Date: January 29, 2015
Kenta finishes creating a device to track Lady Feather with the help of Konoha's seal experts. The device uses the signaling orbs once owned by Mokuba and Sakura to trace signals back to the sensing orb that Lady Feather keeps with her. It will become impossible to track the criminal if any of the internal components break or she realizes what's happening and severe the connection. Atsuro has a difficult choice to make. Find out more information about the abilities granted by the Immortality Scroll in case Lady Feather completed her ritual after he set back or go after Lady Feather immediately? In the end, Atsuro decides to return to the Temple of Embers to gather more intel.
"This Immortal Coil - Changing Plans"
After finishing his lunch with Taizen today, Atsuro checks the clock and discovers that he still has about half an hour of break time left. This is just a perfect amount of time, and once he's cleared away the remains of his lunch, he walks over to the couch and flops down on it, where he lays on his back, looking up at the ceiling. He puts his hands behind his head and closes his eyes, waiting for the nap to come. Meanwhile, Taizen is in another corner of the room, lying down in his dog bed. Rather than sleep, though, he looks out the large window of the room, watching the village below.
About two seconds after Atsuro closes his eyes, there's a knock on the office door. Tap tap tap. Then, the door slowly opens to reveal Kenta on the other side. The young medic-nin has a metal box cradled against his chest with one arm. While it looks relatively small, perhaps a foot long on each side, it's apparently relatively heavy, since Kenta immediately places his second arm under the box too, once the door's open. He uses his foot to nudge the gap wide enough for him to slip through and closes the door with his heel afterwards. "Konichiwa, Atsuro-senpai and Taizen-senpai." Kenta flashes a tired smile. "The tracking device. We finished it."
There's only one person who could be knocking like that! Atsuro opens his eyes and gets up from the couch. He goes to the door to help, but Kenta's already entered by the time he gets over to the door. "The tracking device?" Atsuro repeats, "Really? That's great." He holds out his hands as an offer to take the heavy box for Kenta. "Is this it?" he asks. "It feels like it went quick… I was worried it would take forever. Which would mean more time that Takato would be… well…" He shakes his head. Taizen comes over. "Thank you, Kenta," he says, "We appreciate all your hard work."
Kenta gives Atsuro another tired smile. "It was more than me, Atsuro-senpai. A whole team of us worked on it. It would have been much slower otherwise, but this was an important task and I made sure that everyone treated it that way." Taps the top face of the metal box that's now in Atsuro's hands. It's the only part of the box that shows a glass screen instead of iron. Beneath the glass is a panel inscribed with a faintly glowing seal circle and what looks like liquid mercury within it. The has stretched into a shimmering oblong shape and the bulk of it is pressing against the north end of the circle, pulling away from all other directions to do so.
Atsuro puts the box down on the coffee table, and sits down on the couch. He and Taizen both lean forward to look down into the box. After a second of examination, Atsuro nods. "I think I get it," he says, "Wherever this mercury is gathering, that's the direction that she's in?" He looks up at Kenta. "I guess we've got her, then." He suddenly frowns, "I guess we thought we had her last time too…" Shaking his head to drive away the unpleasant thoughts, he says, "But I'm not going to worry about that. I know what we have to be doing. That kind of doubt isn't going to help."
Kenta nods his head up and down. "That girl Fledgling said that Lady Feather keeps some kind of tracking device on her that's connected to each of the Fledgling's personal orbs. Since we managed to figure out a way to trace the signal, it should bring us directly to her. The closer we get the more bunched up the mercury will get, since the signal's going to be strong. I think the way that it's acting now means that we're only about two days away from the location." The young medic-nin furrows his brows. "I really hope that she doesn't move before we get there and that she doesn't realize that the signaling orbs are a danger to her. We have both Sakura and Mokuba's in there. That other dead girl's was smashed when the house fell on her." Kenta looks down at the ground to hide his unhappiness.
Atsuro sits back, sinking into the cushions of the couch and mulls this over. "Two days," he says slowly, "That's actually pretty close. It /would/ be best if she stayed there. But I wonder if we shouldn't try to make some other preparations. I mean, if she figures out how we tracked her, then we've lost this route again too. I wonder if we have time to be extra sure." He rubs his chin, "The Uzumaki girl already has her kimono — hopefully she can finish it. But then even if she does, Lady Feather can always summon a bird to escape, like she did last time. I wonder if we could do something to stop her from summoning. Or maybe get rid of the birds before they can do anything to help her."
Kenta furrows his brows. He slowly walks over to the couch and sits down on it, his fatigue finally overcoming his politeness. "Ummm… I'm actually not sure what we can do about it. Didn't that Natsumi girl say that she'll be able to help us once she's free? I wish that she gave us more information that we can use -now-." The medic-nin blows out a soft sigh. "Summoning techniques are very hard to counter. I know there are barriers and seals that can be used to prevent conventional summoning, but Lady Feather seems to be a master at it. Barriers also takes time to set up. Maybe the best that we can do is to stun her and kill her quickly."
"That's sorta what we were hoping for last time." Atsuro sighs a little and leans way back into the couch cushions. "Maybe I'm just too anxious or something. But last time, we decided we'd have to just play it by ear, and /that/ went pretty bad. And now we're going to have to get better results under worse circumstances." He looks down at the box for a moment. "I was thinking maybe a bird repellent or bird poison or something. I just hope the birds aren't forced to work with her. I've already ended up killing three of her slaves by accident…"
Kenta looks up at Atsuro with a somber expression on his face. "You didn't kill them, Atsuro-senpai. She did by her own actions. One of them was coerced to fight you, even though she had no chance of winning. She used another to shield herself from bodily harm. And she killed the last one herself." Kenta suddenly shivers and starts nibbling on his bottom lip. "I don't know what kind of jutsu Lady Feather used, but she took all the vital energy from Sakura just by touching the girl. I did a quick examination of the body before we buried it and…" The medic-nin shivers again. "There was no trace of live at all. Every organ and ever cell displayed no sign of life. Some of the cells of a dead person usually continue to keep living for even as much as days. What's even stranger is that every single bacteria on the body was also drained of life, including the ones that's on Sakura's skin and clothing."
"I know," Atsuro admits, "But I feel like I should have been able to prevent it. I mean, that's why we went there in the first place. I know it doesn't make a lot of sense, but I was right there, we surprised her… and she still got away." Kenta's description of Sakura's post-mortem brings a frown to his face. "I was wondering about that myself. I thought maybe… it had something to do with the jutsu. I mean, she was prepared, so maybe it was just a matter of using it. We don't know that the jutsu kills the 300 people at once, do we? The thing is, I'm worried that she might have had a chance to use it on other people and get the necessary number… just, I haven't heard of any villages being totally destroyed like that."
Kenta shudders and fidgets on his seat. "I really hope she failed. We interrupted her, so she really only had about two and a half days to finish it. She had to send someone to the Land of Snow to set up preparations to keep all the people trapped. That must mean that the ritual itself takes some time. Maybe she has to touch each person one by one, so unless she had time to prepare a suitable trap or location, people can run away from her." The young medic-nin nibbles on his bottom lip. "I don't know if the jutsu allows her to take people's lives only when she first activated it, but we should try to keep her from touching us. I'm worried what would happen otherwise."
Atsuro gives a solemn nod. "That's what I'm worried about," he says, "I mean, all of her preparation was ruined. But it sounds it wouldn't be just a matter of getting the ritual ready again and doing it. She had a really limited time frame, which could have made her desperate. Just, we haven't heard of any mass-killings or anything like that." He nods, "I hope she really can't kill us just with a touch. That's… really hard to deal with, even if it's just an old lady. If she really does have that still, I hope she's still weakened too." He runs a hand through his hair. "I wish we'd asked more about that jutsu back at the monastery."
Kenta nods thoughtfully. "The monks didn't want to talk much about it. They were really frightened, but we do need more information. I want to go back there to find out more before we go after Lady Feather, but that might mean we'll miss our chance. I don't know how much time we have before that tracking device becomes useless." Kenta glances at the box in Atsuro's hands. "Ummm… Do you think that we should make a detour anyway, Atsuro-senpai? You're in charge of this case, so the decision's up to you."
Atsuro considers this question for a moment. "Going back to the monastery could be vital… or totally useless. And we won't know until we have it." He narrows his brows and stares at a random section of the wall. "Okay, well, which one has the worst consequences if it turns out to be the wrong decision? If we go to the monastery, the worst that's happened is that we've wasted time, and she might move. It gives her more time to realize she's being tracked too. If we don't go to the monastery, the worst case is that she's incredibly dangerous. We could lose a huge chunk of our team in minutes…"
"Ummm… that second one sounds more dangerous… So you think that we should risk losing track of Lady Feather to find out more information from the monks first? If you think that's the sensible decision, I'll stand completely behind you, Atsuro-senpai." Kenta gets to his feet, so that he can look at the mercurial compass in Atsuro's hands. "Maybe I can work more on the device along the way. It'll be good if we can use it to spy on Lady Feather, instead of just track her. I don't know if it's possible, but more time to figure it out can't hurt. The Temple of Ember's isn't too far or dangerous, so we'll only need a small team."