Date: June 10th, 2010
After clearing the sewers of the mutated horrors, the team has to enter once more to continue tracking their quarry. The trail leads them to a most unusual foe, as well as more questions than answers.
"The Traitor's Trail, Part II: The Traitor Attacks!"
Sayu Sewer Exit, Land of Wind
After being initially forced to withdraw from the drainage sewers, the team was currently gathered aboard the flying boat which had been summoned by Kara's puppet right outside of the main slums entrance. They had a while to wait, patiently, or impatiently, waiting for the smoke to clear enough for them to be able to get close to the overly-dark tunnel once more without choking on thick, acrid air. During that time, only one of the creatures that had been seen beneath the sewers had shuffled out, one of it's arms missing, and most of it's flesh as well, only able to half-shuffle along on it's one good leg, it's torn and broken second limb dragging behind it.
It had been taken care of quite quickly.
But now the smoke pouring out of the sewer entrance had shrunk to a mere trickle, a bare wisp rising up into an otherwise clear day as the last of the oil finished burning up. Despite the horrific explosion earlier, no one had come to check on it, most of the residents of this section of the city no doubt too terrified by all the recent attacks to risk coming out of their houses to be assaulted by whatever was causing such a horrendous ruckus.
There was nothing left to do now except to enter the sewers and ensure their objective had been met, and to finishi it if it hadn't been.
Rinako had passed the time using her drinking water to at least scrub her face, and wash out her hair as best she could, which was no longer held behind her head in a messy, airborne ponytail, but now hung down her back in damp, stringy waves. She did not appear happy with this. But there wasn't yet time for her to throw away her clothes, nor to soak for several hours in a bathtub, so she instead looked unhappily into the darkness ahead, picking through her flares, tossing away the ones which were too wet to function, and keeping the rest.
"I swear to god, if so much as a rat gets in my way this time, I'm going to tear it into pieces so small they can't be seen with the naked eye. …EUGH! WHAT THE HEL IS IN M POCKET!?"
We… probably don't want to know.
Ruri frowns around at the area. Her right eye has been covered up again by her Sunagakure bandana, rather than leave the red-irised eye — or worse, the horrible black void inside the socket that seems to have replaced that eye — exposed to the sight of others. "New plan. We're not going back into the sewers from here. Kara, can you take us back to the non-slums part of town real quick? I'm just going to grab something and then we can come back."
She watches cautiously the canal entrance, even though it appears nothing further is emerging. Can't be too careful. They weren't careful enough the first time, and it almost cost them. She's not going to make that mistake again. "Are you alright, Rin-chan? If you need to take a break, we can. I'm not sure how quickly I can get what we need."
Ruri may be speaking calmly and discussing Rinako's welfare, but her face is pale, her breathing somewhat erratic, and she's shaking all over, and occasionally twitching in various places. This might not be all that apparent to everyone else, but to the one who knows her so well, it should be obvious: Ruri is recovering from a major dose of Nightmare Juice. She is probably the last person on the planet to want to go back into the sewers right now.
Belatedly, she turns her jerking head also towards Shemri, Shiikaa, Kara, and… Pharaoh. Ignoring the last one as best she can, she asks, "Are you three alright also? No injuries? We can't delay it if one of us got hurt. With the stuff that was in the sewers, infection is almost guaranteed if we don't get it taken care of right now. I don't want anyone else to lose a part of her body."
Kara stands away from Rinako as best she can in the confines of the flying papyrus boat. She doesn't want to get any more yuck on her than she already has. "Uhh… Sure, Ruri-chan. I can do that. Where specifically? The police station?" She turns her attention on the boat and sends it sailing swiftly through the air, away from the sewer entrance. She's not exactly thrilled with her experience in the sewers either, but she's willing to try again. How could she not be with Ruri being willing to lead? Glancing back over her shoulder, she looks at Ruri momentarily one more time, then focuses fully on the task of navigation. It costs Chakra to use this Jutsu, so she doesn't want to waste what she has left.
"I'm fine, yes. A bit annoyed, very grossed out, and low on Chakra, but otherwise great. What's the new plan? Get reinforcements? Find another entrance further back and try from there? Take nice long baths and try again tommorow?" She doesn't seem to find Rinako as much of a concern, despite nearly being drowned in disgusting sludge. She's obviously well enough to complain.
Shemri's not exactly the happiest of campers either, nor the rosiest. Everybody on the team's gotten some of the smell of the sewers on them by now, of course, but Shemri was up to her shoulders in the sludge. XP For her own grooming, she's concentrated most on washing off her sash. It's part of her weaponry, after all, and it wouldn't do to have it slimy or getting crusty. That accomplished, she's ready (as she'll ever be, anyway) to brave the sewers again and finish this utterly repulsive mission. Noting Rinako's oath, Shemri glances down. "Hoi, Shiikaa, be very sure to stay out of Rinako's reach. Small furry things are difficult for humans to distinguish in the dark." c.c
When Ruri announces a change of plans, Shemri blinks. Okay…Shemri's certainly not the most strategically inclined of the group, so she's not about to raise any objections. It does seem odd to leave the place where their prey is most likely to be close, though. "I am well," Shemri says in response to Ruri's question. "Shiikaa?" The cat gives a reassuring mrowl. "We have suffered no injuries."
"I'm fine, Ru. I'm… I… I can still /taste/ it, blech!"
Rinako tries spitting over the side of the craft again, as if that'd get the taste of refuse out of her mouth and nostrils, but no such luck. If she'd had the luxury, she'd have enjoyed several hours of brushing her teeth and gargling with acid disguised as mouthwash. She looks at her sibling, her brows knit together in concern, but doesn't lay a hand on her. Because Rinako was very, very gross right now. Instead, she speaks to her in a low tone.
"It'll be okay, Ru. I'll never let those things get you. But your eye… we need to talk after this is over."
And no good conversation ever starts with 'we need to talk'.
If the elder of the twins seems offended by people trying to occupy the parts of the boat the furthest from her, she doesn't give any indication, crossing her wet arms under her soaked chest. After all, she knew what she probably looked like, smeared in mud and god-only-knows what else. She was stanky to high heaven to her own nose, so she could only imagine how it was for the other members of the team. She spares a glance for the cat, but doesn't object to the warning. After all, she wasn't exactly the picture of self-control when she let loose.
"Okay, but shouldn't one of us stay behind and guard the entrance? If our quarry managed to survive, we don't want them escaping out of this very entrance, right? I think I should stay behind. I can't imagine too many people want me walking through their neighborhood right now, anyway."
Ruri nods jerkily towards Rinako, not verbalizing her acceptance of the words. The monsters not only almost DID get her but they almost got Rinako too. That doesn't bode well for Ruri when the one who is going to protect her is as vulnerable as anyone else. And her eye… She doesn't have the time to explain right now, so she just says, "Alright." Then she considers Rinako's suggestion. No one is injured, and both Rinako and Shemri were dunked in the sewer's contents. "I'm not going to leave just one person behind. Shemri-san, if you and Shiikaa could stay here with Rinako, that would be best. Kara, slow down for a sec so they can deboard. As for the plan… I'm going to get a map of the sewer network, and then we're going to scan for the targets from above… On the surface. Pharaoh's sensors can see through that much matter, I think. As long as it doesn't go too deep, anyway. We'll follow the sewer's tunnels with the map, so that when we find who and what we're looking for, we can just dig through the ground, come out of the ceiling, and take these psychos by surprise. And at this point, I'm not going to be too picky about capturing them alive."
They should hopefully have slowed down or stopped by now, so that two kunoichi and one cat can leap down to a rooftop, and from there to the streets. "We'll be back quick." And then they are…
Skipping ahead about half an hour, Kara and Ruri likely have what they went for from the town hall's records, and are standing at the entrance of the sewers again. Ruri doesn't see the need to keep half their team on guard duty, so she solves the matter in a practical and expedient manner. "Blow up the entrance, Kara," she orders. Because only one person on this team knows how to use Explosive Tags properly, unfortunately. And that's Kara. So presumably they have set up a number of tags along the canal entrance, and a bit inside, just to make double-dog sure it's sealed properly. When/if Kara sets them off, that will be that — for now, anyway. Maybe the town won't be too happy about having to repair the tunnel, but they'll be even less happy if they get killed by zombie mutants.
Kara nods to the plan. It makes more sense than rushing into zombie-filled tunnels in the dark a second time. She's assuming there's more of them, at least, and Ruri seems to think so too. So after she allows Rinako, Shemri, and Shiikaa to get off the boat, and they have travelled to the town hall, gotten the map, and come back, she dismisses the boat, allowing the Chakra to leech out of it and turn it into just a big piece of origami. Explosive tags set! And… Triggered! Boom!
"And now to start the search from >safety<," she states rather unnecessarily. And along the sewer network they go, Pharaoh scanning with his Lighthouse sensor to find any strictly human Chakra down there. If it's 'altered', then it will be seen but ignored.
Shemri nods. "Very well." Shemri and Shiikaa hop off the craft and settle themselves down to watch the sewers for any too-curious zombies. Not that Shemri expects they'll come up. After all, according to the reports, they /do/ come up at night, so evidently they don't find the manhole covers or whatever much of an impediment. They just don't like coming out during the day.
After a rather boring stake-out, Shemri rejoins the team to accompany them on the high-tech hunt. "How many of them due you suppose we already got?" Shemri wonders. "With any luck, there shall be very few of them remaining." If only the heroes were ever that lucky, huh? Then it'd be…well, a much less interesting story, actually.
Rinako leaps readily enough from the boat, heading back the short distance to the sewers entrance. Just her and the other stankiest member of the team, ready to guard the town should another flood of unholy monsters begin pouring forth from the tunnel entrance. It's only been about thirty minutes in the time that they've separated, but Rinako has already started to dry out, the goop clinging to her hardening into a splotchy, nasty carapace, which she picks off in places with her thumbnail.
Rinako objects to the destruction of the tunnel on the grounds that this was by far not the only exit and that the locals would not be appreciative of the efforts, but is either over-ruled or too late, and the canal entrance collapses into a crashing miasma of stone and filth.
The search is slow going, as they have no way of knowing if they're /actually/ above the indicated sewer section, which requires them to proceed along at a veritable crawl, especially when a building or ten gets in the way and forces them to deviate from the path below. They can more or less figure out if they're on the right track from the sight of the drains and manholes, but a single mistake could wind easily wind up with them side-tracked and in a different spot than they thought they were. So the going is painfully slow, and as the sun crawls across the sky, Rinako grows more and more irritably impatient.
The sun was beginning to get low in the west by the time they find something. It's faint, and slowly seems to be getting weaker, but they eventually find, after a long stretch of nothing, a distinctly small bit of human chakra below the ground. Unfortunately, there's no manholes in the direct vicinity! Rinako places her hands on her hips and scowls down at the sidewalk beneath them.
"So… how do we dig? Just start tearing?"
Ruri is no less irritated by the time it's taking than Rinako. But this also gives her precious time to settle her nerves, regain her composure, and plan out the likely scenarios they may encounter down there. So when they finally do find that faint source of human Chakra, Ruri already has a few ideas of how to go about this. Instead of answering her sister directly, Ruri asks, "Kara, am I correct in remembering that Pharaoh has some kind of drilling device available? I remember seeing something like that back in the Land of Waves, and once before, at the graveyard, but I was a bit distracted both times. If he has it, I'd like for you to have him drill down into the sewer tunnels at an angle. That way when he reaches bottom, we can all just slide down after him."
Assuming the answer is an affirmative, she then turns to the others. "We'll go down in a certain order, but once we're down there we'll be moving based on our assigned duties, rather than a rigid formation. Be adaptable. Shiikaa first. Those things didn't seem to notice him last time, and he can check to make sure there's none of them around before the rest of us go down. Rinako second, with her Chakra shell already active. If there's anything non-human down there when you arrive, kill it, or at least incapacitate it. Shemri third, to cover Rinako's back. Again: If it looks hostile, it dies. Kara fourth, to operate Pharaoh and provide long-range support. I'll go last."
She glances over everyone's faces for a moment, to see how they react to this plan. She looks for any signs that someone thinks she wants to go last because she's scared. If she sees such suspicions, she doesn't say anything, but she takes note of it. She might not want to go down there, and she might be scared, but she isn't sacrificing the team to keep herself safe. She just doesn't have much to contribute that Kara can't do better in this particular situation. She doesn't ask if there's any questions, concerns, or different plans. She just focuses on the sidewalk, and then taps a Flesh Scroll tattoo. One of her newer ones, like she used back in the tunnel. A large metal safe appears in the air after streaking from her arm's surface. She hurls it straight up with the Chakra Saturation Field that surrounds things she has unsealed, and then says, "Everyone get back." She leaps backwards, providing plenty of room for the safe to fall. And when it hits… It will likely smash the hell out of the sidewalk, allowing them to gain access to the dirt underneath.
Again the brave kitty must be the first into danger. ^u.u^ Not that the reasons for it have become any less valid than before…although, one would rather suspect that the denizens of the deep would pay pretty close attention to anything that comes through a new front door somebody just drilled in their lair. Shemri nods slowly in response to the instructions. She /does/ think Ruri's scared, but she doesn't think that's her reason for going in last, and wouldn't particularly blame her even if it was. Shemri even wondered, during all the waiting she had to do before, whether it wouldn't be better for the team if Ruri remained topside next time. But, the conclusion she came to was, probably not. Ruri did come in handy last time, after all.
Kara nods. "Yes! It's called 'Sudden Burial'! But it doesn't work on cement, just loose material, like sand, dirt, and so forth." Ruri's plan for going down makes sense to her. She doesn't suspect Ruri of anything! She just moves back when directed to and covers her ears with both hands as the large hunk of metal SLAMS into the concrete, producing a painful ringing noises, not to mention the loudness of the concrete itself breaking.
And once they chunks of sidewalk have been cleared aside — along with the safe — she maneuvers Pharaoh towards the dirt, and his feet suddenly sprout >drills<. Big ones. These drills are then used to tunnel down at an angle, hopefully without incident. Kara can have Pharaoh drill pretty darn fast, but she's conserving her Chakra, so she allows him to go a bit slower than a combat application of this device.
How far down does Pharaoh need to drill? She doesn't know. "Try not to fall into the water, Pharaoh-kun!" she calls down the steadily progressing tunnel.
If Ruri was looking for a sign that someone thought she was scared, it comes from Rinako in spades in a look of sublime, sisterly pity when she thinks none of the other team-members are looking in her direction. She covers it as best she can by looking away when the safe drops out of her arm, smashing into the cement of the sidewalk. Again, this likely won't be taken well by the residents, but hopefully they'd be long gone before anyone found this little mess.
Pharoah digs through the dirt readily enough, but then he hits the concrete that makes up the underground sewer construction itself, which likely slows him down a bit. Regardless, drills are not quiet, so whatever was down would unfortunately have plenty of warning that something was coming towards it! And yet… the thing emanating chakra never moves, only continues to grow a bit more faint with each passing moment.
When the cat slides down the newly-created chute, it'd land in the tunnel, and, likely being the only member of the team with authentic night vision, would see a mostly-dry tunnel. Yet in this tunnel was a man lying face down, or, more appropriately, a corpse.
Rinako is next, holding up a flare, and landing in a crouch, holding up her light as she turns around and around in the two-way tunnel. It takes her a bit longer than it would the cat to notice the body laying ahead of her, and a little off to the side, but she eventually does, approaching it slowly and holding her flare over it.
The rest of the team would enter into the sewers shortly after, but other than the slow drip of water coming from somewhere, there's not a sound to be heard in the tunnel beyond the crackling sparks shooting off of Rinako's red flare and their own footsteps. The body would be found with many, many lacerations across it's torso, jagged and torn, as if it had been cut with many small hooks rather than an actual blade, it's upper clothing in shreds. The wide-dead stare of his facial features, however, would reveal him to be Noboru, the criminal who they'd been sent to find, and no explosion had killed him, that was for sure, as other than a light singing across the back, his prone position and distance had mostly protected the body.
He'd also been dead for nearly a day, and the weak chakra signature was his leftover energy slowly leaving his body. There is no scroll, and no visible sign of his enemy shinobi cohort.
"Well… /now/ what?"
Shiika, however, with a feline's nose, would detect the faint trail of human odor leading up the canal.
Ruri lands after everyone else has gone down, and immediately looks around sharply in the light of the flare, trying to spot anything out of place or moving when it shouldn't be moving. The corpse is quick to be seen, though, once again, not as quickly as Shiikaa would have detected it. She doesn't approach, just incase the corpse decides to get up, or incase it is rigged with explosives or something.
"The flames didn't reach all the way in this deep, apparently. He didn't die from the explosion, that I can tell." Yes, she's judging based on a not-close-up examination, but he still doesn't look that burnt. More… Shredded. "So it's still possible that the other one is in here somewhere. Can we have a dual-scan? Scent and Chakra?"
Kara lands in a crouch once Rinako and Shemri are down there. Pharaoh is already down there too, since he dug the hole in the first place. Also, he can't really dig through concrete, but maybe the ceiling was a bit loose or something? Anyway! Glancing around, the Egyptian-styled woman hmmms. "That's sad. The guy goes through all this trouble to escape justice and steal a Forbidden Jutsu… And then winds up dead. …No, wait! That's not sad at all! Bastard."
At Ruri's request, Kara has Pharaoh turn his head both ways up the canal, scanning for any more Chakra. Which costs more of Kara's depleted supply thereof. "Ugh… I'm going to need to rest >so badly< when we get out of here."
Into the mouth of peril! Shiikaa slides down the dirt chute and into the cavern. On reaching the bottom, he springs lightly to the side and takes a ready stance, prepared to pull MAGNIFICENT DOJ against the doubtless incoming attack of the horrible…dead guy? ^o.O^ Like, seriously this time. Not just an existence that might as /well/ be dead, the dude's in every sense DEAD. Well that's anti-climactic. :P Shemri follows in her place in the procession, kunai at the ready, and finds the situation similarly relieving-yet-disappointing. "Ah. Aha. Perhaps this is why the technique is forbidden?" Y'know, besides the whole creating abominations out of innocent (presumably, in most cases) human victims thing. After a moment, though, Shiikaa picks up on the lingering scent of another human, this one seeming a bit more vital. He meows to the group and starts following the trail. "It seems our hunt is not yet over," Shemri remarks, following.
"I dunno, Ru. You think his partner would have just hung around after hearing that explosion? And… just what /did/ this? Did they fight over the scroll? Or did a foreign village catch up to them before we did?" Giving voice to her fears as she kneels down next to the corpse, rifling through pockets with her free hand, Rinako didn't want to contemplate this jutsu, based on what they'd already seen of it, winding up in the hands of Sunagakure's enemies.
"Save your strength when you can, Kara. There's still a traitor shinobi out there somewhere, of at least Chuunin level." She manages to find nothing in his pockets, however, as it seems that his body had already been ransacked, likely by whoever or whatever had killed him. Standing, Rinako joins the procession that collors Shiika into the darkness.
The walk is long, tedious, and tiresome. Some parts of the tunnel are flooded, others are dry as a bone, and some are cleaner than others. Nothing is quite so filthy as the portion that had run under the slums, however. One with a keen sense of direction would eventually realize that they were headed away from the town proper, heading somewhere… else. The trail twists and turns, but the scent would grow ever so slightly stronger with each step. Following it would eventually lead them /out/ of the damnable sewer tunnels.
The group would find themselves coming to the edge of a very large pond, or perhaps a very small lake, a couple of miles from the town of Sayu. They encountered nothing else along the way, save an assortment of rats, spiders, and the occasional snake, until they reached the exit into the body of mostly-clean water that was used as one of the town's cesspools.
The scent of the one they were following here was overpowering, impossible to trace, as if whatever they were following was right on top of them, but simply… invisible.
Given that they were in a lightly wooded area, it wouldn't be too difficult for a culprit to remain hidden, the trees growing right up to the edge of the water.
A voice finally puts an end to any thoughts that they might be alone. It wasn't a normal voice, more high-pitched, more grating, it's laugh screeching like nails on a chalkboard.
"Eheeheeheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! More have come. Yessssssss, more have come. Come to be taken, to be changed, to be made pure, eheehee! You were not brought, no, no, you have come. Come seeking perfection!"
From behind a tree, where the voice had been coming from, steps a male figure, hunched over, it's shoulders mal-formed an uneven, it's arms of two different lengths, as were it's legs, leading to a hobbling gate. Most of it's clothes hung in tatters about it's form, the remains of a chuunin flak jacket. A bandana bearing the forehead protector of Sunagakure still remained lop-sided on it's head as it stared with it's one good eye at the quartet of women, one corpse, and one cat, it's other eye swollen shut. A length of chain hung from one fist, a series of long, wicked hooks interspersed along it's length.
The sound of disturbed water would sound, and those who glanced in that direction would find another, identical in appearance to the first, rising from the middle of the shallow water body, giggling as was the first. Another giggle would reveal a /third/ identical culprit, crouched on top of the exit of the sewers, grinning giddily down at the Suna women.
Ruri doesn't bother to try to guess which is which. Though malformed and creepy, this guy is clearly not dead. Thus her fears of facing more zombie mutants are put to rest. She just stands there with her face all >:/ and then suddenly… Smirks. "Hmph. If you want to try to change us, you can feel free to try. But something tells me you aren't going to live that long." This is the one responsible. She doesn't care about taking him alive, but she's sure that — excepting an 'accident' — at least one of these goons will survive the thrashing they're about to receive. And from THAT one the location of the scroll can be squeezed out.
"Formation C," she says under her breath. That's the one where they split up to face off against multiple opponents, with Kara acting as support from a distance. Ruri herself, shortly after giving the order, leaps into the air, and turns around to face the one on top of sewer exit. Shortly he will find a pair of kunai hurtling towards him, along with a huge marble statue of the entire fricking planet. The kunai are distractions, obviously. Whether the statue hits it or not, it is likely to crush whatever it hits, sending up a cloud of dust and dirt and whatever else is in its way.
Kara's lips curl in disgust at the man's appearance as he emerges, once they have left the sewers behind. "We should probably question him on the scroll's location. Even if he's nuts, he might" but then Ruri gives the order for 'Formation C' and launched into an attack! Kara blinks. "H-hey! Gimme' a chance to" she cuts herself off as she has Pharaoh leap over to help Ruri.
o/‘ Sooooomebody once told me, the world is gonna’ roll me. I ain't the sharpest tool in the shed… She was looking kind of dumb with her finger and her thumb, in the shape of an L on her forehead. Well, the years start coming and they don't stop coming. o/‘
The withered corpse that was once someone very close to Kara leaps into the air, spinning around like a dervish.
o/` Back to the rule and I hit the ground running. o/`
Pharaoh stops moving, arms crossed over his chest, and seems to hang in the air.
o/` Didn’t make sense not to live for fun. Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb. So much to do, so much to see, so what's wrong with taking the back streets? You'll never know if you don't go.o/‘
Pharaoh’s mouth cranks open, revealing his flamethrower.
o/‘ You’ll never shine if you don't glow!
He throws his arms out to the sides and then a solid stream of flames blasts out of his mouth, lighting up the woods brightly. It engulfs the marble globe. Now, if it hits, or even if it doesn't, the enemy is likely to be a bit burnt around the edges by that globe. But Kara doesn't stop there…
o/‘ Hey, now! You’re an All Star! Get your game on, go plaaaay~!o/‘ Hey, now! You’re a Rock Star! Get the show on, get paiiiiid~! And all that glitters is gold… Only shooting stars wake up mooore~…o/‘
Pharaoh begins to fall back to the ground finally, but before he does, he fires another of the Hail-Fire grenades over the top of the globe. When it goes off, it will be like a frag grenade made of ice and acid has just exploded directly in the creepy guy’s face.
o/‘ It’s a cool place, and they say it gets colder. You're bundled up now, but wait 'til you get older. o/‘
Then Kara reveals a surprise. She’s supposed to be support, right? So she's going to support not just one person at a time… But >everyone<! A scroll is pulled out of its tube on her back harness, unrolled swiftly, and then a cloud of smoke erupts from it.
o/‘ The media men beg to differ, judging from the hole in the sattelite picture.o/`
The empty scroll falls to the ground.
o/` The ice we skate is getting pretty thin. The waters getting warm so you might as well swim. o/`
As the smoke remains heavy in the air, Kara focuses on the creepy-dude that is emerging from the lake. As the flaming globe smashes into whatever it winds up hitting…
o/` My world’s on fire! How about yours? That's the way I like it, and I'll never get bored…o/‘
*Drum beats go here* A streak of gold shoots out of the smoke cloud. Caught in dramatic slow-motion, what appears to be a statue of a woman, made out of solid gold, and with the head of a lioness, is moving through the air at high speed. It’s not a statue. It's Kara's second Puppet. One of the Ancient Puppets she became a Puppeteer in order to obtain. Sekhmet
o/‘ HEY, NOW! o/` You’re an All-Star! Get your game on 'n' and go plaaay~! o/‘
Slow-mo turn off. Sekhmet blurs towards the creepy guy emerging from the lake, attempting to simply >punch< the ex-Sunagakure Chuunin in the stomach so hard that he goes cartwheeling through the air and back into the water.
o/` HEY, NOW! You’re a Rock Star! Get the show on and get paiiiiid!o/‘
Maybe it won’t kill him, but he'll at least be out of the way for a few seconds. And it will look totally awesome besides.
o/‘ All that glitters is gold~…o/`
Sekhmet’s body gleams in the light produced by Pharaoh's fiery attack.
o/` Only shooting stars~ wake up mooooreee~… o/`
Seeing that much (relatively) clean water is quite a temptation for Shemri. o.o; It would feel really good right now to just soak in the pool for a minute and let most of the yuck disperse away. But, Shemri knows well how easy it is to go from hunter to hunted with just a moment's drop of guard. Especially since Shiikaa's showing signs of sensing the prey's presence very near indeed. He's prowling low to the ground, almost crawling like a commando, and taking advantage of every bit of cover along the way.
Then comes the foe's exposure. Well, at least he doesn't seem quite as undead as the others they've dealt with…misshapen and insane, sure, but not quite a zombie. Odds are they can deal with this one looney pretty easily…except, of course, it's not just one. Shemri glances at each of the doppelgangers in turn, then down at Shiikaa. The cat turns his head this way and that, sniffing fruitlessly. "I do not believe these are ordinary clones," Shemri remarks.
When Ruri gives the order to split up and take on the various foes, Shemri selects the first one that appeared, over by the treeline. Much as she'd like to get into the water, it would be an impediment to her agile fighting style, and she and Shiikaa are very much accustomed to using forestation to their advantage. Shemri decides to keep a little distance between herself and the enemy, as that chain-hook-thingy looks like a weapon that wouldn't be easy to block effectively. Making a dash at the foe, Shemri jumps high and somersaults outside the range of the chain, unleashing a spread of shuriken below. She lands against a tree trunk, sticking there and observing the enemy's response before making her next move. Shiikaa, meanwhile, shoots a ball of concentrated air at the misshapen psycho.
As the kunai come for the one above the sewer exit, the mutated shinobi merely swings the spiked chain in his hands around in a swift defensive circle, knocking aside first one, then the other, before crouching to leap. He appeared totally unprepared for the large statue which crashes into him for above, however, crushing him to the ground, and caving in a small portion of the sewer exit, utterly destroying his upper body by smashing it into a pancake. No sooner does this happen, however, than the globe is lit on fire, at which point his body simply… dissolves into a thick, black, gooey substance at the touch of the flames, leaking into the earth.
The traitor shinobi watches Shemri's acrobatics with the same, unsightly grin he'd started the fight with. Even as the shuriken begin hurling towards him, the man begins to spin the chain, ready to block the incoming projectiles quite handily. Failing to heed the prowling cat costs him, as the air slams into him from his blind side, causing him to stumble a few steps to the side, and interrupting his wielding of his spiked chain. The first shuriken striks his shoulder, another burying in his thigh, and a third sticking out of his throat. He claws at the last one ineffectually, before toppling to the ground, beginning to bleed out. Before he can, though, his body, clothing, and weapon dissolves into yet more of the black goo, forming a rather sticky puddle upon the earth.
Which leaves Rinako to face the menace in the water, which was favorable, given it was her natural element of choice. There was rarely subtlety or tact in the elder of the twin's approach to combat, and she charges at her foe head on, her feet hitting the water, and moving through it, not even bothering with water-walking. The liquid around her legs doesn't even seem to slow her down! With that same, disgustingly tooth grin, her opponent sends that spiked chain after her, whipping it up and around to wrap her in it.
Rinako blocks with an arm, trusting in her chakra shields to absorb most of the harm as it wraps about her limb. They hold, mostly, earning her a few shallow scratches as the hooks try to dig into her, leading her into an impromptu tug-of-war for control of the weapon… which gives Sekhmet the perfect opening for his strike!
The male goes tumbling backwards, before falling beneath the water, losing control of his weapon to Rinako. But a moment later, he pops up again… and again. And /again/.
Three of the mutated traitor-nin pop back up out of the water, this time none of them with those deadly chains.
"Eheeheeheeeeeee~! Have it your way! Your way have it! I'll take your corpses to the master, and then he'll change your lifeless bodies, eheehee!"
Ruri is not entirely familiar with Water Release techniques, beyond what she knows her sister is capable of. And it's pretty weird that a Sunagakure Chuunin without a special source of water would specialize in Water… But she thinks that these clones are probably derived from the water somehow. Oil Clones maybe? With two targets down, a third disabled temporarily, and then like fifty more popping up, she decides that the best thing to do here… Is to remove the source of these Clones, so that the original can be positively identified.
"Rinako! Make as many Water Clones as you possibly can and then move them away from the lake!" She then turns to Kara and says, "They look like Oil Clones. But a little more oil can't hurt. Oil them up and then set them on fire." Calling out to Shemri, Ruri orders, "Be ready to take down the one that bleeds and doesn't dissolve." Ruri herself doesn't seem about to do anything quite yet. She just stands ready and watches carefully, trying to make sure that she hasn't overlooked anything. Right now, it seems that the bad guy is in the water. But it's also possible he's just somewhere in the vicinity, and producing the clones remotely. She can't rule anything out. And if her current plan runs into a snag, she can join in swiftly.
Kara blinks as the clones are taken down relatively easily… Only for a lot more to appear from the lake. The female Puppet called Sekhmet stands near Rinako, ready to help out however necessary. Seems she is more of a physical fighter than a projectile one, unlike Pharaoh. Her metallic muscles ripple with strength as she stands and clenches her hands almost like a real human being might.
At Ruri's orders, Kara nods. "Right!" Sending Chakra through Pharaoh's strings, since she now is controlling one Puppet with each hand, she waits until >after< Rinako has made as many Water Clones as she can, and then sends a huge geyser of blood-red oil from Pharaoh's mouth into whatever is left of the lake. Then comes the fire. If they're Clones, they'll probably fall apart. And if they're alive… That's when Shemri comes in!
Well, that was…easy. :P Looks like they are clones of some sort after all. "Hoi, could you not tell they were not real?" Shemri calls down. Shiikaa flicks his tail indignantly and hisses. Why /wouldn't/ they smell kinda funny, they looked funny enough too! ^>.<^ Shemri retains her perch on the tree trunk, looking out over the battlefield to try and spot the real deal. Meanwhile, Shiikaa keeps an eye on the vicinity behind Shemri, to make sure no sneak attacks are made.
"What? But… Rrrrgh."
Deciding that the middle of combat isn't the place to start questioning her sister's orders, the dark-haired kunoichi begins gathering chakra around herself. A… /lot/ of chakra. The water around her swirls as she drops the chain from her arm, forming a seal with her hands directly over the one on her navel, causing her chakra to explode outwards, pushing water away from her like a biblical figure that was parting a sea, except not quite on that scale.
Her hands change rapidly into another seal as the male keeps giggling, keeps laughing, and immediately the lake begins to erupt into copies of the dark-haired jinchuriki. She may have only been a Chuunin, but the bijuu within her gave her energy on a par with all but the very best Jounin of their village. The entire source of water is soon converted into over a hundred clones, each of which hops out of the small, mostly-dry (Other than a tiny puddle in the center that wasn't quite enough to form a full clone from) crater, surrounding it as they hang back, ready to attack.
Rinako, swaying for a moment on her feet at the sheer amount of chakra she'd had to use to create so many clones at once, backs herself out of the muddy crater, leaving the enemy triplets alone within. They grin as they begin to charge.
Kara's oil manages to coat the three of them, and then the flames come, practically exploding over them, and turning what was once a cesspool into an inferno! The three caught within the blast, including one of Rinako's own clones, which quickly melts, begin laughing madly, as if they couldn't even feel the pain, though one of them quickly falls apart, squelching into that disgusting black goo, which evaporates beneath the fire.
A second one falls apart, melting into goo, but the third lasts just a moment longer, just long enough to make a single seal. With a soul-shattering scream, it pivots to the side in short, jerky motions, even as it begins to melt. But before the creature-that-was-a-shinobi dissolves completely, another springs forth from it's flaming back, leaping high off it's doomed twin, and landing on the lake shore just beyond the edge of the flames.
"Eheeheeheeeeeeeeee! You can't kill me, but I can kill /youuuuuuuu/~!"
As it makes the same seal the now-melted one did, it shrieks and jerks, as first one, then a second, version rips out of him, tearing flesh which mends almost immediately, and shredding the already-shredded clothes further, each of the two duplicates identical to the first.
"Time to be changed, time to be changed, eheehee! First… I KILL YOU!"
The triplets form several seals in rapid succession, despite misshapen arms and fingers, causing the earth in front of them to erupt upwards, forming into hundreds of spikes, which go shooting out across the flaming remains of the pond, striking water clones en masse and hurtling towards the rest of the group!
It's good that Ruri stayed back and watched. While others may be a bit weakened by the efforts of combat, Ruri still has enough energy left to support her friends and teammates. Maybe she was wrong about them being Oil Clones… But now they DO know what they are. So she Body Flickers over the spikes of earth — though she gets scratched a bit before she can successfully clear them — then she takes off the bandana from her right eye, revealing once again the empty space… Which is quickly filled by a normal eye, with a red iris and a Stored Fire Stream tattooed in the pupil. She unleashes the fire stream at two of the Clones from mid-air, slightly above them. That leaves just one in the middle, if her attacks hit.
But she's not willing to leave it up to chance. "CONCENTRATE FIRE ON THIS AREA!" she yells at the top of her lungs, even as she lands one of the stone spikes. Her feet clap together on each side of the spike, using Tree Walking to cling there instead of sliding down and impaling herself. "DON'T LET THEM MAKE MORE CLONES!" She needs a moment to gather more Chakra before she can attack again. Two C-Rank Jutsu in a row on top of everything else is tiring.
Kara is dangerously low on Chakra herself… And the Stamina to make more Chakra. She is breathing hard as she controls two Puppets at once. Twitching her fingers, Pharaoh turns and grabs Kara in his arms before unleashing a cloud of black flies from his mouth, that block out sight for a moment. When the flies have flown away, Kara and Pharaoh have relocated out of the path of the spikes.
Simultaneous to Pharaoh's actions, Sekhmet has beent sent to smash the stone spikes with her powerful hands, simply swiping at the incoming protrusions and trying to break them to pieces to buy Pharaoh the time to get the Puppeteer to safety.
One eye is half closed in exhaustion, as Kara breathes heavily, climbing down from the arms of her withered corpse Puppet. "Th-thanks, Pharaoh-kun," she mutters. Then she hears Ruri's order. Does she have the energy to keep on attacking? It's hard, but she thinks she can manage one last major attack.
"Pharaoh's Judgement!" she yells out. She hasn't discovered all of Sekhmet's capabilities yet. So she focuses on using one she knows Pharaoh can do. A veritable river of bloody oil comes blasting out of Pharaoh's mouth, trying to coat the three enemy ninja and keep them from moving around too much. Then a powerful flamethrower stream is swept over whatever is hit with the oil. If successful, there would be a >big< explosion as a fireball the size of a house expands outwards and rises upwards into the air.
And regardless of the attack's results, Kara falls to one knee afterwards, barely able to keep her Puppets standing, and certainly not able to keep herself standing any longer. "D-did we get him?"
Shemri loves trees. Not in the tree-hugger sense, but in the gosh-these-things-come-in-handy-sometimes sense. A quick grab of a sturdy branch allows Shemri to swing around to the other side of the tree trunk and take shelter from the earthen spikes. Shiikaa also scampers behind cover down by the base. After the pelting noise dies down, Shemri peeks back out just in time to hear Ruri's order to attack. Okay then. Shemri leaps high above the foliage and starts peppering the area with as many sharp bits of metal as she can manage. Shiikaa, of course, adds in some of his wind bullets to the assault.
One of the clones is struck by the stream of fire while attempting to dodge out of the way, the flames catching onto his legs, and immediately spreading to the rest of his body. He falls to the ground, cackling madly as he tries to pat them out, but they sear and melt flesh faster than they can be put out, and once again, the clone melts into a puddle of grotesque, sticky black goo.
The other one targeted, however, is saved by the intervention of the third, who forms a seal and causes a small wall of earth to rise out of the ground, shielding him from the blast, succeeding in lighting the piece of stone earth aflame.
Kara's explosion coats the entire area, occupying where the triplets were with a thick column of flame and smoke, making it hard to target, leaving one to only be able to hurl their projectile attacks at their last known locations. Sharp pieces of metal begin to pepper into the area, even as water clone after water clone charges forth, kunai raised over their heads as a hundred Rinakos let out a war cry of fury. Many of them are caught in the explosion, several are struck down by shuriken, and a couple of more by the globs of wind that are spit from the shinobi cat. The wind serves to fan the flames, stoking them even higher and hotter than they'd normally go.
As the fire and smoke begins to thin out, leaving a vague, hazy view of the area, Rinako rips one of the smaller stone spikes out of her shoulder, one which her chakra shields hadn't saved her from. With a growl, she drops the bloody thing and advances through the myriad puddles of water that her clones had left behind, those few surviving ones being dispersed, most of them beginning to trickle into the pond once more. The wind through the trees blows the remaining wisps of smoke away, revealing three gooey puddles of black substance leaking into the earth, surrounded by shuriken, kunai, and scorched earth.
"I… think we did. But we still don't know what he did with the scroll. And didn't he say 'master' earlier?"
Above the trees, from the darkened sky, the whole area seems to light up in a sickly greenish glow. Several miles to the south, a lime-green pillar of light can be seen extending out of sight towards the heavens, from somewhere deeper into the forest. Rinako glowers at it for a few breaths, her hand clutching at her pierced shoulder, before scowling at the others.
"I… think we need to hurry."