Date: February 25, 2014
The medic group of the Shinobi lands answers the call to get the codex, and runs into much more than they bargained for.
"The Silk Conflict - Final Insertion"
The Land of Sapphires… Desert
Okay, Taiki has received his marching orders, and quickly sent word out to gain people. Given the severity of the issue, and the fact that the cat is truly out of the bag on this parasite, Taiki starts to call on other villages to get the best people for the job. Thus, three days later Taiki swings by the hospital one last time to let Usagi know what is going on and to give her the option of going, before he meets Mushi and the others that are going on the trail southward, leading away from the Elemental Nations. He sent Mushi on ahead to meet with anyone that was answering the call, in hopes to alleviate any potential… political issues that may spring up. Taiki and Usagi would only be a half day behind her, at most.
To say that the young shinobi was troubled would be an understatement. Even for Taiki, Usagi would be rather withdrawn for the time being, answering almost mechanically to anything asked of her, and her expression devoid of emotion for now. She hadn't slacked on security for the mission, but still, she wasn't speaking on much save what was of concern towards the mission and their immediate safety.
Mushi knew it was important to have people from other villages. It wasn't just about having a variety of abilities. It was about the symbolism. The whole shinobi world, not just one village, was coming together to fight this evil. It's almost inspiring. And hopefully it will be a warning for the next killer: that they may have five villages, rather than one coming to stop them. So Mushi gets into full wanderer's gear. And she goes to collec the others who are coming on this assignment. She'll be surprised…so surprised…if someone from Kirigakure comes. In fact, the idea makes her smile. They'd succeed for sure, if the team members didn't attack one another beforehand.
Sunagakure sent but one representative. She was arriving in her usual delivery girl gear which simply consisted of her simple normal outfit. She has a delivery ready from her father. Might as well make this mission pull double duty. Either way, she would arrive at the designated meeting place and then simply…wait. Wait for others to arrive and once they did, she'd only nod to Mushi and then smile, "Lets go." She states, the smile somewhat hidden by her mask but her eyes show her eagerness.
Despite Usagi's silence, he'd still insist on telling her all he knew, especially about Kaito. Finally he sighs and shakes his head. "I understand you're upset Usagi, I'd be absolutely livid, and we both know it. But… this mission is bigger than all of us. Whatever you decide, I'll back you… /after/ the mission." He hopes he got his messages across, all of them. He then falls into silence and lets her think, at least until they near the meeting point. "We're here," he says quietly as he comes out of the trees with his two ninken and Usagi in tow.
Taiki looks at the assembled people, then gives a nod to each. "Okay, for this mission, we're one force. We may be Suna, Konoha, or even independent shinobi, but we're more than that. We're Shinobi, and our very existence is threatened. This mission is absolutely vital to end that threat, so we're on do or die time. Your villages are aware this is an S-Class mission, the first joint mission since the forming of the villages. So I say, let's show this country what happens when they think they can threaten us. United we are strong enough for anything."
<Weather> Clouds gather and darken, bringing the threat of rain, although the temperature remains warm and pleasant.
Usagi's answer to Taiki is silence. She only nods once in recognition of the fact that he spoke, continuing on from tree to tree as they get closer to the meeting point. As they arrive, a soft gasp emits from the young woman as she sees who all else is going to be in attendance. It's almost a reflex, and certainly faster than she's moved before. There's a 'puff', and that particularly wicked scythe she is fond of bursts out from its sealed storage as she spins it a few times and sets it into ready stance. The expression on her face has changed, teeth grit, anger written across her face, but for whatever reason, she's otherwise not moving an inch….save that several tears start flowing down her cheeks. Her body begins to shake a bit as she all but stares at Mushi, the shakes getting worse as it seems her body and mind are at war with what to do….or what not to do. A single word slips out, her voice quaking much as she is, with a simple "Why…."
It's several moments before the shinobi is able to close her eyes, taking a very slow, deliberate, and deep breath as her scythe slowly lowers itself. She forms a few hand signs, far slower than normal, as she reseals her scythe. She turns her back for several moments, one hand raising to her face for whatever reason before she turns back around again. "….my apologies for that…" She speaks quietly and low, nodding to Taiki's words, her expression a mix between shame and confusion as she tries to regain the equilibrium she had before.
It's difficult to truly catch Mushi off guard. But when she sees who is with Taiki she is caught off guard. Undisguised emotions flit across her face at the sight of Usagi — alarm — affection — confusion — hesitation — hope — shame — pain — then a horrified look as Usagi summons a scythe. It's not that she's scared about being hurt — okay, maybe she is nervous when a /giant scythe/ is pointed at her — but mostly because Usagi had drawn it on her. Mushi had told herself she expected as much from Usagi. But expecting it and seeing it are two different things.
Mushi squeezes her eyes shut. Maybe that's not the smartest thing to do. But the thought of attacking Usagi is unthinkable. When she hears Usagi reseal it, Mushi opens her eyes slowly. And now that the immediate danger from Konoha is out of the way, Mushi speaks freely. Maybe she does feel sorry for herself. "It was an accident," she says. "It was arrogance. It was idiocy. It was circumstance. Usagi-chan. Don't hate me until I explain, 'kay? I'll tell you everything after the mission." She takes a deep breath, and then makes a quick inventory of her stuff. Brushes up and waits to depart. She doesn't look at Usagi. In fact, she looks at everything but Usagi—Taiki, Chitose, that interesting rock, a blade of grass, the sky…Maybe later in the mission she'll work her way up to eye contact.
Then they arrive…then one pulls a giant scythe and has a teary eyed stare down anger stab glare at the other. Chitose looks from Usagi to Mushi and then back again before finally nodding after Mushi speaks, "And then that happened." Chitose states, "I don't know if this…is some kind of special Konoha greeting or some unfinished business you two have but I'm not involved." Chitose nods, "I'm here for a mission and I need to know now if this is something I'm going to have to deal with at some point when we are neck deep in it?" She looks from Mushi to Usagi and then at Taiki with a questioning look. She then glances forward, "Either way, I'm here to deal with this. If you don't know me, I'm Chitose from Sunagakure. I also have a unique set of skills and if I'm forced to use them at their full potential, try not to be too alarmed." She then nods to Taiki, "I'm here to follow your lead."
Taiki had hoped to keep this professional. That there would be a confrontation would be expected, but even his is surprised when Usagi brings out her scythe. Nozomi and Shinobu both move the moment the scythe comes out, only to be beaten by Taiki as he interposes himself between the both of them. "I'd say you both have some things to discuss. I myself would like to be part of that conversation, since Usagi is my sister in all but blood, and I hate to see her like this," he says, glancing back at Mushi. "But now is not the time. Even Shintaro-san would say the same thing," he says, pinning Usagi with a glare, half-angry that his words were just seemingly forgotten. "So we do what we must, then we work out the differences in a less public stage later."
Taiki looks between both of them, trying to make sure he got his point across /this/ time. Only when he is satisfied that the two women would actually follow his lead does he turn toward Chitose and shake his head. "Sorry, unresolved business, and private at that. I'm sure it won't interfere with the mission." Another glance in both of their directions is given before he says, "I'm Inuzuka Taiki, he of many hats, including Clan Alpha of the Inuzuka. I'm a fuinjutsuist, elemental taijutsuist, and medic. The ninken are Shinobu and Nozomi."
Introductions given, he then looks around and draws out a scroll, unsealing a map which he rolls out. After pointing to a spot he says, "This is where we're headed. To get there, we need to cross the border. Unfortunately, the border crossings are closed, and the border patrolled. The week point is where a river crosses the border before dying out in the desert. It's not as heavily patrolled, and no sensor-type people have been noted in the area. We'll cross there, and then make our way into the desert, trying to avoid what we can, eliminating the rest as fast as possible. More about the site specifically will have to wait until we arrive."
Usagi looks at Taiki, nodding once again as the shame shows once more, glancing away. "Hai, Taiki-sensei" She takes another slow breath as her shoulders drop, seeming to let some of the emotion slide off of her before she nods to Taiki. She doesn't respond to his glare, or even acknowledge it, as she isn't quite looking at him. She does however, turn to Mushi and offers a bow. "I'm sorry, Mushi…."
It's only after that, that she comes back up and takes a slow breath, joining Taiki at the map and looking around at it for a few moments. "I can cross first. Unless our friend here is exceptionally good at stealth, I'll have that portion covered" She glances at Chitose for a few moments to see if she would mention anything about that, before speaking again. "And I can neutralize a guard….effectively, and quietly if needed"
As Taiki speaks about Usagi and Mushi's affairs, Mushi finally manages to look at Usagi. She's weighing her. Taiki is right. And this mission is too important. When Taiki outlines his capabilities, Mushi can't help but smirk slightly. And she echoes him. Apparently their styles are fairly familiar. Though she's sure that they don't use them in even the slightest same way. Two medics isn't too bad. It's that much harder to get rid of a team that can heal themselves, no matter if one person goes down. When Usagi apologizes, Mushi looks at her softly and says, "Okay." Then she smiles, warmly but a little uncertainly.
When Taiki starts outlining their plan to infiltrate the border, she goes over to watch intently. Even as a wanderer, it's not like she hasn't been on shinobi missions before. She says, "I'm capable at neutralizing people quietly. And in direct combat." She offers up her capabilities, but not what part she'll play. She leaves it up to Taiki.
A nod at this plan and then a simple nod to Usagi as well, "Sounds good. I'm only good at stealth when it comes to getting out of situations. My capabilities are far more…straight forward. I'm hard to hit and hit very hard." SHe nods her head, "I am also capable of healing myself if need be." She then looks at Mushi a moment and then Usagi again. She hmms before moving with them and looking to Taiki, "I would be best suited to either starting the fight or coming in after the stealth element is completed." She hmms, "I can also take on multiple opponents fairly easily if the need arises."
Taiki nods, looking at each of them. Of course, Taiki's fully aware of Usagi's abilities, since he's her team leader, her partner, and as he admitted, brother in all but blood. He nods to each of them and then says, "We'll move forward in a single file with the ninken as outliers on either side of me. The crossing is about an hour's travel to the southwest. Mushi-san shall take point, followed by Chitose-san, then Usagi, with myself following the rear. Unlike most of you, my stealth techniques are limited, and if I trip something, we have everyone ahead of me to come to my aid, hopefully outside the trap zone." He then looks around the women around him. "Any questions or comments?"
Usagi smiles slightly at Mushi at the response, and she speaks of her own medical usag,e as well as the scythe she'd pulled, and shadow jutsus. As Taiki outlines the plan and the file order, she nods and gets up to look at their surrounding areas. Then she looks upwards, seeming to be judging the sun's location, and the amount of time they have left in the day. "How long to the site after that, then?" Seems she's back to business for now.
Mushi listens to her teammate's abilities, especially Usagi's. She'll have to see later how much the kid has grown. They're a well suited team, and so much medical expertise between them. Hopefully they won't have cause to use it. If this mission goes as well as it can, it could be more of a stealth one than a combat one.
Mushi looks around and seems to notice something for the first time. There's a lot of women on this mission. If she was in her usual spirits, she might crack a joke about Taiki following behind all these beautiful girls. She nods at his plan. That is until he says that she'll take point. Her smile fades a little; not as though she's intimidated, more as if she's thinking. She rubs her chin and then gives a curt nod. "I have sensory abilities," she says, "so I can scout ahead. I have one question. If we come across the enemy, what force is preferrable?"
Listening to Taiki, Chitose will take her position and then look to Mushi then back at Usagi before looking forward, "Sure…put me between them." She clears her throat and then keeps walking. Her eyes looking over Mushi as she speaks before she hmms and tilts her head and looks back at Taiki, that is a good question. She listens carefully to this part. Her eyes then going back forward…she might be a female on this mission but…she's still quite young comparitively.
Taiki shows absolutely no physical interest toward any of the females, so such a remark from Mushi would have fallen flat anyway. Chitose gets a smirk and a nod at her comment about being the middle-girl, knowing full well how that one played out. He then looks at the map again and says, "About two days civilian travel, or about one-half-day shinobi travel. " Left unsaid is that he could quite possibly clear that in a matter of a couple of hours by himself, but he feels no need to say that. "If we come across enemies, judge according to the situation. I would prefer they not know we're there, but that is very much likely not to happen. Instead, if attacked, take them out as quickly as possible without raising alarms. Standard protocol for this level of mission is that the mission comes first, and blood is expected to be drawn. Any other questions?"
Usagi nods as she moves to her position in line, havign listened to the other two as they asked their questions. "None from me" she adjusts her pack and nods, smirking softly at Chitose's comment and shaking her head. She wouldn't have to worry about any outbursts from the young Nara, not at this point. She tosses two treats to Shinobu and Nozomi, giving a small smile as she does so.
Mushi considers the length of time. Maybe taking that long isn't worth it, she could just carry them all in a short time. Well, she can set a bit of a harder pace. She knows the distance, half a day seems a bit long. She smirks. They can take it! And even if they can't, she can help them out. "Yosh!" Mushi says, making a fist to get their fighting spirit up. Go team! She smiles to Taiki for the first time, when he shows some very good judgement. "I'll decide accordingly, Taiki-kun," she says. She seems reliable.
And then she's off, perhaps setting a harder pace than they'd be used to. It's not a pace that'd burn them out. But there may be some sweaty shinobi by the end. As she goes forward, Mushi is constantly using her sensor abilities to check the surrounding area. It helps that people don't expect them to come, and aren't on alert with their own abilities—who'd be crazy enough to send only a couple shinobi into patrolled enemy territory?
As for her part, Chitose simply seems to move with an easy pace. She only agrees with the part about relieving the enemy of their ability to alert others quickly, and possibly permanently. She doens't have any keen senses or otherwise so she simply moves with the group and awaits the part where she is needed. Her gaze keeping forward and prepared.
For Taiki's part, he's a natural at both speed and endurance, as both are needed to harness lightning in the way he does. Mushi's pace doesn't seem to bother Taiki at all, he doesn't even look like he's working up a sweat. The ninken, after eating the treats Usagi gave them, spread out as the group makes it to the river. One thing becomes apparent, this is going to take some water-walking. Should Chitose, who lives in the desert, have a problem, Shinobu would offer to let her ride, in human tongue. Given that he's the size of a clydsedale, he would have no problem with that. Nozomi looks at home on the water, even when she's bearing three more cantines. The group makes their way to the border as trees gives way to fields, then starts disappearing to sand.
Mushi can detect patrols as they cross the border, but the energies are utilized in a
different way than even samurai would. So far so good, nothing seems to be moving toward them. But the path Taiki otilined, traveling on the water, would be enough to avoid them for now. Taiki and his ninken have all activated their own senses, with Taiki utilizing the second stage of the Inuzuka senses. Only continued sniffing the air gives that away.
Usagi's off behind Chitose, keeping pace for sure, and she doesn't seem to be working up a sweat as of yet…though granted, she did design her own bodysuit to prevent as much discomfort as she could, while still being practical. So, she's occasionally glancing side to side as she follows along, even if Nozomi and Shinobu have better senses than she. Seems some habits are hard to break.
Mushi doesn't seem to be tiring much physically. But she's always concentrating, always keeping a sharp lookout. She doesn't become careless—that could lead to an altercation and wounds. She checks on her team now and then too. By the time they've completed the majority of their journey, she's surprised. She'd expected at least one to be lagging a little. Yet as of now she doesn't have to slow her pace. It seems all the villages chose some real talent to send on this mission. But the enemy around her makes her uneasy. On one hand they're a little careless, letting an enemy slip so easily past. On another…what are they doing? Mushi is almost tempted to go and check it out, but she stays on course. When they reach sand she pauses a moment to shift her gear. This is quite the landscape change.
Chitose is a chuunin, she knows how to walk on water even if she's not used to it. As for tiring? That isn't happening. After all, Sunagakure sent a delivery girl. Who better to run long distances without having any trouble? Though, in reality, given the girl's build, it is odd that she's not even showing even the slightest hint of being tired. Perhaps there's something else driving her but that's not exactly clear right off.
Caution is a good watchword, given the situation. Mushi's musings are even answered soon as Taiki smells patrols moving in behind them, staying back, but moving around them. Mushi can also sense the movements, though those at the rear would be less certain for her than those at the front. Taiki makes a few signs with his hands, and Nozomi runs ahead to quietly let everyone know, in human tongue, that they're being surrounded. In the meantime, Shinobu closes ranks with Taiki, and the pair seem to be waiting for Nozomi to come back before making their next move.
Usgai furrows her brow as Nozomi lets her know that they're being surrounded, and she glances back at Taiki briefly. She speaks quietly as well, taking a slow breath. "I can take out a group by myself in relative short order…what are your orders, Taiki?" She turns her eyes towards the front again and continues on as long as they get there.
<Weather> A damp fog blankets the world, rolling over the hills and into the valleys in a clinging wave. The temperature is mild as the Spring rolls in once more.
Mushi purses her lips together. They're being surrounded alright. For a trap like this, the enemy must feel they have an advantage in numbers, or they're that confident in their strength. At least her team seems in good condition—unexpectedly good condition. Mushi takes a brief moment to tie her hair back into a ponytail. Then, she's converging on Taiki and Usagi a little. They're surrounded, they may as well make a quick plan. "Do we break through and run?" she asks. "Or take them out?" Her tone is calm but her eyes glitter with apprehension. If Taiki gave no orders, Mushi would simply resume point.
Since the questions have already been asked, Chitose will stay quiet and wait. She looks back at Taiki and then tilts her head, awaiting the orders that were to follow. She wasn't as aware as the others but fully prepared to do what is necessary to defeat those that are surrounding them. She hmms quietly and states only one thing, "We run…they go tell others."
Taiki definitely can smell them getting closer and knows they are intending to close the trap around them. Nozomi rejoins the trio before they start gathering chakra. "The smells are strongest in the direction we're going, but we're too close to take a more circuitous route. We'll take a spearhead formation. I'll move up front with my ninken. Mushi-san, you take the left and a few steps behind me. Usagi, you will be on my right, level with Mush. Chitose-san, you will be the rear point, a few steps back from Mushi and Usagi. Keep close, but give everyone room to cut loose. We're going to try to break through this." That said, the Inuzuka Trio surge forward in front of Mushi and off to her right as they prepare for a fight. "Kill quickly, no quarter, no prisoners," he states, though by the way he set things up that should be fairly obvious.
Usagi nods as she once more places her hand on a spot on her belt, and makes a few hand signs before the scythe poofs into being again, this time held with sure hands as she takes up position to Taiki's right. Another handsign is made as she gathers chakra to herself, her shadowed wings forming off of her back. "Ready when you are" She is looking forward and left for now, and this was definitely about to get bloody.
When Taiki says they must kill, no quarter, no prisoners, Mushi's green eyes flash. She looks at Taiki and she seems about to refuse his order… then the moment passes, and Mushi gives a curt nod. She'd be endangering everyone in her team. And endangering the whole mission. Mushi sighs and rubs the back of her neck. She's overthinking things. When they fan out, Mushi veers to take her point. As she does she gathers chakra to herself subtly and gradually.
A blink at Taiki and Chitose states, "You want me…in the back?" She hmms and then shrugs and nods, "You're the boss." She then watches as the rest of them prepare for battle. For now, she doesn't transform or change or alter her state in any way. She simply holds on to some chakra, preparing for battle and watching as the others do the same. She looks around at the various directions can come and she moves forward with the rest. Transforming now probably wouldn't be the…best choice. For now, she's simply ready.
Just as they assume their formation a rain of sharp objects flies toward the group like arrows, without a shaft and much quicker. Taiki seemed to be prepared for something though, and rather than trying to doge this downpour of metal, he runs through some hand seals and a wall forms between him and the flying shrapnel. The metal blades seem to penetrate the blue, glowing field at varying lenghts, but nothing gets fully through as they drop into the water. "Keep formation, even if they surround us, and keep moving forward." So Chitose is going to see action anyway, apparently. He starts off his attack by joining Shinobu in forming a lightning clone that speeds on ahead of them, which is supported by a volley of water needles, fired off by Nozomi, each aimed at a cluster of people appearing a short distance ahead of them.
Usagi's shadows leap up to defend her from the objects, but nonetheless several places find their mark and wound the young Nara, and she grunts softly at the impacts. Blood, already. She shakes her head as her shadows literally branch out in multiple directions, making use of their surroundings to pull in as many as she can to further her area of ability. "Fine…far be it for me to go easy on them" Her wings flare, and she gathers a bit more chakra to work with, letting the others fire off the first salvos. She's….watching. Trying to decipher from where the attacks are coming from.
They move forward in a solid formation, and leave few openings. Mushi keeps a close watch on Usagi. It'd be nice to say she cares for all her teammates evenly, but that would be untrue. Just the thought of something horrible happening is enough to make Mushi cover her face with her hands. Momentarily. And only Chitose would have a chance to see it. Besides, they don't have time to take a break as Taiki's wall bursts up to deflect the first attack. Then it's all she can do to try and deflect the projectiles with a clear barrier of chakra, only to be hit by a few. She makes a few quick seals, and then the ground is aiming to swallow up the nearest attacker, followed quickly by a torrent of earth rumbling over him.
Wincing at the feeling of many of the blades hitting her and Chitose shakes her head, "Fine…" She growls as she is hit, "If that's the way this lot wants to play, then play we shall." She rushes forward with the rest and even as she does, others will feel the pulse of chakra flow over her form as chakra literaly begins to leak from her pores, surrounding her and flowing outward. Her body gaining mass as it does. The dark purple energy obscures the girls form, taking it from her and giving it its own form. Her legs obscured by writhing tentacles of pure chakra. Eight tentacles to be exact. Horns sprout from her head, her eyes now white masses of energy in that now energy that is now her head with a snout flowing out and her arms like large angry fists. She jumps high up into the air as she runs, looking at the group that launched the attack and then takes in a breath before unleashing a pure torrent of ink that flows over the entirety of the group. Even as it hits, others can hear the angry hiss of whatever it touches as the acid begins to eat away everything in its path.
At first something seems… odd. All of the Inuzuka trio's attacks, along with Mushi's whirlpool, seems to either bounce over or simply fizzle out, leaving the ever-increasing numbers of people ahead unharmed. But Mushi's earth flow river manages to get through, quickly miring the front lines down and allowing Chitose's attack to quickly start turning the front ranks into puddles of goo. The way may not be fully clear, but that did some damage. But the rear guards had some kind of strange heavy-firing weapon ready, something that looks like a war-shuuriken launcher. But instead of firing giant windmill shuuriken, they fire large, spiked balls at the invading squad, with each person being targeted by two. They mean business too.
Taiki felt a shiver running down his spine as Chitose changed, having never been around a jinchuuriki during change before. But he is not a Clan Alpha for nothing as he appears to take it in stride. Instead of panicking, he and his dogs launch forward in a intimidating display of elemental taijutsu. What they do looks like tsugas that the Inuzuka clan are famous for, but these are noticibly different in that two are utilizing blazing lightening "drill bits" while the third utilizes water whips and a whirling mass of concentrated water that looks like it could cut through anything… much like a high-pressure hose. Their aim? To tear a hole through the people in their way.
As one of the spiked balls fires off towards her, a shadow leaps up from the ground and catches the offending object, bringing it to a halt before it could harm the Nara. Usagi narrows her eyes a bit at those who launched them, well within the range of her extended shadows. She makes a few handsigns as shadows leap out at several of them, to try and wrap their bodies and to literally crush their throats within them.
Someone could almost hear the audible clang as Mushi's jaw drops. She stares at Chitose as the girl surrounds herself in the bijuu cloak. Then, Mushi's expression turns to one of joy. She'd kept an eye out for the Ox all this time, and now she falls in her lap! It's almost like fate. Mushi takes this all in within a second, and then it's back to the mission, with a bit of difficulty. When the weapon hits her, Mushi's body crumbles into earth. As she moves, a seal appears on Mushi's cheek. A swirling, flower-like pattern. Then, it is absorbed into her skin and infuses her with chakra. Multiple Mushi's are rising from the ground near the enemy, to catch them in violent, deadly explosions.
As she lands on the water, she seems to slide along it on the tentacles like some kind of, well, Octopus. As the spiked balls approach her, she simply slips to the right and then the left to slip between the two balls, expending only quick short movements rather than whole dodging techniques. Beneath her, legs still do move but they are hard to make out among the chaos. Even as she approaches the group as the last of them to go through. If there are any left after the bevy of attacks, she will very literal stretch out both of her arms like whips at easily 10 feet in length, whip them straight out and then to either side, knocking down any opponents left in a wide sweeping arc before her arms will return to normal…well, as normal as they can be when she is transformed as she is.
What Chitose's acid spray didn't take care of first is soon torn asunder by the ferocity of the squad's attacks. Taiki's first lightning Tsuga not only clears the last of the front guard out of the way, but destroys a launcher and literally shreds a couple of people in the process. The shadows meet the same fate of the earlier nijutsu attacks as they seem to fizzle out without touching anyone, but Mushi's clones are made of stronger stuff. They destroy a second launcher, which in turn widens the hole Taiki poked into the formation. Then Chitose's arm whips come through. Though the first is ineffective, the second widen's Taiki's hole through the ranks to something you could bring a caravan through. Unfortunately, the rear guard hasn't been completely destroyed. Instead they start lobbing small, ceramic balls, which explode and send shards everywhere, though they seem as if they're attempting to to avoid hitting each other.
Taiki's seal wall appears to continue to be growing strong, despite the methods of attack. He seems an expert at placing the wall to avoid damage, even from indiscriminate area of effect attacks. "Get past me," he growls as he joins Shinobu's side. Nozomi moves on past, like Taiki ordered, apparently on guard. "There's something else ahead, not human. I'll be there in a minute." In the meantime, both large white beast and Taiki start raising massive torrents of lightning. None present but Usagi have seen this before, but what he's powering up /looks/ dangerous. Finally the two launch forward in a carefully timed form of raging whirlwinds of electrical destruction. The entire guard for quite a distance around is caught up with this as steam and lightning surge into the stormy hell that is being used. Finally, the duo must have even hit the bottom of this river, as sounds of rocks being ground into dust echo. A short while later, Taiki and Shinobu land back where they were, but the river's level seems to be lowering as water rushes in to fill a hole the size of the entire company that they were fighting… though what remains of their enemy has yet to be determined.
Once more, the shadows react to Usagi's command, raising to shield her from the blast of the grenades and protect her from the explosion following. She raises a brow as he begins something she'd only seen once, and she simply says. "Stay out of his way….that is not something to be in front of" But she has something of her own to show them. She makes several hand seals and slams her hand down against her own shadow, perhaps in reaction as well, but one thing becomes suddenly, abundantly clear. The shadows are hers. Spikes erupt from shadows all around them, seeking their targets of the guards that seem to have them surrounded. Usagi looks up only once to see the handiwork, if in case Taiki missed, or didn't finish the job, she was aiming to.
Mushi looks around at the destruction with a grimace. If that doesn't draw everyone for miles, she doesn't know what will. Well even if they weren't quiet, at least they were quick about it. But she doesn't underestimate the respond time of the enemy. She can sense three people up ahead, and she says to Taiki, "I'm going to go and scout. There's three presences up ahead." She heads in the direction of those signatures. It seems that they don't need much help wrapping up here. As she goes, Mushi leans forward, making her body a slightly smaller target from a frontal assault.
Again, the 8 tailed beast simply slips through the attack coming in, though once more it is a barely thing. She keeps moving though, watching the last of the minor enemies go down. As it is mentioned that more and worse are up ahead, Chitose simply converses energy, not attacking any enemies here as she moves foward, simply looking around for a moment as they move, prepared fully to attack the big targets with her big guns and hope that everything she has is enough to do the damage she needs to do.
The rumbling in the earth finally stops as the dust begins to settle. Usagi was right, you don't want to be in Taiki's target area when he pulls that one out, for the resulting whirlpool looks like it's going to be there for a good long while. Taiki must have struck bedrock there…. What is left of the enemy is not pleasant by any means. Aside from pieces of flesh of varying size, some of the more skilled officers managed to avoid being outright torn apart. Instead, those people are decidedly out of the fight,if not barely hanging on to life itself. When that attack is combined with everything else thrown at them by everyone else, an entire company has been routed. Taiki sighs as he looks at the carnage and shakes his head. "May Kami have mercy…" he whispers before turning his attention to Mushi.
"I can't smell a thing living up there, so odds are what's up there isn't human. Likely its more of those puppets. We'll have company soon as that move was a signal for our second team to join us. Go ahead, but not that far, as we need to work together to get past those things," Taiki explains. Usagi would quickly see that beyond that short prayer, Taiki has sealed off his emotions, for a few likely reasons.
Usagi takes a slow breath as the shadows around her continually seem to be shifting, seeking new connections and the like, and after Taiki's display is completed, and her own is making sure no one else challenges them from that direction, she gathers herself and sprints off after Mushi, to see what she's up to and to aid her if really need be. The shadows around her rapidly shift and snake out to make new connections as she passes, though the ones at the 'very' tail end of her ability seem to be going back to normal, if anyone pays attention to such.
Mushi nods to Taiki and approaches the threat carefully. And she has no doubt it's a threat. Everyone they've met in this area has been extremely hostile. Mushi glances behind her to check on her team once more. Then, she scans before them with her sensory abilities. She's light on her feet, moving almost silently. Yet she's out in the open so it'd be just as easy for nearby people to see her as it would be for her to see them. The second team getting here may be useful. But she has to wonder if this is going to turn into a forceful mission rather than a stealthy one, with a large squad.
Following the swath of destruction that was left by this team wouldn't be a hard trail by any stretch. Even as Chitose stands up straight and listens to Taiki, the being that looks nothing like the girl who was with them at start simply nods and then states, "Be wary of the puppets if that is what they are. They seem to enjoy eating chakra, in my experience." The voice that comes out of the girl is both that of the teenage girl and that of something that sounds as if it should be much larger and much more menacing. The dual voices echoing over one another when she talks. She looks forward though and gestures with that large purplish hand and states, "Let us go and finish this quickly."
- Lurking in the shadows, well that isn't entirely accurate, lurking more like an insignificant shillohette of Hiroyasu. As requested of them, they were in the process of attempting to gain access covertly. "Ok.. I want clean entry points.. Hiei; you and Michiko will hook around here.. and I'll go there.." he says dragging his fingers along the ground. "We are supposed to covertly gain entry, and if possible steal the codex if the other team has not already gotten to it.. otherwise" he pauses looking at both of them "They want us to throw ourselves onto the enemy and provide a 'tactical' distraction.. you know the kind Hiei." he says dryly.. "Now if the main team encounters undue resistance, we were told; we'd know the sign when we saw,heard, or felt it.." about then; the sound, feeling, burst of light from the distance interrupts. "Yeah.. like that.." he snorts before the seal in his hand bursts into blue glowing ash and his outline become wholly coporeal.. "Lets go render assistance then.. Michiko you will need to stick with whoever can provide you the best protection.. so keep an eye, and ear, and two kunai out for.." he says before breaking the huddle to hurry towards the devastation. -
Hiei snorts faintly with his arms crossed over his chest. He watches Hiroyasu draw out the plan and then resigns himself to implement it to the best of his ability. When Hiro comments about the 'tactical' distraction, Hiei rolls his eyes slightly but nods to the other cloud ninja. "Michiko, stick with Hiroyasu. If it's as bad in there as I suspect it to be, then I'll need to be able to move fast. Hook around there..got it.." And then the signal occurs and he makes a beeline towards the affected area. He grumbles under his breath as he beats feet towards the disturbance. Not wanting to outrun Hiroyasu or Michiko, he's not moving at full capacity at the moment. "Heh. Leave it to Konoha to blow the stealth portion of this mission. Still..I prefer it this way."
Taiki's investigations and warnings are definitely up to snuff as one of the three presences moves FAST, right toward Mushi. These things look like what had been attacking the merchants all along, but the moved much more fluidically, as if alive themselves. The one that moved ahead stops as his arms pop up, revealing two empty arms, much like some kind of launcher. Only what comes out of them is more like balls of lightning than the pieces of metal from before, with one bearing quickly down on Mushi while the other is sent directly into the Konoha group. The initial impact falls short, but the entire area for a hundred feet in every direction is subsequently lit up like a Christmas tree, with a semi-translucent orb expanding to encompass the area. That one is also going to be seen for miles around…
Taiki looks up to see this thing coming and doesn't quite frankly have the time to throw up a stronger defense. Instead he pours more chakra into his seal wall in hopes to cushion the blow, only to get shocked by his own element! In fact, he himself is a bit woozy from the strike as he pulls himself out of the whirlpool. As they are too far for a physical attack at the moment, he and his ninken start running forward, with Shinobu and Taiki throwing lightning needles while Nozomi seems to throw water needles at the puppet. If nothing else, they can keep the pressure going…
Usagi is probably the closest behind Mushi unless Taiki had recovered a lot faster than her from her attack, and the blasts of lightning emitting from the puppet cause her concern. They weren't aimed. She narrows her eyes as her hands make several hand signs before a shield of shadows comes up to protect her, forming a dome around her that moves as she does, with her shadows as connected as they are. Seems that such was a good idea, as the lightning crashes up and over the shield for several moments and leaves the Nara nin untouched as the dome drops after the initial attack is finished. More handsigns are given as she doesn't even touch the shadows as several of them begin to ripple and form up into fluid spikes, firing up at the puppet in an attempt to snag it, break it, or lock it down if not all three. A spare glance is given to Mushi at this moment to see her state as well, though she's still too far out to do much about it anyways.
When lightning fills the air, Mushi winces. Never mind this being a stealth mission for the past several miles. Hopefully the enemy are pushing their most competent forces to the front, so this'll be the worst of it. If it only gets harder then a second team is just what they may need. When the lightning ball approaches Mushi, it simply fizzles out in thin air. Mushi hasn't even thrown up a barrier or made a hand seal to indicate she did anything. And now she's glancing back once again to make sure everyone is in working order. It's a brief inspection. But maybe she should have waited till after she attacked, which she does now. She goes through three hand seals, and the earth rises around her as if it's made of water. It forms into huge bullets which she fires with precision at the various targets, aiming for critical points.
Watching the attack, Chitose attempts to move out of the area quickly only to run headlong into an expanding orb of lightning. The resulting shock is not something the Eight Tails will soon forget. However, that cloaked creature quickly turns to face its opponent as the others fire off their attacks. Even as she watches the attacks come in, she jumps up into the air and sucks in deeply before unleashing a torrent of ink which burns like acid straight into the puppet below, the acidic ink burning long after it finishes the initial assault.
- Hiroyasu runs along with Michiko "Who is the commander here? We can't both be giving orders.. especially if they countermand the other. Regardless of the situation, If we are separated we have already established a regrouping position. If you are separated, confused or otherwise.. just go to the regroup point. I don't care what the Konoha Shinobi tell you.. Especially you Michiko they are not your superiors, but they are more experienced.. so if you see them duck behind a rock.. you duck behind a rock.. if you see them charge into battle you duck a rock.. I have never seen a single sortie where Konoha has not caused more collateral than if you just throw out a million seal explosive tags.." about then giant explosion.. perhaps he should a side job as a fortune teller.. "Yotsuki-san, Go.. I want you there like yesterday. Render assistance like you know how.." with a thumb raking across his headband.. "Swap to Tactical Assault Signals, minimal verbal.." he makes several handseals and closes his eyes before opening them and taking a deep breath as the information pours in. "Your my backup, I trust you to be my second pair of eyes." he says looking back at the young genin as he pulls out a fan of seals from his seal pouch.. -
Hiei glances over at Hiroyasu and nods. "You got it." He flashes a smile at Michiko before lightning sparks across his body as he prepares for battle. He performs a series of handseals. "Release: Lightning Aura." A light blue, lightning infused aura surrounds Hiei's body. His muscles quiver underneath the skin as he draws one of the swords on his back. His custom armor begins to glow brightly as it takes the lightning generated from his body and enhances it. "I'll be there in a few seconds." And then his body promptly vanishes from sight as he moves a high speed.
The Konoha team might notice a slight displacement of air as Hiei comes to a halt, his hand already weaving signs. "Lightning Release: Lightning Strike." He points his sword in the direction of the puppets before a large bolt of lightning lances off the tip of his sword. "Somebody order the calvary?"
The puppet barely moves, but most of the attacks seems to go right by it, failing to connect and slamming into the earth beyond. Mushi's earth bullets do hit, however, causing a couple of "snap's" as a limb is broken in two places, but it seems not to notice. Instead another limb comes up, and suddenly a barrage of lightning bullets rain down on everyone, near and far.
Taiki sees the kind of damage these puppets can do, and then shakes his head. He runs through some signs and slams down onto the water with his hands as a blue barrier raises to fully encompass him and his two ninken. Shinobu moves right up next to him, and Nozomi gets on top of them both. Taiki runs through a series of handsigns before calling out, "Man/beast henge: Elemental Stalking wolf!" With that a great puff of smoke surrounds them, blocking them from view. When it clears, it becomes obvious this is /not/ the well-known two headed cerebus form. Instead, a huge three headed dog stands there, significantly smaller than one would expect for the known "B" rank transformation. All three heads snarl at the puppet in anger as it crouches looking for a moment to strike.
Usagi looks up at the puppet. Damn. She seems to be studying, and that is the first mistake for now, as she is slammed into with a bullet even as the shadows swarm up to protect her. Lightning arcs off of her body for a few moments as she shivers to get rid of the effects, dropping to a knee and then looking back up. HEr hand signs come up again and the shadows once more answers her call, spiking outwards to attack the puppet again from here. "Fall to pieces"
Mushi sends out a pulse of chakra. It meets the lightning ball and cancels it out with well timed force. The chakra she used to defend swerves back to gather around her arm, acting like a giant limb many times her size. She swings the arm to smash the forces to pieces. Then, the chakra fades. It gives her a moment to take in the situation, and notice the layout. Maybe this isn't just the frontline. Maybe they're at their final destination. As Mushi reaches out with her sensory capabilities, she'd sense something powerful… more than powerful. It's on a frightening, unbelievable level. And worse, there's two of them. She drops back to her teammates. She speaks to Taiki, but loud enough for the others to hear. Nervousness tinges her voice. "There's someone behind this battlefield. In the shadows. Two opponents of Kage-level strength. But they're not human, and they're of equal strength. I believe they're staying there to guard something."
The attacks are brutal and once more tear into the Eight tails. She stumbles back and then shakes her head, growling. Looking to Mushi as she speaks, she stares a moment beofre racing forward and spinning up into the air with a jump. As she spins, her arms stretch out like two massive whips and brings them down toward the puppet in an attempt to end this abomination here and now.
- Hiroyasu reaches into his seals and slaps it on Michiko's back and holds his hand onto it, activiting the seal and storing the proper amount of chakra as he body slowly starts to fade out of existence and the world that she see sees is extremely twisted but moderately navigatable.. Touching the inside of his sleeve, he activates the one woven into his Koromo.. and he too begins to fade out of existence.. "I know you cannot see me Michiko.. so follow my footprints.. and be quiet they can hear you" he says. -
Michiko looks fairly startled as she suddenly begins to fade and the world acquires a strange twist. She notices Hiro is also gone from her vision and is about to answer with a nod, but stops herself from a useless action and responds with a hushed, "Noted." Following her fellow Kumo nin is a bit difficult without traditional sight to rely on, but she can at least manage it to an extent.
The front puppet seems unaffected by most of the attacks, save for Mushi's. Nor does it seem to be slowing down at all, even when it is all but destroyed. Instead a large seal array flashes out from underneath of it, consuming the rest of the puppet as the very earth under everyon's feet seems to explode all at once. Hiroyasu and Michiko are both lost track of as they turn invisible, but unfortunately for them, the seal is a wide-area trap seal…
Taiki, now on a natural all-fours stance, seems to have had enough at his seal encampment wall is put to the test, which it passes easily. The large three-headed dog that has taken Taiki's place looks down and nods at Mushi before emitting a howl and leaping forward, very-long claws of lightning spreading out from its paws as it does. For something It's size, it moves very, very fast indeed. Taiki strikes home, sending his claws slicing through the puppet, followed by a surge in electricity.
Mushi stares as the world seems to erupt in seals. This is some advanced seal mastery… perhaps more advanced than any of them possess. But when the blast hits her, Mushi has already encased herself in chakra. Not soft and moldable like before, but unyielding as a smooth crystal; the damage is deflected. She doesn't pause this time not even to look at her comrades. She's making seals, and the earth roars to life. But this one targets under the feet of the enemy, the ground simply rising up like a massive wave and then aiming to crash down and bury their side.
The attack from the puppet is brutalizing the poor Jinchuuriki who seems to have none of the luck of the others. She spins away from the puppet, taking another brutal attack and trying to send out two of her own but is failing and hard. Her body flies away, landing a distance from the puppet now, twitching as she slowly pushes herself up to her feet and shaking visibly despite the chakra around her body that has darkened with the addition of her blood.
- The sudden burst of the chakra building up in a feedback loop was pretty telling for the young but inept seal mastery reacts. Hiroyasu turns around breaking through the barrier bent around the young genin, his hands moving around her pulling her towards him as each hand explodes out two barriers which he slams together in a V-formation as the blast blows by them left and right with a rush of explosion and chakra.. before the dust even clears the Stealth seal has encompassed them both as they take the major disturbance to make a race for the codex. -
Usagi's shadows move to cover her solidly again before she reaches out with them once more, grunting softly as she is protected from the attack again, but her shadows fly out again, falling short of their goal before she hmms softly, considering her next move and looking to the others to see what all is going on.
The puppet seems to disappear in a puff of smoke, revealing an old man who raises his hand, causing a wall to erupt out of the ground. Unfortunately for the old man, Taiki made it past the wall first and his claws dig deep into the old man. What appears to surprise Taiki is that the lightning charge that should have rendered the old man unable to fight seemed to bleed off into an orb behind him. Then the ground rolls over the guy and like a tidal wave as Mushi's jutsu takes effect, obviously hurting him more. Even Chitose manages to land an attack, almost knocking the man sideways, just as Usagi's shadows hit despite her initial concern of them missing. The man seems to be staggering from the multitude of blows and commands the puppet to fire a multitude of small metal balls at the attacking squad.
In the meantime, Taiki sees the man reach for him and all but vanishes in a burst of lightning. In fact, the entire area around the man is lit up in flashes of bright light and sound that obviously seem to distort the enemies' senses, causing any attacks to miss widely. Taiki can't even be seen, despite appearances, until he stops by throwing the old man in the air, jumping up in another flash of lightning, then slamming the man down to the ground in full force, easily drilling the man down with a couple of tons of weight the creature maintains in this form.
Mushi deflects the next attack with another pulse of chakra. Mushi looks around at her team. They're holding despite all odds. And the formation while loose isn't yet broken. Those Kumo nin came just in time it seems. What would it have been like if her team had to beat up twice as many enemies… or in coldly logical terms, at least the attacks are spread out a bit thinner due to their number. She watches in awe as Taiki picks on the elderly. He's really doing a number. Mushi doesn't follow yet… jeez, she might be crushed.
Instead, she falls back to Chitose and touches her arm. Chakra begins to gather around the medic's fingers. In an undertone only Chitose can hear, Mushi whispers, "You're a braver person than me, revealing you're a Jinchuuriki. But don't think that means I won't have your back. We need to finish this" Then she'd use the chakra to stamp a seal on Chitose. It's black, but it would dissolve into her arm, and release a powerful wave of healing through her, aligning and mending without the need for Mushi to keep contact. She's already moving forward.
Despite the heavy amounts of damage on her person, Chitose is still standing, breathing in and out heavily until then Mushi steps in and provides a great deal of healing to her. She looks over with those white glowing eyes, that purple body flickering with power before she nods a little and turns toward the old man. She glares at him and then races in to attack around Taiki. With her nature, she never ever has to get too close to him, whipping her arms out at him in a quick series of two punches that stretch out from her form at him, her body spinning to send one punch in before she spins the other way to send another attack into the old man.
- Hiroyasu with Michiko in tow moves through the camp with little more than notice.. it was hard to make out the world with the horrible distortion but he manages it with extreme precision.. it was either familiarity or some other form of navigation.. when they come into touch with their target object.. "Michiko.. take it.. hide it. If anyone stops us.. I will pretend I have it and you get to the regroup point to join up with hiei." he says waiting for her to snatch the codex on the small table before them. After she does so, he turns and goes off in the opposite direction of the fight.. because their orders were clear and their goal at hand, now was not the time for creative administering. -
Usagi's shadows leap across her again, her scythe pressed up against her back as it simply holds it steady. This is a distance battle for her, and she plays it well as she remains stationary for the time being. Down on one knee, focusing her chakra into maintaining the high level of shadows she's currently keeping under her control, they warp and tremple a few moments before bringing up several larger ones to slam and impale the old man if they should so be able. The look of concentration on her face right now is high, and she's focused completely to her task.
Hiro and Michiko manage to succefully hide the codex while the rest of the team pummels the old man. Taiki's rather ferocious attacks cannot be denied, causing the old man to break concentration. As he does, the puppet shivers, then falls to pieces, which in turn leaves a small, but fatal opening for the rest of the team to exploit. Chitose and Usagi's attack finish the old man off, nearly tearing him in half. His body falls to the ground, leaving just the orb as the puppet falls apart. The desert falls quiet, save the piteous moans of what few soldiers that remain alive are making.
Finally, the three-headed dog disappears to leave Taiki and the two ninken, dirty but otherwise okay. He sighs, then calls out, "It's done… everyone sound off… tell me if you need healing."
Mushi pauses when she sees the Kumo nin aren't close. Of course they aren't, they're getting the codex. It's a sound plan. Except she's nervous being separated from it. They'd fought all this way. She makes a few hand seals and stamps her palms on the ground. A written seal shoots out and a hummingbird appears. "Follow the Kumo nin," she says. "They carry something of great importance to this world. Help them, guide them, do whatever you need to make sure they get out. Keep an eye in the sky." And with that the hummingbird would zip off, both to keep an eye on the codex, as well as the carriers. And Mushi is left to make her way back so they can all gather.
Twitching a little as the old man fell, Chitose would revert back to just a girl again. She stumbles back a step and then drops to a knee, punching a fist into the ground, "Well…" She coughs a few times, shaking her head, "…that's over." She then looks up to Mushi, "Thank you." She then stands fully back up shakily, "Well, this was rough."
Usagi sighs softly as the old man falls, her shadows slowly withdrawing before they are reabsorbed into the ground. A few moments later, the shadows surrounding the young Nara quickly return to her, leaving all around her as it should be. She lets off a slow breath and nods, looking up at the others. She gives Taiki a vote before walking over to where Mushi is, giving her a small smile and then a hug. She whispers quietly enough to the woman, almost as if to not let Taiki hear.
Taiki listens to various people say or not say whatever, then nods. "Okay people, we leave in five." He sees that Usagi is talking to Mushi, which causes him to nod once. He won't interrupt, but instead the next time she looks at him he'll give a quick team-sign of "talk later." After gathering everything up, he walks over toward the new whirlpool, which is a dull pink from burnt blood. He bows his head, then offers a quick prayer for the dead before he turns and gathers everyone up for the trip back home, meeting the party from Kumo along the way. They'll take the codex to Kumo with them, with notes for their senior med-nin on what they plan to do with the orb to ensure that something like this will never be used again. In the meantime, he also asks, "Do you want to head up a team to go to speak to this Sultan… and see if he still wishes to wage war?"
Mushi looks stunned at the hug, and then she returns the hug with crushing force. To make up for a lot of lost hugs. Whatever Usagi says gets a short nod from the medic. It takes awhile for her to rally, and come back to the mission. Mushi looks around at the aftermath. The battlefield is ugly, as they always are. When Taiki asks about heading a team, Mushi looks thoughtful. She chews on her lip. And then, she smiles suddenly. "Before we make our next step… well done, everyone. We incurred no fatalities on our side. We retrieved the important object. We broke down much of the enemy's defense. I think if there's any /right/ time to speak with the sultan it would be now."