The Recluse Saga - Close Calls


Taiki, Atsuro, Usagi

Date: November 1, 2012


Summary goes here.

"The Recluse Saga - Close Calls"

Toshiba forest, Rocky area

It's early in the afternoon on a late summer's day, and Taiki has decided to eliminate a couple of possibilities. Thus he left notes with his father, Atsuro, and his team that he was going to the rocky area of the Toshiba Forest to conduct a thorough check. It was his intention to go alone, since no one else really thought they'd find anything, but at least he was going to let people know where he and his partners are.

He had actually started his search earlier that morning, using his ninken to try to get an olfactory "map" of the area. Of course old-experience told him not to discount his other senses, but his sense of smell is strongest, so that's what he's using. Finally he pauses, having narrowed the area down a bit. He pulls out a scroll and releases the storage seal, producing travel bread, rabbit jerky, and water for him and his partners. "Well, we knew this could be a dead end, but there's one last area to check…" he tells his partners as he feeds them.

"Good to know…though you should have asked. A friend of mine ran into me out here yesterday…I 'was' training, but also did a bit of a sweep after they headed out" Usagi's…up in a tree, looking at Taiki for a few moments. She's downwind of him this time, and apparently having had stayed off the ground, was looking to actually catch him by a bit of surprise.

Atsuro got the message all right. He'd slept in even later than usual today, and as a result he only got it a few minutes ago, but he did get it.

Dear Atsuro,

I have a deathwish.


Well, that wasn't the actual text, but that's pretty much how Atsuro read it. Following that, he hurried around his apartment getting his equipment together and eating something as quickly as possible. Then he headed out to the woods to find Taiki.

With their powerful senses of smell, Atsuro and Taizen tracked Taiki and friends down quick and easily. "You're not dead," Atsuro observes loudly as Taiki comes into view, "I guess that means you haven't found anyone here yet. You know, if you'd given me the message directly I would have come with you?"

Taiki looks up at one of the few trees in this area, since this is mostly rocky terrain and shrugs. "No one bothered telling me. This was a low-probability area in the first place, and if I had found anything, my first instinct would have been to run," Taiki replies to both Usagi and Atsuro, since he likely caught their scent as well.

"And yes Atsuro, I know you would have gone with me, but you were asleep, and to be honest, I wasn't expecting to find anything here. I could still be wrong, as I have only one area here left, near where I do my rock carving. I left that for last because if there was anything there, they would have attacked me here a long time ago. Still that could mean any number of things really."

Usagi sighs and drops from the tree. "Been a bit busy training these past few days, as opposed to mostly searching. Just I'm doing some of it out here with some others I trust" She shrugs slightly,then looks between the two. "Sides, if someone 'does' show up, my first path is throw up a smokescreen and get the hell out to report it to ANBU while you two keep whoever it is busy"

Atsuro sighs and shakes his head. "The both of you," he says. "The point here being that taking unnecessary risks is a bad thing. Whatever the chances of actually encountering enemies, they weren't zero, and it could have been very bad if you had. If you fail to run, you're dead. If you succeed in running, then they know to pack it up and get the hell out of here." He shrugs. "Well, nothing bad /did/ happen so whatever. But in the future, you need to be thinking about things like this. You're chuunin. Anyway, why don't we check out this last spot?"

Taiki sighs and shakes his head. "Yes, and I didn't want to unnecessarily endanger my genin, which bringing them along would have most certainly done," Taiki points out as he feeds the last of the lunch to the dogs and eats his. "No offense Usagi, but I don't want you nearly dying on me again. So if on the off chance we do encounter someone, run. Don't try to support us, just run."

A short time later he's finished his lunch and seals up the remaining. "This way," he says, leading them down a narrow trail that would look familiar to Atsuro. The terrain becomes nearly pure rock, with no trees in sight. Every once in a while there's a gouge or scratch in a nearby boulder, likely from Taiki's training. As he nears his carving area, he holds up his hand and says, "This is the edge. Usagi-san, keep your eyes open. Nozomi, Shinobu, spread out, and be mindful of your surroundings. Atsuro, Taizen, and I will take the left side I suppose…"
Narusegawa (Naru) pages: I hope you feel better, I think im going to call it a night.

"Hence why I'm training as opposed to searching, mostly…I came out here as soon as I got his note, and have been trying to trail him since…though it seems I ddi it poorly due to him knowing I was there" Usagi gives Atsuro a look for a few moments, then nods. "Let's go check it out…"

At Taiki's comment, she smirks, then pauses and sighs. "I seem to be quite capable of getting into trouble on my own…and I already said I would go get someone from ANBU while you two fought it" She gives him a funny look a few moments. but, as they travel, she does keep an eye out on the area, giving Taiki a look. She does take a few moments to glance behind them, looking for a trailer, or perhaps the symbol that they'd seen.

"I know, Taiki," Atsuro says, realizing that he might have been a little harsh there. "I'm just saying, you can't go into situations like this without proper backup. If nothing else, you had me. It was a dangerous situation. If something had happened to you, it could have been hours before someone thought to go looking for you." He glances over to Usagi. "And training doesn't make it much better. If something goes down, you're still involved." He smirks. "Yeah, that's right, I'm dressing down sensei and student."

He and Taizen follow Taiki to the new area. Naturally, it does look familiar to him. As Taiki instructs, they move to the left side of the formation. Then they scan their surroundings carefully as they move through the area, keeping eyes, ears, and especially noses out for trouble.
You paged Usagi with 'On your next pose, you'll find something that looks like one of Taiki's seals, but you know his "handwriting" enough to know it isn't his.'
You paged Atsuro with 'On your next pose, either you or Taizen will find an area that should smell of Taiki, but doesn't smell of anything. It's off around some rocks from Taiki's main carving area.'

"Considering she arrived only a minute or so sooner than you did, there's not much she needs dressing down for," Taiki points out as he and his three ninken take center left and center right. They start moving along, probing and searching with a fine tooth comb as they go. So far neither Taiki nor his ninken seem to find anything out of the ordinary, likely due to the fact that they're taking the areas he's most likely been through recently.

Usagi looks around for a few moments, pausing. "Hold" She says that simple word, and it likely brings them 'all' to a halt as she seems to be studying something. She figured the others would be about ready to kill something, but she seems to be staring intently at a seal that was 'written'. She does approach it, but doesn't get too close…instead, very closely giving it a look. "That's not one of yours, Taiki. Does anyone else practice seals out here?"

Atsuro only shakes his head. "We can have this conversation later," he says, "Even if doing so puts my sanity at risk." He and Taizen continue their search of the area. After a little while, the two of them exchange glances and sniff the air a little. They glance over to Usagi's seal, but neither of them have any expertise in that area. As for what they've smelled? That's second nature to them. Taizen barks. Taiki probably understands it, but Atsuro translates for Usagi's benefit. "Yeah. Taiki's scent is in other parts of this area, but there isn't any scent at all here. Meaning it was probably intentionally removed."

Taiki's head turns as Taizen barks, listening to him and then to Atsuro's words. Making a choice though, he heads over toward Usagi as she calls out about the seal. He stops and sniffs the air there and says, "No scent here as well." He then has his partners trace around the area, trying to determine where the lack of scent is.

The dogs take a circular route around the clearing, a route that would enable them to watch what anyone in the clearing is doing through several vantage points. As they approach Atsuro Taiki finally speaks up, "Modified storage seal, and definitely not in my style. Very complex work here, likely keyed to something…" He continues to study it and its surroundings, then states, "Usagi-san, back away slowly…" He does the same, holding his arm back to force her to back up first. "Be very careful of where you step and where you touch… there's seal traps here… Don't step on or touch any discolored sections." Looking around would show Usagi is lucky to not have done so, even if she is on the edge. "Atsuro, Taizen, Shinobu, Nozomi, be very careful and mindful of any area which the color is off from its surroundings…"

Usagi nods slowly, glancing at where she steps. "The main reason I didn't touch it or approach too close…" She takes a slow breath and sighs, very carefully retracing her steps. "So…an attempt to kill you? Or what?" She doesn't seem to be 'too' worried, but nonetheless, she is being careful.

"Looks like they wanted to watch something that was going on here," Atsuro observes, "Without being watched themselves, it seems. Or smelled, at least." He frowns. He and Taizen continue their search of the area, though they stay still for the moment, concerned about the traps. They continue to smell and look over the area, able to trace the path themselves somewhat. Spotting some of the traps in Shinobu and Nozomi's route, Taizen barks a warning to them. Atsuro assists by pointing with a finger.

Shinobu and Nozomi also paused at the warning, but they were too far along to simply back out. Not to mention dogs don't back up very easily. Thus they move forward, slowly, mindful of cues from Taizen and Atsuro until they get out of the area. They are panting hard, feeling the stress of walking through a mine field.

Taiki pulls out another scroll once he and Usagi are out of harms way, then summons a rock-carved desk from it. It is complete and looks very sturdy as Taiki sets up his work space. After taking notes he says, "They don't really hide here," he says with a sigh. "Or they do, but not as a base." After a few more moments he states, "The traps aren't armed… it looks like part of the recognition sequence on the seal Usagi-san found will activate them if the wrong key is used. The seal itself is a storage seal, and its anyone's guess what is in there. Only… for all this security, it would seem important."

Usagi nods slowly and takes a deep breath, releasing it softly. She's looking for other traps after a few moments, but it seems she and Taiki are in the clear and she shakes her head. "At least we found 'someting'….though I should probably head back with news if you're going to attempt to open it here"

"But they use it for something," Atsuro says, "We've confirmed that much. We just need to know what for." He glances over to Taiki. "I guess we've wandered back into this little area I know absolutely nothing about. Do you have some way of figuring out the seal? Can we get rid of all the traps, then just go ahead with the seal and see what it does in safety? Or is there some back door thing?" He rubs his chin. "Maybe Tenken could help." He grins. "As you can see, I'm not going to be as much help here."

"I'm too new at seal mastery to even try to diffuse something this elaborate. While my knowledge is extensive, my practice has been limited. I'm afraid I'll blow something up if I try… most likely me." He shudders at the thought and then looks to both of them. "Getting Tenken here is a good idea. This isn't exactly what we're looking for, but it is something at least. Thing is, no one would have thought twice about seeing a seal here unless they knew both what I came here for and my specific style of seal work. Most people would have just assumed it was an experimental seal… Not bad… I guess its the Hokage monument that we need to check out next, though for that one I am going to want help. And I don't want to tackle that one until we know what's here…"

Usagi nods to Taiki again. "Most likely….or it'll apply the same sort of stuff your father ended up with. There's honestly no telling at this point" She sighs and cloes her ees, looking around for a few. "Might want to warn people about this earea first, since you didn't ut that there"

Atsuro shrugs. He's still not very knowledgeable about all this. Surprise! "Anyway, I guess we're pretty much done here for the time being. We'll have to come back later and look at things a little closer once we've gotten the chance." He nods in agreement with Usagi. "We might go further than that," he adds, "See if we can get some ANBU to guard the area or something like that. They'll probably be all too willing to help, given there's foreign espionage going on here."

Taiki nods, pulling out another three scrolls and writing something down in code. "Shinobu," he calls the larger of the two dogs. Once he arrives at Taiki's location, the chuunin wraps a strap with several storage containers around his neck. "Left is for the ANBU, top is for the village announcement center, right is for Tenken-sama. I'll probably be back at my house when you get done, but don't waste time…" The dog barks once and takes off. "Nozomi, you and I will be heading back as soon as possible. Usagi-san, let your brother know what we've found. And if I were you, I'd head back now." He looks at Atsuro and says, "I think we have done everything we can here, save wait for the ANBU…"

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