Date: June 10, 2012
A fire has been burning in a town in the Land of Water nonstop for weeks and nothing seems to be able to take it out. Yuri and Isra go to investigate. They discover that the fires are not put out by normal means as humans seem to be the only way of giving the flames rest. In this instance, the fire proves itself to be a greater issue needing resolution.
"This Just In: Fire Still Hot!"
Burning town in the Land of Water
A town in the Land of Water has been on fire for weeks now. No one is really sure why. Both natural water and Water Ninjutsu have failed to extinguish it. Some have tried smothering it with dirt and such, but overall, it's not a job for civilian non-combatants. The Hozuki Clan want it taken care of, as they are very busy solidifying their public presence in the world once more, and that means that 'matters of home' are of lesser priority than 'matters of state'. They have none of their vaunted Water Masters to spare for this task.
Besides, water isn't working anyway, so what good are they!? That's right! None! So Suzaku Yuri is out here instead, with a Chuunin along for the ride. It's a bit odd to have an Uzumaki allied with Kirigakure, given the close relationship between that clan and the Senju — who are in turn primarily centered in Konohagakure — but Yuri isn't complaining. Inwardly, however, she is very, very suspicious. That's normal for her though.
So here the two kunoichi are, standing outside the town. It is completely on fire, and doesn't appear to be close to going out. The fire burns those who touch it, but it doesn't actually appear to be completing the job and consuming the structures and wagons and such that are ablaze. Yuri is wearing her typical garb, minus her Hunter-Nin mask, and is acting like she usually does around allies. Friendly, jovial, and yet a skillful ninja with good leadership skills and excellent judgement. Yeah? Yeah? Yeah. She lets out a low whistle and then she says, "Well, then… Green fire. That's new. According to the people we talked to on the way here, the fire is not going out. It'll be extinguished and then it just pops back up a minute later. It's not >spreading< any further, but it also isn't vanishing. So, I suppose the first question I have to ask is…"
The Swordswoman turns her gaze on Isra. "…Can you seal fire?"
Isra has been dealing with some weird things lately. She can't tell if it's just the Land of Water itself or her. Does she attract all this attention? She probably does. Of all the people she's met, she isn't like the other ones she's been around so she reasons it must be her. For now, at least. So, she takes it that a village burning in an unquenchable fire as unusual and now that she's found herself on the job, she links the issue to herself personally. Now, how does someone put out a fire that can't be taken care of by water? She has a number of reasons she can think of for that sort of thing, but none of them quite fit the profile of what's going on. Even oil on water can be quenched given the right materials.
She hummed aloud to herself, going over a number of simulations. If practicality didn't work… "Hm?" She inquired of Yuri. She nearly forgot she was there. "Oh, sealing fire? I have the materials for it, but haven't tried it before. Given some time, I'm sure I could seal it once I've got the proper seals for it down," she admitted.
Bah! What good is this brat then!? Is she some kind of defective Uzumaki!? Oh, but Yuri's nasty, suspicious mind doesn't necessarily accept that response. She might be annoyed but she also suspects her companion might well be >lying< about what she can do in order to conceal her true abilities. It's what she'd do when being forced to work with the enemy, after all.
"Oh, well!" Yuri chirps cheerfully instead of voicing her thoughts. "I guess that would have been too easy a solution. Depending on how much time you need, you might be able to try it still, but for now I think it best we see what other options we have. We know the fire burns skin, and yet it doesn't seem to be burning the structures and so on around here. It also doesn't cling to people it burns. It may be inexhaustible when burning objects, but it acts like normal flames when it interacts with flesh."
Yuri waits as she watches the greasy, green-gray flames for about 15 seconds. She listens to the crackling and popping, the roar of supernatural fire as it feeds on nothing and yet continues to exist. Then she turns her head to Isra and says, "Could you please go leap into the flames for me?" Pause. "I want to see if they can be smothered by a human body."
"It shouldn't take too long for me to think up something to write out. This place has been like this for a while and though I'd like to put out the fires, it won't be immediate. The village definitely won't burn to the ground in the time that I think up how to write out the proper seal for storing these flames." Isra explained to Yuri while thinking of a way to get the flames all in order. While thinking, she slipped out a scroll and a writing stick to get to work. Before she could even begin to touch the scroll, it was suggested that she go leap into the flames.
"…I'm almost certain I will be harmed by those flames. Besides, what makes you any less human than I am?" She wondered followed by a smirk. There was sure to be some underlying meaning to that. "I might be able to go and test them out, but I /won't/ be casting myself into the fire just so crazily. What about earth? Has that been used to take out these flames? Maybe fire against fire as the old saying goes."
Yuri continues to smile at Isra even as the suggestion to leap into the fire is declined. The smart retorts don't really impact Yuri much on the emotional level, but she's not really the most emotionally stable person to begin with, so it could be something trivial and unintentional that >does< set her off next time. "Ah, but you see, I can attach wires to you to pull you out of the flames after a brief test, >plus< you can always see a Medic-Nin afterwards. If you don't survive somehow, I can store your body in a scroll and make use of it like I do so many others. You are highly expendable. Meanwhile, if I'm harmed too much or killed somehow, this 'team' is going to consist of a single Chuunin who can't even deal with fire on her own, and if there's anyone hanging out intending to make use of these flames for some purpose, you'll be extra vulnerable. You die, mission is failed, and the game is over."
That's what she >could< say. She dos >not< say that though. Instead, her fixed smile gives off a bit of a strange vibe like maybe she's not all there and is thinking of skinning the Uzumaki girl alive. Or maybe that's just the green light flickering across her countenance and there's nothing weird at all. Isra is working with her seals at the moment anyway, so she might not even look up to see. What does Yuri >actually< say? "Hm. Yes, actually, smothering the flames with earth >has< been attempted. I'm not able to use Fire Release, so I can't really produce any flames to aid us… But I have a possible alternative." Yuri reaches a hand to a waist pouch behind her and withdraws a small scroll. She then unties the binding on it, and activates the storage seal on the paper's surface. A significantly larger scroll then appears in mid-air that Suzaku Yuri grabs before it has a chance to fall, and unbinds in a similar manner. This scroll is >far< thicker and wider than the first scroll. When she unrolls it part-way, it is evident that the reason for this is that it is very, very long. On the surface, there are probably hundreds of jutsu formula for seals.
Yuri intones quietly, "Corpse-Summoning Scroll." Then there are several eruptions of smoke. When the smoke clears, a half a dozen dead bodies all dressed in the same identical black robes and funeral shrouds are lying on the ground around the two. "If you have an objection to a plan of action formed by your team captain, let another a direct superior, I encourage you to voice your concerns — if the situation allows for it — and to logically explain your reasoning. However, I'll make it very clear, since you don't appear to be familiar with my reputation…" Yuri has been gazing upon the corpses. And as she draws the Sewing-Needle Sword, Nuibari, the wire pool in the grip starts to unwind as well and move to thread itself through metal-ringed holes in the dead flesh of the once-living people. "…If you ever >refuse< a direct order from me again, I will kill you." Yuri then turns, smiling still, and squints her eyes all ^_^ at Isra. "Understand?" The dead bodies begin to climb to their feet as an electrical current passes through them, stimulating muscle movement. They then start to march towards the town, where a wagon of hay is burning on the outskirts.
Isra may have had a retort for the unsaid words, but alas, since they've gone unspoken, she has nothing to say. For now, at least. Now that she can think, she begins to work on a formula that she believes might work out in trying to seal this fire up and removing it as a problem. There's an intense amount of focus in her expression as she performs her work, her goal being to get it right the first time, but she knows there's room for a mistake to be made, so she makes sure to go over all the scenarios in her mind before she settles on one that she thinks is safe. One that includes the proper seal for the scroll. Now she needs to get the formula to work around it and once she's done, she'll have it down and this fire ready to be sealed.
When Yuri replies to her question, she offers a subtle nod and the remainder of her attention goes to the formula she was drawing out. Yet, she did find time to divert her sight to Yuri as she doesn't exactly feel comfortable around her and she's going to figure out more of the reason why aside from just getting the sense that she's just 'unusual'.
She pauses, making sure to move her brush away from the paper so it wont drip and screw something up. In fact, she decides to cap it for now. What's just been summoned has confirmed her feelings. Corpses? She wanted to know the why, but as it turns out, it isn't that difficult to figure out. She was one of the Seven Swordsmen and wielded the Nuibari. She inhaled deeply and sighed a breath back out, listening to the clear threat directed toward her. She wanted to grumble, but any show of emotion like that looks like it'd end with problems and she isn't trying to die just because she refused to fling herself into a fire.
"Yeah, I got it… If a reason must be given, I just didn't think that me throwing myself into the fire would have brought a solution, but instead another casualty. It may or may not have revealed some information, but my personal feelings and life aside, I felt there may be other options available to us. I apologize for not saying this earlier, but my reaction to that idea was instinct first." She explained. "I do hope that these individuals may provide you with the information you desire, however." Choosing words carefully with someone she's sure she could deem insane is a difficult task.
Now that these corpses have been produced, she decides to shelf her project until they've done their job and make a determination from there. She wonders if the other Swordsmen are like this?
Nodding amicably, Yuri might or might not even be listening now as she marches the dead bodies up to the wagon of hay and has them leap on. They pile on like the corpses they are, with no regard for silly things like pain and discomfort. Their movements aren't >quite< as coordinated as a living person's but they aren't quite doing the 'zombie shamble' either. They could pass for living humans probably. Especially if it were just one, and in poor-lighting. What condition their bodies are in on the surface remains unknown, given the all-black garb.
They move their limbs as directed by Yuri to attempt to bat-out and otherwise smother the flames, and it seems to be working — kind of hard to tell for >sure< from a distance, but the fire is diminishing even as the bodies themselves smoke and produce the smell of cooking meat that wafts over in the direction of the two kunoichi.
"Sounds reasonable," Yuri responds finally. "It was more a test of your loyalty and conduct as a ninja of the Hidden Mist than a serious desire for you to be injured or burned alive or what-have-you. I would have shown just as much disapproval if you had simply run over and eagerly thrust your arm into the flames. You may be a Chuunin, but you're young and inexperienced. It is my responsibility not just to ensure missions succeed but to prepare those below me to ensure their missions succeed when I am not around. Blindly obeying a suicidal and >stupid< order would have made you just as useless to me as someone who did what you did and showed willful defiance and disregard for my orders."
"Please keep that in mind. Traitors come in many forms. One who can be made a tool of traitors out of being too >retarded< to think for herself is as much a danger as the traitor who would seek out and use such tools. That does >not< mean that casually dismissing an order is going to win you brownie points with me — but you appear to understand that now, so I won't harp on that subject." Yuri winks at Isra playfully. All's well now, right? Hahahahaha! Not really at all, no! :D :D :D
"So, what do you think you'll need to teach yourself a Fuuinjutsu for fire? My instruments appear to be soaking up the flames as I thought they would, but in order to smother the entire town I'd probably have to empty my entire 'supply' — and might not even have enough then either. It took me quite awhile to stock up this many. Something other than smothering with human bodies needs to be done here. And whoever set this fire to begin with didn't do so on a whim, most likely. When he or she notices the flames going away, I expect intervention of some kind." It doesn't look like she considers these corpses to be 'people', as Isra referred to them, and sees them more like ninja tools. Things. Equipment.
Good thing she doesn't see living people the same way, right? Right! HAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!
Isra continued writing up the formula on the scroll, making sure that her strokes with the brush were crisp and without error. Whenever she felt like she was about to make a mistake, she'd cap her brush and roll up the scroll as a safety measure. Besides, she needed to start walking, so she hustled to catch up with Yuri and eventually match her pace.
It was weird… Seeing the dead reanimated is something that might take some growing used to. Whoever they were in their past lives need not apply now. She feels some concern, but it appears that the corpses have nothing considered human anymore with exemption of their bodies. She feels, at the least, that there's still some mercy in this. The souls aren't experiencing this first hand. She thinks so, at least. So, as long as it's only the bodies, she tries to reason that it's okay that they're being used for this task.
"I understand your reasoning. I won't make that same mistake again." Isra smiled, though she still felt like she was walking on eggshells. Maybe things won't be so bad. Just…be smart and don't act stupid. That appears to be the basis of this all. She looked to the woman and made her smile more direct before returning her attention back to the fires and the bodies. Looks like the bodies were beginning to fry. "Well, I only need my scroll mostly. In my time, I've been surrounded by a number of seals. As of now, it's all about what I've collected in memory and can rewrite. I haven't exactly seen anything for sealing fire, but combining knowledge of what I've learned before should hopefully give me the results I need. If not, then I'll just have to suffer for my shortcomings until I get it right. Since this fire eats up everything, I have no choice, but to get it all right the first time and if I toss in a maybe, then a second time. I can't go any further than that." At this, she began to take out her scroll and continue work on the formula.
"I don't want you to have to empty out your entire supply and I need to get more field experience in, so this is the best time to do so. As for the perpetrators of this fire? We might be able to find some traces of them around here, if not in the nature of the fire itself. I don't know of any clans that may use this specific kind of flame, but there has to be only a few capable of such a thing. Also, there's trying to figure out why? I don't think this is a random fire, but the purpose eludes me." She began to make the finishing touches on her formula.
"Maybe we can find something out in some unburned structures or if necessary, wander into a burning structure to see if there's anything else in those that may be useful. That's only if the fire hasn't spread so far on the buildings."
Yuri nods, her smile a bit fainter, but not out of an apparent lack of mirth so much as just focusing on the green-grey flames and their impact on the bodies. "I see… So you 'collate' past experiences and sort through memories… 'Life-data'. That lets you develop new techniques or understand ones you've seen in the past but didn't know then. That's a very interesting ability. Kind of sucks I can't do that at the level you can. I can peruse my memories of the past, but organizing them that way and drawing out specific pieces of life-data is beyond me."
She sounds thoughtful more than creepy or angry or jealous or anything else that might otherwise be inferred by her words. "Unfortunate, but as long as you stay alive and by my side, I suppose we can make use of each other's abilities regardless, ne?" She's all smiles again. "I can think of one reason why someone would make a fire like this, and I don't particularly care for it."
"A 'live' weapons test. An experimental technique being tried out 'in the field'. Maybe it's a Kekkei Genkai, maybe it's a Hidenjutsu, maybe it's something new that someone has come up with… The only reason I can think of for a fire that only acts like normal fire when in contact with human flesh and never goes out otherwise is to deny people access to their possessions. Our equipment, our farms, our homes, our transportation, our funds, our food, and everything else, could simply be removed from our reach with fire like this. We wouldn't be able to touch it without being burned, and we wouldn't be able to put it out. People could literally sit there and starve to death mere feet away from a banquet and they wouldn't be able to do anything until they became so desperate from hunger they'd be willing to try grabbing food that is on fire. We'd have figured out a way to deal with before that happened, but in the mean-time our ninja and our villagers would both be without sustenance, possible weakened from hunger, exposure to the elements… And probably even unable to use our weapons or armor or tools if they got hit too."
That… Sounds really insidious and horrible. Yuri's smile is gone, but she just looks impassive. "Yep, really clever. So, beyond who is responsible and how to stop it, the next most important question is… Why here, and why just leave it to burn where we could spot it and learn about it? Accidental deployment? A trap of some kind? A threat? That will be revealed in due time, but planning three steps ahead of the enemy is a skill that I hope you can see the value of. Personally, wielding Nuibari like I do… I wouldn't even function as its wielder if I couldn't plan twenty steps ahead. And I'm still not at my peak yet. My ultimate aim… Is to be so far ahead of the enemy that they will never even see me, simply because they can't. You don't have to push yourself to that extent, but I encourage you to learn to decypher the thoughts and intentions of the opposition in every situation. Divine what the enemy you face will do before he knows it himself."
Then Yuri stops looking and sounding serious and grins wide and gives a thumbs-up. "Okay?"
"More or less…" Isra responded with a soft shrug of her shoulders to Yuri, though it was not so much in dismissive to her than to the Uzumaki herself. In short, it was a mirror of her words played out physically in emphasis. …'Life-data'. Somehow, that had a ring to it.
"I agree we could make use of our abilities together. I'd like to be able to synch with others easily enough so that I may mold myself to demands easily. As for this fire, well, you make a good point. Now that you mention it as a weapon, it stands out much more than some simple attack." This is something that she could probably get some study in with and maybe use on a lesser scale. Perhaps she could manage to duplicate it somehow… "Planning three steps ahead…more even, is something I intend to do. Some consider my abilities limited, but I don't think the same way. It's all about how they're applied. In that same vein, seeing how this fire has been used is another goal. I have a lot to think about. So…" She chuckled, "Okay!"
She lifts her hand to return the thumbs up to Yuri. Honestly, she feels like the fire that was squelched by the corpses. While she can be serious, she much prefers her happy side. Oh well. Just one more thing to get used to now that zombies are checked off the list.