Date: August 26, 2015
Hiei takes a team to investigate missing merchant ships and unusual stories.
Poster's note: foul language filtered in obvious places.
"The Mysterious Beast - Killer… Dolphins?"
On the ocean south of Kumogakure
There's been quite a commotion the last few days about merchant ships not arriving. Finally, ominously, at least some sign of what is going on is given as a patrol ship came upon a barely living man on top of some driftwood at sea, surrounding by corpses, some broken and some even partially devoured. The information given by this one survivor and a few that've washed ashore that survived other attacks was, at first, deemed unreliable, probably just a case of being dehydrated on the ocean for too long, except the same stories kept piling up. Delusions are one thing, but for every survivor to have the same sort of ridiculous? That's a bit too much to ignore.
Rabid men in laborer's clothing with the strength of titans. Horses who galloped on the water and whose kicks could decimate rock with ease. Sharks, regular fish, and even dolphins and other normally harmless fish attacking…. But perhaps the most curious is the presence of what was described as a humanoid creature whose presence was indicated by a soul-piercing howl, which somehow in its savagery seemed to command the rest. This could perhaps link back to the story of a wolf on the other side of the Land of Fire who commanded laborers of a merchant whose cart had been stolen and another who terrorized a mountain village for a short time, though it would have to be incredibly fast and powerful to make it between those points in the time between the attacks, not to mention being able to move on water itself.
With a plan devised that the Raikage himself would lead an investigation team out to sea, a pattern of general radius of attack was created, and thus a retired merchant vessel would be purchased off and old man to create a disguise that the shinobi could use to lure the attacking beasts in to try and gauge the situation and hopefully at least start to put a stop to it, though, if it's reached the ocean, as vast as the area under the sea is, doing so without causing serious long-term damage to the seafood market of the the area may be near impossible.
Hiei stands on the forward deck of the ship they bought from the merchant. The story that the man told was so fantastic that Hiei just /had/ to come see if there were any truth to them. If there was, this would be the most exciting thing to happen to him since that secret mission through the Okumo forest and he got to fight all those failed experiments back when he was a Kamen member as a Chuunin. Course, he and his partner were chasing a missing Kumo nin, but nobody ever said that they weren't allowed to have a good time while doing it. Why was it odd that he thought fighting mutant monsters was fun anyway? He turns to look at the group that he had personally assembled. Each of them brought something to the table that he would believe would help him figure this mess out. He would have preferred to bring Jon along as well, but the detective was busy working his own case. So he had the ship swing around towards the Land of Fire border and picked up Hige and Konsho instead. Two guys he could trust to help him out on this one. Bringing Rise along was just icing on the cake, and with Michiko down below decks, he knew he had enough raw power to deal with almost anything that they'd find out here.
As the sun gleams off of the armor he wears under his sleeveless duster, he glances around again before leaning over onto the deck and allowing his face to turn a little green. Even with medicine from his personal physician, the sea sickness was still present, but at least it didn't incapacitate him like it used to do in his youth whenever a mission had utilize boat travel. He calls out towards the boat Captain. "How away are we from the target area?"
Rise did not rightly care how much the medics worried over her situation. Once the call came down from on high for her to participate in a high stakes mission, the woman signed herself out of the hospital and left. Few if any agreed with her hasty actions, but all knew by now to pick their battles carefully when it came to the infamous berserker.
Rise stood at attention nearby Hiei, occupying the role of personal guard in Michiko's place. Whether or not an actual order had been involved with the decision or not mattered little. The woman had no intention of being anywhere else on the ship unless ordered to otherwise. She needed to be somewhere near him, if only to help reinforce her focus on the mission at hand, and not let her mind drift back to the incident that led to her hospital stay in the first place. Outside of a number of bandages just beneath her clothes, the woman was dressed in her usual shinobi gear for the mission, scanning the sea ahead absently.
Yep! Michiko was down below preparing things so that /maybe/ she can bring back some interesting samples of whatever is plaguing these lands back to Kumo (likely handing them off to the General Surgeon, Amani, should this be successful)! But now that she has everything ready and tucked away all safe and sound in various pouches, she heads up onto the deck and looks around to hear Hiei ask just how much longer they have. That was an excellent question! One she was eager to hear, too. Sadly, the girl can't find much when she's on ships thanks to the fact that the earth is so far down below that she cannot use her traditional means of sensing. SIGH!
Hige is here because when Hiei asks there's only a few who have more prominence in the teens mind, that being Daisuke and Atsuro. So without much fuss Hige and Konsho had made all haste to assist, arriving in time to make the ship before it leaves. Just because Konsho is the faster of the two Hige had simply caught a ride on the overgrown furball, thanking his own small stature in the process.
The news of what was happening was pretty frightening but Hige and Konsho were ready to give their all to assist, as they always are. Now they were on board and, while their experience with boats was limited, the two turned out to have iron stomachs so at least they didn't get sick like poor Hiei.
The teen wrinkles his nose as he approaches Hiei, stepping up to the railing a bit away…just to be safe. "You alright there Hiei? Looking a little green. Should I get you something? Maybe a big bloody steak? Or a glass of milk?" The Inuzuka grins evilly at Hiei after he speaks before turning to sniff at the wind, running a hand through his tangle mess of hair. After getting a good whiff he also gives Rise a nod in greeting.
"Dead ahead, Raikage," the captain calls back to Hiei as they continue to sail forward. As they approach, an eerie feeling falls over. From seemingly all around, Hige and Konsho would detect a smell that is just… off. There's the smell of normal fish and various wildlife, but there's something strange about it, unearthly. Then there's a smell of wildlife that should NOT be this far out in the ocean. Off in the distance from the horizon, there are horses approaching, actual horses running atop the water. They're yet far enough away that the danger isn't completely immediate, but it's definitely a sign to prepare for battle.
Hiei flashes a smile at Rise as he rocks back and forth on his heels a little. He could hardly contain his glee at the chance of seeing real monsters. He remembers Mika once telling him about a Land of Demons and let him get excited before Shuuren said that they weren't real. He was really depressed after that. But..what the…horses on the water. After listening to Hige, he clamps a hand over his mouth and forces down a wave of nausea. "Kami, I hate boats.." He murmurs before pointing. "Horses approaching on the water. Get your game faces on, people." The air around him becomes electrically charged as lightning sparks along his skin as he prepares his body for combat. "Look alive, maties! Thar be a foul stench a'blowin off the port side!" And then there is slight cackling from him as it's quite possible the Raikage is losing his grip on reality. Either that or he is super excited.
A flat stare awaits Hige the moment he turns to look at the Shirokiri. It seemed his idle joking and incidental worsening of the Raikage's condition did not sit well with this Kumo-nin. In fact, if Hige did not know any better, the petite young woman looked on the verge of pummeling him without there being even a single open change in her expression as a warning. In any case, Hiei's smile went ignored by her. The same can't be said of his exuberant call to arms. Flumoxed, Rise stares at him with the biggest look of confusion imaginable before self-imposed programing prompts her to do as directed.
The air about the woman grows heavy as chakra builds up beneath the surface. Wordlessly, she strode closer to the side of the oncoming horses, losing herself in a trance that heightened her awareness.
"You /do/ realize I'm at a slight disadvantage where we are, Hiei-san…" Michiko comments, noting the lack of earth. Which meant a good chunk of her skill-set has been rendered useless. The Iwata sighs faintly, making a handseal. While Hiei crackles with lightning and Rise just gets an odd look in her eyes, Michiko suddenly gains an immense chakra aura that may or may not be menacing for some. The curse of being someone who relies purely on Ninjutsu. "Doton: Mud Creation," she murmurs, flashing through a set of seals, then. Suddenly, there is mud on board the boat. Just in case… She'll get rid of it all later if it becomes an issue.
"Funny thing is, there is a foul stench on the air…" Hige says after taking another whiff before glancing sideways at Hiei, then shaking his head slightly. Weird creatures, weird scents, weird Hiei. Maybe he should've just expected it. As long as Michiko doesn't come up wearing an eye patch and sporting a wooden stump for a leg he guesses he'll survive. However…he takes mental notes.
When the horses appear Hige hmms softly, squinting his eyes at them before thinking back a bit to what he'd heard. "Should we really be taking the ship into this? Haven't all the other ships been destroyed?" He looks over to Hiei with a worried frown. Sure the shinobi would likely be fine if the ship sank, but not the other occupants. Still…Hige's really just a guest here so it's not his call. Konsho sits next to Hige, looking as excited as Hiei yet for different reasons. He's just always excited!
Just as the focus is on the horse, it becomes obvious by something's approach from under the water that they are not the main issue here. Suddenly there is fierce pounding at the sides of the boat… from underneath the water! Various large-sized fish from dolphins to small sharks seem to be working together to try to knock holes in this vessel already… and that's only the ones of the gathering cluster that are in the inside circle. In a show of power that you don't even see in these kind of fish that are trained to do tricks for show, more of them start to leap OVER the decking of the ship, intending to dive over back into the water with shinobi in their teeth or bounding off their tails as the barrage begins.
Hiei looks at Hige and seems to calm down a little. "Right. Captain, keep the ship away from here. Everyone else, over the side…" When the fish leap up to attack, Hiei crouches and attempts to uppercut the thing in mid-air, but his arm is caught in it's teeth and he is dragged over the side of the boat and into the water. Now..this wasn't what he meant by going over the side, but Hiei suddenly finds himself dragged downwards. What a pickle.
"Tch! We'll be fine so long as—" She stops there, spotting a portion of the underwater mass. It is too little, too late. She just barely manages to brace herself well enough for the initial shock of the boat being rocked. After that things get to messy for her to do little more than focus on one thing at a time. Like say6 a flying shark. Without reservation or hestation, Rise rushes to meet her opponent, knocking it sky high with her own — "TIIIIGA UPPERCUT!!!" She cries out. Feeling vindictive, Rise leaps up after, intending to grab its side and redirected it for a hard drop back into thick of its other friends.
Michiko feels the ship rocking and isn't all that pleased. "What the …" she starts, then her voice trails off as she notices dolphins and sharks leaping out of the water to try and eat her. Great… Michiko spits out a powerful blast of flame, aiming at the mud-covered part of the deck to prevent a true fire, to leap out of the way, and she barely avoids the teeth of the shark. Phew! And, because she's so close, a few binds of metal suddenly slip out of her sleeves as she tries to wrap up the creature in mid-air and capture it, a slice of wind aimed at its belly.
As luck would have it, Hige drops down to all fours as soon as the boat starts rocking, making it that much easier for him and Konsho to each get away from angry looking flying fish…and mammals. From there it's fairly easy for the pair to leap and start spinning, trying to ravish a creature or two on their way off of the boat and landing in the water after it's all said and done. He looks back to ship and wonders if it's gonna make it…
A little late to the party but for her own reasons…Naruko was making head way straight for the bulls eye. One Naruko was off rowing to pick up speed, while she herself kept hold of the sails with one hand, and another on the map in-front of her. She muses quietly, judging the clouds above as they began to pinpoint on their location. "X…marks the spot…" Why Naruko was there? Word caught quick of unusual things happening out at sea and Naruko being the new adventurer as she was decided to quickly speed off in that direction in a nice sail boat. From this distance Naruko couldn't really tell that a battle was going on. Sure, the boat not to far away appeared to be capsizing but as far as super danger… no nothing yet. "A-hoy!" Naruko exclaims… Of course at this point the others are attacking a swarm of fish… Just what do you do in a situation like that? Just watch…in awe. While focusing some chakra e.e
While Rise manages to get the upper hand and obliterate the shark the attacks her, the others are not so lucky. Despite their managing to avoid being harmed, they don't manage to do any damage to the creatures either. Of course, they'll get another shot as another wave comes up for them, now able to attack more in mass now that the shinobi are mostly on the water with them. There's no lack of danger, and the horses are coming closer and closer as well…. Even for Hiei who is being swarmed by sharks and dolphins.
Meanwhile Naruko gets her own dose as her own set of sharks dive up at her own vessel while others below start to attack the structure itself in an attempt to sink it.
Hiei was released by the dolphin and used that moment to orient himself underwater. Seeing that he was surrounded by sharks and the like, he knew that he needed to get back up to the surface. As lightning begins to course around his body and his muscles expand to twice their normal size, his body simply vanishes as he makes for the surface. He shoots out from under the water as if fired from a cannon, to land on the surface in a crouch. He rolls his neck from side to side as he reaches back to draw his chakra blades. "I'm gonna skewer the lot of ye!" He flicks his wrists, and his blades whine with a high pitched sound, almost like they're singing as lightning flows down the blade. "Shinobi, don't feel like you need to hold back. Slaughter them all to the last fin!" He bellows as he executes a cross slash against a shark that tried to bite him.
Rise held her breath just before the impact, though her grip isn't quite secure. Shaken free by the shock, the woman flips end over end until her body readjusted to her new surroundings. A few of the nice fishes didn't seem to care for her recovering. She answered their attempts at correcting the situation with a back spinning kick so powerful, a battering whirlpool is turned up as well. Hopefully with that threat out of the way, her focus could shift to the rest unimpeded. THe thickest of the throng are sent a wave of chakra, distorting gravity and all sense of control that came with it. She didn't know how effective it would be, nor cared to stick around to find out. She bursts out of the water not unlike Hiei and lands on the ship, releashing her pent up breath in one casual motion. "Rai-Raikage-dono. What about the horses?"
Okay, Hiei's gone off the deep end! In a sense. Michiko isn't going to fight him on his decision, though, because these dolphins are still attacking! One of them runs into a conveniently placed metal barrier that was extremely thin, but very strong. Probably hurt the dolphin, too, as it suddenly wraps around the fishy mammal while a clone of pure metal appears and aims a solid punch at its dorsal fin.
Hige and Konsho continue to play dodge-a-dolphin, jumping around like crazy to keep away from the critters. It's not until after they're back in a good position that they attack again, coming down towards a group of marine creatures in order to try and rend and tear them with their claws and fangs.
Things got intense really really fast… "Squeaking flipper!" Were the words that came from Naruko's lips as she reeled back away from the attack, with wind to her back she flipped up into the air, only avle to watch at the fishes attempted to start sinking her boat… "hey! I'm going to need that!" Naruko exclaims forming a single handseal. "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu!" Poof! 6 more clones joined at her flank and they all join arms, spinning in mid air like a propeller. With the same mind set, one by one they were launched down into the depths below, impacting enough to pierce through the water and slam into the fishes with high impact. The Narukos spin and kicked out a heel… slamming on top of them from above at rapid speeds. Naruko saw her team out there with surprise…but now wasn't the time for talking.
With a solid flurry of attacks by the shinobi, this wave of fish seems to go down easily enough. One might even think they've got time to relax with the amount of blood and corpses laying around, but, you see, that's the problem… When you fill the ocean with blood by the pound, all you're going to do is attract MORE sharks and bigger ones. This is made obvious as enormous white sharks, commonly known as Great White Sharks, begin to jump out of the water, soaked in blood that has made them more rabid than they already were made by whatever it is that's affecting them with intent to bite pieces off the shinobi, crush them, and otherwise mangle them. Along with that, the gallop of the horses has brought them closer now, allowing them to charge the way to attack. Were the two fronts of attack not enough, off in the distance, Hige and Kosho would hear something horrifying, a deep howl that is clearly not that of a normal wolf, not even that of an Inuzuka hound. Could the story about the werewolf be true as well?
Hiei leaps back and using his swords, he manages to shove the shark backwards and out of his way. But while he was dealing with that one, another one bites him on the hip, causing blood to flow freely, which attracts even more sharks to him. Hiei screams out in pain. "Gah!" He focuses for a moment before he yells. "Get out of the water!" A few handseals later, and he sends a shockwave of lightning through the water, allowing it to conduct in a radius around him, hopefully killing or at least shocking the sharks around him. "Rise, focus on the horses. Hige and Konsho, get rid of these great sharks. Naruko, assist Rise. Michiko…" He grunts again, pressing his hand to the bleeding wound. "I could use a little help here…"
Rise did not need to be told twice. Calmly, she rose up out of the habitual kneel for reporting, and turns just in time to see a pair of Great Whites flying at her. For one brief moment, panic threatens to break the self-induced trance. Where it ultimately fails, the second sharks succeed in by biting into her side after its brother had already knocked her off balance.
Cries of pain soon turn into a roar of rage as she ripped herself free before scrambling away. Ignoring both new and old points of suffering, Rise dug deep, losing herself in a fury that culminated in her transformation into a red-skinned, pint-sized oni. She leaps high, cracking the boards beneath her feet in a powerful jump meant as much as to buy her enough time for Hiei's shock attack to disperse, as it was to carry her on an intercept course for the horses. Wounds rapidly mend along the way as cells and organs burn themselves out doing what they did best.
Just when she managed to get a strike in! Of course, Michiko hears Hiei's call for help and starts making her way over to him. She never actually left the boat, at least! So that's good. Unfortunately, as she's making her way over to him, there is a THING coming her way. A big white shark that doesn't look all too friendly, and she for a moment thinks the shark is red with how much blood is on its body. It's rather unfortunate that she can't even raise a decent defense against a charging shark, and she ends up getting tackled /and/ chomped. "Tch…" she mutters, kicking the shark away. Of course, now one of her arms is pretty bloody, so she'll have to heal that. But first: Hiei. A few handseals, and Michiko would place her uninjured one on Hiei, mending some of the worst wounds.
Hige and Konsho know when to listen and do so when Hiei calls out. The two are in the air when Hiei's shock goes out and they manage to neatly avoid being in it's path. Unfortunately on the way back down Hige isn't able to avoidone of the sharks and it takes a small chunk out of his side…Oh well, didn't need that anyways. Again they follow Hige's orders and come down in a dervish of lightning death upon the sharks…but looks like that injury threw Hige off a bit :
Naruko is a little more lucky, perhaps because she wasn't so close to the battle itself…Aslo the fact that Matatabi was by her side…her rather in her belly. The clones poof out of existance, while flames tails of blue and black lingered behind Naruko, she became a bit more feral looking, a thrashing aura about her body but more or less remained in complete control of herself. A lot of damage had taken place…unfortunately she lacked the ability to help out in any way. Instead of lashing out with a full frontal attack she played more tactfully, with hopes of securing the battle field. She sends out a honning balls of fire into the horses but then uses her cloak to latch onto one of the enemies Hiei was facing. "Let em have it!"
While one shark manages to endure through the pain of the shock, the others around Hiei are caught and wind up taking a good bit of damage. This also opens them up for an attack from Hige that ends up taking some of them out. Meanwhile Naruko manages to catch one of the horses with a ball of fire, though it doesn't seem to slow it down too much as it continues to attack along with the others while even more sharks some to come up from the deep. Some are chasing Rise, which causes them to leap over the boat and bring their massive tails crashing down on it with intent to break it as they attack.
Hiei can't keep the sharks away from him. He was on their home turf, and they knew it. Utilizing his speed, he zips around them, making them miss him until he runs slam into a set of double rowed teeth in a great white. Another yell and the area that Michiko had just healed is opened up again and he's leaking blood. "This is getting us nowhere." Attempting to conserve his energy, he lashes a kick out at the nose and eyes of the shark before attempting to move towards the horses.
Things do not go quite according to plan, but that last attack from a persistant shark /does/ give her an added bit of a push in the right direction. Sort of. Rise hits the water rolling more so do to momentum then reflexive use of the water walking technique. A sharp push off the surface rights the girl, allowing her to keep up her pace and run right at the horses. She doesn't wait to get close to test their true nature and abilities, but flings shuriken after shuriken into the thick of them.
Michiko blinks a bit. Such vicious attacks from sharks! The armor she wears is strengthened with her chakra, but she ends up getting hit before it can extend from her arms, resulting in more ow, bite, pain. The girl scowls, putting up a proper shield as she works on healing the arm that was recently mauled. Blood is dripping off her fingers, and it hurts to simply try and move it.
This wasn't going so well. Hige may be doing some damage, but he's sure taking it too as he loses another chunk to some sharks, having a great many painful bite marks at this point. The feral teen's eyes shine with anger as he spits a bit of blood to join the rest of it on the water's surface, then charges towards the nearest shark with some lightning. Let these two meet!
Naruko was a bit more lucky than the others, albeit…she was starting to run low on energy. Perhaps it was a little dump to do so but she did begin to form a massive sphere of chakra along the tips of her twin tails. "Watch out!" Naruko calls out to the others, rushing forward to take the plunge into the nest of great white sharks. Fire meeting water wasn't ever a good thing, but Naruko was sure the bijuu related chakra would help with the explosion and at least send shock-waves through to send their enemies back or temporarily put them out of play.
It seems the longer this battle goes and the fewer in number, the more rabid these creatures become. The swarm of sharks and other large fish manage to avoid the attacks from the shinobi by diving underwater. It only takes a moment, however, for them to come back up out of the water and attack again with intent on annihilating the beaten and battered shinobi.
Hiei states loudly. "Everyone get back to the boat and get out of the water. NOW!" The lightning flowing around his body begins to surge through his armor and then down into his arms and infuses itself into his blade. Michiko and perhaps even Rise would recognize this move for what it was. The big kaboom. Hiei leaps and lands in the middle of the sharks, dolphins and the horses and swings his blades around in a circle. The electricity moves into the water, igniting eveything in a 200 yard radius centered on him. It even causes the surface of the water to smoke and bubble from the intense heat that he's giving off. "We have to get out of here. Set sail for the nearest port. I'm officially calling a retreat."
Rise was a little too far out to catch the command in fully, not to mention preoccupied with warding off the champions of pesistance. "e-NOUGH ALREADY!!" She demands, whipping up legs with such force, a tornado of water (and hopefully other critters) rises well above the ocean, transforming along the way into a dragon of destruction. By the time it dies down on its own its a little too late; Hiei's has already made his move. Using every ounce of power remaining in that young body of hers, Rise transforms into a living blur creating water columns in her wake until one final leap placed her on the boat, panting and weazing.
Michiko hears the crackle of lightning… An all-too familiar sound that she's learned to hate with a passion. Especially when it's aimed at her! Fortunately it isn't, and she's also not in the water. The girl just ends up as more shark bait thanks to the fact she isn't paying good attention. Hearing the call to retreat just makes her kick away the shark (again) and she growls a bit, frustrated that she couldn't even focus enough to keep out of the shark's reach. "Let's go!" she shouts at the crew, hoping the ship they're on isn't badly destroyed so they can get out of here. It looks like she'll have a lot of healing to do once they're safely away.
When Hige hears the retreat he motions to Konsho before turning to return to the boat, only to find himself inches away from a flying shark attack. The creature tears a rather unsightly chunk of flesh from Hige's side, causing him to crumple to the water's surface. Konsho manages to help the teen onto his back before getting to the boat, whereupon Hige just kind of flops to the deck like a dead fish.
Naruko's luck was finally worn thin. She took the attack head on, instantly falling victim to the attack as the many sharks continued to bite and rip into her flesh…it was a horrific sight, and despite the fact that Naruko s till had some fight in her, she relented to Hiei's words and quickly began to double back.. "Alright…we need to get out of here…" Naruko manages to speak through grunts, slipping further away from the battle ground, and focusing some chakra so she could accomdate a better defense.
Between the extreme electrical charge off of Hiei's attack and the tornado from Rise's, beasts of sea and land by the dozen are light up and flung through the air in violent fashion. Blood spews through the air like something one would only expect to see in a horror film like a reverse Sharknado with the sharks being damaged instead of the people. When one might expect those that remain to pursue with all their might, a fierce howl rings out at a volume that's ear-piecing despite the fact that its source is far enough away to not even be visible amongst the waves caused by the onslaught. In an instant, all the still-living sea creatures dive beneath the surface of the water to vanish into the depths in their own retreat while the few horses left alive run off into the distance, their direction the only clue of where this disaster is heading next…. Kirigakure.