Date: November 2, 2012
While Taiki is helping out in the investigation of the Toshiba forrest, he runs into an old friend…
"The Return of the Dead"
Toshiba Forrest, Rocky area
It is early afternoon a couple of days after a portion of the rocky area got closed off for
instability reasons, and there are still people watching the area. There's an ANBU guard to keep
people from getting too close, with someone assigned as a runner for them, just in case a message
needs to be sent. Taiki volunteered, and was accepted, even though he wasn't ANBU. But if you think
about it, he discovered this problem, so naturally he is involved.
For the moment Taiki and his two ninken are resting in the camp set up for the runners at
the edge of the rocky area. Taiki appears to be at the inner edge of the camp, which is just off the
main pathway, staring out into the distance where his old carving grounds were. "I'll have to find
another place," he remarks quietly to Shinobu, his voice hoarse.
Having just returned to the village earlier in the day and already running into Atsuro
before even entering the gates, catching up on the time that he was away, Eremi didn't want to stop
just there. Sure he might need to go visit the Hokage and deal with any punishments he might receive
for simply vanishing like he did, according to Atsuro, but that was less important to him then
finding old friends and making sure they were still such.
The best place he figured he would start, would be his most frequented spot and after
hearing that Taiki made it to Chuunin, he could only assume that Taiki would still be his old self.
Training diligently and most likely now, training others. Though the last time he saw Taiki, he was
dealing with losing his mother. Beyond that, he was completely in the dark. A lot could have
happened in those six months and Eremi was determined to find out just what.
With backpack slung over his shoulder, the young teen slowly made his way through the
forests surrounding the training area. There were rumors of an incident occuring in the rocky area,
causing it to be closed off. Normally Eremi would stay away when something such as that is
suggested, but lately, when his curiousity started to arise he wouldn't ignore it anymore. Instead,
following it through just to see what's at the end. Staying on the main path to not alert any
stationed guards, the boy continued his approach, easing steadily closer to see just what the issue
Konohagakure has some of the most heavily trained ANBU of any of the villages, and since
this site doubles as a relay post for the guards, there's always at least one person there,
constantly on alert. Thus when Eremi steps on the main path he is watched. The entire rocky area is
not closed off, after all, but the presence of ANBU and other high-ranking Shinobi means the entire
area is being watched. As Eremi nears the first turn-off point, a red-furred dog can be found
sitting in the middle of it. She would stand about the size of a fully-grown huskey, but it is
obvious she has more growing to do. She doesn't move from the path, but will growl a warning if
Eremi tries to turn there.
In the meantime, the ANBU at the relay station watches Eremi, then says, "We have an unknown
person walking toward your dog, Inuzuka'san." This of course catches Taiki's attention, causing him
to look in Eremi's direction. "I don't recognize him. Perhaps I should go out and watch a little
more closely. Can you call for back-up if its more than I can handle?" Taiki asks in that same
hoarse voice. The ANBU nods, and Taiki motions for Shinobu to follow as he tries to stealthfully
approach the stranger.
So far, as Eremi continued moving ahead, he wasn't seeing much of anything at all. Citizens,
guards, shinobi or even the faint sound of forest critters in the area. Then again, he could just be
a little rusty. Either way, it was a little unsettling if he thought about it too much. What ever is
up ahead, must be enough to keep people from even wanting to take a look. Though that only further
pushed the boys curiousity and with no one around to stop him, why wouldn't he keep walking.
Rather quickly, the paths split off and as Eremi made his way around the first turn-off
point, he'd instantly spot the red-furred beast of a dog. "Oh, hello there." Considering Konoha was
home to Inuzuka's, he could only assume this dog understood him and was affiliated with them as
well. Still, hearing the dog begin to growl meant that the dog wasn't friendly or warding away
people such as himself…It would explain the lack of critters in the area. "Are…you hungry girl?
I've got some jerky if you're interested…Taizen didn't mind it."
Ever so slowly, he'd bring the backpack in front of him, eyes still focused on the dog as he
unzipped the pack, withdrew the jerky, pulled off a piece that he put in his mouth and tossed the
rest as far out in front of him as he could before returning the pack over his shoulder. "Umm…"
Hmmm "Just so you know, if you eat that, you give me permission to walk past you. You can accompany
me if you'd like. Otherwise, don't eat it. Deal?"
The red-furred dog is obviously well trained, for she doesn't even budge toward the jerky.
Instead she continues to watch Eremi, only moving should he try to get past her. Then she'll move in
his way, her growling increasing. Taiki and Shinobu pause near the scene, as this is practically
Taiki's back yard so to speak, so he can get anywhere quickly and silently. He watches as Nozomi
refuses the treat while activating his Inuzuka senses to try to get a sniff of him. Glancing toward
Shinobu, he silently tells his first ninken to do the exact same thing.
Chewing on the jerky, Eremi could only watch in amazement as the dog remained motionless.
"If you aren't going to eat it, can I get it back? That's good jerky!" A step would be taken forward
only to be instantly removed the moment the husky begins growling anew. "Ok, ok. I'll leave it
there…for now." Well this was an impasse. He wasn't going to fight the dog, that'd be silly and
rude, but he couldn't just turn back now or could he…
Then a thought occured to the boy, if there's a possibly Inuzuka companion dog out here,
where's the Inuzuka. "So girl, where's your partner? Are they nearby?" Casually he'd rub a finger
just under his nose as if to scratch it while his eyes darted left and right. For a moment he
thought he spotted something hiding…Something watching him. Then again, it could just be a bird or
squirrel. What ever it might be, Eremi simply continued to look in the direction where he felt that
he was being watched.
Taiki continues to watch this scene unfold, smirking as Nozomi defends her trail and doesn't
fall for the bribe. But when this man's scent reaches him, he frowns, deeply. He looks back at
Shinobu for verification, who snarls but doesn't quite growl. Taiki's body tenses as he notices he's
been discovered, but gives out a short, hoarse, howl that seems to echo through the area.
When she hears the howl Nozomi becomes even more confrontational, taking a single step
forward with her body low. She means to force Eremi back toward that figure, and if he doesn't move
she'll likely bite.
In the meantime another growl can be heard from something much larger, and much deeper-
sounding than the "small" female dog. It doesn't sound friendly at all. In fact, where Nozomi's
growl is a warning, that growl conveys intense anger, held back only by command. Taiki himself moves
quietly, sticking to the shadows as he moves off to the left, attempting to stealthfully make his
way to where the main trail continues on from this point. He positions himself so he can quickly
intervene should this suddenly turn violent, but his aim is to not be seen.
Hearing the first of the beast like howls coming from the direction in which he was looking,
Eremi grows a bit puzzled…"Was that another of your kind girl or maybe your Training Companion?
Couldn't have been a wolf or coyote, not inside of Konoha…I don't speak the Inuzuka's language,
so.." He had more to say, but was cut off short as he noticed as he noticed the female husky was
taking a more aggressive stance and slowly approaching him.
"Whoa, I don't want any trouble." Both hands go up in a defensive gesture, palms flat and
waving side to side while Eremi takes a step back with each step the husky took toward him. "I was
just hoping to see what all the fuss was about up ahead and if chance so happend even meet up with
an old friend of mine. Do you know Ta…." Once again being cut off, but this time by a third howl.
Something much more vicious then what he heard from the previous.
"Are you…trying to move me into a trap." Quickly he'd glance around him before focusing
back on the one in front of him. "I'm not going to be your chew toy if that's your plan. I can leave
peacefully though, instead of this turning ugly…Besides you wouldn't attack me would you. I'm from
Konoha after all. Just like you right?" Maybe while he was away, the Inuzuka dogs have gone feral
and that's why no one was around this area of this forest…Stupid Eremi.
Nice theory, unfortunately Eremi's first instincts should have been more closely considered.
Taiki doesn't move from where he is, but he growls out something in human speach that really only
vaguely sounds like what he used to sound like, only his now normal hoarse quality to his voice
gives it a much more animalistic sound. "Are you?" the voice growls out, echoing off the rocks. "Are
you a Konoha shinobi? You smell like one… but the one you smell of is dead. So you can't be…"
The growl from behind Eremi becomes even angrier, if that's possible, and Nozomi's growl also takes
on an angry edge to it. "You have one chance spy… Tell us who you really are, or we'll finish you,
here and now."
Well this was starting to turn into a real bust and a waste of time. The dog wasn't going to
let him pass, it seemed like there were even more, bigger and angrier dogs out there in the forests
waiting to strike and to top it off, he was sure he kept spotting something else watching him, but
just couldn't pin point it exactly. "I guess getting my jerky back now is a no go…" Testing the
waters once again he'd take a step forward only to be growled out by the female husky. "Nevermind."
Suddenly something guttural catches his attention, a voice of something close to human? And
close enough to the location of where he was sure he was being watched. "Umm..Dead? Well that's
depressing. I hope people didn't think I was dead." Though that would explain why there were no
shinobi dispatched to retrieve him after he left. "I was, six months ago a Konoha Shinobi, and I'd
like to think I still am….I'm Satonezu Eremi." The growl that was heard through the questions
sounded awfully familiar, but then again he hadn't heard many other dogs from the Inuzuka clan and
there aren't any like those out in the smaller towns…"Shin…obu?" Sounds a bit….larger.
"Satonezu Eremi disappeared from this village six months ago, and was being hunted by the
same organization that killed Inuzuka Taiki's mother and put his father into a coma. The odds of him
surviving, given the number of near deaths experienced by Chuunin Inuzuka is close to nill. If you
wish to continue that story, you'd better have proof, or my ninken and I will make you wish you
never uttered that name," the voice growled out. To prove a point, Taiki sends out a lightning arc
to a rock back the way Eremi came, but close enough to hear the strike and the sizzle of the
landing. Shinobu doesn't respond, save to growl more intently. It is clear that Taiki doesn't quite
believe Eremi, and is chosing to keep up the facade.
Eremi wasn't sure what to think…He was being hunted by, what were they called, The
Recluse? He had no idea and yet he managed to avoid them for as long as he was gone…That's just
Satonezu luck right there. "Wait, did you say Taiki's father was put into a coma…Inuzuka Kenshin?
That's horrible." The boy began to clench his hands into tightened fists at that point. The bandages
that wrap them tightly beginning to stretch as if they just might tear apart. Hearing bad news like
this was unsettling, making Eremi regret even more him running away like he did. Scared like the
child he was, instead of staying close to his friends that probably needed him, more then he felt
sorry for himself.
"Tell me, is Taiki alright…At least, in the same or better condition then he was when I
left. Atsuro didn't tell me much, he was pretty tight lipped actually about others business." If the
female husky was still moving closer toward him, at this point he was standing his ground. No longer
worried about an altercation. However, when the lightning comes shooting out of the shadows
instinctively he leaps out of the way. Some what slower then normal and were the attack actually
heading toward him, it most likely would have hit.
"When it comes to my friends." The boy took a deep breath trying to calm himself, the rage
that he brought back with him on his journey barely held in check. "I would risk my life for them,
so if you want to fight, show yourself or I'll come get you myself."
At this point Taiki steps out into the road. For all the anger and growling that he had
shown, his face looked muted, very much so compared to what it was when Eremi left. That, and the
rather drastic change in his clothing style pretty clearly screams that he is /not/ alright. He has
more scars as well, including a rather ugly abrassion scar on his throat, probably the source of his
hoarse voice. For Eremi, who hadn't witnessed him hit rock bottom, it would be like all the light in
Taiki's life had died, taking with it most of his postive emotions. Taiki is actually down on all
fours, a but a different stance than before.
Taiki looks for all the world like' he's stalking Eremi, though he does pause when he
notices Eremi's old mannerisms showing through. "Tell me something that would only be known by Eremi
and myself," He growls out, not escalating the pressure any further at this point.
Breathing heavily through his nose, eyes glaring ahead, ready to just fight, get beat up and
get this over with was all instantly washed away the moment Taiki stepped out on the road. It was as
if Eremi simply wanted to collapse right there, fall to his knees and begin crying to himself, but
he couldn't. Regardless of how emotional he was becoming, he had to hold his appearance together. He
had no right to become a mess in front of Taiki. Another thing for his friend to worry about. That
is, if Taiki even cared about such things anymore. From the look of things, he probably was trying
to cut himself off from the real world and not have to feel the pain anymore. His Mom killed, father
put into a coma and one of his friends thought killed by The Recluse…Me
"Honestly, I don't know if I could. There's so much within the village that everyone knows
about each other and shares with everyone, it's just not as easy." The boy swallowed hard, trying to
keep himself together. The look of his friend before his eyes hard to bare, "The most I can offer is
that the very first time I met you I ran away. You probably don't remember it, but I do. I was
walking through the forests just outside the village when I spotted something. You. But, you were
badly burned. Horribly if I remember and it caused me to run away in fear. Though after that time,
when we met again in the genin training area, you and Shinobu both practicing your four legged style
while I was practicing strong fist. We sat down and talked. The reason why this stands out to me the
most is because you both were the only ones I could talk to without being scared or feeling nervous.
I didn't feel like I needed to run away. I could just be myself and that was the day I knew that you
were going to be my best friends."
Taiki starts to circle around Eremi as the young boy assimilates the information that he had
been given. If truth were to be told, Eremi was perhaps considered one of the few constants in
Taiki's life. He could smell the fear and the emotional upset he was undergoing, for those emotions
changed a person's makeup and Taiki was still using his senses to the fullest. Still, if this was a
spy, Taiki could ill afford to let up in the least. He only hoped that if this was the real Eremi,
he could forgive Taiki for the hell he was putting him through. Not that much of this was showing
through Taiki's expressions, even what little of his emotions still showed nowadays were still by-
As Taiki listened to what Eremi said, he slowed down, his eyes turning to regard the boy. He
weighed every word, listened to the story, then nodded slowly as he stood up. As if this was a cue,
Nozomi moved back up to a non-aggressive stance and Shinobu, now a monster of a dog, appeared facing
Eremi. "That story was not spread by anyone I know, and I do remember that incident," he says,
allowing a little warmth to creep into his voice. "I'm afraid I can't let you go that way though,
it's not safe. Seeing as how you just now came back, after I thought you dead, it would ill suit me
to let you endanger yourself by going there, now would it?"
Eremi could only stand there watching Taiki circling him, the female husky standing guard
nearby and no doubt Shinobu lying in wait, ready to attack in a moments notice. He was outnumbered,
but was he also out matched? Most likely and even if he wasn't, he wouldn't fight Taiki at his
fullest. He wouldn't have the emotional strength to do so. Perhaps getting beaten up would be for
the best. He probably deserved it after all and he'd gladly accept such a punishment from one of his
friends for leaving like he did. So abruptly without even saying goodbye. It's no wonder he was
thought to be killed.
"Well that's good to hear." The boy took a deep breath and exhaled it all at once, relieved
as he was that for now it seemed the two of them would not face in combat. It wouldn't have been
right, not like this. "You're right, and I'm sorry you thought that about me. I didn't mean for it
to happen that way. It's a long story, though I'm much more interested in hearing about yours. I
missed this place and I missed you Taiki. You as well Shinobu." Eyes briefly turning to the
monstrous malamute, much larger then he was last time he was around, before turning back to Taiki.
"If you say it's dangerous to go back there, then I'll take your word for it. I really only came
into the woods so I could find you, let you know I'm back, I'm here to stay and catch up on lost
time. That is if you have a moment to do so. I know you're working right and we can always make time
for it later…I'll be here."
Taiki nods slowly, a very slight smile forming on the edge of his mouth. "I'd like that, but
I'm actually on duty at the moment, helping out the people working on the problem. Perhaps when I
get off of work?" Just then he gets a call over the radio and he sighs. "LIke I said, I'm on duty,
and I need to get back to the relay point. See you!" At this point he and Shinobu dash off, leaving
Nozomi there to guard the path again.