increased dramatically, and my strength is also increased, at least by a little. Furthermore, with the full articulation of my hands, albeit with claws sharper than some of your sharpest swords, I can use any type of tool, including weapons. And last but most important, given that ninjutsu, both medical and sealing arts, are very close secondaries to my taijutsu styles, the articulation of my hands enables me access to all techniques I possess. I can form hand seals, scratch intricate seals for fuinjutsu, do just about anything that I could do in this form in that form. And I don't know if you noticed, but the fangs are also much more pronounced. Unfortunately, that wasn't the perfect form of this transformation, as I wasn't quite as condensed as I should have been. Like Stalking wolf, I should have been shorter… by about two feet."

"Doubtful," says Atsuro, "I'd like to just first point out that you are probably not the best person to judge the sharpness of a sword. And I'm skeptical about the sharpness of a claw too." He shrugs, "Of course, I admit that those other benefits might be real and not imagined. Of course, I do find a few of them questionable. Given how much chakra you must be using just to maintain that form, I'm not sure that being able to use ninjutsu on top of it is a good thing, vis a vis you not dying of exhaustion." He shrugs, "You're free to try out this little science experiment, of course. But I'm not sure it's really that much of a horror, even if it does look like something from this horror manga I've been reading."

Taiki shrugs when Atsuro points out the absurdity of him making comments about the sharpness of swords. "Well, you have a point that I am one of the last people to talk about swords, especially to a grandmaster of swordmanship," he says, nodding his head in agreement to Atsuro's point. "Thing is, I use chakra a bit more efficiently than most, so the drain isn't quite as large as it would be on others. Oh, it's large enough that I wouldn't want to be throwing ninjutsu around a lot. But my elemental styles also use a lot of chakra, which is why I don't often use more than collaborative techniques with Shinobu and Nozomi. But it's there if the shit really hits the fan," he says with a shrug. "And it's called a horror for a very good reason. First of all, I patterned it out of a horror novel, and secondly, when something like that is bearing down on someone not expecting it, it can brather inimidating. I have direct proof of that already."

Atsuro shakes his head. "I'm not a grandmaster, or even a master of swordsmanship. I just know enough about swords and claws to make statements like that. In any case, it's never the sharpness that counts." Taiki has found, perhaps, the one area where Atsuro is humble. And advises others to be humble. "I'm not so sure it's a matter of efficiency, so much as whether or not you're a jinchuuriki. I assume you aren't. I know my ninjutsu skills used to be questionable, but I've learned a thing or two, and I know you can burn through chakra /reaaal/ fast with a move like that one."

Taiki nods, and unlike Atsuro knows quite a bit about ninjutsu. In fact, he knows a lot about chakra specifically, as he's written a couple of scrolls that is currently in use by medic nin concerning chakra use, abuse, and dangers. "I know Atsuro. Chakra is my medical specialty after all. I'm not in Uzumaki-sensei's league, but I know more than enough to know the dangers of running through chakra that fast. Thing is, any S-rank transformation will do that, regardless of the form. Even if I used three-headed wolf, it's the same chakra usage, as near as I can determine." No, he's not an S-rank mednin yet, but Atsuro is telling him nothing he doesn't already know, and probably has accounted for. "As I said, it's trump card, and one I'd probably have to take a little time to prepare for to use. And like my chakra network surgery technique… I'd likely be rather tired for a good long while afterward." Considering that technique tends to put Taiki in bed for a few days, and tired for up to a week afterward every time he uses it, he apparently knows exactly where he stands there.

"Except for the one difference which I'm getting at: you don't enter Three Headed Wolf expecting to use ninjutsu. You're right, it's a very draining technique. But when I use it, I'll use chakra taijutsu at most. No complicated seals and… handseals. I can actually do it fairly often — although I suspect that that's just me versus you. And probably Tai versus your posse." Atsuro grins, "And besides, we look way better than your thing." He gestures between himself and Taizen a couple of times, "Big, black, three-headed shaggy dog beats weird werewolf thing."

Taiki has to laugh at that last comment and shakes his head. "In this case, it's not about the good looks, Atsuro. It's about effectiveness. And yes, I'm fully getting what you're saying. As I keep saying, it's a trump card, if I need to get myself out of something I'm in way over my head in. And as I have already explained, I know full well it's likely to be incredibly draining on me, using understatements. You've seen me after I've used chakra network surgery, and that's an /A/ rank medical ninjutsu. You have to remember, while I'm no grandmaster myself in chakra use, chakra use and techniques are to me what swordmanship is to you."

"Excellent," says Atsuro, "Then we win!" He stretches for a second. "Better than having a trump card is never needing to have a trump card in the first place. Anyway, we'd better be going. Stuff going down at home. Dinner, napping, bathing. See you later, kid." He nods to Nozomi and Shinobu, "Kids." He starts to walk out of the area. Taizen sticks around for a moment to woof goodbye to them, then heads out after Atsuro.

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