Date: December 23, 2015
Another report of the Nara Clan's deer being slain has been sounded through the Nara clan's households and reaches Shugo's ears. With evidence of what might be causing it, the wayward Nara can finally take his first steps toward resolving this problem once and for all…
"The trampled Deer, avenged"
The killings have escalated while Shugo lived an easier life in the more friendly-ish Inuzuka village. Beyond his herd of deer, several of the other herds of his clansmen were also attacked and put into a similar state of decay. This time however, there was a fatal flaw in the killings. Evidence of what had done it was left behind among the many corpses of the fallen deer. While it took some fighting, Shugo argued the right to be in the meeting of the Nara clan and while a small fight may have broken out among the younger generation as to if a Nara no longer involved with the clan had any right to be there, Shugo had returned to Hige's home with a split lip, and a scroll of the reported evidence found on the bodies. The wounds had been examined by several medics and vets to make sure and were in little doubt, caused by a massive swarm of insects. Secretions and chakra signatures told that the bugs were being controlled and thus, the Aburame clan was suspected. With no direct evidence however, and no official mission having been issued out, Shugo started to pack his bags with supplies, things he'd need for a long stay in the forests to try catching the culprit. With the situation involving his deer, Shugo had a far more alert, if not angry expression on his face as he finished packing and shrugged on his pack to begin heading off into the forests.
Hige was just returning from his own meeting, though it had nothing to do with the Nara and their dear. Still he was just entering the house as Shugo was exiting and he paused, blocking the doorway and quirking a brow. "And where are you…" he trails off as he takes in the busted lip and the amused expression slips into something a bit more dangerous. "What happened."
"More deer were found dead, the Nara clan thinks its the Aburame doing it." Shugo answered before trying to press past Hige while he continued his explanation. "I'm going out to find who's doing it and stop them before they kill any more of my deer. I might be gone a while." Just as there was no playing about from Hige, there was no joking coming from Shugo either. Dressed as he normally was in his baggy pants, green shirt, and Haori, the only thing off about Shugo was that split lip. That was to say, there was no other sigh of a scuffle beyond that lip.
"That doesn't explain your lip," Hige says, eyes narrowing as his arms fold over his chest, not budging from the doorway in the slightest. "Konsho, go get our packs." Only then does he move so the big dog can get past while he continues to watch Shugo and wait for an answer to his question. Once Konsho has passed him he moves back in front of the door to prevent Shugo from leaving without a fight.
"My lip?" Shugo questioned before touching his lip and wincing slightly as though he had only just noticed it now but then a bit of a wicked smirk showed on the Nara's lips. "One of my cousins wanted to try throwing me out of the meeting since I didn't belong there. Nara Village business not needed for a deserter like me. I… persuaded him to tolerate my presence." Shugo commented calmly before Konsho was pressing by to get their packs. Well, there goes the plan of doing this himself and not bringing Hige into the mess any more than he already had. "I'm guessing you're not going to stay here like a good boy and wait for me to bring you treats?" Shugo questioned dryly. Having a bit of company, and remembering how he put the other Nara in their place had Shugo's spirits lifted at least a little bit.
Hige's eyes narrow when Shugo tells him what happened to his lip and his frown only deepens. "No I'm not going to stay here. There's nothing good boy about me. If I don't go with you then there may not be a Nara Village left when you get back, so I guess the choice is yours in the end." Hige doesn't look like he's giving much of a choice however since he won't move out of the doorway.
Well, he had plenty of choices then, didn't he? Shugo could agree and get moving, or disagree and probably be kept locked away in the house because the Jounin wouldn't let him out. "Fine, let's get going before whoever the killer is decides they're in the mood for more." Shugo answered as he watched the Inuzuka, and then shrugged his shoulders and stepped off to the side. "I might need the help if there's too many of them anyway. The number of bodies this time said it was either one user controlling a massive swarm, or more than one." The Nara explained with a fairly calm tone of voice; if Hige was coming along he should at least know what information the Nara had managed to gather.
Hige listens to what information Shugo has before he nods in understanding, then reaches past the Nara to take the pack that Konsho brought. The pup even had on his 'official' vest now which in the end only caused Hige to roll his eyes. "Knew I shouldn't have made it so easy for you to get that on," he says, but Konsho seems quite pleased by it. Hige just slips the pack onto his back, foregoing the hitai-ate since it wasn't an official mission. He had it with him of course, but he rarely wore it outside of official business. "Alright, let's go."
Shugo wore his Hitai-ate for one reason or another… Either he was committed to being a shinobi, or he was too lazy to untie the knot that kept the thing hanging around his neck. Taking a peek at Konsho, Shugo smiled and gave the ninken a gentle few scratches at his head before pressing past Hige if the Inuzuka would let him get past or planned to keep him trapped for even longer. "Do the Aburame have a unique scent that you could pick up on?" The Nara questioned while looking down at Hige. It would be easy to identify them in the location of the body and perhaps their trails if that was indeed the case.
"Everyone has a unique scent," Hige says, stepping out and closing the door behind them before moving to follow after Shugo. "The problem is how old the scents might be with the rain we've been having lately. It tends to dampen things down and makes the scent fade away faster." He glances over to Shugo while they walk, his frown still well in place. "How many deer has it been now?"
Shugo nodded lightly as he listened to Hige's words and began picking up the pace to a brisk walk as he lead the way toward the entrance of the Nara clan's forests. "Eight. None mine this time which means they are just targeting the deer in general and not a specific herd of them or certain areas of the forests." The Nara explained to Hige along the way. Once they were in a more clear area, Shugo did what Hige seemed to naturally do; the genin kicked off the ground and took to the trees to begin jumping from branch to branch. It was clear when they would be growing near to the Nara clan's forests as Shugo began moving in a more direct manner, knowing exactly where he was going. The location where the bodies had been would easily be able to be scented by Hige and Konsho once they were close enough, what had not been gathered by the clan still remaining in the wet soil of the forests along with the almost neutral scent of something else on the air.
"Eight?" That seemed like a rather high number and Hige shared a glance with Konsho. "There's a good chance there's more than one person involved then. Have you gotten anything from the other deer?" Hige doesn't mind the quick travel. In fact he prefers it. Once they reach the area where the deer had been found he and Konsho split to investigate, trying to pick up the various scents and methodically dismissing the ones that wouldn't have anything to do with a person or persons.
The scents of the area were… anything but human The nearest human scent that wasn't someone of the Nara clan was one who smelled closer to an Aburame but something was wrong with it. The scent was more like the smell of a stink bug even if it was less offensive. It was a subtle tone of the scent covering the scent of the humanoid beneath. Even its natural scent however, was more bug than human. At the scene dug up shallow graves however, there was nothing of that humanoid's scent, just the scent of the deer and the oddly neutral scent of whatever had been used to kill them off.
Shugo stood on the branch of a nearby tree, hanging upside down from it with his arms crossed over his chest as he watched. With Hige there, there was little for him to do that wouldn't be getting in the way. The Inuzuka was a good tracker and there was no denying that. For now it was best he just remained quiet so he didn't distract Hige. That didn't mean that the Nara's simple presence might not distract the canine duo however.. shadows were rolling off of the Nara's form like a haze of smoke as his caged emotions fought to get free.
Hige and Konsho continued their searching for a short time before meeting in the middle to have a silent discussion. Really they just look at each other for a few seconds that somehow seems to speak volumes before Hige sighs loudly. "If a person was involved they weren't here themselves. There is some kind of creature similar to Aburame bugs but it's not the same. I'm not sure what kind of creature or breed it is. The raining has really made it hard, but there is a bit of an odd scent we can try to follow."
The strange scent trail lead deeper into the forests, toward the rocky ruins near the forests though what it was wouldn't be clearly told. The creature left a odd trail of scents o the ground and trees which at the least told it could be massive or a multitude moving as a group through the area. In the rocky ruins there was something new to be found.. rocks had been shifted and shoved, pushed was more the term and it revealed a cavern near several standing stones. It seemed that whatever the creature was, its trail continued there.
As Hige reported the findings, Shugo listened silently about the creature and then closed his eyes to think over the Jounin's words. Shugo detached from the tree and twisted in the air to land on his feet as he nodded to Hige's words. "Lead the way. If it's some ninja from another nation then we can capture them and find out why they've chosen to invade.." The Nara commented while looking around the area for a moment and knitting his brow. "Which way do we go..?"
Hige shakes his head slightly when Shugo mentions ninja from another village. "I don't think it's that…" he mutters as he slips away from the area off into the trees, keeping his nose to the air while Konsho keeps his close to the ground. Together they find their way to the rocky cave and only then do they stop, staring into the darkness within. "In there," he responds after a moment, raising a finger to point into the depths of the cave.
Shugo raced after Hige as the Inuzuka pair moved out and seemed to keep up more easily than usual, a testament to how hard the Nara was working to get things done and over with quickly for a change. When Hige and Konsho stopped at the cave's entrance, the Nara clasped his hands together tightly and focused his chakra. It worked well to cause the wisps of darkness flowing from the Nara to darken and grow. At Hige's comment of the scent leading into there the Nara nodded and began moving forward into the darkness of the cave. The Nara wasn't being reckless, perhaps over confident due to the location though.. A cave would work just fine for Shugo's shadows.
Hige and Konsho approach the entrance to the cave, sniffing around it to try and figure out exactly what kind of creature might be within. "I'm not recognizing this scent at all Shugo. Are you sure you want to go with us?" He glances over his shoulder towards the Nara, the concern quite rare but quite real as he watches Shugo, feral eyes flicking over the teen.
Shugo didn't shy away from something that was unknown. His reason? "You're coming with me, remember? I was going to hunt whoever was doing this down anyway and make them pay for killing two of my herd." The Nara answered while stepping closer to Hige and Konsho, giving a pause before he'd step forward to make it clear that he was going in either way. He wasn't entirely thankless however, a hand touched Hige's shoulder as he smiled at the Inuzuka. "If you need to request others to help or report this first, that's fine. I can't wait for it to target my herd again." Shugo explained before his foot touched to the shadows of the cave and began expanding to claim every inch of darkness in the caves. He'd go in even if Hige didn't. That wasn't to say it would be easy going. In the depths of the caves was the insectile chittering of recognition. The creature knew they were there.
He might /try/ to go in without Hige, but if Hige had decided to leave he'd drag Shugo along, conscious or not. But for now the Inuzuka does follow. "Report can come after, and if it ends up being something we can't handle then we'll retreat and regroup with reinforcements. For now let's just see what's ahead shall we?" The chittering reaches his ears and he smirks faintly. "They know we're here…" Lightning starts to dance around his frame, helping to light up the immediate area some.
in response to the invaders the chittering changed to a loud humming that echoed in the cave. It would rapidly grow louder as the swarm of insects hiding within the darkness. Racing without the need for sight or sound, the insects dove straight at Hige and Shugo. There was no need to bother with base senses where breeds of the Kikaichu were concerned.. They were effectively sensors, monsters that hunted to eat the chakra of their targets. That however did not mean they were the culprits. While there were many of them here, they weren't known to eat flesh as much as the corpses of naught but bone and hide showed possible.
Shugo didn't seem to know the nature of the insects however and formed a few hand seals to counteract the chance of being bitten. The Nara was quick to wrap himself in the blackness of his shadows, piling on the layers of his darkness as a protective shell when the insects swarmed over him. Beneath the swarming mass however, he was moving his arms to form several hand seals, using the shadowy shell encasing him as the root of the counter attack he had in mind. Spikes of shadow bolted from the Nara's dark hide and rapidly began threading through the insects to skewer them on the shadowy needles.
Hige and Konsho are observant enough that when the critters start trying to pile from the ceiling they keep just out of reach. Unfortunately it pushed them from Shugo which wasn't good. Grumble. "I'm not sure if these kikaichu have a master or if they're of some 'wild' variety, but be careful. Both teen and dog flickered with lightning then as many tiny needles of lightning began shooting all over. The only place that had none was straight ahead where Shugo was.
Shugo didn't know what Hige meant by being careful. He'd skewered them easily. But those he hadn't proved what the danger was as Shugo's armour was literally eaten away from his face and abdomen. The question as to if the swarm was being commanded or just wild became clear as among the insects came that strange smell Hige had tracked and it was that strange smell that punched Shugo in those exposed areas to launch the Nara back toward the mouth of the cave. For a moment the insects had cleared to reveal that it was something like a human that had punched Shugo, a human with nearly white skin and black crawling eyes.., no hair upon its head, and spines extending from its forearms..
Shugo hadn't expected the attack and it caught him cleanly, sending him skidding along the ground of the cave before he coughed and staggered to his feet. The coppery taste was spat from Shugo's mouth before he formed hand seals rapidly and sent his shadow swiftly toward that creature. Only just before it reached the insect would the shadow peel away from the ground to chase after the creature in an attempt to pin the beast down.
Hige and Konsho bypass Shugo, spinning past on either side of the Nara as they aim to converge on where the creature was foolish enough to show itself. It was all the Inuzuka duo needed really. Lightning flickered around the pair of them as they attempted to drive through the bugs and into whatever flesh might be shielded beyond.
The creature would leap away from the offending shadows without needing to look at them however that was perhaps its downfall. The creature did not seem ready for the shadows to rise up and spear through its limbs so swiftly. As the shadows arched and dug into the ground, the creature was pinned in a crouched position and ripe for the attacking duo that followed. As Hige and Konsho passed through the cloud bugs trying to eat the lightning coating from their attack and struck the creature on the other side, its skin would darken from the pale white to a shiny tone of brown, the exoskeleton coating the creature would crack and splinter several times over but as the creature laid in a heap on the ground. The cracks on its shell spread and then, with a crunch, the creature sat up from inside, just as pale as before though it now had a short mop of hair atop its head. The area that Konsho and Hige had driven against it was darkened with what appeared to be blackened blood but it otherwise, seemed unharmed.
A chittering sound left it and from within the cave came slightly larger insects. They'd move to the chitinous shell left behind and begin eating it, feasting on the material as well as the chakra and beginning to grow rapidly with each bite. The larger the grew, the larger their bites became.. and yet, their scents remained neutral. An odd scent that smelled like nothing at all. With the hundreds marching from in the cave it wouldn't be long before they finished that discarded shell and started looking for more to eat..
Shugo's eyes widened slightly as he watched the creature rise from its shell as though nothing had happened to it and then came those bugs… They seemed to do nothing but eat and grow, eat more as they grew.. The Nara began forming hand seals quickly, his shadow responding by whipping up and out at the creature to try grabbing hold of it all over again. Splitting several tendrils, Shugo would work to try spearing those larger bugs to the ground as well. "I'll try holding it in place so you can get a clean shot at it this time, Hige!"
Hige and Konsho bounce off a bit once they hit the shell and cracked it. Once they land and see what happened…well, luckily Shugo has the big creature and the bugs are in a good position to die as well. The two Inuzuka launch forward once again, spinning quickly as lightning focuses around them to increase the sharpness of their claws and fangs. They tear through the growing bugs as well as the shelled creature as much as possible, trying to drill a hole straight through to leave it no chance of escaping.
The creature would again form its hardened chitin shell to resist the strike however it wasn't strong enough this time and that drilling attack cracked the shell. Where it would have been thrown away, the shadows held it in place so it could do naught but endure the attack and the shell had already proven it wasn't strong enough to fully reject the strike of the Jounin and ninken duo. The cracking changed to a crunching and finally, there was the splattering sound of the drilling motion spreading blood along the walls as Hige's assault tore through the beast's middle.
The small creatures at the floor of the cave were pinned and in the way of that wild assault and ground into oblivion by the punishing force that ripped them to literal shreds of their former selves. There was nothing much left to be seen beyond the twitching insectile remains surrounding Hige and Konsho after the assault. Well, that and the rumbling.. As it turns out you can't take a drill to an ancient cave's walls and not expect it to begin crumbling!
Shugo would relax his hold on those shadows as the cave began to crumble bit by bit. Just small stones here and there so he ignored it for long enough to confirm that the creatures that had been feeding on his deer, whatever they were, were dying… Of course the larger falling rocks made a clear point when one struck a portion of a bug and caused a squelching sound to sing through the cave… "Out out out! It's gonna fall in!" The Nara would shout as he started to back away and then turn to rush from the cave. His shadow would solidify and be used to stitch into the ceiling as well as the Nara could manage, an effort to hold the cave together long enough for Hige and Konsho to escape as well as himself!
Luckily speed is one of Hige and Konsho's specialty. The duo are out like a flash and Konsho even flips Shugo onto his back so the pup can get the Nara out quickly. The skid to a halt once clear of the collapsing cave and Hige turns back to look as rocks block the cave entrance, dusting off his shoulders. "Well now, that was interesting. We'll have to make sure that none of them escaped, otherwise they may try and come after your deer again."
Shugo nodded in agreement and let his shadow melt back to him until it had settled into its natural place. With everything sorted out and the cave more or less closed down again, the Nara could breathe a little easier, though now he knew where to keep an eye on and what to do from here. He needed ot make sure that this place was never allowed to open up again and that no one knew of it.. No need to have some power hungry Aburame unleashing whatever might still be alive inside of there some day. But not today.. Today had a lot of walking, running, and even some being serious to it.. If that got out Shugo's reputation would be ruined. People would start to think he was actually responsible or something!